Walter Rye's Comments about the Preston Pedigree


Preston (Hulton) of Beeston St Lawrence, now of Beeston Hall.

A Visitation family (see 1664 Visitation), when the family of Beeston and Old Buckenham are said to bear arms Erm. on a chief sa. three crescents or.

This family bought their estate here in 1640. In the 1664 Visitation the pedigree is given thus:-

(1) William Preston "late of Preston in Suffolk," by Rose, d. of .... Whiple of Dickleburgh (will dated 1586), father of (i.a.)

(2a) Isaac Preston (of Hoxne, Suffolk, had lands in Pulham, will 1636), father of Thomas Preston, Ulster King of Arms in Ireland (who married and had issue), and of

(2b) Jacob Preston of Old Buckenham, Norfolk (b. 1564, d. 1630, is described as a yeoman in 1613 - see Norfolk Antiquities xii, p 86 - probably the Jacob Preston who had a warrant for pressing 333 men in Norfolk), who married Thomasine Lovett, Lovell or Lyngward of Shipdham, who bought a manor and advowson of Beeston in 1640, signed her mark in 1658 (father of 3)

(2c) Abraham Preston of Pulham, yeoman, will 1640

(3) Jacob Preston, J.P. and Custos Rotulorum, b. about 1613-4, d. 1683 aged 70. By Frances, d. and co-heir of Sir Isaac Appleton, a warm partisan of the Commonwealth, had (i.a.)

(4) Sir Isaac Preston, s. and h., barrister-at-law, knighted 1664, d. 1680, described in the Visitation of 1664 as Barrister-at-law, by his first wife Elizabeth d. and h. of Charles George Cock of Norwich, had

(5) Jacob Preston, b. 1674, d. 1753, married Elizabeth d. and h. of Timothy Perry of London, and was father of

(6) Isaac Preston of Beeston and Yarmouth, barrister, d. 1768, by Alice his first wife, d. of William Durrant of Scottow, left a d. and h,

(7) Elizabeth Preston, who married Henry Hulton (of Hants, a Commisioner of Customs at Boston, d. 1790), d. 1805, and was mother of

(8) Sir Thomas Preston (Hulton), who assumed the name of Preston in 1805, was created a baronet in 1815, and d. 1823. By his second wife, Jane Bagge, he had

(9) Sir Jacob Preston (Hulton), who by Amelia Prescott had

(10) Sir Henry Jacob Preston (Hulton), b. 1851, d. 1897 (erroneously said to have rowed for Oxford v. Harvard, and to have been in the Oxford Eight) who by Mary Hope Clutterbuck had

(11a) Sir Jacob Preston (Hulton), b. 1887

(11b) Edward Hulton Preston

(11c) Thomas Frederick Preston

For many (certainly 120) years the family have believed that their ancestor, Jacob Preston, No. 3 (sometimes wrongly called Sir Jacob Preston) was a faithful servant of Charles I., was with him on the scaffold, and received from him the present of an emerald ring, still in their possession. (It is however a "doublet" of little value, and most unlikely would have been worn by a King.)

In the Ancestor ii, pp. 82-90, I went with great detail into this legend, and I think showed it is entirely without foundation, so there is no need to go all over the ground again. I may, however recapitulate the fact shortly.

Long before I had come to the conclusion that the story was nonsense, Antony Norris of Barton Turf, who compile his great History of Tunstead before 1782, stated it has been said by the family that Jacob Preston was a favoured servant of Charles I., that they showed the ring, and that he was so persecuted by the prevailing party that he was forced to live concealed for some time, and sometimes used to be let into his own house by a window in the middle of the night.

He entirely disbelieved the story, and suggested that the King's attendant, Preston, was John Preston, Esq., the King's bow bearer, but recent researches show that the Preston who attended the King was a Captain Robert Preston, and that the latter was practically watching the King on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The whole myth was very misconceived.

Jacob (No. 3) the hero of it was closely connected with the other side. His wife was the d. of Sir Isaac Appleton, a warm partizan of the Commonwealth. His son Sir Isaac (No. 4) married the d. of one of the Commissioners for sequestrations. Isaac Preston of Yarmouth, merchant, no doubt one of the family, was in 1654 a Commissioner for ejecting scandalous ministers, while as to the story of his being the subject of persecution, he was dealing with land by Fines in 1645 to 1656, and married the d. of Charles George Cock, one of Cromwell's Judges of the Admiralty.

The ancestry of Jacob (no. 2b ante) is confused. Though he was a yeoman in 1613, and though his wife, Thomazine, signed her will with a mark, he is said to have been buried at Buckenham with arms on his brass in 1630. There is considerable mystery about this brass, which in 1808 was most improperly moved from Buckenham to Beeston. It was mentioned in Blomfield, 1736, i., p. 392, with the canting motto, "Pristinum spero lucem" (which is not the motto now used) describing him as gentleman, and as dying 1630. Farrer i., p.367, corroborates this, and gives the same date.

When Tom Martin noted the inscription at Buckenham he also gave the date as 1630, yet curiously enough the inscription now at Beeston shows that it was originally cut 1627, and has been clumsily altered to 1630. Whether this was done to fit the alleged date on the pedigree (which was the view taken by the late E.G.R., the Rev. Edward Gillett of Runham, a well known local antiquary) I cannot say.

There seems, however, little doubt that the family were once yeomen at Buckenham and Pulham, but I doubt the genuineness of the removed brass, though it undoubtedly existed at Old Buckenham when Blomfield wrote in 1736, and when Martin took his notes before 1763. I trace no arms for Preston till the Visitation of 1664, except this brass, which may have been concocted at or after such Visitation to bolster up the right to arms.

Preston of Yarmouth

Isaac Preston, who was admitted to the freedom here by purchase in 1642, bailiff of Yarmouth in 1653, was one of the Commissioners for ejecting scandalous ministers in conjunction with C.G. Cock, who was father-in-law of another (?) Isaac Preston. He was a Congregationalist, and is said to have been s. of Thomas Preston, Ulster King at Arms, but the latter is generally reputed to have d. without issue, or he may have been the father of Ulster. He was in all probability one of the Beeston family, and by his wife Hester, had a s. Isaac and four daughters. His will is dated 1670, it refers to lands in Lammas and Hautbois or elsewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk, and leaves everything to his wife Hester.

Others of the name, whether also a branch of the Beeston family or not is not clear, appear at Yarmouth in 1666, when Thomas Preston of Yarmouth, surgeon, was admitted a freeman after service, and not by patrimony. He was son of

(1) Thomas Preston, upholder of Norwich, admitted freeman there July 21st, 1634, and therefore b. before 1611. He d. 1665, and was buried at St. Peter Mancroft, where a monument was erected to his memory in 1698. He seems to have married twice, first Deborah Norton, by whom he had a s. Thomas, b. 1640, who was the surgeon of Yarmouth, who d. 1678, and was apparently uncle of William and great uncle of William Preston, both upholders in Lynn. By his second wife, Ann Bensley, he was father of

(2) John Preston, also a surgeon of Yarmouth, b. 1657, admitted freeman there after a service to his half-brother Thomas, who erected the monument to his father in 1698. His will is dated 1699. By his wife, Elizabeth Camplin, he had a son,

(3) John Preston, baptised 1684, became a freeman of Yarmouth as s. of John Preston. He carried on the business of tallow chandler at Rollesby. He married in 1706 Anne Gunnell of Rollesby. His will is dated 1755. He had (i.a.)

(4) John Preston, b. 1711, d. 1778, married Elizabeth Manclark at St. Michael at Plea, and had (besides Isaac, mentioned hereafter)

(5) Jacob Preston, b. 1740, d. 1827, ship builder of Yarmouth, Mayor in 1793, 1801 and 1813. By Elizabeth Abbott of Lowestoft he had

(6) John Preston, b. 1771, was Controller of the Customs at Cley and Yarmouth, Mayor of Yarmouth 1828 and 1831, was author of the Picture of Yarmouth, and married Mary, d. of John Kerrison of Panxworth, and secondly Anne, d. of Daniel Bloom.

By his first marriage he had

(7) John Kerrison Preston, surgeon, b. 1797, who by Jane Wheatley had

(8) William John Preston, M.D., married Caroline Messum and had

(9) Theodore Julian Preston, Deputy Inspector General R.N., the present representative of the family who married Margaret Shillinglaw, and had issue (i.a.) a son

(10) William John Preston, b. 1896.

By his second marriage, with Anne Bloom, John (6) had

(a) Daniel Bloom Preston, b. 1807, who by Mary Susannah Tolver has a.s., Samuel Tolver Preston, b. 1844, Daniel John Preston, and Donald William Preston.

(b) Edmund Preston, b. 1808, d. 1874, who by Harriet Marie Tolver had a large family, most of whom d.s.p.

(c) Francis Wheatley Preston of Tenbury, b. 1812, who by Elizabeth Farmer had issue (i.a.) a s., Charles Francis Preston, Town Clerk of Barrow-in-Furness.

(d) Jacob Preston, b. 1814, d. 1910, who by Jane Elizabeth Kerrison had (i.a.) a s., the Rev. Roger Kerrison Preston, b. 1847.

(e) Charles Preston, solicitor, of London, b. 1816, d. 1895, who by Julia Britton had a large family, including Captain Charles Frederick Preston, R.N.R., and Arthur J. Preston, J.P. of Liverpool.

(f) Arthur Preston, solicitor, of Norwich, b. 1819, d. 1888, who by his first wife Maria Waters had (i.a.) Arthur Waters Preston, solicitor, of Norwich (who has a large family), and Richard Preston, solicitor, of London and Tonbridge (who is married, and has two daughters); and by his second marriage, with Louise Jane Evans, had three sons: Herbert John Preston, b. 1871, of British Columbia; Ernest Edward Preston, b. 1872, of New Zealand; and Cecil Evans Preston of Middlesbrough.

Reverting to the descendants of John Preston (4) he had besides the Jacob (5) son,

(6) Isaac Preston, a ship-builder of Yarmouth, b. about 1744, d. 1819, aged 75, who built 153 vessels in 40 years. He married twice - first Elizabeth Crow, by whom he had female issue only, and secondly Elizabeth Lillystone by whom he had (besides Isaac, who d. at Liverpool in 1871) a son,

(7) Frederick Preston, a ship-builder, who built 102 ships between 1823 to 1842. He married twice, and by his first wife, Susannah Stevenson Cann, had

(8) Frederick Preston, b. 1824, of Poplar and Wymondham, married Susan Somes, and by her had

(9) Dr. Frederick Preston, b. 1864, now of Norwich, married Miss Hotblack.

Jacob Preston, the Mayor of 1793 (5) besides John (6) had two other sons, Isaac and Edmund

(a) Isaac Preston, d. 1886, Mayor of Yarmouth 1816, 1823, and 1834, who by Elizabeth Tolver had (i.a.)Isaac, the Rev. Samuel Charles Abbott and Edward H.L. Preston.

(b) Edmund Preston, Mayor of Yarmouth 1818 and 1830, b. 1776, d. 1856. He married three times. By his first wife, Phyllis Symonds, he had the Rev. Henry Edmund Preston, Rector of Tasburgh, d. 1896 s.p., by his second, Frances Smythe, he had the Rev. Thomas Preston, who married Jane Cobbold, and has a large family.

The Yarmouth Prestons have for several generations borne the Beeston arms. Whether they are entitled to them depends on their ancestor, Thomas Preston of Norwich, b. before 1611, being of that family, which at present seems doubtful, though the occurrence of isaac Preston the bailiff in 1653, who I do not doubt was of the Beeston family, and the coincidence of the Christian names of Isaac and Jacob in the later Yarmouth family makes it plausible.


Ref: Rye, W. 1911. Norfolk Families. pp 689-695