52 residents # 43 Ann and Eliza Tattersall

Transcribing the gravestones in Sion I came across a sad story:

gravestone 2 tattersall 3 200

TH 1873
TH 1873

As an obstetric anaesthetist this aroused my curiosity. A baby dies virtually at birth and her mother the day after. What could have gone on? Common causes of maternal mortality in C19 were puerperal sepsis and post partum haemorrhage but usually in those cases the baby survives. Eclampsia, involving high blood pressure, fits and kidney problems often caused the death of both mothers and babies so this was a possibility. Obstructed labour was a relatively uncommon cause of both maternal and infant mortality.

Speculation over, I ordered the birth certificates.
Eliza Ann Tattersall d 26th March 1873 aged 12 hours Atelectesis Pulmonium since birth.
Ann Tattersall d 27th March 1873 aged 26 years Morbus cordis, unknown, Partuition, Failure of heart's action. 36 hours.

So Eliza's death was relatively straightforward. She was born in poor condition, needed resuscitation at birth (which she probably didn't receive) and never established a regular pattern of breathing. 'Atelectesis plutonium' means 'collapsed, non-inflated lungs'.

So far so clear but why was Eliza born in poor condition? Unfortunately her mother's death certificate doesn't really help us here. 'Morbus Cordis' of unknown cause…well that could be secondary to severe infection. Alternatively primary heart failure secondary to pregnancy does occur, it is relatively uncommon but the prognosis in 1873 would have been very poor. So I will go with sepsis, but that is pretty much an educated guess.

Whatever happened that left a father who suddenly lost both his wife and child. Thomas Tattersall, licensed victualler, b ~ 1846 was the landlord of the Pack Horse Hotel, Boothfold. The couple and another daughter, Alice, b ~ 1870.

Which leads to another question. Sion was known for many years for its association with the teetotal movement and the Band of Hope - interesting therefore that a publican's family were buried there and that he is not with them…

52 residents #42 Richard Ratcliff

The history of nonconformity in C17 Springhill and area is a topic I want to tackle one day, in that parallel universe in which there is plenty of time. When I do, the name of Richard Ratcliff will feature. In the meantime, most of what follows is from secondary sources…

Richard Radcliffe was born in Rossendale in the early C17 and may have been baptised at Whalley St Mary and All Saints on 27 Sept 1614. If that was him, he was the son of John Radcliffe. However Newchurch St Nicholas was undertaking baptisms then so I wonder why Whalley… He is said to have married Alice Rawsthorne c1640 and had 10 children.

At some stage Richard took possession of Chapel Hill Farm. By 1663 he had released land for the Friends' burial ground and allowed meetings for worship in his farm. Quakerism is said to have been introduced to Rossendale in 1653 by William Dewsbury and Thomas Stubbs; if so they must have been pretty early converts as they were fined for attending Quaker meetings and tithe refusal in 1660/1 and again in 1665 and again in 1668…

3 friends burial ground 3 200

His daughter Isabella is said to have married Abraham Haworth, who in 1691 petitioned for a licence for protestant dissenting worship in his house. The request does not specify Quaker worship.

Richard Radcliffe died in 1675 and is buried in the Friends' Burial Ground, Chapel Hill.

baptism Whalley OPC Register Baptisms 1605-1632 p 11.
Ratcliff CE, (1963)'Richard Radcliff of Lancashire, England and Talbot Co, Maryland, his ancestors and descendants'. It appears to be 'our' Richard's son, also Richard, who emigrated. There are a number of basic errors in this source and it should be treated with caution.
'Nightingale, Early Stages of the Quaker movement in Lancashire' London Congregational Union 1921.
Burial Register, Friends Burial Ground

52 residents # 41 William Spence

Or residents number 41, 42 and 43; William Spence father, son and grandson. All farmed Springhill Farm, together for 80 years or so.

William Spence I was born in Slaidburn in 1862. By 1891 he was farming at Chapel Hill. His father, also William, (b ~ 1818) was also living in Cloughfold in 1881, occupation 'Chapel Keeper'.

William I moved from Chapel Hill Farm to Springhill Farm between 1901 and 1911. This was virtually next door and the fields were probably connecting. He died in 1914 and is buried in Sion Baptist graveyard, less than 10 yards from his old front door.

gravestone 7 Spence 1 thumbnail

After William I's death, the farm passed to his son, William II. William bought the farm in 1923 when the estate was broken up and sold. In 1924 he sold land at Marl Pits and later in the 1920s The Paddock or New Cross Meadow was sold to Rawtenstall Corporation. It remains waste land and has so far resisted various attempts to purchase for building, probably because of poor access and poor drainage.

William II married Annie in 1926, having three children, William III, Harry and Betty. The three children lived in the farm until the 1970s when Betty married (in 1975) and William III eloped with a local resident to live in a caravan near Myrtle Earth. William II died in 1979.
farm lands 1923 200 land valuation springhill farm plan thumbnail

The northern part of the Croft was sold in 1986 and the rest of the land plus the farm buildings in 1988 for development. Springhill Farm itself remained with the Spence family until the death of Harry in 2007.

52 residents #40 Jim Meadowcroft.

"Mr Jim Meadowcroft, of Patrick Crescent,Cloughfold, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 25 at Wythenshawe hospital surrounded by his family, aged 68.

Born in Bacup to the late Frances and Jim, he sadly leaves daughters Jan and Andrea, sons-in-law Alex and Stuart, and grandchildren Jamie-Lee, thomas and Jac. Jim had several jobs after leaving school, working at Nesta, then as a driving instructor before movie to his passion of becoming a professional snooker player.

He also worked as a commentator for the BBC, later becoming one of the directors of the WPBSA and also working for many years as a snooker coach at Butlin's Holiday Camps where he made many friends."

Rossendale Free Press Oct 9 2015, Obituary submitted by Jim's family.

He was 12 world highest ranked snooker player in the 1976-7
He was quarter finalist of the world championships in 1976 and UK championships in 1977
He commentated on the 1985 snooker world cup final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor
He had a number of health issues in later life, with five months in hospital in 2014.

Books include 'Higgins, Taylor and Me' in 1986 and 'Play to win snooker' in 1988.


52 residents #39 Albert Pope

'Albert Pope was born in 1890 in Bacup. In 1891 he was living at 5 Glass St, Bacup, and 1901 he was at 10 Brand St, Stackstads, Bacup, both times with his parents. He married Sarah Elizabeth Eason in 1910 and by 1911 was with Sarah at 1 Edge Lane, Springhill. Both were slipper makers: Albert a laster up and Sarah a hand sewer. So far so ordinary.

Albert and Sarah married in Whittlesy, Cambridgeshire. From the 1911 census, Sarah was born in 1887 in Elsworth, Cambs. The first problem is tracking her down, and it seems she was born 1891 in Whittlsey, Cambs…not desperately close to Elsworth…in the wrong decade… If she is the correct one then she is daughter of John Eason, brick yard labourer and his wife Alice. In 1890 she was in Claygate, Whittlsey.

So how did Albert, born Bacup, come to marry Sarah, who appeared to live all her life in Cambridgeshire?

Albert Pope was the son of Alfred Pope who indeed was living in Bacup in 1891. Alfred was a stone mason and he and his wife Mary Elizabeth nee Cross were both born in Ely. They married in Haslingden district (the local one for Springhill and indeed for Bacup) in 1884. Prior to this they and their parental families seem to have been in Ely since c 1859 and Thelford before then. Well at least it's the correct county…

I haven't (yet!) established a connection between Sarah Eason and either the Pope or Cross families, so don't know if Albert married a cousin. Neither do I know precisely what led to Alfred the stone mason to travel from Cambridgeshire to Rossendale. 1890s was a period of mill building and the quarries were being expanded to provide the stone, but it seems a long way to come.'