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
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
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
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