Charles Balshaw, 1820-1889


Probably born 1820, son of John Balshaw (1791-1836) and Ann, of Ormskirk.  Baptised 19th July 1820 in Ormskirk

It is possible that his mother Ann died during childbirth or soon after, as an Ann Balshaw was buried the day before Charles was christened. His father seems to have married Ann Cliffe a few years later.


Charles Balshaw, (nephew of James Robinson who was a Draper), unmarried, aged 20, Aughton St, Ormskirk in 1841.

Charles Balshaw, nephew of James Robinson, unmarried, 30, Woollen and Linen Draper Assistant, Aughton St, Ormskirk in 1851.

Probably living with his Aunt Nancy in St Helens in 1863 at the time of her death as her will mentions the furniture in his room.  He became one of her executors and his Occupation is given as Woollen Draper of St Helens.

Draper, aged 69 [although this is probably an error and should say 60], 48 Liverpool Road, Eccleston in Prescot in 1881. His two cousins Frances and Mary Sharrock were in the house, aged 24 and 20 respectively.  It seems likely that their mother was his cousin Mary Sharrock (nee Balshaw, daughter of Ralph and Frances), wife of Henry Sharrock the Flour Dealer of Ormskirk in 1863, but living at 48 Liverpool Road, Eccleston in Prescot by 1881.

Not married

At the time of the 1881 census.


19th April 1889, at Eccleston in the County of Lancaster. Have a copy of the will.

The only Charles Balshaw to have died in England and Wales between 1881 and 1914 was the one who died in "Preston" in the second quarter of 1889, aged 68.  (Is this place name an error in the index or my transcription of it? When I sent for a will it says that he died in Eccleston (in Prescot).)  Note that the implications of this are that he was the right age to have been 60 in 1881 and consistent with the ages on the other census returns.

In his will (written 6th October 1888) he leaves everything to his cousin Charles Balshaw of 60 Liverpool Road, Eccleston, who had worked for him for 35 years, and appoints him as sole executor.  No wife or children are mentioned, consistent with the 1881 census. The gross value of the personal estate was £4/4/0, no leaseholds.  Evidence of some shrewd accountancy to avoid death duties here?

Notes and speculation

The will of Nancy Balshaw (his aunt) gives some useful details about his brother Richard, sister Jane, and cousins in 1863. They were all still alive in 1863.

The 1881 census says that this Charles Balshaw, living at 48 Liverpool Road, Eccleston in Prescot was born in Ormskirk and that he was a Draper, aged 69, leading to a date of birth of 1812. (However, I believe that this was a transcription error as you will see from the following, and that he was really only 60 years old).

And just up the road at 82 Liverpool Road, Eccleston, was another Charles Balshaw and his family, aged 42, Draper’s Manager. We can be reasonably confident that this is the son of Ralph and Frances, orphaned in 1839 at the age of 2, and adopted by his aunt Nancy who subsequently moved to St Helens. He was mentioned several times in Nancy’s will. Note that the youngest child of this Charles was born one year before this census in St Helens, so they must have moved here quite recently. Even before I obtained a copy of the will for Charles Balshaw (the elder) I had concluded that that this Charles (aged 42) was the manager of the shop owned by the other Charles (aged 60 or 69)- his cousin. This was supported by the following evidence - his sister Mary married Henry Sharrock, a flour dealer from Ormskirk, and there are two Sharrocks staying with the older Charles and reported to be cousins although there is a large age difference. (My explaination of  this will be found below too.)

The only Charles Balshaw to die between 1881 and 1914 was aged 68, died in Eccleston in Prescot in the second quarter of 1889. Note that the implications of this are that he was the right age to have been 60 in 1881 and consistent with the ages on the other census returns below.

The 1851 census has an entry for an unmarried, 30 year old, Woollen and Linen Draper born in Ormskirk, nephew of James and Sarah Robinson of Aughton St, Ormskirk. The 1841 census has the same Charles Balshaw (born in Lancs), aged 20, living with the Robinsons in the same street. Surely these two entries are for the same person as on the 1881 census. We don’t yet know where he was in 1861 or 1871.

We also know of a Charles Balshaw christened in Ormskirk on 19th July 1820, son of John and Ann Balshaw. This must have been the same person as the older Charles in Eccleston in 1881. If so he would have been the nephew of Ralph and Nancy, therefore cousin of Charles (the younger) and his sister Mary Sharrock.  (This is confirmed by the will of the older Charles.)  If Mary and Frances Sharrock who were living in the same house as Charles (the older) were the daughters of this Mary Sharrock they would have been cousins once removed, hence “cousin” on the census and the large age difference.

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