What started as an afternoon of family research has turned into something with wider historical interest, involving royal bastards, the queen’s spy-master and the original inventor of the flushing toilet.
In the North Chancel Aisle of Bristol Cathedral there is an elaborate memorial to the memory of Robert Codrington, my 9x great-grandfather, who died 17 Feb 1618 [i]
He is shown praying with his wife, Anna, and below them, in a frieze of mourners, are their seventeen children.
The plaque at the base of the memorial identifies eight sons and nine daughters but I believe this to be possibly incorrect and I will discuss this elsewhere.
The pedigree of Robert is well documented and the memorial shows the arms of the Codrington family along with those of his grandparents and his grandson Robert, who married into the Samwell family, which were added later.
It also shows a shield with the arms of his wife, Anne Stubbs quartered with another unknown pedigree.
The identity of Anne Stubbes has long been a family mystery, but I believe that it is one I have now solved.
[i] His will is dated 11 Feb 1618 and proved 7 May 1619. The legal year changes on Lady day (25th March) so we would today use 1619 for both events. The plaque on the memorial says that he died 14 Feb 1618.
In his 1898 “Memoir of the Codrington family” Robert Henry Codrington [RHC] identified Anne only as an Heiress and of a Norfolk family, hence the title of this blog .
The Stubbes family of Norfolk were well known at the time, but how were they linked with the Codrington family of Gloucestershire?
The quartering of the shield should have identified Anne’s pedigree, but the Stubbs arms are used by families in several different parts of the country and the Norfolk connection could have been assumed.
The central shield on the base of the memorial shows the Codrington arms to the left and the Stubbes arms quartered with another on the right.
I.M. Roper in his “Effigies of Bristol”  identifies the unknown arms only by their armorial description – lozengy arg. and Sable – black diamonds on a silver background.
The only usage of this design was by the Croft family of Dalton in Lancashire, however their line had become dormant by about 1450 and the design does not seem to have been used specifically by any other family after this.
It can be seen from these images that the arms on the memorial – although described correctly – are different from the Croft arms [on the right] and are a generic lozengy design.
This may just simply be a mistake in the instructions given to the masons when the memorial was commissioned – it is not the only irregularity on the memorial – or it may have been repainted badly when restored by the Bethell-Codringtons in 1840.
In either case it has made the identification of Anne’s pedigree impossible from just this one source, and another piece of information was required.
One piece that I already had was details of the arrangements made for the marriage of Robert and Anne, by their fathers Simon Codrington and William Stubbes.
The said Simon Codrington being so seised a fine was levied in Michaelmas term 36 Elizabeth between William Stubbes and Thomas Estcourte, esquires, plaintiffs, and the said Simon and Agnes his wife, deforciants, as to one pasture called Inychins, one other pasture called the Worthye, one pasture called the Gaston, 2 meadows called Newe Tyninges, one meadow called Mickle meade and one meadow called little Mickle meade (parcel of the said manor of Codrington and Wapley), to the use of the said Simon for his life, and after his death to the use of Robert Codrington, gent., then son and heir of the said Simon and of Anne Stubbes, afterwards his wife, for their lives; after their decease to the use of the heirs of the body of the said Robert lawfully begotten, with divers remainders, over, the remainder thereof in fee to be to the right heirs of Simon Codrington for ever. And as to the residue of the said manor of Codrington and Wapley and all other the premises, to the use of the said Simon and Agnes for their lives, after their decease to the use of the said Robert Codrington and his heirs, with remainder to the right heirs of the said Simon Codrington for ever.
This is a bit of a one-sided arrangement as Anne did not appear to bring anything to the marriage other than the promise of an inheritance and her pedigree.
The arrangement also indicates that Robert and Anne would only inherit the land on the death of Robert’s father Simon – as it turned out Robert died before both his father and Anne’s father William Stubbes.
Anne remarried Ralph Marsh in July 1627 before her father died and it is not clear what was inherited from her father William, if anything. [see notes below]
But this documents does not hold much in the way of clues, other than identifying the name of Anne’s father, William Stubbes.
In particular it does not tell us where the family comes from.
Stubbes of Gloucestershire
It has been assumed – understandably – that William Stubbes was one of the Stubbes of Gloucestershire, and several attempts have been made to link the two families.
The most common is a marriage between Robert and Anne Fysher, who was the step-daughter of William Stubbes (d.1580).
William was middle-aged when he married Anne Fysher, a widow [possibly of Thomas Fysher], in 1565, and they had two children together, Richard and Margaret, who both died young.
In his will William leaves his estate to “three of my brothers children and one of my wyffes, Anne Fysher being my wyves first husbands daughter”.
This cannot be the wife of Robert for several reasons.
1. Anne Fysher would have been born before 1565 when her mother married William Stubbes, and would be at least 8 years older than Robert – probably more.
2. The arrangements for the marriage of Robert and Anne were documented in 1593 and this William died in 1580.
3. The Stubbes pedigree could not have been used as Anne was not born into the family.
It is also not know if William had the pedigree to use the same arms as are displayed on the Codrington memorial.
The marriage of Robert and Anne took place in 1595 – two years after the marriage arrangements had been made.
Robert had studied at Magdalen College, Oxford from 1588 and was admitted to Grey’s Inn, London, to train as a lawyer in 1591, so it is likely that the marriage was arranged for the completion of his training.
The marriage was not, however in either London or Gloucestershire, but in Shrivenham in Berkshire [now Oxfordshire].
Shrivenham Marriages 1595
May 26 CODRINGTON Robert, gent
So if we want to identify Anne Stubbes we must first work out who her father William is, and what is the connection with Shrivenham.
Stubbes of Norfolk
Although I have yet to trace the pedigree of William Stubbes, it seems he was entitled to the arms of the Stubbes family.
These arms are used by several different branches of the family – Norfolk, London and Hertford – and are described below.
Sa. on a bend between three pheons or, as many buckles gu.
“The right to a given coat of arms is a species of property and its descent generation by generation must be proved in order to establish a claim.” Wagner, “Heraldry,” 541-42
This design is clearly identifiable on the shield at the base of the memorial.
The Manor of Watchfield
William Stubbes and his wife Hester owned the manor of Watchfield in Berkshire, which was one of the manors of Shrivenham and this is shown by documents related to the ownership of the manor – an extract is shown below.
The manor of Watchfield was owned by Abingdon Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries when it reverted to the crown.
This would explain why there is no manor house as the land was managed for the Abbey [probably from West Mill] and there was no lord of the manor. 
It is also recorded that the previous owners of the manor did not reside there – probably because there was no house – and William and Hester were the first owners to be recorded as living at West Mill in 1593.
So now we need to look at the list of previous owners of the manor before William Stubbes.
History of the Manor
The manor remained with the abbey [Abingdon] until the Dissolution, passing to the king in 1538.
In 1541 it was granted to John Malt, citizen and merchant of London, who settled it in 1546 upon his illegitimate daughter Awdrey, who by the contract then made between John Malt and Sir Richard Southwell was to marry Richard Southwell, bastard son of the latter.
She seems to have been afterwards married to John Harrington, for he with his wife Awdrey was party to a fine of it in 1556.
John Harrington, together with a certain George Henage and Elizabeth his wife [half-sister to Richard Southwell], were dealing with it in 1567 and John and Hester Harrington in 1568.
In 1593 a William Stubbs was assessed to a subsidy under Shrivenham, and in 1631 Hester Stubbs, widow, was holding the property.
Five years later the estate was held by Thomas Tatton and Margaret his wife, who sold it to Sir Humphrey Forster, bart.
There is a lot of useful information here , and some of this has been the subject of much speculation – and several historical novels – but more of that later.
For now let us just look at the owners of the property in the 16th century after the dissolution.
Owners of the Manor
Henry VIII granted the Manor of Watchfield, along with several others, including nearby Uffington, to his Tailor, John Malte and his illegitimate daughter Awdrey.
The manor of Watchfield was probably passed to Awdrey Malte, when she was about 18, in preparation for her marriage to Richard Southwell – which never happened – which puts her birth at about 1528-30
Awdrey married John Harrington [about 1546], who was a poet, publisher and Treasurer to King Henry VIII, and is well documented elsewhere – as is Awdrey herself.
They lived at another manor that was granted by the King, St Catherine’s, near Bath where they had a daughter, Hester born about 1548 [i].
It is recorded [in Wikipedia] that Awdrey was present at the coronation of Elizabeth I on 15 January 1559, but she died later the same month.
John remarried within two months, to Isabella Markham, another of the Queen’s attendants.
The daughter of Awdrey and John, Hester died in 1568.
[i] Many accounts say that the marriage was childless [in which case Hester could have been a niece of John] but she is shown in the Harrington pedigree of 1568 as their daughter, and I have no reason to doubt this at the moment.
As Hester is shown in the Harrington pedigree as simply being “alive in 1568” his was taken by some, incorrectly, to mean that she had died.
The last record of her was in 1568 and this was in relation to the manor of Watchfield – she would have been about 18 at the time.
Recov. R. Mich. 10 & 11 Eliz. m. 656. Hester (Hesterus) Harrington is the vouchee in this recovery.
William and Hester Stubbes
William married Hester Heringtonn in St. Clement Danes church, in London on 17th January 1574/5, so there would be no more records using her Harrington name, even though she continued to own the manor.
Their daughter Anne Stubbes was baptised in the same church a year later on 9th January 1575/6.
Another child, a son “Harrington” was born two years later in 1578, confirming that this is the correct Hester – just the wrong spelling in the previous record.
It is not known what happened to Harrington Stubbes and only daughters are mentioned in the will of Hester Stubbes.
Hester Stubbes (widow)
Hester appears to have lived in Watchfield until she died in 1639, several years after her husband, by which time the manor had been sold to Thomas Tatton, her grandson.
Her probate record from 1639 is held by the Berkshire records office in Reading.
[See More about Hester]
Another record dating to 1630, following the death of William (but relating to Hester), shows Robert Codrington as son-in-law, although he had died in 1618.
||17 Jan 1574
||SAINT CLEMENT DANES,WESTMINSTER,LONDON
||09 Jan 1575
||SAINT CLEMENT DANES,WESTMINSTER,LONDON
||14 Jun 1578
||SAINT CLEMENT DANES,WESTMINSTER,LONDON
Harrington or Knot?
So it seems possible that Anne Stubbs, daughter of William and Hester, was related to a well-connected family, the Harringtons.
But they do not have any obvious connection with Norfolk – they are from Lancashire – and the family arms are different from those on the memorial.
However it seems that these arms, which show the Harrington Knot, are not the original ones used by the family and were originally those of the Irish Harrington family.
When we find an older version of the Harrington arms and compare it to those of the croft family and the generic design, it appears that there are a lot of similarities.
It can easily be seen how the Harrington arms could have been added in the way that they were to the memorial – possibly just from a description.
There are also other errors on the memorial that would justify this – for example, the two squirrels on the arms of Samwell appear to be facing the wrong way when compared to other examples.
Taken along with all the other facts it now seems certain that the arms on the memorial are those of the Harrington family and that Anne Stubbs was the daughter of William Stubbes and Hester Harrington – who apparently did not died in 1568.
The request for a confirmation of the grant of arms to John Harrington in 1568 identifies his arms as “a fret” rather than “fretty”, meaning a single knot.
Sable a fret argent.
Therefore the design on the Codrington memorial, 50 years later, should have reflected the Harrington Knot design, and not something resembling the earlier version.
That is to say, the fielde Sable a frett humette argent; a bordure checque of the second and first. Upon the haulme on a torce argent and sable a lyon’s hedde golde langet guelues with a coller checque argent and sable mantelid guelues doubled argent.
There may be many reasons for this, but the important fact is that the arms have not been identified as belonging to another family altogether.
Sir John Harington, the son of John Harington of Stepney and his second wife Isabella Markham, did much to restore the Harington family fortunes, for a while at least.
He was married to Mary Rogers and there is a portrait of her in the Tate by Marcus Gheeraerts from 1592. It is thought that this was painted in preparation for the visit of Queen Elizabeth later the same year – Sir John Harington was her godson.
The design on her dress is thought to represent the Harington arms, but this is the older “fretty” design, the same as on the Codrington memorial. She also holds a string of pearls threaded into the shape of four knots which better resembles the arms granted to John Harington of Stepney in 1568, but it seems that the older design was still very much in use for some time.
John Harrington of Stepney – known as the Poet – was never knighted, unlike his son, John the writer and inventor of the first flushing toilet.
He named the invention “Ajax” and perhaps because of this, or because the Queen referred to him as “Little Jack”, the name Jakes is still associated with certain types of toilets, although – strangely – not the one he designed. Maybe just a coincidence?
John of Stepney also had a distant cousin, John Harrington, of Exton, and this had led to some confusion in his documented history with information from all three Johns being mixed up.
The confirmation of Arms in 1568 shows that John was unsure what arms he was entitled to use and although the resulting pedigree shows a connection to the Harrington family of Yorkshire it is a bit vague in an exact identification of his grandfather.
And Whereas John Harington of Kelston in the Countie of Somersett sonne of Alexander Harington descended of a younger brother of the Haringtons of Brierley in the Countie of Yorke, by right …
It is thought that John’s father, Alexander could be the son of James Harrington, Dean of York, before he took holy orders but both the mother and grandmother of John are unidentified.
Trying to work of the Harrington tree is still a work in progress.
So that leaves the question of who was William Stubbes?
Investigations are still on-going and will be the subject of a future blog, as will the children of Robert and Anne
But I think I have identified who he was – if not his pedigree.
William was probably born in London about 1550, trained as a law clerk and from 1579 he was employed by Sir Francis Walsingham, principal secretary, and spymaster, to Queen Elizabeth.
In 1587 William was employed to survey the manors of Wiltshire – and no doubt report any interesting news back to Walsingham – and his wife’s property in Watchfield would have been a good base for this work.
He may also have been MP for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) in 1584 – possibly arranged by Walsingham for his own benefit – and in 1590 he was one of those who found the will of Sir Francis hidden in a secret cabinet at his home in London.
Although much of his life is uncertain, William appears to have been referred to as “of Watchfield” until he died in 1630.
Correspondence was sent to him in 1599 at the Tower of London concerning the purchase of a manor in Wiltshire, but he was possibly working for the Office of the Ordnance, that was based in the tower, and not detained there.
Other records suggest that he returned to Cheshire and was Mayor of Congleton but it is difficult to be sure if this is correct – I suspect this is another William who managed the port of Chester on behalf of Walsingham.
There are certainly some links to Cheshire, another pamphleteer and minor poet, Philip Stubbes, is likely to have been from Gawsworth near Congleton.
I suspect, however, that William Stubbes of Watchfield is not the same William Stubbes who was Mayor of Congleton, but that has yet to be proved either way.
Awdrey Malte – or Etheldreda – was the illegitimate daughter of John Malte, tailor to King Henry VIII
[Awdrey is the English version of the Latin name Etheldreda or Æthelthryth]
She is also rumoured to be the daughter of King Henry VIII by Joane Dingley, a laundress, and named for the day of her birth – St. Ethelreda’s day, June 23rd.
Joane Dingley was married off to a man named only as Dobson, and Awdrey lived with her father John and his first wife [name unknown].
In his will dated 19 Sep 1546, John leaves money to Joanna and to Awdrey:
“Awdrey, my bastard daughter, begotten on the body of Joan Dingley, now wife of one Dobson”.
Her birth was probably in 1532 the year before Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn – a period when he was, perhaps, bored with Catherine of Aragorn who he married in 1509.
I have used Awdrey rather than Etheldreda throughout this document, for consistency, other than in specific references. She would have been baptised as Etheldreda, the latin form of the name.
I found some more information about Audrey’s mother from the website of King Henry VIII himself. I am not convinced this is entirely accurate but it is probably a better guess at her parentage than mine, which is that Joan is the daughter of Sir Thomas Dingley.
“Her Mother was Joanna or Jane Dingley, daughter of a Sir John Moore and widow of James Dingley of Dunkelyn county Worchester [Worcestershire]. She was a lower noble and was in and around the Palaces when I first saw her in 1534. She was low enough in status to not be a political problem when she became pregnant with Audrey, only if the baby would have been a boy would it matter.”
St Catherine’s Court
John Malte was not just a simple tailor, but a member of the influential Merchant Taylor’s guild of London and was probably quite a rich man in his own right.
He probably had no need for gifts from the King in order to bring up a bastard daughter – but it appears that the grants were specifically aimed at Awdrey herself and not John, adding to the rumours of her parentage.
The manor of Katerncourte, at least, was granted specifically to Awdrey and her heirs and not her father.
“John Mault Taylor and to Ethelreda Mault also Dyngley bastarde daughter — and to the heirs of the body of Ethelreda.”
Unlike nearby Kelston, this manor – previously owned by Bath Abbey – had a good sized property, St Catherine’s Court, which the family lived in while the new manor at Kelston was built. This was completed in 1567 and St Catherines was later sold, probably to cover the debts of Sir John Harington incurred by the visit of the Queen.
There was also a flock of 400 sheep included: “Yowe Flocke of Chermadon”. This probably refers to Charmy Down where the manor had grazing rights, rather than a breed of sheep.
John Harrington the writer appears to have believed the rumours about Awdrey’s pedigree, and it is propagated in the publication Nugae antiquae.
Why else would a member of such an ancient and respected family marry the illegitimate daughter of a tailor and a laundress?
As a publisher his father John Harrington may have known the pamphleteer John Stubbes, who was convicted of treason for writing “The Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf” against the Queen’s proposed marriage to the Duke of Alençon.
His punishment – and that of his publisher – was to have his right hand removed.
John was a member of the Norfolk Stubbes family, which may give a hint of a link between Hester and William through her father John Harrington.
The story of Awdrey Malte is well known and documented in various books and novels.
Whether she was – as rumoured – the natural daughter of King Henry VIII is still disputed, but maybe DNA will one day be able to resolve this.
[If this is true then Henry VIII is my 12 x great grandfather]
What happened to her daughter, Hester was also a mystery that has hopefully now been resolved.
Kathy [aka Kate Emerson] – who wrote Royal Inheritance about Awdrey, and is something of an authority on Tudor women – has been kind enough to review my notes and has updated her record entry for Hester and added one for her daughter, Anne Stubbes [Codrington].
The novelist and historian, Alison Weir in her book Mary Boleyn, argues that Awdrey is credible as the daughter of Henry VIII.
“… it is highly likely that she was the King’s child.”
She also mentions the granted of two estates in Berkshire [Watchfield and Uffington] and names others belonging to the dissolved nunnery at Shaftsbury, Kelston, Batheaton and St. Katherines, in Somerset.
Alison does say that the Somerset lands were actually granted by the King to Awdrey, as her dowry, rather than to her father John, which is rather generous of him.
So to summarize all the information – and I have left out a lot of evidence – Anne Stubbs is no longer a complete mystery.
She was the daughter of William Stubbes and Hester Harrington of Watchfield, Berkshire.
Anne’s mother, Hester, was probably the daughter of Awdrey Malte and the poet John Harrington, and Hester did not die in 1568, but some 60 years later.
In 1574 Hester married William Stubbs in London.
William is, somehow, related to William Stubbes of Ratcliffe who was a rope-maker by trade, but also owned waterfront property on the Thames – as did John Harrington [or at least his family did] – so this is probably the link between the two families.
If rumours are true then Anne – born in 1575 – was the great grand-daughter of King Henry VIII.
In a court case of 1628 Anne admitted to being forced to borrow money from “Daniell Chappell, Henry Cliffe, Francis Harrington and others” following the death of her husband Robert.
Francis Harrington was son of John Harrington, and therefore Anne’s uncle – I know nothing about the other names.
Benjamin, the son of Francis, had married into the Stocker family which means he was related to Anne’s eldest son, John Codrington, who married Katherine Stocker, daughter of Margaret Capell 
 Margaret married either Anthony or Thomas Stocker – or both – and then later married William Capell, probably a cousin, when she was left a widow with a young daughter.
Although we do not know exactly what, if anything, Anne inherited from her father, there is some mention of property in the arrangements of the marriage of eldest son John to Katherine Stocker.
Manors of Didmarton and Wapley and Codrington, and property in Tormarton, Shrivenham (Berks.) and Watchfield (Berks.)
Settlement before marriage of John Codrington of Codrington, gent., and Katherine Stocker, daughter of Margaret Capell of Chilcompton (Som.)
[RHC] Robert Henry Codrington.
Robert Henry Codrington wrote two extremely useful documents about the Codrington family.
These were published by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society and are include in the references below.
Without these documents the Codrington side of the family would have been a complete mystery.
 Bristol Cathedral Heraldry
by F. Were
1902, Vol. 25, 102-132
 Memoir of the Family of Codrington of Codrington, Didmarton,Frampton-On-Severn, and Dodington
by R. H. Codrington
1898, Vol. 21, 301-345
 A Family Connection of the Codrington Family in the 17th Century
by H. R. Codrington [RH on inside cover]
1893-94, Vol. 18, 134-141
 Effigies of Bristol
by I. M. Roper
1903, Vol. 26, 215-287
 Watchfield Chronicle.
The work of Neil Maw has been important in identifying the owners and history of the Watchfield manor and his book about Watchfield is available at the address below.
Anything shown in [square brackets], other than the numbered references above, is a comment or note by me rather than the original author.
Not all the references shown above are used in this document but will be used in others about the Codrington family and have been included so I can keep the reference numbers the same.
There is much more information that has not been included in this blog – the identification of William Stubbes has generated a lot of material and there was at least one other William Stubbes who was probably related.
I also had to recreate the Stubbes of Norfolk family tree from the ground up, in order to work out if William fits anywhere, which I will add in another post.
If William is closely related to the Norfolk family, then he would likely be the second generation from one of the younger sons of John Stubbes of Scottowe (1455-1490), either Edward or Robert, who I have been unable to attach elsewhere.
Some other leads in this area were proven incorrect, although I did manage to link John Stubbes (the pamphleteer) and Richard Stubbes (the lawyer) into the main tree.
There is another John Stubbes – possibly a brother or cousin of William – who married in St Clement Danes the year after William and Hester – he married Elizabeth Claxton, and there are existing links between the Norfolk Stubbes and the Suffolk Claxton families.
However a lot of the Stubbes family were either lawyers or members of the clergy and the church of St. Clement Danes is close to the London Inns of Court – Robert Codrington was at Lincoln’s Inn.
Christopher Stubbes is another character from about the same period.
He lived in Westminster and was accused of conducting Catholic mass at his home, something that was extremely dangerous to do at the time.
In the Pedigree of the Garrard family of Inkpen, Berkshire, Theophilia is recorded as the daughter of Bartholomew Stubbes of Watchfield, so perhaps he was her actual father and had died and his brother and cousin were securing the girls inheritance?
[This is an error in the pedigree and her father is William]
Chris Sidney 2014