I'ANSON international


An I'Anson Wedding in Finghall

Drawing - St Andrew's Church, Finghall
The quaint little church of St Andrew, that has served the village of Finghall in Wensleydale since the later Middle Ages, lies at some distance from the hilltop village. It stands on lower ground near the bank of Burton Beck, described in the church literature as "a low spring bottom".

In 1718 one John Warburton wrote in his journal, "I went to Finkle . . where there is a little church about half a mile from the town." 
It has been said, though the story is as yet unproven, that the village once clustered around the church but was moved to higher and healthier ground after an outbreak of plague, as happened in nearby Hauxwell. The story is usually discounted, but there is no doubt that the church seems very remote from the village.

St Andrew's is approached, even today, by a rough track flanked by fields and trees; and it stands within a large and open churchyard. Imagine, if you will, a young eighteenth-century couple of little means, probably dressed in their Sunday best, making their way along this bumpy path some five years after John Warburton wrote about it in his journal. For here Myles I'Anson of Spennithorne married Elizabeth Slater of Askrigg on February 24th 1722/23. The rector at the time was Henry Raper, a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 

The Finghall parish register records their marriage by license: "Myles Eyanson of Spennithorne, Manservant" and "Elizabeth Slater of Askrigg, Maidservant". Unfortunately it gives no indication of the place where they were employed. Could it have been at Constable Burton Hall in the adjoining village, which would have had many servants? They were not originally from this part of Wensleydale - Myles was born in Aysgarth, son of Daniel I'Anson, and Elizabeth was from Askrigg, not far from Aysgarth. They may well have first met when they were much younger.

Marriage by License

Myles and Elizabeth were married by license, not by banns. What might this imply? Firstly, during the Middle Ages marriage was forbidden during Advent, Lent and Rogationtide. By the early 18th century only Lent remained a prohibited period for marriage. Thus, if a woman was found to be pregnant the couple may wish to marry quickly, before Lent, with insufficient time to call the banns on three successive Sundays. Such a couple might have applied for a license instead.

Another possible constraint on the timing of a marriage was a service contract. In many cases marriages took place with the ending of annual service contracts, usually in springtime for pastoral farming communities, and in autumn for arable regions. Wensleydale would have been the former. A February marriage, however, seems too early rather too early for that, although Myles and Elizabeth may have been under a different kind of contract as house servants. Those contracts could conceivably have terminated in February.

Under ecclesiastical law, however, a marriage was supposed to take place in the parish where one or both parties were living. A license was sometimes useful if both parties were away from their normal place of residence. Since both Myles and Elizabeth were in service and presumably living away from home, this may have been reason enough for their license.

First Child
Exactly a year after this wedding ceremony, in a different but nearby parish, their first baby was baptised and named Robert. The baptism is recorded in the parish register of Spennithorne on 3rd March 1723/24, and thus the I'Anson branch descending from Myles and Elizabeth had begun. The Horseracing I'Ansons, the 18th century Emigrants to New Jersey, and the 19th century Emigrants to New Jersey descend from this line.

The Father of Miles
Recently, we have discovered (thanks to the researches of a fellow I'Anson-tracer, Mervyn Ashby of Harrogate) that Miles was the son of Daniel I'Anson of Aysgarth. 

Aysgarth is close to Askrigg, Elizabeth Slater's home parish, at the western end of Wensleydale, and this circumstance suggests that Miles and Elizabeth already knew one another before they were in service around Finghall.

This story is part of the genealogical research of Maureen L. Ille, 
daughter of an I'Anson mother.
Another story that has its roots at Finghall concerns one particular mis-spelling of the I'Anson name as EYANSON. 

Read my Eyanson theory

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 Dr M.L.Ille  ianson@one-name.org