Weedon, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.
The history of the Seamons' family could not be complete without some preamble related to the area in which most of the early history took place.
Weedon village lies about 1 kilometre to the east of the road from Aylesbury to Buckingham, and is located approximately 2 kilometres north of the centre of Aylesbury township, in the County of Buckinghamshire, England. Some 350 people live in the village, in 140 houses, the oldest probably being the Manor farmhouse, which carries several dates in the 1640s on its walls. Several families have lived in Weedon for many generations; the Seamons lived there for over 350 years, the Fleets for 200 or so years, the Finchers for upwards of a hundred.
By the main crossroads is the tiny village green, and the Five Elms Inn, which is thatched like several of its neighbours. Beside the Five Elms a lane called Stockaway leads to the village pond.
The Five Elms Inn at Weedon
Although the name Weedon means 'A place of heathen worship', the village has the distinction of having been the location of the first place in Buckinghamshire licensed for Methodist services, and John Wesley himself is said to have preached from a mound near the crossroads. There are two small Churches located within the hamlet; one of these Chapels was in fact built by Charles Seamons in 1854 for Methodist services within the village area. A much larger Church, St Mary's, is located at the village of Hardwick, approximately one-half a kilometre further north. In parish register records, Weedon village was considered to be part of the Parish of Hardwick, and hence many of the early Parish records of births, deaths and marriages were recorded in the Hardwick register. The history of St. Mary's indicates that this church was operating as early as 1223, although the registers did not begin until 1558. It was not until 1833 that the first Chapel was established in a barn at Weedon; previous to this, Weedon villagers attended services at St Mary's Church in Hardwick.
One of the large farms in the Weedon area was, and still is, known as "Lilies". This farm was owned by various well known identities in English history, including Sir Robert Lee, and Lord Nugent. In the mid-19th century Lord Nugent, who was the younger brother of the Duke of Buckingham, lived in the Lilies, and it is rumoured that in his time the local militia used to march from a row of cottages (still locally known as "the Barracks"), to be drilled on the Lilies lawn. Although the house was rebuilt in 1870, the fleur-de-lys has been retained in the porch as a reminder that Louis Philippe was expected to spend his years of exile there, but he went to another house near Aylesbury.
In the 19th century the village was almost self-supporting. Most of the men worked on the farms or at the Lilies, and the women and girls worked as domestics or as lace makers and straw plaiters for hats. There was a baker, a butcher, a blacksmith, bricklayers and carpenters, and a tailor, and there were several small shops. Nowadays apart from farmers and farm workers, most people travel to Aylesbury or further afield to work.
Photos of Weedon and other Bucks locations, can be found at the following website: http://www.countyviews.com/bucks/village4.htm#W
Early History of the Seamons' Family, prior to 1465
Early history of the family, prior to 1465, cannot be confirmed due to the lack of written evidence prior to that time. Details of families in the Aylesbury area of Buckinghamshire does indicate however that during 1270, there was a SEMANS who was a land holder at Great Brickhall, Buckinghamshire. Other spellings of the name have been recorded as SIMONS, SIMMONDS, SYMONS, SEMAN, SEMANS, SERMAN and SERMANS, and such variations are consistent with recorded and confirmed different spellings of the surname until the 1550s. Many of these variations occurred due to the lack of formal schooling, and the more common phonetic recording of names by the Parish Registrars.
It is known that the Goldneys, who married into the Seamons family during the 1600s, were originally bondmen (i.e., slaves) on a Weedon manor. This family was among those whom were numbered at the time of William the Conqueror in 1066, and the name of Goldney was recorded in the Domesday book.
Thus, lines of the Seamons’ ancestry likely had a very humble beginning in the area of Weedon prior to 1066. The lines are known to be of a Saxon background, and on this basis it was highly likely that the family had the beginnings of Villeins during the early Feudal period.
The following map has been put together to highlight the locations within Weedon of significant sites in the Seamons family history. It is hoped that this may be of assistance to those Seamons descendants that may be visiting Weedon. My thanks to Elizabeth and Peter Ede for putting this together.
Significant Seamons’ sites in Weedon (compiled by Elizabeth Ede, nee Bates, a Seamons descendant).
- Tumbling Acre. Home of John Seman the first. The building is very old – I am guessing that the foundation stones were part of the original house – and maybe some of the house itself as well.
- Manor farm. Home of Joseph Seamons, brother of Charles, William, Edmund, John, Sarah, James.
- Site of Snugge, the area of land with its farmhouse and barn acquired by John Seamons the third - “Big John”. The barn was the site of the first Methodist chapel in Weedon. The house was licenced for Methodist worship by John the fourth in 1772. Later the barn was converted into a chapel. A fire destroyed the farmhouse and barn. One of the houses on the site now has a post-box in the wall – it was formerly a village shop. This was owned by Edmund Rolls, who married one of Joseph Seamons’ daughtesr, Hannah.
- Loves. The home of John Seman the second. Bought for him by his father, John the first. The house was the home of many of the Seamons family for 350 years, until the male line living there died out.
- House built by Charles Seamons, where Sarah Seamons (Judkins) died after she had come back from Australia. Her brother had been widowed 3 times, and was glad of her company.
- House built by William Seamons after he had made his fortune in America. He gave part of his garden to build a chapel after the barn chapel burnt down. His brother Charles paid for the chapel building.
- Weedon Methodist chapel. The first burial was of Elizabeth Rolls, wife of William Rolls, who with Edmund Seamons, was one of the first Methodist preachers in Weedon. Elizabeth died of cancer aged 52. Her husband had died young a few years earlier. She had had to cope with a household of her young family, her mother, mother-in-law, and the three children of her widowed brother-in-law. When she died, the vicar of Hardwick was against the Methodists, so William Seamons gave more of his garden to make a chapel graveyard.
- Site of the home (now demolished) of William and Anne Seamons, parents of Charles, William, Edmund, John, Sarah, James. Picture on the Seamons website under “William of the Napoleonic wars.” (Elizabeth Ede remembers, as a small girl, being shown the bolt carved by “Boniface”, the French refugee.) The house was used by members of the Seamons family until it was demolished.