Dr Jamison Cockburn (1850-1889)

Written by Tim Cockerill

Occupation: Physician

Ancestry and Early Life

Jamison Cockburn was born in 1850 and was the fifth  son of George Cockburn of Hope Villa, South Street, Alnwick, Northumberland and his wife Anna Cromar ( nee Jamison).

Although family tradition claimed descent from the distinguished  family of Cockburn  of Ormiston, near Haddington, East Lothian in Scotland the Alnwick branch cannot trace their ancestry further back than David Cockburn, whose son George ( b.1781) was  of Duns, Berwickshire ( now Borders). HIs son , another George ( 1809-1877,) had settled in Alnwick by 1841, when he was living at Clive Terrace, the census return  described him as a' common brewer'. In about 1836 ( marriage certificate unlocated) he married Anna ( or Ann) Cromar Jamison (1817-1891), daughter of Joseph Jamison of Alnwick, a linen and woollen draper. They were the parents of  the future Dr Jamison Cockburn.

Ten years later the family had moved to a substantial detached house called Hope Villa, in South Street, Alnwick, complete with a large fountain in its front garden. George had evidently expanded his business and was now a brewer, maltster and porter merchant. In 1861 George was a brewer, maltster, and fish curer employing six men and two boys. His family had increased to seven boys and one girl who later married a Mr Hall but was a widow by 1891. His daughter Jane was born in 1837 and her father is described as a commercial clerk and a non- conformist. Of the seven boys two appear to have died young, Joseph Jamison Cockburn ( b.1841) and his brother Robert Taylorson Cockburn ( b.1846) were grocers in Alnwick in 1861, Jamison, the subject of this biography trained as a doctor, Cromar Cockburn ( b. 1853) was a shipping agent in 1881 and the youngest son Arthur Septimus Cockburn ( b.1855) was a wine merchant in Alnwick in 1891

Education and Medical Career

Young Jamison's schooling has not been traced  but it seems likely that in the late 1860s he entered Edinburgh University to study medicine and he was registered as graduating in 1874  with the degrees of   Bachelor of Medicine  and Master of Surgery.  In the same year he joined the practice of Dr  John Cranke ( 1831-1894) of Ulverston, almost certainly a member of the Urwick family which includes James Cranke the artist ( 1707-1780) and  his son the Revd John Cranke ( 1746-1816), a priest in Cambridge , afterwards Vicar of Gainford, Co, Durham 1798-1816. The 1881 census  Dr Jamison Cockburn appears  aged 30,  living with his family, at 14 Queen Street, General Practitioner. He remained  in Ulverston until his untimely death in 1889, aged 39


Dr Jamison Cockburn married, at Lancaster, in 1878, Eliza Jenkinson, daughter of John Jenkinson of Ivy Cottage, Yealand Conyers, Lancashire, a landed proprietor of 480 acres. In 1873 Eliza had been a boarding pupil at Burton House school, Burton, Kirkby Lonsdale. Here she would have learned music, dancing, art and French. The marriage produced three children, Edith, born 1880, Muriel born 1881 and an only son George also born in 1881. George was later to marry Edith Maud Lewthwaite at Elsham, North Lincolnshire in 1911 and has living male descendants.She was a sister of the Revd George Lewthwaite (1868-1941), qv.

Death and burial

Dr Cockburn died suddenly of apoplexy ( a paralysis caused by a blockage or rupture of the brain artery) , during the night of 25 December 1889, aged only 39. He had previously enjoyed robust health and had attended his patients on the previous day. By then he was living at Lightburn, to the south of Ulverston. Two days later his funeral took place at Ulverston Cemetery.

His Posterity

His widow, with the three young children , left Ulverston soon afterwards and in 1891 they were living with her father at Ivy Cottage, Yealand Conyers, where she was described as a widow living on her own means.Her father was also independent, still living on rental income.

However, in 1901 Eliza and the children had moved to Lansdown Circus, Leamington Priors ( now known as Leamington Spa) in Warwickshire, where her 19 year old son George was articled to an auctioneer. George later became a London stock-jobber and stockbroker and married Edith Maud Lewthwaite ( 1881-1924) at Elsham, North Lincolnshire in 1911. They have living male descendants. Edith was the sister of the Revd. George Lewthwaite ( 1868-1941), qv, who was Vicar of Elsham.

In the 1930s George  left London  and retired  with his wife and only child  George Cromar Cockburn( 1914-1980) to a house he built on the exclusive Aldwick Bay Estate, near Bognor Regis in West Sussex.


  • Bulmer and Co., edited by J.Bulmer, History, Topography and Directory of Furness and Cartmel, T. Snape, Preston,no date but compiled 1910?
  • Burke, John and Burke, John Bernard,  A General Armory of England, Scotland and Ireland, for Cockburn of Ormiston, not paginated, Edward Churton, London, 1842
  • National Census Returns ( various)
  • Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer 19 December 1889 ( obituary)
  • The Medical Register 1879
  • The Westmorland Gazette, 8 September2009
  • Venn,J.A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part 11, Vol. 11, 1752-1900, 168 ( for the Revd John Cranke)
  • White,Rod, Furness Stories behind the stones, www.furnessstoriesbehind the stones.co.uk/places
  • Information from the Cockburn family to the author( whose great-aunt was Mrs Edith Maud Cockburn)