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Saturday, 21 April 2012

P is for Poulton-le-Fylde - A-Z Genealogical Challenge

Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/ has come up with the idea of an A to Z genealogical challenge for the month of April. It soon got me thinking, so here is my contribution.

P is for: 
Poulton-le-Fylde Market Square

Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire is at the heart of my family history.   For many centuries Poulton, meaning the town by the pool,  was the chief settlement of the Fylde  - the area of north west England  broadly between the  Lancashire rivers of Ribble to the south and Wyre to the north. 

The Anglian settlement began  in the late 6th century AD and is seen in the study of Placenames  -tun, -ing, -ham meaning dwelling or village as in Poulton, Carleton, Hambleton, singleton, Marton, Staining, Kirkham, Bispham and Lytham. 

Poulton was the social and commercial centre for the surrounding tiny hamlets and the market cross, stone table for the selling of fish, the whipping post and the stocks remain as symbols of Poulton's past.
The only photogrpah I have of my great grandfther James Danson shows him sitting merry in the old stocks in the Market Square.

The first reference to the church in Poulton  was in a document of 1094.  it was at St. Chad's  that  my Danson ancestors, down the generations, from John Danson, born 1736, son of Peter, were baptised, married and buried. 

George and John Danson are listed on the war memorial in the church, my parents married there in 1938, my father sang in the choir and my brother and I were baptised there.

My grandfather's house in Poulton  was my "second home". It looks quite big, but, with only three small bedrooms, it must have still been a squash for parents William Danson and Alice English, 3 daughters (Edith, Kathleen and Peggy)  and two sons (Harry and Billy)  who all lived at home until they married. 

The front door had a round stained glass window which I thought was very posh.  Half way up the side wall was a small hatch door which revealed the coal shute where the coal men emptied  their sacks down into a small cellar under the stairs. My uncle Harry later took on the hard task to clear it all out to create a much needed "glory hole".  He also modernised the kitchen and installed French windows in the living  room at the back of the house.

The side trellis gate was later taken down and a driveway created to take my uncle's car.  The former hen house at the back then became the garage. 

The large gardens were my grandfather's and later uncle's joy.  Floral displays in the  front made it a regular setting for family photographs. Productive vegetables and fruit  grown at the back.  There was one surprising feature about the house, though - it did not have electricity until the late 1950's, because my grandfather refused to have it installed. I remember my aunt standing on a chair to light the ceiling gas lights, and ironing with a heated flat iron, whilst the flames from the gas cooker frightened me.

Pride of place in the front room (kept for best) was the piano which I learnt to play on.  The  bookcase held the   family bible recording the marriage of Maria Rawcliffe and James Danson and the birth of their first four  (out of ten) children - entries petered out after that.  Another favourite book which had belonged to my grandmother and was treasured by my mother  was an 1899 edition of "Pride and Prejudice" with delicate pencil drawings protected by flimsy paper.
My  mother was the first of the family to marry in 1938, followed  by her younger sister Peggy who emigrated to Australia and then Billy.  Edith and Harry lived there nearly all their lives until their deaths in 1995 and 2001 when over 70 years of a Poulton family home passed away.
Although I moved away from Poulton when I was 13 years old, it remains a fond place in my memory.   I recall my recent last visit a few years ago in springtime when bell ringers were practising and the carpet of crocuses covered tthe churchyard -  a beautiful part of my heritage.

St. Chad's Church in springtime - a photograph taken by my Uncle, Harry Rawcliffe  Danson
Other photographs are from my own family collection

Plus for P
Photographs, Postcards, Police Records, Poor Law Records, Population Studies,   Parishes, Prisoners, Personal Memories and Presenting Family History

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

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