The Hugills of North Yorkshire

Updated July 29, 2010

Our HUGILL line were sheep farmers who emigrated from Norway hundreds of years ago. They may have travelled from Bergen, Norway. They ended up residing for generations in Bilsdale, North Yorkshire, at Urra and farms Hastiebank and Hue Hill and later in the early 1700s at a farm called Ellermire in Bilsdale Midcable (Ryedale). Ellermire is near Chop Gate, on the Stokesley to Helmsley road, running north-south through Bilsdale, North Yorkshire.

Ellermire consisted of two residences, both of which were occupied by HUGILL families in the 1700s and 1800s.

Our HUGILLs spread out from Ellermire into occupied other farms in the area - 'Northwoods' is one. Some moved further north to Sockburn area, which is at a U bend in the River Tees, where I know of two farms that were occupied by HUGILL families, one named simply Sockburn Farm, another one was Haggit Hill Farm.

CANADA: Farming in North Yorkshire was a tough life - high outgoings, low income. Some of our HUGILL ancestors emigrated 1846 to Canada and became successful loggers in Ontario area.

My Great-Great-Grandfather Jonathan James - born 1823 at Ellermire (son of William HUGILL and Sarah BARKER) - moved to 'find a better life' in the late 1800s to a place now no longer of that name, Bishopwearmouth, in North East England
He became a Master Poultry Dealer and remained there and so, for the rest of his life.

My Great-Grandfather George Wass - born 1870 at Ellermire (son of Jonathan James HUGILL and Sarah Jane WASS) - was only a baby when the family left for Bishipwearmouth. By the time he was 20 years old he had joined the Durham County Constabulary and lived and served in Jarrow and other towns sprinkled around the North East. Upon retiring from the police force, he became a Miller at Hallgarth Mill, a corn mill near Pittington, Co Durham. Tragically, only four years later in 1923 he lost his life at the cogs of the mill wheel. He is buried at Hallgarth Church, Pittington. His funeral was a grand affair, well attended and incorporating a host of the Police Force; and resided over by the Rev. Alexander Boddy, a prominent figure in the church. Hallgarth Mill has many eerie stores to tell, a jinxed building by all accounts. It no longer exists.

My Grandfather Jonathan James - born Gateshead 1904 (son of George Wass HUGILL and Sophia Lucetta KAY), started as a blacksmith down the pit. He like his father went on to join the Durham County Constabulary. He was an extremely self motivated man who pushed himself to achieve and he subsequently rose in the ranks from Constable to Sergeant, to Chief Inspector to Superintendent. He was deeply involved in creating a successful traffic system for Durham City and people sought his advice far and wide - even to the far reaches of Australia. After retiring he established a family haulage business in Stockton on Tees area. Who knows to what further heights he might have risen had he lived. Sadly he died of a heart attack on the golf course at age only 62 (1967).


My father James - born Sherburn Hill 1931 (son of Jonathan James HUGILL and Rebecca WHITFIELD) was a fighter pilot in the RAF, joining at age 18 and serving for twenty years. Another keen golfer, who won many cups. His mother also...she was Captain of the ladies team at Eaglescliffe Golf Club.

After retiring from the RAF my father took up the position of Court Officer in the Court Section of Leeds Social Services. He died age 76 in 2007.

AUSTRALIA: Grandfather's brother Joseph William HUGILL (bn 1905), emigrated in 1924 with 'but a bean in his pocket', to Australia. he probably worked as a Shearer working his way south perhaps. But by 1931 he had arrived at Wando Bridge near Casterton and by 1937 through his good reputation as a hard worker, he was 'head-hunted' to work for the residents of Ardno East, Strathdownie, VICTORIA.

He married on 15 March 1953 his employer, a widow who now ran her family's homestead, named Isabella Elizabeth GAMMON n
Alison Hugill


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