The Proprietors of the Northern Neck
Chapter 4b - Feckenham
XIII. Thomas Culpeper (John12 of
Feckenham), 1602 ? - 1652 ?, of the Middle Temple, is the lost pleiad
of the WigselI pedigree. A victim of the disorganization. of society during the Civil
Wars, he left few certain genealogical records, and it is necessary to tie together such
material for him as is available by deduction and argument; but by careful tests of that
material in relation to the other Thomases of his generation, the logical process of
elimination makes it possible to reconstruct his career. The difficulty begins with his
birth, for the mutilated parish register of Harrietsham, which records his younger
brother's baptism, does not testify for him. Although Dr. Martin Culpeper's will, written
in October, 1605, seems to imply that he did not then know of the existence of the great
nephew for whom he intended a portion of his estate, this Thomas must have been born in
1602 so as to be of age in 1623, when his record requires that estate.
The first certain testimony for him is his admission to the Middle Temple on May 7,
1621, as 'Mr. Thomas Culpeper, son and heir apparent of John Culpeper of Astwood, Esq.'
(Bidwell, ii, 662). He was then bound with his father and the 'Mr. John Culpeper, jun.,'
who was about to be knighted and eventually became the first Lord Culpeper, with whom he
was associated to the end of his life. That he had embarked on a serious professional
career in the tradition of his father appears from the fact that chambers were assigned to
him in the Temple in 1623, when we assume he had attained his majority; and an incidental
recital of his name in the Middle Temple records him in 1630 as 'of the utter bar.'
We have seen that his father was one of the original subscribers to the Virginia
Company; in 1623, while John12 was still living, 'Mr. Thomas Culpeper of the
Middle Temple, London, Esq.' became a member of that company also, in his own right, when
his kinsman, George Scott, 'passed' to him three shares in the company (Records of the
Virginia Company, L. C. ed., pp. 389, 412). That the investment connoted more than a
casual investment interest appears from the later record (Cal. State Papers, Dom.
1633-34, p. 223) of his ownership of a half interest, with his merchant brother, in a
ship, the Thomas and John, which was destined to carry many immigrants to Virginia.
The other records of him, until the beginning of war between King and Parliament, are
his marriage at Ulcombe in 1628; the baptism and burial there of his first child in 1629;
the baptism of three younger children from 1630 to 1634 at Hollingbourne; his probate of
his father's will in January, 1635/6, and his name as first born child on his father's MI.
(1636). These testimonies show that on his m. he went to live with his uncle, Sir
Alexander C., at Ulcombe; but soon transferred his residence to Greenway Court, where his
father later joined him.
It may fairly be assumed that he was one of the 'gentlemen from the Inns of Court' who
offered their services to the King after the passage of the Grand Remonstrance (Gardiner,
x, 124; Bedwell, Middle Temple, p. 52) and that he subsequently served in the
royalist army; but his name does not appear in the army lists of 1642 (Peacock, Army
Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, 1863; Masson, Life of Milton, ii, 445),
nor has diligent search turned up any reference to him in other printed sources for
biography during the first war. The next definite record is therefore in January, 1644/5,
at Oxford; where he witnessed the will and a codicil of his uncle, Sir Alexander Culpeper12
(hereinbefore set out) ; under which the inheritance intended for him was placed in trust
for his young son (Alexander14) with the palpable purpose of avoiding the
political forfeiture which might follow a bequest to Thomas himself.
Thereafter the record is silent again until 1648, when he turns up as a participant in
the royalist plots in Kent (Markham, The Great Lord Fairfax, p. 305).45 . In this adventure he was
drawn along with the earl of Norwich's little army in its irresolute passage of the
Thames, after a smashing defeat at Maidstone, to the refuge found in Colchester in June of
that year. And so Thomas13 became one of the gallant band who, to the
astonishment of all England, for eleven weeks maintained themselves behind improvised
fortifications against the grim and angry leaguer of an ever victorious general 'whose
name in arms through Europe rings.' When at last starvation brought the garrison of
Colchester to its inevitable collapse, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Culpeper was one of the
'lords, Superior officers and gentlemen of distinction' named by Matthew Carter46 who, by the terms of the
capitulation, were 'rendered to the mercy of the Lord General.' After executing Lucas and
Lisle and reserving the others 'who bore the principal command' for action by the
parliament, 'the General distributed to every regiment a certain number of gentlemen who
were prisoners, as slaves to the gallies, to ransom themselves; and most of them did
afterwards purchase their liberty, by giving as much as they were able for the same, and
returned home.' That Thomas Culpeper availed himself of that rigorous quarter and in doing
so impoverished himself may be deduced from Sir William Berkeley's later testimony that he
'lost all his estate, life and liberty in the King's service' (Am. & W. I.,
1669-74, No. 571).
What next became of him appears in the precedent of the experience of his kinsman and
recent comrade in arms, Col. Samuel Tuke, whom John Evelyn records having met in Paris
soon after the surrender of Colchester. Thomas Culpeper seems also to have made his way to
France. His immediate attraction was that Lord Culpeper was already there. It was thus
that our next record is at St. Germains, where, in the court of the 'King of Virginia,' on
September 18, 1649, Thomas Culpeper was made one of the original patentees of the Northern
When this charter was renewed, May 8, 1669, that Thomas Culpeper was recited to be dead
(Am. & W. I., 1669-74, No. 63). It appears elsewhere that Katherine, his wife,
died a widow in 1658; but it remains for a final deduction as to when and where she lost
her husband. The Virginia records prove that some months after the Northern Neck charter
was sealed, Sir Dudley Wyatt, the other junior among the proprietors, went out to the
colony and there soon died.47
There is no such evidence for Thomas Culpeper,13 but the tradition (W. &
M. Quar., x, 274) is that he was Wyatt's companion to the end. This is persuasive
because it is supported by the facts that both Thomas Culpeper's daughters married in
Virginia in 1652, that one of his sons was described by a Virginian in 1671 as 'a
gentleman of this Country,' while the other was making a career in Carolina; that his
merchant brother John13 is shown to have been established in Accomac and that
Thomas13 himself left no English record of his death or of administration of
his estate. We conclude, therefore, that he went out to Virginia in 1650, hoping to
establish himself in the Northern Neck; that he took his family with him, and that he died
in the colony not later than 1652, when his widow and son returned to England.
He m., 1628, Katherine, dau. of Sir Warham St. Leger (1579-1632), of Ulcombe, co. Kent,
and adopted dau. of Sir Alexander Culpeper12 of Greenway Court,
The m. is entered in the Ulcombe register, July 10, 1628, as 'Thomas Culpeper et
Katherina Sentleger.' The bride appears in her place, and the m. is noted, in the
Stemnuzta St. Leodigaria (hereinbefore cited), but the best evidence for her is the
reference in the will of Sir Alexander C.12 (1645) to 'Katherine, the
grandchild of my wife, whom I therefore call daughter... on her marriage with my nephew
Thomas Culpeper.' The only other contemporary testimony available is the admon. granted
August 28, 1658 (P.C.C. Admon. Act Book, 1658) on goods of 'Katherine Culpeper of
Maidstone, Kent, to her son Alexander C.' That she was sister to that Ursula St. Leger,
wife of Daniel Horsmanden, parson of Ulcombe, and grandmother of the wife of the first
William Byrd of Virginia, explains the intimacy in Virginia between the Byrds and Frances,
Lady Berkeley, as shown by contemporary letters. See Va. Mag., xxvi, 128.
and by her had:
i Mary, 1629, ob. infans.
She was baptised at Ulcombe, April 26, 1629, as 'Maria, filia, Thomae Culpeper,
generos:' and was buried there beside her maternal grandmother for whom she was named, on
December 3, 1630.
ii Anne, 1630-1695, m. in Virginia about 1652,
Christopher Danby, of Thorpe Perrow, co. Yorks.
She was baptiscd in Hollingbourne, September 16, 1630, as 'Anne, the dau. of Thomas
Culpeper, esq.' Ralph Thoresby's pedigree of Danby of the West Riding of Yorkshire (Ducatus
Leodiensis (1715), p. 202; Cf. also LeNeve, Book of Knights, Harl. Soc.
Pub., viii, 436) shows Christopher Danby's marriage to 'Anne, d. of... second brother
(sic) of John, Lord Colepepper.' Dr. Stanard's trained eye was the first to note (Va.
Mag., i, 83) that this marriage took place in Virginia.
Christopher Wandesford (1592-1640), who was lord deputy of Ireland for a few months
following Strafford, had two daughters, Catherine, who married Sir Thomas Danby of Thorpe
Perrow, and Alice (1627-1707), who married William Thornton of East Newton. Mrs. Thornton
kept a diary, which has been edited for the Surtees Society (Publications, 1875,
lxii, 139-224). Writing about 1668, she makes bitter complaint of the ingratitude of the
wife of her nephew, Christopher Danby:
Thus did this woman requite my kindness.... I was forced to give of my disbursements
for maintaining of herself, husband, and children on all accounts whatever for the space
of twenty years: they being cast out of favor by Sir Thomas Danby on her inveighling his
son to marry her in Virginia, and her pride afterwards.
The editor for the Surtees Society records that this Anne Culpeper was buried at
York in 1695. She apparently had descendants who returned to Virginia. Her son, Anstropus
Danby of Farnley, Yorkshire, knighted 1691 and subsequently M. P., had P.C.C. Admon.
November 20, 1703, on the estate of Thomas Goodrich, late of Virginia, infant, on the
allegation that he was 'uncle on the mother's side and next of kin.' On this Dr. Stanard
argues persuasively (Va. Mag., xx, 94) that this Thomas Goodrich was a grandson of
Anne Culpeper: that she left a dau. who m. the Joseph Goodrich shown by the Essex (VA)
records to have died ante. 1703, seized of lands in that county and leaving sons in the
iii Alexander, 1631-1694, of whom hereafter.
iv John, 1633-post 1680, of Albemarle in
He was baptised in Hollingbourne, April 4, 1633, as 'John, sonne of Thomas Culpeper,
esq.' No other certain record for him has appeared in England. Considering the history of
his family, one is persuaded that he was the otherwise unidentified John Culpeper who, in
March, 1671, arrived from Barbados at the infant settlement of Albemarle Point (afterwards
Charles Town [Charleston]) in Carolina, and in the December following was commissioned by
the proprietors as Surveyor General of South Carolina (Am. & W. I., 1669-74,
Nos. 432, 711). Chalmers says (Revolt of the American Colonies, 1845 ed., i, 168), that
later he 'fled from South Carolina, where he was in danger of hanging for endeavoring to
set the poor planters to plunder the rich.' Though this accusation is not confirmed by
local contemporary evidence (Rivers, Sketches, 112; McCrady, South Carolina
under the Proprietary Government, 169), Chalmers is probably correct in stating that
this John Culpeper fled from Carolina at this time. If he was a brother of Dame Frances
Berkeley, it is probable also that he took refuge in Virginia; and was sent by his
brother-in-law, the Virginia Governor, to settle in the Albermarle colony on the Virginia
border, which was then Sir William Berkeley's particular preserve (almost his purparty) in
the Carolina proprietary. At all events, John Culpeper was resident in Albemarle, North
Carolina, in July, 1677. In that year the proprietors of Carolina sent out one Eastchurch
to be Governor of Albemarle; but he stayed his journey at Nevis leisurely to woo a wife,
while a new Collector of the King's Customs named Miller, who was enroute with him, went
forward to Albemarle with a commission from Eastchurch to be deputy Governor until he
should himself arrive. Now it happened that Miller had been in Albemarle before and had
made himself obnoxious to the Governor of Virginia, who arrested him for using treasonable
language. In this light on Miller it may be significant that after he had assumed the
government of Albemarle, it was John Culpeper who, in December, 1677, lead a 'rebellion'
against him with the aid of certain Boston merchants who had concerns in Albemarle, and
usurped not only Miller's government, but his function in the royal revenue service. When,
after nearly a year, this irregular situation became too hot, John Culpeper went to
England and made peace with the Proprietors; but, being on a ship in the Downs, about to
return to Albemarle, he was arrested and committed to Newgate on a charge of high treason
at the complaint of Miller, on the ground that whatever the proprietors might say about
the misuse of their government, the Crown was interested in the customs (Acts P. C.,
Colonial, i, pp. 875, 881, 883, 887). Culpeper's trial made some noise in London at the
time (Luttrell, Brief Relation, i, 48) and raised a new question of law (Colepepper's
Case, i Ventris, 349), but he was ultimately acquitted. Lord Shaftesbury urged
(conceivably through the influence of Lord Culpeper or of Alexander Culpeper) that the
disturbance in Albemarle was a mere factional quarrel among the planters (Am. & W.
I., 1677-1680, Nos. 1017, 1230, 1246, 1274, 1288-90, 1490; Colonial Records of
North Carolina, i, 242, 30,6; Hawk's History of North Carolina, ii, 211, 464
where the story is characteristically elaborated from Chalmers with local colour). No
final record of this John Culpeper has come to light; but he may well have been the father
of the Henry Culpeper who died in Norfolk County, Virginia, in 1699, leaving a will
(McIntosh, Norfolk County Wills, p. 169) in which he names a son, Thomas, and a
v Frances, 1634-post 1690.
She m. 1st, 1652, Samuel Stephens (ob. 1670) of Warwick, in Virginia,
sometime Governor of Albemarle in Carolina.
2nd, 1670, Sir William Berkeley (1606-1677), Governor of Virginia.
3rd, 1680, Philip Ludwell (1638?-1723), of James City in Virginia, sometime
She was baptised in Hollingbourne, May 27, 1634, as 'Francis, dau. of Thomas Culpeper,
esq. and Katherine his wife.' The earliest evidence for her in Virginia is the reference
in the will of Samuel Filmer (1667, P.C.C. Penn, 58; cf. Va. Mag., xv, 181)
to 'my friend and cousin Mrs. Frances Stephens wife of Mr. Samuel Stephens of Virginia.'
Stephens' death and her subsequent m. to Sir William Berkeley are recited in a Virginia
act of September, 1674 (Hening, ii, 322). Her final m. is reported in Lord Culpeper's
letter to his sister in 1681 (Va. Hist. Register, iii, 192) ; and it was from the
son of her third husband by an earlier m. who succeeded to Green Spring, that the Lees
inherited her portrait which we reproduce. She was living in good health in her
fifty-sixth year in July, 1690, as reported by William Byrd the elder (Va. Mag.,
xxvi, 128), but must have died soon after, for there is no mention of her in the will of
her brother, Alexander (1691). She was buried in the church yard at Jamestown, where Dr.
Tyler (Cradle of the Republic, p. 129) deciphered a fragment of her tombstone as
...yeth the Bod... Lady Franc... eley...
Dame Frances Berkeley appears in Virginia history a woman of high spirit, loyal and
intensely partizan. When Col. Jeffreys and the other Commissioners reached Virginia to
investigate her husband's conduct of the government during and after Bacon's Rebellion,
she organized the 'Green Spring faction' to frustrate their politics and with the aid of
Ludwell and Robert Beverley carried the Assembly along with her. The best of the anecdotes
of this campaign is of her putting the common hangman up as an improvised postilion when
the Governor's coach conducted the Commissioners away from a visit of ceremony at
Greenspring (See Jeffreys' complaints in Am. & W. I., 1677-80, passim).
At Leeds Castle the Historical MSS. Commission (Sixth Report, 465) brought to light
a document in this quarrela. letter addressed to Berkeley, dated Virginia, August 2,
1677, and signed 'F. Berkeley,' It begins: 'My dear, dear Sir,' and, after some discussion
of property in Jamaica, proceeds, 'as soon as your back was turned, the Lieut. Governor
[Jeffreys] said he would lay 100 £ that you would not be permitted to see the King, but
would be sent to the Tower.' On the date of this letter the Governor was already dead, but
the news had not reached Virginia. It was her last message to her husband, and came into
her brother's hands. Under Berkeley's will (Hening, ii, 558, in which she is described,
six years after marriage, as 'my dear and most virtuous wife') she became one of the
proprietors of Carolina. By a curious combination of circumstances she had the good
fortune to sell this interest twice, in 1682 and again in 1684, and each time to be paid
for it. The story is well told in McCrady, South Carolina under the Proprietary
Government, p. 234.
XIV. Alexander Culpeper (Thomas13
of the Middle Temple), 1631 ?-1694, makes his first appearance on the
available record in the will (1645) of his great uncle, Sir Alexander12, as 'my
godson Alexander C., son and heir apparent of my said nephew Thomas C.', with the
characterization that 'whereas said Alexander C., son of my said nephew Thomas C., is yet
young and under age so as it is not certainly known how he will prove.' Lacking testimony
of his baptism in the registers of Ulcombe, Hollingbourne and Harrietsham, it is a
deduction that he was born in 1631 ; for that is the year in which, alone, he fits in
between the proven baptisms of his elder sisters and younger brother. He would thus be
fourteen when Sir Alexander described him as 'young and under age.'
We have conjectured that he was taken to Virginia by his father in 1650 and returned to
England after his father's death in 1651; certainly he was in Kent in December, 1652,
when, having probably recently come of age, he witnessed the will of his uncle, William
Godd (P.C.C. Brent, 120; Cf. Va. Mag., xxiii, 382). After administering upon
his mother's estate in August, 1658 (P.C.C. Admon. Act Book, 1658) he was still in
England in July, 1660, when he witnessed the will of the first Lord Culpeper. In 1664 and
1666, while the second Lord Culpeper was Governor of the Isle of Wight, 'Capt. Alexander
Culpeper' was his Secretary, Commander of Cowes Castle and Vice-Admiral's deputy; and, as
such, in correspondence with Secretary Williamson (Cal. Treasury Papers, 1660-67,
p. 627). A year later, as 'Alexander C. of Leeds Castle,' he took title, on behalf of Lord
Culpeper, to the manor of Newport in the Isle of Wight (Close Roll, 21 Car. II, pt.
xiii, No. 151; Cf. Victoria County History, Hampshire, v, 261).
That he went out to Virginia after Lord Culpeper gave up his post in the Isle of Wight
may be deduced from the fact that in June, 1671, he was in the colony preparing for a
voyage to England, when he was described by William Sherwood of Jamestown, in a letter to
Lord Arlington, as 'a gentlemen of this country' (Am. & W. I., 1669-74, No.
540). On this occasion he carried also letters from his new brother-in-law, Sir William
Berkeley, soliciting for him a patent for a post in the colony recently vacant by the
death of Edmund Scarbrough. The recommendation was effective: on November 17, 1671, there
was enrolled (Patent Roll, 23 Car. II, pt. 8 , No. 16; renewed by James II
under date of October 21, 1685; there is a transcript in the MS. collection known as
Charters, ii, 349, now in the Library of Congress) the following patent:
Alexander Culpeper's patent to be Surveyor General of Virginia
CHARLES the second by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, ffrance and
Ireland Defender of the ffaith &c. To all to whom these presents shall come
KNOW yee that Wee for divers good causes and considerations us hereunto especially
moving, of our especiall grace, certain knowledge and meer motion Have given and granted,
and by these presents for Us Our heirs and Successors Doe give and grant, unto Our Trusty
and welbeloved Alexander Culpeper Esqr. the Office and Place of Our Surveyor Generall of
and within Our Colony and Plantation of Virginia;
And him the said Alexander Culpeper Our Surveyor Generall of & within our said
Colony and Plantation of Virginia and of all and Singuler the Messuages Mannors Lands and
Tenements to Us there belonging or which at any time hereafter shall or may belong Wee
have ordained named constituted and appointed And for Us Our heires and Successors Doe
ordain, name, constitute and appoint by these presents;
Giving, and by these presents for Us Our heires and Successors granting unto the said
Alexander Culpeper full power and authority to survey Our said Colony and Plantation of
Virginia and the Bounds and limitts thereof; And to performe do and execute all and every
other matter and thing belonging and appertaining to the said Office and Place of Surveyor
Generall, according to such Orders & instructions as hee the said Alexander Culpeper
shall from time to time receive from Us Our heires and Successors or from the Governor and
Councell of Our said Plantation now and for the time being.
TO have, hold, exercise and enjoy the said Office and Place of Our Surveyor Generall of
Our Colony and Plantation of Virginia unto him the said Alexander Culpeper by himselfe or
his sufficient Deputy or Deputies for and during Our Pleasure, with all ffees, profitts,
priviledges, advantages and emoluments thereunto lawfully belonging and therewith
heretofore usually received and enjoyed; and in as ample manner and forme as Thomas
Loveing and Edmond Scarburgh or either of them or any other person or persons have
formerly enjoyed the same.
And wee do further by these presents Grant and Declare That these Our Lettrs. Patents
or the Enrollment thereof shall bee in all things firme good and effectuall in the Law
according to the true intent and meaning thereof. Notwithstanding the not reciting or
mentioning any former Gift, Grant, Letters Patents or Estate heretofore made or granted of
or in the premisses by Us or any of Our late Royall Progenitors to any person or persons
whatsoever; and notwithstanding any other deficiency imperfection or want of forme in
these presents contained, Or any Law, Statute, Ordinance, Proclamation, Provision,
Restriction or other matter or thing whatsoever to the contrary thereof in any wise
Witness ourself at Westminster, vicesimo quinto die Octobris, anno regno nostro
vicesimo, tertio .
By writ of Privy Seal.
It does not appear that the Surveyor General ever returned to the colony. His duty
there was performed by deputies, first, Thomas Ludwell, and, later, Philip Ludwell
(brother-in-law No. 3), and his relation to Virginia affairs was henceforth chiefly in
respect to his interest in the Northern Neck. But he appears several times in other
relations to Virginia affairs. Following Bacon's Rebellion, Governor Berkeley consigned to
him the indian queen of Wyanoke, when it appears that he was living at Leeds Castle, for
it was there he lodged the pinchbeck majesty (Am. & W. I., 1677-80, No. 512).
Again, when, in July, 1677, the old cavalier Governor was recalled and reached. England,
so reduced by a 'tedious passage and griefe of mind to extreame weakness,' that he died
without ever having seen the royal master he had served loyally, if not wisely,
administration on the goods of 'Sir William Berkeley, late Governor of Virginia, but died
at Twickenham, Middx [the seat of his brother John, Lord Berkeley was granted to
'Alexander Culpeper, esq. natural and lawful brother of Dame Frances Berkeley, relict of
deceased, during absence and to use of said Dame Frances Berkeley' (P.C.C. Admon. Act
Book, 1677) ; and thereafter he vigorously defended Berkeley's official memory (Am.
& W. 1., 1677-80, Nos. 374, 506, 512).
Except for the fact now evident, that he never married, that he held of the estate of
Thomas Lord Culpeper a messuage or farm in Hollingbourne, known as Totnams, but lived at
Leeds Castle in the household of the deserted chatelaine, Margaret, Lady Culpeper (House
of Lords MS., 1695-97, ed. Hist. MSS. Com., ii, 533), little remains to record of the
Surveyor General. (Actually, he did
marry, see correction below).
That the planters came to resent his non-resident office holding appears
from his petition to the Crown in 1678 (Va. Mag., xxiii, 397, 398), the direct
attack upon him in the Assembly in 1691 (ibid., xxviii, 15) and his final complaint
to the government on December 12, 1694, that Governor Nicholson had 'dispossessed him' of
his office (Am. & W. I., 1693-94, No. 1593).48 This was the last aot of his life. He was in London pushing a petition for
redress when he died, just before Christmas, 1694. Once more Lady Culpeper journeyed up to
town on a dead man's affairs: but this time it was to honour a faithful friend. She did
for him what she did not deign to do for her husband: she brought his body back to Leeds
Castle. He was buried in Bromfield, December 26, 1694, as 'Captain Alexander Culpeper of
Although the Northern Neck charter of 1669 recited his father's interest in the
original Northern Neck grant of 1649 and subsequent death, Alexander14 did not
then assert on the record a claim of inheritance of that interest. Following the example
of his cousin, the second Lord Culpeper, he postponed such a claim until something might
be made of it. The opportunity seemed to present itself in 1675 with the proposal of the
Virginia colony to buy out the proprietary, and it was then, in the course of futile
negotiations, that Alexander14 made his appearance as one of the proprietors of
the Northern Neck, in a certificate (Burk, ii, Appendix, p. liv) by those who were named
in the charter of 1669 that 'Thomas, Lord Culpeper, and Alexander Culpeper, Esq. by a
collateral agreement with us do hold two-sixths part of the said grant.'
That this interest was kept alive also after the grant of the charter of 1688 appears
from the recital of the proprietors by Philip Ludwell when he opened the Northern Neck
land office in 1690 (N. N., I, passim), as
the Honorable Mistress Katherine Culpeper, sole daughter and heire of Thomas, late
Lord Culpeper, & Allexr. Culpeper, Esqe., who cometh in part proprietor by lawfull
conveyances from Thomas, late Lord Culpeper, and confirmed by the sd. Mistress Katherine
Culpeper, who are now become the lone and lawful Proprietors of said tract or territory.
In this right Alexander14 joined in the petition to the Crown, May 21, 1691,
for confirmation of the charter of 1688, with the consequence that before his death his
interest therein was officially recognised and adjudged by decree of the Privy Council (Acts
P. C., Colonial, ii, 188).
The only thing his father had left him had thus become an hereditament to be disposed
of by will; and, being now the last surviving male heir of the Feckenharn family, extant
in England if not in fact, he felt free to make such a disposition of it as gratitude
dictated. In doing this he defined his interest precisely, as follows:
Alexander Culpeper of Hollingbourne, co. Kent, esq. All my
goods to the Right Hon. the Lady Culpeper, Baroness Dowager of
Thoresway, she to be extrix. Whereas, I am seized to me and my heirs
of and in one full sixth part, the whole in six parts to be divided,
of and in a certain tract of land in the Continent of America,
called the Northern Neck of Virginia, under and by virtue of a grant
thereof formerly made by his late Majty, King James II, to the Rt.
Honble Thomas, Lord Culpeper, and his heirs forever, I do hereby
give the said sixth part unto the said Rt. Honble Margaret, Lady
Culpeper, widow and relict of the said Rt. Honble Thomas, Lord
Culpeper, deceased, and to her heires for ever.
Witns. Fairfax, John Cripps, Charles Pleydell.
Prob. by Margaret Baroness Dowager of Thoresway, the extrix.
P.C.C. Irby, 3.
Will dated November 29, 1691 and proved January 5, 1694/5.
By virtue of this will, of which no record was made in the colony, an undivided
one-sixth interest in the Northern Neck remained a thing separate and apart from the other
property rights in the proprietary to puzzle the Virginia lawyers a century later when
they came to interpret the will of the last proprietor.
amplification by Warren Culpepper: Harrison
was unaware that Alexander, late in his life, married his second cousin
Culpeper, daughter of John, 1st Lord Culpeper, and sister of Thomas,
2nd Lord Culpeper. Alexander, age 58, and Judith, a spinster age 53, were
married on 19 Dec 1689 at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street in
London. Thus the couple was living in Leed's Castle with Judith's sister-in-law,
Margaret, Lady Culpeper. Judith died two years later and was buried on 21 Nov
1691. On 29 Nov 1691, Alexander wrote his last will and testament, and while he
had no reason at that point to mention his recently deceased wife, he did leave
his interest in the Northern Neck to his deceased wife's sister-in-law, Margaret
who had invited them to live with her at Leeds Castle.
(Continued in Chapter 5a)
45 It should be noted that the identification of the
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Culpeper of the Colchester campaign with this Thomas13,
while probable, is not beyond question; for the contemporary Thomas Culpeper of Bedgebury,
who was also ruined by the civil wars and ultimately (1675) died in the Fleet, a prisoner
of debt, is described in a record of 1657 (Cal. Clarendon State Papers, ii, 366) as
Colonel Thomas Culpeper. (Return)
46 Matthew Carter's A True Relation of that as
honourable as unfortunate Expedition of Kent, Essex, and Colchester in 1648 is of the
very best of cavalier literature. This poignant narrative traces the uprising from its
beginning in a riot in Canterbury at Christmas, through the effort at lawful petition to
flagrant rebellion. In its high dignity of insistence upon the inherited rights of 'Men of
Kent' against what they deemed a tyrannical government, the rehearsal of the vicissitudes
of fortune encountered, and the final tragic failure, it reminds one strongly of the story
of Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia in 1676. Fairfax's fame was undoubtedly sullied by
Carter's account of the execution of Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, followed by
the transportation of the private soldiers: not only to the American colonies, but some,
indeed, sold through Venice into Turkish slavery. The historian should, however, check
Carter by the documents in Rushworth, and the equally partizan argument in Fairfax's
behalf by Mr. George Bell in The Fairfax Correspondence, iv, 32 ff. (Return)
47 Sir Dudley Wyatt (1609-1651) has left an incomplete
record. Foster records his matriculation at Christ Church College, Oxford, May 7, 1624/5,
as 'son of John Wyat, gent.' and as 'aged 16, born Worcester City.' Although no parish
register at Worcester can be produced to prove it, this description seems to identify his
father as the John Wyat who matriculated at the same college in 1581 as 'aged 20, born
Worcester, pleb.;' and in 1612 was presented to the rectory of St. Martins, Worcester, by
William Warmistry of Worcester (Nash, Worcestershire, p. cxlii). This deduction is
enforced by the fact that on March 5, 1649/50 (P.C.C. Pembroke, 47) 'Sir Dudley
Wyat, Knight, next of kin of dec.' had administration c.t.a. of the goods of 'Cecill
Warmistry of City of Worcester, widow of William W. late of same, esq.'
Sir Dudley Wyatt appears several times during the first civil war carrying confidential
dispatches between the King and the Queen when the latter was in France (Cal. State
Papers, Domestic, 1645-47, pp. 17, 31 ; there is a similar reference to him also in
Clarendon's Rebellion) and it was in consideration of such service that he was
He was at St. Germains when the Northern Neck charter was sealed in September, 1649;
and his administration upon his sister's estate (cited above) shows that thereafter he
returned to England. That he did so in order to close up his affairs preparatory to
emigrating to Virginia appears from a letter dated December 2, 1649 (Cal. Clarendon
State Papers, ii, 33), addressed to him by Charles Wheler which sought to dissuade him
from going to America.
Dr. Tyler's notes from York County records (W. & M. Quar., iii, 37, 192)
prove that he duly reached the colony and there died; leaving a will dated March 29, 1650,
which was proved in James City, September 25, 1651 (the record is unfortunately lost). The
executrix of this will was Hannah, widow of the John Clerke (1614-1644) who died in
Virginia a proven member of the Wrotham family, whose Culpeper connection has been
hereinbefore cited; and it seems likely, therefore, that she was another sister of Sir
Dudley Wyatt, and that her residence in Virginia was a part of the attraction of Sir
When the Northern Neck charter was renewed in 1669, Sir Dudley Wyatt's interest was
ignored. Unlike the representatives of the Culpepers, his family lacked the influence to
assert an effective claim in the premises; and although Francis Moryson testified in 1675,
when he was endeavoring to purchase the charter on behalf of the colony (Burk, ii,
Appendix), that someone representing Sir Dudley then came forward, nothing further was
thereafter heard of a Wyatt interest in the Northern Neck. (Return)
48 After Alexander Culpeper's death the
office of Surveyor General in the colony was granted to William and Mary College, on whose
behalf it was administered by a succession of eighteenth century worthies who bore the
title. The first of them was Miles Cary of Richneck in Warwick, whose appointment dated
from February 25, 1699 (Am. & W, I., 1700, p. 320). (Return)
02 Jan 2015