Nat Gould

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Rachel Edensor 1714-1791

Rachel Edensor was baptised at Hartington on 29 November 1714.

She was married to Michael Heathcote, gentleman of Hartington, on 13 March 1751 at Youlgreave in Derbyshire (1). The Heathcote Edensor wedding was the occasion of introducing the talented millwright and canal pioneer James Brindley to the Lancashire colliery owner John Heathcote, the uncle of the bridegroom (2).

Rachel Heathcote nee Edensor was the heir of all her three brothers, Richard, William and John Edensor.

She died at Bagnall in Staffordshire in 1791 and was buried at Hartington on 15 April 1791.

The Heathcote family into which Rachel Edensor married had long been established in Buxton. They were major landowners there in the seventeenth century, having formerly been the tenants of the Earls and Dukes of Newcastle who had owned extensive property in Buxton. However during the English Civil Wars the Duke of Newcastle had fought on the king’s side, and his properties were sequestrated. His widow, the redoubtable Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle tried for many years to recover them, but eventually lost her battle. The Heathcote family were adjudged to have bought their Buxton estate entirely legally, albeit from the Parliamentarians who had confiscated them.

Michael Heathcote and his wife Rachel nee Edensor) had the following children:

Elizabeth Heathcote 1753-1814. She was also known as Betty Heathcote. She was born in 1753, and was married on 3 February 1776 at Manchester Collegiate Church (now the Cathedral) to Dr James Justin Bent 1739-1812 M.D., a surgeon. She died on 23 October 1814 at Basford near Newcastle-under-Lyme (3).

Sir John Edensor Heathcote 1757-1822. He became a leading industrialist.


(1) The Heathcote pedigree in "An Account of some of the Families bearing the name of Heathcote which have descended out of the County of Derby" by the Reverend Evelyn D. Heathcote (1899) pages 190 and 199 gives the year of the marriage as 1750. That year had been previously stated in "The Admission Register of the Manchester School" volume 1 (1730-1775) page 562 published in 1843 and repeated in the Chetham Society edition of the Register published in 1867 page 185, the reference being to the admission to the school of John Edensor Heathcote on 27 January 1773.

However the marriage did not take place until the following year. Chatsworth Estate document L/44/10/9 dated 21 February 1750/1751 is a deed of settlement between "Michael Heathcote of Buxton gentleman and Rachel Edensor of Hartingotn spinster" and others "in view of the intended marriage between Michael Heathcote and Rachel Edensor", concerning the marriage portion paid to Michael Heathcote and provision in lieu of dower made by Michael Heathcote to Rachel Edensor and her issue by the conveyance of specified property in Buxton to Richard Edensor and William Edensor as trustees. The correct date is 13 March 1751 (new style).

(2) John Heathcote was the owner of the Wet Earth Colliery near Worsley in Lancashire. The mine was well named and had become severely flooded. James Brindley solved the problem by ingenious waterworks, and the colliery was able to be worked commercially. It was situated only a short distance from the Worsley coal mine of the Duke of Bridgewater.

(3) ) "Early on Sunday morning last [23 October], in her 62d year, at Basford, near Newcastle, in this county, Elizabeth, relict of the late James Bent, M.D. of that place." Staffordshire Advertiser Saturday 29 October 1814.