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First Generation

1. RICHARD RATCLIFF1 was born on 27 September 1614 in Whalley Parish, Rossendale, Lancashire, England. He died on 7 October 1675 at the age of 61 in Chapel Hill, Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Parish records indicate as many as 10 children. were born to Richard and Alice. Richard is buried at the Friends Burial Ground, Chapel Hill. Richard gave this plot of ground from his nine-acre estate called Chapel Hill - Quakers could not be buried in the Anglican Church cemeteries. It was originally 15x12 yards surrounded by a rock wall.

In 1665 Richard & Alice, and James his son, and Abraham Hayworth and his wife Isabella Ratcliff [Richard's daughter] were fined for being Quakers. They were cited several times for holding meetings in their homes.

A note about Quaker calendar dating - it is confusing and often dates found in print or online do not make clear whether or not the author had converted the dates to "New Style". In the cases where it can be determined, errors often creep in. The Richard Ratcliff book, source of much of this data, does not always make clear when or if dates were converted.

After 1752, Quakers adjusted to the calendar change by calling January the first month (N.S. calendar), February the second month, December the twelfth month, and so forth. However, even with the calendar change, dates will undoubtedly appear a little complicated for researchers. [My note: it is also true that not everyone agreed to the change immediately]

Quakers almost exclusively used numbers for months. In some cases, researchers will find the number and name of the month, such as "4th month called June" or "the 10th day of the 10th month called December 1690." Any date in March was considered the first month. And Sunday was the first day of the week, Monday the second day, and so forth.

Quakers also wrote numbers in their meeting records, such as "3rd month" instead of May (an example before 1752). Saying July (Julius), after Julius Caesar, or August, after the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, was considered too pagan or worldly.

An example of an early Quaker date might be: 2/10/1720 (with 2 being the second month). This date should be interpreted as 10 April 1720. For examples of Quaker dating practices, see the article by Gordon L. Remington, "Quaker Preparation for the 1752 Calendar Change," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87 (June 1999): 146-150.

Prior to 1752, the first day of the new year was what we would now call March 25th. It appears the Quakers may have observed the New Year differently.
Samuel G. Barton, in 'The Quaker calendar' (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society vol 3, 1949, pp 32-9) argues the Quaker year began on 1 rather than 25 March, and a note in an Ifield & Shipley register (printed in Sussex Archaeological Collections, vol 55, 1912, p 81) lends substance to this:
"... the year is ... to Begin the First day of the First Month commonly called March Whereas in the worlds Accompt it begins not till the 25th day of the said Month."

Here is a table of reference for Quaker "months"

(Before 1753 the QUAKER (After Jan 1, 1753)
year began
in March)

March (before 1753) 1st Month January (after 1753)
April 2nd Month February
May 3rd Month March
June 4th Month April
July 5th Month May
August 6th Month June
September 7th Month July
October 8th Month August
November 9th Month September
December 10th Month October
January 11th Month November
February 12th Month December

The Radcliffe family has been extended back as far as Ivo de Tailbois/Taillebois, born in Anjou or Normandy France circa 1030, who married Lucia Malet, a granddaughter of Gruffydd, King of Wales. Twenty-one generations beyond Richard and Alice. This genealogy was done by Dr. A. Wayne Ratcliff who made two trips to England, as well as hiring a genealogist. Much of it said to come from "The Book of the Ratcliffs". More detailed source is not available and there seems to be conflict, confusion and doubt regarding the earliest generations. Many of the dates make those generations unlikely.

RICHARD RATCLIFF and ALICE RAWSTHORNE were married about 1640 in Lancashire, England. ALICE RAWSTHORNE1 was born in 1618 in Chapel Hill, Rossendale, Lancashire, England. She died in 1670 at the age of 52.

Alice was probably the daughter of Nicholas and Mary Rawsthorne. Mary Rawsthorne was one of the early converts to Quakerism. Mary was buried at Chapel Hill Burial Grounds, 1686, 12m 10d.
Alice died 1670, 7th month, 7th day.

RICHARD RATCLIFF and ALICE RAWSTHORNE had the following children:



Agnes RATCLIFF1 was born on 28 October 1641 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Agnes married James Rishton, 1680, 11m 6d, James Rishton who died in the Castle of Lancaster prison for his Quaker faith. He is buried in the Chapel Hill Friends Burial Grounds.



William RATCLIFF1 was born on 25 September 1643 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. He died on 21 May 1645 at the age of 1 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.



James RATCLIFF1 was born about 1645 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. He died in 1690 at the age of 45 in Wrightstown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

James married 1673/4, 1m, 5d at Holden, Lancashire to Mary Rawsthorne, daughter of Richard and Mary Rawsthorne.

James was an early Quaker minister and suffered much persecution in Lancashire and was frequently thrown in prison. His father Richard, James, and sister Isabella were apprehended at a Quaker meeting at Haslingden, 1660, 12m, 6d when he was only 15 and all were put in prison overnight. At one point he was charged with preaching Quaker meetings in his home when he had not even attended; he was committed to prison, fined £20, and 12 head of cattle and 1 horse were taken from his barn.

17 Apr 1685, James deeded a small tract of ground called "Chapel Hill" to the Society of Friends - this was probably the same tract his father had given him but no legal title had been made. In 1988 this cemetery was still owned by the Society of Friends. The deed is in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Accrington.

The Marsden Monthly Meeting Minutes Book of Lancashire Record house has the following records:
James Ratcliff fined £40, 16 May 1675 for preaching
James Ratcliff was distrained as security for fine of a cow worth £4, but it sold for £2, 10s, he having little else. 16 Sep 1675
James Ratcliff distrained of his best oats, 6sh 6p for nonpayment of tithes, 11 Sep 1680
James Ratcliff fined £20 for preaching, 4 Nov 1683
James Ratcliff distrained of 12 cattle and one horse worth £39, 11 Nov 1683.
James Ratcliff distrained of his best oats, 16sh for non payment of tithe, 30 Aug 1684
James Ratcliff declares his intent of removing himself and family to America, 21 May 1685.

The ship "Rebecca of Liverpool" commanded by James Skinner, arrived at Philadelphia, 1685, 8m 31d. Passengers included James Ratcliff, Mary his wife, and their children Richard, Edward, Rebecca and Rachel. James Hayworth, probably his nephew, and two others came as servants of James and Mary.
Individual Ships of Penn's Fleet and their passengers
The Rebecca
8th month, 31, 1685, James Skinner, master
Thomas Bates
Richard and Margaret Cureton and children: William and Jane
Edmund and Isabel Cutler and children: Elizabeth, Thomas and William,
John Cutler
Ann Dugdale
Robert Hewit
James Heyworth
James Holgate
Mathew Holdgate and daughter Mary
John Jennings
John and Ann Lathum and children: John, Aron, Moses and Ann
Richard Mather
James Molenex
James Myriall
Cornelius Netherwood
James, Mary, Richard, Edward, Rebecca and Rachell Ratcliffe
Hester Rothwell
James Rothwell
James Scoles
John Scoles
William Wardle
Elizabeth Wingreene
Early Chester County Arrivals (1685): Chester County, PA Contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Sandra Ferguson <>.
the "Rebecca" of Liverpool, James Skinner comander, Arived at Philadelphia the 13th of the 8 mo, 1685 passengers; John cutler, Edmond Cutler, Isabell Cutler, Elizabeth Cutler, Thomas Cutler, Wm Cuttler, freemen, from Bulland, in Yorkshire. Richard Mather, Cornelius Netherwood, James Myriall, Wm. Wardle, James Molenex, Eliz. Wingreene, servants to John Cutler. Thomas Bates, a freeman. James Ratclife, Rachell Ratclife, Richard Ratclife, Edward Ratclife, Rebecca Ratclife, Rachell Ratclife, free persons from Monesbury in Lancashire. James Heyworth, Robert Hewit, James Rothwell, servants to the said Ratclife. Richard Cureton and Margaret, his wife, William Cureton, his sone, Jane his daughter, free persons. James Holgate, Ann Dugdale, servants to the Curetons, Mathew Holgate and Mary his daughter, free persons. John Lathum, ann his wife, John Jennings, his wife's son, John Lathum his son, Arron his sone, Moses his sone, Ann his daughter, free persons. James Scoles, John Scoles,. Hester Rothwell, free persons.

James & Mary transferred their membership in the Society of Friends from Musbury MM in Lancashire to Middletown MM, Bucks Co PA. 1685, 4m 16d.

James and Mary purchased 200 acres of land at Wrightstown, Bucks Co PA 1689, 12m 10d from James Harrison and Phineas Pemberton, DB 1, p.334

Their children are recorded in the Middleton MM Register:
Richard Ratcliff, b. Musbury, Lancashire, Eng. 1675, 4m 8d. Married Martha Staple, 1709, 1m 31d
Edward Ratcliff, b. Musbury, 1678,8m,14d, died Bucks Co, 1714, 8m 27d. Married at Falls Meeting House, Bucks Co, 1703, 6m 18d, Poebe Baker daughter of Henry and Margaret (Hardman) Baker.
Rachel Ratcliff, b. Musbury, 1682, 2m, 16d, died Bucks Co. 1715, 2m 4d. Married William Hayhurst, Middletown MM, 1702, 10m 17d.
Rebecca Ratcliff, b. Musbury, 1684/5, 11m, 11d, died 1714, 8m 11d. She married John Hall, Bristol PA on 1708, 4m 23d. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly.



John RATCLIFF1 was born on 1 April 1646 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. He died on 10 September 1650 at the age of 4 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.



Isabella RATCLIFF1 was born about 1647 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. She died in 1687 at the age of 40 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Isabella died 1687, 2m 23d and is buried Chapel Hill. She married Abrahm Hayworth in 1665, 11m, 14d. Abraham died 1687, 2m 21d and is also buried at the Chapel Hill Burial grounds.

Abraham Hayworth was married 1st to Margaret Birtwisle, 1662, 4m 18d. She was the first person buried at Chapel Hill - she died 1663, 1m, 23d and was buried two days later. Abraham and Margaret may have had a son, James, who came to America on the ship "Rebecca of Liverpool" as a servant to his uncle James.

Children of Abraham and Isabella were Alice, Margaret, and Abraham.



Alice RATCLIFF1 was born about 1649 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. She died in 1692 at the age of 43 in Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Alice died 1692, 11m, 31d, and was buried at Chapel Hill. She had bedding, pewter & other articles confiscated by the Lancashire church and government officials in August of 1684 because of her Quaker faith.

James Ratcliff and his sister Alice were fined 21 Oct 1684 for not paying church assessments for repairs to the Anglican new church in Rossendale.



John RATCLIFF1 was born in 1657 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. He died in 1735 at the age of 78 in Haslingden, Lancashire, England.

John was born at his father's Chapel Hill estate, 1647, 10m, 22d and died at Haslingden, Lancashire, 1735, 12m, 23d.

John married an Elizabeth who died at Haslingden, 1701, 5m, 9d. They are both buried at Chapel Hill.



Elizabeth RATCLIFF1 was born in 1659 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. She died in 1721 at the age of 62 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Elizabeth died 1721, 2m, 26d and is probably buried at Chapel Hill.






Susan RATCLIFF1 was born in 1663 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England. She died in 1664 at the age of 1 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.

Susan was born 1663, 12m, 1d and died 1664, 8m, 17d, and is buried at Chapel Hill.