Col. Augustine Moore of "Chelsea"

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Colonel Augustine Moore, Sr.

Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: England
Death: July 28, 1743 (54-62)
Chelsea Plantation, King William County, Virginia Colony
Place of Burial: West Point, King William County, Virginia Colony
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Moore and Elizabeth (Todd) Seaton Moore
Father of Infant Moore; Elizabeth Macon; Augustine Moore; Bernard Moore, Sr.; Thomas Moore and 1 other

Managed by: Dennis Harold Cloukey
Last Updated:

About Col. Augustine Moore of "Chelsea"

The ancestry of Col. Moore is unknown. He is said to have been born in England c.1585. He emigrated to Virginia with his first wife, Mary Gage, c.1715. He settled in King William County where he built a house that he called "Chelsea". Mary died giving birth to their first child. The child also died.

Col. Augustine later married Elizabeth Seaton, the widow of Henry Seaton, but by birth the daughter of Thomas Todd.

I hope that some people will find this information useful. Martin Wood


The Will of Col. Augustine Moore This was sent to me by William W. Richardson, III, current owner of Chelsea Plantation and Moore descendant.

“In the name of God, amen, I Augustine Moore, of King William county, being in my perfect senses & memory, do make this my last will & Testament:

“I give to my dear & well beloved wife, Elizabeth Moore, during her natural Life, my dwelling House, together with all the Land & Plantation thereunto adjoining & one half of the Land I bought of Martin & Roger Palmer, to be divided by a line to be run across from James Richardson’s line to Claiborne’s Line, & after her death, I give the said House, Lands & Plantations, to my son Bernard Moore, & the Heirs of his Body, & for want of such Heirs, to my son Thomas Moore, & the Heirs of his Body & for want of such heirs, to the Heirs of my son Augustine Moore, & for the want of such Heirs, to be equally divided between my two Daughters, Elizabeth Macon & Lucy Robinson, & the Heirs of their Bodys & for want of such Heirs, to my Sons-in-Law John Robinson & George Seton & their Heirs, forever. I also give to my said Wife, during her life, the use of all my Plate, Household & Kitchen Furniture, & all the stock of cattle, sheep & Hogs, on the said Plantations, and after her death I give all the said Furniture, half the Plate, & two-thirds of the Stock, to my son Bernard Moore, & the other Third of the Stock & half the plate, I give to my son Thomas Moore, & if the Plantations, here-in-before given to my wife, shall not be sufficient to work her slaves upon I will that she shall have the choice of Lands & Plantations, either in Caroline or Spotsylvania Countys to work them on. I give to my said Wife two hundred Pounds sterling & three slaves, to wit: Catina, [a half-breed Indian] Old Jenny & Dinah, my Coach & Chaise & Coach Horses & all my Boats. I give to my son Bernard Moore, all that tract of Land lying in Caroline & Spotsylvania Counties, whereon

Joseph Woolfolk is now overseer, part of which I have already given to my said son by Deeds, all which said Tract of Land I give to my said Bernard Moore & his Heirs, forever. I also give

to my said son all the stock of Cattle, Horses, Sheep & Hogs, that are upon the said Land, & the Pots & Pans & other Things made use of on the said Plantation. I give to my son Thomas Moore all that tract of Land & Plantation, that I bought of the Rev. Mr. John Fox, called & known by the name of the Brick house & the other half of the Land I bought of Martin & Roger Palmer, & my Water Grist-mill, adjoining to the said Land I bought of Fox, but my will is that my wife & my two sons, Augustine & Bernard Moore have their corn ground, Toll free, at the said Mill. I give the said Lands & Mill to my said son Thomas & the Hairs of his Body, & for want of such Heirs, to the heirs of the Body of my son Augustine, and for want of such Heirs, to be equally divided between my two daughters, Elizabeth Macon & Lucy Robinson & the Heirs of their Bodys, & for the want of such Heirs, to my Sons-in-Law John Robinson & George Seton & their Heirs, forever. I also give to my said son Thomas, all the Furniture that came in for and belongs to the house, lately built on the said Land, as also the stock of Cattle, Horses Sheep & Hogs, that are on the Said Land & Plantation, & Pots & Pans & other things that are thereon for Plantation use. I give to my son Thomas a Tract of Land, containing Two Thousand acres, lying in Spotsylvania county & called & known by the name of Rich Neck, & one thousand acres, part of a tract of Eight thousand thee hundred & fifty acres, in the fork of Pamunkey, the said one thousand acres to be laid off adjoining to the Tract of one thousand acres [Augustine Moore] granted the said Thomas by Patent, by a Line to be run from River to River: I give the said Tract of Land to my said son Thomas & his Heirs forever. I also give to my said son Thomas all the stocks of Cattle, Horses, Sheep & Hogs, that are on the said Lands, together with the Pots & Pans & other things that are thereon for the Plantation use. I give to my son Bernard Moore, and his Heirs forever, two of my Lots in Delaware Town, [So called after Thomas West, Lord Delaware, and now called West Point] whereon the dwelling house & store now stands, and the Lot

whereon the kitchen stands, I give to my son Thomas Moore & his Heirs forever. I give to my

Daughter, Elizabeth Macon, five Hundred acres of Land, part of my Tract of Eight Thousand three hundred & fifty acres, to be laid off at the lower end of said Tract, & on the North side of the Ridge road, to her & the Heirs of her Body lawfully begotten, I also give to my said Daughter

Elizabeth, Hannah, Great Daniel’s Wife, & their children & all their future increase, which said

slaves I hereby annex to the said land, & declare my mind & will to be that the same shall descend pass and go in the same manner as the said Land hereafter is limited & appointed. I give to my Daughter, Lucy Robinson, five hundred acres of Land, part of the same Tract, to be laid off at the lower end of the said Tract, & on the South side of the Ridge Toad, to her & the Heirs of her Body lawfully begotten.

“I also give to my said Daughter Lucy, these slaves, to wit: Judy, Robin’s wife, & Great Patty at the Home house, & their children, & all their future Increase; which slaves I do hereby annex to the said Land & declare my mind & will to be that the same shall descend pass & go in the same manner as the said Land is hereafter limited and appointed; and if both or either of my said Daughters shall die, not having Issue of her Body at the time of her death, then I give the Lands & Slaves devised to such Daughter, or Daughters so dying, to my son Augustine Moore, & to his Heirs forever; he paying to his Brothers, Bernard & Thomas, two-thirds of the value of the Slaves, which shall descend or come to hi8m, upon failure of such Issue as aforesaid; & in case my son Augustine shall fail or refuse to pay to his said Brothers, or their Heirs, the before-mentioned proportion of the value of the Slaves so descended or come to him, as aforesaid, then I give the said Lands & Slaves of my said Daughters, or Daughter, so dying, to my sons Bernard & Thomas, their Heirs & assigns, as Tenants in common, equally to be divided between them. I give to my son Augustine Moore, the remaining part of my Tract of Eight Thousand three hundred & fifty acres, & the Land whereon he now lives, during his life, & after his death I give the same to his Children, if he should leave any. But if he should die, leaving no Issue, I give the said Land whereon he Lives, to my son Thomas & his Heirs forever & the other Land I give to be equally divided between my sons Bernard & Thomas & their Heirs forever. But my will & desire is, that if my Daughter-in-Law, Anne Moore, [Anne Catherine, daughter of Governor Spotswood] should be left a Widow she should have the Land whereon her husband now lives & five hundred acres of that Land given him in Spotsylvania, during her life. I give to my son Augustine all the House & Kitchen Furniture that is in the House and Kitchen where he now lives & all the stocks of Cattle, Horses, Sheep & Hogs, that are on the Land & plantations herein before given to him & on his Land in Glocester County, & the Pots & Pans & other things that are on the said Lands & Plantations for the Plantation use. I give my Tract of Land in the same County that I bought of * * * to be equally divided between my sons Augustine, Bernard & Thomas and my Son-in-Law George Seaton & their Heirs forever. I give to my wife one Third part of my Slaves during her life, in which third part, my will & desire is, that she may have Neptune, the Coachman & his wife Violet & Sambo & York, Sawyers & after the death of my said wife, I give the said third part to be equally [Augustine Moore] divided between my sons Bernard and Thomas, they paying to their Brother Augustine, each, one hundred Pounds sterling, & if my sons Bernard & Thomas shall delay or refuse to pay to their said Brother the said sum of one hundred Pounds Sterling, each, then my will is, that my said son Augustine shall have one third pard of the said slaves. I give to my son Augustine Moore, during his life, the use of one third part of the remainder of my slaves, after the slaves herein before given away, and my Wife’s third part are taken out & my will is, that my said son shall have the slaves he is now in possession of, in his part & after his Death I give the said slaves be divided among his children, if he shall have any, but if should have no children, I give the said slaves after his Death equally to be divided between my sons Bernard & Thomas and their Heirs. But it is further my Will, that my Daughter-in-Law, Anne Moore, shall be left a widow, she shall have the use of Ten working slaves, such as she shall choose out of the part given my said son Augustine, during he life. One third part of the said Remainder of my Slaves I give to my son Bernard & his Heirs forever; & the other third part I give to my son Thomas and his Heirs forever. I give to my Daughter Elizabeth Macon, besides what I have already given her, two hundred Pounds sterling, deducting, however, out of the said sum, the several sums of money I have advanced her for the Payment of her late Husband’s Debts. I give to my Daughter Lucy Robinson, besides what I have already given her, Three hundred Pounds Sterling. I give to each of my three Grandchildren, Elizabeth Macon, Lucy Robinson & John Robinson, Fifty Pounds sterling to

be laid out in young slaves. I give to my Son-in-Law, George Seton, One hundred Pounds of his

Debt he owes to me. All the rest of my money, Debts, Goods, merchandize & other personal Es-

tate, I give to be equally divided between my five children, Augustine Moore, Bernard Moore,

Thomas Moore, Elizabeth Macon & Lucy Robinson & their Heirs. My will & desire is, that

my estate may not be appraised. Whereas Philip Whitehead Gent. has conveyed a Tract or Parcel of Laud lying in the said County by Deed to John Dandridge, Philip Aylett & myself, my will is that my Executors hereafter named, or such of them as shall immediately act after my Death, shall convey & make over to William Dandridge Esq. all my right & Title to the said Tract or Parcel of Land, upon his paying the money I am engaged for to the said Philip Whitehead for the same, or otherwise discharging my estate from the Payment of the said money. I do appoint my Sons-in-Law George Seaton & John Robinson, Guardians to my son Thomas. I make & appoint my son Bernard, my sons-in-Law, John Robinson & George Seton & my son Thomas, when he becomes of age, Executors of this my last Will & Testament in which there is an interlineations in the sixteenth line of the second sheet of these words “Fifty Pounds Sterling,” & I do hereby revoke all & every former will or wills by me made, & declare this to be my last will & Testament, written on two sides of one sheet & on one side of another sheet of Paper signed * * * & to the last sheet I have set my hand & seal this twentieth of January, one thousand seven hundred & forty two.


“Augustine Moore [seal]

               “Signed, sealed and published by the said Augustine Moore in the presence of us,

                                               Mary Bramble,
                                               Betty Todd,
                                               Robt. Tapscott,
                                               John Woolfolk.     “Proved in King William Court, Aug 18. 17. Geo. 2d”


Ancestry of Col. Augustine Moore (1685-1743) of ‘Chelsea’, King William Co., Virginia.

Although I have been aware for some time of the claim that has sometimes been made by the descendants of Col. Augustine Moore of ‘Chelsea’, Virginia – principally the Aylett, Macon, Butler-Moore, Spotswood, Carter, and other allied (and more contemporary) families in America – that he was descended from Sir Thomas More, I have only recently come into possession of a copy of the statement on which the claim has been based. This comes from a memorandum said to have been written by Col. William Aylett (d.1780) that one of his descendants, Col. William Winston Fontaine, said he had discovered among his (Aylett’s) papers in 1858. As far as I can ascertain this statement first entered the public domain when it was reported in an article by Charles H. Browning in the William and Mary Magazine (an American Publication) in October 1907.

The statement attributed to Col. Aylett reads, “Augustine Moore of ‘Chelsea’ was the son of a sister of Basil, the son of Thomas More who married a daughter of Sir Basil Brooke”. This, of course, implies that Col. Augustine Moore was descended from Sir Thomas on his mother’s side and that his surname ‘Moore’ must therefore have come from his father’s side (about which see later). [1]

After clarifying the various members of the More family involved, using the limited resources at his disposal - pedigrees in Burke’s “Commoners” and what he calls “Yorkshire Pedigrees” by Joseph Foster [2] - Browning concludes, “I regret to say that I do not find that Colonel Augustine Moore was, or could have been, of the maternal ancestry claimed for him by Colonel Aylett.”

In order to reach his conclusion Browning identifies, correctly, Thomas More, his wife Mary (daughter of Sir Basil Brooke), their son and heir Basil, and their four daughters, Frances, Mary, Margaret and Bridget. He says that Thomas “was born before 1618 and died before February 1669-70”. In fact, as we now know, Thomas was born in 1607, and his death is recorded in Foster’s pedigree as 12 January 1660 (a date Browning should have noticed). Browning also notes that Mary (Brooke) was “living in 1670” when, again, Foster gives the date of her death as 6 June 1688. [3] Browning dates Thomas’ marriage to Mary Brooke as “after 1623” – in fact we now know it took place in 1629.

Regarding Basil More, one of whose sisters is claimed in the Aylett document to be the mother of Col. Augustine Moore: Browning does not give a date for his birth (it is not recorded in Burke or Foster), but it has since been found in the register of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, for 17 March 1640. He gives the date of Basil’s death (recorded in Foster’s pedigree) as 17 November 1702. He notes that Basil married Anne, the daughter of Sir William Humble, and ‘guesses’ that the marriage took place “before 1st May 1665” when, he says, their eldest son Basil jnr. was born. What he failed to notice in Foster was that the birth of Basil jnr. was preceded by that of two of his sisters, Mary and Frances, whose birth dates are given as 1661 and 1663. We now know that Basil and Anne (Humble) were, in fact, married at St. Benet & St. Peter, Paul’s Wharf on 25 February 1659.

Taking the year 1689-90 as the probable date of Col. Augustine Moore’s birth, Browning eliminates all four of Basil’s sisters as candidates for being his mother.

1. Frances, who married George Sheldon, had died 12 May 1666.

2. Mary was (according to the Foster pedigree) still living unmarried in 1697.

3. Margaret was a nun who, according to Burke, died 24 December 1691 and,

   according to Foster, died 10 September 1679.

4. Bridget, who married Thomas Gifford, had died 10 June 1673.

What Browning did not know (and it wasn’t really important to his argument) was that Mary was also a nun who belonged to the same order as her sister (the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary). While Margaret died a prisoner in York Castle in 1679 Mary, also a prisoner, survived. She is believed to have returned to one of her orders houses in Germany in 1699. The date of her death is not recorded. [4]

Just in case Col. Aylett had got Basil More snr. mixed up with his son Basil More jnr., Browning also examined the data he had on the younger Basil and on his six sisters who survived into adulthood. I can find no evidence to contradict what he said about these, nor with his elimination of young Basil’s younger brother Augustine who, born 11 August 1676, became a woollen draper in Whitechapel, London, and who is recorded in all the pedigrees of the family as having died on 15 August 1719. [5] For his part, Colonel Augustine Moore died in 1743.

Browning’s conclusions were rejected by Francis T.A. Junkin (an Aylett descendant) in the next edition of the William and Mary Magazine. However, he produced little or nothing of substance to make his point, his main argument being that Burke and Foster – Browning’s main sources - may not have included all the children of Thomas and Mary More (nee Brooke) in their pedigrees. He refers to a letter he claimed was sent to him by Col. Fontaine in which he suggests that if Col. Augustine Moore’s mother was not Mary or Margaret More, then she must have been the widow of either George Sheldon or Thomas Gifford, “or there must have been another sister not mentioned by Burke”. Junkin claims that Burke “frequently in all his works leaves out the names of many of the children” and gives two examples of this. Junkin makes no reference to the fact, already pointed out by Browning, that Frances More the first wife of George Sheldon, and Bridget the wife of Thomas Giffard were both dead years before Col. Augustine’s birth and so couldn’t have been his mother. Seemingly happy to go along with Col. Fontaine, Junkin suggests that “earnest searchers” of the future may well discover a ‘lost’ daughter of Thomas and Mary More.

In making his case Junkin produces no challenge to Foster’s pedigree, the other main source used by Browning – perhaps he had never seen it. Foster’s “Pedigree of More of Barnborough Hall” however is a more valuable and reliable source than Burke. It gives much fuller information about the More family than Burke does, and Foster states that all his pedigrees have been authenticated by the members of the families concerned. [6]

In what seems to me to be a further edition of the William and Mary Magazine there is a copy of an even earlier statement said by Fontaine to have been dictated to him in 1833 by Col. John Spotswood Skyren, a great-grandson Col. Augustine Moore. This adds further to the statement said by Fontaine to have been made by Col. Aylett – and it deepens the mystery. According to Col. Skyren, who died in August or September 1855, Colonel Augustine Moore was “born in England about 1685. On the paternal side he was of the same family of Moore as that of the Lord Mayor of London in the time of King Charles II. His Moore coat-of-arms is still at Chelsea. His mother’s maiden name was Grace Cresacre More; and she was a lineal descendant of Sir Thomas More, the author of Utopia.” “Colonel Augustine” he adds “came to Virginia when he was about twenty years old…” This information, Col. Skyren says, he got from his grandmother, Anne Catherine Spotswood More, the daughter-in-law of Col. Augustine (wife of his son Bernard).

If Col. J.S. Skyren’s statement is true, then we don’t even have to consider any of the known sisters of Basil More because we should be looking for evidence of a sister with the first name ‘Grace Cresacre’. The problem with this is that, as we have seen, Foster does not identify a Grace, let alone a Grace Cresacre, nor do the other pedigrees of the More family. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the name ‘Cresacre’ only occurs twice as a first name in the whole More pedigree, and on both occasions it belongs to a male - the first occurrence is that of Cresacre More (1572-1649), and the second that of Christopher Cresacre More (1666-1729). Christopher Cresacre is also the only recorded member of the family who was baptised with two first names.

On the question of Col. Augustine’s maternal ancestry I can only conclude that, in spite of what Col. Aylett and Col. Skyren are claimed to have said, there is, so far, no evidence for the existence of Grace Cresacre More. I have, therefore, to agree with Charles Browning (1907) when he says, “I regret to say that I do not find that Col. Augustine Moore was, or could have been, of the maternal ancestry claimed for him.

Having reached a conclusion about Colonel Augustine’s maternal ancestry, there remains the question of his connection to “the same family of Moore as that of the Lord Mayor of London in the time of King Charles II” – a rather vague statement. More precisely, this family was that of “Moore of Appleby Parva” a village in Leicestershire, my own home county. Extensive coverage of this family, including a pedigree can be found in Vol. 1V, Pt. II of John Nichols’ “The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester”, published in 1811. [7]

John Moore’s father was Charles Moore, a ‘husbandman’ of Norton-juxta-Twycross on the borders of Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Charles’ father (John Moore’s grandfather), also Charles, had bought the estate at Appleby Parva from Sir Edward Griffin in 1599, thereby becoming Lord of the Manor. When Charles the elder died in 1625 the younger Charles (John Moore’s father) inherited the estate becoming Lord of the Manor in his turn, and probably building Appleby Hall which he established as the family seat. I have not found any evidence that Charles the younger (John Moore’s father) had any brothers. He married Cecily Yates who died in 1632 and was buried at Appleby on 25 December of that year. Charles was buried at Appleby on 25 June 1654.

Charles Moore had five sons and two daughters: The date and place of birth of Charles, the eldest son (and heir to the estate at Appleby Parva) is not recorded, but it was probably on Roe Farm at Norton where John (who became Lord Mayor) was born in 1620, and Robert in 1622 (he died in 1633). There were two Georges, probably twins, born at Appleby in 1628, one of which died shortly after birth.

As second son of Charles, John Moore was not due to inherit the family estate at Appleby and he established himself in London where he became a merchant. He was involved in the East India trade from which he made his fortune. He became an alderman of the City of London in 1671, one of the sheriffs of London and Middlesex in 1672, and Lord Mayor of London in 1681, at which time – as all Lord Mayors did - he received his knighthood. [8] He was elected president of Christ’s Hospital in 1681 and paid for the building and endowing of magnificent buildings for the writing and mathematical schools. He built and endowed Appleby School, a grammar school for the education of male children from the local towns and villages. The school had a resident headmaster, houses for Latin and English teachers (all of whom were required to have a B.A. from Oxford or Cambridge), and accommodation for up to fifty boys. Sir John represented the City of London in the parliament of 1685. Sir John married Mary Maddox, but they had no children. Mary died in 1690 and was buried in the Church of St. Dunstan in the East, London He died on 2 June 1702 and was also buried in the Church of St. Dunstan in the East. Apart from the land on which the school was built he owned no land in Appleby and he left his fortune of over £85,000 to his nephew John Moore (son of his younger brother George).

The pedigree of Moore of Appleby Parva does not record any Augustine in the immediate family of Sir John Moore, nor is there an Augustine in the families of his two brothers both of whom survived into adulthood and married. There is, in fact, no ‘Augustine’ anywhere in the pedigree of this Moore family. So, was Col. Augustine Moore descended from Moore family of Norton-juxta-Twycross/Appleby Parva? On the evidence available this also seems unlikely.

What about the Moore coat of arms said to have been at Chelsea? When John Moore was knighted in 1681 he adopted the arms of the Moore family of Morehall and Bankhall in Lancashire. An actual link to this family has, however, never been proved, and was regarded as doubtful by later members of the Moore family of Appleby Parva who tried to trace it. The arms granted to Sir John Moore depict three collared greyhounds in a running pose, and are described as “Ermine, three greyhounds courant (in pale) Sable, collared Gules.” Because of his service to Charles II while he was Lord Mayor, the King granted him an ‘augmentation’ to his arms described as “on a canton Gules, a lion of England”. This little red (gules) lion is situated at the top left hand corner of the coat of arms. The crest over the coat of arms is described as “Crest on a wreath of his colours, a moorcock Sable, gutté Or, the beak, comb wattles and legs Gules, the wings open, holding in the beak a branch of heath proper.” The motto is “Non Civium ardour”. Charles II extended the use of these arms to Sir John’s brothers.

Another story, the origin of which I do not know - but based on information extracted in 1999 from a box of “Longstaff Papers” lodged with the Society of Genealogists in London – was reported in The “Thomas More Gazette, No.10, 2000 in an article by Christine K. McGeoch. This claims that “Col. Augustine Moore (1676-1743) was the sixth son of Basil More, who emigrated to Virginia in 1705”. There is absolutely no evidence for this statement and it is clearly untrue. As such it matters little that it also contradicts what has been claimed in America about the paternal and maternal ancestry of Col. Moore.

As we have already seen Col. Augustine Moore is estimated to have been born sometime between 1685 and 1690 - not 1676. He made his will on 20 January 1742 and died in Virginia on 28 July 1743. Having gone to America c.1705 he returned for a while to England where he married Mary Gage (of unknown origin). He returned to America again where Mary died giving birth to their first child. Mother and child are buried in the same grave at ‘Chelsea’ in Virginia. Col. Augustine later married a widow, Elizabeth Seaton (whose maiden name was Todd) and they had three sons, Augustine, Bernard and Thomas, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Lucy. For his part, as we have seen, Augustine More (sixth son of Basil) was born in 1676 and died in 1719. He is recorded as having married (his wife’s name is not recorded) and to have had a son and a daughter.


The Aylett documents said to have been discovered by Col. Fontaine not only formed the basis of the story of Col. Moore’s origins, they also formed the basis of a separate story of the notable English origins of the Aylett family for which, similarly, no evidence has so far been found. I understand that George King, a prominent Virginian genealogist, was asked to make a judgment about the status of the Aylett letters in the 1950s and, after consulting other experts their verdict was unhesitatingly that they were forgeries. He repeated this opinion in 1965 and again in 1974. It is not unreasonable to suggest that Fontaine was aided and abetted in his work by Junkin.

In view of the above, the authenticity of the statement said by Fontaine to have been dictated to him by Col. Skyren as early as 1833 must also be called into question. If Fontaine had actually had that statement at the beginning of the controversy, then why didn’t he produce it then, instead of suggesting the Sheldon and Giffard widows, or some other ‘lost’ sister of Basil More must have been the mother of Col. Augustine - and failing to mention the paternal connection to an unrelated ‘Moore’ family? Fontaine certainly seemed adept at coming up with new – and mutually exclusive – answers as soon as he was challenged!

Given the lack of evidence to substantiate the maternal and paternal ancestry claimed for Col. Augustine Moore one has to ask why anyone might invent such a story? One simple answer to this question is: to impress people. Today we refer to it as ‘name-dropping’. In earlier days one of the more common ways in which it manifested itself in certain social circles was through claiming to be connected in one way or another to titled or other ‘notable’ families. I can think of various ways in which the claim to a ‘reputable’ pedigree (especially one with both Catholic and Protestant connections) would benefit some of the early settlers in Virginia. Mythical ancestors were apparently common among the people of Virginia.

In addition to the above, two other possibilities have been put forward. Colonel Fontaine is said to have been a known romanticist and in creating his story he was just providing a proof for what most of the family wanted to hear. For his part, Francis Junkin was, it seems, a prosperous lawyer with a strong desire to discover a prestigious family ancestry. He was the first to publish the Aylett documents and, in his case, a financial motive cannot be ruled out.

So was Col. Augustine Moore descended on either his mother’s or his father’s side from Sir Thomas More?

On the basis of the evidence produced by Col. Fontaine et al. the details of the maternal and paternal ancestry claimed by them for Col. Augustine would appear to be an invention.

What we don’t know is what ancestry, if any, Col. Augustine claimed for himself. It is said that he named his house ‘Chelsea’ after the home of his ancestor, but just as that might be true so it might also be part of his, or his descendants, creation of a suitably prestigious image/pedigree. Sir Thomas’ home for about ten years until his execution in 1535 was, in fact, never called ‘Chelsea’; this was the name of the village where he had it built. In all the literature I have seen the house is only ever referred to as the ‘Great House’.

If Col. Augustine Moore himself openly claimed descent from Sir Thomas on either his mother’s or his father’s side, and if that claim was true, then it is perhaps surprising that more exact details of the nature of that descent were not handed down in the families of his descendants – rather than waiting to be ‘discovered’ more than a hundred years after his death. The same can be said of any descent from the Moore family of Appleby Parva.

If, after all this has been said, Col. Augustine Moore was actually descended from Sir Thomas More and/or Sir John Moore of Appelby Parva origin, but handed down no written record of this, then the fact that his later descendants have not been able to discover the exact links is not surprising given the length of time that has elapsed and ocean that separates the two countries. The difficulty of establishing such links is common to many people trying honestly to trace their ancestors. However, given the lack of conclusive evidence, any claims to descent must remain categorised as family tradition and not promulgated as fact.

The problem with much genealogy today is that while Internet web sites like the Mormon Family Search site, RootsWeb and AncestryCom, provide people dedicated to genuine genealogy with an opportunity to publish their well researched pedigrees, they also provide an opportunity for others to create mythical pedigrees for themselves and to publish them as fact on the web. I have seen many examples of this being done by people claiming descent from Sir Thomas.


 [1]   Although the spelling of names was more ‘fluid’ in earlier time, the main line descendants of
  Sir Thomas have always spelt their name ‘More’. This is borne out not only by the spelling
  of the name on various published pedigree but also by their signatures on a number of
  documents, copies of which I have in my possession.

[2] The full name of Burke’s work is ”Burke’s History of the Common People of Great Britain and

  Ireland.” The title of Joseph Foster’s 3-volume work is “Pedigrees of County Families of
 Yorkshire”, published in 1874.

[3] In fact, Mary is recorded in the register of St. Mary’s Church, North Mymms, as having been

 buried on 18 June 1683.

[4] “An I.B.V.M. Biographical Dictionary of the English Members and Major Benefactors (1667-

 2000)” by Sr. Gregory Kirkus, I.B.V.M. Catholic Record Society 2001.

[5] The names of Basil junior’s sisters are confirmed in the will of Anne More (nee Humble)

 made on 31 March 1694.

[6] The title page of each volume of Foster’s pedigrees contains the statement that the

 pedigrees were “authenticated by the members of each family”. The pedigree of
 “More of Barnborough Hall” is in Vol. II. West Riding. 

[7] Nichols did his research prior to 1798 when his massive 8 volume work began to be

 published in London. It was re-published in 1971 by S.R. Publishers in Association with
 Leicestershire County Council.

[8] The office of Lord Mayor was only ever held for one year. The year currently starts in

© Martin Wood      [3,409 words]

Melton Mowbray,



11th November 2003.


Portrait credit and information:$0040:28602



Augustine Moore (ca. 1685-1743)

Probably 1738-1740

Attributed to: Charles Bridges (1670-1747)

Origin: America, Virginia, King William County

Unframed: 49 1/8 x 40 1/16in. (124.8 x 101.8cm) and Framed: 56 x 47 1/2 x 2 1/2in.

Oil on canvas

Museum Purchase

Acc. No. 1976-376

A three-quarter-length portrait of a man standing at a writing desk and turned, his body nearly in profile to the viewer's right. His head is partly turned toward the viewer, his gaze on the viewer. He wears a full-bottomed white wig, a reddish-brown coat, and a white shirt and neck cloth. The shirt cuffs have no lace, the sleeves being gathered into simple bands. Supported by the desk and the subject's hands is a sheet of paper; on the desk, next to the paper, is an inkstand with two quills held in it. Books appear on a shelf in what appears to be a built-in cupboard or recessed wall alcove in the upper right quadrant of the composition. The desk is covered with a green [presumably baize] cloth held in place by brass tacks and overhanging the edge by only a few inches, thus exposing the desk's turned leg.

The 4-inch carved and gilded frame is original. It incorporates cutout trefoils at each corner. A sanded flat sets next the sight edge, which is ornamented with continuous low relief decoration. The outer, ogee curve of the front frame has three reserves on each side and two each on the top and lower members, the reserves alternating with scrolling, flowering vines that emanate from cornucopia-like devices. At center top and center bottom, the vines are gathered into a bar from which a fleur-de-lis emanates (in each case, pointed away from the portrait sitter). The outer edge of the back frame is carved in continuous low-relief ornament. The frame was conserved by J. H. Guttmann, New York, NY, in 1976. See the frame description for companion portrait 1976-377 concerning microscopic identification of the wood of that frame.

Label:Only scant, indirect evidence of Charles Bridges's artistic training and practice survives in his native England, and how he acquired his skills is unknown. Numerous canvases survive from the decade or so that he painted in Tidewater Virginia, however. Stylistically, these reveal his awareness of the work of Sir Godfrey Kneller or Charles Jervas, successive Principal Painters to the King.

Augustine Moore was one of the wealthiest planters in the colony, his land holdings spreading over four counties including King William, where he erected Chelsea plantation. About 1714, he married the widowed Elizabeth Todd Seaton (?-after 1742), and they had at least three sons and two daughters. The portraits of the Moores retain their original frames, an extraordinarily rare and important survival.



Photo credit of Chelsea mansion:

Library of Congress

Chelsea, Mattaponi River, West Point, King William County, VA

Title: - Chelsea, Mattaponi River, West Point, King William County, VA Medium: 4 x 5 in. Reproduction Number: HABS VA,51-WESPO.V,2--1 Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. (

Call Number: HABS VA,51-WESPO.V,2--1 Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Place: Virginia -- King William County -- West Point

Collections: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey


Program --- 250th Anniversary of the founding of King William County Virginia

Mention of Chelsea on page 24 (fourth page shown), third paragraph from the bottom.



Cultivated Color

Gardens On Tour Are Best In The Area

April 18, 2002|By MARY MONTAGUE SIKES Daily Press Correspondent

A long lane edged with 400 crape myrtles gives Chelsea Plantation a spectacular entrance when the bushes are in full bloom.

An array of glorious color is what LaVerne Abrams saw last summer when she first visited Chelsea to take photographs for advertising the Middle Peninsula tour for Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

The crape myrtles aren't in bloom this time of year, Abrams explains. "But the grounds are still beautiful."

Chelsea is one of six destinations on the Middle Peninsula tour that this year honors King William County's tricentennial celebration. Other sites include Whar Dat Farm, located between Dawn and Central Garage; historic King William Courthouse; Cherikoke Plantation, once the home of Carter Braxton, who signed the Declaration of Independence; Elsing Green, a working plantation for more than 300 years; and Old St. John's Church. The tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26.

Abrams, co-chairwoman of the event sponsored by the Garden Club of the Middle Peninsula, points out the existence of extensive gardens on the plantation. Five acres of lawns and gardens with 5,000 English boxwood overlook the beautiful Mattaponi River.

The Ladies Garden, one of two main gardens on the plantation, dates back to the 18th century. In those days, ladies strolled the gardens watching for the arrival of merchant ships from Europe that sailed into the 75-foot-deep Chelsea Harbor. To avoid mingling with sailors and dockworkers, the ladies used the garden vantage point to watch the unloading of precious cargo.

Col. Augustine Moore, a descendant of Sir Thomas More, who served as chancellor to King Henry VIII, built the Queen Anne- Georgian manor house in the early 1700s. According to the Chelsea Plantation brochure, the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe was organized at Chelsea following an expedition to the Blue Ridge Mountains led by Gov. Alexander Spotswood. Other interesting bits of history include information that George Washington was a family friend and often visited Chelsea and that Gen. Lafayette's army camped near the plantation house prior to the Battle of Yorktown.

Chelsea was in the Moore family until about 1874. The present owner,

William W. Richardson III, is a direct descendant of the Moores.

"There will be a five- or six-carriage display April 26 at Chelsea on the carriage mall," Abrams points out. "The mall, carriage trails and sides of the house are planted with English boxwood over 300 years old."

Abrams says this year's Historic Garden Week "has consumed my life since about a year ago."

Not only is she co-chairwoman of the Middle Peninsula event, she is also publicity chairwoman and helped put together a five-panel brochure. More than 5,000 brochures have been sent out along with many publicity packets.

"Friends around the state have passed out information," Abrams says with a laugh. "I took advantage of every contact I had."

After expenses, all money raised by the tour will be turned over to the Garden Club of Virginia for use in restoration of gardens and grounds.

"We did the grounds of the Governor's Mansion a few years ago," she explains.

"It's all for a good cause," Abrams says. "I'm excited about the whole thing."

Chelsea is open for the first time for Historic Garden Week.


  • Tickets to visit all six Historic Garden Week sites are $17 each up to today and $20 each the day of the tour. To order, contact Bette Albert, Rt. 1, Box 16B, Walkerton 23177 or call (804)769-3596. Send check with SASE.
  • Box lunches will be available at Colosse Baptist Church for $8 each. Reservations must be made by Today. To order contact Crystal Dixon, (804)769-7750.



Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

Conservation Easement Placed on Historic Chelsea Plantation

By Brittany Voll and Gregory Connolly on December 1, 2012

Photos by Gregory Connolly

Chelsea Plantation has hosted various historical figures including Revolutionary War General the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and that historic legacy will continue.

Culminating an effort of over a year, William W. Richardson III and the Williamsburg Land Conservancy signed papers Tuesday to place a permanent conservation easement on Richardson’s 568-acre property, Chelsea Plantation, located on the Mattaponi River.

“Ensuring that Chelsea Plantation would be preserved for the generations to come was paramount to me and my family,” said Richardson. “We take great pride in knowing that the protection of this land through a conservation easement will forever preserve an important piece of Virginia’s history.”

The conservation easement will protect the land from further development that could detract from its history. No buildings on the property may be demolished, only repaired as required. There is an allowance for a future café and gift shop for visitors. The house has periodically been open for tours and parts of the property can be rented.

The plantation consists of a main house and several outbuildings, five of which are currently used as living space. The buildings include an old slave schoolhouse, a smoke house, kitchen, milking parlor, seed building, a barn with two silos and a wash house. An extensive garden on the property is filled with 300-year-old English boxwoods, and there are numerous springs, streams and wetlands.

The grounds are being farmed and that use can continue under the easement.

“The Board of Directors and staff of the Conservancy are honored to have been selected to hold the easement on this historic gem,” said Caren Schumacher, executive director of the conservancy. “We commend Mr. Richardson and his family for their love of Chelsea Plantation and for their desire to conserve it in perpetuity.”

Richardson hopes people will be able to make donations to help repair and maintain the plantation; some parts of it are in disrepair. Maintaining the property and ensuring it remains the same for generations is paramount to Richardson.

Chelsea was originally built to be the seat of tobacco entrepreneur Augustine Moore in 1709. The house went on to be used as General Lafayette’s headquarters just before the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War. The house played host to a number of people, including artist Charles Bridges, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Robert E. Lee.

The house remained in the Moore family until the 1870s. William Richardson, Jr., a descendant of the Moore family on his maternal side, restored it to family ownership when he acquired the plantation in 1959; his wife Ellen sold the property to their son William Richardson III in December 1973.

The house has black walnut paneled walls and is decorated with countless antiques collected by Richardson. A seal from the Royal Borough of Chelsea in London, now known as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is mounted to the balcony of a second-story window. The seal is a municipal coat of arms that cannot be reproduced at will; special permission was granted from the British government for Richardson to place the seal on his home and he was only allowed one seal.

New stairs made of stone quarried in Portland, England were recently installed; Richardson’s family had been waiting for these stairs since 1959. For tax reasons, the stone was imported by a Canadian company and then sent to Baltimore before being delivered to Chelsea.

Chelsea is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

According to a press release, the addition of Chelsea increases the conservancy’s protected land to 5,000 acres across the lower James and York River watersheds.

For tours, special arrangements and events or information on leasing, call 804-843-2386.



Chelsea Plantation

King William County, Virginia

Copyright © 2013 - Joseph A. Tyson - All Rights Reserved -



Shaking My Family Tree

Friday, March 27, 2015

Colonel Augustine Moore (circa 1680-1743) - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 13, "Different"

by Amy (Wood) Kelly



view all 11

Col. Augustine Moore of "Chelsea"'s Timeline

Age 28
Age 30
King William County, Virginia, United States
Age 33
Chelsea, King William, Virginia
Age 33
Age 35
Age 40
July 28, 1743
Age 58
King William County, Virginia Colony