Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy and sad family events in Littleborough

Holy Trinity in the snow
© Copyright SMJ 
licensed for reuse under this CC Licence

Many years ago my husband and I were temporarily part of the congregation at Holy Trinity in Littleborough, Lancashire, and our first child was baptised there. So when I came across the parish records for Holy Trinity online recently, I was delighted to discover that my grandfather, Thomas Henry Ward, was also baptised there, on 9 January 1883. His sister Mary Ann was baptised at Holy Trinity on 20 August 1877, Fanny was baptised 24 January 1880, and Henrietta 26 September 1886.

Thomas' baptism is recorded as a private baptism, and John Ward, Mary Ann Ward and Thomas Howarth were his godparents.

Another happy event happened at Holy Trinity in February 1886 when John Ward's widowed brother Richard married one of John and Mary Ann's neighbours, Elizabeth Clarkson. (Elizabeth was also Fanny's godmother.) They moved to Pendleton, but eventually moved back to Littleborough when Richard retired from his job as a railway worker.

On a much sadder note, the local parish registers also record the burials of two of John and Mary Ann's children, Richard and little Mary Ann, within four days of each other in April 1879. They were buried at St James churchyard, Calderbrook, just above Littleborough.  Richard was 7 years old, and Mary Ann was about 20 months. The register doesn't record the cause of death, but some sort of infectious disease seems most likely.

It must have been a terrible time for their parents, and especially for their mother Mary Ann, who would have been pregnant with Fanny at the time. As I mentioned in a previous post, Mary Ann’s two brothers, William and Richard Cragg, both died in the same week when she was 3 years old, so the deaths of Richard and Mary Ann must have brought back sad memories for her, and also for her mother, Esther Cragg, who was still alive in Walton le Dale at this time.

The Ward family continued living in Littleborough until sometime after Henrietta's birth in 1886, and then for reasons that are unclear they moved to Rastrick in Yorkshire.

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