October Ancestry Challenge – Lord Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – 23 posts/23 days/23 ancestors.

We’re in week three!

Ancestor #11 – Lord Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway 1635-1689




great wigsell << The Great Wigsell was the home of my 12th great grandfather John Culpeper of Wigsell, brother of Thomas Culpepper of Sussex (not the guy above). A couple of John’s sons were John of Feckenham (my 11th great) and Thomas of Wigsell (still not the guy above). This Thomas had a son named John who was the 1st Baron Culpeper of Thoresway, who in turn had a son Thomas who was the 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway (the guy above!)

Are there enough Thomases and Johns to confuse you yet? Me, too! That’s why I’m going to leave the relationship between me and Thomas 2nd Lord Culpeper up to you. He’s either a cousin or an uncle or something, but it makes my head spin.


culpepper tatThe most important part is Lord Thomas had no sons, so the Culpeper family crest died with him, as a crest is traditionally given to a son. I figured since nobody was using it, nobody would mind if I did, so here’s my Culpeper tat on my back. The bottom is French and means “I hope.”

Okay, on to Lord Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway…



lord_thos Lord Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Thoresway (left), was the son of Judith and John Culpeper, 1st Baron of Thoresway. As a royalist, his father left England at the end of the English civil war following the execution of King Charles I. Lord Thomas lived with his father in the Netherlands and there on 3 August 1659 married the Dutch heiress Margaretta van Hesse. (pictured below)
lady_marg (On a weird note, my trophy husband’s last name is Hess, but I’m sure he’s German, not Dutch.)

In July 1677, upon the death of Virginia Governor Sir William Berkeley, Lord Thomas became governor of Virginia but did not go there until 1679. While in Virginia, he seemed more interested in maintaining his land than governing, and he soon returned to England, though he did continue to serve as an absent governor until 1683.

Leeds-CastleCulpeper’s marriage to Lady Margaretta was not a happy one. She lived at Leeds Castle (photo), and Lord Thomas lived in London with his mistress Susannah Willis and their two daughters. He died in his house in London on St. James Street and left a will in favor of Willis, which Lady Margaretta had suppressed. I assume Lady Margaretta didn’t even find out about the death for quite some time after it occurred. I also have reason to believe her daughter Catherine (mentioned below) may or may not be the child of her husband, but you can read about that scandal in my book “John Culpepper, Esquire,” the third book in the Culpepper Saga.



catherine culpeper fairfaxLord Thomas’s only child with Lady Margaretta was a girl, Catherine Culpeper (pictured as a child), and thanks to her mother’s diligence getting the will suppressed, young Catherine inherited much of her father’s wealth. A year after his death, in 1690, Catherine married Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord of Cameron (pictured below – look at those pouty lips!), thereby transferring the Culpeper wealth into the Fairfax family. The Culpeppers and Fairfaxes shared a long history of clashes, beginning with battling in the English Civil War in the 1640s when 3rd Lord Fairfax (Thomas Fairfax’s grandpa) was a General in the parliamentarian army and the Culpeppers (Catherine’s great uncles) were Royalists in the service of the King. You can read one of those stories here. I imagine a Fairfax/Culpepper marriage was quite a scandal in both families, so he either married her for her castle or for true love. Either way, you can imagine I’ll turn it into a book someday.Thomas_Fairfax 5th baron of cameron, catherine culpeppers husband






In Virginia, both Culpeper County and its county seat, the town of Culpeper, Virginia, are named for Lord Thomas Culpepper 2nd Baron of Thoresway.


9 responses to “October Ancestry Challenge – Lord Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway

  1. Pingback: Frances Culpepper Stephens Berkeley Ludwell etc etc | a day in the life of patootie

  2. Pingback: Culpepper Saga People and Places | a day in the life of patootie

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  4. We are, somewhere along the line, related to each other. The tattoo in this post is phenomenal! I actually have a cool little Culpepper family crest hanging on the wall in my living room. It was my grandfather’s, then my father’s, and now mine. I would gladly send you some pictures of it.

    • Well, hi, cousin! Marshall, I would love to see a picture of your crest. Did your grandfather make it? My email is loricraneauthor at gmail dot com. I’d like to have some more detail done on my tattoo, more blacks and grays to make it look older, but I don’t have the guts to sit in the chair again. That was a solid 4-5 hours for what I have, and it was exhausting.

  5. Thomas’ brothers were third and fourth baron Culpeper and in this 3rd and 4th baron Thoresway. Have you done a blog about either of them?
    I am researching the Thoresway Barony

  6. Hi, this isn’t actually correct. The title passed to his brother and on the death of that brother John, who died without issue it passed to a second brother Cheney.
    The Baronet of Colpeper died out with the second brother Cheney. But that is different to the feudal title which would have been transferred to a relative (which at times was a lady) only if this wasn’t done would it have passed back to the crown.

    • According to the records in the G.E.C. Complete Baronetage book by George Edward Cokayne (British genealogist and author 1825-1911) edited in 1904, the Baronetcy of Thoresway was later claimed by another man named John Peshall, who was the husband of Charlotte Culpepper, the illegitimate daughter of Thomas (with his mistress Susanna Willis Welldon). I haven’t researched that, so I don’t know the outcome. I have read that the title went through three sons, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that, just someone’s comment online.

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