William Brown (1717-1782)
Should also have included:
Margaret Brown 1779-1804.
Apart from your (naturally) quoting from Burkes (the date for which would have been provided by the family), as far as I can see there are no errors in your blog and I was delighted to find it.
If I refer below to a person named William Brown in capital letters then it is the William Brown, the engineer, to whom I am referring. WILLIAM BROWN’s father and grandfather were both named William Brown; he had a son William Brown; and then four known grandsons christened William Brown so it can be a bit confusing.
WILLIAM BROWN was christened at Heddon in 1717 and died in 1782. The register reference to his baptism is “William son to William and Anne Brown of Heddon on the Wall was baptised April 2nd 1717 “
WILLIAM BROWN’s parents were William Brown (died 1746) and Agnes Watson. Both buried at Heddon. The names Agnes and Anne were used interchangeably at this time which can be a little confusing. WILLIAM had a sister Jane born and baptised privately June 15th 1719 and her baptism was certified the 9th day of July next. The baptism occurred at Close Lea where the Watson family appeared to have lived. Jane died in 1728 and is recorded as the daughter of William Brown of Heddon Pit house.
WILLIAM BROWN‘s paternal grandfather was also William. There is an entry in the Heddon church register: “William Brown Senior of Heddon on the Wall Pit House was buried in the churchyard April 29th 1715.” This seems likely to be the burial which WILLIAM described as “persons of his own family buried sixty years and upwards”.
WILLIAM BROWN’s paternal grandmother was probably Anne because there is a 1732 burial reference to Anne Brown, widow, of Heddon Pit House and as WILLIAM’s father was still alive in 1732 it is most likely that this particular Anne Brown is WILLIAM’s paternal grandmother.
There is another reference to Browns at Heddon Pit house in 1730 (1731) but I cannot work out how they relate to WILLIAM: “William, son of John and Isabel Brown of Heddon Pit house baptised privately.”
There are many Browns in the Heddon register and there are many William and Richard Browns, names that WILLIAM BROWN and Mary Smith certainly used.
WILLIAM’s mother, Anne or Agnes Watson was born about 1693 in Heddon. Her family seem to have come from the Close Lea area of Heddon. Her father was Lewis Watson and her mother was Jane. The Heddon register has an entry in 1732 for the death of Lewis Watson of Throckley Fell. Lewis and Jane had a son John as well as their daughter Anne. The connection with the name Watson is interesting. A John Watson was a viewer for Bells and Brown and lived in the Willington House after the death of WILLIAM BROWN. Could he have been a relative?
Below are the burial records for the Brown family which could be identified in the parish register or from family papers, however I am sure there are more. Just by looking at these people it would seem strange if siblings who died as children were not also buried at Heddon.
In 1788 Margaret Brown (nee Dixon), daughter-in-law of WILLIAM BROWN died 17 January 1788, buried Saturday 19 January at Heddon on the Wall, aged 43 years
In 1811 Mrs Ann Brown (nee Smith, widow of Richard Brown Esq, son of WILLIAM BROWN and Mary Smith) was buried at Heddon. Ann was described as being of St Andrews parish. Surely Richard is likely to have been buried at Heddon as well unless he died away from Northumberland?
In 1812 William Brown (son of WILLIAM BROWN and Mary Smith) of the Parish of Longbenton died on 28 August, buried 3 September, at Heddon.
In 1813 William Brown, aged 28, of Longbenton (son of William Brown and Margaret Dixon), was buried at Heddon.
In 1818 Elizabeth Brown, just three weeks old, daughter of Dixon Brown, was buried at Heddon. I think this may have been the last member of the Brown family to be buried at Heddon. Later family burials seem to have occurred elsewhere.
Some of the earliest entries referring to William are:
NRO3410/LES/3/54 created 12 August 1737 -Lease of Newbiggin Colliery for 9 years from the Earl of Carlisle to William Brown of Throckley Pit House.
NRO3410/LES/3/55 created 16 August 1737: Assignment of a Lease of Newbiggen Colliery from William Brown of Throckley Pit House to Christopher Rutter.
NRO3410/LES/3/56 created 17 August 1737: Lease of Newbiggen Colliery for 8 years 11 months from Christopher Rutter to William Brown son of William Brown
NRO 3410/for/1/5/112 created 21 June 1738: Memorandum of an agreement between Richard Peck, for the Earl of Carlisle, and William Brown for a lease of 9 years of Newbiggin Colliery and a waylease to the colliery.
(the references refer to the Archives of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers)
In 1737 WILLIAM BROWN would only have been 20. Did the lease on Newbiggin Colliery have to be taken out by somebody 21 or over? Is his father acting on his behalf? And had his father moved to Throckley Pit House between 1732 (on death of Anne Brown, WILLIAM’s grandmother) and 1737?
In the same register there are also baptism entries for Richard 11 November 1744, John 11 August 1746, and Agnes 6 June 1748. These last two entries fit perfectly with the plaque at Heddon, (remember Agnes’ death written as February 1748 would actually have been February 1749), particularly if the children were christened 6 weeks after their births. We know from WILLIAM’s will that there were another three daughters: Mary, Ann and Elizabeth. I cannot find anything about the births of Ann and Elizabeth though it is possible that their entries are under the names of Agnes and Isabel since I have read that once upon a time in Northumberland the names were used interchangeably. I think it possible that Mary was christened at Morpeth on 9 March 1749.
As for Richard’s death, I wish I knew. I once made a note that he died in 1815 but since the Heddon church register records his wife, Anne, buried as a widow in 1811, (and is described so in William Brown’s will of 1810), my original date cannot be correct. I know only of the birth of two of the children of this marriage but surely there are more. I know Richard’s eldest son (William Smith Brown) married Dorothy Roberts, a niece of Margaret Brown (nee Dixon).
I attach the will of William Brown (1743-1812) which mentions his sisters. I have been able to trace Mary’s family and also Elizabeth’s but not their death dates.
Matthias Dunn, summing up in his History of the Viewers (1811), says:
Previous to the period when Mr. Brown began his career. — The Coals were drawn with the gin or waterwheel the water being pumped up to a cistern with a common steam engine. Blasting the coal had not been introduced — neither had tubbing. The mode of managing pumps in sinking pits had not matured. Iron tramways were just introducing. Ventilation was ill understood in regard to coursing the air. Firelamps or furnaces very rare. Explosions were exceedingly common. The working of pillars very questionable. Wooden waggon ways universal. No inclined plane apparatus. All the coals were conveyed in keels and large stocks of coal necessarily kept at the pits and staiths during two months of the dead of winter when all the ships lay up.