Select Shaw Miscellany

Here are some Shaw stories and accounts over the years:

Hugo de Shawe of Cheshire and Sir John Shaw of London

Early Shaws were from Cheshire.  Hugo de Shawe of Chester was said to have distinguished himself in the fighting around Ruthinin 1280 against Llewelyn the Welsh prince and was granted the manor of Haslington (near present-day Crewe).  His son Randal de Shaw was its first occupier.  The manor passed in the next century to the Vernon family who were responsible for the building of the Haslington Hall which stands today. 

Sir John Shaw, the son of a London vintner, claimed descent from these Shaws.  He was a Royalist and was made a baronet after the Restoration.  This position enabled him to build a new manor house, Eltham Lodge, on his estate in Kent

Shaws of Saddleworth

The Shaw name is a long-established name in Saddleworth, now a part of the conurbation of Oldham in Lancashire (although it was originally in Yorkshire).  The Shaw district of Oldham lies nearby.  The earliest Shaw recorded in the parish records of Saddleworth was that of Thomas Shaw, son of Giles, who was born in 1656.

Shaws were yeoman farmers in Furlane hamlet and were also strongly associated with St. Chadís church in Uppermill.  St Chadís House and gardens were originally owned by the Shaw family which occupied the site from the early 18th century. The farm was rebuilt in 1798.  In the 1840ís the front was rebuilt by George Shaw, a local architect who lived there.

The 1822 trade directory for Saddleworth showed Shaw tradesmen being mainly in the Delph area of Saddleworth.

Shaws in Delph in 1822
Abram Shaw
Charles Shaw
George Shaw
innkeeper of White Lion
John Shaw
boot and shoe mfg.
Joseph Shaw
woollen merchant

But there were also other Shaws in trades in the Uppermill and Dobcross parts of Saddleworth.  In 1844 Giles Shaw was recorded as letting his woollen mill in Uppermill to James Mills, a cloth finisher. 

The 1881 census counted more than 700 Shaws in Saddleworth.

The Highland Shaw Clan

The Shaws were an ancient Highland clan which traced its ancestry to the old Earls of Fife.  Initially, prior to the general adoption of surnames and specifically the use of the name Shaw for that purpose, the Shaws were the first chiefs of clan Mackintosh.  

The clan name derived from Shaw Mor Coriaclich, great-grandson of Angus, the 6th chief of Mackintosh, and Eva, an heiress of clan Chattan.  By tradition he led the clan Chattan contingent to victory at the famed clan battle of the North Inch at Perth in 1396 and was, as a reward, given the lands of Rothiemurchus, which became the first seat
of the clan. 

The Shaw clan name later came from the anglicization of the Gaelic name Sitheach meaning "wolf."  The Gaelic names for the clan were Na Siach and Mhic Sheaghd

The Shaws of Sauchie

The Shaws of Sauchie date from the early 1400ís when James Shaw of Greenock married Mary de Annand, the heiress of Sauchie. 

One of their sons, James, was killed by a cannon-shot during the siege of Dunbar castle in 1478, another, George, was the Abbot of Paisley.  Later came Sir James Shaw, known as the ďSauchieburn Shaw," who was involved in the conspiracy against James III which culminated in the 1488 Battle of Sauchieburn and the assassination of the king.

It was said that the Shaws of Sauchie were "borne from the earliest times as hereditary cup-bearers to the Scots kings."  Apparently in connection with that hereditary office, these Shaws also held hereditarily the office of Master of His Majesty's wine cellar. 

This Shaw line lasted until 1752.

The Story of Christian Shaw

Christian Shaw was born in 1685, the eldest daughter of John Shaw, laird of the small estate of Bargarran in Renfrewshire. 

At the age of eleven she began to have fits and strange visions.  She claimed that Catherine Campbell and others in the household whom she disliked were torturing her and that her body showed the signs of severed pinch marks.   Her father persuaded the sheriff deputy of Lanarkshire to jail those his daughter accused of harassing her since witches lost their power when imprisoned.  But the victimís condition showed little improvement. 

In total 21 men, women and children were thrown into prison and Ďwitch prickersí examined them.  They were brought to trial in Paisley in 1697 and charged with witchcraft and murder.  Four women, including Catherine Campbell, and three men were sentenced to death. The executions were watched by a large crowd which probably included Christian.  And she was cured. 

Understandably, Christian was not a hot property on the marriage market.  She was 34 before she found a husband and he died within three years.  The widowed Christian then found a small house in Johnstone and took up spinning. 

At that time, Dutch lace and linen led the world. They had invented a mill that could twist flax to produce a strong, consistent thread. Christian found that she was unable to produce its equal.   But she saw an opportunity. She persuaded a Glasgow merchant of her acquaintance to bring back the vital bits of machinery on his next visit to the Netherlands and she built a little thread mill on Bargarran.  Soon her products were in demand from embroiders and lace-makers.  Others in Renfrewshire, particularly in Paisley, copied Christianís methods and she had spawned a flourishing industry. 

As for Christian?  In 1737, in her 50ís and the possessor of a substantial fortune, she married William Livingstone, an Edinburgh glover.  And they lived happily ever after.

John Shaw the Quaker

These Quaker Shaw lines may or may not have been related. 

John Shaw of Shipley in Sussex was a Quaker who was jailed in 1659 for his refusal to pay church tithes.  His Tudor house there, known as Little Slatter, was used as a Quaker meeting house and was in 1691 sold to the Quakers for conversion to a permanent place of worship. 

William Penn, when not in America, was a resident from 1676 at nearby Warminghurst and attended Quaker meetings at this house.  Penn was said to have been delighted when this house, which later became known as the Blue Idol, was established for Quaker use. 

The second John Shaw, born around 1670, was also a Quaker and was said to have embarked with William Penn on his second voyage to America in 1697.  He and his wife Susannah purchased land in Bucks county, Pennsylvania in Southampton township where they raised their family.  John died there in 1722.

The Shaws of Bushy Park

William Shaw had gone out to Ireland from Scotland and fought for King William at the Battle of the Boyne in 1689.  He was rewarded by a grant of land.  But it was not until almost a century later that his great-grandson Robert moved to Dublin and prospered there as a merchant.  He acquired the Terenure House estate outside Dublin in 1785.

Ten years later his son Sir Robert married Maria Wilkinson, the daughter of a neighboring family who brought with her the 110 acre Bushy Park estate.  This now became the principal Shaw estate.  The Shaw family that was established there became an important and prominent part of Dublin's financial and civic life.

Sir Robertís wife Maria died in 1831, having borne him nine children.  His cousin, Bernard Shaw, had died in 1826 and Sir Robert provided Bernard's widow, Frances, with a cottage on the Terenure estate where she lived for the next 45 years.  On several occasions Sir Robert proposed to Frances, but he was turned down each time.  One of Frances' grandchildren, the playwright George Bernard Shaw, was to be a regular visitor.

In 1953 after 166 years, Maria Shaw the last of the Shaw family left the house.

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