Thorpe Thewles History Group

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Garnett Family connections with the Carlton & Thorpe Thewles area (c.1500s).

I wonder if anyone could possibly help me answer a few questions about the Carlton/Thorpe Thewles area in the 1500-1600s?

I am a keen family historian and I have discovered that my Garnet(t)/Garnard ancestors moved to Redmarshall around 1550s from Sussex.

In Sussex, my ancestor was working as specialist iron worker in the early 1500s but was born in Beaussault near Neufchatel-en-Bray in Picardy, France in 1504. In the early 1500s, Henry VIII found it necessary to import skilled workers from France to make England self sufficient in its armament industry. It is estimated that up to 400 immigrant specialist iron workers came to work in the Sussex Wealden where the “Walloon” blast furnace system was adopted by the English. John Ganard was one of those immigrant workers.

Around the mid-1500s many of these iron workers (and their descendents) dispersed to other areas of the country as the Wealden area of Sussex declined its iron production. One of the questions I have is why did the family move to the Carlton area as it was not an iron production area in those times. I know from a will that they were farming land in Redmarshall in 1574 but I wondered if you know if iron forging could have taken place in the village (attached to the farm?) in those times. Other members of the greater family were also residing in Billingham at the same time and later in the early 1600s they were farming Middlefield Farm between Thorpe Thewles and Norton. It has also occured to me that maybe they were involved in mill race construction as this was also a skill required by the early iron forges in Sussex.

I would be most grateful if anyone can supply me with any information about mill races/iron forging in the local area in the 1500/1600s.

Many thanks

Alison Garnett

Re: Carlton & Thorpe Thewles area in the 1500s

Hello Alison

It sounds like you have some interesting ancestors who moved a long way for no obvious reason. There must be an interesting story to explain such a move and TTHG would be pleased to help you in what ever way we can.

First I agree that the dates are far too early to consider a move from one iron working region to another (i.e. Teesside which at that period had little association with the iron trade). I also know of no forges in the area at the time in question. Even after the discovery of the Cleveland Iron Orefield in the mid C19th Carlton and Redmarshall would have been little involved in the iron trade until the development of the blast furnace site some 1 to 2 miles further north at Stillington (formerly the village of Carlton Iron Works).

I can see the connection with your ancestor's skills and the harnessing of water power to operate forge and furnace bellows plus tilt hammers. I guess there may be a tenuous connection with the local mills in our area but we would have to try and prove it. The beck which rums out of Bishopton Parish and flows down to the River Tees supported seven separate corn mills along its length. Several of these are close to Carlton and the Middlefield Farm area. These include Bishopton Mill, Thorpe Mill, Blakeston Mill, Wynyard Mill and finally Wolviston Mill. Several of these mills have early medieval foundation but at least two of them may date from the C16th . All of them have their own mill fleams, ponds and races.

One of our group member's is currently transcribing the parish registers for Carlton and Redmashall. I will ask him if he can do a search for you on the family's surname (plus variations of it). He has already transcribed the registers for Grindon Parish which go back to the 1560s.

I've quickly searched TTHG's summary data base of tax payers listed in the area for payment of the 1666 Hearth Tax. This has resuled in no entries being found for ths particular family in the local area.

Best Regards

TTHG Webmaster

Re: Carlton & Thorpe Thewles area in the 1500s

Regarding the parish registers etc, I really appreciate TTHG's offer of a search. If you can do this for me please also look at the Hemslie family at the same time. They are very much linked with the Garnett family in terms of marriages in the 1500s and I have been unable to trace a "greater family" in the local area. They are, however, a very common family in Sussex and maybe they came up north together.

Many thanks

Alison Garnett

Re: Carlton & Thorpe Thewles area in the 1500s

Regarding the query on the above named family.

Redmarshall has 3 marriages - 11 Jul 1568 John = Annes Hemeslie - 31 Oct 1574 Anne = William Jefferson - 4 Aug 1577 Margerie = Thomas Jefferson.

Redmarshall has 24 Garnet / Garnard baptisms between 1564 and 1616. Of the 357 baptisms up to 15 Feb 1601 only 15 baptisms name the father (Garnet / Garnard = 0). Of the 5 Garnet / Garnard baptisms after this date 4 list father as Robert and the other has mother Elizabeth.

I have not got round to looking at Redmarshall burials (this far back) as I have started post Lord Rose's Act.

Grindon has one marriage Isabel = Robert Wilkinson 23 Nov 1617 and 1 burial Margaret aged 94 of Thorpe Leazes buried 24 Mar 1910.

Interesting that you mention Billingham 3 marriages (2 in late 1500's other mid 1600's), 2 baptisms 1638 and 1789.

In 1666 a John Garnett is listed under Egglescliffe and a John Garnett is listed under Bishopton so the family did remain in the area.

Surtees has a tree for the Garnett family of Egglescliffe which can be found on the web.

Keep Smiling

Paul Dunnill

Re: Carlton & Thorpe Thewles area in the 1500s

Hello Mark & Paul

I would like to follow up on your comments about the possible link of the Garnett family with the corn mills in the area. I have a will from John Garnett who lived in the vill of Carlton in the parish of Redmarshall who died in 1574. In his will he leaves to his sons maize corn and winter corn, sheep, cows, waynes (carts?) plough and oxen. Also interestingly, he refers to a plinghe which could possibly be a plinthe - perhaps another term for a millstone? Could this be a corn mill e.g. Thorpe Mill which is not far from the village of Carlton?