Vespasian Bradford of early 17th century London was a craftsman belonging to the city livery company, or guild, of cooks, people involved in the preparation of food.
Vespasian’s namesake was the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who ruled Rome from 69 to 79 AD. Who named the English child born in 1560 this unique name is a mystery. His parents were either William and Alice Bradford or Richard and Catherine Bradford.
Vespasian was likely born in Yorkshire, England, in 1560, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth Tudor. He died during the reign of Elizabeth’s successor, James Stuart.
Vespasian married late in life, to Joane Burrowse, on May 28, 1604, when he was 44, and she was 12. This young woman was the daughter of Sir Richard Burrowse and Lady Barbara Burrowse. They were married in the Shoreditch Church in London.
According to The Parish Registers of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, containing the Marriages, Baptisms, and Burials from 1558 to 1754 (London, 1881) Vespasian and his wife had a son Richard, baptized June 25, 1605, a daughter Margaret, baptized May 15, 1606, a daughter Elizabeth, baptized May 9, 1607, a daughter, Anne, baptized June 18, 1608, a daughter Jane, baptized July 6, 1609, a daughter, Joane, baptized Aug. 7, 1610, and a son Richard, baptized Dec. 9, 1611.
Vespasian was a member of the Worshipful Company of Cooks in London, a very old livery company. In 1616 he was listed in the charter of the Worshipful Company of Cooks as an Assistant, one of a small group of liverymen who were in charge of the guild—the Court of Assistants.
Vespasian was buried April 11, 1618, at St. Antholin Church, Budge Row, London—an Anglican church in the heart of the city.
Joane outlived Vespasian by seven years, dying in 1625. Their grandson, Richard Bradford, emigrated to Virginia in the 1650s. His great-great granddaughter, Lena Bradford, married James Amos. She is my fifth great-grandmother on my mother’s side. Vespasian is my 11th great-grandfather.