This page is dedicated to the history of the branch of the Readman family from Whitby and Egton, North Yorkshire.

The names Redman and Readman probably have a number of origins, deriving from the occupational name 'reed-man' for a cutter of reeds, or from a nickname 'red-man', probably relating to someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion. The Redman variant of the name, while still fairly uncommon, is more widespread, with concentrations by 1881 in West Sussex, Bedfordshire and West Yorkshire. The uncommon Readman variant, however, has a marked concentration in the area of the North Yorkshire Moors around Whitby, and it seems likely that there may be a single local origin for this branch of the name. There is evidence that Cuthbert Readman, descendant of a Norman family from Yeland Redmayne in Cumberland, was settled in the Whitby area by the 1560's, and Mike Hutchinson has provided a useful review of the evidence concerning the early history of the name in the North of England.

The Readman family are recorded in Whitby from at least the beginning of the 17th century, with the family noted as Catholic recusants from as early as 1592 in the person of Wilstropp Redman of Borrowby, gentleman. While the family continued to flourish in Whitby down to the present, a notable branch also flourished in the nearby parish of Egton, where they feature prominently in the history of Catholicism in the area. An excellent overview of the local branches of the family is provided in J.L.O'Connor's book 'Hearts of Oak'.

A partial outline of the descendants of John Readman and Alice Walker (married in Whitby in 1630) is attached, although this remains very much a work in progress and focuses primarily on the branch of the family which moved to Egton. It draws on the work of a number of Readman researchers over the years, several of whom are indicated at the bottom of the tree. There are also a number of other local branches of the family which have been documented but are not yet connected to this central tree. A Thomas Readman married Isabell Hodgson at Lythe in 1712, and it would appear that their son Thomas (1716) married Mary Scott of Goathland in 1750 before fathering William (1758) who married Sarah Brand in Whitby in 1780. William and Sarah initiated a significant descendant line in Whitby which has been investigated by a number of researchers over the years. An initial outline of the tree has been attached, although this probably only represents part of the picture. Any connection to the early Whitby and later Egton trees still remains unclear. Paula Readman (a long-time researcher of the local Readman families) has also mentioned a secondary Egton Readman family and a fourth line in Lealholm.



Anyone interested in further details of this branch of the Readman family, or who is able to provide additional details relevant to this branch, is invited to contact the coordinator for this page Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007