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In Brief History
The Watertons - a brief history
Origins in Lincolnshire
Life as Roman Catholics
Tudor Queens
Thomas More
Hanoverian Rats
A Waterton Chronology Page 1   A word about dates.... (Gregorian & Julian Calendars).
red circle
Waterton of Corringham, Walton, Cawthorne & Penistone - 14th & 15th Century Descents. [This is the Squire's branch]
in the table below, click on the red circle to view this part of the family tree.
blue circle
Waterton of Waterton & Methley - 14th & 15th Century Descents
in the table below, click on the blue circle to view this part of the family tree.
Event Additional Notes
In the Beginning..

The Watertons




Yorkshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire The Watertons were originally from Lincolnshire, and had migrated to Yorkshire several centuries before Squire Charles Waterton's time. Watertons were eminent in the service of the State prior to the Reformation.

The Reformation was a 16th century movement to reform the perceived abuses in the Roman Church that ended in the establishment of the Reformed and Protestant Churches.

Remaining steadfast Catholics, the Watertons suffered from constant exactions and fines. It was not until the Squire's time that the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed.

This chronology, together with the various family trees, attempts to document some of the significant events and episodes in the Waterton family, in particular; the Walton and Methley branches.

In the beginning...

After the Conquest

Walton, before the Watertons.




According to the Illustrated London News (10.) and J.G. Wood (12.), historically Walton formed part of the Honour of Pontefract, of which the Saxon thane (*), Ashenhold was lord. Walton was owned by his son Ailric.

The Honour of Pontefract, click for more detail.

However, elsewhere, Walton is described as being a sub-manor of Wakefield Manor in the Agbrigg Wapentake(11.) and as being in the Liberty of Wakefield.

Wakefield and Sandal were not in the Honour, being part of the Manor of Wakefield. This map shows the Honour of Pontefract by the end of the 14th century.

These days, Pontefract is part of the Wakefield Metropolitan District.

After the Norman Conquest, it was given by William I, The Conqueror, to one of his supporters, Ilbert de Lacy#. Ilbert granted some of the land back to Ailric, father of Suein (Swane or Sweyn; died 1129).

Suein's son, Adam Fitzswane, was Lord of Walton, Cawthorne and Penistone. Adam founded the priory at Monk Bretton.

Adam married Mathilda He died in 1159, and left two daughters and co-heiresses, Amabil (Amabel) and Matilda.

Amabil had Walton and Cawthorne and became the wife of William de Nevile (le Nevil). They had one daughter and heiress, Sarra de Nevile, who married Thomas, son of Philip de Burgh. Thomas died in 1199. Succession then passed through the de Burgh family until Joan de Burgh.

from de Burgh to Assenhull and then to Waterton ....
The years went by, as did the generations. Eventually, in 1404, the de Burgh heiress, Joan de Burgh, married Sir William Assenhull, who thus acquired the de Burgh estates in Walton.

Constance Assenhull was their daughter and heiress; by her marriage to Richard de Waterton (her 1st cousin) in 1435, she brought large estates to the Watertons. (See also the year 1435 for more on this topic.)

(# de Lacy - see Roy A. Lacy's de Lacy Chronicles for a history of the de Lacy family.

* A thane ranked between a freeman and a hereditary noble, he held land granted by the king for services rendered.)

12th and 13th centuries
1159 Away from Walton, the beginnings of the Watertons.
Reiner de Normanby (Normanebi)
, son of Norman of Normanby became Lord of Waterton in Lincolnshire circa 1165.

Waterton in the Isle of Axeholme
de Normanby was the first to adopt the name 'Waterton'. The name was derived from land called Watretone on the River Trent in the Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire. There is still a Waterton Hall there to this day. Normanby is on the other bank of the River Trent. His brother, Ralph, continued with the name "de Normanebi (Normanby)". Click this link for more information about de Normanebi, the family and their lands.

1255 William de Waterton (II) died, he was the son of William de Waterton (I) and grandson of Reiner de Normanby. From his son Richard de Waterton came the Walton & Cawthorne branch.

From William de Waterton (II) and his wife Dyonisia, came their eldest son Reiner Waterton (II) and thence the Methley branch of the family.

red circle William's son and Reiner's younger brother Richard de Waterton was the progenitor of the Walton and Cawthorne branch of the family. This line continued to Richard Waterton who, in 1435, married Constance Assenhull to become the first Waterton Lord of Walton. Charles Waterton (the Squire) was descended from this branch of the Waterton family.

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14th century and into the 15th
Sir Thomas de Burgh received a licence to fortify his mansion at Walton, and to surround it with a stone wall built with mortar and to crenellate it.

Sir Thomas died in 1334, shortly after receiving the licence to fortify the building, and before the work had proceeded very far. (11)

A crenel or crenelle is an indentation or gap in the parapet of a castle, wall or tower, from where the defenders could fire arrows or throw spears, etc., at unwelcome visitors. This illustration is of Warwick Castle, not an earlier version of Walton Hall. There are no pictures of Walton Hall before the present building, the only surviving structure is the Water Gate.

John de Waterton, (Methley Branch), Lord of the Manor of Waterton. blue circle He was Esquire of the Body to Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford. He was born around 1340 and was alive in 1388.
1365 - 1424/25

Robert Waterton (Methley branch), Lord of Waterton in the Isle of Axholme, Lincs. and Methley, Yorks. (alive in 1398, died 1424). Supporter of the House of Lancaster.

blue circle Robert Waterton ("the Constable"). This Robert Waterton was Esquire of the Body to Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford (Henry IV), with whom he went on Crusade to the Holy Land. He was Constable of the castles of Pontefract (1399-1425), Tickhill & Castle Donnington.

During his tenure as Constable at Pontefract Castle, King Richard II was imprisoned, subsequently dying in mysterious circumstances, doubtless extremely unpleasant, in 1400.

He was High Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, Master of the King's Horse & Armour & Master of the King's Running Hounds. Jailer to James I King of Scots & Scots Nobles & many French Nobles from Agincourt. ob:1424/5 (will dated: 10th Jan 1424/5) bur: Waterton Chapel, Methley. (7)

The Arms of Robert Waterton. Lord of Waterton in the Isle of Axholme, Lincs. and Methley, Yorks.
The Arms of Robert Waterton. Lord of Waterton in the Isle of Axholme, Lincs. and Methley, Yorks.

This Robert was the eldest son* of John de Waterton of Waterton (b. c1340). There is no evidence that he was ever Steward of the Honour of Pontefract and his lack of knighthood ** (which in those days was not honorific) was down to his ability to avoid such onerous duties and his usefulness to his Sovereign. His wife was Cecily Fleming daughter of Sir Robert Fleming of Woodhall and niece of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, who founded Lincoln College, Oxford. (7). See 14th & 15th century descents of Waterton of Waterton & Methley.

Robert and Cecily Waterton.  Click to enlarge
The tomb of Robert Waterton & Cecily is in Methley Church. Cecily was the daughter of Sir Robert Fleming of Methley.

The Waterton Chapel in St Helens Church, Sandal Magna, is the foundation of another Sir Robert Waterton, but of the Walton line, not Methley. There are many confusions between the two Waterton Chapels. The one at Methley is a foundation by the will of Robert Waterton of Waterton & Methley and the one at Sandal by Sir Robert Waterton of Walton lob: 1482). (7)

William Shakespeare
In Shakespeare, Richard II, 2.i.277-88, Robert Waterton was travelling with Henry Bolingbroke, but, in fact, he was actually already in Yorkshire and he was there to greet him on the quay at Ravenspurgh (now engulfed by the North Sea).

King Henry IV - Henry Bolingbroke. Born 1367; Reigned 1399-1413. He was known before his accession as Henry Bolingbroke because he had been born at Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire.
[* not the 3rd son as stated in J.W. Walker (ref. 4.)
** He was not "Sir" Robert, i.e. he was not a knight, as stated in ref. 9. In ref. 2 it states: " Sir John Waterton was high sheriff of Lincoln in 1401, and master of the horse to Henry V. at Agincourt. Sir Robert, his brother, whose wife was a lady of the garter, was governor of Pontefract Castle while Richard II was confined there: he had been master of the Horse to Henry IV." However, we know that Robert the governor was plain "Robert" and not a knight. A confusion of Roberts! Cecily was not a Dame of the Garter.(7)]

before 1387 - 1417
John de Waterton, ancestor of the Squire, Lord of the Manor of Corringham, Lincs. red circle Son of Richard de Waterton. He was the Constable of the Manor of Kirton in Lindsey, Lincs. and he was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire 1401 and 1409. He was dead by 05/11/1417. He was the son of a Richard de Waterton (b. 1320) and his son was also a Sir Richard (d. 1479). This last-mentioned Sir Richard had a son, Sir John Waterton. Through this abundance of Richards and Johns, the blood line continued on towards the Squire.
after 1365 - after 1415
Sir John Waterton, younger brother of Robert of Waterton & Methley, this Robert was the husband of Cecily. blue circle Of him the old ballad says: "Waterton the banner bore of famed St George at Agincourt."
Esquire of the Body to King Henry V, Constable of the Castle of Windsor 28 Jan 1414, Banner Bearer and Master of the King's Horse and Armour at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 (mentioned in the King's will).

Sir Hugh Waterton, Methley branch

(b. before 1396, d. 1409)

blue circle According to Joseph Foster(1), Sir Hugh bore this coat of arms at the siege of Rouen 1418, "ascribed to Robert in Jenyn's Roll ... borne .. by Sir Robert a Yorkshire knight Arundel Roll". (1) (see earlier entry concerning Robert Waterton, the constable).

Sir Hugh de Waterton's Coat of Arms
Sir Hugh de Waterton's Coat of Arms(1)

Sir Hugh de Waterton, Lord of the Manor of Wroot, was uncle to Robert the Constable of Pontefract. He was Advocate to John of Gaunt and his son, Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV). He was not at the siege of Rouen in 1418 as he had died in 1409. The "Rouen Roll" which shows his arms has since been shown to be an earlier creation with some additions leading to this false ascription. He appears to have used arms similar to Robert (the Constable) with the omission of the ermine tails.(7)

The Arms of Sir Hugh de Waterton and Robert Waterton
The similar Coats of Arms of Sir Hugh de Waterton, Lord of the Manor of Wroot, Notts., and Robert Waterton, Lord of Waterton in the Isle of Axholme, Lincs. and Methley, Yorks.



Robert Waterton (son of Robert & Cecily, Methley branch).

Lord of the Manors of Everingham & Birkin, Yorks., and Laxton, Notts.


blue circle The only son of Robert & Cecily. He married Joan, daughter of William de Everingham. Joan died and in 1422, Robert married Margaret, youngest daughter of Thomas Clarel of Aldwark, widow of John Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough (d. Rouen 17 Dec 1421). Margaret was a Dame of the Garter

Robert Waterton died 17 Jan 1424/1425#. His widow, Margaret, "formed a clandestine marriage with William Gascoigne, esquire of Gawthorp".

#The date shows that Robert died in January 1424/1425. This does not mean that the event could have taken place on different days a year apart, what it means is that the same year is known as 1424 or 1425 depending upon which calendar is used. Using the Old Style - Julian Calendar, the year is 1424, in the new calendar - Gregorian - the year is 1425. The Old Style year 1424 ran from 25 Mar 1424 to 24 Mar 1424. On 1st January 1424 (which was towards the end and not at the beginning of the OS year), the Gregorian year 1425 began. So from 1st January to 24 March, the calendars overlapped and the date is now written to reflect the 'overlap' between the two calendars.
A word about dates.... (Gregorian & Julian Calendars).

- 1476
Sir Robert Waterton, Lord of the Manors of Waterton & Doubledyke, Lincs., Methley, Everingham, Birkin, Barley, Halghton and Potterton, Yorks., and Laxton, Notts.

blue circle This Sir Robert was the son of Sir Robert of Waterton & Methley (son of Robert & Cecily) and Joan de Everingham.

After his first wife, Jane, died, he married Beatrice, who was the niece of Maude, Countess of Cambridge, wife of Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge.

Late 14th and early 15th centuries
Late 14th / early 15th centuries


John de Wateron (d 1417), Lord of the Manor of Corringham, Lincs., married Katherine de Burgh.

red circle Katherine de Burgh daughter of Sir John de Burgh, (Lord of the Manors of Borough Green, Cambs., Cawthorne, Penistone, Walton and Hackforth, Yorks.) and his first wife Mary, daughter of Roger de Grey, Lord Grey de Ruthin). Katherine was aunt to Constance de Assenhull.

Sir John de Burgh's daughters by both of his wives, were all heiresses. It was his daughter, Joan de Burgh, who married Sir William Assenhull, who brought the Cawthorne, Penistone and Walton estates across to Sir William, it was then through Constance, the daughter of Sir William and Joan, that the lands passed into the Waterton family (see below).

married 1435, d. 1479

Richard de Waterton, son of John de Waterton (see above), married Constance Assenhull.



red circle Constance Assenhull was the heiress of Sir William Assenhull, and Richard de Waterton became Lord of the Manors of Walton, Cawthorne, Penistone, Manston & Burn, Yorks, jure uxoris (13) in 1443 on the death of Sir William) and Corringhan, Lincs (from his father John de Waterton).

The wife of Sir William Assenhull and mother of Constance, was Joan de Burgh (formerly married to Thomas Haselden) the heiress of Sir John de Burgh of Walton, lineally descended from Sarah, sister and co-heiress of Adam fitz Swein fitz Ailric, the Saxon owner of the whole of the Staincross wapontake, and lands in Agbrigg and other wapontakes. (3) (See also 11th century above).

Watertons and Assenhulls Connected and United
Richard de Waterton (whose mother was Katherine de Burgh, daughter of Sir John de Burgh and his first wife Mary, daughter of Roger Lord Grey de Ruthin) was the first cousin of his wife, Constance Assenhull, whose mother was Joan de Burgh, sister of Katherine.

J.W. Walker does not mention Katherine, daughter to Sir John. He does show Sir John's second wife as being Katherine, daughter of John d'Engayne of Quy cum Stow.(4)

High up in the chancel of Corringham church is a corbel boss carved with the arms of Waterton impaling Assenhull.(7)

Constance Assenhull and Richard de Waterton of Corringham, Lincolnshire "began their married life by moving into old Walton Hall which was standing in 1333, and by all evidences and as I understood it, was not new built".(7) It was a crenellated building of considerable size and boasted an oak panelled hall of around 27 metres (90 feet) in length. The Water Gate at Walton Hall is the only part of the original building still standing. It is the oldest remains of a building in the village of Walton.

"Thus Mr. Waterton (the Squire) was twenty-seventh Lord of Walton, and sixteenth from John Waterton, who acquired that lordship". (2) However, it was Richard, son of John, and not John, who acquired the lordship jure uxoris. (13)
27th Lord or 28th Lord?
, Edmund, son of Charles the naturalist, styled himself "27th Lord of Waterton" on his visiting cards
(7); or "28th" according to other sources such as Julia Blackburn (8).

15th into the 16th century
1477 - 1535
Sir (Saint) Thomas More

Some two hundred years later, in 1733, Charles Waterton (Walton branch), grandfather of the Squire, married Mary Cressacre-More, seventh in descent from Thomas More.

Sir Thomas More resigned as Chancellor in 1532 after Henry VIII assumed the supreme leadership of the Church in England. He refused to accept the new Act of Succession because it repudiated papal supremacy in England. He was executed for treason. Thomas More - read more ... and The Reformation

Sir Robert Waterton

red circle On the death of Richard de Waterton in 1479, his son, Sir Robert Waterton inherited the Waterton estates in Lincolnshire and Walton. He was knighted in 1482 by Richard, Duke of Gloucester but died the same year. His son, also named Sir Robert, pre-deceased him (d. 1475).

Richard's eldest son, Sir Robert Waterton, married Sybil. daughter of John Gamston of Sandal. This Sir Robert was the founder of the Chapel at Sandal but as his only son, also called Sir Robert Waterton, died without issue, this line became extinct (his son was buried at Doncaster Parish church, but the reason why this was is unknown). (7)

Richard's younger son Sir John (the brother of the Sir Robert who had died in 1482) continued the Walton line. This Sir John's son was also called Sir John, and his son was Sir Robert Waterton (d. 1540/41), Lord of the Manors of Walton, Cawthorne & Burn, Yorks and Corringham, Lincs., through to Sir Thomas Waterton (b. 1500, d. 1558).

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Sir Robert Waterton, b. 1478, d. 26 Feb 1540/41. Walton branch.

red circle This Sir Robert is the son of Sir John Waterton (d. 1494/95). He is known to have owned the three hamlets of Middle Walton, Nether Walton (also known as Lower Walton, Low Town or Lower Town) and Upper Walton (also known as Overtown or Uppertown).

He was knighted in 1501 on the marriage of Arthur, Prince of Wales. At the same time, he was granted the Otter amorial crest.

Otter amorial crest
Otter amorial crest.

Sir Robert Waterton, Master of Horse to Henry VIII, refused to acknowledge the king as 'supreme head of the church in England' and so received the following letter from the king: "Waterton, I will take thy estate, but I will save thy life. Henry Rex".(6) Read more about The Reformation.

Reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547) - "Our Royal Goat" as described by Waterton. The Watertons remained true to Rome and lost possessions under Henry VIII. The King founded the Church of England and severed the connection with Rome.

1500 - 1558
Sir Thomas Waterton, b. 1500, d. 25/07/1558.
 "Master Waterton, a man of fair lands, hath a praity Manor House in Sandon Paroch. The chief Church of Sandon is appropriate to S. Stephance's College at Westminster. At the est ende of this village is a praity Castelet on a hilling ground with a Diche aboute it. It longid to Warine Earl of Surrey: now to the King." Itinerary - John Leland, King's Antiquary and Chaplain to Henry VIII. Early 16th Century. (Sandon is today Sandal Magna. Warine refers to the De Warrenes, the Earls of Surrey.) (3)
1553 - 1558
During the reign of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) - Mary I, Sir Thomas Waterton was High Sheriff of York, This tenure as High Shefiff was the last commission of state held by a Waterton until Edmund Waterton (son of Charles the Squire) became Deputy Lieutentant in Yorkshire and a magistrate. Thomas was knighted on 11/05/1544.
16th into 17th century
1558 - 1603
John Pilkington of Kirkheaton (great grandson of Sir John Pilkington, 6th in descent from Alexander de Pilkington 1300) married Rosamund, daughter of Sir Thomas Waterton Their son was bow bearer to Queen Elizabeth I
Sources - General Note
The chronology on this page has been revised as a consequence of information received from David Alexander Richard Waterton-Anderson , 2004.

1. Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees, Joseph Foster, 1902.
2. Wanderings in South America, Charles Waterton, edited by Rev. JG Wood, Macmillan & Co., London,1880.
3. The Herald, 06/09/1890.
4. Most dates and names from: The Burghs of Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire and the Watertons of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. J.W. Walker, OBE, FSA, The Journal of the Yorkshire Archaelogical Society, 1931.
5. Sandal Magna, A Yorkshire Parish and its People, Mary Ingham & Barbara Andrassy.
6. The History and Topography of the Isle of Axholme, Rev. B. Stonehouse, London, 1839.
7. Research by David Alexander Richard Waterton-Anderson , 2004.
8. Charles Waterton, Traveller and Conservationist. Julia Blackburn, The Bodley Head, 1989.
9. Essays on Natural History, Charles Waterton, edited with a Life of the Author by Norman Moore, Frederick Warne & Co., London, 1871.

10. Illustrated London News 17th June 1865, following the Squire's funeral.
11. A History of Walton by Peter Wright, 1985, p. 6. (see Links for publication details).
12. Wanderings in South America by Charles Waterton, edited by the Rev. J.G. Wood, p. 3. (see Links for publication details).
13. Jure uxoris.
      a. uxor: In civil law, a wife; a woman lawfully married.
      b. Et uxor,, "and his wife". Often abbreviated "et ux."
      c. Jure uxoris, a term used in reference to a husband who brings about some legal action on behalf of his wife.


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