Born: Jane Bell, nee Thornell, was born in 1553, probably in Darlington. Her father was Lawrence Thornell of Darlington, possibly the Lawrence Thornell of Low Park, bailiff of Darlington and a man of considerable means, whose will was dated 1558. Jane Thornell married Perceval Bell who was a burgess of Hartlepool.
Educated: Jane Thornell would have received an upbringing typical of the daughter of a gentlewoman, probably in her own home. If Perceval Bell’s parents had wanted him to go to a grammar school, the nearest were at Darlington and Durham City.
Married: Perceval Bell married Jane Thornell
Home: It is assumed that Perceval and Jane lived in Hartlepool or the near neighbourhood.
Known for: When Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter of incorporation to the borough of Hartlepool, Perceval Bell was one of the first chief burgesses. Perceval Bell was Mayor of Hartlepool in 1594, 1602, 1605, 1607 and 1618. Jane Bell is known to the people of Hartlepool today for the memorial brass in her memory in St. Hilda’s church. This shows her in fashionable attire and gives a short character sketch. She was described as a “virtuous gentlewoman” whose life was an example to others. She died at the age of forty.
Died: Jane Bell died on 6th January 1593. Perceval Bell died c.1630.
Further Information: “A History of Hartlepool” Sir Cuthbert Sharp (1816)