There is an interesting, if slightly damaged, document in the National archives concerning Robert Tatton and William Stubbes and some money supposedly owed by William to Robert.
This document is related to research into my family tree, in particular the pedigree of Anne Stubbes, who married Robert Codrington in 1595. For background information please read An Heiress and of a Norfolk Family otherwise things may seem a bit confusing.
The Tatton v Stubbes document is quite large and faded in places, with a significant chunk missing, but there is enough information in the remaining text to tell an interesting story about the relationships between Robert and William.
This is only the answer of the defendant, William Stubbes of Watchfield, so we don’t get to hear the actual complaint by Robert Tatton, but some of it is repeated in the answer giving us a flavour of what was said.
Thanks to Linda at Transcription Services for her efforts in extracting all of the information out of the document that could be read.
The Tale of Robert Tatton
Once upon a time William Stubbes of Watchfield, Berkshire and his wife, Hester, had three daughters.
Anne, the eldest, married Robert Codrington of Gloucestershire in 1595; Theophilia, the youngest daughter, married Thomas Garrard of Inkpen, Berkshire and Susan Stubbes married Robert Tatton, from the Tatton family of Wythenshawe in Cheshire.
But this was not what was supposed to have happened.
Robert Tatton had “by various practises, intised & gotten away” with their daughter Susan and married her a few days before she was supposed to marry someone else.
… [without the] knowledge of this deffendant or of her mother this defendantes wife, even about a day or Two before that shee should have ben maryed, unto A gentleman of great worth & reputacion.
According to William, in his answer to the complaint, Robert’s father had disowned him after he married Susan and it was following this that Robert began borrowing money from William, his family and friends, which resulted in this court case.
This deffendant by the fayer and flatteringe speches of the complainant, and partly in hope that the Complainant would have Delt the better with this deffendantes daughter the Complainant’s Promise […] to bee made […] portions of money to [be sat__] [hole in document] setled uppon such children, as he had or should have by his said wife.
And partly uppon the faithfull promises and earnest protestacions made by the said complainant to this deffendant f___ […] this Deffendandt […] did undertake the payment of diveres somes of mony so borrowed by the Complainant as is aforesaid.
I had associated the marriage of Susan Stubbes with Robert Tatton, the second son of Robert Tatton of Wythenshawe [1566-1623], according to the pedigree published in the Visitation of Cheshire.
Robert was born about 1586 and it was his elder brother, William, who inheriting the Wythenshawe estate and passed it to his young son, another Robert. [i]
William the elder (1544-1611) = Mary Fitton
Robert the elder (1566-1624) = Eleanor Warren
William the younger (1585-1616) = Katherine Leycester
Robert (1606-1669) = Anne Brereton
Robert the younger (b.1586) = Susan Stubbes
According to some sources Robert’s elder brother, William, was born in 1581, the same year his parents married, so Robert could have been born as early as 1582 and would be the same age as Susan.
Other sources, including the family pedigree in the visitation, say that William was born 1585 therefore Robert would have been about 5 years younger than his wife, which is unusual for the period.
[i] This Robert inherited Wythenshawe from his father, William, at the age of 10, his father having drowned crossing the Mersey, and is known for his spirited defence of Wythenshawe during the civil war.
But this may not be entirely correct – there is more useful information in the document!
And this Defendant [William Stubbes] further sha[ll] sayth that the said complainant [Robert Tatton] is so furr from makeing [provision] for his said wife & children, That of late (As this deffendant is credibly informed) the said complainant, & his sone and heir apparant by a former wife, have so handled the matter betwen them, that all the inheritance of the land sometymes in the father of the complainant is setled & stated in his said son, & noe provision made either for the Joynture of this Deffendantes daughter, nor any portions provided for her children, as this Deffendant hath credibly heard & doeth verily beleave yea & that which is more the said complainant doth threaten to turne [return] her his said wife to this Deffendant her father, & will not allowe her such […]ong as is fitting for a woman of her estate & calling.
The key part of this is that William accuses both Robert and his son and heir of contriving together to settle an inheritance from his father only on his eldest [unnamed] son, with no provision for Susan or their children.
His father, also Robert, died in January 1624 and was still alive at this time, so what was this inheritance?
The document is not dated so I have estimated, based on other dates mentioned, that it was between 1615 and 1620 – it was certainly before 1624 as Susan had died by then. William Stubbes mentions a date of 1608 when he and his wife went to visit Robert in Cheshire, so he would have been married to Susan by then.
There is also a reference to an event in 1615, so I would estimate that this document is about 1618 when a son of Robert the younger would have been “of age” at about 16 – assuming that Robert himself was married at the age of 16 in 1602, or was older.
But I can find no marriage records for Robert the younger – either to his first wife or to Susan – and no birth record for a son about the time he would have been married previously.
So perhaps there is another possibility? Perhaps Robert was not the second son of Robert Tatton of Wythenshawe, but Robert of Wythenshawe himself!
This actually seems possible – even likely – having investigated this in more detail, and there is certainly a better fit with the known facts than to his son Robert, who may not have made it past childhood.
Robert Tatton of Wythenshawe had a son and heir, William, from his previous marriage to Eleanor Warren who would have been old enough to have entered into a contrivance over inheritance – he would have been about 26.
Robert’s father, William Tatton the elder, died in 1611 so there would have been an inheritance during the period covered by this document – the same was not true if this was the younger Robert as his father died later.
Some other sources also mention that Robert the elder [for some reason] transferred the titles and inheritance of his father, William the elder, to his son William the younger.
This summary of a Cheshire record, relating to William, shows that this may have some merit.
They say that William Tatton, the younger, late son & heir apparent of the said Robert, had taken all the profits &c. from the time of the death of the said William Tatton esq. […]
The children of Robert the elder and Eleanor were born between 1585 and 1589, the youngest being George who died a year later in 1590. The pedigree of the Tatton family shows that two sons Robert and Philip were alive in 1611 – the date of the death of William Tatton the elder – so they may have been mentioned in the inquisition following his death [they are not mentioned in his will].
There is a record for another son, also named George, being born in Cheshire in 1612, which seems a little late for Eleanor to be the mother – she would be nearly 50 by this date. It has been suggested that she died giving birth, but this is more likely to be the child of Susan than Eleanor as they were married by then, or he is from another branch of the family.
Eleanor had probably died shortly after the birth of youngest son George in 1590, or perhaps even in childbirth – I have no record for her death so this is not certain. In the portrait of Robert Tatton he is shown with a wedding ring on a chain around his neck, so this is likely from his marriage to Eleanor – Susan was still alive, although she died the same year.
A commentary attached to the portrait of Robert, painted shortly before his death, indicates that the transfer of the Wythenshawe estates to his son William, may be due to the loss of his wife.
This loss may help to explain why Robert handed over the management and probably even formal ownership of his Wythenshawe estate to his own son William, who subsequently drowned accidentally in 1616.
But it does not appear that this was the case and probably had little to do with it.
The son and heir of Robert mentioned in the document would be William Tatton and the inheritance mentioned is from Robert’s father, William Tatton the elder, who died in 1611.
According to William Stubbes in the answer to Robert’s complaint, Robert’s father had disowned him and there are indications that the inheritance of his father was passed directly to his grandson, William Tatton the younger.
The said complainant […] cast off by his father
This has also been suggested by other sources but they do not know why this happened – this story may resolve that.
But perhaps there was no actual contrivance between Robert and his son William.
If he had fallen out with his father then Robert would have had little money to pass to Susan and her children. Perhaps it was his father, William, that did not want to convey any family interests to Robert’s new wife and children and instead passed the estate directly to his eldest grandson?
William Stubbes seems to have believed that there had been a reconciliation and Robert had been heir apparent at his father’s death, but the document is badly damaged at this point.
By that meanes & other […] ben A reconciliac[i]on betwen the complainant & his said father.
Robert is still shown, in some documents, as being son and heir when his father, William, died.
The said William Tatton died, seised of the aforesaid manors & lands, 19 May , , at Withenshawe & Robert Tatton is his son & heir & is now aged 40 years & more.
If William Stubbes was correct, and there had been some sort of reconciliation between Robert and his father, then Robert passed the estate to his son soon after his father died. This is probably what William Stubbes saw as a deliberate attempt to avoid passing anything to his daughter, Susan, and her children.
Other records [Cheshire Inquisitions Post Mortem, 1603-1660] seem to tell a slightly different story; that Robert was overlooked by his father.
So being seised, the said William Tatton esq. died 19 May , 9 James 1st  at Withenshawe, after whose death William Tatton gent., the younger, entered into the said manors & lands …
Robert did have some property as he passed land in Flintshire to his son Robert, but he ended his days in Southwark, London instead of the family estates in Cheshire.
His eldest son William who had inherited Wythenshawe, died a few years later, drowned trying to cross the river Mersey, with his son, Robert, who inherited at the age of 10, becoming a ward of the crown.
The will of William Tatton of Withenshaw, Robert’s father, was written 7th April 1606.
In the will he leaves just about everything to his grandchild, William and his wife Katherine Leycester. Robert, who was his son and heir in a document of 1592, is not mentioned, although another [probably illegitimate] son, John Tatton alias Manley is left £100.
And for all my temporall landes tenementes and hereditamentes, and my goodes Cattels, Chattles, and Debtes whatsoever and wheresoever they lye and be within the Kings Majesties Realme of England I give and bequeath unto William Tatton my Grandchilde.
No other grandsons or granddaughters are mentioned and it is curious that he uses grandchild in the will. This indicates that either there were no other children of Robert, or that they had also died before the will was written in 1606.
If there was a reconciliation between Robert and his father he did not update his will of 1606, and William died some years later in 1611 so there was time to do so.
For whatever reason, and under whatever circumstances, Robert had stolen Susan Stubbes away from her parents and her arranged marriage, probably about 1603 when Susan would have been 21. [more likely later, but before 1608]
Robert Tatton the elder would have been about 16 years older than Susan, so not as much of an age gap as you might expect, and this was not unusual at the time, for arranged marriages anyway.
Perhaps Susan did not want to marry the man that her parents had chosen for her [whoever that was] and was enticed away by the mature, and smooth-talking Robert?
But it hardly seems to have been a love match considering how poorly William Stubbes thinks that his daughter and her children appear to have been treated.
Or perhaps we are just seeing one side of the story?
Maybe it was the other way around and it was Susan who enticed Robert so that she did not have to marry whoever it was that her parents had chosen for her? After being disinherited he then resorted to borrowing money from his father-in-law William Stubbes, who had no love for Robert – having messed up his arrangements – but was devoted to his daughter, as shown in his will of 1628.
… that my body maye be buryed in a dece[nt] and orderly manner in the Chauncell of the parish Church of Shrevenham, neare to the place wheare my loveing daughter was lately buryed …
Of course as a devoted father, William would never have believed that his daughter could have had anything to do with the affair and blamed Robert entirely – perhaps, though, more to save his reputation?
Poor Robert may just have been vulnerable, middle-aged man who had a mad moment with a younger woman which he may have regretted for the rest of his life? Or maybe they were just in love?
There seems plenty of evidence that Susan married the elder Robert Tatton and that his son, Robert, may have died in childhood – or was alive, but was not the suitor of Susan.
Other than the pedigree showing him as second son, there do not seem to be any other records for his marriage or any children. His date of birth also makes it difficult for him to have been married [at the age of 16] and to have had a child before marrying Susan in 1603.
On the other hand Robert the elder would have been under forty years old when he married Susan, so he was not an old man and there is no reason for him not to remarry – however unwisely.
Robert sat for his portrait shortly before his death in Southwark, 10 Jan 1623/4, and Susan died later the same year.
In our portrait, Johnson has captured in great detail the essence of our care-worn sitter: very much in his crepuscular [twilight] years he appears rather uneasy and tousled with receding hair and a ruddy complexion.
Perhaps by hiding his left hand in the portrait he was trying to show his regret at marrying Susan, for whatever reason, perhaps just because it didn’t work out well for him.
The Children of Susan and Robert
There is a significant period after the marriage before the first known child of Susan and Robert was born, so perhaps there are other children – possibly born in Cheshire, or elsewhere – that were daughters, and not mentioned in the will of Susan’s mother, Hester Stubbes?
Perhaps Susan married later than I have suggested, but she and Robert were certainly married by 1608 as this date is mentioned in the document.
There is a record in the Tatton pedigree for Philip, also known to have been alive in 1611 [along with Robert] so perhaps this was another son of Robert and Eleanor, or an earlier son of Susan and Robert? Philip is not mentioned in the wills of either William or Hester, so if he was an older sibling of George and Thomas then he had died young.
Neither Philip or Robert, or any other grand children are mentioned in the will of grandfather William Tatton so they could both have been born after 1606.
Robert = Eleanor Warren (m. 1581)
Robert = Susan Stubbes (m.1603?)
Both George and Thomas Tatton were signatories to the will of William Stubbes in 1628, and it seems that Susan did eventually return to the family home in Watchfield, as she is buried in nearby Shrivenham church.
Robert, shown above as the son of Robert and Susan may actually be Robert Tatton from the previous marriage, and he could have been born later than suggested. If he was the second son of Robert Tatton and Eleanor then his birth would still have been before the birth of George in 1589.
Robert the younger would have been about 50 years old when he died and much older than Thomas and George, which is perhaps indicated by his relationship with the widow Ralph Beeling in his will. This would also explain why he wasn’t the heir of William Stubbes, as eldest grandson.
He died in 1638 and had some land that he had inherited from his father in Flintshire, which it seems he passed to his younger brother Thomas. George died in 1642 and Thomas, when he died a few years later, passed his inheritance – including the properties in Flintshire – to his nephews, the sons of brother George.
There is another document in the National Archives dated during the reign of James I [1603-1625] which mentions both Robert Tatton and his son Robert.
It also mentions Katherine [Leycester] who was the widow of Robert’s eldest son William – the heir of Wythenshawe – who drowned crossing the Mersey in 1616, which dates this document to some time after this event.
Robert Tatton the elder, Robert Tatton the younger and Katherine Tatton, widow
If Robert the younger was the son of Susan Stubbes then he would probably have been too young to have been mentioned in a legal document of 1616 or shortly afterwards, therefore he is much more likely to have been the second son from his first marriage to Eleanor Warren, as suspected.
Neither Thomas or Robert seem to have had any children. I am not sure why it was Thomas and his wife that inherited Watchfield instead of brother George, as Thomas seems to have been the youngest of the siblings.
The birth record for George in Cheshire, 1612 may belong to another George and perhaps he was born after Thomas, which would make more sense. Also if Robert was from the first marriage then it also makes sense for Thomas to have inherited Watchfield and not Robert.
The wills of both Thomas and Robert, and the relationship between all three brothers, are investigated elsewhere.
But who was the man that Susan was supposed to have married?
A gentleman of great worth & reputacion
I doubt if he was one of those who then lent money to Robert, but he may have lent money to William.
Richard Denham seems to be mentioned several times, usually in association with George Stubbes but also with John Stocker and, in several places, William as well.
… that this Deffendant, & the said Richard Denham subtilly and Craftely practeseing & intending the utter undoing of the complainant & to deceive him of the said 400li [£50,000] did combine themselves together for any such purport as in the said bill is alledged.
Both men would certainly have had reason to want to “undo” the complainant, if Richard was supposed to have married Susan. But this is just William repeating what Robert had said in the complaint and we may never know the identity of Susan’s intended intended!
Richard Denham is also mentioned in another document with Bartholomew Stubbes, so he is certainly a close associate of the Stubbes family.
This document unintentionally provides additional proof that Hester, the wife of William Stubbes, was the daughter of Awdrey Malte and John Harrington, something I have been trying to prove [beyond doubt] for a while now.
There is a long list of people involved in the financial affairs of William Stubbes and Robert Tatton, but one of them that is mentioned several times is Sir John Harington.
… this Deffendant & [the] said Sir John Harrington, this Deffendantes Brother in lawe, …
Sir John Harington was the eldest son of John Harington of Stepney with his second wife Isabella Markham and was therefore Hester’s half-brother and Williams’ brother-in-law.
I think this finally proves that Hester, who married William Stubbes, can only be the daughter of Awdrey Malte – supposed daughter of Henry VIII – and John Harrington, and proves that they did actually have a daughter and that Hester did not die in 1568, or simply disappear after that date.
If Hester was the daughter of John Harington and second wife Isabella then she could not have been born before 1560 [they married in 1559] and would have been too young to have been involved in a recovery as the owner of Watchfield at the age of just eight years.
If only similar proof could be found to confirm the identity of Awdrey’s father as King Henry VIII.
It is also likely that there are two paintings out there – somewhere in a private collection – showing Awdrey and her daughter Hester, that I would really like to have a look at.
Especially if the daughter has tudor-red hair, as suggested by Kate Emerson.
Several other people are mentioned in the document and some of them are related.
He appears to be a tenant of the Tatton family in Cheshire and acting as receiver for him.
The said Robert, the father, demised to John Carrington certain lands & the said William Tatton junior acquiesced therein & also permitted his father to occupy the lands …
It also appears that Robert needed the permission of his son to do this!
John Stocker (1560-1612)
John is related to both the Harington and Codrington families through the marriage of his grand-children and was also married to Margaret, the daughter of Anthony Scutt, the only child of John Scutt [Queen’s tailor] and Bridget Malte, sister to Awdrey.
John Scutt was much older than Bridget when they married and he died not long after – he was about the same age as her father, John Malte [King’s Tailor] who died in 1546.
Mary, daughter of Anthony Stocker and Margaret Cappell, married Benjamin Harington, nephew of Sir John Harington [although later than the period covered by this document]. Benjamin’s father, Francis was another half-brother of Hester.
Her sister, Katherine was married to John Codrington, the eldest son and heir of Robert Codrington and Anne Stubbes, eldest daughter of William and Hester. She was only 7 years old at the time of the arrangement in 1617 [shortly before the death of Robert Codrington in 1618] and their only child, Anne, was born in 1629 when Katherine probably died in childbirth.
The executors of John Stocker are also mentioned and further investigation indicates that he died about 1612 or 1615. The burial record for a John Stocker in 1647 is probably for his nephew.
Perhaps born 1580 in Congleton he is likely to be a cousin of William Stubbes although this is still being investigated.
Relationship not known at the moment but possibly a brother or cousin of William.
Seems to be a friend of George Stubbes, but also accused with William …
… that this Deffendant [William Stubbes], & the said Richard Denham subtilly and Craftely practeseing & intending the utter undoing of the complainant & to deceive him of the said 400li did combine themselves together for any such purport as in the said bill is alledged.
Perhaps this case is not all as one-sided as it seemed with William being the wronged party an there were deceptions on both sides of the bill?
Or perhaps Richard Denham was the one who was supposed to have married William’s daughter Susan?
He is also mentioned in another document with Bartholomew Stubbes of London.
A bond of £100 between Alice and [possibly] Robert Tatton, William Stubbes and Richard Foxwell.
This may be the father of Richard Foxwell, possibly a tailor, of Wandsworth London who emigrated to America in 1631 and died 1676 in Barnstaple, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Richard and daughter, Margaret [a minor], are mentioned in the will of John Gardener, Cutler of Wandsworthe in 1608.
He also appears in a Jury list from 1615
Richard Foxwell of St. Clement Danes.
Seems to have been involved as a receiver for one of the parties as had John Carrington (above). But he also sued William for £200 at one point.
Ferdinando Baude, William Beecher, George Ognel etc.
Possibly these were judges in a former case between Robert and William.
… since which tyme, that is to say the 25th day of August in the yeare of our lord god, 1615, the said complainant & this Deffendant, by ther mutuall consentes, did [submit] themsealves to the award of Ferdin[a]ndo Baude Will[ia]m Beecher & George Ognell ets[etera].
George Solme & Gilbert Dethick
William borrowed money from these gentlemen and this is where Sir John Harington got involved as surety for the loan. It also appears that this financial mess had put strains on their relationship:
… and freindship which formerly he had & receaved at the handes of Sir John & his freindes.
Chris Sidney 2015