The Higson Family 

The Higson Family of Bury, Lancashire

For many years now I have been researching the Higson name in Bury and it gradually became apparent that the majority of the people with this name are the descendents of one person. 


John Higson was a clothier and in 1768 he married Sarah Spencer at Bury Parish church. He lived most of his married life in Walmersley, which is a township in the Parish of Bury, on the east bank of the river Irwell and situated approximately 4 miles north of Bury. Here he fathered 14 children and must have lived through great turmoil as the textile industry of Lancashire went through a dramatic change. He was born about 1739 but so far I have been unable to discover his place of birth or who his parents were. 

Over the ensuing years the family spread into neighbouring towns including the centre of Bury, Elton, Radcliffe and Ramsbottom.

Other related family names include - Booth, Brooks, Davies, Dearden, Hamer, Holden, Jackson, Jones, Jordan, Ratcliffe, Seddon, Turner and Wild.

An extended family tree, including a complete index, can be seen by clicking on the tree icon at the bottom of the page. 



A Foreigner from Yorkshire

In 1834  another John Higson was working as a saddler at Radcliffe Bridge. He had been born about 30 years earlier in Giggleswick, Yorkshire, the fourth child of John Higson, a farmer and his wife, Betty Parsons, who had been married on the 12th May 1798 in Gisburn.

John married Ellen Boocock whose father was also a saddler by trade and had businesses in Stand Lane, Radcliffe and at Besses o'th'barn. Indeed it is quite possible that it was Ellen's father, Richard Boocock, who taught John his trade and he took over his father-in-law's businesses when he died in 1833. Around 1834 John and his family moved to the Market Place, in Heywood, where they set up their own shop. 

They lived the rest of their married life in Heywood where they gave birth to six children, their eldest having been born in Pilkington. Four of them died young, James, Elizabeth, Henry and James Henry Christopher are all buried at St. Luke’s Heywood.  

James Henry Christopher was badly burned in an explosion at his father's shop. John was pouring some naphtha from a large, nearly full, bottle when some naphtha ran through the shop floor, and falling on the cellar stove, ignited. The flame, following the direction of the falling naphtha, passed through the shop floor and set fire to the whole bottle, which instantaneously caused an explosion, making sad havoc in the shop. The windows were blown out, and in a few minutes the shop was filled with thick black smoke. Another child was slightly burned ,John Burton, a journeyman, was severely burned on his arms and neck, and Richard Lomax was also burned on his arms. But James was so frightfully burned that he died the following day.

John himself only lived till the age of sixty, dying at 8 Market street, Heywood on the 1st May 1863. His widow Ellen was the Executrix of his will which was proved at Manchester on the 22nd June 1863.

His eldest child Margaret Ann married John Hoey on the 28th May 1854 at Bury, he was also a saddler, from Dublin.

Another daughter Ellen Elizabeth, married a Publican called Thomas Dyson.

Their only surviving son, John Richard, also became a saddler. He married Mary Turner and they had 6 known children all born in Heywood. In June 1885 they emigrated to Australia and set up a Leather goods shop in Melbourne. The business was sold in the early 1950's but there is still a building, on the Corner of Flinders Lane and Higson Lane, with the name J.R. Higson and Sons engraved in the stonework, to this day.

An extended family tree, including a complete index, can be seen by clicking on the tree icon at the bottom of the page. 

An incomer from Middle Hulton

Richard Higson was born in Middle Hulton around 1825 and was probably the son of Robert and Charlotte of  Cuthbert Lane cottage. In 1851 he married Ann Foster of Freetown, Bury at the local parish church.

To display any of the family trees above -

An extended family tree, including a complete index, can be seen by clicking on the tree icon below. By moving the cursor over each individual, additional details will be displayed and clicking on them with the mouse, makes them the focus of the tree and shows their children and parents. A full Help File is available.

Please note, initially the main Higson family of Bury will be displayed, to see the other families move your cursor to the top left-hand corner of the screen, click on the database button and from the dropdown menu choose the desired family.


Higson Family Tree
Dynamic Family Tree


© 2001 E Hart