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Edward Barlow

Edward Barlow's illustrated journal covers his early life in Manchester and also later, at sea in East and West Indiamen.

He was one of six children baptised by George Barlow, a poor farmer in Whitefield.

Edward was the younger child, and was baptised at St Mary's Prestwich on the 6th March 1641/2 (the new year didn't begin until the 25th March).

He grew up performing casual labour in local farms and coal pits to earn money, though he did attend school for a time. He records his father's earnings as about £8 a year.

Edward's drawing of Manchester (~1653)

Wilson, in his History of Prestwich writes:

Edward Barlow who was born in Prestwich In 1642, tells in his Journal that his father, a husbandman, earned £8 or £9 a year and that he, himself, when a boy went in rags until he was able to earn a few pence by working at harvest or carrying coal from the coal pits. With the money thus earned he was able to buy clothes and then was able to attend Prestwich Church.

At the age of about twelve (~1653) he left home to be apprenticed to a whitster (bleacher) in Manchester.

It's unsure when he wrote the journal, either as he went along on his adventures, or as a memoir in his later years. Edmund Barlow, says in his journal that his family lived in Whitefield, Prestwich. Today we know these as two different Towns, but what he probably meant was Whitefield in the Parish of Prestwich.

The Parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham

The Parish back then stretched from Ringley and Prestolee on the Irwell in the West to Oldham in the East, and also stretched from Prestwich's borders with Salford and Manchester up to Unsworth in the North (including Whitefield and South of the Irwell at Radcliffe Bridge). Whitefield didn't get it's own Church, All Saints at Stand, until 1826.

Edward leaves home

Edmund leaves his mother, and his family home behind him, as he sets off to sail on the Naseby, the ship that brought Charles II back from Holland in 1660. It is thought that the building shown in the drawing is Deyne Hall in Prestwich with the hill being Clarks Hill, however Edward wrote on the painting "My father's house in the Whitfield".

"My Father's House"

View the full journal, held at the Royal Museum Greenwich, here