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The Origin of the name, 'Newark'.



The use of 'Newark', as a Christian (first) name is almost certainly a result of the marriage between Roger Beckwith, of Handale Abbey,(See below) near Whitby and Elizabeth Newark of Acham (Acomb), near York. Their fourth child (second son), Newark, was born in 1590, in Handale Abbey and he was given the maiden name of his mother as his Christian name. This was not an uncommon practice in child naming practice.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter Newark and Joan Vavasour of Copmanthorpe. The Newark family of Acomb, were part of a long lineage dating back to the 14th century, to Archdeacon Alan Newark of Durham. It is probable that the origin of their family name springs from the town of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire through Henry de Newark, Archbishop of York (1298-1299) and his relatives.  One of the earliest references to the name, is of Richard de Newerk, Cordwainer, in 1275.

The Newark name was carried as a Christian name for many generations by individuals in the Beckwith family, which was related by marriage as explained above.  The last known use of the Newark of Acomb name in this Beckwith family, was by Newark Beckwith (1741-1754) who died at 13 years of age. However, in the area around Handale Abbey, the name slowly spread into other families as a Christian name. It is not known if this was initially by another marriage, or whether it was simply adopted because local families liked it because it was unusual.  (Incidentally, if there are still those who can prove their relationship to the Newark's of Acham, they are entitled to bear the Newark of Acham  arms).

Other than Newark Beckwith, the earliest reference of the use of the name as a Christian name, is for one Newark Hart, who married Joan Carroll in Kirkleatham on 20th December 1647. Thus far, a baptism for Newark Hart has not been found, so it is not known who his parents were, or indeed where he was baptised but he would probably have been born around 1620/1625. Whilst it is probable that he was Christened, 'Newark' because his parents liked the name, it is entirely possible that he resulted from the Beckwith/Newark marriage link. Roger Beckwith & Elizabeth Newark had three other children, according to the record from the Visitations of Yorkshire, carried out in 1666. They were; Mary, Anne and Philip. Timewise, Newark Hart could be the child of any of these three, although it is stressed that there is no evidence to support this theory, or indeed that these three even reached adulthood and married.

The significance of this to the Andrew(s) family, is that Newark Hart is the 2x great grandfather of Charlotte Burnickle, who married Newark Andrew in 1769 and he is therefore my 7 x great grandfather. A relationship link into the Newark family of Acomb, York would not only provide a link to the nobility but also a probable, verifiable line as far back as the 13th century. 

Handale Abbey 

Handale Abbey (also known as Grendale Abbey) was a Cistercian Foundation dedicated in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was founded in 1133 by William de Percy of Dunsley and it was one of Yorkshire's smallest religious houses, having only ten resident nuns, at the time of the suppression of the monasteries in 1536. In the time of King John, it was granted by Richard de Percy to Richard de Malbisse and his heirs for services rendered for a nominal rent of one pound of incense yearly.

Henry VIII then gave the site of the abbey, now a ruin, to Ambrose Beckwith, a descendant of Richard de Malbisse, absolutely and it remained in the Beckwith family until Roger Beckwith, the last male descendant, sold it to Mr Sanderson, of Staithes. Through his daughter, it passed by marriage to Thomas Richardson who established a cotton manufactury there, spinning and weaving dimenties, thicksets and corduroys. However demand for such items was much reduced by the Napoleonic wars and Mr. Richardson sold Handale to Mr. Stevenson, who established a tannery there.

A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire (1822 edition) by Thomas Langdale states that, of the original priory, only the west end of the chapel wall remains and that much of the old abbey stone has been used in the construction of the farmhouse there.

The farmhouse that sits there now, is in an idyllic location surrounded by stunning countryside including Scaw’s wood, named after a local knight who slayed a ‘loathsome serpent’ who would capture beautiful maidens from nearby Loftus and drag them back to his lair at Handale to devour! It is just outside the North York Moors National park. Scawswood. A walled garden has also been restored there.

Sources:

The Visitations of Yorkshire (1666) by Sir William Dugdale

Yorkshire parish records for Baptisms, Marriages & deaths, available at Findmypast.co.uk

A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire (1822 edition) by Thomas Langdale.

The History of Cleveland, in the North Riding in the County of York, (1808 edition) by John Graves


December 2017


PlaceHandale, Yorkshire, England
Latitude54.5311260442296
Longitude-0.8816415000413635
Linked toHandale, Yorkshire, England

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