William Wylmer of Ryton, died 1551

William Wylmer of Ryton, just outside Coventry, was the grandfather of Thomas Wilmer (1554-1628), the second husband of Anne Sutton. In his will dated 22 Oct 1551 he describes himself as a Gentleman and his family is recorded in detail in the Heraldic Visitation of Northamptonshire in 1619.

William must have been born about 1500 and he married Julianne Spenser some time after 1520. Their oldest son Thomas Wylmer was interred at Staverton as borne witness by the fine 1580 brass memorial in the Parish church. Julianne Spenser was descended from the Spenser family of Badby in Northamptonshire – a family that must have been closely related to the Spencers who a little later took up residence at Althorp.

William’s father was Richard Wylmer who also left an extant will of 1527. His mother was Joanne Goodyear, daughter of John Goodyear of Baginton, another well connected family.

William’s widow Julianne survived him by seven years and she left a will of 1559. The couple had at least eleven surviving children, identifiable by the wills of the two parents. This largely matches up with the Visitations.

  • Thomas Wilmer (b c 1530, m Elizabeth Crudge 6 Oct 1552, mi 1580 Staverton)
  • Dorothy Wilmer (m John Lavender 6 Nov 1554)
  • William Wilmer
  • Richard Wilmer
  • Ann Wilmer (m Henry Thornton of Newnam)
  • Joanne Wilmer (m Hucksall)
  • Elizabeth Wilmer (bap 22 Aug 1539, m Henry Rogers)
  • Mary Wilmer (m1 Thomas Crowe, m2 Baldwin Hill)
  • Audrey Wilmer (bap 6 May 1543)
  • Peter Wilmer (bap 11 Aug 1545)
  • Robert Wilmer (m Elizabeth Higgenson, d 1612)

One of the overseers of William’s will is Baldwin Porter, elsewhere described as Steward and Town Clerk of Coventry. The connections of the Wilmer family at this time, with the merchant class in the burgeoning town of Coventry are numerous. William’s uncle, Thomas, was a Coventry Draper and Glover; other marriages are to merchant taylors and mercers in the town.

The Wilmers were able to build wealth through these connections culminating in the grandson, Thomas eldest son of Thomas,  matriculating at Magdalen Hall Oxford c 1572 and becoming a Lincoln’s Inn Barrister.

Continue to  Thomas Wilmer 

 Sources and Notes

  • Visitations of Northamptonshire 1618-19, ed Walter Metcalfe, London 1887
  • Register of St Leonards, Ryton on Dunsmore (Findmypast)
  • Will of William Wylmer of Ryton, Probate PCC 13 Feb 1551/52
  • Will of Julianne Wylmer, Probate PCC 14 Apr 1559 (Wife)
  • Will of Richard Wylmer of Ryton, Probate PCC 12 Jul 1527 (Father)
  • Will of John Goodere, Probate PCC 17 Oct 1521 (Grandfather)
    mentions his son-in-law Richard Wylmer
  •  Will of Thomas Wylmer of Coventry Probate Lichfield 1540 (Uncle)
    his nephew William Wylmer major beneficiary – he had no sons of his own.
  • Henry Thornton dies in 1556 (with unseen will). His name is mis-transcribed as Henry Thomson in the Visitation. See National Archives. William’s grandson Thomas Thornton was the progenitor of the Thorntons of Brockhall
  • Joseph Foster: Alumni Oxonienses (1500–1714)
  • Many trees claim there is also a daughter Margery Wilmer who marries John Underhill. On her burial in Whitchurh, Warwickshire in 1607, it is stated she is the sister of Robert Wilmer. This Robert Wilmer, who has his own record trail in Whitchurch, is NOT the same as the Robert Wilmer above. This would explain why there is no mention of a Margery in any of the Ryton wills nor indeed is the marriage supported in the Visitation.