Biography – Brief Details

Early Years

  • Born on April 28th 1837 to John and Mary Dewhurst in Stone Cross Lane, Lowton, near Wigan, Lancashire.

  • He was their third son, the fourth child of a total of five.


Jonathan’s Parents

  • John Dewhurst was born in1790, in Wigan.

  • Mary was born in 1795 in Wigan.

  • They married August 5th 1828 at All Saints Church, Wigan

John Dewhurst had a variety of jobs:

  • September 1829 – Provision Merchant in Millgate, Wigan.

  • Sept 1831 – Licensed Victualler, Wallgate, Wigan

  • 1833 – Police Officer, Millgate, Wigan

  • 1837 – Jail Turnkey

  • 1838 – 1844 Governor of Wigan Workhouse, Frog Lane

  • 1855 – recorded as being a Provision Merchant

  • 1859 – Innkeeper of the Hare and Hounds in Stone Cross Lane, Lowton.

  • 1878 – Retired and described as a ‘gentleman’


Jonathan’s Siblings

John b. September 9th 1829.

Lucy b. September 20th 1831 Wigan.

  • Became a nurse.

  • In 1851 living with her married stepsister Mary in Market Place, Wigan.

  • In 1855 married Richard Smith.

  • Their son James became the business manager of the Theatre Royal Leigh when Jonathan was Lessee and Manager.

Henry b. October 4th 1833 in Wigan

Rebecca b. October 16th 1839

  • Married Joseph Taylor, a Master Clogger, in 1861

  • Philip Taylor, co-author of Jonathan Dewhurst, is her great-grandson.

    Jonathan’s Education

  • Dame School in Wigan: Miss Cartwright’s at Mab’s Cross

  • Mr Spry’s school in Rodney Street

  • Mechanics’ Institute in Manchester

Jonathan the Young Man

  • 1852 – aged15 – Jonathan started work at the editorial offices of the Leigh Chronicle

  • Later recorded as living with brother John in Manchester and working at the Atlas Works of Sharp, Stewart and Co. – where John was Chief Engineer.

Photos of places in Jonathan’s Life

Jonathan’s Inspiration for the Stage

  • Whilst living with John in Manchester – Jonathan visited the Theatre Royal to see the renowned Irish Shakespearian Actor Barry Sullivan (1821 – 1891).

  • Sullivan’s style has been described as ‘majestic, flamboyant and passionate’.

  • At some stage Jonathan left Manchester to work as a grocer’s assistant in a shop on Market Square, Leigh (where the Town Hall now stands).

  • In rather bizarre circumstances Jonathan was dismissed from his job as grocer’s assistant, but given a ‘note’ of recommendation to Mr Charles Calvert, the famous actor- manager, who had recently been appointed manager of the newly built Prince’s Theatre in Manchester.

  • First professional appearance – at age of 27 – was on April 5th 1865 in Louis XI at the Prince’s Theatre.

  • Cast included the noted actors Henry Irving and Frederick Maccabe as well as Charles Calvert

Click here for brief details of Jonathan’s career

Click here for details of Jonathan’s overseas tours

Click here for details of Jonathan’s major roles