"Antiquities, or remnants of history, are 'tanquam tabula naufragii', when industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time. In these kinds of imperfect histories I do assign no deficience, for they are 'tanquam imperfecta mista', and therefore any deficience in them is but their nature. "
Bacon, "The Advancement of Learning"

This is not History (see E. H. Carr, "What is History", xxxx lextures, xxxx College, Oxford, Penguin, 19xx ), nor is it genealogy. It is an attempt to collect together fragmentary evidences of long-past events from a wide variety of sources in a form in which they can be readily accessed and correlated. It is also an experiment in the use of hypertext to collect and arrange this sort of material.
It might perhaps be best regarded as a historian's notebook or file prior to the writing of an historical account. There is real history to be extracted from these fragments: one can trace the way a small group of families maintained their independent existence and wealth (property) by marriages within the group. One can also trace the physical movements of the group, 'up-river and into harder country' as the population increased.
I have centered this group of about 20 families on the Lancashire-Yorkshire borders quite arbitrarily around the Catterall family, but a case could be made that the Catteralls are the oldest family of the group, with origins in the reign of King Aethelstan around 930 AD. The Towneley and Talbot families could equally well make similar claims. A little bit of 'history'

The presentation of genealogical 'trees', particularly for several inter-linked families is both difficult and very space-consuming on paper. It is, however, ideally suited to presentation in a hypertext format. I have adopted the following scheme:
The basic unit of the genealogical tree structure is the generation, a group of people living at the same time and related by the basic family: father, mother and children. This forms the basis of a single screen of information. Since screen space is very limited, a generation may be split into several screens (many children, several wives, illegitimate children etc.)

I follow the conventional genealogical structure in which the male line is the significant line of descent - it preserves the surname - and include multiple wives and their children in a 'generation', but I only include multiple husbands without their children. Illegitimate chilren and their mothers are also included in a 'generation' since they were generally fully recognized in earlier times, and often had their own inheritance, and often taking the father's surname. In a few cases within this genealogical structure, the husband has taken the wife's surname on marriage (the Towneleys are an example where the husband, de la Legh assumed the name of Towneley on his marriage to a Towneley daughter.) The only thing to be said about my approach in these cases is that it is no more inconsistent than the behaviour of the husband.

The 'screens' making up a 'generation' are linked horizontally by hypertext links - i.e by following links represented by left or right arrows.

Generations are linked vertically by hypertext links - i.e. by following links represented by up and down arrows. Thus up arrows move back in time to the preceding generation, and down arrows move forward in time to the succeeding generation.

Links between families are achieved by both up and down links, so that each family screen can be seen as the center of a 'star' structure. Above the family are (at least) two families, those of the father and the mother. Below the family, there are the main male line and the diverging branches of the family created by marriages of younger sons. There are also the cross links to other family trees created by marriages of daughters.

Within this structure of hypertext links, you can move backwards and forwards in any direction without the use of the 'back' button of your browser.

The HTML code was all 'hand-produced' using the Open Software Foundation's
GNU Emacs-19.30 editor on a SUN Sparc 2 /Solaris 2.5.1, and is HTML 4.0 compliant, but for maximum user agent coverage, the bulk of the code is HTML 3.2.     Apache 1.3.3     was used for development of the site. I reserve the right to use HTML 4.0 extensions at any time in the future. The production site is served using     Apache 1.3.12     from a SUN UltraSparc running Solaris 8.

This is a 'query and response' system. Queries are made by selections in the side frames, and responses (reports) appear in the center frame. The top and bottom frames provide additional material related to the reports.

The frames in the window (full screen) are arranged like this:

All frames will adapt to the size of your screen and its resolution, but best results will be obtained with SVGA or better (800x600-ish pixels.) All frames are non-resizeable, and cannot be moved. Scroll bars will appear when required. The frame structure is initially slow to build (and dependendent upon the processing power of your computer), but once established the query and response should be much faster. Some of the maps are large and will take time to download, but warnings are displayed.

The two side frames on the left of the center frame allow you to select queries about places.


The upper left (Places) frame is a list of places. This is effectively a 'coarse' control; selecting a place will, for example, display a photgraph of the place in the center frame.


The lower left (Maps) frame. At the top of this frame there is a list of Historical Maps which can be viewed in the center (Reports) frame. I obtained little information from the Saxton map of 1579, or the Speed map of 1610, but it is a pleasure to look them. The Yates and Hennet maps both provide significant information about both places and owners. Indexes to the sheets of the Yates and Hennet maps are displayed in the bottom (Information) frame, and the maps are displayed in the center frame by clicking on items in the indexes.

The First Edition Ordnance Survey maps at a scale of 1:10,560 (6" to the mile) provide a wealth of information on place names which have now disappeared. There are about 800 of these Ordnance Survey sheets needed to cover the 'Catterall' area of Lancahire and Yorkshire, and indexes to links to these can obtained in the bottom (Information) frame by clicking on the titles.

Lower in the lower left (Maps) frame there is also a list of places under the heading Locality Maps . This is effectively a 'fine' control: selecting a place will display, in the bottom (Information) frame, a list of available maps at various scales for the place. Selecting one of the scales will display the map in the center frame. Maps are of both types: 'locational' (how to find the place) and 'historic' (what the area looked like 150 years ago from the Ordnance Survey First Edition maps at 1:10,560.)

The two side frames on the right allow you to select queries about families.


The upper right (Families) frame is a list of families. This is a 'very coarse' control: it allows you to select a family by name. Selecting a family will display a dateline for the family in the lower right (Dateline) frame. This frame also has a link at the top to re-display this introduction in the center frame.


The lower right (Dateline) frame displays a list of dates. This is effectively a 'coarse' control: selecting a date will display, in the center (Report) frame, the first screen of the descent (pedigree) for the segment (a segment is the generation - father, mother and children - closest to the date selected). Within the screen displayed in the center (Reports) frame are links ('fine' controls) which allow you to move backwards and forwards in time to previous or following segments, to move 'sideways' to other screens of the current segment, and switch to other family lines following marriages.


The center (Reports) frame is where the responses to your queries are displayed. Sometimes these reports contain links to additional information which will be displayed in the bottom (Information) frame, leaving the response in the center (Reports) frame visible.


The top left (Acknowledgements) frame is informational; it provides acknowledgements to people who have helped or contibuted to this site. The acknowledgements displayed are relevant to the material displayed in the center (Reports) frame in response to your query. The only queries that can be initiated from this frame are to other web sites associated with the people/products acknowledged.


The top center (Arms) frame is primarily decorative; it displays the Catterall family coat of arms and crest. Two simple queries are available from this frame. Clicking on the 'shield' will display the formal description of the arms in the center (Reports) frame. Clicking on the 'cat' will display the formal description of the crest in the center (Reports) frame.


The top right (History) frame is used to present some background history relevant to the area and periods the Catteralls inhabited. This material is more general history, although there are cross-links to Catterall history. The same frame also gives access to reference material (References) to the sources from which information in the center frame was obtained, and also displays (redisplays) this Introduction in the center (Reports) frame. The only queries from this frame are for an expansion of abbreviations used for common reference material (the References link), and for the display of this Introduction material in the center (Reports) frame.


The bottom (Information) frame is used to display additional information generated in response to activating links in either the center (Reports) or lower left (Maps) frames.

When you first link to, the center frame contains this introduction (this is only temporary, to make sure you see the 'BEWARE' warning about the alpha state of this release). As the site stabilizes, the Introduction will be replaced by a graphic, and the Introduction will have to be called up from the top right (History) frame.

The upper left (Places) frame contains a list links to places, while the lowers left (Maps) frame contains a list of links to Historical and Locality maps available. These frames provide initial entry points for queries to the historical database.

The upper right (Families) frame contains a list of links to the various family trees covered by the site. This frame provides another initial entry point for queries to the historical database.

The top left (Acknowledgements) frame contains the Catterall family motto 'quod tuum tene' and a translation, the top right frame (History) contains an old 'couplet' about the Catterall desmesne (home farm lands) at Little Mitton,

The lower right (Dateline) and bottom (Information) frames are empty. These frames are used for expansion and refinement of queries.