Humphrey Hanmer1

M, #18647, b. 29 April 1592, d. before 1 February 1645

Family 1

Jane (--?--)

Family 2

Last Edited16 Nov 2020
Humphrey Hanmer - The Link to European and Middle East Royalty

     This man is the link to an impressive ancestral genealogy which includes kings, queens, emperors, Vikings, Crusaders, and several outright psychopaths. It took me two years to track down all the documents I could find for him in the United States.

     The initial research was performed by James Edward and Catherine Anne Clark Hamner to whom all of Humphrey's descendants owe an enormous debt of gratitude. Without their pioneering research, especially with respect to their contact with Sir. Edward Hanmer, the 7th Baronet, who opened the family archives to them, none of us would have been able to make the necessary connections.

     I have documented Humphrey's ancestors, but this information is in a password-protected file covering my personal ancestors.

     As to why this family, spelled Hanmer in England, became interrelated to the "great families" is interesting. The Hanmer family began in Wales with the arrival of a marcher lord named Sir Thomas Macclesfield, born c 1236 and died c1296. He was an officer in the army of Edward I which invaded Wales in 1267, 1277 and 1284. Thomas was granted lands by 1300 in the Maelor Saesneg portion of Flintshire (now called Clwydd, its original Welsh name) comprising the parish of Hanmer in Wales for his service to the king. His son, Sir John, was the first to use the name Hanmer after the lands he inherited.

     Down through the centuries the Hanmer family intermarried with Welsh nobility and royalty. The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), a series of English civil wars for control of the English throne between supporters of two rival cadel branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster and the House of York, changed things for the Hanmers. These wars eventually eliminated the male lines of both families. Henry Tudur/Tewdyr/Tudor's claim to the throne as a Lancastrian came through his mother Margaret Beaufort, daughter of John Beaufort who was illegitimate at birth but later legitimized by his father John of Gaunt. It had supposedly been a condition of the legimation that the Beaufort descendants forfeited their rights to the crown. This is a very brief explanation of a very complicated period about which you can learn more if you go to Wikipedia's page on "The Wars of the Roses." But, Henry decided to fight for the throne.

     When Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 Aug 1485 and became King of England, it became obvious to many great English families that marriages into the Welsh gentry and nobility were extremely important for political survival. Henry Tudor, as Henry VII, was the father of Henry VIII. The nobility of England have a long history of marrying into the "right" family for political, as well as, financial reasons. It is due to these marriages that we descendants of Humphrey have a huge ancestral lineage.

     In fact, it is probable that many people in the United States have this sort of ancestral genealogy, but the problem is finding the documents to prove it.
     Humphrey Hanmer was baptized on 29 April 1592 at St Chad's Church, Clywd, Flintshire, Wales, In the Parish Register, he is listed as: "Humphrey Hanmer, the third son of Sir William Hanmer and his wife, Eleanor Dymock; baptised at St. Chad's [this date]."

     "The Parish Church of St. Chad is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the manor of 'Beddesfeld.' It was dedicated to St. Chad, the Bishop of Litchfield in the 7th Century. Earlier in the 6th Century, Celtic monks from St. Dunawd's Abbey at Bangor-Is-Y-Coed came to the Hanmer area to baptize and preach the christian gospel. . . The church was partially destroyed by fire in a Yorkist raid in the Hanmer region of the Maelor Saesneg in 1463 during the Wars of the roses; it was restored in 1490. A severe fire broke out on February 3, 1889, also. At the risk of losing his own life, the Vicar (Reverend Canon Matthew . Lee) rushed bravely into the flaming church and rescued the Parish Registers unscathed. Fanned by gale-force winds, the first spread quickly, and in spite of valiant efforts by the parishioners, it gutted the interior, destroyed many ancient Hanmer shields, banners, and monuments. A partial restoration was completed by 1892. By the financial generosity of Sir Edward Hanmer, 7th Baronet, the chancel and its stained glass were completed in 1936 to restore this historic church to its original glory."2

     On 22 May 1605, he is named in a land rental income bequest by his father. "Sir William Hanmer of Fenns, County Flint., and John Hanmer and Humphrey Hanmer, gentlemen. Feoffment (granting) of Fennes Heath and Stymye Heath with some cottages in County Flint."

     "These grants of land and cotages were usually given to sons for a source of future income, since they would be rented out, similar to the American system of tenant farming. The names of both tracts of land indicate that they were located in the Fenns area of the Maelor Saesneg in County Flintshire."3

     On 30 September 1614, "Exemplification of the fine and recoverey of lands in Fenns, Bronington, Iscoyd, Gredington, Hanmer, Tyhbroughton, Halghton, Bangor, Hawkyn, Kelloyfday, Llescoyd, Maneva, Rryathick (Hiraddug) uch Llan, Merton, Holywell, Bacley, Brynford, Coed y Gra, Kelstyn, Weppra, Gulftyn, and Northop, suffered between William Hanmer, demandant, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, Knight, Humphrey Hanmer, Esq., Edward Dymock, Esq., and Henry ap Harry, tenants."

     "This case involved the recovery of certain lands by Sir Thomas Hanmer, Humphrey Hanmer, Edward Dymock, Esq., and Henry ap Harry. William, the 'demandant,' is William Hanmer, Esq., of Bettisfield Park. Sir Thomas Hanmer is from the Hanmer of Hanmer family branch. Humphrey Hanmer is the 11th generation Humphrey Hanmer of Fenns Hall. In 1614, he would be 22 years old. Because 'Fenns' is among the lands in the exemplification, perhaps that portion represents the Fennes Heath or Styme Heath properties that were given to Humphrey and John Hanmer by their father, Sir William Hanmer of Fenns in 1605."4

     He remained in Wales, after the death of his brother, to support his sister-in-law and young, three-year-old nephew, as evidenced by lease documents. One of these documents is dated 22 Mar 1625.5

     On 22 March 1625, "Katherine Hanmer of Fenns, County Flint, widow, and Humphrey of Bronington, Esq., and Griffith Tarcliffe of Iscoyd, yeoman. Lease for 21 years of lands in Iscoyd and Bronington, County Flint."

     "Katherine was the widow of Humphrey's second, older brother, Thomas, who died in 1625 at the age of 35. Humphrey was now 33 years old and was the only brother-in-law who survived to assist Katherine with estate matters."4

     On 9 October 1626, we can presume "that Humphrey Hanmer was there to assist his sister-in-law," in a case in which several people attempted to seize lands in Penley from her "since men dominated the legal system at this time. He was a loyal and firm guardian for her and his nephew, William."6

     Humphrey married Jane (--?--) before 1628 because his wife was named in a complaint filed this year. The complaint calls her Jane Hanmer, we can't determine from this what her surname was.7

     "There are concrete reasons why exact evidence for Humphrey Hanmer's marriage remains a mystery. Marriages in Wales prior to 1837 were either by banns or by license. Before having a marriage in a parish church, one had to be certain that there was no impediment to the marriage. This action was accomplished by publishing banns, which was a public declaration of one's intention to marry. Such banns were announced during the principal service in the engaged couple's parish church for three successive Sundays, banns continue even today. Marriage by license, either by affidavit or marriage bonds, was usually preferred by the gentry in Great Britain, since it avoided delay and the publicity of banns. St. Chad's Church in Hanmer village is in the Diocese of St. Asap; its Diocesan marriage bonds and affidavit records cover the time frame 1690-1938. So, regretfully, the Diocese of St. Asaph's records would not cover Humphrey Hanmer's approximate range of marriage dates (circa 1610-1633)."

     "An examination of the very early, possible remaining marriage records (1607-1645) of the Anglican colonial parish churches in Virginia yields only scant, remnant information. The oldest surviving colonial church in present-day York County is Grace Church in Yorktown, built in 1697. The colonial builders used native marl, rather than brick, to construct this church. In 1814, a raging fire gutted Grace Church and destroyed Yorktown's courthouse, resulting in the loss of most public and church records. Humphrey Hanmer has been definitely identified as a communicant of New Poquoson Parish Church in York County, which was renamed Charles Parish Church in 1702. This fact will be discussed in more detail under . . . Humphrey's will bequests . . .. Current letters of inquest to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia historiographers yielded no available information on the New Poquoson Parish Church records. Similar to so many other valuable historical mementos of Colonial Virginia, parish church records have disappeared in fires, destruction from the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States, simple neglect, and decay from the passage of time." Nevertheless, evidence has been found to indicate that Humphrey married Jane (--?--) prior to 1628.8

     In November 1628, "the 'case of Humphrey Hanmer against Davies and his wife' was recorded on this date in a register of cases heard in the consistory court in the Diocese of Chester. It noted that a Nicholas Ral (?), Lawrence Carter, and John Bennett, were called as witnesses; however, it is unclear from the context whether they were called to support the Davies' allegation, or simply testifying that they heard the Davies make the claim. John and Ann Davies had claimed that Humphrey Hanmer had fathered two children before his marriage to Jane Hanmer, but the court appears to have found in Humphrey Hanmer's favor based on the marginal note 'Compl.' which suggests that the case was found in favor of the complainant, Humphrey Hanmer. This crucial bit finally gives us a name for Humphrey's wife.9

     On 24 October 1633, a "Survey of the leases and farm tenants on the Fenns Estate belonging to William Hanmer, Esq." was held.

     "William (12th generation) would have been eleven years old. "In that day and time, being eleven or twelve was accepted as young adulthood. Persons at that young age were often pledged in marriage, given land grants, and considered as old enough to be responsible. Humphrey (11th generation Fenns) and his brother, John, were given land grants by their father, Sir William Hanmer, when Humphrey was 13, and John was estimated to be several years younger. We can speculate that Humphrey thought his nephew was old enough to assume the management tasks which he had been conducting in a faithful fashion for eight years, following his brother, Thomas', death in 1625. Humphrey was forty-one years old in 1633. If Humphrey were to carry out his idea of emigrating to Virginia to build a new, adventurous life in America, it was now or never. All of the evidence points to this decision on his part. From 1634 through 1692, Humphrey Hanmer of Fenns Hall does not appear on any further Bettisfield Estate Records."6

     Circa 1635, he emigrated to the Colony Virginia when his nephew was about eleven or twelve, settling in York County, Virginia. An exact date for his arrival in Virginia, or, the name of his ship cannot be found.8

     There is no mention of his death or burial in Wales or English parish registers which carefully delineate all of his family. In addition, there is no other Humphrey Hanmer in the right place at the right time to be our emigrant ancestor.

     He is named in the Schedule of Bettisfield Documents in the National Library of Wales as 1) being a brother of Thomas Hanmer who died in 1625, and 2) managing the affairs of the Fenns estates for his nephew, William, and his sister-in-law, Catherine Hanmer, in 1625. This fact is the reason that Humphrey Hanmer is not listed on the original census of the Virginia Company's Jamestown colonists in 1624. He was still in Wales in 1625 and was 33 years old.

     The authors [James Edward and Catherine Clark Hamner] held lengthy discussions at Bettisfield with Sir Edward Hanmer, the 7th Baronet, who stated that family tradition related that Humphrey Hanmer did immigrate to Virginia in the 1600s, since it was considered by the Cavaliers as a land of golden opportunity, and his nephew, William Hanmer, who inherited Fenns Hall and the estates, was nearly grown at that time.10

     Humphrey Hanmer is the only person with that name who is mentioned in the early colonial records of Tidewater Virginia.

     Let's consider the other Humphrey Hanmer men found in this family. After all, a pedigree on the Family History Library Online shows this man as dying in England. I believe this pedigree is in error, but let's compare "all of the Humphrey Hanmers found in the four Hanmer Family branches utilizing Betham's Baronetage. There is one Humphrey in the Hanmers of Hanmer line who is listed in the 8th generation as the 5th son of Sir Thomas and Lady Jane Hanmer. He was a contemporary cousin and a brother-in-law to William Hanmer, Sq. of Fenns (8th generation), who had married Humphrey's sister, Eleanor Hanmer. This William Hanmer died in 1570; Humphrey of Hanmer must have been approximately in the same age bracket as William of Fenns. Therefore, he would most likely have died long before the early 1630's date, which is the correct Humphrey's estimated time frame for immigration to Virginia. There are no Humphrey Hanmers listed in the Hanmers of Haulton line."

     "There are three Humphrey Hanmers in the Hanmers of Fenns line. The first Humphrey (9th generation) was the third son of William Hanmer, Esq. of Fenns Hall and his wife, Eleanor Hanmer. This Humphrey was also the second brother of William Hanmer, Esq. of Fenns Hall who died in 1589. Hence, he would either be dead or far too elderly to be the Humphrey Hanmer in York County, Virginia. The second Humphrey in the Fenns branch (11th generation), third son of Sir William and Lady Eleanor Hanmer, has already been discussed previously and is the only Humphrey to conform to the correct time frame for immigration to Virginia in the early 1630's. The third Humphrey (15th generation), third son of William Hanmer, Esq. of Fenns Hall, was four generations removed from the second Humphrey of Fenns Hall. That later time span removed him from all consideration of being the Humphrey Hanmer who immigrated to Virginia.

     "The Hanmers of Bettisfield line began with Richard Hanmer, Esq. (5th generation), the fourth son of Sir John (Jenkin) Hanmer. Richard married Joan Tudor; they had one John, John (6th generation), who married Elizabeth Cholmeley. This latter couple had four sons (Anthony, Richard, John and Edward (7th generation). Anthony Hanmer and John Hanmer were both married; however, neither brother had male children. Edward Hanmer, the youngest brother of the 7th generation of Bettisfield, moved to Marton , Middle Parish in Shropshire. Richard Hanmer (7th generation) inherited Bettisfield Park and estate and married and had William Hanmer who died without heirs in 1620 at which time the Hanmers of Bettisfield became extinct. He bequeathed Bettisfield Park manor and the estate lands to his cousin, Sir Thomas Hanmer of Hanmer Hall."

     "In 1916, Calvert Hanmer wrote a genealogical publication which described his descent from Edward Hanmer, the younger brother of Richard Hanmer of Bettisfield (7th generation). A long, detailed pedigree accompanied the book. In it, there are two Humphreys listed; neither of them fit the proper time frame for the Humphrey Hanmer of York County. The first Humphrey Hanmer of Middle Parish is in the 9th generation, which would make him too elderly to be an emigrant to Virginia in the early 1630's. Compounding this conclusion are the facts that he never left Britain, he had four children living in the same Middle Parish area, and he died and was buried at Martin with his family in September, 1631. The second Humphrey Hanmer of Middle Parish among Edward Hanmer's descendants is listed in the 12th generation. He was born on December 12, 1639, was baptized at Baschurch, had three children, never left Britain, and was buried at Baschurch with his family in Shropshire on May 9, 1698. Therefore, neither of these two persons could possibly be the Humphrey Hanmer who immigrated to Virginia."

     "The relevance of the Bettisfield Estate Records in identifying the correct Humphrey Hanmer (1592-1645), has been mentioned previously. These documents contain legal matters and numerous deeds, plus family letters, which cover a time period from the 13th to the 19th Centuries. Languages used in these ancient documents are Latin, English, and French. Standardized spelling did not exist in there earlier century British documents, either in Latin or English; words were spelled haphazardly as they sounded to the recorder. By the 1600's in both Great Britain and Virginia, there was scant improvement in correct spelling. The same word was apt to be varied in spelling even on the same page, especially proper names. Thus, the surname 'Hanmer' was often misspelled in a colorful, yet inaccurate manner, e.g., 'Hanmere', Handmere', Hannemere', Handmore', Hanmore', Hamner', etc.

     With respect to Humphrey Hanmer of Hanmer (8th generation):
     (1) 'December 30, 1555: Sir Thomas Hanmer of Hanmer and Humphrey Hanmer of Fenns - Grant of Land in Penley, Overton, and Knolton in the Lordship of Maelor, County Flint. Humphrey Hanmer of Hanmer is mentioned among 21 grantees.' [original in Latin]
     (2)'November 15, 1556: Sir Thomas Hanmer of Hanmer - Grants of land in Worthenbury, Willington, Halghton, and Croxton in the Lordship of Maelor Saesneg, County Flint. Humphrey Hanmer is mentioned among 21 grantees.' [original in Latin]
     (3) 'June 24, 1559: A Commission from Henry Stanley, Lord Strange, and Lady Margaret, his wife, to William Hanmer of the Fenns, and Humphrey Hanmer of Wallford, Esquires.' [original in Latin]
     (4)'July 9, 1562: Exemplification of a recovery of lands in Fenns, Bronington, Iscoed, Gredington, Tybroughton, Halghton, and Bangor, suffered between William Hanmer, Esq. and Sir Thomas Hanmer, Humphrey Hanmer, Esq., Edward Dymock, Esq., John Danaster, Esq., and Henry ap Harry, Esq.' [original in Latin]
     (5)'1564: Inquisition Post-Mortem of Humphrey Hanmer who was seized in fee tail of lands in Penley, Overton fenn, of the cantred [an obsolete administrative subdivision of Wales] of Hanmer, and of lands in Tybroughton, Bronington, and Dueyrey, all in County Flint.' [a 19th Century translated extract]
Comment: Humphrey Hanmer of Hanmer (8th generation) died in 1564. The word: 'Inquisition Post-Mortem' at that time simply meant a legal court hearing after one's death. He cannot be the correct Virginia Humphrey since this Humphrey died in 1564. The correct Humphrey died in Virginia in 1645."

     On 8 April 1638, "Whereas Humphrey Hamner hath by process arrested Jeoffrey Pore to the Quarter court upon [this date], and the said Pore hath accordingly appeared, but neither the said Hamner nor any for him hath entered any plea or petition against the said Pore, and forasmuch as the said Pore has made his appearance and attested court, whereby the damages accrue unto him, the Court hath thereby ordered that Humphrey Hamner shall forthwith pay unto the said Pore, or his assigns, 80 pounds of tobacco for his charges and expenses in his such attendance, otherwise Ex/n in York County, Virginia."

     "Humphrey Hanmer (spelled 'Hamner' in this reference) must have been in Virginia prior to 1638. By paying the fine of 80 pounds of tobacco (common Virginian currency at that time), it is surmised that Humphrey did own land in York County, was not indentured, and had harvested previous tobacco crops."8

     On 19 November 1638, "'Captain John Cheeseman, of the New Poquoson [Parish] in Virginia, doe sell unto my brother, Edmund Cheeseman, certain land upon the New Poquoson, adjoining a neck of land cleared by John Cumber, adjoining the broad Neck. Consideration: 200 acres of land by indenture which the said Cheeseman has taken up at a place called the Runney to the New Poquoson in [York County] Virginia. Witness: Humphrey Hamner'"

     "Humphrey Hanmer was obviously a landowner, a reliable person of means (being a witness), and a friend of the Cheesemans (or Chismans), a wealthy family in Colonial Virginia and England." Dr. Hamner goes on to describe the Cheeseman family, mentioning the widow of John Cheeseman, Margaret. "It is a footnote of particular historical interest in proving Humphrey's close friendship with the Cheeseman Family to note that Margaret Cheeseman received a bequest of a silk carpet in the disposal of bequests from Humphrey Hanmer's will in 1645."11

     On 21 May 1639, John Congdon "of the back Creek "in Charles River Co., planter", conveyed to Edward Persivall of the same place, planter, "upon the side of Back Creek with two boarded houses belonging to the said Twenty five Acres of Land the one house Thirty foote long and the other of Twenty foote long." The land had been granted by patent dated 21 Aug 1638.
     Witnesses: Humphry Hamnar            John (his mark) Congdon
           Peter (his mark) Rigby"

     "The Back Creek that is mentioned in this reference marks the northwestern boundary of New Poquoson Parish. This abstract is additional proof that Humphrey Hanmer was an established planter and reliable witness in York County, Virginia, in 1639."12

     On 1 January 1640, "In an old land patent to James Miller, issued by Sir John Harvey, Royal Governor of Virginia from 1621-1635 and 1636-1639 (date torn off), it states: 'Fifty acres of land upon the great Otter dams due for his personal adventure, and fifty acres for the adventure of his wife, Mary.' On the back of the James Miller land patent is an assignment by Robert Newman (his mar) to Christopher Stoakes, dated January 1, 1640, witnessed by Humphrey Hanmer" (signed in the correct Welsh spelling) and John Watson (his mark); an assignment of Thomas Goodar (his mark) to Christopher Stoakes, witnessed by Edward Mihill, and dated December 14, 1640; and an assignment dated October 3, 1642, by Edward Mihill to John Howard."12

     It is imporant to note that Humphrey signed this document, unlike some of the others in this transaction, which verifies that he was an educated gentleman planter.

     In 1642, "Augustine Warner, 600 acres lying in the Severne in the first river in Mockjack Bay, beginning on the north side of Severne called Austin's Desire, north toward land surveyed for John Robins, thence to a creek dividing the same form the land of Humphrey Hanmore. Due for the transportation of 12 persons of whom only the following are mentioned: Martin Barnes, William Reynolds, and other this __ day of __, [this year]."13

     The 600 acres of Augustine Warner's land are located in what is now Gloucester County, Virginia, which was created from part of York County in 1651. A .. review of the Register of Abingdon Parish (which lies in southeastern Gloucester County, fronting the York River and Mobjack Bay) from 1677-1780 failed to reveal any Hanmers or Hamners. Abingdon Parish is thought to have been established in 1652. "Our Humphrey Hanmer was buried in 1645 in York County, and his son, Nicholas Hanmer, Sr. was buried in James City County in 1703 within the Bruton Parish cemetery, Williamsburg. Apparently, Humphrey Hanmer had obtained his land north of the York River in present-day Gloucester County as speculation property. There is no evidence that any Hanmers/Hamners lived there permanently. The answer perhaps resides in the lost Gloucester County records . . ."

     In Beverly Fleet's thirty-four volume series of Virginia Colonial Abstracts, which cover the 1600's and 1700's, the Hanmers/Hamners are only mentioned in Volume 24 (York County, Virginia: 1633-1646) and Volume 25 (York County, Virginia: 1646-1648). They are not listed in Volume 16, which covers the York County records from 1648-1657. The next twenty-one references in Fleet's Virginia Colonial Abstracts are related to court actions in regard to Humphrey Hamner's will. . . . he must have been a person of means, since all of his various bequests were paid by his administrators. They were also frugal in collecting the debts owed to his estate by others."12

     "'It is obvious from an examination of entries in York County Records, Number 1, 1633-1657, and York County Records, Number 2, 1645-16459, that Humphrey Hanmore (deceased 1645/1646) did indeed leave a will. However, one may be almost certain that such a will did not survive the loss of many early York County records.14'"

     Humphrey Hanmer died before 1 February 1645 in New Posquoson Parish,15 and was buried in New Posquoson Parish, York County, Virginia Colony.15

     On 2 February 1645, "Humphrey Hanmore, having given to John Griggs house and grownd during his life in the old feilds, as also twoe sowes, the Court orders the supervisors of his estate to make payment thereof, Griggs first executing bond, etc."

     "Since this is the first reference to Humphrey Hanmer's estate, it is presumed that he died in January, 1645, at the latest, or even earlier in 1644. Virginia courts move slowly."16

     On 21 April 1645, "John Meryman, these are to desire you to get an order of Court against Francis Browne for 300 pounds of tobacco and Caske or else - for the payments of it the next yeare and likewise one hundred twelve pounds of tobacco to Mr. Sewell there as Mr. Hopkins note of the pertickelers with his hand to it if past for it remembers it and likewise fiftie pounds of tobacco from the Estate of Mr. Hanmore. I paid him __ hhd of salt lost to him at play and after on the same day at Kiquotan I won fiftie pounds of tobacco of him, I doe pray these things for me at the Pawquoson and you shall command me the like not other but rest.
                                   Yours, Florent' Payne"

     "This claim is a difficult one to interpret; it appears that Florent' Payne claimed a fifty pound tobacco debt from Humphrey Hanmer owed to him for winning a bet. Humphrey must have been an occasional gambler - a true Cavalier! Poquoson and Kiqyotan are place names in York County. Since he likely died inJanuary, 1645, at the latest, Humphrey must have been 52 years old when he died."16

     On 20 January 1646, "Upon the oath of Edward Mikell it appears that Humphrey Hamure, deceased, did owe the said Michill 427 pounds of tobacco, 3 pounds soap, 2 pair shoes, and 7 pairs of Irish stockings. The Court orders the supervisors of the estate to pay."

     "Following this reference, Beverly Fleet made the following comment: 'A number of entries appear later, showing the name of the deceased, an evidently generous gentleman, as Humphrey Hanmore."

     A caveat entered by the supervisors of Humphrey Hamnor's estate against the quietus of the administrators of William Baulkes estate" was entered in court records on the same date.17

     On 2 February 1646, "That Humphrey Hanmore did by Will give to every one of his supervisors and to their wives the sume of twenty five shillings to buy each of them a Ringe. The Court orders payment from the estate." This court order reference present more evidence that he was indeed a very generous gentleman."

     Also on this date: "By will of Humphrey Hanmore he gave a sow to Jonathan Madison. Order that the legacy be paid."

     And, again on this date: "'Supervisors of the estate of Humphrey Hanmore, deceased, arrested to Quarter Court to answer suit of David Foxe. The suit referred to this Court. Foxe not appearing is nonsuited.'" Because David Foxe, the plaintiff, did not appear in Court, his suit was dismissed.17

     On this date: "'Whereas Humphrey Hanmore did buy _____ parish Church [?] Pawquoson parish ________ five pounds price. The [?] of this entry is an order to the supervisors of the estate to pay the legacy.' Beverly Fleet's comment after this referenced stated: 'This page is badly mutilated. This is to be regretted, for likely this is a bequest of early Church silver in Virginia.' However, the bequest definitely confirms that Humphrey Hanmer was a communicant of the very Poquoson Church in that particular area of York County, Virginia. . . The early Church silver used by Fleet in his description of this Court order, refers to silver candlesticks, a silver paten, and a silver chalice, which would be utilized in a . . service in the Anglican Church. For a small Anglican church in the rugged Tideware Virginia area of the 1640's, his gift was an extremely generous one - certainly befitting of a member of the Welsh gentry. . . "

     Also on this date:for the next entry, "Fleet says: 'This page is mutilated and half gone.' It refers to Humphrey Hanmore whose will left a silk carpet to Mrs. Margaret Chisman (Cheeseman), and according to the entries, the supervisors of the estate are ordered to pay." This reference confirms the close relationship with the Cheeseman family and also gives more weight of evidence to the concept that Humphrey was descended from a very wealthy and distinguished family himself to have had silk carpets in his home in rural York County in 1646.18

     On 24 March 1646, "'Whereas Francis Beetle was arrested to answer the suit of the supervisors of Humphrey Hanmore's estate for a debt of 300 pounds of tobacco due by bill, and did not appear. Edward Roberts, his security, pay or produce the body of Beetle at the next Court.18'"

     In June 1646, "'Daniel Holland owing the estate of Humhrey Hanmore 522 pounds of tobacco is ordered to pay for November 10 next.'"

     'Whereas Humphrey Hanmore did, in his will, give Daniel Holland one year of his [?] supervisors of the estate ordered to do so.'"

     'That Humphrey Hanmore by will gave Elizabeth Coole and Francis Coole, the children of Francis Coole, a cow calf - the first that fell after his decease -, and also a sow to the wife of the said Francis Coole, the supervisors of the estate ordered to pay the legacies.' This reference order indicates that Humphrey Hanmer had both cattle and swine on his plantation, in addition to his principal money crop, tobacco."

     'That Humphrey Hanmore by will gave to George Haderell soe much cloath as would make him a suite of clothes. Supervisors of the estate ordered to pay this legacy.19'"

     On 7 September 1646, "This reference regards a difference between Captain Nathaniel Oldis, administrator of William Freeman, deceased, plaintiff, and Henry Freeman and Francis Willis, defendants, regarding two parcels of land in the parish of New Poquoson. One parcel was about 170 acres; the other of about 200 acres adjoining the aforesaid 170 acres and abutting upon Brice's ponds. By much argument, it appears that the land belongs to said William Freeman. It was by him purchased and also confirmed against the said Henry Freeman by an award of Mr. Thomas Oldis and Mr. Humphry Hanmore, deceased, dated September 7, 1646 and secondly by an order dated December 14, 1641 grounded on a verdict of a jury at James Citty, and lastly by a deed of the said Henry Freeman dated December 22, 1641. And as the estate of William Freeman is indebted to Captain Nathaniel Oldis the sum of 18,000 pounds of tobacco, an order that Oldis have an extent on the land for payment of his debts and the said Francis Willis in whose tenure and occupation of the said land is to deliver it to Oldis as he found it.' Humphrey Hanmer's estate obviously profited by the Court's decision in this case. . .20 "

     On 26 September 1646, "'That by the account of William Whitley and oath of Samuel Taylor that Humphrey Hanmore, late deceased, owed Whitney a butt of good sacke due for courtesies and service. Court ordered payment.'

     'That Humphrey Hanmore stands indebted to Jonathan Corker. Assignee of John Duke, administrator of Roger Arnold, 718 pounds of tobacco. The supervisors of Hanmore's estate are ordered to pay.21'"

     On 26 January 1647, "'A difference between John Griggs, plaintiff, and Mr. William Whitney, defendant, concerning a dispute between Humphrey Hanmore, deceased, and the said Whitney to be determined without further delay.' Humphrey had previously given a house and land for John Griggs (plaintiff) to live during his lifetime. On September 26, 1646, Whiteney filed a claim against Humphrey's estate for 'a butt of good sake (wine) and was awarded it by the Court."22

     On 18 September 1647, "'Order that Thomas Boswell be paid a debt for a phisicke and a legacy from the estate of Humphrey Hanmore. Supervisors ordered to pay.22'"

     I have studied and scanned the microfilmed court entries referenced above. They are incredibly difficult to read so I am not sure it serves any real purpose to attach them to their specific references. I am indebted to both Beverly Fleet and the author of the Hanmer/Hamner books for struggling through them.

     Sir Edward Hamner displayed the Bettisfield pedigree for the Hanmer Family made by the Royal College of Heralds, backed by green silk and inscribed on parchment. It is approximately 5-6 yards in length. It is entitled "The Genealogy of the Ancient and Knightly Family of Hanmer, of Hanmer Hall, the Fenns, Bettisfield Park, and Haulton in the County of Flint." This pedigree was photographed by the James Edward Hamner and reproduced in his books. The problem is that I cannot scan it properly because the background is so dark. The only difference with this pedigree and the one in Betham is that the Heralds did not place Sir John McClesfield at the top of the chart. Unfortunately, Betham's Baronetage is considered unreliable.

     Mr. Hamner goes on to explain the evidence that this Humphrey is the man who emigrated, as well as discussing a very puzzling reference I'd found.

     These court records: "First, they contribute definite evidence that Humphrey was in York County, Virginia. Second, he was undoubtedly a parishioner of New Poquoson Anglican Church . . . and most likely, both he and his wife are buried in that churchyard cemetery. Third, from the amount of the various legacies he bequeathed, he obviously was a gentleman of means. Fourth, his son, Nicholas Hanmer, Sr., was not of legal age in 1645, because all of the legal court aspects of Humphrey's estate were managed by supervisors, who were mostly likely his friends. In the era of 1645, a wife could not legally manage her deceased husband's affairs in court. The Court Order books for certain years in Tidewater Counties have survived in some counties, as these references illustrate. However, most of the old wills have been either lost or destroyed. Fifth, because no specific items were left to either his wife or his son by these Court Orders, it is assumed that the bulk of his estate (lands, home, barns, possessions, personal items, and monetary wealth) was given to his immediate family, according to his will - - as it is customarily done in wills of today. Unfortunately, his will appears to be lost for posterity. Sixth, after 1633, there is no mention of Humphrey Hanmer of Fenns Hall (11th generation) in the Bettisfield Estate Records in Wales, lending support to the believe that he did emigrate to Virginia."

     With respect to something I'd found which I found puzzling: "There is one other reference to Humphrey Hanmer's name by Currer-Briggs in his 1969 book English Adventurers and Virginian Settlers, which arouses initial puzzlement. It is dated August 24, 1692 - forty-seven years after Humphrey Hanmer's death in either late 1645 or January of 1646. . . . [the reference is as follows:]
          'August 24, 1692 - Indenture dated July 16, 1692, between James Moore of the parish of Poquoson, planter, and Elizabeth, his wife, and Thomas Nutting, planter, of the same parish, where by James and Elizabeth Moore sell to Thomas Nutting 150 acres on which the said James Moore now liveth, bounded by Mr. Henry Harwood's line as far as Robert Averit's run and along the run the natural bounds to the mill pond, so along the mill pond to the mill dam, being the main road, and from the mill dam formerly known to be Captain Haye's mill along the main road till you come to a marked white oak standing by the head of a valley near the corner of a corn field formerly tended by Mr. John Trevalion, and from that white oak into the woods as far as the said James Moore's land doth extend, the same course that the other line runs before mentioned, which said tract of land whereof this 150 acres is a part did once belong to one George Underhill, as by a conveyance to Humphrey Hammer, dated March 12, 1639 and likewise by a conveyance of John Hammer, brother and heir of Humphrey Hammer, to Thomas Lucas, dated October 16, 1652, and then by assignment of the same conveyance from the said Lucas to Margery Griggs and so descending by inheritance to Elizabeth, now the wife of James Moore, as being the only daughter and heir of John Riggs, the only son and heir of Margery Griggs.
Witnesses: Thomas Curson, Jonathan Moore, Robert Kerby
Entered at York County: November 24, 1692.'

     "The first York County Court Order relating to this land among Humphrey Hanmer's estate is found . . It states that in 1645 Humphrey had given John Griggs 'a house and grounds during his life in the old fields, plus a sow pig'; the estate supervisors were ordered 'to make payment thereof, Griggs first executing bond, etc.' Currer-Briggs 1692 abstract reference above is an extremely obnubiated document, obscuring and defying even legal comprehension, According to it, Humphrey Hanmer acquired this 150 acres from George Underhill on March 12, 1639. Yet, it is not listed in either Volumes 24, 25, or 26 which are the only references for York County, VA, covering the years 1633-1657 in Fleet's Virginia Colonial Abstracts, a much better known historical publication. Not only is the supposed first conveyance of this land to Humphrey Hanmer by George Underhill missing in Fleet's book, there is no reference to any Underhills, or John Hammer in Fleet's 24th & 25th volumes indices. Currer-Briggs is an English author, who published his book in London. In the preface to his book, Currer-Briggs stressed that all of his references sources had been generously contributed by numerous persons on both sides of the Atlantic. One should always check references. Currer-Briggs' references are undoubtedly merely pure familial hearsay/fiction. Beverly Fleet, a famous American historian, had already published his 24 volume definitive work on Virginia Colonial Abstracts in 1961 - eight years prior to Currer-Briggs' error-ridden publication."

     "Next, the same land is supposedly conveyed by John Hammer (?), brother and heir of Humphrey Hammer, to Thomas Lucas on October 16, 1652 - seven years after Humphrey Hanmer's death. Humphrey Hanmer's only brother named John Hanmer most likely died in his youth in Wales."

     "In addition, the August 24, 1692, abstract does not list dates for the transfer of the 150 acres in question to Margery Griggs by Thomas Lucas, then her conveyance of the same land to her daughter, Elizabeth. The answer to this land ownership riddle lies in Fleet's 26th volume of Colonial Abstracts (1648-1657), which provides a classic example of primary problems and mistaken facts in genealogy - inaccuracies which often lead to erroneous conclusions. The abstract quote from Volume 26, page 265 follows:

     'William Hay of the New Poquoson in County of Charles River: there hath been a marriage lately, hand and solemnized by and between the said William Hay and Margery Griggs, the late wife of John Grigs [Sr.], deceased. Margery having two children left her by her deceased husband, William Hay gives John Griggs [Jr.] son of John Griggs, deceased a slave and cattle. To Margery Griggs's son of the said John Griggs, deceased, __ cattle when 21. Hay also gives one sealed ring of gold and eight thousand pounds of tobacco to be paid in the parish of New Poquoson when he [John Griggs Jr.] is 21. If Hay die without children, then John Griggs [Jr.] to have the whole dividend of land I now live on at the head of the New Poquoson River, being 500 acres.
Trustees: loving friends Major Christopher Calthrope, Mr. Edward Mihill, Mr. Lemuel Mason and Mr. William Gany
Dated March 27, 1655. Signed: Wm. Hay Witnesses: John Cheeseman & Wm. Whitcock'

     Fleet's 1655 abstract clarified much of the cloudiness in Currer-Briggs' abstract of August 24, 1692. John Griggs, Sr. must have died between 1645 (when he was granted a house and land for use in his lifetime in Humphrey Hamer's missing 1645 will) and 1655, when his wife, Margery Griggs, married William Hay shortly prior to March 27, 1655. All of these involved persons lived in the New Poquoson Parish area. John Griggs, Sr. and Margery had two children - John, Jr. and Elizabeth. Because William Hay had no children of his own, he selected his stepson, John Griggs, Jr., to be his heir. John Griggs, Jr. must have died without heirs. Thus, his sister, Elizabeth Griggs, became the heiress of William Hay's estate, following the death of his mother. The indistinct working of the August 27, 1692 abstracts leaves many problems in the reader's comprehension; Fleet's abstract of March 27, 1655, clears most of the mist. It is of major importance that the March 27, 1655, abstract indicated that Major Christopher Calthrope was a trustee, and Mr. John Cheeseman was a witness - two extremely well-known, prominent names to Tideware Virginia historians. That abstract is a prime example of absolute validity. Charitably, it could be said that the Currer-Briggs' abstract reference was either a case of mistaken identity or hearsay guesswork made in an effort to cover a gap in actual land ownership about which the lawyers were obviously uncertain, OR the August 24, 1692, 'abstract' was a complete fabrication by some oversealous, inaccurate family 'historian.'"23

     Mr. Hamner also demolishes the so-called Hamner genealogy as given by the Rev. Edgar Wood in his History of Albemarle County, Virginia. I've also found this book to be filled with egregious errors, but, unfortunately it is used constantly by family historians. Rev. Wood states that Nicholas Hamner, Sr., was the original emigrant to Virginia. He also states that the original Virginia Colony location for the Hamner family was in Middlesex County. There are no traces of Hamner's in Middlesex County records found by John Edward Hamner or myself, despite careful surveys. Humphrey lived in York County. Nicholas Sr. most likely was born in New Poquoson parish and his son Nicholas Jr. owned 500 acres of land in James City County. One cannot imagine where Rev. Woods got his information.

     Mr. Hamner has explained the non-relationship of Nicholas Hanmerry, George Hanmer, Thomas Hanmer and Johnothan Hanmer (all emigrants to Barbados) to Humphrey Hanmer in his first book. There's no point in detailing this herein or the spurious account which claims on 7 Oct 1734 that a Colonel Daniel Hanmer, a nephew of Sir Thomas Hanmer was sworn in North Carolina. Sir Thomas had three siblings: Susanna maried Sir Henry Bunbury; Tomasina married a Mr. Booth and William, his only brother died in infancy. Although Sir Thomas was married twice, he left no heirs. So . . . either Daniel was an imposter or very distant cousin from Shropshire.24

     He does not address the following deed conveyance made on 22 Jul 1709 between Elizabeth Varnum and William Sheldon witnessed by Benjamin Weldon which refers to land which originally belonged to George Hadderill "as by his conveyance to Humphrey Hanmer dated 12 Mar 1639 & likewise by a conveyance of [?] Hanmer being brother & heir to Humphrey Hanmer sold to Thomas Lucas on 16 Oct 1652, etc. (tracing further conveyances of this land).

     This causes a HUGE problem because there is no mention in English records of Humphrey, son of Sir William, having a brother who also emigrated to Virginia! I discovered, after carefully going through a number of records, that there were two men by the names of John and Joseph Hamor in York County. These men are clearly different people based on my study of the records. However, so far I've found no Humphrey Hamor.


  1. [S3574] Hamner, James Edward and Hamner, Catherine Anne Clark. A Brief History of The Hanmer/Hamner Family in Wales & Colonial America (Memphis: Llysbedydd Press, 1991), page 52 . this book has been carefully researched and footnoted. It corrects some egregious errors made in previous books, such as the book on Albemarle County by Rev. Woods.
  2. [S3801] Hamner, James Edward. The Hamer/Hamner Family History in Virginia (Sewanee, Tennessee: Llysbedydd Press, 2009), page 26.
  3. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 26, 30.
  4. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 30.
  5. [S3574] Hamner and Hamner. Brief Hist. of Hamner Fam., page 32.
  6. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 31.
  7. [S3821] Letter from James E. Hamner III Ph.D. M.D. (190 Clara's Point Road, Sewanee, TN 37375) to Toby Turner, 27 Sep 2013; Library of Toby Turner (Houston, Harris County, Texas), citing the Diocese of Chester, Consistory Court Book, 1628-29 (EDC 1/48).
  8. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 33.
  9. [S3821] Letter, James E. Hamner III Ph.D. M.D. to Toby Turner, 27 Sep 2013, citing the Diocese of Chester: Consistory Court Book, 1628-29 (EDC 1/48).
  10. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., in this book and in their several books on the Hanmer/Hamner family.
  11. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 34.
  12. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 35.
  13. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 35, citing Marion Nell Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents.
  14. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 36, citing State of Virginia Library archivist, John W. Dudley in 1971.
  15. [S3574] Hamner and Hamner. Brief Hist. of Hamner Fam., page 61.
  16. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 36.
  17. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 37.
  18. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 38.
  19. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 38-39.
  20. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 39.
  21. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 39-40.
  22. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 40.
  23. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., pages 40-42.
  24. [S3801] Hamner. VA Hanmer/Hamner Fam., page 43.