Hilton Family History

This work is not my work. It is the work of the genealogist Eric William Lamberton who passed away on August 3, 2011. It is presevered here exactly as he presented it in appreciation of his work, and as a memorial to him.



According to "An Armourial for Westmoreland and Lonsdale" printed for the Cumberland and Westmoreland (England) Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, the Hiltons of Hilton (village) and Burton in Westmoreland County, England are "traditionally descended from the Barons Hylton of Hylton Castle", Monkwearmouth, in North East England.

They are recorded in the "History of Darlington" by William Hylton Dyer Longstaffe, a noted antiquarian as being descendents of Robert de Helton 1208, brother of William de Helton, Baron of the Bishoprick of Durham. who married the daughter and heiress of Rd Bacon of Burton in Westmoreland. His son Johannes (John) de Helton, who is recorded as living at Burton (near Warcop, Westmoreland, England) in 1289 A.D. married Agnes.

Another branch of the same family is recorded at nearby Hilton (Hilton Beacon) in 1405 A.D. when John Hilton of Hilton Beacon married the daughter and heir of Andrew Ellerton.

Both branches of the family have their coat of arms described as "Sa, three annulets and in chief two saltires argent"

William Hylton, born 1405, son of William Hylton, Baron of Hylton and the builder of Hylton Castle married Mary Stapleton, daughter of William Stapleton and Margaret Vipont of Westmoreland. It was through this marriage that the Hyltons inherited significant lands (moss, moor and mine) in Alston in Cumberland.

"From the date of this match, (which brought into the family a considerable accession of property, as well as a very honourable descent in blood), the Hiltons constantly bore in their shield, whatever other quarterings they inserted or omitted, the arms of Vipont, Lords of Cumberland (Or, six annulets Gules, 3,2,1)" -

Source Surtees History of Durham

The only official family crest of the Hyltons of Hylton Castle shows the arms of Hylton quartered with those of both Vipont and Stapleton

The second husband of Mary Hylton (pre Stapleton,pre Vipont) was Richard, 2nd son of Sir Richard Musgrave of Hartley. The Musgraves had long been one of the leading families of Cumberland and Westmoreland and it was a union of the two of the leading families on the east and west coasts of England just below the Scottish border - essential for the defence of England against the Scots.

It also gave the Hyltons control of the main route over the Pennines (a mountain range known as the backbone of England) from East to West along the old roman road, now the A66 (Route 66?). This is probably the route used by the early Vikings to march across country to reach the west coast, then down the Lune valley to sail across to their kingdom in Dublin in Ireland.

The Westmoreland branch of the Hiltons were re-united, with the Hiltons of Hylton Castle when Mary, daughter of John Hilton of Hylton Castle, commonly called Baron Hilton, married Robert Hilton of Hilton Village in Westmoreland who was a Justice of the Peace and aged 45 in 1664.

Robert Hilton is described as "of Murton" and Lord of Helton Bacon, Justice of the Peace.(his grandfather Thomas, Lord of Helton Bacon, now known as Hilton village, had bought Murton Hall)

He was born in 1615 and became a trustee of the Estate, appointed by Ann, Countess of Pembroke, to keep the tombe of her family in repair. Her father was George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, the Privateering Earl, who took 1700 men across the Atlantic in 1598 and took Puerto Rico off the Spanish. Robert Hilton was Governor of Appleby School, four miles from Hilton Hall in Hilton Village, Westmoreland, England which was later attended in 1701 by John Washington and Augustine Washington, the father of George Washington, who later became First President of the United States.

Augustine Washington's first wife was Jane Butler of Westmoreland County, Virginia. His second wife, and mother of George Washington was Mary Ball, of Lancaster County, Virginia

Robert Hilton retired to Durham college; and died very suddenly 8, buried 9 Jan 1683 in Durham Abbey.

Above the inner doorway of Hilton Hall in Hilton village is a stone marriage beam bearing the date 1682. It is set in a paved courtyard, with two carriage houses to the side and opposite dated 1728 (carriages were not introduced into the north of England until late 17th, earl 18th century) and is believed to have been the home of John Hilton aged 15 in 1664, and thought to have migrated to Virginia in America.

During the Civil War in England, it would appear that many of the Hiltons of Hilton, Westmoreland, England took the side of the Royalists, and many still remained loyal to the old catholic religion. In the court records of Appleby in Westmoreland, England in 1667 it was recordede that "the jurors found on their oathes that the following Roman Catholics have not attended the Parish Church (Anglican) or Chapel within 12 months contrary to the Statutes. They are ordered to go before some magistrate and give security for their appearance of the next sessions to be held at Appleby (held each quarter), or a warrant will issue to take them into custody"

Listed, amongst numerous others, were;

John Hilton - Yeoman of Brough

Maria Hilton and Jane Hilton of Burton

John Hilton, George Hilton and Andrew Hilton of Warcop

Maryland in America had been set up as a refuge for Catholics at this time and any of the above could have chosen to migrate there, or if arrested and refused to attend Anglican church or chapel, may have been transported to America where they were in great demand as indentured servants at that time.

With members of the Hylton of Hylton Castle family already well established in the Caribbean (Nevis & St Christopher), Virginia, and New England by then, to the younger members of the Hiltons of Hilton Hall, America could well have been an opportunity not to be missed. Other, older members of the family, sick of the killing during the Bishops Wars or the English Civil Wars may well have decided to conform to the Statutes although that did not necessarily mean joining the Puritans. Westmoreland in England today has a wider range of churches than any I've seen anywhere else. Many people here appear not to have wanted to join either the Catholics, the Anglicans or the Puritans. The Quakers started here, and there are tiny Methodist churches in the most remote locations.

The Hiltons are first recorded in Maryland, America in 1668 when John Hilton is recorded there.

The link between the east and west coasts of England (only 80 miles wide at this point) became a vital route in developing early trade with the Americas which in turn resulted in the development of the port of Whitehaven on the west coast becoming a major trading port with both the Caribbean and America.

Read the fascinating story of the Hiltons of Hylton Castle in the book "The Hiltons of Hylton Castle" by E. W. Lamberton, which includes a complete family pedigee of the Hylton Castle family from 1172-1769 published by Family |Heritage International. Available by post Price US$30 plus US$10 P&P from; Family Heritage International, P.O. Box 90, The "Original" Washington, England, NE37 0YP. or order online from Dreamlane Limited at www.DreamlaneLimited.com

Seal of the Hiltons of Westmoreland

Seal of the Hiltons of Westmoreland