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Early Whitmores of Cheshire

 This web page is a series of notes obtained from various sources, written as far as possible in chronological order, and is not meant to be a history story. As well as the early Whitmores of Cheshire contains information on their descendants, who branched out to various parts of the U.K. and world wide. The abbreviation T is sometimes used for Thurstaston and W for Whitmore, for others see Abbreviations.

The first known Whitmore to marry into the direct lineage of Thurstaston Manor (according to ref 1) was John "The Younger" de Whitmore (d.1203) who was descended from the Whitmores of Staffordshire. The Whitmore male blood line before 1000AD comes from Ralph de Tonei of Tonei, Normandy and the earliest known female blood line from wherever Richard le Veneur originated. The Thurstaston male blood line originates from the Norman ancesters of Matthew de Roelent. The earliest known female line is that of the ancestors of Eustachia's father Ralph de Vernon. (For list of further owners of the hall and for chart of early Whitmores of Cheshire see Download). For picture of Thurstaston Hall see Pictures.

The Wirral, Cheshire in 1086 A.D. offered a very different profile than it is today. It was an important Cheshire peninsula. Domesday Wirral holdings of Norman families recorded in coastal Wirral were the villages of Eastham, Wallasey, Meols, Little and Greater Caldy, Thurstaston, Ness, Neston, Little Nestone, Heswall, and Gayton. Inland Wirral included Greasby, Oulton, Mere, Prenton, Thingwall, Raby, Storeton, Saugall and Upton. Absent from the Domesday Survey were Birkenhead, Leasowe, Bidston, Moreton, Hoylake, West Kirby (included in Little and Greater Caldy), Parkgate, Newton, Irby, Frankby, Ellesmere, and other more recently built towns and villages. Chester was the hub of the whole county of Cheshire, in fact, the hub of the whole north west (see "Cheshire and the Domesday Book").

One of the largest landholders in Wirral at the Domesday was Robert of Rhuddlan (Roelent), he being under-tenant of the Earl Hugh Lupus (the Wolf) of Chester, who militarily held all greater Cheshire and North Wales, his seat being at Chester. Robert's chief domain was the Castle of Rhuddlan on the north Welsh coast, which was then administratively part of the whole of Cheshire under the great Earl Hugh. Robert of Rhuddlan was of the Tilleul en Auge, Calvados in Normandy. Robert held in Wirral at Wallasey, Meols, Thursaston ( under-tenant William), Heswall (under-tenant Herbert), and Gayton (under-tenant William), (see "Cheshire and the Domesday Book")

Robert of Rhuddlan was the son of Humphrey of Tilleul, who in charge of the fortress of Hastings from the very day on which it began to rise from its foundations. Robert had been one of the Norman favourites of King Eadward, had received knighthood at his hands, and had held what must have been the sinecure office of armour-bearer to the Confessor. He built a castle at Rhuddlan and for fifteen years carried on incessant hostilities against the Welsh. In 1088 the castle was attacked during Robert's absence; he hurried home, marched beyond Rhuddlan to the smaller fortress of Deganwy, between the mouth of the Conway and Llandudno. Here on an afternoon early in July, he was awakened from a siesta to hear that the Welsh were ravaging the flat country immediately below the fort. Without waiting to collect all his men or even to don all his armour, he ran down towards the plunderers, accompanied by only one knight; they were surrounded, and Robert, wounded with arrows shot from a safe distance, sank down, commending his soul to God and His Mother. The Welsh rushed on him with one accord, smote off his head, and fixed it as a trophy on the mast of one of their ships; the body was taken up by his friends, and, amid the bitter grief both of Englishmen and Normans, was buried in the minster of St. Werburgh at Chester, whence it was afterwards translated to St. Evroul in Normandy by his brother Arnold, who was a monk of that monastery (see ref 1).

After Robert's death Thurstaston (4 miles SW of Birkenhead) were given to the Montalts. Thus Robert de Montalt held Thurstaston, Prenton (nr Birkenhead) and Leigh by Chester in 1275. His successor Roger de Montalt appears to have released the two former, holding Leigh (La Lethe) only in 1278, and there is no later indication of Montalt lordship (see ref 1).

The first known tenant of Thurstaston (or in earlier times Thurstanston) Manor was William, lord of the manor in 1086, who held of Robert de Ruddlan. The next known tenant was Matthew de Roelent (v. 1129), who had a brother Simon a monk, probably relatives of Robert. Mathew had issue > William de Thurstaston (v. 1170) who m. Beatrice and had issue > Richard de T (v. 1216). It is believed Richard had issue Peter de T (v. 1290) who m. ? ? and had issue > Agnes (d.c. 1295) who, as grandaughter of Richard, succeeded Thurstaston Manor. Agnes de T m. c. 1290 Sir Patrick de Haselwall, who then held Thurstaston of Roger de Montalt. They had issue > David de Haselwall (see below), William, Agnes (see below), Anilla, Nicolaa and Margery.

David de Haselwall (1st s. Sir Patrick & Agnes de T) (b.c. 1257, d.c. 1295) m.c. 1270 Eustachia da. & hr Ralph de Vernon, leaving issue > John de Haselwall, Ralph, William, Hugh, Patrick and Cecily. Cecily succeeded Thurstaston from her father and uncle William, she was thrice married but d.s.p. by 1358. John de Haselwall (b.c. 1271, d.c. 1304) m.c. 1290 Agnes da. John de Holt of Wimboldsley, leaving issue > Margaret Haselwall (b.c. 1291) who m.c. 1312 John s. Hugh de Calvelegh of Calveley (13 miles SE of Chester) and had issue > John de Calvelegh (b.c. 1315, d. 1343). John de Calvelegh m.c. 1340 Cecily Done (da. ? de Mascy of Puddington) and had issue > Cecily de Calvelegh (b.c. 1341, d. 1396). She was about 16 yers old when she first m.c. 1357 John "The Younger" de W (see below). She second m.c. 1350 Gilbert Trussel who was mayor of Chester in 1391. Gilbert's first wife was Ellen (see below) da. & hr. of John s. of John de Muccleston, lord of Muccleston, Staffordshire (6 miles SW of Whitmore Hall).

John "The Younger" de Whitmore (2nd s. William de W of Chester, see Whitmores of Staffordshire ) (b.c. 1336, d. 1374) m.c. 1357 Cecily de Calveley and had issue > John de W (b.c. 1358, d. 1438) (see below), Richard de W (b.c. 1360) and Edmund de W (b.c.1361). There was lengthy litigation with the Vernons during the 14th century over the ownership of Thurstaston and some of its surrounding estates, but the pedigree was never impugned that a certain Alice was seised of the manor in time of peace in the reign of Edward I. In one instance Ralph De Vernon with a number of men armed with bows and arrows took possession of the manor, but they were later found guilty of trespass. John "The Younger" de W was Mayor of Chester from 1370-1374. He died 29 Sep 1374 and was buried in Trinity Church, Chester. There is a tomb with a sculptured effigy over his grave (see ref 1). John "The Elder", first son of William de Whytemor of Chester, was illegitimate and he m. Christiana, da. of John le Ward and gda. & cohr. of Richard del Shagh, who had property in Middlewich, and came to a violent end in 1375. There is no record of any issue. William de Whytmor's ancestry is uncertain but he may have been the s. of Robert, who may have been the son of Adam de Whytemor. It is almost certain that they originated from the Whitmore's of Staffordshire because of their use of "Vert, fretty Or." in their Coat of Arms and the use of the moto "Either for ever". Adam de Whitemor owned a dwelling in Foregate Street, Chester in 1294-96. Robert de Whytmor owned the same dwelling in 1316. William de Whytemor was one of the sheriffs of the city in 1345-6.

John de Whitmore (1st s. John & Cecily de Calveley) (b.c. 1358, d. 1438) first m.c. 1380 Margery da. Gilbert Trussel and Ellen de Muccleston but had no issue. He second m.c. 1378 Alice (v. 1422, d.c. 1427) da. ?, leaving issue > William W (see below), George W (b.c. 1383) and Elizabeth W (b.c. 1387) who m.c. ? Richard de Wever. John third m.c. 1430 Elizabeth (d. 1445) da. Sir Piers de Malbank and widow of Sir Richard Vernon. In 1397-8 he aquired a messuage in Watergate St., Chester from William Blackburn. More important was his acquisition of the manor of Muccleston through his marriage with Margery Trussel, probably da. of Gilberts by his first wife Ellen de Muccleston (see above). In 1392-3 John and Margery surrended this manor to Gilbert and Cecily and received Thurstaston. He succeeded to Thurstaston in 1393 by a grant from Cecily and Gilbert (who d.s.p. 1401). He was mayor of Chester in 1399 and again 1412-15. He was in the King's service, under the command of Sir Hugh de Calveley, in Ireland in 1393 and another member of the family, Edmund de Whytemore acted as his attorney during his absence. John was among the gentry at Macclesfield church in 1412 when the Grosvenors and the Leghs settled a dispute over lands in Pulford near Chester. Around 1398 he was Justice of the Peace for Wirral.

William Whitmore (1st s. John & Alice ?) (b.c. 1381, d.c. 1430) who m.c. 1404 Joan da. Ralph Davenport of Davenport lived at Caldy, nr Thurstaston, before inheriting Thurstaston. They had issue > William W (see below).

In 1394, David de Whytemore was commissioned by the King with two others to enquire into robberies, which were occurring too frequently.

William Whitmore (1st s. William & Joan Davenport) (b.c. 1416, d. 1484) m.c. 1439 Elizabeth da. Sir William Atherton of Atherton, nr Bolton who was a direct descendant of Ralph de Vernon (see above). William was Mayor of Chester in 1473. They had issue > John W (see below) and William W of Caldy, nr Thurstaston.

John Whitmore (1st s. William & Elizabeth Atherton) (b.c. 1451, d. 1496) m.c. 1470 Cecily da. Thomas Poole of Nether Poole, and had issue > John W (see below), Thomas W (see below) and Grace W who m.c. 1505 William Bennett.

John Whitmore (1st s. William & Cecily Poole) (b.c. 1478, d. 1553) m.c. 1470 first m.c. 1500 Alice da. Adam Birkenhead of Huxley, second m.c. ? Elizabeth da. William Wilbraham of Woodhey. John d.s.p. 1553 and the Thurstaston estates succeeded to Thomas his brother (see below). John served at Chester on the jury, which enquired into the estate of Sir John Savage in 1496. The inquisition to John Whytmore's Will mentions various tenements in Forgate Strete, Watergate Strete and Brygge Strete in Chester - tenants names given. This gives credence to the links with Adam & Robert de Whytmor (see above). In the inquisition his name is spelt John Whytmore whereas in the Will itself it is spelt Jhon Whitmore (see ref 1).

Thomas Whitmore (2nd s. John & Cecily Poole) (b.c. 1480, d.c. 1545) m.c. 1500 Katherine da. James Hurleton of Chester, and had issue > John W (see below), William W (b. 1542, d. 1620) and Thomas W (b.c. 1543). William W m. Alice Hough, they lived at Leighton, nr Neston, and had issue > William W and Richard W. This William had three daughters as co-hrs. His daughter Bridgit transmitted the Leighton estates to her husband Thomas Savage, second son of Viscount Savage. Katherine second m. Ralph Bostock.

John Whitmore (1st s. Thomas & Katherine Hurleton) (b. 1539, d.c. 1617) first m.c. 1560 Katherine da. William Stanley of Hooton, nr Thurstaston (sister of Sir Rowland Stanley) and they had issue > Elizabeth W (b.c. 1565). John second m.c. 1575 Elianor da. Richard Done (sister of Sir Ralph Done) and they had issue > John (see below), Elizabeth W (b.c. 1583) who m.c. 1603 John Jenyson of London, Margaret (or Margery) W (b.c. 1585) who m.c. 1605 ?-Elmore of Ireland, and Anne W. John third m.c. 1580 Jane da. William Primerose of Chester, who had a son Thomas and two daughters (unnamed). There also seems to have been another daughter Grace. There is a difference of opinion between historians over this John. Ormerod has John divided two, making his second part son of the first but this web page follows the pedigree in Harl. MS. 2119 (f. 110) because it agrees with the Visitations of 1580 and 1613 (see ref 1).

John Whitmore (1st s. John & Eleanor Done) (b.c. 1581, d.c. 1640) first m.c. 1604 Lucy da. Thomas Roper of Eltham, Kent (ggda. of Sir Thomas More), and had issue > Valentine W (see below), Dorothy W (b.c. 1605) who m.c. 1630 Richard Aston of Croston, nr Southport, Elizabeth W (b.c. 1607), Margaret W (b.c. 1605) and Anne W (b.c. ?).

Valentine Whitmore (1st s. John & Lucy Roper) (b.c. 1602, d. 1657) m. 1646 Elizabeth da. William Glegg of Gayton, nr Thurstaston, and had issue > William W(b. 1626, d. 1657), Valentine W (b.c. 1628), John W (b.c. 1630, d. 1671), and Elizabeth W (b.c. 1632), who m. 1671George Farrington of Werden. Valentine was involved in the Civil War, taking arms for the King, and engaged in the defence of Chester. His estates were sequestrated (put into the hands of a trustee), which led to detailed accounts of the estate (see ref 1). Valentine Whitmore was a Captain in Sir Francis Gamuls regiment of Foot in the Royalist army. The regiment was the Chester trained band and served throughout the 1st civil war in the city until its surrender in 1645/6.

William Whitmore (1st s. Valentine & Elizabeth Glegg) (b.c. 1626, d. 1727) m. 1668 Dorothy (d. 1733) da. Henry Hockenhull of Tranmere, succeeded to the estate in 1668 and was the only freeholder in Thurstaston. He had issue > Joseph W (see below), Dorothy W (b.c. 1672, d.c. 1674), Margaret W (b.c. 1674, v. 1694), and Anne W(b.c. 1676), who m. 1708 Thomas Griffith of Caerwys, Flint. William was also a Royalist.

Joseph Whitmore (1st s. William & Dorothy Hockenhull) (b.c. 1670, d. 1751) m.c. 1700 Dorothy da. & hr. Edward Bythell of Llwynegrin, Flint, and had issue > Elizabeth W (b.c. 1706, d. 1786) who m. 1727 Aquila Wyke of Wrexham, Dorothy W (b.c. 1708) who m. Richard Coytmore, Benedicta W (b.c. 1709, ch. 1710, d.s.p. c. 1757) who m. first Joseph Hall of Chester and m. second ?-Soux, Bethell William W (b.c. 1710, d. 1732 at Mold), John W (b.c. 1712, d. 1733 at Mold), Catherine W (b. 1714) who m. George Lewis and had issue > Lucy Lewis (b.c. 1740, d. s.p. 1832), Mary W (b.c. 1716, d.s.p.) who m. first John Ignatius Wright and m. second George Berks of Mold, and Lucy W (b. 1721, d.s.p. 1744) who married Baptist Smart. Lucy Lewis m. Charles Browne of Marchwiel Hall, nr Wrexham and had no issue. When Lucy died in 1832 she devised all her lands in Thurstaston, including the manor, to Lieut. -Colonel John Baskerville Glegg of Neston and his heirs, remainder to Edward Holt Glegg s. Major General Glegg of Backford and Irby Hall etc.; both married and had issue (see ref 1). After Joseph's death in 1751 the manors of Thurstaston and Caldy and a moiety of the manors of Heswall & Oldfield became divisible among his six daughters and this ended over 300 years association of the Whitmore name with Thurstaston Hall. In 1793 Mary's second husband George Berks of Mold had the Cromwell sword.

In the Gentleman's Magazine of March, 1793, p. 209, is an engraving (with description) of a cutlass of Oliver Cromwell which had long been in the possession of the family of Whitmore of Thurstaston. "How it came into that family I know not," says the writer, who signed with * * * (or H. J.), "but it seems that it was highly prized by them, as the last Joseph Whitmore, esq., is said to have refused 50 guineas for it from a gentleman in London, who wished to have it to be deposited in some public museum . . . . ". It is stated that Joseph Whitmore left it to his son-in-law John Ignatius Wright, "on account of the relationship which his mother Mary, daughter of Sir John Gwillym, of Hartsheath near Mold, was supposed to bear to the family of Oliver Cromwell." (see ref 1).

We are indebted for the following facts to a lady who is widely known and respected in the northern mediety of the Hundred of Wirral, and whose name, were we to give it, would carry the greatest weight with all our readers. The story, which was told to this lady some years ago by the artist concerned, is given as briefly as possible, and our informant can only add that she is entirely convinced of the good faith of the narrator. The facts are as follows:-

A well-known and successful portrait-painter was staying at Thurstaston Hall some years ago, during the execution of a commission on which he was engaged, viz., the painting of the portrait of a member of the family then renting the hall. He occupied the room which opens on to the stairs on the left hand side as one ascends the topmost flight, and which is said to be over what was once a refectory. The artist slept in this room for some time without being disturbed, until very early one morning he heard the door open, and on lifting his head to see the cause, espied an old woman wringing her hands in evident distress. She came forward and stood at the foot of his curtained four-post bed without speaking, and though he addressed a remark to her, saying something to the effect that she seemed to be in great trouble, and asking if he could do anything for her, she passed round to the other side of the room, pulled a bell-rope and vanished.

The artist several times afterwards had the same experience, and although he felt it to be supernatural, he became so used to it as to lose all sense of fear, and on one occasion made a rough sketch of the apparition, which he completed afterwards, a copy of which he gave to the lady from whom this information comes.

Some time after this a gentleman, acquainted with the details of this story, was staying with some people in another part of England, whose ancestors had once occupied Thurstaston Hall, and he recognised immediately that one of their family portraits was identical with the sketch of the apparition made by the artist. It then transpired that, according to a family tradition, the subject of the portrait was supposed to haunt Thurstaston Hall. When these facts were related to the artist, he solemnly declared that he had previously neither heard of the family, nor of the legend connected with it, and had, of course, never seen the portrait in question. (see ref 1).

Cheshire Record Office has records, between 1492 & 1857, of the following wills and their date (see Cheshire Wills: ).

An Edward Whitmore was Major General in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment from 1757-1762. (see Regt Info 7: ).

 

Abreviations (not including the obvious ones):

References:

1. A book "Thurstaston in Cheshire", by F.C. Beazley, published 1924.

2. A book "Collections for a History of Staffordshire", edited by The William Salt Archaeological Society 1933.

Acknowledgements:

Grateful thanks to the following who helped contribute to this page:

Richard Turner of Thurstaston Hall for information supplied.

 

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