1.2. Letter ‘Duxburys of Duxbury’ HM to Peter Duxbury

Helen Moorwood 2013

N.B.I have copied this letter (with a few silent corrections) from the Duxbury Family History website, where it has been since c.2000 (and still is), because it provides the background to my later research on the Standishes of Duxbury. All still very much remains valid. Back in 1998 it appeared under NEWS, NEWS, NEWS --- The latest and some older News on Duxbury related matters.

Sauerlach, Germany, February 1998

Dear very distant cousin Peter,

I have indeed done an enormous amount of work on the Early DUXBURYs, which has made the last year very exciting. One area of research has led to another and produced an overwhelming amount of material, which I am still processing, and still need to obtain the final documentation to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. I am also still in correspondence with various historian to clarify various points. More later.

You will have gathered from Tony Foster that I too am a Darwen DUXBURY (perhaps this is a good point to explain that I always put the old families in capitals - you will appreciate why when we get to the DUXBURYs and STANDISHes of Duxbury and Standish.) You can see my descent on the enclosed Family Free, which will tell you that the last male DUXBURY in my line was gt-grandfather William Henry, that I am a teacher (of English at the European School Munich) and husband Alan an astronomer (at the European Southern Observatory), which is why we live just outside Munich. You will also see a July 1996 date at the top, which is indeed just about the time when I had researched most details of my Darwen family, and was about to settle down to write a book for the family. I have still not completed this, as soon after that I became totally absorbed by the MOORWOODs, taking them back in enormous detail to the 14th century, and this successful experience made me turn to the Early DUXBURYs just a year ago.

Other Darwen DUXBURY researchers. We all go back to George bur. 1610. I received most of my early information from Ray Aspden, a former schoolmate at Hollins Grove Primary School and the first two years at Darwen Grammar School. He knows as much if not more about the Darwen DUXBURYs as Tony Foster, indeed a lot of Tony’s entries are from Ray’s work. He’s descended from John. Alan Duxbury of Euxton and Stanley Duxbury of Morecambe are descended from various brothers and have done quite a bit of probing into the DUXBURYs of Duxbury. The only other researcher I know, who is descended like me from Owd Kester, is Geoff Lightbown of Derby. Apparently a lot of descendants of John “The Duke 0’ Darren”, son of Simon, have traced themselves back to him. I mention all this in case you have any gaps on your family tree; but you can probably plug most of them from Tony’s work, if he has sent you the full printout.

My research on the DUXBURYs of Duxbury. Just a year ago I started with the Victoria County History account, which is wonderful for giving references, but came to many wrong conclusions. I fairly soon established a continuous male DUXBURY presence from 1120 to 1524 when Thomas sold all the DUXBURY estates in Duxbury, Heath Charnock, Chorley, Adlington and Holland, and Duxbury (Old) Hall itself This formed the first primitive Family Tree. Their history was so intertwined with that of the STANDISHes of Duxbury and Standish, that I found myself researching their early history as well. I also became fascinated as to where they had all lived, and found myself uncovering the sites of Deowuc’s burgh (which gave its name to Duxbury), Duxbury Old) Hall (home of the DUXBURYs) and The Pele (home of the STANDISHes of Duxbury), as well as an almost complete reconstruction of the development and history of Duxbury from Anglo-Saxon times on. I had completed most of this research by the autumn (after two visits to Duxbury in May and August), and settled down to write the story of the DUXBURYs of Duxbury.

In the middle of this I asked an innocent question, which led to the serendipitous discovery of Pilgrim Father Myles STANDISH’s ancestry, which researchers on both sides of the Atlantic have been hunting for over centuries. I realized that this was dynamite, and that if I could find more supporting evidence, I potentially had a minor American bestseller on my hands. Much of my free time since then has been taken up in obtaining this evidence and trying to work out why none of the dozens of researchers who have trodden the same path had ever discovered Myles gt-grandfather in Duxbury. In the process, I have also completely rewritten the history of the STANDISHes of Duxbury, and uncovered much more about the DUXBURYs of Duxbury.

And that is where I am at the moment, with four partially written books spread over dozens of files on my shelf and on the computer, some chapters printed out and covered in red revisions/ corrections. Two articles are with journals - a summary of my search for the DUXBURYs & highlights with Lancashire, the journal of the Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society, and a summary of my findings of the sites of Deowuc’s burgh, etc. with the Lancashire History Quarterly. I hope that both will appear in one of the issues later this year. By then I hope that my books will have started appearing. I’ve decided to publish them myself, and am at the moment involved in setting up a publishing company, clearing copyright problems, etc. The books/booklets (all 50-100 pages) will probably appear in the following order: Myles STANDISH of Duxbury, The STANDISHes of Duxbury, The DUXBURYs of Duxbury, Ancient Sites and Old Halls in Duxbury.

As you see, I have come an awfully long way since sorting out my Darwen DUXBURYs 18 months ago, but there is still a lot of work ahead.

Finally, the story in brief of our early ancestors(you will gather from the above that the full story requires hundreds of pages, and I still have not produced a version of any chapter that does not require rewriting). Believe me, every statement I make below is backed up by solid documentation, or accepted facts from local history, or aerial photos/ field names/ field-walking.

The first Angle in Duxburyprobably built his farm in Burgh and either immediately or soon afterwards fortified it. Either at the same time or later another farm was built and fortified on the other side of the Yarrow, and the name of one of its owners, Deowuc, became attached to it. I strongly suspect that Deowuc lived at the time of the Viking invasions c. AD 900, Danes arriving from the east and Irish Sea Norse Vikings from Dublin and the Isle of Man.

The first mention of Deukesbir', Dokesburi in recordsis at the beginning of the 13th century, but one mention of Roger son of Henry son of Ulf de DUXBURY allows a reconstruction of the family back to Ulf b. c.1120. The early names reveal the presence of Anglo-Saxons, Danish and Norwegian Vikings, followed by marriage with minor Normans within three generations after the Conquest. Siward son of Magn(e)us emerges from the mists as the owner of a third of Duxbury and half of Adlington, and the next few generations were the only resident (part) Lords of the Manor of Duxbury, almost certainly living at successive rebuildings of Duxbury Hall near the site of the original Deowuc’s burgh.

The next most notable event for the family was the BANASTER Uprising in October-November, 1315 led by Sir Adam BANASTER and others against Thomas Earl of Lancaster and his lieutenant Sir Robert de HOLLAND. Unfortunately, Henry de DUXBURY was on the wrong side, was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle, had to pay 5 marks ransom, also suffered financially from the disastrous harvest, and had to sell some of his lands. Hugh de STANDISH bought the area around Duxbury mill, built or rebuilt the nearby farm, which became the seat of the STANDISHes until c.1600, and probably around the time of the Scottish raid as far south as Chorley in 1322, built a Pele tower on the hill behind. Their home from then on was called The Pele/ Peel.

Far from the VCH account of Henry being ruined, he and the next three generations were still Lords of the Manor. Henry’s grandson Henry and Hugh’s granddaughter Agatha married, which consolidated the DUXBURY Lordship of 2/3 of the Manor. They had a son John, who seems to have died in 1381 in his mid-twenties (from illness, accident, murder? I favour the murder theory with a long complicated story behind it, involving a STANDISH killing Wat TYLER of the Peasants’ Revolt of that year). He left one surviving son John, a young lad at the time of his father’s death. His maternal grandfather Hugh took over the Lordship and administration of his estates. The big DUXBURY grudge must have been that the STANDISHes never gave the Lordship back!

John (c.1377-c.1430) and his son Ughtred (c.1400-1460>) seem to have been the only male DUXBURYs left in Duxbury, which probably explains why they stayed put, farming Duxbury Hall and demesne, while several STANDISH of Duxbury cousins went to France to fight in the 100 Years War - four of them at Agincourt, Sir Hugh being knighted on the field; Sir Hugh, Sir Christopher and Rowland in later campaigns, the last being knighted c.1422 and killed in battle at Gerberoy in 1435. A distant DUXBURY cousin was also Mayor of Wigan for two periods c.1400. (The same time as Dick Whittington.)

The next two generations appeared as witnesses or jurors, and Ughtred and two of his sons in 1445 were involved in trespass, which came before the courts. There was almost certainly a marriage to a STANDISH (of ?), and Ughtred (c.1470-1513) married Agnes STANDISH of Standish, daughter of a younger brother of the Lord of Standish.

They had seven sons, all underage when their father died. Mother Agnes married again, twice, and the eldest son Thomas was all set to inherit not only the estates in and around Duxbury, but also a large MOLYNEUX estate in Orrell, near Wigan. Thomas appears to have squandered his DUXBURY inheritance soon after attaining majority and sold all the estates in and around Duxbury, including Duxbury Hall, between 1522 and 1524. Tudor history is full of gentry who were gamblers or failed merchant adventurers, and we can only assume that Thomas joined their ranks.

The names of six of the seven brothers, and a cousin, appear regularly in early church registers in Lancashire from the late 16th century on, and one can reasonably assume that all the younger brothers went their own way, forced to earn their own living.

While researching the HOLDENs of Holden nr. Haslingden, Pickup Bank and Darwen (my Darwen Family Tree is riddled with HOLDENs) I stumbled on the almost certain link between the DUXBURYs of Duxbury and Darwen. The theory is that John, the third brother, went to Holden under the patronage of Ralph HOLDEN, who married Margaret STANDISH of Duxbury, married a daughter of George HOLDEN, had sons George and John, one of whom had a son George, the one buried at Blackburn St Mary’s in 1610. I am not yet claiming this as the ‘truth’; Ray Aspden wants more documentation before he will accept it. This can only come from sorting out the 16th century HOLDENs in the same way as I have sorted out the MOORWOODs, DUXBURYs & STANDISHes, and involves close perusal of the Clitheroe Court Manor Rolls, as well as other sources. I just literally have not had time to do this yet (I’ve become frustrated by all the other side-lines which have kept preventing me from completing the DUXBURYs of Duxbury!). I am semi-confident that I will find shreds of evidence in documents that will confirm my theory, and this would give all Darwen DUXBURYs a direct line from UIf.

Well, that’s the story in brief. I hope that this satisfies you for the moment, and assume that you would be interested in copies of my books as and when they appear. They might make good Christmas presents for all your DUXBURY relatives? I am sorry that the first one will be about Myles STANDISH, but we can claim him as a distant cousin, with a common ancestor back in the 14th century, and after all, he named his settlement Duxbury (Duxbury Mass., USA, that is).

With very best wishes,

Helen Moorwood

P.S. To the reader in 2013. The promised books on the Duxburys were never completed, because so many other discoveries came along, not least concerning ‘Shakespeare in Lancashire’. Now, however, all is being re-organised, and all will duly appear on this website or in books.


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