Woodlief Family: British Ancestry


These genealogical materials have been compiled primarily by Elizabeth Anne Kerman and Ann Woodlief. Please email at awoodlief@yahoo.com if you wish to copy, amend, or add. Lately they have been updated by Woody Thomas (merriwood at aol.com) and Paul Reed, "The English Ancestry of John Woodliffe of Berkeley Hundred, Virginia," The American Genealogist, July 2001, 191-200. You may continue the Woodliff/Woodlief line in Virginia and then later in North Carolina. Is there a connection between Nicholas Woodlief (Woodeleffe?) and these Woodliffs of Lincolnshire? (See http://http://www.woodliffe.co.uk/)

.See Woodlief Research List.


Drewe Woodlief (b. Peterley Manor, 1562-1627) and Katherine Duncombe (-1592)

They were married at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Nov 30, 1581. She was the daughter of John
Duncombe of Moreton in Dinton, Buckinghamshire. He was buried at Great Missenden and she at Dinton.

John Woodliffe,  (b. 1584) Emigrant to Virginia
Mary (bap. 17/3/1583)


Robert Woodliffe (b.Henley, ca. 1507-7 Jan, 1592-3) and Anne Drury

Robert's mother likely remarried while he was a boy, as he was educated in the law (at great expense) and became a member of the Inner Temple in London. He married Anne Drury [see genealogy below) in 1557. Robert was previously married to Jane Smith; they had no children. in 1551/52 he acquired Peterly Manor in Buckinghamshire. He married Anne Drury at Chalfont St. Peter, co. Buckingham, Nov 25 1577. He later bought land in Aylesbury, becoming one of the founding fathers of the borough in 1554. In 1558 he served in Parliament from Chepping Wycombe. It is deposed that he was 80 years old in 1587.

The widowed Anne Woodliff and her son Drew were taken to court by Ingram Frizer, the possible murderer of Christopher Marlowe, who had defrauded Drew of a great deal of money. Frizer offered cannon which he had on Tower Hill as payment, but he did not deliver. Then Frizer claimed that Anne and Drew were "outlawed in a plea of debt" as of June 1598 (because of him) and thus he did not have to make payment. On April 30, 1596 the Woodleffs had sold Frizer two houses and 30 acres of land in Great and Little Missenden, Bucks (who later sold them to Wm Barton of Great Missenden). Also, in 1593 Drew Woodleff of Peterley, Bucks was bound to Thomas Walsingham, Marlowe's patron and Frizer's master, for 200 pounds. [Mike Harris alerted me to this information, taken from J. Leslie Hotson's The Death of Christopher Marlowe.] Perhaps this explains why John, Drew's son, decided to try to make his fortune in Virginia, as he evidently had little or nothing to inherit in England.

Drew (see above), heir in 1596, (b. 1562)
Edmund (b. 1565, mat. Oriel College, Oxford, 1581)
Griffin (b. 1566)
Thomas (b. 1570, mat. Oriel College, Oxford, 1585) 

Nicholas Woodeleffe (b. ca. 1475-d. 1510, Henley) and Johane [Joan]

Nicholas was admitted to the Burgess of Henley-on-Thames, co. Oxford.on 27 Aug. 1498 and attended Borough Assemblies until his death. He was married at least twice, with both wives named Johane. His will stated that he was to be buried in the church of Henley [Church of Saint Mary the Virgin]. His will mentions three children: Christopher, Johane, and Robert. Robert, probably about three, inherited "a featherbed, 3 pairs of sheets, a brass pot and pan, 2 plates, 2 potingers, 2 saucers, a broche, 2 ale pots, 2 napkins, 2 tablecloths, a towell, a coffer, a tawny gown furred with coney, 2 white pieces and 2 spoons, a flat hoop of gold."


Sir Robert Drury (b. Edgerly, Buckinghamshire-1589 [1575?]) and Elizabeth Brudenell

Elizabeth was the daughter of Edmund Brudenell Esq, Lord of Raans and Jane Hawkins of London.. Her line is detailed in "The Brudenells of Deene" by Joan Wake. Edmund is son of Drew Brudnell (-1480) and Ellen Broughton (-1470), son of Edmund Brudenell of Raans and Charlfont St. Peter (d. 1461), son of William Brudenell and Agnes Bulstrode, son of William Brudenell and Agnes Atgrove of Raan (heiress,), son of William Brudenell, son of Richard Brudenell of Aynhoe, son of William Brudenell of Deddington.  [from "The Brudenells of Deene" by Joan Wake, Cassel, London]. See also Drury of Besthorpe,Norfolk Pedigree.


Robert Drury, heir, m. Anne Bourman

Sir William, Lord Justice Governor of Ireland d, 1579, m. Margaret, daughter of Thomas, Lord Wentworth.

Sir Drue of Lynsted, Usher of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth and a keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots (b. 1518; d. 1617), m. (1) Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Phillip Calthorpe and Amata Boleyn (aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn), m. (2) Catherine, daughter of William Finch of Lynsted (d.1601).

Anne (see above) 

Margaret, m. Henry Trenchard

Lucy, m. Robert Tesh

Elizabeth, m. Rowland Hind


Sir Robert Drury Sr (1463-1536) and Anne Calthorpe

Sir. Robert was a Privy Counselor to King Henry VII and speaker of the House of Commons in 1498. He was a Knight. He was born in 1463 at Hawsted, Suffolk, the son of Sir Roger Drury of Hawstead (d. 1493/94) and the grandson of Nicholas Drury of Thurston [see genealogy]. He married Anne (born ca. 1463) around 1483. He was buried at St. Mary's in Bury.


Anne, born 1483, m. George Walgrave ca. 1510.

Sir William, Privy Counsellor to Queen Mary, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Southell, Esq, Attorney General to King Henry VII, buried at Hawsted.

Sir. Robert (see above) 


Lineage of Anne Calthorpe Drury

Sir William Calthorpe (-1476) & Elizabeth Stapleton (1442-1505).

Elizabeth Stapleton was daughter of Sir Miles Stapleton (1408-66) & Catherine de la Pole.

Catherine de la Pole was daughter of Sir Thomas de la Pole and Ann Cheney.

Sir Thomas de la Pole was the son of Michael de la Pole (1361-1410) and Lady Katherine Stafford. Michael de la Pole (1361 -1410) was the son of Michael de la Pole & Catherine Wingfield.

Lady Katherine Stafford was the daughter of Sir Hugh Stafford (-1386) and Lady Phillipa Beauchamp.
Lady Phillipa Beauchamp was daughter of Sir Thomas Beauchamp K.G., 1313-69 & Katherine Mortimer. She is a direct descendent of the Hugh de Beaumont (also de Newburgh), the first Earl of Warwick, 1048-1119. Sir Thomas was the 11th Earl of Warwick and one of the founding member of the Order of the Knights of the Garter. He rebuilt St. Mary's church in Warwick, where he and his wife are buried. 
Katherine Mortimer, mother of Lady Phillipa, was the daughter of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March (-1330), a line which traces back to Rhodri Mawr (the Great), 844-878, of Wales, in the Gwynedd (North Wales) line (through Gruffydd ap Cynan and son Owain Gwynedd).

Sir Hugh Stafford was son of Sir Ralph de Stafford (1301-1372) and Lady Margaret de Audley (ca. 1324-1349)

Lady Margaret de Audley was daughter of Hugh de Audley and Lady Margaret de Clare. Hugh de Audley was son of Hugh de Audley, the elder, an Isolde of Montimer of Wigmore.

Lady Margaret de Clare was daughter of Gilbert de Clare (The Red), 9th Earl of Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, & 3rd Earl of Gloucester, & his 2nd wife Joan D'Acre (Plantagenet; b.. 1271, Nazareth, Galilee; m. 1290; d. 1305).

Joan D'Acre (Plantagenet) was the daughter of King Edward I (Plantagenet; b. 17/6/1239, Westminster; crowned 18/8/1274, m. 1254, Cistercian Convent of Las Hueglas, Spain) & Princess Eleanor of Castile (d. 1290; buried Lincoln Cathedral, England; accompanied husband on 7th Crusade to the Holy Land). Princess Eleanor was the only child of Ferdinand III of Castile. King Edward I had another child, Edward II, the first "Prince of Wales" and ancester of Queen Elizabeth II.

King Edward I (Plantagenet) was the son of King Henry III (1207-1272) & Eleanor of Provence. He reigned 35 years, and was considered a great administrator and legal innovator.

King Henry III was son of King John (b. 1166) and Isabella. He reigned 56 years, and was a great builder and supporter of the arts, but no fighter. He began Parliament and rebuilt Westminster Abbey.

King John, 1166-1216,and Isabella, daughter of Aymar Taillifer, Count of Angoulême. was son of King Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine. He reigned 1199-1216; he is said to have been cowardly, foolish, licentious, treacherous, and cruel [not unlike his father and brothers!], but he did sign the Magna Carta (under duress). He was likely poisoned.

King Henry II, 1133-1189 was son of Matilda (Maud, see below) & Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, son of Fulco V. He reigned as King of England 1154-1189. He married Eleanor of Aquitaine, 1122-1204, and they had eight children.

Maud (Matilda), 1102-67, married 1st to Henry V, 2nd to Geoffrey Plantagenet, was the daughter of King Henry I and Matilda (also Maud and Edith Dunkeld), daughter of Malcolm Canmore III, King of Scotland and St. Margaret, and granddaughter of Henry II, King of Hungary. She "reigned" as "Lady of the English Feb.-Nov. 1141, supplanting Stephen, and was the progeniter of the Plantagenets.

King Henry I, 1068-1135 was the son of King William I the Conquerer (1027-87), duke of Normandy and King of England, 1066-1087 & Matildis (Matilda/Edith), 1022-83, of Flanders, daughter of Baldwin V. and granddaughter of Robert II, King of France. William conquered the Saxons of England at the battle of Hastings on Oct.14, 1066, reigning as King 21 years.  Matilda's line, the Houses of Cerdic and Denmark, traces back through Edward Atheling, Edmund II, Ethelred II the Unready, Edgar, Edmund I the Elder, Edward the Elder, Alfred the Great, Ethelwulf, Egbert (King of Wessex, 802-839). His line is Ine, Cutha, Ceawlin (560-591), Cynri, and Cerdic, first King of West Saxons (d. 534.).


Origins of the Woodlief Name

The English surname "Woodlief" is local in origin, being one of those names derived from the place where a man once lived or where he once held land. This form of the name is a corruption of the surname Woodley or Woodleigh, names that derived from the Old English word for a clearing or field in a wood. Thus the original bearer of the name was literally someone who was a "dweller at a glade in the wood." Another possibility is that the name derives from one of two places, either from Woodley, a parish in county Berkshire, or from Woodleigh, in County Devon. This second place is named in the Domesday Book, compiled in the eleventh century, where it is written that:
"Robert holds Woodleigh himself. Aelfric Pike held it before 1066....15 villagers and 8 smallholders...value now 60s."
Those leaving such a place often took its name as a second name to record their place of birth.

Records of this surname date back to the early eleventh century when one Aelfnoo aet Wudelage is listed in Old English Bynames around 1088-1012. There is also record of one Osbert de Wudeleg in the Pipe Rolls in 1199 and one Walter de Wodeleye in the Subsidy Rolls in 1332. Finally there is record of one Richard Wodle in the Calendar of Inquisitiones post mortem in 1384.

BLAZON OF ARMS: Sable a chevronel between three owls argent. (Source Reference: Burke’s General Armory, p. 1132.
CREST: An owl argent.
MOTTO: England. 



Through Anne Drury, the Woodlief family is connected to the following coats of arms:


Per chevron engraved gules and argent, three talbot heads, erased countercharged. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a horse’s high leg sable, hoof upwards and shod argnet. Supporters: A horse of a dark iron grey color guttes and ducally gorged or. Sinister: A lion argent semee of fleurs-de-lis sable, ducally crowned or, issuant from the coronet a plume of six ostrich feathers argent and azure alternately. Motto: "Deo, regi, patria," meaning "To God, my king, and my country."


Argent on chief vert. A cross tau between two mullets pieced or. Crest: A grayhound courant argent.


Argent a chevron gules, between 3 chapeaus or caps of maintenance, their fronts turned toward the sinister azure. Crest: A seahose argent. Supporters: Dexter a stag argent, a cross formee fitchee between the attires and in the mouth a dark point downwards, all gold. Sinister--a horse argent, charged on the breast with a cross flory, quarterly, sable and argent. Motto: "En grace affie."("On grace depend.").


Quarterly, 2st and 4th chequy or an azure, a fess ermine (for Calthorpe). 2nd and 3rd gules on a fess between three boar’s heads couped or, a lion passant azure (for Gough). Crest--a boar’s head couped at the neck azure, bristled and tusked or, between two woodmen with clubs over their shoulders, all proper. Supporters--On either side a wild man proper, his hair and bear sable, wreathed about the head and waist with oak leaves verb, fructed or, the exterior hand holding a club erect gold. Motto: "Grandu diverso via una." ("The same way by different steps.")

De Clare.

Or, three chevrons gules within a bordure engrailed azure. Crest: A stag’s head, cabossed gules attired proper. Motto: "Nils asmirari."("To be astonished at nothing.")