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Farmer BullshotRobert Tatton, the heir to the Wythenshawe estate in Cheshire, was disinherited by his father, William. But what had Robert done to deserve this?

For background information it is recommended that you read Tatton v Stubbes before reading this.

It seems to me a little harsh to disinherit your only son and pass your estate to your grandson instead, but this is what William Tatton of Wythenshawe did in his will of 1606. His only son, Robert – the father of William who inherited the estate – is not mentioned at all.

About 1605 Robert eloped with Susan Stubbes, the daughter of William Stubbes and Hester Harington – who was due to be married to another man a few days later – and married her against the wishes of her parents, as shown in Tatton v Stubbes, however it seems unlikely that this is the reason that he was disowned.

But this is not all that happened about this time.

There are two other documents dated 1603 in the National Archives relating to charges made against Robert Tatton that was heard before the star chamber and instigated by William Tatton, Robert’s father.

Rob[er]t Tatton of Marybone in the County of Midd[lesex] gent[leman] sworne &c

We have both the deposition of Robert, in answer to the charges, and the inquisition document itself, the title on its own making interesting reading:

Sale of tithes and mortgage in Bowdon, conspiracy to murder, land in The Poole, Lancashire.

Conspiracy to murder?

This is certainly a pretty good reason for being disinherited, but just what did Robert get involved in, and who was to be murdered?

Robert Tatton

Robert Tatton 1566I am still not quite sure whether Robert was a charming, but devious man, intent on getting his hands on his inheritance (and anything else he wanted), or was just sensitive and kind and ill-used by his friends and relations – and anyone else he met.

William Stubbes, his father-in-law, certainly held a poor opinion of Robert’s character due to the way that he believed his daughter, Susan, and her children were treated by Robert.

But this may be due to his disinheritance and the subsequent large amounts of money that Robert borrowed – mainly from William’s friends and family.

Apart from being disinherited, I do not think that there were any other consequences following these charges, unless you count the sad expression that he has in his portrait – painted just before he died in January 1624.

The Charges

Interrogatories to be ministred unto Robert Tatton gentleman defendant upon the Informacion of Edward Coke Esquire Attorney general to our late soveraigne Ladye Queene Elizabeth deceased at & by the Relation of William Tatton Esquire as followeth:

John Warren-1The first items are related to the mortgage on the rectory of Bowdon taken out by William Tatton. The sums of £600 and  £800 are mentioned as well as the names of Sir Edward Warren and his father John Warren, of Poynton who died in 1587.

It seems that Robert had obtained the statute for £800 that his father had taken out on his properties from John Warren, and were now held by his son Sir Edward Warren.

… and by that meanes to have gotten the possession from your father of & in his Capitall howses of Wythenshawe & Peele and his demeasne Landes & goodes there into your owen handes & to your owen use.

Sir Edward Warren-1Robert – along with Edward – is accused of “practising to extend his fathers landes”, as well as the supply of “meate drinke and weapons” to those who would hold the landes of his father.

To this Robert replies that …

… he was pryvye that the said Sir Edward Warren dyd purpose and intende to extende the landes of this defendants said father & knoweth that parte therof was extended by the said Sir Edward.

Howbeit he this defendant dyd not by himself or by any others at any tyme perswade or practyce with the said Sir Edward to extende the same: but confesseth that he dyd trethe the said Sir Edward Warren – beinge his wyves brother & suche as were in the said Sir Edwards Company & before possession against his father – with meat dryncke and lodging.

And he thincketh that somme of them dyd to keepe the said possession taken somme wepons owt of this defendants howse.

Robert says also that he:

… bought the estate and interest of the said statute of £800 for the better securing [of himself] concerning certen articles of agreement formerly made betwixt this deffendants said father and [himself].

This earlier agreement – held by Manchester University – was made in October 1592 and concerns various properties in the possession of his father.

There is a note attached to the document that says that it was also exhibited in a suit dated 16 April 1605, two years after this inquisition.

Articles of Agreament Indented had made & Concluded upon betwene William Tatton of Wythinshawe within the Countie of Chester Esquier upon th’one partye And Roberte Tatton gentleman son & heire apparant of the saide William upon th’other partye by the mediacion of dyvers their good & loving [original damaged] frendes

One of these properties, the rectory at Bowden is also mentioned in this inquisition.

That the saide Roberte Tatton shall & maie proceade with George Bouthe of Dunham in the saide Countie of Chester Esquier for the Reobteyninge and Repurchasinge of the Rcorye [Rectory] and tythes of Bowdon in the saide Countie of Chester …

If anyone can provide a good definition of “extending lands” then I would be grateful. From the way the interrogations are worded it cannot be a good thing – at least not for Robert’s father.


Robert also denies another accusation that he attempted to have his father arrested.

Neyther dyd he come to his fathers said howse in Companye with the sheriffe of the sayd Countie uppon purpose to have entred and kepte possession there or to have mayneteyned and furthered the same against his father.

Neyther hathe he at any tyme layd plottes with Sheriffe Baylyeffe or with anye other to take arreste and attache his fathers boddye intendinge or myndinge to have him imprisoned as in this Interrogatory is supposed But the defendant dyd many tymes doe his best endevor to keepe his said father from beinge arrested or imprisoned.

It seems that it was after this that Robert was forced into an agreement to end the controversies and disagreements between him and his father, and that he was advised that if he did not stand by such agreement that his father would disinherit him.

… that there was an agreement made and sett downe in wrytinge by certen Knightes & gentlemen for the fynall endinge of all controversies and disagrements betwixt this defendants father & this defendant But this defendant doth not remember that anye boddy dyd advise him to stande to such said agreement least his father would disinherytt him or that hee this defendant dyd make anye suche undutifull & unrespective agrement as in this Interrogatory ys mencioned.

Private Conversation

It seems that Robert’s father, William, was suffering from syphilis and being treated by a surgeon named Plante – William would have been nearly 70 years old and this was a serious condition.

wythenshaw built by Robert Tatton (1650)Robert is accused of sending one Peter Warren to visit the surgeon Plante at his father’s house [Wythenshawe] to arrange a meeting with him in private, but without the knowledge of any of his father’s servants, leading to suspicions about the purpose of the meeting.

Robert does say that he did have a private conversation with Plante, but this was at his father’s house …

… in or neare a chamber at the said howse called the Gatehowse Chamber, the [purpose] of which speche was to understand what disease his said father had, & to desire the said Plante to take greate care to cure the same

This meeting was arranged through Sir George Leycester – whose daughter was to marry Robert’s eldest son – and who was travelling between Robert and his father in order to work a reconcilement between them.

Based on this conversation it is accused that Robert did …

… move or perswade hime the said Plant to use or laye somthinge to your fathers Sore or some other parte & place of his Bodye whereby to swell & Corrupte his said Bodye & take awaye his Liefe sayeinge further to the saide Plant that if your father did Amende & recover his healthe of that disease It would be to your undoeinge, for that yow sayde yow muste paye greate summes of money for hime.

Robert replies that that he …

… dyd not crave or perswade the sayd Plante to use or laye any thing to his fathers sore or anye other parte or place of his fathers boddy whereby to make the same to swell & to corrupte his boddy & to take awaye his lyef as is supposed neither dyd he this defendant utter suche speches to the said Plante as in this Interrogatory  are mencioned or any speches to anye such effecte.

From the above accusation it seems that he owed a great amount of money, which, perhaps, he was hoping would be covered by the death of his father and his inheritance.

Plante does seem to have made the accusation himself about Robert who, of course, denies anything other than trying to obtain the best possible care for his father, and making sensible arrangements should he die.

To that end he is accused of asking Peter Warren to send him word when his father died, in the expectation that it would be soon.

Did yow tell the said Peter Warren that yow muste Comit truste unto hime touchinge matter wherein he muste use greate secresie tellinge hime that he was of your wyves fleshe & bloudde & that frendes muste holde together, and whether did yow tell the said Warren that yow did knowe your father colde not live fower dayes, and therefore desired hime that presently upon your fathers deathe he woulde come unto yow or send yow worde thereof.

Perhaps he was expecting this, considering the poor health and old age of his father, but it seems to have been taken to mean that he was expecting news of his father’s death because he had something to do with it, especially because of the conspiratorial nature of the conversation with Peter Warren.

Peter was probably a younger brother of his wife, but may also have been in the service of Robert’s father so was in a position to be able to get a message to Robert [presumably in London] quickly.

Misdemeanors & Offences

Robert is next questioned as to whether he had …

…. of late come to your fathers Howse havinge a dagge or Pystoll charged aboute yow and at the same tyme sent unto your father & desired to see hime, and whether did yow tell any person & whome, that yow weare Counselled or Intended to Kyll one John Bellers whoe (being deposed) was thoughte (as yow sayde) colde accuse yow of manye lewde undutifull & trecherous dealinges misdemeanors & Offences by yow Committed & doene or used againste the said William Tatton your Father.

John Bellers is likely to have been a trusted servant of his father.

dagger-pistolWhat Robert was carrying was probably a Dagger Pistol, which was, as the name suggests, a combination of a dagger and a pistol, but is not really the sort of personal defence that a gentleman might carry.

Robert replies to this charge …

… that hee dyd of late ryde from London allone to his fathers howse, having about him for his necessary defence a dagg or pistoll charged. 

And when he came to the owter gate of the said howse he desired one of his fathers men to goe & tell his father that hee was come thither to crave his blessinge & with an intent in all dutifull manner to satisfye his said father concerning any matters that he should objecte against him if he this defendant might be admytted to his presenc.

But this defendant dyd not tell any boddy that he was councelled or intended to kill anie John Bellers in this Interrogatory mencioned for any cause whatsoever neyther dyd this defendant intende any such thing nor was councelled by any boddy to doe any suche thinge.


Robert says that he was informed about the accusations made by Plante by Mr Davenporte & John Makepeace who told him that:

… Plant had accused him this defendant unto them that he had practized with him to laye some plaster or other infectious thing to his fathers sore which might swell upp into his boddy & take away his lief.

The only reason that I can see for Plante making up this story is if William had died, and wanted to blame someone else, or Robert had refused to pay his fees – assuming it was his responsibility in the first place. As far as I can tell neither of these happened.

But Robert denies trying to persuade Plante to change his story saying that all he wanted was for Plante to tell the truth. He also says that he did not:

… gyve over in speches that this defendants said father had or was infected with the frenche pockes or with any other odious diseases but rather allwayes desired to conceale his said fathers infyrmities & diseases.

Farmer BullshotRoberts responses seem quite reasonable but his replies also seem to strengthen the opinion that William Stubbes had of him, as a skilled and believable orator.

… by the fayer and flatteringe speches of the complainant …

… uppon the faithfull promises and earnest protestacions made by the said complainant …

It is possible that Robert did not have any reason to want his father dead and this was all a terrible misunderstanding. But there seems overwhelming evidence that the opposite was true – certainly his father believed that Robert wanted him dead.

One other scenario is that William simply did not trust his son with the estate, and made up the accusations so that he could disown him and pass the estate to his grandson, William. He would have needed the support of the surgeon Plante and several other of the characters in this story and is not impossible that he did this, however I think it unlikely.

When William wrote his will in 1606 there is no mention of Robert at all and everything is passed to his grandson, William, Robert’s eldest son.

speech50Some records attribute the portrait of Robert Tatton to his grandson, also named Robert (1606-1669), but this cannot be correct.

A copy of the portrait held in the Manchester City Art Galleries is signed by the artist – Cornelius Johnson – and dated 1625, the year after Robert died and when his grandson would have only been 19 years old.

Robert Tatton 1566But the most significant clue is the wedding ring on the chain around the sitter’s neck. The younger Robert died in 1669 a year before his wife, Anne Brereton, so this would have been inappropriate

On the other hand the elder Robert’s wife, Eleanor Warren, died about 1605, or perhaps before, and Robert remarried Susan Stubbes before 1608 – although this evidence for the second marriage is hidden by Robert’s left hand being in his pocket. page

Having your portrait painted, yet alone to this standard, was not cheap and I am not sure who paid for this, given Robert’s history with money!

Some background information

Poole, which is now in Cheshire, was owned by the Leycester family. Katherine Leycester married William Tatton, the eldest son of Robert, and heir to the Wythenshawe estates, who drowned crossing the Mersey in 1616. In 1602 George Leycester, of Toft, was High Sherriff of Cheshire and he was also involved in negotiating between Robert and his father.

The Elcock or Elcocke family held the manor of White-Poole, which included Poole Farm, from around 1600, and this is the site of the later Poole Hall. The Leycester family probably held another of the three manors. In 1601, Poole had a watermill at Poole Bridge.

Wythenshawe Hall 1837Wythenshawe Hall was built by Robert Tatton, the grand-father of this Robert, in about 1540 and was in the same family until 1926, when it was sold to pay debts and death duties. The property was bought by Lord and Lady Simon and donated to the city of Manchester for the use of the public.

The hall has been used by the local council as an art gallery and is now being opened to the public by the Friends of Wythenshawe Hall.

speech50In his deposition, dated 18th May 1603, Robert refers to his wife’s brother which indicates that his first wife, Eleanor Warren, may still have been alive or, at least, he had not yet married Susan Stubbes, which I suspect was around this time when she would have been 21 years old.

S[i]r Edward Warren – beinge his wyves brother

Perhaps Susan was older than 21 when she was due to be married? They were married before 1608 so perhaps 1605 is a more realistic estimate of Susan’s marriage at the age of 23 – especially if Robert’s first wife, Eleanor, was still alive in 1603.

Eleanor must, however, have died shortly after this – she would have been about 40 years old and possibly died in child birth  – but there is no record of her death.

speech50There is another document in the National Archives dated 1603-1625 which mentions both Robert Tatton and his son, another Robert.

Robert Tatton the elder, Robert Tatton the younger and Katherine Tatton, widow.

Katherine [Leycester] would have been the widow of Robert’s eldest son William (and heir of Wythenshawe) who drowned crossing the Mersey in 1616.

If Robert the younger was the son of his marriage to Susan Stubbes then he would probably have been too young to have been mentioned in a legal document of 1616, so he is much more likely to have been the second son from his first marriage to Eleanor Warren.

The same would also be true of Robert, the son of William and grandson of Robert who was born in 1606. This Robert would eventually inherit Wythenshaw from his deceased father, but was too young at the time and had been made a ward of court, so is unlikely to be the younger Robert mentioned.

In the articles of agreement document of 1593, Robert is said to have at least two sons – presumably William and Robert – and several daughters, although none are specifically named.

Chris Sidney 2015


Tatton v Stubbes

Farmer BullshotThere 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.

C 2_Jasl_T4_9 (WIDTH-1000)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. page

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.

Farmer BullshotSo perhaps there is another possibility? Perhaps Robert was not the second son of Robert Tatton of Wythenshawe, but Robert of Wythenshawe himself!

Robert Tatton 1566This 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. page

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. page


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 , [1611], 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 [1611] 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.

William Tatton

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?

speech50There 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)

William 1585-1616
Robert b.1586
Elizabeth b.1587
George 1589-1590

Robert = Susan Stubbes (m.1603?)

Philip ?
Robert d.1638
George 1612-1642
Thomas 1614-1646

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.

speech50There 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. page

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.

Hester Harington

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. page

Sir John Harrington defendants 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.

speech50It 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.

John Carrington

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. page

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.

Bartholomew Stubbes

Perhaps born 1580 in Congleton he is likely to be a cousin of William Stubbes although this is still being investigated.

George Stubbes

Relationship not known at the moment but possibly a brother or cousin of William.

Richard Denham

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.

Alice Owen

A bond of £100 between Alice and [possibly] Robert Tatton, William Stubbes and Richard Foxwell.

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.

William Rowden

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


The King and Me

Farmer BullshotIf you are lucky enough to have a gateway ancestor in your family tree, then you can probably trace a connection back to William the Conqueror and beyond.

A gateway ancestor opens up connections to the noble, rich – and well documented – families of England and calculations have shown that just about everyone alive today can probably claim a connection to King John, over 20 generations ago. page

But how many can claim to be related to King Henry VIII?

Having spend a lot of time investigating this possibility, I think that it is now likely that my family can make that claim, having proved a link back to one of his, supposed, illegitimate children – Awdrey or Etheldreda Malte.


In my family that gateway ancestor is my grandmother, Emily Codrington, who was the daughter of Robert William Codrington a butcher and owner of the  Lamb Inn at Iron Acton in Gloucestershire. Robert was a direct male descendant of John Codrington , standard-bearer to King Henry V at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, and a member of the senior branch of the Codrington family. page

The definitive guide to The Codrington family was written in 1898 by Robert Henry Codrington (RHC), an Anglican priest and anthropologist who died in 1922. His work is based on notes made by the historian Sir John Maclean who had intended to follow his Memoirs of the Poyntz and Guise family with one about the Codringtons, but passed his notes to Robert following an illness. page

There are two main branches of the family descended from two of the sons of Sir John Codrington; John and his brother Thomas who married into the Poyntz family. The senior branch lived at Codrington and Didmarton in Gloucestershire and the junior branch of Frampton-on-Severn and later Dodington before selling this property to Christopher Codrington from the senior branch in 1700 – Christopher had made a fortune from the sugar trade in the West Indies.

From marriages made into other families by the senior branch, I can trace my genes back to royal families in England, Scotland, Wales and other European countries – as can most people who have a gateway ancestor. Mathematically everyone who is alive today is probably related to someone in the Plantagenet dynasty – if only they could find the link.

King John seems to be a key figure in my pedigree and I am related to him through at least three of his children as either 21st or 22nd great-grandfather.

Codrington MemorialIn Bristol Cathedral there is a memorial to Robert Codrington, who died in 1618, that shows the arms of some of the most significant marriages within the main branch of the family.

Thomas Codrington & Mary Kellaway (m.1535) page

Robert Codrington & Anne Stubbes (m.1595) page

Robert Codrington & Agnes Samwell (m.1674)

The arms of the Samwell family were added some time after the memorial was erected, as were those of the Bethell-Codrington family – descendants of Christopher Codrington – who restored the memorial in 1840. The pedigree of both the Samwell and Kellaway families are well documented, but the Stubbes family is a bit of a mystery and I have concentrated my research in this area, with some success.


In his 1898 Memoir of the Family of Codrington of Codrington, Didmarton, Frampton-on-Severn and Dodington page Robert Henry Codrington identified Anne Stubbes, wife of Robert, only as an Heiress and of a Norfolk family. page

Stubbes-HarringtonRecords exist of the arrangement for Robert’s marriage to Anne Stubbes and the quartering of the Stubbes family Sa. on a bend between three pheons or, as many buckles gu. are clearly visible on the memorial. From this design it is likely that the Norfolk connection is assumed – the arms are used by other branches of the family – but on the memorial these are quartered with another, unidentified design.

I.M. Roper in his 1903 Effigies of Bristol page identifies the unknown arms only by their armorial description – lozengy arg. and Sable – black diamonds on a silver background, and Robert Henry does not offer any further insight.

After much research it appears that the design on the memorial itself is incorrect – either it was added that way or repainted badly when the memorial was restored – and is that of the Harington family.

The arms shown on the memorial represent a fretty design, which was used by an older branch of the Harington family. But they should have been a fret – a single stylised knot which may have been tricky to incorporate into the quartering, as granted to John Harington of Stepney forty years earlier.

Why such a significant marriage should have been forgotten to Codrington family history is very strange, whatever the pedigree.


Anne Stubbes and Robert Codrington married in Shrivenham, Berkshire in May 1595; arrangements having been made several years earlier between their fathers Simon Codrington and William Stubbes. Nothing in this document identifies who William Stubbes was or where he came from and there has been much speculation about the pedigree of his daughter Anne, many showing her to be from the Gloucestershire branch of the family.

The location of the marriage is significant as William Stubbes and his wife Hester lived in the smaller, nearby manor of Watchfield  which did not have it’s own church. As well as Anne and Robert’s marriage, two daughters – Francis and Susan – were baptised in Shrivenham, as was customary at the time, but I cannot find a baptism for the eldest daughter Anne.

Records show that William and Hester, were living at West Mill, Watchfield page from about 1593, just before the marriage of Robert and Anne. Inventories of their property are attached to their wills from 1630 and 1639 and these match the layout of that property as it was at the time [the property has been altered but still exists]. The manor of Watchfield did not have a traditional manor house, having been owned by the nearby Abbey of Abingdon until the dissolution, so was probably managed from West Mill farm.


After they married in 1574 William and Hester lived in Westminster, London – which indicates that William may have been lawyer, as was Robert Codrington – and later lived in Stepney, where William Stubbes of Ratcliffe – perhaps a relation – had a business near the river. Possibly William was working with William of Ratcliffe for a while until he moved his business interests to Boston in Lincolnshire where he is recorded in 1594 – at about the same time William and Hester moved to Watchfield. There are also connections to Cheshire.

Eldest daughter Anne was born a year after they married and there were two other surviving daughters – Susan and Theophilia page – who had good marriages into the Tatton and Garrard families. A son “Harrington” born in 1578 seems to have died in infancy and two other daughters, Hester and Francis had also died and are not mentioned in the will of Hester. William only mentions his daughter [Susan] who had died a few years before he wrote his will but doesn’t name her specifically, or any members of his immediate family.

watchfieldWatchfield was a property inherited by William’s wife, Hester Harington page and passed to William on their marriage. In 1568 Hester is recorded with her father, John Harington, in a Common Recovery page against Watchfield manor, so that the property could be used as a dowry – a restriction placed on the property meant that it could only be passed to Hester.

In this recovery Hester is shown as the owner or Vouchee of the property having inherited it from her mother. A recovery was a legal way of removing entailments (restrictions imposed by conditions of inheritance) on a property, and was in use for several hundred years. In this case the entailment was imposed on Watchfield by her grand-father John Malte, when he passed the property to his daughter, Awdrey, in his will.

As both the Harington and Stubbes families had connections to Stepney it is likely that they knew each other and the marriage was arranged several years before Hester and William actually married in 1573. This is similar to the arrangement of their daughter Anne when she married Robert Codrington. Robert was a lawyer and his marriage to Anne Stubbes seems to have been fitted around the end of his legal training.

All accounts of Hester that I have found say that she died in 1568 or some time after – or had never existed. The pedigree of the family shows she was last know to be alive in 1568, which would have been when she was involved in the recovery of Watchfield with her father. I’m not sure anyone really looked too hard for her as she was clearly still alive – although married – and owned, or lived in the manor until her death in 1639.

William Stubbes

The will of William written in 1628, does not mention Watchfield, but he was too ill even two years before he died to sign his name and it is likely he had already transferred the manor to his grandson Thomas Tatton, son of Robert Tatton and daughter Susan. This fits with records showing Thomas and his wife Margaret were the owners about this time. page

The husband of William’s eldest daughter Anne – Robert Codrington – had died in 1618, but it is not clear why his son John did not inherit the manor. There were however some properties mentioned in Shrivenham and Watchfield in the agreement for his first marriage to Katherine Stocker, probably given by William or his parents at the time of his marriage in 1617.

William’s daughter Susan Tatton and his son-in-laws Robert Tatton and Thomas Garrard had already died by 1628 so the Witnesses to his will were his grandsons William Garrard, George and Thomas Tatton and [his servant] Johane Jay .

speech50Recent information regarding Robert Tatton makes it unlikely that William passed Watchfield to Robert and would have passed it directly to grand-son Thomas.

Robert had enticed William’s daughter Susan and married her just a few days before she was to marry another [unnamed] gentleman of great worth and reputation. Robert already had an heir from a previous marriage and William believes that Robert was not treated Susan and the children from their marriage as well as he could. page

Robert then borrowed “and embezzled” money from William, his friends and family eventually ending up in court where some of the story is told by William in his answer to the complaint.

This is essentially a case bought by Robert about money that was due to him, or promised by William that was not received, but it does give William a chance to present his own side of the story.

This deffendant [William Stubbes] by the fayer and flatteringe speches of the complainant, [Robert Tatton] 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 [Susan].

By mentioning other family members in the case, this document has also unintentionally proved that Hester Harington, William’s wife really was the daughter of John Harington and Awdrey Malte, by confirming the relationship between Hester and her [half] brother Sir John Harington of Kelson.

… this Deffendant & [the] said Sir John Harrington, this Deffendantes Brother in lawe

This seems to be the final proof that Hester is the daughter of John Harington of Stepney and Awdrey Malte.

John Malte

John Malte page was Royal tailor to King Henry VIII and a member of the Company of Merchant Tailors, so was probably quite a rich man. It seems that he received several grants of property from the king, one of these properties being the manor of Watchfield in 1541, but more significantly some of the grants were given specifically to him and his bastard daughter Awdrey.

This has led to speculation that Awdrey is more likely to be the illegitimate daughter of the king and Joanne Dingley a royal laundress, than John Malte, and that some arrangement was made between them for John to adopt Awdrey. In his will John leaves money to several good causes – including poor prisoners, maidens and road repairs – and to a foundling child left on his doorstep, so it seems unlikely that, due to his good nature, he would have refused such a request.

For the same reason I think he is unlikely to have been the father of a bastard child – despite leaving money to Awdrey’s mother, Joanne Dingley in his will. The King, however, was well known for his activities in this area.

If my estimation of the birth of Awdrey as 23 June 1532 is correct, then John could have been her father. He was appointed as King’s Tailor in October 1531 and this is about the time that Awdrey would have been conceived – but perhaps this was just one of the reasons why he was involved in this deception.

John Malte. Grant of the office of King’s tailor, with fees of 12d. a day, as enjoyed by Stephen Jasper, John Apparys, and William Hylton. Greenwich, 18 Oct. 23 Hen. VIII. [1531]

John Malte wrote his will while the king was still alive so it is thought that the wording and conditions in his will were there more to satisfy the king than anything else.

my bastard daughter begotten upon the body of Johane Dyngley”

Awdrey is specifically left the manors of Watchfield in Berkshire and Nylands in Somerset in the will of John Malte, as well as others defined in an agreement between John Malte and Sir Richard Southwell.

The manors of Kelston and St Catherine’s in Somerset – which were the only grants in which Awdrey is specifically named – were not granted until after the will was written. According to a report written about the property, the Llewellyns – the King’s tenants of St Catherine – had their lease taken away and the land granted instead to Malte.

But it is through the ownership of Watchfield manor that I have been able to confirm that Hester Harrington, who married William Stubbes, was the daughter of John Harington and Awdrey Malte. page

John Malte died in December 1546 just a month before the King and was quickly replaced as royal tailor, but his will was not proved until some time later on 7 June the following year.

John Brydgys, the King’s servant. To be the King’s tailor, vice John Malte, dec, with 12d. a day, payable from Michaelmas last. Westm., 23 Dec. 38 Hen. VIII.

Details of his burial were probably lost during the great fire in 1666 that destroyed St Augustine’s church and his actual death and burial was probably several days before the date in the court records.

It appears that John also held a second position as tailor in the Great Wardrobe. This would have brought him more business that just being the King’s tailor alone – and another 6d a day.

John Malte. To be yeoman tailor in the Great Wardrobe, vice Richard Gybson, deceased; with 6d. a day and livery. Westm., 12 Nov. 26 Hen.VIII. [1534]

The King’s Lands

On 23rd September 1546 the King granted to John Malte, and his bastard daughter, lands in Somerset perhaps as a reward for following the king’s wishes and confirming that he was Awdrey’s father in his will written two weeks earlier.

The description of Awdrey in the grant is very similar to John’s will, so could have been agreed between them so as to leave little doubt. It is very unusual for a daughter to be mentioned in a grant, especially as she also had two other sisters who are not named.

Maybe Henry suspected that he didn’t have long to live and wanted to protect his daughter from the chaos of succession following his death, so chose to disown her? His only son Edward was not a healthy child and his other – slightly more legitimate – daughters had no love for each other.

Perhaps this was prophetic considering the fate of Lady Jane Grey?

Or maybe he suspected Sir Richard Southwell of not having the best intentions for Awdrey once she was married to his illegitimate son, Richard Darcy. No doubt Henry had agreed to the marriage of Richard’s son, Richard Darcy, but perhaps he was now having second thoughts?

For whatever reason the lands were granted to John and his daughter, using the more formal version of her name Etheldreda.

John Malte, tailor, and Etheldreda Malte alias Dyngley, bastard daughter of the said John by Joan Dyngley alias Dobson. Grant, for 1,311l. 2d., of the lordship and manor of Kevelston, Soms., […]; the lordship and manor of Eston and Kateryn, Soms., the chief messuage called Katernscourte […] 400 ewes called “le yowe flocke of Charmerdon, […]. To hold to the said John Malte and Etheldreda and the heirs of the body of the said Etheldreda, with remainder to the right heirs of the said John. Del. Westm., 23 Sept. 38 Hen. VIII. [1546]

This grants the manor of Kelveston [Kelston] and the Manor of Eston and Kateryn with it’s manor house Katenscourte [St. Catherines Court] and flock of sheep for the sum of £1,311 2d [about £318,000]. page

Previously in 1544 several other Manors had been granted to Malte as a gratuity for his failtful service – Doulting, Middleton and Nyland [Andersey] in Somerset. The Malte and Harington family were also associated with the manor of Batcombe. page

John Malte, the King’s servant. Grant, in fee, for 1,824l. 16s. 8d., of the manor of Andresey alias Nylonde, Soms., which belonged to Glastonbury abbey, and all appurtenances in Batcombe beside Andresey, and all possessions of Glastonbury there; the rectory of Andresey alias Nylond, which belonged to Glastonbury mon.; all lands in Westbury, Soms., which belonged to Brewton mon.; the manor of Myddelton alias Mylton Pydymore alias Podymore Mylton, Soms., and the advowson of the rectory there, the manor of Doaltyng, Soms., and lands leased with it to Benedict Kyllygrew, now dec., by pat. 28 July 32 Hen. VIII., the rectory of Doulting, and the hamlet of Stoke, Soms., all which belonged to Glastonbury mon.; with all possessions of that mon. in Andresey alias Nylond, Batcomb juxta Andresey, Myddelton alias Mylton Pydymore alias Podymore Mylton, Doulting, Fermecombe, Boddon, Prestley, Waterlipp, Charleton, Chevelynche, Estbraddon, Heydon, Dychefurlong, and Stoke, Som. Also the advowsons of the vicarages of Andreysey alias Nylond and Doultynge, and a grove of wood within the common of Stoke, which belonged to Glastonbury. Del. Westm., 14 July 36 Hen. VIII. [1544] —S.B. (injured, signed by Westminster, Petre, Bakere, Sir Robt. Southwell, North, Moyle, Wriothesley, St. John, Ryche, Sir Ric. Southwell, Stamford and Bacon). Pat. p. 15, m. 1. page

Middleton [Milton Pudimore] and Doulton were passed to his daughter Muriel [who died shortly after her father] and her husband John Horner. Nyland [Andersey] was passed to Awdrey along with Watchfield and other manors specifically given to her and her father mentioned above.

The last entry for John in royal documents is on 17 Jan 1546/7 Lands sold by the Crown which follows on from the grant by the king the previous year.

John Malte, tailor, and Awdrye his base daughter 1,312l. 12d.

Watchfield [Wachenfelde], Uffington [Offyngton] and other properties in Berkshire were granted earlier than this on 18 May 1541

John Malt. Grant, in fee, of the reversion and rent reserved upon a 21 years’ Crown lease to Alex. Umpton, 12 March 29 Hen. VIII., of tithes of the rectory of Offyngton, Berks, which belonged to A bendon mon. Also the lordships and manors of Offyngton and Wacchenfeld, Berks, with appurtenances in Offyngton, Wacchenfelde, Blakynge alias Balkynge and Wolston, Berks, the rectory and church of Offyngton, Berks, and the rectory of the church or chapel of Wolston and the chapel of Blakynge or Balkynge; and all tithes in Offyngton, Wolston, and Blakinge, and in the manor of Hardewell, Berks, which belonged to the said monastery; the advowsons of the vicarage of Offyngton, the parish church of Wolston and the chapels of Wolston and Blakynge alias Balkinge; all which belonged to Abendon.
Also a messuage in Wacchenfelde, Berks, which belonged to Cirencester mon., and another which belonged to Braddenstok mon. Rent of 10l. 16s. 9d., with liberty to the grantee to convert to his own uses the said rectories, churches, and chapels. Subject to certain reprises. Greenwich, 9 May 33 Hen. VIII. [1541]  page

Uffington was passed to his daughter Bridget [Scutt] and Watchfield to Awdrey and other properties to Muriel and grandson John Horner.

John Malte to John Horner, jun. All his lands in Westbury, Soms., which belonged to Bruton abbey. (20th.) P. 15, m. 18. page

John seems to have done well under the king and probably made a lot of money from his position as Royal Tailor, which he seems to have invested in land and property. One of his bills is for a rather large sum of money!

John Malte for 1,824l. 16s. 4d. [£443,000]… Provided that these bills are first signed by three of the commissioners named in the said commission of 1 March 35 Hen. VIII. [1543/4]

Calculate at a rate of £1 in 1550 = £243 today page


It has been speculated that Joanne, the mother of Awdrey, was a minor noble down on her luck and she could have been the widow of James Dyngley – and therefore the daughter of Sir John Moore – or the daughter of Sir Thomas Dyngley. page But if this was the case I would have expected her to have been married off to another minor noble, and there would be no need for Awdrey to be adopted.

Although there is no specific evidence of her being a laundress [apparently there are laundry lists] she is likely to have been a domestic servant of some sort who did not have the resources to bring up the bastard child of the king. She was married off to someone named Dobson, possibly a minor palace official, but perhaps a better match than she could have otherwise expected.

It is not know how long Awdrey lived with her mother. Possibly she made the birth known to royal officials and she was married off so that she could look after the child? It may have been several years before Awdrey was “adopted” by John Malte – but likely to have been some time before he wrote his will claiming her as his child.

There was no way for the king to have passed any lands to Awdrey through her mother, Joanne, without raising suspicion so having her adopted by Malte was a good plan – he was a rich man and could afford to buy the properties made available by the king and targeted at Awdrey. This also made it possible for Awdrey to have a much better marriage than she could have otherwise had as the daughter of a servant.

Joanne is left £20 [about £5000] in the will of John Malte, maybe as some sort of compensation from the King, but I doubt very much that John had ever met Joanne Dingley.


Awdrey was probably born on St. Etheldreda’s day, 23 June – Etheldreda being the Latin version of her name. In the will of John Malte in September 1546 she was not yet 15 years old so was most likely born in 1532, a period when King Henry had tired of his first wife and was courting Anne Boleyn.

If this is the correct date then she was conceived about September 1531 – where was the king at this time? Wherever he was this is likely to be where Joanne Dingley worked and Awdrey was born. This could have been Greenwich or Windsor or any other of the royal households.

And where was John Malte? He was appointed King’s Tailor in October of 1531, so it is not impossible that he is Awdrey’s father based on her estimated birth, but the timing would be tight.

There is no evidence that Awdrey had distinctive red [Tudor] hair or resembled her younger half-sister Elizabeth, but if she was the daughter of Henry VIII then this is a possibility – why not? There is supposedly a portrait of her [and one of daughter Hester] held by the Harington family for several generations, but now in a private collection, that would have proved this theory. [isn’t there always?]

In 1546 – when John Malte wrote his will – Awdrey was betrothed to Richard Darcy, the illegitimate son of Sir Richard Southwell page, but this arrangement was broken sometime after her father’s death later that year.

Sir Richard SouthwellIn the will his trustye and welbeloved frende sir Richard Sothewell was charged by Malte to look after Awdrey’s financial affairs until she was fifteen. Maybe this is the reason that the will was not proven until June of 1547 – 6 months after John died – as this meant that Sir Richard Southwell never got a chance to be involved in Awdreys financial affairs and perhaps, for this reason he broke off the engagement between Awdrey and his son Richard.

But more likely this was because the was King now dead and had publicly declared – through John Malte’s will and the grant of lands – that Awdrey was not his daughter. Richard Southwell had been privy to the large land grants awarded to John Malte so he may have guessed that things were not quite what they seemed and had other plans for Awdrey.

Both documents are very clearly worded as to the pedigree of Awdrey and this was probably devised by some trusted court official and agreed between John and the King, with a sum of money being paid to Joanne by John Malte in his will – a payment directly from the King may have given the wrong impression.

Etheldreda Malte alias Dyngley, bastard daughter of the said John by Joan Dyngley alias Dobson

Audrey Malte my bastard daughter begotten upon the body of Johane Dyngley and now wife of one Dobson

Some additional properties were granted two weeks after the will was written, and only Awdrey could inherit them. These are probably the best of the manors – Kelston and St Katherine’s Court near Bath in Somerset – where Awdrey and John Harington and their descendants actually lived – and possibly where Awdrey died.

But were these properties intended for the Southwell family? Were they part of an unofficial marriage agreement and the reason why they were specifically aimed at Awdrey after the will had been written?

Some sources say that Henry had declared Awdrey as his daughter – or at least had not denied it – and the agreement between Henry and John Malte was a very public way of correcting that mistake, assuming that he had good reasons for not wanting it to be known that Awdrey was his daughter.

Alison Weir in her book Anne Boleyn:the Great and Infamous Whore talks about Awdrey and the rumours and quotes the following:

In 1656 Jonathon lesley, Deputy Clerk, wrote to a descendant of [John] Harington describing how “the great King Henry the VIIIth matched his darling daughter to John Harington, and though a bastard, dowered her with the rich lands of Bath Priory” he added that his information came from Sir Andrew Markham, a descendant of Harington’s second wife.

This cannot be true as, at the time of his death, King Henry would have been aware that Awdrey was due to marry the son of his friend Sir Richard Southwell. Perhaps the lands he had granted to Awdrey and her father were intended for the Southwell family and not John Harington, who she married instead?

John Malte died in December of 1546 and Henry VIII early the following year leaving Awdrey without a father – one way or another. She probably lived with her mother or elder sister Bridget and husband John Scutt – who were the executors of the will – until she married.

John Harington

John Harington page was born in Stepney, the son of Alexander, in about 1525 [some say 1517] but little is known of his immediate family.

The Tudor Place website has a birth date of either 1525 or 1529 and a christening date of 21st April in either of those years – I think the earlier is more likely. However this website also associates John of Stepney much too closely with his cousin Sir John Harington of Exton, the term cousin not being quite as precise as we use it today.

In 1568 John of Stepney applied for a confirmation of arms which was granted, but this only confirms that he is descended from a younger son of the Harington’s of Brierley – possibly James before he took holy orders. This confirmation led to later attempts to regain property and titles by John’s son, Sir John Harington page, that ultimately failed.

Why – and under what circumstances – social climber John Harington married the daughter of a tailor and a servant is still unclear but he would have certainly seen the benefits of the match as far as her dowry was concerned. His branch of the Harington family had been impoverished after the wars of the roses and John was crawling his way back into royal favour.

John had studied music composition under Thomas Tallis and his work “Black Sanctus” probably brought him to the attention of the king, although none of his work survives. In her novel Royal Inheritance, about the life of Awdrey, author Kate Emerson casts John as her music teacher.

John was a poet and musician and was, for a period, in the Chapel Royal where he was organist. Later he became servant to Sir Thomas Seymour which put him in the heart of royal politics at the time of Lady Jane Grey, and he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for his supposed involvement. He was devoted to princess Elizabeth and when she became Queen he was back in favour – Elizabeth becoming godmother to his son John from his second wife Isabella Markham.

Awdrey and John Harington probably married late in 1547 but it is not known exactly where or when this happened. Awdrey’s local church was St Awstyn’s besides Powles gate where her father was buried, but all records were lost in the great fire of London in 1666. [i]

[i] Leading out of St. Paul’s Churchyard at the south-east corner to Watling Street, St Augustine’s besides St Paul’s gate burnt down in the Fire and was not rebuilt, although for many years after the entrance into the churchyard at this point was still known by this name. page

speech50John Harington of Stepney is known as The Poet or Treasurer. However it appears that this second soubriquet is incorrect and he was never treasurer to the king’s camps and buildings  – that post was filled by his distant cousin Sir John Harington of Exton, with whom he is often confused.

John of Stepney would have been too young to have held such a position under Henry VIII and he had no background in the skills required of a treasurer. On the other hand John Bradford was a skilled auditor and much has been written about him as a reformer and martyr, but in all the accounts I have seen he is employed by Sir John Harington of Exton, treasurer to the king’s camps and buildings – even Wikipedia says this, but then incorrectly links to John Harington of Stepney!

This position is confirmed in official court papers, although the job title varies.

Sir John Haryngton, treasurer of the wars, that Counsell should deliver him 6,000l. towards payments by Hertford’s warrant [11 April 1546]

His grandson and great-grandson were also named John – first and second Barons Exton – and they all share a common ancestor with John Harington of Stepney:

Robert Harington of Badsworth (1458-1497).

Robert was the grandfather of Sir John of Exton and the great-grandfather of John Harington of Stepney. page

John Harington of Stepney, The Poet (1525?-1582)

Sir John Harington of Kelston, The Writer (1561-1612)

Sir John Harington of Exton, (Treasurer) (1503-1589)

Sir John Harington of Kelston was the son of John of Stepney, author of nugae antiquae and inventer of the first flushing toilet.

The Seymours

King Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547 and was succeeded by his sickly nine year old son, Edward VI who was the son of Henry and his third wife Jane Seymour. Two of Edward’s uncles, Thomas and Edward Seymour, were on the council of regency, although it was Edward, duke of Somerset who was made protector of the young king, much to the annoyance of his younger brother.

Thomas, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley married the King’s widow, Catherine Parr, in April or May of 1547 – just a few months after Henry had died. This made him an extremely rich man – even more so after the death of his wife in child-birth a few years later.

Arrangements had been made for Richard Darcy, the illegitimate son of Richard Southwell, to marry Awdrey Malte and this was probably arranged between the King and Richard, who was close to the king [he was left £200 in his will] and an ambitious man. He may even have been privy to who she was – officially or unofficially – having been at several meeting where land was granted to her father, John Malte.

After the death of Henry, the Southwell fortunes changed as the Seymour family took charge of the young King Edward – it seems there was little love lost between the families. If the Seymours were aware that Awdrey was the daughter of Henry then they may have wanted to keep their options open and marry her to someone of their choosing. Or at least remove Awdrey, and her property, from the Southwell’s influence – maybe out of spite if nothing else.

The delay in publishing John Malte’s will may have been to ensure that Richard Southwell had no claims on Awdrey’s finances – as detailed in the will – and to find an alternative suitor. Thomas Seymour may have suggested his young servant John Harington perhaps as a reward for his loyal service [he would gain a lot of property from the arrangement] but also because Thomas trusted him. It is possible that John and Awdrey had never met at this point, but once the Southwells were out of the picture things could be put in motion.

The will was proved in June 1547 when either Awdrey was fifteen or the Southwells had pulled out of the marriage arrangement. John Harington bought two manors in Gloucestershire in exchange for an annuity [possibly these were Thornbury Park and Oldebury, but these have been associated with James Harington, of Rutland] in September so he would not come to the marriage totally empty handed and it is likely they married later the same year.

It was about this time that John Harington first appeared in parliament representing Pembroke, which, it appears, he never visited. The History of Parliament is in little doubt that this appointment was due to his links with the Seymours.

It is possible that as joint chancellor of North Wales the earl had obtained for him his annuity out of the lordship of Denbigh: as the Protector Somerset [Edward Seymour] the earl favoured his purchase of two Gloucestershire manors. This connexion with Seymour and the Protector doubtless explains Harington’s first known appearance in Parliament, at the beginning of Edward VI’s reign. page

The marriage was probably more of a political arrangement than a love match and several years later John began writing poems to Isabella Markham, another of princess Elizabeth’s attendants, who would later become his second wife. John and Awdrey did have one daughter, Hester but Awdrey became ill afterwards and there were no more children. She may have died in early 1559 having first witnessed the coronation of Queen Elizabeth but it may have been earlier – even in childbirth – possibly in St Catherine’s Court in Somerset or the couple’s property in London.


Both John and Awdrey were in the Tower of London in 1554 – John for his part in the Lady Jane Grey affair  [or the Wyatt rebellion] and Awdrey as an attendant to Queen Elizabeth during her confinement there by her sister Mary.

I do not think that Hester was born until after her parents were released from the tower, but she could have been conceived there. I estimate Hester to have been born late 1554 based on her being about 21 when she married and being 14 when she was involved in the recovery of Watchfield, and this fits with the period when either one or both of her parents were in the tower of London.

Her birth could have been as late as 1556 is she married at 18, but then she would only have been 12 during the recovery of Watchfield and could not have been presented as the owner [Vouchee] of the property – fourteen being the age of adulthood at that time.

The date of the recovery is Michaelmas 10-11 Eliz [1568] so would have been some time between September and December of that year. If Hester was conceived early in 1554, then she would have been born by the end of that year and  therefore could legally be the owner of Watchfield during the Michaelmas period of 1568.

It has been speculated that Awdrey was placed as an attendant to princess Elizabeth, by their half-sister Mary, when Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower in  March 1554 but I have not yet found any evidence of this.

As the bastard daughter of a tailor and a servant there is no reason at all for Awdrey to have been included in Elizabeth’s retinue – a position usually given to those of noble birth. This is perhaps a equally compelling reason to believe that Awdrey was the daughter of Henry VIII along with the grants of property that were aimed at her through her father.

There is plenty of evidence to show that Hester is the daughter of John Harington and Awdrey Malte through documents and wills relating to the inheritance of the manor of Watchfield, and whether Awdrey was the daughter of King Henry VIII may one day be proved either way using DNA. There is certainly some evidence to support this theory and several historians believe it to be more likely than not.

If this is true then members of the Codrington, Tatton and Garrard families can claim to be descended from the Tudor dynasty and Henry would be my 12th great grandfather. There also seems little doubt that we are also related to Joanne Dingley – whoever she was.

speech50Having investigated the pedigree of Hester for some time now, I am now fairly convinced that her mother, Awdrey Malte, is the daughter of Henry VIII.

John Malte was appointed King’s Tailor in October of 1531 and, if Awdrey was born in June the following year, he could possibly be her father. Perhaps this is one of the reasons – other than his good nature – that he was involved in this deception – if he could be proved to be somewhere else it would not be believable?

I think it unlikely that the first thing he did after taking up his new post was to go looking for a young laundress! I also think that if he was the father of Awdrey he would simply have called her his daughter and not mentioned her being a bastard, and probably no need to mention her mother or her change of name.

The similarities of the wording in John’s will and the grant of lands are too obvious to ignore. The inclusion of the “disclaimer” in both documents seems to be more indicative of a hidden truth than anything else.

It is also interesting that Awdrey is specifically granted property [jointly with her father] in the first place. But this does seem like a good way of declaring the details of her parentage in official court documents without actually making a specific declaration.

It would be even more difficult – in my option – to explain some of these events if she was proved not to be the daughter of King Henry VIII.


King Henry VIII (1491-1547) = Joanne Dingley = John Malte (d.1546)

    Awdrey “Etheldreda” Malte (1532-1559) = John Harington (1525-1582)

        Hester Harington (1554-1639) = William Stubbes (1550-1630)

           Anne Stubbes (1574-1650) = Robert Codrington (1574-1618)

           Susan Stubbes (1582-1624) = Robert Tatton (1586-1636)

           Theophilia Stubbes (1584-1643) = Thomas Garrard (1575-1617)

Robert Tatton was related to the Tatton family of Wythenshaw in Cheshire and Thomas Garrard was of Inkpen in Berkshire, descended from the Garrard family of Lambourn, Berkshire.

Why John Malte?

Why did the King choose John Malte to adopt his illegitimate daughter?

To start with John was married with several daughters and step-daughters in his household, so another one would not be too out of place.

He was appointed to his position as Royal tailor at just about the right time to potentially be Awdrey’s father.

He was probably quite close to the King, even counted as a friend, and would probably have had ample opportunity to discuss the arrangements in private.

The king would have know of John’s good nature – as shown in his will where he leaves money to several good causes and a foundling child – and may have taken advantage of this.

He was quite a rich man in his own right – certainly after being Royal tailor – and the grant of lands would not be too out of place, although the number of grants may have raised a few eyebrows.

All things considered he was the perfect candidate.

But there are also questions.

Why was there so much effort to deny that Awdrey was Henry’s daughter, or at least for John Malte to claim her as his?

There was no real need to add the statement about Awdrey’s illegitimacy or the name of her mother in either the will or the later grant of land?

The King had claimed at least one other bastard child – although this was a boy, the daughter of Elizabeth Blount – so what was so different about Awdrey?


Considering that both Mary and Elizabeth were, at one time or other, declared illegitimate, why would Awdrey not also be in line to the throne? Well probably because she was genuinely a bastard and not declared so legally for the convenience of others. And perhaps simply because she was the daughter of a servant and not from a noble family like the Boleyns.

The Harington and Stubbes family were both from Stepney so the marriage of Awdrey’s daughter, Hester to William Stubbes was likely to have been a simple arrangement between two local families. But the Stubbes family also had connections to Sir Francis Walsingham page, Queen Elizabeth’s principal secretary and spymaster, and maybe the marriage was arranged between William and Hester in order for Walsingham to maintain control of a potential heir to the throne, the grand-daughter of King Henry – especially as Elizabeth appeared unwilling to marry.

Walsingham became principal secretary in December 1573 and William and Hester married a year later, but of course this is probably just a coincidence. page


This document is a summary of my investigation into a small part of my family tree and is likely to change as more information becomes available. I am still awaiting documents from the National archives but for now the pedigree of William Stubbes of Watchfield continues to be a mystery – if anything I have too much information!

As the arms on the memorial to Robert Codrington were used by the Stubbes families of both London and Norfolk it is likely that there is a connection to the Norfolk family somewhere, but so far I have not found one despite rebuilding the Stubbes of Norfolk page family tree. At the moment it is looking more likely that William’s father [William of Congleton, I think] was from Cheshire although he also lived in Berkshire.

Most of the information in this document can be found in more detail in other posts.

speech50I have used the modern spelling of Harington – with one R – as much as possible, however many of the original documents or transcriptions I have referenced use Harrington.

Chris Sidney 2015





More about Hester

Farmer BullshotThe will of Hester Stubbes gives valuable information about her children but very little about herself. Was Hester really the daughter of John Harington and Awdrey Malte?

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 Story

Awdrey [Etheldreda] was the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII and Joanne Dingley, a launderess, adopted by the King’s Tailor, John Malte, and the recipient of several grants of land by the king.

Awdrey married John Harington of Stepney and they had a daughter, Hester, who inherited the manor of Watchfield from her mother, married William Stubbes and lived at Watchfield until she died in 1639.

At least that is the story, but how much is actually true is unclear.

Some accounts say that Awdrey died childless and others that she died in labour.

Others that she lived to see Queen Elizabeth on the throne in 1559, but died soon afterwards, allowing her husband, John Harington, to marry Isabella Markham within a few months.

The pedigree of the Harrington family shows a daughter, Hester, alive in 1568 so it makes sense that the same Hester that owned the manor of Watchfield is the one who married William Stubbes a few years later.

But was the pedigree based on actual information from the family or on other records?

St Catherines CourtOnly some of the lands granted to Awdrey and her father John Malte were directed specifically at Awdrey and the heirs of her bodie possibly as a dowry for her marriage.

St Katherines Court “Katerncourte” was one of those that was actually granted by the king to Awdrey and her father, but it is unlikely that she ever lived here as her father died a few weeks after the land was granted.

John Mault Taylor and to Ethelreda Mault also Dyngley bastarde daughter – and to the heirs of the body of Ethelreda.

Many other properties – including Uffington and Watchfield – appear to have been granted to Malte, who was quite a rich man in his own right.

Watchfield, in particular, was passed to Awdrey by her father in his will, just before her arranged marriage to Richard Southwell.

In 1541 it [Watchfield] 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 [Darcy] Southwell, bastard son of the latter.

The marriage never happened so perhaps Richard Southwell called off the marriage, after the death of the king, because she would not longer be as important or useful?

John Harington seems to have inherited most of the land from Awdrey and this has lead to the belief that his daughter Hester had died – or never existed – but perhaps it was simply that little of the land was actually given directly to Awdrey “and the heirs of her bodie” in the first place?

The Will of John Malte from 10 September 1546 shows that Awdrey was not yet 15 so she was probably born about 1532 and not as early as 1528 – or 10 Nov 1518 as shown in some family trees – and probably didn’t marry until 1547.

Also I will that my trustye and welbeloved frende sir Richard Sothewell knight shall from and after my deceas take p[er]ceyve receyve and Levye toward[es] the bringing upp of the said Awdrey Malte the yerely Rent[es] Revercions Issues and profit[es] of and in all the said Manors Londes Ten[emen]t[es] and other the premisses which I have by any meanes or con-veyannce appoynted and gevyn to the said Awdrey in forme aforsaid unto suche tyme as the said Awdrey shall com[m]e to the age of Fyvetene yeres

As John Malte died a few moths later he may not have been in good health and the age of Awdrey is likely to be fairly accurate if he was expecting to die soon.

Who is Hester?

Another suggestion is that Awdrey died childless and that Hester was a niece of John Harrington.

Hester married William Stubbes in 1574 and the record we have of Hester as “vouchee” in 1568 was a recovery action against the manor of Watchfield probably in preparation for her marriage, but more likely to enable other properties to be passed to her father.

This was the record that was used in the Harington pedigree as proof that Hester – as the daughter of John and Awdrey – was alive at this time, and this does appear to be the case.

Other investigations have now shown that Hester was the daughter of John and Awdrey and not a niece.

[See Signs of Recovery]

ratcliffeThe Stubbes and Harington families both owned properties in Stepney, London so would have known each other, and there were also other connections through Sir Francis Walsingham.

William Stubbes of Ratcliffe – who appears to be a merchant – seems to be related to William Stubbes of Watchfield, if not his father then perhaps an uncle.

But I would have thought that John Harington – a social climber – would have gone for a much higher profile match for his daughter than William Stubbes.

[See The Fittleton Manor Mystery]

The will of Hester

West Mill Farm HouseThe probate record and inventory for Hester is held in Reading at the Berkshire records office.

I now have a transcription of her will and although it gives useful information about her children it reveals nothing about her pedigree.

She was still living at West Mill in Watchfield when she died but no longer owned the manor which was transferred to Thomas Tatton, her grandson, after the death of William in 1630, or possibly before.

She confirms her eldest daughter as Anne Marshe widow, which shows that Anne’s second husband Ralph Marshe was deceased by 1639 – her first husband was Robert Codrington, who died in 1618.

I give and bequethe unto my eldest daughter Anne Marshe widowe the som[m]e of twelve pence and to each of her Children twelve pence a peece.

Youngest daughter Theophilia first married Thomas Garrard of Inkpen, Berkshire and her children from that marriage are identified in the will – he died in 1617.

She remarried “Cowper” at some point – as she is named in the will – but I can find no record of the marriage or any further children.

I give & bequeathe unto my daughter Cowper one Fether bed, one payre of sheetes, one Rugg & my laste made gowne, and to her sonne Will[ia]m Garrard twelve pence, to her sonne Roger Garrard tenn powndes to her daughter Marye tenn powndes and to her sonne John five powndes, & I will that my daughter Cowper shall have all those garment[es] & Clothes w[hi]ch are in her owne truncke w[hi]ch standeth att my bed[es] feete.

Susan married Robert Tatton and had at least two sons, Thomas and George.

I give unto everye one of my daughter Tattons Children twelve pence a peece.

[See The Will of Thomas Tatton]


Initially I had Hester’s birth as about 1548 but I do not think this is correct having now seen the will and other evidence.

John Malte died in December 1546 shortly after writing his will, and there is no mention of Awdrey being married at this time. She was betrothed to Richard the illegitimate son of Richard Southwell, but this arrangement was formally broken sometime after December 1546 when John died.

Why John Harington married the daughter of a tailor and a laundress is still a bit a mystery, unless he was aware of who she really was – or how much property she was endowed with.

His branch of the Harington family had been impoverished after the wars of the roses and John was crawling his way back into favour – and had done a pretty good job so far under Henry and in the service of Sir Thomas Seymour. But he was a poet and a romantic – and quite often in trouble – and perhaps he was in love with Awdrey, at least for a while.

And after all she was an attendant to princess Elizabeth – a position for which she had no real credentials – and would be in good standing when Elizabeth became queen.

If Hester’s birth was as early as 1548 then she would then have been 20 years old when she is known to have been alive in 1568. This seems a little old to be sorting out property for a dowry and it is more likely that she was about 15 – as her mother had been when she was engaged – and therefore born after 1553.

This means she would have married at the much more reasonable age of 21 [and not 26].

In March 1554 Awdrey was in the Tower of London with Elizabeth and I think Hester was born sometime after this period. Her husband, John was also in the tower – in relation to the Lady Jane Grey affair – and wrote about his wife saying:

My wife is her servant, and doth but rejoice in this our misery, when we look with whom we are holden in bondage.

Hester is likely to have been born after Elizabeth was released from the tower – possibly as late as 1556 if she was only 18 when she married – but then she would have only been 12 during the recovery of Watchfield in 1568 – it doesn’t seem likely.

Awdrey does not seem to have been an attendant of Elizabeth’s before the Tower (or after) and it is suggested by Kate Emerson that she was placed there by her other half-sister, Mary but I doubt this would have been the case if she was pregnant or just given birth.

On the 19th May 1554, the future Elizabeth I was released from the Tower and escorted to Woodstock, where she was put under house-arrest so it is possible that Awdrey may also have been with Elizabeth as late as October 1554, during her period of house arrest.

John Harington, was held in the tower until January of the following year and if Awdrey was pregnant this would explain why she is not recorded as an attendant of the Queen after this period.

The portrait of Hester as a young child seems to have existed, but is now in a private collection and it is not possible to investigate if this is indeed genuine.

Some excellent detective work was done on a portrait thought to be of princess Elizabeth which was later proved to be Mary Rogers, the wife of John Harington’s son, Sir John (the writer) so we cannot take the identity of the sitter for granted.

speech50Another piece of new evidence regarding Watchfield comes from a document of complaint between Hester Stubbes and Richard Tomelyns dated 1630.

This was shortly after the death of her husband William Stubbes, but refers to other documents dating from 1612 and 1617 – even mentioning Robert Codrington (Hester’s son in law) who died in 1618.

Hester is the complainant in this case and in response Richard replies:

… that he Conceiveth it to be true that the Complainent is Seased of some estate of inheritance to her owne use by discent from her anncestors of and in the said Manor of Watchfeild in the said bill of Complaint mencioned …

This is all about a missing document, but it does indicates that Hester inherited land in Watchfield from her ancestors rather than it being purchased or given to her.

Linda, from Transcription Services has kindly provided the following interpretation:

The bill of complaint seems to concern the conveyance document for property ‘of and in’ the manor of Watchfield, (valued at £200 per year, so a significant property), which was given amongst other papers to the safe keeping of Richard Tomlyns at some time in the past.  Richard delivered back to Hester’s husband all the other paperwork, but later sent the conveyance to her son in law, Richard [Robert] Codringon, to be given to William.  Hester would appear to not have this document, which would be necessary to prove her ownership of the manor property, and the dispute is whether Tomlyns/Codrington or William Stubbes had it in their possession.

Robert Codrington died early in 1618 so the documents may have been misplaced at this time.

The following is an extract from Neil Maw’s excellent Watchfield Chronicles and shows more about the ownership of the manor.

The first document in what I have called the ‘Luker Papers’ is dated 17 April, 1649. It is an indenture made between Sir Humphrey Forster, Baronet of Aldermaston, Berks, and William Weekes, a Yeoman of Watchfield. There are others mentioned within the document such as William Fairthorne, Thomas Joyner, Robert Weekes the elder and Robert Weekes the younger, concerning property and land within Watchfield. The document also includes an indemnity to the new occupiers against whatever Thomas Tatton or Mrs Hester Stubbs may have agreed to previously. So, we now know that Sir Humphrey Forster was holding the Manor in 1649. Two more documents from the Luker Papers show that he was still holding it in 1650.

From this extract it seems certain that both Thomas Tatton and Hester were previously owners of the Manor, despite not being mentioned in either of their wills and of Hester “losing” ownership in a Common Recovery action of 1568.

Hester may have transferred the manor to Thomas – her grandson – sometime after the death of her husband in 1630 – probably about 1635 or earlier. Because it was not mentioned in the will of William, nine years earlier, it is possible that Hester still owned the manor in her own right – or that the manor have been transferred before the death of her husband.

Maybe the missing document [mentioned above] was what she needed in order to convey the property and that was why it took so long after her husbands death for the property to be passed to Thomas.

Thomas Tatton wrote his will in 1653 and had already sold the manor to Humphrey Forster by then, possibly due to the death of his wife, Margaret.

speech50There is little doubt that Joanne Dyngley was the mother of Awdrey Malte – and therefore my 12x great-grandmother – whoever was her father.

She has been identified as a laundress [or other servant] working in the Royal Household or possibly a minor noble down on her luck.

Some family trees assign a birth of 1472, based on a death record for a Joanne Dingley in 1567, but this cannot be correct as she would have died as Joanne Dobson, and would be far too old to have had a daughter in 1532 or to be attractive to the King (or John Malte) at the age of 60.

She could be the widow of James Dyngley (daughter of Sir John Moore) or the daughter of Sir Thomas Dyngley, but if this was the case then I would have expected her to have been married off to another minor noble, and there would be no need for Awdrey to be adopted.

Of course if Awdrey was simply the daughter of John Malte then it may have been more convenient to both parties for John to take charge of their daughter. If Joanne was just a servant – which I suspect she was – then she would probably not have the time and resources to care for a bastard daughter. John, on the other hand, was a very rich man – and a very benevolent one.

In his will he leaves provision for a foundling boy left on his doorstep and many other good causes, such as poor prisoners, and repairing the roads, and perhaps it was this good nature that made the king look to him to care for his daughter?

Joanne was married off to someone named Dobson, possibly a minor palace official, but perhaps a better match than she could have otherwise expected as a laundress.

speech50My personal observation, based on his will, is that John does not seem to have been the sort of person to have considered an affair with a servant, whereas the king’s habits in this area are quite well documented.

If John Malte was actually the father of Awdrey then I am quite proud of him even if he isn’t royalty.

Farmer BullshotI have recently found a document in the National Archives, Tatton v Stubbes page. This document is quite badly damaged and feint but it is important as it confirms the identify of Hester.

The document is between William Stubbes, Hester’s husband and son in law Robert Tatton and a large part of it is legible. Most of it is regarding money loans but it also drags other family members into the document including Bartholomew and George Stubbes and, most importantly, the reference below:

this Deffendant & [the] said Sir John Harrington, this Deffendants Brother in lawe

C 2_Jasl_T4_9 (WIDTH-1000)William is the defendant in this case and this document proves that Hester is therefore the daughter of John Harington and Awdrey Malte, and the half-sister of Sir John Harington, his son by his second wife Isabella Markham.

She could also be the grand-daughter of King Henry VIII

18 June 2015

 Chris Sidney 2015

The Will of Thomas Tatton

Farmer BullshotThomas Tatton was the grandson of William Stubbes of Watchfield and his gifts to family members in his will have been extremely useful in confirming some relationships.

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.

Thomas Tatton

Thomas [1614-1647] was the son of Susan Stubbes and Robert Tatton and the grandson of William Stubbes and Hester [Harington].

He leaves most of his estate to the three sons of his brother George, who was deceased when the will was written, and also mentions Anne, his sister in law, the widow of brother George and several other members of his extended family.

I believe that it was this Thomas, with his wife Margaret [White], who were the owners of Watchfield Manor from about 1635 following the death of his grandfather William Stubbes in 1630.

His grandmother, Hester, continued to live in property in Watchfield until her death in 1639 – likely to be West Mill farmhouse – and had some agreement with Thomas Tatton regarding this, as mentioned in later documents about the manor.

The document also includes an indemnity to the new occupiers against whatever Thomas Tatton or Mrs Hester Stubbs may have agreed to previously.

[See More about Hester]

There is no mention of a wife or children in the will of Thomas Tatton so it appears that Margaret had died by 1643.

As Thomas was from Twyning in Gloucestershire rather than Watchfield it seems he had already sold the manor, possibly after the death of his wife – there is no specific mention of the manor in his will but he did seem to have a lot of money [for which he was grateful].

By 1649 Watchfield was in the hands of  Henry Forster, Baronet.

Thomas seems to be quite a rich man and he distributed his wealth to other family members and friends, leaving most of his estate to his nephews.

There are two copies of the will in the PCC register of wills, the only difference being the year that they were signed and sealed – one has 1643 and the other 1642 – so one has been copied incorrectly.

PCC wills 1644-1654 piece 199, page 514 (dated 1643)
PCC wills 1644-1654 piece 199, page 719/720 (dated 1642)

Both documents are dated second July and probate granted on 11 Feb 1646/7 however one is followed by a Probatum record and the other by a Primo record.

Thomas Tatton probate 1

There is another – much shorter – will for Thomas Tatton dated 18th June 1643 which is quite confusing, but it does appear to be related to the same person.

Thomas Tatton probate 2

If the date of the longer of the [Twyning] will is 1643 then there is only a month between them [the Swindon will being earlier], whereas the earlier date of 1642 would mean that Thomas had removed a significant number of beneficiaries – including two of his nephews – from the shorter [Swindon] will, and I do not think this likely.

I therefore believe that the longer and more comprehensive [Twyning] will is the latest one, but in either case it still helps identify his relationships with other family members and some of his financial affairs.

The will with the earlier date [1642] is recorded in the PCC registry after the copy with the later date and the shorter [Swindon] will much earlier than either of the other two.

[more on this later]

speech50As with other wills of single gentlemen this is much more useful to a genealogist than someone who just passes all their property to their eldest son!

First I give and bequeath unto my Aunt Anne Cotherington twenty pounds.

Anne Stubbes was his aunt and the eldest daughter of William Stubbes and Hester [Harrington] and married first Robert Codrington and later Ralph Marshe.

[see An Heiress and of a Norfolk Family]

So she should have been referred to as Anne Marshe (widow) as she was in the will of her mother, Hester.

[see More about Hester]

To my kinswoman Frances Earnly thirty pounds.

Frances was the daughter of Robert Codrington and Anne [Stubbes].

She married Edward Earnley against the wishes of her father.

[see The Children of Robert Codrington].

This document shows that she was alive in 1643 and not a widow.

To my kinsman Samuel Cotherington gent twenty pounds.

Samuel was the youngest son of Robert Codrington and Anne [Stubbes].

Born about 1617 he would have been contemporary with Thomas (1614).

But I have found little information about Samuel – this reference is the only mention of him that I have found other than the court records regarding his inheritance following the marriage of his mother to Ralph Marshe.

To my kinsman Bartholomew Stubbe twenty pounds.

Bartholemew is most likely a cousin but I have found no record of any Bartholemew from about the same period – the only record being one Bartholomew Stubbes from Cheshire born in 1580.

Perhaps the Stubbes family did have connections with Cheshire and not Norfolk?

There is one reference to Bartholemew and this is in the pedigree of the Garrard family [visitation of Berkshire 1664-6] that shows Bartholomew as the father of Theophilia Stubbes instead of William.

garrard of inkpen 2

I believe that the information for this Garrard pedigree probably came partly from Thomas’ will and identified kinsman Bartholomew with a reference to his grandfather  [William] Stubbes who is not specifically named.

Also a statute of four thousand pounds with assignment from my grandfather stubbes …

speech50Another record is held in the National Archives regarding a property in London. The date of this is a bit vague (1603-1625, being the reign of James I) but this is more likely to be the correct Bartholomew.

Short title: Stubbes v Denham.

Plaintiffs: Bartholomew Stubbes, Isabel Stubbes his wife, John Stubbes and Mary Stubbes.

Defendants: Richard Denham and Thomas Ockould.

Subject: messuage called the Herne [the Heron inn ?] in the parish of St Clement Danes, Middlesex.

To my cousin William Garrett of Inkpen in the county of Berks, gent ten pounds

William was his cousin, the son of Thomas Garrard and Theophilia [Stubbes]

He was probably a lawyer as several important documents are “in his hands”, in particular one relating to a statute of four thousand pounds from his [Thomas’] grandfather.

To Anne Tatton, widow my sister in law fifty pounds

Anne was the widow of his brother George.

I give and bequeath unto Theophilia Cooper widow the sum of twenty pounds.

Theophilia [Stubbes] was his aunt, the daughter of William Stubbes and Hester [Harington] and the mother of William Garrard from her first marriage to Robert Garrard.

Her first husband had died by 1617 and she had remarried and was referred to as my daughter Cowper in the will of Hester Stubbes in 1639.

However in this will she was once again a widow.

The Swindon Will

This older – and much shorter – will was written on 17 June 1643 and showed Thomas Tatton to be of Swindon, Wiltshire.

 PCC wills 1644-1654 piece 197 page 41.

Possibly this will was ignored in favour of the later version and it does appear that this is the will of the same Thomas Tatton – but both wills were granted probate, which is most unusual.

Some of the same people are mentioned – his nephew George “sonne of my brother George Tatton late of Swindon” being the main beneficiary, but no mention of his other two nephews.

William Garrard is also mentioned in relation to a bond and articles of agreement:

…  being in William Garrets hand of Inkpen in the countie of berkshire

Also mentioned are Richard Franklin and John Fisher, his overseers & executors, who are left five pounds each in both wills.

Perhaps this first will was hastily written following the death of his brother George, and he had more time later for a more comprehensive version, after moving to Gloucestershire?

There is no indication that he was particularly ill, as seen in some other wills.

I can find no birth record of his nephew John Tatton, but the youngest nephew Thomas was born in April 1642 and eldest George in 1635.

Fower Thousand poundes

This sum of money is mentioned in both wills although in a slightly different context.

In the longer will it is mentioned in relationship to Thomas’ grandfather William Stubbes.

Also a Statute of Fowre Thousand Pounds with Assignement from my Grandfather Stubbes to my Lord of Dorsett in trust for my benefitt doth remayne in the hands of John Bramsted of Fullers Rents neere Grayes Inn London with other writeings concerninge lands in Flyntshyre.

But in the shorter version the name of Humphrey Forster is associated with this amount.

He was the next owner of Watchfield so it seems this money is related in one way or another to the sale of the manor.

There is a bond of Fower Thousand poundes and Arti[c]les of agreement betweene Sir Humfry Foster and my selfe lyeing in William Garretts hand of Inkpen in the Countie of Berks gent[leman] All other writings lyeth in John Bumsteds handes in Fullers Rent[es] in London …

One of these documents is saved with William Garret [Thomas’ cousin] while the other is with John Bramsted – perhaps one of the wills is in error as to who had which document?

William Garrett of Inkpen, and John Bramsted of Gray’s Inn are mentioned in both wills – with varying spellings – but clearly they are the same two gentlemen.

Today the equivalent amount would be about £480,000 [i] and I think this amount can only be directly related to Watchfield Manor, and that both wills are talking about the same document.

[i] Calculate at a rate of £1 in 1625 = £120 today.

Three Thousand Pounds

Another amount of £3000 is only mentioned in the Twyning will.

The bond and articles whereby the three thousand pounds with that parte of the interest is due unto mee by the said Mr Alexander, and Mr Hugh Popham doth nowe remayne in the hands of the within named William Garrett.

There is a document in the National Archives relating to William Stubbes and Sir Francis Popham that may shed some more light on this – Alexander was the son and heir of Sir Francis.

Plaintiffs: William Stubbes.
Defendants: Sir Francis Popham kt.
Subject: manor of Wanborough, Axford, Chilton, Wiltshire.

The History of Parliament has a biography of Sir Francis Popham who died in 1644.

Administration of his estate was granted to his son, Alexander, on 24 Apr. 1647.

This debt is not mentioned specifically in the shorter Swindon will.

speech50It would be tempting to assign the shorter will to an older Thomas, who also had a brother George [who had died] and a nephew named George.

The Swindon will does not mention William Stubbes in relation to the £4000 but implies a direct connection with the money: betweene Sir Humfry Foster and my selfe.

Sir Humphrey Foster purchased the Manor of Watchfield from Thomas.

If Thomas of Swindon was the father of Thomas of Twyning then why is his son not mentioned in the will and money left to his nephew George?

And if he is unrelated or a cousin why are there so many similarities?

Having an earlier and shorter will is not a problem – what is a problem is that both of them seemed to have been granted Probate.

Administration was granted to Anne Tatton [widow of brother George] for the Swindon will on 1st July 1646 and eight months later for the Twyning will.

On 11 Feb 1646/7 administrator was granted to William Turberville the named executor.

Robert Tatton

Robert was probably the elder brother of Thomas and wrote his will on 1st Sep 1638

… being sick and weake of body but of good and perfect mind and memory …

Probate was granted just a few day later on the 7th September.

PCC wills 1624-1643 piece 177, page 945 (dated 1638)

In this will, available in the National Archives, he leaves property in Flintshire, inherited from his father [also Robert] who probably died 1624 in Southwark, London.

Flintshire is also mentioned in the will of Thomas in 1643 as a document held by John Bramsted, and no sons or grandsons are mentioned, so we can assume, for the moment, that this is the same Thomas mentioned in the will and Robert is therefore also the son of Robert and Susan.

… in the hands of John Bramsted of Fullers Rents neere Grayes Inn London with other writeings concerninge lands in Flyntshyre.

As Thomas is the only brother mentioned in the will it appears that George had died before it was written in 1638 but we also know that the youngest son of George was born in 1642 so this cannot be correct.

Robert was not married, or at least does not mention a wife, and had no children and the only other name mentioned in his will is Ralph Beeling.

One Ralph Beeling died in 15 Oct 1645 in St. Andrew, Holborn, London.

It appears, however, that Ralph was a woman …

Ralph Beling burial record

Ralph Beling alias Hatton [perhaps Tatton] a woman died in Mary Pecke’s house Widow in Cussitory Alley in Chancery Lane on 12th buried 15th.

In his will Robert says he is …. indebted to Ralph Beeling of London, widdow …

So perhaps she was house-keeper or a nurse as Robert was a sick man?

But her burial notice indicates she may have been more than that if she was using the name Tatton at some point.

Wythenshawe Connection

Because of the connection to Flintshire it is possible that Robert, the father of Thomas and wife of Susan Stubbes, was from the Wythenshawe Tatton family.

He would have been born in Northenden [now part of Manchester] the second son of Robert Tatton and Eleanor Warren – elder brother William inheriting the Wythenshawe estate and titles.

[see Tatton v Stubbes for updated information]

Robert is shown to be alive in 9 James I [1611] in the pedigree of the Tatton family, and no other conflicting information provided so he could easily have been the Robert who was married to Susan Stubbes.

He was probably born in 1586 with elder brother William born September 1585 [there is a baptism record for this] – his parents were married 22 October 1581 [see below] so records of William being born in the same year may be incorrect as this is dated 15 September 1581.

So being seised, the said William, by indenture bearing date 22 Oct , 23 Elizabeth, on the marriage of his son & heir apparent, Robert Tatton, with Eleanor daughter of John Warren of Poynton.

It does seem that there is a few years between the marriage and the baptism of William in 1585, so possibly this record is either incorrect or the first William had died. The first daughter Elizabeth was born 1587 so Robert can only have been born in 1586 or after 1587 which seems a little late. But if we assume the earlier date for William then he could have been born as early as 1582 – which is the same year as Susan, otherwise she would have been several years older.

Another pedigree from the History of the County of Cheshire shows a different baptism date in the family tree for William, but no marriage date for his father, Robert and Eleanor Warren.

tatton of Withenshaw

Another investigation is looking at other possibilities.

Chris Sidney 2015

The Children of Robert Codrington

bullshot bulletThe family of Robert and Anne Codrington are depicted as a group of mourners on the base of the memorial to Robert in Bristol Cathedral. There are supposed to be 17 children but is this the correct number?

Codrington MemorialRobert Codrington, 9x great-grandfather, died on 17th February 1618/19 in the precinct of Bristol Cathedral at the age of just 46. [i]

“… being somewhat crased in Bodie, but in moste perfect sence and mynde.”

His will leaves money to his children but does not specifically mention the names of his younger sons, only his daughters and the eldest son John.

Anne, his widow, remarried in 1626 [to a man 20 years her junior], and there are a number of court cases regarding inheritance at about this time.

… Anne married and took to husband one Ralph Marshe, gentleman, whom she brought in marriage very great advancement, howbeit he, thirstinge after his owne profitt, neglected the children of Anne, and sought to abridge them of their portions and Annuities bequeathed to them …

These cases have provided some additional information that has helped to identify the children – in particular the sons – of Robert and Anne Codrington.

With the details of the court cases, the transcription of the will and all the additional detail in the memorial you would think that it would be easy to identify all the family members correctly but it appears that this is not the case and it just makes things even more confusing.

[i] The funeral of Robert and the memorial and tomb in Bristol Cathedral cost £32 in 1619 which would be about £4400 today – pretty good value for money.


Robert was born about 1573, the eldest son of Simon Codrington of Codrington, Wapley and Didmarton.

He attended Winchester College and then Magdalen College at Oxford, matriculating on 9 Feb 1587/88 at the age of 14.

After leaving Oxford in 1591 he was admitted to Grey’s Inn to train as a lawyer.

The Oxford record, from which these dates are taken,  also says that he is “perhaps father of the next named [Robert] and of John 1605″ showing that this record is by no means certain, especially as the date for John is also incorrect.

Provision was made in 1593 [i] for his marriage to Anne Stubbes and they married in Shrivenham, Berkshire [now Oxfordshire] two years later.

The family lived in Bristol, in a house close to the Cathedral – that was probably destroyed in the riots of 1831 – and this is also where Robert died: a house was remembered in the area with stained glass bearing the Codrington arms in the windows. [2]

[i] RHC shows this date as 1583 – 10 years earlier – in order to fit in with the birth of John, Robert’s eldest son that was incorrectly calculated from the Oxford University records as 1590 instead of 1600.

This meant that he also never found the correct marriage record for Robert and Anne in 1595.

He had identified the correct birth of John [confirmed by the will of his grand-father] in his earlier work [3] but then changed his mind in [2] presumably based only on the Oxford record.


IMG_4932-4 (WIDTH-1000)On his elaborate memorial in Bristol Cathedral [at the east end of the north aisle of the choir], below the two main figures of Robert and Anne, there is a frieze of mourners.

There are 7 kneeling male figures on the left and 7 female figures on the right.

One of these female figures is described as “a curious effigy of two figures representing twins” [1] which makes 8 daughters alive when Robert died.

There are also two prone figures representing children who died in infancy – the names of these two are not known.

The Latin inscription below the memorial [i] – mentions 9 daughters and 8 sons, assuming that all the figures in the frieze are children, but this cannot be fully reconciled with evidence from the will of Robert or any of the subsequent court records.

One way to make the number add up is to forget about the frieze being a group of mourners and view it just as a family group – the two central figures being Robert and Anne themselves.

IMG_4933-1 (WIDTH-1000)The two main figures on the frieze are dressed in a similar manner to the larger ones of Robert and Anne above – the male figure in particular – and all the other sons are dressed in cloaks.

The male also appears to have a full beard and John the eldest son would only have been 18 at this time, so if this is Robert then it must also be Anne which makes the number of daughters and sons identified in other sources, as correct.

If the main female figure is Anne then the next two are twin daughters Elizabeth and Anne which also fits in with the will where they are “elder daughters”, otherwise this leaves one daughter unnamed in the will.


A plaque above the memorial shows that the memorial was moved and restored by the Bethel Codrington family in 1840, which included the repainting of the crests.



IMG_4931-3 (WIDTH-1000)

“This memorial bird damages. And restored. [With loving care] Bethel Codrington Baronet.”

I was not able to translate PIE CURAVIT – Google says “sweet cured” which is clearly not correct!

PIA CURAVIT translates as “loving care” which I have assumed is closer to the truth.

The Latin inscription below the tomb may be original and mention the 9 daughters (only 7 are mentioned in the will) and 8 sons of which only 6 are known by name.

As the tomb was erected after the death of Robert it should have reflected all the children who were alive at the time, however this may not be the case.

IMG_4936-8 (WIDTH-1000)

To the most noble Lord Robert Codrington, of Codrington in the county of Gloucester, renowned by the representations of his friends, and highly respected for his fidelity and uprightness of conduct. He was free’d from life’s prison February 14th 1618 aged 46. His excellent wife lady Anna Codrington begat him 8 sons and 9 daughters. In consequence of her tender affection and respect for him, she erected this tomb and monument.

One way to interpret this is that ALL the children of Robert and Anne are shown and not just those that were alive when Robert died.

The two prone figures could be those that died at birth rather than as infants and several of the others may have died before Robert.

If there are 9 girls then at least one of them had died in addition to the prone figure – as there were no mention of twins in the will it would seem reasonable to assume that it was one of the twins that died.

Or possibly it was the eldest (first-born) and the twins are Elizabeth and Anne, as these two are named together at one point.


IMG_4933-5 (WIDTH-1000)

The will of Robert identifies his eldest son as John, born 1600, but he also mentions his six younger sons.

This makes 7 sons, all of who were alive when Robert died in 1618.

[See also I, Robert]

In the will Robert mentions his daughters Elizabeth and Anne before the six younger boys.

 “The two elder daughters are to have £20 a year each until marriage and all are to be brought up by their mother. The six younger sons are to have £10 apiece yearly for meat, drink and apparel, with good education.” [2]

If we accept that the main female figure is Anne then this makes the next figure – the twins – as these two daughters but if the main figure is the oldest daughter, Elizabeth, then that makes Anne one of the twins – and the other must be dead, as no twins are mentioned in the will.

Robert and Anne were married in 1595 and eldest son John born in 1600 which leaves 5 years in which other children could have been born, so some of the daughters are older than John, the eldest son.

The term “younger” could just mean younger than the two oldest girls.  John is later instructed to give £20 to the “said younger sons” within a year of the death of Robert, and it is not clear if this included John himself.

This interpretation gives a total of 14 children – 7 boys and 7 girls – and two who died in infancy, making 16 with one son unaccounted for.

If we assume the central “mourners” as Anne and eldest son John this would allow room for the missing son, Robert, but I think they are more likely to be Robert and Anne – in which case there are only six sons, including John.

To contradict this the main female character is not dressed the same as Anne, above, and is dressed the same as all the other girls – it is only the main male figure that is throwing this into confusion by being practically identical to Robert, including the armour he is wearing, unless this is simply representing John as being the heir [clone] of Robert.


IMG_4935-7 (WIDTH-1000)The right-hand side of the frieze is actually a bit scary – the girls heads slowly turn around as you go from oldest to youngest, but at least they are not spinning around.

I cannot see any other interpretation of the second image other than as twins, and because they are shown together I am assuming that they were both alive in 1619.

But there is no mention of twins in the will, in fact all seven daughters are listed individually in order.

There could be several reasons for this, including that one of the twins had already died, which is probably the most likely explanation.

If this were the case then it would make the main female figure as eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and consequently the main male figure would not be Robert but eldest son John – and six other sons, which provides its own complications.


Weepers are common on elaborate tombs of this period, but the rules about who is a weeper seem to be different for each memorial.

They are most commonly the children of the deceased but there could also be other relatives or even friends, particularly those of high standing.

What may be confusing in this case is that Anne is shown as one of the main figures but was not actually dead so she could also, technically, be shown as a weeper.

Edward Denny and weepers 1600-1 (WIDTH-1000)In this example from the tomb of Richard Stone, 1607 [St Mary’s, Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk] the boys are clearly show dressed in a similar fashion to each other, but the eldest son does not look anything like his father.

However in a description of another monument in Bristol cathedral, Sir Henry Newton of Barrs Court, 1599 …

On the left side are the two sons, the elder dressed in armour of the same type as the father’s, every detail being copied.

The description of the Codrington memorial from “Effigies of Bristol” seems to follow a similar design with the eldest son John dressed identically to his father.

Under the figures is a long, narrow panel containing small kneeling ” weepers,” viz. seventeen children; in the centre is a desk with open books, and on the right [left] are eight male figures, all kneeling except the youngest, which is lying down. The first is dressed in armour similar to the man, and the remaining ones wear long cloaks over doublet and trunk hose.

On the left [right] are Nine female figures, all kneeling except the youngest, which is lying down. Amongst them is a curious effigy of two figures representing twins. All are dressed similarly to the woman, except they have no head-dresses, the hair being elaborately braided and rolled high off the forehead.

There are several references to memorial weepers in “Effigies” and in all cases the figures are interpreted as children so this is probably correct – at least for Bristol.

The Children

We know the birth year of at least four of the sons and several of the girls.

John was born in 1600, and not 1590 as shown elsewhere [i], Christopher in 1612, Thomas in 1614 and Samuel the following year, but the dates of birth for some of the other children is uncertain.

The order of the girls and most of the boys is know, as well as all the names of those who were alive in 1619, except for one son, possibly Robert, if we assume 6 sons and John.

Daughter Joyce married in 1624 and a daughter, Anne, was born a year later – so must have been at least 18 and puts her birth as 1606 or earlier, and she is the 6th daughter which makes a lot of the girls older than most of the boys.

The girls were all left varying amounts  in the will for their marriages in specific order of age – there is no mention of twins unless these are Elizabeth and Anne, but then Elizabeth is identified as the eldest.

speech50Daughters Frances and Susan were both born in Shrivenham, Berkshire before eldest son John, so Elizabeth and Anne were also born before 1600.

1. Elizabeth £200

2. Anne £200 – died before marriage

3. Frances £100 [ii]

4. Susan £200

5. Dorothie £200 – died before marriage

6. Joyce £200

7. Marye £300 [iii]

[i] The matriculation date for John is incorrect in the transcribed Oxford records by 10 years, which makes his birth 5 years before his parents were married – he was actually born in 1600.

[ii] Robert was worried that Frances was going to marry someone “unsuitable” [which she apparently did] so held back some of her inheritance.

[iii] Mary was to be paid from money due on the death of Margaret Capell the mother of Katherine Stocker, wife of John the eldest son.

The precise order of the boys cannot be identified from the will so we have to wait until the court proceedings of 1627.

William was named specifically in a court case regarding his apprenticeship and payments made by his Mother.

Codrington V Marshe 1627

The case of [William] Codrington v Marshe is interesting as it not only gives us an idea of William’s age, but also includes information about the will from Anne herself.

William trained as a clerk for 5 years but Anne paid for his education for a year and three-quarters after the death of Robert. If he started his apprenticeship [at about age 16] then his apprenticeship began in 1620 and he was born about 1604.

The case was heard in December 1627, after William had completed his apprenticeship and was a clerk of the court in London. After this case William himself is not named again, so either his claim was no longer relevant to other cases or he had died.

In the evidence given by Anne it is specified that, at his death, Robert only had 7 daughters and not 8, and he also gave £10 each to his younger sons.

He also gave the lease of certain woods to his eldest son John, on condition he pay £20 each to the six sons of Robert – “… to Robert Codrington his six sonnes £20 apiece … “

Codrington V Marshe 1628

This case was brought by: John Codrington, Nicholas Codrington, Christopher Codrington, Thomas Codrington, Samuel Codrington, Edward Ernley and Frances his wife, Christopher Terry and Elizabeth, his wife, Susan Codrington and Mary Codrington.

Joyce is also mentioned later as a complainant along with husband James Prynne.

Basically this is all the family members, and their partners, other than sons William and Robert.

Why these two are not included can be interpreted in several ways: either they were dead or had no legal claims – they were the two oldest boys, other than John.

However at the time of Robert’s death they would probably have still been in education – being 16 or younger – and any issues with inheritance should have included these two boys.

Anne and another sister Dorothy had both died since the death of Robert, but before they “intermarried”, leaving their inheritance to be divided among the remaining sisters.

The inheritance left to the girls was an amount to be paid on marriage and because neither had married their deaths were relevant to this case, however this seems not to be the case for the unmentioned William and Robert who had been paid an allowance only during their period of education and training.

If we assume that the record for Robert from the Oxford records  is correct, and that he was the second son it is possible he  died before this case in 1628 – I can see no reason why he should not be named in at least one of the cases as had brother William.

If he was the son of this Robert then he would not have been at Oxford when his father died and would still have been receiving financial support, so he should have been included.

These are the approximate birth dates for the children – Robert and Anne married in 1595.

Elizabeth 1596?

Anne 1596?

Francis 1597 Shrivenham

Susan 1598 Shrivenham

John 1600 (from will of Simon Codrington)

Robert 1602?

William 1604 (if 16 when he was apprenticed)

Dorothy 1607?

Joyce 1608

Nicholas 1610?

Christopher 1612 [i]

Thomas 1614 [i]

Samuel 1615 [i]

Mary 1618?

[i] Records are available for St. Augustine’s, Bristol as Cotherington.


John was the eldest son, born in 1600.

In the 1630 chancery case John is shown as “of Wrington” in North Somerset.

He was High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1638 and Deputy Lieutenant in 1642.

He was also the heir to his grandfather Simon, who outlived his father Robert by some considerable time.

In 1643 he was appointed to the committee of Sequestrators of the Estates of Delinquents and in 1660 signed an address of welcome for Charles II after the restoration, and seems to have come through the civil war without too many problems.

He was married three times and inherited a lot of land in North Somerset, in particular from his third marriage to Frances Guise.

1. Katherine Stocker (1611-1629) married 1617

Katherine was the daughter of Margaret Capell from her marriage to Anthony Stocker and, according to the dates, was only 6 when she was married.

Katherine and John had one daughter, Ann, born in 1629, when Katherine would have been 18 but she died the same year either in child-birth or from complications.

After the death of  her husband Anthony, Margaret married a cousin, William, thus changing her name back to Capell. [I wish they wouldn’t do that]

2. Anne Still (1613-1635) married 1632

They had a daughter Jane who married Samuel Codrington of Dodington.

3. Frances Guise (1626-1676) married 1647

Son and heir Robert was born 1649

During the civil war John was involved in the raising a militia to protect the cities of Gloucester and Bristol from royalist forces.

He and his cousin Samuel of Dodington were also on several important committees but managed to avoid any implications following the restoration of the monarchy.

John died in 1670 at the age of 70 – confirming his birth as 1600 and not 1590, as suggested elsewhere – and was buried in Wapley church, Gloucestershire.

Here lyeth the Body of John Codrington,
of Codrington, Esq. Who departed this Life
the 25 day of September Anno Dom’ 1670
aged seventy years.


Assuming that the mention of “six younger sonnes”  in the will does not include eldest son John, then one of the sons of Robert and Anne is unidentified, and this could be Robert – why would Robert not have a son called Robert?

Robert is referenced in the records of Oxford university as matriculating in 1621 at the age of 19, putting his birth as 1602 – RHC assigns him to this family as A14.

But this record probably refers to Robert, son of Richard Codrington of Dodington who also went to Oxford – and we have additional evidence of this in a court case.

It is possible that the Oxford records may have merged two Roberts – they would have been there at the same time – but crucially only one finished their degree, and there is only one record for a Robert at this time.

Robert, son of Robert, is not named in the will or in any of the chancery proceedings, so it appears he was dead by 1627 or at least he was old enough not to have been involved in any of the court cases.

In one interpretation of the will, Robert A11, identifies six younger sons and his eldest John, making 7 sons, so one son seems to be missing and it is assumed that this is Robert.

Another interpretation is that there are only six sons including John.

But more importantly in court cases from 1627 to 1630 the other sons of Robert who were alive at the time are named.

“Ye Orator John Codrington and fewer other sonnes, viz., Nicholas, Christopher, Thomas and Samuel and other children …”

This names John, four other sons and with William (who was alive in 1627) this makes six.

It seems that Robert may never have existed, or he died in infancy, so the frieze could actually include Robert and Anne and their 15 children, with Robert possibly as the prone male figure and one unknown female.

But this is not certain and there is no single piece of evidence to say whether Robert existed or not.

See [I,Robert] for more information.


Nicholas appears in the records of Sir Edward Seymore’s Regiment of Foot as Lieut. Colonel Nicholas Codrington during the civil war.

Royalist regiment of foot serving with Prince Maurice’s forces in the West Country, then in garrison at Dartmouth

1643 October: Taking of Dartmouth

1644 April to June: Siege of Lyme Regis

1646 January: Besieged at Dartmouth

During the civil war he was based in Dartmouth in Devon and a daughter was born there, Kateren, which is also the name of his wife.

After being captured following the siege of Dartmouth he was listed in the records of the mayor as Lt. Col. Codrington, and this record has been assigned incorrectly to other members of the family, specifically brothers John and Christopher.

Before the Civil war he served in the army of King Charles I during his Northern Expedition – arrears for his pay were recorded in parliament July 1642, having been missed from a previous submission.

Codrington’s &c. Arrears.

Ordered, That the Names of Captain Nich. Codrington and Captain Bainton be inserted into the Order made for the Pay of divers Officers on Saturday last; and that the Arrears of their personal Entertainment, for their Service in the late Northern Expedition, appearing to be due unto them upon Sir Wm. Uvedale’s Certificate, be paid unto them out of the Monies that come in upon the Bill of Four hundred thousand Pounds, in the like Manner as those Officers were ordered on Saturday to receive their Arrears.

He had died by 1665 as his widow Katherine made a claim for herself and daughter Penelope.

1665: Katherine, widow of Col. Nicholas Codrington, and Penelope, their daughter. For a pension or other relief; the late colonel lost 3,000  by his loyalty, and they are reduced to great want, and have received nothing from the 60,000l. for indigent officers, nor the 9,000l. for their widows.

Certificate by Sir Edw. Seymour, and six others, of Col. Nich. Codrington’s services, both before and after the Restoration.

The identity of his wife, Katherine, is not known.


William trained as a clerk in a 5 year apprenticeship under John Scharburgh of London,  which started in about 1620 – his mother had paid for his schooling after the death of his father – in early 1619 – for one and three-quarter years.

The apprenticeship was secured by his brother-in-law Christopher Terry – husband of Elizabeth – who was apprentice before him.

William had completed his training and was now a clerk of the court in London, but because his mother had paid for him during this period it appears he was denied the £10 quarterly mentioned in the will of his father.

If he started his training in 1620 then he must have been about 16 and born about 1604.

He was alive in 1627 when the court case provided much of this information, but nothing is known after this time and he is not mentioned in other court cases, which may just be because his case had been resolved.

Recently I can across a record in a book regarding William Coddington who subscribed to the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1629 – he was also Treasurer – and went there with the first voyage in 1630.

He was governor of Newport in 1640 and governor of Rhode Island in 1678, the same year he died.

All the pieces about his life seem to fit with this William – his date of birth, a good education and his involvement with the law.

But the name is spelled differently and there are reports of him coming from Boston in Lincolnshire, son of a Robert Coddington who died 1615.

Dictionary of British America, 1584-1783 By Mary K. Geiter, W.A. Speck

Rather a coincidence though … and the evidence of being born in Lincoln is rather thin.

Certainly William lived in Lincolnshire and had friends there – in particular John Cotton, a clerk (minister) who emigrated to Boston later, but there is no evidence of him corresponding with any members of his family other than a mention of a cousin who may have been a relation of his first wife, Mary.

Robert Codrington 1574-1618

William Codrington 1604-????

Robert Coddington 1575-1615

William Coddington 1601-1678

Perhaps he had abandoned his family in Gloucestershire for Lincolnshire, started a new life and then moved to America – the name change may have been a mistake?

William also had a son, Thomas born 1655 but this seems to be a little too late to have been the Sheriff of New York – as suggested elsewhere [see Thomas below] – but if this is the case then the name had reverted to Codrington, providing further confusion.

William has also been linked to the Coddington family of Dorking, Surrey who emigrated to Boston, but there is no evidence he is related.

speech50There are many different ways of spelling Codrington, and at this time it was far from standardised. Robert, the father of William, signed his will as Coderingtonne and Cotherington is also quite common.

But the key to the name is the R in the middle: all the accepted variations have this and a change to Coddington without an R – which significantly changes the way it sounds – could hardly be a simple mistake.

Boston Connection

William Coddington was first married [Mary Burt?] in Boston, Lincolnshire 1626 where his friend John Cotton lived.

His second marriage to Mary Moseley was in Essex 1631 so he did not return to Lincolnshire when looking for a second wife – John Cotton had already moved to Massachusetts by then.

He also had a third wife Anne Brinley with whom he had seven children between 1651 and 1663


Much has been written about Christopher, although there is some confusion between Christopher, his son and grandson both named Christopher.

Christopher I (1612-1656)

Christopher II (1640-1698)

Christopher III (1668-1710)

It is not known how, or exactly when, Christopher I ended up in Barbados.

There is no evidence for anything he did while in England and it seems he left about 1630, so would have only been 18. His father had died in 1619 and his grandfather, Simon, in 1631, so perhaps this was the trigger for him leaving?

Possibly he was following the example of his great uncle John and was heading for Virginia – his father and grandfather were both members of the Virginia Company [although this had failed by 1624 when Virginia became a Royal colony] – but saw opportunities in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean and stayed in Barbados, marrying the sister of Sir James Drax in about 1638.

The journey to Virginia may have been on one of the ships making the triangular trip from Bristol to the Caribbean, on to Virginia and then back to Bristol following the trade winds.

The Drax family had pioneered the techniques for growing sugar in Barbados and were already influential on the island and Christopher would no doubt have been in contact with them if he stopped over in Barbados.

… James Drax, the first sugar baron, who introduced sugar cultivation to Barbados, as well as extensive slavery; the Codringtons, the most powerful family in the Leeward Islands, who struggled to fashion a workable society in the Caribbean but in the end succumbed to corruption and decadence …

See The Sugar Barons by Matthew Parker


Samuel was baptised in St Augustine’s church in Bristol 19 Sep 1615 which makes him the youngest son, and confirms the naming sequence used in court records.

The only reference to him I can find is a possible link to the Stradling family in Somerset, but this may have been one of the other Samuels from the Dodington branch of the family who moved to Somerset after selling Dodington to Christopher Codrington in about 1700.

A Samuel is shown in the genealogy of Oliver Cromwell as marrying Elizabeth Oyle, but this is probably too late and he also seems to be a member of the Dodington family.

Possibly Samuel was killed in the civil war or outbreak of plague or just had an uneventful life.

He is mentioned in the will of his cousin Thomas Tatton in 1643 so was still alive then.


It was probably this Thomas that worked for the East India Company in Surat, India.

It seems he was based in Isfahan, Armenia and, at one point, married an Armenian woman and was dismissed.

A Court of Committees, January ai, 1648 {Court Book, vol. XX, p. 194).

A letter is read from Thomas Codrington, who served as a factor in India for thirteen years, but having married an Armenian woman was dismissed from the Companys service; he desires to be re entertained and that what is due upon his account may be paid to Nathaniel Teemes ; because of his long service his request is granted, and as he knows Persian he is entertained for the Customhouse at Gombroon at 60/. per annum, subject to the approval of the President and Council at Surat.

Thomas was the second youngest son of Robert and Anne born in 1614, so would have been 34 when this letter was written and 20 when he started working for the company as a factor.

Feb 26 1634

Sureties accepted for several Factors, viz., for Tho. Leyning, Peter Eldred, grocer; for Edward Pearce, his father water bailiff of the city; for Philip Vaughan, Hugh Day, cooper; and for Tho. Codrington, Mr. Prynn, late Under Sheriff for Middlesex.

His sister Joyce, was married to James Prynne, so perhaps his father or another relative stood surety for Thomas.

1633 East India Company Court Minutes

Salaries conferred by the balloting box on other Factors, viz., Guy Bath and James Corbett, 50l. per annum for five years; John Wild and Philip Vaughan, 40l. and 10l. yearly rising for seven years; George Wetherell, Thomas Leynyng, Henry Chapman, and Wm. Smethwyke, 20l. and 10l. yearly rising for seven years; Samuel Boyce, Thomas Adler, Wm. Pitt, and John Vickris, 30l. and 10l. yearly rising for seven years; Ambrose Taylor and Philip Saunders, 40l. per annum for the first three years, and 50l. per annum for the other four years; and Thomas Codrington entertained apprentice for seven years at 20l. per annum, to be allowed 10l. thereof yearly in the country.

Nov 13    Thomas Codrington    Employment as Faetor [factor]

Later he is also referenced as a merchant in relation to some art:

Copy, in the hand of the English merchant Thomas Codrington, 20 September 1637. In an album compiled by the interpreter to the German legation of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein to the court of Shah Sefi I in Isfahan, Persia. 1637.

I do not know what happened to Thomas after he was reinstated in 1648 but in the above reference he is shown as a merchant, unless this is a different Thomas.

Captain Thomas Codrington, merchant, was sheriff of New York in 1691 and bought land in Somerset County.

It is possible that this is our Thomas but I think it unlikely – he would have been about 55 at the time he first purchased land in 1681, and died in 1710 so would have been 95.

See Thomas Codrington, Sheriff of New York.


There is no mention of twins in the will but they are shown as the second female figure on the memorial.

But recently I have found separate birth records for sisters Frances and Susan [Cotherington]  in Shrivenham, Berkshire [where their parents were married] which makes it more than likely that Elizabeth and Anne were the twins and referred to as the two eldest daughters.

There is simply not enough time between the marriage of Robert Codrington and Anne Stubbes in May 1595, and the birth of Frances in October 1597 for there to be two additional births.

This means that Elizabeth and Anne must be the twins and that the main female figure must therefore also be Anne and not any of her daughters – and more than likely this makes the main male figure Robert and not eldest son John.


According to the will, Elizabeth was the eldest daughter and may have been one of twins, with Anne.

She was probably born 1596 – younger sister Frances was born 1597 – and married in 1620 to Christopher Terry, a law clerk at about the age of 24.

The only close record for Christopher Terry is a baptism in Dorking Surrey, 1605, which seems a little late as he would be significantly younger than his wife.

I can find no other records for either Christopher or Elizabeth Terry and only one birth – an unnamed child registered to Christopher Terry in 1636 – the child probably died in infancy.

There is a death record for Elizabeth Terry in 1660 at St. Dunstan’s in London, the same church as the dead child but I can find no other records of children.

As Christopher was a clerk of the courts in London St. Dunstan’s is a reasonable location for the family to have lived.


Anne was born about 1596 and died shortly after her father in about 1620.

She may have been a twin with sister Elizabeth, although she is shown as the second daughter in the will of father Robert.


Frances was the third daughter born in Shrivenham, Berkshire 1597

Sep 16 COTHERINGTON Frauncys d Robte

She married Edward Earnley, against her father’s wishes and he left only £100 in his will to Frances, instead of the £200 left to his other daughters, in anticipation of this.

But it seems he was correct as there were some problems with this marriage as recorded in the chancery court records 2nd Aug 1628

… after the intermarriage of Frances defendant [Anne] p’ceived the unkinde and sep’ate living of the said Edward Earnley …

At one point Frances returned home to her mother and Anne deposited £100 with elder son John in order to maintain Frances with the promise that the couple would get the money if they should “live together as man and wife oughte to doe … “

Edward was not to get his hands on the money unless they were a couple:

… but if Frances should dye during such sep’ation from her husband the £100 to be equally divided among the surviving sisters of Frances …

Frances Earnley is mentioned in the will of her cousin Thomas Tatton in 1643, so she was probably still married to Edward at the time.


She was born in Shrivenham, Berkshire 1598 and died unmarried in 1628 at the age of about 30.

Oct 8 COTHERINGTON Susan d Robte


She died before marriage – probably before 1627


Married James Pryn and they had at least two daughters, but Joyce died before she was 30.

I have not found out what happened to the children, but it is likely that James remarried.

A member of the Pryn family stood surety for  her brother Thomas when he started working for the East India company.


I can find no record of what happened to Mary the youngest daughter.


robert henry codrington 1830-1922[RHC] Robert Henry Codrington.

Robert Henry Codrington wrote two invaluable 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.


[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

[3] 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

[4] Effigies of Bristol

by I. M. Roper

1903, Vol. 26, 215-287

[5] The history of the island of Antigua

V. 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.



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.


Chris Sidney 2014


The Fittleton Manor Mystery

bullshot bullet A document relating to the purchase of Fittleton Manor in 1589 indicates that William Stubbes and Thomas Gyll were in the Tower of London, but what were they doing there?

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 Manor of Fittleton

Fittleton is a village and civil parish in the English county of Wiltshire, about 20 km. north of Salisbury, and the same distance south of Marlborough, and south-east of Devizes.

There are four gentlemen named in the document: William Darrell of Littlecote, William Stubbes of Ratcliffe, William Stubbes and Thomas Gyll of the Tower of London.

Covenant to levy a fine of the manor and rectory of Fittleton, 22 May 31 Elizabeth I [1589] (William Darell of Littlecote (Wiltshire), esq; William Stubbs of Ratlyffe (Middlesex), gentleman. To William Stubbs and Thomas Gyll of the Tower of London, gentleman, and to heirs of William Stubbs); with typed transcript by Wiltshire Record Office, 1956

William Stubbes in this document is probably my 10x great-grandfather, but it is difficult to identify exactly what his relationship is with the others.

So let’s have a look at them all and see how they were connected.

Thomas Gyll

Royal MenagerieThere was a menagerie at the Tower of London for hundreds of years until 1832 when the animals were moved to London Zoo.

In 1573 – and again in 1586 with his son Ralph – Queen Elizabeth granted to Thomas Gill the office of Keeping the Lyons Lyonesses & Leopards within the Tower of London.


“their fees for this purpose being twelve pence per day, and for the sustentation of each Lyon etc. sixe pence per day to be paid by the Lord Treasurer at the feasts of Easter and St. Michael”.

Tower of Lyons

Gyll of the TowerRalph, son of Thomas, married into the Heneage family and his brother-in-law, Thomas Heneage, was therefore also one of those who found the will of Sir Francis Walsingham, along with William Stubbes in 1590.

But this is possibly not all that he did.

Gunpowder Plot

Gunpowder 1605In 1573 one Thomas Gyll is recorded as a manufacturer of gunpowder in Faversham, Kent, which is the same year as the appointment of Lion Keeper.

The pedigree of the Gyll family above shows that Thomas bought property in Essex but this did not necessarily mean that he was born there, so he could have been from Kent, the centre of the gunpowder industry at the time.

The appointment as Lion Keeper seems to have improved his prospects considerably and arms were granted in 1586.

It is said that 36 barrels of gunpowder made at Faversham were used by Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators in their plot to blow up the old Houses of Parliament in 1605.

William Stubbes

I suspect that William Stubbes was working for the Office of the Ordnance, based in the Tower of London and it is this William who is mentioned in this document and others relating to Fiddleton Manor as William Stubbes of Watchfield.

In about 1595 the Armoury moved out of the Tower leaving additional space for the storage of gunpowder and if William was working here, then he would have known Thomas Gyll through his activities as a supplier of gunpowder.

Thomas may have obtained the position as Lion Keeper through this connection to the Tower.

Thomas and William were both involved in the purchase of the Manor of Fittleton, sold by William Darell, but it was William who actually bought it.

Fittleton then passed like Coombe in Enford in the Darell family to Sir Edward Darell (d. 1549) and then to his son William (d. 1589) who sold the manor in two parts. He sold the part once known as King’s Fee in 1558 to George Fettiplace.
Darell sold the other part of the manor in 1588 to William Stubbs.
From Stubbs it passed in 1599 to Thomas Jeay (d. 1623) who was rector of Fittleton.

William Darrell

William Stubbes clearly knew Darrell as he wrote to him from the home of Francis Walsingham, in 1587 but it is not clear which William this was.

Advising him to keep peace by patience and silence; the Queen, the earl of Leicester and his master Walsingham are in good health.

William Darrell of Littlecote, Wiltshire [an interesting character] was left 25 manors by his father but sold most of them to pay for litigation against his father’s mistress, Mary Fortescue, and several of these manors were purchased by Sir Francis Walsingham.

William is said to have been “surveying” manors in Wiltshire for Walsingham and was involved in the purchase of Chilton Foliat manor, which Darrell was selling in 1581.

Clearly Darrell and Walsingham were well acquainted.

During the Armada crisis, Darrell offered his services, with 20 horsemen, to Sir Francis Walsingham. The latter was not ill-disposed.

Darrell died October 1589 aged 50 shortly after the sale of Fittleton manor and his home at Littlecote passed to John Popham, speaker of the house, in suspicious circumstances.

There is extant a letter of 1594 from the Earl of Essex, attempting to influence his judgment in a suit which was to be heard before him; and Aubrey maintained that Popham acquired Littlecote as the price for obtaining a nolle prosequi in favour of the murderer William ‘Black’ Darrell.

A brief biography of William Darrell – including his darker side – can be found here.

Letter sent following the death of William Darrell, Littlecot, Wiltshire.

Soe it is that at Mr. Attornies last beinge in Wilteshere, at a place called
Littlecot, somtyme belonginge to Mr. William Darrell, Esqrt’, deceased, but
nowe to Mr. Attorney, my happe was in the absence of Mr. Attornie upon the
deth of Mr. Darell to gether all such evidences as was in the house of Littlecote
into my possession, to Mr. Attornie’s use. And since that tyme it dothe appeare
that Sr Fraunces Walsingham dothe ptende title to some other of the landes of
the said Mr. Darell, whereof no pte dothe apptaine to Mr. Attornie. And that
the evydences as well concerning that wcl‘ Mr. Attornie is to have in righte,
and dothe enjoye, as alsoe these landes that Sr Frances Walsingham dothe
ptend title unto did remaine in the house of Littlecott at the tyme of Mr. Darrell’ decease, w‘h evidences are conveyed to London already in greate chestes.1 But
the keys of these chests were lefte wth me, as well by Mr. Attornie as by one Mr.
Stubbes, Agent, that was appointed in the behalfe of Sr Fraunces Walsingham,
saftlie and indiiferentlie to be kepte tyll the tyme should be appointed by Mr.
Secretarye that the Chests should be opened, and the evidences perused, as well for
Mr. Secretarye as for Mr. Attornie

Chilton Foliat 1813There is also a record in the National Archives which shows that William Stubbes may have challenged Francis Popham regarding the acquisition of some of the properties of William Darrell.

Short title: Stubbes v Popham.

Plaintiffs: William Stubbes.

Defendants: Sir Francis Popham kt.

Subject: manor of Wanborough, Axford, Chilton [Foliot], Wiltshire.

C 3/378/10

There do not seem to be any records of either William or Francis actually owning Wanborough, but it was one of those held by the Darrell family.

After Darrell’s death in 1589 Walsingham entered on the manor [of Axford]. He died in 1590 leaving as heir his daughter Frances [widow of Sir Philip Sidney] who in that year married Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.

William Stubbes was involved in the purchase of Chilton Foliat from Darrell as an agent of Francis Walsingham [see above].

On the death of William Darrell, Chilton Foliat Manor passed at his death in 1589 to Sir Francis Walsingham (d. 1590), to whom he had sold the reversion in that year.

But it seems that in 1590 Sir Francis Walsingham conveyed the estate to his secretary Francis Mylles and this then passed to his daughter .

William Stubbes of Ratcliffe

ratcliffeWilliam is described as a rope maker by trade, but he appears to be much more than this.

Ratcliffe is close to Stepney and the docks on the Thames and to properties owned by the Harrington family.

It is also known as “Sailor Town” and William’s interests seem to be linked to the docks.

Chancery: Master Tinney’s Exhibits. BUNDLE No 35: Lease of Rt Hon Henry, Lord Wentworth, to William Stubbes of Stepney, Middx, of land near Whitehart Street, Ratcliff, Middx, belonging to the manor of Stepney, Middx, 1588

William also owned several properties around the country and had interests in the port of Topsham, Devon.

In D. 1623, Nov. 6, 1583, William Stubbes of Ratclyffe (Middlesex) gives a bond of 400l. to secure a conveyance to the Mayor &c. of “all that crane or key and cranage and sellers of the Porte of Topsham and the fyshinge in the water of Clyste, together with all storehouses, sellers and sollers, voyde ground and land, and also all fees, offyces, tolls, customes, pryvyledges, prehemynences, lyberties, prfytts and emoluments wahtsoever to the said crane, key and cranage, sellers and fyshyng belonginge” granted to him by Letters Patent of May 16, 1583.

In the Fiddleton Manor case, however it appears that he may be involved in the purchase of the manor as a dowry for his two nieces [?], Susan and Theophilia, although further records for the manor were recorded in the name of William of Watchfield.

It appears that William of Ratcliffe did not have any children himself, so it is likely that these were the daughters of his brother [?] Bartholomew of Watchfield who is mentioned elsewhere as the father of Theophilia.

23 Nov. 1598. Bill filed by William Stubbes of Radclifif, Co. Middx., Ropemaker (who about 4 yeares now last past inhabited and dwelt at Boston, Co. Linc., being unmarried and having a great family household by reason of his trade) against Thomas Strangrushe of the same town, Fuller.

I’m not quite sure what is going on, unless the reference to “unmarried” means that he was widowed because it does say he had a great family household which is a bit of a contradiction.

Also it appears that William of Ratcliffe is part of the sale of the property as agent of William Darrell – it seems common at this time for two gentlemen to be involved in legal proceedings – but this does not mean that William of Ratcliffe is not related to William of Watchfield.

[More research required.]

Theophilia and Susan

… and Francis

There is no record of Francis in relation to the manor but it appears that she and Theophilia, at least, may have been sisters.

Theophilia is shown as the daughter of Bartholomew Stubbes of Watchfield, in the pedigree of the Garrard family of Inkpen, Berkshire – she married Thomas Garrard.

Theophilia Stubbes

But there are other records show that these were daughters born to Willim and “wam” Stubbes in Stepney.

So perhaps Bartholemew was the father of William and incorrectly added to the pedigree instead of his son William?

[See The Will of Thomas Tatton for clarification]

Anne Stubbes, wife of Robert Codrington, is described in several cases as co-heiress and her three sisters – Susan, Theophila and Francis – would have been younger and were baptised in a different part of London.

Name: Susan Stubbes
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 03 Jul 1582
Father’s Name: Willim Stubbes


Name: Theophila Stubbes
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 21 Dec 1584
Father’s Name: Wam Stubbes


Name: Frauncis Stubbes
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 26 Nov 1587
Father’s Name: Wam Stubbes

Francis may have died young as she was not mentioned in the purchase of Fittleton.

Note: she is also shown as the daughter of William Stubbes of Ratcliffe in the baptism record.

[See More about Hester]

bullshot bulletThis doesn’t really help to identify the parentage of Susan and Theophilia, but it seems clear that the manor was purchased on their behalf and was purchased by William of Watchfield.

Defeasance upon the manor of Fittleton alias Fidleton, 5 February 42 Elizabeth I [1599/1600] (Thomas Jeaye, parson of Fittleton; William Stubbs of Watchfield (Berkshire), esq); Stubbs owes Jeaye £1200, due next Lady Day; if Clement Jeaye and John Puxton peaceably enjoy the manor of Fittleton for 60 years or the life of William Stubbs, and if Susan and Theophila Stubbs, when aged 21, quitclaim the manor to Jeaye, then the deed acknowledging the debt will be void; at foot: 17 June 1623 William Jeaye, son of Thomas Jeaye, produced this lease to William Stubbs

This also shows that William was alive in 1623 and that he is the William from the Tower of London and the one who had probably worked for Walsingham – although William of Ratcliffe was also known to Walsingham.

The Lands of Snelshall Priory.
The reversion of all the leases from that of 1553 was sold in fee by the Crown in 1587 to Sir Francis Walsingham and Francis Mills, who immediately conveyed their interest to William Gerrard of Harrow on the Hill, William Stubbs of Ratcliff (Mdx.), and John Willard of London.

Could Susan and Theophilia and Francis simply be daughters to William of Watchfield – or is there yet another William Stubbes involved in all this?

But if this is the case then why is Anne – who married Robert Codrington in 1595 – not mentioned?

And why is William of Ratcliffe involved – unless he was providing the funding, having no children of his own?

All very confusing, but hopefully further information will become available that will help in clearing up this mystery.

Thomas Jeaye

Thomas was rector of Fittleton and purchased the manor from William Stubbes.

Jeaye, Thomas of Queen’s Coll., B.A.22 June, 1586, M.A.28 June, 1589, vicar of Enford, Wilts, 1592, rector of Fittleton, Wilts, 1594-1624; father of Stephen, Thomas and William.

Alumni Oxoniensis

Farmer BullshotFittleton Manor has provided some vital information in linking together William of Watchfield, William of Ratcliffe, William Darell and Francis Walsingham.

This certainly helps to identify who William Stubbes was, but not where he comes from.

Could he be the son or nephew of William of Ratcliffe who was known to both Francis Walsingham and John Harrington – the father of Hester who married William and who also lived in Stepney?

Was it William of Ratcliffe or William of Watchfield who worked for Walsingham – or both?

And who is William Stubbes of Congleton who also worked for Walsingham in Chester?

And one of these was MP for Yarmouth, IOW.

I will try and address these issues in another article.

Some references to William and Hester’s daughter, Anne, say that she was from a Norfolk family but this may have been assumed from the family crest – the London Stubbes family use the same arms.

See An Heiress and of a Norfolk family.

Chris Sidney 2014


I, Robert

bullshot bulletIt 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?

 I, Robert

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 [2]

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.

The Evidence

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. [5]

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.

London Plague 1665The 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.

Robert Codrington A14



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 [5] 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

Codrington Didmarton

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

Codrington Sodbury

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.

Codrington of Dodington 1628

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 [?]

richard Oxford 1626

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?

codrington browne - torn corner

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.

Robert Wars

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.

Naming Convention

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, I

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, II

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, III

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 codrington MA

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. [1]

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.

[1] 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.

named sons of 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.

IMG_4933-5 (WIDTH-1000)

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


speech50Robert – 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]

speech50Stonehouse Manor


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.

speech50Elizabeth Codrington


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?

speech50The 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]

speech50Robert 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.

speech50 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.

Robert Codrington

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.

speech50The 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.


robert henry codrington 1830-1922[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.

[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

[3] 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

[4] Effigies of Bristol

by I. M. Roper

1903, Vol. 26, 215-287

[5] 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


An Heiress and of a Norfolk family

bullshot bulletWhat 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.

Codrington MemorialIn 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 [2].

The Stubbes family of Norfolk were well known at the time, but how were they linked with the Codrington family of Gloucestershire?

Stubbes-HarringtonThe 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” [4]  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.

Croft of DaltonGeneric Lozengy Argent and SableIt 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

Stubbs coaAlthough 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. [5]

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

The King.

Henry VIIHenry 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 Malte.

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.

robert codrington son in law


Family Search

Name: William Stubbs
Spouse’s Name: Hester Heringtonn
Event Date: 17 Jan 1574

Family Search

Name: Ann Stubbs
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 09 Jan 1575
Father’s Name: Willm Stubbs

Family Search

Name: Harrington Stubbs
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 14 Jun 1578
Father’s Name: William Stubbs

Harrington or Knot?

Harrington KnotSo 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.

Harrington 1When 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.

speech50Sir 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.

Portrait of Mary Rogers, Lady Harington 1592 by Marcus Gheeraerts IIHe 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.

Sir John Harrington of Kelson - the WriterJohn 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.

William Stubbes

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

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.

speech50I 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.” [Q.556]

St Catherine’s Court

St Catherines CourtJohn 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 - PoetJohn 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.

Royal InheritanceThe 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].

Alison Weir - Mary BoleynThe 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.

malte to codringtonIn 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.

Farmer BullshotIn 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 [1]

[1] 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.

Farmer BullshotAlthough 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.)


robert henry codrington 1830-1922[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.

[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

[3] 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

[4] Effigies of Bristol

by I. M. Roper

1903, Vol. 26, 215-287

[5] 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.

bullshot bulletThere 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