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To: "Al Avery"
Cc: "David & Joy Hart" ;
Subject: Fw: Lord North
Date: Monday, November 11, 2002 4:36 AM
----- Original Message -----
From: Malcolm Page
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 2:47 PM
Subject: Lord North
I thank you for your reply to me posted on the Roots web site about your possible North family origins.
I keep my eye on the North site if only to spot possible leads to aid my own researches. Sometimes I have to grit my teeth whenever a putative connection to Lord North pops up.
I would hasten to say I am not a 'professional historian' merely dabbling in some of the more obscure historical events in collaboration with 'real' historians. I have been an avid reader of history books since my teens when I immersed myself in the histories of such diverse countries as Japan, India, China, Russia, USA and various European countries. By profession I was a banker for over 40 years but found the time to get involved in the occasional archaeological 'dig' largely relating to the period of the Roman occupation of Britain. In retirement I have published one archaeological paper for an International Archaeological Society.
I am not into our family research as one of my sisters has been doing that for over thirty years so I let her get on with it.
I do give talks on historical and archaeological topics to clubs and societies by way of provoking interest in my audiences in those fields and providing entertainment. I have been Vice Chairman and Chairman for some years of the History Society in the area in which I live and have given them several lectures and had short articles published in their newsletter ranging from the Roman Empire to the Second World War.
I am something of an 'expert' in a small way on the genealogy of the North family having been engaged for various reasons, see below, on historical and family research over some years connected with the descendants of Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford the Prime Minster's father. I have a pile of paper on the subject! I am always interested to hear of any 'lost' Norths if they ever actually existed.
I assume you have consulted Burke's Peerage. Not infallible in terms of a complete picture for certain families and known to have errors. Additionally one has to remember that Burke's publishes what it has been given by the various noble families usually without any questions being asked. Not unknown for the odd 'black sheep' to be eliminated from the family roster but such examples are in my experience rare. Errant daughters making unsuitable marriages might be expunged but many are not.
Your claim to descend from a Nancy North who married a Robinson was I suspect culled from the Mormon web site IGI. I have a Nancy North from the IGI marrying a Joseph Robinson in Sheffield Cathedral 8 Sep 1789. To link her with the family of Lord North stretches the imagination somewhat. There are at least two other women given by the IGI born in Yorkshire by that name in the mid 17th century, several more born elsewhere, who might have been the bride.
Lady Anne North's birth, 8 Jan 1764, on the IGI is listed under 'Nancy North'. Is this where you got the name Nancy? The entry however says Anne North which was her correct name.
I fear that is an error on the IGI in respect of the name Nancy for her. Her mother, also Lady Anne North (nee Speke), was referred to by her family and friends on occasion as 'Nance', not her real given name, thus I think that might be the origin of the erroneous heading for a birth details of her daughter but it would not have come from official records. The daughter, Lady Anne, married John Baker-Holroyd, the Mormon site has him as plain John Holroyd, 20 Jan 1798. He was later to become 1st Earl of Sheffield. His name was certainly not Robinson.
One of Lord North's colleagues in Government and his parliamentary agent was called John Robinson (1727-1802) but he had no marriage connection to the North family that I am aware of but I will make enquiries, when the opportunity permits, from a leading authority on 18th century British history. He is not one to get involved in family research so I will have to broach the subject very diplomatically.
Robinson was Senior Secretary of the Treasury under North and held various other appointments He was North's principal political confidential adviser. In 1780 he was North's election manager. I know he had an extremely wealthy wife so it was not likely she was of Lord North's family as North was invariably short of money, even when Prime Minister, as his father Francis the 1st Earl of Guilford was a very mean man and Lord North only survived his father by seven years. North's wife Anne Speke's inheritance from her father was quite modest to the extent that his father, Francis North, initially opposed the marriage.
Just a slim outside chance that your Robinson might have been a relation of John Robinson, possibly distant, hence an association with Lord North in your family story but I would not count your chickens before they hatch.
I have a friend whose family thought they were directly descended from a famous man in the mid 19th century. In the space of just four generations my friend's family had corrupted their story in the telling. They were in fact descended from a cousin of the famous man so the connection went back to a grandfather of the two.
Family research using the Mormon IGI site can produce leads but no way does it provide the facility to produce a cast iron, bone fide, family tree without further reference to original sources such as parish records. I have uncovered numerous transcription errors on that site and of course the original contributors may have erroneously made false assumptions about their ancestry. The Mormons have not included every parish register and indeed many original registers are incomplete or, as I have found, almost illegible which can lead to some very strange interpretations.
I now reproduce an e-mail which I have sent to a Cynthia Harrison who has posted on the North site in the last day or so. She 'claims' that she is the 4th great-grandniece of Frederick North the Prime Minister and 2nd Earl of Guilford. I await her detailed, hopefully proven, lineage with great interest as there can only be a connection via Lord North's half brother Brownlow and half sister Louisa. North had a sister called Lucy who could also be involved but see below for that saga!
Extract of an e-mail to Cynthia Harrison
The aforesaid Francis North, 7th Baron North, 3rd Baron Guilford and 1st Earl of Guilford, married three times with issue only from his first and second marriages.
My wife's family 'claimed' descent from a daughter or granddaughter of Lord Frederick North his son, the famous PM who very carelessly lost the American Colonies with very active assistance from George Washington! I have to date been unsuccessful in proving my wife's family claim which I suspect was fabricated and embellished!
The overwhelming majority of these claims, which I would put at 99% plus, to connections with the British nobility are just wishful thinking and can get in the way of valid family research. The aristocracy have been meticulous in keeping records of their family members down the years and if one is connected there should be no difficulty at all in establishing a connection. Citizens of the United States seem amazingly anxious to get connected to ancient royalty and the nobility which I as a 'Brit' find highly amusing considering they live in a Republic!
Our North is an Eliza Frances North who figures my wife's family tree. She was born circa 1813/14 in St George's Middlesex. She married a tradesman, one Henry Noakes a hosier, at Streatham, London in 1832 and was, according to my wife's family story, disowned by the Norths for her impetuous act.
(Henry Noakes was in fact the son of an affluent gentleman farmer of Keymer in Sussex whose family can be traced back to the mid 17th century with certainty and were, via six generations of fathers and sons called Lawrence Noakes, in all probability descended from a family associated with the villages of Ticehurst and Burwash in East Sussex. The family stemmed from one John Anoke and his wife Johanna of Ticehurst 1557. The Lawrence Noakes were minor gentry and latterly surgeons and doctors)
Note to Marlow:- One manic family researcher of my acquaintance has 'proved' that the above Henry Noakes was distantly related to Lord North via a most convoluted line of descent. One has to get back to King Edward III to get the actual close connection. King Henry I (1100 - 1135) of England had 5 natural children by his Queen and 21 acknowledged illegitimate children, some historians think he had as many more illegitimate children by base born women not acknowledged. We are probably all descended from him in some way. Truly the 'Father of his Nation'.
Eliza Frances Noakes (nee North) was my wife's great great grandmother. She and her husband Henry lived in Soho, London in Broad Street, Great Pulteney Street and Carnaby Street and had at least 8 children. It is said she emigrated with her husband and family to the United States in the 1850s where they died shortly after their arrival. Her daughter Mary Noakes, my wife's great grandmother, and at least two siblings subsequently returned to London circa 1860. In 1861 she married Henry Buck at St Margaret's Church, Westminster opposite the Houses of Parliament. Mary Noakes died in 1921. My late father-in-law, Claude Weeks by name, use to recount that Mary flew the Stars and Stripes in her garden every Independence Day to commemorate her brief life in the States. Her story about her mother Eliza Frances North was verbal and scanty with no written evidence to support it.
I have yet to identify Eliza Frances North's parents or their origins but at this moment in time all the indications are that is pretty unlikely she had any immediate aristocratic connections. I have conducted extensive searches of various parish registers for a baptism relating to her but as yet have not had any success.
Discarded paternal connections for Eliza Frances North. Lord Frederick North's second son the 3rd Earl married twice having issue: - one daughter from the first marriage and two by his second marriage to Susan Coutts, one of whom Susan North inherited the Barony of North, circa 1841 on the death of her last surviving sister. Prior to that the Barony of North was held in abeyance with the three girls being co-heiresses. The 3rd Earl died a decade or more before Eliza Frances North was born so he is out of the running.
Of the two remaining candidates to be our Eliza Frances North's father the 4th Earl only married late in life in 1810 to a woman in her late 40s and they had no issue. The third son, the 5th Earl, never married and was a homosexual. The Earldom of Guilford passed on his death to his cousin, Francis 6th Earl of Guilford 1772-1861 son of Brownlow North latterly Bishop of Winchester (Lord North's half brother) the 1st Earl's son by his second marriage to Elizabeth, Viscountess Lewisham. Lord North only had one other surviving sibling and that was Brownlow's sister Lady Louisa North who later married John Peyte 16th Lord Willoughby de Broke.
I assume that it is this 'Brownlow' branch of the family which descends from the 1st Earl's second marriage which figures in your family tree.
In the process of my enquiries I have done extensive historical research referring to valid records and biographies, into the families of Francis North 1st Earl of Guilford and his sons and daughters by two of his three wives and their heirs and successors. There were no children of the third marriage to a widow Katherine Marchioness of Rockingham.
Francis North and his first wife Lucy Montagu, daughter of the 1st Earl of Halifax, only had two children via the future Prime Minister, Frederick and Lucy a daughter born 26 April 1734. The North family held that she died an infant but there is a story that she did not and lived to elope at the age of barely 16, marrying a tradesman, by name Thomas Bradley a tailor of Preston, Lancashire. As a result of this foolish action the North family disowned her. She and Bradley had five surviving daughters of their marriage of whom at least four married and it seems only two had 'known' surviving descendants carrying the names Thompson and Kemp in 1881.
'Lucy' died in 1790 and was buried in the churchyard of St John's, Preston, Lancashire. It was James Thompson, Lucy's great grandson who published accounts of her story in the mid-19th century. He was Proprietor and Editor of the Leicester Chronicle newspaper. He was also an historian and antiquarian and a many of very great integrity. During his life-time he sought to uncover substantive evidence that his great grandmother was Lucy North but to no avail.
The late Professor Charles Dan Smith of Syracuse University New York reactivated Lucy's story as told by Thompson in his book 'The Early career of Lord North the Prime Minister' published in 1979. he had earlier published an account in Notes and Queries entitled 'Lucy North was not buried with her mother'.
I corresponded with Professor Smith on the subject of Lucy North. He tended to the view that the Preston tailor's wife was indeed the Prime Minister's sister.
I have to say that some historians regard the story of Lucy North marrying a tradesman as being highly unlikely and believe the wife of Thomas Bradley, the tradesman, was an impostor. It is just possible she was the daughter of Lord Frederick North's 'Wet Nurse' by name Mary Bradley and was what is called a co-suckler. My researches on Lucy Bradley (North) have of late been conducted in conjunction with an historian a distant relative by marriage of the current Earl of Guilford. He an I have uncovered some additional information but that in itself does not prove the case either way.
If your lineage as a great-grandniece of Lord North stems from Lucy, his natural sister, I would be most interested from an historical point of view. I should also be interested if your line of descent stems from Lord North's half brother Lord Brownlow North or half sister Lady Louisa North and their descendants which might conceivably be linked in with my wife's family story if that has any substance.
I have exchanged e-mails with two posters on the Roots Web 'North' site, one of whom doggedly maintains she is descended from Lord North despite all the evidence to the contrary. I have given up on her! She is determined to be related to the Earls of Guilford come what may!
It is thus encouraging to find someone who appears to have chapter and verse on her lineage in that connection.
For some people family legends gain a momentum all of their own in the telling and re-telling!
I look forward to hearing from you.
End of e-mail
I have been contacted by at least four people over the last ten years who claim some connection with the 18th century Norths. One related to a supposed 'illegitimate' son of Lord North. North was an extremely stodgy character and there is no evidence at all that he ever had a mistress or sexual encounters with women. So far none of the contacts have produced anything tangible to support their claims.
The family of one gentlemen with whom I have contact and who lives in Indiana has it they are descended from a sister of Lord North married to a tradesman. He has not got a clue as to what branch of the family introduced the story into their folklore. He suspects one of the males in his lineage may have married a lady whose family were the source. He has spent decades researching his family tree in the States and has produced no evidence to support the story.
Although not exactly relevant to your researches I attach by seperate e-mail a short article I did on Lucy North for our History Society newsletter.
I hope all this gives you something to chew on!