Descendants of James Spensley and Jane Wharton
select highlighted individuals for further information.
1-James Spensley b. Abt 1670, d. Nov 1755, bur. 17 Nov 1755, Grinton
 +Jane Wharton b. Abt 1700, d. 22 Oct 1749, Blades, Swaledale, m. 16 Apr 1721, 
  Grinton, Swaledale
|--2-Thomas Spensley b. 1722, Brockabank, Swaledale, c. 6 May 1722, Grinton, d. 
|    9 Aug 1787, Brockabank, Swaledale
|   +Ruth Garth b. 1733, Nettelbed, c. 26 Mar 1733, Grinton, d. Apr 1782, 
|    Brockabank, Swaledale, bur. 20 Apr 1782, Grinton, m. 14 May 1753, Grinton, 
|    Swaledale
|  |--3-Mary Spensley b. 24 Mar 1754, d. Jan 1791
|  |   +William Thom b. 1751, c. 5 Oct 1751,  St. Nicholas, 
|  |    Aberdeen, m. 30 Jul 1776, Grinton
|  |  |--4-James Thom b. Mar 1777, d. May 1780, Whitehaven
|  |--3-Hannah Spensley b. 29 Feb 1756, Brockabank, Swaledale, d. 17 Jan 1779, 
|  |    Brockabank, Swaledale
|  |--3-Jeanne Spensley b. 25 Dec 1757, d. 7 May 1780, Brockeybank
|  |--3-Betty Spensley b. 6 Jun 1761, d. 2 Jan 1786, Brockeybank
|  |--3-Thomas Spensley b. Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, c. 4 Nov 1764, d. 
|  |    17 Dec 1841, Brockabank, Swaledale, bur. 25 Dec 1841, Low Row
|  |   +Mary Lonsdale b. Cir 1770, d. 11 Mar 1844, Low Row, bur. 13 Mar 1844, 
|  |    Low Row, m. 8 Apr 1788, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |  |--4-Thomas Spensley b. Abt 1788, Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, c. 4 
|  |  |    Dec 1788, Grinton, Swaledale, d. 29 Jun 1864, Low Row, bur. 2 Jul 
|  |  |    1864, Melbecks Church, Swaledale
|  |  |--4-Hannah Spensley b. Abt 1791, Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, c. 19 
|  |  |    May 1791, Grinton
|  |  |--4-James Spensley b. 4 Nov 1793, Swaledale, d. 4 Jun 1855, Ganyards 
|  |  |    Cem., Granger Twp., Medina, OH, bur. Akron, Ohio
|  |  |--4-Nancy Spensley b. Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, c. 3 Jul 1796, 
|  |  |    Grinton
|  |  |--4-Mary Spensley b. 15 Jan 1799, d. Abt 1882, Wallington, Ohio
|  |  |--4-Elizabeth Spensley b. 14 Jun 1801, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 22 Feb 
|  |  |    1880, New Diggings, Wisconsin
|  |  |--4-Jane Spensley b. Abt 1804, Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, c. 20 
|  |  |    Aug 1804, Grinton, Swaledale, d. Bef 1851
|  |  |--4-Peggy Spensley b. Cir 1807, Brocca Bank, Low Row, c. 16 Dec 1807, 
|  |  |    Wesleyan Methodist, Low Row
|  |  |--4-Rachel Spensley b. Cir 1811, Brocca Bank, Feetham, Swaledale, d. 
|  |  |    Brockabank, Swaledale, bur. 5 Jul 1843, Low Row
|  |--3-Nancy Spensley b. 10 May 1768
|--2-James Spensley b. Cir 1725, Blades, c. 14 Feb 1725, Grinton
|   +Jane Raw b. Abt 1726, Harkerside, Swaledale, c. 23 Oct 1726, Grinton, 
|    Swaledale, m. 24 Apr 1749, Grinton
|  |--3-Jane Spensley b. Abt 1750, Melbecks, c. 11 Feb 1750, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |   +George Simpson , m. 22 Dec 1772, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-Margaret Spensley b. Abt 1752, Blades, Swaledale, c. 19 Jan 1752, 
|  |    Grinton, Swaledale, d. 8 Jul 1752, Blades, Swaledale
|  |--3-Margaret Spensley b. Abt 1753, Blades, Swaledale, c. 1 Jul 1753, 
|  |    Grinton, Swaledale
|  |   +John Pratt , m. 29 Jul 1777, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-James Spensley b. Abt 1756, Blades, Swaledale, c. 25 Jan 1756, Grinton, 
|  |    Swaledale
|  |   +Elizabeth Buckton , m. 12 May 1777, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |  |--4-William Spensley b. 11 Oct 1799, Reeth, d. 21 Sep 1869, Shrubbery 
|  |  |    House,
|  |  |--4-Jenny Spensley b. 18 May 1779, Feetham
|  |  |--4-John Spensley b. 1785, c. 28 May 1785, Low Row, d. 1837, Rochdale
|  |  |--4-Mary Spensley c. 13 Apr 1783, Smarber, d. 1834, On The Mississippi 
|  |  |    River
|  |  |--4-James Spensley b. Jul 1787, Feetham, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 2 Jan 
|  |  |    1873, Mineral Point, Wisconsin
|  |--3-Mary Spensley b. Abt 1758, Riddings, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 17 Dec 
|  |    1758, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |   +John Sunter , m. 30 Mar 1778, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-Elizabeth Spensley b. Abt 1759, Riddings, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 28 Jan 
|  |    1759, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-Thomas Spensley b. Abt 1761, Riddings, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 19 Jul 
|  |    1761, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-William Spensley b. 17 Mar 1764, Brocca Bank, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 18 
|  |    Mar 1764, Grinton, Swaledale, d. Sep 1834, Low Row, bur. 6 Sep 1834, 
|  |    Low Row Wesleyan Methodist
|  |   +Rachel Pratt b. Cir 1764, Whitaside, Swaledale, c. 17 Nov 1764, 
|  |    Grinton, d. Jan 1789, bur. 3 Jan 1789, Grinton, m. 8 May 1786, Grinton, 
|  |    Swaledale
|  |  |--4-Nanny Spensley b. 5 Apr 1787, Pickle Hill, Swaledale, c. 3 Jan 1789, 
|  |  |    d. 25 Jan 1843, Melbecks Heights
|  |--3-John Spensley b. Abt 1767, Brocca Bank, Low Row, c. 19 Jul 1767, Low 
|  |    Row, d. Jul 1833, Blades, bur. 10 Jul 1833, Low Row Wesleyan Methodist
|      +Unknown 
|--2-William Spensley b. Swaledale, c. 16 Feb 1729, Grinton
    + * Margaret Cowling b. Abt 1739, m. 12 May 1760, Grinton, Swaledale
   |--3-Mary Spensley 
   |--3-Jane Spensley 
   |--3-Thomas Spensley d. 12 Dec 1779, Blades, Swaledale
   |--3-Margaret Spensley b. 1762, c. 24 Oct 1762, d. 13 Jul 1778, Blades, 
   |    Swaledale, bur. 13 Jul
   |--3-Betty Spensley b. 1765, Blades, Swaledale, c. 24 Feb 1765, Grinton, 
   |    Swaledale, d. Jun 1797, Blades, Swaledale, bur. 30 Jun 1797, Grinton, 
   |    Swaledale
   |   +John Carter , m. 23 Jul 1793, Grinton, Swaledale
   |--3-William Spensley b. 8 Nov 1767, Blades, Swaledale, d. Cir 1825
   |   +Betty Pratt b. 3 Jul 1774, Feetham, m. 3 Nov 1795, Grinton, Swaledale
   |  |--4-Jeane Spensley b. 1796, c. 19 Sep 1796, Low Row, Smarber
   |  |--4-Betty Spensley b. 23 Jan 1798, Low Row
   |  |--4-Dinah Spensley b. 1799, Blades, c. 7 Sep 1799, Smarber
   |  |--4-Susannah Spensley b. Cir 1806, High Whitaside, Swaledale, c. 4 Oct 
   |  |    1806, Grinton, d. May 1807, High Whitaside, Swaledale, bur. 26 May 18
   |  |    07, Grinton
   |--3-James Spensley b. 1769, Feetham, d. 11 Nov 1835, Low Row, Swaledale, 
   |    bur. 17 Nov 1835, Buried At Low Row Wesleyan Cem.
   |   +Mary Harker b. 26 Feb 1775, Low Row, d. 1 Dec 1840, Low Row, Swaledale, 
   |    m. 7 Jul 1794, Grinton, Swaledale
   |  |--4-Margaret Spensley d. 25 May 1834, Hurst, Swaledale, bur. 28 May 
   |  |    1834, Low Row
   |  |--4-William Spensley b. 1797, Melbecks, d. 18 Mar 1869, Albert Road, 
   |  |    Middlesbrough
   |  |--4-James Spensley b. Low Row, Swaledale, c. 22 Mar 1800, d. Nov 1824, 
   |  |    Low Row, bur. Buried At Low Row
   |  |--4-John Spensley b. 1803, Low Row, Swaledale, d. 22 Nov 1828, Feetham
   |  |--4-Thomas Spensley b. 1806
   |  |--4-Solomon Spensley b. 16 Jan 1807, Feetham, c. 17 Jan 1807, Low Row 
   |  |    Methodist Church, d. 4 Feb 1890, 42 Paul St., Kingsdown, Bristol
   |  |--4-Simon Spensley b. 23 Jun 1809, Feetham, d. 6 Dec 1831, Feetham, bur. 
   |  |    10 Dec 1831, Buried At Low Row
   |  |--4-Thomas Spensley b. 19 Jun 1811, Feetham, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 10 
   |  |    Dec 1888, Richmond, bur. Gunnerside
   |  |--4- Harker Spensley b. 12 Nov 1813, Low Row, d. 14 Apr 1876, Mineral 
   |  |    Point, Wisconsin
   |  |--4-Calvert Spensley b. 9 Aug 1816, Feetham, d. 1818, Low Row, Swaledale
   |  |--4-Calvert Spensley b. 11 Nov 1818, Feetham, d. 20 Feb 1863, 
   |  |    Carisbrooke, I.O.W, bur. Whippingham, I.O.W
   |--3-John Spensley c. 31 May 1772, Grinton, d. May 1822, Blades
       +Hannah Clarkson b. 7 Apr 1793, Grinton, m. 1 Mar 1813, Grinton Parish 
      |--4-James Spensley b. 1814, Blades, c. 17 Jun 1814, By James Ridall, d. 
      |    17 Apr 1875, Reeth, bur. 21 Apr 1875, Low Row
      |--4-Betty Spensley b. 1815, Blades, c. 15 Oct 1815, Low Row, d. 30 Sep 
      |    1898, Reeth, bur. Low Row
      |--4-Alice Spensley b. 25 Nov 1817, Blades, d. 17 Jun 1875, bur. Leadmine 
      |    Primitive Methodist Cem.
      |--4-Margaret Spensley b. 26 Oct 1819, Blades, Swaledale, c. 9 Nov 1819, 
      |    Low Row Methodist
      |--4-John Spensley b. 22 Jul 1821, c. 8 Oct 1821, Low Row Wesleyan 
      |    Methodist, d. 15 Dec 1902, Reeth, bur. Low Row


Thomas Spensley lived at Brockabank at Low Row. Dec 17th. At Low Row in the Richmond and Reeth Circuit, aged seventy-seven, Mr. Thomas Spensley. He had been a member of the Wesleyan Society forty-five years, and a Class Leader sixteen. During the whole of this time his conduct was upright and consistent. For the last three years he was detained by aflictions from the house of God; but his class met in his house, where he was much blessed. His death was calm and tranquil; his faith was strong and unshaken; and his end was peace. J.L
From the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine 1842

James was a beneficiary in his father's will and may have used his share to finance his emigration to America.
James is buried with his wife in a small cemetery located on the original James Ganyard farm in Granger Twp., Medina, OH.. According to family lore, James, his wife (Ann Place) and their family, along with others possibly from their same part of England came to America in 1848 traveling six weeks upon the Atlantic Ocean. According to the 1850 Ohio census, James was living in Granger Twp. and working as a farmer.
The Summit Beacon, 13 Jun 1855:
"In Granger, June 4th, James Spensley, aged 61 years. Dearest one from earth thou art gone forever. Stern death came the silver cord to sever. buy for thy gentle soul it no pang possessed. Since with the Savior's love they heart was blest."

click for larger image

Elizabeth Spensley married Richard Jackson and also went to America. First they went to Ohio but later moved to New Diggings.

Mary Spensley married William Eglin in 1816. In 1834 they sailed for America on the ship 'Hark Away', and settled in Ohio.
An undated note by a descendant stated........"Grandmother was always a sweet little woman retaining her beauty to the last.......... All the children loved her. "


Nanny Spensley married John Pedley and was left an inheritance by her uncle John Spensley, in 1833.........I give and bequeath unto my Nephew i n law John Pedley, and my neice Ann his Wife all my Money secureties for Money and residue o f all my effects of what nature or kind soever at the time of my Death, paying my just Debt s and Funeral Expences, I do hereby nominate and appint my Nephew in law John Pedley, and m y Niece Ann his Wife my Executor and Executrix, ...........
After Ann's death in 1843, John left for America and lived with John jr who had gone earlier.


William was a mine agent of Blades. He left a will dated 7th May 1825 in which he left his property to his two daughters.


 William Spensley was born abt. 1735 in Swaledale, the son of James Spensley (c.1670) and Jane Wharton. On May 12, 1760, William married Margaret Cowling at Grinton. He lived at Blades.
From the diary of William's grandson Calvert Spensley
“He was a man of good sound sense and excellent character, and was spoken of by preachers as a suitable person for a preacher of the gospel. In youth he was taught to read, or rather spell out in true provincial style, the words printed in a book. I have often heard it said that he was a man of meek and quiet spirit, and at an early age he acquired a great taste for puritanic writings and delighted in Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress.'
"Withal he was not brilliant in intellect, nor attractive in personal appearance. He, however, when about 30 years of age, became the willing captive of a young woman named Margaret Cowling, who was daughter, I believe the only daughter, of John Cowling of Fremington, who was schoolmaster with a respectable endowment.
"For the age and locality this young woman was well instructed and of more than ordinary sprightliness both of mind and person. When the sober, simple, unenchanting man made known his preference and love to the object of his warm desire she treated him with disdain. After numerous and apparently unavailing attempts to win her attention, they accidentally met in a narrow lane near Broken Bank, when the shades of evening had closed upon them. Unexpectedly face to face, they both stood still and speedily the man burst into tears. This incontrovertible evidence of the existence of that sentiment which mental philosophers have termed 'the particular benevolent affection,' burst open the sluice gates of her tender heart from whence flowed freely tears of reciprocal affection. While both hearts were thus melted they blended perfectly in one and so remained until death. Shortly after this they appeared at the hymeneal altar and from that time resided at Blades, where they settled upon the patrimony of my grandfather. His wife's dowry was of small consideration. Her intrinsic merits were however quite sufficient to compensate for the lack of acres and house.
"Besides my father James they had two sons and one daughter who reached maturity and were married. Two or three others died in youth. William, the eldest, married a woman who after she had given birth to three girls became quite insane. When she had for many years endured this distressing affliction she terminated her mortal existence, not however without a short time recovering her mental strength, when she expressed herself satisfactorily respecting her eternal prospects.
“My Uncle William lived at Blades, next door to the house in which he was born, until his death. He was a local preacher and class reader for many years, and highly esteemed in the neighborhood. He was a man of great simplicity, and though devout, earnest and circumspect as a Methodist he never attained to any more honourable post in connection with the church than that of an exhorter. His two daughters were unfortunate in their marriages, with both their husbands being intemperate.
"John, the third son, displayed great ability as a mechanic, and in many respects inherited the peculiarities of his grandfather. He remained a bachelor until he was 42 years of age, then married a very young woman named Clarkson, who bore him five children before his death, none or whom have distinguished themselves by their ability or success.
"Uncle John (alias Jack) compensated in some degree for his mistake in marrying so young a woman by making and contriving a cradle to rock by a water wheel, which for its regularity and efficiency was unrivalled in the neighborhood. He was pious and died full of hope in Christ.
"Elizabeth, the only daughter., married a man named John Carter, remarkable for nothing except penuriousness and rusticity. I have heard that this union was not perfectly happy. She died young leaving two children, one son and one daughter. The son possessed good natural parts but was selfish and drunken.”>>

Blades, click for larger image

William became a staunch Methodist, and entertained John Wesley when he was preaching in Swaledale. From, 'Romantic Richmondshire', by H. Speight. 1897. "It was at Blades, on the hill above Low Row where Methodism first took root in the dale, and Mr. William Spensley, the head of a local family of that name, fitted up a cottage here adjoining his house for divine worship." Some descendants of William were to remain in England and become very much involved in the Methodist movement, including Calvert and James, who were missionaries. Other descendants joined the exodus to the United States, where the name is still found in the original areas settled.

James Spensley select for photo of gravestone was a mine agent for the Surrender and Old Gang Lead Mines. His wife Mary was a Calvert whose line claims descent from the same line as that of George Calvert who became Lord Baltimore.

Some of his children.........

Calvert Spensley, became a missionary. "He was born in Swaledale, Yorkshire. The godly example of an elder brother and others, was the means of leading him, when he was nearly twenty years of age, to seek the "pearl of great price"..... "On his removal to Leeds in 1841, he was introduced to the Rev. G.B. Macdonald; by whom his thirst for knowledge was fostered, and his attention turned to a careful preparation for the ministry, on which he entered with much trembling in 1843. After labouring acceptably in several home-Circuits, he offered himself for Missionary work in the colony of Natal. There, for above seven years, he occupied an important position, for which his versatile talents specially qualified him. As a man of business, as a philanthropist, and, above all, as a Christian teacher and pastor, he stood high in that part of Africa." Illness caused him to England in 1858 where for a while he enjoyed an improvement in health and was able to continue circuit work at Llanelly in the Carmarthen Circuit. However complications following a severe cold caused him to retire from preaching and he sought a better climate on the Isle of Wight, living at Glenfield Cottage where he died on Feb 20, 1863. His wife Amelia remarried.

Calvert's tomb at Whippingham

Solomon Spensley was a son of James Spensley and Mary Harker of Swaledale and grandson of William Spensley of Blades, noted for hosting John Wesley whenever he was preaching in the area. A separate note is made of Solomon, because he left the Dales in the early 1800's and went (after having lived at Kendal and then Stockton on Tees) to Wisconsin where he lived for a number of years at Mineral Point where he and his brother Harker were engaged in mining and farming. According to the "Character of the Country", the published version of a diary kept by James Lonsdale Broderick, Solomon was musically talented and is mentioned on several occasions entertaining family groups by songs, after supper.

In 1883 he went to England and then on to Australia where his son James emigrated before leaving there to live in New Zealand. Descendants of James are still in NZ. Solomon returned to England and died 1890.

Thomas Spensley was a draper, living on Silver Street in Reeth. Two of his children died as young adults and their daughter Elizabeth married James Spensley, son of Richard Spensley & Alice Bonson who had emigrated to America. Elizabeth returned with James to live at Mineral Point and died following the birth of their second child. Her parents Thomas and Elizabeth (Milner) had moved to America to be near their only surviving daughter, but on her death returned to live in England. Thomas and Elizabeth are buried in Gunnerside Methodist graveyard.

Thomas left a will written 6th June 1883 in which he left property to his wife and then to grandson Bonson Montford Spensley. Should Bonson be dead, then assets were to go to children of late brother William, children of late brother Harker, Solomon Spensley, John Ralph Milner, Phillis Whitton and Alice Milner.



HarkerHarker Spensley was another to emigrate to Mineral Point. He sailed on the Saxony, leaving Liverpool on the 19th Feb. 1849. Harker married another Spensley, Ruth, and his parents-in-law sailed for America with them. Of Harker's children, Calvert became a lawyer in Mineral Point and John took over the family farm. His grandson, Harker B., was, from 1929 to 1933, president of the Spensley Theatre, Dubuque - now renamed the Five Flags Theater, Locust & Main.
To contact an interested descendent of this line, email

Five Flags Theatre, Dubuquelispthclick for larger image