Bridging the Gap pt 4: Richard of Meadow Head

Of the two Bridge families enumerated at Meadowhead in 1841, Richard also had nonconformist tendencies although he appears to have been something of a spiritual gypsy.

He was born in October 1802 (to John and Ellin Bridge of Chapel) and baptised over a year later in November 1803 at St Mary and All Saints C of E at Goodshaw. Goodshaw is about 2 miles over the moor (or 3 along the hillside) from Chapel Hill. The Goodshaw parish registers don't state whether he was 'of this chapelry' or not. A delayed baptism may have indicated a degree of ambivalence towards baptism on the part of his parents, certainly there is no hint in the register of the family having 'saved up' children for a joint baptism in Nov 1803 although I haven't yet searched the entire register - another job to do.

He married Susan Lord in the parish church at Haslingden (St James). They are described of being 'of this chapelry' although Richard was 'of Meadowhead' and Susan of 'Heightside, Higher Booths'. Heightside is along the hillside between Chapel Hill and Goodshaw and it is surprising that they were in the Haslingden Chapelry when both Goodshaw and Newchurch St Nicholas are nearer.

At some stage they must have embraced nonconformity as five of their seven children were registered at Sion Baptist Church, Cloughfold, on the register surrendered by the pastor there at the commencement of civil registration in 1837. One of these children died age 9 and was buried in the Friends' burial ground in Chapel Hill. Richard himself was buried there in 1844 although there is no evidence of their ever having been Friends and he is noted to have been a non-member. It is unclear why he chose to be buried there rather than in the graveyard at Sion. Perhaps it being literally feet from his home may have been a factor.

This doesn't get me much further in Bridging the Gap to C17 but does suggest that there may have been a relationship between George at Chapel Hill and Richard at Meadowhead, as they both decided to dedicate their children in the Baptist chapel. Alternatively they may have just both been neighbours who influenced each other. Either way, Richard and an interesting spiritual journey.

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