Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      INSCRIPTIONS at Workington, Co.Cumbria
Blennerhassett coat-of-arms at

The Church of St Michael, Workington,
Allerdale, Cumbria (Cumberland)

Church of England - Diocese of Carlisle

Ancient Cumbria became the English counties of Cumberland and Westmorland,
these recombined in the mid-20th century as the modern English county of Cumbria

The oldest surviving part of the church structure is c1150. Eleventh-century texts describe the arrival at Workington (then called Derwentmouth, on the western sea coast of Cumberland) of monks from Lindisfarne carrying the bones of St Cuthbert, following the destruction of the kingdom of Northumbria by the Vikings in 875It is presumed the monks stayed at the monastery on the site currently occupied by St Michael's Church before leaving Derwentmouth by boat.
The church was rebuilt in 1770 but suffered serious fires in 1887 and 1994.
Reconstructed and restored following the fire of 1887 and again after the fire of 1994, when the church was re-opened and re-dedicated in 2001.
Church of St Michael, Workington
photo: copyright © "The Times and Star", Workington
 Margaret Jones of St Michael Parochial Church Council
(also Town Councillor, Mayor of Workington 2010)
 surveying devastation resulting from the 1994 fire
photo: courtesy Margaret Jones, St Michaels Workington P.C.C.
the "Workington" window
excavation of the early medieval burial ground under the nave
following the fire of 1994

arms of Blennerhassett

Blennerhassett arms carved in stone

"Gules, a chevron ermine, between three dolphins embowed Argent"
in a red field, a chevron of ermine fur between three silver dolphins with body arched
(the chevron typically has 5, sometimes 7, dark ermine spots)
photo: courtesy Margaret Jones, St Michaels Workington P.C.C.


Blennerhassett coat-of-arms on an ancient carved stone,
set into an interior wall of the church of St Michael, close to the west door.


Curwen (Culwen) arms

"Argent, fretty Gules a chief Azure"
in a white field, red fretwork below a horizontal band of blue

In heraldry a fret is a charge consisting of two narrow bendlets
placed in saltire, interlaced with a mascle (see example to left);
fretty (or fretté) as used in the Curwen coat-of-arms is a
continuous fret or fretwork, forming a pattern diapering the field.

arms of Curwen

Workington Hall near Carlisle, also known as Curwen Hall, is the ancient manor house of Workington.
other Blennerhassett family connections with the Curwens of Workington Hall:
1. Thomas Blennerhassett of Irthington (a.k.a. Irdington, Yrdington) near Carlisle, married Anne Curwen, daughter of Sir Thomas Curwen of Workington Hall, M.P. for Cumberland, d.c1470 (4 Edward IV) who m.c1420/21 Anne Lowther, dau.of Sir Robert Lowther of Lowther.
2. Dorothy Blennerhassett, wife of Richard Blennerhassett, mayor of Carlisle (of St Mary’s parish, Carlisle c1555-71).
m. 2ndly Thomas Curwen.
3. Jane Blennerhassett (dau. of Edward & Janet Blennerhasset of Carlisle & Great Orton)
m.c1553 at Lamplugh, Cumberland to John Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall, son and heir to Sir John Lamplugh Kt who was Sheriff of Cumberland 1537/8 (29 Henry VIII) and his wife Isabella Curwen of Workington Hall [N&B vol.2 p.38] [WHELLAN pp.327, 400]. This was John Lamplugh's 1st marriage (he married 2ndly Isabel Stapleton).


On a pane of glass in a window of the saloon at Workington Hall is a shield of fifteen quarterings, as under:-

[JACKSON "The Curwens of Workington Hall" 1880 pp.81-82].

These 15 Curwen quarterings of 1634 include
 a variant of Blennerhassett arms:
 10. Gules, on a chevron engrailed Argent three dolphins Vert.
these are better described as:
"Gules, a chevron engrailed between three dolphins Vert"
(in a red field, a chevron between three green dolphins)


Curwen monument in the church of St Michael, Workington

photo: courtesy Margaret Jones, Workington P.C.C.
in the north aisle is this table tomb for Sir Christopher (I) Curwen, Knight, M.P.
Lord of the Manor of Workington 1404-1450
(b. before 1382, d.17-Jul-1450/53? son of Sir William Curwen & Elena le Brun)
with his lady Elizabeth de Hudleston (Huddleston)
"The knight, in plate armour, wears collar of SS. with pendant star, with head resting on cushion, and tilting helmet with crest of a unicorn's head.
The cushions at the lady's head are supported by small angels. The hands of both knight and lady hold hearts." [CALVERLEY p.282-3]


Workington Church . Tomb of Christopher Curwen Knight & Elizabeth his Wife
Orate pro animabus Xtoferi Curwen militis et Elizabethe uxoris ejus  * * * * * *
("Pray for the souls of Christopher Curwen knight and his wife the lady Elizabeth")
drawing from: "The Curwens of Workington Hall and Kindred Families" by William Jackson, Kendal 1880, plate opposite p.18
(reprinted from "Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society")

five stone shields of arms on the tomb of Sir Christopher Curwen & his lady Elizabeth (nee Hudleston)
arms of the father of
Sir Christopher (I) Curwen:
i.e. Sir William Curwen,
and his step-mother
<???> Croft

(Sir William's 1st wife
& Sir Christopher's mother was Elena le Brun d.c1395)
( ?????? )
arms of
Sir Christopher (I) Curwen
(b.bef.1382 d.1450/3)

and his wife
Elizabeth Hudleston
(b.c1382 Millom Castle,
d. post 1468)
(six annulets 3,2,1 Or)
arms of the son of
 Sir Christopher (I) Curwen:
 i.e. Sir Thomas Curwen
 (b.1402 d. post 1473)
& Thomas's 2nd wife
 Anne Lowther
(a label* over 5 fusils)
arms of Sir Christopher
Curwen's grandson:

Sir Christopher (II) Curwen
who erected this tomband
his wife Anne Pennington
* a label is a mark of cadency used by an eldest son and heir during the lifetime of his father

where these details are inaccurate please send corrections, 
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Descent of the Curwen Family:
"The ancient and knighty family of the Curwens... derive their descent from Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland,
and took their surname by agreement from Curwen, a family of Galloway, whose heir they married" [CAMDEN].
"The marriage of Thomas Curwen with Agnes Strickland (whose mother was the daughter and heiress of Ralf Neville)
brought the royal blood of the Plantagenets into the Curwen House. [STRICKLAND] [JACKSON "The Curwens of Workington Hall" 1880 p.21].

Papers of "The Curwen Family of Workington Hall" are at [TNA Ref. D Cu].

"A History of the Ancient House of Curwen of Workington in Cumberland" by John F. Curwen, 1928, pp.78-80
"The Curwens of Workington Hall and Kindred Families" by William Jackson F.S.A., Kendal 1880: a paper read at Workington Hall 16-Jun-1880.
reprinted from "Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society" <volume? date?> Article XXII
"Papers and Pedigrees" by William Jackson 1892, pp.304-305.

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