Henry Mercer, fourth child of Thomas, married Jennet Hindle in 1783. Their first child was recorded in the baptism registers as being born at Hindle Fold and it seems that Henry and Jennet lived there the whole of their married life.
Sales particulars for the Hesketh estate in 1803 list the lands that Henry was leasing:
o House, outhousing, and garden
o Church Field
o Long Fields
o New Hey
o Ox Hey
o New Hey Meadow
o Lower New Hey
Customary acres 8a 1r 6p; statutory acres 13a 1r 27p.
Terms were seven years from Candlemas and May 1803 at rent of £16 16s.
The farmhouse would be at Hindle Fold while the lands were what later became the graveyard behind the church and what are now the playing fields and beyond.
Henry died at Hindlefold in 1836 and Jennet in 1842. The 1841 census shows that she was living with her youngest son John and his family. The Trappes-Lomax rent ledger 1817 – 1849 shows Henry making payments starting at £42 per year, but reducing to £25 per year. The fields aren’t named but it is probable that fields were taken from this farm and added to others.
Richard, the youngest child of Thomas Mercer of Stoops, went into business with Henry in the later years of the eighteenth century. Their nephew John Mercer talks of Henry setting up a ‘hand loom cotton factory’ in the Lower Town and documents in the Trappes-Lomax collection confirm this, but that Richard Mercer, brother of Henry, was a partner:
21 July 1792. R G Lomax to Henry and Richard Mercer of Great Harwood, cotton spinners – demise of Cotton mill for carding cotton in a meadow called Bank meadow in Lower Town of Harwood and water wheel and other machinery, dam, lodge and water. Term 21 years: rent £27 12s.
Rather than a small hand loom factory this was a carding factory. It isn’t known when this enterprise ceased, there are no further records relating to the factory. John Mercer also said that his uncle Richard had such a factory at Goldacre Lane, so perhaps the enterprise moved there at some stage.
Richard married Ann Clayton in 1790. Ann was the sister of Betty Clayton, second wife of Richard and Henry’s brother Robert and mother of John Mercer. The Claytons had leased tenements in the Bowley area since at least the early 1700s; two tenements that no longer stand and known as Jack’s and Giles’s which were on opposite sides of Dean Lane. Richard’s occupation when he married was given as cotton carder, which predates by two years the lease of Bank Meadow. Around the time that Richard married the parish register entries almost completely stop recording exactly where people were living so it isn’t possible to say from the registers where Richard and Ann lived after their marriage. However, the survey of the Hesketh lands in 1803 shows that Richard and Ann were tenants at Waterside, a farm long gone but that was just over the clapper bridge where Dean Brook enters the Calder.
o House and cottage with gardens etc
o Higher Croft and Lane
o Woods etc.
Customary acres 5a 3r 36p – statutory acres 9a 2r 28p
Three years from Candlemas and May 1803 for rent of £15.
The family seem to have rented Waterside for much longer than three years, the death of Ann, wife of Richard being recorded there in 1838. Richard died in 1842, but not at Waterside – at Heymoor which his son Thomas was now renting, and who is listed as the tenant in an estate survey made in 1840.
In 1797 another Richard Mercer married Ann Haworth, and so it isn’t clear quite how many of the children listed as being the children of a Richard Mercer and Ann his wife belong to the Waterside family. Richard and Ann’s first child was Jonathan who was born before their marriage and for whom there is no record of baptism; he was always known as Jonathan Clayton. Their second child, Mary, was also born before they married but baptised on the day that they married. Mary was recorded as Mary Mercer when she died aged twenty. Thomas, son of Richard and Ann, wasn’t baptised until 1860 so it is clear that not all of their children were baptised. I have only included in the pedigree those children who are certainly the children of Richard Mercer and Ann Clayton.
The father of John Mercer the chemist, Robert Mercer, was the fifth child of Thomas Mercer of Stoops and born there in 1756. He seems not to have fared quite as well as his older and younger brothers and there could be a hint as to why in this quote from Benjamin Hargreaves in his Recollections of Broadoak, describing a walk taken by himself and John Mercer:
‘There,’ said Mr. Mercer, ‘Mr. Roger Cunliffe, lived before he turned his attention to banking in Blackburn. ‘My father,’ said my companion, ‘was of a convivial turn, and liked society. Mr. Cunliffe, when he heard of him wasting his time, as he thought, in anything of the sort, used to come down and give him a blowing up.’
Robert Mercer first married Betty Birtwistle and they had three daughters, Mary, Betty and Ann. Ann is mentioned in the autobiography of her half-brother John Mercer, but it is not yet clear what became of Mary and Betty. Betty, wife of Robert died in 1784. Robert then married Betty Clayton in 1786 and they had three children, Thomas, John (the chemist) and Richard.