Nielsen Hayden genealogy


Female Abt 1550 - Bef 1626  (~ 76 years)

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  • Name Eleanor   [1
    Birth Abt 1540-1550  [2
    Gender Female 
    Death Bef 23 Aug 1626  Woburn, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Burial 23 Aug 1626  Woburn, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Alternate death Bef 20 Nov 1628  Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Alternate death 1629  [5
    Person ID I938  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AW, Ancestor of TNH, Ancestor of XYZ
    Last Modified 26 Aug 2020 

    Family John Whitbread,   b. Abt 1548, of Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Bef 28 Nov 1598, St. Giles, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 50 years) 
    Marriage Abt 1565-1570  [5
    +1. Alice Whitbread,   b. Abt 1578, Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F558  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 30 Apr 2016 

  • Notes 
    • Below, Don Stone's theory of the Whitbread/Hervey ancestry.

      Post to SGM on 27 Nov 2011, by Don Stone [italics indicate quoted material]:

      On 11/25/2011 11:34 AM, W David Samuelsen wrote:

      (Will of Thomas Hill)

      Item I give to my sister Whitbread xls to my nephew Willm her sonne xli out of the debt he oweth and to his brother Henry xli out of the debt he oweth mee and to his brother John xli out of the debt he oweth mee Item I give to my neece Spencer xls& all those implemts of household w[hi]ch I bought of her, and to her sonne Garrett xxs and to her daughter xls And to my neece Poulter xls And to my godson Willm Whitbread xls and to my goddaughter Chapman xls Item I give to my neece Sara Millward all my plate that is to saie vj silver spoones a silver poringes a faire standing salt with a Dover silver tankerd and a goblet of silver condiconally that she payes to my neice Hanscombes children iiijli and to my neece Raworthes v daughters xxs a peice when they come to the age of xviij yeares

      The above item shows Eleanor, wife of John Spencer to be Eleanor Whitbred since it refers to her sons William, Henry, John and Gerard Spencer and one known daughter -- Elizabeth Spencer who was wife of Mr Tomlins.

      The above excerpt from Thomas Hill's 1627 will could show Eleanor, wife of John Whitbread, to be Eleanor Hill, since it refers to "my sister Whitbread" and her sons William, Henry, and John and her daughter [Alice], wife of [Gerard] Spencer, as well as the latter couple's son Garrett [Gerard Spencer] and one known daughter -- Elizabeth Spencer who was wife of Mr Tomlins.

      What does Thomas Hill mean by "my sister Whitbread"? It could be full sister. It could be half sister, if (as pointed out by Will Johnson) John Hill's widow Alice remarried after his 1546 death and was mother of Eleanor by this second marriage. (Paul Reed estimates that Eleanor was born in the range 1540-1550.) It seems unlikely that "sister" meant sister-in-law; Thomas Hill, apparently having no children of his own, appears in his will to be distributing funds and items to a large number of blood relatives. (See further comments on this below.)

      The other major factor is brought up here:

      However, other sources say Eleanor is Eleanor Radcliffe, daughter of Edward Radcliffe. In Spencer article in TAG referred to Sir Edmund Radcliffe's (Vol 32 [not 30], page 134-135, TAG) mention a connection: 1 Aug 1611, Sir Edward Radcliffe of Elstow, Knt for 32 pounds, conveyed to John Radwell of Kempston, ploughwright, a messuage or tenement in Elstowe, giving a covenant of assurance against Dame Isabel Radcliffe, late of Elstowe, deceased, his mother. And on the same date, John Whitbread of Elstow, husbandman, for 20 pounds, gave to John Radwell assurance of quiet enjoyment of the same premises against "Elner Whitbread of Eluestowe," his mother (Publications of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, 4:22-23)

      Could it be Thomas Hill's mother is a Radcliffe, rather than Eleanor Radlcliffe, since Thomas Hill will specified Eleanor's maiden name being Hill, not Radcliffe?

      Some background on the Radcliffe connection:

      Paul Reed said on GEN-MEDIEVAL/soc.genealogy.medieval on 19 Jun 1998:

      For what it's worth, I have not seen proof of a valid connection from the Spencer brothers (Gerard et al.) with the older Spencer family. I have found a possible connection through the Whitebread family to the notable Bedforshire Harvey family, however, and will eventually publish the evidence which leads to that possible connection.

      Paul then supplied the details in September 2001:

      Mainly on the Whitbreads:

      And an important final summary and analysis of the 1 Aug 1611 documents involving Sir Edward Radcliffe and John Whitbread:

      In this latter summary (7 Sep 2001), Paul gives the details of the 1 Aug 1611 sale to John Radwell (as above) and then says:

      "Edw: Radcliffe" then signed a "Covenant of assurance against Dame Isabel Radcliffe late of Eluestowe deceased his mother." As Isabel (Hervey) Radcliffe was already deceased, the covenant was to guard against claims from her heirs.

      THEN, that same day, Sir Edward Radcliffe entered a bond for 60 pounds to secure the deed poll just made to John Radwill.

      THEN, that same day, John Whitbread of Eluestowe, husbandman, also entered a bond for the sum of 20 pounds to John Radwell, "assuring him quiet enjoyment of above premises as agains[t] Elner Whitbread of Eluestowe, widow, his mother."

      The main point being that the two individuals who had interest in the sold property apparently in their own right were Dame Isabel and Ellenor. As Dame Isabel was daughter and heir of Edmund Hervey, the connection to Ellenor would appear to be through the Hervey family.

      The only other possible speculation might be that since John Whitbread's bond was only one-third of the amound entered by Sir Edward Radcliffe, he was only assuring against dower claims his widowed mother might make.

      A day earlier Paul had written:

      Court of Augmentations Accounts, late in the reign of Henry VIII [after 1542] list Edmund Hervey as having the farm of the site of the late Priory of Elstow.

      Among those listed among "Rents of Assize" in Elstow, which had belonged to the Monastery of Elstow, are ***THOMAS WHYTEBRED***, who had 4 messuages and 20 acres of land and meadow, and ***THOMAS HERVEY***, who held 1 messuage and 15 acres of land in Elstow. Gerard Harvey also held one messuage and lands in Elstow (Gerard would seem to be the Gerard who was illegitimate son (but eventually adopted) of Sir George Hervey; Gerard succeeded his father to large holdings in several counties and was MP for Bedford).

      It is tempting to wish that Ellenor was daughter of this Thomas Hervey, and that he was a son of [John Hervey and nephew of] Edmund Hervey. The chronology would seem to allow it. But definite proof is yet to be found.

      Thomas Hervey, son of John Hervey of Ickworth, was not mentioned in his father's will in 1556, but he may have predeceased him, having already received a share or been provided for so that he could set himself up at Elstow where his uncle Edmund held the manor. We know a Thomas Hervey held land in Elstow, and the closest candidate would be this son of John. If he died unexpectedly, leaving a daughter Ellenor, it would explain what rights Ellenor brought in her own right to land in Elstow.

      Paul wrote this before the 1627 will of Thomas Hill was widely known. Let's now look again at the phrase "sister Whitbread" in this will.

      If Eleanor Whitbread was a half-sister of Thomas Hill (because Thomas's mother Alice, widow of John Hill, married Thomas Hervey in 1547 or later and then became the mother of Eleanor Hervey, who married John Whitbread), then we would have a scenario that can accommodate both the 1611 sale and bonds (discussed above by Paul) and the 1627 Thomas Hill will.

      The alternative that Eleanor Whitbread was a full sister of Thomas Hill seems less likely. In this case, the best way to make sense of the 1611 sale and bonds is to have Alice, wife of John Hill, as a Hervey daughter, but this doesn't seem to work as well for the 1611 data.

      Further on the question of whether Thomas Hill's 1627 reference to "sister Whitbread" could mean sister-in-law, both possibilities for sister-in-law seem impossible or unlikely:

      1. Eleanor Whitbread was Thomas's Hill's brother's wife, but then her last name would be Hill, not Whitbread.

      2. Eleanor Whitbread was the sister of Thomas Hill's wife (possibly Judith Childe, daughter of Thomas Childe of Roxton, Bedfordshire), but then it is hard to see why Eleanor's son needed to have a bond assuring against her in the 1611 Elstow land transaction.

      Note that Alice, daughter of John and Eleanor Whitbread, would have been named after her maternal grandmother Alice in any of the plausible scenarios.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1283] Clarence Almon Torrey, "The Whitbread Family of Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England." The American Genealogist 32:129, July 1956.

    2. [S944] Don C. Stone, 27 Nov 2011, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.

    3. [S949] National Burial Index for England and Wales, on

    4. [S390] Freeman" target="_blank">">Freeman Family Lines, from the files of Stephen M. Lawson (via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine).

    5. [S945] Paul C. Reed, 7 Sep 2001, post to soc.genealogy.medieval.