a Howarth Family
Map of Flowery Field
Map of Flowery Field where the Howarths settles showing Throstle Bank Mill later managed by Hugh Howarth
Like the Walkers, the Howarths came to Hyde from Bolton in the mid-1830s as a complete family unit. Why they did so and whether they knew the Walkers in their previous life is a matter of conjecture, but like their fellow Boltonians, they settled in the Flowery Field area, north of Hyde, and went on to make a contribution to the industrial and public service life in the town.

Assuming that the IGI can relied upon, Samuel Howarth was the fifth child of Robert Howarth and Mary Nettleton who married at St Peter's, Bolton in 1787. I have included earlier relatives, but these are IGI based rather than on sure and certain knowledge.

Samuel was in his mid-20s when he married Margaret Flitcroft in 1826. The couple had five children in Bolton between 1821 and 1832, but their sixth child, John, was born in Hyde about 1835. The assumption is that the move from Bolton was due to economic reasons. Samuel was a cotton weaver and sizer until his death in 1879 and he was followed into the industry by his children. (I also believe that Samuel's youngest brother, Joseph, also moved to Hyde. Read more here)

His eldest child, Mary, married Robert Walker at Manchester Cathedral in 1847 when they were living in Ardwick. Their story can be followed in more detail via the Walker home page.

Second eldest was Ellen Howarth who married James Gledhill, originally from Slaithwaite, but only after giving birth to an illegitimate daughter, Jane. She eventually took her adoptive father's name, but only in her teens judging from her census returns. As far as I am aware, Jane never married. Ellen and James had a further six children who remained in the Hyde area.

Throstle Bank Mill
Throstle Bank Mill from The Peak Forest Canal
@ Tameside Image Library
Samuel and Margaret's eldest son was Robert Howarth and it was he who began to leave the family's mark on the town. He became manager of Throstle Bank Mill, one of the largest cotton mills in Hyde, let alone Newton. It was built in 1869 by Thomas Ashton, of Ashton Brothers fame and it seems that Robert was its manager from its opening until the 1890s.

The other project that Robert shared with Thomas Ashton was Flowery Field Church. According to its history, the latter was largely responsible for its creation, while Robert played an active part as honorary secretary and was one of the four people to sign the dedication below on behalf of the congregation.

He was connected with its Sunday School for 40 years, was superintendent for another thirty and secretary for over 20 years. He was a trustee of the church at the time of his death in 1901. He was also prominent in the Independent Order of Oddfellows holding the positions of secretary and treasurer.

Robert married local girl, Jane Owens, at Stockport St Mary's in 1850 and they had four children. Their youngest, Alice Owens Howarth married Benjamin Bradley in 1888, but she had died before that year was out.

The dedication at Flowery Field Church signed by Robert Howarth
Robert and Jane's eldest was Hugh Howarth who continued his father;s involvement in business and the church. He was educated at Flowery Field Day School and taught at the Sunday School for some years. He went to work at Throstle Bank Mill to learn the business and rose to become manager of the weaving department at Slack Mills. He left to become cashier at Messrs John Cheetham and Sons hat manufacturers where he remained until 1897 when he set-up his own accountantcy and estate agency at Beeley Street, Hyde.

Hugh was also involved in politics and supported the Liberal cause. He was a committee member of the Hyde Reform Club and was secretary for eight years. His other great passion was rose-growing.

The baptism bowl used at Flowery Field from 1863
Hugh married Mary Thorpe of Hyde by civil marriage in 1879, but he was quickly widowed, leaving him with a daughter, Jane. She remained with first her grandparents and then her uncle, Joseph, rather than living with Hugh. However, she and her husband, William Lee, were remembered in her father's will.

Hugh then married Alice Ann Frith, originally of Dukinfield, and they had four children, although Ben died in 1892 aged three. I have only really been able to trace his eldest son forward in time. John Frith Howarth married Annie Beswick and appears to be following in his father's footsteps in the 1911 census working as a clerk for a carting contractor. The youngest child, Alice Matilda, died in January 1916 aged 22.

Greyhound Hotel, Bredbury
The Greyhound Hotel today
Robert's other son, Joseph, married Mary Ann Entwistle of Dukinfield in 1884, but she died in 1887 apparently childless. Joseph remained a widower for many years and in 1901 was living with his niece, Jane. Like the rest of his family, he worked in the cotton industry, but in 1905 he married Charlotte Maiden and by the 1911 census he was landlord of the Greyhound Hotel, Lower Bents Lane, Bredbury. According to the trade directories, he took over the licence some time between 1902 and 1906. This Robinson's pub still exists today, not far from where I live. Joseph died in Bredbury in 1934.

Returning to Samuel Howarth, of his other descendants I shall just pick out a few highlights. Margaret Howarth married Charles Arstall, originally of Cadishead, indeed I found some references to his family in my copy of the Hollinfare Chapel registers originally bought for my Molesdale research. Their granddaughter, Gertrude Alice Furness married twice, first to Allen Banks, a school master from Blackburn.

The report of their wedding from the North Cheshire Herald gives little away, but by 1911 he was a head teacher at Cherry Tree Darwen and they had a son, Robert Allen Banks. Allen died in 1912 aged 38 and Gertrude returned to Hyde and remarried in 1915 to fruiterer, James Swindells. It isn't clear whether son Robert was part of the package.

Samuel's son, John, married Elizabeth Taylor in 1860. By the 1861 census, they had a two month old daughter, Fanny, but both mother and child appear to have died soon after, the former in 1862 and the latter in 1865. Of John there is no sign beyond this time, although there is a John Howarth born Stockport and living in Bury with his wife Alice who might be a good candidate.

Finally, another mystery. Samuel's youngest daughter, Sarah, remained in the family home and unmarried into her 30s By 1881, she was still unmarried and working as housekeeper for one Henry Ligo and family at 10 Henry Street, Hyde. By 1891, the only Sarah Howarth who fits the bill is living with her seven year old son, Thomas, at Post Street. This Sarah claims to be a widow, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she was fibbing!

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