Arthur VIZARD 1520 - ??? (VIZARD or VIZOR)
We have very little to go on for this early ancestor so here are some general notes.
VIZORS, the ancestors of the VIZARDS
‘The family name of VIZOR, a Dursley family, were undoubtably the ancestors of the VIZARDS, who continued to live in Dursley until the 1800’s. The name Vizard lives on in Dursley with various memorials in St James and St Marks Churches. The latter originally being a chapel of ease for the poor, which the Vizards had built, together with a National School near St James’ Church. Other memorials come from the old alms house which are now on the walls of the modern retirement housing complex situated in Vizard Close, Dursley. Shakespeare Road is a short walk away.
Tracing the family on Ancestry, I notice how local the family was to Dursley. Even those who marry into the family are from Dursley or within a thirty-mile radius of the town. Dursley was made prosperous through the woollen industry, Dursley being a clothier town, selling fine cloth and products. The Cotswolds provide good grazing; the small rivers and streams coming off the hills into the valleys provided waterpower for the many mills in the area. The Vizards were businesspeople who part owned the Dursley Bank. The family business of solicitors was well known. Various members served on the town council, and some were churchwardens down the years.’
Judith Frances Hubbard 2021
Dursley and Shakespeare
There is some reason for thinking that the great poet of England was once a resident in the town of Dursley, and that members of his family lived there down to present times.
Some passages in his writings shew an intimate acquaintance with Dursley, and the names of its inhabitants. In the Second Part of Henry VI, act five scene one, ‘Gloucestershire’ Davy says to Justice Shallow – ‘I beseech you, Sir, to countenance William Visor of Woncot, against Clement Perkes on the Hill.’
Woodmancot is still pronounced Womcot by local people and it is the area where the Vizard family mostly lived. The Perkes family did indeed live ‘on the Hill’ as Stinchcombe Hill is still referred to.
See p. 93 from ‘Dursley and its Neighbourhood; Being Historical memorials of Dursley, Beverston, Cam and Uley’ by John Henry Blunt 1823-1884
Dursley and the Vizards
‘The Vizards are a very old county family who have lived for many years at Dursley Gloucestershire. The Alms-houses in Dursley were built by the family during the Victorian period, and one wall of the Church is covered with their Memorials. The earliest date I can recall is during the 15th century, but they must go back much further, as there is a story that they were descended from John of Gaunt (1340 -1399), son of Edward III.
The Vizards were a quiet, law-abiding family, and few of them made any name for themselves. The only one whose did so was another William who defended Queen Caroline of Brunswick during the court case brought against her by her husband, George IV. For many years I had a contemporary portrait of him, but this was lost, together with almost all our family possessions by enemy action during the 1939 - 45 war.’
Frances Ann ROPER (née Hubbard)1975