Updated 20 Mar 2002

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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TAYLOR Research

Ralph Taylor sent me this interesting sketch about his efforts to search for his TAYLOR ancestors over the years.


Family Research

This is the background to my research into the origins of my family, and describes how I met relatives who I did not know existed.

I was born in Manchester and was brought up in Bury Lancashire. After serving in the Royal Navy I came to Cheltenham where I worked in the Aviation Industry until retirement in 1996.

In the mid 1970's, my father, Samuel Cecil, gave me some family papers including birth certificates, bank books an old will and the Family"bible" containing family events of births deaths and marriages. My father and his siblings had been born in Clifton Mill near Ashbourne Derbyshire and I assumed that that was the town of origin of my fore fathers. However I soon discovered from birth and marriage certificates that the Taylors had come from Ashlehay Wirksworth.

In 1977, I wrote to Cannon Busby of Wirksworth Parish Church asking if it would be possible to examine the Church Records and he very kindly agreed. I was introduced to the Verger Michael Handley who was most helpful in giving me access to the PR.s I spent two days extracting all the data I could find on TAYLOR, WALKERS, STAFFORDS and BYARDS.

I have found very little about the Walkers and Staffords, but with regard to the BYARDS, I made contact through John Palmer's magnificent Wirksworth Web page, with Malcolm BYARD who has researched his family. It would appear that we are remotely related, but we have never met.

I then spent hours trying to relate them and particularly to link my Thomas E.Taylor/ Elizabeth Walker. Of course this was pre computer, so all my tabulations were by hand.

In 1978 my work took me abroad for several years, to Seattle U.S.A. This proved to be very advantageous to my research.

My father's mother was Mary Jane PURDY from Ashbourne. The Purdy Family had a butchers shop and abattoirs at 9, Dig Street which I knew as a child. (more of the Ashbourne Purdys later)

My father had told me that he lived in Canada in the early 1920s and had stayed with his Uncle William in a place called Ferry Washington State.

While living in Seattle, I went on a tour of the area only to find out that the town no longer existed. However I did find some old timers, who not only knew about Will Purdy, but had gone to school with his children. What was most exciting was that the presented me with two books of the history of the area which included information about these Purdy cousins including photographs. I also discovered that the family had eventually moved to Spokane Washington.

When I returned to Seattle, I explored the telephone Directory of Spokane and found Purdys. I made contact and subsequently went to visit Harold PURDY (Snr). So I had met a new cousin.

I returned to England in 1982 and stupidly lost contact with Harold. Over the following eight years, Work prevented me from further research, but in 1991, I returned to Seattle for six years. During that time I managed to contact the Purdy family again, this time with Harold Purdy (Jnr) and as a result picked up more information about the American Purdys.

William Purdy was a twin of Charles Henry Purdy who owned the butchers shop in Ashbourne. William had married Rebecca REVELL from Gresley Burton on Trent and had subsequently emigrate to the U.S.A. in 1904. He was a well known poultry dealer and show judge in Britain and the U.S.A.

I eventually returned to England and retired in 1996.

I was still intrigued with the Ashbourne end of the family, particularly in relationship to Clifton Mill.

The Mill wheel was a goal post for the Royal Shrove tide ball game at Ashbourne and I was sure must have a history, so I wrote to the Ashbourne News Telegraph asking if I could research their paper. As a result I met George Shaw who was the local historian. He introduced me to my first English cousin Ethel GOULD (nee PURDY). She was the daughter of Charles Henry Purdy who owned the butchers shop in Ashbourne. From her a obtained a wealth of information regarding our mutual families and also met more Purdy relatives. We are twice related because her father married Charles married Florence Louise TAYLOR who was the sister of my grandfather William Yeomans TAYLOR who married Charles’s sister Mary Jane Purdy.

Regarding Clifton Mill, I believe it was built in 1755 by James Brindley, of Canal fame. It was owned by Joseph YEOMANS around 1860 who left it to his daughter Emma Yeomans when he died in 1879. Emma married Samuel TAYLOR, my Great grandfather. My information indicates that the Mill wheel was first used as the Goal post in 1779, prior to this date the goal was a barn door.

In 2001, I again wrote to the Ashbourne newspaper with an article asking for information regarding Clifton Mill and the Taylors. As a result, I found more cousins this time Taylors living in Wyaston near Ashbourne.

I arranged to visit them, and found that cousin, Ken TAYLOR's Great Grandfather William, was the brother of my Great grandfather Samuel and their father was Joseph TAYLOR who came from Ashlehay via Allestree to Shirley.

In the evening I arranged to have a drink with Ken Taylor, and the Purdy cousins. To my and their it transpired that they knew one another, indeed Ken had previously done some work for Ethel Gould, but they had not known they were related.

I would like to find out the facts and places related to the Taylor migration from Ashlehay to Allestree. to Shirley and Clifton. I would also like to find out more about Clifton mill and it's history. It would be good to get back from Michael and Ann TAYLOR (Hardy) married in 1692. So there is plenty more to do.

Incidentally, I have also researched my wife's ancestors back to Sri Vickrama RAINSINGE the last King of Kandy Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Ralph Taylor 19 March 2002

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