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The Basford Family of Nantwich

Ralph Basford 1769-1818

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The Basford Family of Nantwich

 

Basford Family Lineage
Ralph Basford 1769-1818



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 houses.

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.