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Farrar Roots in England

Regardless of whether the American boys who fought in WWII were born to immigrants who were recent arrivals or into an ancestral line of immigrants who arrived in America long ago, they were all American patriots fighting for the same thing. They all stood together united in the same cause.

George Edwin Farrar was one of the boys whose family arrived in America long, long ago. Our immigrant ancestor of the Farrar line, Captain William Farrar, arrived in America in 1618. William’s wife Cecily and her father arrived even earlier, in 1610.

Dad’s paternal ancestry can be traced fourteen generations (fifteen for me) and more than a half century back to Henry Ferror I of Midgley, Halifax Parish, Yorkshire, England.

Midgley is about thirty miles northeast of Manchester, one hundred fifty miles northwest of Grafton Underwood, and a little over two hundred miles northwest of London. I don’t think my father was aware of the specific location of his roots in England at the time he was stationed at Grafton Underwood with the 384th Bomb Group, but he likely had English relatives nearby.

Dad’s and my ancestor, Henry Ferror I, was the original owner of Ewood Manor or Ewood Estate in Midgley from 1471. Ewood was subsequently the home of the Farrar family for over four hundred years. Henry and his wife (whose name is unknown) raised fifteen children at Ewood.

Ewood Manor

All of the children have not been identified due to loss of records, but it is believed that Bishop Robert Ferrar (listed in Foxes’ Book of Martyrs) was born around 1502 at Ewood and was possibly a son of Henry Ferror I. Bishop Ferrar was educated at Cambridge and Oxford where he received his Doctor of Divinity degree and was later appointed Bishop of St. David’s by King Edward VII in 1547. He died as a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary (known as Bloody Mary) on March 30, 1555, burned at the stake because he embraced the English Reformation.

Another one of Henry I’s sons, Henry Ferror II, who inherited Ewood in 1548, is the only other child of the fifteen identified and was next in the line of my father’s ancestry. He and his wife, Agnes Horsfall, had three children, and their oldest, William Ferror, continued our family’s lineage.

William Ferror inherited Ewood from his father and he and his wife Margaret Lacy Ferror raised six children there. Our line continued with their second child, who was known as John Ferror the Elder.

John Ferror was not only the second child, but was the second son of William and Margaret Ferror. Upon his father’s death, John’s older brother Henry inherited Ewood Estate. In 1610, Henry was stabbed to death by Justice Thomas Oldfield. He died before having children and Ewood Estate passed to John, keeping the ownership of Ewood in our lineage for the time being, although John didn’t live there. Henry’s widow continued to live at Ewood until her death. John Ferror, Esquire and his wife Cecily Kelke Ferror lived in London. John and Cecily had four children, all sons. Their third, William, continued our lineage.

William Ferror was our immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1593 in London, England. He was a barrister and immigrated to Virginia aboard the Neptune in 1618. The founder of the Farrar family in America, here he was known as Captain William Farrar.

William played an important role in the early development of the Virginia colony. He patented 2000 acres on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, known as Farrar’s Island. In 1622, ten people were killed at his home on the Appomatuck River during the Great Indian Massacre. William escaped to his neighbor Samuel Jordan’s home, known as Jordan’s Journey.

Jordan’s wife Cecily had arrived at Jamestown from England at the age of ten with her father in 1610 aboard the Swan. Samuel Jordan was her second husband, her first being a Mr. Baley. After the death of Samuel Jordan, Cecily married Captain William Farrar in 1625.

In 1626, Captain William Farrar was appointed by King Charles I as a member of the King’s Council. He served as Chief Justice of the county. Captain William and Cecily Jordan Farrar had two children, both sons, although some Farrar ancestral records state that they also had a third child, a daughter. William and Cecily’s first born son was our ancestor and was known as Colonel William Farrar. He was born about 1626 on Farrar’s Island.

Colonel William Farrar later inherited Farrar’s Island and he and his wife Mary had five children there. Our Farrar lineage in America continued in Virginia with William and Mary’s son, Thomas Farrar; Thomas’s son, William Farrar; William’s son, Joseph Farrar, who fought in the Revolutionary War; Joseph’s son, Charles Farrar, Sr.; Charles Sr’s son, Charles Farrar, Jr., who was born after his father died; Charles, Jr’s son, Ezekiel Baker Farrar; and Ezekiel Baker’s son, Charles Henry.

Charles Henry Farrar was born in 1837. He was seven feet tall, though he preferred to refer to his height as “six foot twelve.”

Two books record our lineage of Farrar ancestry, the original The Farrars, written by William B. and Ethel Farrar, and The Farrars Addendum, written by Clarence Baker Farrar, a grandson of Charles Henry Farrar. Between his book and a letter to my mother, Bernice Jane Farrar, Clarence provided some interesting information about Charles Henry Farrar.

During the Civil War, Charles Henry Farrar was a private in the Confederate army and on April 9, 1865, surrendered at Appomattox with Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant gave Charles Henry a horse and he rode south from Appomattox one day, spending the night on the banks of the Staunton River on the farm of the widow Johnson (Mrs. William Brent Johnson) and her six and a half year old daughter, Martha Ann. Charles was hired the next day as men were a scarce commodity in the South after the Civil War.

In 1874, just before his thirty-seventh birthday, Charles Henry married Martha Ann, who was just a month past her sixteenth birthday. After the marriage, Martha Ann was sent off to finishing school in Danville, Virginia. The school was Miss Somebody’s Seminary for Young Ladies – now Fairfax Hall. After finishing school, Martha Ann returned to Charlotte Court House, Virginia. She bought a large Georgian house uptown, a home built by Patrick Henry called Villeview, for herself and Charles Henry.

At Villeview, Martha Ann bore Charles Henry eight children, though one was stillborn. In later years, the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where Charles Henry joined his brother, William Baker Farrar, in the lumber business in Dalton, Georgia. Martha Ann was unhappy over the move and lonely for home. She took the younger children, including my grandfather, Carroll Johnson, and returned to Virginia.

Martha Ann divorced Charles Henry and he remarried in 1907. He died three years later in 1910. Martha Ann married Dr. W.E. Michie, who was her childhood sweetheart. After Dr. Michie’s death, Martha Ann said that next time she married, she was marrying a Yankee. She had had two Southern gentlemen and that was quite enough. She died in 1915.

My Farrar lineage continued with the first Farrar generation in Atlanta, Georgia, with Charles Henry and Martha Ann’s son Carroll Johnson Farrar, my father’s father, my grandfather. He was born in 1888 and married Raleigh May George in 1909. They had nine children and their middle child and second son was my father, George Edwin Farrar.

George Edwin Farrar was born in 1921. In 1944, he found himself in England, on an American air base in Grafton Underwood. He was only one hundred fifty miles from Ewood Manor, but at the time didn’t know of its existence or significance to his family. As he stood on the English soil, perhaps he considered that this was the place his family came from and that it took a world war to bring him here, to the home of his ancestors. His stay in England was only a few short months and after many more months as a prisoner of war in Germany, after a year away, he was thankful to be back in his home in America.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018


  1. Carol Hamilton says:

    Hi Cindy, Just read the Farrar history on your website. We met at the Cousins’ Reunion a few years back. I’m Carol Hamilton, Dot Cobb’s daughter. Most of the information seems to come from the history of the Farrar family that I gave you at the reunion in the format of the Farrar lineage. Glad to see that you are sharing that information with others. I’ve done more research on the royal lineage of the Farrar’s from the time William Farrar married Margaret Lacy, whose family line goes back to William the Conqueror. Fascinating history.


    • Hi Carol. Of course I remember you. It’s nice to connect again. Yes, your Farrar history is invaluable. Thank you so much for sharing it. I, too, found more about our lineage on Through William Farrar and Margaret Lacy, we can trace our lineage back to Edward I, King of England, and his Queen Eleanor of Castile. They are our 23rd great-grandparents. The document is called The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants. Also of note is that Captain William Farrar’s wife Cecily (our immigrant ancestors and 9th great-grandparents) was an “Ancient Planter.” And if you want to go really far back you can trace King Edward I back to Charlemagne.


  2. Laurie Pearce says:

    Hi Cindy,
    I found a link to this page on Google, because I am interested in learning more about this family — as I am also descended from Thomas Farrar through his daughter Martha, who was my 6th great-grandmother. I would love to be in touch and find out how I can access other resources about our family. Thank you!

    Laurie Pearce


  3. Brad Campbell says:

    Greatly enjoyed reading this. I, too, am a descendant of the same Farrar family of Ewood. The original Henry you mention was my 15th great grandfather. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Ruth says:

    Hello Cindy, I’ve landed on your page as I was searching for information about Justice Thomas Oldfield as I live in his old stone barn (now converted into a house). I was shocked to find out that the owner (possible builder) of our house was a murderer! By complete coincidence my husband also used to live at Ewood Court as a child – very close to Ewood Hall which is now demolished. I’d be very interested if you had any more information on Justice Thomas Oldfield. I admit I’ve only just come to this by chance so I haven’t even begun researching myself.


    • Hi Ruth. Thanks for commenting. How interesting that your residence was owned by Thomas Oldfield and that your husband used to live so close to Ewood Hall. I hoped to visit Ewood Hall in 2019 when I was in England to see the home of my ancestors and sadly learned that it had been demolished when I was trying to locate it on a map. I didn’t have any further information about Oldfield, but just found a little info about him on this site: I’m going to copy it here in case you can’t access the website:

      Notes for HENRY FARRAR:
      Henry Ferror, the eldest son who inherited Ewood, became a very wealthy person and added many estates, manors, mills, etc. in Yorkshire and in Lancashire to his possessions. In 1584, he joined with Sir John Savile in the purchase of “lands in Methley and built Clubcliffe in 1588,”which he later sold. In 1598, he purchased of John Lacy of Brearley the lordship of the Manor of Midgley. He was one of the principle founders of Heath Grammer School in Skircoat, he with his brothers, John and Hugh, giving two acres of land for the school and “he himself obtaining at his own expense the charter of foundation from Queen Elizabeth.” (Dent, p. 14-15)
      As a Justice of peace he was very active in legal affairs, taking part in many lawsuits. He and John Lacy, also a justice, defied the Council of the North defending their rights as justices.

      In 1610, while in Westminster Hall, London, where he had been trying cases, he became involved in an argument with Thomas Oldfield, of Warley, another justice, was stabbed and died two days later. He was buried 6 July 1610 at St. Margaret’s in London. Oldfield was promptly tried and sentenced for the crime. (Dent, 15-16)

      Leaving no children, his brother John Farrer inherited all of his estates, including Ewood and the lordship of the Manor of Midgley. However, as Henry’s wife continued to live there until her death in 1623, John Farrer the elder did not occupy Ewood. (Dent 18)

      (“The Farrar’s Island Family and Its English Ancestry” by Alvahn Holmes, pp. 48-49)


      • Ruth says:

        Hi Cindy,

        Thank you, yes i’d found that article but it doesn’t say much more about him – I’m sure there will be a court record of the stabbing somewhere! How disappointing that you only found out about the house back in 2019. I know that there is a modern house on that site now and the original was decaying for many years before an architect bought it. Ewood Court is still intact (but split into 3 houses now).
        I’m intrigued that both Farrar and Oldfield lived here but worked in London – we’re a long way from London and travel would have been very slow. Farrar is still a common name around here – not so many Oldfields though. Feel free to get in touch if you come over as i know where most of the old houses are that are mentioned (lots of the names are slightly different spellings).


      • I was able to find some records listed in on Thomas Oldfield, but I do not have the type of membership that allows me to view international records. If there’s a UK version of Ancestry, you might try searching there. I knew about the house prior to 2019, but 2019 was my first trip to England and first chance to attempt to see it. I do hope to come over again one of these days, so I’ll have to get in touch with you when I start planning. It would be great to see the area and meet some of the British Farrar family.


      • Ruth says:

        Have you seen this picture of the Ewood Hall on Malcolm Bull’s website? It has lots of info on houses, people, battles etc.


      • I believe I have seen that photo on, but there is a lot of good information on Malcolm Bull’s website. Thank you.


  5. Debbie (House) says:

    Thank you for putting this information online. I descend from the William Farrar/Cecily as well. I descend from William Farrar/Mary’s son, William (III) then William (IV) and then Perrin Farrar. Through marriage, Farrar changed to Hancock, and then Collins, Monroe, and then House. The Monroes moved to Saskatchewan Canada where my Grandmother (Monroe) married into the House family. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Misty Farrar Cantrell says:

    Hello Cindy! Nice to meet you. Looks like we are also cousins. I would love to learn everything I can about my family history. I would appreciate any info you may have to share. Thank you very much for what info you have shared already! Very interesting!
    Have a blessed day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to meet you, too, cousin! Have you traced your lineage to Captain William Farrar and his wife Cecily? is a great place to set up a family tree and discover more about your lineage and family history. New information pops up there almost every day!


      • mistycantrell1975 says:

        Yes ma’am I have! They are my 10th great grandparents! I have traced back to Henry DeFerrers b.1036- d.1088 and wife Bertha D’Aigle b.1044- d.1095 which would be my 27th greats. So exciting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do not see Henry and Bertha DeFerrers in my Ancestry family tree, but do have quite a few Henry’s. I have more work to do there! Have you found the “Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants” document yet on Ancestry? It shows our ancestry through Captain William Farrar back to England’s King Edward I and his Queen Eleanor of Castile. I can send you a copy if you don’t have it.


      • mistycantrell1975 says:

        No ma’am I have not seen that document yet but I would love to! Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Emailing it to you! Thanks for connecting!


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