The Irish Hinshaws

Our Ancestor?

The surname Henshaw evolved to Hinshaw during our ancestors' 100-or-so years in Ireland. According to William Wade Hinshaw, this was due to the "unique pronunciation of the Irish", i.e. they put an Irish accent on the name.

In fact, the Hinshaws no doubt became quite Irish themselves during their stay (although the Native Irish would have disagreed). They even began to speak with an Irish accent. Thomas Hinshaw (son of John Hinshaw) was once quoted as having said he had "raped oats shoetop dape in snaw many a toime in County Tyrone."39 (say this right and you'll hear a perfect Irish accent).

We don't know with certaintly who was the first Henshaw to emmigrate from England to Ireland, but it is believed that it was John Henshaw, son of Thomas Henshaw, who first moved from England to Ireland. See our "English Henshaws" page for a discussion of the basis for this lineage: English Henshaws

Why did John Henshaw move to Ireland?

We don't know exactly when the migration took place, or why it took place. But we do know that the approximate time frame was the mid 1600s, and history can then give us several possible reasons for the move.

John was born in 1612, and by 1701 was recorded as having died in Ireland. This time frame was one of the most tumultuous periods in English history:

As is evident, England was not the place to be living in the 17th century! From the evidence of recorded history, and from the writings of historians, we can suppose that John Henshaw left England for one of the common reasons that many people of 17th century England also fled:
  1. To escape religious persecution.
  2. To flee punishment for being on the losing side of one of the many changes of power.
  3. To accept reward for being on the winning side of one of the many changes of power.
Arguments can be made to support any of these possible reasons why John Henshaw moved to Ireland:

1) Later Hinshaw generations were Quakers. Since we don't know exactly who was the first Hinshaw Quaker, it is possible that this John Henshaw was a Quaker and he went to Ireland to escape religious persecution. However, William Wade Hinshaw claimed that it was John's grandson, John Hinshaw, who first converted to Quakerism. Also, Ireland seems an unlikely place to go to escape persecution, since it was ruled from England (most other religious refugees fled to Holland, America, or France).

2) We do not know whether or not John fought in the Civil Wars, but we do know that his brother William Henshaw did, and was killed at the battle of Liverpool in 1644. It is possible that John fled to escape prison or execution for being on the wrong side. Again though it seems unlilkely that John would choose Ireland as a refuge, since it was well within the reach of English law.

3) It is also possible that John was rewarded for being on the winning side. It is historical record that many Englishmen were rewarded for services during the wars with land grants in Northern Ireland (the poor native Irish were sumarily evicted from their homesteads). Since we know that John's brother died in the wars, it is very possible that he too fought in the wars and then received a land grant in Ireland as a reward (he may have even been given land as a posthumous reward for William's service). It is easy to see how a land grant would be enticing to John as he had few family or financial ties left in England: his father was dead, his brother was dead, (we don't know about his mother), and the family estate had passed to brother William's heirs, Joshua and Daniel (read the story of Joshua and Daniel: Joshua & Daniel).

John's Descendants in Ireland

William Wade Hinshaw, in his pedigree published in The Compendium of American Genealogy (and elsewhere) shows his (our) lineage as follows:
  1. "Sir Thomas Henshaw" of England, had sons John and William. John (below) went to Ireland. William had sons Joshua and Daniel, who came to Boston.
  2. John Henshaw went to Ireland, where he died. He had one son:
  3. William Hinshaw, of Dirriachy, County Antrim.
  4. John Hinshaw, of Dirriachy, County Antrim, married (secondly) Elizabeth Belshaw. John moved to County Tyrone and became a member of the Grange Friends Meeting.

From church records we know that Thomas (1 above) had more sons than just John and William, so presumably there were later descendants that remained in England. In fact, there is a marriage record for a William Henshall in 1654 occuring at this family's same parish in Lancashire. We don't know William's parents, but presumably he was a descendant of one of Thomas' other sons who remained in England.

There are also church records of another group of Henshaws occuring in southern Ireland (Dublin) in the mid-1600s. We don't know how this group was related to the other known Henshaws of England or their Irish descendants, but it is possible that this group could have been descendants of William (3 above).

We know that John (2 above) was born in 1612. Men were typically married in their early 20s, so we can estimate his marriage might have occured about 1634 or so. The first of his children would be married about 20 years later, and the earliest of these Dublin records is a marriage occuring in 1654 to a Jeane Hinshau. About 20 years following are the marriages of John Henshaw (1675) and Edward Hinshaw (1676), and the children of Cornelious Henshaw (first child 1671).

So it appears that possibly John Henshaw (2 above) may have originally settled in or near Dublin, and it was his son William (3 above) who moved to Northern Ireland (County Antrim). It is also possible that this Dublin group was descended from an entirely different English Henshaw ancestor.

Life in Ireland

The the early Hinshaw immigrants to America had lived in and around County Tyrone. Various records show they lived near the village of Charlemont, in the civil parish of Clonfeacle. They attended the Grange Meeting of Friends (Quakers).

From the "Register of Sufferings of Friends in the Province of Ulster 1706-1711": 1

Parish of Clonfeacle

John Hinshaw for tithe... 4 stooks of wheat, four and a half stooks of barley, 12 stooks and 8 sheaves of oats, and two cocks of hay, all worth 12 shillings.

John Hinshaw - two stooks and one load of hay, 12 shillings.

John Hinshaw - 5 stooks of wheat and barley, 13 stooks of oats, and 3 small loads of hay, 12 shillings.

John Hinshaw for wheat oats and hay, 6 shillings.
Thomas Hinshaw for oats barley and hay, 8 shillings.

John Hinshaw 4 shilllings worth.
Thomas Hinshaw 7 shillings worth.

John Hinshaw 4 shilllings worth.
Thomas Hinshaw 5 shillings worth.

William Hinshaw, son of John Hinshaw above, in a 1784 letter mentioned that he "lived in killey Nail formerly". Killyneill is a "townland" (not a town, but a small area of land) in County Tyrone. Very close to Killyneill are the townlands of Coolcush and Derrycreey. In a 1710 map of the Knox estate (later known as the Ranfurly estate) 1 in these townlands, the following tenant was recorded:

Townland of Derrycreey
John Hinshey 53:3:12 acres English measure

Townland of Coolcush
John Hinshey 53:0:19 acres English measure.

These two holdings adjoin each other, so giving a total holding for John Hinshey of 106:3:31 acres, rented from the landlord Thomas Knox. This John Hinshey was very likely the same John Hinshaw above, father of William Hinshaw, and brother of Thomas Hinshaw.

William Hinshaw and his brother Jesse, like many of the small farmers of Ireland, augmented their income by weaving linen at home and then selling it at a "brown linen market". Thomas Greer was a leading Quaker in Grange Meeting and also a linen draper who purchased brown linen and arranged to have it bleached, before selling it. Thomas Greer maintained a book recording his transactions in a number of Brown linen markets. From the Market Book of Thomas Greer 1758-1759: 2

Dungannon 16-10mo 1758
Wm Hinshaw sold twenty five yards of linen at thirteen and a half pence per yard.
Wm Hinshaw sold twenty five yards of linen at seventeen and a third pence per yard.

Dungannon 11-1mo 1759
Becky Hinshaw sold fifty yards of linen at seventeen and one sixth pence per yard.
Jesse Hinshaw sold twenty five and a half yards of linen at sixteen pence per yard.
Wm Hinshaw sold twenty five and a half yards of linen at thirteen and a quarter pence per yard.

Dungannon 9-2mo-1759
Wm Hinshaw sold twenty six yards of linen at fourteen pence per yard.
Rebecca Hinshaw sold twenty five and a half yards of linen at seventeen pence per yard.
And again: Rebecca Hinshaw sold twenty five and a half yards of linen at seventeen pence per yard.

The Rebecca Hinshaw shown above could be any of several possibilities.

As mentioned above, William Hinshaw said he was from Killyneill, a "townland" in the Parish of Drumglass. In 1766 several Hinshaws were recorded in the "Parliamentary Religious Returns" of 1766 - a list of the several families in the united parishes of Drumglass and Tullaniskan: 3

Parish of Drumglass - townland of Killineal
James Finn, David Glenn, Walter Hadock, John Fletcher, Abraham Hindry or Hinchy [ Absolom Hinshaw], William Hindry or Hinchy [ William Hinshaw], James Wallace, James McGee, Roger Daugherty, Thos Hinds [possibly Thomas Hinshaw], John McCann, William Patterson

Killyneill was one of many townlands owned by the Archbishop of Armagh. The Archbishop's townlands were usually leased to gentlemen who then subleased/let them to sub-tenants. William and Absolem Hinshaw were therefore renting their land, possibly on a short-term lease or a yearly basis. In 1765 this townland was advertised for sale, i.e. the lease from the Archbishop of Armagh was for sale to a gentleman farmer. It is therefore very likely that William and Absolem found themselves with a new "landlord" who in turn was holding under the Archbishop. The change of "landlord" usually meant an increase in rent. This was very likely a contributory factor in the decision to emigrate.

1. Courtesy of Irish emmigration researcher Evelyn Cardwell

2. Archive: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Reference: D/3294/1
Courtesy of Irish emmigration researcher Evelyn Cardwell

3. Archive: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Reference: T/808
Courtesy of Irish emmigration researcher Evelyn Cardwell

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