This page is dedicated to the history of the branches of the Sayer family from North Yorkshire.

A number of potential origins exist for the various branches of the Sayer name, but there was certainly a prominent Norman family of this name, well documented in various parts of the country. A brief outline of the potential origins and distribution of the name is attached. 

From the end of the 14th century, records exist of the Sayer family of Worsall in North Yorkshire, a reasonably significant landed family with property and manors recorded in Seamer, Maltby, and Great Broughton in Cleveland and Marrick (manor and priory), Colburn, and Clints in Gilling West wapontake. The family were Catholic recusants, and their fortunes appear to have failed during the Commonwealth period, with the sequestration of various estates and the termination of the main male line with the marriage of the heiress Dorothy Sayer to William Bulmer. There are references to the family in the Victoria County History and in 'High and Low Worsall, Milestones to the Millennium', produced by the Worsall Local History Research Group in 2000. 

The late John Pearson Sayer (JPS, 1901-1984), a descendant of the London branch of the Sayers (originally from Middleton-on-Leven in North Yorkshire), carried out extensive research into the history of the Sayer family in North Yorkshire and elsewhere. His work was partially published in the 'Catholic Ancestor' in 1988-1990, but much of it remained in the form of a manuscript archive, latterly in the custody of Harry Sayer of Cumbria. Recent work by current family researchers has succeeded in transcribing and scanning much of the archive, and the core of JPS's work is now available here for the benefit of the broader research community. The work includes details of the early Worsall line and of a range of Sayer families originating in the north-east including those of Barnard Castle, Croft, JPS's own branch in Finchley (London), and Richmond (Surrey, from the Durham / Worsall line).

Harry Sayer's own research has augmented and expanded upon that of JPS in certain areas, and in addition to the principal lines covered by the JPS archive, further details exist for the branches of the family in Bowes, Great Ayton, Guisborough, Hutton Rudby, Osmotherley, Romaldkirk, Wensleydale and Whitby. A Sayer line in Hutton Bonville near Northallerton has also been researched, by Laurel Sayer. It seems likely that a number of these lines connect to the Sayers of Worsall, and in several cases apparent lines of descent exist. 

The John Sayer who married Hannah Shaw in 1761 at Kirby in Cleveland probably links to one of these families, and his descendants multiplied in the area, spreading to Stokesley and thence to Hinderwell and Loftus. An outline of the top of this tree and the connections of the various researchers is attached.


There are connections to the Sayers of Worsall in the Smyth family tree.


Anyone interested in further details of this branch of the Sayer 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 14 May 2010 About this website ...