Happy Father’s Day

· Holidays & Observances


It’s Father’s Day and we at the Owston/Ouston One-Named Study and DNA Project want to honor all of our fathers, but most especially those who fathered our specific lines.   While we don’t know much about these men, if you’re an Owston, Ouston, or Owston-Doyle, you are descended from one of the following.


Although we don’t know Peter Owston’s parentage of year of birth, I have speculated that his father may have been a William Owston who was alive in 1520.  Everything we do know about Peter Owston, is found in his will.  This document was composed and witnessed on 8 JUL 1567 and proved almost a year later on 4 JUL 1568.  Therefore, he died in 1568.

As the family name implies, Peter was from Sherburn in Harford Lythe.  His wife Petronel and three sons William, John, and Frances are mentioned as heirs and executors of Peter’s last will and testament.  Other heirs are listed, but have the surnames of Wood, Williamson, Childe, Wooddill, Morris, Fewler, Lane, West, Ringrose, and Tomson.  Their relationship to Peter is not known; however, the Ringrose family and the Owstons were interrelated due to a number of marriages in the centuries that followed.

Peter was a husbandman who farmed as a tenant, but did not own the land as would some of his descendants who were yeoman farmers.  He requested to be buried in the parish church of Sherburn.  This probably was not inside the church, but rather referenced the church yard. George Owston, his great-grandson, a yeoman farmer, was buried in the chancel of St. Hilda’s at Sherburn.  All of the Oustons and a majority of the Owstons are descended from Peter Owston.


St. Hilda’s Church in Sherburn.

Photo by Trish Steel. Used under Creative Commons License. 

Of his sons, William is also an ancestor of all of the Sherburn Owstons.  Petronel, his widow, moved to adjoining parish of  West Heslerton and married Anthony Berryman. The couple had between two and four additional children.  Two of Anthony’s older daughters may have been from a previous marriage.  Anthony died in 1582 and Petronel survived him.  The date and place of her death is unknown.


Even less is known about the ancestor of the Ganton family, Giles Owston.  A husbandman in Potter Brompton, which is located in Ganton, Giles was buried 24 March 1641.  I have speculated that his father was John Owston who was alive in 1558, but this is as of yet, unproven.


Potter Brompton as it appears today.  

Photo by Stephen Horncastle. Used under Creative Commons License.

The first recorded child that was born to Giles and his unknown wife was a daughter Ellis (a variant of Alice) who was christened in Ganton in 1592.  Others born to this household included John (1594), Thomas (1597-1598), Agnes (1599), a second Thomas (1602), Anthony (1606-1669), and Jane (1610).

All current Ganton Owstons descend from Anthony; his son, Giles (d. 1728); his son, John (1684-1741); his son John (1718-1782); and his Thomas Owston (1753-1823).  From thence, Ganton Owstons descend from three sons of Thomas:  John (the mole catcher; 1780-1862) , Thomas (1782-1869), and Francis (1793-1891).


While we do not know much about Richard Owston’s early life, much has been pieced together from various records from neighboring parishes.  It is believed, but not proven, that he was a son of Matthew Owston (1632-1690).  Matthew was the grandson of Robert Owston of Ganton, who may have been living in 1558.

Richard Owston, who would later live in the village of Thornholme in the parish of Burton Agnes, is found in several parish records in the region.  His first wife was Deborah Daniel (1676-1710/11) and they were married at Kirby Underdale on 29 April 1707. Her parents were Phillip Daniel and Lydia Foster.  Richard and Deborah had three children.

All three of Richard and Deborah’s children were born at Carnaby; however, none lived to attain adulthood.  Mary (1706-1706), the eldest, and Matthew (1709-1709), the third child, were christened and buried within the same months. The second child, Richard (1707-1721), lived 14 years.  Their mother passed and was buried at Carnaby on 24 February 1710/11.

In a little over a year, Richard remarried.  His second wife, Ann Farthing (1685-1759), was the daughter of Michael Farthing and Anna Peacock of Lissett.  Richard and Ann were married in the village of Lissett which had its own chapel dedicated to St. James.  Lisset, at the time of Richard and Ann’s marriage on 9 April 1712, was situated in the parish of Beeford.


St. James’ Church in Lissett.

Photo by Stephen Hardcastle. Used under Creative Commons License

The couple had at least three children: Michael (1714-1783), William (1718-1791), and Elizabeth (b. 1727).  Ann lists her eldest daughter, Anne Watson, in her 1744 last will and testament.  Nothing concerning Anne Watson has been found as of yet.  Ann Owston, the family matriarch, lived another 15 years and was buried on 25 September 1759 in Burton Agnes.  In her role as executrix, Elizabeth was listed as a spinster  in 1760.  A possible marriage or her burial record has not surfaced.

The Thornholme Owstons descend from both of Richard and Ann Owston’s two sons Michael and William.  All of the Owstons currently living in Canada descend from Michael Owston.  William’s Owston descendants, which include the Owston-Doyles, live in New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, and Finland.


So whoever you celebrate as your earliest known Owston ancestor, have a Happy Father’s Day.


Beeford, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

Burton Agnes, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

Carnaby, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

Ganton, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

Kirby Underdale, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

Oustane, J. (1558). Will of John Oustane. Translation supplied in a letter to the author from Roger J. Owston dated 19 September 1994.

Ouston, R. J. (1997).  An examination of the early Owston data of the parish of Willerby and adjacent parishes.  Swanland, Humberside, UK:  by the author.

Ouston, R. J. (2004).  2003 Directory of Ouston/Owston families.  Highbridge, Somerset, UK:  by the author.

Owston, J. (1520). Will of John Owston. Translation supplied in a letter to the author from Roger J. Owston dated 19 September 1994.

Owston, P. (1557). Will of Peter Owston. Transcription by Timothy J. Owston in The Sherburn family of East Yorkshire, 2011.  Available at http://freespace.virgin.net/owston.tj/owstonln.htm

Owston, T. J. (2011).  Ancestor charts of old Ganton Owston families. Copies in possession of this researcher.

Sherburn, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com

West Heslerton, Yorkshire Parish Records. Available at FindmyPast.com


Comments RSS
  1. Timothy J Owston

    Jim, Peter did die in 1568 as he is named in a 1568 Will.

    • jowston

      I thought I said that, but the word presume gives it a bit of hesitation. I’ll make the change. Thanks Tim.

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