Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Some thoughts on Henry Harrison (circa 1660-1727)

Henry Harrison is believed to the the patriarch of all the Catholic Harrison families of the Egton/Glaisdale area of North Yorkshire (though recent DNA tests now seem to indicate otherwise).  He was born circa 1660 and died at Greenhouses, Glaisdale Township in 1727. 

Researching a James Harrison who lived and died at Greenhouses in late 1730 it was discovered that two and possibly three of Henry Harrison's children were involved in the processing of James' estate. Henry's sons John and William were witnesses to James' will and it looks like Henry's son Francis assisted with the valuation of the estate.

We are fortunate that the deed documenting James' purchase of his farm at Greenhouses in 1704 has survived and is now in the North Yorkshire Country Record Office in Northallerton.  This predates the North Yorkshire Register of deeds which only started in 1736.  It is clear from this document that James was of Hall Park Farm, Lealholm.  This was the farm of a John Harrison.  John purchased the property when the Danby Estate was sold off in 1655.

John Harrison died on December 28, 1680, and was buried at Danby according to the Danby Anglican Parish Records.  There is no will only an Admon document dated April 15, 1681 which left the administration of the estate to his son James.  This document provides very little information as the original file, which might have had more detail and documentation, is now lost and we only have a few lines in the official copybook.

Given that three of Henry Harrison's children were involved in the estate of James Harrison I suspect that Henry and James were brothers and therefore the sons of John Harrison of Hall Park Farm, Lealholm.

However, it is worth noting that James Harrison seems to have succumbed to the pressure to join the Church of England as he baptized all his children there and he does not appear in the Registration of Papist Estates in 1717 as Henry does.

Strengthening this link is the fact that Joseph Harrison, the son of James Harrison, also appears to be a witness to the will of Henry Harrison.

Of course to prove this connection more proof is required.

If I could find a male descendant of James Harrison we could prove it with a DNA test.