Cheshire Group Thoughts

A week last Friday I travelled up to Altrincham to meet my genetic cousin John. John is now resident in Australia but was making what is becoming an annual pilgrimage to the Warrington Horse Show, which actually takes place in Knutsford. John’s great grandfather was heavily involved in the show  and last year I wrote about how John and his family had sponsored a prize in his honour.

John is from the Weaverham clan, and has taken DNA tests. The result of the last of these came out recently and shows that John shares the same SNPs with me as two other close genetic cousins, from the Ringley and Houghton clans.

We found the likely genealogical link to Clive of the Ringley clan some years ago in William who was born in Great Warford, Cheshire in 1740, and died in Ringley, Lancashire in 1820, aged 79. This makes Clive my 8th cousin, and John of Hale Barns (1608-91) our common ancestor. So is it likely that John is also the common ancestor of myself and John, and myself and the Houghton clan?

The first point to note is there are limited points at which new lines can link into my tree. Research published in the Journal of One-Name studies a couple of years ago suggested that over 90% of male lines in existence in 1300 have no male line descendants today while one in a thousand will have grown large with maybe 2,000 breeding age males today. My Warburton tree seems to exhibit similar characteristics with occasional patriarchs having large numbers of descendants interspersed by generations with a single son living to have his own family. Even John was the only son of his father George who had sons himself.

The Hale Barns tree has about 420 male Warburtons descended from John, of whom 111 are descended from my 3x great grandfather William. Thus if I find cousins they usually either 4th cousins or 8th cousins.

On the DNA front I only have two SNPs which are unique to me. Current experience suggests a SNP occurs every 130 years or so. Therefore on average I could have been expected to have had slightly more than 2 SNPs between  1658 (when John’s son Josiah was born) and 1945 (when I was born).  However I do have a paucity of SNPs compared with the two BigY results most closely related to me*. Further back my 3 genetic cousins and I share three SNPs since the Dutton split, and two since the Partington and Arley branches split circa 1280. Two SNPs between 1280 and 1608 is a also bit below average. However if my SNPs have occurred at a uniform rate then I would expect 3 of my SNPs to occur before John of Hale Barns’s birth, and two after.

The new BigY test with its results for 500 plus STR markers will give an alternative handle on dating our common ancestors.

All my three close genetic cousins have identified their ancestors back to before my 3x great grandfather William so John represents the latest possible common ancestor. Also we need to go back 2 further generations for even the possibility of an earlier common ancestor.

The result is that both our genealogical knowledge, and DNA results make John of Hale Barns the most likely common ancestor for us all. However there also needs to be the opportunity for the Weaverham and Houghton clans to have descended from John. We need gaps in our knowledge of John’s descendants. These gaps do exist for two reasons. The first is the families strong Presbyterian leanings which means they often opted for baptisms in Presbyterian chapels whenever this was allowed. The second is that John’s middle son George seems to have moved away from Hale Barns.

I have written in the past about the Hale Presbyterians,  my 6x great grandfather’s role, and the histories of Ringway and Hale chapels. Despite promises at the Restoration of Charles II, they were force to attend the Church of England for much of Charles’s reign. There was a brief respite with the Declaration of Indulgence of 1672 but it was revoked the following year. It is known William Brereton obtained a licence to preach in his own house, and there is evidence from a later lease that John of Hale Barns had a grandson by his eldest son who was born about this time but not baptised at Bowden.

The second Declaration of Indulgence did not come until 1688, but from 1681 Ringway chapel operated for a period as an Anglican chapel, until it was taken over by the Presbyterians after 1688. So it is possible baptisms were performed there after 1681, and certainly after 1688, but not recorded at Bowdon.

There are a number of Warburtons who are documented in the area but have no recorded baptism. In addition to Thomas’s son John the most interesting are:

  • A will dated 1720 for Joshua Warburton of Bowdon refers to his two brothers, Josiah of Bowdon, and Peter of Croxton. There is no recorded baptism for any of the three brothers. This is two years before Peter, the earliest ancestor of the Weaverham clan, now of Latchford, married Elizabeth Smith at Grappenhall.
  • Josiah is a name frequently associated with the Hale Barns clan, following the significant role played by the first Josiah, my 6x great grandfather, in the Hale Presbyterian movement. Joshua’s brother Josiah died in 1763. He is known to have had a son Josiah who died in 1737, just after getting married. The most likely period for Josiah the Elder’s birth would be around 1690. Another Josiah, formerly of Dunham, died in Timperley in 1727, aged 36, implying he also was born around 1691. There is no recorded baptism for any of these Josiahs.
  • A piece of land called Dunham Highway Field was granted to Aaron and William Warburton in 1702, passing solely to William in 1703. Aaron is the second son of Thomas. eldest son of John of Hale Barns but there is no recorded baptism for William. In 1728 Josiah of Bowdon solds Dunham Way Field. It would seem likely this is the same as Dunham Highway Field so linking Josiah (and Joshua and Peter) to Aaron grandson of John of hale Barns.

It is now worth looking more closely at the five sons of John of Hale Barns for indications or opportunities of unrecorded children:

  • Thomas, the eldest, married in 1668. In addition to the John who is only known from a lease, there are 6 baptisms at Bowdon up to 1678 that can be shown to be his. Both he and his wife lived a further thirty years, and are likely to have been able to have further children for at leat 10 more years. This is before the 1688 Declaration of Indulgence but there may have been unrecorded Anglican baptisms at Ringway chapel which is known to have been active from 1681 onwards.
  • John moved to Mobberley and his many ancestors are well documented.
  • George is a mystery. Born in 1654 he received a bequest in his father’s will which was written in 1687. However he was the only son not an executor, and the only brother not an executor of brother Enoch’s 1692 will. As there is also no marriage or burial recorded in Bowdon it seems likely he moved away but so far there is no clue where.
  • Josiah only had one son as his wife died young.
  • Enoch also moved to Mobberley and had one daughter baptised and two infants buried there. However his will refers to his children, and they would have been young when he and his wife died in 1692, after 9 years of marriage. It is likely they were brought up by other family members.

If the Weaverham and Houghton clans are descended from John of Hale, as the DNA evidence suggests, then there are opportunities for the links to be via children of Thomas, George, or Enoch. The links between Aaron, William, and the brothers Joshua, Josiah, and Peter make it quite possible these were all, like Aaron, children of Thomas, and that Peter was the same one who married Elizabeth Smith at the head of the Weaverham clan. It is possible Josiah of Timperley was a son of Enoch, and my hunch is that George will provide the link to the Houghton clan.

This is of course speculation, but unless new facts emerge to disprove the possibility, we have a body of evidence that supports it.

* These are the Dutton results, where our common ancestor is either Odard or his descendant from the next couple of generations, and the result from the Partington half of the Cheshire group where our common ancestor is Piers, the first Warburton who lived in the 13th century.

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