Ralph is my great, great grandfather. He was born about 1856, one of at least 13 children born to Thomas (HM059) and Rachel (HM060). So far we have not been able to track down Ralph’s birth certificate.

The 1861 Census was taken on the night of 7 April 1861 and shows the family living at Bromley Fold in the parish of Tottington Lower End. It took some time to track the family down on the 1861 Census, I finally found them when I stopped looking for variations on the Magnall surname and started looking for a Thomas married to a Rachel with the correct children with the correct ages. I found them with the surname Greenhalgh. Ralph was 5 years old.

Ralph’s father died in 1864 and is buried in Burnley Cemetry.

The 1871 Census shows Ralph living with his mother and five of his brothers and sisters at Cog Lane, near Wood Top, Habergham Eaves. Ralph was aged 15 and a cotton weaver.

Ralph and Mary Howarth (FM002) were married on the 18 March 1876 in the Brunswick Chapel of the United Methodist Free Church by Samuel Saxon Barton, the minister, in the presence of John Leeming and Mary Ann Tattersall. Both Ralph and Mary were described as cotton weavers, Ralph having lived at Rose Terrace, Habergham Eaves, and Mary at 31 Back Cog Lane, Habergham Eaves. Thomas had died in 1864 but he is mentioned on the marriage certificate as a Stone quarrier though he had been a weaver previously.

1876 Marriage solemnized at Brunswick Chapel in the District of Burnley in the County of Lancaster
No. When married Name and surname Age Condition Rank or Profession Residence at the time of marriage Father’s Name and Surname Rank or Profession of Father
191 Thirtieth 18
(Twentieth crossed out)
Ralph Magnall

Mary Howarth







Rose Terrace
Habergham Eaves

31 Back Cog Lane
Habergham Eaves

Thomas Magnall

Luke Haworth



Married in the Brunswick Chapel according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the United Methodist Free Church by Certificate by me,
This Marriage
was solemnized
between us
Ralph Magnall

Mary Haworth

in the
of us
John Leeming

Mary Ann Tattershall

Samuel Saxon Barton, Minister

Robert Munn, Registrar.

The 1876 Mannex & Co directory for NE Lancashire with Bury and District (available from Archive CD-Books) shows that Robert Munn, the registrar, was also a “chemist and druggist, and registrar of births, deaths and marriages” working / living at 19 and 21 St. James Street. The Barton Rev. Samuel S. Barton (United Meth.) lived at 3 Heaps Terrace, Maida hill. Brunswick Chapel is situated directly opposite the Town Hall in Burnley. It was founded in 1869 and closed in 1962.

The only Mary Ann Tattersall that I can find in the 1881 Census was married to Benjamin Tattersall, a Stone Mason, living at 86 Helena Street in Burnley. I wonder if Thomas had worked with Benjamin when he was alive?

Ralph and Mary had the following children

  • Mary Alice (EM002)  (1877 – 1978 in Canada)
  • Fred (EM001), my great grandfather, (30 April 1878 – 23 January 1945)
  • Thomas (EM003)  (26 February 1880 – 1963)
  • Dora (1882 – 1882)
  • Sarah (EM222) (13 May 1883 – August 1960)
  • Rebecca (EM223) (2 December 1885 – 1963)
  • Emily (11 December 1891 – 20 July 1974)
  • Ralph (EM192) (5 November 1893 – 23 August 1918)
  • Harry (EM275) (30 November 1895 – 1956)

In 1881 (1881 Census) the family lived at No.6 Cog Square, Habergham Eaves. Ralph was still a cotton weaver, now aged 25, Mary was 24. They also had living with them:

  • Alice Howarth (FH002), age 21 – cotton weaver;
  • Sarah A. Howarth (FH003), age 19 – cotton weaver;
  • Rebecca Howarth (FH004), age 17 – cotton weaver;
  • Alice Howarth (FH005), age 11 – scholar.

The younger three were born in Burnley and are presumed to be the younger sisters of Mary. The older Alice was born in Enfield, her relationship is unknown.

By the time of the 1891 Census Ralph and Mary were living at 216 Howard Street in Habergham Eaves. Ralph was still described as a cotton weaver and Mary was presumably looking after the house and children.

The 1901 Census shows that the family had moved to 136 Gannow Lane in Burnley. Mary Alice had presumably left home and married.

In the 1911 Census we find Ralph, Mary. Emily, Ralph (junior) and Harry living at 134 Gannow Lane. Did they move next door? Ralph was 55 and still working as a weaver. The census shows that Mary had given birth to 9 children of whom 8 were still alive.

Ralph died of “Carcinoma of Prostrate Cachexia” (weightloss / anorexia associated with prostrate cancer) on the 31 of July 1912 at 134 Gannow Lane in Burnley and was burried in Burnley Cemetery in grave A1025 on 3 August. Details of his death certificate are shown below:

No. When and
where died
Name and
Sex Age Occupation Cause of death Signature, description and residence of informant When
Signature of
417 Thirty first
July 1912
134 Gannow Lane
Male 57
Carcinoma of Prostate
Certified by
A.W.Eadie M.B.
Fred Magnall
In attendance
42 Sunderland Street

I wonder if James Clegg was related to William Thomas Clegg who was a previous registrar? Is there anyone out there who knows?

Probate reads:-

“Magnall Ralph of 134 Gannow-lane Burnley died 31 July 1912 Administration London 22 August to Mary Magnall widow. Effects £151 17s. 8d.”

In the first program of the series “The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon : Edwardian Britain on Film” shown on BBC2 we saw cotton workers leaving a cotton mill. Amongst the workers were the overlookers and it was pointed out that their white overalls were covered in oil from the machinery. Apparently this oil led to a high level of incidence of prostate cancer.

[Last updated 12 Jan 2024]