Death Record of
Joshua Ashcroft

Record of death for Joshua Ashcroft, 17 July 1806

Joshua Ashcroft, a slater, and Esther Harrison had been married just over six years when Joshua fell from a roof he was working on in Manchester and died. Nothing further is known about Esther - no census record, no death record, no record of another marriage.

"Joshua Ashcroft, [died] 17 July 1806, [buried] 17 July 1806, 28 Y [years], killed." Joshua was buried at St. James Church, George Street, in Manchester, where his first wife, Sarah Barber, and his daughter, Mary Sarah, were buried. Most of the burials took place two or three days after the death, but Joshua was buried the same day that he died.

According to researcher Tony Ashcroft, Joshua fell from the roof of a warehouse he was working on near St. Anne's Square in the center of Manchester. "The inscription on Joshua’s gravestone mentioned his tragic misfortune as well as a quote, possibly biblical, warning us to take heed from Joshua’s untimely death of the uncertainty of human life. Joshua’s age was recorded as 28. St James’s Church was demolished in the late 19th Century and presumably the gravestone was lost. The site now lies at the heart of Manchester’s Chinatown. The genealogically important inscription was recorded in documents known as Owen’s Manuscripts before the demolition and microfilms of these are kept at Manchester Central Library."

From Owen’s Manuscripts, Monumental Inscriptions, St. James, George Street, Manchester, vol. 24, p.97:

74. Joshua Ashcroft July 17 1806 a 28 y. His death was occasioned by a fall from a Warehouse. An awfull warning to us of the uncertainty of human life. Take heed watch and pray for ye know not when the time is. Sarah W of Joshua Ashcroft April 5 1800 a 21 y. Mary Dau May 24 1800 a 9 weeks.

From the Manchester Mercury and Harrop's General Advertiser, Tuesday 22 July 1806, p.4, bottom of column 5. This paper came out once a week:

On Thursday last a man accidentally fell from the roof of a very lofty warehouse in Crow Alley, St Anne’s Square , and was so dreadfully maimed that he expired in less than half an hour

Image source: Parish register transcript, St. James [Church of England], Manchester, England, compiled by Bertram William Tuff Norman. FHL book 942.72/ M1, V26mja vol.4 [includes burials, Dec. 1786-Dec. 1812]. FHL MF 924194 Items 1-6), p.83.

The information from Owen's Manuscripts and the newspaper account are thanks to Tony Ashcroft, descendant and researcher.

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15 June 2012