local traditions? July 4th...

Mmm not exactly a local tradition nor commemorating local events…

4 July 200

…but a good excuse to sell beer anyway!

(is it treasonable to fly the US flag upside down?)

52 residents in 52 weeks # 27 RJH Mitchell

Robert John Howorth Mitchell was resident at Springhill House at the time of the 1911 census. He is listed as 'director, felt works' which indeed he was, being a director of MASCO of which more later. It seems a bit strange that the director of a major Rossendale company should be staying in a subdivided rented house. I initially wondered whether he was renting for a while whilst his own house was being made ready but obviously not as he was still there in 1923. Incidentally I struggled to find out when he left Springhill, only doing so when he changed his address on the register of shareholders of Great Western Railway.

Robert John Howorth Mitchell was born ~ 1811 in Waterfoot, the only son of Robert John Chadwick Mitchell. RJC was one of the 'Mitchell Brothers' who founded the felt works which bore that name. In 1904 Mitchell Brothers joined with Ashworths and Stansfields to form MASCO, the firm of which RJH later became a director. It became the largest felt works in the UK and an ideas of its size at this time can be had from its roll of honour for WW1.

MASCo war roll of honour thumbnail

RJH married his cousin, the daughter of RJC's brother William Mitchell in 1910. Keeping the money in the family? I have no reason to suppose the marriage was anything other than successful.

Mitchell thumbnail

52 residents in 52 weeks #26 John Mills.

His is the most impressive edifice in Sion Baptist Church's graveyard. A four sided obelisk with stone urn on the top, which helpfully details many of his family. Three faces are inscribed, the fourth (north) is blank - i wonder who that was saved for?

gravestone 39 Mills thumbnail

From the information on the stones we can construct a reasonable tree of the family:

John Mills tree 600

From this we can see a few things of interest:
William was 20 years older than his wife Sarah
James and Ellen lost 3 daughters before they were 3. Very sad.
Grace Ellen died and Sarah Elizabeth were born on March 2nd (although different years)
John had lost both a son (James) and a daughter (Mary) before he died.

The census dataset adds relatively little to this. He was indeed of Thornfield House, Waterfoot for at least 10 years before he died, and was in the Waterfoot areas for well over 20 years. During this time he worked as a blacksmith then clog iron manufacturer - a relatively limited field but many people wore clogs then.

Thornfield House isn't marked as such on the 1890 OS map but may have been the one on the left (north side) half way up Thornfield Road.

Waterfoot 1890 600

52 residents in 52 weeks #25 Henry Symington McKie

I admit it. Henry Symington McKie was chosen simply because of his name.

The abstract of title for Polefield Cottage indicates that Polefield was let in 1902 to one Henry Symington McKie. It is unclear how long he stayed there but by 1911 he was living elsewhere.

He was born ~ 1854 in Balmaclellan, Kirkcudbrightshire. Grandson of Mary McKie, son of James McKie and Emilia Hume

mar Ellen Alston 1875 Clitheroe. Ellen was b Slaidburn ~1856 to Robert and Grace Alston, farmer of 63 acres. William Alston, later Farm Bailif in Springhill was her elder brother. He was here first so presumably the McKies followed him.

1861 Ellen in Slaidburn, farmer's daughter. Henry in Kirkudbrightshire.
1871 Ellen in service with her cousin, in Lower Fold, Spotland.

Henry's whereabouts in1871 are unknown. He may have been in Kirkcudbrightshire as apprentice draper with Robert Brown (brewery engineer) or in Bath as apprentice draper with John Sinclair, (draper, b Scotland). If so it appears the draper's trade was not for him.

By 1881 the McKies were in Newchurch where Henry was coachman to Henry Hargreaves Bolton at Heightside. He was living in Heightside Coaching Lodge Newchurch with Ellen and son Henry S Mckie b ~ 1876 Yorkshire

1901 Innkeeper of the Boars Head, Newchurch, with Ellen and Lily.

1902 living at Polefield, occupation unknown. Springhill House was at that time owned by RC Turner under of Mrs Turner's Trust. Whilst he was of the social standing to have a coachman, it is unclear whether he actually spent enough time there to warrant one.

1911 6 Schofield St Baltic Waterfoot, Coachman, Domestic.
36 years married, two children alive. married ~ 1875
Wife Ellen b ~ 1856 b Yorkshire Slaidburn
daughter lily Ellen b ~ 1892 slipper machinist b Newchurch
His near neighbour at 2 Schofield St was also a 'coachman to a doctor', probably James Allan Coutts of Baltic House. Henry may have worked for him as well. The neighbour on the other side was the blacksmith so there were obviously horses about…

Henry McKie died q4 1933 in the Haslingden registration district.

Marriage Clitheroe 8e 417 1875 q1
death q4 1933 8e 130 Haslingden
1881 RG13/4130 p 99.
1891 RG12/3347 133 p 15
1901 RG13/3849 p 32.
1911 RG14/471/9/1

52 residents in 52 weeks #24 Roger Litchford

On 11 Feb 1705 Litchford donated a building to the Baptist congregation in Cloughfold for a meeting place ‘for the use of all Protestand Dissenters called Anabaptists, or Independents, within the Forest of Rossehdale…’ The church was not distinctly Baptist at this time, but was emerging in that direction.

Litchford stipulated in the deeds that the ‘same shall be made fit and commodious for a chapel or meeting place’. This building was used for worship until 1839 when a stone chapel was built. It is widely reported that the church was built on the site of Litchford’s property.

In the surrender entry Litchford is described as being ‘of Blakely in the County of Lancaster, Gentleman’. It appears that he was originally from Manchester, buying land in Blakley in 1676.

Robert Litchford was buried on 19 Jan 1710 in Blakley. In his will (28 Jan 1710) he left £150 upon trust to the Trustees of Sion. Apart from 40s/annum for the support of the poor, the income of this was to be used to support the ‘minister, pastor or teacher of the said congregation provided they never be at one time a month without preaching’. His will also detailed considerable tracts of land in various parts of the country which were left to his nephew.

In the same will, a Mr Thomas Jackson inherited his best cow. Hope the poor animal didn’t have to be driven too far to her new home.

He may have been married twice, with Ellen wife of Mr Robert Litchford bur Blakley 17 Jan 1701 and Mary wife of Mr Robert Litchford bur Blakley 11 Mar 1710.

In 1986 the chapel was demolished and the stone used to provide sheltered housing on the same site. This is administered by the Baptist Housing Association and the new building known as Litchford House.

Quite how Litchford became interested in dissenting congregations in general and Cloughfold in particular are not known.

(All secondary, I’m afraid)
Snell Alan P (2013).
The Theological Education of the Ministry ch 2 pp 5-56
British History Online for the Blakeley details
JS Hardman’s
Baptist History articles
indenture 1676
will Robert Litchford 1710