This article is about connecting the dots between the past and present.  It describes a proposal for providing additional specificity and substance to the theory that all Wickendens living today throughout the world sprang from an original family of Wicken who founded a den and homestead in Kent sometime around the 7th or 8th century.  

The article includes four sections.  (1) The Pathways Project: The first section outlines the difference between a definite line of succession and a possible pathway and using the Possible Pathway for Thomas Aaron Wickenden as an example, describes what is referred to here as The Pathways Project.  (2) A Wikitree for Wickendens: The second section provides links to various public family trees that include Wickendens and describes the concept of A Wikitree for Wickendens, starting with information about the Thomas R Wickenden families.  (3)  Early English Wickendens:  The third section provides an analysis of data from the International Genealogical Index (IGI) on Wickendens from about 1550 to about 1850.  When completed, the index (which currently includes births/christenings and some marriages) will be extended (and designated the XIGI) to include (a) missing marriages, which will add to the population, and (b) deaths, which will diminish the population.  This section will include a description of Wickenden demographics through the first few centuries, a map of the migration of Wickendens from Cowden, Kent, to other locations throughout England, as well as the known dates and points of departure of Wickendens for distant shores. (4) The First Wickendens:  This section describes the growth and spread of the Wickendens based on a mathematical model.  Starting with certain assumptions about the founding of the Wickenden Den, and the average birthrate, death rate, marriage rate and the carrying capacity of a typical homestead, the model describes the possible growth of the family over the first ten centuries - from the year 700 until the year 1600 (when the location and number of Wickenden families can be established from parish records). (5) Wickendens Around the World:  This section describes the Wickenden families living in other countries around the world, according to a report developed in 1997.

1. The Pathways Project

Many individuals have developed family trees describing various ancestors and descendants,  genealogical links through time.  These trees can be used to trace a  line a succession through parental relationships , usually from father to son since these preserve the same surname.  These lines may be based upon source documents that prove with some certainty that the individuals involved lived (and died) on the dates specified, that they were baptized, were married, became parents and were buried at the  locations so  designated. The Board for Certification of Genealogists has developed and published a standard of proof called the Genealogy Proof Standard (GPS).  It consists of the following five elements:

  1. Reasonably exhaustive search
  2. Complete and accurate citation of sources
  3. Analysis and correlation of the collected information
  4. Resolution of conflicting evidence
  5. Soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion

Uncertainty - Certainly, the goal of every family tree is to reach the GPS for every profile in that tree.  However, the farther back we go, the less likely it is that we will find enough sources documents to establish these facts with certainty.  We move from describing definitive lines of succession to sketching pathways that are all certainly possible but not, in all probability, certain.  David Wright's book on Tracing Your Kent Ancestors (Pen and Sword Books, Ltd., 2016) is most useful in describing basic sources, helpful resources, and ways to proceed.  However, the difficulties are clearly enumerated and more generally Wright warns the reader that "for the majority of people the sober conclusion will soon be reached that a large proportion of ancestors cannot be traced with any certainty much before the Tudor period [which began in 1485], or even the English Civil War [which began in 1648] " (p. 18). This uncertainty is due to a number of factors, including problems with documentation,  demographics, and the increasing mobility of families and their members.

DOCUMENTS: Some are due to the lack of documents, which may be missing for a number of reasons. The amount of documentation on births, deaths, marriages, and baptisms is certainly impressive, but there are historical limits to the recording, preserving, collecting, indexing and digitizing of this information.   Even if the necessary documents exist, they may be difficult to locate and to interpret. There are a variety of indexes, secondary documents listing information gathered from  multitude of primary documents.  These are very helpful in locating ancestors, but they have limitations. For example, the International Genealogical Index (IGI)  contains more than 1,000 Wickendens who were born or christened in the parishes of England between about 1550 and 1900.  However, according to Wright, it is "selective in ignoring burials, taking entries sometimes from transcripts and not originals, and requiring individual permissions, so county coverage varies enormously.  Kent is poor but the index remains as a magisterial name finder" (Wright, p. 61).     This author has found entire parishes, albeit small ones, whose records are not included in the IGI.  The spelling of names also becomes more varied as we reach back in time, raising the question of whether people with slightly different names are actually different people or the same person whose name is spelled differently in different documents.   It is also the case that some names on parish records are impossible to identify, either because the photography used for the microfilm record is unclear or the handwriting by the particular scribe is simply not readable.   

DEMOGRAPHICS: There are also human factors, such as the use of the same first name for the children of closely related people and use of the same first name for baptizing multiple children, some of whom may have died at an early age.  This includes mothers who may be more likely to die in childbirth or from other causes, leading to multiple marriages and step-children, causing additional confusion.  Of course not all parents may have had their children baptized, especially if the children were born out of wedlock, in which case if they were baptized, they might be labeled "bastard" or "base born."  

MOBILITY:  People move for a number of reasons, so there may be questions as to whether documentation of events in different locations refer to the same individual. There is a rule of thumb that "genealogy is useless without geography," suggesting that movement of individuals and families should be considered only if the distances and directions are at least possible, if not probable.  Distance is important in the early centuries, since young Wickendens may meet others from neighboring villages, and if they marry, the bride and family may stay in that new village.  The availability of convenient transportation routes and modes of travel are also more important in the early centuries.  Finally, the attraction of other locations may depend upon opportunities such as jobs.  Certainly this would have been the case with London, and in a town such as Reading, Berkshire, the development of the iron industry there must have provided opportunities for employment.  Gradual movement of family members across generations to neighboring towns would be logical, but a sudden move to a distant location should probably have some other, additional explanation.

Speculation - In the face of such uncertainty, some family tree builders simply borrow information from other family trees, regardless of whether that information has been documented with source citations or not.  For example, there are at least 87 family trees from Ancestry.com that included a James Wickenden born about 1730 (+/- 10 years) and married to Susanna Cullmer in 1756 in Strood, near Rochester, Kent: https://www.ancestry.com/search/categories/42/?name=James+_Wickenden&birth=1730&birth_x=10-0-0&marriage=1756--1_strood+near+rochester+-kent-england-united+kingdom_84712&name_x=1_1&spouse=Susanna_Cullmer.  An analysis of these family trees shows that they  include the following:

  • 29 trees (35%) - listed his birthplace in Strood, near Rochester, or in Rochester, Kent, in 1737 or 1738, and his father as John and mother as Mary 
  • 25 trees (30%) - listed his birthplace more generally as Kent in 1737 or 1738
  • 16 trees (19%) - listed his birthplace in Reading, Berkshire in 1937 or 1938 with his father as John and mother as Mary, although one listed his father as Thomas and mother as Ann and another listed the mother as Elizabeth
  • 6 trees (7%) - listed no birthplace
  • 5 trees (6%) - were private family trees with no public information
  • 2 trees (2%) - were miscellaneous listings of dates and places, including one in Stansted, Kent, whose name upon investigation turns out to be "John" not "James."

Most sites listed Ancestry Family Trees (i.e., other trees) as the source of this information.   These data show that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding even this one Wickenden.  My own research found three James Wickendens or Wickindens in Reading, Berkshire to two different sets of parents, one born in 1727 in Rainham, Kent, but although James Wickenden was married in Strood, near Rochester in 1756, I could find none born in 1738 in or near Strood or Rochester.  It is also apparent that most family tree builders borrow information from other family trees and rarely refer to and cite original genealogical source documents.  It would be useful to have a complete explication of the possible James Wickendens, the evidence and the uncertainties regarding each, and suggestions as to which lines of future research would be fruitful.

Proposal - Given the increasing lack of certainty regarding a line of succession, there are at least three strategies that can be pursued.  (1) We can simply stop tracing the line of succession where certainty disappears.  This is what Ken Watson has done with his Wickenden family tree http://www.rideau-info.com/ken/genealogy/wickenden-tree/index.htm.   (2) We can make assumptions, borrow from other family trees and continue our own lines of succession regardless of whether source documentation exists for the relationships we describe.  This is illustrated by most of the Ancestry Family Trees cited above   (3)  Or, we can begin to connect the dots as is proposed here:  that we transform our genealogical work from tracking a line of succession to tracing and analyzing possible pathways.  Tracing Possible Pathways would allow us to begin to roughing in the movement of families without suggesting a false precision or degree of confidence.  Recognizing that, on the one hand, an incorrect choice may lead our actual pathway astray for many generations but that, on the other hand, together with other, alternative pathways, we will eventually end up, if not actually at the Wicken den itself in the 7th or 8th century, at least  in the original parish and manorial location of Wickenden in Cowden, Kent, England in the 14th or 15th century.  A format for displaying a possible pathway would need to be developed, perhaps starting with the concept of an outline tree for ancestors. 

SAMPLE PATHWAY CHART (2001):  An early example of this format, without including source information, was developed in 2001 using (in a reverse manner and, some might say, a perverse manner) software for a descendant tree to display multiple possible ancestors:  Pathway for Aaron Wickenden.docx  Interestingly, the information available on the Internet continues to increase and the ability to access source documents and their transcripts, in addition to relevant indices, continues to improve.

Contents of A Pathways Chart - Besides a title and name of the author and an outline tree for ancestors, the chart of a set of Possible Pathways should include the following information: 

(1)  the trailhead or generational point (the generation number on the chart) in a line of succession at which certainty disappears and the pathways multiply, 

(2) references to the source documentation that exists for each possible ancestor (a good reference on source documentation can be found at https://ancestrysolutions.com/referencecentre/Genea101/Genea101%20Cite.html), 

(3) information about other possible pathways in addition to the particular trail under consideration, 

(4) the assumptions (i.e., informed guesses) that are made regarding choice of the pathway under consideration, including distances between key villages, parental history, family structure, ages, migration evidence, etc.,

(5) the rational or analysis and weighing of evidence that results in choosing to follow a particular pathway.  

(6) The pathway should be dated when first created, and if additional information is discovered, it should be updated, revising the chart and adding to the documentation, especially if the new information changes the probabilities regarding which pathway is more likely.  

(7) A ranking of the likelihood for each of the pathways and a rationale for the ranking would also be useful.  

(8) Finally, it would be interesting to have a summary of the number of possible pathways described by the chart, including the number of generations it covers, how many of these generations were located in Cowden and how far back in time the chart goes. 

The Pathway for Aaron Wickenden cited above has been revised.The summary listing from an updated version is posted here and the current draft of the full chart is provided in the link below to demonstrate the concept of a pathways chart.  Listings of possible pathways for other Wickendens will also be included here, along with notes and analysis.  The two current listings both originate in Cowden, Kent in the late 1500's.  They have no ancestors in common, and it is not known how these earliest Wickendens might be related.   Over time, especially if numerous Wickenden researchers participate, this Pathways Project should provide support for the theory that all Wickendens sprang from the original Wicken family who founded the den in Kent.  It should also produce a clearer picture of the movement of Wickendens over the centuries from Cowden to locations throughout England, the United Kingdom, and the world.


Current Number of Listings = 3

  • Thomas Aaron Wickenden (b. 1970s in Ithaca, NY, USA
    • + Jennifer Brandel1
  • Thomas Howard Wickenden II (b: 1940s in New York City, NY, USA)
    • + Beth Helene Wickenden
  • Thomas Clinton Wickenden (b: 1920 in Montclair, NJ, USA)
    • + Jean Dunn Wickenden
  • Thomas Howard Wickenden (b: 1888, in Toledo, Ohio, USA)
    • + Dee Shuman Wickenden
  • Thomas Rogers Wickenden (b: February 7, 1853, in Rochester, Kent, UK)
    • + Ida Consaul Wickenden
  • Thomas Wickenden (b: January 21, 1827, in Halling, Kent, UK; d: January 1, 1861 in Great Grimsby, Sussex, UK)
    • + Charlotte Quaife Wickenden
  • Samuel Wickenden (b: December 2, 1798 in Rochester, England)
    • + Eliza Wellbeloved
  • James Wickenden (b: June 8, 1760 in Rochester, Kent, England)
    • + Elizabeth Gardener
  • James Wickenden (base born: February 21, 1727/1728 in Rainham, Kent, England) 80% confidence, with 3 known alternatives2
    • + Susanna Cullmer
  • Ann Wickenden (b: 23 Dec 1706 in Edenbridge, Kent, England), 45% confidence, with 4 others3
    • + Frances Taylor 
  • John Wickenden (b: 17 Sept 1689, in Tonbridge, Kent, England), 50% confidence and 2 others4
  • John Wickenden (b: 30 Apr 1669 in Edenbridge, Kent, England), 55% confidence with 1 other5
    • + Elizabeth Crips
  • John Wickenden (b:  18 May 1645 in Cowden, Kent, England), 90% confidence with 1 other6
  • John Wickenden (b: 13 Oct 1622 in Cowden, Kent England), 30% confidence with 5 others7
  • William Wickenden (b: 16 Feb 1605 in Cowden, Kent, England), 51% confidence with 1 other8
  • Thomas Wickenden (b:24 Apr 1586 in Cowden, Kent), 55% confidence, and 1 alternative.9
  • Thomas Wickenden (b: 11 Feb 1570 in Cowden, Kent), 51% confidence, no known alternatives10

PATHWAY TO COWDEN:  USA: NY/NJ (3 generations)<--OH (1),<--ENGLAND: Rochester/Rainham (5)<--Edenbridge/Tonbridge (3)<--Cowden (5)                                                        [EXPLANATION OF PATHWAY - 3 generations in the USA:New York, New Jersey area, after 1 generation in Ohio, after migration from ENGLAND:5 generations in the Rochester/Rainham area, after 3 generations in the Edenbridge/Tonbridge area, after 5 generations in Cowden. The pathway from Cowden can be read by following the arrows, right to left.]  

ANALYSIS: Working this pathway backwards from a living Wickenden in 2020, it took 12 preceding generations of ancestors to reach Cowden. There are 4 more Wickendens in this pathway who also lived in Cowden.  The family left Cowden before 1669, moving north until they settled in and near Rochester, Kent.  They emigrated from there in the 1860's to Ohio, USA and after two generations, moved east to the NY/NJ area.

Even though we have been able to document 17 generations, covering nearly 450 years, this point in the pathway (1570) to Cowden is still an estimated 15 generations removed from the first recorded Wickenden in 1200 and another 24 generations removed from the likely establishment of the Wicken den in 600. There are seven steps in the pathway at which there is uncertainty concerning alternative ancestors, with at least 3+4+2+1+1+1+1 = 13 possible alternative ancestors.  Of course, if all the possible alternatives within the pathways of each ancestor were identified, the number of possible pathways would be very much greater.   The lowest probability at any step in the pathway of most-likely ancestors is 40% and the combined product of the probabilities in this line is approximately 1%, which shows how important it is to emphasize that a single pathway is only one of many possibilities. 

NOTES:  This chart is an update of the sample pathway chart (2001) above.  This chart includes a new possible ancestor for generation #9, as well as possible alternative ancestors in generations #11, #12, and #15.  The contents listed above appear in an annotated format, with five pages of notes and analysis.  Source information has also been added. CHART AND NOTES:  Sample Pathway (Revised, with analysis and sources).docx

Profiles for these Wickendens up through James Wickenden, born in Rainham, Kent in 1727, and then to his mother and her ancestors have been added to the Wickenden Wikitree.  Using the earlier ancestral Wickendens already entered (and mostly sourced) in Wikitree, provides a somewhat different path through to Cowden. Some of these relationships are also marked “uncertain.”  So each of these is certainly a "possible pathway" from a living Wickenden back to Cowden.


  • Donna Grace Wickenden born 1938 Merritton, Ontario, Canada (now called St . Catharines, Ontario) currently living in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • George Herbert Wickenden born 20 April 1904 London, West Ham dist., England, died 28 January 1980. Married Gladys Wanieta Ball b.1906 d 1979
  • Edwin Thomas Wickenden b. 7 Feb 1882 Bromley, Poplar, London, d. 8 Dec 1918 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Married Amelia Ferrier McEwen
  • George Albert Wickenden b.16 Sep 1858 Poplar, Middlesex, London, d. 8 Apr 1924 London, England Married Jane Samuels
  • Samuel Wickenden b. 21 Nov 1807 Knockholt, Kent, d. Oct 1865 Poplar, London. Married Emily Gosling
  • James Wickenden b. 7 Aug 1769 Orpington, Kent d. Jan 1842 Knockholt, Kent. Married Dinah Row
  • Thomas Wickenden b. 28 Mar 1733 Tonbridge, Kent, d. ? Married Mary Scott
  • Francis Wickenden b. 4 Apr 1701 Tonbridge, Kent, d. 1742 Kent, England. Married Ann Baker
  • Thomas Wickenden b. 1663 Tonbridge, Kent d. 1742 Kent, England Married Mary Martin
  • Edward Wickenden b. 1621 Tonbridge, Kent d. 18 Jan 1700 Tonbridge, Kent.[not certain] Married Mary Norman
  • Edward Wickenden b. 2 Jun 1594 Cowden, Kent, d.? [not certain] Married Annise Knight.

PATHWAY TO COWDEN:  CANADA: Ontario (1)<--ENGLAND: London (4),<--Knockholt/Orpington (2),<--Tonbridge (4),<--Cowden (1)

NOTES:  A word document with notes on many of these ancestors in included here:  Notes from Wickenden Line[2490].rtf  Donna states that the last two Edwards in this pathway are borrowed from someone else's research and therefore are uncertain.  If so, then research is needed on the ancestors of Thomas Wickenden b. 1663.

ANALYSIS:  This pathway takes 10 generations to reach Cowden.  The family moved to nearby Tonbridge for 5 generations and then moved on to various districts of London.  The family emigrated from there to Ontario, Canada, before 1938 and moved from there to Louisiana, USA.

3.JOHN WICKENDEN (living) 

  • John Trevor Wickenden b. 1950s Northampton, UK.
    • + Clarice
  • Bernard Vincent Arthur Wickenden b. 28/12/1924 d. 10/12/.1918 Manchester, UK
    • + Joyce Wells
  • Ernest Wickenden b. 06/1884 Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
    • + Beatrice Ethel Skipper
  • Frederick Wickenden b. 5/10/1856 d. 29/1/1930 Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
    • + Marie Antoinette Sutton(1)
  • George Wickenden b. 1820, d. 09/1883 Southborough, Kent, UK
    • + Fannie Watson
  • George Wickenden b. 1770

PATHWAY TO COWDEN:  Northampton (1)<--Manchester (1)<--Tunbridge Wells (2)<--Southborough (1)<--

NOTES: This line is from a personal email to Thomas Wickenden from John Wickenden.

ANALYSIS:  This line has remained in England. 


  • Nigel Frederick Wickenden b. 1940s Hanworth, Middlesex, UK
    • + Eileen Lethbridge
  • Arthur George Wickenden b. 17 Nov 1920 Chiswick, Middlesex, UK
    • + Hilda Lawrence
  • Frederick Arthur Wickenden b. 15 Jan 1895 Kingston Vale, Surrey, UK
    • + Annie Sarah Salmon
  • Joseph Wickenden b. 1 Feb 1855 Tonbridge, Kent, UK
    • + Emma Brown
  • Joseph Wickenden b. 1824 Tonbridge, Kent, England
    • + Harriet (Unknown)
  • Thomas Wickenden b. 1795 Tonbridge, Kent, England
    • + Amelia Heasman
  • William Wickenden b 1764 Tonbridge, Kent, England
    • + Jane Parker
  • Thomas W. Wickenden b 28 Mar 1733 Tonbridge, Kent, England
    • + Dorothy Jessup
  • Francis W. Wickenden b. 4 Apr 1701 
    • + Ann Baker m. Tonbridge, Kent, England
  • Thomas Wickenden b. 1658 East Peckham, Kent, England
    • + Mary Martin m. Tonbridge, Kent, England
  • Edward Wickenden b. 1635 
    • + Mary Norman, m. Penshurst, Kent, England
    • Marsha, daughter, b. Tonbridge, Kent, England

PATHWAY TO COWDEN: UK: Middlesex (2)<--Surrey (1)<--Tonbridge/East Peckham/Penshurst (7)

NOTES: This line is derived from a GEDCOM provided by Nigel Wickenden.

ANALYSIS:  After 3 generations back, this line reaches Tonbridge, Kent, and stays there for 8 generations.  Tonbridge is 12 miles north of Cowden.

2. A Wikitree for Wickendens

There are many current, public family trees that include early Wickendens or their relatives, but none include comprehensive information about the Thomas Rogers Wickenden families.  Therefore, it is proposed here that we begin development of such a family tree. There are various websites that offer software to develop family trees, so the first consideration is which software or site to use.  One, fairly recent site that offers a free development site and has an interesting philosophical approach is  Wikitree.com.  The authors of this site believe that there is, ultimately, only one family tree, that this tree information belongs to everyone who participates, and that the more people who link their work to this site, the larger this tree will grow.  They also have an interesting set of incentives to encourage participation and rules that govern entry of data, for which please see their site at Wikitree.com 

THOMAS ROGERS WICKENDEN COMPACT TREE:  Here are eight generations — up to 254 ancestors — for Thomas Rogers Wickenden   more info Help  This is made for sharing, especially with DNA matches: https://www.WikiTree.com/treewidget/Wickenden-385/5

┌─   16. James Wickenden ancestors  1727, Rainham, Kent, England -
┌─   8. James Wickenden ancestors descendants abt 1760 -
└─   17. Susanna Cullmer ancestors descendants bef 1738 -
┌─   4. Samuel Wickenden ancestors descendants abt 1798 -
┌─   2. Thomas Wickenden ancestors descendants 29 Dec 1826 Rochester, Kent, England, United Kingdom - 01 Jan 1861 Great Grimsby, St Mary and St James, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
└─   5. Eliza Wellbeloved ancestors descendants abt 1808 -

1Thomas Rogers Wickenden ancestors descendants 07 Feb 1853 Rochester, Kent, England, United Kingdom - abt 1924

┌─   6. James Edmund Quaife ancestors descendants abt 1800 Kent, England - abt 1837 Rochester, Kent, England
└─   3. Charlotte Quaife ancestors descendants 26 Oct 1827 Chatham, Kent, England, United Kingdom - 17 Aug 1904 Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States
└─   7. Mary Poynter ancestors descendants abt 1800 Rochester, Kent, England - abt 1850 Rochester, Kent, England

To view these names in alphabetical order, see Thomas's Family List. See Thomas's Tree & Tools page for more tree views.

A WICKENDEN WIKITREE:  Persuaded by the philosophy of these developers, this author has entered information on the Thomas R Wickenden families into a Wikitree.  The tree needs much more work beyond the information available in the Memoir book, but the link to what is currently available is as follows: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wickenden-385Wickenden-385 is Thomas Rogers Wickenden, and trees describing his descendants and ancestors can be accessed from his profile.  As an author of this section, I will add some information on the Thomas Howard Wickenden families and encourage my cousins and siblings to do the same.  However, those readers who are descendants of the other children of Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul will need to add information on their own families and relatives.  The site is free and relatively easy to use, so please enter any information you might have.  

3. Early English Wickendens

Various historical references mention Wickendens (including those whose names are spelled in various ways) as far back as 1200.  Following (A) a comprehensive timeline is (B) a listing of the homes where they lived, (C) the individuals who are mentioned in early wills and other legal documents, and (D)  and statistical information on their demographics, names (and spellings), and migrations by county, by century, by village and by branch of the Wickenden family.

A. Generational Timeline

The following timeline uses 25 years as the definition of a generation (4 per century) for convenience.  Starting with prehistory of the Germanic tribes, it moves to recorded history with (1) the first mention of Wickenden in 1044, and allows for calculation of the estimated number of generations between this and other key dates, such as (2) the first mention of an individual Wickenden (Martin de Wiggendenn in 1200) – 11 generations, (3) the spread of Wickendens throughout Cowden and the lease of Wickenden in 1461 – 10 more generations, (4) and further movement throughout England and the “loss” of Wickenden in 1623 – 7 more generations, for a total of 29 generations. While some of this information is replicated in the Timeline page at the end of the website, the table below will help viewers imagine Wickenden history as a connection between family members over time. It will also show why it is such a challenge to push a genealogical line back even to ancestors when they were still living in Cowden, as well as how many Wickendens there may have been whose identity we do not and will never know.  For example, assuming the Den was established and Wickendens were living and taking their names from the den by 720, then between that time and the  beginning of 2020 there would have been 13 centuries or approximately 52 generations of Wickendens to track, and we only have parish records since 1550, to help us track Wickendens across four and 7/10ths centuries or for the last 19 generations.  Quite a task! 




0 – 99




















(Since the Wicken)












Note 1

Note 2

Note 3

Note 4

Note 5

NOTES: 1. Germanic tribes such as Angles begin forming in central Germany.  Wicken identify as a clan.

                2. Tribes move northeast under pressure from Huns and Romans. Wicken leave place names.

                3. Tribes migrate southeast and, beginning about 450, cross the Channel to occupy Britain.

                4. Wicken move from Thanet across Kent and some establish a Wicken den in the Weald of Kent.

                5. Lewisham Manor was established in a grant dated 918. Wickenden was added later.
























(Since the Den part of Cowden Manor)






















Note 1

Note 2

Note 3

Note 4

Note 5

Note 6

NOTES: 1. First written record of “Wickenden,” in a charter of 1044, as granted to Lewisham Manor.

   2. First written record of a Wickenden in 1200, Martin de Wiggendenn, Archaeolingo Cantiana.

                3 “Wickenden” is leased, in a document dated 1461, by Thomas Wykenden living  in Clenden.

                4. St. Mary Magdalene Parish begins recording marriages, christenings and deaths in 1550.

                5. “Wickenden” is lost, replaced in St. Mary Magdalene Church Marks by “Polefields.”

                6. Thomas R. Wickenden family publishes Family Memoirs in 1962 (and Family Website in 2019).


 See the section of Wickenden History on the "Wickenden Homesteads in Cowden" for pictures and information on each home.  See the section below on "The First Wickendens" for estimates of the growth and distribution of Wickendens in these homesteads and across Kent, Surrey and Sussex..

HOME600 - 1000's1100's  1200's1300's1400's1500's1600's

The DenEstablished
1st ref: 1044 (below)
OccupiedOccupiedOccupiedOccupied/ leasedLeasedLost

EstablishedOccupiedOccupiedOccupied         1st ref: 1461


1st ref: 1283
Ludwell Farm

Occupied, granted: 1456OccupiedOccupied

1st ref: 1571
Hole Farm

Probably built   c. 1480Occupied,    1st ref: 1512Occupied

1st ref: 1524
Cowden Streate

Occupied, 1st ref: 1558Occupied
The Moat, Rickwood & Wickens

Occupied, 1st ref: 1510Occupied

Occupied, 1st ref: 1524Occupied
Coales/Coles Farm

Occupied, 1st ref: 1604Occupied
High Buckhurst

Occupied, 1st ref: 1626
LEWISHAM MANORFirst granted in 918. Wickenden added to manor in 1044.


It is interesting how regular the movement of Wickendens across the centuries was to additional homes in Cowden, and how they moved first to establish homesteads on adjacent pieces of land, then to occupy other farms next to those they had established, and finally into town and to farms across town.  This is somewhat predictable due first to the land law in Kent of "Gavelkind," which provided that property be divided among descendants and not given to the eldest male, as was the case in the rest of England.  Also, multiple generations might initially occupy the same homestead, even including a fourth generation, when the first may be passing away and make more room.  However, families would be expected to grow over time in size, so that after approximately a century, a family would have outgrown one homestead and would need to establish another.  Finally, by 1461, it is apparent that the Wickendens were moving around the village and out of Cowden.  They no longer needed to occupy the original homestead, so Thomas Wykenden, who was living next to and still owned the homestead, leased it out.

The Manor of Lewisham - Wickenden was first mentioned in a charter granting it along with other dens as tenements of the Manor of Lewisham, so it is significant that the Wickendens during the reign of Henry VIII, the manor was sold to the Wickendens.  Ewing (p. 47) describes the complex history in great detail but summarizes it this way:  "the Manor of Cowden in Lewesham was almost certainly created by the addition of certain denes to the Manor of Lewesham by William the Conqueror [in 928], and by him confirmed to the Abbot of St. Peters, Ghent, Primate of Flanders.  The grant was confirmed by William II., Henry I., and Stephen, and by John in 1209.... Lewisham remained in the Chief Lordship of the Abbots of Ghent till the suppression of alien priories in 1414, when Henry V., in spite of the Abbot's protest, transferred the Manor to his newly founded Carthusian Priory of Bethlehem, near Shene - (ibid)....Philpipott says that Cowden, meaning apparently the Manor, "did anciently with its revenue, support the College of Lingfield in Surrey, till the public dissolution came and tore it off, and then it was by Henry the Eighth, granted to Henry Earl of Arundel, from whom it suddenly after devolved by sale to ... William  Wickenden who possessed it in the reign of Charles I. [and] left it equally between his two sons" (p. 51).   There is some confusion among the historians as to which priory possessed which lands and exactly when, but it is also of interest to note that according to Hasted, Queen Mary granted to certain freeman, "the Manor of Cowden, with its appurtenances, late belonging to the Priory of Michelham, and ... late in the tenure of William Wickenden, whose ancestor, Thomas Wickenden, had given them to the Priory to hold in capite by Knights Service" (p. 50).  This may therefore be the point in time when the Wickenden coat of arms was first recognized.


References to these individual Wickendens were compiled, mostly from wills, by Guy Ewing in his parish history:  The History of Cowden. Wickendens baptised or married in England between 1550 and 1800 are listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and attached here:  Wickenden List.xlsx   Additional references to Wickendens Christened, Married or with Children Christened in Cowden are taken from the work of Brenda Marns and Homer Wickenden, as noted.

  • 1200's
    • abt. 1200, Martin de Wiggendenn born in Wiggendenn, Cowden, Kent, England [according to Archaeolingio Cantiana in Cambridgeshire (Ewing, p. 250?)]
    • abt. 1250, Thomas Wickenden, born in Wigindenn, Cowden, Kent, England (from Brenda Marns' listing.)
    • abt. 1260, William Wickenden, tenant at Wigindenn, Cowden, Kent (from Brenda Marns)
  • 1300's
    • abt. 1337, John de Wykendene, born in Wiggendenn, Cowden, Kent, England, according to the Calendar of London Letter Books.
    • abt. 1350, William Wickenden, born in Wigindenn Cowden, Kent, England (from Brenda Marns)
    • abt 1390, Thomas Wickenden, born in Wigindenn, Cowden, Kent, England (from Brenda Marns)
  • 1400's
    • abt. 1400, William Wickenden, born in Wigindenn, Cowden, Kent, England (from Brenda Marns)
    • abt. 1430, Thomas Wickenden, children born in Cowden, Kent, England (from Brenda Marns)
    • 1461, Thomas Wickenden (spelled Wykenden) was leasing out the original Wickenden homestead (spelled Wikenden) to Richard Saxpayse, who was the tenant.  Thomas lived in Clendene (spelled Clenden), 
    • 1466, Nicholas Whychenden, Horsmonden, leaves a will.
    • 1479, Thomas Wickenden was one of the Homage of a Court Baron of the Manor (Ewing, p. 27)  Robert Ludwell seems to have been childless, no provision for offspring appearing in his will.  Possibly Sara, his wife, was a Wickenden (Ewing, p. 27)
    • 1490, [Thomas] Wickenden de Ludwells, mentioned in a will.   
    • 1498, William Wychynden, Cowden, mentioned in a probate act
  • 1500's
    • abt. 1500, Turner provided that "Richard and William Wyckenden shall have rule of my lands (Pylegate) till my son John come to 21 years and I make them my executors (Ewing, p. 43)
    • 1510, Richard Wigenden senior, Cowden, will 
    • 1510, Richard Wiggenden made a will bequeathing to the house of Motenden xijd.  Thomas Wickeyng, his godson. (Ewing)
      • left 2 nobles the highway betwixt Henry Wykenden (at the Hole?)
    • 1511, Richard Wiggenden, th' elder, died. (Ewing, p.41, 43).  
    • 1524, John Wekinden, Cowden, will
    • 1524, Joan Wickenden (daughter of John Still and widow of Richard Wickenden, in her will bequithed to (Ewing, p. 32, 45 )
      • John, her son, also to 
      • Willm, my sonne, to 
      • Anthonye my sonne and to her three sons 
      • Thomas, 
      • William and 
      • Antonye.
    • 1552 & 1557, John Wekynden, Senior, Cowden, Will dated and proven {Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890]
    • 1552 & 1557, Henry Wykinden, yeoman, Cowden will and proven 
    • 1557 & 1559, John Wykenden, Cowden, (Calendar of Kentish Wills , Canterbury). First proven, second includes sentence.
    • 1558, Wickenden de Ludwells is mentioned in connection with a dispute in the Court Rolls. (Ewing, p 63. )
    • 1558, Thomas Wykinden de Cowden Streate (in the village) is also mentioned (Ewing, p. )
    • 1558, John Wekynden, yeoman, Cowden, will.
    • 1571, Thomas Wickenden de Bechinwoode attended a hearing of the Rolls. (Ewing, p. )
    • 1583, William Wickenden married Elizabeth Aier in April 1583 in Westerham, Kent (from Homer Wickenden, p. )
    • 1589, Thomas Wickenden de la hole is mentioned in a finding of an Homage.
  • 1600's
    • 1604, William Wickenden th' elder, yeoman, died.  He was apparently the grandfather of Jone Wickenden, see 1635 (Ewing, p. 247 )
      • 1604, William, son of William and executor and residuary legatee of his will.
      • 1604, another son of William
      • 1604, Thomas Wickenden of the Hole, no doubt a brother or cousin, was one of the Overseers 
    •  1623, Letters of Patent, dated 29th June, 1623
    • 1626, 'Ould mother wickenden of powlfields died (The Homes of Family Names).
    • 1635, Jone Wickenden (granddaughter of William Wickenden) married Jo Stretfield (Ewing, p. )
    • 1651, From this it would appear that the Manor (of Cowden), and Warefield, which seems to have been separated from it were in the possession of the Sackvilles for some part of Queen Elizabeth's reign,...As to when the sale to Wickenden actually occurred we have no evidence, but the assertion of Hasted that the William Wickenden who possessed it it in the reign of Charles I, left it equally between his two sons, one of who alienated his moiety to Ashdown, while the other moiety remained in the name of Wickenden is confirmed.... In the verdict Wickenden and Ashdown, both appear as tenants.  There is however, another document, "The Tytle of Lewisham," which makes it clear that Wickenden and his predecessors, including probably the Priors of Michelham, were copyholders of the Manor of Lewisham, and not Lords of the Manor, which was granted by Letters of Patent, dated 29th June, 1623...
  • 1700's
    • 1753, David Wickenden emigrated to America on board the vessel "Thames" in an effort to escape oppression at home and improve his personal fortunes. (Ewing, p. )
    • 1741, Joan Wickenden died after receiving relief from the parish nearly all her life at the rate of 4s. per month, was spared the ignominy of a pauper's burial by the surprising discovery that she was possessed of 250 pounds on her death, a sum which was spent in 1742 in the ceiling and restoration of the parish church of Cowden  (Ewing, pp. 63, 64, 183).
  • 1800's
    • 1821, population of Cowden was 729, and number of dwellings was 130.
    • 1853(?), a grant was listed of a field called 'Warefield' in Cowden given by Thos. de Wickenden, now called Warelands (Ewing, p. 48)

      • Ewing, History of Cowden.
      • Calendar of Kentish Wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1384-1559
      • Consistory Court of Rochester Wills 1440-1561
      • Brenda Marns, "Wickendens Christened, Married or with Children Christened in Cowden" - included in Wickenden Homes in Cowden and in Ken Watson's Wickenden Genealogical Page attached in The History of "Wickenden." 

Many genealogical resources have become available since Ewing wrote his book, and although his work is excellent, it is not possible to replicate it working strictly from these on-line websites.  For example, the earliest Wickendens (between 1460 and 1540) available in FindMyPast.com are as follows (listed alphabetically by last and first names):

WickendenAlice15401540National Burial Index For England & WalesBarnes, Surrey, England
WickendenJohan1524Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Cowden, Kent, England
WickendenNicholas1466Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Horsmonden, Kent, England
WickendenRichard1525Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Godstone, Surrey, England
WickendenRichard, Senior1510Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Cowden, Kent, England
WickendenThomas1540Surrey MarriagesBarnes, Surrey, England
WickendenWilliam1498Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Cowden, Kent, England
Wynkynden Or WickendenRichard1524Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890Stone, Kent, England

The earliest will mentioning a Wickenden appears to be that of Nicholas Wickenden, who died leaving a will in Horsmonden, Kent (approximately 18 miles from Cowden) in 1466. Apparently, more Wickendens had begun to leave Cowden around 1500, with Alice dying in 1524 and Thomas marrying in 1540, both in Barnes, Surrey (about 46 miles from Cowden, quite a distance in those days) - although marrying this does not necessarily mean that Thomas was born there.  in 1524  Richard Wickenden (or Wynkynden) died leaving a will in Stone, Kent (25 miles from Cowden) and the next year another Richard died leaving a will in Godstone, Surrey (14  miles from Cowden).  In Cowden itself there was William, leaving a will in 1498, Richard, Senior, leaving a will in 1510, and Johan with a will in 1524.  All of these are mentioned by Ewing and listed above, except for Alice (1540), and the two Richards (1524, 1525), perhaps they did not die in Cowden, the subject of Ewing's book. 


D.  WICKENDEN DEMOGRAPHICS  (Population Statistics from the IGI)

1821, the total population of Cowden was 729, and the number of dwellings was 130. - from Ewing

The IGI includes information from which the following demographics can be determined. (It is intended to derive a more accurate population count by adding missing marriages and subtracting deaths, as those data become available.)


Christenings and/or Births - the distinction may differ between parishes and recorders, so unless two dates are given (in which case the second is not counted here as a separate individual, it does not appear to be meaningful.   Births (40), and Christenings (883) TOTAL = 923 (of 1,015), recognizing that the distinction in the IGI may not always be accurate and that they should not be double counted.  The IGI is also known to be incomplete, for some parishes, and should not be relied upon for research on geneological lines.

Marriages - coded as b's = 19 or m's = 8 or s's = 64, for a TOTAL = 91 (plus Unknown = 1).  There are some marriages between those who also appear as parents, but many of the parents listed with christenings do not appear to have a parish marriage record.  These marriages will be reviewed against Brenda Marns' listing of Cowden marriages.  However, since a marriage to a Wickenden includes a second Wickenden, and a marriage of a Wickenden creates a legal relative to the Wickendens, they have been counted here as adding to the population of Wickendens.

Deaths - The IGI does not record burials, so the population of Wickendens shown here is somewhat inflated.  The record of deaths created by Brenda Marns and published by Ken Watson will be used to subtract deaths from these numbers.  As of now, however, for deaths the TOTAL = 0.


Female children = 530

Male children =      484


There are 297 different names given to Wickenden children at christening.  However, some of these names are far more popular than others.  There are only 26 names that are given by Wickendens in England to their children 5 or more times over the three and one-half centuries.

                                   COMMON WICKENDEN FIRST NAMES





































Mary Ann
















There are also 24 different spellings of the last name that we spell "Wickenden."  Most recordings (868) match the spelling we use now, but the others indicate that in the first few centuries after the name was first used, spelling of the name had not stabilized.  We see this in Wcken-inspired names across Kent.  In the parish records and other documents it was written down by a scribe or the subject based largely upon how the name was pronounced or heard.  Some misspellings may also be due to the recorder who entered the name into the IGI, since old parish records are hard to read and since they were probably transcribed by hand and then typed up.  However, some spellings in parish records were repeated for other Wickenden events (christenings, marriages) in the same parish, either because the scribe used the same spelling that had been used earlier or because the Wickendens in that parish had seen and adopted that particular spelling.  A good example is "Wiggenden," which was used almost exclusively by Wickendens for 39 separate events in Offham, Kent, although it also appears several times each in Maidstone and Nettlestead, Kent.  Another alternate spelling is"Wickenton,"which was used nearly 20 times by most  of the Wickendens in Reading, Berkshire.
























Wickenden Christenings:  1550 - 1900 (IGI)

  • Looking at the total numbers of Wickenden births and marriages from the IGI, between 1550 and 1900, it is clear that although Wickendens had already begun to move beyond Cowden by 1550, the population grew and stayed mainly in Kent, with a total of 612.  Since Cowden (see dot) is so close to Sussex to the south, the next most populous region (with 155 individuals) was just over the southern border.  The greater metropolitan area of London was clearly attractive to many families, since 94 christenings were by families located in districts of the city.  Then as they spread to the west and north-west, the number of Wickenden christenings grows smaller, with 56 in Surrey, 45 in Hampshire, 31 in Berkshire, 13 in Gloucester, and a smattering elsewhere.  That includes 2 in Warwickshire, 2 in  Devon, 2 in Suffolk, and 1 up north in Durham.  These numbers are taken from the following pivot table below, created from the Excel spreadsheet derived from the IGI.

    Row LabelsSum of Number
    Grand Total1013
    *Actual number is 614.

  • 16th Century Wickendens 
    17th Century Wickendens
    18th Century Wickendens
    19th Century Wickendens

These maps can also be seen in a slide show:  Wickendens slide show.pptx When the PowerPoint screen opens, click on the "Slide Show" tab, on top in the middle, and then" From the Beginning" over to the left.  Control the transitions with your mouse or allow them to be controlled automatically.  The data can be seen in the following table.







1 1



It is interesting to note that the migration of Wickendens from the original den in Cowden, Kent, to other villages appears to follow a westward path similar to that which may have been taken by the original Wicks, most of whom continued past Kent and settled in what became know as the Kingdom of Hwicce in Berkshire and Gloucestershire.  See the article in this Wickenden History section for more information on the Kingdom of Hwicce.

There are 143 different villages in the 11 counties where Wickendens settled and started families between 1550 and 1900.  However, in only 41 of those villages did Wickendens christen 5 or more children, ranging up to a total of 175 children christened in Cowden.  The following chart is based upon those 41 villages and shows that across the four centuries, most of the Wickendens moved out of Cowden and their children were christened in parishes nearby - within 10 miles. Many were also in villages 20-40 miles away, while a few had moved out 60 - 150 miles from Cowden.  [For graphing purposes, mileage figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 miles. For example, the christenings in Cowden (0 miles) and in Hever (4 miles) have been combined and plotted at 0 miles.]  The table below the chart shows the actual mileages and christenings for parishes in each of the 41 villages, listed alphabetically.

Wickendens Christened By Miles  from Cowden 

GLOUCESTERBlakeney15112"Seven Oaks139
"East Malling2412"Sydenham259
"East Wickham326SURREYBletchingley278
"Maidstone277"East Grinstead766
"Orpington1811"West Hoathly1312


Although they moved and registered the christening of children in many villages within each county, there appear to be several major centers of settlement for the early English Wickendens.  Those centers of settlement for Wickenden families who christened at least 30 children have been included in the table below.

 Major Centers of Wickenden Settlement












East Grinstead








What attracted numerous Wickenden families to these particular villages?  Perhaps those that were very close to Cowden like Leigh, Offham,  Tonbridge, East Grinstead and Worth also had available farms and housing (and prospective husbands and wives!) and thereby attracted more Wickendens than other nearby villages?  As for the more distant cities in Berkshire (Reading), Hampshire (Portsea) and even in Kent (Rochester) it is likely that industries there and the growth of support services provided more and different employment opportunities.  Reading, for example, was know for its developing iron industry in the 18th century, while  Rochester was a port city, located at the confluence of the Thames and the Medway Rivers, with occupations related to sailing and the sea.  


The Family Tree outlined below describes the family groups that either stayed in Cowden or that migrated to and raised families in the nine major Wickenden settlements within either the Trunk of the Tree (villages with Wickenden families before 1550), the Lower Branches (villages with Wickendens after 1550), Middle Branches (with Wickendens after 1600), Upper Branches (with Wickendens after 1700), and Leaves (villages from which Wickendens have left to emigrated to other countries.  The name of this last category is a pun, but it would be an important linkage point, so we invite Wickendens across the world to add information about their families, including from where they emigrated and when. This information will be described in the last section of each branch.  The lists of families in each of the branches below can be found in this SPREADSHEET:  Branches of the Family.docx

TREE TRUNK - Wickenden Families Starting before 1550

Cowden, Kent

LOWER BRANCHES - Wickenden Families starting after 1550

East Grinstead, Kent

Tonbridge, Kent

Worth, Sussex

MIDDLE BRANCHES - Wickenden Families starting after 1600

Leigh, Kent

Offham, Kent

Reading, Berkshire

UPPER BRANCHES - Wickenden Families starting after 1700

Portsea, Hampshire

Rochester, Kent


This portion of each table in the spreadsheet will take some time to develop. There are 63 family trees that mention James Wickenden (1738) as ours does, so there are probably 100’s of other Wickenden family trees just on Wikitree. Our personal tree is an example though, since the Thomas R Wickenden family was part of the Rochester, Kent, branch of Wickendens and emigrated around 1865. Identification of the branches of the family from which individuals have descended will not substitute for the definite linkages in Wikitree and other family trees, but it will begin to show the possible genealogical pathways that Wickenden may have followed when they emigrated from England to their present locations on other continents.

4. The First Wickendens

This section describes the growth and spread of the Wickendens based on a mathematical model.  Starting with certain assumptions about the founding of the Wickenden Den, and the average birthrate, death rate, marriage rate and the carrying capacity of a typical homestead, the model describes the possible growth of the family over the first ten centuries - from the year 600 until the year 1600 (when the location and number of Wickenden families can be established from parish records).  Thus its purpose is to fill the void between the founding of the den by, presumably, one family group, and the spread of that family through the centuries, throughout Cowden and then to various other villages in Kent, Sussex and even to London.  

The model is based upon a variety of parameters which can be given various values.  The interaction of these values determines the progression and the end result of the model.  The parameters are currently set to begin with one family and to end up with those that explain the documented distribution of Wickenden families at the end of the 16th Century.

THE  MODEL:  The Excel spreadsheet on which is it based  can be viewed here:  First Wickendens Model ( version #3, rev2).xlsx

The model is described in four tables and the data are illustrated by the accompanying charts shown here:

1. Table 1 describes the growth of the population of Wickendens from 700 to 1600.  The model is focused on young married couples, since these are the basis of ancestry. It is based upon a number of assumptions regarding these couples, including their fertility or birth rate, the mortality rate of the children, the mortality rate of the great grandparents, and the marriage rate of these children after 20 or so years.  For convenience, the model is framed by a definition of a generation as lasting 25 years, with 4 generations every century. 

Here is a stacked bar graph showing the number of Wickendens plus the number of spouses who marry Wickendens in each generation.  Counting four generations per century, the graph shows the number of Wickendens from 700 to about 1600.  By 1600, the model predicts that there were approximately 361 living Wickendens.  When this model is run to 2025, it predicts that there will be approximately 1,780 living Wickendens.  In 2000, I purchased a list of email addresses for Wickendens around the world.  My recollection is that there were approximately 2,000 Wickendens living in a dozen or so different countries, so this model may be undercounting the actual numbers of living Wickendens, perhaps due to increases in life span and decreases in infant mortality rates.  The impact of world wars and plagues and pandemics have not been built into the model.  Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will not reduce this number significantly. 

2.  Table 2 describes the distribution of this growing population within the Manor/ Parish/Village of Cowden.  The homes are those mentioned in historical documents as being established or  occupied by Wickendens.  As the population in the Wicken Den outgrows its capacity, the additional Wickendens establish or occupy nearby homesteads until their capacity is reached, at which point additional Wickendens move on, until by 1600, all the homes are occupied.  

Here is a bar graph showing the number of Wickendens in each of the homesteads, farms and homes in Cowden that they occupied sometime between 700 and 1600. Since we know that the Wickenden was leased out prior to 1500, the population of the Den is reduced to 0 at that point, with all Wickendens living in Polefields, Claydene and other homesteads.  The maximum capacity of most homesteads and farms is assumed to be about 20, with perhaps 5 people sleeping in 4 bedrooms, on average.   

 Kyngs is assumed to be smaller, with a capacity of 15, and the house on Cowden Street is assumed to only house a maximum of 10 persons.  Because the number of Wickendens grows more rapidly in 1400 and 1500 than earlier, those homes that are occupied in those years (shown to the left of the chart) fill to capacity sooner that those that are occupied later (shown to the right of the chart).

3. Table 3 describes the distribution of Wickendens across some of the nearby villages in Kent and the neighboring counties of Sussex and Surrey.  The villages are those mentioned in parish records prior to 1600 as having christenings of Wickenden children.There are also a few mentioned in early wills, marriges or burial records.  When the capacity of the Wickenden homesteads in Cowden is reached, addtional Wickendens moved out to these nearby villages.  

In order to tie the outcomes of the model to what we know about the early population and distribution of Wickendens, Table 3 draws on the actual christenings described in Table 4, derives from each of these an estimated number of total Wickendens and compares these "data based estimates" with the model-based estimates .  Thus the model begins and ends with actual "data" and uses assumptions to build a bridge linking them across the millennium from 700 to 1600.The table, and the accompanying chart shown here, compare the outcome of the model (green columns)with the actual data (yellow line).  The two estimates suggest that this run of the model yields accurate estimates, although its possible they could be replicated by other combinations of parameters     

4. Table 4 describes the actual number of christenings, wills, marriages and burial records we know of prior to 1600.  Of course most of these (58) were christenings in the Parish of Cowden, but a substantial number (13) were in East Grinsted.  A few others, including two wills and a marriage, were in Kent.   A will, a marriage, and a burial were in Surrey, and five christenings, besides the 13 in East Grinsted, were also in Sussex. 


This particular run of the model results in a relatively slight underestimation (approxiately 1%) of the total population of Wickendens predicted by the data, showing a few less than the data in Cowden and a few more than predicted for the other villages in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.  This is not to say that all the assumptions and parameters are correct.  It only shows that this combination of assumptions, including the errors they contain, appear to balance each other and average out over the centuries to be quite close to the facts as we know them.  The most interesting results, however, are provided by looking at the population and distribution estimates in an historical context. 

  • 700 - This model assumes that after decades of driving animals from a family farm down into the Weald each fall to forage for acorns, some of the Wicken build a homestead for shelter and decided to live at the den, later taking their name from the location.  

  • 850 - The numbers in Table 1 suggest that after about 150 years, the population of Wickendens who were living in the den exceeded the capacity of that original settlement and began to establish new homesteads on either side of the den: Polefields and Claydene.  

  • 1044 - When Wickenden was added to the Manor of Cowden Lewisham by William the Conqueror, there may have been 20 Wickendens living in Wickenden, 20 to the east in Claydene and 5 across Spode Lane in Polefields.

  • 1200 - When Martin de Wickenden was identified in  Archaeolingio Cantiana, the first mention in print of a Wickenden, there may have been 20 Wickendens living in Wickenden and 57 living in at least three other homesteads:  Claydene, Polefields, and Ludwell Farm.

  • 1450 - Table 3 suggests that by this date, the Wickendens were not only living in Cowden but also had begun to move out to other villages like Horsmonden,, another Kent village (and another with a den name)

  • 1461 - Wickendens had moved out of the den by this time, and Thomas Wickenden, living next door in Claydene, leased it out.

  • 1500 - By this time, Wickendens had moved to twelve other homesteads, farms and homes in Cowden, including Claydene, Polefields, Ludwell Farm, Beechenwoode Farm, Hole Farm, Kyngs, Cowden Street, the Mote, Richards, Cardes, Coles Farm, and High Buckhurst.

  • 1550 - Wickendens had also moved to Stone and Westerham, other villages in Kent, and to Barnes and Godstone, two villlages in Surrey.  

  • 1600 - In the 16th centuryWickendens moved to eight additional villages, four in Kent (Marston, Offham, Seven Oaks and Speldhurst) and four in Sussex (Buxted, East Grinsted, Offingham and Yapton).

SUMMARY:  This model helps to fill in a missing piece of the historical puzzle regarding how the Wicken family who established a den in the Weald of Kent in the 7th century grew over ten centuries into a population in excess of 300 Wickendens, living in a dozen homes in Cowden and in a dozen other villages in three counties of Southeast England.   

This particular run of the model appears to be a good fit with the knows facts.  However as we learn more about these First Wickendens, it may be necessary to change the parameter values in the model.  Moreover, since the settings of all parameters in this model are purely hypothetical, readers are invited to download the spreadsheet and examine the implications of any changes they believe are justified.


In 1997, Halbert’s Family Registry printed one copy of The World Book of Wickendens, including names and addresses of Wickendens around the world.  The following statistical information was included (The World Book, page 5.8):


Estimated Households

 Households  in Registry

Estimated Population

Counties or States with Residents

County or State with Most Residents

United States

















New South Wales

New Zealand





North Island

Great Britain






Northern Ireland







































South Africa























So, by 1997, some 19 centuries after the den was first established, and within the limits of this registry, the Wickendens were nearly three thousand strong and were living in 10 countries around the world.

* The email will not be published on the website.