Select Wright Miscellany

 

Here are some Wright stories
and
accounts over the years:

 

The Wrights and the Gunpowder Plot

 

Sometime
in the 1530’s John Wright of Kent, a steward to
Henry VIII, moved to Holderness in the North Riding of Yorkshire and
started to
acquire land there.  He and his wife
Alice made their home at Plowland Hall.
It is significant that John Wright was Catholic.
His will of 1540 made mention of a number of
well-known recusant families in the Yorkshire area.
Robert, his son and heir,
eventually became Sheriff of Yorkshire and was granted a coat of arms.  He reached this position despite being
Catholic.  His second wife Ursula was in
fact was incarcerated for a total of fourteen years, chiefly in Hull
prison and
with a number of other recusant wives.
The Catholic faith extended to the next
generation.  John Wright was described as
one of the finest swordsmen of his day, but was hot-headed.  He had formed part of the entourage of the
Earl of Essex along with his friend Robert Catesby and, after the
aborted
uprising in 1601, had spent time in solitary confinement for his crime.  He was one of Robert Catesby’s first recruits
for the Gunpowder Plot.  His younger
brother Kit was later brought into the plotting.
After the failure, the
conspirators escaped north from London, eventually holing up in a house
in
Staffordshire.  There, after a series of
skirmishes, Catesby and the Wright brothers lay dead.
The Wright line in north Yorkshire continued
through their half-brother William.

Wright Estates in the Northeast

Date Wright Estate Location
1535 John Wright Plowland Hall Holderness, Yorkshire
1601 Rev. Francis Wright Bolton-le-Swale near Richmond, Yorkshire
1771 Richard Wright Bradbury Sedgefield, Northumberland
1851 Sir William Wright Sigglesthorne Hall near Hull, Yorkshire
1869 Samuel Wright Brattleby Hall Brattleby, Lincolnshire

 

 

James Wright, Drunk in Wheathampstead


One
day
in 1838 James Wright, extremely inebriated, sat in his cottage armed
with a pig
knife and threatened to do dreadful things.
His daughter, fearing the worst, ran out onto the common and
sought the
assistance of a clergyman who was passing by in his carriage.  The Reverend, who was the curate of
Wheathampstead, went to assist and was injured by the knife.

Up before the
Hertfordshire magistrate, James Wright was sentenced to 15
years transportation.  He
did spent some time in Hertford jail.
But sanity prevailed.  Following a
recommendation from the prison surgeon, he was pardoned – because of
his age
(he was 72 years old!) and because of his poor health.

 

Wrights in the
1891 Census


Wrights (000’s) Numbers Percent
Durham     3     3
Yorkshire    13    14
Lancashire    12    13
Lincolnshire     3     3
East Anglia    10    10
London    14    14
Elsewhere    42    43
Total   100   100

 

 

James Wright the Quaker

The
Wright name was well-known along frontier
settlements in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia in the early 1700’s.  Perhaps the best-known and most recounted of
these Wrights at that time was the Quaker minister James Wright.

He
was said to have come to Pennsylvania with
Penn’s fleet in 1682, although that may have been too early a date.  The Quaker community at East Nottingham in
Chester county was not formed until 1702 and James Wright was first
recorded
there in 1716.

In
1735 James Wright moved with his family to the Opeckon settlement in
the Shenandoah valley in Virginia.  This
colony was situated along what was known as the Great Wagon Road, the
road that
wound its way through the Shenandoah valley into the Carolinas.  James Wright was an elder at the Quaker
Hopewell monthly meetings there.  He was
described as follows:

“A sober honest
man, grave in manners, and solid and weighty in his conversationsHe was diligent in the attendance
of religious meetings, exemplary in humble waiting therein, and of a
sound mind
and judgment.  He was cautious of giving
just offence to any one and was earnestly concerned for the unity of
the
brethren and the peace of the church.”

He
seemed
to show more concern about matters of the church than about his own
affairs and
landholding (which remained relatively modest).

He
was an old man by the time
the French and Indian War broke out in the 1750’s.
Wave after wave
of
well-armed Indian warriors came into the Shenandoah valley,
massacring men, women and children in their way.  In
1759 the Quaker colony where the Wrights lived was attacked.  Some reports had James and his wife Mary
fleeing their home for sanctuary elsewhere; others had them being
killed and
scalped during the attack.  In any event
James
Wright was dead by the end of the year. 

Soon
afterwards, his son John Wright and wife and children, in frustration
and in grief,
moved to the Quaker colony in Bush river, South Carolina
.

 

Philemon
Wright’s Trek to Canada

Philemon
Wright was a
descendant of the Puritan John Wright who had come with Winthrop’s
party in
1630 and settled in Woburn, Massachusetts.

In
the winter of 1800, he set out
from
Woburn by sleigh with his brother Thomas, Elijah Allen,
Amos
and Solomon Childs, Daniel Wyman, Henry Kendrick, Harvey Parker,
Ebenezer
Hadley and Joel Adams, their women and children and enough household
goods and
tools to take up life in the wilderness.
They had in fact left Woburn in February so that they
could take
advantage of the frozen rivers where no roads existed.

Progress was slow as it was necessary that
men should go ahead with axes to try the strength of the river ice over
which
the party would be travelling; the fear being that the loss of animals
and a
sleigh with all its valuable load of humans and settlers’ effects would
be
disastrous in the extreme.

The
party
eventually came to the north side of the Ottawa river.
Wrightstown, now part of the new city of
Gatineau, was chosen as a better locale than the south side of the
river. The
portage route past the Chaudiere Falls was better on the north side as
there
was more sun and a longer stretch of favorable shoreline.

Once
arrived Philemon Wright established his
Utopian agricultural settlement.  His
group comprised the first permanent settlers in the Ottawa area.  They received the land grants to what became
Hull township in 1802.

 

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