The Birtwistles and Huncoat Hall

UPDATE: for those researching birtwistle, birtwhistle, birtwisle, bertwistle and birdwhistell family trees, there more information here about where and how you can find out more here.

Huncoat Hall, circa 1650I’ve been working on a family newsletter, which rapidly turned into over 60 pages of family history before I’d even had any up-dates from my 4 siblings, and 21 first cousins (all from my mother’s side of family). I now have my immediate family’s news as well as some from my cousin Hamish who I inundate with information for the family tree he’s building. My cousin Piers also sent a moving account of the 10 weeks he spent working with the sick, dying and destitute in Ethiopia. My mother has also been keeping me on my toes with family history and so while I wait for more updates from my cousins I’m going to add the family history information I’ve been receiving here. Anyway, here’s something my mother put together about , the Birtwistle family’s ancestral home Huncoat Hall:

Huncoat Hall

We first hear of the Birtwistle family with Ralph de Bridtwisell, born about 1160, and living in the now-vanished hamlet of that name, next to Hapton, near Accrington in Lancashire. In 1316, his great-great grandson, William de Bridtwisell exchanged land with John de Huncote and moved into Huncote Hall (later known as Huncoat Hall), where the main branch of this family remained for the next 450 years, buying more land and marrying into many of the prominent local families. Later, because of their devout Catholicism throughout the Reformation and beyond, and later their loyal adherence to the Royalist cause, this staunch recusant family were subjected to many trials and tribulations, including imprisonments, fines and sequestrations, so that their fortunes waxed and waned over the centuries. The hall was one of several Lancashire houses to have a Priest’s Hole – a hiding place for visiting priests (like Edmund Arrowsmith) during the years of persecution, when they would travel the kingdom in disguise, from safe house to safe house, saying mass and giving the sacraments to the local Catholics. The Birtwistles sent many sons to be educated abroad in France, Spain and Holland. Several returned as priests and became chaplains to various old Catholic families. Their relative, the martyr St. John Southworth, of the Samlesbury Hall family, was one of those who hid at Huncoat, and some records say he was captured there before his incarceration in Lancaster Castle.

By the time the hall was sold in 1800, by Daniel Barraclough, the husband of Dorothy Birtwistle, Oliver Birtwistle’s (1695-1774) youngest sister, the family had fallen on very hard times. By then, many cadet branches of the family had spread out into the nearby districts and even further afield, to Yorkshire, Scotland, Cheshire, London and Buckinghamshire, while others became established in the colonies and the USA. Their many descendants, including those now named Birtwhistle Bertwistle, Birtwell, Birdwell etc are still to be found in Lancashire and most of these other parts,

Our branch, known as the Great Harwood family, are descended from Thomas Birtwistle of Great Harwood (1665-1729, m. Mary Wadington). Thomas was descended from Henry of Pendle (1510-1577), the second son of Richard (m. Margaret Lowde) Birtwistle of Huncoat Hall, all directly descended from Ralph de Brydtwysell. By the 1700s, this branch, younger sons of younger sons, were mostly farmers and hand-loom weavers but with the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the textile industries, the family fortunes were swiftly restored. By this time the family were as fiercely Protestant as their predecessors had been Catholic. When James Astley married the Catholic Muriel Marwood in 1915, his family were horrified and his brother William wrote a very unpleasant letter to her. Things settled down eventually but she could never convince her sisters-in-law, Hilda and Amy, the Aunt-Twins as they were alway known, that Catholics did not pay for confession. Nevertheless, we ere always very fond of them and the rest of our aunts and Uncles Bertie and Oscar of the Northcote clan.

More details can be found in two detailed, well-researched and self-published books. The Birtwistle Family 1200-1850 AD, by William A. Birtwistle and Ray Apsden, 1990 (now offered for sale on Amazon etc, for upwards of £200) and Birtwistle, a Family of East Lancashire Cotton Manufacturers, by W.A.(Billy) Birtwistle, 2001.

164 thoughts on “The Birtwistles and Huncoat Hall

  1. our line comes from lillian birtwistle b 1890 g harwood
    her father was alloysious birtwistle b 1859 g harwood
    his father was moses birtwistle b 1822 g harwood
    his father was david birtwistle b 1791 g harwood
    his father was james birtwistle b 1753 g harwood
    —– and it goes on back to ralph in 1160!

  2. Hello,
    My name is Elizabeth Kelly nee Nelson. My maternal grandmother was Elizabeth Birtwistle b. 1877 in Great Harwood. She was the daughter of Mark Birtwistle b. 1859 and Lucy Mercer publicans of the Judge Walmsley Arms in Billington, Lancashire.
    Mark’s father was Andrew Birtwistle b.1816
    His father was John Birtwistle b. 1877
    James Birtwistle b.1777 all born in Gt Harwood
    William Birtwistle b.1753 etc, etc, etc, to Ralph
    I was born in Lancashire in the UK and came to the USA in 1967. So far I’ve visted 48 of the United States before finally settling in Alameda, California.
    It turns out I’m related to the former Mayor of the city where I’ve. We share a common Birtwistle ancestor about 11 generations back in the 1500’s.

  3. Ralph De Bridtwisell (1160 – )
    is your 25th great grandfather
    Reyner De Bridtwisell (1185 – )
    Son of Ralph
    John De Bridtwisell (1215 – )
    Son of Reyner
    John Bridtwisell (1240 – 1293)
    Son of John De
    William Bridtwisell (1275 – 1330)
    Son of John
    Richard Bridtwisell (1305 – 1370)
    Son of William
    William Bridtwisell (1335 – 1408)
    Son of Richard
    Richard Bridtwisell (1365 – 1444)
    Son of William
    Nicholas Birtwistle (1396 – 1460)
    Son of Richard
    John Birtwistle (1425 – 1490)
    Son of Nicholas
    Oliver Birtwistle (1455 – 1507)
    Son of John
    Richard Birtwistle (1485 – 1543)
    Son of Oliver
    Henry Birtwistle (1510 – 1577)
    Son of Richard
    James Birtwistle (1540 – )
    Son of Henry
    George Birtwistle (1572 – 1629)
    Son of James
    George Birtwistle (1599 – 1656)
    Son of George
    Henry Birtwistle (1637 – )
    Son of George
    George Birtwistle (1661 – 1713)
    Son of Henry
    George Birtwistle (1685 – )
    Son of George
    George Birtwistle (1710 – )
    Son of George
    George Birtwell (1738 – 1795)
    Son of George
    Robert Birtwell (1772 – )
    Son of George
    George Birtwell (1798 – 1872)
    Son of Robert
    Robert Birtwell (1831 – )
    Son of George
    Joshua Palin Birtwell (1871 – 1954)
    Son of Robert
    Clifford Birtwell (1905 – 1994)
    Son of Joshua Palin
    John Michael Birtwell (1936 – )
    Son of Clifford
    Malcolm Edward Birtwell (1962 – )
    The son of John Michael

    1. Hello distant cousin,
      I follow my ancestry until half-way down your list … James Birtwistle (1540), and whereas you are descended from his son George (1572 – 1629) I am descended from his older brother Henry (1562 – 1607), so your George Birtwistle is my 11th Great-Uncle! How interesting that you can follow the male line from Ralph De Bridtwisell all the way down to you. In my family tree one Agnes Birtwistle (1692) married Richard Barnes (1690) and were the ancestors of my paternal grandmother. Isn’t this fascinating! Greetings from Canada!

    2. If you would like to see the whole Birtwistle family tree of approximately 22,000 + people, look at my tree at Birtwistle 12-22-13(2) 2014-12-31(2) . The tree is up to date.. I believe you will find that I was the one who connected the US Birtwell family to the tree. I may have to give you permission, if so, just send me your email address. This tree can be observed by all. Somehow I became an unofficial compiler. Quite a few of the posts are from people I have been in contact with. The my homepage referred to in several of the replies has not been updated in years and did contain errors, both of which us compilers after William (Billy) and also ones he and his compilers had made based upon the information that was then available. Billy passed away in the 1990s and the 2nd book was completed by another. My present email is
      L Alan Birtwhistle.

      1. Hi Alan, My mother was a Birtwhistle so I’m interested in the info. I do have the book The Birtwhistle Family 1200 to 1850. Do you have a Coloured picture of the family crest? If so I would love to see it in colour. Best wishes for Xmas Jean.


  4. Hi I married in to a Birtwhistle in 1980 and had a son Gary, he was born with a rare genetic hand deformity past down from his father. We also have Astley’s that married in to our McAlister Clan, we married in to the Hilton or rather De Hilton from Hilton Of Cadboll in Scotland. The McAlister’s have been genetically matched to King Tut. McAlister’s of Heywood are from the Heape Clan. Would love to connect with you all. I am based in Church, near Accrington and am studying Altham Church and it’s 500 year history. I have a great family album full of images and also all the birth, marriage and death cert’s. Great post.

    Dawn Hilton McAlister.x

  5. I too am one of the many descendents of the Birtwistles of Huncoat Hall, My descendents were living in Higham during the time of the Pendle Witch trials and as the accused were questioned by Roger Nowell of Read Hall in Ashlar House Higham it would be interesting to know of any involvement my abcestors had at that time -if any

  6. sorry meant my ancestors where living in Higham during the Pendle Witch trials–I’m not that old! despite what my grandchildren think!

  7. I am a descendant of Ralph De Bridtwisell through my grandmother, Charlotte Birtwistle. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, and she lived from 1884 to 1946. It is so exciting to read this blog. Thank you for all your work, and hello, cousins!

  8. I am a descendant from Ralph Birdtwisell. I live in Australia and am doing the Bertwistle Story here. My GGG Grandparents were Robert Birtwistle and Mary Whitaker. I would love to here from anyone who could tell me more on the English side of things. Carol.

    1. Hi Carol … thanks for getting in touch. My family are listed L. Alan Birtwhistle’s The Birtwistle Family Home Page:

      I think our common ancestor is James BIRTWISTLE who married Elizabeth WADDINGTON.


      You 27 >>> Father, 26 Grandfather 25, G Grandfather 24, GG Grandfather 23, ROBERT 22, JOHN 21, ROBERT 20, JAMES 19, THOMAS 18, JOHN 17, HENRY 16, HENRY 15, JAMES 14, HENRY 13, RICHARD 12, OLIVER 11, JOHN 10, NICHOLAS 9, RICHARD 8 BRIDTWISEL, WILLIAM 7, RICHARD 6 DE BRIDTWESELL, WILLIAM 5, JOHN 4, JOHN 3, REYNER 2, RALPH 1

      Alan and my cousin Hamish MacLaren have done more work than I have on Birtwistle faily. You can see my cousin Hamish’s work here and here

      Best Justin

      1. Hi it’s carol who is doing the descendants of Robert Birtwistle and Emma Gladwin in Queensland Australia. Robert is the son of Robert Birtwistle and Mary Whitaker. My email is –

  9. I too am descended directly, from Raplh de Bridtwisell through the male line My great grandmother Jane Ann Birtwistle was the first female,she married George Thomas Woods;my mother’s grand father. the photo shows I have shows her to be rather stern.

  10. Hi everyone,
    My name is Robert John Bertwistle & my relation with the same name came out to Australia with his wife Mary Whitaker in the 1800’s. He came on the “Norman”.
    We should all be proud weasels.
    Best wishes
    Rob Bertwistle

  11. By my reckoning Ralph de Bridtwisell was my 34 times Great Grandfather. My connection to the Birtwistle family is through the Hargreaves family of Hapton (Coal miners) and the Duxbury family of Duxbury Hall in Chorley.

  12. Hi, My name is Paul Birtwistle and my uncle William [Bill] spent 40 years compiling The Birtwistle Family book 11-20 to 1865. This book traces all the lines from Huncoat hall through and I am a direct decendent of Ralph.

    1. Paul … my mother and her family knew your uncle affectionately as cousin Billy although the common ancestor was a few generation back. Both families owned/ran Cotton mills in Lancashire. I think your uncle knew my uncle Michael Birtwistle quite well, and I have copies of both his books. Thanks for dropping by.


      1. Hi there, my name is Malcolm Birtwell and my great grandfather Joshua Birtwell was a manager in a cotton mill in Nelson.He was born in Sabden in Top Row and our branch of the family are from Sabden. I have a copy of Billy Birtwistle’s book but they are hard to get hold of now.

      2. As far as the genealogy is concerned much of the book is already online, and that’s the bulk of what the book is about until later generations.

        See The Birtwistle Family Home Page by L. Alan Birtwhistle:

        There’s also my cousin Hamish’s Descendents of Robert Maclaren 1776-1826 & Ralph de Birdtwisell 1160 and his Maclarens, Birtwistles and Many Other Families tree.

        Start at Ralph de Bridtwisell.

        I’m sure at some point someone will transcribe notes from cousin Billy’s (as my mum called him) book and link it to the genealogy on one of these sites. My cousin Hamish has done this with later generations.

  13. Hello, Birtwistles. My paternal grandmother was an Ingham, a descendant of Thomas Ingham of Pendle, born in Billington–He married Ann(e) Birtwistle in Padiham in 1697, according to some new info that I received. I am sure about the genealogy of “my” Inghams 3 generations later, just don’t have evidence of the line before Richard Ingham born in Newchurch in Pendle in 1754. One of their ancestors, another Thomas Ingham–5 generations earlier–married Elizabeth Blackburn in 1563 at Whalley Parish. I read yesterday that author John Clayton has tried to connect the Ingham-Blackburn marriage to the Pendle Witch trials..didn’t understand all the connections. I was pleased, however, to be linked with the the Birtwisles–sound like a great family heritage.

  14. Hello Birtwistle’s I believe from the tracking of the family line that I am a Direct Descendant of Ralph De Bridtwisell. I believe that I may be a lost line that Traveled from England approx 1890 my Great Grandfather Richard Birtwistle settled in Massachusetts and Connecticut around the turn of the century.

    I am searching for more information that might confirm my limited research that I have been able to conduct as the information on my Great Grandfather Richard Birtwistle is very sparse.

    1. Richard, great to hear from you. Not sure if it’s any help but my cousin Hamish has included a lot of Birtwsitle genealogical information on his Maclarens, Birtwistles and Many Other Families tree on Rootsweb. You might also want to look at L. Alan Birtwhistle’s The Birtwistle Family Home Page on Family Tree Maker. Alan also put together a CD in 2009 of Birtwistle Genealogy info, and you can find the last contact details I had here. Hope this helps Justin.

    2. Hi all, you need this book: It is very hard to get hold of now as it was put together by a group of Birtwistles in the 80s or 90s I think. William Birtwistle known as Billy contacted my grandfather, father and myself in around 1994 and told us he’d been researching the family with a group of people and that we were direct descendants of Ralph de Bridtwisell. My father, my sister and I all have copies of the book but I don’t know if it will ever be reprinted unless you could get hold of Billy’s descendants?

  15. hi i am also a decendent of ralph de bridtwistle my great grandmother was annie birtwistle and my gg grandmother was jane anne birtwistle settled in bendigo aust after 1851 she married alfred/miller in 1859 in bendigo and her father was james birtwistle. i am travelling to england in may/june this year and are hoping to travel to lancashire to see were our family came from. it would be great if i could get any help as to were to go ect while im there regards leanne

    1. I too am a direct descendant of Ralph de Bridtwisell born 1160AD. I have a fully family tree of the Birtwistles dating from 1160AD to 1710AD. I live in Clitheroe, Lancashire which is not far from Huncoat Hall the ancestral home of the Birtwistles . If you wish to contact me my details are below.

  16. Hi, I married into the Birtwistle family, to a direct descendent of Ralph De Bridtwesell. I spent several hours researching the family tree via a couple of websites and then hit upon someone’s family tree where all the information was complete….I was so excited I copied all the information and printed it off, staying up into the wee hours of the morning (5.30am). I was so excited to tell my husband we now had his family history all the way back to 1160, thanks to the hard work of his Uncle Billy and others. My Husband is Leonard Gordon Birtwistle born 1944 in Bedford to Le Gordon Birtwistle and Elizabeth Harbinson. His Father, another Leonard Birtwistle, born in 1897 in Lancashire maried Lillian Mabel Clark from Bedford in 1917. I am wondering what made him relocate to Bedford? Perhaps he was enlisted in the 1914 – 18 Great War and was billeted in the local area?


    1. Hi viv. I just saw this and wanted to add, that my maternal great-grandparents, were Leonard and Lillian Birtwistle (their daughter Peggy was my nana). I’m pretty sure he was in WW!, because I remember seeing something (like an award, or enlistment document), that my nana had.
      Nana moved to the US after marrying my grandad, so I never got to meet the great-grandparents, just a few of her siblings and nieces and nephews.

      1. Hi Jillian

        Thank you for shedding a little light. My hubby Lee (born Leonard) is telling me that he stayed in the USA with his aunt Peggy (your nana) and his uncle Bob in the 1970’s. He saw his cousins David and Gaynor who lived at Greenfield, Indiana; and Le later emigrated to Iniana, USA where he lived for several years until he returned to the UK. I met Lee in Oct 1981. We have lots of photographs still of Lee’s visit which included your great Uncle Gordon and Aunt Lillian (Elizabeth) during their stay with Bob & Lillian.

        Thanks for getting touch.

      2. Hi Jillian

        I am Lee (Leonard Gordon Birtwistle), born in Bedford 2nd April 1944. As my wife, Viv indicated, I spent 3 years in the USA and lived with and then close to your grandmother Peggy and her husband, Bob. They had two children, Gaynor and David. Gaynor was a nurse and David studied at Perdue University, becoming a large animal Vet. I do have many photographs of the time I spent in Indiana. Bob and Peggy lived in Greenfield and I think the zip code was 46140. It was about 18 miles from Indianapolis.

        If you would like copies of the photo’s, I would be pleased to pass them on to you.


      3. Hi Jill,I am sure you remember me. How are your parents Gregg & Gaynor? I occasionally link with them on Facebook. You no doubt will also remember Greg my son when we visited your Grandparents in Indiana. I recall your driving him around in your convertable. I will be in America this coming August. It would be good to catch up Love & Best Wishes Kind Regards Paul B

      4. Hi, my name is Aisha my great grand parents were Leonard Birtwistle and Lillian Mabel Clarke, my Nanny was Doreen youngest daughter of Mabel and Leonard and sister of Ken, Gordon, Peggy and Vera and my mother is Michelle and my uncle is Keith.
        I remember spending lots of time with uncle Gordy and aunty Lily and aunty Peggy and uncle bob!
        Me and my mum would love to hear more stories from you and we also have old photos we would be happy to share!

  17. My name is Hazel Lee my Gt Grandmother was Isabella Birtwhistle my fAmily come from Gt Harwood and Clayton Lee Moors Lancashire she Married William Walmsley with Regards Hazel Lee

  18. I love your blog – I too, am descended from Ralph de Bridtwesell (b. 1160) my 24th Great Grandfather. His descendant Thomas Birtwhistle (b. 1665) was the father of Agnes Birtwhistle (b. 1692) who married George Barnes and they were the parents of Robert Barnes (b. 1751), who was the father of George Barnes (b. 1792), whose daughter Jane Barnes (b. 1831) married Doctor Haworth and who were the parents of Thomas Haworth (b. 1860). Thomas Haworth married Ruth Greenwood and they were the parents of Maria Haworth (b. 1896), my paternal grandmother. Greetings from Canada!

  19. My great grandfather was William Henry Birtwhistle of Halifax 1846-1871 son of Thomas 1814-1871. Ralph appears to have been my 24x great grandfather. I love the blog!

  20. Hi My Name is Hazel Lee My Gt Gt grandmother was Isabella Birtwhistle Married to A William Walmsley but I don’t know any further than that at the moment but it’s a large family looking at all these comments with Regards

    1. Thank you for your message are they your relatives too Ellen Walmsley was the daughter of William Walmsley and Isabella Birtwistle she Married James. Runacres I’ve spelt it right now sorry I didn’t reply before regards Hazel

      1. The only possible Isabel Birtwistle I have found – baptised 17 June 1804 in Gt Harwood is recorded to be the daughter of Isabel Birtwistle – presumably illigitimate as no father is mentioned. However I can’t find records of a suitable Isabel Birtwhistle who may be her mother. A witness on her marriage certificatein 1825 is James Birtwistle but there is no indication of his relationship to her. No I haven’t found a link with my branch who were “h” Birtwhistles from over the border into Halifax.

  21. Thank you Margaret. It most likely is without the H In Birtwistle. So I wouldn’t be able to trace her back much further without a father’s name I find looking at family history very interesting thank you for your help Hazel

  22. Hi, I am Ralph de bridtwisell’s 25th gr granddaughter and my maiden name was gina (Georgina) birtwistle and my dad George birtwistle. I started this to research my gr grandfather who had 2 dcm’s in ww1 and ended up addicted and in the 1100’s!!!!! As above but I split at oliver and mine line follows piers, George, peter, James etc.

    1. Hello Gina.

      Ralph de Bridtwesell was my 24th g-g-Grandfather and at Oliver, who is my 14th g-g-Grandfather, I am descended from his son Richard, Henry, James, Henry, Henry, John, Thomas, Agnes Birtwistle who married Richard Barnes, George Barnes, Robert Barnes, George Barnes, Jane Barnes who married Doctor Haworth, Thomas Haworth, Maria Haworth who married Joseph Lomax, James Lomax who was my father.

      A few months ago I was looking in to the family tree of the husband of a friend of mine, here in Canada, as I was looking for a Lomax connection because that is his mother’s maiden name. I discovered that he is descended from Oliver Birtwistle too, who is his 25th g-g-father also – his son Piers (who it seems you are also descended from). His line of descent goes … Piers, George, Peter, James, James, Henry, George, William, George, John, John, John, James, Ellen Birtwistle who married James Thomas Lomax. Ellen and James were my friend’s g-g-Grandparents.

      1. Well imagine that! It’s probably to be expected as they would have immigrated to the same areas so potentially went over together. Incidentally, I have a lomax in my family tree also, Elizabeth Lomax married John Birtwistle in 1741 and had a son John birtwistle so she was my 5th g grandmother. Not sure if she is connected of course but it’s interesting that she may have been a distant family relative perhaps?

        Sorry took me so long to reply but forgot to ticket the notify me box!

      2. I was also Georgina Birtwistle and my dad was also called George Birtwistle, although I wasn’t brought up by him and little or nothing about most people in the family. I’ve got extracts from the book sent to me by a cousin in Perth who’s father., my uncle, had done research before he passed away. I intend to read thorough it over the weekend. I do know from what I read so far that we originate from Birtwistle’s of Huncoat hall. It’s all very interesting

    2. I was just looking through this site and saw this. My maiden name was also Georgina Birtwistle and my Dads name was also George Birtwistle

  23. Hi Gina, my friend’s husband is descended from the John Birtwistle (b. 1733) who married Elizabeth Lomax (b around 1740), and had a son named John (b. 1773).

    I believe that John married an Alice Rothwell (b1778) and they had a son named James or Joseph.

    This James (or Joseph) married a woman named Alice and had a daughter, Ellen Birtwistle (b. 1850) and who married one Henry Lomax (b.1847) and their son was James Thomas Lomax (b. 1885 in Blackburn) – he is my friend’s great-great-grand-father.

    Looking at this, in my friend’s husband’s tree, the Birtwistles and Lomax’s connect a couple of times. I was born a Lomax but have a truck-load of Birtwistles in my tree!

  24. Hi Barbara, yes, ellen would have been my g g ggrandfather’s sister then. My ancester was also john and elizabeth lomax who had joseph who had Samuel, then my g grandfather. Thin gene pool back then and they liked to kelp their lineage pure lol we must be good stock :o)

    1. Hello Gina

      Do you know anything about your ancestor, Elizabeth Lomax?

      I have updated my own family tree to show that John (my 10th cousin 6 times removed) and Elizabeth had a son, Joseph, who had a son named Samuel, but I don’t know the name of Samuel’s son, who would be your great grandfather.

      If I had the names of your great grandfather, your grandfather I could add them and you to my friend, Paul’s, tree – I could even figure out how you are related!

      And also how you and I are related. I do believe that you and I are 16th cousins once removed (but that’s off the top of my head).

      My friend Paul’s 5th great-grandparent were John Birtwistle and Elizabeth Lomax, as they are yours, so I think Paul Jennings of Ontario, Canada is your 6th or maybe your 7th cousin. He is related to you, and me, through the Birtwistles, but his mother was a Lomax, but not, as far as I can see, related to me, even though my maiden name was Lomax.

      This is fascinating stuff!

      1. Not really, though I’d love it. I concentrated on the birtwistle side.

        My ancester from Elizabeth and john is john (&alice rothwell) then Joseph (&Ann) then Samuel. Samuel married ellen and had my gt gf frederick. My grandfather was frederick and so was his father. My gr gf was at Boer war and battle of the Somme and got 2 distinguished conduct medals in ww1. He was stationed in Ireland where he met and married my granny, margaret diana bell. It was him I was researching when I found out all about the birtwistles! He was a real hero. He had a brother Samuel and so did my grandfather. I have some more of their siblings names if you wanted them?

  25. Hello Georgina, I was reading that and reading it getting confused thinking, I don’t remember writing that then I twigged! Takes very little to confuse me lol Enjoy the book and do share anything interesting you find x

  26. My mother was a Birtwhistle, her Brother wants me to embroider the coat of arms. I have it in black and white, but love to get a picture in colour. Can anyone help please.

    1. My mother has an embroidered Birtwistle Coat of Arms, and will try and get a photo. I’m holiday, so maybe week or two if you can wait.

  27. I have been working on my brother-in-law’s Birtwistle line for a number of years which is a bit difficult since I’m in the U.S. and it’s all in England. I did correspond with Alan Birtwistle years ago but have found that some of the information doesn’t quite fit anymore. My b-i-l’s mother was Doris Birtwistle of Accrington but her parents divorced when she was young and didn’t know (or want to discuss) much about that side of the family. Her father was Frederick Birtwistle (1895-?) who married Martha Bradshaw. His father was James Richard Parr/Birtwistle (1860-?), who married Margaret Thompson, and who was born to Margaret Parr when she was “a single woman”. She then married James Birtwistle (1838-1913) the next year and it is assumed he was the father of James Richard since the two of them were witnesses at her sister’s marriage to his brother just a few days before James Richard’s birth. The Birtwistle line goes back from James to John Birtwistle (1811-1875) who married Mary Lakeland, and so on as the genealogy shows.

    Is there anyone related to any of these Birtwistles? I really want to find out more about these elusive ancestors. I have more information so if anyone is interested, contact me.

  28. Just stumbled onto this website after googling “Edmund Arrowsmith” mentioned on Channel 5’s “Great British Castles” last Friday.
    I am Brian Birtwhistle with an “h”, I was born in 1958 in Bury, and assumed we were not part of the Lancashire family because of the “h”, however years ago, after contact from the author, we bought a copy of W A (Billy..) Birtwhistle’s book which included a handwritten letter and family tree which showed our line of descent.
    My father was Alan Birtwhistle (born 1923, died 2008) son of Robert Roe Birtwhistle (Roe is a name that runs through the family tree….)
    The only thing of interest that I can add is that my father had a distant uncle or cousin, who he met once as a child, who was from Australia/New Zealand. (I believe he was the captain of the ship that sailed between the two and owned lots of property in both…) In the 60’s my Auntie answered a advert in the “Bury Times” asking for relatives of this man (could have been William Henry or Frank Birtwhistle?) to contact solicitors in oz and about five years later on the death of his much younger second wife we inherited a small (less than £50ish small!) sum. I think dad also had relatives in South Africa.
    I believe that my branch of the family is also distantly related to John Kay of “Flying Shuttle” fame – there are flying shuttles on the Bury Coat of arms.
    About twenty years ago (at a wild guess…) my father received a phone call from america from a lady who had married into the Birtw(h)istle family and was researching the family tree.
    Hope this helps someone.

  29. Hi. My name is Michael Birtwistle and have been researching my family tree on and off for years. I have seen Lesters tree and I am on there somewhere as a descendant of Ralph. This blog is really helpful.

    1. My family is also on the Birtwistle tree. We are the branch that lived in Winewall near Trawden. My great grandmother was Eunice Birtwistle Horsfall. I am trying to find out as much as I can about the Birtwistles and have a copy of the lineage from Ralph right down to myself.
      Lynn Ellis Pritchard

  30. I think I have posted to this site before but I don’t see it. I am trying to find the Thomas Birdwhistle (or Birdwhistell) that left England for the US in the 1600’s or 1700’s from the Lancashire region. On the Ancestry Tree for Birtwhistle, I notice several Thomas Birtwhistle (or Birdwhistle or Birdwhistell) but it’s impossible to determine who is who. We have good records from Maryland and Kentucky but I can’t connect the dots in England. We did travel to the UK this fall and visited Padiham and saw the Birtwhistle Bakery but could find no living ancestors in the town. Any info would be helpful. Thanks.

    Barry Birdwhistell

  31. The main resource on all things Birtwistle is the book “The Birtwistle Family, 1200- 1850 AD” by William A Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden.
    Including Birtwells of Accrington and Whalley, Birtwhistles of
    Yorkshire and other local spelling variations.
    (c) William A.Birwistle 1989. Published in Great Britain 1990.
    ISBN 09515337 0 3
    W.A. Birtwistle, Brier Nook, Park Cresent,Blaclkburn, Lancashire. UK
    Printed by Caxton Printing Co. (A)
    This has many family trees.

    You might also look at “The Birtwistle FamilyHome Page” at
    • This was on a Family Tree Maker webpage, but those were all moved to when Family Tree Maker stopped those. They can’t be updated, but at least the information is still there. There might be some leads there for you. For example the link. Genealogy Report: Descendants of Ralph De Bridtwesell at if you follow that through the generations you might find something.
    That was done by L. Alan Birtwhistle
    Fax: 757-547-1077 . I don’t know if he has moved any of that to a new site.

    He at one point did an enormous amount of work collecting a huge number of Birtwhistle trees from all round the world and put them on CDs which many of us bought at cost.

    In looking around on Google I came across:
    “The Birtwistle Genealogy and Family Tree Page” at
    There is also

    WikiTree’s “Birtwistle Genealogy” at


    RootsWeb search at you could put in any variation of the spelling you want.

    I haven’t actually tried searching for any Birtwistles on those, but they might have something.

    I have some lines starting with the first known Birtwistle, Ralph de Bridtwisell , of Bridtwisell in Hapton b: ABT 1160 on Rootsweb at It shows 10 generations at a time, click on a name, then on “Descendancy” to see the next 10 generations. I think nearly all of that is also on L. Alan Birtwhistle web page.

    You probably already have most of this, but I hope something is of some use.
    Good luck with your search.
    Hamish Maclaren

    1. Interesting (to me anyway…) to spot that my father’s name Alan was common in the Birtwhistle family as well as Robert Roe.
      This obitury might be of interest to some – Harry was my fathers older, and rather more successful! brother and lived in or near Bury all his life
      note how the spelling of his name varies through the article!
      I’m actually interested in the medical history of the Birtw(h)istle families. My older and younger brothers both had fairly severe Autism, which isn’t found elsewhere in my branch of the family – I wondered if there had been any cases of Autism elsewhere in the family?

      1. Think Hamish and I have some cousins on the spectrum, but we are not naming any names. Severe allergies and dyslexia are other common afflictions.

  32. I’m not sure if I can post photo’s on this site, (?) but have one of my car parked next to the sign on Birtwhistle Street in Gatehouse of Fleet in southern Scotland. The Mill on The Fleet was built in 1788 by a yorkshire born relative, as you probably all know, and is worth a visit. I just called in on my way from the Douglas (Isle of Man) to Heysham Ferry to my mates place near Troon in Ayrshire. The mill now hosts a heritage centre and tearooms and is well worth a visit IMO.
    Have a good Christmas everybody.

      1. I wish, I have been trying to buy back Huncoat Hall for the past 15 years but it is owned by a farmer who has double glazed the casement windows and will not sell.All the local estate agents have instructions from us to reserve immediately it becomes available,I am a descendant from the original line who resided in Huncoat Hall.My family are still in Blackpool so not far, The deeds to Huncoat Hall are kept in the Dunkenhaugh Hotel.A get together sounds great.We have a Birtwistlefest for our immediate family every year in Blackpool.Lets all keep in touch. Kind Regards Paul B

  33. Huncoat Hall is still standing, but the owner is NOT interested in Birtwhistle family history. The family coat of arms from the hall is displayed in the local library or something I think. (I called round about 12 years ago on my way to Troon again…) funnily enough I was back in Bury last week going to a funeral from my mums side of the family in Turton, Bolton.
    I’d be up for a meeting of all the Birt(h)istle families, but not actually many left in my branch of the family.

  34. Greetings.
    I am David Birtwistle living in Ontario, Canada and originating in Bolton, Lancs many decades back. It would seem that we are all descended from Ralph de Bridtwisell c 1160.
    Decades ago I started to trace my family’s history and got sidetracked by family life, the military, a civilian profession and heraldry. Late in 2017 I resumed my search (read-start over!). Well, my wife and I retired to north of Parry Sound and built a year round cottage and this is our first winter here.
    The online information in blogs, your site, and on, can be overwhelming. Even retired and the time to pursue my interests freely, it was difficult to take it all in and not get extremely sidetracked with the Hayes and Heyes, Trelfalls, etc. as I had done previously. So I stayed the course with ancestry, starting my own tree with James Heyes Birtwistle, (pat.g.fa b. 6 Feb. 1900, Bolton), and after checking many trees, followed the most linear track of Birtwistle 12-22-13)20_2014-12—31 on the Public Member Trees on .
    At the point when I got to George Birtwistle( 1757 Tottington, Lancs), the sources started to refer to William Birtwistle’s book on the family, with which you are familiar. Going to George’s father, John, (1733 Ainsworth, Lancs), this link shows only the family book as a source, his father, John, b. 1700 has no source and after that the only source noted is from William Birtwistle.
    This line, as do many others, takes me back to Ralph around 1160. If the line is credible, and I have no reason to believe otherwise at this point, my descendants, and yours, were one time lords of the manor and held lands in Hapton, Huncoat and Birtwisle at various times. On this subject, I read in The Lancashire Telegraph that Lord O’Hagan had sold the title of Lord of the Manor to Daniel Clarke around 2008. I hold the title to The Lordship of the Manor of Birtwisle. (Yes, no house, no land, missing hamlet! Just the title). I do not know what happened to the title for the Manor of Huncoat. It may have reverted to the Crown.
    Regarding the Birtwistle coat of arms, the one on display by Justin has not been used for several centuries. The College of Arms in London would be the authority on this subject. I looked into that when I became seriously interested in heraldry around 1972 and checked with the College. The herald on duty suggested that applying for a new grant would be easier as there was no guarantee that I was directly descended in the mail line from Oliver Birtwistle whose arms were granted c 1567 and reaffirmed in the Herald’s Visitation of 1664. After that, they seem not to have been used from what I can ascertain. I followed the herald’s advice and was granted arms in 1975. Heraldry has held my and my family’s interest ever since.
    However, I digress.
    I do not have this book nor have seen it. While I do not want to reinvent history, I have absolutely no idea as to William Birtwistle’ s sources of information. A copy, photo or otherwise, cd, hint, whatever, would be most helpful.

    1. David, I think Willliam Birtwistle’s sources are based on systematic look at church records.

      As for coat of arms, my uncle was High Sheriff of Lancashire:

      1978 Col. Michael Albert Astley Birtwistle of Tunstall

      Pretty certain he had coat of arms ‘affirmed’ by Royal College although not quite sure if they were same as embroidered version I found online and bought as a present for my mother.

      1. Thank you Justin. I appreciate your observations on William’s book and am indeed interested in your remarks about your uncle and his coat of arms. My interest continues to be heraldry and am a latecomer to genealogy. Perhaps others will have some information on how to access this book or a copy of it. I was going to post a copy of my arms but was unable.


      2. My cousin Hamish used cousin ‘Billy’ book as basis for tree that I think is used in ancestry and elsewhere. I seem to only have copy of Birtwistle book that is about cotton mill owners, so can’t find one that explains his methodology. Alan L. Birtwistle or my cousin Hamish Maclaren should be able to help with genealogy. I’ll ask my mum about my uncle’s coat of arms.

  35. If that embroidered coat of arms is the same as that on the front of William Birtwistle’s (nearly spelt that wrong!) book I’m pretty certain that’s the same one that was on the front of Huncoat Hall originally, although the colours may not be totally authentic!

    1. I can confirm having actually seen it on Huncoat Hall that it is the same as on the book.
      David Hi. I am in Toronto this September but have not yet finalised the itinery.We appear to have the same line.
      I have been trying to buy Huncoat Hall for years but with no success.

      1. Hi Paul. When I saw your name I wondered if you were my cousin Paul, my uncle Bill’s son originally from Bolton. I last saw Paul at his restaurant on our family visit to the area in 1990 and last saw Bill on a visit with my father, Jesse, in 1996 (d. 2000). Then we lost track! We have children and grandchildren in Toronto, Dundas and Owen Sound, as well as friends, so we or they travel to visit, particularly since we moved north last June.

        My wife and I visited Huncoat Hall on our visit “Home” in 2004. We did not get in to see the hall but did meet a woman there who verified it was the (former) Birtwistle hall. She was on the phone and seemd in a hurry. So we did not follow up as we were off to the Cotswolds in a day or two. Still, it was exciting to see some of our heritage. I have been on Google Earth many times to view the hall.

        Your idea of purchasing Huncoat Hall is great. At least there is a hall, whereas Birtwisle has disappeared with little if any trace.

        I would love to meet with you this September. It would be great to connect with you. I am already excited about the prospects.

      2. I went to Huncoat Hall a few years ago with my son who is the last Birtwell of our line. My son is the only son of an only son of an only son. We met a grumpy farmer who told me it did not exist any more. I could clearly see the old structure from where we were standing but I didn’t argue with him because I guess it was a case of “get off my land.” I wasn’t trespassing either; just standing outside the farm gate.

      3. Hello once again Paul.
        Well, I think spring is here in Ontario along with the usual batch of flying insects! Still, it is nice to see that the ice has gone from the lake. Are you still planning to be in Toronto this September? If so, would enjoy getting together.

        All the best,


      4. Hi David. We are just finalising the itinery but will be in Banff on 5th September and Toronto around 18th. We then do an Alaskan cruise until 27th. Will update you when I have confirmed everything.
        Regards. Paul b

    2. Hi Brian. Spelling, m-m-m-. Well, we can see that our name was a motley collection of phonetic spelling(s) over the decades and centuries, hence the variety today. As to the colours, they are pretty basic as the shield is black and white. as are all the other colours of the wreath around the helmet and the cloth mantling hanging down the side and back. However, I will check my sources later and correct if I am wrong.



  36. Paul Birtwistle, and David Birtwistle of Parry Sound … I live south west of Toronto, in St Thomas, Ontario, and if you two are planning a get-together, I’d love to invite myself! My ancestors were also Birtwistles.

    My line goes …
    Ralph De Bridtwisell (1160 – )
    is my 24th great grandfather
    Reyner De Bridtwisell (1185 – )
    Son of Ralph
    John De Bridtwisell (1215 – )
    Son of Reyner
    John Bridtwisell (1240 – 1293)
    Son of John De
    William Bridtwisell (1275 – 1330)
    Son of John
    Richard Bridtwisell (1305 – 1370)
    Son of William
    William Bridtwisell (1335 – 1408)
    Son of Richard
    Richard Bridtwisell (1365 – 1444)
    Son of William
    Nicholas Birtwistle (1396 – 1460)
    Son of Richard
    John Birtwistle (1425 – 1490)
    Son of Nicholas
    Oliver Birtwistle (1455 – 1507)
    Son of John
    Richard Birtwistle (1485 – 1543)
    Son of Oliver
    Henry Birtwistle (1510 – 1577)
    Son of Richard
    James Birtwistle (1540 – )
    Son of Henry
    Henry Birtwistle (1562)
    son of James
    Henry Birtwistle (1597 – 1665)
    Son of Henry
    John Birtwistle (1619)
    son of Henry
    Thomas (1665 – 1729)
    son of John
    Agnes Birtwistle (1692 – 1729) who married Richard Barnes, gggggg
    daughter of Thomas

    Agnes Birtwistles descendants are my ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s line, and Agnes Birtwistle is my g-g-g-g-g-g-grandmother.

  37. Hi Barbara. What a great idea. You are just over 200 km from Toronto.
    I will check my line (a work in progress with a minor blip around Daniel Birtwistle b. 1843 and his parents) to see how close we are.



  38. Yes, the owner of Huncoat Hall wouldn’t win many awards in a charm contest and seems fed up with people trying to admire his property, which looks to be in a bit of a state. I’m not sure if he is a farmer, I sort of got the idea it was a dodgy old peoples home or similar. The house is probably best spotted from the slip road of the adjoining dual carriageway(?)

  39. With regards William Birtwistle 1808-1867 founder of the cotton mills also his son Micah 1830-1898 and his son William 1855-1936 are buried at Blcakburrn Cemetery. Also Richard Birtwistle 1853-1929 who was director of Blackburn Rovers. And Brigadier General Arthur Birtwistle.

  40. I think I can answer a lot of your questions as to documenting people in William’s 2 books on our early tree. These 2 books, the 2nd just updated the first to 1890, probably only covered 2,200 people, but did provide a lot of the early tree of the male England lines and did provide some sketches. A group of us, similar to the group that William with a lot of help from Ray Aspden put together for his 2 books, not only brought the lines up to date, but expanded also to include the emigrated lines and the female lines since these are also blood lines. Now, people in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and a few in Asia are included. We put together this book, Thirty-One Generations of the Birtwistle Family, A Family History, in 2006 which I compiled for everyone. As I said, we also tried to verify as much of the prior books lineage as we could and in fact, we made quite a few corrections based upon new material that became available, especially online. We only produced 100 of this book, but I did provide a copy or 2 to the Local Studies section of 2 of your libraries in the UK. There are no hard copies available, but I have made DVDs for those interested. There was a updated tree attached which has now been greatly expanded and some further corrections have been made. . The tree that contains the whole tree we have been assembling is now located on Ancestry and I have given people access to the same if they provide me with their email addresses. Several of your bloggers were contributors to the 2006 book.

    I am going to ask that if there are any of you interested in helping me continue to update our tree, keep checking for documentation where things are in need, etc.. I will be 82 in a few months and I sure don’t want all the work that was put into this consolidated tree to be lost.

    Part of the failure to include sources for William’s entries was due to my original entries where i brought William’s material into my Birtwhistle tree. I did not realize at the time that I would wind up being an unofficial compiler of the combined tree. Also, the software at that time did not provide a means to enter too much source material. I have tried to correct this as I am able. I know that there was a lot of research done by the families that helped William compile his books. Some of this research is still available. I know one of our cousins was kind enough to actually copy one of the source material book chapters relating to our family’s history compiled by earlier researchers for me.

    I do have pictures from 1990 taken by John W. Birtwhistle which includes some taken inside Huncoat Hall when, I believe, the father of the present owner occupant was the owner. We included a chapter in our book about the Hall including these photos.

    I am doing a 2nd reply where I am including my chapter on the coat of arms from our book. Maybe one of you that lives there can get a picture of the coat of arms Ray sketched since we now have smart phones. I am sending it separately since I don’t know how much the blog can handle.

    L Alan Birtwhistle

  41. Here is the chapter on our coat of arms. The pictures are missing so if any who are interested provide me with you email address I will email you to include the pictures. They would not load.


    By L. Alan Birtwhistle

    After I began my family research over twelve years ago, my family took a vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA. England was represented by a pavilion in the International area. Within this building, there was a small section that enabled one to obtain a copy of your family coat of arms. I looked the name up in the genealogy book and sure enough there was a family coat of arms, a copy of which I purchased. This coat of arms was published by The Historical Research Center-1934. This coat of arms shows the name Birtwistle above the coat of arms and England below, both on a scroll. The fish on the top of the helmet appears to be a dolphin. There are what appear to be three weasels on the shield. The chevron (inverted “V”) contains seven “ermyns”. I have included this as the first coat of arms. (Please note, most of the coat of arms I have are in color, but I have not reproduced them in this book in color.)

    Not too long thereafter, my wife and I took a vacation to Bermuda. In our wanderings, I ran across another small booth at the Royal Naval Dockyard selling not only the coat of arms of various families, but also a brief history of the family. I have attached that coat of arms as the second example. When I received this, I began my confusion as to what was the accurate Birtwistle coat of arms. Both coats of arms came from reputable sources, the first from The Historical Heritage Research Center and the second from The Hall of Names Inc. As you can observe for yourself, these coats of arms were drastically different. Which was correct? You’ll note that neither gave the source or any details relating to the coat of arms. The only similarity is that both contain three animals on the shield. See below.

    Then my cousin John W. Birtwhistle tells me about William A. Birtwistle’s book, The Birtwistle Family 1200-1890 AD, previously referred to herein. I was finally able to obtain several copies of this book. In the beginning of the book on page III, there is a copy of the alleged original coat of arms granted to Oliver in 1567 as well as a description and details relating to its issuance. See copy below. This cost of arms you will note has a different type of fish upon the helmet, a turbot which in the sixteenth century was called a “byrt”. It was a European flat fish found in rivers or freshwater, not a dolphin which is normally a salt water fish found in tropical waters. This coat of arms contains the turbot on the helmet as I have said, with a black chevron between three weasels, two on the top of the inverted “v” and one below. On the chevron are five ermines. I have made this the third coat of arms. I figured, great, now I have it correct.

    Then I get another coat of arms from another cousin which is very similar to the one in William’s book, except that the border around the shield is different and the designs on the inverted “V” are different. This is number four shown following. Note the Latin, “Glory Be to God Alone“ is located just under the shield.

    The above was furnished by cousin Bob Birtwhistle

    In the meantime, I got one of my friends who is a graphic artist to use what I had to customize the coat of arms to add over the helmet, a ribbon containing the family name “Birtwistle”. I know some of you have seen this on my web site. I did include a copy of this as number five just for your information, but it does not appear to represent the true coat of arms.

    My confusion wasn’t over with yet. I also received from the same cousin that gave me the coat of arms with the pun under the same, a copy of a coat of arms issued to John Birtwhistle of Dundeugh. This contains a double coat of arms on the shield. This was easy to explain from what I have found. His wife’s ancestry was Birtwhistle or Birtwistle also. The similarities cease there. This is six.

    Finally, we come to the Barroclough datestone now attached to a wall in Huncoat village. This datestone was originally situated over the doorway at Old Hall Farm on Highgate Road, Huncoat. Dorothy Barroclough, a Birtwistle, lived there with her husband Daniel. A picture of the same was given to me by Mark Potter and is attached. The commentary under the datestone points out that the three weasels point to the right rather then to the left. The inscription is changed, as translated from the Latin, to “Let Glory be to God on Earth”. The commentary also states that there was a “crest of a dolphin” I don’t believe a dolphin is a turbot, brill or byrtle.. There is a picture of the “true” coat of arms and the fish upon the helmet does appear to be the same as shown on the coat of arms in William’s book. See the last reduced copy of a coat of arms.

    There are not too many families that have at least two coats of arms.

    To the left is a reproduction of the section of the Barroclough datestone showing the coat of arms enlarged so you can see the weasels pointing in the wrong direction.

    I’m still trying to find someone that has a color reproduction of the family coat of arms. By the way, any direct descendant of Oliver Byrtwesell (Birtwistle) is entitled to use his coat of arms. Any direct descendant of John Birtwhistle of Dundeugh has the same right. If you are lucky enough to be a descendant of Oliver as well as John, you have a right to use both of the coats of arms.

    Although I am a direct descendant of Oliver, I didn’t dare place the coat of arms upon my office wall. How would a coat of arms containing three weasels look on the wall of an attorney’s office?

    Still missing is the original coat of arms that was located upon Huncoat Hall. One can see the place where it was. I had heard that it had been removed and was stored in the Accrington Museum, but my relatives tell me there is no such museum and the people at the Town Hall did not have any knowledge of the storage of the coat of arms.

    Most likely, the version of the coat of arms found at the beginning of cousin Billy’s book is the most correct version. At page 162 of his book, cousin Billy states that there on the black marble grave stone of John Birtwistle, b. 1621, and his wife Phyllis Aris located in the aisle of the Parish Church in Maids Morton in Buckingham, England, “is probably the earliest and most authentic version of the original Huncoat Hall Coat of Arms of 1567 in existence”. Hope someone takes a picture of this to compare with what we have. The sketch at page 162 aforesaid is based upon a photo taken by Ray Aspden of such grave stone.


    The family must thank Jim Aston who rescued the Barraclough Datestone from a pile of rubble. The above article was furnished by Ray Aspden from an article that

    appeared in a local newspaper

    Pictures following furnished by Mark Potter

    Since most of the reader of this little book will not have the opportunity of visiting the village of Huncoat to see the Datestone and Mark has taken pictures of the whole, I felt a complete copy of the same should be set forth herein. It is in sections so one must follow the overlaps.

    The wall showing the plague with the description below.

      1. See lawyers do have a sense of humor. Some of our cousins in the UK didn’t appreciate another observation I made. When a few said they didn’t want our family heritage traced to the Normans because of the French association. I said why, the Normans were nothing more than Vikings that spoke French.

  42. AND finally, for those that have not heard. There is a “Big Dig” going on outside Hapton, Lancashire to find a small hamlet from history, Birtwistle! It appears that the hamlet may have been found.


  43. I have tried to help you that are seeking a copy of William’s book, but the best I can do is give you this information. The printing company website is down and says it is under construction. The email contact info I had doesn’t work, but the company is still in business. Caxton Printing Co., Limited is located on Tremellen St., Accrington, UK with a tel. no. of 44-1254-232269. They are the printers of the book. Before, one had to contact Mrs J.R. Hartley to get OK for printer to print book for you. She took the job over upon her sister’s death. (Her sister is the one worked with William and finished William’s 3rd book on the Cotton Mills.) She doesn’t have internet so one has to mail her at 93 Plantation Street, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 6RT, England. If one calls the printing company, they can find out if they still have to contact Mrs. Hartley and whether they are still printing the book. AND tell them or Mrs. Hartley that there is new interest from several people in obtaining copies.

    In regard to the book that I compiled, I am waiting to see if now I can email the book rather than creating a DVD and mailing the same. I just emailed my compiled book to one of you and it went thru. Let’s see if the recipient receives the same. If he does, I may be able to email it to those interested. My book does not contain the tree which was in a sleeve containing a CD at the back of the book. The tree I know is too big to email but if you want, I can give you access to the same if you provide me with your email address. (At least you can see the 1990 pictures of Huncoat Hall as well as the different coats of arms I talked about in prior blog yesterday.

    Note my email address is and that my trees other than what is on the Ancestry site are obsolete.

  44. Good morning Alan and all Birtwistles.
    All I can say is that your work is outstanding. I would indeed like to have a copy of the CD as I see no hope of getting a copy of the great book by William.
    I am at (Canada).

    As to coats of arms, my area of special interest, I believe that the one granted to Oliver showing three weasels and an ermine chevron with the crest of a flat fish, or turbot, is a great example of “Canting arms” which in this case plays on the Birt and Wi(e)sell name. One translation of the old English name is “Dwellers by the bend in the river” (Oxford Book of English Names) which shows three animals at the bend in the river (chevron) with the flatfish finishing off the pun. These arms are described in Burke’s General Armory (4th impression 1969) and not corrected in General Armory Two by Cecil R. Humphrey-Smith of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury, 1973. The are also depicted in The Oxford Guide to Heraldry(1988) pp81, by T. Woodcock, then Somerset Herald and J. M. Robinson, then Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary, as an example of canting arms. Oliver Birtwistle’s arms are the only official recorded arms in all the heraldic books I have, or have seen to date. That is not to say there are no other Birtwistle arms. I have a grant of arms from the College of Arms in London, UK (1975), my daughter one from the Canadian Heraldic Authority (1995), both Crown granting authorities. The other arms you mention and which I have seen, show Birtwistle impaling Birtwistle, which means that an armigerous Birtwistle married another armigerous Birtwistle with the same arms. As armorial law dictates that only one person has the right to one granted coat of arms in the grantee’s life time/ no two persons can bear or have the right to the same (undifferenced) coat of arms at the same time according the the Law of Arms in the UK (Coll.arms), the picture I saw makes no sense. This is the one with a dolphin crest.

    Regarding the number of weasels on a shield, this may be a “Differencing” made by a younger member of the family to distinguish him from the head of the family. However, technically, this would have had to be approved by the College of Arms. Regarding The house of Names, I say without prejudice, they have no credibility with heraldic authorities or heraldic societies, as they sell shields of arms to people of the same name who in all likelihood have no right to the arms which were granted to the original owner of the arms. We call them “Bucket shops” as they pull out of a bucket, usually using Burke’s General Armory, arms of the same name as the purchaser, implying that they are “Family arms” and therefore the person is entitled to the arms. Not so! No such things as “Family arms” in the UK. One person, one coat of arms, as arms are individual signs of recognition and presence. Sorry for going on about this, but it is something about which armigers feel very strongly.

    Alan, as a direct descendent of Oliver, the College of Arms could grant you the right to use the arms with the pedigree as proof, although as you say, for a lawyer the display of weasels may make some people worried. However, this is our proud history about which we speak, not considering the now derogatory term with which “weasel” has become associated.

    Regarding the Barroclough datestone with the ermines pointing the right (from the viewer’s perspective) they again could be a differencing for a cadet branch of the family, or, copied from a sealing ring which is carved in reverse so that on wax it is correct. Just a thought.

    Let me finish by saying that none of us would agree to a false pedigree in genealogy. It is in the same vein that we should view the right to granted arms and the true decent of armigers.

    Finally, once again, thank you for your monumental work. As stated above, it is outstanding and a CD would be greatly appreciated.


  45. I have asked my mother and cousin if they know anything about the Coat of Arms connected with my Uncle Michael (Col. Michael Albert Astley Birtwistle of Tunstall) who was High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1979.

    His family were one of the Cotton Mill owning Birtwistle families – there were quite a few – that WA Birtwistle (‘cousin Billy’) writes about in A Family of East Lancashire Cotton Manufacturers:

    According to cousin Billy, they were all descendants of James Birtwistle of Stoups Farm, Great Harwood, and Betty Eddleston who in married 1774.

    I think the Mill Uncle Michael ran (Birtwistle & Fielding) after serving in WW2 was sold to Courtaulds in 50s or maybe early 60s, who he then joined.

    Have to say I can’t take the whole college of arms very seriously though. None of us are Lords of the Manor because there isn’t one anymore. And tracing the primogeniture in this day and age would seem a little desperate.

    Clearly, the Coat of Arms has been around a long time and having some Bluemantle Pursuivant tell us about when it was granted, etc, is one thing. Charging for that is quite another.

    Funnily enough, my brother sought the opinion of a Bluemantle Pursuivant at the of the College of Arms back in ’95 about the Coat of Arms we thought belonged to my father’s family.

    He suggested it was “probably a charming and late example of the outrages that the painter stainers/undertakers/stationers were carrying out on an unsuspecting public,” but then explained how he could petition for it’s registration for a mere £2,200 ;)

    That struck me as a racket, and from then I have found it difficult to take them seriously​ fun as they are.

    1. Love your response Justin. Thanks for your honesty. In Canada, many of us feel the same way and we do have our own heraldic authority so things are a little less formal. Blumantle’s response is probably quite accurate about the painter’s, stainer’s, etc. especially in the 18-19th. centuries. And grants of arms at the College are really expensive compared to Lord Lyon’s Office in Edinburgh and the Canadian Heraldic Authority. However, these crown offices can charge what they believe is fair.
      Blumantle was truly referring to an historical “Racket”. I would not apply that to the present authority. But expensive it is indeed. In many respects the heralds, etc. run private practices and pay the clerks and artist from their fees amongst other things. So think heraldic lawyers. Or not.
      Regarding tracing the primogenitor, it would certainly be more expensive than any of us would want. In the 1970’s I explored this issue myself with the then Richmond Herald. He thought the chances of being the direct descendent of the initial grantee was quite slim and would be extremely expensive and so I petitioned for a new grant. This was not expensive at that time and a good decision on my part.

      I still have not been able to post pictures so I cannot share images.

      Thanks for your feedback and let us keep this dialogue going for all of our and our ancestor’s benefit.

      Cheerful regards,


  46. Justin, after our recent exchange of emails re the Coat of Arms, I thought I’d root around the house a bit to see what else I could find. I was always led to believe that Mum helped Billy with his original research, but I wasn’t able to confirm that as her memory deteriorated with old age and dementia. However, I’ve found a wealth of material (in no sort of order) on all four branches of my family (Birtwistles, Marwoods, Craigs and Beirnes). There are typed wills for various Birtwistles going back to 1650 or so (I assume typed by Mum from the originals), two pristine copies of Billy’s second book, and various sketches of Huncoat Hall (some of which are in an envelope addressed to Billy). However, the most intriguing find is what seems to be a complete copy of Billy’s handwritten manuscript of the first book. It’s in a blue cardboard file with “History of Birtwistle 1200-1800” written on the cover. It’s not Mum’s handwriting, so I assume it’s Billy’s. It’s 122 numbered pages with various other documents at the back (e.g. ‘Farms of Huncoat 1597’). I’ve certainly never seen it before. Probably worth scanning to PDF at some point. The main text is quite legible, though I can’t say the same for some of the attached documents.


    1. Mark, that sounds like an amazing archive and I sure there are those on here who would love to see original document. I’ll post you dad’s Coat of Arms in a mo, and those that David Avery has sent over.

  47. Yes, I was on there for a while. A lot of the data from some of those individuals was contributed by them to my tree on Ancestry. Do any of you realize that the Birtwistles are mentioned in 2 of Robert Burns poems? “Roaring Birtwistles.”

    I hadn’t looked on my tree on Ancestry for a while. I see that the Notes attached to individuals are not included. Quite a few of the sources William and the folks that helped him used are noted where they are attached to an individual. Also, I more or less quoted most of page 3 of Billy’s book where he recited the numerous sources. As I have said before, I also got a copy of the Birtwistle section of the Whitaker book, part of which Billy used for some of his data.

    Mark, those sketches you found of Huncoat Hall are in the Whitaker book which Billy incorporated into his book. I also believe the sketch map of the area was from the Whitaker book. I wouldn’t be surprised that the handwritten draft of the book was done by Ray Aspden. Don’t know if he is still alive. It has been probably 10 years since I have been in contact with him. I had him review some of the articles and information that we had in our book before I published the same.

    With all the new data that I read about above, has anyone thought about creating our own web site? It would be a shame if this data, pictures, etc. was not saved and shared. There are a few web sites, but these are mostly for individual branches.

    Justin, would you want more people to learn about your blog? I have quite a few email addresses if you are interested.

    1. There’s no reason why this blog doesn’t become a resource in theory. But it is free wordpress site so have not idea how close I am getting to my data allowance for uploads. If we start uploading more resources then I think it might be better creating a dedicated site.

  48. Mark, I had to check something, but you are probably wondering why I pointed to Ray Aspden. See if you have a sketch of Huncoat Hall dated 1990. Ray did that sketch. You may have the draft of the complete of the original book if the map that I referred to is also there.

  49. Alan, it seems one never gets answers, only more questions! First of all I need to state that my copy of Billy’s book is the ‘Second Impression August, 1990’. It has a number of corrections on pages 178 and 179 and some updates to 1890 from page 182 onwards. The ‘draft’ I have is certainly only that (incidentally, for the avoidance of doubt, it’s a photocopy, not an original).

    Billy’s Introduction starts “This little book is a serious study into the history and activities of the Birtwistle family which originated in Hapton and Huncoat, from the end of the twelfth century to the middle years of the nineteenth century, and it should make a useful guide for any members of the family wishing to trace the history of their ancestors.”

    The Introduction in my ‘draft’ is “This little book is a short study of the family of Birtwistle. The history of a family that goes back to 1200 AD, and grew and developed in an area round Pendle in Lancashire and ????? ([can’t read that word] in Yorkshire. It is a story of men, worthy and true, the majority of whom are men of character and convictions, having an individuality of their own.”

    The opening phrase “This little book” suggests the same author, but probably a much earlier version. My mother (Glen Birtwistle) started her research in 1976 (with a view to proving my father’s lineage before his presumed appointment as High Sheriff in 1979) long before Billy’s book was published, so it’s possible that he sent her a copy of this handwritten early version to help in her research.

    Some of the sketches I have of Huncoat Hall are very similar to those on page 2 of Billy’s book, “Huncoat Hall, 1990”. However, they are not identical. The non-isometric one is titled ‘Huncoat Hall 1986’ and the wall that goes off at about two o’clock from the three chimney pots only has a single window and door (the far ones) on my version. The isometric sketch is again very similar, but some of the ‘cut-aways’ are different and the little window to the left of the fireplace (bubble on the right of the picture) doesn’t exist in my version. I have other sketches (some of which are annotated) which, again, don’t quite tally with those on pages VI and VII of Billy’s book. All very intriguing. I’ve taken a few photos which I can let you have if you are interested.

    The typed wills I have (two of which are on A3, how did they do that?) are some of those mentioned on page 177 relating to the Buckingham and London families: Edmund Birtwissell 1602; Avice Birtwissell of Bourton, Bucks 1625; John Birtwissell of Maids Morton, Bucks 1696. It’s interesting that the spelling (Birtwissell v Birtwistle) is different to that shown in Billy’s book.

    Finally, there’s a rather snooty handwritten letter to my Mum dated 28.2.76 from ‘Robert’ whom I assume was a member of the College of Arms. I’ll reproduce it in full in another post.

    1. Mark, my oldest brother had rather snotty email from College of Arms about what we thought was the Kirby Coat of Arms. After telling him that there was no record of it, he then proceeded to say how he could do so for a small discounted fee as old boy of same school that you both went to.

      That’s why I think the whole thing is a racket. If people want to stick one on their wall because it means something, then they can and I can’t see what College of Arms can do about. And if you have one of your own, that seems like a fun thing to have. A bit like Monty Python and Holy Grail sketch, where French Knight shouts from the ramparts to Arthur and his Knights below, ‘We already have one of those, and we like it very much’ ;)

      1. Justin.
        Saw that Monty Python skit. Truly irreverent, which was just the point and well made. And yes, one can stick anything on his/her wall if they like it. Not a problem.

        Having a “Family coat of arms” (no such animal!) is a great introduction to heraldry. That is how I got started in part. However, what the College of Arms, Lord Lyon’s Court in Scotland and the Canadian Heraldic Authority here state is that under the Laws of arms, one cannot display a “family name arms” and claim or imply by display (Bearing arms) that it belongs to that individual without a direct grant from the crown or clearly proven descent from an armigerous ancestor. Indeed, in Scotland one could end up in Lord Lyon’s Court (Under civil law) and be ordered to remove the arms and flag displayed and face a fine. Quite legal. In England, the laws of arms are the same but leave it up to individuals to pursue legal proceedings if they so wish. The best way to protect arms legally today is under the Trademark Act.

        Notwithstanding how people may feel about armorials, legal grantees and owners of arms by true descent feel quite strongly about their arms and do not take kindly to someone else using them without due authority. I realize that this may also seem “Snotty”, but these are “My” arms just as these are my university degrees, just as this is my queen’s Commission, and no one has the right, legally, morally or flippantly,(Monty Python notwithstanding, chuckle, chuckle) to claim these signs of achievement as their own. There! Said my piece.

        Cheerfully sent in the true spirit of our common ancestry,


      2. Hi again, Justin.
        So sorry that your brother had a poor experience with the College of Arms. There are good and not so good heralds, mannerly and not so. It certainly would not leave a poor taste in one’s mouth to feel treated poorly.
        I was treated with the utmost respect in the 70’s by the then Richmond Herald, John Brooke-Little, later Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, God rest him. I have since had dealings with the college in the past decade, and while slow to respond, was treated well regarding my college’s grant of arms.



  50. 28.2.76

    Dear Glen,

    The crest registered by Oliver Birtwistle of Huncoat Hall (“Olyver Byrtwesell, of Huncothall”), at Flower’s Visitation of Lancashire, 1567, was: A dolphin, or turbot, Proper.

    But when you told me that you had a brief history of the family, I did not realise that what you meant was a cutting from Lancashire Life, and I must impress on you that no one of the name Birtwistle is entitled to use the Birtwistle arms or crest unless he can prove, to the satisfaction of the officers of the College of Arms, that he is descended either from Oliver Birtwistle who recorded a pedigree and arms at Flower’s Visitation of 1567, or from Thomas Birtwistle who recorded a pedigree at Dugdale’s Visitation of 1664. If you would like to let me have a look at Michael’s pedigree, I will gladly give you a preliminary opinion as to his entitlement.

    Yrs ever,


    1. Hi Mark.
      I quite concur with you regarding the heralds and the crest on the Birtwistle shield as a flatfish/Turbot in 1567 as well as This is exemplified in The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1988). p. 81 in a pic of a drawing by Hervy, Clarenxeux King of Arms. I also agree with Robert’s response to Glen about the right the bear Olier Birtwistle’s arms, a position I have previously stated and based on the Law of Arms in the UK and Canada.

      In Burke’s General Armory on p.84 Birtwesill has a Dophin OR a Tubot for a crest, dated both 1567 and 1664. One or the other, but not a choice in a grant or confirmation of arms. It is possible that the crest was changed in 1664, as it was definitely a Turbot in 1567 according to the aforementioned drawing. I have no record of a Dolphin crest. Indeed, the familiar Birtwistle shield of ermine chevron and three weasels with turbot crest is a lovely example of canting arms. This is also the only reference that I can find regarding a grant to Birtwistle, although as I have indicated to Justin in a previous epistle, I do not have all the sources in my heraldic library.

      Cheerful regards,


      1. Hi David,

        Like you, I find this whole dolphin business rather strange. My copy of the rather odd John Birtwhistle of Dundeuch double Birtwistle arms has a curved fish crest which is certainly not a flatfish, but which doesn’t remotely resemble a dolphin – at least, not to my eye.

        I think I may have been doing the College of Arms a disservice in assuming ‘Robert’ was a member. It can’t have been Robert Noel as he was only 14 at the time (!), and I can’t find any other Roberts among the officers of the College in 1976. I was just amused that my Mum thought a cutting from Lancashire Life would be sufficient to prove pedigree! I think my parents generally had a good experience with the College, they were certainly extremely helpful when my father’s appointment was brought forward, and we all like the arms they created – I think it was a clever variation on the theme. My parents actually knew John Martin Robinson who is the current Maltravers Herald Extraordinary (like me, born in Preston), but even he wasn’t appointed to the College until later (originally as the Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary). I do love these titles, Justin is just bitter and twisted!


      2. Hi Mark.
        Well, as I said before, there are good and not so good heraldic personnel. My contacts were generally very good. Still—-!

        I am really enjoying this blog whether people agree or disagree. I really wish we could get together for dinner/drinks at some point for a Birtwistle gathering notwithstanding my living in Canada. Paul Birtwistle had posted that he would be in Toronto (three hours south of us from where we moved last June upon retirement) in September. I hope I can get together with him. But a gathering would be great.

        I would appreciate if you would send me a pic of your father’s arms to add to my heraldic collection of colleagues and friends.



      3. Hi Mark.
        Just a comment on the Dolphin depicted in the later Birtwistle arms. This is an heraldic dolphin and like many beasts, mammals, fish, etc. in heraldry, they are more imaginative and fantastic than the “Proper’ or natural animals. Heraldic tigers, antelopes, panthers, etc. all have fantastic and imaginative looks in heraldry. However, one can have any animal also look natural. The dolphin is a fine example of heraldic artistic licence. Also, many of the historic heralds had never seen many of these animals in real life.



      4. Mark.
        Just looked at the site re-mugs. Black and white with weasels- Not the ancient Birtwistle arms. Obviously a figment of someone’s imagination!!!!!!

        Too bad they are not Oliver’s arms.


      5. Hi David,

        I’m not sure how I can send you a picture of my father’s arms without knowing your email address, and you may not want to publish that online. Maybe via Justin? The only picture I have of the whole caboodle is the one that Justin has already posted to the site, but it’s not a great photo because the original is framed with a glass front, so there are inevitable reflections. I do, however, have a couple of paper pictures of the shield only. Interestingly, I have found someone who produces digital pictures of Coats of Arms (vector graphics) and he has quoted me £450-£500 for “a library of images file types of the complete achievement as well as the shield isolated,” which I don’t think is unreasonable (Justin may have other views!):

        If I were feeling flush I’d feel quite tempted, because once I have a digital image there’s no end to the things I could put our Coat of Arms on (mugs, baseball cap, T-shirts etc)!


      6. Hi Mark.
        I am at

        Regarding the above comments on weasels to Justin,
        in heraldry they are just three weasels facing right from the shield bearer’s viewpoint which is the heraldic blazon viewpoint, and left from the viewers’ perspective. It does not matter about position of feet-just weasesl standing, unless the blazon says something else like affronte or tail curled upwards/downwards, or twenty five toes facing backwards; the same goes for an earlier observation on the chevron (perhaps from Allan, not sure) about how many ermine tails were on the chevron. The blazon just says a “Chevron ermine”, so whatever the artist decides is aesthetically OK goes, unless the number is specific. That is what I love about blazons; once you can read the terms it is simple with very little room for error.
        One of my favourite books on heraldry is Boutell’s Heraldry no longer published but reasonable from Amazon. My last edition Ed. by J.P. Brooke-Little, covers all these heraldic issues. A copy of “Simple Heraldry” by Moncreiffe and Pottinger – a very humerous book on English and Scots heraldry in cartoon/caricature forms in colour. It is out of print I believe, but can be found on Amazon. Very well done.
        I just checked. Both on at reasonable prices.

        These are the best books, in my humble opinion, to start with in the study of British heraldry. Great books; great respected authors, artists and editors.

        Good studying.


      7. Speaking of mugs (possibly in both senses of the word), I’ve found this site which shows what I imagine is a completely concocted Birtwhistle Coat of Arms that you can have imprinted on mugs, key fobs etc. It does have the three weasels, so if it’s not the product of someone’s creative imagination, it’s another one to add to the list. But I seriously doubt it:


      8. Hi again Mark.
        Love your “Mugs” comment. Well, I stay away from those money making schemes. However, if there is one with a shield an ermine chevron and three weasels, no harm in having a coffee or tea or a good single malt even, in a mug with our ANCESTOR’S ARMS displayed.

        Better still, have your own arms on a mug – easily done at a photography shop.



  51. How a dolphin and turbot are interchangeable when the former is a mammal and the latter is a fish is quite beyond me!

  52. Justin, if you look at the Heralds’ salaries, you’ll see why they need a good racket!

    “Heralds in ordinary receive yearly salaries from the Crown – Garter King of Arms £49.07, the two provincial Kings of Arms £20.25, the six heralds £17.80, and the four pursuivants £13.95. These salaries were fixed at higher levels by James I but reduced by William IV in the 1830s. The work of the heralds is otherwise unassisted from public funds. Garter King of Arms gives heraldic and other advice to The Crown and Government Departments and receives an honorarium to cover his time and expenses. In addition to their official duties, they have for many centuries had private practices in heraldry and genealogy, for which they are allowed to charge professional fees.”

    How would you like it if you hadn’t had a pay rise since the 1830s?!

    It look as if ‘Robert’ might have been Robert Noel, the Lancaster Herald.

  53. I’ll get my coat ;)

    A pay rise might help with what otherwise looks like conflict of interest, i.e., we have been granted this, but really make our money from this.

    Having Coat of Arms on one side that appears to be fake, which we could pay to have granted, and another that would take money to prove entitlement make this all a bit moot. But my mum likes the embroidered version of the Birtwistle Coat of arms I found on eBay.

    1. Thanks Justin. Understood.
      Indeed, heraldry is to be enjoyed, and the canting arms of Oliver Birtwistle are fun.
      Getting your own granted is even more fun as you can put something very personal to you on the shield or make into a crest, e.g. my black demi-dragon and its symbolic cross and red rose for ” ‘ome”.
      And using some of the charges from the Oliver’s arms is quite acceptable if you wish the Birtwistle connection to be reflected in your heraldic achievement.



  54. David just to clarify I don’t think the snotty bit is having one or wanting one, but aimed at those who grant them… or at least in letters that I have seen and Mark seems to suggest he has also seen. I think having one or wanting one is fun. So something lost in web translation and apologies for being a bit cheeky. But sometimes genealogy can get taken a bit seriously, whereas for me it’s also been something that was fun. Justin

  55. Mark, I think Marcus might be able to do you Vector based graphic for free or maybe a pint or two based on framed one. If you have shield as flat artwork it might have more detail that he can scan and convert. I can ask him.

    1. Hi Justin, many thanks for the offer. I’ve actually just noticed that the flat artwork of the shield is subtly different to that on the official grant of Arms – little details like the positions of the weasel’s paws and tails – so the artwork I have may just have been preliminary sketches. What I like about Quentin’s work is that he redraws everything (presumably optimised for vector graphics), and it seems to be very high quality. But if Marcus can do the same for free, then who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? :-)

  56. Hi Justin.
    Thanks for posting my ramblings on family and personal heraldry. Greatly appreciated.


    1. I was in Skipton Church (beside the Castle) last year on a visit to England, and I noticed that there were lots of Birtwistle plaques and memorials on the walls.

  57. Hello again, cousins.
    Well, Birtwistles are popping up all over.
    This is great. Summer is here with a vengeance in Ontario as it is in the UK, as I understand. Indeed, you do need air conditioning!!!! On another topic, I am still unsuccessful in finding any copy of William Birtwistle’s book on our family (1200-1850). I have sent an email to Caxton Printers in Accrington, inquiring about the possibility of a re-print. No response to date. I may phone the printers. However, if anyone has, or knows of a copy of this book that is listed as THE SOURCE of our family history, and it is available, please let me know.
    Thank you my cousins.


    1. I have my own copy and I believe my sister has a copy that she may consider selling for the right price as they are quite valuable I believe. If you are interested in purchasing one of our copies please indicate and maybe wecould come to a deal? My direct email is :)

  58. Dear cousins.
    Many thanks go to M.B. ( for his response to my request for any assistance in purchasing William Birtwistle’s book. He letting me purchase his copy of The Birtwistle Family 1200-1850 AD. As many of you know, this text is a scarce as hens’ teeth.
    I can now continue with some confidence on my own Birtwistle history.

    Here in the mid-north of Ontario, Fall has come and the leaves have pretty much disappeared with the high winds and near zero temperatures we have recently had on the lake.

    As the weather changes, I wish you all a great Autumn and Guy Fawkes night celebration as I “hunker down” in front of the fire with William’s book and my genealogical charts scattered before me with a single malt close at hand (to help with research you understand).

    Cheerful regards,


  59. Hello again.
    In reviewing the family on I note that there are references to the book showing the date 1200-1890. Allan Birtwhistle also makes this reference. Was this a second edition or just an addendum by William Birtwistle?



    1. Hi David,
      This was a second addition which corrected a few errors and updated the information to 1890. On page II it states it is a “Second Impression August 1990. See pages 178 and 179 for alterations and additions.” If you check my tree, I, with a lot of cousins, made a lot of corrections to various lines since more information became available. I can give you access to our tree on Ancestry with your email address or If you would like, I believe I can put a copy on a DVD of the tree as it now exists and send it on to you. Let me know. I live in Florida now.

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