Halliwell’s Oldest inhabitant in the 1861 Census

Having spare units for a census website, I decided to look at the information for Halliwell in the 1861 census. For no particular reason I looked at the older end of the population, those aged 70 or over, of which there were 103 out of a total population for Halliwell of 5,871.

The oldest person was Samuel Pennington, aged 90, a widower living at Sunny Bank, having been born in Chelford, Cheshire. Information from another website showed that Samuel was baptised on October 20th 1771, in the parish of Daresbury, son of Peter and Elizabeth nee Poole. It is not obvious what brought Samuel to Bolton, as he is described in the census as ‘Cottage Proprietor’, but on July 12th 1825, when in his mid-fifties, he married Jane Mosecrop at Bolton Parish Church. A possible Jane was baptised at Bedford, near Leigh, in 1797.

In 1861 Samuel’s 2 daughters, Alice and Sarah Ann, were still living with him in Halliwell, aged 33 and 24, but Samuel and Jane had at least 5 other children – Mary Jane (1826), Samuel Mosecrop (1829), Thomas (1831), Elizabeth (1833) and Hannah (1835).

The census page on which Samuel is recorded also lists 2 others over 70, James Thornley, a farmer of 3½ acres born in Horwich and aged 77, and his wife Ellen, 73, born in Westhoughton. Of the 25 people listed on the page, which covers Sunny Bank, Rushey Fold and Victoria Row, 16 were born in Halliwell, being the children of each family. The other surnames are Haddock (from Horwich), Walker (Harwood) and Atherton (Ince). The occupations give an idea of the attraction of Halliwell for these incomers – some residents worked in a cotton factory (possibly Hill Mill being the nearest), some in an iron foundry and some in a bleach works (possibly Temple or Sharples again being the nearest).

A page of census like this can provide so much information – and all at the touch of a computer mouse button. The 2 websites used were www.1837online.com (fee payable) and www.familysearch.com (free).

By Sue Hurst