The Wansey Family

SIR HUGH DE WAUNCI came over with William the Conqueror fromNormandyunder Earl Warren, son-in-law to William. Their first residence was at Barshamin Norfolk fromwhence they branched out and settled in Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Surrey and lastly in Wiltshire.

1199. RICARDUS DE WAUNCI signs as witness King John’sCharter to Amesbury Abbey.

1216. GEOFFRY DE WANCY holds a knight’s fee at Adhelmerton,also known as Clive Wancy, near Calne.

1228. RALPH DE WANCY holds a knight’s fee at Adhelmerton.

1275. RALPH DE WANCY holds a knight’s fee at Adhelmerton.

A Ralph de Wancy also held a military fee at Wadhill in N.Wilts., and at Hilmarton near Calne.

The notes of the history of the Wanseys of Norfolk werecompiled by Mary Anne Wansey (1786 – 1868) in or after 1812. It is probablethat she based them on the writings of Henry Wansey, F.S.A., and of WilliamWansey, F.S.A., both of whom made researches into family history and wroteabout them. The whereabouts of their writings is unknown.

Mr Kite’s letter in the Devizes Museumsays: “It seems not improbable that this early family of Waunsy may havemigrated from the neighbourhood of Salisburyalong the Vale of Wylye and eventually settled in Warminster (20 milesdistant). We often find the younger sons of good families embarking in theclothing business in its earlier and more prosperous days.”

1300. Sir WILLIAM and Sir GEOFFRY DE WANCY knights andowners under H.III and Ed.I.

1306. ROBERT DE WAUNSI is juror on Inquisition at Compton.

1329. JOHN WAUNSY at Wiltonsigns twice as witness of a post mortem Inquisition.

1331. JOHN WAUNSY at Salisburysigns twice as witness of a post mortem Inquisition.

1375. JOHN WAUNCY at Wiltonsigns twice as witness of a post mortem Inquisition.

(See Jackson & Aubrey’s Wilts Collections: Inquisitionsof post mortem)

ADHELMERSTON was called Clyve Wancy after Radulfus (Ralph)de Wancy who held lands there c.1275. (Test. de Nevill, 137). Clyve Wancy, nowCLEVANCY, is in the parish of Hilmarton on the road from Calne to WoottonBassett, 3 miles N.E. from Calne. The land is 8 carucates and paid gold (tax)for 9 hides.

GEOFFRY DE WAUNCY held lands in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire andother places in the reign of Edward I (1272 – 1307). His name, which ismisprinted Waunci in Archaeologie Vol.XXXIX occurs as Gefrai de Waunci in St.George’s Roll of Arms - with the old coat of GULES, THREE GAUNTS,ARGENT, and the same coat of arms is given for “Ion (John) de Waunci” in thevery ancient roll of the Society of Antiquaries, no.17.

Two branches of the family were in Wilts in the reign ofHenry III, that of Geoffry and of Ralph de Wancy (see above), one at Hilmartonand Wadhill and one holding land at Clive Wancy.


Henry, born c.1480, died 1546.
Henry, born between 1522 and 1532, married Katherine Stibbs,and died in 1592. Buried at the Minster.
John, born 1560, married Margaret Yockney. 9 children. Hedied 1626, aged 66. Buried at the Minster.
George, born 1627, married Elizabeth Rawlins. Born after father’sdeath. Quaker. 3 children. Died 1699, age 72. Buried at Bugley.
George, born 1649. Diarist. Married Joyce Short, HesterFrench. 3 children. Died 1707, age 58. Buried at the Minster.
Henry, born 1690. Married Elizabeth Farmer. 7 children. Died1761, age 71. Buried at the Minster.
George, born 1713. Married Hester Green. 9 children. Died1762, age 49. Buried at the Minster.
William, born 1746. Married Sarah Jeffries. 8 children. Died1805, age 58. Buried at the Minster.
Henry, born 1774. Married Elizabeth Wansey (cousin). 15children. Died 1855, age 80. Buried at Boreham Road.
Arthur Henry, born 1827. Married Blanche Wellsted. 8children. Died 1900, age 73. Buried at Stoke Bishop, Bristol.
Henry Raymond, born 1873. Married Beatrice Margaretta Nottidge,Hilda Thomson. Their children: Paul, John, Peter, Mary, Joseph.

All these have lived some time in Warminster during a periodof over 400 years.

There was also a Wansey living in 1500 who married aMargaret Wansey who died in 1560. Their son William Wansey died in 1545. Hemarried Elizabeth Lyde or Hyde, being her 2nd husband.

John Wansey, Parish Clerk, died of the plague in 1564.

John Wansey, a skinner by trade (his father was a glover in Church St.) died in1626, leaving his widow Margaret with a large family of six sons and threedaughters. She was so much impoverished by the Civil Wars at one time that shecould raise but £5 which she employed in making yarn for the market. It had avery quick trade and in a few weeks she doubled her stock. John and Margaret’ssons were John, Jehu, Henry, Thomas, John the younger, and George. John andMargaret’s daughters married:-

1). Humfry Buckler, whose father had seven sons: six sonscarried him to the church and the seventh preached his funeral sermon.

Children of Humfry Buckler and John and Margaret’s firstdaughter:-

a). Humfry Buckler who lived at Rowde by Devizes.
b). Thomas Buckler, a woolsorter and maltster at Warminster,whose children were:-

(1) Mrs.Weeks of Bristol;her son Buckler was Sheriff of Bristol.
(2) WilliamBuckler, who married Frances Wansey.
(3) ThomasBuckler, who married Frances Wansey’s sister.
(4) JohnBuckler.

c). John Buckler, a malter and dissenting minister. His sonswere Humfry and John.

2). A daughter married to Mr. Shergold of Salisbury.

3). A daughter married at Shaftesbury to one named Clark.


1). Captain John Wansey (John the elder) was the eldest sonand married a Wilton.He had 2 sons and 5 daughters.
a). Catherine, who married Vigour of Bristol, whose familywas Edward Buckler and the High Sheriff’s wife.
b). Sylvester, who married Aldridge, the mother of CharlesAldridge.
c). Margaret, who married Silverthorn.
d). Sara, who married Yerburg, the grandmother of JohnHawkins.
e). Mary, who married Harbottle, mother of Jos. Harbottle,who died 1739.
This John Wansey died young.

2). Jehu Wansey. Born 1612 or 1617. Mary Anne Wansey says hewas in the army and went over to Ireland (1640) about the time ofthe massacre and was there shot, not in battle, but treacherously on account ofan amour. Dewey’s papers say he was the soldier who challenged a Royalisttrooper to single combat near Devizes and overpowered and killed him after adesperate struggle. Daniell says this Jehu was a son or near relative of HenryWansey, the third brother. Dewey’s papers say that Jehu went to Ireland and waskilled by a bullet in the Civil Wars there.

Jehu had three sons:-
a). Jehu, who left one son, Jehu.
b). Thomas Wansey, a bachelor.
c). James Wansey, who had many children, among them ThomasWansey, a sea captain, father of Thomas who had an estate at Nevis,and John, a maltster at Tewkesbury.
(Section about sons has a query mark in the papers).

3). Major Henry Wansey. See Daniell, pp.65-70. Born 1618. Hewas apparently a member of Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament and presented apetition from his townsmen to the Commons against the ill conduct of Woodward,Vicar of Warminster. Henry was a watchmaker in Warminster between 1640 and1650. When the Civil Wars were over he set up in Cheapside.Soon after the Restoration, a crowd of people were passing along with a bear,and some of the rabble broke his shop window, whereupon, full of indignation,he ran out and said, “Is this your kingly government?” They then seized him asa rebel and carried him at once to prison. He ended up in the Gatehouse at Westminster, one of themost horrid and filthy prisons in London.A person who was confined with him and afterwards escaped reported that theycould not stand upright on account of the lowness of the ceiling, nor lie downfor the filth and nastiness of the place. They had no allowance of victuals ordrink, nor were their wives allowed to visit them. He and his companionpresented many petitions and none were attended to; it is supposed that he diedin that prison. (This account conflicts with Daniell).

4). Lieutenant Thomas Wansey. Lieutenant of Hurst Castle.During the Civil Wars, he was Deputy Governor there when Charles I was aprisoner in the castle, so that he was apparently entrusted with the safeimprisonment of the King. He was a courteous and very gentlemanly man, who wasalso a Minister of the Gospel, and preached among the Baptists. He afterwardsconformed to the Church and bought an estate and lived near Lymington inHants., which afterwards Mr Buckler had.

Thomas had two daughters:-
a). Francesmarried William Buckler, a cousin (see John Wansey’s daughters). They had a sonThomas and a daughter Mary. Thomas Buckler lived at Boreham. His sons wereWilliam Buckler, counsellor at law, and Benjamin Buckler, Fellow of All Souls’College, Oxford.Mary married Mr Hawkins of Bristol.Their children were William Buckler and Frances.
b). The second daughter married Thomas Buckler, brother ofWilliam.

Lieutenant Thomas Wansey died in 1660.

5). John Wansey, the younger. It was not uncommon in thesedays for parents to have two sons of the same Christian name, one reason ofwhich was that the leases or entails, in case of the death of one, might standstill stand good for the other without having a new deed. This John was killedat the siege of Plymouthin 1643.

(There is a pencil note that the elder John died young. Inthis case it seems that the children ascribed to him might really belong tothis John, but it is surmise. So is the following anecdote, which is alsoascribed to the elder John, but it seems might really apply to this one).

During the Civil Wars two soldiers of the King’s army cameinto his house, insulted him and behaved very rudely to the family, on whichsent to his barn for his thresher and they fell on these troopers and beat themsoundly. When gone, John said to his thresher, “Two only are come now, nexttime they may be ten - it will not do to stay here and be murdered,it shall rather be abroad than at home.” Whereupon he mounted his horse andjoined the Parliament army and afterwards became an officer.

6). George Wansey. Born 1627. Died 1699. George Wansey, theninth child and born after his father’s death, was a man of peace. He was a“maltster and white clothier and lived at the Malthouse in Church Street.” He married ElizabethRawlins and had three children:-

a). Henry who died young.
b). George (older than Henry, see below).
c). Elizabeth who married Jesse of Beckington. They hadthree children:-

(i). John Jesse who died leaving one daughter – she marriedMr Webb at Beckington and had three children:-
(a). Elizabeth who married Mr Crine, a clothier ofBeckington and had several children.
(b). Mary who married Mr Wherrit, a clothier of Beckingtonand had a large family.
(c). Eliza who married Mr Long of London, a drawer, who is said to have diedvery rich.

George Wansey (1627 – 1699) became an overseer in 1671,Churchwarden of the Minster Church in 1677 and againoverseer in 1683 and 1694. While in this position he suddenly gave up theChurch and joined the Quakers. About 1683 William Penn came to Warminster andpreached the Gospel in the Common Close, and George Wansey being at once convinced of the Truth as the Friendspreached it, became a Quaker on the spot. His cousin John Buckler also became aQuaker with him, and together some of the Whittuck and Butler families they opened a small MeetingHouse for worship in the Common Close. George Wansey died in 1699 and wasburied in a graveyard fifteen yards long and seven wide, at Laynes, nearBugley, beside the old packhorse track from Bugley to Cley Hill.

George Wansey, junior, his son (1651 - 1707). [The Diarist]. He built the house inChurch Street, which still has a large capital ‘W’ over the front door [contradicted in another passage whichstates Ivy House built in 1796-8, Bristol architect] but it became aMissionary College for Women. He married:-
1). Joyce Short, daughter of a clothier. They had onedaughter who married W. Ball, a gentleman of Mere. They had one son, WilliamBall, who died in 1713 of a fall from his horse. Joyce died in 1686.
2). Esther French (married 1687). She had two sons:-
a). George Wansey, who died young.
b). Henry Wansey (1690 – 1761). He was apparently aclothier, like his father. He married in 1712 Elizabeth Farmer, the youngestand only surviving child of fifteen children of William Farmer of Abingdon orChipping Norton. Their children were George, Hester, Henry, William, John,besides which Henry, Susannah, Elizabeth and Josiah died young. Of thesechildren only one, namely George Wansey, left issue. Elizabeth Wansey, themother, died in 1750 or 1751.

There is an inscription on a tombstone in Brunswick SquareBurial Ground in Bristol as follows:- “Ann Wansey, wife of William Wansey ofthis city, merchant, and daughter of William Barnes, Alderman, some time Fatherof this City, born 11 Sept. 1715, died 26 March, 1787.”

George Wansey, born 1713, died 1762. (Cannot findparentage). He married Esther Green, who died in 1794, aged 81. She was adistant cousin of Sir Thomas White, founder of St. John’s College,Oxford, and ofMerchant Taylors’ School, London.They were married at St. Thomas’Church, Bristol,in 1742. They had six sons and three daughters:-
1). Elizabethwas born in 1743, and became the second wife of William Temple, Esq., ofBishopstrow House, Warminster. She was married in 1773 and died in 1779 withoutany child. “Her body lies deposited in a vault under the chancel of Bishopstrow Church, of which I (HRW 1925) am nowrector.” A large white marble monumental stone in memory of William Temple andhis three wives is on the north wall of the nave of the Church.
2). Henry Wansey was born in 1744 and died in 1751 aged 6.
3). William Wansey was born in 1746 and died in 1805 aged58. He married Sarah Jefferies and had eight children. These are set out indetail later. [He rebuilt Ivy House,having had a cottage pulled down to make room. Foundation stone laid 1796,built 1798. Moved in from across the road].
4). John Wansey was born in 1748 and died in 1820 aged 71.He was a clothier who went to London,lived at Lothbury and Camberwell and married Sarah Raymond in 1772. His pictureis painted by Philips. John and his wife were well off. Their daughterElizabeth married Henry Wansey, son of William, who was her cousin.
5). George Wansey was born in 1749 and died in 1751 aged 1.
6). Henry Wansey, F.S.A., was born in 1751 and died in 1827aged 75. He lived a long and useful life and is famous as a writer, as anhistorian and as an antiquarian. He travelled in France, Italy and America. Thefollowing is an extract from the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1827, Part II,pp.373-4.

“Henry Wansey Esqre. F.S.A. This gentleman was formerly aclothier, but he had for a long period retired from his mercantile affairs. Hewas Vice-President of the Bathand West of England Agricultural Society, in the concerns of which he for manyyears took an active part. Under that signature he published in 1780 “Letter tothe Marquis of Lansdown” on the subject of the late tax on wool etc. pointingout the impolicy of such a tax, as well as the injurous consequences in generalof commercial restrictions. In 1794 (aet.43) Mr. Wansey made a tour in theU.S.A., a journal of which he afterwards published, containing much usefulinformation concerning a country then usually interesting from the recentchanges in its Government, in illustration of which he gave a portrait ofGeneral Washington, and a view of the Senate House. While resident in Castle Street, Salisbury,he published “Thoughts on Poor Houses, particularly that of Salisbury, with a view to their “Reform” inwhich will be found some important facts and salutary hints relative to suchestablishments. Having interested himself in the Antiquities of Wiltshire, hewas forming a collection for One Hundred, in aid of Modern History of thatCounty, now in progress by Sr. R.C. Hoare Bart., (original MSS preserved inlibrary of Museum at Devizes). He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries(F.S.A.) and communicated to the “ARCHAEOLOGIA” a “Description of the PoultryCross at Salisbury”.(He says . . . “Among the friends of Wockliffe was an Earl of Salisbury, whofor contempt noted in him towards the Sacrament, in carrying it home to hishouse, was enjoined by Ralph Engham, Bishop of Salisbury (1375 – 1388) to makein Salisbury a cross of stone, in which all the story of the matter should bewritten, and he, every Friday during his life, to come to the Cross barefootedand bareheaded in his shirt, and then upon his knees do penance for the fact.”)(Henry Wansey F.S.A. published 1795 a book “Practical Observations on wool andwoollen manufacture price 2/-). Immediately on the Peace, Mr. Wansey visited France, andwilling to give it the attention he had given America, published an octavo volumeon his “Visit to Parisin June 1814”. Mr Wansey was a Dissenter, and invariably opposed whatevertended to restrict the rights of conscience. In 1825 he wrote a pamphletagainst the Catholic Church entitled “A few remarks in defence of theProtestant Religion . . . ” In politicshe was a Whig. “His powers both of body and mind continued with littleabatement through the evening of his days. When nearly arrived at theprescribed age of humanity, he made a tour of Italy and visited Mount Vesuvius, and the staff which supported his steps to the summit ofthat burning mountain was to the last his constant companion in his early walkson the Wiltshire Downs. Having thus passed a life of activity and enjoymenttill within a few days of his decease, he quitted it full of serenity and goodhope, and his memory will long be cherished with respect.”

Entry in Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. IX, p.291:-“Henry Wansey (1751 – 1827) Antiquary, a Clothier of Warminster. F.S.A. 1789:made collections for the History of Warminster Hundred: published pamphlets,1780 – 1814.” He and his sister Ann livedat Ivy House from 1897 till death. He died of a paralysis and was buried inthe new Dissenting Ground for Burials in Boreham Road, Warminster, which he hadhelped to secure. His wife’s name was Alice Gwynne.

7). Ann Wansey was born 1753 and died in 1822 aged 69.
8). Sarah Wansey was born in 1755 and died in 1760 aged 4.
9). George Wansey was born in 1757 and died in 1897 aged 50.He married about 1775 and founded the Wansey Charity at Warminster. (This isqueried). After William’s death he livedin Ivy House and added handsome parlour and bedrooms above.

WILLIAM WANSEY (No.3 above), born 1746, died 1805. He marriedSarah Jefferies of Trowbridge in 1773, “an amiable young lady with a genteelfortune”, in St. Mary Magdalen’s Church at Taunton. She died in 1833. Their childrenwere:-

1). Henry Wansey, born 1774, died in 1855 aged 80. He was aNonconformist and lived in Sambourne House. He needed such a large house forhis large family and he possessed much of the adjoining ground, and had a largeand well-kept garden. He married his cousin Elizabeth Wansey of Camberwell in1800. His children were:-
(a). Emma born 1801 died Camberwell 1805 aged 3.
(b). William Raymond born 1803 died Clifton(?) 1809 aged 6.
(c). Henry born 1804 died Milan 1829 aged 24.
(d). Esther born 1805 died Warminster 1810 aged 5.
(e). Ellen born 1807 died Bridport 1889 aged 82.
(f). Margaret (Palmer) born 1808 died Clifton 1839 aged 30.
(g). Edward born 1809 died Sutton Veny 1864 aged 55.
(h). Charles born 1811 died Brislington 1877 aged 66.
(i). Harriet born 1812 died Warminster 1840 aged 27.
(j). John born 1814 died Warminster 1829 aged 15.
(k). Maria (Davis)born 1816 died Warminster 1863 aged 47.
(l). Catherine born 1818 died Warminster 1829 aged 11.
(m). Louisa (Colfox) born 1821 died Bridport 1899 aged 78.
(n). Anna Elizabeth (Colfox) born 1823 died Bridport 1892aged 75.
(o). Arthur Henry born 1827 died Sambourne 1900 aged 72.

2). Elizabeth Wansey. Born 1776, died 1805 aged 29.
3). William Wansey. Born 1777, died 1779 aged 2.
4). Sarah Ann Wansey. Born 1779, died 1817 aged 38.
5). Anne Wansey. Born 1782, died 1848 aged 66. She marriedEdmund Lye of Bath,1804.
6). William Wansey. Born 1784, died 1869 aged 85. He marriedMary Toogood, who died in 1834 aged 48. He was a Fellow of the Society ofAntiquaries and twice prime Warden of the Fishmongers Company of London. He lived atStamford Hill and died at Bognor. He had two sons:-
(i). William married Elizabeth Alsop and died at Florence in 1843 aged 32.
(ii). Francis married Catherine Toogood and had threechildren:-
(a). Katherine Hannah died aged 3.
(b). William lived at “The Orchards”, Winchelsea, Sussex,and had two daughters.
(c). Edmund married Frida Toogood, lived at Worthing, and left no male issue.

7). George Wansey. Born 1785, died 1858 aged 73. He marriedJane Hubbard. Being the nephew of Henry Wansey, F.S.A., he was one of theexecutors of his will. He had 14 children, of whom one was Jessie Wansey, whomarried Francis William Bayly, an eminent Harley Street specialist. Their daughterAlice married Rev. Robert Ewing, who afterwards was Vicar of Holy TrinityChurch, Trowbridge. George and Jane Wansey lived in the old house in Church Street,Warminster, and were buried in Boreham Cemetery.

(There is a note earlier, but queried, that the house inChurch Street had been inhabited by Wanseys for 220 years, but rebuilt in 1775[elsewhere 1755], partly of the oldmaterial. The note is undated but seems to date from the early 19thcentury, as it mentions Margaret Wansey had a lease of the former house in1629.)

[The house in Church Street iselsewhere called the Malthouse and said to be Byne House in another place. In1868 Ivy House belonged to Miss Seagram. Henry Wansey (1774 – 1855) havingmoved to Sambourne House because family so large.]

BYNE HOUSE was the home of the Wansey family who played aleading part in Warminster in the Civil War. At the beginning of the war,Edmund Ludlow of Hill Deverill was appointed by Parliament High Sheriff ofWiltshire in order to raise troops for Parliament. In 1643 he was joined byHenry Wansey, whom he appointed a Major. Wansey had seven sons, some of whomfought for the King, some for Parliament. “There is a tradition in the familythat when on a certain occasion a Council of War was being secretly held in anunderground chamber in Major Wansey’s house (probably the cellar), his littledaughter was brought down so that the officers might see the beauty of thechild; she afterwards constantly averred that ‘the soldiers gave her blood todrink.’ It was Port Wine, only then just introduced into England.

After the Battle of Lansdown, Jehu Wansey, a son or nearrelative of Henry, challenged a royalist trooper to single combat and after adesperate struggle, killed him.

In 1644, Major Wansey occupied Woodhouse(s), an old mansionnear Longleat, where he was besieged by Sir F. Doddington. After some delay Ludlow came to his rescuewith 280 men, but the Royalist Sir Ralph Hopton came to the support ofDoddington, who chased Ludlowand his men down the Imber Roadand over the Downs to Salisbury, where he arrived with only 30 men.He had ordered his men to kill their horses and hide in the corn and thevillages, but many perished. Doddington returned with some canon toWoodhouse(s), which surrendered. Twelve were hanged by the Royalists.Woodhouse(s) is now destroyed. Wansey was taken prisoner, but soon released, probablyin exchange.

In December 1644, a body of Royalists held Warminster andwere levying heavy contributions when Wansey suddenly burst into the town. TheCavaliers fled towards Salisbury,closely followed by Ludlow.They tried to defend themselves in Prebend’s Close, then in two inns, the Angelat the Close Gate and the George at the Sand Gate, but Ludlow, vigorously supported by Wansey andother officers, took them prisoner, and secured 200 horses.

In 1645, Major Wansey was fighting for Parliament, apparentlyfor some time in the regular army, as he fought at Donnington Castle,but was afterwards sent to look after Parliament’s interests in Wiltshire. Heraised some troops, and when the Royalists were fortifying the Close at Salisbury, drove off themasons, burnt the gates and took 80 prisoners. Moving further south west, LordGoring drove him out of Fonthill and West Knoyleand captured the Wansey standard, “For Lawful Laws and Liberty.”

Bad feeling was rising between Wansey and Ludlow. In Ludlow’s Memoirs we read such criticisms as,“My Major had secured his troop in the rear of all,” “I was not supported by myMajor,” “My Major had more wit than courage or honesty,” “My Major,notwithstanding his artifices, was disappointed in his expectations.” At lasthe says, “My Major now openly pulled off the mask, and with about thirty of histroop and some strangers, under pretence of beating up a quarter of theenemy’s, went over to them, having sent his wife before, to give notice of hisdesign.”

We believe that a meeting in which Wansey stated hisintention of changing sides was held in Byne House cellar. [The house has been rebuilt, but probablycellar is the same.] Now hestrenuously set about raising a troop of horse for the King, but whilerecruiting in the north of Wiltshire, he had a desperate hand to hand fightwith some Parliamentary forces in which he was beaten, and while trying toescape, by leaping a ditch, fell with his horse and was so injured that henever spoke again.

Ludlowbecame one of the chief Parliamentary generals. At the Restoration he wasexiled.

Warminster suffered from both sides in the Civil War, havingto give food, hay, corn, and money to whichever side rode in and demanded them.King Charles I must often have been in Warminster on his journeys between Salisbury and Bath, but there is norecord of a visit.

(The quotations and information are from Daniell’s ‘HistoryOf Warminster’).