Bradshaw Surname Genealogy

surname comes from the place-name Bradshaw primarily found in
Lancashire.  Its original spelling was
Bradeshaghe, from
the Old English brad meaning “broad”
and sceaga meaning “thicket” or
“grove.”  It was first
recorded in 1246 for the William de Bradeshaghe who lived in a township
of that name within the
parish of Bolton-le-Moors (now part of Bolton) in Lancashire
Bradshaw Resources on

Bradshaw Ancestry

The Bradshaw name has been mainly concentrated
in Lancashire, but has also occurred from an early time in Derbyshire

Bradshaw line in Bradshaw
, a district of Bolton-le-Moors in
dates back to the 13th century.  In
1298 William de Bradshagh and his wife

Mabel took
of Haigh Hall near
Wigan which was to
with their family for the next five hundred years.

to legend, Sir
William Bradshaigh returned from the wars in Scotland in 1324 after
having been
away for ten years, promptly killed his wife’s new husband and made
her walk
barefoot and dressed in sackcloth to their home at Haigh Hall once a
week for
the rest of her life.”

This account was made into a novel by Sir Walter Scott
and the event is still marked by Mab’s Cross on Wigan Lane.  In
his absence from Haigh was due to his banishment by King Edward II for
part in a rebellion against the Earl of Lancaster.

There were later two lines of
Bradshaws derived from these earlier Bradshaws:

  • one,
    sometimes Bradshaw but styled
    Bradshaigh from the early 1500’s, held Haigh Hall.
    They were Catholic and Royalist in sympathy
    but managed to survive the Civil War.  Three
    generations of the family were Wigan MP’s and baronets.
    Their Haigh estate proved to be extremely profitable
    for its coal mining.  However, the last
    of these Bradshaighs died in 1787.   
  • the
    other, Bradshaw, held Bradshaw Hall in Bradshaw.  In
    the 17th century these Bradshaws were
    remarkable for their Puritanism in an area which was strongly Puritan.  However, around this time their fortunes
    began to decline and their manor was purchased in 1694 by Henry
    Bradshaw of
    Marple Hall in Cheshire, a nephew of the regicide John Bradshaw.  Bradshaw Hall itself survived until 1948.

Derbyshire.  Bradshawes were Foresters of Fee at Duffield
Frith in Derbyshire from the early 1400’s, as the following verse by
Bradshawe described:

forest hath foresters of fee which partly hold their

services therein to do, as I do understand;

names be Bradborne,
Bradshaw, Bruckshaw, and the heirs of stone,

which at forest courts must be
with others many a one.”

Francis Bradshaw built Bradshaw Hall at Eyam around the
year 1611.  His son George was a
merchant in Ireland.  After his death in
1646, the story goes that his widow and daughter
the village at the onset of the plague in 1665 and never
returned.  The Bradshaw line
in Derbyshire
out in the next century.

Henry Bradshaw migrated from Derbyshire to Cheshire in the early
and acquired Marple Hall.  His
grandson John Bradshaw
was the High Court judge
who presided over the trial of Charles 1 in 1649; his great grandson
Bradshaw purchased the Bradshaw estate in Lancashire.

Marple Hall was reputed to
be haunted by the ghost of a Cavalier who wooed the daughter of a
Bradshaw.  The Cavalier drowned in the river below the Hall in
sight of
her window.  The Hall ended up with Henry
Bradshaw-Isherwood and later with the writer Christopher Isherwood in
the 20th
century before being demolished.

The 1881 Census.  This census showed
that the county of
Lancashire accounted for almost 40% of all the Bradshaws in England.  The name was particularly concentrated in
townships around Manchester such as Pendleton.
Bradshaws have been there since the 17th century and George
Bradshaw of
the Bradshaw
railway timetables
was born there.

Ireland.  Some
Bradshaws crossed the Irish Sea to Ireland.
Robert Bradshaw from Haigh Hall came to Tipperary in 1662 and
his family
settled in Cullen.  A recent book,Bob Bradshaw’s Wall describing the
Bradshaws who lived on Goat’s Lane in Tipperary, indicates that the
name has
not died out there.

There were a number of Bradshaws in Ulster, starting with Captain James Bradshaw and
his wife Anne
in Drumnakelly, Armagh in the 1660’s.

America.  Richard
Bradshaw arrived as a servant in Virginia on the Temperance
in 1621 and survived the Indian attack a year
later.  However, Giles Bradshaw and his
family were killed at that time.  Richard
apparently married twice and Bradshaw lines via Zachariah Bradshaw in
county, Virginia and Charles
in Madison county, Kentucky were said to have been
descended from

Meanwhile John Bradshaw, an indentured servant, came to Virginia in
1687 and
worked and lived in Henrico county.
Bradshaws of this line were to be found along the James river in
became Goochland county and later spread across the South.

Bill Bradshaw, born
in Tennessee in 1826, came west at an early age and was in California
by the
outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846.  He
later caught the gold bug, first in California and then, together with
brother Isaac, as a pioneer in Arizona.
A contemporary described him in somewhat florid terms as follows:

one of nature’s most polished gentlemen and the brightest jewel in
collection of true born chivalry. He was brave, generous, eccentric,
and in
simple truth a natural lunatic; in manly form and physical beauty,
perfect; in
muscular strength, a giant; in fleetness of foot and endurance,

died by his own hand in 1864.  But he left
his name to the Bradshaw Trail in Arizona and Bradshaw City and the

Canada.  Abraham Bradshaw, a descendant
of the early
Massachusetts settler Humphrey Bradshaw, came to Nova Scotia in 1759
and made
his home in Lunenburg county.  James
Bradshaw, a Loyalist from Connecticut, arrived with his three sons in
1783 and eventually got a land settlement in Fredericksburgh (now

John Bradshaw, originally from Ulster, also crossed from America to
Canada but not voluntarilyHe
taken prisoner by Indians and brought there
and kept prisoner for some time.  He was freed after taking an
oath of allegiance
and becoming a British subject.  He
settled in Osnabruck (now South Stormont) in eastern Ontario

Bradshaw Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Bradshaw Names


was the High Court judge
who presided over the trial of Charles I in 1648.

George Bradshaw
was the 19th century English
printer and publisher best known for his series of railway timetables.
Bill Bradshaw was a pioneer of the
American Southwest in the 1850’s and 1860’s
was the quarterback who won four Super Bowls with the
Steelers during the 1970’s

Select Bradshaws Today

  • 22,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 14,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 10,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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