RESEARCH INTO THE ALBRIGHTON FAMILY OF HAUGHTON, STAFFORDSHIRE
What follows is a summation of the results obtained from extensive research into the Albrighton family from Haughton. As you will read, there is further evidence available from which I am able to draw conclusions based on these facts. The book ‘ Albritton’s of the Second Millenium’ is mentioned as it has been used as a source of information, and is the basis of a number of family trees.
The first record of the Albrighton family in Staffordshire appears in a list compiled of families in the Archdeaconry of Stafford 1532/33. Within this a Thomas Bryghton is listed along with family members as residing in Haughton, Staffordshire. The extract reads;
Thomas Bryghton, Joan, Isabel, uxores eius, John, Nicholas, Thomas, Richard, James, Frances, John Downs, sp'us.
The spelling of Bryghton appears to be an error in spelling, omitting the Al. This is confirmed in that all later references to the family are Albryghton or Albrighton. This entry however confirms that Thomas had been previously married to Isabel, whilst his wife, Joan was a widow of John Downs.
It should be noted that to date no other records of Albrighton (or variant) have been found in the above source. It is therefore likely that Thomas and his family are the only Albrightons in the area. It does not preclude Thomas having a married sister or other married female relative, as these would be recorded under their married name.
Taking each of the above mentioned in turn;
Is mentioned in a number of Haughton Wills between 1534 and 1545.
Witness to the will of Thomas Hodson 8 Apr 1534 / 29 Apr 1534.
Compiled inventory and possible witness to will of John Hodson Aug 1538 / 25 Sep 1539.
Witness to will of Thomas Downs (Downes) 7 Oct 1545 / 11 Nov 1545.
Thomas died in 1559 around the time of his will.
Will of Thomas Albrighton of Haughton 9 Oct 1559
Administration lost folio 174b mentions Richard, John & Thomas Albrighton ??? ( It is believed that these are three of his sons mentioned previously).
Joan Albrighton, nee Hodgson
Thomas’ wife Joandied in 1566/67 around the time of her will.
Joan Albrighton (widow) of Haughton 25 Nov 1566 / 25 Apr 1567
Executors: Nicholas Downes (son); John Hodgson (brother).
Overseers: James Albrighton; Alexander Hodgeson.
Witnesses: William Hodgeson; John Pye; Alexander Pye; John Fakener (curate).
Mentions; Thomas Albrighton (son); Alice Albrighton (dau); Richard Albrighton(son); Raph Downes (son's son); James Albrighton (son); Agnes Launder; Sybill Albrighton; Agnes Downes; Isabell Downes.
Inventory: 2 Dec (1566); 21-8-4; by William Smyth; John Hodgeson; Robert Bely.
1) John Albrighton
John is believedto be the son of Thomas and Isabel. He is mentioned in his father’s will of 1566/67, but not in that of Joan. The reasons for the omission could be due to a number of reasons.
a) He had died.
b) Not included in Joan’s Will as not her son.
c) Had moved away from family in Haughton and hence not in contact.
There is a Will dated 1587 for a John Albrighton of Polesworth, Warwickshire.It is unfortunate that the Will itself has been lost, only the inventory remains. It should however be noted that there is no current evidence to confirm the link.
2) Nicholas Downes
Nicholas is the son of Joan Hogson and her first husband John Downes.
Nicholas is next listed in four separate will from Haughton between 1556 and 1562. He married Catherine (unknown) and they had 8 known children. He died in 1598 in Haughton and left a Will.
Nicholas Downes of Haughton (yeoman) 27 Jul 1598 / 15 Sep 1598
Executors: Catherine (wife); Thomas (elders son)
Overseers: Ralph and William (?) (sons)
Witnesses: (none given)
Mentions: Ralph (son); William(?) (son); Richard (youngest son); Isabel (dau); Elizabeth (dau); Ann (dau, wife of Humphrey Adderley); Alice Albrighton (sister)
Other: To be buried in St Katherine's Chapel adjoining Haughton Church between the tomb of Sir Nicholas Gravenor and John Downes; a 'sill curtiene' with the name of John Downes (his grandfather) on it
Inventory: 12 Sep 1598; 130-8-12?; by Edward Bold; Alexander Kynge; Humphrey Baly; John Downes
3) Thomas Albrighton
Thomas appears to be the eldest son of Thomas and Joan. In the book ‘Albrittons of the Second Millenium’ Thomas is listed as marrying (unknown) and have four children.
a) Sybil Albrighton (6), bn 1551; d 26 Mar 1646; m Ralph Trubshaw 10 Jul 1576.
b) James Albrighton, bn 1556; d 1617.
c) Thomas Albrighton, bn 1558; d 23 Feb 1603/04
d) John Albrighton, bn 2 Aug 1560; d 3 Sep 1609
There is however no proof that Thomas ever married or had any children. Indeed burial records for Haughton confirm that Thomas was buried with his sister Alice on 10 Sep 1617. Whilst it may be possible that Thomas (married) could be buried next to Alice, it however also could be used to demonstrate that it provides evidence that he never actually married. Had his wife died previously, then surely he would have been buried alongside her. If however she survived him, then there is no record of her death.
In addition to the above;
Sybil is mentioned in Joan Albrighton’s Will but does not state how related (not daughter).
A James Albrighton is mentioned as husband of Anne. She is recorded as being buried 16 Jan 1602. He is also mentioned as marrying Margerye Parkes on 18 Jul 1603. They had one daughter, Elizabeth Baptized 20 May 1611. He is also recorded in various Tythe disputes. There is no record of his burial, however a James Albrighton did make a will, it is however unfortunate that only the inventory remains. Regardless it does confirm that he had died prior to Sep 1617. Mentioned as recording the goods/property were, Edward Walker, Thomas Downes and Thomas Albrighton.
There does remain however a faint possibility, although doubtful, (be it that he would have been very old), that this James is identical to the James bn abt 1528.
Thomas Albrighton, no record other than death.
John Albrighton. The entry referring to John’s burial actually reads;
1609, Sept 3 John son of Richard and Elizabeth Albrighton
Unless this is a recording error (original document to be checked) then John is clearly not the son of Thomas. At first sight it appears that he is a previously unrecorded son of Richard Albrighton and Elizabeth Pye, however as you will read later this is probably not the case. It should also be noted that Haughton parish records do not exist for 1560, hence I believe the date of birth to be in error.
Although Richard appears next in line, I will deal with him last for reasons of ease and understanding.
4) James Albrighton
James is listed in his mother’s will of 1567. As previously mentioned it is possible that he has been confused with a James Albrighton recorded previously as bn 1556.
5) Frances Albrighton
Frances is not mentioned in either her father’s or mother’s Will. It is therefore highly likely that she had died prior to the death of her mother.
6) Alice Albrighton
Alice never married and is identified as being buried with her brother, Thomas on 10 Sep 1617.
7) Richard Albrighton
Returning now to Richard, he is mentioned in both of his parent’s Wills. He is recorded in Haughton parish records as marrying Elizabeth Pye on 29 Jan 1569/70. They had three sons
a) Francis Albrighton, bapt, 9 Dec 1572
b) Thomas Albrighton, bapt 21 Feb 1573/74
c) John Albrighton, bapt 11 Nov 1576
Richard died in Oct 1577, buried 28 Oct 1577. He left a Will, which confirms the three sons listed above. One point of note is that Richard refers to Thomas as underage son, but not John, who was baptized at a later date. Is this just an omission or was John baptized at an older age?
Richard Albrighton of Haughton 18 Oct 1577 / 5 Jun 1578.
Executors: Elizabeth (wife); Alexander Pye
Overseers: Nicholas Downes.
Witnesses: Edward Cowp (clerk); Nicholas Hodgson; William Pye; Ralph Famessom(?)
Mentions: Thomas (under age son); Francis and John (sons)
Debts: Cowp wife?; John Torvens(?); William Smyth the younger
Inventory: 29 Apr 1578; 21-14-2; by Hugh Holford; William Smyth; Robert Baylie; Thomas Hill.
Now again referring back to the book on ‘Albritton’s’, the following is recorded in relation to Richards three sons;
Francis Albrighton; No further mention.
Thomas Albrighton; Recorded as marrying Susanne and having four sons
a) John Albrighton, bapt 7 Jan 1606/07
b) Ralphe Albrighton, bn 1608
c) Francis Albrighton, bn 1609
d) Thomas Albrighton, bapt 21 Nov 1613
Baptism records for Haughton confirm John and Thomas, but there are no records for Ralphe or Francis. Of course as the marriage to Susanne is not recorded in Haughton, it is highly likely that she was from a nearby parish, the records for this period not existing. As such it is possible that they could have been baptized in Susanne’s parish .Alternatively they were never baptized.
Taking each of the above in turn;
John is listed as having two children, Thomas and Elizabeth
Ralphe is listed as marrying Elizabeth and having four children, Frances, Joseph, Thomas and Joane. The first three of these are listed as emigrating to America, Thomas as a bonded Servant.
Francis is listed as emigrating to Virginia around 1648/50 and having seven children.
Thomas is listed as marrying Elizabeth Sheyratt on 26 Aug 1641. They had three children, Edward, 1642, Richard 1644, Thomas 1646.
John Albrighton; Is recorded as having one son, Thomas, bn 1600, by an unknown marriage.
New research and evidence
When searching through Haughton Parish Records there is an entry dated 27 Jul 1578 for the marriage of William Ward and Elizabeth Albrighton. So who was Elizabeth? It transpires that after the death of Richard Albrighton in 1577, his widow, Elizabeth (Pye), now left with three young sons, remarried.They had a daughter Joane Ward, bapt 18 Nov 1581.
It is apparent that Joan never married as she is listed as a spinster in her will of 1618. This will confirms that her mother remarried William Ward and she was brought up with her half brothers.
Joan Ward of Haughton (spinster) 28 Apr 1618 / 19 Jun 1618
Executors: Thomas Albrighton (bro)
Overseers: Thomas Downes of Haughton
Witnesses: Thomas Downes: Edward Cowx; Ralph Trubshaw
Mentions: Francis Albrighton (brother, and his son Thomas); John, Ralph and Thomas (3 sons of her brother Thomas Albrighton); John Albrighton (brother, and his son Thomas); Edward Cowx (cousin)
Other: To be buried near mother in H
Inventory: 15 Jun 1618: 18-14-6; by John Standley; Thomas Downes; Jeffrey Lees
Debts: Thomas Pye, Humphrey Cox, William Pye, Francis wife of Edward Walter, William Rawlins, Margaret Sutton, Elizabeth Reynolds; William Pye (?my uncle junior?)
Now this information gives us excellent new information in relation to the three sons of Richard Albrighton and Elizabeth Pye.
a) Francis Albrighton, bapt, 9 Dec 1572, about whom we knew nothing else, we now know had a son, Thomas.
b) Thomas Albrighton, bapt 21 Feb 1573/74, confirms existence of three sons, John, Ralph and Thomas. Please note that it does not mention a Francis! Combined with the fact that there is no baptism record for Francis, it is my belief that Francis, son of Thomas did not exist. For Joane to have missed him out seems highly unlikely.
c) John Albrighton, bapt 11 Nov 1576, confirms that he had a son, John.
Further to the above it will be noted that Joane mentions no nieces. Whilst it’s possible that Francis, Thomas and John only had male children, it is also possible that they had daughters but Joane only left items to male offspring.
Further to the above the previous mention of a baptism in Haughton; 1609, Sept 3 John son of Richard and Elizabeth Albrighton. The mention of John and his son, Thomas would suggest that he was still alive in 1618. Hence the John referred to is the son of another Richard and Elizabeth Albrighton?
Now let us take a look at Ralphe son of Thomas and Susanne
Ralph is listed in his father’s Will of 1641.
WILL OF THOMAS ALBRIGHTON 1641
Item 1 give and bequeath unto my son's son, RALPH ALBRIGHTON the bed whereon he and his wife now lieth with the bed clothes and a pair of sheets now upon the same bed and two pewter dishes of the best sort.
Although refers to as son's son, it is believed that this means second son. This is further backed up by the fact that at another point in the will, Thomas leaves money to two of his grandchildren, Thomas and Elizabeth (believed to be children of John?). It will be further noted that he does not mention any children of Ralph, although Ralph is referred to as being married. Of specific importance is that there is no mention of a Frances or Joseph Albrighton in the will.
In addition the only children of Ralphe mentioned in Parish records are;
a) Joane Albrighton, bapt Haughton, 28 Dec 1643.
b) Thomas Albrighton, bapt Eccleshall, 10 Nov 1647
Please note that does this not only omit Frances and Joseph, but totally precludes Thomas (previously listed as 1636 and emigrated as a bonded servant) as existing. Ralph would only have named a second child Thomas, if the first one had died. There is a record for a burial of a Thomas Albrighton, child in Haughton, dated 15 Nov 1653, they may or may not relate to this Thomas?
For your interest the reference to Thomas being a bonded servant implies that he was probably a transported criminal. It would be interesting to know from records which court he was trialed at? As an example in 1733 a William Albrighton was transported as a bonded servant, after trial in Middlesex (London).
Implications of evidence/research
From my research it is clear that the linking of Francis, Joseph, Frances and Thomas Albrighton to members of the Albrighton family in Haughton, Staffordshire has no foundation in fact. It may be that further evidence may come to light that links them to the Haughton area, however the links as previously believed have been shown to be incorrect. As to where the Albrighton/Albritton family in U.S., originate from is currently unknown. It should be noted that the family in Haughton were not the only ones at the time. They existed in North Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and London. In addition the presumption that they would have been Albrighton in England is whilst possible not by any means certain. The spelling of names varied greatly, you could have been Albrighton, Allbrighton, Albritton, Alberton, Albrittain, Alburton even Albright.
As an example of this I will refer to my research into a John and Jemmimah Albrighton who appear in Pennsylvania in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. I had a belief that they were originally from Polesworth, a mining village in North Warwickshire. It took a while to confirm the links, mainly because of variations in spelling; John was baptized and married as Albriton, 1841 England Census Allbrighton, Passenger lists name him Halbrighton, 1850 US Census Allbrighten, thereafter he is Albrighton or Allbrighton. As an aside, John’s life in the U.S. was an interesting one, which I shall pass on in the future.
There is one way forward to confirm if a link exists, and that is via DNA. Provided there is a continual Albrighton/Albritton male line it should show if they are linked. On my mother’s side (Rowntree) it has been shown that her family from Armagh, Northern Ireland is linked to the Rountree/Rowntree families in the US. There is however no known link to the English Rowntrees (Rowntree’s Chocolate).
My last comment and plea is that we all treat family history research in a factual manner and only link where there is sufficient evidence. It is better to have a shorter but accurate tree, than a longer false one. As for my own tree, whilst I have hunches, my confirmed Albrighton line only goes back to around 1650. The link from North Warwickshire to Haughton is possible, John’s Will in Polesworth 1587, a second John’s marriage to Ellen Simmons in Grendon 1628. They had four children including Thomas and Elizabeth. John Alberton (believed same as previous) in Heath Tax records 1660s /1670s.The arrival of Richard Albrighton in the 1660’s and second Richard married 1695. Finally there are the burials of Raphe and John Albrighton in the 1670’s. However there is no direct proof of these links, so to date they remain unlinked.