John Cartwright of Rowley Regis, died 1661

John Cartwright, the elder, a yeoman of Rowley Regis died and left a will granted probate on 17 May 1661. We can be fairly confident that he is the John Cartwright referred to in the Dudley Archive document DE/4/7/11/14 where a 1585 grant of land by Edward Sutton, Lord Dudley is extended to the next generation of Cartwrights dated 17 May 1612. This makes John Cartwright  the son of William Cartwright and names his two immediate siblings as William Cartwright (will 1668) and Alice Chambers alias Ireland. His grandfather is thus very likely to be John Cartwright of Rowley Regis who leaves a will of 1587. 

This would suggest that John and his siblings were born around 1590. He names three children in his will – his eldest son John Cartwright would have to be born in the late 1630’s and this John Cartwright, the younger, himself dies young in 1672 leaving a will. The two daughters are named as Alice and Mary who we can surmise with good reason went on to be Alice Darby (m 10 Dec 1660) and Mary Woodhouse (m 30 Apr 1661), respectively. Unfortunately they did not marry until after their father’s will so their spouses are not immediately confirmed. Unlike their brother John the baptisms of these two daughters are recorded in St Giles as 2 May 1640 and 23 Mar 1646 respectively.

In his will, John Cartwright names his wife as Cassandra. This ties in with a marriage registered in St John, Halesowen on 1 May 1632, between John Cartwright and Cassandra Becke. The implication is that John is already in his forties at the date of this marriage and it was probably a second marriage. Perhaps his first wife was called Joanne, as there is a burial recorded of Joanne, wife of John Cartwright, in the St Giles register on 28 Jan 1624,

It is clear though that the only children to survive were from the marriage to Cassandra. In his will of 1672 John Cartwright (the younger)  appoints his father-in-law(sic) Thomas Osborne as sole executor. A brief glance at the St Giles Register shows that Thomas Osborne is not his wife’s father, but rather his mother’s second husband. A few months after the death of John Cartwright the elder, his widow remarried a Thomas Osborne on 29 Oct 1661. Cassandra Osborne is recorded as being buried in St Giles as late as 29 May 1691. She would have been 81 years of age as her baptism is recorded as 10 Mar 1610 in St John’s Halesowen. She would have been at least twenty years younger than John Cartwright her first husband.

In 1648 a John Cartwright and a John Stampes are listed as ‘Collectors for ye Poore’ in the St Giles Register.

The marriage of Edmund Darby with John Cartwright’s daughter Alice on 10 Dec 1660 must have taken place shortly before his death. The will itself is actually written seven years earlier in 1653. There is no burial recorded of John Cartwright in St Giles and the timing is a little enigmatic. Clearly he was dead several months before the grant of probate on his will in May 1661. His second daughter Mary, who may have been as young as 15, also married William Woodhouse (jnr) in pretty close order on 30 Apr 1661 – a marriage settlement is extant in the Staffordshire archive

John Cartwright appoints as overseers to his will, his brother William Cartwright and his kinsman William Chambers – two names mentioned way back in 1612. These two, together with William Woodhouse (snr), are the witnesses to John Cartwright’s neat signature on the 1653 document.

The brother, William Cartwright in his own will of 1668 is stated as “of the Knole Rowley Regis” and is variously described as Yeoman and Wheelwright. He names his seven children that by and large fit with the Rowley Register, together with the married names of his four daughters. His oldest daughter Alice (bap 2 May 1613) had married Jeffrey Grove on 25 Jul 1631. It is interesting to note that John Cartwright the younger, William’s nephew also states his dwelling to be the Knoll (sic) in Rowley Regis – suggesting that the extended family lived in a group of houses and workshops at the Knoll.

William Chambers is John Cartwright’s brother in law as indicated in the 1612 documents. William Chambers’ mother we know was Alice Darby, the great aunt of Edmund Darby. It looks as if he himself made a will probate 1667 (yet to be viewed).


  • Parish Registers of St Giles Rowley Regis, part 1, SPRS, 2009 Transcript
  • Will of John Cartwright, the elder, Probate 17 May 1661, Worcester Record Office
  • Will of William Cartwright, the Knole Rowley Regis, Probate 8 Dec 1668, Worcester Record Office (Brother)
  • Will of John Cartwright, wheelwright, probate 11 Jun 1673, Worcester Record Office, (Son)
  • Will of John Cartwright, probate 21 Aug 1671, Worcester Record Office (Nephew, eldest son of brother William)
  • Will of Alice Chambers alias Ireland, Widow, Worcester Record Office, fragment dated 1615
  • Dudley Record Office – DE/4/7/11/14 and DE/4/7/11/15 – 17 May 1612
  • Staffordshire Record Office – D369/C/1/1-2 Marriage Settlement between  William Woodhouse (jnr) and Mary Cartwright, sister of John Cartwright of Rowley Regis.