Monday, 5 January 2015

Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed and ... Hempseed?

Hempseed. I was quite curious as to the origin of this surname when I found out this was the maiden name of my 5x Great Grandmother, Sarah who married Alexander Barrass

They married in 1784 at St Alban's, Earsdon, Northumberland and together had ten children; John, William, Alexander, James, Robert (My 4x Great Grandfather), Sarah, William, Cuthbert, Matthew and Margaret (died in infancy).

As for earlier generations of the Hempseed family, they can be found living in Seaton Sluice, headed by William Hempseed and his wife Catherine Ledger, a native of Heworth, Durham. William worked at the glassworks at Seaton Sluice.


St Alban's Church, Earsdon, Northumberland.
A notable member of the Hempseed family is Captain Forster Hempseed a great-grandson of William and Catherine, who sadly drowned at sea along with his wife and infant child off the coast of Australia in 1859. 

Before William came his father James, and mother Sarah Gair who married in 1740 at Newcastle upon Tyne. As far as I can tell the Hempseed name did not exist in the Newcastle area previous to this date. There are however a few female Hempseeds marrying in the area after 1740, who could be possible sisters of James. There does seem to be a number of Hempseed families in the Fife, Perth and East Lothian areas of Scotland pre-1740.

Matthew Barrass, the youngest son of Alexander and Sarah, actually married his first cousin, Ann Hempseed and together had eight children. His daughters became quite wealthy with one, Sarah Ann marrying John Rogerson a civil engineer and a ship-builder from Morpeth. Many of Matthew and Ann's descendants appear in the Peerage after marrying into the gentry.

All from a glassman and his wife ...