The Birtwistles and Huncoat Hall

Huncoat Hall, circa 1650

I’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.


64 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!

  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

  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

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