Tuesday, May 11, 2010


was born 27 September 1614 in Whalley, Lancashire, England134,135, and died 7 November 1675 in Chapel Hill, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England136. He married ALICE RAWSTHORNE about 1640 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England136, daughter of NICHOLAS RAWSTHORNE and MARY [----?----]. She was born Bet. 1618 and 1622 in Rossendale, Lancashire, England136, and died 5 September 1670 in "Chapel Hill", Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England136.

[The writer's eighth great-grandfather.]
Richard was born in the eleventh year of the reign of King JAMES I. Richard died at his home, "Chapel Hill", a nine-acre freehold tract of land between Rawtenstall and Crawshawbooth. He and Alice and all of their children, except for Richard who emigrated to the American Colonies before his marriage in Maryland in 1691, were buried in the Chapel Hill Friends Burying Ground on his land.[a]
Richard's wife Alice seems to have been one of the early converts to Quakerism which was introduced into Rossendale, Lancashire, about 1653 by William Dewsbury and Thomas Stubbs. As early converts to Quakerism, Richard, his son James, his daughter Isabelle, and his future son-in-law, Abraham Hayworth, amongst others, were fined and imprisoned on one occasion at the castle of Lancaster for refusing to swear allegiance to the King by oaths and for refusing to pay tithes to the Anglican parish priest and the Established Church of England.
In 1665, Richard, his wife Alice, their son James, and their daughter Isabelle and husband Abraham Hayworth, were fined for being Quakers and for having private conventicles (Quaker meetings) in their homes. On 6 April and 9 September 1668, Richard was fined and imprisoned for failing to pay tithes and church rates to the parish priest (probably in Whalley Parish). In 1669, Richard and Alice, their son James, and Abraham Hayworth, all of Newchurch in Rossendale Parish, were amongst those whose names appear in Conventicle Returns for having Quaker meetings in their homes.
The name Richard Ratcliff appears in the 1670 and 1671 Conventicle Returns of Rossendale "for hedging in a parcel of land to bury dead corps in and diverse have been interred there". This refers to the Chapel Hill Friends Burying Grounds which were given by Richard from his Chapel Hill estate. The burying grounds were originally a plot of ground 15 yards by 12 yards surrounded by a rock wall. (For a period of time, Quaker meetings were held within this walled enclosure.) Nonconformists were not permitted to bury their dead in the Anglican Church cemeteries, so they either set up their own burying grounds with the attendant persecution or buried their dead in the fields or along the roadsides. The first person to be buried in Chapel Hill Burial Grounds was Margaret Hayworth, the first wife of Abraham Hayworth, who died in 1663.[b]
a. Recorded in the Marsden Monthly Meeting Register, Library of the Society of Friends, Friends House, Euston Road, London, England; as cited in Clarence Earl Ratcliff, RICHARD RATCLIFF OF LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND, AND TALBOT COUNTY, MARYLAND AND HIS ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS, 1066-1988 (1963; reprint Toccoa, Ga.: privately published by Clarence Earl Ratcliff, 1988); entire book published on the Internet at URL
b. Ratcliff, RICHARD RATCLIFF, op. cit.

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