The Otway Family Origins

It appears that my branch of the OTWAY family originated in the area of Ambleside, to the north of Lake Windemere. They appear to have then spread or migrated gradually south east, through Staveley and Kirkby Kendal as it was then known (now plain Kendal), till reaching Kirkby Lonsdale, Middleton and Sedburgh where they seemed to settle, centred on the valley and village of Middleton.

The Kirkby Lonsdale Parish Register, one of the older ones in the country since registers only became law in 1535, has the earliest entry for an OTWAY of 6th May, 1538, when EDWARD was buried. Extracts of all early entries in the Registers of Kirkby Lonsdale, Sedburgh and Middleton are to be found at APPENDIX K.

It would seem that around the period 1500 - 1600, the family was centred in the main farms/residences of Beckside Hall, Netherholme and Overholme, all in the Middleton area. It seems that the Beckside OTWAYS ranked second after the Middleton family of Middleton Hall.

At present it is extremely difficult to put together a family tree with any accuracy for the period before 1580, but the version included is a reasonable speculation. WALTER OTWAY was one of the first Governors of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Kirkby Lonsdale.

Gini Otway finds other Otway families centered around Norfolk, Devon and Kent. It is hard to know if these are branches of the same family or have acquired the name from geographical locations or occupations that produced the same name.

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