These historical stories were written to give context to the lives of our ancestors – to help us understand their situations better. Some are directly relevant to the Entwistle name, others give background through an event.
Please let us know if you have a story to tell!
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.
Desperate times for those in Lancashire who supported the Union side in the Civil War in the USA. Many mill owners and workers felt strongly that slavery was wrong and supported the blockade of the south – despite the hard times it brought them.
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!