Old Ralph or Ralph ‘Raphe’ Elson, is my 9x great-grandfather, he lived between 1657 – 1729 and was resident of Ryton, Oldham, Lancashire where the surname Elson can still be found today.
The name Old Ralph was written into his burial record, probably to separate him from younger generations that carried the same name. He may even have been referred to as Old Ralph during his lifetime.
I know little about the Elson Family, and the eldest generation I have records for exist with his father, also known as Ralph but spelt in Old English as Raffe Elson.
Old Ralph was three years old when King Charles II was restored to the throne and during his lifetime he witnessed the last years of the Commonwealth of England, Restoration of the monarchy, and four reigning monarchs.
He married Ann Heawood or Heywood on the 29th August 1689 in Oldham and went on to have six children, Samuel, Jane, Roger, Edmund, Raphe and Mary.
Ryton today is known as Royton and historically it formed a small township centred on Royton Hall, a manor house owned by a long succession of dignitaries which included the Byrons and Radcliffes. A settlement expanded outwards from the hall which, by as late as 1780, “contained only a few straggling and mean-built cottages”. Farming was the main industry of this rural area and it’s very likely that the Elson family were employed within this industry. I haven’t found any evidence to suggest they were Yeoman farmers and so likely they were employed and worked the land for others.