There were Browns living on the banks of the River Tyne at Stella and Blaydon, when the records of the old parish of Ryton were started in the year 1581 AD. This would be a precarious place to live during the next 100 years, as crossing the Tyne at Newburn/Stella was the preferred route of the Scots on their many invasions of England. In fact after the 1640 AD invasion, historians noted that nine out of ten habitations were abandoned.

In 1717AD George Brown of Blaydon staithes  ( born Ryton Woodside) circa 1692 married Isabel Thomson. One of their sons  Robert born   1720, married Catherine Miles of Winlaton in 1747. It was one of their daughters named Catherine, who gave birth to a son in 1776. She did not name the father, or claim relief from the parish. He was christened William, probably after her maternal grandfather,( William Miles) It is from this William Brown that todays family are descended

William Brown keelman of Stella married Martha Thompson a millers daughter  born 1777AD in Claypath Durham City. They were married at Ryton parish church on September 29 1799. Three sons and one daughter survived them, two of the sons became keelmen, with one of their grandsons being on the river in th late 1800s, though by that time there were no “keelmen” as such. The next two generations (William born 1840, and Robert born 1869)worked at local iron foundries. Robert’s son Mathew born 1903 served an apprenticeship as an iron moulder;but the foundry closed during the depression, and he went into one of the local drift mines. There has been a “William” in every generation until now, but I am the last; not having passed the name on due to ignorance of the fact.

There are still some of us here, where we have been for about 400 recorded years,- and possibly 400 unrecorded before that

William Brown

 Keelman of Stella