16th Century

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. Continue reading →
Last updated on 5 December 2023 by JJ Morgan

Richard Foley of Dudley, died 1600

Richard Foley of Dudley died and left a will written 28 May 1600 and granted probate at Worcester not long after. He was probably baptized on 30 Jan 1547 in Rowley Regis. He was importantly the father of the wealthy ironmaster known as Richard ‘Fiddler’ Foley, latterly of Stourbridge. This son was a significant burgher in Dudley and was instrumental amongst his many good deeds, in resecuring the finances of Dudley Grammar School. It is the early relations with the Shaw family of Dudley that are of particular interest on these pages. Continue reading →
Last updated on 24 September 2023 by JJ Morgan

Henry Finch of Dudley, died 1573

Henry Finch was born in Dudley about 1525 and was probably a younger son of Hugh Finch. Henry is named as one of  a number of burghers of Dudley who by 1562 had leases of ‘Our Lady’s Lands’, which made him and his heirs one of the original feoffees of Dudley Grammar School. Continue reading →
Last updated on 14 February 2022 by JJ Morgan

Humphrey Slaney of the Hem, Shropshire

There is an entry in the Holy Trinity, Much Wenlock parish register for the burial of Humphrey Slaney of “the Hemme” on 3 Oct 1603. It seems very likely he is the father of Richard Slaney also of the Hem who leaves a will dated 1620. Continue reading →
Last updated on 10 March 2020 by JJ Morgan

Thomas Madstard, Mercer, of Stourbridge

Thomas Madstard was a wealthy merchant based in Elizabethan Stourbridge. He died and left a will dated 1587. His wife, Mary, and unmarried second daughter, Ann, also left wills, from which we can build a picture of their life and family. Continue reading →
Last updated on 13 January 2020 by JJ Morgan

William Barnesley of Trysull, died 1571

William Barnesley of Trysull in Staffordshire died and left a will written on 28 Mar 1571. He is described as a Yeoman and is the grandfather of the William Barnesley, who died in 1640. It would appear to be this grandson William, son of his eldest son Thomas, who succeeded in adopting the Coat of Arms of the Barnesley family of Bromsgrove in about 1597, proving the common line of descent with the Barnesleys of Barnesley Hall. Certainly his will shows a number of important connections with the landed and merchant classes in Elizabethan South Staffordshire. Continue reading →
Last updated on 3 February 2020 by JJ Morgan

Joyce Rugeley of Moor Hall

Joyce Rugeley must have been born about 1480 and was descended from the Rugeley family of Dunton in Warwickshire. The Rugeley ancestry is somewhat erratically recorded in the contemporary Heraldic Visitations of Warwickshire of 1619 and it is not altogether clear exactly where she fits in. She died and left a will in 1553.  Importantly she married twice and was widowed twice. Her two husbands were wealthy and extremely well connected. This kind of widowhood was in reality the only way a woman in Tudor times could gain important independent social status. Continue reading →
Last updated on 31 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

Eleanor Harman of Sutton Coldfield

Eleanor Harman who lived from about 1510 to 1579 did not leave a will but we can glean a fair amount about her life from the wills of her two husbands. As a wealthy widow in the Elizabethan era she achieved financial independence after 1565 and we can speculate she was able to espouse and promote certain views on religion and education – mainly to promote the memory of her Uncle Bishop VeseyContinue reading →
Last updated on 27 December 2022 by JJ Morgan

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.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 12 October 2018 by JJ Morgan

Clare Coleborne of Dudley

Clare Coleborne married Richard Jones of Dudley in about 1520. They were a wealthy burgher family in Dudley and she died and left a will probate date 19 Oct 1568 in which she names her three daughters and their respective husbands. She is thus demonstrably the common ancestor of both James Shaw and Sarah Bendy who marry on 22 Oct 1734 in Pattingham. Continue reading →
Last updated on 23 July 2023 by JJ Morgan

Elizabeth Bendy

Elizabeth Bendy was buried on 15 Mar 1607/8 in St Mary’s Kingswinford and left a will probate 26 Apr 1608. She must have been born in the 1530’s Continue reading →
Last updated on 8 August 2023 by JJ Morgan

William Chambers alias Ireland

A document in the Dudley Archives shows that there was a Deed Poll in about 1550 by a William Chambers Alias Ireland assigning ancient ecclesiastical land of the Priory of St John’s at Halesowen. A number of his descendants for the next 150 years appear in the local records of Rowley Regis and Dudley, using the names ‘Chambers alias Ireland’  These include intermarriages with the Darby family discussed on the website. The name Ireland is sometimes spelled ‘Ierland’ or ‘Yearland’. The same document demonstrates that they owned ex-monastic lands at Rowley called Freebodies, and this reference recurs in a number of later Darby wills. Continue reading →
Last updated on 11 June 2018 by JJ Morgan

Edmonde Darby

Edmonde Darby of Oldbury in the Parish of Halesowen died and was buried on 5 Sep 1598 in St John the Evangelist Halesowen. He left a will dated 21 Jun 1598 naming his three children and the numbers of his grandchildren. Continue reading →
Last updated on 28 December 2023 by JJ Morgan

John Cartwright of Rowley Regis, died 1587

John Cartwright of Rowley in Staffordshire left a will dated 25 Nov 1587. He seems to have been a man of moderate wealth and the will gives a whole list of fellow inhabitants of Rowley Regis who owe him money. This list is fascinating as a background to many of the families featured on this web site. Continue reading →
Last updated on 16 January 2024 by JJ Morgan