52 residents in 52 weeks #4 Jordan Bridge

Sometimes a resident just gets under your skin somehow for no apparent reason. I have just such a soft spot for Jordan Bridge.

I don’t know when he was born.
I don’t know who his parents were
I do know he had brothers Adam and Christopher
He may have been a bit of a dodgy character
I do know he died in 1546
I don’t know where he is buried


Jordan was one of the first residents of the area after deforestation in 1507. He delivered a piece of land 90 feet x 40 feet unto Henry Durden in or before 1515. I would love to know where it was.

He, together with the other tenants of Deadwenclough, was elected Greave of Rossyndale in 1516. Why the office of Greave was allocated to a group rather than an individual and how this worked in practice is not recorded. Sadly.

In 1527 there was an entry in the Halmote records of the manor describing how Jordan, by ‘Synister labor, Craft and subtilite’ ‘fined and connveyed’ to deprive Adam his brother of his share of the lands on deforestation ‘value of xxs’ in Deadwenclough. The ‘false and untrue delying’ was ‘openly Kawne’. As a consequence of mediation by their friends the matter went to court which found for Adam. Jordan was ordered tom compensate Adam which Jordan refused to do contrariety to all gud Right and conciens and his faith and fidelity and contrary to his seyd agreement thereof ‘ and the Halmote ‘pray…for…Reformacien’.
(Farrer vol III pp 58-9).

Then next year (1528) he was sued together with his brother Adam and other tenants of Deadwenchough for trespass with beasts, a common offence in the area. The common pasture was largely in the west of Rossendale and the modern rights of way numerous and complex, reflecting the various routes taken by farmers in moving their animals.

In 1534 he was fined 4d (together with 7 others) for making a ‘marle pyt’ Marl Pits field later became part of Springhill Farm and is now a sports complex. It has notoriously bad drainage, not surprising given its name.

In Jan 1536/7 Jordan, together with three others, sued 4 neighbours over partition of land in Deadwenclough called ‘The Edge’, just above Springhill. Four others were ordered to divide the land equally amongst all the parties.

1541 finds Jordan together with Adam and John Bridge bend sued for obstructing a right of way and was bound over for 6s 8d to repair it before the feast of St John the Baptist. The vicar was charged with deciding which man had to clear which bit.

Jordan Bridge died in 1546. His son John was admitted tenant (fine 16s 3d, probably one year’s rent). Christopher and Frauncis Bridge forbade fine by right of inheritance. This was to granted, but John Bridge surrendered the land to Christopher shortly afterwards.

It appears that Jordan may not have been above a bit of dubious dealing. It also gives a flavour of how hard life was in the early part of C16, with people trying to exist in pretty unpromising terrain and the squabbles which emerged as the land was deforested (in 1507) and began to be inhabited.

And today? The old highways are still impassable. Rights of way are still being blocked. Marl Pits is still boggy. The vicar doesn’t usually deal with highway obstructions now though.


snowy Johnny Barn

Jan 21 2015, picture courtesy of George Kirk.


Johnny Barn 2015

organising OPS stuff

Organising family history material seems to be a hot topic at the moment. There is an active Facebook group dedicated to organising your material and last week’s #genchat on Twitter was on this topic as well. There are a plethora of systems - colour coded binders, numerous templates for extracting data, nested files both literal and digital and so on. Some use dedicated genealogy databases for organising data (as opposed to trees), others use Evernote or Excel, others good old fashioned index cards.

My own ancestry is filed by family units which start at marriage, or at the birth of the first child if, like my ggm, they never bothered with that bit. Within them is the marriage certificate, birth certs/baptism records of children in order, census entries, death certs then misc - photos, newspapers etc. It works, I can find stuff and is consistent.

Organising OPS data seems less logical. It doesn’t fit neatly into families. Significant events in the life of a given place may not fit into centuries. Even defining a place without clear geographical boundaries can be problematic - my own study illustrates that. Yet the system chosen for organising data is seen both in how the material is stored/analysed and how it is presented.

The history of the Springhill area divides into a number of relatively clear periods, most with specific start times.These are:
  • the time when the area was subject to Forest law - 1066 to 1507 when the land was deforested.
  • the ‘post Forest’ time of predominantly agricultural/home textile economy - 1507 to (say) 1750
  • the period of industrialisation - 1750 to 1896. Springhill house was built in this period (c1830) but the money was made before that date. Why 1896? That was the date of the death of Charles Patrick and so marked the end of the direct involvement of the Ashworth/Patrick families who built Springhill House, owned much of the land and had a massive influence on the life of the area.
  • the period covered by Mrs Turner’s Trust - 1896 when she inherited the estate to her death in 1923. She was much less ‘hands on’ than the Ashworth/Patrick families and willed that the estate be sold.
  • the death of Mrs Turner to the breakup of the estate and modification of many of the houses in 1934.
  • post 1934.

This gives an apparently random set of dates but they make sense in the context of the history of the place.

That then leads to questions about storing the data - for example do census data go together by resource or under each time period? I chose the latter but that may not be the best way of doing it. Newspaper extracts by date, theme or by paper? Pictures by … what?

I tend to store raw data in Excel (and loads of scraps of paper!). I have separate folders for raw material and stuff which makes the website but with otherwise identical filing system. Plans and ‘to do’s are in a notebook app on the laptop and phone (thus permitting much time wasting tinkering).

My current question is family reconstitution. I’m just starting out on this. If the data is in Excel then its a fair bit of work to transcribe it into a FH programme (and which one to use?) as families are reconstituted, but that seems necessary in order to show working and how I reached that conclusion. If I put it into the FH programme in the first place then it is harder to see links. I tried Custodian but didn’t get on with it, and now don’t want to run Windows on my mac.

These are, of course, all very first world problems… but it would be interesting to hear how other OPSer’s organise their data.

52 residents in 52 weeks #3 Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw

With the centenary of the start of WW1 last year I, like many others, started to look at the role played in the war by people from my place. I looked for soldiers and duly found them. I looked for those who contributed in the local community and found a couple of those. I looked for conscientious objectors and haven’t found any yet.

I also found Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw, whose role in WW1 I found surprising.

But to begin at the beginning.

Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw was born 1899, registered in q1.. She is certainly on the 1911 census as living with her father Richard (miner - quarry) and mother Mary Ellen in 7 Nuttall Row, Cloughfold with her 4 sisters, 2 brothers and a female servant. In 1901 Elixabeth Jane worked as a cotton weaver, age 12. Interesting that a family who could afford a servant put their 12 yr old children out to work.

The family are duly recorded in the same house in the 1901 census with the same children in the same order, except that there ‘Elizabeth Jane’ is down as ‘Margaret A’, age 2. Well the ‘age 2’ bit fits. There was a ‘Margaret Jane Bradshaw’ born q3 1899 in the Haslingden registration district (which covers our area) but she wouldn’t have been 2 at the time of the census and they obviously weren’t twins. Mmm, interesting. Elizabeth Jane at birth, Margaret A in 1901 and Elizabeth Jane in 1911? Really? Richard Bradshaw gave his occupation in 1901 as ‘coal miner’, and so may have worked for one of John Ashworth’s companies - he of Springhill House.

To return to the Great War.

Elizabeth enrolled with the QMAAC on 6/6/18 aged 20. At the time of enrolment she was living in Bacup. She was posted initially to Chadderton Camp, Royton, then 53 (YS) Bn South Wales Borderers 16/7/1918. In Oct 1918 she was moved to the dispersal Camp Shoreham-on-sea Oct 1918 then to Sommerton Camp, Eastbourne on 4/4/19. She was discharged 5/12/1919 on termination of engagement.

Her records are incompletely completed (a common feature in this study!) so we know that she was 4'11" and 100 lbs, but her hair and eye colour omitted. She was described as 'small very nice bright girl, seems suitable' by M E Quinlan on her application form. At the time of application she was a glove machinist, having been a slipper worker in the meantime.

The thing I found surprising is that she was assessed for service as a waitress. Now i appreciate that even in war one must maintain standards but was waitresses really Britain’s greatest need at that time?

The question ‘what do you know of the applicant’s qualifications as a waitress and how qualified are you to speak for her?’ is variously answered by her referees:
‘in no way’
‘make a good one’ and
‘I don’t know what sort of waitress she would make’

Further details are available in the transcripts of her service records.

C17 distractions

I knew I shouldn’t have done it.
I knew I shouldn’t have ‘just checked’ in the burial records for Newchurch St Nicholas looking for the burial of Jordan Bridge in the C16. After all, I knew when he died from the manorial court rolls.
I should have known that once back in C17 records I’d spend too much time poking around the entries.
But I did it anyway.

I didn’t find Jordan Bridge’s burial as the records from that period are either missing or illegible.

But yes, I did spend ages backwards and forwards between marriages and births and burials linking families. It was all I could do not to pick up my pencil and start drawing trees out.

So that is probably it now. Once my current project mining the 1901 census is completed I’m heading back to the parish registers and transcripts of Clitheroe court rolls to start reconstituting these families.That will be fun. The aim is to produce a spreadsheet of the residents of Deadwenclough (as the area was known then) with some attempt at placing them in families.

That should keep me quiet for a bit.