Archive:The Ancestry of John Whitney, Chapter II
Melville, Henry, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States AreDescended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896).
CHAPTER II THE WHITNEYS OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY Table of the reigns of the Sovereigns of England. The Testa de Nevill, 1242. Robert the earliest historic Whitney. John de Wytteneye overseer of the King's Castle at Bristol, 1252. John de Wytteneye assassinated in Hereford, 1272. Sir Eustace de Whitney confirms grant of his ancestors to St. Peter's, about 1280; Lord of Pencombe, Little Cowarne, and Whitney, 1281; granted Free Warren in Pen- combe, Whitney, and Caldwell, 1284; summoned to military service beyond the seas, 1297; tenant of part of the Manor of Huntington, 1299; summoned to Scottish war, 1301. CONTEMPORARIES. Persons. Events. King John . . . . . . . . 1199-1216 Murder of Prince Arthur . . . . 1201 King Henry III. . . . . . 1216-1272 Magna Charta . . . . . . . . . 1215 King Edward I. . . . . . . 1272-1307 First Representative Parlia- Stephen Langton, . . . . . . d. 1228 ment . . . . . . . . . . . . 1265 Roger Bacon, b. 1214 . . . . d. 1294 Conquest of Wales . . . . . . . 1282 Simon de Montfort . . . . . d. 1255 "Model" Parliament . . . . . . 1295 Conquest of Scotland . . 1296-1307 AS there will be frequent occasion, in subsequent pages, to speak of events as happening in such and such a year of the reign of a certain sovereign, the following table will be convenient as showing in one place to what dates they correspond in our pres- ent chronology: 41
42 The Ancestry of John Whitney NORMAN LINE. HOUSE OF YORK. William the Conqueror Edward IV. . . . 1461-1483 1066-1087 Edward V. . . . 1483-1483 William Rufus . 1087-1100 Richard III. . . 1488-1485 Henry I. . . . 1100-1135 Stephen . . . . 1135-1154 HOUSE OF TUDOR. HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET. Henry VII. . . . 1485-1509 Henry VIII. . . 1509-1547 Henry II. . . . 1154-1189 Edward VI. . . . 1547-1553 Richard I. . . 1189-1199 Mary . . . . . . 1553-1558 John . . . . . 1199-1216 Elizabeth . . . 1558-1603 Henry III. . . 1216-1272 Edward I. . . . 1272-1307 HOUSE OF STUART. Edward II. . . 1307-1327 Edward III. . . 1327-1377 James I. . . . . 1603-1625 Richard II. . . 1377-1399 Charles I. . . . 1625-1649 The Commonwealth HOUSE OF LANCASTER. and Cromwell . 1649-1660 Charles II. . . 1660-1685 Henry IV. . . . 1399-1413 Henry V. . . . 1413-1422 Henry VI. . . . 1422-1461 The earliest mention of the name De Wytteneye, in any public record so far discovered, is in 1241, and that of Sir Robert, the father or grandfather of the Eustace who gave the deed of confirmation to the monastery of St. Peter. In that year King Henry III. issued his writ to the sheriff of Herefordshire, directing him to make a list of knights' fees within his county. The return is still preserved, called the "Testa de Nevill" or "Liber Feodorum,"l a docu- l Original to be seen in the Record Office, Chancery Lane, London. The parish of Whitney is not mentioned, because, as has before been stated, it was outside the sheriff's jurisdiction.
Whitneys of the Thirteenth Century 43 ment much resembling the "Domesday Book." This is a translation of a part of the return: Hundred of Greytre. In the vill of Etun are contained two hides and a half where Robert Tregoz holds one hide by knights service from the Lord the King of the old en- feoffment of the honor of Ewyas. And Robert de Wytteneye (holds) one hide from the said Robert Tregoz and Richard Fuk half a hide from the said Robert Tregoz by knights service of the same honor and enfeoffment. . . . Hundred of Brockes Esse. In Pencumbe 15 hides whereof John de Wytene holds a moiety from Robert Tre- goz of the honor of Ewyas of the old enfeoffment by knights service. And Thomas de Hemegrave holds the other moiety from Robert de Wytene.l And the said Robert of the same as before. Robert de Wytteneye, or Wytene, was the head of the family, John quite likely his brother. Robert de Tregoz was a relative of the Whitneys One of Alured de Merleberge's sons took the name "De Ewias" from the castle. Like many others, his male line ran out, and Sibella de Ewias, the eventual heiress, married Robert de Tregoz early in the thirteenth century. His line in turn ran out about 1300.2 The principal reason that there are no earlier rec- ords, is that practically none were kept.. There was no well-organized system of government. Not till more than twenty years later, 1265, did any par- liament, with popular representation, meet. Then one was called with two members from each county l The difference in spelling is probably accounted for by the fact that different officers made the returns for the two estates. 2 Robinson's "Castles of Herefordshire," under "Ewias Harold Castle."
44 The Ancestry of John Whitney and city, and from it originated the present House of Commons. From this time forward probably every owner of the Whitney estate left "footprints on the sands of time," which we have the privilege of examining. There are two documents which refer to a John de Wyteneye, or Witteneye, who possibly was the same John above spoken of as the under-tenant of Robert Tregoz. The first is in 1252, as follows: TRANSLATION. Because John de Wyteneye, one of the overseers of the works of the King's Castle of Bristol, frequently goes into the parts of Ireland, as the King understands, so that the works aforesaid are not attended to as they ought to be, it is commanded to the mayor and bailiffs of Bristol that they do cause to be elected in the place of the aforesaid John, one of their trusty and discreet burgesses of Bristol, who being sworn, &c. Witness as above (17th day of August) By the King.l and this, the other, 1272: TRANSLATION. The King to the Sheriff of Hereford and to the Coroners of the same county, greeting. Because we have understood by the inquisition which we have made by you that John de Oxonia, who lately, for the death of John de Witteneye, killed in the town of Hereford, withdrew himself, had not any lands or tenements except of the inheritance of Edith his wife, and that the goods and chattels of the same l Close Roll, 36 Henry III., No. 66, in Record Office, Chancery Lane, London.
Whitneys of the Thirteenth Century 45 John are appraised at twenty and two shillings and six- pence only, and also that the aforesaid John de Oxonia is not for the death aforesaid, outlawed or convicted by judg- ment of our court thereof, and you have taken into our hand by reason of the withdrawal aforesaid the lands and tenements which are of the inheritance of the aforesaid Edith, together with the goods and chattels aforesaid, and the lands and tenements aforesaid of the aforesaid Edith you do detain as we have understood. We, being willing to show favor in that behalf to the aforesaid Edith at the in- stance of her friends, do command you that you do cause the same Edith to have the goods and chattels aforesaid taken into our hand by reason of the withdrawal aforesaid, for her sustenance, and the lands, tenements and rents which are of the inheritance of the same Edith you do hold in our hand until the aforesaid John de Oxonia shall come to our Court or that he be outlawed for that felony by judg- ment of our Court. Given, etc., as above. (25 day of May.) By the King.l Bristol is on the Severn, near the mouth of the Wye; so that it is not surprising to find a "De Wit- teneye" there. The "going frequently into the parts of Ireland" may be significant. There was later a family of Whitneys in Queens County, Ireland, of high standing. This John may have been the founder of it.2 The town of Hereford was only seventeen miles from Whitney, so the John killed in the former may have lived in the latter place. l Close Roll, 1 Edward I. (1272), No. 95, in Record Office. 2 Printed State Papers, vol. lxii, No. 45, makes mention of Robert Whitney of Sheane, Queens County, and gives him license to convey certain land (1611).
46 The Ancestry of John Whitney From Robert de Wytteneye, of the Testa de Nevill, we can probably trace the Whitney descent to the present day with substantial if not absolute accuracy. The manors of Whitney and Pencombe passed, ac- cording to the law of primogeniture, through a line of eldest sons. Attached to each estate was an ad- vowson or right to nominate a rector for the parish church as often as there was a vacancy, and the eccle- siastical records of the diocese are in existence, show- ing what patrons from time to time exercised this right. If we arrange these in chronological order we are likely to have two lists, each containing the names of nearly all the successive heads of the Whitney family. Taking these lists as a foundation, there are other records with which they can be prof- itably compared. Lists can also be made out of all the Whitneys who were sheriffs of Herefordshire or members of parliament, and we can be certain that the one who had either of these dignities was he who at that time owned the property and thus had the in- come for its support. These four lists so supplement each other that from them alone a fifth, showing the succession, can be easily made out, and two or more dates fixed in the lives of each individual. About the only possibility of mistake is in the fact that there may have been an instance where the transmission was from an elder to a younger brother instead of from father to son. This possibility is, however, reduced to a minimum by a comparison with other documents, such as the Inquisitiones post mortem, which, in several instances, state the date of the death of the old proprietor, and the name, age, and relationship of the new one. In addition to these general sources of information there
Whitneys of the Thirteenth Century 47 are, as will be hereafter seen, others peculiar to each individual. Robert, above mentioned, appears to have been succeeded by the Sir Eustace who, about 1280, gave the deed of confirmation to the monastery of St. Peter, and in 1277 nominated John de Chaundos, and in 1280 Roger de Wytteneye as rectors of Pencombe. There are no less than five other records relating to him, all of great interest. The first is in a return of the names of lords of manors and townships for the purpose of making up the military levies ordered by the Parliament at Lin- coln, in the ninth year of King Edward I. (1281). He is there described as "Eustachius de Wyteney, Lord of Pencumbe, Little Cowarne and Wyteney."l The second is a grant of "Free Warren" made in the twelfth year of Edward I. (1284), and consists of an abstract of the Royal Patent contained in the Great Charter Roll preserved in the Record Office. A photograph of the original is given, which may be translated as follows: Charter Roll 12 Edward I. (1284), No.58. TRANSLATION. THE KING to Archbishops, etc., greeting. Know ye that we have granted and by this our Charter do confirm to our dearly beloved & faithful EUSTACE DE WHYTENEYE that he and his heirs have forever Free Warren in all their demesne lands of Pencumbe,2 Whyteneye and Caldewell in l Harleian Manuscript No. 6281, in British Museum. 2 Pencombe and Caldewell were in the County of Hereford. Whyte- neye, and that neighborhood, in the opinion of the Lords Marchers, was not, and they succeeded in maintaining their views till the statute of Henry VIII.
48 The Ancestry of John Whitney the County of Hereford, so that these lands shall not be within the metes of our forest. Nevertheless none shall enter these lands to hunt in them or take any beast pertaining to free warren without license and will of the said Eustace or his heirs upon pain of forfeiting to us ten pounds. Wherefore we will and firmly command that the afore- said Eustace and his heirs forever have free warren in all their demesne lands aforesaid, so that these lands shall not be within the metes of our forest, and no one shall enter these lands to hunt, etc., without license, etc., of the said Eustace or his heirs on pain of forfeiture to us of ten pounds as aforesaid. These being witnesses. lG. Wygorn, R. Bathen & Wellen, Bishops; Galfrido de Geynvill, Ottone de Grandisone, Robto Tibetot, Rico de Brus, Petro de Chaumpuent, Rico de Bosco, Walto de Everest, and others. Given under our hand at Leominster the 8th day of December in the year of our reign the 12th. The third is a summons to him as a knight to per- form military service in tho King's behalf "in parts beyond the seas." Muster at London on Sunday next after the Octave of St. John the Baptist (8th July, 1297).2 The destination was probably Flan- ders, where war was then going on. The fourth is an inquisition, taken in 1299, giving, among other things, the names of the free tenants of the Manor of Huntington, which included the parishes of Huntington, Kington, and Brilley, in the Marches of Wales, near Whitney. Eustachius de Wytteneye l These names should be rendered in English as: G. Bishop of Wor- cester, R. Bishop of Bath and Wells, Geoffrey de Geynvill, Otto de Grandison, Robert Tiptoft (?), Richard Bruce, Peter de Chaumpuent, Richard Wood, Walter of Eversley. 2 Parliamentary, etc., writs, 12 Edward I., in Record Office.
FACSIMILE OF A PORTION OF CHARTER ROLL, 12 EDWARD I. (1283). GRANT OF FREE WARREN TO EUSTACE DE WHYTENEYE.
Whitneys of the Thirteenth Century 49 is named as holding a, messuage and two hundred acres of land by the service of "one foot-soldier with a bow and arrow, at the Castle of Huntington, in time of war, for forty days at his own expense." This is an excellent illustration of a military tenure.l The fifth and last, for it possibly led to his death, is a summons to the Scottish war. Edward I., who reigned from 1272 to 1307, was among the greatest of the English Kings. It was he who first reduced Wales to anything like subjection by defeating Llewellyn, in 1282, at the fords of the Wye, above Whitney, in a great battle in which Sir Eustace undoubtedly took part, though we can find no record of who composed the forces engaged. In com- memoration of this victory the King presented his infant son to the army as the "Prince of Wales," a title ever since borne by the heir apparent. Later he conquered Scotland, in the days of William Wal- lace, whose exploits form the subject of Jane Porter's famous novel, "The Scottish Chiefs." The following is a translation of the King's Writ, as served upon De Whitney. Close Roll 29, Edward I. (1301), No.123, m13d and 12d TRANSLATION. THE KING to his beloved & trusty EUSTACE DE WYT- ENEY, greeting. Because we intend to proceed manfully and mightily, by God's help, against our rebels and traitors the Scots, notoriously persevering in preconceived malice l See Notes on the Early History of the Manor of Huntington, pub- lished in the "Archaeologia Cambrensis," 3d series, vol. xv, p. 229. The inquisition was taken on the death of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford.
50 The Ancestry of John Whitney and knavery of ill will, in order to repress their rebellion and insolence, after the feast of Pentecost next to come, in which feast the truce lately granted to the said Scots at the request of the King of France will be ended, we ask you that you do be with us at Berwick on Tweed at the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist next following, de- cently prepared with horses and arms to depart from thence with us, at our expense, against the Scots our rebels afore- said, that, by the help of you and of other our trusty sub- jects, to whom we have commanded the same thing, the unbridled pride and obstinate rebellion of the aforesaid traitors may be suppressed, by such your labors and assist- ance, that profit and the advantages which we hope for may come to us and to our kingdom and crown of England with the establishment of peace and lasting honor. Witness the King at Northampton the 12th day of March. A reason for supposing that the old knight did not return home is that we find that a young Sir Eustace was knighted, at the same time with his neighbors, De Lacy, Corbet, and Marmyon, in 1306.l The occa- sion was the receipt of news of the uprising of the Scotch under Robert Bruce. Preparatory to renew- ing the conflict, in all two hundred and seventy men, of the more distinguished families throughout the kingdom, were given their spurs, among them the Prince of Wales, who afterward was King Ed- ward II. As the former is the first De Whitney of whom we have any full information, it is worthy of notice that he was a man of wealth, holding the whole or parts of five estates--viz.: Whitney, Pencombe, Little Cowarne, Caldwell, and Huntington--a liberal bene- factor of the church, and an active soldier. l Duncumb's History or Herefordshire, vol. i, p. 79.
Copyright © 2004, 2006, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group