[Will of George Beswick on Normanton on Soar 1557]
[Will of William Beswick of Wollerton 1597]
[Will of James Beswick of Nottingham 1678]
[The Will of Thomas Bestwick of Nottingham 1620]
[The Will of Robert Bestwick of Nottingham 1681]
[ Will of me Thomas Beswick of Sutton Bonnington 1821]
[Will of John Beswick of Sutton Bonnington 1846]
[An inventory of the Goods and Chattles]
My Father (and I and my sister) stem from Long Eaton, Derbyshire, His father and his whole family line are from Sutton Bonnington (now Sutton Bonington). I am very lucky, compared with most genealogists, in that not only do the records for Sutton Bonnington survive, but they are very well documented. Tracing this line back to its beginning in 1742 has been time consuming but not too difficult. For the earlier periods see Eric Whitaker's history below, which I have verified but added very little to.
The family tree and the wills are self explanatory but the 1841 census is enlightening. Apart from the 11Sutton Bonnington Beswicks there was only 1 other in Nottinghamshire, in Mansfield who does not link into this tree.
The 1851 census gives a similar picture - some have died, others born, the numbers about the same.
By 1891 the picture changes completely
The 1901 census gives very much the same story.
By 1981 there was only one Beswick left in Sutton Bonington. There is a social history here that I will leave until another day
Below are the findings of Eric Whitaker on his research. It is worth noting that for these early names Beswick is used as a descriptor, the actual records may be Beswick, Bestwick, Besswicke, Beswycke, Bessock and almost any other combination.
Dear Richard (Pegg),
I thought I would write to bring you up to date with some recent work I have been doing on our Beswick ancestors. I don’t know to what extent Alan Smith has been keeping you informed of his findings, but these have been quite far reaching and have provided the basis for what I have done.
Before his work in the last four months we were stuck with John Besswick (married to Elizabeth Hallam at Sutton in 1742) as our earliest defined ancestor. However his discovery in the bishop’s transcripts of Sutton St. Anne’s that when he was buried in 1789 he was described as being the “son of……… of Willoughby”. This led to the discovery of his baptism at Willoughby, son of Thomas and Anne, which pretty certainly identified him as the son of Thomas Bessock of Gamston (West Bridgeford) and Ann Topley of Bunny who married at Stanford on Soar 31/1/1711 ( a marriage that I had known about for a long time but had no reason to think was significant). Alan Smith has also turned up 5 Beswick wills ranging from 1557 to 1681 which I have been able to transcribe into modern writing and still more recently he has managed to read some of the (very difficult) 17th century Nottingham registers.
Meanwhile I had sorted out Beswicks at Leicester, Morley and Smalley, and since receiving his most recent data a month ago I have had a go at unifying the whole lot as ‘The Beswick Family of the East Midlands’, of which I enclose a copy. Of course it is very tentative & involves a lot of assumptions, but I think it makes sense. Most importantly I think it extends our family tree back through 3 more generations through Samuel ( & Elizabeth Allen) to Thomas (& Mary Thorpe) and then to Thomas & Allice (whose surname is very difficult to decipher but may be Robotham or Bouthorn). Beyond that there is still an unknown who I have described as E1, but two possible generations before that of Thomas ( & Allice Raye) and Alexander of Beeston.
I am fairly convinced now that William Bestwicke of Sutton (married 1684) is a red herring. His connection with Sutton was too early since the next generation was associated with Gamston & lived at Willoughby. If you would like any further details lying behind what I have summarised in the enclosed, please let me know.
The Beswick Family in the East Midlands
The name Beswick is common in the North West, especially Lancashire and Cheshire, but up to the end of the 16th century it was still uncommon in the Midlands and seems to have pretty well confined to an ‘island’ in the Loughborough and Shardlow registration districts that was isolated from the main concentration in the North West. This suggests that a single individual who moved there at a definable point in history may have started the East Midland’s branch. The latest possible date for him to do so can be defined as about 1485 on the basis of the earliest records we have at present, though of course this date might be moved by further discoveries.
The basis for this is primarily the will of George of Normanton on Soar in 1557 who made bequests to his cousins Thomas and Jane. Two contemporaries of these names are known: Thomas who married Allice Raye at Wilne on 29.1.1563 and Jane who married John Hutchinson at Beeston on 9.11.1557. If we assume that George’s two cousins were brother and sister, then the presence of Alexander (tenant of the Grange) at Beeston in 1540 suggests that he was their father. Since George has three unmarried sons in 1557 he was clearly about a generation older than Thomas & Jane who were probably his first cousins once removed, so that Alexander would be his first cousin and Alexander’s father and George’s father would brothers. Their father would then be the first East Midland Beswick (generation A) and a possible time scale would be:
Although there is no direct evidence of a relationship , Morley is so close to Beeston and Wilne that it seems very probable that the family that was established there by 1550 was also headed by a member of generation B, and the Katherine who died there in 1548 may well have been the wife of B3.
Thus all these lines of evidence suggest that a migrant Beswick (A1), presumably from Lancashire, arrived and settled down, somewhere in the region from Nottingham to Morley, about 1485. This date suggest the further possibility that he was a Lancastrian soldier who finished up on the far side of the Pennines at the end of the Wars of the Roses.
Information is scarce for the end of the 16th century. The Elizabeth who married John Etwall at Normanton on Soar on 3.6.1599 was presumably George’s widow – which suggests that George was not all that old when he died, and supports the assumption that he was born about 1515. George’s son Phillip died in 1560 and no other Beswicks occur at Normanton on Soar. However, when records start in Leicester in 1600 a family appears there who use the name Richard to a considerable extent: a Samuel starts a family in 1602 and a Richard marries in 1603. These could well be the grandsons of George. The Leicester family is traced later, but does not seem to have any interactions with the Nottingham area. The Morley family also develops from 1564 onwards and moves to the parish of Smalley in the mid 17th century, but again there are no obvious connections with Nottingham. The only other Beswicks that we know of which cannot be connected with the tree are Ralph, who appears at Annesley in 1584 and William, a collier, who made his will at Wollaton in 1597. They may be unrecorded members of generation C or sons of Lawrence at Morley, but as William did not have any sons he is irrelevant to the further family history anyway. The only significant event in this period is therefore the marriage of John to Alis Goadby at Wilne on 28.11.1599.
This marriage seems significant because of its connections with Wilne, so that John is likely to be the son of the Thomas who married there in 1563, and also because a John turns up in Nottingham, along with several other Beswicks just about the turn of this century. The key evidence at this stage is the will of another Thomas, also having a wife Allice, who married in Nottingham St Mary in1608, and died in February 1620, naming in his will his wife Allice, his sons Robert and Thomas, and his cousin John. This seems likely to be a John who is known to be an apprentice in 1624 – a bequest seems more likely to be to a younger relative than to an older one like the John who married in 1599. This suggests that Thomas’s father was the brother of the John who married in 1599, and also of E4 the father of Henry who is referred to in an addendum to the will as a cousin owing money, so we have a tentative tree:
The other Beswick who appeared in Nottingham is George, who is added tentatively as younger son of Thomas and Allice Raye. There is at present no documentation for descendants of George and Henry beyond generations F & G (though as we shall see later, they probably did exist) and there is also the possibility of confusion between their sons and the slightly younger sons of Thomas & Allice of the same name in Gen G.
This confusion is less in the case of Thomas than of Robert. We have clear documentation of a Thomas who married in 1644 and died in 1686, and he is more likely to have been 31 and 73 at these events than 41 & 83, so he more likely to be the son of Thomas & Allice rather than George, and we proceed on this basis to develop the further tree.
This line therefore arrives at a Thomas of the right age to marry Mary Topley in 31/1/1711. It involves the assumption that the burial of Thomas at St Peter's on 15/5/1686 is that of Samuel's father rather than of his 2 year old son, but this is very reasonable in that it was usual to record that name of the father at the burial of an infant.
Since Thomas and Anne (Topley) were certainly the ancestors of the Beswicks of Sutton Bonnington, the result of this argument is to discount the idea that the William of Sutton Bonnington who married at Nottingham St Mary in 1684 ( and who constitutes the first recorded connection with Sutton Bonningon) had anything to do with their subsequent history there siince we have no knowledge of of whose son he was, where he came from to Sutton, where he settled after marriage or whether he had children, Samuel seems a more probable ancestor since we know he had a son Thomas at Nottingham who would not have had to go far to be "of Gamston" at the time of his marriage.
We now revert to the descendants of Robert of Nottingham. Unfortunatley there is at present no way of deciding, even on the basis if probablity, whether the Robert in question is the son of Thomas (b 1610) or the son of Henry (b 1608) except that Roberts son was baptised at St Peter's like henry's son, whereas Roberts were baptised at St Mary's, which probably supports the Henry side. Knowledge of his family comes from his will made in 1681, 4 years before his death in 1685. What happened to the Robert born in 167 is not known, but he is in any case too young to be a ancestor of the Beswicks of Sutton Bonnington.
There remain two Beswicks connected with Nottingham who have not ben identified:
1) James paid hearth tax in 1674 and made his will in 1678, apparently only having a daughter named Howett. He was a barber. Since he did not make provision for for her guardianship she was presumably born before 1657 and he was presumably born before 1635. He could therefore have been the son of Thomas (son of George) b 1603 or the son of the other Robert. His father must have died before 1642.
2) William of Sutton Bonnington who married in 1683/4. If he originated from Nottingham and he was born about 1660 he could have been a grandson of Thomas (b 1603) or the other Robert, though both his father and grandfather must have been conveniently young to avoid paying the hearth tax and Protestant Returns. Of course it is possible that that he was the son of James who had disinherited him. Removing William from the line is not unreasonable now we know that Thomas (of Gamston) went to live at Willoughby not Sutton.
The Beswicks Of Leicestershire
These are first known about 1600, and the relative proximity to Normanton on Soar to Leicester & their liking for the Name Richard suggests that they may have been descended from from one of George's sons, either Moris or Richard. The fact that there were two Katherines married in 1612 suggests that they were cousins and therefore daughters of two brothers who migrated to Leicester late in the 16th century There are two marriages not included in the tree. The Elizabeth who married Thomas Hardman in 1622 could have been a daughter of Richard ( not Samuel who had a daughter too young for this). The Elizabeth who married William Thorpe in 1675 could have been a daughter of one on Thomas's sons.
The family of Thomas and Elizabeth born between 1716 and 1729 occurs at just the right time to attribute it to the marriage of Thomas to Elizabeth Holmes who had the Leicester marriage licence. Of course the fact that he was of Manchester may mean that he was an import from the North West but since he settled down in Leicester to have his family he may well have only had a tempory sojourn in Manchester before coming home to marry. In this case he may be the son of John(b1662) the only male known of that generation.
The same problem of origin applies to Richard who was of Skipton, Northants, when he married Ann Dentye in 1603. Again I assume he was coming home to marry. The first Thomas must have been born before 1610 and it is quike likely that he is the Thomas , son of George of Nottingham. The possibility confrims the choice of of Thomas who married Mary Thorpe.
The Beswicks of Morely and Smalley
The remaining concentration of Beswicks in the East Midlands is at Morley about 6 miles NE of Wilne, in Derbyshire. The Morely registers are remarkable in that they go back to 1540. There is no evidence that the families here provide any input to Nottingham, but it is an intriguing possibility that that Morely may be the original starting point if Katherine burried in 1547/8 were the widow of B3. The earliest entires upto 1567 are spelled Bixwike or Bexwicke. Entires of baptism and burrial up to 1628 at Morely and from 1659 to 1749 at Smally. Since there was a Henry born at Smally in 1660 it sems that they were one and the same. The baptism of Mary (1587) and William (1591) do not give the name of any parent, so they may have been the children of either Richard or Robert. At the death of Ellen (1627/8) she is described as the mother of John born in 1567, so she was probably also the widow of John born 1567. The John who married Elizabeth Critchlow (1689) is assumed to be the surviving unrecorded son of Henry and Emma since he called his first child Emma
There appears to no further Beswicks at Morely after 1749.
Other Outlying Individuals
1584 - Raph witnessed a documant in Annesley. No Raph appears on the tree at this time. Annesley is 7 miles from Morley and Wollaton
1597 - William a collier of Wollaton made his will. He had a wife Agnes and 2 or 3 daughter, but no sons.
1630 Francis & Thomas church deacons at Wollaton. Relationship to William unknown but closest possibility is nephews, which would imply that William had at least one brother in Wollaton.
1642 - James in Protestant returns for Pentrich. Since James the barber of Nottingham in his will of 1678 left two bequests to people in Ripley, in the parish of Pentrich, it is possible that these two James are identical. This would mean that James was born before 1626
1642 - Thomas in Protestant returns for Pentrich. He was presumably connected to James. He could be the Thomas (b 1603 son of George of Nottingham) who would then be just old enough to be the father of James, but this would mean abondoning him as the progenitor of the Rollaston family. Equally James could have been old enough to have had a son of 16 in 1642, which would mean that James would be an unknown member of generation F.
1662 - Thomas in hearth tax at Heanor. As this is the next parish to Pentrich he might be the same Thomas as in 1842, but there was a James of heanor who signed a bond for marriageof Mary in 1642.
1698 - Thomas bound apprentice of w.k. This would co-incide with the 14th Birthday of Thomas son of Samuel so provides a probable indentification
1711 John (butcher) leased a shop in the Old Shambles. If this was the shop of Robert (d1695) & his son Robert (d 1686) carried on by Ann (widow of the second Robert), then this John is missing from the tree. He could have been born between the making of his grandfathers will in 1681 and the younger Roberts death in 1686.
According to my friend Stephen Wallwork there is also a will of a cleric John Beswick in Notts Record office about 1575 he thinks. Also a taylor of Bigham (Bingham?) had a marriage license to marry Marie Ansley on February 1627/8, so this provides us with an extra Thomas to play with. He could be the son of George, but not Thomas.
My further research has shown that most of Eric's thoughts were very close to the truth. I am not so sure that the source of this Beswick line is a soldier from the wars of the roses. There are other Beswicks of the same era appearing in Warwickshire and Stafford. So it looks like natural migration
Copyright(c) 2003 Roger Beswick. All rights reserved.