The Hiltons and the Connecticut Connection.
Across the river Wear from Hylton Castle lies the small village of Offerton which was inherited, by John Fenwick of Wallington of Northumberland from his first wife Mary Strother in the reign of King Henry IV. The Fenwicks were a cadet branch of the House of Stanton in Northumberland. John Fenwick and Mary Strother had three sons; John, William and Robert. He subsequently married Elizabeth Woodrington (Widdrington?) and he had a further three sons; Roger, Ralph and Gerard.
William Fenwick of Wallington married Joanna Musgrave, and their son John Fenwick married Agnes, daughter of Sir James Metcalfe of Nappa Hall in Wensleydale in North Yorkshire (John Musgrave inherited Hylton Castle and Estates in 18th century)
Their son Roger Fenwick of Wallington held one third part of Offerton, on the south bank of the river Wear near Hylton ferry crossing, and he married Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Widdrington, Knight.
“Sir John Widdrington died quite a young man leaving his son and heir William Fenwick to be brought up under the guardianship of William Hilton” (1) who lived at North Biddick Hall, and was married to Margaret, another daughter of Sir James Metcalfe of Nappa Hall Wensleydale, Yorkshire. Sir James Metcalfe was Sheriff of Yorkshire, and Sir Thomas Hilton, William Hilton’s brother was Sheriff of Durham.
William Hilton inherited Hylton Castle and the Hilton estates in 1561, from his brother Thomas.
The Fenwick family were a major force in Northumberland; “At one time or another members of this widely diffused family have filled every position of trust and of honour in the county of Northumberland that the sovereign could bestow, burgess award, or professional acquirement achieve”
The head of the Hilton family of Hylton Castle were Barons of the Bishoprick of Durham, and the first family of the Palatinate of Durham ruled by the Bishop of Durham.
George Fenwick, great grandson of Gerard Fenwick of Offerton arrived in America in 1639 at Quinnipaic, later named New Haven where John Davenport, who had been a preacher at St Katherine’s Chapel at Hylton Castle between 1615-19 had started a new colony made up mainly of London merchants and their families.
He was accompanied by his wife, Lady Alice Boteler to take up residence at Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut river, where she died and is buried.
William Hilton, grandfather of William Hilton who sailed on the Fortune to rescue the Pilgrims at Plymouth in America in 1621 lived at North Biddick Hall in Washington, a few miles from Hylton Castle on the north banks of the river. He married Margaret Metcalfe, another daughter of Sir James Metcalfe of Nappa Hall in
Wenselydale in North Yorkshire.
Gerard Fenwick of Offerton was the great grandfather of George Fenwick who became the first Governor of Connecticut at Saybrook in North America. A letter written by him dated October 10th 1642, and another written three months later were published in the New England Historical Register vol xlvi pp 354-
His grandfather, Tristram Fenwick was involved in the Rising of the North in 1569 and sentenced to death but pardoned although his estate at Brinkburn was attainted. “he was pardoned in July 1571 – stated to have been an accessory to the late rebellion in the North” In 1626, George Fenwick was able to purchase back Brinkburn, once in property of the Earl of Northumberland who was executed in York for his part in the rebellion in 1572.
Cuthbert Fenwick of South Shields was the founder of the American Fenwick family.
He sailed aboard the Ark or Dove with Cecelius Calvert to found Maryland in 1634
There will be an international reunion of the Fenwick and Hilton families at Hylton Castle, Monkwearmouth, England in 2010 to tie in with the finish of the Tall Ships Race. For more info; Contact; Webmaster@AncestryUK.com
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