Revisiting the family of William Seager, Victorian law clerk

In the last post I speculated that William Seager, the Holborn law stationer whom I discovered in the archives some time ago, might have been the cousin of my great great grandmother Fanny Sarah Seager, wife of law stationer’s clerk William Robb, and that his father Thomas might have been the Birmingham-born brother of Fanny’s father Samuel Hurst Seager. Since then, I’ve discovered some new records relating to William and his family, so I’ve decided to assemble everything we now know about them in a new post.

William’s father Thomas Seager was born in the 1770s, and may have been the son of Samuel Hurst Seager and Elizabeth Cash of Birmingham, and thus the brother of my 3rd great grandfather Samuel Hurst Seager.

Part of Holborn, from Greenwood’s Map of London, 1827 (via

At some point in either the late 1790s or early 1800s, Thomas married his first wife Elizabeth, though I’ve yet to find a record of their marriage or any information about Elizabeth’s origins. It’s not clear if Thomas moved to London before or after marrying Elizabeth, but certainly by the time their son William was christened in 1809, the Seagers were living in Portpool Lane, just off Grays Inn Road in Holborn, London. There is a note in the parish register of St Andrew’s Holborn, beneath the entry recording William’s baptism, that suggests he may actually have been born on 17th November 1805.

Thomas and Elizabeth had another son, Thomas, also born in Portpool Lane. He was christened at St. Andrew’s on 18th August 1811 but died less than a year later and was buried on 5th April 1812.

Thomas’ wife Elizabeth must have died before 1822, when he married for a second time, though I’ve yet to find a record of her death. Thomas Seager’s second wife was Sarah Redell who, according to later census records, was born in Birmingham. She may be the Sarah Riddell who was christened on 4th June 1784 at St Philip’s church in Birmingham (where the children of Samuel Hurst Seager senior were also baptised),  in which case she was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Redell. A Thomas Redell and Elizabeth Stinton had been married at Harborne, Birmingham, in the previous year.

Thomas Seager and Sarah Redell were married at the church of St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, on 4th August 1822. This was the church where my great great grandparents, William Robb and Fanny Sarah Seager would be married fourteen years later.

Little James Street (author’s photograph, 2011)

As I noted in the previous post, Thomas Seager died on 1st September 1839 after sustaining an injury to the head when falling from a chaise cart in New Road (now Euston Road). He was buried at the parish church of St Andrew’s, Holborn, seven days later.  Thomas’ address at the time of his death was said to be James Street. It’s almost certain that this was Little rather than Great James Street, since that’s where his widow Sarah and son William can be found in the census record two years later. This was to the west of Grays Inn Road, off Theobalds Road, and less than half a mile from the Seagers’ former home in Portpool Lane.

Since Sarah is described in the census record as an ironmonger, it’s probable that this was also Thomas’ occupation (though his death certificate describes him as a ‘general dealer’) and that the Seagers’ home in Little James Street also served as their shop. (The Post Office Directory for 1848 lists a Mrs. Sarah Seager, ironmonger, at 2 Little James Street, Bedford Row, London.) William, still unmarried at the age of thirty, was now working as a law stationer. At the same address were Sarah Cole, fifty-five, a servant, Charles Cordery, eighteen, and Eliza Austin, twenty, both porters (in the shop?) and Louis Hastings, seventy, described as ‘independent’ (there is a record of him paying tax on a property in Little James Street – perhaps the same house – as far back as 1798). The novelist Charles Dickens lived in neighbouring Doughty Street from 1837 to 1839 (his house, at No. 48, is now a museum).

Victorian law clerks at work

In the 1851 census, William Seager, now forty-one, and his stepmother Sarah, sixty-eight, are still at the same address, which is said to be next door to a chandler’s shop at No. 1. The Seagers appear to share the building with writing clerk James Dolman and his wife Mary, both from Derbyshire, and widower John Thomas, an Exeter-born tailor. The Seager household also includes a servant, Martha Gambol, fifty-five, and an errand boy, sixteen-year-old Samuel Clarke. If the numbering of properties in Little James Street was similar to today, then the Seagers’ house was at the lower end of the street, near the junction with Grays Inn Road.

If the records are to be believed, then William Seager must have got married at some point between the 1851 census, which describes him as unmarried, and 1858, when the record of his marriage to Emily Adelaide Ashley describes him as a widower. However, despite there being a number of possibilities in the records, I’ve yet to find definite evidence of William’s first marriage. Emily, the daughter of Thomas Ashley (described in the register, like William’s father, as a ‘gentleman’), was actually a neighbour of the Seagers, and at least twenty years younger than William. The 1851 census finds her living at 3 James Street, with Liverpool-born tailor James Lake Langley and his Suffolk-born second wife Harriet Tetsell Currey. Emily is said to be their niece, but I’ve yet to determine which of the two was her blood relative. We know that Emily was born in either Bow or Stepney, but I haven’t managed to find a record of her birth or baptism. Interestingly, among the others living at No. 3 were one William Coppinger, 52, described as ‘Assistant to Ex(ecutive) Committee of Gt. Exhibition of 1851’: the census was taken in March and the exhibition ran from May to October. As we shall see, this is the first of a number of indirect connections between Emily and the artistic and cultural worlds of Victorian London.

William and Emily were married on 22nd August 1858 at the church of St Philip, Clerkenwell. At the time, the couple gave their address as 39 Baker Street, but by the time of the 1861 census three years later, they had moved back to the family property in Little James Street, and William’s stepmother Sarah had moved into an almshouse off Grays Inn Road, where she would still be living in 1871. Had Sarah become unwell and in need of care, or was she made to leave the family home by her stepson and daughter-in-law?

I had great difficulty finding William and Emily Seager in the 1861 and 1871 census records, and only succeeded in doing so by browsing through all the records for their likely enumeration district. The problem was caused by transcription errors at the Ancestry site. In the 1861 records, ‘Seager’ is transcribed as ‘Leager’, and in the 1871 records as ‘Teager’.

In 1861, William, fifty-one, now described as a general law clerk, and Emily, twenty-seven, were at 2 Little James Street with one servant. They shared the house with a meat salesman, a goldsmith and a mariner. Emily’s uncle and aunt, James and Harriet Langley, were still next door at No. 3, with another niece, Elizabeth Fulcher. (In another example of sloppy transcription, James’ surname is given as Langley and his wife’s as Longley).

‘The Pool of London’ by Matthew White Ridley (1862), via

William and Emily had one daughter, Harriet Adelaide Sarah, born in 1869. By 1871, the Seagers had moved to the next street, into what were probably grander premises at 3 John Street. William seems to have achieved some status locally: he was the census enumerator for his district. In this record, his wife used her middle name, Adelaide. They had a servant, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Jackson, and a boarder, a Strasburg-born hairdresser whose name is difficult to read in the record. In addition, the Seagers shared the house with two clerks, one a widow and one unmarried, and also with an artist. This was Newcastle-born Matthew White Ridley, who would establish a reputation as a painter and engraver, particularly of landscapes and sporting subjects.

House in John Street (author’s photograph, 2011)

William Seager died on 7th November 1874 at the age of sixty-six. The probate register describes him as being formerly of Little James Street, Bedford Row, but late of 3 John Street, which is where his widow and executrix Emily was said to be living. His effects were under £300. William’s stepmother Sarah Seager died either shortly before or after him.

Two years later, on 2nd November 1876, William’s widow Emily married oil merchant Samuel John Fowler of 54 Leather Lane, at St. Andrew’s, Holborn. He was said to be a bachelor and the son of another Samuel Fowler, described (like Emily’s father Thomas Ashley) as a gentleman. In the 1881 census Emily, forty-four, can be found at the house in John Street, where she is described as the householder. Athough she is said to be married, Samuel is not present. Instead, the house is also home to a number of boarders: William Schutke and Franz Uscher, commercial clerks from Germany, and Edward Depnall, another commercial clerk, from Leytonstone. There was a fourth boarder: thirty-one-year-old Francis Fowler, an architect, and perhaps a relation of Samuel’s.

‘Neptune’ by Charles Napier Kennedy (1889), Walker Art Gallery, via

Emily also had another artist as a lodger in 1881. This was Charles Napier Kennedy, then twenty-nine, who would soon achieve distinction as a painter of portraits and mythological scenes. Meanwhile, Emily’s daughter Harriet, now eleven, was a boarder at Grove House School in Hammersmith High Road, run by another artist, Alfred Davis, and his family. One wonders whether Emily’s connections with the art world were merely coincidental. Perhaps one lodger, who happened to be an artist, mentioned the address in John Street to a fellow artist who was looking for somewhere to live? But does that explain sending her daughter to an artist’s school?

By the time the 1891 census was taken, Emily, fifty-three, had become a widow for the second time, but was still living in John Street with two servants and a number of boarders. Her daughter Harriet had married wine merchant Hugh Maltby in the previous year, and they were now living at 10 Beaufort Gardens, Loampit Vale, Lewisham, with one servant. In that same year, they had a son, Hugh Owen Maltby.

Ten years later, Emily (who was now calling herself Adelaide again) had retired to 51 Moor End Lane, Thame, Oxfordshire, where she was said to be living on her own means. By this time Harriet, thirty-one, Hugh, forty-seven, and their second child, Irene Adelaide, five, were living, with a cook, at 110 Tressilian Road, Brockley. Meanwhile son Hugh Owen, nine, was at a school in nearby Breakspear Road.

In 1911, the Maltbys were still at the same address. Hugh senior was now an oil rather than wine merchant and Hugh junior, nineteen, was ‘assisting in the same business’, while Irene, fifteen, was still at school. They had one servant. Meanwhile, Harriet’s mother Emily, now seventy-three, had moved from Thame to Myrtle Villa, Woodfield Lane, Ashtead, near Epsom in Surrey, where she lived with a servant.

Harrriet died at the age of fifty-two on 7 May 1922, at Park Lodge Nursing Home, Tressilian Road. Administration of her estate was granted to her husband and son, both described as storekeepers, and to her daughter Irene.  Her effects were valued at £9514 20s 2d.

Harriet’s mother Emily died a year later on 21st May 1923 at the age of eighty-six, at her son-in-law’s home at 110 Tressilian Road, Brockley. Administration of her estate was granted to her grandson, Hugh Owen Maltby. Her effects were valued at £1015 5s 8d.

Harriet’s husband Hugh died in 1937 at Balmaine Park Gate, Blackheath, and his executors were his son Hugh, now described as a drysalter, and daughter Irene. Hugh Owen Maltby married Gwendoline Mary Baker in Greenwich in 1925. Telephone directories show him living in Brockley in the 1930s. I suspect that Hugh Richard Owen Maltby, who according to records available online was born in 1951, submitted a PhD thesis on ‘Crime and the local community in France’ at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1980, and is now a retired schoolmaster in Canterbury, is their son. Hugh Owen Maltby died in Blackheath in 1981 at the age of ninety.

Irene Adelaide Maltby seems to have remained unmarried. She died, aged fifty-nine in 1955, at Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, and the executors of the will were her brother Hugh, described as a company director, and his wife Gwendoline.


The Seager family: a new discovery?

My family history research began, more than a decade ago, with my father’s family: the Robbs, who moved to London from Scotland, via Yorkshire, at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, having traced them back to a village in Aberdeenshire in the early eighteenth century, I hit something of a brick wall, and shifted my attention to my mother’s family, whose story has preoccupied me for the past few years, as I’ve discovered their roots in, among other places, seventeenth-century London and sixteenth-century Sussex and Worcestershire. Now, however, I’ve decided to return to the Robb family and to try to put together everything I’ve discovered about them on a new website (watch this space for details). I’ve begun by reviewing my earlier blog posts about the Robbs, and in doing so, I think I’ve already made at least one new discovery.

Charles Edward Robb

The original source for my research into my father’s family was a series of typewritten sheets extracted, apparently, from a family Bible. Most of the text was written by my great great grandfather William Robb (1813 -1888), towards the end of his life, but it is prefaced and supplemented by additional information supplied by his son, my great grandfather Charles Edward Robb (1851 – 1934). The first section of Charles’ text reads as follows:

Father: William Robb. Born at Richmond, Yorkshire 25th October 1813.

Married Fanny Sarah Seager at St. George the Martyr, Queen Street, Bloomsbury, London, 23rd May 1836, who was born 22nd November, 1814. She was the daughter of Samuel Hurst Seager and Fanny his wife formerly Fowle. Her Brothers and Sisters were:

Samuel Hurst Seager                        )

Henry Fowle Seager                        )

Elizabeth Seager                        )      These are all in New Zealand.

Edward William Seager            )

and Julia Seager who married Charles Lambert who is one of the Clerks to the Commissioner of Lunacy, Whitehall  Place.

I’ve written extensively before about William Robb, and about Fanny’s family, the Seagers, which has included exploring their lives in London and then in New Zealand. With the help of my distant relative Richard Seager it has also been possible to trace the Seagers back a number of generations, to their origins in the West Midlands, though many aspects of their history remain shrouded in mystery.

Some years ago, I came across information about a William Seager (1809 – 1874), living in London at around the same time as my ancestor William Robb and his Seager in-laws, but who did not seem to be mentioned in family records. As I wrote at the time:

My interest in William, and my suspicion that he might be a relative of my Seager ancestors, was prompted by three factors. Firstly, he worked as a law stationer, and my great-great-grandfather William Robb, who married Fanny Sarah Seager, was a law stationer’s clerk in the same part of London. Fanny was the daughter of Samuel Hurst Seager, who was a porter at the Inns of Court. Secondly, William’s mother Sarah, (who turns out to have been his stepmother) was said to have been born in Birmingham, the birthplace of Samuel Hurst Seager. Thirdly, William and Sarah lived in Little James Street, only a few streets away from addresses associated with my Seager ancestors.

William Seager was the son of Thomas Seager, described in the records variously as an ironmonger, general dealer, and gentleman. After the death of his first wife (and William’s mother) Elizabeth, Thomas married his second wife Sarah Riddell in 1822. Not only was she from Birmingham, but the couple were married at the church of St George the Martyr, Queen Square, where William Robb and Fanny Sarah Seager would marry fourteen years later.

Church of St George the Martyr, Queen Square, London (author’s photograph)

In reviewing my old posts about William Seager and his family, as well as other posts about the Seagers, two hitherto unnoticed connections leapt out at me. Firstly, I remembered that Samuel Hurst Seager, the father of Fanny Sarah and father-in-law of William Robb, had a brother named Thomas. Richard Seager’s research established that Samuel was born in Birmingham in about 1780 and that he was one of at least five children born to another Samuel Hurst Seager and his wife Elizabeth Cash. His siblings were William (1776), Mary (1777), Thomas (1779) and Elizabeth (1781).

One obstacle in the way of confirming that Thomas Seager, the London ironmonger and father of William Seager, was Samuel Hurst Seager’s brother, is that Thomas’ burial record from 1839 gives his age at the time of his death as sixty-nine.  This would mean that he was born in 1770, rather than 1779. However, the discrepancy might be explained by inaccuracies in either the burial or christening records, or by the fact that (as often happened) Thomas was baptised some years after his actual birth.

However, it’s the second previously unnoticed connection that is even more intriguing. As noted in the text from the Robb family Bible reproduced above, four of my great great grandmother Fanny Sarah Seager’s siblings emigrated to New Zealand. Her brother Edward William Seager (1828 – 1922) worked as a policeman, prison warden, and was latterly a pioneer of mental health provision in his adopted country. He married fellow emigrant Esther Coster, and their daughter was the actress Rose Elizabeth Seager. Rose married Henry Marsh and their daughter was the crime writer and theatre director Ngaio Marsh (1895 – 1982).

Ngaio Marsh photographed c. 1935 by Henry Herbert Clifford (via Wikipedia)

In her autobiography, Black Beech and Honeydew, Marsh writes this about her Seager forebears:

My mother’s maiden name was Rose Elizabeth Seager. Her paternal grandfather was completely ruined by the economic disturbances that followed the emancipation of slaves in the West Indies. […] Among the Seagers […] there appears briefly an affluent and unencumbered uncle to whom my great-grandfather was heir. The story was that this uncle took his now impoverished nephew to Scotland to see the estates he would inherit and on the return journey died intestate in the family chaise. His fortune was thrown into Chancery and my great-grandfather upon the world. He got some extremely humble job in the Middle Temple and my grandfather went to the choir school of the Temple Church. None of the family fortunes was ever recovered.

These misadventures sound like the routine opening of a dated and unconvincing romance and I think they were so regarded by my mother and her brothers and sisters. Perhaps they grew tired of hearing their father talk about the fortune lost in Chancery and more than a little sceptical of its existence. Indeed stories of ‘riches held in Chancery’ have a suspect glint over them, as if the narrator had looked once too often into ‘Bleak House’. Moreover, my grandfather – Gramp – had a reputation for embroidery. He was of a romantic turn, and extremely inventive and he had a robust taste in dramatic narrative. The story of the lost fortune was held to be one of Gramp’s less successful excursions into fantasy and his virtuoso performance of running back at speed through his high-sounding ancestry to the Conquest was tolerated rather than revered.

He died when I was about eighteen. My mother and aunts went through his few possessions and discovered a trunkful of letters which turned out to be a correspondence between his own father and a firm of London solicitors. They were chronologically assembled. The earlier ones began with references to ancient lineage and ended with elaborate compliments. The tone grew progressively colder and the last letter was short.

‘Dear Sir: We are in receipt of your latest communication which we find impertinent and hostile. We have the honour to be your obedient servants…’

They were all about estates in Scotland, a death in a family chaise and monies in Chancery. The sums mentioned were shatteringly large.

Even then my mother was incredulous and I think would have remained so had not she and I, sometime afterwards, gone to stay with friends in Dunedin. Our host was another victim of the courts of Chancery and, like my great-grandfather, had written to his family solicitors in England to know if there was the smallest chance of recovery. They had replied extremely firmly that there was none but, for his information, had enclosed a list of the principal – is the word heirs? – to monies in Chancery. There, almost at the top of the list, which was a little out of date, was Gramp. For once, he had not exaggerated.

Ngaio Marsh’s paternal grandfather – ‘Gramp’ – was Edward William Seager. Her great grandfather was Samuel Hurst Seager. Until now I’ve regarded Marsh’s story of the ‘affluent and unencumbered uncle’ rather as she did when growing up: as a romantic fiction, and certainly as difficult to reconcile with the known facts about my Seager ancestors.

However, looking back through my posts about William Seager and his father Thomas, I recalled that I had obtained a copy of Thomas’ death certificate, which noted that he had died on 1st September 1839 in the sub-district of Somers Town in the registration district of St Pancras. The actual location of Thomas’ death was said to be ‘New Road’ (now Euston Road) and the cause of death as follows:

‘Mortal injury to the head by an accidental fall from a chaise cart’.

This is too reminiscent of the family story reproduced by Ngaio Marsh – of a Seager uncle who ‘died intestate in the family chaise’ – to be mere coincidence. However, if Thomas Seager was related to ‘my’ Seager family, it seems likely that he was Samuel Hurst Seager’s brother rather than his uncle. He would in fact have been the uncle of Samuel’s son (and Ngaio Marsh’s grandfather) Edward William Seager. Who in fact were the uncle and the ‘impoverished nephew’ in Edward Seager’s story about a visit to view possible family estates in Scotland? If this did indeed happen in 1839, when Thomas Seager died, then the nephew could not have been Samuel Hurst Seager, who died two years earlier. Perhaps Edward muddled up different elements of the family story, conflating a visit to Scotland involving his father some years earlier, with the death of his own (possible) uncle, Thomas Seager, in 1839?

I remain convinced that there must be some connection between these separate branches of the Seager family – and between William Seager and William Robb. I wonder if my great great grandfather William Robb, a law stationer’s clerk, worked either for or alongside William Seager, a law stationer, and that was how he came to meet his wife Fanny, who (if my theory is correct) was William’s cousin? Or perhaps it happened the other way round, and William Robb found work through his wife’s family connections?

Who was ‘Ned’ Bushell?

In the previous post I suggested that Edward Bushell of Cleeve Prior, the father of William Bushell of Wells, who was in turn the father of Edward Bushell of Bath and Tobias Bushell of Fladbury, was identical with the ‘Ned’ Bushell who was implicated in both the Earl of Essex’s rebellion of 1601 and the Gunpowder Plot of 1604. Further research has revealed this to be a mistake on my part, but one that is perhaps forgivable, given the errors in some of the extant sources, not to mention the Bushell family’s habit of giving their sons the same names in successive generations. In what follows, I’ll number the various Thomas Bushells and Edward Bushells for ease of reference.

Gardens at Cleeve Prior Manor House (photograph by Peter Harnwell via

In untangling the disputed history of the Bushell family, I’ve been helped enormously by a number of articles in the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, and especially by J.N.Langston’s Old Catholic Families of Gloucestershire: The Bushells of Broad Marston (1956, Vol. 75, 105-115) and C.Whitfield’s Shakespeare’s Gloucestershire Contemporaries and the Essex Rising (1963, Vol. 82, 188-201). Also useful has been Nina Green’s Oxford Authorship site: you don’t have to agree with her thesis that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by the Earl of Oxford to be impressed by the extent and depth of her historical research.

Bushell pedigree from the record of the Visitation of Worcestershire in 1634

The first Bushell named in the Worcestershire Visitation pedigree of 1634 is Thomas Bushell (1) of Cleeve Prior. The pedigree omits his wife’s name, but we know that he married Anne Norwood, whose mother was a Sheldon. The Sheldons were another old Worcestershire Catholic family. Thomas’s son Edward Bushell (1) married Ursula Andrews, but he died before his father.

Thomas Bushell (1) of Cleeve Prior died in 1558. From his will, we can deduce that his son Edward Bushell (1) predeceased him, leaving two sons of his own: Thomas Bushell (2) and Edward Bushell (2). The former was declared to be ‘myn heire’ by Thomas Bushell (1). Besides these two grandsons, he also made bequests to two granddaughters, Ursula and Anne.

Thomas Bushell (1) made his grandson Edward Bushell (2) his co-executor with William Sheldon of Beoley, and also made a bequest to William’s son Ralph Sheldon.

Manor House, Broad Marston (via

After the death of Thomas Bushell (1) in 1558, the Bushells branched off into two main lines. The line headed by his grandson Thomas Bushell (2) of Broad Marston remained Catholic. However, the line headed by his grandson Edward Bushell (2) of Cleeve Prior conformed to the new religion.

Thomas Bushell (2) of Broad Marston, who was still a minor at the time of his grandfather’s death, was twice married and the father of seventeen children. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Winter of Huddington, Worcestershire, and Katherine Throckmorton, daughter of Sir George Throckmorton. As I’ve noted before , the Throckmortons were an ancient Worcestershire Catholic family who suffered much for their faith. Thomas’s second wife was Mary Morris.

The name of Thomas Bushell (2) features in the recusant roll for 1577, and indeed he was said to be one of the most prominent, and wealthiest, recusants in the country. Thomas died in 1615, and the manor of Broad Marston was inherited by his eldest son Thomas Bushell (3), who sold it in 1622.

Edward Bushell (2), who inherited Cleeve Prior from his grandfather Thomas Bushell (1), entered the Middle Temple in 1566, after a time at St John’s College, Oxford. The sources that I’m drawing on here conclude that this Edward Bushell cannot be identical with the ‘Ned’ Bushell who served with the Earl of Essex and was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, simply because his age makes it impossible. Rather, they suggest that Edward Bushell (2) lived quietly at Cleeve Prior until his death in 1617, having three sons and a daughter by his wife Margaret Delves. One of those sons was, of course, William Bushell of Wells, who appears to have been the father of Edward Bushell of Bath and Tobias Bushell of Fladbury.

The same sources, drawing on the work of John Leslie Hotson, also question the claim made in the Visitation pedigree that Edward Bushell (2) of Cleeve Prior was knighted by James I, citing a further confusion with ‘Ned’ Bushell – who was, in fact, his nephew. Thomas Bushell (2) of Broad Marston – the recusant brother of Edward (2) of Cleeve Prior – had at least two sons by his marriage to Elizabeth Winter. The eldest was Thomas Bushell (3), and ‘Ned’ was a younger son of the same marriage.

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (via

It was Edward ‘Ned’ Bushell who married Ann Hargrave, daughter of Sir Cotton Hargrave of Nostell Priory, Yorkshire: she was not, as some sources claim, the second wife of his uncle Edward Bushell (2). In 1591 ‘Ned’ Bushell was a servant to Fernando Stanley, Earl of Derby, and gentleman usher to Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex. After the failure of the latter’s attempted coup in 1601, Bushell was fortunate to escape with a short term in the Marshalsea and a fine of 100 marks. Knighted in 1604, he was said (by Whitfield, in the article cited above) to have ‘skated warily on the surface of the Gunpowder Plot in which so many of his friends and relatives were implicated’ – including two members of the Winter family who lost their lives. The same source hints that, on this occasion, ‘Ned’ may have escaped punishment, and indeed was rewarded with a pension shortly afterwards, for aiding the government.

To sum up: The famous – or notorious – ‘Ned’ Bushell was in fact the first cousin of William Bushell of Wells, rather than his father, as I’d previously thought.

There was at least one other famous member of the Bushell family alive at this period, and that was the Thomas Bushell who was a servant of Francis Bacon and went on to become a mining engineer who defended Lundy Island for the King during the Civil War. He merits an entry in John Aubrey’s Brief Lives. Thomas is said to have been a ‘younger son’ of the Bushells of Cleeve Prior, but precisely which branch he belonged to is perhaps a subject for another time.

A Bushell timeline

In the last post I mentioned the suggestion by my fellow researcher Penny Gay that William Bushell, the father of both Edward Bushell of Bath and Tobias Bushell of Fladbury, Worcestershire, might be the William Bushell of Wells, Somerset, whose name occurs in the Bushell family pedigree in the record of the 1634 Visitation of Worcestershire. This would seem to make sense, since we know that another of William’s sons, Thomas, was a resident of Wells, where he made his will in 1669/70.

Manor house at Cleeve Prior, Worcestershire, home of the Bushell family (photograph by Peter Harnwell via

If this theory is correct, then William Bushell of Wells was the son of Sir Edward Bushell of Cleeve Prior in Worcestershire, a colourful figure who was caught up in both the Earl of Essex’s rebellion of 1601 and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, as well as being connected by marriage with the family of William Shakespeare. I’ll write about ‘Ned’ Bushell in another post, but for this post I’ve developed a timeline of this branch of the Bushell family, in an effort to clarify the connections between the Bushells of Wells and Cleeve Prior, and the Bushells who appear in my own family tree.

The timeline is based on information gleaned from the Visitation records, family wills and parish registers. The question marks (?) indicate an approximate date, or some uncertainty about the date supplied.

1600                ? Marriage of Edward Bushell (1) of Cleeve Prior and Margaret Delves

1601                ? Birth of William Bushell, son of Edward and Margaret

1604                Edward Bushell (1) knighted by James I

1617                Death of Sir Edward Bushell (1)

1622                ? Marriage of William Bushell and Frances

1624                William Bushell holds lease on Wells Manor

1625                Birth of Edward Bushell (2), son of William and Frances

1635                ? Birth of Tobias Bushell, son of William and Frances

?                      ? Birth of Thomas Bushell (1), son of William and Frances

?                      ? Birth of Anne Bushell, daughter of William and Frances

1654                Marriage of Edward Bushell (2) and Hester Chapman

1655                Birth of Elizabeth Bushell (1) , daughter of Edward and Hester

1661                Marriage of Tobias Bushell and Sara Sanders

1663                ? Birth of Samuel Bushell, son of Tobias and Sara

1665                Birth of Thomas Bushell (2), son of Tobias and Sara

1668                Birth of Elizabeth Bushell (2), daughter of Tobias and Sara

1670                Death of Thomas Bushell (1), son of William and Frances, Wells

1675                ? Death of Tobias Bushell

1675                 ? Marriage of Elizabeth Bushell (1) and David Landick

1676                Samuel Bushell apprenticed

1676                 Birth of Posthuma Landick, daughter of David and Elizabeth

1691                Marriage of Elizabeth Bushell (2) and Peter Boulton

1696                Death of Samuel Bushell, Bath

1697                ? Death of Elizabeth Boulton, née Bushell

1699                Marriage of Peter Boulton and Posthuma Landick

1700                Death of Edward Bushell (2), Bath

New information about the Bushell family

My fellow researcher Penny Gay has sent me two more pieces of information about the Bushell family which add considerably to our knowledge of them, and throw further light on the connections between different branches of the family, living in different parts of the country.

Wells Cathedral (via

The will of Thomas Bushell of Wells, Somerset, signed and sealed on 9th February 1669/70, makes bequests to the testator’s mother, Frances Bushell, and to three of his siblings: ‘Edward Bushell of Bath in the County of Somerset gent and Tobias Bushell of Claynes in the County of Worcester gent my brothers and Anne Bushell my sister’. This would seem to confirm that the Tobias Bushell of Worcestershire who was the father of Samuel, Thomas and Elizabeth Bushell – the latter being the first wife of Major Peter Boulton – was the brother of Edward Bushell the elder of Bath – who was in turn the father of the Elizabeth Bushell who married David Landick, whose daughter Posthuma became Peter Boulton’s second wife. It also provides confirmation that Tobias was still alive in 1670, though we know he had died by the time his son Samuel took up his apprenticeship in 1676.

Moreover, Penny has found a marriage record for Edward Bushell that supplies the name of his father – and by implication the father of Tobias, Thomas and Anne Bushell. Curiously, Edward and his wife Hester Chapman seem to have undergone two marriage ceremonies. We already knew about their wedding at Bath Abbbey, which took place on 19th December 1655. But now it appears that the couple had already been married at the church of St Clement Danes, Westminster, in October of that year. Leaving to one side the question of why two separate ceremonies were required, the Westminster record is useful in that it provides the names of the participants’ fathers: in Hester’s case, John Chapman, and for Edward, William Bushell.

St Clement Danes, Westminster

So now we know that Edward Bushell the elder of Bath and Tobias Bushell, of Claines and later of Fladbury, Worcestershire, were both the sons of William and Frances Bushell. Penny wonders if William is the William Bushell of Wells who is mentioned in the Visitation of Worcestershire records as being connected to the eminent Bushell family of Cleeve Prior, which was a mere ten miles from Fladbury.

Back to the Bushells

New information, kindly sent to me by fellow researcher Penny Gay, has turned my attention back to the Bushell family of Bath and Worcestershire. I’m interested in the Bushells because of their links with the Boulton family, who in turn were connected to my Forrest ancestors. My 9th great grandfather Thomas Forrest was a haberdasher in the parish of St Botolph Aldgate, London, in the middle of the seventeenth century, but he was almost certainly born in the village of Fladbury near Evesham. His sister Alice married gunmaker William Boulton, whose family also had its origins in Worcestershire, and they also migrated to London, living in the parish of All Hallows Barking.

Parish church of St John the Baptist, Fladbury, Worcestershire (via

Major Peter Boulton, one of the sons of William and Alice, became a gunsmith like his father. He was married twice, both of his wives being members of the extended Bushell family. In 1691 he married Elizabeth Bushell at St James’, Westminster. Elizabeth was described in the marriage licence as being ‘of Fladbury, Worcestershire’. She and Peter had two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth, both of whom were born by 1695.

Elizabeth Boulton née Bushell must have died soon after her children were born, since in 1699 Peter Boulton married for a second time, to Posthuma Landick of Bath. She was the daughter of David and Elizabeth Landick, the latter having been born a Bushell, being one of the daughters of Edward Bushell the elder of Bath.

Besides Elizabeth, who was born in 1655, Edward Bushell and his wife Hester Chapman had at least five other children: John (1657); Tobias (1663-4); Edward; Frances; and Ann. The last-named married William Collibee, an apothecary who served as mayor of Bath. In 1735 their son, Edward Bushell Collibee, also an apothecary and mayor of the city, married Elizabeth Jemblin. She was the daughter of James Jemblin, a London salter, and his wife Grace Saunders or Sanders. Grace was the daughter of Peter Boulton’s sister Margaret, who married Thomas Sa(u)nders from the hamlet of Hill and Moore, Fladbury.

We know that Peter Boulton’s first wife Elizabeth Bushell had a brother named Samuel who lived in Bath, since the latter’s will of 1696 – when Peter was still married to Elizabeth – refers to Boulton as the testator’s brother-in-law. Samuel’s will also mentions a relative named Thomas Bushell. Thomas’ own will of 1721 bequeaths money to one of Peter Boulton’s daughters. And Thomas is described as a ‘cousin’ in the will of Edward Bushell the elder. However, the exact relationship between Samuel, Thomas and the family of Edward Bushell the elder remains unclear.

Bath Abbey (via

The new information provided by Penny Gay may help to clarify that connection. Penny has found the record of a marriage between a Tobias Bushell and a Sara Sanders in Worcester in 1661. I wonder if there is any link between Sara and the Sa(u)nders family of Fladbury? Tobias and Sara had a son named Thomas baptised in 1665, and a daughter Elizabeth in 1668, both at Claines, Worcestershire. Penny notes that Edward Bushell the elder of Bath named one of his sons Tobias, an unusual name that suggests a family connection.

Having received this information from Penny, I searched online for information about Tobias Bushell and found the apprentice indenture for Samuel Bushell, son of Tobias, dated 21st February 1676. Samuel is said to be from Worcestershire and indentured to a master draper by the name of William Lloyd. We also learn that Samuel’s father Tobias, a gentleman, who had died by this time, was from ‘Moore, Worcestershire’, a reference to the hamlet of Hill and Moor in the parish of Fladbury.

Putting this together with other extant records, we can conclude fairly confidently that Samuel, Thomas and Elizabeth Bushell (the latter being Peter Boulton’s first wife) were the children of Tobias and Sara Sanders. Although the family lived in Claines at some point, they also had ties to Fladbury. We can also conclude that Tobias died some time between 1668, when Elizabeth was born, and 1676, when Samuel was apprenticed.

The fact that Edward Bushell the elder gave the name Tobias to one of his children suggests that he was related in some way to Tobias Bushell of Fladbury. Perhaps the two men were brothers?

Penny has also sent me a copy of the inscription on the memorial stone of Edward Bushell the elder, from Bath Abbey, which she acquired from Dr Philip Bendall, the compiler of the Bath Burial Index. It reads as follows:

Edward Bushell of this City Gent. dyed January 16 1700 aged 75.

Here lieth the body of Elizabeth Landick Daughter of Alderman Edward Bushell Sen. who died the 13 Day Jan 1724/5 aged 69 years.

Here lieth the body of Peter Bolton Gent. who departed this life March 11 1742/3 aged 73.

The children of Alphonsus Fowle

The last will and testament of Alphonsus Fowle, ‘sometime servant to Queen Elizabeth, King James, Prince Henry and Prince Charles’ and ‘sometime keeper of the house and gardens of St James’, when combined with information from the Visitation pedigrees and other contemporary records, can help us to build up a fairly comprehensive picture of Alphonsus’ family.

Fowle family pedigrees in the records of the Visitations of London and Middlesex

The two Visitation pedigrees of the London branch of the Fowle family differ slightly as to the number of children born to Alphonsus. The London pedigree gives him two sons – Mathias and Alphonsus – and two daughters – Anne and Frances. The Middlesex pedigree lists Mathias as the eldest son, but then gives him a second son Adolphus, who is said to have died during the lifetime of his father. (I mentioned the baptismal record for Adolphus Fowle, as well as an apparent legal dispute with his father, in an earlier post.) The same pedigree features Alphonsus Fowle the younger as the third son, but also mentions a fourth son, Samuel, who also died while his father was still alive. There is a record in the parish register of St Martin in the Fields of a Samuel Fowle, baptised on 6th January 1590/91.  The Middlesex pedigree agrees with the London record in giving Alphonsus Fowle the elder two daughters, Anne and Frances.

In this post, I’ll summarise what I’ve been able to find out about the four children of Alphonsus Fowle who survived him: Mathias, Alphonsus, Anne and Frances.

Mathias Fowle

While the pedigree in the London Visitation records states that Mathias married the daughter of a Mr Fisher of London, the Middlesex pedigree gives the additional information that her name was Catherine and that she was the daughter of Edward Fisher, and the sister of Sir Edward Fisher. The couple were married on 6th September 1608 at St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, whose parish register records the marriage of Mathias Fowle to ‘Katharin Fisher’.

The Fishers are probably the family of that name whose pedigree is included in the record of the Visitation of London. According to this record, Edward Fisher the elder was originally of Mickleton in Gloucestershire. His son, Sir Edward Fisher, was also originally from Mickleton, but as of 1634 was living in London. The latter’s eldest son, yet another Edward Fisher, was a theological writer of some note.

According to the Fowle pedigree in the record of the Visitation of London, Mathias and Catherine Fowle had two children, Edward and Frances. However, the Middlesex pedigree gives them three additional children: Anne, Lucy and Catherine.

In the early 1620s Mathias Fowle was involved, together with Christopher Goodlake, in a legal dispute with William Ashley, about the ownership of Montague House in the parish of St Saviour, Southwark. Interestingly, this property was formerly part of the Priory of St Mary Overy, of which Mathias’ supposed great great uncle Bartholomew Fowle was the last prior. Ownership eventually passed to the faithfully Catholic Browne family of Sussex, and the area became a refuge for recusants. In the time of James I, Anthony Browne, the second Viscount Montague, was forced to lease property to pay fines resulting from his recusancy. I’ve written elsewhere about Matthew Woodward, Montague’s former housekeeper who took out one of the leases. According to a footnote in Michael Questier’s Catholicism and Community in Early Modern England, Woodward assigned his interest to William Ashley (or Ashby?), who in 1622 passed it by lease to Christopher Goodlake and Matthias Fowle. Whether there was any connection, religious or otherwise, between Mathias and the Montagues, or whether the association with St Mary Overy is purely coincidental, is not known.

Mathias Fowle seems to have been a merchant of some kind. In about 1616, a ‘royal grant or licence of liberty and power’ was granted to Mathias, together with Richard Dike and Francis Dorrington, ‘to use and exercise the art and mastery of making of gold and silver thread commonly called Venice Gold and Silver Thread’.  Elsewhere Mathias is described as ‘deputy for the gold and silver thread patent’ to Sir Giles Mompesson, a politician whose name became a byword for corruption. Sir Giles Overreach, the anti-hero of Philip Massinger‘s 1625 play A New Way to Pay Old Debts, is based on Mompesson.

In 1621 Mompesson absconded while being investigated by the House of Commons, and some members called for Fowle’s arrest. It was claimed that the patent for gold wire-drawing had been granted to Mathias ‘to the exclusion and ruin of the regular trade’. At some stage Matthias Fowle must have been arrested and consigned to the Fleet Prison, though his father Alphonsus seems to bailed him out, as noted in this extract from the House of Lords Journal for 15th May 1621:

Fowles’s Bill.

 MATHIAS Fowles recognovit, se debere Domino Regi Mille Libras.

Alphonsus Fowles, de Civitate Westm. in Comitatu Midd. recognovit, se debere Domino Regi Quingentas Libras. 

Gulielmus Bennett, de Westm. prædicta, recognovit, se debere Domino Regi Quingentas Libras. 

Johannes Sharpe, de Westm. prædicta, recognovit, se debere Domino Regi Quingentas Libras.

Condition, That Mathias Fowles shall appear here in Court, upon Two Days Warning in Writing left at the now House of the said Alphonsus Fowles, in St. James’s Street (otherwise called Pettie France) in Westm.

Fowles released from Prison.

Whereupon the said Mathias Fowles was discharged out of the Prison of The Fleet.

During the 1624 session of Parliament, the Commons petitioned the King ‘for the redress of diverse grievances, occasioned by monopolies, etc’:

Amongst other things they stated, that the trade of gold wire-drawing had been exercised, within the city of London, by various persons being members of the corporation of goldsmiths, whereby they not only maintained themselves and their families, but also set many other persons to work, until one Mathias Fowle and others (men never bound apprentices to the said trade according to law) obtained letters patent, bearing date on the 16th of June, in the 21st year of his majesty’s reign, whereby they were incorporated, by the name of gold wire-drawers of the city of London, upon suggestion that they would import so much foreign gold and silver coin and bullion, to be converted into current coin of the realm, as should countervail the bullion they should use in making gold wire, etc.; and the Commons petitioned his Majesty would be graciously pleased to publish and declare that the said letters patent should ever hereafter be put in execution’.

According to the Fowle family pedigree in the record of the Visitation of London, Matthias Fowle was living in Ireland by 1634. In 1641 he was the victim of a robbery, by thieves who seem to have been in league with Irish rebels. Fowle’s deposition reveals him to be a resident of the county of Longford, and (judging by the catalogue of his losses) a man of some property:

Mathias ffowle late of Ballilough in the Barrony & parrish of  Granard in the County of Longford Esquire sworne and examined deposeth: and saith That: on or betwixt the xxvth of october last, and the 20th of November next after hee was robbed and dispoiled of his goodes, at Ballyloughe aforesaid of the values following vizt. of Corne worth 285 li. Beastes and cattle 1368 powndes horses mares and geldings 198 powndes swyne 12 powndes, sheepe 400 pownds housholdstuff plate and furniture 300 li. debts and rents 376 powndes ready mony 180 powndes hay and turffe 60 powndes And this Deponent was alsoe at the same time expelled and Driven from his houses and growndes whereon hee had bestowed in building and improvement 350 powndes In all 3519 powndes besides the proffitts of his howse and growndes which are worth by the yeare 200 powndes: And this Deponent further saith that hee was absent when hee was soe robbed and dispoiled but is credibly informed that one James mcThomas of Colamber in the Countyes of Longford and westmeath Esquire under Colour of freindshipp and upon upon promise to secure the howse and goodes tooke some parte of the goodes away and after brought in a number of Rebells whoe tooke all the rest of his said goods away and have restored noe Parte thereof but still in rebellious manner deteine them.

Granard is a town in the north of County Longford. Colamber or Coolamber Hall was on the borders of Longford and Westmeath, about eight miles to the south of Granard. The attack on Matthias Fowle’s home was in all probability part of the wider Irish Rebellion of 1641. It’s not clear whether Matthias Fowle ever recovered his property.

Mathias received a bequest of forty shillings in the 1635 will of his father Alphonsus, while his daughter Frances received one hundred pounds, to be paid to her at the age of twenty-one, by far the most generous bequest in the will.

Alphonsus Fowle the younger

According to the Visitation of London pedigree, Alphonsus Fowle the younger, the second son of Alphonsus Fowle the elder, ‘married for 1st first wife Suzan daughter of Sr Simon Hervy Kt’. The Middlesex Visitation pedigree supplies the additional information that Sir Simon Harvey held the post of ‘Controuller to King James’, adding that ‘hee was somtime the sayd Kings Grocer’. He owned property in the village of Whitton near Twickenham, the website of the local museum noting:

Harvey was appointed Clerk of the Green Cloth in 1625 by Charles I. Prior to this he had been Royal Grocer and, as an ex tradesman, was relatively unpopular. He died in office on 1 Dec 1628. The Clerk of the Green Cloth was a position in the British Royal Household. The Clerk acted as Secretary of the Board of Green Cloth, and therefore was responsible for organising royal journeys and assisting in the administration of the household. His elder brother, Sir John Harvey (c1582-1650) was Governor of Virginia 1630-35 and 1637-39.

This would seem to be the ‘right’ Sir Simon Harvey, yet a confusion arises from the fact that some sources claim that his daughter Susanna married Richard Hopton of Kington, Herefordshire. However, Susanna was the daughter of Sir Simon’s second wife Ursula, so perhaps he had two daughters with the same or similar names? Susanna Hopton née Harvey (1627 – 1709) converted to Catholicism in the 1650s and became a devotional writer, though her husband later reconciled her to Laudian Anglicanism and she was a close friend to a number of nonjuring clergymen. The Hoptons lived close to, and may have known, the Anglican poet and clergyman Thomas Traherne, and indeed Susanna is said to have drawn on his unpublished work in her own writings.

As for the Susan Harvey who married Alphonsus Fowle, she was obviously born at a much earlier date and must have been a product of her father’s first marriage, since the couple were married on 29th July 1617 at the abbey in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The London pedigree gives Alphonsus and Susan Fowle just one daughter, Jane, whereas the Middlesex pedigree adds two sons, Alphonsus and John (who died young), and two further daughters, Helen and Sarah. Jane was baptised at St Matthew, Friday Street, on 21st July 1618 and Helen or Eleanor on 10th October 1619 at the same church, while Alphonsus, probably the youngest child, was christened at St Margaret’s, Westminster on 26th September 1634. He was born just in time to receive a bequest of five pounds from the will of his grandfather, the first Alphonsus Fowle, which was signed and sealed in the following year. His older sister Jane was to receive the same amount ‘to be paid to her att her age of twenty and one yeares’. Their grandfather’s will makes no reference to Helen or Sarah Fowle, perhaps because they did not survive, or possibly because by this time they were already married and provided for. Their father Alphonsus also received a bequest of five pounds.

Anne Fowle

The 1635 will of the first Alphonsus Fowle reads, in part, as follows:

Item I give and bequeath unto Sir Walter Alexander knight, and Ann his wife, To each of them fforty shillings to buy them Rings in remembrance of my love unto them. Item I give, and bequeath unto Lucy Harbert, Charles Alexander, Henry Alexander, and Anne Alexander children of the said Sir Walter Alexander fforty shillings  peece to buy them Rings in remembrance of my love unto them. Item I give and bequeath unto Tenetia Harbert daughter of the said Lucy Harbert Tenn Pounds

This is a reference to Alphonsus’ daughter Anne and her family. According to the London Visitation pedigree, Anne Fowle, who had been born in 1583, married Sir Walter Alexander, ‘gentleman usher to King Charles’ in 1605, while the Middlesex pedigree notes that he had also served Charles when he was still a prince. Apparently he had previously served Prince Henry, for which he was paid a salary of £20 and was given a gilt cup by King James on his marriage to Anne.

Neither pedigree mentions any children born to the couple, but from the will extract above we can conclude that they had at least four: Lucy, Charles, Henry and Anne. From Lucy’s marriage allegation of 1630 we can deduce that she was born in about 1608, though I haven’t found a record of her baptism. Charles Alexander was baptised at St Margaret’s, Westminster, in February 1614/15 and Anne at the same church in March 1618/19. A Henry Alexander was christened at St Martin in the Fields in February 1614/15, but since this was only a month after Charles’ baptism at a different church, it’s unlikely to be the son of Walter and Ane.

Sir Thomas Herbert (via

On 16th April 1632 Lucy Alexander married Sir Thomas Herbert, baronet, who was originally from Yorkshire and was an historian, traveller and (like Lucy’s father) a gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles I, while the King was in the custody of Parliament. According to Wikipedia:

He was gentleman of the bedchamber to King Charles I from 1647 up to the king’s execution. In his earlier years he went in connection with an embassy to Persia, and he later published an account of his travels. During the first civil war he was a keen supporter of Parliament, and when he was in the king’s service the New Model Army found no reason to suspect him of disloyalty.

There is varied opinion on the matter of Herbert’s devotion to King Charles. In 1678 he published Threnodia Carolina, an account of the last two years of the king’s life. In this account Herbert seems devoted in the extreme, being too distraught to be with the king on the scaffold and bursting into tears when the king seemed upset by some news he had brought. It is true that many of the staunch Roundheads Parliament appointed to the king’s service were converted into royalists on getting to know him. However Threnodia Carolina may have been an attempt to give Herbert a good name in Charles II’s government (the king made him a baronet) and to clear the name of his son-in-law Robert Phayre, who was a regicide.

After the execution Herbert followed the New Model Army to Ireland arriving that summer to take up a position as a parliamentary commissioner. He was to remain in Ireland during the following decade serving in various governmental offices. In December 1653 he was appointed secretary to the Governing Commission for Ireland, which was redesigned in the August 1654 the Governing Council of Ireland. He served as its Clerk until 1659. Henry Cromwell knighted him for his services in July 1658. At the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Herbert returned to London to take advantage of the offer of a general pardon. On 3 July 1660, shortly after his arrival in England, he had an audience with King Charles II who created him a baronet (his previous Cromwellian knighthood having passed in to oblivion at the restoration). After this Herbert dropped out of public life, but initially he remained in London residing in York Street, Westminster, until the Great Plague in 1666, when he retired to York, where he died (at Petergate House) on the 1 March 1682,and was buried in the church of St. Crux in that city, where his widow placed a brass tablet to his memory

Apparently Thomas and Lucy, also known as Lucia, had four sons and six daughters, but only one son and three daughters survived their father. Their daughter Tenetia, who is mentioned in her grandfather Alphonsus’ will, was baptised on 12th June 1634 at St Margaret’s, Westminster.

Their daughter Elizabeth married Colonel Robert Phaire of Cork, on 16th August 1658. As mentioned in Thomas Herbert’s Wikipedia entry cited above, Phaire or Phayre was a regicide. According to Wikipedia, he was an officer in the Irish Protestant and then the New Model Army, and was one of the three officers to whom the warrant for King Charles’s arrest was addressed. However, he apparently escaped severe punishment at the Restoration through his marriage to Sir Thomas Herbert’s daughter. Phayre was initially arrested and sent to the Tower, but his connection to Sir Thomas led to his provisional release into the latter’s custody:

On 3 July 1661 he was released for one month, on a bond of £2,000. He was not to go beyond the house and gardens of Sir Thomas Herbert, his father-in-law, in Petty France, Westminster. On 19 July another month’s absence was permitted him, with leave to go to the country for his health. On 28 February 1662 he was allowed to remove to Sir Thomas Herbert’s house for three months. After this he seems to have gained his liberty.

It was during this period that Phayre made the acquaintance of the Protestant religious thinker Ludowicke Muggleton and joined his sect. According to Wikipedia:

Some time in 1662 he brought Muggleton to Sir Thomas Herbert’s house and introduced him to his wife, who also became a convert. Their example was followed by their daughters Elizabeth and Mary, and their son-in-law, George Gamble, a merchant in Cork, and formerly a Quaker.

Frances Fowle

The will of Alphonsus Fowle the elder includes the following bequest:

I doe give, and bequeath unto my Grandchildren Alexander Bennett, Mathias Bennett, and ffrances Bridgman their sister ffforty shilings a peece, to buy them Rings in Remembrance of my love to them

The pedigree in the record of the Visitation of London tells us that Frances, daughter of Alphonsus Fowle married William Bennett, servant to Prince Henry, whereas the Middlesex pedigree describes him as a servant to Prince Charles, presumably after the former’s death in 1612.

William, who was born in about 1568, was the son of Hugh and Jane Bennett of Cheshire and was one of four sons, all of whom held posts in the royal household. John Bennett worked in the Armoury under Elizabeth I, Rafe in the Larder under King James, and Richard was employed alongside William in ‘the Pastry’ under both Elizabeth and James. There is also a suggestion in one source that their father Hugh may also have held a post at court, as Pursuivant in the Office of Arms.

As with her sister Anne, our information about Frances’ children comes not from the Visitation records, but from other sources, including the will of their father Alphonsus. I’ve been unable to discover any information relating to Alexander and Mathias, the sons of William and Frances Bennett. However, as suggested by her grandfather’s will, Frances Bennett the younger married a man named Bridgeman. He was in fact Dove Bridgeman, the second son of John Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester, and himself a clergyman, and they were married in about 1633. Bridgeman’s unusual first name derives from the fact that he was named after Bishop Dove of Peterborough, in whose palace he was born on 21st March 1609/10.

John Hackett

Sir Lewis Dyve

(both images via

Dove and Frances Bridgeman had two sons, Charles, born in 1636, and Francis, born in the following year, shortly before his father’s death. Frances Bridgeman née Fowle then married, as his second wife, John Hackett, Bishop of Lichfield, by whom she had a son, John, who died when still young, and Theophila, who married Francis Dyve, Esq., son of the noted Royalist Sir Lewis Dyve of Bromham, Bedfordshire.


The last will and testament of Alphonsus Fowle

Visscher’s 1616 panorama of London

Alphonsus Fowle, who was the son of Adam Fowle, and like him a royal servant and ‘Keeper of the house and garden of St James’, signed and sealed his last will and testament on 1st December 1635, in the eleventh year of the reign of Charles I. In this post, I’m sharing my transcription of the will, and in the next post I’ll discuss what we can learn from it about Alphonsus and his family.

In the name of God Amen the first day of december, Anno domini, One Thousand Six hundred Thirty ffive, And in theleaventh yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of God king of England, Scotland, Ffraunce, and Ireland, defender of the faith. I Alphonsus ffowle of the parrish of St. Lawrence Poultney London Esquire being of reasonable good health of Body, and of sound, and perfect memory of mynde, thankes, and praise be given to Almightie God, doe make and ordaine this my last will and Testament in manner and forme followinge, That is to say, ffirst I commende my soule into the hands of almightie God my Creator trustinge onely in the meritts of Jesus Christ my alone Saviour, and Redeemer, And I commytt my Body to the ground to be decently, and christianlike interred, att the discretion of my Executrix hereafter named, And as touching the disposition of all and singular my Annuityes, goods, and chattells, which it hath pleased God to bestowe upon me I will devise and bequeath them in manner, and forme following. That is to say, I doe will and devise all that my Annuity rent charge and yearely rent of Twenty Pounds issuinge, and going forth of all that the Mannor of Gobyons with th’appurtenances in the Parish of East Tilbury in the County of Essex which I lately purchased to me and my heires of John Lawrence Cittizen, and Grocer of London to be sold by myne Executrix hereafter named, to pay and dischrge these Legacyes hereafter menconed. Item I doe give, and bequeath unto my eldest sonne Mathias ffowle fforty shillings, Item I do give, and bequeath unto my sonne Alphonsus Fowle, ffive pounds, Item I give, and bequeath unto Alphonsus ffowle (sonne of the said Alphonsus fowle) my Grandchild five Pounds Item I doe give, and bequeath unto my Grandchildren Alexander Bennett, Mathias Bennett, and ffrances Bridgman their sister ffforty shilings a peece, to buy them Rings in Remembrance of my love to them, Item I doe will, and bequeath until Jane ffowle daughter of my sonne Alphonsus ffowle Five hundred Pounds, to be paid to her att her age of twenty and one yeares, Item I doe give, and bequeath unto ffrances ffowle daughter of my sonne Mathias ffowle, One hundred Pounds to be paid unto her, at her age of Twenty, and One Yeares. Item I give and bequeath unto Sir Walter Alexander knight, and Ann his wife, To each ofthem fforty shillings to buy them Rings in remembrance of my love unto them. Item I give, and bequeath unto Lucy Harbert, Charles Alexander, Henry Alexander, and Anne Alexander children of the said Sir Walter Alexander fforty shillings  peece to buy them Rings in remembrance of my love unto them. Item I give and bequeath unto Tenetia Harbert daughter of the said Lucy Harbert Tenn Pounds I  give, and bequeath unto the Minister of my parish five pounds, Item I give, and bequeath fforty shillings, to be distributed among twenty of the poorest people of my parish, Item I give, and bequeath fforty shillings a peece to my two servants. Item I give, and bequeath unto my sister Webb, fforty pounds if shee shall bee lyiving at the tyme of my decease. Item my will and meaninge is that my Annuity being sold as aforesaid by my Executrix that if there shalbee any remaynder of money when my said legacyes are paid I doe give and bequeath it to myne Executrix hereafter named, And yf it shall happen that the mony which my said Annuity shalbee sold for, will not pay my legacyes hereby given, that my will and meaninge is, that my Executrix hereafter named, shall satisfie, and pay so much as is wantinge which sayd legacyes being satisfied, and paid, and my funerall Expenses being discharged, All the rest of my goods leases, and chattells I give, devise, and bequeath unto my welbeloved wife Ellen, whome I doe hereby constitute and appoytne to be full, and whole Executrix of this my last will and testament, in witness whereof the said Alphonsus ffowle to every sheete of Paper of this my last will being fower in Number, and fixed with one Labell, and sealed have severally subscribed my hand the day and yeare above written. Alphonsus ffowle, Subscribed, read, sealed and published in the presence of us Oliver Lawrence Notary public, David Lloyd, Thomas Browne.

Memorandum that the said Alphonsus ffowle deceased after the sealing, and delivery of his will, he being sound of memories, and mind did add this to his will, That whereas in his sayd will hee had bequeathed unto the minister of his Parrish the some of ffive pounds and fforty shillings to the poorest people of his parrish, and whereas att the tyme of the makinge of his last will he did inhabite in the parrish of Saint Lawrence Poultney London, and in the tyme betweene the making of his last will, and the time of his decease hee removed into the parrish of St. Olive old Jewrie London, he did declare his will and meaning to be that the Minister of the Parrish of St Lawrence Poultney should have the ffive Pounds and that the said Parrish of St Lawrence Poultney should have the fforty shillings bequeathed to the poore of his Parrish, and that the minister and the poore of the Parrish of St Olive Old Jurie should not have any legacy att all. Witnesses that he declared this to be his meaninge and will, Oliver Lawrence Noy. Publici.

Alphonsus Fowle, royal servant

In the previous post I wrote about my possible ancestor Adam Fowle, described in contemporary records as a servant to Elizabeth I and as ‘Keeper of the house and garden of St James.’ His son Alphonsus Fowle must have inherited his father’s position, following the latter’s death in 1582, since the family pedigree in the record of the Visitation of London describes Alphonsus as ‘sometime servant to Queen Elizabeth King James Prince Henry and Prince Charles sometime keeper of the house and gardens of St James’. The pedigree in the record of the Visitation of Middlesex provides the additional information that Alphonsus Fowle was a Justice of the Peace in Middlesex ‘dwelling nere St James beyond Westminster’.

St James’ Palace and garden (via

As I noted in the last post, Alphonsus was christened at St Martin in the Fields in January 1559/60. It seems that he was married twice. His first wife was Eleanor Medley, and they must have married when Alphonsus was not yet twenty years old, since their first child Mathias was baptised at St Martin’s on 26th February 1579/90. I’ve yet to find a record of the marriage of Alphonsus and Eleanor, or anything definite about the latter’s background. There is a Medley family of London, with Kent connections, listed in the Visitation of Kent records, but no mention in the pedigree of Eleanor.

After Mathias, the next child born to Alphonsus and Eleanor was their daughter Elizabeth, who was baptised at St Martin’s on 30th May 1582, but she lived for less than two weeks, being buried there on 10th June. Another daughter, Anna or Anne, was born in the following year and christened on 2nd June 1583. Frances or Francisca Fowle was baptised on 12th September 1585.

The transcription of the St Martin’s parish register records that, on 27th January 1587, a child by the name of Aldolphus Fowle (sic) was christened at the church, though the name of his father is not given. The Visitation pedigrees, and Alphonsus’ own will, inform us that he had a son who was his namesake. So is ‘Aldolphus’ a transcriber’s error, or was this the son of another member of the Fowle family? According to a record in the National Archives, in the early 1620s Alphonsus Fowle would be involved in a legal dispute over ‘money matters’ with an Adolphus Fowle, though it’s unclear from the reference what (if any) was the relationship between the two men.

On 6th August 1607 the parish register at St Martin’s recorded the burial of ‘Robert’ famula Mri Fowle’, or Mr Fowle’s female servant.

If the Visitation records are to be believed, Alphonsus Fowle served two monarchs – Elizabeth I and James I – as well as two of James’ sons. Prince Henry, the Prince of Wales, was the elder son of King James and was expected to become king after him, until his death from typhoid fever in 1612, at the age of eighteen. A record of the household of Prince Henry published in 1610 includes an entry for Alphonsus (£160 equates to approximately £16,000 or about $20000 in today’s money):

Alphonsus Fowle listed in a record of Prince Henry’s household

According to the Middlesex pedigree, Alphonsus Fowle’s first wife Eleanor died on 8th October 1624. There is no mention in that record of another marriage, but the London pedigree claims that Alphonsus had a second wife: ‘Ellen widow of John Lawrence of Essex and da. of Henry Chapman of Tutsam Hall in Kent’. The entry in the Survey of Kent for the village of West Farleigh, near Maidstone, includes the following:

THE MANOR OF TOTESHAM-HALL, usually called Tutsham, in this parish, was antiently the residence of a family, who assumed their surname from it. 

John de Totesham was one of the recognitores magnæ assisæ, or judges of the great assize in the reign of king John, as appears by the pipe rolls of that reign, and bore for his arms, Gules, within a bordure a cross argent, between twelve billets of the last; as appears by his seal appendant to a deed in the Dering library.

From him this manor and estate descended in a direct line to Anthony Totesham, esq. who about the latter end of the reign of king Henry VIII. alienated Totesham, with an appendage to it, called Henhurst, to Thomas Chapman, gent. one of the grooms of the king’s chamber, in whose name they staid till the middle of queen Elizabeth’s reign, when they were sold to John Laurence, esq. captain of Tilbury fort, who by Anne, one of the two daughters and coheirs of Robert Gidding, esq. left a son and heir, Edward Laurence, esq. who was of Totesham-hall, and died in 1605.

Tutsham Hall in the early eighteenth century

If one of Ellen’s relatives was a groom of the king’s chamber, then it might explain how she came to meet Alphonsus. However, the exact relationship between Ellen’s father Henry Chapman and the Thomas Chapman of Tutsham is unclear. It’s also not clear whether the John Laurence of Tilbury Fort mentioned in this source is the ‘John Lawrence of Essex’ who was Ellen’s first husband, if the Visitation pedigree is to be believed. If so, she must have been his second wife. However, according to one source, Captain John Lawrence of Tilbury fort died in 1557, while other sources claim that Ellen Chapman married her first husband on 16th June 1594.

There was obviously a connection of some kind between Ellen and the Lawrences of Tilbury, since in his will of 1625 Alphonsus Fowle makes a bequest of ‘all that my Annuity rent charge and yearely rent of Twenty Pounds issuinge, and going forth of all that the Mannor of Gobyons with th’appurtenances in the Parish of East Tilbury in the County of Essex which I lately purchased to me and my heires of John Lawrence Cittizen, and Grocer of London’. It may also be significant that the ‘notary public’ who was one of the men to witness Alphonsus’ will was a certain Oliver Lawrence. A Sir John Lawrence, grocer, would serve as mayor of London in 1665.

Alphonsus Fowle made his will in December 1635, when he was seventy-five years old. I’ll share my transcription of the will, and discuss what it can tell us about Alphonsus and his family, in the next post.


Adam Fowle, ‘Keeper of the house and garden of St James’


Gatehouse of St James’ Palace, London (via

I’ve written before about Adam Fowle, a servant at the court of Elizabeth I and the ‘Keeper of the house and garden of St James.’  This was St James’ Palace, built by Henry VIII in the 1530s as a smaller residence that would provide an escape from formal court life. According to Wikipedia:

Much smaller than the nearby Whitehall, St James’s was arranged around a number of courtyards, including the Colour Court, the Ambassador’s Court and the Friary Court. The most recognisable feature is the north gatehouse; constructed with four storeys, the gatehouse has two crenellated flanking octagonal towers at its corners and a central clock dominating the uppermost floor and gable [… ] It is decorated with the initials H.A. for Henry and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry constructed the palace in red brick, with detail picked out in darker brick. The palace was remodelled in 1544, with ceilings painted by Hans Holbein, and was described as a ‘pleasant royal house’ […] Elizabeth I  often resided at the palace, and is said to have spent the night there while waiting for the Spanish Armada to sail up the Channel.

My interest in Adam stems from the fact that, according to the record of the Visitation of London in 1633-34 and 1635, he was ‘nephew to the prior of St Mary Saviours in Surrey’. This is a reference to Bartholomew Fowle, who was prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, at the time of its suppression by Henry VIII in 1539: the priory church was later known as St Saviours, and is now the Anglican cathedral of Southwark. Some sources claim that Bartholomew was the brother of my 13th great grandfather, Gabriel Fowle of Southover near Lewes in Sussex.

St James’ Palace and gardens in the early seventeenth century

In this post, I want to share what I’ve managed to discover about Adam Fowle and his immediate family, and in subsequent posts I’ll discuss the lives of some of his descendants. I’m hoping that my exploration of this branch of the family may throw some much-needed light on the origins of my own Fowle ancestors.

The pedigree in the Visitation of London records states that Adam Fowle was married to a woman who was the daughter of a man named Dryland, and the ‘relict’ or widow of a man named Webb. A collection of Middlesex pedigrees, published in 1914, contains a little more information about Adam and his wife. He is said to be of Faversham in Kent, but ‘descended out of Sussex’, while we learn that her Christian name was Anne and that her father’s family, the Drylands, were also from Kent.  This is confirmation that Adam was connected in some way with my own Fowle ancestors, either those who lived in Rotherfield, Sussex, or those from Lamberhurst, on the Sussex\Kent border.

I suspect, though I can’t be sure, that Adam acquired his property in Faversham through his marriage to Anne Webb née Dryland. The Dryland or Dreylond family seems to have been resident in the Faversham area since at least the time of Edward III, when Stephen Dryland lived there. A William Dryland of Faversham made his will in 1494, and a Richard Dryland was alive in 1517.

Cooksditch House today (via

According to the Survey of Kent, published in 1798, the Drylands’ ancestral home was in Cooksditch, ‘almost adjoining to the east side of the town of Faversham’. (The house was rebuilt in Georgian times and is now a nursing home: see photograph above.) The Drylands were said to be ‘of good account, and at times intermarried with some of the best families in this county.’ During the reign of Henry VI, John Dryland was ‘knight of the shire’, and in succeeding reigns the family often supplied the mayors of Faversham.

The Survey has this to say about Richard Dryland, who lived at Cookdsitch during Henry VII’s reign:

He was twice married, and left by his first wife Joane, daughter and heir of Thomas Quadring, of London, only one daughter Katherine, who became heir to her mother’s inheritance, which she carried with Cooksditch likewise, in marriage to Reginald Norton, esq. of Lees-court, in Sheldwich, who had by her two sons, Sir John, who was of Northwood, in Milton, and William Norton, to whom by his will he devised Cooksditch. He afterwards resided at it, and married Margaret, daughter and heir of Matthew Martyn, by whom he was ancestor of the Nortons, of Fordwich, in this county.

I’ve written elsewhere about the Nortons of Fordwich, and their connections with the recusant Hawkins, Finch and Knatchbull families. Intriguingly, there is also a connection between the Nortons and another branch of the Fowle family, from Tenterden in Kent. Another source claims that Richard Dryland had a second daughter: this might have been Anne Dryland who married Adam Fowle.

Intriguingly, a character by the name of Adam Fowle of Faversham appears in The Tragedy of  Master Arden of Faversham, published in 1592, which some have attributed to Shakespeare. This Adam Fowle is said to be ‘of the Flower de Luce, Faversham’. At first I thought this might be a courtly in-joke about a royal servant (though ‘our’ Adam had died by this time), but apparently the play is based on a true story, and there really was an Adam Fowle who was landlord of the Fleur-de-lis inn in Faversham. I suspect that there is probably no connection with my own Fowle ancestors.

The old church of St Martin in the Fields (via

The parish register of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, records that on 23rd January 1559/60 a child by the name of Alphonsus Fowle was baptised there. Since we know from the Visitation of London pedigree that Adam and Anne Fowle had a son with this unusual Christian name, and that he would be seventy-four years old in 1634, this is almost certainly the same person. If so, it would mean that Adam and Anne were married by 1558/59 (the first year of the reign of Elizabeth I), which places Adam’s birth at the latest in about 1540. This would make him a member of the same generation as my 12th great grandfather Magnus Fowle, the son of Gabriel. There are no other extant records of children born to Adam and Anne Fowle, and in fact Alphonsus is the only child of theirs mentioned in the Visitation pedigrees.

It’s probably no coincidence that St Martin’s church was the location for the marriage, on 25th February 1565/6, of Robert Fowle and Maria Burton. Robert, a soldier who rose to become Provost-Marshal of Connaught in Ireland, was the son of Robert Fowle of Carshalton, Surrey. Mary or Maria Burton was the daughter of Nicholas Burton, also of Carshalton, the second husband of Eleanor Fowle, widow of William Fowle of Mitcham. As I’ve written elsewhere, William was almost certainly another relative of Bartholomew Fowle, the prior of St Mary Overy, since he makes bequests to him in his will of 1547. William Fowle had connections with the Kent Fowles, but the precise relationship between him, Robert, and the family of Adam Fowle of Faversham and London is still unclear.

On 12th July 1582 the parish register of St Martin’s records that Adam Fowle was buried  ‘in New Church yarde’, which was an ‘overflow’ cemetery in the grounds of the Royal Bethlem Hospital, created in the sixteenth century when parish cemeteries became full. I’ve been unable to find a copy of Adam Fowle’s will. A search at the National Archives only turned up two certificates of residence, from 1563 and 1571, declaring him to be liable for taxation in the royal household.