52 residents #13 Nearly forgotten

People - oh there are so many.

It always seems poignant to visit a graveyard and view the memorials. 'Always in our thoughts'. 'Never forgotten'. The phrases seem poignant on overgrown gravestones. Of course for the majority of people, they (we) are forgotten within two generations. Many children have very scant memories of their grandparents.

Many a war memorial has the inscription 'Their name liveth for evermore'. Indeed they do, but for many of the names they were, until the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 at least, merely that, names. One of the good things about the WW1 commemorations was the number of community projects researching the people behind the names on the memorials.

Another example is datestones. Many builders left their mark, or that of their patrons, in datestones in their buildings. A local historian (John B Taylor, 'Stories in Stone') did a sterling job in identifying, researching and documenting local stone inscriptions but for many places the initials in the wall point to a builder long departed and whose identity may not be identifiable.

In the future digital records may help preserve the memory of departed individuals. Or they may languish in an inaccessible cyberspace. Who knows.

sion graveyard layout 640

52 residents #12 Popular

The previously mentioned Charles Patrick and his wife, Mary Ann Ashworth, appear to have been popular local residents. They were undoubtedly influential, between them owning a fair amount of the local land and being landlords to a considerable proportion of the local population. I'm sure there were issues between landlords and tenancy, but their support of the tenants ranged from a free dinner at the Red Lion to celebrate their marriage to waiving the rent during the Cotton Famine when many of their tenants would have limited income.

They were philanthropic on the wider scale too, endowing the school, church and parsonage at Edgeside, which is now St Annes. There is a commemorative window in the north wall of the church.

Newspapers indicate that Patrick was active in the wider social scene in a bit of a devil-may-care manner. He was not above hunting on land against the landowner's wishes then claiming that it didn't matter as he had paid for any repairs. He may also have exaggerated the extent of his army service. His obituary however paints a picture of a warm and engaging man, albeit one who wouldn't suffer fools well.

52 residents #11 Luck

One lucky resident, who will probably feature in a number of these posts, is Charles Patrick. Lucky or shrewd, you decide!

Patrick was born in Edmonton, Middlesex to a pretty well off middle class family. He rapidly disappears from the UK records and pops up in Canada, occupation as yet unknown (though I haven't looked hard!). He was found though as a volunteer in the Canadian mounted reserves which he later milked as constituting 'considerable active service abroad'. Mmm.

By 1855 he has popped up in Rochdale, Lancashire, as sub-inspector of factories. At this point he marries Mary Ann Ashworth, the spinster daughter of a local colliery owner and his main heiress. He moves into the house she inherited from her father and set about extending it. He also extended the staff, to a single female domestic servant were rapidly added a gardener, a groom and two further domestic servants. Have to keep up appearances, you know…

All the evidence is that they had a happy marriage. There was no issue, which is scarcely surprising since Mary Ann was in her mid 50s at the time of her marriage.

52 residents #10 'Strong woman'

Well this 52 residents series may become a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic…

My day job is anaesthesia and work is gradually getting more intense. Preparations for the virus outbreak are in earnest and the expectation is that workload will significantly increase by the end of the month.

I'm not sure about Springhill, but it is my privilege to work with a number of strong women. I will try to be one. Who knows, it may feature in a blog in the future…

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