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Higher Heysham : Heysham House


This is a modern photograph often found in  property advertisements .
The house is now called Penhale Court and is divided into flats. In the 19th century it was known as Heysham House and is at the opposite end of Middleton Road from the Old Hall.
David Flaxington in his History of Heysham, states it was built in 1810 by the Tatham family. Along with other ‘new’ buidlings in the 19th century there would have been previous buildings on the same site.


This small section of  the Yates 1786 map shows the village centre left and Middleton Road below it; Smithy Lane is there off Middleton Road going towards the sea. Stanley Farm (barely visible) is half way along. Middleton Road has a string of buildings down the sea side of the road.


Above is the list of Heysham residents thought worthy of mention (contributors to the publishing cost?) in the   Baines 1825 Directory of Lancashire
Conveniently for our purpose those living in Higher Heysham are asterisked. No T J  Knowlys or T Rawsthorne - they had not yet arrived on the scene
Which if any of these asterisked persons is a member of the Tatham family whom we are told built Heysham House?
Most ot these names are familiar ones in Heysham, the exception being Menzies; the only other references so far found for him are in the Baines 1825 Directory in the section on Seats of The Nobility and Gentry


and in the Lancaster Gazette which appear to suggest he was a Liverpool merchant and  that in 1829 he went abroad and sold fine furniture from his Heysham residence. One possibility is that he occupied Heysham (Tower) Hall after Robert Hesketh moved to Rossall in 1819 and  before T  J Knowlys came to it in 1828 after his marriage to Robert’s daughter Anna. Another is that he occupied the building that eventually (in c.1839) became Thomas Rawsthorne's Heysham Hall. Robert had advertized his Heysham residence for let in 1819 (also in the Lancaster Gazette).

The information we have been able so far to piece together on Heysham House is not complete but it is a case of being first connected with the Mashiter family and subsequently Tomlinsons. John Mashiters are frequent and so cause problems of identificatrion. The easiest to identify is Rev Roger Mashiiter whose career details are found in the Clergy of the Church of England database. He was born in Bolton le Sands and was interred there too; see records from the Lancashire Parish Clerks website. Note that he was living in Heysham in the second entry. His ministerial career ended in 1822 so we presume he then retired to Heysham House with which he must have had a family connection. No direct information has been found about his marriage to Ellen (possible maiden name Alexander and from Liverpool) but we know that he had an only daughter Sarah who was born in Manchester in 1808. In 1833 Sarah married Thomas Tomlinson at St Peter’s, Heysham. There are significant features of the record, for example one of the witnesses was Thomas Rawsthorne and the officiating minister was from Manchester. In 1838 Sarah gave birth at Heysham  House to non-identical twins  Ellen Sarah Ann Tomlinson and William Edward Murray Tomlinson and they were baptized at St Peter’s Church. A memorial plaque to William Edward Murray Tomlinson (right) is in St Peter’s churhyard and states he was born and died  at Heysham House.  Other records show that his father Thomas was a barrister, born in Preston, worked first in Manchester and then, when he became a member of the Inner Temple in 1827,  in  London.

Thomas and Sarah had six other children, all sons, one of whoim , Frederick Philip, was also baptized at St Peter’s in 1846. The twins remained single. William Edward Murray was kinghted and became MP for Preston in 1882 at a by-election.  He held his seat until the 1906 general election when he was not re-elected. In 1900 he was opposed unsuccessfully by Keir Hardie, leader of the Independent Labour Party.  Ellen Sarah Ann stayed with the mother but in 1905 Kelly’s Directory she is named as living at Heysham House where she was later joined by her twin brother. She is one of Heysham’s historians.
The impression gained is that the family were mainly based in London but used Heysham House on occasions, for example they are in Heysham at  the 1871 census.
Ellen (Mashiter), Roger’s widow appears to have remained nt Heysham House after he died. She is at Heysham House in the 1841 census and is apparently looking after the twins and their younger brother Thomas whilst there parents are in London. There are two other Mashiters present, Alice (40+) and Betty (9) , and also an Elizabeth Sandford (30+); these persons may give a clue to the link Roger Mashiter  had with the Heysham Mashiters. Ellen Mashiter is named in the 1851 Mannex directory account of Heysham. But in the 1861 census at  the age of 89 she is called Ellen Alexander and is with her daughter Sarah in London. She died at Heysham in 1862 and interred also at Bolton le Sands like her husband.


William Edward Murray Tomlinson

Another pictuire of Sir William is in the National Portrait Galley Click here to see it.

In the Tithe Schedule of 1838 a John Mashiter appears to own and be occupying Heysham House; as already stated above there must be some connection with Roger for the latter to live there after retirng from his ministry in Manchester.  A John Mashiter appears in the 1851 Mannex Directory as a farmer, perhaps this is the son of the first one, both named in the 1925 Baines Directory list above..

Finally The 1908 Victoria History on Heysham records that at St Peter’s Church:.

The plate consists of a 17th-century chalice made at York, with the maker's mark of Robert Williamson; a chalice of 1788 without inscription; a paten of Sheffield make, 1867; and a flagon of 1896, given in that year in memory of Thomas and Sarah Tomlinson by their children