Much of this Family History centres around the unique building that is Ramsdell Hall. Until March 3, 2017, I believed - as did most people - that Ramsdell Hall was built by my ancestors, the Lowndes of Cheshire. Something I was very proud of. Then an entry in my guestbook began " I don't know how to tell you this, it's going to break your heart, but Ramsdell Hall had no connection to the Lowndes family (except for being next door to their house, Old House Green) until William Lowndes purchased it about 1815/20 ..."
The entry went on to attribute the building of Ramsdell Hall to a Ralph Cartwright of Newcastle-under-Lyme & Old House Green. See the whole entry in my Guestbook. I have to admit that my first reaction was indeed one of surprise, devastation, and indeed heartbreak. As I began to investigate the matter for myself, it became clear that Tony Simcock was right, and that Ralph Cartwright must have been the one who commisioned the building of one of Cheshires most famous sights ... in all its scarlet splendour overlooking the Macclesfield Canal.
However, the more I looked into the Cartwright family, including their genealogy, the more I came to admire what they had achieved. Ultimately, it didn't seem to matter who had built Ramsdell but that it had been built ... and by someone with great vision. If that man was indeed Ralph Cartwright, then I thank him from the bottom of my heart (which has now mended) and this page in my Family History is dedicated to his achievement, and to his family. Just as I previously added the Williamsons to this Family History, and some notable philanthropists, not to forget some wonderful Chinese singers, so too do I now add the Cartwrights. Life is not just about blood-lines and immediate family, but it is about Humanity and Universality. I better stop there before I start suggesting the one passport which simply says "Planet Earth". :o)
So let us start our journey into 17th Century England, and to the birth of the man who almost certainly built Ramsdell Hall - my Spiritual Home. Many things are known about this branch of the Cartwrights, some are not. By mixing the definite with that which is surmise, I hope that latter-day members of the family will come forward and correct such errors, and help to complete the picture. This has occasionally been the case with this website ... particularly with those who have added to what I had discovered and presented here.
Ralph Cartwright : 1690-1778 The man who created Ramsdell Hall
The inscription on Ralph's tomb at St Mary's Church, Astbury, Cheshire, which I viewed just yesterday - 6 April 2017 - reads : "Also RALPH CARTWRIGHT aforesaid / who died December 2nd 1778 aged 88 / " I had hoped to find mention of his parents or his date of birth, but such information is rarely noted on tombstones. It does confirm that his year of birth was 1690 ... unless he was born later in December, in which case he was born in 1689. I mention that because I have yet to find a Ralph Cartwright born in 1690. But I had found a Ralph christened on Sept 18, 1689 at Rostherne, Cheshire whom I thought might be our Ralph. If his age at passing was 89 rather than 88, then this could still be the correct Ralph, born to Edward Cartwright and Hannah Bostock. But for now, I must take it that Ralph's year of birth was 1690, with place and parents unknown ...
However we do know the parents of his nephew Thomas (see his section later) who was the main beneficiary of his will. Thomas' father John must therefore be Ralph's brother because the maiden name of John's wife Mary was Sandbach. Both were buried at Astbury, near to their son Thomas. John's father's name was given as William, who must also be the father of Ralph. No definite informaton on William, but the National Archives ( an amazing resource ) have several records of Ralph Cartwright's land dealings during his lifetime. The names of his brother John, and of his nephew Thomas appear in several documents, giving further evidence of their family connection. Priceless documents for genealogists!! More so, these documents show that Ralph and John often work together, and that it is John who lives at Old House Green, with Ralph living at Newcastle-under-Lyme. This suggests that John is an older brother because Old House Green was the ancestral home of the Cartwrights. We also learn that Ralph is a dyer by trade from the first one.
Some examples ... "1743, 12. Jul ASSIGNMENT of residue of term of 200 years of a Mortgage by Benjamin Hoare of London, esq....to Ralph Cartwright of Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs., dyer, and John Cartwright of the Old House Green in par. of Astbury, gentleman, property in ODD RODE, CHURCH LAWTON and SCHOLLOW GREEN"
British History Online, with reference to Newcastle under Lyme being the heart of North Staffordshire Education, notes "In 1773 the school ( Orme ) received further endowments under the will of John Cartwright." John died in 1756, and this reference links him to Newcastle where his brother Ralph lived. In the same article, there is reference to Ralph and his will of 1776 in which he makes charitable provisions. I have a copy of this will which has helped me to identify people in his life.
A National Archives Assignment document, dated 30 Oct 1867, mentions Ralph in connection to a school building but this time it is John's son Thomas who is also mentioned, not John, which reaffirms that John is now deceased, and that his son Thomas is now working with his Uncle Ralph in business affairs.
At the age of 59, Ralph finally got married. 42 year old Elizabeth Colthurst was the chosen lady, and they were married on 18 Feb 1750 at St John the Baptist, Knutsford, Cheshire. Elizabeth had been christened on 14 Apr 1703 at Chelford, Cheshire, the daughter of Peter Colthurst and Eliza Brooke who had themselves been married on 27 Oct 1691 at Chelford. They had 11 children altogether. Suddenly Ralph, not only had a wife, but several brothers and sisters-in-law, and many nephews and nieces !! He and Elizabeth didn't have children of their own, but now there were plenty of new relatives to keep Ralph busy.
His will of 1776 introduces us to a very interesting brother of his ... the Reverend Thomas Cartwright ( see his own section for details ) An elder brother that he must have been as proud of as he was of his nephew Thomas. This shows the value of wills to the genealogist. Without reading his will, I would never have come across the remarkable Reverend Thomas. So without finding a year of birth for Ralph, we do know that he had an elder brother called Thomas, and another brother called John. No evidence of a sister. His father's name was William IF his brother John was the John buried at Astbury on 05 Dec 1756. His wife Elizabeth died 8 years before him, and was buried in Astbury on 10 April 1770. Ralph died in 1778, and was buried at Astbury on December 8th.
Ralph and Ramsdell Hall
Ramsdell Hall was probably built during the 1750s, and completed by 1760. Some wings were added before 1770. Ralph was married by then, and living in Newcastle-under-Lyme as he had for most of his life. What prompted him to build such a grand house? As a gift for a beloved nephew? Thomas had just got married about the time of Ramsdell's completion. Another of those revealing National Archive Assignment documents - dated Oct 30 1767- tells us ... Charles Cartwright of the Bank, gentleman, Ralph Cartwright of Newcastle under Lyme, gentleman, Thomas Cartwright of Old House Green, Odd Rode, gentleman, ... very interesting because Thomas still appears to be at his ancestral home ( his father having died in 1756 ) now with his wife Elizabeth. Neither he nor Ralph seem to be at Ramsdell. Therefore, who is living there? Has it been let? There are no references to 'our' Ramsdell during this period ... other than the village of Ramsdell in Hampshire. Neither Ralph nor Thomas mention it by name in their wills. A reference to " the late Thomas Cartwright, esq. of Ramsdell " is the only time Thomas is associated with it, and Ralph never is. Even during the early 19th century, and references to Ramsdell became more prevalent, it was never actully called Ramsdell Hall. Even the first Lowndes to own it and live there was known as "William of Ramsdell" When William Lowndes leased it to the Williamsons, during the 1830s, it was then known as Ramsdell Hall. The mystery of who first occupied Ramsdell remains, but more of that in Thomas' section.
John Cartwright 1683 - 1756
John Cartwright was an elder brother of Ralph, and the father of Thomas. He appears to have inherited the Cartwright ancestral home at Old House Green where, as a child, he grew up with his brothers Ralph and Thomas(see the next section) and then, as head of the household, he lived with his wife Mary Sandbach. Although most information required in compiling a family history is available on the net, sometimes a visit to the churchyard can unveil important information not found on the net. This was the case when I visited St Mary's churchyard in Astbury recently. I already knew that John (Joannis) had married Maria (Mariae) Sandbach on 01 Dec 1726 at Prestbury, Cheshire. I knew that Maria or Mary as she was usually referred to was residing at Eaton at the time from an intended marriage document.
When I discovered her grave and read the inscription, I discovered something that I didn't know, and it was one of the many examples one finds that touches the heart, and puts many things into context. She was the daughter of Joseph Sandbach of Eaton, and "departed this life January 25th 1728" Her son, Thomas, had been christened on 12 Oct 1727 at Astbury just 3 months earlier. For a husband and his son to suffer such a loss in so short a time is simply tragic, and for Mary not to have the chance to continue her motherhood is equally sad. It's also worth noting that Mary had a twin sister, Martha, who also must have felt shattered by this loss. Joseph may have had other children too according to transcripts: Deborah (1709), Ellen (1719), and Joseph (1716)
I had wondered why there were no further children during my research. Although such situations were not uncommon then, each individual occurrence remains very, very sad. I had already read in Thomas' Will, his reference to "...the children of my late sister Mary Felton." Therefore, John must have married again, or this was his 2nd marriage. An intended marriage document has "John Cartwright 20 Sep 1711 Odd-rode, and Elizabeth Everard, Dare-bank, Chester " John would have been about 24 at the time. Elizabeth, herself, was the daughter of James Everett/Everard, and was born in either 1686 or 1687. She had a younger brother John Everard, and an older brother, James Everard. If John Cartwright did marry Elizabeth, 3 children were born in Astbury with Jo Cartwright and Elizabeth given as the parents. Maria Cartwright c.18 Nov 1712 , Astbury, Anna Cartwright c.01 Oct 1714 Astbury , and Carolus Cartwright c.14 Oct 1716, Astbury. A land document dated 10 November 1757, refers to Agreement Thomas Cartwright (711) and John Cartwright, (his brother) (713) concerning a messuage in Odd Rode. This suggests that perhaps there was another child born to John and Elizabeth, named John after his father.
All things being equal, Maria would be the Mary Felton of her step-brother Thomas' Will, and Carolus might be the Charles who appears with Thomas and Ralph in several land documents. I couldn't find a definite date of death for Elizabeth, nor a record of any Mary marrying a Felton. But for the time being, I am staying with this - which means that John Cartwright was a widower, with 3 children, when he married Maria Sandbach in 1726. His only child of the 2nd marriage - Thomas who would inherit his Uncle Ralph's estates - had 3 step-siblings to grow up with at Old House Green. For John, it was a double tragedy to lose both Elizabeth and Mary. It must also have been very sad for Elizabeth's children to see a step-mother so young taken from them before they could get to know her.
There are several National Archive documents which link John, Ralph, Charles, and Thomas together. Ralph is always of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, and John is always of Old House Green. 1743, 12. Jul ASSIGNMENT of residue of term of 200 years of a Mortgage by Benjamin Hoare of London, esq., ... to Ralph Cartwright of Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs., dyer, and John Cartwright of the Old House Green in par. of Astbury, gentleman, ----- property in ODD RODE, CHURCH LAWTON and SCHOLLOW GREEN Thomas is only 16 at the time, but soon appears in some documents such as the following one. He has now replaced his father in these matters, and Thomas is also now head of the house at Old House Green. John had passed away in 1756, and was buried at Astbury alongside his wife Mary on December 5. I saw the grave on my recent visit, and John's birth and age details have been worn away from headstone. Mary's details remain. The Bishop's transcriptions give John's father's name as William. There is a John Cartwright christened on 11 Feb 1683 at St. Olave's, Chester, Cheshire with the father given as William. I believe that this is our John even though Chester is some way from Astbury.
" 1767, 30. Oct ... ASSIGNMENT .. Charles Cartwright of the Bank, gentleman, Ralph Cartwright of Newcastle under Lyme, gentleman, Thomas Cartwright of Old House Green, Odd Rode, gentleman, ... and Edward Lowndes of Old House Green, gentleman ...Building erected thereon and used as a school or school house & for the inhabitants of Od Rode to meet in ... " Edward Lowndes was the father of William Lowndes who 50 years later and would buy Ramsdell Hall from Thomas' daughter, Elizabeth.
The Reverend Thomas Cartwright 1686-1744
Thomas Cartwright was another elder brother of Ralph, and therefore the uncle of his namesake Thomas. I discovered him from reading Ralph's will where he remembers the 3 youngest daughters of his late brother the Rev. Thomas Cartwright. Not being sure of Ralph's own ancestry, other than his brother John (father of his nephew Thomas) the aforesaid Thomas came as a very welcome addition to my research.
Thomas decided that the Church was his calling, and was licensed by the Cheshire Classis on 26th November, 1711. He was best known for his incumbency at Long Buckby United Reformed Church where he ministered from 1720 to 1744. The inscription on his gravestone in the Buckby Parish Churchyard tells us the respect and affection he was held in. Fortunately, a historian made a copy of the inscription before it was worn away by age and weather.
In memory of the Rev. Mr. THOMAS CARTWRIGHT, who died April 13th, 1744, aged 57; having by a diligent, faithful, and humble discharge of the various duties of the Christian and ministerial life obtained a good report of all men, and of the truth itself; being most highly esteemed of those by whom he was most intimately known.
Useful information to the Family Historian because it tells us his age, and therefore, his year of birth. From that we know that he is 3 years older than Ralph. An interesting web document runs as follows :
A catalogue of the books of the late Reverend Mr. Thomas Cartwright, of Long-Buckby in the county of Northamptonshire : containing near five hundred volumes ... in divinity, history, classics, &c. : a sale of which will begin on Monday, Sept. 16, 1745, at Mrs. Cartwright's, of Long Buckby ...imprint Northampton : Printed by W. Dicey, 1745.
More useful information on Thomas, added to by this "Mr. Cartwright left a widow, who survived him thirty-nine years." Which brings us to Thomas' family. As with his birth, I couldn't find any record of his marriage from the usual sources. However, whilst having no luck at www.familysearch.org, suddenly a user submission jumped out at me there ... "Thomas Cartwright Marriage Sarah Eyre 13 June 1722 Long Buckby, Northampton" This had to be our Thomas. Sarah was born on 23 December 1793, the daughter of Edward and Sarah Eyre of Wellingborough, Northampton. Sarah died 39 years after Thomas, which would make her 90 years old. As yet, no records of their 3 daughters mentioned in Thomas' brother Ralph's Will. It's possible they were the children of a previous marriage because Thomas was 35 at the time of his marriage to Sarah.
Thomas Cartwright 1727-1794
Thomas was the nephew of Ralph Cartwright, and in his case, much more is known than is not known. He was definitely born in 1727, and almost certainly the son of Joannis (John) Cartwright ( Ralph's brother ) and Mary ( Mariae) Sandbach. If so, Thomas was christened at Astbury on October 12. His father's year of birth is uncertain, but there is enough evidence (see Ralph's section above) to consider him to be the John buried at Astbury in 1756. Details of his mother, Mary, however, are even more difficult to be sure of. If she is the Mary, together with her husband John, in the grave alongside the main Cartwright tomb, then she is the daughter of Joseph Sandbach of Eaton according to the inscription there. It goes on to say that she departed this life January 25th 1728. The only Mary Sandbach I have found with Joseph given as father is a Mary christened 07 April 1711 at Weaverham, but who was living at Eaton at the time of the marriage. It makes her only 16 when she gave birth to Thomas. A very sad loss for Thomas and his father. (see John's section above)
Thomas almost certainly grew up at Old House Green in the Cartwright's ancestral home. His father John had business dealings with his brother Ralph, and after John's death, the 29 year-old Thomas stepped into his father's shoes. With Ralph and Elizabeth Cartright having no children, Thomas became Ralph's favourite nephew, inheriting much of Ralph's property by way of his uncle's Will of 1776. Thomas married 26 year old Elizabeth Floyd of Daventry on the 4 Dec 1759 at St Mary's in Astbury. There is also a marriage settlement between them dated 11th July 1759. I was unable to find birth details of Elizabeth (known as Betty) or of her family, but we know her year of birth (1733) because of her grave inscription. Sadly, she died at the age of 35, and it seems without any living children. Ralph's own wife died two years later at the age of 67. So both Thomas and his Uncle Ralph became widowers within two year of each other. The bond between them must have grown even stronger as they shared their loss.
Part of the Cartwright Tomb inscription outside the beautiful stained-glass west window of the church reads: " Underneath lie the bodies of ELIZABETH wife of THOMAS CARTWRIGHT at Old House Green who died November 10th 1768 aged 35 years Also ELIZABETH wife of RALPH / CARTWRIGHT of Newcastle who died April 5th 1770 aged 67 Also RALPH CARTWRIGHT aforesaid who died December 2nd 1778 aged 88 ..." As you can see from the notes above, such information is invaluable to Family Historians.
Ralph was now 80 whereas Thomas was 43 ... still young enough to start a family, and this is exactly what he did. On 18 Sep 1774, at St Oswald, Winwick, Lancashire, he married 36 year old Ellen Robinson. Their marriage was recorded but I have not yet found details of Ellen's birth or family members. Once again, the inscription on the Cartwright Family tomb tells us that she must have been born in 1738. Thomas would still seem to be living at Old House Green, given that his parents are deceased and his sister Mary is married. The question of who was living at Ramsdell Hall remains a mystery still. Despite Ellen's age, she was able to bring at least 5 children into the world, although her only son, John, died in 1786 at the age of 12 and was buried in the Family Tomb at Astbury.
It must have been a great moment in Thomas' life to finally be a father. He didn't live long enough to become a grandfather or indeed to see any of his four daughter married. However, I believe that at some time during his married life with Ellen and their bringing up 4 daughters and a son, Thomas did live at Ramsdell Hall, and it was his family who were probably the first to live at the grand house that Ralph built for his nephew. It was a newspaper report of the marriage of his youngest daughter, Judith, in 1810, which finally linked Thomas to Ramsdell. "At Astbury, Mr. Thomas Hall, of Hull, to Judith, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Cartwright, esq. of Ramsdell, near Congleton. " At last, he was associated with Ramsdell rather than Old House Green. However, there are also two land document, dated 1777 and 1783, where he is referred to as "Thomas Cartwright of New Hall in Odd Rode". That, to me, is further evidence that his family were living at Ramsdell. The New Hall is certainly not Old House Green. With his marriage to Ellen being in 1774, it would seem that they started their married life at Ramsdell. They spent 20 years together until Thomas' death on the 4th of July, 1794 at the age of 67. Ellen passed away on May 14th, 1809, aged 71. They are buried together in the Family Tomb at Astbury, outside the west window. Ellen appears to have moved to Old House Green - perhaps after her daughter Elizabeth's marriage in 1801, though some National Archive documents suggest earlier.
There are several references on the internet regarding a New Testament translation by Thomas' daughters. Here is one: An Old Italian Translation of the New Testament. By the Co-heiresses of the late Thomas Cartwright, Esq. of Old House Green, Cheshire, per Henry Dobbs, Esq. So although Elizabeth was the main beneficiary of her father, all four daughters were Co-heiresses. : o)
Charles Cartwright - 1716-1791
Before we come to the children of Thomas and Ellen Cartwright, let me introduce the slightly mysterious Charles Cartwright. In this section I am working almost completely with 'surmise' rather than definites and 'more-than-likelies'. One thing that I have learned in the whole of this Family History is that a degree of speculation can reap rewards. Several people have come forward to either challenge the information that I have discovered, or added to that which I have. Consequently I have decided to add Charles Cartwright to this part of the Cartwrights Family History, and see where it leads. There is certainly enough to go on to say that Charles is a member of this branch of the Cartwrights.
Charles appears in several National Archive and other documents with Thomas Cartwright. "Charles Cartwright of the Bank, gentleman" tells us that he lives very close to Thomas' home at Old House Green and enjoys the same status (gentleman) They clearly are close to each other - befitting step-brothers. 1783 LEASE and RELEASE by John Barlow of the city of Bristol, surgeon & apothecary, to .... Thomas Cartwright of New Hall in Odd Rode and Charles Cartwright of the Bank in Odd Rode, gentleman, trustees ...
The Bishops transcript refers to him as Carolus Cartwright christened on 14 October 1716 Astbury with his father given as Johannis Cartwright(same spelling for John as is Thomas') and his mother as Elizabeth. If John was married to Elizabeth Everard as does seem very likely, given Thomas' reference in his Will to his sister Mary, then Charles is indeed Thomas' step-brother because Mary is his sister too.
Moving on to Charles' own family ... a marriage took place on 18 May 1748 at Caverswall, Staffordfordshire between a Charles Cartwright and the delightfully named Hannah Astbury. Caverswall is a beautiful village six miles from Stoke-on-Trent which is famous for its castle and chinaware. The two daughters of the marriage were both christened at Astbury which is an excellent pointer to Hannah marrying our Charles. Elizabeth Cartwright was christened on 14 May 1749, and Sarah on 09 Dec 1750. Their eldest daughter named after the father's mother is another very good pointer. It is still surmise but I believe bordering on the very likely. An Elizabeth Cartwright married James Paddy at Astbury on the 4th July, 1770. Very likely Charles' daughter Elizabeth with no other candidates during the time period.
Their children were all christened at Astbury - John on 7 June 1771 (named after Elizabeth's paternal grandfather John Cartwright?) Mary on 16 April 1773 ( named after Elizabeth's paternal Aunt Mary or her grandfather's second wife Mary?) Names provide excellent clues in a family, though in the case of Mary there would have been Marys on both her husband's side and her mother's side. The John naming is a much stronger link. Martin Paddy was christened on 6 February, 1775, Sarah on 30 April, 1777, and James on 16 April, 1779. Sarah is also Elizabeth's sister's name.
Two Sarah Cartwrights were married at Astbury during the likely time period for Charles' daughter Sarah. The one who married Joseph Thorley was 39 years old. The other Sarah married Abraham Jones on 4 November 1775. The latter looks the more likely. Even more so with the birth of Hannah Jones in 1780, christened in Sedgley, Stafford on 29 October. Sarah's mum Hannah smiling at her daughter's choice and a favourite granddaughter. Joshua Jones had been born in 1778, christened on the 22nd March ... no doubt dad's choice of name. Charles Cartwright still waiting for his name to pop up. Sarah Jones arrived in 1786, christened 26 February, and Mary Jones followed in 1788, christened on 13 January. Her birth suggested that Sarah and Abraham had now moved to Stafford. Charles never did meet a little Charles. He died in 1791, and was buried at Astbury on April 1st. I am pretty sure that he was the Charles as stated.
The Children of Thomas and Ellen Cartwright
Mary Cartwright 1771-1826
Mary was Thomas and Ellen's first child and she presents us with a mystery. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Mary, and christened on 1st July 1771 ... three years before Thomas and Ellen's wedding. Both are listed as her parents in the Bishop's Transcripts. It's also interesting that Thomas made Elizabeth the main beneficiary of his Will and Fortune rather than Mary who was his eldest child. Also a National Archives Document reads: 1800, 22 & 23. Aug LEASE for 1 year and DEED OF ARRANGEMENT and RELEASE by Elizabeth, Ellen and Judith Cartwright of Old House Green spinsters, and Ellen Cartwright of the Old House Green widow, and Mary Cartwright of the Old House Green spinster, to Daniel Vawdrey Esq of Middlewich Note that Mary is "on her own" whereas her sisters are grouped together. The detective in me wonders why.
Mary married 37 year old widower Joseph Churchill of Nottingham, a cotton spinner, on 1st August 1805 at Astbury. Joseph, born and christened April 15, 1768, was the son of Smith Churchill (1743-1803) and Isabella Mills (1734–1810) who were married at Shoreditch on 21 April 1765. Smith - son of Joseph Churchill, a JP, (1704-1781) and Mary Ford (1709–1761) - was a hosier by trade, and became the Sheriff of Nottingham during the 1770s. Isabella was the daughter of silk merchant Benjamin Mills of Spitalfields.
Joseph had two younger brothers, Benjamin Fleetwood Churchill, 1770-1861 who married Hannah Ransford on 18 March 1795 in Bristol, and Fleetwood Churchill 1772–1811 who married Hannah Page on 1 September 1800 in Nottingham. His elder brother was Smith Churchill 1766–1840 who married Elizabeth Wild on 13 September 1791 at Shepshed.
Before he met Mary Cartwright, Joseph had married 28 year old Charlotte Smith on 17 Feb 1792 in Nottingham. She was the daughter of William Smith of Nottingham who became both Mayor and Sheriff in his time. They had 4 children - Daft Smith Churchill, born on 6 March 1793, and christened on 3 April 1793 at St Mary Gate Independent, Nottingham. His christian name was the maiden name of his maternal great-grandmother, Mary Daft. Edmund Churchill 1794-1806 who died young, and Isabella Hannah Churchill, born in 1795. Their 4th child was Hannah Charlotte Churchill who was born on 17 April 1802, and christened on 20 April. Joseph's wife Charlotte died that year, and Joseph found himself the father of three very young children (Isabella Hannah had died in infancy)
Mary Cartwright therefore found herself with three step-children to look after. Joseph as a Methodist Pastor would have had a lot of work to do already. Despite their workload, Mary and Joseph had two daughters - Mary Cartwright Churchill, christened 07 May 1807, and Charlotte Cartwright Churchill born 12 Apr 1809, and christened 05 Jul 1809. A nice touch by Mary, knowing that her father Thomas' line of Cartwrights had come to an end with the death of her brother John at 12 years old. At least the family name would live on in part. Her youngest daughter Charlotte did not marry, because all census record her as single, living with her married sister, Mary. Mary's eldest daughter, Mary Cartwright Churchill, had married Andrew Perston on 4 May 1834 at Barony, Lanarkshire. They had 3 daughters: Charlotte Churchill Perston, Elizabeth Reid Perstn and Mary Churchill Perston. Andrew's brother James had been one of the survivors of the SS Forfarshire on which his sister-in-law's step-son, drowned. We return to him now.
Daft Churchill had married Esther Cheetham on 22 October 1817 at St Michael's Church, Ashton-Under-Lyne. Esther was born on 11 September 1793 at Newton, Cheshire, daughter of George Cheetham, a cotton spinner. Daft and Esther had 9 children : Charlotte Anne Churchill 1819-1837, Joseph Fleetwood Churchill 1820-1823, George Cheetham Churchill 1822-1906, Sarah Churchill 1823-1900, William Smith Churchill 1826-1914, Joseph Fleetwood Churchill 1827–1880, Isabella Churchill 1829-1862, Marianne Churchill 1831-1912, and Frank Churchill 1835-1854. Esther and Daft lived in Sneinton, Nottingham, and Daft followed in his father's footsteps by working for the family hosiery business, and for the St Marygate Chapel.
However in 1838, a tragic event took place which would shake the family, and leave Esther a widow and her children without a father. On September 5, Daft Smith Churchill went on a business trip, boarding the Steamship SS Forfarshire at Hull, bound for Edinburgh and Dundee. It was a rough voyage, with wind and rain battering the ship. On the 7th, the ship's engines finally stopped. Eventually, the ship struck the Harcar Rock and much of it was swept away. Grace Horsley Darling, 22 year old daughter of the lighthouse keeper, William Darling, was on watch as the SS Forfarshire hit Harcar Rock. She alerted her father, and they launched the lighthouse's rowing boat. Risking their lives as the storm continued, they reached the Rock, where 9 people were sheltering among the rocks. One was a mother holding her 2 dead children. They managed to get 5 people into the boat with the others rescued upon the boat's return.
45 people were drowned, including Daft Churchill whose body was finally washed ashore, at North Shields, over a month later. Daft Smith Churchill was buried at the Nottingham General Cemetery with the cemetery directors erecting an obelisk in his memory, near the entrance. The people of Sneinton, presented Grace Darling with a beautifully decorated pictorial bible, and they gave William Darling a silver cup, and his wife a silver cream jug, inscribed with the words "To the mother of Grace Darling". Grace's bravery sparked off a Nationwide fever as poets and painters paid tribute to her, and numerous gifts of money were sent to her. A year earlier, the nation had celebrated a new Queen ... now the people had another lady to honour. Sadly, Grace, died 4 years later of tuberculosis on October 20. She was only 26, and is buried at St Aidan's Church, Bamburgh. Her name lives on and Grace remains one of the most celebrated heroines ever.
Mary didn't live long enough to hear the sad news of her stepson Daft. She passed away in January 1826, aged 54, and is buried at St Stephens, Sneinton.
John Cartwright 1774 - 1786
John was the only son of Thomas and Ellen Cartwright. Named after his paternal grandfather, he was born on 25 May 1774, but died 12 years later, and was buried on 19 May 1786. He lies in the Cartwright Family Tomb outside the beautiful stained-glass west window. The inscription reads as follows: "Also JOHN son of THOMAS and ELLEN / CARTWRIGHT of Old House Green / who died established in the faith / of our Lord Jesus Christ May / 11th 1786 aged 12. Had he lived, he would, presumably have been the main beneficiary of his father's Will.
Elizabeth Cartwright 1776 -18..
Elizabeth and her four siblings grew up in the splendour of Ramsdell Hall and its surrounding gardens and lakes. Little did she know that one day all this would be hers. Presumably, her brother, John, would have inherited his father's fortune had he lived beyond his 12 years. Nevertheless, Thomas Cartwright clearly had great faith in Elizabeth as the right person to entrust the family fortune to, just as 50 years later, William of Ramsdell would place the same trust in his own Elizabeth. An interesting parallel between the two Elizabeths with Ramsdell Hall being the common denominator. Elizabeth Lowndes was never able to live in the great Hall during her 80 years whereas Elizabeth Cartwright did experience its many wonders.
Strangely, there is no reference in Thomas' Will of his daughters. There are numerous bequeaths to nephews and nieces but no mention of Elizabeth being his main beneficiary and of what he left to Mary, Ellen, and Judith. Presumably this was all sorted in other documents. We know of Elizabeth's inheritance because of National Archive documents that are freely available. With no census records until 1841, these are invaluable sources of information to add to Bishops Transcripts and other BMD resources. They alone confirmed to me that it was the Cartwrights who owned and lived at Ramsdell long before my family the Lowndes. None more so than the following from the Baker Wilbraham Collection held by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies.
1801 COVENANT previous to marriage between Henry Dobbs of London gentleman and Elizabeth Cartwright of Old House Green in Odd Rode spinster, Daniel Vawdrey of Middlewich Esq., Samuel Holland of Sandley Bridge gentleman, and Mary Cartwright of Old House Green spinster -- the lands inherited by Elizabeth Cartwright under her father's Will to be for her separate use after her marriage with Henry Dobbs. Mary Cartwright's title to be ratified.
The will referred to must have been a previous one to the one I have, but this document does confirm Elizabeth's inheritance. It's also interesting that she is "of Old House Green" not Ramsdell. It was 7 years since Thomas' passing, and his widow Ellen was probably living back at their ancestral home. Some of her daughters would have joined her. Very soon, Henry Dobbs would be very much "of Ramsdell" with many documents recording such.e.g. 1813, 24 & 25. Mar LEASE for 1 year and REVOCATION of Uses and Appointment and RELEASE by Henry Dobbs of Bridge Street, Blackfriars, London, and also of Ramsdell and 1821, 1. May COVENANT for production of deeds by John Lowndes of Old House Green Esq. to Henry Dobbs late of Ramsdell in Odd Rode but now of New Bridge St., Blackfriars, London, stationer, in respect of messuages farms lands etc called RAMSDELL, the Close Farm, Low Farm, Poolhead and Kent Green
So it was time for Henry Dobbs and Elizabeth to marry and start their new life at Ramsdell Hall. This they did on March 31, 1801 at St Mary's Astbury. Henry, born in 1773, was an Ornamental Stationer and Pencil Manufacturer in Fleet St, London, and he lived at 2, Bridge Street, Blackfriars. During their life at Ramsdell from 1801- 1815, there are letters and diary extracts written by relatives staying at the Hall - they form part of The Wyatt Papers – U of Birmingham 1982 which can viewed in PDF on the web. The letters and documents cannot be read as such, but the content of them is described: Ramsdell 1810 John Wyatt 11 to Jack Dobbs, in London, Describes the serious illness of his daughter Emily. and Sep 3, 1810 Ramsdell Cordelia Anne Dobbs to her mother, Sarah Wyatt, in London. Gives news of the twin babies of her sister-in-law, Eliza. and Oct 1, 1812 London Mary Wyatt to Eliza Kate Wyatt at Ramsdell. Recalls her own visit to Ramsdell. She has been ill since. Her father is also ill. and Jan 8, 1801 Thomas and C.Dobbs to their son Jack in london. Refers to his approaching marriage to cordelia ann wyatt. his mother requests a lock of his hair and Jan 15, 1801 John Wyatt 11 to jack and cordelia anne dobbs in Bristol. Advises them on how to make a successful marriage.
It must have been wonderful for Henry's relatives to come and stay in Cheshire, and to enjoy the surroundings that Ramsdell and the estates offered. These snippets of information help to put Henry Dobbs family into context. As the man who sold Ramsdell Hall to my own family, the Lowndes, I am very much indebted to Henry. Also, his family were the second family to be brought up at the Hall. The least I can do is to present some solid genealogy about him. I have his birth year because he died in 1843 in Norton, aged 70. I also have a copy of his Will, but nowhere can I find a record of his christening. However there are other ways of placing him, such as the Wyatt Papers above. His parents are Thomas and C.Dobbs (the C is for Cordelia) because their son Jack is our Henry's brother. The Cordelia Anne Dobbs above is Henry's sister-in-law who married his brother John Wyatt Dobbs (Jack) on 12 Jan 1801 at Saint Giles, Camberwell, Surrey. She would have been one of Ramsdell's regular visitors as the Wyatt Paper above suggests. The place of marriage tells us that the Wyatts are a London family. Jack Dobb's family were from Staffordshire - see later. An 1813 document tells us that he was an oil of vitriol maker and was living in Hatton Garden, London, and another one still has him there in 1822. Henry Dobbs is still a stationer in Blackfriars. Other documents place them together regarding various land and estate matters.
Using her maiden name, Cordelia Anne Wyatt, derived from other snippets in the Wyatt Papers, I was able to piece together her immediate ancestry in conjunction with https://familysearch.org. Cordelia was christened on 18 Feb 1777 at St Paul, Covent Garden, the daughter of John Wyatt 11(he is the source of the Wyatt Papers) and Sarah. Interesting to note that Cordelia's maiden name is the same as her husband's middle name, which means that the Wyatts and Dobbs were already connected through marriage on his father's side. Amelia Wyatt was christened in 1778 at St Paul, Covent Garden. Mary Matilda Wyatt was christened July 1779 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, and another sister, Eliza Catherine Wyatt, was born 12 Jan 1783, and christened 7 April 1783 at St Stephen Walbrook, London. These two sisters are referred to in John Wyatt's papers. John Francis Wyatt was born 12 Mar 1787, Walter Henry Wyatt was christened 05 Feb 1782, and Sarah Wyatt was christened 17 Aug 1780.
Returning to the Dobbs genealogy - John Wyatt Dobbs was born on 24 Sep 1772 at Kings Norton, Stafford, and christened there on 04 Oct 1772. His parents' names were not given, but we do know their names because of the Wyatt Papers above. He died at Holborn, London, and was buried on 05 Mar 1825, aged 53. His wife Cordelia died at Clapham Common and was buried on 23 May 1844 at St.Andrew's, Holborn, aged 67. John Wyatt Dobbs' parents were Thomas Dobbs and Cordelia Wyatt who were married at Weeford, Staffs, on Aug 13 1770. Their other children - in order of birth - were : Clarissa Wyatt Dobbs christened on 14 Jan 1777, Stafford, Edgar Dobbs christened on 30 Sept 1778, Stafford, Mary Sophia Dobbs christened on 25 Jun 1781 at St Michael, Tatenhill, Stafford, Emily Wyatt Dobbs, christened on 08 Nov 1782, St Michael, Tatenhill, Stafford, died in 1841 in Lambeth, Belinda Dobbs christened on 16 Apr 1786 at Kingsnorton, Worcester, and Louisa Dobbs, christened on 08 Jan 1789 at Kingsnorton, Worcester. Notice that Henry Dobbs is missing, but we know his year of birth is 1773.(see earlier)
Having put the Dobbs and Wyatt Genealogy into context as regards Henry Dobbs, it is time to introduce his own family which he and Elizabeth started in 1802. This would eventually become the 2nd family to live at Ramsdell Hall, with Elizabeth having been part of both families. From child to mother - she would really have got to know the Hall like no-one else would. So, it's time for our first surprise. Following their marriage in March, 1801, Elizabeth and Henry did not live at Ramsdell Hall which now belonged to them. Instead, they started their married life in London which was where Henry had his Stationary business. Their first child, Elizabeth, was christened at St Mary's, Lambeth on 28 Mar 1802. Emily was christened there on 20 Mar 1805, and Ellen on 04 Jun 1806. Ellen is misread as Allen in the transcripts, and assumed male. In fact, Elizabeth and Henry had no sons. It's here that matters get rather confusing. Both Elizabeth and Ellen are married from St Mark, Kennington. Elizabeth on March 16, 1829, when she marries Thomas Kingston, and Ellen on March 19, 1830, when she marries the Reverend John David Hastings. Emily never marries.
Their parents, Henry and Elizabeth Dobbs have their 4th and 5th children at Ramsdell - the twins Louisa and Cordelia. They were born on June 1, 1810 and christened on June 10, at St Thomas, Odd Rode - a former private chapel of the Wilbraham family which is in fact attached to St Mary's Church at Astbury. Cordelia married Capel Berrow Berger on October 23, 1838 at Heston Parish Church. He was the son of Elizabeth and John Steigen Berrow. They had 6 children. Capel Henry Berger 1839-1868, Louisa Jane Berger 1842-1895, Emily Berger 1844-1844, Arthur Hastings Berger 1845-1934, John Cecil Berger 1847-1918, and Florence Adeline Berger 1852-1928. They both passed away at Sion House, Lower Clapton - Capel on 1 Jan 1882, and Cordelia on Christmas Day 1890. A part of London close to my heart.
Cordelia's twin sister Louisa remained single, living in Bath in her later years with her widowed sister Ellen at Lyncombe Lodge, Lynvale Road, Bath. By the 1891 census, she is alone at the lodge but for 2 servants. Ellen had died on April 4, 1885. Louisa died on June 25, 1894 aged 84. Two sisters, one widowed and one unmarried, who had spent much of their life together. Clarissa was born on December 12, 1812, and christened at St Thomas on January 25, 1813. Their other daughter was Anne. She was christened on October 2, 1815 at St Mary's, Astbury which led to her 3 sisters above being re-christened in the main church at the same time. An unusual occurrence but not unknown. At the time of the 1851 census, Annie was still single, and living with Ellen and Louisa at 17, Atkins Road, Clapham, London. Clarissa passed away at the age of 23 in 1836. She was buried on September 2nd at St Marks, Kennington. Bless you Clarissa - you remain part of our Ramsdell Hall Family.
Henry and Elizabeth had finally made Ramsdell Hall their family home - any time between Ellen's birth in 1806 to the twins' births in 1810. However, following the multi-christenings in 1815, they were to leave Ramsdell forever, as my own ancestor William Lowndes bought Ramsdell Hall, and started Ramsdell's 3rd family to live at the hall.
Ellen Cartwright 1780 - 18..
Ellen was the 4th child of Thomas and Ellen Cartwright. She was christened at St Mary's, Astbury on the 27 April 1780. Like her 4 siblings, she would have spent some of her formative years at the New Hall which would eventually become known as Ramsdell Hall. At the age of 28, she decided to marry 51 year old Reverend Hugh Williams who came from Stone in Staffordshire. The wedding took place at Astbury on 06 Dec 1808. Ellen was living at Old House Green at the time with her mother Ellen and sister Judith. Her mother passed away the following year, so it was nice that she lived long enough to see her third daughter, and namesake married. One of those examples one meets in Genealogy - of Providence smiling.
Below is an example of a Marriage Settlement, freely available thanks to the National Archives. Particularly interesting is the name of William Lowndes, my great great great grandfather. It was William who,7 years later, would purchase the house that Ellen grew up in. His name occurs in several such documents involving the Cartwright Family.
1808, 5. Nov SETTLEMENT previous to the marriage between Ellen Cartwright of Old House Green spinster and the Revd. Hug Williams of Stone, Staffs., and by her direction and with the latter's consent, by William Lowndes of Congleton gentleman to Thomas Thompson of Newcastle-under-Lyne cotton spinner and Joseph Churchill of Nottingham cotton spinner -- 1 undivided fourth share of and in one messuage or dwelling house at Dane Bank in the par. of ASTBURY and lands there ...
Although I couldn't be sure of Hugh's birth details, his age at death told me his birth year, 1757, and another document mentioned that he was a widower. So this was Reverend Hugh Williams' second marriage. He had married Ann Whitehouse on the 06 May 1790, at All Saints,West Bromwich, Staffordshire. Ann was born in 1766, and christened at All Saints,West Bromwich. Her parents were either Isaac and Abigail Whitehouse or Henry and Alice Whitehouse. Ann and Hugh had just one child, George Williams, who was christened on 09 Feb 1791 at Mares Green Independent Chapel, West Bromwich. Sadly, Ann died later the same year, and was buried at All Saints Church.
Hugh Williams was actually the first regular minister at Mares Green Independent, and he took charge after his ordination in 1787. He had already ministered there while he was a student at Trevecka College, near Talgarth in Wales. The college had been opened in 1768 by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, and 235 students+ attended it until its closure in 1791 after Selina's death on 17 June. Her college aimed to train evangelical preachers, and after early teething troubles, she supervised the college herself, even having her own rooms there. Trevecka differed from all other colleges in that the emphasis was on training the students to be preachers, rather than focus on academic study. Hugh personally developed the chapel in Messenger Lane, and remained until 1799. The Countess once said just before her death 'my well beloved congregation of the West Bromwich Chapel'.
By the time Hugh met Ellen Cartwright, he had established himself in Stone in Staffordshire, and Hugh and Ellen started their family there. Ellen Cartwright Williams was christened at the Independent Chapel, Stone on 20 Jul 1810, and Elisabeth Williams similarly on 24 June 1812. Hugh Williams was their 3rd child, and he was christened at the chapel in 13 Jul 1813. Ebeneizer Cartwright Williams followed on 26 Aug 1816. He went on to marry Dinah Hawkes on the 16 Jun 1836 at Saint Lawrence, Foleshill,Warwickshire. Hugh and Ellen had moved from Stone to West Bromwich where Hugh had once ministered. Hugh died in Handsworth in 1823 at the age of 65. His time with Ellen had been relatively short, but at least he had been able to father 4 children after the age of 50, and the sadness he must have felt at the early loss of his first wife Ann, was somewhat lifted. I can't be sure of Ellen's date of passing, but she too must have felt blessed in the same way that Hugh was.
Judith Cartwright 1783 -
Judith was the youngest of Thomas and Ellen's 5 children. She was christened at St Mary's, Astbury on 24 January 1783, and was just 11 when her father died. She married Thomas Hall from Hull in Yorkshire on 07 November 1810 at St Mary's, Astbury. Her mother had passed away the previous year, so Judith had no parents present at her wedding. It was an 1810 entry in The Monthly Magazine that gave me the first direct reference to Judith's father Thomas Cartwright being associated with Ramsdell rather than just Old House Green "At Astbury, Mr. Thomas Hall, of Hull, to Judith, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Cartwright, esq. of Ramsdell, near Congleton."
Thomas Hall was a merchant by trade, and was christened at Holy Trinity, Hull in either 1777 or 1786. If the latter, his parents were John and Jane Hall. If the former, his father was George Hall. Thomas and Judith had two children - Emily Hall was born on 02 November 181, and christened at Holy Trinity, Hull on 30 November, and Mary Anne Hall was christened on 31 Jan 1813 at North Ferriby. Their story is a work in progress.
A final, and rather beautiful reflection on the Cartwrights and of my own family, the Lowndes and the Chaddock-Lowndes. Inside St Mary's Church at Astbury on the West Wall, alongside the beautiful stained-glass window, there are plaques remembering Ralph and Thomas Cartwright on one side, and some of the Lowndes on the other side. Further along, there is a plaque to the Williamson Family too. Three different families with no blood ties, but who had two great things in common. One was the church itself, and the other is the building which all three families lived in and loved ... Ramsdell Hall ... uniting three great families of Cheshire. Outside beneath the West Window, some members of these families lie together in their respective tombs. All is well in this part of South Cheshire.