Ancestorium Family Tree Collaboration

Ralph de Bridtwisell, of Bridtwisell in Hapton

Male Abt 1160 - UNKNOWN

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  • Name Ralph de Bridtwisell  [1, 2
    Suffix of Bridtwisell in Hapton 
    Born Abt 1160  Christening: 1160, Bridtwisell, Blackburn Hundred (Lancashire) England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Info 1 Granted Land at Bridtwisell in 1209. Occupation: Farmer. Resident in: Bridtwisell in Hapton (between Burnley & Accrington) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Info 14 see Notes Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Info 2 Descendants at Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Info 3 See also Birtwistle Family tree 1425-1676 "The Middle years" at Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Info 4 "The Birtwhistle Family Home Page" Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence 1185  One of its spellings; could not use name of hamlet as his last name legally because his family did not hold title to any land since the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD., Bridtwisell, Blackburn Hundred no Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Died UNKNOWN  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I000355  Ancestorium
    Last Modified 12 Nov 2020 

    Father Information a1-start-Birtwistles,   d. 1000 
    Mother 1 Information Birtwistle,   d. 1000 
    Family ID F00086  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

     1. Reyner De Bridtwisell,   b. Abt 1185, Bridtwisell, Blackburn Hundred now Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. UNKNOWN, Bridtwisell, Hapton, Blackburn Hundred (Lancashire), England Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Adam de Bridtwisell,   b. Abt 1195, Bridtwisell, Township of Hapton, Lancashire, United Kingdom Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. UNKNOWN, Bridtwisell, Blackburn Hundred (Lancashire), England Find all individuals with events at this location
    +3. as yet unconnected lines Birtwistle,   d. ?
    Family ID F00085  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • See him also at
      12 generations of descendants
      Birtwistle Family tree 1425-1676 \"The Middle years\" at
      and Birtwhistle Family tree c1160-1425 \"The early Years\" at

      Ralph 1160-
      Full name: Ralph de Bridtwisell
      Born: c1160
      Occupation: Farmer
      Resident in: Bridtwisell in Hapton (between Burnley & Accrington)

      Please note. Ralph did not have a last name until his sons received the last name, but for listing purposes, I used sons\' last name for him also. The lines and branches of the family through 1850 which show no source are most likely from the book The Birtwistle Family, 1200-1850 A.D. compiled by William A. Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden and others. At the time these lines were entered, the software that was being used did not provide for a source to be entered easily and this compiler did not then realize that he would become a consolidated family compiler, with the help from many others from around the world, and that the tree would become so large so it is now over 22,604 individuals and 6,775 families as of April 8, 2019. The tree contains more people who are blood relatives of the descendants of Ralph, some are ancestors of L. Alan Birtwhistle\'s other lines, (mother and grandmothers), ancestors of his wife and their daughters\' spouses\' lines. There are 20,112 descendants of Ralph in 5,613 families on this tree as of October 25, 2019.

      William A. Birtwistle, Billy, in the Introduction to his book, on page 3, states that. \"The family is well documented from 1200 A.D. up to the time of the Reformation, and in spite of the absence of Parish Records, it has been possible to complete their history during these early years, from over one hundred and fifty mentions of the family taken from the printed transcription of the Court Rolls of the Honour of Clitheroe by William Farrer, The Victorian County History of Lancashire, The Histories of Whalley and Craven by the Rev. J. D. Whitaker, and from the many references to the family in the published volumes of the Record Societies of Lancashire and Yorkshire.\"

      \"Wills are another useful source of information.\" He also states, \"The Census Records are the most important records of the family in the nineteenth century ....\" A lot of the early church records for Lancashire and Yorkshire are now on the internet as are the civil records. Some of the sites are now charging for the records. Some records have been copied in this tree as notes for an individual.

      Recorded in many spelling forms including de Bridtwisel, Bridtwisel, Birtwistle, Birtwhistle, Birtwisle, Bertwistle and Birdwhistell, this unusual surname is English. It is locational from now \"lost\" or at least depopulated village or hamlet called Birtwistle near the Village of Hapton in Lancashire. The place name is believed to derive from the pre-7th century Olde Norse word \"birki\", meaning birch trees, but which may also refer to a bridge or causeway made of birch, plus the Olde English word \"twissel\", meaning a fork, and describing the junction of two streams. Locational surnames are usually \"from\" names. That is to say, names given to people after they left their original homes to move elsewhere as an easy means of identification. In this case, early examples of the recordings include Henricus de Birktwysell of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, John Brittwissil in the lists of members of the Preston Guilds, Lancashire, in the year 1397, and Gilbert Birtwisle of Love Clough, Lancashire in the Wills register of Chester, in 1594. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John de Briddestwysill. This was dated 1285, in the Assize Rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to \"develop\" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. Cousin John Wynn Birtwhistle found our Birtwistle name spelled 112 different ways including within the same family.

      Read more:> no longer.

      On Friday, April 21, 2017, The Burnley Express contained a news article announcing that a \"Big dig to find lost village\" by Sue Plunkett which is to recover the lost village or hamlet of Birtwistle which it is believed is situated in the vicinity of Hapton Tower. The Hapton Heritage web site contains several articles in regard to this lost hamlet and the location. See also & Hapton Big Dig Facebook page at
      The Hapton Big Dig project, ‘Archaeological evaluation of Hapton Tower and adjacent earthworks’, received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2017, for a community archaeology project. The grant was obtained by Bluestone Archaeology CIC in collaboration with Hapton Heritage Committee.
      From the articles there is evidence that the site pre-existed 1193 A.D. We know this since Ralph was born there.

      Family Search (LDS) has a date of birth of Ralph of 1162 at Bridtwisell allegedly taken from a published book. No source shown. Only published books are William\'s, mine and 2 older books, but found none gave definite birth date.

      NOTE: Lancashire as a county did not exist in 1080 AD when the Doomsday Book was created and was not created until approximately 1182 AD as County Pallantine Lancaster which later became Lancashire.

      I found an interesting article in researching the Blackburn Hundred from the Institute of Historical Research of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London in which the article states that one of the manors held in \"thegnage\" was Birtwistle. The term thegnage has been defined as; \'The term thegn ( thane or thayn in Shakespearean English ), from Old English þegn , ðegn , \"servant, attendant, retainer\", \"one who serves\", [1] is commonly used to describe either an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman in Anglo-Saxon England , or, as a class term, the majority of the aristocracy below the ranks of ealdormen and high-reeves . It is also the term for an early medieval Scandinavian class of retainers.
      Thegn - Wikipedia\"

      I repeat the dedication in William\'s book,
      \"This little book is dedicated to those who belong to the future in memory of those that have done before.\"
      William A. Birtwistle states in his book, The Birtwistle Family 1200-1890 A.D., at page 5, that “Bridtwisell was a clearing between two streams, meaning, it has been said, ‘where birds gather’. It was situated adjacent to Hapton and probably referred to the sheltered valley leading to the steep ravine known as the Clough which, in early days, would certainly have been a place where birds and other wildlife could find shelter from the windswept and exposed landscape of the surrounding hillsides.” He goes on to establish that Bridtwisell existed before 1193 AD, since it “was assessed as half-a-plough land and held by the Lord of Honor of Clitheroe at a rent of four shillings” by Robert de Lacy. At his death, Robert de Lacy “granted Bridtwisell to Eudo de Longville at that rent”. The land at Bridtwisell passed from there to the de Lacy family of Cromwell Bottom and then to the family of Gilbert de Legh. The de Legh family held both Bridtwisell and Hapton together and eventually Bridtwisell lost its separate identity.
      (Note: the Clough lies halfway between Huncote and Hapton on the old Burnley Rd. ref map1 and map2)

      Birtwhistle Family History – from c.1160
      contact e-mail:

      \"In 1209, Raynor de Birtwisle, son of Ralph, held 30 oxgangs, and in 1253 John, son of Raynor, claimed the land from Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln.
      In 1318, William, son of John de Birtwistle, exchanged lands in Bradley, Hapton, for lands in Huncoat, now a district of Accrington, and here the Birtwistles remained for 400 years. In succession followed Richard, 1330, Thomas, 1382, and William, who attested a Dunkenhalgh deed in 1412. From the family, the Accrington branch of the Birtwistle descended and they became fairly numerous in the district. In 1425, Richard de Birtwistle was head of the family at Huncoat Hall, and he was eventually succeeded by his grandson, Oliver, who was a Juror at the Halmot Court for about 10 years and in 1504 was Greave. The Halmot met twice yearly to appoint officers, the Greave being the chief official.\"

      For a great deal more information look in main resource on all things Birtwistle and its various family branches see the book
      \"The Birtwistle Family, 1200- 1850 AD\" by William A Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden.
      Including Birtwells of Accrington and Whalley, Birtwhistles of Yorkshire and other local spelling variations. (c) William A. Birwistle 1989. Published in Great Britain 1990.
      ISBN 09515337 0 3
      © W.A. Birtwistle,
      Brier Nook, Park Cresent, Blackburn, Lancashire
      Printed by Caxton Printing Co. (Accrington) Ltd.,
      Tremellen Street, Accrington
      This has many family trees.

      Available in PDF format at

      “Birtwistle, a Family of East Lancashire Cotton Manufacturers”, by W.A.(Billy) Birtwistle, 2001. ISBN-13 : 978-0954172008. Publisher : Ellen B. Chambers (November 1, 2001)

      Extensive Birtwistle/Birtwhistle information at \"The Birtwhistle Family Home Page\"
      This was on a Family Tree Maker webpage, but those were all moved to when Family Tree Maker stopped those. They can’t be updated, but at least the information is still there. There might be some leads there for you.

      For example Genealogy Report: Descendants of Ralph De Bridtwesell, ( if you follow that through the generations you might find something. That was done by L. Alan Birtwhistle . I don’t know if he has moved any of that to a new site.

      He at one point did an enormous amount of work collecting a huge number of Birtwhistle trees from all round the world and put them on CDs which many of us bought at cost.
      For Ralph De Bridtwesell see
      by L. Alan Birtwhistle
      P.O. Box 980
      Bridgehampton, New York 11932-0980. United States
      Fax: 516-537-1029

      The Birtwistle Family Home Page.
      The original name of the family was Bridtwesell or similar phonetic spelling. This name dates back to 1209 when Reyner, son of Ralph, received a land grant from his Norman Liegelord. Thereafter the family was \"de Bridtwisell\", meaning \"from Bridtwisell\", a village in Blackburnshire, now Lancashire, United Kingdom, that no longer exists. The village was known to be near Hapton and Padiham between Huncoat and Burnley, about three miles north of Rossendale Forest and six miles southwest of Twist Castle. It is shown as Birtwistle on a Map of Blackburnshire dated 1311. The name finally derived to Birtwistle in the 1400s. In the 1500s, one branch of this family relocated to Calton in Yorkshire at which time someone keeping the records at Skipton changed the name of this branch to Birtwhistle and thereafter it is known as the \"h\" branch. A branch of the Birtwhistle family referred to herein came to the USA and Canada in the late 1800s from northern England. Several members of this family settled originally in Englewood, N.J. Two other members of the same family settled in western Canada with possibly one member settling in Terrace or Furnace, British Columbia. The family that settled in New Jersey resides now mostly in California with a few members still located on the East coast in Virginia. The New Jersey Birtwhistles are direct decendants of Ralph, father of Reyner de Bridtwesell as are the main Birtwistle tree of which the Birtwhistles are a branch. There was also another large branch whose name was changed to Birtwell while still in the UK. This branch has members in Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin in the USA and in the United Kingdom. Some other members spell their name Bertwistle or Bertwhistle or Burtwistle or Burtwhistle. There are also large family branches in New Zealand, Australia and Canada. The Birtwistle or Birtwhistle or Birtwell family has made many contributions to society among them, in English, law, politics, education, music, science, medicine, athletics as well as computing.An ancestor, Oliver Byrtwhistle, was granted a family coat of arms by the Tutors and two later descendants also were granted coat of arms. …..
      L. Alan Birtwhistle
      The Birtwistle Family Home Page. By Lester A Birtwhistle
      Updated April 2, 2008
      Fax: 757-547-1077

      Posted on May 21, 2013 by Joan Lakeland
      FORWARD by Brenda Hayman
      Very informative about Birtwistle origins. Most of it seems to be from WA Birtwistles book, particularly for page 5-8.

      Alan Birtwhistle: on Birtwistle, Birtwhistle, Birtwisle, Bertwistle and Birdwhistell family trees.
      At “a tale of downward social mobility” by Justin Kirby. DECEMBER 19, 2017

      The Birtwistles and Huncoat Hall
      April 20, 2011 ~ Justin Kirby
      as of Feb 2018 this had 145 “Thoughts” posted discussion about many Birtwistle families around the world including a number of Birwistle/Birtwell/ Birdwhistell lines. Including one from L Alan Birtwhistle
      DECEMBER 16, 2017 AT 12:46 AM
      If you would like to see the whole Birtwistle family tree of approximately 22,000 + people, look at my tree at Birtwistle 12-22-13(2) 2014-12-31(2) . The tree is up to date. I believe you will find that I was the one who connected the US Birtwell family to the tree. I may have to give you permission, if so, just send me your email address. This tree can be observed by all. Somehow I became an unofficial compiler. Quite a few of the posts are from people I have been in contact with. The my homepage referred to in several of the replies has not been updated in years and did contain errors, both of which us compilers after William (Billy) and also ones he and his compilers had made based upon the information that was then available. Billy passed away in the 1990s and the 2nd book was completed by another. My present email is
      L Alan Birtwhistle.

      WikiTree’s Birtwistle Genealogy
      RootsWeb search at you could put in any variation of the spelling you want.

      Also on Rootsweb “Maclarens, Birtwistles and Many Other Families”
      Ralph’s descendants at
      Note: On Rootsweb:
      You can click on “Descendancy” above the individual’s information to see up to 6 generations of descendants.
      You can click on “Pedigree” to see up to 4 generations of their ancestors.
      When uploading the family tree file to Rootsweb, I set it to only show the last names of anyone living, to keep some confidentiality.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1281218] The Birtwistle Family, 1200-1890 A.D. by William A. Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden.
      Page 6

    2. [S1361753] W.A. Birtwistle, A Family of East Lancashire Cotton Manufacturers.

    3. page 6.