There was a branch of the name BURNETT already established at Bishop Monkton in the late fifteenth century. Documents exist which give an account of the "beating of the bounds" of the Liberty of Ripon, in 1485, in which were involved two men named John BURNETT, both from Bishop Monkton. The earliest will so far found for a Bishop Monkton BURNETT is the will of John BURNETT of Monketon [sic] proved in 1517 - almost certainly one of the two John's mentioned above. The will named John's daughter Agnes, son Thomas, wife Catherine and sister Isabell PAGE. The will of Henry BURNETT of Bishop Monkton, in 1542, named sons John and Roger and daughters Agnes and Janet. The recurrence of the name Agnes and the fact that Henry named a son John provide some circumstantial evidence that Henry was very closely related to John who died in 1517.
The first entry in the Ripon parish register which specified Bishop Monkton as the residence was the baptism of Ann, daughter of Thomas BURNETT of Mouncton [sic], on 26 Dec 1579. From other entries in the Ripon register, it is possible to identify three more individuals, William, Miles and Roger BURNETT, who were raising families in Bishop Monkton between 1590 and 1630. It does not require a great stretch of the imagination to link Roger back to Henry BURNETT who died in 1542. Roger had a son named Edward baptised in 1628 and we can speculate that this was the Edward BURNETT of Bishop Monkton who had children baptised between 1670 and 1680. A William BURNETT of Bishop Monkton also had children baptised during this time, one of whom was named Roger. There were three Bishop Monkton men having children baptised between 1700 and 1720; Peter BURNETT, Thomas BURNETT and William BURNETT. Any one of these men could have been the father of a Thomas BURNETT of Bishop Monkton who married Mary DICKENSON in 1729.
There can be little doubt that all of the individuals mentioned above were closely related members of the same family line. We can only speculate at their family trees, there are just too many gaps in the Ripon parish register, particularly in the returns for the chapelry of Bishop Monkton. However, enough evidence has survived to enable two family trees to be constructed as follows:
The descendants of Thomas BURNETT and Mary DICKINSON