Deborah Worgan (1711-1777) Forest of Dean



 The BROWN family of Brislington, near Bristol, UK
& of Australia

and especially the descendants of
William BROWN and his wives - Sarah HORT and Deborah WORGAN


Searching for the Family of Deborah WORGAN (1711-1777)
Woolaston, Forest of Dean

Shortly after 1739 (when his first wife Sarah HORT died) William BROWN (1705-1783) of Brislington, near Bristol, married Deborah WORGAN (1711-1777) of Woolaston, Forest of Dean.

I have been unable to find Deborah's birth or death OR her marriage to William Brown (either in Brislington or Woolaston) but some of their children are buried in the graveyard at the Parish Church of St Luke, Brislington. It is believed that Deborah is also buried there.

Birth: The 1711 birthdate for Deborah comes from old handwritten family trees based on research done by family members over 50 years ago. It is not sourced. The only Deborah on the IGI for that date was christened in Newland, Forest of Dean on 16 September 1711.

Marriage: William and Deborah must have been married between 1738, when Sarah Hort's last child was born, and 1741, when William and Deborah's first child was born.

On the other hand, Martin and Susan Buffrey believe that Deborah Worgan, daughter of John and Elizabeth Worgan, and born in 1711 at Newland, Forest of Dean, was THEIR ancestor, married to a Buffrey, not to William Brown! Later on this page I have set out Martin and Susan's theory, and you will find a link there to their web pages.

Death: The death date for Deborah Brown (nee Worgan) is from a Brown family trees, based on research by an uncle, Lindon Brown, and others in England in the 1920s. In the graveyard for the Parish Church of St Luke at Brislington there is a tombstone which has an inscription for Edward Brown, grandson of William and Deborah. The footstone refers to JB.BB.DB 1777, the first two being infants. It must be this which has led family members to believe that Deborah died in 1777, the date shown on the old family trees.

The footstone in St Luke's Churchyard, Brislington, now quite deteriorated.

Woolaston and Newland: Apparently there was a parish of Woolaston and the parish church was St Andrews (see also below re Phillimore's index). According to GLS expert, Rod Neep, the earliest record of St. Andrew's church at Woolaston is in 1131. However, the old circular churchyard and the nearby Roman Road which ran just to the north-west of the church suggest a much earlier holy site. The Tower was originally a low one with a short wooden steeple, but following the granting of a faculty in 1774, it was completely rebuilt. All Saints Church at Newland, sometimes called the Cathedral of the Forest, was built during the 13th and 14th centuries and was restored in 1862.

Searching for Worgans

The following is a possible family tree for Deborah Worgan. Is there anyone out there in cyberland who knows something about this family? If so I'd love to hear from you!

(1) 1. Johann (John) Worgan
Birth Date: About 1677/1680 Birth Place: where? Baptised Date: 27 June 1677/1680 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England Death Date: ? Death Place: where? Burial Date: ? Burial Place: where? Occupation: ?

Spouse: Elizabeth Powell Birth Date: ? Birth Place: where? Baptised Date: ? Baptised Place: where? Death Date: ? Death Place: where? Burial Date: ? Burial Place: where? Occupation: ?

Marriage Date: 24 June 1689 Marriage Place: Goodrich, Herefordshire, England - OR was it on 6 Jun 1709 when another John WORGAN married another Elizabeth POWELL at Goodrich??

Possible Children:
Gulielmus (William)


Note: ALL the above were children of a John WORGAN and an Elizabeth. However, of course that does not mean that they were all born to one particular John and Elizabeth, especially when we know that there were two couples with these names in the same area at the same time. There is a 27 year span between first and last but, if the first Elizabeth was married at, say, 17, she would be 45 when she had the last child.

Gordon Morley, descended from Genevre Worgan and Israel Constant (below) advises that his researches confirm that there appear to be two John and Elizabeth WORGANs having issue around the same time so there is much uncertainty re this "tree".

(2) 1.1 Gulielmus (William) Worgan
Birth Date: 25 November 1698 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England (2)

1.2 Elizabeth Worgan
Birth Date: 13 October 1703 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.3 Ann Worgan
Birth Date: 28 August 1709 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England (2)

1.4 Deborah Worgan
Birth Date: ? 16 September 1711 Birth Place: Newland (Woolaston), Forest of Dean, England (?) Baptised Date: ? 16 September 1711 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, England Death Date: ? 1777 Death Place: Brislington, Somerset, England. Burial Date: ? Burial Place: Parish Church of St Luke, Brislington, England Occupation: ?

Spouse: William Brown Birth Date: Before 14 April 1705 Birth Place: Brislington, Somerset, England Baptised Date: 14 April 1705 Baptised Place: Parish Church of St Luke, Brislington,Somerset, England Death Date: 18 June 1783 Death Place: where? (aged 78) Burial Date: ? Burial Place: Parish Church of St Luke, Brislington, Somerset, England Occupation: Yeoman (1725); Spouse Father: Nathaniel Browne (1674-) Spouse Mother: Caterina/Katherina HORRELL

Marriage Date: After 1739 Marriage Place: ?where

Elizabeth (Betty)

(2) 1.5 Edward Worgan
Birth Date: 25 October 1713 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England (2)

1.6 Maria Worgan
Birth Date: 14 September 1714 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.7 John Worgan
Birth Date: 24 September 1715 Birth Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.8 Elizabeth Worgan
Birth Date: About 1717 Baptised Date: 12 December 1717 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.9 Genevra Worgan
Birth Date: About 1719 Baptised Date: 15 January 1719 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England Burial Date: 17 February 1786 Burial Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

Spouse: Israel Constant

Marriage Date: 2 July 1744 Marriage Place: Staunton, ??, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.10 Anna Worgan
Birth Date: About 1722 Baptised Date: ? 25 March 1722 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.11 Mercy Worgan
Birth Date: About 1722 Baptised Date: 24 June 1722 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.12 William Worgan
Birth Date: About 1723 Baptised Date: 15 June 1723 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.13 Maria Worgan
Birth Date: About 1725 Baptised Date: 7 June 1725 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England

(2) 1.14 Francisca Worgan
Birth Date: About 1726 Baptised Date: 11 September 1726 Baptised Place: Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England.


Possible distant relatives of Deborah?

The following WORGAN probate records were found on the PRO index. I haven't obtained these wills but would be interested in them if anyone else decides to obtain them.

  • PROB 11/2118 19 August 1850 Will of John Worgan , Farmer of Newland , Gloucestershire
  • PROB 11/2176 11 July 1853 Will of John Worgan , Carpenter of Saint Briavels, Gloucestershire
  • PROB 11/2245 08 January 1857 Will of George Worgan , Cooper of City of Bristol , Gloucestershire.


An alternative marriage for Deborah Worgan?

Just to throw any interested reader into confusion, here is the alternative life of Deborah Worgan, baptised 1711 in Newland, Forest of Dean!!

This is a summary of the research and theories of Martin and Susan Buffrey. And although we would both like to discover that Deborah of Newland is "our" Deborah we would like even more to discover the truth, so if anyone has any ideas or information relevant to either the Brown-Worgan theory or the Buffrey-Worgan theory please email me and I will contact Martin and Susan.

The name Martin and Susan are researching is BUFFREY and, in 1738, in Old Swinford (Worcestershire) they found the baptism of Worgan BUFFREY, son of Deborah and Joseph Buffrey. They also found his siblings on the IGI.

The next mention they have of Worgan is his marriage in 1765 to Margaret TYLER in Newland, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. He was married by Special Licence and one of his bondsmen was William WORGAN. Martin and Susan have no idea why Worgan came to be in the Forest of Dean! After trying for many years to "think laterally" and after several postings to the Gloucestershire Rootsweb, they discovered that the surname WORGAN was very much a "Forest" name and BUFFREY certainly wasn't; the vast majority of them being in Worcestershire. They were also told that, to have such an unusual forename as Worgan could be that his mother was of a higher social standing than his father and therefore gave the first born son her maiden name, which is how they have arrived at Deborah WORGAN.

From looking at the IGI, there is only one entry for Deborah WORGAN and that is a baptism in Newland, Forest of Dean. Having said that, there are a spattering of WORGANs in Worcestershire. So, speculating, it *might* be that Deborah was born in the FOD, found her way somehow to Worcestershire, married Joseph BUFFREY, gave birth to Worgan etc and then Worgan moved back to the FOD - presumably because he had WORGAN relatives still there.

In summary, Worgan Buffrey was born in 1737 in Old Swinford, Worcestershire, to Deborah WORGAN and Joseph BUFFREY. By chance there is only one Deborah WORGAN in the whole of the IGI and this is "our" Deborah who was christened in Newland, Forest of Dean. Not only that, she had a brother William - could this be Worgan's Bondsman?

Susan and Martin Buffrey have the microfiche for Old Swinford covering the pertinent times and there is a Deborah BUFFREY being buried at just the right age to coincide with a baptism in 1711.

Intriguing, fascinating, frustrating - we'd love to solve this mystery.


Worgan Marriages at Woolaston, 1700s

In one desperate search for my Deborah I copied the Marriages at Woolaston from Phillimores index (Rectory of Woolaston, chapelry of Alvington) for 1696-1837 and identified all the Worgan marriages. I know this is only one part of the Forest of Dean but in case they assist others here they are:

  • John WORGAN and Ann WORGAN Sept 1700
  • William WORGAN & Susanna PHILLIPS parish of Huelsfield 24 June 1706
  • William WORGAN & Elizabeth WATKINS 9 Feb 1718
  • Christopher WORGAN & Hannah ALLIN 18 June 1755
  • George THOMAS & Ann WORGAN 2 March 1785
  • William DAVIS & Elizabeth WORGAN 28 October 1788

And my email friend John has sent along two more marriages - this time at St Briavels:

  • Richard Worgan & Anne Powell 6 June 1808
  • John Worgam & Elizabeth Powell 3 May 1811 (a 3rd couple!)

Surely some of these Worgans were related to Deborah Worgan of Woolaston - or Deborah of Newland?

And yet more Worgans ...

In his Worgan researches Martin Buffrey also found Edri (Edward?) WORGAN who married Deborah HOPKINS on 19 December 1666.

Although there are many conflicting dates and details floating around - children - all born to an Edri (or Edward) and a Deborah and baptised at Newland were:

Elizabeth, baptised 11 February 1661 (prior to marriage?)
Thomas baptised June 1677
John (Johanis/Johann?) baptised 27 June 1680
Edward baptised 15 October 1683
Edward baptised 8 December 1687

It is believed that the child John was the person who later married Elizabeth Powell and became "our" Deborah Worgan's father. On the other hand ... who was the John who married the other Elizabeth....!

Rats in the Registers...

The Bishop's transcripts for Newland are incomplete. Rats ate some of the registers! Apparently there is a story about "The Beating of the Newland Rats"? The first three registers have up to 40% of the pages lost and many other pages have severe damage.

Nor are the Bishop's Transcripts complete. For example, the years 1738 and 1739 are missing. Just the years we'd love to check for a possible marriage of Deborah Worgan.

Gordon Morley advises that researching the Newland register in the early 1970s was quite formidable. The problems are laid out in an article in the September 1992 issue of the Gloucestershire Family History Society Journal by William Spencer. The register is very hard to read - gaps and the use of very inconsistent Latin prior to the 1730s make it difficult to get useful results.

The FHC fiche for Newland is entitled "controlled extraction" and presumably is the same as the information entered in the IGI for Newland. There are two fiche for baptisms (6911882) and two for marriages (6911883). No entry for the marriage of Deborah Worgan could be found.

Worgans and Morgans ... Beware!

Worgan researchers need to watch out for mis-transcriptions of WORGAN as MORGAN ! It is a very easy mistake to make as Morgan is a "well known" name... whereas Worgan, unless you are expecting it, isn't, and so the brain sees the old handwriting as Morgan.

For example, Worgan BUFFREY was born in Old Swinford. He appears on the IGI twice - once as Worgan and once as Morgan. In the Parish Records he is definitely Worgan. He moved to Clearwell and married. His son appears in the Bishop's Transcripts (and the IGI) as Joseph WORGAN, son of Buffrey & Margaret WORGAN. Susan and Martin Buffrey suggest that obviously the name BUFFREY was so rare and WORGAN so common in the Forest of Dean that the Parish Clerk obviously thought Worgan had got it wrong.

James Worgan and Elizabeth Hughes, Hillersland, West Dean

Debbie Keep of New Zealand has a John WORGAN b 21 Feb 1873 in Hillersland, West Dean. His father was James WORGAN and his mother Elizabeth HUGHES. Father was a farm labourer. Debbie is waiting for the 1901 census to confirm something further along the line - but wonders whether there is a link between her family and the WORGANs of Newland as Hillersland is certainly close to Newland.


For more photos of the gravestones at St Lukes
Deborah Worgan's grave
A Buffery website, containing Susan and Martin Buffrey's information