The family name of Isham is pronounced "Eye-shum", and comes from a Northamptonshire village of the same name, which derives in turn from a brook called the Ise that flows through the western part of the county. The family appeared as tenants here, and in the neighboring village of Pytchley, in the days of the conquest, and trace their descent from one Azor or Azo de Isham, who is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1085-1087 as holding the demesnes (fife) of Isham. Although various family members continue to be mentioned over the next five centuries, they did not truely come into prominence until 1568 when John Isham (1525-1595) made a fortune as a wool merchant and built the manor house of Lamport Hall in the Daventry District of Northamptonshire. His grandson Sir John Isham (1582-1651) further advanced the family fortunes and was created the first Baronet of Lamport in 1627 by King Charles I. Although the baronetcy survives, Lamport Hall is no longer the family seat, as the manor house and gardens are owned and maintained today by the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust as a museum for the public enjoyment.
Thomas Isham (c.1456-after 1510) was born in Pytchley, Northamptonshire about 1456 as the only son of William Isham and succeeded about 1475 to his father's lands. He is recorded in the 1480 inquest of his mothers death as "22 and more years of age", and in the 1510 inquest of his father's death as "50 years and more years of age", which agrees with his estimated birthdate. He was married in 1485 to Elena Vere, the daughter of Richard Vere of Addington, and Isabella Green. Elena was also the sister of Sir Henry Vere (d. 1493), who in 1485, the year of his sister's marriage, served as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire. Elena and her brother are believed to be direct descendants of Robert de Vere of Addington, whose brother Aubrey de Vere III (d. 1194) was the first Earl of Oxford. The family descends from Aubrey (Albericus) de Vere I (d. 1112/13), who is named in 1086 in the Doomsday Book as holding a manor with estates in Essex, and who probably arrived in England on or after 1066 with William the Conqueror. He is the grandfather of the aforementioned brothers Robert de Vere of Addington and Aubrey III, !st Earl of Oxford. Elena Vere and her family are said to be direct decendants of Hugh Capet of France, and the link below leads to the probable line of their descent.
Gyles Isham (c.1519-1559), the eldest son, was twice a Member of Parliament for Peterborough during Queen Mary's regin. He inherited the estate of Pytchley Hall from his father, and died on Aug. 31, 1559 at Ringstead, Northamptonshire. He is buried at the Church of All Saints in Pytchley with other members of his family. Because he left no male heirs Pytchley Hall passed to his nephew Sir Euseby Isham (1552/53-1626).
Gregory Isham (1520-1558) married Elizabeth Dale, the daughter of Matthew Dale, and held a large estate at Braunston, Northamptonshire. He died on Sept. 4, 1558, probably at Braunston. One of his sons was Sir Euseby Isham (1552/53-1626), who inherited Pytchley Hall from his uncle Gyles, and Braunston Hall from his father. Sir Euseby served in 1584 as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, and was knighted on May 11, 1603 by James I. Euseby's grandson Capt. Henry Isham (c.1628-c.1675) emigrated in 1656 to America, where he settled in Henrico County, Virginia, and became the ancestor of such notable Americans as President Thomas Jefferson, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and Chief Justice John Marshall.
Rev. Robert Isham (c.1521-1564) entered the church and became the Rector of Grafton Underwood and Pytchley, and Prebendery of Peterborough and Windsor. He is said to have been the favorite chaplain of Queen Mary Tudor. Robert and his younger brother John in 1659 purchased an estate at Lamport, Northamptonshire where the Isham family resided for the next four centuries. When Robert died on May 5, 1564 at Ringstead, Northamptonshire, his brother John became the sole owner of the Lamport estate, which leads us to surmise that Robert may not have married nor had children.
John Isham (1525-1595/96) of Lamport Hall, the fourth surviving son of Euseby Isham and Anne Pulton, was born in August of 1525 at Ringstead, Northamptonshire. He apprenticed as a wool merchant with the Company of Mercers in the City of London during the reign of King Henry VIII, becoming a Feeman in 1552 of both the company and the city. He went on to become Warden (head officer) three times of the company. He married Elizabeth Barker, the daughter of Nicholas Barker of Sunning, Berkshire on October 6, 1552 at St. Martin Ironmonger, Lancashire. Elizabeth was the widow of Leonard Barker, a citizen of London. Her brother Thomas married John Isham's younger sister Isabella (b. c.1535).
John accquired enough wealth for him and his older brother Robert to purchase a large estate at Lamport, Northamptonshire in 1569 for £610 from Sir William Cecil of Burghley. This estate had been purchased by Sir Cecil just 6 months earlier on May 7, 1559 for £530 from Sir John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. When John's brother Robert died in 1564, John became sole owner of the estate, and he built the manor house of Lamport Hall in 1568 over the site of a previous house on the estate that had been built by the ancestors of the Earl of Oxford's wife. John subsequently served in 1581 as the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, and he was also the governor of the English merchant adventurers in Flanders. He died on March 17, 1595/96 at Lamport, where he is buried with his wife in the family tomb at All Saints Church. A portrait of him by Gerlach Flicke (shown on right) hangs at Lamport Hall.
Thomas Isham (1555-1605), known as the "Blind Squire", was the son of John Isham and Elizabeth Barker. He was born on Sept. 11, 1555 in London, and apparently lost his sight from an illness when he was young. Despite this handicap he became well versed in divinity and history. He married Elizabeth Nicholson (d. 1621), the daughter of Christopher Nicholson of Cambridge, Kent, and died on Dec. 3, 1605 at Lamport Hall, Northamptonshire after a fall from an unruly horse. He is buried at All Saints Church in Lamport with other members of his family.
Sir John Isham (1582-1651), 1st Baronet of Lamport, the son of Thomas Isham and Elizabeth Nicholson, was born on Friday July 27, 1582, according to his father's notes. He married Judith Lewyn (1590-1625) on Oct. 19, 1607, probably in Kent, Judith being the daughter of William Lewyn (d. 1598) of Ottingen (Otterden) in Kent, a doctor of laws. He was knighted on March 29, 1608 by James I and served in 1611 as the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire. He was then advanced by King Charles I on May 30, 1627 to Baronet of Lamport. He died July 8, 1651 in Lamport and was buried there at All Saints Church with his wife, who predeceased him.
Elizabeth Isham (1608/1609-1654) was born Jan. 28, 1608/1609, and buried a spinster on April 11, 1654 at Lamport. She is known for a recently discovered autobiography of hers that is considered to be one of the earliest known autobiographies by a female author.
Judith Isham (1609/1610-1636) was born Jan. Feb. 28, 1609/1610. She died unmarried on Nov. 1, 1636, and was buried on Nov. 3 at Lamport.
Sir Justinian Isham I (1610-1675), 2nd Baronet of Lamport, and the son of Sir John Isham and Judith Lewyn was born Jan. 20, 1610, probably at Lamport Hall. He married first on Nov. 10, 1634, probably in Hertfordshire, Jane Garrard, the daughter of Sir John Garrard of Lamer, which is also in Hertfordshire. Jane died on March 3, 1638 in childbirth delivering her fifth child. Isham then married in 1653, probably in either Surrey or London, his second wife Vere Leigh (d. 1704), the daughter of Thomas Leigh (1595-1672), baronet of Stoneleigh, and Mary Egerton.
Isham is described as a man of culture, who built a large library collection at Lamport Hall and was an early member of the Royal Society. He was friends with Bishop Brian Duppa, the advisor to Charles I, and the mathematician and astronomer Bishop Seth Ward, and a patron of the Scottish writer Alexander Ross. He was also elected on May 8, 1661 to represent Northamptonshire in Parliament. He died on March 2, 1674 at Oxford. He is buried near his wife in the family tomb on the north side of the chancel of All Saints Church in Lamport, where a lengthy Latin inscription details his family and accomplishments. There is an article on him in Wikipedia. A portrait of Sir Justinian by Jan Baptist Jaspers (shown on right) hangs at Lamport Hall, as well as a picture of his wife Vere Leigh by Julia Goodman.
As noted, Sir Justinian's second wife Vere Leigh was the daughter of Mary Edgerton. Vere's mother Mary, in turn, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Edgerton and his wife Elizabeth Venables, who is 11th in direct descent from King Edward I. Her husband Sir Thomas was the son of Elizabeth Ravenscroft and her husband Viscount Thomas Egerton of Brackley (1540-1617), who though illegitimate in birth still rose to become the Lord Chancellor to both Queen Elizabeth I and her heir King James I. Thus, Vere Leigh brought to the Isham family a distinguished pedigree that is documented in Burke (1858), Royal Descents and Pedigrees of Founder's Kin.
children - ISHAM (with Jane Garrard)
children - ISHAM (with Vere Leigh)
Vere Isham (1655-1674)
Sir Thomas Isham (1656-1681), 3rd Baronet of Lamport, was born on March 15, 1656/57 at Lamport Hall. He is remembered for a diary that he wrote in Latin from 1671 to 1673 at the command of his father. This diary, which was first translated and published in 1875, is noteworthy as it provides a glimpse of life in the English countryside as seen through the eyes of a teenager of the privledged upper class. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1675 when he was just 19 years old, and died on July 26, 1681 of small pox, shortly before he was to be married. He was buried on Aug. 9, 1681 at All Saints Church in Lamport. He was succeeded as baronet by his younger brother Justinian. There is an article on him in Wikipedia.
Sir Justinian Isham II (c.1658-1730), 4th Baronet of Lamport, and the son of Sir Justinian Isham I and Vere Leigh. He married on July 16, 1683 in Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire Elizabeth Turnor (1666-1713), the only daughter of Sir Edmund Turnor (1619-1707) of Stoke Rochford Hall in Kent, and his wife Margaret Harrison (1623-1679), the daughter of Sir John Harrison (1589-1669). He was made a knight in 1689, and died on May 13, 1730 in Lamport, where he is buried with his wife at All Saints Church. There is a painting of him attributed to Michael Dahl that hangs at Lamport Hall, together with another (shown on right) by Godfrey Kneller. Although there is also a painting at Lamport Hall that is believed to be of Sir Justinian's wife Elizabeth Turnor by Charles d' Agar, the identity of the subject is uncertain, and it may also be of Francis (d. 1755), the wife of John Isham. There is an article on Sir Justinian in Wikipedia.
Vere Isham (1686-1760).
Sir Justinian Isham III (1687-1736/37), 5th Baronet of Lamport, was born on July 20, 1687, and narrowly elected to Parliament on May 21, 1730 as the representative from Northamptonshire. He died suddenly from what was probably a stroke or heart attack on March 5, 1736/37 at or near London, and was succeeded as baronet, and in parliament by his younger brother Edmund. He is buried at All Saints Church in Lamport. He left a diary that is discussed by Isham (1907). There is also a Wikipedia article on him.
Sir Edmund Isham (1690-1772), 6th Baronet of Lamport, was born on Dec. 18, 1690, and died on Dec. 15, 1772. He is buried with his father and brother at All Saints Church in Lamport. There is a Wikipedia article on him.
Rev. Euseby Isham (1697-1755), the son of Sir Justinian Isham II and Elizabeth Turnor was born November 6, 1697, probably in Lamport. He became Rector of Lamport and Haselbeach, and was elected Rector (head) in 1731 of Lincoln College at Oxford University, a post he held until his death. He subsequently married on May 1, 1739 in Brockhall, England Elizabeth Panting (1717-1808), the daughter of Matthew Panting (b. 1691), a Doctor of Divinity, and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, and his wife Mary Thornton (1695-1772). Later, Isham was Vice-Chancellor from 1744 until 1747 of Oxford University. He died on June 17, 1755 at Lamport, where he is buried with his wife and son at All Saints Church. There is an article on him in Wikipedia, along with one for his son Edmund. A painting of him by artist Thomas Gibson is shown on the right. Gibson also painted a similar portrait of the Reverend's son Rev. Edmund Isham, Jr. that hangs at Lamport Hall.
Rev. Euseby Isham, Jr (1742-1814), second of the name, was born on June 14, 1742 in Oxford, and baptized there on July 17, 1742 in All Saints Church. He was subsequently educated at Lincoln College in the University of Oxford, where he was awarded in 1763 an M.A. degree, and ordained in 1769 as a priest. He married Diana Baber on May 25, 1773 in Westminster, London, and they had several children. He became in 1773 the Rector of Lamport, where he is said to have "held the living at Lamport and was in the commission of the peace" until his death. He died on Feb. 16, 1814 at Lamport, where he is buried in All Saints Church. A painting of him by Thomas Gibson, who also painted his father, hangs at Lamport Hall, and the painting of the younger Euseby appears incorrectly in many family trees and articles identified as his father the older Euseby.
Edmund Isham (1744-1817) was born in 1743/44 at Oxford, and baptized there on March 13, 1743/44 at All Saints Church. Like his father and brothers before him, he was educated at Lincoln College at the University of Oxford, where he earned in 1783 a Doctor of Divinity degree. He was elected Warden (head) in 1793 of All Souls College at the University, a post that he held until his death. He also served from 1797-98 as vice-chancellor of the University, while continuing in the role of Warden of All Souls College. He died unmarried and without children on June 10, 1817 at Oxford. He is listed in Wikipedia, along with an article for his father, and there exists a painting of him by William Owen, from which a mezzotint engraving was made that is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Philippa Isham (1753-1801) was born on April 3, 1753 in Oford, and baptized there on April 28, 1753 in All Saints Church. She died a spinster on April 13, 1801 in London.
Sir Justinian Isham IV (1740-1818), the 7th Baronet of Lamport, and the son of Rev. Euseby Isham and Elizabeth (Mary) Panting was born on July 8, 1740, probably at Oxford, as he was baptized there on Aug. 1, 1740 at All Saints Church. He was likely raised in the shadow of Oxford University, where his father was the Rector (head), and a previous graduate of Lincoln College. His father died in 1755, when Justinian, who was the eldest child, was only 14-years old. Then Justinian, like his father before him, attended Lincoln College also, where he was awarded an M.A. Degree on July 8, 1763, a little more than five years after beginning his studies there. Both of Justinian's younger brothers attended Oxford as well, and both went on to distinguished careers.
Justinian, three years after finishing his studies at Oxford, married Susannah Barrett (1744-1823) on Sept. 9, 1766, the wedding initially being kept secret from Justinian's immediate family, as his new wife Susannah was only the daughter of London Merchant Henry Barrett (Barrot) and as such was considered in some circles to be beneath Justinian position in society. Sir Gyles Isham (1948), the 12th Baronet of Lamport, writes the following about his ancestor, "Sir Edmund [Isham, 6th Baronet] must have been a rather formidable uncle, for his nephew [Justinian] concealed from him and even from his own mother, Elizabeth, his marriage to Susannah Barret, daughter of a city merchant. Perhaps Sir Edmund had forgotten [his ancestor] John Isham and the Mercer's Company; anyway, when Sir Edmund died [in 1772] and his nephew succeeded, the latter introduced his wife and three daughters to his mother who wrote to her uncle, Mr. Thornton at Brockhall, that Sir Justinian had married "a very agreeable lady." Sir Edmund's widow, however, Dame Philippa, was far from pleased when her nephew and his wife announced their intention of coming to live at Lamport [Hall], and took much persuading before she removed herself."
When Justinian's uncle Sir Edmund Isham, Baronet of Lamport and a Member of Parliament for Northamptonshire, died childless on Dec. 15, 1772, Justinian became the 7th Baronet. He also inherited Lamport Hall, but apparently little else, as Sir Gyles Isham (1948) writes, "Sir Edmund left so much money to his widow and charity--in addition to £1,000 to his old College, he left £1,000 to Northampton Infirmiry, and endowed and built the schoolmaster's house at Hanging Houghton--that Justinian and Susannah, who had a large family, found themselves very short of cash. In one letter, Susannah says they could afford no horses for their carriage, and she fears their failure to return their neighbor's calls will be attributed to rudeness. Sir Justinian declined an invitation to stand for Parliament [probably for his uncle's seat], and spent most of his time in the library among his books, while his four daughters sat in their four windows mending their stockings."
Justinian in his youth probably would not have been expected to become either the Baronet of Lamport, nor the Master of Lamport Hall, as he was 4th in the line of succession behind his father and two uncles. Thus, it comes as no surprise that when he did succeed to both titles, upon the death of his Uncle Edmund on Dec. 15, 1772, he was more interested in academics than politics. Nontheless, he served in 1776 as the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, and then he was appointed by the Crown on Feb. 18, 1793 to become one of the Deputy Lieutenants for the presiding Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Sir Spencer Compton, the 8th Earl of Northampton. However, the latter position would have ended three years later on April 7, 1796, when Sir Spencer died. More befitting Sir Justinian's interests, he was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degree on July 4, 1793 by Lincoln College of the University of Oxford - the DCL being senior to all college degrees save the Doctor of Divinity (DD), and is given for producing exceptional and original articles that make significant contributions to law or politics.
Sir Justinian died at the age of 77 on April 1, 1818 at Lamport, where he is buried with his wife Susannah in All Saints Church. Hanging at Lamport Hall, and shown on the right, is a painting of Justinian by an unknown artist. There are also two portraits at Lamport Hall of Susannah, one by an unknown artist, which is also shown on the right, and another is a painting by Richard Brompton. There is an article on Sir Justinian in Wikipedia.
Sir Justinian Isham V (1773-1845), 8th Baronet of Lamport, married Mary Close (1788-1878). Their son Sir Justinian Vere Isham (1816-1846) was the 9th baronet, but died not long after his father, and was succeeded as 10th baronet by his younger brother Sir Charles Edmund Isham (1819-1903), who in the 1840s introduced the tradition of garden gnomes to Britain when he used them to decorate his "gnome rockery" in the Lamport Hall gardens.
Vere Isham (1774-1845) became the rector of Lamport, and had a son named John Vere Isham (1803-1883), who served in the 51st Light Infantry and retired as a Captain. The son of John was Sir Vere Isham (1862-1941), who became the 11th Baronet of Lamport on the decease of his uncle Sir Charles Edmund Isham (1819-1903), the 10th baronet. Then the son of the younger Vere Isham, was family historian and actor Sir Gyles Isham (1903-1976) who became the 11th baronet. A son of the older Vere Isham was Major Thomas Isham (1807-1854), who has the dubious distinction of having murdering his brother-in-law William Wood in a fit of insanity, and then dying himself a few days afterwards. A newspaper account of the incident is available at the web page of the Brixworth History Society.
Henry Charles Isham (1777-1833), rector of Strangton.
Nine other children
Susannah Isham (1767-1849), the daughter of Sir Justinian Isham IV and Susannah Barrett, was born on June 3, 1767, probably at Lamport Hall, and baptized on June 28, 1767 at Saint Anne Soho in Westminster, London. She married George Purcas Brietzcke (c.1778-1817) of the Secretary of States office on Oct. 5, 1800 at Westminister St. James in London. It would appear that an earlier ceremony also took place on Oct. 4, 1800 at Lamport, Northamptonshire. The marriage was George's second, as he was previously married to a woman named Mary.
Susannah's husband George was the son of Charles Brietzcke (1738-1795) and Catherine Ware (c.1733-1830). Charles had also served in the Secretary of States office, prior to George, but he is known primarily for a personal diary that he wrote which describes his life as a young man in London during the middle 18th century. His eldest son, and therefore George Brietzcke's older brother, was Richard Betenson Dean (1772-1850), the Chairman of the Board of Customs for the United Kingdom. Richard Dean apparently had been born Brietzcke, but changed his surname to that of an ancestor, probably as a condition of an inheritance.
Susannah survived her husband George by many years, despite being several years older than he was. She died on Dec, 18, 1849 at the age of 82 in Hampstead, which is part of the Borough of Camden in Inner London, and she is buried in Highgate Cemetery in London, whereas her husband George is buried at Bath Abbey in Somerset. A painting of her by Caleb J. Garbrand that shows her as a little girl (shown at right) hangs at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire.
Carolina Ann Brietzcke (b. 1800) was born on July 15, 1800 to George Purcas Brietzcke and his first wife Mary. Carolina was baptized on Aug. 15, 1800 at St. Martin in the fields, Westminster. Her mother died not long after she was born, possibly in childbirth. Nothing further is known of Carolina.
Georgiana Elizabeth Brietzcke (1801-1875), the first child of George Purcas Brietzcke and his second wife Susannah Isham, was born Dec. 1, 1801, probably in London, and baptized March 4, 1802 at St. James, Piccadilly in Westminster (London). She lived with her sister Maria, and died a spinster on March 1, 1875 at Kensington (Middlesex), London.
Maria Susan Brietzcke was born c.1803. She lived with her sister Georgiana and died a spinster on April 21, 1875 at the age of 72 at Kensington (Middlesex), London.
Edmund Isham Brietzcke (c.1806-1900) married Mary Anne Overy (b. 1811), and died Oct. 10, 1900 in Hastings, London at the age of 94 years. He and Mary Anne had several children, including the son who follows.
Henry Brietzcke (1841-1879) was born on Oct. 13, 1841 in Islington, London, and married Helen Kate Smith (1851-1923). He died on March 11, 1879 as the medical officer of the Portsea Convict Prison in Southampton, Hampshire. Their son Edmund Henry Brietzcke (1878-1967) was an engineer, who married Helen Shackleton (1882-1962), a writer for the Montreal Daily Star in Canada. Her brother was the author and Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874-1922).
George John Brietzcke (1809-1840) was born Sept. 14, 1809 and baptized Oct. 28, 1809 at St. Martin in the Fields, London. He died at Neemuch, India as a lieutenant in the 49th Bengal North Infantry.
Louisa Sophia Brietzcke (c.1806-1891), the daughter of Susannah Isham and George Purcas Brietzcke, was born on Nov. 6, 1804 in Westminster (London), and baptized there on Dec. 1, 1804 in St. Margaret's Church. She married William Abbott (1804-1866) on Aug. 28, 1832 at Christ Church in St. Marylebone, Westminster - William being a member of a prominent family of London merchants. Louisa died on January 11, 1891 at the age of 85 years at No. 50 Gloucester Street in London, and she is buried with her husband William in the Kensal Green All Souls Cemetery in London. Louisa is covered in much more detail in the Brietscke Genealogy, and her children are listed in the the Abbott Genealogy. The ambrotype shown below came from the household of Louisa's daughter Mary Eliza Abbott. Although the identity of the woman in this ambrotype is not known with any certainty, there is a possibility that it may be Louisa. Please see the Abbott Genealogy for the children of Louisa and William.
The Isham Family ancestors of Louisa Sophia Brietzcke are direct descendants of King Edward I of England, King Hugh Capet of France, and his ancestor Charlemagne. Though uncertain, they may also descend from the Merovingian Kings, possible ancestors of Hugh Capet, who ruled ancient France in the waning days of the Roman Empire. The buttons below lead to these lineages.
Burke, John Bernard (1858), "Sir Charles Edmund Isham, Bart." inRoyal descents and pedigrees of founder's kin, Harrison, London, v. 2, Pedigree XVII. Click the link at right to access the original text.
Isham, Edward Paul (1984), An Index of the Ishams in England and America: Nine Hundred Years of History and Genealogy, pubished by E.P. Isham, 732 p. Basically an updated version of Brainard (1938), with nothing new on the Ishams of Lamport Hall.
Isham, Gyles (1948), The Historical and Literary Associations of Lamport: A paper read at a meeting of the Northamptonshire Record Society, 27th September, 1947, Northamptonshire Past and Present, v. 1, n. 1, p. 17-32.
Longden, Rev. Henry Isham (1906), "Isham Family" inNorthamptonshire Families (Victoria History of the Counties of England. Northampton. Genealogical volume - Edited by Oswald Barron), A. Constable, London, 380 p. Available as Microfilm 990095 at Family History Centers from the LDS Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This is the definitive history of the Isham family of Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire, England as the author lived in Lamport village and had access to extensive family papers that are housed in the Lamport Hall archives and date back nearly 400 years. The first 105 pages of Brainard (1938), which are listed above and are more readily available to the researcher, are bascially just a rephrasing of Longden's work. Similarly, Isham (1984) adds nothing new on the Ishams of Lamport Hall, as the main emphasis of the text in Isham (1984) is on the American branch of the family.