Robert Wynne in Canterbury and his descendants in Virginia

In Albion’s Seed page 221, David Hackett Fisher refers to the “Northamptonshire cousinage”. This reference is used to refer to a familial tie between the Randolph’s, Washington’s and Spencer’s, which centers on the Isham’s. This “Northamptonshire Cousinage” is expanded here to include the families Berkeley, Dixon, Watmer, Woodleif and Wynne. This “Cousinage” extends from Northamptonshire to include London, Massachusetts, and Virginia. 

Robert Wynne of St Mary Bredman’s Mayor of Canterbury 1599:            This Robert Wynne is the husband of Frances Watmer Wynne, father of Thomas Wynne and Peter Wynne, and grandfather of Robert Wynne of Virginia. He provides a tie to the “Northamptonshire Cousinage” centering on the Randolph’s. He also provides the link between Northamptonshire and London.

In 1981 Rowe Wynn of Tulsa Oklahoma obtained references from the area librarian in Canterbury. This was a copy of an article “The Mayor of Canterbury: William Watmer, The Children Friend” by Dorothy Gardiner, F.S.A., published by Kent Archeological Society Vol. LXI for 1948. The contents of the article were as follows.

On September 4th 1609 when Thomas Wynne was 17 Robert Wynne his father died, two days later his mother Francis died. They were buried together on the 8th of September at St. Georges Church. Three weeks later it was confirmed as plague. William Watmer removed the six orphans who were named Thomas, Peter, John, Elizabeth and Anne Wynne. Sara Effield the orphan daughter of Christopher Effield brewer was also among the children in residence.

Watmer himself was also mayor of Canterbury 1608-1609 and again in 1629. Many of the merchants contributed clothing for the children. Peter and John were sent to board with Rowland Dixon the Tailor. Watmer took Elizabeth and Ann Wynne as well as Sara Effield into his home. On July 14, 1612 Thomas Wynne took over the charge of his sisters. Elizabeth Wynne married Paul Maye a vintner, at St. Andrews Parish on May 18, 1616. Nothing is known of Anne. Mr. Daniel Marsh took Thomas as a grocer’s apprentice. John and Peter attended King’s School while Roger Ravens was headmaster.

An additional article reprinted from Arcaeologia Cantiana CII (1985) sheds further light on things. Watmer was not from Canterbury but rather from Shropshire. Watmer was a farmer’s son. Descendants of his nephews and wards settled in the American colonies. In an application for arms, William Watmer applied for the arms of a distant kinsman Francis Watmough of Lancashire. Watmer was claiming to descend from William Watmere and Margaret daughter of Thomas Sparkes of Scotedon Salop, and ultimately from John Watmough of Eccleston Lancashire. In 1590 because of familial ties to Wynne Watmer set for Canterbury and legal training. Robert Wynne's family also is reported to have originated in Shropshire. In Robert Wynne’s will Frances Wynne his wife is defined as William Watmer's sister.

Watmer’s third marriage was to Mary daughter if Giles Masters. She had five sisters. One of her sisters Elizabeth married Herbert Randolph; another sister Deborah married Edmund Randolph. Mary Masters Watmer had a son Giles Watmer, and two daughter Mary and Dorothy. Dorothy died young. Giles Watmer was first cousin to Thomas Wynne Grocer in London. Giles Watmer married his cousin Mary the daughter of Herbert and Elizabeth Randolph in 1652. Edward Randolph the son of Edmund and Deborah Masters Randolph was instrumental in the formation of development of Massachusetts as a colony but died in Virginia.

The Wynne’s Thomas, Peter and John sons of Robert Mayor of Canterbury were first cousins to Giles Watmer. Giles Watmer was a shared cousin between the Randolph and the Wynne’s. Thomas Wynne became a grocer. Peter Wynn became a notary. John Wynne became a musician. Peter the notary is reported to be the father of Robert who had a will in America and is Speaker of the house of Burgess for twelve years.    

Robert Wynne of Jordan’s Parrish Charles City in Virginia:              Robert Wynne has a will dated July 10, 1675 proved August 15, 1678. The will is in the Virginia Colonies, and his estate is in England and Virginia. In England: To his eldest son Thomas Wynne the farm in Whitestaple Parish in Kent near Canterbury, named Linebett Banckes. To his son Joshua Wynne, he leaves the house and Oat Mill on Dover Lane, St. Georges Parrish Canterbury. In Virginia: His estate to his sons Thomas and Joshua. To Joshua the Plantation called George’s. To his Grandson George Woodleif he leaves a foal. (More of George Woodleif later) The residual estate is left to his wife Mary Wynne. Also named in the will is a son in law Frances Poythres. Thomas Wynne son of Robert was living in Prince George County 1707; his age was about 50 then. This Thomas Wynne had a wife Agnes and a son Robert Wynne, and a daughter Mary Melone as seen in Deed of transfer 1707. Joshua Wynne son of Robert Wynne with his wife deeded a transfer in 1708. This transfer was for land in Surry. Joshua Wynne was also justice for Prince George County in 1708.

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