Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Elizabeth Wilsford

Female Abt 1517 -

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Elizabeth Wilsford was born about 1517 (daughter of Thomas Wilsford and Elizabeth Culpeper).

    Elizabeth married George Clerke about 1533. George (son of James Clerke and Elizabeth Ferrers) was born in 1510 in of Wrotham, Kent, England; died on 6 Mar 1559 in Wrotham, Kent, England; was buried on 8 Mar 1559 in Wrotham, Kent, England. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    1. James Clerke died between 13 Jul 1614 and 1 Nov 1614.

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  Thomas Wilsford was born about 1491 in of Hartridge in Cranbrook, Kent, England (son of James Wilsford and Elizabeth Betenham).

    Thomas married Elizabeth Culpeper before 1514. Elizabeth (daughter of Walter Culpeper and Anne Aucher) was born about 1499 in Ford Hall, Wrotham, Kent, England; died between 1520 and 1532. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

  2. 3.  Elizabeth Culpeper was born about 1499 in Ford Hall, Wrotham, Kent, England (daughter of Walter Culpeper and Anne Aucher); died between 1520 and 1532.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate death: Bef 4 Sep 1532

    1. 1. Elizabeth Wilsford was born about 1517.

Generation: 3

  1. 4.  James Wilsford was born about 1461 in of London, England.


    Sheriff of London, 1499.

    James married Elizabeth Betenham. Elizabeth (daughter of John Betenham) was born about 1463. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

  2. 5.  Elizabeth Betenham was born about 1463 (daughter of John Betenham).
    1. 2. Thomas Wilsford was born about 1491 in of Hartridge in Cranbrook, Kent, England.

  3. 6.  Walter Culpeper was born in in of Wigsell, Sussex, England (son of John Culpepper and Agnes Gainsford); died between 14 Sep 1514 and 28 Apr 1516.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate death: Bef 24 Jun 1515


    He was under-marshall of Calais by October 1508, when he is recorded as present for the marriage of Mary, daughter of Henry VII, to the Duke of Burgundy, afterwards the emperor Charles V. At the beginning of Henry VIII's reign he is assigned a Crown tenement in Fisherstrete in Calais and an annuity of £20 out of the revenues of the town. Two years later, in November, 1511, being by then 'squire of the body' of Henry VIII, he was also granted the post of Bailiff of the Scavage of Calais and the Isle of Colne.

    From Culpepper Connections:

    His crowning hour came in August, 1513, when his young master was engaged in the invasion of France to assert an outworn claim of inheritance of that realm, and it was Walter's fortune to be left for the moment in responsible command of the garrison of Calais. The chronicler Hall records (Holinshed iii, 580) that as the King lay before Therouanne on the Flemish border, the captain of Boulogue made a night foray on Calais seeking booty and to insult the invading English. Arriving with a thousand men at the bridge which defended the causey leading to the town, the Frenchman surprised the guard and captured the ordnance there mounted. Retaining 600 men at the bridge 'for a stale' he then dispatched the remaining 400 'into the marishes and meadows to fetch away the beasts and cattle which they should find there.' Some of these foragers approached so near the walls of Calais as to raise the alarm, whereupon:

    "about five of the clocke in the morning the gate of Calis, called Bullongue gate, was opened, and by permission of the deputie one Culpeper, the under marshall, with two hundred archers under a banner of Saint George, issued forth,' and 'set so fiercelie on that finallie the Frenchmen were discomfited and four and twentie of them slaine, besides twelve score that were made prisoners and all the ordnance and bootie again recouered. These prisoners were brought to Calais and there sold in open market."

    Walter married Anne Aucher. Anne (daughter of Henry Aucher) died after 4 Sep 1532. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

  4. 7.  Anne Aucher (daughter of Henry Aucher); died after 4 Sep 1532.
    1. 3. Elizabeth Culpeper was born about 1499 in Ford Hall, Wrotham, Kent, England; died between 1520 and 1532.

Generation: 4

  1. 10.  John Betenham
    1. 5. Elizabeth Betenham was born about 1463.

  2. 12.  John Culpepper was born about 1430 in of Bedgebury, Goudhurst, Kent, England (son of Walter Culpepper and Agnes Roper); died on 22 Dec 1480; was buried in St. Mary's, Goudhurst, Kent, England.

    Other Events:

    • Alternate birth: Abt 1430
    • Alternate death: Bef 1481


    "Walter Culpeper of Goudhurst esquire and John Culpeper gentleman, his son, appear in the list of adherents of Jack Cade in 1450. [...] John married the heiress of the Bedgeburys and so acquired their estate. He was knighted, was sheriff in 1467 and died in 1480." [The Family of Twysden and Twisden by John Ramskill Twisden, 1939, page 42. A note on page 49 reads: "See a paper on 'Jack Cade's followers in Kent' by William Durrant Cooper F.S.A in the Arch. Cant., Vol VII p.233, to which is appended a list of the names of those pardoned taken from the Patent Rolls of 28 Henry VI."]

    "Sir John [iii] Culpeper (d. 1480), had an eventful public and private life. In January 1459, together with his brothers Richard [ii] Culpeper (d. 1516) and Nicholas [ii] (d. 1510), he was ordered to be arrested by the sheriffs of London and brought before chancery to answer allegations of riot and other offences; these may have been politically motivated in the dying days of Lancastrian rule. Certainly, Sir John [iii] proved himself a loyal servant of Edward IV. He was knighted by December 1466, and the following November he appeared on the Kentish bench. In October 1468 he was appointed to the commission to muster Lord Scales's retinue at Gravesend, and the following month he was pricked as sheriff of Kent. From October 1469 until April 1470 he appeared on several commissions of array in the south-east, alongside his brother Richard, but during the readeption of Henry VI he was absent from both commissions of array and the county bench. He returned to public life after Edward's victory at Barnet in April 1471, in which month he was once again arraying soldiers in Kent, and in June he reappeared as a JP. The same month one Thomas Miller, a gentleman of Marden, Kent, and perhaps a Lancastrian die-hard, was alleged to have led a rebellious host against him. He went on to serve on numerous commissions throughout the early 1470s." [Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]

    Sometime between 1457 and 1461, John Culpepper's brothers Richard and Nicholas travelled from Sussex to Kent with a pair of sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret Wakehurst, daughters of John Culpepper's wife Agnes Gainford by her deceased previous husband, Richard Wakehurst. At some not much later point, Richard married Margaret and Nicholas married Elizabeth, possibly in London. Shortly thereafter, the sisters' grandmother Elizabeth Wakehurst (maiden name lost to history) alleged in a petition to Chancery court that the two brothers, aided by John Culpepper, had in fact abducted the two sisters through force of arms, and that moreover John Culpepper was further culpable because as their stepfather he had "promysed on the faithe and trouthe of his bodye and as he was a gentylman" that he would protect the sisters.

    Of course the allegation was about money. Both sisters were the only remaining heirs of grandmother Elizabeth's husband Richard Wakehurst, MP and justice of the peace, who had died in 1455. His only son, Agnes Gainsford's first husband Richard Wakehurst the younger, had predeceased him. So what you have is:

    * Elizabeth, grandmother of the two sisters, widow of Richard Wakehurst the elder;

    * Agnes Gainsford, Elizabeth's onetime daughter-in-law, who is now married to...

    * John Culpepper, whose two brothers have "abducted"...

    * Elizabeth and Margaret Wakehurst, granddaughters of Elizabeth and sole heirs to their grandfather's estate.

    Much more detail on this can be read in "Abduction: An Alternative Form of Courtship?" by Julia Pope, a good paper with a misleading title presented at the International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2003. The upshot is that the only evidence that the sisters were "abducted" against their will, making "grete and pittious lamentacious and weping" as they were "toke and caried away" "with force and armes, riotously agense the Kinges peas," was the grandmother's claim that they had been. All other evidence points to it having been a voluntary elopement supported by a significant number of the sisters' relatives, including their mother and stepfather.

    For several reasons, the grandmother's claim was an astute strategy, both in her legal battle to maintain control of her husband's estate and in the war of local public opinion. The Culpeppers were already a bit notorious for building their family fortune by marrying heiresses, so there was some pre-existing disposition to regard them as upstarts. Also, contrary to modern popular belief, voluntary elopement was not considered illegal under late medieval English law, and according to Pope, the record of actual case law shows that consent, specifically the bride's consent, had great bearing on actual outcomes, notwithstanding the preferences of her family. (Note, however, that in her Imprisoning Medieval Women: The Non-Judicial Confinement and Abduction of Women in England, c.1170-1509, published in 2013, Dr. Gwen Seabourne argues in detail that the medieval concept of "consent" cannot be assumed to map reliably onto our own.) At any rate, Elizabeth had plenty of incentives to claim that her granddaughters had been carried off kicking and screaming by armed men.

    Yet ultimately Elizabeth lost. The court declined to overturn the marriages. She died in 1464, and both couples returned to Sussex shortly thereafter, where they lived out their lives, managing to inherit substantial portions of their Wakehurst grandfather's estate despite various legal challenges from their grandmother's allies over the next twenty years. To all the evidence, while the marriages divided their kinship network, the larger portion of support went to them. Richard and Margaret left no issue, but the funeral brass commemorating the family of Nicholas and Elizabeth Culpepper, ten sons and eight daughters, has been described as "so crowded as to look like a poster warning against rush hour travel."


    If (as has been plausibly speculated but never proved) John Culpepper (1637-1674), early emigrant to Virginia, was the father of Henry Culpepper (d. 1675), 9X-great grandfather of PNH, this John Culpepper and his wife Agnes Gainsford would be the most recent common ancestors of PNH and TNH.

    John Culpepper (d. 1480) = Agnes Gainsford
    Walter Culpeper (1475-1524) = Anne Aucher (1480-1533)
    William Culpeper (1509-1559) = Cicely Barrett (1512-1559)
    John Culpeper (1531-1612) = Elizabeth Sedley (1534-1618)
    John Culpeper (1565-1635) = Ursula Woodcock (1566-1612)
    John Culpeper (c. 1637 Harrietsham, Kent - c. 1674 Virginia)
    possibly father of
    Henry Culpepper (1633-1675), 9X-great grandfather of PNH

    John married Agnes Gainsford on 7 Jul 1460. Agnes (daughter of John Gainsford) died in in Bedgebury, Goudhurst, Kent, England. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

  3. 13.  Agnes Gainsford (daughter of John Gainsford); died in in Bedgebury, Goudhurst, Kent, England.


    It is possible that she was the sister, rather than the daughter, of the John Gainsford shown as her father here.

    From Culpepper Connections:

    "It appears also from [the Visitation of Kent, 1619] that this Sir John married Agnes, daughter of John Bedgebury, but no mention whatever is there made of the undoubted fact that some time before 1460 he was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, which is clearly proved by the Proceedings in Chancery relating to the abduction of the two Wakehurst heiresses by Sir John's brothers, Richard and Nicholas, where it is expressly stated that a sister of John and William Gainsford was wedded to John Culpepyr, and later on in the same suit mention is made of John Culpeper and Agnes, his wife. The marriage is also alluded to in De Banco Roll, Trin., 5 Edward IV., m. 118d, and it explains the mention of Ottewell and George Gainsford (grandsons of the above John Gainsford, who married Anne Wakehurst, aunt of the co-heiresses, and sons of Sir John Gainsford, by Anne, daughter of Ottewell Worsley), as cousins in the will Walter Colepeper, of Calais, 1514-1516.

    "The question arises, therefore, as to whether the record of Sir John's marriage with Agnes Bedgebury is not due to a mistake on the part of the heralds. In their pedigree they certainly omit these two important facts, viz., that before 1460 Sir John was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, and also that his father Walter's wife, of the same Christian name, was the widow of John Bedgebury. It seems therefore not improbable that these two marriages have been confused; such, indeed, must have been the case unless Sir John was twice married, and of this the Visitation affords no evidence whatever. Sir John Colepeper died 22nd December, 1480, and was buried at Goudhurst."

    1. Isabel Culpepper died on 17 Jan 1491 in Cranbrook, Kent, England.
    2. 6. Walter Culpeper was born in in of Wigsell, Sussex, England; died between 14 Sep 1514 and 28 Apr 1516.
    3. Alexander Culpepper was born about 1470; died between 1 Jan 1541 and 21 Jun 1541; was buried in St. Mary's, Goudhurst, Kent, England.

  4. 14.  Henry Aucher was born in in of Lossenham, Kent, England; died before 28 Nov 1494; was buried in Lossenham Priory, Kent, England.
    1. 7. Anne Aucher died after 4 Sep 1532.