Source:Visitation of Yorkshire, Sir.William Dugdale, A.D. 1665 and 1666
There was a tradition in the Washington family that their ancestors emigrated to America from Yorkshire. Soon after George Washington became President of the United States, Sir Isaac Heard (1730-1822), then Garter King of Arms in London, wrote to him, stating that from curiosity he had started to investigate and had made some progress, and he requested any details which could be provided by the family in America. Washington collected materials and forwarded them to Sir Isaac, who by now had trouble with his vision and it is said that Sir Isaac ascertained, that the two brothers, who were the first of the family to go to America, were not from Yorkshire, but from Northamptonshire, and he traced their ancestors to Lancashire. Sir Isaac never completed his research.
The following is Hutchinson's (history of Durham) account of the parish of Washington, County Durham:
"The manor is mentioned in the Boldon Book, wherein it is said WILLIAM DE HERTBURN held the same, except the church and the lands thereto appertaining, in exchange for the vill of Hertburn, rendering four pounds, serving in the great chase with two greyhounds, and paying one mark to the palatine aid, when such happened to be raised. At the time of making Bishop Hatfield's survey, the resident family had assumed a local name, and WILLIAM DE WESSYNGTON, knight, then held the manor and vill. On the inquisition taken at his death, in the twenty-second year of that prelate, it appears that in his service he was to provide three greyhounds for the chase, and, if he took any game in his way to the forest, it should be for the Bishop's use, but what he got on his return was to be taken for his own benefit. In Bishop Langley's time, we find Washington was become the estate of the Blackstons."
The same particulars are stated by Shurtees, who adds the following. 'It seems probable, that either William de Hertburn, or his immediate descendants, assumed the local name; for William de Wessyngton occurs as a witness in charters of Bishops Robert de Stitchell, and de Insula. William de Wessyngton, chevalier, had license to settle the manor on himself, his wife Katherine, and his own right heirs, in 1350, and died in 1367, seized of the whole manor and vill, by the abovementioned free rent of four pounds, leaving William his son and heir, who held by the same tenure under Hatfield's survey. Before 1400 the direct line expired in another William, whose only daughter, Dionisia, married Sir William Tempest of Studley.'
From these authorities it appears, that Hertburn was the original name of the Washington family, that the latter name probably was assumed by William de Hertburn between the years 1261 and 1274, and that the manor was held in the male line till about the year 1400, or one hundred and thirty years. During this period the name seems to have been usually written Wessyngton, though it is sometimes found Wessington. In its subsequent changes it was probably written variously at different times, and by different branches of the family. At the Herald's College, in the VISITATION BOOK of Northamptonshire for the year 1618, I found the autographs of Alban Wasshington and Robert Wasshington. These persons were uncles to John and Lawrence Washington, who emigrated to Virginia.
Notwithstanding that the manor was no longer held by a person of the same name, yet the family extended itself; and one of the number, called John de Wessyngton, attained to considerable eminence as a scholar and divine, being elected Prior of Durham on the 5th of November, 1416. Prior Wessyngton presided thirty years, and departed this life in the year 1446. He was buried before the door of the north aisle, near to St. Benedict's altar. On his tombstone was an inscription in brass, now totally lost.
Concerning the times in which the several branches of the family separated from the original stock, and the directions in which they spread, very little is known. During the century following Prior Wessyngton's death, we can trace them in Northumberland, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, and perhaps in other parts of England. If we may judge from the records of the transfers of estates and monumental inscriptions contained in the county histories, many, who bore the name, were persons of wealth and consideration. Their armorial bearings were varied, but whether to distinguish different branches of the family, or for other reasons, neither my knowledge of their history, nor my skill in heraldry, enables me to decide.
The Prior of Durham was not the only man of learning among them. Joseph Washington, an eminent lawyer of Gray's Inn, Thoresby says, ' is to be remembered among the authors.' He wrote the first volume of 'Modern Reports'; 'Observations upon the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Kings of England'; " Abridgment of the Statutes to 1087; and other tracts. He was buried in the Benchers' Vault of the Inner Temple. He was of the Adwick family, son of Robert Washington, a wealthy merchant, who lived and died at Anstrope Hall, near Leeds.
Anthony Wood says, in his 'History of the University of Oxford,' that it was allowed by the venerable association, that several persons might have liberty when they pleased to be created doctors of divinity; but they refused then and the next year to accept that favor. Among the persons, who declined this honor, was Richard Washington of University College. And Mr. Hunter (in History and Topography of Deanery of Doncaster) cites Wood, as giving an account of a remarkable collection of arms and pictures in the apartments of Philip Washington, of the same college, who died in 1635.
In the history of the civil wars, another of the family, named Henry Washington, is renowned for the resolute and spirited manner, in which he defended the city of Worcester against the forces of the Parliament in 1646
Sir Henry Washington was made Governor and Colonel of Worcester. In the Herald's College it appears, that the last entry of this gentleman's family was made there in the year 1618, at which time the name of Henry Washington, son and heir of William Washington of Packington, in the county of Leicester, occurs; who, on the following grounds, is conjectured to have been afterwards the Governor of Worcester. First, the name of Henry does not occur at all in any other pedigree of Washington. Secondly, his mother was half-sister to -the famous George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, which accounts for his great attachment to the King. An uncle of this Henry Washington, mentioned in the entry of the College of Arms above cited, is supposed to have been the ancestor of the renowned General George Washington.
In the Appendix to the second volume of Nash's History of Worcestersiire, there is an interesting narrative of the siege of Worcester, drawn from the diary of a gentleman, who was in the city during the whole siege. The conduct of the Governor appears throughout to the greatest advantage. His spirit and firmness will be evident from his first letter to General Fairfax, who demanded a surrender on the 16th of May, eleven days after the King had escaped in disguise from Oxford.
The following extract from Edmondson's Heraldry will show some of the varieties, as adopted by the Washingtons in several counties.
The second variety here described was the one used by General Washington, being probably the original arms of the family.
'It is acknowledged by your books, and by report out of your own quarters,' said Governor Washington, in reply to Fairfax, ' that the King is in some of your armies. That granted, it may be easy for you to procure his Majesty's commands for the disposal of this garrison. Till then, I shall make good the trust reposed in me. As for conditions, if I shall be necessitated, I shall make the best I can. The worst I know, and fear not; if I had the profession of a soldier had not been begun, nor so long continued, by your Excellency's humble servant.'
The King's fortunes were now desperate; but the siege was maintained, even against all hope, for nearly three months, when honorable conditions were granted.
That this Sir Henry Washington was the same person, whose name is conjectured above to be entered in the last Visitation Book in the Herald's College, the circumstantial evidence is strong. In Baker's pedigree of this branch of the family, Henry Washington is stated to have been eight years old in 1618. But in the original book at the College the entry says three years. The error was probably occasioned by a misprint of a figure. According to the original entry, therefore, he would have been thirty-one years old at the siege of Worcester, in 1646. He was nephew to John and Lawrence Washington, who emigrated to America about eleven years after the siege of Worcester, and of course first cousin to General George Washington's grandfather.
The ancestors of General Washington in a direct line are traced to Whitfield and Warton in the County of Lancaster. Whitaker, in his History of Northamptonshire, says of the parish church at Warton;'The tower appears to be contemporary with the restoration of the church, and on the north side of the door are the arms of Washington, an old family of considerable property within the parish; whence it may be inferred, that one of the name either built the steeple at his own expense, or was at least a considerable benefactor to the work.'
This Henry Washington is doubtless the same mentioned by Clarendon, as having distinguished himself at the taking of Bristol, in 1643, three years before the siege of Worcester. 'Though the,division,' says Clarendon, 'led on by Lord Grandison was beaten off, Lord Grandison himself being hurt; and the other, led on by Colonel Bellasis, likewise had no better fortune; yet Colonel Washington, with a less party, finding a place in the curtain, between the places assailed by the other two, weaker than the rest, entered, and quickly made room for the horse to follow. History of the Rebellion, Book VII.
Baker gives a pedigree of the family in Lancaster County for three generations. At what time the migration of some of the members to the south took place is uncertain. The earliest notice we have on the subject is in 1532, when Lawrence Washington, son of John Washington of Warton, was Mayor of Northampton. His mother was a daughter of Robert Kilson of Warton, and sister to Sir Thomas Kilson, alderman of London. From this date the genealogy is unbroken. Upon the surrender of the monasteries in 1538, the manor of Sulgrave near Northampton, which belonged to the Priory of St. Andrew, was given up to the crown; and the next year this manor, and other lands in the vicinity, were granted to Lawrence Washington. Among the manuscripts of Sir Isaac Heard I found a letter to him from Mr. Wykam, dated at Sulgrave, August 15th, 1793, from which the following extract is taken:
'There is in our parish church on a stone slab a brass plate, with this inscription in the old black character. 'Here lyeth buried the bodys of Lawrence Wasshington, Gent. and Anne his wyf, by who he had issue four sons and seven daughters; which Lawrence dyed ye day of An. 15--; and Anne deceased 6th day of October, An. Dm. 1564.' On the same stone is also a shield much defaced, and effigies in brass of the four sons and seven daughters. Over the four sons is a figure larger than the rest, which is supposed to be the father's effigy. There was formerly one over the seven daughters; but this is gone. The arms of the Wasshington family (so spelled on six of the seven) were copied from some painted glass of the old manor-house in this village.'
The death of this Lawrence Washington, according to Baker, occurred on the 19th of February, 1584. The manor of Sulgrave descended to his eldest son, Robert. It was long held in the family, and thence derived the name of Washington's Manor. The first Lawrence Washington of Sulgrave had eleven children, four sons and seven daughters. His eldest son Robert was twice married, and had sixteen children, ten sons and six daughters. Lawrence, the eldest son of Robert Washington, had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. The eldest son was Sir William Washington of Packington, who married the half-sister of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, as stated above, and was the father (as is supposed) of Sir Henry Washington, the defender of Worcester. The second and fourth of these sons were John and Lawrence Washington, who emigrated to Virginia about the year 1657. They were great-grandsons of the first Lawrence of Sulgrave; and John was the great-grandfather of General Washington. These particulars may be seen more at large in Baker's pedigree of the family inserted hereafter.
The second son of the first Lawrence Washington of Sulgrave was Sir Lawrence Washington of Garsdon, County of Wilts. His granddaughter, Elizabeth Washington, who appears to have been an only child and heiress, married Robert Shirley, Baron Ferrers of Chartley, afterwards Earl Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth. She died in 1693. The family names were united, and Washington Shirley, a son of Robert, was the second Earl Ferrers. Some of the other Earls since that time have borne the same name.
The history of the American branch of the family, as far as it is known, is contained in President Washington's letter to Sir Isaac Heard, in reply to his inquiries on the subject.
GEORGE WASHINGTON TO SIR ISAAC HEARD. "Philadelphia, 2 May, 1792.
" Your letter of the 7th of December was put into my hands by Mr. Thornton, and I must request that you will accept my acknowledgments, as well for the polite manner in which you express your wishes for my happiness; as for the trouble you have taken in making genealogical collections relative to the family of Washington.
This is a subject to which I confess I have paid very little attention. My time has been so much occupied in the busy and active scenes of life from an early period of it, that but a small portion could have been devoted to researches of this nature, even if my inclination or particular circumstances should have prompted to the inquiry. I am therefore apprehensive, that it will not be in my power, circumstanced as I am at present, to furnish you with materials to fill up the sketch, which you have sent me, in so accurate a manner as you could wish. We have no office of record in this country, in which exact genealogical documents are preserved; and very few cases, I believe, occur, where a recurrence to pedigrees for any considerable distance back has been found necessary to establish such points, as may frequently arise in older countries.
On comparing the tables, which you sent, with such documents as are in my possession, and which I could readily obtain from another branch of the family with whom I am in the habit of correspondence, I find it to be just. I have often heard others of the family, older than myself, say, that our ancestor, who first settled in this country, came from some one of the northern counties of England; but whether from Lancashire,. Yorkshire, or one still more northerly, I do not precisely remember.
The arms enclosed in your letter are the same, that are held by the family here; though I have also seen, and have used, as you may perceive by the seal to this packet, a flying griffin for the crest.
If you can derive any information from the enclosed lineage, which will enable you to complete your table, I shall be well pleased in having been the means of assisting you in those researches, which you have had the politeness to undertake, and shall be glad to be informed of the result, and of the ancient pedigree of the family, some of whom I find intermixed with that of Ferrers.
Lawrence Washington, from whose Will you enclosed an abstract, was my grandfather. The other abstracts, which you sent, do not, I believe, relate to the family of Washington in Virginia; bust of this I cannot speak positively.
With due consideration, I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
" GEORGE WASHINGTON.
PARTICULARS RESPECTING THE WASHINGTON FAMILY, ENCLOSED IN THE ABOVE LETTER
In the year 1657, or thereabouts, and during the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell, John and Lawrence Washington, brothers, emigrated from the North of England,(This tradition probably arose from the circumstance, that John Washington owned an estate at South Cave, in the East Riding of the County of York, where he resided before he came to America.) and settled at Bridge's Creek, on the Potomac River, in the County of Westmoreland. But from whomn they descended, the subscriber is possessed of no document to ascertain.
John Washington was employed as general against the Indians in Maryland, and, as a reward for his services, was made a colonel; and the parish wherein he lived was called after him. He married Anne Pope, and left issue two sons, Lawrence and John, and one daughter, Anne, who married Major Francis Wright.The time of his death the subscriber is not able to ascertain; but it appears that he was interred in a vault, which had been erected at Bridge's Creek.
Lawrence Washington, his eldest son, married Mildred Warner, daughter of Colonel Augustine Warner, of Gloucester County, by whom he had two sons, John and Augustine, and one daughter, named Mildred. He died in 1697, and was interred in the family vault at Bridge's Creek.
John Washington, the eldest son of Lawrence and Mildred, married Catharine Whiting, of Gloucester County, where he settled, died, and was buried. He had two sons, Warner and Henry; and three daughters, Mildred, Elizabeth, and Catharine, all of whom are dead.
Warner Washington married first Elizabeth Macon, daughter of Colonel William Macon of New Kent County, by whom he had one son, who is now living, and bears the name of Warner. His second wife was Hannah, youngest daughter of the Honorable William Fairfax, by whom he left two sons, and five daughters, as follows; namely, Mildred, Hannah, Catharine, Elizabeth, Louisa, Fairfax, and Whiting. The three oldest of the daughters are married; Mildred to Throckmorton, Hannah to Whiting, and Catharine to -Nelson. After his second marriage, he removed from Gloucester and settled in Frederic County, where he died in 1791.
Warner Washington, his son, married Whiting of Gloucester, by whom he has many sons and daughters; the eldest is called Warner, and is now nearly, if not quite, of age. "Henry, the other son of John and Catharine Washington, married the daughter of Colonel Thacker, of Middlesex County, and died many years ago, leaving one son, Thacker, and two or three daughters.
Thacker Washington married the daughter of Sir John Peyton, of Gloucester County, and lives on the family estate, left to his grandfather John, at Machodac, in the County of Westmoreland. He has several children.
Mildred, daughter of John and Catharine, of Gloucester, was twice married, but never had a child. Elizabeth never was married. Catharine married Fielding Lewis, by whom she had a son and daughter. John, the eldest, is now living. Frances died without issue.
Augustine, son of Lawrence and Mildred Washington, married Jane Butler, the daughter of Caleb Butler of Westmoreland, April 20th, 1715, by whom he had three sons, Butler (who died young), Lawrence, and Augustine, and one daughter, Jane, who died when a child. Jane, wife of Augustine, died November 24th, 1728, and was buried in the family vault at Bridge's Creek.
Augustine then married Mary Ball, March 6th, 1730, by whom he had issue George (the writer), born February 11th (old style) 1732; Betty, born June 20th, 1733; Samuel, born November 16th, 1734, John Augustine, born January 13th, 1735; Charles, May 1st, 1738; and Mildred, June 21st, 1739, who died October 28th, 1740. Augustine departed this life, April 12th, 1743, aged 49 years, and was interred at Bridge's Creek, in the vault of his ancestors.
Lawrence, son of Augustine and Jane Washington, married July 19th, 1743, Anne, eldest daughter of the Honorable William Fairfax, of Fairfax county, by whom he had issue Jane, born September 27th, 1744, who died in January, 1745; Fairfax, born August 22d, 1747, who died in October, 1747; Mildred, born September 28th, 1748, who died in 1749; Sarah, born November 7th, 1750, who died in 175-. In 1752, Lawrence himself died, aged about 34, and was interred in a vault, which he had caused to be erected at Mount Vernon, in Fairfax County, where he settled, after he returned from the Carthagena expedition.
Augustine, son of Augustine and Jane Washington, married Anne, daughter and co-heiress of William Aylett, of Westmoreland County, by whom he had many children, all of whom died in their nonage and single, except Elizabeth, who married Alexander Spotswood, of Spotsylvania County, grandson of General Spotswood, Governor of Virginia, by whom she has a number of children; Anne, who married Burdet Ashton, of Westmoreland, by whom she had one or two children, and died young-; and William, who married his cousin Jane, daughter of John Augustine Washington, by whom he has four children. Augustine lived at the ancient mansion seat, in Westmoreland County, where he died, and was interred in the family vault.
George, eldest son of Augustine Washington by the second marriage, was born in Westmoreland County, and married, January 6th, 1759, Martha Custis, widow of Daniel Parke Custis, and daughter of John Dandridge, both of New Kent County; has no issue.
Betty, daughter of Augustine and Mary Washington, became the second wife of Fielding Lewis, by whom she had a number of children, many of whom died young; but five sons and a daughter are yet living.
Samuel, son of Augustine and Mary, was five times married:
Samuel, by his second wife, Mildred, had issue one son, Thornton, who was twice married, and left three sons. He died in or about the year xxxx. By his fourth wife, Anne, he had three sons, Ferdinand, George Steptoe, and Lawrence Augustine, and a daughter Harriot. Ferdinand was married, but died soon after, leaving no issue. The other two sons and daughter are living and single. Samuel had children by his other wives, but they all died in their infancy. He departed this life himself, in the year 1781, at Harewood, in the County of Berkeley, where he was buried.
John Augustine, son of Augustine and Mary, married Hannah Bushrod, daughter of Colonel John Bushrod, of Westmoreland County, by whom he has left two sons, Bushrod and Corbin, and two daughters, Jane and Mildred. He had several other-children, but they died young. Jane, his eldest child, married (as has been before observed) William Washington, son of Augustine and Anne Washington, and died in 1791, leaving four children.
Bushrod married, in 1785, Anne Blackburn, daughter of Colonel Thomas Blackburn, of Prince William County, but has no issue. Corbin married a daughter of the Honorable Richard Henry Lee, by whom he has three sons. Mildred married Thomas Lee, son of the said- Richard Henry Lee. John Augustine died in February, 1787, at his estate on Nomony, in Westmoreland County, and was there buried.
Charles Washington, son of Augustine and Mary, married Mildred Thornton, daughter of Colonel Francis Thornton, of Spotsylvania County, by whom he has four children, George Augustine, Frances, Mildred, and Samuel. George Augustine married Frances Bassett, daughter of Colonel Burwell Bassett, of New Kent, by whom he has had four children; three of whom are living, namely, Anna Maria, George Fayette, and Charles Augustine. Frances married Colonel Burgess Ball, by whom she has had several children. Mildred and Samuel are unmarried.
Mildred Washington, daughter of Lawrence and Mildred, and sister to John and Augustine Washington, married - Gregory, by whom she had three daughters, Frances, Mildred, and Elizabeth, who married three brothers, Colonel Francis Thornton, Colonel John Thornton, and Reuben Thornton, all of Spotsylvania County. She had for her second husband Colonel Henry Willis, and, by him, the present Colonel Lewis Willis of Fredericksburg.
The above is the best account the subscriber is able at, present to give, absent as he is, and at so great a distance, from Virginia, and under circumstances too, which allow no time for inquiry of the family of Washington, from which he is lineally descended.
The descendants of the first named Lawrence, and the second John, are also numerous; but, for the reasons before mentioned, and from not having the same knowledge of them, and being moreover more remote from their places of residence, and, in truth, not having inquired much into the names or connexion of the lateral branches of the family, I am unable to give a satisfactory account of them. But, if it be in any degree necessary or satisfactory to Sir Isaac Heard, Garter Principal King of Arms, I will, upon intimation thereof, set on foot an inquiry, and will at the same time endeavour to be more particular with respect to the births, names, ages, and burials of those of the branch to which the subscriber belongs.
After Sir Isaac Heard received this letter, he constructed from it a table, which he forwarded to President Washington, requesting him to supply other dates and descriptions. But there is no evidence of any additional facts having been obtained. It was the chief object of Sir Isaac Heard, however, to ascertain whether John and Lawrence Washington, who emigrated to Virginia, were of the Sulgrave family, and brothers to Sir William Washington of Packington. This was his impression, but he was not fully satisfied with the proof.
It has since been confirmed by Baker, in his History of Northamptonshhire. I shall here subjoin Baker's genealogical table of the family before the emigration of the two brothers, and Sir Isaac Heard's table of the American branch in continuation. To these will be added the genealogy of the Washington family of Adwick, taken from Hunter's History of Doncaster. It is not known what degree of affinity there was between the heads of the two families, but it is probable that there are many descendants from both in America.
IN 30 Henry VIII. (1538-9), the Manor of Sulgrave, parcel of the dissolved Priory of St. Andrew, with all the lands in Sulgrave and Woodford, and certain lands in Stotesbury and Cotton, near Northampton, late belonging to the said Priory, and all lands in Sulgrave late belonging to the dissolved priories of canons Ashby and Catesby, were granted to Lawrence Washington, of Northampton, Gent., who died seized in 26 Eliz. (1583-4), leaving Robert Washington his son and heir, aged forty years, who, jointly with his eldest son Lawrence Washington, sold the Manor of Sulgrave in 8 Jan. (1610) to his nephew, Lawrence Makepeace, of the Inner Temple, London, Gent. Lawrence Washington, after the sale of this estate retired to Brighton, where he died. His second son, John Washington, emigrated to America about the middle of the seventeenth century; and, as exhibited in the subjoined pedigree, was great-grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the United States.
Source: The writings of George Washington; being his correspondence, addresses, messages, and other papers, official and private, selected and published from the original manuscripts; with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. By Jared Sparks. Author: Washington, George, 1732-1799
PEDIGREE OF WASHINGTON OF SULGRAVE
Arms: Argent, two bars, gules in chief, three mullets of the second. Crest, a raven with wings indorsed proper: issuing out of a ducal coronet or.
Pedigree of the Washington family of Adwick-le-Street
Arms: Argent, two bars, and three mullets in chief gules.
In the church at Adwick le Street - there were three altar tombs in the chantry to the Washington family; the oldest, dated 1579, is to " Dominus Jacobus Washington, armiger, de Adwycke," and has intaglios of the knight, his wife, and 12 children. On his breast he bears a shield with the stars and stripes, which are also figured on the shield round the tomb, and on the two other tombs.
Source: A key to English antiquities: with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham district. Ella Armitage
Further research from Yorkshire West Riding By Arthur Mee
Writing about the church at Adwick-le-Street:
The church shelters a tomb, and keeps green the memory of the Washingtons, who lived here the best part of two centuries, though their old home is no more.
Engraved on the tomb are the portraits of James Washington in Elizabethan armour and elaborate collar, his wife in a fashionable dress with a small ruff, and their 12 kneeling children. On the knights breast is the Washington shield with the stars and stripes, which were thus in this place long before they were on the American flag.
Writing about the church at Adwick-on-Dearne:
... The old pulpit has a star and stripe on the shield of the Washingtons, a family said to have lived in the neighbourhood, and to have been linked with America's First President.