After 18 months 'hard labor' updating, cleaning, and attaching missing sources we have this newly updated database. If you've checked the old database out, it would be well worth your while to look again. This is as close to 'error free' as possible. However, errors are still possible and please do let me know if you find any. Data is only as good as the quality of the sources.

In some cases, certain facts and conclusions can be disputed or debated by others, but I've made a point of digging as deep as I can and making my own conclusions - and have detailed them in the notes.

Happy genealogy hunting!

Thurston, de Whitney[1, 2, 3]

Male Abt 1045 - Aft 1086  (~ 42 years)


Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All

  • Name Thurston  
    Suffix de Whitney 
    Nickname Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, the white, The Flemming, The Fleming 
    Born Abt 1045  [3
    Gender Male 
    Died Aft 1086  [3
    Person ID I9598  BlytheGenealogy
    Last Modified 2 Jul 2017 

    Father Rolf, de Whitney,   b. Abt 1140, Whitney-on-Wye, Herford, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F4944  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Agnes, de Merlberge,   d. Yes, date unknown  [1, 2, 3
    Married Y  [1, 2, 3
    Children 
     1. Sir Eustace, de Whitney,   b. Abt 1075,   d. Aft 1100  (Age ~ 26 years)
     2. Turstin,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 7 Dec 2018 
    Family ID F4942  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    'Turstin fit Rolf' - MS. 350, folio 40 recto.
    "Turstin fit Rolf" - MS. 350, folio 40 recto.
    "Turstin fit Rolf" - MS. 350, folio 40 recto.
    A section of the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William, doffing his helmet to show his troops that he is alive, and Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, who is pointing to the Duke and carrying the papal banner.
    A section of the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William, doffing his helmet to show his troops that he is alive, and Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, who is pointing to the Duke and carrying the papal banner.
    A section of the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William, doffing his helmet to show his troops that he is alive, and Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, who is pointing to the Duke and carrying the papal banner.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William 2.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William 2.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William 2.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William.
    Turstin fit Rolf; Inventory of land owned by King William.

  • Notes 
    • (The Whitney Line)

      Arms—Azure, a cross chequy or and gules.
      Crest—A bill's head couped sable, armed argent, the points gules.
      (H. Melville: "The Ancestry of John Whitney.")

      Whitney as a surname was originally a place name. The parish from which the family takes its name is located in County Hereford, England, upon the extreme western border, adjoining Wales, and is traversed by the lovely Wye River. The name of the place doubtless comes from the appearance of the river, meaning in Saxon, white water, from hwit, and ey, water. The English ancestry of John Whitney, the immigrant who settled at Watertown, Massachusetts, has been established by Henry Melville. This book, it is stated, represents years of investigation—many months of it in England. Very few American families have their English genealogy in such well authenticated and satisfactory form. An abstract of the English ancestry is given below.

      Turstin, "the Fleing," otherwise known as Turstin de Wigmore, probably also as Turstin, son of Rolf, and Turstin "the White," was a follower of William the Conqueror. He was mentioned in the Domesday Book as an extensive landholder in Herefordshire and the Marches of Wales. He married Agnes de Merlberge, daughter of Alured de Merleberge, a Norman baron of Ewias Castle, in the Marches of Wales.

      Eustace, son of Turstin, was a benefactor of the monastery of St. Peter in Gloucester. He or one of his immediate descendants took the surname de Whitney from Whitney of the Wye, in the Marches of Wales, where his principal castle was located. The estate comprised over two thousand acres, and remained in the family until 1893, when it was sold, there being no member of the family to hold it. The castle has entirely disappeared, but it is believed to be in ruins under the Wye, which has in the course of years changed its path. The castle was probably built on an artificial mound, surrounded by a moat fed by the river, which gradually undermined the castle, which was at last disintegrated.

      From 1250 to 1596 the Whitneys held many offices of prominence and numerous titles. Gradually the elder branches of the family seem to have become extinct, but the name is still prevalent in many sections of England.
      (H. Melville: "Ancestry of John Whitney," pp. 9, 37. F. C.
      Pierce: "The Descendants of John Whitney," p. 7.)

      I. Sir Robert de Whitney, a direct descendant of Eustace, was living in 1242, and was mentioned in the "Testa de Nevill." Three or four intervening generations cannot be stated with certainty.

      II. Sir Eustace de Whitney, son of Sir Robert de Whitney, gave deed to the monastery of St. Peter in 1280, referring to and confirming the deed of his ancestors above mentioned. He was Lord of Pencombe, Little Cowarn and Whitney, in 1281; was granted free warren by Edward I in 1284; summoned to wars beyond the seas in 1297; tenant of part of the manor of Huntington in 1299; in Scotch War in 1301. He was possibly grandson instead of son of Sir Robert.

      III. Sir Eustace (2) de Whitney, son of Sir Eustace de Whitney, was knighted by Edward I in 1306, and was a member of Parliament for Herefordshire in 1313 and 1352. (H. Melville: "Ancestry of John Whitney.")

      IV. Sir Robert (2) de Whitney, son of Sir Eustace de Whitney, was one of two hundred gentlemen who went to Milan in the retinue of the Duke of Clarence on the occasion of the latter's marriage in 1368. He was a member of Parliament for Herefordshire in 1377, 1379, and 1380, and sheriff in 1377.

      V. Sir Robert (3) Whitney (note elimination of "de"), son of Sir Robert de Whitney, was sent abroad to negotiate a treaty with the Count of Flanders in 1388; was member of Parliament for Herefordshire in 1391. He was sent to France to deliver the castle and town of Cherbourg to the King of Navarre in 1398; was knight marshal in the court of Richard II; sent on king's business to Ireland in 1394. He was killed, together with his brother and most of his relatives, at the battle of Pilleth, in 1402.

      VI. Sir Robert (4) Whitney, son of Sir Robert Whitney, was granted the castle of Clifford and lordships of Clifford and Glasbury by Henry IV in 1404, on account of the services of his father. He was sheriff of Herefordshire in 1413-28-33-37; member of Parliament, 1416-22. He fought in the French War under Henry V, and was captain of the castle and town of Vire in 1420. He was named as one of the five knights in Herefordshire in 1433, and died March 12, 1441. (Ibid.)

      VII. Sir Eustace Whitney, son of Sir Robert Whitney, was born in 1411. He was head of a commission sent to Wales by Henry VI in 1455, and was a member of Parliament for Herefordshire in 1468. He married (first) Jenett Russell, daughter of Sir Thomas Russell; (second) Jane Clifford.

      VIII. Sir Robert (5) Whitney, son of Sir Eustace Whitney, was probably a knight, and was an active participant in the War of the Roses, and was attainted as a Yorkist in 1459. He w a s probably at the battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461. He was the subject of a poem by Lewis Blyn Coth, on the occasion of his marriage to Alice, the great-granddaughter of Sir David Cam. He married (first) Alice Vaughan, daughter of Thomas Vaughan; (second) Constance Touchet, who was the mother of his sons. (Touchet XI.) (Royal Descent XXII.)
      (Ibid. "Harleian Society MSS.," Nos. 1159, 1442.)

      IX. James Whitney, son of Robert Whitney, was appointed receiver of Newport, part of the estate of the Duke of Buckingham, confiscated by Henry VII in 1522. He married Blanche Milbourne, daughter and heir of Simon Milbourne. Children: 1. Robert, of whom further. 2. James. 3. Watkin. 4. Elizabeth.

      X. Sir Robert (6) Whitney, son of James Whitney, was of Icomb, County Gloucester, and in charge of other confiscated estates. He was sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1527-28-29-30. He was nominated Knight of the Bath by Henry VIII at the coronation of Ann Boleyn in 1531; was granted part of the income of the monastery of Brewern in 1535 ; furnished forty men to put down the rebellion of 1536. He was named to attend upon the king's person. He died in 1541, and his will was proved June 11, 1541. He married Margaret Wye, daughter of Robert Wye. Children: 1. Robert, of whom further. 2. John. 3. Charles. 4. George. 5. William. 6. James. 7. Richard. 8. Blanche. 9. Mary.

      XI. Sir Robert ( j ) Whitney, son of Robert Whitney, was knighted the day after Queen Mary's coronation in October, 1553. He was summoned before the privy council in 1555 and 1559. He was member of Parliament for Herefordshire in 1559, and died August 5, 1567. He married Sybil Baskerville. (Baskerville XVI.) Children: i . James. 2. Eustace. 3. Robert, of whom further.
      (F. C. Pierce: "Descendants of John Whitney," p. 16.)

      XII. Robert Whitney, son of Sir Robert Whitney, was mentioned in the will of his father, and also in an inquisition taken after the latter's death. He married Elizabeth Guillims or Duglim, daughter of Morgan Guillims or Duglim. Children. 1. William. 2. Thomas, of whom further. 3. Richard. 4. Nicholas. 5. Margaret. 6. Anne.
      ("Harleian Society MSS.," No. 1041. "Visitation of London Harleian Society," Vol. XV, p. 157.)

      XIII. Thomas Whitney, son of Robert and Elizabeth (Guillims or Duglim) Whitney, was of Westminster, Gentleman, and lived at Lambeth Marsh, London. He was buried at St. Margaret's, April 14, 1637. He married, May 12, 1583, Mary Bray, daughter of John Bray, of Westminster; she was buried at St. Margaret's, September 25, 1629. Children: 1. Margaret. 2. Thomas. 3. Henry. 4. Arnwaye. 5. John, of whom further. 6. Nowell. 7. Frances. 8,
      Mary. 9. Robert.
      (Whitney: "Genealogy of William W. Rice" (1897), pp.
      52, 53-)
      [Americana: v. 27; no. 2; Apr 1933; Pages 210-212.]

      In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy invaded England and defeated the Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. Among the men fighting with William was certainly a man named Turstin who came from Flanders, an area now encompassing portions of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. An inhabitant of Flanders is called a 'Fleming', and he was therefore called "Turstin the Fleming".
      A section of the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William, doffing his helmet to show his troops that he is alive, and Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, who is pointing to the Duke and carrying the papal bannerTurstin, the son of Rolf (which, as stated above, was probably although not conclusively identified as being the same person as this Turstin) was a prominent figure in the Battle of Hastings. "About nine in the morning the army began to move, crossed the interval between the two hills, and slowly ascended the eminence on which the English were posted. The papal banner, as an omen of victory, was carried in front by Toustane the fair, a dangerous honor, which two of the Norman Barons had successively denied." One chronicler wrote "He bore the Gonfanon boldly, high aloft in the breeze, and rode beside the Duke, going wherever he went. Whenever the Duke turned he turned also, and wherever he stayed his course there he stayed also." Another chronicler says "Fast by the three brothers" (Duke William, Odo and Robert) the consecrated banner, says he, "was borne by Toustain the white, the son of Rou, a knight of the less famous Bec in the land of Caux. Two men of higher rank and greater age had already declined the honorable office... Thick around Toustain and the chiefs beside whom he rode were gathered the chivalry of Normandie, the future nobility of England." This indicates that Rolf, or Rou, father of Turstin, was a knight in the land of Caux, perhaps Pays de Caux, an area in Normandy and from Bec, perhaps Bec Abbey.


      "Then the Duke called for the standard which the Pope had sent him, and, he who bore it having unfolded it, the Duke took it and called to Raoul de Conches. 'Bear my standard,' said he, 'for I would not but do you right; by right and by ancestry your line are standard-bearers of Normandy, and very good knights have they all been.' But Raoul said that he would serve the Duke that day in other guise, and would fight the English with his hand as long as life should last."Then the Duke bade Walter Giffard bear the standard. But he was old and white-headed, and bade the Duke give the standard to some younger and stronger man to carry. Then the Duke said fiercely, 'By the splendor of God, my lords, I think you mean to betray and fail me in this great need.' 'Sire,' said Giffart, 'not so! we have done no treason, nor do I refuse from any felony toward you; but I have to lead a great chivalry, both hired men and the men of my fief. Never had I such good means of serving you as I now have; and, if God please, I will serve you; if need be I will die for you, and will give my own heart for yours.'"'By my faith,' quoth the Duke, 'I always loved thee, and now I love thee more; if I survive this day, thou shalt be the better for it all thy days.' Then he called out a knight, whom he had heard much praised, Tosteins Fitz-Rou le Blanc by name, whose abode was at Bec-en-Caux. To him he delivered the standard; and Tosteins took it right cheerfully, and bowed low to him in thanks, and bore it gallantly and with good heart. His kindred still have quittance of all service for their inheritance on this account, and their heirs are entitled so to hold their inheritance forever. - SIR EDWARD SHEPHERD CREASY, NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND, BATTLE OF HASTINGS, A.D. 1066 as found in The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5, by Various, Edited by Rossiter Johnson. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10151

      Sometime between 1066 and 1070, William Fitz Osborne, who had been made Earl of Hereford and had been granted large areas of land along what is now the English - Welsh border region, granted land at Wigmore Castle (but not the castle itself) to Turstin, and granted the castle at Ewyas Harold to Alured de Merleberge. Earl William was killed in battle in 1070, and his son Roger succeeded him as Earl of Hereford. Earl Roger rebelled against King William and was sent to prison. The land that he oversaw, including the land that his father had granted to Turstin and Alured, was redistributed. The King granted Ewyas Harold to Alured and Wigemore to Ralph de Mortimer. Turstin probably stayed at Wigemore as an under-tenant.
      Sometime before 1086, Turstin married Agnes, the daughter of Alfred of Marlborough.
      In 1085, King William decided that he needed an inventory of all of the new lands that he now held in England, and instructed his men to begin a survey. This survey is now called the Domesday Book. Turstin is named in at least three entries in the Domesday Book survey.
      The first is the entry for "Cuure" in Radelaw Hundred. Cuure is an older word for Cowarn, so this entry therefore references Cowarne, as well as Pencombe which is about a mile and a half north. It was held by Agnes, the daughter of Alured and the wife of Turstin.
      In Radelaw Hundred the same Alured holds Cuure. Earl Harold held it. There are 15 hides paying geld, but King William acquitted 6 hides from payment of geld. Agnes, daughter of Alured, the wife of Turstin de Wigemore, holds this Manor. In demesne there are 2 ploughs, and a priest and a bailiff and 26 villeins and 8 borders. Amongst them all they have 32 ploughs. There are four serfs and a smith, and the meadow and wood renders nothing, and one hide of this land lies in the King's Wood. In the time of King Edward, the third penny from the three hundred belonged to this Manor. Now it is taken away--Then it was worth £25, now 100 shillings less.
      The second entry in the Domesday survey which mentions Turstin is for the Castle of Wigemore in the Hundred of Hezetre. This castle was held by Ralph de Mortimer. A mention was made that a section of land had been given to Turstin, but it is unclear if he still held it or resided here.
      The land of Ralph de Mortimer in the Hundred of Hezetre. Ralph de Mortimer holds the Castle of Wigemore. William the Earl built it on waste land which is called Merestum, which Gunuert held in the time of King Edward. There are two hides paying geld. Ralph has in demesne two ploughs and 4 serfs - A borough which is there renders £7. In Hezetre Hundred the same Ralph holds Duntune and Oiddard from him. Aelmar and Ulchet held for 2 Manors and could go where they pleased. There are 4 hides - two of these paying no geld. In demesne are 2 ploughs and 3 villeins and 3 borders and half a plough - There are 6 serfs and a fishery. Wood half a mile long and five furlongs wide - There are 2 enclosures. It was worth 30 shillings, - now, the same. Earl William gave that land to Turstin the Fleming.
      The third entry in the Domesday survey which mentions Turstin is for the Hundred of Stratford, as follows:
      In Stratford Hundred the same Alured holds Stratford. Earl Harold held it. There are 2 hides paying geld - Gilbert holds from Turstin and Turstin from Alured - In demesne are 1 plough, and 1 villein and 4 borders with half a plough and there is room for 3 ploughs. There are 3 serfs and the meadow renders 3 shillings. There are woods. In the time of King Edward it was worth 30 shillings - now, 20 shillings.
      The following record describes Turstin and his relationship to the Lingen family:
      Lingen Castle was less important as a fortress than as the seat of one of the most ancient Herefordshire families, which derived its name from the little village of Lingen on the borders of Shropshire. The Mortimers were the chief Lords of the entire district, and under them one Turstin held the Manor of Lingen. He was usually styled Turstin de Wigemore, and with his wife Agnes, daughter of Alured de Merleberge, he obtained the Lordship of Great Cowarne. His descendant Rolf de Wigemore, Lord of Lingen in the reign of Richard I (1189-1199), was founder of the Priory of Lyngbroke or Limebrook, which Leland erroneously attributes to the Mortimers, and there can be no reasonable doubt that Lingen became the patronymic of his family from thenceforth.
      Note that according to the Domesday Book survey of 1086, the area known as Whitney was uncultivated and was owned by the King himself. It would only be granted to one of Turstin's descendants in later generations, and that branch of his family would begin to be known as "de Whitney". Turstin had other descendants, as the de Wigemore and Lingen families also count him as their ancestor.
      Turstin also held the Manor of Lingen, about 4 miles west of Wigemore. One of his descendants was Rolf de Wigmore, Lord of Lingen. For a discussion on this, see Antiquities of Shropshire, Volume 5, pp. 73-79.
      Children of Turstin and Agnes:
      i.Eustace, b. say 1075;[3] m. ----- -----.
      ii.Turstin, listed as "Turstinus Flandrensis frater meus" (Turstin the Fleming, my brother) in a manuscript documenting the gift of a parcel of land named Suthenhale in Pencombe by his brother, Eustace to the church of St. Peter at Gloucester.
      [http://wiki.whitneygen.org/wrg/index.php/Family:Turstin_(s1045-a1086)]

  • Sources 
    1. [S5541] Americana; v. 27; no. 2; Apr 1933; pgs 210-222., Internet; 26 December 2015; 210-222 (Reliability: 2).
      Americana; v. 27; no. 2; Apr 1933; pgs 210-222.
      Americana; v. 27; no. 2; Apr 1933; pgs 210-222.
      Americana; v. 27; no. 2; Apr 1933; pgs 210-222.


    2. [S5351] American Biography: A New Cyclopedia; Vol. XLV, 183 (Reliability: 2).
      American Biography: A [American Biography; A Biographical Cyclopedia; Vol. XLV; Page 188-192.
      American Biography: A [American Biography; A Biographical Cyclopedia; Vol. XLV; Page 188-192.
      American Biography; A Biographical Cyclopedia; Vol. XLV; Page 188-192.


    3. [S6477] Whitney Research Group, http://wiki.whitneygen.org/wrg/index.php/Family:Turstin_(s1045-a1086) (Reliability: 2).