There are quite a lot of posts here now, so here’s a summary of who I’ve written about.

My ancestors in Ireland

The Devon branch

Sir Hugh Clotworthy (d 1630) married Mary Langford, the daughter of Roger Langford of Broadwoodwidger in Devon, the brother-in-law of Brute Browne, an officer who served with Sir Francis Drake.

Among other children, their daughter Mary Clotworthy married Henry Upton (1598-1642), great-nephew of Sir Arthur Chichester (1563-1624), Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Their heir, Arthur Upton (1633-1706), married Dorothy Beresford (1633-1720) and they had eighteen children including my 8xgreat grandmother Margaret.

Medieval ancestors

Arthur descended from the Bourchier family who were descended from Edward III  via Sir John Chichester of Raleigh (d 1569). I used to think Dorothy also descended from the Bourchiers via Lord Berners but further research suggested there was a faulty link in the chain. Other ancestors of Sir John Chichester were Sir Walter Hungerford and Oliver Wise of Greston.

The Scottish branch

Margaret Upton’s husband, William Shaw of Ballygally (c1670-c1710), was descended from the Schaws of Greenock in Scotland (via the Shaws of Ballybentragh in Antrim) and from the forgotten Maxwells of Rowbane.

Their daughter, Dorothy Beresford Shaw, married William McCulloch. William was a cousin of the Shaws of Bush via his mother Jennet Houston. The McCullochs were originally Lairds of Myretoun in Galloway and came to Ireland in 1626.

Their daughter Margaret McCulloch married Dr John McCulloch of Antrim (d 1788) (whose exact relationship to the other McCullochs I have not yet pinpointed.) The doctor’s second wife was Margaret Shaw of Ballygally.

His daughter, Dorothy Beresford McCulloch, married her father’s apprentice Dr John Morton (1749-1826).

Their daughter Margaret Upton Marshall McCulloch Morton (1779-1816) married John Barber (d 1813), who may have been from the Barber family of Brittas. They both died young and their five orphaned children left Antrim. Four of them went to Glasgow, led by the eldest, Rev Samuel Barbour (1803-1855) who died in Leeds. Samuel’s son William Donald Barbour (1832-1903) adopted the orphaned grandson of Samuel’s sister Mary Ann Bruce. That orphan was my great grandfather William Barbour Bruce.

My wife’s ancestors

Before dealing with my own family, I looked at the ancestors of my wife’s ggg grandparents William Blashford John Owen Kerr Wynne and Charlotte Bethell Hockings (daughter of Richard Hockings). I decided that William’s father Captain John Wynne (d 1798) was descended from the Wynnes of Roscommon and the Blachfords and that Rev Dr John Wynne (1680-1762), Sub Dean to Jonathan Swift, was uncle and guardian to the Captain’s father.

It remains an open question whether the Wynnes of Tansyfield, Co Roscommon were related to the Wynnes of Hazelwood, Co Sligo. I’ve speculated whether Mary Renald, the matriarch of the Blachfords, was also a descendant of Sir John Chichester (and of Edward III).


My new ancestry blog

An introduction to my blog.

I’ve decided to start a blog. In my spare time I enjoy researching the history of my family and that of my wife’s. It’s all up there on my family tree at Ancestry.co.uk but there are stories to tell and I thought that it might be easier to do that here. Stories about the interesting relatives I’ve discovered, stories about my hunt to track them down. It may only be of interest to the handful of people who share these relatives but I’m going to write it anyway.

It’s dedicated to my late father (pictured above celebrating Lancashire’s County Championship win), who researched his family at a time when that meant trawling through microfiche records at local libraries. Nowadays you can sit tapping away in the comfort of your own living room drawing on all the resources of the world wide web.


The Wests of Clogher and Killough

The first West to arrive in Co Down was Lieutenant Richard West (d 1644) of Ballydugan, a townland south of Downpatrick. The history of how Ballydugan was inherited by various descendants of his son Roger was described in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology in 1906.

It seems likely that Richard West also had other sons. In 1618 he bought the townlands of Ballydergan (now Ballydargan) for £80 and in 1709, James West of Ballydergan leased houses in Killough from Justice Michael Ward, for the lives of himself and his sons Richard and Francis. (Dublin Registry of Deeds 3-290-958.) Michael’s father, Bernard Ward, killed in a duel in 1690, was a grandson of one of the daughters of Captain Richard West. It would seem likely that this James was descended from the first Richard West of Ballydugan.

James died in 1721 and his will was written at Clogher, another townland south of Downpatrick.

West wills in the Diocese of Down

In 1726, Rev John West of Clogher died, and his will survives in the Dublin Registry of Deeds (RoD 60-174-40396). According to his entry in the Alumni Dubliensis, he entered Trinity College aged 17 in 1717 and was born in Bonecastle, the townland immediately south of Ballydugan, the son of James, Colonus (Latin for tenant farmer). The record actually says Bone Castle, Co Derry, but I believe this to be an error.

Rev John’s will mentions his brothers Richard and Francis, and the house in Killough, so we can be sure this is the Co Down family. Also mentioned are his sisters Jane Gadson and Mary Teate/Tate.

By the following year, Francis West was dead too and in another deed in the Registry (RoD 93-48-64756), Mary’s son Francis Teate replaced him as a ‘life’ in the lease of Clogher from Michael Ward.

The surviving brother, Richard West of Clogher, died on 22 April 1788 aged 85 and is buried in Saul parish graveyard. His wife Elizabeth appears to have died on the same day aged 76 according to Ros Davies’ site, which also mentions their son John (d 1822 aged 77) and grandson Richard.

This John West of Clogher died 17 Mar 1822 aged 77 and was the husband of Margaret who died 24 Jun 1833 aged 67. Their daughter Elizabeth died aged 70 in 1871 and they were all buried at Saul.

The death of Richard West at his residence, Clogher, Downpatrick, on March 19 1872, was reported in the Belfast Newsletter. His primary beneficiary was his brother Rev Samuel Maxwell West, the Rector of Killough. When he died in 1883 he was the last of the Clogher Wests, according to the article in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology that I already mentioned.

The question is whether there were other Wests from Clogher who emigrated. There were many infants baptised at Downpatrick with parents John and Margaret West. Some of these were from the Clogher family and some were the children of John West (1773-before 1848) and Margaret Stewart (1777-1863) of Marshaltown.

  • 1792 Richard (of Clogher, died 1872)
  • 1796 Elizabeth (of Clogher, died 1871?)
  • 1798 John
  • 1800 Jane (possibly the Jane of Marshalltown who m. Jamison)
  • 1802 James (of Marshaltown, killed in cart accident 1842)
  • 1803 Sarah
  • 1804 Samuel Maxwell (of Killough/Clogher, died 1883)
  • 1805 Richard
  • 1807 Thomas
  • 1808 Mary
  • 1810 Thomas
  • 1812 Margaret (possibly the Margaret of Marshalltown who m. her cousin John Stewart)
  • 1818 Charlotte

Ros Davies also lists further daughters from the Marshalltown family: Isabella (m. Thompson), Sophia and Amelia (m. Meharg)

The death record of Richard West of Clogher gives his age as 80, so the Richard born in 1805 must be from the other family.

But what about the two Thomases? I have a DNA match with a West descendant of a Thomas West, born in Ireland about 1810, who emigrated to Blairsville near Pittsburgh. Could he be one of these Thomases? I would like to hear from anyone who descends from either John & Margaret, in the hope that I might be able to establish whether my Wests are related to the Marshaltown family or the Clogher family.

The Mallinsons of Norcliffe Farm, Southowram

In my first post about Southowram, I mentioned that it had taken some time to prove that John Mallinson (1759-1818), a farmer of that village, was definitely my ancestor. I said that I would show why it must be true to save others from the trouble of repeating my work. 

It’s in the nature of genealogy that the further you go back, the more people become interested in your research, so I’m going to start one generation further back with John’s father, Hugh.

Hugh Mallinson (1718-1790)

Hugh Mallinson (1718-1790) was baptised at Lightcliffe on 1 Mar 1718/9 the son of Hugh Mallinson. The smaller churches at that period don’t give the occupation of the father in baptism records, but it’s safe to assume that the elder Hugh was the Clothier who married Mary Mercer of Lightcliffe at Halifax Minster on 2 Nov 1713.

On 1 Nov 1747, Hugh married Esther Hardy of Lightcliffe at the Minster. At this point he was a Shoemaker. Hugh and Esther are buried at Lightcliffe Church where their gravestone says

Here lies the body of Esther the wife of Hugh Mallinson who departed this life October 2nd 1788 in the 67th year of her age. 

Also of the above Hugh Mallinson of Southowram who departed this life March 12th 1790 aged 72 years.

Also the body of Jeremiah son of the above said Hugh and Esther Mallinson who departed this life August 4th 1820 aged 70 years

The burial records confirm that Hugh was buried on 16 Mar 1790 and Esther on 4 Oct 1788.

The fact that Hugh and Esther were not buried in Southowram has confused people trying to trace back from Southowram families. Hugh was farming land between Southowram and Lightcliffe, but the simple fact was there weren’t any burials at Southowram until the new church was completed in 1818, even though they had been baptising at the earlier chapel on the site for many years. (Lightcliffe Church was built by a William Mallinson so they may have chosen to be buried there anyway.)

The tower is all that remains of William Mallinson’s 1775 church

From 1780, duplicate Land Tax returns in England had to be lodged with the Clerk of the Peace for the supplementary purpose of establishing people’s right to vote. Ancestry.com has these records for Hipperholme and Southowram. In the Hipperholme records, Hugh pays tax on land with the value of £4 in Hove Edge Quarter owned by Mrs Stead every year until 1790, when the tax is paid by John Mallinson. It’s definitely the same land because Mrs Stead only owned two parcels of land in Hipperholme.

In Southowram, Hugh Mallinson paid £2 13s 4d for land he occupied in 1781. It doesn’t say who the proprietor was, but in subsequent years it was given as Mrs Stead. The tax went up to £3 in 1785, not because his land grew in area or value, but because the rate went from 2/8 per £ to 3s per £. The rate continued to rise, but the records continue to show Hugh being assessed on £20 of land until in 1790 his name is replaced by John Mallinson & Co.

These are large amounts of land, and evidence later on in this post will show that Hugh was farming Norcliffe Farm. This was the oldest recorded property in the area, owned by the Norcliffe family as far back as the 12th Century. (There are still people called Norcliffe but it is nowhere near as common as Sutcliffe.)

Hugh and Esther baptised at least six children, usually at Lightcliffe.

  • Jeremiah (1750-1820), Weaver of Southowram, who shares their grave. He occupied a larger farm in Southowram owned by Mrs Sara Wood. He buried his first wife Ann Kitchen within six months of their marriage in 1771, but together with Mary Blackburn he had four children – John (1773-), Mary (1777-), Samuel (1779-1852) and Hugh (1781-1839). The latter two lived in Brighouse where first Hugh and then his wife and son John (1812-1854) kept the Wellington Hotel. Another son James (1818-1884) was an ecclesiastical architect who designed many churches (most in Yorkshire but some as far away as SE London), first with his partner Thomas Healey and then with W.S.Barber.
This church designed by Mallinson & Barber in 1862-3 stood less than a mile from where I now live in London until it was demolished in 1960.
  • Samuel (1752-1802), Innkeeper of Halifax, whose widow Betty (1739-1814) ran the Waggoners’ Inn with John Smith after Samuel died. They may have been the Samuel Mallinson and Betty Birdwhistle who married in London in 1783.
The Waggoners Inn, drawn by Joseph Rideal Smith who was born there in 1837
  • James (1755-)
  • Mary (1757-) of Southowram married Thomas Whiteley, Joiner of Rishworth, in 1785 witnessed by her brother Benjamin.
  • JOHN (1759-1818), my ancestor, was the only child baptised at Coley (Northowram). More about him later.
  • Joseph (1760-1834) was a Woolcomber of Southowram when he married Sarah Aspinal in 1785, witnessed by his brother Benjamin. He became a Worsted Manufacturer and moved first to Halifax and then to Salterley, Northowram. His children included Benjamin (1786-1845), Joseph (1787-), John (1791-), Mary Ann (1794-) and William (1804-1861).
  • Benjamin (1764-1823), the youngest son, remained at home and was a Farmer of Southowram when he married Sarah Briggs in 1791, a year after his father’s death. One of the witnesses was his brother-in-law Thomas Whiteley. Their children included Grace (1792-), Esther (1794-), David (1795-), Thomas (1797-) and Helen (1799-1818). Benjamin initially farmed Hugh’s land in Hipperholme and Southowram as part of ‘John Mallinson & Co’ – in fact he was occasionally named in addition to John – but from 1812 the farm was divided and he appears on his own in the Southowram Land Tax records. His farm, Lower Norcliffe, was inherited by his younger son Thomas who was there in the 1841 Census with his wife and 6 of his children.

Who was Mrs Stead?

I don’t really know, but from about 1804 all her land was in the possession of William Walker of Crow Nest, Lightcliffe, the uncle of Ann Walker (partner of Anne ‘Gentleman Jack’ Lister of Shibden Hall) and possible father of my ancestor William Jagger (see my previous post on Southowram). William Walker’s mother was Elizabeth Caygill and her mother was Martha Stead. Her father Samuel Stead (1656-1736) was a very wealthy Salter whose white marble monument is above the South door of Halifax Parish Church. It seems likely that William inherited from a Stead cousin, but he may just have purchased the land from Mrs Stead.

John Mallinson (1759-1818)

Now it’s time to look at my ancestor John.

John Mallinson, Dresser of Southowram, married Jane Clayton, Spinster of the same place, in 1779. They had at least two children before Jane died and was buried at Lightcliffe in April 1789.

Lightcliffe Burial Register. Uxor is Latin for wife.
  • John (c1780-1854) married Susey Whiteley of Rishworth in 1802. He was a Joiner but then became a Farmer at Ivy House Farm in Southowram. Their children were Mary (1803), Esther (1805), John Clayton Mallinson (1807-1837), Jane (1811), William (1813-1889), Lettice (1816-1817), and Hugh (1818-1895) who took over Ivy House after his father’s death.
  • Mary (1782-1854) married in Elland on the same day as her brother to John Lees (1781-1856) of Rishworth. Their children included Jane (1804-1878) who married William Swaine.
  • David (1788-1845) may have been another son. His father was John Mallinson, a Labourer of Southowram, and his second wife was Ann, a sister of Grace Mallinson (see below).
The tragic death of John Clayton Mallinson was reported in several national and provincial newspapers in 1837. The report appears to be wrong about William. Nobody called William Mallinson died in 1837.

After the death of his wife Jane Clayton, my ancestor John, now a Farmer of Southowram, remarried in 1791 to Ann ‘Nancy’ Booth. The marriage was witnessed by his brother and partner Benjamin, and his brother-in-law Thomas Whiteley. The Booths were Non-Conformists and consequently John and Ann baptised all their children at the Square Chapel in Halifax.

Marriage register of St John the Baptist, Halifax
  • William (1792-), a Butcher in Wade Street (pictured above, off Northgate), married Mary Naylor in 1815. Their children were Mary Ann (1819-1853); Caroline (1822-1885); George Naylor Mallinson (1825-1887), a grocer in Ripon; John (1826-1891), my great-great grandfather; Betty Naylor Mallinson (1828-); William (1831-); and Margaret (1831-1905). I haven’t found a death record for William – he’s not the William Mallinson buried at Lightcliffe in 1838 – but by the 1841 Census Mary was a widow.
  • Joseph (1795-1868), a Farmer, who married Ann Howarth in 1827 but had no children. He was buried in Bramley Lane Chapel and I have a funeral card.
Joseph’s funeral card incorrectly annotated by my grandmother
  • Benjamin (1797-1874) married Hannah Downs without issue. His executors are described as his nephew George Mallinson of Ripon and his niece Jane Swaine of Halifax, thus proving that Mary was his half-sister and their father was indeed the husband of both Jane Clayton and Ann Booth, even though they baptised their children in different denominations.
  • Betty (1799-)
  • Sarah (1801-1882) never married
Leeds Mercury 14 March 1871

  • Jonathan (1802-1838), Farmer of Southowram, married Ruth Webster in 1831. Jonathan took over Upper Norcliffe after his mother died. He appears on the Land Tax records in 1830 and 1831 and qualified as an elector in 1832 by virtue of being an ‘Occupier as Tenant of Land £50 Rent’ but from then on his younger brother replaces him in the records. Ruth died in 1833 and was buried at the Square Chapel. Jonathan became a Currier and in 1837 remarried to a Music Mistress called Mary Crossley. The following year he died of smallpox.
  • Samuel (1807-1879), the youngest son, inherited the farm at Upper Norcliffe (where he can be seen in the 1841 Census). In 1832 he married Grace (1808-1851), the daughter of Jonathan Mallinson and Mary Whiteley. Jonathan was a publican who rented the Stag’s Head at Mytholm, Northowram (also known as the Nag’s Head or the Lister Arms) from Anne Lister. Although he was illiterate himself, his son Whiteley Mallinson (1812-1883) became a Fellow of Magdalen College, Cambridge and his son John Henry (1860-1909) was the headmaster of Dulwich Prep School.

As we saw above, in 1790 John Mallinson started paying the Land Tax on the farm he inherited from Hugh in both Southowram and Hipperholme. Initially the land in Southowram was assessed at a value of £20 and the occupier was John Mallinson & Co. Just once, in 1792, Ben’s name was also included. In 1794, the land was reassessed as 25⅝. The farms appear to be missing from the records in 1803, and by 1804 William Walker was the owner.

In 1808, the farm was divided. John took Upper Norcliffe, assessed at 14 2/8, Benjamin took Lower Norcliffe at 11 3/8. That was how it remained after Walker died and left the land to his nephew John Priestley. Between 1820 and 1829 the land was occupied by the widow of John Mallinson and then by Jonathan Mallinson for a couple of years before it was taken over by the youngest son, Samuel.

All of this makes it clear that the burial records at the Square Chapel for John Mallinson of Norcliff (22 August 1818) and Ann Mallinson (30 November 1828) are the right ones for this family.

Burial register of Square Chapel, Halifax
Leeds Intelligencer, 23 August 1819

The 1874 will of Benjamin proves that the same John was the husband of Jane Clayton. In fact I have identified DNA matches with descendants of two of his sons – John by his first wife and Samuel by his second wife. I must have inherited the former from John himself, which encourages me to think that one day I will identify matches who descend from other children of his father Hugh.

The McCullochs in Ireland (part 3) – The children of William of Piedmont

Fourth generation of McCullochs born in Ireland

1. James McCulloch (c1719-1774)

This was the eldest son of William McCulloch of Piedmont, who I wrote about in my last post. It was James who in 1767 wrote out the genealogy of his grandfather that was copied and preserved by James Iredell. (See my post on the Lairds of Myrton.)

He was known as James of Piedmont when in 1745, shortly after his father’s death, he was named as an executor of his uncle James’ will.

In the previous year, James had to start to sort out the financial mess left behind by his father. The trustees were supposed to have held the lands in the marriage contract and an additional sum of £1600 to ensure that if William died first, Dorothy would receive an income of £70pa and there would be money to support the younger children. But William had had other ideas. He used the money to speculate further and borrowed heavily. In deed 117-90-79755 it states that James needed to raise £4000 to pay the debts and another £1000 to honour the bequests to his younger siblings. His mother had to agree to forgo her claim to her annuity.

Now that the lands were freed of his mother’s claim, James was able to borrow £2000 against them from James Ross, a merchant of Belfast. Within a year Ross had won a judgment against James, who had to borrow another £2000 off Rev Hugh Hill against his lands in Armagh. (To do that he had to get Ross to agree that the land in Antrim was sufficient surety for his £2000.) (RoD 116-341-80724) Things were going very badly. In 1748 Ross sold the debt onto Henry Mitchell of Dublin, with James agreeing to pay 5.5% pa on the £2000. (RoD 132-240-89123)

James relocated to Camoley in Armagh and the family lands in Antrim are not mentioned again. I think James probably defaulted on the loan and Mitchell claimed them as his right.

A couple of times, in 1752 and 1770, James tried to lease out over 700 acres of land he had inherited on the north Antrim coast east of Ballycastle using his brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch as an agent. It was described as the townland of Ballyicon. There is no such townland now, but it comprised Drumnakeel and other lands.

Further evidence of land speculation by William of Piedmont comes in a 1763 deed (RoD 224-600-148698) in which James and his brother, as executors of their father’s will, sell the remaining terms of leases in a dozen townlands around and including Templepatrick to Nehemiah Donnellan, the Governor of Carrickfergus. Templepatrick was the location of Castle Upton, the birthplace of William’s mother-in-law Margaret Upton, and the sale was made ‘with the consent and approbation of’ Hercules Langford Rowley and Arthur Upton, her nephews. Nehemiah’s wife and Arthur were both children of Margaret’s twin brother Lt Col John Upton who had inherited the castle.

The surprising thing about this deed is that these exact townlands appeared in a famous advert only five years later. Arthur Upton died in 1768 and was succeeded at Castle Upton by his brother Clotworthy Upton. Within months, Clotworthy, who lived in England, decided he could squeeze more money out of the tenant farmers and advertised all the farms on these townlands for competitive auction, thus dispossessing many families who had been there for generations. This rent-racking by the absentee landlord prompted the start of the Hearts of Steel movement across Ulster. (At least this is the way history tells us it happened. In actual fact, Arthur Upton had issued an identical advert shortly before his death.) But why were the Uptons advertising the leases if the townlands were owned by Nehemiah Donnellan? Had he sold the land back to the them or were they still in control of the tenancies anyway? Is that why the sale had to be made with their ‘consent and approbation’?

Belfast Newsletter, January 1769

(The agent Edward Southwell had married Clotworthy’s niece, Sophia Campbell. He later inherited an ancient title from a great-aunt and became the 20th Baron de Clifford. Clotworthy was created 1st Baron Templetown and his son was further ennobled as a Viscount. As the fortunes of the McCullochs faded, the descendants of their grandmother’s twin were becoming aristocrats. Hercules’ wife was another niece of Margaret Upton and she was made Viscountess Langford. Their granddaughter’s husband became the Duke of Wellington.)

Although the lands in Antrim were gone for good, James still had over 1000 acres in the Barony of Fews, Co Armagh. In 1754 he started a market at Cullaville, which is almost at the southernmost point of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Belfast Newsletter

He died unmarried in 1774. He had still not paid the younger children what they were left in their father’s will.

Belfast Newsletter 20 September 1774

2. William McCulloch (1721-1799)

As William of Duneane he witnessed the deed in which his mother renounced her claim on the lands in her marriage contract in 1744.

In the same year he inherited the business of his uncle James McCulloh and thereafter lived in Kilmore near Dublin. On 29 March 1748 he married Alice Coleman, a niece of Charles Macartney and Eleanor Macartney Iredell (who was a witness). The other witnesses were his brother James and his cousin Margaret who was to marry Eleanor’s son a couple of years later (RoD 133-80-89317).

In 1755, William took over a mortgage from Hans Fairlie of Edenterrory, Co Down and his (half-)sister Elinor, the wife of Ezekiel Bullock, paying them the £300 plus interest they were owed by Samuel Campbell of Lurgan. (RoD 172-421-117183). I believe that Elinor was the granddaughter mentioned in the will of William’s great-uncle Henry McCulloch of Feehogue. (See part 1)

William’s brother-in-law, my 6xgreat grandfather Dr John McCulloch, tried for nearly 50 years to claim the £350 that should have been inherited (at first by his wife, and then after her death, by his children) from the will of William of Piedmont, as well as £100 meant for the doctor himself.

In 1754 William the younger agreed with his tenant Josias Erwin that the rent of £2 19s pa that was payable on a tenement on Antrim High Street and a field nearby called Cotter’s Field belonged to the doctor (RoD 167-114-111534). It would have taken over a century for that to pay off what was owed.

My ancestor W.D.Barbour (1832-1903) appears to have seen a letter from William to his brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch. He wrote in his Ancestral Tables:

“Wm McCulloch (Dates from Dublin in 1781). Calls himself old in 1781. Speaks of his son & daughters (seemingly resident with him) in 1781. He writes as a Landowner but speaks of himself as in ‘difficulties’. Said to have been addicted to drink.”

Barbour writes of James McCulloch:

“Referred to as a good while dead in 1781. His brothers Jno & Wm seem to have had the arrangement of his affairs.”

(Understandably he had mistaken the brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch for a brother.)

This correspondence must have related to a deed drawn up in 1779 but registered in 1781 in which Dorothy Beresford Shaw, William of Piedmont’s widow who must have been in her eighties, and Dr John’s children agreed to accept an undisclosed sum in return for renouncing any further claim on the estate of James of Camoley (RoD 336-580-526444). However much they received, it did not satisfy the doctor who even in his last will and testament of 1787 still demanded the £350 for his children (RoD 394-413-260785).

Finally, on 8 June 1795, the doctor’s executor Robert Young was paid £493 6s 9d and released his claim on the coastal lands at Ballyicon east of Ballycastle (PRONI 509/924). It had taken over 50 years for the brothers to pay out the modest inheritance of their sister and brother-in-law. By that time, Margaret, John and several of their children were long dead.

William himself died in 1799. He had three children.

  • William McCulloch died young
  • Ann McCulloch died a spinster in Dublin in 1797
  • Dorothy Beresford Upton Shaw McCulloch married John Reed in 1800 when she was already 42. On her death in 1832, there were no more McCullochs in Ireland in the male line from James of Grogan, but the lands they held in Co Armagh passed to a descendant of Dr McCulloch who married Margaret the daughter of William of Piedmont.
Belfast Newsletter, 1832

3. Henry McCulloch (c1723-1755)

The youngest son of William of Piedmont was appointed Secretary of the Province of North Carolina in 1754 before dying there the following year (NCpedia). He and his wife Mary had six daughters who were baptised in London before they emigrated.

  • Jane Letitia (died in infancy)
  • Letitia Alice (died in infancy)
  • Henrietta Mary who married Mark Brownrigg
  • Dorothy Beresford who married Jordan White
  • Elizabeth Margaret married Capt Joseph Meredith
  • Penelope Martha who married Job Parker

The last four were named in his will. By 1784 only Betsey and Dolly were still alive and Capt Meredith was still battling to claim their inheritance from the will of William of Piedmont.

All the rights to the money due [Henry’s daughters] in Ireland are now vested in Capt Meredith, his wife having purchased them before marriage, except Job Parker’s share who married Poppy, if that entitled him to a part…I believe Capt Meredith is now going to endeavor to receive this money in Ireland himself

James Iredell to Henry Eustace McCulloch, 1784 quoted in Henry McCulloh and Son Henry Eustace McCulloh (Dunaway, 2014)

4. Margaret McCulloch

As I mentioned before, the only daughter named in the 1743 will of William of Piedmont was Margaret who by then was already married to Dr John McCulloch with a son William.

John and Margaret were my 6xgreat grandparents. I don’t know how (or if) he was related. According to the Ulster Directory of Doctors, Dr John McCulloch’s death was announced in the Belfast Newsletter on 4 May 1787. It says he was born in 1706/7 which is presumably calculated from his age given in the death notice, but unfortunately that copy of the Newsletter is not available on Ancestry.com so I can’t check. The Directory of Doctors says he was also a Brewer, but I think the brewing kettle mentioned in his will was used for making medicine not alcohol.

It seems unlikely that he could be the eldest son of Henry of Feehogue (who was married by 1685) and impossible that he was the witness at the 1718 wedding of his wife’s parents. Perhaps he was a son of the John buried at Randalstown in 1720. He was certainly a good deal older than his wife.

W.D.Barbour’s Ancestral Tables say about Dr McCulloch:

Resided in Antrim in 1781. Old in 1781. Appears to have been in good comfortable circumstances. Aunt Bruce heard that Dr McCulloch had been in the Army as a Doctor.

Issue Dorothy who married Dr Jno Morton who had been Apprentice to her father, though she was much older than he. His parents resided in Ballymena. Dr M speaks of his wife & children in 1781 & of Dolly having frequent returns of spitting of blood. Mrs M died young, her eldest daughter being quite young at the time.

It’s not clear which Mrs M he means, but both the first Mrs McCulloch and Mrs Morton died young.

The doctor does not feature in many of the deeds in the Dublin Registry of Deeds, other than the two dealing with his brother-in-law William in 1754 (RoD 167-114-111534) and 1779 (RoD 336-580-526444) and his will (RoD 394-413-260785) written within a couple of weeks of his death. He was a landowner, but only in a small way. His will mentions the townlands of Clonboy and Ballylurgan, both near Randalstown. As they were owned at one point by his father-in-law, it would seem he was given them at the time of his marriage.

Although he described himself as a ‘Surgeon & Apothecary’ in his will, for most of his life he was only an Apothecary which was more like a chemist than a doctor. He wasn’t trained as a Surgeon, like his two sons, and certainly not as a Physician like James McCulloh’s father-in-law, Dr Victor Ferguson. However, in a small town he no doubt fulfilled some of the responsibilities of the higher medical ranks.

Dr John McCulloch featured regularly in the pages of the Belfast Newsletter. He lived and practised in a largish house in the centre of Antrim town at the end of the Massereene Bridge (pictured below) leased to him by Lord Massereene on 13 September 1753. This was evidently a convenient place for people to use as a contact point and in adverts for land potential purchasers are often directed to him. As well as his brothers-in-law who no longer lived in Co Antrim, other people with land to sell who used him as a sort of estate agent included Kennedy Henderson (probably the son of Rev John Henderson, the minister at Duneane) in 1760 (selling land at Moneyrod near Piedmont), his son Dr Henry McCulloch in Ballymena in 1773 and various unidentified sellers.

Belfast Newsletter 1752

One interesting case involved the sale of the townland of Ballynickle in Co Down which was bequeathed in the 1722 will of John Young to his son. In 1752 it was advertised for sale by a Miss Young, presumably a granddaughter, with Dr McCulloch accepting offers on her behalf. However, the following year the townland was included in the marriage settlement of David McCulloch of Antrim Town and Jane Young (RoD 159-133-106276). James of Camoley was the trustee which suggests strongly that David was a relation. In 1755 there are deeds where David and Jane along with a Margaret Lorimer release the townland to two of the farmers in the above advert (RoD 179-73-118918 & 118921), but by 1762 the lands were advertised for sale again ‘for payments of debts pursuant in decrees of His Majesty’s Exchequer in Ireland’, proposals to Mr (Ezekiel) Bullock in Dublin and Doctor McCullogh in Antrim. David McCulloch was heard of no more.

The principal residents of Antrim Town, including John & David McCulloch and the doctor’s tenant James Irwin.
Belfast Newsletter 1756

The children of John and Margaret, all mentioned in the 1781 deed mentioned above, were

  • Dr William McCulloch (1738/9-1811) whose only son was John Shaw McCulloch. He started his career as a doctor by 1769 when he was offering his services inoculating patients against smallpox using the Suttonian method. He achieved notoriety when he briefly owned Ballygally Castle between 1786 and 1790. (See my earlier post.) He died at Ballymena on 22 July 1811.

Belfast Newsletter
  • Dr Henry McCulloch died between 1781 and 1787 leaving two daughters Margaret and Jane
  • Dorothy Beresford McCulloch married Dr John Morton (1749-1826), my ancestors. They had four daughters, Margaret, Jane, Dorothy & Letitia
  • Jane McCulloch married Dr Joseph Walker who announced in the Belfast Newsletter in 1779 that he was setting up his practice in Newtownards.
  • Victoria McCulloch married a Mr Jackson between 1781 & 1788
Belfast Newsletter

Dr John McCulloch’s second wife was Margaret Shaw, the sister of John Shaw of Ballygally. Her aunt Mrs Nixon came to live with them in Antrim. Mrs Nixon died in 1789. According to legend, she died at Ballygally and her ghost knocks on doors there, so perhaps she moved back there while Dr William lived there.

The only McCulloch grandson, John Shaw McCulloch, became Postmaster at Drogheda. He had three daughters (one the mother of Baron Atkinson) and his eldest son died in 1846 aged 11. I have only found one other son, Latham Blacker McCulloch who followed his grandfather into the medical profession. He married but died in Wales without children so, as far as I can tell, that was the end of the McCullochs in Ireland descended from the last Laird of Myrton.

I believe this to be the house in Antrim High Street leased to Dr McCulloch. The right half was inherited by Dr Morton and the left half was sold to Henry Cuddy by John Shaw McCulloch and his father in 1805. The part behind, leading to the Massereene Bridge, was occupied by a solicitor called William Malone.
In 1817 John Shaw McCulloch sued John Morton and Henry Cuddy, presumably claiming ownership of the house now Dr Morton was widowed. He lost and the people of Antrim celebrated by burning his effigy in the street. The crossed out names are other beneficiaries of Dr McCulloch’s 1787 will.

The McCullochs in Ireland (part 2): James of Grogan & William of Piedmont

Second generation (continued)

2. James McCulloch of Grogan (d 1725)

This is the man whose ancestry back to the McCullochs of Myrton was detailed in the document copied by James Iredell (see my earlier post). Grogan is about 3 miles north of Randalstown (where 91 would be on the above map).

James’ father left him nothing in his 1681 will, saying “I have formerly provided for my son James by disposition in his portion.” This was probably in a marriage settlement. 

A deed of 1712 (Dublin Registry of Deeds 10-133-3227) cites a 1690 agreement where Rose O’Neill, Marchioness of Antrim, put in trust a long list of around 150 townlands in Antrim for the use of John O’Neill, Edmund Stafford and James McCulloch for 41 years after her death, which occurred in 1695.

A deed of 1744 (RoD 117-90-79755) cites a deed of 1706 where the owners of Shane’s Castle (Charles O’Neill, his cousin & heir French John O’Neill, and John’s wife Charity) gave a lease of three lives to James of seven of the above townlands in the barony of Toome, Co Antrim (including Grogan, Moneyrod, etc) and some more townlands in the barony of Fews, Co Armagh (including Rackland, Camoley and other townlands). I think it probable that James was already in possession of this land and this was just a case of putting things in order. The Marchioness died in 1695 but her estate was not administered until 1707. (See Betham’s pedigree of the O’Neills.)

In 1708 French John O’Neill and the brothers Henry & James McCulloch were appointed as Trustees by Act of Parliament to sell the eight townlands of Mayola to Joshua Dawson MP for £6500. Dawson founded the town now known as Castledawson there (RoD 1-112-66).

James married twice. According to Iredell

“James McCulloch of Grogan Esqr had one among many other Children by a first Wife a Daughter married to [blank] McCulloch of a Scotsman, who had i∫sue Alexandr McCulloch of Halifax County in North Carolina Esqr”

This is the single line explored by W.J.McCulloch in his book A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch. The descendants include the McCullochs who were friends of Davy Crockett. I know nothing further of the first wife except to say that James mentioned a brother-in-law Alexander McAula in his will who may have been her brother.

The second wife of James was Jennet Houston, the sister-in-law of his brother Henry and the youngest daughter of William Houston of Craigs and his second wife Margaret Shaw. Together they had three sons – William, James and Henry. Iredell mentions one daughter, Margaret, who married Charles Macartney, one of the family of famous Belfast merchants. It would seem that the other daughters mentioned in James’ will – Letitia, Mary, Alice & Mrs William Stewart – were children by the first wife.

James died in 1725.

My old friend Mr. James M’Cullough, died at Grogan, the 19th of July 1725, and was buried in Old Drumall

Memorandum of French John O’Neill

23 July 1725 Mr McCologh, in Ronaldstown, pr James McClure

Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast

Third generation

Along with the five daughters mentioned above, James McCulloch of Grogan had three sons.

  1. WILLIAM of whom, as they say, hereafter.
  2. James (d 1745) used the spelling McCulloh and tended to call himself Captain, although I don’t believe he was in the military. As James of Grogan in 1717 he witnessed the marriage of his cousin John Houston of Drumack (RoD 22-353-12260). James himself married Mary Ferguson, the daughter of Dr Victor Ferguson. James was a wine merchant in Belfast initially as James McCulloh & Co, and then as McCulloh-Craford-Arbuckle & Co (RoD 49-284-31992). The funerals of three of his children are recorded in the funeral register of the First Presbyterian Church in Belfast in 1721, 1723 and 1726. There were two surviving daughters:
  • Jane never married.
  • Margaret married Francis Iredell. Charles Macartney’s sister Eleanor had married Rev Francis Iredell (d 1739) who is profiled in Historical and Literal Memorials of Presbyterians in Ireland (Witherow, 1879). Their son Francis married Margaret McCulloch and it was their son James Iredell (1751-1799) who copied the genealogy of James of Grogan. He emigrated to North Carolina and became one of the first Supreme Court Justices. His son, also James, became Governor of North Carolina.
18th century map showing Marsham Street west of St John’s Churchyard (now Smith Square)

In the late 1720s James was in London where he is referred to as ‘one of the gentlemen of His Majesty’s Privy Chamber’ in a complicated land transaction involving Lord Shelburne (RoD 67-472-46824). He took a house in Marsham St and may have stayed longer than intended, because it is reported here that he was accused of passing an uncreditworthy bond by Samuel Richardson, the famous printer and novelist, and prevented from leaving England with a ne exeat regno. Although he was survived by his wife Mary Ferguson, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it was he who christened a son James at St John’s Smith Square in 1732 with a ‘wife’ called Ann.

Baptim Register of St John the Evangelist, Westminster, 1732

The land deal was still grinding on in 1735 (RoD 79-281-55832) by which time he had moved to Dublin, where he was living at the time of his death in 1744. Although he would come to have many descendants through the Iredells, Captain James McCulloh chose to leave the residue of his estate to his nephew William in his will of 1744 (RoD 116-414-81200).

  1. Henry (d 1779) also spelled his name McCulloh and is the most famous historical figure in the family. He moved to Westminster by the mid-1720s. He was already there in 1726 when he loaned his brother £777 against his shares in his wine businesses (RoD 49-284-31992). He became involved in settling the new province of North Carolina and became the largest land speculator in the project. You can read all about him in the NCpedia or in Stewart Dunaway’s detailed book Henry McCulloh and his son Henry Eustace McCulloh.
  • His son James by his first marriage died young in 1749, but left a son, also James, who had many descendants in the US. 
  • Another son, Henry Eustace McCulloh (also in the NCpedia), was legitimised when Henry married the mother Penelope Eustace in London in 1749. Henry Eustace McCulloh married Udall West but had no legitimate issue, just an illegitimate son George McCulloh whom he left behind in the US to be brought up by James Iredell. The family had lost all their land in the US – over a million acres – as a result of the American Revolution.
  • A daughter Penelope died young.
Map showing the location of Paymount. By 1777 it was owned by the O’Neills again.

WILLIAM, the heir of James McCulloch of Grogan, inherited all the lands in Antrim and Armagh. 

He was mentioned in the will of his grandmother Margaret Houston (née Shaw).

As William McCulloch of Grogan, he co-executed the will of his cousin Patrick Shaw of Brittas in 1715. (Patrick was doubly related as his parents were Margaret’s brother and stepdaughter.) Patrick mentioned his brother John Shaw of Bush in the will (RoD 15-39-6698).

In 1718, William married Dorothy Beresford Shaw of Ballygally. Their tripartite marriage settlement survives in the Registry of Deeds (RoD 36-491-23759). The parties are (1) William and his father (2) Patrick Agnew of Kilwaughter, Clotworthy Upton, John Shaw of Bush, John Shaw of Antrim town (3) Dorothy and her widowed mother Margaret Shaw (née Upton). The people in part (2) were all senior relatives of the happy couple who were to act as trustees to ensure there were sufficient funds to support the bride if she should outlive her husband. (They didn’t do a very good job!) Clotworthy was Dorothy’s eldest maternal uncle, Patrick was married to William’s maternal aunt and John Shaw of Bush was the eldest surviving son of another maternal aunt. It’s less certain who John Shaw of Antrim is, but surely there must have been someone representing Dorothy’s deceased father? I suggest he was probably Dorothy’s paternal uncle. One of the witnesses was John McCulloch, gent of Randalstown. This was probably James McCulloch’s younger brother, but could have been Henry McCulloch’s eldest son.

The lands put in trust in the marriage settlement were the same ones leased to James McCulloch in 1706 – in Barony of Fewes, Co Armagh over 1000 acres: Rackland-23a 14p Crewkyrer-205a 2r 38p Lissary als Lisswary-80a Cornecery-71a Carricanony-109a Mongeleagh-86a Glassdrumenagh-86a 2r 12p Camlagh [357a 2r 34p] Tullyvallon; in Barony of Toome, Co Antrim over 2500 acres: Ballygrogan Ballydunmall Ballylenulla Monyrod Ballydonnellan Outragh & 1/2 townland of Clonkeen with corn mill & mills standing in Derryhullagh & Balymatoskerty with grist mill.

But the prospect of owning all that land did not satisfy William. In 1722, perhaps impatient to be a landowner while his father was still alive, he paid Henry Stafford the enormous sum of £2118 for a townland called Ballyicon on the northeast coast east of Ballycastle (RoD 35-114-21307). The sale went through rather too hastily because the following year it emerged that some of the properties on the land were mortgaged to someone else (RoD 38-156-23760).

In 1728, William was living in Antrim town when he witnessed a house purchase by Cornelius Crymble, who had married a Houston cousin (RoD 58-64-38594).

On 12 June 1729, William McCulloch of Antrim, Co Antrim Esq was party to the marriage contract of David Crawford, merchant of Belfast, and Mary Hamilton (RoD 62-90-42015). David was also known as Craford and owned Florida Manor in Co Down. I believe he was the Craford in McCulloh-Craford-Arbuckle & Co, because when he died in 1734, his heiress was his niece Mrs Ann Arbuckle. Mary went on to remarry to the Rev Andrew Nixon. She is the Mrs Nixon lodging in Antrim with Dr McCulloch in his 1788 will, and the Madam Nixon who was the first reported ghost at Ballygally Castle.

Already by this time William was building a new country home because in another deed signed in June 1728 he is already designated William McCulloch of Piedmont, as he was known thereafter. He settled near Duneane Church in the townland of Ballylenully and built a home there, now known as Paymount House. 

In that deed he was an executor of the will of his cousin John Shaw of Ballytweedy (formerly of Bush) (RoD 60-160-40331) along with John’s brother Thomas and James Crawford of Ballysavage, who had married William’s cousin Margaret Agnew. In 1736 William was a trustee of James’s will too.

In 1734, along with his mother and William Stewart of Cloghog, William sold the following lands to Joseph Innes. Moneyglass, Ballydugenon, Gallagh, Toom with Ferry, Tullaghmore Mununick in manor Mullaghan, bar. Toome, co Antrim. Lisnenevena Ballymonistra Magherabegg Trasnaitra Hillbroda in Camgreny. Clonboy Dankilbegs Lenagh East Tanhaghmore Drumkeeren Orbellshenny Kilgany Creanery Ballylurgan in Manor Edenduffcarrick, bar Toom, co Antrim. Also 4 towns of Magherahoghill, co Antrim (RoD 78-250-55215)

One might wonder where these lands came from. The first four were leased to his grandfather in 1667. They were probably included in his father’s marriage settlement (necessitating his mother’s agreement to the sale). Maybe the others were too, but William had also gone on a reckless bout of land acquisition which was to cause his sons financial embarrassment after his death.

In 1739 William was visited by Edward McCulloch of Ardwall ‘at the toun of Antrim as to the settlement of a great debt on the estate of Kerse’ and was described as ‘a man of honour and of an opulent estate’ (A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch).

He made his will on 7 November 1743 and it was proved on 29 December. He mentioned four children. To make things confusing for genealogists, these four children had the same names as and similar outcomes to William and his siblings.

  • James McCulloch had no male heirs.
  • William McCulloch was (eventually) the heir and had children.
  • Henry McCulloch went to the USA.
  • Margaret McCulloch

I will look at this Fourth Generation in my next post.

The other William McCulloch

Another William McCulloch, a tailor, appears several times in the Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast during the same period.

  • 17/7/1723 child of william McColloah, tealowar
  • 25/1/1725-6 child of william McCologh, Telear
  • 11/12/1726 child of william McCologh, Tayloar
  • 6/4/1728 child of William mcCologh, Taylor
  • 29/11/1731 wido ffife, Pr William mcCullogh, Taylor
  • 12/12/1735 William mcCullogh, Taylor

This man buried four children in the 1720s and probably his mother-in-law in 1731 before dying himself in 1735.

This can’t be William of Piedmont. Even if the landed gentleman did have a side hustle as a Tailor, he would certainly have qualified for the honorofic Mr or Esq in the register. This other William might not be related at all, but it’s at least possible that he was a son of John McCulloch, the youngest son of William of Randalstown (see the previous post). In the early 1700s it was almost certain that an eldest son would be named after his paternal grandfather.

The only other ‘McCulloch’ entry in the Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast which covers the period from 1712 to 1736 is this one:

  • 5/3/1732 mrs mcCullogh at Shaes bridg, Pr mr Dauid Craford, in Town

Here the honorofic ‘mrs’ indicates someone from the gentry, not necessarily a married lady. David Craford wasn’t one of the Belfast merchants who regularly organised funerals for gentry outside the congregation – in fact the only two other ones he’s connected with are his parents. I think this is probably the funeral of one of the unmarried daughters of James of Grogan. Her brother James McCulloh could not have dealt with the arrangements with the Belfast Church himself because he was not allowed to leave London at that time, so could have asked his business partner to make the arrangements.

The McCullochs in Ireland

Although the Lairds of Myrton were undoubtedly the senior line of the McCulloch clan in Galloway, there was another branch of McCullochs that had more land and a bigger castle. The legend of how a McCulloch son acquired them from the Cardoness family is described in The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway (Agnew, 1893).

It should have been a moment of celebration when in around 1584 William McCulloch, Laird of Myrton, married Marie McCulloch, the heiress who owned Cardoness Castle (pictured above) to unite the families. Unfortunately, the Cardoness estates had been repeatedly encumbered by debts, partly because they had been inherited by minors several times, and from that moment on, the McCullochs’ finances ran out of control. In the end, the Laird and his son Alexander defaulted on a ‘wadset’ (a kind of mortgage) and were ‘put to the horn’, which sounds painful but means they were declared outlaws.

The lands of Myrton were eventually acquired by William’s son-in-law John McCulloch of Ardwell. Although the Laird and his son believed themselves to have been defrauded and continued to try to regain their inheritance from their exile in Ireland, they never succeeded and the family faded into obscurity there.

In this post I will try to follow the McCullochs into Ireland. It can get a touch confusing because all the males I have traced over the following 150 years were called William, James, Henry or John. The surname is spelled in different ways in some 17th century records. In the 18th century the family consistently used the spelling McCulloch, although McCullock and McCulloh also appear (and other people often misspelt their name). I believe that if you see McCullagh or McCullough, it is probably a different family.

1st Generation

Alexander died in 1643 and he was succeeded by his eldest son, William. The family had been helped in Ireland by the O’Neills of Clandeboye who gave them land in the barony of Toome in Co Antrim, the area immediately north of Lough Neagh. Wm Mc Collogh can be seen in the area in the 1653 List of Presbyterian landowners to be removed from Ulster, and William MaColloch (gent) is named as a titulado in the 1659/60 Census of Ireland. He can also be found in the Hearth Rolls in Fighog (now Feehogue) in 1666 and 1669.

There are other McCullochs nearby. The 1666 Roll has Jennett McCullogh which is probably William’s mother Janet Kennedy. She does not feature in 1669 which suggest she died in the intervening period. In 1669 there are John McColloghs at both Feehogue and Grogan, possibly a brother and a cousin. Perhaps one of them occupied Janet’s house.

There are a couple of deeds in PRONI from 1667. On 15 October 1667:

Surrender by Teige O’Hara of Creggbilly, Co. Antrim and Catherine his wife, to William McCullagh of Randalstown, Co Antrim of a Rent Charge of £P250 secured on the lands of Dunluce.

PRONI D2977/5/1/2/63

And a few days later on 21 October 1667:

Lease, Randal Marquess of Antrim, to William Lasly, Dunluce, Co. Antrim and William McCullagh Esq., Randalstown, Co. Antrim, of the quarterlands of Ballymagarry, Cullenagar [?], Urbalreagh, Islandfin [?], Islandbredagh [?] and Ballymultich [?], in the barony of Dunluce, and half the townland of Tome [Toome] (with the ferry) and the quarterlands of Muneglass Gallagh [Moneyglass] and Ballydugenan [Ballydugennan] in the barony of Toome, Co. Antrim, for 41 years. Consideration £200. Rent £15 for lands in barony of Dunluce and £1 for those in Toome.

PRONI D2977/3A/1/10/1

William married an English lady called Susanna Blundell, probably a granddaughter of the politician Sir Francis Blundell (1579-1625). Susanna survived her husband and executed his will (dated 6 December 1681 and proved 8 April 1682) which survives in PRONI. He mentions his sons Henry, James and John and daughters Mary (who was about to marry an O’Hara of Crebilly) and Rose (a minor).

William bequeathed to his cousin (which might mean nephew) John McCulloch the dwelling house he occupied and asked him to advise Henry, James and Susanna. He may have been the closest relative. On 20 April 1682, shortly after the probate of William’s will, Randal, Marquess of Antrim leased to John McCulloch, Gent., of Grogan, Co. Antrim, the townland of Ballylosk containing the 4 quarterlands of Carrowkell [Carrowcrin?], Carrowcloghan [Carracloghy?], Tallybane [Tullybane] and Carnaboy [?] for 41 years. Fine £250. Yearly rent £2.4s.0d. (PRONI D2977/3A/3/1/40) These are much further north, near the Giant’s Causeway.

Betham’s will abstract

Second generation

1. Henry McCulloch of Feehogue (see below)

2. James McCulloch of Grogan (see next post)

3. John McCulloch. This is probably the John McCulloch of Teffog(?) who witnessed the marriage of John Houston of Drummack and Martha Gage in 1717 (RoD 22-353-12260) and the John McCulloch of Randalstown who witnessed the marriage of William McCulloch and Dorothy Beresford Shaw in 1718 (RoD 36-491-23759). His funeral was recorded in the register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast as

July 1 1720 Mr. mcCuloah, in ronels, Esqr., pr Mr. Brise blear

4. Mary McCulloch, mentioned in her father’s will, is left £100, but she is not to receive it until Charles O’Hara has secured the future of her and any children she might have. This has been interpreted as meaning she was about to marry Charles, but in fact letters in PRONI make it clear that the marriage was to Owen O’Hara (d 1698).

The papers relating to Crebilly [were] in the hands of my cousin Owen O’Hara at the time of his death and consequently [are] now in Mr Henry McCullough’s custody, brother to Owen’s widow and agent for the Roes…

Elinor O’Hara to Keane O’Hara (29 Dec 1698)

Mary died some time before 1737 when her sons Hugh and Con sold the townland of Slatt (Slaght near Ballymena) where she had lived to her nephew James Stewart of Cloghog (RoD 87-328-61901).

5. Rose was a minor at the time of her father’s death. I know no more of her.

  1. Henry McCulloch of Feehogue

Henry appears to be William’s eldest son because he is named co-executor in the will along with his mother, and received William’s freehold lands in the barony of Toome. William also expressed the wish that the lands he held from the Marchioness of Antrim both in Toome and the Plantation of Londonderry be leased afresh to Henry. The main town in Toome had been renamed Randalstown in 1667 when the O’Neill heiress Rose O’Neill married Randall, the 1st (and only) Marquess of Antrim.

Henry was already married to Helen Houston by the time her father William Houston of Craigs made his will in 1685. Her mother was Margaret Shaw, a daughter of William Shaw of Ballybentro. In Henry’s will Helen was given an allowance from the lands he had inherited in Toome – Fewghoge, Aghaboy, Drumminnimy, Mackilravan, Straid and the two mills of Aghaboy and Straid – with provision that it should be taken from his lands in Londonderry – Ballyarton, Littermuck, Cloggan, and Tamnearan – if she should outlive the lease on the former lands. These latter lands were leased from Clotworthy Upton and his mother Dorothy in 1707 (PRONI D1118/3/7/3), but they were the lands his father had held from the Marchioness of Antrim and this was just a case of obtaining a new lease on lands he already held. Rose O’Neill, Marchioness of Antrim, died in 1695 but her affairs were not administered until 1707. (See Betham’s pedigree of the O’Neills.)

In 1708 French John O’Neill and the brothers Henry & James McCulloch were appointed as Trustees by Act of Parliament to sell the eight townlands of Mayola to Joshua Dawson MP for £6500. Dawson founded the town now known as Castledawson there (RoD 1-112-66).

Henry died on 16 Jan 1728/9 and was buried in Randalstown on the 18th. Helen died five years later.

“My old school fellow and comrade, Henry M’Culloch, Esq, died the 16th January 1728 and was buried in Old Drumall.”

(Memorandum of French John O’Neill, owner of Shane’s Castle)

18 Jan 1728/29 Capt McCologh in Ronaldstoun per Mr James McClure Merchent
3 Jul 1734 Mother of Mr Hendrie McCullogh in Ronoldstown, per Mr McClure

(Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast)

Their children were

a) John McCulloch, the eldest son, who received Ballygrooby, and a small part of Feehogue from the lands in Antrim in the will of his father. He also received the townlands of Drumard and Drumhubbert in Tyrone but sold them within a year to a John Walkinshaw (RoD 59-330-40753). These lands were in the Manor of Castlestewart, the residence of Henry’s brother-in-law John Houston, which makes me think they came from the Houston side of the family. John McCulloch is described as ‘went abroad’ in the document at the bottom of this post. He may have emigrated to the USA. If he has any McCulloch descendants, then one might claim to be the chief of the McCulloch clan.

b) HENRY, of whom hereafter

c) Martha McCulloch received £300 in her father’s will. If she was to die before marrying, her share was to go to granddaughters Helen Harvey, Martha Harvey and Helen Fairlie.

d) Rose McCulloch married John Harvey in 1715 (RoD 23-549-14393) but may have predeceased Henry.

e) At least one other daughter married to a Mr Fairlie. I suspect this was William Fairlie of Lisnatrunk, Co Down whose daughter Elinor (or Helen) was born in 1720 and married Ezekiel Bullock.

12 July 1728 Wife of mr William ffarlie, at Lisburn, Living in Lesnetronk, Pr mr James mcClure, marChant

(Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast)

HENRY McCulloch of Ballyarton (d 1771), the second son, received all his father’s other lands, including those in Antrim on which the lease was nearly expired. He was an elder in the Presbytery of Antrim and attended the General Synod in 1732, 1733 & 1737. In 1730 he married Ann Crawford (RoD 87-423-62439). The marriage settlement included Ballyarton and the other land in Londonderry, but only half the townland of Feehogue out of the lands in Antrim. The lease seems to have run out on those lands in 1750.

Belfast Newsletter

They settled on the lands in Londonderry and had three daughters.

i) Jane, the eldest daughter, never married and was still living at Ballyarton by the time this map was made in 1777.

ii) Ann, the second daughter, who married in 1759 Robert Alexander, the nephew of the Earl of Caledon (RoD 200-373-133537). The lands of Littermuck, Cloggan, and Tamnearan were included in the marriage settlement. Their many descendants are listed in Burke’s Landed Gentry.

iii) Dorothy Beresford, the youngest daughter, who in 1762 married James McClintock (RoD 243-7-155769). Once again, Henry put a charge on his lands to provide for his daughter. The descendants of the marriage include Field Marshal Montgomery. There were several Dorothy Beresford McCullochs, named after the wife of Henry’s cousin William McCulloch of Piedmont.

Henry McClintock, the son of James & Dorothy, had a daughter Dorothy who married Robert Alexander, a grandson of Robert Alexander and Ann McCulloch. Their son William Alexander (1824-1911), Bishop of Derry and then Archbishop of Armagh, married Cecil Frances Alexander who wrote the words to some of the most famous hymns including Once In Royal David’s City, There Is A Green Hill Far Away and All Things Bright And Beautiful.

The following family tree, now preserved in PRONI (D669/47) is apparently based on research by Henry McClintock in 1788 but includes later generations from well into the 19th century:

There were no more McCullochs descended from Henry McCulloch of Ballyarton, but Jane may have had cousins farming Ballyarton. RoD 518-227-341283 is a 1799 marriage settlement for Allen Laughlin of Clady and Mary the daughter of James McCulloch of Ballyarton. The deed also mentions Hugh McCulloch of Ballyarton, farmer. There are wills from Ballyarton of Hugh McCulloch (1815) and James McCulloch (1847), and from Lower Ballyarton a John McCulloch (1835).

In my next post I will look at the descendants of James McCulloch of Grogan, the brother of Henry McCulloch of Feehogue.

The McCullochs of Myrton

Anybody interested in the surname McCulloch should read Walter Jameson McCulloch’s book A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch (1964) which remained unpublished in his lifetime. It’s a detailed survey of the genealogy of the many branches of McCullochs who dominated southern Galloway from the middle ages up to the early modern period, drawing on private family charter chests and many registers of public record. It’s a monumental achievement in family history.

Along with the meticulously researched details of how the various branches of McCullochs first separated and then intermarried time after time, there are entertaining stories. Fans of Sir Walter Scott or Donizetti can see how the unfortunate groom of the real life Bride of Lammermoor was the son of a McCulloch lady. You can also read how Alexander McCulloch, Laird of Myrton, raided the Isle of Man in revenge for an attack on the Galloway coast and became immortalised as a bogeyman for generations of Manx children.

God keep the house and all within
From Cut McCulloch and from sin.

Or, as it was sometimes rendered:

Keep me, my good corn, and my sheep and my bullocks
From Satan, from Sin, and those thievish McCullochs.

I particularly like the Pythonesque thoroughness with which the same Laird was cursed by Bishop Vaux when the latter obstructed the former from carrying out his duties as Sheriff of Galloway.

“Whereupon, Bishop Vaux solemnly cursed Sir Alexander, ‘Knycht of Myrton’, he cursed the Sheriff Clerk, he cursed the sergeants and other officers whomsoever; he cursed them all ‘by candle, by book and by bell’: and then, committing the curses to writing, he caused Letters of Cursing to be served on all parties.”

The McCullochs are described as an Armigerous Clan. This misleading term means that there is now no recognised Clan chief. This is because the head family, the McCullochs of Myrton had to leave Galloway in the early 17th century. The main weakness of W.J.McCulloch’s book is that he failed to trace the family’s descent in Ireland, apart from mentioning a single line that went on to emigrate to the USA. Apart from causing the omission of a small but significant branch from his book, this also meant he did not have access to the family history preserved by the senior branch of the family.

In this post I’m going to look at the earliest McCullochs in Scotland and in the next post I will do my best to rectify this omission by outlining the family in Ireland.

McCulloch origins

The senior McCullochs were based at Myrton Castle (pictured above and below) overlooking the White Loch in the historic county of Wigtownshire. It’s now a romantic ruin overrun by vegetation. In his History W.J.McCulloch gives a tentative succession of McCullochs at Myrton based on disconnected records. He mentions

  • Patrick McCulloch, a supporter of the English, alive between 1338 and 1363
  • Thomas McCulloch, alive in 1414 (but an owner of lands nearby, rather than Myrton itself)
  • Normond McCulloch, alive between 1400 and 1439, who granted lands at Ardwell to his brother Archibald
  • Eliseus McCulloch, who died by 1478

Later in the book, in the section on the McCullochs in the USA, he quotes from a document written in 1767 by a grandson of James McCulloch of Grogan (d 1725) which was copied by James Iredell (1751-1799), who was one of the first Justices of the US Supreme Court and also another descendant of James McCulloch. It’s included at the start of his Life and Correspondence and starts (before the section quoted by W.J.McCulloch)

“The Genealogy of James McCulloch Esqr of Grogun from Sir Cullo ONeill first Laird of Myrton in Scotland, who was a Son of the Family of Clanaboys in Ireland –
James McCulloch of Grogun, Son of William McCullock Esqr of Brandalstown, Son of Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Simon Laird of Myrton, Son of Henry of Killerar and Margt of Myrton, which Henry was Son in law of Sir Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Elesous Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Norman Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Gulfred or Godfrey Laird of Myrton, (who a∫sumed the Surname of McCullo) Son of Sir Cullo Oneill first Laird of Myrton.”

In the next section of the document (quoted on pages 31-32 of the History) James McCulloch of Piedmont (the grandson of James of Grogan) goes on to give details of his family’s history that are so precise (giving the date and location of every occasion when each new Laird had his Charter renewed by the Scottish king) that it is impossible to doubt its accuracy (although in the long version it becomes clear there is another William missing between Alexander and Simon). Without copying the details from the original charters there would be no way for someone to know where the various kings were when the charters were signed.

None of the details in James McCulloch’s document conflict with any historical sources. James even explains that Henry of Killasser descended from Thomas, second son of Sir Norman McCulloch, which accounts for the Thomas who owned nearby lands in 1418. So it is curious that W.J.McCulloch chooses to dismiss this version of events as ‘oral history’ and sticks to the version he has already described as tentative.

It seems quite possible to me that different members of the McCulloch family, including the Patrick McCulloch named above, had competing claims to the lands in the middle of the 14th century if they were supporters of the Balliol kings of Scotland while the senior line were supporting the Bruces.

So I think that the most likely succession at Myrton is that detailed by James McCulloch up to and including Eliseus. After that there is only one minor difference – James makes Henry of Kilasser the son-in-law of Alexander, while W.J.McCulloch in his History shows that he was the son-in-law of Alexander’s brother Simon.

The Lairds of Myrton

Each Laird is the son or daughter of their predecessor except where indicated.

  • Sir Cullo O’Neill (d 1331)
  • Sir Godfrey McCullo (d 1358)
  • Sir Alexander McCullo (d 1399)
  • Sir Norman McCullo (d 1445)
  • Sir Eliseus McCullo (d 1448)
  • Sir Alexander McCullo (died about 1524)
  • Sir Symon McCullo, his brother (died before 1540)
  • Margaret McCullo (d 1562) married to Henry McCulloch of Kilasser (d 1545)
  • Symon McCulloch (d 1592)
  • William McCulloch (d 1626 in Ireland)
  • Alexander McCulloch (never able to succeed to Myrton)

The surname Brazey

Everyone in the world who has an English ancestor named Brazey is descended from a single man who lived in Halifax, Yorkshire in the 18th Century. There can be few surnames where the most recent shared ancestor is such a short time ago.

The name Brazey first appeared as an entry in the registers for birth, marriage and death at St John the Baptist, the parish church of Halifax. Most of the early holders of this name could not write, and so they were at the mercy of registrars where the spelling of their name was concerned. Over time the name appeared in variants such as Brasey, Brassey, Bracey, Brazier, Brayshaw, Brashaw and Brawshaw, particularly when members of the family moved to other areas with registrars who had different ideas about how it should be spelled.

The original Mr Brazey (William Brassey d. 1792)

It is perhaps surprising, then, that the earliest references to the surname are the birth records of the children of an educated stonemason whose marriage record in 1748 says quite clearly William Brassey, with an elegant old-fashioned double s, where the first s looks like an f. This spelling is repeated on the copy of his will held by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Made in 1786 the will leaves his holdings in Halifax and Southowram to his dear wife Mary for her life, and then to his two surviving sons, John and William, and seven surviving daughters. (Three further children had died in infancy.) Trustees of the will were Thomas Smith and John Foster, fellow masons, who were the husbands of two of William’s daughters, Patience and Susan. In the event, Mary predeceased her husband and presumably the inheritance went directly to the children.

Despite William Brassey’s choice of spelling, all the birth records relating to his children use the spelling Brazey, and his own burial record also seems to say Brazey. Only one of his children could sign their own name on their marriage register, and that son William (1761-1834) also used the spelling Brassey in 1779.

After this, both Brassey and Brazey were used in records for the illiterate members of the family, including the elder son John (1752-1814) who had three children but no Brazey/Brassey grandchildren.

Other Brazeys

In 1760, another William Brazey appears in the church record, marrying a Rachel Hartley or Heartley. Many researchers have assumed him to be the father of William Brassey/Brazey (1761-1834) but a careful look at the records shows that this William is a (Wool)Comber, not a Mason. He has two children in the records, Ann (1771-1772) and William (born 1768). After this, they disappear from the records completely, except for the burial record of Rachel, the wife of William Brashaw aged 55, at the Non-conformist Square Chapel in Halifax in 1795. Birth and death records could be recorded at Non-conformist churches, (although I have found no other records of this family at the Square Chapel) but marriages had to be ratified by the Church of England. It would seem that there were no further descendants from this family.

William Brassey (1761-1834)

So the younger son William Brassey is the ancestor of all subsequent Brazeys. He was also a Stone Mason and settled in Southowram, the small town across the River Hebble from St John the Baptist’s. He married young, before his 18th birthday in 1779, probably because his wife Mary was already expecting their first child, Betty (who lived to the age of 78 and had six children without ever marrying.)

Although William could write his name in 1779, I have not found any of his 10 children or 37 grandchildren who could sign their name. As a result, a wide range of spellings were used in their marriage, death and census records. One grandchild moved to Worcestershire and became a Brazier; those that moved to Manchester became Brashaws or Brayshaws. The ones that stayed in Yorkshire generally became Brazeys or Brayshaws. One great granddaughter who died in London seems to have had death certificates in both these names. The names were probably only fixed when people learnt to write their own names.

Curiously, there seem to be no descendants who adopted the spelling Brassey preferred by the family’s patriarchs, which was not used in the records much after 1840 or so. William’s son Joseph, my gggg grandfather, went by the name Brazey, but had several sons who became Brayshaws.

Origins of the name Brazey

So we have seen that Brazey was a misspelling of an earlier name, but was that original name Brassey or Brayshaw? I have found no birth record for the original William Brassey in Halifax with either spelling.

Brayshaw was an existing name in Halifax in earlier centuries, but the only Brayshaws born there in the 18th Century were the children of Robert Brayshaw (died 1748). Robert married in 1726, so William could have been born shortly after and been about the right age to marry in 1748. Both Robert and William had daughters who married men named Francis Nicholl. It was usual at that time to name your first son after your father so these men were probably related. This might, therefore, indicate a connection between Robert and William, but on the other hand, no member of William’s family ever named a son Robert. Also, Robert was not a stone mason like William and his descendants. Despite this, it remains possible that William was a Brayshaw from Halifax who adopted a peculiar spelling of his name and that his missing birth record may yet be identified.

It is perhaps more likely that William Brassey was born elsewhere and moved to Halifax before his marriage. A skilled stone mason may well have found work away from his home town. The name Brassey was not previously known in Halifax, or indeed the rest of Yorkshire, which would explain why the clerks made up a new spelling. The name Brassey elsewhere is pronounced with a long “a” (rhyming with Gracie), so it would be hard for someone to guess the spelling if they did not know it. There is a detailed web site on the surname Bracey and its variant spellings and maybe it will be possible to identify William on one of the Brassey genealogies there.

It would be possible now to determine scientifically the truth of the matter. If any male Brazey (or a Brayshaw who descended from a Brazey) took a DNA test, one could see whether their Y chromosome matched people called Brayshaw or Brassey.

Notable Brazeys

In 1867, John Brazey made national news when he was nearly murdered by burglars at his home in Southowram.

Two Brazeys died in the First World War. Tom Brazey (1884-1917) was in the South Lancashire regiment of the Prince of Wales volunteers and was killed in action.  Lewis Brazey (1894-1918) was in the Duke of Welllington (West Riding) Regiment and was also killed in action.

A granddaughter of Ellis Brazey (1840-1910), Clarice Brayshaw (1900-1975), was mentioned in an article in the Sunday Times in 2014 which claimed that her husband Bernard Beardmore was an illegitimate son of the great Indian cricketer Kumar Singh Ranjitsinhji.

The Brazey name today

Sadly, the name Brazey is getting rarer. There were around 20 Brazeys on the 1911 Census of England, but only 6 have been born in the UK since 1960 of which only two are male. They are all descendants of Norman Brazey, a Barnardo’s boy, and live in Somerset. Although some Brazeys emigrated to the US, I can find no record of any descendants now, and any surviving Brazeys in the US would seem to have their roots in France, perhaps in the towns Brazey-en-Pleine or Brazey-en-Morvan.

The later history of Ballygally

I’ve written before about Ballygally Castle near Larne on the northeastern coast of Ireland. It’s now a smart hotel trading on its ghosts and its Game Of Thrones connections, but for over 200 years after it was built in 1625 it was the home of the Shaw family from whom I am descended. Over three earlier posts, I established the following family tree for the Shaws of Down & Antrim.


After the early death of William Shaw, the husband of Margaret Upton, Ballygally was inherited by Henry Shaw, who was either a son or a nephew. Henry’s son John was succeeded by John’s nephew Henry Shaw (d 1799), the son of another William.

That Shaw line ran out in 1850 when William Henry Shaw, the only son of Henry Shaw (d 1799), died unmarried in London. The main history of the castle written by a later tenant, the Rev Classon Porter (1814-1885), was printed in 1884 in the Larne Reporter and then again in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology in 1901, edited by Francis Joseph Bigger. It describes how Henry had to fight in court to regain his inheritance from the McCullochs. It is my suspicion that the previous Henry Shaw was only a nephew of William Shaw, and the McCullochs believed that they should have inherited Ballygally through William’s daughter Dorothy.

Porter’s history reports that W.H.Shaw sold his estate at Ballygally in 1820 to his neighbour (and distant cousin) Edward Jones Agnew of Kilwaughter and that during the 19th century the castle was owned by Agnew’s heirs. The hotel’s web site says that it was subsequently owned by the Moore family before being sold to the hotel company in the early 1950s.

Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 13 March 1820

But that’s not exactly right. The Shaws sold their land but the castle remained in the possession of the family. This is made clear in The Book of the Agnews (1926). Chapter XXVII of this book is devoted to the Shaws of Ballygally. It contains another reprint of Classon Porter’s history, a letter from war hero Lt Col William Agnew Moore who was the owner of the castle at the time, and then a pedigree of the Shaws drawn up by the colonel.

You can see where the confusion comes from. The colonel was a descendant of the Agnews. But he owned the castle because his great-grandmother was the elder half-sister of W.H.Shaw. Henry Shaw (d 1799) had an earlier marriage to Jane Agnew of Kilwaughter in 1772. She died in 1774, the same year as the birth of their daughter Jane Shaw. She married a William Moore. It was Jane Shaw Moore who inherited Ballygally and died there in 1862. Her son John had emigrated to the US and on to Canada where he had died so it was owned from a distance from that point by John’s son the Rev Dr William Moore (1838-1915) of Ottawa. His son was the colonel who came to Ballygally to make it his home after the First World War. (He stood unsuccessfully as the official Unionist candidate in the closely fought East Antrim by-election of 1919.)

The colonel says that Jane Agnew was a daughter of Squire William Agnew of Kilwaughter. Edward Jones Agnew’s mother was the squire’s other daughter. So in that way, the colonel was an Agnew heir, but he acquired Ballygally because of his Shaw ancestry. (Another descendant said in the Agnew Newsletter in 1999 that Jane was a niece of the squire.)

The colonel refers to consulting papers at Ballygally to draw up his Shaw pedigree, so it deserves looking at closely, but most of it seems to come from Classon Porter’s history. It repeats the mistakes of referring to Margaret Upton’s husband William Shaw as James and saying they married in 1680. She wasn’t born until 1671. He also conflates the two John Shaws who went to Ireland – John Shaw of Ballywhiskin and John Shaw of Ballygally – but I have shown that they were different people, obtaining Letters of Denization at different times, and having separate sons called William.

As he believes James/William to be born earlier than he really was, he places him a generation early as a son of Captain John Shaw of Ballygally, and places an extra John in the succession, i.e. 

  • James/William m Margaret Upton c 1695
  • => Henry Shaw m Mary Crawford
  • => John Shaw m Jean Hamilton
  • => John Shaw m his cousin Margaret Hamilton
  • => his nephew Henry Shaw m Jane Agnew in 1774

This isn’t right. Porter says Henry Shaw lived with his sisters-in-law Mrs Nixon and Lady Slane. These ladies were both Hamiltons and Mrs Nixon was Mary Crawford before her second marriage. It was Henry Shaw who married Jean Hamilton.

He also says the original John Shaw married a Jean Mure of Rowallan in Ayrshire but she was the wife of John Schaw the 1st Baronet of Greenock who lived about 100 years later. And he says the mother of Henry Shaw (d1799) was called Mary McDowell, but this article from the Larne Observer 1884 gives enough information to convince me she was Martha Blair of Blairmount.


So apart from the whole Moore connection, the only useful piece of information given by the colonel is the names of Captain John Shaw’s wife (Jane Larmer or Larmour) which can’t be relied on, given the number of things he got wrong.

The colonel died in Bedford on 19 February 1950, but by that time the castle had been sold to the Earl of Antrim who opened the first hotel there in 1938. The castle had been on the market for 11 years and for several years the colonel’s first wife had lived there without him.


Belfast Newsletter, March 1938

Rose Knevett in the Beresford pedigrees

In this post I am going to look at Rose Knevett or Knyvett, the mother of Tristram Beresford, my 11xgreat grandfather who was agent for The Honourable The Irish Society in the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th Century.


We are in no doubt that Tristram’s parents were named Michael and Rose. The 1619 Visitation of Kent explicitly shows that Tristram of Londonderry was the 3rd son of Michael Beresford of Squerryes in Westerham, Kent and his wife Rose, daughter of John Kneute de … . There are several errors and omissions in the various Beresford pedigrees which I’ll come to later, but this seems clear enough. The same family also appears in the 1574 Visitation living at Otford (near Sevenoaks) with Rose’s maiden name being spelt Kneuitt. (The letter v is consistently transcribed as u.)


Many online trees have decided that this John Knevitt must be the son who died in the lifetime of his mother Jane Bourchier Knyvett, 3rd Baroness Berners de jure, of Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk. It’s a tempting proposition – that John has many fascinating ancestors. (Jane Bourchier descended from Edward III and was cousin to two wives of Henry VIII by her grandmother’s second marriage. I wrote about them all in my post on West Horsley Place.) The dates fit – that John was born about 1518 and Rose about 1540. And that John had a sister called Rose (wife of Oliver Reymes) named in his mother’s will.

But unfortunately there is a fly in the ointment. There were Knevetts in Kent at this period. The Blackwood pedigrees of the Beresfords in Ireland state that John Knevitt was ‘of County Kent’. I found a reference to two Knevett brothers of West Kent taking part in the Battle of Hartley 1554. (The Beresfords owned 30 acres of land at Hartley.) One online source even gives a marriage date of 3 May 1564 at Sevenoaks for Michael Beresford and Rose Knevitt. It claims it’s taken from familysearch.org but I have been unable to find that record.

Ashwellthorpe Font.jpeg
Three examples of Knyvett arms at Ashwellthorpe

The final proof that Rose was not from Norfolk comes in the footnotes of the 1619 Visitation. It gives her family’s arms as Gules, three plates charged with a cinquefoil sable. This clearly has no similarity at all with the Knyvett arms that are found throughout the church in Ashwellthorpe.

You can see Rose’s arms in the tomb of her daughter Bennet in the church of St Nicholas at Ash near Canterbury. Bennet married Sir Thomas Harflete or Septvans and on their tomb they each have escutcheons above them representing their parents’ marriages. Bennet has the Beresford arms impaling Gules, six plates argent charged with a cinquefoil (or a fleur-de-lys?) sable.


The same arms can be seen on the tomb of their daughter in nearby Wingham church. (Picture to follow.)

So it would seem that anybody interested in the ancestry of Rose Knevett would have to do some work on the Kent line of Knevetts.

Errors in the Beresford pedigrees

I mentioned earlier that there are problems with the Beresford pedigrees.

  1. The 1619 pedigree wrongly attributes the children of George Beresford, Michael’s eldest son, to Richard, the second son. George’s 1613 will mentions all these children. (Notice how rich he was! He gave £400 to each of his daughters and that’s at least £75000 in today’s money.) Even in the unlikely event that George and Richard had nine children with identical names, we know it was George’s son Michael who inherited Squerryes because his mother Elizabeth Petley is named in his IPM of 1628.
  2. It also omits Michael’s second and third wives. His third wife, Dorothy, is mentioned in his will and they had a son William and two daughters, Mary and Jane. (Notice how stingy he was! £500 to Mary & Jane, but only £4 to the poor of Westerham.) Dorothy was born Dorothy Cromer or Crowmer and had several children by her first marriage to William Seyliard. One of them, Elizabeth Seyliard, married her stepbrother Cornelius Beresford and they were ancestors of the Presidents Bush of the USA.
  3. 21B17C03-9430-4273-A521-56678C24413BThe Beresford arms seem to change between the two Visitations. There are two sets of arms associated with Beresford – the one with the 3 fleur-de-lys and the one with the bear. I think what happened is that Michael descended from a younger son who adopted his own arms, but the senior branch died out, so the cadet branch was able to use both.
  4. Thomas, the 4th son of Michael and Rose, is omitted from the earlier Visitation. This could be explained by Thomas being the 4th surviving son, born after 1574. But I think this is the same family in the 1569 Visitation of Nottinghamshire (Michael’s father was Steward of Nottingham):


In this pedigree Nicholas has the same parents as Michael of Westerham and seven children whose names match those of Michael’s eldest seven children (although George is 14 years too old). Surely Nich is a misprint for Mich? And Rose is now the daughter of John Fitzwilliam of Knevett, a place which does not exist. Does this mean John’s father was William Knevett? Perhaps the one that fought at Hartley in 1554?

Even if Nicholas is a brother of Michael, this pedigree introduces more inconsistencies. George Beresford, the Steward of Nottingham, has the same wife as in the Visitations of Kent but different parents. Personally I believe that Michael, who signed the 1574 Visitation, knew the name of his own grandfather. I think that the John marked as a brother to the Steward of Nottingham was actually his father. Wouldn’t it be great if the original scrolls were made available digitally rather than these inaccurate 19th Century transcriptions?

We need the extra generation between Michael and Thomas in the above tree. Thomas Beresford of Derbyshire died in 1473, 135 years before Michael which sounds too distant to be a great-grandfather. The Blackwood pedigrees, which follow the Visitation of Nottingham, give a date of 1505 for the marriage of John Beresford and Miss Fitzherbert. This sounds right for Michael’s grandfather, not his uncle.

The tomb of Thomas Beresford and his wife Agnes Hassall in Fenny Bentley church is a strange monument. They lie in eerie stone shrouds, like ossified courgettes. Their 21 children, depicted in the same way, perform a macabre dance round the sides.





While performing in Norwich for a week in Autumn 2019, I took the opportunity of visiting the pretty church of All Saints, Ashwellthorpe, 10 miles outside the city centre. It’s only small, but its monuments trace a history of hundreds of years before and after the late 14th century when it was built.


North of the chancel is the splendid alabaster tomb of Sir Edmund Thorp (d 1418) and his wife Joan Northwood (d 1415). They are possible 19xgreat grandparents of mine, and probably of everybody else too. There are only so many ancestors to go round when you get that far back. Sir Edmund’s distinguished career under Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V is given in his History of Parliament entry.

1, Thorp and Bainard quartered. 2, Northwood, erm. a cross ingrailed gul. on the first quarter, arg. a fess between two bars gul. 3, Clifton. 4, Barry, arg. a chevron between three bears heads cooped sab. muzzled or

Originally this side had 1, or, a lion rampant gul. armed and langued az. 2, arg. two bars and a canton gul. 3, Kerdeston, gul. a saltier ingrailed arg. 4, Calthorp, but the first two have been replaced by the arms of the king and of St George that were previously placed on the west of the tomb.

The tomb is in excellent condition. Lady Joan’s head is supported by angels and three charming dogs support her feet and those of Sir Edmund. There are more photos here. The tomb has eight escutcheons representing their ancestors.


The Thorps had been in possession of the manor for over a hundred years by that point (as described in British History Online) but Sir Edmund and Lady Joan had two daughters. One daughter, Joan Clifton, had no issue and so the manor was inherited by the other daughter Isabel who had married Philip Tilney. (See Tilney in the Visitation of Norfolk.)

Their eldest son Frederick Tilney had only one daughter, Elizabeth, who brought the manor to her husband Sir Humphrey Bourchier. (I talked about his death in the Wars of the Roses in my post on West Horsley Place in Surrey.) Elizabeth went on to marry a second time to the Earl of Surrey and was the grandmother of two of Henry VIII’s wives and ancestor of the Dukes of Norfolk, but Ashwellthorpe passed onto her son by her first marriage to Humphrey, Sir John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, and then to John’s daughter Jane Bourchier, who married Edmund Knyvett, Henry VIII’s Sergeant Porter. Edmund was a younger son of Edmund Knyvett (d 1503) of Buckenham Castle in Norfolk and Eleanor Tyrell. (Their eldest son, Thomas Knyvett (d 1512) had married a daughter of Elizabeth Tilney.) See below for a pedigree down to William Knyvett, the father of Edmund senior.

The Berners barony is so ancient that it was created by writ. This means that unlike more recent peerages which have official grants of remainder which specify that they can only pass to heirs male of the original recipient, this title can pass through female heiresses. In theory, Jane Bourchier Knyvett was the 3rd Baroness Berners, although she never claimed the title. She outlived her heir, John Knyvett, so it was her grandson Thomas who claimed the title, but never had it confirmed before his death in 1618.

Jane and several of her Knyvett descendants are buried under the floor of the little chapel to the north of Sir Edmund’s tomb.

Memorial to Jane Bourchier Knyvett with missing escutcheon

Jane Knyvet restyth here, the only heyr by Ryght, Of the Lord Berners that Syr John Bourchier hight, Twenty Years and three, a Widdows Lyffe she lede, Always keeping Howse, where Rych and Poor were fedd, Gentyll, just, quyet, void of Debate and Stryff, Ever doyng Good; Lo ! thus she led her Lyffe, Even unto the Grave, where Erth on Erth doth lye, Gn whose Soul God grant of his aboundant Mercy The 17 of February Ao Dni. MDLII

The succession at Ashwellthorpe is illustrated by a series of coats of arms on the octagonal font near the entrance to the church – representing Thorp (not pictured), Tilney/Thorp, Bourchier/Tilney, Knyvett/Bourchier, and more Knyvett marriages to Harcourt, Parry, Bacon (and another not shown).

C9FEE778-BAEA-4FA3-9A6B-3C70752CE4F0Ashwellthorpe Font.jpeg

The coats of arms of Thorp, Bourchier and Knyvet can be seen again in the stained glass of the little chapel to the north of Sir Edmund’s tomb, along with the arms of the Wilson family who eventually became Barons Berners in 1832, the barony having been in abeyance for most of the preceding 140 years. The Wilsons were succeeded by the Tyrwhitt-Wilsons, the last of whom, the 14th Lord Berners (1883-1950), was a famous socialite, composer and novelist. He was gay and had no heir. Once again the ancient title passed through the female line, first to a Williams, and now the current holder is a Kirkham. She is the 16th holder of the title, which is not very many for a peerage that is now 565 years old.

The Berners barony is represented by another stained glass window in the east wall of the chapel, showing quarters of Wilson, Knyvett, Bourchier, Royal arms (the first Baron descended from Edward III), Berners (no tinctures) and Wilson again.


Last, but not least, the chapel also houses a full-size replica of the beautiful Ashwellthorpe Triptych, an altarpiece commissioned around 1519 to celebrate the marriage of Christopher Knyvett to his Flemish bride, Catherine.


The central panel depicts the Seven Sorrows of Mary, while the side panels show the bride and groom kneeling in front of their name saints. Christopher’s escutcheon and clothing show Knyvett quartered by the same Clifton arms seen on Edmund Thorp’s tomb. When Edmund’s son-in-law John Clifton of Buckenham died without an heir, his inheritance was claimed by his sister’s son, John Knyvett. The Knyvetts had owned Buckenham ever since.


Visitation of Yorkshire, 1563

The informative panel in the chapel says that ‘Christopher Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe’ disappears from the records (and probably died) around 1520 and the altarpiece was inherited by his brother Edmund and handed down through the family until it was sold in 1908 by the Wilsons who held the Berners title at that time. I would question that description ‘of Ashwellthorpe’ though, because Ashwellthorpe only came into the Knyvett family with Edmund’s marriage to Jane Bourchier.

Considering the Knyvetts were such a distinguished family, it is surprising that neither the original Buckenham branch or the cadet branch at Ashwellthorpe appear in any of the Visitations of Norfolk. Perhaps they had so much land in so many counties that they were always out when the Heralds called. The only useful Knyvett tree I have found is the one in the Knevet tree in the 1563 Visitation of Yorkshire, shown above, and that one stops in the mid-15th Century.

So it’s difficult to make a complete tree and it remains an open question whether John Knyvett, who died in the lifetime of his mother Jane Bourchier, had a daughter called Rose who married Michael Beresford of Kent and was the mother of Tristram Beresford, my 11x great grandfather who went to Ireland to line his pockets as agent for the Livery Companies in the Plantation of Ulster. So that’s what I’m going to look at in my next post.