John (1803-1855) and Betty Bibby (nee Satterthwaite, 1804-1861)

John Bibby was born on 18th May 1803 in Over Wyresdale to James and Betty Bibby.

Over Wyresdale is a township within the parish of Lancaster; it is 7 miles south east of Lancaster. In 1851 the population was 860 (so in 1803 it would have been much less), it is now 348. Ward's Stone, 1,836 ft. above sea level, is the highest point.

On the way back home from a staff conference when I worked for Lancashire County Council as a youth worker, on 24th April 1985, a colleague showed me the way back to my office in Clitheroe via the Trough of Bowland, an area of outstanding natural beauty. So we drove through Over Wyresdale. On the way back we stopped high up to admire Morecambe Bay and John pointing out Ward's Stone. This moment stands out in my memory partly because of the view and the incredible beauty of the trip, partly because of Ward's Stone, and partly with the added meaning that the following day my mother died.

John Bibby was baptised on 26th June 1803 at Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, where his ancestors came from.

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John grew up with his three brothers, William, Joshua and Thomas, probably at Starbank, as this is identified as the abode on the baptism records of his older brother, William.

Starbank is an area just north west of Dolphinholme where there is a Middle Starbank farm and also Starbank cottage.

Image of Britain

The next record we have is when John married Betty Satterthwaite on 23rd May 1825 at St Leonard in Walton-le-Dale.

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Why did he move, a distance of around 21 miles? John was a spinner. There was a worsted mill in Lower Dolphinholme which was built in 1795; similarly, there were four cotton mills in Walton-le-Dale. It might be, but seems unlikely, that John moved for work - unless he had been sacked? There were also Bibbys who lived in Samlesbury and the Walton-le-Dale area so there might have been family living there. Or maybe he left because of a misdeed? I say this because many years later (see below) he gets in trouble with the law and it seems he had been summonsed twice before - this suggests that John might have been a bit of a rebel.

I can only find reference to two Satterthwaites in either Walton-le-Dale or Samlesbury and these are an Agnes, who was a widow, and died in 1811 and a Matilda who was 19 when she died in 1846. There are no other birth, marriage or burial records for Satterthwaites in this area. Nevertheless, this shows that there was at least one Satterthwaite family who lived here.

The name Satterthwaite originated from Satterthwaite/Hawkshead in the Lake District. According to the 1851 census, Betty Satterthwaite was born in Ulverston. I haven't been able to trace her parents but see below under second marriage - i.e. Betty was illegitimate.

I cannot find John, Betty and their family in the 1841 census, but I will keep on looking. They moved from the Walton-le-Dale area to Blackburn, a quick leap over the hills to Wheelton then back to Blackburn then Darwen, as the births of their children show:

Richard (1825-1860) was born in Samlesbury; I cannot find any baptism record for him. However it is worth reminding ourselves that his parents got married in May 1825.

Joshua (1826-1904) was born in Bashall Factory; he was baptised at St Leonard, Walton-le-Dale on 15th October 1826.

The following extract, from Cotton Mills of South Ribble, South Ribble Borough Council, describes the local mill where John probably worked:

The 'newly erected cotton mill in Walton-le-dale occupied by Wm.Bashall' was recorded in 1799. It was extremely remotely located, on the edge of the Farington Moss and fed by a mill-race flowing from the River Lostock. The mill is listed amongst those employing young children. In 1821 the factory was valued at £219 per year, the mill estate had 50 cottages worth £140 in rents per year, a warehouse, a sizehouse, and Lostock House - a gentleman's residence. It was in short one of the most important of the early nineteenth century mills and the source of the great Bashall cotton fortune that built Farington mill. The mill has interesting links with all the crises, strikes, battles and famines endured by the early Lancashire cotton industry.

In 1861 the mill was taken over by Henry Ward & Sons (hence 'Bashall's Row' was renamed 'Ward Street'- the area tragically bombed in 1940.), and sold to Thomas Moss & Sons in 1888. The factory was extended in 1907 with the addition of a new weaving shed containing 1000 looms. Closed 1967-8.

Mary ( 1828-?) was born on 12th November 1828 in Samlesbury; she was baptised at St Leonard the Lesser, Samlesbury on 7th December 1828.

© Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Hannah (1831-?) was born in Blackburn; she was baptised on 18th September 1831 at St Mary the Virgin, Blackburn.

This image was provided by Gordon Hartley for use in the Cotton Town digitisation project.

Nancy (1833-?) Blackburn; Nancy was baptised on 27th October 1833, at Clayton Street Chapel.

Lancashire on line Parish Clerks

James (1835-1836) Blackburn; he was born on 30th November 1835 and baptised on 20th December at St Paul, Blackburn. St Paul's is no longer there but here is an old photograph:

Sarah (1837-?) Blackburn; she was born 31 January 1837 and baptised at St Paul, Blackburn on 26th February 1837.

George (1839-?) Wheelton; he was baptised on 3rd March 1839 at the Chapelry in Heapey. Heapey is a village two miles from Chorley.

© Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Joseph (1841-?) Blackburn; he was born in Livesey, I don't have any baptism record for him but on the Lancashire BDMs it says his mother's maiden name was "Saterseth".

Margaret (1843-1844) Darwen; Margaret was born at Pickup Bank and baptised at Holy Trinity on 25th June 1843. The BDMs have her mother's maiden name as "Satterforth".

Image from Darwen Days

Thomas (1845-1846) Darwen; was born in Over Darwen and baptised at Holy Trinity on 2nd March 1845. The BDMs have his mother's maiden name as "Sathuset".

John (1846-1902) Darwen; he was baptised at Holy Trinity on 17th June 1846. His mother's maiden name is down as "Satathet".

William (1847-?) Darwen; baptised at Holy Trinity on 13th October 1847. On the BDMs his mother's maiden name is "Sathather."

Now seems like a good time to explain how I came to find Richard Bibby's parents. I had been searching for several years and could not find where Richard came from. The 1851 census tells us that Richard was born in Samlesbury. His marriage certificate (1845) tells us that his father was John Bibby, a publican.

I then discovered, from the Blackburn Standard, 2nd April 1845, that John Bibby, publican of Darwen, had been fined 1845:

The British Newspaper Archive

I wonder what the two previous offences had been?

The first four children are usually baptised with the names of the parents' parents. So I deduced that John's wife may have been called Betty or Betsy.

Using this information I did a grand search on the Parish Records for John Bibby with a spouse who's name was Betty. I came up with a John Bibby who married a Betty Satterthwaite at St Leonard in Walton-le-Dale on 23rd May 1825.

I then did a search for births with the names John Bibby and Betty in the Parish Records and came up with a long list, the first child in the records was Joshua and he was born in Bashall Factory, Walton-le-Dale and baptised at St Leonard in 1826; their second child, Mary, was born in 1828 and the family lived in Samlesbury, they then moved to Blackburn where most of the children were born.

Over the past few years Lancashire Archives have been adding new data to the BDMs, in particular the previous surname of the mother in the births section - this has given me a few breakthroughs recently.

As can be seen from the details above, all of those with records from Lancashire BDMs had a surname that looked very much like Satterthwaite. I am not too bothered that they are all spelt differently but they are strange enough, for me at least, to suggest they all have the same parents.

The Bibby family end up in Darwen where their son, Thomas, was born in 1845 and was baptised at Holy Trinity. His father, John Bibby, was an Inn Keeper. This is the same year that Richard married Martha Barnes and the marriage certificate tells us John Bibby, Richard's father, was a publican. This clinches it for me.

Richard and Betty had lost four children in infancy:

James died at 10 weeks; his burial took place at St Mary the Virgin, Blackburn, on 14th February 1836.

Margaret died in 1844, the funeral was at Holy Trinity; the record shows that she was 15 months old:

Thomas died in 1846, the funeral was at Holy Trinity, he was also 15 months old:

William died in 1848, the funeral was at Holy Trinity on 22nd June 1848:

The family lived in High Street when William died. Here is an old photograph of the George and Dragon on High Street, it is highly likely this is where John was the publican and where several of his children were born and died:

Image from Darwen Days

The 1851 census has John and his wife and family living in Back Richard Street in Blackburn. John is 48 and it looks like he has given up being a publican (1845?-1848?) and gone back to being a spinner, which is his occupation on the majority of the baptismal records. Betty is 47. The four eldest children, Richard, Joshua, Mary and Hannah had all left home and got married.

Nancy is 17 and a warper; Sarah is 14 and a weaver; George is 12 and a tenter; John is 5 and Mary 3.

I have looked through the records for Mary - she is Hannah's illegitimate daughter.

John Bibby dies from bronchitis at the age of 52 on 4th October 1855. He is living at 41 Pendle Street, Blackburn, his wife, Elizabeth Bibby, signed as the informant with an 'x' who was with him when he died. The death certificate states that he was a cotton spinner.

Betty marries Jacob Cottrill in Blackburn in 1857; in 1861 she is living with her new husband, her son, John Bibby 14 (this is how I found she had remarried) and Jacob's daughter from a previous marriage, Mary, 13. They are at 30 Lambeth Street (this is all new houses now). Their marriage certificate tells us Betty was illegitimate; She is down as being 42 years of age whereas she was actually 53! Jacob is 36, seventeen years her junior. His father, Thomas, was a farmer and Jacob is down as a sawyer whilst on Betty's death certificate he is a joiner's labourer. Betty died on 28th May 1861 at 30 Lambeth Street, Blackburn from cancer of the womb which she had had for twelve months; she is down as being 56 years of age.

Given that Jacob is significantly younger than Betty and they had not been married all that long before Betty died my instinct suggested there might have been foul play. So I searched the local media and found this in the Blackburn Standard, 27th June 1860:

ASSAULTING A STEPFATHER - on Wednesday at the borough court, two brothers of the names, Geo and Joseph Bibby were charged with having assaulted Jacob Cotterall on Sunday evening last. The parties reside in the neighbourhood of Copy Nook, and the complainant is stepfather to the defendants. On Saturday night they had been quarrelling, and the defendants left the house, but soon after returned, and when the complainant was about to open the door, the defendants burst it open, and one of them struck him on the face between the eyes. They afterwards threw a quart jug at him, but it only struck him on the shoulder; and, after they had kicked an old man who was present until he could hardly stand, the defendants again attacked complainant and kicked him on the head, rendering him insensible. In answer to Mr. Clough, the complainant admitted that the defendants were quiet and patient young men. He denied that he had knocked out the brains of the old cat because his wife had given the kitten to the milkman. He had killed it, however, and his wife said what a pity it was that he had wreaked his vengeance on a poor dumb animal. The bench dismissed the case.

I am wondering what the story is behind this? It is clear, however, that Jacob did not kill Betty.

It is worth noting that Bridget Shannon (my grandma) was born at 55 Bottom Gate which is next door to Copy Nook.

This is what happens to John and Betty's children:

Richard (1825-1860) is my great, great, grandfather.

Joshua (1826-1904).