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Trouble Brewing – Part 4

Philip Forshaw of Bath Springs Brewery seems to have been a very hard working and dedicated business man.  He had built a small empire out of his investments in Brewing and distributing Ale to Inns, Public Houses and Beer houses across the County.

Wellfield

Wellfield, residence of Rev James Taylor

Not everything in Philips life followed the same pattern of success, by August 1862 he had been struggling with ill health, (he was partially paralysed after a stroke), he had been involved in several legal battles with clients, employees, tenants and his own family.  No wonder that he tried to sell his Bath Springs Brewery that August.  His plan might have been to retire to his newly built home on Lord Street and take things easier.

The tragic circumstances surrounding the sudden death of his eldest daughter Martha, just weeks after her second child was born, would have been a great blow to Philip. His legal fight to regain control of his business interests from his next of kin had most likely caused considerable animosity between his Family. After Martha’s death, within a week, Philip and his nephew John Forshaw had drawn up Philips last will and testament.

The will goes a long way to help see what kind of a man Philip Forshaw really was.  Within the first few sentences he names his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin, as his executors.  These young men had been living with their mother in the cottage at the back of Forshaw’s Ship Inn since they were young boys. Their mother Catherine Baldwin had lived in Up Holland when she gave birth to her sons, John in early 1845 and Philip born 1st October 1848.  A relative had the licence at the Bird ‘ith Hand beer house, Hall Green, Upholland and it is probable that Philip Forshaw had business interests at the Beer House.

It is not possible to say for sure whether when Catherine and her sons relocated to the Ship Inn Cottage in Ormskirk, any of Philip’s family knew Catherine and her sons were the other family in Philip’s life but quite possibly they did not move there until after both his daughters were married.

St Marks, Scarisbrick

St Marks, Scarisbrick

The first bequest Philip makes in his will is one for the sum of £1000.00 to be used for the sole purpose of building a parsonage for the vicar or incumbent of the Parish of St Mark’s Church Scarisbrick.

The second bequest is for the sum of £1000.00 to be invested by the Vicar of Ormskirk for benefit of the poor of the town, whereby £100.00 per year from the annuities should be used for consumables such as coal and bread for the needy however the Vicar sees fit. He also left £100.00 each to the Foreign Missionary Society and the Southport Strangers Charity.

Ormskirk Dispensary

Ormskirk Dispensary

There was a further legacy of £100.00 to be used to fund medical care for the poor of the town at the Dispensary, and the Rev. James Taylor Wareing of Wellfield House, Westhead in Lathom Parish, was charged with seeing to it that the money was used wisely.

There was however, the strangest of provisos added at the end of the first set of charitable donations. It appears that Philip Forshaw had misgivings about one or two members of the town’s legal fraternity.  His words are as follows:

‘I Declare that the legacies or sums of money before given for the benefit of the Incumbent or pastor of the church at Scarisbrick aforesaid; For the poor of Ormskirk; To the Ormskirk dispensary And for the Southport Strangers Charity, shall be null and void in case William Welsby of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor, Charles Hill of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor now or later his clerk or any partner or partners of them or either of them shall be holding any appointment, office or employment, honorary or otherwise or be Trustee Manager Chairman or Clerk or otherwise connected so as to give them or either of them directly or indirectly a voice in the mode or manner of the distribution of such Legacies or any of them or concerned in any way as to the investing of the same or any of them.’

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

The above declaration is on page one of Philip’s eight page will, the will was made public within days of his death and the details of the charitable donations made the newspapers in several local towns that same week.  Philip’s solicitor was his nephew John Forshaw of Preston.

Another declaration on page three reads, ‘The sum of £100.00 lent by me to the Reverend Joseph Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk aforesaid on a note of hand I forgive him and release him from the payment thereof and all interest due thereon.’  Rev Bush was the Vicar of Ormskirk from 1853 – 1870 and in 1909, a stained glass window was put in at the church to commemorate the work of Rev Bush and his wife Annabel Theodosia Bush.

Philip’s only surviving daughter Annie, who was married to bank manager William Henry Smith and lived in Southport, was included in the will along with her two half-brothers John Baldwin and Philip Baldwin and she was left one third of the estate.  There was however another declaration :

and in the case of  the said Annie Smith for her separate use free from the control of any husband and without power of anticipation”

‘Any Husband’? Philip covered all his bases! By 1871, William Henry and Annie Smith had 8 children and lived at 132, Lord Street, Southport.  Philip had died in 1865 and his estate was valued at under £25,000.

Interestingly, William Henry and Annie Smith are not enumerated at their home address in 1871, all eight children are left at home in the care of servants. It took a while to find out where the Smiths had gone, then they turned up, as house guests at ‘The Firs’, Lathom, home of Charles Hill, solicitor of Ormskirk…..

The next episode will cover the property Philip left, the bequests to the ordinary people in the town and the tragedies of the 30 years beyond his passing.

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Philip Forshaw had been trading as a saddler in the Golden Lion yard but at sometime between 1841 and 1844 he took over the lease of the Golden Lion.  When the out buildings at the rear of the Old Ship Inn across the road came up for sale in October 1844, the auction was held at Forshaws’ Golden Lion. Thomas Williams was the highest bidder at the sale with his bid of £162.00.

Aughton Brewery

Aughton Brewery

The Old Ship Inn itself came up for sale in 1846 and Philip Forshaw took out a mortgage and moved into the Inn.  Philip had lost his wife and baby son in 1842 and his two daughters, Martha and Ann went away to boarding school in Litherland after their mother died.  Martha was born 1837 and Ann was born 1839. Whilst his daughters were away at school, Philip carried on adding to his business interests, taking over the Aughton Brewery in 1849. Joseph Richardson, from a well known Rainford brewing family, had built up the Aughton Brewery for some years and it also ran the White Bull and the Swan Inn, Burscough Street.  When he died in July 1848, his executors put the brewery up for sale as separate lots, selling off some of the building land around it, where villas were built quite quickly.

Forshaw took over the brewery but it would seem that he was not happy with the efficiency of the layout or the production.  To really make the success he wanted from brewing, he needed a purpose built modern brewery.  In 1851, he sold on the Aughton Brewery to Joseph Pye (later to partner with his brother-in-law Captain Edward Sudbury) and moved into the newly built Forshaw Brewery at the Bath Springs site.

The White Bull

The White Bull

By the late 1850s Philip Forshaw and his Bath Springs Brewery had become the biggest brewery in the town and not only supplied ale to many many Houses, he also owned and sub-let dozens of Houses across the county from Preston to Wigan and Southport to Liverpool.

By the time his youngest daughter Annie married in March 1857, Philip Forshaw was a wealthy and successful businessman.  Annie married William Henry Smith, who had been one of Philips Brewery Managers, but shortly after the marriage, William became a Bank Manager in Southport.

On 6th September 1859, Philip’s Eldest daughter Martha married Captain William John Chambers Martin of the 6th Royal Lancashire Militia, he had been born in Bengal, India and his father had also been in the Army.

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore's General Advertiser

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore’s General Advertiser

It was in the summer of 1859 however that Philip Forshaw suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed and incapacitated.  He had recently built some houses in Birkdale and he was unable to run his business or visit the premises around the county which he owned.  His physician was so concerned with the grave state of his patients’ health, that the doctor felt it wise to inform Philip that this may be his last few months on earth.

Being the type of man he appears to have been, this set in motion a plan to oversee the transfer of all the business to the control of his offspring, which at that time were his two married daughters.  Of course that really would have meant that the son-in-laws would be in control.  By early 1861, a couple of changes took place. Philip made an unexpected recovery, although he was still paralysed.  William J.C. Martin became Superintendant of the Police and moved into the Police Superintendant’s house on Derby Street with his wife Martha and their little boy William Arthur born Aug 1860.

Once he found that he had recovered enough to take back his empire however, Philip realised that he would have to fight to get control back through the courts.  It is unlikely that his daughters would have stood against him, but they were both married to men who were used to being in charge and this forced Philip to apply to the Chancery Court to reclaim his property and businesses.

This set in motion a sequence of events which changed the business and the family.

Martha gave birth to a baby girl, Emma Charlotte, in the summer of 1862. Her father Philip, still unwell but in control of his business, seems to have been estranged from his family.  In November 1862, his eldest daughter Martha died aged just 25.  She left two small children and a great deal of turmoil.  At the inquest on her death held at the Coroners Court in Ormskirk, adjacent to the police home where she died, the coroner, Mr C. E. Driffield, took the court before a jury, and the evidence from Martha’s Doctor revealed the cause of her untimely death.  Her father was not in court, but his nephew, John Forshaw, who was also the family solicitor, was present.

An article on Martha's death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

An article on Martha’s death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

Medical evidence put before the court revealed that some weeks prior to her death, Martha had received a blow to the temple by a blunt object and this caused a fracture of the skull.  A further witness, Dr Ashton, who had attended Mrs Martin after the accident, repeated two conversations he had had with Superintendant Martin, Martha’s widower, after the original injury. Martin explained that during the night the little boy, William, had been restless and needed attention.  Martha and her husband had argued over the care of the boy and Martin explained that the argument had escalated to objects being thrown across the bedroom after a brief physical struggle. As Martha was leaving the room she slipped, and hit her head on the door handle.

On her deathbed, Martha, who was struggling to speak and was very weak, was unable to answer questions put to her by two physicians as to the exact cause of the injury to her skull.  Due to any evidence to the contrary, a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

William John Chambers Martin moved to West Derby as the Superintendant of Police there. His son William Arthur grew up and went to medical school, Emma Charlotte married a Scottish businessman.   

Philip Forshaw was left with just one daughter to carry on his business but her family was growing and her life was with her bank manager husband in Southport.

Philip relied on John Baldwin,a young man who was running the brewery and who had been living at the Ship Inn for a number of years with his younger brother Philip Baldwin. Both boys were the illegitimate sons of Catherine Baldwin of Up Holland, who had brought the boys to Ormskirk in the 1850s to live at the Ship Inn.  It would not be until Philips death in 1865 and the acknowledgement in his will of his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin,that the real Forshaw wars started.

Part 4 of the Forshaw Saga to follow.

Sixty Years – Part 2

On Saturday night into Sunday morning of May 5th/ 6th  1956, sisters Margaret Jane (69) and Mary Ormesher (67) were viciously killed in their own home, ‘Ivy Dene’, 8 Asmall Lane, Ormskirk.  The house was the former Brickmakers Arms, a ten room house with a court yard behind, which contained several small dwellings, all accessed via a passage way between number 6 and number 8.

Ormesher sisters gravestone

The Ormesher sister’s gravestone at Ormskirk Parish Church

The spinster sisters lived a quiet life with their black spaniel dog ‘Trixie’, being regarded as a reliable alert dog,Trixie was known to greet people noisily.  The dog was in the kitchen of the house where the two ladies were found and Trixie had received a considerably heavy blow to the head, she was in a poor state when the house was entered by a neighbour and followed the neighbour out of the back door.

Minutes later P.C. Mellor arrived, there being police houses at that time just 100 yards up the road.  At the September inquest, P.C. Mellor states that apart from the victims and various items he noticed, a small mongrel dog came out from under the kitchen table as he stood surveying the awful scene. The sisters did only have the one dog, known to be a black spaniel.

At the inquest several people made statements to the court about hearing a variety of noises, groans, breaking glass, bin lids clattering, voices, both male and female.  These noises appeared to have been heard from around 11.15 and 11.30 pm.

The area behind the Brickmaker’s Arms was a small compact yard overlooked by no’s 1 & 2 cottage to one side and No’s 3 to 7 cottage along the back, residents at no 2 and no 3 all heard the noises later reported in depositions, however, on the night they were dismissed as ‘someone having a bit of bother’ or ‘someone drunk’ and everyone went to bed again.   

Mary Ormesher had arrived home from her shop alone between 10-10 and 10.25 pm, she was carrying the brown attaché case she always used for the shop takings in her right hand and something else in her left hand, but the neighbour who saw Mary from the window did not see what else Mary was carrying.

At around 10.18pm, another neighbour who had been out and was returning to his cottage in Brickmakers Yard, saw a man he did not recognise across the road from the Yard.  Sometime later, another neighbour left his house by the front door to take some golf clubs across the road to a neighbour, returning at 11.20 but he did not mention seeing or hearing anyone in the area.

Despite a witness coming forward in the days that followed the murders saying they also saw a man with a similar description in the same area, that man does not seem to have been identified in the days/weeks following.

The police searched the house and found that the brown attaché case was on the kitchen table and contained a small amount of silver but the two khaki cloth money bags which Mary used for the takings were missing.  After a thorough search of the house, small quantities of money, wrapped in paper, were recovered from various rooms.  Despite local rumour that said the sisters were hoarding cash, only a modest amount was recovered and the house had not been ransacked at the time of the murders.  Mary had not left a will but the letters of administration granted on June 12th declared an estate of £1722.14s.4d.  Margaret had not left a will either and in the letters of administration granted on June 20th her estate was £249.13s .4d.

Stan Draper CBE tending the sister's grave

Stan Draper CBE tending the sister’s grave

The town came to a standstill for the joint funeral of Margaret and Mary, it was a poor day and rained constantly but hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects as the funeral cortege passed through the town from the hospital to the Parish Church. The sisters were laid to rest together in the Parish Church and for many years their grave was tended by Stanley Draper C.B. E. Church Sexton.

Five weeks after the murders, and after searches using police dogs at Ruff Wood, Edge Hill College and the Burscough Brick Works, the investigation was not progressing and although 1000 fingerprints had been taken and eliminated, the decision was made at a special court on June 14th to begin to fingerprint every male in the district aged over 16 who was living in the district on the weekend of the murders. This was to be done by plain clothed detectives visiting people in their own homes and it was expected to take up to a month to complete the exercise.

The person or persons who committed these murders has never been officially named and identified, rumours would emerge over the years as to the identity and fate of the killer. The case will never be closed.

Memories recently shared by a cousin of the family, paint a picture of a hard working woman in Mary and a gentle caring person in Margaret Jane.

“Maggie and Polly were such gentle souls – there wasn’t an ounce of animosity in them.  Mother and I visited quite a lot and were always made very welcome. Polly was the bread winner and Maggie the homemaker who also looked after their mother Emma – she died aged 84 in 1951.  Auntie Maggie always ‘read our tealeaves’. Polly opened the shop every day –including Sundays- she was so very well known in the town, she always had a roaring fire burning, like everyone else they had evacuees during the war, there was a young boy and later a mother and son.

Their murder was a dreadful shock for everyone, not least the family – it was unbelievable.

If only the one witness- Trixie their little dog, could have talked.

Although the house was quite big they only seemed to use the one room-it always felt very homely, Maggie made delicious pies!”

ormesher shop demolition

Shortly after their deaths, although it had already been decided beforehand, the sister’s shop was demolished

The shop in Church Street had been the subject of a demolition order due to the condition of the old building since the early 1950s and following the deaths, the order was carried out and the shop demolished and re-built.

Ormskirk Bygone Times has copies of the reports of the events following the murders and the details on the coroner’s enquiry.

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