Notables 3



Robert Rose (ca1806-1849)
Robert Rose called himself “The Bard of Colour and Laureate of the Western Isles”.  He was described as “a wealthy gentlemen and not a native of Lancashire”.  He was believed to have been born in Berbice, West Indies and was sent to England around 1834 by his Father, a man of considerable property, to learn the Manchester Trade. Disliking business he pursued literary pursuits, with having sufficient means to live. He lived in St Stephen’s Street, Salford and in the early 1840’s was Vice Chair of a Literary Group which met at The Sun Inn on Long Millgate, opposite Chetham’s Library, known as “Poet’s Corner”.  Robert Rose met his untimely death, aged 43, on 19th June 1849 in a Salford police cell.  He was arrested a few hours earlier in a drunken state having consumed “an incredible quantity of alcohol”.  He was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on 21st June 1849, his gravestone is inscribed with the following verse:-









The MGCTP team have located his gravestone.  It is a flat gravestone which is buried. 

The team uncovered the gravestone to photograph and record.  Afterwards the gravestone

was recovered to ensure it's preservation for the future. Chetham’s Library hold examples of Robert Rose's work. 

"I’d rather have my tomb bedew’d at eve    

  With the lone orphan’s or the good man’s tear

Who softly stole at twilight here to grieve   

And sobb’d aloud — the friend

of man rests here

I’d rather have this quiet humble fame

Than hollow echo of an empty name"

Robert Rose.jpg


John Alexander Moss (1808-1867) and Mary Moss (1812-1897)
(with thanks to Rootschatter, Dotty, for her research assistance)
The inscription reads:-  “John A Moss, who departed this life, April 9th 1867, Aged 59 years. He was for 13 years Master of the Borough of Salford Ragged & Industrial School. Also Mary MOSS, Wife of the above, who died March 27th 1897, Aged 85 years”
Salford Ragged and Industrial School opened on August 14th 1854 in the former Salford Workhouse building at the junction of Broughton Road and Garden Lane.  John Alexander Moss and his wife, Mary, were appointed Master and Matron of the School.  They had previously worked at Mr Ashworth’s British School at Egerton, Bolton. Industrial schools were seen as a tool for “drying up the sources of juvenile vagrancy and criminality and for training young outcasts of society in the fear of God”.  Children, of both sexes, who were living on the streets of Salford, unprotected, were to be brought to the school and “raised from their degraded state”.  They received instruction in the scriptures, useful knowledge and industrial training.  As nearly all the scholars would have been previously dependent upon begging, the schools also provided a daily supply of good, plain food.


Mary Bradley (ca 1839–1866)
Mary Bradley was the first recorded deaf-blind person in the UK to learn to communicate by touch. She was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on June 19th 1866.  As an inmate of an institution she was buried in a public grave so we are unlikely to come across a gravestone.  According to a short obituary in the Manchester Times, Mary, born cira 1839, had been placed in the Swinton Industrial School, having lost her sight, speech and hearing due to illness at around the age of three.  In July 1846 she was transferred to the Deaf and Dumb Institute at Old Trafford where the headmaster, Andrew Patterson, helped her learn to communicate by signing words and letters on her hand. Mr Patterson had the idea of teaching Mary to sign from Charles Dickens’ description of the deaf-blind American woman, Laura Bridgman, whom Dickens met during his travels round the US in the early 1840s. Mary Bradley eventually learned to read and write well enough to exchange letters with Laura Bridgman, and also helped Joseph Hague, another deaf-blind student at the Old Trafford institution, to learn signing by touch. Mary’s story is recorded in the 1888 book “The Deaf Mutes of Canada : A History Of Their Education” by Charles J Howe.

George Edmund Lomax (1808-1880)
The inscription reads:
“In Memory Of George Edmund Lomax born October 17th 1808, died January 20th 1880. Erected to the Memory of George Edmund Lomax, by his friends and admirers, as a token of their esteem for the valuable services he rendered to the cause of total abstinence and human freedom during a period of over 40 years”
George Lomax, a Manchester man and a very popular temperance and political speaker of his time, was one of the self-styled “last of the Manchester Chartists”.  As a boy he had been an eye witness of the Peterloo Massacre on 16 August 1819.  In an area now known as St Peter’s Square, Manchester, around 18 people died from sabre cuts and trampling and 700 men, women and children were seriously injured when yeomanry soldiers attacked an unarmed crowd during a peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protest.  During a speech giving a graphic description of what he saw he finished by saying “: "As I saw the cavalry striking down unarmed and peaceful people I swore eternal enmity to Toryism and all its ways."  The Chartist Movement grew in the mid 19th century as the lower and middle classes formed networks of Working Men’s Associations which formed the basis for the Chartist Movement, an organisation which campaigned for the vote, the secret ballot and other democratic rights we take for granted today.

George Lomax.jpg
George Lomax 1.jpg



IMG_3284 (2).jpg



The "Glass Graves"
There are a number of graves belonging to glass manufacturers grouped together in a prominent position at the entrance to the Cemetery.  In life their families and businesses were linked and it seems they planned to be buried together too.  The graves belong to:-  Thomas Molineaux (1799-1851), co-founder of Molineaux and Webb which opened in Kirby Street, Ancoats in 1827; Thomas Webb (1797-1873), co-founder of Molineaux and Webb and buried with him his son, Thomas George Webb (1827-1901), who ran the company after him until 1887.  Thomas Webb's sister, Maria Webb, married Thomas Percival (1796-1850), founder of the Manchester Glass Bottle Works and their marriage linked the Webb and Percival families.  Their son, Thomas Percival (1818-1875) was the co-founder of Percival and Vickers whose business was situated on Jersey Street, Ancoats.  Finally, there is also the grave of Sarah, wife of John Woolfall, although he himself is not buried with her.  John Woolfall (1802-1871) was the business partner of Thomas Percival senior at the Manchester Glass Bottle Works.

The Manchester Boiler Explosion 1916
Intrigued by three burials in the name of Caldwell which took placed on 4 November 1916 we subsequently discovered  that Henry Caldwell and two of his children, Hilda and Richard, were the victims of a boiler explosion which occurred at Prince’s Chambers, John Dalton Street, Manchester.  Henry Caldwell, aged 41, who lived at Sanitary Street, Oldham Road was the assistant caretaker of the building and had taken two of his children to work with him.  Apparently Henry Caldwell was stoking the boiler when it exploded.  All three were taken, in a critical condition, to Manchester Infirmary where Richard, aged 10  , died from his injuries soon after.  Henry and Hilda, aged 8, received such terrible burns  and scalds they also died later the same day.  All three were interred at Manchester General Cemetery in Consecrated 251, a public grave.  The inquest report noted that Mrs Caldwell, Henry’s widow, was a cripple and still had five children to support , the youngest of which was a babe in arms and the maximum amount of compensation she would receive would be 6 shillings a week.  The tenants of Prince’s Buildings set up a fund and by the 16 November 1916 the amount of £158.10s had been raised.   The fund was being managed by a Mr Kerridge, an insurance broker, who arranged for Mrs Caldwell to be paid 10 shillings a week.

Henry Marsden (1842-1917)
(with thanks to Judith Marsden for research assistance and photographs)
Henry Marsden was born in Langcliffe, Yorkshire, a son of a master shoemaker and cordwainer.  After moving to Manchester  he worked as a clothing salesman before starting his own business:  Messrs. Henry Marsden & Co,, wholesale clothiers.  He became a prominent member of Manchester society, a Councillor, and a JP.  As a  Councillor he was involved in the building of Victoria Baths which was apparently known at  the time as “Marsden’s Folly”.

His obituary, published in the Manchester City News, read:-

"Mr Henry Marsden, who died at his residence Swinton Grove, Manchester on Monday in his 75th year was a former member of the City Council and for a number of years he did much useful work for the poor and the citizens as a member of the old Manchester Board of Guardians. Mr Marsden who was a Liberal in politics, represented St Luke’s ward for eleven years from 1897 to 1908, interesting himself especially in the work of the Sanitary Committee. Personally, Mr Marsden was a man of quiet charm, without pretence as a public speaker, preferring to act rather than to talk. He held pronounced views with regard to the scriptures, especially as regards the Old Testament, something which he expressed in our columns not long ago. Mr Marsden was head of the well-known firm of Messrs Henry Marsden & Company, wholesale clothiers.   The funeral took place at Harpurhey Cemetery after a special service at Cross Street Chapel."

Henry is buried with his wife, Mary Marsden (1841-1914).  Also interred in the plot are Mary Edith Marsden, Henry’s and Mary’s daughter who died of measles at the age of 3, and Emily Maude Bailey, Mary’s sister who lived with the family. 

The adjacent grave (now sadly no longer marked)  contains the burials of Richard and Elizabeth Marsden (Henry’s parents) and Henry’s unmarried older sister Elizabeth.

Henry Marsden (1842-1917).jpg

©J. Marsden

above: Henry Marsden (1842-1917)
below: Mary Marsden (1841-1914)

Mary Bailey Marsden.jpg

©J. Marsden

Emma Hardinge Britten (1823-1899).jpg

Emma Hardinge Britten

Emma Hardinge Britten (1823-1899)
The inscription reads: “Emma Hardinge Britten, wife of the above, who passed to the higher life Oct 2nd 1899, aged 76 years”
Emma Hardinge Britten was born in London in 1823, as Emma Floyd, and was the daughter of a sea captain.  She developed a reputation for apparent abilities as a spiritualist medium. She is remembered for her work connected with the development of the modern spiritualist movement and published two books; Modern American Spiritualism (1870) and Nineteenth Century Miracles (1884).  In the late 1870’s Emma and her husband, William, worked as spiritualist missionaries in Australia and New Zealand and is credited with defining the seven principles of spiritualism which are still in use today by the National Spiritualism Association of Churches.  She died in Manchester in 1899

Richard (Dick) Davies (ca1796-1852)
(with thanks to Rootschatter, Barbara H for her research assistance)
Richard (Dick) Davies died Aug 10th 1852, aged 56.and was buried in Harpurhey Cemetery. His fight  (lasting 3 hours and 45 minutes over 30 rounds) with Young Dutch Sam in Haversham, Bucks in 1827 made him famous even though he was defeated.  Dick Davies was from Manchester and his nickname was “The Manchester Pet”.   In 1843, he took over the White Lion in Todd Street and then in his later years he kept the Coach and Horses  also in Todd Street, where  Brassey, the pugilist, died suddenly in 1845.  He was described as a “civil and obliging fellow”.

William Starkie (ca1802-1853)
(with thanks to Rootschatters, BarbaraH and Radcliff for their research assistance)
“William Starkie, actor, died April 10th 1853, aged 51”  was the epitaph on his tombstone  in Manchester General Cemetery  exactly as he requested, according to a letter written by John Bolton Rogerson, the Registrar who conducted his burial service.  William Starkie was described as a “strolling player” and “tragedian”.  He was born in Blackburn and was a warper by trade, a profession he often returned to  when the acting work was scarce saying there was nothing better than regular work and a steady wage.  However, once comfortable again he would return to acting and denounce the drudgery of labour.

William Starkie 1853.jpg


Bryce Smith (1832-1892)

The inscription read:







The Smith vault is another large vault within Manchester General Cemetery.  Bryce Smith was a respected Manchester citizen and an active member of the Liberal Unionist Party.  Although known as a very private man he was always ready to assist with every good cause.  His funeral at Manchester General Cemetery was remembered for its particularly large attendance – probably one of the largest numbers ever assembled at Harpurhey.  A service was held in the drawing room at his home at Rye Bank, Chorlton-cum-Hardy before his remains were carried to Harpurhey for interment in the family vault.

“In Loving Memory of

Bryce Smith

of Rye Bank,

Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Whalley,


born 29th Dec 1832,

died 12th July 1892”

Bryce Smith.jpg


William Touchstone (1822-1912).jpg


William Touchstone


NC 2891 (Touchstone).jpg


William Touchstone (1822-1912)
The inscription reads: “In Loving Memory of William Touchstone, born Aug 17th 1822. Died Dec 16th 1912.  Who for 73 years, both by tongue and pen, fought for his Country, his Church and the good of his fellow men.”
William Touchstone was born at Bandon, County Cork on 17th August 1822.  His parents were from Yorkshire.  He came to Manchester at a young age and was raised in the Church of England.  He subsequently joined the Methodist Church and then the Wesleyan Reform Movement but later returned to the Church of England working in the Parish of Blackley.  William Touchstone was one of the founders of the Church of England Temperance Society.  During his life he was Chairman of the Conservative and Unionist Temperance Association, a leading member of the Warehousement and Clerks’ Provident Association, Secretary and Lecturer of the Northern Church Defence Association and Grand Secretary of the Loyal Orange Institution of England.
An obituary written following his death in 1912 reads: 
"In Mr Touchstone, Manchester has lost one of her best-known citizens and the Conservative party one of its most enthusiastic members … Full of zeal, primarily for the Tory and Orange cause … "  It is curious that Mr Touchstone joined the Church of England from the Wesleyan body and (himself a loyal Orangeman) received the Temperance pledge 73 years ago from the famous Irish temperance apostle Father Matthew … The movement led by Mr Gladstone against the Irish Church brought Mr Touchstone to the front as a spirited defender of the Church interest.  His connection with the Loyal Orange Institution strengthened his ardour in the cause, and his energy and earnestness were recognised by that institution in his appointment as Deputy Grand Master.  In this and other offices in connection with the order he retained the thorough support of the lodges. To the Church of England and particularly to the Evangelical or Low Church part of it, Mr Touchstone was ardently attached … He was also a leader of the Orange Party in Manchester … and as such was a determined opponent of Home Rule for Ireland … One of his most cherished recollections was of the prominent place he occupied in connection with the visit of Mr Disraeli to the Pomona Gardens and the Free Trade Hall in April 1872”.

Charles Burslem (circa 1859-1886)
Charles Burslem died on 2nd January 1886.  The only evidence that seems to exist of his burial within Manchester General Cemetery is the announcement of his death, his obituary and a brief report of his funeral in the newspapers.  His name does not appear in the Non Conformist burial register for the Cemetery and so far the MGCTP team have not located a gravestone.  This would point to his grave being located in one of the Church of England plots and as the Church of England burial registers prior to March 1886 have not survived it is impossible, without a gravestone, to pinpoint the exact location of his grave.  We do know from the press cuttings that his coffin was of polished oak and he was interred in a family vault.  Charles Burslem was born in Manchester but worked as a journalist in the North East of England.  For a number of years he was the Assistant Editor of the North Eastern Daily Gazette.  He also wrote a number of serials which were published in the provincial press and was the author of several successful pantomimes and of a farce entitled “Third Floor Lodgers” which was staged at the Gaity Theatre, West Hartlepool.  Charles Burslem became ill with inflammation of the lungs in October 1885 and was just 28 years old when he died.

Alexander Barrie Taylor (1804-1887)
The inscription reads:-

“In Memory of Alexander Barrie Taylor, who died August 7th 1887, aged 82 years.  For 38 years Minister of the Particular Baptist Chapel, Rochdale Road, Manchester”
Alexander Barrie Taylor (usually known as A B Taylor) was born October 18th 1804 at Craig Hall, Pittendynie. Perthshire.  He had a formal upbringing in Presbyterian Scotland before moving to Manchester in 1834 where he became a eminent and successful preacher of the Gospel.   He became William Gadsby’s successor following his death in 1844.  Alexander Barrie Taylor died at his home at Moss Cottage, Blackley and was buried at Harpurhey Cemetery on August 11th 1887.


Alexander Barrie Taylor NC5598.jpg


William Faulkner (1806-1872)
The inscription reads:-

“In Memoriam Rev William Faulkner, Wesleyan Minister, Twenty Years A Missionary in Newfoundland.  Born at Dean in Shaw, near Congleton, February 16th 1806. Died at Accrington May 21st 1872”
William Faulkner was a Wesleyan Minister within the Methodist Church from 1829 until his death at the aged of 66 in in 1872.  At the time of his death he was Superintendent of the Accrington Circuit.  He spent the first 20 years of his ministry as a missionary in Newfoundland, Canada and married Louisa Parsons at the Anglican Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Newfoundland on 24th May 1833.  We he returned to England he served at Selby, Pontefract, Darlington, Leeds, Ashton-under-Lyn,e Douglas on the Isle of Man and Accrington.  During his long ministry of some 43 years he was a faithful and well respected Minister.  His funeral and burial in the family vault at Manchester General Cemetery was well attended.  In addition to his family , the funeral procession number 50 colleagues, circuit stewards, local preachers and class leaders.

Rev. William Faulkner(R).jpg


Richard Baines (ca1793-1853)
(with thanks to Rootschatters, BarbaraH and Radcliff for their research assistance)
Richard Baines was well known in Lower Millgate area of Manchester as a composer and singer of comic ballads.        His trade was that of a shoemaker and  he confidently styled himself as “The Lancashire Poet”.  His works were published in 1844 under the title of  “The Budget of Comicalities”  with a 2nd Edition appearing seven years later.   This was in response to many requests for written copies which proved troublesome to him so he decided  to publish them cheaply to so he could satisfy the demand of his friends.  Richard Baines was buried on 1 May 1853 in a “nameless and flowerless” grave at the far end of Manchester General Cemetery.

John Foden (1841-1903)
The inscription reads
“In Affectionate Remembrance of John Foden who died June 27th 1903, aged 62 years.  This monument was erected by voluntary contributions from members of the Steam Engine Makers’ Society in grateful recognition of his services as Chairman of the Executive Council for a period of 29 years and in that time he did yeoman service for the Society that now mourns his loss.”
John Foden, a trade union official, worked as a foreman patternmaker at Craven Bros Engineers for 27 years and also held the position of Chairman of the Executive council of the Steam Engineer Makers’ Society. The Steam Engine Makers' Society was founded in Liverpool on 2nd November 1824. The original members of the Union included fitters, turners and steam engine erectors but the Union broadened its scope in 1847 to include millwrights, steam-engine patternmakers and the makers of tools used in the manufacture of steam engines. Its membership was very similar to that of the Journeymen Steam Engine, Machine Makers' and Millwrights' Friendly Society. The Union grew steadily and refused to amalgamate into the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in 1851. By 1891 the Union had over 6000 members and was one of the founding members of the Federation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Trades. By the beginning of the First World War the Union had grown to 17,800 members. The society finally amalgamated with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers to form the Amalgamated Engineering Union in 1920. The funeral service was held at Collyhurst Wesleyan Chapel prior to his interment at Manchester General Cemetery.


Non Con 2294.jpg


James Dilworth stamp.jpg
Dilworth Vault Inscription Non Con 4029.


James Dilworth (1789-1854)
The inscription reads: "Sacred to the Memory of James Dilworth of Manchester, born July 8th 1789, died June 6th 1854.  In accordance with his dying wish to his children they inscribe upon his tomb,
“Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins, In His own blood, to Him be glory for ever and ever, Amen.”
The Dilworth family vault is a large (the size of nine graves) and impressive memorial situated in Non Conformist Plot 2, possibly one of the largest in the cemetery.
James Dilworth was the founder of James Dilworth and Sons, yarn agents.  He formed the company in 1820 in Preston and moved to Winter’s Buildings, St Ann’s Street, Manchester in 1837.  His son, John Dilworth, was a partner in the company also.  James Dilworth died in 1854 and his son in 1860.
Walter Howarth (1841-1890) who is also buried in Manchester General Cemetery was also a partner in James Dilworth and Sons, along with his brothers, Abraham and Jesse.



Walter Howarth (1841-1890)
Walter Howarth died at his home in Ecclesfield, Bowden and it was of his that he was a gentlemen highly esteemed and respected in the commercial circles of Manchester. He was 49 years old. Walter Howarth was a partner in the Manchester firm of James Dilworth and Sons, yarn agents.  The company was founded by James Dilworth in 1820 in Preston and by 1837 he opened a warehouse in Winter’s Buildings, St Ann’s Street, Manchester.  He took his son into the business a year later and in 1842 decided to close the Preston operation to concentrate solely on the business in Manchester. James Dilworth died in 1854 and his son in 1860, however, Abraham Howarth was received into partnership in 1855 to be later joined by his two brothers, Jesse in 1865 and Walter in 1873.  The principle of the business was to act as spinners’ agents.  They work entirely on behalf of the spinners receiving a commission and neither buy nor sell on their own account.

Non Con 3202  Plot 1 (Haworth).jpg
Dilworth Vault Non Con 4029.jpg


James Dilworth letterhead.jpg


Farquhar Milne MRCS (ca1820-1858)
The inscription reads:-

"Sacred to the memory of Farquhar Milne, surgeon of Manchester, who departed this life January 4th 1858, aged 38 years"
Farquhar Milne was house surgeon at the Chorlton on Medlock Dispensary before entering private practice in Chorlton on Medlock.  He continued as surgeon at the Dispensary.


Edward Nightingale (ca 1809-1861)
(researched by Rootschatter and MGCTP team member, Barbara H)
Edward Nightingale was landlord of the General Abercrombie public house in Great Ancoats Street , Manchester and was a well-known Chartist activist. He was a marshal at the famous Chartist meeting on Kersal Moor in September 1838 and a speaker at other events. He was not always popular with other Chartists however; he gained a reputation for heckling and ‘strong-arm tactics’ and was known as the “Dictator of New Cross”.  Around 1840, he went into business with fellow reformer Elijah Dixon, as partner in the timber and match-making firm of Dixon and Nightingale. In the mid-1840s he moved to Newton Heath and lived with his family at Heath Hall, a large house at the junction of Oldham Road and Droylsden Road. He later became one of the Poor Law Guardians for the township of Newton. Edward died on 17th July 1861 at his residence, Heath Hall,  and was  buried with his wife Mary and two of his daughters, Phoebe Sophia and Sarah Frances.

Mark Rowland Day (ca1829-1863)
The inscription reads:  “To the Memory of Mark Rowland Day, the eldest son of the Revd Robert Day, Wesleyan Minister of Lowestoft.  Resident Medical Officer of the Royal Infirmary, Manchester who died of fever on the 10th day of November 1863 in the 34th year of his age.”
Mark Rowland Day was commended for his diligence and devotion to the sick poor at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he was employed as Resident Medical Officer, which was where he caught typhus fever, the disease from which he died.


John Howe JP (1839- 1907)

The funeral of John Howe took place on Friday, 9th August 1907 he was interred in Non Conformist 4359. Before the departure to Manchester for his burial a service was held at Oak Bank by the Reverend C F Richardson, the pastor of the Hope Church in Wigan. The funeral party then travelled to Manchester by train. On arrival at Manchester General Cemetery, eight police constables under the command of Inspector Fowler from Wigan Borough acted as pall bearers throughout.  John died suddenly on Monday, 5th August at Oak Bank, Gathurst, aged 68 years. He hadn’t been in the best of health but his death wasn’t anticipated. John Howe and his wife had been staying with friends but needing to attend to some business he travelled by train to his residence at Oak Bank and it was there he was found dead the following day when his family and friends had become concerned.

John Howe was well known in business circles as a grocer and provisions dealer and had shops in various locations including Market Place, Wallgate and Mesnes Street, Wigan. He took an interest in the great movements of the time and although he was of quiet disposition he was elected to Wigan Town Council for the St George Ward in 1875. Later on he was elevated to magistracy and was made a JP in 1893. His politics were Liberal and he was a follower of William Gladstone, he was also associated with the Hope Congregational Church where he served as a deacon.


Because his death was sudden and taking into account the circumstances in which his body was found, an inquest was held, he had been suffering from a tight chest and also became short of breath on exertion. He had been opposed to seeking medical advice and never medically consulted anyone except his son, John Howe junior, a medical practitioner of Eskdale, Levenshulme. The circumstances of his death were that he had left his friend’s house to travel by train to Gathurst by train and went straight to his house where he died and he was found the following day. It was supposed he had hurried up the hill from the station to the house and the exertion had caused him to die of syncope. Therefore the inquest returned a verdict of death from natural causes (syncope).