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Ann Mort 1802 - 1867

Story written by her GGG Grand daughter- Sheila

My Great Great Great Grandmother was a lady called Ann Mort who was born in the year 1802 and was christened on the 29th May 1802 at Leigh Parish Church. As Ann was my first connection with the Mort family, I was curious to explore the life of my ancestor who was born over 200 years ago. My genetical link with Ann is that she is the mother of my Great Great Grandfather ‘Thomas Horridge’ who was the father of my Great Grandmother ‘Louisa Horridge’, who was the mother of my Grandmother ‘Florrie Lee’ who was the mother of my mother ‘Ivy Thomason’ who gave birth to me (Sheila) 157 years later.

The era in which Ann lived:-

Ann was born during the reign of George III. During this era, the following events changed the way people lived and worked in Northern England:-

  • 1803 - Cotton overtook wool as Britain's biggest export from 1820 onwards. The era of the machine - steam power allowed machine-led production in industry.
  • 1825 - George Stephenson built the first public steam railway - the Stockton to Darlington line
  • 1833 - The first Factory Act was passed regulating child labour
  • 1847 - Government pass the Ten-Hour Act. The 70-hour week becomes 55.5 hours
  • The area where Ann lived:-

    Ann was born in an area of Leigh in Lancashire (England) known as Bedford. These days I think of Bedford as little more than a busy main road with shops and a few housing estates. However it would appear that once upon a time, it was an important neighbouring parish to Leigh. As the area became more populated and boundaries merged, Bedford simply became an area within Leigh and lost its original independent status. Bedford was a popular breeding ground for the Mort family, whom it appears were mainly dairy farmers. Cheese was a common secondary trade for the dairy farmer in this area, and it is a rare Mort who does not like cheese.

    Ann’s family (parents & siblings)

    Ann Mort was the daughter of a farmer. Her mother was ‘Mary Mort’ (nee Battersby) and her father was ‘James Mort’. James and Mary had a large family with possibly up to eleven children of which Ann came in as number 4. Her mother, ‘Mary Battersby’ was born about 1774 and her father ‘James Mort’ was born in 1769. James and Mary were married in Leigh on the 11th November 1794. Nine months after the honeymoon, their first child Mary was born. Between the child bearing ages of 21 to 37 years of age, Mary Mort was fully occupied as a mother. The list of their brood is as follows:

  • Mary born in 1795
  • Alice born in1798
  • Betty born in 1800
  • Ann born in 1802: christened 29th May Leigh Parish Church
  • Thomas born in1803
  • Margaret born in 1805
  • Ellen born in 1806
  • Rachel born in 1808
  • William born in 1809
  • James born in 1811
  • Martha born in 1811 (either a twin of James or born in the same year).
  • Where they lived:-

    The Mort’s were probably tenants of the farms they maintained. I cannot say for sure on which farm Ann was raised, but as Fold is a common name for a farm, it is possible that she lived on Overhall Fould as recorded on the 1841 censes. - James Mort (possibly the son born 1811) tenanted a farm on Chaddock Lane in 1871. These are described as the cottages opposite Chaddock Hall Farm (near Park Lane). - Abbots Fold: Margaret Mort (at the grand age of 75) farmed 12 acres in 1861

    Her parent’s death’s:-

    Ann’s father James died in 1841 aged 72. Ann would have been about 39 years of age and had recently given birth to a daughter, ‘Amelia’. She was married to John Horridge and living close to her parents in ‘Overhall Fould’ Bedford. I do not know what became of her widowed mother but presume she would have been cared for by her children after her husband had passed away. Mary lived for another 8 years, dying in 1849 aged 75. This was a good old age for someone born in the 18th century whose body had produced eleven children. As a farmer’s wife, Mary Mort must have had a strong healthy constitution.

    Ann’s family (husband & children)

    Ann Mort was married to John Horridge on the 26th February 1827 in Leigh. Ann was employed as a Silk Weaver, as indeed was her husband John. John came from Astley, (which is a neighbouring area to Bedford) so it was quite likely that they met through their work at the local mill. It would appear that at 20 years old, Ann gave birth to an illegitimate daughter christened as ‘Rachel Mort’ on the 7th December 1822. Rachel’s father in unknown and unlikely to be John Horridge since Ann married John when Rachel would have been about 5 years old. The following census reports show Mrs Ann Horridge in the following abodes:-

  • 1841: She lived in Overhall Fould Bedford
  • 1851: She lived in Mill Street Bedford and her occupation is shown as that of ‘hand loom silk weaver’.
  • 1861: She lived in Cross Street Bedford and was still shown to be occupied as a silk weaver.
  • Ann Horridge (nee Mort) had the following 6 children with her husband John:-

  • Mary Horridge born 1829
  • Thomas Horridge born 1832
  • John Horridge born 1835
  • Amelia Horridge born 1840
  • Elizabeth Horridge born 1843
  • Emma Horridge born 1847
  • Ann’s Children:-

    Her eldest son ‘Thomas Horridge’ was my Great Great grandfather. In the 1861 census, he was a 29 year old man who had been married for 7 years and lived with his wife Theresa in Atherton. Thomas was employed as an Iron moulder at the local foundry. His sister Mary became a ‘hand loom silk weaver’ like her mother Ann.

    The 1861 census indicated that the other daughters of Ann and John, (Amelia, Elizabeth, and Emma) joined their parent’s to work as Silk Weavers and were employed from an early age. All three girls were (aged 14, 18 and 21) were all still living at home in Cross Street Bedford, and no doubt the contribution of their incomes must have eased life for John and Ann.

    Ann’s extended family:-

    It is interesting to know what happened to Ann Morts brother and sisters during this period. It is harder to trace her sisters since they marry and change surnames. However her younger brother Thomas left a trail for us to follow.

    Ann’s brother Thomas Mort became a railway pointsman. He married a lady known as Ellen and they had 2 children. James Mort was born in 1850 and Arnold Mort was born in 1848. Thomas was 45 years old at the birth of his first son. Many of the Mort men married late in life. He lived at a place called Kenyon which is a small area part way between Culcheth, Leigh and Lowton and only about 2 miles from where I presently live. Thomas and Emma lived at Broseley Bridge Kenyon and later at Morts Cottage Kenyon. Thomas was 76 on the 1881 census and I presume that he died before the 1891 census.

    Ann’s death:-

    My GGG Grandmother Ann died in Leigh in 1867 (the era of Queen Victoria) aged 65. 1867 was not a good year for this family as tragically my Great Great Grandfather ‘Thomas Horridge’ lost his wife as well as his mother in the same year. Ann’s husband John died 5 years later aged 78.

    Detail’s from the official records:-

    Ann & John Horridge were buried together at Leigh cemetery. Entry No. 4253, Ann Horridge aged 65 yrs, died January 1867 at Bedford. Her body was removed for burial from Bedford and buried 16 Jan 1867 in grave 13-I-62. Entry No. 6992 John Horridge aged 78 yrs, died 22 August 1872 at Bedford. His body was removed for burial from Bedford and buried 24 August 1872, grave 13-I-62.

    Summary:-

    I have obviously never met my GGG Grandmother ‘Ann Mort’. I cannot tell you if she had a happy life and I cannot describe what she looked like.

    I do know that she was one of eleven children raised on a farm in an area of Leigh, Lancashire known as Bedford. I believe that she was not as healthy as the previous generation. Her parents (despite raising many more children) seem to live healthier and longer lives. Ann was born into the industrial revolution and her lungs were probably subjected to the dust from the silk she was employed to weave. She probably worked long hard hours and as such, died younger than her parents. Her own children would have been sent out to work at an even earlier age, in an era where child labour was accepted as the norm.

    I also know that her children remained close to her, living and working in the town of Bedford. I do not know what became of her first (illegitimate) daughter Rachel as she does not appear on later census records.

    I have managed to trace many of the relatives who share with me the lineage of Ann Mort and from what I can tell they all appear to be very intelligent with sharp wits. If such a thing can be inherited, I would like to think of Ann as a strong woman who despite a degree of poverty was clever, humorous and optimistic about her life. I am sure she would have been proud of the many people alive today who owe their genes to her.

     
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