William Hayward of Little Wenlock, died 1708

William Hayward was born in 1642 and was buried on 14 Sep 1708 in St Lawrence, Little Wenlock. He is the father of Mary Hayward, the second wife of William Bendy (1653-1724). In the marriage bonds of February 1697 it states that she comes from Little Wenlock in Shropshire. The Hayward family were prominent landowners in that area of Shropshire since the middle ages. They reached the height of their wealth with Sir Rowland Hayward (1520-1593), who was a cloth merchant and Lord Mayor of London. Sir Rowland had two sons George and John, both knighted, and left an impressive list of property in his native Shropshire but also in London, Middlesex and Kent. Sir George Hayward died childless, aged 28 in 1616, and Sir John Hayward died also childless in Rochester, Kent in 1636 leaving estates to his sister’s children. With Sir John’s death these Hayward lines all came to an end.

1667 Signature of William Hayward between that of his brother and sister-in-law

1667 Signature of William Hayward between that of his brother and sister-in-law

Sir Rowland was the son of George Hayward MP and the postulation is that William Hayward is descended through Sir Rowland’s brother or first cousin, probably a William. This branch of the family regained the advowson of the parish church of Little Wenlock from 1623. Sir John Hayward divided and sold much of the Manor of Little Wenlock, acquired by his father on that date and ostensibly sold some parts to his cousins George and William.

In “History of the County of Shropshire” (BHO) it records how this advowson passed first to George Hayward (b  1610) and then probably to his son William Hayward, at aged 21, by 1663, and on his death in 1708 to the next generation William who died in 1727.

The 1727 will of William Hayward, Gentleman of Little Wenlock, is thus the starting point of establishing how Mary Hayward fits into the broader family. This will is written 6 Sep 1726 and he would appear to be the brother to Mary Hayward. Firstly it is witnessed by none other than William Bendy – this would be William Bendy Junior (1700-1782), Mary Hayward’s son, as his father died in 1724. The will does not mention any sisters but does mention a brother John and a cousin called Rowland Pudsey.

This confirms that the marriage of William Hayward (d 1708) and Mary Pudsey on 9 Jan 1665/6 in Trysull is indeed William’s. In the marriage bonds dated 20 Nov 1665 it states that the groom is 23 and the bride is 25. In the absence of any Parish Register entry, this gives a birth date for William Hayward of about 1642.

William’s father is therefore either George Hayward or possibly his brother William Hayward, the two sons of William Hayward who dies in 1639. This is supported by the inheritance of the advowson of Little Wenlock down the line.

From the Trysull register we can see that William’s wife Mary Pudsey (bap 10 Feb 1639, All Saints) is the brother of Thomas Pudsey (1649-1715) and the child of the ardent parliamentarian Thomas Pudsey (1607-1676) and his wife Margaret Barnsley (1608-1687). This means that William Bendy and Mary Hayward, who married on 7 Mar 1697 in Wombourne, were in fact second cousins as they share a great grandfather in William Barnesley of Trysull  (1568-1640). Their grandfathers William Bendy and Thomas Pudsey had both served for Parliament on the “Committee at Stafford” in the 1640’s.

Documents in the Dudley Archives seem to bear out the closeness of the families as Rowland Pudsey (bap 21 Feb 1700) appears on a number of settlements before and after the death of a Sarah Hayward in 1744. Moreover Thomas Bendy (bap 8 Jun 1712, Kingswinford), the grandson of William Hayward, in his will of 1758 also appoints his ‘cousin’ Rowland Pudsey as Overseer to his will

After William Hayward’s marriage to Mary Pudsey in 1665, the baptisms of his children appear in the Trysull register and not in the Little Wenlock some twenty miles to the north. The eldest son William, whose 1727 will survives, was baptized on 7 Oct 1666 followed by Mary on 29 Aug 1668. However, this Mary appears to be buried in 1670 when the register states that “Mary daughter of William Hayward, Gent was buried”. The later baptism of a second Mary cannot be found, nor can the baptism of her putative brother John nor the even more tentative sister Sarah.

Old Hall Little Wenlock

We know that William Hayward continued to have estates in Little Wenlock but the baptisms of his children imply he was absent for much of this time.  It would appear that he owned the Old Hall (former manor house), Little Wenlock possibly acquired from Sir John in 1623, but it was his son who appears to have extended this building after 1708 and who was much more active in the Little Wenlock area especially extracting coal from the Coalmoor works that was shipped away on the River Severn down to nearby Coalbrookdale.

William Hayward’s will has not yet been located.

Selected Sources

  • The Parish Registers of All Saints, Trysull, findmypast (originals)
  • Will of Sir John Hayward, Rochester 1636, National Archives PCC (Cousin)
  • Will of William Hayward, Probate 1639, PCC (Grandfather)
  • Will of William Hayward, Gentleman of Little Wenlock, Probate 7 Feb 1727, PCC (Eldest son)
  • Visitation of Shropshire, 1623, Harleian Society, 1889
  • Visitation of Staffordshire, 1663, Sir William Dugdale, London 1884 for  Pudsey Family
  • Will of Thomas Pudsey, Probate 13 Jun 1676, National Archives, PCC (Father-in-law)
  • Wills of Thomas Bendy and Mary Bendy, Probate 18 Apr 1758, National Archives PCC (Grandson and daughter – confirms Rowland Pudsey as Cousin)
  • British History Online (BHO): A history of the County of Shropshire: Vol 11 Telford – Little Wenlock: Church, Manor and Economic History pp 80-91
  • Dudley Archives DE/1/3/76-80 Deeds and Mortgage naming James Shaw, Rowland Pudsey and William Bendy with Sarah Hayward (Spinster)
  • Will of John Bradney of Nether Penn, 1675 (Uncle – married to Katherine Barnesley – signatures of Thomas Pudsey, William Hayward and Sarah Pudsey as witnesses) Lichfield Record Office