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The Armour Family (2)

Londonderry, Barrow and Fleetwood

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Most direct Armour ancestors are marked in bold Contact to exchange more information

Checked February 2012 - no history changes

An extended family tree showing the complicated inter-relationships between several families can be seen on the Family Tree page. It would be useful to make a printed copy for easy reference while reading these pages.

James Armour (2) was born in Londonderry, Ireland on 16 Nov 1845, the fourth child in a family which eventually totalled eleven. It was once thought that the Armours  lived there until they came to Fleetwood in 1847 but it now seems that they must have travelled backwards and forwards regularly. This is perhaps not unusual as another example can be seen in the Ricketts family where the couple divided their time between their parents' homes in Merrow, near Guildford, and Brighton, Sussex. In the case of the Armours this was not a difficult journey as for a time boats sailed directly from Fleetwood to Derry.

The records of Fleetwood at this period are found under Leyton with Warbreck and BMD records are filed under Thornton or Thornton le Fylde, both places with or without hyphens.

We are indebted to the daybook of James Armour(3), the boat builder for dates, names and relationships in this family and in related families. His careful recording of these in a desk-diary kept as a 'day-book' has corrected some of the information which appears in books about Fleetwood and the firm of James Armour & Sons.

Family of James Armour(2) & Elizabeth Gill

James Armour (2) would only have known Derry as a visitor for, although he is said to have lived in Barrow for a while, the family settled permanently in Fleetwood before he was two.

On 2 Jan 1868 James (2) married Elizabeth Gill, both of them being aged 22. Elizabeth's brother, John Gill, born 1843 and her cousin Jane were the witnesses at their wedding at the new Catholic church of St Mary's in Fleetwood, built the previous year. Both James' father and his father-in-law were blacksmiths but James (2) became a shipwright. In 1880 James (2) founded the shipbuilding firm, Armour Bros., probably with his brother Robert.

John, his eldest child, was born on 29 Dec 1868. Q1. How old was John in this photo?

Q2 - How old is the child on Elizabeth's knee?

James, their next child, was born on 11 Sep 1871 and died on 23rd July 1872 aged 10 months. If the photo was taken as late as that July, John would be 3½ which seems unlikely as boys were not usually breeched till after they were 4 (to save the washing!)

James (3) their 3rd child, was born on 13th Aug 1873. Assuming that the baby was older than one year, which seems much more likely, the photo was taken in the 2nd half of 1874 or in the first half of 1875 when John was aged 5 or 6.

The 4th son, Joseph can be ruled out - John was 10 and even James (3) was six when he was born, on 6 Mar 1879. Moreover a later family photo would have included all three boys.

Elizabeth was the daughter of James Gill, a blacksmith from Myerscough, who had taken advantage of the new openings for work on the Fylde coast. He moved to Carleton where his 7 children were born and then Fleetwood where they lived at 29 West St (now Lord St.)

*See also the history of the Gills and the Kirkhams.

James and Elizabeth had four children, not eleven as has been stated in at least one book on Fleetwood history.

  1. John Armour b. 29 Dec 1868 in Fleetwood, m. Mary Payne, d. 'by accident'. 2 Jul 1908 aged 40 (confusing tather and son!)
  2. James Armour b.11 Sep 1871 in Fleetwood, d. on 23 Jul 1872, Fleetwood aged 9 months
  3. James Armour(3) b.1874 in Fleetwood, m. Catherine Whiteside, d.17 Apr 1950, bur.Fleetwood
  4. Joseph Armour b.6 Mar 1879 in Fleetwood, m. Mary Elizabeth Kreefe, d. 22 Oct 1941 in Fleetwood

James and Elizabeth were living at 7 Custom House Lane in 1871 with their first child, John, James being described on the census as a shipwright. The 1881 census describes James's brother Robert as a joiner and now aged 30,  living with them and their 3 children at 23 Upper Dock St. Robert was almost certainly working for the new firm.
During their time in Dock St their neighbour at no.22 was a well-known character, Jack Whiteside, bill poster, newsagent, tobacconist and town crier.  This family of Whitesides are not related to Catherine Whiteside, wife of James (3)
By 1891 the family had moved to 27 North Church St and James (2) is described as 'shipwright and boat builder'. By this time young James (3), now 17, was already working for his father, presumably as an apprentice.
Elizabeth died on 9 April 1895. James died 15 years later on 18 Oct 1910.

James Armour (2) married again, his second wife being Annie Hodgkinson who was born in 1868 at Warren Farm, Fleetwood. She was a daughter of John Hodgkinson, previously farming at Preesall and Mary [née Parkinson], his wife, of Hambleton. Both families were from 'Over Wyre' but there could have been a family connection with St Andrew's, Cottam for when Annie died (27 Oct 1923) she was buried there, having been a widow for some 13 years.


The first Catholic mission in Fleetwood began in 1841 and services were held at 44 Walmsley St, a house rather larger than its neighbours. This Mass centre continued in use until a building was erected on the site of the present church on East/West St, now Lord St. The congregation then numbered 224. Baptisms are recorded from 1844 but marriages only from 1864. The new church, in the Pugin style, was finished in 1867, replacing the earlier temporary building. Return

John Armour married Mary Payne who was born in Poulton in 1865. In 1881, aged 16, she was a domestic servant living in Mount Terrace in the house of Joseph Catterall, retired barrister from Preston. They must have married about 1890 and in 1891 were lodging at 34 Upper Adelaide St, John being described as a shipwright. Mary was expecting for their first child, Elizabeth, was born on 27 Jun 1891. Their son James was born in 1899 and they had one more child who presumably died in infancy.

John Armour died in an accident on 2 Jul 1908 and Mary his wife, died in 1924. Elizabeth married George Turner and had two daughters, Mary and Agnes. James married Margaret Cartmel and had two children, James and Bernice. Return

For a photo and advert for the shop see Images of Fleetwood by Bill Curtis, Breedon Books  Return