Slaidburn 1

Lancashire Rose Yorkshire Rose

As a result of my own research and work by Mrs Jessie Thornber of Clitheroe, many of the Thornber family trees of Slaidburn and Gisburn Forest have been assembled. Mrs Margaret Woodcock of Huddersfield researched the family of William Thornber and Ann Proctor in Gisburn Forest with particular reference to their son Thomas. As a result of looking at Thornber wills I made the connection between this William and the Thornbers of Slaidburn.

In April 2010, I was contacted by Chris Spencer, who together with Reg Postlethwaite transcribed the Slaidburn Registers. Chris has also made an extensive study of the court rolls of the Manor of Slaidburn and found valuable genealogical information in them. There are records in the court rolls which show how the tenancy of farms and pieces of land could descend to a tenant's heirs, on the payment of a fee, usually called a fine. The registers of Slaidburn have a gap between 1600 and 1631 hence the importance of other sources at this time. With this information and some from wills, Chris was able to link the Thornbers of Greenbank back to the Thornbers of Slaidburn and the links are included in the tree below.

Mrs. Sue Borthwick of West Sussex kindly provided the information from the Blackburn census of 1851.


1. The family of Giles Thornber of West Bradford near Waddington

Footnote 1. The Will of William Thornber of Greenbank, parish of Melling, 1741 (ref: LRO WRW L)

The will was made on 8 August 1741 and proved at Richmond.

To my younger son John Thornber all my Bills and Bonds with every particular sum of money belonging thereunto, to enter upon them at my decease

To my eldest son Giles Thornber all the rest of my personal estate moveable and unmoveable, paying at six months end after the decease of each of my two sisters Ellen Thornber and Elizabeth Thornber the sum of £25 unto my son John Thornber.

I appoint my son Giles Thornber whole and sole executor

William (his W mark) Thornber

Witnesses: William Gelder, John (X) Cleminson, John Walker - sworn

[endorsed:] 5 Dec 1741 The executor abovenamed appeared personally and was sworn well and truly to execute the Will, before me Richd: Atkinson, surrogate

Bond: Giles Thornber of Greenbank, p. Melling, yeoman, and William Wilson of Roborondale in the said parish, yeoman, both county of Lancaster, are bound in the sum of £600, 5 Dec 1741 ... the condition of this obligation is that if the said Giles Thornber do well and truly execute and perform the last Will and Testament of William Thornber late [of] Greenbank, p. Melling, deceased, ... [usual form follows ...]

Footnote 2. Will of John Thornber (LRO WRW L/R623/66)

The main genealogical information comes from the following statements:

To my wife Elizabeth Thornber £35 with one bed and bedding and bed stocks and other household goods which she may have occasion for and also one clock.

To my daughter Alice Wilson £15, both which legacies of £35 and £15 aforesaid I order to be paid at the first convenience after my decease.

Likewise I give all the meal, malt and other victualling in my house which shall remain after my funeral equally betwixt my loving wife and my daughter Alice Wilson.

All the rest of my goods and chattels not before devised I order to be sold by my executor hereafter named, and after my debts and funeral expenses with the legacies above named are paid off and discharged, all the overplus I give and bequeath to my son William Thornber upon his allowing my executor to deduct out of the same £4. 17s. which my son owes me for what I borrowed and paid for him [sic].

Lastly I nominate and appoint my nephew William Thornber of Greenbank my sole executor in trust.

Will made 10 Nov 1778

[signed:] John Thornber

Witnesses: Marmaduke Bannister, Isabel Sprote, Thomas Benison

[Endorsed:] 28 Nov 1778 William Thornber, sole executor in trust, was sworn before me, Robt Hodgson, surrogate. Inventory respited - above £40.

Footnote 3. Details of Marriage Bond and Allegation for Marriage by licence of John Thornber and Elizabeth Sprote.

Marriage Bond - Archdeaconry of Richmond

Dated 21 November 1762
John Thornber, 40, marital status not stated
Occupation Parish Clerk in the Township of Bentham, Yorkshire
Elizabeth Sprote, 40, Marital Status, Widow

Footnote 4. The wife of Giles Thornber born in 1636

A Giles Thornber married Isabella in Waddington in 1659.

An Isabella wife of Giles (Egidius) was buried at Waddington on 22 Jan 1662/3 and another Isabella wife of Egidius was buried at Waddington on 2 June 1666. Neither of these women could have been producing children beyond 1666.

The evidence for Giles's wife being Ann comes from an entry in the court rolls of Slaidburn where Ann was the wife of Giles in 1669.

In the hearth tax for 1672 in the Wapentakes of East & West Staincliffe and Ewcross there were listed at Bradford West, Giles Thornebar, taxed on one hearth and William Thornborough, taxed on one hearth. These are likely to be the Egidius and Guliemus son of Egidius Thornber and Margreta Parker

Footnote 5. William Thornber of Dugdale's Farm on Stephen Moor, near Slaidburn: Will dated 1770

I am grateful to Chris Spencer for the following information derived from the will of William Thornber. By the time of the 1840s Tithe Map, Dugdale's farm had become part of Lower Stoney Bank.

The contents of the will prove that this William Thornber is the one who married Margaret Rudd of Beatrix near Newton in the year 1754 in Slaidburn. They had just one child, a daughter, Catherine Thornber, in 1757. Catherine appears to have inherited not only Dugdale's but also Lower Stony Bank and property in Settle. She married Richard Wilkinson of Hellifield at Long Preston in 1773 (a member of the King-Wilkinson family). Her widowed mother, Margaret nee Rudd, died at Hellifield in 1797 but was buried back at Slaidburn.

William's will also mentions children of his brother Anthony as William, Anthony, Ralph, Margaret, John and Giles.the eldest. This fits exactly with what we already know. Anthony had two additional daughters who had died before 1770. In all, this information allows us to clarify this part of the tree and to differentiate between this William and the one who married Alice Parker on 16 Jan 1748 at Whitewell.


The families arising from Radulphus (Ralph) Thornber in Generation 4

The descendants of William Thornber  and Adam Proctor Thornber, grandsons of Ralph, are covered on separate pages.

I am grateful to Ian H. Burns for additional information on Thomas Thornber, the son of Giles Thornber and his wife Mary Ann Whalley as shown below in generation 5 in bold type. Ada Burns, the second wife of Thomas Thornber, was the daughter of Thomas Burns, the great great grandfather of Ian H Burns. I am grateful to Merle Thornber in Australia for the marriage records at St. Paul's Blackburn relating the three daughters of Ralph Thornber.

I am grateful to Alison Griffin for information about her descent from John Thomas Thornber of Blackburn. Examination of census returns and my own collection of parish register entries has enabled us to link John Thomas into this tree in generation, below. See footnote 1.

Footnote 1.

Merle Thornber sent me the following details of a Ralph Thornber in the 1841 census for Blackburn at Nab Lane

Name Age Description Born Lancs
Ralph Thornber 50 Beer Seller (?) N
Alice 40 . N
Ann 11 . N
Betty 9 . N
William 7? . Y
Margaret 5 . Y
Mary 3 . Y
Ellen 1 . Y

By 1851 the family were at 11 St. Paul's Street as follows:

Ralph Thornber 57 Outdoor Labourer Born Gisburn
Alice 47 wife   Born Grindleton
Beth 19, dau Power Loom Weaver Born Bolton (by Bowland?)
William 17, son Power Loom Weaver Born Blackburn
Ellen 10, dau Nurse Girl Born Blackburn
Ralph 8, son Scholar Born Blackburn
Alice 6, dau Scholar Born Blackburn


I am grateful to Ian H. Burns for the following information from the 1861 census, relating to the same family at 21 St. Paul's Street, Blackburn, reference RG9 Piece 3095, Folio 86 page 25, Schedule 173.

Ralph Thornber, head married 68 No Occupation Gisburn Forest, Yorkshire
Alice Thornber, wife married 58 Washerwoman Grinelton, Yorkshire
Ellen Thornber, daughter, unmarried 21 Cotton Weaver Blackburn, Lancashire
Ralph Thornber, son, unmarried 20 Cotton Weaver Blackburn, Lancashire
Alice Thornber, daughter, unmarried 18 Cotton Weaver Blackburn, Lancashire

Carole Ashworth sent me the following details relating to the Ralph shown above as aged 20 in 1861

Marriage of Ralph Thornber, aged 21, bachelor, drawer of cotton twist, of 21 St. Paul's Street, Blackburn, son of Ralph Thornber, farmer and Ann Hargreaves, aged 20, spinster, cotton winder, of 13 Eccles Street, Blackburn, daughter of John Hargreaves, Cotton Spinner on 8 June 1862 witnesses Samuel Dickinson and Alice Thornber (her mark)

Ellen Thornber, aged 23, spinster, a weaver of St. Paul's Street, daughter of Ralph Thornber, farmer, married Wm Henry Sharples aged 25, bachelor, joiner of New Park St. son of James K Sharples on 2 March 1862, witnesses were Ralph Thornber (his mark) and Ann Hargreaves.

John Thomas Thornber of Blackburn

The ancestor of Alison Griffin, John Thomas Thornber, was found in the census for 1891 at 120 Holland Street in Blackburn (Piece 3402, Folio 13 page 20


John Thomas Thornber 32 Wine & Spirit Merchant Blackburn
Harriet Thornber 30   Blackburn (c. 1861)
John Thornber, son, 4   Blackburn
William Thornber, son 2   Blackburn
Nellie Thornber, daughter 8 months   Blackburn
Maggie I Marsh, niece 9 scholar Blackburn
Evangeline I. R. Powell 18 genral domestic servant Lyons Heath, Herefordshire

John and Harriet married in August 1881 so they are not together in the census of that year. There may have been earlier children who have not survived. The family have not been found so far in the 1901 census. However, John Thomas was traced in the 1881 census still living with his parents.

1881 Census at 10, 11, 12, Lane Ends House and Shop, Blackburn, St. Johns Ward. Source Citation: Class RG11; Piece: 4196; Folio: 77; Page: 14; GSU Roll: 1342005

William Thornber, head, married 48 grocer Born Yorkshire (c. 1833)
Ellen Thornber, wife, married 49   Blackburn (c. 1832)
John Thomas Thornber, son, unmarried 22 auctioneer's clerk Blackburn
John Hall, lodger, widower 32 cotton weaver Blackburn

John Thomas Thornber and his parents have also been found in the 1871 census at 32 Lane Ends, Blackburn (Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 4181; Folio: 71; Page:24; GSU roll: 846939.) At that time, the father, William Thornber, aged 38 was a cotton weaver as was his wife Ellen. John Thomas was then aged 12 and a scholar.

In the 1861 Census, at 44 Four Lane Ends, St. John’s ward of Blackburn ( Source Citation: Class: RG 9; Piece: 3098; Folio: 15; Page: 24; GSU roll: 543078) William and Ellen were both said to be 29 and cotton weavers, born in Blackburn and John Thomas Thornber was aged 2.

To get clues to the previous generation we need to find a William Thornber born about 1832/3 born in Blackburn, who would have been about 19 at the time of the 1851 census. has many transcription errors and in this case Thornber was miss-transcribed as Thomber. The appropriate record has already been shown higher up this footnote at 11 St. Paul's Street, Blackburn, where Ralph is 57 anad from Grindleton. Ideally this outline needs to be consolidated with acquisition of birth, marriage and death certificates or church records for these events.

Footnote 2.

I am grateful to Carole Ashworth for information on this family. 

A birth certificate shows Ralph born 25 April 1842 at Nab Lane, son of Ralph Thornber, and Alice, formerly Wilson. Ralph was a farmer and he was the informant. Registered at Blackburn on 26 April.

A Ralph Thornber, born about this period has been found in the 1881 census for 20 Heatley Street in Blackburn as follows: (FHL Film 1342002 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 4180 Folio 57 Page 53). From the age given, the father would be born in 1840 or 1841.  The same family were found in the 1891 census at Blackburn at 116 Hancock Street on RG12/3404 p. 12. and at the same location in 1901 on RG13.3916.28

The family were found more recently in the 1871 census too (Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 4172; Folio: 83; Page: 13; GSU roll: 846935.) when Ralph and Ann had two children, Elizabeth Alice, 8 and Ralph 1 at No. 9 Havelock Street, Blackburn.


1881 Census: 20 Heatley Street        
Ralph Thornber head, married 40 Cotton Twister Blackburn
Ann wife 39 . Darwen
Elizabeth A daughter, unmarried 18 Cotton Weaver Blackburn
Ralph Thornber son 11 Cotton Weaver Blackburn
Mary A Thornber daughter 3 . Blackburn.
1891 Census: 116 Hancock Street        
Ralph Thornber head 49 Stocking maker Blacburn
Ann wife 48   Darwen
Ralph son 21 Grocer's assistant Blackburn
John William son 16 Cotton weaver Blackburn
Mary Hannah dau 13 Cotton weaver Blackburn
(next door is Ralph's married daughter Elizabeth Alice Smith        
1901 Census 116 Hancock Street        
Ralph Thornber head 58 Hosiery Maker  
Ann wife 59   Darwen
John W son, unmarried 26 Hosier Maker Blackburn
Annie dau, unmarried 23 Cotton Weaver  

Carole has obtained the following details from certificates.

Marriage of Ralph Thornber son of Ralph Thornber to Alice Wilson on 25 April 1842, Blackburn
Birth of Ralph son of Ralph and Alice on 25 April 1842, Blackburn.
Marriage of Ralph Thornber to Ann Hargreaves on 8 June 1862 at Blackurn
Birth of Elizabeth Alice dau of Ralph & Ann on 22 February 1862. The mother was formerly Ann Wilson. Father said to be a drawer of healds and was of 13 Eales Street.

Marriage of Elizabeth Alice to Samuel Smith on 24th March 1883 at James Street Independent Chapel, Blackburn. He was 21, a bachelor, labourer in a cotton mill, of 5 John Bright Street, son of James Smith, corn miller. She was 20, spinster and cotton weaer of 20 Heatley (?) Street. Father's name shown incorrectly as Robert Thornber, a twister in cotton but otherwise all the details fit for Elizabeth Alice Thornber.

Links to other Pages

Slaidburn Families Page 2
Slaidburn Families Page 3
Slaidburn Families Page 4

Return to Thornber Families page

Index button

©  Craig Thornber, England, United Kingdom    Main Site Address:

W3C XHTML 1.01.0 Strict W3C CSS