Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Liverpool to the River Ribble

Sunday morning May 2nd we decided to get a head start on our day by driving the 45 minutes to Liverpool for a 10:00 sacrament meeting rather than to attend one of the several 10:00 sacrament meetings in the various Manchester wards. It seems each ward in the area has its own meeting house so there is no need to share with other wards, thus they always have the optimal 10:00 starting time rather than rotating annually with two other wards like we do in Springville from 1:00 to 11:00 to 9:00.

We walked in to the 10:00 service of the Liverpool LDS Ward and one of the first people we meet was Elder Nelson (serving a two year mission in the Manchester England Mission). When asked where he was from, he said "Logan." I replied: "I grew up in Logan" and then mentioned a few Emmetts still there. He happily acknowledged knowing my niece Katie Emmett and also my brother Bill (who teaches at Logan High). He called him "Brother Emmett" (in true missionary style he mixed up Brother for Mister). Once the Logan connection was established. I asked: "Which Nelson family?" Then Marie chimed in asking if he was related to Kieth Nelson. "That's my dad," he said. With a big smile Marie proclaimed: "Your mom Joni [Tueller] is my cousin!" She then asked his name. "Chase," he said. She then gave him a big hug (something missionaries normally don't do) which surprised him and prompted a nearby elder to ask if he could get one too. Further links included me knowing his great grandmother Ida Schwab from the Logan 18th Ward and that his grandparents were college friends with my parents. Later one sister in the ward told Marie that Elder Nelson was an outstanding missionary.

We attended all three hours of meetings and then headed to Liverpool's large waterfront to see from where so many of our ancestors set sail for America.

The massive Liverpool Cathedral

When I planned out itinerary and booked hotels last December I wasn't quite sure how everything would work out timing and distance-wise. Luckily we were able to get from Manchester to Liverpool and then on to Preston in one day with enough time for an evening stroll around the LDS Temple grounds. Our cel-service wasn’t working at the time and all I could remember from looking at temple finder at was that the Temple was in Chorley to the south of Preston. It took some extra traveling but eventually Joel spotted the angel Moroni-topped spire in the distance. We were all hungry so we got two take-out pizzas from Dominos and then went and had a Sunday picnic in the temple parking lot. The Preston Temple was built in honor of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first LDS missionaries in Britain. They found great success in the Preston area, with many converts being baptized in the River Ribble.

 Samlesbury Hall

Next morning as I was looking at our Road atlas, I noticed a historical site indicator for Samlesbury Hall just a few miles up the road. I grew up with Grandma Veara Southworth Fife telling me that our Southworth ancestors lived in Samlesbury Hall. She even had a painting of the hall hanging in her bedroom when she lived with our family. I also remember that my parents and Tom had once visited the hall, but I had not focused on its location or even considered adding it to my list of family history sites to visit. So our first stop of the day was at Samlesbury Hall. The website for the hall tells some interesting tales. 

1325 – Great Hall Built
Cecily married John Deuyas (D'Ewyas) and they had a daughter Alicia, who married Gilbert de Southworth around 1325. Gilbert adopted the Deuyas coat of arms, and is credited with building the Great Hall.

1533 - The English Reformation

The 16th-century English Reformation during which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church, split the Southworth family of Samlesbury Hall. Sir John Southworth, MP of Samlesbury and head of the family, was a fervent Catholic and worked for the cause of Mary Queen of Scots but was frequently arrested for refusing to leave his faith and often heavily fined. His eldest son, also called John, did convert to the Church of England, for which he was disinherited, but the rest of the family remained staunchly Catholic.

Sir John Southworth also had another son called John (St John Southworth), who pleaded guilty to exercising the priesthood. His body was hung, drawn and quartered and sent to the furthest four parts of the country. His followers then brought the four parts of his body back, sewed them together and par boiled his corpse where it remained in 'safety' in France. This was discovered in 1927 and his remains now lie in Westminster Cathedral. He was beatified in 1929 then canonized in 1970 as one of the forty martyrs of England and Wales.

1612 – Jane Southworth accused of witchcraft

In 1612 Jane Southworth widow of John Southworth (The protestant) and two other women of Samlesbury (Ellen and Jennet Bierley) were the victims of a discreditable plot, apparently devised by Christopher Southworth, a seminary priest known as 'Master Thompson,' partly as it was alleged with the object of promoting the cause of the Roman Church and partly with the intent to punish the women for having become converts to Protestantism.

The victims were tried at Lancaster Assizes in August of that year on a charge of witchcraft, where they were accused of boiling an infant and eating the soup! The witness against them being a child aged fourteen, a granddaughter of one of the victims, Being examined as to the author of this charge the witness confessed that she had been instigated and instructed to make the charge by 'one Master Thompson, which she taketh to be Master Christopher Southworth.' The prisoners were therefore acquitted. 

It is reported that Dorothy Southworth, daughter of Sir Thomas Southworth fell in love with the son of the neighbouring Protestant noble family. One of the De Hoghtons of Hoghton Tower. The families refused to let young lovers meet, but they continued to do so in secret and planed to elope.
However, on the night of the escape Dorothy's brother killed not only the young De Hoghton but two of his accomplices too. 

Dorothy is said to have gone insane before dying at a convent abroad. Three human skeletons were found hidden in the walls of Samlesbury Hall and it is rumoured that Dorothy (The white lady) continues to roam the Hall and along Preston New Road searching for her lover.

Source: (

It was a quick photo stop at Samlesbury Hall before heading further up the Ribble River Valley to other ancestral sites associated with the Emmett side of the family.

The view from Downham

My great-great-grandfather Thomas Emmett grew up in the charming (now) village of Downham where he learned the trade of blacksmithing. In 1837 when ten years old, Thomas with his parents and siblings joined the Mormon Church after hearing the message of the restored gospel preached by Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Fielding. Nancy Hitchon was baptized a member of the Church on March 3, 1849 in Chatburn just down the hill from Dowham. On February 24, 1850 Thomas Emmett and Nancy Hitchon were married by the justice of the peace in Clitheroe. They were both converts to the Mormon Church and they “eloped” to Clitheroe because Nancy’s father did not approve of her conversion or marriage. These two emigrated via Liverpool to the United States in 1851 eventually settling in Ogden Utah. 

My line back up to Thomas and Nancy goes Chad Fife Emmett, John William Emmett, Henry Roland Emmett, Robert William Emmett, Thomas Emmett.

Downham is a charming village that remains today much as it did 165 years ago. The village has buried all cables and wires and kept things outwardly looking as they were. The village is often used as a movie set because of its authentic look.

One sign of modernity in Downham.

The River Ribble as it flows through fields of sheep near Chatburn.

The view of Clitheroe from its hill-top castle.

1 comment:

  1. I have been researching the Emmett family. Ann Emmett was married to Jonathan Browning. Thanks for taking these great pictures.

    Betseylee Browning