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The Conn Family of Upleatham

Researched and Contributed by David Conn

Further information is available from David Conn  Email him


The geography of the area.

Upleatham is a small parish of about 1100 acres about 7 miles to the east of Middlesbrough in the County of North Yorkshire, England. The parish of Guisborough is to the west and Marske by the Sea is to the east. To the north lies Upleatham Hill and to the south Skelton Moor. Running through the centre of the parish from east to west is Skelton Beck, with the village of Upleatham to the north of the beck.

Historical summary

The parish has a very long history - it is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Uplider - and was given by William the Conqueror to the Earl of Chester. It subsequently passed to the Lowther family, many of whom are buried in the family vault in the churchyard. The Conn family graves are next to the Lowther vault. Just to the north, over Upleatham Hill, lies the estuary of the River Tees, and in about 1300 two brothers called Johannes and Rojerus Conne were farming at Caldecotes (now called Cargo Fleet). They were tenant farmers of land belonging to Guisborough Priory. It seems possible that the descendants of these two men moved the few miles over the hill to Upleatham and were the originators of this line of the Conn family.

There are two churches in the village, the modern church of St Andrews built in 1854, now used as a house, and the old church just to the south of the village which is reputed to be the smallest church in England. In fact the present building is merely part of a much larger 13-14th century church which was excavated in the 1960s. It has a single room of about 15ft. square with a window and a door. The tower has a plaque stating that it "was builded in 1684". It was, in fact, built by William Crow of Guisborough to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Dorothy to Peter Conn. This old church has not been used since the new church was built, although the churchyard was used for burials until the 1930s when the parish was absorbed into the adjacent parish of Skelton. In about 1840 the last of the Conns moved from the village, ending an association with Upleatham that had lasted for perhaps 500 years.

The parish documents

1) The parish registers (from 1654).
They are unusual in that they are not consecutive documents, but a series of overlapping books. An entry in one book can be found in the next book with different dates. This makes the creation of family trees somewhat problematical, and must be taken into account when viewing the following family. An additional problem is that Upleatham Parish owned about ten houses in the adjacent parish of Marske, and several of the Conn family are recorded in the records from this parish.

2) The Bishops Transcripts (from 1607).

3) The survey of 1653
The Conn family had about 60 acres of land spread across the village fields. The survey lists the holdings of each of the villagers, although because there wasn't a map attached to the survey it is difficult to identify where the holdings were. The Tithe map of 1848 still contains many field names found in the 1653 survey. Their main home was at Wortswell, an area to the west of the parish adjacent to the Skelton Beck, and it was from this beck that they obtained the water neccesary for their tannery. The homestead itself has disappeared , but the well from which it is named was still producing water for the local water company in the 1960s.

4) The Dundas Archives
During the 1700s the agent for the Dundas family of Aske Hall, Richmond, was busy buying most of the land in the parish of Upleatham. In about 1790, the Dundas family built Upleatham Hall, and under Lord Dundas became the Lords of the Manor. By this time the Conn family were mere tennants of the Dundas family - John Conn for example was the Ale-conner, ie he made and checked the quality of the local beers and wines. All of these land purchases are documented in the Archives held at the North Riding Archives Department, Northallerton. They are found in a vast collection of documents, in which the index alone runs to twelve volumes. They contain tennacy agreements, wills, family trees, land sales etc., many of which are relevant to the history of the Conn family.

5) Sweet Upleatham.
This book by Rev. Walters in 1932 gives a glimpse into the life of the village, and includes much of historical importance. As the vicar of Upleatham, it is possible that he had access to material that is no longer available.

6) Monumental Inscriptions.
A transcription of all of the graves is to be found along with the parish register transcription in the Cleveland Archives.
There are four grave stones in the parish churchyard belonging to the Conn family.

The Conn Family in Upleatham.

The family has been reconstructed using all of the above named records and many of the relationships involve considerable speculation. Because of this, the source of the records are not indicated.

It is thought that there were two brothers alive in the early 1600s called George and Peter Conn. They both appear in the Dundas Archives witnessing documents in the 1616-1633 period. George and his subsequent family appear to have lived at Wortswell and to have been tanners, whilst Peter owned the farming land to the east of the village. It is easier to document the two halves of the family separately.

The family of Peter Conn

29 Jun 1687. Burial of Peter Conn.
His son is thought to be Robert, who married Dorothy.
This Robert is thought to be the Robert Conn that appears in the 1653 survey as owning 14 acres of land spread throughout the village fields. His wife was called Dorothy.

The children of Robert and Dorothy Conn.

bulletPeter of Laton House. No date of birth known. This site is unknown.
bulletCatherine bap. 12 Sep 1631 married George Chapman.
bulletAnna bap. 15 Oct 1646 and bur. 10 Apr 1669
bulletIsabella bap. 12 Dec 1648
bulletRobert, a tanner; no date given. Married Margaret Burton in 1672
bulletRobert bur. 24 Sep 1712
bulletMargaret bur. 9 Oct 1714

The children of Robert Conn and Margaret Burton.

bulletGeorge, bap. 10 Aug 1684 and bur. 17 Jun 1706
bulletThomas, bap. 16 Nov 1686 and bur. 26 May 1717 As the oldest surviving son, Thomas inherited the estate, but on his death in 1717, Peter inherited.
bulletPeter, bap. 28 Jul 1687 and bur. 20 May 1763 Peter Conn married Elizabeth Gofton 24 Apr 1718.
bulletJane, married John Adamson in 1703.
bulletWilliam bap. 23 Jun 1691.
bulletRichard bap. 3 Apr 1698 and bur. 1 May 1698.

The children of Peter Conn and Elizabeth Gofton.

bulletThomas bap. 10 Mar 1719
bulletRobert bap. 30 Dec 1728 and buried 1807 (grave) or 1810 (PR) Robert married Ann. No details of this marriage have been found. Robert was a gardener to Lord Dundas.

The children of Robert and Ann Conn

bulletElizabeth bap. 27 Apr 1758 Elizabeth Conn married James Comb 12 Dec 1799
bulletRobert bap. 28 Dec 1759 and bur. 5 Dec 1837 Robert married Marey. No details have been found of this marriage. It is thought that Robert and Marey had one son called William, but no other information has been found.
bulletJane bap. 27 Oct 1760 and bur. 4 Feb 1779
bulletPeter bap. 7 Feb 1764 and bur. 18 Dec 1764
bulletDorothy bap. 23 Apr 1766 Dorothy married John Previll, master mariner, on 14 Jan 1783. They had three sons, Robert, Thomas and Peter Conn Previll. John Previll died in 1793 and Dorothy married George Young in 1798.
bulletAnn bap. 4 Mar 1768 and bur. 4 Dec 1857 She had three illegitimate daughters, Margaret, Ann Dorothy and Elizabeth. Richard Cowl was reputed to be the father.
bulletThomas bap. 23 Jul 1770 and bur. 5 Mar 1771
bulletThomas bap. 12 Apr 1772 and bur. 24 Nov 1777

As far as can be ascertained the Conn name died out in this line.

The family of George and Jane Conn

The second brother alive in the early 1600s was George Conn. He was signing documents in 1633 and was called George senior. It is possible that he may have been dead by 1653 because the survey of that year shows that Jane Conn, widow, owned 46 acres of land. Four sons have been assigned to him, although it is possible that one or more could have belonged to his brother Peter.

bulletGeorge, a tanner of Wortswell, bur. 1706
bulletRichard was witnessing deeds in the 1671-74 period.
bulletRobert, known only because he had four daughters, Margaret, Joan, Elizabeth and Isabel, all of whom were born and died in the 1664-1690 period.
bulletWilliam, alive in the 1654-7 period.

The children of George Conn, a tanner of Worswell.

bulletPeter, married Dorothy Crow on 1 May 1684, and bur. 20 Jan 1691.
bulletRichard, married Jane Crow on 17 Apr 1684 who died 4 Nov 1684, presumably in childbirth. Richard was bur. 19 Jan 1725.
bulletWilliam bap. 9 Jun 1690 and bur. 23 Jul 1690

The children of Peter Conn of Wortswell and Dorothy Crow.

bulletPeter bap. 7 Nov 1685 and bur. 30 Sep 1764. Peter married Grace Rowntree on 26 Dec 1727. They had one daughter, Eleanor bap. 22 Jul 1733 before Grace died in 1739. Peter married a second time to Jane Tanfield on 20 Dec 1740.

The children of Peter Conn of Wortswell and Jane Tanfield.

bulletPeter bur. 30 Sep 1764 and Jane bur. 25 Sep 1792
bulletPeter bap. 27 Dec 1742. He married Elizabeth Bennison on 23 Oct 1778. They had 7 children.
bulletWilliam; no further information.
bulletGeorge bap.9 Feb 1745
bulletThomas bap. 8 Mar 1751. He married Jane Graham on 27 Feb 1794.

The children of Peter Conn and Elizabeth Bennison.

bulletJane bap. 10 Jan 1779 and bur. 4 Feb 1799
bulletPeter bap.14 Oct 1781 and bur. 24 Nov 1781
bulletThomas bap. 8 Dec 1782
bulletGeorge bap. 24 Jan 1785
bulletElizabeth bap. 9 Apr 1787
bulletPeter bap. 14 Jul 1793
bulletSarah bap. 26 Jul 1798

It is thought that this family moved to Whitby and then to Sunderland.

The children of Thomas Conn and Jane Graham

bulletThomas bap. 10 Jun 1706. He married Ann Dunn on 28 Mar 1827, and they had 5 children.
bulletRobert bap. 1 Feb 1799 and bur. 27 Feb 1842. He married Sarah Ableson on 11 Mar 1820, and they had 5 children.
bulletJane, who married John Hutton on 11 Apr 1826.

The children of Thomas Conn and Ann Dunn

bulletIsabella bap. 23 Mar 1828 and married John Hodgson of Yarm in 1852.
bulletThomas bap. 6 Jun 1830
bulletJane bap. 7 May 1831
bulletRobert bap. 21 Sep 1834
bulletWilliam bap. 11 Jun 1837

Ann Conn (Dunn), aged 80, was in Darlington in 1881 with her som William. He is said to be married, but his family is not with him. Nothing further is known about these children.

The children of Robert Conn and Sarah Ableson

bulletJane bap. 2 Mar 1821 and bur. 25 Jun 1833
bulletMary bap. 20 Dec 1823. Married John Pybus 1845 They had three children, Robert, John and a daughter.
bulletEleanor bap. 5 Feb 1826
bulletThomas bap. 20 Jun 1828






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