William Harris (Tudor person)

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Sir William Harris
Born 21 September 1556
Woodham Mortimer, Southminster, Creeksea, Essex
Died 14 November 1616
Creeksea, Essex
Resting place All Saints Church[1]
Residence Creeksea Place Manor
Nationality English
Occupation English knight, subscriber of the Virginia Company, and landowner
Known for Incorporator in the Virginia Company of London
Title High Sheriff
Predecessor Sir Arthur Harris
Spouse(s) Alice Smythe
Children Sir Arthur, William, Thomas, John, Alice, Frances, Elizabeth, Mary
Parent(s) Sir Arthur Harris and Dorothy Waldegrave

Sir William Harris (1556–1616) was an English knight, land owner, and a notable incorporator in the third Virginia Company of London.

This Harris family appears to have originated some 40 to 50 miles east-north-east of London and on the north bank of the River Crouch. The village of Cricksea (or Creeksea) exists today on this peninsula in Essex County. Creeksea is located about two miles west of Burnham-on-the-Crouch and about 18 miles inland from the North Sea. Anciently called "Danes Island", this area was inhabited largely by Norman families after the conquest in 1066.

Sir William Harris was knighted on 23 July 1603 at Whitehall on the eve of the coronation of James I.[2] His elevation to the knighthood was the result of military service in Ireland during the Nine Years' War along with his cousin Sir William Harris of Shenfield, Essex.[3]

Family life[edit]

William Harris was born on 21 September 1556 in Essex.[4] His parents were Sir Arthur Harris and Dorothy Waldegrave.[5] He made his home at Creeksea Place Manor [6]

Harris Arms of William's grandfather and namesake, presumed to be similar or the same as Sir William's

William married Alice Smythe on 6 May 1583 in St Gabriel Fenchurch, London, England. Alice was the daughter of Thomas Smythe[7][8] of Westenhanger, Kent.

The children of Sir William Harris and Lady Alice Harris were:[9][10]

Sir Arthur Harris b 1584....d 9 Jan 1632
William Harris b 1585....d 1622 in Lincolns Inn, Middlesex.
Thomas Harris b 1586....d 1617 in England, unmarried and without issue
John Harris b 1588....d by 14 Oct 1638 in Charles City Co., Va.
Alice Harris married Sir Henry Mildmay[11]
Frances Harris married Mr. Roope
Elizabeth Harris
Mary Harris married Gyles Browne

Virginia Company[edit]

Obverse and Reverse of the Seal of the Virginia Company

Sir William Harris, his brother in law, Sir Thomas Smythe and his son, Sir Arthur Harris, each, were Incorporators and Subscribers to the third charter of the Virginia Company of London, and each paid £75 as their subscription.[12] Both Harris and Smythe were very interested in the development of Virginia. They exerted their influence to secure money, men, equipment, supplies, and ships for the colonization efforts.[13]

Lady Alice died 10 November 1615 and Sir William on 14 Nov 1616. Both are buried at All Saints Church in Creeksea.[1] All Saints still displays a depiction of Sir William and his sword, a rapier, which was found in Creeksea Place and given to the church.

Rapier of Sir William Harris held in All Saint's Church



  1. ^ a b [1] Archived 4 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Brown, Alexander (1890), The Genesis of the United States, New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin & Co.
  3. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard (1864), Royal Descents and Pedigrees of Founders’ Kin, London: Harrison
  4. ^ Pam and Joe Stone, 2905 Pembrooke Rd.,Titusville, FL 32796. "Harris Family of Virginia: Captain Thomas Harris - Immigrant of 1611; Robert Harris - Immigrant of 1634-1635; compiled by descendant J. McFarland Williams, Jr. Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971 (1 Microfilm reel); held at the Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; Copyright, 1987; August, 1996 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  5. ^ Browning, Charles H. (1891), Americans of Royal Descent: Genealogies Showing the Lineal Descent from Kings of Some American Families, Philadelphia: Porter & Coates
  6. ^ [2] Archived 9 February 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Sir Thomas Smythe (British entrepreneur) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  8. ^ "Sir Thomas Smythe". Tonbridgehistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  9. ^ Will of Sir William Harris of Creeksea, Essex. On file with Essex County records in Chelmsford, with the signature of the testator and witnesses, and is classified as Essex Archdeaconry Wills DABW20/299.
  10. ^ Metcalfe, Walter C. (1878), The Visitations of Essex by Hawley 1552; Hervy 1558; Cooke 1570; Raven 1612; and Owend and Lilly 1634., London: Mitchell and Hughes
  11. ^ David Plant d 1615 suicide (2005-08-06). "Sir Henry Mildmay, regicide, c.1593-1664". British-civil-wars.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  12. ^ Brown, Alexander (1890). The Genesis of the United States. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin & Co. 
  13. ^ Harris, Francis Gray (2006), Harris: From Essex, England and Allied Families, II, Ashland, OH: Atlas Books, ISBN 0-9774139-0-X