Fughill family – a rare Yorkshire surname

In my recent blog post on the Silversides family, I briefly mentioned my six times great grandparents, William Silversides (1726-1802) and Mary Fughill (1731-1810).  While I’ve been able to trace William’s ancestral line further back, finding out more about Mary has proved more challenging. Her father William Fughill, possibly baptised in Yapham in the East Riding of Yorkshire and buried in Great Givendale, is one of my many brick walls.

Origin of surname – Redmonds’ book on Yorkshire surnames has an entry for Fugill (page 290) which explains that only 72 occurrences of the surname were found in the 1881 census; 27 in Gloucestershire and 39 in the East Riding of Yorkshire. His view was that the surname derives from ‘fowl’, i.e., a winged creature, and that it may have been a nickname. Other possible variants are Fewlas (p271) with 32 occurrences in 1881, 31 of which were in the Hull area and Feugil (p270), a rare variant with only five people with this surname found in Pocklington in 1881.  Two early examples of the surname which are of particular interest are William Foughill who served on inquisitions in Beverley and Cave in 1421 and John and Peter Foughyll who were taxed in South Cave in 1381.

Using baptism and burial records I found a William Fuggell (d 1659) with eight possible children. There are baptism records form them in the chapelry in Yapham and baptisms and burials in All Saints Church, Pocklington. The following is an embryonic descendant chart for the family which so far, I have been unable to connect with Mary Fughill my six times great grandmother and her father William.

Descendant chart for William Fuggell

The following extract from the OS Yorkshire 176 map dated 1854 shows the relative positions of Yapham and Pocklington:

OS Yorkshire 176 dated 1854

My ancestors – Mary Fughill was baptised on 30 December 1731 in St Ethelburga’s Church, Great Givendale, a village three miles north of Pocklington. Her father’s name was recorded as William (about 1695-1768). He had married his wife Jane Hare (1702-1783) on 1 June 1721 in All Saints, Pocklington. Their marriage record noted that William was from Yapham and Jane from Meltonby; both are hamlets in the parish of Pocklington. William was buried on 15 December 1685 in Great Givendale churchyard and his record noted that he was a tailor and a farmer.

St Ethelburga’s Church, Great Givendale by David Nulty

William’s wife, Jane, was buried on 19 October 1783 in St James’ churchyard, Warter. Her burial record stated that she was from Great Givendale; it is likely that she went to live with her daughter, also called Jane, after William had died as she had moved to Warter with her husband.

Mary was one of seven children I’ve found born to the couple; three sons and four daughters. Unfortunately, none of their baptism records give William’s occupation. The following chart shows William and Jane (connected by red lines), their children and grandchildren. William and his daughter Mary are marked on the chart with black circles.

William Fughill descendant dandelion chart

Brief biographies for William and Jane’s children are as follows:

  • William (1722-1723) baptised in Yapham and died in infancy. He was buried in All Saints Church, Pocklington.
  • Prudence (b. 1724) baptised in Great Givendale; so far, I’ve not been able to trace any further records for her.
  • Jane (1726-1811) baptised in Great Givendale, married Richard Hotham (1725-1814) a labourer/small farmer and together they had five children. Jane was buried in Warter churchyard.
  • Mary (1731-1810) baptised in Great Givendale, married William Silversides (1726-1802) and had five sons. Mary is buried in Riccall churchyard.
  • Judith (1735-1782) baptised in Great Givendale and was Wilberfoss Love’s (1735-1804) first wife. They had one daughter. Judith was baptised in Great Givendale’s churchyard.
  • John (1737-1786) baptised in Great Givendale, married Mary Hare (1736-1835) and they had eight children. John also had an unnamed son with Mary Goodyear before his marriage. Most of the baptisms of his children note that he was a yeoman. John was buried in Great Givendale churchyard.
  • William (1741-1779) baptised in Great Givendale and married twice. His first wife was Jane James (1741-1777) and they had a daughter. His second wife was Elizabeth Hudson (1743-1822) and they had a daughter. William was buried in Great Givendale churchyard with his cause of death given as consumption.

The blue circles on the above dandelion chart highlight John (1737-1786) and his son Thomas (1771-1848).  

Thomas Fuggill (1771-1848) and the American connection – Thomas was baptised on 17 February 1771 in Great Givendale.. His first wife was Sarah Richardson (b. 1775) and he may have married a second wife called Ann although this is still a working theory at the moment. The following chart shows Thomas, his wives Sarah/Ann and five children, two sons and three daughters.

Thomas Fuggill descendant dandelion chart

Two of Thomas’ children have interesting stories, Thomas (1803-1877) and Sarah (1805-1847). They are marked in blue on the above chart together with their father Thomas.

Thomas’ second son Thomas (1803-1877), my second cousin six times removed, married twice. His first wife was Margaret Craike (1804-1844) who he married on 30 December 1823 in St James’ Church, Pocklington and together they had six children. His second wife was Elizabeth Banks, nee Tilburn (1811-1876) with whom he had a daughter. Elizabeth had two daughters from her first marriage.

All Saints Church, Pocklington by Keith Laverack

By the 1851 census it is likely that Thomas had already travelled to America. Elizabeth, her daughters Sarah Banks (1840-1882) and Ann Banks (b. 1841), Jane (sometimes called Jennie) (1848-1885) her daughter with Thomas and two of Thomas’s sons William (1837-1913) and John (1841-1913) were living in Chapmangate, Pocklington. (A photograph of Chapmangate can be seen on the Pocklington History website.)

Elizabeth, William, John, Sarah, Ann, Jane and Thomas’ son Robert (b. 1828) all travelled together from Liverpool to the port of New York on the ship David Cannon. The family arrived on 8 November 1851. The immigrants’ ships database transcribed their surname as Tugall and on the original document it looks like Fugall. The names and ages of the family are correct though. Robert was described as a labourer.

In the 1860 US census Thomas, Elizabeth, William and Jane were recorded as living in Castile, Wyoming county, New York state with Thomas described as a farmer. The town of Castile was established in the early 19th century and was separated from the nearby town of Perry.

Thomas applied for and was granted US naturalisation on 19 December 1866. It is possible that his son Robert also applied for naturalisation in 1867 but the record is incomplete.

The family were still living in Castile in 1870 and had been joined by Elizabeth’s daughter Sarah Banks. Thomas’ wife Elizabeth died on 13 May 1876 in Castile and Thomas on 14 January 1877. In his will he left his estate to be divided into thirds for his son William, daughter Jane and his late wife’s daughter Sarah Banks. Jane died on 7 November 1885 and all three are included on a memorial stone in Hope Cemetery, Perry, Wyoming County, New York State.

Jane left a will when she died on 7 November 1885. She appointed Ann Willey and Henry B Stainton (who married her sister Sarah Banks) as executors. Her heirs included her three brothers, Robert, William and John. It seems that only William could be found. The papers lodged with the Court did indicate that Robert had been living in Chillicothe, Illinois and John in Burlington, New Jersey. These clues helped me find further members of the family as follows:

  • In the case of Robert, he seems to have divorced his wife Christiana Dunbar (1841-1881) at some point before her death. Sadly, she committed suicide and her cause of death was recorded as “arsenic administered by her own hand”.
  • William does not seem to have married and he too was buried in Hope Cemetery, like his parents and sister Jane. He served in the 11th Infantry of the US army from 1883-1892.
  • John served as a private in the 2nd Mounted Rifles in the US Civil War on the Union side. He married and had seven children. By 1910 he was described as a retired carpenter living in Trenton, New Jersey.

A policeman in the family – Sarah Fuggill (1805-1847), my second cousin six times removed, was the youngest daughter of Thomas (1771-1848).  Her only child, John (1831-1887), was illegitimate. Sarah married Elijah Fowler (1821-1878) on 22 April 1840 in St Michael’s Church, Thornton. Elijah was described as a farm servant. Sarah died in 1847 in York and Elijah went onto marry twice more.

Elijah’s second wife was Hannah Sweeting (1827-1870) who he married on 12 August 1848 in St Mary’s Church, Bishophill Junior, York. Elijah was described as a widower and policeman. His West Yorkshire police record provided the following information about him:

  • Physical characteristics – height 5ft 10 ¼ins, of florid complexion with dark brown hair and hazel eyes.
  • Elijah was married and could read and write. 
  • Served in York city for 5½years and Aberford, Yorkshire for 3 years and 7 months before being appointed to the Skyrack Police Service on 9 January 1857.  
  • Sustained an injury to his left hip bone in the Barnsley Election Riots on 24 November 1868.
  • Received a knife injury to his left leg while trying to arrest Joseph Walton in Aberford on 15 April 1869.
  • Elijah died on 24 August 1878.

Elijah married his third wife, Mary Ann Gray (born 1829), a widow, on 3 June 1871 in Aberford. The Yorkshire Quarter Session Records of 31 December 1877 confirmed the Police Committee’s recommendation that Elijah should receive a life pension of 2s 4d a day having served for more than 15 years and being too infirm to carry out his duties. Elijah’s death was recorded in the York Herald dated 28 November 1878.

Finally, the brick wall – I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular, if there is any information about the parents of my seven times great grandfather William Fughill whose baptism, I’ve been unable to find. The parish records for Yapham are incomplete. I have found some members of the Fuggell family who lived in Yapham in the 17th century – as shown in the descendant chart for William Fuggell at the beginning of this post. So far, I haven’t found any connections between this family group and my ancestors. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.


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