18.36 – John and Ellen Partlin

These two sidestones were the first to get this treatment – a new way of trying to keep loose sidestones together while also not making life difficult for those who keep the lawn trimmed here.

John and Ellen (Byrne) Partlin were Irish immigrants who met and married in Haslingden in 1870 at the Catholic church there. For many years they lived in Newchurch and Bacup with John working in the cotton mills. Their census returns show just how insular (or isolated – take your pick) the Irish were in these areas – each page is a list of surnames like Mulligan, Gerahty, O’Connell, Walsh, O’Brien…

By 1881 the Partlins had come to Todmorden and lived at Butcher Hill in Walsden. Interestingly, once the family came to Todmorden, they no longer lived in areas that were predominantly populated with other Irish immigrants. By 1891 they had five children ranging from age 19 to 2. Were they able to space their children or were there many lost children along the way? A later census return reveals that John and Ellen had nine children, six of whom were still alive by 1911. Still sad, but better odds than many in the graveyard here, like poor Elizabeth Greenwood at 27.20.

The Partlins ultimately ended up at Gauxholme Fold, where John died in 1897 aged 52 years old. By this time there were many Partlins in Walsden as the children who grew up all stayed in the vicinity. In 1911 Ellen and her three remaining unmarried children, Joseph, Mary Ellen and Annie Partlin were all living together still at 41 Gauxholme Fold. Ellen died in 1919 and was buried with her husband.

Before you ask why are they here when they’re Catholic – there are quite a few Catholic and other non-conformist burials here, and we aren’t entirely sure why. We thought at first that this graveyard was consecrated for Anglican burials only. It might be, like Cross Stone, that only a certain part of the graveyard is consecrated; if that’s so, we don’t know about the circumstances of that or indeed where that part it. Any readers with more information would be very gratefully received in the comments!

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