My mother always told me that her maternal grandmother was
from Nantwich and that she was descended from local landowners
- from "the Squire of Basford" as she put it. She explained
that her side of the family did not inherit any of the family's
wealth as they were descended from one of the younger children
of the "squire". I had always taken this to mean that at some
point her ancestors owned land in the village of Basford, which
lies between Nantwich and Crewe. Indeed there is a small manor
house/farm located there called Basford Hall.
Until censuses became widely available on the Internet, the
only information we had available on this side of the family
was that my mother's grandmother, Lucy Evies Dean was born in
Nantwich and that her parents, William and Mary Dean managed
a grocers store in the town. However, census returns and marriage
and birth records in Nantwich library eventually revealed that
Mary Dean's maiden name was Basford and both she and her husband
had worked in the shoemaking industry. Furthermore the records
identified that both Mary's father John and her grandfather
William as well as several of their wider family had also worked
in the shoemaking industry. This seemed to suggest that the
"Squire of Basford" story was untrue and that the Basford's
were not particularly wealthy artisan workers. There was certainly
no connection with Basford Hall and no indication of any landowners
in the family
Since then, however, more detailed information has become available,
which suggests there may be some truth in the story after all.
At present we know little about the earlier Basfords other
than their names, the names of their siblings and their birth
and marriage dates. We know that the descendents of Ralph Basford
(b. 1660) that are relevant to our line, namely son Daniell
(b.1682) and his grandson Daniell (b. 1703) were both first
sons but that the next generation had 5 sons, of which our ancestor
Thomas (b. 1733) was only the third son.
We do know that Thomas Basford was a farmer although he was
not a landowner - he leased land from Lord Crewe. Thomas, however,
had two older brothers, Ralph and Richard, whose occupations
are uncertain but whom it must be suspected, were also farmers.
If there was land owned by the Basford family, it is likely
that it passed into the hands of Ralph (b.1728).
Thomas Basford had three sons. The eldest, William died in
infancy, whilst the second Ralph (b. 1769) continued in his
father's footsteps running farms in the villages of Weston and
Barthomley, both near Crewe. Our ancestor was the third son,
William Basford (b. 1771).
It is unknown what William did in his early life. However,
by the time he was 70 he was living in Beam Street, Nantwich
and working in the local shoemaking industry as a cordwainer
(a description for somebody who made shoes and other leather
items from fine, soft leather - not to be confused with a cobbler,
who specifically repaired shoes). At the time, two of William's
sons, Daniel (b.1800) and John (b.1803) were living in adjacent
William Basford married Mary Woolsey in 1797 in Nantwich Parish
Church. It is not known where Mary originated from. However,
Woolsey is a Norfolk surname.
John Basford (b. 1803) was the second of William and Mary's
three sons, all of which worked in the shoemaking industry in
Nantwich. In 1841 his occupation was described specifically
as a cordwainer. John married Harriet Turner in 1824 and had
seven children, the second of which, Mary Ann Basford (b. 1827)
eventually married William Dean. In her youth Mary was also
working in the local leather industry as a glover.