The Ancestors and Descendants of
Ralph Brough of Waterhouse,
1450 to the Present
The Ancestors and Descendants of Ralph Brough (b.1559)
of Waterhouse, Leekfrith: 1450 to the Present
by the RBFO Research Committee, April 2006
A List of the Ancestors and Descendants of Ralph Brough (b.1559)
Richard de Burgh, b.1450, Brewood, m.Alice
Robert Burgh (b.1488) & Joan, moved to Chapel House, Leek, in early 1500's
Thomas Burgh (Broughe, b.1523) & Margarett, Waterhouse, Leek
Ralph (Raphe) Burgh (Broughe, b.1559), Waterhouse
Edmund Brough (b.1602) & Alice, Waterhouse
Ralph Brough (b.1638), Leek
Ralph Brough (Burke, b.1670) & Elizabeth, Rushton Spencer
Ralph Brough (Burke, b.1700) & Martha Holland, Rushton Spencer
Ralph Brough (b.1730) & Martha Boon, Biddulph
Charles Brough (b.1755) & Sarah Boulton, Biddulph
Ralph Brough (b.1785) & Ann Boon, Horton
Joseph Brough (b.1831) & Ruth Hulme, Congleton
Ralph Brough (b.1854) & Rebecca Shaw, Congleton
Charlie Brough (b.1898) & Winifred Sant, Kidsgrove
James Henry Brough (b.1943) & Rosemary Elisabeth Rigby, England
The Brough's of Waterhouse apparently descend from Robert Burgh (b.1488) and Joan of Chapel House. Both Chapel House and Waterhouse were located near each other within the Leekfrith area of northern Staffordshire. Unfortunately, the exact location of the Waterhouse that belonged to the Waterhouse Brough's may be lost to history. According to Catharine Ann Brough Hind, "There are in fact two quite separate Waterhouses of Leekfryth. One is high on the ridge up on Blackshawmoor, east of Middlehulme. The other--was in the Middlehulme area between Meerbrook and Leek, close by New Grange, and was probably associated with the cornmill that was there from Medieval times until mid-20th Century. Now, of course, this Waterhouse is probably with the cornmill and New Grange under the water of the Tittesworth Reservoir."
As can be seen from the above list of Robert Burgh's descendants, Waterhouse was held by several generations of Broughs. In fact, Ann Hind has stated that "Waterhouse, like Rochegrange and Middlehulme, has housed a variety of Broughs from all lines--probably during interregna or because bequest or indenture to rights for a former generation entitled them to a roof over their head or to economic benefit."
Waterhouse was first held by Robert Burgh's son, Thomas Burgh (b.1523). It was later held by Thomas's son, Ralph Burgh (b.1559), and then by Ralph's son, Edmund Brough (b.1602). In the mid 1600's, Edmund Brough's son, Ralph Brough (b.1638), apparently left Waterhouse for Leek, and his son, Ralph Brough (b1670), eventually settled in Rushton Spencer-located northwest of Leek.
In the 1700's, the Broughs of Rushton Spencer moved westward to Biddulph. In the 1800's, they moved northward to Congleton and southward to Gnosall. Regarding the migration of the Waterhouse Broughs, Ann Hind has stated, "These Broughs [of Waterhouse] did not only go southwest to Biddulph via Rushton; another line went from Brownsword and then east to Doveridge and southeast to Quixhill."
At the present time, RBFO researchers are striving to document and expand the genealogical lineages and histories of the Broughs of Chapel House, Waterhouse, Rushton Spencer, Biddulph, Horton and Congleton, and Gnosall. In fact, the Brough ancestry of several RBFO members-such as James Henry Brough of Stoke-on-Trent, England, Gregory Brough Hargreaves of Dumfries, Scotland, Adrian John Clare of Surrey, England, and Constance Brough Thomas of New Hampshire, USA--goes back to Ralph Brough (b.1670) of Rushton Spencer, then to Edmund Brough (b.1602) of Waterhouse, and then apparently to Robert Burgh (b.1488) of Chapel House. Anyone with additional genealogical and historical information on the descendants of the Broughs of Chapel House and Waterhouse are asked to contact the RBFO Research Committee.
A Brief History of the Descendants of
Ralph Brough: 1670 to the Present
by James Henry Brough, April 2004 (Revised in April 2006)
Ralph (b.1670) married Elizabeth, their first child Mary being born at Blackshawmoor. Further children were born at Rushton Spencer (NW of Leek). The descendants of two of these children, Ralph and Robert, have been extensively researched, the latter being a direct ancestor of Elspeth Johnson of Market Drayton, Shropshire and of John Clare of Worcester Park, Surrey, but it is the former and his descendants who will be described here.
Ralph (b.1670) died at Rushton in 1729, followed by Elizabeth in 1738. Ralph, son of Ralph and Elizabeth, was born in 1700/1701, and married Martha Holland in 1727 at Biddulph St. Lawrence (almost due west of Leek). They had seven children: Ralph (b.1730) was the second born child and had many descendants--some of whom are described below. Thomas (b.1739/1740) was the sixth born child and moved to Gnosall after marrying Elizabeth Walter in 1765. Little is known of James, Sarah, or Martha; both Samuel and William were long-lived, dying aged 78 and 85 respectively. Samuel was married three times, but no evidence has been found of any children. Ralph died in 1743, a pauper. Two further children, Richard and John, were born to "Martha Brough Widow" several years after Ralph's death.
Ralph (b.1730) married Martha Boon in 1751 at Biddulph St. Lawrence. Nine children were born; Charles was the second eldest (b.1755). Martha died in 1792; Ralph married for a second time in 1794 at Leek St. Edward. His new wife was Anne Rushton, and two further children, Samuel and James were born. Greg Brough Hargreaves of Kirkudbright, Scotland, is a direct descendant of Samuel. Ralph, like his brothers Samuel and William, lived to a great age dying in his ninetieth year. He left a will in which he is described as a "yeoman."
Charles (b.1755) married Sarah Boulton in 1776 at Biddulph. They had seven children, only four of whom Sarah, Ralph (b.1785), Hannah and Ann survived infancy.
In 1779 and 1801, "a survey of the number of inhabitants of Biddulph" was conducted by the vicar of St. Lawrence, Biddulph. Chas (Charles) is included in 1779 living at Clough House, and in both censuses, Ralph and Samuel are mentioned living respectively at Gleadlay and Long Edge End. In 1801, Charles was possibly living at Horton (east of Biddulph, west of Leek); his last four children were baptized there, Ann being the last in 1796. Gleadlay was possibly the name of Ralph's house; it is mentioned elsewhere, and there is a stone-built house in existence today named Gleaglow-possibly the same house. Long Edge End can be identified today as the ridge near to the "Bridestones" between Rushton and Dane-in-Shaw.
Ralph (b.1785) married Ann Boon again at St. Lawrence. They had eight children: Hannah, James, Mary Ann (baptised in Biddulph), Jane (baptised in Horton), Charles (no baptism traced), Martha, Joseph (baptised in Congleton Wesley) and Ralph (again no baptism traced). A further child, William, appears with the family (aged 4) in the 1841 census, but I believe it is more likely that he is a grandson rather than a son. Unfortunately, he does not appear in later censuses. Jane and Ralph died in their teens, but the remainder married and produced families. Elfforts are currently being made to trace their descendants to the present day.
Joseph (b.1831) married Ruth Hulme in 1852 at Astbury St. Mary. A daughter Anne was born prior to the marriage, and four further children subsequently, James, Ralph, Charles and Hannah. Joseph and family moved from Dane-in-Shaw over Mow Cop to Kidsgrove. Ralph married Rebecca Shaw at Mow Cop St. Thomas in 1876. They had ten children, five boys and five girls. Ruth died as a child and James was killed in action in World War I. Charlie was the youngest, but having seen his four brothers enlisting, he did not want to be left behind, and so lied about his age. He joined the Royal Artillery, and was gassed during hostilities. This caused him problems throughout his life; he suffered numerous bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia and eventually died aged 72. He married Winifred Sant in 1931 at Stoke St. Peter, and James H. Brough (RBFO Board Member) is the youngest of their four children.
Ralph (b.1854) was a collier for much of his life, but an accident in the 1880's meant that he could no longer continue in mining. He changed direction totally and became a fairground owner. It is said that he had the sole rights to run a fair at Clough Hall in Kidsgrove. Clough Hall was a large house and gardens open to the public during the summer months. When not at Clough Hall, he would tour northern Staffordshire and southern Cheshire with the fair. He must have had pretentions of grandeur as his swingboats were entitled "Ralph Brough's Royal Swingboats". We know that he also had a shooting saloon as his occupation in the 1891 census is given as "shooting saloon", and that of his eldest daughter Mary Jane aged 14 is given as "shotting saloon assistant". Eventually Clough Hall lost its popularity, and the fair was sold. Ralph died in 1926.
Charlie left the army with a small disability pension, and did various jobs until he decided in the early 1920's to set up a fair, traveling around northern Staffordshire and southern Cheshire. Again there was a memorable name: "Brough's Conglomeration of New and Novel Amusements". From what is known, it is obvious that there was nothing particularly new or novel about any of the amusements. Many of Charlie's brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces were involved in this venture; it was a real family affair. It continued until the late 1920's when the recession caused it to be sold up. Charlie was then fortunate to get a job at the Michelin Tyre Company, which had recently started in Stoke. He queued all night with his brother-in-law to a get a job. They were both successful. He worked there until his retirement at 65. He died aged 72 in 1970.