Atherton One Name Study

The Atherton Families of Bold, Lancashire, in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century

The original purpose behind this endeavour to build up a family tree of the "Atherton's of Bold" was with the intention of being able to trace our own direct ancestry back through a William Atherton Yeoman of whom we already had supported research so knew he came from Bold and must have been born around the year 1700 - and buried in Bold 28 Feb 1776. Both another researcher and I descended from this William Atherton undertook this joint- project.

We found that Bold came under the parish of Prescot and that most residents of Bold actually used the parish church at Farnworth St Luke's for their baptisms, marriages, burials. The records are quite comprehensive from St Luke's and we have copies of the registers going back to the year 1538 and of course we used these as our basis.

We also had some professional help from an Archivist (who does not wish to be named) who had access to many historical documents from Bold as well as documents that we procured ourselves (mainly Wills etc) of Atherton's who died in Bold or sometimes related families. From all these records we were slowly able to build up a family tree of the Atherton's of Bold.

From the Archivist we found that around the beginning of the 1600's three Atherton's, sons of a William Atherton of Ashton in Makerfield moved to Bold. (William himself was the son of a Gawain Atherton of Ashton in Makerfield).

Their names were James, Roger and Richard and it was from these three brothers we produced our trees of all the Atherton's of Bold in the Seventeenth and early Eighteenth century. (With two exceptions as now noted):


1. John Atherton bap 22 May 1612 who lived in Bold was an illegitimate son of Henry Atherton of Torbock. He produced one daughter Ellen bap 20 Feb 1642, John died 25 Oct 1681 in Bold, buried Farnworth. This family had no known ties to the other Atherton families.

2. Humphry Atherton a cousin of the three Atherton brothers who produced three daughters, two of whom died in infancy:

a. Catherine bap 19 Mar 1616 Bur 10 Aug 1617

b. Ellen bap 26 Feb 1618

c. Anna bap 21 Dec 1620 Bur 31 Jul 1621

Since in both the above cases they produced female children and we were basically following the male lines of the Atherton's in Bold, we discounted them from any further research.

Conclusions - on the evidence produced

1. Particularly over the sixteenth century in Bold and neighbouring Sutton and Burtonwood there appeared to be a number of prominent and fairly affluent families (which I have listed below) and from my research I have found that these families appeared to have continually married within each others families, resulting in the fact that all of these families must have been very closely related.

Appleton Atherton Bankes Banner Barrow Barton Holt Roughsedge Taylor Travis

2. The William Atherton I consider to be the main candidate to be our ancestor from the available evidence is shown in Richard Atherton's tree of Ashton and Bold, son of John Atherton baptised on 29 Aug 1697 in Farnworth.

The reasoning behind this conclusion was based on:

a. William named his only son "John" Atherton in Oct 1722, this was the name of William's Father and it was quite common practice in those times to name your eldest children after your parents.

b. William's Father John inherited a Weaving Business by his uncle Thomas Atherton in May 1699, John was described as Linen Weaver at the time of his second marriage in 1706 and also in 1714 in the Mock Corporation of Farnworth.

"William Atherton of Bold Linen Weaver"- described in 1739 in Mock Corporation of Farnworth (Source "Transactions of The Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire" Volume LXV11-Published 1915 page 53)

The purpose in publishing the results of our research on this web-site:

Having produced these trees of the Atherton's of Bold, we are not saying that this is the final and totally accurate picture of their family tree in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century; though of course as far as we know it, it is as correct and is confirmed by documentary evidence and therefore the trees are as accurate as we could possibly hope produce given the available evidence we have found.

Therefore if you any can help with any additional information or indeed find any errors or just want to ask any further questions in connection with this project, please contact me, through this website.

Allan Bond