Family history of the Jollans family

The Baron family

The Baron family is connected with the Jollans family through Rachel Baron (1891-1972), who married William Jollans.  Rachel’s father was John Washington Baron, one of the founders of the firm of Boardman and Baron, in Great Harwood.

The Baron family has been in Great Harwood for a long time and has been extensively researched, particularly by Flo Montgomery.   Largely as a result of her work, we can trace Rachel’s Baron ancestors right back to the 16th century, and they all seem to have come from Great Harwood or the towns and villages around.  The direct male line is shown below.

I believe my grandmother used to pronounce the surname as bear-on, rather than ba-ron, but I don’t know if this pronunciation is widespread.  See below for more information on:

1.  David Baron and Sarah Baron, née Hargreaves

2.  John Washington Baron and Ellen Baron, née Smith

3.  Lewis Baron

4. Sally, Betty and Kay Baron

5. Ailse Baron and Tom Forsyth

6.  Rachel Jollans, née Baron

7. Line of descent of Rachel Baron


John Washington Baron and Ellen Baron

David Baron and Sarah Baron, née Hargreaves

David Baron was born in Great Harwood in 1842 as the eldest child of John and Mary Baron.  In the 1871 census he is described as a Cloth Packer living at 58 Queen Street, but by 1881 he was a Grocer, living at 4 Queen Street.  He died in 1898 at the age of 55 and was then a Grocer and Confectioner of the Palatine Buildings in Great Harwood.    He was the collector of the market tolls before they were purchased by the Council  and at the time of his death was the treasurer of the local Liberal Club.  He was a Methodist attending the United Methodist Free Church in Cattle Street. 

David Baron obituary notices

Born in 1839 in Egerton, Lancashire, Sarah Hargreaves married David Baron in 1865.  Family legend has it that she was descended from James Hargeaves, the inventor of the Spinning Jenny, but I have not been able to confirm this.  James Hargreaves was born near Blackburn around 1720 and died in 1778, so there would have been three or four generations inbetween.

Sarah Baron obituary notices

They had nine children, the oldest of whom was John Washington Baron.

John Washington Baron and Ellen Baron née Smith

Ellen Baron                             John Washington Baron

At least in later life, John Washington seems to have commonly used both forenames, although I don’t know if this was to avoid confusion with another John Baron, or for some other reason.   He was born in Great Harwood in 1866 and died there in 1943.  By the end of his life he was a successful mill owner, living at a large house, known as ‘The Cedars’, but he began his life in much more humble circumstances.



As a young man he was sub editor of a Manchester Textile Journal and he won a bronze medal with second-class honours in cotton spinning at the technological examinations.  In 1891 the family were living in Stock Street, Cheetham and he is listed as an Assistant Editor. By 1894 he is shown as a Mill Manager living in Lomax Street, possibly working at the Wellington Mill with James Boardman.   He and James Boardman became partners in the Wellington Mill Company and in 1899 they leased Deveron Mill and founded the firm of Boardman and Baron.  They later built Palatine Mill and Waverledge Mill, also in Great Harwood.  For more information see the Great Harwood website.  The cotton industry in Lancashire went through difficult times in the 1920s but Boardman and Baron survived and celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1949.  It was eventually taken over by Birtwistle and Fielding Ltd. in about 1958.



John Washington and his wife Ellen celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1938, surrounded by their extensive family.  They had a total of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls, although 4 of the boys died in infancy.

Back Row: Betty and George Morris, William Jollans, Tom and Ailse Forsyth. 2nd Row: Mary and Lewis Baron, Hannah Baron, Rachel Jollans, Jimmy Oxenham. 3rd row: Bill Jollans, Sandy Baron, John Washington Baron, Ellen Baron, Aunt Molly (Mary Lane née Baron), Kay Oxenham. 4th row: Jack Lane, Alice Davies (family friend?), Nancy Smith née Baron, Lewis Jollans. Front Row: Ian Forsyth, Sue Morris, Ann Forsyth, Helen Morris, Margaret Forsyth, Peggy Jollans, Christine Jollans




John Washington Baron was very active in local politics as a keen Liberal.  He was a member of Great Harwood Council for eight years and of Lancashire County Council for 30 years.  For many years he was chairman of the County Elementary Education Committee and he was made an Alderman in 1934.  He was also chairman of the Executive Committee of Clitheroe Division Liberal Association and of the Executive Committee of Great Harwood Liberal Club, but resigned from the latter when it decided to sell 'intoxicating liquor', in opposition to his temperance principles.

He was a Methodist local preacher, presumably from the age of 20, as he received a certificate recognising 48 years of service as a lay preacher in 1934.   He was the first chairman of the Governors of Flixton Secondary Modern School when it was built and opened in 1933.

John Washington Baron obituary

Henry Lewis Baron

Lewis Baron was the one surviving son of John Washington and Ellen Baron, born in 1902.  He went into the family business and became a Director of Boardman and Baron.  He married Mary Whalley and they had one child, Jill.  They lived at 21 Allsprings Drive, Great Harwood , before retiring to the Lake District in 1960, where they lived at Arnbarrow, Sandside, Milnthorpe.

He was very active in the Scout movement, first as Scoutmaster of the 3rd Great Harwood troop from 1924 to 1931, then Group Scoutmaster of the 2nd Pendle, Assistant District Commissioner for Pendle from 1930 and County Commissioner for North East Lancashire from 1954.  Then after he moved to the Lake District, he became County Commissioner for Westmorland.  He was awarded the Silver Wolf, the highest honour of the Scout movement, just before he died, and was due to receive it from the Chief Scout on St. George`s Day in 1965, if he had not died just before.


See the Photo Gallery for larger readable versions of these newspaper cuttings.






Sandy, Betty and Kay Baron

Rachel Baron had four sisters, born between 1893 and 1904, all younger than her.   With just one surviving brother, it must have been a very female dominated family.  Four of the five Baron girls married, but Sarah (known as Sandy) remained single, and Kay’s marriage ended in divorce, with no children.  Betty’s husband died in 1950 and by the 1960s, it seemed again to be a very female-dominated family, with Great Aunts often visiting my grandmother, but little evidence of Great Uncles or cousins in the next generation.

Sandy Baron                                  Betty Baron                              Kay Baron

Betty married Tom Morris and they had two children     For some time she worked as a personal assistant to a children’s author called Elfrida Vipont.   The only book of hers I was aware of as a child was a book of prayers of children that I was presented with as a (rather disappointing) Birthday present, but she wrote a lot of other books too.

Kay married Jimmy Oxenham and moved to live in South Africa.  However the marriage didn’t last and at some stage they divorced and Kay came back to the UK. She was the last survivor of the sisters and lived for a time at the end of her life in a care home in York, linked to the Quakers, where she suffered increasingly from dementia.

Ailse Baron and Tom Forsyth

I don't recall ever meeting Alice Baron (known as Ailse), the fourth of my grandmother's sisters.   She was born in 1894 as the third of the five sisters, and married Tom Forsyth, who I believe was a GP.  They may have lived further away and visited Rachel less often.   Ailse and Tom had three children, two girls and a boy.  The eldest girl, Margaret, was a lecturer at the University College of Swansea, where she met and married another lecturer, Keble Sykes, who went on to become a professor of Physical Chemistry at Queen Mary College in London and Vice-Principal of the college from 1976 to 1986.  The younger daughter, Barbara Anne Forsyth (known as Anne), married Anthony Dawson, a consultant at St. Bartholomew's hospital in London, who was for a time physician to the Queen and Head of Her Majesty's Medical Household.  In 1993 he was awarded a knighthood.  Their son, James Ian Forsyth, I think may also have been a GP.

Tom and Ailse Forsyth at the Baron Golden Wedding

Tom Forsyth              

Keble Sykes Obituary from the Independent 1997

Line of descent of Rachel Baron

1. Edmond Baron (1586 - ?)

2. Christopher Baron (1608 - ?) m Elizabeth Tildsley

3. Robert Baron (1642 – 1691) m Ceciley Holdsworth or Clarke

4. Henry Baron (1673 – 1728) m Alice Walkden

5. Robert Baron (1704 - 1781) m Alice Mitchel

6. James Baron (1743 - ?) m Ellen Bradshaw

7. John Baron (1779 - ?) m Hannah Whalley

8. John Baron (1815-1851) m Mary Hindle

9. David Baron (1842-1898) m Sarah Hargreaves

10. John Washington Baron (1886-1943) m Ellen Smith

11. Rachel Baron (1891-1972) m William Jollans