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In the name of God Amen the tenth day of ffebruary 1657 I Thomas Atcherley of Wolverley in the [Parish] of Wem in the County of Salop gent being sick in boody but in perfect memorie I thank god therefore I doe ordaine and make this my Last will and Testament in manner and forme followinge ffirst I bequeath my soul to Jesus Christ my Saviour and Redeemer and my body to be interred by my Executor in the [Parish] Church of Wem as for my wordly goods thus I doe determine of them […]
Wills often provide a treasure trove of information for the genealogist. They can fill in gaps where vital records relating to the testator and their family are lacking. They may also help to confirm evidence derived from other sources, or indeed refute it! The last will and testament of Thomas Atcherley of Wolverley, gent, does all of these things, and it is supported by other wills too.
Tangled twigs and branches…
As I noted in part 1 of this story, Richard Gough wrote that Thomas Atcherley “gave his lands in Marton to his eldest son Thomas, who marryed Elinor, the Sister of Roger Griffiths, an eminent Alderman in Shrewsbury”. The younger Thomas was bequeathed a “silver boole” in his father’s will and, with his children “Tho: Andrew Richard Ann Sara Ellenor Jane and Mary”, he was made a residual legatee.
Thomas senior left his “daughter in Law Elenor twentie shillings”. The marriage of “Thomas Atcherley and Elynor Griffies” took place, “with Licence”, at Shrewsbury St Chad on 14 July 1642. I will tell the story of the second Thomas Atcherley of Marton (and his family) another time.
Following his reference to the marriage of Thomas Atcherley junior and Eleanor, sister of alderman Roger Griffiths, Richard Gough stated: “this Roger Griffiths likewise marryed Mary the oldest sister of this Thomas Acherley”. I have not located a record of that marriage, but among the many bequests made by Thomas Atcherley senior were the following: “Item I leave my sonn in Lawe Roger Griffiths twenty shillings Ite I leave to my daughter Mary Twenty shillings Item I leave his sonne Andrew Griffiths ffive poundes”. The baptism of “Andrew Sone of Mr Rogger Griffies & Mary” was conducted at Shrewsbury St Chad on 4 February 1654/5 – and “Mary the wife of Mr Roger Griffiths Alderman” was buried there on 3 October 1662.
Extract from Gough’s Antiquities and Memoyres of Myddle.
Richard Gough also claimed that “The younger daughter was married to one Simcocks, a mercer in Whitchurch.” He was wrong on two counts however. Firstly, as Elizabeth Atcherley was baptised in 1618 and her sister Mary was baptised towards the end of 1622/3, Elizabeth was the elder of the two sisters. Secondly, she did not marry the Whitchurch mercer Mr Simcocks! The following part of Thomas Atcherley’s will gives details of Elizabeth’s actual husband, and their children:
Item I leave my sonne in Lawe John Chetwood twenty shillinges Item I leave my daughter Elizabeth Twenty shillinges Item I leave his three daughters Ann Marye and Elizabth ffive poundes apeece to be put forth to the best use and proffitt for the said Ann Mary and Elizabeth by my Executor until the sayd Ann Mary and Elizabeth shall Com to the adge of Twenty and one yeares or in power to give a full discharge Item I leave his sonn my grandchild John Chetwood ten pownds to sett him to bee an Apprentice
There is another will which adds to the body of evidence showing that Elizabeth Atcherley married John Chetwood, that of William Dax of Shrewsbury, corvisor (a shoe maker or leather worker) which was made on 8 December 1857 and proved 8 January 1857/8. Dax, who died married (to Blanch) but childless, left money to many ‘cosens’ and other people. Among them were “Cosen Thomas Atcherley and his wife” and “every of his children”; “Cosen Roger Griffiths and Mary Griffiths his wife” along with “Andrew Griffiths the sonne of the said Roger Griffiths”; “Cosen Elizabeth Chettowde [=Chetwood] of Which Church [= Whitchurch]”; and “Cosen Richard Atcherley”.
The one thing that’s missing is a record of the marriage of John Chetwood and Elizabeth Atcherley, although baptisms for the children named by Thomas Atcherley are present in the various versions of the Whitchurch parish register then in use. But what about Mr Simcocks from Whitchurch? The will of Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Roger Griffiths, the alderman of Shrewsbury, helps us find an answer.
In his will, dated 22 December 1697, “Roger Griffiths of ffrankwell Gent” mentions “Nathaniell Symcocks my Sisters Sonne” and “Mary Poole and Joane Beddow two of the daughters of my sister Symcocks”. An entry from 17 April 1630 in the parish register of Shrewsbury St Chad records the marriage of “Nathanill Symcox and Jone Griffies with Baines [= Banns]”. Furthermore, amongst the children of Nathaniel Simcock (spellings of his forename and surname vary) baptised at Whitchurch from 1635 to 1652 were Joane, Mary and Nathaniel. It would appear therefore that Richard Gough got his facts well and truly mixed up here, which serves as a warning that we should not blindly accept information from others – cross-check it wherever possible.
This is not to say that the words of Richard Gough are to be ignored. He was absolutely right about ‘Thomas Acherley Edge’ for example, the will of Thomas Atcherley senior (in which he left “Tho: Atcherley alias Edge Twenty shillings”) being good evidence of this. (Modern-day DNA evidence linking a descendant of Thomas Atcherley alias Edge with a descendant of the other main branch of the Atcherley family tree seals the deal; see Putting the genes into genealogy – Part 3).
The last of Thomas Atcherley’s children, Richard, was also provided for in Thomas’s will. For Richard’s story, see Richard Atcherley, yeoman farmer of Wolverley.
Another legacy left by Thomas was one of 40 shillings to a Mary Hincks. Thomas gave no indication as to Mary’s relationship to him, but she may well have been a relative of his second wife Jane Hincks. Were there other relatives, by blood or marriage, amongst the remaining people to whom Thomas made bequests? There was one at least: “Ann Atcherley my brother Abrahams daughter” who was left 20 shillings. That is interesting, because I know of another will featuring an Abraham Atcherley, who had a brother named Thomas. That will was made on 1 March 1603/4 by “Richard Atcherly of ye [parish] of Baschurch tanner”. After the usual style of opening, and a request that he should be buried in the churchyard of Baschurch, Richard’s will read as follows:
Item I constitute ordayne and make Thomas Atcherly my eldest sonne my true and lawful Executor unto whome I doe comitt the [government and bringinge up of all my chilldren during the space of seaven years at the chardges of my sayde Executor, and at the seaven years ende the sayde Thomas my sonne shall paye unto my other chilldren William Atcherly Abraham Atcherly Roger Atcherly Ann Atcherly Sara Atcherly Blanch Atcherly and Maria Atcherly [every] one of them tenne pounds a peece to be putt forth to their best use and comoditie until the sayde chilldren doe come to lawfull age
Richard also directed that his son Thomas should “take unto him my sonne William Atcherly apprentize” and “teache him to be a tanner”, and in addition that Thomas should “sett my sonne Abraham apprentize to a gloover [= glover]”.
I have looked at this will before and wondered if Thomas Atcherley, the eldest son of Richard the tanner of Baschurch parish, was himself the tanner who set up in business at Marton in the neighbouring parish of Myddle and started the long line of Atcherleys who lived there. I think now, on the balance of probabilities, that he was. That being so, we can add siblings to his family tree – and perhaps also perhaps a mother.
There is no mention by Richard Atcherley in his will of a wife. The likelihood is that she died before the will was drawn up. An entry in the Baschurch parish register in 1602 – “Ellenor uxor Rici Atcherley tanner sepulta fuit xij die Octobrs” (Ellenor wife of Richard Atcherley, tanner, was buried 12th of October) – may well be the record of her interment.
It is so unfortunate that parish registers for Baschurch do not exist prior to 1600. However there are several post-1600 entries which may be relevant to this family, besides the one I have just quoted. The baptisms of “Roger the sonne of Richarde Atcherley of Stanwardine [in the __d ?] tanner” on 13 July 1600 and “Maria Atcherley filia Rici Atcherley de Stanwardine in campo tanner” on 4 April 1602 could be Richard and Ellenor’s last two children. The “Ricus Atcherley de St:” buried at Baschurch on 2 Mar 1603/4 was most likely the Richard who made his will on the first day of that month.
What happened to Richard Atcherley’s other children? Was the Anne Atcherley who married “John Moodie” at Baschurch on 19 September 1604, one of Thomas and Abraham’s sisters? This couple had a son (John) and a daughter (Mary) before “John Moodye of Lee” in the parish of Ellesmere, a yeoman, died in 1610. “John Pey and Anne Moody Widow” were then wed at Wem on 26 November 1612, with this John dying in 1621. Another sister, Sara, might have been the Sara Atcherley who married Richard Holden at Wem on 2 February 1614/5.
Many mysteries remain. But with dedication and, I suspect, lots more ‘will power’, it may yet be possible to further untangle the family tree of Thomas of Marton and Wolverley.
Picture credits: All images by the author.
See also reference  from Part 1 of this story.
 The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/276/129: Will of Thomas Atcherley, Gentleman of Wem, Shropshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website.
 The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/272/126. Will of William Dax, Corvisor of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website. Abstract viewed in: William Brigg (1894), Genealogical Abstracts of Wills, Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Register “Wootton” 1658. Volume I. Page 68. Copy viewed at Internet Archive.
 Matthew Woodcock (2016), Thomas Churchyard: Pen, Sword, and Ego. Page 16. “He was a corvisor (a shoemaker of leather-worker) by trade […]”. Copy previewed at Google Books.
 Alan David Dyer (1973), The city of Worcester in the sixteenth century. Page 123. “The corvisor’s trade also was closely allied to that of the shoemaker.” Snippet viewed at Google Books.
 Shrewsbury St Chad, Shropshire, parish register covering 1642. Entry dated 14 July for marriage of Thomas Atcherley and “Elynor Griffies”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages.
 Shrewsbury St Chad, Shropshire, parish register covering 1654/5. Entry dated 4 February for baptism of Andrew “Griffies” . Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Shrewsbury St Chad, Shropshire, parish register covering 1662. Entry dated 3 October for burial of Mary Griffiths. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Burials.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1649/50. Entry dated 20 January for baptism of “John Sonn of John Chetwood”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1651. Entry dated 7 December for baptism of “Anne d Jo: Chitwood”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish registers covering 1654. Entries dated 16 July for baptism of “Mary dgt of John Chetwood” / “Marie the daughter of John Chetwood” (who was “borne the Sixt of July” / “Mary d Jo: Chitwood”. Copies viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1656. Entry dated 12 October for baptism of “Elizabeth the daughter of John Chetwood and of Elizabeth his wife” (who was “borne October 1”). Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/446/327: Will of Roger Griffiths, Gentleman of Frankwell. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1637. Entry dated 12 November showing baptism of “Joane daughter of Nathaniel Simcock”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1639. Entry dated 29 December showing baptism of “Mary d Nathall Simcocke”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Whitchurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1644. Entry dated 12 October showing baptism of “Nathaniell S Nathaniell Simcocke”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire baptisms.
 Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives: Will of Richard Atcherly of Baschurch, tanner, dated 1 March 1603/4. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire, Dioceses [sic] of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1602. Entry dated 12 October for burial of Ellenor Atcherley. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Burials.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1600. Entry dated 13 July for baptism of Roger Atcherley. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1602. Entry dated 4 April for baptism of Maria Atcherley”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1603/4. Entry dated 2 March for burial of “Ricus Atcherley”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Burials.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1604. Entry dated 19 September for marriage of John Moodie and Anne Atcherley. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages.
 Baschurch, Shropshire, parish register covering 1606. Entry dated 2 April for baptism of Mary Moodye of “Elsmeere”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives: Will of John Moodye of Lee, yeoman, dated 27 Mar 1610. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire, Dioceses [sic] of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860. Note: Names wife Anne, daughter Mary, son John, sister(?) Mary Moodye, brothers Thomas & Edmund Moodye.
 Wem, Shropshire, parish register covering 1612. Entry dated 26 November for marriage of John Pey and Anne Moody. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages.
 Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives: Administration letters of John Pea of Wem, dated 8 Oct 1621. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire, Dioceses [sic] of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860. Note: Names widow as Anne Pea.
 Wem, Shropshire, parish register covering 1614/5. Entry dated 2 February for marriage of Richard Holden and Sara Atcherley. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages.