THE SHROPSHIRE WALCOT FAMILY
By Darrell Wolcott
Believed to have been
of Saxon origin, we first encounter this family in the eleventh century when a large tract of land was said to have been given
to the Bishop of Hereford by the owner of estates in Lydbury. A defensive castle was erected from which the present
town of Bishop's Castle took its name. Eyton tells us three knights were alternately assigned to "keep watch and
ward for certain days" at the castle and identifies them as Walcot, Plowden and Oakley. We suspect this was in the days
when Gruffudd ap Llewelyn (ob 1063) ruled all of Wales and made a number of military incursions across the border into England.
Although towns later grew up in that part of Shropshire (then called Salop) called Walcot and Plowden and Oakley, nothing
more is heard of the Walcot family until 1191.
A William de Walcot joined the
Crusade of Richard the Lionhearted where 180 ships and 39 galleys sailed from England on April 10, 1191. After doing
battle with the Saracens for several months, a truce was signed on September 2, 1192 and the crusaders set sail for home shortly
thereafter. Various men of Shropshire appear as "de Walcot" in subsequent records and tax rolls, but no connected pedigree
of the early family is extant.
Between c. 1600 and 1613, a
"Charles Wawgod" of Buellt (then a part of Brecknockshire, Wales) gave a pedigree to Lewys Dwnn, Deputy Herald for Wales,
in which he deduced his ancestry from "Tryhaiarn ap Iorwerth, Lord of Garthmil". In 1623, a "Humfridus Walcot de Walcot"
of Shropshire gave his pedigree to Robert Tresswell and Augustine Vincent, deputies to William Camden the Clarenceux
King of Arms. This man cited his ancestry from a John Walcot de Walcot, miles, who is said to have occurred in 1383.
His pedigree includes, as the brother of his father Humphrey, Sr., a "Carolus" who is assigned the same wife as the Charles
in the Welsh pedigree. Apparently Humphrey, Jr. was familiar with the descent claimed by his cousin Charles,
Jr. and added a second unconnected pedigree to his own...this one beginning with Trahaearn ap Iorwerth of Garthmyl and terminating
with a Roger Walcot. Side by side, the differences can be noted:
Humphrey's main Humphrey's other
pedigree family line
Sir John Walcot Jeuan Walcot
Roger Wawgwd Thomas
Walcot Roger Walcot
Sir Philip Wawkwd
John Walcot Sir Philip Walcot
John Walcot John Walcot
Roger Walcot Roger Walcot
Edward Wawgod Edward
John Wawgod John
John Wawgod John
Charles Wawgod, Jr.
Humphrey Walcot, Jr.
It is clear that
both Charles and Humphrey agree as to the names of their paternal ancestors back to Edward son of Roger son of John. But the
Johns both men cited as the father of Roger are two different men. Humphrey says his John was living in 1416 and
married Matilda Cornwall, but in his supplemental line, agrees with Charles that the John son of Philip was married to Alice
ferch Dafydd Lloyd ap Sir Gruffudd Fychan. It also appears that the wife which Charles cited for his Roger (Margaret
ferch Dafydd Lloyd ap Llewelyn) is the same lady Humphrey cites for his Roger and not for the Roger in his supplemental line
which seems to parallel the Charles version of the pedigree. That there must have been two different men named
Roger (a Roger son of John son of Sir Philip and a Roger son of John son of John) can be seen when we attempt to date
Iorwerth Fychan 
Dafydd====Jane, dau of Sir John Walcot 1310
Sir Philip Walcot
John Walcot=====Alice vz Dafydd Lloyd 1440
Roger Walcot====Margaret vz Dafydd Lloyd 1465
Sir John Walcot, lv 1383
John Walcot (brother, not son of Thomas?)
John Walcot===Matilda Cornwall 1395
Roger Walcot (spouse of the Roger above claimed here)
Edward Walcot===Avicia English (query as to surname)
John Walcot====Margaret Plowden 1490
John Walcot====Maria Newton  1530
1545 Charles Walcot
1550 Humphrey Walcot
1575 Charles Walcot  1580 Humphrey
It is not known if the
Sir John Walcot whose daughter Jane married the Welshman Dafydd ap Rhys is identical to the Sir John Walcot who heads the
pedigree offered by Humphrey; both would occur c. 1285 if we accept the data as given by Humphrey.  However,
both pedigrees say that Jane was sole heiress of a Sir John Walcot which would rule out his having a son, Thomas. And
that Sir John was a generation too old to have been alive in 1383. It also appears
that in Charles' pedigree, he has appended his ancestor Roger to the family branch descended from Jane but that makes
the pedigree chronologically unstable. The Edward Walcot from which both men descended could not be a son of Margaret
ferch Dafydd Lloyd of Mathafern.
An attempt was made to reconcile
the two pedigrees by Burke's Landed Gentry, which makes Edward the son of Roger, the son of John, the son of John, the
son of Sir Philip. But the John who married Matilda Cornwall was born c. 1385 and could not be the son of the John ap
Sir Philip who married Alice ferch Dafydd Lloyd, a lady born c. 1440.
It is generally agreed
that the arms borne by the Shropshire Walcot family before 1400 was "Argent, on a cross patonce azure 5 fleur-de-lis or" and
that one Walcot family thereafter bore "Argent, a chevron between 3 chessrooks ermines". The former arms probably
originated with the 12th century crusader, but to whom the new arms were first granted is unproven. Humphrey, Jr.
appears to claim Henry V granted the chessrook arms to the John Walcot who married Matilda Cornwall about 1416, but that
is based on an anonymous note filed with the workpapers of the 1623 Visitation of Shropshire which says:
"This John Walcot plainge
at ye chese with King Henry the Fift King of England gave to him the check-matte with the rouke whereupon the kinge chainged
his coate of armes which was the cross with fleurs-de-lis and gave him the rouke for a remembrance thereof"
The only contemporary
records show that in 1623, Humphrey Walcot, Jr. quartered the chessrook arms with those of the English family whose
heiress married his ancestor Edward Walcot. His cousin Charles did not mention the family arms in his pedigree given
a few years earlier.
About 100 years later,
in America, two men displayed the same chessrook arms without any quartering: (1) Capt. Samuel Wolcott (son of Samuel, son
of Henry, son of Henry the emigrant) died in 1734 and the coat of arms was engraved on his tombstone; and (2) Governor Roger
Wolcott (son of Simon, son of Henry) who lived 1679-1767 owned a silver tankard on which the coat of arms is engraved.
It is known their common ancestor, Henry Wolcott, was born in Somersetshire in 1578 and emigrated to America in 1630.
While that family still claims the chessrook arms today, their descent from either Shropshire Walcot family remains unproven.
You will notice in his pedigree,
Charles Walcot of Wales does not include among his ancestors the John Walcot to whom Humphrey, Jr. claims the chessrook
arms were granted. He does include a Sir Philip Walcot who was contemporary with that John. There is no extant record
of the arms borne by Sir Philip nor of his descendants (although some of those descendants are described in pedigrees as "armiger"
or one who bears a coat of arms); it seems evident that both Humphrey and Charles descended from Roger, son of John son of
John, and not from Roger son of John son of Sir Philip. The possibility that the Wolcott family in America descended from
that Sir Philip will be explored at another time.
We shall conclude this look at
the Shropshire family with our idea of its "consolidated" pedigree:
William, the crusader, lv 1191, occurs 1221
1225 John, occurs 1283
1226 Roger, occurs 1255
1255 John, occurs 1316
1260 John, occurs 1292
1285 Sir John
1290 Philip, occurs 1327
1310 Jane===David ap Rhys 1320 Sir
John, occurs 1383
1325 Ieuan (Evan)
1360 Roger 1355
John 1350 Thomas
1390 Sir Philip
1385 John, occurs 1416
to ? To Charles and Humphrey
fairness to the 17th century men to whom the Walcot pedigrees are attributed, we have not seen the Herald's actual workpapers
and do not know what part of the printed pedigrees might have been added by the Herald from other information in his possession.
Perhaps neither Walcot man offered a pedigree which extended back more than 6 or 7 generations, the remainder being the work
of the deputy Herald. That man may also be responsible for assigning the cited spouse to the wrong Roger Walcot, and for assigning
the chessrook arms to a John Walcot who occurs in 1416.
Some pedigrees of families connected
by marriage are presented in Appendix A to establish our basis for the birthdate estimates shown herein.