Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Norfolk Welds

A large part of my family tree consists of the Welds of Dorset and Shropshire primarily but they pop up in other locales as well - who descend from Sir Humphrey Weld and Ann Wheler/Wheeler.

His line is probably worthy of an entry but he will have to wait.

I recently, whilst researching the Dayrell family of Lillingston Dayrell and Cambridgeshire, came across the Welds of Bracon Ash in Norfolk and have spent an inordinate amount of time trying, to no avail, to establish a link between the Dorset and Shropshire line (firmly established) and these Welds of Norfolk.

The first find was in A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: There was a good estate here [Bracon Ash] purchased by John Weld in 1618, and much added to it in 1620, by Mat Weld. All this family are interred in the south aisle. Alderman Edward Weld, who died in 1746, and is buried at Cawston in Norfolk, was of this family (See vol. iii. p. 451.) [I have yet to make a connection].

 The rest of the entry reads:

Gascoigne Weld, Esq. died 25 Apr. 1701, 84. Judith and Anna Weld Infantes. A.M.P.

M.S. Depositum Matthei Weld Generosi, qui plenus Annorum obijt 6 tJ . Jan. An° X' 1 1650, cum vixisset annos 83, Mens. 6, Septiman. un: Gascoignus Weld, Filius unicus bene merenti gemens posuit.

Weld, arg. a fess nebule between three crescents er. impaling Gascoign, arg. on a pale sab. a luce's head erected and cooped or, being the arms of Eliz. his wife, daughter of Gascoign of Illington.
(See vol. i. p. 449).

Joseph Weld, son and heir of Gascoign Weld, aet. 13, A. 1664, was alive and lived here. Eliz. his sister lies buried here with the arms of Rutter; three garbs in chief a lion passant arg. impaling Weld.

Here lieth the body of Eliz. Rutter widow, late the Wife of Richard Rutter Esq; of Kingsley in Cheshire, who was daughter of Gascoigne Weld late of Braconash Esq. who departed this Life the
4th of Dec. 1714, aet. 69. The Remains of Philip the wife of Gascoigne Weld Esq; Daughter of Phillip Calthorp Esq; Aug. 4, 1704,.

72. Barbara Weld ob. set. 18, 1690.

Using this I found Mathew Weld's will, d. cir 1652, and transcribed it and found he was first married to Katherine illegible by whom he had Mathew, who predeceased him in 1650 and was buried in Tasburgh, Norfolk.

The younger Mathew married Barbara Wicksted and they had issue: Wickstead m1 Elizabeth Smith m2 Ann Pyches, John m unknown with issue, Amy, Martin, Mathew m Jane Dey and Barbara.

Mathew senior remarried to Elizabeth Gascoyne, presumably following his first wife's death and had with her: Gascoigne Weld m1 Philippa Calthorpe and m2 Ann Hall, Mary m William Starkey, Elizabeth m Richard Rutter, Judith, Anna and Joseph d. 1712.

In his will Mathew senior mentions his uncle Daniel (which is problematic in terms of linking to the aforesaid family line since the only extant Daniel in the tree doesn't fit).

As well as his surviving children and grandchildren the elder Mathew mentions cousins Thomas Weld, Edmund Weld and, as aforesaid, his uncle Daniel. He bequeaths lands and tenements in Bracon Ash, Tasburgh, Hempnall, Fordham, Mulbarton, Saxlingham, Pulham Marie, Long Stratton, Wacton, Gissing and Fundenhall in Norfolk along with Rumburgh, Wissett and South Elmham in Suffolk.

Trying to link the Norfolk Welds with the main line I went back to William de Welde d. 1352 who had issue, William his heir - whose line produces the established families - and two younger sons who settled in Bucks and Suffolk but nothing more appears to be known of these two younger sons. I've spent untold internet hours trying to find the son who settled in Suffolk but with no success.

Skip a few generations to John Weld who died in circa 1588. He was a citizen and haberdasher of London and nephew of the aforementioned Humphrey and married Dorothy Greswold who had three surviving children: John m Elizabeth Romney; Joan m Humphrey Slaney; Dorothy m Sir William Whitmore - as an aside the Slaneys and Whitmores were very intertwined with the Welds - she remarried to Hugh Offley and her monument lists her children and doesn't mention a Daniel.

Their son John married Elizabeth Romney viz:

Sir William Romney. Son-in-law of Robert Taylor (Alderman, Sheriff 1592–3). His elder daughter married John Weld, Town Clerk of London (nephew of Sir Humphrey Weld, Lord Mayor 1608–9).

UPDATE: in view of the information recently found [see bottom of the page] I think this should read great nephew.

He is a possible candidate for the John Weld who purchased 'a good estate' in Bracon Ash in 1618 but I have no conclusive evidence to link the two.

Two further snippets mention both the Welds and the Berneys:

Tho. Garneys died lord of a moiety [of Loddon, Norfolk] in the 9th of Elizabeth, leaving Elizabeth his daughter and heir, aged 11 years; she married Philip Strettey [Strelley?], Esq. of Nottinghamshire, and by their deed, dated November 2, ao. 17 of Elizabeth [1575], sold it to John Weld of London, haberdasher; and Sir Thomas Gresham, conveyed the other moiety, which he bought of Thomas Glemham, Esq. January 14, ao. 5 of Elizabeth, to the said John Weld, on April 22, ao. 23d Elizabeth [1581], so that Weld was lord of the whole manor.

John Weld, Esq. in the 18th
[sic] of Elizabeth, sold it to Elizabeth, late wife of Richard Berney, Esq. who leased it to Anthony Hobart of Hales Hall, Esq. for 60 years at 60l. per ann.

And from A General History of the County of Norfolk:

BRACON ASH (or Broken Ash). Six miles. St. _____ .

P. 260. Bracon Ash, Braccas, Braccles, or Brakcne, signifies the broad Leas. - Leas was part of the possession of Roger Bigod, at the conquest; one part he gave to Olf the Dane, who joined it to Flordon manor. It came afterwards to the Peverels, and from them passed through several branches to the Woods and the Welds, &c. When sir Hugh Peverel was patron, a gild was held in the church. The present church is thirty-six yards by sixteen; and August 28th, 1808, it being thoroughly repaired, was opened; the lord bishop of Norwich attended on the occasion; and afterwards, with many of the neighbouring clergy, dined with T. T. Berney, esq. of Bracon hall: and on the 22nd of June of the following year, a new altar-piece was placed in the chancel; it was executed by Coppin, of St. Stephen's Norwich; at the same time the king's arms was placed in the body of the church; on this occasion the bishop of Norwich preached. The bell hangs in a turret. In the chancel windows are the arms of the East Angles and of England. Here are inscriptions to the memory of the Woodes, Peyton, Hall, Weld, and Bedingfield. At Bracon Ash is the seat of Mrs. Berney.

Apart from the following entries in British History Online the Norfolk Welds seem to have disappeared from history (although I know Wickstead Weld relocated to Moulton in Suffolk and that Gascoigne's son, Joseph, was an MP for Bury St Edmunds and died unmarried in 1712):

6 April, Jas. I, 1605.

Newton Flotman - Bargain and sale by Thomas Richardson, Esq, of Norwich, to Matthew Welde of Acle, gentleman, of two inclosures of land containing together four acres and a half in Newton Flotman and Mulbertone.

26 July, 19th Jas. I., 1621.

Tasburgh - Bargain and sale by Sir Robert Gawdye of Claxton, Knt., and George Gawdy, Esq, of Norwich, to Matthewe Welde of Brakenashe, gentleman, and Matthewe Weld, his son and heir-apparent, of the manor or lordship of Tasburghe alias Taysburghe, with the liberties, land, tenements, &c.; parcels of the said manor in Tasburgh, Fritton, Hempnall, Stratton alias Stretton, Shelton, and Morneng Thorpe.

20 Dec, 8th Chas. I., 1632.

Attleburgh. - Grant by Rowland Rowse, son and heir of Robert Rowse, late of Kirbie, now of Atleborough, husbandman, to Matthew Weld of Brakenashe, gentleman, of a messuage builded, and five pieces of land in Atleborough.

11 Jan, 12th Chas. I, 1637

Wymondham. - Bargain and sale by Thomas Howes of Wramplingham, yeoman, son and heir of Thomas Howes of North Tuddenham, deceased, to Thomas Weld of Wymondham, gentleman, of the reversion of thirteen acres and one rood of land, &c.; and other lands, tenements, &c., in Wymondham.

Admissions to Grays Inn: Thomas Weld, son and heir app. of Thos. W., of Wymondham.

1654 - For this and the following Parliament Norfolk returned ten members, viz.: Sir John Hobart, Bart., Blickling; Sir William Doyley, Shottisham ; Sir Ralph Hare, Bart., Stow Bardolph; Thomas Weld, Esq., Braconash; Robert Wilton, Esq., Wilby; Thomas Sotherton, Esq., Taverham; Phillip Wodehouse, Esq., Kimberley; Robert Wood, Esq., Braconash; Philip Bedingfield, Esq., Ditchingham; Tobias Frere, Esq., Bedinghall.

Farm near Earsham Common containing c. 55 acres. Feoffment: Thomas Fritton to Thomas Weld, 1638. copy of will and codicil of Thomas Weld, 1650 and 1660; mortgaged by Edmund Weld to John Chappell, 1693; released by Thomas Weld to Chappell, 1702; lease and release.

For now how the Norfolk Welds fit into the wider family remains a mystery.

Update [08.12.15]: Have found this from An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk -

KIRKEHALL MOYNES And GURNEY'S [in Rockland All Saints], were distinct manors at first, though they have been long united; in 1589, John Welde of London was lord; in 1590, Humphry Welde, Gent, executor of the said John, kept his first court; and in 1601, John Weld of London, Esq. was lord and patron; in 1623, William Welde had them; in 1639, Sir Robert Berney, Bart, was owner in whose family they continued till.....1695.

Rockland All Saints is just under 15 miles from Bracon Ash and so the last mentioned John Weld, who has to be the John married to Elizabeth Romney, looks increasingly like a credible candidate; if I could just find his will!

At some point I'm going to have to do a tour of the mentioned villages to see what remains of these Welds but for now I'm fairly sure I've got a match.

Update [17/02/16]: The Norfolk/Suffolk Welds are definitely connected to the Shropshire/Dorset clan as both families arms are A fesse nebule between three crescents erm (don't ask me what that means) and both have a Wyvern, in various forms, as their crest.

Also John Weld married to Elizabeth Romney can be struck out as a candidate since he would have been 10 when John of Norfolk's first dated child was born.

I'm currently transcribing Dame Mary Weld's (nee Slaney 1560 - 1623, Sir Humphrey's 2nd wife) will in the hope of a lead and will post it when done - so far it's pretty turgid  and I'm only on page 5 of document 1 of 4!

Update [16/03/16] Dame Mary's will has proved to be pretty much illegible through foxing and poor scanning, and illegible writing, so that's a dead end for now.

However  a new Suffolk connection has arisen viz Humphrey and Anne's ?eldest daughter, Joan (1579-1618) married Sir Robert Brooke (1573-1646) of Cockfield Hall, Yoxford, Suffolk which is in the vicinity of the later Norfolk Welds' holdings.


  1. Valerie Brewster Willis2 August 2013 at 22:34

    Found your blog trying to find my Brewster family who originate with William Brewster and Ann Weld in Fundenhall.
    Can't locate an origin for the Brewsters either -
    Some family bits and pieces have been available and finding your transcription of Mathew Weld's will clearly links John Brewster (Lawyer/Accountant) to this family.
    I believe William Brewster married Ann Weld in 1627, their first children were born in Bracon Ash, later they lived in Fundenhall.
    I have a note that Ann Weld's parents were Mathew Weld and Elizabeth Gascoigne and am now looking for some evidence those two names, their son was Gaccoigne Weld.

    now - does anybody know something of the origin of the Brewsters?

  2. You left off the final para re the Bracon Ash Welds (A general history of the county of Norfolk): "There was a good estate here purchased by John Weld in 1618, and much added to it in 1620, by Mat. Weld. All this family are interred in the south isle. Alderman Edward Weld, who died in 1746, and is buried at Cawston in Norfolk, was of this family." I am interested in Edward & his sisters, oprobably Mary m.Thos Palgrave R.of Brockdish, Catherine & Diana m.Daniel Ganning.