The Bickleys and related families of Kingsbury, Baxterley, Over Whitacre, and Nether Whitacre, Warwickshire, England

   In genealogical terms the Bickleys are new relations to both the Edson and Orcutt families, in that we didn’t know anything about them until the past 25 years or so, and their kinship hasn’t been  widely known to most people until the past 10 – 15 years. Who they were, and how they relate is still somewhat shrouded in , if not mystery, at least a lack of in depth information.  I have been keenly interested in them since learning of the Susanna Bickley/ Samuel Edson marriage record.

   Where there is a Will There Is a Way

   Bickleys in the community near Kingsbury and Over Whitacre can be fairly reliably documented regarding their connections. There were during the time period, 1616-late 1660’s and beyond, two main, and apparently (closely) unrelated lines.  There was resident in Holloton Warwickshire an influential member of the Norfolk, England Bickleys, Richard Bickley, and he is known to have married at Kingsbury Sarah Rugely, and had a large family of children baptized at Kingsbury.

  Well before that Richard Bickley there were Bickleys resident at Kingsbury, back to the very beginning of time that records were being kept.  These Bickleys likely descend  from the John Bickley that was buried 02 Feb 1571 at Kingsbury.  The proceeding year,  10 Nov 1570, there was an Elizabeth Bickley recorded buried in the same record. It appears that this couple were probably the parents a man named John Bickley that was baptized 09 Feb 1536, and was buried 03 Apr 1585, both events in Kingsbury.

  This 2nd John Bickley’s wife, Alice Melbourne, who he married 15 Sep 1555, Kingsbury, also proceeded him in death, 16 Jan 1582.   Thus we have this latter John Bickley and wife Alice,  and it is possible to ascertain their children through the Kingsbury parish register, and other sources. After his wife’s death this John Bickley is recorded 29 Apr 1582 to have married a woman named Anne Bond, but given he and his second wife’s ages it’s doubtful they had any children.

  Alice Melbourne  was the daughter of a man named Robert Melbourne that named her in his will dated 7 May 1553, Kingsbury, Warwickshire, as “Alyce Byckley”.


Will of Robert Melbourne 1553 Kingsbury, Warwickshire

   Also named as a son of Robert Melbourne in his will was a Richard Melbourne. Richard Melbourne was a resident of Over Whitacre 19 Apr 1572 when his daughter Alice Milbourne’s burial was recorded in the Parish register.  On 24 Mar 1584 it was recorded his wife, Elizabeth, was buried in the same place, and  on 07 Oct 1585 he married a woman named Joanna Bott, or Betts.  In his will dated 27 Oct, 1600, Richard Melbourne names Joanne as his wife and also a “God sonne”  Richard Bickley, and as an Overseer of his will John Bickley, who he designated as his ‘cousin”.  John Bickley  witnessed the will.

Will Of Richard Melbourne 1600 Over Whitacre, Warwickshire, England

   In  seventeenth century English records the word cousin as used in many wills, deeds or other records with a different meaning than in the modern understanding of “cousin”.  Cousin may refer to ANY relative who is not a brother, son, sister or daughter. A cousin may be a niece, nephew, or another closely related relative.  John Bickley was thus most likely the actual nephew of Richard Melbourne, the son of John and Alice Melbourne Bickley, baptized 13 May 1561, Kingsbury.  It appears in this document that Richard Bickley, the son of his nephew John Bickley, was affectionately designated “God sonne” by his great uncle, Richard Melbourne, who had no male heirs of his own.

  This instance was not the first that this same Richard Bickley was named in a will. In his will dated August 27th, 1595 Richard Bosworth of Baxterley, Warwickshire names as his daughter, “Margerie Bicklye” ,  and as his  “God sonne”   “Richard Bicklye” , and no doubt he is referring to the wife and son of  John Bickley that died at Baxterley ca. 5 feb, 1634, who named in his will his son Richard, and other children, including Anthony Bickley,  he had by his first wife, Margery.

Will Of Richard Bosworth 1595  Baxterley, Warwickshire, England

   John Bickley was a husbandman, or farmer, of Baxterley as was his wife Margery’s  father, Richard Bosworth. Margery  Bosworth Bickley died  04 Jan 1602  and John married his second wife, Elizabeth Mason, 16 Dec 1608 as stated in the John Bickley family record.

Will Of John Biickley 1635 Baxterley, Warwickshire, England

Transcription of John Bickley Will

Last Will and Testament of John Bickley

“In Yea name of God Amen.  Yea fifth day of February in yea year of our Lord God One Thousand Six Hundred Thirty and Four, and in the ninth year of yea rayne of our Sovereign Lord Charles by yea grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of yea faith.  I John Bickly of Baxterly in yea County of Warwick, a husbandman, being of good and perfect memory, mind, and remembrance (thanks be to God) do make and ordayne and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following.  First and principally, I remand my soul into yea hande of allmighty God yea Father, the Son, and yea Holy ghost., my savior, redeemer, and comforter, trusting to be saved by yea mercy and passion of  Jesus Christ, and to be made an Inheritor of yea kingdom of heaven.  And my body to be buried in yea Parish of Baxterly in yea direction of my executrix hereafter named.  And as causing yea goods which it has pleased God to give me, I do dispose of them in the manner and forme following choose to pay.  First, I devise, give, and bequeath unto Richard Bickly, my son, twelve pound in mony.  I do give and bequeath unto Anthony Bickly, my son, twelve pound in mony.  I give and bequeath unto Frances Fletcher my daughter twelve pound in mony.  I give and bequeath unto Margarett Orton, my daughter, twelve pound in mony.  I give and bequeath unto Jayne Aulkut (?), my daughter, twelve pound in mony.   I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Bickly, my daughter, the sum of twenty pound to be paid unto her by my executrix or her assigns, att the day of the marriage of the said Elizabeth my daughter.  I give and bequeath unto Mary Bickly, my daughter, the sum of twenty pound to be paid unto her by my executrix or her assigns att the day of the marriage of the said Mary, my daughter, and if it shall please God that either of my daughters shall die before their sum of mony be paid unto them as aforesaid, then my mind and will is that the sum or sums of mony of them, or either of them, on dying shall be divided amongst the residue of my children which God hath given me by Elizabeth, my last wife, equally, and not to any other of my children which I had by Margery, my first wife.

All the rest of my goods, Chattells, and property, as well movable as unmovable, not given and bequeathed in this my Last Will and Testament, my debts being paid and funerall expense discharged, and the legacies herein bequeathed, well and truly paid and performed, I give to Elizabeth Bickly, my loving wife, if she remayne self, sole, and unmarried.  But if she marry then I do give and bequeath unto Elizabeth, said wife, the sum of Tenn pound, to be paid unto her out of my goods, Chattell, and the residue of my goods and chattells to be divided amongst my sons William, John, Thomas, and Robert Bickly, or the survivors of them, equally.  But if the said Elizabeth live sole and unmarried then I do give and bequeath then to her and her assigns forever everything, in this my will not withstanding, and I do hereby make and ordyne the said Elizabeth, my wife, full and sole executrix of this my Last Will and Testament, and ordayne our son, William Bickly, and William Wedgewood, whom I hereby give power and authority to see this my Last Will and Testament well and truly performed, revoking all former wills heretofore by me made.  In Witness whereas I, the aforesaid John Bickly, to this my present Last Will and testament here put my hand and seal the day and year first above written.”


Johanni Bickly     {seal}

“Submitted sealed, and published by the within named John Bickly as the Last Will and Testament  the day and year within written, in the presence of;

William Mason

Johanni Mason  {by X mark}

William Wedgewood

Jurat; Elizabeth Bickly.”

   The information in these documents also yield considerable light and knowledge in regard to the ancestors of the rest of the Bickley offspring of John and Alice Melbourne Bickley from Kingsbury.