The Twickenham Museum
People : Landowners and Gentry

Sir Gideon Aunsham

c1560 - 1631

Gideon Aunsham was of a family earlier known by the name of Agmondeshem (or Agmondisham), who were established in Heston during the 15th century. Agmondseham was the ancient name for Amersham in Buckinghamshire: the family probably coming from that place. Agmondishams, not necessarily of the same stock are also recorded at East Horsley in Surrey (the manor of Rowbarnes), Apps Manor at Walton on Thames (John in 1541 and his son Francis after 1546) and County Kildare in Ireland. Just as the name of the town was abbreviated phonetically, so branches of the family become Aunsham, with variants such as Amondisham, Ansham, Ansam and Awnsham. There are still Agmondishams today.

Gideon Aunsham was knighted on 23 July 1603, by James I on his accession, for a service not yet identified. It can be assumed that he swore loyalty to his monarch, perhaps in company with Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, who certainly did although, later implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, Percy spent 17 relatively comfortable years in the Tower of London.

Aunsham was probably born at Heston although he moved to Isleworth and was buried in the Church of All Saints, on 23 April 1631. His first wife Awdrey, probably the mother of their nine recorded children, died and was buried at Isleworth in 1592. The children were Gideon (c1576-1641), John (d1582), Martha (1582-1601), Thomas (b1583), Mary (b1584), Richard (1586-1592), Alice (1587-1587), Jeames (1590-1592), and Susan (b1592).

He married again in 1601, Anne Barradaile who died on 23 December 1613. She had been the widow of William Barradaile, citizen and Merchant Taylor of London. Her burial in the church of St Benet Fink, London, was recorded in a memorial there, but is no longer to be seen: the original church was destroyed in the Fire of London, rebuilt to a design of Sir Christopher Wren and demolished in 1844.

Lym Mead, Twickenham

Although domiciled in Isleworth, where he is recorded as the holder of land in 1593, Sir Gideon Aunsham also held land in the parish of Twickenham, for which he paid church rates. An entry in the Churchwardens' Accounts for 1607 (the earliest to survive) notes a payment of 16/- for some glebe land known as Lym Mead. He continued to pay this rate until his death in 1631. After this his son Gideon took over the land, perhaps sub-letting it in 1636 to Matthew Poulton, probably one of the 6 sons of Francis Poulton.

Later, according to the 1649 Survey of the Rectories and Manors of Isleworth and Twickenham, another Gideon (described as Gidion Amondisham alias Ansam) took, or renewed, a 21 year lease of “all that gleabe land being meadow, commonly called Lynn Mead…(and) all those tithes...except the presentation of the vicarages of the churches”. The lessors were the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, made patrons of the two livings and owners of the great tithes, by Edward VI in 1547. Described at that time as of about 9 acres lying south of the New River and north of the Common Field, this land was listed in the Enclosure Award of 1817 as Lymm Mead, extending to 8 acres 1 rood 22 perches. As Plot no74, it was claimed, together with much adjacent land, and awarded to William Pulsford Esq, MP.

The land is actually north of the New River (now the Duke's River), bisected by the railway line, with the Chertsey Road (A316) running along its northern boundary, the Meadway along its western boundary and a part secured as permanent open space as the Kneller Gardens Recreation Ground, the tennis courts and a stretch of the Crane Park river walk. The land is not identified on Ralph Treswell's map of 1607, nor on Moses Glover's map of 1635 where it seems to be a part of the 72 acre Town Field.

In the 1670s a Gideon and Richard owned the estate later known as Whitton Park.

Residence in Isleworth

Sir Gideon Aunsham probably lived in a property later inherited by his son, Gideon which, as noted on Glover's map, stood just behind the church in Isleworth described as “ Ye parsonidg Being a pecullier called Warden Hould Wh with Twitnham Are hield in lease of Ye Deanes of Windsore By Gideon Ansham Esquire”. The living was held by Nicholas Byfield, a Puritan, between 1615 and 1622. William Grant, of similar persuasion, was appointed in 1639, the vicarage not required by these incumbents during this period.

Gideon had married Jane, daughter of Richard Wyatt, of the Carpenter's Company of London and Hall Place, Shackleford, Surrey. Their first son, Gideon, was christened at Isleworth on 9 February 1619, dying on 25 February. There was another son, Robert, and four daughters, Margaret, Jane, Elizabeth and Sarah born during the period. A further son, also christened Gideon was born in 1625 but died that year. Gideon wrote his will in October 1641 and died early in the following year. He asked to be buried in the church at Heston alongside earlier members of his family. Named in his will were his eldest daughter Margaret Awnsham, Widow, Cousin Richard Awnsham, Minister of God, Cousin Nicholas Awnsham and his wife and Cousin William Wentworth. The will was witnessed by Henry Mildmay. His daughter Jane married Henry (d1664), of Heston, and they continued to live in the Isleworth House, Henry acquiring a new lease in 1650. There were four daughters, Elizabeth, Frances, Lucy and Mary.

Richard Wyatt (1554-1619), Jane's father was born in Slindon, Sussex. Although living at Shackleford, where he endowed some almshouses, when he died he was buried at Isleworth where there was a substantial brass memorial erected in his memory. He bequeathed all his property in Isleworth to his daughter Jane.

Gideon's son Robert died in 1643 aged 19, without direct heirs: his sisters became the beneficiaries of his considerable estate. His will (PCC Prob 11/191, Crane 15, 23 February 1642/3) included a bequest of £40 “for the relief of needy householders in two Middlesex parishes”.

Land in Whitton

Later, another Gideon, a haberdasher of London who had married Margaret, possibly his cousin, in 1663, paid rates in Whitton in 1672 as Captain Aunsham, and in 1673 as Captain Ansam for one Silver, presumably his tenant. This land or property, then amounting to about 12 acres which, in 1670, he bought jointly with his brother Richard (d1677), a vintner of London, has been identified as an early part of the estate later known as Whitton Park. The property was sold to a Richard Calamy in 1673 (LMA ACC 1149).

Residence in the neighbourhood

Members of this family are recorded living in the neighbourhood over a period of 200 years between 1474 and 1673. As well as Whitton and Isleworth; Hounslow, Southall, Ealing and East Bedfont are noted.

A Richard Aunsham is mentioned as a Mercer, and Alderman of London, in 1474. Audrey, wife of an earlier Gideon Aundesham is also mentioned. He erected a stone in her memory in 1502 in the churchyard of All Saints, Isleworth (“Pray for the sowl of Audry the wyf of Gedeon Aundesham, who died, 1502”). A later Richard, of Heston and married to Grace, is noted in 1537 as “jentylman”, Groom Porter to the King (Henry VIII). He obtained the remaining 12 years of the lease of the parsonage of East Bedfont on 6 April 1537 and, in 1539, a 21 year lease of the manor of Hounslow and the hospital site following annexation by Henry VIII. He may have died that year.

There was a Nicholas Awnsham, Gent, living in Hounslow in 1645. In 1656 he was listed, with the Quality, as a copyholder of the Manor of Isleworth Syon in the Agreement for Tenure with the Earl of Northumberland. Also noted were Henry Mildmay and his wife Jane, Margaret Aunsham, Spinster and Richard Aunsham, Gent. This Richard was a Vintner of London. Another Richard was appointed curate of St Mary's Islington in 1622. It may have been he who was mentioned in Gideon Aunsham's will as “Minister of God”, marrying, on 14 January 1621, Anne Proctor (London Marriage Licences, 1590-1700, p50).

The Aunshams were armigerous, their original coat of arms being described as: ermine. on a canton sable a fleur-de-lis or, and their crest as: a scallop shell or. below two palm branches vert. A later quartering included the arms of John Agmondisham of Apps Manor: Argent. a chevron azure between three boars heads sable with three cinqfoils or on the chevron.

Property at EalingIn 1795 Daniel Lysons wrote: “The manor of Coldhawe, or Cold-hall, belonged at an early period of the last century, to Gideon Aunsham, Esq. who inherited it, probably, from Richard Amondesham, or Aunsham, who lies buried in the chancel of Ealing church. In the year 1667 it was aliened by Jane, wife of Henry Mildmay, Esq. and Margaret Aunsham, sisters and coheirs of Robert Aunsham, Esq. to William Denington, Esq.”. Jane was the daughter of Gideon, christened at Isleworth on 2 May 1622.

Coldhall, had been sold in 1496 by Henry Barnes and his wife Anne, with 250 acres and rent, to Richard Awnsham, who had been accumulating land in Ealing since 1482 or earlier. Coldhall descended in the family, with other manors in Heston until 1643, when, on Robert's death, it passed to Jane and Margaret. Their tenure was disturbed by litigation until in 1667, by authority of parliament, they sold Coldhall to William Dennington (d1681) of the Inner Temple.

Further reading

Daniel Lysons, 'Isleworth', The Environs of London: volume 3: County of Middlesex (1795), pp 79-122. Also 'Ealing', The Environs of London: volume 2: County of Middlesex, pp223-240.
John Weever, Antient Funeral Monuments, 1767, ed. William Tooke
George James Aungier, The History and Antiquities of Syon Monastery in the Parish of Isleworth
E B Jupp, FSA, Genealogical Memoranda relating to Richard Wyatt of Hall Place Shackleford Citizen and Carpenter of London with an Account of his Almshouses foundation at Godalming
'Ealing and Brentford: Manors', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 123-128
Victoria County History, Surrey, Walton on Thames

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