The English Towns of the Dickinson Family
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.


The whole of England is only 50,516 square miles, which is close to our state of New York (49, 576 sq.miles), and Michigan is 7,700 square miles larger with 58,216 sq. miles. Some of the early English Colonies were 8,257 square miles (Massachusetts) and 5,009 square miles (Connecticut). The Pilgrims traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World(Hammond's World Atlas)). The Roman Legions were said to have marched about 25 miles per day. A horse with one rider could make 40 miles per day.


Kingston-Upon-Hull (Humberside) is located on the River Hull and Humber. Originally the homes were made of wood. Later on, the houses were made of brick and the streets paved with a durable sone which acted as ballast in the whaling ships that traveled back and forth to Iceland. Kingston-Upon-Hull is in East riding in the county of York. Kingston-Upon-Hull was originally a 12th century trading settlement known as Wyke-Upon-Hull. The seaport of Wyke was promoted by the Cisterian Abbey of Meaux from at least the last years of the twelfth century. It changed its name when it was acquired from the abbots of Meaux, in Heilderness, France, to whom the property belonged. Then it was owned by Edward I in 1293, and received its first Royal Charter in 1299 upon completion of the harbor. It was King Edward's town, thus the name changed from Wyke-Upon-Hull to "Kings Town," or Kingston-Upon Hull.

In 1316, vessels began to sail between Hull and Barton. In 1326, the town was fortified. By 1331, the town was prosperous enough that Sir William de la Pole (d. 1366) was elected as its first mayor. In the reign of Edward III, it had sixteen sailing ships and 450 men who helped the king in the invasion of France.

Kingston never had a proper supply of fresh water, and in 1376, the people of Hessle, Anlaby, Cottingham, and other of their neighbors conspired to withhold their shipments of water to Kingstown (Kingston). Today Edward III's statue can be seen near Victoria Pier. The town was enclosed and fortified in 1321, with a moat and walls of brick. Holy Trinity Church was one of its earliest churches. In 1384, Sir Michael de la Pole founded Charter House Hospital. This hospital was destroyed during the English Civil War, and rebuilt in 1780. Now it is an old folk's home.

In 1416, Gregg's hospital was founded in 1416 (for twelve poor women), and in 1550 another hospital known as Harrison's hospital was founded in 1550 (for ten poor women). In 1443, Kingstown-Upon-Hull was divided into six wards. There is a cavern located near the town at Kirkdale. The grammar school was established in 1496, by Dr. Alcock, a native of Beverly. He was also the Bishop of Rochester, Worchester, and Ely in succession. In 1527 and 1549, the Humber River flooded the town. In 1534, Hull was made the see of a bishop, whose palace stood on Highstreet. This office was abolished upon the death of Edward VI. Henry VIII visited Kingstown-upon-Hull, in 1541. Henry ordered the cutting of a new ditch from Newland to Hull, and repairs to Suffolk Palace.

The Trinity House was originally founded here in 1457, and rebuilt in 1753. In 1589, the whalers took two ships to Greenland, which continued, bringing by-products of the whaling industry to the town.

Charles I came to Hull in 1642 to take possession of some arms and munitions. On his arrival at the gate of the town, the city gates were locked by Sir John Hotham, the governor, who shouted from the walls that he was acting on the orders of Parliament. Charles declared Sir John a traitor. He and his sons were put in the tower accused of treachery by Parliament in 1643. These were very fickle times. The tables had turned after Sir John changed his mind four times about welcoming the king to Hull. The White Harte Inn, off Silver Street, was Sir John's home.

In 1682, the chapel was founded in Trinity House, by William Robinson, Esquire, the Sheriff of Hull.


Leeds was anciently called Loidis. Leeds became a royal village after the destruction of the ancient Cambodunum by Cadwalle, a British prince; and Penda, King of Mercia. During the reign of William the Conqueror, Ilbert de Lacy erected a castle in Leeds. This castle was besieged by King Stephen, on his way to Scotland.

Leeds was a prominent seat of wool manufacturing. The house here were later made of brick and had white slate roofing. The River Aire passes through the southern borders of the town and could easily be navigated to the Humber River.

The town of Leeds was chartered in the reign of Charles I and the charter was renewed by Charles II.

The manor of Whitkirk is in Leeds. This manor originally belonged to the Knights Templars. There is a ruin of Kirkstall Priory, which was founded in 1152 by the Cisterians. The Cisterians had ties to the Knights Templars.


The city of Ely is on the island of Ely in Cambridge County. Its Saxon name was Elig which comes from Elge meaning an eel. Ely was originally an island in an undrained marsh.

Ethelreda, daughter of King Anna, the King of the East Angles, founded a monastery in Ely in 673. This monastery would house both nuns and monks. Ethelreda dedicated herself to the monastic life and was the monastery's first abbess, even though she was married to Egfrid, King of Northumberland. The monastery was destroyed by the Danes in 870.

Ely's Cathedral was restored in 1250 with Purbeck marble on the east end. In 1321, Alan of Walsingham supervised the building of the Lady Chapel. The central tower collapsed the next year (1399, they made an octagonal lantern, lodged on light oak pillars. A public school was established there by Henry VIII.

The River Ouse is nearby Ely and it leads to Lynn. In 1541 Henry VIII founded a school and Cathedral in Ely.


Dewesbury is the English parish name that is listed in American Source Records in England. This was the town tht Philemon Dickerson left behind to become a colonist in Salem, Massachusetts. Philemon is listed as a passenger on the Mary Anne of Yarmouth, sailing with Master William Goose, and his uncle Benjamin Cooper. The Coopers were married to the Dickinsons from early times.

Dewsbury Parish included:

Dewesbury came from Dui, the diety of the Brigantes.

Edwine, King of Northumbria had a royal mansion in Dewsbury. His wife was Ethelburga, a Christian. Edwine's entire court was converted to Christianity in 627.

The town of Dewsbury is located at the base of a hill rising from the River Calder. Thus allowing the Dickinsons to have another river route to get from one of their holdings to another. The canals connect to Liverpoll, Manchester, Rochdale, Halifax, and Wakefield to the Humber River and Kingston-Upon-Hull. Dewsbury is known for its manufacturing of blankets, carpets, and woollen cloth. Coal mining is another resource.


In the Americas, people moved hundreds, or thousands, of miles, even in our colonial days, when the only roads were old Indian trails. In England, many of the faithful went on Crusades to Jerusalem and traveled between England and France during the 11th century (with the Norman Conquest), and before. Later on many Royals moved between the courts in France and England as was their habit. Does anyone want to guess how many miles it was from England to Jerusalem? Many landed individuals had land in all English counties, and they indeed moved between these holdings throughout the year. Their country homes were often far from their city homes, and we can be sure that births, deaths, and marriages occured during these travels.

Nevertheless, the Dickinsons lived in Kingston-on-the Hull [Humberside], Yorkshire, England, for ninety-one (91) years, before traveling 42 miles to Leeds, Yorkskire. England, where they stayed for one hundred and two (102) years. They traveled 42 miles to Bradley Hall and stayed there for 47 years. Finally they traveled 100 miles to live in Ely, Cambridge, England for 132 years before leaving for Massachusetts. A total of 100 miles in 325 years.

In my own Dickerson family they moved from Dewsburg Parish, West Riding, York County, England to Salem, Massachusetts; from other Massachusetts towns to Long Island, New York; to Goshen (Orange County, NY) to Gorham (Ontario County, NY) to Sumpter Township, Wayne County, Michigan, and finally to Northville, Michigan.

My great-great grandfather George Crysler took his cattle to market from Schoharie to Albany, New York (near 100 miles); and did it mostly on foot. Later, he traveled from Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York to Buffalo via cart or stagecoach. Then he took the Erie Route to Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan; and walked from Detroit to Sumpter Township, Wayne County, Michigan (30 miles) on foot, to visit his son Martin Crysler. He made this trip more than once, and similar visits were made in the opposite direction. I think we can safely say that the Dickersons could have done the same.



FTM CD#270 Gazetteer of England and Scotland. Broderbund.

FTM CD#364 American Source Records in England. Broderbund.


Dickinson Coat of Arms
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This page was last updated on July 30, 2011.