Roper Families in England


L. David Roper

1001 Auburn Drive SE, Blacksburg, VA 24060-8123


10 July, 2000


Roper Families in England-Part I.


The Norman People R929.3 N789, p.382: Roper, or de Rupierre. This family has been supposed to be descended from a member of the house of Musard, who is said to have assumed the name of 'Rospear or De Rubruspatha;' but there is no evidence for the statement. The name is derived from Rupierre near Caen, Normandy, the lords of which were of great importance in the 11th & 12th centuries (Des Bois). William de Rupierre (who came to England with the Conqueror) is mentioned by Ordericus Vitalis; in 1090 he commanded the forces of Duke Robert. The Counts of Rupierre continued in Normandy till the last century. In 1099 William de R. possessed Trenouville, Grenteville, and Fremont, and was a benefactor of Troarn. The seal of Roger de R. represents a shield divided into twelve squares, each containing a martlet, the original evidently from which the modern Roper arms are derived. In England Robert de Ruperia paid fines in Notts and Derby; and the heiress of John Rooper of Turndish, Derby, m. De Fourneaux, who assumed her name.

Roger de Rupers, of the Norman line, held lands in Warwick or Leicester, t. John, where he granted the advowson to Tewksbury Abbey. From his family descend the Roopers and the Barons Teynham.


History and Topological Survey of the County of Kent, V.I (1797) by Edward Hasted, Chap.: Eltham, p.471: By the inquisition taken annno 25 king Henry VI (1447), after the decease of

John Tattersall, he was found to die possessed of the manor of Easthorne and Wellhall and that

John Tattersall was his son and heir, of whom I can find no further mention. Agnes, widow of

John Tattersall the father, afterwards married Sir William Kene, who was sheriff of Kent anno 26 Henry VI and resided at Wellhall, which he held in her right. By her former husband,

John Tattersall, she had two daughters and coheirs, Anne married to Sir Ralph Hastings, and Margery to John Roper of Swacliffe, who in her right became possessed of the inheritance of manor of Easthorne and Wellhall. This family of Roper derived their original from Haculf Musard, who, in the Conqueror's time [1066-87], was as eminent for his virtue and piety as for his opulence. His manors, from his being seated at Miserden, in Gloucestershire, were in general, thogh lying in different counties, comprehended under the name of Baronia de Miserden. He was succeeded by his son, Richard, who died anno 33 Henry II (1187), whose younger son, William, was surnamed Rubra Spatha, and Rougespe, which was afterwards contracted to Roper, from one of whose posterity, about the reign of king Edward I (1272-1307), as some antient evidences affirm the Ropers of the county of Kent derive their descent, and from whom likewise the Ropers of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, who continued till king Henry VI's (1422-61) reign, derived their original; at which time Isolda, only daughter of John Roper of Turndich, marrying Richard, eldest son of Richard Furneaux of Beighton, in Derbyshire, he covenanted, that his son and all his issue by her should thenceforth forsake their paternal name, and assume that of Roper, from whence descended the Ropers, viscounts Baltinglass, barons of Bantre in Ireland, and those of Hull, in Yorkshire. Among others of this name, who flourished in those early times, was William Rosper, or De Rubra Spatha, who in the reign of king Henry III (1216-72) was a great benefactor to

St. Martin's priory, in Dover. John de Rubra Spatha or Rosper, did eminent service in Scotland, under king Edward III (1327-77) who rewarded him and William Clifford (as appears by a pedigree recorded in the duke of Dorfet's pedigree) about the 29th year of his reign (1356), with the third part of those forfeitures which were due from the Jews then inhabiting in London, for the violation of some penal statutes, which had been enacted against them. In the 1st year of king Richard II (1377), the king calling on his subjects for money on an emergency, John Ropere of Canterbury, lent forty pounds to furnish out a fleet against the French and Scots; and Henry Ropere of Redyng, next year lent the king twenty pounds for the like occasions. The heraldic visitations of this county, taken by John Philipott, rouge dragon, in 1619, begins the pedigree of this family with Edwin Roper, of the count of Kent, whose son, Adam Roper, had two sons, Thomas and Edmund, who was prior of Bilsington, in this county. Thomas Roper married the daughter of Thomas de Apuldore, and by her had one son and heir, Ralph, who was twice married, first to Beatrix, daughter of

Sir Thomas Lewknor, and secondley to the daughter of Thomas Kempe of Wye. By his first wife he had John, who died without issue, in 1401; Agnes, married to Walter Culpeper, esq. of Bedgbury, and Edmund, who was of St. Dunstan's, and an eminent man in the reigns of Henry IV and V under whom he was a justice of the peace for this county. He died in the 12th year of Henry VI and was buried in the church of St. Dunstan's, leaving two sons, John Roper of Swacliffe, esq. and Edmund. John Roper, the eldest son, was of Swacliffe, and succeeded his father likewise at St. Dunstan's. He was one of the surveyors of the customs of the cinque ports under king Henry VII in his 19th year (1504). He married Margery, daughter and coheir of John Tattersall before mentioned, and died in the end of the year 1488. He had by her two sons, John Roper, who in right of his mother, who survived her husband, and dying, anno 10 Henry VIII (1519) was burried in the antient chancel of the Tattersalls, in this church, became possessed of the manor of Easthorne and Wellhall, and Thomas, to whom his father left, by his will, Brenley, in Boughton-under-Blean, and a daughter, Margery, wife of John Boys of Nonington, in Kent. John Roper, the eldest son, was of Wellhall and St. Dunstan's; he was sheriff of this county in the 12th year of king Henry VIII (1521) and afterwards attorney-general and prothonotary of the King's-bench, as appears by the inscription on his monument, in St. Dunstan's church. He died in 1524, leaving by Jane his wife, daughter of

Sir John Fineux, chief-justice of England, several sons and daughters. Of the sons, Christopher the youngest was seated at Linsted-Lodge, from whom descended the Ropers, lords Teynham, and the late Trevor Roper, lord Dacre. William Roper, the eldest son, born in 1495, was prothonotary of the King's-bench, and succeeded his father in his estate here and at St. Dunstan's, whose lands were disgavelled by the acts passed in the 31st of king Henry VIII (1540) and in the 2d and 3d years of king Edward VI (1551-2). He was sheriff of Kent in the 1st and 2d years of Philip and Mary (1553-4), and married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Moore, lord chancellor of England. He died in 1577, aged 82, and was buried in the vault under the chapel, joing to the chancel, in

St. Dunstan's church, next to Margaret his wife, who, as her inscription informs us, was a woman most learned in the Greek and Latin tongues. He left by her two sons and three daughters, of the former, Anthony, the youngest son, settled at Farningham in this county; and Thomas the eldest succeeded his father, as well in his estates of Easthorne and Wellhall, and St. Dunstan's, as in his place of prothonotary of the King's-bench. Thomas Roper, esq. the eldest son, was of Eltham, and married Lucy, sister of Anthony Browne, visc. Montacute, by whom he had ten sons and ten daughters. He died in 1597. William Roper, the eldest son, succeeded his father at Wellhall and

St. Dunstan's, and and was afterwards knighted. He married Catharine, daughter and coheir of

Sir Anthony Browne, of Ridley-hall, chief-justice of the court of common-pleas, by whom he had two sons, Anthony Roper of Well-hall, in Eltham, and Thomas, who married Susan, daughter of John Winchcombe of Henwick, in Berkshire, and one daughter. Anthony Roper succeeded his father in the manor of Easthorne, and in Wellhall, in this parish, and in St. Dunstan's before mentioned, and married three wives, first Maria, daughter of WIlliam Gerarde, esq. of Trent, in Somersetshire, by whom he had one daughter, Margaret; secondly Dorothy, daughter of

Thomas Holte, esq. of Warwickshire by whom he left no issue; and thirdly a daughter of

Sir Henry Compton of Compton of Bramble-tye, in Sussex, a younger brother of William, first earl of Northampton, by whom he had issue Edward his successor Edw. Roper, esq. was of Wellhall and St. Dunstan's, and married Catherine, daughter of James Butler, esq. of Sussex, by whom he left a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Edw. Henshaw, esq. of Hampshire, and becoming he father's sole heir, brought her husband this estate of Wellhall, as well as the antient paternal seat and inheritance of the Ropers, in St. Dunstan's. This elder branch of the family of Roper bore for their coat armour a coat of twelve quarterings, viz. 1.Roper per fess azure and or, a pale and three roebucks heads erased counterchanged; 2.Apledore; 3.St. Laurence; 4.Tattersall; 5.Apulderfield; 6.Appleton; 7.Twite; 8.Browne; 9.Swan; 10.Francis; 11.Champneis; 12.Roper, as before. These twelve quarterings were attested to belong to this branch of Roper by John Philipott, Somerset herald. Mr. Henshaw died in 1726, leaving three daughters and coheirs; Catharine married to

William Strickland, esq. Elizabeth to Sir Edward Dering, bart. and the third daughter to

Sir Rowland Wynne, bart. They joined in the sale of the manors of Easthorne and Wellhall, about the year 1733, to Sir Gregory Page of Wricklesmarsh, bart. who pulled down the mansion of Wellhall, and built a handsome farm house in the room of it, ...In the great hall of this mansion was a most valuable painting, done by Hans Holbein, of Sir Thomas   More, lord chancellor, and his family, in all about twelve figures, all drawn with great strength and beauty, and so large as to take up almost the whole end of the hall. It was valued at one thousand pounds, and had remained here from the time of its being painted till the year 1731, when Sir Rowland Wynne removed it from hence, about the time the estate was sold. ... King Henry VIII, in the 36th year of his reign (1545), granted the rectory of Eltham to Sir John Hendley, to hold by fealty only. He died without issue male, leaving three daughters and coheirs, one of whom, Helen, brought this rectory to her husband, Thomas Colepeper, esq. of Bedgbury, who sold it to William Roper, esq. of Wellhall, and he, in the reign of king Edward VI (1547-53) reserving the advowson of the vicarage, conveyed the rectory of Eltham to Oriel college, in Oxford, with a stipulation that, on paying one hundred pounds as a fine, and a yearly rent of fourteen pounds, the college should grant a lease of it, either for three lives or thirty-one years, to him and his heirs of the family of Roper. Anthony Roper was the last life in the lease, and his son Edward being left an infant, his trustees neglected to renew the term, on which the college granted the rectory in lease to Richard Comport,...The advowson of the vicarage still continued, as has been mentioned before, in the patronage of the Ropers, in which family it descended to Edward Roper, esq. of Wellhall, the last heir male of this branch, who died in 1722, since which it passed in like manner as Wellhall, and there rest of his estates in this parish, as has been more fully mentioned before, to SIr Gregory Page, bart. who at his death, without issue in 1775, bequeathed it by his will to his great-nephew, Sir Gregory Turner Page, bart. of Oxfordshire, the present owner of it.


The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Roper (pamphlet): The surname Roper emerged as a distinguished English family name in the county of Derbyshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated as Lords of the manor of Turndiche and estates in that shire. They were originally from Rupier in Calvados in Normandy. They branched into Canterbury in Kent, into Flintshire at Plas Teg where Charles Roper was High Sheriff of that county, into Norfolk.

Lord Teynham was of the Canterbury branch which later branched to Flintshire. Viscount Baltinglas was amongst the Irish peerage. Their present family seats are att Forde Abbey, The Grove, Hazelbrook, Rathgar. Sir Henry Roper was seated at Stoke House in Chichester during the 19th century. Notable amongst the family at this time was Lord Teynham.


Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, R929.4 B236d, p.653:

Roper.-Occup. 'the roper,' a manufacturer of ropes; cf. N.E. Raper.

Peter le Roper, co. Notts, 1273, A.;  Walter le Ropere, co. Camb., ibid.

Gerald Roppere, co. Suff., ibid.

John le Roper, co. Soms., 1 Edw III (1327): Kirby's Quest, p.152

1347. Thomas le Roper, rector of Eccles, co. Norf.: FF. ix.296

Rogerus Roper, roper, 1379: P.T. Yorks,p.26

1613. Bapt. -Richard s. William Roper: St. Jas. Clerkenwell, i.68


The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames, p.243: Roper (occupation) 'ropemaker' Counted by Guppy only in the scattered counties Dorset, Worcester, Suffolk. (Whereas Raper belongs to the north.)


Homes of Family Names in Great Britain: Roper: Dorset: 20/20,000; Suffolk: 15/10,000;  Worcestershire: 18/10,000  (Smith is 100-300/10,000)


Deutsches Namenlexikon, R929.4 B147, p.432:

Roper (umlauted o) = Ausrufer. Joh. Ropere 1291 Ro. (auch Lub.),

Bremen, Greifsw. Ropers, Ropertz = Roppers, Roppertz


Fairbairn's Crests of the Leading Families of Great Britain and Ireland:

Roper, Yorks. & Lond., an antelope's head, erased, per fess waby, or and az.

Roper, Kent, a lion, rampant, sa., in (dexter) a ducal coronet, or.

Roper, Eng., a lion, rampant, gu., holding up a ducal coronet, or.

Roper, Durh., a roebuck's head, erased, gorged with a branch, ppr.

Roper, Norf., a buck's head, erased, or, attired, as., (in mouth a pear, gold, stalked and leaved, vert) Roper, Derbs., on a chapeau, gu., turned up, erm., a blazing star.or

Roper, a goat's head, erased, (gorged with a branch). ppr.

Roper, West Dereham, Norf., a stag's head, erased, ppr.

Roper-Curzon, Baron Teynham.


History of City of Cambridge & Isle of Ely, DA670 C2 V5 V.4, p.38: Indeed few of the taxpayers bore occupational names,...(footnote: Mariner, Pistor, Ferour, Bracistor, Roper, and Hayward. Michel and Climme were taxpayers who bore names prominent in the RIsing of 1381 p.40: Rope making was a local industry by the 14th century. (footnote: The name Roper figures in the Subsidy List of 1327, and in later documents. Hemp was grown in the locality at various periods.


English Ancestral Names, R929 O685, p.145: Raper meant a maker of rope, as did Rapier, Roaper, Roope, Rooper, and the other Rope names including Rupp, Simer derives from the Old English word simer mean a cord or rope of some kind.

p.158: Rope Makers: Raper, Rapier, Roaper, Roope, Rooper, Rope, Roper, Ropes, Ropster, Rupp, Simer


Teynham Manor and Hundred (798-1935) by Elizabeth Selby, 1935, p.1:

Tenham (Later Teynham): ...In any case, the name is ancient and handed down unchanged in pronunciation. The "y" in "Teynham" was apparently added by the Roper family. p.5: The late

Mr. Roper Dixon who died in 1924 at the age of 80, could remember the remains of the building before the orchard was planted.

p.10: Teynham Manor after 1538: Harris (History of Kent) says that on or shortly before the suppression of Religious Houses Henry VIII persuade Archbishop Cranmer to exchange this Manor for other lands, and it remained in the hands of the Crown till James I gave the whole Manor to

Sir John Roper of Bedmangore and Lodge (see Badmangore). There are Manor Rolls..., and were kept in English from the time Sir John Roper became Lord of the Manor...The Barons Teynham bought up a great deal of land.

p.11: Although the earliest Court Rolls (1389) do not mention "view of Frankpledge", showing the free tenure,...,and all later Courts held by the Lord Teynham's Stewards are headed for "View of Frankpledge"...By the 14th century...The Hencliffs (probably Hinckleys), Deirtons, Ropers, were all well-known large families.

p.12: The records and wills of the end of the 15th century show Derton Street owned by Deirtons, Ropers, and Goldsmiths;

p.17: Teynham Church:...dedicated to St. Mary...1883-windows were put in to the memory of William Roper and Thomas Gillow...1774 Given by Lord Teynham towards a Peal of Bells

p.19: The centre chandelier is fine old brass and was given to the Church in 1700 by the

sixth Lord Teynham. I think that it was not finished at that date, as an entry in the Churchwardens' accounts of 1742 runs as follows:-"For feiching (fetching) the branch (chandelier?) from Crown Key 1/6 For putting up 5/For treating my Lord and Lady Teynham and half a dursen (?) prist when hung the Branch L1.1."

p.21: The Chantry: A Chantry was established in 1401;...The Chaplain was to celebrate daily at the Altar of S. Nicholas for the souls of Michael de S. Quintin, Robert at Berghe, John Roper,

Richard Coyler and Richard Saundre, the founders of the Chantry, and all their benefactors, parents, ancestors and of all the parishioners there.

p.22: Another portion of Chantry lands, value 16/8, was bought in 1548 for L35 (30 years' purchase) by Robert Pursell, Fruiterer, and another 24 acres (then in the tenure of Christopher Roper) was sold to Laurence Hyde of London. We can trace an early connection to the Roper family with Teynham as the soul of John Roper was one of those for which prayer was to be made. In 1401, the same date as the found ing of the Chantry at Teynham, another Chantry of St. Nicholas was founded at St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, by Ralph and Edmund Roper, also to pray for the souls of

John Roper, his parents and friends. This was before the Ropers (whose mansion at Canterbury was opposite the Parish Church at St. Dunstan's) came to Lynsted and intermarried with the families in Teynham Manor.

p.23: Churchwardens: The list of Churchwardens starts in 1584 with John Dyrton and Simon Dalby, and the Roper family figures largely among them: John Roper in 1589, William Roper in 1606, down to William Roper Dixon, for many years Churchwarden...John Roper was joint owner of Castlecroft, Dane Garden (Lynsted) and Cellar Hill with his brothers Michael and James.                                p.28: During the Wars of Charles I and the Commonwealth times, the whole Manor and Hundre were ividently in confusion. On May 9 1645, Christopher Roper 4th Lord Teynham was asked to report at the House of Commons as a recusant, and in 1648 he had to agree to the sale of a portion of his lands sequestered for recusancy. There had been difficulty in 1646 because the tenants of Teynham had refused to pay quit rents to any but Lord Teynham...In 1652 Sir Robert Thorold was tenant of two-thirds of the estate of his nephew Lord 1651 Lord Teynham begged to be admitted tenant of two-thirds of the estate because the tenants were letting houses, buildings and marsh walls and banks go to ruin...Eventually, in 1654 Lord Teynham begged to contract on the Recusants' Act for the sequestration of twothirds of his estate. Mr. Aymer Vallance, in Vol. XLIV of Archaeologia Cantiana, gives an account of the difficulties over the "old religion" in the family of Lord Teynham. (footnote: These difficulties ceased when Henry, 8th Lord Teynham became a member of the Established Church and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1715.) ...The list of Kentish Gentlemen proposed to be made Knights of the Royal Oak by Charles II in reward for their services contains the following names: Edward Roper  Estate worth L1,000; William Roper Estate worth L600; 1649...The Commissioners came to Lynsted Lodge at that time to see if

Lord Teynham held arms, but found nothing...

p.30: A further list of recusants in the visitation of 1639...George Meriain and wife on the (5th) Lord Teynham's staff... The Manor Rolls after Sir John Roper became Lord of the Manor contain records of minor offences. At probably his first Court in 1603 ...the

Honble. Christopher Roper was fined 40/in 1667 for allowing trees to hang over the way from Bedmangore to Sharsted;... Again, in 1658, Michael Roper, one of the yeoman family of that name was fined 40/for allowing a "mexell of Donge" to lie in the highway between Barrow Green and Frognal. (He held Castlewood Farm at that date.) In 1659 he was fined another 40/because he "did not take away his donge".

p.34: Subsidiary Manors or Estates: ...The earliest Rental and Manor Roll for Lord Teynham on his becoming Lord of the Manor is headed "Manor of Bedmangore, Lodge and Newnham".

p.35: In Tudor times several members of the great family of Roper were Sheriffs. It is interesting to see William Roper, of Well Hall, Eltham, was Sheriff in 1553 and 1544 under Queen Mary, so presumably he kept the "old faith" like the Ropers of the 18th century. [error: should be "17th"]

p.40: Old Court House: ...The house near the Church is now known as "Court Lodge", and was probably built for Lord Teynham's Steward.

p.45: Roggins: A very early holding in Teynham was "Roggins". The house and small property lie to the east of Teynham Peat stream and are usually known now as "Teynham Peat". The present house may be 18th century or earlier, 1855 it was purchased by William Roper of Derton Street, still described as a cottage and 1 acre at a yearly rent of 2/4 or 1 capon. It is still the property of the heirs of the late Mr. Roper Dixon.

p.47: Roper Family of Derton Street: They were evidently closely connected with the Dertons, Goldsmiths and other farmers. They all  sat on the Manor Court Juries, witnessed one another's wills, were Churchwardens together and probably intermarried. It seems very probable that these Ropers were a branch of the Roper family of Eltham and Canterbury,one of whose descendants became

Lord Teynham in 1603. [error: should be 1616] Dugdale, in his History of Imbanking, gives the name of John Roper as Commissioner of Sewers for view of the Banks (sea walls) lying between Faversham and Murston in the 4th year of Richard II (1381), and the Chantry of S. Nicholas in Teynham Church was founded in 1401 in memory of John Roper. (footnote: This John Roper's grandfather was Thomas Appuldre.) There is a Chantry of S. Nicholas in S. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury. A list of the principal landowners of this rather extensive yeoman family, made out from wills and registers, follows, and I feel sure that the late Mr. Roper Dixon was descended from them. Although his immediate ancestors bought land in the parish as late as 1797, they bought a good deal of property that belonged to the early Ropers. A John Roper and his father paid quit rent in Teynham according to 15th century Manor Rolls; and there is a will of John Roper dated 1499 in Canterbury Probate Office which gives particulars of his family and possessions. This John Roper left "all places and lands" to his wife for life. He had four sons, Michael, Harry, William and Thomas, and it is probable from Thomas descended the Ropers who came back to Tenham. John left 2 acres in Derton feld, 2 gardens and "1 acre upon the Down", and "my place bought from Robert Norwood". At Archbishop Warham's visitation of 1511 a William Roper of Harrietsham said he had in his possession land formerly held by Robert Northwood. John's son Thomas left a will dated 1540, and left property to Sons John, described as "betwixt the land of William Maycote West, land of Lordship of Canterbury South and East, land of Chantry of Tenham North". This Cotmanfeld (18 acres 1 rod) was one of the demesne lands "called Tenham outlands" mentioned in the Indenture of 19Henry VIII (1527). Land here certainly remained in the family till 1660, as in that year a Thomas Roper sold part of "Hoggebrook", Mr.Dixon's farm at Derton Street, to Michael Roper, a member of another branch of the family. At the end of the 18th century Batchelor Roper, who was born and baptized at Bredgar, began buying back Tenham land.


A History of the Three Villages of Kingsdown, Lynsted and Norton in the County of Kent, 1984, by Rev. William Hill, p.7: Lynsted Church: The windows are of various dates. The chancel ones and those in the North (Hugesson) chapel are early 16th century while those in the South (Roper) chapel are earlier. In the south wall of the latter chapel is perhaps a 13th century window. The south chapel mentioned is now called the Roper Chapel from the family with whom it was once connected. Originally its connections were were with the manor of Bedmangore and it was the Lady Chapel. William Apuldrefield's will contains instructions to repair the roof of the Lady Chapel. When the Ropers came into possession of Bedmangore they took over the the chapel as well. Several of their tombs are there (of which more in a later section), a fine collection of hatchments and several wall plaques. ...there is a mausoleum belonging to the Roper of Teynham family. This is attached to the south side of the Roper     chapel. Also in the south wall is the door which was used by the family. In order that they might have privacy the door to the chapel is lockable and they had their own pew behind the choir stalls approached only from the chapel. The family could attend the service without mixing with the congregation and perhaps during periods of persecution could have made a token attendance at services so as to satisfy the legal requirements and not to be made liable to the swingeing fines imposed for non-attendance.

p.17: In 1549 a new prayer book was issued. ...The associated Act of of Uniformity bringing it into use affected the laity as well as the clergy by compelling them to attend church and to use the services as prescribed in the book. Those who refused to conform became known as Recusants and were punished by ecclesiastical penalties. Ordinary people must have been completely bewildered by all this change. They had seen their church wrecked and all their familiar ornaments taken away. Now the services were all changed not once but twice within a short while. For families like the Ropers, life changed and they became recusants and consequently their position became difficult.

p.18: Among the various customs was that of the Archdeacon's Court. ...For example people were presented for non-attendance at church. We read: ... 'Mistress Roper, her sons and daughter, Sir Thomas the priest do not come to church."

p.22: Catholic or not, John Roper donated fifty pounds to Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) towards the cost of the defence. It is said that this gesture gained him his knighthood at her hands. Plain

John Roper became Sir John Roper.

p.23: The Ropers: It is convenient place to mention the Roper family A fuller account can be found in Hasted's History of Kent, although there are certain errors. The family is an old one and has been connected with Kent for a long time. It is recorded that a John Roper of Canterbury contributed fifty pounds towards a ship to fight the French in 1377, John Roper of Swalecliffe and St. Dunstan's Canterbury acquired Well Hall, Eltham by marriage. His descendant, William married

Thomas More's daughter Margaret. Legend has it that after More's execution in July 1535 Margaret carried his head to St. Dunstan's Canterbury. She spent the night with her brother-in-law, Christopher, at his manor in Lynsted called Bedmangore. This house has long since vanished but it stood somewhere in the neighborhood of the present Lynsted Park. Christopher afterwards built a new house near to Bedmangore which he called Logge (Lodge). This was an E-shaped Elizabethan manor house which contained one hundred rooms. Much of it was pulled down between the years 1820 and 1830, so much so that it is difficult to see or imagine its appearance in the 17th century. The reason for the destruction in the early 19th century was a law suit. The occupant at the time fearing that the outcome of a lawsuit would go against him decided to demolish the house. Portions of it found their way into other houses in the neighbourhood. For example, one of the doors now features in Anchor House opposite to Lynsted Church. The house opposite boasts a medallion from one of the ceilings. Another similar medallion is on the wall of a cottage on the road between Lynsted and Doddington. Ironically the lawsuit was decided in favour of the occupant! One of the houses on the manor was Bumpit. This was always considered a safe house for Roman    Catholics. The Ropers were strong adherents of the old religion and steadfastly refused to change. Bumpit appears to have been used to say Mass for the religious symbolism of the painting in the study suggests it.

John Roper may have been a staunch Catholic but as we saw in the previous section was also a patriotic Englishman. He celebrated his knighthood by decorating Bumpit with the royal coat of arms and his crest, the black lion rampant. This still remains visible. The crest can also be seen decorating the signboard of the local inn, the Black Lion, Lynsted. The First Lord Teynham: Before considering some aspects of life in the villages at the beginning of the 17th century it is convenient to continue the story of the Roper family. As we saw John Roper became Sir John by virtue of a cash payment to Elizabeth! Although the family were well known Catholics they prospered. Frequent entries in the registers show that theyt failed to attend the parish church. Several statements relating to their failure will be quoted in the next section. When James I succeeded Elizabeth in 1603

John Roper was 'the first man of note who proclaimed the King in the County of Kent'. This is a quotation from Hasted who goes on to say that it was for this reason that James created him

Lord Teynham. This is untrue; the real truth is much more sordid. What actually happened was as follows. James was a shifty character who inspired little devotion. He granted the manor of Teynham to Sir John but this was all that he received. In 1604 attempts were made to persuade John to give up his office of Custos Brevium, a post connected with Kings Bench and from which he received the considerable fees. Needless to say John Roper refused to give up his lucrative position. In 1612 the reversion of the office was granted by the King to Somerset, known as Viscount Rochester, and another. They were to share the profits. In the same year Sir John tried to persuade Rochester to press the King to grant him his peerage. After his years of public and considerable wealth he felt that he was entitled to the honour. The King was quite happy to oblige-for a consideration. A consideration of ten thousand pounds, cash down! About the same time Somerset fell into disgrace and James's new favourite, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was promised the appointment of Custos Brevium. It was made abundantly plain to Roper that his post was wanted and he would be advised to retire. His attitude was the same as before and matters seemed deadlocked. Then reports circulated that Sir John was dead. James took fright realising that if Roper died before matters had been settled the post must go to someone else. Even so it took some time to arrange but finally a compromise was reached. Sir John was allowed to choose his successor (an agreed compromise candidate who would conveniently resign in due course) and also that he would be allowed to retain his emoluments for life. Finally the ten thousand pounds was paid over and Sir John was created Lord Teynham. While this was going on Sir John still continued to ignore the parish church and continued worshipping as he had always done. The churchwardens 'presented' him to Archdeacon in 1615 as follows: That

Sir John Roper, Kt., hath not received the communion in our parish these two years, he is a great part of the year attending upon his office in London,we know not whether he do receive there or not.... Knowing that he was nearing the end of his life Lord Teynham ordered his tomb in Lynsted Church where it stands on the south side of the south chapel, now known as the Roper Chapel. It depicts him and his second wife recumbent with the kneeling figures of his son and two daughters behind. His intimations of mortality were justified for he died in 1618 aged 84. On the floor of the chapel at the foot of the monument is a memorial brass to his first wife, Elizabeth. She was the daughter of Richard Parke and the mother of Sir John's children. She died in 1567. The

Second Lord Teynham and Others: His son, Christopher inherited the title but only survived his father's and is by 'that most exquisite artist', Epiphanius Evesham. It is in sharp contrast to the tomb opposite. Gone are the rather stiff, formal figures. Instead the figures are lively and human. The figure of Christopher lies on his back with his eyes directed upwards and towards the altar. The figure of his wife kneels beside him with her eyes also directed towards the altar. On panels at the base are reliefs of his sons and daughters. The sons are shown fresh from the hunt with their dogs and hawks mourning their father. The daughters are in various positions openly weeping. Two of them have lap dogs (one unfortunately has lost its head) and two of them wear dresses suggestive of their future vocation as founders of the English Convent at Ghent. The two daughters, Margaret and Mary, together with two other ladies founded the Benedictine Abbey at Ghent. Mary became Abbess and was noted for her piety, excellent singing and humility. One of the prayers she composed was incorporated into the daily offices ... A month before her death she was visited by the young

Charles II just after the beheading of his father (1648). She received him privately and he expressed his gratitude for the comfort that her wisdom gave him as he mourned the death of his father. When she was taken ill he sent his own private physician to attend her. She died at the age of 52. Margaret had died some nine years earlier. She had taken the name of Scolastica when she was professed in 1628. In the centre panel on the tomb is a smaller figure. This is his grand-daughter, Catherine. She was sent by her parents to live with her aunts. After a year at the convent 'being about 14 years old she having a vocation to be a Poor Clare would willingly have put it into execution by doubtless Almighty God seeing...that her delicate and tender constitution might be the obstacle...sent her a gentle fever...' She died about three weeks before her aunt Margaret. Mrs. Jenny Vaughan supplied some of the above material; the quotation is from the Obituary Notices of the Nuns of Ghent.

p.25, picture: The Roper Tomb.

p.29: The events of 1648 were very different. ...On one occasion they [County Commissioners] had Lynsted Lodge searched to see if arms were concealed in the cellars. As Christopher Teynham, the 4th Lord, had also been forced to report in person to the House of Commons as a noted Recusant he gave up keeping what we would now call a 'low profile' and declared for the King. He thus joined in the revolt with his neighbours, the Hugessons and the Hales of Tunstall.

p.30: ...Battle of Maidstone on June 1...As usual the ringleaders were punished. Christopher Roper was forced to give up part of his lands and William fined six hundred pounds. Both men were listed as men to be recompensed by Charles II in due time. Charles also pro mised rewards and decorations to Edward and William Roper as well as William de Laune of Sharsted. That same year (1648) Charles [I] was brought to trial and executed.

p.37: Lynsted-Another Link with Charles II: In an earlier section we read how Charles Stuart, later Charles II, sent his personal physician to one of the Roper sisters in her nunnery at Ghent. Later on there were echoes of the King again in Lynsted and the Roper family. As people will remember one of Charle's mistresses was Lady Castlemain. He had a daughter by her who was called Ann. This young woman seems to have been something of a problem. She spent some of her early life in France associated with the Duchess of Mazerin. Having, shall we say, worked off her high spirits, she returned to England and married Lord Dacre who later became Earl of Sussex. The marriage seems to have been an unhappy one and the couple soon parted. When the Earl died in 1715 Ann married Henry, the 8th Lord Teynham, and came to live at Lynsted. At first in the house known as Lynsted Lodge (now Park) which she enlarged considerably until it is reputed to have had one hundred rooms and, after the death of her husband, in the house we now dall Dadmans. It was here that she died in 1722 and her body was interred in the Roper Mausoleum. Then entry in the parish register simply reads: May 23rd The right honourable Ann Countess of Sussex-dowager'.

p.37, picture: Margaret Roper-first wife of John Roper (Brass underneath altar)

p.38: The Kentish Post, a newspaper of the early 18th century advertised a horse race in

Lynsted Park. In the issue for August 23 1729

p.61: August 15 1940 there was an air raid about 3:20 in the afternoon. A stick of bombs fell across Lynsted hitting the church and Anchor House. ...'The church was full of debris, with large holes in the pews and other furniture from bomb splinters...the amount of dust and broken plaster and pieces of wood all over the church, the broken organ case and open roof were enough to make anyone very sad. ...two pillars on the south aisle were shifted slightly by blast.

The daughter Ann by Charles II and Lady Castlemain is also mentioned in the following:

Roper Family (of Kent) genealogical notes, Frank V. Tyler, LDS Lib.

Wills in Canterbury Probate Office: John Roper 1499 Tenham

Michael Roper 1506, Thomas Roper 1540

Bethersden Reg.: 15 Jul 1583 George Roper & Isabelle Glorse?

28 Dec 1585 Arie Roper & George ?

Tenham burials: 27 Oct 1590 John s/o Thomas Roper

Tenham marriages: 16 May 1563 William Turner m Elizabeth Roper

18 Nov 1588 Rychard Curtis m Margaret Roper

Tenham baptisms: 24 Feb 1564 John s/o Thomas Roper

3 Aug 1567 Rafe s/o Thomas Roper; 27 Dec 1570 Jared s/o Thomas Roper

13 Sep 1577 Jeaner ? s/o Humphrie Roper; 7 Feb 1577 Wm.s/oJno. Roper

5 May 1580 Simon s/o Thos. Roper; 20 Feb 1582 Thomson s/o John Roper

4 Oct 1584 Margerie d/o Thomas Roper

Canterbury Marr. Lic.:

1592 John Roper (Tenham) to Ursula Obyan (Doddington)

Bapdrier Reg.: Thomas Roper 1525 tailor in London;  William Roper d 1518 m Johanne

Tenham Reg. burials: 1563 William Roper; 1564 Thomesilla d/oWm.Roper

1567 Else w/o John Roper; 1580 Humphrie Roper; 1584 Simons/oJnoRoper

1583 John Roper the Elder; 1586 Thomsina d/o John Roper

1589 Catherine w/o John Roper; 1590 John s/o John Roper

Tenham marriages: 1563 Wm. Turner & Clabelta? Roper

1571 Thomas Roper & Jane Furman; 1588 Richard Curtis & Mary Roper

1594 John Roper & Elizabeth Tonge?

Tenham baptisms: 1544 Jane d/o William Roper

1546 John s/o William Roper; 1556 Joan d/o William Roper

1562 Margaret d/o Thomas Roper; 1564 John s/o Thomas Roper

1567 Rafe s/o Thomas Roper; 1578 Jeannes s/o Humphrie Roper

1581 Thomasin d/o John Roper; 1584 Mary d/o Thomas Roper

1585 John s/o John Roper; 1589 Michael s/o John Roper


History of County of Bedford, V.3: p.443: It is impossible to state with any certainty that this manor [Chalton Manor] is identical with one of the same name which appears in 1562 as the property of George and Humphrey Browne and of John Lord Mordaunt, who then made a settlement of it. Humphrey Browne settled his third on his son, George, and in default of his issue on his three daughters Mary, Christiana and Katherine. Before 1750 this share has passed to the three daughters of Humphrey, from whom two third parts were purchased in 1576 by Robert Bell, on behalf of the third sister Katherine. She, who married William Roper, sold her part of Chalton Manor to Francis Bigg in 1589. ...


A History of Buckinghamshire, p.511: In 1589 one-third [of Chilton Manor] was conveyed by John Tufton and Christine his wife, William Roper and Katherine his wife, and Thomas Wilford, husband of Mary Browne, deceased, to Robert Staunton, Lewis Lord Mordaunt transferring his right in the remaining two-thirds in the following year.


The Diary of John Evelyn, 1650-1672, V.III: Dutchesse of Cleaveland ...(footnote: the duchess's daughter is presumably Anne Palmer, otherwise Fitzroy, 1661 (25 Feb)-1722; married 1674 Thomas Lennard, 1654-1715, fitteenth Lord Dacre 1662, created earl of Sussex 1674... There is some doubt as to her paternity; she was granted arms as 'the lady Anne Fitzroy' on 28 Feb 1673.

Fitzroy was the surname name of Charles II's children by the Duchess. See the excerpt from the The Illustrous Lady below.

William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 19, p. 47: In the reign of Henry 6th (1422-61) while John Kemp was cardinal and archbishop of York, an affray took place between the king's foresters and the bishop's collectors, which is thus epitomized from the Plumpton Correspondence, and which we insert as following and furnishing some curious particulars as to the state of society at Boroughbridge and the neighborhood during   that unsettled period. It appears that the Bishop claimed and collected toll at Ripon and Otley, and such was the dislike of the people to these levies that riots and broils were the consequence. On the 4th May 1441, Sir W. Plumpton and others laid in waiting at Skitbrig, to beat and slay the officers of the cardinal that had been at Ripon fair to collect toll. ... In the which pursuits, assaults and shote, there was slain, Robert Hunter, Thomas Rooper, yeoman, ...


Wills Proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich [1370-1550],V.69-70, CS434 B7, p.314:

1445 Adam Roper, Ingham [Norf.], 63 Wylbey

1478 Agnes Roper, Donewico, All Sts., 218 Gelour; 1541 Henry Roper, Est Somerton, 6 Thyrkyll

1505 Joan Roper, see At Hill; 1439 John Roper, Lenn Epi, 86 Doke

1465 John Roper, cit. of Norwich, bower, (N.P.) 6, 115 Cobald

1471 John Roper, Rougham, St. Mary, 239 Jekkys

1505 John Ropyr, Neylond, Suff., 32, 33 Garnon

1512 John Roper, cit. of Norwich, worsted wever, 207, 208 Johnson

1532 Margaret Roper, Banyngham, wid., N.P. 147 Platfoote

1533 Margaret Rooper, Banyngham, wid., 149, 150 Platfoote

1499 Nicholas Roper, Norsted, 16 Wight; 1508 Richard Roper, Riburgh Magna, 95 Spyltymber

1508 Robert Roper, Banyngham, 111 Spyltymber; 1532 Robert Roper, Hoxne, 62, 63 Haywarde

1537 Robert Rooper, Felmyngham, 44, 45 Undrewoode

1540 Robert Roper, Estdereham, 315 Godsalve; 1540 Robert Roper, Estderham, 289, 290 Mingaye

1457 William Roper, rector of Metton, 51 Brosyard

1509 William Roper, als. Clerk, Tetylshale, 234 Spyltymber


A History of the County of Somerset, V.5 by C.R. Elrington, p.188: The church of Stogumber, know in 1086 as the curch of St. Mary of Warverdinestoch... Hugh Roper, institued in 1476, was apparently still resident vicar in 1534.


Old New Kent County by Malcolm H. Harris, Vol. 1: The ancestry of the Fosters of the Castle in New Kent goes back to the Foster family of Southampton, England, where Mary Bassett Foster, sister of Capt. William Bassett of Eltham was living in 1671. Mary Bassett, daughter of

James Bassett and Mary Roper, married Joseph Foster of Southampton. Mary Roper was a daughter of William Roper and his wife, Margaret More, who was daughter of Sir Thomas More and Jane Colt, of Chelsea. Sir Thomas More, of Chelsea, (1476-1535) was Lord Chancellor under Henry the Eighth and they were close friends. When it became necessary for Sir Thomas to certify the legitimacy of the succession under oath, he refused. It was then that Henry VIII ordered his execution, which followed and took place July 7, 1535.


An Analytical Biography by Phyllis M. Riches, p. 431: Roper (Margaret) 1505-1544


History of Surrey, V.4, DA670 S96, p.8: Chap: Battersea with Penge Hamlet: The district of Wassingham or Walsingham (mentioned in a charter dated 693 A.D.) was within the manor of

Bridge Court, and possibly in the same neighbourhood. Sir Thomas More had a lease of land there, and after his attainder it was leased by his son-in-law, William Roper of Chelsea.


Aubrey's Brief Lives by Oliver L. Dick, p.375: Sir William Roper (1496-1578), married Margaret, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, whose biography he subsequently compiled. He was a member of six Parliaments. Summoned before the Privy Council for sympathy with the Roman Catholics in 1568, he was discharged on bond for his good behaviour.


History and Topological Survey of the County of Kent, V.IX (1800) by Edward Hasted, Chap.:

St. Dunstan's, Near Canterbury, p.33: Lies the next parish ... It makes a part of the suburbs of the city of Canterbury on the western side of it,... The antient Place-house of the Ropers stands opposite the church, at the west end of the street the antient seat is said to have stood at some distance behind the present house and gateway, which are situated close to the side of the street, these having been only the inferior offices belonging to it. They have for many years past converted into a dwelling and public brew-house,...The Place-house, or St. Dunstan's place, situated near the church, on the north side of the London road. It is noted for having been the antient and most early residence in this county of the family of Roper, whose burial place was afterwards in this church of St. Dunstan's; one of whom, William Roper, or Rosper, as the name was then sometimes spelt, resided here in King Henry III reign [1509-47], and was a great benefactor to St. Martin's priory, in Dover. John Roper, his descendant, was resident both here and at Swaycliffe, and was one of the surveyors of the customs of the cinque ports, under king Henry VII [1485-1509], whose son John Roper was sheriff in the 12th year of King Henry VIII, and was afterwards attorney-general and prothonotary of the court of king's bench; and having inherited from his mother Margery, daughter and coheir of John Tatersall, the manor of Wellhall, in Eltham, resided mostly at the mansion of it. He died in 1524, leaving two sons, William and Christopher, the latter of whom was seated at Linsted, from whom the Ropers, lord Teynham and Dacre, are descended. William Roper, the eldest son, whose lands were disgavelled by the act of the second & third of king Edward VI [1547-53] was of Wellhall, and succeeded his father likewise in this antientfamily seat at St. Dunstan's, from which time they resided constantly at Wellhall, and in this family this estate continued down to Edward Roper, esq. of Wellhall, whose daughter, and lenth sole surviving heir Elizabeth, having married

Edward Henshaw, esq. of Hampshire, entitled her husband to it, among other estates. He left three daughters his coheirs, but on his death it came by the entail of it, into the possession of

William Strickland, esq. who had married Catherine, the eldest of them, and on his death, f.p. in 1788, it devolved by the same entail to Sir Edward Dering, bart. son of Sir Edward Dering, by his wife Elizabeth, the other sister, and to Sir Rowland Wynne, bart. son of Sir Rowland Wynne, who had married the youngest sister; and their two sons of the same names are at this time the joint proprietors of this house, and the rest of the antient possessions of the family of Roper, in this parish and its neighbourhood.

p.37: The church, which is dedicate to St. Dunstan,...Underneath the north side, is a large vault, wherein many of the family of Roberts are deposited. The altar cloth...made...not unlikely by one of the ladies of the Roper family. The south chancel is called the Roper chancel, in a vault underneath which many of this family are deposit ed, and being full, it has been closed up. Against the south wall are two tombs of Bethersden marble, one of them partly within an arch in the wall, probably that of the founder of this checel; over the other is a banner, of the arms of Roper, mostly torn off, and a helmet, and furcoat, with the arms of More on it, Argent, a chevron ermine, between three moor cocks, fable. Against a pillar is a handsome monument for Thomas Roper, esq. grandson of

Sir Thomas More, by his daughter Margaret, obt. 1597; above are the arms of Roper, with quarterings. In the east window are some small remains of painted glass. Somner gives several inscriptions remaining in his time, for the Ropers, one of which is for William Roper, esq. son and heir of John Roper, esq. and for Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas More, lord chancellor. His monument is that with the banner over it, against the south wall. In a hollow in the wall of the vault underneath, having an iron grate before it, next to the coffin of the above Margaret, there is still remaining a scull, being that of Sir Thomas More; for after he was beheaded, anno 1535, though his body was permitted to be buried, first in the church of St. Peter in the Tower, and afterwards in Chelsea Church, where it now lies, yet his head was set on a pole on London bridge, and was afterwards privily bought by his daughter Margaret, and for some time preserved by her in a leaden box, with much devotion, and placed in this vault, when she died, near her coffin. ... The chancel or chapel above-mentioned belonging to the Ropers, was founded by John Roper, esq. as appears by patent 4th Henry IV [1513] for two chaplains to sing mass in it, at the alter of St. Nicholas, for the souls of such of the family as were deceased, and the welfare of such as were living; each of which chaplains had eight pounds per annum allowed to them by him and his heirs, besides a house for their habitation, adjoining to the mansion-house of the family in this parish, on the west side of it; which house is still remaining, and is made use of as part of the mansion.

Chap.: St. Stephen's, alias Hackington, p.43: In the upper part of it, near St. Thomas's hill, is Beverley farm, a small part only of which is in this parish, it was formerly the estate of the Roper's, of St. Dunstan's, and now of Sir Edward Dering and Sir Rowland Wynne barts.                                                             


Dictionary of National Biog., V.17, by Robinson & Sheares, p. 215: William Roper (1496-1578) biographer of Sir Thomas More, was eldest son of John Roper, by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir John Fineux, chief justice of the king's bench. The father, who had property both at Eltham in Kent and in St. Dunstan's parish, Canterbury, was sheriff of Kent in 1521, and long held the office of clerk of the pleas or prothonotary of the court of king's bench; he was buried in the Roper vault in the chapel of St. Nicholas in St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury, on 7 April 1524. He made his will on

27 Jan. 1523, and it is printed at length in 'Archaeologia Cantiana (ii.15374). The provisions, which ignored the Kentish custom of gavel-kind, were so complicated that an act of parliament, which was passed in 1529, was needed to give effect to them. John Roper's widow Jane wrote to Thomas Cromwell on 16 Nov 1539 begging him to bestow the post of attorney to Anne of Cleves (about to become queen of England on John Pilborough, husband of her second daughter Elizabeth; the letter is in the public record office (cf. Arch. Cant. iv.237-8). The elder Roper's youngest son, Christopher (d 1558-9), of Lynsted Lodge, Kent, was escheator for the county in 1550; he married Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Blore or Teynham, Kent, and was grandfather of

Sir John Roper, who was created Baron Teynham on 9 July 1616; the peerage is still held by a descendant. William, the eldest son, was, according to Wood, educated at one of the universities. Under his father's will he inherited the larger part of the family property, including estates at Eltham and St. Dunstan's, Canterbury. In 1523, when his father made his will, William held jointly with him the office of clerk of pleas or prothonotary of the court of king's bench. This post he subsequently held alone for life His legal duties apparently brought him to the notice of Sir Thomas More, and about 1525 he married More's accomplished eldest daughter, Margaret (for an account of her see art. More, Sir Thomas). More showed much affection for Roper. After his father-in-law's execution in 1535, Roper compiled a charmingly sympathetic life of More, which is the earliest of More's biographies and the chief source of information respecting More's personal history. It was first published at Paris in 1626 under the title 'The Life, Arraignement, and Death of of that Mirrour of al true Honour and Vertue, Syr Thomas More' Roper was an ardent catholic to the last, and during Queen Mary's reign [1553-58] took a part in public life. He had previously sat for Bramber (1529), Rochester (1545), and Winchester (1553), and he was returned in 1554 to Mary's second and third parliaments as member for Rochester. In Mary's last two parliaments (Oct. 1555 & Jan. 1557 -8) he sat for Canterbury. He did not re-enter the House of Commons after Queen Mary's death [1558]. As a catholic he fell under the suspicion of Queen Elizabeth's privy council. On 8 Jul 1568 he was summoned before it for having relieved with money certain persons who had fled the country, and had printed books against the queen's government. He made his submission, and on 25 Nov 1569 entered into a bond to be of good behaviour and to appear before the council when summoned (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547-80, pp.311,347). Roper and Sir William Cordell, master of the rolls, were nominated by Sir     Thomas Whyte visitors of his new foundation of St. John's College, Oxford, during life. The validity of their appointment was disputed in Jul 1571 by Robert Horne, bishop of Winchester (ib.p.417). After 54 years of tenure of his post of prothonotary of the king's bench, he resigned it in 1577 to his eldest son Thomas. He died on 4 Jan 1577-8, and was buried in St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury. His wife Margaret had died in 1544. By her he left two sons, Thomas & Anthony and three daughters. Thomas, the elder son, who succeeded to the property at Eltham, was buried on 26 Feb 1597-8 in St. Dunstan's Church, where there is an elaborate inscription to his memory; he left issue by his wife Lucy, youngest daughter of Sir Anthony Browne and sister of the first viscount Montagu. William Roper's family died out in the male line at the end of the seventeenth century, when Elizabeth Roper, wife of Edward Henshaw of Hampshire, became sole heiress of the Eltham & St. Dunstan's estates.  The Scandal and Credulities of John Aubrey by John Collier In [Sir Thomas More's] Utopia his lawe is that the young people are to see each other stark naked before marriage. Sir William Roper, of Eltham, in Kent, came one morning, pretty early, to my lord, with a proposall to mary one of his daughters. My lord's daughters were then both together abed in a truckle-bed in their father's chamber asleep. He carries Sir William into the chamber and takes the Sheete by the corner and suddenly whippes it off. They lay on their Backs, and their smocks up as high as their arme pitts. This awakened them, and immediately they turned on their Bellies. Quoth Roper, I have seen both sides, and so gave a patt on her buttock, he made choice of, sayeing, Thou art mine. Here was all the trouble of the wooeing. This account I had from my honoured friend old Mris. Tyndale, whose grandfather, Sir William Stafford, was an intimate friend of this Sir W. Roper, who told him the story. ... His [Sir Thomas More] head was upon London Bridge. There goes this story in the family, viz. that one day as one of his daughters was passing under the bridge, looking on her father's head, sayd she, That head haz layn many a time in my Lapp, would to God it would fall into my lap as I pass under. She had her wish and it did fall into her Lappe, and is now preserved in a vault in the Cathedral Church at Canterbury. The descendant of Sir Thomas is

Mr. More, of Chilston, in Herefordshire, where, among a great many things of value plundered by the Soldiers, was his Chap, which they kept for a relique. Methinks 'tis strange that all this time he is not canonised, for he merited highly of the Church.


History and Topological Survey of the County of Kent by Edward Hasted, Vol. 5 (1798): [Sir Thomas Moore] Being a man of great abilities and learning, he was in the 22d year of that reign [Henry VIII (1509-1547) or year 1531], made lord chancellor, which high office, after two years and an half, he resigned, not being willing to be instumental in the king's rupture with the pope. Afterwards, refusing to take the oath of supremacy and succession, he was arraigned, and being found guilty of high treason, was executed on Tower hill  six days afterwards. He was the only son of

Sir John More, one of the justices of the king's bench, and had one son John, attainted after his father's death, and then pardoned by the king; and three daughters, of whom Margaret, was a woman of great wisdom, piety, and learning, and married William Roper, esq. of Eltham. After his death his body was first buried in the Tower chapel, and afterwards removed to Chelsea church, and there deposited on the south side of the chancel. His head was set upon London bridge, where it continued about fourteen days, and was then privily bought by his daughter Mrs. Margaret Roper; after which it was inclosed in lead and deposit ed in the vault of the Ropers, in St. Dunstan's church, near Canterbury, where the box now remains placed on the coffin of his daughter above-mentioned.


History of Surrey, V.3, p.99: ...the manor of Baynards, which lies on the boundary between Ewhurst and Cranleigh, was originally a part of Pollingfold...A distinction of Baynards is that is has belonged at various times to the four leading families in Surrey since the year 1500, namely Bray, More, Evelyn, and Onslow. The second Sir Edward Bray who held it married Elizabeth Roper, granddaughter of Sir Thomas More, whence the fact or legend that Sir Thomas More's skull was preserved at Baynards.


A History of the County of Kent, Vol. 1, "Ancient Earthworks",p 427: Eltham: Well Hall.-A deep water moat encloses a rectangular island about 125 by 110 ft. in area, adjoining the southern wing of the Elizabethan house, once the home of Margaret Roper, the daughter of Sir Thomas More. The western arm of the moat extends northward, and may at one time have continued around Well Hall itself.


Genealogy of Virginia Families, p. 208: One of the plaintiffs in a pleading on 18 Henry VII (1503) date was "Thos. Roper, ... tenants and freeholders of Thornton."