2x-great grandparents: John Armer & Mary Winchester

John Armer (1813-87) married Mary Winchester (1820-99) in 1839. Lucky it wasn’t earlier as it was only in 1837 that the registration of births, marriages and deaths became a legal requirement. The certificate lists Mary as a ‘minor’ and she was 19.


The 1841 Census shows that they started married life with John’s parents William and Nanny (Anne Huntington) at Hillam, now a pig farm.


The Armers are at the bottom, sharing the farm with the Hornby family.

Hillam is shown on the 1961 map, so when we drove round the area in 2014 we were able to find it (imagine the thrill)! This view is directly across the road from the pig farm at the top.



In 1851 and 1861 the family lived at Marsh Lane, the red road at the bottom of the map. By 1881, they had moved to Hills, Cockerham, which I guess is Hill Ho on the map. John died in 1887 aged 72 from kidney failure, which on the death certificate is called ‘Bright’s disease’. Mary his widow went to live in Duck Street, Pilling, and died in 1899 from ‘senile decay’:


John and Mary were buried at St Michael’s, Cockerham. I’ve visited the churchyard twice, but not found a headstone. It’s possible they couldn’t afford one on John’s wage as a labourer.

Of John and Mary’s children, John and Thomas died very young, Richard their third child was my great grandfather and there are five other children who survived to adulthood: William (born 1840), Alice (born 1843), Henry (born 1849), Mary (born 1855) and Nancy (born 1861).



Birth, marriage and death records have only been kept centrally since 1837. Before then you need to look at parish registers for Lancashire at http://lan-opc.org.uk/, and you are looking for baptisms and burials, which are slightly different to births and deaths.

John was the eldest son of William Armer (1786-1858) and Ann Huntington (1792-1879).

A tree of John and Mary’s descendants is below. I caught the scent of John’s son William Armer (1840–1921) from chatting – at first, unknowingly – to his grand-daughter Phyllis on the Lancaster Past and Present Facebook group. Phyllis told me her grandfather married twice, and that one of his daughters ran the Caribou Hotel in Glasson Dock in the 1950s and ’60s.

The children of William & Elizabeth and Henry & Hannah are covered here.

Children of Richard and Jane (my great grandparents) are covered here.

John & Mary Winchester tree



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