When we began researching our family history 40 years ago, we fairly soon discovered that there were Growden families in Lancashire. I wrote to a Joseph Growden in Bolton, Lancashire, and he said trhere was a family tradition that the family had originated in Cornwall, but when they cjecked it out, the earliest member of the family they knew of turned out to have been born in Rishton, Lancashire.
Now many more records are more easily available, and I’ve been able to piece together something of the story.
To put it in a nutshell:
Joseph Growden, a blacksmith, was born in Bodmin in 1830. He married Mary Ann Knight of Roche in 1855 and worked in various places in Cornwall. In the 1871 Census they were at Kea, where their younger children were born, and in 1875 their daughter Catherine died there, aged about 14. In 1877 the eldest son, Thomas, married a local girl, and within the next couple of years the family moved to Caterall in Lancashire, where they seem to have stayed, with the exception of Thomas, who returned to Cornwall. Some lived at Rishton, and others at Radcliffe.
This Joseph Growden was my 1st cousin three times removed — in other words, he was the first cousin of my great grandfather William Matthew Growden, though being the son of an older brother, he was some 20 years older. That generation of Growdens seem to have got wanderlust, because in the late 1870s they scattered from Cornwall in different directions. My great grandfather came south to the Cape Colony, and his cousin Joseph went north to Lancashire. Another cousin, James Growden, had gone west to Canada some ten years earlier, and yet another cousin, Henry Growden, ended up in New Zealand, with some of his descendants living in the USA, in places as far apart as New Orleans and Alaska. So in that period, 1850 to 1880, Cornwall seems to have acted as a giant centrifuge, spitting out Growdens in all directions.
But back to the Lancashire ones.
Joseph Growden (1830-1887) and Mary Ann Knight (1836-1902) had eight children:
- Lavinia Growden (1855-1938)
- Thomas Henry Growden (1857-1919)
- William Henry Growden (1839-1954)
- Catherine Growden (1860-1875)
- Joseph Growden (1863-1928)
- John Growden (1865-1904)
- George Growden (1856-1940)
- Emily Growden (1867-?) married Richard Dilworth
Lavinia never married and Catherine died young, but all the others married and had children
In the course of searching for members of this family I came across a marvellous web site devoted to Rishton in Lancashire, which I still haven’t fully explored yet. It has a full page devoted to the military service and medals of George Growden, son of Joseph (1863-1928), who served in the first World War. It is well worth looking at if you have any ancestors who lived in or around Rishton.
A lot of the Lancashire Growdens seem to have had son’s called George, which makes it a bit difficult to work out which ones married which spouses, but at any rate, there are now probably more Growdens in Lancashire than there are in Cornwall.