Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth - Part 2

St Mary Ghyll Church, Barnoldswick
It is hard to imagine what life for Elizabeth would have been like.  Her mother Martha Halstead (1805-1845) passed away when she was only four years old.   The large family of nine children all had to pull their weight to support the family.  In the 1851 census five children including Elizabeth worked in the weaving industry, while her elder brothers worked as quarry men.

At the age of 17 Elizabeth married William Taylor (1833-1928) at St Mary le Ghyll Church, Barnoldswick on 17 July 1858. William was the son of Richard Taylor (1802-1868) (Road Surveyor) and Peggy Halstead (1802-1876).  Peggy was sister to Elizabeth's mother Martha Halstead, so William and Elizabeth were not only cousins, they had probably known each other through their childhood. Their first child William was born later that year.  He was the first of 16 children born to Elizabeth and William between the years of 1858-1885.  As was common in these times many of the children died in in infancy or at a young age.
Elizabeth's Note Book: family members laid to Rest
The evidence of the deaths of many of her children is clear to see in her note book, where she lists family members she has laid to rest.  The list includes, among other family members, six sons and four daughters.

The 1861, census shows William and Elizabeth and two children living at Nicholas Folly, Spotsland (near Barnoldswick) and her father George Rushworth and some of her brothers and sisters were living next door.  William is described as being a farmer and cotton weaver who employed four laborers.

The family continued to live in the Spotsland, Barnoldwick district until sometime in 1885 when they moved the family to 31 Boundary Street Colne. (Their daughter Lucy was born in Colne on 16 September 1885).  William took up a new position as Assistant Survey to the Social Board in Colne.

We can only suppose what influenced Elizabeth's interest in nursing.  Perhaps her skills came from caring for so many children and her elderly father and parents in law. Perhaps it was a skill that was passed down through the family, we do not know.  However, her note book gives details of many years of nursing and caring for family, neighbours and others who were in need.  The respect and place that she had in the community is reinforced by the number of Doctors in the nearby districts that she supported and worked with while caring for the sick.

Nursing Division 1894, Elizabeth is 2nd from Left in back row
Not long after moving to Colne, (1888) Elizabeth joined the joined the 4th Division of the St Johns of Jerusalem Nursing Division that was based in Colne. Elizabeth thrived in this environment and was keen to learn and add to her nursing skills.  In 1891 she gained her First Aid Course Certificate for Instruction and was appointed Inspector of Stores and First Aid Officer.  Despite her commitments to a large family Elizabeth continued to study and in 1892 received her Certificate for Efficiency in First Aid.  Her aptitude and untiring support of the St Johns Movement saw her appointed Lady Superintendent for the 4th Division of St Johns and she held this position for 25 years until she resigned at the age of 81 in 1922.  Elizabeth took a prominent role in the development of the St John's movement in Colne, including organising work and collection of funds in order for the movement to continue to carry out its work in the community.

The 1901 census tells us that William and Elizabeth were living in 9 Duke Street, Colne with five of their children.  William was employed as a clerk at the Corporation Yard (what we call the Town Council today). You would think at the age of 60 Elizabeth would be looking to start taking things a little easier. No!!  with the threat of War, life was about to change for all of England and Elizabeth did not sit back and watch it happen.  Stay tuned to hear more of Elizabeth's story.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth 1841-1927

Front Page of Elizabeth's Note Book
"Young Persons. look forward, for what they intend doing. Old Persons, look backward, as to what they have done."  Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth).

This quote features on the opening page of Elizabeth Taylor's notebook.  This small black exercise book filled with Elizabeth's neat script has provided our family researchers with so many links to the details of her family "The Rushworths" and her husbands family "The Taylor's" and is the source of many of the details of this story.

Elizabeth, is my husbands great, great Grandmother and has to be among my favorite ancestors, even if I am only related to her by marriage.  It will be hard to do her story justice in a few blogs, and I hope in time to come I will be  able to expand on her story in more detail.  One of the main reasons for featuring Elizabeth in my blog is that I hope others will read her story and will be able to provide me with some more information on other members of her family and the times she lived in.

St Bartholomew's, Colne
Elizabeth Rushworth was born in Barnoldswick, in 1841, the eighth child of George Rushworth (1801-1884) and Martha Halstead (1805-1845).  The 1841 Census lists George's occupation as a farmer and they lived Whitemoor. Elizabeth was Christened  21 Dec 1842 St Bartholomew Church, Colne, Lancashire, England.  Like many families in this district, the Rushworth family were involved in the textile industry.

Rushworth family 1841 Census
 Barnoldswick and other towns in the district became known as weaving towns.  Many families had looms in their homes, with family members weaving cloth and the smaller children winding bobbins. The 1851 Census shows a number of the Rushworth family working in this industry; Elizabeth's brother James was a hand loom weaver, another brother John is listed as a bobbin boy and Elizabeth and her sister Alice were listed as bobbin winders.  (They were aged 10 and 8 years at the time).

This must have been a difficult time for the Rushworth family, as their mother Martha passed away in 1845, leaving George with eleven children to care for.  The 1851 census shows the family were now living in Greenbank, Barnoldswick.  There must have been the opportunity for Elizabeth to attend school, as her note book and shows she had a reasonable level of literacy.  It is most likely that the children attended the Barnoldswich National School, that was first opened by the Reverend Richard Milner in 1838 and new school build in 1841.

"Although the parish had been running a school since at least 1743 (see section 5.5.1), by the 1830s, the Reverend Richard Milner saw it as necessary to build a National School. This was duly opened in 1838 at the top of what became Church Street, opposite the Engine Inn, and doubled as a chapel of ease known as St James’ (Savage nd, 13). It was decided that St James’ should act solely as a church, and a new National School was built at the bottom of the Butts, next to Butts Beck, in 1841 (Savage nd, 14). This small school comprised single rooms on two storeys with a large porch." *

Map Barnoldswick- 1853
Most families in Barnoldswick lived in simple cottages, a wonderful description of homes in the 1840's can be found in the transcription of "Old Barlick" by W.P. Atkinson **

"Very few cottage houses had a back door and one objection to this was that a back door caused a "draft" and made too much wind in the house. All ordinary cottages had flagged floors and stone stair steps to approach the bedroom, cellars were not general. The back part of the house was used instead of same. No carpets or even hearth-rugs were in use up to this time, and the floors were scattered over with sand, the same being swept off at regular intervals after which a fresh layer of sand was used in like manner, this process was repeated several times each week, and the week-end cleaning-up did not start until after dinner on a Saturday when regular work had finished.

There were few tablecloths and lump sugar seen only at the School tea-party. There were no sun screens inside the windows but only a curtain to draw across the same at night, there was a low blind about a foot high either crocheted or plain. Most of the cottages had a garret and this was approached by a broad staved ladder, all such rooms were open to the slate. Also, where there was no garret the upper storey was open to the slate. There were no under-drawings or ceilings either upstairs or down and the woodwork joists and boards were absolutely bare. Poor Joe Parker lost one of his eyes when a child by peeping through a knot hole in the bedroom floor while another youngster took aim with his bow and arrow from the lower room. The bare joists and boards style of building was not abandoned until twenty years after this time, when lath and plaster in most new buildings were generally adopted. There were four back-to-back three storied cottages the first block on right-hand side going up Barlick Lane. These were known as the ‘blue slate’, (the only blue slated houses in Barlick Town at the time).

Cottage house windows, though not so large as modern windows, would average from two to three dozen panes of glass in each window, and were very rarely constructed with up and down sashes. A single pane of glass on hinges called a casement which
could be opened or shut at will. This contrivance gave a mouthful of fresh air to the folk inside the house if they desired it.

The Cottage fireplace was formed with a large opening at the bottom of the chimney, to allow Jack Sweep plenty of room when climbing up inside the ‘luvver’. On those occasions an old rhyme was chanted by the children outside as a sort of greeting to this black visitor from Skipton, while he was plodding his way up the luvver with a poke over his head and face, the rhyme ran thus ‘Sweep O, penny O, sweep the luvver clean O’, and finished up with ‘Jack, put the brush out at top’ This cruel practice has long become illegal.

What a wonderful description of the homes of this time, it gives a colourful picture of the living conditions that Elizabeth and her family would have experienced.!!

As I research the conditions of these times, Elizabeth's story is even more amazing!!! I am looking forward to writing and sharing with you the next chapter of her life.

Viewed 1 October 2012 

Viewed 1 October 2012