What follows is some general background information on the corner of England where the Kirkbride family lived. The only part I have researched myself is about the immigrant Joseph Kirkbride.
At one time the family must have lived in what is now the hamlet of Kirkbride near the Solway Firth, in the Allerdale Ward, below Derwent, Cumbria, in the northwest corner of England. The name derives from "Bride", a corruption of Bridget, a beloved Irish saint. "Kirk" being the old Norse word for church, the name reflects the tumultuous and mixed ethnic heritage of the region.
There was a Roman camp here, of at least 30 acres. The present church of St. Bridget (aka St. Bride) was built in the northwest corner of the site. Roman pottery sherds and coins found there have been dated between ca. 80-160 C.E. There was also a port in the area, and a paved Roman road from the fort leading south.
St. Bridget (died 523), the second patron saint of Ireland after Patrick, was revered by the early Irish missionaries to the west coast of Britain/Scotland. She also had followers among the Vikings who spread out from Ireland to the Isle of Man and then on to the Solway coast. Although it is thought that the present building may have been begun by Saxons (and the chancel arch is of Saxon style) the building is essentially early Norman. Click on the thumbnail picture of the church for more photographs and information. The vestry and porch are later additions. The original church had only a nave and chancel, divided by a chancel arch. The walls are three feet thick, and the church served as a sanctuary and fortress against marauders.
Early on the church's living seems to have been owned by the WIGTON family. It seems to have been given to Lady Joan de Wigton or Margaret and thereby into the hands of her husband, Sir John de Weston, according to a 1341 inquisition. Later the living became invested in the DALSTON family. It seems that the sixth Earl of Northumberland presented it to King Henry VIII. Apparently both men loved Anne Boleyn, so the gift may have been a gesture of conciliation. In any event, in the 35th year of his reign (ca. 1545) Henry sold it to a local magnate, Thomas Dalston. Thomas already owned part of the manor of Kirkbride, so this presumably rounded out his holdings. Although the links have not yet been researched, it is quite possible that a descendant of Thomas married a Kirkbride. More research is needed on the Dalston line.
There has been considerable confusion over the identity of Bernard KirkbrideB, whom too many secondary sources assume was the father of Matthew KirkbrideA and grandfather of "our" Joseph Kirkbride1, the immigrant. However, there were several contemporaneous men named Bernard. One Bernard married Jane Featherstone (aka Featherstonehaugh) who can be traced back to King Edward III's son Lionel, born in Antwerp, first Duke of Clarence. This connection links us to many crowned heads of early medieval Europe. However, it has been proved to be erroneous, because Bernard was the last of his line, and he and Jane died childless. Several Kirkbride cousins are trying to find more about the various Kirkbrides through a study of their sixteenth and seventeenth century wills. These have not been transcribed and are extremely difficult to decipher. Roger Clayton has hypothesized that there were two quite distinct Kirkbride families in Cumberland. One, centered around Ellerton, was gentry and therefore was the family with the interesting medieval noble and royal connections. The other were yeomen of Kirkbride and environs. This is the family from which the immigrant Joseph descended.[7a] If anyone has some documentation to illuminate this puzzle, I would be very grateful to hear from you.
The village of Kirkbride "is situated on the south side of the estuary of the Wampool, 6 miles north by west of Wigton." In ca. the 1840s there was a small meeting house belonging to the Religious Society of Friends, though there was only one Quaker in the parish at that time. Kirkbride Parish "is bounded on the east and north by the river Wampool, and on the west and south by Oulton and East Waver townships, and is about 1½ miles in length and breadth. It has no dependant township, but contains the hamlets of Longland's-Head and Powhill, lying within one mile south of the village [of Kirkbride], and 1,606 acres of land, rated [in 1841] at £1609 . . . . The soil is various, but in general consists either of a moss earth or clay, and is very level. Its population in 1841, amounted to 372 souls."
A more detailed knowledge of our particular Kirkbride ancestors begins with Joseph Kirkbride1, who was born 29 September 1662 at Oulton, son of Matthew KirkbrideA. He died in 1737/8 at the age of 75, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was married three times and had fourteen children. Oulton is a tiny hamlet on the Wigton-Kirkbride Road, just north of Wigton. It's west, southwest of Carlisle.
Joseph was a member of Pardsley Cragg Monthly Meeting in Cumbria, England. He ran away from his master to whom he had been apprenticed and, as a single man, joined the group of Quakers sailing to Bucks County on the Bristol Factor. The story goes that he carried only a small bundle of clothing and a flail. The group arrived either 7th month [September] 29, 1682, or on 28 October 1682. Joseph worked at first at Pennsbury Manor, the country estate of William PENN, then settled for a time in West Jersey. While still a young man of 23 in August 1687 he bought 500 acres in Falls Township from Thomas ATKINSON for £35. He was identified as a carpenter. On 23 July 1696 Joseph sold the same 500 acres to Gideon FREEBORN of Rhode island for £50.
Joseph was a surveyor and businessman. An intriguing bond dated 20 Eleventh Month 1687 binds Joseph Kirkbride and Robert LUCAS to Arthur COOKE, Thomas JANNEY, William YARDLEY, and Nicholas WALN for the sum of £24. It further stated that Joseph had £12 in his possession, “being orphanage money belonging to Henry COMLY, son and orphan of Henry Comly, Bucks Co., dec’d.” The estate was to be administered before 14 Tenth Month of the following year. It is interesting that a man as young as Joseph should have been entrusted with these amounts. It is also interesting that only a few months earlier he had had the cash to buy a farm.
Joseph transferred his membership to Falls Monthly Meeting. He married 13 March 1688 at her father’s house, Phebe BLACKSHAW, daughter of Randal (Randle, or Randolph) and Alice (BURGES). They had six children including one set of fraternal twins. Joseph's homestead farm remained the home of the Kirkbride family for several generations until 1873 when it was sold to Mahlon MOON, although this may have been a later building, as the British burned the “handsome mansion of [his grandson] Col. Joseph Kirkbride, of Falls” during the Revolution.
Joseph Kirkbride’s name appears fairly frequently in Bucks County real estate records. He witnessed bonds, as on 20 Twelfth Month 1693, and deeds, as on 2 Ninth Month 1695; 22 Fourth Month 1696; 27 Fourth Month 1696; two on 8 First Month 1696/7; 9 First Month 1696/7; 9 First Month 1698; 1 Seventh Month 1698; 20 Twelfth Month 1698/9; 10 First Month 1700; 61[sic] First Month 1700; 6/6/1701, 1/7/1701; 13/6/1701; 2/4/1702. Witnessing documents like these indicates that Joseph was present at the court when it met quarterly to deal with most of the legal issues of the young county. Joseph and Edmund LOVETT served as trustees for the orphaned children of Abraham COX in 1699.
Joseph also bought and sold land. Here the records get interesting and potentially confusing, because they refer sometimes to Joseph Kirkbride, yeoman, and sometimes to Joseph Kirkbride, carpenter. Were these two different men? On 1 Second Month 1697 Joseph Kirkbride, linen weaver, purchased from Edward SMITH, yeoman of Burlington, West Jersey, 150 acres for £13.10. The land was identified as “beginning at land of Robert LUCAS”. Then Joseph Kirkbride, yeoman, sold 50 acres “lying next to widow Lucas’ land” for £13.10 to Peter WEBSTER, husbandman. This was dated 8 Tenth Month 1696, recorded 11 Tenth Month 1697. I am assuming that the first date is an error. When the townships were officially set off by a jury appointed at the September 1692 county court session, the “lands formerly belonging to the Hawkinses and Joseph Kirkbride and widow Lucas’ land” were included in Falls; just north of them lay Makefield Township. Joseph Kirkbride, yeoman, on 14 Twelfth Month 1693 paid £6.8 to Randel [sic] Blackshaw, yeoman for “a parcel of land containing 3 and 4 acres lying by land of Joseph Kirkbride”. A deed from Joseph Kirkbride to Randal [sic] Blackshaw for an undisclosed sum, 150 acres confirmed to Edward SMITH by deed on 10/3/1689 and another parcel formerly of Randal Blackshaw 112 acres confirmed to Joseph Kirkbride dated 1/1/1696. The present deed acknowledged 1/1/1698/9. The 112 acres were then conveyed by Randle Blackshaw to his son Nehemiah, land identified as lying by land of Peter Webster and Joseph Kirkbride. On 18 Eighth Month 1699 Joseph bought for £25 11 acres from Thomas BROCK, yeoman, adjoining land of Jeremiah DUNGAN ... to land of Anthony BURTON. On 29 Sixth Month 1701 Joseph bought from Jeremiah Dungan, yeoman, two lots in Bristol adjoining land of Anthony Burton, for which he paid £60. Joseph bought for £40 290 acres near the falls in the Delaware adjoining land of William BEAKES, from John PARSONS, carpenter of Philadelphia County, on 1 Tenth Month 1701. Joseph Kirkbride of Falls Township, yeoman, sold 103 acres beginning at a post by the Delaware River and the corner of John LUST’s land to Mathew Kirkbride of Makefield, tailor, for £30.
Joseph was involved in activities of the Friends Meeting. On 4 September 1701, for example, he was named to the marriage clearness committee for John SOTCHER who had announced his intention to marry Mary LOFTY. The process was speeded up so that William PENN, on whose Pennsbury Manor they worked, could be present at their wedding. Joseph was one of four men appointed to draw up the marriage certificate. The wedding was held at Pennsbury on 16 October and the Penns were present. Much later the Sotcher’s daughter Hannah married Joseph Kirkbride’s son Joseph. On 12 June 1692 Joseph signed the testimony against George KEITH. He was a recorded minister.
Eighteen years after his arrival, Joseph returned to England, ostensibly to visit his old home in Cumberland and repay his former master. He carried a letter from Samuel CARPENTER to William ELLIS in Airton, Yorkshire. A letter from William PENN from England dated 6th month 11, 1699 tells of having seen and talked with Joseph Kirkbride. Samuel Carpenter sent his love to Joseph in letters he wrote to William Ellis 9th month 4 1699 and 12th month 28, 1700. When he was ready to return to Pennsylvania, Pardsay Cragg Monthly Meeting gave Joseph a certificate dated 6th month 7, 1700. But there is no mention of its receipt in the Falls Meeting minutes. He apparently returned on board the Welcome, sometime before 2 Second Month [April] 1701 when the Falls Men’s minutes note that he contributed £2 12s 4d towards the yearly meeting debt.
Phebe died later that year, 1701, and was buried in the Middletown Meeting burying ground on 29 Seventh Month [September] 1701. She and Joseph had six children, of whom one, Mary, had died in 1694 at the age of one and a half years.
When William Penn left Pennsylvania for the second time, in 9th month [November] 1701, a letter of farewell was sent from several Indian chiefs and signed by five of Penn’s loyal supporters, including Joseph Kirkbride.
Joseph married for the second time 17 Tenth Month [December] 1702 Sarah STACEY, daughter of Mahlon and Rebecca (ELY) who lived where Trenton is now. Sarah bore a son, Mahlon, and died soon after. She was buried 29 Ninth Month 1703. The little boy was brought up by his mother’s sisters. Bucks County historian Davis claims she also had two daughters, but this seems to be an error. Sarah inherited 12,000 acres from her brother Mahlon.
Joseph was married for a third time, 17 Eleventh Month [January] 1704, to Mary (Fletcher) Yardley, widow. She was the widow of Enoch who, with all their children, had died of smallpox in 1703 leaving Mary the only survivor of their family. As often happened, the court granted Joseph the administration of his new wife’s affairs. He and Mary were given the administration of the estate of Mary and Sarah, the daughters of Enoch, on 11 July 1706. If I read it correctly, the girls died intestate, and Joseph and Mary were granted quietus on 8 February 1706/7. Joseph and Mary went on to have seven more children, giving Joseph fourteen in all.
Joseph’s name appears frequently in the Falls Monthly Meeting Men’s minutes. For example, 5 Third Month [May] 1703 he was one of five men asked to see what help was needed by a Friend who had broken his leg. Later that summer Joseph reported on the needs of another family. On 1 Eleventh Month [January] 1706/7 he and nine other men were asked to review the minutes and copy them neatly into a book. The next month he was named to a marriage clearness committee. In 1708 Robert HEATH made a charge against Joseph, so Falls MM appointed several men to look into the charges. On 7 Fourth Month [June] 1721 Falls minuted that Joseph, and Thomas WATSON were asked to prepare a memorial minute for William BALDWIN, a Friends minister lately deceased. In 1714 Joseph was one of 23 men who signed the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting epistle, along with others of our ancestors, Thomas WATSON and Nicholas WALN, and Richard TOWNSEND who may be our ancestor.
In 1704 Falls Monthly Meeting granted the Friends in Bristol permission to hold a meeting for worship once a month. In 1707 this was increased to twice a month. They met in private homes, but in 1706 Bristol friends complained that they needed a meeting house. One was built in 1710. The unpaid balance of the cost of construction, £86, was assumed by the three monthly meetings of the Quarter: Falls, Middletown, and Buckingham. The building was constructed on a lot donated by Samuel Carpenter. Joseph Kirkbride was one of the five trustees. By 1728 the building was in need of repairs, which were soon made.
In 1718 the Pennsylvania Assembly authorized a ferry at “Kirkbride’s Landing” opposite Bordentown. It was established by 1720, perhaps earlier.
Joseph was active in the political life of Bucks County. As a freeman he signed the election return papers. He signed the agreement to take paper money of the lower three counties at par, 1730-31. Either Joseph or his son by the same name was named to a four-man commission to purchase a piece of land in Newtown on which to build a courthouse and prison.
Joseph died in 1737, aged 75. He was buried 1 First Month [March] 1738/9. His will was dated 5 June 1736 and proved 18 April 1738. Mary received a half interest in the “plantation where I now live” for her life, plus the residue after other bequests, including a tract on the Raritan River in New Jersey. He left £40 to his cousin Thomas Kirkbride, and £10 to Joseph Kirkbride. He also instructed that £100 be used to establish a free school. He left a total of 13,439 acres to his family, of which the home farm in Falls consisted of 101 acres and 46 perches. He also left three “Negro boys”, Isaac, Cuffa (or Coffee), and Ishmael (or Tehmael), to his son Joseph, who predeceased him at the age of 46.
Mary lived considerably longer than her husband, dying in 1751. Her will was dated 26 August 1751 and proved 3 January 1752. Her son John and sons-in-law Israel PEMBERTON, Jr. and Samuel SMITH were named executors. Son John and daughter Jane Smith were to divide the household goods, the residue of sheets, table linens, and books. She left bequests of £500 to her daughter Jane Smith and husband Samuel, the five children of her deceased daughter Sarah Pemberton each received £100, £100 to her grandson John Kirkbride when he became 21 years old, £5 each to the five granddaughters who were the children of her “son-in-law” (i.e. step-son) Joseph, £5 to Mahlon’s daughters, £5 to her granddaughter Anna PAXSON, and £5 to her “kinswoman” Grace Kirkbride (probably the wife of Thomas, son of Thomas). Mary’s estate in Falls was inventoried 2 First Month 1752.
Children of Joseph and his first wife Phebe (Blackshaw) Kirkbride:
Child of Joseph and his second wife Sarah (Stacey) Kirkbride:
a) Jonathan Kirkbride3, b. ca. 1739; d. 5 Nov. 1824 in Lower Makefield Twp., Bucks Co.,; m. 18 Nov. 1767 Elizabeth CURTIS; 6 children.
b) Stacy Kirkbride, b. 29 July 1725; d. 6 Mar. 1789 in Haverford Twp., Del. Co.; m. 26 Apr. 1753 Frances SMITH; 4 children.
c) Hannah Kirkbride, b. 29 Sept. 1726; d. 30 July 1728.
d) Mary Kirkbride, b. 22 Feb. 1726/7; d. 3 Nov. 1787; m. 31 Oct. 1746 Bernard TAYLOR; at least 1 child.
e) Sarah Kirkbride, b. 13 Dec. 1729; d. 21 Jan. 1783; m. 31 Mar. 1756 William YARDLEY; 9 children.
f) Rebecca Kirkbride, b. 14 Oct. 1731; d. 15 Jan. 1731/2.
g) Ruth Kirkbride, b. 10 June 1733; d. 14 June 1733.
h) Letitia Kirkbride, b. 23 June 1724; d. 29 Apr. 1771; m. 27 Feb. 1751/2 Timothy TAYLOR; 13 children, 9 named in Rash's Surname Index.
i) Mahlon Kirkbride, b. 9 Mar. 1735/6; d. Feb. 1778.
j) Robert Kirkbride, b. 23 Nov. 1737; d. 1 ct. 1798; m(1)27 Mar. 1758 Hannah BIDGOOD, 9 children; m(2) 18 Jan. 1786 Hannah WILSON.
k) David Kirkbride, b. 10 June 1739; d. 14 Dec. 1764.
l) Joseph Kirkbride, b. 27 Apr. 1745; d. 31 May 1745.
Children of Joseph and his third wife Mary (Fletcher) Yardley Kirkbride:
Martha Kirkbride2 was born 13 November 1695, the daughter of Joseph and Phebe (Blackshaw) Kirkbride. She married at the Falls Meeting in 1713/4 Thomas MARRIOTT, son of Isaac and Joyce (OLIVE), who was born in 1691 in Burlington, West Jersey (now the state of New Jersey).
Thomas and Martha settled in Bristol, Bucks County. He was an elder in Falls Monthly Meeting and helped found the Bristol Preparative Meeting. He served in the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1733, 1734, and 1738.
Martha and Thomas both signed their youngest daughter's marriage certificate at Middletown Meeting, 25 First Month [March] 1740.
Martha died 12 Eleventh Month 1742. Thomas married a second time, a woman named Mary __ who died 15 Eleventh Month 1747. According to Falls minutes, Mary “was a considerable time concerned in the ministry.”
Children of Thomas and Martha (Kirkbride) Marriott (may be incomplete, order uncertain):
To continue the story of this family, one ought to go to the Marriott page. Or jump a generation to William Paxson's page. Other families that (I hope) will someday be posted include Blackshaw, Burges(s), and Olive as well as Marriott. The research on these is not complete yet. Don't hold your breath!
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