Early UK families: Ashbourne

ASHBOURNE. The Titterton family were a very prominent family in Ashbourne in the 1600s running a number of local trades. There were successive shoemakers, a glover, a taylor and a courier. The founder of the family was a Thomas Titterton who died in 1599.

Circumstantial evidence suggests he may be descended from the Cauldon family but that is by no means certain.  Although his sons and grandsons lived in Ashbourne in his will he is described as of ‘Clifton’ which is a parish immediately south of Ashbourne on the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  His grandsons were being born around 1600 and so it is likely that Thomas was born about 1540.

In 1557 just across the River Dove (and County boundary) from Clifton in the parish of Mayfield another Thomas Titterton died.  His will has not survived but probate was given to his brothers William, George and Roger.  This is significant for two reasons.  The names of the brothers identifies them as part of the Grindon family.  That probate was granted to the brothers suggests that either he had no sons or that they were under 21.  Thomas of Clifton born about 1540 could be the son of Thomas of Mayfield who died in 1557.

Also a Richard Titterton christened a son Richard in Ashbourne church in 1564,  Richard senior could be an elder brother of the Thomas born about 1540.  If Richard was 20 when their surmised father died in 1557 he would be 27 when his son was christened. That the family descend from the Cauldon branch is by no means certain.  Richard and Thomas are common names used by the Narrowdale family so it is possible that they came from Alstonefield.  Indeed they need not be brothers.  Richard may have come from Alstonefield and Thomas a distant cousin, being the son of Thomas of Mayfield.  The family tree of these early Tittertons can be seen by clicking here.

Thomas’ son William had six sons and, although three died without surviving children of their own, the family continued for several generations. The wills of the three sons who died with no children are interesting for different reasons. One son, William, who died at an early age (1642)  was a shoemaker. The inventory of his will included his stock of shoes and it is fascinating to see all the sizes listed (detailed here). The other two wills are of his brothers Thomas and Richard Titterton who died in 1678 and 1680. Thomas had no family of his own and he made bequests to numerous nephews and great-nephews. His will names 18 different male relatives which is detailed here.  Richard also names all these nephews etc.

The family continued in Ashbourne in the form of the descendants of the other three brothers, Nicholas, Edward and George.  By the early 1700s the family seems to have dispersed from Ashbourne and it is difficult to trace their movements. Nicholas is the ancestor of a family that settled at Carsington and Wirksworth with members who also established themselves in London including Cheesemongers in Bermondsey.  One of these three brothers is probably the parent family of the Tarratt family.  The family trees of the descendants of these three brothers can be seen by clicking on the appropriate link here: NicholasEdwardGeorge.