Fourth Generation

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Fourth Generation

In some ways this Fretwell generation could be aptly called 'The Neglected Generation' as it is the cohort of this branch of the family, with one exception, about which so little is known. If anyone can add anything to what follows I would love to hear from them, and am only an email away!

4th Generation Spouses


Given Name

Spouse of

Allcock Joyce Thomas Fretwell



Mary Fretwell



John Fretwell



John Fretwell



Joshua Fretwell

Thomas Fretwell
Elizabeth Fretwell
Alice Fretwell
Susannah Fretwell

What happened to the children of Robert Fretwell after he left for India around 1761? The baptisms of all four are recorded in the Cawthorne Parish Register as having occurred respectively in May 1739, November 1740, August/September 1742, and May 1748. There was evidently some concern about Alice's health at birth because, prior to the public ceremony, she was baptised privately, but there is no record  of any possible early burial, which would have might been recorded in the Cawthorne Parish Register. It is of interest that the baptism of the last child, Susannah, was held in Cawthorne, because it is likely that by this time the family had taken over the tannery at Potterton. Did this mean that Alice and the children were still living in Cawthorne at this stage? Or did she 'come home' for her confinement? Or was it a matter of choice to have all children baptised in the same church? The family's expected allegiance to the parish church at Barwick-in-Elmet, which was a prerequisite for retaining the family pew, did not formally apply until 1849.

From the records of Robert's straitened circumstances, we know, at least, that Thomas was alive in 1771. Foxhunting was gaining in popularity in the 18th century and we understand that Thomas had established for himself quite a reputation as one of England's leading breeder of hounds, and that at some stage he had some connection with a Pack in the Cotswold district.

The National Burial Index for England and Wales has a record of the burial, in 1848 at Fladbury, Worcestershire, of one 70 year old Thomas Bulkeley Fretwell who had been born about 1778. It is most likely that he was a grandson of Robert and Alice (née Bulkeley) Fretwell and the son of Thomas Fretwell who, on 19 December 1771, married Joyce Allcock at Fladbury, Worcestershire, although I have not located any record to confirm or refute this premise. We know that this couple did have at least three children - Elizabeth, baptised at Fladbury on 1 January 1773; Francis, baptised at Blockley, Gloucestershire, on 12 June 1775; and Susanna, baptised on 3 May 1780, also at Blockley. A further record shows that a Joyce Fretwell, was buried at Fladbury on 26 April 1782. The Hereford Journal of Wednesday 11 December 1799 reported that -

On Friday se'nnight died, after a few days illness, much lamented, Thomas Fretwell, Esq, of Upton-old, Worcestershire.

Children of Thomas Fretwell and Joyce Allcock










Thomas Bulkeley






No mention, in the winding up and selling off of the family assets, is made of the daughters, but assuming that they survived to adulthood, Elizabeth would have been 22, Alice 20 and Susannah 14 years old when their father debunked to India, and respectively 31, 29, and 23 when the legal proceedings marked the final handing over of the remaining family property.

The Barwick-in-Elmet Register records that on 1st August 1771 Susannah Fretwell, together with William Rooke and Mary Vevers, was a witness to the marriage, by licence and with the permission of the bride's father,  of James Banks of Leeds, Linen Draper and Rebecca Rooke of Barwick, spinster.

There is also a record for a woman referred to as Alice, 'daughter of the late Robert Fretwell of Potterton', who was buried on 27 February 1796 at Carthorpe, Yorkshire.

Again making assumptions, all three daughters may have found husbands to 'rescue' them from the family misfortunes and genteel poverty.

Francis Fretwell
Mary Fretwell
John Fretwell
William Fretwell

John Fretwell of Bickerton Hall, father of Francis, Mary, John and William Fretwell, died when they were still young and they were brought up by their mother Mary and their step-father Richard Dickinson, and may well have moved to Marton with Grafton. William died in early childhood and apart from John, whose life is fairly well documented nothing much further is known about his siblings, Mary and Francis.

Francis, first born son, was baptised on 28 March 1724 at Silkstone. He was nearly 4 when his benefactor Uncle Francis died, and nearly 8 years old when his father died. If he survived past his childhood years, Francis would have 'come of age' in 1745 and presumably would have expected then to claim his inheritance. But we know that even if he did come into his inheritance, the family fortunes were on the wane due to the apparent mismanagement of the estate by the entrepreneurial Robert Fretwell, and in a short time Francis would have been looking to some other means of earning a living. In 1754 he was resident at Kirk Hammerton, by which time he would have been 35. It may be that Francis was able to continue the family tradition of working on the land, if not for himself, for another landowner. Or, like his younger brother, he may have served some form of apprenticeship. But there is nothing as yet to support any of this. Nor do we know if he married, if he had any children, or when and where he died and was buried.

What life held for Mary is still a mystery. She was baptised in 1726, and was still living at the time of her mother's remarriage to Richard Dickinson. She may have married, date unknown, a John Lang, who subsequently married an Elizabeth Houseman.

With John Fretwell of Tadcaster the family takes a completely new direction. Moving away from the land, the tanning and other primary industry concerns, the Fretwells now venture into the world of commerce, with the establishment of the grocery business which was to be the focus of their labours, and the source of their livelihood for nearly one hundred years.

Second son of John Fretwell, Gentleman of Bickerton Hall, and Mary, he was baptised at St Helen's Church in Bilton, in the Diocese of York on 18 June 1729. His elder brother and sister Mary were baptised at Silkstone and Cawthorne respectively, and this change of parish coincides with the family's relocation to Bickerton Hall, and John Snr's custodianship of the estate pending his nephew's coming of age. Just before his sixteenth birthday, and having presumably finished his schooling, John 'graduated' to an apprenticeship with John Hawksworth, of Barnsley, Mercer, the indentures being dated 8 May 1745 and the Fee £63. Having successfully completed his seven year apprenticeship, John went into business for himself. In 1752 he put up his shingle as Mercer and Grocer in Tadcaster where he established the lucrative business that was carried on by his sons John and William, and subsequently his grandson William.

Now established in business, John was in a position to consider marriage and the raising of a family. How long he had known his bride-to-be before he took this step is not known, but in October 1752 he and John Farral, most likely the brother of his 'intended', fronted up with the £200 to apply for a Licence. One day later the couple were duly married at York Minster.

"October 22nd 1752
John Fretwell of Tadcaster in the Diocese of York and Isabella Farrel of the same place were married by Virtue of a Licence from Dr. Herring by me
(signed) Zach. Suger"

Taking her age as given in the Marriage Licence, and confirmed by her age on death, Isabella, would have been born about 1729, and was therefore about the same age as her husband. It is thought that her father and brother were in the pewtering business. John and Isabella produced 10 children over the space of 15 or so years:

Children of John Fretwell and Isabella Farra(el)l


































Not all the children lived to adulthood. The first two, Catherine and John, died in infancy. 1772 must have been a particularly difficult year, as the last born, Bartholomew died just five months after his father. In all John and Isabella had just short of twenty years of married life before John died and was buried at Tadcaster on 13th May 1772 one month before his 43rd birthday - yet another premature death in this family line. Isabella's years of child-rearing did not seem to have had a deleterious effect on her health for she lived to a ripe old age of 82. She died at Leeds on 13 July 1811, and was buried, at the Mill Hill Chapel. The choice of burial place indicates that the Fretwell family had, by this time, some connection with Unitarianism, which, to use a commercial metaphor, was gaining in its market-share of the 'thinking people'.

Tadcaster Church

William, the last child of John Fretwell of Bickerton, and his wife Mary, must have been a sickly child, and only survived a few months. He was baptised privately on 2 October 1731, publicly on 22nd October and predeceased his father by 11 months. William's burial, at age 3½ months, on 17 January 1731/32 is recorded in the Bilton Parish Register.

The Ant Children
The Walker Children
Francis Arnold

Until the situation as regards the children of Grace and Robert Ant is better clarified I refer you back to the Third Generation entry for Grace Fretwell.

Again, apart from giving the actual dates for the Walker children, nothing further can be added at this stage for this brood. The eldest, Ann, was baptised on 15th February 1722/23 followed by a brother, William, who was baptised on 14 February 1724/25, and, after a short life, was buried in his 9th year on 22 October 1733. Next to be born were two daughters Mary, baptised on 28 April 1727 and Martha on 28 March 1729. A second son, George, was baptised on 15 December 1731, but sadly only lived 6 months, being buried on 20 June 1732. Eleven months later a third, and presumably more robust child was born - Thomas - baptised on 30 May 1733. And there was likely another son, William, born sometime after 22 October 1733, and who was buried on 9 April, 1755.

Some note should be taken in relation to their Uncle Johannes' will. The document was drawn up in November 1724, at which time both Ann and William Walker had been born, and were still alive. So why were they overlooked in the list of beneficiaries? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the offspring of Grace and George could expect to be well looked after financially through their own father, who was, after all, a man of some standing, being designated Yeoman. Johannes may have been concerned that his Ant nephews, now fatherless, would not fare so well, and so they were provided for in his Will.

Francis Arnold is an enigma at the moment. The only surmise is that he was born some time after the marriage of his parents (not always a failsafe guide), and this could have occurred in the Silkstone/Cawthorne area.

William Fretwell
John Fretwell
Joshua Fretwell

The family tree extract for William, son of Joshua Fretwell and Easter Denton is both poignant and intriguing. William, born in Hoyland Swaine, was baptised on 20 June 1707. The name/s of the mother/s of the two Mary's, daughters of William, is not known, nor is how William earned his living, where he lived, and where he died and was buried, the latter event being some time after the conception of the second Mary.

At least we know the name of William's sister-in-law! John, like his elder brother, was born in Hoyland Swaine, and he was baptised on 9 October 1709. His marriage, in his 24th year is recorded in the Silkstone Parish Registers as follows (note the surname variant spelling).

26th March 1733 John Frettwell and Grace Burgon, both of this parish, p.banns, married.

The one and only known child, Sara Frettwell, was born 11 months later.

Joshua, the child of Joshua and his second wife Ann Tayle(o)r was born in Hoyland Swaine, and his baptism is recorded in the Silkstone Parish Registers as occurring on 11 February 1723/24. Until recently it was surmised that some stage he met and married a woman called Hannah, of whom practically nothing is known, apart from the fact that she was probably buried at High Hoyland. This has since been proved incorrect. In fact, this Joshua's wife was one Elizabeth Heeley, and they were married at All Saints, Silkstone with Stainborough, on 15 April 1754, just after Joshua's 30th birthday.

Joshua Frettwell and Eliz Heely both of this parish by licence

Elizabeth Heeley, daughter of John Heeley, had been baptised at St John the Baptist, Penistone, on 17 September 1727. There are burial records for Elizabeth and Joshua Fretwell, at All Saints, Silkstone with Stainborough, which if they refer to the above couple, indicate that they died within a month of each other in 1798.

Oct 27 Elizabeth Wife of Joshua Fretwell, Clothier, Hoylandswain
Nov 17 Joshua Fretwell, Clothier, Hoylandswain

Mary Fretwell

Mary, granddaughter of Matthew, and daughter of William and mother unknown, was given a private baptism in April 1731, followed four weeks later by a public ceremony at the Cawthorne Parish Church.

MARY dau of WILLIAM FRETWELL (per B.T Husbandman) pr: Ap.21st pub May ye 17th

At birth a sickly child, she may not have survived long, although there is no reference in the Cawthorne Parish Registers to support this - it may be that she lived a long, healthy and fruitful, but seemingly, undocumented life!

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This page was last updated on 28 September, 2016