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About the study
More by good luck I came across four people, Joan Gallagher, Peter Byford, David Perkins and Graham Caddick, all with 20 years research knowledge of the YOXALL surname. It immediately became clear how localised the surname was. At this time the 1881 census was digitally available, thanks entirely to volunteers and the Church of The Latter Day Saints, and I soon proved there were barely a dozen core YOXALL families. And so the One-Name study began, my role being the facilitator, one which I have continued after completion of my 1881 project thanks to these four people, to whom today's researchers owe a huge debt. Most of their research was at County Offices and Local Libraries, not sat in front of a computer as we lucky people are today. Almost all YOXALL lines are based on original records sourced by this group.
By far the biggest discrepancies of the surname are not variations but transcription errors. These only come to light when found by a YOXALL researcher. But to be fair, the transcribers do a fantastic job and have made my research far easier than if I had had to read all these original records myself. So a big thank you to whoever you are.
There are few references to the place name YOXALL, and the origins cannot be agreed by the scholars who have studied the origins to date. General agreement is that the name comprises of two Old English (OE) word elements geoc (a pair of oxen yoked together) and halh (a nook, a corner of land, a water-meadow). From this information, my belief therefore is that the meaning of YOXALL is an area of land that could be ploughed by a Yoke of Oxen.
History of the name
Though a relatively small surname, it has its more than its fair share of achievers. For example, Sir James Henry YOXALL (1857-1925) was the first General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers from 1892 to 1924, a highly respected Author, and an MP for Nottingham West from 1895 to 1918, contributing greatly to the improvements in Education in Britain and improving the status of the teaching profession. He was also an accomplished author, writing more than 50 books on a variety of subjects ranging from education to collectibles to novels. But he was just 13 years old when he left his family in Worcestershire to become a Pupil Teacher in Yorkshire, the start of his illustrious career. Honorary degrees were conferred upon him by Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1909 he was knighted for his services to education, becoming the first certificated teacher to receive such an honour.
George YOXALL (1850-1940) emigrated to the USA with his parents and became one of the original Pioneers of the West. He simply bought a plot of land in Rooks County, Kansas, where there was very little life but plenty of buffaloes, Indians and horse thieves! Within a few short years he became one of the most substantial men in Western Kansas, was Vice President of Stockton National Bank and served two terms in the State Legislature. George and his wife Elizabeth Tirza FARR founded the USA YOXALL line, having 11 children. A brief history on George has been transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.
Richard YOXALL (1855-1919) founded the upmarket Grocers in the Burnley area of Lancashire, offering same day home delivery in 1920 (the forerunner of Ocado?), using their van (pictured with Richard's son Harry). Locals referred to the Grocers as the Harrods of the the North for their global range of products and outstanding shop window displays.There is also Richard's Nephew Johnny YOXALL (1880-1966), a little known man from Colne, Lancashire, whose claim to fame was his ability to build working looms from Meccano. He demonstrated them at an Exhibition in London in 1936, where King Edward VIII spent half an hour talking to Johnny about his models. Not long afterwards the King abdicated in favour of his brother, making Johnny one of the few lay people to have an audience with Edward VIII.
Frederick Edward YOXALL (1824-1909) was a Joiner in Cheshire. On his death in 1909, his Will bequeathed a sum of £2,400 in 1913 for charitable and benevolent purposes for the inhabitants of Haslington, Cheshire. The money was used to build the Haslington village hall and in 2013 there was a gathering of his descendants from across the world to celebrate the centenary of the village hall. Apart from the village hall, Frederick was also a benefactor of Alms houses in the Crewe area of Cheshire. An ordinary man perhaps, but he was a philanthropic man, fondly remembered by his descendants.
Laurence Sydney YOXALL (1901-1976) was the founder of Foxboro-Yoxall Limited and one of the primary forces in the development of the process control instrumentation industry. In 1968 he was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and in 1971, in recognition of his outstanding services to Britain’s exports her was invested with the C.B.E. by Her Majesty the Queen. A founder of Foxboro-Yoxall Sports and Social Club, he joined in many of the activities. In addition to the sports, he was an expert golfer, a yachtsman, a horologist, a skilful photographer and a keen motorist. All in all, he represented the norm for company Directors of his day. He shared with and cared for his employees, a trait sadly missing today.
John Yoxall was chief photographer -of Flight from 1918 to 1939 and died last Thursday, December 18. at the age of 72. He joined the staff of Flight in 1913. During the 1914-18 war he served in the Army, the RFC and the RAF, in the latter Services as a photographer.
Maurice A. Smith, editor of Flight from 1949 to 1957 said. "With the sudden death of John Yoxall, Flight loses its last direct link with the early, if not the earliest, days of flying. He knew the pioneers personally, and the great names when they were ordinary people, and he flew in very many of their aircraft as one of the first aerial press photographers. Through the years he built up with his col- leagues a photographic library which is unique—a pictorial history of aviation. Practically every one of his sets of pictures had a story, and because he could tell it so entertainingly he was soon called upon to write as well as take photographs. His illustrated squadron histories are treasured by many who served in the RAF and Fleet Air Arm.
John YOXALL (1830-1900) married Mary HERD and emigrated to Australia in 1854 with their daughter Mary, who sadly died just 6 months old during the crossing and just 12 days from arriving there. Their ship was called The Red Jacket, of the fastest clipper ships on the world at that time.
John and Mary had a further 11 children, all born in Australia, working in Beechworth as a Miner. He was elected to Beechworth Municipal Council in 1860, served as a Councillor of the Borough of Beechworth and was involved with the local Congregational Church. One of the children, John Proudlove YOXALL was a cordial manufacture in the 1890’s and early 1900’s. Bottles with his name on are still around today and one such bottle, Wangaratta Arm Dagger Torpedo Soda Bottle, was advertised on an Australian website.
Edward Samuel Yoxall, 1827-1898, was one of life’s unfortunates. After committing an offence of theft in 1846 he offended again in 1847 and was transported for 7 years to Gibraltar. On his return he scraped a life selling meat outside the gate of the Central Meat Market, Smithfield, London. However, it would appear he contracted nerve leprosy whilst abroad and as a result many years later he sufferered from a loss of fingers and toes, (see photo right published by a Medical Journal). The Prince of Wales sent a personal cheque to ease Edward Samuel’s hardship. Not that it did much good as both he and his wife Emma were in and out of the Workhouse several timer before both of them died in the Workhouse. There was little relief in those days for those who fell on hard times.
Though not particularly distinguished, one particular YOXALL line is, or was, a dynasty on its own, YOXALL of Brierfield, Lancashire. Founded by one couple Peter YOXALL (1813-1875) & Martha BRERETON (1817-1866), who had 16 children, the YOXALL surname is sadly extinct in the area. Thankfully, the history of this line has been written up before the male line ceased and is available on CD from Lancashire Family History Society.
There are other distinctive YOXALL lines that deserve their own biograpahies, the London YOXALL line, the Australian line of John YOXALL and Mary HERD, the Yorkshire line of James Balmer YOXALL and Sarah GREEN. Each, like the Brierfield line, have been YOXALL pioneers in their own areas.
Census year YOXALL Total Population Frequency
|Census Year||YOXALL||Total Population||Frequency|
Distribution of the name
For YOXALL researchers, it is clear the prime counties of the YOXALL surname are Cheshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Lancashire, where the total YOXALL and percentage of total census surnames for 1851, 1881 & 1901 are:-
|Type||Total BMDs||Type Total||Type %|
|Infant Birth & Death||3111||216||6.94%|
All YOXALL on the UK Wills & Admons Index from 1853 to 1966 have also been recorded, with approx. 90% linked to a living descendant.
In all cases, as can be seen, substantial work has been completed on linking each YOXALL to a living descendant and a specific YOXALL family line. A complete list of all YOXALL family lines, from 1841 to 1911 has also been recorded. Though there are in theory 62 YOXALL lines based on census records, in reality many are individuals who will clearly be linked to an existing line when their parents are known. My estimate is that there are barely a dozen core YOXALL families.
On a broader aspect of YOXALL data I discovered a rather unusual pattern. Based on the 1881 census, all YOXALL north of the village of Yoxall were related to several families and those south of Yoxall were also related to separate families. However, what I can prove is that in 1881, YOXALL north of the village of YOXALL were not related to YOXALL south of the village of Yoxall, with the exception of Sir James Henry YOXALL, first President of the National Union of Teachers. At the tender age of 13, he was teaching in Sheffield, having left the family home in Redditch, Worcestershire.
There is also one other unique but small YOXALL line, what I call the London line. Though there are several YOXALL lines in the London area, as you would expect, one particular line stretches back to 1734, when Richard YOXALL, spouse of Sarah, was baptised at St Paulâs, Covent Garden, London. Throughout this period the line remained in London and no trace can be found to any YOXALL family outside London.
One other puzzle is the choice of biblical forenames by older YOXALL. Northern YOXALL have older forenames such as Abraham, Moses and Isaac whilst southern YOXALL have forenames such as Solomon, Zebedee and Shadrach. These forenames are unique to either north or south, suggesting families leaving the village of YOXALL may have chosen to use these forenames for a specific purpose, possibly a religious reason.