Born 20 Apr 1851 in Preston, Lancashire, England


castle voorblad

 The Tower of Arnot in Kinross-shire, Scotland




Several theories exist as to the origins of the name Arnett. One of these is that the Arnetts originated out of the the line of Arnulf de Montgomery, an Anglo-Norman who was part of the invasion of Wales in 11th century. He owned property in Wales and in England as far north as Yorkshire. In England the name Arnulf (Arnold) was eventually changed to Arnott and their descendants settled in parts of northern England and southern Scotland around County Fife.

A second version comes from the book ‘The Origin of English Surnames’ written by P.H. Reany. He claims that the name Arnett is a survival of the Old English personal names Earngeat (male) ‘eagle Geat’ (a tribal name) or Earng¯{dh} (female) ‘eagle battle’.

But the most likely explanation is from the old book ‘The Place names of Fife and Kinross’, written by W.J.N. Liddal in 1896:

 ‘Ard + cnoc = high hill. The high ground near  Arnot Tower is still termed the Knock of Arnot.’

  arnot surname

Our first ancestor found is William Arnot from Kirkham, Lancashire.  In documents relating to baptisms, marriages and burials the family surname is also spelt as Arnott, Arnet and Arnett. From his grandchildren’s generation, it stayed Arnett.

During the Medieval age, nobles took on the name of their estate, as many peasants took on the names of their village or a distinguishing geographical feature.

David Dobson shares the same view in his book ‘The Scottish Surnames of Colonial America’:

 arnot surname2

 According to records dating back to 1105, the original Arnot family appears to have settled early in the 12th on the lands of Arnot in Kinross, in the parish of Portmoak, about 1.5 km east of the village of Scotlandwell and 5 km west of the town of Leslie.

 Arnot Tower, Kinross-shire

 castle arnot

‘A tower was built in the early 1400s though earlier fortifications may have occupied the site. The building seen today was probably built in 1507 at a time when a charter was granted making the lands a barony for the Arnot family of that ilk. There was a spiral staircase running from a vaulted cellar in the south-east corner (now collapsed) and there was a hall above and two upper storeys. The Arnots abandoned their tower around 1700 and it subsequently became a ruin.’    


Variations of the name Arnot include the surnames Arnocht, Arnatt and Arnott Arnett, Arnet, Annetts and Ernot. In England the surname Arnett is predominately found in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Durham, and London.

Poverty has always been the main reason for Scottish emigration.  The harsh climate and rocky, ill-drained soil made it difficult for the cotters to feed their families. This is seen as one factor in the origins of the Highland Traveller (tinkers). These people left their unproductive crofts and took to the roads searching for a better life and an escape from famine.

Listed in the ‘The Traveller – Tinker – Gypsy Surname Index of Great Britain’ is the following:

  • ARNETT/ ARNOTT (Lancashire) (See Robert Dawson ARITF)
  • BUCK Family 1656 (Ref Journal of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society)

The wife of Timothy Arnett, born 1786, was Susanna Buck.  Could it be assumed that both of them descended from Highland Traveller families, even though Thomas was a weaver and Susanna’s father a butcher? Through the centuries a majority of Scottish Highland Travellers have settled down in areas in Northern England, e.g. Lancashire and both Thomas and Susanna’s families were from Preston, Lancashire.

An extract from Wikipedia:

‘The Highland Traveller community has a long history in Scotland going back, at least in record, to the 12th century as a form of employment and one of the first records of that name states a “James the Tinker” held land in the town of Perth from 1165-1214 and share a similar heritage, although are distinct from the Irish Travellers. As with their Irish counterparts, there are several theories regarding the origin of Scottish Highland travellers, one being they are descended from the Picts, excommunicated clergy, to families fleeing the Highland potato famine, or the pre-Norman-Invasion, have been claimed at different times.

They followed a nomadic or settled lifestyle; passing from village to village and are more strongly identified with the native Gaelic speaking population. Continuing their nomadic life, they would pitch their bow-tents on rough ground on the edge of the village and earn money there as tinsmiths, hawkers, horse dealers or pearl-fishermen. Many found seasonal employment on farms, e.g. at the berry picking or during harvest.’

 the tinker

A Travelling tinsmith (tinker) at work.



The first member of our line of the Arnett family that could be found is WILLIAM ARNETT (Arnot) a weaver from Kirkham, Lancashire. He married Ellen Greenhalds on 3 February  1779 in the St John Parish Church, Preston, Lancashire.

  w arnot marriage

 In the 15th and 16th centuries, Kirkham remained a small market town. But from the late 17th century the town grew into a thriving textile centre. From 1830 sailcloth was being woven in cottages in the town and later at the Flax Mill, built in 1861 by John Birley. Source: Wikipedia

 Church Street in Kirkham

Church Street in Kirkham with St Michael’s Church



In the mid-18th century, a writer said that Preston: ‘may for its beauty and largeness compare with most cities. For the politeness of the inhabitants, none can excel. Here are a handsome church and a town hall where the corporation meets for business and the gentlemen and ladies for balls and assemblies. Here is likewise a spacious marketplace in the midst of which stands a fine obelisk. The streets are neatly paved and the houses well-built of brick and slates. The town being a great thoroughfare (i.e. a stopping place on the main road to Scotland), there are a good many inns for the travellers. This town has a pretty good trade for linen yarn, cloth, cotton etc.’

Another writer, of the same period, said that Preston: ‘Lives chiefly by its being a great thoroughfare and by many families of middling fortune living in it’.’        Source: Tim Lambert

WILLIAM and ELLEN had the following children: (Sarah, William, Thomas)

1.  Sarah Arnet was baptised 14 March 1779 in the St Michael Parish Church, Kirkham. The family’s address is given as Ribby Road.

2.  William Arnet was baptised 25 December 1784 in the St Michael Parish Church, Kirkham. The family’s address is given as Ribby Road.

3.  THOMAS Arnet was born in 1786 in Preston, died on 9 June 1864 and was buried from the  St John Parish Church, Preston.

ribby road

Ribby Road, Kirkham

THOMAS Arnet, son of WILLIAM and ELLEN was born in 1786 in Preston, Lancashire. He married SUSANNA BUCK (also known as Susan), daughter of Timothy Buck and Mary Anderton on 26 December 1808 in St John, Parish Church, Preston. Susanna was born on 3 September 1786 in Preston, Lancashire, England. She was christened on 1 October 1786 in St John, Parish Church, Preston and must have died before 1841 as she was missing from that year’s census.

 thomas marraige

 At the time of the census the family lived in Charlotte Street, Preston and Thomas’ occupation is given as ‘weaver’ and his age as 55, born about 1786. Two of his surviving children, Robert and William were still living at home and his eldest son Timothy married and living in his own home with his family.

 charlotte street

Charlotte Street, Avenham, Preston 1963 – A panorama of the new constuction underway following the demolition of the old houses in Charlotte Street. St. James Church is seen right of centre




THOMAS and SUSANNA had the following children: (Timothy, Elizabeth, Sarah, Robert, William)

1.  Timothy Arnett was born 1817 and died in 1893. During the 1881 UK Census he was living at 26 Allen Street North, Preston, his age 64 and his occupation ‘brewer’.

timothy death

 Timothy married Elizabeth and they had 5 children; Anna, Thomas, Mary Ann,  William and Elizabeth.

2.  Elizabeth Arnott was baptised on 8 September 1819 in the St John Parish Church, Preston by the curate M. Mark The family’s address is given as Charlotte Street and the father’s occupation ‘weaver’.  She died in Preston aged 2 years and was buried on 13 July 1824 by A Hammond in the St John Parish Church cemetery, Preston.

3.  Sarah Arnott was baptised on 26 July 1822 in the St John Parish Church, Preston by the curate M. Mark The family’s address is given as Charlotte Street and the father’s occupation ‘weaver’.  She died in Preston at the same age as her little sister Elizabeth (aged 2) and was buried on 13 July 1824 in the St John Parish Church cemetery, Preston.

4.  ROBERT Arnot was baptised on 30 October 1825 in the St John Parish Church, Preston by the vicar R C Wilson. The family’s address is given as Charlotte Street and the father’s occupation ‘weaver’.

3. William Arnet was baptised on 6 July 1829 in the St John Parish Church, Preston by the curate P. Fraser. The family’s address is given as Charlotte Street and the father’s occupation ‘weaver’.  He died in 1893 in Preston.  William married Ellen Harrison, the daughter of James and Ellen Harrison on 1 October 1848 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. She was baptised on 24 February 1828 in the same church and died in 1902 in Preston at the age of 74 years. They had four children: Elizabeth, Thomas, Robert and Mary Ellen.

ROBERT Arnot (Arnett), son of THOMAS and SUSANNA was baptised on 30 October 1825 in St John, Preston, Lancashire. He married ELIZABETH PRIME MAY (also known as Eliza), daughter of Alfred May and Elizabeth Prime. Eliza was born on 3 December 1821 and baptised on 5 May 1822 in the Saint Peters-Independent Church, Maldon, Essex. She died in 1878 in Preston at the age of 56.

robert marraige

At the time of the 1881 Census the family Ellen had already passed away and Robert lived at 7 Stephenson Terrace, Preston with Emily, Eliza and Charles.  His occupation is given as ‘cashier’. Emily’s as ‘housekeeper’ and Charles as an ‘apprentice land surveyor’.

 st john church preston

The old St John Parish Church, Preston




ROBERT and ELIZA had the following children: (Anne, Thomas, Alfred, Eliza, Charles)

1.  Anne Arnett was baptised in the St John Parish Church, Preston on 20 April 1851 and died in 1906 in West Preston at the age of 55 years.  Her father was a ‘warehouseman’ and her family lived at West View, Ribbleton Lane, Preston.

2.  Thomas Hawker Arnett was baptised on 18 November 1849 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. He died a small baby. In the baptism record, it was noted that they live at Golden Square, Preston and his father a ‘warehouseman.’

3.  Alfred Arnett was baptised on 18 November 1849 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. The family lived at East View, Preston and his father a ‘warehouseman.’

4.  Eliza Arnett was baptised on 29 June 1860 in the St Luke Church, Preston by W. Winlaw. The family lived at 27 West View, Preston and her father a ‘warehouseman.’

5. Charles Arnett baptised on 21 August 1863 St Luke, Preston, Lancashire, England.

ANNE Arnett known as Annie), daughter of ROBERT and ELIZA was baptised on 20 April 1851 in the St John Parish Church, Preston, and died in 1906 at the age of 66 years. She married THOMAS Beck, son of WILLIAM BECK and ISABELLA HODGSON  on 12 October 1869 in the same church.  He was baptised by the curate E. Walker on 2 June 1844 in the St John Parish Church, Preston.

anne marraige








1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 UK census for Preston

Free State Archives: Marriage Certificate Annie Ward and Thomas Arthur Beck

Probate Court, Holborne, London: Will – Thomas Beck

Lancashire Birth, Marriage and Death indexes

OnLine Parish Clerks project for the County of Lancashire

Church registers: FamilySearch

The Traveller – Tinker – Gypsy Surname Index of Great Britain