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The Antecedents of the Weatherburns at Norham

Back to early seventeenth century

Since the discovery of the Wedderburn Book, published privately by Alexander Wedderburn in 1898, with its chapter on the Wedderburns in Northumberland, it has been possible to examine the descent of John Weatherburn of Norham and Christopher Weatherburn of Tweedmouth. John was a blacksmith, in Norham, until his death. Christopher was a salmon fisherman, in Tweedmouth, where he died. This book, with its information collected from those living about 1885, gives the father and grandfather of John and Christopher with at least some information on their siblings. This has proved just enough to move back far enough to link to earlier parish registers.

The most probable origin of the family, taking all this together, is at Berwick in the mid-17th century. There are a few earlier Weatherburn entries there for the 16th century, and two families one of five, born to George and Jane (Nevison) at the turn of the century; the other of six, born to John, between 1617 and 1630. None of these have been connected up. However, between 1656 and 1669 there were seven children to Thomas, baptised at Berwick, of whom the sons were Andrew 1656, John 1657, and James 1669. It is possible that Thomas was the son of David baptised at Berwick in 1625 but it is also quite likely that this entry is in error and Thomas was another son to John among the family recorded between 1617 and 1630. David is a most unusual name among the Weatherburns in Northumberland, with only one baptism or marriage recorded under this name among the whole Family Search IGI records for the country.

Attention has been concentrated on John, the son of Thomas, with no attempt to follow up Andrew or James, except in so far as any entries appearing in the course of examination of the records at Berwick or Alnwick (where there seems to have been a group of similar size as at Berwick and which were probably connected). There has not been opportunity to examine parish burial records for evidence of infant deaths among the baptisms in any part of this early period. Nor have Scottish records been sought. Before going further, it must be pointed out that there were four children baptised to Thomas Weatherburn in Alnwick, viz Dorothy 1655, William 1660, Thomas 1661 and Ralph 1662. It is tempting to assume that these children form a single family with the ones at Berwick but the dates do not fit and records for that date, if they are examined, will be difficult to decypher.

Reverting to John, the second son of Thomas baptised at Berwick in 1657, he married Grace Alder at Alnwick in 1676, and had six children baptised at Berwick. The first two were sons -Thomas in 1677 and John in 1679. Again it is the second son, John, whose family has to be followed. He married Anne Ferguson at Berwick in 1706 and a suitable family has been found for children of John. However these children were all baptised at Alnwick. No John Weatherburn has shown up in the Alnwick records who might have fathered these children and John of Berwick whose mother Grace Alder apparently came from Alnwick. Therefore a move of John and wife Anne Ferguson from Berwick to Alnwick seems feasible.

It was the fourth son of this family, Henry, who has been linked to the Norham group and whose name has been repeated through the generations. Of the sons of John who were baptised at Alnwick, no information has been found relating to John or Joseph; Jacob seems to have married Anne Horsley at Alnwick in 1737 and had at least one son, John, baptised at Lesbury in 1738; while Thomas probably had three sons baptised at Alnwick, John 1735, John 1740 and Thomas 1746. Henry however is the first Weatherburn mentioned in the Weatherburn Book although his first name is not given.

The burial register records three burials at Norham which give this link. They are:

  • Thomas of Horncliffe buried 1831 aged 88, so born 1743.
  • Henry of Loanend buried 1833 aged 88, so born 1745.
  • James of Longridge buried 1833 aged 78, so born 1755.

Two of these, Henry and James, are recorded by Alexander Weatherburn as brothers. The parish records give for this period the following children of Henry:

  • Mary baptised 1738 at Lesbury.
  • Margaret baptised 1741 at Chatton.
  • Thomas baptised 1743 at Chatton.
  • Henry baptised 1745 at Chatton.
  • Elizabeth baptised 1752 at Norham.
  • James baptised 1756 at Norham.

There was a marriage between Henry Weatherburn and Anne Tindal, at Belford in 1742 and the last four were obviously children of this marriage. Also Henry was old enough for the two births - Mary and Margaret - to have been born to an earlier marriage which has not been recorded in Northumberland. The birth of Agnes, mentioned by Alexander Weatherburn, has not been found but Elizabeth could lave been the second daughter he mentions without a name.

For the next two generations, the Weatherburn Book is the only source of information for the children of Henry of Loanend but the marriage of James of Longridge and the baptisms of his children have been recorded.

The information and research in this page was provided by Julia Rule Latham nee Weatherburn, great grand-daughter of John Weatherburn of Norham - brother of Christopher.


Owner/SourceJulia Rule Latham
Date6 Jul 1996
Linked toFamily: Weatherburn/Royes (F30); Christopher Weatherburn

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