Lawrence Bramley and Margaret Preston

Lawrence Bramley, senior, was born at Read, two miles from Whalley, in 1734 to parents Roger Bramley (1695-1768) and Mary Stephenson (1694-1768).

Whalley Parish Church, Lancashire

Lawrence was baptised on 12 March 1734 at St Mary and All Saints, Whalley.

He was one of seven children born to the couple.

Lawrence’s father Roger was a farmer at nearby Little Mearley.


Marriage Allegation 1774

At the rather older age of 40, Lawrence married 21 year old Margaret Preston, at Clitheroe on 17 December 1774 by license. They both signed their names and the witnesses were Jane Sedgwick and Richard Eastham.

Lawrence signed a Marriage Allegation document, stating he was a farmer in the parish of  Clitheroe, that he was over the age of 21, and was a bachelor.

The Bishops Transcript of the marriage register states he was from Mearley.

Margaret Preston was born in Lancashire around 1753, but I’ve been unable to find her baptism.

Lawrence and Margaret had seven children. The first  six children were baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Clitheroe, and then the last daughter Alice was baptised at Whalley.

  1. Thomas b 1779 Little Mearley, d 1841 Whalley. Marr Margaret Metcalf. 7 children.
  2. Ann b 1781 Little Mearley, d 1857 Penistone. Marr Thomas Whyman. 7 children.
  3. Lawrence b 1784 Little Mearley, d 1860 Easterley. Marr Sarah Speight. 5 children.
  4. Sarah b Nov 1786 Little Mearley, d Dec 1786 Little Mearley
  5. Margaret b Jul 1788 Little Mearley, d ?
  6. Mary b 1789 Little Mearley, d July 1789 Little Mearley
  7. Alice b 1791 Whalley,  d 1868 Whalley.  Marr Stephen Topper 1817. 5 children.

Lawrence and Margaret farmed at Mearley, four miles north of Whalley and two miles east of Clitheroe  for many years.

In August 1786 the farm called “Little Mearley”, currently in the occupation of Lawrence Bramley, was offered for lease.

Laurence Bramley of Little Mearley newspaper Leeds Intelligencer 1 August 1786

Mrs Townsend, the owner was also the owner of Little Mearley Hall in 1789 (Land Tax Records, British History Online). The Hall was built in the late 1500s of sandstone with a slate roof.

Little Mearley Hall owned by Ann Townsend in 1786

The Hall had an attached farm, on which first his father Roger, and then Lawrence raised his family. The owner Ann Townsend died in 1804, and her will is in the Lancashire Archives.

Little Mearley Farm

It seems when the owner Ann died, Lawrence and his family moved to nearby Easterly.

Lawrence Bramley died in April 1805 aged 71 years at Easterly Farm, 1 miles south east of Whalley, Lancashire. There is a box of papers and photographic material available to view in the Lancashire Archives relating to the farm. (Lancashire Archives Catalogue).

St Mary and All Saints, Whalley

He was buried on 24 April 1805 at Whalley.

Lawrence’s will was proved on 18th May 1805, in which he (rather unusually) left his estate divided equally between his surviving children – two sons Thomas and Lawrence, and three daughters Mary, Ann and Alice.

His wife Margaret was also given a share, with an additional 20 pounds, except if she was to marry again in which case the 20 pounds would be split between the children.

Lawrence senior also made a special bequest to “blind Robert” of ten pounds, and a request that he should be looked after by members of his family all his life, each of them contributing towards his support. (Later census records confirm he was living with the family in their home as a family servant – see below).

Lawrence’s wife Margaret died in February 1823 aged 70 years in Whalley. She was buried at St Mary and All Saints in Whalley with her husband.

Lower Clerk Hill near Whalley

The total amount of his will was stated to be between 200 and 300 pounds. His son Lawrence continued to farm at Easterley, Lower Clerk Hill, and in the 1841 census Laurence is living at Easterly House farm at Lower Clerk Hill, Whalley with his son Thomas aged 20, his daughters Sarah aged 15,  and Alice aged 14, a servant named Robert Clarkson (“blind Robert”) and grandson Lawrence Lawfield, his daughter Mary’s 2 year old child.

In the 1861 census two of Lawrence and Margaret’s children – Alice and her husband are living next door to brother Lawrence and his wife Sarah at Easterly Farm, Lower Clerk Hill.