Polly Walker of Avenham Tower?

Avenham Tower, near Preston

My mother had been trying to trace her Marwood ancestors and thinks that they may have originated originally from Widworthy Hall, near, Honiton, Devonshire. Part of the problem is their Catholicism, which means I’m struggling to find anything about them in the usual Lancashire Parish Records. I’m also a bit confused about whether we know for certain that Edward Marwood was her great grandfather, or whether it’s her great great grandfather (possibly William) we’re less clear about. There’s also a mystery about her grandmother Mary Agnes Polly Walker as mentioned in my Mary Polly Walker of Ayneham Towers? post. It’s also believed that her mother was a relative of Robert (Sir) Peel, her first memory being of sitting on his knee in an open carriage, being driven through cheering crowds in Preston, Lancs.

My first problem was that I couldn’t find any references to an Ayneham Towers that wasn’t the result of something I or one of my cousins had written. I did, however, find an Avenham Tower near Preston, and my mother now thinks that this is the correct spelling. Apparently, it was was home to the Threlfall family and later to grocer Edwin Henry Booth during his final years, having moved there from nearby Bank Parade. Not sure if this helps much as a lead.

My cousin Hamish has Mary Agnes Polly Walker as being born on 16 FEB 1857 in Manchester, but I’m not sure where he got the date from. The closest match I can find on Familysearch.org is a Mary daughter of Edward Walker and Mary Walker being baptised/christened on 08 Mar 1857 in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, England. I’ve no idea whether this is the same person as there are a number of other Mary Walkers, and even a Mary Agnes Walker, being baptised/christened in Lancashire within a few years of each other. I don’t subscribe to Ancestry.com or any of the others than want to charge you a subscription for viewing public records online, and even if I did I’d probably need to know more than I do at the moment to have any real chance of finding anything useful.

The same is true of the Robert Peel family story. I’m guessing it’s Sir Robert Peel the former prime minister, but have checked out his offspring and siblings on The Peerage site I can’t find any Walker connections. So without knowing a maiden name I’m not sure I can get any further back than has already been achieved by my cousin Hamish.

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