John Pollitt

of Chapel Green, Denton, Lancashire

John Pollitt (1803/04-1854) was a schoolmaster and Parish Clerk of Denton Chapel (St Lawrence's). He became a pupil teacher of Thomas Hyde Beeley (died 1834) who was succeeded by his son John Hyde Beeley but he resigned in 1837, possibly due to ill health.

Following the resignation of John Hyde Beeley, John Pollitt was appointed as a schoolmaster and in May 1847 he was also appointed as the Parish Clerk in succession to George Bowker Cock. He remained in these two posts until his death in 1854.

The school was situated at Chapel Green, adjoining the chapel, and the subjects taught were reading, writing and accounts (arithmetic). Every Sunday, the Reverend William Parr Greswell paid 2s 6d to each of the three teachers. After the death of John Pollitt the school building ceased being used for educational purposes and it was converted into an engineering machine shop but in 1867 this was demolished and the site was incorporated into the chapel graveyard. The only part of the school to be saved was a commemorative stone tablet, which was rescued and placed against the graveyard wall, by the lychgate, the location being part of the site once occupied by the school.

Commemorative Stone Tablet
This
SCHOOL & HOUSE
were rebuilt, by
Public Subscription
in the year of our Lord
1814.
Thomas Whitehead.
Joseph Howard.
Chapel Wardens.

The number of scholars attending the day school in 1853 was recorded as 66 boys and 40 girls and the number attending the Sunday school was 185 boys and 181 girls. The school had a library of 200 volumes.

Shortly before he died, John Pollitt began writing articles for the Strines Journal, which was a free newspaper published between 1852 and 1860 by two employees of the Strines Calico Printing Company, situated in the Goyt Valley adjoining Marple, Cheshire. The connection between John Pollitt and the Strines Journal came about in a convoluted way. Joseph Sidebotham (1824-1882) was a member of a mill-owning family with an interest in the nearby Gibraltar Mill at Gee Cross. The Reverend William Parr Greswell of Denton Chapel first tutored the young Joseph who later attended Stockport and Manchester Grammar Schools. In 1849 Joseph became a senior partner in the Strines Calico Printing Company and he was also an early and widely respected amateur photographer who contributed to this journal. Joseph Sidebotham was related to E Joseph Sidebotham who was a patron for the construction of St Anne's Church, Haughton, in 1881.

John Pollitt was also an enumerator for the 1851 census.

The Family of John Pollitt
John Pollitt was born in 1803/04 and, according to the 1851 census, he was born at Haughton, Lancashire. His parents were probably William Pollitt and Mary Torkington who were married at Manchester Cathedral on the 5 May 1801. John's wife was Mary Yates (1805/06-1884), the daughter of William and Elizabeth Yates (née Rawson) who was Christened at Denton Chapel on the 9 February 1806. The couple were married on the 9 September 1834 at St John's Church, Deansgate, Manchester. At the time of his marriage, John Pollitt was a warehouseman.

John and Mary Pollitt had eight children who, with the exception of William, were Christened at Denton Chapel.

NamesWhere BornBirth/BaptismDeath
WilliamStockport, ChesBaptised at St Mary's Church,
Stockport, 18 Oct 1835
ThomasHaughton, Lancs1837
Elizabeth Yates†Denton, Lancs2 Feb 1840
AnnDenton, Lancs24 Dec 1843
JohnDenton, Lancs3 May 1846
SamuelDenton, Lancs23 Apr 1849May 1849
JosephDenton, Lancs23 Apr 1849May 1849
MaryDenton, Lancs6 Oct 1850

†Elizabeth's middle name, Yates, was added after registration.

1841 Census
Chapel Green, Denton
Note: Adult ages rounded down to a multiple of five

NamesAgeOccupationBorn
in Lancs
John POLLITT35SchoolmasterYes
Mary POLLITT35Yes
William POLLITT5Yes
Thomas POLLITT3Yes
Elizabeth POLLITT1Yes
Ann YATES‡15Yes

‡Ann Yates was a relative of Mary Pollitt.

1851 Census
Chapel Green, Denton

NamesHow
Related
StatusAgeOccupationWhere Born
John POLLITTHeadM46SchoolmasterHaughton, Lancs
Mary POLLITTWifeM45SchoolmistressDenton, Lancs
William POLLITTSonUnm15ScholarStockport, Ches
Thomas POLLITTSon13Scholar at homeHaughton, Lancs
Elizabeth POLLITTDaur11Scholar at homeDenton, Lancs
Ann POLLITTDaur8Scholar at homeDenton, Lancs
John POLLITTSon5Scholar at homeDenton, Lancs
Mary POLLITTDaur6 moDenton, Lancs

The Burial Register of Denton Chapel records the following: John Pollitt of Denton died on the 30 October 1854, aged 50 years. Clerk of this Chapel for upwards of 9 years, and Superintendent of the Sunday School.


Rev. William Parr Greswell
Credit: Joseph Sidebotham

William Parr Greswell (1765-1854)
The Reverend William Parr Greswell died in the same year as John Pollitt, on the 12 January 1854, aged 88 years, and the Reverend W Nichol M.A. succeeded him.

He came to Denton in 1791 and the living was very poor, being worth only £50 per annum. To augment his income, and in order that he might also be the tutor of his seven sons, he founded a school in Denton, which became quite well known in the area. In later life, the school occupied the greater part of his day and he was hardly ever seen about Denton until the evening.

Further Reading
Middleton, Thomas, 1936. History of Denton and Haughton. Hamnett Street, Hyde: J Andrew & Co Ltd.

Acknowledgement
Acknowledgement and thanks are due to J Robinson for information about John Pollitt and his family.