Family:Whitney, Thomas (1622-1670)

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Sir Thomas Whitney (Robert, Eustace, Robert, Robert, James, Robert, Eustace, Robert, Robert, Robert, Eustace, Eustace, Robert, ...), son of Sir Robert and Anne (Lucy) Whitney,[1] baptized 6 Jan 1622, Whitney, Herefordshire;[2] died 1670, Whitney, Herefordshire.[3]

He married, 11 Dec 1666, Elizabeth Cope,[4] daughter of Colonel William and Elizabeth (Fane) Cope of Icomb, Gloucestershire.[5] She was born Nov 1647, Tangly, Oxfordshire,[6] and was buried 5 Apr 1731, Canon Frome, Herefordshire.[7] She married secondly, 24 Jan 1675/6, St. Chad, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Thomas Geers (1643-1700).

Thomas Whitney succeeded his father, Sir Robert. Charles II., after he came to the throne in 1660, established a new order of knighthood, to be known as "Knights of the Royal Oak,"--in memory of his escape, after the battle of Worcester, by hiding among the thick foliage of a tree while his pursuers passed beneathi it,--and nominated Whitney as one of the charter members.

Burke, in his "History of the Commons," edition of 1836, gives a list of the knights with the annual income of their estates, that of Whitney being £2000. Few were as large, and the indication is that, despite the impairment of his property, he was still a wealthy man. The order was afterward abandoned on account of the apprehension that it might perpetuate the memory of dissensions in a manner that would endanger the safety of the kingdom.

Sir Thomas married, in December, 1666, Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel William Cope of Icomb, and died without issue in 1670, leaving four surviving sisters, viz.: Anne Rodd, Lucy Booth, Elinor Wright, and Susan Williams, and thus the family of Whitneys of Whitney came to an end.

There is still in existence a document, written in 1690 by Robert Price, which sets out what, in his opinion, was then the condition of the title of the manors of Whitney and Clifford. The author was altogether wrong in his opening statement, for, as we have seen, Clifford was not acquired till the time of Sir James, who died in 1587, and the family of Whitney had no existence before the Conquest. With the other matters he doubtless was personally familiar.



The Mannors of Whitney and Clifford, with all ye rents and farms belonging to them, were ye ancient inheritance and Patrimony of ye Whitneys, long before the Conquest, and have lineally descended to Sir Robert Whitney; who, having several sons and daughters by Dame Anne Whitney his wife, did, by his deed of bargain and Sale of Release dated the 10th day of March in ye 16th year of the raigne of King James ye first, convey ye mannor of Whitney to himself for life, ye remainder to Robert his oldest son and ye heirs male of his body, ye remainder to ye second, and so to ye tenth son in tayle male, and for want of such issue to ye said Sir Robert Whitney and his right heirs forever. Sir R. Whitney by Dame Anne his wife had issue, Robert, Richard, Thomas, Francis, Lucy, Anne, Elinor, and Susanna.
Sir Robert died in the year 1652. Robert his eldest son dying without issue, in the life time of Sir Robert, Richard and Francis dye without issue, Thomas marrying Elizabeth Cope, daughter to Colonel Cope of Icombe in the County of Gloucester, her levying a fine "Sur cona . . . . . of the mannors of Whitney and Clifford in . . . . . in ye 18th year of King Charles ye Second and then settled some part of ye demesne of the mannor of Whitney upon her for a Joynture.
Afterwards in April, in ye 21st year of ye reign of King Charles ye Second, Covenants by deed executed to levy another fine (out of the same land) and that was to Thomas Whitney for life, and as to part of ye demesne of Whitney, Clifford and Castleton Farm to Elizabeth his wife for her life and remainder to Thomas Whitney and his right heirs forever. As for the mannors of Whitney and Clifford and all ye messuages and lands of which 1 was before declared to ye use of ye said Thomas Whitney and his right heirs forever.
Some short time after this deed and second fine Thomas Whitney died without Yssue whereupon Elizabeth his relict (amid now the wife of Mr. Sergeant Geers) entered and now holds by ye second deed and fine; the manors of Whitney and Clifford and several farms, and ye reversion of Mrs. Whitney, now Geers, joynture descended to Lucy, Anne, Elinor and Susanna, sisters and heirs to Thomas Whitney who last died seized.
  1. Lucy Whitney was married to Mr. Smallman and afterwards to Captain Booth by whom she had 3 daughters and her fourth part of ye sayd copartenery is now in John Dutton Colt and Thomas Stanley Esq. by those daughters.
  2. Anne Whitney married Thomas Rodd Esq., by whom she had issue Robert Rodd her only son Thomas Rodd and Anne his wife dying, Robert Rodd in possession of ye fourth part of Whitney and Clifford has issue three daughters, Lucy, Anna Sophia and Frances. Robert Rodd in consideration of a marriage to bee had between Robert Price then of Lincoln's Inn, Esq. and Lucy Rodd and in part of portion, by deed dated 22nd of October, 1681, conveys his fourth part of ye Mannors of Whitney and Clifford and all his interest in the estates of Thomas Whitney, deceased, to ye said Robert Price and his right heirs forever.
  3. Elinor Whitney. She marryed Doctor Wright (sic - Dr Nathaniel Wright of Shrewsbury - ABB) who by deede and fine conveyed their fourth part to Constance Williams (now wife to Sir David Williams) and her right heirs forever.
  4. Susanna Whitney marry'd Henry Williams of Cabalva, Esq., who are both dead, and Richard Williams their son and heir inherited ye fourth part of ye said estate which is now descended to Thomas his Brother and heir.
Thus the Title stands as to the Estate at Whitney and Clifford. I do not find that Clifford was ever entailed either by Sir Robert Whitney or his son Thomas, and if it had, Thomas Whitney's fine and deed by which he placed the fee simple of his whole estate in himself has bar'd any entayl as is known in ye family. Mr. Price having an absolute estate in the fourth part of Whitney and Clifford (as appears by his afore-recited title) has sold this estate of his to Mr. Wardour by bargain and sale enrolled to which conveyance there is annexed a Schedule of Leases of part of the Estate. Two principal Leases Mr. Price has bought in and of the rest will procure copies very suddenly to Mr. Wardour's satisfaction. As the estate is of great antiquity in the family and now expires more for want of the name than out of any necessity there is to sell it, there being but two debts, one a Judgment, another a Mortmayne made by Mr. Thomas Whitney and both under a thousand pounds, which do or can affect ye estate. If there be any doubt in any respect as to the Title Mr. Price desires ye Querys may be sent to him to which he doubts not but to give a full and satisfactory answer.


The evidences of ye Estate are by consent of ye Coheirs of Whitney, lodged in ye hands of
  1. Sir David Williams, who has a fourth part therein.
  2. A copy of Sir Robert Whitney's Settlement is sent up.
  3. A copy of Mr. Thomas Whitney's settlement on his lady and both fines.
  4. A Lease and Release being Mr. Price's marriage settlement, ye original is sent up.
  5. Mr. Penoyre's Lease of part of ye estate of Whitney.
  6. Mr. Randall's Lease of part of ye Estate and assignment of them both.
Robert Price,

March 10th, 1690.

Mr. Price does not seem to have had any knowledge of the entail created by the will of Sir James Whitney, which provided for the passing of the property to other male lines after the failure of that of Eustace, and in no case allowed it to go to females.

Unless this entail was barred, which, as to Clifford at least, seems doubtful, Mrs. Rodd and her sisters, their representatives and assigns, never acquired any title except a prescriptive one based on adverse possession. There will be occasion hereafter to note that about 1676 it possibly was disputed.[8]

Sir Thomas and Elizabeth (Cope) Whitney had no children.


1.^  Henry Melville, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States Are Descended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896), pp. 188-192.

2.^  Melville, op. cit., p. 188.

3.^  Melville, op. cit., p. 189.

4.^  Sir George J. Armytage and Joseph Lemuel Chester, Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at London, 1543 to 1869 (London: Harleian Society, 1886), p. 96, Melville, op. cit., p. 189.

5.^  Melville, op. cit., p. 189, and the L.D.S. Pedigree Resource File.

6.^  Cope/Geer Wills from 17th and 18th Centuries

7.^  "Mrs. Elizabeth Geers, Widow & Relict of Thomas Geers, Sergeant at Law, buried 05 April 1731," according to a web page, citing the parish register. Her will mentions no Whitney relatives.

8.^  Melville, op. cit., pp. 188-192

Copyright ©2006 Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group

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