The Wilmots of Witney

Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by euryalus, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    Witney, Oxfordshire
    This is perhaps a bit of a "long shot", but has anyone come across details of Edward Wilmot, a "landowner, of Witney, Oxfordshire", who died around 1600. He married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Stafford of Bradfield, Berkshire, who was the widow of John Bury of Culham, Oxfordshire. Another family of Wilmots, including the dissolute John Wilmot (1647-80), the 2nd Earl of Rochester, are associated with Adderbury and north Oxfordshire - or were they a branch of the same family? There are no monuments or inscriptions to the Wilmots in Witney Church, and it is hard to image where in Witney a gentry family such as the Wilmots would have lived. I can find no references in old books or guides, and the local historian Joanna Cannan (who was quite keen on the local gentry) makes no mention of the "Witney Wilmots"; it is all a bit of a mystery. (I have also come across mention of an Edward Wilmot of Culham, which makes at least some sense insofar as his wife was from that same place - perhaps Culham was his main residence?)
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  2. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    I've certainly come across an earlier Edward Wilmot with Witney connections. My notes are all in storage which isn't very helpful, sorry. Here are a few bits and pieces found online:

    There's a will for an 'Edward Wilmott or Wylmott of Witney', proved 1558 at the PCC according to the National Archives' catalogue. If I can find it on Ancestry I'll have a look at it.

    The Oxfordshire VCH Vol. XIV says 'Probably the last prominent Stapler was Edward Wilmot (d. 1558), an incomer associated with the Wenmans, who was Witney's wealthiest taxpayer in 1544 when he was assessed on goods worth £60. Besides interests in Southampton and lands in Gloucestershire he had dealings with Calais Staplers such as the Johnson brothers, to whom he lent £1,000 in 1544.'

    http://www.
    british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol14/pp77-88

    There are quite a few references to the Wilmot family in the introduction to the Calendar of the Court Books of the Borough of Witney 1538-1610 (Oxfordshire Record Society, Vol. 54) - including in one of the footnotes a mention of the Wilmot arms being in the church. (This is from a 'Visitation of Oxford' - just looking to see if I can find it online anywhere.)

    It does sound as if the Culham family might be connected to the one in Witney. According to this biography of Sir Charles Wilmot, from the History of Parliament website, he was the grandson of the Edward Wilmot who died 1558, whose second son [not named there] 'settled as a gentleman at Culham'.

    http://www.
    historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/wilmot-sir-charles-1571-16434
     
    Figgs, Joanne, Ma-dotcom and 3 others like this.
  3. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    The National Archives' catalogue ref. for the will is PROB 11/42A/87. Unfortunately piece 42A seems not to have been digitised by Ancestry. :(

    However . . . I just thought of looking in my collection of print-outs of Tudor & Stuart wills from Witney, and I have a copy of it there! (Must have done it at Kew years ago when I was working on that special issue of Record of Witney.) I will have a read of it later and try to pick out the key points for you: had better get back to work now though.
     
    Joanne, Ma-dotcom, Blackmogs and 3 others like this.
  4. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Yes, The Visitations of the County of Oxford taken in the years 1566, 1574, 1634 is online here:

    https://
    archive.org/details/visitationscoun02britgoog

    On p.45 there's a list of arms in 'Wytney Church', including this:
    Wilmot arms in Witney church.JPG
     
    Figgs, Joanne, Ma-dotcom and 4 others like this.
  5. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    From post #4, Christian (widow of the Edward Wilmot who died in 1558) went on to marry William Bury of Culham. From what I can gather William had a son John Bury from a previous marriage, and it was John's widow Elizabeth who married Edward Wilmot junior. That and lots more about the Wilmot family history can be found in two articles in this 1904 publication:

    https://
    archive.org/details/ancestorquarterl11londuoft

    The book begins with an article on 'The Wild Wilmots'; that's followed by what looks like a well researched 'Genealogy of the family of Wilmot, Earls of Rochester' . . . going back to our Edward Wilmot of Witney. It gives quite a lot of detail from his will, so I may not need to do that abstract after all. :)
     
    Bookworm, Joanne, Ma-dotcom and 2 others like this.
  6. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    Witney, Oxfordshire
    It appears that the Wilmots were indeed associated with Witney, their wealth having originally been derived from the local blanket trade. If they were still living in Witney in the 1570s it is likely that Sir Charles Wilmot, the first Viscount Wilmot of Athlone (1570/71–1644), could have been born in the vicinity - in which case Witney can claim to have been the birthplace of a (relatively) famous soldier. However, I cannot envisage where a gentry family such as the Wilmots would have lived - the most likely "big" houses being the old manor house or Witney Park. The Wilmot connection might also explain why the so-called "Collier Portrait" that can now be seen in the museum appears to depict a late 17th century gentleman with a facial-resemblance to known members of the Wilmot family.
     
  7. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    That seems unlikely. As Edward senior's widow married a man from Culham, and Edward junior (father of Charles) married a woman from Culham, I would think it more likely that Edward junior's children (including Sir Charles, supposed to have been born 1571 according to the second article mentioned in post 5) were born in Culham.

    From his will, Edward Wilmot senior's lands in Witney and Ducklington were to go to his son Arthur. By the time Arthur made his own will he was living in Hampshire (he died childless). I have found no reference to any of the family being in or near Witney later.

    Re. the "so-called Collier portrait" at the museum, I'm not convinced that it has anything to do with the Wilmots. Trying to spot facial resemblances between portraits has led to all sorts of dubious theories about history and is best avoided I think. Why not stick with what is known about the portrait (that it belonged to descendants of the Collier family of Witney and that they believed the subject to be a Collier)? I don't see the need to invent a new story.
     
    Eve, Figgs, mugwortismy cat and 2 others like this.
  8. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    Witney, Oxfordshire
    I have suggested that it was unlikely that the family were actually living in the Witney area during the second half of the 16th century, for the simple reason that there was nowhere suitable for them to have lived - the family having become quite grand by that time - the "best" gentry house in the area was perhaps the long-demoloshed Witney Park.
     
  9. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    If you want to know when they left then I would suggest a trip to Kew to study lists of tax-payers in Witney and Culham. Try the E179 database (on the National Archives website) to see what lists survive.
     
  10. James Canning

    James Canning New Member

    Offline
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle Washington USA
    Edward Wilmot of Witney died Oct. 1558 seized of the manors of Newent and Pauntley, Gloucestershire.
     
    Huncamunca likes this.
  11. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

    Offline
    Messages:
    2,263
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Hello James and welcome to the forum :)

    Thank you for joining in with the Wilmot discussion. I never did get round to posting details from Edward Wilmot's will and can't find my print-out now: I failed to put it back in my Witney Wills folder after writing post #3 back in July (an indication of how rarely I do housework :oops:).
     
  12. janetbooth

    janetbooth Top Dog Stalwart

    Offline
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    2,857
    Location:
    Congleton, Cheshire
    Also a snippet from "Magna Carta Ancestry" page 331, found via a Google Book search for Edward WILMOT of Witney:

    "Edward KEMPE of Gins (in Beaulieu) Hampshire. He married after 1558 Elizabeth WILMOT daughter of Edward WILMOT, Esq, of Witney Oxfordshire, Newent & Pauntley, Gloucestershire, by Christian daughter of John BUSTARD, Esq of Adderbury, Oxfordshire. They had 4 sons, Thomas, Gent., Edward, Francis & Robert. Elizabeth was a legatee in the 1558 will of her father ......." You should be able to look up the full details yourself.

    Lots of other mentions of Edward WILMOT via Google Book search, so you may well be able to glean more information from them. Also some information about John BUSTARD of Adderbury from the book "The Life of Sir Thomas Pope", pages 415/6, again found via a Google Book search.

    Janet
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice