Thomas, a saddlemaker in Newbold Astbury is the earliest probably identified in a direct line down to me and very many of us. He made a Will in 1705 and in it he names:
Ann his “beloved wife”, youngest son Joshua, son Thomas, son-in-law John OAKES and his “now wife” Ann and their children, son-in-law John MAYRE and his wife, daughter Sarah’s children, grandchild Hannah MALKIN, Richard CLOWES and his wife. Joshua was appointed Executor on 26th November 1707.
This is an extremely helpful document, even including an inventory [see below], and I also have the Will of his wife Anne who died in 1717 which is equally helpful with names. Not so for that of Thomas who died in 1729; he does name wife Mary but otherwise he says his estate is “to be equally divided amongst my own relations and my wifes relations share and share alike according as the executrix and executor shall find” which must have given them a headache.
A link between Astbury and migration to Lancashire is given in the Will of Joshua dated 1802; his son and executor is Joseph of “Boulton, Lankeshire”. When the Will was proved in 1805 Joseph lived in Bengal Square, Bolton. A Joseph and a Thomas are at Bengal Square in an 1811 census of Great Bolton.
[Inventory with Will WS1707 from Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies]