Not another William Spence...

One of three siblings to live at Springhill Farm in the mid 20th century was William Spence (b 1927), son of William Spence (b 1886) , son of William Spence (b 1860 Torside, Yorkshire). So when I found another William Spence (b 1812, Bolton By Bowland, Yorkshire), born in a similar part of the county, my first thought was that he must be part of the same family, possibly grandparent or great-uncle.

Except he wasn't, or at least not for at least two previous generations.
  • William (b 1860) was the son of Richard (b 1827) , son of Barnard, son of Richard.
  • William (b 1812) was the son of Christopher, son of William.

So that gets us back to the mid 18th century North Yorkshire. There is no apparent connection between the two families, they were certainly not siblings.

William (b 1812) moved to Rossendale sometime between 1841 and 1848. William (b 1860) moved to Rossendale sometime between 1885 and 1891. Was it coincidence that two families.

So let's make this more complex.

  • William (b 1860) moved to Springhill Farm in 1901 from the adjacent farm, Chapel Hill.
  • William (b 1812) lived in Springhill Farm in 1881 when his occupation was described as chapel keeper. That's perfectly possible as the chapel is just across the lane, but farmers have been enumerated there before and after.

  • William (b 1860) had son William and grandson William as described above.
  • William (b 1812) had son Richard who had son William (b 1878). By 1891 they were living in Brierfield Road, Burnley, about 8 miles north of Springhill where he was working as a cotton weaver. In 1901 Richard had died and William (b 1878) was still living with his mother and unmarried siblings in Burnley where he duly married and remained.

This has left me still wondering if it is just coincidence that two families with similar names (and a preponderance of Williams) moved from roughly the same area and lived in the same house.

A quick and dirty tree for William (b1927) and family is

#OnePlaceServants: Keeping up with the Ashworths

A couple of weeks ago I looked at Mary Ann Ashworth's apparent need to increase the number of servants after her marriage, when suddenly a mere Ladies' Maid wasn't sufficient. This prompted me to look at the range of servants in some of the other local 'Big Houses'. I chose 1881 as the year to compare, as that is when Patrick's complement of servants was at its greatest.

Mayfield wasn't built then so obviously no record from there. Lea Bank was built but the enumeration starts with 'Annie Jacks, servant, unmarried, age 19, Cook, b Shropshire.' OK so were the family away on census night?

Thistle Mount
Lea Bank
Charles Patrick
Henry Hargreaves Bolton
Helen Ashworth
Robert JH Mitchell
Robert Worswick
John Clegg
Sub-Inspector of Factories (Rtd)
Colliery proprietor
None given
Cotton spinner







Kitchen Maid






















Sewing maid



Parlour Maid





Ladies maid




General servant





In 1871 Lea Bank was occupied by Richard Ashworth, Manufacturer, Magistrate and Landowner together with his wife and three children. Oh and a waitress, two housemaids and a cook. None of the servants were there in 1881 but that isn't surprising in what was probably a relatively transient employment pattern. Similarly in 1971 Staghills house was occupied by Edward and Helen Ashworth together with their complement of servants: coachman, butler, cook, nurse, laundress, housemaid, chambermaid, kitchen maid and gardener. Not bad. Fanny Powale, the laundry maid, was still there in 1881. Edward is described in the 1891 census as 'South American Merchant'. Ooh, wonder what he traded? Time hadn't been as kind to the Ashworths of Lea Bank however; Richard had died and Jane was living of her own means with only a waitress, cook, gardener and butler to keep her going - John Barcroft, the gardener, was present in 1881 also.

It was a good living in Holy Orders in East Lancs in 1881. John Clegg of Thistlemount, 'Clergyman without care of souls' had 8 servants as described above whilst the rector, JB Phillips, had to manage with a housemaid, a cook and a coachman.

One of the surprising things was the number of nurses employed. Charles and Mary Ann Patrick of Springhill House employed a nurse. Charles is known to have been active at this time, but Mary Ann died in 1883 so may well have been ill at this time. Helen Ashworth at Staghills was on her own with three adult children - was one of them ill?

Robert Mitchell at Springfield had three nurses however. Martha Lyons, widow age 59 is recorded as a 'Professional Nurse', presumably to indicate that she was trained. This was doubtless to distinguish her from Eleanor Brown, unmarried age 28 who is enumerated simply as 'nurse' and Eliza Cornfield, unmarried age 14 who is enumerated as 'un nurse'. Why did they need three nurses? Robert Mitchell and his wife were in their 30s and lived for some years yet. They had three children, two daughters aged 4 and 3 and future Springhill resident Robert J H Mitchell aged <1. Surely there wasn't one nurse per child?

What would be interesting to ascertain is the extent to which social standing was reflected in the number of servants. Was there a culture of 'keeping up with the Ashworths?

#OnePlaceServants: 'Darling, we need an extension...'

The obituary of Charles Patrick in 1895 refers to his 'handsome and commodious residence' which was 'extended at the time of his marriage' in 1855. Indeed it was, the extension if anything being larger than the original house.

Lawn house
(The modern Springhill House is on the right, this is the side of the extension.)

The original Springhill House was a four bedroomed, three reception room dwelling of considerable proportions (boy I sound like an estate agent!). Prior to 1855 it was inhabited by Mary Ann Ashworth, the heiress of its builder John Ashworth, and another Mary Ashworth, female servant b 1811. Mary Ann Ashworth was living off the income from her property and the profits from various coal mines.

Mary Ann Ashworth married Charles Patrick in 1855. She was aged 46 at the time and there was no issue from the marriage. The extension therefore wasn't necessitated by an increasing family.

By the 1861 census the Patricks employed three house servants (duties unspecified), a gardener and a groom. Mary Ashworth was not one of the servants enumerated there.

(There is a further project here: Two of the servants were a married couple, groom and house servant. The wife came from Littleborough in Cheshire (though actually near Rochdale) as did another female house servant. I have yet to explore the relationship, if any, between these two women.)

The trend continued, in 1871 they employed four house servants and a groom as live-in servants and by 1881 this had extended to a cook, two housemaids, a kitchen maid and a nurse. The butler lived next door, the coachman and gardener next to him, as boarders with the laundress.

(Two more questions here. The first is the presence of the nurse. Mary Ann Patrick nee Ashworth died in 1883. I don't have her death certificate and her obituary doesn't mention a cause of death, but does the employment of a nurse imply she had been ill for some time? The second is that one other house in the area had a cook, did they share the gardener and the coachman?)

Mary Ann Patrick died in 1883, by 1891 Charles was managing with a cook, two housemaids, a kitchen maid and a lady's maid. His 44 yr old widowed niece was living with him together with her son, hence the lady's maid. Again the gardener and coachman lived nearby.

Charles Patrick died in 1895 and the house was divided, almost certainly separating the original house and the extension. By 1901 the residents of one half employed a cook, those of the other a general servant.

Of course all these 'servants' are people with their own histories and emotions with stories to be researched in their own right. But that is for another day.

#OnePlaceMaps: wikipedia famour residents

My last contribution to #OnePlaceMaps is this offering from a map supposedly showing the most famous person associated with a place based on Wikipedia searches.

I see Cloughfold has a trade unionist and early Labour MP, didn't know that. *Adds to list of people to research*, even though he wasn't from Springhill itself.

wikipedia famous people 2021 600

#OnePlaceMaps - uses

Consideration of maps for One-Place studies often starts with the tithe maps and the enclosure maps. That's great, if they exist, which for Springhill they don't. Looking elsewhere however there is plenty of material to be found.

Starting at the beginning, geological maps give an idea of what is under the ground and this drives what is on the ground, the use to which this is put and the subsequent development of the place. This 1820s geological map illustrates the local coal seams, exploitation of which formed a significant part in the history of the area.


The relation between geology and land use is illustrated by this land utilisation detail from 1944:

Land utilisation survey 1937 600

Maps were made for a purpose and the content reflects what the original cartographer thought was worth recording and depicting. C16 and C17 maps tend to show little detail of the area, not entirely surprising as it was relatively under developed at the time. This extract from the Yates 1786 map illustrates Cloughfold including Polefield Cottage (dated 1642) towards the left of the map and is the earliest I have found which shows Cloughfold itself (of which Springhill is part).

Yates 1786 detail

One can then trace the development of the area be comparing the OS maps over time (many of these are available on the National Library of Scotland site). A high scale OS map can also form the source of a database of features of the area, both buildings and others depending on interest.

Maps illustrating administrative boundaries give an indication of the influences on the communities. Few are contemporary for this area, but all are illustrative. For Springhill this includes the ancient hundreds:


the extent of the manor (known as the Honor of Clitheroe), including the area under Forest Law:

civil boundary 1911honour of clitheroe cropped

or parliamentary constituencies, this one being 1886:

parliament boundaries 1886 virtue detail

As well as indicating the political and other influences on an area, these give some idea of where records may be found, or how they may be catalogued.

Patterns of development can be illustrated by the utilities set up to serve them. These may be formally provided, e.g. the telegraph network:

telegraph lines 2

or informal, such as Charles Patrick's pipe network bringing the water from Saunder Height to his properties in Springhill:

water saunder height

Other plans were drawn up to support government initiatives, whether the 1910 valuation survey (finding out what existed with the intention of taxing it) or the 1941 national farm survey (finding out what existed with the purpose of seeing if it could be made more efficient) which often included plans of the farms in question. Local government consultations often come with plans of the area, this example being the Cloughfold Conservation Area 1975.

conservation area 1975

Of course maps and plans have long been used to illustrate title, whether old deeds such as this one from 1899 or recent Land Registry documents.

1899 deed

Beware however that the Land Registry plans aren't necessarily correct. Taking this extract for example, the Cottage isn't where it appears to be, Sunset View isn't that big and 3 Springhill doesn't exist…

s house land detail 600

Less formal plans may be used to illustrate research progress, examples being these illustrating some of the churches in Rossendale

churches rossendale 600

field names reconstructed from documents:

fields  named 600

or the outline of Sion Baptist Church graveyard:

sion graveyard layout draft 4 600

They can, of course, serve multiple functions. This map by the late John B Taylor, local artist and historian, show the route of a traditional community walk, summarises points of interest and is a thing of beauty in its own right. I deeply regret not commissioning him to draw a map of the Springhill area before he passed away.

Map JBT 600