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Stephen [Steven] WHITE BA (c1576-1629)

Gentleman of Stanton St John Oxfordshire

Brother of Rev John WHITE (1575-1648) and Investor in the Dorchester Co

©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington March 2009
(Significant update Aug 2015)


16th Century Grade II listed Manor Farm House

Steven WHITE was born in Stanton St John Oxfordshire in the manor house shown above and is listed by Rose Troup(3) as being the third son of John WHITE Senior(1550-1618) by his wife Isabel BAWLE (1552-1601). There is no hard evidence that I can find relating to his actual date of birth as the parish registers for Stanton St John only survive from 1654 and the Bishops Transcripts from 1738. The Visitation of Hampshire (4) which was started in 1622 and completed in 1634 records the Family Pedigree of his brother John WHITE of Dorchester and this confirms that Josias WHITE (c1573-1622/3) was the eldest son. Josias age comes from his university record which states that he matriculated at New College Oxford on 10th Feb 1592/3 aged 20 years so he was born around February 1572/3. His brother John WHITE of Dorchester has a more helpful university record stating that he was actually baptised at Stanton St John on the 6th January 1574/5 so it is a reasonable assumption that John was their second son and Stephen the third and for the purposes of this review I have assumed therefore that Stephen was born around the year 1576. For more background on his ancestry and upbringing see his brother John White's biography via this link.

Given his family background I might have expected Stephen to have attended College at Oxford but I have not been able to trace an entry there(1). Instead his father appears to have sent him at an early age to be one of the first protestant students at Emmanuel College in Cambridge as there is a record for a Stephen WHITE entering the college on 1st April 1589. Unfortunately it does not state his age which, if we have his birth right, would have been around 13 years. Whilst young, this was not that unusual and there is a relevant example within the family as his elder brother Josias sent his son (Josias junior) to university aged 13. There are no other Stephen (Steven) White's recorded at Oxford or Cambridge and we know the family was staunchly protestant.

Emmanuel College was by Oxford standards a newly formed institution being established in 1584 by <<<Sir Walter Mildmay (1520-1589) a man of puritan sympathies on the site of a former priory of the Dominican Order. It was specifically set up to provide training and education for protestant preachers to the same thoroughness as their Dominican predecessors. Both his elder brothers were licenced preachers. In 1584  Laurence Chaderton(1538-1640) >>> was made the first Master of Emmanuel College and he was still there when Stephen entered the university and when he was awarded a BA degree in 1592/3.(2) Although primed for priesthood like his elder brothers his father clearly saw him taking over the Manor and after his education he returned to Stanton St John to become enmeshed in the day to day running of their farm

Stephen's brother John WHITE (1575-1648) was appointed Rector of St Peters and Holy Trinity Churches in Dorchester in 1606 and his other brother Josiah WHITE (1573 -1622 ) was appointed vicar of Hornchurch in Essex in 1611.

Stephen then married Marie [Mary] WATERHOUSE signing a marriage settlement in 1614/15, and they were to have eight children together as shown below. With both elder brothers now settled in their livings within the church their father wrote his will on 30th September 1616 naming Stephen as sole executor and after a few relatively modest bequests became the main beneficiary of their fathers estate.

His father probably died a few months before Stephen proved the will at Oxford on 26th September 1618. In the will his father asked to be buried at Stanton St John where we already know parish registers have not survived prior to 1654. Along with his fathers estate he inherited the position as 'fermer' of the Manor at Stanton St John.

His brother Josias died in Feb 1622/3 and he and his brother John, became Overseers of his will. In 1624, in support of his brother John, Stephen became one of the original 119 investors in The Dorchester Company so his family was also involved in the New England project from the outset..

I have now (Aug 2015) completed a full transcription of Stephen's will which is shown in the next section below. It was written on 13th November 1629 and proved on 15th February 1629/30. As can be seen his brother John White was the main executor, appearing in person in London before the County Court when probate was granted. After some modest bequests to his siblings, servants and the poor and £500 to his widow, the rest was set in trust for his children. As a result his widow Mary was persuaded by John White to move her family to Dorchester where he could more easily administer the trusts set up by her husband.

Stephen and Mary's children are all named in his will, and therefore still alive when he died at the end of 1629. He refers to Mary as his eldest daughter & then lists and deals with each child separately in what would appear to be order of birth. It was quite common to deal with male and female children separately under Wills because girls generally took their inheritance with them at marriage as a dowry or in the case of wealthy families under a signed marriage settlement. That is not what happened here with girls names before and after the boys even receiving the same legacies. If we assume his marriage was close to the date of his own marriage settlement in late 1614/5, and that the first of the births occurred about a year later, followed by the rest at regular intervals we have a range of children's ages between 1 and 14 years in late 1629. The three girls Martha, Elizabeth and Hanna and his son Stephen however do not then appear in the 1634 Pedigree given by John White in the Visitation of Hampshire. This may indicate that all four died as John specifically refers to Sarah as their 2nd daughter and Abigail their third. We have no way to confirm this as records for St Peters the most likely church for this period have not survived.

(1) Marie [Mary] WHITE (c1616-1658) I think that Mary was not only the eldest daughter but the eldest child from their marriage and following tradition was named after her mother. If correct she was born about the spring of 1616 and moved with her mother to Dorchester shortly after her father's death in 1629. She married on 28th Feb 1639 to John WHITEWAY (1614-1679) who was the son of William Whiteway the elder (1570-1640) and brother of William Whiteway junior (1599-1635) the famous diarist(3,4,5). They had 4 sons ( William; Stephen; Samuel and Peter - Peter was the youngest of their children being born on 9th April and bap at St Peters 2 days later on 11 Apr 1658) and 2 daughters (Mary & Elizabeth). Mary Whiteway nee White was buried on 24 July 1658 in St Peters Churchyard in Dorchester. After her death William Whiteway re-married by licence on 9th July 1667 to Martha the daughter of Ralph Triplett a brewer of Thames Street in London. Probate of his will was granted on 9th Feb 1679 and mentions all six of his children.

(2) Martha White born c1618, alive 1629, not listed in Visitation 1634?

(3) Elizabeth White born c1620, alive 1629, not listed in Visitation 1634?

(4) Hanna White born c1622, alive 1629, not listed in Visitation 1634?

(5) John WHITE (c1623- aft 1667) - His biography suggests he was born circa 1620 but If Stephen White did list his children in order of age as I suspect, I think it would have been slightly later, around 1623. He would therefore have been about 7 years old when his father died and his father's will left a trust for the 'training up' of his children. Apprenticeships could legally be entered into from the age of 7 and typically lasted for 7 or 10 years. It's not surprising therefore to find him apprenticed to a carpenter in Oxford called Mr Mawe. This almost certainly means that he never went to Dorchester with his mother and siblings. His biography suggests that this apprenticeship was for 7 years with John White seeking his freedom on 8th Aug 1637. For more information on his life access his biography via the link provided from which it will be seen that he eventually becomes Mayor Of Oxford in 1664. .

It also confirms that he married Mary the daughter of Thomas WEEKES gentleman of Oxon who was in fact one of the trustees of his fathers will. Mary was buried on 30 June 1656 he was probably John White of Oxford widower aged about 34 who married 8 Feb 1661/2 Ann daughter of Thomas BOULTON of St Christophers London spinster aged about 22 John perhaps a grandson erected a monument in Stanton St John to his sister Ann Mann

(6) Stephen White born c1625, alive 1629, not listed in Visitation 1634?

(7) Sara [Sarah] White born c1626, alive 1629, Listed in the Hampshire Visitation completed in 1634? referred to as their 2nd daughter (surviving?)

(8) Abigail White, born c1628, alive 1629, Listed in the Hampshire Visitation completed in 1634? referred to as their 2nd daughter (surviving?)
Transcription of the Will of Steven WHITE
Gentleman of Stanton St John

PROB 11/157 - Dated 13th Nov 1629 - Probate 15th Feb 1629/30

In the name of God Amen: I Stephen WHITE of Stanton Saint John in the Countie of Oxon gent doe ordaine and make my last will and testament as followeth.

Impremis: I give and bequeath to the poore of the parish of Stanton St John where nowe I dwell the some [sum] of Tenne pounds which some [sum] I appoint to be paid by my executors The one halfe vidtz five pounds within the first yeare and the other five pounds within the second yeare after my decease.

Item: I alsoe give unto the poore of the aforesaid Stanton Saint John the some [sum] of twentie pounds to be paid unto them att tenne severall payments in tenne severall yeares or immediately following the payment of the aforesaid tenne pounds The first payment to begin with fortie shillings in the third yeare after my decease and soe to contynue without interruption until the Tenne payments in the tenne yeares be fully ended.

    And my will is that this fortie shillings be yearely paid unto them on the fift [5th] daie of November, and that with the payment of the money unto them they be alsoe put to mynde of the great deliverence which the Lord god on this daie was pleased to afford this church and state on this daie.
Item: My will is that all my debts and funeral expenses be discharged before any of my legacies be paid .

Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Marie WHITE the some [sum] of five hundred pounds to be paid within one yeare and a half after my decease

    And my will is that two hundred pounds thereof be paid within five months after my decease
    Provided that upon the payment of the said two hundred pounds there be delivered upp into the hands of myne overseers, and by them cancelled one bond of 500li [£500] bearing the date the first of March in the twelveth yeare of King James his raigne in Anno Dm [Anno Domini] 1614 wherein I am bound to Henry WILKINSON of Wadsden [Waddesdon] in the Countie of Buck [Buckinghamshire] Clarke [Clerk] (a) and to Anthony WATERHOUSE now deceased and to their assign or assigns for the payment of three hundred pounds unto my dear wife Marie WHITE

      And to the other 300li [£300] be paid unto my wife within one yeare after the payment of the aforesaid two hundred pounds

      Moreover:I give unto my deerly beloved wife Marie WHITE my best parcell guilt Salt one Silver boule of the bigger sort, one dozen of silver spoones and myne household stuffe as much as shall amount to the value of twentie marks to be allotted unto her by myne executors or the main part of them hereafter mentioned
Item: I give unto my beloved brother John WHITE, to my sister Marie TERRIE(b) to my sister Martha MOORE(c), to my sister Anne WHITE(d) widdowe and to my sister Elizabeth GARDINER(e) to my said brother and each of my said sisters Thirtie shillings a peece to be putt in a ring of each of them as a remembrance of my love unto them

Item: I give and bequeath unto my servant William EDWARDS of Fforrest Hill the some [sum] of five pounds

Item: I give unto every one of my servants which shall happen to dwell with me at the time of my decease according to the number of yeares that each of them severally hath beene ny servant for each year tenne shillings

Item: I give unto my eldest daughter Marie WHITE one hundred and fiftie pounds and one of my bigger silver bowles

Item: I give unto my daughter Martha WHITE one hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my daughter Elizabeth WHITE one hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my daughter Hanna WHITE one hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my sonne John WHITE three hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my sonne Stephen WHITE two hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my daughter Sara WHITE one hundred pounds

Item: I give unto my daughter Abigall [Abigail] WHITE one hundred pounds

All which said said portions my will is shall be paid unto my said sonnes and daughters at the daie of their marriage or att the time when each of them shalle come unto the age of one and twentie yeares whether [which ever] of theirs two shall first be.

Item: I give and bequeath all the rest of my goods and chattells, moveables and unmoveables in trust and for the only use and behoofe of my forenamed children, unto Henry WILKINSON of Wadsden [Waddesdon] in the Countie of Buck [Buckinghamshire] Clarke(1) and to my brother John WHITE of Dorchester, and to John NIXON of Oxon mercer, and to Thomas WEEKS of Oxon gent and to Thomas BROAD of Oxon Apothecary, and to John TREDWELL of Oxon shoomaker, All whome I constitute and appoint to be executors of this my last will and Testament for and in the behalf of my said children, Marie, Martha, Elizabeth, Hanna, John, Stephen, Sarah, and Abigall
    And my will is that my said executors or the maior [major] part of them shall sell according to their discretion all my said goodes and chattells, and that the money amounting of the said sale over and above the legacies bequeathed to my deere wife, the poore, my brother and sisters & servante shall by them my said executors be imployed for the trayning and breeding upp of my said eight children till they or any of them shall happen to be married or come to the age of one and twentie yeares for the further increase of their portions in time to come.
    And when any of my said children shall either marrie or come to the age of one and twentie yeares my will is, that one eighth part of the saide money, with an eighth part of any such proffitt and increase as shalle be made as alsoe of the overplus remayning in my executors hands, above the legacies bequeathed unto my said children and besides the necessary charge of trayning and breedinge them upp shall be paid unto either of my said sonnes, or any of my said daughters soe marrying or coming of age of one and twentie yeares
    And so to every of age my said children at the times aforesaid a like eighth part of the said somes [sums] of money with the increase thereof shalle be paid and satisfied. But if it shall happen that either of my sonnes , or any one of my said daughters to decease before the times above lynitted for the payment of their severall portions, Then my will is that the said portion or some [sum] of money bequeathed to the said deceased childe shalbe equally devided amongst the surviving children. And what charges shall happen to be necessaryily expended by my said Executors or any one of them about the performance of this my last will and testament or any part thereof, my willis that the same shalbe allowed him or them out of my estate by my said executors or the maior [major] part of them.
    And unto each of the my said executors for their paines in executing this my last will and testament I give five poundes a peeece[each] and in witness that this is my last will and testament I have hereunto putt myne hand and seale the daie and yeare above written
Stephen White

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Elizabeth GARDNER, Stephen TERRYE Anno Dm [i.e. Anno Domini or in the year of our Lord] 1629 Novembris 13o

A Codicill: of Mr Stephen WHITE which he desired should be annexed to his will:

Impremis:to his cosen [cousin] Marie GARDNER to be paid unto her att the daie of her marriage the some [sum] of five poundes

Item: to the woman that attended him in his sickness five shillings

Item: to his brother GARDNER his best cloake

Item: to his cosen [cousin] Stephen TERRY(f) his best suite of cloathes

Item: to Goodwife BURGES five shillings

Unfortunately this as usual is written in Latin which is not one of my strengths. I notice that ''Rose Troup' who provides a summary of this will in her biography of the Rev John WHITE (i.e. 'John White : The Founder of Massachusetts' by Rose- Troup; published by GP Putnam's in 1930 - page 415) simply states 'Proved: 15 February 1629 (30) by Henry Wilkinson Clerk and John White Clerk'.

My reading of probate is that the will was proved in London before the Honourable Henry Martin, Doctor of Law of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, on the 15th day in the month of February in the year of our Lord 1629. Judgement appears to have been granted to all the executors named in the testament as it then lists all their names. Further on administration of his estate is granted to John WHITE the main executor who appeared before the court in person and a Richard Houch who also appears to have been a doctor of law and possible acting as a surrogate for the other executors

Genealogical Notes:-

(1). OXA - Oxford University Alumni - register of students, graduates, and officers who attended Oxford University between 1500 and 1886. Original data: Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892.

(2). CAM - Cambridge University Alumni - list of all known students, graduates, and officers at the University of Cambridge, England, from 1261 to 1900

(3). RT - 'John White The Patriarch of Dorchester [Dorset] and Founder of Massachusetts' by Frances Rose-Troup published by GP Putnam's Sons in 1930 Pages 392; 406 and 415

(4). VH - Visitation of Hampshire made by John Phillipott, Somersett (for William Camden, Clarenceux) in a 1622 most part then done & finished in a 1634. As collected by Richard Mundy in Harleian ms. no. 1544 published 1913 Page 230

(5). WW - William Whiteway of Dorchester His Diary 1618-1635 Published by the Dorset Record Society Volume 12 Page 170 Whiteway Family Tree

(6). History of Parliament Website volume 1660-1690 member Whiteway John

(7). British History On Line Parishes Stanton St John

(8). Parish Registers of St Peters Church Dorchester

(a). Henry Wilkinson BD(1566- 1647) was born in Halifax vicarage in Yorkshire on 9th Oct 1566 and matriculated at Queens College Oxford on 2nd March 1581/2 aged 15. He was awarded a BA Degree on 27th Oct 1585, made a fellow of Merton college in 1586, awarded an MA degree on 4th July 1590, and a Bachelor of Divinity on the 7th July 1597. He joined the church and was licenced to preach on 16th March 1598/9. On 30th April 1599 he was appointed Rector of Southwick until he resigned the position on 28th July 1601. was Rector of Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire 1601-1647 and one of the Westminster Assembly of Divines in 1643 along with Stephen's brother John WHITE (1575-1648). He died on 19th March 1647 and was buried at Waddesdon church where there is a wall plaque to his memory as well as the memory of his wife Sarah and son John.

(b). His sister Mary [Marie] White (c.1571 - 1637/8) married c1591 to John Terry (Terrie) (1555-1625) Rector of Stockton in Wiltshire the son of Stephen Terry and Alice Cannar.

(c). His sister Martha White (c.1580 - aft 1648) married twice. Firstly on 27 Apr 1597 at Stockton in Wiltshire to Rev. William Cooke MA (c1561/4-1615)The surname of her second husband was Moore whom she married prior to 6th Oct 1637 as she is named as Martha Moore under the will of her sister Mary Terry. I have not however managed to locate a marriage record. She was still alive in 1648 as she is also referred to as Martha Moore in John White's Will.

(d). In the 17th century a brother's wife was also referred to as a sister. Anne nee Barlow was the widow of his brother Josias WHITE BD (c1573-1622/3)

(e). His sister Elizabeth White (c.1582 - 1682) married twice. Firstly to Thomas Gardner of Little Bourton in Cropredy Oxon (near Banbury) and secondly to a Mr Allen [Allin] who Rose Troup speculates might be the William Allen of Banbury an ironmonger the overseer of her husbands will.

(f) Stephen TERRY born circa 1608 was the youngest son of his sister Mary White by her husband John Terry (1555-1625) Rector of Stockton

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