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Samuel Mort born 1777 in Astley

I was wonderfully surprised to see details of Samuel Mortís Will (d 1855) on your website and many thanks to you and Harry Schofield for providing this information.

I attached transcribed details from the death certificates and have asked my husband to try and scan the certificates at work and if successful I will send you the results.

My interest in Samuel takes a long explanation!

My father and his elderly aunt Agnes who lived in Leigh (died 1996) spent a lot of time tracing their "Smith" family in and around Leigh.

They were both descendants of John Smith circa 1829-1904 who stated on his Catholic marriage certificate that his father was Thomas Mort (deceased) Farmer (I have been unable to find the certificate for his first marriage to Mary who died 12 Oct 1866 of TB at Charles Street, Pennington or his daughter Ellen).

The tree I inherited indicated that John Smith's parents were Thomas Mort born 22 November 1808 in Pennington (Catholic?) and Rachel Smith born circa 1814- 1843.

The story is that Rachel worked for the Mortís and a connection to Astley Hall exists. The former may be true but the latter is probably interesting speculation although Samuel Mort was born in Astley (1851 census HO107/2205 folio 34 page 38).

I have no other evidence to link John Smith to Thomas Mort but think he was probably truthful, after all, the details fit the truth and if he didn't want to appear illegitimate he would have chosen a "Smith" father. John had two illegitimate brothers: Thomas Smith born c 1833 who stated his father as Peter Blackburn and Paul Smith Licensee of the Greyhorse Inn, Plank Lane born c 1837 who stated his father as William Smith.

Rachel(e) Smith is with the three boys during the 1841 census at King St, Bedford age 25 in a house with James Battersby, wife & family. Sadly by 1851 it appears Rachel has died because John is a Lodger on King St with Richard Wilkinson & family and Thomas & Paul (age 19 & 14) are living as hired servants and Coal Miners with Elijah Broadhead from Bickershaw Lane, Abram.

I believe John's father Thomas Mort born c1808 was the son of Samuel & Betty Mort, farmers of GreenFold, Siddow Common, Pennington as shown in the 1841 census Ref HO107/513/8 Folio 30 page 22.

I have been unable to find any further information about Thomas Mort and suspect he died 1841-8151 (I will investigate further now I have seen that he is not mentioned in Samuel's last Will& Testament).

The research I inherited indicated that Thomas's mother was Elizabeth Hesketh born 25 Dec 1780 who married Samuel Mort 2nd February 1808. Elizabeth's (Betty's) parents were James Hesketh born c 1760 died 16 Jan 1830 and Martha.

I do have a sweet end to follow the sad story of Rachel Smith and will try and keep you posted on further research which may be of interest to other's particularly as John Smith & Margaret Hindley had at least eleven children and Margaret still managed to live to the ripe old age of 90. She lived on Mather Lane in Leigh where her daughter Mary had a Sweet Shop where she handmade toffee!

Editors Note:

Several aspects of this story interest me: To begin with, I personally am also connected to the surname of Smith (but then most of us probably have a Smith or 2 in the family). Also I noticed on the death certificate that it was Mary Hurst who was the informant of Samuelsís death. I also have the Hurst name in my family tree and this family is historically intertwined with the Mortís. To score a hat trick, the Battersbyís are also mentioned and these are in my family as well. It really is a very small world!

However, the location of the Greyhorse pub really caught my imagination. I travel down Plank Lane several times a week and there are many derelict old pubs on this road. I wanted to find out which one was managed by Peter Blackburn and Paul Smith. This sparked quite a debate on a great little website called leighlife.com. You can follow the entertaining discussions with the locals as to the exact location of this inn by using this link: - http://www.leighlife.com/index.php?topic=1808.0

I have always wondered about the history of this pub whenever I passed it - as you can see, it is almost a ruin on the verge of collapse. I am so pleased to have found a Mort story that ties in with this strange old place.

So many thanks to the people of Leigh. Through their help I was able to add a photo to this story. The site is an excellent forum for anyone doing this kind of research. I have just posted a topic to ask if anyone knows where the farm is mentioned in this story - GreenFold, Siddow Common, Pennington. To see if I get any response, follow this link:- http://www.leighlife.com/index.php?topic=1847.0

Watch this space.

Thank you for this story Liz.

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