Danson of Mockerkin


Danson of Mockerkin

A family in decline.


The first Danson that I know about in Mockerkin was named Peter.

Peter Danson of Mockerkin (died 1614) was a reasonably prosperous farmer with around 50 sheep and other animals. He even owned a silver spoon. When he died in 1614 the bond for his children was set at £100, a respectable sum for the time.

His eldest legitimate child was a daughter, unknown by name, but alive in 1634. He then had an illegitimate son, John, with Catherine Pearson of Scalesmoor in Lamplugh, followed by three legitimate sons - John, William and Thomas.

The heir John seems to have been physically or mentally incapable in some way - at any rate he didn't live in the family home but boarded out, dying in 1634. William probably ran the farm, becoming the official owner on his brother's death and raising a family there until his own death in 1644. Thomas and John als Pearson survived until the 1660s. The latter remained a bachelor, but Thomas had sons in Little Clifton in Workington. Whether these survived and prospered, I haven't researched.

William Danson of Mockerkin (died 1644) had five children. John, the eldest, inherited. The other four (William, Peter, Isabel and Agnes) were minors at his death. Isabel had married John Taylor of Whinbank by 1664. Peter's son, Jonathan, founded a family in Dean. William's widow married John Pearson of Mockerkin.

John Danson of Mockerkin (died 1687) continued farming at Mockerkin. He was buried at Pardshaw in 1687, but possibly wasn't a Quaker - no other Danson is included in the Pardshaw register. At his death, he had three older children (William, John and Jacob) and four minors ( Isabel, Barbara, Sarah and Mary). By his death, the family's finances were in a parlous state.

William Danson of Mockerkin (died 1706) continued farming at Mockerkin, but he was the last. At his death in 1706, probably childless, his debts far exceeded the value of his chattels. The only option would have been to sell the property and split the money among the creditors.

The figures tell their own story

Peter Danson (died 1614): Inventory approx £50. No debts.

William Danson (died 1644). Inventory: £66 13s 6d. Debts £29 17s 8d.

John Danson (died 1687). Inventory: £53 3s 9d. Debts £38 2 6d.

William Danson (died 1706). Inventory £12 1s 4d. Debts: £50 4s 6d.

Quite what went wrong is difficult to judge. The farm itself may have been uneconomic - the Dansons were relying on sheep, presumably on the fells. They had a record of leaving young families at their deaths, a burden on the heir. A flirtation with Quakerism probably didn't help. Maybe it was just bad luck. maybe bad judgement or simply inevitable from the size of the farm.