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The Kellaway Connection

Farmer BullshotThomas Codrington married Mary Kellaway, daughter of John Kellaway of Cullompton. However John had two daughters both named Mary by two different wives – which one did Thomas marry?

John Kellaway was born in Cullompton, Devon about 1480 and married first Elizabeth and then Joan, daughter of John Tregarthen.

The pedigree of his first wife, Elizabeth, is not recorded and she probably died during the birth of their only child Mary, who was born 24 Jun 1512.

John married Joan Tregarthen several years later and their first daughter, Ann born about 1515.

It is unclear why they would then name another daughter, born about 1524, Mary, but it is well documented that there were two – Mary the elder and Mary the younger.

Some family trees have Mary the younger married to William Cooke and Mary the elder married to Thomas Codrington, but this is probably incorrect.

Branscombe%20Heraldry_0003[1]After the death of her first husband in 1530, Joan – already the mother to 14 children – married John Wadham, and had another 6 children.

Their eldest son Nicholas, founded Wadham College in Oxford.

This memorial to her from Branscombe church shows both of her husbands and their many children as well as her pedigree.

[More information below]

The Codrington memorial

IMG_4937-9 (WIDTH-1000)On the tomb of Robert Codrington, the grandson of Thomas, in Bristol Cathedral are the crests of both the Kellaway and Tregarthen families quartered with the Codrington arms.

The Kellaway arms are shown bottom-left and described in Bristol Cathedral Heraldry: Argent two glaziers irons in saltire sable between four pears pendant proper.

The Tregarthen arms are shown top-right, but this pedigree would only be valid if Thomas had married the younger Mary [and therefore the daughter of Joan] or John Kellaway’s first wife, Elizabeth, had also been a member of the Tregarthen family – a possibility, but there is no evidence for this.

And there is also the issue of the age differences – Thomas, who died in 1594, would have been nearly 10 years younger than the Elder Mary but about 5 years older than Mary the younger  [based on estimated birth dates].

It would be quite unusual for Thomas to marry a much older woman unless he was a widower – or a substantial inheritance was involved.

William Cooke, however, was much closer to the same age as the older daughter, being born about 1514 – his mother Margaret Daniel died in 1516 so he cannot be much younger.

Married: Mary KELLAWAY (dau. of John Kellaway and Joan Tregarthen) ABT 1535

If this is the case then Mary would have only been about 10 years old when their first child is estimated to have been born about 1535 and it is much more likely that William married the older sister.

Thomas Codrington

Thomas, my 11 x great-grandfather, was the son of Edward Codrington – the grandson of Sir John Codrington, standard bearer to Henry V at the battle of Agincourt in 1415 – and part of the Senior branch of the Codrington family.

The date of birth for Thomas is estimated so he could have been older.

However if he had married the elder Mary then I would also expect his children be older  – his eldest son Simon, however, was born about 1554 when the older Mary would have been about 40 and the younger about 25.

It is not impossible for there to have been a mistake or even a deliberate attempt to enhance the Codrington family pedigree.

But the tomb was not created until two generations later when any irregularities in the pedigree should have been identified and corrected.

Robert Henry Codrington, in his Memoirs of the Codrington family says:

From Thomas, the son of Edward, the direct line to the present time [1898] is proved in the Herald’s College.

He also states that Thomas Codrington married the younger Mary and W.Cooke, of Thame, Devon, married the elder.

The Kellaway marriage is one of the most important in the Codrington family – along with the later Stubbes and Samwell marriages, also shown on the tomb – with links back to King John, William the Conqueror and beyond.

It seems that any claims of a marriage between William Cooke and the younger Mary are mistaken.

The Tregarthen Pedigree

Joan Tregarthin

WadhamImpalingTregarthin_BranscombeChurch_DevonOne of the heraldic escutcheons from the memorial in Branscome church shows the pedigree of Joan Tregarthen.

Her descent from Richard, Earl of Cornwall is referred to in the inscription (above) and the arms of his descendants, the de Cornwall family of Brannel, are shown in the 4th quarter of the sinister half of the escutcheon: A lion rampant in chief a label of three points a bordure engrailed bezantée.,_1st_Earl_of_Cornwall

The Tregarthen arms are in the middle of the three arms in the top-right quartering.

They are described on the Codrington Memorial [1]: Argent a chevron between three escallops sable.

Later versions of the family crest included three mermaids instead of the scallop shells but with the same chevron design.


[1] Bristol Cathedral Heraldry

by F. Were

1902, Vol. 25, 102-132

[2] Memoir of the Family of Codrington of Codrington, Didmarton,Frampton-On-Severn, and Dodington

by R. H. Codrington

1898, Vol. 21, 301-345

Chris Sidney 2014