Humphrey Woodhouse, died 1629

Humphrey Woodhouse of Rowley Regis, who died and left a will in 1629, is an interesting genealogical link between the Turton, Woodhouse, Darby families at this time, all discussed in detail elsewhere on this site

It is clear Humphrey was originally from Wombourne and is descended from the Woodhouse family there, who resided at the eponymous Woodhouse in that village.

Humphrey was the son of Edward Woodhouse and must have been born in about 1570. His uncles were therefore Robert Smyth and Benedict Woodhouse. Humphrey’s father Edward Woodhouse was the first cousin of another Benedict Woodhouse (d 1586) who represented the main male line and retained the family seat in Wombourne.

Humphrey married ‘Agnes’ Darby in Wombourne on 13 May 1593. By this marriage he had one surviving daughter Margaret Woodhouse, who married Thomas Turton on 10 Nov 1612 in St Giles Rowley Regis. Thomas Turton was the younger brother of John Turton of Rowley Regis.

Humphrey remarried in about 1600 – this was to Ann, mother of his later children, named in his will. No marriage record exists.

At some time around 1602 Humphrey moved from Wombourne to Rowley Regis and Humphrey is therefore the ancestor of numerous lines of Woodhouses in Rowley in the eighteenth century, most notably the poet James Woodhouse.

Humphrey’s sons named in his will are Edward (bap Wombourne in 1601), John (bap Rowley 1606, William (bap 1611) and Thomas (bap 1615)

Humphrey and John Turton were jointly recorded as Church Wardens of St Giles, Rowley Regis in 1622.

His daughter Elizabeth (bap Rowley Regis 1605) married Edward Darby in Rowley Regis on 22 Oct 1628, shortly before Humphrey’s death. Elizabeth and Edward had a daughter Ann, born in Feb 1628/9 who is mentioned in the will. It seems Elizabeth died shortly after child birth. Edward, a witness to the will is explicitly mentioned as guardian of the young grandchild.

Humphrey was buried in St Giles, Rowley Regis on 26 Apr 1629.


Sources and Notes

  • Will of Humphrey Woodhouse, 1629, Worcester Archives
  • Will of Edward Woodhouse, Probate 3 Apr 1611, Lichfield Record Office (Father)
  • Will of Robert Smythe, Probate 9 Apr 1593, Lichfield Record Office (Uncle)
  • Woodhouse of Wombourne published family trees (Various)
  • The transcript of Rowley Regis Register (Staffordshire Record Society) states that the name of the daughter Elizabeth’s husband is Edmund Darby and not Edward, but the original will makes it clear this is wrong. This is important in the disambiguation of the numerous Edmund Darbys in this period. Edward and Edmund are written very similarly. Edward Darby probably came from Dudley and may be the one buried in Rowley Regis in 1640 from Withey More Mill.
  • Some histories give Humphrey’s first wife as Elizabeth Darby not Agnes Darby. This confusion might lead us to speculate that the second wife Ann or Agnes is the younger sister of Elizabeth. This could hold true if they are both the children of Thomas Darby, will 1611.


Last updated on 26 December 2022 by JJ Morgan