Family Lines

with Paul Simpson

Family Lines items 1 | Family Lines items 2Family Lines 4 | The Nantwich Group of the Family History Society of Cheshire

Do I qualify to be a Dabber?

JUST where do you have to be born to qualify as being a "Dabber" - someone born "within the old Nantwich town boundaries?" This is a question that is often asked, and a variation of the question relates to the former Cliffe maternity home. This was first in the parish of Hough - at one time under the Nantwich Registration District - and then, with boundary changes, in Wybunbury. Does this count?

    Let's ask the two experts, Paul Simpson (Family Lines) and historian Andrew Lamberton (Ask Andrew).


First, Paul Simpson

ANYONE not born within the town boundary cannot be a Dabber. The parish of Nantwich boundary is clear on the tithe maps which are easy to compare with the modern versions. To search these old maps go to You can switch two map views between OS1910, OS1875, Aerial 1970s, Aerial 2000, Modern Map and the Cheshire Tithe Map 1836-51. The tithe maps show all of the old parish boundaries.   

   The link to the maps gives data held by Chester Records Office (CRO) which is in the public domain, but the material is copyright.


Here is a rough guide to the boundaries on the roads out of town:

   Welsh Row - just after the almshouses and before Nantwich and Acton Grammar School (now Malbank School).

   The B5074, Barony Road - at Beam Bridge.

   Middlewich Road - at the end of All Saints' cemetery.

   Park View - at the junction with Birchin Lane.

   Crewe Road - just after Coppice Close.  


   Willaston - at the junction of Green Lane and Eastern Road.

   Newcastle Road - at Blakelow Farm. 

   London Road - where the fork in the road with Newcastle Road used to be.

   Audlem Road - at the junction with Peter de Stapleigh Way (but not including the Cronkinson Farm housing estate).

   Audlem Road - where the sub post office used to be.

   Shrewbridge Road - just before the river bridge, but not the lake, and following the river to the railway bridge.

   Wrenbury Road - at the junction with Green Lane and back to Malbank School.

   The Barony Hospital was just inside the parish of Nantwich boundary which went over on to the Beam Heath land, in the Parish of Nantwich in the Township of Alvaston.    


   As for The Cliffe maternity home, this was in the parish of Hough which came under the Nantwich Registration District. (See this page for a full list: nantwich.html). The district was active from 1837 to 1974 when it was taken over by Cheshire Central at which time Nantwich became a sub-district. The register is held by Cheshire Central Registers at Delamere House in Crewe.

   Anyone looking for their registration will find a reference such as NA/XXX/XXX, the XXXs representing figures and the second group being the entry in that register which will also be on your birth certificate.

   For the record (no pun intended), any details provided are in the public domain on the Internet - and available to all. The Births, Marriages and Deaths data is open to anyone and no subscription is required.


Now Andrew Lamberton:

MY understanding of the definition of a Dabber was that you had to be born, and lived, in Nantwich for 10 years within the old town boundaries. But I have not seen this written down anywhere and I think there is probably no definitive version.

   I'm not too familiar with the arrangements for giving birth locally during the 20th Century, but most babies in Nantwich were, I think, born at home.

   There were nursing homes - I know of two in Willaston where babies were born from 1929 to 1939 or so - but I have come across none in Nantwich.

   Regarding The Cliffe, it was used as a convalescent home for soldiers during the Second World War. It became vacant for a while and was then used as a maternity home from around 1947 to around 1965 when the maternity unit was transferred to the Barony Hospital.


Footnote by John Brough (owner of "A Dabber's Nantwich" website):

I AM sure that Andrew has made an uncharacteristic error when he says people have to have lived in Nantwich for 10 years to be a Dabber. My understanding is that you are a Dabber from the moment you are born as long as the birth was within the old town boundaries.

    He may be confusing it with people qualifying for a share of the Beam Heath Trust annual dividend. This is paid to Nantwich householders or tenants - and so not newly-born babies. Newcomers to the town who have a house within the town boundaries qualify after seven years' residence. If you leave town and then return, you qualify to receive the money again after two years.


What is a Dabber?

Seeking the Kings and the Vaughans











Swine Market - on a Nantwich Board of Health map of 1851 - features in the question below about the licensee of one of the public houses. And our experts name the pub in question. The unnamed building on the corner in the bottom right of the map later became the Zan shop.  Most of these buildings no longer exist.


Picture courtesy of Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies

I AND my cousins from Utah, U.S.A., are coming to Nantwich in May (2011) to try to find the address 154 Swine Market where our great, great, great grandfather, Augustus King, was registered as a victualler.

   He and his wife, Mary, had several children and my great, great grandmother, Sarah Anne King,  married into the Vaughans of Hospital Street. She married a William Vaughan and they buried a child, Ellen Vaughan, in St. Mary's before moving to Tunstall in 1860.

   Sarah's brother moved to Utah and I have several hundred family members there now, two of which are making the ancestral trip to me in May.

   We think that Frederick King and his brother, Robert, learned the tanning trade at the tannery on the outskirts of Nantwich.

   Could you please let me know if 154 Swine Market still exists, and is there any information we could obtain which would reveal the lives of our ancestors, the Kings and the Vaughans?

   I am told that a Lloyd Vaughan was a mayor in Nantwich in the 1970s. He would have been my dad's third cousin.

   This is a shot in the dark as I have just stumbled over you on a Google search and I would be eternally grateful if you could help us.

Robert Baggaley, Tunstall, Staffordshire.                                                                                                                                               MARCH 2011


Paul Simpson replies:

Robert, I am sending you a section of a Nantwich Board of Health map of 1851 (above) which shows all of Swine Market and you will see there are no more than 25 buildings. The number 154 you are referring to is a common mistake when reading census information as it is the enumerator's index number not the number of the property. I spotted this when checking the Census information.

   As a victualler, I would have expected Augustus to be in one of the two public houses on the street (The Red Lion is on Oat Market, I think) so it would be either The White Lion (on the corner of the street) or The Nantwich Arms (on the right-hand side of the north to south part of the street). To confirm the correct pub, Nantwich Library has a book in the local history section on the pubs and landlords of Nantwich and you should find the information you need in that. [Or you could see Andrew Lamberton's note below. - Dabber]

   Unfortunately, none of the buildings on the attached map, apart from some on the side of Oat Market, exist now. This was a very run-down area and was demolished in the late 1960/1970s. What was the White Lion would be where the B&M shop is now and The Nantwich Arms was in the middle of the opposite side of the street.


lA picture of the Snow Hill area from the air appears on this website and Swine Market is part of that area. You should be able to match this to the map as the view is the same way around, more or less.


lAs for Lloyd Vaughan, until 2009 Nantwich had a Chairman of the Town Council (now they have a Mayor) and the Chairmanís chain of office is now on display at the Nantwich Museum, so you can visit and see that. The full Board of Health maps are also available to view at the museum.


lA "tannery on the outskirts of the town" could be Blud's (pronounced Blewd's). The tannery no longer exists but the owner's house is still standing as 165 Welsh Row. Again, you can check this out in the museum on the Board of Health maps.


Andrew Lamberton writes:

I CAN confirm that Augustus King was the licensee of the Nantwich Arms in 1851. According to Dr. J. A. MacGregor (who wrote the book, ďThe Inns and Innkeepers of NantwichĒ), he was only there from 1851 until 1856 when the licensee was William Boote.


Robert later sent this e-mail with more family information:

I AM so very, very grateful for your information which I have already shared with my cousins in Utah who are of King blood - like me. We think this is the closest we have got to walking in the steps of our ancestors.

   Augustus King's wife, Mary, is buried in Tunstall cemetery. Augustus is buried in Kidderminster. Their son, Frederick, went to Utah and we have several hundred cousins in the Western USA, many very important Mormons.

   Once again, thank you for your time and your help.







Before it was the Zan


Andrew Lamberton adds:

The Zan shop was not there in 1851 (at the time of the map).

   There were a few different names for those premises, including Mrs Carrington's hat shop.

   Then there was R.Dixon, grocer and provisions dealer, before the Zan.

   Dixon's is pictured, right, as seen from near to The Square



Where can I find about family's failed business?      

I AM looking for some information about my great grandfather, Edward Hilditch, who was born on August 13, 1838, in Mill Street, Willaston, Nantwich, and died on May 9, 1922 in Nantwich. He had a boot and shoe manufacturing business in Nantwich which went bankrupt in about 1886. I was wondering where I might look to find more about why the business failed and where he lived in Nantwich?

Ron Hilditch                                                                                                                                                           MARCH 2011


Paul Simpson replies:

Hi, Ron,

You donít say where you are from so I will assume you donít know the area. There's not a lot on the business but the Census data is interesting.

   In 1861, Edward is listed as a shoe manufacturer, and in 1881 he is a boot cutter. In 1871 I canít make out what is written, and in 1891 and onwards he is an insurance agent.

   Your comment about him being born in Mill Street is confirmed in the 1841 Census but the street is in Nantwich. However, he may have been born in Willaston, a village next to Nantwich on the way to Crewe.

   By 1851, the family have moved to Marsh Lane off Welsh Row in Nantwich, and by 1861 he is married with children and living at Cartwright's Row (I canít remember where this is. See below.)

   In 1871, there is no change of location but in 1881 they have moved to No 1 Heath Bank Cottages off Birchin Lane (next to Park View). They are still there in 1891.

   Being an insurance agent must be a lot better for the family as in 1901 they have moved to 32 Park View, a much better property, and they are still there in 1911.

   The marriage certificate reference lists the wedding as a civil marriage so that would be Roman Catholic or non-conformist or even a register office but you would have to order the certificate to find out. You can do this at

   Edward and his wife, Mary, are buried at Whitehouse Lane cemetery, Nantwich. Whitehouse Lane is a continuation of Park View.


Paul also sent Ron details of the cemetery plot and more about the Hilditch family.


FOOTNOTE: Andrew Lamberton told Paul: "Cartwright's Row is made up of two rows of cottages off Birchin Lane, now called separately Bank Top Cottages and Heath Bank Cottages. They were called Cartwright's Row because they were built on land owned by Sampson Cartwright (see Lost Houses in Nantwich).