"Henry Whitney, b. at 25 Pearl St., New York, 23 Aug. 1812; was graduated at Yale College in 1830, and settled in New Haven, Conn., in 1837, where he continued to reside until his death, living for a year in "Maple Cottage", Trumbull Street, until the fine mansion which he built for himself on Whitney Avenue (now occupied by his son Stephen) was completed; married, 27 Jan. 1835, by Rev. Dr. Lyell, at the residence of her parents, 498 Broadway, N. Y., to Hannah Eugenia Lawrence, born in New York, 27 Jan. 1815, dau. of Isaac Lawrence and his wife Anna, dau. of Rev. Abraham Beach, D. D., minister of Trinity Church, New York. She died, 16 March 1844, in New Haven, and was buried in the New Haven Cemetery. He married (2d), 25 July 1850, at Norwich, Conn., Maria Lucy Fitch; and died in New Haven, 21 March 1856, and was buried in the New Haven Cemetery. . . . . She married (2d), 20 Nov. 1862, at New York, Nathan Adolphus Baldwin, of Milford, Conn., where they resided in June 1877. They have one child, Natalie Augusta Baldwin, born at Milford, 26 Dec. 1864."

"The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut 1642-1880" by Samuel Orcut t and Ambrose Beardsley, M.D. 1880 p779 "Stephen..was a merchant in New York city..He died Fe b 16, 1860; buried in Greenwood, of which cemetery he was one of the original incorporators , and a director through his life. He went to New York when 18 or 20 years of age, having had only ordinary advantages at Derby, and engaged himself as clerk to the firm of Lawrence and Whitney, shippers, in which his brother Henry was a partner. By energy and business talent he soon acquired means to enter copartnership with John Currie, a Scotchman, in the wholesale grocery trade. He traded largely in wines, then in cotton, then engaged in ship-building and the shipping trade to nearly all parts of the world; then in canals and railroads, and finally in banks, accumulating great wealth."

He set himself in business as a liquor retailer and later wholesaler in 1805 at Nr 4 Stone Street, New York. Stephen Whitney's fortune grew heavily thanks to some large and fortunate speculations in cotton. In the 1830's he was among New York's richest men. His fortune was doubled by shrewd investments in city real estate. Second in wealth to John Jacob Astor, Whitney's fortune was estimated between 5-10'000'000 dollars at its height.


Webster Family Genealogy    Yorkshire Roots; Inventors and More...





Contact Beth Northrop
ejnorth123 AT juno.com

Leeds, San Francisco, Southport, Connecticut
This is still a work in progress...


??? maybe James Webster
1687 Spofforth guess ???
Maybe Richard Webster1711 Spofforth guess???
    Samuel Webster year? 1729
Mary Wood (prob) Spofforth
      William Webster, 1778 - 1848
Matilda ?
1782- 1852
Allerton Mauleverer(1803 check)

Bowling, Bradford
Horton (Isaac)

        Charles Benjamin Webster
1820 -1896
Eliza Ann Parker
1823 - 1900
Bowling, Bradford (b4 1841)
          Benjamin Parker Webster 1843 - 2/11/1908 Bpt
Margaret Longhorn Calam
7/14/1846 - 3/11/1923 Lakeview
Bowling, Bradford (b4 1841)        
            Earl P. Edward Edgar Parker Webster, b. 10/ 23/1867 West Leeds- d. 12/13/1952 age 85 Bpt Edward Parker b. ? - d. ?
Edgar Ferdinand b. 1/21/1893 - d. 6/1980 Monroe, CT age 87 , Mrs. E. F. 64 Montgomery Street Bridal Shower March 19, 1920 for Lillian M. Webster, her sister-in-law
Lillian Margaret b. ? - d. ? married Willard
            Mary Florence Webster b. 11/4/1869 CT - d. 11/5/1951 Bpt., CT age 82 (married cousin see Benjamin C. for two children)        
            Harry Calam Webster b. 1/22/1871 CT m. Mame (Laubshier/Leaman) .kids Ethel Elizabeth "Ethel" /Margaret Elizabeth "Nan" another date for birth 10/14/1877 d.2/17 1961 Ethel Webster b.?
Nan Webster b. ?
            Ross Benjamin Webster b. 11/28/1878 CT m. Carrie Ballard (son who died early fm census?)        
            Aubren Webster b 1879 ? CT from census, but no other mention of Aubren        
          William Webster b.1/13/1848 or 1846 or 1847 in Bowling Bradford
Bowling, Bradford (b4 1841)        
          d/o Holmes Mary Ann Webster b 12/11/1872 Location? is MA Holmes census b. 1873 actually MA Webster? OR b. 1867??        
          c/o Ellen Francis Mulholland Gallagher (Mulholland or Gallagher late husband?) b. 1846- or 1848(census date) Boston, MA Met in Boston? had child Harriet by previous husband? Parents both from Ireland married in SF b 10/9/1845 Boston MA d. 3/12/13 Berkeley 1826 Prince Street. age 67, buried St Mary's Cemetary says father Mr. Holland (Ireland) not Mulholland ? Mother's maiden name not known (Ireland) from death cert. William Lester Webster b. 1876 born SF
August 1st 1899 Parish Church of Armley ( St Bartholomews )
Wilma Webster married to Beverly Brace last known address 1161 Trinity Drive Menlo Park, CA
Eunice Webster
            Lilly Mae Webster maybe Sheffield b. about 1877 married to John Thomas Brammer 1922 Paul b. 1874        
            Benjamin C. Webster b. 2/9/1878 SF d 8/2/63 age 85. Oaklawn Cemetary, Fairfield, CT When young called Bennie. Development Engineer Mechanical & Electrical
Benjamin Chester Webster, Jr. b. 1905 Jr. married Ruth about 1942? SHibbard d.5/29/1979
Margaret Gwendolyn Webster b. 1/7/12 Berkeley, CA d. 3/?/1990 m. 5/8/1948 Alvin Jennnings Northrop
            Marian Mary Cecilia Webster Black Green ( (Minnie) F. Webster b. 2/24/1885 Leeds d. 9/14/1945 Millbrae, CA Paul b. 1883 Nancy Ellen Black Green b 9/16/1939 SF married L'Heureux      
            Edington Henry Webster born Armley 1884 registered Leeds UK (Paul)
maybe died Nov 19th ?? (Lucy)"Eddie"
            Mabel Ellen Webster b. ? d. June 16 married William Zazzi CA        
          d/o her previous marriage Hattie Harriet Gallagher Webster b. about 1860 Died April 25th she may be the Gallagher by previous marriage perhaps was at prince st when father William Died in 1925. listed as Hattie Gallagher (no Webster) d. 10/9/29 Prince St Berkeley 1903 Hattie on passage with Wm, Mrs, etc. another Ellis Island November 6, 1910 from liverpool age 43, says to 100 State Street Chicago but there is another entry on manifest for Elsworth Avenue, Berkeley, CA also February 27, 1922 Hattie M. Webster age 54 departed San Juan Puerto Rico says born kendalville iowa March 12, 1867? to 4520 Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL        
            Ellen Webster O'Leary high position in girl scouts visited in southport when I was small        
            ? of 13        
            ? of 13        
            ? of 13        
            ? of 13        
            ? Mary Webster b. 1871 - d. ? last UK census shown 1881        
            ? Emma Webster b. 1878 - d. ? last UK census shown 1881        

Click for larger image

See Forest boundry below

1789 Book The History of the castle, town and forest of Knaresborough, with Harrogate, and its medicinal waters. Including an account of the most remarkable places in the neighbourhood. 
(searchable full view, but search limited by old spellings and typeface -- Spofforth is Spofford)

Google Books version may be a little easier to read

The British Mercury Or Annals of History, Politics ..., Volume 12, Issues 1-13

Further wayback

Celtic tribes Brigantes
// Carvetii // Parisii // Corieltauvi //  Cornovii //  Votadini

Brimham Rocks


Northern Antiquarian

From Spofforth to Bowling...

Speculation on Population Impact of the Enclosure Act in Knaresborough Forest area and beyond.

Actual Awards from 1776 through 1847 in areas of interest for our Websters. These dates are when open fields were removed from common use by residents. While concurrent population is not available for many areas, it is reasonable to speculate significant percentages of the population would bear the impact of these losses/

Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
WR NY 1787 1792 895 [1820s] 464 155 93
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Clareton, Allerton Mauleverer & Flaxby WR NY 1772 1776 [1840s wholly the property of Lord Stourton][only1848 pop] 519 173 104
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Armley WR WY 1793 1799   158 53 32
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Eastrington, Bellasize & Sandholme ER H 1813 1822 Eastrington alone Population, 375 [1820s] 800 267 160
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Ripley WR NY 1778 1778 [A nineteenth century Ingilby tore down the old village and modelled it after an Alsatian village with an "hôtel de ville" style town hall. The castle and the parish church were not affected by the reconstruction.]
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Howden, Eastrington, North & South Cave ER H 1777 1781   5000 1317 790
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Howden, Eastringtin & Blacktoft ER H 1767 1777   3952    
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres


Knaresborough, Forest of

Forest of Knaresborough more info




Knaresborough Forest enclosure records

The History and Topography of Harrogate, and the Forest of KnaresboroughBy William Grainge

ancient customs

The History of the Castle, Town, and Forest of Knaresborough: With ..., Volume 2


Secret KnaresboroughBy Paul Chrystal


WR NY 1770 1778 [Knaresborough Forest, which extended far to the south of the town, is reputed to have been one of King John's favourite hunting grounds.][The railway age began in Knaresborough in 1848 with the opening of a railway station on Hay Park Lane; this was replaced with the current one three years later in 1851. The town had a railway line to Boroughbridge until it closed to passengers in 1950; it was dismantled in 1964.] 20000 6667 4000
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Ripley WR NY 1778 1778  
Riding Post 1974 County Act Award Pop Acres fam @ 3 acre fa @ 5 acres
Wortley (Leeds) WR WY 1833 1847   45 15 19

The outline of The Forest of Knaresborough extends far beyond
Knaresborough and runs very close to Spofforth. It appears the closest border of the Forest is less than a mile from the center of Spofforth.

Were Websters butchers for hunting as well as domestic butchering?

There was also a Pigot's listing as a "Cattle Dealer" The bishop’s transcript [?1825] (seen at the West Yorkshire Archive Service in Leeds) records that William was a Cattle Dealer [I've seen mention of cattle fairs on given days in market towns] but Piggot’s Directory of professions and trades shows that by 1829 he was the village butcher in Killinghall.

Was his later move to Allerton Mauleverer similarly serving domestic & hunting needs?

check cattle webster allerton mauleverer

"Enclosure Acts for small areas had been passed sporadically since the 12th century, but with the rise of the Industrial Revolution, they became more commonplace. In search of better financial returns, landowners looked for more efficient farming techniques.[5] Enclosures were also created so that landowners could charge higher rent to the people working the land. This was at least partially responsible for peasants leaving the countryside to work in the city in industrial factories.[6]"

I had always imagined that it was the draw of growing industries that brought the Websters to more industrialized areas. To our 21st century eyes, it is hard to comprehend living in Bradford - described as a dirty and dangerous place where mortality was extraordinarily high and life expectancy plummeted within a couple of decades. ejn

"By 1840 Bradford was known for having some of the most smoke-filled air in Britain. As early as 1803 an act had stated that, "Engine chimneys are to be erected of sufficient height as not to create a nuisance by the emission of smoke. All owners of engines etc. are to construct fireplaces thereof in such a manner as most effectually to destroy and consume the smoke arising therefrom." However, little was done to enforce the laws. There was a general feeling that the factories provided work, so should not be pushed too hard to reduce pollution.[19] An 1841 account said, "The condition of Bradford is dreadful. Lowmoor iron-forges most extensively spread their suffocating exhalations on the one side ... On the other side, Bowling Iron Hell (for it is one truly) casts a still denser atmosphere and sulphurous stench..."[20] The Bowling Iron Company was fined on 12 December 1874, but only for £5 with £9. 10s. costs for ten offences. The population suffered high levels of respiratory diseases, peaking in 1890 during an influenza epidemic.[19]

Several selections from the volume below in combination with the Inclosure Laws quote suggest the may have been forced to leave because of a set of circumstances that made it ecnomically impossible to stay. The passages describe a family unit dependent on a combination of economic activities for all the family members that went beyond the profession of the family head -- and several were dependent on having a bit of their own land. ejn

If this is the case, it suggests

* in the countryside - life-long, multi-generational interdependencies with much of the community, not just their own profession.

* relationships in the Spofforth community may have been even stronger than anticipated

* If this move was more or less forced, it may have been more traumatic.


The Great North Road was the main highway between London and Scotland. It became a coaching route used by mail coaches travelling between LondonYork and Edinburgh. The modern A1 mainly parallels the route of the Great North Road. Coaching inns, many of which survive, were staging posts providing accommodation, stabling for horses and replacement mounts.[1] 

Since its origins in pre-Roman times, the Great North Road has been the main north-south thoroughfare of the country and played a part large or small in so much of our history.

The legacy of the Roman Road network is still seen in the landscape and road network of  today.  The Great North Road often follows major Roman routes.

Roman roads were surveyed and built from scratch.  They connected towns and strategic locations by the most direct possible route. The roads were often paved to permit use in all seasons and weather. Most of the network was complete by 180 AD. Its primary function was to allow the rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it also provided vital infrastructure for trade and the transport of goods.http://www.great-north-road.org/roman-roads-in-england/

Probably the coffin containing the uncorrupted body of Saint Cuthbert and the head of Saint Aidan was carried up it from Ripon towards its final resting place at Durham a thousand years ago.  Edward I carried his queen's body down part of it in 1290, and marked the stops with Eleanor crosses, three of which stood on this road.  The catholic rebels in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 used it to march towards the capital.  Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, travelled north to marry a Scottish king along it.  Butcher Cumberland, fresh from his victory at Culloden, made his triumphant way south down this road.  Nearly every monarch of England or of the United Kingdom has ridden, driven or trodden on it and so have most of our statesmen and writers, especially the diarists.  As a result there is an abundance of comment and description of most significant places on the route.  

The Romans built Ermine Street and its continuations to the north as a military road and even after centuries of neglect Harald was able to use it to march his army to York and back in 1066.  The Scots used the route to invade England, Warwick the Kingmaker died on it and many of the battles of the Wars of the Roses were fought on and near it.  Cromwell's family lived beside it and Monk brought the Coldstream Guards down it during the Civil War.  Not least it served as an artery linking many of the RAF stations built on the eastern side of Britain before and during the last war, and many aircraft, before assembly, were carried along it.

Walter Scott called it the dullest road in the world, though the most convenient for the traveller, and, while this may be an exaggeration, no one can deny that some of the scenery in the flatlands on the eastern side of England is hardly exciting, especially since they became the grain growing factory that they now are.  But there is a romance about the road that Scott himself captured so well in The Heart of Midlothian and which infected even that dour Yorkshireman J B Priestley.

Nearly 400 miles separate the capital cities of England and Scotland which stand at either end of the road.  The smallest and the largest counties in England are traversed.  For most of its length the road runs over low lying land and there are very few hills of any height or length, the highest said to be at Scotch Corner.  Stevenage High Street is claimed to be the highest street between London and York.   Before new bridges and bypasses were built, there were sharp gradients at several river crossings, such as those at Wentbridge, Durham and Newcastle, which created problems for horses and early motor vehicles.  The route through the east of Scotland avoids most of the southern uplands, though the slope up Penmanshiel to Cockburnspath has presented a challenge for travellers through the ages.

The heyday of the Road was undoubtedly the era of coaching, which really started when the Royal Mail began to be carried by coach in 1784 but lasted only until the advent of the railway destroyed the coaching trade in the course of about ten years in the 1830s and 40s.  There was a second flourish when the motorcar appeared in the early part of the 20th Century.  To this day the road remains one of the most highly used and therefore congested routes in the country.  The modern road still essentially follows the line taken by ancient travellers, though the width, surface and volume of traffic would astonish anyone from previous times.  But still it has a distinction and flavour all of its own.

The Great North Road is the axis by which Scots and English, invaders and defenders, Romans and Britons, Vikings and Saxons, rebels and loyalists, Catholics and Protestants, Rugby Leaguers and Rugby Unionists, have sought to impose their will and their map-reading on these British Isles.


The only actual road building ever undertaken in Britain had been done by the Romans. After their legions withdrew from the island, the whole infrastructure of roads, urban centers and country villas was left to wither away through the centuries. Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans all still had to travel, though, however uncomfortable and cumbersome their progress across the countryside might be.
By the early Middle Ages, the Great North Road had evolved as the single unified route between London and North Britain. In part, it followed stretches of Roman Dere Street, in part it followed the natural topography of the landscape and long familiar routes between villages and market towns. For centuries, rough carts and springless wagons, horses and shank’s mare took pilgrims and Crusaders, bishops and noblewomen, drifters and highwaymen between London and the northern ecclesiastical and political center of York, or on to Durham or Scotland. Generations of adventuring Scots took the road south to seek life in more prosperous England—like James Boswell, who famously wrote of his road adventures with the inimitable Samuel Johnson.

By the time Boswell and Dr. Johnson traveled the Great North Road in the late 18th century, improvements were well underway on both the road and the means of travel upon it. It must have seemed state-of-the-art luxury, indeed, to traverse roads that were somewhat graded and maintained by recently established local “turnpike trusts,” which often financed the work with user fees that were collected at toll booths. Sprung stagecoaches now plied the road on regular routes and fixed schedules—a considerable improvement over the plodding wagons of bygone years. Along the route of the Great North Road the infrastructure of travel evolved, with inns and public houses growing up along the way as surely as fast food franchises and lodging chains mark the popular paths of road travel today. Travel time from London to Edinburgh was cut from 12 days to four in the 18th century. What adventures would I find today, I wondered, during four days on the Great North Road?
You can follow the Great North Road out of London all the way from Smithfield in the City along Clerkenwall Road, up Highgate Hill, through Finchley and Barnett, but I opted to pick up the route at Potters Bar, where the old Great North Road crosses the M25.
It is not the A1 here that leads north on the old alignments of the Great North Road, but the A1000 meandering through what have become London’s nondescript northern suburbs to Hertfordshire and past the gates of Hatfield House—where Queen Elizabeth I spent part of her childhood.
If I was expecting many visual clues as to the route’s antiquity and historic significance in the Home Counties, though, I was soon proven mistaken. Where the road passed through pockets of relative affluence, there were building activities, smart petrol stations, Tesco and chain pubs. Where the road traversed pockets of relative neglect, the detritus left behind was the junk and jumble of the disposal-prone 20th century. As is unhappily so often the case these days, though, one has to go far from London to get deep into England.

A picturesque history of Yorkshire: being an account of the ..., Volume 2

By Joseph Smith Fletcher



Below are quotes from a volume on the woolen industry in Yorkshire. The prevalence of the industry -- over centuries --

Very early Yorkshire mentions of Webster and Walker. Over centuries wool work moved to be more centralized - mostly east and later more decentralized in west with home producers who added it to their other family based industries - a small few acres of land , perhaps trees. cows and swine. Some beef and pork would have been salted for late 1580s era

The male employment was "strongly supplemented by the employment of women and children. In 1588, one loom consumed the yarn carded and spun by five or six persons, and most of the work of preparing yarn for the weaver was performed by women and young persons. Every cottage had its spinningwheel or distaff, as an almost essential part of the domestic equipment. The clothier sent his wool out to the spinners, who, in their homes, spun the mass of raw material into fibre ready
for the loom.
... 1 During the years which followed, the West Riding was too much distracted by plague and civil war to give any attention to the matter of wages. But when some measure of peace had been restored the justices returned to the question, and at the Pontefract Sessions, April 1647, they drew up a comprehensive assessment. This document is the first of such assessments accessible, but is doubtless very similar in form and figures to its predecessors of the earlier years of the century. The assessment touched all the West Riding industries agriculture, building trades, tailoring, mining, and textile work. The clause relating to textile work ran as follows :... p 113 But a large part of the weaving was performed by men who, though employed by a clothier, carried on their occupation in their own homes. These men were also in possession of a piece of ground, and combined the cultivation of their patch of land with their work at the loom. At times they had to wait for further supplies of yarn, and these intervals were doubtless filled up with agricultural work on a small scale." ....

A third point of interest lies in the comparison of the rates paid to industry and agriculture. The most important maxima fixed in the 1647 assessment were : Agriculture. Maximum Wages. Bailiffs or foremen hired by gentlemen or wealthy persons per annum . . . . 3 los - od. 1 Chief servants in the employ of ordinary yeomen or husbandmen . . . . . 3 os - dFemale servants ....... 25s. to 30s. Mowers of grass and corn, per day, with or without food ........ $d. or lad. Ordinary farm labourers, per day, with or without \ Summer, 3d. or 6d. food ........ \ Winter, 2d. or 5^. Building Trades. Master masons and carpenters .... (id. or \zd.
\ Summer, Ad. or Sd. 1 heir men . . . . . . . r . . 1 < ,
\\ inter, 3d. or (mi. Plumbers, glaziers, bricklayers, slaters, tylers, and \ Summer, sd. or qd. others engaged in branches of building . . \ Winter, 3d. or 8d.
Miners. Colliers, per day, without meat or drink . . lod. Banksmen or drawers-up of coal, without sustenance Sd.
Clothworkcrs. All classes, per day ...... d. or Sd. It engaged for year, presumably with meat and \ Skilful, 3 < 1 rink ........} Common, 2 10s. o</. Tailors, with meat and drink .... 2d. to Ad.
' In addition the bailiff received a livery or ioa". per annum in lieu thereof. The large sums denote the maximum annual rates, and include food and
probably lodging.

to p 150


Walkers (fullers)

p.22 The Bradford mill, for instance, was let in the early 'forties to William and James Walker, at a rental of ten shillings per annum.2 In 1346 James resigned his share of the mill to William, being ' unable to hold the said mill on account of poverty '.

3 William retained his tenancy, aided by his son Thomas, and in 1353 managed to secure the monopoly of the fulling on the manor.4 In that year father and son 5 went to the manor court, and gave to the landlord forty pence by the year of

' new rent ' for the term of the father's life, being promised in return ' that there shall no strange fuller enter within the town and liberty of the Court of the Lord of Bradford, . . . neither shall anything be taken or carried out of the said town to be worked upon, nor shall any one use that craft in the said town, except (the Walkers) and their servants '. 6,,, In some wills we get a glimpse of another side of the clothier's life, as for example, in that of John Walker of Armley, clothier (1588; : ...

A path to upward mobility...

p 169 great hurt of the merchants and inhabitants of this town '.* These West Riding merchants generally sprang from local families of clothiers. The father would be a clothier, probably on a rather large scale of business, selling his cloths in the market at Leeds, or at Blackwell Hall and Bartholomew Fair. Thanks to the father's energies and thrift, the son was able to become apprenticed to some merchant, and in time set up as a fully qualified merchant and member of the trading companies, taking the wares of the West Riding to foreign parts. One instance of this is seen in the rise of the Denisons, a family prominent in the history of Leeds. George Denison, born in 1626, lived at Woodhouse, and engaged in the occupation of a clothier. His son, Thomas, became a merchant and member of the Merchant Adventurers ; Thomas's son in time followed the same career, and was elected Mayor of Leeds in 1727 and 1731. 2 Other branches of the family had a similar history. The Denison family had its origins in clothiers' cottages. Its members afterwards numbered three knights, a baron, a viscount, a Speaker of the House of Commons, a judge, a colonial governor, and a bishop, not to mention Mayors of Leeds and lesser dignitaries.

The history of other families is largely a repetition of the above story ; and this line of development accounts in part at least for the rise of the Armitagcs, the Jacksons, the Metcalfes, the Walkers, the Wades, and other families which have played a large part in the economic and political life of Leeds.

"...many witnesses in 1638 agreed that the kerseys, although now made of inferior wool, were ' both finer, better made, and of greater value and price than the said kersies were ' a quarter of a century before. 2 Thus, on the whole, Yorkshire kerseys had increased in variety, in length, in quality, and in value. And yet they were only paying a penny each for subsidy and ulnage ! This was bound, sooner or later, to bring about another conflict between the clothiers and those interested in the collection of the cloth fees, and the legal battle took up the years 1637 8. At this time the control of the ulnage for the West Riding was in the hands of Thomas Metcalfe of Leeds, 1 Evidence of Wm. Busfield of Leeds ; Exch. Dep. by Comm., 14 Chas. I, Mich., no. 20, York. 2 In 161 3, average price for Halifax kersey is. $d. to 2s. per yard. In 1638 the cheapest valued at is. iod. ; others sold at 25. bd. to 4s. 6d. per yard. Even Kcighley kerseys, 18 yards in length, sold at 25. to 2s. 6d. per yard.
described as a gentleman of great estate, but also a merchant who carried on foreign trade in the very wares over which the dispute arose. Metcalfe was assisted by a number of deputies, who lived in the various villages and towns, distributing the seals and collecting the pence. These deputies carried on some other occupation, and did the ulnage work as an additional means of livelihood. Some were yeomen, and might be actually engaged in making cloth ; others were inn-keepers or shopkeepers, or persons of other employments who possessed a little spare time to devote to these duties in return for the two, three, or four pounds which Metcalfe paid them. These ' deputyes did repayre to the clothiers' houses upon notice given, and there seal their karseis ', though, if the clothier wished, he might go down to the deputy's house and there purchase as many seals as he required, paying the customary penny for each. The relations betw'een Metcalfe and the kersey-makers were harmonious until October 1636, but in that year the former decided to raise the fee to i\d., since the cloths were now much too large to be allowed to escape any longer on payment of id. He therefore instructed his three chief assistants, Thomas Walker, Christopher Scaife, and John Crabtree, to demand an extra \d. per kersey from the clothiers, and these men were so successful in their threats and cajoleries that they were said to have wrung an additional 100 out of the clothiers of the four parishes in a short space of time.

Higher still in the industrial scale came the really big clothiers who were to be found in many parts, especially around Leeds, during the latter half of the eighteenth century. These men were large employers, and, in the congregation of workpeople in their shops, they established miniature factories many years ,/ before the perfection of the power loom or the application of steam. For instance, James Walker of Wortley employed twenty-one looms, of which eleven were in his own loom-shop, and the remainder erected in the houses of his weavers. 2 L. Atkinson, of Huddersfield, had seventeen looms in one room, and also employed weavers who worked in their own abodes. 3 These looms were all worked by hand, and in addition to the men engaged in weaving there were many women and children busy preparing yarn. Thus we see that there was no standard size of master clothier. He might be of any status, from the small man, employing his own family and one or two outsiders, to the wealthy clothier, with his two-score looms and his half a hundred workpeople.

been cast, to-day over his dreary toil. Such were the advantages from the workman's point of view, and many masters were quite willing to let the work be done in the men's homes rather than in their own shops. The weavers were paid at the same piece rate whether they were home workers or not, but masters felt that, human nature being what it was, it might be desirable to have one's employees under direct supervision. Thus in 1806 Mr. Walker, of Wortley, explained that he had his men working together as much as possible, ' on purpose to have [the work] near at hand, and to have it under our inspection every day, that we may see it spun to a proper
and he declared that cloth was generally ' more perfectly wrought and with less imperfections at home than abroad '.*

p 5 At Leeds x in 1201 a certain Simon the Dyer was fined 100s. for selling wine contrary to the legal assize ; 2 the nature of the entry and the amount of the payment indicate that Simon engaged in other trades besides that of dyeing, and was a wealthy man. Robertus Tynctor (dyer) de Ledes 3 was a witness to a Kirkstall Abbey charter not later than 1237, and an inquisition of 1258 records the names of William Webster (textor), Richard and Andrew Taillur (tailors ?), and John Lister (tinctor), in the list of Leeds cottars. 4 A little later, in 1275, Alexander Fuller of Leeds was fined for making cloth which was not of the proper breadth,
5 and thus in Leeds of the thirteenth century we meet the weaver, the fuller, and the dyer. The Calverley charters, which cover the thirteenth century, show that Calverley was a centre for the fulling of cloth. Standing on the river Aire, it was especially suited for this kind of work, and no less than five fullers are mentioned about 1257. 6 Turning to the south and west, the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield provide abundant evidence of the existence of clothmakers in the surrounding villages. These Rolls refer to the area between Wakefield and Halifax, and throughout this expanse the distribution of textile workers is almost uniform.


Richard Webster Sheffield 1669


Proto-industrialisation: recherches récentes et nouvelles perspectives ...
edited by René Leboutte

Perhaps their move from Spofforth was influenced by activities resulting from inclosure/enclosure acts.

Some information regarding Follifoot - just 2 miles NW of Spofforth. " At the centre of the parish lies the Rudding Park Estate, with its' Regency House and Parkland, once the home to the Radcliffe family.

The south gatehouse, now known as "Rudding Gates", is a dominant feature of Follifoot main street'.
" http://www.follifoot.org.uk/history.html "The name of the village being derived from the Norse meaning "Place of the Horse Fight". This sport was popular in medieval times and the village was probably a centre for the training of horses and the staging of fights." The earliest evidence of human occupation in the neighbourhood of the village is the prehistoric cicular barrow found at Alexander Hill on the western boundary of the parish. The mound was 150 feet in circumference and was composed of earth and stones. ,,,

The village is not listed in the Doomsday Book and the earliest documentary evidence of the village occurs in the 12th century in land and tax documents. In 1186 it is recorded that Nicolas, son of Hugh, son of Hippolitus de Braam gave one "toft" - a field where a house or building stood, in Folyfait, to Gilbert, son of Thomas Oysel de Plumpton. Gilbert then donated this property to Fountains Abbey.

In 1203, Henriicus, Parson of Knaresborough, was fined in a York court for some illegality concerning lands at Folifeit. When Kirkby's Inquest was made in 1284, it was noted that a fourth part of Follifoot was held by William de Hartlington, owner of the Manor of Braham, and in 1364, Edward III appointed Thomas de Spaigne custodian of "one Messuage" - a dwelling house - and forty acres of land in Follifoot. Indeed by the time of Richard III the village was large enough to be marked on a 1378 map and for the villagers to be dunned for a substantial sum in poll taxes.

...IN the early part of the reign of James I, Richard Paver of Braham Hall obtained the lease of the Follifoot lands from the King for £140.3.4d. These were the lands which had belonged to the Priory of Newburgh before the Dissolution of the Monastries. The lands were held of the Manor of East Greenwich in free socage for the annual rent of £4.7.6d. for the Follifoot lands and £2.15.8d. for the Aketon lands.

...The establishment of Rudding Park is of relatively recent date, 19th century, and until this time Follifoot had no Manor House as such. The Manorial rights to the village were held by the lords of the Manor of Spofforth, namely the Percys, Earls of Northumberland and the Egremonts, Earls of Sussex. During the 18th century, at the time of the Enclosure Acts, Follifoot was the scene of an attempted "land grab". The establishment of Manorial rights was particularly important at this time, as the soil royalties of the moor and common lands were the prerogative of the Lord of the Manor. Daniel Lascelles, who had just purchased the Manor of Plumpton from Robert Plumpton's estate for £28,000, had also obtained land and cottages in Follifoot from a Dr. Hodgson for £1,000. He then continued the practice, illegally adopted by the Doctor, of holding a "Manor court". 


The area of the land in dispute was estimated at 1,100 acres, and eventually 1/16th of this was offered to Mr. Lascelles in compensation for waiving his claim to the Manor. Documents produced by George, Lord Egremont to establish that Follifoot was part of his Manor of Spofforth included court rolls from the times of Edward IV, Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I and Charles II. The reports of the village constables to the Manorial court at Spofforth were also produced. The Book of the Survey of the Manor of Spofforth compiled in 1577 also listed Follifoot and Aketon in the Manor of Spofforth, with the primary landowners listed as William Plumpton, the Priory of Newburgh (who has held land in Follifoot at least since 1315), and Perivale Tombington. Alice Jonson was named as a tenant holder.

It is interesting to note that the executors of the will of Thomas Richardson of Knaresborough, purchased a pice of land in Follifoot in 1785, the income from which was used to supplement the income of the Petty School established by Richardson on Pump Hill, Knaresborough. This transaction is recorded on a stone slab to be seen at the present time over the doorway of the old school, now a private house.

Title: Spofforth enclosure records
Reference: WRRD B 18 [MIC 600]

Open arable fields, meadows, pastures, commons and wastes 465ac. Act 27 Geo III c.13 1787. Award 14 Feb 1792. Extinguishes tithes on lands to be inclosed by awarding to rector of Spofforth allotments on the open arable fields in lieu of all great and small tithes thereof (except those parts of the open fields which are awarded to owners of ancient messuages in lieu of rights of average and stray, and which are subject to payment of tithes in kind to the rector and Sir John Ingleby, bart.) Commissioners: William Hill, Tadcaster; Miles Dawson, Tadcaster; James Hebden, Leeds. Map missing. Surveyor: William Dawson, Oxton.

Date: 1792
Held by: North Yorkshire County Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
  • Hill, William, fl 1769-1792, commissioner of Tadcaster, North Riding of Yorkshire
  • Dawson, Miles, fl 1772-1799, surveyor and commissioner, North Riding of Yorkshire
  • Hebden, James, fl 1792, commissioner of Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
  • Spofforth, North Riding of Yorkshire
Creator Names:
  • Dawson, William, fl 1780-1821, surveyor and commissioner, North Riding of Yorkshire

Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de Dioecesi Eboracensi, or, collections ...

By Ge Lawton


Webster Surname Meaning & Statistics (forbearers)

3,214th most common surname in the world

Approximately 168,994 people bear this surname

Most prevalent in: United States

Highest density in: Anguilla

WEBSTER is one of the top law firms in the Caribbean

James Ronald Webster[1] (2 March 1926 – 9 December 2016) was a politician from Anguilla.[2] He served as the island territory's Chief Minister from 10 February 1976 to 1 February 1977 and again from May 1980 to 12 March 1984

Leader Who Plotted Anguilla Revolution, Dies at 90



From the occupation of cloth-weaver, in Latin documents rendered textor. Robert textor de Inuerdoret was a witness in 1288 (RPSA., p. 346). Malcolm Wobstare, burgess of Stirling, 1436 (Cambus., 209). In 1495 there is mention of the tenement of Matheus textor in Dunbertan (REG.

Here are the spice containers from the spice box that I believe belonged to Maggie Calam Webster.

The round tin box has smaller round containers marked MACE, CINNAMON, GINGER, CLOVES, SPICE (Allspice) PEPPER & NUTMEG.

This might give an idea of the baking spices important to them at the time.

Websters Cambridge

Websters certainly grew up with tales of Robin Hood, but Robin was not always considered to be so heroic.

Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green,[1] he is often portrayed as "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor"[2][3] alongside his band of Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television.



Nottinghamshire's claim to Robin Hood's heritage is disputed, with Yorkists staking a claim to the outlaw. In demonstrating Yorkshire's Robin Hood heritage, the historian J. C. Holt drew attention to the fact that although Sherwood Forest is mentioned in Robin Hood and the Monk, there is little information about the topography of the region, and thus suggested that Robin Hood was drawn to Nottinghamshire through his interactions with the city's sheriff.[99] And, the linguist Lister Matheson has observed that the language of the Gest of Robyn Hode is written in a definite northern dialect, probably that of Yorkshire.[100] In consequence, it seems probable that the Robin Hood legend actually originates from the county of Yorkshire. Robin Hood's Yorkshire origins are universally accepted by professional historians.[101]


Blue Plaque commemorating Wentbridge's Robin Hood connections

A tradition dating back at least to the end of the 16th century gives Robin Hood's birthplace as LoxleySheffield, in South Yorkshire. The original Robin Hood ballads, which originate from the fifteenth century, set events in the medieval forest of Barnsdale. Barnsdale was a wooded area covering an expanse of no more than thirty square miles, ranging six miles from north to south, with the River Went at Wentbridge near Pontefract forming its northern boundary and the villages of Skelbrooke and Hampole forming the southernmost region. From east to west the forest extended about five miles, from Askern on the east to Badsworth in the west.[102] At the northern most edge of the forest of Barnsdale, in the heart of the Went Valley, resides the village of Wentbridge. Wentbridge is a village in the City of Wakefield district of West Yorkshire, England. It lies around 3 miles (5 km) southeast of its nearest township of size, Pontefract, close to the A1 road. During the medieval age Wentbridge was sometimes locally referred to by the name of Barnsdale because it was the predominant settlement in the forest.[103] Wentbridge is mentioned in an early Robin Hood ballad, entitled, Robin Hood and the Potter, which reads, "Y mete hem bot at Went breg,' syde Lyttyl John". And, while Wentbridge is not directly named in A Gest of Robyn Hode, the poem does appear to make a cryptic reference to the locality by depicting a poor knight explaining to Robin Hood that he 'went at a bridge' where there was wrestling'.[104] A commemorative Blue Plaque has been placed on the bridge that crosses the River Went by Wakefield City Council.

The Saylis

The site of the Saylis at Wentbridge

The Gest makes a specific reference to the Saylis at Wentbridge. Credit is due to the nineteenth century antiquarian Joseph Hunter, who correctly identified the site of the Saylis.[105] From this location it was once possible to look out over the Went Valley and observe the traffic that passed along the Great North Road. The Saylis is recorded as having contributed towards the aid that was granted to Edward III in 1346–47 for the knighting of the Black Prince. An acre of landholding is listed within a glebe terrier of 1688 relating to Kirk Smeaton, which later came to be called "Sailes Close".[106] Professor Dobson and Mr. Taylor indicate that such evidence of continuity makes it virtually certain that the Saylis that was so well known to Robin Hood is preserved today as "Sayles Plantation".[107] It is this location that provides a vital clue to Robin Hood's Yorkshire heritage. One final locality in the forest of Barnsdale that is associated with Robin Hood is the village of Campsall.

Church of Saint Mary Magdalene at Campsall

St. Mary Magdalene's church, Campsall

The historian John Paul Davis wrote of Robin's connection to the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene at Campsall.[108] A Gest of Robyn Hode states that the outlaw built a chapel in Barnsdale that he dedicated to Mary Magdalene,

I made a chapel in Bernysdale,
That seemly is to se,
It is of Mary Magdaleyne,
And thereto wolde I be.[109]

Davis indicates that there is only one church dedicated to Mary Magdalene within what one might reasonably consider to have been the medieval forest of Barnsdale, and that is the church at Campsall. The church was built in the late eleventh century by Robert de Lacy, the 2nd Baron of Pontefract.[110][111] Local legend suggests that Robin Hood and Maid Marion were married at the church.

Abbey of Saint Mary at York

The backdrop of Saint Mary's Abbey at York plays a central role in the Gest as the poor knight who Robin aids owes money to the abbot.

Grave at Kirklees

Robin Hood's Grave in the woods near Kirklees Priory

At Kirklees Priory in Yorkshire stands an alleged grave with a spurious inscription, which relates to Robin Hood. The fifteenth-century ballads relate that before he died, Robin told Little John where to bury him. He shot an arrow from the Priory window, and where the arrow landed was to be the site of his grave. The Gest states that the Prioress was a relative of Robin's. Robin was ill and staying at the Priory where the Prioress was supposedly caring for him. However, she betrayed him, his health worsened, and he eventually died there. The inscription on the grave reads,

Hear underneath dis laitl stean
Laz robert earl of Huntingtun
Ne’er arcir ver as hie sa geud
An pipl kauld im robin heud
Sick [such] utlawz as he an iz men
Vil england nivr si agen
Obiit 24 kal: Dekembris, 1247

Despite the unconventional spelling, the verse is in Modern English, not the Middle English of the thirteenth century. The date is also incorrectly formatted - using the Roman calendar, "24 kal Decembris" would be the twenty-third day before the beginning of December, that is, November 8. The tomb probably dates from the late eighteenth century.[112]

The grave with the inscription is within sight of the ruins of the Kirklees Priory, behind the Three Nuns pub in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. Though local folklore suggests that Robin is buried in the grounds of Kirklees Priory, this theory has now largely been abandoned by professional historians.

All Saints' Church at Pontefract

A more recent theory proposes[citation needed] that Robin Hood died at Kirkby, Pontefract. Drayton's Poly-Olbion Song 28 (67–70) composed in 1622 speaks of Robin Hood's death and clearly states that the outlaw died at 'Kirkby'.[113] Acknowledging that Robin Hood operated in the Went Valley, located three miles to the southeast of the town of Pontefract, historians today indicate that the outlaw is buried at nearby Kirkby. The location is approximately three miles from the site of Robin's robberies at the now famous Saylis. In the Anglo-Saxon period, Kirkby was home to All Saints' Church. All Saints' Church had a priory hospital attached to it. The Tudor historian Richard Grafton stated that the prioress who murdered Robin Hood buried the outlaw beside the road,

Where he had used to rob and spoyle those that passed that way ... and the cause why she buryed him there was, for that common strangers and travailers, knowing and seeing him there buryed, might more safely and without feare take their journeys that way, which they durst not do in the life of the sayd outlaes.[114]

All Saints' Church at Kirkby, modern Pontefract, which was located approximately three miles from the site of Robin Hood's robberies at the Saylis, accurately matches Richard Grafton's description because a road ran directly from Wentbridge to the hospital at Kirkby.[115]

The new church within the old. After All Saints' church in Pontefract was damaged during the civil war, a new one was built within in 1967

Place-name locations

Within close proximity of Wentbridge reside several notable landmarks relating to Robin Hood. One such place-name location occurred in a cartulary deed of 1422 from Monkbretton Priory, which makes direct reference to a landmark named Robin Hood's Stone, which resided upon the eastern side of the Great North Road, a mile south of Barnsdale Bar.[116] The historians Barry Dobson and John Taylor suggested that on the opposite side of the road once stood Robin Hood's Well, which has since been relocated six miles north-west of Doncaster, on the south-bound side of the Great North Road. Over the next three centuries, the name popped-up all over the place, such as at Robin Hood's Bay near Whitby Yorkshire, Robin Hood's Butts in Cumbria, and Robin Hood's Walk at Richmond Surrey. Robin Hood type place-names occurred particularly everywhere except Sherwood. The first place-name in Sherwood does not appear until the year 1700.[117] The fact that the earliest Robin Hood type place-names originated in West Yorkshire is deemed to be historically significant because, generally, place-name evidence originates from the locality where legends begin.[118] The overall picture from the surviving early ballads and other early references[119] indicate that Robin Hood was based in the Barnsdale area of what is now South Yorkshire, which borders Nottinghamshire.

Some other place names and other references

Robin Hood Tree aka Sycamore Gap, Hadrian's Wall, UK. This location was used in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

The Sheriff of Nottingham also had jurisdiction in Derbyshire that was known as the "Shire of the Deer", and this is where the Royal Forest of the Peak is found, which roughly corresponds to today's Peak District National Park. The Royal Forest included BakewellTideswellCastletonLadybower and the Derwent Valley near Loxley. The Sheriff of Nottingham possessed property near Loxley, among other places both far and wide including Hazlebadge HallPeveril Castle and Haddon HallMercia, to which Nottingham belonged, came to within three miles of Sheffield City Centre. But before the Law of the Normans was the Law of the Danes, The Danelaw had a similar boundary to that of Mercia but had a population of Free Peasantry that were known to have resisted the Norman occupation. Many outlaws could have been created by the refusal to recognise Norman Forest Law.[120] The supposed grave of Little John can be found in Hathersage, also in the Peak District.

Further indications of the legend's connection with West Yorkshire (and particularly Calderdale) are noted in the fact that there are pubs called the Robin Hood in both nearby Brighouse and at Cragg Vale; higher up in the Pennines beyond Halifax, where Robin Hood Rocks can also be found. Robin Hood Hill is near Outwood, West Yorkshire, not far from Lofthouse. There is a village in West Yorkshire called Robin Hood, on the A61 between Leeds and Wakefield and close to Rothwell and Lofthouse. Considering these references to Robin Hood, it is not surprising that the people of both South and West Yorkshire lay some claim to Robin Hood, who, if he existed, could easily have roamed between Nottingham, LincolnDoncaster and right into West Yorkshire.

British Army Territorial (reserves) battalion formed in Nottingham in 1859 was known as The Robin Hood Battalion through various reorganisations until the "Robin Hood" name finally disappeared in 1992. With the 1881 Childers Reforms that linked regular and reserve units into regimental families, the Robin Hood Battalion became part of The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).

Neolithic causewayed enclosure on Salisbury Plain has acquired the name Robin Hood's Ball, although had Robin Hood existed it is doubtful that he would have travelled so far south.

The Adventures of Robin Hood Tv Series Season 1 Episode 15 - The Alchemist

The Adventures of Robin Hood (TV Series 1955–1960) - IMDb (Tom & Beth version)


before 1377 and maybe as early as 1225/

The subject of ballads, books and films, Robin Hood has proven to be one of popular culture’s most enduring folk heroes. Over the course of 700 years, the outlaw from Nottinghamshire who robs from the rich to give to the poor has emerged as one of the most enduring folk heroes in popular culture–and one of the most versatile. But how has the legend of Sherwood Forest’s merry outlaws evolved over time, and did a real Robin Hood inspire these classic tales?

Beginning in the 15th century and perhaps even earlier, Christian revelers in certain parts of England celebrated May Day with plays and games involving a Robin Hood figure with near-religious significance. In the 19th century, writer-illustrators like Howard Pyle adapted the traditional tales for children, popularizing them in the United States and around the world. More recently, bringing Robin to the silver screen has become a rite of passage for directors ranging from Michael Curtiz and Ridley Scott to Terry Gilliam and Mel Brooks.

Throughout Robin’s existence, writers, performers and filmmakers have probed their imaginations for new incarnations that resonate with their respective audiences. In 14th-century England, where agrarian discontent had begun to chip away at the feudal system, he appears as an anti-establishment rebel who murders government agents and wealthy landowners. Later variations from times of less social upheaval dispense with the gore and cast Robin as a dispossessed aristocrat with a heart of gold and a love interest, Maid Marian.

Academics, meanwhile, have combed the historical record for evidence of a real Robin Hood. English legal records suggest that, as early as the 13th century, “Robehod,” “Rabunhod” and other variations had become common epithets for criminals. But what had inspired these nicknames: a fictional tale, an infamous bandit or an amalgam of both? The first literary references to Robin Hood appear in a series of 14th- and 15th-century ballads about a violent yeoman who lived in Sherwood Forest with his men and frequently clashed with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Rather than a peasant, knight or fallen noble, as in later versions, the protagonist of these medieval stories is a commoner. Little John and Will Scarlet are part of this Robin’s “merry” crew—meaning, at the time, an outlaw’s gang—but Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and Alan-a-Dale would not enter the legend until later, possibly as part of the May Day rituals.

While most contemporary scholars have failed to turn up solid clues, medieval chroniclers took for granted that a historical Robin Hood lived and breathed during the 12th or 13th century. The details of their accounts vary widely, however, placing him in conflicting regions and eras. Not until John Major’s “History of Greater Britain” (1521), for example, is he depicted as a follower of King Richard, one of his defining characteristics in modern times.

We may never know for sure whether Robin Hood ever existed outside the verses of ballads and pages of books. And even if we did, fans young and old would still surely flock to England’s Nottinghamshire region for a tour of the legend’s alleged former hangouts, from centuries-old pubs to the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. What we do know is that the notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions, has universal appeal—whether he’s played by Erroll Flynn, Russell Crowe or even, as on a 1979 episode of “The Muppet Show,” Kermit the Frog.


He devoted his spare time to literature, and in 1782, he published an attack on Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry. The tone of his Observations, in which Warton was treated as a pretender, charged with cheating and lying to cover his ignorance, caused a sensation in literary circles.

In nearly all the small points with which he dealt, Ritson was in the right, and his corrections have since been adopted, but the unjustly bitter language of his criticisms roused great anger at the time, much, it would appear, to Ritson's delight. In 1783 Samuel Johnson and George Steevens were attacked in the same bitter fashion as Warton for their text of ShakespeareBishop Percy was next subjected to a furious onslaught in the preface to a collection of Ancient Songs (printed 1787, dated 1790, published 1792). In a letter (14 March 1803) to Samuel Taylor ColeridgeRobert Southey wrote that “Ritson is the oddest, but most honest of all our antiquarians, and he abuses Percy and Pinkerton with less mercy than justice.”[2]

Ritson spared no pains himself to ensure accuracy in the texts of old songs, ballads and metrical romances which he edited. His collection of the Robin Hood ballads is perhaps his greatest single achievement. However, he gave in to his own political prejudices as a Jacobin when he included the idea, uncommon until then, that Robin Hood robbed the rich and gave to the poor rather than simply robbing the bishops and the Sheriff of Nottingham.[3]


    He devoted his spare time to literature, and in 1782, he published an attack on Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry. The tone of his Observations, in which Warton was treated as a pretender, charged with cheating and lying to cover his ignorance, caused a sensation in literary circles.

    In nearly all the small points with which he dealt, Ritson was in the right, and his corrections have since been adopted, but the unjustly bitter language of his criticisms roused great anger at the time, much, it would appear, to Ritson's delight. In 1783 Samuel Johnson and George Steevens were attacked in the same bitter fashion as Warton for their text of ShakespeareBishop Percy was next subjected to a furious onslaught in the preface to a collection of Ancient Songs (printed 1787, dated 1790, published 1792). In a letter (14 March 1803) to Samuel Taylor ColeridgeRobert Southey wrote that “Ritson is the oddest, but most honest of all our antiquarians, and he abuses Percy and Pinkerton with less mercy than justice.”[2]

    Ritson spared no pains himself to ensure accuracy in the texts of old songs, ballads and metrical romances which he edited. His collection of the Robin Hood ballads is perhaps his greatest single achievement. However, he gave in to his own political prejudices as a Jacobin when he included the idea, uncommon until then, that Robin Hood robbed the rich and gave to the poor rather than simply robbing the bishops and the Sheriff of Nottingham.[3]


    Joseph Ritson

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Joseph Ritson (2 October 1752 – 23 September 1803) was an English antiquary.

    Rediscovery of the Medieval Robin Hood: Percy and Ritson

    In 1765 Thomas Percy (bishop of Dromore) published Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, including ballads from the 17th century Percy Folio manuscript which had not previously been printed, most notably Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne which is generally regarded as in substance a genuine late medieval ballad.

    In 1795 Joseph Ritson published an enormously influential edition of the Robin Hood ballads Robin Hood: A collection of all the Ancient Poems Songs and Ballads now extant, relative to that celebrated Outlaw [57] "By providing English poets and novelists with a convenient source book, Ritson gave them the opportunity to recreate Robin Hood in their own imagination," [58] Ritson's collection included the Gest and put the Robin Hood and the Potter ballad in print for the first time. The only significant omission was Robin Hood and the Monk which would eventually be printed in 1806. Ritson's interpretation of Robin Hood was also influential. Himself a supporter of the principles of the French Revolution and admirer of Thomas Paine Ritson held that Robin Hood was a genuinely historical, and genuinely heroic, character who had stood up against tyranny in the interests of the common people.[58]

    In his preface to the collection Ritson assembled an account of Robin Hood's life from the various sources available to him, and concluded that Robin Hood was born in around 1160, and thus had been active in the reign of Richard I. He thought that Robin was of aristocratic extraction, with at least "some pretension" to the title of Earl of Huntingdon, that he was born in an unlocated Nottinghamshire village of Locksley and that his original name was Robert Fitzooth. Ritson gave the date of Robin Hood's death as 18 November 1247, when he would have been around 87 years old. In copious and informative notes Ritson defends every point of his version of Robin Hood's life.[59] In reaching his conclusion Ritson relied or gave weight to a number of unreliable sources, such as the Robin Hood plays of Anthony Munday, and the Sloane Manuscript. Nevertheless, Dobson and Taylor credit Ritson with having "an incalculable effect in promoting the still continuing quest for the man behind the myth", and note that his work remains an "indispensable handbook to the outlaw legend even now".[60]

    Ritson's friend Walter Scott used Ritson's anthology collection as a source for his picture of Robin Hood in Ivanhoe, written in 1818, which did much to shape the modern legend.[61]




What image of Knights Templar did our Websters have?

Knights Templar in Yorkshire

By Diane Holloway, Trish Colton, Dr. Evelyn Lord The History PressOct 24, 2011


Templar Britain

Ribston, North Yorkshire

map ref SE 392 538

William de Grafton was named as the Preceptor of Ribston at the suppression, he also served as the Preceptor of Yorkshire a position thought to be unique to the county. After his trial by inquisition at York he was sent to Selby Abbey to undertake one year of Penance, years later something strange occurred, he was given secular release by the Master of the Temple, (This document apparently survives and sets a puzzle as it is dated 1331, long after the official suppression). Below is a translation from the original Latin of part of the document as described in "The History of Temple Newsam" by Weater 1889 Edition page 97 it reads:- "The Master of the Temple with the assent of his brethren absolves from his vow William de Grafton one of the brethren of the Order and granted that having laid aside the habit of the Temple he may be allowed to turn himself to the secular state which King Edward II and the present King have confirmed".

Though most of the of the Preceptory complex has long since disappeared, the original Templar chapel still exists and is incorporated into the end of the present Ribston Hall, this unfortunately is a private residence so access is restricted. Some of the surrounding Templar Churches still exist and the Church of St Andrew in Ribston village has a pair of Knightly effigies either side of the alter that are supposed Templars. Interestingly the Church of nearby Spofforth has two stones "hidden" in its outer walls, one high up above the North aisle roof the other near ground level at the East end, these stones are a totally different composition to the stone used on the rest of the Church, a glance at the accompanying picture of the East one saves a thousand words.

Carved Cross


On the trail of the Templars Leeds


In the 19th century there was a vogue for historical novels. Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, featuring the Templars as the villains, was a huge success. Ivanhoe features a preceptory called Temple Stowe. There was no Templar estate with this name, but many people believe the novel was using Temple Newsam under a different name.

There is a clock in the Thornton's Arcade in Leeds city centre which features a scene from Ivanhoe and some modern places in Leeds may carry the name of Temple Stowe (such as Templestowe Crescent).

History of St James From ancient times…

Wetherby was originally part of the ancient parish of Spofforth. 




The Order of Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem was founded in 1119, but it was not until the middle of the 12th century that they began to acquire possessions in Yorkshire, where they eventually established at least ten preceptories. Their prosperity was brought to an abrupt close early in the 14th century; in 1308 Sir John Crepping, Sheriff of Yorkshire, received the king's writ to arrest the Templars within the county and sequester all their property. (fn. 1) Twenty-five Templars were placed in custody in York Castle and examined on the charge or heresy, idolatry, and other crimes, brought against the order by Pope Clement V and Philip IV of France. After a long-drawn-out trial, in which the evidence adduced against the knights was too flimsy to secure the desired conviction, a compromise was arrived at by which the brethren, without admitting their guilt, acknowledged that their order was strongly suspected of heresy and other charges from which they could not clear themselves. They then received absolution at the hands of the Bishop of Whithern on 29 July 1311, were released from prison, and were distributed amongst the various monasteries. (fn. 2) Next year the suppression of the order was decreed by the pope, and a large portion or their estates was made over to the order of the Knights Hospitallers.

The Yorkshire estates of the Templars consisted of the preceptories of Copmanthorpe (with the Castle Mills of York), Faxfleet, Foulbridge, Penhill, Ribston, Temple Cowton, Temple Hirst, Temple Newsam, Westerdale, and Whitley, and the manors of Alverthorpe and Etton, which, although possessing chapels, do not seem to have had preceptors. All these estates, with the exception of Faxfleet, Temple Hirst, and Temple Newsam, passed to the Hospitallers.

So important were the Templars' holdings in the county that a ' chief preceptor' or ' master' was appointed for Yorkshire from early times.

Chief Preceptors of Yorkshire

Walter Brito, c. 1220 (fn. 3)

Roger de Scamelesbi, c. 1240 (fn. 4)

William de Merden, c. 1270 (fn. 5)

Robert de Haleghton, or Halton, occurs 1290, 1293 (fn. 6)

Thomas de Thoulouse, c. 1301 (fn. 7)

William de Grafton, occurs 1304, (fn. 8) arrested 1308 (fn. 9)


About 1217 Robert de Ros gave to the Templars his manor of Ribston, with the advowson of the church, the vill and mills of Walshford, and the vill of Hunsingore. (fn. 35) This property had come to Robert de Ros from his mother, Rose Trussebut; and her sisters, Hilary and Agatha, at some date prior to 1240, made grants of various woods in the neighbourhood to the preceptory. Robert son of William Denby gave the vill of Wetherby to the Templars, and other smaller grants followed.

Besides the church of Hunsingore the Templars had chapels at Wetherby, Ribston, and apparently at Walshford. The chapel of St. Andrew at Ribston stood in the churchyard of the parish church, and in 1231 was the subject of an arrangement between the brethren and the rector. About this time a sum of £2 16s. was assigned for the support of a chaplain at Ribston for the good of the soul of Robert de Ros.

The estates at Ribston and Wetherby seem to have formed a single preceptory, but were valued separately at the time of their seizure in 1308. Wetherby (fn. 36) was then returned as worth £120 7s. 8d., and Ribston, including North Deighton and Lound, at £267 13s(fn. 37) The chapels in each case were simply furnished, but Ribston was remarkable as possessing two silver cups, three masers, and ten silver spoons—more secular plate than all the other Yorkshire preceptories put together. At the time of the trial of the Templars, Gasper de Nafferton, who had been chaplain at Ribston, related certain cases in which the brethren had observed a great and, as he now perceived, suspicious secrecy in matters touching admission to the order. (fn. 38) And Robert de Oteringham, a Friar Minor, who gave evidence against the Templars, (fn. 39) said that at Ribston a chaplain of the order, after returning thanks, denounced his brethren, saying ' The Devil shall burn you!' He also saw one of the brethren, apparently during the confusion which ensued on this exclamation, turn his back upon the altar. Further, some twenty years before, he was at Wetherby, and the chief preceptor, who was also there, did not come to supper because he was preparing certain relics which he had brought from the Holy Land; thinking he heard a noise in the chapel during the night, Robert looked through the keyhole, and saw a great light, but when he asked one of the brethren about it next day he was bidden to hold his tongue as he valued his life. At Ribston, also, he once saw a crucifix lying as if thrown down on the altar, and when he was going to stand it up he was told to leave it alone. As this was some of the most direct and damaging evidence given during the trial the weakness of the case against the Templars is obvious.

Of the preceptors only two names appear to have survived. William de Garewyz was preceptor of Wetherby in, or a little before, 1293, (fn. 40) and Richard de Keswik, or Chesewyk, who was admitted to the order at Faxfleet in 1290, (fn. 41) became preceptor of Ribston about 1298 (fn. 42) and still held that post in 1308 when he was arrested, with Richard de Brakearp, claviger, and Henry de Craven, a brother in residence at Ribston. (fn. 43)


Houses of Knights Templar

Pages 256-260

A History of the County of York: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

What do we know of Websters and Masons?

Is there any connection to the Knights Templar?



The earliest documented link between Freemasonry and the Crusades is the 1737 oration of the Chevalier Ramsay. This claimed that European Freemasonry came about from an interaction between crusader masons and the Knights Hospitaller.[1] This is repeated in the earliest known "Moderns" ritual, the Berne manuscript, written in French between 1740 and 1744.[2]

The History of Freemasonry ... T.C. Jack, 1883

York No 1, York
Lodge of Hope Bradford, Yks

We do know that BC Webster was a Mason, but we don't know much of the background on his membership.

Mark Agnew forwarded to me your request for information on your grandfather Benjamin Chester Webster’s masonic record.  I have been able to pull the following information from the records  of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut.

 We have a Benjamin Chester Webster born 2/9/1879 in San Francisco, CA and died 8/2/1963.  Entered Apprentice degree 1/8/1920; Fellowcraft degree 2/26/1920; Master Mason degree 3/25/1920 all in Temple No. 65.  No office was held.

We also have a Benjamin Chester Webster Jr. born 10/8/1906 in Bridgeport, CT and died 5/29/1979.  EA 5/8/1950; FC 6/5/1950; MM 6/19/1950 all in Fidelity No. 134.  No office was held.

I hope this is of some assistance.
Secretary Temple Lodge 65
John T. Kahler


Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of ApprenticeJourneyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. These are the degrees offered by Craft (or Blue Lodge) Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by different bodies than the craft degrees.


Our Temple Lodge #65 has been around since 1824 — more than a decade before Westport itself was incorporated. After convening at various spots (including National Hall), the local chapter of the centuries-old international organization moved into the then-new building in 1911.

The Masons have been there — meeting the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month — ever since.

There are now about 100 Masons, though a typical meeting draws 40 or so. The lodge includes a parlor, dining room, kitchen, library, foosball room and large meeting room.

West Riding We have no idea if William 1778, Charles Benjamin1820 or William1848 were masons, but masonic lodges were active within their working life. There were quite a number in Bradford and Leeds. In the years before they had lodges or temples, they would often meet in area pubs.

Sheffield On 4th October 1797, there was a grand procession through the streets of this city to celebrate the opening of the General Infirmary.  A contemporary description states that after the Craft masons came the Royal Arch Companions and then came Knight Companion Witham bearing the Knight Templars’ Banner and after him came the Knight Templar Companions ‘in their aprons and sashes’.  Some of these Knights had probably been installed in Lodge No.72 - a highly successful Antients’ lodge in Sheffield in the last quarter of the 18th century.

Full text of "The ritual of the Operative free masons" - Internet Archive

mention of Armley individual





In 1969, the distinguished Oxford historian, J. M. Roberts, published an article in the English Historical Review called `Freemasonry: Possibilities of a Neglected Topic'. Roberts pointed out that freemasonry began in Britain, and that the first grand lodge was established in England in 1717. From England, it rapidly spread through Europe, and by 1789 there were perhaps 100,000 masons in Europe. Roberts emphasised that, despite the fact that freemasonry is one of the social movements of British origin which has had the biggest international impact, it has been largely ignored by professional historians in Britain. This contrasts with, say, France or Holland where freemasonry has been the subject of elaborate scholarly investigation. Because of the neglect of this field by British historians, it has been dominated by, on the one hand, anti-masonic conspiracy theorists, and, on the other, by masonic antiquarians investigating details of ritual or bureaucratic development with no sense of broader historical context. Yet one look at a photograph like this, which shows Edward VII, one of the most active and influential English Grand Masters, and his brothers, the Duke of Connaught and the Duke of Clarence, in their masonic regalia, suggests how freemasonry in deeply embedded in British life and is a subject deserving of thorough historical investigation. As Roberts forcefully puts it, `There must surely be something of sociological interest in an institution whose English Grand Masters have since 1721 always been noblemen and have included seven princes of the blood, while elsewhere the craft has been persecuted by the Nazis, condemned by Papal Bulls and denounced by Comintern'.

David Stevenson has investigated the emergence from the old craft gilds of something recognisably akin to modern speculative freemasonry in the Scotland of James VI. Stevenson became the first non-mason to address the Quatuor Coronati lodge, the English masonic lodge devoted to investigating masonic history. Margaret Jacob has investigated the links between freemasonry and the Enlightenment. James Steven Curl has examined the influence of freemasonry on eighteenth-century art and architecture. Most recently, Peter Clark has produced a magisterial study placing freemasonry in the context of the development of clubs and societies as the major vehicles of social interaction in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, despite the appearance of these important studies, it still seems as if the surface of British masonic history has barely been scratched. This is partly because the history of freemasonry is such a rich and diverse field that it is very difficult to develop a research programme that does justice to all the aspects of the subject. Just consider the extraordinary range of people who have been freemasons, from authors like Alexander Pope, Edmund Burke, Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Arthur Conan Doyle, and a varied array of statesmen including Washington, Garibaldi, Ataturk and Churchill, to musicians as diverse as Haydn, Sibelius and Duke Ellington, and actors from David Garrick to Peter Sellers. Nor is the list an exclusively male one: the theosophist and social reformer Annie Besant, who you can see here in her masonic regalia, was active in promoting comasonry, which admitted women, in Britain. Freemasonry would have meant different things to each of these people, and likewise each individual reflects a different strand in masonic history. Such a diverse list of names emphasises the difficulty in assessing the cultural impact of freemasonry. For example, Sibelius's involvement in freemasonry is interesting not so much in respect of his music but more because he was a prominent Finnish nationalist, and freemasonry, despite its internationalist philosophy, has been closely connected with nationalist movements in Europe and America. Freemasonry is intertwined with many prominent themes of British history over the past three hundred years. ...

How can one come to terms with such a vast and sprawling subject? Spatial techniques of the kind that ECAI are pioneering are singularly appropriate to the study of freemasonry, since the symbolism of freemasonry is permeated with ideas of space. Indeed, freemasonry might be viewed at one level as a religion of geometry and space. Drawing on the craft lore developed by medieval masons, speculative masonry sees geometry as the queen of sciences. The symbolism of freemasonry is permeated by the geometrical tools familiar to the medieval mason – the dividers, the square, and the plumb line – as is apparent from these seal of freemason’s lodges in Yorkshire. When the craft gilds began to admit members who were not actually masons, a process which eventually gave rise to modern freemasonry, they sought out those who possessed geometrical knowledge, such as military engineers and cartographers. Many famous early cartographers, such as the globemaker John Senex and John Pine, the engraver of Rocque's Map of London, were closely involved with freemasonry. Ideas of space are also important in understanding masonic organisation. The lodge was originally the place where medieval masons lived while working on a particular building. The lodge system was devised to cope with the needs of an itinerant profession. The use of secret passwords was intended as a means by which travelling craftsmen could recognise each other. The lodge system in modern freemasonry has likewise proved attractive to those in travelling professions, who can be assured of a welcome by the local lodge wherever they are. For example, the travelling showmen who run fairgrounds found freemasonry a particularly useful way of making local contact. Showmen are still active in freemasonry, and the structure of the Showman’s Guild is based on masonic forms. Similar features doubtless help explain the popularity of masonic forms of organisation as a structure for friendly societies and trade unions.

Two kinds of database would provide the most useful starting points: one giving details of lodges and the other recording membership. This information is readily available. Lists of authorised lodges have been maintained by Grand Lodge since the earliest times. The engraver John Pine, a mason and friend of William Hogarth, produced a series of beautiful engraved lodge lists which are shown (in a very fanciful setting) here. In 1895, John Lane, a mason from Torquay, published the definitive edition of his Masonic Records, which used Pine's lists and other sources to provide a definitive record of the more than four thousand lodges which were then in existence. Lane itemises the date when the lodge was created, places where it met, and when lodges were disbanded. Listings of the five thousand or so lodges which have been created since 1895 are readily available in such publications as the Masonic Year Book.

... Clark also indicates how the rival grand lodge, known as the Ancients, thought to be less elitist, had a particular appeal in the industrial north.

...Clark's maps whet the appetite for much more. His work ends in 1800 and, in order to understand how freemasonry bolstered social hierarchies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it would be desirable to extend Clark's work into those centuries. The process by which freemasonry spread to Europe remains in many respects mysterious, and similar mapping would help clarify this issue. This kind of visualisation is often the only way to come to terms with the complex history of freemasonry abroad.

...Although freemasonry is often - wrongly - seen as a secret society, ample data is available in the public domain on its membership. This important point has been grasped by amateur family historians but not generally by the professionals. Prior to 1799, lodges made occasional returns of membership to the Grand Lodge. From 1799 to 1967, under the Unlawful Societies Act, lodges were required to certify details of their membership, giving names, place of residence and occupation, to the clerk of the peace. These returns are generally preserved in county record offices. They provide a good basis for a compendious database of freemasons in Britain for the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries. Even at the very basic level of data given in the returns to the clerk of the peace, one could for example compare the social profile of lodges in different areas and explore how external events, such as the two world wars and the rise of anti-masonic movements, affected the membership of freemasonry.

what freemasonry is and what the function of a masonic hall is. I tried to hammer home the idea that freemasonry is an organisation which retains the use of ritual and that it seeks to impart moral lessons through the use of ritual and symbolism. The video produced by West Riding province was very helpful in this respect.



very long


Freemasonry is known for accepting members from all walks of life to meet as equals.








Select Webster Surname Genealogy

Weaving as an occupation has generated a number of surnames: Webb, Webster, Webber, and Weaver. 

There was a definite south/north divide in the incidence of Webbs and Websters, rather than a male/female divide as the original Anglo-Saxon might suggest (webbestre meaning a female weaver):
  • Webbs were mainly to be found in the south, 
  • Websters in the north, although stretching as far south as Suffolk, and in Scotland
  • while Webbers and Weavers were much more geographic specific, Webbers in the southwest and Weavers in Cheshire.
Weavers were called websters in Yorkshire.  The fact that you were a webster did not necessarily mean that your surname would be Webster.  The 1379 Poll Tax returns for the West Ridings of Yorkshire show that only 20 percent of websters by trade were Websters by surname; and many who were called Webster were in fact listed in other occupations.   

Select Webster Resources on The Internet

Select Webster Ancestry

England.  The earliest references were to le Webbesters and le Websters, such as Henry le Webster who was a bowman at the siege of Calais in 1345.

Websters in Yorkshire  There was and is a cluster of Websters in and around Driffield in the Yorkshire Wolds.  A Webster family were landed gentry at Lockington near Driffield from the 1330's.  They later moved to Bolsover in Derbyshire and then to Essex and Sussex.  From this family is believed to be descended John Webster, an early immigrant into America.  [about 53 mi E of Spofforth on the other side of York] (

A Webster Line from Yorkshire

The Websters were settled in Yorkshire at a very early period.  According to Burke and Playfair, they held the manor of Lockington in Yorkshire at the time of Richard II.

The apparent founder of the family was John Webster of Bolsover, near Chesterfield in Derbyshire.  In 1434 he returned into Chancery among the gentlemen of that county who made oath, on behalf of themselves and their retainers, for the observance of the king's laws.  From him is descended John Webster who, upon the dissolution of the monasteries, received from Henry VIII large grants in Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Huntingdonshire. 

The line fizzled out in England in the 19th century, but not before Sir Geoffrey Webster, the fifth baronet, was cuckolded in Florence by his young wife Elizabeth during their European grand tour. She, incidentally, is credited with having introduced the dahlia flower to England.  Their son General Henry Webster, who distinguished himself at the Battle of Waterloo, later killed himself.

Websters were to be found at Austerfield near Doncaster from the late 1500's.  Robert Webster was a clergyman in Hull in the 1760's.  James Webster, born there in 1767, was the forebear of a family of entrepreneurs in Russia (a descendant narrowly getting out of Odessa after the 1917 revolution).  

In Yorkshire, the Webster name has been very much associated with beer and Webster's Yorkshire bitter. This was first brewed by Samuel Webster at Ovenden near Halifax in 1838.  The brewery stayed family-owned until 1971.  

Websters Elsewhere  There were also Webster outposts in Norfolk, Lancashire, and Cumbria: 
  • In Norfolk, the name was fairly common in the villages around Norwich.  The earliest reference appears to have been a Wate Webster who delivered the beer at the funeral of Sir John Paston in 1466. 
  • In Lancashire, the name started in places near present-day Liverpool.  William le Webster was recorded as a property renter in Much Woolton in 1384.  The name features in the parish records of Childwall from the 1630's and of Wavertree later on. 
  • In Cumbria, the Websters appear as master masons in Kendal and Cartmell from the 1700's.  Francis Webster and his son George took this trade a step further and became one of the premier building designers and architects of the region.  Their work can still be seen in the Victorian edifices of Kendal.  The family story was described in Angus Taylor's 2004 book The Websters of Kendal.
Scotland.  The Webster name may not have been indigenous to Scotland but taken north by English settlers.  An early reference is Malcolm Webster in Stirling in 1436.  The name became common in the northeast of Scotland, in Angus and Aberdeenshire.  

Alexander Webster was the master of a musical school in Melrose in the 1670's.  In Aberdeenshire, one farming family at Mains of Inveramsay and another at Old Deer can trace their records back to the 1700's (Jack Webster, who grew up in the village of Maud, is a local historian of the area).  Francis Webster set up his weaving business in Arbroath.  He was a town benefactor and built his Memorial Hall there in 1870 (now renovated as the Webster Memorial Theater). 

America.  There were a number of Webster arrivals into Massachusetts in the 1630's; John Webster from Leicestershire in 1634; another John Webster in the same year (who founded Ipswich after his home town in Suffolk); and Thomas Webster from Lincolnshire in 1638.  A later arrival was James Webster from Scotland whose descendants became Methodists in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

There were many notables among the early Websters.  The first John Webster was an early Governor of the colony of Connecticut.  From this family came Noah Webster, the famous dictionary writer who was principally responsible from the Americanness of the American language.  From Thomas Webster came Daniel Webster, a formidable orator in the US Senate during the 1830's.

Grant Webster was a successful Boston merchant in the 1750's.  His daughter Hannah Webster (later Hannah Foster) wrote a spicy potboiler The Coquette which was hugely popular in the early 1800's.  A descendant John W. Webster, a Harvard professor, became famous in 1850 for his conviction and hanging for the murder of George Parkman in a trial that shook Boston society to its core.   

Some Websters ventured elsewhere.  Ephaim Webster was an early settler in Syracuse in upstate New York while it was still Indian territory.  These Websters are still present there today.

In 1856 Francis Webster from Norfolk farming stock in England set off via Sydney and San Francisco for Salt Lake valley and the Mormon colony there.  He settled in Cedar City and later served as mayor of the town. Generations of Websters, written in 1960, recounts his family history.

Canada.   In 1760, Abraham Webster and his wife Margaret left their home in Connecticut with other pioneers for Cornwallis in Nova Scotia.  His nephew Isaac had the benefit of a higher education and studied medicine in Edinburgh.  There followed six generations of Webster doctors in Kentville Nova Scotia, starting with Isaac himself in 1791. 

Another long-standing family has been the Websters of West Flamborough (near Dundas in Ontario).  Joseph Webster had been a British army officer in 1795 when his regiment mutinied.  No blame was apparently attached to him as he was subsequently granted land in Canada.  He arrived there in 1817. Although he himself became homesick and subsequently returned, his family remained and are still to be found there.

A number of Websters came to Canada from Ireland.  Three brothers - John, Nathaniel, and Robert - settled in the Grenville area of Quebec in 1812.  Daniel Webster and his family arrived in Streetville, Ontario from Tipperary in 1837.  Much later, in 1907, came Robert Webster and his family from county Wexford.  Robert made his home in Toronto, worked on the railroad, and lived onto 1934.

Australia and New Zealand.  Two Websters who survived the harsh convict regime of early Australia were John and Jane Webster.  John died in 1842, Jane lived onto 1868.  They raised a large family in Golbourn and they have many descendants today in New South Wales.

The first European settler on the Coromandel peninsula in North Island, New Zealand was an American by the name of Bill Webster.  In the 1830's he deserted from an American whaling ship and set up a trading post on Whanganui island.  He befriended the local Maoris and married the chief's daughter.  However, he did not stay and departed back to America in 1845.

Two Webster brothers from Montrose in Scotland did stay.  William and John Webster arrived in 1841 and settled in the Hokianga, North Island.  William was the first settler in the Wairere Boulder valley, erecting New Zealand's first water-driven timber mill and making its first pipe organ from native woods.  He too married the daughter of a local chieftain.  John had a more wandering early life.  He later published his memoirs, Reminiscences of An Old Settler in Australia and New Zealand, in 1908.     

Select Webster Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Webster Names 

John Webster was an English Jacobean playwright, a late contemporary of Shakespeare.
Alexander Webster carried out the first census of Scotland in 1755.
Noah Webster published his American Spelling Book in 1786 and his first Dictionary of the English Language in 1806 (updated in 1828).
Daniel Webster from New Hampshire was a leading American senator in the years prior to the Civil War.
Ben Webster was one of the great tenor saxophone players of the swing era.

Select Websters Today
  • 37,000 in the UK (most numerous in Kent)
  • 25,000 in America (most numerous in New York). 
  • 26,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




http://www.pressreader.com/uk/this-england/20170208/283244507718047 Wetherby


The religious houses of Yorkshire

By George Lawton





What do we share with 18th Century Websters? Shared Folklore

Dick Whittington and His Cat
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 folklore surrounding the real-life Richard Whittington (c. 1354–1423), wealthy merchant and later Lord Mayor of London, telling a story of how he supposedly escaped his poverty-stricken childhood and made his fortune thanks to the ratting abilities of his cat... Written forms date from the early 1600s, long after the death of the historical Whittington. The real Whittington did not come from a poor family and it's likely most of the story was fabricated..


To London
Dick Whittington was a poor orphan boy, (locations vary)  Lancashire He set off to seek his fortune in London (B, H, C), enticed by the rumour that its streets were paved with gold (C). But he soon found himself cold and hungry,[c] and fell asleep at the gate of the home of a wealthy merchant named Fitzwarren (H, C).[d] Fitzwarren hired him to be the scullion in the kitchen. He lives in a garret infested with rats and mice. A cat very skilled at removing the pests becomes an indispensable companion

When Fitzwarren organized a trade expedition sending the merchant ship Unicorn  Dick's cat was taken on this mission (various scenarios that Dick sent the cat or is forced to let him go along).

essential to the legend is that the disenchanted Dick attempts to flee his service as a scullion one night, but is dissuaded by the tone of the church bells, which promised he would become mayor of London one day. "Turn again Whittington, Lord Mayor of London" At the thought a much better future, Dick returns to the garret.

Meanwhile his cat is recognized for her skill eliminating swarms of vermin plauging the Moorish king who purchases the ships cargo. The king is so pleased he pays a fabulous sum for the cat.

After the ship returns to London Fitzwarren summons the Dick Whittington. First thinking he is being mocked by his employer, Dick learns of the profits. Dick is now richer than his employer! Dick marries his daughter, Alice Fitzwarren, and joins his now father-in-law in business.

In time, Whittington does indeed become the Lord Mayor of London, just as the bells had predicted. In gratitude, Whittington performs a number of substantial acts of charity.


English/British Nursery Rhymes, Songs, Rounds
While I did not recall all of the names, once I read all the words, these were familair to me. It's worth noting that many of these are early enough to have been familiar to British immigrants to North America and incorporated into as American standards.
1580 Ding Dong Bell
1609 Three Blind Mice
1611 To Market, to Market
1639 Jack Sprat
1642 The Grand Old Duke of York
1659 Rain Rain Go Away
1695 Tinker, Tailor
1698 Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker's Man
1708-1709 The Lion and the Unicorn
1725 Little Jack Horner
1730 As I was going to St Ives
1731 Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
1744 Hickory Dickory Dock
1744 Ladybird Ladybird
1744 Little Boy Blue
1744 Little Robin Redbreast
1744 Little Tommy Tucker
1744 London Bridge Is Falling Down
1744 Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
1744 Sing a Song of Sixpence
1755 This Is The House That Jack Built
1760 This Little Piggy
1765 Hey Diddle Diddle
1765 Rock-a-bye Baby
1765 See Saw Margery Daw
1764 Simple Simon
1765 Jack and Jill
1765 Pease Porridge Hot
1765 Two Little Dickie Birds
1782 The Queen of Hearts
1784 Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross
1794 There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
1797 Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling, My Son John
1797 Hot Cross Buns
1798 Rub-a-Dub Dub
1803 Polly Put the Kettle On
1805 Little Miss Muffet
1805 Little Bo Peep
1805 Old Mother Hubbard
1805 Pussy Cat Pussy Cat
1813 Peter Piper
1815 Jack Be Nimble
1820 The Muffin Man
1820 What Are Little Boys Made Of? What Are Little Girls Made Of?
1840s probably earlier As I was going by Charing Cross
1841 Wee Willie Winkie (Scotland)
1842 There Was a Crooked Man
1850s Pop Goes the Weasel
1881 'Ring Around the Rosie
Surprising how many of these rhymes and lore were familiar to someone born in the US in the 1950s and interesting to note most are over a century old.

Nursery Tales

Jack the Giant Killer
The Princess of Canterbury
The Princess of Colchester
Mr Fox
Tom Tit Tot
Jack and the Bean-stalk

Historical and Local

The Story of Sain Kenelm
Wild Edric
Lady Godiva
The Legend of the Sons of the Conqueror
The Lgend of Becket's Parents
The Fause Fable of the Lord Lathom
Whittington and his Cat
The Pedlar of Swaffham
The Lampton Worm
Bomere Pool


Folklore found throughout much of England[edit]

  • Black dog - The black dog is essentially a nocturnal apparition, often said to be associated with the Devil, and its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. It is generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog, and often has large, glowing eyes. It is a common feature of British Isles and Northern European folklore.
  • Boggart - A boggart is, depending on local or regional tradition, either a household spirit or a malevolent genius loci inhabiting fields, marshes or other topographical features. The household boggart causes things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame. Always malevolent, the boggart will follow its family wherever they flee. In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, for when the boggart was given a name, it would not be reasoned with nor persuaded, but would become uncontrollable and destructive.
  • Brownie - In folklore, a brownie is a type of hob, similar to a hobgoblin. Brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food. Among food, they especially enjoy porridge and honey. They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payments, or if the owners of the house misuse them. Brownies make their homes in an unused part of the house.
  • Chime hours - According to English folklore, those born at certain hours could see ghosts.
  • Countless stones - Associated with megalithic monuments
  • Corn dolly - Corn dollies are a form of straw work made as part of harvest customs of Europe before mechanization. Before Christianisation, in traditional pagan European culture it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crop, and that the harvest made it effectively homeless.
  • Cunning folk - The term "cunning man" or "cunning woman" was most widely used in southern England and the Midlands, as well as in Wales. Such people were also frequently known across England as "wizards", "wise men".
  • Dragons- Giant winged reptiles that breathe fire or poison. There are many dragon legends in England. Somerset and the North East being very rich.
  • Drake's Drum - Shortly before he died, Drake ordered the drum to be taken to Buckland Abbey, where it still is today, and vowed that if England was ever in danger someone was to beat the drum and he would return to defend the country. According to legend it can be heard to beat at times when England is at war or significant national events take place.
  • Dwarfs
  • Elves
  • Ettin
  • English Country Dance - English Country Dance is a form of folk dance. It is a social dance form, which has earliest documented instances in the late 16th century.
  • Father Time
  • Flibbertigibbet
  • Four Winds - Shown on old maps they are usually shown as faces blowing out wind from their mouths. There are generally 4 of them (North Wind, South Wind, East Wind and West Wind) although in some cases only 2 are shown and in others the whole outside of the map has been surrounded by smaller heads with 4 larger ones.
  • Green Man - A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves.
  • Hag Stone Hag Stone is a type of stone, usually glassy, with a naturally occurring hole through it. Such stones have been discovered by archaeologists in both Britain and Egypt.
  • Havelok the Dane
  • Legend of the Mistletoe Bough - The Legend of the Mistletoe Bough is a ghost story which has been associated with many mansions and stately homes in England.
The tale tells how a new bride, playing a game of hide-and-seek during her wedding breakfast, hid in a chest in an attic and was unable to escape. She was not discovered by her family and friends, and suffocated. The body was allegedly found many years later in the locked chest.

Folklore of East Anglia[edit]

Folklore of London and the South East[edit]

Folklore of the Midlands[edit]

Folklore of Yorkshire and the North East[edit]

Folklore of the North West[edit]

Folklore of the South West[edit]

Folklore in song[edit]

Remnants of paganism in English Folklore[edit]

Many parts of English and British folklore still contain evidence of Europe’s pre-Christian past. In common with most other regions of Europe, some aspects of past Pagan religions survive in English Folklore.

Examples are this include the Wild Hunt and Herne the Hunter which relate to the Germanic deity Woden. The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance may represent a pre-Christian festival and the practice of Well dressing in the Peak District which may date back to Anglo-Saxon or even Celtic times. May Day celebrations such as the Maypole survive across much of England and Northern Europe.

English folklore in other media[edit]

English folklore crops up in books, films and comic books and these appearances include:

See also[edit]

Reference Books[edit]

  • Hutton, RonaldThe Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in England, 1999
  • Opie, Iona, and Peter OpieThe Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, 1959
  • Opie, Iona, and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, (2nd edn) 1997
  • Opie, Iona, and Moira Tatem, A Dictionary of Superstitions, 1989
  • Paynter, William H. and Jason Semmens, The Cornish Witch-finder: William Henry Paynter and the Witcher, Ghosts, Charms and Folklore of Cornwall, 2008
  • Roud, Steve, The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Great Britain and Ireland, 2004
  • Simpson, Jacqueline, and Steve RoudA Dictionary of English Folklore, 2000
  • Vickery, Roy, A Dictionary of Plant Lore, 1995
  • Westwood, Jennifer, and Jacqueline Simpson, The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's legends, 2005
  • Wright, Arthur Robinson, English Folklore 1900

External links[edit]





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