Robert Pudsey of Langley Hall

There are two versions of wills held in the National Archives relating to Robert Pudsey of Langley Hall, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. The original was written on 10 Aug in the first year of the reign of Edward VI, i.e. 1547. Probate is granted in 1558 on this will but appears to be nullified. A further version written on 6 Jul is slightly different from the first but with Probate re-granted in 1561. There is also a Latin version of this second will. This is difficult to explain especially as the documents superficially seem similar and non contentious. 

Robert Pudsey is mentioned in the Visitation of Warwickshire of 1619. Here it names his wife as Eleanor Harman, daughter of Hugh Harman of Moor Hall, Warwickshire. In both wills it is Robert Pudsey’s widow Eleanor who is granted probate and the property (jointure) granted on marriage is retained by Eleanor before passing to Robert’s eldest son and heir George Pudsey. There is one other son mentioned in the will and corroborated in the Visitation and that is Thomas, who it describes as “Thomas Pudsey of Derbyshire”.

Robert Pudsey was elected Warden of Sutton Coldfield, an annual appointment, in the year 1543 and again in 1554.

The wills mention property in Oxfordshire in Chalgrove and also in Elsfield. George Pudsey the son lived until 1625 and himself left a will indicating that he had six living sons and three living daughters. As he mentions two daughters Marie the older and Marie the younger, it would confirm at least some of the details in the Visitation where it names George’s two families by two wives named as Mildred Cotton and Margaret Gibbons. The descendants of George’s second son Michael (will 1645) appear to be the prominent line of Pudsey’s of Elsfield in Oxfordshire notably Sir George Pudsey, MP and Serjeant at Law.

George Pudsey who died in 1625 has a religious preamble to his will that indicates strong Puritan beliefs. It mentions his belief that he will gain salvation as one “of the elect and chosen children”. Both the Pudseys of Langley Hall and the Pudseys of Seisdon were strong Parliamentarians. It is possible that the unexplained difficulties of execution of Robert Pudsey’s will in 1558 also have a religious dimension and had to be sorted out in a the more tolerant jurisdiction of Queen Elizabeth rather than her sister Mary. Other explanations could be the minority of George who was probably born in about 1541. Also it would appear that Eleanor remarried at some time to a Robert Silvester.

The contentions around the will although seemingly obscure to us, continued to at least 1579. A folio of documents in the National Archives (C 3/145/63) shows continued litigation between George and his mother and stepfather. The presumption from this is that Eleanor dies in 1579. However there is a will of Robert Silvester for 1565 which appears to leave the twice widowed Eleanor as sole executor for a second time. She is charged with the oversight and maintenance of two free schools under the terms of this will (one in King’s Sutton ie probably Bishop Vesey’s legacy and another in Shenstone where Nicholas Silvester was Vicar). Inevitably George Pudsey clearly won through in the end and eventually inherited the bulk of the diverse portfolio of lands in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire and beyond.

However, the thrust of this site is to trace the descendants of George’s younger brother Thomas, who is left hanging in the Visitation of 1619 as merely of ‘Derbyshire’. Fortunately he can with some certainty be picked up again in the Visitation of Staffordshire as the father of Nicholas Pudsey of Harborne. Nicholas is the father of Thomas Pudsey of Seisdon. Conveniently there is a baptism of a Nicholas Pudsey on 19 Jul 1579 in Longford, Derbyshire. This fits well, even though it is not clear how Thomas ends up in Longford, in the Derbyshire Dales. Most likely it is due to a marriage. The Visitation of Staffordshire specifies Ardesley (near Hollington) but other than to confirm that this is the right Thomas Pudsey this does not help.

There is no will for Thomas Pudsey and his children do not seem to have stayed in Derbyshire. Ardesley Hall was part of the estate of the Longford family of Longford Hall. No mention of Thomas Pudsey can be found in any Longford wills but in terms of status and circumstance it seems plausible that Thomas Pudsey’s wife could have been from that family. Nicholas is a name associated with the Longford family and not the Pudseys.

There are a number of Pudsey baptisms in the St Chad’s Longford register from 1572 to 1589 all the children of Thomas viz Edward (bap 1572), Martha (bap 1576), Margery (bap 1578),  Nicholas (bap 1579), Francis (bap 1582), Katherine (bap 1584), John (bap 1587), Thomas (bap 1589). The only one we know to have survived is Nicholas, the heir listed in the Visitation of Staffordshire. He marries Catherine Norman back in Sutton Coldfield on 14 Apr 1607 and that seems to draw a line under the Pudsey name in Derbyshire.


  • Will of Robert Pudsey, Probate 31 Aug 1558, PCC (Nulled)
  • Will of Robert Pudsey, Probate 22 May 1561, PCC
  • Will of George Pudsey, Probate 30 Apr 1625, Lichfield Record Office (Son)
  • Will of Robert Silvester, Probate 2 Apr 1565, PCC (Widow’s second husband)
  • Will of Richard Pudsey of Elsfield, 1638, Oxfordshire Wills (Grandson by George)
  • Visitation of Warwickshire, 1619, Harleian Society, 1877
  • Visitation of Staffordshire, 1663, ed Sidney Grazebrook, London 1885
  • British History Online: Elsfield Oxforshire from A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 5
  • National Archives (C 3/145/63)
    Short title: Pudsey v Silvester
    Plaintiff: George Pudsey
    Defendant: Robert Silvester and Eleanor Silvester, his wife
    Subject: property in Elsfield, Chalgrove, Berwick [Berwick-Salome], Oxfordshire; Roak [Worcestershire ?], Denton and Chiltorne [Chilton], Oxfordshire; West Wittenham, Wishaw and Langley, Berkshire; Sutton Coldfield, Hill, Maney, Wiggins Hall [unidentified], Kingsbury, Middleton, Moxhull, Lea and Curdworth, Warwickshire
    Date: 1558-1579