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Quarterman Family in England 111th >16th Century

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My name is David Edwards and my mother’s maiden name was Elsie May Quarterman [1908-1986].  Ever since I was at school in the 1960's I was always fascinated by the Quarterman name and for many, many years have researched it through the Public Record Office in London UK (much easier to trace than Edwards!).  

I have now traced my own family tree going back to the 1580's.  This shows that from the 1580's until the 1820's the Quarterman family lived in Cowley [a district of Oxford, England].  With travel by train then possible the family scattered all over the country:  to Yorkshire, South Wales, Manchester and London.  I am descended from the London branch.  I have made contact with another branch of the 'London' family which was formed in the 1880's and also discovered that descendents of that branch emigrated to New Jersey USA and were alive in 1990 [when they visited the Quarterman Chapel at Rycote near the village of Thame in Oxfordshire, UK where the family lived from 1066 until the 15th century – see “Early History” below].

In 1883 ‘The ‘Prebendal Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Thame, in the County and Diocese of Oxford’ published a limited edition book detailing the history of the church, including the pedigrees of all the families connected with the parish. The book was written by the Revd. Frederick George Lee DD. who was the Vicar of All Saints Church, Lambeth, in London [!].  My great-great-grandfather obtained a copy of this giant book (15” x 10”) and it passed down to my mother and is now kept by my cousin John Q.  It also includes an illustration [dated 1821] of the two large Quartermain table tombs, situated in the south transept of the church, which are from the 14th and 15th centuries. I also have photographs of them, which I will get added to this document in due course.

A word on the spelling of the name Quarterman/Quartermain/Quartermayne &c:
You should realise that until the 18th century the majority of people had no formal education.  Certainly spelling was not high on the list of things to learn.  Only those who needed to write learned how.  Parish priests had to write in order to record details of christenings marriages and burials (official records of births and deaths records did not start until the first half of the 19th century).  However, when a new priest took over a parish he could only ever ask for a persons name when it had to be recorded – certainly never the spelling.  Often, entries in church registers that appear in a new hand also signify a new spelling of local names from those recorded by previous priests.  With an unusual name like Quartermain, a variety of different spellings for the same family’s name can now be appreciated.  

If you have any interest in the Quarterman’s family history, I would be very pleased to hear from you.  My cousin, John Quarterman [and his son Philip] who are the last of my immediate family to carry the Quarterman name live about 1-hours drive from me.  They are also very interested in the family history.

In 1984-85 I made many visits to the Central Register Office in London, during which time I copied almost all the registered names of births, marriages and deaths in the Quarterman name from when records started about 170 years ago.  There are also about 20 Quarterman’s listed in the London telephone directory and I wrote to them all some years ago.  Several replied, offering brief details of their ancestors, but none of them appeared to link with any ancestors of mine.  I repeated the exercise in 2000 with all Quarterman’s listed as having computer ICQ membership.  This produced several responses from Australia, New Zealand and USA, as well as a couple in England.  Unfortunately I did not have time to maintain and update this growing database.  Hopefully I will be able to do so soon. 

I live in New Malden, Surrey, which is near Wimbledon [tennis!!] in SW London.  If you can provide any information at all about the QUARTERMAN family, It will be most gratefully received and I will be very happy to send you full details of all my research if you request it.

David Edwards
Nov 1999.  Updated April 2001 
Early History of the Quartermains of North Weston, Oxfordshire

Extract from the Historical Notes produced by the Custodian of Rycote Chapel.

After the Norman Conquest of Britain the See of Dorchester was transferred to the See of Lincoln in 1070, with the exception of the three hamlets of Chilworth Musard, Chilworth Valery and Coombe.  These belonged to the powerful families who had obtained the land through military service [feudatories].  The Bishop of Lincoln immediately appointed 39 knights to oversee his lands and it is at this point the Quartermains are first mentioned in the Oxfordshire area.  It seems reasonable to assume, given their name, that they were of Norman descent and settled in Britain after the Conquest of 1066.

The North Weston estate, near Thame, was allocated to one of those knights in 1086.  He is recorded in the Domesday Book as “William, knight to the Bishop of Lincoln” and his estate consisted of 3 Hides in Thame (viz. North Weston) and 3¾ Hides at Great Milton.  Two of the Fees at Ascot were shared with another knight “for their lifetime”.  These two estates formed the two halves of a Fee that became known as Quartermain’s Manor during the Tudor Period.  It was remain in the family until sold to Lord Dacre in 1458.

Around 1100 Herbert Quartermain [#1] was officially registered as knight of Bishop Alexander of Lincoln, with lands at North Weston.  He married twice and from his first marriage there were four children [Herbert #2, Robert, Richard and John].  After his first wife [name unknown] died, Herbert [#1] married the Foliot heiress and they had a son William.    When Herbert [#1] died, Herbert [#2] inherited the North Weston estate and William was given part of the Foliot lands at Chalgrove.  The inheritance of Herbert #2 is recorded in Deed No. 49 in the Oxford Charters.   His inheritance split the family and from that date the Quartermains of North Weston became known as the “Senior branch” and the Quartermains of Chalgrove as the “Younger branch”.  However, as Herbert [#1] was the progenitor of both branches, it is correct for any descendents to claim their roots as North Weston in the County of Oxfordshire.

As a knight, Herbert [#1] was a very important person and his name appears on many deeds and charters of that period as a witness.

Five generations later, Thomas Quartermain [#2] was married to Kathryn Breton, who was related to the then Archbishop of York.  Thomas and Kathryn both died on 6 June 1342 [cause unknown] and they are buried in one of the table tombs in St. Mary’s Church in Thame.

Richard, the grandson of Thomas and Kathryn, inherited the North Weston estate from his father Thomas [#3] in June 1414.  Richard was born about 1394 and became a merchant in London.  In November 1421 he was sufficiently important to appeal against a judgement given in the court of the Lord Mayor of London, which at that time was presided over by none other than one Richard Whittington (yes – he really did exist, and was involved with the Quarterman family as well!!).  Sometime between 1432 and 1435 Richard became a Member of Parliament for Oxfordshire and in 1436 became High Sheriff.  He built the present chapel at Ryecote, which was consecrated in 1449 as the Chapel of St Michael and All Angels.  In 1472 at the age of 79 he was elected MP for Oxfordshire for the third time.  He died on 6 September 1477 aged 84.  His wife Sybilla died six years later in 1483.  The heir to the estate, Sybilla’s nephew Richard Fowler[ #1] died later the same year, passing the estate to his son Richard Fowler [#2].  In 1505 the estates were inherited by Richard Fowler [#3] (a great-great nephew of Richard Quartermain).  This Richard was apparently something of a spendthrift and in the course of time he had to part with much of his landed property, including Rycote, which was sold in 1521.

Richard and Sybilla were both buried in another of the table tombs standing in the transept of St Mary’s Church at Thame, There are three brasses on the tomb: representing Richard, Sybilla and Richard Fowler [q.v.] who was Sybilla’s nephew and Richard’s godson.   This tomb was inspected in 1813 and found to contain nothing more than a heap of rubbish and some bones in one corner.  It was claimed that the heating apparatus for the church had been housed in the tomb at one time!

The Chalgrove Quartermains – the “Younger branch” - continued, without much distinction it can be said, until 1549 when Roger, who had inherited the estate from his father Reynold, died. The estate was then divided between his widow and two grandchildren, whose father had predeceased Roger.  Reynold had fathered five sons and one daughter and he himself had four brothers.  As the first-born usually inherited, details of siblings are seldom documented in as much detail, but suffice it to say there is a good chance that some of them produced further sons to continue the family name.

David Edwards
April 2001 

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