The McWilliam name
In 1988 I spent a dozen hours trying to reconcile Morant, Wright & NJE’s accounts of the family and find it can only be done by greatly compressing the timescale. Specifically I find that I have adopted a generation of two decades whereas NJE only had enough names to be able to use the more usual 25 y.
More data by 1997, particularly in the Armorial of Rushbrook and hence my clarifying a separate English Branch distinct from our undoubted Irish one, has resulted in a revision of similar length.
One Sr Thomas Ware is quoted as saying the McWilliams originated in Ireland from the Bourkes of Connaght. These curious souls invented two branches which they named the Eighters & the Oughters. These soubriquets, with their Irish flavour, do not appear again.
The Ordinary of British Armorials published in 1874 [in the Athenaeum library] by John Papworth &, curiously, Alfred W Morant has on p 862:
3. Flowers Roses
- Per bend arg & gu 3 roses in bend counterchanged. Mackwilliam V[?iscount] quartered by Jane Seymour, third w o K Henry VIII.
- MacWilliams, MacWilliam V., Williams [clearly England, though not so specified]
- Per bend gu & Arg, 3 roses counterchanged, Mackwilliam, Ireland.
[the first tincture mentioned in a blazon is in the sinister chief = RHS as viewed from front]
Burke’s General Armory [v.s., of Connaght] of 1883 [in the Athenaeum too] on p647 has:
- Mac William Co. Gloucester.
- Wm Mac Williams: his d & heir ISABEL m Sr John Seymour Kt of the HACHE, High Sherriff of Southampton, 9 Hy VI = 1434 Ref; Visitation Oxoniensis 1566
- Per bend arg & gu 3 roses bendways counterchanged.
Thus, there is both an English & an Irish branch of the family differenced by their arms only in having the silver & red transposed. Clearly they must be closely related; equally clearly the Stambourne branch was that of Irish origin since we have red in our shield to the right of the bend.
The Wm Mcwm who is father of Isabel is of the Gloucester branch. His inclusion in our chronology has perhaps caused it to be so crowded & may explain the half century difference between NJE, who includes him as born in 1370 & JBE’s date of c 1405. My Wm, derived from Essex sources is almost certainly a different and less eminent man; the former is much more likely to be a progenitor of a wife of K Hy VIII.
Morant describes two Thomas MacWilliams. I conclude that the man who was a witness to deeds in 1397 & 1407 was the earlier of them with a life span of perhaps 13301407. The one who married Alice Brompton in about 1420 probably lived from 1388 to 1450. This Thomas had sons Wm & Edward whose dates of death in 1464 & 1479 are two of the few fixed points in this story.
There remains the possibility that the witness was yet a 3rd Thomas of whom there is no other record.
My numbering is Roman uppercase. It is separated by a solidus from that of NJE which is in Arabic with a suffix. We soon have the usual re-use of dominant Christian names so these are further differentiated by lowercase Roman enumeration in brackets.
Thus the code is e.g. IX/4th is Margaret & Edward (iii)
|JBE I||My first generation is then the first recorded “ancestors” of Thomas [i], the man whom Morant calls the witness. It starts with one, Milo; he married Jane Waylond d o Henry Waylond. I find no indication of the date but note that the Pevers held the manor up to Ed III who reigned 132777. This is 5 generations earlier than the 1st Generation of NJE who starts with my Thomas[ii] McW=Alice Brompton. He equates this man, I think wrongly, with the witness and the 1st McW to appear in Stambourne. Milo lives, perhaps 12901340 v.i.|
|JBE II||is Milo’s son Roger whose wife is not named. Roger lives perhaps 1310 1360 v.i.|
|JBE III||is the Thomas [i] MacWilliam who is my candidate for the witness [the documents appear in Q6 of 5 Mar 1390/1 & Q9 of 1 Sep 1394] . He married Agnes or Avice de Peson, d o & heir to Nicholas de Peson & his wife Alice Eston, who was d o & h o Sr Geoffrey Eston. If this Thos (i) was a magnate in 1397 & 1407 he was born somewhen in 133070. If we take the earliest date & give him a lifespan of 1330 1407 the time table which follows is still very cramped, though not actually impossible.|
|JBE IV||is their son Charles who married Jane Caunfield. She is d o & h o ……..Caunfield who married Maud Hyrton , d o Sir Hugh. Charles lives perhaps 13501410. [Shield 1 in light 2 is arg fretty sable for CAMFIELD or CANFIELD]|
|JBE’s original generation V is a shadowy Arthur. I think he is the problem. The evidence for him is a phrase used by both Morant and Wright, viz:|
had by her Arthur, whose son Edward was the father of Thomas.
There is no mention of a spouse of Arthur or of a mother for Edward [i].
From here on I shall be using Roman lower case numerals to distinguish the two Thomases, the four Edwards and the three terminal Henrys.
The generations cannot be compressed any further than I have done in what follows so I must accept one of these possibilities:
– Arthur did not exist in this family, or
– he was the brother of Charles, not his son, or
– there was another Thomas within 20 y of this date who is the witness.
NJE’s discussion of 2 Edwards provides his answer viz: Edwd [i] b 1425; Edwd [ii] b 1450.
If Arthur did exist his span was, say, 13501410, the same as I have given to Charles.
|JBE V||then is the first Edward [i] who marries Mary Wingham d o Thomas Wyngham; lifespan, say 13701430. On this analysis he becomes the son of Charles & the same generation as the shadowy Arthur, not his son.|
It is worth commenting that the name Arthur appears nowhere else in the McWm tree. One d m a Wingfield of Norfolk at some stage; the eighth & last shield in the ninth light @ the top of the E Window, for which there is as yet no provenance, is of Wingfield impaling Macwilliam and Colt.
|JBE VI||equates with the 1st generation of NJE. This Thomas [ii] MacWilliam is the first figure with data of any substance; he married Alice Brompton by whom he had two sons, William & Edward[ii]. Their dates of death are precisely quoted by Wright and some of their history is known. The marriage could just be 1405, his span 1388 1450. NJE gives him 1345 to 1407 some half a century earlier.|
[the Brompton Arms do not appear in the Rushbrook or RCHM analyses but the first shield in light 2 is McWilliam impaled : argent fretty sable this blazon has not been identified by either of them; I identify it as that of Caunfield, the w.o Edward[i]]
|JBE VII/2nd|| is the 2 sons of this pairing of Thomas & Alice. They are William & Edward [ii].|
William died in 1464 a/t Wright. No wife of his is found in a printed text but the East Window rubric suggests Stanye by the shield in light 3.
One William McWm around this time has a daughter Isabella who marries a Sir John Seymour. He is the Kt of the Hache (hacher = to cut off; was he some Lord High Excutioner; though there is a place in Sussex of this name) & High Sheriff of Southampton. He bore the Gloucester variant of the McWm arms. Isabel(la) then dies in 1483 this makes NJE’s dob of 1370 for our Wm highly improbable. The father of Protector Somerset (1506?1552) lived 1476?1536. If Wm is 142564, Isabella lives 14501483 & becomes marriageable in 1470. It seems likely she m the Protector’s grandfather, not his father. This is an interesting McWm vignette and may relate to a Court Roll referring to some Seymour property in Stambourne.
Brother Edward [ii] owned the Stambourne estate @ his death in 1479 so (unlike Christian q.v.) it did not go into entail [or to the Somersets or Seymours’ which fits in with the above] He also owns Alkeborrow, an eponymous property @ Bathorn (which I can’t place) in 1479; it probably came to him by marriage strong confirmation that he did die & make a will that year. He certainly married Elizabeth Inglosse [Englowes in the description of the window, light 4, where it is “party McW impaling Stanye”, suggesting he got some of the property from the wife of Wm too] & thus continues the line. His span is c.1415 1479: from the coincidence of this second date it may be he who m. Margaret Awkborough as his 2d wife; see Morant on Bathorne End.
|JBE VIII/3rd||is their son John who marries Margaret Gestingthorpe, perhaps in 1460. He has claims to be the first of the McWms to hold all 3 manors for they come together through her family. John spans perhaps 1430-1490. There is no shield in the window for her.|
|JBE IX/4th||is their family of Margaret, Edward [iii] (in between the girls, I think) & Elizabeth. Edward m. Margaret Awkborough who owned land in Stambourne in 1456-79 as well as Bathorne Hall which itself also went to the MacWilliams. His span is, say 1450-1495; NJE gives dob as c.1425.|
|JBE X/5th||is Edward[iii]’s only child, another Edward[iv]. He marries Christian Harthishorn who is the kneeling figure to the N sideof the East window. He is buried in the tomb in the chancel when he dies about, I suppose, 1495. The male figure is probably his son Hy [i] v.i.|
The Visitation of Essex is reported by Rushbrook to say that he is the second husband of Christina; why then does her dress bear the simple arms of her father ? [I have not been able to find this reference]
I had thought that this Edward is the kneeling figure to the S of the E window. However his tabard has two squares of Inglosse (not the single one you would expect from the compound quarterly McWm arms, by now well established) between two similar squares of maroon. There is then a tripartite panel the middle of which is gu 2 lions or between two silver panels. In front he has 3 more maroon triangles indenting 4 white ones.; it is finished off with a sash or band from shoulder to knee of a thirteen McWm roses alternating with small gold triangles.
The preponderance of red & white blocks suggests the Norburg parts of the Spelman arms and implies that the picture is of the donor, Edward [iv]’s son Henry [i]. The second Inglosse panel probably comes from the destroyed second male figure who would be the father, Edward[iv] The lions are either those of the Norman Kings, two of the three of the Plantaganets or a fragment of the Tudor Royal arms. Though there are no Fleurdelys among the fragments elsewhere there is a considerable amount of blue that has been used for patching. Christian (Hartishorn) McWm marries a second time to Sir Robert Tyrell & goes to live in Colchester. She is buried there when she dies, still as Lord of the Manor, in 1505. [I guess this was in 1505/6 since her son, Henry [i], does not get his reversion of the estate until 1506] Thus, Edwd [iv] is buried here but the lady pictured in the window, is not.
This sequence of dates is still highly compressed even allowing for removing Arthur from generation VI. The other lifespans have been altered as in this calculation following.
The window is c 1520 but the Colt shields must have been added in c. 1600
Ed [iv] must have died well before Christina in 1505 let us guess 1499, so bz ?1470 =1470-99
Ed [iii]s span must therefore be 1450-1495, (not 1460-1520 as above in X/4th)
John could be 1430-1490
Ed =[ii], whose death in 1479 is fixed, could then be 1415-1479
It is this calculation that yields an astonishingly uniform generation gap of 20 y. without cumulative error over ten generations. This is strong confirmation of its validity but it is still is worth reconsideration for that reason. The next gap is 42 y. for Henry [ii], s.o. of a 2nd wife, who succeeded at the minority age of 7 y. The next gap to Henry [iii] then reverts to just 23 y.-
|JBE XI/6th||is the generation in which the name Henry first appears as the only child of Edward [iv] . He was born about 1490, succeeded in 1506 and died in 1539 @ which time his own son Hy[ii] was a minor only 7 y.o. v.s.|
Henry [i] is the builder of the chancel & his is one of the three bodies that were in the tomb that was dismantled at some time between 1631 & 1850c, perhaps in the 1650s by Wm Golding. The other two were Edward [iv] & Anne Spilman/McW. Henrys [i], [ii] & [iii] now go on to end the McWm line in Stambourne when H [iii] dies unmarried without legal issue.
|JBE XII/7th||Hy[i]’s 1st wife was this Anne Spilman, d o Sir John Spilman.|
• Elizabeth, elder sister & coheir of Hy[ii], who later m George Colt of Cavendish (d 1578)
[If bz 1510 she could be Mrs Colt when window was made, see shield 7 in window light 8; Colt quartering McW. It must be made up of old pieces of glass] (see XIV for issue)
He next m Ela Leye d o Sr John Leye of Layes & Anne Lucy d o Sr Thos Lucy.
• Henry [ii], 1532 18 Jan 1586 (from the early burial register) who m Mary d o Richard Hill (15321616 when she was already widow of Sr John Cheke.
They had issues in XIII/8th. Mary spanned c.1532-1616
Edward he would be Ed [v] but nothing is known of him; ? a cot death.
• Ann, w o Arthur Stourton.
• Mary, w o Arthur Kighly.
• Frances, w o Humphry Shelton.
|JBE XIII/8th||The children of Henry [ii] & Mary Cheke, née Hill were:|
• Margaret who m Sr John Stanhope; he became Baron Harington 4 May 1605; d 9 Mar 1620; see XIV; he acquires Bathorne by this marriage.
• Cecily who m Sr Thos Ridgway, Treasurer of Ireland
• Henry [iii] He was killed in a duel 8 June 1599, perhaps 45 y o.
[the order of these 3 births is unknown; they were probably bz 155055; the next 3 all appear in the registers, instituted in 1559, between 1560 & 1564]
• Susan bz 9 Mar 1560/61: m (1) Edwd Sandys of Sandys Harington
(2) Sir Godard Pemberton
(3) Sir Thomas Ireland
• Ambrosia bz 12 Jun 1562: m Sir Wm Kingsmill or Kingswell
• Cassandra bz 2 Jul 1564 = Sr Geo Cotton [none of these 3 m or bz here]
Elizabeth McWm & George Colt had Henry Colt in ??1530 [light 7][v. XI/7th]
A girl who married a Bovill to give rise to the eight quarters shield in light 9 must have existed but I do not know whether she in fact belongs here.
|JBE XIV||(not included by NJE) Margaret Stanhope’s children were:|
• Daniel I
• Daniel II
• Charles Lord Stanhope(d 1677): he m Dorothy, d o …Barrett, Lord Newborough & had a brother Edward but no issue. Charles sold Bathorne on 20 July 1648to George Pyke of Birdbrook.
|Finally, there is a reference to a MarkWilliam in StokebyClare; it is not in Morant and probably came from Muilman.|
Based on all these assumptions I write here: Annex 8a.
Return to Chapter 3 – The people