The Entwistle name is dotted about through history. We aim to bring as many Entwistle-related articles to the website as we can – so please let us know if you have an Entwistle story to tell.
The earliest significant figure we can find is Sir Bertine Entwistle who lived in the old Entwistle Hall in the 14th and 15th centuries. He held his land from the king and in return he had to fight for the king when required. By tradition, this was for 40 days in any year but in practice it had become whenever the king needed knights to defend his lands or crown; at other times, Sir Bertine would probably have expected some payment for risking life and limb! However, our Sir Bertine appeared to enjoy fighting – he was involved in at least two wars, the Hundred Years War against France and the early days of the Wars of the Roses. He profited from the former but not from the latter! He fought at Agincourt in 1415 and at St Albans forty years later.
Originally from the township of Entwistle, the Entwisles of Foxholes near Rochdale, were a prominent Lancashire family from the 16th to the 19th centuries. A later member of the family was Hugh Robert Entwisle who fought on the “Bellerophon” at the battle of Trafalgar.
The world changed when George Stephenson and his son Robert opened the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830. The Company had been granted Parliamentary permission to build the line a few years earlier but the contract to build the engines had not been decided so in 1829 there was a great competition known as the Rainhill Trials to decide whose engine was the best and whose engine works should build engines in the future. Of course the Stephensons won and their “Rocket” was to pull the first train. And who was one of the drivers – Edward Entwistle!
Britain was in the habit of sending as far away as possible all those folks she didn’t want, whether it was as indentured servants to the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries or as convicts to Australia in the 18th and 19th. Ralph Entwistle of Bolton, caught thieving, was transported for life. After what could be called a chapter of accidents, he became a bushranger and leader of the infamous “Ribbon Gang”.
Lancashire led the world in cotton production in Victorian times but she needed more and more hands to work the mill machinery. Country people moved to the towns in their thousands and probably found conditions no worse than they were used to in their rural villages. The major difference was overcrowding. It was this that led to the epidemics that hit Victorian towns hard and often. One such outbreak occurred in Darwen in 1861 at a time when the authorities were at last beginning to take notice, although too late for poor Betty Entwistle.
Small banks like the Loyd, Entwisle Bank of Manchester played a vital part in keeping the wheels of commerce turning and enabling Britain to become the foremost economic power in the world for a while. Set up in a street in central Manchester, the bank played an important economic role as well as producing political leaders in Lancashire. Decimal coinage seems obvious to us today and it seems strange that it took so long to change our currency when William Entwisle of the bank was lobbying the Governor of the Bank of England for such a conversion in 1855!