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^ 



F!TZ RANDOLPH 

iTRADiTIONS 




7^>o JOOT b. IS 



l^arbarti College l^iiirarn 




FROM THE 



BRIG^HT LEGACY. 



One half the income from this Legacy, which was 
received in 1880 under the will of 

JONATHAN BROWN BRIGHT 

of Waltham, Massachusetts, is to be expended for 
books for the College Library. The other half of the 
income is devoted to scholarships in Harvard Uni. 
versity for the benefit of descendants of 

HENRY BRIGHT, JR., 

who died at Watertown, Massachusetts, in 16S6. In 
the absence of such descendants, other persons are 
eligible to the scholarships. The will requires that 
this announcement shall be made in every book added 
to the Library under its provisions. 



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Fitz Randolph Traditions 



A Story of a Thousand Years 



By 
L. V. F. RANDOLPH 

Life Member of the New Jcnejr Hittorical Society 




PUBLISHED UNDIR THE AUSPICES OF 

The New Jersey Historical Society 

1907 



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RIVERSIDE PRESS 

NEW YORK- 



Published October, igo7 



In the year of Grace 1900 the writer of this book, 
venturing a volume of verses, dedicated his modest 
venture to the best of good tvomen. It is especially 
suitable that this Story of a Thousand Years should 
be inscribed to that same delightful companion, inas- 
much as she shared the fun and the fatigue of the 
joumeyings in search of the fathers whose progeni- 
torship and progress constitute the excuse and 
apology for this record. 



Foreword 

To the man of affairs genealogy and poetry are alike 
forbidden fruit. Yet, occasionally, one has been found 
bold enough to intimate that a little poetry would prove 
not only harmless but helpful to the poor human dray- 
horse of commerce or law, of finance or manufactures. 
And, again, as to doubtful indulgences, if one has re- 
ligiously abstained both from whist and whisky until he 
has attained the life-limit of the Psalmist, he may per- 
haps at about the age of seventy take now and then a 
moment of comfort in either. Old-fashioned whist has 
been spoken of as an allowable dissipation of the aged, 
and, perhaps a like remark may be made concerning 
genealogy. A young man has no business with it whilst 
really important duties call and await attention. Besides, 
to the young, it leads the way to a habit of mendacity — 
or, at least, of romancing — ^such as might prove destruc- 
tive to business morals and reputation. But against this 
temptation age opposes a settled character and sense of 
responsibility; and the old man may measurably be 
trusted to find the truth and to tell it — if upon reflection 
he finds it best to tell an3rthing. A famous American wit, 
descanting upon the importance of early education, has 
hinted that we cannot begin the work too early, and that 
it is well to begin education at least so far back as to 
secure the well-considered birth of one's grandparents. 



FOREWORD 



It was, I think, one of the same type of self-complacent 
Boston Brahmins who indulged the presumption that a 
well-born man of the old Massachusetts stock would 
never have occasion to be bom again. Without giving 
the least countenance to such a claim, one might hold ex- 
cusable a certain consciousness of an early and long and 
valuable ''education" on the part of a scion of a stock 
which had participated in the development of the ever- 
to-be reverenced Colonial character, and which had, prior 
to the Colonial period, been transplanted out of soil from 
which during many centuries great souls and deeds had 
grown. A just satisfaction and pride in the progress of 
American democracy is distinctly in accord with a senti- 
ment of respect toward the far-away ancestry of Nor- 
mandy and of Greater and Minor Brittany, whose 
strength, courage and achievements in mediaeval times 
went far toward rendering possible the civilization, en- 
lightenment and freedom enjoyed by us now in such 
ample measure. 

The author is under obligation to many kind hearts, 
well-informed minds, and willing hands, for aid in fur- 
nishing facts herein contained. In the Motherland he 
and his companion were most hospitably entertained and 
efficiently assisted in their researches. The authorities 
of the British Musetmi at London, and of the Bodleian 
Library at Oxford, as well as of the libraries at York 
and Nottingham and Exeter, were attentive and generous 
to their wants. Many facts were gathered in conversa- 
tion and correspondence with church officers and with 
other influential and intelligent gentlemen, and the as- 
sistance derived from perusing such rare and valuable 

8 



FOREWORD 



works as those of Dugdale, Thoroton, Drake, Gale, 
Banks, Walker, and Speight (all of whom have paid 
much respect to the fathers herein mentioned), was be- 
yond value. At home he has been indebted not a little 
to his revered friend, Hugh Vail of Santa Barbara, Cal. 
(now deceased), and to that accomplished genealogist 
and self-denying and industrious philanthropist, Oliver 
B. Leonard, of Plainfield, N. J. — ^whose ancestor partici- 
pated with Nathaniel Fitz Randolph in the movement 
which gave to Princeton College a local habitation, and 
whose esteemed wife is an heir to all the Fitz Randolph 
traditions. 

Where the writer has found differences existing be- 
tween accredited antiquarians and historians on subjects 
of no vital importance to the aim of his narrative, he has 
adapted his recitals to the information or opinions ad- 
vanced by those whose research has seemed the most 
thorough. As to certain matters he has quoted from 
differing authorities. For example, in reproducing the 
quaint plate from Drake's Eboracum, he has, in keeping 
with the picture and with the language of the conveyance 
of lands from William to Alan (as quoted by Drake), 
brought forward such statements and inferences as Drake 
and Dugdale and others have made to the effect that Alan 
Rufus was the same person as Alan Fergant, and that he 
was both nephew and son-in-law to William the Con- 
queror. According to Gale, however, we would be led 
to believe that these two names represent two distinct 
persons — ^that Alan Fergant, the son of a certain per- 
sonage named Hoel, did marry William's daughter, Con- 
stance, but that Alan Rufus was William's important 



FOREWORD 



sidepartner, and that, though a near kinsman of the Con- 
queror, he was neither his nephew nor his son-in-law. 

In my own modest narrative, and in the diagram and 
outline given at the end of this prefatory chapter, I ven- 
ture to prefer Gale's lines to Dugdale's, and even to so 
important and accurate an authority as Hume, who, on 
page 163 of the first volume of his History of England, 
tells us in effect that the great Alan, who joined the in- 
vading William with a large force of fighting men, was 
the son of Hoel and grandson of Conan, Puke of Brit- 
tany; and several encyclopedic and historical writers 
have fashioned their records, as to the facts here in- 
volved, on Hume's model. 

In the course of preparing his book the writer has 
come into the rare good fortune of owning a well-pre- 
served copy of Roger Gale's Honoris de Richmond. In- 
fluenced by an old tradition that Gale had, two hundred 
years ago, outlined the family history, he had sought the 
book throughout England with the same zest evinced by 
John Burroughs in his pursuit of the nightingale through 
that delightful country, and it had evaded him. After 
much search he was by special permission permitted to 
have a few pages transcribed from a copy of the book 
possessed by an old library. When at last a singular op- 
portunity was offered for acquiring ownership of the 
valued volume, he gladly availed of it, and has studied 
diligently this universally respected authority. It is in 
demi-folio form, well printed — ^partly in colors — and con- 
tains some beautiful engravings. No small part of its 
clear Latin text has reference to the facts and lines of the 
Fitz Randolph family. 

ID 



FOREWORD 



The "foreword" is not infrequently the last word. The 
author finds, perhaps, on his hands, after completing his 
book, a residue of unassorted facts, and, possibly, of 
piquant suggestions, and these he gathers up and scatters 
about what professes to be the threshold of his volume, 
much in the same way in which our fishermen of the New 
Jersey coast — ^when they are "chumming" for bluefish — 
fling about their bait promiscuously in order to lure the 
fish worth catching to the vicinity of the catchers. To an 
indictment of this character the writer of this book might 
plead g^iilty — with reservations. The larger part of this 
prefatory chapter was written in advance of the book. As 
to any attempt at "piquancy," the writer should be in 
advance shriven of guilt — as touching a little work, much 
of whose material must of necessity consist of such 
records and paragraphs as "Abraham begat Isaac, and 
Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Joseph and his breth- 
em." Concerning "unassorted facts," the writer con- 
fesses that he has still on hand a considerable supply, and 
he takes to himself at least this credit — that he has not 
burdened his readers with them. Not that they are de- 
void of interest, for they serve in various ways to buttress 
his thought and statements, but the narrative is suffi- 
ciently complete without them, and so they are withheld. 
One or two occur to him in writing these lines, and may 
be merely mentioned. 

Reference is made in the course of the narrative to the 
religious thought and position of the family of Edward 
the Pilgrim. It may be well to emphasize the statement 
that they were not Puritans, though to some extent they 
were in sympathy with the Puritan position as differing 

II 



FOREWORD 



with the religious autocracy established by Henry VIII. 
Still, for about a hundred years, reaching from the as- 
sumption by Henry of the control of England's ecclesi- 
astical establishment to the departure from England of 
Edward the Pilgrim, these Fitz Randolphs were part and 
parcel of Henry's church. This appears in the church 
records at Sutton and at Kirkby, and in various other 
ways; and the writer has been privately favored with a 
copy of a record concerning a certain dispute as to pew 
rights which arose in Tudor times between the family of 
Christopher Fitz Randolph and the noble and distin- 
guished ancestors of Colonel William Langton Coke. A 
decision on this question was rendered in the ecclesiastical 
courts, and mention of it can only be of interest here as 
confirming the religious affiliations of Christopher's fam- 
ily at that time. If a man in those days desired to live at 
all in England or to have any peace in living, and, espe- 
cially, if he were a person of gentle birth, then the neces- 
sity arose (and it could hardly be escaped from) to re- 
main a member of the church which had been thus estab- 
lished. There seems little reason to doubt, however, that 
the Fitz Randolphs had preferred to remain in the old 
Catholic communion — ^though the enterprise and liberality 
of their thought had longed for a larger liberty. Dis- 
allowing the alleged Puritanism of our ancestor, E-dward 
the Pilgrim, I may add that he had not become a "dis- 
senter" in the ordinary sense of that word for some time 
after his arrival at Cape Cod. It was seven years after 
he reached Massachusetts before he joined the Dissent- 
ing, or Pilgrim, Church at Barnstable, and that act was 
closely associated with his happy alliance with the family 



FOREWORD 



of Blossom, who had long been both dissenters and pil- 
grims. 

One other "unassorted" fact may be just mentioned 
here. The writer remembers how from boyhood he was 
puzzled at the derivation of certain names of the early 
New Jersey hamlets. He learned later that the old settle- 
ment near the mouth of the Raritan was called Piscat- 
away in a somewhat careless imitation of the name of the 
New England town, Piscataqua. One other name puzzled 
him still more, and that was the name of Totown, or Tow- 
town. This last name has persisted to the present day. 
It must have been conferred upon the little hamlet to 
which it attached by the descendants of those sixteenth 
century Westmorelands whose ancestors had bravely 
fallen in the Lancastrian cause in the disastrous battle of 
Towton in 1461, and thus had left records of honor and 
of noble courage which their later descendants have been 
glad by any means, however humble, to perpetuate. 
Towton was really the turning point in the fratricidal 
strife known as the "Wars of the Roses." To suggest 
something of a parallel in our own day, Gettysburg may 
be mentioned. The great contest continued afterward, 
but almost without hope of ultimate success to the party 
then vanquished. King Edward IV had, after a des- 
perate and bloody battle, beaten the sixty thousand sol- 
diers arrayed against him by Queen Margaret, and she 
had fled away northward (as the Confederates fled south- 
ward after Gettysburg), and had left upon the lost field 
thirty-six thousand of her slain. Amongst the fallen 
were the Earls of Westmoreland and Northumberland, 
Sir John Neville and Lord Dacres — the first being then 

13 



FOREWORD 



at the head of the family whose history is somewhat fol- 
lowed in our book, and the three others here mentioned 
being close kinsmen and compatriots in the Lancastrian 
cause. No wonder that the descendants of these great 
Earls should be proud of their courage, honor and pa- 
triotism as displayed on the sanguinary field of Towton. 

The writer follows, in his final recapitulation and de- 
tailed facts of descent, Dr. E. A. Freeman's lines from 
the conquest of Normandy by Rolf to the conquest of 
England by William I, and Roger Gale's lines from 
Geoffrey of Brittany to Thomas, Edward, Christopher, 
Randolph and Cuthbert — and for the rest, the church 
register and mural tablet and the records of Thoroton, 
Blackner, Vail and Nathaniel Fitz Randolph. 

This book is far from being a later-day genealogy. The 
bit of patchwork at the end may serve as an example of 
what can readily be done — ^and doubtless better — ^by any- 
one else who will take the trouble to inquire about his he- 
redity, and who will paste on paper the facts ascertained, 
from right to left ; that is, toward the earlier generations. 
The writer lacks precise data of other personal or local 
lines, and possesses no fund of particular information 
such as would be useful to any other member of the fam- 
ily in tracing his own lineage forward from the Pilgrim 
Edward of Nottinghamshire. This fact he regrets, for 
he would gladly be of further service. Having traced 
his own line to Pilgrim progenitors, and having gathered 
substantial facts as to collateral connections, he has then 
continued to follow the threads to their early sources. 
All the Fitz Randolphs of the United States are descended 
from Edward of Nottinghamshire. In this fact rests the 

14 



FOREWORD 



chief possibility of interest possessed by this book to any 
Americans who may now bear the name, or to any who 
have come of this stock. 

If the information with care collected and herein col- 
lated can be relied on, and if such deductions and infer- 
ences as the writer has made are reasonable, then the fol- 
lowing general outline may fairly represent a Story of a 
Thousand Years. 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Middleham Castle in 1780. 

The Conqueror's Gift to Alan. 

St Mary's Abbey, York. 

Ulshaw Bridge. 

Seal of the first Robert Bruce. 

Jervaulx Abbey. 

John Wycliffe. 

Coverham Abbey. 

EflSgies at Coverham. 

Middleham Castle. 

The Keep. 

Kirk Gate, Middleham. 

Plan of the Castle. 

Richard III. 

Middleham Church (St. Akelda). 

Langton Hall, Front. 

Fitz Randolph Coat-of-Arms. 

Spennithorn-e Church (St. Michael, the Archangel). 

Kirby Church (St. Wilfrid). 

Langton Hall — Side and Rear. 

Sutton Church (St Mary Magdalene). 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Chapter I 
Origin of the Name. Its early Associations and Significance, 21 

Chapter II 

The Family in Early English Times, and Its Descent through 
Lines of Nobility and Royalty 29 

Chapter III 

The Family at Middleham and at Spennithome— The Kinship 
to Ravensworth and the Friendship to Wycliffe 41 

Chapter IV 

Sifting Names and Relationships and Considering Norman 
Character — ^Its Religious Predilections and Its Noblest 
Production, George Washington S3 

Chapter V 
Middleham Castle and Some of Its Occupants 65 

Chapter VI 

From Yorkshire to Nottinghamshire and Back; with a Short 
Study in Heraldry 7P 

Chapter VII 
Kirkby, Sutton and Langton Hall 95 

Chapter VIII 

The Fitz Randolph House as Conjoined with the Westmore- 
land House loi 

Chapter IX 

Review of Line of Descent from Rolf the Norseman to 
Edward the Pilgrim 119 

Chapter X 

Fitz Randolph Principles and Later Fortunate Alliances — 
Conclusion 125 



Fitz Randolph Traditions 



CHAPTER I 



Origin of the Name; Its Early Associations and 
Significance 

The absence of church records, and the slendemess of 
most sorts of public records, prior to the year 1537, create 
a portion of the difficulty encountered in tracing early 
English family history. This difficulty is not a little aug- 
mented (in the endeavor to follow a kinship earlier than 
the sixteenth century) in the fact that the surnames were 
more or less shifting from generation to generation. 
Amongst the common people surnames, or family names, 
scarcely existed at all. When men were dependents, or 
servants, or serfs, they were lucky enough to have one 
name, even though that were sometimes only a nickname. 
Among the nobles the distinctive title, or lordship, was 
the thing whose persistence was desired and hoped for. 
This title, or lordship, descended in a line of primogeni- 
ture. Possibly in the younger and collateral branches a 
surname would persist for successive generations; but, 
even then, it might not descend in perpetuity. 

A few of the old Norman names have been handed 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

down marked by the Norman-French prefix "Fitz."* 
Among these is the name Randolph.f Like many other 
names of the earlier and less accurate ages it had several 
forms or phases. It was of Norse origin, and, in one or 
more of its forms, was known to the Danes, who were in 
the Middle Ages a vigorous, warlike and aggressive na- 
tion. Among the descendants of the Danes we find the 
name "Rauf." This was a modification of Rolf; and its 
later form, Ralph, came to be used as an abbreviation of 
certain longer forms of the same name, such as Ran- 
dolph, RandoUe, Randolffe, Ranulph, Rudolph and Ran- 
dall. All these, and others, and the monosyllabic style as 
well, are used interchangeably as relating to the same per- 
son (or to the same family) by the historians, antiqua- 
rians and authorities on heraldry of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, upon whose information we largely 
depend in our endeavors to trace family lines and history. 
There appear to be two rather dissimilar orig^al mean- 
ings to this ancient Norse name — one meaning is Hero, 
the other is Big Wolf .J 

The name, in its ampler form or forms, was brought 
to England by the Norman conquerors in the latter half 
of the eleventh century, and was used, first, as the simple 
name of an individual, and afterwards as designating a 



•Signifying "son of." 

tit is something of a pity that with some of the Fitz Randolphs the argu- 
ment of convenience has prevailed, leading them to drop the beginning 
portion of their name and thus creating confusion with the more numerous 
Kentish and American family of Randolphs. The writer himself may have 
been at fault all his life in compromising on the initial F, as many others 
have done, in lieu of using the complete and significant prefix "Fitz." 

tThe seeming dissimilarity partly recedes upon recalling the fact that 
courage and fierceness were nearly allied in the heroic conception of an 
age in which the right to conquer was regarded as inherent in one who had 
the might. 

22 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

continuing family. The first use of the name in England 
was in close connection with the family of William the 
Conqueror himself, and it will be noted that Rolf, the great 
Norse Chieftain was William's ancestor. In bringing 
forward this connection, we will therefore take a step 
backward to the parent trunk from which sprung the 
stem which became intertwined and engrafted not only 
with the Conquering Norman but also with his descend- 
ants and with several leading families of England, whose 
scions developed from ancient Saxon, Danish and Pictish 
stock. 

The first prominent character who bore the name was 
the Viking leader Rolf, who was bom about A.D. 860, 
and who died in 932. He made himself independent of 
Harold of Norway, visited Scotland, England and Flan- 
ders in his various expeditions, and about the year 912 
established himself in what is now known as northern 
France, and became the first Duke of Normandy. His 
own name has also undergone some variations in history. 
Sometimes he is called RoUo* (the Latin form), and 
again Rou (the French form), and it would appear that 
the town of Rouen in northern France was named for 
him. This Scandinavian (and sometime pagan) invader 
embraced Christianity, but this did not deter him from 
pursuing (iis vocation as a warrior. From the first of his 
lodgment in France he was involved in the controversies 



*At the «nd of the 10th "book," or division, of Bulwer's "Last of the 
Barons," he introduces his reader to "The illuminated hall of Edward, 
where the table was spread for the roval repast, and . . . from the 
gallery raised aloft, the musicians gave forth the rough and stirring melody 
which had gradually fallen out of usage, but which was once the Norman^ 
national air. and which the warlike Margaret of Anjou had retaught her 
minstrels — Trb Battue Hymn op RoLto." 

33 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

which were in progress between the French princes and 
dukes. Upon his professing Christianity, he took the 
name of Robert from the Duke of the French, who acted 
as his godfather; but he was still generally spoken of 
by his Norse name. 

His son and successor was William, surnamed ''Long- 
sword," who became the right-hand man of King Charles 
of France in 927, and reigned in Normandy until 943. 
William's son and successor was Richard "the Fearless," 
and it was during his long reign of half a century that 
the Duchy of France was united with the Western King- 
dom, and the great combination was made of the High 
Dutch, Low Dutch, French and Aquitanian elements. 
Richard the Fearless died A.D. 996. His son was Richard 
"the Good," who reigned thirty years and kept an un- 
broken friendship between Normandy and France. He 
would have none but gentlemen about him, and in fact 
established a nobility which became permanent. His sis- 
ter, Emma, in the year 1002, married Aethelred, the 
Saxon King of England, and this marriage was the first 
link in the chain of events that led to the Norman Con- 
quest of England. 

After Aethelred's death and the establishment in Eng- 
land of the Dane Cnut, Emma married Cnut. The son 
and successor of Richard the Good was a third Richard 
who reigned only two years, to 1028, and still kept up 
the French alliance. This Richard had a sister, Avicia, 
who married Geoffrey (sometimes called Galfridus), 
Duke of Brittany, and his posterity forms the chief sub- 
ject of this book. In the same line, and after this third 
Richard, came Robert, who fell into difficulties with Cnut 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

(whose sister he married and put away), and attempted 
an invasion of England on behalf of the children of 
Aethelred and Emma. He died in 1035 in the course of 
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and his son William, then a 
child of eight years, and known as William the Bastard, 
set out on his career to become William the Conqueror. 

The people of Brittany were of Celt origin, but the 
Conquering Normans overran it, and the rulers were 
largely of Norman blood. The Dukes of Brittany and 
of Normandy had for generations maintained close rela- 
tions. When they were not quarreling they were more 
or less intermarrying. Eudo of Brittany, son of Gal- 
fridus, or Geoffrey, joined hands and forces with his kins- 
man, William, and sent his son Alan, or Alain, to assist 
William in his English enterprise with a body of five 
thousand Bretons. 

In "Notes from the Baronage of England in Saxon 
Time to Norman Conquest" by William Dugdale (Lon- 
don, 1675, Tome I. Page 46 to 53), we read as follows: 

"Alan, first Earl of Richmond, son to Eudo, Earl of 
Brittany in France, came to England with Duke William 
of Normandy, commanded the rear of his army at Has- 
tings. In his youth not a little famous for his valor, in- 
somuch as he feared not the heroic spirited William, then 
Duke of Normandy, who challenged his right to Brittany. 
He married Constance, one of William the Conqueror's 
daughters, but died without issue.* He had four broth- 

*It will have been noted that Gale differs with Dugdale about some of 
these particulars, holding that it was Alan Fergant, another kinsman of 
William, and not "Alan, first earl of Richmond, son to Eudo," who married 
Constance. This difference is not highly important to us. In general, we 
adopt Gale's lines. But the old plate, representing the gift of the land 
titles to Alan, taken from Drake's Eboracum (and luso appearing in Gale's 
Registrum) seems to bear out the statements of Drake and Dugdale. 

25 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

ers, Alanus Niger, who also died without issue, another 
brother Stephen, who (one after another) succeeded to 
the Earldom of Richmond, and Ribald, Lord of Middle- 
ham, and Bardulf, whose son Akar was the founder of 
Josevaulz, an Abbey of the Cestercian Order in this 
Northern Tract. Ribald had by gift from his brother 
Alan, Middleham, together with Scrastone, Speninge- 
torpe, Havogswell and Wadles. His son, Ralph, suc- 
ceeded him. His wife, Agatha, was daughter to Robert 
de Brus of Skelton, and had with her the Lordship of 
Ailewic in Hertness." . . . 

"To Robert succeeded Ranulph his son and heir, who 
in 13 Joh. was acquitted from the Scutage of Scotland. 
He was buried at Coverham, leaving issue Ralphe his 
son, commonly called Raphe Fitz-Ranulph. Raphe was 
summoned with other eminent men of the North to go 
with Horse and Arms and 'all the power he could make' 
to march into Scotland for rescue of the King of that 
Realm, who had married a daughter of Henry IH, out 
of the hands of his rebellious subjects." 

These details are given here partly by way of connect- 
ing the name of the first Rolf, or Ralf (or Rauf, or Ran- 
ulph, or Randolph), of Scandinavian leadership, with the 
name and descent as we find it in Northern England soon 
after the successful invasion of William the Conqueror 
and of his allies of the family of Eudo. It will be seen 
that it was the blood of these brave Norsemen (more or 
less recrossed, inbred and intermingled) that has de- 
scended through the lines of British kings and noble 
families. 

26 



Jllll II 


\^KB[-p^lM\ f*-?^^- ~- ' " ■ 


flHBl.i 




l.^^mm 


W 


^yMxg^aMFM 


■.^■< J 


^iMMgaw 


r. Ai tijvt •*4i 


K^» ^ 



Photograph, from Drake's Eboracum, of 
THE Quaint and Ancient Drawing, Repre- 
senting William the Conqueror in the Act 
OF Delivering to His Nephew and Son-in- 
law Alan the Muniments of Title to Mid- 
dleham and Other Important English 
Properties. These Properties Subsequently 
Passed into the Possession of Ribald, 
Brother of Alan and Grandfather of Rob- 
ert FiTZ Randolph, Lord of Middleham in 
THE Twelfth Century. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

We pause again in our narrative here to introduce the 
form of conveyance of the northern English properties 
made by William the Conqueror to Alan. This is copied 
from the quaint and valuable work by Francis Drake, 
Gent, F. R. S., published in 1736, entitled Eboracum: 

"Ego Gulielmus, cognomine Bastardus,* do et concedo 
tibi Alano, nepoti meo, Britanic comiti, et heredibus tuis 
in perpetuum, omnes illas villas et terras, que nuper 
fuerent comitis Edwini in Eborascinia; cum foedis mil- 
itum et ecclesius, et aliis libertatibus et confuetudinibus, 
ita libere et honozifice ficut idem Edwinus ea tenuit. 

"Dat in oblidione cozam civitate Eboraci." 

On the page in Drake's Eboracum opposite the nar- 
rative of the capture of the City of York by William and 
his allies, is a curious plate representing William in the 
act of handing over to the kneeling Alan the important 
document conveying to him the ownership of this im- 
mense domain. 

The author of "Romantic Richmondshire," referring 
to this enormous gift made by William the Conqueror to 
Alan, speaks of the property as consisting of "no fewer 
than 440 manors and 140 knights' fees, besides many 
other bounties and privileges, which earned for him 
sometimes the title of Prince of the East Angles. His 
territorial possessions alone were probably not far short 
of 100,000 acres, and they were amongst the fairest in 
England. It is, however, not quite clear why the Con- 
queror should bestow all this wealth on a single one of 
his followers, and we can only surmise that some ar- 



*A8 to William's parentage see also Hume's History of England, Vol. I, 
p. 162. He rejoiced in his "cognomen." 

27 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

rangement was made between William and the martial 
Count, his cousin,* or perhaps with his father, that, in 
the event of victory attending the invasion of England, 
and for the aid rendered by the Count, whose well-drilled 
reg^ents are said to have numbered fully one-third of 
the Conqueror's army, these lands and honors were to 
be bestowed." 

Alan died without issue, and of the English lands re- 
ceived by him — flying largely and chiefly in the northern 
counties of England — ^he gave to his brother Ribald cer- 
tain estates which had belonged to Ghilpatric, the Dane, 
whose home and camp had been, prior to the Conquest, 
upon an eminence overlooking Middleham in Yorkshire. 
These estates were Middleham, Bolton, Spennithome, 
Thornton, Watlass, and four others. 



*Speight appears to agree with Gale as to the degree of relationship. 



28 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER II 

The Family in Early English Times and Its Descent 
THROUGH Lines of Nobility and Royalty 

In his old age Ribald entered the convent or abbey 
of St. Mary's, York,* and died about 1131, leavii^ three 
sons, namely, Ralph, or Randolph (his heir), Hervey and 
Henry. Randolph married Agatha, daughter of Robert 
De Bruis. His son, Robert, commonly known as Lord 
Robert Fitz Randolph, commenced to build the castle at 
Middleham, A.D. 1190. 

Robert had three sons, the second of whom was called 
Randolph Fitz Robert or Randolph Fitz Randolph. 
Robert's wife was Helewisa, daughter of Ralph de Glen- 
ville. She, after Robert's death, founded Coverham 
Abbey. 

Ralph (or Randolph) Fitz Randolph married Margery, 
the daughter of Robert Bigot, Duke of Norfolk, leader 
among the great barons who forced the Magna Charta 
from King John. Randolph died in 125 1 and was buried 
in Coverham Abbey. His son, Ralph (or Randolph) Fitz 
Randolph (whose wife was Anastasia, daughter of Will- 
iam, Lord Percy) founded the Grey Friars at Richmond, 
Yorkshire, and died in 1270, leaving three daughters. 



'According to Gale, Ribald's childless brother Bodin went with him into 
monastic retirement. 

29 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

It is known that the Castle of Middleham, built by 
Robert Htz Randolph, passed into the possession of 
Robert Neville, who married Mary, eldest of the three 
daughters* of the last-mentioned Randolph Fitz Ran- 
dolph ; and the descendants of Robert Neville and Mary 
Fitz Randolph have filled the foremost places in English 
history. Their blood has come down to our day in the 
veins of all the Plantagenet, Tudor, Stuart and Guelph 
sovereigns of England (always excepting Henry VII, the 
first Tudor king, who seized the crown on a pretense), 
and the same Fitz Randolph blood is commingled in nearly 
all the important royal families of Continental Europe. 
Entering through Richard Plantagenet (who married the 
great, great, great granddaughter of Mary Fitz Randolph 
of Middleham) the lineage includes Edward IV, Richard 
III, Edward V and his sister Elizabeth, the queen of Henry 
Vll. A few details are given below, including a review of 
a few facts already mentioned. These are gathered from 
various historical authoriti.es — including Green's History 
of England, Hume's History of England, Gairdner's 
House of Lancaster, British Cyclopedia, Vol. 14, page 257, 
J. P. Pritchett's "Works of the Nevilles" and "Account of 
Middleham Castle and Church," and the works of Dug- 
dale, Banks and other writers. 



'Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England by T. C Banks, London, 
1807, Vol. I, page 165. Also see Baronage of England in Saxon Time to 
Norman Conquest by Wm. Dugdale, London, 1675, Tome 1. Bnlwer Lytton 
says in "The Last of the Barons"— "Middleham Castle was built by Robert 
Fitz Ranulph, grandson of Ribald, younger brother of the Earl of Bretagne 
and Richmond, nephew to the Conaueror." The novelist here follows (in 
remd to the Kinship of Alan to William) the lines of Dugdale and Banks, 
differing somewhat from Gale's carefully drawn genealoji;ical statements. 
The writer of this book brings forward the opinion entertained by Dugdale, 
Banks and Bulwer in exhibiting the quaint picture from Drake's Eboracum, 
but he inclines to Gale's opinion as probably more accurate. 

30 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Robert Fitz Randolph built the Castle of Middleham, 
A.D. 1 190. His wife was Helewisa de Glanville. 

Their son Randolph* Fitz Randolph (sometimes called 
Ralph Fitz Robert) married Margery, the daughter of 
Robert Bigot, the Ehike of Norfolk. This was an im- 
portant alliance. Roger Bigot (or Bigod) was Con- 
stable of Norwich Castle, one of the founders of Nor- 
wich Cathedral, and one of the first great leaders to pro- 
test against absolute Papal domination in England. His 
seal and that of his son are found on the exemplification 
of Magna Charta, which he was largely instrumental in 
obtaining for the English people from King John; and 
both he and his son were numbered among the twenty- 
five barons who then controlled the sovereignty of 
England. 

The son of Randolph and Margery was Ralph (or 
Randolph) Fitz Randolph who married Anastasia, daugh- 
ter of William, Lord Percy,t and died about 1269. 

Their daughter, Mary Fitz Randoph, married (about 
1260) Robert Neville, Lord of Raby, lineally descended 
from Uchtred, the great Saxon Earl of Northumberland 



'Randolph, or Ranulphus. or Ralph. He and others of this name are 
mentioned in various recoras and histories, sometimes under one style and 
again under another. As Henry and Harry and Hal are substantially one 
name, so are the various forms of the name Randolph, and they are so 
used in this book, the writer more frequently using the name Randolph as 
the admitted solvent and equivalent of others. In Gale's Latin "Kegis- 
trum,'* on which great reliance is placed, the forms used in the records of 
the Fitz Randolphs, Nevilles and Westmorelands are Ranulphus and 
Radulphus. 

tThe Fitz Randolph blood has received a double injection of the blood 
of the great Percy family. Earls of Northumberland and Worcester. We 
have here the fact that the mother of Mary Fitz Randolph of Middleham 
was a Percy, and we shall see later that her great grandson joined in wed- 
lock with one of this illustrious family. These two lines ox kinship were 
much united in fortune and in feeling. Thev fought and fell together at 
Towton in the fifteenth century, and in the sixteenth they together essayed 
— ^bravely though fruitlessly — to withstand Tudor aggression. 

31 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

and his wife, Elfgiva, daughter of King Ethelred II. 
Robert Neville died in 1271. His wife died in 1320. 

Their only son was Ralph (or Randolph) the first 
Lord Neville, who was summoned to the House of Lords 
by Edward I in the famous Parliament of Lincoln called 
in the year 1301. He died in the fifth year of Edward 
HI, that is A.D. 1332. His first wife was Euphemia, 
daughter of John Qavering. Their only child, Robert, 
died childless in 1318. His first wife having died also, 
he married Margery, daughter of Marmaduke Thweng, 
and they had one son, Ralph or Randolph, who was the 
hero of the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346. This Ran- 
dolph enlarged the Castle of Middleham in 1400. He 
died in the forty-first year of Edward III, that is A.D. 
1368. His wife was Alicia, daughter of Hugo de Au- 
dley, and their only son was John (de Neville) who par- 
ticipated with his father in the glory and the gain of 
Neville's Cross, conducting the negotiation by which the 
Scottish King David, captured at that battle, was ran- 
somed for a large sum. John married for his first wife 
Mathilde de Percy,* and for his second wife Elizabeth 
daughter and heir of Lord Latimer, of Danby. He died 
A.D. 1389. The posterity of the second wife's children 
appears to have come to an end in the next generation. By 
the first wife John had a son, Randolph, who was by 
Richard II in the year 1397 created Earl of Westmore- 
land. Randolph of Westmoreland was a vigorous, able 
man who lived until the year 1435. He had two wives 

*Here the blood of the Percies, Dukes of Northumberland and of 
Worcester again mingles with the Fitz Randolph blood — continuing so to 
do through subsequent generations and until our day. The father of 
Matilda (a descendant of William. Lord Percy, namely Lord Henry Percy) 
defended and protected John Wycliffe against the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

32 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

by whom he had about an even score of children, nearly 
all of whom became titled and powerful. His large es- 
tates were principally divided between the eldest son by 
the first marriage (who, of course, became Earl of West- 
moreland) and the eldest son by the second marriage, 
who became the great Earl of Salisbury and Warwick 
(whose more famous son, the Earl of Warwick, was 
known as "Warwick the King-maker"), having the York- 
shire estates of Middleham and Sheriff-Hutton. 

The first of the two wives of Ralph or Randolph de 
Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, was Margaret, Lady 
Stafford, a descendant of King Edward I, and the second 
wife was Joan of Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, 
who was a son of Edward III. 

For the moment we defer specific attention to the line 
descending from Randolph, Duke of Westmoreland, by 
his first wife. Lady Stafford, and proceed with the nota- 
ble line of descent from Randolph and his second wife, 
Joan of Beaufort. By this wife he had amongst other 
children, a daughter named Cicely, who was called "The 
Rose of Raby,"* who married Richard Plantagenet, Duke 
of York, who was slain at the battle of Wakefield in 1460. 

In view of the fact that the line of Nevil, or Westmore- 
land, enters so largely into the warp and woof of this 
narrative, we interrupt here the genealogical details 
above commenced to insert a few lines from the 283d and 
284th pages of the second volume of Hume's History of 
England touching the character and record of Richard 



•Pritchctt remarks, "Nearly every royal family in Europe can trace its 
descent from the same noble and beautiful lady, called 'The Rose of Raby.' " 



35 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Rantagenet and the circumstances of his alliance with 
the Nevil* family : 

"Richard was a man of valor and abilities, of a pru- 
dent conduct and mild disposition : he enjoyed an oppor- 
tunity of displaying these virtues in the government of 
France ; and though recalled from that command by the 
intrigues and superior interest of the Duke of Somerset, 
he had been sent to suppress a rebellion in Ireland, had 
succeeded much better in that enterprise than his rival in 
the defence of Normandy, and had even been able to 
attach to his person and family the whole Irish nation 
whom he was sent to subdue. In the right of his father 
he bore the rank first of prince of the blood; and by this 
station he gave lustre to his title derived from the family 
of Mortimer, which, though of great nobility, was 
equalled by other families in the kingdom, and had been 
eclipsed by the royal descent of the house of Lancaster. 
He possessed an immense fortune from the union of so 
many successions, those of Cambridge and York on the 
one hand, and those of Mortimer on the other; which last 
inheritance had before been augmented by a union of the 
estates of Qarence and Ulster with the patrimonial pos- 
sessions of the family of March. The alliances, too, of 
Richard, by his marrying the daughter of Ralph NevU, 
Earl of Westmoreland, had widely extended his interest 
among the nobility, and had procured him many con- 
nections in that formidable order, 

"The family of Nevil was, perhaps, at this time the most 
potent, both from their opulent possessions and from the 



*We here follow Hume's spelling of the name Nevil. Other historians 
spell it Nevile, or more generally, Neville. 

34 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

characters of the men, that has appeared in England. 
For, besides the Earl of Westmoreland and the Lords 
Latimer, Fauconberg, and Abergavenny, the Earls of 
Salisbury and Warwick were of that family, and were 
of themselves, on many accounts, the greatest noblemen 
of the kingdom. The Earl of Salisbury, brother-in-law 
to the Duke of York, was the eldest son, by a second 
marriage, of the Earl of Westmoreland, and inherited 
(by his wife, daughter and heir of Montacute, Earl of 
Salisbury, killed before Orleans) the possessions and title 
of that great family. His eldest son, Richard, had mar- 
ried Anne, the daughter and heir of Beauchamp, Earl of 
Warwick, who died Governor of France ; and by this alli- 
ance he enjoyed the possessions, and had acquired the 
title of that other family, one of the most opulent, most 
ancient, and most illustrious in England. The personal 
qualities also of these two earls, especially of Warwick, 
enhanced the splendor of their nobility and increased 
their influence over the people. This latter nobleman, 
commonly known, from the subsequent events, by the 
appellation of the King-maker, had distinguished himself 
by his gallantry in the field, by the hospitality of his table, 
by the magnificence, and still more by the generosity, of 
his expense, and by the spirited and bold manner which 
attended him in all his actions. The undesigning frank- 
ness and openness of his character rendered his conquests 
over men's aflfections the more certain and infallible ; his 
presents were regarded as sure testimonies of esteem and 
friendship, and his professions as the overflowings of his 
genuine sentiments. No less than thirty thousand per- 
sons are said to have daily lived at his board in the dif- 

35 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

ferent manors and castles which he possessed in England; 
the military men, allured by his munificence and hospi- 
tality, as well as by his bravery, were zealously attached 
to his interests; the people in general bore him an un- 
limited affection; his numerous retainers were more de- 
voted to his will than to the prince or to the laws ; and he 
was the greatest, as well as the last, of those mighty 
barons who formerly overawed the crown and rendered 
the people incapable of any regular system of civil gov- 
ernment." 

Richard and Cicely had six children, namely. King 
Edward IV; Edmund, Earl of Rutland (who, with his 
father was slain at Wakefield) ; George, Duke of Clarence 
(who married Isabelle Neville, daughter of Warwick, the 
King-maker) ; King Richard III (who married his cousin, 
Ann Neville, second daughter of the great Warwick) ; 
Elizabeth (who married John de la Pole, Duke of Suf- 
folk) ; and Margaret who married Charles, Duke of Bur- 
gundy. 

The first of the above six children, Edward IV, had 
four children, namely: Edward V; Richard, Duke of 
York; Elizabeth (who married Henry VII) ; and Cath- 
erine, who married Sir William Courtenay. 

Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth, just mentioned, had 
(in the male line) Henry VIII, who had (by his wives 
Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour) 
children named Mary and Elizabeth and Edward, who all 
reigned and died without issue. Henry VII and his wife 
Elizabeth also had daughters, Margaret and Mary. 
Mary's granddaughter. Lady Jane Grey, was beheaded in 
1554. Margaret married for her first husband James IV, 

36 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

King of Scots, and for her second husband, Archibald 
Douglas, Earl of Angus. The son of James IV was 
James V, whose daughter was Mary Stuart, Queen of 
Scots. The daughter of Margaret and Archibald Doug- 
las was Margaret Douglas, who married Matthew Stuart, 
Earl of Lenox. Their first child was Henry Stuart, Lord 
Damly, who married Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of 
James V, as above, and their son was James I of Eng- 
land, who was also James VI of Scotland. 

James I of England was the father of Charles I (bom 
1600, beheaded 1649, married Henrietta of France) and 
of Elizabeth (bom 1596, died 1662), whose husband was 
Frederick, Elector of Palatine. 

Charles I was the father of Charles II, and also of 
James II and of Mary, who married William, Prince of 
Ocange. Mary and William were the parents of William 
III, who married his cousin Mary, — ^first daughter of 
James II and his first wife, Ann Hyde. 

Elizabeth, daughter of James I, had a daughter Sophia, 
who married Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover. 
Their son was George I, King of England (born 1660, 
died 1727), who married Sophia Dorothea Zell. 

Their son was George II (bora 1683, died 1760), who 
married Caroline of Brandenburg-Anspach. Their son 
was Frederick, Prince of Wales, born 1707, died 1751. 
His son was George III, bom 1738, died 1820, married 
Charlotte, of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. 

George and Charlotte had four children: George IV, 
William IV, Edward, Duke of Kent, and Emest Augus- 
tus, King of Hanover. The line of English royalty has 
descended through Edward, Duke of Kent, and through 

37 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Victoria, who was born in 1819, and who married Prince 
Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Thus Edward VII, 
now King of England (son of Victoria), and all the 
English sovereigns reigning before him from Edward IV 
downward (excepting only Henry VII), have carried in 
their veins the blood of the Fitz Randolphs, all of them 
being descended from Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of 
Middleham. 

We have thus followed to some extent the descent of 
Ralph or Randolph (sometimes also called Ranulph), son 
of Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham. Later 
on we shall see that Robert had three sons, only one of 
whom was childless, and two of whom had long lines of 
descent, and that the family of one of these dwelt long at 
Spennithorne near Middleham. 

It has been seen that Ralph, or Randolph, son of 
Ribald and father of Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of 
Middleham, married Agatha, daughter of Robert de 
Bruis (or de Bruce). This last-named Robert was the 
first Robert de Bruce, father of the distinguished line of 
eight Robert Bruces, and it is not amiss here to quote the 
resume of this line as given in the Encyclopaedia Bri- 
tannica by Dr. Aeneas J. G. Mackay — ^this resume ending 
with King Robert, the hero and victor of Bannockbum. 

'The first Robert de Bruce, a follower of William the 
Conqueror, was rewarded by the gift of many manors, 
chiefly in Yorkshire, of which Skelton was the principal. 
His son, the second Robert, received from David I, his 
comrade at the court of Henry I, a grant of the Lordship 
of Annandale ; and his grandson, the third Robert, siding 
with David against Stephen at the battle of The Stand- 

38 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

ard/ became a Scottish instead of an English baron. 
The fourth Robert married Isobel, natural daughter of 
William the Lion, and their son, the fifth Robert, married 

mm 




Drawing from Page 99 of Appendix of "Honoris de Richmond," 
Representing the Seal op the First Robert Bruce 



Isabella, second daughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
niece of the same Scottish king." 

"Robert, called The Bruce (1274-1329), King of Scot- 
land, was the son of the seventh Robert de Bruce, Lord 
of Annandale in his own right, and Earl of Carrick in 

39 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

right of his wife Marjery. . . . His grandfather, the 
sixth Robert de Bruce, claimed the crown of Scotland as 
son of Isabella, second daughter of David, Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon ; but Baliol, grandson of Margaret, eldest daugh- 
ter, was preferred." 

At Bannockbum, June 24, 1314, Bruce routed the army 
of Edward II, secured the independence of Scotland and 
cc^^rmed his own title to the throne. 

*i'he chief author of Scottish independence [King 
Rol>irt, the Bruce] barely survived his work. His last 
years had been spent chiefly at the Castle of Cardross; 
. . . and the conduct of war, as well as the negotiations 
for peace, had been left to the young leaders, Randolph 
and Douglas, whose training was one of Bruce's services 
to his country." 

It will be seen that Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of 
Middleham, was grandson to the renowned head of the 
Bruce family, and that, not only in the veins of the British 
royal family, but also in the veins of the Fitz Randolphs 
of New Jersey (descendants of Robert Fitz Randolph of 
Middleham) still flows the blood of the Bruces. 



40 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER III 

The Family at Middleham and at Spennith<'4J/e. 

The Kinship to Ravensworth and the 

Friendship to Wycliffe 

It is proposed to trace the detailed record of the Eng- 
liidi Fitz Randolph family, which removed to the New 
World about the year 1630, and to dwell somewhat on 
c^tain pivotal facts which occurred in Nottinghamshire 
Bboat a hundred years earlier than tiie Pilgrimage. I am 
informed that an American gentleman, who has spent 
much effort in tracing the history of this Fitz Randolph 
family, of which he himself is a member, has ascertained 
to his own complete satisfaction that the American and 
Nottinghamshire line came down directly and distinctly 
from Lord Robert Fitz Randolph, the builder of the 
Castle of Middleham. I have not had access to his doc- 
uments, or proofs; but in pursuing an independent and 
somewhat painstakmg line of research I have been irre- 
iHstibly led to a like conclusion. As to the reasonableness 
of this conclusion the reader i^ invited to judge. 

Our American forebears, adopting cordially the broad 
doctrine of human equality, have made small insistence 
on descent from noble families — whose claims and views 
would have disallowed the democratic faith of their pos- 

41 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

terity. Moreover, the conditions of life into which the 
Pilgrim of the seventeenth century came were hard and 
engrossing. He and those who came after him for a cen- 
tury or more took scant interest in recurring to themes 
no longer practical and hardly congenial. Yet through 
all this, and adown the Fitz Randolph generations, ran a 
sentiment and a tradition going back to Langton Hall 
and to the Castle of Middleham, and to the ancient lead- 
ers of Normandy and Brittany. Occasionally as public 
journalism progressed, a printed article would appear 
bearing along this tradition. It has been an agreeable 
diversion to the writer, after half a century of struggling 
with practical and imminent duties, to trace this tradition 
to its early sources. 

I am convinced that the family which lived in Notting- 
hamshire in the sixteenth century and in the early part 
of the seventeenth century, and which then emigrated to 
Massachusetts, and almost forty years later settled at Pis- 
cataway near the eastern coast of New Jersey, had its 
origin in* the kinship associated with the great Earl Alan 
and his brothers whom I have mentioned (sons of Eudo 
of Brittany), and may. in common with many great fam- 
ilies in Europe claim as their ancestor the redoubtable 
Lord of Middleham. ,.\ 

The possibilities of the precise lines of descent from 
Alan's brothers, sons of Eudo, at first appear somewhat 
various. The name Fitz Randolph, used every now and 
then as a family name for successive generations, appears 
amongst ancient writings and registers in various though 
not in many placeSjjknd always apparently derived from, 
and having reference to, this particular group. 

42 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Notable examples are found in the very important book 
published in London in the year 1722 by Roger Gale, and 
entitled Registrum Honoris de Richmond, The material 
of this book is chiefly Latin, with copious extracts from 
"Domesday," and with interesting historical notes in 
ancient (or Norman) French. Its "appendix" and "ob- 
servations," which comprise more than half of the splen- 
did volume of about four hundred pages, are of special 
value to us in these family researches. 

At page 247 we have an outline of descent of the 
Spennithome line of Fitz Randolphs extending through 
a period of upwards of three hundred years — Spenni- 
thome being on the other side of the river Yore from 
Middleham, and contiguous thereto, and for many gen- 
erations the seat of a division of this family. The outline 
here begins with "Robertus, Dominus de Middleham" 
who, as has already been noted, married Helewisa de 
Glanville (or Glenville) and had three sons. The oldest 
of these, Walrannus, died without issue, leaving to the 
second son, Ranulphus, the Lordship. His progeny mar- 
ried, as has been seen, into the powerful family of the 
Nevilles and later on carried along the proprietorship of 
the Castle of Middleham into the royal family of Eng- 
land. The third son was Radulphus; but, as Gale in- 
forms us, he is in the record always called Ranulphus. 
The line as sketched by Gale will be found on following 
page. 

This outline is interesting and suggestive to one bent 
on genealogical research, though it is confessedly incom- 
plete, not only as to marriages but also as to progeny — 
particularly between the periods of Edward II and Ed- 

43 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 



J 
S 



9 



«0 



& 




' 2aS o 



01 



2 

(A 

•c 

a 



§2 



-f 



coTJ 

-•§§ 
3& 






a 



a 

-l 



a 






A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

ward IV. For the most part Gale has apparently only 
here brought forward the names of the heirs of the family 
property, or first-bom sons. In this same valuable Regis- 
trum of Gale, under the heading — "Observationes in gen- 
ealogiam comitum Richemondiae" (page 247, Appendix), 
we find the following note: 

["P. 70. I. 5. Dominus Ranulphus filius Radulphi] 
Filius erat Ranulphus hie Radulphi, filii natu tertii Roberti 
Domini de Middleham & Helewisiae de Glanville, propa- 
trui Mariae Dominae de Middleham, quae maximam 
patrimonii partem secum marito suo Roberto de Neville 
advexit : Prius autem Radulphus filius Roberti terras has 
Subtus in Registro enumeratas a patre suo obtinuerat, 
quas & Ranulpho filio demisit. Sedem suam apud 
Spennythom fixerunt, unde & prosapia eorum locupleti 
satis haereditate donata, nomine Fitz Randolphorum de 
Spennythorn multis ibi inclaruit annis, donee tandem de- 
ficiente masculina prole, cum filiabus ad alios bona abier- 
unt." 

The following is a fairly careful rendering from the 
formal Latin to the English of our day : 

"Lord Ranulph Fitz Radulph — ^This Ranulph was the 
son of Radulph, third son of Robert, Lord of Middleham 
and of Helewisa de Glanville who [Radulph] was uncle 
of Mary, Countess of Middleham, who brought the larg- 
est part of her inheritance with her to her husband Rob- 
ert de Neville. Before this, moreover, Radulph, son of 
Robert, had obtained from his father the lands enumerated 
in the register, which he handed down to his son Ranulph. 
They fixed their seat at Spennithorne, from which, under 
the name of the Fitz Randolphs of Spennithorne, their 

45 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

family, endowed with an inheritance of considerable 
wealth, increased in importance there for many years, 
until finally, through the death of male heirs, the property 
went with the daughters to others." 

Taking another line of research, we find the following 
mention made (also in Gale's "Registrum") of Henry 
Fitz Randolph and of his son Hugh : 

"Henry Fitz Randolf cy desoulx estoit tres noble 
Baron, & morust en Ian de grace Mil c c LXII & del 
regne de Roy Henry tierce XLIX, & est ensevely a Jore- 
vaulx. Et Adam son frere est ensevely en la c)rmitere 
hors de Leglise illeoques." 

"Ycesti Hugh Fitz Henry, frere & heir de Randolf 
desoulx escript, qi Randolf morust sanz issue de son 
corps, succeda en leritage apres Randolf son frere, & 
morust a Berewik sur Tese Ian de grace Mil c c c iiii, le 
iiii Ides du Marce & du Regne le Roy Edward primier 
xxii tost apres la siege & gaigne del Chastel du Stryvelyn 
en Escoce & fuit ensevely a Rumald-kirk le xi kalendes 
Davril, par John Priour de Giseburgh & sa femme Al- 
brede morust a Hurworth sur Tese, & fuit a Jorevaux 
ensevely joust Monsire Henry Fitz Randolf pier du dit 
Hugh le viii kalendes de Fever Ian de grace Mil ccc ii." 

It will be noted that the ancient record is here found to 
have been kept in (old) French. This has for con- 
venience been rendered into English by the writer of this 
book, as follows : 

'TIenry Fitz Randolf here mentioned was a very noble 
lord and died in the year of grace 1262, and of the reign 
of King Henry III, the 49th, and is buried at Jervaulx 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Abbey. And Adam, his brother, is buried in the ceme- 
tery outside of the church there. 

'This Hugh Fitz Henry, brother and heir of Randolf 
here below written (which Randolph died without issue 
of his body), succeeded to the inheritance after Ran- 
dolph, his brother, and died at Berwick-on-Tees in the 
year of grace 1304 — ^the 4th of the Ides of March, and 
in the 22d year of the reign of King Edward the First, 
soon after the siege and capture of Sterling Castle in 
Scotland, and was buried at Romald-Kirk, the eleventh 
of the calends of April, by John, Prior of Guisborough, 
and his wife, Albreda, died at Hurworth-on-Tees, and 
was buried at Jervaulx, close to Monsire Henry Fitz 
Randolph, father of the said Hugh, on the 8th of the 
calends of February in the year of grace 1302." 

It is doubtless this Henry Fitz Randolph to whom the 
author of **Romantic Richmondshire" refers in writing 
of the fascinating remains of Jervaulx Abbey, five miles 
from Middleham — '*Here is a much mutilated effigy of 
a knight in link-mail, which, from the armorial bearings 
on the shield, has hitherto been regarded as a memorial 
to Henry, 4th Lord Fitz Hugh, who died in 1424. But 
from the character of the sculpture this is impossible. 
The monument is more than 100 years older than this 
date, and in all probability represents one of the Fitz 
Ranulphs, ancestors of the Fitz Hughs." The writer has 
seen this effigy and sorrowed over its exposure and ruin. 

We then further ascertain by a study of the material 
furnished in this interesting and valuable "Registrum" 
that the father of this Henry Fitz Randolph married 
Alice, daughter and heiress to Adam of Stanely, Baron, 

47 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

who was descended in a noble line, comprising half a 
dozen generations, from the great Dane, Cospatrick, 
mentioned as a brave and distinguished leader by Hume 
and Scott and other historians, and who was at one 
time an ally, but for the most part was an enemy of 
the great Conquering William of Normandy. In fliis 
same line of Cospatrick occurs now and then, aftiongst 
other Danish names, that of Rauf. In this line also (artd' 
near of kinship to Alice, who married Randolph, the 
father of Henry Fitz Randolph), was Adam of Thoresby, 
who married Sibille, "daughter of Monsiere Randolf 
Fitz Randolf of Spennithorne." Following down the 
line of Henry Fitz Randolph, we find that he had one 
son, Randolf, who died without issue, and one other son, 
Hugh, whose wife's name was Albreda. Their only son 
was Henry, who married Eve, the daughter of Monsiere 
Bulmer. Only one son of theirs is mentioned (also of 
the name of Henry), who married Joan, or Johanne, 
daughter and heiress of the Chevalier Richard Fourneux. 
They in turn had two sons, only one of whom appears to 
have married; he, too, marrying a "Joan or Johanne," 
daughter of "Monsiere Henry Le Scroope de Mashan." 
This, in the Registrum, appears to be one of the men- 
tionings of the great lordship of Scrope, whose participa- 
tion in the history of the northern English counties had 
become so important. A still earlier close alliance of 
these two great kinships (coming down from Eudo and 
his brave sons) is mentioned thus by the author of Ro- 
mantic Richmondshire — "In the reign of Edward I the 
Burton estate belonged to Sir Geoffrey le Scrope, tfie 
famous Chief Justice of Masham. The estate descended 

48 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

to Ralph Fitz Randolph of Spennithome by his marriage 
to Elizabeth, one of the three daughters, and co-heiress, 
of Thomas, Lord Scrope of Masham." 

This later Henry and Joan had also a son who died 
without issue, and still another Henry who survived and 
married Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Mar- 
mion and St. Quintin.* The children of Henry and 
Elizabeth were exceptionally numerous. Of these some 
died young. One appears to have been drowned in the 
river Humber. One, Rauf, went abroad and died in 
France; and it seems to be impossible to follow with 
certainty their various threads of descent (even Gale's 
lines concerning them are scanty and manifestly incom- 
plete) ; but among them was one William, who married 
Margie, daughter of the noble St. William of Willough- 
by, and these appear to have had several children, 
amongst whom was a later Henry. 

Richmondshire is full of pleasant and inviting b)rpaths 
— all having relation to the old Roman highway that ran 
through Middleham. And so the student of Fitz Ran- 
dolph genealogy can hardly avoid turning aside now and 
then into some enticing vale of thought or research 
closely allied with his own theme. In Speight's charm- 
ing book entitled "Romantic Richmondshire," in the 
chapter concerning Hipswell, he writes as follows : 

'^Proceeding from Colbum in the direction of Catterick 
Bridge you pass the site of another old-time hospital with 



, *The family of St. Quintin received its name from the capital of Picardy, 
France, and attended William the Conqueror on his invasion of Ensland. 
(Romantic Richmondshire, p. 167.) * ...... 

commanded by King Edward III 
12th Ed. 8d, p. 529). His effigy ' 



le Conqueror on nis invasion ot JELngiand. 
>7.) Among the knights whose aid was 
[ was Will St Quintin (Vida Rot. Scot., 
is in Hornby en., Yorkshire. 



49 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

chapel, which is said by Clarkson to have been founded 
by Henry Fitz Randolph, Lord of Ravensworth, in the 
time of Henry HI ; but as the arms of Marmion are on 
the hospital seal, it is not unlikely that some member of 
that family was the true founder." 

We have seen that a descendant of Lord Henry Fitz 
Randolph married Elizabeth, the sole heiress of the fam- 
ily of Marmion, and it is not unlikely that this is the solu- 
tion of the difficulty suggested by Mr. Speight. 

Immediately in the neighborhood indicated in the 
above quotation, at Hipswell, Yorkshire, and within a 
short distance of the frowning Keep of Richmond, was 
bom about the year 1320 the great reformer, John Wyc- 
liffe, whose lineage was also of the ancient family cele- 
brated by Scott in "Marmion." He it was who trans- 
lated the Bible into English about the year 1380, and 
whose preaching against the doctrine of transubstantia- 
tion and in favor of a simple religion, binding man to his 
Maker without need of priestly mediation or sacraments, 
struck the highest note of clear protest against the pre- 
latical rule of mediaeval times, and the one which really 
constituted the keynote of the progressive reformation 
that struggled toward success in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. 

In two other respects do the work and record of John 
Wycliffe find suitable mention in this historic outline, and 
these additional reasons for reference to the great Re- 
former consist in two friendships of his — the one with 
the brave and powerful John of Gaunt, whose blood and 
descent commingle through the following ages with those 

50 




Ancient Miniature Portrait 

OF 

JOHN WYCLIFFE. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

of the Fitz Randolph line, and the other friendship being 
that of the Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Fitz Ralph.* 

This Fitz Ralph, in some of the earlier records called 
St. Richard, was Primate of all Ireland. Reference is 
made to him in an interesting book first printed in folio 
in Exeter in 1701, — a copy of which has the publication 
date of 1810. The writer found in a library of Exeter 
(of the institution opposite the cathedral) a book called 
"Worthies of Devon," — ^the author being one John 
Prince, Vicar of Berry Pomeroy. He says that this Fitz 
Ralph was "called by some Richardus Radulphi."t The 
author goes on to say "I find the family of Fitz Ralffe to 
have flourished in these parts from the Norman Conquest 
down to the days of King Edward I. They anciently 
called themselves Ralph the son of Ralph — ^the same as 
Fitz Ralph." 

The author of this biographical sketch of the Arch- 
bishop goes on to narrate the circumstance of the educa- 
tion of his hero at Oxford, and the conduct of a campaign 
by him of courageous opposition to the mendicant friars, 
and to set forth the persecution which resulted from these 
events. The Archbishop presented his argument before 



*A third friendship mig[ht also in this connection again be mentioned — 
namely, that which subsisted between John Wvcliffe and Lord Henry 
Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who protected Wycliffe when cited before 
the Archbishop at St. Paul's. A female descendant of this noble Earl 
married a descendant of the ancient Fitz Randolphs, namely the father of 
the first Earl of Westmoreland, and the Percy blooa came doubly down to 
the Fitz Randolphs of Tudor times and later. 

fRichard was a favorite name amongst the descendants of Akary Fitz 
Bardolph, as appears in Gale's elaborated lists. Wycliffe's instructor may 
easily nave been one of these, and thus related to the Lord of Ravens* 
worth. It seems highly probable that he descended from Bardolph, son of 
Eudo, who had a considerable familv, and who received large ])ropertie8 
from his brother Bodin, when the last-named went into monastic retire- 
ment at St. Mary's, York. 

51 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Pope Innocent VI, but, as the author says, "he found the 
proverb true — 'reason does not always rule the roast/ " 
We learn from other sources that Wycliffe had per- 
sonally received in his youth the instruction of this 
Richard Fitz Ralph, or Fitz Randolph, Archbishop of 
Armagh, and had adopted, largely as a result of such 
instruction, the simple and intense faith which he held 
and preached, particularly as to the right of the individual 
soul to hold communion with its Maker, untrammeled by 
the interference of priest or friar. 



52 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER IV 

Sifting Names and Relationships, and Considering 
Norman Character — Its Religious Predilec- 
tions AND Its Noblest Production, 
George Washington 

The family lines in England, whose record we are en- 
deavoring to follow, is beset with fewer doubts because 
of the relative inf requency of the recurrence of the name. 
The name has never been of wide use in English life. In 
the United States there are to-day many more Randolphs 
and Fitz Randolphs than there ever were in England. 
Examination of authorities found in the Bodleian Library 
at Oxford shows that Randolph was once a distinguished 
name in that university town. It still attaches to a rep- 
utable hostelry of Oxford, by which it was adopted from 
respect to two highly educated gentlemen, one of whom 
was there a professor of Greek and of Divinity, and the 
other (his father) was president of a college. 

This family of Oxford distinction was for many gen- 
erations domiciled in Kent, and produced in England 
several men of learning and repute ; and it was from the 
same family that the Randolphs of Virginia became an 
offshoot in the seventeenth century. 

53 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

In the history of the old city of Chester the name ap- 
pears amongst the heroic leaders and rulers of that fa- 
mous burg. The name is found now and then in the lists 
of mayors of great cities (London, Nottingham and 
others), and also in the lists of bishops of some of the 
great cathedrals. Sometimes it is in the more ancient 
lists in the single form of Radulph, or Ranulph, or Ralph, 
and again it will be found associated with some surname, 
or with another name prefixed. In each case it appears 
to stand as an indication of a Norman or Norse lineage, 
and is more or less traceable to Scandinavian origin. 

The Fitz Randolphs are, in England, fewer than the 
Randolphs. Indeed, it is now scarcely possible to find 
there any representatives of the former name; and al- 
though it is probable that in the earlier centuries the re- 
lationship between them was a close one (all the original 
Randolphs and Fitz Randolphs being Normans or Norse- 
men), still the line, or lines, of Fitz Randolphs constitute 
a distinct subject and study, and the particular line of 
which this paper treats appears to have been continuous 
by itself in the Old World and the New for more than 
seven hundred years. 

It has been seen that in Yorkshire the descent of the 
Lord of Middleham and of the Lord of Ravensworth in- 
tertwined at certain points, and that both branches came 
down from the before-mentioned sons of Eudo. 

Mention is made by Dugdale and by Banks (in their 
books on the English baronages) of a certain Robert Fitz 
Randolph (or Robert Fitz Ranulph), who was Lord of 
Afreton, Norton, and Mamhan, in the time of King 
Henry II, and who was sheriff of the counties of Not- 

54 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

tingham and Derby of the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and half 
of the 1 6th year of that king's reign. 

The same character is mentioned also in Blackner's 
History of Nottingham; and Blackner, quoting from 
Thoroton, alludes to the 12th year of the reign of King 
Henry II, and also to the 15th year; "in both which 
years" the author writes, "Robert Fitz Ranulph was 
sheriff."* 

It is intimated by one of these early writers (the later 
seemingly quoting from the earlier, and without show of 
evidence) that this High Sheriff, Lord Robert Fitz Ran- 
dolph, was concerned with Lords Fitz-Urse, Tracy, 
Briton, and Morville, in the conspiracy which led to the 
death of Thomas a Becket. It is not charged that the 
High Sheriff actually participated in what these early 
writers called the "murther"; but they intimate that he 
filled the place which Saul filled at the stoning of Stephen 
— ^that he stood by and consented ; and they say he after- 
ward was obliged to pay certain religious penalties, or 
undergo certain penances, as a result of giving counte- 
nance to the death of a Becket. 



^Referring to Blackner's History of Nottingham, Appendix, page 44S, 
we find that the author quotes from Dr. Thoroton's historical description af 
the Forest of Shirewood, as follows: "When this forest of Shirewood was 
first made, I find not; the first mention of it I do find is in Henry the 
Second's time, but I conceive it a forest before, for William Peverell in 
the first year of Henry the Second (which is mistaken for the fifth year of 
King Stephen) doth answer de Pladtis Forestae in this county. It seems 
he had the whole profit and command of this forest for his estate, which 
after coming to the crown, the sheriff (8. H. 2.) in the account of his farm 
prays to be discharged of £4 in vasto Forestal; and in the tenth year of 
the same king's reign he prays the like discharge of £4 for the waste, as 
also allowance of £6 6s. paid to the constable, eight foresters, and a war- 
rener, and to the cannons of Shirewood for alms £40, which I conceive to 
be the prior and monks of Newstede, then newly founded by Henry II. In 
the next year the sheriff of the county, Randulphus filius Engalrami, an- 
swers de censu Forestae; and in the twelfth year, Robert de Catz, Lord of 
Laxton, a fermor, answers for it. £20, and (16. H. 2.) Reginaldus de Lud 
answers the like sum of £20 pro censu Forestae, in both which years 
Robert Fitz Ranulph was sheriff." 

55 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

The Fitz Randolphs were always intensely in earnest 
in whatever cause they espoused. The strain of con- 
troversy and antipathy between Henry II and Thomas a 
Becket was very intense and bitter. The nation was al- 
most torn apart in the course of the great issue then made 
between kingly and constitutional rule on the one hand 
and prelatical control on the other. 

At the basis of the character of the Scandinavian ad- 
venturers was a fearless aggressiveness. They were sel- 
dom content with the results of conquest, but were ever 
pressing on to further acquisitions. Humanitarianism in 
the broad sense, as we know and seek to cultivate it, was 
to them scarcely known. Mercy and kindness as personal 
duties were seldom in their thoughts ; yet they were not 
devoid of a certain moral principle and aim, and they 
appeared to believe that the world was to be reformed 
through their conquest and dominion. With the accept- 
ance of Christianity by the great Rolf, or Ralph, who 
became the first Duke of Normandy, a new element en- 
tered into the Norseman's mind and plan. It may not 
have included much of the gentleness and self-denial in- 
culcated by the Nazarene, but it served to broaden the 
mind and enlarge the purpose of the fierce Norseman. 
It assisted also in the development of a respect for order 
and for law, even though the law was of the adventurers' 
own making. It thus came about, by the fusion of these 
widely different elements in character, that the leaders of 
the North, having the force and courage to conquer, had 
also the ability to administer upon what they had con- 
quered. 

In an excellent article on the Normans by E. A. Free- 

56 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

man, we read: "If the Norman was a bom soldier, he 
was also a bom lawyer. Randolf Flambard, working 
together the detached feudal usages of earlier times into 
a compact and logical system of feudal law, was as char- 
acteristic a type of the people as any warrior in the Con- 
queror's following. He was the organizer of an endless 
official army, of an elaborate technical system of admin- 
istration, which had nothing like it in England before, but 
which grew up to perfection under Norman rulers. But 
nothing so well illustrates this formal side of the Norman 
character as the whole position of the Conqueror him- 
self. His claim to the crown of England is something 
without earlier precedent, something as far as possible 
removed from the open violence of aggressors who have 
no pretexts with which to disguise their aggression. It 
rested on a mass of legal assumptions and subtleties, fal- 
lacious indeed, but ingenious, and, as the result proved, 
effective. His whole system of government, his confisca- 
tions, his grants, all that he did, was a logical deduction 
from one or two legal principles, arbitrary certainly in 
their conception, but strictly carried out to their results."* 
Professor Freeman considers that this addiction to 
legal thought and process was chiefly inherited from the 



•In the able and scholarly work written by Henry Offley Wakeman, M.A., 
Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, entitled "The History of the Church 
of England from the Earliest Times/' at page 77, the author says, in writing 
of the period of Edward the Confessor, "No wonder that the eyes of Ed- 
ward were dazzled by the brilliancy of the Norman race. Ever since the 
days when Rolf the Northman had won his duchv of Normandy by the 
sword in 918, and secured it by his acceptance of Christianity, the Normans 
had played no small part in the world. Rapidlv assimilating French speech 
and French civilization, infusing French quickness and vivacity into the 
deep but imi>etuous current of the Northern character, bringing the fervid 
and imaginative religious spirit of Scandinavia under the orderly spirits of 
the Western church, the Normans claimed the leadership of the world in 
the eleventh century because they were best fitted to lead it." 

57 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Scandinavian forefathers ; but it seems quite as probable 
that this important influence which came in to qualify 
Norseman aggressiveness and lawlessness was due to the 
acceptance of such Christian principles as these brave 
and fierce men could grasp and appreciate. 

Certain it is that in singular unity with the savage de- 
sires and purposes of power was a recognition of a Divine 
power and of the duty of worship. Professor Freeman 
says: "The Norman, a strict observer of forms in all 
matters, attended to the forms of religion with special 
care. No people were more bountiful to ecclesiastical 
bodies on both sides of the Channel; the foundation of 
a Benedictine monastery in the eleventh century, of a Cis- 
tercian monastery in the twelfth, seemed almost a matter 
of course on the part of a Norman baron. The Con- 
queror, beyond doubt, sincerely aimed at being a religious 
reformer, both in his duchy and in his kingdom. . . . 
On the other hand, none were less inclined to submit to 
encroachments on the part of the ecclesiastical power, — 
the Conqueror himself least of all."* 

These kinsmen and lieutenants of the Conqueror, whose 
families and lines of descent enter into the subject of this 
book, bore a generous part in the establishment and en- 
dowment of religious enterprises and institutions. The 



*Hume considers that the lowest depression of human ignorance and 
degradation between the culmination of Roman civilization on the one hand 
and the'':i-eviyal of learning, which accompanied the introduction of the art 
of printing on .the other, was the point at which William the Norman began 
his wonderfuLjjcareer. On page 872 of the first volume of his history he 
writes "The period in which the people of Christendom were the lowest 
sunk in ignorapce, and cbnsequentlv in disorders of every kind, may justly 
be fixed at the eleventh : century, about the age of William the Conqueror, 
and from that < era th9.«un of science^ beginning to reascend, threw out 
many gleams of lights which preceded the full morning when letters were 
revived in the fifteenth century." 

58 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

earlier of the Fitz Randolphs were amongst the knights 
of the Crusades. All the sons of Eudo and those who in- 
herited from them were benefactors to the church and 
to the monasteries. St. Mary's Abbey at York, the Grey 
Friars at Richmond, and Jervaulx and Easby and Cover- 
ham Abbeys, and Thoralby and Spennithome churches 
and many other institutions of like character, received 
large gifts at their hands. 

The Abbey which was finally located at Coverham was 
originally founded at Swainby, Yorkshire, in 1190, by 
the wife of Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham, 
and it was in that same year that he began the erection of 
the Castle at Middleham. In 1215 the establishment was 
transferred to Coverham, and there continued until the 
Dissolution by Henry VIII, though it is said to have 
been meanwhile subject from time to time to Scottish 
depredations and injuries. 

At Coverham we find several effigies in stone of an 
interesting character. The author of "Romantic Rich- 
mondshire" writes of them as follows : "They are of the 
surcoat period, sculptured in crusading panoply of the 
time of Henry III to Edward II. They are much mu- 
tilated, but are worthy of the best care — ^two of them 
being probably the oldest sculptures of their kind extant 
in Yorkshire. There can, I think, be little doubt that 
one represents the powerful Ranulph Fitz Robert, who 
translated the monks of Swainby to Coverham in 1215. 
He was great-grandnephew of the Conqueror's kinsman 
Earl Alan, first Lord of Richmondshire after the Con- 
quest, and died in 121 5. He was interred with great 
pomp in the Chapter House at Coverham along with his 

59 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 




El^^FIGlKS, COVEKHAM AUHKY 



60 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

mother, whose remains had been brought hither from 
Swainby, where they had lain since her death in 1195. 
Another effigy (a mere torso— a ruthless destruction due 
perhaps to the Scottish raid on Coverham after Bannock- 
burn in 1314) may represent his son, Ralph Fitz Ranulph, 
founder, or co-founder, of the monastery of the Grey 
Friars at Richmond, who died in 1270, and whose heart 
was buried in the church of the Grey Friars and his 
bones at Coverham." 

Whellan's "History and Topography" sums up this 
record, and the conjecture concerning these effigies, as 
follows : "In the reign of Edward, the Confessor, Middle- 
ham was a manor belonging to Ghilpatric, a Dane. The 
Norman Conquest left it a waste, and in that condition it 
was when Allen, Earl of Brittany, who had a g^ant of 
Richmondshire from the Conqueror, gave it to his brother 
Ribald. This Ribald, the first Norman Lord of Middle- 
ham, gave to God and St. Mary at York, and the Abbot 
Gosfrid, in perpetual alms for the soul of Beatrix, his 
wife (daughter of Ivo de Tallabois by the Countess Lucy 
of Lincoln, the sister of Earl Morcar), and that of Earl 
Allen [Alan] five carucates* of land in Bumiston; and 
after the death of his wife he became a monk in the said 
Abbey of St. Mary. By his wife, Beatrix, he had a son 
Ralph, sumamed Faylbois; to him. Earl Stephen, his 
uncle (Lord of the honour of Richmond), by his Charter 
and the delivery of a Danish hatchet, confirmed Middle- 
ham, and all the lands which Ribald, his father, possessed 
at the time he became a monk. By his wife, Agatha, 
daughter of Robert de Brus of Skelton, he had a son, 

*About five hundred acres. 

61 



~\ 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Robert, surnamed Fitz-Ranulph or Fitz Randolph, to 
whom Conan, Earl of Richmond, gave the forest of 
Wensleydale, with common pasture. This Robert, in 
1 190, commenced the erection of the Castle of Middle- 
ham. After his death, his widow, Helewisa, daughter 
of the famous justiciary of Henry II, Ralph de Glanville,* 
by authority of a bull granted by Pope Qement II, 
founded a monastery of white canons at Swainby, near 
Pickhall. She died in 1195, and was buried at Swainby. 
Her son, Rahulph Fitz Robert, or Ranulpus, IjotA of 
Middleham, translated the monks of Swainby to Cover- 
ham, near Middleham, in 1214, and conferred on them 
the Church of Coverham and many lands and tenements. 
He also had the bones of his mother brought from 
Swainby and buried in the chapter house at Coverham. 
He died in 1251, and was buried at Coverham; and the 
more rigid of the effigies, still preserved there, is sup- 
posed to represent him. 

Ralph Fitz Randolph, his son, was the founder, or one 
of the founders, of the Friars Minor at Richmond. 



A rich and elegant figure at Coverham is conjectured 
to belong to him. By his wife, Anastasia, daughter of 
William, Lord Percy, he had a daughter and heiress, 
Maria, called "Mary of Middleham," who married Robert 



*The blood of the great de Glanville in the entire line of Fitz Randolphs, 
from the sons of Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham, and for fully 
seven centuries elapsing since this union, is deserving of more than a pass- 
ing notice. As d soldier, a jurist and a leader of men of mind and power, 
he possessed exceptionally high qualities. It was he, for example, who took 
prisoner the Scotch King William the Lion, at Alnwick in 1174, and thus 
for the first time Scotland and the Scottish church was brought under sub- 
jection to England. Encyc. Brit. XXI, 484. 

62 




COVERHAM ABBEY. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

de Neville, Lord of Raby (lineally descended in the pa- 
ternal line from Uchtred, the great Saxon Earl of North- 
umberland), but the union was of short duration. This 
lady is said to have been fair and gentle, founded a chan- 
try at Thoraldby, in 1316, for her own soul and those of 
her father and mother, and of Sir Robert de Neville, 
formerly her husband, and all their ancestors and heirs. 
She remained a widow nearly fifty years, dwelling on her 
own inheritance, and, dying in 1320, was buried in the 
choir at Coverham beside her husband." 

This whole region of Yorkshire, or, as this part of it 
is sometimes called, Richmondshire, is replete with asso- 
ciations of fascinating interest. Here was produced the 
family that gave birth to the famous poet and Biblical 
scholar. Miles Coverdale ;* the father of William Make- 
peace Thackeray was here trained for his life work, and 
it might almost be said that the foot-falls of George Fox 
and of John Wesley are still heard over the Yorkshire 
hills. In choosing one other name out of the many 
worthy of mention, I take the name most dear to Amer- 
ican hearts — ^that of Washington. "The village of York- 
shire now called Whashton, anciently spelt Whassyngton 
and also called Washington- Juxta-Ravensworth, has the 
distinction [says Speight] of having given name to the 
family which in the eighteenth century produced the cele- 

* Miles Coverdale was almoner to Queen Catherine Parr. Margaret 
Neville was a maid of honour at the marriage of her stepmother, CaUierine 
Parr, to Henry VIII in 1543. 

Speaking of Wensleydale alone Cm which is the Castle of Middleham) 
the Catholic historian Barker says ^'It is no mean boast for so secluded a 
valley to have produced a Queen of England, a Prince of Wales, a Cardinal 
Bishop, three other Archbishops, five Bishops, three Chancellors and two 
Chief Justices of England; not to mention the distinguished Abbots, Earls, 
Barons and Knights who were also natives." 

63 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

brated General George Washington, First President of 
the United States of America, who was descended from 
Leonard Washington of Warton, county of Lan- 
caster . . . whose son Laurence emigrated to America 
in 1659 ^^d settled in Virginia. Leonard's ancestor was 
Robert Washington, Lord of Milboume, county of West- 
moreland, of the time of Henry III, whose descent is 
traced by Harrison to Bonde, Lord of Washington-Juxta- 
Ravensworth, to whom his father, Akary fil Bardulf, 
Lord of Ravensworth, gave the manor of Washington in 
the time of King Stephen."* 

Two facts of some interest here appear: one is that 
Robert Washington, Lord of Milboume, Westmoreland, 
and Henry Fitz Randolph, Lord of Ravensworth, were 
cotemporaries of the period of Henry HI ; the other fact 
is that they were both descended from one member (Bar- 
dolf ) of the already mentioned band of brothers, sons 
of Eudo, connections of William the Conqueror; and 
to him reference has already been made as the ancestor 
of Lord Henry Fitz Randolph; and it also appears that 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Henry Fitz 
Randolph and his descendants held the same lordship of 
Ravensworth, which had been held in the twelfth cen- 
tury by his progenitor who was also the progenitor of 
Washington, namely, Akary, the son of Bardulf — or 
Bardulph, or Bardolf. 



*Gale brings forward the crude land-record, of the time of King Henry 
III, thus "Quassyngton : Sunt ibi 4 caruc. terrae, quarum Ranulphus 
filius Henrici tenet 2 & Rogerus tenet alias 2 de Hugone filio Henrici, and 
Hugo de Comite. & Comes de Rege." 

''Canic" is abbreviation for carucate — as much land as could be culti- 
vated by one plow, usuall^r a hundred acres: thus **i caruc. "=400 acres 
approximately. The quantity varied according to soil and husbandry. 

64 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER V 

MiDDLEHAM CaSTLE AND SOME OF ItS OcCUPANTS 

The localities just named (namely, the home of the 
Fitz Randolphs, descended from Bardulf, and the birth- 
place of the reformer, Wycliffe) are within an easy 
morning walk of Middleham in Yorkshire, where still 
stands the magnificent ruin of the castle built more than 
seven centuries ago by Lord Robert Fitz Randolph, the 
grandson of Ribald, who was the brother of Bardulf and 
of Alan. 

This castle was built somewhat later than the reign 
of King Stephen (whose mother, Adela, was a daughter 
of William the Conqueror, as was also Constantia the 
wife of Alan) ;* but the rage for building castles by the 
nobility was well under way during King Stephen's reign. 
In order to conciliate the barons who remained true to 
him in his numerous and desperate quarrels with various 
parties and powers, Stephen allowed them to build castles 
—each of which became a center of power, and sometimes 
of tyranny. Hundreds of castles were built during his 
reign and the reigns of the earliest Henrys. Many of 

*Soine historiane say of Alan Rufus. first Earl of Richmond: — others say 
of Alan Fergant, son of Hocl. Gale nolds to the latter opinion. 

6s 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

these have practically disappeared. A few have in later 
days been converted into baronial residences, and many 
more fell into ruin in the course of feudal wars and of the 
consolidation of kingly power. Still others were ren- 
dered untenable during the brief but strenuous period of 
the Cromwelliad. To this last destructive potency is at- 
tributed the present condition of Middleham Castle, 
though the circumstances attending its partial demolition 
are but vaguely known. The Castle was, however, of 
such huge bulk and immense original strength and stout- 
ness as to resist all efforts to destroy it utterly. It is, 
therefore, still, now, even in its existing condition of 
ruin, one of the most prominent and most interesting 
exemplifications of mediaeval castle-building. 

"As a specimen of Architecture, Middleham Castle is 
a unique but not a happy work," says Whitaker. "The 
Norman keep, the fortress of the first Lords, not being 
sufficient for the vast trains and princely habits of the 
Nevilles, was enclosed, at no long period before Leland's 
time, by a complete quadrangle, which almost entirely 
darkened what was dark enough before; and the first 
structure now stands completely isolated in the center 
of a later work of no very ample dimensions within, and 
nearly as high as itself, I must, however, suppose that 
the original keep was surrounded by a bailey occupying 
nearly the space of the present quadrangular work. 

"Within the original building are the remains of a 
magnificent hall and chapel; but it might be difficult to 
pronounce whether the first or the second work consists 
of the more massive and indissoluble grout-work, 

"The ruins of this once magnificent castle are exten- 

66 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



itxin 




^-go-aissr 



dANorMlDDUHAM OSTLC YORKSHIRE h%n NoW EXISTS , 



Tit t r f 



67 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

sive and interesting. The best view of them is from the 
southwest. Most of the walls are still of great height. 
The large gateway on the north side is quite perfect, and 
consists of a circular arch constructed under a pointed 
one, similar to those of the gateway of Easby Abbey. 

"The chapel may be distinctly traced ; but broken frag- 
ments of the walls and rubbish have accumulated from 
the height of from six to ten feet above the original 
floors, A few years ago, a portion of the moat remained 
on the south side of the castle." 

Various writers have held it as strongly probable that 
William the Conqueror from time to time visited Middle- 
ham. Such visits, however, must have been made more 
than a century prior to the commencement of the castle 
by Robert Fitz Randolph. It is also said that Ribald, 
the grandfather of Robert the Castle-builder, spent much 
time here and hereabouts. He certainly was Lord of 
Middleham. It remained, however, for a later age and 
for those who followed these notable personages to 
render most famous this center of ducal power and am- 
bition. 

A little more than fifty years ago, Mr. W. G. M. Jones 
Barker, a writer of merit, and a devout Catholic, wrote 
a History of Wensleydale, in which he summarizes thus 
a part of the history we are considering : 

"William had bestowed the domains of murdered Ed- 
win, Saxon Earl of Mercia, of which Wensleydale 
formed part, on his follower and relative Alan Rufus, 
First Earl of Richmond, who shortly after began to build 
the castle at that place. Alan gave the manor of Middle- 



68 




u 
S 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

ham to his brother Ribald* who, probably, resided there ; 
and he, after the death of his wife, Beatrix, became a 
monk of St. Mary's at York. He appears to have been 
liberal to the church. To his grandson, Robert, Conan, 
Earl of Richmond, granted the Forest of Wensleydale 
with common pasture; and this Robert, in 1 190, began 
the Castle of Middleham. The family in likelihood pre- 
viously resided in Ghilpatric Fortress." 

It will be understood that this Fortress of Ghilpatric 
was on an eminence just above the site chosen for the 
Castle of Middleham. 

King Richard III, himself a descendant of Robert Fitz 
Randolph, married his cousin Anne (also a descendant 
of the same great baron), and occupied the castle at 
Middleham; and his only son, Edward, was born there 
in 1473 and died there in 1484. Barker says : — "Richard 
III possessed Middleham Castle, and that fortress was 
held by him when he fell at Bosworth Field, August 22, 
1485. It passed with Richard's other possessions to 
Henry VIL" 

Speight says: "The fiery Duke of Gloucester, after- 
wards Richard III,t having married Warwick's daughter, 
the Lady Anne Neville, whom his falchion had made a 
widow, J was glad to escape from Pontef ract to the 'home 



•The entry in the Conqueror's book of "Domesday," compiled by Ran- 
dolph Flambard. is as follows: "In Medelai ad Geld. 6 Caruc. & 8 Caruc. 
possunt esse. Ibi habuit Ghilpatrik Manerium: nunc habet Ribald & vas- 
turn est" Medelai was the name given to Middleham bv the Romans. It 
was a central point, or crossways of importance, in the d.ays of the Roman 
occupation of Britain. 

*See Halsted's Richard III, Vol. I, page 298; Shakespeare's King Richard 

tHer sister Isabel was the wife of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of 
Edward IV and Richard III. Anne's first husband was Edward, Prince of 
Wales, son of Henry VI. He was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. 

69 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

of his domestic affections' at Middleham, which had been 
the inheritance of his wife. He was probably sojourning 
at the castle when the news reached him of the death of 
his brother, Edward IV, in April, 1483. On the 6th of 
July following he was crowned at Westminster. It was 
in an apartment since called the 'Prince's Chamber,' in 
the round tower at the southwest angle of the castle at 
Middleham, that Edward, Prince of Wales, the much- 
loved son of Richard III, was born. Tradition says that 
the little lad, in whom his father had centered all his 
fondest hopes, met with an inexplicably suspicious death 
at Middleham in the spring of 1484. His father and 
mother were then staying at Nottingham, and when the 
sad news was conveyed to them, it is said they gave way 
to the wildest fits of despair. The king would not be 
comforted, and the queen-mother completely broke down 
under the sudden and crushing sorrow. They lost no time 
in repairing to Middleham to gaze on the 'cold, dear 
face of their only loved son, at sight of which, old Croy- 
don, the historian, tells us, 'you might have seen the 
father and mother in a state bordering on madness.' The 
mother never recovered, and died, it is said, of grief, 
within twelve months of her son, at the early age of 
thirty-one." 

Barker quotes the following details from an older 
writer — Leland: "Middleham Castel joyneth harde to the 
town side, and is the fairest castel of Richmondshire, 
next Bolton, and the castel hath a parke by it, called 
Sonske, and another caulied West Parke, and Gaunless 
(Wanlass) be well woddid. Middleham is a praty 



70 




w 

H 



A STORY OF A T HOUSAND YEARS 

market toune, and standeth on a rokky hill, on the top 
whereof is the castel, meatly well diked." 

"All the utter parte of the castelle was of the very new 
setting of the Lord Nevile, called Darabi;* the inner 
part of Middleham Castel was of the ancient building of 
the Fitz Randolph." 

"There be four or five parks about Middleham, and 
longing to it, whereof some be reasonably woodyed."t 

Meantime, between the days of Robert Fitz Randolph 
and the accession to the crown of his descendant Richard 
III, Middleham Castle saw much of the stir of feudal life 
and conflict. Of some part of this, the story is told in 
Bulwer Lytton's novel, "The Last of the Barons." A 
central point of interest in this fascinating novel is the 
Fitz Randolph Castle, a home of the Earl of Warwick, 
whom the novelist calls "The Last of the Barons." 

The author of "Romantic Richmondshire," again 
writing of this castle, says : "The Keep is the oldest por- 
tion of the building and was of the foundation of Fitz 
Randolphs about the end of the twelfth century. The 

*The antiouarian Stowe calls Ralph Neville (the great Earl of West- 
moreland) "Dan Raby Nevel." Holiinshed calls him "Dauraby." Leland 
(as above) calls him Darabi. "Dan" (still farther abbreviated to "Dn") 
was the common rendering of Dominus (Lord) equivalent to the Spanish 
Don. Longstaffe in his work entitled "Richmondshire, its ancient Lords 
and Edifices" suggests that "Daw" may have been ''the diminutive of 
Ralph or Randolf/^ 

tit is hard at first to believe that the antiquary John Leland, or Leyland, 
or Laylonde (for, like some of the Fitz Randolphs, he appears to have kept 
on hand a choice assortment of names of his own family) wrote the best 
English of the time of Henry VIII. He was a scholar ana linguist, having 
been educated at Oxford under the famous grammarian Lily and having 
travelled much on the continent as well as in England. Even Queen Eliz- 
abeth spoke better Latin than English; and whilst Oliver Cromwell's acts 
were prompt and well aim^d, his Enjslish words were involved and slow. 
Can we wonder — knowing this — ^that if to-day one wishes to read land deeds 
of the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in England he must pore over 
Norman-French documents; and if one aspires to be historian or geneal- 
ogist and learn of the deeds of men or weir descent, he must translate 
records kept by the English fathers in Latin. 

71 



PITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

exterior parts of the castle are fourteenth-century work 
built by the Nevilles — ^the whole forming a grand paral- 
lelogram 2IO feet by i8o feet, flanked by a tower at each 
angle. It was encompassed by a broad and deep moat 
fed by natural springs, and portions of this remained tol- 
erably perfect up to about 1830, when the space was 
filled up. The gateway of the castle on the north side is 
almost perfect. The large banqueting hall and the chapel 
also remain interesting features. The tenacity of the 
mortar is something to remark upon." 

It was in this castle that the great Earl of Warwick 
(descended from the Fitz Randolphs of Middleham and 
grandson of Ralph, or Randolph, first Earl of Westmore- 
land), known as "The King-maker," held high carnival 
and fed an army of fighting retainers. Of him and his 
entertainments here, as well as in London, Barker quotes 
from an old authority : — "Six oxen were eaten at a break- 
fast and every tavern was filled of his meet, for he that 
had any acquaintance in that house, he should have as 
much sodden and roast as he might carry upon a long 
dagger."* 

Such was the lavish hospitality of the Lords of Middle- 
ham of five hundred years ago. In those days of the 
historic Earl of Warwick ("the last of the feudal barons, 
a master in camp and in court, the setter-up and plucker- 



*Some of Warwick's close kinship displayed equally great liberali^ and 
extrava^nce. The details of the Installation Feast of George Neville 
(Warwick's brother) as Archbishop of York are given by Froude. These 
festal provisions include eighty oxen, six wild bulls, a thousand sheep, three 
hundred hogs and as many calves, four hundred head of venison, three 
thousand geese, twenty-three hundred capons, vast flocks of peacocks, 
pigeons, cranes, partridges, pheasants, woodcocks, plovers, curlews and 
quails, with custards, tarts and pasties ad lib., and of ale three hundred 
tuns and of wine one hundred and four tuns. — ^Froude Hist of Eng., Vol. 
I, page 62. 

72 



A STORY OP A THOUSAND YEARS 

down of kings") the Court of England, as Bulwer Lytton 
pertinently observes, was not Windsor, nor Shene, nor 
Westminster, nor the Tower, but it was Middleham in 
Yorkshire. 

The Fitz-Randolph Castle at Middleham was then the 
home and place of assemblage of mighty men and of 
dames of England's choicest beauty and of the flower of 
all her gallantry. 

Summing up a few particulars, we note here (at the 
risk of some repetition) that it was Mary Fitz Randolph 
Neville's great, great, great grandson (son of Ralph, or 
Randolph, First Earl of Westmoreland, and of his second 
wife, Joan Beaufort) who was Earl of Salisbury; and Sal- 
isbury's son by his wife, the heiress of Thomas de Monta- 
cute,* was Warwick, 'The King-maker." When Warwick 
died, the castle passed to Richard III, who, as has been 
seen, had married Warwick's daughter Anne. After 
Henry VII defeated Richard at the battle of Bosworth, 
Middleham reverted to the Tudor Crown. In 1647, dur- 
ing the time of the Commonwealth, it was dismantled. 
About the time of the Restoration of Charles II, it was 
sold to the City of London by the Crown. In 1662, 
Edward Wood, Esq., bought the castle, and in 1670 he 
came into possession of the entire manor. In 1889, the 
whole property was purchased by Samuel Cunliffe Lister, 
Esq., at a cost, as I am informed, of £50,000. On Mr. 
Lister was subsequently conferred the title of "Lord 
Masham," and about this time he gave utterance to a 
clever mot in a speech at a meeting of the Antiquarian 
Society. "For the second time in its history," said he, 

*Throug|i whom the Salisbury title and wealth descended. 

73 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

"the noble Castle of Middleham is in possession of The 
Last of the Barons." His son, the later Lord MasEam 
[pronounced Mas-ham, or Ma^^am] has shown consid- 
erate care to the venerable pile, supporting and protect- 
ing the old walls wherever necessary, and placing an 
honest and intelligent care-taker in charge. 

Mr. W. G. M. J. Barker, in his "Three Days in Wens- 
leydale," referring to the ruins of this fortress, says, 
"Altogether the castle, by historic recollections, is ren- 
dered one of the most interesting in the north of Eng- 
land. As we pace its deserted courts, or stand within 
its roofless walls, imagination may well recall the bygone. 
The trumpet sounds — ^the armor clashes. The gorgeous 
Edward* — the munificent Richard — fair Anne of War- 
wick — her duchess sister, Isabella of Clarence — ^and their 
stately sire — ^people these desolate rooms. Lady, Knight, 
Demoiselle and Demoiseau flit past us — ^brilliant pagean- 
try 1 Anon the scene changes. Night hovers over the 
castle. The young moon vainly struggles with the dim 
clouds — ^torches supply her place. There are guards and 
a prisoner — we hear the death-axe fall on the unhappy 
Falconbridge. We start from our day-dream — ^all are 
gone — feasters and sufferers, nobles and soldiers. We 
are standing in a banquet hall deserted, and the jackdaw's 

*£dward IV waa entertained at the Castle of Middleham by his cousin 
the brave Earl of Warwick. It is also generally believed that at one time 
Warwick held this king as a prisoner in the castle. Stowe asserts this and 
Shakespeare writes on similar lines in Henry VI, Third part. Act 4. ^ So 
accomplished a historical scholar as G. W. Prothero, M.A., Fellow of Kings 
College, Cambridge, writes. "Edward, whose troops were defeated at Edge- 
cote, fell into Warwick's hands and was removed to his castle at Middle- 
ham," Vide Encycl. Brit., XXIV, 882. Warwick's strenuous life was 
largely given to making and unmaking — ^by turns — Edward IV and Henry 
VI. Finally he went to his own undoinpr at the battle of Barnet on Easter 
Day, 1471. Bulwer describes young Richard's participation in that fight. 
A dozen years later this young Richard was king and himself in possession 
of the castle. 

74 




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A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

crow awakens the echoes instead of the trumpet's sound !" 
Dr. Whitaker says, "As it is, majestic in decay. Middle- 
ham Castle is, as an object, the noblest work of man in 
the county of Richmondshire. The views up and down 
Wensleydale from the windows of this castle are delight- 
ful and picturesque." 

The writer is tempted at this point to break in upon 
his own narrative and to venture to apologize for one 
who has perhaps in the course of history had too few 
apologists, and who appears to have been unconscionably 
maligned. King Richard III, of England, was an am- 
bitious man who lived in a cruel age. When he died 
bravely on Bosworth field his own particular line of 
princes failed. No one was left to speak for him, and 
his victorious enemy, Henry, Duke of Richmond, who 
became Henry VII, established a new dynasty, that of the 
Tudors, oiie of whose objects was to asperse and destroy 
the character of his predecessor and opponent. Friends 
of Richard were speedily cowed and silenced. By the 
Tudor historians and dramatists, Richard was repre- 
sented as a hump-backed monster. He never was this. 
Doubtless he was supremely and fiercely bent on accom- 
plishing his ends ; but he was not more vindictive or cruel 
than other princes. He forgave and restored Stanley, 
and Stanley ungratefully turned against him at the last 
moment in the decisive battle in which Richard fell.* 



'Retribution was not slow in falling upon Stanley. After he had placed 
on the head of the first Tudor king the crown of Richard III, which he 
claimed to find on Bosworth field, he was accused by Clifford of disloyalty. 
It was shown that he had made an indiscreet remark favorable to the pre- 
tender Perkin Warbeck. It was slender basis for action on Henry's part, 
but Stanley was rich and Henry was avaricious. Off went Staol^s head 
and into Henry's coffers went Stanley's wealth. — ^Hume II, 428. 

75 



PITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

The smothering of his brother's sons in the tower was 
never proved against Richard — though he may have been 
responsible for this crime. He was courageous, enter- 
prising and energetic, and was an earnest patron of learn- 
ing in a day when learning had not yet become popular, 
and when princes feared it. Even Bulwer, who follows 
Hume in denouncing this king, is compelled to own that 
Richard was a protector and promoter of learning.* He 
was also, according to his day and light, a patron of re- 
ligion. The seal of the church at Middleham (a copy of 
which lies before the writer as readopted in Richard's 
honor by the chapter, or deanery, so late as the year 
1742) shows that he established and patronized it as a 
Collegiate Oiurch. Barker says that tihe king's purpose 
to rebuild the church edifice at Middleham was frustrated 
by his death. He loved this church as he loved his wife 
and his son and his castle at Middleham and his York- 
shiremen ; and these Yorkshiremen believed in him abso- 
lutely — ^believed in his bravery, in his truth, and in his 
right and ability to govern, and were ever ready to follow 
him through any peril. Prothero says in effect that the 
story of Richard's deformity was derived from his ene- 
mies' malignity and from a misunderstanding of his name 
"Crouchback" ; and that, but for certain other qualities, 
his courage, energy and ability would have made him a 
g^eat and honored name. 

Bulwer pays a certain tribute to Richard's morality and 



* Bulwer writes in his "Last of the Barons," — referring to the "inven- 
tion" of printing, just coming into use in the latter part of the fifteenth 
century — ''Richard III during his brief reign spared no pains to circulate 
to the utmost the invention." Goldwin Smith says of Richard — "By a 
statute freely admitting books he marked the age and did credit to him- 
self."— Political Hist, Vol. I, p. 274. 

76 




Copy of Royal Gallery 

Portrait of 

RICHARD III. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

steadfastness, and to his peculiar and mysterious power, 
in the scene which he describes as taking place in Middle- 
ham Castle, in which he imagines the great Earl of War- 
wick in the course of conversation with his brother, the 
Archbishop, and as saying — whilst they stood looking at 
Richard conversing with the younger daughter of the 
mighty Earl — "He has his father's face ; but yet the boy 
is to me a riddle. That he will be bold in battle and wise 
in council I foresee ; but would he had more of a young 
man's follies! There is a medium between Edward's 
wantonness and Richard's sanctimony; and he who in the 
heyday of youth's blood scowls alike upon sparkling wine 
and smiling woman may hide in his heart darker and 
more sinful fancies. But fie on me! I will not wrong- 
fully mistrust his father's son !" 

The Royal Gallery portrait of Richard is far from 
being a representation of a brutish character. It is the 
portrait of a gentleman — of a character something like 
that of the sensitive and thoughtful Hamlet of Shakes- 
peare's play. Richard's life and example may not be on 
the whole one worthy of commendation to posterity, but 
he need not (to use a mediaeval word) be held up as a 
"scarebabe" ; and history should be fair even when written 
under such inspiration as that of Henry VH, whose mis- 
demeanors and meannesses and cruelties far outnumbered 
those of any son of Cicely, the Rose of Raby. 

Lack of space forbids dwelling upon the interesting 
old church of St. Akelda, at Middleham, in which the 
apparently severe and cruel Richard HI was so deeply in- 
terested, and in whose parish-house in later days the 
beloved Canon Kingsley lived and wrote. It was en- 

77 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

dowed with glebe lands by Rfalph Neville, great-grand- 
son of Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham. We 
have seen that Richard III constituted Middleham Church 
a collegiate church, and granted lands to endow it; but 
on his defeat and death at the battle of Bosworth, Henry 
VII seized the church lands as well as the castle; so, 
having nothing to lose at the time of the Reformation, 
the honorary Constitution was left untouched, and the 
clergy were called dean and sub-dean, and had so recently 
the power to confer honorary canonries that Charles 
Kingsley derived his first title of canon from this church ; 
and in his published life some beautiful letters are given, 
written by him from Middleham when he went to receive 
the dignity of canon. 



78 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER VI 

From Yorkshire to Nottinghamshire and Back, 
WITH A Short Study in Heraldry 

We have in the course of this book considered espe- 
cially three prominent characters of the Fitz Randolph 
name, men who sprung from the same original Norman 
stock: and any one of whom might have seemed to be 
the leading ancestor of the Fitz Randolphs of Notting- 
hamshire and of the United States. It may safely be 
added in view of the relative rarity of this Norman name, 
and of all facts and circumstances to be considered, that 
the line of descent could hardly have been outside of these 
three; and from this it would follow that upon the clear 
elimination of two of these, the line of descent must have 
been from the one remaining source. The first is Robert 
Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham ; the second is Robert 
Fitz Randolph, High Sheriff of Nottingham and Derby, 
and close friend of Henry II; and the third is Henry 
Fitz Randolph, Lord of Ravensworth. As to the second 
(Robert, the High Sheriff), we are repeatedly informed 
that his male line, proceeding with his son, William, 
ceased with his grandson, Thomas, the last Baron of Nor- 

79 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

ton, who died without issue, leaving his inheritance to his 
sisters. This is so stated in Nicholas' "Historic Peerage 
of England" and is re-asserted by Banks, Baxter and other 
authors, and remains uncontradicted. As to the third 
mentioned, the noble Lord of Ravensworth, we find that 
his lineage, chiefly if not exclusively, took the name of 
Fitz Hugh, with a coat-of-arms practically identical with 
that which the High Sheriff bore, and somewhat similar 
to that of the Fitz Randolphs of Middleham, but still dis- 
tinctly separate from the latter ;* and to this last fact we 
shall again refer. All these lived either in the time of the 
second or of the third King Henry. As to the first of this 
noble trio, Robert Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham, we 
have shown positively that his blood descended in the pos- 
terity of his third son through the thirteenth, fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries in the line of the Fitz Randolphs 
of Spennithorne, whose home was just beyond the river 
Ure, or Yore,f in sight of the original Fitz Randolph 
Castle at Middleham. Of this Spennithorne family the 
last father of a family of the name at that place was Ralph 
(or Randolph) Fitz Randolph, who lived in the latter half 
of the sixteenth century in the time of Edward VI, and 

*It will be remembered that Henry II was contemporary with Robert of 
Middleham, who. with his sons, were castle-builders and monastery-builders 
and church-builaers. The chevrons and chevronels, which came on certain 
coats of arms in the days of the Second and Third Henrys, were named 
from their resemblance to the main rafters or principals of a roof, a fa- 
miliar sight in early buildings. The Fitz Hughs, descended from Henry 
Fitz Randolph, Lord of Ravensworth, bore on their arms chevronels. 
Otherwise their shield (as well as that of the famous High Sheriff of Henry 
II) resembled that of the Fitz Randolphs of Spennithorne. 

It is not impossible that the "indent" of the "chief" (which is the top 
of the shield) is a modification of the chevronel. 

tThe Romans appear to have called the river Urus — as havins at times a 
fierceness and fuiy like that of a mad bull. The Saxons callea it Jore, or 
Yore. From it the city^ of York was named. "Jervaulx Abbey" presents 
an extreme of etymological transformation. It was the Abbey of tve Val« 
of the Yore. 

86 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

whose daughter, Agnes, married Marmaduke Wyvill, 
Esquire, ancestor of a line of brave, loyal and distin- 
guished men. But, a little earlier than this, at least one 
of the tribe of Fitz Randolphs had appeared, and had 
come into some prominence about a hundred miles south 
from Spennithome in the northwest portion of Notting- 
hamshire. I refer especially to Christopher Fitz Ran- 
dolph, who was a subject of Henry VIII, father of Ed- 
ward VI. Thoroton in his "Antiquities of Nottingham- 
shire" (published in 1677), refers to the marriage of a 
certain Christopher Fitz Randolph with Joan or Joane, 
daughter of Cuthbert Langton, of Langton Hall. The 
same Cuthbert Langton (according to the same author- 
ity) "enfeoffed" certain lands in Huknall Torkard (Not- 
tinghamshire) and other lands in the same shire, and in 
other shires, to half a dozen personages and persons, 
amongst whom was a John Fitz Randolph. It thus ap- 
pears that in the Tudor day certain of the name of Fitz 
Randolph held property and position in Nottinghamshire. 
In the appendix of John Blackner's History of Not- 
tingham (already briefly quoted from) we read of "A 
perambulacion of the fforest of Sheerewood made the 
nineth day of September in the Thirtyeth year of the 
Reigne of King Henry the Eighth (by the grace of God 
of England and ffrance King, defender of the faith. Lord 
of Ireland, and Supreme head upon earth of the English 
Church); by Robert Brymesley; Gabriel Berwicke, 
Richard Perepoint, Esq., Alexander Mening, Christopher 
ffitzrandole, Robert Whitemore, John Walker, Maurite 
Orrell, John Gamon, John Palmer. Gentlemen: Robert 
Levett, William Mellars, Robert Rawson, John Losscowe, 

81 



FITZ R ANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

John Bristow and Robert North, Regarders of the said 
fforest of Sheerewood, which perambulacion begun at the 
Kings Castle of Nottingham." 

We turn now with more particularity to the heraldic 
arms of the Fitz Randolphs in confirmation of the con- 
clusion that the Fitz Randolphs of Nottinghamshire of 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (with whom Edward 
Fitz Randolph of Langton Hall, and also of Massachu- 
setts and New Jersey, forms the link connecting our fam- 
ily of to-day with more ancient days) were descended 
from the Lords of Middleham of the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries, and thus from the near kinship of Will- 
iam the Conqueror. 

In "Burke's General Armory," at page 357, we find the 
arms of a certain Fitz Ranulph of the time of Henry II 
stated thus — "Az. two chev. or." In the same connection 
the Fitz Randolph arms (Co. Northumberland) is given 
as "or, a chief, indented, az." In the Appendix of Rob- 
son's British Herald, Vol. Ill, we have the arms of the 
Fitz Randolphs of Spennithome given thus, "Az, a chief, 
indented, or." and to this, as borne out in the several ex- 
amples now to be seen at St. Michael's Church of Spenni- 
thome, we shall refer a little later on. 

Robson's British Herald, Vol. I, gives the following: 
"Fitz Ranulph (Derby & Notts. Temp. Henry II) Az: 
two chev. or." [This applied to Robert, High Sheriff, 
close friend to Henry II.] 

"Fitz Randall, az. a chief indented, or." 

"Fitz Randolfe, az. fretty or, a chief of the last." 



82 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

"Fitz Randolph [N. Umb.] or, a chief, indented, az."* 
Now, Burke's General Armory gives (from a Notting- 
ham visitation of 1614) the arms of Edward Fitz Ran- 
dolph, and of the Langton Hall Fitz Randolfs, as "Ar. a 
chief, indented, az/' And Burke gives, for the same, a 
crest — "On a chapeau, or, turned up, az, a wyvem of the 
last." 

Of course, it is understood that "or" stands for gold, 
or for yellow ; "ar" for argent, silver, or white ; and "az" 
for azure, or blue. 



Arms of the 
Fitz Randolphs 



FITZRANDOLPH 

Lord of Middleham 

A. D. 1190. 

From Armorial Shields of Early and Important 
Families of Northern England, as Given by W. G. M. 
Jones Barker,, in the Second Edition of His Work, 
Published in London in 1856, Entitled Historical 
AND Topographical Account of Wensleydale and the 
Valley of the Yore. 



*Going back to Ribald, Lord of Middleham, and progenitor of the Fits 
Randolph line, we find in the "Dormant and Extinct Baronage of Eng- 
land," published just a century ago by T. C Banks, that his coat of arma 
was "O, on a chief, indented, az. A Lion passant of the First." 

83 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Here, then (irrespective of the arms of the High Sheriff 
and of the Lord of Ravensworth), we find scarcely any 
change in the family escutcheon from the day of Robert 
the Castle-builder during a period of about four hundred 
and fifty years (say 1164 to 1614). Indeed, taking the 
whole record together, it may fairly be said that during 
that period this line of family and descent had practically 
the same heraldic device and blazonry — this particular 
coat-of-arms remaining in the Fitz Randolph line without 
notable alteration through the rule of the feudal Norman 
dukes, through the Plantagenet, York and Lancaster 
regimes, and continuing thus from before the founding 
of Middleham Castle in the twelfth century down to the 
Tudor days in which lived Christopher of Nottingham- 
shire and his son Edward, "forebears" of the Pilgrim 
Edward. It antedates the Spennithorne Fitz Randolphs 
(who, as we have seen, were in a straight line descended 
from Robert of Middleham), and was borne also by 
them; and after their day the same form, with scarcely 
a variation even as to color arrangement, continued to be 
borne by Christopher and Edward, ancestors of our New 
Jersey family. We could hardly look for stronger proof of 
source of lineage, for it must be kept in mind that, as time 
went on, these heraldic symbols were most jealously guard- 
ed by English families, and most strictly watched and reg- 
ulated by royal authority, inquisition and "visitation.''* 

*Barker remarktf, in a note at page 127 of his "History of Wensleydale:" 
"The change of supporters and badges i8» strictly speaking, chiefly de- 
pendent upon the will of the bearer; and sO' Kkezvise of crests and mottoes. 
. . . But na man may change Ms paternal shield, though entitled to 
slightly difference it zvithout a confirmation; and he must on no account 
usurp the arms of another." The writer has seen a different ooat-of-arms 
claimed as belonging to the Fitz Randolphs and to which was attached the 
inspiring motto ^*JsLmai8 arriere." It has beea found impossible to trace 
this to any authentic source. 

84 




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A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

So, whilst it is not doubted that the Spennithorne prop- 
erties of Ralph Fitz Randolph descended (in the later 
Tudor days) to the honorable family of Wyville through 
the marriage of Ralph's daughter Agnes, it appears en- 
tirely possible that in a somewhat earlier generation some 
junior member or members of this Spennithorne family 
might have gone a little way off into Nottinghamshire. 
The blood of the family had commingled with princes, 
but the Spennithorne branch had been quiet, loyal and 
unpretending for centuries, enjoying tfie name and fame 
of their house and a comfortable inheritance, but without 
important titles to contend for or insist upon.* So the 
property descended regularly to the eldest son, and finally 
to a daughter. The mind bent on genealogical research 
pauses here to weigh a possibility that a male member of 
the family, probably in a position of juniority, may have 
broken away from Spennithorne and gone a little way 
southward to father a family who should develop a hun- 
ger for broader opportunities and in a newer world. But 
before accepting such a hypothesis — ^however reasonable 
— let us make further exploration. 

Before quite turning away from Yorkshire to follow 
the progress of the Fitz Randolphs in Nottinghamshire, 
let us pause a little longer amongst the baronial resi- 
dences, churches and forests of lovely Wensleydale. Not 
far from Middleham, nor from Richmond, was the ham- 
let, or township, of Bainbridge, spelt "Beyntbrigge" in 
the ancient chronicles. The luxury of litigation in which 



*As a recent possible exception to this, a fact mentioned by Mr. Speight 
may be cited — '^Thc late Mr. Wyville," he writes, "claimed the Baronetcy 
of Scrope of Masham, which was in abeyance between his family and that 
of the late Mr. Wm. Danby, of Swinton Park." — Romantic Rich., page 842. 

85 



PITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

we moderns generously (and generally) indulge was not 
unknown to our forefathers. In 1228 the Earl of Chester 
and Lincoln claimed certain ownership and control in 
Wensleydale, and summoned Randolph, son of Robert 
Fitz Randolph, Lord of Middleham, to answer "by what 
warrant he made towns and raised edifices in the Earl's 
forest of Wensleydale." The answer was "The town of 
Beyntbrigge was of the ancestors of the said Ranulph by 
the service of keeping that forest, so that they should 
have there abiding twelve foresters with a horse for 
each." This condition of care and control continued 
through successive generations. 

Mr. Barker in his "Historical and Topographical Ac- 
count of Wensleydale" refers to this, quoting copiously 
from ancient Latin records and historical notes. He 
makes mention of Ranulph de Glanville, who was Lord 
Justiciary of England from 1181 to 1185, and was also 
Lord of Coverham, and was father-in-law of Robert Fitz 
Randolph, Lord of Middleham; and the historian tells 
us that, after his death, "William, son of Gamell, had 
ward of the forest till the death of the Lady Helewisa of 
Middleham, whose husband predeceased her. After- 
wards Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury (1193- 
1207), Chief Justice of England (i 194-1 196), and Chan- 
cellor ( 1 199-1202), held it for the king in wardship for 
Helewisa^s sons, Radulph and Ranulph. Radulph being 
dead, and Ranulph remaining a ward, the Archbishop 
Chancellor delivered up his entire wardship to Theobald 
de Valoynes ;* and, during the whole of this period, it is 



*So far as we can know, their Lordships faithfully administered upon 
their trust; but for fully five hundred years following the Conquest great 

86 



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^ST ORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

to be observed that there were only twelve foresters and 
two grassmani — a sort of police, judging from their em- 
ployment at Bainbridge — each of whom had two acres of 
land for ploughing between Goldmyresyke and the vil- 
lage. Their cattle were taken in every night for fear of 
the wolves. The duty of the Grassmani was to arrest 
malefactors in the forest and convey them to Richmond 
Castle." All this confirms the line of descent we have 
followed through Middleham and Spennithome.* 

The interest of this book centers largely about the 
Castle of Middleham in Yorkshire, built by Robert Fitz 
Randolph in the latter part of the twelfth century. If 
time and space would permit, it would be interesting to 
linger about Richmond Castle, whose massive ruin is still 
to be seen nine miles from Middleham. Richmond was 
the seat of an Earldom before the Conquest. This "Hon- 
our" and the control which went with it was taken over 
by the Conqueror, and was»conferred upon Alan, brother 
of Ribald, grandfather of Robert Fitz Randolph. Thus 



estates constituted rich feeding ground for administrators and for the ap- 
pointing sovereign. Hume says that when a baron died the king took pos- 
session, and the heir applied and made homage and paid a composition to 
the king. If the heir were a minor the king had the income during the 
minority. "When the king granted the wardship of a rich heir to any 
on^ he had the opportunity of enriching a favorite or minister; if he sold 
it. he thereby levied a considerable sum of monejr. Simon de Montfort ^aid 
Henry III ten thousand marks for the wardship of Gilbert d'Umfreville. 
Geoffrey de Mandeville paid to the same prince twenty thousand marks 
that he might marry Isabel, Countess of Gloucester, and possess her lands. 
If the heir were a female, the king was entitled to offer her any husband 
of her rank he thought proper. It she refused, she forfeited her land." — 
Hume I, p. 476. 

* Still another of these curious old thirteenth century controversies is 
brought forward by Gale on page 90 of his Reg[istrum. It is a claim of 
RsAOolph Fits Randolph for free forestry or hunting at the Manor property 
of Woohall. Randolph is here rendered in the old Latin text as Radulphus 
and at the top of the page is printed in beautiful red tvpe the title to his 
claim, viz., "Clameum Kad. F. Ranulphi." Here we find perhaps a sort of 
precedent for those of us who in New Jersey substitute the initial F. for 
the prefix Fitz. 

87 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

it came to be understood that the lands and titles and 
powers of this great Earldom, or Lordship, were "of the 
Honour of Richmond." Space is only taken here to give 
particular mention to the Gray Friars' Tower at Rich- 
mond, which is still to be seen as a reminder of the gen- 
erosity and religious devotion of those who early bore 
this family name. Mr. Speight writes thus about this 
spot and memorial : 

"Turning now from the market place through the old 
Friars' wynd, we arrive at the Tower of the Gray Friars, 
timetoned yet beautiful in decay. This house was of the 
foundation of one of the great Lords of Middleham, 
Ralph Fitz Randolph, in 1258. He died in 1270, and was 
buried at Coverham Abbey; but his heart, enclosed in a 
leaden urn, was interred in the choir of the Church of 
the Gray Friars of Richmond. He was a feudatory of 
the Earls of Richmond, and his place in the castle was 
over the Chapel of St. Nicholas on the East. In Gale's 
Registrum Honoris de Richmond there is a quaint old 
bird's-eye view of the castle ; and over the oratory of St. 
Nicholas is portrayed a banner displaying the arms of the 
Fitz Randolphs ; or, a chief, indented, azure" 

Here, again, we find the Fitz Randolph arms, which, 
according to various authorities, already mentioned, have 
(as we venture to repeat) descended from a period now 
more than seven hundred years gone by. This heraldic 
device, after being thus borne by the Fitz Randolphs of 
Middleham, was, as we have seen, in the use of the Fitz 
Randolphs of Spennithome for three hundred and fifty 
years or more, and was afterwards found (in substantially 
the same style) in the legitimate and authorized use of a 



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A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Fitz Randolph of Nottinghamshire, the forefather of the 
Fitz Randolphs of Massachusetts and New Jersey. In 
St. Michael's Church at Spennithorne, the ancient burial- 
place of the Fitz Randolphs is still found in the north 
aisle. Upon the altar-tomb of freestone are several armo- 
rial designs, emblazoned in their suitable heraldic colors. 
There are ten of these shields, of which four are Fitz 
Randolphs, all uniform, and corresponding to the coat- 
of-arms above given. Doubtless, upon the death of the 
head of the house, from time to time occurring, the family 
coat-of-arms was again placed upon this altar-tomb. The 
other coats-of-arms here represented are of families con- 
nected with, or descending from, the original Fitz Ran- 
dolphs, namely, the Scropes, the Nevilles, and the Fitz 
Hughs. 

Mr. Speight says that "Even before the Conqueror's 
great survey was made in 1086 the old free community of 
Spennithorne was a place with a history. It acquired an 
important standing; and, having been cultivated from a 
very early period, it had become a valuable possession at 
the time it was wrested from its then superior chief, Ghil- 
patric, who also ruled over Middleham. With Middle- 
ham it passed to the powerful Lord Ribald, brother of 
Alan, the first grantee of Richmondshire after the Con- 
quest; and his posterity, the Fitz Randolphs, continued 
to hold the manor as of the Honour of Richmond by mil- 
itary service. They made Spennithorne their home for 
several centuries, and the foundations and part of the 
walls of their old manor house, since converted into cot- 
tages, are observable at the east end of the village. . . . 
It is claimed by Cade that Spennithorne was a Roman 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

station. ... St. Michaers Church occupies a shel- 
tered, yet elevated, position ; and from the top of its well- 
weathered tower is one of the loveliest views of the dale 
imaginable — the eye ranging over purple heath and 
wooded fell, and following for many miles the silvery 
windings of the Yore, by abbey, and castle, and stately 
hall, while many a beautiful village, hill, hamlet and tree- 
shaded-farm can be observed under the cheering influ- 
ences of a bright sky." 

If was the privilege of the writer to visit this ancient 
church and to verify Mr. Speight's descriptions and the 
coats-of-arms mentioned above; thence a drive was taken 
to the Shawl of Leybum, a fine hill commanding an in- 
spiring and delightful view of Wensleydale and of the 
imposing ruin of Middleham Castle. 

An appreciative article, replete with tender reverence 
toward the past and its sacred traditions, appeared in the 
"Darlington and Stockton Times," April 29, 1905. This 
is a journal of much dignity and character, and is espe- 
cially devoted to the interests of "Romantic Richmond- 
shire," a portion only of whose charms can be touched 
upon in a book like this of ours. The article is entitled 
"Spennithome Church," and in it constant reference is 
made to the patronage of the Fitz Randolphs through 
successive ages. This church is shown to be one of the 
very earliest in all Yorkshire, having been built, as we 
are informed, when the Conquest had not been accom- 
plished more than one hundred years, and when the Nor- 
mans were still busy erecting their strong castles and 
great churches. According to this article in the "Times" 
it was built by Robert Fitz Randolph in 1166. This date 

90 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

is probably correct; but, with all due deference to the 
author of the article, it seems probable that the builder of 
Spennithome Oiurch was Ralph (or Randolph) the 
father of Robert, builder of Middleham Castle. In this 
article certain interesting records appear, to which, as yet, 
we have not adverted. It seems that, even prior to the 
date given, a Christian church existed at Spennithome — 
which, in the great Domesday book, was called "Spening- 
torp." In "Domesday" there is an authentic record that 
"in Speningtorp, Eccl es(' — i,e,, there is a church, or 
chapel. It is evident, says the writer in the "Times," that 
there was a Saxon church prior to the present structure, 
for stones with Runic characters have been found em- 
bedded in the east end of the chancel, and a Saxon cross 
sculptured upon a stone was discovered under the flags 
in the chancel during the restoration of abput thirty-five 
years ago, and is now fixed in the wall in a dark comer 
of the vestry. The writer of the article has (from an 
imperfect list, to which he has had access, of rectors and 
patrons of "the living") brought forward some names of 
old-time interest. For example, in August, 1369, it ap- 
pears that the patron of this church of St. Michael's the 
Archangel at Spennithome was Matilda Fitz Randolph; 
and in July, 1433, the patron was Rad. Fitz Randolph — 
the first name of the patron, as given, probably being an 
abbreviation of Radulphus, otherwise R'alph or Randolph. 
After the marriage of the Fitz Randolphs with the Wy- 
vills we find this last name repeatedly among the patrons, 
and, every now and then, associated with the Scroopes 
(or Scropes) of Danby. In 1551, for example, Christo- 
pher Wyvill was patron of the church ; and it was about 

91 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

this same time, as we may recall, that his relative, Chris- 
topher Fitz Randolph, was filling a place of social prom- 
inence a little way southward in Nottinghamshire.* 
Again in 1649 ^^ family of Wyvill was associated with 
the patronage of the church, and in 1672 another Christo- 
pher W)rvill, Bart., was associated with William Wyvill, 
Gent., in the patronage of the church; and in 1729 Sir 
Marmaduke Wyvill, Bart., was the patron; and in 1764 
Sir M. A. Wyvill, Bart., was patron. One of the rectors 
of the church was Rev. Francis Wyvill, who filled this 
position from 161 5 to 1625, and an oil portrait of him is 
still to be seen at the rectory at Spennithome. We quote 
below some interesting lines from this well-considered 
article in the Darlington and Stockton "Times" : 

"In that chamber which now contains the organ, at the 
end of the north aisle, there will be observed a curious 
tombstone, like a stone chest against the wall, with a plain 
surface. There is no inscription on it, but it has sculp- 
tured arovmd its sides in relief, representations of heraldic 
shields painted in their appropriate colors, which during 
the last restoration were probably renewed. Fortunately 
there has been preserved a will which determines who is 
the tenant of this nameless grave. The copy of the testa- 
ment of Alan Fitz Randolph, dated 1457, directs that his 
body be interred *in the Church of St. Michael the 
Archangel, of Spenningthorn, in the chapel of St. Mary.' 
This chamber, then the chapel of St. Mary, as it is still 
called, was evidently the burial place of this ancient fam- 

*The persistence in the kinship of this somewhat unusual name, from the 
time it enters the family soon after the marriage with the daughter of John 
of Gaunt, is at least remarkable. It was afterwards in use in the first 
generation of Fitz Randolphs after their settlement ifi New Jersey. But 
of this name and its associations more will appear further on. 

92 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

ily of Fitz Randoph. These armorial shields are of the 
following: ist, Fitz Randolph; 2d, Scroope of Masham; 
3d, Gules, saltire, arg.; 4th, two bars, az.; 5th, Fitz 
Randolph; 6th, . . . 7th, Scroope of Harden; 
8th, Fitz Randolph; 9th, Fitz Hugh; loth, Fitz Ran- 
dolph. 

"The chantry was a chapel, or part of a Catholic 
church, endowed to support a priest to chant mass daily 
or periodically for the dead, and it appears from an an- 
cient record that the chantry in Spennithorne Church was 
in use in the time of Henry VHI, and Richard Marshall 
was then the priest. The record states that the priest or- 
dained was 'Richard Marshall of the ordynnaunce of Jno. 
Fitz Randoll, Esquyer, to the intent to pray for his soul, 
his ffrendes' soules, and all Xtian soules as apperyth by a 
copy of ded af ffeofment made to Xofer* Conyer, sune 
and heyre apparent to Willm. Lord Conyers, date XX 
mo. Januarii, ann. Reg. K. Henry VIH, XI. The same 
is wythyn the said churche. The necessitie is to pray ffor 
the soule of the ffounder and all Xtian soules; and the 
same is observed and kepte accordingly, and the same is 
under charge ffor pa)rment of the ffirste frutes and 
tenths.' 

"A fresco is on the wall near the chief entrance door. 
It is a representation of Old Time, about 10 ft. high ; in 
his right hand, the symbolic scythe ; in his left, the hour- 
glass; on his brow, the forelock. Although this fresco 
has been whitewashed again and again during three cen- 
turies. Old Time has refused to be wiped out, and has 



*In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the name Christopher was 
usually written thus — ^Xofer, or Xpofer. 

93 




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^'•l 






FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

always come out again, till simple folk have begun to 
have a kind of weird and superstitious idea about him, as 
if he were something uncanny, and better let alone. 

"So in this small church in rural Wensleydale we have 
the memorials of an historic and distant past, and also of 
a vast Empire, showing that even from this quiet spot 
Britain's sons have gone forth with distinction to distant 
parts of the world, and done good service. Even this 
small church is eloquent with the consecration of the 
past ; and as we stand in its chancel alone, the mural tab- 
lets, the emblazoned windows, in memory of the brave, 
the pious, and beautiful — ^the light playing through the 
stained windows in gules, azure, and vert as in still mel- 
ody — all speak eloquently to the heart things unutterable, 
'thoughts that wander through eternity.' *Sic transit 
gloria mundi,' says grim Old Time, there. 'Aye,' Faith 
replies, 'earthly glory, but there is an immortal.' " 



04 




CHURCH OF ST. WILFRID, KIRKBY-IN-ASHFIELD, 
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, 
In Which Was Found the Tablet Commemorating Certain 
OF THE FiTz Randolphs of the Sixteenth Century. Photo- 
graphed 1906. A Few Months Later This Church and Its 
Contents Were Destroyed by Fire. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER VII 

KiRKBY, Sutton and Langton Hall 

In the northwestern part of Nottinghamshire are two 
towns about three miles apart : one of them being called 
Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and the other being known as Sutton- 
in-Ashfield. At Kirkby-in-Ashfield a church has existed 
from the days of St. Wilfrid. The edifice has from time 
to time been restored, and, since the visit made to it by 
the writer in 1906, it has been destroyed by fire ; and, so 
far as he is aware, its contents were also destroyed. He 
found upon its wall an interesting memorial of the Fltz 
Randolph family. The fact of its existence had been 
brought to his attention by his daughter* who had visited 
this church in 1896, and had copied the language of this 
memorial. The writer compared the copy with the orig- 
inal, in 1906, and found it accurate. It is as follows : 
"Hie jacent corpora Thomae Fitzrandolf nuper de 
"Langton Hall huius parochiae generosi et Katharinae 
"uxoris eius quorum patres fuere X pofer Fitzran- 
"dolf nuper de Langton predicta armiger et God- 
"fratus Fulliambe nuper de Walton Hall in Com. 

*Then Miss Caroline Fitz Randolph; now the wife of Dr. Charles D. 
Parfitt of Ontario. 

95 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

"Darby miles. Animae lUorum petiere astra. 
"Predicta Katharinae obiit 2 ** Mali A.D. 1593 
"et predict Thomae 27 die Februarii 1598." 

The translation of the above appears below : 
"Here lie the bodies of Thomas Fitzrandolph, late of 
"Langton Hall, gentleman, of this parish, and of 
"Katherine, his wife, whose fathers were Christopher 
"Fitzrandolph, Squire, of Langton aforesaid, and 
"Godfrey Fulliambe, Knight, late of Walton Hall 
"in the County of Darby. Their spirits sought 
"the stars. Said Katherine died May 2, A.D. 1593, 
"and said Thomas Feb. 27, 1598." 

The writer is informed that this brass tablet was dis- 
covered about thirty years ago by the Rev. T. Woodman, 
incumbent of Kirkby, whilst digging in his garden, ad- 
joining the churchyard — which presumably in earlier 
years included this garden. The reverend gentleman took 
counsel with his warden, Col. William Langton Coke, as 
to what disposition should be made of the tablet, at the 
same time expressing some doubt or aversion as to the 
line about "the stars." Col. Coke very suitably advised 
the vicar to place the tablet on the church wall, and it 
was so done. 

The church of St. Mary Magdalene at Sutton-in-Ash- 
field has records reaching back to the time when such 
records were instituted under the reign of Henry VHI ; 
but these sixteenth century records were crude, and in 
the register at Sutton they are more or less confused and 
in disorder. A recent attempt to bind them together has 
not been wholly successful. They furnish, however, data 

96 



J^orifA Gimr^K £ufi<^n~in^t4$hfi4ld 




PARISH CHURCH, SUTTON-IN-ASHFIELD, 
St. Mary Magdalene. 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

of some value and of considerable interest. We learn 
from them that at some time in the month of June, 1588, 
"X Pofer Fitz randoll" was there buried. This doubtless 
was Christopher Fitz Randolph, Esquire, of Langton 
Hall. The eldest son of Christopher was Thomas, whose 
name appears in the brass tablet, and who married the 
daughter of Sir Godfrey Fulliambe, or, as Thoroton 
spells it, Folijambe. It appears that Thomas had a son. 
Jacobus (or James), who married a daughter of a dis- 
tinguished Northampton family, and they had a son, 
Philalethes, or Philalerhes, who died at twenty-two with- 
out issue. Other sons of Christopher were John and Ed- 
ward and Christopher. All of these were of Langton 
Hall, a charming old mansion situated about two miles 
from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and having a tradition and 
record flavored with antiquity even when Thoroton wrote 
of it in 1677. From Thoroton we learn that "John Lang- 
ton of Kirkeby about the nineth year of Henry VI held 
when he died one Mess."*" called Langton Place and six 
closes." 

Thoroton traces back the record of Langton Hall to the 
time of Henry III (middle of thirteenth century), and to 
the possession of Richard de Ruddington, and says in 
eflFect that from this early ownership it was conveyed to 
Geoffrey de Langton. "In Langton's family it continued 
till Henry the Eighth's time — ^that Cuthbert Langton, dy- 
ing without issue male, it fell to Fitz Randolph by the 
marriage of Langton's daughter and heir, in whose name 
it continued till of late." 

It was the privilege of the writer and his companion to 

*M€ssuage — a manor house and its appendages. 

97 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

visit Langton Hall in 1906, and to enjoy in it an example 
of the generous and gracious hospitality which has doubt- 
less for many centuries been there dispensed. For a num- 
ber of years it has been in the ownership of the family of 
Admiral Salmond, and has had the most considerate care. 
The mansion is long and low, with quaint old rooms and 
charming antique windows and arches, and opens out to 
a well-kept driveway and to the perfection of an English 
lawn ; and close by we entered a rose garden of the sort 
rarely found away from the Isles of Britain. No wonder 
that when the spirits of its favored occupants, in the ages 
agone, could no longer linger here, they "sought the 
stars." 

Thoroton informs us that "in 161 2 the owners of Sut- 
ton-in-Ashfield are set down, William, Lord Cavendish, 
Edward Langford, Thomas Clark, William Lyndtey of 
Skegby, Gent., and Edward Fitz Randolph, Gent." 

It appears that this Edward Fitz Randolph, a younger 
brother of Thomas of the brass tablet, had several chil- 
dren, whose names are given (with sundry vagaries of 
orthography and other uncertainties) in the tattered rec- 
ords of the church at Sutton. Prodding amongst these 
memorials, we learn that Elizabeth, daughter to Exiward, 
was baptized November 17, 1589; that "Richard Fitz- 
rand9, sonne of Edward," was baptized in August, 1596 
(precise date not given) ; and that "Edward Fitzrandall, 
Sonne of Edward Fitzrandal," was baptized the 17th day 
of July, 1607. 

It has been well understood that Edward Fitz Ran- 
dolph, the father of the New Jersey Fitz Randolphs, was 
bom in Nottinghamshire about the beginning of the 

98 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

seventeenth century. Nathaniel Fitz Randolph in his 
"Book of Records" (1750) writes positively of Notting- 
hamshire as the locality whence Edward emigrated, but 
does not fix his birth-date. Some (including Nathaniel 
Fitz Randolph) have supposed this to be about 1614, but 
as to this there is no certainty. Considering the confused 
way in which the church records at Sutton were kept and 
preserved, it is by no means impossible that a slight in- 
accuracy may have crept into them regarding the exact 
time of the birth of this Edward, who was the son of 
Edward and the grandson of Christopher Fitz Randolph 
of Langton Hall. The precise data are not at hand to 
correct either the tradition (or supposition) as to date, 
which has been held in the family on the one hand, or to 
qualify the ancient church record on the other. The dif- 
ference in years would be short and is in no way im- 
portant.* We do know that the emigrant Edward of 
Nottinghamshire was barely, if quite, grown up when he 
came to Massachusetts in 1630, and that he was still quite 
a young man when he married Elizabeth Blossom at Scit- 
uate, Mass., on the loth of May, 1637, and this is con- 
sistent with the information contained in the Sutton 
records; and in these records we find practical con- 
firmation of the "book" of Nathaniel and of the facts and 
traditions handed down in the family since Pilgrim days. 

*Enjo3rifi^ an excellent dinner at the ancient "Denman's Head" of Sut- 
ton, at which presided Mine Host Keeley — ^who, if he had not chanced to 
be an Irishman, would have been a veritable Sam Johnson of an English- 
man for dominating talkativeness and wit — ^I asked our eloquent landlord 
how old his inn might be. He replied that he was not there to start it and 
couldn't be certain, but it might be five hundred years old. I mused aloud 
that I had an impression of naving lived there some three hundred years 
back. "Is that all?" queried the wide-eyed but skeptical Benedict. "Well," 
I rejoined, "it might be four hundred years." "Ye remoind me." said the 
innkeeper, "of a shnortsman who tould a frind that he'd joust snot nointy- 
noine crowa. His irind asked him — 'cuddent he make it a hundred?' 'No. 
I cuddent,' says he, 'do ye think I'd tell a lie for a CROW?' " 

99 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Fitz Randolph House as Conjoined with the 
Westmoreland House 

At this point let us retrace our steps so far as to return 
to the descendants of Radulphus (or Ralph, or Ran- 
dolph) de Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, who died in 
the fourth year of King Henry VI, that is, in the year 
1435- We have followed his line by his second wife, Joan 
of Beaufort, to and through the royal line of Great Brit- 
ain from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. We now 
return to the line of descent from his first wife, Margery, 
Lady Stafford. This may be called the senior line. We 
have seen that this Randolph, the husband of Margery, 
was the Earl of Westmoreland; and the Earldom, or, 
more correctly speaking, the Dukedom -of Westmoreland, 
descends in the line of primogeniture to his posterity. His 
oldest son was Radulphus, or Randolph; but Ran- 
dolph's children were all daughters and the Dukedom de- 
scended through his brother John, who married Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Thomas Holland, Earl of Canterbury. 
Their son was John, who was hero of the famous fight at 
Towton in the first year of Edward IV, and who married 

lOI 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Anna, the widow of a near relative. Their son was Ran- 
dolph, or Ralph, Duke of Westmoreland, who married 
Margery Booth of Barton of a noble Lancaster family. 
Their only son, again, was Ralph, or Randolph, whose 
wife's name was Edith. Their son was another Ralph, or 
Randolph, who held the Dukedom of Westmoreland, and 
who married Catherine, daughter of Edward, Duke of 
Buckingham, and died in the fifteenth year of Henry 
VIII. Ralph and Catherine had a large family — the 
larger proportion being daughters. Of the sons we shall 
shortly make further mention in some detail. The oldest 
son was Henry, Duke of Westmoreland, who died in the 
fifth year of Elizabeth's reign. Henry had two wives, by 
the second of whom, Margery, he had two daughters; 
but by the first, Jane, who was daughter of Thomas, Earl 
of Rutland, he had (besides four daughters) a son, 
Charles, who was the last Duke of Westmoreland, and 
who married Anna, daughter of Henry, Duke of Surrey. 
Their offspring consisted of four daughters. This last 
duke, Charles, was attainted for his opposition to the rule 
of Elizabeth when refusing to obey the summons to her 
presence, issued to him and to his kinsman, the Duke of 
Northumberland, in 1571. Afterwards he sought shelter 
amongst the Scotch Borderers, and made his way to the 
Continent, where the remainder of his life was spent. 
His dukedom and his properties were confiscated to the 
Crown. 

We have referred to the large family of the last Ralph, 
or Randolph, Duke of Westmoreland, whose wife was 
Catherine and whose oldest son was Henry, the father of 
Charles. Henry's brothers appear to have been Thomas, 

102 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Edward, Christopher, Randolph and Cuthbert. Christo- 
pher is mentioned as having been present at the family 
council at Raby Castle when the reply of refusal was sent 
up to Queen Elizabeth. 

The writer has been unable to ascertain, through Gale 
or otherwise, the particulars of birth, death and marriage 
of these several brothers of Henry, Duke of Westmore- 
land. As we have already seen, Henry himself died in 
the fifth year of Queen Elizabeth, that is, in the year 1563. 
It is probable that the whole period of his brothers' lives 
may have been, say, between 1500 and 1570, covering the 
entire reign of Henry VIII, and, perhaps, antedating and 
postdating that reign somewhat. Now, it was, as we re- 
call, in the thirtieth year of King Henry VIIFs reign that 
Christopher Fitz Randolph (according to Blackner's His- 
tory) took part in a "perambulacion of the fforest of 
Sheerewood." We have learned from the Church Rec- 
ords at Sutton that Christopher Fitz Randolph was there 
buried in 1588. Just here, exact, positive history would 
seem to pause. The writer is without absolute proof in 
record-form that Christopher Fitz Randolph, who died 
in 1588, was the son of Thomas, or of Edward, or of 
Christopher, or of Cuthbert,* or of Randolph, who ap- 
pear to have been the brothers of Henry, Duke of West- 
moreland. There is, however, evidence (and some of it 
has been quite abundantly adduced in the course of this 



*Noting this name Cuthbert more than once in the Neville and West- 
moreland records, and again noting it in the name of Cuthbert Langton, of 
Langton, Hall (whose daughter Christopher Fitz Randolph married) a 
query arises atf to the possibilitv of this having been a marriage of relatives, 
or of familv connections. Cuthbert was an unusual name. It had associa- 
tion with the famihr of Percy of Northumberland, with whom in relation- 
ihip, religion and triendship the Nevilles were united. This is one of the 
minor coincidences of our story, but apparently not without interest 

103 



PitZ RANDOLPH TRADlTtOMS 

narrative) that Christopher and Thomas and Edward 
Fitz Randolph of the Sutton Records and of the Thoro- 
ton Antiquities (and as to two of them— of the memorial 
mural tablet at Kirkby) were of the same line and source 
and heraldry as was not only the Spennithome line but 
also the original line of the Lords of Middleham from 
whom were descended the Earls of Westmoreland. One 
remarkable thing in this situation is the juxtaposition of 
names and dates under circumstances which appear 
plainly to indicate, if not to establish, this trio of names — 
Christopher and Thomas and Edward of the Westmore- 
land succession as closely related to a corresponding trio 
of names in the Nottinghamshire line, and to indicate as 
the strongest of probabilities, amounting, as it would ap- 
pear, to a moral certainty, that one of the five brothers of 
Henry, Duke of Westmoreland (namely, Thomas, Ed- 
ward, Christopher, Randolph and Cuthbert) was the pro- 
genitor of this group of names already encountered in 
Thoroton's Records, in Kirkby Church and in Sutton 
Church — ^namely, Christopher, Thomas and Edward Fitz 
Randolph. 

In passing, it may here be noted (in relation to the re- 
mark as to lack of record-evidence) that, aside from the 
accumulations of historian or antiquarian, no such partic- 
ular evidence could possibly have come down to us; for 
all church records of England begin a full generation (or 
more) later than the appearance in life of the sons of this 
last Randolph of the Earls of Westmoreland. But the 
juxtaposition above mentioned includes the fact that the 
treasured annals of two distinguished antiquarians, who 

104 



A STOkY OP A THOUSAND YEARS 

may also be called historians (both of whom give much 
attention and space to Fitz Randolph lines), meet at this 
point — Gale, whose story is chiefly of Yorkshire, bringing 
down to a point of interest from the most ancient days of 
Norman conquest and glory a single continuous genea- 
logical tale, and ending it with the names of Christopher, 
Thomas, Edward, Randolph and Cuthbert, whilst Thoro- 
ton, the antiquary of Nottinghamshire (though the date 
of publication of his "antiquities" is slightly earlier) ap- 
parently takes up the story with the same names and car- 
ries it forward for some generations ; and meanwhile to 
us this story is further illuminated by the earliest of the 
church records, by a church memorial tablet, and by other 
circumstances of interest 

Now let us see for a moment what are the circum- 
stances indicating that the next of kin of the Duke of 
Westmoreland would revert to the ancient family name 
and hold the coat-of-arms of the Fitz Randolphs from 
whom the Westmorelands had descended. 

Incidentally, we may here bear in mind that the name 
and house of Neville was itself an adoption or a trans- 
plantation. Gilbert Neville, a Norman, had come in the 
train of William the Conqueror to England. A great 
granddaughter of his, Isabelle, had married Robert, a 
descendant of the Fits Maldreds of Saxon lineage. At 
this point, the Fitz Maldreds abandoned their own family 
name and accepted that of the wife. Robert's son, Gal- 
fridus, or Geoffrey, therefore, instead of writing himself 
a Fitz Maldred, took the name of Neville ; and this con- 
tinued through more than a dozen generations, stretching 
from the end of the twelfth century to the middle of the 

105 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

sixteenth. One abandonment of a family name would 
perhaps make another all the easier and the more natural, 
if such abandonment should appear advisable or desirable. 

Moreover, the greatest glory and the largest advantage 
which appeared to have come to the Nevilles was through 
the marriage of Mary Fitz Randolph of Middleham to 
Robert de Neville about the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury. Still further, the family name of Fitz Randolph 
was one of decidedly greater distinction and was allied 
with more ability, prestige and success than either Neville 
or Fitz Maldred. And, again still further, Thomas and 
Edward and Christopher and Cuthbert and Randolph, the 
brothers of Henry, Duke of Westmoreland, were them- 
selves in a peculiar and strict sense Fitz Randolphs. Their 
father's name was Randolph. His father's name was 
Randolph. His father's name was Randolph, or, as the 
name is frequently written in an abbreviated form, Ralph, 
or, as given by Gale and other writers in their Latin rec- 
ords, Radulphus. 

Moreover still, in the line of descent from Ribald, the 
brother of the g^eat Alan (trusted lieutenant of William 
the Conqueror), in the course of about four centuries of 
this line of worthies, there were no less than twelve Ran- 
dolphs in the family headship. In other words, nearly all 
of the sons, who were in the line of primogeniture either 
of the Fitz Randolphs or of the earlier Nevilles or of the 
Earls of Westmoreland, were Randolphs. 

For all these reasons, if there were any occasion at all 
to change again the family patronym, it would be the 
most reasonable and natural and dignified thing possible 
to fall back upon the designation, which had been a word 

io6 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

of power and preference, not only through the entire his- 
tory of the English commonwealth from the time of the 
Conqueror downward, but also even in Brittany and Nor- 
mandy and Norseland long before William the Norman's 
invasion was dreamt of. 

But what circumstance was there which would suggest 
or induce any change of name by the kinship of the West- 
morelands? There were perhaps two considerations, the 
second being the stronger. The first arose by reason of 
the parting of the ways at the second marriage of the 
Ralph, or Randolph, whose second wife was the cele- 
brated Joan of Beaufort.* His first wife. Lady Stafford, 
it has been seen, was of noble, and even of royal, descent, 
and her children constituted the older and perhaps the 
prouder division; and yet Joan Beaufort was also of 
royal blood, and amongst Joan's immediate posterity 
there are many names of great strength and high repute ; 
and, incidentally, it may at this point be remarked that 
the names which are associated with our Massachusetts 
and New Jersey line of Fitz Randolph, and which appear 
in Thoroton and in Kirkby and in Sutton, as already 
shown, are names which had descended on Joan's side of 
the family oi the Ralph of Westmoreland, who died in 
1435. Amongst Joan's numerous children are three — 
named Edward, Cuthbert and Thomas. 



* Roger Gale continues in his ancient Latin record the name Neville from 
point to point along down through the lines of descendants of Joan Beau- 
tor^ but never once gives the name Neville as the name of any descendant 
of Lady Stafford, though he follows the Westmoreland line down to the 
daughters of Charles, the last duke. We have not found the quintette of 
hrotners of Henry. Duke of Westmoreland, mentioned otherwheres than ■ 
by Gale: and by nim neither Thomas nor Edward, nor Christopher, nor 
Randolph, nor Cuthbert is said to be a Neville. Westmoreland was a duke- 
dom — not a familv name. By what family name should the younger 
brothers of the dulce and their sons be known? 

107 



PITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Although as pointed out by recent histories, there 
may have been to some extent a separation in feeling 
and interest between these two divisions of the fam- 
ily, still, it is to be said that in public matters and in 
religious views they usually kept close to the old lines 
and standards, and so kept together. They were 
Catholics, but they had been Lancastrians, and they 
would have gladly been Catholics of the Wycliffe or 
Lancastrian school — Catholics of the open mind — of lib- 
eral views— of progressive principles. They lamented the 
threatened disintegration of the Catholic Church; but 
what they most abhorred was the substitution therefor of 
the personal autocracy of the Tudors. In one or two 
exceptional cases the Tudors came into close touch and 
relationship with the Nevilles and Westmorelands ; but, 
for the most part, the principles of these parties were as 
far apart as the poles. The old Fitz Randolph blood and 
mind had scant sympathy for Tudor greediness, and less 
respect for Tudor doctrines and tyranny. Henry VII 
was a usurper. He had no proper place in royalty. By 
the ancient families he was regarded as a parvenu and 
common adventurer. He proved himself at once a man 
of ability, but also a tyrant and a miser. He seized what 
he could of other people's possessions and hoarded them. 
His son, Henry VIII, was even more greedy — ^whilst he 
changed his father's policy of parsimonious acquisition 
into a policy of lavish expenditure for self-gratification. 
His father's wealth and the ro)ral allowances made by 
his people sufficed not to provide for his costly folly and 
sin. He desired more wives than the Catholic religion 
would permit. Two things therefore became apparently 

io8 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

necessary to him, namely, to dissolve the monasteries and 
despoil the religious institutions of his country in order 
to supply funds to meet his personal extravagances and 
to set up a church of which he should be high priest and 
sole ruler. 

All this was detested by the Westmorelands. One after 
another they sought to disallow and oppose, as best they 
might, the Tudor type of tyranny and irreligion. One 
after another the Nevilles and Westmorelands went down 
before the Tudor axe and power. Of the line of Joan of 
Beaufort, the Salisburys, the Nevilles and the Latimers 
suffered the terrible consequences of uttering even whis- 
pers against the royalty of their time. The persecutions 
continued through the days of all the Tudor sovereigns. 
The saddest picture in that series of horrors is the murder 
in 1541 of the Countess of Salisbury, I call it by that 
name because it seems to have known no other. Even 
Froude, the apologist for the Tudors, so characterizes it. 
The aged countess was not brought to trial — she was sen- 
tenced to death by attainder, and was held as a close pris- 
oner in the Tower for a year; and then, on May 27, 1541, 
the very day on which Sir John Neville was executed at 
York, the Countess of Salisbury was chased about the 
fatal green within the tower by Henry's executioner; 
and, refusing with lofty dignity to submit her neck to the 
axe, was brutally killed. Of all this Froude writes — "The 
offence of the aged countess, even though it could be 
proved to have been deliberate, constructive treason, 
would appear still too little to palliate or even explain her 
death. A murder, though unpremeditated, remains 



109 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

among the few acts to which modern sentiment refuses 
indulgence."* 

Prior to this, on the 9th of December, 1538, Sir Ed- 
ward Neville, together with Lord Montague and the Mar- 
quis of Exeter, had been beheaded on Tower Hill for 
treason against Henry on evidence which in our day 
would be regarded as utterly insignificant. In the case 
of Sir John Neville and a few others executed with him, 
the crime committed was chiefly the asserting of the 
rights of the priests to the refuge they had obtained with 
the Scottish borderers. As the historian tells us, they had 
not fought a battle nor taken a life. During the period 
of Mary Tudor's rule, the Nevilles and Westmorelands 
were, being Catholics, less troubled ; but it appears that, 
even with the Duke of Westmoreland, his Catholicity was 
not of that Spanish inquisitorial type most affected by 
Mary. He and several other nobles were put under sus- 
picion by Mary as to the soundness of their religion, and 
they were reprimanded for holding views not acceptable 
to the Catholic queen. Is it any wonder that, following 
all these sorrows and sufferings of the Nevilles and West- 
morelands — ^and of their posterity and kinsmen the Salis- 
burys and Dacres and Latimers, — Charles, Duke of West- 
moreland should in Elizabeth's day find himself driven 
from further allegiance to Tudor dominance. Even he 
approached the reality of disloyalty reluctantly; but, 
when Queen Elizabeth sent for him (and the heads of 

*Over the death of Lord Dacres, another connection of the Nevilles, 
Frotide sheds more historical tears than over that of the ill-fated and hiffh- 
charactered countess. Dacres had inadvertently fallen into a fracas whilst 
hunting deer in which a forester had been killed. His participation in the 
affray would hardly have incurred a death sentence in any Bge. But Henry 
was determined on his death against reason and intercession alike, and 
to the scaffold the popular young nobleman accordingly was led. 

I ID 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

other noble families), demanding that he should appear 
before her to answer for himself, he, after a family coun- 
cil, determined to disobey the queen. Being attainted, his 
splendid property was confiscated, his titles of nobility 
were obliterated, and his family name was apparently 
stained with the disgrace of treason.* 

The Westmoreland dislike of the Tudors antedated the 
sufferings just now briefly outlined. Henry Tudor, be- 
fore he became King Henry VII, had taken the title of 
Duke of Richmond — 2l title which had first been borne by 
the great Alan Rufus, the brother of Ribald, ancestor of 
the Westmorelands. Worse than this — when Henry 
VIII desired to advance his bastard son, to whom his 
mistress, Elizabeth Blount gave birth in 15 19, he made 
this illegitimate offspring Duke of Richmond, a title 
which in earlier days had been held in highest respect and 
reverence by the Westmorelands and other descendants 
of the companions of the Conqueror. 

It is quite true that some of the later events I have re- 
counted took place at dates later than the appearance, as 
Fitz Randolphs of men who, so far as we can reasonably 
judge, must have come out of the line of Westmoreland ; 
and the writer has no wish to force the argument as to 
any possible occasion for a readoption of the old family 

*Histoiy has but one voice and verdict touching the character and proud 
position of this noble duke. Froude writes of him and his comrade in 
opposition to Tudor rule (the Duke of Northumberland) as "the hereditary 
leaders of the North." *'The Earl of Westmoreland," says Froude, "was 
the head of the great House of Neville, from a younger branch of which 
had sprung Warwick, the King-maker. He was the great-grandson of 
Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. He had married a sister of the Duke of 
Norfolk. No shield in England showed prouder quarterings, and no family 
had played a grander part in the feudal era of England?' — Froude's His- 
tory of Eng., Vol. IX, 517. Hume says "The great credit of these two 
noblemen [Westmoreland and Northumberland], with that zeal for the 
Catholic religion which still prevailed, soon drew together multitudes." — 
Hume's History of England III, 881. 

Ill 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

name. He has continued the Westmoreland story down 
to the attainder (by Queen Elizabeth) of the last duke to 
show that the old indignation persisted to the end and to 
place in evidence its final results. Suffice it to say that 
the Westmorelands had a continuing feud with the Tu- 
dors, and were gradually and effectually crushed by them. 

Now as to the junior members of the family connection 
— ^those who were not in any case in the direct line of 
title and wealth, and whose only inheritance would have 
been character and the distinction attaching to a noble 
ancestry, — it is of all things the most natural that they 
should, under existing circumstances, grieve at the calam- 
ities which befel their name and house. So lamenting, 
what better, nobler, or more suitable thing could they do 
than to assume — ^as they had every right to do — ^the name 
of the ancient family from which much of their glory 
had been originally derived, and which name had been 
kept so persistently before them in the headship of each 
generation for nearly four centuries?* 

But in the case of the assumption by the descendants 
of the dukes of Westmoreland, or by any of them of the 
ancient and honored name of Fitz Randolph, there would 
be even no such change of name as when the Fitz Mal- 
dreds took over the name of Neville.f In fact, the name 
of Fitz Randolph had always been one of the appellations, 

*Of course the writer does not intimate the possibility in an^ case of a 
change of name by all the Nevilles. There are still Nevilles m England, 
and the writer has met some in America. 

fA like circumstance had diversified the history of the Percies, Earls of 
Northumberland and of Worcester, of whom Gairdner writes, "Not one of 
the English noble houses is so distinguished as the Percies uiroughout the 
whole range of English history. It is remarkable alike for its long un- 
broken line, its high achievements, its general culture of arts and of letters. 
Pre-eminent also, as remarked bv Sir Harris Nicolas, for its alliances among 
the peerage, it continues to this day, though represented once more by a 

112 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

or titles, or properties of the House, and a reversion to 
it — either by a senior or by a junior branch — ^would at 
any time have been a normal proceeding. 

Once more, in this particular case, there was doubtless 
no change at all — and not even a formal reversion to an 
ancient type or form; for, taking all the circumstances 
together, there is hardly room for question concerning 
the descent of Christopher and the two following Ed- 
wards and their Massachusetts and New Jersey posterity 
directly from Randolph, ^th son of the Duke of West- 
moreland of the time of Henry VHL Any son of this 
Randolph would necessarily be a Fitz Randolph, the 
meaning of the name being precisely that. The brothers 
of the duke first mentioned, in the order as named by 
Gale, are (i) Henry (who inherited the title), (2) 
Thomas, (3) Edward, (4) Christopher, (5) Randolph, 
(6) Cuthbert. 

This section of this logical and genealogical line would 
then appear as shown on following page. 

Recapitulated briefly, therefore, and taken at a glance, 
the Fitz Randolphs of the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies, whose particular line we are following, would 

stand thus: j^^j^lph (Duke of Westmoreland). 
Randolph (sth son of the Duke). 
Christopher Fitz Randolph. 
Edward Fitz Randolph. 
Edward Fitz Randolph, the Pilgrim. 



female branch." The earlier event here alluded to took place in the reign 
of Henry II when William de Perci's male descendants became extinct, and 
Agnes, the daughter from whom all subsequent Percies descended, ac> 
cepted as her husband Josceline, a son of Geoffrey. Duke of Louvain, on 
the express condition that he and his posterity shotild bear the surname of 
Percy. If our line as ultimately drawn in this book be found correct it 
will be observed that these Percies are in the Fitz Randolph ancestry. The 
mother of the first Earl of Westmoreland was Matilda Percy, and William, 
Lord Percy, had preceded her in the alliance. 

113 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 



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114 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Thoroton and Blackner have introduced us to a young 
gentleman of quality named Christopher Fitz Randolph 
who, in the latter part of the long reign of Henry VIII, 
assisted at the "perambulacion" of Sherwood Forest 
The Sutton Church register and the Kirkby Church 
Memorial tablet have presented us to Christopher's sons, 
Thomas and Edward (the former being wed to the 
daughter of a baronet of ancient lineage), and Thoroton 
again comes in with his genealogical tables showing that 
the line of Thomas was extinguished in the second sub- 
sequent generation, but mentioning (besides a Christo- 
pher and a John) an Edward Fitz Randolph, who un- 
doubtedly is the same mentioned in the .Sutton register 
as the father of another Edward — ^born in the first decade 
of the seventeenth century — which last, we are well con- 
vinced, was Edward the Pilgrim. 

The Tudors, the incoming of whom brought such dis- 
aster and sorrow to the family whose history we have 
followed, gained the English throne four centuries ago. 
In those days comparatively few of the English surnames 
now heard were chosen or settled in families. For the 
most part only nobles had enjoyed family names of per- 
sistence and significance. Even these we have seen to 
shift and change as occasion required. Afterward names 
were chosen or became fixed by reason of occupations — 
of personal peculiarity — of demeanor — or achievement — 
or of some extraordinary event, or as connected with 
some particular locality. Fitz Randolph was not of these. 
It had from early centuries been a persistent and honored 
name. It had never been in wide or general use. It was 
not difficult to trace those who had borne it. In one spot 

IIS 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

alone in upper Yorkshire it had continued for several 
centuries. Its coat-of-arms was continuous and was in 
recognized use by Edward Fitz Randolph in Stuart days, 
just following Tudor days. Eliminating the brief lines 
of the Lord of Ravensworth and the High Sheriff of 
Henry II — both of whom had been merged in other 
names and families for centuries gone by — there was no 
other line to which Christopher Fitz Randolph could be- 
long than that which descended from the Lords of Mid- 
dleham. Finding his son, Edward, father of Edward the 
Pilgrim, bearing the coat-of-arms of this noble line, there 
seems to be no escape from our conclusion that the Not- 
tinghamshire and American Fitz Randolphs came down 
from this junior branch of Westmoreland. The combined 
testimony of antiquarian, of church register and of mural 
tablet alike point to this conclusion. Many circumstances 
join to establish it. The coincidence of several "christ- 
ened" names, beginning some generations earlier in the 
kinship, and continuing to and into the American poster- 
ity confirm it. The arms verify it and the dates precisely 
fit it. Such a concatenation can find no other explica- 
tion. It appears safe to say that Christopher Fitz Ran- 
dolph, the grandfather of Edward the Pilgrim, could have 
derived his name from no other line than this. Here and 
not elsewhere do we find a fit setting for his name, his 
associations and his marriage with the heiress of Langton 
Hall. 



ii6 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER IX 

Review of Line of Descent from Rolf the Norseman 
TO Edward the Pilgrim 

Here, then, once more the writer pauses to recapitulate 
his ascertainments and conclusions. To the following 
ancestral story — ^here given in merest outline — any Amer- 
ican Fitz Randolph, who has been at the trouble of tracing 
his lineage back to Exiward the Pilgrim, may, we believe, 
safely and reasonably link his line, 
(i) Rolf — ^The Norseman Conqueror. 

Born about A.D. 860. Died A.D. 932. Married 
Gisela, daughter of King Charles of France. 

(2) William, "Longsword" — ^Duke of Normandy. 

Died about 943. 

(3) Richard "The Fearless" — ^Duke of Normandy. 

Reigned more than half a century. Died A.D. 
996. 

(4) Richard "The Good" — ^Duke of Normandy. 

Died A.D. 1026. 

(5) Richard— Duke of Normandy. 

Whose wife was Judith. He died A.D. 1028. 
[He was father of Robert "The Magnificent," 

117 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

whose son was William "The Conqueror/' and 
he was brother of Avicia, who married Geoffrey, 
Duke of Brittany.] 

(6) Geoffrey, Avicia. 

(7) EuDO— Duke of Brittany. 

Married Agnes, daughter of Alan, and died in 
1079. 

(8) Ribald — ^Lord of Middleham. 

[Brother to Alan Rufus, Duke of Richmond, 
and to Stephen and to Bardolf.] Married Bea- 
trix, and spent his last days in retirement at St. 
Mary's Abbey, York. 

(9) Randolph — ^Lord of Middleham. 

Married Agatha, daughter. of the first Robert 
of Bruce. 

(10) Robert Fitz Randolph — ^Lord of Middleham. 

Who built the Castle of Middleham and married 
Helewisa de Glanville. 

(11) Randolph Fitz Randolph — Lord of Middleham. 

Married Mary, daughter of Roger Bigot, Duke 
of Norfolk. 

(12) Randolph Fitz Randolph — Lord of Middleham. 

Who married Anastasia, daughter of William, 
Lord Percy. 

(13) Mary Fitz Randolph. 

Daughter of Randolph and Anastasia, a rich, re- 
ligious and benevolent woman who married 
Robert de Neville. She died A.D. 1320, having 
survived her husband 49 years. 

118 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

(14) Randolph de Neville — Lord of Middleham. 

Whose second wife was Margaret, daughter of 
Marmaduke Thweng. Died 1332. 

(15) Randolph de Neville — Lord of Middleham. 

Who married Alicia, daughter of Hugo de Aud- 
ley. Died 1368. 

(16) John de Neville — Lord of Middleham. 

Who married Matilda Percy.* Died 1389. 

(17) Randolph de Neville — Lord of Middleham and 

first Earl of Westmoreland. 
Whose first wife was Margaret (daughter of 
Hugo), Lady Stafford — descended from Ed- 
ward I — and whose second wife was Joan of 
Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt and grand- 
daughter of Edward III. He died in 1435. 
By his second wife his posterity runs into and 
adown the English royal line. See page 36. 
We now follow the posterity of the Earl of 
Westmoreland by his first wife, Lady Stafford. 

(18) John (the children of whose brother Randolph 

were all daughters) married Elizabeth, daughter 
of Thomas Holland, Earl of Canterbury. He 
died two years before his father, in 1433. 
( ^9) John, heir presumptive! to the dukedom of West- 
moreland. 
Was hero of the battle of Towton, in the year 



*The second of this noble family to become allied with the Neville- 
Fits Randolph line. 

fHume speaks of him as duke in fact at the time of the battle, and of 
his being siain with the great Percy, Duke of Northumberland, and a near 
kinsman, and with Sir John Neville, brother of Westmoreland, and Dacres, 
another kinsman. 

119 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

1461, and bravely lost his life there on the Lan- 
castrian side. He had married Anna, the widow 
of John de Neville. 

(20) Randolph — ^Duke of Westmoreland. 

(Son of John and Anna) married Margaret, 
daughter of Booth de Barton of Lancaster. 

(21) Randolph, heir presumptive. 

Died during his father's lifetime; married Edith, 
daughter of the Earl of Sandwich. 

(22) Randolph — Duke of Westmoreland. 

(Son of Randolph and Edith), married Cath- 
erine, daughter of Edward, Duke of Bucking- 
ham.* Died 1524. 

(23) Randolph — ^fifth son of Randolph and Catherine. 

The first son being Henry, whose son Charles 
was the last in the line of these dukes of West- 
moreland, and the other sons being Thomas, Ed- 
ward, Christopher and Cuthbert. Died probably 
about 1565. 

(24) Christopher Fitz Randolph (son of Randolph, 

fifth son of Duke of Westmoreland). 

Married Joan, daughter and heiress of Cuthbert 

Langton of Langton Hall. Died 1588. 

(25) Edward Fitz Randolph of Langton Hall. 

With whom was found and in whom was con- 
firmed by the "Visitation" of 1614 the Fitz Ran- 
dolph Arms substantially as borne by the Lords 



*This Buckingham was descended from Thomas Woodstock, Duke of 
Gloucester, uncle to Richard II. Bv this pedigree^ he was not only allied 
to the royal family, but had claims tor high dignities and extensive estates. 
Hume says Buckingham's mother was a daughter of Edmund, Duke of Som- 
erset, descended from Edward III, and mentions "the power and splendor 
of his family.'* He was at first a partisan and then an enemy of Richard III. 

120 



r 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

of Middleham and by the Spennithorne branch 
of Fitz Randolph. Died probably about 1635. 
(26) Edward Fitz Randolph — Pilgrim. 

Married May 10, 1637, at Scituate, Mass., to 
Elizabeth Blossom, daughter of Thomas and 
Anne Blossom. Moved to Piscataway, N. J., 
1669. Died 1675. 



121 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 



CHAPTER X 

FiTZ Randolph Principles and Later Fortunate 
Alliances 

In considering the fact of Edward Fitz Randolph's 
emigration to Massachusetts, the question arises as to the 
particukr impelling motive for a departure so radical. A 
certain aggregation of notes or memoranda, occasionally 
spoken of as Nathaniel Fitz Randolph's Record (made 
probably in the second generation following the arrival 
of the Pilgrims) indicate that young Edward's father 
came with him to the New World. Supposing this state- 
ment to be correct, we ask, Why did they come? There 
is hardly more than one answer that could be given to 
such a question. Not long afterward, divers persons 
came (from the Old World to the New) simply to better 
their fortunes, and such as these have continued to come 
ever since, and in increasing numbers ; but aside perhaps 
from the sufferings of their family under Tudor rule, still 
fresh and harrowing to the recollection, there was prac- 
tically but one influence guiding the Fitz Randolph steps, 
and it was the same influence that guided the steps of all 

123 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

the American immigrants of the first three decades of the 
seventeenth century, and that was Religion. It was the 
settled purpose to enjoy liberty of conscience and an un- 
trammeled communion with the Heavenly Father that 
determined these sturdy citizens of the British Mother- 
land to seek a land (though of a climate of doubtful hos- 
pitality) in which might be established a broader and 
freer citizenship.* This earlier emigration included not 
a few persons in whom high principle and piety were 
united with a good degree of education and social posi- 
tion, as well as of ability and courage. It is true that of 
those who fled from, or struggled with, prelatical power 
and kingly oppression, many were of the lower social 
rank; but, commingled with these, and holding fraternal 
relations with them, were English gentlemen and the 
sons of gentlemen whose blood had descended for cen- 
turies from titled families. 

If we were disposed to proceed on a line of thought 
and theory growing out of the emigration of the Fitz 
Randolphs we would have no difiiculty in associating 
earlier religious afiinities with the later religious develop- 
ments of this family. We have seen how for many hun- 
dreds of years their religious character and loyalty had 
been sustained and continued. From the days of the Nor- 
man Conquest, and afterward through the ages that fol- 
lowed, the Fitz Randolphs had generously and even lav- 
ishly contributed to Christian causes and charities, estab- 

*It will be borne in mind that the Stuarts had succeeded the Tudors and 
had fairly out-Tudored the Tudors in forcing the state religion, as estab- 
lished by Henry VIII, alike on the old Catholics of Yorkshire and on the 
Presbyterians of Scotland. 



124 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

lishing monasteries, churches, and hospitals without 
pause or stint. In the fourteenth century it would ap- 
pear that this family was socially and otherwise identified 
with the great movement toward religious freedom which 
eventuated in the publication of the Wycliflfe Bible. 
WyclifFe was under the protection of John of Gaunt, 
whose descendants were the kings of the House of Lan- 
caster, and also of the Earl of Northumberland, Lord 
Henry Percy, a devoted Lancastrian ; so the Lancastrians 
were inclined to be Lollards, or advocates of Bible read- 
ing, and were opposed to extremes of papal power and 
practices. 

Cicely, descendant of Mary Fitz Randolph of Middle- 
ham, married Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York; and 
their children, as we have seen, were Edward IV and 
Richard III, kings of the House of York. Elizabeth, 
daughter of Edward IV and granddaughter of Cicely, 
married, as has been noted, Henry VII, a Lancastrian 
descendant of John of Gaunt; and thus were combined 
the houses of York and Lancaster in the person of their 
son, Henry VIII, and thus an end was definitely made to 
the Wars of the Roses. 

The Lollard leaven was ever at work, and to the 
thoughtful student of history it will appear that the Open 
Bible, as opposed to priestly bigotry and restriction, 
found friends in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
amongst the intelligent and thoughtful members of the 
powerful families of Britain; and the seed thus sown 
developed afterwards not so much indeed in the breaking 
away of the English Church from Roman Catholicism 
(which in some sense was a private enterprise of Henry 

125 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

VIII, carried out for his own purposes*), as in the more 
significant separation from the established church in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which last separa- 
tion even many thoughtful and conscientious members of 
noble families participated. These are facts which fit 
naturally with the emigration to America of families of 
the Fitz Randolph type ; and it is hardly possible to avoid 
the surmise and the inference that the making of common 
cause by the men of patrician blood with the plain people 
who had come to the point of sacrificing their all in the 
cause of an Open Bible, was in keeping with the tradi- 
tions of a noble line whose ancestors in the fourteenth 
century had supported the outspoken father of religious 
liberty, John Wyclifle. 

Young Edward, the emigrant, kept in close touch with 
the advanced religious thought of those with whom he 
had embarked his fortune and his life. Some time fol- 
lowing the formation of a non-conformist religious so- 
ciety and the establishment of a regular pastorate of the 
same, Edward joined this society or church. Its pastor 
was Rev. John Lothrop, who came to Massachusetts a 
little later than young Edward, and who was an earnest 
preacher of those days, having been pastor for eight years 
of a non-conformist society, worshiping secretly in Lon- 
don. Upon his meetings being discovered in 1632 in 
London, preacher and parishioners were imprisoned for 
something more than two years. They were released 



*No disrespect on the part of the writer is, or could be, intended toward 
the English church of the twentieth centurv, or toward its offspring and 
comrade in work — ^the Episcopal Church of America. The course of Provi- 
dence is alike mysterious and beneficent. Out of imperfect ideals noble 
results have developed. Even out of evil, good has come; and our hearts 
still beat in time with the footstep of Divine progress. 

126 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

upon Mr. Lothrop's pledging himself to leave the king- 
dom. So soon as the prison doors were opened for him, 
he embarked (in the year 1634) in the ship "Griffin/' ac- 
V)mpanied by thirty of his parishioners. They settled at 
Scituate, and established a church there January 18, 1635. 
The following quaint entries in the original style and 
orthography of Pastor Lothrop himself are copied from 

his church register: ,., - 

** Marryed 

Edward Fittsrandolfe 

May 10, 1637 

Elizabeth Blossoms 

Edward Fitts Surrandolph 

jo)med church May 14, 1637 

Scituate 

Our Brother Fittsrendolfe 

wife joyned August 2^^ 1643 

Barnstable. 

Incidentally it will be noted that here, in the hand- 
writing of a preacher and a leader of men, are several 
new and distinct ways of spelling the old Norse name, 
which for eight hundred years prior to Pastor Lothrop's 
Records was undergoing numerous odd and curious 
changes in the course of the centuries, and yet was always 
susceptible of being traced and identified and even kept 
in the line of historical narrative. 

The Pilgrim, Edward, became very soon a factor of 
importance. He was a man of substance as well as of 
character. Mr. Leonard quotes from Pastor Lothrop's 
diary the statement that "Master Fitzrandolphe" built a 

127 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

house in Scituate during 1636; and it appears that he 
sold his property there in 1639 and moved to Barnstable 
with his minister and twenty-five townsmen. Here he 
built another home on an eight-acre-lot and lived in it till 
1649, when he sold it (and three other town lots) and 
removed to his farm in West Barnstable — z, tract of 143 
acres. This he occupied for twenty years — ^when he sold 
out and moved with his family to Piscataway, N. J. This 
important change seems to have been brought about (like 
that from England) by a desire for ampler religious 
freedom. The augmenting restrictions and exactions of 
Puritan rule in New England seemed oppressive and un- 
scriptural to a considerable body of excellent men and 
women who longed for a large liberty of thought. Re- 
ligious freedom, complete and unstinted, was promised to 
new settlers by the New Jersey Proprietors, and this con- 
stituted the chief lure to the pious pilgrims. 

We now arrive at a point in this history and line of 
tradition at which some special consideration should be 
given to an alliance with another branch of Pilgrim stock. 
In the ages gone by the Fitz Randolphs were from time 
to time exceedingly fortunate in their marriages, gather- 
ing increase of strength and character and standing — ^as 
well as of wealth — from a number of these alliances. It 
may safely be said, however, that in no instance of this 
sort did greater advantage accrue to him who made the 
contract than was gained by the young Edward who in 
May, 1637, ^^ Scituate, Mass., married Elizabeth, the 
daughter of Thomas and Anne Blossom. 

Elizabeth Blossom was born in Leyden, Holland, of 
pious Pilgrim parentage about the year 1620. Her father, 

128 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

Thomas Blossom^ was a prominent member of Rev. John 
Robinson's church from ttie time its members left Scrooby 
in Nottinghamshire, Eng. In 1620 the "Mayflower" and 
the "Speedwell" were to sail as companion ships for 
America. The "Speedwell" was a little ship of sixty tons, 
which had been purchased and fitted out in Holland for 
the Pilgrim congregation. She sailed July 26, 1620, from 
the port of Delfthaven, about twenty-four miles from 
Leyden, for Southampton in England, where the "May- 
flower" for a week had been waiting with a partial list 
of passengers from London. It was found that the little 
"Speedwell" needed repairs before putting out to sea. 
Repairs were made at considerable expense and delay. 
The two vessels then set sail for their long voyage, but 
the "Speedwell" proved leaky and both vessels put into 
Dartmouth for further repairs. Then once more they 
sailed together and progressed some three hundred miles 
westward from Land's End, when the captain of the 
"Speedwell" complained further of his boat's unseawor- 
thiness. Again the two vessels turned back, this time 
putting into Pl3rmouth harbor, and here it was decided to 
dismiss the "Speedwell" after a redistribution of pas- 
sengers and cargo. 

Referring to this event. Governor Bradford wrote — 
"So, after they had took out such provision as the other 
ship could well stow, and concluded what number and 
what persons to send back, they made another sad part- 
ing, the little ship (the "Speedwell") going to London, 
and the other (the "Ma)rflower") proceeding on her 
v(^age." 

This grievous and discouraging work was performed 

129 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

by Sq)teniber 6, 1620, and eighteen persons returned in 
the "Speedwell" to Leyden by way of London, where the 
leaky boat was sold. Among those returning was 
Thomas Blossom — with his little family. He, with a few 
other leading Pilgrims, accompanied the despondent pas- 
sengers back to their church-friends in Holland. Here 
he remained with Pastor Robinson, who continued to 
shepherd the flock until such time as the Society was able 
tQ send over to America others of the congregation. 

Two such embarkations took place prior to the death 
of the pious old preacher in 1625, and the remaining 
members embarked in subsequent voyages about 1630. 
The ship "Fortune" in November, 1621, brought over 
twenty-five members of the church besides children ; and 
in August, 1623, the "Ann" and "Little James" carried 
across sixty more church-members in addition to children. 

The Pilgrim church in Leyden and its transported 
membership at New Plymouth in America continued as 
one body. The branch in the New World never chose a 
pastor so long as Pastor Robinson was living. During 
the interim Elder Brewster presided over the spiritual 
concerns of the struggling congregation at Cape Cod 
until 1629. He had been one of the foremost pioneers in 
the Nottinghamshire movement in England, which re- 
sulted in establishing the Separatists* Society in 1607. 
From 1589 to September, 1607, he had been postmaster 
at Scrooby by appointment from Sir Thomas Randolph, 
Comptroller of all Her Majesty's Posts. 

After Pastor Robinson died, in 1625, Thomas Blossom 
wrote sorrowfully to Governor Bradford of this event 
and of the distress of the church, and strenuous efforts 

130 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

were put forth by the Pilgrim congregation to bring over 
to America the remainder of the parent Society in Ley- 
den.* So soon as they were able to arrange payment of . 
their obligations to the organized "Adventurers" in Eng- 
land, and buy out their interest in the Pilgrim colony in 
New England, they began to bring over the remainder of 
the brethren — ^though at great cost, sacrifice and anxiety. 

"Thomas Blossom came over to Pl3miouth, probably in 
1629, and was chosen a deacon of the church. Bradford 
speaks of him as one of 'our ancient friends in Holland.' 
The church records describe him as 'a holy man and ex- 
perienced saint,' and 'competently accomplished with abil- 
ities for his place/ He died in the summer of 1633.'' 
[Plym. Ch. Rec. i. 42, and Prince's Annals, p. 437.] 

On May i, 1629, six vessels left the shores of England 
with a passenger list which included the bulk of the Ley- 
den congregation, all bound for New England. One of 
these ships appears to have been the famous "May- 
flower ;" and included among its passengers were Pastor 
Robinson's widow and children; and it is believed that 
Thomas Blossom and his family were also among the 
passengers of this same vessel. It is certain that they 
came over in 1629. He was one of the first deacons of 
the Pilgrim Church in Plymouth after his arrival in the 
Colony, and continued in that office so long as he lived. 
After the death of Deacon Blossom, in 1633, his widow 



*See Young's Chronicles, pp. 480-8. Thomas Blossom's letter to the 
governor is dated at Leyden, Dec. 16, 1626. Its closing lines are as below: 

"I commend you to the keeping of the Lord, desiring, if He see it good 
(and that I might be serviceable unto the business) that I were with you. 
Cod hath taken away my son, that was with me in the ship, when I went 
back again; I have only two children, which were bom smce I left you. 
Fare you well." One of these two children was Elizabeth, destined wife 
of Edward Fits Randolph. 

131 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

joined the church at Scituate. In 1639 ^^ family moved 
with Pastor Lothrop from Scituate to Barnstable. Ed- 
ward Fitz Randolph had joined the church in 1637 at 
Scituate. His wife (as has been seen) joined it half a 
dozen years later at Barnstable. She attained the age of 
ninety-three in her later home in New Jersey. The aroma 
of a fine Christian character has ever surrounded the 
memory of this beloved and venerated woman. Her chil- 
dren and her children's children for many generations 
have risen up to call her blessed. She came with her fam- 
ily from Massachusetts to New Jersey in 1669; and near 
the spot where the peaceful Raritan finds the sea her soul 
went out to the Eternal and Divine Peace. 

And what shall we say of other commingling of family 
histories and characteristics? Coming down from re- 
motest ages are kindred elements and influences ever 
seeking to mate with each other — ^though unconsciously — 
and eventually embracing and joining their forces for the 
world's benefit. The noble and gentle blood of the 
Fownes was not, for a century after the visit of the Amer- 
ican Pilgrims to Plymouth, joined with the mingled blood 
of the Fitz Randolphs and the Blossoms in any human 
veins; yet in spirit these families were striving toward 
like ends. Whilst Thomas Fownes was Mayor of Ply- 
mouth, Eng., the Pilgrims found in him a staunch and 
influential friend. With his offspring was soon allied a 
family equally noble and strong — that of the Winthrops 
— ^a family that furnished for the enterprising infant col- 
onies of New England a line of grand and able governors 
reaching through successive generations ; and this united 
blood of the Fownes and Winthrops went on its way of 

132 



A STORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS 

purity, simplicity, ability and self-denial (and betimes 
under the modest Quaker garb worn by the Feakes, the 
Bownes, the Thornes and the Laings) to join the ancient 
clan of the Edgars* and the worthy lineage of the Man- 
nings, and in due course to find and be amalgamated with 
the heirs of all the Fitz Randolph traditions and purposes 
in their now settled home in New Jersey.f 

Meantime startling questions had arisen between the 
Colonies and the Motherland ; and some of the Fitz Ran- 
dolphs, whose fathers had fought for the Motherland in 
Canada in the controversies in which good Queen Anne 
became involved with the French, felt compelled to stand 
with their neighbors in asserting manhood rights against 
King George's arbitrary dictates. Against these un- 
reasonable dictates Quaker blood, as well as Baptist and 
Puritan and Pilgrim blood rebelled; and those who 
buckled on armor in defence of what they considered 
human rights acquitted themselves bravely and well. As 
to all the stories of more recent years, including the still 
greater and more terrible strife of "the sixties,'' when 
American fought American in the contest of Union versus 
Disunion, and as to all the bravery and statesmanship 
developed out of that fierce contest, are they not all writ- 
ten — ^together with the participation therein of our Fitz 



^Descended from Cospatric, son of Maldred by Algetha, daughter and 
heiress of Uchtred, Prince of Northumbria by Eifgiva, daughter of King 
Ethelred. This was the source also from which the Nevilles, or Fitz Maf 
dreda» sprung. See ''Genealogical Collections concerning the Scottish 
House ox Edgar/' published by the Grampian Qub in 1878. 

fit is also noteworthy that the descendants of the liberal and hospitable 
Hollanders^ with whom the Pilgrims of the seventeenth century found an 
asylum — ^with conscience^freedom-— should, within the last hundred years» 
become allied by family ties with the descendants of those whom their 
fathers had succored and protected. See Histories of Van Syckel and 
Opdyke families. 



FITZ RANDOLPH TRADITIONS 

Randolph family — in the books of service, the State 
Records and the histories of our own age, and of the age 
not long since closed ? 

Our country is still making important history every 
day, and it may at least be modestly hoped that on each 
of its pages may be found a record not wholly dissociated 
from the spirit of energy and high and worthy purpose 
which has hitherto pervaded our Fitz Randolph traditions. 



134 



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