THE SANDERSON FAMILY of Leigh, Lancashire


See the Census Transcripts

 See the Parish Register Transcripts for St. Mary’s, Leigh


The name Sanderson  originates from the Sander, a Danish medieval form of Alexander.  Sanderson is literally “son of Sander or son of Alexander”.   Alexander and Sanderson are Septs of Clan MacDonnell of Glengarry.  [More information of the MacDonnell clan history]
Our Sanderson branch have been trace back to the mid 1600s in Leigh, Lancashire. No links with Scotland have been found as yet. Most of the early part of the family tree has been pieced together from the help of Ron Harrison and  the Leigh parish records, although there are sketchy patches that still need to be confirmed.  I would also like to thank Sandie Hammer and Beryl for their help with certificates and other information on their branches.



The head of the family tree is Gyles Sanderson of Astley.  He married Ellin Sale on 4th February, 1645 at Leigh 2.
Unfortunately, the Leigh baptism registers, at his time, do not give the parents of the child being baptised, so it may have to be guesswork as there are a couple of Gyles Sandersons baptised in the early 1600s that could be the ours; the most likely is the one baptised in October 1625 1.  There are also many other Sanderson children baptised at Leigh between 1611 and 1632 that could be siblings of Gyles.   Gyles and Ellin probably had at least one son:

Gyles Sanderson bp 8.2.1646 Leigh  – but were also possibly the parents of 
Henry Sanderson bp 4.11.1648 Leigh, m Elin
Peter Sanderson bp 4.5.1651 Leigh, m Martha Sanderson 

There was a Gyles Sanderson of Bedford buried on 28th April, 1661 at Leigh 2 and we are assuming this is our Gyles (there is another Gyles buried 28th August, 1693 and one with Admin in 1696 which could be his son born 1646 above). We are also assuming that Henry Sanderson is the son of Gyles and Ellin here, but mindful of the fact that he may not be. Henry married an Elin (marriage unknown) and they had these children: 

Sarah Sanderson bp 21.1.1671 Leigh
Nathaniel Sanderson bp 24.8.1673 Leigh
James Sanderson bp 7.5.1676 Leigh
Susan Sanderson bp 16.2.1679 Leigh
John Sanderson of Bedford bp 6.5.1688 Leigh, m 31.1.1714 Leigh to Martha Dunster (bp 6.1.1679? Leigh)
Henry Sanderson bp 24.8.1690 Leigh, ?m 14.5.1717 Leigh to Mary Edwards??



John Sanderson of Bedford married Martha Dunster (daughter of Giles Dunster)  on 31st January 1714 at Leigh 2.  They had at least two children: 

Henry Sanderson bp 21.12.1715 Leigh
Alice Sanderson bp 30.8.1717 Leigh   and possibly
Giles Sanderson bp ? (b abt 1720) Bedford? (no baptism mentioned in Leigh Registers), m 16.4.1745 Leigh to Rachel Derbyshire (bp 2.2.1725 Astley) 

Although Giles Sanderson‘s birth and parentage is not certain, from here on, the descendants are known.  Giles Married Rachel Derbyshire, daughter of James Derbyshire on 16th April, 1745 at Leigh 2.  They had the following children baptised at Astley St. Stephen 3 : 

Martha Sanderson bp 19.5.1745 Astley, d before 1754
Ann Sanderson bp 12.7.1747 Astley, d before 1762              )  twins 
Alice Sanderson bp 12.7.1747 Astley         
Margaret Sanderson bp 22.10.1749 Astley
John Sanderson bp 5.4.1752 Astley
Ellen Sanderson bp 21.7.1754 Astley
Martha Sanderson bp 21.7.1754 Astley
Giles Sanderson (weaver) bp 25.12.1759 Leigh, m 8.2.1780 Leigh to Betty Wainwright, bur 17.5.1827 Leigh
Ann Sanderson bp 16.5.1762 Astley
Rachel Sanderson bp 14.4.1765 Astley

There is a Removal Order for Giles and his wife Rachel filed in 1754 which removed them from Astley to Bedford.  As removal orders usually sent people back to their parish of origin, it appears likely that Giles was born in Bedford and that could suggest that John Sanderson of Bedford may well be his father, bur we cannot be 100% sure. This entry also reveals that their first child Martha, born in 1745, had died some time prior to 1754. [ Transcript of Sanderson Removal Order, held at Lancashire Record Office ref. QSP/1693/8 – date: 1754 3 Jan].



Giles Sanderson born in 1759 born in 1759 was a weaver. He married Betty Wainwright, on 8th February, 1780 at Leigh.  They had the following children: 

Lydia Sanderson bp 4.6.1780 Astley
John Sanderson (cotton weaver) bp 8.12.1783 Leigh, m 3.1.1811 Leigh to Betty Heys
James Sanderson (Farmer/Silk weaver) bp 9.4.1785 Astley Chapel, m 10.6.1813 Man Cath to Mary Clark, d 18.12.1855, bur 22.12.1855 Astley
Rachel Sanderson bp 30.4.1791 Leigh
Sarah Sanderson bp 20.9.1794 Leigh
Jane Sanderson bp 20.5.1797 Leigh

Betty was buried on 10th October, 1826 and Gyles died in 1827 and was buried at Leigh on 17th May. 

James Sanderson, born in 1785 was both a silk weaver and a farmer of Sales House Farm, Moss Side. He married Mary Clark at Manchester Cathedral on 10th June, 1813.  According to the 1841 census and the parish registers of Leigh, they had the following children: 

John Sanderson bp 19.2.1814 Leigh, d before 1824?
Betty Sanderson bp 1815 (no date) Leigh, m ? to William Rigby Hill
James Sanderson (silk weaver) b 1817 Astley, m 10.11.1839 St Marys, Eccles to Pheobe Hayes, d 1872 Birkenhead 
William Sanderson (Agr. labourer) bp 3.10.1818 Leigh, m 1850 Astley to Mary Grundy/Greendy
Martha Sanderson b ? bp 18.3.1821 at Manchester Cathedral?, m 1845 Leigh to George Adamson, d 1846 Leigh
Daniel Sanderson (farmer of Partington Lane Farm, Swinton)  bp 15.6.1822  Leigh, m 1846 to Elizabeth Parker, bur 24.2.1900 Swinton
John Sanderson bp 11.9.1824 Leigh
Thomas Sanderson bp 25.2.1827 Astley, bur 22.10.1828 Leigh
Thomas Sanderson (farmer) bp 4.10.1829 Astley

In the 1841 census of Astley Green, Leigh, James was an agricultural labourer, but was recorded as a farmer of 11 acres by 1851 4.     The farm appears to have been  Sales House Farm on  Astley Moss (now known as Moss Side) and  in 1861, after James and Mary had died,  Thomas Sanderson, their youngest son was farmer.  By then, the far, had 54 acres and Thomas employed two labourers.

James died in an accident on 18th December, 1855.  There was a story kept in the family (told to me by Ron Harrison, fellow researcher and descendant of James – thanks Ron!) that he was returning from Bedford Mill in his horse and cart, when he tumbled at Town Lane.  He died at home six days later.  This story was proved to be true when James’ death certificate was found.  The certificate clearly states ‘died from injuries sustained as a result of a fall from a horse and cart’.   The Leigh Chronical ran a short piece on the accident;

“Fatal Accident at Astley - On the 12th Inst. as James Sanderson, farmer of Astley, was returning from Bedford Mill, in a state of intoxication, he fell out of his cart in Town Lane, Astley, and fractured his skull near the temples. He died of his injuries thus received on Wednesday night.”



James was buried at Astley on 22nd December, 1855 4.  He left a will dated 14th December, 1855 in which he leaves his youngest son Thomas the farming stock and management of the house and all others received a total of  £190. Mary, his widow died the following  6th February, 1856, one day after making her own will. Both James and Mary fail to mention a son John and so we can assume, unless he fell out of favour with both parents, that he had died before them.  Mary was also buried at Astley on 9th February, 1856 4.



James Sanderson, born in 1817 was also a silk weaver.  He married Pheobe Hayes, daughter of Ann Heys at St. Mary’s Church, Eccles on 10th November, 1839.    They had the following children: 

John Sanderson (labourer) b 20.7.1840,  bp 4.10.1840 Astley Green, m 12.2.1860 Garston to Catherine Dunbar (b 1841), d 9.2.1880 Tranmere 
William Sanderson b 1847 Astley, d 1877 Little Hulton aged 30
Martha Sanderson b 1849 Astley, m 1878 to Thomas Kavanagh
Joseph Sanderson b 1850 Astley, d 1869 Little Hulton aged 20
Mary Ann Sanderson b 1855 Astley, m 1876 to James Berry
James Sanderson (workshop labourer) b 1859 Astley

The family were living at Astley Green at the time of the 1861 census, but had moved to Little Hulton in Cheshire by the 1871 census 4.   James died in 1872, aged 55 at Birkenhead, and in 1881 Phoebe was widowed and living with her son James at 15  Manchester Road, Little Hulton, Cheshire 4.  
According to the freeBMD but as yet unconfirmed, Pheobe died in 1886 aged 69 at Farnworth, about 2 miles north of where she was living in 1881.




2 Leigh parish registers 
3 Astley parish registers at Lan opc

4 census returns from                    



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