William Barnesley

William Barnesley was born in Trysull, near Wolverhampton, in about 1568. His parents were Thomas Barnesley and Katherine Cooke, who had married in All Saints, Trysull in 1565.

The Barnesleys had been in Trysull for at least three generations previously. They were a cadet branch of the Barnesleys of Barnesley Hall, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. Indeed in 1597 the Trysull Barnesleys requested and were allowed to use the same basic Coat of Arms as their kindred branch twenty miles further south.

William Barnesley married Isobel Madstard of Old Swinford, Stourbridge in about 1591. Isobel’s father, a mercer from Stourbridge had died in 1587. Isobel’s mother Mary Tyrer died and left a will of 1597.

The couple had two sons that survived and at least seven daughters. A number of the daughters seem to have married very well, that probably bears witness to the status of William. Interestingly two of his sons-in-law were committed Roundheads – both William Bendy and Thomas Pudsey served on the Parliamentary Committee at Stafford.

The Barnesley family had close connexions with the important Wollaston family of Perton and William’s great grandmother, according to Dugdale, was indeed a Wollaston. A Sir John Wollaston, a goldsmith, was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1643. In Burke’s Commoners it states that his great grandmother was Elizabeth Barnesley, married to William Wollaston (1493-1580). It states that she was the daughter of John Barnesley of Trysull, presumably the very same John Barnesley, William’s great grandfather who, according to Dugdale, was married into an unknown daughter of the same Wollaston family.

In 1609 Hugh Wollaston of Trescott Grange, uncle to Sir John, in his will grants “his near kinsman and loving friends” William Barnesley, (together with Humphrey Jordan, Thomas Jordan and John Dancer)  use of the mill and watercourses on Trescott Grange for twelve years.

Sir John Wollaston died childless and in his will of 1658 lists a set of trustees to control the advowson of the Rectory of Wombourne. Sir John was a Parliamentarian and the list is revealing. It includes William Bendy and Edward Jordan. His maternal grandmother was Jane Jordan, married in 1550 to William Wollaston, the man who first bought Trescott Grange, some two miles north of Trysull.  Sir John also apparently owned or controlled the advowson of Trysull

The Barnesleys like the Wollastons had a steady stream of sons who served apprenticeships in the City of London. In St Peter’s Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton stands a monument in the South Wall to William’s uncle Nicholas Barnesley of Trysull, Citizen and Grocer. In Nicholas’s will of 1608 William Barnesley is named as Overseer.

William Barnesley of Trysull is also a witness on the will, probate 1605, of his first cousin, also William Barnesley of Chingford, Essex, son of Nicholas Barnesley, Citizen and Grocer.

William’s two sons predeceased him but they both had children that are mentioned in William’s will of 1640 – William son of Thomas and John son of William. His eldest son Thomas (bap 16 Mar 1594) married Margaret Southwick in All Saints Trysull on 20 Sep 1616. He died and was buried in Trysull on 21 Oct 1635. In a non-cupative will, describing him as a yeoman of Trysull, he appointed his wife as sole executrix. William Barnesley’s second son, William (bap 18 Jun 1601) married Frances Coppinger in London in 1632. He was a Citizen and Draper, but died a month before his brother in Sep 1635. He was buried on 15 Sep 1635 at St Nicholas Acons in the City.

In his will written in 1636, William gives three of his daughters £100 and the other four £20 each, but does not mention their married surnames. The three younger daughters were presumably given more money as they were not yet married. As already indicated, William’s eldest daughter Mary (bap 1 Sep 1593) married William Bendy (9 Nov 1619)  and Margaret (bap 19 Nov 1608) married Thomas Pudsey (2 Nov 1637). In addition his second daughter Katherine (bap 25 Feb 1598) became the second wife of John Bradney. And his daughter Ann (bap 7 Apr 1611) married Richard Brettel on 24 Jun 1647 at St Bartholomew’s Penn. His daughter Jane (bap 16 Feb 1605) is probably the Jane Holland, widow, mentioned in the will of William Bendy in 1657. We do not have the name of Elizabeth’s (bap 18 Sep 1603) husband but like Jane we can presume she married before 1636. His youngest daughter Susannah (bap 19 Jun 1613) was presumably not married in 1636 and we do not know what became of her.

William Barnesley was buried in All Saints Trysull on 21 Aug 1640 at the age of about 72. Isabel and son-in-law William Bendy were named as executors in his will. Isobel survived him by nearly twelve years and was buried on 17 Feb 1652 and would have been in her eighties.

In his will, he also mentions his brother Nicholas Barnesley (bap 9 Mar 1576) and his son Nicholas Barnesley (1607-1640) – both were to die within the same year 1640/41. Other mentions are of  his brother Thomas Mempas married to his sister Ann on 5 Oct 1590. William also owed money to William Rudge, son of his cousin Frances Barnesley, who had married his niece Katherine Mempas on 14 Apr 1614 in Wolverhampton.

Selected Sources

  • Parish Register of All Saints, Trysull. Originals at  findmypast.com
  • Will of William Barnesley, Yeoman of Trysull, Probate 5 Oct 1640, Lichfield Record Office
  • Will of William Barnesley, Probate 1571, Lichfield Record Office  (Grandfather)
  • Will of Thomas Madstard, Mercer of Old Swinford, Probate 9 Oct 1587, National Archives, PCC  (Father-in-law)
  • Will of Mary Madstard, Widow of Swinford, Probate 20 Oct 1597, National Archives PCC (Mother-in-law) – daughter Margery also marries a Barnsley.
  • Will of Hugh Wollaston of Trescott Grange, Probate 7 Dec 1610, National Archives PCC (Second Cousin)
  • Will of Nicholas Barnesley of Wolverhampton, Probate 18 Jun 1608, National Archives, PCC (Uncle)
  • Will of William Barnsley of Chingford, Probate 21 Jan 1605, National Archives PCC (First Cousin)
  • Heraldic Visitation of Staffordshire, 1614 and 1663-1664. Sir William Dugdale et al , Harleian Society, 1885 (Barnesleys of Trysull)
  • Heraldic Visitation of Worcestershire 1624, Harleiean Society 1869, (Barnesleys of Barnesley Hall)
  • Burke’s Commoners, 1834 (Pedigree of Wollaston family)