George Brown, Merchant-Weaver, and his ancestry

Burgess and Gild Brother entries


1724 Brown, John, weaver, B. and G.B. as eld. l son to dec James B., merchant, B. and G.B.  26 Aug.

1726 Brown, David, weaver, B. and G.B., as eld. l. son to dec. James B. merchant, B. and G.B. 27 July

1744 Brown, David, weaver, B. and G.B., as eld. l. son to Andrew B., weaver, B. and G.B. 20 Sept.

1748 Brown, George, weaver, B. and G.B. as eld l. son to James B., weaver, B. and G. B. 13 Sept.

1759 Brown, John, weaver, B. and G.B., as eld. l. son to David B., weaver, B. and G.B. 20 Sept

1769 Brown, George, merchant, B. and G.B., as younger l. son to David B., weaver, B. and G.B. 20 Sept.


The name ‘Cornelius Brown’ runs through the Brown weaving and manufacturing family, but George, married to Agnes daughter of the first (known) Cornelious, was harder to find. Nevertheless, the Glasgow Burgess register gives clues, shown in the panel on the right of ‘Burgess and Gild Brother Entries’. (This is a shortened version of the panel on the page of the 'Ancestors of Marion Brown'.)

In 1769 there is the entry as Burgess and Gild Brother of George Brown merchant, as son to David, weaver. There are earlier two entries for a David Brown, weaver, in 1726 and 1744. There is then an entry in 1759 for John Brown, eldest lawful son to David. Also there is an entry for a George Brown, son to a James Brown, both weavers.

The Burgess register entries need context and clarification. They are only for part of the population, those who were burgess or ‘master’ craftspeople or merchants, or others who were given the ‘freedom of the Burgh’ for whatever reason. While within the weaver community of the 18th century many weavers did hold burgess status, though others did not, particularly towards the end of the century.

But, George and Agnes Browns did name their eldest son David, and repeated this name after the first David died. While the ‘Scottish naming pattern’ has to be taken with a few pinches of salt, in this case it does seem to work, with the references to George’s Burgess status from his father David. But there are two Davids - so which?

It can be shown that the later David, son of Andrew, doesn’t form part of this line, for various reasons. But the earlier one, gaining burgess status in 1726, is very different. He was married, in 1726, to Margaret Brown, the marriage being in Govan. They had six sons, James (1727), Daniel (1729), George (1731), James (1734), George (1736) and David (1739). The birthdate of 1736 for George, marrying Agnes Brown in 1763, makes sense, and the later declaration of burgess status as a merchant also makes sense if he is already a weaver. (Master craftemen tended to marry after their induction into their craft, but this would seem from the birth records to be a second ‘induction’ for weaver George.)

David was the son of James Broun and Christian Lang, who married in Govan in 1690. They seem to have been denizens of Gorbals, then a small and pleasant village also known as Bridgend, from an earlier bridge across the Clyde, host to a small and vociferous weaver community of Gorbals who became a semi-independent part of the Glasgow Weavers Incorporation in the 17th century, so that master weavers in this little village on the south bank of the Clyde became identified in the Glasgow Burgess records. There are references to the Weivers of Glasgow and Gorballis. 

The children of James Broun and Christian Lang were Marion (1691), Rebecca (1693), Christian (1696), James (1699), John (1701), David (1703), Robert, (1708) and William (1711); David being the progenitor of my line of Browns. The Govan Old Parochial Records start from 1689, for baptisms, and 1690 for marriages, so that the marriage of James Broun and Christian Lang in 1690 is among the first such that we now have.


© Jenny Blain 2016    email me