Lawyer and Steward to the Manor Court
c1572 - 1642
An armigerous family
Francis Poulton (sometimes Pulton, Powton or Powlton) may have come from a Wiltshire family but this has not been established. He actually married Susan Foster, from a Lancashire family, where there are records of Poulton families.*
Francis was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1592. In 1593 he was conjointly Master of the Revels, a Christmastide office held by a student. Called to the Bar in 1600, he later became a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn, one of the Commissioners for the Compensation of Alienations and a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and Surrey.
Steward to the Manor Court of Isleworth Syon
More specifically relevant to Twickenham, he became Steward to the Manor Court of Isleworth Syon and came to live in a property later known as The Grove at the corner of Heath Lane and Cross Deep. It is possible that he had this house built for him although the tradition that it was designed by Inigo Jones cannot be verified.
The first reference to Poulton in Twickenham is the baptism of his eldest son William (Powton) in 1611, the first of eleven children born to him and his wife Susannah, née Foster, eldest daughter of John Foster Esq of Lancaster.
Memorial in St Mary's Church
Francis died in 1642 leaving his Twickenham estate to his wife for her lifetime and she remained there until her own death in 1656. The estate then went to the younger sons, one of whom was Henry. Henry and a daughter, Frances Morton erected a memorial to their parents in St Mary's Church, suitably inscribed:
Neere this place lyeth interred the body of Francis Poulton, Esqre, sometime Bencher of Lincoln's Inn, also one of the Commissioners for the Compensation of Alienations, also a Justice of the Peace for Midd. And Surrey. Hee also in his lifetime was imployed in many and great offices of Trust, which he discharged faithfully. Hee married Susan, the Eldest Daughter of John Foster, of Lancaster, Esqr., by whom hee had Issue six Sonnes and five Daughters. Hee departed this life the 11th of May AD 1642. She yett liveth, but with him to be desolved and to be with Christ.
The memorial survived the collapse of the church in 1713 although probably damaged. It formerly included a canopy after the style of the time but this has been lost.
At some point Francis acquired the manors and rectories of Pirton and Ickleford near Hitchen in Hertfordshire from Sir Archibald Douglas. At the time of his death there was a legal dispute in train between him and Lady Lucy Hastings, possibly to do with the title. This was resolved by his eldest son, and heir, William and Henry. William then had to resolve a further dispute with his mother who claimed (a"Writ of Dower") that she had not received her one-third share of the properties, or the rents.
* The research of Jerome Betts has, in so far as the records are complete, eliminated any direct connection with Ferdinand Poulton of Desborough who also had a son, Francis whose eldest son was also called William: a coincidence which has misled genealogical researchers. It is, perhaps, worth noting that the form of the coat of arms of Ferdinand is similar to that of Francis, shown here.
Anthony Beckles Willson, The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham, 2000
Mary S & Charlotte Thorpe, Biographical Sketches of Lincoln's Inn Men 1600-1919, unpublished typescript in Lincoln's Inn Library.
R S Cobbett, Memorials of Twickenham, Smith Elder, 1872
Dictionary of National Biography (Pulton)