Home > 027942. James Chilton, 055884. Lyonell Chilton, 111768. Richard Chilton > Origin of the Chiltons of the Mayflower

Origin of the Chiltons of the Mayflower

Source: John G. Hunt, “Origin of the Chiltons of the Mayflower,” American Genealogist 38[1962]:244-45.

In the November 1961 Mayflower Quarterly, pp. 5-6, Mrs. Russell Mack Skelton, of Scarsdale, N.Y., published two important wills, that of Richard Chilton of St. Paul’s Canterbury, dated 1549, naming his son Lionel, and the will of the said son, Lyonel Chilton of the same place, February 1582, which names his sons John and James Chilton, the testator’s (last) wife Isabel, and her children Thomas Furner and Susanne Furner. It seems clear that Isabel was not the mother of Lyonel’s sons of whom it would seem that James Chilton was the man who came with his wife Susanna in 1620 on the Mayflower.

It may well be that James Chilton married his stepsister Susanne Furner, for the first child of James Chilton, baptized 15 Jan. 1586, was Isabella [Charles Edward Banks, The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers, 1929, p. 45], perhaps named for the mother of Susanna. Marriage between stepbrothers and sisters often occurred, either as a result of propinquity, or arranged by a surviving spouse to make settlement of the estate easier and to keep the property, so to speak, “within the family.”

As a matter of fact, the Chiltons had long been seated at Canterbury, where in 1504 William Chilton was a mercer [Intrantes of Canterbury, 1392-1592]. He may well have been a son or a close relative of William Chilton who died testate in 1503, of St. Peter’s, Canterbury. His will, dated 30 April 1503, provided for burial in the churchyard of St. Peter’s; gave bequests to St. Peter’s Church, the Shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury [a ring of gold with a point diamond set in the same, to be delivered to said shrine after the death of my wife; cf. Archaeologia Cantiana, 31:37], the Image of Our Lady of Stelling, the Wardens of Stelling, the High Altar of Nether Hards [now Lower Hardres, about 3 miles south of Canterbury; Stelling is about 4 miles south of Lower Hardres]; to Agnes my wife and Nicholas my son, lands in parish of Stelling; Alice my mother; Alice and Constance my daughters; Margery Hughes my wife’s mother; residue to wife Agnes; executors, wife Agnes and John Chilton of Nether Hards; proved 16 Sept. 1503 by widow, John Chilton refusing.

His daughter Alice Chilton also left a will, dated 14 April 1515; to be buried in the churchyard of St. Peter’s; bequests to St. Peter’s Church and Church of Stelling; lands in parish of Stelling to Thomas Adsell my grandfather and Margery his wife, my grandmother; tenement in St. Peter’s Parish, in which my said grandfather and grandmother dwell, to my sisters Margaret and Kat’yne when they come to marriage, if they die before marriage then to my said grandfather and grandmother; tenement in Sandwich which late were William Chilton my father’s, to my sisters; residue to said Thomas Adsell and Margery his wife, they to be executors; witnesses, Sir Thomas Sterlyng and others; proved 5 May 1515 by Thomas Adsell.

The above two Canterbury wills, at Kent County Archives Office, Maidstone, were abstracted for the contributor from the registered copies by Arthur J. Willis, Esq., of Folkstone, Kent.

The Chiltons had been of Canterbury much earlier, however, for in 1339 Robert Chilton represented Canterbury in Parliament, and in 1422 William Chilton served the town in the same capacity (Hasted, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, vol. IV (1799), pp. 405, 406].

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