Family Lines

with Paul Simpson

Family Lines items 1 | Family Lines items 3Family Lines 4 | The Nantwich Group of the Family History Society of Cheshire


Who was Emma Burgess?








HELLO, Paul, and thank you for offering this service.

   My husband and I have a beautiful sampler and the name stitched is "Emma Burgess, Nantwich 1822.".

   We are trying to find out a bit of history about Emma. Any information you could provide would be most useful.

   Thanking you in advance,

Marilyn Taylor McDowell              FEBRUARY 2013


However, Paul replied:

I have to admit defeat on this one as I just don’t have enough information to go on.

   I did find two items in parish registers for an Emma Burgess, one baptised on 17 March, 1812, and daughter of James and Alice, resident in Stapeley, under Wybunbury parish. The other was baptised on 18 November 1811, and was the daughter of Alice and John, a farmer.

   One entry was also in the 1841 census of an Emma, aged 25, living with another family and could possibly be a servant.

   Sorry I can’t help any more on this one.













THIS sampler (left) was embroidered by Emma Burgess in 1822. The verse reads: "Next unto God, dear Parents, I address

Myself to you, in humble thankfulness,

For all the care, and pains on me bestow

The means of learning, unto me allow'd.

Go on, I pray, and let me still pursue

That golden rule the vulgar never knew."





Nantwich Museum has two similar samplers in its collection, stitched by the Tunstall sisters (it is presumed) of Nantwich. They were Maria (1824) and Caroline (1825).

Grandfather may have lied about his age

MY name is Jan and I now live in Perth, Australia, but originally come from the Nantwich / Shavington area. Your name has come up in my search as a person who might be able to help me trace my grandad's war history.

   We know that my grandad, Richard Thomas Flisher (Flischer) Bussell, born 1901, served in the First World War and believe he may have used the name Thomas Bussell to enlist.

    It is also thought that he lied about his age and possibly made himself out to be two years older in order to be accepted. We don't know where or with whom he served.

   We have also been told that he was injured and sent to The Cliffe (formerly Cliffe Nursing Home) in Wybunbury, which operated as a convalescent home (from 1915?) and this is how he met my grandmother. He was not sent back to the front and made his home is Crewe.  

   What I am hoping to do is trace him and his war


records back from his time at The Cliffe but I can't seem to pinpoint just where the records for this hospital would be kept.

   I am really hoping that you may have a better idea than me and am keeping everything crossed!

   Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

Jan Warhurst, Perth, Australia           FEBRUARY 2013


Paul replies:

THIS grandfather of yours is not an easy man to trace. I can’t find any military World War 1 records for him, such as enlistment, but only about 45% of the non-officer records survived a fire during World War 2.

   Changing his name and age causes a problem as well. I found only one World War 1 medal record card for a T. Bussell, Private 36728, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but I cannot be certain it is him.

   As for the nursing home, it closed down in the 1960s after being a maternity home. Most of the building still exists and is now a listed building that


 you can see here with a photo:

    If the records from that time went anywhere it would have been to the Records Office in Chester, but nothing is coming up in the catalogue listing. You can ask them to do a search for you, for a fee.

   See this page:

   I did find the 1911 Census record, with him aged 10, living with his mother, aged 30, who was single at that time and she stated that she had three children and one had died. So at the time, Richard had a brother or sister.

   The home is a two-room at 11 Granvilla Street, St Mary, Hampshire, and she has signed as Lucy Kate Fisher Bussell, but on the name line the Fisher is

crossed out.

   A birth record shows the father as Richard Thomas Fisher.

   I hope this is of some help to you.

Helping to trace an ancestor . . .















The gravestone of John Cheyney, a Nantwich carpenter, and his wife, Catharine, at St Mary's Church, Acton, Nantwich.


Below: gravestones, including that of the Cheyneys, make up a path to a door at the church.

Pictures: Paul Simpson

THE following e-mail correspondence started with a request for help from Australia. It shows the work involved when Paul sets out to find details about a person or family. The person seeking help also plays her part. The correspondence has been edited, but Paul sent the full details he discovered to the lady.


HI, Paul.

I am hoping you may be able to help with a family history problem. I have been in touch with Andrew Lamberton about the Cheney family from Nantwich who, he has found out for me, were quite wealthy timber merchants.

   James Cheney, the owner of the yard, had many children, most of whom passed away as infants or young children. I know he had a son, John, who is listed in his Nantwich 1801 will and inherits most of his possessions.

   I found a birth and a death for a John Cheney in Nantwich in 1766/67, but there must be another birth for another John in the early 1770s, I just can’t seem to find it!! I also know this John had a son and daughters (also listed in his will, although not by name), so if I can find and name these children, I will be able to totally confirm the connection to James, the timber merchant.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kristy Bailes, New South Wales, Australia

   NOVEMBER 2012


Paul replies:

The following is from the Cheshire Parish Registers On-line Project.

   Four entries in the Nantwich Parish Registers for baptisms: 2/1/1765, Elizabeth, father James Cheney, a carpenter; 10/3/1766, John, father James Cheney, a carpenter; 9/7/1769, Peter, father James Cheney, a joiner; 30/5/1780, Kitty, father James Cheney, a joiner.

   Marriages: Elizabeth married Thomas Cartwright, 29/11/1756; James Cheney married Mary Bebbington, 17/10/1764; Eliza Cheney married Josiah Beddeley, 15/4/1813; Mary Cheney married

John Speed, 1/11/1857. This one has James Cheney,


a farmer, deceased, as the father of the bride.

   Burials, only two: John Cheney, 7/2/1769, an infant. Ralph Cheney,19/4/1779, father James, mother Mary.

   If you do a search without entering a parish you will find Johannes baptised on 10/1/1733 in Macclesfield.


Kristy replies:

"I, too, have trawled the Cheshire database but, unfortunately, the parishes I seem to need are not on-line yet. The John I need to find was a son of James but the original John (born 1766) died in 1767 in Nantwich, so I am guessing that they had another son in the late 1760s

or early 1770s.


   "I have been able to find some burial records that

match James and Mary in Acton, so maybe the birth records might be there. They seem to have had land around Henhull as well, so maybe they shuffled between the parishes? Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated."


Back to Paul, who e-mailed:

"I have the following memorial inscriptions for you from St. Mary’s Church, Acton, which should be of some help."

   He lists the graves by plot numbers and the inscriptions, and adds: “I will go up and see if I can take a picture for you.”


While he is doing that, Kristy has been hard at work, too. She e-mailed Paul to say:

"Thanks so much for that, Paul. I have since found two more Cheneys buried at Acton of the same family. They are James, died 1801, and his wife, Mary, died 1816. I think he will be the son of the John you have listed.

   "Any photos would be totally fantastic. Thank you."

After a visit by Paul to St Mary’s Parish Church in Acton he sends Kristy some photographs (including the two in this item). These are “a full shot of the body stone”, “a shot of the inscription”, the location of the grave in the churchyard, and the location of a second stone that is overgrown.


Paul comments:

"Unless you really want it cleared off for a photo it would be best to leave it covered and the grass and moss will give it some protection. If ever you come over let me know and I will put a marker in so you can find it."


Kristy replies:

"Thanks so much Paul for doing that for me. The photos are fantastic. Hopefully one day I might be able to get over there to see them for myself!"

Did my ancestor live on the river bridge?










This map of the "Welch Bridge" shows the bridge bottom centre, with the salt works just north of it on the town-side bank of the river. 

   Map: Board of Health (1851) on display in Nantwich Museum




I WONDERED if you could shed any light on my great, great, great grandfather Matthew Boyer who, the census states in 1841, lived on "Welch Row bridge". Were there any buildings at all on the bridge at the time or do you suppose it was a building at one side?

   Do you know anywhere that I can get hold of any photos of the bridge and Welsh Row itself, dating back to the 1800s? I am interested in Welch / Welsh Row as a number of my relatives lived there, around numbers 19, 20 and 22 in the 1800s.

   I also have another great great great grandfather called James Gibson who was an innkeeper on High Street. Am I right in thinking the George and Dragon was the only inn in the mid 1800s on High Street?

STEPHEN BRADLEY                    JULY 2012


Paul replies:

I have done a bit of searching and found that the current bridge was built in 1803, replacing an older stone one that had shops on it. The current one is just a bridge. See for the details.

    Looking at the Census, I would say your great great great grandfather was in the first building off the bridge and as the Census moves on it enters First Wood Street so this would point to the left side when approaching the bridge.

    The building that was there is sadly no more but it shows on the image of the 1851 board of health map (above).

  Now for some good news . . . I had a look at the book "Lost Houses in Nantwich" (by Andrew Lamberton and the late Robin Gray) and the following is the transcript on page 22.


19 Welsh Row

The present retail premises of Mia Stanza at the above address were at one time the site of Matthew Boyer’s bake house and an advert in Johnson's Almanac in the early 1900s claims that it has been in use for upwards of 200 years. John Boyer was the occupier in 1792, followed by Richard Boyer in 1833 and Matthew in 1850 until at least 1896. In 1912, Joseph has taken over until at least 1939 after which time it appears that the family left. It later became a garage before its present recent owners.


The text is accompanied by a picture of the building with Matthew and his wife and daughter outside (above) 

   On the map this would have been on the first turning at the bottom of the map, left side.   Andrew is also better placed to tell you about the inn keepers of Nantwich.


Andrew Lamberton writes:

I agree with everything that Paul says. The building


would have been at the end of Welsh Row next to the bridge on the north side.

    Regarding James Gibson, I need more information as I can find no trace of him in the mid 1880s in Nantwich. There were just two inns in High Street then, the Crown and the Union Vaults. The George and Dragon was, of course, at 5 Pillory Street.



My apologies. I omitted to say James Gibson was an Innkeeper on High Street, Budworth. He was also an engineer which I believe was to do with boats, possibly on the Weaver.

   I have been looking on the Internet to buy your book, "Lost Houses In Nantwich" but it seems no longer available anywhere. Or, do you know of anywhere I could buy one ? I am most interested in the photo of Matthew Boyer and his wife (probably his second wife, Harriet, as I think his first wife died prior to him becoming a baker) outside the then bakery at 19 Welsh Row.

   Matthew's son, Robert, married James' daughter, Margaret, who had a daughter, Jessie, my great grandmother.


A comment from Andrew:

Sorry you can't get hold of a copy of "Lost Houses in Nantwich". However, here is the photo in question (above)


A later comment from Andrew:

I have had an e-mail from local author Don Tomkinson correcting the identity of the Boyer family in the photograph. I’ve no doubt he is correct as he has done a lot of research on the family.

   Don says that the members of the family pictured are Joseph Boyer (1866-1947), his wife Harriet Grace, nee Samways, born 1866, and their daughter, Grace, born 1907. Grace later married William Schofield.

   The photograph was taken in 1911 or 1912.


Andrew was also able to tell Steve that he had a copy of "The Darnhall Poaching Affray" by Don Tomkinson and thought that Steve would be able to get a copy from the History Society of Cheshire who published it.

   Mr Tomkinson was also able to supply information about the Boyer family.


An e-mail from Steve to Paul:

Many thanks for your time and effort regarding the information on Matthew Boyer. It turns out he was quite a character, He was a shoemaker and was involved with some other shoemakers in Nantwich in the stealing of pheasants from the Darnhall estate.

    Riots took place in Nantwich, apparently (maybe due to the harsh sentences) and soldiers from Chester were sent to restore order. There is a book about it which I am currently trying to obtain.

   Here are some details from the Internet: "Matthew and 24 others, including his brother Joseph, took part in the Darnhall 'Great Poaching Affray' on the 17th of December, 1828. They were tried at Chester on the 9th of April, 1829, Matthew being the first on trial, and six, including Matthew, were sentenced to be transported to Botany Bay for a term of 14 years. The remainder were given short terms of imprisonment.
   "A lawyer, W. T. Jones of the Hough, found a technical flaw in the indictment and they were all released after spending some months on board the convict hulk 'Justicia' at Woolwich, London."


   On his return he became a baker, hence the information you have supplied. His father was Richard Boyer who died in 1840 aged 68. I'm not sure who John Boyer was as Richard's father was a Matthew. Maybe Richard's Uncle. I will look into it.

   Matthew Boyer (as per the Darnhall business) died in 1871 from 'paralysis'. He had a son, Matthew, who must have taken over until at least 1896. They seem to like the name Matthew! I'm not sure what relation Joseph was. I will look into it.