Saturday, 3 August 2013



           In 1100, the town of ‘Washington/Wessyngton/ Wassington/Whessingtun’ near Durham was part of the estates (called 'Richmondshire') of Alan Rufus, Earl of Richmond and brother of Geoffrey Boterel.

          Alan Rufus built Ravensworth Castle for another of his brothers, Ribald, who handed it on to a further brother, Bardolph. Bardolph’s son, Akaris fitz-Bardolph, who died 1161, was lord of Wessyngton, juxta Ravensworth, Richmondshire. He was given the manor by his father in the time of King Henry II. (‘fitz’ means ‘son of’)

          Akaris’ younger son, Bondo fitz-Akaris, was born 1122 in Kirby, Ravensworth, and died after 1180 at Wessyngton/Washington village, Ravensworth, Richmondshire, England. Bondo is sometimes known as Bondo de Washington, and sometimes Bondo de Ravensworth. One of Bondo's sons was William de Washington, born abt. 1150 in Washington/Wassington, England, who was second cousin to William Boterel, lord of Boscastle, Cornwall. 

          If you look at the genealogy of George Washington, his first ancestor to live in Washington was a Norman knight, William de Hertburn, born 1150-1160, who acquired the manor of Washington around 1183, according to the 'Boldon Buke' (a contemporary record now in Durham Cathedral library). William had previously owned land at Hartburn, County Durham, but exchanged this with the Bishop of Durham who wanted Hartburn. This must have suited William for some reason – perhaps because Washington was nearer to Ravensworth. As lord of a new domain, William was known as "William de Wessynton", taking his name from his new estates.

          It would not have been possible for another knight to take the same name as an existing knight, even with a spelling variation, so the two Williams must have been one and the same. 'William de Wassinton' is named on an Exchequer Roll of 1211. 

          George Washington’s ancestors lived in Washington Old Hall near Durham for five generations. Then they acquired by marriage lands in Lancashire and moved there. Eight generations later, they moved to Sulgrave Manor, Northamptonshire in the mid 1500s. Bottrills had already been farming in Northamptonshire for two hundred years – a coincidence.

          So the Bottrills and the Washingtons, now separate, had a common ancestor.

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