William Saunders of Ewell (1502-1571)

The following information was compiled by Justin Sanders:


 William Saunders, 1502-1571, born at Ewell, Surrey County, England; son of Henry Saundres (1456-1519) Joan Lepton. Known siblings: Nicholas, 1488-1549; Agnes, 1501-1530; Margaret, 1504; Cornelia.

Quote of Lord Burgley (William Cecil) regarding William Saunders: “He managed to retain high office through troublous times by being a willow, not an oak.” (p. 119). “William Saunders is perhaps the most impressive of all figures in our family history . . . if measured by the accumulation of wealth and attainment of political position.” (p. 120).


Both parents died in 1519 when William was seventeen years of age. Management of his affairs fell to his uncle, Nicholas Saunders of Charlwood, a Jesuit priest. “. . . by about age twenty, he entered the Inner Temple, obtaining a degree in law, as family members before him had done and as those following William would also do.” (p. 120).

Entered adulthood a wealthy young man, inheriting the Manor of Battailes, properties at Ebbesham and Chessington, the Three Crowns Inn of Southwark and “an array of properties in souther Surrey subsumed under Pendall Manor.” (p. 120).1


Married Joan Marston about 1529, the daughter of William Marston and Nicholas Mynne. William Saunders’ wardship of five Mynne stepchildren cemented long term relationships with the Mynne family. (p. 121) “William Marston, Joan’s father, held the Manor of Shalford, a submanor of the Manor of Ewell, and to this marriage Joan brought two properties then in her possession, the Manor of Horton in Ebbesham and the Manor of Brettgrave.

William once commented on ‘my lady’s grant of Somerset in Ashstead,’ suggesting he gained some interest in this property near Ewell by about 1530.” (p. 121). Known children of William Saunders & Joan Marston: Nicholas, 1532-1587. Erasmus, 1534-1603. Mary, 1536-1613. Urithe, 1538-1600. (p. 108). – 1530’s, practicing law; gained a seat in Parliament. (p. 122) –1536, added more property by acquiring a lease for land in Gosborough Hill Wood, part of the Manor of Chessington-at-Hoke;

Parliament begins closing doors of small Catholic monasteries, declaring them uneconomic. – 1538, appointed receiver of taxes for Surrey and Sussex.


1539, death of wife, Joan Marston Saunders; Parliament passed Acts of Dissolution, closing the doors of all Catholic monasteries in England; William Saunders of Ewell one of seventeen receivers appointed for Surrey and Sussex by the Court of Augmentations, a revenue branch of the Crown. William Saunders supervised local dissolutions and collected all assets on behalf of the Crown. (p. 123) –


Last of Catholic monasteries falls. After dissolution process was complete, William Saunders acquired defunct monastery properties in Surrey & Kent (p. 125). “William must have entertained some misgivings about his receivership role as he seems to have rescued two gold crosses from monasteries that he eventually bestowed upon his sons as remembrances of old faith. Not the least of William’s struggles would have been to participate in the demise of Charles Carew, rector and last master of the Beddington Chapel, and William’s distant relative. The chapel and it’s appurtenances were forfeited to the Crown under William Saunders’ authority in 1539, Carew having been accused of some unproven felony for which he was evidently executed in 1540.” (p. 123). –


William Saunders was appointed Commissioner of the Peace for Surrey & Sussex. –


appointed Treasurer of Calais. –


married Joan Gittons, widow of Thomas Gittons, the “largest importer of wines in all of England in his day.” William presumably knew Thomas Gittons through his ownership of the Three Crown’s Inn of Southwark. Marriage to Joan Gittons produced four children: twins Francis & Frances, Catherine & Elizabeth. (p. 124). –


William Saunders was appointed to the Chantry Commission. (p. 125). –


William Saunders acquired a manor and iron mill in Sussex (p. 125). –

King Henry VIII died;

Edward VI, 9 year-old son of Henry & Jane Seymour, successor; uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset named Lord Protector. (p. 126). –

1548 William Saunders appointed escheator of Surrey & Sussex. (p. 126). –


 King Edward VI died at age 15; Mary Tudor, daughter of 1st wife, Katherine of Aragon, ascends to the throne and overthrows her father’s Protestant policies, returning England to Catholicism. –


 Pope returned England to the Holy See and demanded heretics be burned at the stake, beginning Bloody Mary’s reign of terror. (p. 127). “Under Mary, William Saunders rose to the zenith of his career, being elevated into a central place in the English royal household. William was dubbed cofferer to Queen Mary, having responsibility to manage Queen Mary’s wealth.” (p. 127). –


 returned to Parliament. –

The planned marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain touched off a series of rebellions in England, “the most noted of which was Wyatt’s Kentish Rebellion of 1554. . . . Teaming up with his cousin, Sir Thomas Saunders of Charlwood, William Saunders descended up Bletchingly in 1554 with superior force and in seventeen wagons carried off arms and other property amassed by Sir Thomas Cowarden [a Protestant Justice of the Peace], whose loyalty to the Queen was in doubt.” (p. 128). –


 Knighted by Queen Mary. –


 appointed High Sheriff of Surrey.


Death of Queen Mary; succeeded by half-sister Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn. –


William Saunders and sons Nicholas & Francis received a royal pardon for “land alienation,” for acquiring land originally held by monasteries, sold without royal license. (p. 130). –


 William Saunders appointed Queen’s Surveyor “despite his close and eager support of the Catholic queen just five years before. . . . William’s substantial knowledge of escheated Surrey lands evidently outweighed his Catholic beliefs. . . . Elizabeth’s need for skill in property law and taxation as revenues fell precipitously following her coronation.” It was William’s final government post. (p. 130). –


 Death of William Saunders of Ewell. Notes: Prior to William’s death, the Catholic Counter-Revolution accelerated arrests of recusants; sons Erasmus & Nicholas were arrested shortly after his death. (p. 130). In addition to substantial wealth, William’s children also inherited “a high social and political orbit . . . (and) a set of allegiances from marriage and political exchange that William had built over his lifetime. . . .”

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Selected Excerpts from Latimer’s History of the Merchant Venturers Guild of Bristol, U. K., Part 1

Over eleven decades ago, an important history of the Merchant Venturers Guild of Bristol, U. K., was published in England.

I will be excerpting relevant passages that I believe will prove useful in developing insights into the ancestsral family history of related families who settled in 17th century Virginia.

I offer these excerpts as providing support to my argument that mercantile institutions existed in Bristol and elsewhere that would help explain the distribution near port cities in England of several (perhaps many) related surnames that are also found in 17th century Virginia.


From the preface to John Latimer Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol; with some Account of the Anterior Merchants’ Guilds, 1903, J. W. Arrowsmith, Quay Street, Bristol, U.K.:

“It is somewhat remarkable that although the merchants of the leading outports in England obtained royal charters of incorporation in the sixteenth century, no Merchant Venturers’ Society was established in London.

“A corporate body, eventually styled the Merchant Adventurers of England, had indeed been founded by Henry the Fourth, and granted exclusive rights of trading with Germany and the Low Countries; but . . . the members ‘were in those times dispersed, and dwelt as well in the outports of the kingdom – viz.: at York, Hull, Exeter, and Newcastle, as at London, though the greatest number always dwelt at London’. . .

“Down to the rupture with Spain in the reign of Elizabeth, the General Courts of this singular Society, whose members were exclusively Englishmen, but whose Governor, Wardens, and Assistants were elected and resided abroad, generally assembled at Antwerp, and at that time the members living in London do not appear to have had a recognized right to elect a resident deputy Governor.

“At a later period, the headquarters of the fraternity were at Hamburg, whene it became commonly known in this country as the Hamburg Company; and it being then customary to hold three General Courts yearly – two at the new centre and one in London – the organization got later on to be loosely styled the ‘London Company.”

The crest of the Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol

“By the charter granted to the Bristol Merchants by Edward the Sixth, they were forbidden to traffic in the region reserved to the Merchant Adventurers of England; but this restraint was abrogated by the second local charter granted by Charles the First. The latter instrument, resulting from the temporary capture of this city by the Royalist army, was probably regarded as invalid by the party that afterwards gained supremacy.

:But in 1662 Charles the Second, in response to a petition setting forth the decay of the clothing trade in the West of England occasioned by the narrow policy of the English Adventurers, ordered that admission to that company should be granted to all merchants at the outports on payment of a small fine. . .

“[I]t appears that in 1669 the Bristolians, pleading their charters, appealed to the Privy Council against the monopoly claimed by the Hamburg Company; . . . The Merchant Adventurers of England still flourish for a time at Hamburg , . . . [but by the early years of George the Third] English trade with the Hanse Towns had been entirely unrestricted for three-quarters of a century.”

“Dr Gross [author of The Gild Merchant] has been unable to find any trace of the existence of an English Guild Merchant in the Anglo-Saxon period of our history. . .  although Merchant Guilds had been undoubtedly established in some parts of Normandy and Northern France.

“The history of our own guilds, therefore, begins after the advent of the Conqueror, when . . . the close unity between England and Normandy led to an increase in foreign commerce, and greatly stimulated internal trade and industry. With the expansion of trade, the mercantile element naturally became a more important factor in town life, and would soon feel the need of joint action to guard the nascent prosperity against encroachment.

“The earliest extant references to the Guild Merchant . . occur in the charter granted by Robert FitzHamon [Lord of the Honour of Gloucester] to the burgesses of the little town of Burford (1087-1107) and in a document drawn p whilst Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury (1093-1109). Soon afterwards, during the reign of Henry the First (1100-1135), the Guild appears in various municipal charters, and its propagation must have been greatly stimulated by the further extension of England’s Continental possessions under Henry the Second.

“[I]n November, 1200, King John [Henry II’s son] made a fresh grant of liberties to the burgesses of Dublin, permitting them . . to have all guilds, as well as, or better than, those enjoyed by the burgesses of Bristol (Charter Rolls).

“The privileges of Bristol were in fact so extensive, and so much coveted by other buroughs , that it became the custom for less favoured communities to appeal to the Crown for the like concessions . . , None of these, however, obtained the full privileges enjoyed by Bristolians. In the reign of Richard the First the import of foreign wines was exclusively confined to London and Bristol . . and the western port seems to have had the largest share of the trade, for the Patent and Close Rolls of King John and his son, Henry the Third, contain a multitude of mandates of wine for the Royal household and Court favourites. Latimer, pp. 1-4

“When trade and industry underwent a great expansion during the period of the three Edwards, the mercantile interests must have become completely dominant in many towns, the burgher merging in the townsman, and gildship becoming an appurtenance of burgess-ship. . .The same men swayed the counsels of the borough and gild. Latimer, p. 5 (quoting Gross.)

“The case of the town of Gloucester is still more striking, for there the Guild actually became the Corporation. The irst common seal of that borough, an impression of which is appended to a document executed between 1237 and 1245, bears the inscription in latin: – “Seal of the Burgesses of the Merchants’ Gild of Gloucester”.




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Saunders Family Lines in 17th Century Virginia and their Ancestry: Additional Research by Justin Sanders

Further correspondence with Justin Sanders:

Hi Justin – Great work (your research on the descendants of the Saunders family of Charlwood, Surrey, England).

I’d like to spend some time on what can be learned of connecting families in Bristol and such Gloucester towns as Tewkesbury and Cirenchester. Our y-DNA line is only one of each of our ancestral lines.

As I’ve said before, almost no one in England owned (or even sailed in) ships, and these voyages were occurring in times when “mercantilism” (implying concerted action often sponsored by the sovereign power), rather than “competition” was the dominant economic endeavor.

It should not surprise us to find multiple dynastic ties and intermarriages between families involved in maritime trade, tobacco growing and land speculation in Virginia.

What seems to be different about the 16th and 17th centuries is that families – currently or previously tied economically and dynastically – were associated with competing religions. I suspect that there are clues to be found in how our ancestors acquired wealth and what churches they attended. Cordially, Bill

Bill, Below are some additional notes to the most recent file. I’ll reply to the comments of your last email as time permits. Just aren’t enough hours in the day at present. Justin.

Justin Sanders’ Supplementary Notes to Surrey (England) and Virginia: the Mercantile Activities of the Descendents of the Saunders Family of Charlwood

There is evidence of a possible Edwards-Sanders alliance that had its roots in Wales and Bristol, England, and with the addition of William Crump, extended into the early years of Virginia settlement.

In my study of early land patents, I could not help but notice the aggravating regularity with which 17th century clerks interchanged the given name Edward with Edmond.  It stands to reason this same methodology was applied to persons possessing the surname Edwards, as well. Keeping that historical quirk in mind, it sheds new light on records I forwarded to you earlier.

On 9 November 1665, Charles EdmondsWilliam Crump and Robert Whitehaire received a patent of 2700 acres, described as being in New Kent County, on the south side “in freshes of Yorke River above Mohixen.” One of the persons they owned the headrights to wasThomas Saunders (1630-1679), son of Thomas Saunders Sr. (1607-1653) and grandson of Philip Saunders of Bristol.

The description of the property’s location is somewhat deceiving. The Pamunkey River was sometimes referred to as the south branch of York River; the stream identified here as the Mohixen, soon after became known as Crump’s Creek, now in present day Hanover County.

This property fell to Robert Whitehair in a division by the three partners in 1688. Whitehair evidently died without heirs soon after, as the property was escheated by the colony and 900 acres of the patent was acquired in 1690 by John Chiles. He was the grandson of Walter Chiles, who, from 1640 to 1660 in Charles City County was an adjoining neighbor and possible brother-in-law of William Sanders (formerly of Gloucester County, England).

By 1696 the former Edmonds, Crump and Whitehair patent changed hands from John Chiles to his son, Henry Chiles.[1] In 1748, my direct ancestor Thomas Sanders (1699-1772) of Goochland County obtained a deed to 465 acres on Fishpond Creek of Albemarle County (later Buckingham and ultimately Appomattox County) from William Chambers, adjoining Henry Chiles.

Further research shows that the land Thomas Sanders called home for the remainder of his life was formerly owned by Henry Chiles, from whom Chambers acquired it about two years before deeding it to Sanders.

In 1673, Charles Edmonds owned the headrights of William Sanders, transported to New Kent on the north side of the York River, the same general area where Thomas Sanders (Senior and Junior) resided on the northeast side of Mattapony River.

In 1674 Robert Bagby and William Herndon received a patent on the northeast side of Mattapony River, owning the headrights of William SandersMichael Edmonds and Cuthbert Tunstall.

The William Sanders mentioned here may be the son of William and Joan Sanders of Charles City County, noted as a minor in the 1660 will of William Sanders, Sr. Cuthbert Tunstall is undoubtedly a son or grandson of Edward Tunstall (whose given name, of course, is listed in some records as Edmond), who also owned land in Charles City County adjoining William Sanders and Walter Chiles, circa 1640-1660. And Michael Edmonds is likely related to Charles Edmonds.[2]

By adding a distant Sanders DNA match to a descendant of William Crump, this tight circle of interconnected coincidences suggests that the Charles Edmonds noted as a business partner of William Crump and Robert Whitehair, was actually Charles Edwards, a relative of Thomas Sanders’ (1607-1653) step-mother, Alice Edwards Barrett Saunders.

It is likely that my direct ancestor, Francis Barrett (1600-1658) descended from the Barretts of Pembrokeshire. Being double-descended from James Sanders of New Kent (circa 1675-1717), Francis Barrett was the great (x3) grandfather on the maternal side of Frances (Fanny) Saunders, my great (x3) grandmother.

At the time the 1624 census was taken, there were at least seven Barretts living in the Virginia Colony, one identified as a shipwright and another as a mariner. At various times Francis and several of the other Barretts, were brought to Virginia on the Bona Nova, a ship that made annual voyages to the colony between the years 1618 and 1624, with the apparent exception of 1623.

London was the home port of the Bona Nova, and because only Walter Barrett was listed on a London-generated manifest in 1619, is an indicator that Francis boarded the ship at Bristol or Tenby, probably in 1620.

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Surrey (England) and Virginia: the Mercantile Activities of the Descendents of the Saunders Family of Charlwood

Below continues Justin Sanders’ exploration of the Saunders family of Charlwood, Surrey, England and their descendants. See Conversations with Justin Sanders regarding English Connections of Sanders/Saunders Families of Virginia and subsequent entries under the “Saunders” category.


Most of the following information comes from Ralph Sanders work, Generations: A Thousand Year Family History. It will take some time to create correctly annotated files; in the interest of expediting this information, I’ll not include notes on the original sources referenced by the author, only the corresponding page numbers in Generations within the text. And for the sake of clarity and brevity, the author will hereafter be referred to as “RS.”

I first read this book in the summer of 2012, about eight months after my research into two DNA matches led to a breakthrough in my Sanders line. At the time I found Ralph Sanders’ work a marvel of research, and felt there was a 50-50 chance that I descended from Thomas Sanders (1607-1653) of Gloucester.

The information I’ve gathered since that time has made this second reading richly rewarding, especially in regard to providing clues to the origins of family alliances. In 2012, I was unaware of offshoot connections to the family names of Prior, Edwards, Chiles and Burton, to name just a few, and had no knowledge that I was directly descended from ancestors named Adams and Barrett.

And should it prove correct that I directly descend from Thomas Sanders (a second reading has caused me to upgrade that theory from possible to probable), it would come with the knowledge that I had at least one direct ancestor, possibly two (Francis Barrett and Unknown Adams) and several relatives who were already established in the colony more than two decades before Thomas Saunders first arrived in Virginia.

As Bill and I suspected we would find, most (if not all) of the Saunders persons in Virginia records dating from the early 17th century, whether they embarked from London or Bristol, were indeed related, their lineage traceable to the Charlwood group in Surrey; and that those biological ties, no matter how distant, were closely bound by family alliances and economic opportunity.

To the financial benefit of all, those with a background of mercantilists worked together with their numerous relatives with maritime interests.

Saunders family interests in overseas commerce began in the late decades of the 16th century, brought about by a climate social and political change in England. RS states: “All Saunders branches . . . exploited emerging opportunities in the nascent English capital regime of the early 1600’s,” but the Derbyshire branch “in particular engaged in international trade,” and Joseph Saunders, a merchant of London “contributed most significantly to Virginia’s early development.” [p. 192].

I sent Bill notes earlier, and which he posted on Vikings and Virginians, in regard to the above Joseph Saunders. About 1623, Joseph Saunders established a warehouse near the southern tip of the Accomack peninsula – hailed as “the very first private commercial establishment in America.”

Simultaneously, he opened warehouses in London and Rotterdam, “a triangle of strategic commercial value.” Plying between the three warehouses were two ships he himself owned, the Flower de Luce and the Bonny Bess. RS found no evidence that Joseph ever traveled to Virginia. Operations there were run by Edward Saunders, who in turn enlisted the aid of a relative named Roger Saunders. [pp. 193, 195].

RS writes: “The warehouse itself was part of a larger family scheme designed to profit from Virginia trade. Principal support for the Sanders warehouse was supplied by Joseph Saunders, a well-to-do merchant, shipowner, and member of the Vintners Company of London. Joseph was of the Saunders of Derbyshire, an offshoot of the Saunders of Charlwood. Joseph married Anne, a daughter of William Smith of Mitchum, Surrey. At one point, William Smith, probably Joseph’s brother-in-law, joined Roger and Edward Saunders in Virginia, and he obtained land in Accomack near Roger Saunders in 1629.” [p. 192].

Joseph Saunders was born about 1598, the youngest son of Thomas of Lullington, born in 1548. The Derbyshire branch originated with Joseph’s grandfather, Thomas Saunders Sr., born about 1500, the son of William Saunders, born about 1475 in Charlwood; William was the son of Richard Saunders (1442-1480) and Agnes Courtenay, “daughter of a distinguished old Norman family whose pedigree is a lexicon of English royal history.” [pp. 76, 87, 193, 195-6]. Richard was the son of William Saunders of Charlwood (1415-1481) and Joan Carew.

This William Saunders was the common ancestor shared by the Derbyshire branch of Saunders and those who went to Wales in the late 16th century, then Gloucestershire and Bristol in the early 17th century and Virginia by mid-century.

Edward Saunders was born about 1595 in Charlwood, Surrey, the probable grandson of Thomas White Saunders. He first traveled to Virginia in 1619, residing there intermittently over the next two decades.

RS believes Edward was closely related to Richard Saunders, also a member of the Vintners Company, who died in 1636 on “ye Neck of Land in the Maine” [James River]. Richard Saunders appears to be the American progenitor of the Sanders line later found in Nansemond County.

RS was unable to determine the origins of Roger Saunders, who is alternately listed in early Virginia records as a merchant and mariner, but believes he, too, was closely related to Edward. It stands to reason that the warehouse enterprise was initiated by Saunders kin who all sailed from the Port of London – and for that reason it is my own belief that Roger, too, hailed from the Charlwood group. [p. 191].

“Trade in earliest Virginia floundered in part because the colony lacked ports. . . . Ships arriving from England landed at individual plantations along Virginia’s rivers, carrying goods consigned to individuals. What was missing was a center for collecting and distributing goods, a marketplace for exchange. Joseph Saunders particular genius was to recognize this need and act upon it. . . . Joseph built a warehouse at the southern tip of the Accomack peninsula, a strategic site where the Chesapeake Bay enters the Atlantic Ocean.”

By 1630, the warehouse operation was, for the most part, a smoothly run and profitable enterprise. But before the decade was out, Joseph Saunders would lose all three of his Virginia partners: Roger Saunders died about 1632; William Smith, Joseph Saunders’ brother-in-law, died in 1636; Edward Saunders and three coworkers died aboard the Flower de Luce on a return trip to England in 1639.

Thus, through the first seventeen years of his Virginia operations, it appears Joseph Saunders contracted primarily, if not exclusively, with London-based family members of Charlwood. About 1640, Bristol and Gloucester relatives entered the picture in the form of Thomas Sanders.

“In London, Joseph Saunders of the Vintners Company had begun casting about for new contacts in Virginia, seeking to continue trade that was well begun with his Accomack warehouse. But with Edward Saunders’ death in 1639, Joseph needed new colonial representation for his trading business, and for this purpose he contracted with a certain Peter Knight of Virginia.

Peter Knight arrived in Virginia about 1638, residing in Accomack, and shortly thereafter amassed a sizeable plantation on the James River. In 1643, Knight underwrote the costs for transportation for William Nicholas, Thomas Sanders’ good friend, to come to Virginia and undertake trade there. Knight’s engagement of William Nicholas on behalf of Joseph Saunders suggests that Joseph actively sought partners from the Bristol maritime community.

It seems likely that Thomas Saunders traveled to Virginia a year before William Nicholas under a similar arrangement. If so, he spent a year or two in Virginia before returning to England.” [p. 204].

Ralph Sanders believes Thomas traveled to Virginia about 1641, or earlier.  In 1642, William Barnard received a patent near the Charles (York) River, that included the headrights of a Thomas Sanderby, a name that never again appears in Virginia records.

In all likelihood, this person was actually Thomas Sanders of Bristol. “William Barnard acquired land adjacent William Tookey, a family with whom Thomas’ son (Thomas Jr.) had close dealings in later years. Even more significantly, the Barnard family in 1647 rented land on the Charles River from an early settler there, William Prior.

Thomas Sanders later would witness the execution of William Prior’s estate and himself take up lands near Prior’s original plantation. Prior’s daughter married a Thomas Edwards, perhaps a relative of Thomas Sanders’ stepmother, and this Edwards held the Prior plantation that the Barnard’s eventually rented. Taken altogether, these facts argue that Barnard’s headright claim for Thomas Sanderby was in fact Thomas Sanders.” [endnote no. 58, p. 213].

My own research strengthens the author’s circumstantial evidence, shown above, at least in regard to the surname Prior. Over the next century the name Prior appears in close proximity with my theoretical line of the 17th century, and my proven line in the early 18th century, spanning the counties of New Kent, Henrico, Goochland and Albemarle, until about 1750.

Although a firm trail of Virginia records for Thomas Sanders does not begin until about 1646, it appears Ralph Sanders is correct in surmising the Bristol native entered into Joseph Saunders’ operations as early as 1640, or 1641.

Those records show Thomas made at least three trips to Virginia, where he presumably died sometime before 1653. The scant records pertaining to Thomas Sanders have been posted on V&V, and will not be repeated here. Instead, I’ll focus on retracing his lineage to the common Charlwood ancestor he shared with Joseph Saunders.

Thomas Sanders was born 1607 in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. He was the second of three known children attributed to Philip Saunders: older brother John was born about 1604; sister Thomasin was born sometime after 1607 (p. 103).

Through his mother’s family and that of his paternal grandmother, Jenet Barrett Saunders, Thomas was endowed with strong ties to the maritime community of southwest England and Wales. About 1603, Philip Saunders married Jane Adams, she of a “Pembrokeshire, Wales family with a strong naval history.”

Her father, Henry Adams, owned a 12-ton ship named Anne, and her uncle Nicholas Adams was for a time the Vice-Admiral of Pembrokeshire. In 1607, a relative named Robert Adams, whose relationship to Jane has not been determined, commanded the fourth English voyage to the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. (p. 167).

It is worth noting that Robert Adams bore the same name of my direct ancestor – whose parents I have not yet been able to identify – born about seventy years later in Virginia.

Jane Adams Saunders died about 1611. Thomas’ father Philip remarried to Alice Edwards Barrett, the daughter John Edwards – a coastal merchant of Tenby, Wales – and widow of Sanders Barrett, a first cousin twice removed from Philip. (p. 168).

In 1621, at the age of fourteen, Thomas Sanders entered into an apprenticeship with John Mynne, a cousin dating back to the family’s days at Ewell in Surrey County. The document outlining the terms of the apprenticeship identifies Thomas’ father, Philip Saunders, as a mariner. (p. 169). About four years later, Philip Saunders died.

Left without sponsorship, Thomas Saunders’ apprenticeship was terminated, two to three years short of completion. Very soon after, Thomas’ widowed stepmother, Alice Edwards Barrett Saunders, took her third husband, Hugh Wogan, the couple removing from Gloucester to the town of Wiston, Wales.

She remained faithful to her stepson, arranging for him to complete his apprenticeship under a new master, William Roche – suggesting that John Mynne may also have died in the interim. For this act of fidelity, Thomas’ grandmother, Jenet Barrett Saunders, bequeathed to Thomas’ stepmother in her 1628 will. (pp. 169-170).

In early adulthood it appears Thomas divided his time between Bristol and the Gloucester town of Wotton-under-Edge, where his siblings John and Thomasin had also taken up residence.

Children of Thomas Saunders (1607-1652) & Elizabeth Webb:

Thomas Jr., 1630-1679.

Mary, m. J. Hutchinson.

Sarah, m. J. Clarkson.

Nathaniel, 1634-1695, m. M. Stratton.

Samuel, 1636-1686.

All of the above were born at Bristol or Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucester Co., England.


Philip Saunders, the father of Thomas, was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire County, Wales about 1579, and died in Gloucester, England about 1625. He was the son of Erasmus Saunders and Jenet Barrett.

It is with Philip’s generation that this branch of the former Charlwood group entered into the livelihood of merchants and mariners. Philip’s mother, Jenet Barrett, was the sole heir of William Barrett, a wealthy merchant and shipowner. She was somehow related to the unknown Barrett male who was the spouse of an unidentified female cousin of her husband, Erasmus, parents of a son named Sanders Barrett, born a year or two prior to her marriage.

She had an uncle, James Barrett, also involved in maritime interests. James Barrett may be the father of John Barrett, a close relative of Sanders Barrett, the first husband of Alice Edwards, the second wife of Philip Saunders. (pp. 167-169).

 Known Children of Philip Saunders (1578-1625) & Jane Adams: (p. 152).

John, 1604- ? m. J. Haines.

Thomas1607-1652, m. E. Webb.

Thomasin, 1607- m. T. Owen.

All of the above were born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Children of Erasmus Saunders (1540-1603) & Jenet Barrett: (p. 152).

Nicholas, 1571-1636.

William, 1573-1635.

Erasmus, 1574-1612.

John, 1576-1612.


Devereaux, 1580-?

Elizabeth, 1582

Henry, 1583-1636.

Ann, 1585-1613.

Jane, 1558-1613.

All of the above born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Note: An inordinate number of early Sanders/Saunders in Virginia pertain to men with the given names William and John. They likely descend from the family group of Erasmus Saunders and his brother, William.

Known Children of William Saunders of Ewell, Surrey Co. (1502-1571) & Joan Marston: (p. 108).

Nicholas, 1532-1587


Mary, 1536-1613

Urithe, 1538-1600.

Known Children of Henry Saundre of Ewell, Surrey Co. (1456-1519)  & Joan Lepton: (p. 108).

Nicholas, 1488-1549

Agnes, 1501-1530

William, 1502-1571

Margaret, 1504-?

Cornelia, ?

Children of William Saundres of Charlwood, Surrey Co. (1415-1481) & Joan Carew: (p. 76).

William, 1438-1478

John, d.1501

Stephen, 1441-1513

Richard, 1442-1480

Nicholas, 1446-1499

Thomas, d. after 1473

Joan, d. after 1518

Henry, 1456-1519.

Note: William Saundres of Charlwood is the common ancestor shared by Joseph Saunders of Derbyshire (1598) and Thomas Saunders of Gloucester (1607-1652).

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Selected 17th Century Land Transcations South of York and Mattapony and North of Chicahominy Rivers of Virginia

WHB: Justin Sanders selected these land transactions as relevant to a Saunders family history. This post supplements Selected 17th Century Land Transactions between York and Rappahonnock (North of Mattapony) Rivers of Virginia.


18 April 1639 – Richard Sanders, servant of William Bassett & wife

Isabella, trans by same, 150 acres on both sides of Chickahominy River, into woods known by Indians as Pottacocock. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 107. (PB1:641)


12 Oct 1662 – Wm. Sanders transported to New Kent County by Capt. George Lyddall, 3306 acres on both sides of Black Creek,[1] to Wanieoke Creek (or Warrieoke Cr.) 1750 acres of which granted to Joseph Croshaw 8 Nov 1653. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 403. (PB4:324).

[1] Black Creek is a south branch of the Pamunkey River.


25 Sep 1663 – Jno Sanders, trans to Pequimmin River, about 6 or 7 miles up same, point of land near great marsh, running NE to the mouth of a small creeke called Curratick. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 427. (PB4:96).


9 Nov 1665 – Thomas Saunders was transported to New Kent Co., on S. side & in freshes of Yorke River above Mohixen by Wm. Crump, Charles Edmonds & Robert Whitehaire[2], 2700 acres Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 538. (PB5:444).[2] Robert Whitehaire & Charles Edmonds also transported Alexander Brice; see 25 April 1667.



19 March 1666 – Wm. Sanders transported to New Kent, South Side of Yorke River adj. Manskin (Cr.?), mouth of Tottopottomoyes Creek by  Moyses Davies, 1450 acres adj. Capt. Anthony Langstone & Robert Anderson. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 6. (PB6:19).

9 June 1666 – Wm. Sanders transported to New Kent, adj. Warrani Swamp and Capt. Barnehouse, by John Glen. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers Vol. 2, p. 6. (PB6:18).


23 Oct 1669 – Wm. Sanders transported to New Kent, S. Side of the Yorke River adj. Tankes Queens Cr.,[3] Geo. Hill, Ridge Path, by Wm. Blackey. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers Vol. 2, p. 70. (PB6:278).

[3] There is a Queens Creek in present day Williamsburg; not certain if they are one and the same.


20 April 1682 –  John Lane, 76 acres in New Kent, Co., upon SE side of Mattaponi River, and SSW side of Assatians Swamp. . . . to his seat of land purchased of Thomas Sanders. . . .” Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 240. (PB7:173)[4]

[4] Thomas Sanders appears to have had land on Pamunkey Neck. This may be the 43 acre patent obtained by his son, Thomas Sanders for paying for his own transportation to the colony about 1760. Patent is referenced in “Generations” but has not been located in C&P.

20 April 1682 – John Sanders transported to New Kent, St. Stephen’s Parish, adj. Exoll’s Swamp,

Gabriel Hill, John Richards, by Hugh Lawrence. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 229. (PB7:127).

1689 – Vestry Book St Peter’s Parish, New Kent, Processional list of landowners living in parish. James Sanders is listed twice; also Jno. Sands.


21 April 1690 – James Sanders transported to Henrico County, Varina Parish, N. Side of James River nigh Chickahominy Swamp, adj. Lionell Morris & Gilley Grummeron, crossing a bridge of Gilley’s Cr., by Wm. Porter and Daniell Price. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 340. (PB8:131).

23 Oct 1690 – Eliza. Sanders transported to New Kent on S. Side of Tottamottapoy Creek [5]adj. Cornelius Debony and Jno Davies, by Charles Fleming. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 354. (PB8:106).

[5] A south branch of Pamunkey River. Same location Wm. Sanders was transported to in 1666.

23 Oct 1690 – Mr. John Chiles,[6] 345 acres in New Kent Co., Beg. at Mr. Whitehair’s on Crump’s Creek, to a branch of Mathumps Creek, adj. Capt. Bassett. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, pp. 352-353. (PB8:97).

[6] Son of Walter Chiles II?

[WHB - Crump Creek is a physical feature (stream) in Hanover County. Crump Creek is located within the Henry district at latitute 37.7246 and longitude -77.2972. The primary coordinates for Crump Creek places it within the ZIP Code 23069 delivery area.]

28 April 1691 – Mr. John Chiles, 900 acres in New Kent Co., S. Side & in freshes of Yorke River above Mehixon (Creek), part of 2700 acres granted Mr. William Crump, Mr. Charles Edmonds & Mr. Robert Whitehair, & in division dated 3 Nov 1688 fell to sd. Whitehair, escheated by inquisition under Mr. William Leigh, Dpty. Esch’r. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 364. (PB8:163). [7]

[7] Whitehair, Crump & Edmonds received their grant 9 Nov 1665; Thomas Saunders was one of the transported persons listed in connection with this grant. Is John Chiles related to Sanders persons in New Kent?


20 April 1694 – Edwd. Schrimshire & Jno Schrimshire[8] transported to to Nansemond Co., by Henry Hackley. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 2, p. 389. (PB8:338).

[8] Edward Scrimshire was transported to New Kent, N. Side of Mattapony by Joshua Story in 1691; because James Sanders & Sarah Scrimshire named 2nd son John, Jonathan Scrimshire may be her oldest brother, named after their father.


29 Oct1696 – Wm Winston, 2057 acres in New Kent Co., St. Peter’s Parish, S. Side of Crump’s Creek along land, now or late, of Henry Chiles. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 3, p. 10. (PB9:59). [9]

[9] Henry Chiles is in possession of part or all of land of John Chiles, suggesting they are father & son.


1702 Militia New Kent Co VA (age 16+?)

John Sanders – brother of James & William?

James Sanders – married Sarah Scrimshire

Thomas Sanders – brother of James & John?

William does not appear on list.


1704 Quit Rent Rolls St Peter’s & St Paul’s Parish New Kent.[12]

[12] St. Paul’s Parish was formed in 1704 in the western part of New Kent; Hanover Co. was formed 1719, conforming to the parish boundaries. Thomas Sanders may have resided there; he is not mention in St. Peter’s Vestry Book.

John Sanders – brother of James & William.

James Sanders – brother of John & William, spouse Sarah Scrimshire.

William Sanders – brother of James & John, spouse Elizabeth Major.

Thomas Sanders – brother of above?



20 Nov 1705 – Henry Nelson of St. Stephen’s Parish, King & Queen Co., sells to William Saunders of King Wm. Co., for 2,000 lb tobo, 170 acres in Pamunkey Neck in King Wm. Co., part of a patent of 2,340 acres by sd. Nelson 23 Oct 1703. Land adjoins Darrell’s swamp, land belonging to Thacker, land of sd. Saunders, land of John Whitehead.[10] Witnesses: J. Wood, Richd Price, John Allcock. Elizabeth, wife of sd. Henry Nelson relinq. Dower rights. Recorded King Wm. Co., 20 Jan 1705/6. Source: Records of King William Co., Book 1, 1702-1707, Virginia State Library, Archives Division, in Virginia Colonial Abstracts,Vol. VII, p. 283, Beverly Fleet.[11]

[10] A John Whitehead was listed together with a Wm. Sanders in 1673, transported to the south side of the Rappahannock River by Cadwallader Jones: C&P2:139.

[11] King William Co., formed 1702 from King & Queen; New Kent before 1691.


16 Dec 1714 – Thomas Sanders, Anne Adams, Frances Price, et al. trans to St. Paul’s Parish of New Kent (Hanover 1719), adj. Taylor’s Creek, Pamunkey River, by George Alves. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 3, p. 162-3. (PB10:212).


5 Sept 1723 – William Brown, 268 acres (N.L.) Henrico Co., N side of James River, S. side of the main Creek of Tuccahoe, parting said Cox & Robert Adams, to Gilly Grew Marrain’s line. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 3, p. 25. (PB11:244).


Between Crump’s Creek & Tottomottapoy Creek: (3-4 miles distance).

William Sanders, 1666.

Elizabeth Sanders, 1690.

John Chiles, 1690-1691.

Henry Chiles, 1696.

James New, 1680.

Varina Parish, Henrico, between Gilley’s Creek & Westham Creek (2-3 miles distance).

Jno. Sanders, Geo. Price & Edw. Crump, 1664.

Joan Sanders, Jane Jackson, James Jackson, 1689.[13]

[13] Joan Sanders & Jane Jackson may be daughters of William Sanders (d. 1660 at Merchant’s Hope) & wife Joan; James Jackson may be son of Patrick Jackson who witnessed Saners’ 1660 will.

James Sanders, Daniel Price, Jane Price, 1690.

Robert Adams, bef. 1723.

Four Mile Creek: William Sanders, Edward Sanders, 1688 (15 miles from Gilley’s Creek).













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Selected 17th Century Land Transactions between York and Rappahonnock (North of Mattapony) Rivers of Virginia

WHB: Justin Sanders selected these land transactions as relevant to a Saunders family history:


20 Jun 1646 – Joseph Croshawe, Charles River Co.,[1] 700 acres “Beg. at the Mill Sw., near lands of Richard Major & John Davis,” for the importation of 14 persons . . . Thomas Sanders.  Source: Cavaliers and Pioneers,  Vol. 1, pp. 166-167. (PB2:88)[2]

[1] Charles River Co. renamed New Kent Co. in 1644. Date of actual voyage may have preceded name change. Thomas Sanders, d. 1653, merchant of Vintners Company of London.

[2] Virginia Patent Book reference number.


27 April 1653 – Capt. Robert Abrahall, Gloucester County[3], 400 acres SE side of Mattaponi River, 9 miles up the same, for transporting 9 persons . . . “Cor. Sanders.” (Cornelius?) Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 242. (PB3:20)

[3] Gloucester Co. formed 1651. Sanders’ property is referenced in Gloucester and New Kent (1654); property appears to have been on dividing line.


27 May 1654 – Tobey West, grantee; Land grant, Gloucester County. Description: 500 acres on the north east side of Mattaponi River and ___ north side of Thomas Sanders’ land. Source: Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p. 10, Reel 2 (Library of Virginia). Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 232. (PB3:10).


6 June 1655 – John Hodson, grantee; Land grant,  New Kent County[4]. Description: 300 acres on the north east of Mattaponi River. Beg. &c. on the southernmost corner of Thomas Saunders’ land with a So. So. Et. line unto Arakeyaco creek.[5] Source: Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p. 355, Reel 2 (Library of Virginia). Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 310; (PB3:355).

[4] New Kent Co., formed 1654.

[5] Present day Burnt Mill Creek.


9 June 1658 – Nathaniel Bacon,[6] grantee; Land grant, New Kent County. Description: 300 acres on the North East side of Mattaponi River Beg. &c. on the Southernmost corner of Thomas Sanders’ land, with a S. S. East line unto Arrakioco swamp. Source: Land Office Patents No. 4, 1655-1664, p. 335, Reel  4 (Library of Virginia). [Same land as Hodson’s 1655 patent?] Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, 381.(PB4:237)

[6] Uncle of rebel of the same name. Nathaniel Bacon, the rebel leader, lived somewhere in the vicinity and recruited most of his initial army in New Kent. John Sanders was known as a “notorious actor” in Bacon’s Rebellion.

5 Sep 1658 – James Sanders transported to, New Kent County by John Pigge, 700 acres on N side of Mattaponi River on branches of Winkepin Swamp, Ralph Leftwich’s line. Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 370 (PB4:187).


8 June 1659 – Major Joseph Croshaw, grantee; Land grant, New Kent County. Description: 500 acres on the north east side of Mattapony River, and on the north side of Thomas Sanders’s land. Source: Land Office Patents No. 4, 1655-1664, p. 226, Reel  4 (Library of Virginia).; Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 361. (PB4:155)







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Conversations with Justin Sanders (part 3) William and John Sanders of Charles City, County, Virginia

Justin Sanders essay on his earliest Virginia ancestors continues:


I’d like to follow up on the note files sent earlier regarding William Sanders and John Saunders of Charles City County, with some thoughts and interpretations of what those records might mean to our research, and offer a couple of additional items clipped from other files. The two items that follow are from John Camden Hotten’s 19th century work, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: 1600-1700, pages 117 and 119, respectively.

Ye Port of London: Ultimo Julij 1635

Theis under-written names are to be transported to Virginea imbarqued in ye Merchant’s Hope Hugh Weston Mr: p examinacon by the Minister of Gravesend touching their conformitie to the Church discipline of England & have taken the oaths of Alleg: Supremi:

. . . Jo: Saunders, 22. . . . [John Saunders].

Ye Port of London: vijo Augusti 1635

Theis under-written names are to be transported to Virginea imbarqued in the Globe of London Jeremy Blackman Mr: have been examined by the Minister of Gravesend of the Conformities & have taken the oaths of Alleg: & Surpemacie.

. . . Ric’r Adams, 22 . . . Wm Burton, 20 . . . Wm Saund’rs, 19.

I’ll comment on the latter record first. We’ve briefly discussed the topic of family alliances [See Ancestral Families and the English-Colonial Trade (1612-1632)], and this passenger manifest is noteworthy in that regard, containing three family names in my direct line that converged in Goochland/Albemarle County in the early 18th century.

My direct ancestor Thomas Sanders married Anne Adams about 1725. She was the daughter of Robert Adams, who was probably born in New Kent around 1680.

Thomas’ youngest brother Stephen married Priscilla Burton in Goochland about 1742. She is reportedly the daughter of Robert Burton, Jr. and Priscilla Farrar. I have not researched the Adams or Burton lines enough to know whether or not the men mentioned in this record are direct ancestors of Anne Adams and Priscilla Burton, or if are from offshoot branches of the same DNA group, but seeing the three names on the same manifest a century earlier illustrates the depth and strength of ancient alliances.

The first record is of interest because it, in conjunction with the records concerning William Sanders of Charles City County, may validate our shared belief that a strong tie appears to have existed between Sanders/Saunders persons connected to London’s financial and mercantile interests, and those of southwest England’s maritime community.

Although the 1635 Port of London record does not state where in Virginia John Saunders was destined, knowing he was transported to America aboard the Merchant’s Hope leaves little doubt about where he disembarked: at a growing settlement on the south bank of the James River near the mouth of Powell’s Creek in present-day Prince George County. Thirteen years earlier this location was known as Powellbrooke Plantation, owned by Captain Nathaniel Powell.

The Captain, his wife and ten servants were slain in the great Indian Massacre of March 22nd, 1622 and the property lay dormant for a space of years. A trio of wealthy London merchants – William Barker, Richard Quiney and John Sadler – acquired the property, each year stocking it with people and supplies borne by a ship owned by Barker, the Merchant’s Hope.

In 1638 the trio obtained a patent to the land and dubbed the plantation after Barker’s ship. In 1639 Barker added an adjoining patent, owning the headrights of William Sanders, amongst others.

Many of the people residing at the Merchant’s Hope plantation were indentured servants, but many others were not. Few descriptions of the settlement have survived, but it appears Barker, Quiney and Sadler were proprietors of a community resembling a feudal society in microcosm.

The John Saunders noted on the 1635 ship manifest, and the John Sanders documented in 1658as an employee of Merchant’s Hope proprietors, may be one and the same (that record is included in the record file of William Sanders of Charles City County).

The document is a note demanding  payment fo r a tract leased by Mr. Rice Howe, and states: “. . . shall desire you to pay the bearer hereof John Sanders the five pounds sterl Due to Mr. Sadler and comp’ (company) being a fine for the Land you hold att Merch’ts Hope.” The document was signed by William Thomas, evidently an agent of the proprietors.

The John Saunders noted by Hotten would have been about forty-five years of age in 1658, so the theory that these two records pertain to the same man is at least plausible. And, although the knowledge that John and William Sanders appear to have lived in proximity of one another in Charles City County, and were brought there by the same ship owner, is not in itself proof of a relationship, William Thomas, signer of the above document, was a common denominator between them.

The record trail shows both men had an association with Thomas, a fact that may strengthen the possibility of a relationship.

I am almost certain William Sanders arrived in Virginia aboard Merchant’s Hope in late 1637 or early 1638. William Barker’s patent, in which William’s headrights were included, was dated 11 May 1639, and because the process of obtaining a patent generally took about a year, early 1638 seems the most likely estimate.

And while it is true that some patentees collected headrights over several years before seeking a patent, Barker had redeemed another set of headrights the previous year; thus it is certain William Sanders did not arrive before late 1637.

On 10 Oct 1640,William Sanders he obtained a patent of his own for a tract of land on the south side of the Appomattox River. Accomplishing this much less than two and a half years after his arrival is noteworthy, and a definitive statement that his financial circumstances were much better than most new arrivals.

I have not been able to locate this patent in Cavaliers & Pioneers, nor at the Library of Virginia, but it is referenced in a patent received by Walter Chiles on 5 Nov 1649. The Chiles patent pertains to the same land William acquired by patent, and includes a recitation of the property’s ownership history, already lengthy by the time Chiles obtained it by deed in 1642.

[WHB: Note that in the next century, the daughter of a Micajah Chiles, marries into one of my Quaker ancestral lines. See: Bedford County VA Quakers: Selected Notes from the South River Monthly Meetings.]

William Sanders assigned his patent to Walter Brooke at an unspecified date; Brooke soon after deeded the property  to William Thomas, the proprietary agent who authored the payment demand delivered by John Sanders delivered to Rice Howe.

Walter Chiles then purchased the land from Thomas on 20 Oct 1642, and received a patent for it seven years later. Although it is not noted when Sanders assigned his patent to Brooke, that the property received its fourth owner in the space of two years and ten days implies Sanders disposed of the land immediately after it was received.

From the Chiles patent several clues regarding William Sanders’ life and livelihood can be gleaned:that he received the patent only two to three years after his arrival is a clear indicator he never served a period of indenture; that he used the patent as a commodity rather than making the required improvements suggests William Sanders was not a planter.

The Chiles record also states Sanders’ original patent was for two hundred acres. Headrights were set at fifty acres per each person transported to the colony. William, evidently, had paid the passage of four persons.

And because the process of obtaining a patent required a year or more, it is safe to say this event took place no later than 1639. William’s 1660 will, presented at court in Charles City County in September of that year, identifies a family group consisting of wife Joane, three unmarried daughters named Jane, Susan and Joane, and a son, William Jr. The will notes that William Jr. was then a minor, meaning he was born after 1639 – after the family relocated to Virginia.

Therefore it is likely that William obtained the 200 acre patent of the Appomattox River for paying the passage of his wife and three daughters. Thus, the Chiles patent suggests William Sanders was a man possessed of his own resources, perhaps engaged as a mercantilist, or was well connected to shipping interests – or both.

Of three men named in the Sanders to Chiles land transaction, the descendants of two, Walter Chiles and Walter Brooke, are found in early 18th century records of my direct line, and the third, William Thomas, establishes another direct link (William Barker being the first) between John Saunders and William Sanders.

In a previous email I noted the connections of Walter Chiles’ great-grandson, Henry Chiles, to my direct ancestor Thomas Sanders in Albemarle County circa 1750. I’ll not repeat that information, but speculation about Walter Chiles origins bears repeating in the context of the current topic.

What I have documented about Chiles is that he was a member of the gentrified class, a merchant and burgess whose principal residence was in James City County; he and with wife Elizabeth had two sons, Walter Jr. and William. I have located two unsourced family trees that states Walter’s wife Elizabeth was a Sanders, and that they hailed from Gloucestershire, England.

I have yet to find records to substantiate these claims, but if Elizabeth truly was a Sanders and native of Gloucestershire, the names of their sons take on added significance. If English naming patterns were adhered to in Chiles household, Walter Jr. would have been named after his paternal grandfather, and William after his maternal grandfather, William Sanders.

In 1638, the year William Sanders arrived in the Virginia Colony, Walter Chiles Sr. received two patents on the south bank of the “Appamattucke River.” The first, dated 1 March 1638, identified Chiles as a merchant and adjoined the patent of Edward Tunstall. (Virginia Patent Book 1, p. 625).

The second patent, dated 2 May 1638 was for transporting himself, wife Elizabeth and sons Walter and William, and adjoined Edward Tunstall’s and his own recent patent. (Virginia Patent Book 1, p. 551).

When the newly arrived William Sanders obtained his patent in 1640, I do not think it a coincidence that it adjoined the patent of Walter Chiles. I think it far more likely that, in 1639, when Sanders would have begun the patent process, Chiles located and identified the property he wished to patent – as patentees were required to do – because William Sanders was his brother-in-law and uncle to his children. This leads me to believe that the 1634 marriage record between William Saunders and Joane Longe of Bitton, Gloucester County, England may in fact pertain to the William and Joane Sanders of Charles City County, Virginia circa 1638-1660.

A cursory look at the descendants of Walter Brooke allows for the possibility that the Reverend Zachariah Brooks of Hanover and Goochland County records of the early 18thcentury is a direct descendant.

A 1727 entry in the Douglas Register states Rev. Brooks was contracted for a period of one year to conduct worship services in St. James Parish of Goochland, and to read prayers one Sunday each month at the home of John Saunders.

This John Saunders is the father of John Hyde Saunders, and I strongly believe is the brother of my direct ancestor, James Sanders of St. Peter’s Parish records, 1699-1717. I am actively trying to prove or debunk this theory about James and John being brothers, and although I have yet to find anything that definitely proves the theory, I have also not seen anything that tends to disprove it.

Whether or not William Sanders of Charles City County ties directly to my line or yours – and I do think it possible he is a direct ancestor of your Julius Saunders – isn’t of real importance in this discussion.  But I do think this record trail validates our belief that strong and actives ties did exist between the two groups.

The 1635 passenger manifest regarding John Saunders show he sailed to Virginia aboard the Merchant’s Hope out of the Port of London. Records pertain to William Sanders do not indicate where he boarded the same ship two to three years later, but Bristol would have been a natural and logical layover point for Virginia bound ships out of London.

It seems likely that William Sanders, possibly a merchant or entrepreneur of some sort, embarked from Bristol, and the matter may have been arranged by John Saunders, a distant relative with ties to mercantile and shipping interests in London.


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Conversations with Justin Sanders, part 2 (My current hypotheses on the Saunders family history)


Just read your timeline posts on V&V. Nicely laid out. Wasn’t sure how you would approach it.

I followed the links to your earlier writings and came across an entry that is of particular interest to me: “It is possible that this is the Thomas Saunders, whom JOHN PAYN, the King’s [i. e., King Henry IV] chief butler, appointed as his deputy in the port of Bristol, and to whom a writ of aid was issued on 5 Feb., 1400 (Patent Rolls).”

It is amazing to me the regularity with which the surname Paine/Payne has appeared not only in my Sanders research, but also in my Brown research, another branch of my maternal tree that ventured from Henrico (1720), Chesterfield, Bedford VA, Bedford TN & KY. Over a period spanning two centuries and four states (VA, NC, TN, KY) one couldn’t throw a rock out the window without hitting someone named Paine.

And yet, I have never detected a connection to this family in my direct line, only two marriages in an offshoot branch of my Brown line in Bedford VA. Seeing the names Thomas Saunders and John Payn together on a record dated 1400 was a real eye popper, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

The evidence trail of an apparent alliance between the Saunders and Paine families now spans four centuries. To a modern man, the clannish nature and durability of ancient alliances is truly amazing.


Hi Justin -

I think the word “clannishness” is thought-provoking. If indeed we discover, as I am convinced we will, that our English and Norman ancestors worked together to advance their family fortunes, it does seem to fit the situation.

Here’s my current hypothesis: French Norman families after the invasion by William the Conqueror moved in and took over all the royal and local jobs that had incomes attached. As each family established their revenue-producing estates, younger sons left to establish new family enterprises and daughters left to establish alliances with other Norman families.

We likely will find that some of the collateral names that DNA research has discovered (e.g., Kerley, Crump) will turn out to be younger sons establishing surnames based on geography, names of ancient estates from Saxon times, etc. (Or conversely, Saunders could be a younger son name itself).

Since Viking and Norman families had a long history of seafaring, once the family fortunes were established, seafaring and mercantile pursuits (such as trade with wine-producing regions of France’s Southern coast and later trade with America) were logical extensions of family activities.

It is my hypothesis also that there was considerable discord within the families, when prominent members took different sides in the religious disputes that engulfed England from the reign of Henry VIII onward. Some profited from Henry’s confiscation of monastery and Catholic church assets. Others took the dangerous path of opposing the Crown (be it Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth, James I, Charles I or Cromwell)

Thus, when we get to Virginia, some of our ancestors are there principally for the profit motive as merchant-adventurers, others are there to escape the religious or civil situation in England.

Cordially, Bill

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Timeline for Thomas Saunders (1513-1565) of London and Charlwood, Surrey

The following timeline was extracted from The History of Parliament, British Political, Social & Local Hisotyr: the House of Commons 1509-1558


Thomas Saunders born this year or previously, as the oldest surviving son of Nicholas Saunders of Charlwood and Alice, daughter of John Hungate of Yorkshire (Saxton?)


Thomas Sanders educated at 1 Temple


Thomas Saunders is married to Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund Walsingham of Scadbury, Chislehurts, Kent (settlement 6 june)

Before succeeding his father at Charlwood in August 1553 Thomas Saunders had himself acquired the manors of Flanchford and Hartswood in 1539 and in the following year had had three manors in Sanderstead and Warlingham settled on him by his father on his marriage to Alice Walsingham.


Thomas Saunders is solicitor to the houshold of Queen Anne of Cleves and of Queen Catherin Howard


Thomas Saunders is Justice of the Peace


Thomas Saunders sat in the Commons under three successive monarchs and at intervals over a span of 16 years. His return for Gatton to the Parliament of 1542 he must have owed to Sir Roger Copley, described in the indentures as ‘burgess and only inhabitant of the borough’, but whether as Copley’s near neighbour at Charlwood or through an intermediary like Copley’s father-in-law (Sir) William Shelley it is impossible to say. In the first session he shared in the passing of the Act (33 Hen. VIII, c.21) attainting his mistress the Queen.


In 1543 Thomas Saunders took a 21-year lease of a house in the Blackfriars, which presumably became his London residence; from 1550 his landlord there was his Surrey neighbour Cawarden. This transaction apart, Saunders did not interest himself in monastic property.


Attendent on Lent reader, Inner Temple; Summer reader 1546; autumn reader 1546, 1547,

Thomas Saunders’ long upward progress there received occasional checks: his refusal to read in the summer of 1547 cost him temporary demotion from the bench

Appointed solicitor of the Queen’s household in 1540, originally for Anne of Cleves but then for Catherine Howard, he obtained the reversion of the office of King’s remembrancer in 1545 and the office itself in 1549. Its previous holder was (Sir) Christopher More, a fellow Inner Templar who had settled in Saunders’s own county; in February 1547 Saunders indemnified More against any harm resulting from his visits to the Exchequer ‘to see and peruse the records and process there for his learning and knowledge of the course of the said office’. He was to retain the post until his death. Similar continuity marked Saunders’s record in local administration: for the last 24 years of his life he served every regime in turn.4


Thomas Saunders is commr. chantries Surrey, Sussex and chantries Surrey, Sussex and Chichester


Thomas Saunders, Kings remembrances, the Exchequer


Thomas Saunders, relief, Surrey and Sussex.

Thomas Saunders’ knighted.


Whether he unsuccessfully sought a seat at the two following elections is not known, but when on 1 Feb. 1552 the Council sent a writ for the election of a knight for Surrey to replace either Sir Christopher More, or more probably More’s successor, it was accompanied by an instruction to the sheriff, Sir Robert Oxenbridge, to ‘prefer’ Saunders.

This may well have been done on the initiative of William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester: as treasurer, Winchester was Saunders’s departmental chief, and he had probably engineered Saunders’s knighthood in 1550 shortly after his own promotion. In the event the Council’s recommendation was ignored and the sheriff returned John Vaughan I. Twelve months later the Council prepared to intervene again; this time it favoured the re-election of Vaughan and the other previous Member Sir Thomas Cawarden, but whereas Cawarden was chosen Vaughan was passed over in favour of Saunders. What lay behind this reversal can only be guessed at: the implied assertion of shire independence may have been more apparent than real and the explanation lie in an amicable adaptation to circumstances.5

Saunders was not to regain the knighthood of the shire until 1558; at three of the intervening elections it was his ultra-Catholic cousin William Saunders who replaced him, once during Saunders’s shrievalty. Still he was elected for Reigate, where his patron was probably the lord of the manor, Lord William Howard from whom he held property there. Unlike some other Members from Surrey he did not oppose the initial measures for the restoration of Catholicism, and it was in the course of the second session that he was pricked sheriff. He had presumably won the Queen’s confidence by ignoring the attempt of the Council, as soon as Edward VI was dead, to secure Surrey for Jane Grey, and his conduct during Wyatt’s rebellion justified his choice. The invidious duty of sequestering Cawarden’s goods and, with William Saunders, of removing Cawarden’s weapons he appears to have carried out efficiently but humanely, afterwards sending Lady Cawarden a letter of apology and ‘a token of your own’, and he may not have been wholly to blame for the failure to return all the goods with which Cawarden was later to charge him.6



Thomas Saunders father dies, leaving him heir to extensive property in Surrey.  Both his great uncle the father of William Saunders and his uncle Wiliam, the father of Nicholas Saunders the Catholic controversialist, may have been members of other inns, but he established the family’s connexion with the Inner Temple, where on his admission in 1527 he was pardoned all vacations and offices and allowed to be out of commons at his pleasure.

Thomas Saunders, goods of churches and fraternities, Surrey

Sherriff, Surrey and Sussex, 1553-54


Thomas Saunders is Treasurer; and governor in 1557


Thomas Saunders, musters, conventicies


Wife Alice Walsingham dies


Thomas Saunders’  work as treasurer was challenged and he was called upon to re-account. No such setbacks appear in his government career.


Thomas Saunders dies.

His legal standing made him a suitable choice as an overseer of wills, and among those who named him in this capacity were his father-in-law Walsingham and one of his successors as Member for Gatton, John Tingleden. Saunders’s own will, which he drew up himself, was meticulous in its provisions and requirements. His wife was to have a life interest in most of his property but if she remarried she would have to give the heir written sureties against despoiling of woods or furnishings; the rest of the property was divided among the younger children. Anxious that at least one of his sons should study law, Saunders promised his law books to whichever of them did so. His care for learning showed itself in his ample provision for ‘an honest parish clerk at Charlwood that can play the organ and teach children, for maintenance of God’s service’, and the bequest of his ‘books of humanity and stories in Latin or French’ to his own children. Although he made the will on 7 Mar. 1563, Saunders did not die until 18 Aug. 1565, probate following on 7 July 1566.7

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Timeline for Edward Saunders (1595-1639) of Charlwood, Surrey and Virginia in early 17th century

WHB -I have constructed a timeline relating to Edward Saunders of Charlwood, Surrey, based on the notes of Justin Sanders.


Edward Sr. was born about 1595 in Charlwood, Surrey County, England.

Edward Saunders is believed to be the person who, at age 40, sailed on the ship Safety from London to Virginia, and who, in 1635, was listed as the father of passengers Thomas, 13 and Edward Jr., age 9.


Thomas Saunders (who ran Joseph Saunders warehouse in the late 1640’s) was born in Gloucester, England in 1607, the son of Philip Saunders of Amroth, Wales, a descendent of the same Charlwood, Surrey County Sanders/Saunders family from which Edward is believed to descend.


Edward  Saunders made his first voyage to Jamestown in 1619 as a merchant working within the Virginia Company, and returned to England in 1621. he name of his father is not known, but he is thought to be a grandson of Thomas White Saunders of Charlwood.


Edward Saunders may have been absent when his first son, Thomas, was born in England in 1622.

In 1622 Edward and Roger Saunders divided their time between Jamestown and Accomack, a possible reason they escaped the massacre. “Together over the next decade Edward and Roger assisted others in managing the lands of cattle of Lady Dale, the ex-governor’s wife. . . .”


A legal paper filed in London in 1623 identified Edward as an inhabitant of the colony when an Indian massacre took the lives of 347 colonists (about one-fourth of the population) on 22 March 1622.


Edward Saunders  was back in England at the time the paper was filed, attesting  to conditions in Jamestown at the time of the attack. He therefore played a role in the dismantling of the Virginia Company in 1624, at which time Virginia became a Crown Colony. [Ralph Sanders, Generations: A Thousand Year Family History, p. 191].

On his return to Virginia in 1622 Edward was accompanied by a relative named Roger Saunders. The two men collaborated in a warehouse venture with Joseph Saunders, a wealthy ship owner and merchant of the ancient Vintners Company.

A relationship between Edward and Joseph is suspected, but has not been identified. The warehouse of Joseph Saunders was located near Cape Charles in Accomack, somewhere near the southern tip of the peninsula where Roger Saunders constructed a plantation house in 1628.


Between 1625 and 1635 the Saunders Accomack Virginia warehouse imported linen, powder and wine in exchange for tobacco and beaver skins. [p. 198].


Roger Saunders consturcts a plantation house near Cape Charles in Accomack


Roger Saunders managed the Accomack warehouse until his death in 1632. William Smith then took over the operation until his death in 1636.


4 July 1635 – the ship Transport, Edward Walker, Master, embarked for Virginia from London.

Thomas Saunders – 20.

Source: John Camden Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality . . . 1600-1700, p. 102.

10 Aug 1635 – the ship Safety, John Graunt, Master, embarked from London carrying 144 persons to Virginia.

Edward Saunders – 40

Thomas Saunders – 13

Edward Saunders – 9.

James Pattison – 21 (listed two names above the senior Edward).

Source: John Camden Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality . . . 1600-1700, p. 122.

The Edward Saunders above, age 40, was the father of Thomas, 13 and Edward Jr., age 9. Edward Sr. was born about 1595 in Charlwood, Surrey County, England.

[Note from WHB - See my previous posts Ancestral Families and the English-Colonial Trade (1612-1632) and Saunders in Gloucestershire and Bristol in Late Medieval Times.]


William Smith (of Accomack warehouse) death in 1636.


Edward Saunders ran operations at the Accomack warehouse until he and three coworkers died in 1639 aboard the Flower de Luce, a ship owned by Joseph Saunders, en route for England [p. 199]. “. . .

Thomas Saunders of Gloucester (not the son of Edward) evidently picked up the slack in the 1640’s after the deaths of earlier partners.” [Sanders, p. 197].

The sons of Edward Saunders, Thomas, b. 1622 and Edward, b. 1625 returned to England following the death of their father. In 1655 Edward returned to Virginia with the title of Doctor and resided in Northumberland County. His brother Thomas followed shortly after and obtained property nearby in the same county.  [Sanders, pp. 401-2].

The sons of Edward Saunders, Thomas, b. 1622 and Edward, b. 1625 returned to England following the death of their father.


In 1655 Edward returned to Virginia with the title of Doctor and resided in Northumberland County. His brother Thomas followed shortly after and obtained property nearby in the same county.  [Sanders, pp. 401-2].




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