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John Codrington II

Farmer BullshotJohn Codrington died on 9th October 1475. This date is engraved on his tomb in St. Peter’s church in Wapley, Gloucestershire along with his age – 111 years, 5 months and 13 days.

I have removed  some parts of this article because it was getting much too long. My thoughts on the grant of arms to John Codrington and associated information can now be be found in The Codrington Arms although some references are included below where they are relevant to this article.

Eleventy One, as Bilbo Baggins said at his birthday party, is a great age and extremely unusual – even today – so could John Codrington really have beaten the odds and reach this grand age in the 15th century?

RHC in his “Memoirs of the Codrington family” [see below] calculated the birth of John Codrington as 23rd April 1364 from his age and the date that he died, which are both recorded on his tomb.

John Codrington Tomb inscriptionThe age being recorded so precisely is quite unusual, suggesting that it was, indeed, exceptional. But one hundred and eleven?

One suggestion is that the stonemasons made an error with the Roman numerals – or the instructions they were given were incorrect – and the age on the tomb should be 91 XCI instead of 111 CXI, but even this age is noteworthy.

Of the six possible combinations of the roman numerals on the tomb, only three are valid: CXI = 111, CIX = 109, XCI = 91 and the most obvious error is to swap the first two characters.

If true then the date of his birth should be 26th April 1384. page

RHC had himself seen the inscription in 1852 and was convinced that it had not been tampered with but he had no way of knowing if it was actually correct to begin with and took the age at face value.

Here lies Johannes Codry’ton knight, who died on the ninth day of the month of November in the year of our Lord 1475, having the age on the day that he died of 111 years, 5 months 13 days, may God bless his soul. Amen

If the lower age is correct then this would help to clarify some aspects of the life of John Codrington. For a start he would have been 20 years younger during Agincourt at the age of 30, and would have also married at a more sensible age.

But it opens up other issues, in particular about his father, Robert, who would have been quite an old man when John was born, and whether there are any missing generations.

Robert Henry CodringtonThis article is based largely on the definitive work on the Codrington family by Robert Henry Codrington [RHC] – the snappily titled “Memoir of the Family of Codrington of Codrington, Didmarton, Frampton-On-Severn and Dodington.” – which was itself based on notes made by the historian, Sir John Maclean. page

Sir John had intended to follow up on his Memoirs of the Poyntz and Guise families – who are related to the Codringtons through various marriages – but illness prevented him from doing so.

In his document, Robert identifies John Codrington as A1; the head of the senior branch of the Codrington family and his brother Thomas as B2; the head of the junior branch.

Robert also says that:

John returned from France and married a young woman, survived his son, and died in extreme old age.

But I don’t think it is as simple as that.

Robert Codrington

John’s  father was, according to all know pedigrees, Robert Codrington of Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire, who “was in good standing” during the reign of Henry IV.

He appears in several jury records around the end of the 14th century – with various spellings of his name. The last record we have for him is when he appeared on a jury list at Chipping Sodbury 20 May 1421.

Some have assumed that this date was when John inherited the Codrington property, but was it from Robert and was it some time later than 1421.

The first reference to John in relation to the property seems to be in 1429 when he and his wife made an application to the pope for a portable altar, so all we can say for sure was that he inherited the property, and married, before this date.

Why was Robert never described as being of Codrington and Wapley? Could it be that Robert was not, after all, the father of John?

John Codrington is remembered as the Standard Bearer for King Henry V at the battle of Agincourt as described elsewhere. page

It should be noted that John Codrington was never knighted for his service and references to Sir John Codrington seem to have originated with a number of military figurines, as well as various  books about Agincourt one of which has him pictured on the front cover and labelled inside as Sir John.

Sir John CodringtonOn his tomb he is referred to as Joh’es Codry’ton armiger, which only means that he has the right to bear arms. In a document of 1471 he is John Codrington Esquire and this is confirmed by the way the helmet is shown on the family crest, at an angle and not facing forward.

It is easy to see why you might assume that he was knighted, being standard bearer to the king, and I am as guilty as anyone of repeating this without checking if it is actually correct.

RHC does not make this mistake and he is referred to as either gentleman or esquire, although I am unsure at what point he was able to use this later address.

Possibly the title is related to when he became lord of the manor of Codrington, after purchasing it from the abbey of Stanleigh in 1455.

It is also possible that this was a title used when addressing him formally, simply because he was a knight, rather than having been knighted – we still sent letters these days starting “Dear Sir“.

It has been suggested that John Codrington may have been knighted on the battlefield, or by someone other than the king.

At Agincourt he was in the retinue of Sir William Bourchier. who was probably senior enough to have been able to do this.

Sir William Bourchier, was one of the foremost captains at the Battle of Agincourt, leading 102 men. In November 1415 he was made Constable of the Tower of London (replacing the Duke of York, who had died in the Battle), with special responsibility for the French prisoners. He returned to serve in France in 1417, and in 1419 was made Count of Eu in Normandy. His arms were those of Bourchier quartered with those of Louvaine (the arms of his mother, an heraldic heiress). page

But if John was knighted for his services there is no evidence of the title ever being used.

In 1429 John is a layman of the diocese – in the request for a portable altar –  and in 1441 an 1445 grants of arms he is a Gentleman. It is only in the 1471 Levy of Fines that he is referenced as Esquire, technically the rank below knight.

In the list of the retinue of William Bourchier John is well down the list of men at arms, showing that he was – at that time at least – not particularly important.

He is also shown in some accounts as John Codington so perhaps Symon Codington, in the retinue of Lord Camoys, was related? page

Two Wives

There are two different wives suggested for John in “memoirs”, both named Alice.

She could have been Alice Young, daughter of Thomas Young, an influential Bristol merchant, or Alice Hawys the sister of Margaret, who was married to Sir Peter Bessiles.

The name of Hawys has been transcribed as Hannys orHauuys and also shown as Hewes and Hawes.

It has proved difficult to find connections to these families at about the right time. What we do know is that Alice survived her husband – and two of her sons – and so I have come to the conclusion that John probably had two wives, perhaps both named Alice.

Why wouldn’t he? Some men have two or three wives in a much shorter lifetime.

In some family records Margaret (Margerie) Hawes married Sir Peter Bessiles, of Bessiles Leigh, Berkshire in about 1389, so it would seem that John could have married her sister at about the same time – certainly before Agincourt.

The following is commonly used in other trees.

Peter DE BESSILES was born in 1364 in Bromland, Somersetshire, England. Parents: Thomas DE BESSILES and Katherine LEIGH.

Margery HANNYS and Peter DE BESSILES were married about 1389 in Besiles Leigh Berkshire England.

John Codrington and first wife Alice may have had a daughter, Margaret, who married Sir John le Veale, but the timings only work with a marriage some time before Agincourt.

JOHN (Johannes) VELE (Veal), son of Thomas and Hawise Veal, married MARGARET, and he died in 1430, the 9th year of the reign of Henry VI, leaving one son. [1]

[1] There may have been a son, John, born about 1405, as well as daughter Susan, born 1409.

Another possibility is that Margaret was a younger sister to John Codrington rather than a daughter, which could also work in this scenario.

A Codrington pedigree held by the College of Arms shows only Mar and Viel, which some have taken to refer to a son Morvail Codrington, but is more likely to be an abbreviation of Margaret or could simply be an abbreviation for Married, where the name of a daughter is not known, or not recorded, to someone named Veil.

Susan la Veale

But this scenario does not fit with some other records that show that Margery Hawys married Peter Bessiles a generation later.

More importantly she is mentioned in documents dating from 1470 as the widow of Peter so must have been much younger and probably married much later than 1389.

Her sister, Alice, is therefore unlikely to be the first wife of John Codrington I.

speech50One other problem with this theory is that there is a record for one Alice Hawes married to Henry Bromley in 1390, with an estimated birth date for Alice about 1365.

This clashes with the estimated birth of John’s first wife who must have been born about the same time in order to have a daughter, Margaret, born about 1385.

Alice Hawys, who married John Codrington, was probably the niece of this Alice assuming they are both related to John Hawes of Solihull.

According to RHC the daughter of Margaret and John le Veale, Susan, married firstly James Berkeley of Bradley and, secondly, Richard Ivy of Kingston.

Margaret [Codrington] had died in 1409 after the birth of daughter, Susan.

John Codrington A1 (1364) = Alice I
.. Margaret Codrington (1390-1409) = John la Veele (1384-1430)
…. Susan le Veele (1409-)

There are some differences in the College of Arms pedigree as the name of husband James, is shown as Broseley, and it was an un-named sister of Susan that married [Richard] Ivey of Kingston.

Another pedigree – that of Samson Samuel Lloyd esq., who is descended from the Berkeley family – shows Susan as the widow of one Waddall adding even more confusion.

susan veel

So perhaps it was a sister of Susan that married Richard Ivye? Richard is likely to have come from (Chipping) Sodbury in Gloucestershire and it was later generations of the family that lived at West Kingston in Wiltshire.

besseles coa colouredThere are also suggestions, from other family trees, that Sir Peter Bessiles was born about 1390, and having looked into his pedigree the later date does fit better with other family records and with those of Margaret and Susan.

It is perhaps more likely that he simply married much later in life than estimated and it was his wife, Margery Hawys, that was from a later generation, with about 25 years difference between them.

In this scenario it seems as if John’s first wife was another Alice, possibly Alice Young – the daughter or [more likely] sister of Thomas Young – with whom he had a daughter, Margaret, who married John la Veale – assuming that this marriage is correct.

Thomas Young was about the same age as John Codrington and did have a sister [either Alice or Mary] who he could have married. If she was a daughter of Thomas then she would have been born a generation later which doesn’t work with a grand-daughter, Susan la Veele, born in 1409.

In this scenario John Codrington married again, after the death of his first wife, to Alice Hawys, the sister of Margery (widow of Sir Peter Bessiles), and had three sons; Humphrey, John and Thomas.

This makes it possible for Margery Hawys – born later than suggested above – to be mentioned in the Levy of Fines of 1470 [see below] without having been more than 100 years old.

Mind the Gap

Sir John CodringtonI have wondered why there was such a gap after John returned from Agincourt before he married. The simply answer could be that he was already married, and at the age of 50 he probably had no plans to marry again – even when his wife died.

We do not know how long John was in the service to the king after Agincourt and he may have returned to France for the campaign that began in 1417, and may even have made it to Paris, where Henry V died five years later in 1422.

If he was 50 years old during Agincourt then I doubt he would have been able to sustain a prolonged campaign. However if he was 20 years younger then he could have been with the king for a significant period, and this is perhaps why he is not recorded back in Gloucestershire until some time later.

Certainly he was back home and living in Codrington by 1429 – when he applied for a portable altar – but that is really all we can tell for sure.

John could have been about 65 and perhaps either he, or his wife, were unable to attend their local church easily and wanted to perform mass at home.

But this may also have been, as suggested by RHC, to avoid paying fees at nearby Wapley for his household.

… to John Codrington, layman of the diocese of Worcester, and to his wife then being …

John, although he didn’t know it, had another 50 years to live, and it is possible that he started looking around for another wife.

Based on the death of second wife Alice II, in 1489, she was probably born about 1415 and married John Codrington about 1435 – shortly after the death of his first wife – and their three sons were then born between 1435 and 1440.

This is quite late for John to have fathered three sons – he would have been in his sixties – and although not impossible it is just one more thing that doesn’t sit right with me.

The period when the boys are likely to have been born can be calculated by working backwards from the birth of grandson and heir, Christopher, in 1467 and assuming that his father, John, was about 30 years old when he married, putting his birth at about 1437.

We are now 20 years after Agincourt and John Codrington was already an old man, but there is an alternative to this that allows it bit more flexibility with the dates.

John Codrington and first wife, Alice, could have had a son … also called John.

John II

John II would have been born about 1390, a sister to Margaret, and may have been too young to accompany his father to Agincourt.

He could have been married to Alice II by 1425 and their sons born earlier than I have already estimated, which makes it easier to explain how two of them had died before their mother.

Grandson and heir Christopher Codrington would therefore have been born when his father, John III, was about 40.

John I may have transferred the Codrington estate to his son John II and his wife before 1471 even though he lived for some time afterwards, and any references to Alice and John regarding the property are for his son and his wife.

In the Levy of Fines from 1471 John is referred to as John Codrington Esquire, which is the correct address for John I, but could also be used for his eldest son as shown in the same document for eldest son Humphrey.

And afterwards the day after All Souls, 49 Henry VI [3 November 1471]. Parties: William Bolaker and Philip Parker, querents, and John Codrynton’, esquire, and Alice, his wife, deforciant.

John II would himself have been an old man of about 80 by his time and probably died before his father.

Humphrey, his eldest son, was Escheator for Gloucestershire in 1467, a position that demanded a certain amount of respect and probably not a position for a young man, but he could still have been born about 1435.

Grant of Arms

Codrington of CodringtonThere were two grants of arms to John Codrington in 1441 and 1445 – the first being a confirmation of the arms used by John during his service to the king, as used by the senior branch of the family.

Whether these two grants were to the same John Codrington is discussed in The Codrington Arms, but there is some evidence that there may be another John Codrington in Gloucestershire at the time who could have been granted the second arms.

This John Codrington resided in Clyfe [Bishop’s Cleeve] near Tewkesbury, in the north of Gloucestershire and is recorded there in 1421 and of Tewkesbury in 1423. page

Could John Codrington have lived in Tewkesbury after Agincourt but before inheriting Codrington and Wapley from his father, or is this another John?

One indication that this is a different John is that there was no mention – in the levy of fines of 1471 or the inquisition into the death of Alice Codrington – of any properties in the north of the county of Gloucestershire owned by the family.

There is an earlier record of a John Codrington from 1337, who was an attorney to the king and could be related to John Codrington of Clyfe and Tewkesbury.

See below for more information about him.


The earliest reference linking the Codrington property to the family is for Stephen of Codrington and Wapley, who made a donation to Stanleigh Abbey – who owned the Codrington and Wapley manor – in 1379.

2 Ric. 2. receit. et confirm. donationes: P. 869. cart. antiq. X. n. 6, fcil. 2 Ric 2. confirm. donationem R. fil. Stephani de Codinton et Wapalee.

Possibly Stephen had died without an heir and passed Codrington to brother Robert, or directly to nephew John?

Or possibly it was Stephen who was father to John I and Robert was his younger brother which is why he never inherited the Codrington and Wapley properties and is described only as being of Chipping Sodbury?

RHC says that the two arms granted to John Codrington have only been used quartered together so perhaps there was a marriage between the two branches of the family and the second grant of arms was requested prior to a marriage between the families?

It is therefore possible that one of the children of John II could have married a cousin, the daughter of John Codrington of Clyfe. This would explain the quartering of the two designs and why they were never used in their own right if this second John had no sons.

Perhaps this was the marriage of Humphrey, the eldest son? If he married a cousin Agnes Codrington about 1445 – after the second grant of arms – he could have been born around 1425, fitting better with John II being his father.

There is no evidence of this of course; certainly there are no properties or lands held by the Codrington family in the north of Gloucestershire, either inherited or passed through marriage.

IMG_1055-1 (WIDTH-1000)The only use of both arms I have found was 300 years later, and this may have been in error on the assumption that they were for the same John Codrington.

Having not seen the text of the actual grants – only extracts from them in various forms – I am not really in a position to do anything other than speculate as to whether they are for the same John based on other interpretations of the grants.

Levy of Fines

In 1471 John and Alice levied a fine on their lands to their sons, Humphrey, John and Thomas and this could have been either, John II and his wife Alice Hawes as mentioned earlier, or John I and his second wife.

Also mentioned is Margery, late wife of Peter Bessiles, who was the sister of Alice II, with Peter Bessiles being born later than shown in some references – or at least marrying much later and Alice being much younger than he was.

William and Philip have granted to John and Alice the tenements and have rendered them to them in the court, to hold to John and Alice, without impeachment of waste, of the chief lords for the lives of John and Alice. And after the decease of John and Alice 2 messuages, 1 toft, 240 acres of land, 30 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture in the vills of Codrynton’ and Tormerton’ shall remain to Humphrey Codrynton’, esquire, son of John and Alice, and the heirs of his body, to hold of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to John Codrynton’, brother of the aforesaid Humphrey, and the heirs of his body, (2) to Thomas Codrynton’, brother of the same John, and the heirs of his body, (3) to the heirs of the bodies of the aforesaid John Codrynton’ and Alice, (4) to Margery Besiles, late the wife of Peter Besiles, knight, and the heirs of her body and (5) to the right heirs of Alice. And also after the decease of John Codrynton’ and Alice 5 messuages, 1 toft, 5 gardens, 60 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture in the vills of Oldesodbury, Chepyngsodbury, Lygrove and Dodyngton’ shall remain to the aforesaid John Codrynton’, son of John Codrynton’ and Alice, and the heirs of his body, to hold of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to the aforesaid Thomas, brother of the same John, and the heirs of his body, (2) to the aforesaid Humphrey, brother of the same Thomas, and the heirs of his body, (3) to the heirs of the bodies of the aforesaid John Codrynton’ and Alice, (4) to the aforesaid Margery Besiles and the heirs of her body and (5) to the right heirs of Alice. And besides after the decease of John Codryngton’ and Alice 6 messuages, 2 tofts, 1 garden, 1 dove-cot, 100 acres of land, 30 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture in the vills of Bristoll’, Leyghterton’, Haukesbury and Upton’ Hamell’ shall remain to the aforesaid Thomas, son of John Codrynton’ and Alice, and the heirs of his body, to hold of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to the aforesaid John Codrynton’, brother of the same Thomas, and the heirs of his body, (2) to the aforesaid Humphrey, brother of the same John, and the heirs of his body, (3) to the heirs of the bodies of the aforesaid John Codrynton’ and Alice, (4) to the aforesaid Margery Besiles and the heirs of her body and (5) to the right heirs of Alice.

According to RHC, Margaret Hawys, the widow of Peter Bessilles, Knight, died in 1483, making her a similar age to Alice who died a few years later. I have not found information anywhere else to confirm this date, but some pedigrees show Peter Bessilles being born in 1390 instead of 1364 making it much easier to estimate a later marriage. But even the earlier date does not mean he did not marry Margery – she would just have been much younger – a lot younger.

The inquisition into the death of Alice identifies Christopher Codrington as her heir.

“… aged 22 and more, is her cousin and heir, viz son of John, her son.”

Not quite sure why he isn’t just referred to as her grandson – the term cousin is usually used to indicate a close, but indirect, relationship.

Also mentioned in a deed dated 1490 are  Thomas Codrington [assumed to be the youngest son], William Besylys, Christopher Twynyho, Clerk and William Twynyho, Esquire, which confirms that there were relationships between these families.

Christopher Codrington, heir of Alice, married into the Twynho family and William Bessiles was, no doubt, related to Alice and Margery.

speech50I still think is a bit unusual to mention Margery Bessiles in the levy, unless she was actually a daughter of John and Alice and not the sister of Alice at all. But if she was the sister to Humphrey, John and Thomas she would have been born much to late to have been married to Peter Bessiles.

According to records for the manor of Leigh, Margery and Peter Bessiles did not have any children, but other pedigrees show a son, Thomas, so what is going on?

Sir Peter was noted for his deeds of charity and his gifts to religious houses, and by his will he directed that all his manors should be sold by his co-feoffees in alms for his soul. He died childless in 1424

The history of the manor during the next few years is involved, because Sir Peter’s will was not very honestly performed. Margery, his widow, and one of the executors of his will, had a life interest in Leigh, and her second husband William Warbleton held it in her right in 1428. page

Margery married again – before 1428 – to William Warbleton and died in 1483, so she was still young at the time she was widowed. Some records show a son, Thomas, born in 1390, but this is much too early – even if Margery lived to be 100 years old!

The History of Parliament adds some additional information which makes it easier to understand what is going on, in particular that Margery was the second wife of Peter Bessiles and that she also had an illegitimate son.

He left no immediate heirs, and Thomas, the illegitimate son of his second wife Margery Haines (who afterwards called himself Thomas Bessels and claimed to be Sir Peter’s son and heir), received no more by the terms of the will than a life interest in a small estate at Longworth together with the expenses of his education. Margery was permitted to keep the manors of Bessels Leigh and Kingston for her lifetime, but these were then to be sold. page

As Margery lived until 1483 she cannot have been born before about 1400 and must have been very young when she gave birth and married to Peter. It seems that the marriage was a formal arrangement and, based on that, I would think that Thomas probably was the son of Peter Bessiles, otherwise why would he have married a young woman with an illegitimate son?

Eventually Margery managed to get some of the property for her son and his heirs, although it sounds as if Thomas had already died.

By outliving Sir Peter by nearly 50 years, the widow successfully contrived to have Radcot and Grafton entailed to the advantage of the issue of her bastard son Thomas.

Thomas married Clemence de Noires and their son, William, married into the important Harcourt family of Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire, so illegitimacy hadn’t done him much harm.

In the Levy of Fines document of 1471 Margery is still shown as the widow of Peter Bessiles and not the widow of William Warbleton who died 1469, which is quite odd.

Also if Margery was Haines and not Hawys then the wife of John Codrington must also be Alice Haines and calls for some further investigation.

Margery’s legitimate heir was her nephew, John Haines of Salop.

Probably, however, this name was assumed from the name of her nephew, who may be the son of another sister who married into the Haines family.

Three generation later Dorothy Fettiplace, great grand-daughter of Thomas Bessiles, married John Codrington, the eldest son of Christopher Codrington (great-grandson of John of Agincourt) but he died in Appleton, Berkshire in 1518 and Dorothy ended her days in the Abbey of Syon along with two of her sisters.


Humphrey is a bit of an enigma. It appears – from some records – that he was significantly older than his brother John III, the father of Christopher [who inherited the Codrington property] and died without any children, although it is possible that he was married.

There are chancery records dated 1431-1443 for Humphrey meaning that he would have been born significantly earlier then 1435, especially as these dates relate to his position of escheator.

He could therefore have been a brother to John II or at least a son from the earlier marriage of John I and Alice Young. He was alive in 1471 but dead before 1483.

So perhaps all three sons were much older than suggested and the birth of Christopher in 1467 may simply mean that John III, the father of Christopher, had a family later in life?

But that also suggests that Alice, the mother of the three boys, would have been born about 1400 – or even earlier – and about 90 when she died, or that she married John I and did not have any children of her own.

One option is that Humphrey had, indeed, been born earlier to Alice I, but his two brothers were born to the second wife of John I – or these two were the sons of John II, making John II the brother of Humphrey, but this does not fit with the account in the levy.

Another possibility is that there were two Humphrey Codringtons, one a brother of John I and another his son. This would account for the earlier chancery records and for the younger Humphrey being escheator in 1467 some thirty years later.

Humphrey was alive until at least 14 May 1475 as shown by a record in the National Archives.

Debtor: Humphrey Codrington of Codrington in Glos., esquire, John Lypiat of Lasborugh in Glos., gentleman, and Thomas Payne, formerly of Gloucester, gentleman.

Humphrey may also have had a wife, Agnes, but I am not sure where this reference to Agnes comes from.

speech50The name Humphrey may have come from the Poyntz family where it is not uncommon and this gives some weight to the idea that John’s mother was a member of the Poyntz family, and Humphrey was named after one of his grandmother’s relations.

Like Humphrey, Robert Poyntz, of Iron Acton, was escheator of Gloucestershire 1395-7, 1399-1400, 1402-1404 (as well as sheriff 1396-97) so perhaps there is some earlier connection between the families than previously recorded.


Another record, however, suggests that Humphrey may not be what he seems.

GotheringtonThere is another village in Gloucestershire called Gotherington, near Tewkesbury, and there is a record dated 1477 of another Humphrey there:

Debtor: Humphrey Godryngton of Gotherington {Godryngton} in [Cleeve Hundred] Glos., esquire. Creditor: John Brugge, esquire. Amount: £80 of legal English money [£44,000].

In 1371 the manor of Gotherington appears to have been pretty run down and there seems to have been no connection to the Codryngton or even the Gotherington families.

No repairs have been done to the abbey church for three years past and more. The manor of Gotherynton lies waste.

It seems clear that one John Codryngton lived at nearby Clyfe [Bishop’s Cleeve] in 1421 and of Tewkesbury in 1423, but did he take his name from nearby Gotherington or was he part of the Codryngton family?

Gotherington itself seems to be a small village and if there was a family that took it’s name from the location there should be some record of them, and I can find none.

The village of Codrington is in the hundred of Grumbold’s Ash, some distance south of Tewkesbury, so there may have been some confusion between these two Humphreys, or at least how they have been identified in some records.

Possibly whoever wrote the document was mistaken and was familiar with the village of Gotherington but not with Codrington, and assumed the rest.

Or perhaps it was the creditor, John Brugge, that was from Gotherington and it was assumed that Humphrey was also from there having a similar sounding name.

The village of Codrington is also named Godrington in some references, and Gotherington, near Tewkesbury, was originally named Godrinton in the Domesday book, just to confuse things.

Codrington WapleyRHC identifies a long list of different spellings, all associated with the Codrington family, including Gooderington (but not Gotherington) but does this necessarily mean that all of these spellings should be taken as belonging to the same family?

Codrington, itself, is not in the doomsday book, so could the family have originally come from Gotherington near Tewkesbury? The Gotheringtons then acquired land near Wapley that took it’s name from the family?

This would account for links to Clyfe and Tewkesbury in some documents, but if the family owned any land in that area there is no reference to it in the levy of fines or the inquisition after Alice’s death.

This could indicate that the Codringtons recorded as being of Clyfe and Tewkesbury were not from the same branch of the Codrington family, or maybe not even not Codringtons at all but Gotheringtons, who’s name had been changed?

There is also a manor on Devon named Godryngton [usually Godryngton and Norton].

speech50There is records in the National Archives that casts doubt over the dates in the earlier chancery records relating to Humphrey Codrington, as mentioned above.

The later dates shown below would fit much better with a later Humphrey in this case, presumably related to his position as Escheator for Gloucestershire:

Short title: Fouler v Codryngton.
Plaintiffs: Richard Fouler and John Sydenham, the younger.
Defendants: Humphrey Codryngton.
Subject: Wardship and marriage of Isabel de la Ryver, heiress of Maurice de la Ryver, esq., granted by the King to petitioners. Gloucestershire
Date: 1432-1443, possibly 1467-1470

If the earlier dates are incorrect then it makes it much easier to fit Humphrey as the eldest of three brothers born about 1425-1435 and for him to have been a respectable age as escheator of Gloucestershire.

Or perhaps there were two Humphreys – one the brother of John I and another his eldest son – who both held the position of escheator at different times?

RHC states that Alice Codrington, the widow of John Codrington, lived till 20th April 1489, six years after her sister Margery, widow of Peter Bessilles.

However the inquisition into her death taken on 20th September, 6 Henry VII [1490] says she died 16th July last so clearly something is not quite right – perhaps that was the date that the will was proved?

Because of the way that regnal dates are calculated – based on when the monarch acceded to the throne – 16th July 1490 would be 5 Henry VII although the precise date of her death is not specifically important at this point.

Other possibilities

If John II was from the first marriage of John I then this explains why the first son from his second marriage was named Humphrey and not John, but doesn’t help explain where the name came from, unless there was another, older Humphrey – possibly a brother to John.

The name does appear again in the Codrington family – although several hundred years later – and may have come from the maternal line of a previous marriage.

If the elder son John II died about 1445 then John I and Alice II could have named their second son John. The timing would be tight, but the birth of John III could be as late as 1445 based on the birth of his son Christopher.

Perhaps all the sons were from the first marriage and John I simply remarried after his first wife died, but had no further children?

This would certainly explain why the two eldest sons had died before their step-mother, but is in no way conclusive. It could also explain why the heir of Alice, Christopher, is described as cousin and not grandson.

But, if this were the case, Christopher, the son of John III, would have been born significantly earlier. We know that he was born about 1467 because in the inquisition following Alice’s death in 1489 he was 22 years old.

John I was shown to be married in 1429 [in the request for an altar], so there is time for his first wife to have died and for him to remarry and to have been the father of the three boys if they were born about 1435.

If John had already remarried by 1429 then the boys could have been born earlier – possibly 10 years earlier – than proposed.

Working backwards from Christopher it is possible to have a guess at the marriage of his parents and the birth of his father – assuming John II existed.

John I 1364 = Alice I, married about 1390
.. John II 1395 = Alice II, married about 1425
…. John III 1437 = Alice? Poyntz [i], married about 1465
…… Christopher 1467 = Ankarette Twynyho

If there was no first wife then I cannot see why John I would have waited so long after Agincourt to get married. After all he would have been about 60 years old – even his son John II, from his first marriage [if he existed] would have been 40.

It is curious that the term “and his wife then being” is used in granting the permission for the altar in 1429, but perhaps I am reading too much into this.

[i] The wife of Sir John Poyntz was Alice Cox, and there are no other daughters in the family pedigree with this name so it is possible, even likely, that there would have been a daughter named Alice after her mother.

CXI Investigations

Perhaps the age on the tomb is wrong, as suggested earlier, and John actually died at 91 – still a remarkable age – so he then would have married at the age of about 35, after Agincourt.

This does mean that there was probably another John, his father, as suggested, but it was the younger John who was at Agincourt and not the elder and this fits with an older John marrying well before Agincourt and John II marrying Alice Hawys.

There is also another name mentioned as the first wife of John I, Margery Chalkley, and two sons John and Geoffrey, so perhaps there was only one wife named Alice? Or the second Alice was married to his son John?

This could fit well with John I being born earlier – perhaps about 1360 with father Robert being about 35 years old – and John II being born about 1385, along with sister Margaret who could have been named after her mother.

It also makes his later marriage much less unusual as it fits exactly with the average marrying age of Codrington men of 35. The earlier John could even be the one who was attorney to the king in 1337, as mentioned below, but I think this would be too early and John the attorney is more likely from a different branch of the family or an earlier generation.

Robert also seems to have lived a long life if he died after 1419, and it is therefore also likely that he was the younger brother of John I as he did not inherit the Codrington property and is only ever recorded as being of Chipping Sodbury.

I would guess that John I probably died before Agincourt, or was certainly too old to take part and this leaves the earlier Codrington tree looking a bit different …

Geoffrey 1300-
.. Robert I 1330-
…. Robert II 1360- 1419 of Chipping Sodbury
…. John I 1360-
…… John II 1384 – 1475 of Agincourt

If John was born in 1384 then Margaret, who married John la Veale could not have been his daughter or sister, but can only have been an aunt, if she married and had a son and daughter [and died] by 1409.

The other Geoffrey

An earlier John, apprentice and attorney to the king in 1337 [see below], could have been the brother of the earlier Robert and have been the grand-father of John of Clyfe and Tewkesbury

He could even have been the one who was married to Margery Chalkley and the father of John and Geoffrey.

Geoffrey Codrington appears in a document about the Percy family of Great Chalfield, Wiltshire, where he is shown to have married the grand-daughter of Constance – cousin to the bishop of Salisbury – who married into the Percy family. page

geoffrey codringtonI have estimated that Geoffrey was born about 1370 based on his marriage to Isabel Beaushyn [and her estimated birth] and he was the father of Alice Codrington, born about 1400, who married Alexander Martin.

Isabel Beaushyn born about 1380, was the daughter of Thomas Beaushyn of Dorset and Joan Fitzwaryn, who was the daughter of Constance [who married a Percy] by her third husband, Sir Philip Fitzwaryn.

The same document about the Percy family also makes reference to Thomas Ivye of Sherston who married Agnes Tropenell and may have a connection to Susan le Veele mentioned earlier.

If the first marriage of John Codrington was to Margaret Chalkley and they had sons John and Geoffrey, then could these fit into the main Codrington tree?

Geoffrey probably married Isabel Beaushyn about 1400, putting his birth about 1370. If he was a younger brother to John of Agincourt, born in 1384 then this would be practically impossible.

Sir Philip Fitzwaryn and Constance, Isabel’s grand-parents, married about 1361 – Philip was the third wife of Constance. This means that their daughter Johan, could not have been of an age to marry much before 1380. Her daughter, Isabel, could have been born about this time and married before 1400 but not by much.

Perhaps Geoffrey was the elder brother of John but died shortly after his marriage to Isabel leaving one child – daughter Alice – and his brother John as the heir?

Isabel later remarried to William Haukesoke.

[More information shows that Geoffrey and Isabel were a generation later]

It is possible that Geoffrey married Isabel towards the end of the 14th century but then died before he inherited from his father. But he would have been quite a bit older than brother John for this to be possible.

John I (1335) = Margery Chalkeley
.. Margery (1365) = John le Veale
.. Geoffrey (1370) = Isabel Beaushyn
.. John II (1384) of Agincourt = Alice Hawys

It also squeezes Robert out as the father of John I as the marriage of John and Margery would have been much too early considering he was alive in 1419, but he could still be another brother of the elder John.

There is even time here for a third John Codrington  [and another Alice] if John II was born about 1365, in which case Margery would have been his aunt and not his daughter.

John I (1335) = Margery Chalkeley
.. Margery (1365) = John le Veale
.. John II (1365) = Alice Young
…. John III (1384) of Agincourt = Alice Hawys
.. Geoffrey (1365) = Isabel Beaushyn

Robert Codrington of Chipping Sodbury could fit into this tree as the brother of John II and Geoffrey, but probably not the father of John III of Agincourt.

There is a link to the Chalkley family through Margery Hawys – the sister of John Codrington’s wife, Alice – and her second husband William Warbleton.

In 1460 he and his wife recovered £120 [£62000] damages from Thomas Chalkley of Clanfield, Oxfordshire. page

I have not been able to find any more information about the Chalkely family.

William Warbleton was also at Agincourt in the retinue of the King himself.

william warbleton agincourt

Thomas Codrington

Codrington of SodburySo what, then, of Thomas, supposedly the brother of John Codrington of Agincourt and the head of the junior branch of the family?

His position in the tree is identified by the arms that were used by the family and were those originally used – and then modified – by John of Agincourt before 1441.

Both of these arms can be seen in the stained glass window of the Castle house in Calne, Wiltshire as described by RHC in his first work on the Codrington family. page

The modified version of the arms was then used by the senior branch of the family and the original arms by the junior, as shown in The Codrington Arms.

The declaration in 1419 by Henry V seems to have been the point when the use of arms was formalised as being only by inheritance or by a grant from the crown, and before this date the use of arms may not have been so rigorously controlled.

Codrington of CodringtonIt seems that Thomas, who heads the junior branch of the family, is unlikely to be Thomas, the son of John and Alice, as he would  have used the arms of his father.

Seemingly to contradict this the arms I have used in this article, as those of John Codrington of Agincourt, are actually titled – in their original document –  as the arms of Thomas Codrington in the 15th century.

The only Thomas around in the 15th century was Thomas the son of John who was known to be alive in 1489 when his mother died.

RHC identifies Thomas as B1, the head of the junior branch, and then assigns son Ambrose as B2 followed by William B3 and makes William the husband of Mary Teste, but this is based on Thomas having died in 1427 [6 Henry VI] and being the brother of John of Agincourt.

B1 Thomas (d.1427, 6 Henry VI)
.. B2 Ambrose (b.1425) [#1]
…. B3 William (Married to Mary Teste)
…… B4 Francis (b.1512) = Margaret Shipman

[#1] Because of the date for the death of his father, Ambrose must have been born before 1427.

Most pedigrees acknowledge Ambrose as being the husband of Mary Teste and if Thomas was born about 1435 [and the son of John] then Ambrose could have been married to Mary and William probably did not exist – or at least was a brother.

William B3 does not appear in the Codrington pedigree held by the College of Arms, and neither is he in the pedigree shown in “memoirs” despite being added to the line of inheritance later in the document.

If there was a simple transcription error for the death of Thomas, and it should be Henry VII instead of Henry VI, then his death would have been 1490, which fits with him being alive at the inquisition of Alice in 1489 and the birth of Ambrose would be around the same time as his cousin, Christopher, which we know was 1467.

The manor of Frampton on Severn was bequeathed by Giles Teste [who inherited from his father Lawrence] to his sister Mary, the wife of Ambrose Codrington, on his death in 1545.

If Ambrose was alive at this time – Mary is not shown as a widow – he would have been about 80 years old – but would certainly not have been alive if his father, Thomas had died in 1427.

Assuming Thomas is the son of John A1 and brother of John A2 things do fit much better and we can leave out William altogether.

B1 Thomas (d.1490, 6 Henry VII )
.. B2 Ambrose (b. about 1465) = Mary Teste
…. B4 Francis (b.1512) = Margaret Shipman

Some lands were granted specifically to Thomas, the son of John and Alice, in the 1471 Levy of Fines, so it would be interesting to see who actually inherited these properties.

And besides after the decease of John Codryngton’ and Alice 6 messuages, 2 tofts, 1 garden, 1 dove-cot, 100 acres of land, 30 acres of meadow and 40 acres of pasture in the vills of Bristoll’, Leyghterton’, Haukesbury and Upton’ Hamell’ shall remain to the aforesaid Thomas, son of John Codrynton’ and Alice, and the heirs of his body, to hold of the chief lords for ever.

Thomas was known to have be at Chipping Sodbury in 1474 – from documents relating to Alderton Manor – possibly in the property previously occupied by Robert.

The Overseers were Sir Richard Beuchamp of Bromham, Sir John Seyntlow of Tormarton and Thomas Codryngton of Chepynge Sodbury, signed at Lockyngton 1st March. These are the names on the indenture renting Alderton to the Pophams.

The only reference we have to his father, Ambrose, shows that he was living in Bristol 1501 where he was a trustee of the Fraternity of the Blessed Mary of Bellhouse, a chapel in the church of St Peter’s, but it is likely that he lived until at least 1545.

Junior Branch

So was the junior branch actually descended from Thomas the son of John Codrington of Wapley and not his brother?

If so then why are all the arms of the junior branch in the window of Castle House at Calne shown as a different version of the arms and not those used by his father?

In the section of “memoirs” on the junior branch, RHC says that Thomas – as the head of the junior branch – was shown as the son of John of Codrington in a pedigree held by the Heralds College [possibly the one shown below], and married to Elizabeth the daughter of Robert Poyntz, but that some other pedigrees disagree.

As Robert Poyntz was a generation before Nicholas [mentioned above] it seems that a daughter Elizabeth would have been much to old to have married this Thomas, but could have married a brother of John of Agincourt.

The main reason for assuming that the head of the junior branch was a brother of John Codrington of Wapley are the use of the original arms – and not those of John himself, but the pedigree of the Poyntz family also seem to play a role in this.

If Thomas was the son of John of Agincourt then both he, and his brother John, appear to have married into the same generation of the Poyntz family.

I can find lots of issues with both of these scenarios. But perhaps there is another answer to this – perhaps the head of the junior branch is neither the brother of John, or his son?

One pedigree say that Thomas died in 1427 and RHC says that he belongs to an earlier generation than John Codrington A2 as does Ambrose, the son of Thomas, but this is based on his brother, John, having been born 1364.

If we assume that John was actually born 20 years later then originally thought – dying at the age of 91 – then Thomas could actually be an uncle to John and brother of Robert, his father. He could also have been the brother of John, born about 1385, and dying at the disappointing age of just 42.

But that still leaves the mysterious William having to fill in the missing generation in the early pedigree of the junior branch.

The 1623 visitation of Gloucestershire does show William Codrington as being married to Margaret Teste, the daughter of Lawrence.

William Codrington - Margaret Teste

Interestingly the arms of this William are shown as those of John Codrington A1 with the embattled fesse and not those used by other members of the junior branch.

There is also another Margaret shown in the tree and a reference to Mary, but the son of William is shown as Gyles missing out Francis [born in 1512] so this information may not be entirely accurate – especially as it is shown as part of the Clifford pedigree and not specifically the Codringtons.


The name used in the pedigree should be Ambrose and not William. But where did the name William come from?

I think that this was just a simple mistake:

The pedigree was taken from the visitation of Gloucestershire in 1623, but the Codrington family are included only as part of the Clifford family. It is likely, therefore, that the person giving evidence to the visitation was not actually a member of the Codrington family.

Francis Codrington, born about 1512 who married Margaret Shipman, is missing from this pedigree, so clearly there is a gap in the knowledge of the Codrington pedigree.

I think the name William came from the father-in-law of Francis, William Shipman.

If Ambrose had died relatively young – few records exist of him – then his name may not have been well-known to the Clifford family and William was a prominent merchant as well as being major of Bristol in 1533. page

Francis and William were both in shipping, no doubt Francis was taken into the family business after his marriage to Margaret. Francis was made burgess of Bristol in 1532.

francis codrington burgess of bristol 1532

The missing generation is possibly why the names of both Mary and Margaret are shown as the wife of “William” in the pedigree.

Records show that Ambrose of Bristol, son and heir, married Mary (Maria) Teste and Francis married Margaret Shipman. The will of John Shipman confirms that Francis married Margaret and not Mary, making it more likely that Ambrose (William) married Mary.

francis codrington - will of john shipman

So it appear to me that two generations of the Codrington family have simply been mis-remembered and mixed up in the Clifford tree.

Wives and Daughters

RHC says that the wife of John Codrington A2 was a daughter of Nicholas Poyntz of Iron Acton, based on the work done by Sir John Maclean. page

However this is incorrect as the pedigree actually shows that this was the daughter of John Poyntz [son of Nicholas] and Alice Cox, and RHC may have been simply mistaken.

poyntz - codrington

John Poyntz was born about 1433 and had died by 1468, so a daughter is likely to have been born around 1450 and this could fit with a daughter – possibly named Alice after her mother –  marrying John Codrington A2 with a son Christopher being born 1467.

Thomas Codrington is also shown to have married Elizabeth Poyntz and if he was the brother of John then Elizabeth must have been a sister, or cousin of whoever John married.

As can be seen from the pedigree above [from Sir John Maclean’s “Memoirs of the Poyntz family”], Elizabeth, the sister of Alice and daughter of John Poyntz, does not seem to have been married at all so it is not clear who this Elizabeth was.

The pedigree from the College of Arms says that she was the daughter of Sir R Poyntz.

poyntzSir Robert Poyntz, of Iron Acton, was the brother to the daughter of John Poyntz said to have married John Codrington A2, and apart from the obvious date problems his daughter, Elizabeth, is shown to have married Nicholas Wykes of Doddington.

An earlier Robert Poyntz Esq. was born 1359 and was the father of Nicholas, and grandfather of Sir Robert but this would be much too early and there is no record of a daughter Elizabeth.

Perhaps John the younger actually married someone else – possibly Alice Young, as shown in the College of Arms pedigree – and it was his  brother Thomas that married a daughter of John Poyntz and not Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert?

Alice could then have been the daughter of Thomas Young [who was born about 1420] as mentioned in the college of arms pedigree.

A1 John Codrington = Alice Hawes dau. John
.. A2 John Codrington = Alice Young dau. Thomas [born about 1450]
.. B1 Thomas Codrington = Elizabeth Poyntz dau. John

Perhaps both John and Thomas married daughters of John Poyntz, but only John seems to have been remembered [even if the name of his wife is not].

The visitation of Gloucestershire in 1623 shows Elizabeth as the daughter of John Poyntz and Alice Cox and married to an unknown son of an unknown Codrington.

Elizabeth Poyntz

This daughter is also shown as the wife of Robert Veale and it appears that Thomas could have married the widow of this Robert and John, perhaps, married the other unidentified daughter “Alice”.

In “memoirs of the Poyntz family” Elizabeth is shown only as being nurse to a son of Henry VIII  in 1510, but she could have been the widow of both Robert Veale and Thomas if he had died in 1490.

Perhaps Sir John Maclean simply did not appreciate that Elizabeth and the unknown daughter who married a Codrington were one and the same?

The pedigree held by the College of Arms is quite interesting in that it shows Humphrey, John and Thomas as the three sons of Robert Codrington.

Codrington pedigree coa-1 (WIDTH-1000)

Based on other documents  – such as the levy of fines and the inquisition into the death of Alice – this cannot be correct and the pedigree is missing several generations, but somewhere hidden in here – no doubt – is some truth.

Other Codringtons

John Codrington of Codrington and Wapley is not the earliest person recorded with that name and in 1337 one John Codrington was “apprentice to our lord the King [Edward III], and attorney”.

It seems he is recorded in history because he had been commanded to attend Sir John de Ros, at Orwell on 17th March 1337 and wasn’t too happy about it:

“…well and completely armed and apparelled as a man-at-arms, and that, upon pain of being hanged.”

John petitioned the king to be excused this service and seems to have earned a reprieve.

“Inasmuch as he is an attorney, let it be commanded to Sir J. de Ros, or his lieutenant, that they surcease from the demand which they make about him, and the distress which they do to him for this cause.”

The hundred year war with France started in this year so no doubt the command was related to the formation of armies for the campaign.

Whether this John lived in Gloucestershire is not recorded, but there are no other branches of the family known at the time in other parts of the country.

One Sir John Coderyngton appears in records relating to the seizing of the Chantries in 1547 during the first year of the reign of Edward VI.

He was the incumbent of Holy Trinity, Dursley, Gloucestershire and was paid to say prayers for the deceased, his income coming from endowments left for the saying of masses.

… of the age of 80 years, and having no other living than in the said service, which amounted to £6 13s. 4d.

This may be the same John Coderyngton who, 20 years earlier, was the prior of the rather unruly Malmesbury Abbey.

… Thomas Gloucester had often cast away his habit, had climbed over the walls and consorted with harlots, and had seized the possessions of others for his own use, and John London was nearly as bad, and had apostatized and offered violence, and Robert Ciscetur was frequently drunk. Other monks, continued the abbot, were little better: several had broken out at night, the prior, John Codryngton, was remiss and openly admitted it in light-hearted fashion …

The title Sir John Codryngton must have been an affectation as there are no records for a Sir John. He would have been born about 1467 but there is no obvious place in the senior Codrington tree for him.

Probably then he is from the junior branch of the family, a younger brother to William [Ambrose] Codrington, born 1462 of Frampton-on-Severn? It was often the younger sons that went into the church and his age fits with this scenario.

Stephen Codrington is mentioned in Notita Monastica page in relation to Stanlegh Abbey in Wiltshire, 1379. He could easily be a cousin or even brother of John Codrington I and I think this must be the first reference to any of the Codrington family being of Codrington and Wapley.

2 Ric. 2. receit. et confirm. donationes: P. 869. cart. antiq. X. n. 6, fcil. 2 Ric 2. confirm. donationem R. fil. Stephani de Codinton et Wapalee.

This appears to be a record of a donation to the abbey and there are also references in the same book to the manor of Codrington with a much earlier date.

15 Ed 1 [1286]. quo war. rot. 7. d. pro libertat in maner de Codrington [for freedom in the manor of Codrington].

It was John Codrington [of Agincourt] who purchased the manor at Codrington from Stanlegh Abbey about 60 years after the record of the donation by Stephen, and this does show family connections with the Abbey. The abbey also had connections to St. Augustine’s in Bristol where Robert Codrington was later buried – St Augustine’s was also the parent church to St Peter’s in Wapley.

Pat. 33 Hen 6 [1454] p. 2. m.. de maner. de Codrington [Gloucestr.] concedendo Joanni Codrington: fin. div. com.

Could Stephen actually be the father of John Codrington I with John Codrington II being his son and the one who was at Agincourt?

What we can surmise from this record is the possible age of Stephen. In order to be in a position to make a donation to the abbey he must have been successful and probably not a young man. We could also say that he was of an age to “contemplate his own mortality” and was probably making a donation to the abbey in preparation for his after-life, possibly for prayers to be said for him, as done by John Codrington and Alice [see below].

Based on this I would estimate his age as about 50 years old and therefore born in 1329. This is not an exact science but does give us some idea of which generation he belongs to.

If John was born in 1384, and died aged 91, then it is unlikely that Stephen was his father and more likely an uncle. If this was the case then John, or more likely his father, was Stephen’s heir  – somehow or other John inherited the property at Codrington and Wapley.

Farmer BullshotI am only exploring possibilities and my own ideas here – there are are lot of facts that just do not quite fit. A later birth date for John and shorter life of 91 would go some way to make this puzzle a little easier to understand, but there is no evidence that the age on the tomb is incorrect.

Whatever actually happened, and who is related to who, may never be known for sure – perhaps a combination of several of the above scenarios? There is time in the life of John for him to have married at least three times (or more) and to have had several families – even if he only lived until the age of 91.

Or maybe I am too doubting and it was simply as RHC surmised:

John returned from Agincourt, married a young woman, survived his son, and died in extreme old age.

Although I am not sure that he fully believed that this was correct.

Farmer BullshotI will be updating my family tree to take into account some of the ideas that I have discussed, to better fit with other pedigrees, and adding John II, based on very little evidence.

If the age on the tomb is correct then my best guess is that John Codrington had two wives, with his children all being born from his first marriage, which is why two had died before his second wife. After the death of Alice I he remarried but did not have any more children.

What confuses this slightly is the birth of grandson and heir Christopher, who’s father would have been quite old when he was born in 1467, but you can’t have everything.

If the age on the tomb is incorrect and he died aged ninety-one, then things become a little easier to understand with John at Agincourt aged 30 and married shortly afterwards.

Personally this scenario appeals to me as it is much neater and fits with most other facts and estimates, and I will be pursuing this further.

In this case Robert could be the younger brother of John I and therefore the uncle of John of Agincourt, which is why he was only ever of Chipping Sodbury and did not inherit Codrington and Wapley.

Both John I and Robert could also be the sons of Stephen who is shown to be of Codrington and Wapley in 1379 or possibly John Codrington who married Margery Chalkeley.

Stephen of Codrington and Wapley
.. John I
…. John II of Agincourt = Alice Hawys
…… Humphrey – Escheator of Gloucestershire
…… John III
…….. Christopher – Heir of Alice
…… Thomas
…. Robert of Chipping Sodbury
…. Thomas [junior branch]

I think there is also enough evidence to say that it is more than likely that Thomas B1 was the son, and not brother, of John A1.

This does mean, technically, that John III should be the head of the senior branch A1 and not John of Agincourt.

The Elder Tree

Some additional information about Geoffrey Codrington and Isabel Beaushyn has made me change a few things – in particular they are shown elsewhere to be a generation later than I have estimated – meaning that Geoffrey is probably the brother of both John of Agincourt.

This makes John and Margaret Chalkley the parents of John of Agincourt leaving Alice Young to be the wife of John’s son John [father of Christopher].

Margaret – who married John le Veale – must also be the sister to John II and Geoffrey II.

But this does mean that there is a generation missing between the earlier Geoffrey I [estimated as being born about 1300 by RHC] and John I. Possibly the earlier Geoffrey was a generation later and Geoffrey II was his son [and named after him]. He could also have been the eldest of the two brothers, but died without a son leaving John II as the heir.

As Peter of Codrington and Wapley was recorded making a donation to the Abbey of Stanleigh in 1379 he must have been about 50 and therefore could fit into the gap between Geoffrey I and John I. Robert of Chipping Sodbury then becomes the brother of John I and the uncle of John II of Agincourt. John I would have inherited the Codrington property from his father, Peter, and passed it to his son.

There is a reference to Richard Goderyngton, who was shown as Deacon in the records of Bishop William Ginsborough for 1304/5, and this is now the oldest record I have found, assuming Richard is a member of the same family.

Another John Codrington – attorney to the king in 1337 – is probably related to this Richard or his son Geoffrey. Other records show that there was a branch of the family based around Tewksbury and Gloucester. This, perhaps, shows a link between the Codrington family of Wapley and the village of Goderyngton although it is also possible that the two are not related.

Richard Goderyngton (1275)
.. Geoffrey (1300)
.. Ralph
.. Thomas
.. John (1325) Attorney to the King
…. John (1350)
…… John (1380) of Bishop’s Cleeve
…….. Anselm Codrington of Gloucester

From all the information available at the moment the early Codrington pedigree could be something like this:

Richard (1275)
.. Geoffrey (1300)
…. Peter of Codrington & Wapley (1330)
…… Robert of Chipping Sodbury
…… John I (1360) = Margery Chalkley
…….. Margery (1390) = John le Veale
…….. Geoffrey (1385) = Isabel Beaushyn
…….. John II A1 (1384) of Agincourt = Alice Hawys
………. Humphrey = ?Agnes?
………. John III A2 (1435) = Alice Young
………… Christopher A3(1467) = Ankarette Twynyho dau. William *
………….. John A4 (1490) = Dorothy Fettiplace
………… Edward A7(1469) = Elizabeth Tywnyho dau. John
………….. Thomas A8 (1515) = Mary Kellaway
……………. Simon A9 (1554) = Agnes Seacole
……………… Robert A11 (1574) = Anne Stubbes dau. Willliam
………. Thomas B1 (1435) = Elizabeth Poyntz
………… Ambrose B2 (1470) = Mary Teste
………….. Francis B4 (1515) = Margaret Shipman dau. William
……………. Gyles B5 (1535) = Isabella Porter
……………… Francis B6 (1559) = Margaret Bromwich *
……………… Richard B7 (1560) = Joyce Burlace

* Line passed to brother/heir.

speech50The wife of John Codrington was Alice Hawys. This has also been transcribed as Hannys and Hauuys which is understandable. Alice’s sister Margery is also named as Hawes and Haines, in documents relating to the will of Peter Bessiles. I have stuck to the Hawys spelling for consistency as much as possible.

speech50Another record, not mentioned by RHC, is that John and Alice Codrington paid for a chantry in the Dominican friary at Bristol.

John and Alice Codryngton of Gloucestershire established a perpetual chantry in 1469 in the Dominican house at Bristol where a daily Mass was to be celebrated for the benefit of their souls, those of their ancestors and all the faithful departed, with additional services for their anniversaries.

John Codrington I would have been over 100 years old at this time and even a younger John would have been 80.

Chris Sidney 2015


The Estcourt Connection

Farmer BullshotIt would be strange if there was no family connection between the Estcourt and Codrington families given the number of documents that show the names of both families.

All that can be found, however, is a reference in the will of Thomas Estcourt, dated 1599, to his sister Codrington and it seems there are no other records for this marriage between the two families.

Thomas Estcourt (1547-1599) was party to several legal documents concerning the Codrington family, including the arrangements for the marriage of Robert Codrington and Anne Stubbes dated 1593.

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, […] 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 […]

Shipton Moyne 1709The Estcourt family lived at Shipton Moyne in Gloucestershire, close to Didmarton where the senior branch of the Codrington family were based at this time.

Simon Codrington (1554-1631) seems to have been associated with this older Thomas and his son, Thomas, a friend of Simon’s son Robert – both having been at Grey’s Inn at about the same time. Thomas Estcourt was one of the overseers of Robert’s will.

But there do not seem to be any male Codrington family members in the pedigree that could be the husband of an Estcourt daughter, and RHC did not know about this otherwise I’m sure it would have been mentioned in his Memoirs of the Codrington family.

I have therefore tried to match an un-named sister of Thomas Estcourt the elder, to an unknown son of Thomas Codrington and Mary Kellaway.

There are only two sons mentioned in the Codrington pedigree – Simon Codrington the eldest son who married Agnes Seacole, and John Codrington, who married Ann Howper of Meriot, Somerset.

Both Simon and John were alive until at least 1630 – outliving Simon’s son and heir, Robert who died in 1618. Agnes Seacole was known to be alive until 1618 but not much is known of Ann Howper.

Dates for this branch of the family are a bit vague but I think it is possible for John to have remarried after his two known sons, Thomas and Edward, were born about 1590/95 – assuming his wife Ann had died.

It is not known if another Codrington brother was alive in 1599, when Thomas Estcourt wrote his will, but he is not mentioned as a brother in law and, if he had died then his wife had not remarried.

The Estcourt Sisters

There are four sisters mentioned in the will of Thomas Estcourt in 1599: Edith Iles, sister Pateshall, sister Codrington and sister Sperte, as well as several brothers-in-law who are husbands of sisters or, in some cases, fathers of daughters-in-law.

Matching these up leaves only sister Codrington and sister Spert unaccounted for – supposedly their husbands may both have been dead by 1599.

This means that John Codrington cannot to be the husband of sister Codrington as he lived until 1633 – and Simon was still married to Agnes.

It is also possible that the husbands were simply not listed as brothers-in-law in the will, but I can see no reason why they should have been excluded unless they were dead.

Additional information is available in the will of Anne Estcourt, (who did not marry), one of the daughters of Edmund and Praxeda, and older sister of Thomas.

However she only mentions one sister, Edith Iles, several brothers and lots of god-children, nieces and nephews and seems to have had a lot of money to distribute between them.

Anne Estcourt died in 1581, some time before her brother Thomas, so it is possible that sister Codrington was not married at the time, and is simply not named for some reason – perhaps she was married but had no children or was just a younger sister?

Anne seems to have been about 10 years older than Thomas and closer in age to sister Edith, so if Thomas was the eldest son there could have been a lot of sisters born earlier.

If Anne was born in 1538 [her father was born 1525 so one of these dates appears wrong] then a sister born about the same time could almost have married a Codrington from an earlier generation, but still be alive in 1599, probably as a widow.

I think this is unlikely though, and I still favour an additional Codrington son, Thomas, as the most likely option.

Henry Grace a DieuThe sister of Agnes Seacole, who married Simon Codrington, had also married into the Spert family.

Griselle Seacole = Richard Spert.

Richard was the son of Sir Thomas Spert, founder of Trinity House and Master of the Mary Rose and the Henri Grace a Dieu. page  Sir Thomas had also married into the Seacole family but had no children from that marriage, possibly his wife, Anne, had died in childbirth?

Robert Spert, who married another unknown Estcourt daughter, is unlikely to be his brother, but is probably a relative of some sort.

William Soper the M.P. for Southampton – who may have been related to the John Soper that married Alice Codrington – was also involved in the navy of Henry V and the building of the Gracedieu that was started in Southampton in 1416.

Soper played a notable part in the greatest naval enterprise of the time, the scheme to build a ship of 1,400 tons’ estimated capacity—the Gracedieu.  page

Thomas Estcourt

THOMAS ESTCOURT, of Shipton Moyne, co. Glouc. Will dated – 1 June 19, 1599, proved Nov. 13, 1599. [88 Kidd.]

To be buried in my Chapel at Shipton Moyne.

My brothers in law William Savage & Walter Hungerford, esq, & Richard Patsall.

My sister Pateshall.

My son Edmund Estcourt.

My son in law John Hungerford.

My sister Edith Iles, wife of Richd Iles.

My daughter Mary [Savage], wife of my son Thomas Estcourt.

My brothers George & Richard Estcourt.

Books in my Study in Gray’s Inn, London, to my son Edmund Estcourt.

To my daughter Anne Estcourt, £1,000 to her marriage.

Lands, &c., to Edmund my son, if Thomas dies without issue.

My cousin Sir Willm. Eyer, of Chalfield, Wilts.

My wife Emma.

My father Edmund Estcourt, decd.

My son Richard Estcourt, 200 marks towards the making of his stock in trade.

My sister Codrington.

My sister Sperte.

Anne Estcourt

ANNE Estcourt of Shipton Moyne. Will dated 7 Nov 1580, Probate 26 Sep 1581

Brother Thomas, sister in law Emma

Brother George, children Edmund, John, Emma, Mary

Brother Gyles

Brother Richard, children Anne, Edmund, Thomas, Cicilie, Mazie

Sister Edith Iles, children Thomas Anne, Praxeda

The South Connection

One possible solution to this is that the death of Thomas Codrington as 1594 is incorrect, and this date applies to a previously unrecorded son, also called Thomas.

Some research into the inheritance of property in Wiltshire and Shaftsbury, Dorset has shown that it was passed to Thomas South, his nephew, about 1565, which also may be when Thomas Codrington died. page

The properties in question appear to have come from Joan, Thomas’ grandmother.

Edward Codrington and Elizabeth his wife were seised in her right, of the manor of Swallowcliffe, with remainder to William South, her son and heir by a previous husband, and that the purport of the fine was, with William’s consent, to postpone his estate, whether in tail or in fee, to a life estate thereby created in favour of Thomas Codrington, his half-brother ex parte materna.

Thomas South was the son of Thomas’s half-brother, William South. Their mother, Elizabeth, was first married to Giles South before marrying Edward Codrington in about 1495. Thomas Codrington was born about 1520 and his death in about 1565 in not inconsistent with the birth dates of his children – and perhaps the reason he did not have more.

south - codrington

This pedigree from Wiltshire notes and queries (volume 7) shows Thomas Codrington born about 1500, which I think too early, but if true gives more weight to him dying about 1565, being of a good age, and the 1594 date would therefore have to apply to a son.

Upon these entries one would conclude that, by purchase or as heir, Thomas South, of 1574 [son of William South], succeeded Thomas Codrington, of 1552, and transmitted the messuage in Shaftesbury to his son, Thomas South, of 1606. And it may be stated that Thomas Codrington was certainly dead in 1565. The succession then may have been upon death; but it is quite certain that Thomas South was not Thomas Codrington’s heir.

The death of the younger Thomas in 1594 fits perfectly with him marrying into the Estcourt family about 1590, but then leaving a widow who is mentioned in her brother’s will of 1599 as Sister Codrington.

Thomas Codrington died intestate in 1594, which would be understandable if this was the will of the younger Thomas, but an older Thomas – aged about 80, [assuming he was born 1515] would surely have written a will?

Thomas  is described as “while he lived of Swallowcliffe ” and RHC says that administration of his estate was granted to his son, Simon, in 1594. But these facts do not fit with other records that say that the estate was in the possession of Thomas South in 1567, perhaps the biggest indication that Thomas had died early.

Land which a member of the South family, possibly Giles South, acquired in Swallowcliffe before 1528 may have been part of the Mandevilles’ Swallowcliffe estate. The land, reputed a manor, was in 1528 settled on Elizabeth Codrington, perhaps Giles’s relict, her husband Edward Codrington, and her son Thomas Codrington for their lives with remainder to William South, possibly Elizabeth’s son by Giles South. Thomas Codrington was apparently in possession in 1545. William’s son Thomas South held the estate in 1567. It passed to Thomas’s son Thomas, who died holding it in 1606. The land presumably passed to that Thomas’s son Edward South, the lord of Swallowcliffe manor. page

RHC may have been mistaken and the estate of Thomas, in 1594, may have been granted to his brother Simon. This leaves the family looking like this:

Thomas I (1515-1565) = Mary Kellaway (1525-1589)

    Mary? (-) = Hugh Hervey

    Alice (1550-1629) = Thomas Hyett

    Simon (1550-1631) = Agnes Seacole

    John (1555-1633) = Anne Howper

    Thomas II (1560-1594) = ?? Estcourt

Birth dates are approximate based on probably marriage dates etc.

Then there is the date mentioned above: Thomas Codrington of 1552. What does this date refer to? I doubt if this is when he died, but could be the date that he married Mary Kellaway – or possibly the birth for a younger Thomas? Most likely this is when the survey of lands was carried out.

And what of the date associated with Thomas South of 1574? It seems he was already in possession of the Swallowcliffe property by then and that this is when he died. The estate was then passed to his son, another Thomas who died in 1606.

The Codrington Connection

The elder Thomas Codrington was not the heir to the Codrington estate. This had been passed by his uncle, Christopher Codrington, and his wife Ankarette Twynyho, to their daughter, Alice, who married John Soper.

The pedigree of John Soper, probably of Somerset, is not clear, however his arms are shown in the chapel of Codrington Court where he died.

arg. on a fess gules between three phials or bottles, three mullets or.

These arms are impaled with those of the elder Codrington family, but they are different to other Soper arms, so perhaps he was the last of his family to use these.

The couple only had one daughter, Alice, who was the heir of the Codrington estate when she married Walter Dennys of Dyrham in Gloucestershire as his second wife .

But the couple did not have any children and when Alice Dennys died the Codrington and Wapley properties were passed to her second cousin Simon Codrington, the eldest son of Thomas Codrington and Mary Kellaway.

Unfortunately we do not know exactly when Alice Dennys died. If she died before 1594 – when she would have been 75 years old – then the lands could have gone to Thomas Codrington and not his son Simon.

However it was in February 1570 that Simon was named as “Consanguineus et haeres apparens” [Cousin and heir apparent] to Alice and Walter Dennys, so it is possible that the elder Thomas had died a few years earlier, otherwise I would have thought he would have been made heir, but this is not certain. Thomas would have been about the same age as Alice.

This also means that another Simon Codrington Esq. – who married Walter’s daughter, Anne, (Alice’s step daughter) from his first marriage in 1543 – must also have died by this time.

This Simon and Anne had no children so it is likely that he also died young. In the lives of the Berkeleys it says:

And the said Anne the last of the sisters of the said Richard Denis was maryed to Simon Codrington Esq. who is dead without issue. 

Elizabeth, the wife of Edward and mother of Simon and Thomas Codrington, first married Giles South and had a son, William who was half-brother to Simon and Thomas.

The documents referenced in Wiltshire Notes and Queries indicate that the properties mentioned in Dorset came from Elizabeth’s mother, Joan, from her first marriage, but the name of her first husband is unknown. She is known to have remarried to James Brown or Broune.

?? = Joan ? = James Broune

Elizabeth ? = Giles South = Edward Codrington

There is a possibility that Joan’s first husband was John Twynyho based simply on the disputed identity of the second husband of his widow, Joanne.

John Twynyho = Joanne Corbet = ??

There are indications that Joanne’s second husband was Thomas Cressett, but the suggested birth dates for his children seem much too early, and it is more likely that Thomas Cressett married a sister of Joanne, possibly named Eleanor, or that he was the son of a marriage between the two families a generation earlier.

It’s quite possible that Thomas Cressett’s wife was Elizabeth’s youngest daughter with Sir Roger Corbet, born in the 1460s, and not married until the latter years of Edward IV’s reign. page

Either way I have discounted a marriage between Thomas Cressett and Joanne, for now.

The Twynyho Connection

John Twynyho died in 1485 leaving Joanne as a widow and they could have had a daughter, Elizabeth [born about 1470] of an age to marry Giles South and to have a son, William, about 1490.

There is no record for an daughter Elizabeth but that does not mean that she didn’t exist, and if so, she could have been named after her grandmother Elizabeth Corbett. This means that Joan may have been Joanne Corbett and her daughter, Elizabeth Twynyho.

The uncle of Thomas Codrington, Christopher, had married Ankarette Twynyho – named after her grandmother Ankarette Hawkstone – and would have been cousin to Elizabeth. So this is what the relationship could have been …

John Twynho = Joan Corbett = James Broune

    Elizabeth Twynyho = Giles South = Edward Codrington

        William South, Thomas Codrington

The British History Online record page says that the Wiltshire land was originally owned by the South family and granted to Elizabeth – and not Joanne – on her marriage to Giles South. It was then passed through second husband, Edward Codrington, then his son Thomas and then back to the South family, as agreed prior to the marriage.

The agreement regarding Swallowcliffe was for the life of Thomas, so in 1567, when Thomas South held the estate, Thomas Codrington, the son of Edward and Elizabeth, must have been dead, leaving a younger son, Thomas, who married an Estcourt daughter but died intestate in 1594.

And there is more to support this.

As well as Swallowcliffe there are also properties in Shaftsbury, Dorset that were passed to Thomas South from Thomas Codrington in the same way, and these records also contain the name of Twynyho.

In the Octave of St. Martin 2 Richard III [1484] James Broune and Joan his wife, levied a fine to William Twyneo of a messuage and garden in Shaftesbury, which William Twyneo thereby granted to the said James and Joan for the term of their lives, with remainder to Giles South and Elizabeth his wife, and the heirs of their bodies, with remainder in default to the, heirs of the body of Elizabeth, with remainder in default to the right heirs of Joan.

This William Twynyho was likely the father-in-law of Christopher Codrington, but at this time there were no family connections between the South and the Codrington families – the daughter of Joan, Elizabeth, married Edward Codrington after the death of Giles, mentioned above.

So the most likely connection is through Joan, who would have been his sister in law, the widow of his brother John. The marriage between Elizabeth, the widow of Giles South, and Edward Codrington was perhaps arranged through the Twynyho family that had connections to both the Codrington and South families.

Farmer BullshotThe ownership of the properties in both Wiltshire and Dorset shows that it is highly likely that there were two Thomas Codringtons – father and son – and that it was the younger who married into the Estcourt family but died in 1594 leaving a widow, sister Codrington, as mentioned in the will of Thomas Estcourt in 1599.

The identification of Elizabeth, who married Edward Codrington, as the likely daughter of John Twynyho and Joanne Corbett is an unexpected bonus.

speech50Thomas South the younger, who took possession of Swallowcliffe from Thomas Codrington, died in 1606 leaving three sons – Edward, Thomas and Richard.

His grand-daughter Mary [probably the daughter of eldest son Edward] was married to Philip Poore at Swallowcliffe in 1639. Their son, also Philip, married Elizabeth Codrington, the youngest daughter of John Codrington and his second wife Ann Still, the grand-daughter of the bishop of Bath and Wells.

Chris Sidney 2015


The Kellaway Connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their eldest son Nicholas, founded Wadham College in Oxford.

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

[More information below]

The Codrington memorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Codrington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tregarthen Pedigree

Joan Tregarthin

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

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

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

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

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


[1] Bristol Cathedral Heraldry

by F. Were

1902, Vol. 25, 102-132

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

by R. H. Codrington

1898, Vol. 21, 301-345

Chris Sidney 2014


Thomas Codrington – Sheriff of New York

Farmer BullshotCaptain Thomas Codrington, Merchant, turned up in Somerset County, bought land and become Sheriff of New York in 1691, yet nobody seems to know where he came from.

To have enough money to buy a large amount of land he must have been doing pretty well as a merchant.

He may have come from the West Indies and been related to Christopher Codrington but no records exist for a Thomas in the family.

Could this Thomas be the son of Robert Codrington of Bristol, who was a merchant working for the East India Company, last heard of in 1648?

Or perhaps an unknown son of Robert Codrington and Henningham Drury who’s son Robert is known to have been in Barbados?

New York

nycmap1764a[1]In 1664 the British captured New Amsterdam from the Dutch and renamed it New York after James, the Duke of York, brother of the King who had sponsored the expedition.

At about this time the population of New York was only about 2000.

Captain Thomas Codrington, merchant, was sheriff of New York in 1691 and bought a significant amount of land in Somerset County where he built a homestead.

14 Oct 1691 Minutes of Council of New York. Abraham De Peyster sworn Mayor of New York, and Thomas Codrington, Sheriff. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., p. 288.]

He is first recorded in New York 1678 when he married Margaret, the daughter of Thomas Delavall, an influential figure who had been the Mayor of New York.

One record shows Margaret to be born in 1652 so would have been 26 when she married – Thomas is likely to have been significantly older, perhaps 10 or 20 years – but perhaps this was a political marriage where age differences don’t seem to matter.

He is first recorded buying property in 1681.

Green Brook Township had its beginning in the Original Indian Purchase made May 4, 1681, when English settlers purchased it from two Raritan Indians named Konackama and Quereomak, presumably Indian chiefs.

John Royce had eight hundred and seventy-seven acres; Thomas Codrington eight hundred and seventy-seven acres next to him; the proprietors, eleven hundred and seventy acres next to Bound Brook;

Thomas Codrington, one thousand acres on the rear next to Chimney Rock and the mountain.

Green Brook Historical Society

Other reports suggest that Thomas Codrington of Barbados was a merchant trading between Bristol and the American Colonies but there seems to be no records of him there other than in a will dated 1714 as “a friend” – however he had already died by then.

Who was Thomas?

If Thomas was the son of Robert Codrington of Bristol A11  then he would have been born about 1616 and about 65 at the time he first purchased land in 1681 – he was last mentioned as a merchant in Armenia in 1648.

Captain Thomas Codrington married Margaret Delavall in 1678 and is mentioned as having links with the the West Indies, based on some of his associates, which does not fit in with what we know about Thomas of Armenia.

Thomas of New York died 20 April 1710 so would have been 95 if he was the son of Robert of Bristol – this is not impossible but I think it is highly unlikely.

Thomas and Margaret do not appear to have had any children and Thomas had sold most of his property by the time he died – perhaps he had planned to have a large family but it had just not happened.

The Codrington homestead, “Racawackhana,” was owned in 1700 by Aaron Lazarder ; then about 1720 by his son Moses Lazarder ; then by his son David Lazarder ; afterwards by Michael Van Tyle, Alexander Campbell and Samuel Swan, M. D.

One thing that we do know about Thomas is that in his will he mentions his two sisters Elizabeth and Katherine.

He also mentions a cousin Frances Willet who is shown as “Dervall” in some trees, but was  the cousin of his wife Margaret, who married Richard Willet and died in 1723.

In the Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism there is a reference to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which owned estates in Barbados bequeathed by Thomas Codrington.

This may just be a mistake and it should be a reference to Christopher Codrington III who also died in 1710.

speech50There may be some connection to the Willet family of Long Island. Thomas Willet, originally from Bristol, settled in New York and was also Sheriff and about the same (estimated) age of Thomas Codrington.

Much more information about the Willet family in Genealogies of Long Island Families, Vol. II [available through Ancestry although there may be a digital copy somewhere on-line]

Another possibility is that Thomas was an unrecorded son of Robert Codrington [i] and Hennigham Drury [of Norfolk] in which case he could have been born about 1640 and a younger brother to Robert, born in London 1635.

Robert is known to have been in Barbados with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Henningham, who was born in Barbados in 1675 and married into the Carrington family.

This makes Thomas about the right age to fit into this scenario, being only 12 years older than Margaret, yet old enough to have been established as a captain and merchant at the age of about 35 when he first appears.

But there are no records to support this, although it seems much more likely of the two suggestions.

[i] Some histories show this Robert as the brother of Christopher, the first Codrington to settle on Barbados,  but I believe this to be incorrect.

See I, Robert  for more information.

speech50Although not available in Ancestry and other sources, there is a baptism record for a Thomas Codrington in 1630, which would be about the right date for this Thomas.

As the grandson of Samuel Codrington of Dodington he would probably have had the resources and finances to embark on a career as a merchant based in Bristol, but trading between Barbados and Virginia.

The record is shown in the History of Antigua but originated in Gloucestershire Notes and Queries volume II.

dodington baptisms

There is a slight problem with this theory – his brother Samuel Codrington (the younger) was in the line of inheritance to Dodington, and identified as B9 in the memoirs by RHC.

Samuel died in 1668 so Thomas would have become next in line, but in a twist his father, Samuel the Elder, was still alive and when he died in 1676, the property passed to his brother Richard, Thomas’ uncle – which seems to show that this Thomas was not alive.

It was Samuel B12 the son of Richard that sold Dodington to Christopher Codrington in 1703.

Perhaps Thomas then set out to create his own dynasty in New York to rival Dodington, but failed to produce the children he had hoped for  – the large house he had built and the lands he had bought were all sold.

He did have a sister Elizabeth as mentioned in his will, but there is no record of a Katherine in this family so perhaps these were sisters-in-law?

The only Katherine I have come across was born in 1644 in Devon, the daughter of Col. Nicholas Codrington (brother of Christopher Codrington I) who was in Dartmouth during the Civil war and his wife Katherine.

speech50It is possible that Nicholas did have other children but they were simply not recorded during the civil war. When his widow, Katherine, claimed a pension for herself only one child, a daughter named Penelope, is mentioned.

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.

If Thomas was the son of Nicholas then he could have been born around 1645 [too old to be mentioned as a dependent] and about 35 when he appeared in New York, which is about the right age to fit with this scenario.

But where did his money come from?

If Katherine was granted a pension, or compensated from the financial losses to the family, then Thomas [if he existed] could have benefited from it – the sum of £3000 mentioned above would today be worth about £300,000. He could have built up a successful merchant business over the next twenty years and then decided to settle in New York.

I am uneasy about this solution, but then there is no other obvious answer, so perhaps this is something close to the truth.

John Delavall

John Delavall was a son of Thomas Delavall [and brother of Margaret], a captain under Col. Nichols when New York was captured in 1664. It seems from some transactions of [his] that he had been in the city before this time, but immediately after the surrender he took a prominent part in the administration of public affairs. He owned a farm at Harlem as well as a residence in the city, on the south east corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place, embracing an orchard and a large garden. Visiting England in 1669, he had a conference with the Duke of York, who sent by him to the Mayor and Aldermen of the city, a mace of office and a gown to be worn on proper occasions.

The Codrington Estate

Thomas seems to have been the only one of his associates to actually settle on his property.

The only one of the proprietors under this Indian grant who actually settled on any part of it, was Thomas Codrington. He had 877 acres apportioned to him September 25th, 1683 ; and built a house upon it soon after, and called his place Racawackhana.

He also owned 1,000 acres more, lying on the rear of his farm, running up to the apex of the mountain. Thomas Codrington was living at Racawackhana on the 26th of November 1684, and was at that date appointed one of Governor Barclay’s council.

He was a man of influence in his time, and received the same appointment from Lord Neil Campbell Oct 18th, 1686, and again from Governor Bass, May 6, 1698.

Centennial history of Somerset County [New Jersey] 1878

Thomas eventually bought the shares of all the other partners in the original purchase perhaps in the attempt to build an estate to rival those back in England or in Barbados, but had sold it all by 1700 when he had no male heir.

The Codrington land was located partially in what would be come Bridgewater and part what was known as Bound Brook. It started out as a joint purchase of former Indian land by John Palmer, Thomas Codrington, John White, and John Royce.  It appears they had to repurchase from the Proprietors in 1684, each receiving 877 acres.  Palmer was to the west of Codrington and Royce was to the east.

In a deed dated 8 May 1706, Thomas Codrington and his wife Margaret sold the entire plantation at Bound Brook to Phillip French. “With all an singular the houses, edifices, buildings, barns, stables, warehouses, landings” etc.

Phillip French may have been from Kellshall, Hertfordshire and it was on this property, purchased from Thomas, that Kells Hall was built by his descendants.

Both Phillip and Thomas are mentioned in the will of one James Graham who died 1700 and had been the attorney-general of New York .

Archibald Campbell Son of Lord Neil Campbell and the History of Kells Hall

Chris Sidney 2014