It is usually accepted that there were two Robert Codringtons born in Gloucestershire in the early 17th century. But were there really two Roberts – or could they have been the same person?
The most commonly used biography of Robert Codrington is from Chalmers.
Codrington, Robert, a miscellaneous writer and translator of the seventeenth century, and probably an ancestor of the preceding [Christopher], was born of an ancient family in Gloucestershire, in 1602, and educated at Oxford, where he was elected demy of Magdalen college, in July 1619, and completed his degree of M. A. in 1626. He then travelled, and on his return settled as a private gentleman in Norfolk, where he married. Wood says he was always accounted a puritan. He died of the plague in London, in 1665.
Robert Henry Codrington, RHC who wrote the definitive guide to the Codrington family, assigns this Robert Codrington as A14, one of the sons of Robert Codrington A11 (my 9x great-grandfather) and Anne Stubbes, which would make him the brother of Christopher and not a descendant.
My original intention here was simply to confirm the identity of Robert A14 as the son of Robert and Anne, but I now believe Robert of Norfolk is probably the son of Richard Codrington B7 (1565-1613) – who was a cousin of Robert A11 and things have got a whole lot more complicated.
So if this is true what of Robert A14, son of Robert?
Not a number
The number A14 represents a person in the line of inheritance in the document referenced as 
The A represents the senior branch of the family – descending from Sir John Codrington and B represents the Junior branch of the Codrington line, descended from his brother Thomas.
The fathers of the two Roberts who are the subject of this article are Robert A11 and Richard B7
As Robert (son of Richard) has no specific B number I will refer to him as Robert B as necessary.
Or rather the lack of evidence!
There is no record of a Robert Codrington in any of the chancery proceedings following the marriage of Anne Codrington – widow of Robert A11 – and Ralph Marsh in 1627. 
The other brothers John, Nicholas, Christopher, Thomas and Samuel are all named – and always in this order – and I can find no reason why Robert would not be included.
So if Robert A14 existed at all he probably died before 1628, when the first court case is dated, but after 1618 when Robert A11 made his will.
The will of Robert A11 identifies John, the eldest, and six younger sons but doesn’t name them.
If we assume that this number is correct then five of these sons are accounted for by these chancery proceedings [another son William was named in another court case], but Robert is not named as one of them.
If there was a Robert A14 – and it is possible that there wasn’t – he cannot be the Robert who married Hennigham Drury in 1629 and died of the plague in 1665, otherwise I’m sure he would have been named in at least one of the court cases.
If he was the Robert mentioned in the Oxford University records then he would have been 16 when his father died and still have been receiving an allowance until he finished his MA in 1626, the same year his mother married again.
The Great Plague (1665–66) was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England.
It killed an estimated 100,000 people, about 15% of London’s population.
There were also 30,000 deaths in 1603, 35,000 in 1625 and 10,000 in 1636 as well as numerous, minor outbreaks.
We know that Robert A14 probably died before 1628 so he could have been a victim during the 1625 outbreak.
It also seems that some of the Codrington family were in London after the death of Robert A11 – his widow, Anne is described as “of St Botolph, Aldersgate” when she remarried Ralph Marshe in 1626.
There are no death or burial records for either Robert.
I have no reason to disbelieve that it was Robert B that died from the plague in 1665, but if Robert A14 had died from the plague in 1625, and this death was then associated with Robert B, then the year of his death may have been assumed to coincide with the last major outbreak in 1665.
Or perhaps both died from the plague, at different times, giving one possible reason why they have been joined together as the same person?
There are a couple of Robert’s notebooks held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Robert is shown in these references as “Codrington, Robert (d 1645) author” which could mean that the date of 1665 is incorrect and gives some weight to the theory of Robert A14 dying from the plague and 1665 being assumed for Robert B.
However other records held by the Royal Society show letters written by Robert between 1660 and 1664 (to Boyle) and this fits better with the theory that Robert A14 died in infancy and Robert B died from the plague in 1665.
This is the Oxford university record for Robert Codrington and is probably the source of much of the confusion.
This appears slightly contradictory in that it shows Robert as “demy” in 1619 but also as matriculating in 1621, aged 19, so it appears that there may be two Robert Codringtons at Magdalen, at about the same time who have been merged together.
At the time of its founding, Magdalen College established a demyship (or scholarship) for each of thirty scholars (the term demy, or demi, originally meaning half of the provisions granted to Fellows). On entering the college, Oscar Wilde received such a demyship – £95 per annum for up to five years.
If there were two Roberts at Magdalen then one was born 1602 and matriculated in 1621 at 19, but could not have gained a BA in just one year and probably never completed a degree.
The other was elected demy in 1619, possible at the age of 16 or so, completing a BA in 1622 and then an MA in 1626
The origin of these two trees from in the History of Antigua  is uncertain but they appear to have been created by the author from other evidence.
The tree of Robert A11 and Anne shows Robert A14 as their second son, of Oxford 1621 and dying of the plague in 1665 but not marrying Hennigham Drury, despite living in Norfolk.
Codrington of Bristol
John, the eldest son of Robert and Anne, was born in 1600 a year after Samuel, the eldest son of Richard and Joyce, so the birth dates of the boys from both families are going to be similar.
The tree of Richard B7 and Joyce of Dodington, shows Robert as their fourth son and the one who married Henningham Drury, so it is possible that he was born as early as 1602.
Henningham was from an ancient Norfolk family so it makes sense for the same Robert who married her to be the one who settled in Norfolk. [See rule#2]
Robert the poet mentions a wife and children in a letter of about 1640 to Sir Edward Dering concerning his imprisonment [resulting from one of his poems], so he certainly married.
Codrington of Dodington
The youngest son of Richard, Thomas, was born in 1612 and the oldest Samuel born in 1599.
Richard was older than Robert so he could have been born before 1602 [the date usually used for the birth of Robert] but one other possibility is that it is the records for the two brothers that have been confused.
This would mean Richard born 1602 and matriculating in 1621 at the age of 19, and Robert elected Demy in 1619 being about 16 – as they were at different colleges though I think this is unlikely.
Dodington was originally bought by Giles Codrington B5, father of Richard, in about 1570.
Christopher Codrington of Barbados, the great-grandson of Robert and Anne [of Codrington, Wapley and Didmarton], bought the Dodington estate from Samuel Codrington in about 1701, just a few years before he died, and it then remained in the same branch of the family for nearly 300 years.
Samuel B8 was their eldest son of Richard and his son – also Samuel – B9 married the daughter of John Codrington A13, but he had no male heir and it was his nephew, Samuel B12, who inherited the property and sold it on to Christopher, who had made his fortune from the sugar trade in the Caribbean. [i]
Robert, as the son of Richard was “of Dodington” and this may have been taken to mean – incorrectly – that he was closely related to Christopher Codrington who bought the property several generations later.
Confusion about which family owned Dodington – and more importantly when – goes some way to explaining why Robert is attributed to the family of Robert and Anne Codrington.
[i] RHC identifies Samuel B9 as the one who had sold Dodington but this cannot be correct.
Samuel B9 was the heir of Samuel B8, however he died in 1668 before his father and when he died the inheritance passed through his brother Richard B10.
Richard B10 was already dead – as was his son Richard B11 – so it was his grandson Samuel B12 who inherited.
Line of inheritance in the Junior Branch
Richard B7 (1560-1613)
.. Samuel B8 (1599-1676)
…. Samuel B9 (1628-1668)
.. Richard B10 (1602-1635)
…. Richard B11 (1624-1644)
…… Samuel B12 (1642-1708) Sold Dodington in 1701
The visitation of Gloucestershire in 1628 shows the Codrington family [of Dodington] as part of the Clifford pedigree.
The boys are numbered from 2 to 6 with Samuel, without a number, the eldest.
This differs slightly from the pedigree from the History of Antigua shown above.
This pedigree does not show Robert being married, which would be correct as he married a year later in 1629, and it only shows one brother John which changes the numbering – but this is the only difference.
The will of Richard B7, lists the younger boys in the order: Richard, Robert, William, John, Gyles, Thomas so this is likely to be the actual sequence and makes Robert 3rd son after Samuel and Richard.
However this does show how difficult it can be to identify individuals between two families with the names John, Robert, Thomas, William and Samuel used in both families, and within the same generation.
Joyce, the wife of Richard, was born in Little Marlow, the daughter of John Burlace, sheriff of Buckinghamshire.
These are a few baptism records from Little Marlow and I have assumed that these are the children of Richard and Joyce because there are no other Codringtons in the area at this time.
It was also common at this time for some of the first children to be born at the home of the couples parents.
William was baptised 17th July 1603, and as he was the next son after Robert this confirms the date of birth of the elder brothers – Robert could have therefore been born 1602 [matching the biography] which makes the birth of Richard about 1601.
But another record is for Richard on 18th Jan 1607 which does not fit at all.
Possibly it is a transcription error of 1601 to 1607, or the record is for Giles that has been transcribed as Richard [using the father’s name]?
An unknown son was also baptised 26 may 1606 and this could have been John – the youngest son Thomas was born in about 1612 as there is a record for him at Dodington.
Robert and Richard
The father of Richard and Robert, Richard B7 had died in 1613 and left money for the boys …
“ … maintenance and lyvliehood and educacion in Learninge, both at the Universities and elsewhere … “
Richard was at Pembroke college, probably from about 1620, as he had a bachelor degree in Civil Law (BCL) in 1626.
This is a postgraduate degree so he must have been at Oxford for about 6 years [?]
Robert B was probably only 16 in 1619 and born about 1603, and Richard a couple of years older but probably not older than 18 when he was in Oxford, unless my estimate of 6 years for a B.C.L is incorrect.
Codrington v Browne
The Court proceedings of 1629 were between the two brothers, Richard and Robert Codrington and John Browne and his wife Mihill, who lived in Oxford by means of …
“the selling of tobacco and the keeping of a tippling house.”
They were accused of seducing the two brothers Robert and Richard, who also lodged with them, into “loose and inordinate courses causing them to spend and consume their whole portions” [of their £400 inheritance].
Robert was “utterly ruinated” and was imprisoned in the “Counter of London”, by Browne.
In these proceedings Joyce is named as the mother of these two, and Elizabeth as their sister so these are definitely the sons of Richard and not Robert.
Elizabeth – described as a gentlewoman – was involved by pledging bonds to get her brothers out of debt, in order that their mother did not get to know of the affair, but the Brownes also tried to get their hands on her inheritance as well.
Elizabeth had also been kidnapped in 1617 so she had led an interesting life, and her inheritance brought her nothing but trouble. [see notes below]
The question here is this:
How did Robert, who was “ruinated” and in prison, manage to complete a BA and MA?
Even if his education was reduced by his scholarship it still had to be paid for – maybe he wasn’t as ruined as he claimed?
This is part of the original transcription of the court case of Codrington v Browne.
It is a great shame that there is a corner of this document missing, as it appears that it could have confirmed Robert’s position at Oxford.
Robert is mentioned at Magdalen and Richard at Pembroke college, and then Robert is mentioned again in connection to Magdalen.
That is to say yor Or[ator Robert Codrington] … Magdalen and yor Orator Richard Codrington of Pembroke College, and after p’cured Robert Codrington to have the bene[fit] … at St. Magdalen aforesaid.
Could this be a reference to his scholarship? Or perhaps his MA?
And did his demy status mean that he had more money than Richard for the Brownes to embezzle?
The outcome of the court case is unclear.
I have a copy of part of the original visitors guide to Dodington House which says that the Codrington families of Gloucestershire supported the King during the English civil war.
John refused parliaments summons to raise troops against the King. He left Dodington and, as a Lieutenant-Colonel under Hopton, he played his part in the Cornish Rising.
Four years after leaving home, he was captured at Dartmouth and his estate sequestrated.
But this is almost totally incorrect as John A13, eldest son of Robert and Anne, and [possibly] Samuel B8, the eldest son of Richard and Joyce, were involved in raising militia for the defence of Gloucester and Bristol.
The Gloucestershire auxiliaries, were led by Sir John Seymour, of Bitton, Mr. John Codrington, of Codrington, Mr. Stevens, and Philip Langley, of Mangotsfield
And in any case John was “of Codrington, Wapley and Didmarton” and it was Samuel who lived at Dodington at this time.
John was also on the board of sequestration for Gloucestershire in 1643 and both he and Samuel on various committees later.
However this history was written for the descendants of Christopher Codrington and perhaps reflects his Royalist allegiance rather than John’s support for parliament.
Personally I think that both John and Samuel did whatever was necessary to try and protect their families, whoever was running the country.
The extract from the guide also says that ” John Codrington’s brother, Robert, was a Cromwell-man” and this is based on his work “The Life and Death of Robert [Devereaux], Earl of Essex” of which Wood [?] says;
“he shews himself a rank parliamenteir”
It also appears that Wood did not think that Robert was actively involved in the campaign:
It is a compilation of small value, in which whole sentences are occasionally stolen from contemporary pamphleteers ; the author seems to have had no acquaintance with Essex, and no personal knowledge of his campaigns.
However his work is still quoted today in books about the campaign, most recently in Gloucester and Newbury 1643 – so even as a collection of other writings it has some merit.
But whether he was the brother of John is another matter.
It is possible that either John A13 or Samuel B8 was the elder brother of this Robert, but if the visitor information was attempting to show dissension within the Codrington family the author was looking in the wrong place.
Apart from Christopher’s minor involvement with a Royalist rebellion in Barbados, it was Nicholas, the brother of John, who actively supported the Royalist cause and was captured in the siege of Dartmouth.
In The Sugar Barons by Matthew Parker we can see how Christopher was caught up in the Royalist rebellion in Barbados after the death of Charles I, along with his brother-in-law James Drax – a parliamentarian.
Many families name their eldest son after the father – and then carry this on for generations.
However there is little history of naming the first – or indeed, any – son in this way in the senior branch of the Codrington family – quite the opposite.
We have to go all the way back to Sir John Codrington before we find another eldest son named after his father.
John of Agincourt A1 – John, Thomas, Humphrey
John A2 – Christopher, Edward
Edward A7 – Simon, Thomas
Thomas A8 – Simon, John
Simon A9 – Robert, John, Giles
Robert A11- John, William, Nicholas, Christopher, Samuel, Thomas
This is quite unusual but it does not mean that Robert A11 did not have a son named after him – both his sons John and Christopher had sons named after them, so if this was a deliberate practise then it ended in this generation.
From the information available there are several possible scenarios that would fit with the known facts.
As I write this I am coming a conclusion that one of these is very unlikely – and this is the one that I was simply trying to confirm in the first place!
Robert was the son of Robert A11, born in 1602 and elected demy at the age of 17 in 1619.
He studied at Magdalen college, Oxford for a BA and then an MA in 1627 but died before 1628.
Robert, son of Richard, went to Oxford in 1621 but never completed his course because of the Browne affair.
He then travelled, settled in Norfolk, married and then resumed his studies dying in London perhaps from an outbreak of the plague.
Robert was the son of Richard B7 and he was elected demy in 1619 at the age of about 17.
He studied in Oxford with his brother Richard despite losing his inheritance to the Brownes.
After completing his MA in 1627 he travelled, settled in Norfolk and married Henningham Drury two years later in 1629.
He then moved to London and died there in 1665
Robert A14 went to Oxford in 1621 at the age of 19 but died before completing his degree, possibly in 1625 during an outbreak of plague in London.
Robert was the son of Richard B7 as described above.
Robert A14 died in infancy and is shown as the prone figure on the Codrington Memorial, or there was never a Robert.
There are some specific pieces of evidence available, but none that give us an absolute answer.
The first is the court case against the Brownes in 1629 by Robert and Richard during their time in Oxford which specifically identifies their sister, Elizabeth and mother Joyce and that Robert was at Magdalen college – but the torn corner may have held the vital piece of evidence.
The second is the lack of any reference to Robert A14 in the court cases following the death of his father Robert A11, so if there was a Robert A14 he died before December 1627 when William brought the first inheritance case against his mother and step-father.
But that doesn’t mean that he was not the Robert that was elected demy and completed an MA in 1627
Robert B did complete an MA, as shown on the cover of his works, but it is also possible that he did this later in life – in London – and not at Oxford.
The only evidence we have for the existence of Robert A14 is the reference to him as second son of Robert A11 in the Oxford records and the count of 6 younger sons in the will of Robert A11, with one son unaccounted for by later chancery proceedings.
RHC may have used the same pedigree information as shown in the History of Antigua, but it is unclear where these originated. 
If these are accurate and from the same period then it would make all the difference to this investigation. but I am still convinced that the same Robert that lived in Norfolk was the one who married into the Drury family.
 I believe that Vere Langford created these trees himself from the wills and other records that he had sourced and was mislead by the incorrect entry from Oxford into splitting the information about Robert between two different families.
The record from a court case, regarding inheritance in 1630, lists the sons of Robert A11 who were alive at the time he wrote his will.
And there are only five of them – including John.
William was not mentioned here – but we know he existed from another court case – so he would be one of the “other children”, along with the daughters, but this may also include Robert.
Unfortunately this does not prove anything as far as Robert is concerned, although it does indicate that both he and William were dead before 1630 or at least had no claims on the inheritance.
I can understand why William may not have been included, having already settled his case.
One interpretation of the will is that there were only 6 sons, including John, and if this is the case then the frieze on the memorial shows Robert, Anne and all their known children with Robert as the prone male figure [and one unidentified female].
The first reference to his children in the will is to Robert’s daughters and then “sixe younger sonnes“.
The second reference is to John (the eldest son and heir) paying £20 to the “said younger sonnes” on his inheritance, but not specifically a number.
Having looked at the memorial to Robert in greater depth [see The Children of Robert Codrington] it appears that this shows all the children of Robert and Anne and not just those that were alive when Robert died in 1618.
This means that at least one daughter shown in the frieze was dead (probably one of the twins) and possibly one of the boys as well.
If one of the Mourners is Robert’s wife Anne then all the girls are accounted for as well.
Showing the eldest son as a “clone” of the father seems to be quite common, at least in Bristol, and the two prone figures may have been those that died at birth.
From the evidence I’m not sure Robert, son of Robert, existed at all – or possibly died as an infant as in Robert III
Robert – Sheriff of Glocestershire
According to some references [including wikipedia], in 1638 one Robert Codrington was High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, following on from Robert Poyntz, of Iron Acton – the Poyntz family had links to both branches of the Codrington family.
The only Robert Codrington this could possibly be – barring a complete unknown – is Robert the poet, who was living in Norfolk or London, but this information does not appear in his biography, so seems unlikely.
There are other records showing that John Codrington was the sheriff at about this time – so this record is incorrect, perhaps copying the name “Robert” from the previous entry?
John Codrington, of Codrington and Didmarton, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1638
In 1683 John Codrington is shown as Sheriff, however there was no John at this time who could have held this position and it seems that John and Robert were transcribed against the wrong dates – 1638 and 1683.
Robert Codrington (1650-1717) who was the son of John, probably was sheriff in 1683 and these names and dates have been transposed.
Probably a simple transcription error. [see rule # 4]
In the records of Stonehouse Manor, Gloucestershire [referenced in the National Archives] is a record relating to Robert Codrington.
P.C.C. [Prerogative Court of Canterbury] administration of estate of Jn. Codrington, London, granted to brother Robert Codrington.
This is dated 1628/29 so it is possible Robert A14 was alive but brother John certainly didn’t die until later.
If this was Robert B then his brother, John could have died about this date.
He was alive in 1613 – mentioned in the will of Richard B7 – but shown as deceased in the visitation of 1628.
And he is also described “of London” as was Robert, but what is the connection to Stonehouse Manor?
There are certainly family connections to this property – the Giffards and Berkeleys – but no reference of a direct ownership by the Codrington family. About this time the manor seems to have been owned by William Fowler and William Sandford, who were clothiers from the village and split the manor between them.
Plaintiffs: Sir Henry Yelverton, Attorney General, at the relation of Joyce Codrington.
Defendants: John Rodman, son of Hugh Rodman of Alston, blacksmith, Richard Hayes, a ‘reputed minister’, William Bruton, Thomas Bushopp, William Cary and Thomas Gilman husbandman.
Subject: Kidnapping Elizabeth Codrington, daughter of Richard Codrington esq deceased, the said John Rodman’s master and attempt to marry her at Malmesbury church, Wiltshire.
Note: defendants were acquitted under the statute of 3 Henry VII [c. 2, Abduction of women]; see STAC 8/88/13.
So was she kidnapped for her inheritance or did she just run off with the blacksmith’s son?
The Norfolk Connection
The name Henningham appears later as the grand-daughter of Robert Codrington and Henningham Drury in Barbados.
This daughter, to Robert (son of Robert) and Elizabeth, was born in the Caribbean island of Barbados where Christopher (another son of Robert A11) was governor-general.
She married into the Carrington family.
There is no reason to assume that the two Codrington families, although separated by several generations, were not well known to each other – in fact after the civil war they were also related by the marriage of Samuel B9 and Jane, daughter of John A13.
But the Norfolk connection is still a mystery – especially if Robert son of Richard was the one who lived there.
[An heiress and a Norfolk family]
Robert Codrington – Lunatic.
According to record available in the National Archives, one Robert Codrington, of Middlesex, was investigated as a lunatic in 1679.
This Robert is possibly the son of Robert Codrington, the writer, who lived in London which means he is unlikely to be the Robert who emigrated to Barbados and had a daughter Hennigham.
This also means that his mother is also unlikely to have been Henningham Drury of Norfolk and therefore his father Robert may never have been to Norfolk, and Robert who went to Barbados may have been more closely related to Christopher Codrington of Barbados.
But it could also mean that Robert of London (who died in 1665 during the plague) may not have died during the plague but may have been “locked up” for a while.
However if this were true surely it would have been recorded?
Reference: C 211/5/C23
Description: Robert Codrington, esq of Middlesex: commission and inquisition of lunacy, into his state of mind and his property.
Date: 1679 Nov 27
Reference: C 142/735/74
Description: Codrington, Robert (lunatic): Middlesex
Date: 31 Charles II. (1679/80)
I am in the process of obtaining copies of these documents and will be updating this note accordingly.
The Bridgwater Connection
Robert Codrington, who moved to Barbados with his wife Elizabeth, was the son of Robert Codrington – the writer – who, according to this document is probably the son of Richard and Joyce Codrington of Dodington.
Towards the end of the 17th century the family moved away from Dodington in Gloucestershire to Bridgwater in Somerset, having sold Dodington Park to Christopher Codrington III of Antigua.
A connection between Robert of Barbados and some of the families of Somerset is proven by the will of John Bellamy – who’s family were from near Bridgwater – where Robert is a witness.
If Robert Codrington (the writer) was associated with the Didmarton family (Robert and Anne) then his son Robert would probably not have had any links to the Somerset families in Barbados.
This record also shows that Robert was in Barbados earlier than 1678 and daughter Henningham is likely to have been born there rather then England, about 1673.
In 1678 he is shown arriving in Barbados with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Frances – but not older daughter Henningham.
His father, the writer Robert Codrington, had died in 1665 during an outbreak of the plague and this may have been the reason for Robert heading out of London.
The Sydney Connection.
The first husband of Eleanor Sydney, of Walsingham, was John Claxton, of Suffolk.
His daughter, by his first marriage to Mary Brown, married John Stubbes, who is probably related in some way to William Stubbes of Watchfield, father of Anne Stubbes who married Robert Codrington A11.
Eleanor’s second husband was Robert Drury (1578-1624) so she is also the grandmother of Henningham Drury, the wife of Robert Codrington [probably] son of Richard.
This does reinforce the connection between Anne Stubbes and Norfolk, yet this Robert appears to be related to another branch of the family with no connections to Norfolk and I have not found any evidence that William Stubbes, the father of Anne, was actually from Norfolk at all.
[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
 The history of the island of Antigua
Vere Langford Oliver
The author has collected together a number of records which have been extremely useful – wills, court cases and pedigrees – essentially about the Codringtons of Barbados, but also including some of the previous generations.
Chris Sidney 2014