Eight Gold Guineas and a Family Story
There is a story in my family about a bull which was sold for eight gold guineas which were then distributed to the farmer's eight sons and daughters, to be passed down through the male line of each future generation.
The farmer who sold the bull was James Swindlehurst who farmed at Gunnerthwaite Farm, Arkholme. He insisted on being paid for the bull in gold guineas although at the time these were no longer being minted and the purchaser had to search to find the payment in the form asked for. As far as I can discover gold guineas were no longer minted after 1816 and they gradually passed out of everyday use after that date. The date of the sale is uncertain but it must have been sometime after 1816 when gold guineas were becoming hard to find and must have been before James' death on 14 May 1851. James was born at Dolphinlee, Lancaster, in 1782 and on 10 October 1803 he married Jane Richardson (1783-1863). They farmed at Capernwray near Carnforth, then at Lanshaw, Clapham, just over the border into Yorkshire before moving back into Lancashire to Gunnerthwaite at Arkholme.
James and Jane had ten children -
- Thomas 1804-1870
- William 1806-1807
- William 1808-1894
- Margaret 1810-1836
- James 1813-1897
- Anne 1815-1890
- John 1818-1895
- Marmaduke 1821-1885
- Henry 1821-1895
- Jane 1824-1892.
(Marmaduke and Henry were twins). The first William died in infancy and Margaret died before the guineas were distributed so the remaining eight children each had one. I know what became of Henry's guinea as it is still in my branch of the family (Henry was my great grandfather) but I wonder what happened to the other seven and are they still being handed down from generation to generation? If anyone reading this is a descendant of any of the above sons and daughters then perhaps you still have one of the guineas in your family, especially if your surname is Swindlehurst, Canby or Baines.
Here is some further information about the eight guinea recipients -
- The eldest son Thomas, born at Capernwray in 1804 and married Elizabeth Canby at Whittington in 1836. In the 1851 census he was farming at Greenlane End Farm, Lupton, Westmorland (105 acres) but by 1861 he was farming at Gate Side, Strickland Kettle, Westmorland (62 acres) then at Whittington. After his death in 1870 Thomas's widow continued to farm with her eldest son James who died in 1879 aged only 39 and as far as I know unmarried. Thomas also had three other children: Agnes Jane, b 1841, who married Nathan James and had 3 children, Margaret b 1846 and John Canby Swindlehurst b 1853 who married Jane Robinson in 1877 and emigrated to America in 1881. In a 1900 US census he was living at Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, occupation Agricultural Engineer and with a family of 4 sons and 2 daughters.
- William (1808-1894) married Ann Wilding but they had no children. William farmed at Sellet Hall, Whittington.
- James, born in 1813 at Lanshaw, Clapham married Mary Holme and they had eleven children, eight daughters including Charlotte Septima and Agnes Octavious, then 3 sons. Of the 3 sons James b 1852 was a chandler and ironmonger in Liverpool then a tram roadway inspector, George William was a policeman in Liverpool and died in 1879 aged only 26 and leaving 2 daughters one of which was born posthumously. The youngest of James' sons was Marmaduke (1855-1885) listed in the census returns as "imbicile from birth". James lived around the Carnforth area, in 1851 he was a farmer of 32 acres and then in 1861, 1871 and 1881 a farm labourer living at Crag Bank Cottages, Carnforth.
- Anne was born at Lanshaw, Clapham in 1815, she married John Canby and they farmed at Brown Edge, Arkholme. In 1861 163 acres, 1871 193 acres and 1881 206 acres. They had five sons one of whom died in 1854 age 3. The surviving sons were John 1850-1916 a labourer with 2 sons, Thomas b 1852 a civil engineer who lived and worked in a number of different places around the Country and had 2 sons and 2 daughters, William b 1855, married and farmed at Melling with Wrayton and had 2 sons one of whom died age 6, James 1857-1901 farmed at Brown Edge Arkholme, married with 3 sons one of whom died in WW1 and 1 daughter who died age 11.
- John was born at Lanshaw, Clapham in 1818 and never married. He farmed in partnership with his brother Henry at Kitchen Grounds Ellel and then at Sellet Hall Whittington.
- Marmaduke born 1821 at Lanshaw, Clapham (twin brother of Henry) farmed at Gunnerthwaite, Arkholme and then at Docker Farm, Whittington. He married Margaret Ellwood and they had 10 children, 3 sons and 7 daughters.The eldest son James (1851-1934) was a milkman in Barrow-in-Furness and was married with a number of children, Marmaduke (1862-1890) was a teacher in Salford and had 1 daughter, Mark (1858-1898) farmed at Docker and had a daughter and one son who emigrated to USA.
- Henry, Marmaduke's twin brother was born at Lanshaw, Clapham in 1821, he married Ellen Davis in 1856 and farmed in partnership with his brother John at Kitchen Grounds, Ellel then at Sellet Hall, Whittington where he died in 1895. Henry and Ellen had 4 sons - James (my Grandfather), Thomas, John and William
- Jane (1824-1892) married Thomas Baines in 1855 and then Robert Hadwin in 1870.She had 4 daughters and one son who was married but had no children and farmed at Warth Sudden, Preston Patrick, Westmorland.
I would be delighted to discover if the other 7 guineas are still with members of the family or were they perhaps spent many years ago by those who did not share my sense of family and tradition. If you are in possession of a Swindlehurst gold guinea, or you have any relevant information, please email me, so that I may extend the story.
Back to the previous page