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The Early Families 1488 to 1700 | Williscroft, Woolliscroft, Wolliscroft and variants Onename Study
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Early Families in Staffordshire 1488-1700

William Wollascroft c1460 of Podmore, Staffordshire

In 1488 a William Wollascroft was living in Podmore near Eccleshall, Staffordshire. I believe that William is most likely the forefather of the majority of Williscroft & Woolliscroft families that populate the world today. 

For many years I had only 'snippets” of information to go by and lots of theories of connections. However, recent research amongst Manorial Records have shown that land held by William in 1488 remained in the family for over two hundred years. Providing an income of 20s each lady day in the form of Fee-farm rent. 


Podmore, Staffordshire, England

On the 10 March (1487/8) land was conveyed to William in a feoffment from Thomas Gerveys and his son John. It refers to one messuage and one virgate (yardland in the endorsement) of land in Podmore. (Staffordshire Record Society, (SRS) vol. XV, 1894). The same year William granted to John Gervey all his land in Brockton on condition that William was left “in undisturbed possession of a messuage and one virgate of land in Podmore, Co Stafford which formerly belonged to Thomas Gerveys”(SRS, Vol 1921). 

There are two two places called Brocton in Staffordshire. One is a village in Baswich Parish south of Stafford. The other is a small hamlet south of Slindon near the A591 The document above refers to the later Brocton. William Henry Dignam in his 1902 book “Notes on Staffordshire Place Names”  refers to “Brocton, estate, nr. Eccleshall (1.5 m. N). D. Bractone, Brook town; v. Brocton in Baswich. The vill is situate on the Sow.”

The Gervis family were Lords of the Manor of Chatcull and also had land in Podmore and Little Sugnal.

The documents are very important to our understanding the Woolliscroft & Williscroft descendancy as the Williscroft entitlement to the fee-farm rent in Podmore remained in the family until 1683 when it returned to the Gervis family. 

Although other documents may not survive the fee-farm rent passage through the family can be identified with accuracy. The evidence suggests it was transferred by fee entail rather than fee simple. The land passing from eldest son to eldest son. The information being recorded in manorial records and common law. I have not found any wills for the family in time period which would deal with the personal possessions so I assume these were transferred in a similar manner.

The next mention of the land in Podmore is in connection with William Wylliscroft who was living in Great Bridgeford, Staffordshire. It is likely that William of Podmore is the father or grandfather of William of Great Bridgeford. More

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