Bruce Johnson's Family History Website




 The Mountford Family of Norton Le Moors, Staffordshire
The 1901 census for  Milton,  Staffs shows the Johnsons  living at 99 Broadhurst Street, and includes Ruth Mountford – adopted daughter – born in  1894.  This was a surprise as my Grandfather had never mentioned having a sister - adopted or otherwise.  A mystery needed to be sloved.

I was fortunate in being able to make contact with David Mountford who had already done good work on the Mountford family tree and I thank him for his assistance.
William Mountford was born in Staffordshire in 1695.

William Mountford's  son,  Richard, was born at Biddulph,  but having married Susannah he settled in Norton Le Moors which would be the location of the family for many years to come. They had three children, Richard, (1745) Mary, (1747)  and Joseph, (1753).  Religious names were very common at this time,  but among the Mountfords, more than most,  we will see that biblical names are very popular down every generation form here
Joseph married Ann Brindley,  their four children were Sarah, Thomas, Jemima and Joseph.
Thomas Mountford was the second child of Ann and Joseph,  being born in Norton in 1787.  Thomas called two of his sons Enoch and Joseph.   What is interesting is that the two halves of the Mountford family, decended from these 2 different grandfathers,  appear to have regarded one another as cousins – although only second cousins,   family bonds were very strong.  I believe this may be because apart from family ties they were heavily involved in the religious fellowship of the area.   This was the time of the movement known as "Primitive Methodism",  and attempt to get back to the original roots of Methodist preaching,  often involving huge open air rallies.


Some information on Primitive Methodism and it's connection to the Mountford family (sources acknowledged)

"Its leading figures were Hugh Bourne and William Clowes. Hugh Bourne, was born at Ford Hayes Farm, Bucknall, on April 3, 1772. He was a shy man who, until his conversion in 1799, lived with an intense fear of falling into hell. By the year 1800, he had moved to live in Harriseahead, a village to the north of the present city. Towering above Bourne's new home was Mow Cop, a "bald hill" rising to 1,091 feet above sea level, with commanding views over the Cheshire plain.


Bourne was shocked at the moral state of his new neighbourhood, saying, "There was not in England a neighbourhood that was more ungodly and profane. A stranger could hardly go over Harriseahead without insult and sometimes not without injury." Against this background, Bourne met for prayer and Bible study with other Methodists, and flames of revival broke out in 1801, spreading quickly through the northern towns of the Potteries and beyond.


William Clowes was born in Burslem on March 12, 1780, a relative of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother's side. William became a highly skilful master potter, as well as a notorious drinker, gambler, womaniser and fighter, but was remarkably converted at an evangelistic meeting in Congleton in 1804, following what Hugh Bourne described as yet another "extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit." Clowes was to become a powerful evangelist and a leader in the revival."  (Rev. Robert Mountford 2004)


In 1807 a group led by Hugh and James Bourne registered a chapel at Norton in the Moors.  Coming before the definite expulsion of the revivalists from the Methodist Church this was taken over by the latter  ...... Houses at Norton were sub sequently registered for worship by Bourne, that of Enoch Goodfellow in 1808  and that of Thomas Mountford in 1811.  The Connexion later built a chapel at Norton Green.  (British History Online)


Crawfoot,  a leading member of the Primitive Methodist movement,  married Hannah Mountford, who had worked as a long time faithful servant to the Bournes,  and to whom Hugh Bourne himself may have propsed at one time.



By 1895 all of the original trustees had died, except George Mellor and a new trust was appointed  (including) Cornelius Mountford (Primitive Methodism in the Moorlands   by W.H. Simcock 1970)



The family of Enoch Mountford- my side

Enoch is a relatively rare name which has helped me trace the family.   Enoch was born in 1808 and married Joyce. 
Their children were Joyce,  Elijah,  Ann,   Enoch,  Sarah, Rachael and Abraham.  Five out of the seven were names from the bible which suggests a keen churchgoing family.
The family of Joseph Mountford - the other side.

Joseph Mountford married Martha.
Thier children were Mary Ann, George, Enoch, John, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Joseph
Ann (born 1846)  married William Johnson in 1869, and this was the link between the Mountfords and my family.

Ann's youngest brother Abraham was 14 years younger than Ann.  In his turn he married Ann Dutton and they had four children,  Alice,  Frederick, Enoch and Ruth (born 1894)   but both parents died young . Ann died in 1896, aged 30, probably in childbirth and her husband Abraham died two years later, in 1898 aged 37.
Alice, the eldest daughter was only 14 and not able to care for the younger ones.

Thomas Mountford was a coal miner,  but in retirement he seems to have taken a part time job as a Chapel caretaker, as shown in the 1901 census The closest chapel to his home in Chetwynd Street was the "Hot Lane Primitive Methodist Chapel"  see pictures below.

His wife was called Mary and their children were George, Martha, Joseph, James, Fanny, William, Ethel, and Mary
When Ruth Mountford was orphaned she went to live with her cousin Thomas Johnson, (My great grandfather)  and his wife Sarah Ann Low.  Other siblings were adopted by other family members.  But  Thomas Johnson  had to leave the area in 1904 when he was blacklisted from the mines for preaching against the greed and cruelty of the employers during the Kinsley Evictions .  Walking to the North East, with no transport except a pram to hold a few of their possessions, they lost two children as a result of the hardships of the journey.  
The 1911 census shows the family at 79 Third Street, Horden but there is no sign of Ruth Mountford.  It appears that the adopted daughter did not make the exhausting trek to County Durham, but stayed behind in the Potteries, with other members of the family. 

Ruth provides a link to my Grandfather Johnson's  Grandmother’s family, the Mountfords. 

In the 1911 census we find Ruth Mountford living with her second-cousin Ethel.
Ethel has married Frederick William Buckingham,  an earthenware dealer and Ethel assists him with the business.   Ruth, now aged 17 works as a "general domestic"

What is particularly interesting to me is that Ruth stayed with a second cousin - which reflects the closeness of the extended family. 

I suspect that there may have been another factor at work.  All the indicators are that the Mountfords were a very religious family. If the whole extended family worshipped together then the families may have known their second cousins much better than would otherwise have been the case. 

This in turn might help to explain how my Great Grandfather, Thomas Johnson, who'se mother was a Mountford, became a lay preacher.

Following my research on the Mountford Family I investigated the present day Methodist churches in Stoke on Trent. 

Thelargest and most active methodist Church seems to be the "Saltbox Christian Centre"

http://www.saltbox.org.uk/contact/index.php

The director of the centre is the reverend Robert Mountford, a well known local religious leader with an interest in local history




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