Names Around Rishton.

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The following analysis describes a few qualities of the name. There are many additional factors (legal name, nicknames, family surname, combined names, previous names, and business signature) that contribute to the entire personality - and the entire life.

Reeds in local fields

Rishton

The name of Rishton gives a practical, logical, analytical approach to life and a great deal of patience. You enjoy working at anything of a mechanical or technical nature, and believe that what is worth doing is worth doing well. When you are interested in a project, you concentrate all your thoughts on it and do not appreciate being interrupted. This name creates a deliberate and methodical way of thinking and speaking; it takes you time to learn but, once you have mastered a subject, you do not forget it. You are very systematic in all you do and do not like to see things out of order; however, there is a tendency for you to be too fussy. There is a seriousness to your nature which could cause you to worry over your responsibilities, especially when confronted with change and uncertainty. You are overly fond of heavy foods such as meat, potatoes, breads and pastries and could suffer with stomach and intestinal disorders, constipation or boils.

Our surnames are more than just a name. This alone can tell us so much about a persons history, and the families background. Names such as Miller, Woods, and Aspen, all names still found in the town, tell us their occupations or places where they came from. Any look at any historical book shows the same names over many generations.

In the entire County, surnames relate to small towns and areas, Whalley, Worsley, Haworth and Walmsley being just a few which are still in the town of Rishton. All these names date back many centuries.

As the Anglos moved West from the Pennines, they chose settlement sites above the rivers. These were called "TUNS", Accrington, Rishton and Tunstall all reflecting this, amongst others. These words were derived from Northumbrian Anglo Saxon, and later Mercian Anglo Saxons who were led by Penda, their blood thirsty pagan king who killed the Christian King Oswald (Oswaldtwistle), brought with them a new vocabulary.

Most experts consider the River Ribble was firstly a territorial, and later a language barrier between Northumbria and Mercia, later there was a second boundary between the Anglo Saxons and the Norseman.

It is this that gives us our "twang" - so unique and fascinating - changing from one river bank to the next. Even the small streams were boundaries, as found round Rishton.

"Rishton" the name, originates from Anglo Saxon times, meaning "Village among the Rushes", and it is believed would have been pronounced “Risc - tun”. Tun is the Saxon word for Farm, and not as can be found elsewhere on this page, Town.

Reeds in the fields of Rishton

You will find that Rishton is a variant of Riston. This name comes from the 1800 acre manor of Long Riston near Lancashire, England.

There is also evidence of Celtic influence in this part of Lancashire, with such names as Calder, Ribble and Pendle.

It is thought that Rishton was first settled in Saxon times and the Saxons settled four estates, Cowhill, Tottleworth, Sidebeet and Holt, all of these names are still in existence today. The Saxons gave the village the name of ‘Risctun’ risc meaning rushes, and tun a fortified dwelling place. Today there are still many rushes and the valley areas are very marshy.

The decipherment of Manor deeds affords many curious examples of the way place names were spelt according to their sound by the men responsible for writing these documents. Lack of education was responsible for this, and this phonetic spelling has caused many curious changes within a few years as can be seen from the following:-

RISHTON

     
Before A. D. 1000 Risc-tun
In A. D. 1200 Riston
In A. D. 1243 Ruston
In A. D. 1246 Ryston
In A. D. 1277 Ruyston
In A. D. 1322 Rissheton
In A. D. 1332 Russhton
In A. D. 1371 Ryssheton

Other lists such has this are also found for Tottleworth, Sidebeet, and Cowhill.

Tottleworth

The name itself can be traced to Saxon times, WORTH, the second half of the name comes from the Saxon era of English settlement, and means Fenced Land. We know that the Saxons were in this Country from 350 AD to 1000 AD, so it is possible that Tottleworth came into being about this time.

The Old English words 'Tottla' & 'worth' meaning 'Tottla's enclosure' and the first recorded use of the name was in 1204. This part of the name derived from the Saxons, said to describe a "homestead". The second, meaning an enclosure of land. So in effect Tottleworth is an enclosure of homes.

TOTTLEWORTH

     
In A. D. 1200 Tottleworth
In A. D. 1258 Totleworth
In A. D. 1288 Tottilwort
In A. D. 1295 Totleworth
In A. D. 1300 Tatilword
In A. D. 1348 Totelworth

Dunscar

The syllable "Dun" belongs to the Celtic language, as was found in the old Edinburgh name - Dunedin. This syllable is thought to be the same has as found in the modern word London.

This Celtic Syllable meant "Protected from Foes", and the second syllable "scar", which was added at a much later date, meant a chink, or hill pass.

Cowhill

COWHILL

     
In A. D. 1200 Kuhill
In A. D. 1220 Cuhill
In A. D. 1280 Couul
In A. D. 1295 Cowhul
In A. D. 1300 Cowill
In A. D. 1379 Cowhill
In A. D. 1640 Cowell

Sidebeat.

The Saxons gave the area its name, being called Side Byht.

SIDEBEET

     
In A. D. 1258 Ffidebitht
In A. D. 1278 Sydebiht
In A. D. 1295 Sidebuhte
In A. D. 1637 Sidebight

Holt

It was the Anglo Saxons that first built a wooden palisaded house in the area, and the meaning of Holt came from them - a "wooden hollow", but this is only partially correct. Its full meaning, as the Saxons used the word, was a piece of land cleared of trees about half way down a well wooded slope. Picture the Hyndburn brook as it would have been in 600 A.D., a clear and sparkling stream with its banks covered in trees, rising sharply to Rishton. This part then was easily the beautiful part of the village, and although ferocious pirates, the Saxons had an eye for beauty. It wasn't just for beauty that the Saxons took this land though, the brook was vitally important to them, for it enabled them to drain water from the land to enable cultivation, and provided water for the cattle.

Cunliffe

It is said that the name comes from the Saxon landowner, Gunnhildr, who lived at Cunliffe before the Norman Conquest.

It is also suggested that there is some connection between this word and "Cunnus Diaboli", which was a monkish name for a hollow in a rock, through which people crawled through to be healed of sickness.

It is possible that there was such a rock in the area, the many springs giving greater emphasis to this this supposition, by wearing away the stone to create such a hole.

The word Cunliffe was wrote "Kundaclyve" in a deed of 1200, and this old spelling suggests a much earlier spelling than Saxon.

The Kunda is, like Dunscar Farm, a Celtic word, and means hard or strong. The Clyve part belongs to a much later date, and means a cliff or a deep descent. The Britons of Cunliffe would have known of the stone lying just under the surface of the land, and therefore gave it its name of Kunda, this stone being valuable to them in many ways.

Norden

Used primarily for the naming of the school, there is also Norden view, and Norden Terrace. The name means North Dene, or valley.

English naming traditions

First of all, wherever you are in the world, I hope that you, your family and friends are well.

All that thinking about Irish, and possibly Scottish, naming traditions in my last post made we wonder if a similar tradition existed in England.  It turned out it did.  In fact it was exactly the same.

To recap:
1st son named after paternal grandfather (patGF)
2nd son named after maternal grandfather (matGF)
3rd son named after father (F)
4th son named after father’s eldest brother (patB)
5th son named after mother’s eldest brother (matB)

1st daughter named after maternal grandmother (matGM)
2nd daughter named after paternal grandmother (patGM)
3rd daughter named after mother (M)
4th daughter named after mother’s eldest sister (matS)
5th daughter named after father’s eldest sister (patS)

However, there were other traditions too, that might have varied the above rules:

  • Babies may have been named after powerful people, e.g. royalty, and these names were likely to have become fashionable, perhaps particularly in London and other fine towns and cities. Naming a child after a local wealthy landowner was also common.  Perhaps this was more likely in rural areas.
  • In addition to the grandparents, parents, and their eldest siblings, babies might have been named after another significant family member. In my last post there’s the example of Annabella, named for her great grandmother who had recently died.
  • In those days of high infant mortality, babies were often named after earlier siblings who had died in infancy. This often comes as a shock to beginner genealogists. Again, in my Irish family (see last post) there’s an example of this.  As late as 1888, Patrick’s second son John was named not only for his paternal grandfather but also to honour the memory of the first-born son.  Below, William and Jane lost seven of their children in infancy, among them three Thomases and two Edwins.
  • Biblical names were popular amongst Nonconformists, particularly for people belonging to a dissenting protestant church or meeting house. In my own dissenting lines I have Nathaniel, Benjamin, Isaac and Abraham, but in wider research I’ve come across Jonah, Zedekiah and Zillah.

Perhaps some of these variations on the regular traditional naming pattern were more likely in 18th or 19th century England than in Ireland.  My very small-scale study, outlined below, is nowhere near enough to be able to say whether this is so, but it’s a possibility.

As for my last post I’ve looked at several families, this time in my English lines.  The respective parents married in 1775, 1790, 1821, 1848 and 1886, and they are from three different lines of my ancestry.  I appreciate that the detail is of no interest whatsoever to anyone else, so I’ve put the tables showing my findings right at the end of this post.  All you need to notice is the peach highlights I’ve used to indicate adherence to the tradition.

Every single one of the tables shows adherence at some level to the same traditional naming pattern that existed in Ireland.  William and Jane (m.1848) are textbook examples; and even in 1886 George and Rose honoured most of the main family members alongside a couple of fashionable names.  Scanning other families in my tree, I see the tradition not in every case, but certainly generally used throughout.  I’ve even drawn upon it in my research, comparing names of an ancestor’s siblings and their own children.  I just never picked up the full extent of the pattern.  It was there all along though, hiding in full sight.

So this naming tradition, involving passing the same names down by all siblings to their own children, can be a good thing and a bad thing for us as genealogists.  Bad, in that if John and Mary have twelve children, there are potentially twelve first- or second-born grandsons called John and twelve first- or second-born granddaughters called Mary: all of them cousins for you to wade through when looking for your particular ancestor, John or Mary…

But there are benefits too:
Naming patterns can in fact help you to identify which John and which Mary is yours.  If we look wider at siblings’ names, and take into consideration the names of both spouses’ parents, we can separate out the distinct lines.  I talked about this in a previous post about Evidence â€" look at Case Study 1: Who are Joseph’s parents.  It can require a lot of concentration to do this, but you can achieve astonishing breakthroughs.

Varying from the standard rules to incorporate one of the other traditions might give us a little more info about our ancestors and what was important to them â€" could the name George or Victoria at a certain time be important because our ancestor was a royalist, or because of the appeal of a fashionable name, for example?

Can the passing on of the name of a family member that doesn’t really fit into the traditional pattern suggest the importance of a bond with an older family member, like a dear uncle, or in my Irish example, honouring father George’s great grandmother, Annabella.  In fact George is an interesting example for another reason: the grandparents’ names he passes on to his children are not his birth parents but those of the man and woman who brought him up.  I strongly suspect the reason George and his wife Bridget chose to honour both of his parents before hers was to show George’s gratitude.

Obviously, finding biblical names can be a huge clue that the family were dissenters â€" a fact that would impact on many areas of a person’s life and opportunities, and was not just about their religious beliefs.

And finally, naming patterns can be used in conjunction with DNA matching to identify families with likely connections.  This is particularly useful for ancestral lines where records are scarce (e.g. Irish and Jewish ancestry).  There is an example of this in my last post.  DNA matching proves only that another living individual and you have a common ancestor.  You have to work out where that match is for yourself.  Using naming patterns along with geographical locations to identify similarities can point to where that connection is, even if records have not yet come to light and possibly never will.

I hope there is something amongst all of this and my last post that will give you some ideas for using naming traditions to progress your research.  It would be great to read about any breakthroughs based on this in the comments.

*****

Here are the tables created while analysing application of the above rules in just five of my ancestral families.  The apricot highlights indicate that the rules were followed as expected.  Where the order of two consecutive expected names is reversed I’ve considered that as complying.

Tables analysing use of traditional English naming pattern in naming of children

Tables analysing use of traditional English naming pattern in naming of children

 

References

Parish Church and School Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.