[We are indebted to Roger Phillips for the following information]
This history provides the family tree for the Wilders back through the Philips family
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS PHILLIPS (circa 1720-1763) and DESCENDANTS
This is an account of Thomas Phillips (1720-63) of Southwark in England and his children William (1752-1828), Joseph (1755-68), George (1757-1813), and Elizabeth (1760-1808) and their descendants. The males in the first two generations were highly entrepreneurial – Thomas grew substantially wealthy as a gin distiller and pub owner, William greatly increased his financial inheritance through shrewd property investments, Joseph set him self up as a tin plate maker but died before his business could fully develop, and George established a successful chinaware business that was to remain in family hands until the early twentieth century. Succeeding generations would see further business initiatives (some successful, many not) while religious occupations (Church of England, Baptist, and Mormon), professions (school masters, medical doctors, lawyers,
accountants), scientists and engineers, military careers (including admirals and generals), skilled tradesmen, artists, diplomats, government bureaucrats, and general labourers round out the list. Earlier generations saw few career women with the exception of some who were governesses while from the 1900’sonwards we note some who were lawyers, physicians, and scientists.
Thomas Phillips died in 1763 and his burial is recorded in the parish records of St George-the-Martyr, Southwark (now a part of greater metropolitan London). We know from his will his wife’s name was Elizabeth but have not discovered her maiden name or her birth date. She remarried after Thomas died but the marriage was short, she died in 1767. Also in the parish records are the birth of a son Thomas in 1750 and his death at age ten in 1860. From the senior Thomas’s will we know he was a distiller and was the landlord of the Black Lion Inn on Mint Street, Southwark, and that he had three living sons William, Joseph, and George and a daughter Elizabeth at the time of his death (all recorded in the parish records) and that his wife was carrying an unborn child. The latter’s birth and christening as Jane is recorded by the parish in 1764. Of Jane we know nothing further but as to the four others we know a fair amount that is detailed in subsequent sections.
His will demonstrates that Thomas was quite well off. In addition to owning the gin distillery and the Black Lion pub he had nine rent producing tenancies in Southwark. His will also mentions a brother William but gives no information as to his residence. We have no information as to whether or not he was a religious man (his oldest surviving son William was just 11 years old when his father died;
he went on to acquire several advowsons in the Church of England when he was older but his motives were unclear, while Joseph and George, the other two surviving sons became staunch non-conformists and were baptised as adults along with sister Elizabeth at the Grafton Street Baptist church in 1779).
Thomas’s will reads in part "…and in case my said Wife shall marry again Then I2 will and desire that the said John Griffith and John Caravella shall have the sole Management of my said Childrens Legacys and receive the Rents of all my said Messuages or Tenements except those before given to my said Wife". And Elizabeth did marry again, in October 1764, to a William Baker (? - ? ),occupation "distiller". They had a daughter Ann Baker in November 1765.Elizabeth died in August 1767 leaving as orphans the children of Thomas (William, then 15; Joseph, 12; George, 8; Elizabeth, 7; and Jane, if she survived, 3) – who looked after them has not been discovered but at least their financial needs seemed to have been provided for. (It is thought that William Baker remarried a few years later but research is ongoing). Given that three of the children became Baptists and were baptized as adults in Soho at ages 24, 20, and 19, it is quite possible that whoever undertook their care moved the family
from Southwark to central London before they were old enough to leave home. Whatever did happen, John Caravella died in May 1782 having named his wife Sarah as his sole beneficiary (there were no living Caravella children). Sarah apparently carried on the earthenware business until her death in 1783 and provided in her will that George Phillips, then engaged as her "shopman", would have the right of first refusal to buy the business at a fair appraised value. He also was granted one quarter of the value of the estate after a few minor bequests. In effect he was able to purchase the business for three quarters of its value. Clearly the childless Caravella’s had taken George under their wings but at what age is unclear. Elizabeth Phillips too is mentioned in the will (she was given a one guinea ring) but no mention is made of William, Joseph, or Jane. What happened to Thomas’s other executor, John Griffith of Red Cross Street, Southwark, and what role, if any, he played in the children’s upbringing has not been discovered.
Family lore, as recorded by the distinguished legal scholar Geoffrey C. Cheshire (a great-great-great grandson) has it that Thomas was a Scot, the eldest son of a Culloden rebel surnamed MacPhadreck who died in the battle in 1745. Supposedly the family lands were forfeited and Thomas fled to England, first establishing a distillery in York, then moving to Southwark where he amassed a large fortune as a gin distiller. It is more likely that the Scottish heritage is fiction rather than fiction. Records of participants on the rebel side at Culloden that have been searched so far reveal no name resembling MacPhadreck although it is admitted that quite a few combatants’ names are unknown. Further, to have fled Scotland in 1745, set up a distillery in York, and then moved to Southwark in time for the birth of his first son in 1750 is a tight timeline. Then too one wonders at the name George being used on two of his sons (the first George died at the age of 16 months and therefore is not mentioned earlier in this narrative) – it seems strange for a rebel to name a son George when it was under George II that the
family’s Scottish lands were purportedly seized by the crown! A further point making the Scottish theory unlikely is that the Phillips Y-DNA (the DNA passed on from father to son unchanged save for minor mutations) reveals that the male line was of Anglo-Saxon descent and while a Scot could have had Anglo-Saxon forebears this is not likely. Family lore passed down to today’s descendants of Thomas’s son William,3 whose story follows, was that William was the natural son of Louis Philippe, duc d’Orléans, a great-great-grandson of Louis XIII of France, partly "justified" by the fleur-de-lys on the arms William used (as seen on his memorial in St John the Baptist Church in Chipping Barnet) that were also used by both his sons. The use of fleur-de-lys on the arms of various Phillips families however can be traced back to the 1400’s. The comparison of Y-DNA of one living descendant of William with that of a descendant of one of his brothers shows they both are descended
from a common Phillips ancestor, i.e. Thomas, and unlikely to both be sons of another man. Coupled with the evidence of his father’s will and the apparent tight relationship with his brother-in-law (see Elizabeth (1760-1808) and descendants below) and his brother George’s son (see George(1759-1813)and descendants below) we can discount the duc d’Orleans theory out of hand.
Searches have failed to identify the original owner of the arms William used, either in Scotland or England. The College of Arms has searched its files for arms of similar description. Surprisingly it discovered quite a few Phillips families whose arms were almost identical except for the colours used, e.g. instead of a gold lion on a black background with silver fleur-de-lys a silver lion with gold
fleur-de-lys and other colour combinations. The specific arms used by William and later his sons were never officially granted. Either they were mistakenly used with different colours, i.e. they were legitimate Phillips arms but had been passed on incorrectly from earlier generations, meaning that Thomas was a real Phillips or William, clearly upwardly mobile, just "adopted" arms similar but different from other Phillips. Whatever the case both his sons William Joseph George and Frederick Parr were described as "armigers" in contemporary citations. (In 1928one of William’s direct descendants did register arms that differed from that used by William).
William (1752-1828) and descendants
William, Thomas’s oldest surviving son, was born in 1752 and his death in 1828was reported in a brief announcement in the London Times. He is buried in avault with the second of his three wives in Saint John the Baptist Church, Chipping Barnet, where his son Frederick Parr by his third wife had a stained
glass window installed in his memory.
He had three children by his first wife whose surname we do not know as we have been unable to find a definite marriage record -- her first name was Frances as shown in the parish records of Saint Giles in the Fields where their son William Joseph George Phillips (1779-1863) was christened. The two other children of William and Frances were Frances Ann (c1775 -1856) and Elizabeth(1781-1845) -- for daughter Frances Ann we have been unable to locate a christening record but working back from information at her death have tentatively established her birth year as about 1775. The birth date of 1775 clashes with the only possible marriage record we have been able to locate for her parents, a William Phillips and a Frances Petchell (or Pitchell) who were married at St Marylebone on 23 September 1777 (we had a professional handwriting expert compare William’s signature on the marriage certificate with known later signatures but the result was inconclusive). Frances Ann was
married under license as a minor in 1795 with her future husband declaring under oath that she was older than 20 but less than 21 years old. Nevertheless we cannot preclude her actually being as young as 17, which would mean that her age at death was stated incorrectly.
Somewhere along the line William had acquired a mistress (either while his first wife was still alive or during his first widower hood). Her name is not known but her son by William was John William Phillips Marshall (1785-1850).
Some time in 1797 William married Elizabeth Conner (the widow of a Peter Bigot Wilder, a one time cook and wine merchant who died in March 1797) for what was to be a short-lived marriage as she died in January 1798. While we have yet to discover a death date for William’s first wife Frances it obviously preceded his second marriage and possibly was quite a lot earlier. William’s daughter Frances Ann had married Elizabeth and Peter Wilder’s son in 1795,thus for a short while Elizabeth was both a mother-in-law and step-mother to her husband’s daughter! We know William would have met Elizabeth no later than the 1795 wedding of their children and indeed he had moved to Pall Mall and
was a neighbour of Elizabeth’s no later than 1795 and possibly earlier. Elizabeth, then married to Peter Wilder, had property in her own name in Pall Mall from as early as 1793, not usual for a married woman. In 1796 Peter Wilder was reported by the Times of London as being a bankrupt wine merchant and in March 1997he died in debtor’s prison caused by "mortification of the arm" (an earlier bankruptcy in 1783 was reported in the London Gazette). In a brief mention of is death in Gentleman’s Magazine he was described as a cook which begs the question how does a cook merit mention in that type of magazine. Details of his bankruptcy reveal debtors in the food supply business. A possible explanation is that he was an 18th century "celebrity chef" operating a club from his Pall Mall address.
Following Elizabeth’s death William remained unmarried until 1815 when he wed Mary Jane Abbiss (about 1790-1842). This third marriage was not without twists of its own. A rich widow Mary Abbiss née Parkin died in 1813 leaving a will dated 1805 in which she named her brother and William Phillips guardians of her two children, Mary Jane (who was 15 when the will was written) and her brother John Abbiss, describing William and her brother as individuals in whom she had "the most implicit confidence in their integrity and friendship", and dividing the estate between her two children. At her death both children were of age so the guardianship was not put in place but one wonders whether Mrs. Abbiss had ever contemplated that William, whose own children were ten to fifteen years older than Mary Jane, would end up marrying her. They had two children, Frederick Parr Phillips (1818-1903) and Mary Jane (1816-66).
A recurring story about William is his rescue by a dog when he was about to drown. Here is one account: Of the aptitude of the Newfoundland dog to take to the water, and courageously help drowning or endangered persons, the instances are abundant. We will cite only two. A Mr. William Phillips, while bathing at Portsmouth, ventured out too far, and was in imminent peril. Two boatmen, instead of starting off to assist him, selfishly strove to make a hard bargain with some of the bystanders, who urged them. While the parley was going on, a Newfoundland dog, seeing the danger, plunged into the water, and saved the struggling swimmer. It is pleasantly told that Mr. Phillips, in gratitude for his deliverance, bought the dog from his owner, a butcher, and thereafter gave an annual festival, at which the dog was assigned the place of honour, with a good ration of beefsteaks. He had a picture of the
dog painted by Morland, and engraved by Bartolozzi; and on all his table linen he had this picture worked in the tissue, with the motto, 'Virum extuli mari.’ Several paintings of the dog by Morland are still in the possession of various family members, not only descendants of William but also those of his brother George. In addition to the paintings William had a crest designed (not to be confused with the arms) that showed a dog saving a drowning man.
We don't know what he did for a living but William died a rich man (possibly from shrewdly managing his inheritance, with freeholds and leaseholds on valuable central London properties) with a personal estate (exclusive of the freeholds and leaseholds) worth 25,000 pounds (the purchasing power of 1.7 million pounds sterling in 2006). Some indirect evidence suggests that he might have been a
wine merchant in the 1780’s. Demonstrating his upward financial mobility are records of owned or leased property in well-to-do areas of late 18th and early 19thcentury London such as Pall Mall, Oxford Street, Grosvenor Place, and Cavendish Square. During his lifetime he acquired many "advowsons" entitling him to name the vicars of several Church of England parishes. Executors of his estate were his son William Joseph George, natural son John William Phillips Marshall, brother-in-law John Abbiss, and nephew Jonathan Phillips, the son of William’s brother George (see below). In addition to direct descendants those who inherited properties from him were his nephew Jonathan.
William seemed to keep himself out of the limelight – his death produced only one line in the Times. Nevertheless he was apparently quite influential behind the scenes. Dr. Samuel Parr (described by some as the Whig "Dr. Johnson") at one point wrote to him requesting that William intercede on a certain matter with Colonel John McMahon, principal secretary to the Prince Regent. One suspects
that the rapid rise of William’s son-in-law (whose father was bankrupt, then died in debtor’s prison) from ensign in the army to major (eight months!) and on to become a knighted Lieutenant-General, the appointment of his brother-in-law (despite being a Baptist) as Surgeon Extraordinary to the Prince Regent and later when he became king as George IV, and his natural son’s rise to Rear Admiral were at least partially due to his influence (information on these careers is to be found later in the narrative).
William’s decision to be buried with his second wife while his third wife was still alive (and presumably mourning him) is a mystery. Did he choose wife number two so as not be seen by the children of wives one and three as favouring one or the other? Or was Elizabeth the true love of his life (in which case we might conclude he had been romantically involved with her long before Peter’s death)?
Following are descriptions of William’s descendants through each of his children.
Frances Ann (abt 1775-1856) and descendants
William’s oldest daughter Frances married an army officer, Francis John Conner Wilder (1775-1824), the son of Peter and Elizabeth (née Conner) Wilde (see above). It is surprising that Peter found enough money to have his son tutored by the Rev. Samuel Parr at a school established by Parr (a sort of
breakaway from Harrow) and then at Eton. Even more surprising would be where the money came from to buy Francis his various army commissions, especially since Francis rose quickly in the ranks rising from ensign to major in his first year in the army, aged only 19. Five years later he was a Lieutenant-Colonel. The suspicion arises that father-in-law William may have financed all or part of his
education and army appointments. Between 1807 and 1818 Francis held a seat in the British House of Commons, this despite the fact that we find him serving as a full Colonel in Malta in 1809! During this period he rose to Major General and was knighted in 1818. He was promoted Lieutenant-General in 1821. Both Frances Ann and Francis John Connor are buried at Binfield, site of their country manor house.
The Wilders had fourteen children, six of whom, all boys died, before reaching adulthood:
?Of the surviving boys William Samuel Parr Wilder (1796-1863) was a Church of England clergyman and the first of six Wilders to serve as rector of Saint Mary’s, Great Bradley, Suffolk. He married Augusta Louisa Cosby (1794-1861) and they adopted her niece but there were no biological children. The amily bible left by Frances was inherited by William but its whereabouts is not known.
?Son Charles Phillips Wilder (1808-56) was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and never married.
?The third son, John McMahon Wilder (1813-84), was a Church of England clergyman. He married his half-first cousin Maria Phillips Marshall (see below under John William Phillips Marshall) and they had 16 children. Their story is contained in the section The John McMahon Wilder Family
.?Elizabeth Phillips Wilder (1798-1867) married clergyman Ellis Burroughes(1797-1854) and of their three children:
? Ellis Phillips Burroughes (1825-43) died without issue
? Randall Robert Burroughes (1827-88) was a colonel in the army and later a Member of Parliament married to Sarah Jane Bax (1832-1909) with five daughters:
Jane Lillian Burroughes (1857-1925),
Ethel Ironside Burroughes (1858-1931),
Amy Elizabeth Burroughes (1861-1933),
Violet Ellys Burroughes (1864-1919) never married and we have not determined where they lived as adults while
Mabel Frances Burroughes(1860-?) could not be located post the 1871 census?
Frances Sarah Burroughes (1828-1903) who married back into the Phillips line, espousing George Newham Phillips (1813-70), her first cousin once removed (see under William Joseph George Phillips below for their family).
?Frances Phillips Wilder (1809-1884) married Francis Stainsby Conant Pigott (1809-63) who "lived on his own means" serving as a member of parliament and later as Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man. The story of their eight children and descendants is found below under Pigott/Carleton families.
Villa Marina, Douglas IOM. The new seat of the Lieutenant Governor
Street banner in Douglas to welcome Francis Pigott
?Caroline Phillips Wilder (1810-71) married her first cousin William Parr Phillips (1806-75) and their family is reported on below under William Joseph George Phillips.
?Emma Phillips Wilder (1810-83) had a childless marriage to clergyman Richard Paynton Pigott (1813-85).
?Eliza McMahon Wilder (1814-85) married clergyman Shreeve Botry Pigott (1812-77) whose brother Francis had married her sister Frances (see above). Details are given under the Shreve Pigott Family below. Shreeve was a rector at Great Bradley from 1864 to 1869 and is listed on the scroll or Rectors that is shown below and hangs at the back of the Church
The John McMahon Wilder Family
Son McMahon Charles Gosselin Wilder (1842-80) married Alice Mary Hemery(1852-1927) and they had three daughters,
Mabel Frances died as an infant
Ethel Leila Hemery Wilder (1871-?)
Evelyn Augusta Wilder (1875-?)are thought to have never married but searches for more information are still in progress.
John Trafalgar Wilder (1843-92), a Church of England clergyman, married Annie Mary Foster (1843-98) producing
Harry Carleton Wilder (1870-1941)and Evelyn Amy Maria Wilder (1873) who died aged 6 months. Harry Carleton Wilder married Agnes Knight (?-?) and they had one son John William Wilder (1904-34)
George Gordon Wilder (1846-76), a Church of England clergyman, married Honora Elizabeth Graham Smith (1853-1916) with children: ?Graham Marshall Wilder (1874- 55), who became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army and married Helen Alice Denison (1891-51) with children: