Select Unsworth Surname Genealogy

Here are some Unsworth stories and accounts over the years:

Unsworth near Bury

Unsworth was until recently, when it had got caught up in the urbanization of the countryside, a small village four miles south of Bury.  After the Norman Conquest in 1066, it had become part of the Pilkington estate before passing into the hands of the Derby family in the 15th century. 

Unsworth Pole is the area around the First World War memorial at the junction of Sunny Bank Road and Parr Lane.  This Pole or "Pow" (as it was known locally in the Lancashire dialect) was named after the pitch pole fixed there by the Earl of Derby which would be greased each year for the village's pot fair.  Local men would then try and clamber up it to grab a side of bacon attached to the top; the successful contestant could keep the ham. 

One of the local pubs was The Dragon.  Local legend has it that this beast tormented the area until it was finally slain by that brave knight Thomas Unsworth.  In the porch of the pub there was displayed a fully armored statue of Thomas Unsworth, clutching the gun and dagger which slew the dragon, and in the public bar there was a mural showing the dragon.

The Unsworths of Goshen

Goshen was the name of the old farmhouse situated by the side of the Roach river between Gigg Lane and Hampson Mills near Bury.   It was the home of an Unsworth family from the early part of 17th century to the late 19th century. 

The first Unsworth was Giles Unsworth of Redvales in Bury.  There was for many years in possession of the family a nine-foot long Jacobean oak side-table, elaborately carved on the frieze with St. George and the dragon, a lion, unicorn, and the Derby crest with the initials G V E V (initials of two members of the Unsworth family) and the date 1618. 

There was a stone on the porch of the farm-house inscribed “GV 1691.”  He was the son of Giles and Anne Unsworth of Redvales in Bury.  In 1672 Giles was granted a license to use the farmhouse as a Presbyterian meeting place. 

James Unsworth was the last of the family to live at Goshen.  He emigrated to New Zealand.

Reader Feedback 

My wife is a descendent of these people and i have traced the family back to Giles. However I think that it can be traced back further to George Unsworth.  Waiting for a copy of a lease from the 4th Earl of Derby dated 1577.  

John Clarke (john5clarke@btinternet.com)

Thomas Unsworth and His Will

Thomas Unsworth, the Unsworth who grew rich as a Liverpool merchant, was Catholic and on his death in 1796 left the bulk of his estate to his two sons, Thomas and William, on the understanding not only that they would remain Catholic but that they would not marry and would pass the estate on their deaths to the Catholic church. 

Thomas’s third son Richard was left just £2,000.  It was said that he had gotten so angry about the situation that he changed his religious affiliation and became a brewer! 

Both Thomas and William did marry.  Thomas married Frances Seel, the daughter of Thomas Seel and Frances Molyneux.  In 1814 he assumed the name and arms of Molyneux-Seel.  The Molyneux and the Seels, like the Unsworths, were old Catholic recusant families.

Unsworth Blacksmiths from Culcheth

In 1963 a stone trough was rediscovered in Culcheth, near Leigh, across the road from the Harrow Inn.   At the time an old lady Mrs. Unsworth, the mother of the village’s last blacksmith, said that it had been used for iron quenching. 

A 1750 map of the area showed a plot of land in the position where the trough was found and the plot being recorded as being in the occupation of "John Unsworth, blacksmith."  Culcheth was a staunch center for Catholicism and these Unsworths were Catholic.  Unsworths in Culcheth in the 1881 census numbered twenty seven. 

Joseph Unsworth, born there in 1791, moved north to Kendal in Westmoreland where he set up his own trade as a blacksmith.  His son Thomas was also a blacksmith there and the father of seventeen children through two wives.  Later Unsworths of this family moved back to Lancashire and settled in the early 1900’s in Chadderton near Manchester.

Unsworths in the 1881 English Census

Numbers (000's)

The largest numbers were in Bolton, followed by Bury.  The small village of Billinge Higher End had the highest concentration of Unsworths.

Giles Unsworth, from Liverpool to Canada

Giles Unsworth, born in Standish parish near Wigan in 1787, had come to Liverpool where he worked as a cotton broker.  He had married Anna Crook there in 1826 and they were to have nine children. 

At the age of 61 Giles set off with his large family for Canada.  In 1848 they left Liverpool by sail, came to New York, then up the Hudson and west by the Erie Canal, then across into Ontario where they settled in Flamboro.  However, the parents were not to last long in their new country.  Anna died in 1850 and Giles a year later.  Richard Unsworth, born in 1827 in Liverpool, became the leader of the family.  His Bible provides some of this family’s genealogy.

James Unsworth, from Bolton to Utah

James was born in 1838 in Bolton, a Lancashire mill town, to William and Elizabeth Unsworth.  In 1848, when he was ten years old, his father came home from work in the mill one evening and told the family that there were Mormon elders down on the corner telling all about their new church.  He was very excited and rushed out with his wife to hear them.

James, just ten, had begun working at the Eagley cotton mill at this time.  By 1861 he had married and he and his wife Alice set sail from Liverpool on the Monarch of the Sea in May for their Zion in America.  Their first child was born on the voyage. 

On arrival in New York, they travelled by train to Florence, Nebraska.  There they continued their journey across the plains by ox team.  Alice, with her tiny baby in her arms, drove one of the teams while James walked beside the wagon.  They finally reached Salt Lake valley in September 1861.  Sadly the baby died one month later. 

The following year James and Alice moved to Hyrum in Cache county, Utah and were one of the early settlers there.  As city people they knew nothing about farming and learnt the hard way.  They were very poor during those early pioneer years.  James did not have a shirt to wear to church.  So Alice made him one from her petticoat

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