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William Wylliscroft c1480- of Great Bridgeford, Staffordshire
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William Wylliscroft c1480-

of Great Bridgeford, Staffordshire

The next reference I have to the family is from “A List of Families in the Archdeaconry of Stafford” published by the Staffordshire Record Society in 1976. The original record is in latin and it is thought to be a prayer list. Although the document is not dated it is thought to have been compiled about 1532 from information in contemporaneous documents. The list records a William Wylliscrofte and his wife Joan living in Great Bridgeford with their children John, James, Margaret, Elizabeth, Thomas, Agnes, Sibyl, Roger, Robert and Leonard. There are several records pertaining to William of Great Bridgeford from different documents giving a glimpse into life in the 1500’s.

In 1533 William is mentioned in the Common Plea Rolls for the Hiliary session (Jan 13). The plaintiff was Thomas Stannford, executor for William Stannford and the defendant William Wollascroft of Byrchford (Bridgeford), yeoman. 

common plea rolls wollascroft

Extract from the Common Plea Rolls for Hiliary session 1533

The following year on the 8 September William is recorded in the Court of the Star Chamber. When William and others by the procurement of Robert Whytgreve “riotously assembled at Great Bridgeford, with force and arms cut down the hedges which enclosed the said field and meadow (enclosed meadows at Whitgreve), by means whereof the cattle of people dwelling near the town of Whitgreve come into the said inclosure and destroy the grass there to the undoing of the inhabitants of Whitgreve”. It appears that Robert Whytgreve had enclosed 200 acres in Great Bridgeford denying access to the Whitgreve people. Robert Whytgreve was found guilty but the document does not state what happened to William for his part in the riot. 

In 1537 William Wulliscroft with others is again recorded in the Star Chamber documents. He was one of the witnesses a land dispute case brought by John Gavenour of Tetnall against Thomas Leveson of Wolverhampton, gentleman and William Ingram. In the 1539 Muster Roll William is mentioned as living in Great Bridgeford when he provided a horse and harness for his man Roger Wyllascrafte (his son Roger?). 

I had always felt that William in Great Bridgeford in 1532 was related to the William in Podmore in 1488 but I had not been able to find any proof. However, in 1536 William of Byrchford (Bridgeford), Yeoman, is mentioned in a covenant for properties in Podmore, Eccleshall and Eddynnysford between Ralffe Clyffe, husbandman of Meyford(Meaford) dated the 20 June. This was a part of the marriage settlement for William's son John and Agnes Clyffe, Ralffe's cousin. The marriage was due to take place at Michaelmus time following (29 Sep). John is named as William’s son and heir. 

This document told me that William of Birchford did hold land in Podmore at the time of his son's marriage. He also held land in Eccleshall and Meadford. On the 7 June 1542 William granted the fee farm rents of 20s for his messuage and land in Podmore to Robert Chaterton, yeoman of Podmore. There is a 17C endorsement to this deed to say the land had been divided and William Jervis paid 10s, Thomas Pershall esq 5s and Robert Ashley 5s of the fee farm rent. On the 18 June 1544 the 20s fee farm rent paid by Robert Chatterton William assigned to his son John. These documents also refer to the Gervis (Jervis) family from whom the fee-farm was originally transferred from in 1488. 

I have been unable to find a burial record for William or his wife Joan. However, I think William died soon after the time he transferred the the fee farm rents to his son John.

One of the trustees of the Marriage Settlement was John Wollascroft of Derby. At the moment it is not clear to me if this is Williams son or another member of the family. More

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