NameRev. Christopher LAIDMAN, 2568, J1037
Birth1654, Bowes, YKS
Death11 Mar 1724
Death MemoBill of Complaint by John Green & Laidman Green re Will of Christopher Laidman
Burial14 Mar 1723/1724, Woodhorn, NBL
Born under Cromwell's commonwealth, Christopher Laidman was educated at Brignall, (a few miles east of Bowes, Yorks.) and St. John's College Cambridge from 1 June 1672 when he was 17. His tutor was Mr Sanderson. He matriculated in 1672 (as "Loydman"!), became a BA in 1675-6 and achieved an MA from Caius in 1686. Ordained a deacon on 21 May 1676, he was granted license to preach in Durham on 7 September 1682. He must have left Bowes and Yorkshire around this time as his son John was born in Whickham (Durham) in 1681. He was curate of Whickham 1684-1688 (1692?) (but what was he doing in Whickham between 1681 and 1684?) and vicar of Woodhorn from 17 June 1692 to 1724, where he was buried (Chr. Laidman 1692, p. mort. Allenson.--Will Simcoe, Cl. 11 Ap. 1724, p. mort. Laidman). The 68 years of his life spanned the reigns of five monarchs of England, from Charles II to George I.
Whickham is now a pleasant suburb to the south-west of Gateside (Durham), which has retained much of its village atmosphere. There are still many attractive 18C houses extant, built of light-yellow stone. The 15C or 16C church of Mary the Virgin lies on a small hill with a good view of Newcastle. There is a sundial over the south door dated 1651, under which Christopher must have walked countless times.
WOODHORN parish bounded on the north by Widdrington chapelry, on the west by Bothal and Ulgham, on the south by Bedlingtonshire, and on the east by the German Ocean. It is about four and three-quarter miles in length, by two and a
half in breadth, and comprises an area of 8,546 acres. The number of inhabitants in l801, was 1,208; in 1811, 1,172; in 1821, 1,378; in l831, 1,416; in l841, 1,618; and in 1851, 1,598 souls. The soil of this district is
generally fertile. The parish contains the chapelry of Newbiggin, and the townships of Cresswell, Ellington, Hurst, Linmouth, North Seaton, Woodhorn, and Woodhorn Demesne.
[From History, Topography, and Directory of Northumberland, Whellan, 1855]
The church of St. Mary in Woodhorn (mostly restored in 1842) has regrettably been turned by Wansbeck Council into a ‘museum’, housing unfortunate ‘arts and crafts’ items for sale. Although Christopher Laidman is correctly listed on a wooden plinth as being vicar here from 1692 to 1724, there is no monument to him in the church. This is surprising in view of his long incumbency, for there is a magnificent black marble slab in front of the altar in memory of his immediate predecessor, John Wolfall (1661-1692). Nor could I locate any graves housing a Laidman.
A chance discovery however in the church’s little publication has shed light on the children of the Rev. Christopher Laidman, and their social level. The parish records of baptisms show the godparents, and here are two examples:
1693 19th Sept. Baptised. Martha, Daughter to Christopher Laidman M.A., Vicar of Woodhorn.
Godparents: Sir William Bowes, Madam Elizabeth Clavering, Madam Jane Blackiston.
1695 30th Oct. Elizabeth, Daughter to Christopher Laidman.
Godparents: Mr Christopher Fenwick, Mrs D. Wolfall, Miss S. Cresswell.
The godparents are all ‘top’ families of the north east of England - and Sir William Bowes recalls the origin of the Laidmans from Yorkshire. He was father of George Bowes (1701-1760), the coal magnate. George Bowes’ daughter, Mary Eleanor, is the present Queen’s great-great-great grandmother. “Madam Elizabeth Clavering” (†1708) was the daughter of Sir William Middleton and wife of Sir James Clavering, 2nd Bt. (1668-1707), High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1703. “Madam Jane Blakiston” was Sir William Bowe’s wife Elizabeth’s sister. She was born about 1659 at Gibside (until then the Blakiston’s, but from 1727 the Bowes family home), and died before 1713. Gibside was in the parish of Whickham.
Christopher Laidman's apparently holograph will reads thus:
In the name of God, Amen. I Christopher Laidman of Woodhorn in ye County of Northumberland Clerk (being in health of body & of sound & p[...] minde & memory, for wch. God’s holy name be praised, yet). Considering ye Uncertainty of this present life & desireing to settle [...] & Love amongst those of my family after my decease, doo now make my Last Will & Testamt. in manner & form following. First & above all, I give my soul unto god who gave it me, hopeing thro ye merits of my blessed [Redeemer?] Jesus Christ, to obtain remission of all my sins & to be made partaker of ye kingdom of heaven: my body to be decently yntowr’d at ye discretion of my within named Executor, & for my wordly estate wch. god of his [...] goodness & mercy hath been pleas’d to bless me with I give & dispose of as followeth.
[...] I doo give to my son John Laidman All my Books & notes of sermons together wth. ye sum of one hundred pounds, to be paid in five years at ten pounds every half year viz. at Candlemas & Lamas by equall portions in each year, the first payment to be made at ye first of those terms or feasts it shall happen next after my decease.
Item. I doo give to my daughter Martha Foster ye sum of three hundred pounds to be put out under trust for ye use of herself & Children, if it please god to bless her with any.
Item. I give to my two Grandsons John Green & Laidman Green five pounds a piece to buy mourning.
Item. I give to ye poor of ye parish of Woodhorn, nowbiggin & Chappelry of Widdrington ye sum of five pounds, to be given as my Executor shall direct.
Item. I doo Leave all my grand Children, but more especially these two: viz: Christopher & Catherine Laidman to the kindness of my loving wife Catherine Laidman whom I doo hereby nominate Constitute & Appoint to be my sole & whole Executor & to whom I doo give all my goods & Chattels as well moveable as unmoveable my debts Legacies & funerall expenses being first discharged out of ye same. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty first day of October, in ye year of our Lord 1710.
Sealed signed published & derlivered[?] in ye presence of
Foster Christopher Laidman
28vo. Die Mensis Octobris 1727
Juratus fuit Robertus Dawson
Test coram me Joanne Cowling Jur.
Juratus fuit Joannes Laidman
filius Christopher Laidman
Patris defunctis coram [...]
ho 10e. Die Novembris 1727
Joanne Cowling Jur.
Christopher’s estate was challenged by his grandsons John (ID 11941) and Laidman Green (ID 2890), who alleged that their uncle, the Rev. John Laidman, “by vertue of the said Administrac(i)on, hath gott into his possession all the Bills, Bonds, Mortgages, and other Securitys for money due to the said Christopher Laidman & hath possessed himself of all other his personall Estate, and hath since enjoyed the same, and hath Sold and disposed of great Part thereof, and hath not to this day exhibitted any Inventory thereof into the Spiritual Court, which he ought to have done, or if he hath, the same is imperfect and full of great omissions”
See also note on John de Cross Laidman ID no. I2020
Birthca 1660, Durham, DUR
Death10 Apr 1723, Woodhorn, NBL
Burial4 Oct 1723, Woodhorn, NBL
FatherRev. Thomas MASON , 2685 (ca1635-1725)
Marriage3 Feb 1680/1681, Whickham, DUR
Marr Memoby licence
Durham Marriage Bonds 1594-1815, transcription supplied by Community Leisure Services, City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1DX, p. 308:
Feb 1 Laidman, Chris, Whickham, clk.
Mason, Margaret?, spr. [both Whickham, dir.
Mason, Thomas, [no sig], M A Rector, Whickham, clk.
1680/1 Feb 3 Christopher Laidman and Catherine Mason married wth a lic. - Whickham.
ChildrenJohn , 2545, K1007 (1680-1745)
Thomas (Died as Child), 2687, K1041 (1684-1692)
Jane (Died as Child), 2686, K1040 (bp. 1686-1692)
Mary (Died as Child), 2833, K1952 (1690-1700)
Martha , 2690, K1042 (1693->1725)
Elizabeth (Died as Child), 2695, K1043 (1695-1712)