The Worden Family in England

The Worden family in the United States cannot go back with certainty beyond Peter I who arrived here in 1623. However, we may assume those listed below are our ancestors.

William Werden I of Clayton-le-Woods; Burgess of Preston, 1542 - Had 2 Sons:
William Werden II of Clayton-le-Woods; Burgess 1542
Robert Werden of Clayton-le-Woods; Burgess 1542-62 & 1858 - Had 3 Sons:
William Werden III of Clayton-le-Woods; Gentleman, Burgess of Preston in 1582-1602-1622 & 1642
James Werden of Clayton; Burgess 1582 & 1602
Peter Werden of Clayton; Burgess 1582 & 1602 - Had a Son:
Peter Werden II of Clayton; Burgess 1622

A Burgess was a freeman renting land worth forty shillings anually and entitled to vote and hold office in local government. The law of premogeniture was the law in England and it means that the eldest son always inherits the family property, though the father by Will could leave small farms and leases of other lands to his younger sons. Therefore, William II and William III inherited the family fortune. Robert was the second son and Peter the third. So Peter I was a "yeoman", not a "gentleman" which meant in those days, a man who could live on his income without himself doing any manuel labor.

We believe that the name Werden came from the fording place on the brook that forms the boundary between Clayton and Leyland. It is definitely a topographical name. There were two Werden Halls in Leyland, but they are named for the land and no Werden family ever lived in them.

In Edward Baines' "History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster," published in 1831, there is a list of the gentry "who have arms but not residences" and Werden is listed among them.

There is an armorial window in the Church of St. Andrew in Leyland. Father Sawle does not know when or by whom it was installed, but suspects it was done by Susan Maria Harington around 1875. Susan Maria Harington does not mention the Werden family in her "History of the Haringtons of Farington and Worden," only the Werden property, but she did know there was a family because she put its Coat of Arms in the top left panel of the window. There is also a Worden Arms included in the long gallery of coats of arms in New Worden Hall.

SOURCE: Unknown: Obtained at Worden Hall in East Dennis, Cape Cod, Mass.

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