Janson Deeds

Scope and Content

The first section (29 items), named Janson Family Deeds, is mainly concerned with properties in Darlington, Co. Durham, which were acquired by John Janson, a linen manufacturer in Darlington, between 1799 and 1801. The last three documents in this section are a lease of a moiety of Black Boy Colliery in Coundon by Joshua and the above mentioned John Janson in 1821, and Probates of Joshua and his wife Ann in 1843 and 1856 respectively.

No connection has been established between the Janson Family Deeds of the first section and the documents of the second section which contains 23 items relating to the Umfreville and Askew families and their properties in Whitechapel, Stepney and Southwark, Mitcham Enfield and Ewell in Surrey, Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, and Southweald in Essex from 1656- 1768. The collection is unusual in that many of the most important deeds for establishing title are missing. There is, for example, a high proportion of Indentures of Fine without an accompanying Bargain and Sale or Release, and although we have documents for at least four transactions associated with the marriage of Hannah Askew and Henry Umfreville, the settlement itself is absent.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Janson family Although the spelling Janson is used in the deeds, the Trade Directories for Darlington, Co. Durham always list the family under the name of I'anson. In the 1820's they are described as flax and tow spinners, flax merchants and linen manufacturers. Later in the century they became glove manufacturers, engineers and iron founders. Charles Janson of Charles Janson and Co. at Whessoe Foundry was named as executor in the wills of both Joshua and Ann Janson.

The Umfreville and Askew families The two families were united by the marriage between Hannah Askew and Henry Umfreville a silk thrower of Whitechapel in 1734, and as part of the marriage settlement Henry was taken into partnership with his father, Thomas. Another part of the same settlement would appear to have been a small messuage in Mitcham which had been acquired by a Thomas Umfreville in 1679 (possibly the same Thomas, but descriptions given for Thomas Umfreville in the deeds vary over the years: in 1682 he is described as a citizen and tin plate worker of London, in 1719 and 1721 as a gentleman of Ewell, and in 1734 as a silk thrower of long standing.

The presence of two deeds relating to Ewell in Surrey in 1721 and 1744 suggests that, despite their occupations, they might be part of the family of Umfrevilles described by Surtees as being 'seated at Ewell' from the late 15th to the end of the 18th centuries, a collateral branch of the Umfrevilles of Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, and possibly descended from the Umfrevilles who held land in Durham and Northumberland from the time of the conquest to the death of Sir Robert Umfreville in 1436 (Surtees History of Durham II. 325, 394-5). The pedigree of the Umfrevilles of Ewell includes three consecutive generations of Thomas's, the last of whom had a son, Henry, aged 5 years in 1710. This accords with the evidence of the deeds and would make Henry about 29 years when he married in 1734. The family was extinct at the time Surtees was writing.


Janson section: deeds grouped by property and arranged chronologically.

Umfreville section: chronological.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Mrs Warden, née I'anson on behalf of Mrs Sprott of Blakeney, Norfolk, September 1948.

Other Finding Aids

Available online at online catalogue

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Geographical Names