John Smith of Dunfermline and Baker Greenwell of Lanchester

Copyright Vivien Ellis

John Smith first came to my attention in the Baptism Register for St. Andrew's Church, Aycliffe, at the baptism of his daughter Mary in January 1800. The vicar had noted that he was from Scotland. By the baptism of his son Greenwell Smith in 1806, the information entered was that he was from Dunfermline, Fifeshire, in Scotland. Since my family came from Dunfermline, I have tried to find out more about John Smith.

John Smith was married twice. His first wife was Mary Burn, from Haughton le Skerne. John Smith was Mary Burn's second husband. Mary Burn was born about 1762 and married John Craggs in Haughton le Skerne May 13, 1787. So far one child by this marriage has been found - William Craggs, born March 18, 1790. Their abode was Coatham.

John Smith was born about 1777 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. He married Mary Burn, whose name was entered as Mary Craggs in the marriage register, at Haughton le Skerne October 26, 1791. They had 4 children who were baptized in Aycliffe, and Mary's maiden name was entered in the baptism register: Jane Smith, born about August 1793, William Smith, born August 17, 1797, Mary Smith, born 17 September , 1799 and John Smith, born 22 June, 1802. Sadly Mary Smith, John's wife, died 16 May, 1804 and was buried in Aycliffe 19 May, 1804.

John Smith's second wife was Margaret Greenwell from Lanchester. John Smith was Margaret's second husband.

Margaret Greenwell, born about 1771 in Lanchester, Co. Durham, married Thomas Ornsby by Licence in Wolsingham October 3, 1797. Margaret then married John Smith at Aycliffe, using her married name, Margaret Ornsby. The Banns were read in St. Andrew's Church, Aycliffe February 3rd, 10th and 17th, no impediment, by James Robson, vicar. James Robson married them February 19, 1805. Both signed the register, and their witnesses were Abraham Shipton and John Perkins.

John and Margaret Smith had 5 children, 2 of whom died in infancy: Greenwell Smith, born July 1, 1806, died June 14, 1807, Margaret Smith, born March 8, 1808, died December 11, 1808, Greenwell Smith, born November 24, 1809, George Smith, born September 21, 1812 and Peter Smith, born about June 22, 1815. All the children were born in Aycliffe. John Smith's occupation was entered as Victualler in 1808 and Innkeeper in 1810 and 1812.

John Smith bought a property in Aycliffe in 1802, and leased a property for a year to someone in 1820.

In the Parson and White Directory for 1828 John Smith is entered under the Grocer & Dealer section. His son, Greenwell Snith, is entered under this section in the Pigot & Co.'s Directory of 1834. Greenwell Smith, born 1809, died in September 1837, age 27 and was buried in Aycliffe.

John Smith died September 1836 and was buried in Aycliffe. His wife Margaret was living in the 1841 census in Barmpton, of independent means, age 70, in the household of Baker Greenwell, age 40, farmer. I think that Baker Greenwell was her nephew, and he was son of Baker Greenwell of Lanchester, who was buried in St. Andrew's churchyard, Aycliffe. Margaret Smith was buried in Aycliffe December 11, 1850.

Baker Greenwell came to my attention while photographing the headstones in St. Andrew's churchyard. His unusual first name made me decide to find out more about him.

Baker Greenwell

Baker Greenwell, late of Wheatley Green, who died November 4, 1839, aged 78 years and of Elizabeth, his daughter, who died June 22, 1805, age 12, and of Hannah, who died December 20, 1842, age 73 years.

Click here to read his Will

Baker Greenwell was the son of Thomas Greenwell and Margaret Atkinson. He was baptized March 10, 1761 in Rowley, Esh, Lanchester. He had a brother, Thomas, baptized May 15, 1764, and 4 sisters: Eleanor, baptized September 28, 1754, Mary, December 5, 1757, Margaret, June 20, 1766 and Isabel November 18, 1771.

The Greenwell family is a large and ancient family of Co. Durham, centred around Lanchester. I have as yet to discover exactly how Baker Greenwell is linked to the Lanchester family. His first name indicates that an ancestor's surname was Baker, and there seems to be a landed family around the Lanchester area of that name.

Baker Greenwell was living in the Great Aycliffe area by the time he married Hannah Todd of Heighington January 2, 1792 in St. Michael's Church, Heighington. At the baptism of his daughters, Elizabeth, February 12, 1793, and Anne, July 12, 1795, Baker was living at Copelaw, Great Aycliffe. His first son was given the surname of Baker's mother as his first name: Atkinson Greenwell, born May 3, 1798. Baker, named after his father, was born January 29, 1800 in Woodham, Great Aycliffe. A third son, John, was born June 5, 1802.

Before 1820 Baker Greenwell was living at Thornton Hall, High Coniscliffe and leased some property and land in Aycliffe from John Smith above for a year. In the Parson and White Directory for 1828, Baker Greenwell is entered for Thornton Hall. At some stage Baker and Hannah Greenwell returned to the area of Baker's birth as he is described as late Wheatley Green on his headstone. He died November 4, 1839 and was buried November 7 in Aycliffe. He is described in the Burial Register as of Edomsley, Chester-le-Street. His wife Hannah was living with her daughter Anne in the 1841 census at Broomyholme, Edmonsley. She was of independent means. Her daughter Anne had married John Hudson October 26, 1813 at Chester-le-Street. She had 4 sons and 2 daughters: Greenwell, born abt. 1821, John, born abt. 1821, Baker born abt. 1826, George, born abt. 1826 and another whose name is illegible in the census, born abt. 1838. The daughters were Hannah, born about 1831 and another with an illegible name and age. Hannah Greenwell was buried December 23, 1842 in Aycliffe. Hannah's abode in the register was Broomy-holm, Chester-le-Street.

Thornton Hall, High Coniscliffe, copyright V. Ells

Thornton Hall, High Coniscliffe

Baker Greenwell's eldest son, Atkinson, must have taken over his father's property at Copelaw as there is an entry for the baptism of Baker Greenwell, son of Atkinson and Margaret Greenwell, farmer of Low Copelaw Farm, June 3, 1820. By the 1851 Census Atkinson Greenwell was a farmer of 100 acres employing 2 labourers at Archdeacon Newton. He has a daughter, Hannah L., born about 1824 in Kirklevington, Yorkshire, and a son, Hilton, born about 1841in Darlington. Hilton Greenwell died in 1859. Atkinson is still at Archdeacon Newton with his wife and daughter Hannah in the 1861 census.

Baker Greenwell's son Baker married Ann Wetherell June 25, 1822 in Sedgefield. By the 1841 census they had 12 chidlren, the first 3 born in the Great Aycliffe area and the rest in Barmpton, near Darlington. Baker was a farmer. The 12 children were William, born abt. December 1 1823, John, born abt. June 16, 1825, Baker, born abt. May 27, 1826, Atkinson, born abt. 1827, Thomas, born abt. 1827, Robert, born abt. 1831, Mary Ann Greenwell, born abt. 1832, Michael Todd Greenwell, born abt. 1834, Hannah born abt. 1836, George, born abt. 1838, Sarah Elizabeth, born abt. 1840 and Margaret, born abt. 1841. This is the family that Margaret Smith(née Greenwell), wife of John Smith above, was living with in the 1841 census. This makes me almost certain that the original Baker Greenwell, born 1761, was her brother. Baker's wife, Ann, had died before the 1861 census. In the 1871 census Baker was now a retired farmer and living with his son George at Windlestone Grange.

Baker Greenwell, born 1826 above, son of Baker, grandson of Baker, was an apprentice druggist in the 1841 census. By the 1881 census he was a widower living in Finchley New Road, Hampstead, London with two unmarried daughters, Anne L. age 26 and Mary, age 24. Baker was a Physician and Surgeon, M.D. St. Andrew's, M.R.C.S.E. L.S.A. He had married Louisa Elkington June 1854. She died abt. March 1857 in Marylebone, Middlesex.

His sister Mary Ann Greenwell married William Robson October 4, 1855. Their daughter, Emily, was born about 1855 at Heighington, and their son, John William, was born about 1859 at Heighington. By the 1861 census William Robson had died and his wife Mary Ann was living with her children at her brother Baker Greenwell's farm in Barmpton. Mary Ann is described as a House Proprietor.

His brother George Greenwell, born 1838 above, had married Elizabeth Shepherd from Busby in Yorkshire, and was a farmer at The Grange, Windlestone, in 1871 and1881. Alison Stamp, a descendant of George's, has kindly sent information and photographs about her family.They had 4 children, all born at Windlestone: John Baker, born abt. 1870, Eva Jane Ann, born abt. 1873, George Benjamin, born abt. 1876 and Mary Shepherd, born abt. 1879 and who had a twin, Sarah, who died in infancy. John Baker Greenwell married Alice Bowes of Sedgefield in 1894 and moved to Old Hall Farm, Lackenby, Eston. They had 7 children, 5 of whom survived infancy. Alison's great grandfather, Edwin Arnold Greenwell, was born in 1900. John Baker Greenwell also had another son, John George Greenwell, who married Laura Acon. John George Greenwell and Laura Acon had a son John Baker Greenwell, born 1920, but sadly he died in 1937.

John Baker Greenwell, Copyright Alison Stamp

John Baker Greenwell, courtesy of and copyright of Alison Stamp

John George Greenwell's wedding.  Copyright Alison Stamp

Wedding of John George Greenwell, 1919

Back row L-R: William Baker Greenwell (1897), John Baker Greenwell, 2 unknown but possibly Evelyn Acon and husband John Craggs and Edwin Arnold Greenwell

Middle row: Alice Robinson (mother of Alice Bowes), John George Greenwell (1895), Laura Acon, Alice Bowes (wife of John Baker Greenwell)

Front row: Norman Bowes Greenwell (1904 - twin), Agnes Doreen Greenwell (1904 - twin)

Copy right Alison Stamp

Greenwell family 1950s, courtesy and copyright of Colin Greenwell

Old Hall Farm, Lackenby, about 1950

Left to right: John Baker Greenwell, Arnold Bowes Greenwell, Edwin Arnold Greenwell

Front: Alan Leslie Greenwell and Colin Arnold Greenwell

Courtesy and copyright of Colin Greenwell, great grandson of John Baker Greenwell

Old Hall Farm, Lackenby, at harvest time

Old Hall Farm, Lackenby, at harvest time

Courtesy and copyright of Colin Greenwell

Colin Greenwell has also sent old postcards from the early 1900s

Lackenby, Yorkshire, 1907

Lackenby, 1907.

The four farms were down a lane just past the far end house. This is one of the postcards sent to John George Greenwell whilst in hospital in Liverpool.

Lazenby, next village to Lackenby, early 1900s

Lazenby, early 1900s

Next village along from Lackenby, where Colin Greenwell's grandfather would be sent to get John Baker Greenwell from the pub to come for his dinner !

Old postcards - Haughton le Skerne and Sedgefield

Haughton le Skerne and Sedgefield, early 1900s



John Greenwell, born 1802 above, son of Baker and Hannah Greenwell, had taken over at Thornton Hall, High Coniscliffe, from his father and was a farmer there in the 1841 census. He had married Mary and they had 12 children, all born at Thornton Hall: Hodgson, born abt. 1833, Ann, born abt. 1834, John, born abt. 1836, Hannah, born abt. 1837, Mary, born abt. 1838, Jane, born abt. 1840, Baker, born 1841, Thomas, born about 1841, William, born about 1844, Elizabeth, born about 1846, Samuel, born about 1848 and George, born about 1849. John's son Baker Greenwell had married Mary and was an unemployed farmer living in South Bedburn and Hamsterley in the 1881 census. He died abt. June 1918 in the Sedgefield area.

Mary Greenwell was Stephen Forster's great-grandmother. She married Clark Nesom who inherited Manor Farm, Whitton, from his father.


Mary Greenwell, courtesy and copyright Stephen Forster
Clark Neson, courtesy and copyright of Stephen Forster
Mary Greenwell, courtesy of Stephen Forster
Clark Neesom, courtesy of Stephen Forster


This is a far as I have got in my research. If any one has any further information it would be greatly appreciated.