Pearson of Ullock
by Chris Dickinson
The Pearsons of Ullock have been well researched in the past largely because one of its members, Peter Pearson, crossed the Atlantic and created a branch in the colonies.
I published some work on the family about 15 years ago that I distributed on CD-ROM. This has percolated around the web, but time I decided for a review.
I have made some changes. If people want to use my work, that's fine (see the site copyright notice) but please quote the author and refer to the site page. Thank you.
The family were based at a farm named 'Bridgend' in Ullock. I haven't tried to identify it, but might be able to through Tithe Apportionment maps or enclosure awards - a future task.
Unfortunately, there is no surviving probate inventory to give an indication of the farm's size in the time period covered here, but the value of the farm chattels was put at a little over £100 in 1728 - a respectable sum - with sheep being valued at £5 15s, horses at £10, and cattle at £30 7s, with 'seeds sown for a crop on the ground' at £7. So a mixed farm.
It probably always required, like a lot of other farms in the area, other activities to keep it profitable - the 1728 inventory mentioned a number of buildings, including a fire house and a bake house. Maybe weaving or dyeing in the past had helped to keep the cash rolling in.
It's possible to construct the family by matching up details from probate with known events in the parish registers. By this method, we get the founding couple as John Pearson of Ullock in Dean and his wife Agnes (born into the Wood family at Woodside in Dean). They married in 1569 and were buried on the same day in 1599.
They had at least two sons, John and Thomas. Christopher was their brother, but there is no record of his baptism, so may have been illegitimate and baptised in another parish.
Christopher Pearson of Ullock was a weaver who died in 1613. He's the person to start with in this story because his will and inventory unlock much of the family's early history. He seems to have been a shrewd, sharp operator so far as his work and finances were concerned, but appears wifeless and childless.
His brother Thomas died before 1650 and the whole family fortune crystallised upon John.
We can infer this from a sum of 20s owing to the school in Dean.
Christopher had made a provision in his will for 40s to be bestowed upon Dean church and Dean schoolhouse, but only if Thomas died before John.
Evidently John, as the executor of Christopher's will, paid 20s to the church but was unable or unwilling to pay the remaining sum to the school.
And if it please God that my brother Thomas dye before my brother John Pearson, that then my will is that my brother John Pearson shall have the one forty shillings, and the other forty shillings shall be bestowed upon the repayeringe of Deane Churche & Deane Schollehouse
Will of Christopher Pearson 1613
I am oweing xxs to the Schoolehouse stocke.
Will of John Pearson 1650
Note: when I originally did work on this family, I assumed that the 20s was to pay for the education of his children or grandchildren (after all, his grandson could sign his name). I notice that this is commonly stated on the internet, either copied from me or a conclusion arrived at independently. An error.
John Pearson of Ullock (1573-1650) appears to have been the eldest of the three brothers, and would have inherited the farm in 1599 when in his mid-twenties. Both his will, and that of his daughter-in-law Elizabeth, name the farm as 'Bridgend'.
He married Isabel Wood of Calva in Dean a few months after his parents death in 1599. Of their six children, three died in infancy. They were left with Agnes, William and Janet. Agnes had an illegitimate son, Henry Towerson als Pearson; and then married Thomas Marshall of Branthwaite Edge. John only mentions his grandchildren in his will, leaving the farm to his grandson Christopher. The implication is that Christopher was the son of William and that his father was already dead by 1650.
John's son and heir, William, died before him. This area was generally Royalist, and a large contingent of pikemen from here marched off to the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, so it's entirely possible that he was one of the Whitecoats killed in the final last stand there.
William is the only recorded son, so was likely to have been the husband of John's daughter-in-law Elizabeth Pearson of Ullock (-1678). She made a will, so we have some evidence from this generation.
More evidence is available from the families around, and I've used this to shed some light on the Pearson family. See the article The Lowmoor Web.
At some point, probably in the 1650s when the visit of George Fox to the area had a vast and immediate impact, the family became Quaker. Elizabeth's will doesn't mention a burial place (which sometimes happens in Quaker wills of this period), but she doesn't appear in the Pardshaw burial register. Her son Christopher married at Pardshaw in 1670, so marking him as Quaker by that date.
It's likely that Christopher and his sister Dorothy made an independent decision to become Friends, with the compliance of their mother, and the support of neighbours and relatives. They would have been teenagers in the 1650s, able to make up their own minds and quite stubborn about it!
Christopher married Eleanor Fearon, from the same village. They had children Mary (1671-1708), Sarah (1673-1689), John (1677-1728) and Peter (1679-1735). Mary married John Gill of Eaglesfield, but Sarah died unmarried at 16. Peter is of particular interest to many researchers, as he established a branch of the family in Virginia.
John Pearson of Ullock (1677-1728) took over the running of the farm before his father died; and would seem to have made a success of it. His probate inventory suggests a prosperous holding with some spare capital as security.