When the birth of my 4 x great grandfather James Blanch, in Tewkesbury on ‘the seventh day of the sixth month 1755’, was recorded in the Register of the (Quaker) Monthly Meeting of Bristol and Somerset, the signatures of three witnesses were appended. One of them was Mary Blanch, who was almost certainly James’ mother (his father’s name was Thomas); another was the midwife, whose name is difficult to make out but was probably Margaret Haggard or similar. A third was Sarah Hartland.

Fifteen years later, when Thomas and Mary Blanch’s son Thomas junior married Sarah Millard in Tewkesbury, a Sarah Hartland was included under the heading ‘Relations’ in the list of witnesses – as were John, William and Mary Hartland.

So who were the Hartlands, and what was their connection with the Blanch family? Drawing on Nonconformist records, family wills, and other family trees at Ancestry, I’ve  pieced together the story of this prominent Tewkesbury Quaker family. For ease of reference, I’ve numbered the various William Hartlands from successive generations.

Old map of Worcestershire, showing many of the places mentioned in this post. Click on the image to open in separate window, then click on it again to enlarge.

First generation

William Hartland (1), a yeoman and later a maltster, from Clifton, Severn Stoke, Worcestershire (about eight miles south of Worcester and the same distance north of Tewkesbury), married Sarah Pumphrey, daughter of William Pumphrey, in a Quaker ceremony in Tewkesbury in 1711. According to Quaker birth records, William and Sarah produced a large number of children, but by the time William wrote his will in 1749, only three sons survived: William (2), born in 1712, John, 1717, and Thomas, 1722. The will also mentions two granddaughters, Sarah and Ann, daughters of his son Thomas, and a grandson, William, son of William (2). Strangely, William’s will fails to mention his daughter Ann: however, we can infer from the will of her brother, William (2), that her married name was Rick. Robert Rick was a maltster in Bristol: he and Ann Hartland were married in Tewkesbury in 1749.

Second generation 

It’s possible that William Hartland’s son Thomas is the person of that name who died in Tewkesbury in 1756. Thomas Hartland’s wife was almost certainly the Ann Hartland who died there in 1780, aged 63. I’ve yet to find any records relating to their children Sarah and Ann.

John Hartland may have been the person of that name, with a wife named Sarah, who had a daughter also called Sarah, born in 1742 but who died at the age of seven months. According to the will of his brother William (2), John lived in Clifton, Worcestershire, and was a yeoman.

William Hartland (2) worked as a tanner. His wife was another Sarah, and according to some sources her maiden name was Reeve, though I’ve yet to find a record of their marriage. I’ve found evidence of two sons born to this William and Sarah Hartland:  William (3), born in 1749, and Nathaniel, born in 1754. However, in his will of 1765, William (2) also mentions a daughter Mary.

Third generation

What do we know about the children of tanner William Hartland (2)? We know that his son William (3) married Martha Skidmore in Bristol in 1769 and that they had a daughter Sarah, born in 1770. I’ve found a 1774 marriage  bond for William Hartland of Tewkesbury, widower, and Mary Morgan, of the parish of St Dunstan in the West, London. According to one source, William (3) died in Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1775. Other sources claim that his daughter Sarah married Matthew Wright and emigrated to Australia, where she died in 1840.

The other son of William Hartland (2) was Nathaniel (1) – again, we need to use a number to distinguish him from his son of the same name. Nathaniel (1) worked initially as a tanner, like his father. In 1780 he married Martha Allis, daughter of Southwark brewer John Allis and his wife Anna Hagen, in a Quaker ceremony in Horsleydown, Surrey. Nathaniel and Martha Hartland lived in Tewkesbury, where they had three children: John Allis, born in 1781; Nathaniel (2), 1791; and Sarah, 1794.

Martha Hartland died in 1797 at the age of 42, and in 1803 Nathaniel (1) married his second wife, Rebecca Wilkins, in a Quaker ceremony in Cheltenham. At this stage, Nathaniel was still describing himself as a tanner. However, by the time came to write his will in 1828, Nathaniel had switched professions: he was no longer a tanner and now described himself as a banker.

Fourth generation

As well as his second wife Rebecca, Nathaniel’s will mentions ‘my two sons’ Nathaniel (2) and John Allis, as well as his daughter Sarah, who had married carpenter John Lewis in 1819. John and Sarah Lewis would have two sons, Thomas and William, both carpenters like their father, and live in the Hartlands’ original home town of Clifton, Worcestershire.

Nathaniel Hartland (1) died in 1830, two years after writing his will, and in the following year his eldest son John Allis, a banker like his father, was married at Tewkesbury Abbey. His bride was his first cousin, Anna Maria Allis, daughter of his mother’s brother Jacob Allis.

Bank note bearing signatures of Nathaniel and John Allis Hartland

Nathaniel (2) also followed his father into banking. He was married twice, first (in 1816) to Ann Summers Harford, daughter of Ebbw Vale Iron master Richard Summers Harford and his wife Jane. Nathaniel and Ann had a son, Alfred Harford Hartland, born in Worcestershire in 1817. Ann must have died in childbirth, or shortly afterwards: she was buried at Evesham in 1818, aged 24.

Nathaniel Hartland (2) married his second wife Eliza Dixon, daughter of physician Thomas Dixon and his wife Sarah, in Evesham, in July 1825. Nathaniel and Eliza had five children: Theresa Gales, born in 1827; Frederick Dixon, 1830; Emily Rosa, 1834; Anna, 1842; and Ernest, 1843. The first three of these were born in Evesham, the last two in Charlton Kings, near Cheltenham, where the Hartland family can be found living – at ‘Oaklands’, together with half a dozen servants –  in 1841, 1851 and 1861.

Sir Frederick Dixon-Hartland, M.P.

Nathaniel Hartland died in 1866 at the age of 75, leaving ‘effects under £120,000’. His son Frederick Dixon-Hartland (1832 – 1902) would become an antiquary, banker and Conservative Member of Parliament for Evesham and later for Uxbridge.

The Sarah Hartland who attended my 4 x great grandfather’s birth in 1755 might have been Sarah Pumphrey, the wife of maltster William Hartland (1), or her daughter-in-law Sarah Reeve, wife of her son William (2). A third (outside) possibility is Sarah, daughter of Thomas Hartland, son of William (1).

The Sarah Hartland who witnessed Thomas Blanch’s marriage in 1770 couldn’t have been Sarah Pumphrey, wife of William (1), as she had died in 1766. It was more likely to have been her daughter-in-law Sarah Reeve, who did not die until 1782. So perhaps the connection with the Blanch family is through this Sarah?

The John Hartland who was a witness at the 1770 wedding  was probably the son of William (1) and Sarah Pumphrey: he would have been about 48 years old at the time. The William Hartland among the witnesses must have been tanner William (3), husband of Martha Skidmore, and Mary Hartland was probably his sister.

However, despite my detailed reconstruction of the Hartland family’s history, more research is needed before we can establish their precise relationship with the Blanch family of Tewkesbury.