The name Kenworthy is believed to derive from the Anglo Saxon personal name Cena (Caena) or Cyna or Cyne meaning Royal and
wordig meaning enclosure, farm, estate.
The largest number of people bearing this surname is round the Saddleworth area on the borders of the West Riding of
Yorkshire. The family here was prominent in the Woollen
Industry from the Eighteenth Century until a few years ago.
It has not been possible to prove so far whether our branch connects to this family. There is a John Kenworthy baptised
in Saddleworth in 1727 who could be the same person as the
John Kenworthy of Bedford who died in Bedford in 1809 aged 82 and therefore born in 1727. So far nothing has been found
to prove this connection although nothing has been found to disprove it. So until further proof can be found the story
begins with John Kenworthy of Bedford.
Bedford, St. Peter's with St Cuthbert
According to his age when he died he was born about 1727 but of his baptism, parentage and place of birth no record has been
found. Nothing is known of his early life but as he signed his name in a good hand and would need to be able to read and measure
for his trade as carpenter he must have received some education,
so this implies that his parents could afford to pay for his schooling. He would also need to serve an apprentiship and
according to a book written in 1747 called The London Tradesman
by R. Campbell the sum needed to be paid for an apprentiship to a carpenter would be between £16 and £20, his family would
need to be reasonably off. An apprentiship normally lasted 7 years and after that he would serve some time as a Journeyman
when he would earn from 12 to 15 shillings a week. The hours of working would be 6am to 6pm. To set up as a master he would
then need from £50 to £500. As he was listed in Trade Directories
and did employ men he must have become a Master. There is a great deal of skill and
judgment needed by a carpenter, particularly
if he is involved in house building. The master is paid so much for his materials and he and his men so much a day for their
labour, so the profits are quite good.
In 1765 John Kenworthy was living in the parish of St Peters, Bedford when he met Susannah Walsom, the daughter of the local
baker. They were both aged 36 and were married on 4th July, 1763 at St Peters. The marriage was by banns the bridegroom signed
his name but the bride had to make her mark. Susannah was a member of the Moravian Church, Bedford, a religious sect similar
to the Methodists. She was excluded by them for "marrying Kenworthy clandestinely" but she appears to have been accepted
back at a later date.