Early Teasdales

By Pat Newman

A Weardale lead mining family seen before emigrating

By 1800 there were many Teasdale families on Alston Moor, but the question remains, how did they all come to be there and what were their occupations? In the 1470’s, thirty different family names are recorded in the Manor of Alston, some of who appeared 300 years later, in mine accounts and parish registers, e.g.: Archer, Symson, Walton, Diconson, Richardon, Hutchenson, Emmerson, Vipont and Bonman.

Some descendant lines of these families continue to the present time. In approximately 1470 Alston Moor Manor became the property of Mary, then wife of Richard Musgrave of Edenhall. From her Alston descended to a son by her first husband, Sir William Hilton of Hylton Castle near Sunderland, together with various lands in Durham.

New tenants or followers may have been encouraged to settle on the Moor. In the year 1512 records of different names were recorded with Tesdells among them. A three year record from Henry VIII’s reign notes the stealing of ewes, cattle and horses “Nicholas Tweddell…stowyn a horse, ye contre of Alston More…of ye youddes and cattle of Robert Aknson of Tesdell and his neighbours”. Also in the year 1512 tenements are shown occupied by Richard Walton of Lee houses, John Walton and Robert Nicholson of Wanwood and Robert Deconson of Scalegill, all of whom constituted part of a jury of 16 with Henry Tesdell.

Other Tesdell landholders included Hugh, Edward, Alex and John. Other “new” surnames were Whytfeld, Vipond, Stenson (Stephenson), Farrell, Cowen, Tolland, Blenkinsopp, Nixon, Lee, Henreson, Crafford and a John Watson of Rutherford. Eighty-one different names are included on a property list, five being Tesdells. Luckily, some of the early Teasdales were not entirely law abiding and there are records of Medieval Manor Court disputes:- Roland Richardson failed to drive his pigs “according to custom” on the agreed route and was fined, as was Ric. Raynwick (Renwick) through failing to ring his pigs (to limit arguments between neighbors about whose beasts got loose on open field crops).

A group of tenants were fined for not driving their beasts to the fells for summer grazing on the agreed route. Another resident had to be reminded that “no man shall hound upon the common or pasture”. Thirty years later Margaret Brown was fined for stealing hay from the Lord’s of the Manor and a couple (names indecipherable) were fined for “picking a quarrel and fighting at Gallygill”.

In 1674 Nicholas Teasdale and Thomas Lee were fined 6s 8d for an “affray between them”, with archery practice referred to when Michael Walton was fined 3s 4d for “making his dunge hill near where y place where the buttes stand”. Tenants of Garrigill were fined 3s 4d for “not repairing their buttes”.

Land records of 1599 mention Elizabeth, Martina, Anthony, Andrew, Hugh, Henry, Nicholas, Richard and Thomas (possibly three Thomases and two Richards), all Teasdells. A Thomas Teasdell, who was sworn in for the jury to the court in 1599, occupied Wanwood, a large farm astride one of the drove routes from Brampton and the borders (a defense point). Teasdells/Teasdales resided in and around Alston, a Thomas Teasdell lived at Alstone House, Johes Teasdale lived at Jollybeard House in the center of Alston, Richard Teasdale lived at Rotherup and Gil house. Elizabeth Teasdell a spinster lived at Gillhouse and Andreas Teasdell were referred to as living at “de Claregill” (now Clargyll).

Henry Teasdell is mentioned with Thomas Ley and one family of Lees was associated with Wellgill Tenement at Nenthead, later Alston Mill. In the 1630’s a Thomas Teasdell is referred to as residing at “de Loning”, another Thomas resided at Auston (Alston) House.

Richard Teasdell was still at Rotherup; Johes Teasdale now resided at Slaggieburn. Businesses had been in the Teasdale family for centuries, Alston shop records show a Thomas recorded as a “Glover” along with George Nicholson and William Trollope a draper. Two years later a Henry Teasdell is living at “de Harbottle” (probably now Harbut Lee) and a John Teasdale was living at Rotherup.

By 1674 Aldstone House was held by Thomas Lee and a Benjamin Teasdale was at Hundeshead House. A John Teasdale was at Slaggieburn, and one R Teasdale at Blackburn Mill, which was just beside the bridge at Leadgate.

John Teasdale had some problems in 1697 when records show that John Parmkly of Low House was fined for “bringing his watercourse out of Little Dryburn and to throw it over John Teasdale’s spring and to keep him indemnified of the same, and to fill up the old ditch at Slaggieburn Well”.