Updated March 4, 2021
This list of Gilliams is taken from The Shakespeare Encyclopedia by Carol Enos.
Why would a Shakespeare Encyclopedia contain a list of Gilliams?
It has been hypothesized that a William Shakeshafte mentioned in the Will of Alexander Hoguhton along with Ffulke Gyllome is William Shakespeare. On August 3, 1581, Alexander Hoguhton of Lea, Lancashire, names in his Last Will and Testament William Shakeshafte and Ffulke Gyllome as “playeres,” players important enough to be passed on to a good master upon Houghton’s demise: either Thomas Houghton of Brynscoules, his brother, or Sir Thomas Heskethe, Knyght, or “some good master.” Along with the players went “all my Instruments belonginge to mewsyckes and all maner of playe clothes yf he (brother) be mynded to keepe and doe keppe playeres.”
In attempt to flesh out William Shakeshafte, Ffulke Gyllome and his relatives have been extensively researched.
Below are some Gilliams living in Great Britain prior to the founding of Jamestown. This resource is intended to show where Gilliams where living in Great Britain. It is not the import of GILLIAMs of Virginia to suggest that any of these Gilliams nor any of their descendants removed to Virginia. Nor that any Gilliams are related to William Shakespeare or William Shakeshafte, for that matter.
Guillim Pedigree given in Camden, William, Miscellaneous Pedigrees of the Visitation of Gloucestershire, 251.
Guyllam Listed as a minstrel in a 1516 list of ‘foreign minstrels’ of Henry VIII. Several Germans are on the list (Cohn, Shakespeare in Germany, 81).
Gwylims of Monmouth, Wales, are listed as Recusants (Catholic Record Society, Miscellanea II, 299 – 304).
Gyllom, Fulk [Named in Alex. Hoghton will.]
“ . . . Thomas [Hoghton] not only took over Alexander’s house at Lea but also his servants, in so far as they can be traced, except for Fulk Gyllom, who surfaces again ten years later as a witness for Sir Thomas Hesketh’s son Robert, and appears to have become attached to the Heskeths, together with Alexander’s musical instruments . . . I assume that Gyllom and Shakeshafte moved to Sir Thomas Hesketh’s (perhaps after a short interval with Thomas Hoghton II)” (Honigmann 21).
“[Thomas Hesketh was] a friend whose good-will Alexander Hoghton took for granted when disposing of his worldly possessions in 1581: if Thomas Hoghton II prefers not to maintain players then Hesketh ‘shall have’ Alexander’s instruments and play-clothes; and, said Alexander, `I most heartily require the said Sir Thomas to be friendly unto Fulk Gyllom and William Shakeshafte now dwelling with me, and either to take them unto his service or else to help them to some good master, as my trust is he will.’ . . . .
The very unusual name `Fulk Gyllom’ appears in the Hesketh archives in 1591 and 1608. The typewritten index of the Hesketh collection in the Lancashire Record Office describes a feoffment of 1591 (T. Nelson to Robert Hesketh, Esq.; DDHe 11.93) that was witnessed, amongst others, by `Foulke Gillard’ (altered in the typescript to `Gilland’. Reference to the original reveals that it reads `ffoulke gillame.’ A conveyance of 1608 (J. Haughton to Robert Hesketh, Esq.; DDHe 28.44) was witnessed by `ffoulke Gillam’ (`Gillan’ in the typewritten index). . . . Fulk Gillam seems to have become a servant of Sir Thomas Hesketh, as Alexander Hoghton requested, if only for a while—so it is likely that William Shakeshafte moved to Rufford as well. (Shakeshafte was named immediately after Gillam three times in Alexander’s will, which confirms that the two men were somehow connected . . . .” (Honigmann 31, 32).
This is the ‘feoffment named above:
“ 93. Feoffment: Thomas Nelson of Mawdesley, yeoman, to Robert Heskethe of Rufforthe, esq. - - a butt of land in the field of Croston called Hilside, in the tenure of Katherine widow of Richard Ridinge attornies, Lawrence Barret and Nicholas Canse. Witn: Henry Sonkey, clerk, Thomas Werden, Foulke Gilla[n,r]d, Tristram Knowles, Robert Wearden. Seal. 20 May 1591” (Archives of Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston. From: DDHe/11/93 Hesketh of Rufford).
[From DDHe.28-29 Ormskirk (28)]:
“44. Conveyance by Bargain and Sale: for £20 James Haughton of Ormischyrche, gent. To Robert Hesketh of Rufforth, esq.—as 42—Witn: Hugh Hesketh, Tho Hesketh, Henry Morcroft, Thomas Werdenn, Robrt Leser, Gabriell Hesketh, Edw. Stanley, Richard Jollibrand, Foulke Gillan, Henry Spakeman. 9 June 1608” (Archives of Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston).
“Foulke Gillam, son of Thomas Gillam of Chester is listed as broderer in the Rolls of Freemen of Chester. That meant he was a guild-player” (Honigmann 32).
Gillam, Foulk [From the Marriage Licences Granted in the Diocese of Chester]:
Dec. 13, 1613 “Foulk Gillam and Mary Poole, Widow. Bondsman, Jasper Gillam. At Great Budworth, Cheshire” (The Record Society, Vol 1, 150). (See also: John Cotton)
Guilliam, Hugh His death is reported in the Leet Court, April 29, 1593: “Hugh Gilliam departed since &c., but who is his next heir the jury know not” (Chetham Society, Vol 65, 31).
Hugh Gylliam departed since &c. John Gylliam alias Whitle, and James Gylliam alias Knotte, are his heirs and at full age [Court held Thurs, Oct 4, 1593] (Chetham Soc, Vol 65, 33).
Gillam, Hugh [From Record Society, Lancashire and Cheshire Cases in the Court of Star Chamber, Glazier v. Roberson. Re Trespass on Pasture in Chester (S.C.P., Henry VIII, Vol. Xvi., fo. 78):
“To the kyng our moste dradde soveraygne lorde. Complaint by the same William Glaseor, who is lawfully possessed of a pasture adjoining a close called the Bache dale, on the N., and a close called Bexwykes on the W., in the county of the city of Chester, for a term of 99 years by demise of the late abbot and convent of Chester. The premises have been given by the king to the dean and chapter of the cathedrall church of Chester, by your majesty there lately erected for certain godly purposes. The complainant has enjoyed the premises for 6 years last past, till now of late one [here are named 108 people, among whom are Hugh Gyllam and Thomas Gyllam and John Savage.] (The Record Society, Vol 1, Lancashire and Cheshire Cases in the Court of Star Chamber.)
[Hugh and Thomas Gyllam are named again in the case of Goodman v. Bryde and Others, Re Trespass on Pastures in Chester (S.C.P., Henry VIII, Vol xvi., fo. 174)]:
“To the kyng our moste dradde soveraygne lorde. Humbly sheweth your obedyent subjectte William Goodman of the cytye of Chester, alderman, that where he is seised of ayning Pynchewer Heyes in the county of the said cytye, under lease from the late Abbot and convent of Chestre, which premises your majestye hath since given to the dean and chapyter of the cathedrall churche in Chestre, he peaceably enjoyed the same for 6 years last paste, till now of late one [Here are named those who trespassed, among whom are Hugh Gyllam and Thomas Gyllam and John Savage.] (The Record Society, Part 1, Lancashire and Cheshire Cases in the Court of Star Chamber).
Guillame, James Listed in the Salford Hundred muster of 1574. Laurence Robynson is in the same list. James Chetame is in the same list. (Chetham Society, Vol 49, 56).
Gilliam [Gwilliam], James married Mary Kettleby. Their daughter, Joane married Edward Hill. Mary and James Gilliam had a son, Edward Gwillime who had a son, Moore Gwillim and a daughter, Anne (Camden, William, Visitation of Gloucestershire 261).
Gillyam, John [Listed under St. Michael]: “Amos Chetam and John Gillyam. Of them the moitie of halfe a burgage in the upper end of Marketstidlane 3 d and for a house and gardyn in the netherland of Mylngate 5 d per annum (Williams, T.S., Elisabethan Manchester. Appendix I “Rental of the Manor of Manchester 1599 – 1601”, Vol 37, 140). (See also: Roberte Robynsonn.)
Guilliams, John Herald. His pedigree is included with ‘Porter’ in Camden, William, Visitation of Gloucestershire, 127. He married Frances Dennis, daughter of Richard Dennys of Gloucestershire.
Gwill’m, John ap of Monmouth married Jone, the widow of William Blount, (d. 22 Richard 2) (Camden, William, Visitation of Gloucestershire, 233).
Gilliam, Mr. Named in Dugdale’s 1665 Heraldic Visitation of Salford in the town of Levenshulme (Chetham Society, Vol 24, 5). (See also: Lawrence Robinson. He was a Salford clothier.)
Gilliam, James [From the Court report held Thursday 4th October, 35 Elizabeth (1593)]:
‘The Right Hon. Henry Earl of Derby hath departed since &c., and the Right Hon. Ferdinando, now Earl of Derby, is his son and heir and at full age, and is to do his suit and service” ( p 32).
“Hugh Gylliam departed since &c. John Gylliam alias Whitle and James Gylliam alias Knotte, are his heirs and at full age” (p 33). .
“John Gilliam, alias Whitle departed since &c. James Gilliam is his next heir and at full age, and ought to do &c. for his lands in Market Stid Lane” (p 37). .
“John Gylliam departed since &c. Caleb Taylier hath married his cousin and heir, and is &c.” (p 42).  (Chetham Society, Vol 65, 32 33, 37, 42).
Guillim, John (1565-1621) “ . . . herald, born at Hereford, was the son of John Agilliam, or Gwyllim, of Westbury, Gloucestershire. His family was of Welsh extraction. John the younger was educated at the cathedral school, Hereford, and at a grammar school at Oxford. He matriculated (probably as a scholar from the former school) at Brasenose College, Oxford, 3 Nov. 1581. The entry in the books of the university is ‘Gwyllam, John. Heref. pleb. fil. aged 16.’ Soon after leaving Oxford he was called to London and made a member of the College of Arms. Afterwards (20 Feb. 1618-19) he was appointed Rouge Croix pursuivant at arms. He was a master of the Latin and French languages, and published in 1610 the book which has made him famous—‘A Display of Heraldrie,’ in folio, with a dedication to James I. John Davies of Hereford, William Belchier, father of Daubridgecourt Belchier [q.v. (DNB)], and Sir William Segar, Garter king of arms, prefixed complimentary poems. The ‘Display’ went through many editions. There are eight in the British Museum. To the second edition (1632) is appended R. Mab’s ‘Termes of Hawking and Hunting;’ the third has additions by Sir R. St. George (1638); the fourth is ‘corrected and much enlarged,’ 1660; the fifth and sixth are dated respectively 1664 and 1666. A later edition, also calling itself ‘the fifth’ (published in 1679 and dedicated to Charles II), contains ‘A Treatise of Honour, Military and Civil, by Captain Loggan,’ with hundreds of engravings of arms and many full-length portraits, some after Vandyck. This last edition was reprinted as ‘the sixth’ in 1724. The ‘Treatise of Honour,’ by Loggan, according to Wood, was written by Richard Blome [q.v. (DNB)], ‘a most impudent person,’ who published the editions of 1660 and 1679.
Guillim has indeed systematised and illustrated the whole science of heraldry. Fuller says that he was the first to methodise heraldry, but suspected that his efforts met with no great success. He quaintly but truly describes the ‘Display’ as ‘noting the natures of all Creatures given in Armes, joining fansie and reason therein. Besides his travelling all over the earth in beasts, his Industrie diggeth into the ground in pursuit of the properties of precious stones, diveth into the water in Inquest of the qualities of Fishes, flyeth into the air after the Nature of Birds, yea, mounteth to the verie Skies about the stars (but here we must call them Estoiles), and Planets, their use and influence.’
It has often been held that the credit of writing the ‘Display’ is really due to John Barkham [q.v. (DNB)], and it is asserted that he gave the manuscript to Guillim and allowed him to publish the book in his own name, as heraldry was deemed too light a subject for him to handle. Guillim is said to have done this after making very trivial alterations. Sir W. Dubdale seems to have been the first who held this view. He wrote to Wood that Guillim was not the real author of the book, and Wood espoused this belief. From an inspection of Guillim’s own manuscript, however, Ballard remarks that the charge is unjust, and Bliss, in his edition of Wood, is of the same opinion. Moule doubts whether Guillim ever received Barkham’s manuscript, as the book is evidently not the production of a young man. Probably Barkham merely supplied him with some notes. S. Kent published in 1726 an abridgment of Guillim in two octavo volumes, called ‘The Banner Display’d.’
Guillim died 7 May 1621, it is generally supposed at Minsterworth, but there is no record of his burial there, nor in the church of St. Benet, Hythe, where many members of the College of Heralds lie. His own arms were argent, a lion rampant, ermine, collared of the first.
[Oxf. Univ. Reg. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), vol, ii. pt. ii. p 98; Noble’s College of Arms, p. 216, Fuller’s Worthies (Herefordshire); Duncumb’s Herefordshire; Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 297; Lowndes’s Bibl. Man. ii. 956; Moule’s Bibilotheco Heraldica, pp. 72, 116, 319; Brydges’s Censura Literaria, iii. 95, 96; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 10, 403, vii. 180, viii. 17.] M. G. W.” (DNB).
Guillim “The quaint old heraldic writer, Guillim, was allied to a family of the name of Hatheway, and in his work he gives a shield of two coats, viz. ‘He beareth Argent, a Lyon rampant, Ermines, gorged with a collar Or, langued and armes Gules, by the name of Guillim;’ impaling—‘Paleways of six, Argent and Sable, on a bend Or, three pheons of the second, by the name of Hatheway.’ Display of Heraldry, London, 1660, page 378” (French 375).
“In an office copy of the 1569 heralds’ visitation of Gloucestershire (College of Arms, MS D.12, 129b) is a pedigree dated 1572 entered by Guillim’s (John Gullim, herald) father; his son John was then aged twenty-two and unmarried. By 1575 he had married Frances, daughter of Richard Dennys of Siston, Gloucestershire, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Sir John St John of Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, and their son St John Guillim had been born, to be joined later by a daughter, Margaret. A Funeral certificate reveals that Guillim’s father, then described as ‘The Worshipful John Gwillim, Lord of the Manor of Hatheweys in the parish of Minsterworth’, died a widower at his manor house on 23 March 1581 (Coll. Arms, MS letter I, 10, 162)” (Gatchell 193).
I [Enos] find that Sir John Grendoure Knt. (Glendower?) married Marian, daughter and heire of ? Hatway (Visitation of Glouc 1623, 13). The Grendoure branch was eventually related to the family of Sir William Deane of Greate Deane in county Gloster. The great grandmother of John Guillim of Minsterworth was Iybell, daughter to John a Deane (Visitation of Gloucestershire 251). `Unfortunately, dates are not given in the table. The Guillim family was also related to the Dennys family. John Guillims of Minsterworth married ffrances, daughter of Richard Dennys of Gloucestershire (Visitation of Gloucestershire 52). I find in the genealogy table of the Arnold family that Sir William Dennys was the nephew of Elenor, daughter of Sir John Wriothesley, Knt., Garter King of Armes. The son of Sir William Dennis married Mary, daughter of John Bridges, Lord Chandos, and their daughter, Dorothy, married Thomas Lucy, son of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecott in Warwickshire. [Remember that Thomas Lucy had a servant, Thomas Guillim.] A branch of the Ardens was also allied with the Bridges family. Ann Ardent, daughter of John Ardent ‘in com Wigorn.’ Married Jerome Barnard, brother-in-law to the daughter of John Bridges of London Knight (Visitation of Gloucestershire 203). French noted the relationship of the Barnard (Bernard) family to Shakespeare through Shakespeare’s granddaughter: “The Fulwoods, however, one of whom was son-in-law of Agnes Arden, deserve a few remarks, as they were also connected with Sir John Bernard, second husband of the Poet’s only granddaughter, and whose mother was a Fulwood. They were long established in the county of Warwick, at Tanworth” (French 487). There is also the possibility of a connection with the Agnes Webbe Hill Arden (Shakespeare’s step grandmother) through the Hill family. James Guilliam’s daughter, Joane, married Edward Hill (Visitation of Glouc 261). All of these connections would require extensive research before any tie could be positively claimed as a link with William Shakespeare. These names that echo in Shakespeare’s genealogy suggest, however, that the Guillim family (related to Fulke Guillim, co-actor with William Shakeshafte in Lancashire?) was related to Shakespeare.
Gilliam, John Alias Whitle. John was the son of Hugh Guilliam (Chetham Society, Vol 65, 33).
[From Appendix I, the Boroughreeves and Constables of Manchester During Three Centuries. The Commonwealth and Protectorate]: In 1678, John Gilliam is listed with Miles Bradshawe as ‘Senior and Junior Constables’ (Chetham Society, Vol 63, 171-173).
Gyllom, Thomas [Named in Alex. Hoghton will.]
Gwillym, Robert (See Sir William Stanley of Hooton.) Sir William Stanley of Hooton and Robert Gwillym: [From the Visitation of Lancashire, 1533, John Atherton of Atherton]: “The pedigree of Atherton of Atherton goes back to Robert de Atherton, who was sheriff of Lancashire in the reign of King John. In the reign of Edward III., Nicholas de Atherton, a cadet of the family, married Jane, daughter and heiress of Adam de Bickerstaff, a family of equally ancient date. This line ended in heir female, to wit, Margaret, who married James Scarisbricke, a younger son of the house of Scarisbricke, and had issue an only daughter, Elizabeth, married to Peter Stanley, younger son of Sir William Stanley of Hooton. Margaret, the only daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Stanley, married Henry Stanley of Aughton, son of Sir James Stanley of Cross hall, who was the younger son of the first Earl of Derby. From this marriage descended the line of Stanley of Bickerstaff, baronets, in whom the title of Earl of Derby finally vested.
. . . John Atherton, the sixth in descent from the John named in this Visitation, married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Cholmondley of Vale Royal, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Vernon of Hodnet. Their son, Richard Atherton, the last of his line, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William Farington of Shaw hall, had an only daughter Elizabeth, who married Robert Gwillym of Langstone in the county of Hereford . . . . (Chetham Soc., Vol 98, 86, 87).
“Alan Keen cited in the Times Literary Supplement, 1955 (18 November, p. 689), an extract `from the records of the Chester Midsomerday pageant’ printed in the record Society’s The Rolls of the Freemen of the City of Chester Oe. J. H. E. Bennett, 1906): `Oct. 15 [1595-96], Foulk Gillam S. of Thomas Gillam of Chester embroider [Broderer].’ From this it is clear, said Keen, that the two Gillams 1were both guild-players.’ (I owe this reference to Mr. J. M. Bagley). Mark Eccles added that `a Fulk Gillam became a freeman in 1596’ in Chester (Shakespeare in Warwickshire, 1961, 74)” (Honigmann 32).
[Was this the same Thomas Gyllom who was named in the Alexander Hoghton will?]
(See also: Chambers. Notes, 2).
Gillam, Thomas (See also: Hugh Gillam.)
Gwillim, Thomas “Sir Thomas Lucy the Second (b 1561?) named Gwillim as his ‘trustie and true servant’ and left him forty pounds of current English money and his best trotting gelding” (Stopes, Shakespeare’s Warwickshire Contemporaries 48).
Guillim, Thomas is listed as a brother to the herald, John Guillim of Mynsterworthe (Camden, William, Visitation of Gloucestershire, 251).
In the 1613 register of Oct. 7: “Jasper Gillam, Parish of St. Peter, Chester, and Elizabeth Abbs, Parish of St. John, Chester, Widow. At St. Bridget’s, Chester.”
In the 1613 register of Dec 13: “Foulk Gillam and Mary Poole, Widow. Bondsman, Jasper Gillam. At Great Budworth, Chesh”
In the 1614 register of Oct 28: “James Gillam and Anne Boardman, Parish of Manchester. At Manchester” (Marriage Licences granted with the Archdeaconry of Chester. The Record Society, Vol 1, 18, 129, 147, 150, 171).
- Enos, Carol. The Shakespeare Encyclopedia: Stratford, London and Lancashire Links.