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William Clopton, Lord of the manors[1, 2, 3]

Male 1551 - 1616  (65 years)

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  • Name William Clopton 
    Suffix Lord of the manors 
    Birth 1551  Groton, Suffolk County, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    FamilySearch ID MH9Q-7VV 
    FamilySearch URL 
    Death 8 Aug 1616  Groton, Suffolk County, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial 19 Aug 1616  St. Bartholomew's Church, Groton, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I707  Main
    Last Modified 27 Jul 2017 

    Father Richard Clopton   d. Bef 28 Nov 1615 
    Mother Margery Playters   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F306  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margery Waldegrave   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Marriage Abt 1548 
    +1. Walter Clopton,   b. Bef 30 Jun 1585, Groton, Suffolk County, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1622, Boxted, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 36 years)
    Family ID F305  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 30 Sep 2009 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1551 - Groton, Suffolk County, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 8 Aug 1616 - Groton, Suffolk County, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 19 Aug 1616 - St. Bartholomew's Church, Groton, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Documents
    Clopton - Antique Pedigree
    Harleian Clopton Pedigree
    See this person on the Clopton Pedigree from the Harleian Manuscript collection in the British Museum in London. Click on red dots superimposed on chart to link to other entries in this database.

  • Notes 
    • From

      William Clopton, Lord of the Manors of Castelyns and Ramsden Belhous

      William Clopton was the son and heir of Richard Clopton, Gentleman, of Fore Hall and the Manor of Castelyns and his second wife, Margery Playters. William’s uncle, Francis Clopton died without issue and in his will dated February 22, 1558, proved July 7, 1559, names his "nephew William Clopton, son of my brother Richard Clopton" his heir. He married Margery Waldegrave the daughter of Edward Waldegrave, Gentleman, of Lawford Hall in Essex and Joan Acworth Bulmer.

      In light of the family’s unerring ability to irritate kings, it was probably a good thing we migrated to Virginia. With breathtaking regularity one kin or another was being hauled to the Tower of London and threatened with beheading or worse. The close connections with royalty gave the family ample opportunity to hone this questionable talent. And Edward Waldegrave and Joan Acworth Bulmer established a benchmark in this arena which has not been surpassed by any of their Clopton descendants despite the passage of centuries.

      It must be remembered that Dame Katherine Mylde Clopton married Sir William de Tendring following the death of her first husband, Sir Thomas de Cloptone. This marriage linked the Clopton family to the Howard family and thus, to the English queens Ann Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Elizabeth I. And later Sir William Clopton’s wife, Lady Thomasine Knevet(Knyvet), would add direct lines of Royal descent. Margery Waldegrave’s family was also closely connected with the ruling houses of Europe. The Waldegraves were an ancient family. They flourished in England before the Conquest, in Northampton. Their name, of German origin was given to the parish of Waldegrave.

      Katherine was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard. Sir Howard was rather lazy and never amounted to very much. She was brought up poor despite the grandeur of her Howard lineage. The Howard clan was a big one. Lord Edmund had twenty-two brothers and sisters. Nine of them lived long enough to marry. Katherine’s mother, Jocasta (Joyce) Culpepper, gave birth to six or seven children before dying when Katherine was quite young. By 1527 he found himself a widower for the second time. There were ten children in all in his keeping and as was a common practice he immediately started farming them out to various relatives.

      Katherine eventually found herself in the Lambeth household of her step-grandmother, Agnes Duchess of Norfolk. Duchess Agnes provided a home for numerous cousins including Howards and Knyvets. Just as sons were sent away from home to gain additional training for knighthood, girls were often sent into the care of another woman. This practice continued well into the seventeenth century. Katherine shared this magnificent home with our fair Joan.

      Joan was the daughter of George Acworth of Luton, Bedfordshire, heir of her mother Margaret Wilberforce. Joan married William Bulmer, son of Sir John Bulmer. It was not a happy marriage and there were no children. She left her husband and joined the boisterous throng of Duchess Agnes and she and Katherine became close friends.

      Two young gallants, Francis Dereham and Edward Waldegrave, who was a gentleman in waiting on the Duchess, wooed the girls. And young people being young people in a huge house boasting halls and closets, and chambers both large and small, found ways to meet secretly at night. Dereham and Waldegrave would lie on the girls’ beds in the night hours up to dawn. Love tokens were exchanged and nature took its course, as nature always seems to do.

      By the time Katherine was appointed to the household of Queen Anna of Cleves, she had transferred her affections to another, Thomas Culpeper a distant Howard cousin. She was eighteen or nineteen by then. But before that little romance could go very far, the King Henry VII saw her and fell instantly and completely in love with her.

      The morning after his marriage to Anna of Cleves, Lord Cromwell inquired of the King, "How liked you the Queen." The King replied, "I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse." This was not a hopeful sign. So it wasn’t entirely difficult for Katherine Howard, a young and lovely girl recently brought to court to serve as one of six maid-in-waiting to the new Queen, to catch his eye.

      The Howards and their kin were stunned and thrilled by the turn of events. How to keep the King ignorant that the woman he called his "blushing rose without a thorn" was slightly wilted must have caused Duchess Agnes a few anxious moments.

      After efficiently and with surprising ease divorcing Queen Anna, King Edward, roughly thirty years older than Katherine, took her as his fifth wife on July 28, 1540. A few days before, on July 12, Joan, her partner in the nocturnal romps at Lambeth, wrote her a letter stating she had learned of her friend’s great destiny, and would she, Katherine, now please send for her to court? And what a cozy arrangement this turned out to be. Brought to court were her merry companions, and at the urging of Duchess Agnes, Francis Dereham was made her secretary.

      The king was old and grossly overweight and Katherine was young and healthy and filled with a lusty love of life. She and Thomas Culpeper recklessly renewed their involvement. It was only a matter of time before the King was made aware of the affair. Dereham was hauled off to the Tower and tortured. Culpeper, Joan and Edward soon joined him. Taken, too, were the children belonging to the prisoners. The Tower was so crowded the Royal Apartments were opened to house the unfortunate prisoners.

      From documents regarding the conviction of Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham of High Treason in committing adultery with Queen Katherine Howard and of the others of concealment in December 1542, we read:

      The "Jurors further find that the said Katherine Tylney, Alice Restwold, wife of Anthony Restwold, of the same place, Gentleman; Joan Bulmer wife of William Bulmer, of the same place, Gentleman; Anna Howard, wife of Henry Howard late of Lambeth, Esq.; Robert Damporte late of the same place, Gentleman; Malena Tylney late of the same place, widow; and Margaret Benet, wife of John Benet, late of the same place, Gentleman; knowing the wicked life of the Queen and Dereham, did conceal the same from the King and all his Councillors. And that this said Agnes, Duchess of Norfolk, with whom the queen had been educated from her youth upward; William Howard, late of Lambeth, uncle of the Queen and one of the King’s Councillors; Margaret Howard, wife of William Howard; Katherine, Countess of Bridgewater, late of Lambeth, otherwise Katherine the wife of Henry, Earl of Bridgewater; Edward Waldegrave late of Lambeth, Gentleman; and William Asheley, late of Lambeth, in the county of Surrey, knowing that certain letters and papers had been taken from a chest and concealing the information from the King.

      …Katherine Tylney, Alice Restwold, Joan Bulmer, Anna Howard, Malena Tylney, Margaret Benet, Margaret Howard, Edward Waldegrave, and William Asheley are brought to the Bar by the Constable of the Tower, and being severally arraigned as well upon the Surrey Indictment, as the Indictments for Kent, and Middlesex, they pleaded guilty.

      JUDGEMENT: they shall be severally taken back by the Constable of the Tower, and in the same Tower, or elsewhere, as the King shall direct, be kept in perpetual imprisonment and that all their goods and chattels shall be forfeited to the King, and their lands and tenements seized into the King’s hands.

      Joan and Edward were released and pardoned within ten months as were some of the others. But their old friends met with horrifying ends. Dereham’s death was accompanied by disembowelling and castration while still conscious. Culpeper had "his head striken off." And Katherine Howard was executed on the same block in the same place as her cousin Anne Boleyn not quite six years previously.

      After the death of her husband Joan married Edward about 1556.

      Following his release from prison and marriage to Joan, Edward bought a reversionary interest in Lawford Hall from the Crown in 1560, and after obtaining a lifetime lease of the Manor, he entirely rebuilt the Hall. They had five children: Edward, Anne Waldegrave Monox, Mary Waldegrave Ashtley, Bridget Waldegrave Keightley; and Margery(Margaret) who married William Clopton. Joan was buried December 10, 1590 in Lawford Church. Edward died August 13, 1584. Their commemorative tomb shows two kneeling figures with the Waldegrave arms beneath. The inscription reads: The end of the just is peace.

      The past "unpleasantness" involving Edward and Joan evidently did not preclude the general opinion that by marrying Margery, William Clopton consolidated his status and rank. William and Margery had ten children and every one of them lived to adulthood and all except one son married. Their children were: Anne Clopton Maidstone; Bridgett Clopton Sampson; Thomasine Clopton Winthorp who became Governor of Massachusetts; William Clopton son and heir; Walter Clopton who also married into the Maidstone family; Waldegrave Clopton; Mary Clopton Jenney; Margery Clopton; The Reverend Thomas Clopton, Curate of Ramsden Belhouse; and Elizabeth Clopton Cocke.

      Ever true to family tradition, William managed to be tossed into prison. In November 1608 he was imprisoned in the Fleet Prison in London. He became involved, possibly as a Trustee in a local land dispute. Charged with him of contempt, were two other men, Dr. John Duke of Colchester, a physician, and Mr. Brampton Gurdon of Assington a powerful local magnate. All three were of the highest rank locally and their arrest was shocking. They languished in jail until December 22, 1608 when they were released. The court adjudged that they had purged their contempt, and in the words of their counsel: They are men of good fashion and credit in the countye and good householders there.

      William died August 8, 1616. He and Margery are buried at St. Bartholomew’s Church at Groton.

      Notes from:

      William CLOPTON served as a Justice for the Hundred of Babrega in 1614. He died on 9 Aug 1615. He was buried on 19 Aug 1615 in Groton Church, Groton, County Suffolk, England.

      Lord of the Manors of Castelyns in Suffolk and Ramsden Belhouse in County Essex. Heir to his uncle Francis Clopton.

      His death is noted in Adam Winthrope's diary.

      With a sharp eye the couple made good marriages for their children. The Sampson, Winthrop, and Doggett families would all send forth their offspring to settle in the new American colonies. Through intermarriage the Cloptons would be connected to the Josselyns, Gosnolds, Bradfords.

      It was at Groton William Clopton formed a close friendship with Adam Winthrop, his name often appearing in Winthrop’s diary. The two managed the affairs of Groton. Thomasine Clopton married Adam’s son, John, the future Governor of Massachusetts, indeed, the Cloptons and Winthrops were related to just about every family of importance at Groton. They concerned themselves with the education of Groton scholars, male, of course, because girls were educated at home. Adam and John Winthrop, and William and Thomas Clopton are named in the articles of incorporation of the Boxford Grammar School, granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1596.

      Ever true to Clopton family tradition, William managed to be tossed into prison at least once. In November 1608 he was imprisoned in the Fleet Prison near the city of London. He became involved, possibly as a Trustee, in a local land dispute. Charged with him for contempt, were two other men, Dr. John Duke, and Brampton Gurdon, armiger, of Assington, a powerful local magnate. All three were of the highest rank locally, and their arrest was shocking.

      Fleet Prison, situated on the eastern bank of the Fleet River, just outside the city walls, was a profit-making enterprise. Nothing was free. The food and lodging were paid for by the prisoners. So too, were there fees for turning keys, putting irons on and for taking them off. The poorest prisoners were lodged in the dungeons, known as Bartholomew Fair. No doubt our little band chose to live either in the expensive quarters on the Master’s Side, or took lodgings close to the prison.

      They languished in jail until December 22, 1608 when they were released. The court adjudged that they had purged their contempt, and in the words of their counsel: They are men of good fashion and credit in the countye and good householders there.

      The descendants of William Clopton and Margery Waldegrave are eligible to belong to The Descendants of the Knights of the Garter. King Edward III founded the Knights of the Garter in 1348 as a noble fraternity consisting of the King, the Prince of Wales and 24 Knights Companion. This group was chosen for their chivalry and their valor at the Battle of Cre’cy in France two years earlier. The Society of the Friends of St. George’s and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter was established in 1931 and exists to help in preserving St. George’s Chapel and in providing the necessary furnishings and equipment for this historic but living church, which is the shrine on the Order of the Order of the Garter. It is the burial place of many British sovereigns. On June 19, 1999, Edward Windsor, Earl of Wessex, and son of Queen Elizabeth, II., married Sophie Rhys-Jones, now the Countess of Wessex at St. George’s Chapel. [4]

  • Sources 
    1. [S2] John S. Howell, Jr., JSH Feb 13 2003 gedcom.

    2. [S24] Clopton Family Association, (The Clopton Family Association -, which was replaced by

    3. [SAuth] John Spencer Howell, Jr., John Spencer Howell, Jr., (

    4. [S717] Robert Edwin Washburn, (,