Research on the English ancestry of Massachusetts immigrant Abraham Errington by the late Marshall K. Kirk:

Chart 1a: Plantagenet, Lumley, Cresswell, & Errington. (View this JPG file at 100% to see fine lines.)

Chart 2: the Four William Erringtons of Benwell. (View this JPG file at 100% to see fine lines.)

Comments on charts. (PDF file)

Descendants of Roger and Catherine (Cresswell) Errington of Denton, Northumberland. (PDF file)


This research relies on printed information available to Marshall in Boston and Cambridge. Marshall sent these files to me on April 25, 2005, after I told him that I thought I might be descended from Abraham Errington's sister, Rebecca (Errington) Watson. (I have since then found that the proposed descent is almost certainly invalid.)

Marshall thought it was quite likely that Abraham Errington was descended from Elizabeth Plantagenet, illegitimate daughter of King Edward IV of England. (See 1998 post below.)

I have cleaned up the formatting of the two text documents (and converted them to pdf files).

   -- Don Stone

Post by Marshall to soc.genealogy.medieval, March 20, 1998:

I note that in late 1996 there were several posts re: Abraham Errington, an early colonial settler in Mass. A couple of these cited "Bate, K.W. (1978) English Origins of the Errington Family," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 132, pp. 44-50."

As a public service to anyone interested in the ancestral line Bate proposes, I'll stick my neck out and state here that I've had occasion to examine his article, and in my opinion, the line cannot be supported back of Abraham's grandfather, William[B] Errington of Benwell. Bate makes William[B] (sorry, this interface doesn't give me superscripts) son of a William[C], also of Benwell, and so on and so forth.

In essence, Bate's evidence for this filiation is that [C] is called "the elder," and [B] "the younger," and that each stood as godfather to at least one of the other's children. Neither observation, of course, demonstrates that [B] was SON of [C], although, as two "gentlemen" named Errington living in a very small parish, they were doubtless closely akin. However, there were no fewer than six men named William Errington associated with Benwell in the last quarter of the 16th century (as indicated by Bate's own work, Dodds' History of Northumberland, the various wills and other documents published by the Surtees Society, and whatever else I could find.) It's by no means clear which of these, if any, are the father-and-son pair of Williams who appear on two Errington 'Visitation' pedigrees, which don't further identify them.

Bate makes almost no attempt to suggest a 'say' chronology for the line he proposes, before about 1580, although he carries it back to what would have to be the second half of the 1400s. All evidence available to me, however, indicates that his William[C] was only slightly older than William[B].

Bate places a Stephen Errington of Benwell, "gent.," whose death is recorded in the Benwell church register in 1580-something, as a son of William[C]. In fact, he was surely the Stephen Errington who is documented by a 1608 (I think) Crown survey of Benwell as having obtained a copyhold tenement there in 1583, subsequently held by his son, a William Errington. (Not sure whether this is Bate's William[C] or William[B].) Bate also arranges the children of William[B] in an an order contradictory to that in which William himself mentions them in his will, and contrary also to the baptismal dates recorded for a couple of them in the Benwell register. He places one George Errington as William[B]'s youngest son, whereas George is named first among William's sons in his will, and is most plausibly the George Errington recorded as marrying in Benwell at a date which would also square with him being eldest son. The only reason I can see for this arbitrary reorganization, against the evidence, is that if George was eldest son, William[B]'s own birth date is pushed back so far that it becomes inherently unlikely that he was son of William[C].

Bate's reconstruction also depends on William[C] having TWO sons named William -- William[B], and another William born when [B] is already adult. ([B] is godfather to the newborn.) While this isn't inherently impossible, I might note that I've reconstructed approximately thirty late-16th-/early-17th-century Errington family groups in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area -- mostly from wills and baptismal records -- and there's no other instance of two children of the same father being given the same name.

It is my distinct impression, after all this, that William[B] Errington probably DOES descend, somehow -- along with about 80%, apparently, of all the Erringtons in that area -- from Anthony Errington, Laird of Denton in the early 1500s; but almost certainly not in the way Bate outlines.

This probably should be presented as a full article, rather than a post in a Web forum, but posting this should at least alert interested parties to the desirability of re-examining Bate's article and deciding for themselves.

Diffidently submitted, FWIW ...