Sunday 27 November 2011

Jennet Cragg, A Distant Great Grandmother

Firstly thank you all for the messages and words of support for Priscilla...I will keep you informed regarding her treatment and condition.

Jennet Cragg, a distant great-grandmother, that's an understatement really. her life dates back to the mid 1600s and she was my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandmother. Her story has survived because it was so outstanding and courageous and was also printed and sold, even in France!

Jennet Townson was born in 1633 and married Thomas Cragg of Chapel House in 1657, they had four children before Thomas died in 1667. Their youngest, a daughter named Elizabeth was born in 1660 and it was she that married into the Kelsall line on September 2nd, 1682. Elizabeth married a young widower named John Kelsall, a tailor originally from near Delamere in Cheshire who had moved to London with his first wife. It is unsure how they actually met being so far apart, perhaps it was Quaker Friends that introduced them.

Instead of me recounting this tale and perhaps missing something I will post the following words by George Adamson, a cousin of my Kelsall mother and fellow descendant from Jennet. You will have to click on the pages to bring them to readable size.

This photograph was taken near Littledale in the Forest of Bowland, about 8miles from Lancaster and about 15miles from Over Wyresdale where Joseph Kelsall farmed and raised his can see the Lakeland Fells in the background...

John and Elizabeth Kelsall were the parents of the two orphans rescued by Jennet, I am descended from the younger son, Joseph(b 1684) who farmed near Wyresdale, not far from Lancaster. The elder brother, John(b 1683) became a teacher and was appointed school-master at the Quaker School in mid-Wales, Dolobran when it opened in the early years of the 18thC. This is John's account of his early life, including his Grandmother Jennet's adventure to London! Once again it will be legible once you have clicked on the photo/scan.

Once on-line I found the report that a Kelsall ancestor had been in prison with John Bunyon but I cannot find that now...will keep looking and add it when I find it.

Today's post is mainly for my family, this blog is my way of bringing together as much information as I can find about our ancestors before it becomes lost to us all....however I think many others will find it interesting and perhaps will begin at their own family tree.

Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

PS have recently been shown theses links


  1. Hi, thanks for this web page. I too am related to Jennett Townson, she is my 9xGrandma. I'm descended from Timothy her eldest and Titus his eldest.
    Guess we are related!
    Aly x

  2. Hi Aly...these connections through the blog give me goosebumps, have you got any of your history on-line for me to read please.
    Have sent you FB invite, it looks like you enjoy your garden too.

  3. Hey Sue! Jennet is also my 8 x great grandmother. Her son in law, John Kelsall, was a travelling Quaker preacher (for which he was ultimately imprisoned), and it is thought that he met Elizabeth Cragg whilst on a preaching tour of Lancashire. It should be noted that Jennet, herself, was not a Quaker until after Thomas Cragg died in 1668, though she had been convinced by the time of her marriage (conducted in the Quaker tradition) to Thomas Thompson in 1671. It may even have been John Kelsall who was instrumental in that; John was 10 years older than Elizabeth, and had been preaching since an early age.

  4. Hi there Bush Quaker, lovely to hear from you. I have one question...I'm sure I read that one of our Kelsall Quakers was imprisoned with John Bunyon...would that have been correct, is there anywhere I can read more?

  5. hi sue I enjoyed reading your blog on jennet cragg also my 8 x grandmother I came across it while searching my cragg from my paternal side of the tree .I have visited Lancaster a few times as I only live in Liverpool uk . my link with the craggs is my 5x grandmother was agnes cragg 1777 who married james helme 1779(my paternal line)I only just realised you wrote this 5 years ago but was most interesting to read.

  6. You and I are both directly descended from John Kelsall b.1650 and Elizabeth Cragg. My line (I'm Thomas Kelsall) comes down from there through Margaret Winder. This is fascinating stuff.

    1. I, too am related through John Kelsall and Elizabeth Cragg and down through their second son Joseph. Jennet is my 8 x great grandmother. Feel free to contact me all and any of you and maybe I can make room for you all on my family tree Descendants of Jennet Townson/Cragg/Tompson and Thomas Cragg

  7. Joshua Kelsall was my great grandfather and came from Littledale