All Saints' Churchyard, Thelwall, Cheshire

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Location: Thelwall, Cheshire, England, United Kingdommap
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The burials in the older part of the graveyard have recently been researched by Thelwall Memorials Project Team and the initial aim is to add their work and hopefully eventually include all the burials in the graveyard.

Burial Index - All Saints, Thelwall

Associated Page - Thelwall War Memorials


The 1782 Commission looking into restoration of the chapel mentions that it includes “a chapel-yard or cemetery wherein the inhabitants were antiently wont to be buried” but the only evidence remaining of burials before that date are of the Pickering family who inhabited the manor from whose lands the churchyard was created. Prior to the reconsecration of the chapel in 1782 local families buried their dead at churches such as Grappenhall, Lymm and Rostherne and some families continued to do so for many years after the graveyard at Thelwall had opened.

The earliest recorded burial after reconsecration of the church is that of Mary, wife of Thomas Carter who died on 7th June 1784 at the age of 38. In 1872 a mortuary was added. This was the gift of James Nicholson one of the local landed gentry.

When the north aisle was added to the church during the 1890s, it was built over some of the graves but the renovations of the period included an extension to the graveyard to the west and the boundary formed at that time is the area covered by the Thelwall Memorials Project in 2020.

The graveyard has been further extended in more recent years and is almost full except for the internment of cremated remains.


Rylands Family

Peter Rylands MP JP (1820-1887)

Peter Rylands c1880

Peter Rylands was born in Warrington and was educated at Boteler Grammar School, Warrington. His Warrington roots were established by his father John who, in 1805, returned to Warrington to establish a wire-drawing business which became John Rylands and Son. The business later passed to his three sons Peter, John and Thomas Glazebrook in 1843.

He took an active interest in both local and national politics and was at various times Mayor of Warrington, MP for Warrington and MP for Burnley. He held additional directorships in the Manchester and Liverpool Banking Company, the Bridgewater Navigation Company, and Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co Ltd. He was also a J.P. for Cheshire and Lancashire.

The family lived at Massey Hall, Thelwall which he left, on his death, to the local authority, for educational purposes. Thelwall Burial Ground

Thomas Glazebrook Rylands JP FSA (1818-1900)

Thomas was was educated at Warrington Grammar School. He had an interest in many sciences, was a good Greek and Latin scholar, an able mathematician, and possessed a fair knowledge of architecture, heraldry and ancient geography. He made many contributions to the studies of diatoms (A major group of algae)

He lived in an around Warrington before moving to Highfields which he had built in Thelwall and remained for the rest of his life.

There was a cottage attached to Highfields which was occupied by Henry Harrison (bef.1850-1923) and his family. Henry was a ‘Domestic Coachman’ and probably a personal coachman to Thomas.

See also Rylands of Warrington

Boddington Family

Myles Boddington c1909

William Slater Boddington (1853-1908) was the son of Henry Boddington, the founder of Boddingtons Brewery in Strangeways, Manchester. After his fathers death and the retirement of his elder brother Henry Slater Boddington in 1891 he became chairman, a position he retained until his death in 1908.Thelwall Burial Ground

Williams’ son Myles Boddington MC (1891-1916) who lived at the family home in Highfields Thelwall was an Oxford undergraduate and Captain in the Shropshire Light Infantry 6th Battalion. He was killed in action in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross.

Another son Henry Boddington (1880-1909) was a solicitor and a Captain in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He lived barely a year longer than his father. Thelwall Burial Ground

John Bowker (1874-1939)

Advertising Card

John Bowker was a boot and shoe repairer from 1907 Thelwall Burial Ground

Reverend Joseph Brindle (bef.1798-aft.1868)

Thelwall Incumbents.

Joseph was ordained in 1822 and appointed as curate to Thelwall Parochial Chapel in 1823 when he became incumbent. He married Ann Furnival in 1828 at St Elphin, Warrington. Thelwall Burial Ground

A Tale of Two Anne’s

Memorial Card

The marriage of Annie Chaplin to John Rylands must have been a scandal. Annie was a servant, the governess of his brother Peter Rylands. She was 34 at the time of the marriage, he was 64. Despite this, she still died before he did but not before they had two daughters Mabel and Cecily. Thelwall Burial Ground

Anne Ditchfield on the other hand managed to work things the other way around. She was a 50 year old Farmer when she married her 27 year old namesake, Thomas Ditchfield. When she died in 1867 there was a memorial card printed, a practice popular at the time. Thelwall Burial Ground

Village Blacksmiths

Temporary image

Seth Ellison (1869-1938)

Seth, like his father William Ellison (bef.1832-1892) before him and his Uncle John Ellison (bef.1816-bef.1860) was the Village Blacksmith. Strategically placed adjacent to the Pickering Arms, there would have been plenty of trade, making repairs to coaches and the re-shoeing of horses. Thelwall Burial Ground

Impact of the Manchester Ship Canal

Warrington Dock entrance

The construction of the Manchester Ship Canal 1887-1894 had a major impact on the people of Thelwall pushing a small farming community of less than 1000 people into the ‘golden age’ of canal construction[1] The influx of itinerant workers, as well as many skilled artisans and engineers which averaged over 12000 people through the life of the project caused additional social upheaval. Some of those individuals, whose stories we can put together, follow below.

William Ireland Arrowsmith Gibson (1841-1915) spent his early years in Thelwall and by 1881 managed a farm of 84 acres. Laskey Lane Farm was literally cut in two by the canal and caused William to move south, eventually running an artificial stone manufacturing company in Hartshill North Warwickshire. He returned to his home town shortly before his death.

Albert Hobbs (bef.1855-aft.1901) Arrived c1888 as an Engine Driver. Sadly the conditions in the specially built ‘villages’ were insanitary and their accommodation at Hut no 32 would not have been conducive to the survival of 4 successive babies, none of whom lasted more than 3 months.

The canal changed lives in many ways but also opened new opportunities William John Green (1879-bef.1934) for example was employed by the Ship Canal Company who were obliged to provide means to ferry people and livestock across the Canal to maintain a public right of way. Known as the "Penny Ferry" the service has been running since the opening of the canal in 1894 and still operates on a daily basis today.

The Village School

Temporary Image

The typical arrangement for village schools was to cater for a wide range of children of all ages, in Thelwall about 80 of them, with a small number of staff. Thelwall Village School appeared not to deviate from the norm.

Thankfully the School Log (1872 – 1918) still exists and extracts are used in some profiles to embellish the lives of the respective individuals that passed through, children and teachers alike.[2]

Bertha Evans (bef.1870-bef.1889)

Bertha moved to Thelwall with her father when he took up the post of village school master and his wife duly became the school's sewing mistress. Keeping things in the family, Bertha at just short of 14 years old became a monitress. She along with another monitress Kate Taylor, struggled to achieve what was expected of them and the annual inspector's report of 1886 was harshly critical of their efforts. The inspector was equally unimpressed by her father's work even after making a good start 5 years earlier. This suggests problems had arisen which were too great for the family based staff to cope. Her father submitted his resignation in August 1886. Bertha died at the age of 19 in 1889 Thelwall Burial Ground

Annie (Johnson) Forrester (bef.1859-1924)

It was said of Annie in 1872 that she would not come any more as she had not only learnt nothing but she had forgotten all she ever knew. Despite that inauspicious start she managed to bring up 3 children and live a fairly long and prosperous life, leaving £194 to her husband John Forrester Thelwall Burial Ground

The Village Post Office

Thelwall Post Office

The Post Office is one of those places guaranteed to impart a feeling of nostalgia, where week in and week out, locals congregated to sort out their various life defining transactions. Thelwall was no exception but was also a particularly attractive place to meet, adding substantially to the warmth of the memory.

Philip Leslie Greenway (1902-1990), known simply as ‘Les’ ran the Post Office in Thelwall from as early as 1934. He also acted as a postman and a grocer.

In 1939 he lived there with Gladys his wife and son Peter and by 1955 as this Photo confirms he had a firmly established business with the signage P L Greenway, 'grocer and provision dealer'.

According to a number of locals, the Greenways were still going in the 1960s, he is recalled as being very tall (not good for low ceilings!) and somewhat reserved, whereas Gladys was small in comparison and always very cheerful and sweet-natured.

New Arrivals

Train leaving Bank Quay station, Warrington.

Warrington was a town very much embroiled in the industrial revolution becoming a centre of steel (particularly wire), textiles, brewing, tanning and chemical industries. [3]. This attracted people from afar not only to work in those industries but also to become servants to the rich industrialists who often settled in Thelwall, a suitable distance from the noise and grime.
Often the new arrivals eventually integrated into the community. Eliza Evans (abt.1846-1912) from Caernarfonshire, Wales was one such person who after serving the Rylands family married Henry Beckett (1848-1923), with whom she had 7 children.
Robert Esson (1845-1928) from Aberdeen who spent most of his life working in stately homes and the occasional rectory as a gardener brought his family with him to Thelwall. The distant factories must have looked like an alien landscape.
Samuel Robert Frédoux (1853-1920) by contrast, was born in Bechuanaland, Africa and ended his days in Thelwall after his Father, a missionary, was killed in an horrific explosion. He restarted his life in England by becoming a bus conductor in Liverpool!

Gravestone Oddities

A gap in the record

When walking around a cemetery there are always memorials to be found with quirky inscriptions that have you wondering. Thelwall is no exception.

William Hankinson (bef.1829-1909) was a labourer born in Lymm who was unfortunate enough to be committed to a ‘Lunatic Asylum’ in 1877. When his daughter died in 1888 a headstone was erected that included Williams’ name but a gap was left for his date of death which the family clearly thought would happen soon. In the event he lasted another 20 years by which time the original plan had, we assume, been long forgotten.


Artwork by Samuel Holden

Samuel Holden (1811-1891) was a prolific artist who produced many illustrations between 1834-1849 for Joseph Paxton who had a huge a reputation in the horticultural world. The illustrations appeared in Paxton’s Magazine of Botany and were produced using a process called Lithography, still quite a new process at the time.

Naylor Family

Entrance to Cuerden Hall (Locally known as Oyster Shell Hall)

John Naylor (1801-1879) was a successful general merchant, dealing in coal and slate, enabling him to build and move to Cuerdon Hall, Thelwall by 1871.

An ardent supporter of the Temperance movement he converted a room on his property at Cuerden Hall into a meeting place which soon became too small and in 1872 he built a new one nearby.

His sons John Naylor (bef.1843-1923) and Robert Anderton Naylor (1846-1908) were successful timber merchants who completed the first recorded end-to-end walk from John o' Groats to Land's End.

Explosive impact

Gunpowder Mill

John Stanton (bef.1716-1791) spent a good deal of his life in Thelwall, though buried in Grappenhall. After a somewhat questionable role in the slave trade, he used the proceeds to build a home “Greenfields” in Thelwall (Later Chaigeley Manor). In 1855, long after his death the gunpowder mills were destroyed by an explosion and the site was left vacant. Its location on the south side of the Mersey was near what is now Woolston Weir.


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "History of the British canal system," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 25, 2021).
  2. Thelwall community Thelwall in the past
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "History of Warrington," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 12, 2021).

See also

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