John Axstyl
William Axtell


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William Axtell

  • Born: 1587, Berkhamstead, Hampshire, England
  • Marriage: Thomasine in 1618 in Herefordshire, England
  • Died: 1639, Berkhamstead, Hampshire, England at age 52

bullet  General Notes:

He was Mayor of his English borough. "Those considering emigration to New England were right in the midst of this busy buying and selling of land. Robert Darvell was rated at no land in 1617, but had gained 22 acres by 1622, sold 7 of these by 1632, and was listed with 19 acres in 1637. William Axtell, father of the emigrant, Thomas, had 2 acres of arable land and 1 acre of meadow in 1613, 7 acres of arable and 3 acres of meadow in 1617, and a total of 24 acres in 1632 and 1637."

"Robert Darvell and Thomas Axtell had seen a far more active local government than that which had functioned in Noyes's parish. Thomas's father, William, had served once as stonewarden (supervising road repairs), twice as churchwarden, and three times as sideman (reporting church offences). After being appointed a lifetime chief burgess of the borough, he served a year as mayor and then was elected town clerk in 1639." (Puritan Village The Formation of a New England Town Chilton Sumner Powell)

Berkhamsted was a market town, a seat of wol-trading and manfacture, adn a chartered borough. Darvell and Axtell wre had experience in town government. Thmas Aztell's father, William had been a stone warden (in charge of roads) a churchwarden and a sideman, then a lifetime chief burgess of the borough, served a year as mayor and was elected town clerk 1639. DArvell also had been a chief burgess. Had a permanent place on town councel. Edmund Rice was nt there long enough to be considered for an officer before he left for New England.

I have a death date for him of 1638, but clearly he was living in 1639.

Some of these children were born as much as a few years before their parents' approximate marriage date

The following is from the Axtell family organization web site (

(from the introduction to the 1945 AXTELL GENEALOGY compiled by Carson A. Axtell)
The name Axtell is unquestionably of Anglo-Saxon origin. The earliest
records appear in English history and are found in London, Somerset, and
Hertford Counties under various forms of spelling: Axail, Axell, Axtil,
Axtill, Axtel, Axstell, Akstyl, Akstyle, Axstyl, Ackstyl, Ackstell,
Extell, Extil, Extill, and Axtell, the last form the most generally
accepted in America, with the accent on the first syllable.

Much of the early English history of the Axtell family came from
Hertford, a small county lying west of Essex and north of Middlesex
county, some twenty miles from London.

In 1534, Henry the VIII, King of England, having disagreed with the Pope
of Rome on the divorce question, with the consent of Parliament set up
an independent church of which he became head. Soon after he suppressed
many of the smaller monasteries of the country. At Gatesdon, in the
northwest part of the country, there was a small colony of the Augustine
order, "a priori of twenty good men (Bon hommes)". This fell to the
King. Clutterbuck, the historian of Hertfordshire, printed the
instrument, in Latin, by which the Monks acknowledged King Henry's
authority in all religious matters and signed over all their property to
His Majesty. The thirteenth name on the document was that of Johannes
Akstyl, probably the first mention of the name of Axtell in history.

In the year of 1538, King Henry VIII of England decreed that all births,
marriages and deaths should be recorded in the records of the Church.
The following entries are found in the records of St. Peter's Church,
John, sonne of John Axtell, christened 1539.
William, sonne of John Axtell, christened 1541.
John Axtell, christened 1560.
Ann Axtell, christened 1565.
John, sonne of Robert Axtell, chr. 1584.
Sussanne, daughter of William, chr. 1599.
John, chr. Aug. 14, 1614.
William, chr. Dec. 1, 1616.
Thomas, chr. Jan. 26, 1619.
Daniel, (reg.) chr. May 26, 1622, sonn of William.
William, chr. June 11, 1622, ye sonn of William.
Thomas, chr. Oct. 31, 1624, ye sonn of William.
Samuel, chr. Dec. 15, 1624.
Sarah, chr. June 20, 1628, dau. of William.
Alice, chr. Mar. 27, 1637, dau. of William.
Elizabeth, dau. of John, chr. Mar. 7, 1640.
Ann, dau. of William, chr. June 6, 1641.
John, son of William, chr. Sept. 6, 1670.
William, son of William, chr. Sept. 17, 1674.
Mary, dau. of William, chr. Nov. 15, 1686.
John, son of William, chr. Dec. 26, 1700.
Mary, dau. of William, chr. Jan. 9, 1703-4.
Ann, dau. of William, chr. Jan. 26, 1707
Elizabeth, dau. of Samuel, chr. Apr. 8, 1734.

William Axtell and Joan Phillips married 1543. (This is probably the
William of Bovington whose will was probated in 1568, and the Joan may
have been Joan Wells, also of Bovington, whose will dated 1584 and who
appointed her son Henry Axtell executor. William of Bovington left his
son John land in Berkhamstead.)

A William Axtell, who died 1637-38, mentioned in his will Thomasine, his
wife, his sons, John, Thomas, William, Daniel and Samuel, and his
daughter, Sarah and his dead brother Henry.

Rev. Seth J. Axtell, after viewing the above from every angle, has
placed the last named William as our progenitor, with children as
John, christened Aug. 14, 1614.
William, christened Dec. 1, 1616.
Thomas, christened Jan. 26, 1619.
Daniel, christened May 26, 1622.
Samuel, christened Dec. 15, 1624.
Sarah, christened June 20, 1628.

The Axtell Coat of Arms probably originated with Col. Daniel Axtell
about 1648 or 1650. Burke's "General Armory," 1884, gives the
description as follows: "Azure, three axes argent, handles or", a blue
shield on which are three silver axes with handles of gold and heads
uppermost, blades to the left. The Crest consists of two axes with
handles crossed, blades uppermost; a green wreath lies on the handles
where they cross, and beneath is a bar of blue and silver on which the
handles rest. Below the bar is a scroll on which is "Sub cruce glorior"
(I glory in the Cross).

.The old ancestral home has been visited by several of the American Axtells, among them Miss Juliet Lay Axtell (8-260). In writing to her sister under date of October 4, 1878, she says, "I think it will be neither a Tower letter nor an Abbey letter, but a Berkhamstead letter, for yesterday I went to my ancestral home, not that I found any Axtells living over here. I think it evident that the family has died out, except those who emigrated to America. The Parish Clerk recognized the name immediately because of its frequent appearance on the Registry, and on examination of that most interesting book which gives the registries of marriages, births, and deaths from 1538 (the time when registers were first ordered kept) down to the present time, we found not only the registry of the baptism of Col. Daniel Axtell, the regicide, and of Thomas Axtell (our ancestor, I believe) but of many others. The first baptism was in 1539, of John Axtell "ye sonne of John Axtell," the name being spelled, as you see, just the same as we spell ours. Then this is followed by the baptism of William Axtell (ye sonne of John Axtell), two years after, in 1541, but in 1543 there is recorded the marriage of William Axtell to Joan Phillips. This William must have been the brother and not the son of John. I had that old book in my hands and traced those names with my own fingers through curious chirography of three hundred years ago. The old book is wearing out and a copy on parchment has been made which I also handled. Well, he (the clerk) brought out a small history of the town to me, thinking that I might like to buy it because it speaks of the family and makes very honorable mention of Col. Daniel, calling him a most remarkable man. Of course I bought it, and we have been intensely interested in reading the history of the old town which goes back to the time of the Mercian Kings, who had a castle as early as 690 A.D. "Moreover, before I read it in the book, the clerk told me Col. Axtell occupied the castle now occupied by the Duke of Hamilton and built from the ruins of the old castle during the Protectorate of Cromwell. Having wandered around those old walls awhile, we left them and went up the grand avenue of the old spreading oaks, nearby, up hill all the way till we came out upon the court-yard of the present castle, built partly of material from the old one in the second year of Elizabeth. I wish I had a picture of it, not grand, but picturesque. The part occupied by Col. Axtell is still standing, the wing having been destroyed by fire in 1660 and never rebuilt. But everything is in perfect repair, the court-yard filled with flowers and urns." A few years ago Silas Blake Axtell visited the old ancestral home in Berkhamstead, England, and made several pictures of the old castle, some of which are shown

Page goes on to say that an aristocratic Axtell in England confirmed that he believes it is the same family. Improbable since William appears to have been a yeoman, albeit town burgher.


This, however, probably was an ancestor.

. One of William's ancestors was apparently an Augustinian monk, Johannes Axstyl, who, with the other monks at Gatesden, deeded over their monastery to the English King when Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church. Johannes apparently changed his name to John Axtell and had a family. Silas B. Axtell describes this connection in a 1952 speech he gave at a family reunion, The Axtell Heritage . He also speculates about a possible connection back to 1327. The speech (in the Conclusion) says that the monk was William's father, but the dates are too spread out for that scenario to be reasonable.
Dean C. Axtell stopped in at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (1995). According to their files, William Axtell was born in 1587 and his father, John Axstyl, was born 1561. Then again, the library also said Thomas's wife was Mary Starr, which is highly questionable (See A Myth Put To Rest ). The monk signed the deed in 1534, so maybe the monk was William's great-grandfather. Any other theories out there?

As long ago as 1327, Sir Ralph Axcil (a mediaeval spelling of the name) is listed as one of the English knights who resisted payment of excessive taxes to the Pope--an early ecclesiastical levy known as the Taxation of Nicholas IV, instituted in Rome in 1284.
Within a year from that date we come upon the record of the action of a certain Johannes Axstyl, of Gatesden, Berkhamstead, Herts. John Axstyl was a Roman Catholic monk of the Order of Augustinians, Father Martin Luther had been a monk; of the Augustinian Order in Germany. The spiritual connection seems obvious. Anyhow, in 1535, John Axstyl was no longer a Roman Catholic or an Augustinian. In that year his signature appears upon a document which conveyed the Gatesden monastery to the English king. This ancestral Axtell, Protestant now, presently married, and in St. Peter's Church, Berkhamstead, Herts., we see today the baptismal records of John, son of John Axtell (as he now signed himself) in the year 1539; and of William, son of John Axtell, in 1541, forbears of Daniel (Reg.) and his brother Thomas who settled here in Sudbury.


William married Thomasine in 1618 in Herefordshire, England. (Thomasine was born in 1591 in Berkhamstead, Hampshire, England.)

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