Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Wooten Families Beginnings

1. THOMAS AND JANE WATTON There was no record of their marriage in the Castor Register, so it would appear that they were married in some neighboring parish. Their Castor Register entries begin May 1608 with the baptism of a son Thomas son of Thomas Watton, followed in December 1609 with the burial of Thomas son of Thomas Watton. Jane must have been very pregnant at the time of the death of little Thomas, for the next entry comes in January 1610 (1609 old styleP with the baptism of "John the Sonne of Thomas Watton". In May 1611 comes the baptism of Agnes daughter of Thomas Watton.
And then comes 27 Sept 1612 the baptism of Thomas the Sonne of Thomas Watton. The parents were apparently determined to have a son named Thomas; after the first one's death, they simply used the name again. More children followed: Richard (1613), Henry (1617), Dove (dau-1618), jane (1620), Maria (1622). Then come burials: John (1624), , Richard the Sonne of Thomas and Jane Watton (1639), and Jane the wife of Thomas Watton, buried the third of March 1642. Since Jane was described as wife rather than widow or relict, it seems probably that Thomas the father was still living in 1641.
2. THOMAS WATTON (WOOTON, WOTTON) THE EMIGRANT. The evidence is overwhelming that the child Thomas baptized 1612 in Castor was the same man who in 1670 made his will and died in Isle of Wight County Virginia.
In his will, that Thomas Wotton left his property to his " only begotten son" Richard, with the provision that if Richard died without issue, the property was to go to Thomas' next of kin of name (Wotton) in the village of Castor near Peterborough in Northamptonshire. This seems to leave no doubt that IOW Thomas I (as we may call him) was born and raised in or near Castor, and that he believed members of his family still to be living there in 1670 when he made his will. (3)
It was this provision of Thomas' will which has led several Wooten descendants to look to Castor for the English origins of the Isle of Wight family. In June 1979, I went to Northamptonshire and went through all entries in the Castor Parish Register from 1538 well past 1660, copying all Wotton/ Watton entries. I found them in abundance, except that the name was always written Wa- -, never Wo.
This suggested that those Wootton descendants searching for records of Thomas' arrival in Virginia should try Watton instead of Wotton. The search for the latter name had proved fruitless, except for those who had accepted the Jamestown Surgeon of 1607 as their family patriarch!
A search for a Thomas Watton yielded immediate results. Virginia Patent records show that in June 1639, and early Virginia planter named John Pawley had paid the passage of 12 immigrants from England. For doing this, Pawley was entitled to have these people work for him for a period of years (depending on their ages), and to boot he was awarded a patent (land grant) for 50 acres per head, a total of 600 acres. One of these 12 immigrants was Thomas Watton. (4)
Pawley took out his patent near the head of Lawnes Creek on the south side of the James River, where James City County and Isle of Wight County then met. It appears likely that Pawley sooner or later assigned Thomas Watton to work on the clearing and seating of this land. In 1645, we find Pawley's neighbor Robert Eley deeding to William Troloder 150 acres of a patent which Eley had received in 1639, (5)
About a year later, Troloder transferred this 150 acres to Thomas Watton. The assignment is simply added to the bottom of the original deed from Eley to Troloder. It is dated 11 Jan 1645 ( our 1646), and may be seen on Isle of Wight County Records Microfilm 1, p 99, in the Virginia State Library in Richmond.
One of the witnesses to this assignment was Arthur Wood, evidently a friend and neighbor of Thomas Watton. Arthur died some time after 1646, and Thomas Watton married Arthur's widow Sara. Thomas and Sara had one son, Richard who is our next in the IOW line. (6)
Richard Wotton I (Watton, Wooton, Wootton, etc.) It is clear from Thomas' 1670 will that Richard had no children as yet, and also likely that he was quite young, probably still a minor. But within two or three years, Richard had married Joyce, maiden name not yet known. Reports that his wife was an Albrighton or Algridgton are incorrect."
Abbreviations used:
WARFA=Wooten and Related Families AssociationWARFA SS= WARFA Special StudiesVSL = Virginia State LibraryIOW = Isle of Wight County VirginiaWQ = Wooten QuarterlyDB = Deed Book
1. L. F. Salzman (ed), VICTORIA HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF NORTHHAMPTON, (Oxford University Press, 1937), Vol IV pp 292-32. WARFA SS I, pp 2-73. IOW Deeds/Wills Vol II p 95. The compile will is reproduced below, p 894. VA Patent Book I pt 2; abstracted in Nell M. Nugent, CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS ( Richmond 1934), Vol I p 110, ( hereinafter Nugent). The complete document is reproduced below, p. 865. VA Patent Book I pt 2 p 670; abstracted in NUGENT Vol I p 114, where Eley's patent is described as "adjoining land of John Pawley". A 1642 patent to Georg Busse is described as "parallel to John Pauley and William Troloder". (NUGENT I p 863). The assignment to Thomas Watton is reproduced below, p 87.6. WARFA SS I, pp 31-32

RECORDED IN THE CASTOR PARISH REGISTER (CURRENTLY (7/90) ON FILE AT THE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY RECORDS OFFICE IN NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND), ALL OF WHICH PROBABLY TOOK PLACE IN THE CHURCH OF ST. KYNEBURGHA, CASTOR Children: i Thomas Watton b. May 1608, Castor, Northamptonshire, England, d. Dec 1609, Castor, Northamptonshire, England. ii John Watton b. Jan 1610, Castor, Northamptonshire, England, d. 1624. iii Agnes Watton b. May 1611, Castor, Northamptonshire, England. 3. iv Thomas Watton b. Sep 1612. v Richard Watton b. Mar 1613, Castor, Northamptonshire, England, d. 1639. vi Henry Watton b. Jun 1617, Castor, Northamptonshire, England. vii Dove Watton b. Dec 1618, Castor, Northamptonshire, England. viii Jane Watton b. Jan 1620, Castor, Northamptonshire, England. ix MARIE Watton b. Jan 1622, Castor, Northamptonshire, England.
St Kyneburgha's Church Castor is part of a group of four old village churches, the others being at Marholm, Sutton and Upton. The main Sunday Service is a traditional Sung Eucharist at 10.15 am and we have a flourishing Choir, Sunday School and Bell-ringers Groups. Children are admitted to Communion. The Office is said daily with Mattins at 7.30 am and Evensong at 6 pm. The church is Saxon - Norman, having been founded by St Kyneburgha in 650 AD, on the site of a Roman Palace. The church is listed in Simon Jenkin's book "1,000 Best Churches" as in the top 100 in England. Visitors are welcome to look round or join us for services.


  1. We visited this church in December while we were visiting in England-what a magnificant place it is. The sheep grazing around the tombstones keeping the grass cut.

  2. Hello, I'm Lisa Wooten Dean. I don't know if you keep up with this blog anymore but I always find it interesting to find other Wootens