AN appeal has gone out to Looking Back readers to see if they can help return a precious family bible.

The ornate bible, complete with full-colour engravings, is currently in Eindhoven in the Netherlands in the possession of retired English teacher Jan den Draak but Jan believes that the bible’s rightful home should be in Blackburn.

“The bible was given to me by my uncle and aunt. They had bought it from an antique dealer in Dordrecht somewhere in the 1980s and they gave it to me because of my interest in the English language.

“I have no idea how the bible found its way to the Netherlands.”

The bible was presented to a Richard and Elizabeth Heaton when they were married at St Catherine’s Church in Wigan on August 26, 1891.

From the research he has been able to do it appears as thought the couple ran at the Unicorn pub in Wigan around 1899/1900 and the Bird I’th Hand Pub around 1906. In 1911 the family moved to Belthorn Road, Blackburn and subsequently moved to Rose Hill Terrace, Guide

They had four children - Ellen, Elizabeth, James who died less than a year old, and then another son James.

James married Evelyn Norris at New Jerusalem Church in July 1932. They had a son John Heaton, born at Queens Park Hospital, Blackburn on April 16, 1935.

Records from 1939 show that Elizabeth, then a widow, was living at Haslingden Road with her two unmarried daughters. Ellen Heaton, born on March 2, 1892, died in Blackburn in 1978.

“I am hoping that readers will help me trace John Heaton or his descendants as I would love to return the bible to the family,” said Jan.

“It is an important piece of their family history and although it is a lovely bible for me to have, I think it should be returned to the Heaton family if possible.”

If anyone knows of the Heaton family and thinks they might be able to help Jan in his question, then contact us at