The history of the Besfords

Family of Robert Besford (1752-1837) and his first wife Mary (died 1786)

Robert Besford and his first wife Mary had three children:

Sarah Besford, born at Sweethope, Northumberland and baptised at St. Aidan’s Church, Thockrington, Northumberland, on 5th December 1779.

Mary Besford, born at Sweethope, Northumberland, and baptised at St. Aidan’s Church, Thockrington on 14th October 1781.

Martha Besford, born at Cheviot Farm, Hallington, Northumberland, and baptised on 20th June 1784 at St. Aidan’s Church, Thockrington.

Robert’s wife Mary died and was buried at St. Aidan’s Church, Thockrington, on 4th November 1786.

St. Aidan’s Church, Throckrington. One of the oldest churches in Northumberland. One of the headstones in the graveyard dates from 1772. Sir William Beveridge, whose 1942 report influenced the founding of the welfare state and formed the basis of the post-war social security system, is buried here.

Robert went on to marry Ann Goodfellow on 26th June 1788.

🔍 Unsolved mysteries

Who was Robert’s first wife Mary?

I have been unable to find a record of this marriage. This may mean that the record has not survived.

What happened to Thockrington?

Thockrington is about 10 miles north of Hexham. The church is quite remote and the village no longer exists as such.  It is thought that a sailor returning home to Thockrington brought cholera into the village in 1847, leading to a wipeout of the population and the burning of the houses. I do not think that there is any hard evidence for this, however. Just the story handed down. It may well be true. Some of the house foundations used to be visible. I’m not sure if this is still the case.

External links:

History in a remote graveyard, Thockrington, Northumberland, The Guardian, 26 July 2016

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