Mason / Preston Mason Families
Wright Mason was born in 1761 in Coningsby, where he married Mary Cook Cowen in 1790. He was a surgeon/bone setter and they had 5 children:
- Mary Ann (1792). Probably died in Wold Newton in 1876.
- Sarah Cowen (1793) married Thomas Dickenson, died in Coningsby in 1869.
- Frances (1795) married John Cuthbert. After his death she acted as housekeeper for her half sister Jane at Brandon Hall, then lived with their son John (a chemist) in Bedford.
- Wright (1798) married Harriet Cuthbert and moved to Sculcoates (Hull). He was also a bone setter.
- Ann (1800)
After Mary (his wife) died in 1801 he married again in 1803, to Dorothy Murton and they had another 10 children:
- Jane Mason Morton (1803, the order of the names suggests she was born before the marriage) – see below
- Thomas Cowen Mason (1804, the use of his first wife’s surname suggests that her family were more wealthy/influential)
- Elizabeth Mason (1806)
- John Minnitt Mason (1808, clearly the Minnitt family were also related, but we haven’t found the link yet) – see below
- Dorothy Margaret Mason (1810)
- Joseph Wright Mason (1812)
- Thomas Cowen Mason (1815-1825)
- George Draper Mason (1817-1904)
- William Minnitt Mason (1818-1885)
- Caroline Dorothy Mason (1822)
Jane Mason Morton was born in Coningsby in 1803. In 1834 she married William Hawling Preston in Newton-le-Wold (Wold Newton). William was born in Keddington in 1805, the son of William Preston and Sarah Hawling. At first they lived at Barkston House, Barkston. On 30th December 1850 William signed an indenture assigning all his estate and effects to William Minnitt Mason (Jane’s brother) of Wold Newton and William Johnson Gregory of Ollerton. Three months later William was described on the census as a ‘landed proprietor’ and was staying in Sculcoates with Wright Mason (Jane’s half brother), whilst Ann Mason, her unmarried half sister, was keeping her company in Barkston. The Preston/Mason family also seem to have acquired Brandon Hall, as in 1851 Frances Cuthbert, Jane’s (now widowed) half sister was the housekeeper. Both properties were put up for sale in 1851 but Brandon Hall at least was retained, as by 1861 William and Jane were living there, where he was a farmer of 130(?) acres, employing 4 labourers, a boy, a dairymaid and a house servant. When Jane died in 1865 William sold the contents of the Hall and moved to Bedfordshire, where he lived on an annuity. He was replaced at Brandon Hall by Edward Minnitt (possibly a distant relation). William was lodging in Sandy in 1871 then lived in Bedford until his death in 1881. William and Jane had one daughter:
Fanny Preston, born Barkston 1837 moved from Brandon to Bedfordfordshire after her mother died. She did not marry and stayed in Bedford, living with her father, then on her own means until she died in 1909.
John Minnitt Mason was born in Coningsby in 1808. He set up as surgeon / bone-setter in Wisbech. He married Eleanor Cockle and they had 7 children, including:
William Preston Mason was born in Wisbech in 1842. In 1870 he married Elizabeth Bemrose in Caythorpe (perhaps via a connection with the Minnitt family). Until about 1878 they ran Valley Farm at Hillington, Norfolk, but then moved to Brandon Hall, where they farmed 177 acres. But by 1891 they’d moved to Marston, where William managed the Corporation Farm (near the railway). He died in 1932 and was buried at Caythorpe.