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Friday, 21 January 2011

John Danson's "Said Bastard Child"

 In the course of research into my mother's Danson family,  I came across this document at Lancashire Record Office which identified a black sheep in the family!

In 1810,  John Danson, aged 21 and eldest son of Henry Danson and Elizabeth Brown of Carleton, Lancashire  was served with an affiliation order ordering him to contribute to the upkeep of his “said bastard child”  - a daughter by Ann Butler of Marton.   The poor child was repeatedly given this tag in the document below which  is fascinating on its choice of language:
“Ann Butler, single woman, was upon the 27th day of August last, delivered of a female bastard child in the said township of Marton…and that John Danson, husbandman of Carleton did begot the said bastard on her body and is the father of the same.

Thereupon, we order… for the better relief of the said township…and the sustenance and relief of the said bastard child…John Danson pay unto the churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor…the sum of One Pound Eighteen Shillings for and towards the charges and expenses incident to the birth…further sum of four shillings towards the cost of apprehending and securing the said John Danson….the sum of Two Shillings weekly…towards the keeping, sustenance and maintenance of the said bastard child”.

In 1810, £1 18s 0d would have the same spending power of today's £64.52 with 2s 0d being  worth today  £3.40.  (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency).  - not much for bringing up a child! 

Unfortunately I have been unable to trace anything further on this story.  John Danson died in 1836, aged 46, as far as I know unmarried and predeceased his father Henry by 3 years.

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. What a fascinating story. Black sheep can be the most interesting ones. I have a string of black rams in my family. I accept their failings and am fascinated by the lives of the foremothers whose lives were impacted in profound ways. I can't wait for my next trip to Texas to continue deep research on one whose early life I'm researching.

    Have you learned more about the female bastard child?

  2. Many thanks, Sharon, for your comments. I always am so pleased to get feedback and realise that people are bothering to read my blog. I did some years ago make a desultory attempt to trace the child through Old Parochial Records, but without success. You have given me the spurt to try again. Susan.

  3. What a fascinating story! And what an injustice to the child. At least we, as a society, have improved on this one.


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