My 11th great grandfather, William Need, was a farmer in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, four miles north of Nottingham, in the English Midlands. Arnold today is a suburb of Nottingham and the Parish Church of St. Mary's contains records of the births, marriages and burials of most of the Need family. In 1066 there were only 150 people living there. The first record of St. Mary's Church was noted in 1176. In the sixteenth century the area must have been mostly farmland. In his will, dated October 16th, 1557, William is described as a husbandman, which means one who plows and cultivates land. William's two sons were also described as husbandmen - Nicholas, and Humphrey my 10th great grandfather (d.1591). The next three generations are described by Walker [1] as yeoman farmers, a class of English freeholders below the gentry who owned and cultivated small farms.

On 15 May 1586, Humphrey married Mary Melford (d.1631), daughter of Thomas Melford, whose family history can be traced back through the Plantagenet Kings of England [2]. Their son, Humphrey (1590-1668), my 9th great grandfather, became a prominent member of the local Friends Church. This was founded in 1647 by George Fox, son of a weaver, who was dissatisfied with the highly ritualized Church of England and the Puritans who stressed the judgement and wrath of God. Fox travelled all around England and started a new faith based on simple adherance to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Opponents called them Quakers because they supposedly trembled in the power of their faith. Fox was imprisoned in Nottingham Gaol in 1649 and 1650. The Quakers started migrating to North America in 1656 and had a profound effect on the course of American history, particularly William Penn, who in 1681 accepted a grant of land that became Pennsylvania.

Humphrey's son Nathaniel (1622-1701), my 8th great grandfather, was of the same faith and died a prosperous farmer. His will indicates he left crops of wheat, rye, peas, and barleycorn; carts, ploughs and barrows; cows, bullocks, calves, seven mares, six pigs and between 300 and 400 sheep. His eldest son Joseph was a Quaker and migrated to Pennsylvania, living toward the end of his life at Darby, a few miles south west of Philadelphia. Coincidentially, my daughter Candace finished high school in Upper Darby in the 1990's and her best friend was a Quaker.

Humphrey's son Samuel (1650-1702), my 7th great grandfather, farmed at Arnold and left two infant sons when he died only a year after his own father died. His widow had both boys apprenticed to trade and raised them Presbyterian. The elder boy, John, became a framework knitter and took over his father's land at Arnold. Joseph, my 6th great grandfather, became a baker, settled at Nottingham, and had two sons. The younger one, Samuel (1718-1781), my 5th great grandfather, rose to prominence in the hosiery industry and was a key figure in starting the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution started in England and spread all over the world. Until the 1500's every family made its own hose. In the early 1700's British textile manufacture was based on wool, which was processed by individual artisans spinning and weaving on their own premises, a system called cottage industry. The commencement of the Industrial Revolution is closely linked to a small number of innovations made in the second half of the 1700's. There were three key sectors - textiles, steam power, and iron founding.

Samuel Need was born into a successful family of farmers and framework knitters and he was apprenticed to a framework knitter. In 1747, at the age of 29, he acquired a row of three houses in Nottingham and converted them into a single house and a warehouse from which to run his hosiery business. A silk mill was added soon after. By 1754 he had added thirteen tenement houses, mainly let out to framework knitters. He became wealthy and was looking to invest.

The stocking frame was a mechanical knitting machine invented by William Lee of Calverton, near Nottingham in 1589 that imitated the movements of the knitter's hands and was good enough for silk and wool. But demand for cheaper cotton stockings was rising and the resulting modified machines became too expensive for individuals. So wealthy individuals bought them and hired them out to knitters. Jedediah Strutt of Derbyshire came up with a modification that produced a ribbed stocking, which was patented in 1759 and became known as the Derby Rib machine. Derby is the capital of Derbyshire and only thirteen miles west of Nottingham. By 1762 Strutt was looking to expand and needed capital. He formed a partnership with Samuel Need.

Richard Arkwright was born in Lancashire but travelled in the north of England and became aware of the demand for English cotton and the attempts to develop a mechanized spinning machine. In 1769 he patented a frame for spinning cotton that he envisioned being used in a factory operated by a central power source. The same year he went to Ichabod Wright, a banker from Nottingham, in search of funds to expand his business. Wright introduced him to Strutt and Need and a three-way partnership was formed. The frame was too large to be operated by hand so the three men experimented with horses but eventually decided to employ the power of a water wheel. In 1771 they set up a large factory next to the River Derwent in Cromford, Derbyshire, and the machine became known as the Water Frame. By 1778, three hundred Arkwright-type mills had been constructed in Britain. As well as their investments in Arkwright's textile mills, Strutt and Need built cotton mills at Belper in 1778 and Milford in 1779, also on the River Derwent, which is where the modern factory or mill system was born. Because of this the Derwent Valley Mills location was declared a World Heritage Site in December 2001. Samuel Need died in 1781 and Strutt and Arkwright dissolved their partnership. In 1785 a court found that Arkwright stole the idea for the Water Frame from a 1767 invention of Thomas Highs.

Samuel's second son, Samuel Need (1765-1839), my 4th great grandfather, joined the British Army, rose rapidly through the ranks and became a Lieutenant General while serving in northern India. This is the equivalent of a three-star general in the U. S. Marines and he could have commanded up to 45,000 soldiers. Samuel had three children by a native woman. The second child, Johnston Need (1811-1882), my 3rd great grandfather, changed his name to John Johnstone [3], married Anne Easton, migrated to Australia in 1835 and became a grazier in Victoria's Western District. His second child, Easton Johnstone (1838-1884), became a government surveyor and was killed by a falling tree in the Otway Forest near Colac.

Easton's fourth child was Florence Easton Johnstone (1870-1951), my great grandmother, whom I knew as Nana Ray because her second marriage was to William Robert Ray M.D. (1859-1931). Ray, a prominent Collins Street homeopathic physician, was the son of Robert Ray (1828-1883), an early pioneer of homeopathy in Melbourne who came from Sussex. Florence first married Henry Garrett Carver (1854-1901), a grazier at Flowerdale, seventy miles north east of Melbourne, who died of creeping paralysis. Their first child was Annie Florence Carver (1888-1973), who married Charles Robert McNaughton, my grandfather. Their first child was Charles Dudley McNaughton (1908-1944), my father.


[1] Walker, Michael L., "A History of the Family of Need of Arnold, Nottinghamshire," The Research Publishing Co. 1963.
[2] McNaughton, Ken, "Royal Blood," ( awaiting publication. )
[3] McNaughton, Ken, "Only the Names and the Dates Have Been Changed." Ancestor, Genealogical Society of Victoria, 28, 8, 6-7, December 2007.


I am grateful to Kevin Carver and Helen Johnstone for their help in elucidating the Johnstone-Need family history.

[Ken McNaughton]

Contributed by Ken McNaughton (PPPG Member No. 1061)

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