Fox Ancestry

Some modern-day Fox family members (not all) who have used Ancestry DNA to trace their lineage have come across information that the genetic line of the Hamilton, Ontario Fox's has been linked as far back as the 15th century.

Yet to be confirmed, there is a possibility these Fox ancestors lived in Fulwood Hall.

During the reign of Henry VII from 1485 - 1509, there exists one of the first records of a Fox Family who built and operated Fulwood Hall, a country manor outside of Sheffield, EnglandFor two hundred years, their descendants prospered at Fulwood until 1707 when a George Fox, enjoying life beyond his means, was forced to mortgage the property off.   More about Fulwood Hall:

Humphrey Furnis' Will below bequeathed some of his estate to the children of Mr. William Fox late of Fulwood.  Reprinted with permission from Marjorie Ward of Rootsweb Genealogy:
See the entry re: William Fox baptism at

Humphrey FURNIS of Hagg in the parish of Hope.  Will dated 20 February 1670

Humphrey FURNISS of Hagge in the parish of Hope in the County of Derby Yeoman do make this my last Will and Testament.  I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God to be decently buried in the burial place within Hope Churchyard.  I give devise and bequeath unto Janet my wife and to Michael FURNIS my nephew All that my lands buildings etc purchased of George EYRE of Thorpe, gent.  Situate in Hathersage equally between them during the life of the said Janet and after her decease to the said Michael FURNIS and the heirs male of his body begotten and for want of sch heirs unto Mark FURNIS my nephew.  I give unto Dorothy wife of Mr George FOX £40, unto Mr Henry BALGUY and Mrs Elisabeth BALGUY, son and daughter of Henry BALGAY of Rowles in the County of Derby, Gent, to either of them 40/- (forty shillings) to Mr Henry BALGAY the elder of Rowle aforesaid and to Mrs BALGAY his wife to either of them 30/- (shirty shillings) unto the four children of Mr William FOX late of Fulwood to every of them 20/- (twenty shillings), to Edward MORTEN of Hollin Clough, John MORTEN of Goures 10/- (ten shillings)  I give and bequeath unto Ellen BURR widow and Frances the wife of John HALL my kinswoman to either of them 20/- (twenty shillings)  I give unto Mark FURNES my brother All my wearing apparel unto Dorothy the wife of Robert HALL of Alport 5/- (five shillings) unto Adam GRANT and Edmund GRANT of Ollerbrook 2/6 (two shillings and sixpence) each.  I appoint Janet my wife and the said Michael Furnes to be joint Executors of this my Will.

Mark and Seale of Humphrey FURNES

Signed sealed and published and declared in the presence of Thomas EYREGeorge GREAVES

One hundred and fifty years later in the Hope Valley, George Fox along with his wife Hannah Bagshaw became the owners of Hazlebadge Hall just outside of Bradwell in the mid-19th century; the 1851 census lists them along with their four children, two farm hands and one servant living at the Hall. George had bought the property from his father-in-law, Francis Bagshaw, whose family had prospered working as the 'Foresters of Fee'.  The handover of the Hall from Bagshaw to Fox is explained:

It appears the decline was starting, and Francis Bagshaw of Hazelbadge 1760-1828, farmer and lead miner, was falling on hard times, losing money to poor investment in the mines (the “buddles” being a washing system for extracted raw material), and the local pastime of bull baiting. There was even a story of an inebriated Francis tying himself to a bull’s tail to enable a bet and getting dragged by it up Bradwell Brook. A £900 wine bill was found in papers collected by a solicitor in the 1940s. Property had to be sold. The farm was bought by son in law George Fox, and one part became “Bullock smithy” now known as Hazel Grove, in Stockport. providing more records. Hazelbadge was eventually sold by the Fox off-shoots in 1949 but still stands today.

Dr. Alan Crosby, Bagshaw descendant and local Historian

Excerpt from Bolton's Genies Newsletter, January 2018, pg 3 - 4

On the back of the Hazlebadge Hall postcard pictured above, Emma Jane (Fox) Jeffery writes of her grandfather  George who bought the property and mentions forks and knives.  Possibly, Emma Jane is alluding to utensils left from the Cutler Trade industry which employed the Barnsley family who also previously owned the Hall - however this is only speculation.


This is where the knives and forks were used.  I was 16 when my grandfather died and he was in his 84th year (1875) and I shall be 80 next so they must be getting on for two hundred.  I am going to be with Hannah for a while.  So Torrance will find me:  many thanks for all your kindness.

Love to all, Aunt Jennie, 1938

Bradwell has reason to be proud of one of the most historical and finest manor houses in the county, in Hazlebadge Hall, at the head of Brad- well Dale, an old home of the Strelleys. What history is there in everv stone of the building! But the Hall of the Strelleys has long ago been demolished, and the material used up in the erection of farm buildings, the present being a wing built by the Vernons in 1549. What a grand Elizabethan gable is that which fronts the road, with its magnificent .nuUion windows and how bold in the apex stands out the Vernon crest, a boar's head ducally gorged, and the quartered arms with the Vernon frett, and the bwynnerton cross fleury! And the initials 'H.V and the three strokes are no longer a puzzle to tlie wondering beholder, for they are doubtless the initials of Henry Vernon, the son or Sir John, who rebuilt this part of the Manor House, just about the time of the birth of his second son, -Henry, ana signalised the birth by terming tne new comer Henry Vernon the Third.

And the fine old Hall has played a pro- minent part in the history of the di.strict for not only did it shelter the Vernons for many generations, but was a residence of the Family, and a shooting box for the lords of Haddon. But it was more. "It was dignified as a vice-regal lodge. It was the seat of judgment, for here Sir Richard Vernon, as High Steward of the Forest and Constable of the Castle, held his Courts."

An excerpt of the History of the Hall from the book:  Bradwell, ancient and modern:  history of the parish and incidents in the Hope Valley & District: being collections and recollections in a Peakland village.

Extensive background and history of Hazlebadge Hall can be found here:

Hazlebadge Hall was more than a stand alone manor when the Foxes occupied it.  It was the main house situated on a large acreage which included smaller cottages or farms, and also contained Netherwater Farm within its boundary.  In a census, citizen's birth places will list 'of Hazlebadge Hall' (the actual manor) or just 'of Hazlebadge',  referring to one of these smaller farms.  The family tombstones are engraved the same way.

It is George's (Bagshaw) will, 1763/4, that we see the first reference to Hazlebadge Hall as opposed to simply Hazlebadge.  (Grandson) George was the first Barnsley to be recorded as living at Hazlebadge; probably at Great Intake. Evidently there were several farms in the Liberty of Hazlebadge.

The 1861 census for Little Hucklow lists Hazlebadge Hall, a farm of 180 acres, then three separate farms under the name Hazlebadge of one hundred, fifty and forty acres respectively.  Also included is Netherwater, a farm of one hundred acres, as well as Intake, a farm of 17 acres and a lead mine....

This excerpt and more on the Barnsley family and the Cutler Industry can be read on the Barnsley/Bancroft ancestry site:

To sum up from the excerpt above - ownership of Hazelbadge Hall and its Liberty starts out with George Bagshaw in the 18th century who leased it from the Duke of Rutland.  Upon his death he granted Hazlebadge Hall to a son, George. The farms of Intake and Netherwater went to his grandson, George Barnsley, a swailer (the name given to a miller or a corn merchant) and his wife Mary.

Here is where the family lines criss-cross enough times that the lineage becomes a knot of who owned Hazelbadge VS who descended from whom.

This handy family circle is to accompany the inheritances described in the following paragraphs.

 George Barnsley and his wife Mary Needham had a daughter, Ann (1764 - 1831):

Eldest daughter, Ann, married Francis Bagshaw of Hazlebadge Hall when she was just sixteen years old. They are said to have ended up in financial difficulties, but the exact nature of their trouble is not recorded. She was remembered by her nephew, Godfrey, as "having a most beautiful hand; she married "Francis Bagshaw, Esq., Gentleman - I recollect distinctly that was the position he assumed; he was remarkable tall and well-formed man and the family of children were all handsome". Francis was the son of George Bagshaw of Hope...They are said to have ended up in financial trouble of an unspecified nature

(Specifically, the nature was mixing a £900 wine bill with a bull and Bradwell Brook).

Hazelbadge then went to George Fox who married Ann and Francis Bagshaw's daughter, Hannah, and the Foxes operated Hazelbadge Hall into the next century.  Going back to the original Swailer George Barnsley (1741 - 1825) who had 8 children - four born in Great Intake, and four born in Netherwater.

It was his (George Barnsley, the swailer) desire that his son George (1772 - 1825) should "continue to hold the Farms I now occupy under His Grace the Duke of Rutland if his Grace or his Agents will be pleased to accept him as Tenant thereof". The farms are not named, but it is safe to assume that they included at least Hazlebadge and Nether Water.

(Grand)son George married Betty Wragg at Hope on 1st. Jan 1822. They had at least one son, Richard, baptised at Hope on 26th. May 1822. It appears that Betty died and George remarried as he shows up on the 1861 census  ( for Little Hucklow with Hannah as his wife. His address is "Netherwater" where he is described as a farmer of 100 acres, employing one labourer. He is 57 and Hannah is 50. Richard, age 38, is also there with his wife Eliza, age 38, described as "dairymaid". They have two children, Elizabeth Jane, age 7, and Hannah, age 1. There are three visitors present on census day - Jane Furness, age 25, daughter, farmer's wife and her two children James age 1, and George age one month. Jane was the daughter of Hannah and was baptised at Hope 10th. April 1836.

A genetic gift Barnsley descendants can look forward to is the possibility of inheriting the dreaded bunions.  Once thought to affect every other generation down the female line, it seems the bunions have no preference any more and are happy to show up in whom they choose.  Perhaps on par with the Habsburg Jaw.

Hope Birley's knee is better.  I think they are Barnsley Bunions.  I remember when your grandmother (Elizabeth Jane) was here in 1921, her feet were not too good.

Mollie Bancroft, January 30, 1972

Officially reuniting the Foxes of Hazelbadge Hall and Barnsleys of Netherwater Farm,  Isaac Arthur Fox and Elizabeth Jane Barnsley married before coming to Canada.  As described above, Elizabeth Jane's parents were Richard and Eliza, and her younger sister is Hannah.  Hannah is listed under Netherwater Farm as Hannah Wragg on the 1891 census  ( )  along with her husband Thomas Wragg and their children, and under Hazlebadge Hall is listed Thomas Fox and his family.

Unofficially reuniting the Foxes and Barnsleys is surprising evidence that has been recently uncovered:  Hannah's first daughter, Lillian, was born out of wedlock and adopted by Thomas Wragg when he and Hannah were married.  Paired with family rumours that have rippled down the generations that Lily's father was a Fox, is an anomoly in an Ancestry DNA match from a Fox descendant revealing that Lily's hereditary information belongs to Isaac Arthur Fox's genetic line.  News from Hannah and Thomas to Isaac Arthur and Elizabeth Jane contain no hints regarding Lily's real father, but a nagging reality lingers that he could possibly be Isaac Arthur (and biologically be both a father and uncle - a Funkle ! ).  Three letters from Netherwater Farm to Hamilton remain.

First two letters reprinted with permission from Maggie Fox.

Netherwater, January 8th, 1893

Dear Brother and Sister,
It is so long ago since I wrote to you that I scarce know how to begin, but I am very sorry to say that we have no very good news to send. I must say that we received the photos all right and think they are very good. I am sure you may be very proud of all your sons. They look quite creditable.

**I am sorry to say that our Family only consists of the same as when I wrote to you last 5 years ago. But we have had one little girl more born on the 29th of December 1890, so that had she been living, she would have been 2 years old now. She was 1 year and 9 months old when she died. She had been very delicate for a long time, had not walked, but went rather sudden at last. She was only ill 9 days. She has congestion of the lungs. It has been quite a great grief to us all, but you will know all about that with losing one your own self. You will see that we had called her after you by the card I enclose.

I think there is no news worth sending in this country. There is nothing but poverty on all sides. Nearly all the inhabitants have left. I must say that we hope this will find you all well as it leaves us all better.
Just now I suffer much from rheumatic. I have done all my own work for over two years now. Please give our best love to all your young family and accept the same yourself. Please write soon and send all news of yourselves and say what age your two youngest children are. I think you have named a baby right... [missing pages]

Br.(other) and sister, I hope you will answer this as we should be very glad to keep up correspondence with you for the time to come. The Children often talk about you and their cousins over the Sea. I should much like to see you but there is the deep blue Pitch between us. The last time I heard from Aunt Margarets she was suffering from rhumatic and Clara had been under the Doctor again but I do not know if it was her old Complaint or not.

So I must conclude until you answer this. From your B & S,
T & H Wragg (Thomas and Hannah)

**Their child was named after Elizabeth Jane as shown in the 1891 Census.

Nether Water Hucklow, Tideswell by Buxton Sept. 24, 1905

Dear Brother & Sister

We received Parcel of Photos of your three Oldest Sons 3 weeks ago quite safe & undamaged. We were quite Pleased to have them. I feel sure you are very Proud of your sons. We think you very much for Photos. Was sorry when you did not write as it is over 2 years since I wrote to you. Will you kindly write & say if you received a letter about that time, also High Peak Newspaper since then.

We shall be very Pleased to hear from you how you all are getting on, by this we hope you are all well as I am Pleased to say we are.

I must tell you that we have had our 2 oldest children got married since I last wrote to you. Lily got married on 23 June 1904 to a man near Buxton. She has not any family at present. Willy was the next to get married at the same Church Bradwell. He has married a daughter of Jacob Rowarth who lives at the quarters now & I feel sure that Arthur will know him. They have a Daughter born on the 27th of April so that we are Grand Parents now. Will you say if you have any children married. If so, also if you have any grandchildren or if you are great Aunt first. Tom often wonders how you look now as we are all getting older.

Sheperdson has taken a fancy that He will leave England but we do not want to part with him. He wants to do better. Farming is a poor game in England. Now Butter does not make more than 13 pence. In the winter now other Produce low in proportion whilst rents are very little different.

I must tell you that Willies Daughter is called Mabel.

He has taken the Farm that Haywards lived at at Coplow Dale. The old people are both dead & George their son has gone to live at Eyam. Mr. & Mrs. Clayton are both dead & strange People have got to their Farm. When you write will you say how far you are from you sister E. Jane. Also if you know how they are getting on. I do not think of anything more I have to tell you this time.

I think they are all well at Ashton. Clara & Husband & Children have been over this summer. She looks much strong than she has done.

So I must now conclude with love from all of us to all of you. From you Brother & Sister
& Uncle & Aunt
T & H Wragg


Netherwater Farm, Tideswell, Buxton,  February 15, 1921

Dear Sister & Brother & all,

In answer to yours of the 20th day of January, the same reaching hear on the 5th of this month and must say we were all very pleased to hear from you and that there was a likeliehood of seeing you once again.  I had quite given up ever seeing you again but am pleased to hear that you are venturing to take the journey.  I must not think I am quite so old now.  Was sorry to hear the loss of your boy Fred in the war, also of Wilfred not coming home all right but shall hear more when we have the pleasure of meeting.  Very sorry to hear of George's Death.  Lily's husband was in France 4 years, but escaped.  Has it not been a terrible war.

Well things have altered always in this country through the war, nearly all landowners have been selling their estates and tenants have had to buy their holding for there was not other farms for them to go to.  Rutland has sold all Hazlebadge.  Thomas Fox has bought the Hall, we have bought Netherwater and Willy has bought his place.  We would much rather have gone on as we was, but they gave us the chance to buy privately.

I must say that Lily lives at Buxton.  She has 3 boys and 1 girl.  Willy has only 1 girls, 15 years old.  Annie lives at Heanor (?) Derby was, they have no family.  Sheper is still at home. You will be sorry to hear that both Aunt Margret’s daughters are dead. Mary Alice has been dead 6 years and Clara died last June at Southport. They were living there. Alice left two daughters and Clara one son and one daughter.  Our Annie and Clara’s daughter have married two brothers. It is now about seven years since Uncle Prescot died well as Mable. Willis’ girl says it will be a long while till June but I suppose the time will keep getting nearer. I am writing to Lily and Annie. They will both be delighted as we all are to think you will be staying a long time. It will be a nice time of year. Pleased to hear your crops were satisfactory. There was plenty of hay crop in this country, but no weather to get it until it was old, and no grain in corn crops but it has been an exceptionally open winter, so far there is plenty of food for cattle.

Thank you kindly for memorial card of Fred, poor boy. You will perhaps write again a little nearer the time of coming to give us an idea what part of the month it will be. Please to give our love to all of your family. We shall feel to know them, all better when we see you.

Pleased to hear you are fairly well, as we are as well at the present time.

So no more for the present. From Brother, Sister and Nephew – T.H.and S (Thomas, Hannah and Shep) Wragg

p.s. if any of the children or grandchildren would like to come and you care to bring them, shall be pleased for you to do so.

Hazelbadge Hall is now a private residence, all of the smaller farm parcels including Netherwater and Intake farms were sold off.  The Hall was last in the hands of Thomas (cousin to Isaac Arthur) and Eliza Fox's children -  a brother and two sisters who never married.  Samuel Bagshaw was the son, his grave is shared with his parents and brother (first thumbnail picture above).  Thomas's sisters Emma and Fanny are laid to rest with their parents, Samuel (John Fox's older brother) and Rebecca in the second thumbnail.

The tenant farmers of Hazelbadge bought the land and buildings in the mid-twentieth century from the Fox family estate.  Much of the outside is unchanged; the original wooden staircase inside remains in use.