Ormskirk Market Day

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Issue 89
November 2022

The Ma&azine of the
Orrnskirk and District



Family History Society

The ODFHS Useful Information Page
Ormskirk and District Family History Society was inaugurated in 1980.
Registered Charity (No. 1004895). Member of the Family History Federation.

The Ormskirk and District Family Historian
Issue 89 - November 2022


Ormskirk & District Family History Society
c/o 27 Bath Springs, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 2XP
website: www.odfhs.website boat families: www.boatfamilies.website Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OrmskirkDistrictFamilyHistorySociety/


View from the Chair 4
Library Notes 6
A Bazaar For Ormskirk Dispensary, 1831 7
Haskayne and Downholland YouTube Video 10
Blue Plaques Installed At Burscough Wharf 10
Medical Ancestors and Medical Terms: Useful Websites 11

Hon. Chair Hon. Secretary Hon. Treasurer

Assistant Librarian Membership Secretary Website Manager Magazine Editor

Kate Hurst
Pam Richardson This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sally Dean

Kathryn Macdonald Jean Gidman
Sally Dean This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Alan Cooper
Kate Hurst This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


for Family History Research
New ODFHS Postcards 13
Nurses of Ormskirk Hospital 14
What’s Coming Up? Winter 2022/23 16
Talk Reports 17
Interesting News 22
Family History on YouTube 23
Out and About with ODFHS 24
Local Medical Professionals in 18th and 19th Century 25
Trade Directories
Wanted - Treasurer and Membership Secretary 27

June Dean Golics, Sally Dean, Pam Richardson, Keith Jenkins, Kate Hurst, Eunice Woof, Dot Broady Hawkes, Kathryn Macdonald,
Alan Cooper, Norma Gregson, Keith Broadbent

Could You Contribute To Our Magazine?
Articles for the Ormskirk and District Family Historian are always welcome. If you’d like to send something for publication, please contact the Editor using the e-mail or postal address above, with your name and membership number. We will do our best to look after all items (and will return them on request) but we suggest that you retain any original documents.

Scarisbrick Harvest Queen, 1948 28
Local Medical BMDs in the Newspapers: 1807 to 1843 29
Dr. William Anderton - A Brief Biography 31
Local Names in the Midwives Roll (1905) 33
Advertisements 38
Subscription Rates and Society Facilities 39
“Not to know what happened before we were born is to remain perpetually a child. For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the recording of history.” - Cicero (106-143BC) sent in by Jean Haikalis (1946-2017)

View From The Chair

It’s slightly surreal to think that the theme for Issue 88 was Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, and yet just a few months on, I’m writing an introduction to the first ODFHS Magazine of what is already being called the New Carolean era. I wonder what changes our Society will see during this period of history?

Before I go on, may I draw your attention to a blank advertising space on page 38? Anyone who would like to use this is invited to contact us; any money received goes directly to support the Society. On a related note, Sally Dean (our Treasurer and Membership Secretary) has decided to resign both roles at our next AGM, on 24 May 2023; I am sure that you will be aware that it is impossible for the Society to operate without a Treasurer. If you are interested in taking on either (or both) roles, please turn to page 27, or contact us for more information.

After the disruptions of 2020 and 2021, ODFHS is getting back into its stride. Although I’m writing this on a grey, wet October afternoon, watching the trees in my garden turn slowly bare as they scatter orange and yellow leaves all over the lawn, I feel a certain optimism for the Society that I usually associate with the first snowdrops popping up at the end of winter. Perhaps you’re wondering why?

Behind the scenes at ODFHS, things are very busy! Earlier this year, Alan (our Website Manager) and Kathryn (our Librarian) had begun to add digitised back copies of our Magazine to the Members’ Area of our website; at present, the first- forty five editions (1991 to 2007) and all but one from Issue 55 to the present are available. Maybe it will surprise you to learn that Queensland FHS in Australia supplied Issues 24, 26, 27, 28 and 30? Their volunteers discovered them when preparing to move to a new library and resource centre; the least we could do to thank them was to tell you more about their plans on page 23.

I’m delighted to say that new Society projects are in progress; one is an overhaul of an existing publication, another is totally new. Years ago, the late Bill Huyton gave me a memory stick containing a master copy of our CD data (gravestone

inscriptions, land tax records etc.); during lockdown, I realised that the original memorial inscriptions for Christ Church, Aughton (dating from 1997) were neatly typed up . . . but saved as images - they were impossible to search! The Committee quickly decided that the best answer was to begin again from scratch (this time, including digital photos, which weren’t an option 25 years ago) and the work is progressing steadily. (Lancashire weather permitting!) As for that new project? Our stock of local postcards is running out - so we’re going to publish new ones! In the coming months, we plan to release at least two new sets on local themes, which are detailed on page 13.

If ODFHS had an aim this year, it was to get back to “normal”. Alongside our monthly meetings, we continue to host our monthly Zoom chats (see pg.16) and we’ve re-started our Help Desk at Ormskirk Library (10.30am, first Monday of each month). Pam Richardson and Kathryn MacDonald represented us at a recent Fun Palace at Ormskirk Library; Kathryn’s report (pg. 24) left me in no doubt that the traditional toys on our display were enjoyed by children and adults alike!

By the time you read this, ODFHS will have attended the Virtual Really Useful Family History Show in early November 2022; I’ve been making regular checks on our virtual booth to make sure that everything is in order. If you attended the Show, please let us know what you thought of it.

Thanks to your articles, and some other useful resources, my hope to give this edition a medical theme has become reality. Whether or not you’ve found a medical ancestor in your family, I hope you’ll find something to interest you here. (I never expected to encounter the poetic classical teacher Mr. Ball, who was moved to write a verse in honour of Lady Skelmersdale, but I’d certainly like to know more about him!)

I wish you every success with whichever part of your family history you’re working on just now. If you find anything interesting, we’d love to hear about it!

Kate Hurst October 2022

Library Notes

A Bazaar for Ormskirk Dispensary
Liverpool Mercury, 30 September 1831


In 1962 Ormskirk Grammar School celebrated its “Seventh Golden Jubilee”, as the introduction to a commemorative school magazine put it. A message of congratulations from Batley Grammar School, also celebrating its 350th anniversary in the same year, introduced the magazine.
The 400th anniversary of secondary education in Ormskirk was marked by The Foundation Governors in 2012. The celebrations included a service of thanksgiving at Ormskirk Parish Church on 24 June 2012.

The service was preceded by a procession through the town by current and former staff, parents and pupils, Foundation Governors, and the Mayor and Mayoress.


Lord Derby sent a message of congratulation: “My family have lived nearby and been involved with the institution since the original founders set up the Free Grammar School in 1612. We are proud that this association continues”.


The ODFHS Research Library on Wigan Road, Ormskirk is open by request. Please contact Kathryn MacDonald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




We received last week a detailed account of the bazaar held at Ormskirk, on the 13th, 14th and 15th instant, but at so late a period that we were unwillingly compelled to decline its insertion. The bazaar was intended by its benevolent originators, to make good a deficiency of £126 9s. 4d. in the funds for erecting a new Dispensary at Ormskirk, the subscriptions for which, though very liberal, and amounting to £682 12s. 8d., fell short of the expense incurred.

A committee was appointed. The use of the Town-hall was liberally granted by Earl Derby [sic] and Lady Skelmersdale kindly consented to become sole patroness of the meritorious undertaking. The hall was fitted up with taste and judgment, and had a very neat appearance. The ladies balloted for their situations, except Mrs. Wareing, to whom the others very generously gave precedence.

The number of stalls was seven, and the ladies were stationed in the following order. No.1, Mrs. and the Misses PALMER and CORLETT. No.2, the Misses BRANDRETH, MAWDSLEY and GILL. No.3, Mrs. Boyer and the Misses Jones. No. 4, at the top of the hall, Mrs. and Miss WAREING. No.5, on the right, Mrs. KERSHAW, the Misses GREEN and WELSBY. No. 6, the Misses BUSHELL, ROSKELL, and TASKER. No.7, the Misses KIRKPATRICK, CRAVEN, and
RENSHAW. The remaining space below was appropriated for the orchestra. Messrs. HARRIOTT and SCOTT were stationed in rooms adjoining the hall with a plentiful supply of choice refreshments.

It would be quite impossible for us to enumerate the great number of contributions presented to Mrs. WAREING by the Right Honourable the Lady Skelmersdale, in which were contained several highly-wrought articles made by Her Most Gracious Majesty and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent. The choice and very valuable contribution of Mrs. SCARISBRICK, of Scarisbrick-hall, of which Mrs. BOYER had

charge. The well assorted and costly contribution of Mrs. CLIFTON, of Blythe- hall, which was, we have been informed, presented to the committee of management and divided among the ladies who had stalls.

The Rev. W. BARNES, Rector of Richmond, liberally contributed to the bazaar, by forwarding to the committee twenty copies of his eloquent sermon. Mrs. KERSHAW, too, we believe, received valuable contributions, especially from Mrs. GRUNDY, of Tetlowfold, near Manchester, and from Mrs. HIND, of Wavertree. The sales commenced on Tuesday, September 13th, and were continued on the two following days. The total receipts amounted to £300.

On Wednesday the amateurs of Ormskirk, who, besides performing during the winter months for the benefit of the poor, have contributed nearly £90 to the funds of the Dispensary, performed the tragedy of Othello, in very good style, in furtherance of the same benevolent object. We are happy to state that the bazaar has more than realised the most sanguine expectations of its benevolent originators and supporters, and that its results have not only materially aided a most meritorious institution, but also reflected much honour on Ormskirk and its inhabitants.

Several poetic jeux d’esprit were written on the occasion. Mr. BALL, one of the classical teachers in Mr. KERSHAW’s establishment, and who, under his roof, has received the whole of his education, composed a poem expressly for the Bazaar, which he dedicated to the Right Honourable the Lady Patroness, and which is pronounced, by competent judges, to contain specimens of original genius and beautiful poetic imagery. The following is an extract: -

Thy land Utopian, where no sun e’er rose, But, lit by its own glory, ever glows, -
Thy vision’d structures of immortal mould, Thy caves of amethyst, thy sapphire halls, Thy crystal founts, and silver waterfalls, Thy sacred birds that pour eternal song,
Of sun-beam wing, perennially young, -

Thy emerald groves, where joy unfading springs, And deathless pleasure, with all pleasant things, Are evanescent, and less bright by far,
Than this fair child of Fancy - the Bazaar.


Notes from the Editor.
A detail from the same edition of Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9; Part One that supplied the extract featured on page 26 of this issue includes this reference under the category of “Academies” in Ormskirk:

“KERSHAW Thos. (gent’s boarding), Burscough st”.

The Ormskirk section of Baines’ Directory of 1825, Volume 2 (published in Issue 12 of our magazine, and reproduced in our publication Ormskirk Land Tax Records 1827-1831) also names the following in the “Academies” section:

“KERSHAW & SMITH (classl & commercial bdg.), Church Street KIRKPATRICK Miss M. (ladies bdg.) Church Street”


However, there is no reference to the poetic Mr. BALL in either directory. It was not unusual for trade directories to name only the most senior teacher in a school, but the newspaper suggests that he was not the only classical teacher employed at Mr. KERSHAW’s establishment.

If any Members have found a teacher named BALL who may have been resident in Ormskirk in the early 1830s in their family tree, or can tell us any more about him, the Editor would be delighted to hear from you via post (to the address on page 2) or via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Haskayne and Downholland YouTube Video

Medical Ancestors and Medical Terms
Useful Websites for Family History Research



On 22 August 2022, ODFHS published our fifty-ninth YouTube video, entitled Haskayne and Downholland | People and Places. The 12-minute film combines various local scenes with family photographs submitted by members and supporters of the Society, historical details from Mannex’s History, Topography and Directory and Directory of Mid-Lancashire (1854), the Victoria County History of Lancaster (1907), census records, data from the ODFHS Boat Families, and references to items found using the Lancashire Archives catalogue.

Our thanks go to all who submitted photos for inclusion in the video.



Blue Plaques Installed at Burscough Wharf

On 17 August 2022, two new Blue Plaques and an information board were installed at Burscough Wharf, to commemorate historian and author Ernest John ROSBOTTOM (1938-1985) and entertainer and Lancashire dialect authority Emma VICKERS (1894-1977). Emma was known for performing her own version of the Pace Egg Song at Easter, and a copy of Ernest’s book Burscough: The Story of an Agricultural Village (1987) is kept in the ODFHS Research Library.

The project was funded by Burscough Town Council, and the unveiling ceremony was held on 11 September 2022. The new plaques are displayed close to two other Blue Plaques made to honour Edward BRIDGE, M.M., B.E.M., and Harriett Emma MAHOOD, which were installed in September 2020. Short videos of each unveiling ceremony can be found on YouTube.


https://history.rcplondon.ac.uk/inspiring-physicians - The Inspiring Physicians Index. Also known as Munk’s Roll, it contains obituaries and/or biographies of fellows of the Royal College of Physicians from 1518 to the present. The index can be searched by keyword, first name, surname, birth date, death date or qualification level.

The Australian Medical Pioneers Index, which holds biographical data on more than 4500 doctors who lived in (or visited) Australia before 1875, including general practitioners, specialists and those linked to the army and navy.

Tips on identifying military nurses’ uniform, a guide to nursing services linked to the War Office, war diaries, a guide to locating surviving medical records from WW1, and personal accounts written by the nurses themselves.

A digital edition of The Medical Register for the Year 1780. Organised alphabetically by county, this publication includes details of surgeons, physicians, apothecaries, hospitals and asylums in Lancashire can be found between pages 107 and 116; Ormskirk is listed on page 114.
N.B. The website link includes an underscore between the numbers 4 and 0.

A digital edition of the British Medical Directory for England, Wales and Scotland, 1853. A wealth of information about the mid-Victorian medical world, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s doctors and dentists (pg.109), a list of county coroners (pp.122-128), county asylums and their medical officers (pg.131), and typical adult doses of medicines in common use (pg.160), as well as an assortment


of unexpected data, such as cab fares from London railway stations (pg.141) and statistics for English and Welsh BMDs from 1840 to 1851 (pp.152-153).

New ODFHS Postcards


A digital edition of the Report of the Ormskirk Cottage Hospital and Dispensary for 1928, which was featured in the talk at our June 2022 meeting.

A glossary of archaic medical terms that may be found on death certificates and in parish registers, sourced from various books and personal projects.


The following resources are also accessible via www.thegenealogist.co.uk as part of the Diamond subscription option:

• 1727-1898 Roll of Army Medical Staff
• 1895 Medical Directory - London, Provinces, Scotland and Ireland
• Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians, Official Directory, 1927
• Medical Directory, 1848
• Royal College of Physicians List of Fellows, 1908
• St. Thomas’s Hospital, List of Old Students, June 1936
• Stanfield Sanatorium Nurses Register, 1904-1979
• The Dentists Register 1888
• The Dentists Register 1937
• The Madras Medical Register 1934
• The Medical Register 1861
• The Medical Register 1873
• The Medical Register 1875
• The Medical Register 1891
• The Medical Register 1903
• The Medical Who’s Who 1912


A recent discussion amongst the ODFHS Executive Committee caused us to realise that, after spending much of this year getting back into our routine of attending community events like the Mediaeval Weekend, the Gingerbread Festival and the Fun Palace at Ormskirk Library (turn to page 24 for a report on the last of these), our stock of local postcards is rapidly dwindling!

The original series of cards were produced using photos taken by Andrew Scarisbrick (a former Committee Member), and his images have served us well for over a decade, adding colour and interest to our stalls at events on local and national scales. We now hope to produce a new series of postcards in the coming months, on the following themes:

Churches - Ormskirk Parish Church; St. Anne’s RC, Ormskirk; St. Cuthbert, Halsall; St. Thomas and the Holy Rood, Melling; Holy Trinity, Bickerstaffe; Holy Trinity, Tarleton.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal - Over the Ship Bridge, Haskayne; Melling Stone Bridge; Tarleton; View towards Shaw Hall Caravan Site, Scarisbrick; Burscough Wharf; Bridge at Top Locks, Lathom.














St. Cuthbert’s Church, Halsall (top); Holy Trinity, Tarleton (above)

• The Midwives Roll 1905

Ormskirk Town Centre - Ormskirk on Market Day; Chapel Gallery; The Clock Tower; War Memorial at Coronation Park; The Bandstand at Coronation Park; Scott’s the Butchers, on Church Street.

Nurses of Ormskirk Hospital
article by Kathryn MacDonald


The Gallery section of the ODFHS website contains a great collection of photographs of Ormskirk Nurses donated to the Society Library by Betty Underwood. In 2007 Betty published a book called "Ormskirk Workhouse Two World Wars N.H.S. Hospital" published by the Raven Entomological and Natural History Society.

The book is based on stories told by nurses who worked at Ormskirk Hospital, which together with Betty's extensive research, brings the history of the workhouse and hospital to life.

Amongst the acknowledgements for help given with her book, Betty has written "My thanks are extended to... The people of Ormskirk who gave me their photographs and lastly the nurses of Ormskirk Hospital without whom this story would never have been written at all, and have waited so patiently for me to finish."

Although many of the photographs collected were reproduced in the book, there are some which were not and these can be seen on our website.

A copy of "Ormskirk Workhouse Two World Wars N.H.S. Hospital" is available for members to consult in the ODFHS Library.




Outside the Nurses’ Home,
May 1941
(left to right) Nurse CRANE, unknown, Sister SANDERSON

We are informed that their uniform was navy, with red piping on the collar and hat.






Outside W.4.
Back row: Nurse CRITCHLEY, unknown, Nurse LEADBETTER, Nurse FARRINGTON
Front row: unknown, Sister BOARDMAN


Left to right: Nurse HOWARD,
Nurse CHARLES, Sister DRAPER, Nurse CRITCHLEY, unknown




Face-To-Face Meetings

What’s Coming Up?
Winter 2022/2023

Talk Reports

27 July 2022 - Around Ormskirk and District In 6 Objects: Stories from the Society’s Archives by Kathryn MacDonald


23 November 2022 A Quiz hosted by Colin MacDonald
28 December 2022 No meeting - but we wish you a very Happy Christmas! 25 January 2022 New Year, New Start: Enriching Your Research with
ODFHS Publications by ODFHS Committee Members

22 February 2022 Skelmersdale from the Domesday Book to the New Town
by Mark Boardman

22 March 2022 Not Just The 3 “R”s - Life in a Lancashire School by Mrs.
Louise Wade

Our in-person talks are held at the Guide HQ, Moorgate, Ormskirk, and begin at 7.30p.m. All welcome; non-members are requested to make a £2 donation. Refreshments available.


Zoom Meetings

9 December 2022 ZOOM Family History Chat, 11a.m. 12 January 2023 ZOOM Family History Chat, 2p.m.

9 February 2023 ZOOM Family History Chat, 11a.m. 9 March 2023 ZOOM Family History Chat, 2p.m.

If you have not yet received access details for our Zoom meetings but would like to

Twenty-seven members and visitors joined our meeting to hear our Librarian, Kathryn Macdonald, bring to life items held in our library, housed at the Scout Hall, Wigan Road, Ormskirk. We hold a huge amount of information, catalogued both as a card collection and as a spreadsheet, which is available on our website and can be searched from home.

The First Splash of Percy’s Puddle began with a letter published in the Ormskirk Advertiser in 1970, in which the writer asked how she could give a donation to the proposed swimming pool in the town. This project was made possible due to a large donation by Percy BILTON, a hugely successful businessman. Born in Aughton, Percy grew up in Southport Road, Ormskirk, and set up the Vigzol Oil company in his back yard along with his brother Fred, and John Lambert BALMFORTH. His empire grew and he became very wealthy, moving his headquarters to London, and setting up the Percy Bilton Charity in 1962 (still in existence today).
Wanting to give something back to Ormskirk, Percy donated a large amount of money to provide the children of Ormskirk with a swimming pool. The gift came with two conditions: the pool had to be available to all primary schools, and the local community had to raise £3,000, hence the letter in the Ormskirk

attend, please contact Kate Hurst (ODFHS Chair) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Advertiser. The pool was opened
in 1972.

The 1970 newspaper clipping (left), and a modern
edition of Emily Ormesher’s novel (right).

A manuscript of a Victorian romantic novel, sent to the Society last November by a lady living in Sussex, raised the question who was the other Miss Ormesher? The manuscript, purchased in 2017 from eBay by the donor was handwritten by Emily ORMESHER. It was sent to ODFHS as it was believed that Emily was the sister of Mary and Margaret ORMESHER, who were murdered in Ormskirk in 1956. Kathryn set about verifying this information with help from June Bibby and Jean Dutton, who both had links to the ORMESHER family. Based on her findings, Kathryn believes that Emily the author was not a sister to Margaret and Mary, but from a related Ormesher family living in Westhead; the Westhead family included another Emily with two sisters, all of whom were dressmakers. She based this on where Emily was living at the time she wrote the book and the similarity of the content to the lives of the sisters. The manuscript, in beautiful copperplate writing is available to see in the Research Library.

The fourth item, Mr. HAGUE’s Account Book, had been kept by a farmer and draper who lived in Tarleton. The document (covering from 1860 to the late 1870s), has been loaned to ODFHS by his great-granddaughter, and contains hundreds of names and addresses, with meticulous records of goods sold and prices, although it doesn’t actually mention which goods were sold. His customers came from all round the area, including Tarleton, Mawdesley and Holmeswood. Many people paid for the goods by doing work for him. At the back of the book are recipes, which may have been added by his widow Martha, who carried on the business after his death.

The contributions of Rev. Charles D. RUSSELL, Vicar of Burscough from 1899 to 1913, provides a picture of village life in copies of Burscough Parish Magazine which are held in the library. His irritation with his parishioners is also evident,

showed us a photo of the Rev. RUSSELL which she found on the Images of Burscough website, and had been allowed to use by Michael Dawson. Rev. RUSSELL had been born in Bath, and came to Burscough when he was in his fifties. Kathryn read us various amusing excerpts from his writings, especially those about hymn books which seemed to be a pet hobbyhorse.

A photo of a plaque bearing the name of Councillor William RIGBY (Chairman of Ormskirk Urban District Council in 1968-69) was the fifth item. A large number of photographs have been given to us by a relative of Councillor Rigby, which show a slice of social history at that time, and feature various events which Cllr. RIGBY had attended with his wife Ruby (nee ROTHWELL) and daughter Enid, including scout parades and events attended by the local MP. Many are available to view in the gallery area of our website www.odfhs.website and, if you can identify anyone, please let us know.

The final topic was Ormskirk Grammar School Magazines, which date from the 1930s to the 1960s. Many of these have been scanned and added to the members’ area of our website. There are pictures of school events, news on teachers and reports of visits and trips. They also contain examples of creative writing by the students, and one in particular caught Kathryn’s interest. It was written in 1932, when traffic lights had just been installed by the Clock Tower at the top of Aughton Street, Ormskirk, and were proving very efficient and interesting to residents of the town, who were spellbound watching them. Likewise, the arrival in the town of a new motorised, bright red fire engine, with reports suggesting that people actually set fires so that they could see the new engine at work.

The evening gave a fascinating insight into some of the holdings of our library, many of which are available to view in the members’ area of our website. Kathryn had researched each subject thoroughly, and illustrated her talk with many photos and diagrams. Anyone wishing to visit the Research Library can do so by prior appointment; a contact e-mail address to arrange this is given on page 39. A very enjoyable evening.

always telling them off, but in very flowery language. Kathryn

A bound edition of Burscough Parish Magazine, including thoughts from Rev. Charles D. Russell

Talk report by Pam Richardson.

24 August 2022 - Lost Fort Crosby by Dr. Alison Burns

Dr. Alison Burns very kindly joined us to give her talk on Lost Fort Crosby to our face-to-face meeting, almost a year after she provided us with a Zoom alternative in September 2021. Please see pages 24 and 25 of Issue 86 (December 2021) for a full report of the talk.


28 September 2022 - An Unsolved Murder At Halsall by Dot Broady-Hawkes

A packed audience was enthralled by the little-known story of the murder by drowning of Elizabeth THRELFALL in October 1832. Dot uncovered this fascinating case by chance, whilst researching another branch of the family, who resided at Charlesbye Farm, Ormskirk. In true murder mystery style, she presented the evidence using a suspect board and sought help from the audience for their help in solving the mystery.

In this unusual case, the chief suspect, Thomas THRELFALL, husband of the victim, was not arrested and taken for trial until 1851, almost twenty years after the murder took place. Why was this? According to a newspaper article of the time, in May 1851, a man called Richard SHAW from Ormskirk was on his deathbed rambling about a murder. This caught the attention of the local constable, who reported it to Richard BRANDRETH, the magistrate. Witnesses were called and sufficient evidence was collected to order the arrest of Thomas THRELFALL, and send him to the Liverpool Assizes, but was he guilty?

Dot considered the testimony of the various witnesses. Richard SHAW said that on the night of 16 October 1832, he was asleep on a barge near Halsall Bridge, when he heard a “kerfuffle” outside; a woman shouted “Please help me”. Through the porthole, he saw a man ducking a woman’s head in the water; she was later heard clawing at the side of the boat. Despite witnessing this, SHAW did not intervene. Another witness, John BECKETT, the captain of the Kenworthy Fly (a fast barge used to deliver parcels), said that he had chased a man on the same

night, but had lost him in the dark. The next morning, a woman’s body was pulled from the water, with a handkerchief around her neck and bruises to her head and face. The body, later identified as Elizabeth THRELFALL, was taken to the “Halsall Warehouse”, which is thought to be what is now the Saracen’s Head. Although SHAW had helped carry the body to the warehouse in 1832, he did not mention what he had witnessed until 1851.

Elizabeth ORRITT had married Thomas THRELFALL in 1824 and the couple had two sons. By the time of the murder they were living separately, and Elizabeth was working at the Black Bull pub in Aintree (also known as The Aintree Iron). Witnesses Mary HALL and Robert RIMMER testified that Thomas THRELFALL visited his wife at the Black Bull and asked her to come back to him; he was heard to say, “I will be as good a husband as ever I was bad”. Elizabeth said she would go back to him if he could find a cottage, and agreed to walk along the canal bank to meet him in Halsall later the same night.

Although evidence was taken in 1832, it did not include the testimony of key witnesses and the matter was not taken further. In 1836, Thomas THRELFALL joined the Liverpool Constabulary, and served for twelve years; he remarried and subsequently moved to Shropshire and became a farmer. Shropshire was where Thomas Threlfall was taken into custody in 1851. Almost three months later, he stood trial in Liverpool, when several witnesses for the prosecution changed their stories, and Mary HALL did her best to blacken Elizabeth THRELFALL’s name. Later, when the lawyer for the defence stood up, he simply made a statement to the effect that the courtroom was full of witnesses who had known Thomas THRELFALL for many years and would testify to his exemplary character; the judge replied, “Case dismissed”.

Was Thomas THRELFALL guilty? An interesting discussion amongst the audience ensued and various theories were put forward as to why the prosecution witnesses were not cross examined and the case was dismissed out of hand. If Thomas did indeed murder his wife, he got away with it twice. After the trial he returned to Shropshire, where he lived until his death in the 1880s.
Talk report by Kathryn MacDonald.

Interesting News

West Yorkshire History Centre is currently hosting an exhibition about Anne Lister, the nineteenth-century diarist, landowner and traveller whose life story featured in the recent BBC costume drama Gentleman Jack. The exhibition features material from the Shibden Hall collection (the Lister family’s home for over 300 years), including Anne’s own diaries, and will run until April 2023. Opening times - 10a.m. to 4p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at the West Yorkshire History Centre, 127 Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 1JG.

Volunteers at Devon Family History Society have been working on a long-term project to create a database of photos of gravestones within the county. Almost 74,500 images, which are linked to more than 110,000 names, are available for anyone to search at www.devonfhs.org.uk/monumental-inscription-search/

Aberdeen and North-East Scotland FHS have recently published four booklets of kirkyard memorial inscriptions. The new titles relate to Dyce United Free Kirk (£3.60, including lair records), the Kirkyard of Belhelvie (£3.00), the New Kirkyard of Maryculter (£2.40) and the Kirkyard of Premnay (including the village of Auchleven,
£2.40). For further information, please visit www.anesfhs.org.uk

Over 90,000 index cards containing employment details of the ‘land girls’ who served in the Women’s Land Army during World War Two have been added to Ancestry’s database. The collection is named UK, World War II Women's Land Army Index Cards, 1939-1948, and consists of handwritten records of the names, addresses, employment details, birthdates, and membership numbers of the women; also included is their county of employment.


In 1974, volunteers from Alberta Genealogical Society began to create a name index for local historical records. Supported by the Edmonton Heritage Council, and a Change Capital Project Grant from the City of Edmonton, they launched the Alberta Records Name Index in September 2022. The new database contains 595,000 cemetery records, 179,000 local history books, 41,000 newspapers, and 50,000 life events. It can be accessed at https://arni.abgenealogy.ca/search

In October 2022, a collection of over 2 million records, detailing pupils who attended schools in Queensland, Australia between 1860 and 1992 were published on Ancestry. Named Queensland, Australia, School Admission Records, 1860-1992, the data covers more than 1200 schools, in urban and rural areas.

On 18 October 2022, the Queensland FHS Library and Resource Centre at 58 Bellevue Avenue, Gaythorne, closed to researchers for the last time, as QFHS prepares to move to new premises. It is hoped that the new Family History Research Centre at 46 Delaware Street, Chermside will open in January 2023. The QFHS Management committee will announce an official date in early December 2022. For more information, please see www.qfhs.org.au



Family History on YouTube
Did you know that ODFHS is not the only family history society to have its own YouTube channel? Oxfordshire Family History Society, Cornwall Family History Society, Hamilton County Genealogical Society (in Ohio, USA), and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (in Canada) are just a few that we have come across recently on www.youtube.com

Out and About with ODFHS
report and photos by Kathryn MacDonald

Local Medical Professionals
in 18th and 19th Century Trade Directories



ODFHS had a very successful day when we attended the Fun Palace at Ormskirk Library, on Saturday 1 October 2022.

The event was very well attended, and the children enjoyed playing with the old fashioned toys we had taken along to display, particularly the challenge of the cup-and-ball, and the yo-yo.

We also had a lot of interest from parents and grandparents about the activities organised by the Society. All in all, a fun and worthwhile event!








Kathryn and Pam pictured with some traditional toys at the Fun Palace. Kathryn is demonstrating a cup and ball, and Pam shows a set of animal-themed dominoes.




A host of toys on our display, including a kaleidoscope, pick-up- sticks, cup-and-ball and a set of animal dominoes.

Universal British Directory, Volume the Fourth (1791, pp.177-179)

Extracted from a comprehensive listing for Ormskirk, originally published in Issue 62 of our Magazine:

BARTON Miles, Preparer of the ELSTON Henry, Surgeon Ormskirk Medicine ELSTON George, Surgeon
BIBBY Wm, Surgeon and RIDDIOUGH James, Surgeon
Man-midwife WATKINSON Henry, Surgeon and
BOLD Henry, Surgeon Man-midwife


An exact duplication of this list was also printed in Holden’s Annual London and Country Directory of the United Kingdoms, and Wales, in three volumes, for the year 1811, which was transcribed and published in Issue 14 of our Magazine.


Baines’ Directory of Lancashire, Volume Two (1825)

Extracted from a comprehensive listing for Ormskirk, originally published in Issue 12 of our Magazine:

ANDERTON Geo. Burscough street HANCOCK Thos. Burscough street BIBBY, Wm. sen. Burscough street HOUGHTON Edward, (M.R.C.S.) BIBBY, Wm. jun. Church street Burscough street
ELLIS H.M. (M.R.C.S.) Burscough YATES Ralph (and apothecary), street Burscough st
ELSTON Henry, Church street

Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9; Part One (1828, J. Pigot and Co., London and Manchester)

The University of Leicester’s Special Collections Online catalogue includes a digitised edition of this 624-page directory, which provides an assortment of local statistics, including population figures from 1801 and 1821 census returns. It is free to view at: https://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/digital/collection/p16445coll4/id/233467


ORMSKIRK (pp.429-431)

ANDERTON George, Burscough st HANCOCK Thos. Burscough st
BIBBY, Wm. Lidiate lane HOUGHTON Edward (and apothecary), BIBBY, Wm. jun. Church st Burscough Street
ELSTON Henry, Aughton st YATES Ralph, Burscough st

Chymists and Druggists
GARSIDE Wm. (& seedsmn) [sic], GASKELL Robt. Burscough st Aughton st.



The History, Topography, and Directory of Mid-Lancashire (1854, Mannex and Co., Preston)

Also part of the University Of Leicester’s freely accessible Special Collections Online, this 778-page directory includes a wealth of historical data on Ormskirk and the outlying villages, with lists of landowners, professionals, community figures and traders: https://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/digital/collection/p16445coll4/id/318388

Due to the extensive contents list, the printed page numbers are not synchronised with the page searching tool. The Editor suggests adding ten to the number of the page that you wish to view e.g. to find the Lydiate section, search for page 661.

ORMSKIRK (pp.558-564)

Surgeons Chemists and Druggists
ASHTON Thos. Mather, Burscough st GARSIDE Wm., Aughton st EAGER James, Derby st HARRISON Henry, Moor st
LAX Wm., Burscough st HARRISON Matthew, Moor st MARSDEN Robt. Morris, Burscough st KERSHAW Thos., Church st PALMER Chas., Burscough st
SYMONDS Chas. Price, Aughton st

Veterinary Surgeons
SHARPLES Rd., Church st SMITH Joseph, Aughton st.


LYDIATE (pg.651) RUFFORD (pg.173)
HALLWOOD Samuel Watts, DANDY Charles, surgeon veterinary surgeon

TARLETON (pg.190)
BARRON, W. surgeon, Oak cottage



Wanted - Treasurer and Membership Secretary

Sally Dean (our Honorary Treasurer and Membership Secretary) has announced her intention to resign both posts at our AGM in May 2023, after a decade of service to the Society. The Treasurer is one of the three critical officers necessary for ODFHS to operate; without one, we cannot exist. We are also seeking a new Membership Secretary. Anyone who is interested in filling either role (or both) is invited to contact us by post or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local Medical BMDs in the Newspapers
Selected Extracts from 1807 to 1843


Lancaster Gazette, 2 May 1807
On Monday last, at his house in Liverpool, Mr. James RIDDIOUGH, surgeon, late of Ormskirk, aged 55.

Lancaster Gazette, 4 July 1807
Saturday se’nnight, at Egremont, Mr. Joseph GRAYSON, surgeon, late of Ormskirk, aged 25.

Manchester Mercury, 31 July 1810
On Saturday week, Mr. REYNOLDS, surgeon, of Ormskirk, to Miss Jane BROWN, of Formby.

Lancaster Gazette, 10 July 1819
On the 28th ult. Mr. ASPINWALL, surgeon, of Formby, to Miss THORNHILL, daughter of Mr. THORNHILL, surgeon, of Ormskirk

Lancaster Gazette, 11 March 1820
On Monday last, Mr. Wm. BARRON, of Tarleton, surgeon, to Miss Elizabeth BRETHERTON, of Preston.

Lancaster Gazette, 3 February 1821
On the 15th ult. at Burscough, aged 78, John CROPPER, Esq. formerly an eminent surgeon at Wigan.

Chester Courant, 10 December 1822
Lately, at Halsall, Mr. James Banks WATKINSON, son of the late Mr. WATKINSON, surgeon, of Ashton, Lancashire, to Miss CROSTON, of Maghaull [sic], near Liverpool.


Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 April 1826
On the 4th inst. Mr. Edward HOUGHTON, surgeon, of Ormskirk, to Miss Mary WHITELEY, of this town.


Chester Chronicle, 23 March 1827
On Monday the 12th inst. at Ormskirk, by the Rev. J.T. HORTON, Mr. G. ANDERTON, surgeon, to Miss HARRISON, of Aughton, near Ormskirk.

Lancaster Gazette, 28 April 1832
At Ormskirk, by the Rev. J.T. WAREING, M.A., Mr. Wm. LAX, surgeon, Ormskirk, to Anne Jane, only daughter of the late Mr. WAREING, solicitor.


Liverpool Albion, 1 September 1834
Same day, Mr. Wm. BIBBY, jun, surgeon, of Halsall, late of Ormskirk. [The above refers to 24 August 1834.]

On Monday, the 4th ult, Mr. Geo. ANDERTON, surgeon, of Ormskirk.


Liverpool Telegraph, 18 November 1837
On the 29th of July, at Demerara, in his 23rd year, John, only son of the later Mr. Henry REYNOLDS, surgeon, formerly of Ormskirk.

Liverpool Albion, 25 January 1842
On Friday last, aged 6 months, ROSETTA, daughter of Mr. P. M’MASTER, surgeon, Aughton-street, Ormskirk.

Preston Chronicle, 4 November 1843
On the 19th ult., aged 39, Mr. John SHARPLES, veterinary surgeon, Ormskirk.

Dr. William Anderton - A Brief Biography
submitted by Sue Clark (C57)


ANDERTON, William, F.R.C.S.(E.),
M.R.C.P., Physician and Surgeon, Director. Mansion House, Ormskirk, Lancashire. ‘Phone No. 7.

Born: December 9th, 1847, at Lathom, Lancs.; second son of George ANDERTON, of Ormskirk and Lathom, and Alice, only daughter of Wm. RIMMER, of Ormskirk.
Educated: Mansion House Academy, Ormskirk; and Dublin and Edinburgh Universities.

Married: (1) October 31st, 1872, at Aughton, Emma, second daughter of the late Edmund BALMER, of Aughton, near Ormskirk, Lancs., and his wife Mary TAYLOR, of Aughton, and has issue three sons: Edmund Balmer ANDERTON (M.D.), born August 6th, 1873, died December 7th, 1902; Harold George, born January 11th, 1878; Sydney Fawkes, born November 5th, 1880.
(2) July 8th, 1903, at Aughton, Ann, only daughter of Richard Coupland WELSBY, J.P., of Aughton, and his wife Eliza, eldest daughter of Thomas WILSON, of Spital, Cheshire, and has issue two daughters: Mary Welsby, born September 6th, 1904; Florence Welsby, born June 9th, 1907.

Profession: Physician and Surgeon.
Appointments: Chairman, Mill Lane Mining Co. Rainford; Medical Officer of Health since June 26th, 1874; Certifying Factory Surgeon; Senior Surgeon, Ormskirk Dispensary and Cottage Hospital; Visiting Physician, Ormskirk, Latham, and Burscough Joint Hospital Board; Chairman, Lancashire Bee

Keepers’ Association; gave services free to wounded soldiers at Cottage Hospital; took duty for the Medical Officer at Ormskirk Poor Law Hospital, he having joined the R.A.M.C.

Travelled: France and Switzerland. Recreations: Golf and bee-keeping. Club: Ormskirk Golf.

Freemasonry: Past Master of the Ormskirk Lodge of Harmony, No. 580.
Notes: Member of the British Medical Association; Member of the Liverpool Medical Institution and the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society. Owns seventy acres of land.











A wooden case containing a set of scalpels, once owned by Dr. William ANDERTON and his son, Dr. Edmund Balmer ANDERTON. Picture provided by Sue Clark.

Local Names in The Midwives Roll (1905)
submitted by Kate Hurst (H101)


In early 2022, I made an interesting discovery in the Occupational section of The Genealogist website. I’d never heard of the Midwives’ Roll (1905) before, but soon realised that it included the names of no fewer than twenty-seven women from the ODFHS area. However, a list of names is always more interesting and more useful if we know why it was collected. Fortunately, the introductory notes at the front of the Midwives’ Roll explain everything.

The Midwives Act (1902) aimed to ensure that the majority of new mothers were attended by experienced midwives, who (ideally) would have appropriate medical qualifications. From 1 April 1905, any woman who called herself a midwife (or claimed to be a qualified midwife) without being certified under the terms of the 1902 Act, risked a fine of up to £5.

After 1 April 1910, women could only attend other women in childbirth for financial gain on a regular basis if they were certified under the 1902 Act, or working under the direction of a qualified doctor. Anyone breaking this rule risked a fine of up to £10; however, those who assisted in an emergency were not fined.

Women could also be recognised as qualified midwives if they showed evidence that they had been in practice for at least one year (and were of good character), as could anyone issued with a certificate in midwifery by the following institutions within two years of the 1902 Act:

• The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
• The Obstetrical Society of London
• The Coombe Lying-in Hospital and Guinness’s Dispensary, Dublin
• The Rotunda Hospital for the Relief of the Poor Lying-In Women of Dublin

If your relative is listed on the following pages, please let the Society know!


Date of Enrolment
Ash Croft Villas, Halsall, Ormskirk
1904, Mar. 24
In practice, July 1901



19 Daniels Lane, Digmoor, Wigan

1904, Nov. 24

In practice, July 1901



Ship Bridge, Haskayne, Ormskirk

1904, Apr. 28

In practice, July 1901
Sarah Ann
The Union Workhouse, Ormskirk
1905, Feb. 23
Liverpool Lying-in Hospital,
May 29, 1885
Mary Ellen
Orrell’s Lane, Burscough, Ormskirk
1904, May 26
In practice, July 1901
Almshouses, Aughton, Ormskirk
1904, Nov. 24
In practice, July 1901
Mary Eleanor
63 Southport Road, Ormskirk
1904, Oct. 27
Rotunda Hospital, March 14, 1904




Date of Enrolment
13 Wigan Road, Ormskirk
1904, Sept. 29
Liverpool Lying-in Hospital,
Mar. 30, 1904
Long Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk
1904, Oct. 27
In practice, July 1901



Cottage Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk

1904, Sept. 29

In practice, July 1901



Mere Lane, Holmeswood, Ormskirk

1904, Mar. 19

In practice, July 1901
LEA, Ann
Langleys Brook Lane, Burscough, Ormskirk
1905, Apr. 27
In practice, July 1901
Long Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk
1904, Jun. 30
In practice, July 1901


Date of Enrolment
Ann Eliza
The Infirmary, Ormskirk
1905, Feb. 23
May 27, 1904
2 Stafford Street, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk
1904, Apr. 28
In practice, July 1901


Amy Muriel

The Infirmary, Ormskirk

1905, Feb. 23

April 10, 1900



New Street, Halsall, Ormskirk

1904, Mar. 24

In practice, July 1901
15 Moss Street, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk
1904, Jun. 30
In practice, July 1901



Simonswood Lane, Bickerstaffe, Ormskirk

1905, Apr. 27

In practice, July 1901



Church Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk

1904, Dec. 22

Jan. 17, 1898




Date of Enrolment
28 Tank Lane, Ormskirk
1904, July 21
In practice, July 1901



Bugle Alley Lane, Lathom, Ormskirk

1905, April 27

In practice, July 1901



Ranacre Lane [sic], Halsall, Ormskirk

1905, Feb. 23

In practice, July 1901



57 Moor Street, Ormskirk

1905, April 27

In practice, July 1901



16 Ann Street, Skelmersdale, Ormskirk

1904, Jun. 30

In practice, July 1901



148 Burscough Street, Ormskirk

1904, Mar. 24

In practice, July 1901

Lathom Park Trust

History Talks available:
• Lathom and the Stanleys
• The Siege of Lathom
• Lathom House 1725-1925


www.facebook.com/lathomparktrust/ www.lathomparktrust.org.uk
For more info contact via:

3 Self-Catering holiday cottages set in rural Lancashire, within easy distance of Southport
and Liverpool
Mairscough Lane, Downholland, Lancashire, L39 7HT
0151 5261576
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Winner of Lancashire Tourism Awards 2012-13 Best Self Catering

Family History
Independent researcher based at the Lancashire Archives in Preston.

All enquiries welcome.
Searches tailored to suit individual needs. Price list available.

Other North-West record offices/ libraries visited by arrangement.

01200 422942
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Would you like to place an advert in our magazine?

This quarter-page space (6.3cm by 9.2cm/
21/2” by 3 5/8”) is available for £12 per year.

Please get in touch for further details.

Subscription Rates
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All payments to the Society should be made by cheque, postal order or international money order, crossed and made payable to Ormskirk and District FHS. Regrettably, payments made directly to the Society can only be accepted in Pounds Sterling.

To pay by Bank Transfer:
Sort Code 77 57 01
Account Number 00007974
Please quote your Surname and ODFHS Membership Number


Society Facilities
Research Library
Located in the Scout Hall, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, a short walk from the bus and railway stations, and local car parks. The Research Library is now open to visitors by appointment; please contact Kathryn Macdonald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to arrange a visit.

These are held at the Guide HQ, Moorgate, Ormskirk on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except December); please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Ormskirk Library Help Desk
Our Help Desk at Ormskirk Library, Burscough Street, Ormskirk runs from 10.30am to around 11.30a.m. on the first Monday of each month (except UK Bank Holidays).

38 39



Covering the Sixteen Ancient Parishes and Townships
of Westem Lancashire

Aughton, Bickerstaff e, Burscough, DownhoUand, HalsaU,
Hesketh-with-BecconsaU, Lathom, Lydiate, MaghulL, MeLLing,
Ormskirk, 72ufford, Sca.risbrick,
Simonswood, SkeLmersdaLe and Tarleton







r­ e.,;;























A selection of local postcards 

Thank you to all those who have provided images for inclusion in this section.

Quite often the information on the reverse of a postcard is as interesting as the picture itself, a postmark can pinpoint the image in time, there may also be an intriguing message or a local address, all useful information for the family history researcher.  Where available, this information has been included with the image on the front of the postcard.

[under construction]

Church Road Bickerstaffe. Posted 1910

Church Road, Bickerstaffe - postmarked 1910

Reverse message reads;

To Bessie,

With love from Nellie

Addressed to Miss Bessie Taylor

c/o Mr. Samuel Taylor

46 White Moss Road


Nr. Ormskirk


Church Street Ormskirk

Church Street, Ormskirk


Cross and schools Aughton. Posted 1924

Cross and schools, Aughton - postmarked 1924

Reverse reads;

Bickerstaffe, Friday

Dear Mattie,

If I am not on Ormskirk Station when you arrive, come on here as I am not going to Ormskirk until later as I have to go to the mission for three o'clock, so come right on to Skelmersdale, love Auntie Alice

Addressed to;

Miss M. Bickanstaffe 

16 Martin Street




Disraeli monmument Ormskirk

Disraeli monument, Ormskirk


Knowsley Road Ormskirk. Posted 1920

Knowsley Road, Ormskirk - postmarked 1920

Reverse reads;

Dearest K & C

arrived home safely, will write a letter in a day or so & tell you all the news.  I had a lovely time with you and didn't really want to come away.  Hope you have fixed up .... (can't read) love May xx

Addressed to;

Mrs. C. Bland

85 George Road




Old Mill at Aughton. Posted 1909

Old Mill at Aughton - postmarked 1909

Reverse reads;

We will be down tomorrow, yours Liz

Addressed to;

Mrs. Clifford

4 West View

Stamford ...

Ashton on Mersey


Ormskirk from Gorse Hill

Ormskirk from Gorse Hill


Parish Church Aughton 1906 edit PR

Parish Church, Aughton, 1906


Pontville Ormskirk. Early 20th century

Pontville, Ormskirk. Early 20th century



Ormskirk Church
Ormskirk Parish

Ormskirk railwaymen 1908
Ormskirk Station

Scarisbrick Hall 1815
Scarisbrick Hall

Skelmersdale Station

Moor Street market
Moor Street