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Sadler & Sheppard Families of Purton, Wiltshire

The following information was sent by Richard Curruthers-Zurowski.  (Please note that the names in this document are not included in the names search facility.)  Please contact Richard direct, not us!   E:mail Richard

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Sadler and Sheppard Families of Purton


I am engaged in a 20-odd year project to trace these Purton families.  I have hopes that perhaps someone out there in the either might have some knowledge of the specifics of these arms, and that this might lead me to a genealogical account of the families concerned.

What is curious about the Sadler arms displayed at Purton is that they are not those of either of the armigerous Sadler/Sadleir families recorded in the Visitations of Wiltshire (1565) and (1623, but rather those granted to Sir Ralph Sadleir or Sadler, of Standon, Herts., in 1542).

Here are the comments of one heraldist, Derek Howard, at rec.heraldry, a public forum for the discussion of matters heraldic, viz.:

"The shield of John Sadler d. 1747 and his family - Or a lion rampant per fess Azure and Gules is attributed in 1780 to the Sadler family of Temple-Dinsley, Standon and Sopwell, Hertfordshire.  The crest is a demi-lion Azure ducally crowned Gules (or in another version Or)(another version says the lion is armed and langued Argent).

This shield appears to have been granted in 1542 to Sir Ralph Sadleir or Sadler knight of Standon in Hertfordshire, who is said to be the last knight banneret who lived in England (having been so made after the battle of Musselborough in Scotland).  He was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a Privy Councillor to all the Tudors from Henry VIII on.  Apparently an alteration to the arms was granted in 1575-6 but under the name of Sir Paul - possibly an error in original or transcript.  One ref says he died without issue but in 1679 the arms were said to be borne by Sir Edwin Sadler kt., of Temple Dinsley, Herts. having formerly been borne by Ralph Sadler of Sandon, Esq., the grandson and heir male of Sir Ralph.  In the 17th century records that the arms were to be found in an ancient roll owned by Clarenceux King of Arms.  I have not yet checked the Dictionary of British Arms for any medieval occurences of the shield before Sir Ralph (who may have been confirmed or granted a version of arms long in use in his family).

The shield at the bottom of the Sadler memorial at Purton is that of the Champernon family about whom I can find nothing more on a quick check other than there are several variants - Gules a saltire vairy between 4 crosses paty fitchy Or; a version with 12 crosses formy fitchy Or (the one in question I think) and a version with the 12 crosses botony Or.  The name Franklin on the monument appears to be that of the sculptor as it is seemingly on more than one monument.

I cannot see the brass plaque with the 19th century quartered arms clearly enough to comment on the quarterings.  Perhaps someone else can?"

To this I can add that as genealogical and heraldic evidence re the reputed descent of the Purton Sadler family from one of those of Wroughton, Wilts., one can examine the accounts recited in the Visitations of Wiltshire.

See the following URLs for the 1623 Visitation, in which, alas, no arms are displayed (Visitation reproduced courtesy of Nigel Batty-Smith, genealogist and inheritor of the valuable collection of his father and grandfather), viz.:

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1623 Visitation

[which shows the line of Sadler settled at Costow [also Costoe] in the parish of Wroughton, Wiltshire, which was that of Sir Thomas Sadler, principal registrar of the diocese of Sarum [Salisbury], temp. Jas I].
Arms:  party per saltire ermine and or, four escutcheons gules [vert].  Confirmed to Sir Thomas Sadler of New Sarum by William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms.

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P. 68

(Sadleir of Salthrop [parish of Wroughton], Wiltshire, wherein the granddaughter of Sir Ralph is shown to have married Robert Sadler [fl. 1623])
Arms:  A wolf passant in chief ----- and a wolf's head erased -----.  Crest: A wolf's head erased ----.  No arms supplied by Camden according to an annotated version of the 1623 Visitation (not the Batty-Smith one on-line) which I saw many years ago.  The annotator continues:  "[quere This is an old seale of the same famyely of Sr Tho Sadler of Sarum.]"

These blazons accompany pedigrees found are on pp. 163-165 on this version of the 1623 Visititation of Wiltshire which include the additional material cited as follows, viz.:  " [I C.  22, 18: Lyte 11; Harl.  1165, 12.]"

Returning to the unannotated version of the 1623 Visitation of Wilts., available on-line:  in addition to the foregoing, two men are specifically declared ignoble (John Sadler of Overton [Overtown or Overton in the parish of Wroughton] and ...  Sadler of East Everley [parish of Everley, Wiltshire, where Henry Sadleir the 3rd son of Sir Ralph Sadleir of Standon, Herts.  {and Hackney} is supposed to have settled]).  See the following pages of the Visitation at these URLs, viz.:

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P. 108

[John Sadler, disclaimed, of Overton in Wroughton]

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P. 109

[Nomen Nescio Sadleir, disclaimed, of East Everley in Everley]

John Sadler (d. 1925), professional genealogist, and compiler of parish register transcripts for publication by Phillimore, collected a vast amount of information about Wiltshire Sadlers as he tried to discover the exact reason (genealogical) why his Sadler forebear was willed the estates of his kinswoman Jane Sadler, Mrs Bendry, of Wroughton, Wilts., the last member of the Visitation family of Sadler of Elcombe alias Wroughton.

Among the papers of John Sadler, genealogist, which extend over more than 600 pages of mss notes of engrossed wills, chancery proceedings, etc., are several sketch pedigrees of the Wiltshire Sadler family including my line from Purton, whose armorial memorials are under discussion.  Sadler indicates that the Purton Sadlers descend from those of Wroughton recorded in the Visitation, but he is lamentably brief in his delineation of this, stopping in the 16th or 17th century.  I have been endeavouring to trace the link, and have made some progress, but as yet no clear pedigree has been forthcoming, though I have progressed back to circa 1635 with my line at Purton and have established links to some of the engrossed wills in Sadler's mss.  It almost seems that the best of Sadler's findings were not passed on to the Wiltshire Archælogical and Natural History Society in whose Devizes library I was able to view his collection after being referred to it by a footnote in the Victoria County History volume covering Wroughton.

The Wroughton Sadler family and the Temple Dinsley (Herts.) Sadler family descended from the courtier Sir Ralph Sadleir, protegé of Thomas Cromwell, are not, so far as I can establish, related in the male line, though there was an early intermarriage of one of Sir Ralph's female relatives with a Wroughton [Salthrop] Sadler.  It would seem to be impossible for the Purton Sadlers to be related to those of Wroughton as indicated by John Sadler, genealogist, if they used the Temple Dinsley Sadler arms legitimately.

Are there specialised compilations available on Wiltshire's Landed and Armigerous Families specifically (as opposed to Burke etc., which I have already consulted).  I would be interested to know too if there are studies of hatchments and armorial bearings displayed in Wiltshire's churches and public buildings that might provide useful information (I have consulted Aubrey, though not as thoroughly as I would like, not having it readily available to me).

The Sheppard arms are also displayed in Purton parish church, viz.:

Photograph of Arms


They have been identified by Derek Howard on the rec. heraldry newsgroup as being those of the armigerous Shepard [sic] family of Buckinghamshire, and are blazoned as follow, viz.:

"The shield of Samuel Sheppard d. 1782 - Gules three battle axes (Argent?) a chief Ermine - appears to be a minor variant of that of Shepard of Buckinghamshire (where the battle axes are Or) but this is insufficient to suggest no relationship.   The Buckinghamshire family had a crest of 2 battleaxes in saltier Or."

In addition, I found a references in the American William Armstrong Crozier's "General Armory", p. 118, col. 2, to "Shepard, Massachusetts", borne by "[The] Rev. Thomas Shepard, Cambridge.  (Earl's Colne, Essex)" as "Gules, three battle-axes or, a chief ermine.  Crest -- Two battle-axes in saltire or.  Motto -- Nec timeo, nec sperno."

These arms are also listed as being borne by "Shepard, Michigan.  Charles Nelson Shepard, Esq., Grand Rapids.   Same Arms as [The] Rev. Thomas Shepard, Cambridge, Mass."

The later arms of Sadler of Purton quarter Champernowne (an ancient Devonian knightly family), and can be seen at the URL noted above, viz.:

Photograph of Arms


I descend from Mary Sadler (1775-1842), wife of Richard Plummer, gent., of Purton and Lydiard Tregoz, Wilts. (1773-1824), second son of Thomas Plummer, of Purton, by his wife Sarah, daughter and eventual heiress of Edward Deane, of Purton, Wilts.  Mary Sadler, Mrs Plummer, aforenamed, was the 2nd daughter of William Sadler, of Purton (1744/5-1817) by his wife Hannah (1750/1-1809), herself the daughter of William Orum, yeoman, of Garsdon, Wiltshire, by his second wife, Mary Lea].  William Sadler and Hannah (Orum) are named later in armorial MI headed by William's father, John Sadler (d. 1747, aged 38) and his wife, Hannah (née Sheppard )(d. 1797, aged 83), where the painted escutcheon displays the simple arms of the original Sadleir of Standon coat.  The other (later) Sadler armorial memorials are those of male line descendants, showing quarterings brought in my marrriage with, presumably, heraldic heiresses.  They include those erected in 1890 by the Squire of Purton, James Henry Sadler (1843-1929), J.P., benefactor (founder of the Purton Workingmen's Institute) and local character.  He descended from the younger brother of my ancestress, Mary Sadler, Mrs Richard Plummer, namely Samuel Sadler (1782-1845), gent., of Arle Court, Cheltenham, Glos., who married Eleanor Champernowne (1783-1823), daughter of William Champernowne, of Cricklade, Wiltshire, by his wife, Elizabeth Stone.  I do not know the filiation in the earlier Champernowne lineage that might prove a link to the Devonian family of Champernoune/Champernown/de Champernon.  I have some idea of how Eleanor Champernowne, wife of Samuel Sadler, may be related to the Devonshire family.  Through research into the wife, Catherine Hall Jenner (1780-1870), of my ancestor Richard Plummer's younger brother, Joseph Plummer (1784-1849), gent.  of Cricklade, I have constructed a pedigree that indicates that descendants of the Reverend John Champernowne (1682-1732), Vicar of Paignton, Devon, established themselves in Wiltshire.  The Vicar married one Margaret Mallock, and had issue, among others, a third son, Richard Champernowne (baptised 1727 at Paignton).  This Richard seems to be identical with the one who married Catherine Hall at Eisey, Wilts., on 14 Jan. 1746/7.  They had at least two children, namely, Eleanor (baptised 1749, Cricklade St Sampson, Wilts., and possibly the aunt and godmother after whom Eleanor Champernowne [1783-1823], wife of Samuel Sadler was named), and Catherine Champernowne (1762-1794), who married Thomas Jenner (1749-1809), of Marston Meysey and Cricklade, Wilts. at Eisey, Wilts. on 12 May 1779.  Their eldest child was Catherine Hall Jenner, who married my ancestral uncle Joseph Plummer.  Of their other children, their son Richard Jenner (baptised 1791 at Eisey), married my great-great grandfather, William Large's (1805-1871) elder sister Susannah Large (baptised 1803, Christian Malford, Wilts.; her brother William, my forebear, married Mary Ann Plummer, daughter of Richard Plummer, gent., of Purton and Lydiard Tregoz by his wife, Mary Sadler), while their daughter, Ann Jenner (1794-?), married Richard Champernowne, of Colerne, Wilts. (whose blood connexion to the rest of the Wiltshire family of Champernowne remains a mystery to me) at Cricklade St. Sampson on 15 April 1811, leaving at least seven children, including a son Arthur Champernowne, whom I find in the 1881 census recorded as "Arthur Champernoune", widowed agricultural labourer, in the 1881 census as a pauper living in the union workhouse at Purton, which must involve something of a comedown in fortune considering his probable double descent from Sir Arthur Champernowne, Kt, Vice-Admiral of the West (d. 1578), for whom I imagine he was named.  Shades of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"!

James Henry Sadler, Squire of Purton, was the 2nd son of Samuel Champernowne Sadler (1809-1889), of Purton Court, Purton, Wilts., himself the 2nd son of Samuel Sadler and Eleanor Champernowne.  S.C. Sadler married Fanny Jarvis, daughter of Simon Jarvis, gent., of Upavon, Wilts.  I wonder if one of the quarterings stems from this marriage?  Squire Sadler himself was married on 16 Dec. 1879 at St James's Westminster to the considerably older (so I am told) Ann Matilda Butt, formerly Mrs Fisher, daughter of Thomas Packer William Butt, of Arle Court, Cheltenham, Glos. [Walford's County Families, 1890 edn].  This may be the source of a further quartering.  Squire Sadler (my second cousin, thrice removed!) was apparently something of a rake, as well as being quite feudal toward Purtonians.  He had a son, James Fisher alias Sadler, his wife's daughter by her earlier marriage to Mr [Christian name unknown to me] Fisher, Annie Marion Fisher.  It is a curiosity of my genealogy that I have also found a Thomas Packer Butt, perhaps grandfather or great-grandfather of Ann Matilda Butt, Mrs Fisher/Sadler, whose own father bore a very similar name, already cited.   This Thomas Packer Butt married at Purton on 29 July 1784 one Anne Sheppard (baptised 1756 at Purton) daughter of James Sheppard (1716/7-1771), baker, of Purton, by his wife, Betty Carter.  He was the younger brother of Samuel Sheppard of Purton whose Purton MI is the cause of Sheppard arms query.

The Sheppard arms displayed in the memorial to Samuel Sheppard, mercer (d. 1782 aged 69) and his wife, Ann (d. 1783 aged 70; N.B. her maiden name unknown to me), if borne correctly, would also be those of the paternal family of Hannah Sheppard (baptised 1715, Purton), Mrs John Sadler, as Samuel Sheppard, aforenamed, (baptised 1712 at Purton; d. 1782) was her elder brother.  They were the eldest children of Henry Sheppard (1675-1718), of Purton Stoke, Wilts., by his wife Anne Hayward (d. 1718/9) whom he married at Eisey, Wilts., in 1712.  Henry Sheppard was, so far as I can tell, the only child of Samuel Sheppard and his wife Elizabeth Carter, who were married at Purton on 17 June 1669.  This is as far back as I can trace the Sheppard lineage, possibly due to gaps in the Purton registers, though the family may have arrived in the parish shortly before this time or used an additional parish church in another part of England (possibly Buckinghamshire or Essex where Shepard [sic] families bearing the same, or similar, arms, are recorded in the heraldic literature as residing).  Apart from the children I have already named, I find that Henry Sheppard and Anne Hayward his wife had Grace Sheppard (bt. 1718, Purton), for whom I have found, as yet, no husband, and possibly Mary Sheppard (born circa 1720), wife of Jonas Bathe (1718-1793), feltmaker, of Purton.  This couple had a third child, and second son, James Bathe (1745-?) who married Mary Sheppard (baptised 1753), daughter of Samuel Sheppard, mercer, by his wife Ann whose armorial MI is under discussion.  James Bathe and Mary Sheppard's daughter, Mary Anne Bathe (1785-1871) married her probable double cousin, Thomas Sadler (1784-1852), of Shaw in the parish of Lydiard Millicent, Wilts., who is yet another brother of my ancestress, Mary Sadler, Mrs Richard Plummer.  Their son, Thomas Butt Sadler (1813/4-1889), married my great-great grandfather William Large's younger sister, Ann Large (baptised 1810, Christian Malford), and has issue at least one child, James William Large (1840-1845).  As one can see from this account there is a very high incidence of cousin marriage in this area making for a very interrelated community!

I would be interested in learning more about these families, the arms their monuments display and their ties to other armigerous and non-armigerous Purton area families.

As I make my investigations into the Purton registers, and examine the wills I have on hand and other documents, it is becoming clear that a great many people descended from relatively humble folk at later periods of Purton's history must be related to these relatively well-healed and well-documented members of the local farming and mercantile gentry via their genealogical ramifications among the local yeomanry and thence the 'lower orders' of husbandmen, tenantry, cottagers and small artisans.  I have hopes yet of tying most or all the inhabitants of the village and surrounding parishes together into one great kinship group, with Gallipot eyes.

To anyone who has been kind enough to send me a message and has yet to hear back from me, please rest assured that I will reply to all enquirers and correspondents.  Life is improving greatly as my computer problems are being solved bit by bit (now to get my scanner to be recognised by the software again!).


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