Kenelm Winslow and Some Special Notes of our Winslow Heritage
Selected Comments from "Kenelm Winslow(our Kenelm's gradfather) of Worcestershire
His Ancestry, Siblings, and Descendents of Some Who Went West" (by Orville Bidwell and Verna Rose 1998)
(Some of the Winslow ancestry and history in England varies as can be seen in this article compared to the previous
one from the Winslow Memorial. I will continue to update as I get more information.)
Winslow Brothers Come to America:
Five Winslow brothers, Edward, John, Kenelm, Gilbert and Josiah, departed England for the new world. All had
useful trades. Edward distinguished himself as a participant in the Mayflower voyage and Colony Gilbert returned
to England; John came to Plymouth in the Fortune in 1621, and Kenelm and Josiah later, possibly in 1629 in a(another)
Mayflower. All except Gilbert flourished in New England and all ended their lives there except Gilbert and
Edward, who died while on a British mission for Oliver Cromwell. Edward burnished his luster as a leader of
the Plymouth Colony in many capacities, including being its three-times governor.
Fifteenth Century English Background:
The three centuries of cherished memories and history the five brothers brought to New England was a strong
determinant in their becoming leaders. The Winslow family had emerged from obscurity in the early 14th century as
a loosely knit clan living in the vicinity of the hamlet of Winslow, in Buckinghamshire from which they had adopted
their name. Winslow lies 20 miles northeast of Oxford and 50 miles northwest of London's center.
The Winslows expanded to the counties of the west and toward London by marrying selectively and profitably and
steadily increasing their holdings by buying and selling properties. By the end of the 14th century they had
formed two fairly distinct main groups, the "county" Winslows owning lands in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and
Worcestireshire, and the "town" Winslows who were London merchants with additional property in Hertfordshire,
Essex, and Cambridgeshire.
Trade in cloth dominated the lives of the "town" Winslows. Wishing to control their source of income from raw
material to point of sale, they contacted their rural relatives to the west. One, Thoams Winslow, ambitious to
Increase his wool business, was accused with Thomas Throckmorton and 300 armed persons of heating the tenants of
Katherine in Campden and driving the Campden sheep into Worcsershire. Sheep raider Tom Winslow prospered, becoming
Worcester's Member of Parliament in 1449 and a commissioner of Peace.
When Henry Tudor of Wales became King Henry VII and founded the Tudor dynasty in 1485 he never forgot the merchants'
interests and especially the rich trade in wool and woolen goods. Among the profiteers was Henry Winslow who had been
granted lands in Huntigonshire, near the Cromwell family home. During the English Civil War of 1642-1651 a descendent,
Lord Protector Oliver, enticed Edward Winslow, the "Pilgrim Father" to return to England from Plymouth Colony, gave
him preferments and used his pen in public relations service.
Henry's sheep and cloth interests flourished after King Henry VII appointed him commander with a commission to
impress soldiers and seamen and to purvey victuals and habiliments for the ship "Le Mary of Portsmouth"
Winslows prospered in fame and fortune by rearing sheep in Worcestershire, holding joint leases on London shops and
letting no opportunities slip by in the courts. It helped also to have Jan Seymour ( b ca 1509) a great niece of
Elizabeth Winslow, daughter of sheep raider Thomas become the third Queen of Henry the VIII in 1536.
Seventeenth Century. Among the "country" Winslows of Worcestershire was Richard Winslow who later became the great
great grandfather of the five brothers. Richard lived and farmed at Earls Croome where his ancestors had been since
about 1425. For two centuries the "country" Winslows occupied the villages of Earls Croome, Severn Stoke, Clifton
on Teme, and Kempsey in the area roughly five miles square about four miles south of Worcester City in the Severn
Under the late Tudor Richard Winslow's descendents flourished and increased in numbers., Kenelm Winslow son of
Thomas of Kerswell sold the farm and moved into Worcester City. Kenelm's son Edward moved four miles further north
where he extracted the Droitwich salt. Salt was used to preserve meat and treat sheep by products. While his kinsman
raised sheep Edward made regular trips to London to sell sheepskin to bookmen and scribes for bookbinding and
While in London Edward the salt maker met and courted Magdalen Ollyver and married her in the Church of St Bride in
Fleet Street November 4, 1594.
Edward Jr baptized and brought up in Droitwich studied in nearby Worcester under Canon Henry Bright. When old enough
he accompanied his father on London trips meeting his father's printer and bookbinder customers. Entranced by the
business of bookmaking Edward apprenticed himself to Joh Beale in 1613. Edward's schooling had endowed him with
literary tendencies. His apprenticeship nourished his interest in writing and led to his later becoming a prolific
and able writer. Sundays he attended St Brides Church where the parson expressed strong sympathies for extremist
Puritan elements. There Edward learned of the exiles living in Leyden Holland to escape the bullying of King James'
bishops. While the exiles needed printing assistance Edward age 22 after three years of apprenticeship left London to
work on the Pilgrim Press in Leydon. This was the fist step in the great adventure that took the five brothers to
the new world.