Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Richard Fettiplace and Elizabeth Bessels; Ancestors of Gov. Thomas Dudley

This article is a continuation of the Fettiplace ancestry of Thomas Dudley, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Previously covered were Thomas Fettiplace and his son John Fettiplace. This is the third generation of this line that can be traced with certainty, anything above Thomas is a guess. So, here is what I know about Richard Fettiplace and his wife Elizabeth Bessels.

loss of a father
Richard's parents were John Fettiplace and Joan Fabian Horne Fettiplace Estbury. John was a successful London draper (cloth merchant) who came to the attention of the king and was appointed Esquire of the Body of the King around 1455. King Henry was deposed in 1460 so ending John's court connections. He married about that time a wealthy London widow, Joan Horne, nee Fabian, whose husband Robert Horne had been a stock fishmonger, alderman and one time Sheriff of London. John and Joan had five children in quick succession, four boys and one girl before his untimely death in 1464. Richard was the oldest and his father's heir.  He inherited the manor of East Shefford in Berkshire and New Langport in Kent.

 Joan moved her family from London to their home at East Shefford. The children's estate was put into the hands of James Fettiplace, John's brother and the children's uncle. He lived at nearby Maidencourt, Berkshire. Joan remarried to a local man John Estbury of Antwick's manor in Letcombe Regis.

When Richard was about 25 years old he married the only daughter and heiress of Williams Bessels and his wife Alice Harcourt Bessels. Her name was Elizabeth. The marriage took place around 1485.She brought the manor of Besselsleigh into the Fettiplace family. The Bessels were an old established Berkshire family as were the Fettyplaces'. That being said, William came into the manor of Leigh in an unusual way. In 1424 Sir Peter Bessels died without an heir. His wife was able to hold the manor of Leigh for her lifetime. After much squabbling by the trustees and the death of Margery the widow of Sir Peter, the manor finally passed to William Bessels, possibly a distant cousin of Sir Peter.
(this might change as I have more info to come with a different opinion on Thomas Bessels)

daily life
Richard and Elizabeth seems to have lived quietly in East Shefford. His did not make much of a mark on the public record. They had quite a few children including a daughter Ann who married Edward Purefoy. Now all over the web and is a few books it says that Anne Fettiplace was born in Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire also known as Shelford Parva. But, the Fettiplaces are not known to have had any land there. Why would she been born there? I think this is an error and that she was born in Shefford like the rest of them.

Richard was never knighted and therefore was not Sir Richard.

Richard died in 1511, in what was still a Catholic country. He asked to be buried in the church of Poughley Priory, a house for Austin Canon Friars. The Priory was located at Chaddlesworth near Great Shefford. He left money to the Priory and gave them land, asking in return for 99 years worth of prayers. He did not get his money's worth as the Priory was dismantled in 1524 by Thomas Cromwell during the dissolution of the monasteries.

In January 1527, Edward Fetyplace, Richard's son, treasurer to the duke of Suffolk, wrote to Thomas Cromwell, upbraiding him with breaking his word as to granting him the site of Poughley, on the faith of which he had given Cromwell 40s. at the time of its dissolution, and yet the lease had been granted to another man. This letter is of particular interest, as showing that the house of the dissolved priory was for a time occupied by scholars of Wolsey's great college then in course of erection.

In February 1529, Fetyplace wrote again to Cromwell desiring his interest that he might be assured of more years in the farm of Poughley. From this letter it is evident that Cromwell had been recently visiting the dismantled priory, as Fetyplace records a visit to Poughley, on 'the Thursday after our departing,' of one John Edden who came with a cart to carry off such stuff as was appointed to go to Wolsey's College at Oxford.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More Fettiplace Ancestry of Gov. Thomas Dudley; John Fettiplace Citizen Draper of London

This is a continuation of the Fettiplace Ancestry of Governor Thomas Dudley of Massachusetts......

John Fettiplace was born about 1424, most likely at his parent's estate of East Shefford in Berkshire. His father was Thomas Fettiplace and his mother was Beatrice, a Portuguese woman who was possibly descended from King Alonoso III through an illegitimate son.He was the second son of a fourth son. If he was going to earn a living he was going to have to work for it. And so he did.

John, in later life, was a citizen of London and a Draper by trade. A Draper was a merchant who dealt in fabrics. John would have begun his career as an apprentice, eventually becoming a full member of the Draper's Guild. Although J. Renton Dunlop felt he was only an honorary member, it would seem that he was inde
ed a working Draper and he eventually became a very rich draper. but, back to the beginning.

order of the garter
In 1447 the King's brother, Duke Humphrey died suddenly. He had been one of the 24 Knights of The Order of the Garter. There were several good candidates to fill the now vacant spot, but the honor went to King Alphonso of Portugal. King Henry commissioned the garter from the London goldsmith Matthew Philips. The garter was not the stretchy thing you see thrown at weddings, it looks more like a small blue belt, that when buckled was/is worn around the left calf. Of course it would be covered with jewels or pearls and the buckle would be made of gold. Along with the the garter went the sumptuous robes worn by the recipient.  Once completed these items had to be delivered to King Alphonso, in Portugal. Who better to deliver them than John, son of Beatrice, a descendant of the royal house of Portugal. John was paid the hefty sum of 40 pounds for his expense.

How did John come to the attention of Court and allowed the honor of this mission. I think it was probably the Earl of Shrewsbury, who was close to the Royal Family who was the instigator of John's rise. John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury was the brother in law to John's mother, Beatrice. She had been married to his brother, Gilbert.  

esquire to the body
King Henry VI
In 1455 John was a member of the Royal Household and no less Esquire to the King's Body. The King in question was the ill fated Henry VI. His Queen was Margaret of Anjou. The job of esquire to the body was one of an attendant of the King. They helped him dress and undress, they were around him day and night to meet his every need. How John achieved this appointment is unknown. Although it has been suggested that his mother might have had some influence I am more incline to believe that it might have been his mother's brother in law, The Earl of Shrewsbury, who might have brought John into the royal sphere.

wool merchant
The 15th century was the heyday of the wool market in England. Men could become fantastically rich dealing wool and the cloth made from it. The best wool in Europe was from England, the best weaver were in Flanders. The raw wool was shipped to Flemish ports and returned to London for the Drapers to sell. John set himself up as a wool merchant in the section of London called Lothbury. There is still a Lothbury Street in London, but the area was all destroyed at the time of the Great Fire including the parish church of St. Margaret's of Lothbury.

In the late 1450's, John married the widow Joan Fabian Horne. Her husband had been Robert Horne. He was a very successful fishmonger who served as both Alderman for the Bridge Ward and Sheriff of London. He is best known for his part in the rebellion known as Cade's Rebellion which tore through London in 1450. This rebellion was a protest by men in Kent and Sussex against the inept government of Lancastrian King Henry VI. Although first welcomed by the citizens of London, they rebels quickly lost their favor when they looted the city. Robert Horne was throw in prison and only escaped with his life by paying a huge ransom. This rebellion was the beginning of the undoing of King Henry and eventually lead to the War of the Roses.

Joan was the daughter of Edward Fabian. When Robert died he left her with four small children and a large bank account. I doubt she was widowed long. Joan and John had four sons, Richard, Anthony, Thomas, and William and one daughter Margaret.

Whatever influence John had accrued at court as Esquire to the Kings Body and from the Earl of Shrewsbury came to a screeching halt on 10 July 1460 at the battle of Northampton. The King was captured by the Yorkist forces and the Earl was killed defending him. In March of 1461 England had a new King, the Yorkist King Edward IV. Henry would briefly regain his throne in 1470 but John was dead by then.

honor they father
John certainly did honor both his parents with a fabulous alabaster tomb in their small church of St. Thomas in East Shefford. The tomb remains today in the now protected church, a cold silent monument to ancestors long gone. John himself died in 1464, leaving his widow once again holding the bag with a gaggle of small children. John had a will and left his children a small fortune. Their Uncle James Fettiplace was charged with managing their estate until they came of age. John's heir was his eldest son Richard. Unlike his father he was not in trade, but lived the life of the landed gentry in Berkshire on his estate of East Shefford.

john estbury
Joan remarried, again rather quickly. Her third husband was John Estbury of Antwick's Manor in Berkshire. He was probably no stranger to Joan as his manor was only a few miles from East Shefford.  In fact the manor of East Shefford was owned by the Eastbury Family in previous century. When Joan died she was buried next to John Fettiplace at St. Margaret's Lothbury. Joan's date of death is unknown.

The internet is full of errors. Here is just one example of an error laden webpage:

Father: Thomas Sir. K.G. 'Earl of Arundel' FETTIPLACE b: 1397 in East Shefford and Childrey, Berkshire, England
Mother: Beatrice of Portugal , Countess Beatrix Fettiplace (nee De SOUSA?) DE PINTO b: Abt 1386 in of Portugal

Marriage 1 Jane widow of John Horne 'Alderman of London' FABIAN b: CA 1430 in of London and Berkshire, England

be careful out there!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Fettiplace Ancestry of Governor Thomas Dudley; Thomas Fettiplace of East Shefford

I wrote a blog post some years ago about what I call "trying to meet in the middle." This is that genealogical problem where you think you know the ancestry down to a certain point and up to a certain point but you cannot connect those two points. You can't meet in the middle. The Fettiplace ancestry of Thomas Dudley almost definitely began with Adam Fettiplace of Oxford in the 12th century and can be traced down to his descendants and it can be traced up to Thomas Fettiplace born about 1394. But, we can't connect Thomas to Adam's line.

This article will deal with Thomas Fettiplace and his descendants to Anne Fettiplace who married Edward Purefoy. They were the great grandparents of Thomas Dudley on his mother's side.

whose doing the writing
So, there have been three major articles written about the Fettiplace Family and most of what you find on the web is from these articles. The first was published in 1889 by James Robinson Planche' who was appointed the Rouge Crouix Pursuivant in 1854. He wrote extensively about the family, beginning with Adam Fettiplace. He wrote that it was his conviction that Henry Fettiplace, who died seized on the manor of Denchworth in 1416, was either the uncle or father of Thomas.

In 1911, J. Rentyon Dunlop wrote an lengthy article on the family. He wrote that Thomas was known to have had a brother John of Woolley Park. He and a Peter Fettiplace of North Denchworth, the representative of the original line, were contemporaries. Peter was the son of John Fettiplace of North Denchworth. Peter and Thomas each served as High Sheriff of Berkshire and both served in 1436 as Comm missioners of Array. Dunlop says, "it is here suggested, that although probably first cousins, it quite possible they were brothers." For this to be true, John of Woolley would have to be John of Denchworth, which has not been suggested by anyone that I can find. Then John and Thomas would both be sons of Henry of Denchworth, Thomas being the fourth son.

Nearer our current time, Donald Lines Jacobus wrote and article for "The Register," in 1969, about the Fettiplace Family. In his two part article, part two begins with Thomas. Of is his ancestry he writes, "In spite of his high rank and social position, enhanced to be sure by the exalted birth of his wife, his descent from Adam Fettiplace, the first definitely known progenitor of this ancient family, has never been worked out. Donald L. Jacobus was one of the finest american genealogist.

English historian and genealogist David Nash Ford has an extensive website on Royal Berkshire History, which includes many of the leading Berkshire families. The Fettiplace articles by Dunlop and Plance' are both reprinted on this website. In a bio of Thomas Fettiplace, the author, unnamed, writes that the parentage of Thomas is "far from certain." But, it "seems likely that he was a son of Henry Fettiplace of North Denchworth." No documentation is offered for this statement, but it is presumable based on the speculation raised in the two previously mentioned articles.

So was Thomas the son of Henry Fettiplace of North Denchworth. It is possible that Henry was his father and it is possible that Henry was not his father. More than that, I cannot say. Sorry.

Thomas is believed to have been a fourth son, regardless of who his father was. Fourth sons had a difficult time back then, when the first son got the lion's share of his father's estate. These guys had to go out and make their mark on their world. This could be done by excelling in martial arts or if the world of warfare was not to your interest, by managing the estates of a warrior. This is the route chosen by Thomas.

In 1413 Thomas was appointed steward to Gilbert, Lord Talbot. at his manor of Bampton in Oxfordshire. This manor had been in the Talbot family since 1327 when it was given as part of a dowry at the marriage of Richard Talbot and Elizabeth Comyn. However, Talbot's main lands were in the Welsh Marches, the borderlands between England and Wales. The men who held these lands are called the March Lords and were semi-independent from the King. The first ten or so years of the 15th century saw frequent fighting between the English and the Welsh who briefly rid Wales of their English overlords only fall under their control by 1409.  It is possible that the Talbot family spent time in the Oxfordshire home to avoid the ongoing military conflict.

As steward, Thomas was responsible for the day to day running of the estate. The steward also played a major role in the manorial court system. All in all it was a good gig for a fourth son, in fact, may stewards became wealthy men.

1413 saw the crowning of the most military of kings, Henry V. He is described as a cold and ruthless soldier. Once crowned he immediately began preparing to invade Normandy, which he did in 1415. The next few years brought amazing military victories for England at Harfleur and the amazing defeat of the French at Agincourt. In 1416 the last Welsh "Prince of Wales," died, and Henry was able to give France his full attention. In 1417 he again invaded France, his target was the city of Rouen. After an almost two year siege the once great city surrendered,  it's citizens dying of starvation and illness. Also dying at the siege was Gilbert, Lord Talbot, Lord of the manor of Bampton.

thomas takes a wife
Thomas was married in 1422. His wife was the Lord Talbot's widow, Beatrice. Beatrice was a young widow with only on child, a daughter named Ankaret for her Talbot Grandmother. Beatrice was also a foreigner. She was Portuguese. Let me say right out that she was not the daughter of King Joao (John) of Portugal by either his legal wife, Phillipa Lancaster or a mistress as is seem on multiple websites. All current research points to her being a descendant of King Alphonso III of Portugal and his mistress Mariana Pirez de Enxara. Alphonso died in 1279 and if true would have been Beatrice's 3X great grandfather.  She was not a princess. Suffice it to say, no one really knows who her father was.

Immediately following the death of her husband, Beatrice was given one third of the manor of Bampton as her dower. In 1419 she was given full custody of the estate. Sadly, her daughter and Lord Talbot's only heir, died in 1422. This left Beatrice and her then husband Thomas Fettiplace with only her dower third. She exchanged this dower for the right of tenancy. Gilbert's lands and title passed to his brother John, later the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Thomas was obviously a very successful businessman. He held many high offices in the Counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire including serving as a member of parliament in 1432. He also served as Sheriff of both counties.  In 1442 he was given a commission to basically persuade his neighbors to 'loan' money to the King and bring it post haste to the Royal Exchequer. According to the Royal Berkshire History article on Thomas, he was never knighted and therefore was not Sir Thomas but rather only Thomas Fettiplace.

He seems to have died not long after the 1442 commission. Beatrice died on Christmas day in 1447. They are buried in the little church of St. Thomas that once served the manor of East Shefford. Their alabaster tomb was commissioned by their son John. The manor house of East Shefford was demolished in 1871. The village of East Shefford no long exists.

St. Thomas church photo by Ron Baxter

A P Baggs, Eleanor Chance, Christina Colvin, C J Day, Nesta Selwyn and S C Townley. "Bampton Hundred," in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13, Bampton Hundred (Part One), ed. Alan Crossley and C R J Currie (London: Victoria County History, 1996), 1-5. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol13/pp1-5.

"Parishes: East Shefford or Little Shefford," in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London: Victoria County History, 1924), 234-238. British History Online, accessed May 15, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/berks/vol4/pp234-238.

David Nash Ford, "Thomas Fettiplace," David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History, (http://www.berkshirehistory.com : accessed 28 May 2016).

Nathaniel L. Taylor, "Beatrice Fettiplace (Ancestress of Gov. Thomas Dudley) : A Summary", PDF file. This was written in 2002 and is the latest information on the ancestry of Beatrice Fettiplace. Taylor is the editor and publisher of  the The American Genealogist.

Donald Lines Jacobus, "The Fettiplace Family," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 123 (October 1969) 254, American Ancestors  (http://www.americanancestors.org : accessed 25 May 2016).

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gov. Thomas Dudley and His Very Catholic Fettiplace Ancestors

Thomas Dudley's maternal grandmother, Mary Purefoy, was the daughter of Edward Purefoy and his wife Anne Fettiplace. Anne was born on 13 June 1494 and died in 1558. She was the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Beselles Fettiplace of Shelford, Berkshire. Anne had  sisters, Mary, Eleanor, Dorothy, Elizabeth and Susan. There were also brothers, but my concern here is with the females of the family. The Fettiplace family was of great antiquity and was very wealthy. Education was important for not only the males of the family, but, unusually, for the females as well.

Richard Fettiplace, the girl's father, died in late 1510 or early 1511 leaving a will that made bequests for two daughters marriage portions; Dorothy and Eleanor. Presumably the others were already married at the time of their father's death, or other arrangement had already been made. Mary Fettiplace married James Yate (d. 1543) of Buckand, Berkshire and had daughter Elizabeth. Susan married John Kyngston of Childrey (d. 1514), Berkshire and Thruxton Hampshire. He died very early in their childless marriage at the age of 23. Dorothy married a man named John Coddrington or possibly Goddrington. Their marriage contract was made in Oct. 1517 and stipulated that they should marry by 13 May 1518. John was dead on 31 December 1518. Another Fettiplace daughter widowed young with no children.

After the death of her husband, Susan took an uncommon route for her life, she became a 'Vowess', at the Abbey of Syon. Syon was a, if I may call it such, a co-ed religious establishment that housed both a monastery for men but also an abbey for women. The monks and nuns were of the Brigittine Order. Education and reading were especially important to the abbey.

A vowess was a woman who had been married, but was not a full nun. She could come and go as she pleased. The Vowess paid the Abbey for her room and board and could keep servants. Susan was joined at Syon by her grandmother Alice Besselles in 1520. Susan's mother Elizabeth Besselles Fettiplace Elyot was also believed to have become a vowess at Syon after the death of her second husband.  The maternal grandmother of the Fettiplace girls, Alice Harcourt was living at Syon as a vowess at her death in  1526.

When Dorothy's husband died and left her a childless widow, she choose to take her vows one step further and became a nun at Syon. The sister's were joined by Eleanor, who never married, and became a nun at Syon some time around 1520. Mary Fettiplace Yates' daughter Elizabeth Yate also took her full vows and became a nun as did her cousin Susan Purefoy.  The only sister who did not have ties to Syon was Elizabeth, who was a nun in Amesbury.

The heir of Richard and Alice Besselles was their daughter Elizabeth Fettiplace, the girl's mother. After the death of her husband Richard in 1510 she remarried to Sir Richard Elyot, the father of Sir Thomas Elyot. Sir Richard was a jurist and had been the King's Sergeant at Law for both King Henry VII and his son King Henry VIII.

The 1530's was a time of religious upheaval. Henry VIII, in his desire to marry Anne Bolyen was beginning his break with the Pope in Rome and on his way to establishing a protestant church with himself at it's head. In 1534 Sir Thomas More was imprisoned by Henry for refusing to take an oath recognizing Henry as the head of the English church. Some time that year, after, July, Sir Thomas Elyot published a translation of the sermon of St. Cyprian. He dedicated it to his step-sister Ellen and mentioned her sister at Syon. The sermon may have been meant as an encouragement to Catholics in England during those trying times.

At that time all the religious houses were put under pressure to recognize Anne Bolyen as Henry's true wife. Syon acquiesced and signed. However, one of the monks, Richard Reynolds, refused. He was imprisoned and was, according to the catholic church, martyred, at Tyburn on 4 May 1535. His death was especially brutal. After being dragged through the streets of London, he was drawn and quartered. His body parts were displayed in various parts of London. Today, he is a catholic saint.  

On 25 November 1539 the community was expelled from Syon. Susan Kynston may have already left, she was living with her sister Mary Purefoy at the time of her death on 23 September 1540. Many of the nuns and the Fettiplace vowess' were sheltered at Buckland, the home of  the Yates.The Abbey was briefly restored in 1557 during the reign of catholic Queen Mary. Sir Frances Englefield, husband of Catherine Fettiplace, undertook it's restoration. With the succession of protestant Queen Elizabeth the abbey was shuttered for good.

After the closure of Syon Abbey, the nuns and vowess' were once again dispersed. Eleanor went to Zurich were she died in 1565. Dorothy lived a long life, dying in her eighties in 1586. When she died, her great nephew Thomas Dudley was ten. He would grow up to become the Governor of the Puritan Colony of Massachusetts.  I wonder what they would have thought of each other.

Mary C. Erler, Women, Reading and Piety in Late Medieval England, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Kathy Lynn Emerson, "Susan Fettiplace," A Who's Who of Tudor Women: F, (http://www.kateemersonhistoricals.com/TudorWomenF.htm : accessed 22 May 2016).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mary Purefoy; Grandmother of Thomas Dudley, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, her ancestry.

This is the second of my posts on the ancestry of Thomas Dudley. The research  was done by F. N. Craig and published in the Register. I am not reinventing the wheel, just trying to dress it up a bit. The names of the Purefoy family can be traced pretty far back in time, all the way to the 13th century. The name was first recorded in 1260 in the Misterton, Leicestershire. The records form this time deal mostly with land, renting, selling, holding, granting, quit claiming, etc. They include words which are no longer in daily use; moiety, messuage, carucates, and advowson. I have linked these words to a page of definitions, in the event you are like me and want to know what they mean. That being said, here is what is known about the Purefoy family, ancestors of Thomas Dudley, Governor of the Massachsuetts Bay Colony.

The Purefoy family lived in and around Misterton a small village on the Roman road, known as Watling Street, in the County of Leicestershire. Looking at Misterton today from Google Earth shows a patch work of farm fields in greens and browns, almost in the center of England. The River Swift runs just to it's north. Across Watling Street and slightly south is Churchover, another small farming village where the family held land. Churchover is in County Warwickshire. The family lands remained concentrated in and around the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border area.

The period of time in which these people lived is known as the Late Middle Ages (1300-1500). After a period of prosperity and growth England was facing drought and famine and by 1350 their world would be decimated by the Bubonic Plague, known as the Black Death.

The Purefoy's daily life was centered around two essential and intertwined calendars, the agricultural and ecclesiastical calendars that marked their year. Michaelmas, 29 September, was the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel. This day marked the beginning and ending of the husbandman's year. Many legal documents were dated using a feast day as a reference. Today we have to look up the date of the feast day on wikipedia but the medieval Purefoys were intimately acquainted with the many feast days that made up their year.

william 1
The first Purefoy ancestor that can be identified with certainty was one William. In 1337 William was named in a land transaction in which two brothers; John de Shirford and his wife Ellen and Simon de Shirford, vicar of Nuneaton and brother to John, conveyed a moiety of Churchover to William and his son Philip. Philip was married to John and Simon's sister Margaret de Shirford. Her sister was Katherine de Shirford Knythcote. In 1343 Katherine made over her rights in the moiety of the manor of Churchover to Philip Purefoy and her sister Margaret. The Purefoys would hold this manor until 1566. [1]

William was the largest taxpayer in Churchover in 1332 and his descendants were presented to the living of Churchover until the dissolution of the monasteries. William's wife's name is unknown to us as are any children other than Philip. Also note that the name, at least as far as he is concerned was Purefoy not "de Purefoy". The 'de' was used, but back in 1277. If William of the 1329 deed was our Willliam, then he held a tenement at Misterton from Robert Napton. [2] A tenement, using our modern definition is a run down, squaid apartment block, but in medieval times the word only referred to any abode or place of habitation. It had no reflection on the quality or desirability of the house.

The father/son relationship between William 1 and Philip is well established in the contemporary records, a rare thing. Philip seems to  have married Margaret de Shirford the sister of John and Simon de Shirford. Their marriage occurred by 1343.[3] Philip's birth can then be estimated as 1320 or earlier. The land in Churchover which was given to Philip Purefoy could well have been part of Margaret's dowry. In 1348 Philip was named in a land deed for a messuage and nine acres of land in Misterston. He bought the land from John and Joan Koc (Cock) of Walcote in Misterton for 20 marks of silver. [4]

In the year 1201, during the reign of King John, the English government began keeping a record called the Patent Rolls. These rolls were an administrative record of appointments to commissions, grants, pardons, privileges, etc.  Commissions of peace were made to men of good standing in their communities. They could investigate crimes, settle disputes, put offenders in jail and keep the peace for their county. Philip was commissioned several times for the county of Warwickshire.

In 1368 Philip was commissioned, with others, to investigate the claims by the monks at the Abbey of Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, some twenty four miles from Churchover. The Abbot claimed that 'divers men' were stealing their oxen, cows, sheep, vestments, chalices and jewels. The men had ruined the woods and making it hard for the monks to survive.[5] In 1374 Philip and his son William were witnesses in a civil case. [6] Philip is said to have had some training in the law and was the steward to Ralph, Earl of Stafford and held his courts for him.

Philip's second son was Thomas. He was trained as a lawyer and a member of the Middle Temple,  one of the four Inn's of Court. He is said to have been on the council of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, one of the most powerful men of his time. Thomas was very successful. He bought the manor of Fenny Drayton where his family lived until 1706 when a less than successful Purefoy was forced to sell the manor.

william 2
William was probably born right around the time of the black plague by 1350, by the time of his maturity around 1370 the world was a very different place. The glorious reign of King Edward III was in it's final years. The Hundred Years War was well underway, the Black Prince was dead and tumultuous reign of his grandson, Richard II was about to begin. But the Black Death  brought benefits to the survivors. Men married at an earlier age. Landless men could obtain the land of their brothers, cousins, neighbors or others who had died. Men could fill civil roles that had been done by others; take on new roles to improved their status. Despite the undeniable horror of the Black Death, those who survived reaped some benefit for the 'reset' of their world.

William seems to have been a quite successful man. In 1385 he was granted the reversion of 12 messuages and 13 virgates of land in Cesters over and Cosford. It had been held by held by John Paraunt and Clemence his wife. [7] His mother Margaret must have passed away by 1393 when his right to his share of the manor of Shirford in Barton Hastings was recognized. William served on multiple commissions, again in the County of Warwickshire.

William's rise in status is evident in his ability to contract a marriage of his heir to the daughter of a knight. The family had risen to the top of the peasant pile and was crossing over into the sphere of the upper class. Again, this was made easier by the Black Death. Merchant and wealthy peasant families were able to join the lower tier of the aristocracy through acquisition of property, service to the king or great lord or through an advantageous marriage. [8]

In 1391, according to Dugdales Warwickshire, William was granted licensed to have an oratory (private chapel) in his house at Shirford. This license was granted by Richard Scrope, teh Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield.

william 3
In 1397 William's father, William 2, covenanted with Aliva, the widow of Sir William Chetwynd, that his son, another William, would marry her daughter Margaret. The covenant was drawn up on the Feast of Barthlomew in the year 21 Richard II, (24 August 1397). The wedding would occur before the feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September. [9] The bride and groom would have been acquainted prior to the covenant. The dower would have been negotiated and agreed upon. Once their commitment to marriage was made known it is practically a slam dunk. The couple could even engage in you know what and were often pregnant by the time they arrived at the church door. The exchange of vows would take place outside on the church porch. The vows were almost identical to what  couples say today. The wedding was followed by a feast.  Then as now, on to real life.
Purefoy Arms

William continued to improve the families fortunes. His name is found on the Patent Rolls multiple times as he was commissioned like his father and grandfather. By 1400 life was getting a bit easier. Houses were more substantial. Roofs were made of tile or shale. The door was framed and windows were made. Houses now have two distinct rooms and some have an upstairs! The central hearth was replaced by a chimney so no more smokey fire in the middle of the room. Life was good!

In 1415 or so, William contracted a marriage for his son William 4. The boy was only about 12 years old but, what the heck. The future father in law was Alan Ayete. He vested the Manor of Shalstone in trustees, including William Purefoy. The trustees would pay Alan Ayete 20 marks of silver a year. The manor of Shalstone would go to William Purefoy 4 and his wife Margery, daughter of Alan Ayete upon his death. The family would hold Shalstone for many years. [10]

william 4
Based on his parents marriage, William was likely born around 1400. He was contracted in marriage at a fairly young age. by 1432 his name was entering the records. He had inherited his grandfather's land in Cester Over and shared over lordship with John Waver. In 1434 an oath was given in all the counties of England. The men taking the oath were the leading men of the county and they swore 'not to maintain peacebreakers.' William Purefoy, Esq. of Shirford was among the men of Warwickshire taking the oath. Notice the esquire attached to his name, William was a Gentleman. [11] His name appeared on a land deed, not for him but for other men, but it is also written esquire.

In 1430 the English had captured Joan of Arc and burnt her at the stake in 1431. Later that year, the English King Henry VI was crowned King of France in Paris in a lavish ceremony that  caused a financial crisis in England. Trouble was always just around the corner. In 1448 William reached the height of his career and was High Sheriff of both Warwickshire and Leicestershire. [12] The sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county. His last entry into the public record was in 1455 when he stood surety (mainpernor) for Sir William Peyto of Warwickshire, who was accused of assaulting a neighbor.

In a document written in 6 Edward IV (1467) Philip Purefoy son of William was 24 said to be years old. It was first believe that he could not have been the son of William and Marion Ayot, therefore he must have been the son of a William 5. It is now believed that he he was the son of William Purefoy 4 and his second wife Margery Moton. In 1464 William sold the manor of Foxcote to Thomas Waldeve.[13] William died in 1466, the first confirmed death of a Purefoy. An IPM of his estate stated that he held no land in Warwickshire. He must have divested his estate to his sons or possible sons-in-law.

 The manor of Misterton passed out of the family at this time when William and Margery deeded it to  Sir William Fielding. Sir William was the son of Sir John Fielding and his wife Margaret Purefoy, daughter of William. [14]

philip (not an ancestor)
Baddesley Clinton by Steve Daniel
William was succeeded by his eldest son Philip who was married to  Isabel Brome. They had two sons who, John and Nicholas who died young. Philip died in 1468, his heir was his younger brother John. There was another brother named Henry who had also died prior to 1468.Philip was buried at the church of St. James in Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire.[15] In 1438 the manor of Baddeley Clinton was bought by John Brome, the Under Treasurer of England, he was the father of Isabel. Her brother Nicholas inherited the house in which he killed the parish priest. To atone for this misdeed he made extensive repairs to the parish church.

Yeah! Finally a different name. John succeeded his brother Philip in 1468. This was a dangerous time in England. Edward IV (Yorkist) had taken the throne from his cousin Henry VI (Lancastrian) in 1461. Henry's wife Margaret of Anjou wanted it back. This was the War of the Roses. In 1470 Margaret and her forces over threw Edward for one year, he returned in 1471 to reclaim the throne after winning at the Battle of Tewksbury. Sir William Fielding was killed at Tewksbury fighting for King Henry.[16] In 1485 the Battle of Bosworth at which Henry VII defeated King Richard III took place only twenty of so miles from Misterton.

In 1472 John's sister in law, Isabel married John Denton. He granted to them the manor of Shirford which his family had held since early in the previous century. John died young, by 1491, leaving a son Nicholas. John's wife is unknown.

Because Nicholas' father died while he was still a minor, he was given to a guardian to 'safe guard' his estate and manage it for him until he reached his majority. In 1491 Nicholas of Daventry, was made the ward of John Denton, the man who had married Isabel Purefoy. Daventry is about 16 miles to the south of Misterton. There seems to have been a master plan at work here as Nicholas married Alice Denton, the daughter of John Denton and Isabel Purefoy Denton. Thus, keeping the manor of Shirford in the family.

Nicolas was married in 1494 as evidenced by the birth of his son Edward. He must have reached his majority by 1493, so he was born by 1470 or thereabouts. He was living at Etfield in Leicstershire at the time. I cannot find an Etfield on the map, so I am not sure where this was. In 1507 Nicholas and Alice leased Shirford. It was finally sold in 1545 to Sir Walter Smythe. Sir Walter was murdered by his wife Dorothy who was the daughter of Thomas Chetwynd of Ingestre. [17]

Nicholas was married twice more after Alice. His second wife was Clemence Lydiard the widow of _____Byrde. His third wife who outlived him was Katherine Brayfield. Nicholas died on 18 Feb 1547. [18]

 The family was of Shalstone in Buckinghamshire thereafter.

Edward born on the cusp of a new century and a new dynasty, the Tudors. The future Henry VIII was born in 1491 and would succeed his father in 1509. The golden age of England was upon them. Edward married Anne Fettiplace of Shirford. She was born on 16 July 1496. Edward died in 1558. Their daughter, Mary Purefoy, married Thomas Thorne.


[1] F. N. Craig, Maternal Ancestry of Governor Thomas Dudley: Purefoy, Ayot, and Denton Lines, The New England Historic and Genealogical Register, Vol. 142 (July 1988) 227-244

[2] "Parishes: Churchover," in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman (London: Victoria County History, 1951), 62-64. British History Online, accessed April 27, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol6/pp62-64.

[3] F. N. Craig, Maternal Ancestry, 227-244.

[4] medieval genealogy

[5] Great Britain, Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward III, Volume 15, 1370-1374, London, The Hereford Times, 1914)

[6] Great Britain, Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward III, Volume 16, 1374-1377 (London: The Hereford Times, 1916).

[7]"Parishes: Monks Kirby,"  A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman (London: Victoria County History, 1951), 173-181. British History Online, accessed May 6, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol6/pp173-181.

[8] Francis Gies and Joseph Gies, Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages, (New York: Harper Row, 1987) 251.

[9] William Dugdale, The Life, Diary and Correspondence of Sir William Dugdale, (London : Harding, Leopard and Co., 1827). 194.

[10] F. N. Craig, Maternal Ancestry, 227-244.

[11] Calendar of the Patent Rolls Henry 6

[12] calendar of the fine rolls vol 18

[13] medieval genealogy feet of fines

[14] John Lodge and Mervyn Archdall, The peerage of Ireland: or, A genealogical history of the present nobility of that kingdom, Volume 1, (Dublin : James Moore, 1789) 252.

[15] William Dugdale, The antiquities of Warwickshire illustrated : from records, leiger-books, manuscripts, charters, evidences, tombes, and armes : beautified with maps, prospects, and portraictures, ( London : Thomas Warren, 1656) 37.

[16] Lodge and Archdall, The Peerage of Ireland, 252.

[17] "Parishes: Burton Hastings," A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman (London: Victoria County History, 1951), 57-61. British History Online, accessed May 14, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol6/pp57-61.

[18] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011 Ancestry. page 96.

My first Youtube Video, it needs a lot of work but what the heck. I thought I'd post it here anyway.

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