The Wilkey Family of Taunton St James
and the name 'Tavenor' from the 1600's

It is quite probable that the Wilkey family of Bath and London originated in the Taunton area, in particular, from the parish of St James. Unfortunately the parish registers held in the Taunton Records Office for the late 1600's are either incomplete, or for a generation or two the family did not have their children christened. This latter reason may be supported by the turmoil of the times, recalling that the period concerned (after 1673) much of the country had been upset both politically and religiously by the English Civil War (started 1642). It is interesting to note that at that time the southern half of the country was in the hands of the Parliamentarians (or Puritans) but Somerset was alone in supporting the Royalists. Historical events or plain lack of records therefore prevent investigations that may otherwise link the family conclusively.

The link to the Taunton family is assumed because the name 'Tavenor', which runs in the family for generations is only found in one family line in the entire country i.e. the Wilkey family of Bath and London, and the tradition is now known to have started in Taunton in 1623. As far as is known the last time the name was used was in 1899 when William Taviner Wilkey of Stepney was born. The name William is also a popular family name, by the way.

The parish records of St James, Taunton show that Richard Wilkey married Johanna Tavenor (misspelled 'Travenor' on the Mormon records though correctly in the parish records) on the 10 January 1622 and that they named their first child Tavenor Wilkey, christened 18 February 1623, after the mother's surname. Of their further six children the second child, a daughter was named after the mothers first name Johanna (misspelled 'Joana' on the Mormon records).

This first Tavenor Wilkey married Jane Moore on the 10 September 1657 and they also named two of their seven children Tavenor (christened 10 April 1667) and Johanna (christened 15 November 1662), so now the name of 'Tavenor' in particular was well and truly established within the family.

Tavenor (b.1724) and Ruth Wilkey (b.1728), and their descendants founded the Bath and London lines of the family. Tavenor's father William who was buried at All Saints, Weston in 1741 may have moved from Taunton St James some time in the first half of the 1700's. Bath was becoming very fashionable at this time and there is no doubt that Tavenor and Ruth Wilkey 'made good' by the time of their deaths in 1798 and 1802 respectively.

It is also unique and partly coincidence that Tavenor Wilkey (junior) of Bath married a woman called Johanna and called two of their children Tavenor and Johanna. This Johanna is believed to be a twin and died prematurely within days of birth along with twin sister Mary Anne in August 1775.

Whilst records have been found of the Taunton St James family for the years c1600 to 1673 there is no current concrete evidence to link these families to the Bath families. The Bath parish records begin with the implied birth of Tavenor Wilkey (senior) in 1724 leaving a gap of 51 years between the Taunton family and the Bath family - or two generations.

There are records for the Wilkey family held in Taunton St James for the late 1600's but none join the two families and further investigation may yet prove a link. What we know about these families may help resolve problems at a later date, we will therefore look at each one in turn.

Wilkey Families between 1673 and 1791 in Taunton St James

Hugh Wilkey, a weaver (born c1667) and Mary Farthing (spelt 'ffarthing') (born c 1671) married in the parish of St James on the 20 October 1692. The following children were subsequently christened according to the parish and Mormon records:

Matthew Wilkey was baptised on the 3 July 1693 (Parish records)
Margaret Wilkey was born on 1 February 1695 (Mormon records)
Mary Wilkey was baptised on the 28 July 1695 (Parish records), also recorded as 23 November 1697 (Mormon records)
Anna Wilkey was born 26 June 1696 (Mormon Records)
Elizabeth Wilkey was baptised on the 6 January 1698 and on 4 March 1700 (?), died 6 July 1700 (Parish records)
William Wilkey was christened on the 8 August 1700 (Mormon records)
Hugh Wilkey was christened on 31 October 1702 (Mormon records). Married a Rachel West (or Westford) christened 3 April 1710, on the 25 August 1735 (Mormon records)

Emmanuel Wilkey and Jane Upsot were married on the 9 November 1684 (Parish Records).

On the 14 March 1685 an unnamed child of Emmanuel Wilkey was buried (Parish Records).

John Wilkey was baptised on the 18 October 1685, also Jobfides (Tobias?) Wilkey was baptised on 15 July 1688, both sons of Thomas Wilkey (Parish Records).

On the 29 January 1686 Emmanuel Wilkey was buried (Parish Records).

Richard Millard married Elizabeth Wilkey on the 12 September 1686 (Parish Records).

A female by the name of Wealthy Wilkey married Samuel Smythe in the parish of Taunton St James on 7 December 1692 (Mormon records).

A Margery Wilkey was born on 1 February 1695 in Taunton St James (Mormon records).

John Wilkey (spelt Wilky) son of John Wilkey was baptised on the 2 February 1695 (Parish Records).

Hugh Wilkey married Elizabeth Palmer on 7 December 1710 (Mormon records). Known children are: Elizabeth Wilkey christened 17 June 1711 (Mormon records); Palmer Wilkey christened on 26 September 1713 (Mormon records); Hugo Wilkey & Margaret Wilkey christened on 11 January 1716 in the parish of St James, Taunton (Mormon records); Maryan Wilkey b. 20 November 1718 (Mormon records).

A Joseph Wilkey was christened on 25 December 1726 (Taunton St James) and died at the age of 12 years on 4 September 1738 (Mormon records)

A John Wilkey was born on the 4 September 1735 (Taunton St James) and died on 17 August 1756 at the age of 20 years (Mormon records)

Joseph Wilkey b. c1702, d. 28 July 1786) and Sarah Handfree (b. c1706) married in the Parish of St James on the 2 April 1727 (Mormon records). They then moved to Bishops Hull. Children: Sarah Wilkey b. 30 December 1727 in Bishops Hull, Somerset (Mormon records); Rachel Wilkey b. 6 May 1730 in Bishops Hull, Somerset (Mormon records) Joseph Wm Wilkey b. 20 May 1732 in Bishops Hull, Somerset (Mormon records). Gertrude Wilkey b.1 September 1734 in Bishops Hull, Somerset (Mormon Records).

Joseph Wm Wilkey b. 20 May 1732 in Bishops Hull (Mormon records) , d.10 December 1797 married Hannah Fox b. c1728 on the 18 September 1749 (Mormon records). Esther Wilkey b.5 February 1751 in Bishops Hull, Somerset (Mormon records); Abigail Wilkey b. 2 December 1753 Bishops Hull (Mormon records); Lucie Wilkey b. 4 October 1755 Bishops Hull (Mormon records); John J Wilkey b.27 February 1758 Bishops Hull (Mormon records).

A Maria (or Marie) Wilkey of Bishops Hull married James Shewmake on 26 June 1803 (Mormon records).

A Sarah Wilkey of Taunton St James married James Edwards on 25 December 1809 in Bishops Hull (Mormon records).

Simeon Wilkey, married Joan …… on 19 January 1724. Children: Susanna Wilkey b. 6 March 1725, d.18 June 1768 (Mormon records); Joseph Wilkey christened 25 December 1726, d. 14 September 1738 (Mormon records); Alice Wilkey b. 13 August 1728 (Mormon records also have 13 August 1726); Jerusha Wilkey b.19 April 1731 (Mormon records); Simeon Wilkey b.4 May 1733, d. 25 March 1801; John Wilkey christened 4 September 1735, d. 17 August 1756. (Mormon records); Jane Wilkey or Joane Wilkey b. 1738, d. 26 January 1750 (Mormon records); Elizabeth Wilkey b. 1741, d. 10 July 1756 (Mormon records)

William Wilkey b. c1766 married Mary Gould b. c1770 on the 27 March 1791 (Mormon records)

Wilkeys Found in the Taunton Parish Registers

TSJ = Taunton St James, TSM = Taunton St Marys. Research carried out by Prue Scott of Sydney, Australia, Prue is a decendant of John Wilkey, the pipemaker of Bristol,believed to be the son of Joseph and Susanna Wilkey of Taunton St James and baptised on the 25 December 1813. Census records indicate that he was born in Bath in 1813, but this may very well not be the case. See bold entry below:

20 Oct 1692 HUGH WILKEY x Mary Farthing TSJ
23 Mar 1693 ANNE WILKEY baptised, parent Taberine TSM
5 Nov 1715 Joseph King, blacksmith x ANN WILKEY, both of Taunton St Mary, High St TSM
4 Nov 1716 William Ashford, millright x MARY WILKEY, both of Taunton St Mary, High St TSM
21 Jul 1723 HEELY WILKEY baptised, parents Tavernor/Mary musician TSM
14 Mar 1724 TAVERNER WILKEY baptised, parents Taverner/Mary musicionor (sic) High St TSM
26 Mar 1727 ELIZABETH WILKEY baptised, parents Tavernor/Mary musicioner (sic) High St TSM
2 Apr 1727 JOSEPH WILKEY x Sarah Handfree TSJ
28 Sep 1729 THOMAS WILKEY baptised, parents Taverner/Mary TSM
24 Mar 1733 MARY WILKEY baptised, parents Taverner/Mary TSM
18 Sep 1749 JOSEPH WILKEY x Hannah Fox TSJ
8 Oct 1752 SARAH WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Hannah TSJ
5 Mar 1754 HUGH WILKEY buried TSJ
28 Mar 1754 MARY WILKEY buried TSJ
2 Apr 1755 SARAH WILKEY buried TSJ
19 May 1755 MARY WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Hannah TSJ
5 Nov 1758 TAVERNER WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Hannah TSJ
20 Feb 1759 TAVERNER WILKEY buried TSJ
31 May 1762 JOSEPH WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Hannah (bn 6.1.1761) TSJ
13 Feb 1764 RACHEL WILKEY buried (aged 84, therefore born ~ 1680) TSJ
25 Dec 1766 WILLIAM WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Hannah TSJ
20 Jun 1768 William White x ELIZABETH WILKEY TSJ
5 Nov 1775 JOSEPH WILKEY buried TSJ
28 May 1776 Thomas Adams x MARY WILKEY TSJ
2 Jun 1776 JOHN WILKEY x Mary Anne Reed (I'm guessing here that she is noted variously as Mary/Ann/Mary Ann)TSJ
26 Jan 1777 JOHN WILKEY baptised, parents John/Ann TSJ
4 Nov 1780 JOSEPH WILKEY born to John/Mary (from baptism record 26.5.1791) TSJ
20 Feb 1785 SARAH WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary Ann TSJ
8 Jul 1787 WILLIAM WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary Ann TSJ
24 Dec 1789 JAMES WILKEY baptised, parents John/Ann TSJ
1 Feb 1791 JOSEPH WILKEY buried TSJ
27 Mar 1791 WILLIAM WILKEY x Mary Gould TSJ
26 May 1791 JOSEPH WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary TSJ
10 Feb 1793 HANNAH WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary TSJ
17 Feb 1795 JOSEPH WILKEY x Mary Gore TSM
17 Apr 1796 JANE WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Mary TSJ
27 Jul 1796 ELIZABETH WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary TSJ
20 Nov 1796 RICHARD WILKEY baptised, parents William/Mary (bn 28.10.1796) TSJ
20 Aug 1797 RICHARD WILKEY buried TSJ
28 Apr 1798 ANN WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Mary TSJ
3 Nov 1799 CHARLES WILKEY buried TSJ
7 Jan 1800 MARY WILKEY buried TSJ
2 Feb 1800 HANNAH WILKEY buried TSJ
25 Dec 1800 JANE WILKEY baptised, parents John/Mary (bn 5.12.1800) TSJ
1 Aug 1802 MARY WILKEY buried TSJ
9 Nov 1802 THOMAS WILKEY buried TSJ
26 Jun 1803 James Shewmake x MARY WILKEY TSJ
16 Jun 1807 JOSEPH WILKEY, sojourner x Susanna Northam TSM
3 Apr 1808 JOHN WILKEY buried TSJ
17 Apr 1808 JAMES WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Susanna TSJ
18 Apr 1809 JOSEPH WILKEY buried TSJ
22 Jun 1809 JAMES WILKEY buried TSJ
25 Dec 1809 James Edwards x SARAH WILKEY TSJ
1 Oct 1810 HANNAH WILKEY x William Foott TSM
25 Dec 1813 JOHN WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Susanna of St James St Coalheaver TSJ
25 Jan 1815 JOHN WILKEY x Ann Mockridge TSJ
17 Mar 1816 MARY ANNE WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Susanna of St James St Labourer TSJ
17 May 1818 ELIZABETH WILKEY baptised, parents Joseph/Susanna of St James St Labourer TSJ
29 Oct 1818 JOHN WILKEY buried of Poor House 5 years TSJ
17 Dec 1820 WILLIAM WILKEY buried of Poor House, St Mary Magdalene, 58 years TSJ
26 May 1822 EDMUND WILKEY baptised, parent Hannah of Poor House TSJ
28 Sep 1825 HENRY WILKEY buried of Rowbarton Infant TSJ
19 Dec 1825 John Calley x HANNAH WILKEY TSJ
6 Jul 1832 JOHN WILKEY buried of North Town 57 years (bn ~ 1775) TSJ
5 Feb 1835 JOSEPH WILKEY buried of St James St 57 years (bn ~ 1778) TSJ
21 May 1837 SUSANNA WILKEY buried of St James St 57 years (bn ~ 1780) TSJ

The Barnstable Theory

Referring to Richard Wilkey, married in 1622.

Ancestors of the Wilkey family in Taunton have been found to be scarce or non-existent on the parish and Mormon records, so I have looked further afield.

There is an abundance of Wilkey families in both Barnstable and Ilfracombe, so naturally I have looked here first as they are relatively near to Taunton.

The difficulty has been finding a 'matching' family who in theory could be ancestors to Richard Wilkey. I have found the following possible family contenders in the Mormon records:

Possible grandfather of 'our' Richard - Symon Wilkey's wife Johan was buried on the 15 June 1598 in Barnstable, this places Symon and his wife as probably family active around 1580, which gives an approximate birth date for Symon of 1560ish.

Interesting that 'Johan' or Johanna became a popular family name in the Wilkey family after this time, following Richard's marriage to Johanna Tavenor in 1622.

Richard Wilkey (senior) his son, was christened on the 9 August 1583 in Barnstable, his father's name is recorded as Symon (so add 20 years one generation) and in theory he could be the father of Richard Wilkey, married 10 January 1622.

This leads to a possible birth date for 'our' Richard of about 1603 which ties in with his marriage date.

So this is all circumstantial, but interesting!