Hollandia Nova

John SOURBUTTSAge: 83 years15901673

Name
John SOURBUTTS
Birth 1590
Note:

Ormskirk a summary from the Lancashire Historic Town Survey by Lancashire County Council, 2006

The name Ormskirk is Norse in origin and is derived from Ormres kirkja, which comes from a Scandinavian personal name, Ormr, and the Old Norse word for church. The identity of Ormr is unknown, but is likely to have been the person who founded the church. The locality Mere Brook is derived from the Old English word, mearc, meaning boundary though to what the brook may have been a boundary is not known.

Although Ormskirks place name suggests an Anglo-Scandinavian origin, there is no direct evidence for an early settlement, and it is not named in the Domesday survey (1086). It is thought, however, that Ormskirk was part of the township of Lathom, and may have been the berewick which belonged to it. The churchs hill-top position and its irregular, possibly oval churchyard suggest a pre-conquest origin, and this is supported by the presence of a pre-conquest sculpture, depicting two figures, possibly St Paul and his jailer, built into the eastern elevation of the church. It certainly appears from the township boundaries that, at some stage, Ormskirk had been detached from the larger Lathom lordship that also included the townships of Lathom and Burscough.

The prior and abbey of Burscough were granted a charter for a weekly market and an annual fair at Ormskirk in 1286. The small, triangular green which lies on the north-east of the church, and which has given its name to Green Lane, may have been designated as the original market place, and would therefore have been the original settlement focus. If so, then it probably did not remain as the market place for long. The establishment of the borough along the main road from Liverpool to Preston and Wigan, would soon have shifted the focus to the current market place, at the crossroads of the main thoroughfares. The market became established at the junction of Church Street with Aughton, Burscough and Moor Streets, where a market cross had been set up by the post medieval period. The market cross was removed and replaced by a clock tower in the second half of the nineteenth century, but from its depiction on the map of Ormskirk in 1609, it is likely to have been set into a multi-stepped base.

Ormskirks importance as an urban and market centre in the post-medieval period up to 1800, is reflected in the relatively low percentage of the population, around 15%, who were employed in agriculture. The food and drink trade was the largest sector, employing over 20% of the work force for most of the period. Industry played a minor, yet important role, and Ormskirk was renowned for its leather trade during the Tudor and early Stuart period, and by 1635 Ormskirk was a centre of the glove trade. Textile manufacture also was significant, and there were professional weavers in Ormskirk by 1591. Linen producers had been operating in the town since the early seventeenth century, and by 1707 linen cloth was manufactured on a commercial scale.

An important related product was sailcloth which not only went to the nearby port of Liverpool, but was also used on local windmills. However by the end of the century the weaving of sail-cloth had migrated to other towns such as Warrington, though linen thread spinning was still carried on locally. There were also four felt weavers in the town in the seventeenth century. Another industry associated with linen manufacture was soap making. Soap was being sold in the grocers shops by the 1680s and James Moorcroft, who died in 1709, had a building for boiling soap behind his home in Church Street.

An attempt, though unsuccessful, was even made to establish a sugar refinery at a house in Moor Street in 1676, in order to take advantage of the increasing imports entering Liverpool, as part of the Atlantic trade.

Rope making was an important local industry until the early twentieth century. The earliest documented roper trading in Ormskirk was in 1679, and by the end of the eighteenth century it had become a substantial local industry, when there were ropers shops on Burscough Street and Church Street. The raw materials were sourced from the ready supply of hemp grown in the vicinity, and demand came from local farmers, millers, and wagonners, as well as sailors and fishermen. Hemp yards appear in early deeds and surveys of properties on the edge of the town and sellers of the raw material had their own pitch on Church Street. By 1841 there were eight roperies in the town, including the biggest company, Tilsleys on Wigan Road, and others in Aughton Street, Burscough Street, Ruff Lane and Southport Road. Even so it was not an industry employing large numbers of people, and altogether the eight firms only had 118 workers, of whom 80 were juveniles. By the early twentieth century, there were only six rope manufacturers, a situation reflecting Ormskirks declining industrial role overall.

Other industries and crafts

The production of leather and leather goods was an important industry within the town during the post-medieval period. One of the largest tanneries belonged to the Brandreths, who moved to Ormskirk in 1748, and whose tannery lay behind their house in Burscough Street. The business continued into the mid nineteenth century. Although the demand for leather from shoemakers and saddlers continued to rise, the numbers involved in the tanning industry declined, as skinners and tanners moved to more rural areas. Glove-making had been a leading trade, but this also declined with the availability of new materials.

Clock-making, too, had been a significant craft with a national reputation, though it was also in decline by the nineteenth century.

In the nineteenth century Ormskirk seems to have had a considerable capacity for corn milling. This would have served the agriculturally rich hinterland, but may also have processed corn imported through the port of Liverpool. In addition to the windmill on Mill Street, there was a steam corn mill, which succeeded a seventeenth century horse mill, in Besoms Yard on the south side of Church Street. There was also a steam printing and book-binding works as well as an iron foundry which begun working in 1796.

Ormskirks position on a sandstone outcrop, resulted in small-scale quarrying for local building, along with clay and marl extraction. In the nineteenth century there were sandstone quarries at Greet by Hill, Long Wood and Ruff Wood, outside the town, as well as a sand pit in Ruff Wood and a gravel pit at Scarth Hill. Brick came to be the predominant building material from the early eighteenth century, and by 1727 a field was set aside for clay extraction, with over 400,000 bricks made in 1769. The brick yard and drying field were still extant in 1851, although the industry later moved to Burscough.

As mentioned earlier, Ormskirk is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 although it is likely to have been part the adjoining township of Lathom. It is considered, however, that the settlement may have had pre-Conquest origins. The first documentary reference to Ormskirk is in 1189-90 when Robert, lord of Lathom, confirmed a grant to Burscough Priory of the church of Ormskirk with all its appurtenances.

In 1286 Edward I granted the right to hold a market or fair at Ormskirk to the Prior of Burscough, and the borough charter was probably granted at the same time, though it is first documented in 1292. The borough charter records an annual rent of 12d for a burgage and 6d for a toft with burgage. Market day was, and still is, Thursday, and the fair was held from 28th to 31st August. A further fair on Whit Tuesday was granted in 1461 and the fairs were still being held in 1670

Early population figures are difficult to estimate, though some sources provide indications. In 1366, for example, 71 individuals subscribed to support a priest for the church at Ormskirk, and in 1524, a rental of Burscough Priorys land in Ormskirk lists 80 names. Assuming that these were heads of household, these figures would suggest a population of around 290 to 360, respectively. During the plague in 1648, a petition recorded a population of 800. Manorial records show 218 inhabitants enrolling for tithings in 1680, 243 in 1699 and 269 in 1754. Given an average family size of 4½ people, these can be translated into estimated populations of around 980, 1,100 and 1,200 respectively. Considering other possible inhabitants such as lodgers, the figure of 2,280 people given by the vicar in 1778 does not seem unreasonable. By 1801, when the first census was taken, the official population figure was 2,554.

It is clear that Ormskirk was a substantial urban centre, by Lancashires standards, in the early post-medieval period. Even so, Leland dismissed it briefly as a town with a parish church, perhaps because he did not visit the town, whilst Liverpool, Warrington and Wigan are described as paved towns. In 1598, however, it was described as a great, ancient and very populous town, and the inhabitants are very many and a great market is kept there weekly beside two fairs every year. It was a successful market town serving west Lancashire, at least into the early 1700s and enjoyed considerable prosperity. Even though it suffered from visitations of the plague during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and must also been affected by the two Civil War sieges of nearby Lathom House, it was a sufficiently successful town that confidence had evidently returned by 1670 when its market charter was re-granted. Around 1680 the towns leading lawyers proposed an extension of the courts and the towns legal functions and, although unsuccessful, the town remained a thriving legal centre into the early 1700s. By the late eighteenth century, however, lawyers began to decamp to Liverpool where the increased maritime trade was providing most of their work, and attempts to foster new roles as a spa town and leisure resort were unsuccessful. Its future was set as a provincial market town, serving the surrounding agricultural communities. The large number of seventeenth and eighteenth century inns and shops, which still dominated the town in the early twentieth century, was a reflection of the towns heyday.

Development of the nineteenth century town

Ormskirks position on the West Lancashire plain, away from the coal fields and the centre of the developing textile industry, meant that it was not subject to the same substantial growth as many of the east Lancashire settlements from the end of the eighteenth century.

In 1825, it was described as a small but clean and pleasant market town and the great thoroughfare between Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster. By 1870, it appears to have changed relatively little, when it was considered to be a clean well built market town comprised principally of four paved streets, intersecting each other at right angles, and having a handsome opening in the centre which is used as a market place. The population increased to a limited extent over the nineteenth century, from 2,554 people in 1801 to6,857 in 1901. The largest increases were in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Ormskirk attracted Irish immigrants entering the country through nearby Liverpool, but in the second half of the century, it dropped between 1861 and 1871 and between 1881 and 1891. Even though Ormskirk was not subject to the rapid urban growth of the heavily industrialised towns of Lancashire, it did not escape the same public health hazards. In 1849 the town was visited by an Inspector of the General Board of Health, and subsequently a Local Board was set up in 1850, amidst a stormy political climate and a welter of local squabbling. Some members of the Board continued to serve on the court leet, though with the purchase of the market tolls by the Board in 1874, the main activities of the court ceased and it was dissolved in 1876. It was revived in 1890 for purely ceremonial purposes. In 1894 the Board became an Urban District Council and by 1907 the West Lancashire Rural District Council also met in Ormskirk.

Birth of a daughter
#1
Joaine (Joanie) SOWERBUTES
1610 (Age 20 years)
Baptism of a daughterJoaine (Joanie) SOWERBUTES
December 22, 1610 (Age 20 years)
Death of a daughterJoaine (Joanie) SOWERBUTES
1611 (Age 21 years)
Burial of a daughterJoaine (Joanie) SOWERBUTES
January 2, 1611 (Age 21 years)
MarriageElizabeth HAILEView this family
January 28, 1612 (Age 22 years)
Birth of a son
#2
Richard SOWERBUTES
1612 (Age 22 years)
Birth of a daughter
#3
Anne SOWERBUTES
1612 (Age 22 years)
Death of a sonRichard SOWERBUTES
1612 (Age 22 years)
Baptism of a sonRichard SOWERBUTES
February 24, 1612 (Age 22 years)
Burial of a sonRichard SOWERBUTES
February 25, 1612 (Age 22 years)
Baptism of a daughterAnne SOWERBUTES
December 1, 1612 (Age 22 years)
Birth of a daughter
#4
Katherine SOWREBUTTS
1613 (Age 23 years)
Baptism of a daughterKatherine SOWREBUTTS
October 16, 1613 (Age 23 years)
Birth of a daughter
#5
Emlin SOURBUTTS
1615 (Age 25 years)
Baptism of a daughterEmlin SOURBUTTS
February 12, 1615 (Age 25 years)
Death of a sonUnnamed SOURBUTTS
1617 (Age 27 years)
Burial of a sonUnnamed SOURBUTTS
April 20, 1617 (Age 27 years)
Death of a sonUnnamed SOURBUTTS
1618 (Age 28 years)
Burial of a sonUnnamed SOURBUTTS
March 8, 1618 (Age 28 years)
Birth of a son
#6
Richard SOWERBUTTS
1620 (Age 30 years)
Baptism of a sonRichard SOWERBUTTS
October 25, 1620 (Age 30 years)
Birth of a daughter
#7
Alice SOURBUTTS
1625 (Age 35 years)
Death of a daughterAlice SOURBUTTS
1625 (Age 35 years)
Baptism of a daughterAlice SOURBUTTS
February 1, 1625 (Age 35 years)
Burial of a daughterAlice SOURBUTTS
June 9, 1625 (Age 35 years)
Death of a daughterEmlin SOURBUTTS
1670 (Age 80 years)
Burial of a daughterEmlin SOURBUTTS
November 1, 1670 (Age 80 years)
Death of a wifeElizabeth HAILE
1673 (on the date of death)
Burial of a wifeElizabeth HAILE
January 11, 1673 (Age 83 years)
Death 1673 (Age 83 years)

Family with Elizabeth HAILE - View this family
himself
wife
Marriage: January 28, 1612St Peter and St Paul's Church, Ormskirk.
-13 months
daughter
3 years
son
1 year
daughter
2 years
daughter
3 years
daughter
son
son
son
6 years
daughter

Birth

Ormskirk a summary from the Lancashire Historic Town Survey by Lancashire County Council, 2006

The name Ormskirk is Norse in origin and is derived from Ormres kirkja, which comes from a Scandinavian personal name, Ormr, and the Old Norse word for church. The identity of Ormr is unknown, but is likely to have been the person who founded the church. The locality Mere Brook is derived from the Old English word, mearc, meaning boundary though to what the brook may have been a boundary is not known.

Although Ormskirks place name suggests an Anglo-Scandinavian origin, there is no direct evidence for an early settlement, and it is not named in the Domesday survey (1086). It is thought, however, that Ormskirk was part of the township of Lathom, and may have been the berewick which belonged to it. The churchs hill-top position and its irregular, possibly oval churchyard suggest a pre-conquest origin, and this is supported by the presence of a pre-conquest sculpture, depicting two figures, possibly St Paul and his jailer, built into the eastern elevation of the church. It certainly appears from the township boundaries that, at some stage, Ormskirk had been detached from the larger Lathom lordship that also included the townships of Lathom and Burscough.

The prior and abbey of Burscough were granted a charter for a weekly market and an annual fair at Ormskirk in 1286. The small, triangular green which lies on the north-east of the church, and which has given its name to Green Lane, may have been designated as the original market place, and would therefore have been the original settlement focus. If so, then it probably did not remain as the market place for long. The establishment of the borough along the main road from Liverpool to Preston and Wigan, would soon have shifted the focus to the current market place, at the crossroads of the main thoroughfares. The market became established at the junction of Church Street with Aughton, Burscough and Moor Streets, where a market cross had been set up by the post medieval period. The market cross was removed and replaced by a clock tower in the second half of the nineteenth century, but from its depiction on the map of Ormskirk in 1609, it is likely to have been set into a multi-stepped base.

Ormskirks importance as an urban and market centre in the post-medieval period up to 1800, is reflected in the relatively low percentage of the population, around 15%, who were employed in agriculture. The food and drink trade was the largest sector, employing over 20% of the work force for most of the period. Industry played a minor, yet important role, and Ormskirk was renowned for its leather trade during the Tudor and early Stuart period, and by 1635 Ormskirk was a centre of the glove trade. Textile manufacture also was significant, and there were professional weavers in Ormskirk by 1591. Linen producers had been operating in the town since the early seventeenth century, and by 1707 linen cloth was manufactured on a commercial scale.

An important related product was sailcloth which not only went to the nearby port of Liverpool, but was also used on local windmills. However by the end of the century the weaving of sail-cloth had migrated to other towns such as Warrington, though linen thread spinning was still carried on locally. There were also four felt weavers in the town in the seventeenth century. Another industry associated with linen manufacture was soap making. Soap was being sold in the grocers shops by the 1680s and James Moorcroft, who died in 1709, had a building for boiling soap behind his home in Church Street.

An attempt, though unsuccessful, was even made to establish a sugar refinery at a house in Moor Street in 1676, in order to take advantage of the increasing imports entering Liverpool, as part of the Atlantic trade.

Rope making was an important local industry until the early twentieth century. The earliest documented roper trading in Ormskirk was in 1679, and by the end of the eighteenth century it had become a substantial local industry, when there were ropers shops on Burscough Street and Church Street. The raw materials were sourced from the ready supply of hemp grown in the vicinity, and demand came from local farmers, millers, and wagonners, as well as sailors and fishermen. Hemp yards appear in early deeds and surveys of properties on the edge of the town and sellers of the raw material had their own pitch on Church Street. By 1841 there were eight roperies in the town, including the biggest company, Tilsleys on Wigan Road, and others in Aughton Street, Burscough Street, Ruff Lane and Southport Road. Even so it was not an industry employing large numbers of people, and altogether the eight firms only had 118 workers, of whom 80 were juveniles. By the early twentieth century, there were only six rope manufacturers, a situation reflecting Ormskirks declining industrial role overall.

Other industries and crafts

The production of leather and leather goods was an important industry within the town during the post-medieval period. One of the largest tanneries belonged to the Brandreths, who moved to Ormskirk in 1748, and whose tannery lay behind their house in Burscough Street. The business continued into the mid nineteenth century. Although the demand for leather from shoemakers and saddlers continued to rise, the numbers involved in the tanning industry declined, as skinners and tanners moved to more rural areas. Glove-making had been a leading trade, but this also declined with the availability of new materials.

Clock-making, too, had been a significant craft with a national reputation, though it was also in decline by the nineteenth century.

In the nineteenth century Ormskirk seems to have had a considerable capacity for corn milling. This would have served the agriculturally rich hinterland, but may also have processed corn imported through the port of Liverpool. In addition to the windmill on Mill Street, there was a steam corn mill, which succeeded a seventeenth century horse mill, in Besoms Yard on the south side of Church Street. There was also a steam printing and book-binding works as well as an iron foundry which begun working in 1796.

Ormskirks position on a sandstone outcrop, resulted in small-scale quarrying for local building, along with clay and marl extraction. In the nineteenth century there were sandstone quarries at Greet by Hill, Long Wood and Ruff Wood, outside the town, as well as a sand pit in Ruff Wood and a gravel pit at Scarth Hill. Brick came to be the predominant building material from the early eighteenth century, and by 1727 a field was set aside for clay extraction, with over 400,000 bricks made in 1769. The brick yard and drying field were still extant in 1851, although the industry later moved to Burscough.

As mentioned earlier, Ormskirk is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 although it is likely to have been part the adjoining township of Lathom. It is considered, however, that the settlement may have had pre-Conquest origins. The first documentary reference to Ormskirk is in 1189-90 when Robert, lord of Lathom, confirmed a grant to Burscough Priory of the church of Ormskirk with all its appurtenances.

In 1286 Edward I granted the right to hold a market or fair at Ormskirk to the Prior of Burscough, and the borough charter was probably granted at the same time, though it is first documented in 1292. The borough charter records an annual rent of 12d for a burgage and 6d for a toft with burgage. Market day was, and still is, Thursday, and the fair was held from 28th to 31st August. A further fair on Whit Tuesday was granted in 1461 and the fairs were still being held in 1670

Early population figures are difficult to estimate, though some sources provide indications. In 1366, for example, 71 individuals subscribed to support a priest for the church at Ormskirk, and in 1524, a rental of Burscough Priorys land in Ormskirk lists 80 names. Assuming that these were heads of household, these figures would suggest a population of around 290 to 360, respectively. During the plague in 1648, a petition recorded a population of 800. Manorial records show 218 inhabitants enrolling for tithings in 1680, 243 in 1699 and 269 in 1754. Given an average family size of 4½ people, these can be translated into estimated populations of around 980, 1,100 and 1,200 respectively. Considering other possible inhabitants such as lodgers, the figure of 2,280 people given by the vicar in 1778 does not seem unreasonable. By 1801, when the first census was taken, the official population figure was 2,554.

It is clear that Ormskirk was a substantial urban centre, by Lancashires standards, in the early post-medieval period. Even so, Leland dismissed it briefly as a town with a parish church, perhaps because he did not visit the town, whilst Liverpool, Warrington and Wigan are described as paved towns. In 1598, however, it was described as a great, ancient and very populous town, and the inhabitants are very many and a great market is kept there weekly beside two fairs every year. It was a successful market town serving west Lancashire, at least into the early 1700s and enjoyed considerable prosperity. Even though it suffered from visitations of the plague during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and must also been affected by the two Civil War sieges of nearby Lathom House, it was a sufficiently successful town that confidence had evidently returned by 1670 when its market charter was re-granted. Around 1680 the towns leading lawyers proposed an extension of the courts and the towns legal functions and, although unsuccessful, the town remained a thriving legal centre into the early 1700s. By the late eighteenth century, however, lawyers began to decamp to Liverpool where the increased maritime trade was providing most of their work, and attempts to foster new roles as a spa town and leisure resort were unsuccessful. Its future was set as a provincial market town, serving the surrounding agricultural communities. The large number of seventeenth and eighteenth century inns and shops, which still dominated the town in the early twentieth century, was a reflection of the towns heyday.

Development of the nineteenth century town

Ormskirks position on the West Lancashire plain, away from the coal fields and the centre of the developing textile industry, meant that it was not subject to the same substantial growth as many of the east Lancashire settlements from the end of the eighteenth century.

In 1825, it was described as a small but clean and pleasant market town and the great thoroughfare between Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster. By 1870, it appears to have changed relatively little, when it was considered to be a clean well built market town comprised principally of four paved streets, intersecting each other at right angles, and having a handsome opening in the centre which is used as a market place. The population increased to a limited extent over the nineteenth century, from 2,554 people in 1801 to6,857 in 1901. The largest increases were in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Ormskirk attracted Irish immigrants entering the country through nearby Liverpool, but in the second half of the century, it dropped between 1861 and 1871 and between 1881 and 1891. Even though Ormskirk was not subject to the rapid urban growth of the heavily industrialised towns of Lancashire, it did not escape the same public health hazards. In 1849 the town was visited by an Inspector of the General Board of Health, and subsequently a Local Board was set up in 1850, amidst a stormy political climate and a welter of local squabbling. Some members of the Board continued to serve on the court leet, though with the purchase of the market tolls by the Board in 1874, the main activities of the court ceased and it was dissolved in 1876. It was revived in 1890 for purely ceremonial purposes. In 1894 the Board became an Urban District Council and by 1907 the West Lancashire Rural District Council also met in Ormskirk.

Note

This is probably as far back as we can take the family for the moment. We're lucky that the records for Ormskirk, where the family moved at some unknown earlier period, date from 1557. Parishes were supposed to keep registers from 1538 under Henry VIII, but the various regulations regarding these records were only really enforced from 1598, and a number have been subsequently lost or damaged. However, many registers, like those for Ormskirk, date from the start of Elizabeth's reign in 1558.

The surname is of course spelt in various forms in earlier days, essentially depending on the preference of the parish clerk at the time, although Sowerbutts and Sourbutts are the two most common versions. A spelling variant has no connection to a specific family nor even to a particular person. In what follows, I have generally used the spelling on a person's birth record, but without complete consistency. The name itself is very strongly associated with Lancashire, even to this day, and is a location derived surname, from a placename meaning something like a poor or swampy area (from saurr: Old Norse for mud, dirt and butr: also Old Norse and meaning a small piece of land). There is no village with this name now, although there is still a Sowerbutts Green just off the Preston New Road near Samlesbury in Lancashire.

The village of Samlesbury was famous for witch trials in 1612, in which the 14 year old Grace Sowerbutts was the chief prosecution witness. When her evidence was found to be fabricated, the three women accused were acquited.