Genealogical Gleanings in England

General Robert Sedgwick married in England, Johanna -----. After his death she married the Rev. Thomas Allen, pastor of the Congregational Church in Norwich, England, formerly teacher of the church in Charlestown, Mass., from about 1639 to 1651, when he returned to England, by whom she had no children. General Robert Sedgwick emigrated to this country in 1635, and was one of the most distinguished men of his time. He was one of the earliest settlers of Charlestown, Mass. In 1641, 1645 and 1648 he commanded the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, of which he was a founder, and in 1641, the Castle. He was an officer under, and a friend of, Cromwell, with whom he corresponded, and by whom he was sent in July, 1654, from Boston to Jamaica, after the capture of that Island by the British, with a fleet under his orders with reinforcements for the army under Gen. Venables. He was one of the Commissioners for the Government of Jamaica, and died there on May 24th, 1656, leaving several children. Professor Adam Sedgwick, of Trinity College, Cambridge, England, in a letter written some years before his death, in 1873, says that the clan was settled from very early times among the mountains which form the borders of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmoreland; and he believed that every family of the name could trace its descent from ancestors who were settled among these mountains. The name among the country people in the north of England is sometimes pronounced Sigswick, and the oldest spelling of it is Siggeswick—at least so it is written in many of the parish records going back to the reign of Henry VIII. It is good German, and means the Village of Victory, probably designating some place of successful broil where our rude Saxon or Danish ancestors first settled in the country, and drove the old Celtic tribes out of it, or into the remote recesses of the Cambrian Mountains, where many Celtic names are met with to this day. But in the valley where the Sedgwicks are chiefly found, the names are almost exclusively Saxon or Danish. Ours, therefore, was a true Border Clan.

The name Sedgwick was probably a correction given, like many others, through a wish to explain the meaning of a name (Siggeswick), the real import of which was quite forgotten. The word Sedge is not known in the northern dialects of England, and the plant itself does not exist among the Yorkshire valleys. But a branch of the clan settled in the low regions of Lincolnshire, and seem to have first adopted the more modern spelling, and at the same time began to use a bundle of sedge as the family crest. This branch was never numerous, and is now believed to be entirely extinct. Indeed, the Sedgwicks never seem, at least in England, to flourish away from their native mountains. If removed to the low country, they droop and die away in a few generations. A still older crest, and one suited to the history of the race, is an eagle with out-spread wings. Within a comparatively few years, eagles existed among the higher mountains on the border. The arms most commonly borne by the Sedgwicks, and accorded to them by Burke in his Encyclopaedia of Armorial Bearings, are composed of a field or, a cross gules, with five bells of the field, and a lion passant through sedge on a cap of maintenance.—Robert Sedgwick, of New York City.]


These two paragraphs were quoted verbatim from Henry F. Waters, Genealogical Gleanings in England, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1969), p. 278.