Thomas Watman – daddy?

Thomas Watman of Newton Holme had three daughters called Mary, and one Gretna Green marriage, so for sure qualifies as a Cumbrian Character.

In my book, Port Carlisle, a history built on hope

there are several chapters that look at people/families who lived there, and played an important part in the creation of Port Carlisle as a village. (The others cover topics like the canal, the railway, fishing, the Dandy, and even manure!).

One of the ‘people’ chapters looks at Jeffray Peat, who was born about 1797, and died in 1844, drowned in an accident in the Solway.

You need to buy the book to read the full story (!), but this post contains further information about his second wife that I didn’t know when I wrote it.

Specifically, it is about her father.

Jeffray Peat’s second wife

In 1838, widowed Jeffray Peat married Mary Blenkinsop / Blenkinship in March 1838. He was 40/41. She was ‘a minor’ and heavily pregnant: baby Ann was born three months later.

On her marriage certificate (to Jeffray Peat and second husband Joseph Thompson), she named her father as Thomas Watman, yeoman.

Mary Blenkinsop / Blenkinship

The only ‘candidate’ I’ve found, births-wise, is a Mary Blenkinship born to a Betty, single-woman, of Slightholme, and baptised in Holme Cultram in 1822. 

This fits her father having a different surname to her father.

If Mary’s mother was Betty, she looks to have been born in September 1797, and baptised at Holme Cultram in May 1798. An Elizabeth Blenkinship, spinster, married Joseph Waite Anderson, in 1827. If this was Mary’s mother, Mary would have been about five. 

Whoever brought Mary up, by 1837 she was living in Port Carlisle. Perhaps working as a domestic servant, a common role for girls of her background.

Thomas Watman

So, who was Thomas Watman?

A Thomas Watman died at Port Carlisle in 1839. 

‘At Port Carlisle, on the 21st January, Mr. Thomas Watman, in the 58th year of his age,’ 

Carlisle Journal

So this Thomas was born about 1781. Further ‘digging’ into the records suggests he was the son of Thomas Watman (died 1818) and Isabel (Pattinson). And that he was born at Newton Arlosh, with a brother Robert dying at Watch Hill, Longnewton, also in 1839. 

If this is Mary’s father, he was about 40 when she was born (and her mother was about 25). 

A gravestone at Newton Arlosh has:

Thomas Watman, of Newton Holme, died January 2

Mary;  110 336, D136 197 3301, 1839, 58 years.

Mary his daughter died 1830 aged 15 years.

Thomas Watman senior

The 1818 will of Thomas Watman senior describes him as being of Longholme, Abbey Holme, and his estate seems to be 

Daughter Ann Elliot gets estate called ‘Gaill bee Wrea medea,’ which after her death is to go her children (bar Bella Fisher, who gets a house). 

Son Robert Watman gets estate called ‘Senis hand’.

There’s a son Pattinson Watman, and a daughter Arabella…

As for son Thomas Watman… there a lots of plots of land with names that reminded me of Cold Comfort Farm

Back to Thomas junior

So if this Thomas was Mary’s father, he was, as said, about 40 when she was born in 1822. And looking perhaps to all as a ‘confirmed a bachelor’. 


A Thomas Watman married a Mary Ann Fawcett in 1813, at Crosscanonby (when he was 33 and she was likely 24).

They had a daughter, Isabella Watman, in Maryport in 1816. She was to marry a Thomas Chambers.

And if it all fits, they had a daughter Mary in about 1821, who died in 1830.

In 1822, Thomas got Betty Blenkinship pregnant.

And then in 1833, a Thomas Watman of Newton Holme married – at Gretna Green – a Miss Jane Wilson.

So if it all ties up, Thomas was a widower – assuming his first wife hadn’t run off! I’ve not found a death for her.

The address (1833) ties in. So Thomas Watman, aged 52, looks to have married a woman who was then about 26.

Thomas Watman’s wife Jane

Thomas died in 1839, so missed the 1841 census. There’s a Jane Watman, 30, in Wigton on 1841, occupation ‘independent means,’ with a Mary aged 7, a Mary Lawson, 15, ind, Ann Reed, dressmaker, 20 and Eliza Armstrong, 15. 

1851. Jane, widow, 43, b Scotland, annuitant. Daughter Mary, 17, b Newton Holme. 

Mary, Mary, Mary

So as things stand, Thomas Watman had three daughters called Mary!

Mary c1815-1830, daughter of Thomas Watman and Mary Ann (née Fawcett)

Mary 1822, daughter of Thomas Watman and Betty Blenkinship

Mary baptised November 1833, daughter of Thomas Watman and Jane née Wilson).

Mary1 is recorded in the Cumberland Pacquet, with unusual (and sad) detail:

Suddenly, at the house of the Misses Bustin, from the rupture of a vessel near the heart, Mary, eldest daughter of Thomas Watman esq of Newtonholme.

And as quick recap:

Thomas Watman m1 Mary Ann Fawcett 1813, when he was 33 and she was 24.

Fathered Mary Blenkinship in 1822, when he was 40 and her mother 25.

Married 2 1833 Jane Wilson when he was 52 and she 26.

The will

1839. Thomas Watman of Port Carlisle

There is NO mention of a ‘natural daughter,’ even though Mary, now Mrs Peat, is living in Port Carlisle.

He does name daughter Mary Watman (the third Mary!). She is get £1,000 (charged to lands etc bequeathed to Thomas’ daughter (Mary’s half-sister) Isabella Chambers) when she turns 21. 

Isabella is to pay Mary £400. Mary gets a gold watch, chain and seals.Thomas’ wife (not named, but has to be Jane) gets furniture and £40 a year while a widow. Isabella gets all his estate at Newton Holme.