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Shakespeare's Family By C. C. Stopes Characters: 13871

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

It would be interesting to know more of some of the other Warwickshire Ardens, particularly those mentioned in the Register of the Guild of Knowle, as some have suggested that Shakespeare's mother may have descended from them:

"1460. John Arden and Agnes, his wife, of Longehychyngton.

"1504. Richard Arden and Margaret, his wife, and for the souls of John and Johanna, their parentes, of Longeychyngton.

"1506. For the souls of John Arderne and his wife, of the same.

"... Richard Salway, and Estell his wife, and for the soul of John Arderne.

"1512. Alicia Arderne, and for the soul of William."

On turning to the Subsidy Rolls to find any further notice of the Ardens of Long Itchington, I found only the following: "14 and 15 Hen. VIII. Co. Warr., Knighton Hundred, Bilton [the next parish to Long Itchington].[439] Thomas Arderne, land, 4 marks, 2/6. Solks. Henry Arderne in goods 40/- 4d." The latter is twice repeated.

In the same Guild Register appears as member:

"1496. Robert Arderne, Master of Arts, Rector of Lapworth."

He does not appear in the preserved pedigree, as Robert, the son of Walter, who died 1502, was in the King's service. The Warden and scholars of Merton College appointed Robert Ardern, Master of Arts, to the Rectory of Lapworth, January 10, 1488. On the rood loft of the church are the arms of Sir Henry Arden:[440] Ermine, a fesse chequy, or and az., with a crescent for difference, arms, by some thought to be the parson's.

Henry de Arden,[441] in the time of Henry II., had two sons: Thomas of Curdworth[3] and William de Rodbourn.[442] The descent of Thomas we have already noticed, as well as the descent of Thomas Arden, of Drayton, elder son of William Arden de Rodbourn. The second son of William was another William of Rodbourn, killed in 17 Henry III. He married Avisia, daughter of Robert de Kyngeston, and had also a son, William of Rodbourn, whose heir was William, who sold the manor in 1369.

Dugdale says that Little Grafton was called Arden's Grafton because it was bought by William de Arden in 10 John. In 52 Henry III. William de Arden was certified to hold it of the Earl of Warwick; but he transferred it to Edward I. in exchange for Offord, near Aston Cantlowe, in the parish of Wootten Wawen.

A seal used by William D'Arderne, clerk, of Offord, Warwickshire, is preserved in the British Museum,[443] appended to a deed in which he and John D'Arderne were concerned, 1366. It has a shield of arms, three cross-crosslets fitchée, on a chief a lion passant, on the border: "S. Nicholai de Ardena." I have not traced a Nicholas. But Nichola de Arden presented John de Arden to Cotesbrook Church, Northampton, May, 1361 (see p. 195).

Among other charters in the same collection occur the seals of-

Thomas de Arderne, of Newton, co. Warwick, 1280-90, on a shield, a fesse chequy Ardern, "Sigillum Secreti."[444]

Thomas de Arderne, Lord of Peddymore, co. Warwick, 1281, on a shield chequy, a chevron, "Sig. Thome de Arderne."[445]

Thomas de Arderne, 1286, a shield chequy, a chevron, "S. Thome de Arderne."[446]

William de Ardena de Hamtune (i.e., Hampton in Arden, Warwickshire) used a seal with a pointed oval shield thereon, a lion rampant contourné, circa1188-98.[447]

Dugdale says concerning Hampton in Ardern,[448] that it is not quite certain that Ralph de Arderne was a son of Turchil.[449] He is mentioned in 5 Stephen and in 33 Henry II. as a Justice Itinerant. Hampton in Arden was not altogether his own, but his son Robert purchased it for 500 marks. Robert was a clergyman, Archdeacon of Lisiaux, in Normandy, and gave his estate here to his brothers Peter and Roger. Peter became a clerk also, and gave his share to Roger, whose sons were William de Ardena, 5 Henry III.; Walter, a Clerk; Roger, a Clerk. William's children were: Hugo de Ardena, a Justice of Assize, 35 Henry III.; Oliva, who married Robert le Megre; and Hawisia, who married Richard Peche. Hugh's sons were William and Richard. William sided with the Montforts, was pardoned, but was soon after slain by Richard de l'Isle. He left no family; his brother Richard was an idiot; and his estates went to the heirs of his aunts, John Peche and William le Megre[450] (Plea Rolls, Ed. I.).

There is so much confusion regarding the most distinguished of these early Ardens, that I would like to examine his story more closely. Dugdale, as I have already noted, is not absolutely certain that Ralph de Ardern, of Hampton, was a son of Turchil, but believes it sufficiently to put him in the pedigree. Yet he goes on to state that this Ralph was a justice itinerant in various reigns. Now, it is not only dates that make this impossible: Turchil had married, first, the Countess of Perche, and, second, Leverunia; and Ralph de Arderne, of Hampton, is given as of the first family. But the mother of Ralph the justice was a De Bohun. I propose, therefore, tentatively, to consider that the first Ralph de Hampton married a De Bohun, and hope to find the records true of an eldest son Ralph, brother of Robert, the Archdeacon of Lisiaux, of Peter the clerk, and of Roger of Hampton. This view is supported by many facts, and it gives time. Ralph was at the height of his power in 1188, the very date at which William de Ardene, of Hampton, the son of Roger, draws up a deed and affixes his seal.[451] According to Dugdale, this should be his grandson. The name of Ralph's son and heir is Thomas, not Roger. It was very unusual for a noble family to bring up the eldest son to the Church, and yet the Archdeacon of Lisiaux is considered by Dugdale as the eldest son of Ralph, who gives up his inheritance to his brothers. But if we find a Ralph to be the eldest son, we can easily account for his giving up the Hampton in Arden home. He had made his fortunes elsewhere. Ralph was in high favour with the King,[452] Henry II., and had married Amabilia, daughter and coheir of Ranulph de Glanville,[453] the great lawyer, author, statesman, soldier, and crusader, who, while Sheriff of York, had made prisoner William the Lion of Scotland, and laid the King of England under an obligation. Ralph's mother was a daughter of Savaric FitzCana, and sister of Ralph, Gelduin, and Savaric FitzSavaric. Ralph FitzSavaric having died without heirs, on the death of his uncle Savaric, Franco, the son of Gelduin, laid claim to his vast possessions in England and the fief of Bohun in Normandy. It is believed that Gelduin had married within the forbidden degrees, without dispensation, and that this was the reason that Ralph de Arderne put forward his mother's claims. Henry II. decided in his favour at a court at Caen in 1187. But on the accession of Richard I., Ralph fell into disgrace, ostensibly through some delay in rendering his accounts at Westminster while Sheriff of Hereford, and Henry's decision was reversed 1189.[454] But it was evidently a doubtful quest

ion. Franco died in 1194, and when his son and heir Engelger came of age, 1198, Ralph de Arderne revived his claim, which was settled by a compromise. After the disturbances in Normandy, 1208, a new dispute arose between Engelger, the son of Franco FitzSavaric, and Thomas, the son of Ralph Arden, which ended in a new compromise.

The offices held by Ralph were numerous. He was Sheriff of Hereford 1184-89,[455] and also justice itinerant. He married a second wife in 1194, Agnes de la Mara, heiress of the Barony of Holgate in Shropshire, after which he regained royal favour. He received a gift from the King of land in Essex, for which he paid[456] £362 16s. 8d. He was made custodian of the temporalities of Canterbury at the time of the troubles there Bailiff of Pont-Audemar in Normandy, 1198; in 1202 attended King John at La Suse in Anjou; in 1203 was sent on an embassy to Otho, King of the Romans; in 1204 went to Flanders on the King's service. He was said to have acted as justice at Shrewsbury, 1208, but Foss[457] believes this was his grandson, and states that Coke says so. Ralph de Arderne endowed the Priory of Butey, Sussex, founded by Ralph de Glanville, with half the town of Bawdsey. He founded the Priory of Shulbrede, near Midhurst, and endowed it with half a knight's fee in Lavington. His son Thomas was engaged in a lawsuit[458] with his aunt about the partition of his grandfather Glanville's property. "Thomas de Ardern, et Radulphus filius Roberti ponunt loco suo Mag. Will. de Lecton versus Will. de Auberville et Matilda uxorem ejus," etc. There is no mention of Thomas after 14 John, 1213. Lands in Hereford, Sussex, Essex, and Yorkshire were known to have belonged to him, and many scattered branches in later periods may represent his descendants. I have not found his arms; were they the same as William de Ardern of Hampton's, already referred to?

Though Shakespeareans are only concerned with the Ardens who remained in their own county, genealogists are interested in the fortunes of the whole family. A volume would be necessary for a complete account, and at present I only attempt to collect and preserve the scattered facts I have found in various printed and manuscript authorities.

It is too often taken for granted that individuals do not belong to a family because their names do not appear in the pedigrees collected at the Visitations. We know that the descendants of younger sons and daughters are frequently omitted, and the sons and daughters themselves occasionally ignored. For instance, the Sir Robert Arden who was executed in the time of Henry VI., 1451, is stated[459] to have left seven children, but the name of his heir, Walter, is alone preserved. Such omissions are more likely to have occurred in earlier times. The Ardens frequently held land in more counties than one, and thus may appear in county histories as doubles; while their general use of common Christian names at other times makes it difficult to separate recorded incidents. Wills, inquisitions, and other records often strangely bring into closer relationship individuals not known to be connected, and the severe test of dates often separates those supposed to be near in blood.

The main line had estates in Northampton. Robert de Arden had a charter of free warren in Wapenham and Sudborough.[460] In 7 Henry IV. Wapenham was assigned as dower to Elena, widow of Sir Henry de Arden, by Ralph his son, with remainder to Geoffrey de Arden, his brother (see p. 170). After the death of Elena and Geoffrey it reverted to Ralph, and to Robert, his son, who in 20 Henry VI. received the King's pardon for alienating it without licence. The manor of Sulgrave[461] was sold by the Traffords to Sir Henry Arden, and it remained in the family until Sir Robert sold it in 20 Henry VI. Laurence Washington, Mayor of Northampton 1538, had a grant of the dissolved priory of St. Andrews there. On April 26, 1564, William Arderne of Sulgrave[462] left to his sister Mary all the portion his father, Richard Arden,[463] had left her, and all his own goods. He left a legacy to Robert,[464] son of Laurence Washington, and Laurence was the overseer of his will. There is preserved a bond by John Ardern, Laurence Washington, and others for £100, July 4, 1587.

An Adam de Arden, clerk, was incumbent of Croughton 1218. Another Adam was Rector of Thornhagh and Bolewyck 1336 and of Barby 1361. Nichola de Arden presented John de Arden to Cotesbrook Church, May, 1361. Thomas de Arderne was incumbent of Laxton, July 9, 1310, and of Clopton-on-the-Wold, 1325. Robert de Ardern, clerk, is mentioned August 16, 1322. Thomas de Ardern, diac., was presented to Nether Heyford, 1455. Eustachia de Ardern, patron of Holdenby, 1263, presented Ralph de Ardern, and Thomas, son of Thomas Ardern, of Hanwell, recognised as co-patron Thomas Ardern, of Rotley.


[439] The will of Thomas Arden of Long Itchington was proved 1552, at Lichfield. Sons, Edmund, William and Thomas, and six daughters.

[440] Dugdale, 926.

[441] Baker's "Northampton"; Whalley's "Northampton."

[442] Dugdale's "Warwickshire," 927.

[443] Add. Charters, 21, 492.

[444] Cotton MS. Charters, xxii. 15.

[445] Egerton Ch., 368.

[446] Brit. Mus., Ch. lxxxii. 15.

[447] Cott. Ch., xi. 36.

[448] Dugdale's "Warwickshire," 952.

[449] I think the dates show that there must have been two generations of Ralphs. One appears in another county.

[450] See Genealogist, New Series, XIII.

[451] A lion rampant contourné. See Brit. Mus., Ch. lxxxii. 15.

[452] Nichols's "Herald and Genealogist," vi. 432, and vii. 299-311.

[453] Foss's "Lives of the Judges," i. 379. Campbell's "Lives of the Chief Judges," i. 19.

[454] Pipe Roll, 1 Richard I., pp. 208 and 145, Charter, Richard I., signed at Gorron in Maine, March 31, 1190.

[455] Fuller's "Worthies of Hereford."

[456] Pipe Roll, Essex, 6 Richard I.

[457] Foss's "Lives of the Judges," i. 338.

[458] Coke, 8th Report, ii. 29, and Blomfield's "Norfolk," viii. 341.

[459] Harleian MS., Visitation of Warwickshire, 1167, f. 57.

[460] Concerning forest rights in Clyve, Northamptonshire, Gilbert de Arden appeared for the Prior of Markyate, Cherchebikenhull, Kynesbury, 26 Edward I. (55, Inquis. P. M.).

William de la Zouch de Haryngworth enfeoffed Adam de Arderne and Simon Ward in Boroughley Manor of the Honour of Peverel, Northampton; Eton, Weston, Ing, Houghton Manors, Bedford; Calston Manor, Wilts; Totnes Castle, Devon; Weston-in-Arden Manor, Wolfareshull, Foulkeshull, and Kelpesham Manors, Warwick, probably as trustees, 33 Edward III. (79, Inquis. P. M.).

[461] Whalley's "Northampton," i. 25, 263.

[462] 7, Crymes, Somerset House Wills.

[463] Of Whitfield, 29, Street, Somerset House.

[464] Robert's son Laurence sold Sulgrave, went to America, and became the great-grandfather of George Washington.

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