Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple1

Male, #8470, (say 1602 - say 1652)
Father*John Culpeper of Astwood in Feckenham, co. Worcs. (1565 - c 16 Dec 1635)
Mother*Ursula Woodcock (b 27 Jan 1566 - b 2 Jun 1612)
Name Variation He was also known as Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Culpeper. 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpepper. 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Colepeper. 
Birth*say 1602 Thomas was born at Harrietsham, co. Kent, England, say 1602. 
Marriage*10 Jul 1628 He married Katherine St. Leger at Ulcombe, co. Kent, England, on 10 Jul 1628. 
Birth of Son1631 His son Alexander Culpeper Surveyor General of VA was born in 1631. 
Birth of Soncirca 1633 His son John Culpeper son of Thomas & Katherine was born circa 1633 at Hollingbourne, co. Kent, England
Will14 Dec 1635 He is mentioned in the will of John Culpeper of Astwood in Feckenham, co. Worcs. on 14 Dec 1635.2 
Death of Fathercirca 16 Dec 1635 His father John Culpeper of Astwood in Feckenham, co. Worcs. died circa 16 Dec 1635 at Hollingbourne, co. Kent, England.2 
Will13 Jan 1644 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight at Greenway Court, Hollingbourne, co. Kent, England, on 13 Jan 1644.3,4 
Will30 Jan 1644 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight on 30 Jan 1644.5,6 
Death*say 1652 He died at Virginia say 1652. 
Biography He is referenced in a biographical note for John Culpeper the Merchant.7 
Biography* Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple, son of John Culpeper of Astwood in Feckenham, co. Worcs. is the lost pleiad of the Wigsell pedigree. A victim of the disorganization of society during the Civil Wars, he left few certain genealogical records, and it is necessary to tie together such material for him as is available by deduction and argument; but by careful tests of that material in relation to the other Thomases of his generation, the logical process of elimination makes it possible to reconstruct his career. The difficulty begins with his birth, for the mutilated parish register of Harrietsham, which records his younger brother's baptism, does not testify for him. Although Dr. Martin Culpeper's will, written in October, 1605, seems to imply that he did not then know of the existence of the great nephew for whom he intended a portion of his estate, this Thomas must have been born in 1602 so as to be of age in 1623, when his record requires that estate.

The first certain testimony for him is his admission to the Middle Temple on May 7, 1621, as 'Mr. Thomas Culpeper, son and heir apparent of John Culpeper of Astwood, Esq.' (Bidwell, ii, 662). He was then bound with his father and the 'Mr. John Culpeper, jun.,' who was about to be knighted and eventually became the first Lord Culpeper (see: R:3]), with whom he was associated to the end of his life. That he had embarked on a serious professional career in the tradition of his father appears from the fact that chambers were assigned to him in the Temple in 1623, when we assume he had attained his majority; and an incidental recital of his name in the Middle Temple records him in 1630 as 'of the utter bar.'

We have seen that his father was one of the original subscribers to the Virginia Company; in 1623, while John was still living, 'Mr. Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple, London, Esq.' became a member of that company also, in his own right, when his kinsman, George Scott, 'passed' to him three shares in the company (Records of the Virginia Company, L. C. ed., pp. 389, 412). That the investment connoted more than a casual investment interest appears from the later record (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1633-34, p. 223) of his ownership of a half interest, with his merchant brother, in a ship, the Thomas and John, which was destined to carry many immigrants to Virginia.

The other records of him, until the beginning of war between King and Parliament, are his marriage at Ulcombe in 1628; the baptism and burial there of his first child in 1629; the baptism of three younger children from 1630 to 1634 at Hollingbourne; his probate of his father's will in January, 1635/6, and his name as first born child on his father's MI. (1636). These testimonies show that on his marriage he went to live with his uncle, Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight, at Ulcombe; but soon transferred his residence to Greenway Court, where his father later joined him.

It may fairly be assumed that he was one of the 'gentlemen from the Inns of Court' who offered their services to the King after the passage of the Grand Remonstrance (Gardiner, x, 124; Bedwell, Middle Temple, p. 52) and that he subsequently served in the royalist army; but his name does not appear in the army lists of 1642 (Peacock, Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, 1863; Masson, Life of Milton, ii, 445), nor has diligent search turned up any reference to him in other printed sources for biography during the first war. The next definite record is therefore in January, 1644/5, at Oxford; where he witnessed the will and a codicil of his uncle, Sir Alexander Culpeper; under which the inheritance intended for him was placed in trust for his young son (Alexander Culpeper Surveyor General of VA) with the palpable purpose of avoiding the political forfeiture which might follow a bequest to Thomas himself.

Thereafter the record is silent again until 1648, when he turns up as a participant in the royalist plots in Kent (Markham, The Great Lord Fairfax, p. 305). In this adventure he was drawn along with the earl of Norwich's little army in its irresolute passage of the Thames, after a smashing defeat at Maidstone, to the refuge found in Colchester in June of that year. And so Thomas became one of the gallant band who, to the astonishment of all England, for eleven weeks maintained themselves behind improvised fortifications against the grim and angry leaguer of an ever victorious general 'whose name in arms through Europe rings.' When at last starvation brought the garrison of Colchester to its inevitable collapse, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Culpepper was one of the 'lords, Superior officers and gentlemen of distinction' named by Matthew Carter who, by the terms of the capitulation, were 'rendered to the mercy of the Lord General.' After executing Lucas and Lisle and reserving the others 'who bore the principal command' for action by the parliament, 'the General distributed to every regiment a certain number of gentlemen who were prisoners, as slaves to the gallies, to ransom themselves; and most of them did afterwards purchase their liberty, by giving as much as they were able for the same, and returned home.' That Thomas Culpeper availed himself of that rigorous quarter and in doing so impoverished himself may be deduced from Sir William Berkeley's later testimony that he 'lost all his estate, life and liberty in the King's service' (Am. & W. I., 1669-74, No. 571).

What next became of him appears in the precedent of the experience of his kinsman and recent comrade in arms, Col. Samuel Tuke, whom John Evelyn records having met in Paris soon after the surrender of Colchester. Thomas Culpeper seems also to have made his way to France. His immediate attraction was that Lord Culpeper was already there. It was thus that our next record is at St. Germains, where, in the court of the 'King of Virginia,' on September 18, 1649, Thomas Culpeper was made one of the original patentees of the Northern Neck.

When this charter was renewed, May 8, 1669, that Thomas Culpeper was recited to be dead (Am. & W. I., 1669-74, No. 63). It appears elsewhere that Katherine, his wife, died a widow in 1658; but it remains for a final deduction as to when and where she lost her husband. The Virginia records prove that some months after the Northern Neck charter was sealed, Sir Dudley Wyatt, the other junior among the proprietors, went out to the colony and there soon died. There is no such evidence for Thomas Culpeper, but the tradition (W. & M. Quar., x, 274) is that he was Wyatt's companion to the end. This is persuasive because it is supported by the facts that both Thomas Culpeper's daughters married in Virginia in 1652, that one of his sons was described by a Virginian in 1671 as 'a gentleman of this Country,' while the other was making a career in Carolina; that his brother John Culpeper the Merchant is shown to have been established in Accomac, and that Thomas himself left no English record of his death or of administration of his estate. We conclude, therefore, that he went out to Virginia in 1650, hoping to establish himself in the Northern Neck; that he took his family with him, and that he died in the colony not later than 1652, when his widow and son returned to England.

Source: Fairfax Harrison.8 
Biography He is referenced in a biographical note for Henry Culpeper of Lower Norfolk Co., VA.9,7 
Research note18 Aug 2011 He is referenced in a research note for Susanna Culpeper of Connecticut

Family

Katherine St. Leger (circa 1602 - 1658)
Marriage*10 Jul 1628 He married Katherine St. Leger at Ulcombe, co. Kent, England, on 10 Jul 1628. 
Children
ChartsThe 12th century Culpepers of England: Descendant Chart (16 generations, Males only)
Last Edited3 May 2011

Citations

  1. Col. F.W.T. Attree R.E./F.S.A. & Rev. J.H.L. Booker M.A., "The Sussex Colepepers, Part I", Sussex Archaeological Collections, XLVII,47-81, (1904)http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/sussex/default.htm.
  2. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm.
  3. E-mail written 2007 to Warren Culpepper from Charles Andrew Grigsby, England, e-mail address.
    Transcription of Will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court Hollingbourne Kent 1649
    Ref: 422.
  4. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image of will at: /archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1649.pdf .
  5. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    P. C. C. Rivers, 157.
    Image:http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1645-1.pdf.
  6. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image of will at: /archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1645-1.pdf.
  7. Lewis W. Griffin Jr. (#47), e-mail address.
  8. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    Chapter 4: XIII Thomas Culpepper.
  9. Warren L. Culpepper (#1942), Former publisher of Culpepper Connections, e-mail address.