Hillbark History: Royden Family
PERIOD COVERED 1721 – 1792
Alexander Royden was known to be an apprentice bricklayer to a certain William Hughes of Whitchurch and Chester in 1690 and his family came from a small village called Holt 6 miles south of Chester where they had been established farmers for centuries before that.
Alexander’s son Joseph was born in 1692 and baptised in St John the Baptist church in Chester right next to the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre and also grew up to follow his father’s trade. Joseph’s son John was born in 1719. The Roydens family were well established in the area and grew and prospered for many years.
But then In 1721, tragedy struck the family. Grandfather Alexander died and was buried in July 1721. Within two weeks he was followed to the grave by his son Joseph aged just 29.
Joseph left behind his wife Mary, and their two-year old son John.
Mary was the daughter of John Bennett of Heswall and now finding herself widowed, she returned to the comfort of her family.
This was to be a significant move as we shall hear.
Little John Royden grew up to become a house carpenter and lived in Caldy. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Guile and they were married in West Kirby in 1758. Although he is named as John Rowden, he signs his own name Royden. Elizabeth could not write and her cross is visible in between the words ‘The mark of Eliz Guile’.
John married twice and had nine children in all. His eldest child was a son named Joseph who also followed his father into the family business by carrying on the tradition of apprenticeship to learn his father’s trade.
So the removed Roydens were again prospering and their building and carpentry skills were in great demand. Some members of the family had also diversified into farming.
The Roydens lived in Caldy House, Caldy, West Kirby (Wirral) and John died there in 1799. He was buried in St Bridgets (where he had been married in 1758) in what was to be the family church for next two centuries.
From this line are descended the Wirral families and the Liverpool Roydens after John’s sons and grandsons migrated across the Mersey.
Joseph had five sons and the youngest was Thomas Royden. It is Joseph’s son Thomas, born in 1792 and the five times great grandson of Alexander Royden who was to bring the Royden family to great prominence, and transform the fortunes of the family.