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Branfoot John. born 1795

Letter from Jo Boutflower. Feb. 2020.

Hello Barbara,

I have recently begun researching my family history and found that my great x 3 grandfather was born in or near Kirkby Malzeard. He was John Branfoot, born 1795. His mother was Elizabeth Branfoot and her parents, John and Dorothy (nee Walker) lived at Foulgate Nooke where John was a charcoal burner.

I was particularly struck by the entry on your website about methodism because John, after an apparently dissolute youth, became a primitive methodist preacher. He married in Guisborough in 1821 and then seems to have travelled around the north east (and possibly the north west). He met a sad end in a railway accident and was buried at Sunderland.

John’s life before his arrival in Guisborough is a bit of a mystery and it would be interesting if anyone knows any more about the Branfoots. His mother, Elizabeth, may have married a John Smith of Skipton/Gargrave in 1796.

I’m also interested in the history of Foulgate Nooke. I know there is a present day Foulgate Nook Lane but I imagine, given the name and John senior’s trade as a charcoal burner, it wasn’t a very pleasant place once upon a time.

I’ve written a little more about John on my blog at


Jo Boutflower.

Report in the York Herald on 5th March 1831.



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