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Family and Education
The William Wekys, armiger, returned for Old Sarum to the Parliament of March 1553 has not been identified. His claim to gentility makes it likely that he belonged to one of the several families named Weekes or Wykes to be found in the west country, but he cannot be placed with confidence in their pedigrees. He may well have been the William Wykes included in a group headed ‘knights and lords’ sons’ in the issue of cloth for the funeral of Henry VIII but there seems to be no reason to identify him with the William Wykys admitted a bachelor of civil law at Oxford in 1532. The only other bearer of the name whose career can be glimpsed or surmised is the William Weekes admitted to the freedom of the Drapers’ Company in 1542. Perhaps a kinsman of the ‘Master Weekes’, described by Hakluyt as a west-country gentleman worth 500 marks a year, who had accompanied the disastrous Newfoundland voyage of 1536, the draper is last heard of making his will in the Canary Islands on 20 Oct. 1561. His claim to wages of £3 due to him as purser of the ship John the Baptist ‘for half the voyage’ may mean that he had only recently come to the islands in her and did not belong to the English merchant community there; his wife Margery, to whom he left all his goods, houses and lands, was then living in the London parish of St. Catherine Cree. The will is registered as having been proved on 3 Nov. 1562, but in January 1566 administration was granted to Weekes’s brothers Edward and Francis.2
The most likely patron at Old Sarum was William Herbert I, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Either the courtier or the draper could have been associated with the earl, the draper through Pembroke’s interest in overseas enterprise, but there may have been a more direct connexion: in July 1557 the Privy Council ordered Pembroke, then campaigning in France, to send over four men accused of robbery, two of whom, Thomas Cobham and one Wykes, were his own servants. If, as may be thought likely, Pembroke had recruited a servant of this name from the Salisbury family which was to produce Anthony† and Christopher Weekes†, the Member may also have come from its ranks, perhaps as a migrant from further west.3
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Elizabeth McIntyre
- 1. C219/282/9; HMC Hatfield, xv. 386.
- 2. Atkins, Glos. 207; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xlix, 287, 291, 294-5; Leland, Itin. ed Smith, vii(2), 72; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 120; Vis. Devon ed Vivian, 117, 511, 767, 825; C142/29/87, 33/87, 43/49, 73/30, 79/268, 270, 92/83, 96/30, 167/96; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 644; LC2/2, f. 66v; P. Boyd, Roll of Drapers’ Co. 196; Hakluyt, Principal Voyages (1904), viii. 36-38; PCC 28 Streat; PCC Admins. ed Glencross, i. 66.
- 3. APC, vi. 127, 134.