Thomas Darby

When Thomas Darby of “the Portway in the parish of Rowley Regis” died in 1611 it is clear from his will dated 28 Mar 1611, probate 22 July 1611, that he was an old man. He was probably born in the 1530’s. He requests to be buried in the churchyard of Rowley, “near unto my wife”. He identifies his surviving sister as Elizabeth Whitmore, who is recorded in the Parish Register as marrying Thomas Whitmore in St Giles, Rowley Regis on 5 Feb 1555.

This information about the Whitmores allows us to identify at least one further sibling William Darby (will 1581). It is likely he is also the brother of Edmonde Darby of Oldbury who died in 1598 as both Thomas and Edmonde’s daughter Anne mention the Hall House in Rowley.

Thomas mentions what would appear to be his only two surviving daughters Anne and ‘Folis’ (Phyllis or maybe Alice), the latter receiving the bedstead where his “son William did lie” (presumably the William Darby buried 9 Jan 1610/11). It is not clear whether William had any children.

Anne Darby his daughter is appointed sole Executor and William Turton of West Bromwich and William Cartwright of Rowley as overseers. Each of his surviving grandchildren were to receive twelve pence but they remain unidentified.

The Inventory of Thomas Darby’s will in 1611 is signed by William Lowe, Humphrey Woodhouse and John Russell. Humphrey Woodhouse, yeoman and nailer who had come to Rowley from Wombourne had married an Elizabeth Darby on 13 May 1592 in Wombourne and it is possible that this is another child of Thomas Darby. Elizabeth died young in about 1601 and Humphrey remarried. Their only daughter Margaret (bap 30 Jul 1597, St Benedict, Wombourne) married Thomas Turton on 10 Nov 1612, St Giles Rowley. Thomas was the older brother of John Turton. A John Russell was married to the granddaughter of Edmonde called Joan Ireland

The Inventory of the goods (dated 20 Feb 1610/11) belonging to the son William Darby is also extant and that shows goods to the value of £46. The inventory is taken by Humphrey Woodhouse and William Ireland – the former probably as the above would testify his brother-in-law, the latter a grandson of Edmonde Darby

Finally, the parish register of St Giles, records the burial of Thomas Darby the elder on 30 Jun 1611. He was presumably ‘the elder’ because he either had a grandson Thomas (by William) or there was a grandson of Edmonde Darby (d 1598) the one who eventually left a will 1660.



  • Parish Register of St Giles, Rowley Regis (BMGSH transcript)
  • Will of Thomas Darby, Yeoman of Rowley Regis, Worcester Archives, Probate 22 Jul 1611
  • Inventory of William Darby, Worcester Archives, 1610, Son
  • Will of Edmonde Darby, of Halesowen, 1598, Probable Brother
  • Will of William Darby, of Rowley, 1581, Brother
  • Will of William Turton, Yeoman of West Bromwich, National Archives PCC, Probate 29 Feb 1627, uncle of John Turton.








Last updated on 30 January 2023 by JJ Morgan