Bradley Hall, Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England
Written and researched by Margaret nee Knight Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Bradley Hall was owned by the Richard Dickinson family of Staffordshire, England, from 1526 until 1547, with his wife Elizabeth Bagnell. This is a line drawing, by Sydney R. Jones, of Bradley Hall, Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England from the book, The Manor Houses of England, by Peter Hampson Ditchfield (1854-1930) MA., FSA. This book is a reprint by Crescent Books, and was published in 1983 in England.

This drawing proves that Bradley Hall did indeed exist in the time period and place suggested in Wharton's book.

Wharton Dickinson stated that:

Richard Dickinson was born in 1520 in Bradley Hall, Kingswinford, South Staffordshire, England. Richard married Elizabeth Bagnell (B: 1526) in 1540. Richard died on August 17, 1560 in Bradley Hall. Elizabeth is also said to have died in Bradley Hall on August 17, 1560. Their son. Thomas Dickinson was said to have been born in Bradley Hall in 1547.

Here's a quote from Ditchfield's book:

"...half-timbered Bradley Hall at Kingswinford which conforms to the usual type of Midland manor-house. It bears the date 1596 [70 years later], and we noticed chimneys wide at the base so as to afford a pleasantly large inglenook ["a corner by the fire"], which is probably combined with an oven, the closeness of the upright timbers, the overhanging of the storeys so that the front of the gable embraces the large bay window and the ingeniously constructed porch which is carried up to the roof and has rooms over it" (Ditchfield, 76). This home is Tudor styled in black and white.

I have noticed that many homes were updated and re-designed in this time period, and placed the new date somewhere on the structure to commemorate this improvement.

I looked on "The Country House Database" under "Dickinson" and found the following manor houses listed:

These do not relate to my line.

The Mileage Issue

It is claimed that Wharton Dickinson's lines are incorrect because they (the Dickinsons/Dickersons) moved around too much. One must remember that the whole of England is only 50,516 square miles, which is close to our states of New York (49, 576 sq.miles), and Michigan is 7,700 square miles larger (58,216 sq. miles). Some of the early English Colonies were 8,257 square miles (Massachusetts) and 5,009 square miles (Connecticut), and not only did the Pilgrims travel across the Atlantic Ocean to get here, they also moved between these areas (Hammond's World Atlas)).

In case you are thinking that this was a later time period, remember that the Roman Legions were said to have marched about 25 miles per day. A horse with one rider could make 40 miles per day.

In this country, people moved hundreds, or thousands, of miles, even in our colonist days, when the only roads were old Indian trails. In England, many of the faithful went on Crusades to Jerusalem and travelled between England and France during the 11th century (The Norman Conquest), and before. Later on many Royals moved between the courts in France and England as was their habit. Does anyone want to guess how many miles it was from England to Jerusalem? Many landed individuals had land in all English counties, and they indeed moved between these holdings throughout the year. Their country homes were often far from their city homes, and we can be sure that births, deaths, and marriages ocurred during these travels.

In my own Dickerson family they moved from England to Salem, Massachusetts; to other Massachusetts towns to Long Island, New York; to Goshen (Orange County, NY) to Gorham (Ontario County, NY) to Sumpter Township, Wayne County, Michigan.

My great-great grandfather George Crysler to his cattle to market from Schoharie to Albany, New York (near 100 miles); and did it mostly on foot. Later, he travelled from Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York to Buffalo via cart or stagecoach. Then took the Erie Route to Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan; and walked from Detroit to Sumpter Township, Wayne County, Michigan (30 miles) on foot, to visit his son Martin Crysler. He made this trip more than once, and similar visits were made in the opposite direction. I think we can safely say that the Dickersons were a hardy bunch.

So, I think this issue can be laid to rest. Don't you agree?

The Dickinson Coat of Arms
Source - Phillip Wharton Dickinson, Herald & Genealogist.

Dickinson Arms

Azure a fess between two lions
passant. Erminois (gold with black ermine spots)

Crest: A demi-lion rampant, per pale erminois et azure.

Motto: Esse quam videri or
"To be, rather than to seem."

The history of the Dickinson Coat of Arms goes back to the London Heraldry Office. This particular arms was given to the Dickinsons of Bradley Hall. It is thought that it was first petitioned in 1565, by Richard Dickinson of Bradley Hall. His application was, at this time rejected for the reason that only he and his father, William Dickinson used the arms.

In 1614, Edward Dickinson, the grandson of Richard Dickinson, made a second application for the arms and was granted it. Richard had proved four generations that used this arms:

  • William Dickerson [his great-grandfather]
  • Richard Dickerson [his grandfather]
  • Simon Dickerson [his father]
  • Edward Dickinson [himself]

This arms is thought to have been used by another branch of the Dickinson family too. James Dysonson, J.P. of West Riding, Yorkshire, used the arms as far back as 1507. James was thought to be the son of Rauffe Dicconson. Rauffe received this arms when he married Margaret Robynson [Robinson], the daughter and heiress of William Robynson of Kirkeby Hall. William was a gentleman. He had an income of at least 200 English pounds per year. This money was the result of working of his estate without his own personal labors. As a gentleman he had the right to bear a coat of arms.

Others to use this arms were:

  • William Dickinson of Bradley Hall
  • Charles Dickinson of London
    His son was Walter and he brought a silver plate to the Virginia Colonies with this coat of arms etched upon it.

Judge Samuel Dickinson of Dover used the same arms on his silver and his bookplates. When his widow died, his son Governor John Dickinson had a funeral hatchment made.


A hatchment is a diamond-shaped panel bearing the "Coat of Arms" of a person who has recently died. This is generally displayed on the front of the Manor House during the mourning period. This is a tradition.

The hatchment's purpose was to announce the death of the family member, so visitors would not say embarrasing things to the family about said deceased.

For example, if someone from out-of-town had their purpose as to visit the said deceased, he/she would then know that they had died and thus could offer his/her condolences.

A recent death in the family could also keep the family members from attending certain parties and celebrations. The hatchment saved both the visitor and the occupant embarrassment.

This arms was placed in the Old Philadelphia Library on Locust Street between 13th and Broad Street.

The Dickinsons of Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Trenton, New Jersey; have the right to bear these arms. This is duly acknowledged by the Herald's College in London [England] and Paris [France]. They were enrolled in Paris, as stated in Rietrap, Volume II Supplement.

The rules of the Heraldry College requires an undisputed use of said arms for four gnerations or one hundred (100) years, before a grant may be issued. This is different from the grants given because of services rendered to the king or other nobility.


In Fairbairn's Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, it confirms, on page 150:

DICKENSIN, and DICONSON, Linc., Torks., and Staff., a demi-lion, rampant, per pale, erminois and az.


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