About

First of all a plea to any Armer descendant thinking of buying a DNA test – I had mine done with 23&me and recommend their service as I got over 1000 named DNA relatives who had taken the test with the same company. I haven’t hooked up with any Armers yet, but did find a distant cousin on my dad’s side. This post explains how the test works: Brockbank 5th cousin found by DNA testing! The test with 23&me costs £79, but they do have offers from time to time, especially around Black Friday, when it was reduced to £49.

Next, some photos from the Armer Family Reunion at Cockerham Parish Hall, in September 2018. Our common ancestors were William Armer and Ann Huntington, and there were descendants of 4 of their 7 children at the Reunion:

descendants John.png

Red team: John Armer (1813–87) was my gg grandfather, he married Mary Winchester, lived at ‘Marsh’, Cockerham and worked as an agricultural labourer

descendants of RHA

Yellow team: Richard Huntington Armer (1823–1910), John Armer’s younger brother. Richard married Mary Newsham who died from infection following childbirth. He later married Mary Lawrence, lived at Thurnham and worked as a general labourer

descendants of Thomas

Green team: Thomas Armer of Jogger hill (1826–1906). A younger brother of John and Richard, Thomas married Margaret Preston, who died in 1866 from TB. He later married Jane Townley, but all the people in the photo are descended via Thomas’ first marriage

descendants Anthony

Blue team: Anthony Armer (1837–1918), the youngest brother. Anthony started out as an agricultural labourer living with his parents at Hillam, then became the tenant at Fairsnape Farm, sometime before 1901. He married Mary Wright, and their eldest son William Armer was landlord of the Ship Inn at Pilling for 36 years

My mum’s maiden name was Armer, and I grew up to a family rumour that the Armers are descended from two brothers who were armourers to a Scottish king or nobleman, and who left the battlefield to become farmers in Lancashire.

When I began to look into this, I assumed the brothers must have deserted from the Battle of Preston in 1715. This was when 4000 or so Scots under James III (the ‘Old Pretender’) were defeated by George I’s army in November of that year. But I soon got back into the 1700s and found that there were too many Armers in Lancashire for them all to have been descended from two brothers, defecting in 1715!

My dad put me on the scent of another battle that had occurred in Preston, this one in 1648, when the Scots under the Duke of Hamilton fought Cromwell’s New Model Army, heralding the end of the second English Civil War. The Scots came to be fighting against Cromwell because Charles I, had, in December 1647 (while imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight) signed the Engagement, whereby the Scots would invade England on his behalf, in exchange for Charles establishing Presbyterianism in England for three years.

Chapel en le Frith Church

St Thomas Becket Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith, where 1500 Jacobites were imprisoned following the 1648 Battle of Preston

The Scots Engagers were defeated in the 1648 Battle of Preston and Charles I was executed in 1649. So the family rumour that the two Armer brothers – armourers from Scotland who deserted and settled in Lancashire – could possibly date from this battle.

As a shocking aside, 1500 Scots were marched to Chapel-en-le-Frith in north Derbyshire after the battle. There they were imprisoned for 16 days in Saint Thomas Becket Church ‘in such squalid conditions that 40 died’.

In July 2018, after many distant family members had got in touch via the blog or by Facebook, I heard the Scotland story again. It was from Audrey, my third cousin once removed (the common ancestors are my 3x great-grandparents – I’m descended from their eldest son, Audrey from their youngest son). Hearing someone that I’d never met before recalling this story independently made me think that there must be some truth in it. My earliest traced ancestor was born in 1672, just 24 years after the Battle of Preston. He could so easily have been the son, grandson or nephew of one of the Scottish brothers.

Thanks for reading!

Sally Chaffey

NEW POST January 2019 The Sedbergh connection Working with a family tree compiled by Armer descendant John Dempsey from White Rock, British Columbia. Shows how our branch connects with Henry Armer & Son agricultural suppliers and other Lake District Armers

October 2018 Armers in World War I Six young men in the family who gave their lives in the Great War, plus postcards from France sent by Thomas Edward Armer who survived the war

Structure of the Armer family blog
This may seem a little back-to-front, but I wanted to start with my grandparents – who died a long time before I was born – and work backwards:

Grandparents: Henry Armer (1878–1951) & Grace Roskell
The photo of my mother’s family that started it all …

Great-grandparents: Richard Armer (1845–1916) & Jane Clarkson
Lived for many decades at Ridge Cottage, Pilling, a ruin I visited in 2017

Descendants of John Armer’s eldest son William Armer (1840–1921) and his second wife Elizabeth Davis
Their daughter Margaret ran the Caribou Hotel in Glasson Dock, and a meet-up with William and Elizabeth’s granddaughter!

2x great-grandparents: John Armer (1813–87) & Mary Winchester
Agricultural labourer at Cockerham

Tree of a younger sister: Mary Postlethwaite
Why was 17-year-old Mary Lamb from Barrow buried with William and Ann?

Tree of a younger brother: William Armer & Ellen Hays
John Armer’s younger brother William (1819-1891) and a tragedy at Glasson Dock

William & Ellen’s grand-daughter: Ellen Armer who married Robert Hodgkinson
Ellen and Robert Hodgkinson, and a little about Preesall Salt Mine

Tree of a younger brother: Richard Huntington Armer & Mary Lawrence
John Armer’s younger brother Richard (1823-1910) who lived at Thurnham

Tree of a younger brother: Thomas Armer and Margaret Preston, and his second wife Jane Townley
John Armer’s younger brother Thomas (1826–1906) who lived at Jogger Hill on Cockerham marsh and had 13 children

Tree of a younger sister: Margaret Armer & Richard Clarkson
John Armer’s younger sister Margaret (1829–1907): her illegitimate son William kept the Armer name going!

Tree of the youngest brother: Anthony Armer (1837–1918) & Mary Wright
John Armer’s youngest brother Anthony who lived at Hillam and then Haresnape Farm … and the mystery of two receipts from Lancaster Rural District Council

More about Anthony Armer, Freeman of Lancaster
Explores the story of Anthony selling his parliamentary vote for £11

Anthony & Mary’s eldest son: William Armer who married Mary Bailey
William Armer (1859-1933) and a bit about the Ship Inn, Pilling

3x great-grandparents: William Armer (1787–1858) & Ann Huntington
Buried at St Michael’s Cockerham, a mystery on their headstone

4x greats: Thomas Armer & Mary Edmundson
Thomas Armour (1746-1830) of Poulton le Sands

5x greats: Thomas Armor & Ellin Williamson
Thomas Armor (1720-?) of Bolton le Sands/Hatlox … possibly born in Sedbergh

Further reading on the 1648 Battle of Preston
Stephen Bull and Mike Seed (1998) Bloody Preston: The Battle of Preston 1648. Lancaster: Carnegie Publishing Ltd.
British Civil Wars Project, The Preston Campaign, 1648 (nice map)
Pauline Gregg, King Charles I (Chapter 34 covers Charles’ time at Carisbrooke and Chapter 35 his execution)

Map copyright
All the old maps are from the National Library of Scotland website under the Creative Commons license. You can browse the whole country in map series from 1500 to the 1960s: http://maps.nls.uk/index.html Modern maps are from Bing.com.

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The Roskell family

I was intrigued to find I had a DNA second cousin, Debbie, and excited when she replied to my message and cited Roskell as one of her ancestor surnames. Grace Roskell was my mum’s mum, but my life didn’t overlap with any of my grandparents (this may explain my interest in tree-tracing)! When I sent … Continue reading

Ellen Armer who married Robert Hodgkinson in 1904

My great great great grandparents William Armer and Ann Huntington had seven children, and Ellen is a grand-child of their second son, also William Armer, younger brother to my gg grandfather John Armer. I’m grateful to all the hard work of Lynne Grigg née Hodgkinson – Ellen’s gg granddaughter – who kindly shared her tree … Continue reading

Searching for DNA relatives

I took a DNA test with 23&me in August, and found I am 99.6% European, of which 74% is British and Irish.  In addition, I received a list of named relatives, who had also taken a test with 23&me. I was surprised to have a second cousin, with whom I share 2.83% of my DNA, … Continue reading

Armers in World War I

This post outlines the seven Armers who were killed in World War I, as well as looking in more detail at the war service of Thomas Edward Armer (youngest son of Richard Huntington Armer), who survived the war. His grandson David kindly lent me a folder of fascinating family mementos when we met at the … Continue reading

The Sedbergh connection

For a year or so now, I’ve thought the Armer family migrated to Lancashire from Sedbergh, but the evidence hasn’t felt very reliable. But at New Year 2019 I was put in touch with a Canadian genealogist and Armer descendant John Dempsey, whose grandmother Maria Agnes Armer married William Dempsey in Ulverston in 1907, a … Continue reading

Armer Reunion at Cockerham

Cockerham Village Hall is booked for Saturday 15th September, from 2pm, for a get-together of Armers and former Armers, cousins young and old! St Michael’s Church, where many of our ancestors were baptised, will be open from 11am for a short time. William Armer and Ann Huntingdon are buried in the churchyard, but I’ve never … Continue reading

Trips to the hills

Living in Windermere, it’s only an hour to the top of Orrest Head, School Knott or Biskey Howe, stunning views from all of them over the Lake to Claife Heights and the Langdale Pikes. My parents’ first car was a Bedford van, bought around 1960. My dad withdrew £300 to buy it from a garage … Continue reading