The Puzzle of William I, Part I
By Jud Banks
Observe the chart on the opposite page. The Simpson Lineage and the one from Tyler's Quarterly Magazine agree until they get to generation 10. Simpson shows a William (664) of Kirknewton, who died after 1540, and married, first, ?? Horsley. Tyler's shows a William, who died in 1549, probably the same person. Boddie calls him William of Newton, but also shows him as having married ?? Horsley. I'd put my money on the three being the same person.
The stew thickens. Simpson's shows a second wife for William (664). So does Tyler's. Both are named Barbara. One is the daughter of Richard Grey, the other the daughter of Roger Grey. It could easily be a mistake on the part of one writer or the other.
Tyler's next shows another William (666), who died in 1580, who married Agnes Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey. There were a lot of Greys about this time, one of them being Lady Jane, who had the misfortune of being installed as queen of England following the death of King Edward VI. She reigned for nine days and was later beheaded for her trouble. Neither Simpson's nor Boddie's listing shows William (666).
Now we come to William of Newton (619). Was he the son of William of Kirknewton (664) or the son of William (666)? William of Newton (619) apparently had two wives, one of them being Jane Selby. There seems to be agreement that William (619) and Jane Selby were the parents of Lancelot (76), and it was this Lancelot who married Elinor (or Eleanor) Conyers.
Next, there's a William called William of Northumberland (74), the second son of Lancelot and Elinor. Presumably, he was the father of "our" William, a.k.a., William I (of Rappahannock)(72). This has yet to be proved conclusively. We're about as certain as we can be that William (74) existed, but if he was the father of William (72), who was our William's mother?
From Simpson and Allied Families:
"XI. William Strother, of Newton, County Northumberland, died before May 19, 1610; married (first) Jane Selby, daughter of John Selby, of County Northumberland. The following will be of interest here:
"19 May, 1610 Sir William Selbie of Mote in Ightham County Kent,
Ladie Selbie widow of my brother John
Ladie Selbie wife of my nephew Sir William
To Sir George Selbie of Newcastle my picture -my ladie and niece his wife.
To Lancelot Strother son of my brother in law William Strother decd, a gold ring worth 20œ.
nephew George Muschamp esq and my niece, his wife
" John Ghastowe, his wife and son Henrie Ghastowe
" Roger Selbie of Grendon Rigg & his brother William
niece Margaret Selbie daur of my late brother Sir John decd.
nephew Sir Raphe S.
Pd 5 Feb. 1611 by Sir William Selby nephew."
"William Strother married (second) Elizabeth, whose surname is unknown."
"XII. Lancelot Strother, of Fowberry Tower, died August 9, 1611, and left a will dated July 30, 1611, proved at Durham in 1612:
"Lancelot Strother of Kirknewton, county Northumberland esquire to be buried in the quier of Newton church to my wife Ellinor household stuff at Newton and Fowberrie, also 200œ out of all my goods, and my tithes of corn at Langton and West Newton.
"To my second son William Strother my tithe in Akefield 3rd son Lancelot tithe of Milfield and my water corn mill late in the occupation of Thomas Strother if my wife bears a son he shall have my tithe at Grookhouse. I have by deed made this day demised all my lands to Sir William Selbye of Tynemouth Castle, Knt., Thomas Riddell of Gates head esqre, Clement Strother of Langton gent and Lyonell Strother of Berwick on Tweed for 8 years. To my eldest son John œ50 yearly to my eldest daughter Agnes œ500 second daughter Elizabeth œ400 third daughter Jane œ300 fourth Ellinor œ300 fifth Katherine œ200 sixth Mary œ60 and to the child my wife beareth œ240 residue to my eldest son."
These wills show clearly that there was a William Strother (619) who married a Selbie/Selby/Selbye woman (Sir William Selbie's sister). They also show that Lancelot (76) was that William's son.
Furthermore, the will of Lancelot (76) shows that he had a son, the second after John, whose name was William (74) of Northumberland. William (72) is the one we're concerned with, and he is known variously as William IV, William of Northampton, William of Rappahannock and William I (in America), believed to be the immigrant from whom we are descended.
We haven't any information regarding the child that Elinor was carrying at the time of Lancelot's death. According to Boddie's chart of the Visitation of Northumberland in 1615, there were nine children and they're accounted for in Lancelot's will.
More data regarding our William that may help to secure his identity appears on following pages. It, along with some supporting memoranda, was gained from an investigation of the lineage of his grandmother, Elinor Conyers.
Finally, however, there's something our genealogists might like to look at again. In the June 1992 Newsletter there was a report of the findings of the Debrett Ancestry Research organization, which was retained by the William Strother Society to search out his roots in England. It stated, in part, that "We cannot find any clear-cut evidence of his (William) arrival in America, nor can we find any evidence that William Strother of Kirknewton (whose estate was granted to his son Lancelot in 1671) was the father of William Strother of Virginia." Did Debrett overlook the wills quoted above, or did he mean to say the great-grandfather of our William? Or was he talking about William of Northumberland (74)? If so, he missed altogether the other eight children of Lancelot and Elinor who were living at the time of Lancelot's death. The 1671 date looks suspicious, as Lancelot died in 1611. Per Simpson's, we see that William of Newton (619) died before May 19, 1610 and William of Northumberland (74) died about 1667. Perhaps he had a son named Lancelot to whom Debrett refers. Aaahgh!!
Determining just how accurate is the Debrett report could breathe new life into our search. Stay tuned.
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