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Peter Worden (abt. 1576 - bef. 1639)

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Peter Worden aka Werden, Warden, Worthen [uncertain]
Born about in Clayton, Lancashire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married about 1604 in Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died before in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified 4 Jan 2020 | Created 6 Aug 2010 | Last significant change: 4 Jan 2020
11:04: Jillaine Smith removed Anna O'Lague as manager for profile of Peter Worden (abt.1576-bef.1639). [Thank Jillaine for this]
This page has been accessed 11,258 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Peter Worden migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640). (See The Great Migration (Series 2), by R. C. Anderson, vol. 7, p. 236)
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Peter Worden "came from Clayton, Lancaster Co., England, where he owned an estate."[1] He was an early settler in Plymouth Colony, settling at Yarmouth, and through his son, Peter, is the progenitor of many Wordens (and variations of the name) throughout the United States today.

Peter Worden is a recognized Gateway Ancestor, with a well-documented pedigree descending from the Emperor Charlemagne and at least one Magna Carta Surety Baron, Robert de Ros. An unproven line, accepted by some but not all genealogists, extends back to five additional Magna Carta Barons and to Plantagenet royalty. (See Noble and royal ancestry for details.)

Early Life in Lancashire, England

Peter Worden was the younger son of Robert and Isabel (Worthington) Worden.[2] His birth and baptism are not recorded, but it is assumed he was born at the family manor in Clayton (now Clayton-le-Woods). Bolton estimates Peter's birth to be around 1576.[3]

Peter's Worden ancestors had been entered in the Preston Guild Rolls as outburgesses or foreign burgesses starting in 1542,[4] meaning that they held status in Preston but made their residence elsewhere: i.e., nearby Clayton. In this period in England, burgesses were equivalent to freemen: "those who were entitled to practice a trade within the town and to participate in electing members of the town's ruling council". Peter and his brothers appear in the Preston Guild Rolls in 1582 (as teenagers, having inherited their father's status upon his death in 1580) and 1602, and Peter in his own right in 1622.[4][3]

Between 1609 and 1613 "Peter Werden, gent." , appeared as a juror at nine inquisitions. Though the style of gentleman (at that time, signifying the lowest rank of English nobility) was often granted to jurors solely as a courtesy, Peter was similarly styled in a land transaction in 1616, indicating that he indeed held this status. He was elected to the Town Council of the Borough of Preston some time before 1610.[5]

A Preston rental record dated 1670 shows that Peter, in October 1617, leased a shop and a "standing" (a market stall) in the Moothall in Preston, and even gives the precise location: "on the east side of the moothall next adjoyning to the staires at the north end of the hall with a standing at the south end of the hall".[6]

From about 1628 until 1634 Peter held the office of County Aulnager (or Alnager), "an officer in a port or market town responsible for ensuring that all cloth sold was woven in the correct length and width laid down by statute." For this reason, and because Peter's near relatives included many "mercers" and "drapers", Peter likely traded in textiles. As early as 1631, Peter is also recorded in transactions involving purchase and sale of large quantities of wine.[3]

Peter and his family may have made their home in Preston for a time, as he is occasionally referenced as "of Preston." Anthony Wall, the first husband of Peter's wife Margaret, owned an estate there which may have passed to her and the Wall children upon his death; also, Peter's daughter Bridget was buried in Preston in 1625. In late 1630, plague struck Preston and ravaged the town for nearly a year, killing 1,069 residents out of a population of just 3,000. No relatives of Peter's are known to have succumbed to plague; however, this period coincides with a decline in records showing Peter Worden in Preston, and is followed by records showing him resident in his hometown of Clayton, indicating that he may have relocated during this time.[3]

By 1634, a Chancery bill of complaint relating to Peter's tenure as aulnager names him "Peter Worden of Clayton, gent." Another case in 1636 directly describes a "messuage and dwelling house in Clayton" where Peter "now laieth and inhabiteth".[3] This case, recorded in March 1636, is the last known record of Peter Worden in England.

Marriage and family

Peter Worden married in 1603 or 1604 to Margaret (Grice) Wall, daughter of Thomas and Alice (Holdworth) Grice and widow of Anthony Wall.[2] It is thought that the marriage occurred between February 1603/4 (when Margaret is recorded as still a widow) and March 1604/5 (when Peter and Margaret are named together in a lease) in Lancashire. She brought to the marriage at least five Wall step-children: William, Thomas, John, Alice, and Mary. Neither of Margaret's marriage records has been found, but the name of Margaret's former husband is known by a Palatine Chancery Court action dated 1607,[7] and her parentage is known from the Visitation of Lancashire in 1664, when her Wall grandson registered his family pedigree.[8]

No birth or baptism records have been found for their three known children, but all were living by about 1609.[3] Those children are:

Peter's wife, Margaret, died in 1612,[2] and daughters Elizabeth and Bridget also died in England prior to Peters' emigration.[3]

Disproven marriage

"Ann Ffaingten" is sometimes reported online and in GEDCOMs as a wife of Peter. There is no evidence that she existed at all: her name is most likely a corruption of Ann (Farrington) Worden, Peter's great-grandmother and the wife of Roger Worden.

Disproven daughters

Anne (Werden) Jenkinson Fleetwood was erroneously reported in the Fleetwood pedigree in the Visitation of Lancashire 1664/5 to have been the daughter of "Peter Werden of Preston." She was in fact the daughter of James Werden, mercer, of Preston, but may have been a ward of Peter Worden at the time of the Visitation. The families of Peter and James appear to have had some relationship, but its precise nature is not known.[5]

Though often repeated, there has never been any evidence supporting Ellen ( ) Newton Adams Winslow as a daughter of Peter Worden.

Emigration to New England

Peter Worden and his son, Peter, the last known surviving members of their immediate family, are last seen in England in early 1636. The route they traveled, and the ship on which they arrived, are not known. Family tradition states that they originally arrived at Lynn, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but if so, they left no trace in the records there.[9]

The large migration of Protestant religious dissenters came primarily from counties in the south and east of England, while Peter Worden's origins lie in Lancashire, in the northwest, and he had no known affiliations with any religious separatists. Years earlier, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford referred to such unaffiliated emigrants as having come "on their perticuler," meaning for their own personal reasons; Peter Worden's specific motivation remains a mystery.[9]

Peter and his family settled at Yarmouth, on Cape Cod in Plymouth Colony before 7 January 1638/9,[2] the first record of the Wordens' arrival being found there, the elder Peter is probably the "old Worden" mentioned in a list of Yarmouth inhabitants on that date.[10] He is named along with three others as "persons there excepted against," apparently meaning that they had settled without the authority of the Colony.[11] "At the extreme easterly part of the town Peter Warden, the elder and the younger, had established themselves, in spite of the opposition of some of their associates, and here the former died the first year of the settlement."[1]

Death and burial

Peter Worden "was here early in 1639 and died that year, probably the first white man who died in town."[1] In his will, dated 9 February 1638/9, he describes himself "being very sick;" the will was proved less than a month later, on 5 March.[12]

The Worden Cemetery, overlooking Cape Cod Bay, is located on the south side of Route 6A in the town of Dennis near the border with Brewster. Directly across Route 6A, in a pasture, is a small foundation said to be from the house of the elder Peter Worden. The barn in the pasture is said to be built on the original foundation of the house of his son, Peter Worden. Both Peter the elder and his son are believed buried there. [citation needed]


Peter Worden's will, dated 9 February 1638/9, was probated on 5 March 1638/9.[2] It is the first will printed in the Plymouth Court Records.[13] A "true copy" (handwritten reproduction) of the will remains in the Barnstable Probate Court; the original does not survive.[5]

In his will Peter Worden left most of his real and personal property in both England and America to his son, Peter Worden, and provided for his grandson, John Lewis.

The last will and testament of Peter Worden of Yarmouth ye elder deceased proved at ye genrall court held at Plymouth ye fift Day of March in ye xiiijth year of ye Reigne of our Soverigne Lord Charles King of England &c 1638 by ye oathes of Mr. Nicholas Sympkins, Hugh Tillie & Giles Hopkins as followeth viz.:

Be it knowne unto all men to whom this doth or may concern That I Peter Worden of Yarmouth in New England in Plymouth Patten being very sick in this yeare of our Lord 1638 and on ye ninth day of Ffebruary do make my last will to testify unto all that I Peter Worden doe give and bequeath unto Peter Worden my only sonne & sonn & heire and in the presence of Nicholas Sympkins Hugh Tillie and Giles Hopkins I do make him my whole Executor to whom I doe give all my lands Leases & Tennements with goods movable and unmovable in the Towne of Clayton in the County of Lankester likewise I doe give unto Peter my sonne all my goods wch I have at this prsent in New England. My will is my sonne is to give John Lewis one Nate Goate also my will is my sonn is to give my Grandchild such money as is due for the keepeing of Goates and Calves untill this day and that my sonn is with the money to buy John a Kid or dispose it otherwise for his use also one bed or bolster three blankets also my sonne is to have the tuition of my grandchild untill he be at ye age of one and twenty yeares of age also my will is he shall fynd him with meate drinke and cloathes and at ye three last years of ye xxjth yeare also to have fourty shillings ye yeare after & above for to add to his stock with the sow pigg when the sow piggs.

In witnesse we present set our hands
Nicholas Simpkins
Hugh Tilly { H } marke
Giles Hopkins

Peter { his seale } Werden

Mr. Nicholas Sympkins Heugh Tilly and Giles Hopkins weer all deposed in open Court to this will the fift day of March 1638 xiiijth Caroli - See Court Ordr p- 194 [13][11]

For many years, researchers puzzled over the identity of "John Lewis" and the seemingly-unnamed grandson who received bequests in Peter Worden's will. George Bolton proved in 1992 that John Lewis was Peter Worden's grandson by Peter's daughter Elizabeth, and the references in the will are all to the same young man.[14]

Noble and royal ancestry

Peter Worden is descended from Magna Carta Surety Baron Robert de Ros, [2][12][15] and through Robert's wife, Isabel of Scotland, is also a descendant of Charlemagne. Proven descent from Peter Worden is accepted as a qualification for membership in the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the USA, through at least one proven lineage:

In addition to the accepted de Ros lineage, Peter Worden may also be descended from John de Mowbray through his possible daughter, Christian (de Mowbray) de Plumpton, as proposed in an article by Douglas Hickling in 2005,[18] but this relationship is not proven or universally accepted, largely because multiple men and families by that name were living in her era. Richardson, writing in 2013, states that "in the absence of additional evidence, it has been impossible place [sic] Christian with any certainty among the various branches of the Mowbray family then in England and Scotland."[19]

If proved, John de Mowbray would extend Peter Worden's ancestry by five Magna Carta Surety Barons (Richard de Clare, Gilbert de Clare, Saher de Quincy, John de Lacy, and William de Mowbray) and the Plantagenet dynasty.


Several Worden lines have been proven through the use of DNA testing. See: Worden DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Swift, Charles Francis. History of Old Yarmouth Comprising the Present Towns of Yarmouth and Dennis: from the Settlement to the Division in 1794, with the History of Both Towns to These Times. Yarmouth Port, Mass.: Published by the Author, 1884. Pages 24 and 64.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd Ed., Vol. IV, page 369. WORDEN 15. See also WikiTree's source page for ‘’Magna Carta Ancestry.’’’
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Bolton, George L. "More Worden Origins, Part IV: The Life and Times of Peter Worden I." Wordens Past, Vol. XIII, No. 3. Worden Family Association, November 1992 (subscription required), pages 885-8. The print and PDF copy of this issue is mis-labeled as "No. 2"; 3 is correct.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Abram, W. Alexander, ed. The Rolls of Burgesses at the Guilds Merchant of the Borough of Preston, Co. Lancaster, 1397-1682: From the Original Rolls in the Archives of the Preston Corporation. London: Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 1884. pp. 42, 57, 87. Digital image at (free).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bolton, George L. "Worden Origins (conclusion)." Wordens Past, Vol. VII, No. 2. Worden Family Association, October 1987 (subscription required), pages 390-397.
  6. Bolton, George L. "Another Worden Fragment." in Wordens Past, Vol. XI, No. 2. Worden Family Association, August 1990 (subscription required), p. 673.
  7. Records of the Palatinate of Lancaster: Chancery Court: Pleadings, Bills: PL 6/1/37, abstract online at [1]
  8. Bolton, George L. "More Worden Origins, Part I: Peter Worden I's Wife." in Wordens Past, Vol. XIII, No. 1. Worden Family Association, November 1992 (subscription required), pp. 834-5.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Bolton, George L. "They Came on Their Perticuler." in Wordens Past, Vol. 12 Issue 2. Worden Family Association, August 1991 (subscription required), p. 767-768.
  10. Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. I:109
  11. 11.0 11.1 Worden, Waite W. Worden: 'A Weir in the Valley': Its origin as the name of a place, a hamlet, an English manor, and a SURNAME, including a line of descent from WILLIAM WORDEN ante 1514-1574 of the Manor of Clayton, County of Lancashire, England. East Burke, Vt.: Privately published, 1992. Digital image at (free), p. 5 ["excepted against"], pp. 31 [photocopy of will], 33 [transcript of will].
  12. 12.0 12.1 Richardson, Royal Ancestry, p. 397.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Plymouth Colony Records, Wills, Volume I, Part 1, p. 33.
  14. Bolton, George L. "More Worden Origins, Part III: Peter Worden's Grandchildren." in Wordens Past, Vol. XIII, No. 2. Worden Family Association, August 1992 (subscription required), pp. 858-64.
  15. Schuerman, John. "Peter Worden's Magna Carta Surety Ancestors." Wordens Past, Vol. XXVII, No. 2. Worden Family Association, August 2006 (subscription required). pp. 2192-7.
  16. Richardson, Royal Ancestry, pp. 178-9, 387-9, 396-7, 444-5, 487-90.
  17. Crocker, Tracy Ashley. "Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America: Lineage Claim." Wordens Past, Vol. XXV, No. 2. Worden Family Association, August 2004 (subscription required), pages 2033-8.
  18. Hickling, Douglas. "Which John de Mowbray was the Brother of Christiana de Plumpton?" 2005. Republished at Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy (free).
  19. Richardson, Royal Ancestry, p. 388.

See also:

  • Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd Ed., Vol. I, BOHUN. Searchable online at GoogeBooks. See also WikiTree's source page for ‘’Magna Carta Ancestry.’’’
  • Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd ed. Vol. V. Salt Lake City: Douglas Richardson, 2013. pp. 396-7.
  • Roberts, Gary Boyd. The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States: Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History: with a 2008 Addendum, Coda, and Final Addition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2010. pp. 416-21.
  • Bolton, George L. Worden Origins. Decorah, IA: Anundsen Publishing Co., 1997. A compilation of Bolton's articles from Wordens Past.
  • Ancestry and descendents of elder Peter Worden of Cheshire, Mass. N.p.: n.p., 1900. Digital image at (subscription required).
  • Worden, O. N. Some records of persons by the name of Worden: particularly of over one thousand of the ancestors, kin and descendants of John and Elizabeth Worden, of Washington County, Rhode Island: covering three hundred years and comprising twelve generations in America. Lewisburg, Pa.: Printed at the Railway Press of J.R. Cornelius, 1868. Digital image at (subscription required).
  • Peter Worden, First Wordens in America, Some Records of Persons by the Name of Worden, Particularly of Over One Thousand of the Ancestors, Kin, and Descendants of John and Elizabeth Worden, of Washington County, Rhode Island: Covering Three Hundred Years, and Comprising Twelve Generations in America , Press of J. R. Cornelius, 1868 Pg 19


This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted January 2014. Descriptions of imported GEDCOMs for this profile are under the Changes tab.

Magna Carta Project

Magna Carta trail
Peter Worden is listed in Magna Carta Ancestry as a Gateway Ancestor, but is not currently in a trail to a Magna Carta Surety Baron that has been reviewed/approved by the Magna Carta project. See Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails. ~ Douglass-990 14:09, 16 February 2018 (EST)
Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: Douglas Richardson, 2011), Vol I, p xxiii; Vol II, p 165.
Richardson documents Peter Worden as a descendant of Robert de Roos.
Worden Magna Carta Lineage
Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, Vol and page as cited
  1. Robert de Roos, of Helmsley, Yorkshire, m. Isabel of Scotland (MCA, vol. III, pp.444-445)
  2. William de Roos of Helmsley, Yorkshire, m. Lucy Fitz Peter (MCA, vol. III, pp. 445-446)
  3. William de Roos, Knt., of Ingmanthorpe, Yorkshire, m. Eustache Fitz Ralph (MCA, vol. IV, p. 191)
  4. Lucy de Roos m. Robert de Plumpton, Knt., of Plumpton, Yorkshire (vol. III, p. 365)
  5. William de Plumpton, Knt., of Plumpton, Yorkshire m. 2nd Christian de Mowbray (MCA, vol. III, pp. 365-366)
  6. Alice Plumpton m.Richard de Sherburne, Knt., of Aighton, Lancashire (MCA, vol. I. p. 265)
  7. Margaret de Sherburne m. Richard de Bayley of Stonyhurst, Lancashire (MCA, vol. I, p. 205)
  8. Richard Sherburne, Gent. of SDtonyhurst, Lancashire m. Agnes Harington (MCA, vol. I, p. 204)
  9. Richard Sherburne, Esq., of Stonyhurst, Lancashire m. Alice Hamerton (MCA, vol. I, pp. 204-205)
  10. Agnes Sherburne m. Henry Rishton of Dunkenhalgh & Rishton Hall, Lancashire (MCA, 2nd Ed. p.368)
  11. Nicholas Rishton of Dunkenhalgh & Rishton Hall m. Margaret Radcliffe (MCA, 2nd Ed., p. 369)
  12. Agnes Rishton m. 2nd Richard Worthington of Blainscough, Lancashire (MCA, 2nd Ed., p. 369)
  13. Peter Worthington of Blainscough, Lancashire m. Isabel Anderton (MCA, 2nd Ed.,p. 369)
  14. Isabel Worthington m. Robert Worden (MCA, 2nd Ed., p. 369)
  15. Peter Worden m. Margaret Grice (MCA, 2nd Ed.,p. 369)
Peter and Margaret had Peter, Elizabeth, and Bridget (MCA, 2nd Ed., p. 369)
Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Ed., 2011 indicates that Peter Worden is a Gateway Ancestor, and a direct descendant of Robert de Roos.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Peter by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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Comments: 20

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Magna Carta project, it looks like the template here needs to be updated from pending, based on text in the narrative. Right?
posted by Jillaine Smith
Hi Jillaine,

Not quite yet. This profile is good but not yet 100% complete ... however ALL the profiles in the trail from Peter Worden to surety baron de Roos/Ros need to be reviewed (and re-reviewed) before we "badge" the profiles. This review is in currently in process by David Douglass and myself and will be completed shortly. In fact, I will move it up on my to-do list. Thanks!

posted by Traci Thiessen
Thanks for the update.


posted by Jillaine Smith
This profile is under review by the Magna Carta Project as we are currently developing a trail from Peter Worden to Robert de Roos. This is already a well-written and well-sourced profile, but some minor rewriting may be done and all the citations and sources will be re-checked.
posted by Traci Thiessen
Hi! The Magna Carta project is working toward having a project member as "Guardian" for each Gateway Ancestor, to aid collaboration and to help watch over the profile. Many Guardians also develop and/or watch over a trail in WikiTree from the Gateway to a Surety Baron. (See details about the role of Gateway Guardians and Trail Tenders here, the "long answers" on the project's Glossary page.)
posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
No, Pamela, you're not necessarily related to all 200 on the list of gateway ancestors. Nor is Peter Worden. Those 200 (and probably more if you select "Next") are confirmed descendants of one or more Magna Carta barons AND immigrants to the New World.
posted by Jillaine Smith
I have a question about the gateway ancestors could someone tell me if by chance all 200 on the list is related because peter worden is my 11th great great grandfather and so far I was going through the list to see if we was related and found as I was searching one by one we was related it would save me time if someone could tell me they all are related to peter I went through like 50 so far and they was all my family just wondering thanks
posted by Pamela Smith
Worden-4913 and Worden-3 appear to represent the same person because: Same father and child

Difference in dates to be noted in the biography

Toni, it looks like the line between you and this Peter Worden is already in place; not sure what you're asking.
posted by Jillaine Smith

I am a Worden descendent. My maternal Grandmother was Pauline W (Worden) Lapham daughter of Charles Dressler Worden. Charles D was son of Charles H Worden. Charles H was son of Allen Worden. Allen was son of Henry Worden. Henry Worden was son of Nathan Worden. Nathan was son of John Worden. John was son of Peter Worden IV Peter IV was son of Peter Worden III etc.... Can you add me as a decedent?

posted by Toni Moore
Al Adams posted this link to another profile. It may be of interest to those following Peter.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Thank you for the heads-up, Jilliane. It's very difficult to keep these myths out of profiles.
posted by Doris (Muller) Wheeler

Rejected matches › Peter Worden Jr.Peter Worden

Peter is 18 degrees from Katie Goodwin, 13 degrees from Wilbur Scoville and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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