The Grisdale family originally came from Matterdale in Cumbria but has spread all over the world. The vast bulk of Gridales or Grisedales, wherever they now are, will find their ancestry in Matterdale. There might be some Grisdales who originally came from Grisdale/Grisedale in Yorkshire  but I have yet to find one definite case of this

The place ‘Grisdale’ from which the family name comes means “Valley of the Pigs”. The specific Cumberland Grisdale in question was most probably the present Mungrisdale, west of Penrith and just north of Matterdale, see: https://grisdalefamily.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/which-grisdale-did-the-grisdales-come-from/

This blog is open to anybody who has an interest in this family.

If you want to contribute a story to this blog  just post a comment or email me and I’ll give you access.


Email: slewis57@gmail.com

  1. Gordon Barry Grisdale, "Barry" says:

    Hello Stephen:
    I just discovered your blog today so I haven’t read all of the entries but I have enjoyed very much the ones I have read.
    I am descended from the Thorold (Port Robinson) Grisdales. I, previously, was sure the Peterborough Grisdales were from a different migration but you surely seem to have your facts down!
    I live about two hours from Thorold in Uxbridge Ontario. My brother, Brad Grisdale, lives near Croydon in England and my son Josh Grisdale lives in Japan. The migration has started again. Are you near Matterdale?

    I look forward to reading the rest of your blog, and I have subscribed so I’ll get new entries as you add them.
    Thanks for the interesting stories and information.

    Barry Grisdale

  2. Janice Martin says:

    Found this information very interesting. I am descended from Thomas Grisdale b. Sep 1639 (my 9x Grandfather) through his daughter Anne who married John Martin. Now married to a Martin myself My maiden name was Walker.

    Janice Martin

  3. Penny Minter says:

    Hello Stephen, Barry Grisdale forwarded me the link to your blog. Thank you so much for some very interesting material on the Canadian Grisdales. Margaret Ann Grisdale was my great-grandmother. After the Fenian Raids, the County of Welland presented medals to the members of the Welland Field Battery. I have the medal which was presented to Gideon. I could never make the connection between the two Gideons, but, thanks to you I can now do so. After I make some corrections in my Grisdale file, I will send what I have to you.

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Hello Penny

      It’s great that you have the medal! Do you have a photo?

      Glad you found my little pieces enjoyable and helpful. I look forward to seeing what you have.


  4. Angela Faunch says:

    Hi Stephen
    I was very interested to find your blog when researching Matthew Grisdale. I’m a direct descendant of Matthew Grisdale of Whitehaven, featured in your article of 19 November, through Thomas (1792), Matthew (1834), and William Thomas (1861) – my great grandfather. I had established that Matthew’s parents were Solomon Grisdale and Ann Lowther but wasn’t too confident beyond that point. I’m also interested to read the Gold Rush story as I believe Matthew (1834) also sailed to Melbourne in 1853 but returned to Liverpool following the death of his father in 1856 (an appeal was posted in the Times and a Melbourne paper by Liverpool solicitors).
    Thanks for the comprehensive tree on Ancestry too!
    Angela Faunch (nee Grisdale)

  5. Bridget says:

    Hi Stephen
    Your blog is fascinating, and corroborates much of what I have found about my Grisdale ancestors. I am a direct descendant of Robert Grisdale (1775-1840) via his son Robert. I have scanned some of Bishop John Grisdale’s letters if you are interested?

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Hello Bridget,

      Great to hear from you. I’ve been wanting to write Bishop John’s story for some time and I will in January. So yes I’d love to read some of his letters. My email is on the home page. Where do you live?

      And thanks for the nice words. I’m directly descended from the family as well.


  6. George William " Bill" Grisdale says:

    Hi Stephen, Just read the article about “Boys Done Good” wherein you mention that Jonathon and John were the forth and fifth children of John. Would you have any information on their 7 other siblings? My grt. grandfather x 2 was Joseph Grisdale b. 1830 Bolton and his grand son ( George ) my grandfather and his 3 sisters ( who lived in Philadelphia, Pa. ) always refered to the Norristown Grisdales as cousins.
    Any help would be appreciated,

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Hello Bill

      Well they certainly were cousins. I’d have to calculate of what degree. Joseph (b 1830) was the son of George Grisdale and Elizabeth. He was born in 1808 in Bolton the son of Thomas Grisdale and Elizabeth Crossley. Thomas was born in Matterdale in 1772. He was the son of the founder of this line called Joseph Grisdale (1729-1806) and his wife Ann Temple who lived in Dockray, Matterdale. I can go further back if you wish. If you drop me an email (see home page) I’ll send you more. PS who was your grandfather’s father?


      • George William " Bill" Grisdale says:

        Wow Stephen, The rapid response. My Grandfather’s father was George William Grisdale b. 1853 Bolton and his mother was Mary Kirkman b. 1847 Ainsworth . from what I found his father was Joseph b.1830 Bolton have not been able to go any further. Have extremely rough family history of the Norristown, Pa. Grisdales that was given to me from Anne Grisdale who was a wife of a John Grisdale who was a grandson ofthe late Johnathon Grisdale b.1832.

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Bill Did you find what you needed? If not send me an email and I’ll send you full details.



  7. paul sta.ding says:

    I’m descended from Joseph grisedale born 1834 in lazonby Cumberland I’ve managed to trace my line back to 1632 to matterdale

    • Susi Cowley says:

      Hi Paul

      I am descended from the Grisdales of Lazonby too. My great grandfather Thomas Grisdale was born there. He later became Police Constable of Saddleworth in 1860. Saddleworth was in Yorkshire then but is now in Lancashire since the boundary was changed. Would you like to exchange information?

  8. David Taylor says:

    Hi Stephen.

    I’m so glad I have stumbled across your Grisdale site while trying to fill in some blanks in the Grisdale/Rakestreye section of my family tree. I’ve enjoyed reading all the stories and never realised that some of the Grisdales did such exciting things.

    Symond Grisdale is my 10th great grandfather and my 2nd great grandmother, Betsy Wilson was born at Dowthwaite Head in 1859 before moving to my home town of Kirkby Stephen in about 1880. Almost 300 years separated them so they were pretty much “heafed” in Matterdale for all that time. I myself now live in Penrith so I’m still very “local”.

    Thanks for your efforts to get all this information in one place.


    David Taylor

  9. Nicky Austin says:

    Hello Stephen

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog and looking at your tree on Ancestry. My interest stems from my great, great grandmother Elizabeth Dawson who lived at Dowthwaite Head as a child (1871 census). Grisdales seem to appear in her family tree further back according to other people’s trees on Ancestry and I wonder how long my ancestors were actually at Dowthwaite? Elizabeth married a Rutland man and moved back to Rutland shortly after marriage. I believe the Earl of Lonsdale had estates in Rutland as well as at Lowther Castle and that is how some of my Rutland ancestors spent time in Westmoreland although I don’t know the exact reason for them making the journey north. Best guess is there was work available as gamekeepers which is what my family mainly did.


    • Stephen Lewis says:


      Well the Dawsons mostly came from Matterdale End from 1600 till about 1800. I’m sure you can trace your line easily back to them. In the 1600s there were two Dawsons marrying Grisdales. Have a look also at the Chamberlain Dawsons, the elder was a bailiff, the younger features on my blog about Walking to London. I haven’t looked at the Dawsons in detail but I’ll be happy to help. Maybe drop me an email?


      • Stephen Lewis says:


        I had a quick look and it seems Joseph Dawson was the first to farm at Dowthwaite in circa 1841. Then you go back to the family farming in Troutbeck and Matterdale End and then back to the two Lancelot Dawsons in Watermillock. The second of whom married Dorothy Grisdale.


    • Sheila says:

      Hi Nicky, Just reading Stephens link here and read about your family of Dawsons, my wifes family are Dawsons from Matterdale and gamekeepers from Lowther, Her Grandad was Joseph Hebson Dawson who left Lowther to be gamekeeper at Sizergh nr Kendal. We did trace her family to the Rusland area, small world, regards.

  10. Andy says:

    Hi Stephen, have been investigating my family tree for a while and thanks to the Blog about the Liverpudlian Chairman of West Ham found some more information about my relatives, it was very interesting and finally put a bit more detail on the names and dates i’d discovered to date. On my mothers side Joseph Grisdale in the Blog is the brother of Lowther my great grandfather with Matthew being my great great grandfather. Incidently Lowthers son, also Lowther, worked at West Ham at a later date. I look forward to reading more of your Blogs in the near future and feel sure more of them will include some of my relatives. I would like to say a big thank you for posting all this information.

  11. Brian Kirkman says:

    Regarding Mary Kirkman 1847 married George William Grisedale.
    Could you tell me please who her parents were & where they were married. I am compiling a database of Kirkman marriages & have that one in 1873 q2. but no further info. Thanks

  12. Kay winnard says:

    Hello Stephen, thank you so much for this page it has helped me no end and is so fantastically done, a labour of love I’d say! I am descended from benjamin grisdale the collect of taxes through his daughter Frances who married a heylin. He was my 4th great grandfather, it’s interesting as the grisdale name was in the family as a middle name until my grandfathers generation, I went to hensingham and found the grave, well hidden but well worth the search! Thank you so much for all your hard work.

  13. Teresa says:

    Hello, Stephen–

    This blog is wonderful — I have just discovered it, and am beginning to read the stories. They do so much to bring the lives of our ancestors to life! My mother was a Grisdale, descended from Wilfred Grisdale and Eliza Tobin, two of the Grisdales who moved from Canada to Michigan. I look forward to reading more of your stories, and getting to know all my ancestors a lot better. Plus it will be really helpful in untangling my family tree, what with all those traditional Grisdale names that they liked to use over and over again!
    Thank you again for all your work!

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Glad you like it. If you send me your email I’ll give you access to my ancestry tree and you can go straight back to 1600 and before. Wilfred the immigrant had a brother called William who is my 3x great grandfather.


      • Teresa says:

        Stephen —
        My email address is: tmbrandell4@gmail.com. Thank you for all the wonderful work on the family! I have a great old photo that I think you might enjoy — Eliza Tobin Grisdale and a couple of her sons in front of their farm. Not sure how the best way is to send it to you or post it — any suggestions?

      • Stephen Lewis says:


        Love to see the photo. My email is on the blog.

        Thanks again for your comments


  14. Teresa says:

    Oops — guess I should have sent this another way — sorry!

  15. Maureen Grosdale says:

    You have given me so much interesting history re my great grandfather Bishop Grisdale, I thank you for this!


  16. ed waller says:

    Hello. My name is Edward Joseph Waller. I live in Prince George,B.C. Canada. My grandfather was a Joseph Grisedale,he had a brother Ernie in Vancouver as well as a brother we called Jerry. My mother was Mary Grisedale. She has a second cousin who was also Mary Grisedale who is still alive in the UK. I had a chance to visit her and her son again last year. If we are the same family I do have access to more info.Thanks. Hope to chat soon.

  17. Ang says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I came to your site when trying to find out more about Thomas Robinson, Miller of Kings Meaburn, who was attacked near Shap, and you have a wonderful account of the incident! Thanks! If its OK I may share it with others in the Robinson Tree, though obviously will reference your work. My husband is descended from Thomas’s brother Mathew Robinson, miller of Sockbridge Mill. Theres an abundance of history with this family too! We still live in the area, I was born in Penrith, so reading all your stories is fascinating! And the icing on the cake is the Young Rascals! My all time favourite 60’s song! Thank you!

  18. Robert Winchester says:

    Hello Stephen, I see Richard John Seddon, who is a former prime minister of New Zealand, coming up in the Grisdale etc tree. Is there a link between Seddon and the Grisdales?

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Robert Just this, the mother of my grandfather was Agnes Grisdale, his wife was May Seddon. Stephen

      • Robert Winchester says:

        Richard Seddon had a daughter Elizabeth May, born in New Zealand in 1880 but that is the only May I can find just with a quick look. Seems unlikely to be yours.

  19. Christine Brearley says:

    Hello Stephen.
    I had to go far back to find my Grisdale!
    She was Ann Grisdale, born 20th November 1701 in Matterdale, daughter of Joseph Grisdale born 1665 and Agnes Dockray born 1678.
    I am delighted to have found your blog, really interesting. Thank you!

  20. Penny Minter says:

    Hi Stephen, I thought you might find it interesting that I have donated the Fort Erie Medal which was given to Gideon Grisdale after the Battle of Fort Erie during the Fenian Raids of 1866 to the Canadian War Museum. They did not have this particular medal which was awarded to members of the Welland Canal Field Battery. I believe I sent you a photo of the medal previously.

  21. Hana Grisdale says:

    Hi Stephen, I am the daughter of John Grover Grisdale – twin brother of Philip Grisdale who died in the Spitfire in World War 2.
    Great to read your blog – so fascinating – I have very little knowledge about my family, so am very happy to come across it.
    Hana Grisdale.

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