Needham Family

subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link
subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link


Needham's of Rothley


First, I must thank Vivienne Seymour for providing data, information and drive to get the work on the Needham's in Rothley completed. But what a complex lot they are. Why I hear you ask? It's primarily because they seem to use a very limited number of Christian names eg there are 6 John's heading families between 1799 & 1834.



Where is Rothley? Description in 1877:

" Rothley Village , in Barrow-on-Soar Union, Leicester County Court District, and West Goscote Hundred, is situated on the banks of a rivulet about half a mile west of the river Soar, 1 1/2 mile south of Mountsorrell, and 5 miles N. of Leicester; its township comprises about 1,172 acres, and in 1871 contained 1,040 persons, living in 232 houses. Barrow-on-Soar Workhouse is situated here. The Peculiar or Soke of Rothley, which has jurisdiction over this and other parishes...and belongs to H Parker Esq., son of the late Vice Chancellor Sir James Parker, as lord of the manor, in which he claims 1s in the pound on the value of all the copyhold lands, when they pass from one owner to another. The Court House is an ancient building with a pyramid roof, near the centre of the village, In it the Commissionary Court of the Peculiar is opened every half year, and afterwards alternately adjourned to the Red Lion and Crown Inns. The lord of the manor and the executors of W. Perry Herrick. Esq., are the principal owners of the soil, but the Fowke family has an estate in the parish. Many of the inhabitants are quarrymen and framework knitters; and the soil is various, some clay, some marl and some good barley land. About 12 acres of land are let in small allotments to the industrious poor, at low rents. The manor and rectory were anciently held by the Knights Templars (see Rothley Temple) and in 1283 they had a grant for a market and a fair, which were removed from Rothley to Gaddesby in 1305. At the Dissolution, the manor, the impropriate rectory, and the advowson of the vicarage were granted to Edward Cartwright, and were sold, in 1567, to Humphrey Babington, Esq., of whom the present owner, H. Parker, Esq, is a descendant on the mother 's side. The advowson was purchased by the present vicar in 1872. The Church (St. John the Baptist) is a large and handsome fabric, with an embattled tower and five bells, and contains several monuments of the Babington family. It was partly restored in 1861 by the late vicar, at a host of £1000, and its complete restoration is now being carried out at a cost of £3000. The architect is R. Reynolds Rowe Esq., of Cambridge. The living is a vicarage, valued in K.B. at £11 Os. 5d., and now at £600, and has 240 acres of giebe; the tithes were commuted at the enclosure in 1781. The Rev. Richard Burton, M.A, who succeeded the Rev. H. J. Shackleton in 1869, is patron and incumbent, and has a good vicarage near the church, which was enlarged in 1870, and is now a handsome residence. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists and the General Baptists have chapels here. The Free School was founded by Bartholomew Hickling, who in 1683 left a cottage and several pieces of land here, in trust for the education of 14 or 15 poor boys of Rothley. Besides the schoolroom, and a good house and garden, occupied by the master, the endowment now consists of about 3 1/2 acres of land, worth £25 per annum. The NATIONAL SCHOOL was rebuilt in 1872, at a cost of £500. In I736 Mrs. Elizabeth Daniel gave £30 in trust to pay the interest to a school-mistress for instructing several poor girls to read. A yearly rent-charge of 5s., paid out of the late Sir James Parker 's estate, was left by John Willows, to buy a Bible for any boy who can read the first chapter of St. John 's Gospel the most distinctly. For distribution in bread and money, the poor have the interest of £30, given by several donors, and a yearly rent-charge of 20s., left by the Rev. William Stavely, out of land at Cossington. In the village is a small Mechanics' Institution', which was founded about 30 years ago by the late Thomas Babington, Esq., of Rothley Temple; it has now about 50 members, a library of 300 volumes, and the institution is well supplied with newspapers."

"Rothley Temple formerly an extra-parochial estate, has been constituted a civil parish, comprising about 630 acres of land and in 1871 containing 85 persons, living in 18 houses. It is in Barrow-on-Soar Union and County Court District, and West Goscote Hundred; it adjoins Rothley on the west, and is distant 5 miles N. of Leicester. It is in the peculiar jurisdiction of Rothley. The manor and soke of Rothley is extensive, and has very curious rights in its jurisdiction. The extra-parochial liberty has been in the hands of the Babington family from about A.D. 1500 to the death of Thomas Babington, in 1838, after which his daughter having married Sir James Parker, Kit., it came into the hands of that eminent lawyer and vice-chancellor. It is now owned by his eldest son, Harry Rainy Parker, Esq., who occupies the mansion, which has tasteful pleasure-grounds, and stands on the site of a Preceptory, or Commandery of Knights Templars to whom the manor was given by Henry III. After the suppression of the Templars, it was given to the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. On the dissolution of the latter, the site and manor were given to Edward Cartwright, as noticed with Rothley."
[White's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. 3rd Edition," 1877]






















Where do we start

Well I go to the primary data for births, burials and marriages - the parish records. Once you have a set of transcribed records you try and fit as much data as possible is transcribed from the available record set starting with baptisms, then deaths and finally marriages. Then the baptisms are sorted by father, then mother, then date. This is the starting point for all my trees. Having got family units I look to link their mother and father to their mother and father. But there are some issues with the data

2. Issues with the Records

There are three issues with the data. Some I've not encountered before:

1. Who does Mary Bebb Marry? John Needham or Joseph Needham ? The records say that both John and Joseph marry a Mary Bebb on the same day depending on the record set

2. Why isn't there a mother stipulated on a number of baptism records when those before and after have mothers stipulated

3. For three families there are large gaps between the penultimate and last children. Why? There could be a number of reasons but I suppose the most obvious one is: Were the fathers in the army?


Because of the common first names used and the lack of a mark on the deceased I've put all the family data for Rothley into one family tree - Leicester 11. As you will see as the story unfolds there is some uncertainty about a number of the families and especially the Needham that head them. As a consequence it will be much easier to move people around if errors are identified if they are all in one tree. This is the first time I've done this, so you'll have to bear with me until I'm happy with the result


3. Baptism Data and Families

We have seen that the earliest Needham was Thomas Nedham of Allexton who died in 1558. What about Rothley? Well the first record I've found to date for Needham's in Rothley was in 1596 and involved Thomas Needham and his wife Anna of Rothley nb Anna was the dau of Robert Sutton of Rothley who was a gardener and was now dead. There are two further references in May 1821 which resulted in payments being made












9th Nov, 1596



Thomas Needham & w Anna

Feoffment (i) Thomas Needham of Rothley and Anna his wife, daughter of Robert Sutton of Rothley, gardener deceased. (ii) Thomas Simpson of Widmerpool, co. Nottingham, miller. (i) to (ii) 2 acres of arable land with the appurtenances situated in Rothley; one rood lying south of the town situated in the furlong called Long Bronsall between the property of Thomas Simpson in the occupation of Walter Perkyns, and the land of Eustace Gee, in the occupation of Thomas Marshall; another rood adjoining the tenement of John Parker on the one side and the tenement of Humphrey Babington and in the occupation of Robert Kendall clerk; ½ acre of land called the Linkefield or the Lingefield situated on the field strip called Dame furlong between the tenements of Eustace Gee, in the occupation of Clement Fuldes, and the tenement in the occupation of Thomas Jarratt, in the occupation of the said Thomas; another ½ acre of land situated in Woodfielde between the land of John Danvers, in the occupation of John Adcock, on the one side and the tenement of Humphry Babington, in the occupation of George Leaton, on the other side. Clause of Warranty. Consideration: the completion of a deed made 1st November



6th May, 1598



Thomas Needham & w Anna

Feoffment (i) Thomas Needham of Rothley, co. Leicester, and Anne his wife. (ii) Thomas Simpson of Widmerpool, co. Nottm., mille (1) to (2) part of a rood of meadow in Rothley. Consideration: £3 12s 0d.



6th May, 1598



Thomas Needham & w Anna

Feoffment (i) Thomas Needham of Rothley, co. Leicester, and Anne his wife. (ii) Thomas Simpson of Widmerpool, co. Nottm., mille. 1/3 rood of meadow in Rothley. Consideration: £3/0/12.


So, who were Thomas and Anna. Well Thomas of Allexton was dead by 1596 but he had a son, Thomas, who would be a candidate. However, Thomas the son married a Wilcock so it can't be him. But all is not lost as a Thomas Nedham married an Anne Sutton on 6 June 1575 in Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire. This needs to be followed up because the other person involved in the land deals with Thomas and Anne, see Table above, was Thomas Simpson who was also from Widmerpool. Is it likely that Anne was born there?

Now for the detective work which was started by Vivienne Seymour. She told me there were some earlier Needham's than those I'd already found. But I'd searched, but not hard enough and there is a lesson here. There are records of baptisms, burials and marriages of Nedome's in Rothley. A Thomas Nedome had six children between 1578 and 1589 including three sons Humphre, Everat and Jone and three daughters: Alice, Jane and Margaret. Humphre and Alice died young. The dates fit with the mother being Anna. Then in 1616 a Richard is born father Thomas. The mother can't be Ann as she would be to old so either Anna has died and Thomas has remarried or we have another family, head Thomas. And the lesson? Don't rely on the varient box on the searchable date bases like Ancestry or FMP.And this leads to the lesson. The name Nedom isn't linked too Needham when you use name variants when searching for Needham's in Ancestry and FMP so be careful when you do your searches to make sure that you are covering all the name variants you know about.

Then we have a marriage. In 1604 a Richarde Needome marries Catherine Massie. Usually people got married in their early 20's so Richarde would be born at the latest in 1583.

Intrigued? Well to add spice the next record of interest is the will of Ambrose Needham written in 1658. Ambrose was a shepherd on Rothley; a shepherd writing a will doesn't seem likely. But he names a wife Susanna and a daughter Joanne (eldest). Now an Ambrose Needham marries Susanna Hunt in 1638 in Cosby. Assuming this is Ambrose the shepherd then by 1640 he and Susanna had had two daughters, Joane (1638/9) and Susanna (1640) but they had no more children in Cosby, so either the line stops when they all die or they had children in another parish. Now Ambrose is a shepherd and we know at some stage he moved to Rothley, but did they move and have more children before settling in Rothley? Probably not as there is no mention of another child in Ambrose's will. So where does Ambrose come from? We've found Ambrose married in Crosby and an Ambrose was baptised in Cosby on 02 Oct 1602 with a father Tho.; the timing is right so I'm presuming this is the birth of our man. There the trail stops as there is no record of a Thomas being baptised in Cosby that could be Ambrose's father. Thomas married Joanne Greene in 1582 and they had 13 children, Ambrose being the youngest and Matthew the eldest sons. In between they had William and Thomas. Why am I telling you all this? Well in Ambrose's will a Richard Needham son of Matthew Needham is a beneficiary as are the children of Jo Needham (presume this is John) of Cosby and Thomas Needham of Cosby. Ah ha, got you. Where does Jo/John Needham fit in? Well he's the youngest son, b 1637, of Matthew Needham, Ambrose's brother. Ambrose's other brother being Thomas b 1600

Assuming Ambrose and Susanna don't have any sons then it begs the question of who takes over caring for Ambrose's sheep when he dies in 1658? One possibility is that it could be Matthew's son Richard b 1633 in Crosby nb the burial in Rothley involving a Richard was in 1621

The first Needham baptism in Rothley weren't until the start of the 18th century. There have already been two burials and there were four marriages in Rothley before the 18th century, two were female and two male Needham's. The question is who are they and why marry in Rothley. And I haven't got an answer


Table Early Marriages in Rothley


First Name









24 Jul 1608


Moses Andrew



18 may 1657


Catherine Frankes





06 oct 1699


john Glover



02 Jun 1700


Anne Franks


And so we come to the baptisms which start in 1702. There are three family heads for whom I haven't found a baptism record. Robert (b before 1681) William ( b bef 1686) and another William (b bef 1732) so let look and see what we can find out about them and their descendants

The Needham's of Rothley are difficult to unravel so I've combined these three gentlemen into one tree - Leicester 11 ( combination of Leicester 6 plus Leicester 5). This is a first and it's been done to make it simpler to change if I've got things wrong

1 Robert Needham (b before 1686)

A Robert Needham has three children baptised between 1702 and 1710 ie William b 1702, Anne b 1706 and John b 1710. William's baptism record is the only one to stipulate a mother - Mary. In Nov 1702 Robert Needham marries Mary Abell who must have been pregnant because William was born 5 months late in Mar 1702/3. I can't find a baptism that fits sensibly for Robert anywhere in Leicestershire. So what happens to his children? John marries Eliz Stringer in 1738 and in the following year their son, John, is born but Elizabeth dies in 1743 and a year later Robert marries for a second time, this time to Martha Leake. They have nine children including five sons William b 1749, b 1755, Thomas b 1757, Samuel b 1761 and Benjamin b 1764. Benjamin and their second daughter Elizabeth die within a year of being born. Two sons I'm not sure what happens to them although I believe they didn't marry in Rothley. Of the other children all but Mary marry but the question is to whom and this is where the real problems start because the Needham's have a habit of using the same Christian names; in this case Joseph but as we'll see later, John


2. William b before 1686

A Sarah Needham was baptised in Rothley in Mar 1706 with a father William. Assuming this was Williams first marriage it would imply he was born bef 1686 ie (1706-21). There is no record of a baptism of a William in Rothley but there are four in Syston and one in Cosby; I haven't to date been able to identify if one of these is our man


3. William b bef 1732

William and his wife Hannah had six children of whom two were girls: Katherine & Ann and four were boys: Jno, Joseph, Samuel and John. I can't identify who William was ie where he was born, who were his parents and where he married Hannah. Three of his children: Katherine, Jno & Samuel died within a year of their birth

We now need to consider the Johns we have found and fit them to faces, jobs and ultimately wives and parents. These are laid out in Appendix 1


Descendants of Robert b bef 1686


We have seen Robert marries Mary and they have two boys and one girl. Of the two boys to date, I can't find anything about William but John b1710 marries twice first to Elizabeth and after she dies Martha. `john has five sons so let consider each

1. John b 1739

John is born in 1739. He doesn't appear to marry, at least he doesn't marry in Rothley and I haven't as yet found a burial record. Not doing too well.

2. William b 1749

William is baptised on 23 Apr 1749 in Rothley and in 1772 in Leicester he marries Jane Foxen and they have five children four of which are boys. Katherine the eldest child and only female dies 7 months after birth, so, we are left with three men. William b 1780 dies within a year of his birth. The subsequent child is also called William but he dies within 7 year. The two remaining sons ie Joseph b 1777 and John b b 1778 both get married and have children. Joseph 1777 is thought to marry Mary Bebb in 1801 and goes on to have two sons and two daughters. With respect of the sons Richard dies in the same years as his baptism ie 1815 but I can't find out much about Joseph after he was born in 1802.

J John, however, does carry the line on. In 1798 he marries Rachel Holden and they have eight children of whom six and male. Of these six males we know that two married: William and Enoch. William married Sarah Roddle in 1823 and they had seven children but only one, William was male

Enoch married Ann Grant in 1840 but only had one child Ellen so the line stops on the male line but before Ellen marries she has a child Charles Needham b 1866. Now he carries the Needham name but not the male Y chromosome on the Needham line. However, he has six children including a son Charles b 1901. This Charles marries and has one daughter Cynthia so the Needham lines really should stop


Descendants of William b bef 1732

As we have seen William married Hannah and they had six children, two of whom were daughters. Of the boys, two died before their first birthday, John b 1753 and Samuel b 1765 and I haven't been able to find a marriage/family associated with Joseph b 1753. But John b 1758 married Ann Godwin in 1780 and they had six children including four boys. At least three of these boys married John b 1781, William b 1790 and Thomas b 1798. John left a will and there is a gravestone but these both create a problem which may lead you to question this conclusion. A John Needham a labourer from Rothley writes a will in Oct 1817 whose beneficiaries are his wife Ann, three sons; Joseph, William & Thomas. Spotted anything yet? Further, there is a gravestone for John d 4 Oct 1827 age 70,his wife Ann d 28 Nov 1829 age 70 and his son Joseph d 13 Dec 1830 age 31 ie b 1799. The only Joseph born in 1799 in the whole of Leicestershire is in Rothley but has parents John & Rachel. Something is wrong. Either I've got the wrong John & Ann, or the transcription of Joseph b 1799 parents ie John and Rachel is incorrect and it should be John and Ann or Joseph is adopted by John & Ann or Rachel is John's first wife or Joseph was baptised John and called Joseph because of the clash of Christian names nb but the birth dates don't match .

John was the youngest and in 1809 he married Mary Simons and they had five children including two boys, Williams Simons Needham 1814 b and John George Needham b 1824. Although William Simons & John George both got married neither would appear to have children or at least I haven't found any.

Likewise, William, the second eldest son, married Catherine Pagett in 1830 and they had, one child a son who they called John Spooner Needham. John Spooner married in 1860 and had four children. Two daughters got married but two died in infancy (unnamed) and are buried in Rothley with their father.

The third son, Thomas b 1796 married Elizabeth Potter whilst the youngest son, Joseph, would appear not to have married.

So, the Needham line from William & Hanna would appear to die


web 11 July 2020







|Trees | News | Records | Origins | Distribution | Famous | Residence | Archives | Privacy| Contact | ©2020 Nigel Needham