It seems likely that a line of Mewburns at Croft in the Cleveland area and another emerging in Northumberland at Seaton Delaval both began with a shadowy 17th century James Mewburn and his wife Dorothy. He and his descendants are believed to be:
Tree for James Mewburn c1655 of Croft
We have no certain baptismal record for James though there were two at Ormesby that could be appropriate – one in 1640 as a son to Christopher Mewborn and another in 1642 to John Mewborn (possibly an elder brother to Christopher). Christopher is not a name used in this line so 1642 to John and Anne Mewborn seems the more likely.
There is a will for a James from 1703 that may be for him. It was made at Ormesby and achieved probate in 1704. James is described as a yeoman so may have owned some property, and at least would have had a secure tenancy. The will identifies Dorothy as his wife and mentions an eldest son Thomas then a James and John. James received £120, John £20 and the rest of the moveable estate. The remainder, and joint executry, went to Dorothy and Thomas.
Thomas is then associated with Croft and the house at Monkend. James founded the Acomb dynasty and is dealt with in the next chapter. John remains a mystery, though a family at Ormesby could be his.
Thomas Mewburn c1680-1729
No baptism for Thomas has been found. There is however a memorial stone in St Peter’s church, Croft on the floor near the west window that reads:
Here lieth interred the body of Thomas Mewburn who departed this life ye 17 day of Mar 1728/9 aged 49 yrs
That gives us 1680 as his approximate birth year. We do have a record of his marriage to Abigail Moon on the 9th of January 1711 at York. Various papers from a court case involving Abigail much later in her life make their life and the identities of their children quite clear.
The first three children were born at Ormesby but then they moved to Brompton by Northallerton around 1716. There are baptismal records for four of their next seven children, all at Brompton.
It seems likely that they had moved to property owned by Abigail at South Cowton (she also had property at Sowerby and Darlington – the latter acquired from her son John). Latterly Thomas and Abigail moved back to Croft and to a house they had at Blackwell close to Darlington. Blackwell is where Abigail died.
Tree for Thomas Mewburn (1680-1729)
Thomas and Abigail had nine children:
James Mewburn 1712-1767
James was baptised at Ormesby on the 6th January 1712 as James Muburn. He married Margaret Aisleby of Darlington at the Cathedral Church of Durham on the 21st of February 1746. The marriage bond described him as a grazer of Croft, so someone who specialized in fattening cattle for market, but gave his age as 30 – some four years younger than believed. Margaret was co-heiress of Monkend a handsome house at Croft.
James died on the 15th December 1767 at Monkend, having made his will the same day. He left £1000 each to his daughters Anne and Margaret at 21. The economic status or income value of that sum equates to something close to £2 million in 2015 terms so James was a prosperous farmer – though both he and his father had made good marriages. Monkend went into trust for his son Thomas.
The fact that all the children were under age suggests they must have been born after 1747. The age of Thomas at the time of his burial indicates 1750 for his birth. Dorothea Mewburn Watson claims that Anne died aged 28 (though cites no evidence) indicating 1748 as her birth year so Margaret who was the younger daughter slots in at 1749.
Anne Mewburn c1748-1776
Anne’s birth is not recorded. She did not marry. All we have are records for her burial and probate. She was buried at Croft on the 4th May 1776, having made her will on the 26th April. The £1000 left by her father was still invested to provide interest and was a charge on the lands at Monkend. The interest reverted to her mother for her lifetime and on her death the principal was to be shared between sister Margaret and brother Thomas. £100 was gifted to her cousin Henry, the surgeon in Newcastle as a “token of great regard”.
Margaret Mewburn c1749-1780
Margaret, also has no birth record, but she was married on the 11th September 1775 at Bedale to John Wrightson, a barrister and later coroner at Thirsk. They had three children at Bedale but Margaret died as a result of complications with the birth of their son James, and was buried on the 21st April 1780 at Bedale.
Thomas Mewburn c1750-1814
There is again no trace of the birth of Thomas. He was married at Sockburn on the 10th September 1784 to Frances Wilkinson of Kirklington and they set up home at Girsby Grange by Sockburn just a few miles east of Croft.
They had a daughter, Elizabeth, baptised at Sockburn on the 18th October 1789. She died at the age of four and was buried at Croft on the 31st May 1793.
Thomas thus became the end of this line. He was buried, aged 64, at Croft on the 19th July 1814. Admon went to Frances, then living at Bishopton in County Durham, on September 21st (goods and chattels were under £3,500). Frances herself died in 1837 after making her will at Girsby on the 17th February. Properties at Sockburn and Over Dinsdale were left to a nephew Thomas Raper who then apparently changed his name to Wilkinson – perhaps to sustain the Wilkinson name at Girsby.
Elizabeth Mewburn 1713-1791
Elizabeth was the second of Thomas’s children and was baptised as Muburn on the 30th October 1713 at Ormesby. She did not marry and according to her will lived at Darlington until some late point when she moved to Fallowfield in Northumberland, ancestral home of the Tulip family and of her sister Ann. She made her will, and presumably died, there in 1791. She was buried at Croft on the 13th August 1791.
Her will provides insight to the family at that time. In it she left a £20 annuity from property at South Cowton to her niece Ann Kirsopp, wife of Thomas Kirsopp, and daughter of her sister Ann Tulip. Then to great niece Abigail Kirsopp, daughter of Ann Kirsopp, £500 at age 21; £500 to nephew Henry Tulip to be paid out of South Cowton in trust for siblings of Abigail; then shares in South Cowton bequeathed to her by her mother went to Henry Tulip. Nephew Thomas Mewburn, son of her brother Thomas got £500. A copyhold at Bondgate, Darlington went to sister Ann Tulip and another to brother Thomas. £500 went in trust to Dorothy Mewburn wife of Henry the Newcastle surgeon; nephew Thomas Mewburn of Girsby, son of late brother James got £200; £100 each to great nieces Ann and Margaret Wrightson; £1000 in trust looked after by Thomas of Girsby from which £500 was to go to niece Mary Elizabeth Mewburn daughter of brother Thomas and gifts of £10 to various friends including Simon Mewburn of Acomb.
All this provides good confirmation of the Croft tree. It also shows that the Croft people were close to the Acomb line via the dual Tulip family connection.
Thomas Mewburn 1715-1715
The first Thomas, at Ormesby, died in infancy.
Thomas Mewburn 1717-1792
This Thomas was the first to be baptised at Brompton by Northallerton on the 8th September 1717 after the move to, presumably, South Cowton. He and his line are dealt with elsewhere as the Chesterton Mewburns.
Dorothy Mewburn c1718-1772
There is no baptism for Dorothy and other details are hazy. Dorothea Mewburn Watson says “Dorothy, the second daughter, became Mrs Harrison”. There is a marriage at Darlington on the 13th November 1756 between Christopher Harrison and Dorothy Mewburn. There is no trace of them having had children.
It is evident, though, from the will of her brother John that she was dead by 20th April 1772. In fact she was buried at Darlington in February 1772, and her will went to probate the same month.
William Mewburn 1720-?
William was baptised at Brompton on the 30th June 1720. There is no clear evidence for any other event in his life.
John Mewburn 1723-1772
John was baptised at Brompton on the 11th August 1723. He became an attorney, never married, and lived in Darlington. His mother bought a house in Darlington from him before he died. His burial has not been found but he made a will on the 20th April 1772 which achieved probate on the 15th November 1773. His will helpfully mentions several members of the family – sister Elizabeth and brother Thomas (who got a house at Blackwell); cousin Francis of Durham [the apothecary/surgeon] and his brother John; “my relation Ann Brown of Darlington, widow, and her brother Ovington Johnson” [exactly who they are and how they fit in is unclear]; cousin James of Durham [father of Francis and John?]; Christopher Harrison and his deceased wife, sister Dorothy; Ann and William Tulip.
Ann Mewburn c1724-1794
No baptism for Ann has been found. She married William Tulip of Fallowfield in Northumberland in 1752, the brother-in-law of Simon Mewburn at Acomb. She had three children at Fallowfield, each being baptised at St John Lee by Acomb. Ann died in 1794 and was buried at St John Lee on the 8th May. William had died 15 years earlier in 1779 at Clifton, Bristol.
Jane Mewburn 1726-bef 1761
Jane was baptised at Brompton on the 7th February 1726. She may be the Jane who was buried on the 21st April at St Margarets, Durham. There is certainly no mention of her in her mother’s will in 1761.