Briercliffe Society

Ancestor Profile – William Stowell (c1801-1870)

William Stowell is my 3 x great grandfather on my mother’s side of the family.  He was born around 1801 in Bell Busk, Yorkshire.

My first record of William is in Burnley, Lancashire in the 1841 census.  He is living with his wife Ellen and six children

Nancy (born about 1826)

John (born about 1828) – my 2 x great grandfather

Thomas (born about 1831)

Alexander (born about 1834)

Francis (born about 1837)

Lawrence (born about 1840)

William is working as a “cotton spinner”.

So far I haven’t been able to locate a marriage record for William and Ellen – so this is an unresolved issue to be dealt with.

Ten years later in the 1851 census William and Ellen can be found at an address called “Old Duke” in the parish of Whalley, which is part of Burnley.  Living with them are their children from the 1841 census Thomas, Alexander and Francis plus Norena aged 12.  This suggests that if Norena’s age is accurate she must have been somewhere else when the 1841 census was taken.  So far I haven’t been able to locate her.

All the children have “Addingham, Yorkshire” recorded as their place of birth in the census.  So at the moment I am not clear exactly when the family made the move across the Pennines from Yorkshire to Lancashire.

The 1851 census also shows three other families living at “Old Duke”.  This includes Peter Haworth, his wife Nancy and their three children.  This is William’s daughter and her family.  A total of 24 people are living at “Old Duke”.

I have tried a Google search for the address / premises and have come up with the abandoned public house shown in the photograph – perhaps they were all living here – it is certainly in the right area.   

The census entry immediately before that for Peter Haworth and Nancy is for John Stowell and his wife Ann.  This is William’s son who was clearly near by – probably next door.

The other child Lawrence seems to have disappeared.  A quick check of the census and death records have drawn a blank – so another loose end to be followed up when I have time.

Moving on another ten years to 1861 we see William as a widower.  His wife Ellen had died sometime in Q1 of 1861 and was buried on 11th January at Briercliffe Church in Burnley.

William is living with his grandson Sandy Haworth at 51 & 53 Anne Street, Burnley.  His occupation is described as “grocer and beer seller”.  The address no longer exists so I don’t know what sort of property it is – but perhaps two houses together suggests it might be a residence and shop premises.

William didn’t survive to the next census – he died sometime in Q4 1870.  Information I found on the Briercliffe Society website suggests that when William died he was living in the Burnley Workshouse and was buried on 18th October 1870 at Briercliffe Church.