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Updated 29 October 2021

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Stuart Phethean, Hampshire, UK

Josiah Phethean of Breightmet, 1724-1791

Yates, William; The county Palatine of Lancaster, 1786.
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

Such an interesting map!  My eye focused on Breightmet – then a distinct hamlet in 1786 but of course now subsumed into Greater Bolton. The map records the land owner as “ Parker, Esq”.  

The Parker family were from Astle Hall in Cheshire and took over Breightmet Hall in the mid 1700s. With them came my 5 X great grandfather, Josiah Phethean ( born Brereton, Cheshire 1724, died Breightmet 1791), who became the land agent for the Breightmet Estate. The Parkers seemed to be “absentee landlords”. 

Josiah subsequently became landlord of the Old Hare and Hounds inn at Breightmet (which unfortunately closed and fell into decay about 15 years ago and has now been converted into sheltered housing); was a Justice of the Peace, also a paper maker at Toothill Bridge and he then built a bleach works at the same place. One or the other of these works is, I believe, the location marked on the map with a “star”. He must have been a very busy and ambitious man!

All the Phethean families in and around Bolton are descendants of Josiah.
Josiah’s grandson John Phethean (1778-1843) founded John Phethean & Co, cotton spinners, of Bolton and Farnworth. The company existed until 1929 when it was incorporated with other Bolton and Farnworth mills into Vantona, subsequently Coats-Viyella .

My heritage owes quite a lot to the Parker family!

19th Century News snippets

Bolton Evening News, Saturday 28 May 1870

Salford Intermediate Sessions. — At the sessions yesterday – Joseph Lee, 20, factory operative, for entering at Breightmet on the 25th April, the dwelling house of Josiah Phethean and stealing a watch and money.

Bolton Evening News, Monday February 15, 1875

Daring Attempt at Housebreaking at Great Lever. –On Saturday night between 6:30 and 7 o’clock man who refuses to give his name made a daring attempt to enter the house of Mr Josiah Phethean, manufacturer,  Manchester Road Great Lever.  The man having climbed the door porch was observed in the act of preparing to operate on a bedroom window when he was observed by the milk boy, who giving an alarm caused Mr Phethean, his son and others to come speedily on the scene.  The man dropped down to the ground and attempted to make his escape by “tupping”  Mr Phethean’s son with his head but the young gentleman was too alert to be deceived in that fashion and whilst the man had his head bent he seized him by the neck and held him until he was properly secured. Police Sgt Grimshaw and Police constable Ryder were promptly on the scene and on searching the man they found upon him an implement for opening window catches and also a life preserver (a small stick having lead at the end).   The man begged much of Mr Phethean to be let go, saying he had only been after a pigeon, and was respectably connected, but his pleadings were in vain.

From second edition:

Attempted housebreaking at Great Lever.– At the County Sessions, to-day, a man was charged with having on Saturday night last attempted to break in to the house of Mr Josiah Phethean, Manchester road, Great Lever. Robert Dalton, a milk boy, deposed to seeing the prisoner climbing on the door porch at Mr Phethean’s house. He gave the alarm – Mr john Phethean, son of Mr Josiah Phethean stated that he apprehended the man when he alighted on the ground from the porch, and kept him in custody until Police-constable Ryder arrived. Police constable Ryder said he had examined the prisoner and found upon him a pallet knife, a screw driver and a box of matches. The prisoner having nothing to say in defence was committed to prison for eight days.

Continue reading 19th Century News snippets

A Weaver committed for robbing his employers.

This is the first evidence that I have found for the location of John Phethean and Co’s early business premises in central Bolton. Bullock Street no longer exists but was between Folds Road and Mill Street, running parallel and just west of Goodwin Street. It is just a short distance from Phethean Street, Bolton, which lies between Bury New Road and Bury Old Road

Bolton Chronicle Saturday December 8 1866

Richard Heywood, weaver, Kay Street was brought up at the Borough Court on Saturday, charged with stealing 29 1/2 pounds of candlewick, value 16 shillings, the property of his employers, Messrs. John Phethean and Co, bed quilt and counterpane manufacturers. Mr Hall said the prisoner had been in the employment of Messrs. Phethean for about 12 months. The prosecutors had a warehouse in Haulgh, and a weaving shop in Bullock Street, and it was his duty to fetch candlewick from the warehouse and take it to the shop for the purpose of winding and weaving it. Suspicion of dishonesty had been attached to him for sometime past, and yesterday, Thomas Porter Brierley, the warehouseman, concealed himself in the weaving shop in order to watch his movements, when he saw him take a bundle of candlewick, and to go with it to the Jolly Carters beerhouse, on Folds Road, kept by Mr John Holt. Prisoner there asked permission to leave the weft while he went to see a man who had had a stroke; in the meantime information was given to the police and he was subsequently taken into custody. The prisoner said he was only taking the weft home to wind, but  it was stated that he had no right to do this as he had a winder at the shop and he was therefore committed to the sessions for trial.

Funeral of Mr Josiah Phethean; April 14 1881

The Bolton evening news, Thursday, April 14, 1881

The funeral of this deceased gentlemen took place this afternoon, his remains being interred in a new vault in St Michael’s Churchyard, Great Lever. Neither horses, mourning coaches nor carriages were used, the morning procession walking from the deceased’s residence, The Woodlands, Great lever, to the churchyard, during a shower of rain, in the following order:-

A deputation consisting of about 80 teachers, scholars and members of the congregation at Bolton Parish Church and Schools; the Revs. Canon Powell, vicar of Bolton, T Loxham, rector of Great Lever,C Myres, curate, Parish Church Bolton and W Elton M.A., lecturer, Thomas Holden Esq., solicitor to deceased, Dr Mallett medical advisor and Messrs. Thomas Mitchell and James Mercer executors; the corpse; Messrs. John, Albert and Josiah Phethean (sons), John Morris (brother-in-law), William, James and Joseph Phethean (brothers), Joseph and Walter Phethean (nephews), Josiah Phethean (uncle),  Joseph Morris (nephew), Phethean Monks (cousin), Robert Dean (brother-in-law), John Burgon (nephew); Friends:  Messsrs. JosiahTaylor Jr,  Samuel Crowther,  J W Taylor,  Richard Hough , Joseph Thwaites, Edwards, Mapchester, Duxbury and J Barnes. 

Between 200 and 300 workpeople came next, these being headed by Mr David Holstead (Manager of the mill), James Crook, James Speakman, Robert Lomax, T Taylor, and 44 of the eldest hands in the female department, carrying bouquets of white camellias which had been subscribed for by the hands. There was a large concourse of spectators and some hundreds were unable to get in the church which was crammed. Canon Powell lead  the procession into the sacred edifice; the service in the church was conducted by the Revs. W Elton, T Moxon and C Myres, the latter giving out the hymn “Jerusalem my happy home”. This was one of the deceased’s favourite hymns and was sung immediately before leaving the church. The service at the grave was conducted by Canon Powell, after which another hymn “Beloved and honoured fare thee well” was sung  and the mourners returned to The Woodlands.

Note: There were three coffins – a shell, a metal, and an outside polished oak one, the latter being embellished with brass handles and bearing a brass plate on which was the inscription “Josiah Phethean, died April 10th 1881, aged 44 years”

Marriage of John Phethean and Mary Crowther, 14 Jun 1882

The Bolton Evening News, Monday July 3, 1882

The marriage of Mr John Phethean.

On Saturday afternoon an interesting gathering took place in one of the shops belonging to Messrs. John Phethean and Co, the occasion being a treat to he work people in connection with the marriage of Mr John Phethean, eldest son of the late Mr Josiah Phethean, to Miss Crowther, eldest daughter of Mr Samuel Crowther, Great Lever. There were about 500 persons present, including 450 workpeople and 50 visitors.

The cost of the repast was defrayed by Mr John Phethean. After the removal of the tables, the chair was occupied by Mr John Morris, who was supported amongst others by Mrs Phethean and the Misses Phethean, Mr and Mrs John Phethean, the Rev Dr Wilkinson, Mr Samuel Crowther, and Mister T H Glaister and other gentlemen. The loyal toast having been given, Justin Wells proposed “The Bishop and Clergy of the diocese,” which was responded to by Dr Wilkinson.

The Chairman next proposed the toast of the evening “the health of the newly married couple,” alluding to Mr Phethean as a worthy successor of his father. Mr Phethean suitably responded. Mr Poyntz afterwards gave “The health of Mrs Phethean,” the chairmen replying. Mr David Halstead, manager, then presented to Mr and Mrs Phethean, on behalf of the work people, a very handsome timepiece, ornamented with gold and richly painted Japanese figures; also two mantle ornaments to match. Mr J K Nelson also handed to the couples an illuminated address both of which were suitably acknowledged. Dancing followed.