Friday 13 July 2012

The Newchurch registers

Newchurch—before the fire of 1903

As has been noted, the Tyldesley pedigree produced by Gillow and Hewitson in 1873 incorrectly names the second wife of Thomas Tyldesley 1657-1714 as Mary Rigby, rather than Agatha Winckley. It also fails to identify all of the children of the two marriages—and appears to place certain children with the wrong mother.

These may seem odd errors given that Gillow and Hewitson were editing the diary of Thomas Tyldesley. In fairness, however, it must be borne in mind that many of the records now available had not been published in 1873, and that the diary contains only limited information relating to members of Thomas Tyldesley's family.

Gillow and Hewitson concluded that Thomas Tyldesley had ten children:

Eleanor Holcroft
1.   Edward Tyldesley
2.   Francis
3.   Elizabeth
4.   Eleanor
5.   Mary

Mary Rigby
6.   Charles
7.   Fleetwood
8.   James
9.   Agatha
10. Winifrid

In looking for the children of Eleanor Holcroft the relevant time frame is from 1679 when she married Thomas Tyldesley to 1693 when she died. It was by this marriage that the Tyldesleys gained Holcroft Hall (FN1) where Thomas and Eleanor lived until her death. In 1903, the nearby parish church of Newchurch in Culcheth, was destroyed by fire (FN2). Fortunately the registers survived.  Published in 1905 (FN3) they include the following entries:
Edward s. of Mr Thomas Tilselie of Houlcraft Esquire—27 November 1679
ffleetwood s. of Mr Thomas Tilsely of Houlcraft Esquire—2 feberuarie 1682
Marie d. of Mr Thomas Tilsely of houlcraft Esquire—25 March 1684

Ann: d. of Mr Thomas Tilsely of houlcraft Esquire—18 Jully 1685

Eleanor Tilsley borne the 15 of November 1686

Ann Tilsley born the 14 of November 1687

Thomas Tilsley born the 10 of January 1688

James Tilsley born the 4 of May 1690
It follows that Gillow and Hewitson omitted three children altogether—Thomas and the two daughters named Ann. In addition, they appear to have allocated Fleetwood and James to the wrong mother.  The other possibility, of course, is that Fleetwood and James died in infancy, and later sons were given the same names.  It can be seen, for example, that the name Ann was given to two daughters. From the Garstang registers 1660-1734 we can see the reason for this, the first Ann sadly died and was buried on 21 June 1686.

At least one daughter, Frances, does not appear in the Newchurch register.  Frances was later to join the Benedictines at Ghent where she was clothed aged 29 on 4 November 1721 and professed aged 34 on 21 November 1725.  If we regard these details as accurate the implication is that she was born between 5 and 21 November 1691 inclusive.  She was therefore a daughter of Eleanor Holcroft.

There appears to be a reference to a further daughter in the diary of Thomas Tyldesley 1657-1715 on 21 July 1713:
...then doughr Betty and I went towards Preston...
John Lunn took this to mean that there was a daughter Elizabeth (FN4).

1. By this marriage the Tyldesleys also gained a connection to the notorious Colonel Blood who attempted to steal the Crown jewels. Colonel Blood was married to Eleanor's aunt, Mary Holcroft.
2. After the fire on 19 April 1903, the church was swiftly rebuilt and opened again in 1905. More information is available from its website.  
3. Lancashire Parish Register Society, Volume 22, 1905.
4. History of the Tyldesleys of Lancashire, John Lunn, 1966 (page 100).