Posts Tagged ‘Gawsworth’

The value of a will

May 18, 2015

Of course, I’m not talking about the cash value but the family history value. Having said that, in my family wills are almost as rare as hen’s teeth. But in my wife’s slightly more prosperous family, they have been a wonder in finding and tracing relatives. The will transcribed below is that of my wife’s five greats grandfather, Josiah Rathbone and was proved in 1802. That’s before the era of useful (to genealogists) censuses and it does a grand job in  helping to tie families together and let’s those interested find new lines and new stories to tell.

Sorry folks. It is quite a long read.

I Josiah Rathbone of Gawsworth in the County of Chester carpenter being of sound mind memory and understanding do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say I will and direct that all my just debts funeral expenses and the charges of proving this my will be paid and discharged with all convenient speed after my decease out of my personal estate

I give and devise all that my freehold estate of inheritance situate and being within Macclesfield in the said County of Chester at a place there called the Park Lane now in the occupation of Samuel Worthington with the gardens lands buildings plot of common ground and hereditaments thereunto belonging with their and every of their appurtenances except the cottage or small dwelling house now in the occupation of Samuel Ryder cooper during the life of my wife in manner hereinafter mentioned unto John Fisher of Gawsworth aforesaid husbandman and John Jackson of Gawsworth aforesaid farmer ——————————————————-their heirs and assigns upon the trusts following that is to say upon trust that they the said John Fisher and John Jackson or the survivor of them or the heirs or assigns of such survivor do and shall by and out of the rents ????? and profits of all or any part of the said receiver or to raise therefrom levy and take the sum of two hundred and seventy pounds and pay and apply the same unto my younger sons and daughters Abel Rathbone Olive the wife of John Thompston Edna the wife of the Reverend James Crabtree Lois Rathbone Etchells Rathbone Henrietta Rathbone and Rhode Rathbone to whom I give and bequeath the same at the times by the instalments and in the proportions manner and form hereinafter expressed

To my son Abel the sum of forty pounds To my daughter Olive the sum of forty pounds To my daughter Edna the sum of thirty pounds To my daughter Lois the sum of forty pounds To my son Etchells the like sum of forty pounds to my daughter Henrietta the like sum of forty pounds and the remaining sum of forty pounds unto my daughter Rhode and I do direct that they the said John Fisher and John Jackson or the survivors of them his heirs or assigns shall raise and pay the said sum of two hundred and seventy pounds out of the said rents and profits unto my said younger children by annual or yearly sums of twenty pounds and no more and without any interest for the same or any part thereof and pay to each of them twenty pounds at one payment as the same shall become due according to the instalments aforesaid and in the rotation or order I have before placed them or their monies and not as they shall be in seniority of age or priority of birth and that when each of them shall have received twenty pounds then I direct that each of them shall be paid the remainder of their respective legacies with the like order until the whole shall be paid but in and by the instalments aforesaid and after the payment of the said sum of two hundred and seventy pounds by the instalments aforesaid but subject thereto I give and devise the said hereditaments and premises unto my son Noah Rathbone and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life and from and after his decease I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid to the first and every other son and sons of the said Noah rathbone severally successively and in remainder one after another as they and every of them shall be in seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such sons the heirs made of his body always to be preferred and to take before the younger of them and the heirs male of his and their body and bodies issuings and for the default of such issue male then I give and devise the said last mentioned premises subject as aforesaid unto my son Etchells Rathbone and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life and from and after his decease I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid to the firsat and every other son and sons of the said Etchells Rathbone severally successively and in remainder one after another as they and every of them shall be in seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such son and sons and the heirs male of his body always to take always to take and be preferred before the younger of them and the heirs male of his and their body and bodies issuings and for default of such male issue then I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid unto my son Abel Rathbone and his heirs and assigns for ever provided that if either or any of my said younger sons or daughters shall happen to die before his her or their respective legacy or legacies shall become due without having lawful issue then I give and bequeath the legacy or legacies of him her or them so dying unto and amongst the survivors and survivor of them equally share and share alike to be paid them at the times aforesaid and by the instalments before aforesaid and if any of them my said younger children shall happen to die before the said legacy or legacies shall become due leaving lawful issue then I give and bequeath the share or shares of such of them so dying unto and amongst each of their issue equally if more than one share and share alike such issue to take their parents share only

I give and devise unto my wife Elizabeth Rathbone all that cottage or small dwelling house situate and being in Park Lane within Macclesfield aforesaid being part of my said freehold estate now in the occupation of the said Samuel Ryder to hold to her my said wife and her assigns during her natural life and from and immediately after the decease of my said wife then I will and direct that the said cottage and premises shall be again annexed to and be part of my said freehold estate in Park Lane aforesaid and I give and devise the same cottage and premises to such person and persons said for such estates and interests and with such remainders conditions and charges as are hereinbefore expressed concerning my said freehold estate and to or for no other use intent or purpose whatsoever I give and bequeath all and singular my household goods and furniture implements stock in trade monies securities for money and all other my personal estate and effects whatsoever or of what nature or kind so ever or in whose hands the same may be which be possessed of or entitled unto at the time of my decease unto my said wife Elizabeth Rathbone her executors administrators and assigns absolutely for ever subject nevertheless to the payment of all my just debts funeral expenses and the charges of proving this my will and I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said wife executrix and my said son Noah Rathbone and John Fisher of Gawsworth aforesaid husbandman executors of this my last will and testament and hereby revoking and making void all former and other wills by me at any time heretofore made  ???? publish and declare this to be my last will and testament only in writings whereof I the said Josiah Rathbone the testator have to this my will written on three sheets of paper set my hand and seal to whit my hand at the bottom of the two first sheets and my hand and seal to this last sheet and published and declared it to be my last will and testament the sixteenth day of March one thousand eight hundred and two.

Josiah Rathbone


The writing contained in this and the two preceding pages of paper was signed and sealed by the above named Josiah Rathbone and by him published and declared as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names ??????? in his presence of the said testator and of each other. The word ????? on the second sheet being first inter??????


John Warrington of Gawsworth Baker

William Warington of the same place Blacksmith

Philip Hall? Of Macclesfield attorney

The twelfth day of October 1802 Elizabeth Rathbone Noah Rathbone and John Fisher the executors within named were sworn in common form before me

L Healy Surrogate

Under one hundred pounds

Probate proved

Dated 12th October 1802

If we look for a story then why did most of the children get £40 but Edna, the wife of Rev James Crabtree got only £30. The Crabtrees were certainly not well off for the reverend gentleman was a put upon curate, not a Vicar living off the fat of the land and labours of others as many were in times past.

Gawsworth Post Office

August 22, 2014

Gawsworth is a pretty village in Cheshire, quite close to Macclesfield. It has BIG family history connections for my wife. And that includes the old village Post office.


This photo dates from around 1912 and shows the Post Office.  At this time Cyrus Fytton lived at the Post Office.

But soon, Cyrus passed house and job onto his son (also Cyrus) and wife.  His wife was Lois Annie Fisher and she was sister of my wife’s great grandfather.

We have a lovely wedding photo from 1903.


The man in the back row on the left is Cyrus Fytton senior – the postmaster at the time. The man on the right in that row is James Fisher who was my wife’s G G Grandfather

The middle row has Polly Fisher (Bride’s sister), Bridegroom Cyrus and bride always known as Annie and then the bride’s mother, Maria Fisher (née Mottershead). The final man is the groom’s brother.

The two children in the front row are another James Fisher (my wife’s grandfather) and his sister also Annie.

Fantastic photo indeed!

I’ve often commented that we are lucky to come from families of hoarders. When my parents in Law married in 1945, Annie and Cyrus sent them a wedding gift and the letter that came with it has been kept.


We can see that father in law noted the size of the cash gift and replied a few days later.

In the fullness of time, Cyrus and Annie ended their lives and joined the Fytton grave in Gawsworth church yard.


AGED 1 year 5 month

But the Post Office was still in family hands for daughter Lois Audrey carried on the work until she died in 2000.


So sadly, when we visited in 2002 the old Post Office was a rather dejected looking building – unoccupied and unused.



We could peer in through a window. It looks like a carpenter was working – perhaps doing some renovations.

Gawsworth still has a Post Office elsewhere in the village.

Places where family have lived.

August 5, 2014

I was fascinated by a comment from Current Descendant on a recent post about Great Granny’s house. Seemingly the terraced house, with just a narrow pavement (or sidewalk) between the house and the road, looks quite alien to the lady with Kalamazoo, Michigan connections. I guess land, and maybe cash, were more plentiful in the States.

But if one such street surprises, I thought we could see more of the ancestors homes from times past – whilst saying I have never lived in a house without a bit of front garden.


My wife’s grandmother was born in the cottage with the ‘for sale’ sign up. That was back in 1888. This is Bassett Street in Redruth and looks up to the chimney at Pednandrea which was, originally, much taller. This family got wealthier and were able to move to a bigger and classier house on Clinton Road.

Grandfather (who married the grandmother of Bassett Street) lived in a slightly classier house with a little bit of front garden in Claremont Road in Redruth.


Both these houses gave a view to a hill called Carn Brea. That was the name the couple chose for their own house which was in Cheshire.

By contrast, another part of the Cheshire family had this very nice farm house called Cowbrook Farm in Gawsworth.


This was in the family for several generations but great great granny Maria Mottershead lived there in 1861 with parents and siblings.

Now this was the home of my great great grandfather in Tonbridge in Kent


In 1881 John Ware lived there with his wife and seven children. It must have been cramped. This one is on Rose Street in Tonbridge, Kent.

Well, it’s a bit of a mixture, which probably makes us much like anybody else.

Grandad’s tankard

July 18, 2014

Grandad’s tankard

All four of our grandfathers were in the forces in World War One. All four survived  – if they hadn’t we wouldn’t be here.

Grandad Fisher – James Fisher – came from the delightful Cheshire village of Gawsworth. Gawsworth honoured its soldiers with a pewter tankard and we now hold James’ tankard.


It’s quite a handsome item but of course it is the inscription that makes it special.


We can see that James rose to officer rank – second lieutenant. He didn’t start that way. We can also note that he was awarded a Military Cross which is one of the highest awards for bravery.

There are tales to be told about James – maybe on a future blog.

Meanwhile, let’s thank Gawsworth for handing out such a good memento of war service.


Two fantastic graves

April 2, 2013

In my family history there are, of course, plenty of graves but very few grave stones. My agricultural labourer ancestors were far too poor for fripperies like gravestones. They had to put food on the table to feed the living and that had to take priority.

In my wife’s family, however, there are lots of headstones and other kinds of gravestones. They weren’t rich but they were, many of them, a step up from mere labourers. They certainly afforded their memorial stones.

Now here’s a silly recommendation for you can do nothing about it. But I commend having ancestors who lived in the village of Gawsworth in Cheshire. My wife has such ancestors.  Huge grave slabs were the order of the day in Gawsworth. They were laid flat over the grave. Over the generations more and more names were added. This is such a family grave.


There’s a whole family history on that stone which reads:

Sacred to the memory of Henry Fisher who died Sept 10th 1854 Aged 82 years

Also Martha Fisher sister to the above who departed this life June 3rd 1870 aged 79 years

Also Lois wife of James Fisher of Gawsworth who departed this life July 13th 1875 aged 70 years

Also the above James Fisher who died July 30th 1891 aged 77 years

Thomas Edward Fish Died September 25 1931 Aged 66 years

Mary Ellen Fish died October 29th 1961 Aged 95 years

Peace Perfect Peace

Let’s start at the bottom. Regular readers may recall the story of Tom Fish and Mary (Polly) Fisher (click here). We knew they were relatives and the others had the right surname of Fisher but predated our knowledge when we visited, back in the February 2003. But realistically, we knew that all the people in a grave were related. These others had to be my wife’s ancestors.

Subsequent research proved it, so we’ll now start at the top. Henry Fisher was my wife’s gt gt gt gt grandfather. Martha then becomes obviously an aunt of that generation.

James fisher, which was to be a recurring name, was Henry’s son and my wife’s gt gt gt grandfather. Lois, his wife, had been born Lois Rathbone and that explained why Rathbone came up as a middle name in my wife’s great grandfather.

What enormous luck to find such a grave early in that genealogical journey.

One could say it was ‘job done’ but with that Rathbone name found, we went round the churchyard again to find Rathbone graves. We had no idea if these people were actually related. But my wife loved this one.


It reads David Rathbone of Gawsworth carpenter ingenious in his business & of good reputation was here layd to rest Aug y 15 1761 aged 73

Sarah Rathbone relict of the above named David Rathbone was here interred Nov 15th  1772 aged 77 years

Further research revealed that David and Sarah were the great great great great great great grandparents of my wife.

Gosh. How truly lucky to find graves in such impeccable order dating back so long.

A Romantic Family Tale

February 14, 2013

Mary Ellen Fisher, always known as Polly, was a great great aunt to my wife. She was born in 1865 in Ardwick, Lancashire – a part of Manchester. She lived a long life, for she died in 1961 at Gawsworth near Macclesfield which had been the family home for generations. She was over fifty when she married. This is explained in the report from a Cheshire paper from 1919. I’m afraid I don’t have a brilliant copy.




OK, it’s transcription time!


On Wednesday last was solemnised in the parish church the marriage of Thomas Edward Fish and Mary Ellen Fisher. It came as a complete surprise, no-one having the least cognisance of the event until the ceremony was over.

There attaches some romance to the union. That it should come about when the fates decreed was an understood thing between bride and bridegroom some thirty years ago. At that time the bridegroom was constrained to go to America where he has lived since. Coming home to England short weeks ago he sought the bride with the result that they are now wedded.

Miss Fisher, as Gawsworth well knows, has been given to good works especially amongst the children in Sunday School and catechism. She was also one of those who volunteered to take the place of the singing men (chanters) for the duration of the war when they were called upon to serve their king and country.

The wedding was of the simplest nature just a few of the bride’s nearest relations only being present. A gathering of the clan, with a friend or two, was held afterwards at Lane Ends Farm which the bride’s father has recently acquired from the Harrington Estate.

The health of bridegroom and bride, seconded by Colonel Pendlebury was proposed and the toast was replied to by both Mr and Mrs Fish.

Here we see the couple, with dog, as they moved into a contented old age.

Polly Fish 3bw

Actually, Tom died in 1931 after just 12 years of marriage.

In 1950, Polly wrote to congratulate my in laws on the birth of Susan Margaret – my wife. Here’s an extract from her letter.


How sweet of her. Polly had no children of her own but at least we can remember her.