This page tells the story of the search for the English roots of William Wilkinson (d. 1663), pointing out some flaws in various proposed lines of descent, then tells his story and that of his twice-married daughter Rebecca Wilkinson Dent Addison (d. 1726), and their families. I am hopeful that readers may be able to help provide more information about any of these characters. If you have documentation, I would be very grateful if you would e mail me at .
The Wilkinson family was centered in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Westmorland. The region was populated with sturdy, independent farmers who exhibited a curious mix of conservatism and radicalism. With geographically huge parishes that often were poorly served by absentee priests, and far-flung manors unable or unwilling to exert the same close control as in the more densely populated south, people could more easily express their dissatisfaction with tithes and rents. The Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 was more a tenant's revolt than what has sometimes been seen as a pietistic attempt to restore the old Catholic religion. The issues raised then were still alive more than a century later when they provided fertile ground for Quakers. The area became the seedbed for Friends in 1652. Thomas and Agnes Wilkinson of Dent, and Elizabeth and her father Richard Wilkinson of Garsdale became Friends, as did John Wilkinson (formerly a "priest") who, with John Story, later was embroiled in a controversy with George Fox and other Friends' leaders. The familial connectionif anybetween these Friends and our established church Wilkinsons is not known to me; it is probably fairly distant. If a reader has sources to illustrate a connection, please let me know.
Thanks to a link to the report of four heraldic visitations in Berkshire that was kindly sent to me by Jon Buffenbarger, a Wilkinson line has been pushed back to Roger WilkinsonE of Barnesley, Yorkshire. [See the explanation of the National Genealogical Society's Numbering System used on this web site.] Barnsley (as it is spelled today) was a small Anglo-Saxon town in Silkstone Parish, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. When it was given to the monks of St. John, Pontefract, in the 1150s, they built a new town where three roads met. They erected a chapel of ease dedicated to St. Mary (it didn't survive past 1820) and a market. (Much later it became a coal mining and glass making center.) Roger Wilkinson had arms, described as "bare Geules a fesse vaire au vnicorne cursant in cheife Or, ye Creast was giuen by W: Flower Norroy 13 Sept: 1563" (which was perhaps at the time his great grandson ThomasB inherited the arms). Just to remind readers, the only people who have a right to these arms are direct male descendants. The daughter of a man with a right to the arms may also display them, but she may not pass them on to her children. Still, some of us get a kick out of knowing the connection to someone who was apparently rich enough and ambitious enough to want arms. The visitation "was not an official record of the Gentry of a County, but comprised only the Pedigrees of those who were prepared to pay the Fees of Entry."
Roger married and had children (may be incomplete, or, judging from the dates, may be with two wives):
i. John WilkinsonD, b. 1485; d. 1 Oct. 1556; mar. Elizabeth SNELL.
ii. William Wilkinson, b. 1496 in London; mar. Joan NORTH, daughter of Roger and Christian (WARCUP) North. Jane swas b. 1520 in London, d. 1580.
iii. Thomas Wilkinson, b. 1500 in Barnesley
John WilkinsonD of Barnesley, Yorkshire, married Elizabeth SNELL, the daughter of John Snell of Rotheram, Yorkshire. They had at least two sons:
i. William WilkinsonC of Bolton on Dearne, m. Bridgett SACHEUERELL, daughter of Will. Sacheuerell of Hemshall, Derbyshire; I assume William inherited the right to his father's arms. William and Bridgett had children:a) Francis Wilkinson of Bolton on Deane &c.,ii. Robert Wilkinson, m. Margaret SMITH, daughter of John Smith; they lived in Ealand, a small village in North Lincolnshire; they had children (order uncertain):
b) Patrick Wilkinson of Ealand, only had two daughters, Frances who mar. __ SMITH, and Elizabeth who mar. ___ CROWTHER.
c) John Wilkinson,
d) Ellen Wilkinson.a) ThomasB Wilkinson,
b) Robert Wilkinson,
c) John Wilkinson,
d) William Wilkinson,
e) Jeffry Wilkinson,
f) Isabell Wilkinson.
But there are some problems with this visitation report, which is actually an amalgamation of four different visitations. Looking at the Visitation Report for Yorkshire, 1563 and 1564, we learn that the line of Roger Wilkinson of Barnesley had a son John who married Elizabeth Snell. They, in turn, had 7 sons and 7 daughters, and not one was named Robert. So it looks like a later descendant or an unscrupulous visitor pasted Robert Wilkinson onto the armigerous line of Roger. If a reader can document with birth or christening records, or a will or post mortem inquest a connection between "our" Robert and this John and Elizabeth (Snell), please get in touch with me. In the meantime, it appears that "our" line can't claim descent from Roger or John, or the Snell family. Instead we will try to begin with Thomas Wilkinson because when we look at the Visitation of Berkshire for 1665-66 without the earlier years, there is a line that begins with Thomas Wilkinson of Ealand who married a cousin Isabell Wilkinson, daughter and heiress of Christopher of the same parish. They had a son named Gabriel who married Margery, daughter of Richard Baker of Uxbridge.
Thomas WilkinsonB of Ealand, Yorkshire, son of Robert, died in 1603, the year Queen Elizabeth died and was replaced by her kinsman James VI of Scotland who became James I of England. Thomas married Isabell Wilkinson, the only child of Christopher Wilkinson. Christopher was the son of William Wilkinson of Ealand, Yorkshire, but his relationship to John WilkinsonD of Barnesley was not given in the visitation report. The families of both Thomas and Isabell had land in Ealand. Since Thomas's uncle William, who presumably inherited the arms of Roger, had only granddaughters, Thomas in time inherited the arms. According to the visitation report Thomas WilkinsonB had arms: "G. a fess vaire an vnicorne cursant in cheife Or, within a bordure engrailed of the last egressed". He and Isabell had at least one son:
i. Gabriel WilkinsonA of Upper Winchingdon [sic: Winchendon, 3.5 miles west of Aylesbury] & [Vicar of] Bishops Wooburne, Bucks. [Spelling as in the visitation report.] 
But we still have a problem. The Visitation of Berkshire for 1665-66 (without the earlier years) gives only one child of Thomas Wilkinson and Isabell (Wilkinson) of Ealand (who were cousins). They had a son named Gabriel who married Margery, daughter of Richard Baker of Uxbridge. However, Gabriel and Margery had five sons and a daughter, but none named William. So this line, too, is not ours.
Instead we shall have to start with "our" Reverend Gabriel WilkinsonA, who was born in 1576 in Yorkshire, and died 17 December 1658. He graduated from Merton College, Oxford. He married Margery __, the daughter of Robert __ of Uxbridge in Middlesex, gent. Gabriel left Yorkshire and served as vicar of Bishops Wooburne, Buckinghamshire, until his death 17 December 1658. Wooburn was a Saxon settlement that William the Conqueror gave to the See of Lincoln, thus its name. In time it was divided into a manor around the Bishop's Palace, and a second manor called Wooburn D'Eyncourt. They merged in 1580, before Gabriel arrived there, when Ann Spenser of D'Eyncourt married Sir John Goodwin of Bishop's Wooburn. "St Paul's church at Wooburn has had so many additions and alterations that it is hard to ascribe it to any one historical period. Whilst the list of vicars goes back to 1216, the bases of the pillars are Norman, part of the nave is 12th century, and the north chapel was added in the 14th Century. The latter was built as a burial place for the Bertie family, then owners of the Manor. The tower was constructed in 1488 by John Goodwin, but it was not until 1869 that the church fully took on its present-day appearance, when an outer shell of flint was built around the existing structure."
My hypothesis at the moment is that there were two men named Gabriel Wilkinson who married a Margery from Uxbridge. One Margery was the daughter of Robert __, the other was the daughter of Richard Baker. The former would be "ours". Again, is there a reader with documentation?
Children of Gabriel and Margery (__) Wilkinson:
i. Thomas1 of Laurance [Waltham], Berkshire
ii. William1 followed his father's career as clergy in the Established Church.
iii. John Wilkinson, presumably d.y.
iv. Margaret Wilkinson
v. Mary Wilkinson
vi. John Wilkinson
vii. Arthur Wilkinson
viii. Richard Wilkinson
ix. Matthew Wilkinson
x. Gabriell Wilkinson
xi. Robert Wilkinson
William Wilkinson1 was born in 1603 or 1612, the son of Gabriel Wilkinson. He died in 1663 in St. George's Hundred, Maryland. William matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, on 9 June 1626 at the age of fourteen, and received an A.B. 3 February 1629/30 and an M.A. 25 October 1632.
He then married Naomi HUGHES and settled in Virginia. Familysearch, the LDS website, supplies her last name, along with a birthdate of 1616 in England, and death in 1634 in Norfolk County, Virginia. She was only eighteen and already had three daughters? As usual, no sources are given, so take it as a suggestion rather than as fact. On 20 November William received 700 acres in "Linhaven, commonly called Chisopeian River" opposite Capt. Adam THORROGOOD (whose daughter later married a DENT). William served in the Lynnhaven Parish in Princess Anne County from 1635 to 1637.
After William's first wife died, he married secondly the widow Margaret BUDDEN, who had a young daughter, Eliza.
After fifteen years in Virginia, William emigrated to Maryland. On 10 October 1650 he applied for 900 acres and for permission to bring in his daughters Mary, Rebecca, and Elizabeth Wilkinson; his now wife Margaret and her daughter Elizabeth BUDDEN; and three servants, William WARREN, Robert CORNISH, and Anne STEVENS. He was a preacher and planter, a minister who was involved in the trade of the Province. William received a special warrant for 1000 acres on the Eastern Shore. However, he settled on the western shore at Chaptico in what later became King and Queen Parish in St. Mary's County. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)
The Reverend William Wilkinson was the first Anglican clergyman to be accredited to, and to officiate in Maryland. He probably first led worship services at Trinity Church in St. Mary's City. It had been built in 1642, before there was a clergyman for it. He became the first rector at Poplar Hill, three or four miles due west of St. Mary's City, on the Potomac River. The existing building, now called St. George's, was erected in 1750 some fifteen feet south of the original church. It has recently been repaired and restored.
Although writers with an Anglican sympathy generally extol William's memory, a nineteenth century Roman Catholic writer commented that he "reflected no credit on his profession." No particulars were offered in support of the statement, although apparently several of the few Anglican priests in Maryland at the time were involved in alcoholism, and one was a bigamist. William was indicted and tried separately in 1659 as an "accessary" to Robert HOLT, a cooper of St. Mary's County, on trial for bigamy. It appears that in his ministerial function William was involved in counselling over the disintegration of the Holts' marriage. The wife confessed to bearing two children with another man, and refused to be reconciled to her husband. So William drew up and witnessed a paper containing "a release of all claim of marriage" for Robert, and officiated at his second wedding. This clearly violated civil law, if not church law. But because of the heated sectarian passions, Robert and his second partner requested an all-Protestant jury. When twelve Protestants could not be found, the case was held over till the next term. But a few days later a general pardon was proclaimed from Richard CROMWELL, son of the deceased Great Protector. It may have been this incident to which Shea referred.
William died in August 1663 in what was later King and Queen Parish, St. Mary's County. He signed his will 29 May 1663 in the presence of two illiterate witnesses. It was probated on 21 September that year. In it he mentioned Eliza BUDDEN, daughter of Margaret Budden, his last wife (presumably deceased), two grandsons: William DENT, eldest son of his daughter Rebecca, and William HATTON, eldest son of his daughter Elizabeth. He bequeathed half of his property, real and personal, to each of his sons-in-law, reflecting the legal fiction of femme covert that a married woman was subsumed into her husband; they were one person in the eyes of the law, and that person was, of course, the man. A married woman could not own land in her own right. Thomas Dent and William Hatton were also made executors.
Children of William and his first wife Naomi (Hughes) Wilkinson (may be incomplete, order uncertain):
Daughter of Margaret (Hughes) Budden Wilkinson by her first husband:
Rebecca Wilkinson2, daughter of William and Naomi, was born in Virginia, and died in 1726 in Maryland. She emigrated to Maryland with her father and his second wife in 1650. Rebecca married first, in St. Mary's City in 1660, Thomas DENT.
Between 1658 when he arrived in the Province, and 1676 when he died, Thomas paid the transportation for at least 75 people, thereby gaining their 50 acre headrights. Thomas had a political career as justice, sheriff, and coroner of St. Mary's County, alderman in St. Mary's City, and member of the Provincial Assembly. He died in 1676, leaving Rebecca a wealthy widow.
Rebecca had remarried, in 1677, John ADDISON. It has been said that Col. Addison profited from this marriage and that this alienated the Dent children from their mother.[18a] A decade later the family moved to Charles County. John, too, was a justice and coroner, but for Charles County. He was deeply involved in partisan politics with the Protestant Associators' cause when William and Mary assumed the throne of England and Lord Baltimore was dispossessed of his Province. John died between November 1705 and April 1706 while on a business trip to England. He left Rebecca an even wealthier widow.
Rebecca died in 1726. She signed her will in Prince George's County on 5 November 1724, and it was probated 20 August 1726. Alexander CONTEE, John HOWARD, and Mary DELIHUNT testified to it. She left £20 to her son Thomas. To her grandchildren by her daughter Barbara, namely Lucy, Baker, and Thomas BROOKE, she left £200 to be divided equally among them. If they all died, it was to go to her grandson Benjamin Brooke. The residue of the estate was left to Barbara, who was named Executrix. The unusual inequality of the bequests makes one wonder about the family dynamics. Presumably her estate at the time of the death of her second husband was considerably more than the £220 mentioned in her will. It is particularly curious because her estate was valued at only £20.3.3, obviously not enough to cover her bequests. Her son Thomas Addison was her only kin to approve the valuation. Had other children already received significant settlements? Had her daughter's husband squandered Rebecca's fortune with gambling or other misuse of funds? I have not yet found answers to these speculations.
Children of Rebecca (Wilkinson) and her first husband, Thomas Dent (order uncertain):
Rebecca (Wilkinson) Dent and her second husband, John Addison had one son:
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