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Some Maryport Ostles

Joseph Ostle and Rachel Wilkinson (See The Saul Ostles) had nine children, all of whom survived into adulthood and led fascinating lives

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Maryport Harbour in the late 18th Century

They had four daughters. Jane married William Reeves, a prosperous farmer. Mary married James Mordaunt and lived at Ribton, near Cockermouth. Rachel stayed in Newtown and married a local lad, William Bell. Ruth married her cousin, Jonathan Ostle of Mawbray.

That leaves the five boys: Jonathan, Thomas, Joseph, Robert and Wilkinson.

JONATHAN (1760-1826) married Mary Wilson, her family were Quaker Coal Owners in Little Broughton. They farmed for most of their lives at Hunday Foot. They seem to have been part of a close-knit and prosperous Quaker community. One daughter, Sarah, married William Harris, a manufacturer, while another, Rachel, married, Isaac Mason, a draper from Penrith. Rachel and Isaac’s daughter, May Ann, appears to have married John Harris who was the chief resident engineer on the Stockton & Darlington, the world’s first railway.

THOMAS (1762-1805) married Francis Smith of Gilcrux, he traded as a Mercer, a dealer in textiles, in Maryport. They had six children, three dying in infancy. Their eldest daughter, Anne, married Jonah Scott, a currier. Their eldest boy, Joseph, was master of the ‘North Star’. Their youngest son, Thomas, was to accompany his brother on a voyage to New Brunswick and settled there. Their story is told in full in 'The New Brunswick Ostles'

A fine Ship's Decanter beloging to Thomas and France's son, Captain Joseph Ostle of the North Star.

JOSEPH (1766-1796) was a master mariner. He married Peggy Wales. He was captain of the ‘Henrietta Scott’ by 1793 and became master of the ‘Matty’ in the following year. He drowned in December 1794 when the ‘Matty’ was lost at sea off the Isle of Man.

Joseph and Peggy had two sons. Jonathan married Jane Murray, a young widow, who had inherited Isel Mill from her first husband. The pair seem to have lived a very comfortable life there but, on Jane’s death, the mill reverted to her family so their son, Jonathan Junr., had to make his own way in life, starting his working life as a farm servant. His descendants still live around Aspatria and also in Canada. Joseph’s second son, also called Joseph, was another mariner. He moved to Liverpool where he married a Welsh girl, Elizabeth Williams, in 1819.

Little is known of the fourth boy, ROBERT (born 1769), except that he too was a mariner and passed his last years in North Lodge, the Quaker Alms House at Allonby.


High Street Maryport, home to several Ostle business
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WILKINSON (1772-1821) married Jane Woodville. He had a Draper’s business in Maryport. Two of his children died as infants. His daughter, Hannah, married William Gray, and carried on the business after her father’s death. Wilkinson and Jane’s surviving sons WILLIAM and JOSEPH became two of Maryport’s most prominent and prosperous citizens. Their story is told in detail below.‘WEALTHY’ WILLIAM (1805-1875)William married Elizabeth Inman, the daughter of a local solicitor. Along with his father-in-law, John Inman, he was a member of the committee formed in the late 1830s to promote a railway between Maryport and Carlisle. In September 1838, along with several other members of the committee, he made a visit to Newcastle-on-Tyne where he met George Stephenson, the famous railway engineer. Stephenson agreed to survey a route for the railway. The line opened in stages between 1840 and 1845 when it finally reached Carlisle and joined the line from Newcastle.

Part of the letter documenting William's meeting with George Stephenson at Newcastle.

William was appointed as a director of the new railway company. By 1847, he was also a shareholder in the Cumberland Union Banking Company, and seems to have acted as their Maryport agent from offices in Senhouse Street. He was appointed chairman of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway a short time before his death.


Maryport station, headquarters of the M&CR

William had many other business interests. When probate was granted for his will in 1876, his personal estate was valued at £60,000. He and Elizabeth lived in a fine house at Birkby, just outside the town. They had no children. In 1869, the Ritsons, Maryport’s leading ship builders, launched a three-masted barque named after Elizabeth. The ‘Elizabeth Ostle’ worked out of Liverpool between 1871 and 1875, when she returned to Maryport.

Elizabeth's will, proved in June 1892, mentions shares or bonds in: Trustees for the District and Harbour of Maryport, Caledonian Railway Company, Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, North British Railway, Eastern Telegraph Company, Maryport and Carlisle Railway, The Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, County Hotel Company of Carlisle and property in Strand Street, North Quay and Senhouse Street, Maryport as well as her home in Birkby. She left her niece and husband "the avowson and perpetual right of presentation of the Rectory and Parish Church of Wickham Market, Suffolk". The value of her personal estate was £68,303.

William’s brother Joseph (born 1809) was a printer with offices in High Street. He first printed and published "The Maryport Locomotive and Monthly Advertiser" on October 1, 1841 from premises in Catherine Street. In 1843, he sold the paper to Robert Adair but continued to print it for Adair for some time.

He also printed the first known timetable for the Maryport and Carlisle Railway in 1842. He lived at Brandlingill in Brigham Parish.The local studies section of Carlisle Library hold a collection of Joseph's work, along with copies of the 'Maryport Locomtive', these are a few examples of his printing.


Joseph sold his printing business to John F Fletcher in December, 1847.His only daughter and heir, Jane, married Frederic Robertson Sewell, D.L., J.P. Lt-Col. commanding the 3rd Batt. The Border Regiment.

Their son, William Woodville Robertson Sewell, B.A. (Cantab), practised as a solicitor in Cockermouth before becoming a fruit grower in Jersey. Jane was a good catch for Lt. Col. Sewell. She inherited not only her father's estate but also a large sum from her Uncle and Aunt, William and Elizabeth Ostle of Birkby.

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