Johnson & Hanson Trees
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William Newsom


William Newsom (or Newsham) [Dad's 15th Great Grand Father] was born about 1445 and may have been the first resident of Newsham Hall in Lancashire, England, and was Lord of the Manor. "Newsham" was pronounced by the 15th Century English similarly to how "Newsome" is pronounced today in the United States. That is, the 'h' was silent - so we have something like 'news-um.'

The Hall stood more or less midway between the villages of Broughton and Woodplumpton, some three miles northwest of Preston and about six miles south of present day Garstang. The original boundaries of the property are intact, though its ownership has long since passed on. The current location, a working farmstead upon which only a wall or two of the old manor remain, is located on Newsham Hall Lane.

For seven generations this property descended from father to son; the last of the family who owned it was Richard Newsom who sold it in about 1630

William's son, John Newsom [Dad's 14th Great Grand Father] was born in Newsom Hall about 1467. It was during John Newsom's residence in Newsham Hall that Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, built Greenhalgh Castle six miles to the north (1490). The castle was razed some 159 years later (1649) by the Parliamentary and anti-Catholic forces of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. John Newsom's great grandson Robert Newsom married Elizabeth Sherbourne of Greenhalgh Castle in about 1578.

George Newsom (son of John and grandson of William) [Dad's 13th Great Grand Father] was born in Newsom Hall about 1502.

It was George Newsom who was awarded the Coat of Arms, "Azure on a fess Argent three crosses-crosslet Gules" which has been passed down through the generations. According to the 'Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica,' the Arms were recorded in 1567 in Lancashire, which would be at or around the time of George Newsom's death. The Arms, along with those of nine other prominent Lancashire families, may be seen beautifully depicted in an ancient and recently restored stained glass window in the east wall at the Art Centre at the University of Central Lancashire at Preston.

George married Alice Kighley [Dad's 13th Great Grand Mother] about 1519. Alice Kighley's father, Sir Henry Kighley [Dad's 14th Great Grand Father], is said to have commanded the bowmen in the English army against the Scots at the Battle of Flodden Field, 1513, in conjunction with Sir William Stanley (of the Royalist Stanleys of Greenhalgh Castle and the line of the Earls of Derby) and Sir William Molyneux. These knights and their archers are said to have "forced the Scots to give ground..."

The following is an account of the battle excerpted from Encarta Encyclopedia:

"Flodden Field, plain in Northumberland, England, on the border with Scotland, at the base of Flodden Hill, the northeastern continuation of the Cheviot Hills. It is the site of a celebrated battle, fought on September 9, 1513, in which a Scottish army commanded by James IV, king of Scotland, was defeated by the English under Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey (later 2nd duke of Norfolk), chief lieutenant of King Henry VIII of England.

Upon Henry's refusal to accede to his demand to cease making war on France, an ally of Scotland, James raised an army of 100,000 and invaded England. By the time the Scottish army reached Flodden Field, it had dwindled to about 30,000 as a result of desertions. The opposing English army was of equal strength. By nightfall a decisive English victory was obvious. The total Scottish wounded and dead amounted to some 10,000; English losses were about 4,000. Among the Scottish dead were King James, the archbishop of St. Andrew, 12 earls, and men from every important family in Scotland. The King's Stone, an unhewn granite pillar, is believed to mark the spot where James was killed. The battle is re-created in the sixth canto of the metrical romance, "Marmion, A Tale of Flodden Field," by the 19th-century Scottish poet Sir Walter Scott."

John Newsom [Dad's 12th Great Grand Father] was born in Newsom Hall about 1520

Referring to the work of Richard Cookson in his 'Goosnargh: Past and Present', following is an excerpt from 'The History of the Parochial Chapelry of Goosnargh' (1871) by Henry Fishwick, which makes a substantial reference to a 'John Newsam.' Quoting from page 17 of Cookson's book:

"The tythes of Goosnargh are henceforth on several occasions the cause of litigation; and the records of these lawsuits (short and unsatisfactory as they are) furnish us with valuable evidence concerning the parish in this most interesting period of church history.

In 1527 the vicar of Kirkham, 'in most humble and lamentable wise sheweth and complayneth' to the Sir Thomas More, Knt., Chancellor of the Duchy, that he has by payment of 'gret and notable somes of money' obtained from the abbot of Vale Royal a lease, whereby he holds for some years yet to come the 'church benefice or parsonage of Gosenarghe' as well as all the tythes and other advantages; and that John Newsam of Plumpton, gentleman, and Richard Wilson and George Dilworth, of the same place, yeomen, and many other riotous and evil disposed persons to the number of 20 or more (to him unknown) did 'in mein of werr arrayed, that is to say withe clubbs, swords, buckeleres, dagerrs and other unlawfull wepons' on the 20th December 1527, and at many other times, seize the tenth part of corn and grains in the townships of Newsam and Hollow-forth, which belonged to the benefice of Goosnargh, and which was worth upwards of ten marks.

The vicar further pleads that John Newsam is a 'gentleman of gret substance and power and abilitie in the said countrey,' whilst he (the orator) is 'not of abilitie and dar not sew for his remedie by cose of comen lawe;' he therefore requested that Newsam and his companions may be summoned to appear before the Chancellor of the Duchy."

Though after more than 400 years it is difficult to be certain, it is likely that the dispute arose out of the fact that the Newsams were Catholic and the vicar was a prelate of the relatively new Church of England under Henry VIII. We may imagine that John Newsam and his colorful companions Richard Wilson and George Dilworth were disinclined to accept taxes in the form of "tythes" demanded by the Anglican Church, especially since the trio were, no doubt, already giving ten percent of their goods to the Catholic Church.

The Thomas More, knight and Chancellor of the Duchy, written to by the hapless vicar of Goosnargh is, of course, the famous Sir Thomas More of English history - "A Man for all Seasons."

An excerpt from the article on More in the Encarta Encyclopedia follows:

"More, Sir Thomas (1478-1535) English statesman and writer, known for his religious stance against King Henry VIII that cost him his life.

More was born in London on February 7, 1478, and educated at Canterbury Hall (now Christ Church), University of Oxford. He studied law after leaving Oxford, but his primary interests were in science, theology, and literature. During his early manhood, he wrote comedies and spent much time in the study of Greek and Latin literature. In 1499 he determined to become a monk and subjected himself to the discipline of the Carthusians. Four years later More gave up this plan, and in 1504 he entered Parliament. One of his first acts was to urge a decrease in a proposed appropriation for King Henry VII. In revenge, the king imprisoned More's father and did not release him until a fine was paid and More himself had withdrawn from public life. After the death of the king in 1509, More became active once more. In 1510, he was appointed undersheriff of London.

During the next decade, More attracted the attention of King Henry VIII, and served frequently on diplomatic missions to the Low Countries. In 1518 he became a member of the Privy Council; he was knighted in 1521. Two years later, More was made Speaker of the House of Commons. During this period Henry VIII made More one of his favorites and often sought his company for philosophical conversations. More became lord chancellor in 1529; he was the first layman to hold the post. His fortunes changed, however, when he refused to support Henry's request for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. More's religious scruples made him unwilling to sanction any defiance of papal authority. He resigned from the chancellorship in 1532 and withdrew from public notice. The king resented the attitude of his former friend and had him imprisoned in 1534. More was tried the following year; he refused to take an oath of supremacy, asserting that Parliament did not have the right to usurp papal authority in favor of the king. Condemned for his stand, More was decapitated on July 7, 1535. In 1935 he was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

More is best known for Utopia (1516), a satirical account of life on the fictitious island of Utopia. On this island the interests of the individual are subordinate to those of society at large, all people must do some work, universal education and religious toleration are practiced, and all land is owned in common. These conditions are contrasted with those of English society, to the substantial disadvantage of the latter. Utopia was the forerunner of a series of similar books. Among the best-known of these are Candide by the French author and philosopher Voltaire, Erewhon by the English novelist Samuel Butler, and A Dream of John Ball by the English poet and artist William Morris.

" Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

George Newsom [Dad's 11th Great Grand Father] was born about 1537 in Newsom Hall, and died about 1585 in Newsom Hall, Lancashire, England.

George married his second wife, Catherine Colville [Dad's 11th Great Grand Mother] in about 1553 in Lancashire, England, daughter of Thomas Colville[Dad's 12th Great Grand Father]. She was born about 1538 in Lancashire, England, and died Unknown in Lancashire, England.

Robert Newsom [Dad's 10th Great Grand Father] was born 1553 in Newsom Hall, Lancashire, England, and died February 1624 in Bispham, Lancashire, England.

He married Elizabeth Sherbourne [Dad's 10th Great Grand Mother] about 1578 in Newsom Hall, , daughter of Sir Richard Sherbourne and Matilda Bolde. She was born about 1553 in Mitton, Lancashire, England, and died Unknown in Lancashire, England.

tomb Shown here is the tomb of Sir Richard Sherbourne [Dad's 11th Great Grand Father]and Matilda (Maude) Bolde [Dad's 11th Great Grand Mother] , parents of Elizabeth Sherbourne. It is the original tomb in the original location: the Sherbourne Chapel in All Hallows Church, Mitton, Lancashire near Garstang. Elizabeth Sherbourne is said to have lived in Greenhalgh Castle, Lancashire.

The lonely and beautiful ruins of the Castle still stand on a grassy knoll overlooking the River Wyre, one kilometer east of the hamlet of Garstang (picture below). A Newsome Family Legend tells of Elizabeth's marriage to Robert Newsom of Newsom Hall which was "not far" away. This union marks the uniting of two old and venerable Lancashire families - the Newshams and the Sherbournes. Both lines abound with individuals of accomplishment and repute, a pattern which continued into the subsequent emigration to the New World in the early 1600's (see notes for William Newsom, Jr.).

Of the Sherbournes, Burke's Peerage says, "The family of Sherbourne was of great antiquity and distinction in the county of Lancaster, and possessed Stonyhurst from the time of the early Plantagenets. Under Edward I, Robert Sherburn was Seneschal of Wiswall and Blackburnshire, and in the marshall reign of the third Edward, Sir John Sherburn, attending his royal master in his French wars, served at the siege of Calais..."

There is strong circumstantial evidence, but no proof yet, to support the view that Elizabeth Sherbourne was a daughter (or possibly a niece) of Sir Richard Sherbourne of Stonyhurst and therefore sister to Richard Sherbourne the younger who was "Master Forester of Bowland, Steward of the Manor of Slaidburn, Captain of the Isle of Man and one of Her Majesty's (Elizabeth I) Deputy Lieutenants..." (Burke's Peerage). Key points are that Sir Richard essentially controlled much of the area around Greenhalgh Castle where Elizabeth lived, virtually all Sherbournes in the moderately populated vicinity must have been related, the birth and death dates of all of the individuals concerned are appropriate, and there are land records dating from 1586 which confirm, "Robert Newsom sold lands in Thornton and Wheatley to Sir Richard Shireburn..." (Lancashire Life Magazine, August 1974). Elizabeth Sherbourne's pedigree has tentatively been drawn to reflect this relationship.

Greenhalgh Castle was built in 1490 by Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, and was one of the last - perhaps the last - Royalist strongholds in Lancashire resisting the radical Commonwealth/Parliamentary movement of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. The castle took its name from the local village of Greenhalgh which pre-dated its construction. It was never actually owned or controlled by any member of the Greenhalgh family, though there was strong alliance between John Greenhalgh (then Governor of the Isle of Man), much of his family, and the royal Stanleys against Cromwell. Interestingly, the Stanleys were Protestant - not Catholic like most of the opponents of Cromwell. Yet they steadfastly maintained their loyalty to Catholic King Charles I. One of John Greenhalgh's brothers administered the Last Rights to Lord Derby at his execution for treason by Cromwell. King Charles I himself was executed on January 30, 1649. Presumably, Lord Derby's death took place at about the same time.

Also in 1649, Greenhalgh Castle was razed on the personal order of the vindictive Cromwell. Local farmers were invited to dismantle the walls and utilize the fieldstones for buildings on their farms, an invitation many among them accepted. Only one of the original four towers remain.

Evidence of Newsome (Newsham) involvement in the political affairs of the time may be found in a list of "Lands and Estates of several other persons forfeited for Treason, to be sold... 20th Day of May, 1642." An Andrew and a Nicholas Newsham, both of Plumpton (modern Woodplumpton near Newsham), Lancashire, and almost certainly relatives of the Newshams of Newsham Hall, appear prominently on the list. Isle of Man Governor John Greenhalgh appears on the same list. So it is virtually certain that Newsome ancestors were strong Royalist Catholics, fought against Cromwell alongside the great Lancashire families of the day - the Greenhalghs, Stanleys Kighleys, Fleetwoods, Molyneuxs and Sherbournes - and forfeited lands as a consequence.

The source for the "traitors list" is "An Index of the Names of the Royalists Whose Estates were Confiscated During the Commonwealth" compiled by Mabel G. W. Peacock, London, Longmans, Green & Company, 39 Paternoster Row, Hertford, Printed by Stevin Austin & Sons, 1878.

Robert Newsom and Elizabeth Sherbourne had ten children, the oldest being Richard Newsom [Dad's 9th Great Grand Uncle], born 1579. He married Barbara Fleetwood

Richard was the last of the Newsoms to live in Newsham Hall. After at least seven generations in the family, the Hall was sold to a Thomas Wilson in about 1630. Richard died two years later.

William Newsom, Sr. [Dad's 9th Great Grand Father] was born 1584 in Newsom Hall, Lancashire, England. He married Lucille Singleton [Dad's 9th Great Grand Mother] about 1605 in Newsom Hall, Lancashire, England.

William Newsom, Jr. [Dad's 8th Great Grand Father] was born 1614 in Newsom Hall, Lancashire, England, and died about 1657 in Rich Neck, James City, Virginia. William arrived in Virginia August 21, 1635, on the "George" and signed the ship's register as "William Neesum, farmer"

At the age of 17, he married (1) Penelope Ramsey Abt. 1631 in Lancashire, England. She was born Abt. 1615 in Lancashire, England.

Two years later he married (2) Sarah Fisher Abt. 1633 in Lancashire, England. She was born in Lancashire, England.

And again two years later, he married (3) Elizabeth Wilson Abt. 1635 in Lancashire, England. She was born in Lancashire, England.

In 1636 William immigrated to Jamestown Virginia bringing with him 11 persons. Included among the "11 persons" William transported were Penelope Ramsey (the first wife), Sarah Fisher (the second wife) and Elizabeth Wilson (his third and then current wife).

He married yet a fourth time to (4) Gertrude ? about 1637 in Surry County, Virginia. She was born about 1614 in Jamestown, Virginia.

We are not yet sure from available records which of William's four known wives bore his children, William and Alice.

Penelope Ramsey was selected at random to maintain lineage continuity. The children of William Newsom and Penelope Ramsey are William Newsom III, born 1648 in Lawne's Creek Parish, Surry County, Virginia; died September 05, 1691 in Surry County, Virginia and Alice Newsom, born about 1650 in Lawne's Creek Parish, Surry County, Virginia; died Bef. January 04, 1675 in Surry County, Virginia. She married Roger Rawlings 1668 in Surry County, Virginia; born Abt. 1634; died March 05, 1694 in Surry County, Virginia.

In 1636 William was granted 550 acres of land in the "County of James City toward Sunken Marsh for the transportation of 11 persons to Virginia" This patent on the land was renewed Aug 26, 1643.

It is possible that William Newsom, Jr. had children other than William III and Alice. This is almost certain if he is identical with a William Newsom who was granted land in Lancaster County, Virginia after 1649 (Grant Book 2, p. 202, 203; Grant Book 5, p. 465; Grant Book 6, p. 264). A son of this William Newsom who was granted land in Lancaster County was probably Robert Newsom, whose will was dated December 20, 1693, and probated in Lancaster County July 10, 1695, and who left his property to his sons, William and Robert, and his daughter, Elizabeth. The son, William, died in Lancaster County in 1700 and left his land to his sons, William and Robert. His will is dated April 26, 1700, and probated October 10, 1700.

Another possible son of William Newsom, Jr. was Thomas Newsom (Nesham) who was granted land in James City County in 1696 (Grant Book 9, p. 51).

William Newsom III [Dad's 7th Great Grand Father] was born 1648 in Lawne's Creek Parish, Surry County, Virginia, and died September 05, 1691 in Surry County, Virginia.

He married Anne Sheppard-Hart [Dad's 7th Great Grand Mother] between June 10, 1669 and January 04, 1670 in Surry County, Virginia. Anne was the daughter of "Major" Sheppard and Elizabeth Spencer. She was born about 1645 in Jamestown, Surry County, Virginia, and died March 20, 1711 in Jamestown, Surry County, Virginia.

William Newsom III was the first Newsom to be born in the New World. As has been seen, he married into the line of the Spencers, among the first settlers of Jamestown, when he married Anne Sheppard-Hart, widow of Thomas Hart, Sr., and daughter of Elizabeth Spencer. While still a young man, several large grants of land were made to him in partnership with a Robert Ruffin and an Arthur Allen.

In 1687, William was listed as a cavalryman in the Surry County Militia (Crozier, "Virginia Colonial Militia," p. 101).

Surry was once considered part of the old Jamestown settlement. Like nearby Isle of Wight County, it was one of the original eight shires of Virginia. Southampton, the home of many Newsoms in later generations, was formed from Isle of Wight County in 1749. There is a small town called "Newsoms" which still exists in Southampton.

About Anne Sheppard-Hart:

Anne Sheppard was the daughter of Elizabeth Spencer [Dad's 8th Great Grand Mother] and Robert Sheppard [Dad's 8th Great Grand Father]. She was first married to Thomas Hart, Sr. Anne and Thomas Hart had three sons, Henry, Thomas, Jr. and Robert Hart.

William Newsom III was Anne's second husband, whom she married after Thomas's death. She in turn married a George Foster after the death of William Newsom III in 1691.

Anne Sheppard's mother Elizabeth Spencer was a daughter of William Spencer [Dad's 9th Great Grand Father] and his wife Alice Lightfoot [Dad's 9th Great Grand Mother].

William Spencer, born about 1560 in England, arrived in Virginia in either 1607 or 1608, depending upon which of two conflicting accounts one accepts. According to the "Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography," Vol. I, p. 329, William Spencer arrived in the so called 'First Supply' voyage from England to provision the first Colonists in 1608. This version is supported by information preserved by the "Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities."

The other version, outlined in considerable detail on p. 580-5 of "Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1625," 1987 ed., has William arriving in the "Sarah Constant" at Jamestown in 1607 with the very first Colonists, subordinate officer to ship's Captain Christopher Newport. In either case, William Spencer was one of the first English Colonists in the New World.

William Spencer is said to hail from the line of the Althorpes, that is the line of the Earl of Spencer, the pedigree of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

As recorded in "Adventurers of Purse and Person," 1987 ed., p. 580, the Jamestown Expedition's famous leader John Smith noted in 1614 that the men to whom English businessman and expedition sponsor Sir Thomas Dale had allocated farms for the raising of corn were farmers 'whereof the first was William Spencer, an honest, valient and industrius man, and continued from 1607 to this present...'

"Jamestown (Virginia), former village of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America. It is located in present-day James City County, on an island in the James River, southeast of Richmond, part of the 3816-hectare (9430-acre) Colonial National Historical Park.

Jamestown was founded on May 14, 1607, by a small group led by Captain Christopher Newport, who was hired by the London Company to transport colonists. Many settlers died from famine and disease in the winter of 1609-10. The survivors were encouraged to stay in Jamestown by the arrival of new settlers and supplies the following June. In 1612 tobacco growing was started. The colony prospered and became the capital of Virginia.

In 1619 the first representative assembly in America was held here. In the same year, at Jamestown, the first black slaves were introduced into the original 13 colonies. The village was often attacked by Native Americans. In 1622, 350 colonists were killed; 500 in 1644. Colonists rebelling against the rule of Governor William Berkeley burned Jamestown in 1676 (see Bacon's Rebellion). The seat of government was moved to the Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg) in 1699, and Jamestown was deserted.

Thomas Newsom [Dad's 6th Great Grand Father] was born 1685 in Surry County, Virginia, and died about 1745 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

He married Elizabeth Crawford [Dad's 6th Great Grand Mother] July 03, 1705 in Isle of Wight County, Southampton, Virginia, daughter of Robert Crawford[Dad's 7th Great Grand Father] and Elizabeth Carter [Dad's 7th Great Grand Mother]. She was born 1685 in Surry County, Virginia, and died 1755 in Southampton County, Virginia. Children of Thomas Newsom and Elizabeth Crawford included Sarah Newsom, born about 1720 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia who married Thomas Barham about 1740 in Sussex County, Virginia. Sarah's brother David was born about 1730 and married Mary Harwood Barham about 1755 Thomas and Mary Barham claim ancestry back to Richard Fitz-Urse, grand patriarch of the Barham clan, born 1150 A.D., Kent, England. [Thomas and Mary Barham are distant cousins of Mom. Thus the Johnson and Hanson lines have converged by marriage on three occaisions. ]