Leigh Journal 16 February 2012
Peter seeks to preserve family history
By BRIAN GOMM
AN interesting relic of the descendants of Sir Thomas Tyldesley (1612·1651), the famous Cavalier, has been rediscovered and preserved.
Much is known of the Cavalier's grandson, Thomas Tyldesley, since he left a diary for the years 1712 to 1714.
However, by 1765 most of the family estates had been sold, and the family had fallen from prominence. Those descendants remaining locally lived in straitened circumstances.
With the arrival of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion in Tyldesley, the family gave up its adherence to Roman Catholicism, the faith to which it had been true for so long.
Ralph Tyldesley, 1737 to 1820, became the first warden at Tyldesley Top Chapel when it opened in 1789, and from 1793 the family burial plot was in the chapel graveyard.
For many years the earliest surviving Tyldesley gravestone could be seen there, recording, among others, the death of James Tyldesley in 1800, at what for the time was the extraordinary age of 98.
In 1947 the Top Chapel graveyard was reduced in size by Tyldesley Urban District Council to allow the widening of Astley Street, and the Tyldesley gravestone was one of a group moved and laid flat in Tyldesley Cemetery.
Unfortunately, the ground was not adequately prepared, and over the years most of these relocated gravestones have suffered significant damage.
Indeed, by 2011 the Tyldesley gravestone had been shattered into 14 pieces, was partially buried and had a small tree growing through it.
Although the gravestone was irreparable, a descendant of the family, Peter J Tyldesley, has paid for the pieces to be preserved, and for an exact replica of the original to be cut by K Bates, Master Masons of Leigh.
The replica, recently installed at Tyldesley Cemetery, will preserve the information it carries for future generations.