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From Peter Sleigh

I saw in the Lancashire Telegraph that the Ramsbottom Heritage Society had

put up a plaque commemorating Peter McDouall which triggered a chain of

thought concerning McDouall's associates in Ramsbottom during the 1840's.

A previous message of mine was posted on the 9th April 2006 concerning my

wife's ancestor, Thomas SHARPLES and the eulogy he wrote after his wife's

death on the 29th March 1858.

I had hoped to hear any information about William MELLODEW who I believe was

Thomas SHARPLES's wife's father. She was baptised at Holcombe on the 9th

April 1826, Elizabeth daughter of William MELLODEW and Alice DUCKWORTH and

yet when she married Thomas SHARPLES on the 25th January 1845 at Bury

Registry Office, she gave her name as Eliza DUCKWORTH, father James


William MELLODEW married Alice DUCKWORTH on the 18th February 1827  at Bury

St. Mary which would mean that Elizabeth or Eliza was born out of wedlock.

The following is a further extract from the eulogy which I omitted from my

earlier message :-

"Banished, as you are aware, from the town in which I have resided for so

many years, I have passed through many strange towns in search of employmet

since last you heard from me. I at length succeeded in obtaining a situation

in Blackburn, to which place, after a separation of many months, I brought

my family. But a reverse of circumstances had told upon the health of Mrs.

Sharples during my absence from home and she came here as it were, " but to

die ".

Seized with the pain of labour in the streets, we had to repair to such a

house as our poor means would admit of. For fourteen days she lingered and

on the 29th March she died, leaving to my care five small children."

I would like to know the circumstances of Thomas's banishment from

Ramsbottom. Both he and his wife resided in the town at the time of their

marriage although this was at Bury Registry Office. Would she have been a

"scarlet woman" because of her illegitamency? A more likely explanation in

view of the references to Thomas Paine and Freethinkers might be that

William MELLODEW's house where Thomas met Eliza might have been a den of

Chartist conspiracy. Mellodew had some connection with Ashton's Mill. I know

Thomas Sharples was a reedmaker there and Eliza lived on Ramsbottom Lane

presumably close to the mill. McDouall was actively involved with the Plug

Riots and was eventually gaoled for his activities. Was Ashton's plug pulled

or was a plot to pull it foiled?

Incidentally William SHARPLES, the iron founder in Ramsbottom was a son of

Thomas and Eliza and was baptized William Mellodew Sharples!

I bet life in Rammy must have been pretty rough in those days!

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