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:
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.
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!
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)
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.