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Grayson page 1


Graysons of Nottinghamshire

William Grayson Sr. (Nocton, Lincs)

William Grayson Jr. (Nocton and Timberland)

Thomas Porter Grayson Sr. (Martin, Lincs & Westerham, Kent)

Thomas Porter Grayson Jr. (Donnington Lincs & London)


Introduction to the Graysons

My father, Thomas Grayson, was the son of Thomas Porter Grayson and Alice Oyler. The Family name Grayson is of English origin. It derived from son of a Grave or Greyve.  Greyve is an occupational name, middle-English for steward.  A steward was a manager of an estate, a household or someone's accounts. Spelling variations of this family name include: Graveson, Grason, Grayshan, Grayshon, Gration, Graveston, Graveson, Grayston, Graystone, Graiveson, Grayfson and many more. First found in Yorkshire, where the name appeared in the early 14th century, the name is prevalent in historical records on the East coast of England, particularly in the counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. In Lincolnshire in the period 1600-1800 the spelling Graveson was found twice as often as Grayson or Grayson.

The reason for the variations in spelling of surnames was probably due to the fact that most parishioners were illiterate and the entries in the register were made by a member of the clergy. It was often he who decided how a name was spelled. For example, in the Parish Register of St.Mary’s in Nottingham, over a period of 20 years, all entries for Elizabeth were spelled Elyzabeth. The next clergyman spelled the name Elizabeth.

The first confirmed record of my ancestors in Lincolnshire is my great, great, great grandfather William Grayson who married Ann Lewis in Kirkstead on the 8th June in 1790. Although it was written in the Parish Register that William was “of this Parish” (meaning he was settled there) there is no record of the birth of any William Grayson in Lincolnshire near his birth date, nor is there a Grayson family near Kirkstead. Most of the Graysons in Lincolnshire lived further east, near the coast. William Grayson’s birth date is estimated from the information on his gravestone which records his death in 1839 as “aged 75” which means he was probaby born in 1764.

I looked for William Grayson/Graveson born in 1764 in other nearby counties. I also looked for a William with siblings born around the same decade, with a repetition of the names William called his children as it was common in that time to name one’s children after immediate family members. My search took me to Nottinghamshire where I found a William Grayson baptized in 1765 (a child was not necessarily baptized in the same year as his birth) and Graysons and Gravesons going back as far as the mid 1500s. The first trace I have of Graysons (Gravesons) who could be my ancestors is in the Blyth, Nottinghamshire Parish Register.

  • Charles Grayson or Graveson is the first of the Grayson/Graveson ancestors that I can accurately identify as mine - Born in 1662 Blyth. Married (by license to) Anne Waller (b. 1666) in Ranskill 13 Apr 1691. He was a batchelor aged 29 and she was a spinster aged 25. Charles Grayson died 1719. He would have been my great x7 grandfather.  Children:
    • Ann Grayson,  (there is a burial of Anne Graveson in 1692)
    • Sarah Grayson (baptised 1692)
    • John Grayson - Baptised 16 Jan 1693 Blyth. Married A[E]verill Vessey of Austerfield b. 1702. Children of John and Averill, in Ticklehill:
      • Elizabeth Grayson - Christening: 30 Jul 1724 Mattersey, Nottingham,
      • Henry Grayson - Christening: 23 Nov 1734 Mattersey, Nottingham, Married Judith Hill 19 Jul 1764, Blyth. Children of Henry and Judith:
        • John Grayson - Christening: 26 Dec 1776 Blyth
        • Judith Grayson - Christening: 24 Dec 1770 Blyth
        • Averill Grayson - Christening: 22 Dec 1772 Blyth. M John Perkin 31 May 1795, a widower of Gainsborough (witness William Graveson).
    • Ann Grayson - Christening: 26 Mar 1696 Blyth,
    • William Grayson 1697/8
    • Charles Grayson - Christening: 14 Nov 1700 Blyth,
    • Mary Grayson - Christening: 23 Mar 1702 Blyth, Died 25 Mar. 1703

  • Charles Grayson. Son of Charles and Anne Waller was born 1700, died 1787, married on 27 May 1729 in Harworth to Anne Sisson(s) in Harworth.  (Anne Sisson was born 7 Apr 1702 in Harworth, Nottinghamshire. Parents: George Sissons of Blyth and Susanna Northcroft of Haworth). Charles and Anne were my great x 6 grandparents. Children of Charles and Anne:
    • Charles Grayson born 1734 in Ranskill. May 1779 Banns in Everton “Charles Graveson (jr) and Ann Yeates”.  He died 1793 in Ticklhill, Yorkshire. Two children:
      • John Grayson July 5th 1782 and
      • Elizabeth Grayson 27 Nov 1785.
    • Elizabeth Grayson 04 Nov 1739 Blyth
    • George Grayson b. 1742 in Ranskill (or Blyth). Died Aug 25th 1783 in Austerfield.
    • Sarah Grayson 1744

  • George Grayson b. 1742 married Mary Taylor on 22 Nov 1764 in Everton, a small village SE of Bawtry, Nottinghamshire. After the birth of their first child the Graysons moved to Austerfield Yorkshire. There is a Land Tax record for Austerfield in 1781 showing George Grayson as an occupier of land owned by Jonathan Ackhorn Esq. and another lot owned by William Prichard.George Grayson died in Austerfield 25 Aug 1783 aged 41. George and Mary are my great x 5 grandparents. Children of George and Mary:
    • William Grayson born in Everton Nottinghamshire in 1765. His siblings were all born in Austerfield Yorkshire, 8 miles from Everton, Notts.
    • Elizabeth Grayson baptised 26 Mar 1769 (married William Laycock).
    • Ann Grayson baptised 23 Aug 1772-1825 (married Joseph Ackroyd)
    • George and Mary (twins) born 13 Jun 1775 & died Jun 29th 1775.

Mary Taylor - Mary was born about 1735/36 and died 25th July 1804 in Austerfield, Yorkshire, aged 69.  There is no record of a Mary Taylor being baptised in Nottinghamshire around 1856/6 but there is a Taylor family in Skelton, Howden, Yorkshire, not far from Bawtry. A Mary Taylor was baptised here in 1736, daughter of Charles Taylor (1705-1775) and Jane Schooles (1709-1736). Charles Taylor was the son of Joseph Taylor (a comber, probably born about 1680 or earlier) and his wife Jane Goforth.

        Source: Austerfield Parish Register.

There are records of Charles and Anne Grayson and their two children John and Elizabeth in Austerfield in the Austerfield Parish Register. Charles is presumably the brother of George Grayson.

There is a Land Tax record for Austerfield in 1781 showing Charles Grayson as a tax collector (as well as an occupier of land owned by Hill Lee) in Austerfield. In the same document Mary Grayson is listed as an occupier of land owned by Jonathan Ackhorn Esq. 

Up to the mid 19th century, the ecclesiastical jurisdictions within Nottinghamshire were quite complex. Part of the ancient Archdeaconry of Nottingham, was in the Diocese of York and included places like Bawtry and Austerfield which had always been in Yorkshire but which were chapelries of the parish church of Blyth in Nottinghamshire. So, even though the Graysons moved from Everton in Nottinghamshire to Austerfield in Yorkshire, they still belonged to the same parish, Blyth.

Several references to other Graysons in Blyth, Nottinghamshire were found during my search. 

Parish Registers

Parish registers were first introduced by Thomas Cromwell in 1538. From that date, every parish church was supposed to acquire a 'sure coffer' (i.e. parish chest) within which their records could be securely stored. They were also responsible for purchasing a volume into which an official, usually the incumbent or parish clerk, could enter details of the week's baptisms, marriages and burials. Unfortunately, the earliest registers were usually kept on loose sheets of paper so have rarely survived, despite the fact that they were supposed to be kept safe in the parish chest.

In 1598, Queen Elizabeth I approved an order which stipulated that every church had to: use registers made of parchment; copy any old, surviving records into the parchment registers; copy the year's baptism, marriage and burial entries and send them to the relevant bishop annually for safekeeping; these later became known as Bishops' Transcripts.

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