Ravenstonedale Parish History Group

Family History

We have heard a fascinating story from Russell Pugh, a descendant of the Milners of Long Gill (just over the Parish border into Orton), who lives in New Zealand (see his Comment below). We have been trying to find out where the three Milner brothers who emigrated to Australia in 1849 (who included Russell’s great-grandfather) would have received their schooling, as the shipping records of the day recorded that all of them could read and write. The nearest school to Long Gill, Long Dale, did not open until 1875. It is possible that they attended the Dame School at Raisbeck so we are looking into this on Russell’s behalf. Meanwhile he has sent us this photograph of the compass given to Ralph Milner, one of the brothers, when he returned briefly to Bowderdale in 1875 to visit his cousin Ralph Preston.  The inscription reads: Ralph Milner, from Cousin R Preston 15 Sept 1875.


We were particularly pleased to hear again recently from Sue Mastel who runs the Adamthwaite Archive and the Ravenstonedale DNA Project. If anyone with Ravenstonedale ancestry has already taken a DNA test or is thinking of doing so, she would like to hear from them and hopefully include their results in her project.

There are currently 38 members, who between them have 18 sets of yDNA and 28 sets of autosomal DNA (some people have done both tests!) – the surnames represented are shown on this page of the Ravenstonedale DNA Project website.

There are also links on the LINKS page of the Ravenstonedale DNA Project website to as many one-name study sites as Sue could find that cover surnames that appear in Ravenstonedale Parish registers.

Since the Parish History Group began in 2010 we have received many enquiries from people interested in tracing their ancestors who lived in or near the Parish, and if a surname appears in our list below, it indicates that someone has contacted the Group researching that name, and that we have exchanged information with them.

A     Adamthwaite (see above)   Airey   Alderson   Akrigg   Atkinson

B     Barnfather   Beck   Birtle   Blades   Bland   Bousfield   Braithwaite   Bradberry   Brown   Brunskill   Buck

C     Campbell   Capstick   Carver   Chamberlain   Chapelhow  Clayton   Clemey   Close   Constantine   Coupland

D     Davies   Dawes   Dawson   Dent

E     Ewin

F     Fawcett   Ffinch   Fothergill

G     Gibson   Guy

H     Handley   Hayton   Hewetson   Hind   Hodgson   Hunter

K     Kidd   Kirkbride

L      Lawson

M     Manning     Mee     Metcalfe     Metcalfe-Gibson   Murray   Murthwaite

P     Parkinson   Potter

R     Raine   Robinson   Rogerson   Roper

S      Stubbs   Swinbank

T      Taylor   Thompson   Turner

   Walmsley   Wharton   Wilson



  1. Hello
    I realise that asking about Aldersons is asking an awful lot but I’m on the trail of a James Alderson born around 1713 in Westmorland, quite possibly in Ravenstonedale. There’s a strong chance that the family were nonconformists as he went into the Independent ministry. I’m trying to work out any connections to the Swaledale/Stainmore Aldersons. If any of your members have similar interests I would love to hear from them.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Tracy
      Thanks for your enquiry – we will have a look in our archive and let you know if we find anything of interest to you.

    • Tracy,

      James Alderson was at Hole and Eadies in 1716. Sarah Alderson was at Hole in 1696. Jonathan Alderson own the whole area in 1655 including what became Beckstones and part of White House farm.

      Historically there were Aldersons in the Fell End area and one owned the Quaker Meeting house in 1729

  2. My Mother was a Hewetson and I have traced her lineage back to Robert William Hewetson (1828-1904) of Lockholm Foot in Ravenstonedale with a high degree of confidence.
    I was confident his Father was Robert (1802-1863) whose parents may have been David and Sarah Skouler. However I have now come across a paper on Westmoreland dissenters by a Keith Lovet Watson who describes in detail a convincing family tree finishing with Robt Wm Hewetson but does not include a David.
    Do you know of Mr Watson and should I trust his family tree?

    • Hi Jeremy – thank you for your comment. The History Group do indeed know of Keith Lovet Watson’s detailed research into the Hewetson family and we’ll let you have some further information on your family history.

  3. Hello,
    Just realized I missed a talk today 5th April 2017.
    Notice you are open on Thursdays, is this true for Tomorrow, the 6th April2017 ?

    My interest in my family history is in area of Bousfields, Taylors, Dargue of Bow Hall, Harker found in Hartley, Hudson Laidly, etc.
    Also, can one join the history group on a Thursday?


  4. Hi – I run the ADAMTHWAITE one-name study and would love to hear from anyone with Adamthwaites in their own family history. We have identified ten separate lines of Adamthwaites – all of which go back to Ravenstonedale or nearby towns. Our website contains loads of data about Adamthwaites along with photo galleries and stories.

    My own 5xgt grandparents were John Adamthwaite (~1725- 1804) and Isabel Keasley (~1724-1804) who married in Ravenstonedale in 1753, when both were described as ‘of Ravenstonedale’. A couple of their children appear in the R’dale parish registers as “dissenter’s child”, which could explain why I have been unable to locate a baptism for John himself – though from other information, I suspect he was a son of Thomas Adamthwaite of Murthwaite.

    A few years ago, I also set up a geographical DNA project for Ravenstonedale – which aims to identify links between descendants of the old Ravenstonedale families (who lived in the parish before 1800) – using both yDNA for direct male line testers and autosomal DNA for anyone, male or female, with ‘Ravenstonedale ancestry’. We currently have yDNA results for Adamthwaites, Fawcetts, Swinbanks and Fothergills and 19 sets of autosomal DNA results. New members welcome!

    I look forward to hearing from you

    • Hi Sue – thanks for your comment. We’ll be in touch with you about setting up a direct link to your website from this one, if you think that’s a good idea! Meanwhile people can leave comments here and we’ll forward them to you.

    • Hello, my grandmother was a Fawcett that traces its history from Ravenstonedale. They immigrated to the U.S. (Allegheny County Pennsylvania) sometime during the 18th century. I would be greatful for any further information/ history, and would consider any DNA analysis . I would love to visit someday!

    • sibellaw@yahoo.co.uk

      Dear Sue.
      My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Phoebe Mary Cicily Coulthard. Her mother’s maiden name was Mary Frances Fothergill Brunskill who was born in 1865. Her mother was Phoebe Fothergill who was born in 1825 and married Stephen Brunskill. She had a sister Isabel aswell as three brothers called John, Thomas and William. Their parents were Richad Fothergill and Mary Jackson who married on the 17th November 1807. Richard died on September 24th 1853 and Mary on 22nd August 1828. They also had three other children who died young.
      I would be interested in hearing from you.

      Kind regards,
      Sibella Whyte.

      • Hi Sibella
        Many thanks for your message about the Fothergills. Sue will get back to you. The History Group will add your message to our Parish archive and check how it fits in with our current Fothergill knowledge and let you know.

  5. I was just visiting Ravenstonedale, May 10, 2017. I was talking to Chris about my family history. He had another gentleman email me for more info to give them to help me out. I deleted the email foolishly and need the gentleman to get back in touch with me. But what a beautiful village Ravenstonedale is. I love it.

    • Hi James. We remember your question and the person who emailed you will do so again when they return from holiday in a couple of weeks.

  6. Hi, I traced my grandfather George Kirkbride back to Ravenstonedale. His d.o.b is 26/12/1904 through the Kirkbride geneology project. We thought we had managed to trace right back to a John Kirkbride d.o.b 9/4/1765 married to Margaret Compston born 1771. Now it seems things have changed and dates we have followed have changed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Samantha
      We’ll check on the information we have about the Kirkbride family in Ravenstonedale Parish and get back to you.

  7. For some years I have been tracing my family roots back to the Ravenstonedale and Orton Parishes. My Great-great grandfather, James Milner, was born at Long Gill in 1827. He was one of 12 children to Holmes Milner and Sarah Stewardson. In 1849, James, along with his older brother Ralph and younger brother John, emigrated to Colac, Victoria, Australia where they worked for their father’s cousin, George Milner. Ten years later, James Milner married and took his bride to North Taieri, Otago, New Zealand where they settled into farming and raised a family of eight children. They named their property “Long Gill”. Ralph and John Milner are remembered for being the first to drive a mob of stock (sheep, goats, horses) and wheeled vehicles right across Australia from South to North between 1870 and 1872. I am currently writing about this epic historical venture. John Milner tragically lost his life in the outback in 1871. Following this adventure, Ralph Milner returned to England in 1874 and 1875 and visited his old family haunts and met up with his cousin, Ralph Preston of Bowderdale, in September 1875. On learning of the sudden death of his brother James in NZ, later that month he set sail for NZ knowing the family would be in dire financial straits. During 1877, Ralph married his sister-in-law Celia and spent the rest of his life farming at North Taieri in Otago. I live just a few miles away from this place.
    In relation to the Long Gill connection, I would appreciate any information you might have regarding these questions.
    (1) Are there any buildings or stone ruins at Long Gill that date from the 1820’s-1830’s or earlier that might be associated with the Milner’s tenure there?
    (2) My research indicates a number of the earlier Milner generations were buried at Long Gill. Are any of these graves around Long Gill still identifiable or have they been lost in the mists of time?
    (3) From maps, it appears that Long Gill is about equal distance between Tebay and Ravenstonedale. I would really like to know where Ralph, James & John Milner and their siblings might have received their schooling.
    Any help from local historical people on these matters would be very much appreciated. I note from the Ravenstonedale website that Val and Steve Fermer have an interest in the Milner family.

    • Hi Russell – What a great story! We’ll see what we have about the Milner family and Long Gill and will get back to you. Long Gill is just outside the Ravenstonedale Parish Boundary but we can contact Orton and Tebay LHG as well about it. Thanks for contacting us.

  8. Hello Checking the list of names I notice mention of Murthwaite. My Greatgrandfather was Thomas Murthwait b 1840 Ravenstonedale, his Grandfather was John Murthwaite b 1770 at Wath d1842.on 1841 census he is with his daughter at Parrock Moor. Have used Ravenstonedale parish records to trace family back to beginning of 17th century; they lived at Wath/Parrock Moor/Rigg end. If I can be of help to anybody please let me know. I also have a copy of the book”The Fothergills a First History’ prepared by Richard Fothergill 1998 which details all their history. Please contact me if I can be of help.

  9. Hi Harvey – many thanks for your comment about the Murthwaite family. We have some information about them, in relation to the Scarboroughs and also the Fothergills. We’ll be in touch about it – and you may be able to fill in some blanks for us too!

  10. Hi I am looking into Whaley’s who were at, Fryar Bottom in Ravenstonedale in the mid 1700’s. It was Francis Whaley & he married I think Anne Fothergill & they baptised several children at Ravenstonedale.

    I think Francis was from the Hawes area originally.

    I also have Thomas Whaley marrying Nancy Adamthwaite 2/5/1779 &
    James Whaley marrying Mary Tweedal 3/8/1788

    I would be grateful for any help,

    Thank you,

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