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Around Bolton, Lancashire


My AINSWORTHs are an old established Lancashire family. Records of this family going back many generations, even to Norman Times, are to be found in several important historical sources. My connection with the Ainsworth name is Ann Ainsworth 1738, my 4gts grandmother, who married John CORT.

Ann's father, Peter Ainsworth, born 1711, founded the Halliwell Bleachworks in Bolton, in about 1739, whilst his eldest son, also Peter, purchased the lovely old mansion known as Smithills Hall in 1801. This is now preserved in public ownership and open to the public. I hold a number of records of Ainsworths both before and after the dates mentioned above. Other Ainsworth researchers are invited to contact me.

Several booklets on the Ainsworths are available from Smithills Hall, including one taken from the excellent paper produced by John Keelan for the Domesday Exhibition in 1985. (see Acknowledgement below).
Much as I would like to I cannot claim that my ancestors lived at this beautiful old mansion with its vast estates of farms and coal mines. It came into the Ainsworth family through its purchase by the eldest brother of my 4gts grandmother, who by then was Mrs John Cort.
Acknowledgement: Some of the information about the AINSWORTHs is taken from the work by John Keelan.


Sources state that the earliest recorded member of this family was Robert de Ainsworth 1175, named in a charter in 1212 with his son Elias making a Grant of some land in the manor of Middleton, near Bolton, Lancashire. The family remained big landowners in Middleton for 200 years and then in 1396 John Ainsworth, a descendant of Robert acquired by marriage into the Winckley family the Lordship of the manor of Pleasington, near Blackburn. So Pleasington Manor became the home of many later generations of Ainsworths.

On the death of John's grandson, Lawrence Ainsworth, his 1st son Henry inherited Pleasington Manor and the 2nd son John inherited the remainder of the estate lands in Middleton Parish near Rochdale. (this line of John was the Ainsworth family who later would own Smithills Hall in Bolton.)

John's grandson, also called John, moved to Breightmet, near Bolton soon after 1600. For a further century the Ainsworths moved between Halliwell, Eccles, Prestwich and Bolton.

Peter Ainsworth was born in 1682 at Prestwich lived his adult life at The Holcroft near St.Peter's Church, Bolton and was a Master Bleacher. His son Peter, born 1711, at Bolton was a pioneer of chemical bleaching and founded the Halliwelll Bleachworks in 1739. The bleachworks prospered and later Peter's son, also Peter, became very rich and was known as "the opulent bleacher". A few years before his death he purchased the large Smithills Hall Estate in 1801 with its ancient mansion and several coal mines.

Surname Chr. Name Born My Direct Line Where Found Parents/ Notes
Ainsworth(Galland) Alice c.1712 Yes Chart Wife of Peter (1711)
Ainsworth Alice 1754   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Ann 1738 Yes Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth (Oldham) Ann     Chart Wife of John (1656)
Ainsworth Elizabeth 1693   Chart John / Ann
Ainsworth James 1748   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Jenny 1756   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth John 1656   Chart  
Ainsworth John 1746   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Mary (Hilton)   Yes Chart Wife of Peter (1682)
Ainsworth Mary 1742-45   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Peter 1682 Yes Chart John / Ann
Ainsworth Peter 1711 Yes Chart Peter / Mary
Ainsworth Peter 1736   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Richard 1717   Chart Peter / Mary
Ainsworth Richard 1743   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Robert 1660   Chart Brother of John 1656
Ainsworth Robert 1747   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Robert 1751   Chart Peter / Alice
Ainsworth Thomas 1759   Chart Peter / AlicePeter / Alice
Ainsworth William c.1664   Chart brother of John 1656

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