In this the second part of the Middleton family history, I’ve taken a brief look at the lives of Henry’s aunts. We know from the Bavand Pedigree Roll that John and Katherine Middleton had at least thirteen children unfortunately their names are not given. However through family wills and surviving parish records, we know that Henry had three aunts who reached adulthood, Margaret, Katherine and Ursula.
Little is known about these aunts but what we have learnt shows that despite John’s financial problems, all three go on to make successful marriages within the merchant classes of Chester and London.
Katherine married Thomas Tetlowe, a prominent merchant in Chester, he was Sherriff in 1585/6 but had died by 1593. Katherine did not marry again and lived in Chester for the rest of her life. Katherine’s daughter Martha married into two prominent Chester merchant families the Glegg and Sproston families and her son Solomon was apprenticed to John Litler, Draper of Chester.
Unlike Katherine, Margaret travelled to London where she married Walter Burre a well known stationer and bookseller based in St Paul’s Churchyard, London. He published many well known playwrights including Ben Jonson and Thomas Nashe. He also published work by Sir Walter Raleigh and works on exploration including The Last East-India Voyage, an account of the second voyage of the East India Company, commanded by Sir Henry Middleton, his brother-in-law. Walter Burre died in 1622, his daughter having predeceased him, Margaret moved back alone to Chester.
In 1606 Ursula married Lawrence Fawcett a vintner in London. Lawrence died only three years later, within a few days of the death of Randall Middleton, one of Ursula’s brothers. Randall was also a vintner and lived and worked in the same parish as Lawrence. A plague outbreak in 1609 may account for their deaths. In 1615, Ursula married again, Henry Burre, a yeoman in London.
From Margaret’s will dated 1636 we know that all her siblings, other than her sister Katherine and brother Christopher, the vicar of Llanarthne, had predeceased her.
These snippets give a tantalising glimpse of the lives of the Middleton family in the late sixteenth century. Many interesting questions arise from them. Most interesting of all perhaps is how so many of the siblings found their way to London and what precipitated this move. Was Margaret introduced to Walter Burre through her brothers’ connections with Sir Walter Raleigh and the East India Company? Or intriguingly could Margaret have been the conduit for the brothers’ introduction to London’s merchant and seafaring society through her husband’s connections?