Fish in a Tree

Appendix Five

Appendix Five

During my trawl through internet archives and message-boards, I came across William Hart's name. William is a direct descendant of the original landowning Greenwells – oh how my grandfather would have liked that – and is the only person I've ever met to be able to use the phrase ‘fifteenth cousin' with confidence. Born in Yorkshire, but now living and working in Australia, he was over in London in about 2002, and we managed briefly to meet. This account of his family, which goes backwards in time through his ancestors, contains information about land-holding at Greenwell, Co.Durham – which only scratches the surface of what William knows about the Greenwell family. I'm really pleased he's agreed to add his account to the site.

Bill Greenwell

William G. Hart: an account of the Greenwell family

reproduced by permission of the writer

The Greenwells

My mother's mother's family, the Greenwells, are a "native county Family". Sir Timothy Eden, in his account of Durham, describes the people who made the county what it is:

His name was Lambton and Tempest, and Bowes and Shafto and Eden, and Surtees and Greenwell , and Salvin and Liddel, and Williamson and Chaytor.... ... whose ambition was. ...... to provide amply for all his girls and younger sons, but to leave to his first-born the jewel of his heart, more richly, more firmly, more beautifully set and settled than ever - his own and only English home.

The Greenwells of Greenwell were Durham "Landed Gentry", owning the same piece of land for centuries. They were the senior branch of the Greenwell family, and the inheritors of the family property - " Greenwell " - from pre-1183 until 1890, when it was sold to another branch of the family.

The Greenwell's story is of a typical yeomanry farming family, brought undone by the politics of greater men and saved by the wealth of their merchant cousins. Following their Lord, the Earl of Westmoreland, in the Rising in the North, they lost their land (of which he was “Tenant in Chief” to the Bishop of Durham) because he lost everything.

The land called Greenwell bound the family together for eight hundred years. Despite its confiscation by Elizabeth I in 1569, following the rebellion of the northern Earls, it was re-purchased by the wealthy merchant Greenwell cousins in London. By 1696, it was back in its rightfull hands - the “Greenwell” Greenwells. Other related and well documented off-shoots of the Greenwell family, living at nearby Broomshields, Kibblesworth and Greenwell Ford, and the Greenwell Baronets of Surrey, Suffolk and London (originally from Corbridge, Northumberland), have had their pedigrees detailed in various editions of Burke's "Landed Gentry" and "Peerage". They are of less interest to this story than the Greenwell families that lived on Greenwell Hill and nearby Hamsterley and Thornley, who sent merchant sons to London and Newcastle in the mid- to late-16th century and bred the Greenwells of Bishop Auckland - and my grandmother.

All the branches of the family are said to be descended from the “original” family which was at Greenwell in 1183. They progressively spread north-eastwards from the Wear valley towards Lanchester, and “adventured” to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Durham and London. One branch stayed in Wolsingham and farmed Greenwell and surrounding properties - the Greenwells of Greenwell. A lot of the mediæval data on the Greenwells relates to the family in Wolsingham. However, it is probable that Greenwells had already spread beyond Durham as early as the 13th century. For example, the Dominican Friars at Bamburgh, in Northumberland, were granted, on July 12, 1266, four acres of arable land in “Grenewellflat”, to build a chapel. A Thomas de Grenewille was also reported in Oxford in 1276, but he may have been a Grenville.

Over the centuries, the name Greenwell has been spelled in many different ways - the commonest variants being Grenwell, Grinwell, Grenewill, Grynwell, etc. The spellings tended to follow the custom and idiosyncrasies of the time, which were not random. There is a clear geographical variation. The different spellings also create confusion with families such as Grenville, Geneville and Gynewell. Clavering theorises that the pronunciation “Greenwell” became common only in the 17th century, when “lowland” Greenwells, who had been lured to the wealth of the merchant life in Newcastle and London, were concerned with the correct etymology of their name. The families which stayed “on the farm”, used to pronounce their name “Grin'll”. However, other than in quotations, I have used the modern spelling for all the branches of the family.

The Greenwells were a wide-spread, yet close-knit clan. Traditionally, close relatives were used as God-parents, and particular Christian names became ingrained in the family. William, John, Thomas, Nicholas, etc. can be found in most branches of the family at each generation. That makes keeping track of who's who very difficult, and an interesting genealogical challenge.

Grace Greenwell

Grace was my maternal grandmother. She married George Willerton in 1906, in Bishop Auckland. She was one of the nine children born to William Greenwell and Grace Anne (née Spence), who married in 1869 and lived at 2 Fleet St. Bishop Auckland. Grace's father, William Greenwell (born 8/10/1844, died 1917), was a younger son of John and Sarah Greenwell of Hamsterley. He was a builder, who worked for T. Hilton and Sons, in Bishop Auckland. He joined the 2nd. Volunteer Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry in 1868, when it was still technically the Durham Militia, retiring in 1905, as Quarter Master Sergeant.

Durham Light Infantry

Durham's own regiment was founded in 1758, when the 2nd battalion of the 23rd Foot was converted into the 68th Regiment, under John Lambton as its Colonel. The Durham Regiment of Militia, intended for home defence, was raised in 1759 under the Earl of Darlington, Colonel Vane. Local gentry were used as officers, and soldiers were picked from the population by ballot. The 68th fought in France and the West Indies. In 1764 they were awarded the motto “Faithful”, which was retained for the Durham Light Infantry (DLI), formed in 1881 by amalgamation of the two earlier regiments. The performance of a battalion of the 68th in the Pyrenees in 1808 was described by Wellington as “ the most gallant, the finest thing, I have ever witnessed ”. Having campaigned with distinction during both world wars, the DLI was amalgamated into the new Light Infantry in 1968. At his retirement, William was a guest of honour at a "smoker" at the Drill Hall, Bishop Auckland. The toast to the veterans was proposed by Sgt. Major Fisher, who said (as reported in the local paper):

" He was sorry to now have to include Quarter-Master Sergt. W. Greenwell amongst the veterans, who had just retired. His work in connection with the corps had been done disinterestedly, and Col. Vane, who had presented him with a gold watch at camp on the completion of his 37 years' service, paid him a high compliment when he said he had never seen better work done by a regular Quarter- Master Sergt. than had been done by him. (Applause).............In rising to respond, Quarter-Master Sergt. Greenwell said he was pleased to see so many of the old hands present. During the time he had been in the Battalion he had seen great improvement in it. He joined it in 1868, was made a sergeant in 1878, and Quarter-Master Sergt. in 1892. At the time he joined, the Battalion was six companies strong, and it was considered a good inspection when they could muster between 450 and 500 men, but this year there was at camp over 1,000, which was more than double. (Applause). He felt it a great honour to serve in the 2nd. Volunteer Battalion Durham Light Infantry, which was a good regiment, and although it was second in name yet it was second to none in point of numbers and efficiency. (Loud cheers). They as old hands had to thank the permanent staff, and more especially Quarter-Master Anderson and Sergt.-Major Fisher for the present position of the Battalion, and he had derived the greatest amount of pleasure from their company. It was a great wrench to him in leaving the regiment. Quarter-Master Sergt. Greenwell next referred to the duties of the office of Quarter-Master Sergt. He did not always receive the good word of the men, who sometimes said "very nice" things about him. They said he put bone into the meat and other mean things - (laughter) - but he could tell them it was a difficult thing to cut a bullock up to please everyone. With respect to the present that had been made to him at camp he would ever cherish it. He thanked them all for it, and expecially the men, for he was pleased to think he had gained their appreciation. In conclusion, he said that everything he had done had been for the welfare of the regiment, and he hoped the Battalion would go on and prosper. (Applause).........

Quarter-Master Sergt. Greenwell proposed the health of the "Permanent Staff" and in doing so said he had no doubt but a lot of people thought that when a soldier got on the permanent staff it was "all beer and skittles", but he could tell them that was not so, especially so far as the Headquarter Companies were concerned. The speaker paid a high compliment to Quarter-Master Anderson and Sergt.-Major Fisher, and said that much of the success of the regiment was due to them who were responsible for the organisation of the camp. With such men at the head of affairs, the Battalion could not be better officered. (Loud applause). "

His obituary referred to him being:

" .....very well known throughout the North as a prominent figure in the Volunteer movement, and who was also an old and valued employee of Messrs. T. Hilton and Sons builders and contractors. . ........He had always been considered one of the best shots of the battalion, and in 1893 won Capt. Robinson's tea and coffee service, and he had also won Mrs. Spencer's Cup and the Licensed Victualler's Cup..........At the annual camp at Conway in July 1895, Colonel Vane......said that during those years their old friend had done his duty in a zealous manner. They were much indebted to him, and he had set an example which he hoped they would all try to emulate. The presentation took the form of a gold watch, with a diamond ring for Mrs. Greenwell. "

I have the coffee pot from one of the above sets.

William was also the Secretary of the local Masonic Lodge.

John Greenwell of Hamsterley

John Greenwell of Hamsterley, William's father, was the only son of Mr. John Greenwell of Hoppyland Hall. By his second wife, Sarah (nee Robson), he was the father of my great grandfather - William Greenwell of Bishop Auckland. Baptised on 18/8/1789 at Witton le Wear, John married Sarah on 18 December, 1835 and died on 2 December, 1865. He and Sarah are buried together in Hamsterley churchyard. In his will he describes himself as an innkeeper, (presumably of the "Cross Keys") of Hamsterley. Greenwells of various related families had been in Hamsterley since 1612, when the sons of Thomas Greenwell of Thornley had moved onto land there. They lived on properties to the south of Hamsterley, near Butterknowle, just above Cockfield Fell, called Wham, Haggerlees, Highbank, and Southside. There were 95 houses and 491 people in Hamsterley in 1801. Ten years later, there were 106 houses, and 529 people. It's little bigger today.

When John moved to Hamsterley in about 1810, he was taking over as “the Hamsterley Greenwell” from his cousin Benson Greenwell. The Hamsterley Greenwells were descendants of Thomas Greenwell of Thornley's sons, who had moved to Hamsterley from Wolsingham in 1612. By his first wife Elizabeth (the daughter of John Palmer of Cockermouth, Co. Cumberland), who died in 1822, John Greenwell had had six children. The first, Mary, was born on 29 December, 1811. Two of the sons, John and George, emigrated to America and helped to pioneer the States of North Carolina and Iowa.

Being his grandfather's beneficiary, John was a wealthy landowner. He is described by Fordyce as one of the principal freeholders in Hamsterley. He sat on the Bishop Auckland Public Health Committee and was a Trustee for the administration of the "Poor's Land" funds in Hamsterley. John got his inheritance after a legal battle with his sisters and aunt. The proceedings in Chancery (1798 - 1800) make interesting reading. On November 23, 1798, a commission was issued to appoint guardians for the young defendants. It was noted that the plaintiff was willing to accept the answer of the defendants to his bill without oath. Order was made that they should have leave to answer without oath. This is probably because they were Quakers. The plaintiff's bill, dated December 3, 1798, is in the name of John Greenwell of Bishop Wearmouth, aged nine years, and is put forward by his "next friend" George Dixon.

Nicholas Greenwell of Witton Castle, the plaintiff's grandfather, made a will dated 26 June 1793, wherein he left his estate, real and personal, in trust for John. The trustees were Nicholas' second son, Cuthbert (a saddler and ironmonger of Newcastle-on-Tyne) and John Greenwell of Willington, Nicholas' nephew. They had been authorised to collect rents and "demise or let" any part of the land during the John's minority and to make suitable investments. If young John Greenwell did not survive to 21, then his three sisters, Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth were to become the beneficiaries of the trust as tenants in common.

John's elder sister Mary, who was born on June 25, 1784 was baptised at Witton. She married Mr. Henry Burnett, a wholesale grocer of York (who was later to become a broker in London), on January 10, 1804. Her half sister Sarah Longstaff (daughter of Mathew) lived with her in London until she died on June 16, 1834. Hannah Greenwell had been born on January 23, 1787. She married a William Lax of the 34th. Regiment. Elizabeth Greenwell was born on January 14, 1791. She was married at Hamsterley in 1815 to William Hardy, who was born on August 3, 1788. They lived at Bedburn. Elizabeth died on May 26, 1856. Nicholas Greenwell had died on 10 August 1794 leaving his four grandchildren (as above) the two trustees (his son, Cuthbert and his nephew, John Greenwell) and his deceased son's wife, Sarah, mother of the four children. She was then (December 1798) Sarah Longstaff.

At Nicholas' death, Cuthbert took possession of the trust estates and received the rents and profits until his death in April 1797. He died intestate and his widow Jane was granted letters of administration by the "proper ecclesiastical court" and "possessed herself of the personal Estate and effects of her said late husband to a greater amount than is sufficient to pay and satisfy his just debts” . Cuthbert had used part of the rents and profits to pay maintenance for his nephew, but not all - the rest should be accounted for. On Cuthbert's death the trust estates had become vested in John Greenwell Snr., surviving trustee appointed in the will. The late John Greenwell, the plaintiff's father - eldest son of Nicholas Greenwell - had "very trifling real estate" at his death in 1793, and little personal estate. He had left whatever he had to his widow, Sarah. No provision had been made for any children.

On October 1st 1794 his widow Sarah Greenwell married Mr. Mathew Longstaff, by whom she then had two children. Mathew then died and Sarah married Thomas Longstaff, " who is not in circumstances to maintain and provide for your orator " (John Greenwell, aged nine). In view of his step-father's relative poverty the plaintiff asked for an income from his grandfather's estate. His three sisters " pretend that your Orator (their brother, John) is not entitled to any allowance for his maintainance and Education ". The defendants (the three girls, the surviving trustee, John Greenwell, and Cuthbert's widow and administratrix, Jane Greenwell) were ordered to give an account and say why the plaintiff - young John - should not have an income from his grandfather's estate. On December 4, 1798, John Greenwell, the trustee, confirmed the details of Nicholas' will. He said that Cuthbert Greenwell had taken possession of the estate and that he himself " in no manner intermeddled therein ". He submitted to the will of the court.

On December 17, 1798, John Dixon was appointed guardian for the three girls. An order was given that a receiver should be appointed. Thomas Longstaff of Bishop Wearmouth, tanner, was proposed. The yearly profits from the estates were said to be £195. Thomas and George Dixon, both of Cockfield, were proposed as sureties. They affirmed that they were both worth over £500 after payment of debts and this sum was set to each as surety. By November 21, 1799, Thomas Longstaff ( the children's step-father) had paid £159 17s. 9d. into the bank. This and future profits were invested in 3% Bank annuities. On February 3, 1800 the court ordered that the plaintiff was entitled to maintenance from his grandfather's estate. Longstaff was ordered to continue to produce accounts. Jane Greenwell was ordered to reveal what had come to her and her late husband from Nicholas' Greenwell's estate. Accounts were submitted every year until 1808. The maintenance paid to the four minors is itemised. Payments for Mary stop in June 1805, when she was married. John was paid £30 per year. The girls were paid a total of £50 per annum between them. The accounts list the tenants of farms in Hamsterley, amounts of rent received, payments made for land tax, Bishop's rent, pit damage tax, and farm repairs. There was also a yearly annuity paid to Sedgfield Hospital.

The four farms that comprised the estates were let to Mr. Ralph Heron (who paid £35), Mr. William Mace (who paid £20 5s.), Mr. Thomas Bryan (who paid £47 5s.) and Mr. James Jopling (£105). Jobling's farm had earlier been held by Mr. James Clarke. Usually going by the names of the tenants ("Heron's Farm", etc.), one of the properties was also called Townfoot Farm.

Repairs on the farms were often carried out by Mr. Mark Spence and his son, Christopher, who were carpenters. These were the great-grandfather and grand-father, respectively, of Grace Anne Spence, who married John's son William Greenwell - my great grandfather. A Mr. Chapman (also a relative to be) was paid for supplying lime to the farms. “Young” John probably disposed of a portion of his personal and real estate to finance his elder sons' expeditions to America. In his will of 1865, his personal estate was valued at under £100 and he had no leasehold properties. He left all the property he had bought from George Maw the younger in Bishop Auckland, to his eldest son by his second marriage, Nicholas. His wife Sarah and son Nicholas were his executors. Nicholas lived at Red Barns Farm, Newton Cap, near Bishop Auckland, after moving from Hamsterley. His offspring continued to live there for many years - my Aunt can remember visiting her cousins at Red Barns.

John Greenwell of Hoppyland and Nicholas Greenwell of Witton Castle

John Greenwell of Witton Le Wear, West Auckland and Hoppyland Park was the elder son of Nicholas Greenwell - " Gentleman " - of Witton Castle. John was baptized on 11/11/1754 at Witton, and married Sarah Dixon - the daughter of the Quaker inventor, colliery owner and mathematician George Dixon - in Cockfield on 30/2/1783. Their children were Mary, born in 1784; Sarah, who was stillborn in 1785; Hannah, born in 1787; John, born in 1789, and Elizabeth, born in 1791. This Greenwell family were Quakers and there are few records of them in the local Parish documents. However, John is a witness to several marriages in Hamsterley, between 1776 and 1787. John died on 27/2/1793, aged 38, and is buried at St. Helens Auckland, with the family Coat of Arms. John evidently died suddenly and unexpectedly, for his will does not mention his infant son. His own father, Nicholas, altered his will to leave everything in trust to his grandson. This later led to the court case in Chancery between the infant John, (supported by his "next friend" - his uncle George Dixon) as complainant against his sisters and their guardian - their uncle John Dixon (George's brother) and his aunt Jane Greenwell (see above and later).

After John's death, his widow Sarah married a Mathew Longstaff (on October 1 1794), with whom she had two children. When he died prior to 1798, she married Thomas Longstaff, whom she also outlived, dying his widow on 6/8/1836, aged 71. (Sarah Robson, who was later to marry John Greenwell of Hamsterley, was the sister of Joseph John Robson, Julia Longstaff's second husband. Julia was Thomas and Sarah Longstaff's eldest daughter. The Quakers were a close knit group! - see Robsons and Dixons later).

So Nicholas Greenwell (born in June 1718, buried 14 August 1794), who lived at Witton Castle, was the father of John Greenwell of Hoppyland Hall and grandfather of John Greenwell of Hamsterley. He himself was the youngest son of Thomas Greenwell of Greenwell. Witton Castle is the historic fortress of the Eure family, and was later owned by the D'Arcy's and Chaytors. It was built by Sir Ralph Eure in the early 1400's. In 1410 Bishop Langley gave Sir Ralph permission to fortify his house, despite the fact that the work had already been started without permission (the Eures were powerful people):

" Thomas, by the grace of God, Bishop of Durham, sendeth greetings: Know ye, that whereas Radulphus de Eure, Knight, did begin to enclose his manor of Witton with a wall of lime and stone, and to embattle, crenelate, tourillate, and erect a fortress on the said manor, not having first obtained our license or that of our predecessors; we, out of our special grace, have pardoned that transgression; and. moreover, have granted and given license, for us and our successors, to the said Radulphus, to inclose his manor aforesaid with a wall of lime and stone, and to castellate, crenellate, tourillate, and build a fortress thereon; to have and to hold to himself and his heirs for ever, without impediment from us or our successors, our justices, escheators, sheriffs, or other bailiffs or officers whatsoever, or those of our successors for ever. In witness whereof, &c.- Given this 23rd. day of September, in the fifth year of our pontificate. "

The family of Eures at Witton became extinct when William, 6th. Lord Eure, a Cavalier Colonel in the Marquess of Newcastle's Royalist army, fell at the head of his regiment of horse at Marston Moor in 1644. He had no sons. In 1689, Lord D'Arcy of Navan, to whose family the Castle had been sold, decided to dismantle it and use it's materials to improve his home at Sedberg. The Castle was rebuilt during the first half of the 18th. century and sold to the Cuthberts of Newcastle in 1743. Now owned by Lord Lambton, the son of the 5th. Earl of Durham, the Castle was gutted by fire in 1796. It is in use today as part of a large caravan park and tourist attraction. What Mr. Nicholas Greenwell, Gent. was doing there in the 18th. Century is not yet known. Perhaps he was the Agent for the estate. It is probably not a coincidence that three of Nicholas' children were called John, Cuthbert and Philadelphia. The owners of the castle after 1743 were John Cuthbert and his sister, Philadelphia. When John Cuthbert died, his sister Philadelphia's son John Hopper inherited the castle.

Hoppyland Hall, where Nicholas' son John Greenwell lived, was burnt down in 1793, the year John died, perhaps in that very fire. The Hall was rebuilt that year in imitation of Witton Castle. John's father, Nicholas, who died the following year, lived at Witton Castle. There is a story to be unearthed here.

Earlier owned by the Eures as part of their Witton estates, Hoppyland Park and Hall were then owned by the Blacketts of Hoppyland and Wylam. Hoppyland was later purchased and altered by the Leaton-Blenkinsops. Apparently during the late 18th. and early 19th. Centuries there was an outburst of "Baronial ambitions" leading to a Gothic revival in Durham. According to Pevsner, Hoppyland Hall was re-built by the "Gothicizers" of Witton Castle. Perhaps Nicholas Greenwell was a builder or architect, or perhaps agent for the Cuthberts of Newcastle? Having been rebuilt in pseudo-Gothic style, like Witton Castle, the Hall was last lived in in 1952. Bought then by a local timber merchant, who reasoned that no one could afford to live there, it was stripped of timber and collapsed. Today it is a sad overgrown ruin.

Hoppyland is an unusual name. “Hopilandwaye” is noted as a boundary of property near Harperly in a deed dated 1318. Were there a lot of rabbits there? More likely, it was a favourite county fairground. Regular fairs, called “hoppings” were held at Hamsterley, Byers Green and elsewhere. The “hopping” probably referred to dancing.

The Blackett Connections

Sir William Blackett (1621 - 1680) of Hoppyland and Wylam, Sheriff of Newcastle in 1660, was that family's first Baronet. He made a fortune in flax, lead and coal. He was fourth in descent from Sir John Blackett, Knight of Agincourt (died 1418), who was descended from Richard de Blackheued of the Manor of Woodcroft, Stanhope. Richard was the Honorary Forester of the time. He died in 1350. Sir William's less wealthy brother Nicholas (1500-1575) stayed on at the family manor, Woodcroft, in Stanhope. He married Alyson, the daughter and heiress of Sir Roland Tempest. Their son, Thomas (1525 - 1603) was the first registered armorial Blackett. Thomas married twice and left eleven children. His first wife was Jane Wren, daughter of William Wren of Binchester. This family is allied to the Greenwells of Greenwell through that connection. Their eldest son William Blackett of Woodcroft (1555 - 1639) married Eleanor Maddison at Hamsterley on 25 October, 1582. She was the daughter of Peter Maddison of Unthanke, by his wife Anne Feathersonhaugh of Stanhope. Again the alliance with Greenwell-related families is significant.

This branch of the family apparently fell on tough times. Their descendant Tommy Blackett was a weaver who had a cottage in Hamsterley. He was one of a local group of non-conformists. He married Mary Hodgson in Hamsterley on 2 May, 1744. She was his distant cousin, being the great-great-grand-daughter of Anne Blackett (b. 1602) and Christopher Hodgson of Hamsterley. The Blacketts, together with the Beaumonts, became the foremost lead-mining family in the north. John Blackett was the High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1692. He was married to the daughter of William Errington of Portgate. He died in 1707, aged 72.


Throughout the baptism entries for his children in the Witton Le Wear parish register, Nicholas is described as Mr. Nicholas Greenwell of Witton Castle, Gentleman . He was obviously considered a gentleman in his own right, despite being the fifth son in a family of yeoman farmers. Mary Bell, his wife, was buried in Witton Le Wear on 29 April 1780. Nicholas' younger son (and executor) was Cuthbert Greenwell, a merchant (saddler and ironmonger) of Newcastle, who married Anne Ellison on 1/2/1784. His uncle Hugh Greenwell's wife had been the heiress Elizabeth Ellison, daughter of William Ellison of Byers Green. Cuthbert was admitted to the Company of Saddlers on 12/4/1781, having been indentured to John Bulman on 12/1/1774. Cuthbert later married Jane Bulman (the daughter of his former master?) on 3/2/1791 and they had a daughter, Frances, in 1794. Nicholas and Mary Greenwell had several daughters: Margaret, who was buried on 20 May, 1773, Isabel, who died unmarried in 1777, Philadelphia who died unmarried in 1786, and Mary, who married John Bailey of Chillingham, Northumberland on 29/12/1783 and to whom Nicholas left the handsome sum of £600.

Living at Hazelrigg (of which he owned one sixth), near Belford, Northumberland, John Bailey was the land agent for Lord Tankerville in Chillingham. He wrote a book on the agriculture of County Durham, in which the Dixon's work on coal tar and gas is outlined. Trained as an engraver, he was the son of William Bailey of Bladesfield, Bowes, near Barnard Castle. He worked for a time as a land surveyor and was a mathematics teacher at Witton le Wear where he met and married Mary Greenwell in 1752. Their daughter, Mary Sussana Bailey, married John Langhorne, a banker, of Berwick on Tweed. Their son John Bailey Langhorne of Cut Wood Hall, Wakefield, was born on 12/11/1816. He became the proprietor of the "Newcastle Chronicle" and died on 17/5/1877.

Nicholas Greenwell re-wrote his will following the tragic and unexpected death of his son John:

" This is the last will and testament of me Nicholas Greenwell of Witton Castle in the County of Durham Gentleman made this twenty sixth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three. And I do hereby give and devise unto my son Cuthbert Greenwell of Newcastle upon Tyne Sadler and Iron-monger and my Nephew John Greenwell of Willington in the said County of Durham Gentleman all Messuages, lands, tythes, tenements, hereditaments and real estate whatsoever and wheresoever, to hold them their heirs and assigns in trust nevertheless for my grandson John Greenwell (now an infant) until he attain the age of twenty one years. And from and immediately after his attaining that age I do hereby give and devise all my real estate herein before devised in trust as aforesaid unto my said grandson John Greenwell to hold to him his heirs and assigns for ever. And I do hereby authorise and impower my said trustees their heirs and assigns to demise and let all or any part of my said real estates during the minority of my said grandson in such manner and for such term or number of years as they shall think proper; and to take and receive the rents, issues and profits thereof from time to time as the same shall accrue and become due, for the use and benefit of my said grandson.

And my mind and will is and I do hereby direct that my said trustees shall from time to time place and put out to interest upon Government real or any other securities (they shall approve of) the said rents and profits and which with the interest thereof shall accumulate until my said grandson attains his age of twenty one years, when the same shall be paid to him, his executors, administrators or assigns. But in case my said grandson shall happen to die before he attains the age aforesaid then and in such case the said rents and profits and the interest, with the accumulation thereof, shall be in trust for my three grand daughters Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth Greenwell, sisters of the said John Greenwell, equally share and share alike and paid to them respectively upon their attaining the age of twenty one years or day of marriage, which shall first happen.

And my further will and mind is that if my said grandson shall not attain his said age of twenty one years that then and in such case my said real estates herein before devised as aforesaid shall be in trust for my said three grand daughters, their heirs and assigns equally, share and share alike, and they are to take the same as tenants in common and not as joint tenants. And they are to be entitled to their respective shares thereof upon their respectively attaining the age of twenty one years, or marriage, which shall first happen.

And I do give and bequeath to my daughter Mary the wife of John Bailey of Chillingham in the County of Northumberland, Esquire, the sum of six hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain (exclusive of all sum or sums of money or other things which I have at any time heretofore advanced or given to them), which last mentioned legacy shall be paid within twelve callendar months real after my death.

And I do also give and bequeath to my said grand-daughters Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth Greenwell the sum of one hundred pounds apiece, or such of them as shall live to attain the age of twenty one years or marry. But if my grandson happens to die before he attains his age of twenty one years then I do direct that the said legacies to my said grand-daughters shall not be raised or paid or in case all or any of them shall be married during the minority of my said grandson and he shall afterwards die under age, then Mind and will is that such of them as shall have received her or their legacies shall refund and pay back the same.

And I do charge and make liable my personal estate and effects with the payment of my just debts, funeral expences, the expenses of proving this my will and the legacies herein before mentioned (or such of them as shall become due); and if my personal estate should prove insufficient or defective for that purpose, then I do charge my real estate with the payment of what shall be so defective; provided also, and my will is, that my said trustees herein before named and the survivor of them and the heirs and assigns of such survivor shall and may, at all times, in the first place, reimburse and indemnify themselvs and himself respectively and deduct and retain to themselves and himself respectively, out of the said trust premises, respectively all such charges, damages and expenses which they, or either or any of them, shall at any time lay out or expend or be put unto, for or by reason or means of all or any of the trusts hereby in them reposed. And neither of them shall be answerable for any loss that may happen to any of the said trust premises, unless such loss happen through his or their wilfull neglect or default; nor the one for the other of them, nor for more monies than shall actually come to each of their hands respectively; but each of them for his own acts, deeds, receipts, neglects and defaults only; nor for any loss which may happen by occasion of depositing any money in the hands, custody and keeping of any public or common banker.

And I do hereby give and bequeath all the residue and remainder of my personal estate and effects, not herein before disposed of, unto my said son Cuthbert Greenwell, to hold to him, his executors, administrators and assigns forever.

And I do hereby revoke and make void all wills by me at any time heretofore made and do declare this only to be and contain my last will and testament.

And I do appoint my said son Cuthbert Greenwell sole executor thereof. In witness whereof I have to this, my last will and testament, set and subscribed my hand and seal, the day and year first herein before written.

Nich.s Greenwell (Seal)

Sealed, published and declared by the said testator, Nicholas Greenwell, as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto as we have likewise done to a duplicate of the said will at the same time.

Smith Burke

Rob,t Taylor of Willington

Tho.s Pallister. Servant to the testator.”

“On the thirteenth day of December, 1794 Cuthbert Greenwell the executor named in this will was sworn to the due performance thereof. And that the personal estate of the testator within the Dioces of Durham does not amount in value to the sum of two thousand pounds.

Before me George Emerson a Commissioner

On the fifteenth day of December 1794, Smith Burke, one of the subscribing witnesses to this will was sworn to the due execution thereof by the testator.

In Chancery Between

John Greenwell, an infant, by George Dixon his next friend - Complainant, and John Greenwell, Mary Greenwell, Hannah Greenwell and Elizabeth Greenwell, infants, by John Dixon their guardian and Jane Greenwell - Defendants:

On the first day of March 1799, upon the execution of a commission for the examination of witnesses in this cause, on the part and behalf of the said complainant, this paper writing marked A (the will) was produced and shown to Thomas Pallister, Robert Taylor and John Gregson, witnesses, produced sworn and examined on the part of the said complainant and by them severally deposed unto (illegible) at the time of their examination before us,

R.d Seraton

John Griffith "

The John Greenwell mentioned as a defendant was the trustee, the nephew of Nicholas. He lived at Willington and was later to inherit "Greenwell" - as the head of the Greenwell Clan. The Jane Greenwell was the widow of Cuthbert Greenwell, the executor, who had died in April, 1797.

The land which Nicholas left in trust to his grandson John, can be traced in the movements of leases in the Halmote Court. Thus, for example:

9th. December, 1790. William Allison and Nicholas Greenwell; before George Pearson, deputy of George Brooks, esquire, steward; and took of the Lord, one house and garth adjoining, in the upper town of Wolsingham, formerly in possession of Mary Calla, widow, deceased, late of John Nelson. In which William Greenwell having right, surrendered to William Allison and Nicholas Greenwell.

Be it remembered that the ninth day of October in the thirty second year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, George the third, now King of Great Britain and so forth. And in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Two came Lewis Hollon of Stresholme in the parish of Darlington in the County of Durham, Gentleman, out of Court at the City of Durham, before George Pearson, esquire, deputy of George Brooks esquire, Steward, and took of the Lord one pasture, containing in breadth seventy yards; one croft lying in the Upper Town, containing by estimation three acres of land, be the same more or less abutting upon lands late of Thomas Vasey on the east, in which Thomas Greenwell of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tallow Chandler, brother and heir of Anthony Greenwell, late of Wolsingham in the said County of Durham, Gentleman, also deceased; William Allison, heretofore of Dalton Field House, late of Almond Carr in the parish of Wolsingham and now of Darlington aforesaid, Gentleman; and Nicholas Greenwell of Witton Castle in the same County, Gentleman, therein having right, their whole estate, title, claim, interest and demand, have surrendered quitclaimed into the hands of the Lord, to the use and behoof of the said Lewis Hollon to have to the custom of the court. Rendering therefore by the year at the usual terms.......etc.

1 May 1800 - “ Be it remembered, etc.........came John Greenwell, now an infant under the age of twenty one years, grandson and heir of Nicholas Greenwell, late of Witton Castle in the County of Durham, Gentleman deceased, who survived William Allison, formerly of Dalton Field Houses in the said County, Gentleman; (to whit) eldest son and heir of John Greenwell late of Hoppyland in the said County, Gentleman, deceased, who was the eldest son and heir of the said Nicholas Greenwell. Out of court at the City of Durham, before John Griffith, Gentleman, Deputy to George Brooks Esquire, Steward; and took of the Lord one acre, two roods and ten perches of land more or less bounded by lands lately allotted to Thomas Greenwell of Greenwell Hill upon the division of the Townfields of Wolsingham on or towards the east; lands allotted to George Emerson on or towards the ancient inclosures late of Thomas Greenwell late of the Upper Town of Wolsingham aforesaid, Gentleman deceased, called Pieghills and Wrights pastures on or towards the north; and Ramshaw Hurst Lane on or towards the south; being the premises lately allotted to the said William Greenwell upon the said division in lieu of one acre of field lying in the Hitherfield on the west of the Middlefield Dike, with the appurtenances, together with a foggate to the same belonging, being the same premises comprised in a surrender bearing the date the sixth day of November, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty One, from Sarah Gibson to the said William Greenwell; and which said premises are part of the lands and tenements which in and by the last will and testament of the said William Greenwell were devised. In trust for his grandson John Greenwell, and William Greenwell as therein is mentioned, which the said Nicholas Greenwell has in right while he lived, to have to the said John Greenwell, his grandson, and his sequels, in right according to the custom of the court....etc.


Thomas Greenwell of Greenwell, Bowlees and New Hall

My (five greats) grandfather Thomas Greenwell of Greenwell married Mary Sanderson, heiress, of St. Andrew's Auckland at the church of St. Mary Le Bow, Durham on 31/10/1702 and died in July 1751. This is the man at the head of our family tree - "Greenwell of Greenwell and Witton Le Wear". Thomas was baptised on 18/7/1675, the son of William Greenwell of Greenwell Hill, in Wolsingham.

As well as the traditional, and now consolidated, Greenwell properties on Greenwell Hill, he also held land in Coundon, to the east of Bishop Auckland. This may be how the family became close to the Dixons, who were the lessees of Black Boy colliery at Coundon - where the Willertons were later to work. Thomas' grandson John was to marry Sarah, daughter of colliery owner and inventor George Dixon.

Thomas' executor was his son Thomas. Deeds held by Sir Edward Greenwell show that Bowlees Farm passed from Thomas Greenwell the Elder (“of Greenwell Bowlees and New Hall”) to Thomas Greenwell the Younger on October 15, 1746. Young Thomas died unmarried on 5/3/1796 and left "Greenwell" to his nephew John Greenwell of Willington Hall. Thomas is buried in Wolsingham under the Greenwell arms. He had had a brother Hugh Greenwell of Binchester, who was born in 1708. Hugh had married Elizabeth Ellison, the daughter and heiress of William Ellison of Byers Green, on 22/5/1744. His descendants inherited "Greenwell" from his son John. John's great grand-daughter, Isabella, who married a Fletcher, sold it to Walpole Greenwell of London, in 1890.

Isabella's great uncle Thomas, Hugh's grandson, had been married to Isabella Alicia Hays, the daughter of Eleanor Wetheral, who was the first cousin of Sir Charles Wetheral, the Attorney General. This Thomas, who was to become the Mayor of Durham in 1838, and who was the principal proprietor of the Hutton Seam of coal at Castle Eden, was Justice of the Peace for Durham. The local newspaper noted that Mrs. Greenwell hosted a tea party for the town gentry on 17 Sept. 1842.

Members of the family lived in some interesting homes during the 18th. and early 19th. centuries. Apart from "Greenwell" itself, Nicholas Greenwell lived at Witton Castle in the late 1700's, John Greenwell and his son Thomas lived at Willington Hall around 1800. William Greenwell lived at Bearpark (="Beaurepaire") Lodge. Beaurepaire had been the former country retreat of the Priors of Durham, but had been reduced to a few scant fragments, courtesy of Scots raiders.

John Greenwell lived at Hoppyland Hall, near Bebdurn and Henry Greenwell lived at Elvet Villa, Old Elvet, Durham. Pevsner describes Old Elvet as:

" ......a fine street, or was, until in 1895 the Shire Hall began to raise its fiery red head, and the Methodist Church put a spiky spire next to this in 1903. The two buildings have ruined the unity of this remarkable street, remarkable although it has no houses of outstanding merit. "

This is the will of my (five-greats) grandfather, Thomas Greenwell:

" I Thomas Greenwell of Greenwell in the County of Durham Gentleman do make this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following That is to say, I do charge all Messuages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and Premisses whatsoever as well Freehold as Copyhold with their and every of their Appurtenances, situate and being at Greenwell aforesaid, and elsewhere in the Parish of Wolsingham in the said County of Durham, after application of my Personal Estate shall be made to that purpose and found Deficient (with the payment of all my Just Debts) And also with such Provision for my son William Greenwell, and with the Payment of such Legacies to my other Sons as are herein after mentioned. And the said Premisses being so Charged, and Chargeable as aforesaid, I give Devise and Bequeath the same and every Part thereof To the Use of my Son Thomas Greenwell his Heirs and Sequels and Assigns for Ever, To hold the same according to the several Natures and Tenures thereof, And my Will and Mind is, that my Son Thomas his Heirs Sequels and Assigns shall thereout pay the several Legacies following. That is to say, To my Son John Greenwell the Sum of Forty Pounds, to my Son George Greenwell the sum of Twenty Pounds, to my Son Nicholas Greenwell the sum of Forty Pounds, And to my Son Hugh Greenwell and to his Wife and his Son John each of them one Guinea a Piece, And I do order and direct the Payment of the said several Legacies to be paid by my Son Thomas Greenwell within Twelve Months next after my Decease And my Will also is, that my said Son Thomas Greenwell and his Heirs shall out of the Profitts of the said Premisses, find and provide for and Give unto my Son William Greenwell Good and Suficient Meat Drink Washing Lodging and Apparel for and during the Term of his natural Life, and also shall allow him such Necessaries and Conveniences as he the said William shall stand in need of from Time to Time And futher also that my said Son Thomas His Heirs and Assigns shall out of the said Rents and Profitts pay or cause to be Paid to my said son William for and during the Term of his Natural Life on Monday Morning Weekly and every week one shilling to his own Hands at my now Dwelling House at Greenwell aforesaid and not to any other Person or at any other Place whatsoever And further I do Order that the said sum of One Shilling Weekly shall be no longer Paid them the same shall come and be Applyed to the Sole Use and Benefitt of my said Son William, And in Case it shall be Applied to any other Purpose, I do from thenceforth Acquit and Discharge my said Estate and my said Son Thomas his Heirs and assigns of and from the Payment thereof, All the rest and Residue of my Goods and Chattles Personal Estate whatsoever, I Give Devise and Bequeath To my said Son Thomas Greenwell, And I do hereby Nominate Constitute and Appoint my said Son Thomas Greenwell Sole Executor of this my last Will, In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my Hand and seal this Fifth Day of January in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty 1750.

Thomas Greenwell

Signed Sealed Published and Declared by the said Testator, and for his last Will and Testament in the Presence of us, who in his Presence and at his Request, and also in the Presence of each other, have Subscribed our Names as Witnesses hereunto,

Jno. Chapman

Hump. Greenwell

Nichos. Weston "

William Greenwell of Greenwell Hill was buried at Witton Le Wear on 29 October, 1792, aged 85. His wife, Margaret, aged 73, was buried on 22 July, 1785. The special provisions made in his father's will indicate something of a problem with William - what could it have been?

John was born in 1713 and George in 1716. John died in 1776. He is buried with his brothers in a grave marked by the family arms, in Wolsingham churchyard.

The 1765 Act for inclosing Wolsingham moorland resulted in right of common to a William Greenwell (amongst many others). In 1769 another act was passed for " dividing and inclosing a certain moor or common in the township of Thornley, in the parish of Wolsingham, and within the manor of Brancepeth, in the county palatine of Durham ". Of the 20 allotments of land which were made, four were to George, John, Thomas and William Greenwell. These sound like four of the five sons of Thomas noted above.

Thomas Greenwell the elder was the last of my direct ancestors to have owned Greenwell. My Greenwell forebears since him have lived in Witton, West Auckland, Hamsterley and Bishop Auckland.

The main line of the family of Greenwell of Greenwell died out in 1890, with the death of Henry Greenwell of Elvet Villa, Durham on November 23, 1890. The Greenwell estate passed to his niece, Isabella Fletcher (nee Greenwell) as directed by his father, Thomas. She sold it to her distant cousin, Walpole Greenwell, of London, then Surrey, who became the first Greenwell baronet in 1906. His branch of the family had split from the main line of Greenwell of Greenwell and moved to Corbridge on the Tyne

Other Notable Greenwells:

The Greenwell Baronetcy

The current Baronet, Sir Edward Greenwell is the 4th. Baronet since the Baronetcy was created in 1906. The 1st. Baronet, Sir Walpole Lloyd Greenwell, had purchased “Greenwell” from Isabella Fletcher (nee Greenwell) in 1890. He was High Sheriff of Surrey and H.M. Lieutenant of London. This family is descended from Anthony Greenwell of Corbridge, Northumberland (about 1600), who was a younger son from the line of Greenwell of Greenwell.

Captain Whitfield Greenwell, the great great great grandfather of Walpole Lloyd Greenwell, was promoted to captain in 1710, but his regiment, Lord Mark Kerr's Regiment of Foot, was disbanded in 1712 and he went onto half pay. He was killed at the Battle of Glenshiels in 1719. The family moved to London in about 1800.

The Wear Shipbuilding Greenwells

In 1901, Mr. T.W. Greenwell founded “Greenwells”, a ship repairers, at the South Dock, Sunderland, at the mouth of the Wear. During the 1930's Sunderland was the largest shipbuilding town in the world. Smith and Holden, in “Where Ships Are Born” state:

There is no “blue riband” in the ship repairing world - there are no means by which such an honour could be assessed. If there were, Greenwell's would surely have been well in the running for it by virtue of their output in the war years.

By 1946, - though T.W. Greenwell was still chairman - his son, Colonel T.G. Greenwell, was the Managing Director of T.W. Greenwell & Co. Ltd.

Greenwell of Greenwell Ford

The famous property of Greenwell Ford, near Lanchester, was purchased by Nicholas Greenwell of Fen Hall, near Lanchester in 1633. In 1910, Fen Hall was described as dating from the Stuart period, and falling into ruin. It had the Greenwell Arms over the door. Another portion of the land was acquired from the Hodgsons of Manor House, Lanchester.

Nicholas Greenwell of Fen Hall was the 2nd. son of William Greenwell of Stobilee, the descendant of Thomas (who was the younger son of John de Greenwell of Greenwell). This Thomas claimed to be 8th. in descent from William presbyter of Wolsingham. He was living in 1503. Nicholas married Mary Kirkley of Buttsfield in 1623. She died in 1675. William Greenwell of Newcastle mentioned Michael and John Kirklay in his will of 1596. This is probably the same family.

Nicholas' great granddaughter Elizabeth united the lands of the Ford with those of the Greenwells at Broomshields by marrying her distant cousin John Greenwell of Broomshields, in 1819.

Greenwell Ford was sold by Elizabeth's financially embarrassed brother, William Thomas Greenwell (1777-1854, Deputy Lieutenant of Co. Durham) in 1848, but bought back by his grandson, Sir Francis John Greenwell Kt. Bach; CBE.

He left it to his nephew, Colonel William Basil Greenwell (1881-1964), a commander of Durham Light Infantry. He in turn left it to his nephew, Peter Francis Greenwell (a linear descendant of William Thomas' second son Francis). His son, Alan Nicholas Greenwell, who is my 15th. cousin, is the current owner. He sold the Manor House in 1975, but still farms the land, which encloses an intact Roman fort.

The Greenwells of Hawaii, cattle ranchers and coffee planters, are descended from this family.

Dora Greenwell

The Greenwells of Greenwell Ford and Kibblesworth have produced some notable people. They include Dorothy (Dora) Greenwell, the essayist, theologist and poet. She was the only daughter of five children of William Thomas Greenwell.

William Thomas Greenwell was evidently a much loved and soft-hearted man, but did not have a hard head for business. He became bankrupt and had to sell their beloved Ford.

The Durham author Surtees was a close friend of the family. When Dora was twelve, he wrote the following poem to her:

"Dear lass, I need not wish thee health,
For that is pictured in thy face;
I will not wish thee store of wealth,
'Tis needless; for there is that grace, That
mild, that modest frankness there,
Which well may warm some English heart,
And win without the help of art.

I love to see in thy blue eyes
The kind, the generous spirit rise,
That warmed thy sires; 'tis Greenwell all;
Dear daughter of the ancient hall!
Oh! When transplanted, lovely flower,
To bloom in some gay southern bower,
Still dream of hill, and brook, and dale -
Forget not thou thy native vale!"

Surtees' predictions notwithstanding, Dora did not enjoy good health, had very little money for most of her life, and remained single, though her work warmed many English hearts. During the 1860's she worked with the Durham paupers in workhouses and prisons. Her concern for the suffering is evident in this final verse of a poem of anguish regarding the Irish famine:

"God will arise! all evil things
Before his arm shall flee,
Once more with purer ray shall smile
Our green gem of the sea!
He waits His time, and until then
Hath left IT TO OUR LOVE,
To prove unto our fellow-men
They have a friend above!

In the preface to the American edition (1862) of her "Patience of Hope", Whittier had this to say:

" It assumes the life and power of the gospel as a matter of actual experience; it bears unmistakable evidence of a realisation on the part of the author that Christianity is not simply historical and traditional, but present and permanent, with it's roots in the infinite past and its branches in the infinite future, the eternal spring and growth of divine love ".

Another poem by Dora Greenwell:

"Say not good-bye! dear friend, from thee
A word too sad that word would be.
Say not good-bye! Say but good-night,
And say it with thy tender, light,
Caressing voice, that links the bliss
Of yet another day with this.
Say but good-night!

Say not good-bye! say but good-night:
A word that blesses in it's flight,
In leaving hope of many a kind,
Sweet day like this we leave behind.
Say but good-night! Oh never say
A word that taketh thee away!
Say but good-night! Good-night!"

Reverend Canon William Greenwell

Dora's brother William Greenwell (March 23, 1820- January 27, 1918) was a theologian, archaeologist, author, fisherman of renown, and raconteur. Sir Leonard Greenwell (vide infra) was his godfather. He was educated at University College, Durham, from where he obtained his MA in theology in 1843. He originally went down to Oxford, where a career as a lawyer was planned, but ill-health led him to return to Durham.

He was the Curate at Ovingham in Northumberland in 1847, and Curate to Archbishop Wilberforce at Burton Agnes, Yorkshire, in 1850. In 1852 he was made Principal of Neville Hall, a hostel for medical students in Newcastle. In 1854 he was appointed a minor Canon of Durham Cathedral and in 1862, Librarian to the Dean and Chapter. His portrait still hangs in the Library at the Cathedral. Appointed to the Parish of St. Mary The Less in Durham in 1865, he remained there until his death on January 27, 1918, at the age of 97. He edited "The Boldon Book" and other ancient manuscripts for the Surtees Society. In 1872 he proved that the Foundation Charters of the Benedictine Convent at Durham were forgeries.

He was made a JP in 1870. In 1900 he was appointed chairman of Petty Sessions of Durham Ward. His patriachal attitude and outspokeness led to complaints against his style of justice. However, even though questions were asked in the House of Commons, Greenwell's behaviour was vindicated by the Home Secretary.

He collected Greek coins and bronze implements, and was an explorer of burial mounds and barrows. In 1877 he co-authored "British Barrows" with George Rolleston. The Royal Society made him a Fellow in 1878. His archeological collection was donated to the British Museum by Mr. Pierpoint Morgan, who had bought them in 1908 for £10,000. Many pieces are on display in the Museum today. He had sold a collection of flint implements to Dr. Allan Sturge, for £1,200, in 1895. In 1901 his collection of coins was sold to Mr. Warren, of Boston, USA, for £11,000. All of this money which he raised from the sale of his collections, he donated to his family. It formed the basis of the fund with which Greenwell Ford was re-purchased.

The catalogue of "The Greenwell Collection" in the British Museum is a substantial hardback of 320 pages. In it, he is described as the "leading antiquary and archeological collector of his age". His own words on his "hobby" were:

" .......nor can I look back to any part of my life with less of regret or greater satisfaction than that which has been passed in an endeavor to revive, in however faint a form it might be, the almost forgotten past. "

He was a keen fresh-water angler. He has salmon and trout flies named after him, including the still renowned "Greenwell's Glory", referred to as probably the best known of all trout flies. The story goes that in about 1850, fishing in the Tweed, he noticed trout rising to some olives that he had not seen before. He asked the local fly-dresser at Sprouston, a Mr. Wright, to tie him a fly with wings made from the inside of a blackbird's wing and a body formed of Coch-y-Bondhu hackle tied with yellow silk. Wright insisted that there was no such fly, but Greenwell also insisted.

The very next day, he took a record catch. At a meeting that night in the village hall, Mr. Brown, the local schoolteacher, made a toast to "Greenwell's glory".

Major General Sir Leonard Greenwell

Major General Sir Leonard Greenwell KCB KCH (1781-1844) was the 3rd. son of Joshua Greenwell of Kibblesworth. The Kibblesworth Greenwells descend from the Greenwell Ford Greenwells via Robert, the second son of William Greenwell of the Ford, who inherited the Kibblesworth land that had been his maternal grandfather's, in 1701.

That makes Sir Leonard, Dora and William's third cousin, once removed. He enlisted as an ensign in the 45th. Foot in 1802. In 1806 he campaigned at La Plata and Buenos Aires. In 1808 he was in Portugal with the Duke of Wellington. He fought at Badajoz, where his heroism in scaling the castle wall was instrumental in it's fall. He is said to have been the first officer over the wall, though most of the troops were from another regiment. Although severely wounded, he recovered and also fought at Busaco, Salamanca, Orthez and Toulouse.

He was made commander of the 45th. Foot and posted to Ceylon in 1819. In 1831 he was appointed Commandant at Chatham Barracks, and made Major General in 1837. An Aide de Camp to King George IV, he was given an augmentation depicting the Pennant of the 45th. flying over the fort at Badajoz, to add to his family arms. He remained a bachelor to the end of his days. On May 8, 1846, his executors endowed a charity for the poor of the Parish of Lamesely (Kibblesworth) with £1,500.

Robinson Robert Greenwell

Sir Leonard's brother Robinson Robert Greenwell (1777-1840) was a successful merchant in Newcastle. He became British Consul for Hanover, and Vice-consul for Denmark. His grand-daughter Augusta married Alan Greenwell of Greenwell Ford, her 6th. cousin, thereby re-uniting the families of Greenwell of Greenwell Ford, Broomshields and Kibblesworth.

"William Greenwell", the Jesuits and Guy Fawkes

The Domestic State Papers of Queen Elizabeth I contain a letter written by a William Greenwell and indexed for June 23, 1599. The letter concerns a Mr. Wright, who turned out to be a catholic priest. Wright had given himself up to the Earl of Essex in order to ingratiate himself.

The letter is annotated by a Mr. Garnet (the Jesuit Superior) as being from "Oswald". Subsequently, in 1606, after the attempt to blow up parliament by Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy and others, a description of "Greenwell alias Tesmond" was circulated, with a warrant for his apprehension.

Many references to "Greenwell, alias Greenway, alias Oswald Tesmond" were made during 1606, regarding the plot. He was alleged to have been a co-conspirator with Guy Fawkes and to have gone to school with him in York (St. Peter's at "Le Horse Fayre" on the outskirts of York, administered by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster).

This "William Greenwell" was a Jesuit priest. But was he really a Greenwell? According to The Dictionary of National Biography, Father Oswald Tesimond was a Jesuit priest who was born in Northumberland in 1563. He graduated from the English College in Rome in 1580 and became a Jesuit in 1583. He taught philosophy at Messina and Palermo. He was ordered to the English mission and landed at Gravesend on March 3, 1598.

He assisted Fr. Edward Oldcorne for eight years in Worcestershire and Warwickshire missions. He learned of the Gunpowder Plot in secret confession and also administered the Sacrament to the plotters. Although he was accused, with fellow Jesuits Garnet and Gerard, of complicity, he was cleared by the confession of Thomas Winter. Nevertheless, he was called one of the "arch-villains" of the plot, by Robert Cecil, who wanted to implicate the Jesuits at all costs.

He fled for Calais and became a theologian at Valladolid. On the Continent he used the name Philip Beaumont. He was accused on October 5, 1610, by Sir Edwin Rich of plotting to send to the King a poisoned satin doublet and hose. This is almost certainly a fabrication. He died in Naples in 1635. Where did he come by the name "William Greenwell"?

William G. Hart


Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Appendix One
Appendix Two - 1
Appendix Two - 2
Appendix Two - 3
Appendix Two - 4
Appendix Two - 5
Appendix Two - 6
Appendix Three
Appendix Four
Appendix Five
Appendix Six