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The Lupton Line - A Tale of Canals, Railways and Pubs

Family of Robert Lupton & Margaret Wilson

The Lupton family almost certainly comes originally from the tiny village of Lupton in the former county of Westmorland, now part of Cumbria since local government reorganisation. There is some debate about the derivation of the name itself, the American branch of the family favouring the Latin 'lupus,' a wolf, which gives them an excuse to invent a family shield featuring wolves. This is certainly bogus. The more obvious and far more likely explanation is l'Upton as, in common with many place names it was first written down during the period of French 'occupation' after the Norman Conquest. 'Up-town,' in a countryside of humpy green hills, foothills to the darker slopes of the Pennines, is a fair description.

One point worth noting is differences in modern day spelling. Apart from about two ocurrences, the word 'labourer' throughout the documents we consulted is spelt 'laborer'. In fact this is the older spelling. The 'u' was added to this and similar words towards the end of the 19th century in the mistaken belief that it was correct or possibly indicated its Latin or French origins (which it doesn't) and in the interests of standardisation.. The Americans saw no reason to make such a change so still retain the old English spelling. .

New information has now come to light about the Lupton family and Robert Lupton, an agricultural labourer, who was born in Pilling. The parish records of Stalmine, which is the next parish, reveal an earlier family and more 'puzzles' to solve. Robert's father, also Robert, of the village of Preesall, m. Margaret Wilson at St John the Evangelist's, the parish church of Preston, on 22 Nov 1803. They had three children, all baptised in Stalmine.

  1. Robert Lupton b 14 Feb 1805 in Pilling chr 22 Mar 1807
  2. Thomas Lupton b 15 Feb 1807 chr 22 Mar 1807
  3. Elizabeth Lupton b 31 Jul 1810 chr 2 Sep 1810

Pilling is a very extended parish along the coast of Lancashire north of the R. Wyre and shares much of its border with Stalmine which shows how important it is to research neighouring parishes when looking for the records - which we omitted to do for many years. These records were also only on microfiche until the publication of the new BVRI (British Vital Records Index) by the LDS.

Nothing is known so far about the Wilson family, but this marriage does perhaps partly explain why Robert jun. family later moved to Preston.

Little is known for sure about Thomas but in 1841 there was a mason, Thomas Lupton, living in Victoria St, Poulton, a mason, living in a lodging house along with 7 other masons. This census is short on information his age of 30 being 'uncertain' as it was rounded down to the nearest 5 and ages are not always accurate in any case. But it would seem to be the same person who turns up on the 1851 census, at 5 Pitt St, Preston, listed as a mason and born in 'Preazle' [Preesall], aged 44 so born about 1807. Preesall is the next village to Stalmine and could be where the family actually lived in the early part of the century. Next on that census is a Robert Lupton aged 46 (born about 1805) in 'Poulton'. . 'Poulton' could simply be a mistake but Robert's entry is followed immediately by 'Dorothy Lupton, Lodger's wife. For more on this topic see below.

It's always more difficult, especially in this early period, finding what happened to the girls in a family. If Elizabeth above married, no trace of her has been found , but the 1841 census shows a Betsy Lupton, aged 30, 'Ind' (i.e. of independent means, in 'Breck', living in an inn run by a George Ibbison. The same person is listed in 1851, this time as 'Elizabeth', still with George Ibbison and two of his daughters, but in 'Four Lane Ends, Carleton' (bordering on 'Breck'). This time Betsy/Elizabeth is listed as a 'house servant ' aged 44, born in Thurnham. Thurnham could again reflect a house move by Robert senr, not far from Pilling, Preesall and Stalmine, but typical of an agicultural labourer living in a tied cottage and employed for a year at a time. (His 'year' would be one day short, so the farmer would not be obliged to re-employ him) The birthplace given depended on the enumerator asking the right question; instead of 'Where were you born?' quite often he might have asked 'Where do you come from?'

Family of Henry Green and Dorothy (formerly Hodgkinson)

all births and deaths in Up.Rawcliffe, all baptisms, marriages & burials at St Michael's unless stated otherwise

  1. Henry Green b.1796 bur. 2 Aug 1796
  2. Sarah (Sally) Green b.20 Jun, chr. 16 Jul 1797, m. 29 Jul 1826 Robert Lupton, bur. 24 Dec 1835
  3. Nanny Green b.12 Sep 1799, bur.11 Oct 1825
  4. Mary (Molly) Green b.21 May, chr. 6 Jun 1802, m. 18 Sep 1826 James Atkinson
  5. Henry Green b. 12 Sep, chr. 7 Oct 1804, m. 4 Feb 1834 Elizabeth Hodgson, d.12 Jun 1855
  6. Edmund b.22 Oct chr.16 Nov 1806
  7. James b.8 Sep chr.25 Sep 1808, d.18 Oct, bur.19 Oct 1809
  8. Agnes b. 18 Aug, chr.9 Sep 1810
  9. Dorothy chr.3 Apr 1814
  10. Margaret chr.9 Jun 1816, bur.22 Apr 1832

No. 5, Henry, had six children, James (1834-1871), Alice (1836- ), Dorothy (1839- ), Benjamin (1840- ), Henry (1846-1878), and Agnes (1849- ). This family has not at present been taken any further.

Family of Robert Lupton & Sally Green

Robert the elder, named now as Robert 1 to distinguish him from his son, Robert 2, was probably an 'ag lab'. His son certainly was. Typically, he tramped from the coast to the outskirts of Garstang in his search for work. At Upper Rawcliffe he met the Green family, Henry Green and Dorothy, who had five girls and two boys. The Green family had been settled there for at least two generations, and Dorothy was probably the daughter of William and Dorothy Hodgkinson of Upper Rawcliffe. The Hodgkinson family could be traced another couple of generations or more back but unfortunately it is confused by two Dorothys born very close to each other - both surviving so not from the same family. Unless a Will or some such document can be found this is rather an impasse.

On 29 Jul 1826 Robert married Sarah Green, also known as Sally, daughter of Henry Green and Dorothy Hodgkinson, at St Michael's-on-Wyre. Henry Green, Sarah's 22 year old brother (1804-1855) and Robert Fairclough (who was the parish clerk) were the witnesses.

Robert and Sarah had 5 children:
  1. Nanny Lupton b in Forton chr 29 Oct 1826
  2. Thomas Lupton b in Cabus, chr 19 Oct 1828 at St James', Shirehead
  3. Henry Lupton b in Upper Rawcliffe, chr 13 Feb 1831 at St Michael's
  4. Richard Lupton b Upper Rawcliffe chr 6 Oct 1833 m Jane Parker Jun Q 1857, d. Dec Q 1871
  5. Sarah (Sally) Lupton b 1835 Up. Rawcliffe chr 27 Dec 1835 at St Michael's

It must have been shortly after the birth of her 2nd daughter that Sally (Green) died. She was buried on Christmas Eve 1835 at St Michael's. This left Robert in a quandary with five children under ten to support and a baby needing constant care. The Census of 1841 tells what happened. Sally's sister Mary Green, known as Molly, had married James Atkinson of Upper Rawcliffe on September 18th 1826. Molly seems to have had no children of her own, so they took on the young family. On the 1841 census the Lupton children were still in Upper Rawcliffe with their aunt and uncle, and the two youngest, Richard and Sally were still living with them in Upper Rawcliffe in 1851. Richard was then 19 and Sarah was 14. Their father was probably the Robert lodging on River St in Preston in 1841, an agricultural labourer aged 35. The street of typical dark red brick fronted terraced houses directly opposite the Record Office was pulled down in 2001. From there down to the Ribble was a maze of market gardens in the mid 19th century but is now extensively developed and the old pattern of streets has largely disappeared.

Robert could be the same person as the brother of Thomas as mentioned above in 1851. He was aged 46 (about right) born in Poulton, (not quite right), and married to a Dorothy born in Walton (the area just across the R.Ribble, not Walton, Warrington). Free BMD gives a marriage in Preston in the Dec Q 1848 of Robert Lupton and Dorothy Entwhistle which matches this entry. As this has only just been discovered it is still currently speculative as a 2nd marriage for the Robert above.

Children of Robert Lupton & Molly Green

1) Nancy is almost certainly the one listed on the 1841 Census as a kitchen maid, aged 23, at No.3 Fishergate Hill, a licenced hostelry otherwise known as 'The Old Legs of Mutton.' (This pub, only a couple of doors from the staion, has long ago been replaced by offices.) 'Ann Lupton' married a Robert Catterall on the 29th October 1854 at St John's, Preston, up the 'top' end of Fishergate where it becomes Church St, but Nancy was probably never called 'Ann' and this match seems unlikely. Two possible deaths have been found for a Nancy Lupton, in Mar Q 1855 and in the Jun Q 1865. The first is more likely as she hasn't been found (as Lupton) in 1861. Or perhaps she did marry Robert - there's a death of Nancy Catterall recorded in the the Sep Q 1855.

2) Thomas -see below

3) Henry Green and Dorothy were still living in the village of Rawcliffe with Tarnacre in 1841. Both were listed as aged 70 but Henry was probably nearer to 68 and Dorothy to 64. Henry died in the following August, being buried on the 14th at St Michael's. Dorothy died on 26 Dec 1849 aged about 73.

In 1851 Henry (wrongly transcribed as 'Luttan' on FindMyPast) , aged 19, was unmarried and working as a servant on the 119 acre farm at 'Old Eskham', Pilling, of Evan Jemson or Jameson who appears in at least one local photo of the period.The Jamesons remained and were well known 'characters' in the district but Henry had moved away into Preston by 1861. A search for the family on censuses and other records returns only a few items. There is no Henry Lupton (even trying a few misspellings) in 1861 so it is possible that the following does refer to him:
A Henry Lupton married Ann Bolton at St John's, the parish church of Preston, on 30 Jan 1854 and they had two daughters, Sarah, baptised on 18 Nov 1855 at St John's, and then Mary Ann baptised on the 31 May 1857. 1857 was their year of absolute tragedy for all four of them died, Sarah in the frst quarter, aged about 18 months, Ann in the second, Mary Ann in the third, only a few months old, and then Henry himself in the fourth. All these dreadful events are recorded with volume and page in the Preston registers. None of the certificates have been obtained but it's not very encouraging to want to prove this beyond doubt! Apart from Thomas who lived to the age of 72, all this generation of Luptons seems to have been destined for early graves.

4) Both Richard and Sarah moved to Preston some time in the four years from the 1851 census in Uppper Rawcliffe..Richard is next found at his wedding in 1857 to Jane Parker, an Irish girl born about 1826. He was then living in St Peter's St, which runs off St Peter's Square. The church was a 'Waterloo Church' built to commemorate that battle but not licensed for marriages (See photo below. This church has been deconsecrated in more recent years, all the remains moved with great reverence elsewhere and it is now the University Arts Centre) So they were married at St John's, on 26th July 1857. Richard then appears in the 1861 census on Ladywell St living in a house presumably rented by his father-in-law Ralph Parker, a labourer aged 71 (no old-age pensions in those days!) Also in the household was Jane's sister Agnes Parker aged 22. The difference in age between the 2 sisters, 35 and 22, suggests there could have been many more children in between! Agnes was working as a weaver and Jane as a dressmaker. By 1871 Ralph Parker had presumably died, perhaps Agnes was married (there are too many 'candidates' to list here) and Richard and Jane were living on Nixon's Row (not marked on a modern map, perhaps long gone) with Thomas Lupton as a lodger.

5) Sarah died in Upper Rawcliffe in 1855 but the burial record, dated 8 Nov 8 1855 gives her residence as Preston.

The 'beerhouse'

Thomas probably had only a vague idea about when he was born for he could never get his age right on any of the records, unless of course someone else spoke to the census enumerator and guessed - wrongly! Once three years were added and another time three subtracted. This has not made the search for Thomas in 1851 any easier and so far he has not been found even allowing in the transcript for a misreading like 'Supton' which occurs once in Burnley and will soon hopefully be corrected. (Beware - S and L are often confused as in another family 'Sawyer' was interpreted as 'Lawyer' with several wasted days of follow up!)

On 24th September 1853 Thomas married for the first time. [Preston Reg.Dist.8b 606] This time his age was right, 25. His bride was a widow of 37, Ann Scott, a widow. She was probably born Ann Webster at Warton in the Fylde, the daughter of John Webster a joiner. In 1851 she appears to be the Ann Scott still living in Warton, on her own but listed as a 'mariner's wife'. By 1853 she was widowed and living in Anchor St, Preston. Thomas was then living at no.27 Fylde Rd and the marriage took place in the Register Office, not in church. It is possible that the Websters were nonconformists. Whatever their religion - and it may have been none at all - there was always the aura of mystery in the Lupton family about this period of Thomas's life for he wouldn't talk about it.

Whether there was a child of this marriage or not is not known. Thomas's grandson, Joseph, thought there might have been but we have no evidence. There was none in 1861 when they were running a 'beerhouse' at 18, Taylor Street, (seen here on the left - if the houses have not been renumbered) Typically each house has only one downstairs window at the front, and one or two upstairs and at the back is a small brick-walled yard.

Thomas was beginning to 'romance' about his age, perhaps because of the age difference between the two of them - or maybe Thomas even led Ann to believe he was older than he was. His age was now given as 36, although he was actually 33, while Ann was now 46.

The other occupants of the house, John Webster aged 19 and Jane Webster aged 13, were Ann's niece and nephew, both also born in Warton. They were given by the enumerator as 'aunt' and 'uncle' of the head of the household! John appears on the 1881 census with a family of six children living at 11, Whittingham St.

Taylor St. is in the Broadgate area of Preston. John Tallis's map of Preston, published between 1851 and 1855 shows it as orchards and market gardens. A directory of 1853 lists only a couple of dozen houses. South Meadow Lane and Taylor St just down from it at the bottom of Fishergate Hill look little more than winding country lanes. Most of their customers would have been neighbours or market gardeners for every street probably had its beer house, or even several of them, at that time. It was certainly safer to drink beer than water, this being quite a few years before any system of purifying the water supplies so the demand would always be very high.

According to a directory of 1865 which again lists him as selling beer, Thomas 'moved' to no.50 Taylor St. It is probably more likely that the house numbers in Taylor St changed in the 1860s as building progressed and new properties were added.

The terraced houses in all these streets, just as everywhere, were packed with lodgers. The pavements must have swarmed with people throughout the day and especially early morning and late evening with the cotton workers in the mills which were springing up everywhere. Now St Peter's church is at the heart of the University of Central Lancashire for it has been turned into the University Arts Centre. It is only a short distance from the Lamb and Packet, the old coaching inn at the end of Friargate and the beginning of the canal basin.


Thomas Lupton & Jane Billington

Ladyewell Street

nos 1-4 Ladyewell St

In 1861 Richard and Jane were living as lodgers in Jane's father's house in Ladyewell St facing onto the canal basin, Jane earning extra money as a dressmaker. These are the houses left standing on Ladyewell St, no.5 now being a car park!. Then the address was written as Lady Well and it ran from Marsh Lane to the coal yards at the end of the canal basin. (It was very marshy still down by the river!) On one side was the row of small terraced houses, on the other the extra wide part of the canal, the basin or turning point, stretching all the way to Bridge St at the top end of Fylde Rd. Most of the coal yards have gone and the canal has been filled in for some distance. Corporation St was not driven through this area until the 1890s, so all the roads went north to join Friargate just a short distance from the main coaching stop at the Lamb and Flag.

By 1871 they were living at 18 Nixon's Row and Thomas, now a widower as his wife Ann had died in the Jun Q 1868 [Preston Vol 8e p.311] , was lodging with them, both brothers being employed as coal waggoners. On the 1871 census Thomas is wrongly listed as 'unmarried' and to make matters worse, that he was born in Preston! These mistakes had us confused for quite a while as we hadn't then found his previous marriage yet his marriage record of 1873 to Jane Billington stated that he was a widower. Now that the census is online for easier viewing there also is no evidence on either the 1861 or 1871 censuses for the two children of Richard and Jane previously listed here, so they have been removed from the family record.

The move from Ladyewell St was perhaps made necessary by the death of Richard's father in law, Ralph Parker at the age of about 80 in the Mar Q 1868 and it could be this Richard Lupton himself who died in the Dec Q 1871. After the 1871 census there is no sign him nor of Jane who could also have died or possibly remarried.

Although the following remarks about coal were based on a belief that they all were still living in Ladyewell St they have been left unchanged in view of both brothers working as coal waggoners. There were five firms operating on Ladyewell St, which is fairly short, but the whole area was a maze of similar streets so it's unlikely that they were far away. Nixon's Row is not shown on a modern map and must have been demolished, possibly when Corporation St. was driven through the area in the 1890s.

Originally the coal was brought from Wigan to Walton Summit, across the River Ribble and up the steep hill to a tramway which then took it to the other end of Ladywell St from the one in the view above. Beyond the coal yards were the railway sidings. The railway gradually took over from the tramway but not the canal. Throughout the nineteenth century there were plans to carry the canal further, across the River Ribble, thus linking up with the rest of the country to the south but there was never enough money. (A link has at last been made - very recently!) However, the Lancaster canal continued to provide an important and cheap form of transport northwards. In 1871 there were two coal barges - complete with families - tied up there opposite 5, Ladywell St. One thing is certain - everything would be covered with a fine pall of coal dust! .

Family of Thomas Lupton & Jane Billington

At the other end of the canal basin was Bridge St and at no.13 the Old Bridge Inn. In 1871 Jane Billington of Woodplumpton, was working there as a general domestic servant. On 8 Feb 1873 Thomas and Jane were married at St Walburge's. Their witnesses were Mary Gornall, Jane's younger sister, and Mary's husband John Gornall, a farmer at Alston to the east of Preston, between Preston and Longridge.

Thomas was described as a 'widower' and as a 'general laborer.' His father Robert, now deceased, was also a 'general laborer.' They were hard times. They had had to put their hands to whatever turned up.

Bridge over the canal, Maudland Bank, Preston - but no canal now!
site of Bridge Inn

The Bridge Inn was just the other side of the bridge itself in the picture above. Beyond can be seen St Peter's, the 'Waterloo' church, and typical houses just across the road from the inn. The garden (left) and car park in front was developed when the Bridge Inn was demolished about the 1960s.. The large building behind (on the left above) dates from the 1890s. Behind it is the area of Maudland Bank and the church of St Walburge's.

Thomas and Jane's three children were all born in Preston where they seem to have lodged with Jane's brother James on Fylde Rd , and were baptised at St Walburge's.

1.Ann (Annie) b 1874 m. 1899 Thomas Malley, d.1903
2. Thomas b 1 Jun 1875 d 4 Sep 1949 m. 1899 Mary Alice Hull
3. James b 1 Jun 1877 d 1960 unm.

In the next few years, before 1881, the family moved to Fleetwood where the new town was now well established and growing fast. They lived first in 11, Cross St. This still appeared on the census, like the whole of Fleetwood, as 'Thornton-in-Fylde' but Thornton, then no more than a small village was already taking second place to its brash new neighbour.
St Walburge's St Walburge's

approaching from Bridge St and Maudland Bridge with the railway on the left

The next recorded event was the wedding of Thomas II
Mary Alice Hull on 19 Apr 1899
at St Mary's Church, Fleetwood.

The witnesses who signed the register were Joseph Hull and Annie Lupton. Both Thomas Lupton I and William Hull, Mary Alice's father were general labourers, but young Thomas, aged 24, was a locomotive fireman and later became an engine driver on the LMS railway. Mary Alice, aged 25, was a laundry maid. For the moment this is where our story ends. There is much to do to fill in the gaps and the details and hopefully to extend further backwards along the 'Lupton Line'.


There is a photo of Mr & Mrs Jemson on motorbike and in sidecar taken around 1900, in 'Old Photographs from North Fylde' collected by Catherine Rothwell and published by Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, Phoenix Mill, Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1992. ISBN no.: 0-7509-0239-6  Return