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

52 residents in 52 weeks #23 Roger de Lacy

OK ‘resident’ is pushing it a bit as its pretty unlikely they ever actually lived here…or even visited here… or had even heard of the place. Neither Springhill nor Deadwenclough (the old name for the local area) ‘existed’ when they flourished and Rossendale was subject to forest law.

So who were the de Lacy and what did they have to do with Springhill?

Ilbert de Lacy was accompanying William the Conqueror, was heavily involved in the ‘Harrying of the North’ between 1169-70 and was rewarded with lands in the Pontefract area of West Yorkshire and became the first Baron Pontefract. At this time Blackburnshire (including Rossendale) was awarded to Roger de Poitou.

When de Poitou fell fro grace his lands were awarded to the de Lacy family. Published dates (in secondary sources) for this vary between 1102 and 1121, in the Baronecy of Ilbert’s son Robert (d ~ 1130), the second Baron. Clitheroe Castle was substantially built during this period.

The third Baron, Ilbert (d ~ 1141) was captured with King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln. After his death his brother Henry (d 1177)became 4th Baron, followed by Henry’s son Robert (d 1193), the 5th Baron.

Following the death of Robert de Lacy, (5th Baron) who died childless, the Baronecy passed through:
Albreda de Lacy (m Robert de Lissours) the daughter of Robert de Lacy (2nd Baron)
her daughter, Albreda de Lissours (m Richard FitzEustace)
John FitzRichard (d 1190). John founded Stanlow Abbey in 1178.

to Roger FitzJohn (1170-1211) on the condition he changed his name to de Lacy. Roger enlarged the estate, acquiring Rochdale amongst other places.

Roger de Lacy was said to be a colourful character. There is speculation that in his earlier days he was the
Sheriff of Nottingham of ‘Robin Hood’ fame. Later he is said to have defeated the Welsh rebellion in 1210 with a collect of singers, musicians and beggars - perhaps he heard of Abijiah King of Judah in the Old Testament? However despite the relatively non-violent defeat of the rebellion his subsequent treatment of the rebels was ferocious.

Next in line were:
John (c 1192-1240), who is named on Magna Carta. He also acquired the fee of Tottington.
Edmund, (c 1230-1258)
Henry (c1251-1211). Henry apparently oversaw the movement of the monastery from Stanlow to Whalley in 1296. This probably included the transfer of the bones of Roger and John de Lacy to Whalley.
Alice de Lacy who married Thomas Earl of Lancaster. Most of her estate, including he lands in Lancashire, transferred to him as part of her marriage settlement in 1311.

Although they may rarely if ever visited the area their influence was profound:
  • Rossendale was at this time a private hunting chase for the de Lacy family and as such subject to forest law and relatively unsettled.
  • The Abbey at Whalley became the parish church for Rossendale, including the Springhill area. This necessitated a journey of 12 miles across open moor for baptisms, weddings and funerals.
  • The marriage of Alice de Lacy and Thomas of Lancaster led to the land being transferred into the Duchy of Lancaster

52 residents in 52 weeks #22 Johannis Kippax

Sion Baptist church was founded in 1672 when a licence to preach in the barn of John Piccoppe was granted to the dissenting congregation in Rossendale. That much is known.

One of the elders of Sion in the 1950s, James Hardman, wrote a series of articles about the history of the chapel in which he postulated that the church was actually founded 10 years earlier at the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He argues that the rector of Newchurch, John Kippax, resigned or was ejected in 1662 and began to meet with similar dissenters in Piccoppe’s band or the adjacent house. This is couched in terms like ‘well imagine’ and ‘well picture’.

Calamy, in his ‘Nonconformist’s memorial’ (1802) includes Kippax from Newchurch in his list of ministers ejected from the Church in 1662. Kippax is also listed in Baines ‘Directory’ as having been ejected in 1662. So there is strong local support for the rumour, if not exactly contemporary.

So what is the truth?

Newchurch St Nicholas appointed a new rector in Dec 1662. This need not imply the ejection of the previous incumbent under the act of Uniformity

The Lancashire OPC transcripts for St Nicholas record Johannis Kippax, Curate, as conducting marriages and baptisms in 1661. He conducted a baptism there on 10 May 1663 and so was officiating on both sides of the Act of Uniformity.

According to ’
The Clergy Database’ he was ordained 21/12/1662 by the Archbishop of York, which is interesting if he was officiating in Newchurch before then. He was licences to preach in Haslingden St James on 3/8/1662 and in Church (probably St James at Church, Accrington) on 14/7/1668. In 1674 he is listed under ‘Churchekirk et Haslingden’

He is thought to have been incumbent at Haslingden when he died in 1679.

It is unlikely therefore that he had issues with conformity. He may have undergone a temporary suspension in 1662 due to lack of episcopical ordination. No idea how that happened.

So however romantic the story and however much the historians of Sion wanted their church to date from the Act of Uniformity, the Kippax story appears to be untrue.

Ordination 21/12/1662 by Archbishop of York (CRO EDV 2/9 1677)

Licenced 3/8/1665 Preacher Haslingdon. by George/Chester CRO, EDV 2/8 1674 Licensed to preach in :Capella de Hasleingden et alibi’. Subscribed the same day.

Licensed Curage 14/7/1668 by George/Chester as Curate and Preacher of Church alias Church Kirk Subscribed the same day CRO EDV 2/8 1674

26/7/1674 listed under ‘Churchkirke et Haslingden’
(Churchkirk usually refers to St James, Church, Accrington, though St Nicholas has been known locally as ‘Kirk Church’)

1677 visitation listed at Haslingden, also at Church

Calamy, Edmund The nonconformist’s memorial: being an account of the lives, sufferings, and printed works of the two thousand ministers ejected from the Church of England, chiefly by the act of uniformity Aug 24 1666 vol 2. 1802

Listed in ‘History, directory and gazetteer of the county palatine of Lancaster’ by Edward Baines and William Parson as having resigned/ been evicted under the Act of Uniformity from Newchurch in 1662