Question and Answer
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From Martin Gray
My 3xGrt. grandparents John and Elizabeth (nee Brodie) Gray lived in Ramsbottom from 1828 until they died. John in 1872 and Elizabeth in 1887. There is a gravestone to their memory in St. Andrew's Churchyard. They where married at Fordyce Kirk, Banffshire, in the far North East of Scotland on the 1st. Sept. 1827 and then walked (I am told) to Ramsbottom. John must have been there before as on their marriage record it says 'John Gray from Lancashire'. Their first child, a son named John, was born on the 21st. June 1828 (less than a year after their marriage) and baptised at Emmanuel Church, Holcombe on the 10th. Aug. 1828. In the 1841 and 51 censuses they where living in Scotch Row, Ramsbottom then in 1861 and 71 in Scotland Place (no.16 in 71). I believe Scotland Place still exists. They went on to have 11 children.
There is ref. to them in the book ' The Country and Church of the Cheeryble Brothers' by Rev. W. Hume Elliott published in 1893. In this book about Ramsbottom there are a number of references to a 'John Gray's lodge' and there is a sketch of 'The Old Ground, Ramsbottom' which shows John Gray's lodge, bottom centre, alongside Scotland Place which it shows as formally 'The Dry House'. I think that John must have worked for the Grant Brothers in one of their factories and must have thought well of them as he named one of his children 'Daniel Grant' presumably after Daniel Grant. Elizabeth is given a 3 page tribute in the book for her courage in saving children from drowning in the Lodge, which I assume is a Dam, facing her house.
I would love to know more about John and Elizabeth, John Gray's lodge, Scotch Row and Scotland Place. If anyone knows anything I would be very grateful to hear from them.
Great to get all this information which I can now add to what little we know of John Gray and family. I keep seeing reference to John Gray whilst research other things but haven’t looked at John Gray in particular – I will contact you each time I come across reference to him in the future if you let me have your email address.
I know the following:
A lodge is a reservoir serving mills which were run by water wheels. There are a lot around Ramsbottom but John Gray’s Lodge was one of the biggest if not the biggest lodge. There were several mills below the Lodge including the Grants’ famous Square Mill.
I remember the Lodge well as a beautiful stretch of water but developers and planners in the 70s had other ideas and it was drained and blocks of flats were put up.
Scotch Row and Scotland Place are names for the same row of terraces which were developed from the original ‘drying house’ used to dry cotton made by Peel and Yates – mill owners who were here before the Grants. The Grants bought out their business. Scotch Row ‘drying house’ is one of the oldest buildings remaining in Ramsbottom and can be found on the present day street map as houses on Cross Street.
The ‘Peel’ of Peel and Yates is the father of the famous Robert Peel, founder of the police, etc and there is a monument on Holcombe Hill above Ramsbottom which the Grants put up in his memory
It is interesting how many people came down from the North East Scotland. The Grants came from Morayshire. The Grants settled in Ramsbottom in 1806 but had lived and worked in nearby Bury beforehand.
I have an informally drawn map of 1806 which shows the Lodge did not exist then. It probably means it was made for the use of Grant Mills. In 1806 the land was known as Brook Meadow.
The schedule for the 1842 Tithe Map says John Gray occupied land owned by William Grant & Bros.
(Relevant section of Map shown below)
I don’t know what use he had for these large sections of land. I see he was a cooper in the 1851 census and a cooper/Cartwright/slater in 1861. I wonder if he used horses and carts in his job and needed the land to graze the horses. Unfortunately we have no list of the emplyees of the Grants to refer to.
By coincidence (or was he related?) we have an occupier of one of Grants’ cottages ( 354) down as William Gray.
Hope this is of interest to you