© McConville

McConville Family Website

 of Altrincham, Hale and Hale Barns

The Hollingworths

It is likely that a church existed on this site in the 7th century. A new church was built in the 14th century, remodelled in the 16th century and completely rebuilt between 1858 and 1860

Gallery 7

St Mary’s Church Bowdon

St Mary’s Church, Bowdon


In the 18th and 19th centuries, blacksmiths could be found in almost every village. The blacksmiths worked with iron and steel, which were called black metals because of the layer of oxide which forms on their surface during heating. The term ‘smith’ comes from the word ‘smite’, meaning to ‘hit’, so a blacksmith is a person who smites black metal. The blacksmiths shop was known as the smithy and horses would be brought here to have new shoes fitted. Blacksmiths who specialised in shoeing horses were know as farriers. One of the most important workers in the agricultural community was the blacksmith. From servicing farm machinery to making tools.

Our earliest records of the Hollingworths are of John Hollingworth who married Ellen Arstall in 1642 and Richard Hollingworth who was born some time before 1658 and died some time after 1688. He married Mary Hasilhurst on 6th May 1678 in St Mary’s church, Bowdon. The marriage produced six children, four girls, three of whom died soon after birth or within four years, and two boys. Andrew was born in 1685 and Alexander in 1688 in Dunham and they were christened in St Mary’s church Bowdon. Andrew’s marriage to Margaret (surname unknown) produced seven children and Alexander’s marriage to Margaret Hurlbutt produced nine children. Almost half of all these children died in infancy. Life was very difficult in the 18th century. Their third son, who was their seventh child, was named Hurlbutt after his mother’s family. He married Ellen Warburton, three days before Christmas 1748 in St Mary’s, Bowdon, and they in their turn had ten children, seven of whom reached adulthood. In the six generations between Richard Hollingworth in the mid 1600s and Peter Charles Hollingworth born in 1868, we have records of 52 children.

The records show that Blacksmith was a favoured profession in the family. Between 1710 and 1850, the parish records at St Mary’s church Bowdon record fifteen blacksmiths in the family. Jonathon, his brother Richard and his sons John and Edward were all blacksmiths in Hale Barns. According to family legend, their smithy stood near to the Bulls Head Inn, in the vicinity of Tan Yard Farm at the junction of Wicker Lane and Hale Road. John, my great grandfather, died shortly before the census was taken in 1881 and at that time his widow, Hannah, aged 49, and six of their children were living at no.13 Paradise Street, Altrincham. John was 25, general labourer; Charlotte 18, had married William Frost a few months earlier; George 16, general labourer; Esther 15, fustian cutter; Peter Charles 12, scholar; Louisa 7, scholar.

Peter Charles was my grandfather. He married Sarah Ellen Walker from Winsford at St Mary’s church, Cheadle, Cheshire in 1898, and they had three children: Clarence born on 11th September 1900, Gertrude born on 16th January 1902 and Harold born on 29th March 1908.