Needham Family

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Origins

Origins

Here we look at the origins of the Needham's focusing on the derivation of the name and examining the two main places the Needham's are most likely to have come from; mainly Needham in Norfolk and High Needham in Derbyshire, It is clear that like those in the 21st century, children leave home. Thus over time the Needham's spread their wings and left the place they originated and moved around the country; see the distribution page.

In particular, we examine how the Needham's arrived in the Derbyshire villages of Bonsall, Duffield, Wormhill and Castleton and why they migrated to Hertfordshire and Nottinghamshire and more importantly to my home city of Sheffield. These pages must be looked at as work in progress and as more information becomes available the pages will be updated. Further information shows how the Needham's moved into Cheshire and on to become the Earl's of Kilmorey, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, into the authors home county Yorkshire and of all places Jamaica. Watch this space!

For each major Needham ancestral line timelines have been drawn

But first we need to look at the origin of the name Needham and where the Needham's originated from viz Needham in Norfolk and High Needham in Derbyshire:

The Name

The surname Needham is English and is recorded with a wide variety of spellings including Needham, Needam, Nedam, Nedum, Neden, Nedin, Nedon, Needon, and Nedeham; no doubt there are others. It's derivation is considered to be locational from one of the places called 'Needham' in the counties of Derbyshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The name Needham is thought to have come from the Olde English pre 7th century elements 'ned' meaning need, with 'ham', a homestead or village; the name indicating a place that provided a poor living. A similar formation from the same period was the place called Hungerton, also meaning a poor or hungry village

The OS map has three places in England with Needham in it: Needham , Derbyshire; Needham, Norfolk, and Needham Market in Suffolk. The Needham's have always been thought to have originated from Derbyshire and High Needham but the two places in East Anglia; Needham in Norfolk and Needham Market in Suffolk might dispute this. However, it is apparent from the history of Needham Market published by the Needham Market Society that it has no connection with the Needham family but the same cannot be said of Needham in Norfolk.The Norfolk village of Needham is mentioned in the Doomsday book and it is clear that people there subsequently adopted the family name Nedham.

 

Needham – Norfolk (ref 1)

This is the only parish in the country called Needham and interestingly it has a namesake in Massachusetts , USA . The name Needham as we have seen means ‘needy, poor homestead or village'; some , however, think it took its name from the Nedham family

Needham is situated in Norfolk on the north bank of the River Waveney, some 20 miles from the coast and from Norwich, and 100 miles from London . The parish extends for almost 2 miles along the A143 ( The Great Road Blomefield calls it) which runs from Haverhill in Weat Suffolk to Yarmouth

The Parish is 1157 acres and is bounded on the south by the river; it extends northward about 1.5 miles.

At the Conqueror's Survey Needham paid 7d to the geld or tax, and was a hamlet and chapelry of Mendham. Blomefield describes it::

'The hamlet originally belonged to the Abbot of Bury and was in feoffed by one Frodo at the Conquest, whose descendants took the surname of Nedham' (2). The Chapel of St Peter at Nedham was in all probability founded by the Nedham family , and most likely by Sir Thomas de Nedham himself, for his own tenants. And being so far from the mother Church of Mendham was made parochial, and hath separate bounds , officers, administration of sacraments, and burial; it is under the Episcopal, but exempt from the archidiaconal jurisdiction, for it pays neither synodals, procurations, nor Peter-pence; and in 1329, a perpetual composition and agreement was made between the parishioners of the mother Church of Mendham, and those of the Chapel of Nedham, by which, in lieu of all reparations and dues to the Parish of Mendham they agreed to pay 18d every Easter-day towards the repairs of Mendham Church, as an acknowledgement that they were members of it'.

So it would appear that some Needham 's originated from Needham in Norfolk as well as we shall see from High Needham in Derbyshire. However, looking at the modern distribution of Needham's across the country, the original Needham's from Norfolk must have largely died out and/or moved away from the area as few Needham's live in East Anglia now .

Needham's of Derbyshire

The Needham's are an old family the majority of whom are believed to have principally originated principally from Derbyshire, although others believe some Needham's came from East Anglia and the village of Needham in particular. Here we concentrate on what is known of the Needham's who came from Derbyshire. The family line is summarised in Needham Derbyshire Base tree and the Kilmorey Needham timeline can be accessed through the Kilmorey timeline link as can the Thornsett Cowley timeline through its link

High Needham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OS Map of England and Wales 1842 to 52

Needham Grange is thought to be the place from which the Needham name originated and is currently in the hamlet of High Needham. High Needham is 8 miles from Buxton and 12 miles from Tideswell. Because one branch of the Needham's became the Earl of Kilmorey, the Needham ancestral line is well documented (3,4) back to the 12th century. Rodger Fitzwilliam de Stanton, a descendant of William de Stanton, Lord of Stanton in Cheshire married the heiress of the Manor of High Needham early in the 12th century (3). Burke gives the first date of Needham's of Needham as 1 Henry II, i.e. 1155 (4)

As was quite common at the time Rodger took (ie changed his name), what we would call, the surname of the heiress i.e. de Nedeham (of Nedeham). It must be remembered that few people had surnames at this time and that the official court language was French, following King Harold's defeat by William the Conquer. From these medieval inhabitants many people called Needham or with Needham antecedents are descended from these beginnings. Additionally, there are a number of variants to the surname we know as Needham; Nedeham and Nedham being the most common early variants but also includes Needam, Nedum and Needom.

 

High Needham is in the Wapentake of Wirksworth and the parish of Hartington. Throughout the Middle-Ages it is recorded as Nedham or Nedeham Grange and appears on a number of old maps variously named as Nedham, Nedeham Grange, Nedam Grange, High Nedham and High Needham, its current name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saxton 1637

Rodger de Nedeham had at least two sons, William and Henry, although Burke only has Henry (3). The family appears in the Hundred Rolls of 1274 (5).

The eldest son, William, had a son John who was his heir. John's heir was Thomas and from Thomas the Needham line splits. Thomas had two sons, Thomas and William, who both married well. William, the younger of the two, married Alice Cranage and moved to Cheshire; from William and Alice are descended the Earls of Kilmorey. William's descendants prospered in Cheshire, marrying into other gentry families such as Savage, Brereton, Bromley and Talbot, and acquiring large land-holdings. William and Alice's descendants were made Viscount Kilmorey in 1625. In 1822 they were made the Earl's of Kilmorey, and the family flourishes still. Seats were held at Shavington Park in Shropshire and Mourne Park in the Mourne , Northern Ireland , a beautiful estate which, at its height, extended to 35,000 acres, in addition to the 20,000 acres held in England. Members of the family still live at Mourne which has been in the same family for over four hundred years. See the Needham's of Cheshire.

Needham's and Thornsett

The elder son, Thomas married Maud Mellor in 1354, who was the heiress of the vast Manor of Thornsett and Longdendale (6) in the High Peak Hundred, and his family became centred there. As we shall see his descendants moved throughout Derbyshire, into Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire. Thomas made Thornsett Hall his family residence and subsequently it was the family home of the Needham's for nearly 300 years and 9 generations of the family. As a consequence, from the middle of the 14th century the main Needham family lines moved away from High Needham; although no record has been found to date of the family selling High Needham. Thomas died in 1363 at Thornsett Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OS Map of England and Wales 1842 to 52

 

The Thornsett Needham's were Foresters in the Royal Forest of the High Peak, officials acting for the King, and this is reflected in the bucks' heads on the various Needham coats of arms. The Needham's of Thornsett are listed among the gentry of Derbyshire from 1360, 1465 & 1603 (7).

The Forest was a wild place.  From Mellor "for fifteen miles south, and twelve miles east, did its sylvan shades extend, but all that remains of it now are the historic mansions in which its officials dwelt. ... The scenery, or rather the formation of the land, between Mellor and Hayfield will give a better idea of the old Forest than all the books ever written; The distance is six miles.  What a glorious sight, and how exciting too, must have been a stampede of the animals ... along ... rugged and precipitous paths apparently leading to the clouds.  Of those Old Halls of the Peak - homes of the Forest officials - which mark the spots where the earliest of the Peak families were located, how many have we remaining?  Who knows where the Savages lived at Castleton, or the Daniels at Tideswell, or the Foljambes at Wormhill or the Needham's at Thornsett....?" (8).

Thomas and Maud had at least two sons, Robert and Roger de Nedham. Robert, the elder of the two, was thought to have been born at Needham Grange and in 1362 acquired lands in Hayfield and Whittle, which are villages close to Thornsett. A Robert Nedham married Joan Barth and they had four children, Cecily, Robert, John and Thomas. In 1369 he had land dealings in Castleton and in 1381 Robertus de Nedham a farmer paid 12s in Poll Tax for property in Castleton. Of his four children Cecily remained a spinster, little is known of Robert, Thomas continued the Needham line in Castleton and John, the eldest son, inherited Thornsett and maintained the senior Needham line at Thornsett.

But what of Thomas's younger brother, Roger de Nedeham. Little is known of him except that from land dealings he probably married Margaret.

Reference

Person

Abode

Issue

Year

Relatives

JDANHS V26 p 362

Thomas Needham

Thornsett

w Maud Mellor; Grandson John

D76/MT/2

Thomas de Nedham jnr

Witness: feoffment of land Magna hayfield in Beardhough

1339

D76/MT/1

Robert de Nedham

Land Magna Haifel (Hayfield) called le Daddeschahebotham & Le Todeholle

1362

D76/MT/4

Robert de Nedham

Feoffment land & buildings in Whittle (New Mills) & Magna Hayfield

1362

D76/MT/5

Robert de Nedham

Land at Hayfield

1362

D76/MT/5

Robert de Nedham

Feoffment land & buildings Whittle & Magna Hayfield

1362

D158/1/48

Robert de Nedham

Castleton

1369

w Jn Barth, d Cecily (spin)

OD/910

Robert Nedham

Witness; Messuage Castleton

1372

D158/1/48

Cecily Nedham

Land Castleton

1369

dau Jn Barth/Robert of Nedham

D76/MT/6

John de Nedham

Thornsett

Messuage Le Clyffe in Hayfield

1423

D76/MT/9

John son of John de Nedham

Seisin of property in Little Hayfield in Bowden Middlecale

1453

JDANHS = Journal Of The Derbyshire Archaeological And Natural History Society

Table 1 Property transactions and references to Needham's of Thornsett in 14 & 15th Century

 

 

John, Thomas's eldest son, married an Isabel and had a son John, who is thought to have been born early in the 15th century. It is thought that John died around 1452 as there is documentation in the National Archives referring to property transactions in Little Hayfield, which is close to Thornsett. This property was thought to be owned by John, the father, and was subsequently possessed by his son John, Table 1. There is clear evidence that a John Nedham purchased houses and land in Wormhill in 1410 and 1446,Table2, and in 1433 a John Nedham is named in the Gentry of Derbyshire by Glover. This is the first link between the Needham family and Wormhill but whether John of Wormhill and John son of Thomas are the same person is unproven; more will be written on the Needham's of Wormhill.

Reference Person Abode Issue Year Relatives
OD/963 John Nedham Wormhill Messuage & Land in Wormhill, Mynfeld, Herdwykwall 14 Feb. 1410
OD/964 John Nedham Wormhill Gardens & Land in Greterakes 11 Jun 1423
D76/MT/7 John de Nedham Bond in 60's 1423
D76/MT/8 John de Nedham Bond 1428
Glover John Nedham wormhill Gentry of Derbyshire 1433
OD/970 John Nedeham Wormhill Houses in Wormhill 23 Aug 1446
tan John Needham Conveyance John Needham of Wormhill to Robert Needham & Robert Middleton - one tenement & 2 outhouses in Wormhill which he had by gift or feoffment of Roger Needham 1446
tan John Needham Release of Dower from Agnes wife John Needham to Hugh Needham her son to all lands which her dead husband owned in Wormhill 1451
tan John Needham Conveyance from Taylor Vicar of Tidewell & John Mason to Hugh & Margery his wife of 1 messuage& 32 acres of land in Wormhill & reversion & dower Agnes w Joh Needham & Alice w Roger Needham charged thereupon 1452 Agnes w John; Alice w Roger
OD/973 Agnes Nedham Messuage Wormhill & Office in le Champeyne 24 Jun 1452 w John Nedham (dead)
OD/965,971 Agnes Nedham Messuage Wormhill & Office in le Champeyne 26 Jun 1452 w John Nedham (dead)
OD/965,971 John Nedham Wormhill Messuage Wormhill & Office in le Champeyne 26 Jun 1452 dead
OD/972 John Nedeham Wormhill Lands in Wormhill; following JN death 27 jun 1452 Agnes w John Nedham
OD/979 John Nedeham Wormhill Land in Wormhill, Mylnefeld & Herdwykwall 19 May 1476
OD/979 John Nedeham Wormhill Sale of Land in Wormhill 19 May 1476
OD/978,977 John Nedeham Wormhill Land in Wormhill, Mylnefeld & Herdwykwall 19 May 1476

tan = Work of Thomas Ashby Needham archived in John Ryland Library, Manchester

Table 2 Property transactions and references to Needham's of Wormhill in 15th Century

 

 

John's son John was also known as 'Black John' Nedham. He lived at Thornsett. He had two, children, Otwell and Christopher. Otwell, the oldest of the sons and John's heir, is thought to have been born around 1440 at Thornsett and had at least two children, Margery and Christopher, his heir.

Christopher, John's second son, is an interesting character. There is now clear evidence that he is the father of James Nedham, a master craftsman, and Henry VIII's Surveyor General; see James Needham in the Famous section. Christopher left Derbyshire in a hurry following the death of one of his father's servants; he settled in Kent. More of him will be found in the Needham's of Hertfordshire.

Additionally, there is a Hugh Nedham who is living in Wormhill. Records in The National Archives refer to him as the son of John and Agnes. There are numerous records of him witnessing the purchase of and himself purchasing land and property in Wormhill. To date there is no definite link of Hugh to the senior Needham family line.

The move to Cowley

The senior Needham line continues through Otwell's son Christopher and is well documented in the Vistitation of 1611. Christopher was born around 1460 at Thornsett, where he resided until his death. He married Elizabeth Shalcross, the daughter of John Shalcross and Agnes Wendesley in 1483. They had seven children: Otwell, his heir, Edward, Tristram, Agnes, Isabel, Arthur and Humphrey. Edward, Tristram, Arthur and Humphrey were thought to have died without issue but Otwell made up for them. In the early 1500's he married Elizabeth Cadman (11) and through her inherited Cowley Hall, which is close to Darley Bridge and the River Derwent. Otwell liked Cowley so much he made it the family home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OS Map 1852

Cowley is the only manor in Derbyshire to have been occupied by the same man, Swein, before and after the Conquest. Swein, owned it in 1066, and by 1086 still occupied it although by now it was owned by Henry de Ferrers. Ten different families have held the manor of Cowley since the Conquest: the de Ferrer's, Collegh's, Cadman's, Needham's, Senior's, Bagshawe's, Fanshawe's, Fitzherbert's, Wall's and Arkwright's.  A goodly cross section of real old Derbyshire houses.(10)

In addition to acquiring Cowley Hall, during the sixteenth-century the Needham's of Thornsett also acquired the moiety's of the manors of Snitterton and Cowley, also in the High Peak Hundred

Otwell and Elizabeth had 16 children: 11 sons: Henry, William, Richard, George, John, Otwell, Edmund, Edward, Tristan, Anthony and Humphrey and 5 daughters: Dorothy, Elizabeth, Letitia, Grace and Eleanor. Tristan, Anthony and John died without issue. The daughters married into some of the most prestigious of Derbyshire families: Elizabeth into the Ratcliffe's, Dorothy the Dakeyne's, and Letitia the Wendesley. Grace married William Bullock.

The expansion of the Needham's from Derbyshire

Otwell and Elizabeth's children and later descendants married well and as we shall see a number of their children and grandchildren moved away from Derbyshire and as a consequence Needham's can be found across the centre counties of England. Otwell's daughter Dorothy married John Dakyn in 1541 and lived at Snitterton Manor House, Richard de Wendesley of Wendesley, married Lettuce Needham, another daughter of Otwell, Elizabeth Needham married Robert Radcliffe of Mellor, Otwell's son William married Margaret Garlick, and Richard Needham (son of Otwell) married Dorothy Eyre of Hassop (another very wealthy family whose lead-mining interests provided for the building of magnificent Hassop Hall).   Otwell died in 1548.

Although the Visitation of 1611 indicates Edward died without issue, it is believed that he married Elizabeth Allertree and had four children. He died in 1562 and is buried in St Helen's Church in Darley Dale. This is the nearest church to Cowley Hall. Edward's three sons, William, Christopher and Henry all moved to Bonsall and died there. More detail is shown in the Needham's of Bonsall.

George meanwhile married the Clare Latte, the daughter of Jasper Latte from Antwerp in Belgium, and had at least one son, Francis. It is unclear where George died but he must have been over eighty. Francis was knighted, bought Melbourne Hall, and as we shall see also acquired Thornsett and Cowley, and eventually died in 1637 at Barking Hall in Suffolk. More can be found on him in the Needham's of Suffolk. In addition, George Needham, a grandson of Francis, married and moved to Lincolnshire. This is detailed in the Needham's of Lincolnshire.

 

As we have seen William married Margaret Garlick and they had six children: Otwell, George, Katherine, Frances, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Margaret was a difficult person and her father, Nicholas Garlick, had a lot of time for William as can be seen from the comments in his will. Summarised Nicholas Garlick's will states:

'He(Nicholas) has taken care to avoid all ambiguities or doubts that might be used on behalf of Margaret, his disobedient daughter, of whom he can have no good hope and does 'with Seynte Paule affirme she hath lost or caste away her former faith and credence', wife of his dearley beloved son-in-law, William Nedham'.

It can't get clearer than that! In 1547 William purchased the moiety of Darley and after his father died in 1548 he established an annuity for his mother. William died at Cowley in 1556 and his son Otwell inherited Thornsett and Cowley.

 

Table 3 Summary of Events since Otwell's death in 1548 leading to sale of Thornsett and Cowley

When Source Who Abode What
1548
Otwell dies
William inherits Thornsett and Cowley
1548
D187/MT/10
William Nedham
William gives mother Elizabeth (Otwell's widow) annuity on his manor Derby
15 Feb 1549
D187/7/1
William Nedeham Thornsett
Bargain and sale by William Nedeham of Thornsett gent to Nicholas Garlecke late of Povyngton, (Dorset), for £123 6s 8d, of messuages, lands etc called Ladshabothom, Beardhalghe, Blackehall and Aspynshaw (naming tenants) in Bawden [Bowden] township, parish Glossop and all messuages, lands etc in places named above and 'Ollercett' and for £20, of Crowderbothom Meadow in Thornsett and Ladshawbothom, paying 16d annually to the chief lords of the fee and service of fealty, 15 Feb 3 Edward VI
1556
William son of Otwell (d 1548)dies; Will
Otwell eldest son of William inherits Thornsett and Cowley
1558 to 1603
C2/Eliz/N4/44
George Nedeham, Henry Needeham, and Francis Needeham v John Needeham
:Claim under a deed of settlement. The moiety of the manors of Darbye [Derby], Cowley [Cowley], Edensor, and Thornsett, and lands in Yelgrave [Youlgreave], Darlye [Darley], Cowley, Edensor, Thornsett, and Glasoppe [Glossop], Derbyshire
1558-1603
C2/Eliz/N1/23
George Nedham & son Henry
Claims under deed of settlement Defendant John Nedham
1558-1603
C2/Eliz/N3/28
George Nedham
Pleadings: Personal matters
1564
Ottiwell Nedeham Cowley
Leased Darley Cowley Edensor Thornsett to Roland Eyre 99yrs
1564
Bag c/2019
Will of Nicholas Garlick
In the preamble to a very complicated document he states he has been a great traveller and had weighty affairs under Thomas, late Duke of Norfolk and Lord Thomas Howard, his younger son, and has been 'dyverse tymes putt in feare that for matters of account and other dutyes or demands to or by theyme', his lands might be put in execution or encumbered; he has therefore had writings and devices made at different times, but now declares his last will. He states he has levied a fine, and that all his lands are held in socage tenure. He has taken care to avoid all ambiguities or doubts that might be used on behalf of Margaret, his disobedient daughter, of whom he can have no good hope and does 'with Seynte Paule affirme she hath lost or caste away her former faith and credence', wife of his dearley beloved son-in-law, William Nedham. He leaves his lands, tenements, etc., in Hardwickwall and Hill to his wife Agnes, for life, as her jointure; other property (not very clearly stated) to be sold to provide for the eight daughters of William Nedham by the said daughter Margaret; to George, second son of William Nedham, a yearly rent of £4; to Otwell Nedham, son and heir of William Nedham, all his manors, lands, etc., in tail male, to whom he also leaves his plate (specified) under certain conditions.
1564
D187/7/5
Richard, Henry & Ottiwell Needham
land rights Thornset Ottiwell given 200marks?
1571
Will of Ottiwell Needham son of William (d1548) d 1570
brother George (f William m Margaret gm Elizabeth uncle Richard ) inherits Thornsett & Cowley
12 Jul 1583
Bag C /2022
George Nedham
Thornsett George Nedham of Thornsett (co. Derby), esquire, to Ralph Blackwall of Cowley (co. Derby), gentleman. All his capital messuage in Hardwickwall (co. Derby), lately in the occupation of Nicholas Gerlicke deceased, with all buildings, etc., and thirty acres of land.
1597
D187/7/6
George Needham,gent
Cowley Ratification of mortagage term & lease of Cowley, Edensor Thorrnsett & Glossop
1597
george Nedeham
Mortgage George Nedeham Cowley & son Henry to Roland Eyre Hasop 99 yrs
1589
Bagc/2026
George Nedham
Colley Will
1 Sept 1599
Bag c/2036
George Nedham
Thornsett Acknowledges indebted to Rowland Eyre for 1224
10 April 1602
Bag C/ 2039
George Needham, Gentleman
Thornsett Raphe Blackwall of Dethicke (co. Derby), esquire to Thomas Eyre of Hampstall Ridware (co. Stafford), gentleman, at the request of George Needham of Thorsett (co. Derby), gentleman. All the capital messuage in Hardwickewall, sometime in the tenure of Nicholas Garlicke, deceased, and also a messuage in Hardwickwall in the tenure of Gervas Torre.
1603
C 2/JasI/N6/47
George & Henry Nedham
glossop Short title: Nedham v Hide. Plaintiffs: George Nedham and Henry Nedham. Defendants: William Hide. Subject: land called Great Aspenshaw in the parish of Glossop, Derbyshire. Document type: [pleadings].
21 jun 1603
Bag C/2040
George Needham, esquire
Thorneseate George Needham of Thorneseate, esquire, bound to Thomas Eyre of Hassop, gentleman, in thirty two pounds, to perform covenants in a deed of even date.
1603
1608
D187/7/8
George Nedham, HenryNedham,
thornsett Assignment of residue of term of mortgage for 99 years by George Nedham of Thornsett esq, his son and heir Henry gent and William Ridge of Hayfield yeoman to Peter Columbell of Darley esq Reciting lease for 99 years and that the residue of the term has come to William Ridge in trust for George and Henry Nedeham, in consideration for £200 paid by Collumbell to Henry Nedham, the residue of the term in the manor of Darley, messuages, lands in Darley were assigned by Ridge to Columbell for residual of term providing that if the £200 is repaid, the assignment will be void Lists names of tenants of the premises 20 Aug 6 James I Endorsed that this deed was shown to John Howson and others at their examination
1609
D187/7/9
george nedham henry nedham
thornsett Covenant to stand seised to uses, by George Nedham of Thornsett esq to Henry Nedham his son and heir, by which George is to stand seised of half the manors of Darley, Cowley and Lees and the messuages, lands etc belonging to the use of Henry and his heirs for ever, and of the manor of Thornsett and lands etc of George in Glossop to the use of George and his wife Katherine for their lives and then to Henry and heirs
1610
D187/7/10
George & son Henry sell Thornsett to Francis Nedham of Melbourne & John Yeomans
cowley Further covenant that the release by George formerly made to Henry of the manors of Darley, Cowley and Lees is to be deemed for the use of Henry and his heirs forever, 14 Feb 6 James I Bargain and sale by George Nedham of Thorsett esq and Henry his son and heir gent to Francis Nedham of Melbourne esq and John Yeomans of Melbourne yeoman for a competent sum, of manors, capital messuage and farm called Thornsett in Glossop parish and deeds etc concerning the premises, to the use of Francis Reciting that Francis Fitzharbert esq, John Beresford and William Cressey gent hold an assignment of a lease of these and other premises, formerly made by Otwell Nedham to Thomas Dakins 4 Dec 8 James I Endorsed .... from my cousins George and Henry Nedham
1611
D187/7/11
george nedham, henr nedham, john nedham
darley, cowley, thornsett Decree of Court of Chancery that the complainants George Nedham esq and Henry Nedham gent are to have the lands in question, George for his life and then Henry and his heirs male, then Richard, a son of George, and his heirs male (with further detail as to the settlement of the lands) Recites the bill of complaint of George and Henry Nedham against John Nedham gent defendant concerning the manors of Darley, Cowley and Enderson [?Edensor] and manor of Thornsett and their settlement, with reference to members of the Nedham family and to Richard Wensley, 22 Jun 9 James I
5 Oct 1611
D187/7/12/1-2
George Needeham of Thornsett & son Henry & others
Assignment of 99y mortgage to Edward Alley on land Fearnbanke Heyheads Great March & Meadow in Glossop
1613
D187/7/13
George Needeham of Thornsett & son Henry & others
Thornsett Assignment of 99y mortgage to Edward Alley on land Fearnbanke Heyheads Great March & Meadow in Glossop
1614
D187/7/14
George Needeham of Thornsett & son Henry & others
Assignment of 99y mortgage to Christopher Wood Emington Leicestershire & John Kendall Melbourne re land in Glossop
1614
TAN
George & Henry Nedham
thornsett Orators - George Nedham of Thornsett & Henry his son & heir apparent by his indenture dated 17 Nov 7Eliz did demise his Manors messes, lands tents in the towns villages & parishes of Youlgreave, Darley, Colley, Endesor & Thornsett for term of 99 years settled Wm Francis Fitzherbert, , John Beresford & Wm Cressyse in trust to & for use of George & Henry Nedham
1614
TAN
George & Henry Nedham
wales George & Henry were forced to sell their inheritance but Hide was stopping them
1614(after) 1616(before)
Death of George Needham
  Henry becomes heir of Thornsett and Cowley on his fathers death
1616
D187/7/17
george nedham, henry , marchmount nedham, francis nedham, john & richard nedham
melbourne & thornsett Mortgage by bargain and sale by Henry Nedham gent son and heir of George of Thornsett esq and Marchamont Nedham gent son and heir of John late of Osmaston next Derby gent deceased who was heir of Richard Nedham late of Snitterton gent deceased to Francis Nedham of Melbourne esq and John Yeomans servant to Francis, of various sums paid by Francis to Henry and Marchamont and to secure Francis for other sums of money in which he is bound for Henry amounting in all to £1664, of manor and capital messuage of Thornsett Hall and named lands; the repayment to be made 24 May next at Royal Exchange [20 Oct]r 14 James I
1617
D187/7/18
george nedham, henry , marchmount nedham, francis nedham, john & richard nedham
melbourne & thornsett Mortgage by bargain and sale by Mortgage by bargain and sale by Henry Nedham gent son and heir of George of Thornsett esq and Marchamont Nedham gent son and heir of John late of Osmaston next Derby gent deceased but the name Marchamont spelt Marchaumont, to Francis Nedham of Melbourne esq and John Yeomans servant to Francis, for payments, bonds etc now amounting to £2, 184, of manor and capital messuage of Thornsett Hall and named lands; to be repaid 24 May 1618 [3 Nov] 15 James I
24 May 1618
D187/7/18
Henry son heir George of Thornsett
to Francis Nedham payment bonds of Thornsett & lands £2184
1623
Jac I Bundle 2No 74; TAN
Henry Nedham
derbyshire The plaintiff is near kinsman to this defendant and his father – Marchimount Needham and his kinsman of this defendants' had some interest in the lands to be mortgaged – This defendant being to have a trial for part of his wifes lands and to bring a jury out of Shropshire and divers witnesses out of Wales unto the Exchequer barr at Westminster – mention of the original lease made by defendants ucle Ottiwell Needham unto one Thomas Daken of Caylice Hall Derby Gent
1623
Jac I Bundle 2No 74; TAN
Henry Nedham
thornsett ( Henry Needham seems to have been acting in concert with Sir Francis Needham to compel his father to execute the mortgage of Thornsett Hall(
1626/7
D187/7/21
george nedham
thornsett Bargain and sale by George Nedham of Thornsett esq, wife Katherine and Henry, George's son and heir, gent to Sir Francis Nedham of Melbourne, in performance of a decree of chancery dated 23 Apr last, of Thornsett Hall and giving field names, also deeds concerning the premises, [8 May] 3 Charles I
D187/7/22
George Needham & son Henry
Injunction: must give possession of Thornsett Hall to Francis Needham
15 jun 1627
D187/7/23
Henry Needham Owestry
Owestry to Francis Needham/John Yeomans £2184 not having been paid

Table 3 Summary of Events since Otwell's death in 1548 leading to sale of Thornsett and Cowley

The demise of the Needham's of Thornsett

Otwell's eldest son, another Otwell, died young and on his death in 1570, Thornsett and Cowley passed to his brother George. In his will Otwell was concerned about his brother. George was a baby when his father died and was only 15 when Otwell died. His mother had remarried and as a consequence George had little schooling and had according to Otwell's will (12) he had:

' fall(en) to use and haunt other lewd behaviour and exercises at alehouses haunting cards and dice unthrifty and unlawful games and lewd behaviour'.

As a consequence Otwell put conditions on George inheriting his estate, insisting that George change his behaviour and get an education. He would inherit fully Otwell's estate when he was 21, but only if he improved his ways. In the ensuing period a number of claims were made against the wills of William and Otwell by Otwell's sons (William's brothers) viz John, Otwell and Marchmount Nedham (John's son). George must have met the requirements of his brothers will because he did inherit. HOWEVER, George's past caught up with him. He owed £700 to William Ffrost a 'citizen and haberdasher' from London. His heirs took out proceedings against George the outcome being:

' Certain manors, lands, tenements, etc., in Thornsett, Glossop, Hardwickwall, Hill, Tydswall, Bradway, Hope, Hollington, Longford, Breylsford, Shyrle, Darley and Cowley (co. Derby) delivered to ffrost by the Sheriff of the county upon a statute of George Nedeham of Thornsett, esquire, to hold until Nedeham's debt of £700 and damages should be discharged; for a certain sum of money, to hold for forty years or until the debt is discharged'

George clearly had run up large debts which may have been contributory to what happened next.

George married Katherine Eyre and they had seven children including the eldest Henry Needham. Henry was born in the second half of the 16th century and married Dorothy Williams from Wales. Dorothy and Henry had two children, Dorothy and William who were born in 1600 and 1603 respectively, however, Dorothy died and in 1614 Henry married Hester Hardcastle and they had four children. It now gets complicated but it is important to understand as it leads to the Needham's losing both Thornsett and Cowley.

In 1599 Henry Needham (great grandson of Otwell) of Thornsett, was granted a licence by the Duchy of Lancaster to mine for coal,. A number of people have concluded that this was a major drain on family resource. It may have been contributory in the Needham 's loosing Thornsett and Cowley but other factors, including as we have already seen his profligacy, are thought to be much more important.

Dorothy, Henry's first wife was the only child of Owain Williams. Owain was the eldest son of William Williams who had been the sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1571 and 1592 , and of Montgomeryshire in 1589 and 1596 . William died in 1612 and his second eldest son, Henry William, inherited his estate. Henry Needham put in claims on behalf of his son William for his share to the estate

Table 4 Henry's Attempts to claim inheritance for his son WIlliam

Document Who Where What date Source
C 2/JasI/N4/54 william Nedham & Henry Nedham wales Short title: Nedham v Egerton. Plaintiffs: William Nedham, by Henry Nedham his guardian. Defendants: Sir John Egerton, Henry Mosten and William Griffith. Subject: messuages and lands in Bodveys and Cowrion, Caernarvonshire. Document type: [pleadings]. 01/01/1603 The National Archives
STAC 8/220/7 henry nedham wales Nedham v. Williams, Bagot and others: Caernarvonshire. 04/03/1603 Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, James I.
STAC 8/222/33 henry nedham wales Needham v. Lloyd, Salisbury, Wynne, Gryffith: Denbigh. 04/03/1603 Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, James I.
STAC 8/305/25 henry nedham wales Williams v. Needham, Ridgway, Gruffith, Coytmor and others: Caernarvonshire. 04/03/1603 Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, James I.
C 2/JasI/N1/77 Henry Nedham wales Short title: Nedham v Egerton. Plaintiffs: Henry Nedham and Dorothy Nedham his wife (daughter of Owen Williams). Defendants: Sir John Egerton, Henry Mosten and William Griffith. Subject: tenements and lands in Bodvayo and Corowen, Caernarvonshire. Document type: [pleadings]. 01/01/1603 The National Archives
STAC 8/220/7 henry nedham wales Nedham v. Williams, Bagot and others: Caernarvonshire. 04/03/1603 The National Archives
D187/7/7 Henry Nedeham Assignment by William Ridge of Hayfield yeoman Francis Fitzherbert of Tissington esq, John Basford of Newton Grange and William Cressey of Oldcote, (Nottinghamshire) gent of residue of term of 99 years which came to him and to Robert Daken of Hazelwood gent (now deceased) to hold to the use of Henry Nedeham 20 Aug 6 James I 01/01/1608 Derbyshire Record Office
STAC 8/21/24 henry nedham wales Short title: Attorney General v Nedham. Plaintiffs: Sir Francis Bacon, Attorney General, at the relation of Henry Williams esq. Defendants: Henry Nedham, William Griffith, Robert Coetmore, Reynold Rutter, James Ridgeway, and Rowland ap Ievan. Subject: Lands of William Williams of Cochwillan, called 'Collwillan' and lands in Bodvayo, Aber and Corrorion, which he granted in tail male to his son Owen Williams, who died without heirs male. Caernarvonshire. Barnes category: conspiracy; conspiracy to indict; perjury; unlawful assembly; subornation; contempt; vexatious litigation. Another action was also brought before the Star Chamber: cross suit or shoring action was also brought. 01/02/1614 The National Archives
STAC 8/21/24 henry nedham wales Short title: Attorney General v Nedham. Plaintiffs: Sir Francis Bacon, Attorney General, at the relation of Henry Williams esq. Defendants: Henry Nedham, William Griffith, Robert Coetmore, Reynold Rutter, James Ridgeway, and Rowland ap Ievan. Subject: Lands of William Williams of Cochwillan, called 'Collwillan' and lands in Bodvayo, Aber and Corrorion, which he granted in tail male to his son Owen Williams, who died without heirs male. Caernarvonshire. Barnes category: conspiracy; conspiracy to indict; perjury; unlawful assembly; subornation; contempt; vexatious litigation. Another action was also brought before the Star Chamber: cross suit or shoring action was also brought. 01/02/1614 Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, James I.
TAN Henry Nedham wales Henry had taken Henry Williams to the Star Chamber at Westminster on behalf of his son William Nedham for divers Manors, messes and lands in Wales 1614 chancery
TAN Henry Nedham wales Henry Nedham had become indebted and enforced to borrow large sums 1614 chancery
TAN Henry Nedham wales Henry had borrowed £146 from William Hide and wanted his money 1614 chancery

 

Immediately after his father's death in Feb. 1612, Henry William undertook to sell Cochwillan and lands in Caernarvonshire for £1,000 to Sir William Herbert of Montgomeryshire in order to defray his debts; the sale was frustrated by Henry Needham, acting for his son, who refused to surrender his wife's claim to a share in the estate and took his claim to court. Henry Williams was mortgaging lands in   Creuddyn in 1613 and a series of complicated lawsuits with Henry Needham further taxed his resources. By a process which is obscure, Cochwillan and the Caernarvonshire property was purchased c.1620 by Henry Williams's cousin, John Williams.  

Because of the cost of the law suits Henry ran into debt. He attempted to raise money to fund his son's claims by trying to force individuals to repay loans he and his father had lent them. In a final desperation he persuaded his father George to mortgage both Thornsett and Cowley. However, the claims in Wales rumbled on and Henry's debts continued to rise. Eventually George and Henry were forced to sell both Thornsett and Cowley. During this process George Needham died in 1616. Henry inherited Thornsett and Cowley and finally in 1627 Henry sold both to clear his debts. Sir Francis Needham and his servant John Yeoman bought Thornsett and Cowley and immediately sold them on. Henry by now had moved his family to Oswestry to pursue his claims on the Williams estate. It was here that his Nathaniel Needham was born and died in 1626. It is unclear what subsequently happens to Henry and his family . If you can help please contact the administrator.

Places Needham's Lived

Although the main ancestral line of Needham's lived in Halls and Manor houses there offspring spread out firstly into Derbsyhire then off into other counties. The places where Needham's are known to have lived in Derbyshire are detailed with the date of first occurrence; they are shown in a two maps.The main source of data is parish records. But a word of warning as you must recognise that these records don't start until 1537 - where they exist . Earlier data comes from records in National or County Archives. So all the data should be pedigreed , unless you know otherwise

 

Map1 Registration Districts of Needham residences

The first map shows the registration districts where Needham's are known to have lived in Derbyshire . Each district is colour coded displaying the earliest known occurrence. The darker the colour the earlier the date. The Needham's are known to have lived in High Needham from1155; High Needham is in the NW corner of the Ashbourne District (Ash)

Map 2 Places in Derbyshire where Needhams' lived

 

 

The second map shows the places where they lived. Again each place is colour coded in the same way as map one. The darker the colour the earlier the date. The darkest place is High Needham; it is a rather bleak setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Needham, where the Needham's originated, is situated in the top NW corner of the Ashbourne (ASHB) district - you'll note I don't know how to overlay a text box. The Needham's lived in small holdings/hamlets clustered between High Needham and Buxton. As you would expect over time they spread out into other parts of the county and as we shall see into other counties; this is shown in the timeline summary.

 

 

A list of places where the Needham's are known to have lived in Derbyshire is detailed in the table below

Place Year
High Needham 1155
Thornsett 1345
Castleton 1362
Wormhill 1410
Darley 1520
Bonsall 1530
Staveley 1561
Youlgreave 1572
Chesterfield 1580
North Wingfield 1589
Baslow 1590
Melbourne 1592
Chelmorton 1596
Hope 1604
Flagg 1607
Burbage 1610
Derby 1611
High Needham 1611
Fernydale 1612
Earl Sterndale 1613
Counterscliffe 1616
Foxlowe 1616
Greene 1616
Bakewell 1619
Eckington 1619
Cronxton 1625
Alport 1631
Middleton 1638
Great Longstone 1639
Tideswell 1640
Sheldon 1643
Heathfield 1647
Duffield 1650
Hanson Grange 1658
Taddington 1661
Westown 1662
Ashover 1662
Pindale 1678
Staden 1678
Old Brampton 1680
Repton 1689
Hathersage 1691
Findern 1693
Woodland 1698
Norton 1700
Peak Forest 1701
Wirksworth 1706
Higher Foxlow 1708
Lower Foxlow 1708
Fernhouses 1711
Dovehead 1711
Turncliffe 1715
Brandside 1718
Brook 1720
Buxton 1720
Litton 1720
Elton 1734
Eyam 1742
Stoop 1743
Nether Foxlow 1745
Grindlow 1756
Shatton 1756
Crowdicote 1763
Meadow 1764
Hargatewall 1766
Wheeldon Trees 1767
Biggin 1770
Holmesfield 1771
Priestcliff 1775
The Ditch 1778
Newbold 1780
Tapton 1782
Dronfield 1786
Hurdlow 1787
Chapel en le Frith 1790
Ashford on Water 1792
Heathcote 1793

 

References

  1. Some notes on Needham ; Compiled by C Mather; Needham Vicarage, Needham, Norfolk
  2. Blomefield, Francis, History of Norfolk (1806)
  3. Burke's Peerage, Earls of Kilmorey, p. 1580, 106th edition (Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1999).   Needham is the modern spelling.
  4. Burke's General Armory p.725 (Burke's Peerage, 1884).
  5. The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire by Joseph Tilley Vol. I (1892) ( Tilley Vol I) ,, p. 103
  6. The Derbyshire Country House by Maxwell Craven and Michael Stanley (Landmark Publishing 2001), p. 175 (Craven & Stanley) .
  7. A History of Derbyshire by Gladwyn Turbutt Merton Priory Press 1999  p.578 .
  8. The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire by Joseph Tilley Vol. I (1892) ( Tilley Vol I) , p. 153
  9. A History of Derbyshire by Gladwyn Turbutt Merton Priory Press 1999 p. 477
  10. The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire by Joseph Tilley Vol. I (1892) ( Tilley Vol I) , p. 103.
  11. Derbyshire Life March 1982 p. 42, article by Maxwell Craven.
  12. Will of Otwell Needham transcribed by Rowena Clarke

 

 

 

 

 

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