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INTRODUCTION

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Title page from 1856 edition

In 1856 Jonathan Worcester published The Worcester Family, or the Descendants of Rev. William Worcester. (W.W. Kellogg, Lynn, Mass., 1856). It consisted of approximately 100 pages and included 1,332 Worcesters spanning eight generations of the descendants of Rev. William Worcester. In 1914, Sarah Alice Worcester published an update to the original genealogical work entitled The Descendants of Rev. William Worcester With a Brief Notice of the Connecticut Wooster Family. (E.F. Worcester, Publisher, Hudson Printing Company, 1914). This work consisted of approximately 250 pages and included 1,903 Worcesters spanning eleven generations. The current effort to update the family history has yielded over 2,700 family members spanning fourteen generations of Worcesters in America. I am not a genealogist and I do not pretend that this work is complete. It does, however, provide an outline which will make it easier for all current and future Worcesters to fill in the gaps.

I trust that by publishing the results of my research to date that additional members of the family will come forward with their personal family histories to be included in future editions of the "The Worcester Family in America." Publication of this work on the World Wide Web (www.WorcesterFamily.com) offers tremendous advantages for continuing the effort to update the family history. Memory on computer servers is virtually unlimited for storage of information, the retrieval of secondary sources of information is very easy, family members can send updated information almost effortlessly, and distribution of and access to the material is unlimited and free to all.

There is, however, a major disadvantage to having our family history stored and distributed in digital format. The problem will be retrieval of the information on future platforms. Right now, the information is available on the World Wide Web, but there is no guarantee that I or another member of the family will maintain the web site in the future. People can download the information and store it on disks or even CD-ROM’s, but what assurance is there that anyone will have a computer ten years from now that can read disks or CD’s. (Who has a computer today that can read floppy disks that were in wide use only a few years ago?) One answer, of course, is that the information be printed out and saved as we have saved all treasured books since the publication of the Gutenberg Bible. For this reason, I encourage everyone to print the material and not rely on the information being available in any other form in the future. Indeed, I would encourage everyone to print additional copies to be donated to local libraries so that future generations will have ready access to our family history.

My current intention is to continue adding to the family history by supplementing and updating the web site. Thus, the reader is encouraged to periodically return to the site.

Whenever I tell someone that I have been working on the family genealogy, invariably the first response is the question: "How far back can you trace your family?" Although the subject matter of this work has been the Worcester family in America, I have included below a discussion of what is currently known about the Worcester family in England before Rev. William Worcester emigrated to America.

The second question I'm asked is "Why?" I don't really know why I started to "collect" family histories. I do recall as a young boy sitting on my great uncle Wayne's lap as he showed me the 1914 edition of the family history. I suppose I was fascinated by the long history of the family, but was most concerned that my name was not in it. In 1973, I received a Xerox copy of the book from Uncle Wayne and decided that I would try to bring it up to date. I am also a stamp collector and receiving information from Worcester relatives excites me in the same manner as a new stamp being added to my collection. I can't explain this phenomenon, but can attest to the fact that "collecting" family histories has been fun, rewarding, and interesting. I must admit to a certain amount of pride in knowing that our family history can be traced back to the fifteenth century, but I am equally proud of the fact that my mother's family immigrated to our country in the twentieth century.

It is truly remarkable how cooperative most people have been in responding to questionnaires that they received from a relative stranger. My favorite response was the one I received from an elderly lady who responded to my request with the following: "I'm a Worcester by marriage and doubt that you want to know anything about me. I divorced your George 23 years ago. I haven't heard from him since and don't know where he is. I do hope the rest of the Worcester family is better than he is in keeping in touch with his relatives. Good luck!"

I have tried to maintain the format used by Jonathan Fox and Sarah Alice. Whenever appropriate, I used the same description of family members as used in the 1914 edition. Similarly, whenever a family member submitted information on their family history, I attempted to use their words and used the information they thought was important for future generations to know about their relatives. It is difficult to synthesize a person's life into a single paragraph or two, but I have attempted to do just that. For any errors or omissions, I apologize. To quote from Sarah Alice's introduction, "Imperfect as it must necessarily be, I offer it to my friends and relatives with the hope that it will find a not unwelcome place on the library table."

There are many people to whom I am indebted for the new information contained in this book. They unselfishly shared their own research so that this work could progress to where it is today. Hopefully we can all build upon it. For much of the information on the Worcester family branch of Pleasant Valley and Berwick, Me., I'm indebted to Arlene M. Skehan of Ottsville, Pa. For the descendants of Moses5 Worster, I’m indebted to Clarence H. Drisko of Columbia Falls, Me. and the authors of Early Pleasant Families of Washington County, Maine, Leonard F. Tibbetts and Daryl B. Lamson. Also important to the research of this branch has been the work of Louise Worster who computerized the research of Bud & Alice Long. For the descendants of Edward9 Worcester and Jane Tunis Sargent, I’m indebted to Katherine K. Williams of Ottsville, Pa. I am indebted to Susie Worster McQuaide who published the Worcester Notes, a quarterly newsletter of the Worcester Family Association of Maine. For the descendants of James McRoberts Worcester, I am grateful to Jeff Sigsworth of Elyria, Oh., who continues to serve as that branch’s family historian. Finally, credit must be given to countless other family members who completed and returned questionnaires. Much of the genealogical research relating to Rev. William’s antecendents in England was provided to me by Benjamin D. Worcester, of Arlington, Virginia. For the research and analysis that lead us to the conclusion that Joseph Worcester, the elder of Rugby, was Rev. William's father, I am most most grateful to David Worcester who has spent countless hours finding, transcribing and analyzing 16th and 17th century documents from England.

Again, I invite all to send me corrections, additions and suggestions to improve this continuing history of the Worcester family in America.

THE WORCESTER NAME:

The name of Worcester is of local origin and was derived from the residence of its first bearers in the city or county of that name in England. These places were anciently called Wigornaceastre. The earliest recorded forms, used in the last decade of the seventh centurt A.D., were Uuegernensem ecclesium and Uuergerna cester, while in the eighth century the form of Wigerna civitas appears. The Welsh wig or qwig meant "wood or forest," while the Welsh wern or gwern (Gaelic vern) meant "alder," and the Latin castra, later cester, meant "camp." The literal meaning of the word is probably, therefore, "The camp in the Alder-wood." In ancient English records the name appears in the various spellings of Wygorn’, Wygornia, Wirecestre, Worcettor, Wigracester, Wigrecester, Wurster, Wircestre, Wircester, Wurtor, Wucester, Wostor, Woster, Worster, Wooster, Worcester, Wysseter, Wyssester, and others. Many of these variations should look familiar to any modern day Worcester, Worster or Wooster from persons attempting to spell our name. Of the forms mentioned, Worcester is the most generally found in America today, while Worster and Wooster are frequently in evidence as well.

Dr. David Wooster of San Francisco in his 1885 history of the Wooster’s in America states that it was his belief that the family originated in Wales. Near the English border in Wales is the Wye Forest as well as the Wye River. People from that area undoubtedly referred to themselves as being from "Wyster."

Unlike the city in Massachusetts, the City of Worcester in England probably came to bear its name in the same manner as the Worcester family. The City of Worcester lies mainly on the east banks of the Severn River in western England about 100 miles northwest of London. It is one of the most ancient towns in England. It is the site of a Roman fortified camp, established in the time of Julius Caesar. This camp, or Castrum was located close to the forest of Wyre, and was called Wyrecaestre, corrupted later into Worcester. In the year 673 the Sea of Worcester was founded by primate Theodore. The City’s first charter was granted by Richard I in 1189. Henry III granted another in 1227, and in 1621 James I granted a charter declaring the city a county in itself. Besides the famous Worcester Cathedral founded by Henry VIII in 1541, modern day Worcesters are familiar with several other institutions which originated in that city. Royal Worcester porcelain has been produced in that city since 1751, and in 1845 manufacture of the famous Worcestershire sauce was begun.

According to PlacesNamed.com, (www.placesnamed.com/w/o/worcester.asp) Worcester is the 8,417th most popular surname in the United States. Worcester is the name of a County in Maryland and Massachusetts. It is also the name of cities and towns in Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

EARLY BEARERS OF THE NAME:

Seated in early times, not only in Worcestershire, but also in the English Counties of Wilts, Warwick, Derby, Northampton, Buckingham, and London, the families bearing this name were, for the most part, of the landed gentry and yeomanry.

Urso d’Abtot, first Earl of Worcester, came to England with William the Conqueror at the time of the Norman Conquest, A.D. 1066. His line is believed to have died out at an early date, however, upon the death of his son Roger without male issue. The Earldom of Worcester then passed into the hands of the Beauchamps, but none of the families bearing the name of Worcester are descended from the Earls of the county.

Among the earliest records of the name in England are references to Roger de Wircester, in 1140; Richard de Wygorn’ and Henry de Wygornia, of Wiltshire, about the year 1273; Robert (d ca. 1333), Hugh (d ca. 1323), and William de Wircestre (also given as Wyrcestre and Wirecestre), in the fourteenth century; William Worcestre, of Bristol, who was born in 1415; and William Worcester or Botoner (1415-1482?), chronicler and traveller, son of William de Worcester, a substantial burgess of Bristol. At least one genealogist claims to be able to trace the principal Worcester family line from the two wills of Robert and Hugh to the end of the seventeenth century. (Gustav Anjou; The Worcester Family 1345-1625. LDS book ID 929.273,A1,557 and LDS microfilm ID 2908504 Item 8.) I remain skeptical, however, that anyone can trace the family name back to such an early date with any certainty.

REV. WILLIAM WORCESTER IN ENGLAND

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     Parish Church at Olney
Copyright � Kevin Quick

Sarah Alice in her 1914 edition of The Worcester Family, suggested that Rev. William was the Vicar of Olney before emigrating to America. She stated that her genealogist “thinks there can be no moral doubt that the Vicar of Olney was our ancestor, but whether we can establish this by written documents is doubtful, as so many records were destroyed in the great London fire of 1666.” In fact, there are pretty good historical records that survive regarding the Vicar of Olney during the period of time that Rev. William could have held that position. Many of these records have been discovered since the publication of the 1914 edition of the Worcter Family. It is important, therefore, to review the evidence that helps to prove that Rev. William was, in fact, the Vicar of Olney.

The Alumni Cantabrigienses, a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900, compiled by John Venn,  Sc.D., F.R.S., F.S.A. President of Gonville and Caius College, and J.A. Venn, M.A., Gilbey Lecturer in the History and Economics of Agriculture, contains the following entry:

WORCESTER or WORCETER, William – Probably son of William Worcester Vicar of Watford, Northants. Christened there 5 Oct. 1595. St. John’s College Cambridge. Matric sizar Easter 1620. Deacon 22 December 1622 (Peterborough) as literate of St. John’s Vicar of Olney, Buckinghamshire 1624-36.

From this entry we learn that William, Vicar of Olney, matriculated at Cambridge from St. John’s College in 1620, was ordained deacon at Peterborough  on December 22, 1622, and was the Vicar of Olney between 1624 to 1636.

 

The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckinghamshire, by George Lipscomb, 1847, lists all rectors and vicars of Olney beginning in teh 13th century. Under a list oif vicars is found tteh following entry:

 

William Worcester succeeded in 1624, by recommendation of Sir Robert Gorges, He resigned.

Another recently discovered document  is the official entry that Rev. Worcester compounded the first fruits of the vicarage of Olney on 26 July, 1624 (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 22 James 17 - PRO E334/17, pg. 21). His sureties being "Peter Worcester of St. Edmunds, Lombard St. London, merchant taylor and Ralph Pavier of St. Stephen's in Colman Street merchant taylor." Presentation by Rob Gorge Knt. of William Worcester, cl. to the vic. of Olney, vac. by the cession or demise of Robert Thogmerton, 29 Ap. 1624, 22 James, Endorsed-- Instituted 27 July, 1624. (Presentation Deed 1624, No. 2.) Robert Throckmorton was insituted to Olney Vicarage 27 May 1623. (Bishop's Certificate.) A copy of the original entry of first fruits is shown below:

 

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First fruits for Rev.  William Worcester, July 26, 1624

(Robert Gorges who presented Rev. William to become the Vicar of Olney was a knight from Redlinch with a colorful past. He was a Captain in the English navy and briefly Governor-General of New England from 1623 to 1624 and emigrated to modern Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1623, building his settlement on the site of the failed Wessagusset Colony. Gorges returned to England in 1624  - apparently in time to exercise his right of advowson and present  Rev. Worcester as Vicar of Olney. According to the History of Bucks, Sir Gorges purchased the advowson to the Manor of Olney .....)

The best evidence that Rev. William was, in fact, the Vicar of Olney comes from  parish records from Olney discovered after Sarah Alice Worcester's genealogy. David Worcester was able to obtain the assistance of Elizabeth Knight of the Cowper and Newton museum  in Olney which resulted in obtaining the following entries from the Bishop’s Transcripts of the Parish Registers for Olney (Buckingham Record Office in Aylesbury – LDS Film # 1999458 Items 3 & 4 - www.familysearch.com):

c1630    Mary Worcester daughter of Wilia December 4 (Buried)
1630     Patience  Worcester daughter of Willia November 19 (Buried)

1634     Susanna daughter of Ma(aster) William Worcester 5 May (Baptised)
1636     John son of Ma(ster) William Worcester 26 March (Baptised).
1637     John son of Ma(ster) William Worcester 26 March (Buried).
1638     William son of Ma(ster) William Worcester 15 January (Baptised).

Some years (1626, 1627 and 1633) are missing. Regrettably, Samuel’s christening and William’s marriage to Sarah are not yet fo
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William Worcester
Vicar of Olney

und. Many of the Bishop’s transcripts are signed by William as the vicar from 1924 through 1637 (which ended March 24, 1638, by the modern calendar). Although the transcripts are in extremely poor condition and some parts are not legible, the evidence is quite compelling that William, the Vicar of Olney, had a daughter, Susannah, and a son, William, of the correct age to correspond with the daughter and son that settled in Salisbury, Mass. with their father, Rev. William Worcester. These records not only reveal the birth dates for Susanna and William, but also reveal that Rev. William had two daughters, Mary and Patience, and a son, John, who died before the family left England.

It is known that Rev. William came to America some time after January 15, 1938, when his son, William was born in England, and before Sept. 5, 1639, when he signed a petition as an inhabitant of Colchester, Massachusetts. Knowing why he left England may also provide additional evidence of his identity while in England. The historical record of the Vicar of Olney’s difficulties with his church in 1636 is quite good. As indicated by Sarah Alice in 1914, while he was Vicar of Olney, certain doctrines of the church were changed, including the relaxation of a rule requiring full dedication of Sunday to meditation and prayer, and allowing the playing of sports and recreation after service on the Lord’s day. He was commanded to read from the King’s Book that set forth the new changes to church doctrine. In 1636 he was disciplined for insubordination for refusing to read and endorse from the pulpit the commands of the King’s Book. The Public Record Office, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series Reign of Charles I, Vol. 9 (1635-36), p 47, contains the following entry which describes the promise made by Rev. William to read from the Kings Book:

Declaration to be made by William Worsceter, Vicar of Olney, in the parish church of that place, after reading the Gospel during divine service on the Sunday next after receipt thereof. He was to declare that being so ordered by his ordinary he had read the King’s book for lawful recreations and he conceived that he did lawfully in so reading it, and that the book was lawful, and also the use of the sports therein allowed.

This declaration was signed by Rev. William. An entry for November 5, 1636, in the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles I, 1636-37, contains the following interesting description of a letter from Sir John Lambe to Bishop Williams of Lincoln:

 [item 19.]  Sir John Lambe to [Bishop Williams of Lincoln]. Acquaints Newport, him with some proceedings in that archdeaconry of Bucks [Buckinghamshire]. Coming from Trinity term, he understood of a late tumult at Olney. Some danced after evening prayer on a Sunday; the vicar raised up the constables and others with bills and halberts against them; much ado there was, and God's great blessing that more mischief was not done. Sir John called the vicar, and finding him against the Book of Recreations, he monished him to read it, which he refused, and he suspended him about 1st July last. He heard since that the vicar had vowed to his refractory company that he would never read it, and he found that he sought ways to shuffle it off. First, he would have the cure served by his curate, upon which Sir John monished the curate to read the book, which he also refused, and him he suspended, and he is run out of the country. Then the vicar practised to secure himself of the stipend, and let the cure be served as it might. Sir John thereupon decreed process for him to show cause why he should not be excommunicated or removed from his benefice. This sent him to Bishop Williams, on his return from whom he said he had received satisfaction and promised to conform. Afterwards he read the book on a holiday (1st November) and certified the same in court on the 4th November. Sir John gave him good advice, and used that speech, "Tu autein conversus, confirma fratres tuos." He started and said he was not converted, but only read the book to obey Bishop Williams's command. After much altercation Sir John admonished him to declare to his people that as he had read the book he also approved of it and held it lawful to be obeyed. Sir John used in these proceedings his power as Dean of the Arches, by the privilege of the Church of Canterbury, to which he is sworn and he thinks Bishop Williams also. There was also one Mr. Valentine, parson of Chalfont, monished to read the book, but he has protected himself by an inhibition from Bishop Williams, and still refuses. Sir John has monished him again. If he refuses, the bishop knows what is fit to be done, the living being in his gift. There was also a presentment against divers at Stony Stratford, which depended before Sir John but was avoked by the bishop. Prays the bishop to consider whether be may avoke causes depending in the archdeaconry court unless by way of appeal.

An entry, three days later, November 8, 1636, describes the response from Bihop WIlliams to Sir John Lambe:

[Item 30]. Bishop Williams of Lincoln to Sir John Lambe. What Sir Huckdcn. John can lawfully do in the bishop's diocese as Dean of the Arches, the bishop cannot dissolve, nor does he go about it. If Sir John be sparing in trial thereof the country is the more beholden to him. The bishop meddles but unwillingly with causes ecclesiastical, and never made any benefit in that kind. Mr. Valentine appealed to him against some nullity for want of due form, and as is usual he absolved him for that time, and the more willingly for the reason Sir John is pleased to remember, because he was to collate to his benefice on deprivation. The bishop took a great deal of pains with him. If he continues obstinate, and Sir John proceeds against him duly and legally, he shall find no interposition of the bishop. The Vicar of Olney came to the bishop, who spent some time in letting him see that he ought in conscience to obey his lawful superior in the publication of the book, which contained some things much conducing to the increase of piety, and nothing clearly contrary to God's word. And for the contingent abuse that ill people might thereafter make thereof, he ought to believe that the King is as wise to foresee, and will be as willing to redress the same, as any private man. But his approbation of the book is not required, and the bishop measures the obedience of his clergy by acting rather than allowing what in this kind they are commanded. If Sir John knows it to be otherwise conceived by those who are better versed in these particulars, he may do what he pleases in his independent jurisdiction. For Stony Stratford the Bishop does not remember that he made any avocation, but he promised to arbitrate an end if he could. If Sir John pleases to finish it he shall have the bishop's approbation and thanks.

Finally, the following curious notice of the troubles in Olney is extracted from the Lord's Journal for February 9, 1640-41. It is a petition from John James of Olney against Samuel Clarke and Sir John Lambe of Olney. James being defamed went to Clarke as surropgate of the Supreme Court of Northampton. Clarke got the defendants to turn witness against James who could not get out of trouble though there was nothing against him.  The Lords found in James' favor:

Petition of John James of Olney, but then of Earls Barton, against Samuel Clarke and Sir John Lambe. Clarke was taken before the High Commission Court, and had to pay £10 towards Paul's Church (in I.ondon), pay the fees, a fine of £16, to the Court: he gave Sir John a beaver, which cost the petitioner £4 more. Afterwards the petitioner was cited to the Ecclesiastical Court of Aylesbury in co. Bucks by the said Sir John Lambe and Dr. Roane for going to hear a sermon from his own parish church when William Woster the minister there was suspended: the petitioner was excommunicated unlawfully, and when he was absolved they took the fees and £24 more for fees, and forced him to subscribe, to stand up at gloria patri, and to observe other ceremonies of the Church, and afterwards unjustly ex communicated the petitioner for being at his own house with Mr. Woster and one other. All which unjust proceedings of the said Doctor Clarke, Doctor Heath, Sir John Iambe, and Dr. Roane have caused him to sell his inheritance, and to spend above  £100, and tended greatly to his undoing."

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Another example of Rev. William Worcester's signature from Olney Bishop's register - 1635

There is no evidence of William, the Vicar of Olney, being in England after the birth of his son, William, in 1638. It is most plausible that the Vicar of Olney, having been suspended from his position, left England with his family after 1638 as did so many other Puritan ministers of the time to avoid further persecution and find a place where they could freely practice their religious beliefs.

The Records of the Colonies of Massachusetts Bay, in New England state that at a “Meeting of the General Court at Boston, 5th day of the 9th mo. 1639, the petition of the inhabitants of Colchester is granted for Mr. Samuell Dudley, Mr. _____ Worster, Christo: Batt,” and others “to order all businesse of the towne.” At a meeting, Oct. 7, 1640, “Colchester henceforward to be called Salisbury.” Thus, Rev. William had to have arrived after January 15, 1938, when his son, William was born in England, and before Sept. 5, 1639, when he signed a petition as an inhabitant of Colchester.

REV. WILLIAM WORCESTER’S FATHER:

Jonathan Fox Worcester's genealogy does not contain any information regarding Rev. William Worcester's father. All that he could report at that time was that William "settled pastor of the first church gathered in Salisbury, Mass., sometime between the years 1638 and 1640. The place and date of his nativity have not been ascertained." He further indicated that [t]raditions that William Worcester was born in Salisbury, England, and, that he first landed in this country, at Gloucester, Mass., are not confirmed by any thing contained in the records of those towns."

Sarah Alice Worcester "felt that a strenuous effort should be made to ascertain the early history and antecedents in England of our progenitor, the Rev. William Worcester." Her research, including a visit to England in 1910, did reveal some information regarding William's probable father, his public life in England, and his reasons for leaving England. She concluded, based upon the evidence available to her at the time, that there were two possible candidates for Rev. William’s father: Wylliam Woster of Cheddington and Rev. William Worcester, the Vicar of Watford. She also made reference to some research suggesting that a William Worcester of Willisden may have been Rev. Worcester. Since 1914, additional evidence has presented itself, primarily through the research of  David Worcester, that the actual father was one Joseph Worcester of Rugby, Warwickshire.

Before stating the case for each possibility, it is important to understand what is clearly known about Rev. William Worcester before he emigrated to New England in 1638 or 1639, which is relevant to clearing up this mystery. We know that he married Sarah in England and had three or four children before arriving in the New World: Samuel, Susannah, William, and Sarah. (Sarah may, in fact, have been born in Salisbury.) It is known that he matriculated at Cambridge University in 1620, became a deacon of the Church of England in 1622, became the Vicar of Olney which post he held between 1624 to 1636, was suspended from that post in 1636, and subsequently emigrated to New England in 1638 or 1639. Nothing else was really known about his life in England that was conclusive until David Worcester discovered new documentation which is discussed below.

Whether Rev. William had any siblings and whether any of those siblings removed to America with him are important facts that would help determine who his father might have been. This is particularly true since most of the information that can be obtained of families in England during the relevant time frame that still exist are contained only in parish records (births, deaths and marriages), and wills that frequently identify family relationships.

Sarah Alice Worcester reported in the 1914 edition of the family history that “[t]radition points very strongly to three brothers, William, Thomas, and Edward, the latter of whom went to Connecticut and founded what is called the Connecticut line. Thomas is supposed to have remained in Massachusetts with William.” In support of this tradition, Sarah Alice presents the following:

“In the Connecticut Magazine, Vol. XII., No. 1, Spring of 1908, is an article on "The British House of Worcester in America." From this it would appear that Edward Wooster and his brother came to this country in 1651, several years after William; that the brother remained with William in Massachusetts, and that Edward settled in Connecticut. This article does not give the name of the brother that came with Edward, but the latter calls his eldest son, born in 1656, Thomas, which seems to point towards his wish to thus keep in mind the brother who accompanied him to the new world.

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Poem written by Edward Johnson in Wonder Working Providence to honor "Thomas" Worcester printed in London.

In regard to Thomas we are led to believe that he remained in Salisbury with William, and that he may have assisted the latter in his ministerial work. There seems to be some confusion in regard to the name of the first minister of Salisbury. Johnson in his "Wonder Working Providence" speaks of him as the "reverend and graciously godly M. Thomas Woster," and this mistake may have led to a tradition in the family that the name of the first minister was Thomas. It is said that when the Rev. Thomas Worcester of Boston, Mass., received his name, it was supposed to be in memory of the first Worcester minister in our country.”

 Finally, Sarah Alice reports that

 “an ancient heirloom in the Worcester family, bears its silent testimony. This is a little book of poems, called, "Meditations all in Verse," written by Rev. Francis Worcester, in the 60th year of his age. Among the poems he devotes one to each of his ancestors, viz. to "his honored great grandfather, his grandfather, and his father, godly men he trusts." After this quotation we find in ink, at the opening of his poem on his great grandfather, the name, "Thomas Worcester." A star in paler ink refers to a foot note which reads. "Brother, William Worcester, not Thomas." We do not know who wrote the name Thomas Worcester, but the foot note is in a different handwriting, noticeably like that of Joseph E. Worcester, in whose possession the little book remained for many years, indicating plainly that later generations recognized the error and corrected it. We may safely conclude then that three Worcester brothers named William, Thomas and Edward came to this country and settled, the first two in Massachusetts, the third in Connecticut.”

 The tradition may have, indeed, been strong, but however strong it might have been, that tradition does not constitute the type of evidence requisite to enable one to categorically state that Rev. William had two brothers and that their names were Thomas and Edward. Nevertheless, family tradition does carry some weight and any investigation should honor that tradition as a clue, if not as conclusive evidence. 

 The fact that an Edward Wooster established the Connecticut branch of Woosters cannot be disputed. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register in 1921 printed the most reliable compilation of this distinguished family in America, a 22 page genealogical study by Donald Lines Jacobus, entitled Edward Wooster of Derby, Conn., and Some of his Descendants. In it he states that Edward’s “origin is unknown.” His date of death, however, is listed as July 8, 1689. The Genealogical Dictionary of New England, by James Savage, at Vol. IV, published in 1862, and reprinted in 1965, lists Edward Wooster as having died on “8 July, 1689, aged 67, hav. made his will that day.” If this last reference is correct, Edward would have been born in 1621-22. There is no evidence in any of these references that suggests that Edward was Rev. William’s brother.

 Did William have a brother by the name of Thomas? Sarah Alice strongly suggests that he did and that he lived in Salisbury. Indeed, she mentions that this Thomas helped William with his ministry. Sarah Alice references a 1654 publication by Edward Johnson that mentions a  "reverend and graciously godly M. Thomas Woster," living in Salisbury. Mr. Johnson also published Good News from New England” in London about 1648 wherein he lists “these 26 churches in the government of Mattachusets” and their “servants in the ministry” with the entry, "Salisbury: M. Th. Woster, 45.1” (The 45.1 referring to annual pay.) (Both of these works are available as a single volume: 1974 Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints – ISBN 0-8201-1130-9). In any event, it is clear that the error made in the 1648 work was carried forward to the 1654 publication. The error was either that Mr. Johnson was confused about Rev. William’s name, or that he thought Thomas, and not William, was the leader of the church at Salisbury. If the error were the latter, then it would seem to indicate that if Thomas was in Salisbury, he arrived on, or before, 1648.  David Worcester suggests that the error was probably confusion as to who was the leader of the church in Salisbury. Thomas Bradbury was the first schoolteacher in Salisbury, a prominent member of the community, representative to the General Court, and important church member (the same person who witnessed Rev. William’s will)

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           St. Giles Parish Church at Cheddington

Wylliam Woster of Cheddington.   The case for Wylliam Woster of Cheddington being Rev. William Worcester’s father is grounded in the family tradition reported by Sarah Alice Worcester. She indicated that "[t]radition points very strongly to three brothers, William, Thomas and Edward, the latter of whom went to Connecticut and founded what is called the Connecticut line."  Following this tradition, then, Rev. William’s father must have had two other sons named Edward and Thomas.

In Sarah Alice’s book, she relates her efforts to find a person who had three sons named William, Edward and Thomas. She did, in fact, discover such a person. A will was discovered that was prepared by a William Worcester of Cheddington, Buckingham Co., dated 1623, in which he bequeaths to "Willyam his eldest sonne tenn pounds, to his sonne Thomas 10 pds. and to his sonne Edward 10 pds." To his sons George and Francis he gives all his lands after his wife's decease. To each of his two daughters, Mary and Rebecca, he gives 100 pds. It is worthy of note that he cuts his three eldest sons with only10 pds. each, bequeathing them no land. The fact that the three sons were pretty much disinherited leads Sarah Alice to speculate that this may have been a reason for their departure from England a decade and a half later.

Church records in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire (LDS - IGI Batch #7233628) contain the following entries:

                  a.  Married 1576 April 13 Edward Worcester & Elizabth Alen.
                  b.  Christened 1576 April 20 William Worcester, sonne to Edward Worcester.

                    The records appear to have a gap of about 30 years, but continue as follows:

                  c.  Christened 1613 Sep 12 Thomas, s of William Woceter
                  d.  Christened 1616 Dec 26 Mary, dau of William Worster
                  e.  Christened 1618 Mar 21 Rebecca Woster, dau of William Woster
                  f.  Christened 1621 Feb 4 Gorge, s of William Worster
                  g.  Christened 1623 Aug 5 Francis, son of William Worster & Rebecca
                  h.  1623 Nov 3 William Worster was buried
                  i.   1659 May 3 George Wooster was buried

There can be little doubt that these church records record the marriages, baptisms, and deaths of family members of the same William who prepared the 1623 will. The reader will note that the will is dated Oct. 23, 1623, and accepted for probate on November 20, 1623. According to the church records, William Worcester was buried on Nov. 3, 1623. The reader will also note that the church records do make mention of a Thomas, but do not make reference to either William or Edward. It is not unlikely, however, that William and Edward were born during the period of time for which the church records are missing. The will indicates that William was his eldest son so clearly William had to have been born before Thomas in 1613. Moreover, the will makes mention of George, Francis, Mary (“my eldest daughter”), and Rebecca ("my youngest daughter”). The names in the will and their listing in the church records coincide perfectly. Thus, there can be no reasonable doubt that the Wylliam Woster who prepared a will in 1623 is the same William referenced in the church records at Cheddington.

The church records also reveal that a certain Edward Worcester married Elizabeth Alen on April 13, 1576, a week before a son by the name of William Worcester was christened at the church. From this record, it is inferred that in early April, 1576, Edward’s first wife died, perhaps in childbirth and that Edward immediately remarried as was the custom of the time when a widower was left with small children.

hcrawley.jpg (39459 bytes)

Parish Church at Husborne Crawley

The 1623 will also contains some additional clues that may be helpful. The will indicates that William was married to Rebecca daughter of George King (“my ffather-in-lawe.”) The bequests to William, Edward, Thomas, Mary and Rebecca are conditioned upon their coming of age (“one & twentie yeares” in the case of the sons, and “twentie yeares, or at their daie of marriage” whichever comes first.”) This means that none of them had “come of age” on October 23, 1623, when the will was prepared. We know that is true of Thomas, Mary and Rebecca from the church records. We can calculate therefore that the William and Edward referenced in the will must have been born some time after 1601-02 (which is consistent with the gap in the church records.)

The parish register of Husborne Crawley, Bedfordshire (about 12 miles north of Cheddington) contains the christening of Rebecca Kynge, dau of Georgij Kynge 10 March 1590 (LDS - IGI Batch #C035651) and also the christenings of Willia Worcester 22 Feb. 1611 and Edward Worster 30 April 1615, both of whose father is William. (LDS film # 1066992, Item 2; film # 0826474, Items 5-7; Transcript of Parish register 1557-1812. Book call # 942.565B4e, Bedfordshire Parish register Series vol. 68, published by the Bedfrodshire County Records Office, 1989.) It can therefore be assumed that Rebecca gave birth to her first two children at her childhood home in Husborne Crawley.

If William, son of William of Cheddington and Rebecca King, was born in 1611, he was much too young to enter Cambridge in 1620, and thus cannot be the same Rev. William that was the Vicar of Olney. If Rev. William of Salisbury was not the son of William of Cheddington, then he was also not the brother of Edward, son of William of Cheddington. Similarly, Edward Wooster of Connecticut who was born about 1622 is also not the same person as Edward, son of William of Cheddington. These facts do not disprove that Rev. William of Salisbury was the brother of Edward Wooster of Connecticut, but they do show that the Cheddington branch of the family reveals no close family connection between them. See Family Tree for William of Cheddington. See also the will of Thomas, ironmonger of London, who was William's brother.

 Wylliam Worcester of Willisden.  Sarah Alice Worcester listed Wylliam Worcester of Willisden as a possibility for actually being Rev. William. In her genealogy, she mentions that she received a report from a relative that was prepared by a genealogist by the name of Gustave Anjou. The report suggests that a William Worcester of Willisden had children whose first names are coincident with Rev. William’s children before he sailed to America. If the report was accurate, the coincidence of the names cannot be overlooked. Sarah Alice indicated, however, that she did not pursue the lead as the report failed to indicate “any suggestion of clerical experience or prospect in these papers.” This report, prepared for a Edwin D. Worcester, Jr. of N.Y City, is available through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ web site, www.familysearch.com. History of the Worcester Family from Robert de Worsted of England in 1345 to the Rev. William Worcester of Salisbury, Mass. (LDS Film 908504, Item 8.) As the title implies, Mr. Anjou claimed to be able to trace Rev. William’s family history all the way back to Robert de Worsted in 1345. It should be noted, however, that many prominent genealogists have seriously questioned Mr. Anjou’s reputation as a genealogist. A quick Internet search for his name will reveal numerous web sites that document his fraudulent work in tracing many American families. Nevertheless, one has to assume that not all of his investigations were fraudulent or his evidence mere fantasy to “fill in the gaps.” Thus, his findings deserve to be mentioned here.

The most intriguing entry is that a “William Worcester married Febr. 11th 1628 Sarah, daughter of Samuel Brown and Susannah, daughter of Nathaniel Bates of Willisden.” The entry continues with the following:

                                    Samuel, born Nov. 20th 1629
                                    Susannah, born Jan. 2, 1631
                                    William, born Mar. 6, 1632
                                    Sarah, born Sep. 17th 1636

Anjou gives as a reference, the following: "Brown Coll., iii.78, in Willisden Hist. Coll. MS. C.3h.”  If this entry were accurate, then the records for Rev. William’s marriage could be declared to have been found. The coincidence of a certain William marrying a Sarah with four children with the same names and birth dates that perfectly coincide with Rev. William’s children would be too great to able to refute. The problem, however, is that no one can find the records Mr. Anjou cites, nor can anyone explain his reference! Until these records are found, one can only assume that it is just another example of Mr. Anjou’s genealogical work that has caused his reputation to be what it is.  

Rev. William Worcester, the Vicar of Watford. The case for William Worcester, the Vicar of Watford, being our progenitor’s father is fairly strong. If family tradition is to be given weight, the fact that the Vicar of Watford was a memb

  St Peter & St Paul Church  in Watford, Northamptonshire

er of the clergy cannot be ignored. The tradition of having sons follow in their father’s footsteps is uncontrovertibly. A brief review of our family history reveals an inordinate number of Worcesters that chose the clerical profession. Indeed, there are three lines of Worcesters, each having four ministers in direct succession who followed in Rev. William Worcester’s footsteps. Also weighing into the mix is the fact that at least the compilers of the Alumni Cantabrigienses (entry quoted above) were persuaded enough with the theory that they added to their alumni register the possibility that Rev. William was the son of the Vicar of Watford.

The Northamptonshire and Rutland Clergy, a six volume set completed in 1972 contains the following entry for William Worcester, the Vicar of West Haddon and Watford:

WORCESTER (WORCETER), William, Clerk. Oxford B.A. 12 April 1570, Vicar of West Haddon, Northants 1571-4. Inst 2 December 1571 as W.W. of West Haddon. Vicar of Watford, Northamptonshire 1574-97. Aged 28 in 1576. Probably died 1597.

The Cambridge entry indicates that he was probably the son of William, the Vicar of Watford. How accurate are these entries? If they are unassailable, then the answer is given, Rev. William was the son of the Vicar of Watford described in the Northamptonshire entry. Unfortunately, however, one cannot assume that the compilers were correct in this regard. The fact that a William Worcester took his degree from Cambridge would certainly be difficult to deny, but that he was the son of the Vicar of Watford is not proved. (Cambridge University should certainly have good records of the students that graduated from their institutions, but information about alumni after they graduated is less credible.) The Northamptonshire and Rutland Clergy, work was completed in 1972 and was most likely taken from the Alumni Cantabrigienses, thereby passing on any factual errors in the earlier work. The Alumni Cantabrigienses was compiled between 1922 – 27. Much of the information contained in the work on alumni who emigrated to America was supplied by Mr. J. Gardner Bartlett of Boston, Mass. The 1927 entry for William has after it, “J.G Bartlett.” In the preface to the first volume, published in 1922, it states as follows: “We are therefore peculiarly fortunate in having enjoyed the advice and assistance of Mr. J. Gardiner Bartlett, of Boston, Mass. He has supplied us with the biographical accounts of upwards of a hundred Cambridge students who emigrated to New England prior to 1650. The information he has supplied about many of these will be entirely new to most readers.”  Mr. Bartlett may well have taken the information about William from Sarah Alice’s 1914 edition. Still to be verified is whether the records at Cambridge pre-date Sarah Alice’s work on the family history.

There is a critical piece of evidence that lends support to the theory are the following entries for a William Worceter, the vicar of St Peter & St Paul Church at Watford, Northamptonshire, (LDS IGI Batch #8623732) wherein is listed in the church register the following entries:

                  a.  Richardus Worcetr filius Willm Worceter baptizatus erat VII die mensis Decembr
                        1580. (Richard Worcester son of William Worcester baptized on December 7, 1580).
                  b.  Timotheus, bapt. August 3, 1582.
                  c.  Susanna, bapt. September 11, 1584.
                  d.  Katherina, bapt. December 9, 1586.
                  e.  Petrus, bapt. January 8, 1589.
                  f.  Alicia, bapt. ____ 20, 1591.
                  g.  Maria, bapt. March 30, 1593.
                  h.  William, bapt. Oct. 5, 1595.

The last son, William, it has been suggested, matriculated at Cambridge University, later became the Vicar of Olney and eventually emigrated to New England to establish the Worcester family in America. The problem with this theory is that having been born in 1595 means that he would have been 25 years old when he entered Cambridge in 1620. This is highly unlikely as less than one in a hundred students were that old when they started their studies at Cambridge.

Joseph Worcester of Rugby. David Worcester has suggested that Rev. William of Salisbury, Massachusetts, was the son of Joseph Worcester of Rugby, the youngest brother of William, the Vicar of Watford. His evidence appears to be unassailable and until further evidence comes forward to refute this possibility, this writer is persuaded that he is correct.  David was able to make the family connections from Rev. William to his ancestors through some brillant research, logical deductive reasoning, and shear persistence in reviewing dozens of fifteenth a
Rugby-StAndrew.jpg (34053 bytes)

St. Andrew's Parish Church in Rugby

nd sixteenth century parish church registers, records of legal proceedings, and wills. It might be helpful to the reader to refer to the family tree to understand the relationships established by the new documentation.

Rev. William's will contains an interesting and, until now, perplexing reference to an Edward French. The relevant portion of the will reads as follows: "I doe appoint my loueing freinds Capt Robert Pike my brother Edward ffrench : Richard wells & mr Tho : Bradbury to bee overseers of this my will & testamt."  The reference to Mr. French being his brother has caused many to speculate about their relationship. Could it mean that he considered him a "church brother" or a brother-in-law? There are examples of the use of the term in wills of this time period with both meanings. Some members of the French Family Association  have concluded that the term was simply a term of religious brotherhood and did not refer to an actual family relationship. In their family history they report that the progenitor of their family branch in America, Edward French, married a woman with a first name of Ann, but are uncertain of her last name. Edward French was born in England about 1590, and died in Salisbury, Mass., on December 28, 1674. He is believed to have emigrated to New England from Halstead, Essex, in 1635 with his wife Ann and three children, arriving first in Ipswich, Mass. and after two years removing to Salisbury. He is known to be, along with Rev. William, one of the first settlers of Salisbury. The Genealogical Dictionary of New England, by James Savage, Boston, 1860-2, reports that Edward French was living in Ipswich, Mass. as early as 1636. He was a tailor by trade, helped establish the first church in Salisbury, was a selectman between 1646-48, and a sheriff. He was an extensive landowner having purchased land in 1642 and was reported to be the third wealthiest man in Salisbury. Edward and Ann had four children: Joseph, born in England about 1631, died in Salisbury, June 6, 1710, married Susanah Stacy; John, born about 1632, died in Salisbury, May 4, 1706, married Mary Noyes; Samuel born about 1633, died in Salisbury, July 26, 1692, married first Abigail Brown, and second Esther (Jackman) Muzzey; and, Hannah, who married first John White and second, Thomas Philbrick. (http://www.frenchfamilyassoc.com/FFA). If Rev. William intended to refer to Edward French as a "church brother," one has to wonder why he did not similarly refer to Robert Pike as "brother." Robert Pike was also a prominent member of the Salisbury community and parish. If Edward French was, in fact, Rev. William's brother-in-law, it opens up the possibility that Ann was Rev. William's sister. And, that Ann French arrived in America before Rev. William!

Two documents contain almost irrefutable evidence that Ann was, in fact, Rev. William's sister. The first is the will of Joseph Worcester the elder of Rugby, dated 1644, identified by Sarah Alice in her 1914 edition of the family history. It contains bequeaths to his sons William and Joseph, and to his daughters Anne French and Susanah Mason. What are the odds that more than one William Worcester would have a sister named Ann French in 1644? This seems to be pretty good evidence that Rev. William had a sister named Ann. The parish register of the Church of St. Andrew in Rugby contains the following entry: "3 November 1626 Marryed Edward French and Anne Worcester."

french.jpg (85959 bytes)

Parish register of St. Andrew, Rugby: "3 November 1626 Marryed Edward French and Anne Worcester"

This is a critical piece of evidence as it conclusively shows that Edward French married Ann Worcester in 1626. Perhaps more importantly, however, the discovery also provides the link to prove that Joseph Worcester, the elder of Rugby, was Rev. William's father

Another set of documents have added considerable knowledge about Rev. William's ancestry in England. Richard (No. 20 below) is named a defendant in certain proceedings in the Court of Exchequer relating to lands allegedly owned by the Hospital of the Savoy in
West addon church

West Haddon Parish Church

London. The proceedings that apparently were begun in 1605-06 relate to claimed profits from certain lands the hospital owned in West Haddon, Northamptonshire, and the confusion caused by the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Savoy Hospital v Richard Worster: Lands of defendant in West Haddon. 4 James 1 1605-06 (Public Records Office E134/4Jas1/East25, 1605.) Testimony elicited as part of those proceedings establishes the familial relationships between William and his son Richard. The case seems to come to an end or temporary stalemate in 1609, as the documents from the case seem to end at that time. The case is resumed about 1633 when a younger William is named as a party to defend lands “of his ancestors.”

The testimony elicited from defendants and witnesses called to give depositions as part of these proceedings provides an extremely important historical record of four generations of Worcesters who were either named as party defendants, called to testify, or mentioned in the witness' testimony. This rare opportunity allows us to connect family members from different generations. Armed with this information, wills probated at the time can be linked across generations and serve as important primary sources of information to confirm familial ties. Based upon the information gleaned from the proceedings and various wills referenced below, we can now state with certainty that Rev. William's father was Joseph, the elder of Rugby, who was descended from a family of Worcesters residing in, and around, West Haddon in the northwestern area of Northampton County, England. 

No. 1
      Robert Worcester. Robert of West Haddon, married Alicia ___ with whom he had at least two children.

 Children of Robert Worcester

Peter.
Henry.

******* ******* ****** Second Generation ******* ******* ******

No. 2
        Peter Worcester
(Robert1), Prob. born in West Haddon, Northamptonshire. His will, dated 1523 indicates that he had a brother, Henry (No. 2).

 Children of Peter Worcester

Henry.
5  William.

No. 3
        Henry Worcester
(Robert1), Prob. born in West Haddon, Northamptonshire. His will, dated 1544 indicates that he had two children.

 Children of Henry Worcester

John
7  Stephen.

******* ******* ****** Third Generation ******* ******* ******

No. 4
            Henry Worcester
. (Peter2, Robert1) His will dated 1559 indicates that he lived in West Haddon, Northamptonshire where he married Agnes ____. His will indicates that he had seven children.

 Children of Henry Worcester

Henry.
William.
10  Robert.
11  Elizabeth.
12  Isabell.
13  John.
14  Thomas.

No. 5
            William Worcester
. (Peter2, Robert1)William's great-grandson, Richard (No. 20 below) is the first defendant named in the Savoy Hospital v Worster case. William prepared a will dated 1551 in which he names a brother Henry of West Haddon and a wife Elizabeth dau of  John Mutton of East Haddon. Elizabeth also prepared a will dated 1567. Both the court proceedings and the two wills help establish that William and Elizabeth had a son named Richard and a daughter Ursula. William’s will also makes reference to a William and a Peter without any identification, but must have referred to his first two grandchildren by his son Richard. William probably died in 1551, the same year as his will, and certainly before 1567 since Elizabeth is a widow when she prepares her will in that year.

 Children of William Worcester

15  Richard.
16  Ursula; m Thomas Warren. Ursula gave a deposition in 1605 as Ursula Warren in which she indicates that she was born about 1545 as she was "three score years, or thereabouts."

******* ******* ****** Fourth Generation ******* ******* ******

No. 15
            Richard Worcester
, (William3, Peter2, Robert1). According to depositions given in the above referenced proceedings, and his father’s will, Richard married Isabel Mutton.  Richard owned six housing units and lands in West Haddon. Richard died about 1602.

  Children of Richard Worcester

16  William.
17  Peter, b before 1551.
18  Thomas, b 1552 or after.
19  Joseph.

******* ******* ****** Fifth Generation ******* ******* ******

No. 16
            William Worcester
, (Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), b 1548. It is believed that this William became the Vicar of Watford in 1574. The Northamptonshire and Rutland Clergy, a six volume set completed in 1972 contains the following entry:

 WORCESTER (WORCETER), William, Clerk, Oxford B.A. 12 April 1570, Vicar of West Haddon, Northants 1571-4. Inst 2 December 1571 as W.W. of West Haddon. Vicar of Watford, Northamptonshire 1574-97. Aged 28 in 1576. Probably died 1597.

Foster’s Alumni Oxoniensis (1591), a biographical list of known graduates from Oxford University, indicates that a William Worcester took his B.A. on April 12, 1570, but does not indicate which College he attended. He went on to become a Church of England clergyman; he was vicar of Watford in Northamptonshire in 1574.

 The entries of the Watford parish register, listed above, provide the names of William’s children.

 Children of William Worcester

20  Richard.
21  Timothy.
22  Susanna, bap. Sept. 11, 1584.
23  Katherine, bap. Dec. 9, 1586; m ___ Watson.
24  Peter.
25  Alicia, bap. 1591.


26  Maria, bap. Mar. 30, 1593.
27  William

joe-sig.jpg (45319 bytes)

Joseph Worcester's signature on parish register at Church of St. Andrew, Rugby - churchwarden in 1624

 No. 19

            Joseph Worcester, (Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1).  Joseph gives two deposititons in 1606 in the Court of Exchequer proceedings and deposes that his father Richard (No. 15) is the grandfather of the defendant Richard (No.

 20).   He testifies in 1606  as being “ age 40 years or thereabouts” and indicates that he is from West Haddon and also “of Rugby.” The will of Joseph Worcester the elder of Rugby is dated Feb. 10, 1644/45. In his will, Joseph names his wife Alice, eldest son William, another son Joseph, and daughters Anne French, Alice Cave, and

 Susanna Mason. The Parish Register of the Church of St. Andrew, Rugby, indicates that Joseph was the churchwarden there. His signature appears on the register for 1624 and 1634. His unusual script for the letter “W” probably caused the error in the Lists of Rugby Church-wardens 1623-1949 compiled by Edward R. Reid-Smith, 1950, wherein is listed a Joseph Borcester.

 Children of Joseph Worcester

28  William.
29  Joseph.
30  Anne, b abt. 1590; m Edward French, b England,
died in Salisbury, Mass., on December 28, 1674. Four children listed above.
31  Alice, m ___ Cave.
32  Susanna, m ___ Mason.

 ******* ******* ****** Sixth Generation ******* ******* ******

No. 20
            Richard Worcester
, (William5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), bap. Watford, Dec. 1580. Named as the original defendant in the above referenced proceedings. William, his father, probably died about 1600 so cannot be named in the case as a defendant. Richard's son, William, is named as a defendant in 1633.

 Children of Richard Worcester

34  William.

 No. 21
            Timothy Worcester
, (William5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), bap. Watford, Aug. 3, 1582. Timothy prepared a will in 1613 in which he indicates that he is “sicke in body but wholl in mynde.” That will bequeaths to “Elizabeth Bride my dearly beloved ffrende (whom I purpose to make my wif if God shall prolonge my dayes and make me fitt thereunto).” He also makes bequests to his brothers Peter and William, and to his three sisters, Katheryn Watson, Alyce Worcester, and to Mary Worcester. He also makes reference to his aunt, Alyce Rose (possibly Joseph's(No. 19) wife?) 

 No. 24
            Peter Worcester
, (William5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), bap. Watford, Jan. 8, 1589; m St. Dunstan in East London, Apr. 22, 1617, Dorathy Phips. Merchant Taylor of London. A letter among the Winthrop Papers mentions a Peter Wouster of London who pays the voyage of a Nathaniel Merriman to New England in 1634 indicating that he was investing early in the settlements of New England. Inhabitants of London, 1638, Society of Genealogists, based upon the Lambeth manuscript, lists a Peter Woster as living on Birchin Lane in the Parish of St. Edmund’s and a William Worster as living at St. Martin’s Lane in St. Martin Orgar Parish. Peter’s will wherein he identifies himself as Merchant Taylor is dated Aug. 12, 1656 and is probated on Aug. 28, 1656. He mentions his son John (who must have been born 1623-25 in St. Edmund’s Parish where the early registers are lost, daughter Elizabeth and wife Dorothy. Dorothy’s will is dated Sept. 26, 1659 and is probated on April 20, 1660. It mentions her son John and also her daughter Elizabeth. The will also references her daughter's husband Sgt. Major Robert Cobbetts and their children Rebecca and Sarah. The will also mentions “Sibill Worcester widow late wife of my late husbands brother.” (William, No. 27) It is this Peter Worcester who was Rev. William's surety upon becoming the vicar of Olney. The parish register at St. Nicholas Acons record the baptisms of their children.

 Children of Peter Worcester

35  Male infant, b St. Nicholas Acon, July 1618, prob. died young.
36  Timothy, bap. St. Nicholas Acon, Aug. 29, 1619, d young.
37  Elizabeth, bap. St. Nicholas Acon,  Jan. 11, 1621; m ___ Cobbett.
38  Samuel, bap.  St. Nicholas Acon, Oct. 4, 1622.
39  John, b St. Edmund’s Parish, abt. 1623-25.

 No. 27
            William Worcester
, (William5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), bap. Watford, Oct. 5, 1595. In the Parish register of St. Dionis Backchurch, London, (just east of St. Edmund’s) is entered the marriage of William Worsesster and Sybilla Bayfield, 2 Feb 1618. This evidence, together with Dorothy’s will referenced above for Peter (No. 24), establishes that this William and his brother Peter were living in London. Accordingly, this William could not have been the Vicar of Olney or the first minister of Salisbury in 1639.

 No. 28
            William Worcester
,
(Joseph5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1). Rev. William Worcester of Salisbury. See William1 Worcester.

 No. 29
            Joseph Worcester
, (Joseph5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1). From the Brownsover Church registers it is learned that he married June 10, 1632, Jane dau of Robart Wilford at Brownsover, bap. Brownsover, Feb. 6, 1608. Joseph's children are listed in the Rugby parish church register with their baptism dates.

 Children of Joseph Worcester

40  Joseph, bap. 1633.
41  Mary, bap. 1636.
42  Robert, bap. 1640.

******* ******* ****** Seventh Generation ******* ******* ******

 No. 34
            William Worcester
, (Richard6, William5, Richard4, William3, Peter2, Robert1), b abt. 1610 just before his father's death. The court proceedings may have started again in 1633 when William became of age and could be named as a defendant in the action. His will dated 1669 makes reference to his wife, Mary and seven children. The will also provides the names of two of his grandchildren.

 Children of William Worcester

43  Henry.
44  William.
45  Richard.
46  Mary.
47  Lettice, m Geroge Fesher. They had two children, William and Richard.
48  Alice.
49  Emme.

 From this documentation, it is quite evident that Rev. William, the first minister of the church at Salisbury, and the progenitor of the Worcester family in America, was the William Worcester referenced above as Number 28, the son of Joseph Worcester (No. 19), the elder of Rugby whose family came from West Haddon. The family tradition of three brothers (William, Edward and Thomas) living in New England at about the same time is not satisfied with the above findings. These findings do not, however, preclude the possibility that Rev. William was related to Edward Wooster of Connecticut or a Thomas Worcester who helped him in his ministry in Salisbury. More research is needed to make the connection, as there surely is a connection between Rev. William and Edward Wooster of Connecticut. Consider, for example, the following: The will of a John Worster, Shepard of Rugby, dated May, 1656, and proved at London November 20, 1656 “authorized by oath of Edward Worster, the natural and lawful brother” who is named as executor of the will. The will is actually a “Memorandum” in that it was dictated in the presence of Luke Barrow and Elizabeth Barrow, his wife. The will names brothers Thomas and Edward, also Edward’s daughter Elizabeth, and sisters Jane and Elizabeth. The oldest daughter of Edward Wooster of Connecticut was named Elizabeth! The will places this Edward in London in November 1656, but there is nothing in the historical records that places Edward Wooster in Connecticut at this time and return trips to England were not uncommon, particularly after the end of the civil war. The Rugby parish records contain entries for the christening of a John Worster’s daughters, but no reference to an Edward who, it has been determined, was probably born in 1622.

Additional wills and information of Worcesters that were contemporaries of Rev. William's family who might be related in some fashion is presented in the Appendix to assist with further research into the Worcester family in England. While I feel confident that the compiliation of Worcesters in England is accurate, I welcome other thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

John P. Worcester
2004, Aspen, Colorado

More on:
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   Last modified: December 10, 2012