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Another "Mottershead" Page!

It's hard to believe that a name as unusual as "Mottershead" could have so many different family lines, but it seems there are!

This site is aimed at dealing specifically with my lineage within the Mottershead tree (although it contains references to other family names including "Hall", "Gaskell", "Seel", "Evans" and "Critchlow"). There's no doubt we Mottersheads are all related somewhere, as the name appears to have a common root in the township of Mottram St. Andrew in Cheshire, England. There are however variations on a theme as to how the name "Mottershead" actually came about.

It has been suggested that it was to this region that descendants of a Norman Knight "Mottresheved" (or maybe the Knight himself) came after the Norman invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror in 1066. It seems however that the name "Mottresheved" theory is extremely unlikely, as (according to one modern-day Mottershead who is a French graduate with an emphasis in Medieval French) that "name" doesn't bear any resemblance to a name in French. So nice though that idea may be, it seems we can discount it.

Another origin theory - which is more likely - is relative to a place name. There are references to the name in the Domesday Book, King William's wonderful census record. The possibility exists that the Knight's Domesday listing was a corruption of a location name already in existence, indeed there is strong evidence that the Mottershead's presence in Britain precedes the Norman invasion. Typical features of the Mottersheads, such as their size (not overly tall) and colouring (especially dark brown hair - not many blondes) suggests a strong Welsh influence. The Domesday Survey references land held by "the Saxon Gamel at Motre" (a Saxon Thane) who also held Chadkirk in Stockport Parish and Cheadle (and is referenced elsewhere as "Gamel, a thane of the king's, Lord of Aldithley, Talk, and Balterley, in the county of Stafford, and of Cedde and Mottram Andrews, in the county of Chester" born about 1028):

"Isdem Gamel tenet Motre. Pater ejus tenuit. Ibi i hida et dimidia geldabiles. Terra est iiii caracates. Wasta est. Ibi silva iii leuvis longa et ii lata et ii haiae et aira accipitris."
(The same Gamel holds Motre. His father held it. There is one hide and a half rateable to the gelt tax the land is four caracates. It is waste. There is a wood three leagues long and two broad and two hedged enclosures and an aery for hawks.)

The father of this Gamel, the King's Thane De Tettesworth, is indicated as being born about 1028: "Wolfric, Lord of Leek, Aldithley, and Balterley, in the county of Stafford; of Croxton, Etchells, and many other places in the county of Chester, married a daughter of William Poncius, Count of Arques and Thoulousse, son of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. They had issue, Gamel de Tettesworth; Walthens, Lord of Etchells, Bredbury, and Brinnington; Ranulphus; and Orme de Davenport" [John Burke, History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. IV, R. Bentley, London, 1834, p. 757, Stansfeld, of Burley Park], Gamel's mother was born about 1010: "Daughter of William Poncius, Count of Arques and Thoulousse, son of Richard II, Duke of Normandy; she was cousin to William the Conqueror and sister to Richard FitzPontz who married the heiress of Clifford Castle and founded the baronial family of de Clifford" [John Burke, History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. IV, R. Bentley, London, 1834, p. 757, Stansfeld, of Burley Park].

An ancient l2th century deed without date records: "Gamel lord of Mottram gave William his son and heir, all that land in Mottersheved in the vill of Mottram with the messuage and other its appurtenances, from which place he was called William de Mottershead and his descendants Mottershead of Mottram". (Harl. MS. 2146 f.95d 1692).

Another (US) reference suggests the origin of the name to be "composed of the ancient Saxon personal name of MODHERE, which means "courageous army", and HEVED or HEAD, a shortened form of Headland". As we have previously discounted the concept of the name originating from this type of derivation, we can probably presume this to be unlikely.

Yet another name derivation suggests it to be: "a habitational name from a lost place in the parish of Mottram, Cheshire, recorded in the 13th century as Mottresheved, from the genitive case of the Old English byname Motere 'speaker' + Middle English heved 'head(land)', 'hill'" (Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press).

A family theory for the origin of the name was one held dear by my Grandfather Harry, who maintained that the name resulted from a compression of the place name and location of a waterfall on the Bollin - which flows close to Mottram St. Andrew - when described in Old English: Mott-a-shed. It is probably unlikely that we will ever know the true origin, but it has, I'm sure, and will in the future, be the cause of much family conjecture!

The earliest definite records of the name in England include those of Robert de Mottresheved, who was living in Cheshire as early as 1303, and in 1309 concerned in a legal transaction; Richard de Mottershead, of Mottram, who in 1337 sold lands (with his wife Margery) in Over Alderly (Cheshire). Richard was the father by his wife Margery of a son Roger, whose son - another "Richard" - performed jury service in 1370. His son Edmund Mottershead, was living and holding lands in Mottram in 1394 and an "Edmund" is listed as giving jury service in 1436 and 1438, although it may not be the same Edmund; those of John de Mottershead, of Motram, in 1415; those of Edmund de Mottershead, of Mottram, in 1437; John de Mottershead, of Mottram, 1443 and Richard de Mottershead, of Mottram, appeared on the jury at an inquest following the death of Joan Davenport in 1443, and Richard occurs in a list of Cheshire gentlemen living in the Macclesfield Hundred in 1445 and again in 1460 and 1467. Two generations later, Edward and John Mottershead are named in 1517 when they were parties to a grant of land to Geoffrey Mottershead of Mottram Andrew. This record mentions the brothers Geoffrey, Nicholas, John, and Ralph Mottershead of Mottram, of whom the first (Geoffrey) was the father of at least two sons, John and Thomas(1). Thomas(1) Mottershead, of Mottram was living in the year 1580, when he and his son Geoffrey were listed as "gentlemen of Cheshire". Thomas(1) was the father of three sons, Geoffrey, Thomas(2), and Hugh. Geoffrey Mottershead was a man of some importance and was called to jury service on many occasions. Thomas(2) married Mary Wyche, of Alderly, in Cheshire, and had issue by her of a son named Thomas(3) who was lieutenant in Colonel Bradshaw's regiment at the battle of Worcester. Thomas(3) by his wife Martha had two sons Adam, Mayor of Macclesfield in 1680, who died without issue; Samuel, Mayor of Macclesfield in 1686; and three daughters, Mary, Joan and Martha.

A separate line of the ancient Cheshire line resulted in Joseph Mottershead, who was resident (in ??odley - possibly Woodley?) near Stockport, about the year 1680. He had a son named Joseph, who made his home at Manchester, England, and was first married to Elizabeth Bennet, of the County of Chester, who died 1718. To this union were two daughters Elizabeth and Sarah, as well as a son who died without progeny. By his second wife, the Widow Margaret (née Hallowes) Gaskel, whom he married in 1720. Joseph had no further issue.

Sir Reginald Mottershead was listed as having fought under Henry IV and Henry Prince of Wales at the Battle of Shrewsbury (21st July, 1403).

The information on this site has been collected from family members, and particularly from my 2nd cousin Mary Leeb and aunt "Peggy", to whom I give my heartfelt thanks, and whom are both now sadly deceased. I hope that maybe I can add more information from relatives out there in cyberspace with stories and genealogy!

Trying to figure out how to display the family tree on this site has given me many restless nights, and I still don't feel I've come up with a suitable method. My problem is, that although I've aimed at presenting my own line, in doing this I've included as many descendants of Peter and Hannah Mottershead (my great-great grandfather and mother) as I can. The result is a list of 80 or so people, all related! What I've done is try to put a single generation on each page, (although if I'm close to the end of a line of descendency, I've often added the children to the one page, rather than making a separate one for them), and then tried to put as many "links" forward and backward in direct forebear/descendant pages as I can. It is a little confusing! If anyone can suggest a simpler way, please let me know!! Likewise, if anyone has any corrections or additions, please let me know those too.

Kindest regards to all my relatives, close and distant!

"Jos" (Joscelyn Charles) Mottershead

I look forward to hearing from you!

Click on the page title names below to go to those pages.

To start at my name and work back, click here (my immediate lineage is in bold type).

The names shown in this table are grouped by generation, with the oldest to the right.

Walter Mottershead and ??
Herbert Mottershead and Joan
Peter Mottershead and Lorna (Evans)
Peter Mottershead and Sarah
Jack Hidderley and Tabitha Mottershead
Herbert Mottershead and Elisabeth (Roe)
Walter Mottershead and Betty (Cooper)
Harry Mottershead and "Nellie" (Hall)
W. Cockayne and Maria Mottershead
Henry Mottershead and Harriet (Gaskell)

Frederick Hall and Elizabeth (Seel)

Sarah Mottershead and Elijah Wood
Peter Gaskell and Maria (Salt)

John Hall and Ellen ??
Henry Seel and Mary Anne (Barton)

Peter Mottershead and Hannah

Samuel Hall and Mary Ann ??