It's a long time now since I researched both mine and Mick's family trees. Whilst tracing back through his mother's line, we found out about John Hooton, Mick's five times Great Grandfather, who was born in North Meols in 1758.
John Hooton was credited with the introduction of handloom weaving in to North Meols during the 1790's. The looms were of his own design with safety standards ahead of their time. It's said that at the height of production, there were upwards of a thousand looms at work in the district.
North Meols originally covered a much larger area than it does today, including much of what is now Southport. As we'd already crossed the Pennines to visit Another Place, we decided we'd also have a trip to North Meols as we knew that St Cuthbert's Church, which is where John Hooton was christened on the 17th of September 1758, is still there. St Cuthbert's in the oldest church in Southport and the present church building dates from 1739.
Unfortunately, the church was locked so we couldn't look inside, but we had a good wander around the churchyard. I'd have liked to go inside to see the lovely stained glass windows.
John Hooton married Ellen Aughton on the 22nd of October 1780. We know that when John died in 1836 and Ellen in 1847, they were buried at North Meols Independent Chapel, however, the graveyard was cleared in 1965 and the majority of the bodies, including the Hootons, were cremated. We did find a grave belonging to Aughton's in St Cuthbert's churchyard, so I'd like to do a bit of research to see if these people were related to Ellen.
I didn't expect North Meols to be anything like it was, it's such a pretty place with lots of old buildings still standing. The North Meols Civic Society has produced a village trail guide. I didn't know about it until after our visit, but I'd now like to go back and see all the historic places with the information provided.
This cottage was built in 1749, nine years before John Hooton was born. It's amazing to think that buildings which stood in his lifetime are still here today.
Churchtown Conservative Club was built in 1729 and was originally the grammar school.
The stocks are adjacent to the church walls and were built by John Linaker in 1741. They were last used in 1861 when they held Thomas Rimmer for drunkenness.
We came across this headstone outside a cottage. It was erected in memory of Joey, a faithful dog.
There are so many pretty cottages which vary in age from the 16th to 18th century. The construction was originally of rough timber, mud and star grass which was gathered off the sandhills.
This pretty cottage was for sale.
We had a wonderful time looking around the area and it really brought John Hooton to life for us. I now want to do some more research in to this part of the family tree and see if I can uncover any more facts, especially in relation to the handloom weaving.