Gosling is a name found in several areas on the Lancashire/Cheshire border, as well as in Norfolk, Suffolk and London. The family was frequently associated with the silk textile trade, which spread from Suffolk to the Cheshire towns of Hazel Grove and Macclesfield, although the name may have already existed in Macclesfield before the arrival of the silk trade, as the earliest reference is in 1550. The usual spelling prior to 1750 was Gesling, which rather tends to support a Norman French etymology, deriving from "Jocelyn" - a double diminutive of the Breton saint's name "Josse". However, it may possibly have developed from the Germanic "Gauzelen" or "Gothling".


The first Gosling in our tree is William Gosling, who was recorded in the 1841 UK census as a 15 year-old silk weaver born in Macclesfield, and lodging with a family in Bosden, Cheshire. (Bosden was one of the three townships which made up Hazel Grove.)   His parentage is unsure, but his marriage certificate shows no father's name, indicating that he was probably illegitimate.


William married Alice Johnson at St Mary's Church, Cheadle on 9 August 1846.  Alice was born in Bosden in about 1825, and was either the daughter or granddaughter of Thomas Johnson, a silk weaver, and his wife Alice Marsland.  (The 1851 census records her as their daughter, but she was born 20 years after her two older siblings, and no father's name is given on her marriage certificate.)


William and Alice had ten chidren:












Emma Gosling

Jane Gosling

John Gosling

Elizabeth Gosling

James Gosling

Mary Ellen Gosling

Sarah Gosling

Annie Gosling

Alice Gosling

William Gosling











m. William Hirst, 1868

m. Alice Copeland, 1877

m. Mary Ann Walton, 1878

m. Edwin Maynard Shapley, 1882

m. Robert Arthur Ray, 1891

m. Annie Hinton, 1891

During the early years of their marriage, they lived with Thomas and Alice Johnson, working like them as silk weavers.  However, the silk trade was to experience great difficulties due to the removal of tariffs against French silk, and when William and Alice's fifth child was born in 1855, William was working a a labourer in Stockport.


On 7 July 1857, William joined the Cheshire police, and was stationed briefly at Didsbury before moving to Sworton Heath near Lymm.  He left the police force in 1863 to take over the license of the Wheatsheaf Inn at Broomedge, just outside Lymm.  The family also ran a shop and dressmaking business adjoining the inn.


William died of phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) at Broomedge on 17 September 1875.  His widow Alice retained the license of the Wheatsheaf until 1894, and died at her son John's home in Stockton Heath on 29 August 1908.


Emma Gosling was born in Hazel Grove on 23 December 1846, and married William Hirst, a brickmaker, at St Mary's Church, Manchester on 27 July 1898.  William was born in Aston-under-Lyne in 1846, and was the son of Yorkshire-born brickmaker Elias Hirst and his wife Sarah Lees, who moved to Lymm shortly after William's birth.


William and Emma had one child:



Elias Hirst


m. Martha Rowlinson, 1889

William died in Lymm in 1871, and Emma married John Southern, a tanner, at St Paul's Church, Warrington in 1875.  Joseph was born in Mere, Cheshire in 1839, and was the son of Joseph Southern and his wife, Betty Blease.  Emma and Joseph had two sons:



Joseph William Southern

John Ernest Southern



m. Florence Annie Johnson, 1898

m. Amy Burrows, 1904

Emma was buried in St Mary's churchyard in Lymm on 23 July 1898.  John died in Lymm in 1923.

John Gosling was born in Hazel Grove, and christened there on 30 November 1850.  He joined the police force as a young man, and married Alice Copeland at St Mary's Church, Birkenhead in 1877.  Alice was christened in Hanbury, Staffordshire on 28 May 1854, and was the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Copeland.


John and Alice had nine children:











William Ernest Gosling

Alfred Sydney Gosling

John Henry Gosling

Edith Mary Gosling

Beatrice Alice Gosling

Ethel Maud Gosling

Harold Percy Gosling

Charles Hector Gosling

Edgar Gosling










m. Mary Ann Hough, 1912

m. Blanche Selina Butcher, 1911

m. Frederick Daintith, 1912

m. George William Newall, 1916

m. Mary Elizabeth Wilkinson, 1917

m. Evelyn Jackson, 1926

John remained in the police force until his retirement, reaching the rank of sergeant, and winning a police medal for bravery.  He died in Stockton Heath on 18 April 1917.  Alice died on 24 September 1926, and most of the  family are buried at St John' Church, Stockton Heath.



James Gosling was born in Stockport in 1855, and later moved to Birkenhead, where he worked as a timekeeper in an iron works.  He was a witness at his brother John's wedding in 1877, and married Mary Ann Walton at St Mary's Church, Birkenhead on 12 December 1878.  Mary Ann was born in Liverpool in 1851, and was the daughter of John Walton, a blacksmith, and his wife Ann Pickthall. 


Mary Ann died at her parents' home in Birkenhead on 22 September 1882 of Bright's Disease (an old term for acute or chronic nephritis), and the death was registered by her father: it is unclear where her husband was at this time.


I have been unable to locate James on the 1891 or 1901 censuses, but in 1911 he was living in Bootle with his second wife Ellen (born in Armagh), and on the census form they stated that they had been married for ten years.  He died in the West Derby area in 1925.



Annie Gosling was born in Lymm on 11 August 1861, and worked with her sisters as a dressmaker before her marriage.  She married Edwin Maynard Shapley a cashier, at St Peter's Church, Oughtrington on 5 September 1882.  Edwin was born in 1857 in Monks Coppenhall, Cheshire, and was the son of James Shapley, an engine fitter from Berkshire, and his wife Ellen Ransom.  (His sister Laura Helen Shapley married Edwin Belliss, chief engineer on the Isle of Man Packet Company's ill-fated SS Ellen Vannin, which was lost with all hands on 3 December 1909.)


Edwin and Annie had three children:




Alice Maynard Shapley

Nellie Gladys Shapley

Alfred Edwin Shapley




m. Frederick T Gibbs, 1920

m. Hannah Constance Fisher, 1915

By 1901, the family had moved to Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and they later lived in Leeds.


During World War 1, Alfred Edwin Shapley became a lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusiliers, and was killed in action on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  This was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army, with over 19,000 deaths and twice as many wounded.  Like thousands of others, Alfred has no known grave, and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.


Annie died in Leeds in 1943, and Edwin in 1944.



Alice Gosling was born in Lymm in 1864, and was a "lady's help" on the 1891 census.  She married Robert Arthur Ray, an accountant, in St John's Church, Bootle on 7 December 1891.  Robert was born in Liverpool on 18 March 1869, and was the son of Robert Ray, a schoolmaster, and his wife Jane Green.


Robert and Alice had one daughter:



Dorothy Gwendoline Ray


m. Harry Eustace Perry, 1917

Alice died in New Ferry on 27 May 1946, and Robert on 17 March 1949.

Elias Hirst, son of William Hirst and Emma Gosling, was christened in Lymm on 1 November 1868, and married Martha Rowlinson there in 1889.  Martha was born in Lymm in 1871, and was the daughter of Levi Rowlinson and his wife Ellen Woodall.  The couple had six children:








Winifred Hirst Rowlinson

William Woodall Hirst

Martha Ellen Hirst

Edith Hirst

Clara Hirst

Vera Hirst







m. Samuel Swain, 1906

m. Bertha Pickles, 1926

m. Harry Nicholls, 1918

m. John Wright, 1920

m. Reginald Byram, 1926

Martha died in Lymm on 9 February 1922, and Elias on 2 May 1944.



Joseph William Southern, older son of John Southern and Emma Gosling, was born in Lymm in 1875, and married Florence Annie Johnson in Bury in 1898.  Florence was born in Guide Bridge, Lancashire in about 1875.  Joseph was a gardener, and the couple had three children, all born in Bury:





Emma Southern

Joseph Southern

Ernest Southern




m. George Tinsley, 1923

Joseph died in 1945 in Bury and Florence died in Heywood in 1956.



John Ernest Southern, younger son of John Southern and Emma Gosling, was born in Lymm and baptised in St Peter's Church, Oughtrington on 29 August 1880.  He married Amy Burrows in Lymm Wesleyan Chapel on 20 January 1904, and they had one daughter:



Ida Mary Southern


m. William Pearson, 1954

John served in the Royal Lancashire Regiment during WW1 and was hospitalised in February 1917 with trench foot, an unpleasant infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and insanitary conditions.  He was transferred to the Labour Corps at the end of 1917.


John died in Lymm on 30 January 1940 and Amy died in 1962.



Alfred Sydney Gosling, son of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was born in Tattenhall on 26 June 1880, and married Mary Ann Hough in St Thomas' Church, Stockton Heath on 12 May 1912.  Mary Ann was born in Grappenhall on 4 September, 1870, and was the daughter of John and Ann Hough.  The couple had a daughter:



Elsie Grace Gosling


m. Samuel Alfred Leech, 1937

Alfred died in Caernarfon on 7 February 1960.



John Henry Gosling, son of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was born in Wharton on 1 June 1882, and as a young man worked as an iron moulder in a stove works.  However, he enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 19 August 1903 and served with the RMLI until 1919.  He married Blanche Selina Butcher in Alverchurch, Hampshire in early 1911.   Blanche, who had previously been married to John Anthony Kitchen, was born in Warminster in 1885, and was the youngest daughter of Albert Butcher and his wife Harriet Sly. 


Blanche and John had three children, but only one survived infancy:





Ernest Henry Gosling

Frederick C Gosling

Female Gosling




Blanche died in St Helens in 1948.



Edith Mary Gosling, daughter of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was born in Winsford, Cheshire on 6 April 1884, and married Frederick Daintith in St Elphin's Church, Warrington on 11 February 1912.  Frederick was born in Warrington on 25 August 1885, and was the son of Henry Daintith and Mary Ann Green. 


Frederick and Edith had one son, who died in infancy:



Frederick Daintith


Frederick died in Runcorn in 1945, and Edith died in Warrington in 1958.



Ethel Maud Gosling, daughter of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was christened in Runcorn on 19 August 1888, and married George William Newall in Warrington register office on 8 April 1916.  George was born in Latchford on 1 July 1892, and was the son of Arthur Newall and his wife Frances Beatrice Lake.


George and Ethel had one daughter:



Zena Maud Newall


m. John Jones, 1943

George worked for the Post Office engineering department, and during WW1 he served in the Royal Engineers Signal Service.


Ethel died in 1957, and George in 1987.



Harold Percy Gosling, son of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was born in Runcorn in 1891, and married Mary Elizabeth Wilkinson in 1917.  They had six children:








Harold P Gosling

Edna J Gosling

Edith M Gosling

Joan Thelma Gosling

Norman Eric Gosling

Barbara Gosling







m. Marie L L Leyssens, 1946

m. Harold Leigh, 1942

m. William Beacham, 1941

m. Donald Samuel Wilson, 1947

m. Mary Casey, 1951

m. Harry Worthington, 1953

Harold died in Stockton Heath on 26 April 1944, and Mary on 8 September 1964.



Charles Hector Gosling, son of John Gosling and Alice Copeland, was born in Runcorn in 1893, and worked as a cycle belt maker prior to WW1.  He enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 6 December 1915, and was initially assigned to home defenses as part of 310th Siege Battery, before embarking for France in May 1917.  While in France he contracted trench nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys which was epidemic among soldiers during the Great War.  He was invalided home to England in January 1918, but apparently suffered no lasting ill-efffects, and was finally discharged from the Army in good health in 1919.


Charles married Bessie Jackson in Runcorn in 1921, and had one son:



Alan Charles Gosling


m. May Teggin, 1953

Charles died in Stockton Heath on 28 July 1947, and Bessie on 6 June 1948.


If you have any queries, corrections, or information to share about any of the people mentioned here, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Ditchfield | Dowding | Goodwin | Gosling | Gregory | Griffin | Hallett | Hallworth | Hinton | Jackson | James | Johnson (Cheshire) | Johnson (Shropshire) | Jones | Massey | Miller | Moores | Potts | Sorton | Wharington