Joseph Whitehouse

Joseph Whitehouse, nailer, of Coseley left a will written on 14 Mar 1727/28. He was probably baptized on 11 May 1682 in All Saints Sedgley, the youngest son of Thomas Whitehouse, a yeoman and nailer.

Some of the church records about Joseph and his family are a little obscured because of his presumed non-conformist beliefs. He was most likely involved in the early non-conformist meetings in Coseley permitted after the Act of Toleration in 1689. It is recorded that the first meeting house in Coseley was registered at the house of a Moses Whitehouse in Michaelmas 1698.  Moses was a cousin and a member of one of the many branches of the Whitehouse family in Coseley and nearby Brierley. In subsequent generations many of the Whitehouse family took an active and leading part in various non-conformist meeting houses in and around Dudley.

None of the baptisms of his children are recorded but the names and approximate dates of birth  can be pieced together from a number of wills. A document in the Sedgley Manor Court Rolls indicates that there was an agreement on the intended marriage between a Joseph Whitehouse of Coseley and Mary Henne. This marriage is recorded to have taken place in the St Matthew’s Walsall register on 14 Dec 1704.

However, his eldest son was John Whitehouse, who must realistically have been born by about 1703 and no later. He is mentioned in the will of his putative grandfather, Thomas Whitehouse in 1709 and is older than his next brother William who married as early as 1723.  Whilst it would seem that John Whitehouse never married, his brother William already had at least two children mentioned in the will of 1728. George Whitehouse, Joseph’s eldest grandson seems to have been born in about 1724.

It looks as if Joseph’s third child was Mary who married Edward Whitehouse on 18 Feb 1727/28. In the will this impending marriage is alluded to – we learn that the intended bridegroom is the son of Richard Whitehouse. Somewhat confusingly the marriage would appear to have taken place in Tipton three weeks before the will was written. The three sons of this marriage are all recorded in non conformist registers, notably in the Coseley Old Meeting House records that have survived.

Joseph’s fourth child, born about 1708, was Joseph who possibly died in 1742 leaving a will and one daughter Anne Whitehouse.

Isaac Whitehouse the fifth child was  born about 1711 and left a will in 1786. He too was a non conformist and his descendants are the focus of a separate page on this site. He seems to be the wealthiest of Joseph’s direct descendants and some of the names of the parcels of land mentioned in Joseph’s will reappear in Isaac’s will 58 years later.

We learn from various wills that there are four other daughters – Hannah, Ann, Phoebe and Sarah. Hannah married Paul Gough and their offspring are all baptized in the Old Meeting House, Dudley. Ann married John Barrs on 4 May 1747 in All Saints Sedgley and it is a John Barrs who is an eventual witness on Isaac Whitehouse’s will of 1786. Phoebe appears never to have married. Sarah married Henry Foster in Wolverhampton on 1 Feb 1747.

The most useful and confirmatory document is undoubtedly the will of John Whitehouse, Joseph’s oldest son, dated 1766. He names no wife or children of his own, but names all his brothers in law and makes endowments to the Coseley Meeting House and funds for education of Protestant Dissenters. He transfers the bulk of his property to his executor, his brother Isaac.

A Joseph Whitehouse is recorded as being buried on 27 Aug 1728 in All Saints, Sedgley. It is presumed he was just 46.


  • The Surrendered Non Conformist registers of Sedgley including Coseley (BMSGH 1989)
  • Old Non Parochial registers of Dudley, ed Arthur Rollasson 1899.
  • Sedgley Manor Court Rolls (Whitehouse Abstract)
  • Will of Joseph Whitehouse, Probate 31 Jul 1729, Lichfield Record Office
  • Will of John Whitehouse, Ironmonger, Probate 8 Jun 1768, PCC (Oldest Son)
  • Will of Joseph Whitehouse, Probate 18 Jul 1743, Lichfield Record Office (Possible Third Son)
  • Will of Isaac Whitehouse, Probate 8 Nov 1786, Lichfield Record Office (Youngest Son)