On the paternal ancestry of Joseph Tyrrell of West Horsley in 1750

by Conrad Terrill (1231) and Nancy Tyrrel Theodore (291)

This is an article we submitted in October of 2015 to the Tyrrell Family History Society for publication in their newsletter, soon after receiving a tip from John Tyrrell (186) regarding a 1747 "clandestine marriage" record for Joseph Turrell of West Horsley. John was responding to our earlier submission of a different version of this story which headed in a wrong direction. Upon receiving John's very good tip we retracted the first submission, followed the tip and developed this much more likely story. The article as published in the March 2016 newsletter, however, merged our two submissions in order to present more Tyrrell family research, probably; but we feel that the merger also added considerable confusion. So we're publishing here our final version as submitted, to correct that problem.

Joseph Tyrrell of West Horsley, Surrey, in 1750 is the patriarch of TFHS Tree 24. Nancy and I are interested in this tree because we are both paternally related to Joseph Tyrrell, although we do not know how. We know this because Nancy’s brother and I are yDNA matches to Dennis Graham Tyrrell (1317), of Australia, a member of the TFHS Y-DNA Project who happens to know how he is descended from Joseph. Nancy and I are descended from Roger Terrill, who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1639 and thus lived a century earlier than Joseph. We hope to learn something of Roger Terrill’s English origins by tracing Joseph Tyrrell’s ancestry back further. Roger Terrill is rumored to have come from Surrey.

Joseph Tyrrell, according to Tree 24, is presumed to have married a Mary Burgess. A Joseph Terrell of Rotherhithe, Surrey, did indeed marry a Mary Burges, in 1741, but that was a different Joseph Tyrrell. We know this because we are aware, courtesy of John Tyrrell (186), of a 1747 “clandestine marriage” record for Joseph Turrell of West Horsley and Mary Livings, who was also of West Horsley. At this same time the family of Joseph Terrell and Mary Burges was thriving, in Rotherhithe.

There are actually six copies of the 1747 clandestine marriage record in “the Fleet registers,” giving five different dates for the marriage, ranging from 4 Jan. 1746/47 to 5 Jul. 1747. It’s hard to say which is correct, or even which of the Fleet Prison ministers performed the marriage. All we can say for sure is that the marriage occurred outside the walls of London’s Fleet Prison in 1747. The couple, like very many others of the time, took advantage of the opportunity (which was terminated by legislation in 1753) for a quick and easy, low-cost marriage.

Mary Levings (as the name was usually spelled) was very likely the daughter of a John Levings, butcher, of West Horsley. She was possibly born in 1724 or 1725 (corresponding to missing years in the microfilm copy of the St Mary, West Horsley parish records). No “Tyrrells” appear in the West Horsley parish registers prior to 1750, so it appears that Joseph Tyrrell came from somewhere else. The most likely possibility that we have been able to find is a Joseph Tirrell, son of Edward, baptized in 1720 in Cobham, about eight km. north of West Horsley. No other realistic possibilities appear in the records of that area which have been indexed so far. We don’t know how complete the indexing is, but we do know, from the many parish register pages through which we have browsed so far, that the records are sometimes difficult to read and the indexing accuracy is imperfect. We hope that someone else can find a record identifying Joseph Tyrrell of West Horsley in 1747 with Joseph Tirrell bapt. 1720 in Cobham. We haven’t been able to find one, but we do know something of the ancestry of the latter, and we feel fairly confident that we have the right person.

Joseph Tirrell, the youngest of seven children born to Edward and Ann Tirrell of Cobham, was baptized in 1720 at St. Andrew, Cobham. He is next mentioned in the will, written in 1727, of his uncle, another Joseph Tirrell of Cobham, as a child of “my sister Ann Tyrril;” and he is never again mentioned in Cobham parish records after that. His father, whom we shall call Edward Jr., a laborer who lived in Cobham, appears to have died between 1719 and 1727. There is no Cobham burial record for him. Edward Jr. is first mentioned in a Stoke D’Abernon baptism record: “Edward Terrel son of Edw. Terrel of Cobham was baptiz'd att 18 years old when hee was servt. to ye Widd Page, Jun. 20th 1695.” Stoke D’Abernon is about 2 km. southeast of Cobham, and the widow Page was Jane, the widow of an Abraham Page who had died in 1661. Edward Jr. married Ann ___ sometime before 1701.

Edward Jr.’s father, Edward Tirrell of Cobham, appears to have been born about 1640. He is probably the Edward Tirrell who married Sarah Salter in Cobham in 1658. Edward Jr., born about 1677, was the last of the four of their children that we know about. Two of the children (Sarah and Thomas) both married in Stoke D’Abernon and remained there. Edward lived to about age 82, it appears—a ripe old age for those times. We do not know the names of his parents, but we do know something important: In his will, written in 1719, Edward bequeathed to his eldest son, Joseph, “all that estate known by Ashford lying in Stock Dabernon.” Joseph, in turn, in his will written in 1727, left his “estate in Ashford in the parish of Stoke dauborne” to nephew Thomas Tyrrill, son of his brother Thomas. The reason for the importance of this lies in some earlier Stoke D’Abernon parish records:

John Tyrrell & Christian Wardner married ye 19th of October 1623
John Tyrrell of Ashford buried ye 15th November 1623
Susan Terrill ye daughter of John Tirrell of Ashford ye younger & of Christian his wife baptized ye eight of August 1624

Ashford Farm House, in 2015

We don’t know how Edward was related to these earlier Tyrrells, or how he happened to acquire Ashford, but it certainly seems that he was of Stoke D’Abernon ancestry. Ashford, by the way, still stands today, as Ashford Farm House, a private home on the south side of a bend in Tilt Road, close to Stoke D’Abernon. It is probably the site of the home of John de Ashford, mentioned in 1332 (from The Place Names of Surrey, by John Eric Bruce Gover et al., 1934). The existing building, in major part, is 15th C. The main chimney was probably added in the early 17th C., and encased in brick in the 18th C. The estimated current value of Ashford Farm House is about £3 million. Ashford began its exit from Tyrrell hands in 1763, when Thomas Tyrrell Jr. died, having left it to his wife and to his daughter, Mary, wife of Robert Skelton.

Nancy and I feel that we have made a little progress in our quest to find Roger Terrill’s roots, but Dennis Graham Tyrrell’s yDNA test results actually indicate the he is a tad farther “genetically distant” from our group of descendants of Roger than we are from each other, indicating that the connection may date to the 1500’s, or possibly even earlier. It is seeming likely that we will never know exactly how we and Dennis are related, but it feels good to know as much as we do.