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About the study

The objective of this study is to concentrate on the Wyld family of Worcestershire. I am the first member of my family not to be born in Worcestershire for 15 generations, and that was only because my parents moved to live in Coventry from 1930 to 1940, when our house was destroyed in the bombing of Coventry, when I was aged 2 years, and we moved back to live with my maternal grandmother in Oldbury, Worcestershire, where I was educated. I have been researching my family tree for several years and have links back to 1477. Very early in my research, I decided to concentrate on the Wyld family (and variants) of Worcestershire, in that most of my ancestors came from between Worcester and Droitwich, and there were many interesting ancestors, and of equal importance, many interesting marriages into the major families of England. I now have in excess of 3,000 names in my research study, and I find that this is plenty for me to manage. There were Wylds over many generations in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumberland, plus London and the South East, and I could see my research extending to many thousands of names and becoming unmanageable if I did not restrict it. I use under Windows 10 for building my Tree and Family Tree Maker for its Publishing Module. I use Family Search extensively for access to Parish Records. I also make extensive use of the Ancestry App on a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and an I-pad. The fact that, Family Tree Maker and the Ancestry App are all automatically kept in sync is an extremely valuable service. The Ancestry App on my tablet is by far the best tool for making my tree and all associated data easily accessible. I am a member of the Malvern Family History Society and the Worcestershire Historical Society. I had my DNA profile produced by Ancestry, and I have found it useful in identifying branches of my family that had previously been unknown to me, but, to date, all contacts have been through my maternal line.

Variant names

My surname is “Wyld”. There are various spellings of the surname; Wyld, Wylde, Wild and Wilde all appear in family records, sometimes with a parent having one variation and the child a different one. It is believed that these variations are often due to the fact that people were unable to write and the local curate would record their version of the verbal name spoken by the parent. Also, before the time of the reformation, a lot of parish records were written in Latin, with subsequent variations.

Name origin

The first recorded spelling of a variant of the Surname "Wyld" was in 1086, when Uluricus Wilde was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of Lincolnshire. It is believed to be derived from the family who lived outside the town, or on the Weald. For the purpose of this project, it has been assumed that the Wyld Family Line started with Simon Wylde, born at the Ford, Droitwich in about 1477. He is referred to in various early documents, in particular, in the Visitation of Worcestershire, produced in 1566 and updated in 1634 and 1682, and again in the Dodderhill Parish Survey which stated that his name was first recorded in the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1524. Earlier references also occur in The Heraldry of the Wyld Family of Worcestershire, which suggests that Simon Wyld was the son of Richard Wyld who was the third son of an unknown Wyld of Warwickshire who was the son of Jenkin Wyld of Denbighshire, but it has been difficult to find any direct evidence of these relationships.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Wyld Family was one of the leading families in Worcester from the middle of the sixteenth century through to the middle of the eighteenth century. This coincided with their ownership of The Commandery, one of the main buildings in Worcester that still exists today. It was also one of the most interesting periods in English history, from the reign of Henry VIII, through the reformation, the discovery and colonisation of the Americas, the civil war and the Republic and Oliver Cromwell, to the reign of George I. Six generations of the Wyld family, Thomas (1508), George (1550), John (1590), George (1594), Edmund (1618) and Thomas (1670) were Members of Parliament for either Worcester or Droitwich for most of the parliaments from 1547 through to 1730, with John being Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer (the equivalent of Prime Minister today) in the Republican Parliament of 1648 -1650. The wealth of the family was almost certainly based on wool, which in pre-industrial England was the primary source of finance throughout the country. Throughout this period, the Wyld family was in possession of estates in and around Worcestershire, including The Commandery of Worcester, The Ford and the Harriot’s of Droitwich, the estates of Impney Manor and Kempsey in Worcestershire; and Glazeley Hall, Salop. When Edmund Wyld MP (1618-1695), great-grandson of Thomas Wyld(1508), died, he left a house in Bloomsbury, London, plus manors in Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire and 5 bullaries in Droitwich, all to his kinsman Thomas Wylde MP (1670-1740) of The Commandery. All this wealth was dissipated by Thomas Wyld in his efforts to fight elections to parliament between 1700 and 1730. The following provides a short overview of the key members of the Wyld Family and the connections that were made through marriage to some of the major families of the country. As stated in "Name Origin" above, it has been assumed that the Wyld Family Line started with Simon Wylde, born at the Ford, Droitwich in about 1477. This Simon Wylde had several sons, and the Dodderhill Parish Survey states that John, a son of Simon, gave rise to the Upton Warren Branch of the family and two of Simon’s other sons, William and Richard continued the family line at The Ford in Dodderhill, Droitwich. A John Wyld is recorded as a Rector of Oxford University in 1515, which would imply that he was born about 1495, but it is difficult to identify that he was son of Simon. However it was another son, Thomas Wylde MP (1508-1559) who became the next head of the family and dramatically increased the family fortunes by both acquisition and marriage settlements. He was the first member of the family to be described as “clothier”, and he became the first member of the family to become a Member of Parliament when he became MP for Droitwich in 1547 during the reign of Edward VI, the teenage son of Henry VIII. He was again elected MP for Droitwich in the first Parliament of Queen Elizabeth I. He died whist in office and his details are recorded in the History of Parliament. This Thomas Wylde MP (1508) was twice married, first to Alice, daughter of Robert Ledington, of Worcester, and secondly to Eleanor, eldest daughter and co-heiress of George Wall, of Droitwich. His main acquisition was The Commandery, Worcester in 1547, a manor house which still exists today and is currently a museum open to the public and covering the various phases of life in Worcester from the 12th century. This house has played a major part throughout the history of Worcester. The Commandery was owned by the eldest sons of the Wylde line for 10 generations for over 200 years until 1764 when another Thomas Wyld was forced to sell it due to financial difficulties. It is interesting to note that the fortunes of these two halves of the family of Thomas Wylde followed quite different paths. The senior branch (mothered by Alice Ledington) were masters of the Commandery for over 200 years and were influential in the history of Worcester and the Battles of Worcester. The junior branch (mothered by Eleanor Wall), provided several Members of Parliament and, via marriage into various major families of England, had connections with some of the great historical events of the Nation and the exploration of America. Looking at the branch of the Wylde family descending from Thomas (1508) and Alice Wylde nee Ledington, the eldest son in each generation inherited The Commandery for the next 200 years. In summary it eventually passed to Thomas Wyld MP (1670-1740). This Thomas Wylde was one of the two Members of Parliament of the City of Worcester from 1701-1727 during which time there were nine elections. Standing for Parliament was an expensive undertaking in the eighteenth century, particularly if the election was contested, and it is said that Thomas impoverished himself as a result of standing in all these elections. When Thomas died in 1740, The Commandery passed to his son Robert Wyld (1706-1752), however the financial position of the Wylde family continued to deteriorate and Robert appeared to be living at another estate, Glazeley, with the Commandery being mortgaged and rented out. On the death of Robert, The Commandery passed to his son, Thomas Wyld (1740-1798) who was finally forced by financial problems to sell the Commandery in 1764. This branch of the Wyld line began to dissipate at this time with both sons of Thomas marrying into affluent families in Somerset and Warwickshire, and in order to inherit the estates they were required to change the family names to Brown-Wyld and Frewtrell-Wyld and both became clergymen. Looking at the branch of the Wylde family descending from Thomas Wylde (1508) and his second wife, Eleanor Wylde, their first son was George Wylde MP (1550-1616). He was of the Inner Temple, and a Sergeants-at-Law; he married Frances, daughter of Sir Edmund Huddleston, of Sawston, and a church memorial records him dying in 1616, aged sixty-six. Via his wife Frances Huddleston, this branch of the Wyld family were connected to the Seymour Family of Wolf Hall, the family of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII. George and Frances Wyld (1550) had three children, John Wyld MP (1590-1669), Elizabeth (1591) and George Wyld MP (1594). John Wyld MP (1590) was recorded as receiving an MA Balliol College Oxford in 1610, being called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 1612 and becoming MP for Droitwich in 1620, and again throughout various consecutive parliaments until 1659. This was the period of the uprising of the Parliamentarians, led by Oliver Cromwell, against the Royalists of King Charles. John Wyld was appointed Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer (The equivalent of Prime Minister today) in the Republican Parliament of 1648-1650, until he fell out of favour with Oliver Cromwell. He died in 1669. John Wyld MP (1590) married Ann Harries (1609-1624) daughter of Sir Thomas Harries, Lord of the Manor of Tong when she was only 15 years old. She died in childbirth 10 days before her 16th birthday. Her daughter Ann Wyld (1624-1702) survived and married Charles West, the fifth Lord De La Warre. The West Family and the Barons De La Warre were of major interest. This was the period when America was being discovered and explored, and Charles West’s grandfather Thomas West (1577-1618) and three of his brothers sailed to America between1600 and 1610, all achieving prominence in the Governorship of Virginia and Delaware. Thomas West (1577-1618), was the Englishman who was sent to Virginia with the objective of re-establishing the King’s authority. He was successful in this venture to such an extent that he was appointed Governor-for-Life (and Captain-General) of Virginia. He eventually became 3rd Baron de la Warre. Subsequently the bay, the river, the local tribe of Native American Indians and, eventually, the first American State were all named Delaware in his memory. He died at sea, en route back to Virginia, in 1618. He became known as Lord Delaware in America. The younger brother of Thomas West was Francis West (1586-1633). Francis sailed to Virginia in 1608 and again in 1610. He was appointed as Commandant of Jamestown and eventually became Deputy-Governor of Virginia from 1627 to 1629. The third brother was John West (1590-1659). John sailed to Virginia in 1618. He eventually became one of the largest landowners in Virginia and was Governor of Virginia from 1629 to 1630 and then was “temporary Governor” until 1637. John bequeathed a large area of land which eventually became the town of West Point, Virginia. Various members of the West family were appointed as representatives of the Crown in America in later years, and included Governors of New York and New Jersey. Of further interest in the West family was Thomas West (1555-1602), 2nd Baron de la Warre. Thomas was married to Ann Knolleys whose maternal grandmother was Mary Carey, who was believed to be the illegitimate daughter of Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Ann Boleyn, by King Henry VIII. Mary Boleyn married Sir William Carey shortly before her daughter was born. Mary was the subject of a major book and film, “The Other Boleyn Girl”. To return to the Wylde family, the second child of George Wyld & Frances Huddleston was Elizabeth Blount nee Wyld who married Sir Walter Blount MP (1594-1654). The Blount family were one of the leading families in Worcestershire and Staffordshire and provided 13 MPs between 1550 and 1660. Walter was a lawyer, educated at Balliol College Oxford and the Inner Temple. He was appointed High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1620 and elected MP for Droitwich in 1624. He was a leading supporter of King Charles I and the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He was taken prisoner at Hereford in December 1645, and was imprisoned at Oxford and in the Tower of London. His house at Sodington was burnt down by Parliamentarian soldiers and his estates were confiscated in 1652 after the Battle of Worcester. He was eventually released and died in Devon in 1654. The third child of George Wylde and Frances Huddleston was George Wylde MP (1594-1650). He followed his both his father and brother into the law and into Parliament. He was MP for Droitwich in 1628 and again in 1648 to 1650. Returning to the children of Thomas (1508) and Eleanor Wylde, the second son was Thomas Wylde, (1555-1599) of Kempsey and Glazeley Hall, Salop who was married to Elizabeth Cooke. They had several children, the most interesting being Elizabeth (1580-1644). Elizabeth Wyld married Sir Edward Bullock (1580-1644) and it is believed that their eldest son Henry Bullock (1596) sailed to America in 1633 on the “Abigail”; this was only 12 years after the Mayflower took the first pilgrims to America in the autumn of 1620. A younger son Richard Bullock (1622) is believed to have travelled with Henry and became one of the founding fathers of the state of Massachusetts, and the Bullock family was one of the leading families in New England for many generations. The Wylde line continued through to the present day, but none achieved the prominence of those listed above.