Bedford County VA Quakers: Selected Notes from the South River Monthly Meetings

Selections from:

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 289-290

South River Monthly Meeting (infrequently called Bedford Monthly Meeting)

Established 1757 from Cedar Creek Monthly Meeing. Discontinued: 1847.

Counties within bounds of this Monthly Meeting: Bedford, Campbell, Albemarle, Amherst, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Franklin and Patrick.

Particular meetings: Bedford Co. (now Campbell); Old Goose Creek – Bedford Co.; Upper Goose Creek – Bedford Co; Bedford (or Lower Goose Creek) – Bedford Co.; Hills Creek, Campbell Co.; Molley’s Creek-Campbell Co.; Seneca-Campbell Co.; Halifax (or Banister)-Halifax Co.; Ivy Creek-Bedford Co.; Kirby’s (or Dan River)-Halifax Co.

“To get a clear picture of the location of South River Meeting one needs only to think of the city of Lynchburg, Campbell County, Virginia – the city built by the Quakers of South River. In 1750 the location of the city of Lynchburg was a desolate river bank in the Virginia wilderness. In 1805 it boasted of only five or six hundred citizens.

“It had several stores, a warehouse, a ferry, a newspaper and many comfortable homes, and across the James River lived a friendly tribe of Monacan Indians. The forest pressed closely to the little town but gradually it was assuming the air of established civilization. . ”

“It was into this ‘forbidden paradise’, of which no portion is more beautiful than that in which Lynchburg is built, that our South River Quakers came, unarmed, by covered wagon and ox-cart, trusting in kinds and their own unexcelled confidence to protect them from the savages. At first they came in small groups, one or two families at a time, but finally they poured in – not in a continuous stream, but in waves.

“The South River Colony of Qukers (so-called because it lay south of the James RIver) was the third group to form a settlement in what is now Campbell County. The family of Charles Lynch, the senior, was the first to enter the area now occupied by Lynchburg and its environs. He had run away from his home in Ireland, at the age of fifteen, aboad an outgoing ship to America. That was about 1720.

“To pay for his passage across the Atlandtic he was apprenticed to a wealthy Quaker planter, Captain Christopher Clarke, who lived in that part of Hanover County which was later set off as Louisa County, and who took a deep interest in the boy’s education. Charles studied law and became a good business man, acquiring large land holdings in his own name. In time (about 1733) he married Sarah Clarke, daughter of Capt. Christopher Clarke, and about 1752, removed with his family to what was later called the Chestnut Hill estate overlooking the James River, one mile below the site of Lynchburg.

“Charles Lynch (senior) never became a Quaker, although his wife, Sarahy, was an ardenet one. She had joined the Society of Friends at Green Spring, Louisa Co., becoming a member of Camp Creek.


Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 293

“The first members of the [South River] monthly meeting were old stock Quakers for the large part, of English extraction from the tidewater section of Virginia, especially Cedar Creek and Henrico Monthly Meetings. Among the first names appearing in the books are: Hendrake, Johnson, Kirby, Neal, Candler, Lynch, Terrell, Clark, Moorman, Echols, Payne, Collins, Farmer, Roberts, Womack, Calwell and Ayrs . .  .

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 315


1748, 8, 19. Benjamin d. in Bedford Col, Va. 1769, 8, 17, m in a public mtg of Frs in Camp Creek MH, Louisa Col. Va., Mary MOORMAN, dt Thomas & Rachel (see Camp Creek Register)

Ch (including those listed in Cedar Creek MM Register)

Thomas b. 1749/50m 11 (Jan), 14 (O.S. Camp Creek MM)

John b. 1751..52, 1 (Mar), 14 (O.S. Camp Creek MM)

Andrew b . 1754, 4, 7 (N. S. Camp Crek MM)

William b. 1756, 8, 12, d next day

William b. 1757 12, 22

James b. 1759, 12, 20

Rachel b. 1762 3, 26

Elizabeth b. 1764 5, 15

Mildred b. 1766, 7, 4

Christopher, b. 1769, 3, 4

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 318

(Note by W.W.H.) In his will, probated 9-26-1769 in Bedford Col, Va., the above Benjamin Johnson named each of his ch in the order of their b (excepting the first William who died the next day); also his w, Mary. As a wd;, Mary m (mcd) 1771 John Miller for which she was dis 1771) & had three more ch by that name (Miller). . . .

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 319.

1789, 10, 21. John, s John & Lydia (Watkins) b. 1766, __, __, m i our public mt, Rhoda MOORMAN, dt Micajah & Susanna (Chiles) b. 1769, 8, 15, Campbell Co. Va.

Ch. of John Jr. & Rhoda

Joseph b. 1791, r, 7

Micajah, b 1792, 11, 28

John, b. 1795, 1, 3

Charles b 1797, 1, 14

Polly Moorman, b. 1799, 1, 14

Lewis, b. 1801, 3, 7

James, b. 1804, __, __

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 322.

1789, 11, 21m John rmt Rhoda Moorman.

Hinshaw, William Wade, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, pp. 326

1813, 1, 9, John Jr. dis doing military exercise.


Abbreviations: dis (disowned), mcd (married contrary to discipline)

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Ancestral Families and the Colonial Trade (1648-1670)


From the periodical Gloucestershire Notes and Queries:

1321. TOBACCO GROWING IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE. The announcement recently made by the Government of their intention to permit domestic experiments to be made in tobacco culture may render the following facts interesting to Gloucestershire agriculturists. Tobacco growing in the southern and western countiesof England became so common about 1652 that the Commonwealth Parliament of that year passed an Act prohibiting the culture of the plant, and giving liberty to anyone finding it to cut it down.

This Act appears to have caused great dismay and irritation in Gloucestershire. In August, 1653, soon after the reassembling of the House of Commons, “the humble petition of some of the inhabitants of Gloucestershire concerning the planting of English tobacco ” was presented by General Desborow. who, from having been governor of Bristol, was probably well known in the district.


23 July 1652, Jacob Saunders of Holland, a mariner, aged 45, deposes on behalf of John Browne for 51 hogsheads of tobacco.


Richard Sanders, 28 August 1653, 1 acre near the block house in James City, James City County.


George Sanders will index, administrators bond rec. Northhampton County.

Thomas Sanders, 27 May 1654, Gloucester County, land near Mattapony River.

A deposition was filed by Edward Saunders, 30 September 1661, William Evans of Bristol, mariner, that in October 1654 John Freeman of Bristol, mariner, now deceased, delivered to Edward Saunders of Caerleon, Glamorgan, chirurgeon who was then bound on a voyage to Virginia, 3 menserveants to transport with him to Virginia, and there to dispose of them for profit.

The seaport region of Newport and Caerleon in Wles

[WHB – Caerleon іs а suburban village аnd community, situated оn the River Usk іn the northern outskirts оf the city оf NewportSouth Wales.

Caerleon іs а site оf archaeological importance, being the site оf а notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, аnd аn Iron Age hill fort [Wikipedia].

Cromwell’s troops were there in 1648.]


June 6, 1655:

John Hodson and John Garratt 300 acres:

To all ye whereas ye now know you that I the said Edward Diggs Esq. do give and grant unto John Hodson and John Garratt three hundred acres of land lyeing and being in the county of New Kent and on the North East side of Mottopony River bounded as followeth (viz) from a marked red oake on the Southernmost corner of Thomas
Saunders his land with a South, South East line unto Arakeyaco Swamp, thence with Arakeyaco Samp to a line of marked trees running North West by West unto the other corner of Saunders his land being a poplar in a branch of Arakeyaco Creek thence to the place it began with his Saunders his line of marked trees. The said land being due unto the John Hodson and John Garratt by and for their transportation of six persons into this Colony so to have and the hold & yielding and paying to which payment is to be made. Dated the sixth of June 1655
Cavaliers and Pioneers, p. 310; Patent Bk. #3, p. 355


Amos Saunders, 1658, involved with freight on board the ship Rainbow. Named in court case.


Edward Saunders, 30 September 1661, William Evans of Bristol, mariner, a deposition that in October 1654 John Freeman of Bristol, mariner, now deceased, delivered to Edward Saunders of Caerleon, Glamorgan, chirurgeon who was then bound on a voyage to Virginia, 3 menserveants to transport with him to Virginia, and there to dispose of them for profit.


Francis Sanders, 26 June 1663, master of ship Black Eagle. Inwards from Virginia.


John Saunders, 1664 , testifies that he was paid for his work on board ship but does not know where the payment came from. Ship was the Rainbow.


Robert Saunders, 12 August 1666, a letter mentions that the Barbadoes and Virginia fleets have passed under convoy of Captain Robert Saunders of the St. Patrick, who met 6 privateers, sank 3, sent 2 into Portsmouth, and took one of 60 guns with him.


John Saunders, 4 October 1667, Howard vs. Roffey. Christopher Howard owned a farm and land in Lambeth in Surrey. During trial it is testified that the farm has now been leased to John Saunders.

[A] lengthy communication was received by the Government from Bristol, on the 7th August, 1667, doubtless emanating from persons interested in the West India islands. It states that . . . the plant was grown throughout Gloucestershire, even on the land of justices of the peace ; and that as half the profits of the land are paid to the owners for rent, their interest forbids them to destroy it ; that by the King’s order given to the- High-Sheriff of Gloucestershire, with a list of places where tobacco is growing, it was ordered to be cut down, and the names of the owners returned to the Council ; suggesting, as a remedy, a letter from the King to the Judges of Assize for Gloucestershire, ordering returns to be made, and setting fines for neglect ; and that as much tobacco is grown in the neighbouring counties, a strong prohibition be issued against its sale, and a commission given to search for and destroy it” (State Papers, Domestic, 1667, p. 366).

The Government appears to have followed the advice contained in the concluding sentence of this document. In a letter dated Bristol, 19th August in the same year, from an official underling, J. Fitzherbert, writing to Secretary Williamson, is the following : ” Met 120 horse of the King’s and Duke’s guards at Leicester, making to Winscomb in Gloucestershire, to cut down the tobacco planted there in con- tempt of the law.” (76., p. 399.)


Ambrose Sanders, 20 January 1668, merchant 5 hogsheads Virginia tobacco on the ship Unity of Yarmouth.


John Sanders, 10 April 1669, merchant 3 hogsheads 1,296 pounds of Virginia tobacco on ship Unity of Yarmouth.


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Ancestral Families and the Colonial Trade (1638-1647)


William Saunders, 12 September 1638, licenses to sell tobacco in Ingworth & Feering, Essex. Merchant charged 70 shillings.

Feering, in Essex, England

Feering is a village in Essex, England. Situated between Colchester and Witham, Feering has close ties with its geographically conjoined neighbour, Kelvedon.

Ingworth is a village and a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.[1] the nearest town is Aylsham which is 1.7 miles (2.7 km) south of the village.

The village is 14.3 miles (23.0 km) north

Feering, Norfolk, England

of Norwich, 7.3 miles (11.7 km) east of North Walshamand 9 miles (14 km) south-southwest of Cromer on the north Norfolk coast.

[WHB – Note that, although Norfolk and Essex are both on or near the coast in Eastern England, the two communities of Ingworth and Feering have no historical tie other than both having their tobacco concessions awarded to William Saunders.]

Joshua Saunders, 15 December 1638, licenses to sell tobacco in London. Merchant charged L10. In 1639 his license to do business was in St. Catherine’s city of London.

From Thornbury, Walter, Old and New London vol 2, 1878: (Quoted in British History Online)

“Before entering the gate of St. Katherine’s Docks, where great samples of the wealth of London await our inspection, we must first make a brief mention of the old hospital that was pulled down in 1827, to make a fresh pathway for London commerce. This hospital was originally founded in 1148 by Matilda of Boulogne, wife of the usurper Stephen, for the repose of the souls of her son Baldwin and her daughter Matilda, and for the maintenance of a master and several poor brothers and sisters.

In 1273, Eleanor, widow of Henry III., dissolved the old foundation, and refounded it, in honour of the same saint, for a master, three brethren, chaplains, three sisters, ten bedeswomen, and six poor scholars. Opposed to this renovation, Pope Urban IV., by a bull, endeavoured in vain to reinstate the expelled prior and brotherhood, who had purloined the goods and neglected their duties. And here, in the same reign, lived that great alchemist, Raymond Lully, whom Edward III. employed in the Tower to try and discover for him the secret of transmutation.

“Another great benefactress of the hospital was the brave woman, Philippa of Hainault, wife of that terror of France, Edward III. She founded a chantry and gave houses in Kent and Herts to the charity, and £10 in lands per annum for an additional chaplain.

“In after years Henry V. confirmed the annual £10 of Queen Philippa for the endowment of the chantries of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian, and his son Henry VI. was likewise a benefactor to St. Katherine’s Hospital. But the great encourager of the charity was Thomas de Bekington, afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells, who, being master of the hospital in the year 1445, obtained a charter of privileges, to help the revenue. By this charter the precincts of the hospital were declared free from all jurisdiction, civil or ecclesiastical, except that of the Lord Chancellor. To help the funds, an annual fair was to be held on Tower Hill, to last twenty-one days from the feast of St. James. The district had a special spiritual and a temporal court.

“Henry VIII. and Katherine of Arragon founded in this place the guild or fraternity of St. Barbara, which was governed by a master and three wardens, and included in its roll Cardinal Wolsey, the Dukes of Norfolk and Buckingham, the Earls of Shrewsbury and Northumberland, and their ladies. In 1526 the king confirmed the liberties and franchise of this house, which even escaped dissolution in 1534, in compliment, it has been supposed, to Queen Anne Boleyn, whom the king had then lately married.

In the reign of Edward VI., however, all the meshes of the Reformers’ nets grew smaller. Now the small fry had all been caught, the lands of St. Katherine’s Hospital were taken possession of by the Crown. Greediness and avarice soon had their eye on the hospital; and in the reign of Elizabeth, Dr. Thomas Wylson, her secretary, becoming the master, surrendered up the charter of Henry VI., and craftily obtained a new one, which left out any mention of the liberty of the fair on Tower Hill.

St Catherines Docks, London, England

He then sold the rights of the said fair to the Corporation of London for £466 13s. 4d. He next endeavoured to secure all the hospital estates, when the parishioners of the precinct began to cry aloud to Secretary Cecil, and stopped the plunderer’s hand.”


Joseph Saunders, 8 October 1639, of St. Mildreds South London, a merchant aged 39 gives testimony in a case.

St Mildred’s Church, London

The earliest record of the church of St Mildred is of its rebuilding in around 1300. This was probably paid for by Lord Trenchaunt of St. Albans, who was buried in the Church at about that time. Sir John Shadworth, Lord Mayor in 1401, who was also buried in the church, gave a parsonage house, a vestry and a churchyard.[4] A description by John Strype indicates that the medieval church was an aisled building, with a clerestory.[4] The patronage of the church belonged to the monastery of St Mary Overie until 1533, when it passed into private hands.[1]

Strype records that the church was repaired throughout in 1628, when most of the north wall, the nave arcades and the windows above them were rebuilt.[5] A major benefactor of the church during the 17th century was Sir Nicholas Crisp, a wealthy merchant and ardent supporter ofCharles I,[4] who, by 1663, owned the advowson of the church.[1] His gifts included two large silver flagons, which were still in use into the 20th century, and a five light stained glass east window depicting the Spanish ArmadaElizabeth I, the Gunpowder Plot, the plague of 1625, and portraits of himself, his wife and children. He was interred in his family vault in the church, although his heart was buried atHammersmith.[4]

St Mildred’s was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666. Its silver plate, however, survived, having been taken to safety in Hackney in a hired carriage.[4] After the fire the parish of the church of St Margaret Moses, which was also destroyed but not rebuilt, was united to that of St Mildred.[4]

The boundaries of East London parishes surrounding St Mildred Poulty


Joseph Saunders, 5 December 1640, another court battle involving a ship named Truelove. It was supposed to return to London but instead diverted to Holland to sell its goods.

[WHB – Note the following at]: 

True Love, departed from London, England, and arrived in Bermuda, 10 June 1635.

Note the following about the September. 1635 voyage of the Truelove, Master John Gibbs, to Massachusetts:

“This table [see] details the roll of passengers of the Truelove, which sailed from London, mid-September, 1635, bound for New England. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay, although some of the persons listed below may not have arrived. Some may have decided not to sail. Some servants may have run away. And there usually was some loss of life among the passengers from disease and malnutrition during the passage.

“This information was transcribed in the 19th century by James Savage from records found in London, at the Augmentation Office, Rolls Court, Westminster.”]

 1645 –

“[D]uring the English Civil War . trade with the Dutch provided an increase in demand . . .  Pecquet, Cato Journal, ibid.


17 April 1646, John Hayes vs. Joseph Saunders, Francis Lathbury and Matthew Saunders. Another tobacco related case.

From: Coldham, Peter Wilson, English Adventurers and Emigrants, 1609-1660: Abstracts of Examinations in the High Court of Admiralty with Reference to Colonial America.

“Francis Lathbury, book keeper to Joseph Saunders, aged 24, (of St Mildred Poultry, Lond, merchant age 25/26). (3 depositions). Joseph Saunders, to whom he was apprenticed for 8 years, was the owner of the Bonny Bess which he bought from John Thierry of London, merchant, in May or June 1636 for a voyage to Virginia, and appointed Zachary Flute to go as her Master.

“The deponent paid Thierry his account and paid the ship’s purser, Edward Searchfield, for repairs carried out on her. His then master, Joseph Saunders, received one Clarke for his passage to Virginia. After the death of Flute, William Blackler was elected Master.

“The deponent is part owner of the Truelove which carried passengers from Virginia to London in 1638 at the rate of 5 pounds or 5 pounds.10s. a head. Those who shipped goods on the Flower de Luce included his brother Arthur Lathbury of London, merchant, Edmund Saunders, ___ Penryn, ____ Bradley, Simon Hake, and Henry Ledgington. She arrived home in London before the Bonny Bess. (Vols 53 & 54).

From Coldham, ibid., p. 83-84:

Abraham Orten of St Sepulchre, London, mariner aged 60. He was employed to go as cook in the Flower de Luce to Virginia and she went in company with the Bonny Bess, both having been set out by Joseph Saunders. Soe of the goods salvaged from the latter ship were brought ashore on Chaptain Thurygood’s plantation (Vol 54).

From Coldham, ibid., p. 84.

“John White of St sepulchre, London, grocer aged 35. The tobacco brought to London in the Flower de Luce proved mostly rotten and Francisc Lathbury bought part of it. Stafford, Joseph Saunders’ agent, kept the key of the warehouse where the tobacco was stored (Vol. 54)


20)  21 July 1647, Joseph Saunders vs. William Holiday. In 1638, he employed Holiday, the a resident of Rotterdam, to conduct his affairs in Holland. This included dealing in Virginia tobacco. Trying to settle account.

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Ancestral Families and the Colonial Trade (1633-1637)


“Tobacco prices briefly recovered . . ” Pecquet, Cato Jorunal, ibid.


Thomas Sanders, 22 May 1633, imported 200 pounds if tobacco on the ship Lyon.

[WHB -The ship Lyon was associated with several voyages to Massachusetts carrying pilgrims from England. It made several voyages between 1630 and 1632 under Captain William Peirce.]

John Saunders, 16 October 1633, Obligation signed by Leonard Calvert, Jerome Hawley, Thomas Cornwallis and John. Lord Baltimore has hired Richard Orchard to be master of the Dove for a voyage from London to Virginia. Lists what they will pay as wages for the crew per month.

[The following is from the biography of Leonard Calvert]:

Portrait of Leonard Calver (by Florence MacKubin)

Leonard Calvert (1606 – June 9, 1647) was the First Proprietary Governor of Maryland.[1] He was the second son of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, (1579-1632), the first proprietary of the Province of Maryland. His elder brother Cecil, (1605-1675), who inherited the colony and the title upon the death of their father George, April 15, 1632, appointed Leonard as governor of the Colony in his absence. Leonard was obviously named after his grandfather, the father of George who was also “Leonard Calvert” of Yorkshire[2]

[The following is from]:

Jerome Hawley (1590-1638)

Jerome Hawley voyaged to Maryland aboard the Ark in 1633. He was a merchant from a wealthy English family. Some of his family had already settled in Virginia. His older brother was the Governor of the English colony on Barbados.

As an investor in the Maryland colony, Jerome gave Lord Calvert some money to support the voyage of the Ark and the Dove. Jerome was a Roman Catholic like Lord Baltimore. He and his wife, Eleanor hoped their regious beliefs would be tolerated in the new colony of Maryland.

Jerome returned to England in 1635. There he and John Lewger published a booklet called A Relation of Maryland. They wrote this booklet to encourage other English families to come and settle in Maryland. The book describes how the colonists lived. It also tells about the friendship between the English and Native Americans in Maryland.

While Jerome was in England, he asked the King if he could work in the government of the Virginia colony. The King made him a councilor and treasurer of Virginia. Jerome also served inQueen Henrietta Maria’s household. He died in 1638 with many debts from his investments in English colonies.

[The following is from the biography of Thomas Cornwallis]:

Thomas was probably the grandson, or possibly the second son (undocumented)[1][2][3] of Sir Charles Cornwallis of Beeston, Norfolk (d. 1629), an ambassador to Spain and brother of Elizabeth Cornwallis and Sir William Cornwallis of Brome, the direct ancestor ofCharles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis. Thomas was probably the son (or brother) of the author William Cornwallis.[This following is from the biography of Thomas Cornwallis

As the second son, he could not hope to inherit his father’s land. The Cornwallis family were Roman Catholic Recusants and therefore George Calvert‘s project of an autonomous colony in the New World for English Catholics appealed to him. In 1634 he accompanied Leonard Calvert to what was then Virginia and became a Commissioner to the Governor. This put him in a powerful advisory position to Leonard Calvert. In 1635 Cornwallis fought the Virginian colonist William Claiborne over the jurisdiction of Kent Island, and captured it in 1638. In 1643 he defended the colony against a Native American attack.

In 1644, however, Richard Ingle sailed into Chesapeake Bay with his ship Reformation and fired on St. Mary’s City. Cornwallis’ land was occupied and many of the buildings he had constructed were destroyed. As a result of these losses and his loss of influence in the colony, Cornwallis returned to England, where he died at some point after 4 March 1675. The tomb of Cornwallis and his wife is inside St Martin’s Church East Horsley.]


Thomas Sanders, 19 March 1634, license to sell tobacco in Swanscombe and Cliffe, Kent.

[WHB – Note the following article from which about the Danish/Viking/Norman periods of Swanscombe, which has been a location for shipping since early historic or prehistoric times.]

“From Crayford to the Isle of Thanet, the Danes occupied the land and terrorised the Saxon inhabitants, giving rise to the appearance of Deneholes, of which many have survived to this day. These were wells, cut deep into the chalk landscape, thought to be for concealing people and goods. They have a simple vertical shaft with short tunnels bearing horizontally from the base.

“The Vikings settled throughout the winter along the Thames estuary with their ships, and established camps in Kent and Essex. In surveying the distribution of the many deneholes along the Thames corridor it would appear that Essex, on the northern shore of the Thames, sustained a greater influx of Vikings than did Kent, there being considerably more recorded deneholes in Essex, particularly around Orsett and Grays – see Hangman’s Wood.

“Archaeological digs and centuries of tilling have revealed a Danish castle and settlement, with pottery, anchors, weapons and some ships’ timbers. The settlement was later variously called Suinescamp (in the Domesday Book), Sweinscamp and Swanscamp, the name deriving from the Viking king Sweyn Forkbeard, who landed in East Anglia, and became King of England in 1013. Father of Canute, Sweyn died at Gainsborough on the Trent in 1014. Canute (Cnut) died in 1035 his sons were unable to hold on to his empire, he was king of England, Scotland, Norway and Denmark.

Other research suggests that deneholes might have been dug as a method of extracting chalk for use on the fields above, or the mining may have been a by-product of defence. In any case, the practice reached a peak around the 13th – 14th centuries, long after the Viking raids had ceased.

Norman Conquest

In 1066 Swanscombe locals massed an army in defiance of William I, and so won the right to continue their ancient privileges, including the tradition of passing inheritance by gavelkind. The men of Kent met William near Swanscombe, where the Saxons concealed their number with branches, thus intimidating the Norman army. They were offered a truce that left Kent as the only region in England which William did not conquer, and leaving William known as William the Bastard (never conqueror) in this area of England alone. Kent County Council have inherited the motto Invicta, meaning unconquered.”

Medieval Cliffe, Kent (selection from a post)

St Helen’s church at Cliffe was built about 1260 and was constructed in the local style of alternating layers of Kent ragstone and squared black flint. It is one of the largest parish churches in Kent, and the only dedicated to St Helen, the size of the church revealing its past importance.

Above the porch is a muniments room containing important historical documents.

“During the 14th century Cliffe was the site of a farm owned by the monks of Christ’s Church, Canterbury, when the village had a population of about 3,000.

“In the late Middle Ages the village of Cliffe supported a port, which thrived until a disastrous fire in 1520 stifled its growth, marking a period of decline, accentuated by the silting of the marshes of the Thames estuary. Nevertheless, during the 16th century, Cliffe-at-Hoo was still considered a town. However, by the middle of the 19th century the population had slumped to about 900.”

Arthur Sanders, 1634, license to sell tobacco in Salisbury, Wiltshire

[WHB – If one searches the St Edmunds Parish, Wiltshire and Wiltshire parish records for the surnames Sanders and Saunders in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, one finds the multiple entries, indicating that the Sanders/Saunders family was well established in this area.]

Witshire 1560 Richard Saunders and Alice Newman

Richard Saunders and Agnis Sutton

St Edmunds Parish 1563 Marriages: Thomas Sanders and Agnis Wheeler

Wiltshire Parish 1563 Robert Sanders and Anna Dackam

St Edmunds Parish 1565  James Spickernell and Katherine Saunders

Richard Saunders and Chrystyan Reade

Wyllyam Page and Anna Saunders

Wiltshire 1568

St Edmunds Parish 1607 John Sanders and Grace Burrowe

St Edmunds Parish 1609 Robert Sanders and Joan Rendall; Thomas Sanders and Marie Gauntlett

St Edmunds Parish 1616 Thomas Sanders and Ursula West

St Edmunds Parish 1628 Thomas Sanders and Joan Greedie

Wiltshire Parish  1638 Steven Warren and Katherine Sanders: William Perry and Alice Sanders


Samuel Sanders, 1634, license to sell tobacco in Wallingford, Berkshire

Note the following entry on two prominent Saunders of Wallingford:

John Saunders (c 1589 – 29 April 1638) was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1621 and 1629.

Saunders was the son of Thomas Saunders of Woolstone in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). He matriculated at University College, Oxford on 22 May 1601 aged 11 and was awarded BA on 28 January 1608. He was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1616 and became Recorder of Reading, Berkshire.[1] In 1621, he was elected Member of Parliament for Reading. He was re-elected MP for Reading in 1624, 1625, 1626 and 1628 and sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years.[2]

Saunders died in 1638 at the age of about 48.[1]

Saunders married Margaret Evelyn, daughter of John Evelyn of Godstone, Surrey. His son Thomas was later MP for Wallingford.[3]

Thomas Saunders (1626 – c 1670) was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660.

Saunders was the son of John Saunders of Reading, Berkshire and his wife Margaret Evelyn, daughter of John Evelyn of Godstone, Surrey. He succeeded his father in 1638 and purchased the estate of Mongewell Park, across the River Thames from Wallingford. In 1660, he was elected Member of Parliament forWallingford in a by-election to the Convention Parliament. He was commissioner for assessment for Berkshire from August 1660 and for Oxfordshire from 1661. He was J.P. for Oxfordshire from 1661, and for Wallingford and for Berkshire from 1664.[1]

Saunders died between 25 October 1669 when he made his will and 15 February 1671 when it was proved.[1]

Saunders married Anne Morris, daughter of Thomas Morris of Great Coxwell, Berkshire and had two sons and a daughter.[1]



“It was during the 16th and early 17th centuries that the area around Winchcombe was extremely poor , it was during this period that a family named Tracy established themselves at Toddington, the eldest son Sir John Tracy became involved with a John Stratford who was related to him by marriage, they set up a business together to grow tobacco in the area, with plantations at Toddington and Bishops Cleeve. “Tobacco was widely grown on the Cotswolds, the Vale of Tewkesbury and in an area which extended as far south as Wiltshire.


William Sanders, 1635, license to sell tobacco in Tollesbury and Salcott, Essex L4.

The Open Swimming Pool in Tollesbury, Essex

[WHB: Note that Tollesbury is a seacoast town at the mouth of the Thames River, East of London.]

From the Smugglers Britain website:

Like so many of the ports and landing-points on the Blackwater, Tollesbury supports a wealth of legends about smuggling. For a long time, the nearest custom house was Maldon, and the staff there were greatly overworked, so the Tollesbury smugglers would have been free to come and go pretty much as they pleased. When the authorities became more vigilant, contraband was simply thrown overboard at one of the many creeks and inlets punctuating the estuary, to be collected when the coast was clear.

There was always a chance, of course, that goods hidden in this way would fall into the hands of ‘honest’ men, and be turned in to the authorities. In 1819 one such man, Daniel London, was dredging (probably for shellfish) and hauled up a large number of tubs of spirits that had been sunken in Old Hall Creek. He spent most of the night loading the tubs into his boat, and in the morning he sailed up to the Maldon custom house with 152 tubs. For somewhat suspect reasons, though, he overlooked 11 more, leaving them in Mill Creek, where they ‘were liable to be found by any other dredger, of which there were many near’.

When he got home a reception committee of smugglers was waiting for him, and not unnaturally wanted their property. Being reasonable men, they offered to pay him half of what the goods were worth, but Daniel foolishly declined. At this point the angry mob threatened to lynch him and his son, so the pair of them retreated indoors. When the Maldon comptroller of customs arrived, Daniel — now in fear of his life, no doubt — owned up to the other 11 tubs, and was promptly accused of smuggling and thrown into Chelmsford Gaol. In gaol, things went from bad to worse: the other prisoners assaulted him, and he eventually lost his boat, theGeorge and Anne.

The story is told [241] in letters and petitions to the customs authorities, and 170 years on it’s hard to unravel the truth. The authorities were evidently convinced that London was in league with the smugglers, and pointed out that he had a previous conviction for the offence. On the other hand, the unfortunate dredger was clearly not popular with the smugglers, either!

Old Hall Creek is now heavily silted, but at one time there were wharfs there, as rotting timbers and skeletal boats in the mud testify. When business was thriving, there was a waterside pub that had huge cellars for storage of contraband — the sea-wall hid the free-traders from view as they unloaded. The pub was long ago converted to houses as the torrent of thirsty smugglers turned — like the waters in the creek — to a trickle.

In 1779 the windows of the pub would have commanded a good view of a large cutter landing goods at one of the wharfs, and perhaps one of the drinkers was the customs officer from Tollesbury, Edward Abbot. He intercepted a labourer called William Tabor, who was carrying tea and gin which had been unloaded from the boat. Tabor tried to negotiate freedom from prosecution, but this was refused and the labourer was convicted and fined. To get his own back, Tabor accused Abbot of embezzling some of the seized goods (which the revenue man quite likely did). His attempt to discredit the officer failed, however, and when asked to appear before the local collector of customs, the smuggler lost his nerve.

Modern Tollesbury is a working waterfront. Pleasure boats are today much in evidence, but there are some working vessels too, and four beautifully restored traditional yacht stores form the centre-piece of the waterfront, reminding the visitor of the long-standing links with the sea.

Also from the website above:


TL9513 red map button , 4m E of Tiptree on minor roads

The twin villages of Salcott and Virley also feature in Melhalah: the marriage of the principal characters Mehalah and Elijah Rebow takes place in the now-ruined church at Virley. The churches are also steeped in legend associating them with non-fictional smugglers; from the church towers, signals could be flashed to Tiptree Heath, and to Beacon Hill on the other side of the Blackwater estuary. There was always a good turn-out for the service at Virley because the congregation was swelled by local smugglers who aimed to keep an eye on the contraband they had concealed in various parts of the church [236!

According to one local fable, villagers found an customs boat floating off nearby Sunken Island with a crew of corpses — all 22 men had their throats cut from ear to ear. The bodies were buried in the local graveyard, with the hull of their up-turned boat over the graves.


The following is from the Immigrant List of thev Merchant Bonaventure to Virginia 1635

Then follows a list of those who went to St. Domingo, after which, “These under written are to be transported to Virginea imbarqued in ye Merchant bonaventure James Ricroft Master bound thither have taken ye oath of allegeance. You will perceive an apparent repetition of the anme of Ricahrd Champion. I can only say it so so in the original.

Mary Saunders, 26, included in the above list of passengers.


John Sanders, 1 April 1636, Thomas Cornwallis and John, both gentlemen, appear in the case of Orchard against Baltimore and others.

Joseph Saunders, 6 June 1636, agrees to freight the ship Flower de Luce for 8 months for a voyage to Virginia. Origin Weymouth.


By late 1637 a second depression [of tobacco prices] began and lasted until the mid- forties . . . Pecquet, Cato Journal, ibid.


Joseph Saunders, 25 July 1637, He and William Smith undertook the freight of the Flower de Luce from Thomas Leddoze. Ship was in a very rotten state and ill fitted for the voyage which lasted from July 1, 1637 to June 22, 1637.

There are quite a few admiralty papers that list court cases that only list the last name of Saunders. In reading them they appear to be related to this Joseph and the same ship and the Bonnie Bess which went aground at Long Island, Virginia in rough weather. Two great boat loads of goods weighing 5 tons apiece were taken out of to be carried ashore but both were lost in the attempt. Freight on board the two ships were valued at L2400 to Saunders’ account.

Whilst the two ships were at Virginia, it was rumored that Weston had received instructions from Saunders to dispose of the Bonnie Bess: Weston offered to sell it to Leonard Calvert, the Governor of Maryland, but, in fact, eventually sold it to Richard Orchard who had arrived in Virginia a month after the ship had been driven aground.

Suits were commenced in the Quarter Court at James Town by planters and relatives of merchants who had died on board, for restitution of goods seized by Weston on the outward voyage. Details of Flower de Luce: On 11 October 1638 it left Newfoundland for Virginia, Master John White. On October 21 it arrived at Point Comfort. Later on 2 November it arrived at James Town.

On 11 April 1639 the homeward voyage was started. However, the day before the ship set sail for Point Comfort, White and Samuel Leddoye, the purser, on behalf of the owners of the vessel, protested against Nicholas Stourfield, George Grace and Simon Hake, freighters of the said ship, at the terms of schedule made over to them. Grace and Hake returned to Weymouth in the Flower de Luce. Leddoye and White, protesting at their failure to load the ship in time, went to James Town where their complaint was lodged in the suits of the Quarter Court.

Joseph Sanders, 27 August 1637, a letter to Sir Henry Marten, knight, judge of the Admiralty. Enclose a petition from Joseph Sanders, merchant, who about a year ago sent to Virginia goods to a value of L3500.0.0 and also 83 servants. All Sanders’ factors died during the journey and one Hugh Weston then took unlawfully possession of all the goods. Weston has now been arrested and will appear before the court of Admiralty. The privy council recommends this case into the special attendance of this court.

A letter to the Governor and Council of Virginia, 27 August 1637. Contents same as the previous letter. Order to investigate in whose hands the goods now are and where the servants now are and take steps for the recovery of same. The following postscript follows which is canceled “for as much as at the signing here of we are informed that the said Weston is arrested here, where upon we have recommended the business to your especial care of the judge of the Admiralty: you are therefore to seize and cause to remayne in safety and forth-coming such goods and servants as you shall find to belong to the petitioner and to make return of this letter to the said Judge of the Admiralty here”.

From Coldham, Peter Wilson English Adventurers and Emigrants, 1609-1660: Abstracts of Examinations in the High Court of Admiralty with Reference to Colonial America, p. 84.

“Thomas Leddoze of Weymouth, Dorset, merchant, aged 51. He was part owner of the Flower de Luce which he freighted to Saunders. The tobacco she brought back from Virginia was damaged by water and the deponent and others have brought suit in this court (Vol. 54)

From Coldham, P. W., p. 92

Robert Redhead of Rochester, Kent, marine aged 30. He was boatswain’s mate of HMS Swiftsure which in March 1637/8 intercepted the Truelove of London, Mr Isaac Watlington, which was loaded with Virginia tobacco, and ordered her to London. While the Truelove was off Margate, Francis Lathbury came out to her in a boat and returned with Watlington to the town after which the ship sailed for Holland on 16 March 1637/8 (Vol.53).

Matthew Saunders, 3 August 1637, Matthew of Whitechapel, yeoman in the case of Leddoye vs. Saunders.

George Saunders, 14 November 1637, merchant consignment of 4000 lbs. of Virginia tobacco.


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Ancestral Families and the English-Colonial Trade (1612-1632)

[WHB notes: In a previous post, Saunders in Gloucestershire and Bristol in Late Medieval Times, I presented, among alternative hypotheses, the possibility that the offices awarded to Thomas Saunders, heir to the large Charlwood Estate in Surrey, by King Henry IV (Bolingbroke), in 1400, and subsequently, led to the establishment of a branch of the Saunders family in Bristol.

The following timeline of activities of the Saunders’ and other ancestral families in the kind of mercantile trade that involved high levels of capital formation. I think that that patterns can be discerned that suggest that branches of the Saunders family, rather likely in concert with one another, were engaged in shipping between England the Continent, and, with the opening of the English colonies in the 17th century, in transatlantic trade.

Ultimately, this focused on the often lucrative tobacco trade and was impacted by the events that led up to the English Civil War and its aftermath.

I will continue this timeline in later posts.]

The following organizes genealogical information about ancestral families in Virginia and North Carolina. Among other sources, it relies importantly on the work of the Virginia Family Records Project, in particular the information published by Rod Sanders on 8 July 2007.

Rod Sanders’ citations are interspersed with selected quotations from Dr Gary M. Pecquet’s important article “BRITISH MERCANTILISM AND CROP CONTROLS IN THE TOBACCO COLONIES: A STUDY OF RENT-SEEKING COSTS”,  from information posted elsewhere on the website  and by other information available through on-line research.


“The initial boom that resulted from the introduction of tobacco in 1612 was followed by an increase in immigration and a tobacco depression by 1629–33.”  Pequet, Cato Institute.


Lieutenant Saunders, 18 June 1609, Lieutenant Saunders is coming over to England – if he is given command of men in the Virginia voyage he will venture himself and L50 in the venture. Sidney papers.


In 1619, a London merchant with Gloucestershire ties, John Stratford, bought land around Winchcombe in Gloucestershire to plant tobacco. In the same year, Parliament passed a law prohibiting the cultivation of tobacco in England.


“The king [WHB- King James I of England] captured monopoly revenues in the form of customs duties imposed on the tobacco trade, and English merchants gained exclusive access to most of the world tobacco crop. All colonial tobacco was to be shipped to England, and after paying customs the English merchants acquired the exclusive use of the crop. The scheme also prohibited tobacco cultivation in England (to prevent tax-free chiseling). . .

Despite royal proclamations, as early as 1620, prohibiting the cultivation of tobacco in England, Englishmen widely evaded the ban. Many considered the prohibition of raising tobacco to be an unwarranted restriction on personal liberty, and the crown lacked the administrative machinery to enforce the tobacco-growing ban in England.

Pecquet, p. 469.


Patrick Sanders, 15 January 1624/5, deposition on behalf of John Woodall vs. Sir Thomas Merry. Involving cargo of the Lions Claw alias Merchant Bonaventure and Hopewell.

[WHB – The following note notes are from a Wikipedia article]:

John Woodall (1570–1643) was an English military surgeonParacelsian chemist, businessman, linguist and diplomat. He made a fortune through the stocking of medical chests for the East India Company and later the armed forces of England. He is remembered for his authorship of The Surgeon’s Mate which was the standard text to advise ships surgeons on medical treatments while at sea and contains an advanced view on the treatment of scurvy. . .

Woodall’s career then progressed rapidly with election as a surgeon at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1616 where he was a colleague of Sir William Harvey. He was promoted to examiner in the Barber-Surgeons Company in 1626, to warden in 1627 and then master in 1633.

He suffered a setback, however, in 1625 when he served a writ on Sir Thomas Merry, a servant of the King who owed Woodall money. For his effrontery to royal privilege, the Lord Steward had Woodall imprisoned. He was briefly released to supervise surgeon’s chests for the next fleet at the request of the East India Company, but was then jailed once more. He was only freed when he issued a contrite apology.

The cover of Woodall’s medical treatise

The following year of 1626 the Privy Council decided to pay the Barber-Surgeons Company fixed allowances to furnish medical chests for both the army and navy, and Woodall was appointed to supervise this scheme in addition to his long-standing similar commitment to the East India Company.

He was eventually dismissed by the East India Company in 1635 for financial reasons, but retained a monopoly on supplying the Company’s medical chests until he died in 1643, aged 73.


An illicit tobacco growing trade evolved in Gloucestershire, which sometimes was apparently sold as “Virginia tobacco”. In 1631, Charles I’s administration moved against the Gloucestershire tobacco crop, the King’s privy council demanding that the sheriffs of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire take action, creating a backlash of support for Parliament in its battle against the monarchy.


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Connections between Ancestral Families and Wiltshire County, England

I have pulled together various citations related to possible ancestors residing in or emigrating from 16th or 17th century Wiltshire County, England. The following questions seem to be appropriate:

1) Is there a parallel between the involvement of persons surnamed Saunders or otherwise likely related through the DNA research discussed elsewhere on this website and “religious dissent”?

2) Is there evidence of involvement of ancestors in the tobacco trade both in Wiltshire and in Virginia?

3) Is there evidence that the impact of the English Civil War on Wiltshire and surrounding counties influenced the emigration to the American colonies?



From Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Sarah Saunders Smith (beginning at page 17): From the Colonial Records also from deeds and wills, we find the family of Sanders who came to America were from Wiltshire County, England, as also were many of the organizers of the Plymouth Colony. . . There were fifteen distinct parishes of Wiltshire.   From Wiltshire Magazine (date unknown):

Wiltshire is pre-eminently connected with the early history 
of tobacco, not only by reason of the tobacco-manufactory at 
Amesbury, whose fame was once greater than any other in the 
land, but also because the best collection of the earliest pipes 
known to the world is to be found in the Blackmore museum at 
Salisbury. It may be necessary therefore to give some slight 
account of the history of tobacco for the benefit of those who 
have read nothing more about it than has already been pre- 
sented to them in the pages of this magazine.

Amesbury was famous for its tobacco pipe manufacture in the 16th century.


From the History of Parliament:

RICHARD TRACY elected to parliament, representing the constituency of Wootton Bassett.

The following excerpt is from the History of Parliament:

“The borough of Wootton Bassett, for which Tracy was returned to the Parliament of 1529, was to be represented by many men from across the nearby border, but his home near Winchcomb was rather distant for him to be accounted a local man: the same was true of his fellow-Member, Walter Winston, who lived at Randwick near Stroud.

Like two other Wiltshire boroughs, Devizes and Marlborough, Wootton Bassett formed part of the jointure of successive queens consort and this court connexion probably explains the appearance among its Members of men who had little, if any, personal connexion with it. In the case of Tracy, the names of possible patrons include those of Sir Edward Baynton, a local magnate who besides securing his own election for the shire may have been influential in other boroughs, and Sir John Brydges, who was returned for Gloucestershire and whose marriage connexions with Tracy probably assisted his election. If religious sympathy entered into the matter,

Baynton’s incipient Protestantism would have made him a natural patron for the son of so doughty a reformist as William Tracy.

The following excerpt is from the Victoria County History; Page, William (editor), A History of the County of Gloucester Volume 2, 1907.

“In 1535 Cromwell appointed Anthony Saunders, the curate of Winchcombe, to read to the monks of Winchcombe and preach in the parish. L. and P. Hen. VIII, ix, No. 747. On 2 November he complained to Cromwell of the abbot of Hayles—

“I have small favour and assistance amongst Pharasaical papists. The Abbot of Hayles has hired a great Golyas, a subtle Dun’s man, yea a great clerk, as he sayeth, a bachelor of divinity of Oxford to catch me in my sermons.

He added that this preacher rather maintained than spoke against the usurped power of the bishop of Rome. However, Abbot Stephen was not openly hostile to Cromwell. On 28 January, 1536, he wrote asking him to dispense with some of the new injunctions which were most galling to the religious. L. and P. Hen. VIII, ix, No. 747 (p.192). Since Cromwell had visited the house, he wrote—

“The number of my brethren is sore decayed. I have buried three, two are sore sick, one had licence to depart, and I have three in Oxford at divinity. I beg that I may take in more to help the choir.

“On 18 June he told Cromwell that in accordance with his wish he had granted the farm of Longborough to Robert Hopper. (L. and P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 1163)

“In 1538 commissioners were appointed in every county to destroy the shrines. Latimer, bishop of Worcester, reported to Cromwell that the relic of the Holy Blood of Hayles seemed, after examination, to be ‘an unctuous gum and a compound of many things.’ (fn. 56) It was dispatched to London, and on 24 November Hilsey, bishop of Rochester, preached at Paul’s Cross, and there showed the Blood of Hayles, affirming it to be ‘honey clarified and coloured with saffron, as had been evidently proved before the king and his council.’ (fn. 57) Abbot Stephen wrote to Cromwell praying that he might destroy the empty shrine, ‘lest it should minister occasion for stumbling to the weak.’ (fn. 58)

“On 24 December, 1539, the abbot and twenty-one monks surrendered the monastery. (fn. 59) Dr. London and his fellow-commissioners reported to Cromwell that they found— the father and all his brethren very honest and conformable persons, and the house clearly out of debt. . . . The father had his house and grounds so well furnished with jewels, plate, stuff, corn, cattle, and the woods also so well saved, as though he had looked for no alteration of his house. (fn. 60)

“A pension of £100 a year, with the manorhouse of Coscomb, was assigned to the abbot; the prior and one monk got £8; the rest received pensions varying from £7 to £1 6s. 8d. a year, and two monks were given vicarages. (fn. 61) Wages were paid to seventy servants of the household. (fn. 62)

“In 1535 the clear yearly value of the property of Hayles amounted to £357 7s. 8½d. (fn. 63) The possessions of the monastery included the manors of Hayles, Pinnockshire, Nether Swell, Wormington, Coscomb, Longborough; rents in the towns of Gloucester and Winchcombe; lands and rents in Didbrook, Challingworth, and Farmcote, in Gloucestershire; the manor of Rodbourne in Wiltshire; pastures at Heathend in Worcestershire; and the rectories of Hagley in Suffolk, Northley in Oxfordshire, St. Breage and St. Paul in Cornwall, Rodbourne in Wiltshire, Hayles, Didbrook, Longborough, and Toddington in Gloucestershire.”


“During the organizaiton of the Plymouth Colony we find Sir Edwin Sandys, Biashop of York and afterward Lord Mayor of London. His ancestral estates were at Wiltshire County. Many records of his family are to be found at Salisbury, the county town. We quote from history and these records the short account of George Sanders, brother of Sir Edwin. “George Sanders was born 1577. After passing some time at Oxford in 1610 he travelled over Europe to Turkey; visited Palestine and Egupt. He published his travels at Oxford 1615, and they recewived great attention. The first poetical production in Angel’s Amerian Legislature, was published by him, while acting in capacity of Secretary of the Virginia Colony and in the midst of the confusion which followed the massacre of 1622.


St Edmunds Parish, Salisbury, Wiltshire:

John Sanders and Grace Burrowe, lie.


Banks Topographical Dictionary of English Immigrants
1620-1650 states there was a John Sanders of Easton
in Wiltshire that emigrated between 1620-1650

Wiltshire Record Office states thata John Sanders
came from Downton and emigrated 1620-1650


Thomas Sanders, 22 May 1633, imported 200 pounds if tobacco on the ship Lyon. [WHB – Although this record does not specify Wiltshire, I believe the possible relationship with the following record should be considered.]


Arthur Sanders, 1634, license to sell tobacco in Salisbury, Wiltshire


“It was during the 16th and early 17th centuries that the area around Winchcombewas extremely poor , it was during this period that a family named Tracy established themselves at Toddington, the eldest son Sir John Tracy became involved with a John Stratford who was related to him by marriage, they set up a business together to grow tobacco in the area, with plantations at Toddington and Bishops Cleeve. “Tobacco was widely grown on the Cotswolds, the Vale of Tewkesbury and in an area which extended as far south as Wiltshire.


From an account of the voyage of the Confidence:

CONFIDENCE, of London, two hundred tons, John Gibson, Master. She sailed from Southampton the last of April,` by vertue of the Lord Treasurers warrant of the 11th of April,1638. 1  JOHN SANDERS,  25 of Langford, Wilts, Salisbury, husbandman; Mrs. Sarah Sanders, John Cole 40,  Roger Eastman 15 servant; Richard Blake 16 servant; William Cottle 12 servant; Robert King 24 servant                                                      

Posted in SAUNDERS | Comments Off on Connections between Ancestral Families and Wiltshire County, England

English Religious Dissent and the Saunders Surname

WHB -The following excerpt from a historical treatise of Sarah Saunders Smith, centered on the Massachusetts Bay Colony, is arguably relevant to the study of 17th century emigrants to Virginia surnamed Saunders, Sanders or Sandys:


From Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Sarah Saunders Smith (beginning at page 17)

“Weeke” simply signified a place of residence and comprised a tract of many acres. This tract, or a portion of it, was in possession of the family of John Sanders, and through the marriage of Thomas, second son of Thomas Duncombe, to Isabel, daughter of Thomas Saunders of Amersham, Bucks County, and the marriage of Wiliam Duncombe, son of Thomas Duncombe by second wife, to Ellen Sunders, daughter of William Saunders of Peltesgrave, County Beds, became in possession of the family of Duncombe, of whom Anthony, Lord Feversham, was a descendent.

“In the last century it was purchased of the trustees of this estate by Jacob, Earl of Radnor, and is now the property of the present earl. “”Weeke” formerly possessed a chapel subordinate to the mother church, but no part of it remains now.

Thus we find the family of Sanders, Saunders, one of importance and position in the Parish of Downton, County of Wiltz, in old England in the years 1500-1600. John Saunders, the ancestor of this genealogy, came to New England 1620, returned to England 1623. Revisited the colony 1630-1633-1636. He remained in New England as a place of residence, though often visiting the mother country, until his death, in 1670, at 98 years of age.

His will, probated 10-2-1670, mentions himself as “I John Sanders of Wqeeke, in ye parish of Downton, in ye county of Wiltz, in Old England.

“His will was sealed with the crest of the Saaunders arms, the impress of which is still visible, vis: an elephant’s head, side view.

“Four miles from Northampton, on the turnpike road to Leicester, through Wilford, is the Priory of St Andres, which was acceeded to Sir Thomas Arundel and Sir Henry Sanders. The principal land  holders in 1533 were: –

– Patrons

– John de Monseacuto

– Prior Hospital St John Jesus

– Laurence Saunders

– Principal Landholder or Tenant in Caivete

– Dean Robert Dryer Capt February 20 1533

“Thus we find at the Priory of St Andres Rev Laurence Saunders, on e of the principal Land owners and tenans in right of (probably) his ancestor Henry Sanders.

“The descendants of Capt. Robert Dryer sought refuge in the new world, at the large time that a large family of Saunders also emigrated. It does not seem amiss to place here a short sketch of what perhaps may have been the original cause of the immigration of so large and influential a family to America.

“In searching for facts concerning the history of the Saunders family in England, the life and martyr do of Laurence Saunders has impressed me with the fact that he was the most closely connected with the family of the Bishop of York. For in his history of Englis Marytrs describes him “as of St Andrew Priory, where his mother, a widow of gentle blood had possessions.” From this history we quote the following.

“Laurence Saunders came of a family , influential, and of gentle blood. He was born about the year 1515, was one of a large family, receiving a most liberal education. He was first sent to Eaton, and from there, according to the rules of the foundation, he was sent to King’s college at abridge, where he studied very hard for three years, making great progress in the different branches of learning, then taught in the schools. At the end of three years he fancied he would like a commercial life; and his mother, then a widow, was prevailed upon to place him with a friend of hers, Sir William Chester a rich merchant of London, and who was afterwards sheriff of that city. Commerical life in London was not to his taste after all;   he became so weary of it and his despondency was so noticeable, that Sir William became very solicitous for his health; and soon learning th e cause, kindly gave him his liberty and he returned to his other.

“He soon returned to Cambridge again and so devoted himself to scriptural studies, that, in the beginning of King Edwards reign, when the true  religion began to be countenanced, he entered his orders, and preached with great success. He was first appointed at Frothesingham and afterwards became a preacer at Litchfield. He was much loved and respected, not only for his sweetness of temper and knowledge of his professions but also for his eloquent manner of addressing his  hearers, and the honesty he displayed in his sincerity of throught.

“His next call ws at Allhallows in Broad street, London. King Edward died, and Mary becoming Queen issued a proclamation, “commanding all subjects to attend mass”. Many pious ministers refused to obey, and none were more pronounced that Rev. Lawrence Saunders. Soon however, his subornation became marked, and he was privately advised to flee; this he would not do.

“During a conversation with John Mardant, privy counciller to Queenhe was asked ‘where he was going’. His reply was “to Broad street to instruct my people” and when being advised not to preach, his reply was ‘how then shall I be accountable to God?”

The following Saunday he preached to his people upon the errors of Popery. He exhorted them to hold themselves steadfast in the truth. His discourse was eloquent and impassioned, but he felt hiws doom through the morning passed without arrest; but int he afternoon an officer apprehended him and Sir John Mordant gave evidence against him. This was in the second year of the reign of Queen Mary, A. D., 1555.

He was examined by the Bishop, and ehorted to retract his assertions, but he ws firm, and steadfast in his belief, and was remanded to prison after a short examination, being told that he was a mad man without reason.

He remained in prison a year and three months; during this time he wrote many letters to devine persons, who later suffered martyrdom like himself. To his wife he wrote “that she must not consider him any more longer as her husband in this world, but that he hoped to spend an eternity with her in Heaven. That the blessing of everlasting covenant could only be insured to believers in consequence of the death of Christ, and that the firm persuasion of the resurrection of our Redeemer was the means contrived by infinate wisdom in order to bring us to a state of happiness.”

He was confined in Marshalsea prison. No one was allowed to converse with him, though his wife was permitted to enter the prison, and his child Samuel suffered to be placed in his arms. Mr Saunders rejoiced in seeing his child, and said to the by-standers, “what man fearing God would not lose his life sooner than have it said, that the mother of such a child was a  harlot.”

He was again given an emination, but had fortitude to declare himself against Popery, for which offence he was ex-communicated. Later he was given to some officers, with orders to convey him to Coventry to be burned at the stake.

Upon their arrival at Coventry, a poor shoemaker said, “oh my good master, may God strengthen you.” “Good shoemaker, replied the Rev. Mr Saunders, “I beg you will pray for me for I am in a very weak condition, but I hope my Gracious God will give e strength.”

In speaking of his people he says, “and although I am not so among them, as I have been to preach to them out of a pulpit, yet doth God now preach unto them by me, by this y imprisonment and captivity, which now I suffer among them for Christ’s sake, bidding them to beware of the Romish Anti-Chrisitan religion, and Kingdom requiring and charging them to abide in the truth of Christ, which is shortly to be sealed with the blood of their pastor.

Be not careful my good wife, writes he, “cast your care upon the Lord, and commend unto him, in repentent prayer, as I do, our Samuel.

“Fare you well, all in Christ, in hope to be joined with you in joy everlasting. This hope is put up in my bosom. Amen. Amen. Amen”

The next day, 8th of February , 1555, he was led to the place of execution, falling by the wayside however – as he was so exhausted.

He was led to the place of execution barefooted and allowed but an old gown and a shirt. When brought to the stke, his last words were “Welcome, the cross of Christ, welcome everlasting life.” Thus suffered one of the many martyrs of Queen Anne’s [sic!] reign: among whom were Taylor, Farrer, Marsh, Latimer, Cramner, Hooper, Rogers and Bradford. Descendents of which, bound together by one bond of sympathy and Christly love, were the first to seek peace and comfort in the Puritan religion.

Descendents of these martyrs were the founders of the Plymouth Colony, having previously fled to Holland as a temporary refuge from persecution.

Samuel Saunders, son of Laurence Suanders, the martyr, may have been ancestor to the manhy members of the Saunders family who sought refuge in the colonies in the early part of the 16th century. [sic!].

From the Colonial Records also from deeds and wills, we find the family of Sanders who came to America were from Wiltshire County, England, as also were many of the organizers of the Plymouth Colony. . .

There were fifteen distinct parishes of Wiltshire.

I have previously mentioned by that the Priory of St Andrews was granted to Sir THomas Arundell and Sir Henry Sanders in the thirty-six years of the reign of Henry VIII. In Maryland, one of the counties on the Chesapeake shore was settled by Arundell and is still named Ann Arundel County.

1620 – In the Virginia records is noted the arrival of Rev David Sanders, in charge of Cap[t Samuel Mathews’ colony of one hundred at Hoggs Head. Henry Sanders was one of that company, travelling in the country. He did not remain, as in the Colonial Records at London is recorded the return of “Capt Henry Sanders at Southampton, 1623.”

The early ministers, appointed by the home government, were men of influence, birth and education. They were to act in the capacity of advisers, magistrates, and judges; and their influence was felt to a great degree both in the colony and abroad, as many of the organizers of the plantation did not accompany them, and the prosperity and success of the enterprise depended greatly upon the good government and adviceof the ministry. I find no note of the return to England of Rev. David Sanders of Vriginia, and it is supposed that he is the ancestor of the brand of the Sanders family who are descendants in Virginia today.

The name of Sanders, or Saunders, is most conflicting, as in the early records of the clerks and correspondents abbreviated the word. In our ealriest records of grants it is frequently spelt Sandys, or Sanders.

During the organizaiton of the Plymouth Colony we find Sir Edwin Sandys, Biashop of York and afterward Lord Mayor of London. His ancestral estates were at Wiltshire County. Many records of his family are to be found at Salisbury, the county town. We quote from history and these records the short account of George Sanders, brother of Sir Edwin.

George Sanders was born 1577. After passing some time at Oxford in 1610 he travelled over Europe to Turkey; visited Palestine and Egupt. He published his travels at Oxford 1615, and they recewived great attention. The first poetical production in Angel’s Amerian Legislature, was published by him, while acting in capacity of Secretary of the Virginia Colony and in the midst of the confusion which followed the massacre of 1622.

Sier Francis Waytt of Allington Castle, Boxley Abbey in 1618, married Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Samuel Sandys (Sanders) of Ombersley, Worcester –

(Was Sir Samuel the same Samuel whom Laurence Sanders blssed in Marshalsea prison? the dates and circumstances correspond.)

In 1621 Sir Francis Wyatt received the appointment of Governor to the Virginia Colony, and departed in the “George in 621” for that Colony, with his young wife, Margaret Saunders, and her uncle Goerge Sandys (Sanders) as his secretary (so written and spelt.)_

At this time came also the colony of Capt. Samuel Mathews, accompanied by Rev. David Sanders, as overseer. This latter colony arrived at James City, Virginia, in the “Bonaventure”. In a few months after the massacre of 1622 George Sandys (Sanders), was sent to England by the colony to look after their interests, but in disregard to their wishes he introduced into the house of comons a bill, asking a restoration of the old London company and all the privileges of the original charter.

This was obnoxious to the colonies, and they entereste d aprotest; but when the protest had been received, the King was in Yorkshire, and the civil war had begun in England. We find that he did not return to the colony nor very much advance their interests.

He died, as before mentioned, at the home of his niece, Margaret, wife of GOvernor Wyatt, in 1643.

After the charter of Virginia had been dissolved by James first, Sir James Wyatt continued governor. He returned to England, where he died, and was buried at Boxley Abbey, August 24, 6143. “His wife, daughter of Sir Samuel Sandys (Saunders) who passed some time in Virginia, was a gentle woman of much tact and cheerfulness and willing to accept the hardships of a new settlement” _ (History of Virginia.)

She died at Boxley Abbey, May 27, 1644.

Hoar’s History of Wiltshire.

Colonial Records at London.

History of Virginia.

Private papers of Sir Francis Sandys.





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