Dickinson/Milson Genealogy
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Sir John served the office of Sheriff of Kent in 7 Edw. IV (1468) and was buried in Goudhurst, beside his father; being described on his tomb as 'Johannis Culpeper, militis obiit 22 December 1480’ (Weever, loc. cit.).

It appears from an indenture dated 4 January, 21 Henry VIII [1529/30] which has survived (Harl. Charter, 76 H 12) that Sir John left a will (otherwise lost) disposing of his estates among two sons, Alexander and Walter, named respectively for their maternal uncle, Alexander Clifford of Bobbing (thus introducing among the Culpepers a name which was to appear in Virginia), and for their grandfather, the Squire of Agincourt. These estates included the manors acquired by the Bedgebury marriage (Bedgebury and Haselden) in Kent, an inherited Culpeper manor (Wigsell) in Sussex, and certain lands in Essex which Sir John had purchased; and the will in question divided them among the two sons, the intention of the testator being that, despite the Kentish custom of gavelkind, the elder should take all the lands in Kent, and the younger those in Sussex and Essex.

Wigsell, which thus devolved upon Walter and was to be the seat of three generations of his descendants, was at the time of the death of Walter's father a manor 'holden by Knights service of the Lord of the Castle of Hastings,' consisting of some 600 acres of plough and pasture, with as much more of wood and heath, in the Sussex parish of Salehurst; lying close under the southwestern border of Kent, not far from Bayhall and Bedgebury. It was purchased in 1348 (Sussex Feet of Fines, 22 Edward III) from Simon de Etchingham by Sir John Culpeper; whose heir, Sir Thomas, records in his will of 1429 (Harl. Ch., 80 H 27) that it was settled upon him on the occasion of his first marriage. Wigsell was not yet a place of residence, however: its original value lay in the supply of charcoal which its forest cover provided for the iron smelting industry in which the Culpepers, like so many of their neighbours in the Weald, were profitably engaged in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (Victoria County History, Sussex, ii, 241). At the death of Sir John, Wigsell must already have been somewhat denuded and so of less value than it had been; but the title was sufficient, nevertheless, to enable its inheritor to pursue the thrifty practice of his ancestors and negotiate a marriage which established Culpeper of Wigsell for a century and a half to come.

Source of preceding: Fairfax Harrison, "The Proprietors of the Northern Neck"

Sir John's two brothers, Richard and Nicholas, under somewhat romantic circumstances, married Margaret and Elizabeth Wakehurst, (granddaughters and co-heiresses of Richard Wakehurst, sen., of Wakehurst, in Ardingly). These two girls were confided by Elizabeth, their grandmother, to the care of John Colepeper and Agnes, his wife.
Alexander and Walter, the two sons of Sir John and Agnes, were respectively, the progenitors of the senior line of Bedgbury, in Goudhurst, co. Kent, and the Wigsell branch of the family in nearby Salehurst, co. Sussex.

Although Richard is entered in the Visitation in Kent, in 1619, as Walter Colepeper's eldest son, this was not the case, as Sir John, as the eldest son, inherited Hardreshull, co. Warwick, Bayhall, co. Kent, and Wigsell, co. Sussex.

It appears also from the same Visitation that this Sir John married Agnes, daughter of John Bedgebury, but no mention whatever is there made of the undoubted fact that some time before 1460 he was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, which is clearly proved by the Proceedings in Chancery relating to the abduction of the two Wakehurst heiresses by Sir John's brothers, Richard and Nicholas, where it is expressly stated that a sister of John and William Gainsford was wedded to John Culpepyr, and later on in the same suit mention is made of John Culpeper and Agnes, his wife. The marriage is also alluded to in De Banco Roll, Trin., 5 Edward IV., m. 118d, and it explains the mention of Ottewell and George Gainsford (grandsons of the above John Gainsford, who married Anne Wakehurst, aunt of the co-heiresses, and sons of Sir John Gainsford, by Anne, daughter of Ottewell Worsley), as cousins in the will Walter Colepeper, of Calais, 1514--1516.

The question arises, therefore, as to whether the record of Sir John's marriage with Agnes Bedgebury is not due to a mistake on the part of the heralds. In their pedigree they certainly omit these two important facts, viz., that before 1460 Sir John was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, and also that his father Walter's wife, of the same Christian name, was the widow of John Bedgebury. It seems therefore not improbable that these two marriages have been confused; such, indeed, must have been the case unless Sir John was twice married, and of this the Visitation affords no evidence whatever. Sir John Colepeper died 22nd December, 1480, and was buried at Goudhurst.
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Source: Col. F. W. T. Attree, "The Sussex Colepepers."



Sir John Culpepper

Sir John's two brothers, Richard and Nicholas, under somewhat romantic circumstances, married Margaret and Elizabeth Wakehurst, (granddaughters and co-heiresses of Richard Wakehurst, sen., of Wakehurst, in Ardingly). These two girls were confided by Elizabeth, their grandmother, to the care of John Colepeper and Agnes, his wife.
Alexander and Walter, the two sons of Sir John and Agnes, were respectively, the progenitors of the senior line of Bedgbury, in Goudhurst, co. Kent, and the Wigsell branch of the family in nearby Salehurst, co. Sussex.


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