Thomas Balshaw, 1801 - 1869.


1801 in Ormskirk, Lancashire, (from 1851 and 1861 census returns). Probably son of John Balshaw and Nancy. Note that there is an entry in the IGI for a Thomas christened in Ormskirk, 9 August 1801, son of John and Nancy.


Lucy Riddiough in Ormskirk, 29 February 1824. His place of residence at the time was given as Altrincham. Witnesses at the marriage were Lucy Ann Riddiough (probably Lucy's aunt), John Shearson and Lawrence Marsden.

Children (all baptised at St George's, Altrincham): John Riddiough Balshaw 1824; Eliza (baptised "Riddiough" on 9th August 1826 but later known as Eliza); Robert Balshaw, born 7th January 1828 (baptised 3rd February) (c.f. Robert Belshaw who is buried at Bowdon but has no connection with the family); Nathanael, (baptised 6th June 1830) but died in infancy; Lucy Anne Balshaw (baptised 16th December 1832); Pass Balshaw (baptised 23rd November 1834); Henry Balshaw (baptised 13th November 1836); Edward Balshaw 1838 - 1841, (baptised 25th December 1838); Frances Balshaw 1840, (baptised 3rd January 1841); Edward Pass Balshaw, 1842-76.


Peter Harrop says that in the 1821 Pigot and Deans directory Thomas was living in Manchester.

However, in the 1821-22 copy he was trading in Altrincham, bookseller, printer and stationer, Higher Town, Altrincham.

Balshaw and Sons was probably set up in 1822 or 1823 in Altrincham (from evidence in The Town and Trade of Altrincham), and it is very likely that Thomas founded the business.

Bookseller, Printer and Stationer, Well Lane, in 1832, from Pigot's Directory of Altrincham 1832.

Printer in Church St, 1838 (from 1st circuit plan for Altrincham.) Auctioneer age 49 at 30 Church St (East) on 1851 census. Auctioneer, valuer, printer, bookbinder, bookseller, stationer, etc., circulating library, Church St, Altrincham, in 1854 or 1855 from Charles Balshaw's Stranger's Guide to Altrincham, Balshaw and Son, (as above but plural), 32 Church St, from Charles Balshaw's Stranger's Guide 1858 (ish). Printer and Auctioneer age 59 at 32 Church St on 1861 census.

Altrincham and Bowdon Guardian, December 18th, 1869. Messrs Daniel Bradshaw and son and Balshaw [presumably Thomas], 52 Brown Street, Manchester. [This company of Auctioneers placed weekly adverts on the back page of 'the Guardian' and until at least November 27th of this year the advert said "Offices at 12 Market St, Altrincham, Patricroft and 52 Brown St Manchester". Thomas Balshaw died on December 7th.]


He was described  in a sermon  preached at City Road Chapel, London, on Monday evening, December 17th 1877, by the Rev. G. Bowden. “Lessons from the conversion, character and death of the Rev. Robert Balshaw.”

In defence of Thomas, it only seems reasonable to question the evidence in this sermon.  To start with, in the book "The Story of Timperley Methodism" by Ernest H Wright MA, published in 1933, "Thomas Balshaw, the printer in the Market Place who printed the Way Bills for the coaches" was described as one of the people who "served the community and served Methodism".  So much for the man who is portrayed as a pillar of the Church of England, if indeed that was such a bad thing anyway.  It is true that the Methodist Church and the Church of England did not always enjoy the spirit of co-operation that is so evident today.  He was probably typical of his time - a strict father with the interests of his children at heart.

He was "was the largest and handsomest man in Cheshire" (ref. a letter from his grand-daughter Rosa to her sister Lucy, quoting their cousin Emily Bedford (daughter of Frances))


7th December 1869. Age 68, (Dec. qtr 1869, Altrincham 8a 119).  Probably of  'heart disease' (ref. the same letter from his grand-daughter Rosa as above).  Have death certificate.  This confirms that he died at Church St., Altrincham on the above date, a retired auctioneer.  Cause of death was further (?) deterioration of the heart, 4 years.  Bronchitis and (?) unasarca (2 years) certified.  John Balshaw (son) present at his death and registered it.

Altrincham and Bowdon Guardian, December 11 1869, p 4. Deaths. December 7 at Church St, Altrincham, age 68, Mr Thomas Balshaw.

Have copy of will.  In his will he left his joiner's tools to his son Henry. Pass was left a clock in a mahogony case, along with the proceeds from 2 houses and shops in Church St. Edward was left a mahogany corner cupboard, formerly belonging to Thomas's mother.


No other entries for Balshaw and Sons, Printers, in Altrincham, in Charles Balshaw's Stranger's Guide. Known to be John Riddiough Balshaw's father from John's marriage certificates. John's second name was also Lucy's unusual maiden name.

On 1851 census his niece, Christina Williams, dressmaker, born in Surrey, age 17, was staying, as was an apprentice, Joseph L????, age 18.

Might have been the witness at the wedding of John Balshaw his cousin at Bowdon in 1826.

See information from "The Story of Timperley Methodism", by Ernest H Wright MA, 1933, page 10.

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