Peter Heyworth (1743 – 1799)


   1. His childhood

Peter Heyworth was born on 6 March 1743 and christened one month later on ≈3 April 1743 at Newchurch. He became my husband’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. Peter was the son of Alice Ormerod and John Heyworth (≈24 April 1701 – 1774/5, Bacup), who was the son of Richard Heyworth (1680 – ?). Both Peter’s parents were born approximately 3.5 km southwest of Backup at Newchurch, Rossendale, Lancashire in north-west England, and were married on 12 February 1728.1-3 Newchurch is located on a hill called Seat Naze, in the Forrest of Rossendale. In the 18th century it was a large, flourishing town with far-stretching borders, but what is left nowadays is a small, quiet, depopulated village.4

Peter’s father was a successful woolen manufacturer at Bacup. He grew up as the youngest of six children; three sisters and two brothers. They were Alice (*1728), John (*26 April 1732), James (*1734), Susan (*1736) and Anne (*1738).1-3

   2. His wife

2.1 Betty Holden

Peter Heyworth married the 20-year old Betty Holden (1744 – 1770) in 1764.1,3 The couple lived at Greensnook estate in Backup, Rossendale with their three children.5 Betty died approximately eight months after her youngest child was born and was buried on 31 May 1770 at the churchyard of St Nicholas Anglican Church, Newchurch, Rossendale, Lancashire, England.62.2 Elizabeth Ormerod

Peter got married a second time on 24 August 1777 to Elizabeth Ormerod (≈20 April 1751) at St Nicholas Church in Newchurch. Both bride and groom were from Greensnook in Backup, at the time of their marriage. The minister was J. Shorrock and the witnesses were R. Cragg and John Ormerod (possibly Elizabeth’s brother or uncle).7-10 The St Nicholas Church came into existence in 1511. The initial church building was presumably from wood, and was rebuilt and consecrated in 1561. The consecration stone on the current building’s porch bears the initials of Queen Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) with the Royal Arms of England including the French fleur-de-lys.11 As queen, she established an English Protestant Church of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan religious institution was to evolve into the Anglican Church of England.12

Elizabeth was the only daughter and second eldest child of Lawrence Ormerod (1726 – Ω30 November 1788), a prosperous cotton manufacturer and clothier of Bacup, who married Mary Hargreaves (ca 1730 – 180) on 9 August 1748. Elizabeth’s paternal grandparents were Elizabeth Lord (<1710 – Ω9 January 1787) and James Ormerod (≈16 February 1701, Newchurch – Ω4 April 1767), a mill owner, who were married on 6 February 1722 at Newchurch.10

Elizabeth Ormerod had three brothers: George (≈11 June 1749 – ca 1816), John (≈16 March 1754 – 1828) and James (≈24 January 1755 – February 1757). They were all born at Backup.3,10 Bacup is located in the upper Irwell Valley in the Forrest of Rossendale. The village was founded by Anglo-Saxons who moved into the area during the Early Middle Ages. For centuries, the small village’s weavers produced domestic flannel and woolen cloth and coal was mined from coal pits. The Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1840) also impacted on Backup turning it into a lucrative cotton mill town. During the Victorian era cotton spinning factories, shoe making enterprises, stone quarries and large-scale coal mines sprung up in the town and surrounding area.13

   3. His career

Peter was a handloom weaver and clothier, who made or sold clothes or cloth.1 He became a prominent businessman, a principal woolen manufacturer at Backup and manager of his own enterprise Peter Heyworth and Sons. In the surrounding community, Peter was a highly respected man, with good sense and an extensively-cultivated understanding for astronomy, commerce, geography, geology, history, natural philosophy, political economy and politics. He impressed on his children a love for knowledge and study. He taught them business principles and values such as “seeking equal privileges and the greatest good for the greatest numbers” and “seeking not gain by others’ losses, like gambling, but to aim at self-enrichment by making others rich.”14 Indeed, a very wise businessman and father. Even after his death, his four surviving sons worked together in the textile industry as partners of Heyworths and Company.15,16

    4. His death

Peter Heyworth died at the age of 56 in 1799. He was survived by his wife and his children with several still being minors.3,12  One wonders who took care of the widowed mother and her younger children – most likely the older sons, as they continued with their late father’s business in Backup that expanded under their management and became highly profitable over time.

   5. His children

Peter’s three children from his marriage to Betty Holdon were all christened at St Nicholas Church. Only the eldest child survived into adulthood.6

  • Mary was born in 1764 and christened on 4 January 1765.3,6 Her husband, Sagar Veevers (1764 – 24 February 1828, Burnley) of Coal Clough House, Burnley, Lancashire was the son of Thomas Veevers (1737 – ?) and Elizabeth Sagar (1739 – ?).6,17 Coal Clough House – built in 1638 – had been in possession of the Sagar family since 1655, along with land at Sandygate and at Westgate. The estate, however, passed to the Veevers family when Elizabeth Sagar married Miles Veevers in 1698. They were the grandparents of Sagar Veevers.6,18 When Mary Veveers (née Heyworth) died in June 1845 at the age of 80, the house with its orchards, hothouses and pleasure gardens was put up for sale. Presently Coal Clough House operates as a restaurant, known as Coal Clough Lane.18,19

    Sagar and Mary were married on 2 October 1788. The matrimonial ceremony was conducted by J. Shorrocks and witnessed by Jason Haworth and Lawrence Ormerod.6 The couple had seven children; John Sagar (1789 – 1846), Ellen (*1791), Mary, (*1793), Susey (*1798), Holden (≈17 July 1801 – 1881), Harriet (*1803) and Thomas (*1806).17,20Sagar Veevers was a prominent wool manufacturer and coalmine owner at Burnley, which lies 11 km north of Backup.6,19,21 After his death in 1828, his widow continued to manage his coal mining enterprise, Old Eye Colliery down Tongue Lane at Reaps Moss, just outside the northern perimeter of Burnley. As an astute businesswomen in her own right she dealt with the mine’s structural and maintenance problems, as well as labour and trading challenges arising particularly in the years following 1836 when the textile industry fell into a deep economic depression resulting in strikes, riots and an underlining ‘coal war’ in 1842. John Townend leased the mine off Mary Veevers from 1830 onward for the next nine years. Between 30 tot 40 men worked the pit. There were also children – boys and some girls – working underground for extended hours. Even at the age of 77 years in November 1842, Mary still attended the court case in chancery regarding the underground encroachment of Old Eye onto the plot of neighbouring Hoyle Hey Mine.19,21
  • Betty was christened on 11 November 1766. She died at the age of 18 years and was buried on 23 January 1785 at St Nicholas.6
  • John was christened on 9 September 1769. He was still a toddler of 21 months old when he died and was laid to rest on 7 June 1771 at St Nicholas.6

From his second marriage with Elizabeth Ormerod, Peter Heyworth had seven children who were all born at Bacup. They were:

  • Susanna (January 1779 – August 1781), who died at two-and-a-half years of age.1-3
  • John (July 1780 – 1847), who married Sarah/Sally Ormerod (≈19 May 1778, Broaddough, Newchurch). They had one son, James (1808 – 1879) and five daughters (Charlotte, Hannah and three others).1-3,22
  • Ormerod (June 1782 – July 1851, Hatherlow, Cheshire), a textile exporter who married Elizabeth Barlow.1-3 In 1837, Ormerod set up Oakwood Mill in Romiley, Cheshire where his younger brother Lawrence, and his nephew, Holden Veevers partnered with him.20
  • James (March 1784 – ca 1854), who married Ann Ormerod (1793 – ?), together had a son, Walter Ormerod (1819 – ?). After his first wife’s death, James remarried to Nelly Haworth (≈2 July 1782, Bury, Lancashire) in 1802.1-3,22
  • Lawrence (1786 – 1872), who married Elizabeth Aked.1-3 They became my husband’s great-great-great-grandparents. READ MORE on Lawrence Heyworth.
  • Susanna (*April 1790),1-3 of whom no additional information could be found.
  • George (*April 1792), who died young.1-3

The four Heyworth brothers John, Ormerod, James and Lawrence along with their nephew John Sagar Veevers partnered as woolen manufacturers and merchants for many years.23

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  1. Peter Heyworth.
  2. Peter Heyworth.
  3. Heyworth Family Tree (dated 15 April 1990) received on 17 March 2021 from Maggie Ellis (née Heyworth) of Loxley, Alabama, USA
  4. Newchurch, Lancashire.,_Lancashire
  5. Greensnook House.
  6. Information received in October 2017 and March 2018 from Sue Westwater of Cheshire, England
  7. Bishop’s Transcripts, Marriage, Newchurch-in-Rossendale, 1770-1779, Lancashire, England, Marriage & Banns, 1754 – 1936. Database on-line. Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc. : 2012
  8. St Nicholas, Newchurch in Rossendale. Mar 1774-Jan 1786, Manchester, England, Marriages & Banns, 1754-1930.
  9. Rob Jamison: Family portraits 2016.
  10. The Ormerods of Littlehouse in Gambleside.
  11. St Nicholas Church, Newchurch. A brief history.
  12. Elizabeth I of England.
  13. Bacup.
  14. Lawrence Heyworth – the beginning of the South American connection. Extracted from History of the forest of Rossendale by Thomas Newbigging, 1893.
  15. The London Gazette, Part 1 (1 January – 27 June 1828).
  16. The Law Advertiser, Vol 9 (40), 6 October 1831.
  17. Relatives of Sagar Veevers.
  18. Johnson, G. 19 August 2010. The mysteries of Burnley’s historic house. Lancheshire Telegraph.
  19. Seal, C. March 2020. An eye for an Old Eye …. the Bacup coal war.
  20. Photos and information received on 21 April 2020 from Pete Kilvert of the UK, secretary of the Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust
  21. Beavan, C. 1844 Reports of cases in Chancery, argued and determined in the Rolls Court during the time of Lord Longdale, Master of the Rolls. Vol 5. Saunders and Benning: London.
  22. James Heyworth.
  23. The London Gazette, 2 January 1816 – 29 June 1816.