The history of the Phethean family
Introduction and existing status
Much of the original Phethean family tree is based on the information compiled by Florrie Phethean (1884-1965) together with information accumulated by Kathy Phethean. It has long been assumed that the oldest known direct ancestor of existing Phethean families was Josiah Phethean of Dunham Massey, Cheshire (1671-1741) who is buried in Bowdon Parish Church, Cheshire. Josiah was servant to the 2nd Earl of Warrington at Dunham Massey House for 41 years, as recorded on his gravestone in the churchyard
Josiah has been attributed with a son Joseph of Dunham who was alive in 1717 since the births of his children are recorded in the fly-leaf of an old book as reported in B.T. Barton’s “Historical Gleanings of Bolton & District, Vols 1-3 1881-1883” :
“Memoranda, that Sarah, ye daughter of Joseph and —– (here not readable) Phethean, was born on Sunday, about 2 o’clock in ye morning, December ye 29th, 1717, and baptized on January ye 17th following. Joseph Phethean was born August ye 3d, about halfe an houre after 9 in ye morning, and baptized ye 20th of 7th instant, 1721. Josiah Phethean was born August ye 30th betwixt 12 and 1 in ye morning, and baptized Sep. Ye 20th, 1724. John Phethean was born March ye 19th, and Thomas in a quarter of an houer after him in 1729, about two in ye ye morning and received private baptizm ye same day.”
The Josiah (b1724) mentioned above is commonly referred to as Josiah of Breightmet (Lancashire). It is from this line that the Phetheans of Bolton are descended and this person is a key to some of the later interpretation of the family history. There is no absolute proof that his father Joseph was indeed the son of Josiah of Dunham Massey although this has been assumed for a long time partly because “the dates seem to fit”.