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And if anybody cares to search out Chancery Records, here are some notes which may be helpful. On introducing one friend who claimed descent from Sir Isaac Newton's mother, to a second friend preferring the same claim, I remember an uneasy look which came over friend Secundus, when I suggested in badinage, that friend Primus 'might possibly lay claim' to a few acres (I think it was) that came down from the lady in question. It is to be hoped that no Davenport will be made similarly uneasy by the following memoranda, and any ghost of Wrottesleys and Talbots it may suggest the idea of.
Chancery Proceedings—James I.
iWilliam Davenporte, of Chorley (son and heir apparent of Henry Davenporte, of Chorley, co. Chester), Gent., and Jane, his wife, versus Walter Wrottesley, of Wrottesley, Staff., Esq., and Joyce his wife.
'Estate of Francis Bromley, of Hawnde, Salop, Esq., deceased, father of said Jane. Joyce is mother of Jane; Francis was son of Sir George and Dame Jane Bromley.
'The defendants state "that about September last past was twelvemonth . . . the said comp1'- Jane being then young was by some practices or persuasions of the comp1'- Wtt Davenporte (a man in worth and estate far unworthy of such a match, as these def5- verily think) privily enticed & stolen away from these def5- house at Wrottesley & married to him the comp1'- William."
'William D. says that he was every way worthy to match with the said Jane, and that the said marriage was no disparagement at all to her, neither did he entice or steal her away.
'1650—Henry Davenport, of Hallon, alias Hawne, Salop, Esq., versus Thos. Hamond and others.
'1655—Henry Davenport (same as above) versus John Mornall and others.
'1657—John Bromley, of Claines, Worcester, versus Henry Davenport and others. '1658—Henry Davenport, Esq., versus John Bromley, and others. '1674—Sir Walter Wrottesley, of Wrottesley, in co. Stafford, versus Henry Davenport, Esq., and Lettice Davenport, widow, and others. '1677-8—Davenport versus Talbot.
'Henry Davenport, of Hallon, in co. Salop, Esq., plaintiff. His father, Henry Davenport, of Hallon, was seized in fee of a messuage called Stonehouse, &c. Sec. '1679—Answer of Henry Davenport, Esq., about manor of Prees, co. Salop. '1681—Davenport versus Talbot.
'Lettice Davenport, of Hallon, widow, aged 64, one of the witnesses. '1687—Another suit, in which allusion is made to the custom of the Manor of Worfield.
'1696—George Talbott, late of Worfield, in co. Salop, Esq. versus Henry Davenport, of Hallon, co. Salop, Esq. 'Rectory and tithes of Worfield.
'1722—Bill of complaint of Mary Elizabeth Davenport, Sharington Davenport, and Mary Lucy alias Lucissa Davenport, infants.'
Chancery B. and A.
'1723—Henry Davenport, of Worfield, Salop, Esq., Sharrington Davenport, John Warten, and others, inhabitants, parishioners, and landowners of Worfield versus John Weaver, Esq.
'Touching a bequest by William Lloyd and Thomas Parker, of London, made 10 James I., of property in Bridgenorth, for maintenance of a school and schoolmaster in parish of Worfield.'
The original name was Damport, it appears, and it is curious that a little story ran its way last year through a Church newspaper of the Lichfield Diocese in which that name, 'Damport,' again and again appears. Also, in the amazingly quaint MSS. of Elias Ashmole, armiger, commonly called the Ashmolean MSS., the name appears in that same shortened form of Damport. Ashmole gives the brief pedigree of one John Damport or (it reads like) Daunport, of Grendon, co. Warwick, certified by five people whose names are not historical. There is a Grendon in Warwickshire, as there is a Grendon in Buckinghamshire, the latter possessing the veritable ' bank where the wild thyme grows,' immortalised by Shakespeare, and a Grendon elsewhere, beside the Damport Grendon of the Ashmolean; it appears certain that it was the Warwickshire Grendon at which John Damport was located, though there is a connection between this Buckinghamshire Shakespearean Grendon and the other which is too intricate and labyrinthine to examine.
With one more note this chief Worfield family, or rather Worfield branch of the great Cheshire and Staffordshire family, may be left. There is at the end of Duke's 'Antiquities of Shropshire,' a list of published portraits of Shropshire worthies. Among them is mentioned a portrait of William Yelverton Davenport, Esq., and also one of' the poet Thompson who visited Shenstone at the Leasowes,' and was probably known to the Davenports. There is also (though this is scarcely the place in which to note it) mention of a portrait of Mrs. Whitmore, of Apley Park, painted after Phillips, by Turner; several portraits of Littletons, and one of John Brickdale Blakeway, the Shropshire historian. These are all more or less connected with Worfield or the Davenport family.
BARKER OF HALLON.
Of this family, connected with that of Davenport in past times, the following interesting sketch is kindly furnished by one of its present representatives.
'The name of this family first appears in the records of the manor of Hallon towards the close of the reign of Edward II. The first member named is William Le Barker, and it seems highly probable that he was a member of another family which had been situated in the north of the county, and being driven thence through the political troubles of that time, had obtained land in Hallon, and assumed the above name for purposes of concealment. This appears from the evidence of the Visitations of the County, which all commence the genealogy of the family with Randulph de Calverhall, and afterwards continue the line as Barker alias Calverhall, or Coverall. Now, Calverhall was a member of the ancient Manor of Adderley, near Ightfield, and from the history of that Manor, it appears that it was held in capite of the king, by Bartholomew de Badlesmere, in the time of Edward II. This Baron had the misfortune to displease Isabella, the imperious Queen of that monarch, when, as Governor of Ledes Castle in Kent, he refused admission to her retinue, on their way to Canterbury. So great was the displeasure of that Monarch, that he pursued the unfortunate Baron with unrelenting hostility, until he was finally beheaded, and all his estates forfeited to the Crown. It seems probable that at this time, the undertenants shared in the disgrace of their lord, and that one of them, William De Calverhall, fled from the north of the county, and reappeared at Hallon under the assumed name of William Le Barker. At all events this person is found in possession of the Manor of Hallon, and was succeeded in the early part of the reign of Edward III. by his son,
'roger Le Barker, who died in the year 1368, seised of this manor, which upon his death vested in Alice his wife, for in 1369 she settled half a messuage and nook of land upon each of her sons, William and Roger.
'william Barker of Hallon, her son, died in 1411, having married Margery, daughter of William Whorwood, a family of distinction in that neighbourhood, and was succeeded by
'Henry Barker of Hallon, who in 1403 obtained from William Whorwood and Joan, his wife, a toft called Chamberlain's Yard, and half yard land called Massey's Land, with other estates, and died there in 1438, having married Margery the heiress of Stephen Lovestick, of Hallon, who appears to have brought with her considerable property. Henry Barker had likewise a brother, Robert Barker, who shared with him the paternal inheritance, since we find his descendants for nine generations possessors of land there, the last on record dying in the reign of James II.
'William Barker, son and heir of Henry, seems to have possessed the bulk of the heritage, and having before 1425 married Ann, the daughter of John Colynson Rowley, of Rowley, in the parish of Worfield, died in the year 1480, leaving two sons. John Barker, the 2nd son, who married the heiress of William Grene, of Aston, in the parish of Clewerly, and became progenitor of the Barkers of Aston, a family who continued in possession of that estate for ten generations, the youngest son always inheriting, according to the custom of the Manor, while the elder became the founders of families at Calverhall, Coulchurst, Wolverton, &c. in the north of the county, at Haghmond Abbey, near Shrewsbury, and at Hopton Castle in the south. The eldest son, however,
'George Barker, continued in possession of the Manor of Hallon, and having
married Ellen, the daughter of Cumber, of Rimer, co. Stafford, left Ann, an only
daughter and heiress, who married first William Day, by whom she left no issue surviving, and 2ndly, William Waverton, son of John Waverton by the daughter of Leighton, of Leighton, co. Salop, and left Joan, only daughter and heiress, who married George Bromley, Justice of Chester in 1581. He was descended from a family long resident in the parish of Worfield, and had a son,
'Francis Bromley, of Hallon, who married Joyce, the daughter of Sir Edward Leighton, of Wattlesborough, in the county of Salop, and left an only daughter and heiress,
'Jane Bromley, who marrying William Davenport, descended from the ancient family of Davenport, of the county of Chester, and founded the family of that name which still possesses the property in this parish.
There are or have been many other families of importance, of fame, or of notoriety. The Whitehills, who lived for a time at Worfield House, now used as the Vicarage, were well known in India, France and other parts of the world; their history touching at certain small points such names and families as Talleyrand, Marquis Spinoza, the Pigotts, "Madame Grant" or Le Grand, and others. Lovers of scandal in high life will not be likely to be among readers of this book, or they might be referred for an account of the Whitehills to Blakeway's MSS. in the Bodleian. John Whitehill was sent to restore Lord Pigot to the governorship of Madras, and arrived 'by way of Suez' in the last century.
Mrs. Fitzherbert. 'My father,' says a Davenport aunt of the present squire, 'came into possession, and I remember all William Yelverton Davenport's old papers and letters being looked over and destroyed; I as a girl rescued those scraps of Shenstone's poetry. When Davenport House was let, Mrs. Fitzherbert's family (Smith?) lived there a short time, and she with them.' I hope my friend who thus writes will live to see this book completed, and read this memorandum, which must call back long past times and stir up deep feelings. The young girl rescuing scraps of Shenstone! Well,—she lives now within a drive of her ancestral home, while these lines are being written, and can almost see the spire that must have peeped over the big trees at her when she 'rescued the scraps' of unpublished Shenstone, some half