Esther Ashcroft Bayley, 1837-1879

The Ashcroft family has itís roots in the English counties of Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire. Samuel and Mary Ashcroft,1 both born about 1740,2 lived at Cross Street, Sale, south of Manchester.3 Samuel and Mary had eleven children.4 The first two sons named Samuel died very young.5 The seven surviving sons all became slaters, or roofers,6 the occupation of their father. Samuel and Mary both died in 1821, both age 80, Samuel in January and Mary in February, and were buried at St. Martin's Church, Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire, the same church where all their children had been baptized. There is no gravestone for them.7

Joshua, their eighth child, born in 1777,8 first married Sarah Barber in 1796 and they had one child, Mary Sarah9. Sarah died not long after giving birth to Mary Sarah in 1800. Mary Sarah died about a month after her mother. Mother and daughter were both buried at St. James Church, George Street, in Manchester.10

Joshua married again, this time to Esther Harrison, in Manchester Cathedral 19 May 1802.11 It is thought that her parents might be William Harrison and Sarah Slator, but further research has shown that there were several Esther Harrisons born in the area who could have been our Esther.12 In 1804 their first child, William, was born.13 Two years later, another son, John, was born. John was still a baby when Joshua fell from the roof of a warehouse in Manchester and died.14

The Manchester Mercury and Harrop's General Advertiser, which came out every Tuesday at that time, reported his death in the Tuesday 22 July 1806 issue, on the fourth page at the bottom of the fifth column, as follows:

On Thursday last a man accidentally fell from the roof of a very lofty warehouse in Crow Alley, St Anne's Square, and was so dreadfully maimed that he expired in less than half an hour.15
Joshua was buried at St. James's Church, George Street, Manchester, where his first wife and child were buried. The inscription on his tombstone read:

Joshua Ashcroft July 17 1806 a 28 y. His death was occasioned by a fall from a Warehouse. An awfull warning to us of the uncertainty of human life. Take heed watch and pray for ye know not when the time is.16

It is not known what happened to Esther after Joshua's death, but William Ashcroft, Joshua and Esther's oldest son, lived a long life. His daughter, Esther Ashcroft Bayley, is my great great grandmother. Joshua and Esther's second son, John, born in 1806, married Maria Williams in the Manchester Cathedral in 1831. Joshua was a shoemaker at the time of his marriage. He and Maria had five children.17



Related Links
Index of Ashcroft family members on this web page
Ashcroft Family Tree
Ashcroft descent report from Samuel Ashcroft, d.1821, for five generations, with index & sources Later generations can be seen in the descent report for Joseph Dundas Miller

Record of marriage for Samuel Ashcroft and Mary Rudd, 1764
Records of burial for Samuel and Mary Ashcroft, 1821
Family group sheet for Samuel and Mary Ashcroft

Family group sheet for Joshua, son of Samuel
Record of marriage for Joshua Ashcroft, son of Samuel, and Esther Harrison, 1802
Record of death for Joshua Ashcroft, 1777-1806, son of Samuel

William Ashcroft and Hannah Smith
Christening record of William Ashcroft, ca.1804-1878, son of Joshua
Family group sheet for William Ashcroft, son of Joshua
Census information for William Ashcroft, ca.1804-1878
Burial record for William and Hannah Ashcroft, Wolverhampton
Will of William Ashcroft, son of Joshua, d.1878

Christening record of John Ashcroft, b.1806, son of Joshua
Marriage record of John Ashcroft and Maria Williams, 2 October 1831
Record of baptism and birth: Mary Ashcroft, daughter of John and Maria Ashcroft, 1832

Marriage record of Mary Ashcroft, daughter of William, and Joseph Wheatley, 1851
Record of birth: William Wheatley, son of Mary Ashcroft and Joseph Wheatley, 1856



Photograph: Esther Ashcroft, 1837-1879, was the great-granddaughter of Samuel and Mary Ashcroft, and the granddaughter and namesake of Joshua Ashcroft's second wife, Esther Harrison. Photograph of Esther Ashcroft Bayley provided thanks to Hope Healy Koontz, Esther's granddaughter. Esther Ashcroft Bayley is the author's great great grandmother.

With many thanks to Rodney Kerr and Tony Ashcroft for information on the Ashcroft family. They have done a lot of research and generously shared it.




  1. The marriage of Samuel Ashcroft to Mary Rudd is an assumption based on the information found so far. Samuel might have been married to a different Mary. We know her name is Mary from the baptismal registers of their children. This marriage took place in October of 1764 and their first child was born in July 1765. The marriage was in Stockport, which is in the same general vicinity in which they lived and died. This was the only marriage found for that time period in that area that seemed to fit. Marriage record of Samuel Ashcroft and Mary Rudd, 1764, Parish Registers of St. Mary's Church [Church of England], 1584-1901, Stockport, Cheshire, FHL Br MF 2146002, Page 185, #53. Both are of the Parish of Stockport in the County and Diocese of Cheshire. They were married by published banns. Day of marriage looks like the 23d, but the word "third" is smudged. Samuel signed his name, Marry signed with her mark.

  2. Email from Tony Ashcroft, researcher in England, to Anne Healy Field, 29 May 2007, "They appear to have lived in Cross Street all their married life and were buried there in 1821 when they died within a month of each other both aged 80. This takes them back to having been born around 1740. There is no gravestone for them at St Martin's Church."

  3. In the parish registers of St. Martin's Church, where all of their children were baptized, their "abode" or place of residence was listed as Cross St., Sale. Parish registers for St. Martin's Church [Church of England], Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire, 1636-1950, Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998. FHL Microfilm 2107086. The baptisms stretched over nearly twenty years, from 1765 to 1784.

  4. John, 1765, Mary, 1766, Thomas, 1768, George, 1770, Samuel, 1772, Samuel, 1774, Martha, 1776, Joshua, 1777, Henry, 1779, Samuel, 1781, and William, 1784.

  5. Parish registers for St. Martin's Church [Church of England], Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire, 1636-1950, Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998. FHL Microfilm 2107086, The first Samuel was buried 31 December 1773; the second Samuel was buried 23 February 1779.

  6. Occupations were listed in the marriage registers.Except for John, who was married in St. Martin's Church, and Mary, who either did not marry or whose marriage has not been found, were married in the Manchester Cathedral.

  7. Email from Tony Ashcroft to Anne Healy Field, 29 May 2007. See note #2 above.

  8. Parish registers for St. Martin's Church [Church of England], Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire, 1636-1950. Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998. FHL Microfilm 2107086. Baptized 21 December 1777, "Joshua, son of Samuel and Mary Ashcroft of Cross Street, Sale."

  9. Parish registers for the Cathedral Church [Church of England], Manchester, Lancashire, 1573-1946, Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966-2004, Marriages and banns, April 1795-February 1801, p.315, #692, FHL microfilm 2356676, "Joshua Ashcroft of this parish and town of Manchester,slater, and Sarah Barber of Manchester, spinster, were married in this church by Banns... this 17th day of July, 1796." Joshua signed his name, Sarah signed by mark.

    Information on Mary Sarah's birth in 1800 came by email from Tony Ashcroft to Anne Healy Field, 29 May 2007.

  10. Parish register transcript, St. James [Church of England], Manchester, England, compiled by Bertram William Tuff Norman. FHL book 942.72/ M1, V26mja vol.4 [includes burials, Dec. 1786-Dec. 1812]; p.62, Sarah Ashcroft, wife of Joshua, died 5 April 1800, buried 8 April 1800, age 21 years; p.63, Mry [sic] Sarah, daughter of Joshua, Sarah Ashcroft, died 24 May 1800, buried 25 May 1800, 9 Wks.

    Mary Sarah's cause of death was "fits" and her mother Sarah's cause of death was "decline" according to information found by Tony Ashcroft: Lancashire Parish Register Society, Vol. 134, "The Registers of St James's Church, George Street , Manchester" (published 1993), Burials 1800, Page 114:
    "Died Apr 5, Buried Apr 8, Sarah, w. Joshua Ashcroft [slater, Hulme], 21yr; Decline."
    "Died May 24, Buried May 25, Mary Sarah, d. Joshua & Sarah Ashcroft [Hulme], 9 weeks; Fits."
    The information in square brackets is from the Bishop's Transcripts and the rest is from the Registers.

  11. Parish registers for the Cathedral Church [Church of England], Manchester, Lancashire, 1573-1946. Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966-2004, Marriages and banns, February 1801-December 1804, Marriage record #599. FHL microfilm 2356677. Joshua Ashcroft, slater, and Esther Harrison, both of Manchester, married by Banns 19 May 1802. Joshua signed his name, Esther signed with her mark.

  12. In researching Esther's parentage I came across more than one Esther Harrison who was born about the right time in the Manchester area but have not reached any definite conclusions. For more details: Esther's parentage.

  13. Parish registers for the Cathedral Church [Church of England], Manchester, Lancashire, 1573-1946. Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966-2004, Baptisms, November 1798-January 1808. William was christened 24 June 1804, and John was christened 26 May 1806.

  14. According to Tony Ashcroft in his email, 29 May 2007, the warehouse Joshua was working on was near St Anne's Square in the center of Manchester. Two brief newspaper reports of the accident appeared in the days immediately following.

  15. Email from Tony Ashcroft to Anne Field, 27 July 2007.

  16. Parish register transcript, St. James [Church of England], Manchester, England, compiled by Bertram William Tuff Norman. FHL book 942.72/ M1, V26mja vol.4 [includes burials, Dec. 1786-Dec. 1812]; p.83, Joshua Ashcroft, [died] 17 July 1806, [buried] 17 July 1806, 28 Y [years], killed.

    According to Tony Ashcroft, St James's Church was demolished in 1928 and presumably the gravestone was lost. The site now lies at the heart of Manchester's Chinatown. The genealogically important inscription was recorded in documents known as Owen's Manuscripts before the demolition and microfilms of these are kept at Manchester Central Library: "Monumental Inscriptions - St James's, George Street, Manchester, Volume 24, Page 97, line 74."

  17. Parish registers: Cathedral Church, Manchester, Lancashire, England, 1573-1946 (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966-2004;), Marriages, December 1830-December 1832, p.226, record #677. FHL MF 2356728. John is a bachelor and a shoemaker; Maria is a spinster. Both resided in the parish. Both signed by mark.



Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
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29 Dec 2016
Updated 21 Dec 2016
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