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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

John Danson and his "Said Bastard Child" - 52 Ancestor:Wk 26

"Black Sheep" is the this week's theme in  Amy Johnson Crow's year long  challenge "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks."   I am focusing on John Danson,  who in 1810 was taken to court to provide support for  his "said Bastard child".

Parish Records record that John Danson was born 5th October 1789 and baptized the 15th October at St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde,   the eldest son of my great, great, great  grandparents - Henry Danson and Elizabeth Brown of Carleton, Lancashire. He was the Black Sheep of my Danson family - as evidenced in  this document which I was delighted to find at Lancashire Record Office.

St.Chad's Church, Poulton where Dansons were baptised, married and buried down the generations.  Registers date from 1591 and the oldest part of the present church the Tower (above)  dates from before 1638. 
John,  in 1810 at the age of 21, was served by Lancashire Quarter Sessions 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 unnamed  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.

The document continues:
"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 ngs 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 was equivalent  to 12 days wages for a  skilled tradesman, and would have the same spending power of today's £88. 40p.   The 2 shillings weekly payment was equivalent to £4.65 pence in today's money. (Source:  National Archives Currency Converter)  

Unfortunately I have been unable to trace anything further on this story. No marriage has been traced for John;  a burial at Chad's Church, Poulton was found for  a John Danson of Carleton aged 36 - which ties in with the facts known,   but no details were given as to a spouse or his parents to clearly identify him. The neighbouring parish of Bispham  recorded  the death of an Ann Butler in 1820, aged 32, but again no other information.  Given that the illegitimate baby girl  was not identified by name, it has proved difficult to make any headway there.  

Does anyone have any thoughts  where I could turn to next?  


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks



  1. That poor little girl. Hopefully she did not hear the term associated with herself when she was old enough to understand what it meant.

    Would her last name have been Butler or Danson? It does make it hard to search when you have neither first nor surname. Would there have been any further information in subsequent quarter sessions records telling whether the alleged father paid the money or not? I wish you luck with this search, Sue!

  2. The poor little girl, if she lived, would only have been 10 years old when her mother died. Hope you can find out more.

  3. Thank you, Nancy and Kristin, for your sympathetic comments.


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