Francis Nottidge Macnamara.

Memorials of the Danvers family (of Dauntsey and Culworth): their ancestors and descendants from the conquest till the termination of the eighteenth century; with some account of the alliances of the online

. (page 1 of 56)
Online LibraryFrancis Nottidge MacnamaraMemorials of the Danvers family (of Dauntsey and Culworth): their ancestors and descendants from the conquest till the termination of the eighteenth century; with some account of the alliances of the → online text (page 1 of 56)
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' We doubt whether there is a single man of education in England who is not
interested in his pedigree — that is, who does not desire to know what manner of
men his forefathers really were. Of course, there are plenty of people who do
not care in the least for a royal descent, or a Norman lineage, and for whom a
distinguished ancestry has no attractions. If, however, a man says that he does
not care to know where his great-grandfather lived, what he did, and what were
that great-grandfather's politics and religious creed, it can merely mean that he
is incapable of taking interest in one of the most interesting forms of human
knowledge — the knowledge of the details of the past. Of course, the compiling
of mere strings of names, however long, is utterly meaningless, and its worship
well deserves the contempt that has been poured upon it. To a person possessed
of any historical sense, however, no name, if properly supplemented with date and
place, is without interest. To find that a direct ancestor lived at Naseby about
the year 1645, and so must have witnessed the great battle between the forces of
the King and Parliament, at once gives life and colour to any family record. It
is a happy circumstance that those who wish to prepare pedigrees are bound to
compile them from documents which contain names not merely as names, but in
definite relation to some particular event or special circumstance. For instance,
if an ancestor's name turns up on the Patent Roll, it is because he obtained, at
some time or other, a grant from the King. When a name is found, an important
fact in the life is found with it. Except the parish registers, there is, indeed,
hardly a public record which does not attach some piece of information, great or
small, to the names recorded in it. . . . To trace out the ramifications of a family
line, is indeed an exciting and delightful task. No one who has ever felt it will
forget the delight of finding the anxiously looked-for name in the Index
Nominorum of some stately folio of the Records, the breathless turning over of
the leaves to find the place, and the reward for days of hungry expectation that
the passage, when discovered, affords. The charm of the chase is that the hunt
is never up. To run down one game is only to start another. . . . Perhaps one
of the most curious things about pedigree hunting, is the fact that it is tending to
become more general as the political and social power conferred by birth is grow-
ing less. That this is so, has been the cause of much cheap satire in regard to
the snobbish tendencies of democracy. We very much doubt, however, whether
the present love for pedigrees has anything to do with that pride of birth which
has been so conspicuous a feature in other ages. Rather, we believe that it is to
be explained by the fact that the horizon of human interest has been widening
everywhere, and that the love for the study of ancestry has developed with the
general love for knowledge which is everywhere steadily growing. A man now
sets out to discover who his ancestors really were, not to establish a claim to
Norman blood. The old pedigree hunting was a sign of pride and pretension ;
the modern is simply dictated by the desire to know whatever can be known.
The one advanced itself by the methods of immoral advocacy ; the other proceeds
by those of scientific research.' — The Spectator, April 21, 1888.


Some six or seven years ago, my attention was drawn to the
table of descent of the Danvers family, and having time at my
disposal, and a liking for antiquarian research, I resolved on
an attempt to prove or disprove its correctness. This table
traced the ancestry of the family, through the Swithlands
branch, to the time of the Conquest. Yet, at the outset of
the inquiry, the only evidence which one could discover of the
connection of the family with that of Swithlands, rested in
some letters of the last Baronet of the Swithlands line to John
Danvers of Hornsey, in which he spoke of the latter as ' his
relative and friend.' One of the first-fruits of the search was
the discovery that the evidence of the descent of John of
Hornsey from the Swithlands family was quite illusory, and
that the John Danvers of that branch, from whom descent
was assumed, died childless. The descent of the family could
not, in fact, be authenticated beyond John Danvers of Hornsey,
who died in the year 1803. Several of his grandchildren were
alive, and remembered him and his wife Elizabeth, whose
maiden name they knew was Hardy. There was, however,
nothing authentic on record to show whence John Danvers
came, or to which branch of the Danvers family he belonged.

At the time when my search began, those very useful works,
Mr. Walter Eye's ' Eecords and Eecord Hunting,' and Mr.
Phillimore's ' How to Write the History of a Family,' had not
been published, and, very ill-informed in such matters, it
seemed to me my best plan would be to go to the Public
Record Office, and there begin my search. I was courteously
received in ' the long room,' and told that I had best com-


mence by examining any post-mortem inquisitions of the
family which were amongst the records. Accordingly I re-
quisitioned one of them, but, alas ! only to discover that I
could make nothing of the queer - looking contracted legal
Latin, written in an old-time hand. It was evident that I
yet had much to learn before I could, with any hope of success,
begin an inquiry amongst the ancient records. Then it
occurred to me that a more promising field for research would
be the old wills at Somerset House, and having obtained
sanction to study in the literary department of the Probate
Office, I began work there, and, with the ever-ready help of
the superintendent of the room, Mr. Challoner Smith, found
promise of making some progress in the inquiry.

It appeared from the letters of Sir John Danvers that the
friend and relative, Mr. John Danvers, to whom they were
addressed, had relations at Bath, and I found the will of a
Daniel Danvers of that city, in which Mr. John Danvers of
Hornsey was mentioned. This Daniel Danvers, as his will
showed, came from Liverpool, and it seemed therefore advisable
to search the Chester Probate Office for Danvers wills, and
several of them were found there. "With their help, it became
possible to make clear the relationship of the Liverpool and
Bath families, and their connection with a John and a Samuel
Danvers of Battersea.

Now, in reading these and other Danvers wills, one was
struck by the constant recurrence of the Christian names
'Daniel' and ' Samuel,' and these proved to be names which
occurred only amongst the Danvers family of Culworth,
Northampton ; a strong presumption was therefore raised
that the Danvers of Liverpool, Bath and Battersea belonged
to the Culworth stock.

Baker, in his ' History of Northampton,' speaks of Daniel
Danvers (died in 1623), the son of John Danvers, and brother
to Samuel Danvers of Culworth, as of Horley, and therefore
to Horley and Culworth I went, and, by the courtesy of the
rectors of these villages, obtained access to the church registers,
and there learned the names of many members of the family.
Suffice it to say that, with the aid of these and other parish
registers, the wills of the family, the Oxfordshire fines and


Lay Subsidy Eolls, the descent of John Danvers of Hornsey
from his great-great-grandfather, Daniel Danvers of Horley
and Culworth, became estabHshed.

Having thus bridged the first broad gap in the pedigree, the
Heralds' Visitations and printed pedigrees, such as that of the
Danvers family in Baker's ' History of Northampton,' carried
back the descent to a certain Richard Danvers, who, about
the year 1360, married the heiress of John de Brancestre of
Colthorpe, Banbury. But one had learned to distrust printed
pedigrees, and a needful step was to rivet the chain by means
of authentic documents contemporary with each link. Then
when, after much research, this had been accomplished, one
had to face another great gap, for no table of descent, both
accessible and reliable, carried the pedigree beyond Eichard
Danvers of Banbury. For want of a better, one took the
descent as given in Collins' ' Baronetage,' a descent which
derived Eichard from a Berkshire family, and six months and
more were wasted in making the discovery that Eichard
Danvers had, by the pedigree-constructor, been affiliated to a
certain Eobert Danvers, on no better grounds than that Eobert,
so far as dates went, might have been Eichard's father.

For a long time no clue to the true descent could be dis-
covered, but at last it appeared, and in this way. Eichard
Danvers and his grandson Sir Eobert were both, in one or
more pedigrees, described as of Ipswell, and in looking through
an Oxfordshire list of knights' fees of the generation before that
of Eichard Danvers, I found in a much mutilated roll, in the
centre of the parchment, where alone the record was legible,
the name of John Danvers of Ipswell, and at once noted him
as a missing link. His name occurred in a list of fiefs of the
hundred of Thame, leading one to search the genealogy of that
part of the county, and notably in the Eev. Dr. Lee's * History
and Antiquities of the Church of St. Mary, Thame.' This led
to the study of the registers of the neighbouring abbeys of
Thame and Eynsham, and in these were found sufficient
evidence of the descent of Eichard Danvers from a Danvers
of Tetsworth in Thame Hundred, who flourished about the
middle of the twelfth century. This evidence was corroborated
by fines, inquisitions, charters, and other authentic records,


which subsequent research produced. Further, one learnt
that the Tetswoirth family of Danvers, or ' de Anuers ' as they
were then called, took their descent from a Sir Kalph de
Aluers or de Auvers, who, towards the end of the eleventh
century, held lands of the honour of Wallingford, in Little
Marlow and Dorney. The intermediate links were finally
discovered, and were placed in what were believed to be the
proper sequence, while Sir Ealph issued as the son of the Sir
Eoland de Alvers, to whom Dugdale ascribes the origin of the
English family of Danvers.

All the foregoing conclusions had long been worked out,
when through the courtesy of Norroy (now Clarencieux) King
of Arms, G. E. A. Cokayne, Esq., I gained access to some of
Vincent's collections in the library of the College of Arms. In
one of these I was delighted to find a pedigree of the Danvers
family, extending back from about the year 1620 to the time
of the Conquest. This pedigree entirely supported my con-
clusions so far back as the first member of the Tetsworth
family, and corrected the table of the sequence of earlier
members of the line. And a circumstance which made the
acquisition of this table the more satisfactory, was the evidence
which it afforded that Vincent had derived the earlier part of
the descent from documents quite other than those which I
had made use of.

The Danvers pedigree thus worked out and corroborated
runs as the connecting-chain through the following pages.
Let it, however, be understood that the pedigree is that of the
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire branches of the family, and
of their ascertained descendants in the male line. The Danvers
family of Leicestershire are only incidentally mentioned. I
may, however, say that it seems probable that the Leicester-
shire family failed in the male line towards the middle of the
fourteenth century, and that the recently extinct Danvers
of Swithlands sprang from a younger branch of the Oxford-
shire line.

My idea when the search was entered on was simply to
establish the line of descent of the Danvers family and to
calendar the evidences, but as it proceeded it became necessary
to make full notes, often copies, of ancient records; and.


moreover, for my own information and satisfaction, notes of
the historical circumstances of the periods with which I was
dealing were needful. Thus a mass of material accumulated,
and it is this which composes the bulk, at one time altogether
unimagined, of the following pages. One may hope that the
history of a middle-class family, which has maintained a
recorded descent from the period of the Conquest till the
23resent time, may prove interesting to others besides its

An essentially middle-class family that of Danvers has re-
mained. Yet many of the noble families of the present day
have Danvers blood in their veins ; but, though this is the
case, and though the family has produced many stout-hearted
knights and squires, a line of baronets, and several judges and
Members of Parliament, only two of its members, Sir Henry
Danvers, KG., Earl of Danby, and, in recent times, Emily
Viscountess Hambleden, have been ennobled, while two of the
daughters of the family have married into the baronage. With
these few exceptions the family have remained commoners.
And it is noticeable that of the younger sons, only two or three
have entered the Church ; their predilection from early times
has evidently been for trade.

Now, in the preface to his history of * The Family of Brocas,'
Professor Montagu Burrows, after narrating the discovery of
' The Contents of an Old Chest,' and the demand of antiquaries
for the publication of the papers, proceeds : ' The question will
certainly be asked, Why listen to the antiquaries ? Why drag
before the public the dullest of all dull things — a family
history? Still more, why run the risk of being blamed for
attaching too much importance to a family in which you have
a special interest?' And if Professor Burrows had to face
these considerations, with how much greater diffidence must
I do so ! Eor no antiquaries have demanded of me the publica-
tion of my material. I cannot claim that this history is of a
quite unique kind, interwoven with many national events, or
throwing light upon any special period of English history ; and,
:above all, I lack the historical knowledge and the literary skill
which enabled Professor Burrows to clothe his subject in
attractive garb. No ; for support in this humble undertaking,


I must fall back upon that interest "which, with the Spectator,
I believe an educated man takes in his pedigree, and upon the
desire to know what manner of men his forefathers were — an
interest and desire which may appeal to the feelings of at
least some of the very numerous descendants of the Danvers
family. And beyond this, one may hope that here and there
the following pages clear up or supplement some old time
tale, and add to the stock of local history. I have, indeed,
endeavoured to make this story something more than a mere
family history. My readers must decide how far the attempt
has succeeded. I know full well that these pages do not
exhaust the story of the Danvers family — for simply to have
used the whole of the material in my possession would have
made the story, even from an author's own point of view, un-
conscionably long — much might have been added, and especially
as regards the members of the Dauntsey branch of the family.
It is, too, more than probable that much which the ancient
records and family histories contain regarding the Danvers
family has escaped me. I trust, however, that the publication
of this work may be the means of bringing to light further
material, which will supplement that which is now set forth.

Many of the following pages are solely occupied with
genealogical records, which will not, it is to be feared, interest
the general reader. Endeavour was made to relegate all such
matter to the notes, but it was found this could not be done
without repeating in the text portions of the notes, and the
plan, therefore, has only very occasionally been adopted.

Should any of my readers be induced by my example to
attempt to complete or establish the pedigree of a family, let
me commend to him the following books : Mr. Walter Eye's
' Eecords and Eecord Searching ' ; Mr. Phillimore's ' How to
Write the History of a Family ' ; Dr. Marshall's ' Genealogist's
Guide'; Mr. Sims's 'Manual for the Genealogist,' and his
' Index to the Heralds' Visitations ' ; Mr. C. T. Martin's edition
of Wright's * Court-hand Eestored,' and * The Eecord Inter-
preter,' also by Mr. Martin. Also Mr. Anderson's ' Book of
British Topography,' a work which will be found most valuable
for reference.

Lastly, I have to record my thanks to those gentlemen


whose seasonable and ready help has enabled me to carry out
my scheme ; and especially I have to thank Mr. Challoner
Smith, who till lately presided over the literary department of
the Probate Eegistry at Somerset House ; Messrs. J. M. Thomp-
son and E. Salisbury, of the Public Eecord Of&ce; and Mr.
F. B. Bickley, of the MS. department of the British Museum.
I have, too, to thank Miss E. M. Walford for her efficient help
in transcribing ancient records.

I venture to record my gratitude to the Marquis of Bath
for the use of that very valuable MS., ' The Eegister of
Thame Abbey ' ; to the Kev. the Dean and the Chapter of
Christchurch, Oxford, for the use of the MS. ' Eegister of
Eynsham Abbey '; to the Eev. the Provost of Queen's College,
Oxford, for the use of some valuable MSS. ; and to G. E.
Baker, Esq., Estates Bursar of Magdalen College, Oxford, for
access to some of the valuable MSS. in the possession of that
college. Nor can I omit to mention the kindness of the late
good and great Dean of Lincoln, Dr. Butler. His faith in
himself gave him faith in others, and gained me free access to
the muniments of the cathedral. I have already had occasion
to express my gratitude to Clarencieux King of Arms, for his
kindness in giving me access to some of the MSS. in the
possession of the Heralds' College.

To the Eev. Charles Hill, Eector of Culworth, the Eev.
Charles Heaven, Eector of Horley, and to many other clergy-
men, I am greatly indebted for access to the registers of their
churches, and for other help. Also it is a very pleasant duty
to me to thank the Abbe J. Briant, Cure of Binneville, and
late Vicar of Auvers, for much valuable information. Last,
but not least, are my thanks due to my sister-in-law, Mrs.
Thornton, nee Danvers, for many kind suggestions, and for
the use of her valuable notes.

Nethbrton, Guildford.
December, 1894.


A.D. 1100—1200.


Village of Tetsworth — Thame Abbey — Eegister of the Abbey —
Roger Bishop of Sahsbury, and his nephews, Alexander of
Lincoln and Nigel of Ely — Alan, Earl of Richmond ; his gift to
Robert Danvers — The families of Le Poure, Danvers, Chevauchesul,
Talemasche — The manor house of Tetsworth — William Danvers
of Tetsworth and his family — Charters of the Danvers family to
Thame Abbey 1


A.D. 1066 — 1200.

Ancestry of William Danvers of Tetsworth — Domesday Book — Battle
Abbey RoU — ' Recherches svir le Domesday' — De Auvers of Auvers,
Cotentin — Village and church of Auvers — MS. genealogies of the
Danvers family — Vincent's pedigree of Danvers — Members of the
family in the ' Liber Niger ' and ' Liber Rubens ' — Torold, the son
of Geoffrey the Saxon 27

A.D. 1210 — 1350.

The name ' Danvers ' — Robert Danvers of Tetsworth and Bourton —
The charters of his family to Eynesham Abbey— William, son of
Robert — Fiefs of the Bishops of Lincoln in the Hundreds of Thame
and Banbury in the years 1225 and 1300 — Robert Danvers, son of

_ William — Charters of the family to Chaucombe Priory — Members
of the family in the ' RotuH Hundredorum ' — Little Bourton and
its church — Simon Danvers, son of Robert, of Bourton and Ipswell
— John, son of Simon, and his wife Isabel de La Lee — Village,
church, and manor house of IpsweU 46


A.D. 1347—1450.


John Danvers of Ipswell — The Black Death — Eichard Danvers of
Ipswell and Colthorpe — The Brancestre family — Banbury and its
chvirch and castle— Colthorpe House — John Danvers of Colthorpe,
Ipswell, and Prestcote — John Danvers in the Parhaments of a.d.
1420, 1421, 1423 — John Danvers and AU Souls' College — His wives
Ahce Verney and Joan Bruley 81


A.D. 1400—1504.

Sir Robert Danvers, Recorder of London and Justice of the Comnaon
Pleas — Parliamentary life — Foundation of All Souls' College,
Oxford — Jack Cade's insurrection — Purchase by Sir Robert of
manors of Sulgrave and Culworth — His wives and children-
Richard Danvers of Prestcote — Parhamentary hfe — Comptroller of
Customs — Purchase of manors of Culworth and Sulgrave from his
brother's heirs — His wife Ehzabeth Langston — The Langston
family of Caversfield — Prestcote — Cropredy chm-ch and vUlage —
Richard Danvers, the j-ounger, of Prestcote — His sisters' marriages
— The Englefield and Dale families— John, brother of the elder
Richard Danvers — Agnes, his sister — Her husbands : Baidington,
Fraye, Wenlock, and Say — Agnes Say's portrait in Long Melford
Church— The Clopton family 102


A.D. 1420—1520.

Children of John Danvers and Joan Bruley — Sir Thomas Danvers of
Waterstock — The Parliaments in which he sat — Associated with
Bishop Waynflete in preparations for foundation of Magdalen
College — Waterstock Chiu-ch and manor house — Richard Croke —
Dame Sybil, wife of Thomas Danvers — Her will — The Fowler
family — Sir WiUiam Danvers of Chamberhouse — His wife, Anne
Pury — The Pury family — John Danvers of Waterstock and his
children — Henry Danvers and his wife, Beatrice Verney — His
sisters, Bona Pole and Ehzabeth Poure. 155


Ancestry of Alice Verney and Joan Bruley.

The Verneys of Byfield — Simon Verney of Byfield of a.d. 1230 —
Descent of WUliam Verney from the de Langelees of Whychwood
— The Verneys of Byfield and Warwickshire — Joan Bruley and
her ancestry — Descent from the Fitz-EUis's of Waterperry, the


Eussells of Bradenstoke, and the Quatermayns of Northweston —
The Quatermayn family of Northweston and Rycote — Tombs of
the family in Thame Church — Rycote Chinrch — The Foliots of
Waterstock — The Bruleys of Waterstock — Rectors and patrons of
Waterstock Chxirch 194


A.D. 1490—17 21.

Danvers of Dauntsey — Dauntseys of Dauntsey — Family of I'Esterling
or Stradling — Arundel descent of the Stradling family — Colshill
family — Abduction of Edward Stradling by Richard Pole — Story
of the murder of Edward Stradling and his mother — Richard Pole,
was he the husband of Margaret Plantagenet ? — Robert Fitz-
hamon's conquest of Glamorgan — Descent of the Stradling family
— The village and church of Dauntsey — Monuments of the Danvers
family — Legend of St. Fredismunde — Rectors of Dauntsey — Sir
John Danvers and his wife, Dame Anne — Their wills — Marriages
of their children — Thomas Danvers and his son, Silvester of
Daimtsey — Sir John Danvers and his wife, Elizabeth Nevill —
Their children — Marriages of their daughters — Sir Charles Danvers
— His execution — Sir Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby — The story
of the death of Henry Long — Sir John Danvers, the regicide —
His children — John Danvers of Prestcote 227


A.D. 1500-1644.

William Danvers of Culworth and his wife, Elizabeth Fiennes —
The Culworth estate — Table of descent of Elizabeth Fiennes from
the families of Fiennes and de Say — Relationship of the Fiennes

Online LibraryFrancis Nottidge MacnamaraMemorials of the Danvers family (of Dauntsey and Culworth): their ancestors and descendants from the conquest till the termination of the eighteenth century; with some account of the alliances of the → online text (page 1 of 56)