John Pendlebury, hand-loom weaver, and his parents

John Pendlebury was born in Aspull, part of Wigan parish, on 16th December 1786, and baptised on the 29th of that month, shown in records of the ‘Society of Protestant Dissenters’ at Hindley, later known as a Presbyterian church. The association of this Lancashire family with ‘non-conformist’ churches has both hindered and helped genealogical tracing - helped in that it may give pointers to the most likely people, hindered because there are fewer extant records, some are less detailed than those of the established church, and even when they exist these records may be harder to access.

However, John is as said in the Hindley records, shown as the son of Jonathan Pendlebury. No occupation is noted, and the mother is not named. This record is last (of two) on a page for 1786 - and the next page is headed 1813. (There was however another register beginning in 1787.)

Fortunately for family historians, John moved to Scotland and died in Glasgow, on 24th October 1857 so in the period of statutory registration, and his death registration names his parents as Jonathan Pendlebury, Cotton Weaver, and Margaret Seedon. ’Seedon’ is an easy transition of spelling, with a different accent, for the Lancashire name of ’Seddon’, and other family records had John’s mother’s name as Mary, not Margaret. And indeed there is a marriage of Jonathan Pendlebury and Mary Seddon, on 7th March 1786, in Deane parish. 

Only two children have been identified from this marriage, both born in Apsull - John, in 1786, and Samuel, born 4 April 1791 and baptised on the 8th of that month. Alas, Samuel’s life was a short one. His death, from smallpox, is recorded in 1794, he being aged only three. A smallpox epidemic ran from approximately October 1793 to March 1794, and the Wigan register gives page after page of burials of small children from this dread disease. Samuel was buried on 24th March 1794, near the end of the epidemic.

About John we have very little information. His baptism is noted above; the next evidence of him is his marriage, in Paisley, recorded as 16th April 1832. He was then aged 45. What occurred in this 45 years? A family story was that he’d been in the Lancashire Militia, served for several years in Ireland, and at some point after his discharge walked from Wigan to Paisley for work as a hand-loom weaver. (Another story had it that he was aged 64 when he married his housekeeper - the age is clearly not right, although 45 is or was then quite elderly for a marriage.) 

He certainly had trained as a weaver, and it’s possible that in the 1820s, at a time when weaving was becoming increasingly mechanised, word had reached him that Paisley still had a concentration of hand-looms. Marion Brown, his wife, was in her early 30s at the time of the marriage; she was from a weaving family, and her father David Brown, weaver, appears to have moved to Paisley during the 1810s, the children of his second marriage being born there, though he and his second wife Isabella McKendrick both died in Glasgow.

to be continued...

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