This is a long and complicated post. For those who don’t wish to read it in full, here is the concise version:
- One line of my ancestry traces back to a John Muttlebury who enters the historical record in 1698 in Somerset, England.
- The name “Muttlebury” is shared with an ancient Somerset landed family, the male heirs of which were entitled to heraldic arms. This family is believed to have gone extinct in the male line in 1714.
- It has not been possible for me to find a link between my family and the ancient family of Muttleburys.
- The pedigrees associated with the ancient family claim descent from royalty, however there is a critical weakness in the pedigree that makes this claim suspect.
- It is possible to construct from historical evidence an alternative pedigree for the suspect line which traces back to Robert Montague of Sutton Montague who died before 1332.
My 5th great-grandmother, Elizabeth Muttlebury, was christened 26 May 1704 at Creech St Michael, Somerset, England and married John Dinham there on 8 November 1727. The family’s presence in Creech St Michael dates at latest to 1698 when a “messuage and 6ac. called Northayes” were sold or leased by Thomas White to John Muttlebury and Timothy Pole and his wife Amy ((National Archives Misc. deeds and leases DD\DP/50/9 1663-1836)).
The Muttlebury name was passed down as a second forename in the Dinham and later, Chard families, and my great-grand uncle, John Muttlebury Stocker Chard, born in 1839, bore the name, as well as that of another of his 2nd great-grandparents.
There are two inscriptions in the Creech St Michael church, remembering two John Muttleburys and their wives, both named Jane:
Floorslab. Here lyeth the body of John MUTTLEBURY, who dyed July ye 10, 1730 aged 79 years Also here lyeth the body of Jane the wife of the abovesaid John Muttlebury, who dyed April ye 26 1733, aged 64 years Here lie the remains of John Muttlebury, son of the abovesaid John Muttlebury, who died the sixth of February 1762 aged 61 Here lie the remains of Jane Muttlebury, wife of the abovesaid John Muttlebury, who died the 21st. day of June 1769, aged 69
White on black marble Tablet on west wall (above the gallery). Under the first stone at the western entrance of this church are deposited the remains of John MUTTLEBURY of this parish, who died July 10th. 1730, aged 79 Also Jane, his wife, who died April 26th. 1732, aged 64 Also John Muttlebury, Esq: son of the above, who died Feby: 6th. 1762, aged 61 Also Jane, his wife, who died June 21st. 1769,aged 69 Also their undermentioned children:/ Jane, John & Rachael, died in their infancy Mary, died Decr: 8th. 1794, aged 62 Elizabeth, died Novr: 17th. 1801, aged 67
The earlier inscription was present before 1790. One, for the older John, probably refers to the John Muttlebury who married Jane Webber at Pitminster in 1698. This is the only candidate I have found, and the church register says that John was from Michael St Creech. The other refers to this man’s son, who married Jane Trivitt at Creech St Michael on 4 August 1728, less than 12 months after the marriage of Elizabeth. It is probable that the younger John and Elizabeth were brother and sister.
The ancestry of the older John isn’t known. Some of the Creech St Michael Muttleburys considered that they were descended from the ancient family of Muttleburys from the parish of Ashill. The 1854 obituary for Colonel George Muttlebury, C.B., claims that:
“The Colonel was descended from a good Somersetshire family, who were formerly owners of property near Ilminster called “Jordans”, but which was forfeited to the crown in consequence of the adherence of the Colonel’s ancestor to the unfortunate Monmouth.”(The Gentleman’s Magazine: And Historical Review, July 1856-May 1868, p. 202.)
It is true that one of those sentenced to transportation at the “Bloody Assizes” after the failed “Monmouth” uprising of 1685 was named John Muttlebury. However I don’t know his relationship to the Ashill family, or whether any property was lost as a consequence. The latter seems unlikely, as evidence given below shows that there was no Ashill Muttlebury heir named John at this period.
This John was one of 200 received by Sir Philip Howard and shipped to Jamaica by the ship “Port Royal Merchant”. It is known that after the overthrow of King James II, changes were made to the conditions of servitude and that by 1690 half of those transported had returned to England or entered free service. If John did return, the presence of a slave named Sally Muttlebury in St Mary, Jamaica, in 1817 hints that he may have left something behind.
Another obituary says:
“the Muttlebury family was descended from an old, armigerous, English landed family settled at Jordans (or Jordaynes) near Ilminster, Somerset, whose pedigree was recorded in the heraldic Visitation of Somerset in 1623, and again, in 1672 as of Jordans in Ashill in Com Somersett. The blazon for the coat-of-arms borne by them is found in Burke’s General Armory (p. 719, col. 2), under the rubric Muttlebury (Jourdaine, Co. Somerset) Ermine on a bend gules, three round buckles or, a border of the second. Crest—A hare courant argent.”
My own research has so far failed to produce a verifiable link between the Ashill and Creech St Michael families.
The Muttlebury Name
Prior to about 1800 the Muttlebury name was only occasionally found outside Somerset. The name is rare, and I estimate the incidence at that time as not more than 0.17 per 1,000 people. Applying this to the population of Somerset in 1800 (about 274,000) gives about 45 as the number of Muttleburys alive then. This is only enough to make up a small number of 3-generation families. There are many variations in the spelling of the name, but all sound much the same.
I have recorded the following 26 variants of the name:
Muttlebury, Muttelburye, Muttelbury, Mutleburie, Muttleburie, Mutlebery, Muttlebery, Muttilburye, Mutelbery, Muttleberry, Mottellboury, Muttlberry, Muttliburi, Mattleburye, Muttlbury, Mutelbuerey, Matlebury, Motylbyry, Mutelberie, Mottelbury, Motelbury, Muttebury, Mutlebury, Muttleburye, Mutleberye, Motilburi.
I generally use the variant “Muttlebury” in this document, irrespective of the original usage, as this became the dominant version by around 1700.
“. It is thought the family originated from France around the time of William the Conqueror. There was once a Squire in the French army with the name ‘Mutt le Bury (Brie) and variations of the name in different spellings do occur on the records. Kirby’s Quest for Somerset is a book compiled in similar format to the Domesday Book and in 1377 lists a ‘Roberto de Motelbury’ as a resident. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Muttlebury)
Kirby’s Quest for Somerset (or rather, the portion of that book that is Edward the Third’s Rate Roll), shows this Muttlebury as resident at “Bradeweye”. Another resident of this place was Johanne Jordan, a surname that also occurs in the Muttlebury pedigree. The book is in Latin so names are latinised. The roll is dated 1327, so this Muttlebury is roughly of the right era to be the first Muttlebury mentioned in the pedigrees referred to below. “Bradeweye” is the parish of Broadway in the Hundred of Bulstone. This Hundred was later combined with the Hundred of Abdick; the combined Hundred includes the parish of Ashill. Broadway is about 1¼ miles south of Ashill.
A little later, in 1348-1349, a “Thomas Motilburi” and his wife Joan make several appearances in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Curry Rivel, where they were customary tenants (at Broadway) and where Thomas was fined for having “brewed and sold ale contrary to the assize.”
Around the same time, Thomas and John Muttlebury, father and son, were serfs of the Abbot of Athelney, with Thomas in strife for giving his son education without leave. (E. H. Bates, Two Cartularies of the Benedictine Abbeys of Muchelney and Athelney in the County of Somerset, Somerset Record Society, 1899, p.195)
The foundation resources for the study of this family are the pedigrees included in various published visitations by the Heralds of the College of Arms.
The Visitations of the County of Somerset in the Years 1531 and 1573, Together with Additional Pedigrees, Chiefly from the Visitation of 1591, F.W. Weaver (ed.) Exeter, 1885.
There is no Muttlebury pedigree in this book, although the family is mentioned on page 89 (Pedigree for Watkins, of Holwell, Dorset) cross-referencing to page 76 of the Visitation of 1623. (“Mention in made of the family in 1623, p. 76 [Muttlebery] where Holloway should be Holwell.”) It also contains, on page 52, a pedigree for the family of Montacute (also known as Monte Acuto, Montagu, Mountague or Montague) of Slow Court in West Camel. This family is present in 1620 Muttlebury pedigree, although there are differences between the respective pedigrees.
There are some unusual features in this Montacute pedigree. It appears to have been prepared after the extinction of the male line of the family, when there was no one remaining entitled to bear arms. It also contains minimal detail on the Slow Court family, in contrast to the detail given over to more distant but prominent relations, i.e. the Earls of Salisbury.
The Visitation of the County of Devon in the Year 1620, Frederic Thomas Colby (ed.), The Harleian Society, London, 1872
A pedigree for the family can be found in this book. The family was not resident in Devon, but a daughter, Alice, of generation 9 had married into a Smith (or Smyth) family that was. This pedigree traces a male line of Muttlebury heirs comprising 10 generations. The accuracy of the earlier years of this pedigree is uncertain.
These are the names, starting with the earliest, and with names of wives where given:
- 1. Muttlebury (first name not given)
- 2. Edward Muttlebury
- 3. Robert Muttlebury
- 4. Edward Muttlebury = Joane Jordan
- 5. Robert Muttlebury = Agnes Perot
- 6. Robert Muttlebury = Elianor Huett
- 7. Thomas Muttlebury I = Joane Roper
- 8. Alexander Muttlebury = Katherin Bevin (also named as Catherine Bevan in a later pedigree)
- 9. Robert Muttlebury = Beaumont (first name not given, but named as Elizabeth in a later pedigree)
- 10. Thomas Muttlebury II = Dorothy Tichborn
The name suffixes I, II etc are not in the pedigree but are added by me to aid in differentiating later generations of Thomas heirs.
The pedigree also traces a doubtful ancestral line, through the marriage of Katherine (Catherine) Bevin (Bevan/Bevyn) to Alexander Muttlebury, back to King Edward the First of England. See below for further information on this line.
There is another less-doubtful ancestral line, through the marriage of Robert Muttlebury to Elizabeth Beaumont. Her family has a well-documented pedigree. This line is more reliable because the marriage was the means by which a number of manors including those of Elworthy and Bradney, transferred from the Beaumont to the Muttlebury family. The inheritance of these manors can be traced subsequently in the Muttlebury family.
The Muttlebury’s of Ashill were landed gentry, entitled to a coat of arms. In 1633 Thomas Gerard of Trent recorded, in The Particular Description of the County of Somerset, for the location of Jurdan:
“Deserves remembrance also, for that it gave the same name unto the ancient Lords of it, of which William de Jordan who lived in Edward the third’s time left by his wife daughter and heire of John de Lourney, two daughters, ye eldest married to. . Muttlebury whose posterity remaine owners of and reside at this place untill this day where they have built a new house;”
He then describes the relevant arms:
“Jordan : Asure crusele and a Lyon rampant or. -Lourney : Cheque or and asure, on a chefe asure 2 mulletts -or. Muttlebury : On a bend gules 3 round buckles arg., a -border of the second.“
Elsewhere, he names this Muttlebury as Edward (generation 4). In the pedigree, William de Jordan’s wife is named as Alice, daughter and heir of John Lovey, not John de Lourney. The editor of the book, The Two Cartularies of the Abbeys of Muchelney and Athelney, says, in a footnote to item 48. (Chirograph of Walter de Loveni concerning land of La Seo, Bolewyneshese):
“Richard de Loueny is found in possession of lands in Ilminster, Cricket Malerbe, Est-Dowlish, and Knolle, which by a fine of 5 Ed. II, 17, he settled on himself and Margery his wife, remainder to their son John, remainder to Walter, his brother, and Joan and Avitia, his sisters.
The brothers head the list of taxpayers in Ilminster in 1327, but are not heard of later. Gerard says that Alice, heiress of John de Louveney in the reign of Edw. Ill, married William Jordan (who gave his name to that place), and so the family of Louveny became extinct in the male line.”
The Louveny (Luveigny/ Luveni/ Loveny/ Loveni/ Loueny/Lourney) family are prominent in records dating back to about 1172.
The Visitation of Somerset in the Year 1623, Frederic Thomas Colby (ed), The Harleian Society, London, 1876
This book contains a Muttlebury pedigree (pages 76 and 77) that overlaps with the earlier one, starting with generation 8. There are minor differences in spelling of names and names of additional family members are included. It adds 2 additional generations:
- 11. Thomas Muttlebury III = Mary Watkins
- 12. Dorothy Muttlebury (daughter and heir)
Usefully, the pedigree includes the ages of some in these generations. Thus Thomas III can be said to have been born about 1599, whilst Dorothy was born about 1621. This Dorothy is a candidate to be the lay sister of the Benedictine Order discussed below.
The book also contains 4 indentures or testaments, written in Latin, that relate to the granting of arms. These give the name of the person or persons making the indenture, together with the date. These serve to confirm 3 generations of heirs, and provide a framework for dating the entire pedigree. The names and dates are:
- Edward = Joane Jordan (generation 4) – about 1421
- Robert = Agnes Perot (generation 5) about 1449 and 1453
- Thomas = Joane Roper (generation 7) about 1503
Using a “best fit” generation interval of 30 years, I estimate that the first Muttlebury in the pedigree was born about 1315. This accords reasonably well with the period during which another person of the same generation in the Montague/de Montacute ancestral line (Robert Montague of Sutton Montague (see below)) is described as living. (in the time of Edward II, so 1307-1327.)
The Visitation of Somerset in the Year 1672, made by Sir Edward Bysshe, Knight, Clarenceux King of Arms Squibb, G. D. (George Drewry), 1615, Publications of the Harleian Society ; new ser., v. 11, 1992.
This book contains new arms for “Muttlebury of Wookey”, but the pedigree is a continuation of the “Muttlebury of Ashill/Jordans” pedigree described above. Generations 10, 11 and 12 are overlapped, however for generation 12 Dorothy is replaced as heir by Thomas IV, aged 45 in 1672 and therefore born about 1627. A 13th generation is added, comprising Thomas V (aged 14 in 1672 and therefore born about 1658) plus 4 siblings. The pedigree also clarifies the death date for Thomas III (about 1652) and the two marriages of Thomas IV. This results in the following generations of heirs:
- 12. Thomas IV (born about 1627) (replacing Dorothy)
- 13. Thomas V (born about 1658)
The Visitations of Surrey, 1530, 1572 and 1623, W. Bruce Bannerman, London, 1899
This book, on page 123, contains a pedigree for the family of Jordan that provides a slightly different and more detailed version of the Jordan component of the Muttlebury pedigree contained in The Visitation of the County of Devon in the Year 1620. The major difference is that the first 2 generations are reversed.
The History of the Parish and Manor of Wookey, Thomas Scott Holmes, Bristol, n.d.
Confirmation of the heirs shown in the pedigrees is given by the inheritance of the manors of Elworthy and Bradney, which were brought into the family by Elizabeth Beaumont (generation 9):
“On his death in 1451 Thomas Beaumont held all three manors and they descended in the Beaumont family until the end of the 16th century. Thomas’s son William Beaumont (d. 1453) was succeeded by his brother Philip (d. 1473) after William’s supposed son John had been declared a bastard in 1466, as the illegitimate son of William’s wife Joan Courtenay and Sir Henry Bodrugan whom she later married. Philip allowed Joan and Sir Henry the use of the estates during her lifetime (fn. 47) and devised them to his halfbrother Thomas Beaumont. In 1477, however, Thomas released the property to John Bodrugan or Beaumont who, with his reputed father, was attainted for involvement in Simnel’s rebellion in 1496. The attainder was reversed after it was discovered that John had died before the rebellion. The manors of Elworthy, Plash, and Willett passed to John’s son Henry (d. 1548) who called himself Beaumont, (fn. 48) to Henry’s son Humphrey (d. 1572), (fn. 49) and to Humphrey’s son Henry. The last Henry died without surviving issue in 1591 and the estates passed through his sister Elizabeth, wife of Robert Muttlebury, to her son Thomas. (fn. 50) In 1608 the property was forfeited temporarily because of Thomas Muttlebury’s recusancy, (fn. 51) but he was lord of the manor of ELWORTHY or ELWORTHY AND WILLETT in 1634. (fn. 52)”
“In 1292 Matthew of Bradney bought land in Bradney from William Goathurst (fn. 97) and in 1303 it was held by Anthony of Bradney (d. c. 1321), canon of Wells and rector of Bawdrip, (fn. 98) who was succeeded by Joachim of Bradney (d. 1324) and his son Simon (d. 1375). (fn. 99) Simon had no children and his wife Beatrice is said to have granted what was then described as a manor to Sir John Beaumont (d. 1380), who held it jointly with his wife Joan. (fn. 1) She was dead probably by 1431 when Thomas Beaumont, Sir John’s grandson, held the manor. (fn. 2) Thomas (d. 1451) also held Elworthy manor, with which Bradney descended to Thomas Muttlebury, (fn. 3) the lord in 1634. Thomas Muttlebury (d. 1652) retained Bradney, which passed from his son Thomas to another Thomas Muttlebury (fl. 1705), probably grandson of Thomas (d. 1652), and to John Muttlebury who settled the manor in trust to raise money for his four daughters before 1712. (fn. 4)” (A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 5, R.W. Dunning (editor), A.P. Baggs, R.J.E. Bush, M.C. Siraut, 1985)
Another reference to the Manors of Elworthy and Willett is this one, from 1594:
“298. A.D. 1594. Memorandum that I Thomas Muttlebury of Jordines in the parishe of Aishill in the countie of Somerset, gentleman, have paid to Christopher Foxe, servaunte to George Lutterell of Dunster in the countie aforesaid, esquire, to the use of his said maister, the full some of five pounds of lawfull monie of England as due to the said George Lutterell for a releif of a whole knightes fee for my manners of Elworthie and Willette in the said countie whiche I doe acknowledge to be holdene of him the said George Luttrell as of his castell of Dunster by knightes service. In witnes wherof I have hereunto putte my hande and seale the ixth daie of November in the xxxvj th yere of the Queenes majesties raigne that now is.
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of John Muttelbery, Thomas Searle. Seal affixed. [D.C.M. v, 45.]”
(H. C. Maxwell-Lyte, Documents and Extracts Illustrating the History of the Honour of Dunster, 1917/18.)
The inheritance trail described for the Elworthy and Bradney manors in the quotations above are substantiated by another account, published in a History of the Parish and Manor of Wookey, by Thomas Scott Holmes. On page 151, he says:
“Thomas Muttelbury’s will was proved October 30th, 1711. He has conveyed to Frances Day, of Wells, his manor of Bradney for his son, and for raising portions for his daughters. He mentions Mary, Frances, Catherine, and Wyneford, and his son, John and his wife, Mary. He gives his manor house of Wookey to his son, John, for the interest and term he has in it. John is sole executor, and it would appear that both Thomases, Charles and Margaret, were dead before the will was made.”
This confirms that this Thomas was an heir of the Ashill family. The book also conveniently includes a pedigree for the Wookey branch of the family.
This results in the following revision to generation 13 and a 14th generation:
- 13. Thomas Muttlebury V = Frances Dickinson (1) = Mary Muttlebury (2)
- 14. John Muttlebury = Mary (family name unknown)
Thomas V’s son John, who died aged about 24 in 1714, is not known to have had children, although married. There may therefore have been no male heir to carry on the Ashill line as John’s brothers, Charles and two Thomases, seem also to have died young. It can therefore also be concluded that the Creech St Michael family are not descended from this Thomas.
A Royal Connection?
The 1620 pedigree of the Muttlebury family traces a plausible ancestral line, through the marriage of Katherine (Catherine) Bevin (Bevan/Bevyn) to Alexander Muttlebury, back to King Edward the First of England. Although proof to modern genealogical standards is lacking, there is some confirmatory evidence. There is, however, one critical weakness in the evidence, which is discussed below.
The key intermarriages in the pedigree are:
- the marriage of Margaret Monthermer to Sir John Montacute which united the royal line to the Montacute/Montagu line;
- the marriage of Eleanor Montague to John Bevyn; and
- the marriage of Catherine Bevyn to Alexander Muttlebury.
The Monthermer – Montacute Marriage
Margaret Monthermer was the granddaughter of Joan of Acre (daughter of Edward the First) and her second husband Ralph de Monthermer. This part of the ancestry is well known, as are the relevant portions of the Montacute family history. The following entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography enable the line to be traced from King Edward the First to Margaret Monthermer:
- Montagu [Montacute], Simon de, first Lord Montagu (1259?–1316)
- Montagu, William, second Lord Montagu (c.1285–1319)
- Montagu, William [William de Montacute], first earl of Salisbury (1301–1344)
- Montagu [Montacute], John, third earl of Salisbury (c.1350–1400)
- Monthermer, Ralph de, first Lord Monthermer (d. 1325)
- Joan [Joan of Acre], countess of Hertford and Gloucester (1272–1307)
Accessible accounts are available of Joan of Acre and her children with Ralph Monthermer, Thomas and Edward.
The Montague – Bevyn Marriage
Pedigrees for the various Montacute/Montague families are contained in the 1831 edition of Burke’s “Peerage”. The family is reputedly descended from Drogo de Monte-Acuto who came into England with Robert, Earl of Moreton at the conquest in 1066.
Burke traces the line of interest to us down to a son, Robert, of Sir John and Margaret Monthermer, of whom he says:
“Robert, of Sutton-Montague, in Somersetshire. The issue of this gentleman, according to Banks, flourished there until William Montague, the last of the family, left three daughters and co-heirs, of which, Emme m. James Dupote, who, in her right, possessed one moiety of Sutton Montague, whose son Thomas, was father of Henry Duport, Esq. of leicestershire, and John Duport, D.D., Master of Jesus College, Cambridge.” ( John Burke, A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland, London, 1831, page 361.)
The Three Sisters Montague, co-heirs of William Montague
Other records show that the other daughters of William Montague were Eleanor and Joan Montague (who married John Bevyn and John Moleyns respectively):
“Warmund, tenant of the Beauchamp moiety, was succeeded by 1249 by Ralph Huse or Hose, from whom the property became known as the manor of SUTTON HOSEY. (fn. 90) … The Montacutes or Montagues remained in possession until the death of William Montague the younger. (fn. 95) In 1482 the property was settled on Catherine, William’s widow, and on her second husband John Bevyn of Lufton. (fn. 96) Subsequently it was divided between another John Bevyn, John Moleyns, and James Duporte, husband of William Montague’s youngest daughter Emme. (fn. 97)” (Parishes: Long Sutton’, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 154-166. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66495)
“LUFTON. The next place the River comes unto seemes to have taken that name of the British Luffon which signifies Elmes, and store of those trees are seene hereabouts, the ground breeding them exceedingly. At it I saw an old house not long since the habitation of the auncient family of Beavin, having enobled their house by an heire of Montacute descended from the Earles of Sarum left one daughter married unto Keymer, but Lufton is now the dwelling of Mr. Hodges.
Beavin: Arg. a cheveron betweene three martletts gules, a chief checquee or and gules. …
(Editor’s note: Leland was struck with the growth of elms in this district. John Bevyn married Eleanor, who, by an inquisition taken in 1511, was found to be a coheir of Thomas Montagu of Sutton Montis. He died in 1554, leaving for his heirs, Ursula, wife of John Sydenham of Lye in Old Cleeve; Mary, wife of Ellis Keymer, then deceased; and Dorothy, unmarried. The manor must have been sold soon after to John Hodges, who was buried at Lufton, April 24, 1608.” (Thomas Gerard of Trent, The Particular Description of Somerset,Somerset Records Society, 1900, page 96.)
The editor in the note above has conflated two John Bevyns. There were at least 2 intermarriages between Montagues and Bevyns. William Montague the younger was married to Katherine/Catherine (Peverell?). After William’s death about 1481, Katherine re-married, to John Bevyn II.
In 1481/2 John’s father, John Bevyn I, transferred certain properties and rents to John II and Katherine with the proviso that if there were no children of the marriage, then Katherine’s daughters from her former marriage “Alianor, Joan, Isabelle and Emma daughters of the said Katherine and William Montagu formerly her husband” were to inherit (Emanuel Green (ed.) Pedes Finium Commonly Called Feet of Fines for the County of Somerset (Fourth Series) Somerset Record Society Vol XXII, 1906, pages 152-153). William Montague and Katherine also had a son, Robert, who appears to have been William’s heir, but who died relatively young, and probably childless in 1509.
Alianor (Eleanor) married John Bevyn III and had at least 3 children, John IV, Katherine/Catherine and William. How John III relates to Johns I and II isn’t clear; most likely he was a nephew or cousin although possibly a son of John II by an earlier marriage (and thus a step-brother to Eleanor).
John IV married Isabell (Daubney?) and had at least 3 children, Ursula, Dorothy and Mary. John IV’s will can be found in F. W. Weaver (ed.), Somerset Medieval Wills – 3rd Series – 1531 – 1558, Somerset Record Society, 1905 at pages 164 – 165. This book also contains Alexander Muttlebury’s will on page 201.
Thomas Gerard is clearly referring to the marriage of Eleanor Montague and John Bevyn in the following paragraph, although he mistakenly calls her Joane; he gives this name to two of the sisters:
“SUTTON MONTAGUE … The first name taken from the southe situation; the next from the Lords, it being the inheritance of the noble family of Mountacute Earles of Sarum, from whom lineally descended Robert de Mountacute a younger son owner to this place … The cheife residence of this family was at Sloe Court in the parish of West Camell not farr off, which well brookes the name, for in winter time the very house stands as it were in a slough or myer. Nevertheless here flourished after Robert de Montacute, his sonne William, his grandchild, his great grandchild, who left only three daughters his heires; Joane married to John Beavin of Lufton in this County, Emma to John Duport of Leicestershire, and Joane to John Mollins of Hampshire; whose issue not long since enjoyed theis lands.” (Thomas Gerard of Trent, The Particular Description of Somerset,Somerset Records Society, 1900, pages 193-194)
Gerard also mentions the same family in relation to land at Henley (Crewkerne):
“The name intimates as much as the old lease or ground, for hean with our old ancestors the Brittaines signified old. This gave name to the auncient owners of it; after it was the sceate of William Mountague younger sonne to Robert Mountague of Slowe Court in this Countie who was second sonne to John Mountacute knt. by Mounthermer’s heire, and brother to John Mountacute Earle of Sarum his uncle. I remember I have scene in our Lady Church in Bridport the tomb of Anne the wife unto this William Mountacute with this inscription:
Heere lyeth Anne late wife to William Mountague Esquire of Henly, daughter to the Baron of Hilton in the diocese of Durham who dyed Anno 1480.
On this tombe are the Armes of Montacute vizt. Arg. three fussells in fesse gules betw. three ogresses which he tooke for a difference for whereas the Earle of Sarum gave three redd fussells in silver, this man’s grandfather added a black border, his father three ogresses, this man a mullett for differences. On the tombe also were his wives armes which were: asure two barrs arg. the coate of Venables Baron of Hilton ; not long after, though this man left a sonne of full yeares when he dyed, Henly came to the Wikes of ancient gentry as you may find; theis lived at it untill our times when by purchase it fell to a man of the same.
There were at least three junior branches of the family of Montacute in this county, living at Sutton Montis, Slow Court in Stoke St. Gregory, and Henley. The family pedigree in the Visitation of 1573 makes Robert son of Sir John and Margaret Monthermer of Sutton Montis, and Richard of Slow, whose son Robert was probably (to judge by the dates) the father of William of Henley, as in the text.”
Modern research confirms that Montagues held land at Sutton Montis (Sutton Montague) from before 1198, at Slow Court, West Camel from at least 1412, at Sutton Hosey from 1341 and at Crewkerne from 1377 – see Landownership – Sutton Montis Manor (http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/sites/default/files/work-in-progress/sutton_montis_manors_and_estates.pdf); Parishes: West Camel, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 71-81. (URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66489); Parishes: Long Sutton, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 154-166. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66495 and Parishes: Crewkerne, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 4 (1978), pp. 4-38. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=117079&strquery=Crewkerne
The Bevyn – Muttlebury Marriage
All the above corresponds with what is shown in the 1620 Muttlebury pedigree. The only intermarriage that I can’t find confirmatory accounts for is the marriage of Catherine Bevyn, daughter of John Bevyn, to Alexander Muttlebury circa 1520. However the person who likely provided the information for the 1620 pedigree was Thomas, a grandson of Alexander and Catherine, so he was recording a comparatively recent marriage of which he would have had personal knowledge.
The Weak Link?
The weak link in the royal descent theory is Robert Montague, alleged son of Sir John Montacute and Margaret Monthermer. There appear to be no contemporary references to him, and he is not named in Sir John’s will, although seven children are. The complete will can be found in Edward Kite, Some Notes on the Montacutes, Earls of Salisbury, Wiltshire Notes and Queries, Vol IV, pages 481-493 and 529-543. It names three sons, John, Thomas and Richard, and four daughters, Elianore, Sybill, Catherine and Margaret. A possible explanation for the absence of Robert’s name is that he predeceased the writing of his father’s will. Kite also contradicts himself as to the number of sons and daughters by saying “By his wife Margaret, the heiress of Monthermer, who survived him, Sir John had issue four sons and three daughters.”; he does not name the fourth son. It’s possible that he has just inadvertently transposed the numbers of sons and daughters.
The earliest attribution of a son, Robert, to Sir John and Margaret that I can find appears in the “Montacute of Slow Court in West Camel” pedigree in The Visitations of the County of Somerset in the Years 1531 and 1573, Together with Additional Pedigrees, Chiefly from the Visitation of 1591, Frederic. W. Weaver (ed.) Exeter, 1885.
The pedigree does correctly show the three sons named in Sir John Montacute’s will, i.e. John, Thomas and Richard. Robert is also named as “Robert of Sutton Montague, Som.”, however it is Richard who is shown as the progenitor of the Montagues of Slowe. The 1620 Muttlebury pedigree represents the Eleanor Montague who married John Bevyn as being of the Slowe family, but descended from Robert, not Richard. This raises at least the possibility that the descent from Margaret Monthermer is from the son Richard rather than the problematic son Robert, or that they are one and the same person. This possibility has been raised by others:
“Richard Montagu, knight, was probably one of the sons of Sir John Montagu, who was brother of the second and father of the third Earl of Salisbury ; Richard Montagu himself thus being brother of the third earl. Burke, indeed, does not mention any Richard among the sons of Sir John Montagu ; but as Dugdale gives a certain Richard Montagu as one of the younger sons of Sir John (Dugdale. Baronage, Vol. I, pp. 649-90), and as the Patent Rolls Calendar for 1397 gives a certain Richard Montagu, son of Sir John Montagu, as holding lands in Southampton (Pat. Rolls Cal., 1397, p. 271), the probabilities are that the mistake lies with Burke, and that Richard Montagu may be identified with Robert Montagu of Sutton Montagu, in Somerset (Burke’s Domestic Peerage, p. 372), mentioned by Burke as a son of the above Sir John Montagu.” (A. B. Wallis Chapman (ed.) The Black Book of Southampton, Vol 1, 1912, p. 69)
An Alternative Muttlebury Pedigree for the Montague Line
An alternative pedigree for the Muttleburys can be constructed using recent research for the Victoria History of Somerset. This documents the inheritance of the manor of Sutton Montis (Montague). In this version, which otherwise parallels the 1620 Muttlebury pedigree back to Robert Montague, Robert’s father, rather than being Sir John Montague, is Nicholas Montague, son of Robert Montague of Sutton Montague and his wife Joan:
“Bundi held Sutton in 1066 but by 1086 Drew held it under Robert, Count of Mortain. It probably descended like Shepton Montague to Drew’s grandson William de Montague who sold it in 1198 to a kinsman William son of Robert de Montague, to be held as a small knight’s fee of Mortain. Overlordship remained with the senior Montagues and later with the earldom of Salisbury until the 17th century.
William son of Robert (d. by 1208) gave part of his estate to his daughter Beatrice (d. s.p. by 1227) but after much litigation the whole estate passed to William’s son Richard because the eldest son William was illegitimate. In 1227 Richard granted Sutton, except the land he inherited from Beatrice, to Robert de Montagu, possibly a younger brother. A Richard de Montagu held the manor in 1249 and was followed by William (fl. 1270—80) and John (d. c.1280) whose son Robert was a minor and whose widow Alice held one third of Sutton in dower. Robert who held the fee in 1316 and 1320 was probably the Robert of Sutton Montague who was succeeded by his son William before 1332. In 1339 Sutton was a half fee held by William’s brother Nicholas and in 1366 by Nicholas’s son Robert who was followed by his son John (fl. 1390—1417). John’s widow Agnes held Sutton in 1429 but by 1445 it had passed to William de Montagu (d. 1489) who was followed by his widow Alice and grandson Robert (d. 1509) son of his son William (d. by 1482). Robert’s heirs were his sister Emma Blundell and John Bevyn and John Moleyns, minor sons of his deceased sisters Eleanor and Joan.” (http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/sites/default/files/work-in-progress/sutton_montis_manors_and_estates.pdf)
The middle part of this pedigree (names in bold font) matches a pedigree that appears in G. Wrottesley (ed.), Pedigrees from the Plea Rolls, no date. The match is in location and time, as well as the people named:
Pedigree of John de Montagu Derived from an Action in the Court of Common Pleas circa 1388
There are other contemporary references that probably refer to this Nicholas, e.g. an inquisition post mortem of 18 Edward III (1345) for “William de Monte Acuto, Late Earl of Salisbury”:
“… Sotton Mountagu. A moiety of a knight’s fee held by Nicholas de Monte Acuto. …” (Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and other Analagous Documents, Vol VIII, Edward III, HMSO, 1913, p.389)
“11 Jan., A.D. above (1343), at Wyvelscombe. The lord instituted William de Monte Acuto, acolyte, to the parish church of Sutton Mountagu near Babbecary, at the presentation of Nicholas de Monte Acuto.
12 Jan. The lord dispensed with the same William that he can stay in the schools for a year.” (Thomas Scott Holmes (ed.) The Register of Ralph of Shrewsbury, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1329-1363, Somerset Record Society, 1896, page 458)
“iv Kal., Dec., (1343) at Wyvelescombe. The lord admitted Richard de Bradeford, priest, to the church of Soutton Montagu at the presentation of Nicholas de Monte Acuto.” (Thomas Scott Holmes (ed.) The Register of Ralph of Shrewsbury, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1329-1363, Somerset Record Society, 1896, page 480)
“Dec. 18. 1339. Langley. Commission of oyer and terminer to John Inge, Richard Lovel, Thomas de Marleberge, William de Cheyny and Roger le Gulden, on complaint by Nicholas de Monte Acuto that Reginald Husee, Walter le Baillif of Corston, Walter le Muleward and others broke his close at Sutton Mountagu, assaulted him, cut down his trees there and carried away these with other of his goods. By fine of 1 mark. Somerset.” (Calendar of Patent Rolls: http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/e3v4/body/Edward3vol4page0368.pdf)
The first of the quotations above implies that Nicholas was a sub-tenant of William Montacute, first earl of Salisbury, 1301–1344, and owed him knightly service.
Inheritance pedigrees consistent with that for the manor of Sutton Montis can also be derived from the inheritance of other Montagu lands at:
The Nicholas described above is almost certainly the same person as the Nicholas Montacute who held the manor of Sutton Hosey with his wife Isabel from about 1341 as there are parallels with the inheritance of the manor of Sutton Montis. (Parishes: Long Sutton, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 154-166. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66495)
This is a comparison between the Montague pedigrees contained in the various sources mentioned above (earliest generation at top; “weak link” in red text):
Robert Montague of Sutton Montague (father of Nicholas) was probably dead before 1332 (he is described as living in the time of Edward II, so 1307-1327), so he could not be the child of Sir John Montague and Margaret Monthermer as they married only in 1343 (C. L. Kingsford, ‘Monthermer, Ralph de, first Lord Monthermer (d. 1325), rev. Jennifer C. Ward, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com.rp.nla.gov.au/view/article/19078, accessed 22 Nov 2012]).
The words of wisdom of Frederic Weaver probably apply here:
“A word of caution is perhaps necessary as to the reliance to be placed on all Heralds’ Visitations ; it is constantly found when information is obtainable from other sources (such as wills, etc.) that the Visitations are full of errors, generations being missed out, a father and son represented as brothers, etc. And perhaps it is not too much to say that they cannot be relied upon beyond the grandfather of the “Armiger ” who was cited to the Visitation ; but when all is said, they still remain a valuable (and sometimes the only) clue to a gentle family, whose name now perhaps only exists as that of a remote farm house.”
Two files may be downloaded if this is all a little confusing, one containing the Robert Muttleberie_Maternal Ancestry (PDF, 10 KB), and the other containing Robert Muttleberie_Family Trees (PDF, 54 KB). These comprise that part of the 1620 Muttlebury pedigree relevant to the discussion above. Names have been spelt as in the pedigree, and no corrections have been made to what is shown in the pedigree.
The Ashill Lands
Currently I have no good information as to the lands held by the family at Jordans in Ashill parish. The modern map below show the Jordans estate as somewhat to the south-east of Ashill village, and about equidistant from the villages of Broadway, Ashill and Ilton.
Map of Ashill Area, Somerset, England
It’s not entirely clear when the Ashill properties passed out of the family. Most likely it happened on the death of Thomas III about 1652, as Thomas’s heir, Thomas IV, thereafter resided at Wookey and sought new arms in 1672 as “Muttlebury of Wookey”. The following will abstract supports this:
“JOSEPH STANDERWICK, of Ilminster, Somerset, Gent. Will dated June 28, 1671, proved Sept. 30, 1674, by the relict Elizth Standerwick. [110 Bunce.] Lands in Doniatt & Ashill purchased of Thomas Muttlebury, late of Jordaynes, Esq., & Thos Muttlebury, his son & heir, to my son.” (Frederick Brown, Abstracts of Somerset Wills, Fourth Series 1889, page 104)
The last Muttlebury marriage in the Ashill parish register is that of Suzan, who married Robert Norman in 1616, although there is a gap in the register between 1627 and 1653, and few Muttlebury entries in earlier years. There are, however, Muttlebury marriages recorded at nearby Ilton until 1689. In this regard, one of the indentures in the 1623 Visitation, was made by “Robert Muttlebery of Ilford in the county within the parish of Ilton”, although this is dated to about 1453.
The paucity of records may be a result of the family’s recusancy, with christenings and marriages being celebrated in private chapels.
The Creech St Michael Family
Based on the limited parish records available to me, after the death of Thomas the son of the recusant about 1652, Muttlebury families were located at Ilton, a parish adjoining Ashill, to about 1690, Wookey, to about 1753, and Creech St Michael, to about 1776. The Ilton family could be transitional between the Ashill and Wookey or Creech St Michael families, although there is no firm evidence for this as yet.
It’s possible that further information will come to light that connects the Creech St Michael family with the Ashill, Ilton or Wookey families. However, the period for which records are neeeded, i.e. about 1640 to 1700, was one of considerable disruption of civic life, encompassing the English Civil War, the Commonwealth, the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell and the Monmouth rebellion. Also, the Muttleburys of Ashill appear not to have been prominent in government, and thus seem to have left few traces in its annals.
(Curran Family History)