I am endebted to an Oz bloggee for the following snapshot of 18th Century local history. I have changed some of the names to protect any lingering sensitivities which after 280 years seem unlikely but you never know. The bloggee has commented that if this was an Oz story the descendants might revel in the details of their murky past. Apparently being descended from a bona fide convict is super cool downunder. And of course around here there not a few people who are proud of their Reiver background.Hello Huttonian
Yes, Melbourne does have its good points. Although it has a bad reputation weatherwise, we have been having beautiful mild sunny autumn days for the last few weeks. Bliss! I came upon the connection to Hutton Hall in the course of my genealogical research. I'm not absolutely sure if it's true, but it's a great story. The local laird, Robert 'Ayton', widowed in 1726 and certainly not a young man by 1737, appears to have taken up with a young servant girl, 'Margaret Fulsome' who became pregnant. The Church, and particularly the local minister, who was already gunning for Robert over previous disputes, got wind of this and summoned Margaret to appear before the Hutton session. Under Robert's protection, Margaret refused to do so. She gave birth to a daughter, 'Sarah'. Robert was summoned to a presbytery meeting at Chirnside where he was interrogated. He presented papers saying that Margaret had done penance for fornication at ( a country) Church, in Northumberland, but refused to admit his guilt or to cast out Margaret from his household. The Church continued to hound him until 1842 when Robert finally presented them with a certificate of marriage from Northumberland. Robert had two more children, Rebecca and Robert and died in 1748. I don't know what happened to poor Margaret after that, but Robert's son, William became the next laird, Rebecca became a well know Edinburgh eccentric and Rachel married a Berwick bookbinder, who quickly went through her fortune and left for the West Indies, leaving his children behind in Berwick upon Tweed. He finally ending up in Philadelphia where he set up his bookbinding business again. I think the 'Aytons' remained at Hutton Hall until the 1820s. I found an entry in the Hutton parish records for for a donation "given to the poor by Ayton, Hutton Hall on his return from China with Lord Amhurst" and the last donation from Colonel Robert Ayton in 1821. 'William' must have died before his father as the line became defunct. I'm descended from one of the Book binder's children left behind in Berwick. The family fortunes continued to decline for them and they ended up in abject poverty in Newcastle.