Elizabeth “Betty” Swarbrick was born in Cabus, Lancashire in 1818. She was the daughter of Matthew Swarbrick, a local farmer, and Dorothy Chippindale. She was baptized on 18 October 1818 at St. Helen’s Anglican church in Garstang.

We have no record of Betty’s childhood until her marriage at age 19 to Henry Barton of Barton. They married in The Parochial Chapel of Broughton on 24 May 1838. Their first son Richard Barton was born in Broughton shortly thereafter. In 1839, their second son Edward was born up the road in Barton.

The 1841 census records Henry, Betty, and their first three children at Almond’s Crosses in Barton. The 1851 census records the family with six children at a farm simply called Crosses. One of their children, Elizabeth evidently died between the two census dates. The couple named a second daughter Elizabeth.

The Barton family suffered a significant upheaval during the 1850s for reasons unknown. Circa 1852, the family moved from Barton to 5 Park Road in Preston. Henry got work as a labourer. In 1853, their youngest daughter, Dorothy Ann, died at age 2. It is possible that the family’s move was connected to Dorothy Ann’s illness, which lasted for seven months before she died.

Within a few years of Dorothy Ann’s death, Henry Barton died or otherwise left; the family broke apart. Betty moved to the village of Scorton near Cabus with her three youngest children, probably because she had family there. It is believed that Edward Barton went to live with an uncle in Barton.

In the 1861 census, Betty Swarbrick-Barton, age 42, was living in Scorton (near Cabus) as a lodger in the home of Edward and Mary Davis and was working as a charwoman. Betty listed her marital status as “Married,” which could have been an error or could have indicated that Henry Barton was not dead but otherwise incapacitated or estranged. Betty’s youngest son Henry, age 13, was enumerated in 1861 living nearby in Scorton with her sister, Nancy Eccles. Also living with Nancy Eccles was Betty’s aunt, Agnes Chippendale. Betty’s eldest daughter Margaret, age 18, was enumerated lodging with a family in Scorton and working as a cotton throttle spinner. Her daughter Elizabeth, age 13, was most likely living about 10 km away in the village of Quernmore working as a nanny and nurse for a couple named Richard and Susanna Gardner. Gardner was the maiden name of Betty’s grandmother, so Richard and Susanna may also have been relatives.

The 1861 census is the last record of Betty Swarbrick. She may have died during the 1860s, or as she was only age 42 in 1861, it is possible that she remarried.

Source Documents


  • Christening: 1818-10-18, Garstang St Helen;
  • Residence: 1839-09-19, Broughton, Lancaster;

    Per Edward Barton’s Birth Registration.

  • Residence: 1842-06-07, Barton, Lancaster;

    Per Margaret Barton’s Birth Certificate.