The Unwin family
Samuel Unwin 1809-1868
Samuel Unwin was
born in Bollington, Cheshire, around 1809. His parents are not
yet known but his father was another Samuel who had named a business
in Water Street (see below). Bollington was at the centre of the
cotton trade in the 1800s. It was usual for children from a young
age to start working in the cotton mills. The earliest record of
Samuel describes him as a cotton spinner1.
Samuel married Mary O’Connor around 1835. Samuel was 27 and Mary
21. They lived in Water Street,
Bollington1 and had
seven children - Michael (b.1834), Mary Ann (b.1836),
George (b.1841), Richard (b.1842), Mary (b.1844),
and Samuel (b.1845).
In the early 1840s, when Samuel was a cotton spinner, he would
probably have worked at one of the main cotton mills in Bollington
– Clarence, Adelphi, Higher, Lower, Rainow, Ingersley, Waterhouse or
By 18482, Samuel was a shopkeeper in Bollington dealing
in groceries and sundries and described as a draper and tea dealer3.
he owned a shop in Water Street, Bollington called 'Samuel Unwin & Son'.
The son was young Samuel aged 19 years old (below).
Samuel, the son, 1845-1904
Samuel Unwin was born in Bollington, Cheshire, in 1845 to parents
Samuel and Mary Unwin (above).
Samuel worked with his father at 'Samuel Unwin & Son',
Grocers and Drapers in Water Street, Bollington4.
In the neighbouring High Street, John
and Mary Ingham, lived
with their daughter, Elizabeth. John Ingham was a linen and woollen
draper. It is understood that Samuel’s father was more interested
in the grocery side of his business and it is probable that Samuel
was trained by John Ingham as a draper5.
Samuel married Elizabeth Ingham around 1865/66
in Bollington. They had seven children – Annie (b.1867),
Mary Helen (b.1868), Elizabeth (b.1872), Ethel (b.1875), Gertrude (b.1876), James (b.?),
and Hilda (b.1881)7.
said to be a very upright, stern, bearded, very typical Victorian
father. He would make his children line up every evening
to tell him what they had been up to. If they wanted anything,
they persuaded his favourite, Ethel, to ask for it. He was
a great reader and something of a seer, foretelling the time
when men would fly5.
Samuel’s father died in 1868 and his mother in 1877. Samuel
remained in Water Street till the 1880s. His father-in-law,
John Ingham, died on 11 March 1891 and Samuel moved his business
and his family to a larger premises at Manchester House,
Palmeston Street, Bollington (pictured left). It is possible
that he inherited Manchester house from his father-in-law,
indeed, John Ingham's Will indicates that he had already
given £800 to his daughter by 6 July 1886 when his
Will was drawn up. This suggests that John made the business
over to Elizabeth and Samuel Unwin on his retirement to Brock
In 1904, Samuel fell downstairs and, it is understood, broke
a rib and other bones. A few days later, he died from pneumonia.
Samuel was buried in the family vault in the Catholic cemetery.
Other Unwin families
There were four Unwin families living in Water Street3 in
- 8 Water Street: George Unwin,
and Hannah, with children Mary and Eliza. Buried in St John's
- 9 Water Street: Samuel Unwin, b.1809 (Draper
and Tea Dealer) and
Mary, with children Michael, Mary, James and George.
- 14 Water Street: James Unwin, b.1810 (Cotton
Spinner) and Mary, with
children Mary, Isaac, John and Thomas.
- 39 Water Street: Isaac Unwin, b.1803 (Cordwainer)
and his son Samuel.
It is possible that they were related but they didn't all follow
the same religion which suggests that some may not have been
related to the others. Samuel's family were Catholics and George's
family were Church of England.
Samuel Unwin family grave
Samuel senior died in 1868 at the age of 59 and was buried in
the family vault in the cemetery of the Catholic Church of St Gregory,
Chapel Lane6, Bollington. His wife died in 1877 and
was buried alongside him. Many other members of the family are
also buried here.
junior died in 1904 and was also buried in the family vault
alongside his father and mother. His wife, Elizabeth, died in
1927 and is buried there too.
The Samuel Unwin family have the tallest monument in the cemetery
(pictured above right) being approximately 12ft high!
- 1841 census record
- Slater's Royal National Directory of 1848
- 1851 Census
- Cheshire Directory of 1864
- Unwin Family History
written by Cecil Gray
- Chapel Lane is today known as Chapel
- 1891 Census
All the information on this page was researched and very kindly
provided by Alan Gavin, whose wife is a descendant of Samuel Unwin.