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William Freeth [fh]


Tree showing lineage from William Freeth to 3x great granddaughter Louisa Freeth

Our recent findings suggest that William Freeth’s first wife was Mary Turton, daughter of William Turton & Eleanor Francombe.  They were married before 1685 as there are references in the National Archives, under Birmingham City Archives MS28-101/102 dated 1685/86 relating to property transactions involving William Freeth, yeoman of Oldbury, & his wife Mary.

William & Mary had at least 2 children – Joseph & Phoebe, who were mentioned in the will of Richard Turton, Mary’s brother, dated July 17th, 1685.  Richard Turton of Oldbury lived at the Mill, Oldbury in 1682.   He died in 1685 & left the property to his sister Eleanor who was living there in 1687.  She died unmarried in 1701 & left the Mill estate to her niece, Phoebe Freeth (William & Mary’s daughter). 

On February 9th, 1703 Phoebe married her cousin Josiah Turton (son of Mary’s brother Joseph Turton) who was living at the Mill by 1708.  This Josiah was a co-executor of his father-in-law William Freeth’s will in 1731 (see below).  Phoebe & Josiah are known to have had 2 daughters, Phoebe & Mary who both received bequests on the death of their grandfather William Freeth.  (Much of the above information comes from an article in a British History Online Publication:  A History of the County of Stafford: Vol 17:  Offlow hundred (part) pp.20-27, where there is a lot of history about the Mill & its estates in Oldbury.)


William’s first wife Mary died some time before 1691 when William married Elizabeth Powell on September 8th, 1691 at Rowley Regis, Staffs.

The children of William Freeth & Elizabeth Powell were:

fh.1. Jeremiah Freeth christened February 19th, 1692 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.2. Job Freeth christened May 20th, 1696 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.3. Thomas Freeth christened March 20th, 1700 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs, died December 21st, 1704

It is presumed that Elizabeth died before 1702 since there is a record of William marrying Ann Tomson on April 16th 1702 at West Bromwich, Staffs. Ann was born c1681 at West Bromwich.

The children of William Freeth & Ann Tomson were:

fh.4. Edward Freeth christened May 31st, 1703 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.5. William Freeth christened August 10th, 1705 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.6. Elizabeth Freeth christened April 4th, 1708 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.7. Mary Freeth christened October 15th, 1710 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs
fh.8. Sarah Freeth christened September 13th, 1713 at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffs.

Ann appears to have died within a few years of daughter Sarah’s birth as William married for the fourth time on September 8th, 1716 at All Saints, West Bromwich.  His fourth wife was Sarah Shaw who had previously been married to Josiah Simcox.  Josiah was buried on January 31st, 1716 at West Bromwich.  Sarah had 2 surviving daughters from her marriage to Josiah – Mary & Sarah Simcox. 

Much of the following information comes from Dr Terry Daniels, chair of the Oldbury History Group.  William appears to have built a substantial house, later called the Big House, in Oldbury on older foundations in the early 1700s.  The Big House is today the oldest building in Oldbury & is owned by Sandwell Council.

William died in 1731.  He wrote a will in 1730 in which he left most of his estates (including the Big House) in & around Oldbury to his grandson, William Freeth (son of Edward Freeth fh.4).  William made his wife Sarah & his son-in-law Josiah Turton (husband of daughter Phoebe) executors until William junior reached the age of 21.  He also made small bequests to 5 kinsmen (believed to be brothers, cousins & nephews), to Mary Jesson, to his 2 step daughters, & to the ‘poore of Oldbury’.  He made larger bequests to 3 grand daughters, Mary Turton (£400), Phoebe Turton (£300) & Mary Burhouse/Burrowes (£5 per annum for life).  Mary Burhouse/Burrowes was the child of William’s daughter Mary (fh.7 who had married John Burrowes).  There was no mention of any bequests to any of his children. 


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