JONES, Walter (d.c.1631), of Worcester; later of Chastleton, Oxon.
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Family and Education
Town clerk, Worcester from 1583-c.1593, j.p. Worcs. from c.1592-at least 1626.2
Jones presumably owed his position as town clerk of Worcester to his maternal relatives. In 1588 one Richard Igmythorpe threatened and insulted him while he was going about his business. An appeal to the Privy Council resulted in a letter—in which he is wrongly called John Jones—to the council in the marches, ordering an inquiry, and the due punishment of Igmythorpe if the complaint was justified. During his period as town clerk Jones was consistently returned to Parliament. He is recorded by name as sitting on only one committee—that for supply, 11 Feb. 1589, though he may be the Mr. Jones who sat on the committee for the bill against excess of apparel, 21 Mar. 1589. In 1593 the burgesses for Worcester were appointed to a cloth committee (14 Mar.).3
After 1593 Jones’s name disappears from the civic records, but he was still described as ‘of Worcester’ in 1602 when he obtained an exemplification of his arms and the grant of a crest from Garter king of arms. In May that year he bought the manor of Chastleton from Catesby, the Gunpowder Plot conspirator, though Catesby remained there for some time after the sale. As it happened, Jones was one of the j.p.s active in rounding up the 1605 conspirators.4
Jones married the daughter of the royal jeweller, but nothing else suggests a court connexion unless his father was the Henry Jones who was a courtier of Henry VIII. He arranged good marriages for his children, although in the 1620s he was involved in a lawsuit with one of his sons-in-law, Ralph Holte, who had borrowed nearly £1,000 from him. In his will, made in 1629, he describes himself as ‘of great years, but yet of perfect health’. It is possible that he had already relinquished the management of the estates to his eldest son, Henry. Although some of his grandchildren were ‘orphans and altogether unprovided for’, they were in Henry’s care and Jones made no attempt to interfere, merely commending them to all his surviving sons. With the exception of £200 bequeathed to Thomas, his second son, and a clause assuring his wife’s jointure, the entire estate was given unconditionally to Henry. Of more concern to the testator was the statement of his religious faith, which he set out in detail, working through the catechism from the creation of man in God’s likeness, to the belief in the Trinity, and hoping, through Christ’s death, and his faith in him, to ‘enjoy eternal bliss and happiness’. Jones was a friend of Ralph Sheldon, who made him a tapestry. When Jones rebuilt Chastleton House a room was named ‘Mr. Sheldon’s chamber’.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: S. M. Thorpe
- 1. Vis. Oxf. (Harl. Soc. v), 173, 256; Grants of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxxvi), 121; Vis. Oxf. 1634 ed. T. Phillips, 23; Corpus adm. reg.
- 2. Worcester Guildhall, audit of city accts. 1540-1600, sub 1583; APC, xvi. 163.
- 3. APC, xvi. 163; D’Ewes, 431, 450, 501.
- 4. Grants of Arms, loc. cit.; M. W. Jones, Chastleton House and Gunpowder Plot, 8, 9, 23, 70; Q. Sess. Pprs. 1591-1643 (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), passim; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 17; Williams, Worcs. MPs, 92.
- 5. VCH Oxf. vi. 316; PCC 116 Audley.