Did Sir Ellis Hicks exist?

+6 votes

Helen Ford, are you out there? Or others familiar with researching English knights?

This Sir Ellis Hicks has been suggested (in various online trees, and at least one late 19th/early 20th century unsourced genealogy) as an ancestor of both early New England and Virginia Hicks settlers.

One published researcher, however, suggested he's a complete fabrication, but without much discussion.

Can we dig up more information about this man? I am hoping, in particular, to confirm or deny his being knighted around 1356. How can we find this out?


WikiTree profile: Elias Hicks
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith

When were these news articles printed? Depending on dates, they could be repeating the genealogies that started about 1803 perpetuating what we are clearly showing here as false.

I'm reviewing Complete Baronetege: England Baronetcies 1611-1625 (pp 137-138)

About Sir William Hickes (contemporary to Sir Ellis Hickes and also heir of Witcombe, co.Gloucester), the book indicates that Sir William was imprisoned in 1649 and fined 1,000 pounds.  Certainly, he must have been aware of Sir Elias Hickes who was also in trouble with that same government.

But we have yet to figure out if/how they were related.

Will of Richard Hyckes of Boston, Lincs 1533 - that's probably going to spell out the more significant Tortworth Hicks in that generation and give Robert Hicks' father.

It's in Lincoln wills, 1532-1534, edited by David Hickman. There are around 75 copies in various US libraries. I would get it at the Huntington Library but their access policies are notoriously illiberal.


I know there is some discussion about Baptist Hicks (the viscount) not being related to the Hicks who arrived in the States on The Fortune, but I just had to add that I am a Hicks descendant, and my eldest uncle looks so similar to the portraits of Baptist Hicks that it is absolutely shocking.  Though the link hasn't been discovered yet, I am absolutely certain that this man is a relative.
I looked him and some of his listed family members and I found him in what might be reliable places. I don't want to take the time to write out all the web-links. But, I can send them to you through email, at this moment. I can't be too sure if it is helpful or not. But, the question got me thinking.
Most, if not all, of the derivative sources aren't any good. The Ellis Hicks myth first appeared in print around 1790 and successive embellishments over the next 200 years didn't improve it any. It's just one long game of telephone.

Debra, if you (or anyone else, for that matter) are interested in getting involved in this very complicated challenge, I request you read the compilation I've drafted that puts together all we've learned here.  We spent weeks and months working through this mess and it would be critical for anyone stepping into this to first see where we've come to so that we don't have to rehash former ground we'd already covered.  Thanks. 


No, I am not interested in Hicks. I saw a post on my wikipage where someone was asking for information. I offered the tiny bit I could find, as I said, it might or might not be helpful.

I would rather direct my energies somewhere else.

I appreciate the "thanks", though. Heartwarming. Makes me fell appreciated.

7 Answers

+1 vote

In pursuit of more information about the possible father of Sir Ellis Hicks, who is identified multiple times as son of a London scrivener...

We know from above that in 1624, Mary, daughter of William Hickes, deceased, scrivener of London was married.

Found this in The Common Paper: Subscription to the Oath 1613-1618 (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol4/pp54-62), suggesting that William Hicks, scrivener, was still alive in 1618:

In Rawl. D51 this entry is followed by the date 1616 and this note: Memorandum That the Charter or Letters Patents granted by King James dated the 28th day of January in the 14th Year of his Reigne over England France & Ireland & of Scotland the 50th Whereby the Company is incorporated by the name or title of Master Wardens and Assistants of the Society of Writers of the Citty of London doth here take place, being named therein for Master & Wardens The Master & those Wardens last before named and for Assistants these following. (Vizt): John Mayle, esq., Thomas Chapman, George Samwell, Thomas Fitch, Andrew Turnor, Edward Ledsham, John Partridge, Robert Banckworth, Jeffery Place, Henry Best, Robert Hill, Robert Morgan, Peter Blower, Edward White, William Hicks, Godfrey Reynor, George Hill, James Colebrond, Charles Bostock, Francis Strange, John Hallywell, Richard Wotton, William Childe, John Woodward.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
Wonder if this is coincidence
Robert HICKS
Alias: Robert HIXE
Matric. sizar from PETERHOUSE, Michs. 1552;
B.A. 1556/7 ;
M.A. from Corpus Christi, 1560 .
Fellow of Corpus Christi, 1558 .
Received the tonsure (London) 1557 .
For some time minister at Fotheringay, Northamptonshire .
R. of Tansor [ Northamptonshire ], 1576-1601 .
Will, P.C.C.
( Bridges, II. 475; H. I.
It seems very likely that this is the link back to the Gloucs. Hicks. This isn't the first time I've seen a churchman haul a couple relatives along to his benefice.  Rev. Robert apparently was born around 1535 so he sounds more like Adam's brother than his father. D. Skinner, "Music and the Reformation in the Collegiate Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay," in ''The Late Medieval English College and Its Context,'' Clive Burgess, Martin Heal, eds., Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2008, p. 253 did some research on him.
Rev. Robert Hicke[s]' 1601 will seems to give short shrift to his relatives, and I suspect it's because of a note at the end that says "Creditt due to the testator, Adam Hicke owethe him five poundes".
The only other Hicks mentioned that I saw are a godson Robert Hicke (first legatee) and servant John Hicke. Lots of Hensons mentioned (Adam's wife's family). Also notable, it's a holographic will.
For what it's worth, someone on Ancestry.com has Adam's parents as William Hickes (d. 1547) and Katherine Diccon (which is a name in Rev. Robert's will) but they also have Alice's name as "Hewson" rather than Henson. There must be another will, since that sounds like a misreading. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/40302765/person/28063070195/facts
Aha, some key evidence has been misindexed by Ancestry under "William Nyx" of Tansor. Will of William Hix or Hyx, Yeoman of Tansor, Northamptonshire (1580), PROB 11/62/481. this is the goldmine of wills: the (sort of) son-less cousin who disperses his estate to relatives hither and yon. I'll have to look it over more later, but it has among others:

William Hyx, son of his "cosin" Adam Hyx, and Margery Hyx daughter of his cousin William Hyx. Brother John Hyx, brother John Norton of Cotherstocke, Johan Henson and Alice Henson daughters of sister Suzan Henson. AND "William Burdett the sonne of Johann Burdett likewise supposed to be my sonne". Brethren Robert Hyx and John Norton, daughter Margerie Hukcor[?]
There's another relevant will, Robert Hyx of Tansor prob. 1537, 1st series, Book E, folio 263, Archdeaconry Court of Northampton: Wills, Administrations and inventories, and accounts
Sometimes indexed as "Robert Hye" - I'd imagine this one would take some work to get.

I gotta say, the Northants court is full of wills for this Tansor Hicks family, but half of them are indexed under mistranscribed names like Hye and Hype.

A calendar of wills relating to the counties of Northampton and Rutland : proved in the court of the archdeacon of Northampton

Book I - 1545-48

Hyx, John Tansor 267

Hyx, William Tansor 246

Hyx, John Tansor 247

Book F - 1537-40

"Hype", Agnes Tansor


Also several Goodyears and Diccons in Tansor. I think someone researching this line could probably find enough to run it back to 1500.

This is all so exciting and one of the most enjoyable wikitree collaborations I've experienced.

I see that the profiles of Ellis and some of his siblings and his father and grandfather are starting to get fleshed out. It would be awesome to continue reflecting the recent probate findings and ultimately link this line to the Gloucestershire line.

Of course we still haven't identified the origins of the PGM emigrants Robert and Thomas (or their relationship to each other) -- where I entered this fray originally -- but I've got to think they tie in somewhere!

Everything known about the immigrant is supposed to be in here



+1 vote


1355 Nov 3 And many others were promoted to the knightly order.

Probably all the record that was kept.



by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (574k points)
This is great RJ. There is no Hicks listed among those knighted by the Black Prince. But there is a line in Latin-- does anyone know what it translates to ?
And several others were to be promoted to military orders? something like that.
Promoted to military orders isn't the same as being knighted though is it?
Yeah, just "and many others were promoted to a military order [singular]", which does mean (mostly) knighthoods.

It also says other knights were created along with Jankyn and certain others with Gilot, in October.

A lot of families must have had a story about an obscure ancestor who was knighted on a battlefield.

But it was all strictly honorary.  They weren't about to start a career in public service, which presumably they still couldn't afford.

Burke's had a more elaborate version by 1830


I expect it happened - to somebody else.  Families that didn't have their own stories adopted other people's and changed the names.



The whole thing about the family originating in Gloucestershire does sound like a just-so story, but the surname distribution supports the idea. There's a very strong concentration around Gloucestershire and diffusing outward.

The fact that two different branches used the 3 fleurs de lis device tells us something, but I'm not sure what. It would probably be informative to dig up the original grants, if someone were sufficiently motivated to figure it out.

These are the only grants listed by Jewers.



Interesting that both the original grants were by Londoners in the early 17th century. Since there aren't any earlier Hicks grants, I guess we can conclude that the Edward III story is probably mythological, but that it was probably going around among the gentlemen Hicks living in London at the time. It's not unlikely that the Tansor Hicks and the Tortworth Hicks had encountered each other and brewed up some kind of tale about a common ancestor. This must be why Sir Ellis' portrait ended up in the Tortworth line's collection-they were probably happy to claim a daring war hero as a distant relation. I still think they're branches of the same Hicks line, but the MRCA has to be at least 3 generations back from Sir Ellis.
+1 vote

Okay, I can't quite translate ALL of the above evidence into a tree, yet but here's what i've got so far:

  1. Adam Hicks (d 1611) m. Alice Henson of Tansworth; she was still living at the time of his will. Adam had (unclear if Alice is mother of all of these (order uncertain):
    1. Margaret Hickes m. William Bellamye
    2. Edward Hickes
    3. Robert Hickes
    4. John Hickes
    5. Thomas Hickes
    6. Margery Hickes m. _____ Everell (I don't like how close Margery is to Margaret in name)
    7. Elizabeth Hickes m. ?Christopher? Alsopp who was deceased by 1611.
    8. William Hickes d. 1622; m. _____ Jones?, daughter of Ellis Jones? Issue (unclear if all by same wife; order uncertain):
      1. Randolph Hickes chr. St. Martins Gate 13 mar 1598; bur 7 Jul 1628 (conflicts with 22 Oct 1628 will); m. St. Swythian London, Alice Brown (who survived him) 
        1. At least two children (plural "children" in 1628 will)
      2. Elizabeth Hickes m. Thomas Ketterich (var. spellings)
      3. Samuel Hickes
      4. Sir Ellis/Elias Hickes, chr St. Martins Ludgate 29? Apr 1600; d about 1679 when he wrote his will. No evidence of marriage or offspring
      5. Susannah Hickes; ch 1611 St Martins Ludgate; m Robert? or Harry? Coningsby. Children included (may have been others?):
        1. Susan Coningsby
        2. John Coningsby
        3. ? Harry Coningsby
      6. Alice Hickes m Nicholas Jackson
      7. Maria Hickes, "[of] St. Martin, Ludgate, London, spinster, daughter of William Hicks, scrivener, deceased, consent of her uncle and guardian Robert Hicks of East Haddon, co. Northampton, gent."; m 2 Apr 1624 at St. Michael, Cornhill, London George Blincoe, esq. Middle Temple...
      8. Ann Hickes
      9. Abigail Hickes; m Humphrey Bedingfield of Wighton
      10. Margaret Hickes
      11. Adam Hicks
      12. William Hicks Jr.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith

Apparently Abigail was sold to a goldsmith.  Twice her age, but probably rich



Randall uttered will 1 July, buried 7, probate granted Oct.Looks as if he was staying with brother Samuel when he died.Not sure if it is same Randall that married Alice Brown though his wife was an Alice.
Elizabeth was the wife of William of Ludgate dying a few months before husband.
There are probably two different William Bellamys in the will.

And i tracked down a really  bad quality image of the supposed portrait and added it to the profile.

Would be great to find a closer original.


Strictly we don't know it's him.  It wasn't said to be him, it was said to be the legendary Sir Ellis.
But is this the portrait that was hanging in Whitcombe (sp?) in the early 1800s? Is this the portrait that Ben Buckner says he saw, and that it was clear to him that this was 17th century armor?
(I've also added a clarifying comment on the image page.)
+1 vote
Well it's no surprise to find the Yorkshire Hicks pedigree isn't too robust either.

Evidently Thoresby got his info from the Leeds branch, who said their ancestors had been lords of Nunnington, though he seems tactfully sceptical.  VCH knows nothing about that.  Stewards or yeomen of Nunnington maybe.

Then a Fowler Hicks of no great ancestry buys "Silton Hall" and hooks himself up to Thoresby's pedigree by surgically removing the Dean of Worcester's brother and transplanting in his own grandfather.

Then he adopts the arms of the baronets and claims that their line is a branch of the "lords" of Nunnington.
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (574k points)
+1 vote

If any of you great folks want to help with this Hicks related challenge, I'd appreciate it:


These have been the purported parents of both PGM emigrants Robert and Thomas Hicks. 


by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
We can certainly say that James and Phoebe weren't half-sibs, and the standard version shows Mary Everard as James's mother not his wife's.
The Tansor Hicks don't sound the least bit Puritan to me. I'm pretty sure Sir Ellis was Catholic, absolutely a Royalist, and his brother Thomas was an associate of a suspected Papist. These were not enthusiasts of the Reformation.
Thanks Ben. James Hicks has been -- rightly or wrongly -- associated with the Gloucestershire branch.
For some reason, I can believe Sir Baptist Hicks as a Puritan.
FindMyPast has around 30 Thomas Hicks, Hickes, Hix, and Hyx baptized between 1570 and 1590, which means there were probably something like 50 of them. It's not quite a needle in a haystack, but it doesn't sound promising.
But no Baptist Hickses.

The traditional ancestry of "Fortune" Hicks says James was the son of a Baptist Hicks, who was the cousin of the other one.

If there's any trace of the existence of this other Baptist then obviously it would point to a connection with Robert the ironmonger.

FindMyPast has references to a Baptist Hicks dated 1542 and 1562, in Boyd's Inhabitants of London.  But they could be just Boyd footnoting that Robert was the father of Sir Baptist.  Need a subscriber.

From Boyds  Inhabitants of London ( question marks in square brackets are mine, those without brackets are on original) 

The format is a family sheet for each person.  There is a page opposite which seems to be left for details from wills, He hasn't filled this in for either of these pages but has for Baptist's father in Law Richard Mayes

But these are all for the famous one, not his 'cousin' (so not any help sorry)


Hix Robert 1542  


Robert Hicks of  S Pancras Soper Lane

Wife ? Julian Arthur of Clapton Som

Died 1592

Daughter of William Arthur

Profession citizen and ironmonger , mercer of the White Bear Cheapside, Arms Gen[?]17/280

Died 1557

Will 1557 PCC Nooales


Michael bapt 1543 Oct 21

Francis 1544 Jan 29

?Hilary s 1545 Jan 14 bur 1548 Jul 14 ? Henry

?John bur 1548 Mch 17

Clement died 1627

Baptist mar Elizabeth May 15517


Burkes Peerage “St Aldwyn”

Record set          Boyd's Inhabitants Of London & Family Units 1200-1946

Hix Sir Baptist 


Name Sir Baptist Hicks of St Mary Magdalen Milk St

Father Robert Hicks of S Pancras Soper Lane 14715

Mother Julia_ Arthur of Clapham

daughter of William Arthur

Wife Elisabeth Mayes of All Hallows Bread Street

Daughter of Richatd May MT 1562 and Mary Hillarron 838

Profession citizen & mercer alderman 1611,1638 rent £40 Lady Cam__ in S Lawrence Jewry

Died 1629 Oct 18

Will 1629 PCC 101 Ridley


Juliana bap 1586 Jul 31 marr Edward Noel

Mary  bap 1587 Feb 11 marr 1 Sir Charles [Morrison?] 2 Sr John Cooper

Arthur bap 1590 Oct 4

Elisabeth bap 1592 Sep 24 bur 1599 Sep 7

Baptist bap 1594 Feb 9 bur 1599 Oct 11

Arthur burr 1586 Aug 28  [transc note, it looks more like 86 than 96 but cannot  be certain]

Burkes [Est B__]

Citizens and their [rulers?] p197 Vis Rutland 1681 p2 Staffs Ped p 175 [Noel]

There is another page on Richard Mayes , the father of Baptist's wife Elizabeth 

Many thanks.  I'll be surprised if Cousin Baptist materializes, but these stones can't be left unturned.
I wouldn't start out with Baptist Hicks, James Hicks etc. Start with the Hicks that were actually in New England, Robert Hicks and Thomas Hicks. The chances that either of them are descended from undocumented scions of a family with two knights are... remote.

I think I buy the case that Robert Hicks of New England is actually the one with the children baptized in Bermondsey. With "Lydia" and "Samuel" matching the children, that seems pretty solid.
Robert's profile was missing a pretty critical bit of primary evidence that shows he was a fellmonger in Southwark. This actually tells us a lot about him. He doesn't sound like he's really in with the London elite like the Tansor and Tetworth Hicks were. He's not even a free citizen, which is probably why he's down in Southwark selling hides to a Frenchman for lousy prices. It's not a high-prestige trade and not a high-prestige position in it. His first two known sons are named Thomas and John, so odds are one or the other of those his his father's name. It's virtually certain that Thomas and/or John is a father or grandfather. There aren't any weirdo Puritan names in his family until he goes to New England, so I don't think he's a hard core Puritan, at least not before 1620. No "Praisegod", "Hopefor", "Zaccheus", etc. He's actually having infants baptized in the 1600-1620 frame, so he can't be too far out of the Anglican spectrum at that point. He's supposed to be missing from the 1624 Lay Subsidy, which might indicate something useful.
0 votes

I've been trying to get this document to a cleaner condition before sharing it, but it's taking so long. I'd really like people's input-- especially those who have responding here.  Please feel free to use Google's "suggested edits" and/or "comments" feature to mark it up, ask questions, add details, etc.

You'll see I'm not quite done.


by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
Here's the Worcestershire visitation https://archive.org/stream/visitationofcoun00maytrich#page/56/mode/1up
It's the same arms, but the herald didn't think these Hicks were entitled to them since they hadn't been in the previous visitation.
Another Baptist Hicks (although much later). Please explain as I don't fully understand these visitations. If the visitation was taken in 1682, why are there dates that follow that (well after 1700) included? Thanks.
It's hard to be sure, but it looks like the editor intended the italicized portions to be additional notes.
It might be discussed in the preface or something.
Yeah, "additions by Sir Thomas are given in italics."

And a profile


created by a  descendant.

0 votes
Hi, I now think that, Sir Elias,Ellis Hicks  is the Sir Elias,Ellis Hicks of 1635 . not 1356. This Hicks was made a Knight aboard his Majesties Royal ship The Marie Honor. By Earl of Lindsey.Sept. 23,1635,it is Gentleman Pensioner. Below is where I found this. You may have already seen this, let me know.I am  trying to help.

Google book: A Book of Knights Banneret,Knights of the Bath,and Knights Bachelor:Made between the fourth year of King Henry the VII and the restoration of King Charles II.And also Knights made in Ireland between the years 1566 and 1698. By: Walter Charles Metcalfe, page 193.

No where have I looked is there a Sir Elias,Ellis Hicks other than family trees.
by Teresa Davis G2G6 Mach 5 (50.7k points)
Thanks, Teresa; that's what we found as well.

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