Cowl House, West Bransdale, North Riding of Yorkshire

Newark Wilson (b1819, Grange Farm, Howlsyke, NRY) lived in West Bransdale in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England.  He was a farmer and blacksmith. His wife was Hannah (nee Wood, 1819-1896)) and their children were: George (b1846), Ann Elizabeth and Mary Jane (both born in 1857 as they were twins).

Ann Elizabeth married James Green and Mary Jane married William Atkinson. All three Wilson siblings were born at Cowl House.

Bransdale is in the parish of Kirkbymoorside, north of that town and of Helmsley (you can Google it for the exact location). The church (a ‘chapel-of-ease’) where they attended was St. Nicholas, at the head of the dale (Bransdale) at a place called Cockayne.


Looking West across Bransdale to Cowl House.


My Dad’s mother, Alice Annie Green (1890-1976), was the daughter of Ann Elizabeth Wilson and James Green.

James Green (b1857) was the ‘illegitimate’ son of Esther Green and (we think) George Moon.

George farmed at Cowl House before Newark Wilson came to do the same, there. Esther Green (1835-1917), daughter of James Green and Sarah Ward, was likely a ‘servant girl’ with other farm workers (inside and out) and apparently George took a shine to her. And, the rest is – erm, well – history.


On Whitelaw Road

This is where the Greens lived when they came back from Winnipeg to the Guelph area.

The house was on the West side of Whitelaw Road – about half way between Paisley Road and Hwy 24 (Guelph to Hespeler), in Ontario, Canada. (There’s a church there now just to the right of the Green property, taking part of the original farm, I think.)

Arthur Green had his ‘milk business’ here.


Doris Middleton was a close friend of my Dad’s mother Annie (Green) Barber


Arthur Green

James Arthur Green was my great-uncle, brother of Alice Annie Green, my grandmother (who married Gordon Barber). His parents were James Green and Ann Elizabeth Wilson. Arthur was born 12 January 1888 at Cowesby, Yorkshire and died in Guelph, Ontario, Canada on the 15th of November 1962.

It appears from the picture that Arthur was quite a horseman. The dog seems more interested in something or someone else.

The James Green family, prior to removing to Canada in 1906, rented from Sir Charles Strickland at ‘Welburn Lane Farm,’ Huttons Ambo (High Hutton actually), just west of Malton in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The picture above was taken at this farm.

My father and I visited here in the late 1980’s as did my eldest, Andrew, with me in the early 1990’s. The farm house was by then derelict and what buildings that remained used for hay and implement storage.

Arthur’s mother, Ann Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wilson Green, while living at Welburn Lane Farm, was next farm to her twin sister, Mary Jane Wilson Atkinson who, sadly died in 1900. The twins were born in 1856 at Cowl House, Bransdale. Mary Jane married William Atkinson of Bhonfield Ghyl, that farm situated on the road from Bransdale to Helmsley, near Carlton.

In Canada, Arthur married a Scottish lady, Elizabeth Neven Thomson who was born about 1896 in Glasgow and died in Ontario. They farmed on Whitelaw Road in Guelph Township where Arthur had a milk route as well.



SS Canada

The Green family came to Canada in 1906, traveling by train from Malton, North Riding of Yorkshire, west to Liverpool and overseas on the Dominion Line’s SS Canada. A British Bonus was given to assist them in financing their emigration.

A short-time beforehand, an auction at Welburn Lane Farm, Huttons Ambo had seen to the Greens divesting themselves of most of their farm and household equipment and goods. (Our family retains possession of a written account and record of all sales made that day.)

School, Huttons Ambo, Yorkshire


When living at  Welburn Lane Farm, the younger Green children attended the primary school at Huttons Ambo, the name for two little conjoined hamlets at High and Low Hutton, just west of Malton, in Yorkshire’s North Riding.

The headmaster (top right) and one whom I believe was a teaching assistant (left) look quite stern and the children looked relatively subdued, even frightened or angry. Perhaps they have been severely reprimanded moments before the picture was taken for typical school child antics and ‘misbehaviour.’ Perhaps, they simply found the whole experience new and frightening.

There are three Green children present in the picture. My Grandmother, Alice Annie (Green) Barber (born 1890) is next two the two boys in the second row (right). She has a wee scowl for some reason.

Annie’s brothers are in rows above. Arthur (born in 1888) is just to the left of the middle boy (top back) and Tom (born in 1889) is immediately below and a little to the viewer’s right of the same lad. (Both have a little mark on their left collar, by which my Grandmother had indicated which students are her brothers.)




Mary Jane Wilson Atkinson

Mary Jane Wilson was the twin sister of my great-great grandmother, Ann Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wilson Green. Daughters of Newark Wilson and Hannah (nee Wood), they were born at Cowl House, west Bransdale, 21 March 1856. An older brother, George, had been born in 1846.


Mary Jane died at the age of 43 on the 7th of January at Westerdale House farm, Huttons Ambo, NRY, England and was buried in St. Margaret’s Parish Church, Huttons Ambo. Daughter Mary (nicknamed Polly) had died shortly before, in the same year, and father and husband, William Atkinson, mourned sadly: – “I’ve lost me wife and me daughter – and I dunna know what I’m gonna do.”

When my father and I visited Yorkshire’s North Riding in the late 1980’s, we visited the Blue Ball pub in Malton. We had been directed there by cousin, Phyllis West, an Atkinson descendant who had informed us of relative Billy Wood’s proprietorship there, even though he was a tea-totaler. We went to check it out. On the wall, above our hearty pub meal, as I looked up and remarked suddenly and excitedly to my Dad, was a huge portrait that we instantly recognized. It was of Mary Jane Atkinson and must have about 3 feet X 2 feet in size. I recognized it because we had the smaller 2 X 4 in. portrait above that before her death had been left to my Dad by his mother in Canada.

I offered to purchase the pub portrait but the pub owner would not sell. ‘Where did you get it?’ I asked. He said it had been found along with many other pictures in the upstairs a and attic of the pub’s old and adjoining carriage house. Wandering through the several low, small rooms of the pub and looking at scores of ancient photos on the walls we could not help but wonder how many them were portraying our very own ancestors from decades – even a century or so, gone by. In a subsequent visit to Yorkshire, I returned to see Mary Jane at the Malton pub only to learn the establishment was under new management and that the prior owner had absconded without paying rent or bills, and removing and taking with him all of the old photos. I was not happy.

William Atkinson was from the remote Bhonfield Ghyl (various spellings) farm between Bransdale and Helmsley, near Carlton – the land stretching out and west towards Bilsdale where Atkinsons have lived for centuries. William and Mary Jane later moved from the Ghyl to farm at Westerdale House in Huttons Ambo, adjacent to Welburn Lane Farm where the Greens were to later join them, the latter farming there also before emigrating to Canada in 1906.


The children of William Atkinson and Mary Jane Wilson were:

Henry Atkinson 1877–1942

William Atkinson 1879–1957

Mary (Polly) Hannah Atkinson 1881–1900

Ann Elizabeth Atkinson 1884–1971

Alice Jane Atkinson 1887–1958



George Green Family


George Green and his wife Everina Dickson Drysdale with three of their children, likely the eldest: – Eva (centre), George William (left) and James Arthur (on his mother’s knee).

George William Green was born 23 June 1883 in Cowesby, Yorkshire, England and died
11 MAR 1962 at Carlisle, Ontario, Canada. He is buried in a cemetery on highway #6, just south of Freelton, ON.
Everina was born on the 11th of April 1889 in Victoria, British Columbia. George met her in Victoria where he served as a mounted policemen in the Victoria detachment. Everina died on the 12 of May 1982 in Ontario, Canada.
Children –
Eva Elizabeth Green 1910–1978
George Wm. Frank Green 1912
James Arthur Green 1916–2004
Edna Anna Green 1921–
Wesley Dickson Green
Robert Stanley Green
Alice Margaret Green
Norma Gertrude Green –1988
Alice Margaret Green –1988