Oylers of Kent








The Oylers of Kent who were my ancestors are:

John Iler  (Oyler) born about 1555-1560 my great x10 grandfather

         Arthur Oyler   1592, m. Mary Billington on 6th Nov 1615

         George Oyler  24th Feb 1621-1687, m. Susan Hovenden

         George Oyler 12th Oct 1654-1724. M. Elizabeth ?

         Thomas Oyler Apr 10th 1685. M. Mary ? (second wife)

         Thomas Oyler 1728 m. Elizabeth Osborne.

Thomas and Elizabeth Oyler had two children: George Oyler  1755-1768 and Susan Oyler1760.  After the death of Thomas, Elizabeth then a widow, had three illegitimate children; Samuel Oyler 1765, Thomas Oyler 1767 and George Oyler 1779

Samuel Oyler b.1765 married Elizabeth Colville

Thomas Oyler b.1791 m. Elizabeth Potter. Their descendants moved to London where Thomas Potter Oyler, my great grandfather was born, as well as my grandmother, Alice Oyler

George Oyler b. 1779 married Elizabeth Rabson in 1800

John Iler (Oyler) born about 1555-1560 my great x10 grandfather

The first Oyler I can trace (with verification) is John Iler or Yeler. As most people, except clergy and scholars, were illiterate the names were recorded by the clergyman as they sounded.  Several variations of the name Oyler can be found over the next few centuries including Oiller, Oyller, Yeler and Iler.  John Iler was born around 1555-1560 but I found no record of his birth so he may not have been born in England.  He was married in 1579 to Joan?  (born 1563). She died 1st Jan 1603 and John died Nov. 10th 1610 in Cranbrook Kent.   They had 5 children:

  • Joan Oyler born 1580, married John Barens (or Barnes 1605); 
  • John Oyler born 14 Apr 1583 in Cranbrook, Kent, he died in 1610
  • Thomasine Oyler born about 1587, married Thomas Banks Jun 7th 1607;
  • Arthur Oyler born 1592, m. Mary Billington on 6th Nov 1615 (b. 1595 in Cranbrook);
  • Susan Oyler born 1597,  married Richard Collier Jan 16th 1613. 

What was happening in Kent in the16th Century?      

  • 1509 Coronation of Henry VIII;
  • 1553 Mary crowned;
  • 1558 Elizabeth I crowned;
  • 1560-80 Walloon refugees settle in Sandwich and Canterbury;
  • 1588 Preparation for a possible Spanish invasion.

Arthur Oyler b. 1592 (son of John and Joan) great x9grandfather

Arthur Oyler married Mary Billington on 6th Nov 1615 (b. 1595 in Cranbrook);  Children:

  • Thomas Oyler born 10th Nov 1616- Aug 19 1671, married Betharis Tambline on Aug 7th 1642. She died in 1669;
  • Ellenor Oyler born June 14th 1618. Married Gregory Hope in 10 Oct 1637;
  • Arthur Oyler born Jan 2nd 1619;
  • George Oyler born 24th Feb 1621-1687,
  • John Oyler 11th Apr 1624-2nd Oct 1628.

George Oyler 1621 (son of Arthur and Mary) my great x8 grandfather

George Oyler was the fourth child, third son of Arthur and Mary Oyler. George Oyler was born 24th Feb 1621. He died in 1687. He was married Feb 30th 1643 to Susan Hovenden (or Houenden, born 1627 to Edward Hovenden, mother unknown), she died Feb 4th 1682 in Cranbrook. At the time of their marriage he was 22 she was 16.  George was a “husbandman of Baker’s Cross”. This is the first indication of an Oyler being a farmer. George and Susan Oyler had 8 children:

  • Elizabeth Oyler born Apr 29th 1643-1680. Married Richard Hickmott of Goudhurst on Jan 28th 1680/1;
  • John Oyler born Oct 19th 1645 married Catherine ?. She died in 1676 probably in childbirth as a child was buried on the same date. A previous child has also died as an infant in 1672.  In 1678 John married again to Mary Falkner (or Faulkner) of Rolvenden.
  • Male Oyler child born in 1648. Buried 1648 at less than one month of age
  • Thomas Oyler, born May 23rd  1650. Died Mar 5th 1692. He married Dorothy Osborne, a widow, on Apr 5th 1675. She died 21st  Jun 1692 in Cranbrook;
  • George Oyler born 12th Oct 1654-1724.
  • Susanna Oyler born Jan 18th 1656-1691;
  • Arthur Oyler born Nov 23rd 1659-1746; Married Ann Godfrey, April 1694. Occupation Labourer Abode – Parish of Iden All Saints.
    • Children: Susanna Oyler, 06/02/1700/1;
    • Arthur Oyler. Baptism 15/02/1706/7
  • Mary Oyler, born 3rd June 1662 and died 9th Aug 1662.


George Oyler 1654 (son of George and Susan) great x7 grandfather

George Oyler was the fifth child, fourth son of George and Susan Oyler. He was born 12th Oct 1654 and married in 1682 to Elizabeth (surname unknown). George and Elizabeth Oyler had a son Thomas Oyler born Apr 10th 1685.  They also had a daughter Susanna who was born 1686 and died the same year. Elizabeth also died in 1686, perhaps in childbirth. George Oyler died 22 Apr 1724 in Hawkhurst. Children:

  •             Thomas Oyler Apr 10th 1685.
  •             Susanna Oyler b.1686 died the same year.

What was happening in Kent in the 17th Century? 1635 First demand for the ‘Ship Money’; 1640-42 Kent Petitions to Parliament; 1642 Start of the First Civil War; 1643 Royalist Rising in West Kent; 1647 Christmas cancelled. Riots in Canterbury; 1648 Royalist Rising in Kent. Battle of Maidstone; 1649 Execution of Charles I, January; 1660 The Restoration. King Charles returns and lands at Dover May 25th; 1665 First Royal Navy dockyard laid out at Sheerness; 1667 Dutch fleet in the Medway and Thames; 1698 Shepherd Neame Brewery opened.



Thomas Oyler 1685 (son of George and Elizabeth) my great x6 grandfather

Thomas Oyler was born on 10th Apr 1685.  He married Mary Walter in Hawkhurst, 10th April 1705. Mary Walter was born in 1680 in Hawkhurst to Robert Walter a widower and Mary (Patience) a widow.   

Thomas and Mary (Walter) Oyler had at least two children:

  • A child (unknown name) born in 1706 
  • John born Aug 1709
  • Thomas March 1710/11
  • George Oyler born in 1712.  Married Elizabeth Fuller  (nee Crampton ) in 1748 who were parents of Samuel Oyler born 1756, who is often confused with Samuel Oyler, born 1765
  • Mary Oyler born about 1716  (no record of this birth but there are clues that she was the daughter of Thomas and Mary). She married Daniel Pettit in 1737.

There were probably other children between 1712 and 1727 but there is no record of them.  Mary (Walter) Oyler died 3rd Sept. 1727 at the age of 47. She was described as a “dissenter”* in the parish record.

Thomas Oyler married again in 1728, to another Mary (surname unknown). His second wife Mary died 26th Jan 1763 in Hawkhurst.  Thomas Oyler was buried in Hawkhurst on 6th Mar 1749.  The children of Thomas and his second wife Mary were:

  •       Thomas Oyler born 1728,
  •       John Oyler born 1730 Married Ann?. He died in 1765
  •       Samuel Oyler born 1732 (died in infancy).

*English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

They originally agitated for a wide reachingProtestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell. King James I of England, VI of Scotland had said "no bishop, no king"; Cromwell capitalised on that phrase, abolishing both upon founding the Commonwealth of England. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the episcopacy was reinstalled and the rights of the Dissenters were limited: the Act of Uniformity 1662 required Anglican ordination for all clergy, and many instead withdrew from the state church. These ministers and their followers came to be known as Nonconformists, though originally this term referred to refusal to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than separation from it.

Dissenters opposed state interference in religious matters, and founded their own churches,educational establishments, and communities; some emigrated to the New World. [From Wikipedia]

Thomas Oyler 1728 (son of Thomas and his second wife Mary) was my great x5 grandfather. 

Thomas Oyler was born in 1728 in Benenden, Kent and married Elizabeth Osborne on 29th Oct.1755 in Hawkhurst, Kent.  Elizabeth Osborne was born in 1734 and died in 1794 in Hawkhurst, Kent. At marriage Thomas was 27 and Elizabeth was 21.  Witnesses: John Osborne and William Exeter.  Thomas Oyler died 12th July 1764 at the age of 36. His widow was 30 years old.  Thomas and Elizabeth had two children.

  •     George Oyler, born 1755 (There is a record of a burial of George Oyler, "a youth" in 1771)
  •     Susan Oyler born in 1760.   Married, 1793 to John Smith Witnesses: Thomas Pettit and John Smith,


After Thomas died his widow Elizabeth, bore more children, possibly three:

  •     Samuel Oyler born 1765
  •     Thomas Oyler born 1767
  •     George Oyler born 1779

There is a record in the Parish Register of Hawkhurst of a George Oyler born 6th June 1779 to Elizabeth Oyler (a widow), it is stated that the birth was illegitimate.  There is no proof that this Elizabeth Oyler is the widow of Thomas Oyler but it is probable.  The father is unknown, Elizabeth would have been 45 years old at the time of this birth. It is known that Samuel had a brother George and a brother Thomas.

There is proof that Thomas, George and Samuel were brothers (although their father could not have been Thomas Oyler).

In the archives at Cranbrook there is a letter of Administration  stating that:

 “Jan 1st 1818 - George and Samuel Oyler two of the three sons of the above Thomas Oyler deceased convey to their brother Thomas their 2 x 1/3 shares in: “All that messuage carpenters yard, workshop which said messuage with two pieces of land 5 acres formerly in occupation of Edward Bridgland was divided into three dwellings in the occupation of Thomas Oyler, Samuel and James Watson”.

MESSUAGE - a dwelling house together with its outbuildings and the adjacent land appropriated to its use. [from Norman French: household, perhaps through misspelling of Old French mesnage ménage]

Chart to illustrate the descendants of Thomas Oyler and of Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler

(Note: I have presumed that Mary Oyler was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Osborne)

Tho Oyler & E Osborne chart

Samuel Oyler the son of Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler was born 27th May, 1765.   

The entry for Samuel’s baptism in the Parish Register reads: “1765 05:27, Samuel, son of ? & Elizabeth OYLER widow [of Thomas, bur. 12 Jul. 1764?] Born May. 14 1765”. Thomas Oyler died more than 10 months before Samuel’s birth. Samuel appears to be illegitimate as he could not have been the son of Thomas Oyler, but there is no record to show who his father was. In the register, where the father's name should be there is a "?" , other entries in the register where the child was born after the father's death show "posth", abbreviation for posthumous. As Elizabeth had two more illegitimate births after Samuel it is quite likely that he too was illegitimate.

I believe that Thomas Pettit, a cousin of Thomas Oyler, may have been Samuel’s father. Thomas Pettit, born 1738, was the eldest son of Daniel Pettit and Mary (Oyler) Pettit, born 1716 (who I believe may have been the daughter of Thomas Oyler and Mary Walter).   

Some of the clues that Thomas Pettit may have been the father of Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler’s three youngest children are:

  • Samuel Oyler named his first son Thomas Pettit Oyler; 
  • A Thomas Pettit was witness to the marriage of Susan Oyler (Samuel Oyler’s daughter) in 1793; 
  • Thomas Pettit was also witness to the marriage of Thomas Oyler (a half-brother of Samuel) in 1790. 
  • There was no prior use of the name Pettit in the Oyler family. 

There is no record of Thomas Pettit marrying Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler or anyone else.

IN addition, in 2015 I submitted a DNA sample to Ancestry.co.uk. for autosomal testing.  Autosomal DNA is inherited from both parents which allows descendants to match their DNA to both maternal and paternal lines.  If, my assumption that Thomas Pettit was the father of Samuel Oyler then I should find a match with others of that name in the DNA database.  I found 30 matches which makes me confident that my theory was correct.

In addition to matching my DNA to Pettit ancestors I also matched with Billington, Osborne, Walters and Potter

Thomas Oyler   son of Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler was born in 1767.

The fourth child born to Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler when she was 33 and two years after Thomas Oyler’s death in 1767.  Thomas married Elizabeth Brazier (or Brayzyer) 8th October 1790 in Winchelsea, Sussex. The banns were read in Hawkhurst 26th Sept. 1790.

George Oyler son of Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler born June 6th 1779, in Hawkhurst

George would have been the fifth child born to Elizabeth (Osborne) Oyler when she was 45 years old.
George married Elizabeth Rabson in 1800.

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