Pearson of Ullock in Dean


Pearson of Ullock in Dean

by Chris Dickinson

This is the third foray that I’ve made over the last twenty years into the early history of this family.

This time I can make a strong case for an earlier generation.

I would appreciate acknowledgemen if this material is redistributed - most of the knowledge about these early Pearsons has come from my original research. And yet I rarely get quoted as the source.

Bridgend in Ullock

Two Pearson probates mention the property as being called ‘Bridgend.’.

The big problem, in my last foray, was that I didn’t have access to 19th Century Censuses, so couldn’t tell what the beastie was.

The 1851 Census does make the situation very clear. There was a mill and a farm of 42 acres [together called ‘Ullock Mill’], and three househoids named as ‘Bridgend’. The mill and farm were evidently also called ‘Bridgend’ in the past and may have incorporated the land occupied by the cottages in 1851.

The mill might have been run by the farmer, or might not, depending on generational skills, but was part of the property in 1851 and also clearly in 1583.

Find My Past 1851 Census for Ullock Mill

Bridgend additions

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Since last amending this page, I have come across this entry in the probate inventory of James Lund of Branthwaite 21-05-1612:

Owing to: Anthony Towerson for keeping of Ullock milne xxxs

This may suggest that James Lund had some ownership over the mill. Possibly as a shareowner, or as a leaseholder, or sub-contractor.

Christopher Pearson, miller, died 1583

This is the new generation. In my last report I had mentioned Christopher’s existence, but didn’t feel that there was enough evidence to prove either that he was at Ullock or that, even if he was, he was father to John Pearson of Ullock. Now I do think there is enough evidence.

This is explained in much more detail in his profile (as linked above).

John Pearson of Ullock (died 1599)

Agnes Wood of Woodside

John took over the farm - whether he also milled isn’t known. He married Agnes Wood of Woodside, further north in the parish (not the 1841 Woodside tenement next to Bridgend).

They married in 1569 and were buried on the same day in 1599. This was probably from plague, widespread in Cumbria in the late 1590s.

They had three sons, John, Thomas, and Christopher; and a daughter Janet.

As Thomas wasn’t mentioned in the will of Thomas Wood of Woodside, it is likely that he died at about the same time as Christopher, though not buried in the parish of Dean.

How de we know that the Agnes Wood who married John Pearson in 1569 was from Woodside?

The evidence comes from the 1614 will of her father, Thomas Wood of Woodside; and the 1613 will of her son Christopher, who refers to the Wood of Woodside family as his cousins.

The 1614 will appoints ‘John Pearson’ as a ‘supervisor’ [in modern terms, a Trustee]. This was a normal procedure to ensure that all the heirs or legatees were failry treated, the supervisors usually representing different branches of the family.

In this case, John was to represent just himself and his sister Janet.

Furthermore, the will implies that Agnes was dead. Thomas makes gifts to his other daughters by name, but only to Agnes’ children.

He also makes a bequest to a William Wood of Ullock, whom Christopher calls his cousin.

Christopher Pearson of Ullock, died 1613

This Christopher was a weaver. He died in 1613 and his widow Agnes in 1619, apparently without children. His will is tremendously useful in that it proves the existence of the brothers, as well as providing insights into the Ullock textile industry.

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


In my original work on John Pearson of Ullock (died 1650), I assumed that the money he owed to the school in his will was for the education of his children. That is probably a misinterpretation. It looks rather that it was an inherited debt from Christopher’s 1613 will. Christopher had made a provision 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.


Although the 19th Century mill was used for corn, it is very likely that this was originally a fulling mill. There are two reasons for thinking so.

The first is the the tenements directly to the south were used for dyeing - indeed, the surname of one of the occupying families was ‘Walker’ [the origin of the name being a fuller].

The second is that John Pearson (-1650), below, married Isabel Wood of Calva. Her brother, Leonard Wood, was a fuller.


John Pearson of Ullock (1573-1650)

John took over the farm - whether he also milled isn’t known. 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 Pearson of Ullock (-1711) inherited the farm. His sister Dorothy Pearson of Ullock (-1695) remained living there, a spinster.

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.