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The Origins of the Baxendell Family

The family originated in the area of West Lancashire in a small geographic area comprising a strip between Wigan in the South, and Preston in the North. The name is possibly taken from the village of Baxenden near Accrington.

The meaning of the name is "Bakestone Valley" from the Old English "Baecstan" + "denu" (Valley). Later the Middle English "dale" substituted for the OE "den".
(Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames) (Surnames of NW Lancashire) (Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, Bardsley C.W. 1901)
(For an article on bakestone making and the Bakestonemen click here:)

Names were written down by Parish Clerks as they were heard to be said or in the form with which they were most familiar, so many variants emerged, some often quite localised. The earliest example I have found is William de Bakestonden (1332) (Lancashire Lay Subsidies – John Rylands et al.) Over 100 different spellings are recorded in Parish registers between 1556 and the present day.

Before 1700 the "n" endings were almost exclusively used. Between then and 1750 the "l" ending gradually increased in popularity, and after 1760 had gained a majority which has continued to the present, although there are still Baxendens around. The variant "Baxendell" began to appear sporadically around the same time as "Baxendale" but was not commonly or consistently used until some members of our family began to insist on it in the late 18th Century. Even so, Baxendells continued to be recorded as "Baxendale" in official records despite the individuals’ signatures, and this still occurs. The earliest recorded "Baxendell" I have found is that of Catherine Baxendell, christened 6.9.1730, Warrington Lancs.

Until the 19th Century the Baxendells (and variants) remained predominantly in N.W. Lancashire, although a branch established itself in Yorkshire, centred around Halifax and Bradford in the 1700s, mostly using the variant "Baxandall", and some members moved to London fairly early.

Our own Baxendell family seems to have come from Chorley, Lancs, which has remained a major focus for the name. In the mid-1500s some shifted south to Shevington, near Wigan, and remained in the area. They mostly used the Parish Church at Standish for christenings, marriages and burials. In the 1740s Josiah Baxendale moved to Liverpool where he established a business in cabinet making.

His grandson Josiah married into the Salisbury family who in turn were connected to the Birleys of Preston, and these three families formed a cotton broking and shipping company that established their fortune. Their Baxendale descendants later built up the Pickfords cartage company.

Grandson Joseph was not so fortunate and made a living as a weaver. He returned to family in Standish and married Catherine Brindle their in 1787. He then moved to Oldham where he was a weaver until about 1790 when he became a banksman in charge of a colliery pithead winding engine. However by the time of his death in 1827 he had re-established his fortunes and established a coal-yard in Ducie Street, Piccadilly, Manchester.   Joseph and his descendants all consistently wrote their name "Baxendell" and so can be considered to be the forebears of the name.

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