The Longton story begins with my Father-in-Law. His Grandmother Mary Ann Longton married his Grandfather Thomas Baldwin in 1907 in Coppull Parish Church and they had his mother Janet Baldwin in 1916 in Coppull. Unfortunately we have no marriage certificate for the marriage and until we get this we probably wont get further on the Baldwin side. Fortunately, my in-laws knew that Mary Ann and the Longton family were from a farm in Scarisbrick, near Ormskirk. This is a small rural community and they proved very easy to find in the censuses. Furthermore all the churches were they are BMB have records online for this period. This is the story as it looks so far from the records. I am hoping that a visit to the local archives at Christmas will help me put a bit more meat on the bone.
The story today begins with the birth of Jane Barton on 6th October in 1795 on Row Lane, near N. Meols by parents Jane and John Barton. Not far from there , five years earlier, we have the birth of James Langton in October 1790. He was the second son of Mary Sephton and Richard Langton who married 28th April 1788 in St Peter and Paul, Ormskirk. James who was born in Scarisbrick and baptised in St Cuthbert of Halsall also had an older brother Thomas born in 1788. Jane and James get married on the 5th January 1819 in St Cuthberts, N. Meols, the Barton family’s local church. Jane gave birth to 12 children between 1818 and 1839 (21 year period). The oldest Alice was born before September 1818 at Row Lane to Jane Barton alone.
I do not know whether James is her father or not and will probably never find out from the official records. At her wedding she names him as her father and he in turn names her as his child in the censuses. However, this bears no significance to whether he really is her biological father or not. Equally she may never have known herself that she was born out of wedlock. However, Alice herself goes on to have an interesting story with two daughters born out of wedlock. Margaret is born in 1843 – father unknown. Elisabeth is born in 1844, father is Hugh Watkinson. Alice goes on to marry Hugh at St Peter and St Paul, Ormskirk, but not until 1862 – 18 years after their daughter is born and the same year her daughter Margaret dies.
These are the bare facts saved from official records. We will never know what really happened unless we come across some non-official sources about the family, like newspapers, old letters or diaries. The Longtons second child born in 1820 was named Thomas – probably after his uncle. Thomas lived to be over 60 years old. According to the censuses he stayed on the farm all his life but even though he was the first born and only surviving son he didn’t take over the farm after the death of his parents but continued to be a farm hand for his nephew George. Mary, their third child, born in 1921, is the most interesting child in this family in relation to this story. She is the ancestor of my Father-in-Law.
We don’t know that she ever married but in 1851 when she was 30 she had George in Scarisbrick. No father is listed at the baptism at St Peter and Paul, Ormskirk. Mary goes on to be 73 and is still alive in 1881 when George marries. Ellen Glover from Coppull. At the marriage George’s father is listed as James Draper. Whether this is true or not I can’t tell. I know that some people would make up a name to avoid embarrassment at their wedding. But there was also a local man called James Draper. Out of the rest of Mary‘s siblings: Jane (1823-1871), William (1825-1825), Martha (1826-1851), James (1828-1829), James (1830-1832), Ann (1832-1832), Ann (1933-1898), Elizabeth (1836-1841) and Ellen (1839-1841). Only Jane, Martha and Ann survived into adulthood. Ann was a dressmaker while living at home and Mary herself is listed as a cook.
George’s Grandfather James dies in 1867 and is buried at St Cuthbert’s, Halsall, leaving his wife Jane head of the household in the 1871 census. In the 1881 census Jane is also gone. Leaving 30 year old George in charge of the household, consisting of himself his new wife and his Aunt Ann and Uncle Thomas. George and his wife Ellen can also be found in the 1891 and 1901 census within their own family. The had eight known children. The eldest, Agnes, was born in December 1881, an appropriate ten months after their wedding on the 15th February 1881 at the new St Mary’s in Scarisbrick. All their children; Agnes (1881-1890), James (1884-1890), Mary Ann (1885-1959), John Glover (1888-1890), Alice (1890-?), Agnes (1891-?), James Glover (1894-?) and Jane (1887-?) were baptised in the new church, St Marks in Scarisbrick, founded 1848.
The age of the children, Agnes, James and John Glover were buried in December 1896. Without having for sure one could be tempted to think that they all died around the same time from some disease. Maybe a look in local papers can clear this up. Mary Ann is listed as a teacher already in 1901 while living at home. According to family history she continued to be a teacher after she marries the elusive Thomas Baldwin in 1907 and moves to Coppull.
Scarisbrick has featured substantially in this story and I think the next step is to get some more information about the inhabitants of this village. The Longtons appear in all of the censuses throughout the 19th century. This is a list of where they live in the following censuses:
- 1841 – Fleet Street – James Longton is head of family
- 1851 – Snape Green – James Longton is ‘Farmer’
- 1861 – Southport Road – James Longton is ‘Farmer Of 26 Acres Employing 2 men’
- 1871 – Southport Road Farm Hourse – Jane Longton is head of family
- 1881 – Southport Road – George Longton is ‘Farmer Of 60 Acres Employing 4 men’
- 1891 – Southport Road – George Longton is ‘Farmer’
- 1901 – Southport Road – George Longton is ‘Farmer’
A couple of links to local history websites: