On the 1838 Tithe Map for Higher Heysham there is a building on the site of Heysham Tower which is the same shape as Heysham Tower but without the tower. When Robert Hesketh died in 1824 this property passed to his only daughter Anna Maria Martha Hesketh.. Anna’s elder brother Peter, who succeeded his father, is well known for founding Fleetwood and bringing the railway there in the 1840s. He later changed his name to Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood . He was MP for Preston , a Tory with liberal views, and was made a baronet in 1838. More importantly for our purposes he was also educated at Trinity College, Oxford in the 1820s. There he clearly formed a friendship with Thomas John Knowlys and in September 1828 Thomas John and Anna Hesketh were married at Poulton le Fylde where her younger brother had a short time earlier became the Vicar. Peter was a witness at the wedding.
Thomas John and Anna lived in Heysham and over the next twenty years had ten children, four sons and six daughters, eight of whom were baptized at St Peter’s Church. In 1838-1840 their house was presumably extensively refurbished and the tower added. In the 1841 census the Knowlys family are shown as living at Heysham Hall which ties in with Robert Hesketh living at Heysham Hall. At some point it became known as Heysham Tower which then enabled Thomas Rawsthorne, when he substantially enlarged his nearby house, to call it Heysham Hall.
Thomas John unfortunately died from the effects of a pistol shot in 1850 and is buried in St Peter’s churchyard. Anna and her family left the Tower some time in the 1850s (they seem to be absent from the 1851 census) but by the 1861 census she was living in Clifton, Bristol and in the 1871 census she was in Eton, Buckinghamshire. In the 1881 census she was back living in Clifton, Bristol. with her youngest daughter Florence Everilda and husband Louis Goodeve. She died there in 1886. Florence Goodeve was a well known composer of music for popular songs, e.g. ‘Fiddle and I’. (Previous versions of this paragraph contained errors due to misinformation, which have now been corrected with reference to various 19th century censuses. We apologise for this mistake.)
An interesting link with the present day is that Robert Hesketh, and later Peter Hesketh and Thomas John Knowlys were all members of an exclusive gentleman’s club, the John of Gaunt’s Bowmen; this was limited to 30 members and had Rules and Regulations which had to be strictly observed. They had annual ‘shoots’ at Fairfield in Lancaster in the 1850s watched by large crowds. The Society still exists in this area today but is now open to all comers and has summer meets on the Vale of Lune ground in Torrisholme.
In about 1840 T J Knowlys opened a school in Carr Garth . An 1851 Directory referring to Heysham states: