Armstrong Mewburn 1715-1799 was the first of the Armstrongs.
A first marriage to the widow Ursula Young at St Mary, Durham on the 24th April 1736 had no issue. The marriage bond described him as a yeoman and said that both were of Suddick (Southwick), Monkwearmouth. The marriage took place perhaps in the year that Armstrong’s mother Jane (Armstrong) Mewburn, the heiress who originated the Acomb line, had died. Jane ended her days at Suddick after her husband died. She may have established Armstrong there to fulfill her husband’s wishes “to be kind” to him. The wording though is odd and conjures the thought that Armstrong may not have been the sharpest knife in the canteen.
There is no record of Ursula’s death or burial but Armstrong was married a second time to Margaret Fenwick on the 8th April 1740 at Newcastle. This time Armstrong was described as a gentleman, aged 25, of Hilton Moor House, Monkwearmouth. Margaret was of Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland where she had been baptised on the 15th October 1713.
Armstrong and Margaret moved after the marriage and at least three of their four children were born at Easington, some way north of Monkwearmouth. It may be that the Suddick property ended up in Simon’s hands after their mother died and that he disposed of it.
Armstrong was buried at St Andrew, Dalton le Dale close to Easington on the 19th November 1779. No will for him has been found. Later there is a Monkwearmouth burial for “Margaret Meaburn, of Southwick, widow” on the 9th May 1790 – by which time at least two of her children were back at Monkwearmouth.
Armstrong and Margaret’s immediate descendants were:
The early Armstrong line
All told, five Armstrongs were born in the UK (and a sixth in New Zealand), though not all in a direct line.
The sons of the first Armstrong continued on the land in County Durham, where records prefered the Meaborne spelling.
Armstrong Meaborne II c1745-1829
No birth or baptismal details for the second Armstrong (c1745) have been found. He did not marry and died at Southwick, Monkwearmouth where he was buried on the 6th November 1829 at St Peter’s. At the time of his burial he was said to be 84 and that gives us his projected birth year. He left a will, however, made in 1823 so we know that he was a husbandman at Southwick. He left £20 to his nephew Armstrong (William’s son) then the remainder of his personal estate and all his real estate went to his “nephew John Mewburn and niece Ann Sanderson the son and daughter of my late brother John Mewburn”. John and Ann were evidently of full age at that time so born before 1802.
Margaret Meaborne 1750-?
Margaret was baptised at Easington on the 3rd January 1750. No trace of her has been found after that time.
William (1751-1820) and his boat-building descendants are dealt with below.
John Meaborne 1755-bef 1823
The youngest, John, has left few clear traces so he is described later as 'the obscure'. He was baptised at Easington on the 5th August 1755. The will of his brother, Armstrong, shows that he had died before 1823 but had at least two children, John and Ann. There is a burial record on the 22nd of June 1800 (died 20th) for a 45-year old John Mewburn, a labourer at Dukes House, Monkwearmouth that may be for him.
There was an Ann born at Southwick on the 30th April 1792 to a John and an Ann who might be the daughter. John is described in the baptismal record as a labourer and that fits with the 1800 burial. An Ann, as expected from John’s will, did marry a William Sanderson at Bishopwearmouth on the 27th January 1811 and they had at least six children at Monkwearmouth Shore where William worked as a shipwright.
It is possible that the son John is the one known from censuses from about 1791, a sailmaker of Monkwearmouth. No other candidate is known and if it was him then a long trail of descendants follow. He is dealt with later.
From William Meaborne 1751-1820
William was baptised at Easington on the 18th August 1751. In 1780, as a 28-year old yeoman of Dalton-le-Dale, he obtained a licence to marry 22-year old Margaret Cowell of Seaham. They were married on the 7Th April at Dalton-le-Dale, less than five months after his father’s death.
Their first child was baptised at Dalton-le-Dale in July 1780 (hinting that the licence may have been needed to speed up the matrimonial process) and the second at Houghton le Spring two years later. The tenancy at Easington evidently was not passed on to William and by 1786 he had moved to Bishopwearmouth perhaps seeking ready employment by the river during the early 19th century boom times for shipbuilding. However, in 1797 a year in which his daughter Margaret was born and died, and his wife died also, he was working as a labourer.
The move was perhaps better for his children. His son, Armstrong (1788), provided several generations of boatbuilders on Wearside and later at Chatham. They were skilled craftsmen, senior artisans, though at the lower end of the middling sort.
The Napoleonic wars saw a major increase in shipbuilding and by 1815 around 600 ships were being built in 31 yards. By the middle of the 19th century a third of ships built in the UK were from Wearside. This included important craft like the City of Adelaide, a fast clipper that took many immigrants to Australia (and is soon to be sent there for restoration). Perhaps by the depression of 1884-1887 these ships gave passage to their own builders seeking opportunity abroad.
William did not re-marry after Margaret’s death in 1797. He died at Southwick and was buried on the 4th October 1820 at St Peter’s, Monkwearmouth.
William and Margaret Cowell had six children:
John Mewburn 1780-1832
John was baptised on the 21st July 1780 at Dalton le Dale. He married Alice Rain on the 9th January 1805 at Bishopwearmouth where he worked as a carpenter and shipwright. John was buried at Bishopwearmouth on the 22nd November 1832 and Alice at Vine Street, Sunderland in 1847.
They had two children.
John Rain Mewburn 1805-1837
Only the basic facts are known about him. He was born at Southwick on the 22nd September 1805 and buried at Bishopwearmouth on the 9th April 1837.
Ann Mewburn 1807-1861
Ann was born on the 16th October 1807. She married house carpenter William Donaldson at Sunderland on the 29th June 1834. The censuses then show them living first at Silver Street, then 43 Vine Street and rearing three children.
Ann and William vanished after the 1861 census and have not been traced.
James Mewburn 1782-?
James was baptised on the 5th August 1782 at Houghton le Spring, but then vanishes and is presumed to have died in infancy.
William Mewburn 1786-1813
William was baptised at Bishopwearmouth on the 24th December 1786. He married Sarah Richardson at Sunderland on the 16th May 1802 but there is no trace of them having had children. William died at 27 and was buried at Monkwearmouth on the 10th June 1813. There is no trace of Sarah’s death or re-marriage.
Armstrong Mewburn III 1788-1869
Armstrong was baptised at Bishopwearmouth on the 5th October 1788. He married Grace Holborn at Sunderland on the 8th January 1815 and they had seven children at Monkwearmouth. He and his descendants are detailed in a separate section below.
Ralph Mewburn 1791-1875
Ralph was born at Monkwearmouth on the 9th September 1791. He married firstly Elizabeth Rutherford at Sunderland on the 30th October 1814 and they had eight children at Monkwearmouth. Elizabeth died in 1849 and Ralph then married Jane Sedgwick at Sunderland in the second quarter of 1852. They had no children. Ralph and his descendants are detailed in a later section.
Margaret Mewburn 1797-1797
Margaret was born at Monkwearmouth on the 12th September 1797 and baptised on the 1st November, the day on which her mother was buried. There is no further trace of Margaret so an infant death is presumed.
ARMSTRONG MEWBURN III
Armstrong III descendants
Armstrong (1788) lived well into the census era so the bones of his later life are mapped out. He was a journeyman boat builder and from 1841 through 1861 lived at Thomas Street in Monkwearmouth with Grace and various of the children. Thomas Street North still exists though the houses have gone and today it is simply a mess of warehouses and car parking.
One interesting feature of the Mewburns around this time is that they seem to have avoided the cholera outbreak in 1831-2 which started at Sunderland and became a national epidemic. An earlier measles epidemic in 1824 had claimed nearly one percent of the population but again there are no Mewburn deaths for that year.
Armstrong saw his eldest son, Thomas, follow the boatbuilding tradition as did the fourth son Armstrong V. William, however became a shoe-maker and Anthony a tailor. Thomas may have been a particularly fine shipwright as by 1861 he had been attracted to the Royal Naval Dockyards at Chatham. Thomas’s sons, Armstrong and William continued the tradition, as did William’s son George, and grandson George, into the 20th century.
Armstrong V (1835), however, soon chose a different path and at 23 took his family to New Zealand where he became a successful boatbuilder in Auckland. The New Zealand page on this website has more to say about that.
Thomas Mewburn 1816-1891
The descent from Thomas 1816 is dealt with in the section on the Kentish Line.
William Mewburn 1817-1885
William was the second of the children of Armstrong III and Grace Holborn. Baptised on the 5th October 1788 at Ryhope, a couple of miles south of Bishopwearmouth, he preferred leather to wood and became a shoe-maker. He lived at home and did not marry. The shoemaking was not in the end a success and from 1861 onwards he worked as a labourer living with his sister Grace in 1871 and lastly with sister Margaret in 1881. He was buried at Sunderland, Mere Knolls Cemetery, on Xmas day 1885.
Anthony Mewburn 1820-1866
Anthony was born to the third Armstrong on the 28th May 1820 at Monkwearmouth. He was still at home in 1841 and had become a tailor. Two years later he married Margaret Alderson late in 1843 at Sunderland. They were living on Broad Street in 1851 with various of the Alderson relatives visiting but the births of their children show that between 1854 and 1856 they made a move further north to South Shields. 1861 saw them at 54 Stephenson Street, Tynemouth with three of their children. Anthony was still working as a tailor. He died, however in December 1866 with Margaret following a year later.
Anthony and Margaret had seven children:
Grace Mewburn 1846-aft 1861
Grace was born in the second quarter of 1845 and by 1861 had made the move with her parents to Tynemouth where she lived with them as a servant. No subsequent trace for her has been found.
William Mewburn 1848-1848
William was baptised on the 5th January 1848 and buried at Monkwearmouth on the 19th March 1848.
Margaret Hannah Mewburn 1850-1851
Margaret’s birth was recorded at Sunderland between April and June 1850. Her death was recorded at Liverpool in February 1851 and she was buried at Monkwearmouth on the 16th February.
Quite what the family was doing in Liverpool is unknown.
Margaret Hannah Mewburn 1851-1874
The second Margaret Hannah was born in the fourth quarter of 1851 at Sunderland and in 1861 she was with her parents in Tynemouth. There is a record for a Sunderland born Margaret Newburn working as a servant in South Shields in 1871 (though recorded as a sister in law to a Thomas Longbolton married to an Elizabeth, and Margaret is not known to have had a sister Elizabeth).
However that may be, she married Joseph Warburton at Tynemouth in the second quarter of 1872. It all ended rapidly. They had a daughter Margaret in the summer of 1873 but Joseph died just around that time. The child died before the year was out and Margaret herself died a year later.
Mary Ann Mewburn 1854-1860
Mary Ann was born at Monkwearmouth on the 14th May 1854, but died at Tynemouth around April to June 1860.
William Alderson Mewburn 1856-1898
William Alderson was the only one of Anthony’s children to lead a substantial life. He was born in the summer of 1856 at South Shields but eventually made his way back to Sunderland to work there as a plater on the ships by the time of the 1881 census. Iron cladding was becoming a feature of ship construction along with steam engines so the old skills with wood were starting to be supplanted.
William married Sunderland-girl Elizabeth Robson in September 1874 at Sunderland. They had lost two children by the 1881 census but the third was thriving. Six of their ten children were born in Sunderland before they set off on the 15 November 1887 for Brisbane, Australia.
More of their story is told in the histories for Australia.
Thomas Armstrong Mewburn 1859-1861
Thomas was born on the 7th March 1859 at South Shields but his death was recorded less than two years later early in 1861.
Armstrong Mewburn IV 1823-1859
The fourth child of the third Armstrong was born on the 1st May 1823 and baptised named Armstrong on the 25th May at Monkwearmouth. By 1841 he was apprenticed as a joiner. However, on the 14th August 1847, listed as a pauper, he appeared in the Lunacy Patients Admission Register for the Gateshead institution. He was re-admitted the following year on the 7th March. That may explain his absence from the 1851 census. His burial was recorded at Mere Knolls Cemetery on the 19th April 1859 by which time he was in the Union Workhouse at Bishopwearmouth. The implication is that he was no longer able to work from his illness.
Elizabeth Mewburn 1826-1894
Elizabeth was born at Monkwearmouth on the 6th January 1826. She married George Webster, a master mason and house builder, at Sunderland in the second quarter of 1849 and went on to have five children at Monkwearmouth.
They moved around in Monkwearmouth from Charles Street to Dame Dorothy Street, Dundas Street then Monk Street and final Holly Terrace. Whether that reflected changes in prosperity is uncertain. Neither left a will. Elizabeth died in late 1894 and George in 1897.
Grace Mewburn 1828-1900
Grace was born at Monkwearmouth on the 23rd June 1828. In the 1851 census she was listed as a dressmaker living with her parents. After they died in she remained in the house at 30 Thomas Street with her brother William. In 1881 she was still there but now also with her married sister Elizabeth and her family. At that point Grace was listed as a milliner and in 1883 “Miss Grace” appeared in the local trades directory as a “straw bonnet maker”. No lady could venture out without a bonnet at that time so potentially there was great demand for such a service.
In 1891 she was next door at 29 Thomas Street living on her own in two rooms.
Grace died on the 12th February 1900 and was buried on the 15th at Mere Knolls. She left £65 with administration to Elizabeth Grace Hammond (her niece Elizabeth Grace Potts) .
Margaret Mewburn 1831-1906
Margaret was the last of Armstrong IIIs children, born on the 8th July 1831 at Monkwearmouth like the rest. By 1851, at home, she was a bonnet maker. In June 1855 she married Matthew Potts, a master boat builder, at Sunderland. They were at Thomas Street from 1861 to 1881 bringing up their six children, then in 1891 had moved to 77 Dock Drive East and by 1901 were at 17 Beatrice Street. Margaret died in 1906 and Matthew in 1909 – leaving effects of £225.
THE KENTISH LINE from Thomas 1816
1861 saw a complete change in the life of Thomas (1816-1891) and his wife Sarah Garratt. The family was now in Kent living on Five Bells Lane, Rochester. Thomas had taken his skills to the Royal Navy’s Chatham Dockyards – just half a mile from their new home.
Ten years later Sarah was dead and Thomas was on his own at 4 Mount Road, Rochester. This time the census provides a fresh insight to these Mewburns as Thomas also list himself as a local Methodist preacher. There had long been a strong tradition of non-conformity in the north-east but this is the first explicit evidence for it in this branch of the Mewburn family.
Thomas was married for a second time during the first quarter of 1872 at Medway to Harriott Ann Buckley, a Chatham-born girl. They had no children and appear still at 7 Mount Road in 1881. Mount Road remains a quiet residential street. The site of No. 7 has new houses on it but at the further end there remains a row of the two-up and two-downs that may have been the original kind of dwellings.
Harriet died late in 1881, aged just 50. In 1891, now 75 and retired, Thomas was living still in Mount Road on his own means but with a 65-year old housekeeper, Eliza Patten. Thomas died on the 26th August that year. His effects at probate were £50 4s and his grandson Thomas Ternouth was executor.
Thomas and Sarah’s children were:
Armstrong Mewburn V 1835-1898
The fifth Armstrong was born at Sunderland on the 2nd January 1835. By 1851 he was apprenticed as a shipwright and early in 1856 he married Mary Swan at Monkwearmouth. Armstrong and Mary never made the journey south to Kent, instead they emigrated to New Zealand in 1858 and 1859 where Armstrong established a boat-building business at Auckland.
Armstrong and Mary’s story is told in the New Zealand chapter.
George Mewburn 1837-1851
George was born at Sunderland on the 9th June 1837. In 1851, at 13, he was apprenticed as shipwright but died later that year being buried at Monkwearmouth on the 19th October.
William Mewburn 1839-1923
William was born at Sunderland in the last quarter of 1839. He moved with the family to Kent and by 1861 had followed in his father’s path as a shipwright. In 1863 he married a Kent girl, Maria Whitnell, at Medway and by 1871 they were starting to raise their family at 41 Skinner Street, Chatham. Ten years later they were at 84 Skinner Street with the seven surviving children and by that time the eldest son George was himself apprenticed as a shipwright. In 1891 they were at number 82 with seven of the eight surviving children and in 1901 they were still there but William, now 61 had retired, then in 1911, still there but now with only one daughter still at home to look after them William listed himself as a Naval pensioner.
William Mewburn, 1839, tree
William died early in 1923 and Maria followed just a few months later. They had nine children:
George Mewburn 1864-1933
George was born early in 1864. He became a shipwright at the naval dockyards and in the spring of 1886 he married Frances Mary Quarrington of Rochester at Medway. They lived close to George’s parents staying at first 63 then 79 Skinner Street and had two children. By 1911 they had moved to 46 New Road still with both children though their son was now married and had his wife there too.
George died in 1933 while Frances lived on until 1944, dying at Leeds (was one of their children living there at that time?). Their children were:
George Thomas, born at Chatham in 1886. He too became a shipwright. He married Beatrice Emma Stanton in spring 1903 at Medway and they raised five children in the Medway district. George died in 1936 and Beatrice in 1962. Descendants of theirs may still be living in Kent.
Frances May was born at Chatham in 1888 and in 1923 married Walter G Bradford. Frances died at Hastings and Rother in 1981, and as far as is known had no children.
Elizabeth Mary Mewburn 1866-1868
Elizabeth was born of the 2nd March 1866 but was less than two when she died early in 1868.
William Mewburn 1868-1918
William was born in the summer of 1868 and by 1891 had followed his father and was a fully-fledged shipwright. A year later he married Mary Ann Sutleff from Denver in Norfolk but they are not known to have had children. They lived at Hartington Street. William was only 50 when he died at 44 Luton Road – his effects at probate were £891. Mary Ann lived on until 1949, dying at 4 Jeyes Street and leaving £789.
Sarah Maria Mewburn 1871-1957
Sara was born in the summer of 1871 and married Rice Atchison, an iron founder, at Medway early in 1894. They had two daughters. They moved at some point to Newark in Nottinghamshire where Rice died in 1949 and Sarah in 1957.
Harriet Amelia Mewburn 1874-?
Harriet, or Hetty as she was known, was born early in 1874. At 17 she was a dressmaker but in late 1900 married an American steam engine fitter, William Henry Holding and around that time their daughter Hilda Grace was born. In 1906 they emigrated to Canada and in the 1911 Canadian census were living at 144 Drummond in Carleton, Ontario (with Hilda) where William was now a machinist in a foundry. They have not been traced further.
Elizabeth Ann Mewburn 1876-1952
Elizabeth Ann, or Lily, was born in the spring of 1876 at Chatham. Aged 34, she was a shop assistant at a drapers in 1911 while still at home with her parents. She never married but in 1916 had a daughter, Norah Rawlinson Mewburn, at Kensington. Lily died at Willesden in 1952.
Thomas Mewburn 1878-1929
Thomas was born around July-September 1878 at Chatham. By 1901 he was an iron moulder at the dockyard and in 1908 married Alice Maud Flemming. By 1911 they had moved to Balderton in Nottinghamshire where Thomas was still working as an iron moulder. They had one son born in 1910, Reginald Harry, who married Sylvia Grace Drewry at Willesden in 1955. They had no children and both died at Southend in 1991 and 1987 respectively.
Thomas died at Newark in 1928 and Alice at Brent in 1967.
Henry Mewburn 1880-1910
Henry “Harry’ Mewburn was born in the summer of 1880 at Chatham. He was apprenticed as a shipwright in 1901 but died in 1910. He did not marry.
Grace Margaret Mewburn 1882-1960
Grace was born late in 1882 and in 1901 was living at home and working as a drapers shop assistant. She married Frederic James Suckling, a clothier’s assistant, in 1906 and by 1911 were living at 10 Bedford Road with their daughter Constance. Frederic died in 1935 and Grace lived on until 1960, dying at Dartford.
The last of the children of Thomas 1816 was:
Sarah Mewburn 1842-1888
Sarah was born was born at Sunderland in the first quarter of 1842 and moved with the family to Kent. At 19 she was working as a dressmaker and in 1864 she married Cornishman and shipwright, Richard Ternouth at Medway. They lived first at 42 Skinner Street and by 1881 they were at 7 Shield Road, Chatham with their six children. Sarah died in 1888, but Richard lived on to 1921.
Descendants of Ralph 1791
Ralph was the grandson of the first Armstrong and son of William, 1751, and Margaret Cowell.
Ralph plied his trade as a house joiner, first from Dixon’s Square, Monkwearmouth in 1841 and 1851 before moving sometime after 1852, with his second wife Jane Sedgwick, to Pallion New Quay in the Ford district in 1861 then Mowbry Quay, Ford in 1871.
Ralph was living at 62 Washington Street when he died in 1875 aged 85 and was buried at Bishopwearmouth. Jane died in 1880.
Ralph and Elizabeth Rutherford had twelve children, but for most it was to be a tale of early death:
Ralph Mewburn, 1791, tree
William Mewburn 1816-1887
William, the first of Ralph’s eight children was born at Monkwearmouth on the 20th November 1814. He became a house joiner and as a 25-year old was still at home with his parents. He married Eleanor Ord of Houghton-le-Spring at Sunderland early in 1843 and they went on to have twelve children. They lived first at Dixon’s Square in Monkwearmouth but by 1861 were at New Pallion near Bishopwearmouth, then Dove Street in 1871 and George Street, Kimblesworth in 1881.
William died early in 1887 at Chester-le-Street (Fowler Street, Plawsworth) and was buried on the 6th January 1887 at Bishopwearmouth. Eleanor died at Adelaide Row, Seaham Harbour but was also buried back at Bishopwearmouth on the 4th June 1894.
There is a degree of confusion over William and Eleanor’s first three children but the whole set were possibly:
Thomas Mewburn 1843-1847
A birth for Thomas was registered at Sunderland in September 1843. Then there is a burial at Monkwearmouth on the 30th November 1847 of “Thomas Mewburn, of Bishopwearmouth. Age 4”.
There is an intriguing possibility that William and Eleanor had triplets.
George Ord Mewburn 1843-1866
George Ord’s birth was registered at Houghton-le-Spring in June 1843 and he was baptised there on the 20th June 1843. Like his father he became a joiner but died early in 1866 aged 22. He had not married.
Ralph Mewburn III 1843-1916
This is the third Ralph in this line and he was baptised at Houghton-le-Spring on the 20th June 1843 on the same day as his brother George. Some records say that both boys were also born on that date and there is a birth registered at Houghton-le-Spring in the name of Newburn in the June quarter.
There may be some disguise going on since even from the time of the double baptism it seems likely that Eleanor was pregnant at the time of the marriage.
In the 1851 census Ralph was said to be seven while George was said to be five. The latter is clearly impossible given the date of the double baptism but the fiction is maintained in the 1861 census where the ages are given as 17 and 15. Ralph’s age at death was given as 73 in 1916, so still consistent with 1843. At the time of George’s death, early in 1866, he was then said to be 22 – consistent with a June 1843 birth but not with the census records.
Details of this second Ralph and his descendants are given in a section below
Isabella Ord Mewburn 1845-1850
Isabella’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1845 and she was baptised at Monkwearmouth on the 22nd June that year. Her death was registered at Liverpool in 1850 and she was buried at Monkwearmouth on the 31st August 1850.
William John Mewburn 1846-1850
William John’s birth was registered at Monkwearmouth in the second quarter of 1846 and he was buried on the 29th May 1850.
William Rutherford Mewburn 1847-1871
William Rutherford was baptised at St Peter’s, Monkwearmouth on the 24th October 1847 and his birth was registered that quarter. In 1861, aged 13, he was already working as a joiner. He died in 1871, aged 23, as a ship joiner and was buried on the 11th April at Bishopwearmouth. He did not marry.
Thomas Mewburn 1848-1849
Thomas was born towards the end of 1848 and buried on the 20th February 1849.
Ann Mary Mewburn 1849-1850
Ann Mary was born in the first quarter of 1849 and buried on the 14th May 1850.
James Mewburn 1850-1866
James was born on the 6th June and baptised at Monkwearmouth on the 30th June 1850. He appears in the 1851 and 1861 censuses with his parents but died, aged 16, in 1866 and was buried on the 5th October. At that point they were living at Green Street, Pallion.
John Mewburn 1853-1871
John’s birth was registered at Sunderland in the third quarter of 1853 and was baptised at All Saints, Fulwell on the 21st August. By the time of the 1871 census, as a 17-year old living at home, he had become a clerk. A little later that year he died at Croft near Darlington (where another Mewburn line had originated), though his home was at 26 Dove Street, Pallion, and was buried on the 15th June.
Elizabeth Mewburn 1856-1881
Elizabeth’s birth was registered at Sunderland in the second quarter of 1856 and was baptised at Fulwell on the 2nd July, apparently on the day of her birth. She died aged 24 at Kimblesworth (where her parents were then living), and was buried at Bishopwearmouth on the 13th March 1881.
Eleanor Mewburn 1858-1875
Eleanor was born and baptised at Monkwearmouth on the 14th February 1858 and her birth registered at Sunderland in that first quarter. She was with her parents in 1861 and 1871 then married John Langhorn at Sunderland on the 1st January 1874. They had a child, Eleanor, late that year but only months later between July and September, and still just 17, she died. The child died the following year.
We now move back again to the children of Ralph 1791:
Margaret Mewburn 1817-1865
The second of the children of Ralph Mewburn (1791) was Margaret, baptised at Monkwearmouth on the 30th March 1817. She married a mariner, William Brown, at Sunderland in the fourth quarter of 1838 and they had a son Robert born in 1846 at Monkwearmouth. William was absent in 1851 but appears, listed as a waterman, in the 1861 census when they were living at 106 Victor Street, Monkwearmouth. There is no trace of them in 1871. There are deaths in 1864 and 1865 either of which could be for Margaret and at least seven in the early 1860s that could be for William.
John Mewburn 1819-1899
John was Ralph’s third child. He was born on the 9th September 1791 and baptised at Monkwearmouth on the 1st January 1792. In 1841 he was with the family, as a house joiner, at Dixon’s Square. Ten years later the journeyman carpenter was lodging with Thomas Best at 20 Eagle Street but had now moved south to London to seek some different fortune and this was in Shoreditch.
John married Mary Ann Whomes in the spring of 1867 at East London. Mary was 39 and it seems that they were not to have children. They moved to Chiselhurst in Kent where Mary Ann came from and were living at Queens Place in 1871 then on the High Street in 1881. Mary Ann died in 1886 and by 1891 John had moved to lodgings at 6 Frognal Villas. He died in 1899 (John Newburn [sic]; age 72).
Elizabeth Mewburn 1820-1820
Elizabeth was baptised on the 30th May 1820 at Monkwearmouth. An infant death is presumed.
Elizabeth Mewburn 1822-1824
Elizabeth was baptised on the 30th May 1822 at Monkwearmouth. There is a Monkwearmouth burial on the 14th January 1824 for “Elizabeth Newburn [sic], of Monkwearmouth, age: 1 and a quarter” that may be for her.
James Mewburn 1826-aft 1861
Ralph and Elizabeth then had twins, James and Ralph, born and baptised on the 23rd Jun 1826 at Monkwearmouth.
By 1841 James was an apprentice ship carpenter. He was visiting friends (shipwright Jeremiah Newton) at Northfleet in Kent in 1851 then was with his parents as a fully-fledged shipwright at Pallion New Quay in 1861. He had not married and no trace of him has been found subsequently other than the emigration to Canada in 1871 of a James Newburn born about 1826.
Ralph Mewburn II 1826-1866
This second Ralph, like his twin James, worked with wood but unlike him was with the family in 1841 at Dixon’s Square as an apprentice house joiner. He was still there in 1851 and in 1855 married Jane Sedgwick. Jane, however, died within a couple of months of the marriage (at Ripon).
Nine years later on the 13th December 1864 at York Ralph married again, this time to Jane Ann Best. Jane Ann was a daughter of Thomas Best (originally from County Durham) whom Ralph’s brother John had lodged with when he came down to Shoreditch in 1851.
It seems that Jane Ann moved down to London (to her mother’s presumably, as was usual) for the birth of their daughter Mary Jane was registered in Hoxton in April 1866. Near simultaneously, back at Pallion Ralph died and was buried at Bishopwearmouth on the 25th April 1866.
The daughter, Mary Jane never married and died in London in 1943 as Mary Jane Furst – her stepfather’s name.
Elizabeth Mewburn 1829-1831
Elizabeth was born on the 13th Jun 1829 and baptised on the 12th July at Monkwearmouth. She was buried, age 2, at St Peter on the 14th August 1831.
THE THIRD RALPH – Wear to Itchen to Tees
This was Ralph born in 1843 to William and Eleanor Ord. He too was a joiner and was listed as such in the 1861 census. In 1867 he married Isabella Stothard at Sunderland. They had eight children but only two were boys. One died in infancy and the other had no children so the Mewburn name was not passed on from this third Ralph.
They moved around a fair bit. In 1871 they were at Coach Road, Bishopwearmouth but by 1881 were living at Hound in Hampshire. In fact their second four children from 1877 to 1866 were all born there in the South Stoneham district.
Hound is very close to the Hamble river on its east and just a mile or so from the Itchen to the west, across which lies Southampton. Ralph was using his joinery skills in some of the local boat building yards and is listed as a ship joiner in 1881 and 1891. In fact by 1891 they had moved to Woolston on the Itchen even closer to Southampton.
By 1901 they had moved back north and were at Ormesby, ancient Mewburn territory. They were living at 35 Stovin Street in North Ormesby and he was still working as a ship joiner, but now on the Tees (and still with four of the children at home). Ralph was till there in 1911, though recently widowed (Isabella died at the end of 1910), and he died there at the end of 1916.
Descendants of Ralph Mewburn 1843
In brief, their children were:
Eleanor Mewburn 1867-?
Eleanor, born in 1867 at Sunderland, married Alfred Walker from Malton, at Hunslet in 1895. They, however, were living at Ormesby in 1901 where Alfred worked as a stevedore. They have nor been traced further.
William Mewburn 1869-1871
William was born in 1869 at Sunderland and died in 1871.
Elizabeth Ann Mewburn 1871-1932
Elizabeth Ann, born 1871 at Sunderland; married William Thomas in 1891 at Southampton. They lived at Newport, in Monmouthshire, where he was a puddler and a blast furnace man at a nail factory. They had six children at Newport. William died there in 1931 and Elizabeth in 1932.
Isabella Mewburn 1874-1902
Isabella was born in 1874 at Sunderland. In late 1896, presumably having followed her parents back north, she married Amos Woolmer at Middlesborough. By 1901 Amos was working as a labourer in a cement works at Halling, Kent and they had a 10-month old son, Amos. Isabella died, however, at the end of 1902.
Alice Dorothy Mewburn 1877-1946
Alice Dorothy was the first one born at South Stoneham in 1877. She too came north and married George Schofield late in 1898 at Middlesborough. They then went off to Grosmont in Eskdaleside where George was a whinstone quarryman and produced four children before moving by 1906 to Egton where George had become a whinstone merchant. There they had three more children. The details after that are unclear but they ended up in Whitby, perhaps after retirement, where Alice died in 1946 and George in 1953.
Margaret Jane Mewburn 1879-?
Margaret Jane was born at South Stoneham in 1879. She had an illegitimate daughter, Hilda, at Filey in Yorkshire in 1902. Around July to September 1909 Margaret married Arthur Parsons at Watford. In 1911 they were living in Watford, Arthur as a stationary engineman and Margaret as manageress of a laundry. They have not ben traced subsequently.
Ruth Mewburn 1882-1953
Ruth was born at South Stoneham in 1882. She married Thomas Clubley in 1914 at Middlesborough. They had a son, Thomas around the second quarter of 1916 but he died shortly after. Her husband may have died in 1922. Ruth died at the end of 1953 in Middlesborough.
Ralph Mewburn 1886-1956 (Newburn)
Ralph was born at South Stoneham in 1886. He was living in Ormesby with his widowed father in 1911 and working as a labourer. A marriage at Middlesborough in July to September 1931 to Lily Green, though indexed as Newburn, may well be for him. Lily Newburn died at Middlesborough in 1947 and Ralph Newburn, aged 69, in 1956 – so the age is correct. They would not be the only Mewburns who found Newburn easier to spell. There is no trace of them having had children.
JOHN THE OBSCURE OF 1755 & ANOTHER NAUTICAL LINE
John Meaborne 1755
The first Armstrong had a son, John baptised at Easington on the 5th August 1755. He is problematic as there are no other certain records for him though evidence in wills suggests that he in turn had two children John and Ann. We have no birth record for John but there is a possibility that his daughter is the Ann born in 1792 at Southwick to John, a labourer, and his wife Ann.
There is a burial at Holy Trinity, Sunderland on the 15th January 1821 for:
“John Meaburn, of Low Street, age: 66”.
It matches the birth year and could be for him.
Another intriguing record from Durham City gives a marriage at St Oswald on the 12th November 1781 as:
“John Mewburn (of the 7th or Queen’s Regiment of Dragoons), of this parish married Ann Linsley, of this parish, by banns. Witnesses Robert Hudson, John Ridley”.
Might this have been him? The soldier is otherwise unaccounted for.
John Mewburn c1791-1865
John junior is also somewhat problematic. A likely candidate is a John who was a sailmaker in 1841 at Monkwearmouth. His age at death suggests he was born around 1791 and census records are supportive of that. His place of birth is less clear as in the 1851 census he says Darlington while in 1861 it is Monkwearmouth. Darlington, however, has no records of any John born there around that time. His occupation and the fact of working on Wearside match the fortunes of Armstrong’s other descendants so there is reasonable cause to suppose that John the sailmaker of Monkwearmouth is one of them. The fact that his sister also lived in Monkwearmouth adds to the reasonable suspicion.
We do know that the sailmaker married Ann Richardson at Monkwearmouth in 1811. They had seven children there before Ann died in 1834. John was married a second time at Monkwearmouth on the 6th June 1836 to Ann Johnson and they had a further four children.
In 1841 they were at Backrow, Monkwearmouth Shore with one son from the first marriage and two from the second (one had died young) while in 1851 they were at Northam Place with their two daughters. Ann died, however, in 1853 and in 1861 the 70-year old John was boarding at 45 Silver Street. His health or his ability to find work was declining and four years later he died at the Union Workhouse.
The children of John’s first marriage to Ann Richardson were:
Margaret Mewburn 1812-1813
Margaret was born at Bishopwearmouth on the 30th June 1812 and died on the 6th October 1813.
John Mewburn 1815-1839
John was baptised on the 16th April 1815 at Bishopwearmouth. He became a shipwright and on the 27th December 1836 he married Mary Ann Hills at Monkwearmouth. They had two children there – Charles Hill in 1837 who died the following year and Mary Ann in 1839 but she died too in 1850.
John, himself, was killed in an accident in 1839 aged just 24.
Unusually, two years later, Mary Ann married John’s brother Richardson. See below.
Margerey Mewburn 1817-1862
Margarey was born at Monkwearmouth on the 30th September 1817 and married John Harkas on the 20th September 1836, going on to have four children by him. John was a shoemaker but turned to block making to suit the Sunderland skills market. Margerey died in 1862.
Richardson Mewburn 1820-1883
Richardson was born on the 23rd of March 1820 and named after his mother’s family. He became a ship carpenter and at 21 did an unusual thing by marrying Mary Ann his brother’s widow. Richardson’s life as a sailor meant that he was not always at home for censuses, being found in just 1861 and 1881 at Wear Street then Sans Street. They were still on Sans Street in 1883 at the time of Richardson’s death.
Mary Ann herself died in 1892 at 5 Hudson’s Buildings where she had been living with her daughter Ellen (Layzell). Curiously, the register for Bishopwearmouth Cemetery describes her as the widow of John Mewburn (shipwright).
Lancelot Mewburn 1822-1888
Lancelot was born on the 1st August 1822 at Monkwearmouth. He went to sea in 1843.
Because of his seafaring he is missing from the first two censuses. However around March 1845 he married Jane Drummond at Sunderland and they managed to fit in the production of their four children prior to Lancelot surfacing in the 1861 census on board the Maria & Elizabeth where he was the carpenter. By 1871 he had been promoted to ship’s mate aboard the Sarah Margaret lying at Erith. This is notable since Ancestry.com outdid themselves by indexing him as “Snaceht Meevbeenn”!
These coastal trips were not without incident. The Ipswich Journal for 03 April 1869 has an account of court proceedings at Harwich on March 24th relating to a salvage incident on the 3rd with the brig Diana of Sunderland, carrying coals. The Diana ran aground on the Andrews’ Sand outside Orford Haven and was taking in water. She was pulled off by the smack Volunteer with some help from a smaller boat the Turtle and between them they managed to get Diana to the mud in Harwich harbour. Lancelot, as mate, was briefly called to give evidence.
Lancelot was still listed as a sailor in the 1881 census but at the time of his death was described as a block and mast maker. He died in 1888 and his residence at that time was given as Dunning Street. However, he may have fallen on very hard times or have been ill to an extent that other family members could not cope with as he died in the Union Workhouse. Jane had died 20 years earlier in 1868.
Intriguingly, in 1870, Lancelot married for a second time. This was to Martha Walton at Hartismere in Suffolk where no doubt his sailing had taken him. However, Martha has not been traced subsequently.
Lancelot’s descendants are dealt with later in a separate section.
Thomas Mewburn 1826-1836
Thomas was born on the 1st February 1826 and died in March 1836. A brief life.
William Richardson Mewburn 1828-1845
William was born on the 21st July 1828 at Monkwearmouth. He makes an appearance in the 1841 census but then died just before turning seventeen.
Three of the four children of John’s second marriage to Ann Johnson died young. The four were:
Ann Mewburn 1838-1856
Ann was born at Monkwearmouth on the 4th March 1838. She appeared in the censuses for 1841 and 1851 but died aged just 18 in 1856.
James Mewburn 1839-1840
James was born around May 1839 but died eight moths later and was buried on the 7th January 1840.
John Mewburn 1840-1842
Another short life. John was born on the 18th November 1840, made an appearance in the 1841 census but died and was buried on the 19th May 1842.
Dorothy Mewburn 1843-?
Dorothy survived. She was born on the 7th June 1843 at Monkwearmouth. By 1861 she was working as a servant to a small shop-keeper in Silver Street, Sunderland and then in September married shipwright, William Walton. They were living in Silver Street in 1871 with three children but have not been traced subsequently.
Ann Mewburn 1792-aft 1824
John the obscure’s daughter, Ann, was born on the 30th April 1792 at Monkwearmouth. The will of her uncle, the second Armstrong named her as Sanderson, and her marriage and children are on record. Ann married William Sanderson at St Michael’s, Bishopwearmouth on the 27th January 1811, with John Mewburn and Lancelot Skipsey as witnesses. Whether John was her brother or father is unknown. William was a shipwright and they lived at Monkwearmouth Shore and had eight children there (the last, pleasingly called Armstrong Sanderson).
Ann appears in censuses from 1841 to 1861. William is believed to have died in 1860 and Ann probably in 1866.
Lancelot, the ship carpenter and mate, and Jane Drummond had four children at Sunderland. They were:
Elizabeth Jane Mewburn 1852-?
Elizabeth Jane was born at Sunderland in the first quarter of 1852. She appears as a scholar in the 1861 census, at home in Hudson’s Buildings. She has not been traced subsequently.
Lancelot Mewburn 1853-1894
Lancelot junior was born at Sunderland at the end of 1853. In the 1871 census, as a 16-year old, he was working as a cartman and living in lodgings at 1 Covent Garden Street along with his brother William, apprenticed as a cooper and his sister Emily. Their mother had died three years before and their father was often at sea so presumably this was his way of providing for them.
Ten years later Lancelot was a pauper in the Sunderland Union Workhouse and was said to be a cab driver. Some explanation for his condition may come from an item in the Sunderland Daily Echo of the 3rd March 1876 which reported that Lancelot had pleaded guilty to having been drunk in charge of a cab on the 21st of February at Bridge Street and “also to having left the same unattended at the same place while engaged in liquoring up.” He also had no licence!
Then in 1891 the Echo reported a similar tale when on the 17th July he was again charged with being hopelessly drunk in charge of a horse and carriage. Again he was not authorized to drive since by now the Watch Committee had “taken his license away on account of his conduct.”
He has not been found in the 1891 census and died, aged 42, in 1894. He never married.
William Richardson Mewburn 1856-1899
William Richardson was born in the second quarter of 1856 at Sunderland. In 1871, after their mother’s death, he was living in lodgings with Lancelot and Emily and at that point he was working as a cooper. He got married at South Shields on the 24th May 1874, when just 18, to Mary Jane Cunningham, five years his senior (and widowed just a year before after only a years marriage to a William Wood). They had eight children at Sunderland over the course of the next 20 years.
The family has not been found in the 1881 census but by 1891 seven of them were living in two rooms at Hillfield Steps in Bishopwearmouth, and William was a labourer at the cement works. They were recorded as Newburn in that census. Also, in the FreeBMD index registers for births all the children were listed as Newburn though in FamilySearch they are rendered as Mewburn.
William Richardson died in a quayside accident when a temporary gangway at the Ayres Quay Bottle Works collapsed. At the inquest his wife claimed he had had a dream the night before in which he fell and was attended by four policemen. This was reported in the Shields Daily Gazette on the 27th April 1899 and there they used the Mewburn name.
Mary Jane lived on in Sunderland and by 1901, listed as Newburn, she had become a fish dealer. She still had six children with her only two of whom were working. In 1911
Emily Susannah Mewburn 1859-?
Emily Susannah was born in the summer of 1859 at Sunderland. She was with Lancelot and William in lodgings in 1871. But no further trace of her has been found.
NEWBURNS from William Richardson
Evidence indicates that all William Richardson Mewburn’s children adopted a Newburn spelling and that it persists to the present day.
Elizabeth Jane Newburn 1875-1963
Elizabeth Jane was born in the second quarter of 1875. As a ten-year old she was with the family at Hillfield Steps in Bishopwearmouth then at 21, in 1896, she married Jonathan Parker with whom she had at least six children, all at Sunderland. In 1901 Jonathan was a labourer at a metal foundry and they lived at 23 Jobling Street. By 1911 they had moved to 26 North Milburn Street and Jonathon was now a metal cleaner at a brass foundry. Jonathan died in 1952 and Elizabeth Jane in 1963 when she was living at 11 Ramilles Square. She left a will, with effects at probate of £861.
Emily Susannah Newburn 1877-1879
Emily was born in late 1877 and died aged 18 months in the second quarter of 1879.
William Richardson Newburn 1880-1958
The second William Richardson was born in the third quarter of 1880 at Sunderland. He was living at home in 1901 with his widowed mother and working as a labourer in a shipyard. At the end of 1903 he married Annie Connify at Sunderland and by 1911, still labouring at the shipyard, they were living at 8 Sunderland Street with the first two of their four children.
William lists himself as Newburn in the censuses and his children’s births are indexed correspondingly. Newburn seems to be fixed by this point.
Annie Newburn died in 1914. There is a marriage at Sunderland of a William Newburn to Mary J Howard, but that has not been checked to determine whether it was for William Richmond. William died in 1958, at the Durham East district.
The Newburn name was not carried forward from this line.
Emily Susannah Newburn 1883-?
Emily was born in the second quarter of 1883 at Sunderland. She married George Jennings, a colliery labourer, early in 1902 and they are known to have had at least three children at Southwick by the time of the 1911 census when they were living at 10 Victoria Street. They have not been traced beyond that point.
Michael Newburn 1885-1939
Michael was born in the second quarter of 1885. At 15 he was at home with his mother and various siblings and apparently not yet working. In 1911 he was still with his mother and working as a shipyard labourer. He married Elizabeth Tait in the third quarter of 1918 (registered at Middlesborough), and they had some six children at Middlesborough. Michael died there in 1939, as did Elizabeth in 1943.
Mary Newburn 1887-1971
Mary was born at Sunderland towards the end of 1887. In the spring of 1906 she married George Baker and by 1911 he was working as a labourer at a forge. They had nine children. George died in 1951 and Mary may have died in 1971.
Isabella Jane Newburn 1891-1975
Isabella Jane was born at Sunderland on the 12the December 1891. She married James Burnside Melvin at Sunderland in the first quarter of 1913. They are not known to have had any children. James died in 1941 and Isabella in 1975.
Moses Newburn 1895-?
Moses’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1895 at Sunderland but a baptism on the 14th July indicates they were living at Deptford in the Bishopwearmouth area of Sunderland.
The name is especially interesting as it is the first instance on record anywhere within the full range of Mewburn and Meaburn history. Its earlier absence is odd since the Mewborns of the USA claim descent from an otherwise unknown Moses Mewboorn supposedly from Newcastle.
By 1911 Moses was working as a shipyard labourer and in 1916 he married Margaret Mushens. They had five children at Sunderland up to 1928 and then one more in 1942.
Moses joined a trade union on the 20th December 1916 and apparently ceased to be a member on the 20th April 1936 when he was 41. Moses and Margaret’s silver wedding was noted in the Sunderland Daily Echo on the 8th April 1941. There is a death that may well be for Margaret in 1975 but as yet Moses remains unaccounted for.