a Prestwich Family
The name Prestwich is a contraction for priest's wych. A wych was an area outside of a town and the root meaning of Prestwich is a priest's retreat or farm or simply a place where a colony of priests lived. There is also evidence that the name goes back to the time of the Norman conquest, although hopes of following the trail so far back are not high!

The earliest reference comes from my second cousin, Andrea Prestwich. John Prestwich was born in 1729 and married Hannah Butterworth in 1749. They had eight children, the eldest son being James Prestwich, who lived at Slate Lane Audenshaw. He married Martha Harrop.

His eldest son Joseph was born in 1776 and married Sarah Worsley in September 1799 at St Michael and All Angels Church in Ashton-under-Lyne. The Worsley name has stayed in the family to this day as a middle name. Joseph had a son, also named Joseph Prestwich who married Frances Hills in Manchester.

Rederos Saints, Ospringe
Rederos Saints at Ospringe
Frances was the daughter of William and Frances Hills and had been baptised at St Peter and St Paul in Ospringe, a village near Faversham. She and Joseph had two children, the first Adelaide who was born in Kent. I have speculated on the reasons why Joseph should have been so far from home and am grateful to the Faversham Society Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre for the most likely explanation.

In the baptism register for Adelaide, he describes himself as a hatter, as were many others in his family. That area has not had a hatting industry of any substance, however, there was an attempt to start one in the mid-1820s by Thomas WALLER, the son of a local farmer. The business venture failed, but Thomas' father, William was a friend of the radical reformer, William COBBETT, and helped finance the latter's successful campaign to become MP for Oldham in 1832. COBBETT was closely linked to the Manchester area and it is entirely possible that WALLER used his contacts to 'head hunt' local hatters to go to work in Faversham. Joseph certainly gave hatting as his occupation in 1862.

The ancient arms for the Prestwich family had a mermaid on a red shield with a porcupine crest. It was in use by the Prestwich family during the 14th century. The motto "IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI" translates as "In God Have I Put My Trust".
In any event, Joseph had returned to Manchester by the time of the 1841 Census and was living in Greenheys, Manchester, with Frances and his children, affectionately known as the 'A-team' because their first names all began with that letter. Frances appears to have died by the time of the 1851 Census when Joseph and sons Alfred and Arthur were lodging in Ardwick, Manchester. In both records, he was working as a postman or 'letter carrier'.

Missing from that census return is daughter Adelaide because it seems she had found religion. According to the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day SaintsAdelaide was baptised into the church on 3 July 1847 in Ashton when she would only have been about sixteen. She met Charles Kemp through the church and they married on 6 February 1853, boarding the Elvira Owen in Liverpool less than a week later to sail for New Orleans with other mormon emigrants and the promised land of Utah.

They settled in what was to become the mormon enclave of Moroni in Sancrete County and had a daughter, Alice Ann, born in 1854. Sadly, Adelaide fell ill and died in 1856 and her daughter passed away a few days later.  Charles remarried and had a further twelve children and you can read more about the family here.

John Alfred Prestwich
Arthur Worsley Prestwich was born in 1840 in Greenheys, an area near the centre of Manchester. He married Sarah Cartwright of Ashton-under-Lyne and worked in the burgeoning cotton industry. They lived in the newer west end of the town and had five children, the eldest being John Alfred Prestwich. Arthur had three other children by a second marriage to Hannah, including another Arthur Worsley Prestwich.

John Alfred, also known as Jack, was born in 1862, "the year Jump the bobby was shot" my grandmother told me. He worked as a carter, carrying coal from the pits in Ashton to Manchester. My grandmother told many stories about him and a few are included on this site. He married Mary Elizabeth Stanley which links me to the Stanley, Hiland and Walker families.

As a footnote, Mary Elizabeth's brother, Thomas went on to be a furniture broker in Oldham Road, Ashton. He died in 1898, his wife also in 1920, both buried at Christ Church. They appear to have at least four daughters with links to PIGOT and DAVIES.

Otis Steel Company
Blast Furnace Operator with “Mud Gun” Otis Steel Company

John and Mary had nine children, including my grandmother, Deborah Prestwich who married James Binnie in 1924. Deborah's big brother Thomas and his wife Annie Mills emigrated to America in 1912. At that time, they gave their address as Halliday's Cove, which is now Weirton in West Virginia. By in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, they were living in Cuyahoga, (see county homepage) Cleveland, Ohio, with their sons Herbert and Thomas (known by his middle name, Cyril). Thomas had to register for the draft in both World Wars and according to his registration he was five foot two, had grey eyes and a ruddy complexion. On both occasions he was working at the Riverside Plant of the Otis Steel Company.

RMS Mauretania
RMS Mauretania

Annie came home for three months from July to September 1914 without Thomas, but with her son, Herbert, who was baptised at Christ Church, Ashton, given Foster as his middle name because it was Annie's mother's maiden name. As far as I am aware, Thomas and Annie only visited the UK once more in 1953, returning to New York from Southampton on 29 September on the Mauretania.

At the time they lived at Long Beach, California. Annie became a naturalised US citizen on 24 May 1946 aged 56 at Cleveland, Ohio, where she and Thomas were living at 3108 Portman Avenue. She died in California in 1963. I have not been able to find similar records for Thomas. Herbert married Ida Smithson in Los Angeles in 1966 when he was 52 and she was 35. They divorced in 1979 and Herbert returned to Riverside, Ohio, where he married Grace Harwick/Duckworth in 1980. He died there in 1991.

Thomas Cyril Prestwich, or Cyril Thomas as he called himself, died in 1970 in Los Angeles. As far as I am aware he did not marry and there are no Prestwich descendants from this branch of the family.

I have been fortunate in that very few of my family have perished in either of the world wars. One who did was John's grandson, my mother's cousin, Howard Hadfield, son of Ellen Prestwich, whose bomber was shot down over Holland.

There is detailed information about the incident on this site that demonstrates the power of the web. Starting with an old photo of Howard's war grave, I found him on the Wargraves Commission site. However, it was the RAF Commands site that set me on the trail to finding out so much more. Within hours of posting my query, I had replies that told me the name of the German nightfighter who shot them down, the number of their plane, the name of the family on whose land it fell and much more. My sincere thanks for their efforts.

Researching my family through the internet has brought me into contact with family I didn't know I had. In this instance, Andrea Prestwich, my second cousin who lives in the USA. I look forward to our future collaboration. Also to Gay Oliver who still tries hard to link our Stanley families.

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