The further back in time we go, the harder it seems to become to determine just which Barnfather was which.  This list will (unfortunately!) be added to from time to time, so do check back!
1607 Cumberland
An inventory of the goods of George Hall of Brampton includes debts owed to him at the time of his death.  Among those owing to him are:  William Barnfather and John Barnfather.  There were Johns to be found in the Brampton/Lanercost area in the early 1600s; which one this was (if he was, indeed, from the area) is unknown.  William is a less common name among the Cumberland Barnfathers at that time.  If you can identify these people, please let me know.
1662 Newcastle upon Tyne
In his will written 1662, John Craghill of Burtholme, Cumberland, mentions debts he owed at the writing of the will.  Among those to whom he was owing was Jane or James Barnfather of Newcastle.  As the Craghills preceeded the Barnfathers at Hardhurst Farm, Lanercost, and it is believed that Janet Barnfather, wife of George Barnfather who lived at that farm, was born Craghill, we are wondering what the connection was, if any, between the person living at Newcastle and the Barnfathers of Burtholme/Lanercost.  If you have any information on this, please contact me.
1744 Brampton, Cumberland
In 1744, MARY KEENLYSIDE, a widow who lived in Brampton, Cumberland, passed away.  In her will she mentions MARY BARNFATHER, WIFE OF JAMES BARNFATHER, MY NIECE.  It may be that this Mary & James Barnfather are the couple who lived at Hardhurst Farm, Lanercost, James being the son of James Barnfather and Jannet Urwin.  Mary Keenlyside's brother's name was Stephen Nicholson, so Nicholson would appear to be her maiden name.  If you have any knowledge of a connection among the Keenlysides or Nicholsons and the Barnfathers of Hardhurst Farm, Lanercost, please contact me.
1662 Helmington Row, Brancepeth, Durham
Katherine Barnfather, daughter of George Barnfather was baptised at St. Brandon Church, 1 Feb 1662.  Does anyone have information as to George's parents and/or what became of this family?
21 April 1701, Stapleton, Cumberland
Francis, son of Francis Barnfather, was baptised this date.  Who is Francis, the father, and what became of this family?
1246, Amounderness, Lancashire
William Barnfader (among others) posted sureties in a legal matter concerning, among others, several persons surnamed Ethelaston who had been charged with a crime.  Who is this William and from where did he come?
During the Barnfather Reunions in 2000 and 2009, we visited the Barnfather graves at Lanercost Priory.  The amount of deterioration of the stones just in that period is marked and we have had some discussion with experts and with Priory and Diocesan officials about what can (and can't) be done to, if not fix, then at least slow down the deterioration process.   This matter is to be discussed fully at the upcoming Barnfather Reunion to be held in Beverley, Yorkshire, in July 2011.
As we are concerned specifically with the Barnfather graves that are at the back of the graveyard, we are wondering if there are families of the others interred in the same area who might be interested in this matter.
The primary problem seems to be a very aged Yew tree that stands at the back of the graveyard covering part of Row Y and blocking the sun and hindering the drying of any moisture in that area.  The tree is said to have been there from the founding of the priory, hundreds of years ago.
If you are related to any of the following people interred in Rows Y & X at Lanercost and have an interest in this matter, please contact me at:
Mary Henrietta Murray, eldest daughter of the Earl of Carlisle, died 1956
Henry Atkinson, Banks, died Boothby 30 Jun 1888 age 66
Robert Atkinson d 24 Oct 1860 aged 1 yr 5 mos.
Margaret Atkinson, wife of Henrym, Coanwood, 24 Ded 1904 age 80
Mary Ann Atkinson, Quarrybeck Lodge, d 11 Oct 1875 age 52
Elizabeth Atkinson, dau, d 10 Dec 1886 aged 23
Thomas Atkinson, son, died at Naworth Lodge 4 Nov 1894 age 40
John Atkinson, husband of Mary Ann, d 3 Dec 1900 age 90
Mary Ann Atkinson, dau, d 17 Jul 1934, ae 75
Jane Ann Thompson of West Hall d 16 Mar 1885 age 2
 (dau of Thomas & Isa Thompson)
Isa Thompson d 16 May 1882 ag 2
John harding of Hardest Kingwater d 22 Mar 1885 age 3
 (son of John & Mary Harding)
Mary (mother) d 22 Dec 1887 age 32
John (father) d 30 Nov 1935 age 81
Eliz. Bell d Aug 1918 age 81
Eliz. Nixon, Capon Tree d 23 Nov 1841 age 65

Eliz. dau d 8 Feb 1798 age 1

Sarah d inf.

William (husb. of Eliz 1841) d Hayton Townhead 1 Feb 1847 age 76

Catherine dau d 2 Mar 1894 age 74


Geo Atkinson of Banks d 10 Jun 1847 age 17

 (son of John & Eleanor Atkinson)

John (father of above) d @ banks 16 Jan 1861 age 86

Eleanor (mother of above) d Banks 21 Dec 1868 age 82

David son d 21 Nov 1871 age 65

William son d Balks (Banks?) 4 Aug 1877 age 63


Carter Bell, Nook, d 17 Oct 1786 age 66


Frances Bell wife Wm of Wallholm d 2 Jul 1751 age 33

Wm Bell of Wall Holm d 24 Dec 1787


Mgt wife Wm Nichol of Banks, cooper, d 28 Mar 1771 age 40


Lt. John Carruthers, Island Head, d 12 Sep 1785 age 48

+nearby Jane dau


Dorothy Bell of Wall Holm d 12 Dec 1750 age 85

Dorothy wife John Nixon of Rountree d 277 Feb 777 age 75


John Nixon, Rountreehill, d 19 Apr 1784 age 83

+John Nixon, Rattonrow, d 29 May 1818 age 79

/nearest Mary widow John Nixon of Ratinrow d Dundrow 6 Nov 1835 age 81


Wm Colton d 27 Apr 1766 age 69


Mary Bell d @Rosehill 6 Mar 1853 age 54

+Mary dau d 10 Jan 1823 age 2

+Jane dau d 28 Feb 1833 age 1

+Wm son d @ Carlisle 10 May 1861 age 35

/Wm Bell father d @ Carlisle 22 Sep 1871 age 75

+Mgt Dickinson dau d Carlisle 17 Dec 1871 age 44

+David Bell d Carlisle 25 Apr 1873 age 45

/Jane widow Capt A.O. Powell d Carlisle 14 Feb 1877 age 39


John son David & Ann Hope of Brampton d 4 Jun 1796 age 22

+Anne wife David Hope d 14 Dec 1796 age 57

+ta David d 20 Dec 20 Dec 1818 age 72

+at the foot Mary wife ta David d 31 Oct 1831 age 61

/Mary Bell d W Rosehill 16 mar 1853 age 54

+Jane dau d 28 Feb 1833 age 1

+Mary dau d 10 Jan 1823 aged 2




Several Barnfather families who appear in the London, Surrey and Kent areas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, seem to be connected.  There are certain clues that point to a connection to Warwickshire.  If you have any information that helps sort this out, we'd love to know about it.  This outline shows what we know and why we suspect the connection:
JOSEPH BARNFATHER married JANE GROVE (a widow from Rugby, Warwickshire), 22 Jul 1745, St. George Mayfair, London.  Their children were:
Mary Strong Barnfather, baptised 5 Aug 1746, St. Martin Vintry, London
Joseph Barnfather, baptised 10 Apr 1751, St. Andrew, Rugby, Warwickshire
*James Barnfather, baptised 1 Jun 1753, St. Andrew, Rugby, Warwickshire

*JAMES BARNFATHER married Elizabeth (surname unknown - marriage date unknown).  Their children were:

Joseph Barnfather, baptised 18 Nov 1779, St. Phillip's Birmingham, Warwickshire
Mary Strong Barnfather, baptised 13 Jan 1780, St. Phillip's Birmingham, Warwickshire
John Barnfather, baptised 25 May 1781, St. Phillip's, Birmingham
Jane Barnfather, baptised 23 Jun 1783, St. Phillip's Birmingham
James Barnfather, baptised 5 Nov 1785, St. Phillip's Birmingham

JOSEPH BARNFATHER, age given on 1851 census as 72 (so born 1779), lived in Lambeth, Surrey, but gave his place of birth as Birmingham, Warwickshire.  He died in 1856 (age given at that time as 82, but the address was the same as in the 1851 census entry). (See additional note attached to James below.)

JOHN BARNFATHER, age 58, died in 1840 (before any useful census) in Marylebone, Middlesex.  The date of birth calculates to 1782 - very close to 1781, the year John Barnfather was baptised in Birmingham.

JAMES BARNFATHER, age 66, died in Bromley, Kent, in 1847, making the date of birth 1781.  The 1841 census for Bromley gives his age as 55; however, ages were to be rounded down to the nearest 5 (this rule was often not followed).  His place of birth is indicated to be NOT in Kent (specific places were not asked for). 
Interestingly, a witness to the marriage of James Barnfather (the James who died in Kent) & Margaret Jeffreys was a John Stanley.  A man with the same name lived on the same street as John Barnfather who informed of his brother, Thomas Strong's death in 1837.  Further, the name Stanley shows up in the family of Joseph Barnfather who married Elizabeth Young on 13 May 1798 in St. Martin in Field, Westminster (Stanley Pellett Barnfather; Eliza Stanley Barnfather).  (See Joseph above)

THOMAS STRONG BARNFATHER, age 60, died in 1837 in Middlesex.  The informant of his death was John Barnfather, Brother, who lived at 18 Barratts Court.
The names Strong and Stanley seem to pop up in these families.  Except for the Joseph who gave his place of birth as Birmingham on the 1851 census, we do not have the proof that the men who lived in the London area are the ones who were baptised in Birmingham.  If you have any information that could prove this, please contact me at:
Lewis Barnfather, son of Margaret Barnfather of Garthside Farm, Lanercost, Cumberland, married Isabella Thompson in 1790 in Westward.  They had 5 children, some baptised in the Presbyterian Church in Brampton. 
In 1912, Lewis Barnfather, great-grandson of Lewis and Isabella, wrote a letter to his cousin discussing the will of Sir Simon Heward who died in Carlisle, Cumberland, in 1846.  He mentioned that Sir Simon's 2 daughters, Jessie and Ceta, had not been able to inherit their father's property in Carlisle.  Recent investigation revealed that it was thought that the girls were illegitimate, born of an Indian woman with whom Sir Simon lived while he, a surgeon, was stationed in India.
Lewis (1912) indicated that he thought the girls would have then inherited 'their mother's share' of 'Grandfather's uncle's money.' and the inference is that it is the Thompson uncle, who lived in Rosley, Westward, to whom he referred.
Do you have any idea how a woman in India (who, it appears, never set foot in England) is connected to the Thompson family of Westward?
The Cumberland News wrote an interesting article about this matter in 2008.  It can be found by clicking on the link "Sir Simon Heward," just below.
New, and possibly important, information was recently learned.  In the 1841 Census, Sir Simon and one of his daughters was living at Castle Street, Carlisle.   According to the deed, at the time of his purchase of that house, Sir Simon was living in Somerset.  We have not found any other mention of Somerset in all of the accumulated papers on this matter.
This is a transcription of the original letter from Lewis to his cousin, Samuel William Hetherington, who was the son of Samuel Hetherington and Annie Barnfather:

My Dear Cousin

        I have seen and read the will of Sir Simon Heward to day.  It was written in old English and old legal jargon which made it very difficult to understand.  He left only the house in Castle St and his diamond ring to the two daughters, but his money he left to several persons none of whom are any of our kin.  But it is quite clear that these two ladies did not get their wealth from that source.  The property was Entailed so that they could not realise.  So it would now seem that they got some of Grandfather’s uncle’s money; their mother’s share probably, and that keeps the issue clear and tends to prove that what father believed at first is the correct story.   It will of course be a most difficult task to prove this unless we are favoured by some unforseen and propitious circumstance.  Mr.Cu??? mingham? May be able to obtain the information but I am not building much hope upon the chance.  As regards the French story or tradition I can only say that whilst I have little doubt as to there being truth if not all the truth in the tale it is best left alone as we have no proofs whatever.

      I forgot to say that I know for certain that there was a Christopher Thompson of Stapleton married in 1796 at Lanercost – not Stapleton.

      I have found in the old directory that there was a Joseph Thompson a blacksmith at Chalkfoot near Rosley & I should very much like to know whether he is buried at Rosley or Westward.   Father said that the uncle had a son that lived at Rosley.   If ever you are in the Westward Churchyard you might look for the tombstone of Margaret Armstrong wife of George Armstrong and if you find it take a note of what is on it.  This woman was supposed to be the mother of our Great Grandfather Lewis.  I have some doubts about it & one could easily form a correct opinion if one knew what age she was.  I have seen the tombstone but did not take down the inscription

Love to all

Your affec.cus





Below are photos that have been submitted to me. The persons depicted are unidentified but the owners of the photos believe that the persons depicted are BARNFATHERS.

If you recognize any of these people or can help in the identification process,
please contact the person whose email address accompanies the photo - or you may contact me.

Seated in the middle in this photo are William George Barnfather, born 1844, and his wife, Margaret McClean, born 1846 in Ireland.  The family lived in and around Liverpool.  Next to Margaret is their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, who was married to William Winstanley Roberts (standing center, rear).  Their daughter, Norah, is on Sarah's knee.  The gentleman next to Sarah is believed to be Frederick Barnfather, a son of William George & Margaret, holding his son, also Frederick, on his knee.  We would like to identify the others depicted.  William George & Margaret had another son, also called William George, and daughters Margaret Jane Barnfather and Gertrude McClean Barnfather.  If you can identify any or all of the other 6 persons in this photo, please contact DAVID THOMAS at:


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The young man on the left below may be Robert Ernest Barnfather born 1899 in Fulham, London. The writing on his hat says, H.M.S. Boscawen. The identity of the much older woman is completely unknown.


Military records recently searched show that Robert William Barnfather served on HMS Boscawen (the ship named on the young man's cap) between 1892 and 1894.  That would settle who the young man is; the question now is the identity of the woman.  As Robert William's mother and maternal grandmother were deceased by 1892, it is thought that this is Emily Moyes Barnfather, widow of John Pratt Barnfather.  Can you confirm this?

If you have information on this person, contact JULIA ALSTON by clicking here.

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It is believed that these two photos depict the same person at different ages and that he was one of the Barnfathers who lived in Meanwood, Leeds, Yorkshire. 
If you think you know this person, please contact Pat Styles at

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DO YOU RECOGNIZE THIS BARNFATHER? This may be a son of Richard Barnfather/Jane Thirlway and a sibling of Dorothy Barnfather who married David Graham of Longtown, Cumberland.

If you have information on this person, contact DAVID GRAHAM by clicking here.

If you have a Barnfather mystery you'd like help with, please email me using the link below.

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The man in this photo is related to MARY BARNFATHER BOGGON who married William Boggon in 1874 and lived in Easington Lane (Hetton le Hole), Durham. It is believed to be either Mary's father or brother. Mary and William and their family were members of the Hetton Independent Methodist Lay Church, Easington Lane, so records will probably not be found in usual Church of England records.


If you have information on this person, please contact COLIN YOUNG by clicking here.