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© 2008 - 2018 Tony Kirkman

Key Locations

Midlands - Twyford,UK
Twyford is about 5 miles from Melbourne in Derbyshire, and shares its Parish register with Barrow upon Trent. It has a fascinating story. The introductory note on page 57 of the Twyford Parish (1657 to 1812) Register at the Derby Record Office says:
"Amongst notable families mentioned are the Kirkmans of Twyford of whom it is related that one family had three boys with only one hat, in consequence of which only one could go out of doors at a time. One went to London about 1780 and became Lord Major, and was knighted."  The story is nearly true! It starts with John Kirkman b abt 1645 and his wife Alice, identified from beautiful slate gravestones in St Andrews Church, Twyford. They have been linked to the Kings Newton Kirkmans through difficult & rigorous analysis of sixteenth century Melbourne Rolls.

Son John Kirkman b 1681 in Twyford was a Fisherman, but his family moved to Coventry some 40 miles north. He had 4 sons Joseph b 1708, John b 1710, William b 1711 & Samuel b 1716, who all became extremely wealthy. John entered the silk trade, and started a business in Friday  Street,  London.  His  daughter  Ann  married  James  Philips,  who  received a dowry of £2,000 from her father (£276,000 in 2007 value). A Bond dated 1757
demonstrates their wealth: “James Birch of Coventry, Esq., John Kirkman and Samuel Kirkman of Coventry, merchants and William Kirkman of Bow Churchyard, London, linen draper, bound to George II in £20,000 for collection of Land Tax in Warwickshire and Coventry.”

John’s brother Joseph b 1708 married Esther Elton at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1741, and for a while lived in Downing St, today the address of Britain’s Prime Minister. Joseph's 2nd great grandson Charles Arthur Kirkman b 1878 in Dedham, Essex was educated at Eton College and trained as a professional soldier at Sandhurt. He served in the Boer War and in the First Royal Dragoons in France in WWI. He came to Australia and married Marion Wolfe in Sydney Australia in 1912. Some of his descendants today live in Melbourne, Australia.

John’s son John, b 1744, inherited his father’s business. He must have been a charismatic man. He married Maria Marsh, daughter of the governor of the Bank of England.  It was he, a freeman of both the Fishmonger’s and Weaver’s Guilds, that became elected an MP on 15 September 1780.  He died that evening. There is an engraving of his Funeral Procession. His 2 sons, John b 1776 and Robert b 1775 opened a cotton thread manufacturing business in Liverpool in the 1790’s, but by 1800 they were bankrupt with debts of £37,000! For details of their descendants see the Liverpool Kirkmans here

You can access details of all the Kirkmans in this tree by visiting the Kirkman Archive on the Guild of One Name Studies web-site here and selecting Derbyshire/Leicestershire Kirkmans.