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The George Lissant Genealogy

Clement George Lissant, Esq., of Simla, India was a friend of Henry Sherman Heysham and, as a gift, prepared the following genealogy for him. George was an amateur genealogist and was elected a member of the Huguenot Society of London in May 1887.










Heysham is a town bordered on all aides by the parish of Lancaster except the west which faces Morecambe Bay. It is supposed to derive its name from Hessa a roving Saxon and one of its earliest proprietors. At the time of the Conquest it formed part of the possessions of Earl Tosti, from whom it was taken and given to one of William’s followers, who, according to the Norman habit took his name from the place assgned to him and was the progenitor of the family here dealt with.

Let us first tell of the place and then so much about the family as can be gathered from the public records.

In Domesday, Heysham is called Hessam and is shown as occupying four carucates of the manor of Halton. Whitaker, in his history of Lancaster, has this to say about Heysham:

"The parish of Heysham, though a very diminutive parish, is equally interesting from the beauty of its site, the salubrity of its air and the antiquities with which it abounds. It was named by Hessa, a Saxon who took possession of a rock and small tract of dry and fertile soil, then, nearly, if not quite insulated by the sea. In the choice of this site Hessa, no doubt, contemplated only two advantages, security and productive soil. The noble bay, which spread before him a diversified horizon nearly two hundred miles in circuit with all the intermediate outlines of pointed fells, jutting promontories, and retiring bays, if they struck the eye would scarcely excite the feelings of a rugged Saxon. Devotion was the most likely sentiment to be provoked by the peculiar situation and character of the place. A high point of rock, weather beaten by every storm, overlooked almost every creek and corner in Morecambe Bay. Upon the top of this rock a chapel was built and dedicated to St. Patrick who was already considered the patron saint of navigators in the Irish Channel. The era of this little but substantial fabric is lost in antiquity; it is supposed to be of British not Saxon origin. Its antiquity is proved by its unusual proportions, great rudeness, diminutive size and the singular arch of its doorway. Its inside measurements are 24 feet in length and only 7 1/2 in width. The mortar, made principally of burnt sea shells, is now almost as indissoluble as that of a Roman fortress A very narrow single light to the south sheds a kind of "darkness visible" upon the altar, and the doorway is scarcely wile enough to admit a bulky man.

Anxiety, in its flourishing days, to be interred within the holy precinct of St. Patrick must have been extreme, for as there was no earth on the summit of the hill to cover a body, several excavations shaped precisely like stone coffins have been made in the living rock, with grooves for the reception of covers of the same material, above which mounds of earth, brought from beneath, must have been heaped upon the whole.. At a small distance to the south are two other excavations severally adapted to the body of an infant and of a child of 3 or 4 years of age. This foundation seems to have been the parent of & parish church which again being threatened by the sea was removed to its present site. North of the present church, which is very old indeed, there have been discovered a cross and ancient gravestone which is one of the most remarkable remains of Christian antiquity in Britain, without inscription and of a singular design. This stone, which is difficult to describe, the church and some gravestones, are illustrated for this chapter."

From a survey of Heysham in 1584, it appears that the manor was divided between the free tenants and tenants at will, of whom the free tenants paid annually to the lord £18-6-9 and a pair of spurs; and the tenants at will £18-11-6. Boon-journeys, a customary service to the lord, were due to the barton, or manor-house, at Heysham. The mussel fishery was farmed by fourteen persons at a rent of £11-5-0, in return for which they were free to gather mussels on the lord’s lands. The lord had the profit of courts, estrays, goods of felons and wreck of the sea. All the profits of the minor were computed at about £50 per annum, though occasionally a wreck might make it more productive.

Under the Normans, the manor of Heysham was held by the serjeantry or service of cornage, the lord being bound by his tenure to meet the King on the borders of the county, with his horn and a white wand, to introduce him into the county and to attend him on his departure. From this tenure, it is traditionally said that a branch of the family, de Hessam, assumed the name of Cornet, subsequently changed to Gernet.

Halton, Nether Kellet, Heysham, Boidan, Overton and other adjoining places were all held by grand serjeantry by various persons holding official positions in connection with Lancaster Castle. Halton, the chief manor of this pre-conquest lordship, fell to the share of Gernet, perhaps Count Roger, as he afterwards was Henry I chief forester. In 1203, Benedict Gernet "chief forester of Lancashire," was lord of Halton. He was succeeded by his son Roger who died apparently without male issue, for his daughter, married to Wm. de Lacey, succeeded to his estate. Thereafter we find the Gernets and Heyshams as tenants instead of proprietors. A younger branch of the Gernets held Heysham and Caton in the 12th century, the former by serjeantry and the latter by thanage. Adam Gernet held these manors in the reign of Richard I. A charter dated 1195 bears his signature and that of Gernet of Halton. Adam G. was slain by Adam the son of Orm de Kellet in 1199-1200 (Pipe Rolls, p. 140). His widow, Agnes de Heysham, in 1199, complained to King John that Roger de Leicester had married his daughter to Thomas, her son, who ought to be a royal ward, in order to acquire the custody of Thomas, and his land, consisting of five carucates in Hessen and Catton, without the King’s consent. The land was accordingly seized into the King’s hands and Roger de Leicester was attached for the contempt. In 3 John, Thomas Gernet paid five marks for the seizing of the land of Hessen and Catton. The sheriff having in June 6 Henry III (1222) been commanded to take into his hands the custody of the land and heir of Thomas Gernet in "Hesham and Cattern", Jordon the clerk, in the following Nov. paid 20s. fine to have that custody together with the marriage of the heir.

Another branch of the Gernet family held Caton under the Gernets of Heysham. In the time of Richard I, Matthew Gernet (probably a brother of Adam Gernet of Heysham) held Littledale in Caton of the King by the service of 6s. 8d. (Charter Roll temp, John, p. x-l). He was the father of John Gernet of Caton, who having been enfeoffed of one-third part of Caton by Thomas Gernet of Heysham, was described circa 1220 as one of the lords of Caton (Reg. of Lane priory p. 164). Roger, son and ‘heir of John Gernet of Caton, made fine with the King for 40s. to have the lands which his said father had held of the King in chief, and had livery by writ dated bth November 1241 (Fine Roll 1, p. 360). Roger Gernet of Caton died shortly before 5th October 1251, the date of the writ of diem diem clausit extremum directed to the escheator to make enquiry, by which it was found that he had died seized of Littledale, which he held of the King, 6 oxgangs of land in Caton which he held of Roger de Heysham, the third part of the corn and the third part of the fulling mill in Caton and other estates in Barrow and Leck. In 1252, Quenild, widow of Roger Gernet, died seized of Cloughton which she held of Edward de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, by the service of 1-5 knight’s fee and 2s. 2d. for castleguard. Roger is shown to have "granted land in the territory of Welslet" and the deed is witnessed by Sir Roger Gernet de Halton, Roger de Hesam, Adam de Katon, etc. John, his son, was his heir, aged 2 years at the ensuing feast of St. Martin. Subsequently two further inquests were taken, both in the 44 of Hen. III (cf. Fine Roll, ii, p, 319) John Gernet, who came of age in 1270, held two ploughlands (is. the manor of Caton and the pasture of Littledale) in Caton of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, at the latter’s death in 1297, by the service of 26s. 8d. yearly. No doubt the manor had been granted to the said John after the estates of the Gernets of Heysham had escheated to the chief lord. This John’s name occurs rather frequently in the public records. A deed, temp. Hen. III, recites that Matthew de Burgo gave the meadow and arable land, lying between the water-mill and the fuller’s mill, in Caton, and near the land of John, son and heir of Roger Gernet de Caton—Witness Benedict Gernet de Halton and others. And the Assize Rolls of 1245-6 show that "Margery late wife of John de Katon is in the King’s gift and marriageable and her land in the county is worth yearly 1/2 a mark. In 1239 this same John had been prosecuted as a "nuisance" for demolishing a farm in Ellal.

Thomas "de Caton" succeeded, and was probably the son and heir of John Gernet, who was styled "John de Caton" in the inquest of 1297. By a fine made in 5 Edw. II, 1312, the manor of Caton was granted to Thomas, apparently as son and heir of John, but a life interest in it was ensured to John, the father, and Roger, the younger son. The Extent of 1322 records that Alice and Agnes" daughters. and heirs of Thomas de Caton held the manor of Caton by hommage and service of 20s. and the pasture of Littledale by the service of 6s. 8d. Alice, the elder daughter, married before 1330 Wm. de Lancaster of Howgell, Co. Westd. Agnes, the younger daughter, married, after 1330, John de Curwen whose descendants were seated at Stubhall in Aughton, par. of Halton, and Gressyard in Caton until the 17th century.

Thomas Gernet is shown as in possession in 1212. He is said to have died in 1221. (Fine Roll temp. John pp. 74, 89;’ Rotuli Curia Regis ii, p. 163) but in 1224 1 find a document which states that Thomas Gernet perambulates the forest with eleven others. His mother survived him, for the Lancaster Inquests, Extents, etc. 1222-1226 show that "Agnes de Hesham is in the gift of the King and is married without warrant it is said and her land is worth 1 mark yearly ". Possibly the serjeantry of Heysham was in her inheritance. Thomas was succeeded by his son Vivian of Heysham who died in 1246, the inquest after whose death was taken at Lancaster on the 19 May of that year (Inq. 30 Hen. 3 No. 26). He seems to have had three wives. The Fines Rolls of 1201 record that "Pagan de Vilers gave one carucate in Wyndhill to Vivian Gernet in marriage with his daughter Emma, by the service of one-tenth Knight’s fee: the Assize Rolls of 1246 show that "Of ladies; Juliana, late wife of Vivian. de Hesham, is in the King’s gift and marriageable and her lands are. worth yearly 40s." while another authority states that "Roger Gernet was the son and heir of Vivian by Godith, daughter and co-heir of William de Kellet, and had livery of his father’s estates on the 4th June 1246" (Fines Rolls 1, p. 453). This Roger is several times mentioned in the public records. In 1225 a Fine mentions "Roger Gernet brother and heir. of William Gernet"; in 1230 he was appointed for the Assize of Arms; in 1245-6 the Assize Rolls have this entry :—" Of serjeantries: they say that Roger Gernet of Halton holds 3 carucates in demesne and 5 in service in Halton and Lek by serjeantry as Keeper of the King’s forests in that county, worth yearly £7. And Roger de Hesham holds 2 carucates in Hesham by serjeantry of sounding his horn when the King enters and goes out of that county, worth yearly £4"; and in 1270 Roger son of Vivian de Hercham and John son of Roger Cernet (of Caton) were defendants in a suit Roger’s wife was named Wymark He appears to have died without male issue and his estates, or Heysham at least, passed to the Dacres by the marriage of his daughter Joan" Heiress of Benedict Gernet," with one of that family.

Here, anything like a connected story of these early people comes to an end. Those already mentioned loom large in the history of Lancashire and the names Gernet and de Heysham occur frequently in the 13th and 14th centuries. The entries, however, do not help in the construction of a connected pedigree will be seen from the following examples:-

There are a few deeds of the 13th century preserved in the Chartulary of Lancaster Priory. By the first deed, Vivian de Hesham, Roger Gernet and John Gernet, hereditary lay lords of the Vill of Caton, bind themselves and their successors not to sell the right of patronage in the chapel of Caton. The second deed is a grant from Vivian Gernet de Hesham to the church of the Blessed Mary of Lancaster of all his rights in the advowson of the chapel of Caton. By the third deed, Roger, son of Vivian de flesham grants to the priory of Lancaster for the welfare of his soul and that of Wymark, his wife, his third part of the cornmill at Caton, and of the mill for fulling cloth at Caton. The next deed is a grant from John, son of Roger Gernet, of Caton, to the priory of Lancaster of an acre of land in Caton. By the fifth deed John de Houton grants to John, son of Roger Gernet, of Caton, and to the priory of Lancaster the watercourse of Artle Beck for their mill And by the last of these deeds, John Gernet, lord ot Caton, grants to the prior of Lancaster, all his right in the advowson of the church of Caton with certain land near tbat church. From that time to the present the church of Caton has remained annexed to the vicarage of Lancaster. (Trans. of the L & C. Antiquarian Soc.)

The Fines Rolls of Lancaster, 1225-26 show among the "jurymen of Lincoln Roger Gernet of Brugh and John Gernet. The Pipe Rolls for Lancaster, 1226-7, mention Richard de Hesham. In 1249 occurs the name of Thomas de Hesaym and in 1280 and afterwards the names appear of Adam de Hesam, Catherine his wife and John his son. It is not possible to place these persons, nor those named below, with any degree of certainty.

Nov. 22 Licence, for a fine made by the prior before the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer, for the alienation in mortmain to the prior and convent of Lancaster of the following lands. By Thomas de Hesham of three messuages and twelve acres of land in Little Hesham, (Patent Rolls).


—Overton Thomas de Hesbam, xlld.
—Heysham. Nicholas de Hesham, iiijs. xd.
—Bold. Roger Gernet, lxs....

(Lay Subsidies).
1323 —Suit between Hugh, son of Constantine de Lancaster, and Margery his wife, plaintiffs, and John de Hesham, of Lancaster deforcient of a messuage in Lancaster. John and Cristina acknowledge the said ruessuage to be the right of Hugh, to have and to hold of the said Hugh and Margery and heirs of Hugh, for which Hugh and Margery gave them 40s. (Feet of Fines).
1324 —John Godhyue fined 4d. for breach of the peace upon John de Hesham, (Court Rolls).
1339 —November 18. The prior of the church of St. Mary, Lancaster, complains that, while he was under the King’s protection, John de Hesham and many others broke his closes and palings while thus under protection at Neuton by Lancaster, cut the palings into little bits and depastured his grass with beasts." (Patent Rolls).
1354 —March 12. John del Castel acknowledges that he owes to Adam de Hesham 20 marks, to be levied, etc., in the city of London. (Close Rolls).
1362 -David de Hesham, deforcient of a messuage in Lancaster. (Feet of Fines.)
1383 —June 10. Laurence de Hesham, vicar of Isleworth, co. Middlesex, presented to the church of Longfield, co. Kent (Patent Rolls.)
1399 —November 10. Whereas Mary, late the wife of Robert del Hall, has shown the King that the said Robert lately appealed on Robert Dode with treason before the King’s kinsman the Earl of Northumberland, then warden of the East March towards Scotland, and pursued the appeal to a duel in which he was killed and his goods were forfeited to Richard II, who by letters patent granted them to one Thomas de Hesham and the said Mary and because the sheriff of Northumberland, William Churleton and the said Thomas by inquisition taken by virtue of letters patent of the present King found in whose hands the goods were the occupiers of the same lay in ambush and murdered the said Thomas; the King grants the goods to her.

A branch of the Hesshams or Heyshams retained that name, instead of the appellation of Gernet, and’ continued to be known as Heyshams long after they had ceased to have any connection with the parish from which they took their name. From the 15th century the material available admits of the construction of a fairly complete pedigree.

The inquisition post mortem on William de Bolleran dated, the ‘9th August 1460 names "William Hesam de Lancaster yeoman" whom we will accept as the progenitor of the family. The Lancaster Fines of 1507-08 show that a Nicholas Hesham had novel dissiesin against Thomas Blackburn: this Nicholas was probably son of the aforesaid William. In the P.C.C. there is the will, proved in 1565, of Thomas Heysham (Hessam) gent. of Bullerton, Staff, City of London. The Calendar to Pleadings, temp. Queen Elizabeth record the following names :-

1568-69 —John Gibson, plaintiff recites a decree in a former suit, wherin William Heysham was plaintiff, having reference to a moiety of expenses of a suit concerning the Tithe Barn and Tithes of Caton, Lancs    

—William Hyesome, claiming from Allan Billingham and Richard Foster, sues John Gibson and John Towneson, claiming from Thos. Warrcoppe; regarding the Tythe Barn and Tythe Corn in Caton, Lancs.
1572-73 —Elizabeth Gibson, et e contra William Heysham plaintiff 'sues' John Townson for the same.
1589-90 —Edward Braddyll in right of Thomas Southworth, sues John Houseman and William Heighson or Hyshame re. a capital messuage called Heighfeld, with the lands and appurtenances, Oxcliffe, Moore Pasture, and Turbary in Lancaster Town.
1592-93 —William Widder, in right of John Hyesham and by his will or devise sues Williarm Swainson as the husband of Alice Heyshame in eonnection with leasehold lands,, good and chattles, legacies, debts upon bond and by simple contract in Nether Kellet, Lancs.
1597-98 —Edward Birkett sues George Birkett, William Hesham and another for intrusion on a messuage, lands and tenements in Aughton Manor, Lancs.
1598-99 —George Briekett clerk, sues Nicholas Heshame, Oswald Hesham and John Burton for wrongful possession of a messuage and lands in Aughton hamlet, Halton parish, Lancs.

The William Heysham above referred to is probably the same as the "Willielmus Hishame de Righefield, gen." who is shown as one of the freeholders in, Lancashire in 1600 and is the father of the John referred to in the following inquisition post mortem:-

"Lancashire Inquisitions—, "John Hisame, of Halton, gentleman." Inquisition taken at Preston Amoundernes 30th September II James (1613) before Edward Rigbie, Esq., escheator, after the death of John Hisam of Houlton co Lancaster, gentleman, by the oath of Richard Blundell of Preston, William Walton of Walton in le Dale, George Sallome of Preston, Henry Sudell, Nicholas Sudell, Roger Breares William Hinde, Henry Hodgekinson of Churchgate, John Sumpner, John Hardman, Michael Higham and Roger Tyrer of Preston, gentlemen, who say that William Hisame, father of John Hysame, was seized in fee of a messuage in Halton, known by. the name of Overhighfeild, with 50 acres of arable land, meadow, pasture, wood and underwood to the same messuage appertaining in Halton. So seized, by Indenture dated 7th February, 27 Elizabeth (1584-85) he enfeoffed thereof Peter Scarborowe of Glascborne, co. York, and Richard Banister of Barnoldiswicke, co York, gentleman, to these uses :—As to one moiety, to the use of himself for life and after his death ‘to the use of John Hisame (named in the writ) and the heirs of his body begotten, with remainder to the right heirs of himself for ever: as to the other moiety, to the use of the said John Hisame for life, then, to the use of Anne, wife of John, for her life as jointure and dower, with remainder to the issue of John, and in default, to his own right heirs for ever; as appears by an Indenture made between William Hisame of one part, and Bridget Banester of Barnoldiswicke, widow, of the other part. By virtue whereof and by force of the Statue of Uses the said William was seized of a moiety of the premises for life in freehold, with remainder, etc. and died in the life time of John who had been already seized of the other moiety for life. The messuage, etc. are held of the King as of his Crown of England, by the 40th part of a knight’s fee and 3s. 9d. yearly rent and are, worth per annum (clear) 31s.

John Hisame died 16th April last (1613); and Richard Hisame his son and next heir, is aged at the time of taking this Inquisition 18 years. Anne, late wife of John, yet survives at Halton."

Richard Heysham died without issue in 1621 and was succeeded at Highfield by his brother Daniel as will be seen from the following inquisition post mortem:-

"Inquisition taken at Preston in Amondernes, 2 May, 20 James (1622) before Edward Rigby, Esq., Escheator, after the death of Richard Hersham, late of Heighfield, in the parish of Haughton by the oath of Richard Cromleholme and others, gentlemen, who say that Richard Hersham was seized in fee of one moiety of a messuage, 1 garden, 12 acres of arable land, 6 acres of meadow, 10 acres of pasture, 10 acres of underwood, in Heighfield, and of the reversion of the other moiety after the death of Anne Wynder, his mother, which premises are held of the King, as of his Duchy of Lancaster, by military service and 3s. 9d. rent and are worth per annum (clear) 10s.

Richard Heisham died at Heighfield 9 November last past (1621) and Daniel Hersham his brother and next heir, is age 4 at the time of this Inquisition 18 years 7 months."

In 1622-3 an Oswald Heisham is mentioned in an inquisition on Edmund Raft but I have been unable to place him. Also I have been unable to place Robert Heisham whose will was proved in the Lancashire Diocesan Registry in 1627. The Daniel Heysham referred to in the preceding paragraph died in 1636 but I have not attempted to trace offspring since he was not the ancestor of the present family.

Members of the family are frequently referred to in the public records of the 17th and 18th century. I give below some extracts which may be of interest.

Chester marriage licences :—
1610 -March 26. Margery Heighsham of Great Budworth and William Worrall of Bowdon.
1614 -May 31. Geoffrey Close of Great Bredworth and Margery Heysham, chapelry of Wilton.
1614 - June 31. Richard Leigh and Ellen Heighsham, Lyman.
Lancashire Wills :—
1664 —Giles Heysham.
1680 —Giles Heysham.
1687 —John Heysham of Halton.
1697 —Giles Heysham of Pilling.
1702 —Giles Heysham of Pilling.
1714 —Daniel Heysham of Halton late of Aughton, husbandman.
1716 —Elizabeth Heysham of Lancaster.
1720 —Grace Heysham of Lancaster.
1725 —Eliza Heysham of Lancaster.
1728 —Richard Heysham ..)
1728 —William Heysham ...)of Lancaster.
1728 —Robert Heysham ....)
1729 —John Heysham of Pilling.
1747 —Edward Heysham of Lancaster.
1758 —William Heysbam of Halton.
1759 —John Reysham of Halton.
1761 —William Heysham of Halton.
1761 —Elizabeth Heysham of Preston, widow.
1767 —Alice Heysham of Lancaster, widow.
1787 —Giles Heysham of Lancaster, gent
1789 —Jane Heysham of Lancaster, spinster.
1790 —Richard Heysham of Lancaster, house carpenter.
Cheshire Wills
1755 —Richard Heysham of Liverpool, mariner.
1773 —Robert Heysham of Liverpool, mariner.
1788 —Margaret Heysham of Liverpool, widow.
1793 —Robert Heysham of Liverpool, mariner.
MSS. of the House of Lords :—
1695 —Robert Heysham, Barbadoes merchant, summoned to the Committee on Naval miscarriages.
1695 —Roberrt Heysham, signature to paper delivered to the Committee.
1696 —Persons ill-treated by the Admiralty—Mr. Robert Heysham, at Lloyd’s coffee house.
1698 —May 30. Petition of the Planters and Merchants trading to the Island of Barbadoes against the Bill for settling the trade to Africa. Signed by Gyles Heysham and 14 others.
Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society
1650 —Giles Heysham, gen., signs and seals a petition that the people of Fulwood may be annexed to the parish church of Amoundernes, being nearer to them’ than Heysham.
1700 —The diocesan records at Chester mention that in 1700 Giles Heysham, merchant, left to the town of Lancaster £100 which was applied to augment the usher’s salary. In 1714, Robert Heysham is shown as usher of Lancaster school.
Musgrave’s obituary :—
1716 —June 14. William Heysham, merchant, London, M.P. for Lancaster.
1722 —February 13. Mrs., wife of Robert Heysham, Alderman, London.
1723 —February 26. Robert Heysham. Alderman, London.
1727 —April 14. William, son of William Heysham, M.P. Lancaster.
1734 —July 9.—Robert Heysham, Stagenhoe, Herts.
1767 —December 14. Giles Thornton Heysham, Stagenhoe, Herts.

Grant of Arms to William Heysham of East Greenwich

1724. To all and Singular to whom these Presents shall come John Anstis, Esq., Garter Principal King of Arms, and Sir John Vanburgh Kt., Claren, King of Arms send Greeting. Whereas those ancient Badges and Ensigns of Gentility commonly called or known by the name of Arms have hitherto and are still continued to be conferred upon Persons to distinguish them from the common, sort of People who neither can nor may pretend to use them without lawful Authority. And whereas William Heysham of East Greenwich in the County of Kent, Esq., one of the Representatives in Parliament for the Borough of Lancaster, second son of Williath Heysham by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and one of the coheirs of Humphrey Brockden of the Island of Barbadoes and Grandson of Giles Heysham of Lancaster in the County Palatine of Lancaster, hath represented unto the Rt. Honble, Henry Earl of Berkshire Deputy with the Royal approbation to the most noble Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and hereditary Marshal of England, That His Ancestors having for many generations lived in the Credit and Reputation of Gentlemen did bear a Coat of Arms as of Right belonging to their Name and Family, but being unable for want of due Entrye of their several descents in the College of Arms strictly to justify their Right to the same and desiring an indisputable authority for the using thereof hath therefore prayed His Lordship’s Warrant for our devising and (after his Lordship’s Consent and approbation) granting and assigning unto him such Arms and Crest as may be lawfully borne by him and his descendants, and all other the descendants of his Grandfather Giles Heysham aforesaid. And forasmuch as his Lordship duly considering the request and also the Qualifications of the said William Heysham did by Warrant under His Hand and Seal bearing date the 29th day of January last Order and Direct us to devise (and after His Lordship’s Consent and approbation) Grant and Assign unto the said William Heysham and His descendants, and to all the other descendants of his said Grandfather such Arms and Crest accordingly. Now Know ye that We the said Garter and Clarenx. in pursuance of the Consent of the said Earl of Berkshire and by virtue of the Letters Patent of our offices to each of Us respectively granted under the Great Seal have, devised and do by these presents (with his Lordship’s approbation) Grant and Assign unto the said William Heysham the Arms and Crest hereafter mentioned vis Gules and Anchor in Pale Or, on a chief of the second three Torteauxes, and for a Crest on a wreath of the Colours a Mount proper and thereon a Buck in full course Argent Gutte de Sang attired and ungul’d Or and wounded through the Neck with an Arrow Gules feathered end, headed Gold as the same is in the Margin hereof more plainly depicted to be borne and used for ever hereafter by him the said William Heysham and his Descendants and by all the Descendants of his Grandfather Giles Heysham aforesaid with their due and respective differences according to the Usage and Practice of Arms without the Lett, or Interruption of any Person or Persons whatsoever. In Witness whereof We the said Garter and Claranceux Kings of Arms have to these presents subscribed our Names and affixed the Seals of Our respective Offices the third day of February in the Ninth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord. George by the Grace of God King ot Great Britain France and Ireland Defender of the Faith, etc. Annoq Dom'i 1723


John Anstis, Garter. John Vanbrugh Principal King Clarx. King of Arms

This document is called a grant of arms. More correctly it should be styled a confirmation of arms, for the Heyshams from very early times were of knightly rank and had right to coat-armour long before the College of Heralds came into existence. However the application of William Heysham has proved useful to us for it was accompanied by a pedigree which forms the basis on which I have built. The statement which he presented is satisfactory asfar as it goes but for purpose, and particularly to show the decent of my Indian friends, it has been necessary to search for data which would enable me to extend and amplify the pedigree. This data is, given in the preceding paragraphs and in those which follow.

It will be noticed that Giles Heysham (1603-1664) had two sons, Giles and John. The elder Giles is mentioned in Whitaker’a "Richmondshire" as a "Gent" , and living in 1650 at Langton, on the, northern bank, of the Swale. There is a letter of this Giles dated the 26th November 1638, in the published volume of Kenyon manuscripts. His sons Giles and John are described as merchants and shippers at Lancaster, where, says Dr. Halley, a good trade was done with the West Indies early it the seventeenth century. The second Giles had three sons born in Lancaster, viz., Giles, Robert and William; all were eminent West India merchants and all went to London. Of the eldest son, Giles, I have not found many particulars but of the other two there is ample record. Both served in several Parliaments, temp. Queen Anne and George I. Robert became Alderman of Billingsgate, President of Christ’s Hospital and M.P. for Lancaster from 1698 to 1714 and subsequently for the metropolis for which he served in the first septennial Parliament after the close of which he died, 24th February 1722. William served for the borough of Lancaster from 1705 until his death in 1727. He had property in Kent and he left by will an estate at Greaves, near Lancaster, (now worth £200 per annum) for the maintenance of eight poor freemen.

Robert became possessed of property in Hertfordshire. He purchased the estate of Stagenhoe, in the parish of St Paul’s Walden, from Sir Robert Austen. How he became possessed of the manor of Little Munden is thus told in the County history:-

In the 21st year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Manor of Little Munden, Herts, was in the possession of Michael Woodcock, Esq., who settled it upon his son Michael upon his marriage with Dorothy, daughter of Wm. Woodhall, who first mortgaged it and afterwards sold it to Sir Peter Vanlore. Sir Peter settled it in jointure with Ann his daughter, upon her marriage with Sir Chas. son of Sir Julius Caesar; but Sir Peter, not satisfied with his title, from the preceding settlement, applied to Chancery against Woodcock and Woodhall and recovered his money; and this estate was by Act of Parliament resettled upon Edmund Woodhall. He was Registrar of the P.C.C. and married Margaret, daughter of Anthony Law of London. He left a son, Edmund, who had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Edmund, the eldest son, inherited and dying without issue, in the year 1655, his younger brother John came into possession of the estate and died in the year 1660, as did his sister Elizabeth, whereupon their manor came to Mary the survivor who became the wife of Edmund Thornton, by whom she had 2 daughters, Mary and Jane. Mary became the first, and Jane the second, wife of Robert Heysham, Esq., sometime Alderman of London and afterwards of Stagenhoe, in the parish of Paul’s Walden, Herts., who became possessed of this estate in their right. From him it descended to his son and heir Robert, who, by his will dated the 6th July 1734, devised this with other estates to his kinsman Giles Thornton of St. Botolph’s, Aldgate, for life, remainder to his son Robert for life, remainder to the first and other sons of the last named Robert successively intail male, remainder to Robert Thornton the elder, upon his taking the additional name of Heysham.

Giles Thornton above mentioned succeeded his kinsman Robert Heysham in this and his other Hertfordshire estates in the year 1734 and took the additional name of Heysham. He resided at Stagenhoe in the parish of Paul’s Walden sand was buried there on the 20th December 1767. By his wife Ann Beckerton be had 3 sons, Robert-Thornton Giles-Thornton and Edmund afterwards Rector of this place, and 3 daughters, Elizabeth, Anne and Jane. Robert Thornton married Hannah daughter of Jonathan Jepp of Paul’s Walden, by whom he had 2 sons, viz. Robert-Thornton, Edmund and John-William Henry; and a daughter Elizabeth. He died at Yarmouth, in Norfolk and was buried at Paul’s Walden on 15th September 1781 and was succeeded in the possession of this estate by his eldest son and heir Robert-Thornton Heysham, who married Sarah, daughter of William Hawkins, of Harpenden, Co Herts., and had issue. In 1816 he sold and conveyed this manor and estate to Nathaniel Snell Chauncey Esq."

Sir John Hale built the old manor house at Stagenhoe, which was consumed by fire on 29th November 1737 whilst in the possession of Giles Thornton Heysham, Esq., occasioned by the carelessness of some workmen employed thereon in leaving some shavings in a room in which was a fire. The present house was built in 1740.

On the floor of the chancel of St.. Paul’s Walden church are these inscriptions :-

St. Paul’s Walden Church :—on the floor of the chancel

(1)Arms-Heysbam impaling Thornton :—M.S. Here lieth the body of Jane Heysham daughter of Robert Heysham of Stagenhoe, Esq., who died the 14th of November 1711, aged 3 years and 2 months.

Here also lyeth the body of Elizabeth Heysham, daughter of William Heysham, Esq. of Greenwich, and M.P. for Lancaster. She departed this life the 20th February 1720 in the 26th year of her age.

(2)Arms-Heysham impaling Thornton :—Here lieth interred the body of Jane Heysham wife of Robert Heysham of Stagenhoe who departed this life the 16th day of February 1721.

Here also lyeth the body of Robert Heysham of Stagenhoe, who was born in Lancaster and served that Corporation in Parliament fifteen years and the City of London seven years; who died an Alderman of the said City the 25th day of February anno Domini 1722 in the 60th year of his age. He left issue only one son Robert Heysham in the 10th year of his age.

(3)Arms Heysham ; impaling on a bend cotticed Ermine, three lions passant... Perry.

Here lyeth the body of William Heysham of Greenwich, in the Country of Kent, Esq. who was M.P. for ten years last past for the Corporation of Lancaster. He married Sarah daughter of Richard Perry of London, Esq.. and died the 14th day of April, anno Domine; 1727 in the 36th year of his age.

These Heyshams were not the first to leave Lancashire, for I find that Ralph de Hesam was instituted as rector of Datchworth, Co. Herts., on 4th March 1294, the patron being Sir Robert Fitz-Walter, Kt. Some of the family, we have seen, moved into Cheshire. And in the State Papers of Henry VIII, I find evidence that others had then gone as far south as Somerset. The entry, dated 1537, reads as follows :— "John and Harry Harris, with others to the number of 8 persons, took John Haisham in Christmas time and bound him with a bowstring tied about his head, led him to Richard Applin’s house, and made him call the said Richard out of bed to make good cheer, and, as soon as he opened the door, entered and robbed the house. And the said Richard and John be in such fear of their adherents that they dare not complain."

Let us now revert to the John Heysham mentioned on page 8. This John was a shipowner and merchant of Lancaster. He had several children, no less than nine of whom were sons. Some of these, following the commercial instincts of the family, migrated to America and there realized fortune and position. One son or grandson, Giles, maintained the family name at home. As a shipowner he shared in the prosperity that attended Lancaster in her extensive sugar trade and other commercial relations. He has been described as handsome in person and a thoroughbred man of business, yet he was not uniformly successful in his commercial undertakings. He was born in 1710 and died in 1770. About 1750 he married Anne Cumming, daughter of a well-to-do yeoman or statesman" at Holme in Westmoreland. Of this marriage came John Heysham, M.D., whose life has been written by Dr. Lonsdale. From this John descends the Indian family. The dictionary of National Biography has this to say of him

"John Heysham, M.D. (1753-1834) physician, born at Lancaster on 22nd November 1753, was the son of John Heysham, shipowner, by Anne Cumming, the daughter of a Westmoreland "statesman." He was educated at a school kept by Quakers at Yealand, near Burton, Westmoreland, and then apprenticed for five years to a surgeon at Burton. In 1774 he joined the medical classes at Edinburgh and graduated M.D. in 1777. His thesis was "De rabie canina," a disease of which no case in man or dog ever occurred in his own experience. In 1778 he settled in practice at Carlisle and resided there until his death on 23rd March 1834. He was buried in St. Mary’s Church and a memorial window has been placed at the east end of the south aisle of the cathedral. His practice at no time exceeded £400 a year.

As far as I can discover, the Indian branch are the only real Heyshams now existing, excluding of course the American family. The Stagenhoe family are really Thorntons and descended from Heyshams on the female side. So too the Carlisle family are really Mounseys who by inter-marriage with the Heyshams were allowed by Royal Licence, dated May 1871, to assume the latter name. This is what Burke says of the family in his Landed Gentry:— George Gill Mounsey, Esq., of Castletown, Cumberland, b. 27 May 1797, m 6 September 1827, Isabella, dau. of John Heysham, M.D., of Carlisle and by her (who died 14 May 1848) had issue

I Robert Heysham, his heir.

II George William Mounsey-Heysham, now of Castletown.

III John Giles, b. 22 August, 1832.

IV Augustus Henry, b. 27 August, 1834, Secretary to British Legation at Athens, m. 16 December 1874, Margaret Elizabeth Noyes, dau. of H.M. Bradhurst, Esq., of New York, and has issue, two daughters, -

V Charles James, Lieut. Genl, b. 13 December 1835; m. 3 December 1862 Mary Tirzah, dau. of James Robert Grant, Esq., of the Hill, Cumberland, and has issue a son, Charles James Grant, b. 18 December 1866.

I Elizabeth Mary, d. 9 June, 1856.

II Isabella Dorothea, m. 14 June, 1866, Robert Henry John Heygate, Esq. 4th son of Sir William Heygate, Bart., of Roecliffe, Co. Leicester.

Mr. Mounsey, d. 23 February 1874. His eldest son Robert Heysham Mounsey of Castletown, b. 20 July, 1828, died unmarried 20 April, 1881, and was succeeded by his brother George William Mounsey. M.A. Barrister-at-Law, J.P., b. 3 April, 1831 ; m. 15 August, 1861, Agnes dau. of Isaac Cope, Esq., of Castlewhite Co.Cork. Assumed the additional surname of Heysham by Royal Licence in May 1871 and has issue:-

I George Arthur, b. 25th May, 1862.

II Robert Cecil, b. 21 June, 1867.

I Agnes Edith.

II Millicent.

III Sibyl.

Steve Hissem
San Diego, California