The family is of ancient lineage, taking its name from the estate of Hatcliffe. The name is first noted in Templar records circa 1184 showing
one Ricardo de Haddeclive as witness of a charter. The next record is for Willelmo Fid' de Haddeclive, circa 1200, who witnessed a grant made by William Priest of Owersby. Between 1231-1240 he witnessed a quitclaim made by Isobel, widow of Walter, son of Gerard of Croxby, and between 1240-1253 he also witnessed a grant by William son of Hugh of Thorpe, to the church of Lincoln, of half a bovate of land in Laceby.
The 'Testa de Nevill' or 'Book of Fees' gives us the first record of ownership by the Hatcliffe family. It states that in A.D. 1242 Alan de Haddeclive held the estate of Hatcliffe.
One branch of the Hatcliffes lived in the village,
while another lived in Grimsby and Ravendale it is difficult at times to
know which branch of the family they are from. References to individual
members of the family vary
PLACE IN LINCOLNSHIRE SOCIETY
The house was built during the reign of Henry VIII and constructed of stone taken from the ruins of the church of St. Mary in Grimsby. It is said that a curse was placed on these stones that would bring ruin to anyone who used them.
The estates of Hatcliffe and Gunnerby did pass out of Hatcliffe hands when they were sold to the Pierrepoints of Nottinghamshire in 1612/3.
THE EMINENT DR. WILLIAM HATTECLYFFE
He was exempted from an act of resumption the following year, when he was described as, "Doctor in Medicyne and Physician sworn for the saufte of our person", and is stated to have Forty pounds yearly.
On the accession of Edward IV he transferred his services to that monarch, and in 1464 was exempted from a act of resumption , 'being one of the royal physicians. He also became secretary to Edward IV, and on 1 Sept 1464 was sent to treat with Francis Duke of Brittany, for a truce. On 5 Jan 1468 he was engaged in the negotiations for the marriage of the King's sister Margaret to Charles the Bold.
The earl of Worcester (John Tiptoft) was executed but the other three did not die as Paston had thought. John Pilkington went on to fight and be knighted at Tewkesbury in 1471. Fowler, a London fishmonger, who had been J.P. and alderman of Oxford Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. And William survived, and became Master of Request and a royal councillor when Edward IV was restored.
In 1471, Dr William was employed in the negotiations with James III of Scotland. In Dec 1472 he went to Utrecht as Ambassador to the Hanse. In 1473 he was negotiating with Burgundy in Brussels. In Dec 1474 he went to treat with the Emperor Frederick for an alliance against Louis XI, and in Mar 1475 he was sent with Lord Dacre to Margaret, wife of the Duke of Burgundy, to seek her help in reminding the duke of his treaty obligations. The Duke at that time was laying siege to the town of Neuss.
In July 1476 Dr William was ambassador to Christiern of Denmark. He retained his office of secretary till 1480 when a coadjutor was given him on account of his age; he died later the same year. As requested in his will he was buried in Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey.
1518 Obituary for another William Hatcliffe.
William Hatteclyffe's brother John served under him in Ireland as Clerk of the Ordinance. In this John Hatteclyffe's will he mentions his cousin Richard Thimelby. John and William's mother was Anne Thimelby, sister of Sir William Thimelby of Irnham, Lincolnshire. Her spouse was William Hatcliffe of Hatcliffe. (For further information about the Thimelby line contact Sheila Thimelby Smith @ <email@example.com>
In 1521 and 1525 another William Hatcliffe appears as Mayor of Grimsby. He also sat for the borough in Parliament in 1525 and 1529. 1545.
EFFIGY OF YET ANOTHER WILLIAM HATCLYF
When Sir William died his sons were very young. William, the heir, died aged 12 or 13 in 1558 or 1559, this left Thomas as the heir. Since Thomas was still a minor he was declared a ward of the Queen, and his estates were placed in the hands of his mother as guardian. In 1564, he matriculated at Cambridge as Thomas Hatlefe a pensioner from Jesus College. His brother George followed a year and a half later, also as a pensioner from Jesus.
In 1567, Thomas went down from Cambridge and by the end of the year he married Judith, Daughter of Sir Francis Ayscough [or askew, brother of Anne Askew the famous Protestant martyr, burnt 1546] of South Kelsey, Lincolnshire. Ayscough was one of the wealthiest magnates of the county. Thomas Hatcliffe's brother George married Judith's Ayscough's sister Elizabeth.
TO BE MR. W.H.' OR NOT TO BE MR. W.H.'
Granted at birth with exceptional gifts of beauty, mind and character, William Hatcliffe was the heir of an ancient line of gentry with good family connections, his aunt being the daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, and Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Admiral and Lord Steward.
As a fellow-commoner of Jesus College, Cambridge, William ranked with the nobility. The curriculum offerred useful grounding for both pulpit and bar and on November 4 1586, at the age of 18 William was admitted to Gray's Inn. It was here that he supposedly met William Shakespeare - when he was elected Prince of Purpoole and presented one of the Gray's Inn comedies on January 16, 1587/8.
SHE NEVER PROMISED HIM A ROSE GARDEN
By this time many of William's peers in poorer finances had already made wealthy matches and it seems that in the winter of 1595/96, at around age 27, Will's thoughts finally turned to shoes and rice and the pitter patter of tiny Hatcliffe feet.
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHOM
Dorothy Kay was William's junior by nine years. When William had entered Gray`s Inn she had been a child of ten. We learn from her father John Kay`s will of 1589 that he left her his leases in the dwellings and grounds of his manor of Laleham together with £100 payable on her 21 birthday or her marriage. Dorothy Kay was clearly not the rich match Will needed.
Even though the marriage was beset from the start with financial problems, there is nothing to suggest it was not a happy match. William cannot be fully blamed for the difficulties he got himself into, as he had been raised above his class and had learned to live on a scale too liberal for the size of his estate.
A CASH FLOW PROBLEM
Thomas also settled on his son the inheritance of his two adjoining manors of Hatcliff and Gunnerby with the proviso that on coming into possession after his death William was to pay out of his profits annuities of 20 marks each to his four younger brothers, Francis, George, Edward and Christopher.
When we look at Will`s life it is significant that his father did give his son the manor of West Ravendale outright on his marriage, but made it out to a quartet of trustees. This was probably to William disposing of the property thought to be worth 200 pound a year ( a considerable sum in the 16th century).
When Will finally became the owner of the Hatcliffe estates he was aged about 62, even then he had to wait a further two years before he was granted administration.
From numerous Chancery proceedings in later years, it is clear that from the start Will proved incapable of running the estate and keeping out of debt.
William and Dorothy had two daughters, Dorothy and Judith, before their son and surviving heir Thomas, who was baptized in St Mary`s Church, Hatcliffe 29 Jan 1605/6. 18 years after the sonnets had demanded that he beget a son. (If you believe Hotson's theory.)
On 16 Sep 1606 Will`s sister Faith married Thomas Glapthorn of Whitlesea, Cambridgeshire. She was Glapthorn's third wife and their first surviving son, Henry baptized 28 July 1610, later became a minor Caroline dramatist. Faith's husband, Thomas, was however at a later date to take a hand in Will`s affairs with attempts to repair his ruinous estate. The results apparently satisfied neither man. Meanwhile William had lost both his mother, Judith Ayscough Hatcliffe (buried in Hatcliffe church 2 Nov 1604) and his mother-in-law Bridget Kay (at Hackney 2 May 1601. Of the parents only Thomas was now left.
THE SONNET' CONNECTION
THE DREADED CURSE IS TAKING EFFECT
William Hatcliffe sank deeper and deeper into debt, four of his bonds of this time are recorded as follows, 1611, 29 June, to Francis Pierrpoint and Christopher Molneux of Gray`s Inn esquire 1200 pounds, 1612, 31 March to Francis Barne of Woolwich Kent, esquire 800 pounds, 1612/3 27 Feb to Philip Gerard of Gray`s Inn, esquire, 1000 pounds and 1613 27 May, to the same and Henry Travers of London gent, 4000 pounds. An enormous amount of money in those days!
Two more years and things were worse. William himself mentions more debts due to George Arlington and others totalling 1489 pounds. In 1616 brother in law Thomas Glapthorn, his sister Faith`s husband, came to his aid and in return for a seven year lease of West Ravendale undertook to pay off the debt of 1489 pounds. Even this was not enough, and later in 1616, to clear the debt to the Pierrepoints, Glapthorn put in 1000 pounds with which William was expected not only to satisfy them, but also to secure Glapthorn a new lease of the two manors for 30 years at a rent of 400 pounds a year. This deal appears to have gone through although Glapthorne protested that his dealings with his brother-in-law had ruined him, whilst on the other hand William complained that he had been cheated and robbed.
By the end of 1616 two-thirds of William`s inheritance was gone, lost to the Hatcliffe family for ever.
William did not obtain the letter himself but through a Lincolnshire contemporary, Sir William Pelham, who had been at Gray`s Inn with him. Pelham`s heir, young Sir William, had married Francis, daughter of Lord Conway and it was to lady Frances Conway that William wrote laying all his misfortunes before her. She was so moved that she wrote to her powerful father asking him to intercede.
Perhaps William's letter did have some effect as he was not ousted from West Ravendale manor and lived out his remaining years there.
By the time William made his last will and testatment his mind must have been wandering as he mentioned two unmarried daughters who would have been about 30 years-old at the time. Of his son and heir, Thomas who survived him 21 years, nothing appears in the will. His brother Francis, present at the time, is not mentioned either. William left what little there was in the care of his wife Dorothy.
As requested in his last instructions William Hatcliffe esq. was not buried in the ancestral church at Hatcliffe but was laid to rest in the priory chapel of his own manor of West Ravendale.
Alas poor Will! All that remains of his resting place are a few ruined walls on the land of Priory Farm.
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Whilst a student at Cambridge Vincent was converted to the Roman Catholic faith and in 1626 he entered the society of Jesus and assumed, for some unknown reason, the name of John Spencer.
During his life he was an 'able controversialist' and wrote a number of books on the subject. He appears to have outlived most of his line.
What happened after William Hatcliffe esq. lost the family fortune? Ay, there's the rub!... For a more detailed account of the Hatclifffe Family fortunes from the Norman Invasion in 1066, up until the 21st century, you will need to consult the Hatcliffe Family Chronicles on CD.
We would like to thank Ron Smith of Lincolnshire
for supplying most of the details of the Hatcliffe family history outlined