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       When re-visiting a local National Trust property near York (England) recently  (Beningborough Hall), my wife and I decided to take a look at the Hall itself this time - rather than just the Walled Garden  with its interesting collection of Old Fruit Trees.  The previous owners (the Bourchier family) havent lived  in this 3000 acre estate for  years since it housed Air Force personnel during World War II.  Just off the impressive entrance foyer, was a small room devoted to the sale of Used Books (with profits to the Trust).  It included a few more serious or academic choices than typical of such charity shops and I noticed a two Volume set on the Life of the Duke of Marlborough written by his notable  descendant Sir Winston Churchill - in the early30s.  As I knew little about the period of English history concerned, and it was rather reasonable in price, I happily bought it.  The following is my condensed account of a major part of that earlier Churchills life  - to which has been added a deeper analysis of   his  familys genealogy from ca 1000 to 1800 - to augment that provided in the book itself or, indeed, as seems  available, at least in a reasonably valid form, more generally.

             As with most biographies, the book begins (conveniently for our interests)  with an account of the Churchill familys then recent history and background.  Whilst Id pursued the genealogy of several families as a hobby some years ago, this was not my main motivation in acquiring  the present book.  However, I appreciated it might provide interesting insight into some common characteristics of  two  remarkable members of that one family, albeit living 250 years apart.  Id  read a book some years ago by our more contemporary Churchill in which  he  touched briefly on his familys origins   being, in the border area of Dorset and Devon, in south-west England.  Id gained an impression of  solid English Yeoman stock who had probably taken their surname (or had been accorded such) by virtue of the earlier familys residence near some  church situated on a noteworthy local hill  - around  1300, say, when  surnames were first evolving.  From there, in any case, they had seemingly spread and prospered  further afield -  being so identified henceforth.  Belief in such an  origin would however ultimately prove quite mistaken.

      Reading the present biographys Preface renewed my awareness that Churchills prose has been much praised, and appropriately so.   In it, he essentially sets out the main facts on which the glowing reputation of his illustrious Ducal ancestor, John Churchill,  was based and on which the authors obvious worship of him was understandably founded.  There had however been many earlier biographers of Marlborough who, in Winstons view, were clearly biased against him - for rather ambiguous reasons.  As a result, it was taken by many that there was an enormous miss-match between his successful deeds and career on the one hand and the credit later accorded him by the British public at large, on the other.  Later, others (of acknowledged standing) had encouraged Churchill to set the record straight and hence this biography, entitled Marlborough His Life and Times, was written, and later published by him, in 1933 essentially to realise this purpose (and maybe give himself some breaks from building his famous serpentine wall  at Chartwell around that same time - during  his so called wilderness years). 

     The two Volumes are more correctly described as Books One and Two which contained Volumes 1 and 2, and Volumes 3 and 4, respectively,  of the original work,   Each of these 4 original Volumes have their own sets of numbered Chapters 1 to 25+ !   It  is certainly thorough and covers essentially the century from 1650 to 1750 that is, from the Stuart  through to the Georgian era  - of essentially English history.  The genealogical coverage of the Churchill family, however, focuses more on the preceding Tudor period of Henry VIII - and his daughter and heir  Elizabeth I that is, mainly through the preceding 1500s.

       While the bulk of these volumes provides immense detail of the results of the authors extensive  archival research, the brief Preface is  itself  of considerable value in that  much of that massive detail is summed up in more general terms there, and thus more to the point.  It is worth reproducing a little of this here (lightly paraphrased) to provide a quick overview of what is later covered in such detail, following our descriptions of the familys intriguing history and pedigree.


             Winston  thus begins by noting that  “..it is an interesting historical study to examine the causes of the great disparity between the glory and importance of John Churchills deeds and the small regard for his memory later accorded him by many of his countrymen.   He commanded the Armies of Europe against the might of France (who had long sought domination)  in 10 major campaigns, including 4 crucial battles.  He never fought a battle he did not win, never besieged a fortress he did not take, nor ride off  a field of battle except as victor.  Until Napoleon a century later, no commander wielded such wide-spread success and power across Europe. The union of nearly 20 previously confederated states centred upon his person when holding together the  Grand Alliance against France  - by both his military victories and  his later admired diplomacy.  In a virtual world war, involving the armies and navies of all the civilised nations, he led them against the might of that over-domineering France - for 25 years - and in so doing ultimately broke her irretrievably.”   I think this distils matters rather well.  

      This then was the British history I knew so little about essentially of the period  1660 - 1730.   Small wars were two a penny then, as I would soon come to realise. It was all about reversing that prolonged domination in Europe of France, under Louis XIV  (the Sun King) -  by way of constantly shifting  alliances for and against him.  And so, in a way, has it continued  to the present  day.  Britain has recently voted (2016) to leave the E.U. but the new Prime Minister of France has just announced that maybe they could adjust  that  latter  Union - to allow Britain  to  re-join.  But, he wants also certain changes in Germany whose economic power  and the value of the Euro, basically set by them, seem to account for  Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal all ;being seriously in debt, with high unemployment.  And so it goes.  Who should be dominant ?  Whose standard of living should always be just a bit better  than anyone elses ?   The U.S. ?   China ?   Europe ?  Germany ?  France ?  India ?  Russia ?   Islam ?     Who basically should  call the shots - especially their own ?

      This earlier period of concern had been described initially as that of the Franco-Dutch war or,  if a little later, of the wars of William and Anne  - essentially between France and everyone else.  Later, the War of the Spanish Succession became embroiled in this same prolonged conflict.  After considering the Churchill family history and pedigree, we shall focus mainly of the earlier phases of John Churchills life and long military, and diplomatic, career, in dealing with this on-going reality.  His future roles in subsequent conflicts were well established by that stage (equally successfully) and will be summed up here rather more briefly culminating in his victory  at Blenheim in 1704.  This saved Vienna and allowed the Grand Alliance to hold, after which Louiss dominance  faded inexorably.

     Such wars and battles were not focused on mere piecemeal gains in British territory or influence per se but rather as one part of “the larger struggle for a Protestant Europe”. Marlborough carried forward, said Churchill, all that was best of the Protestant views of both Cromwell and the Dutchman William III  (despite the intervening monarchies of the pro-Catholic brothers Charles II and  James II in England) - to establish the basis of our present constitution and democratic parliamentary system with  its established Protestant churches  (of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, respectively).  Ironically, religion is declining all over Europe just now (except for their salaried hierarchies who still talk it up with a studied gravitas).  But, are there still different cultural and religious views regarding democracy and  morality - and who should ,really decide things - for the best ?  (A value judgement if ever there was one.)

    Or, as so succinctly  expressed in the vernacular by Britains  recent  Foreign Secretary - Boris Johnson - with respect to Britain leaving the European Union - “Its not about Immigration or Jobs, its simply about Who calls the shots ” (as touched on above).  And that is about national independence, sovereignty and democracy, not export sales.  Are grander unions of neighbouring nations inevitable or only for temporary alliances in times of  extremis?  Who or what is right, or bestgood;  or bad  ?  Who decides ?   Its not any of our nations  9 or 10 year old boys   -  still being told to go outside and play;  it is, rather, just some of those young lads (and now lasses)  just a few  years hence, when one or two of them suddenly just  know - whats best for the rest of us and wants to be the ones who decides things.  Possibly it depends on how theyve been conditioned during their youths.  Or, is it testosterone ?   Or intelligence ?  Or an urge to fulfil  ones assumed potential and destiny ?

   Well, eventually, someone has to decide, and lead, presumably.  Societies that have not evolved such leadership potential and choice methods are probably no longer here to tell a different story.  But, is that by a democratically elected cabinet, or by an unelected Commission (as in Europe or China) ?  Those potential leaders who seek eventually to take over certainly rely very much on joining like-minded sub-groups and circulating winningly amongst them talking, persuading and taking the lead but always with trusted companions;  and of course the backing and loyalty of a well-paid Army, Police force, and Political party, certainly helps.   And  a Church - with its leaders  ?  Or, must it always come down simply to  “… the economy, stupid…” ?

             Had the very determined plans of Louis XIV and his senior Generals  (some  of those once 9 year olds) proved triumphant instead, the freedoms, religious and democratic, that we enjoy today would have been warped and restricted even more, suggests Churchill.  This would have been the case had either Napoleon or the Kaiser (or even Hitler) later fully dominated.  One hadnt appreciated, previously, that just as the German race, once consolidated, sought such domination in Europe - on their two major occasions (1914 and 1939), so too had France -  on their two comparable earlier occasions in the 1670-1710 period under Louis and, from 1795-1815, under Napoleon.  Everyone, it seems, must have their turn essentially striving to dominate the then global economy and culture.  With Spain, it was earlier and with Holland, a little later.  (There had in fact also been two shorter Anglo-Dutch Wars relevant to our story, prior to this present focus.)  And, we mustnt forget the British Empire, with its early control of India and North America;  Japan  too, and  the USSR,  have  now had their  turns.  China next ?

               Marlboroughs amazing career began from a surprisingly young age but he was consistently supported by the wisest counsels in the land - who gradually recognised his multiple talents.  This support included the Monarchs and Dukes mentioned, as well as such Ministers of state as Halifax, Shrewsbury, Russell, Cadogan and Godolphin - who will be further identified below.  And yet, to quote the later Churchill (in regard to his motivation in writing this biography) “fame shined unwillingly upon this future statesman and warrior whose repeated exertions brought our island and Europe safely through its perils - to produce its glorious results for Christendom”.  While Democracy vs Dictatorship was certainly important, Religion too was much more relevant then than one had previously appreciated.  It still is in places.  Unlike the Cheetah, we, like Lions and Baboons, are a social species –– although not just social, as some would prefer to believe;  some freedom of manoeuvre for the individual must still count.   Surely, the right balance  should prevail, according  to current conditions and needs of any given species, at given times including homo sapiens.    We  all evolve.

             While the later analyses of John Churchills  achievements werent distorted directly by the usual political suspects ie the Whig vs Tory interpretations of history as neither party at that time had sought actively either  to defend or to  castigate him in the round.  A number of minor elements  in his long career seem to have overly concerned certain historians and writers who, for more vaguely political or professional reasons, apparently sought to besmirch his name.  This was done, said Churchill, by  ”utilising every taunt, however bitter, every tale, however petty, every charge, however shameful or not, arising from minor incidents over a very long career.”  Maybe it just sold copy for certain historians, and hacks of the day.  Like most critics of talent in the Arts, Music, Sport, Literature and Architecture, say, some Historians too take their assumed and self-selected roles and critical orientation (typically without having created or accomplished anything too significant themselves)  very seriously.   Gravitas  abounds often as  role playing.

             Based on such pretexts and on but one controversial incident (detailed later), a succession of famous English writers had apparently sought to insult Marlboroughs  memory and reproach his name. These included Swift, Pope, Thackeray and, especially, the historian Macaulay. More modern writers, noted Churchill, had at least begun to reverse and correct these distortions and prejudices of the previous 250 years.  He was now to be one of them.  I hope to analyse the complex political and cultural milieu in which John Churchill would make his mark, once into adulthood, during this unstable and complicated period in pan-European history. This is primarily to become more aware of and better understand it myself.  You may or may not wish to join me.   There is a lot of genealogy, ultimately but it may be skipped !                                                       

            Thus, as mentioned, I would firstly address the matter of the Churchill familys apparent origins.  This comes out in Churchills first Chapter, if only gradually and intermittently, inter-twined as it is with necessary descriptions of the early years in the disrupted background of John Churchills parents, and grandparents, as well as of John himself. The times (essentially of the English Civil War and the ensuing Commonwealth period (dominated by Cromwells Puritans) were very stressful and uncertain for the land-owning gentry. The Churchill family background by this stage was certainly much above that of any Yeoman level suggested earlier (with an interesting exception) but, because of those times, certain false moves could well reverse any social or economic gains in a trice.  The future was most uncertain for many. That old  adage of the gentry and aristocracy - what we have, we hold -  was no longer as certain and achievable as had long been the case.  But, it was often accompanied by the injunction of the same class:   Never complain, never explain;  just get on with it.  Many did.  Quality will out (eventually), it seems, as I hope we shall see.



            John Churchill was born in 1650  to an earlier Winston Churchill,  the first in the family of that forename  (Winstone being the  maiden name of his mother),  and to his wife - Elizabeth (nee Drake).  The year 1650 is almost prophetic - falling as it did exactly mid-way between the end of the confused Civil War decade, of the 1640s, when Charles I was eventually overthrown and executed (having rigidly insisted that, as King,  his views on religion, and his role in it, should prevail), and the end of the following decade  being that of the Commonwealth under Cromwell, when the religious Puritans (Roundheads or Parliamentarians)  were in the ascendancy  - until 1660.   John would thus grow up to the age of 10 at least - knowing only that latter, anti-Royalist, anti-establishment culture with its fundamentalist Christianity (Puritanism) that increasingly dominated then.  Many felt that both Anglicanism and Catholicism had become too hierarchical and authoritarian, in that sphere of control.   But, it was essentially “we know best” wherever one looked.   No one knew then of course, including young John Churchill, that this new Puritan religious and cultural milieu wasnt necessarily going to last forever.  Many Puritans, leaving for America a few years earlier, werent  too sure either.   When looking back on History, it seems very difficult to ignore what we know today (and they didnt in their early years).  One had to  watch ones step carefully.

             Our saga by Winston begins with his Chapter One entitled simply, but enigmatically, Ashe House .  This was in fact a residential property and estate in south-west Dorset that would prove to be the seat of one branch of an ancient west-country family the Drakes - situated just inland from the small port town of Lyme Regis (then simply Lyme).   Earlier relatives named Ashe had resided there previously and hence the estates name. And the Drakes also held sway nearby at Colyton  in Devon.   The  location and relevance of Ashe House in our story becomes clear only gradually in the authors otherwise excellent prose.  However, we can cut to the chase to some extent by introducing and identifying the principal players and their roles rather sooner  than  Sir Winston felt necessary. 

               We note firstly that Ashe House was situated in that Dorset-Devon border area where Churchill had roughly placed the source of his ancestors, as mentioned above.  But this proved to be a slightly false lead.  In fact, they seemed, initially at least, to have been established, rather earlier, further into the heart of Dorset itself, nearer the northern  parishes of Minterne Magna and Wooton Glanville, some miles north-east.  But, even earlier, they appear to have  settled slightly north of that in turn - in the county of Somerset rather, and before that even  - in Devonshire to the south.   Thus, Ashe House (located just into south-west Dorset) was in fact but a temporary abode for the Churchills latterly for about a dozen years at most.  Their Somerset and/or Devon origins were  much earlier and more complex.  And before that ?  We shall certainly see.

   While John Churchill and his siblings would thus be born and grow up under wartime conditions at Ashe House near the Dorset-Devon border, this was due entirely to the temporary circumstances of their father Winston Churchill during the Civil War.  He was a Royalist Officer in the Kings Army; that is, a Cavalier, supporting the King, and hence often on the run from capture by the increasingly ascendant Roundheads as they progressed successfully to their eventual victory.  Fortunately, in a way, Winston, essentially then of Wooton Glanville, Dorset, as was his father John Churchill Snr, a local lawyer,  would marry the daughter of one Lady Eleanor Drake, who did reside at Ashe House. Fortunately, as she (and her then deceased husband) were, paradoxically, Puritan supporters of  Cromwells Roundheads ie on the Parliamentary side !   This contrasted with most of the country gentry in that national conflict - where most of the  west-countrys  rural under-classes and a few only of its  property-owning gentry as the Drakes - were such supporters.  In todays terms, the latter would be left-of-centre Socialists and Liberals (and often Non-conformist (Methodist) in religion), while the Royalists would typically be the land-owning Conservatives and successful Merchants generally of  an Anglican  persuasion  - as members of  the established  Church of England with its remarkable propensity to adapt, tolerate and survive.  The Catholic Church was still functioning, but weak and struggling.

              Lady Drake was the widow of Sir John Drake  and being now on her own, was concerned about a rather fervent Royalist neighbour (Lord John Poulett).  So, in 1644, she requested that a guard of Roundheads be placed at her disposal - to protect her and her 3 daughters.  But, before they could be fully deployed, that neighbour did indeed attack her estate and partially burn down her large manor house.  Lady Drake and family then took refuge in the nearby port town of Lyme Regis for a time  (already in Roundhead hands), before moving on to London for temporary accommodation, again provided by the latter powers who then held the capitol and also dominated there.  As in the American civil war of 200 years later, many families and regions were split right down the middle on either religious or economic/political/racial lines (or both). One is reminded of the Brexit controversy today as during 2015-20.  

             Oddly, in the middle of this national conflict, it had been arranged (probably by Winstons father John Churchill Snr) that his son, a Royalist as himself, should marry this daughter of a noted and landed Cromwellian supporter.  [It was later discovered that the Drake family had  previously held the Manor and Castle  of neighbouring Colyton in Devon, only 5 miles away, with which an earlier Churchill also had connections and the two families may well have known each other,  at least from then partially explaining this marriage choice.]     They had  married the same year as that arson incident at Ashe House in 1644.  But the young Churchill couple lived mostly apart from each other in those early years of their marriage with Elizabeth remaining with her widowed Drake mother, and her own sisters, for the next 4 years, mainly in that London accommodation recently provided for them. 

             Proceedings were soon commenced against Lord Poulett that eventually gained her only £1500 (of the estimated £5000 damages (worth 70 or 80 times or more in todays currency).  During this time, young Winston would have been stationed with his regiment in continually changing venues that is, over the period 1645-47 - as the conflict still raged throughout the country in much confusion.   But, by late 1647, he and his wife were apparently able finally to live together, but still with her mother Lady Drake when the young family  all returned to a still damaged Ashe House in south-west Dorset.  This at least afforded them some Roundhead security, if under rather Spartan conditions for landed gentry in their burnt-out shell of a home.

             While Winston was able to avoid arrest and fines by the Roundheads  there (it being assumed to be a totally non-Royalist, non-threatening household) for the next 2 or 3 years, he was eventually brought to justice - as the Roundheads saw it for having been an active Captain in the Kings army.  His fine, still addressed to Winston Churchill of Wooton Glanville, Dorset, Gent amounted to about £450 - which was considerable for a man whose estate (a part only of that of his lawyer father  John Churchill, Esq - also of Wooton) - was worth but £160 per annum (as received from its rents and profits).   This left him too little to maintain his own  marital home there  and, in any case, his widowed father had recently re-married and, as Winston  didnt get on with  his new step-mother, they soon moved back into Ashe House with his Drake mother-in-law and family, at least initially, for the protection that her status could still provide them

          [We may note here that ones social status in those times (and for centuries before) was described, in ascending order, as Labourer, Husbandman, Groom, Yeoman, Gentleman (Gent) and Esquire (Esq); above this  were the Knights  (Sirs) and the Nobility (Lords) and finally, Royalty.  While both Winston and his father lived at their small estate in Wooton Glanville, the father John, still its sole owner, was thus an Esq, while his adult son would remain a Gent, until and if inheriting an estate himself.   At all levels, there were continual attempts to make out and aspire to be seen as being of the station just above that which the facts (if known) would typically warrant.  If, at marriage, one falsified ones current social status, a fine could be levied.  Many men working and living in the larger cities would often still be classed along these same rural lines - as a Groom or a Yeoman, say, even if no longer having anything to do with country estates or farming per se- (often on  rented land - as a tenant or Yeoman/Copyholder   when that status was enrolled (Copied) into the manors permanent and legal Estate (manor) Records on vellum).  The point was they had to work with or without using their hands; a proper Gentleman (and/or Esq)  on the other hand, didnt have to;  he would typically have  other, more reliable,  income sources.   It was sometimes a fine distinction.]

           An Esquire owned his own land (Freehold) and/or received sufficient  income from it or from investments or a quality profession; a young Gentleman was often in a more precarious position (reliant on others) - just below that level - but usually quite well educated.  Prudent Yeomen with savings could lend money to imprudent Gents and Esqs and eventually buy them out, and so ascend the social scale as new money.  Marriages generally entailed property agreements - with little or no cognizance taken with respect to any mutual love or affection. And primogeniture assured that estates remained essentially intact over the generations - by descending  down only the eldest sons ownership;  not split up endlessly between siblings and cousins over successive generations, as in some  countries (eg  France), with their own conceptions of equity, fairness and justice.

            Leaseholders were often of a more ambiguous status  - as semi-gentry.  And some Freeholders were actually only Leaseholders if their  property was originally held  of the King (Crown) or of some very early Norman Baron (granted it by succeeding Kings ca 1066-1400s)  and since forgotten, as families died out; but actually was still really owned by distant others who had inherited such former Crown estates for which albeit very long Leases had  eventually  run out. Later Wills may leave property to heirs that were originally in the form of 500-year Leases which, unrealised, had run out and were invalid.  

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            Once settled back  at Ashe house (1648), the young Churchill couples first surviving child was a daughter Arabella born there in Feb 1649 - and their second, a son  - John Churchill (our primary subject) - on 26 May 1650.  Several others (12 in all !) would follow, but most did not survive.  Baptisms were registered at St Michaels, Musbury, the nearest parish church (with some property there still owned by the Drakes) albeit located just inside Devonshire. The Vicar  (with Puritan oversight?) would probably have provided some early education for the boys at least - including John and his brothers George and  Charles - in the later 1650s.  But it is more probable, notes Churchill, that their father would take control of that subsequently - as he was himself of an academic bent (having been to Oxford ca 1630s) but with no large estate yet to manage, or a profession (beyond the Army) to pursue.   Indeed, he had the time and interest to investigate his own familys uncertain genealogy and armorial status, being eventually motivated to do so because of its advantages in those times (described later). 

        Winston  and family were finally able to return to his own property in Wooton Glanville by 1660, after his father had died there the year before (as, coincidently, had Cromwell and his Commonwealth experiment).  Both events would provide Winston Churchill and family with a more secure, if modest, lifestyle, estate and future as appeared initially at least to be the case.    For these developments happily coincided with the Restoration - of the Monarchy, when Chares II  returned from exile in France if still under the protection and  financial support of Louis XIV (a fellow Catholic).  Such events seemed to re-energise Winston Churchill. He was soon elected as M.P for the important Dorset port of Weymouth (previously held by members of the local Bond family (of Dorchester and Steeple) where they seem to have played the Roundhead card). And Winston also became virtually a founding member of the new Royal Society of leading academics in London.  Many arrangements and compromises were forthcoming between the former opposing sides whether based on religious or political differences. Old scores were settled and gradually parliamentary government, but under a King  with his ministers,  returned in the 1660s.

          The Court of friends and family surrounding the Monarchy  once more became one of the realities of daily social and political life, and of economic influence, advancement and control.  One progressed in life as much by whom you knew in that vague institution (the royal Court), as by what you knew,  although the latter apparently did still count to a certain extent and  rather more in England than it did in more rigid France with its comparable  royal Court until its own Revolution a century or more later.

           In this reality, Winston Churchill sought the advancement of himself and, increasingly, of his eldest son, John Churchill still only 12 to 14 - as this new order evolved in the early years of that Restoration period (post-1660). Winston no doubt continued to oversee his sons education locally, but would be on the lookout for a placement for him in Royal or Court circles and/or into a good Public school.  His own background was in the Army (although he had briefly attended University, and one of the  Inns of Court (where lawyers were trained)  and he likely still had contacts in those spheres as well. Moreover, his steadfast support for the Royalist cause over the difficult years of the 1640s and 50s meant that the Kings advisors sought special consideration for him (and others like him) within the financial limits that Charles II found himself on his return in 1660 - with a very  depleted Treasury. 

                In his account, our author Churchill remarks on the seeming special treatment his earlier namesake received for his recognised merits and services for the Kings executed father Charles I, and now for his own role as an active M.P. in the new royalist parliament under Charles II.  For one thing, his Churchill familys Coat of Arms was to be augmented to a higher standing, something that he was known to be seeking after his own recent investigations - of the familys long-uncertain Armorial background.  For another, he obtained  a position for his young son John Churchill, as a Page in the Royal Household  - that of the kings  brother James, Duke of York (a future king  himself).  Indeed, James would play a most important, on-going role in the future of young John Churchill, and thus in our story generally, over the next 25 years.  But first…



             At this point, we pause in our intended coverage of young John Churchills subsequent military and diplomatic career, and his rise to fame, and return to consider further his familys origins as they unfolded long before the Civil War.  In an examination of that earlier  Coat of Arms, Winston found likely with the help of the long established College of Arms in London, and any early published pedigrees then available - that the Churchill  Arms appeared to be based on a rather ancient one of  Otho de Leon, who was  described as the Castelan de Gisorn (seemingly in Leon in France), before 1000 AD !   Otho  was said to have had two sons Richard (b. ca 1020) and Wandrill (b. ca 1025) the latter referred to as the Lord of Courcelles   “…whose youngest son (unnamed) came into England in 1066, with William the Conqueror.”

         This line was then roughly traced (he doesnt say by whom but see Chapter 4 for more on  this)  over the next few generations - to, say, the mid-1100s -  when Winston noted reference to  a certain  John, Lord of Curricelle (or, as in subsequent divers records -‘’de Curechelle, later called de Churichille), in Somerset) - whose son Sir Bartholomew de Curichelle was a Knight  of great note in the time of King Stephen - ca 1130-50s.  [We may confidently point out here that these early versions of the family name - that would gradually evolve toward Churchill, between  1100 and ca 1400,  were typically spelt with a capital C followed by the consonant  h (or not), followed  by  one or two of the possible vowels, followed by the letter r, followed by the letter c, followed by the consonant h (or not), followed again by any of the possible vowels, followed by a single, or a double, letter l, followed finally by  the letters e and sometimes s (or not).  There could and would easily be 50 different such early spellings;  almost anything would do to fill out that central core of   c-r-c-l.]

          In any case,  it thus  appears that the original source of the family and its name very likely does not derive from some church relevant hill in southern England  (whether Dorset, Somerset or Devon) but, rather, ultimately  from a manor or district called something like Courcelles in Normandy,  France  !  That early English manor (and later village),  in Somerset, had thus acquired its name eventually as  Churchill - from  the first principal family to settled there by about 1150 - rather than the other way around.  This village and parish of Churchill remains there to this day, thus named,  Is there a church and a note-worthy hill nearby or not ?  Most  probably not.   There would in fact be 5 or 6 other early Manors and villages in scattered locations across the southern counties which all had this same  French-sounding name and  origin, but from rather earlier by  about 1070 or so.

          [We may note that, for a consideration, the  College of Arms (or some in it) have been known  to help one  establish an apparently valid pedigree. There appears to be sufficient evidence in the Churchill case however not to have required any such suspect assistance as will become apparent. Moreover, another Churchill descendent whose early family settled in Oxfordshire (an ex-Army General) found this same pattern in his familys earliest surname spellings it too having evolved gradually from such as Curcelle, Courichilles, Cherichull, etc.)  And, more recently, we have noted that the famous Great Doomsday Book of 1086  reveals that there were indeed about 4 or 5 other such early Churchill Manors (later villages)  in other west-country counties whose names became so established from this same source possibly from the sons, brothers and nephews of that early Courcelle family who had settled and remained there over those earlier  generations.   The villages concerned are mostly still there today now as Churchill all having evolved from  earlier  forms of that Norman surname  (as Courechelle, etc ) - as recorded in that famous Book of 1086.   It is  now held in the Public Record Office   (National Archives)  -  in Kew, west London.  It was effectively the first English Census.

          Thus, we have found that near Kidderminster, in Worcestershire, the Great Book lists (in folio 117r)  a Manor called then Cercehalle (now Churchill) with 40 inhabitants in 1086. Their names were about 15% Norman French and 85% Anglo-Saxon);  near Banbury in Oxfordshire was another early settlement called Cerecelle (now Churchill) where many of the  inhabitants (or property holders often residing  elsewhere) appeared to be quite high ranking, with titles and important church positions.  Another in Worcestershire  was called Circhehille;  and finally there was at least one in Devonshire (folio 11r)  called Cercelle with 28 inhabitants names having  this same early Norman:Anglo-Saxon balance.  This Devon Churchill was located near Exeter, I believe, and is discussed further below.  

              A generation later, King Stephen (of Blois) reigned from 1135 to 1154, during which time a rival cousin, (Empress Matilda), also claimed the English throne - resulting in a protracted mini-civil war, ending about 1153.  [I have recently been reminded that just north of my present location (in Northallerton, North Yorkshire), Stephen  fought the Battle of the Standard as early as  1138 - against Matildas  Scottish supporters Stephens side again winning.]   In the south, Bartholomew had supported Stephen (as we are informed by Winstons uncertain  source) but died doing so in about 1152 in the west country at or near Bristol Castle, in Somerset.  The considerable lands acquired previously by the first  Churchill(s)  ca 1066 to ca 1130, say (and still held in 1086), mostly in Somerset,  may have been compromised, however,  during  those  early- to mid-1100s by some Royal dictat  (after a change of King), but some time after this  some advantages again accrued to the  family  as when the next Churchill of note had  provided Stephen (as well as the next monarch (Henry 1st) with much needed support in  those dangerous and competitive  times.  

              There doesnt appear to have been any attempt to discover any specific spread of the first one or two male Churchills  (Courcelles) from  their arrival  in 1066  -  before settling in such as the west country, or in any other particular region.  All we can say is that they seem to have appeared quite early in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Somerset, Devon, and even Dorset - by the late 11th early 12th century. We shall however describe later another Norman family (the Bartelots; later Bartletts) possibly related to William de lEu (a considerable early Norman land owner)  - who also benefitted from their role in protecting certain chief Barons and their families (often Royal relatives) who had received grants of property from King William , in widely disbursed locations.   (This purposive dispersal to obviate cliques of close relatives and friends from later having  a more cohesive power-base - from which  to attempt rebellion) and as a result the Bartelots were able themselves to settle near those scattered Nobles - through grants of local land from that chief Baron, in turn. These would be confirmed by their initially French surnames now holding smaller Manors in such areas.  Three or four other families of similar status apparently inter-married, seemed to be distributed likewise, if less widely or reliably, in those same areas -  mostly in the south and west of England. 

               One of these families was indeed the Churchills one son of whom (Bartholomew) seems to have  benefitted by his relationship with a Baron Ralph FitzRalph…(and marrying his sister)  while  serving Kings Stephen or Henry 2st,  in Somerset and Devon.   It is this branch of the family  that we shall seek to trace out from their apparent beginnings before their later association with a manor eventually called Churchill in Somerset - without knowing if any other branches (of de Courcelles, etc) had survived or prospered elsewhere (as land-holders rather than, subsequently, as Yeomen), as in Devon or Dorset.  We shall describe a situation later where the early Churchills appear to have spread from Somerset south to Devon and then east to Dorset.  The latter could well have linked up there, however, around 1500,  with  another branch which may have spread more directly from Sussex west  into Hampshire and then into south-east Dorset. This would occur  through the 1200s  to 1400s, say - unless their presence there, (as near Corton, Dorset)  may even  have preceded 1066 ,as discussed later.  

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       [NB    We have, since writing the above,  come across an Internet  site that lists  the major land-holders in each county at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086).  The first impression was of the enormous number of Manors (mostly now parishes and villages) somehow then held by about a dozen or so of Williams original Barons and Tenants-in-Chief  - in many different  counties (if sometimes, if rarely,  concentrated  in just one or two).   Many of these were then sub-let to a range of  local citizens whether Normans or Anglo-Saxons.  Their lands were  often described as being “ ...held   of  (or  from)   one of those  few named Norman Barons  or Tenants-in- Chief.” Above them, everything  was affectively held ultimately of the Crown.

            I first examined this situation for Somerset (quite arbitrarily) and discovered that one of (if not the) Tenant-in-Chief there,  by and before 1086,  was a  Roger de Couriceulles - who effectively owned or held over 80 such Manors in that one county !!   Oddly, however, when one checked for such  details with respect specifically to those Manors soon to be re-named such as Cercelle or similar (from just after 1066, say) in Oxfordshire, Worcestershire or Devon, (all later to become, and be known as, Churchill),  the then current owners (holders), at or soon after 1086,  did not included any individuals named Courecelles  or similar. Nevertheless, there would later be quite a few in those general areas with the  Churchill form of that surname probably descended from younger sons or cousins of those earlier Norman land owners (typically the elder son) who, it seems, didnt actually reside there themselves by then. Those later residents would  generally have become  Yeomen  - who had to  pay rent to some such absentee landowner often re-granted the Manor concerned  by some  later Baron or King who had  gained or seized  their control.    

        I then checked for Rogers  similar involvement then  (1086 or before)  in Devon but this proved to be much less the case than in Somerset.. And, similarly, in Dorset, I found (so far) only  one such early ownership - by  this Roger de Courcelles of a small manor called  Corton  near  Portisham (mentioned above).  This further confirmed  the odd reference  Id  come across to same from time to time, if with no details to better confirm  that possible early Churchill holding with any confidence.  Future Churchills did of course descend in this  area  also again probably from younger  sons or brothers typically named John or William, it would seem.   Did they eventually settle in nearby Dorchester town itself by ca 1500, or even before  ?  The answer seems to have been yes.                             

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             There had in any case been little time in that first post-1066 century to have resulted  in  more than 2 or 3 other early branches wherever.  One family of  Churchills seemed to then continue residing in Somerset and/or north Devon (see below) for several more generations - through the reigns of  Henry 2nd and 3rd (1200-1300 ) and the  Barons Wars (against King John) by which time, or during the reign of Edward 1st (12721306),  the many Churchill-owned (but not so named) Manors  in Somerset had already been re-seized  by the Crown, with many others,  and given or sold to some  favourite supporting Baron, or  well-off local Yeoman.  [Note:  Something similar seems also to have happened a little later  - to the first Roger de Couercelles elder son or grandson  - around  1120-1140 - in  Somerset.]   From then, and during the period 1200- 1400s (including  the confusions of the Was of the Roses), tracing exact relationships and descents  becomes, for a time,  rather  more uncertain. 

               That early Somerset manor, to be known later as Churchill (not yet noted in the Doomsday Book but likely  established by Bartholomew a little later  (1140-50)  was, in any case, sold much later  (after that blank period) to a landed family named Jennings - who held it from about 1550 for a further century.  During this extended period (200+ years), the later Churchills would presumably have had to survive locally, or elsewhere nearby, as best they could, depending on what other resources, marriages, educations or properties they may have managed to arrange, hold or acquire while ever seeking to maintain some social and economic standing.  But, the detail of the familys history over that 200 year period appeared, initially, to be  rather  scant and uncertain - at this point.

              As a consequence, as pointed out by our more contemporary Winston, the family may have become distributed into many levels of society in Oxford, Somerset, Worcestershire, Devon and Dorset through the 12th to 14th centuries, with some elements hopefully still sufficiently educated and moneyed to resume their former positions and status - at the Gentleman and Esquire levels (that is, certainly above that of Husbandman or Yeoman), as conditions allowed.   [Thus, we may consider the rather up-market marriage  (1472)  of a later Charles Churchill to a Margaret Wydville/Woodville -  an apparent relative of the then Queen). ).  Where did they live then ? At what level ?     What social contacts did they have ca 1460-90  - still in south Devon ? 

          We recall that the Jennings bought the Somerset estate a little later,  around 1550, and were  forced to sell it in 1652  -  to clear debts arising from the recent English Civil war a common problem among the gentry at the time (if one was on the wrong side).  Who would then be able to buy it - in that later Commonwealth period (ca 1650-60), say (with some implied fore-shadowing  - to be clarified below).

              This brings us back to those later times  of John Churchill, Esq, (ca 1630s-50s), the Dorset lawyer of Wooton Glanville, and his son and grandson  - Winston and John Jnr (of the Civil War period,  and its aftermath  1660s) - with  the latter Johns life  still being our ultimate focus.  We have assumed that during the 16th century and the Tudor reigns mainly of Henry 8th and his daughter Elizabeth 1st, there were still some senior Churchills in that general west country area - connecting us back to the earlier Somerset family and their  manor of Churchill (near Bristol). This was many generations earlier of course through the confusions and troubles of the 1400s (with its Wars of the Roses)  and into the ensuing, more stable, Tudor period of the 1500s. But, between the two, we have all those above questions to try to answer.

            These will hopefully be better answered once we have read Winstons account (as conveyed by his later namesake) in regard to the history of the familys Arms and Manor(s).  For he points out that, confusingly, there was, after the Elizabethan era, another, contemporary John Churchill, also a noteworthy lawyer, who achieved great distinction in both the  pre-  and  post-Commonwealth  periods but in London, rather than in Wessex.    This was during the later stages of Charles  Is reign,  then through Cromwells ascendancy  and into  the Restoration of Charles II post-1660.   Where does this new John Churchill (and his forebears) fit in, we must ask ? He appears to have later been  fully  in neither political nor religious camp in those early to mid-1600s.

              Indeed, he was (eventually) a knighted Sir John Churchill, who had risen to hold the significant legal posts of Attorney General and latterly Master of the Rolls, by the 1670s advancing in stature from the 1640s onwards - when he continued to thrive  and advance under Cromwell.  Such a sustained position would suggest he wasnt necessarily of either a Roundhead or Royalist disposition, but someone who kept his cards close to his chest.  Indeed, he turned out to be a rather bright and influential character, if a bit of a chancer, who sometimes sailed rather close to the wind.  Moreover, with his success, hed acquired sufficient wealth to retire - to the west country himself - and purchase an estate there - namely, that at Churchill  in north Somerset (!) - from  the Jennings (who, unexpectedly,  re-enter our story again in a totally different context, and rather significantly, later).  

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              This London lawyer, Sir John Churchill, was thus undoubtedly another descendent of this same one line of Churchills - one who also seems to have sought to re-establish the familys  origins and bona fides after the war through the purchase of that earlier family Manor, one that we would assume was relevant to their common descent.   He was  born around 1620, oddly similar to that of our earlier Winston, and to later be seeking much the same thing.  Sir John Churchill was thus younger than Winstons father, also a John Churchill (the Dorset  lawyer) then of  Wooton Glanville, Esq)  - who was  born near the end of the previous century a generation earlier.  Training in Law was centred then at the Inns of Court in London and our older Dorset lawyer John, a Royalist (Cavalier) and member of Middle Temple (one of 4 or 5 such Inns of Court), would surely have known this slightly younger, and eventually more illustrious legal cousin -  who was to become, and die as,   Sir John Churchill,  Master of the Rolls one of the highest legal potions in the land,

               Indeed, the younger man succeeded the older in a position of Deputy Master of Chancery,  even if they had trained at different Inns:   John of Dorset  at Middle Temple (from 1614) and Sir John of London (to be) at Lincolns Inn - (from 1638, somewhat later), both pre-Civil  war  days.   For that latter John, the times had apparently been quite good - in both Cromwells 1650s, when that ancient Somerset estate became conveniently available and, subsequently as noted,  after the Restoration, post-1660.  He was thus a kind of Vicar of Bray character.  His elder lawyer cousin, on the other hand, back in Dorset, suffered somewhat for his continued adherence and loyalty to the Royal cause alone, as would his son Winston Churchill in turn, now a contemporary of this beknighted cousin -  the first Sir John Churchill.  But, ultimately, Winston would match him becoming an MP, a founder of the Royal Society and father of the future  Duke of Marlborough to be given Blenheim Palace !  Sir John, on the other hand,  had 4 daughters who  later became  an awkward expense to marry off !  He was broke by the end.

               A clue to the connection between these two branches of the Churchill family (and to those who held the Churchill manor earlier) is provided by a later comment made by our said Winston  when he first refers to the forename of his own grandfather one Jasper Churchill that is, father of his  own father  John  Churchill, Esq, the  Dorset lawyer (who was born, it now appears, about  1592).  The latter mans now revealed father  Jasper  was thus, in turn, likely born about 1570  -  in mid-Elizabethan  times.  Moreover, Winston also usefully names  this Jaspers own father - as one  Mathew Churchill  (bn. ca 1545), near the end of Henry 8ths reign.   And Mathew  in turn, it seems, was  the only a  son  of  one  Roger Churchill  likely born himself about 1515-20 or so, as estimated) - quite early in  Henrys reign.   This Roger Churchill will long remain an important enigma in our  searches with little or no documentary sources (evidence) confidently attached to his name, identity and history. 

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               The suggested connection of these  differing Churchill branches appears to arise from information on the paternal parentage of   Sir John Churchill, the successful London lawyer, shown separately from our other sources.  For Sir Johns father  is discovered   (confusingly) to be another  (but  younger) Jasper Churchill  (Jnr)  - he latterly also  of London.  This  later-born Jasper Jnr  was thus not the son of  Mathew Churchill (b. ca 1545), shown above but was, rather, that elder Jaspersecond son born after  first son John, the Dorset lawyer (to be) , and thus the latteryounger brother - born about two years later  (ca 1694);  he was thus  Winstons uncle.   The pedigree chart should help clarify  the relationships  amongst these  various  early John and Jasper Churchills.p;                                    

               We note that the latter John Churchill (the Dorset lawyer of Wooton Granville and, later, nearby Minterne Magna), was described by our more contemporary (20th century) Winston  as the one who most improved the fortunes of his  branch of the Churchill family at least having, as mentioned,  become a Deputy Registrar in Chancery, as well as being a member of Middle Temple in London himself.   He had  married quite well into the aristocratic Winstone family of Gloucestershire and, as a Cavalier, did equally well for his eldest son Winston in turn - in arranging his marriage  - to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Drake, of that important  west country family.  The latter family  was, albeit, of  a  more liberal Parliamentary persuasion who, incidentally, had earlier produced Sir Francis Drake, the famous Elizabethan explorer and of that branch at Musbury and Colyton, Devon - near Ashe House.

            While John Churchill, the Dorset lawyer (bn  ca 1592)  may have effectively lifted himself up by his own bootstraps,  possibly including arranging his own marriage with the daughter of a landed family, it is equally likely that both he and his own father Jasper  Snr (bn ca 1570) had  some vital assistance  from  yet another  law graduate  named John Churchill  ! (b ca 1568)  - descended from yet another (ie third)  branch of the family !  This latter John  had  entered both Oxford and Middle Temple, even earlier,  in 1586    thus making three such John Churchill lawyers in our story in a row each seemingly of a different  branch !   There was obviously talent in the family coupled with  some education and increasing  financial security from a rather shaky start, after their earlier travails.

             As a successful Esq of the early 1600s, that latter John Churchill  may well have had contacts with such as the Winstone family (of distant Gloucester) as through  a fellow law student in London of that family.  We shall place his position in the family more clearly below.  This John  may not have  practised as  an active  lawyer however but would likely put his legal training to good use (as many  thus  educated then did)  when  inheriting and managing a family  estate  with  its often  litigious implications (as when being claimed by others on dubious grounds). 

            The younger,  middle one of  our three  John Churchill lawyers he of Wooton Granville (bn ca 1592)  was able subsequently to purchase a little more Dorset property - at Newton Montecito (near Wooton) and at Minterne Magna (just to  the south), in which the family appears to have had an earlier interest - thus improving the overall value of their otherwise modest mid-Dorset estate.  All this would presumably be inherited by son Winston by 1660, just after his father John died, and the Monarchy had been restored to Charles II.

              But the younger Sir John Churchill the London lawyer- also did well in this regard - having married Susan Prideaux, daughter of  Cromwells Attorney General - Sir Edmund Prideaux  - of Devon, and later buying that  former Churchill manor in Somerset.   He had 4 daughters   but no son. Marrying them off would  prove quite an expense for him in his future retirement years. This  type of problem had apparently happened  quite often in earlier periods of the  main Churchill family descent,  as we shall see.  A paucity of viable sons but several daughters would soon diminish the worth of the original Churchill estates and their longer  term security.  [Oddly, and ironically, the son of this Johns younger brother, Jasper, would later be in a position to help him (and others in financial trouble) to be described later.]         

             The elder Jaspers father Mathew (b. ca 1545)  and his father in turn  - Roger  (b. ca 1518)  would  take us back nearer  that  uncertain period during the   early 1500s  -  long after the Churchill estate  in Somerset had  apparently been seized  or somehow lost, but much before  it had been purchased by the  early Jennings  - in mid-Tudor times (ca 1550)  and/or subsequently lost by  them,  and (re)-purchased by Sir John Churchill, a century later.  

       [Note that until the times of the three Lawyers and their issue (ca 1620-50s), our dates for their respective forefathers, and those of said Jasper, Mathew and Roger Churchill,  have often had to be estimated on the basis of  any  available evidence, if often  piecemeal and of uncertain validity, via often unreliable  Internet sources that are often quoted and re-quoted quite uncritically.   They may well be out by 15 % or more  either way and thus earlier generations can quickly become significantly  mis-placed in our temporal analysis  (and in its spatial one also).    We would hope however to locate more accurate supporting evidence subsequently - to further consolidate our understanding.   [Yes a little more is now at hand; see below, but proper source material is still very reluctant to reveal itself.]   Sadly, church records of births and marriages were  not  registered before 1538 and, even then, often later lost or destroyed as may have been  property and legal documents;  And archive searches entail deciphering difficult early English or Latin script that can be  small,  faded  and  very time-consuming.]

             The basis and means of affording educations for the latter two young lawyers (uncle and nephew) during the Stuart era and Civil War period  is obviously a major factor in the familys rehabilitation and subsequent progress. This usually implies some property holdings (and thus rental income - to pay for that crucial education) which can often be monitored and confirmed by examination of property transfer documents and Wills registered at the time and now held amongst other  property litigation documents in the National Archives  at Kew (or at more local County record offices).   In any case, we may accept that the forebears of our prime subject, John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough,  descended  via the   aforementioned line of:

William, Roger,  Mathew,  Jasper,  John and  Winston  CHURCHILL   

with two other parallel branches apparently having split off a bit earlier from that  lines main  progenitor (William Churchill) to be discussed next, below.  

             Readers who do not wish to  become seduced into the intriguing complexities of the  necessary  genealogy required to  established the validity of that latter statement can quite easily jump directly  from here (end of Chapter 3  to the start of Chapter 20  (about 120+  pages hence) -  to continue with Marlboroughs career itself.   For establishing and clarifying that bridge from the  distant  past to that post-Marlborough period has been exceedingly challenging, but  productive  of much useful material in the  search for all relevant background  Churchill evidence and its associated analysis and significance. 



              Having arrived at  uncertain conclusions and with a rather vague conception of the dates  and  individuals  involved,  our  earlier Winston continued with his family  history account    by next referring to  “the ancestor  of the present Churchills  of Munston. ”  That is, to those so identified    living  at  that latter village or manor then  contemporary  with   himself.   We would  assume this would be   during  the 1650s and 60s.    Munston (never mentioned previously)  appeared  initially to be a parish (today called Manston) as it was located quite near to Winstons home parish of Wooton Glanville in  central Dorset - and so reasonably close to  Somerset  and  that original Churchill  manor  there which he had most recently considered - of a century or more before .  So, who was  that ancestor - of  this  now later settled family?

            That earlier ancestor  had  seemingly shifted his farmer location - apparently from  that  earlier  Somerset manor towards  this later mentioned one -  of  Munston   (nearer Wooton  in mid-north Dorset)  seemingly at some  unknown time in the past   He  was  named  (unsurprisingly, says Winston), as yet another John Churchill.  He  appeared  to be somehow associated with or related to the above mentioned Roger - of  equally early birth  (they possibly being brothers or cousins, say,  and thus born  around the early 11500s as during 1515 to 1520 say).  For he had also mentioned   Rogers wife (the  mother of Mathew) as  “having been born a Peverell”  - an ancient  landed  family   (quite like the Churchills).  Such a  Peverell daughter  would likely be a significant  heiress for ones  elder Churchill son  to marry.

          Early accounts often describe  her as having been married firstly - as Jane Peverell -  to one Nicholas Megges  and,  only secondly,  as Jane Megges, widow,  to our said Roger Churchill.  Both marriages had seemingly transpired, according to Winston,  back at that original Churchill manor  in  Somerset.   Jane thus appeared  to have become  an early  widow (of Megges)  - and so then held that Somerset property in her own name as well as other Peverell  lands elsewhere.   All this would be taking place (apparently) around the time of Henry 7th or early 8th -  ca 1500  to 1530, say, before the story then  continued  until  the time Winston described for the establishment  of that subsequent  manor  - at Munston  -  by the  early 1600s, say;  that is, about  that suggested  century later.

        [The reader may be assisted here by learning  that there was in fact a similarly named Manor -  but called Muston - which  a much later John Churchill did  indeed purchase but not until ca 1610-15  (not 1530-50).   It was located  further east or south-east - near the Dorset county town of Dorchester  - where that Johns grandfather,  an even  earlier John Churchill (who was (apparently) Rogers brother)  had resided - from ca 1540-60  - ie 125 years earlier !   But neither he nor Roger (who would himself live nearer  Dorchester by then)   derived,  in any immediate sense,   from that ancient Churchill manor in north Somerset, or similar. All becoming a little cloudy.] 

          The more immediate origins of these more recent progenitors of Winstons own family and the actual location, much later, of  a manor of confused  name, were essentially unknown by Winston whose appreciation of both the locations and  timings   of these various elements of his own familys background  was clearly quite  limited, confused  and uncertain.  He had grown up in the 1620s-30s   (partly in London) and, much later (ca 1650s), may have only vague recollections (of 25 years earlier) of hearing something about some  other Churchill line being mentioned at odd times - who  had once  resided  in  Dorchester and /or somewhere called (something like)  Mustone or Munston.     In those days, one didnt have the immediate access to vast information sources, nor the   conveniently  compressed perspective on history  afforded by same that we have today;  no newspapers, telephones, maps  or radios, never mind  an Internet or  databases !   

            After describing that rather  later situation regarding the purchase by Sir John Churchill, Master of the Rolls, of that  original Somerset manor of Churchill  from the Jennings (1652)  - who had  held it from about 1552  -  Winston  bemoans the fact that had the latter  family not  alienated that early manor (and so sell it precipitately through debts), it might conceivably have come eventually to his (Winstons) own son John   he being of course a quite  different and much later John Churchill (the future Duke);  this odd possibility could have come about by virtue of Johns eventual  marriage (would you believe) to a daughter  of that  same Jennings family,  if much later,  namely,  Sarah Jennings - as will be fully detailed below.    This later event would be a complete coincidence however  that  marriage having  absolutely nothing whatsoever  to do with the former Jennings ownership of that much earlier Churchill manor, even indirectly.

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             Winston  then continues by describing the next equally  confused period of the familys descent as he understood it.  We quote this mostly verbatim just below as it may help if any future  re-analysis seems required (as in fact proved  to be the case) - to better account for that missing 125 years !  So, he continues:

           “All this was very fine”, notes Winston,  “ but,  when we come to John, ancestor of those  present Churchills  of  Munston, and to (that Johns  seeming brother) Roger  Churchill who, by the daughter (Jane) - nee Peverell, relict of Nicholas Megges, had issue Mathew, the father of my grandfather Jasper)…we enter a rather shady phase”…(for)…  “Edward Harley (an earlier bibliophile) has rudely asserted that our present John Churchills  great grandfather   (Jasper) was  (allegedly)  a Blacksmith (!) - who worked  for  the  Megges”.  This information , says Winston, was   “…from a footnote, quoting  an entry in a  commonplace diary  possessed by an  earlier  Duke of Portland  and, certainly, as Johns  gt-gt-gt grandfather,  Roger, had apparently married a widowed Mrs Megges), this was all  rather  suspicious, and even disquieting.”     Yes, and  rather  confusingly described also !   It  may benefit from a re-reading and a further analysis regarding  the timing of so many variables  concerning  the people and places implied  thus: 

            Assuming that our present John Churchill  was indeed Winstons son - the future Duke (b 1650)  -  this indicates  that after Roger Churchill allegedly married  the widow Jane Megges (nee Peverell)  - around 1544, say -  and soon had  by her a son Mathew Churchill (ca 1545-7),  who in turn had a son Jasper about 1570,  with  the latter man  allegedly becoming  a  Blacksmith (for Megges) - around  1586, seemingly.   This does seem most odd -  in that Megges would have been long dead by then and, secondly, we would  assume that a son in a landed family wouldnt normally have had to pursue such an occupation.    But, if both Roger and Mathew  died quite young (which, sadly, they both did), Jasper may have been in a rather vulnerable position   more possibly  if his mother Jane  had re-married yet again (by ca 1565, say) and young Jaspers welfare was somehow then subordinated  to any later issue Jane might have by such a new  husband who, in those times, quickly  assumed   considerable  control  of  (now)  their  (essentially his)new  estate.   There was very little sentiment about then.  But,  the law ?

            As Roger apparently did  die  quite young   around 1552,  as weve  estimated   and Mathew as well, about 1575,  at a similar young age,  it would appear that  the latters  son in turn, Jasper, may indeed have  had to  pursue  this  surprising  role in the short term.  But how would such employment be  described  as working  for the Megges if Janes first husband  (Nicholas Megges) had  indeed already died  - before either Jasper (or  even before his father Mathew) had been born (to her and Roger)?   Clearly, there was some mix up  in the facts and dates as obtained (or later recalled from his youth) by Winston including the name and possible location of  that  somewhat  later Churchill manor   seemingly thought by him to be at  Munston  or whatever.   [See more later on relevant manors  at  Muston and/or Pulston (in the south) but never at a Munston or Manston (more to the  north/west) albeit  all still in Dorset.]

             We thus  take particular note of  the main  focus of  concern in analysing the familys background  when Winston  writes   ”…when we come to  John, ancestor of the present Churchills of Munston, and to Roger…etc ” (as above),  this ancestor, an earlier  John Churchill, would  likely   be one living in  early Tudor times  - 1520 to 1540s, say,  and so probably the  gt-gt-grandfather  of those Churchills  presently then resident there  -  (at that latter  mid-Dorset manor) - a century or more later - ca  1650-60s (as suggested above) - when Winston wrote those words.   HE seemed  aware  of there being such an earlier or separate branch of the family presently then still at such a place - but not very certain  about  its name or location, nor exactly how that earlier ancestor John Churchill (somehow related to Roger) may have fitted in,  nor when and where all this happened.   All rather vague and tenuous.                    

              One had assumed, after reading Winstons early account,  that  the sale of the Somerset manor  (to the Jennings) possibly at a loss - was partly resolved  by Roger  Churchill  conveniently  marrying this  now allegedly widowed heiress  - Jane Megges (nee Peverell) and so acquiring (or re-acquiring ?) that indebted estate.    The new family may then  have moved and  settled (from that Somerset manor) to this  later family-owned manor - at Munston, Dorset  (where that  earlier John Churchill had seemingly already settled  a little previously (beginning the shift from Somerset -  so further consolidating  a branch of the family allegedly already recently there -  ie  in mid-north Dorset, say, as seemingly described - being reasonably quite close to Wooton Glanville,  where Winston had later lived.  Well, this was certainly the general impression  gained on first reading (the earlier Winston)s  rather confused  account with its suspicious, shady  and disquieting  implications, as he himself described them   - of admitted uncertain validity.

            All these developments  would have been before the eventual Elizabethan era from the 1550s-70s, say,  and continuing  later into the  mid-1600s - with  this seeming mid-south  Dorset  branch of the Churchills, having previously held property in  both Somerset and Devon  before that.  Some connection via these  Munston Churchills  to those of nearby Wooton Glanville, seemingly  in more central Dorset also , and to the later re-ownership of  the ancient Churchill manor,   in  Somerset,   all seemed (on the face of  it)  to be a  most reasonable,  if  a little  confused,  scenario and conclusion at least to follow up.     And yet and yet…    


           Since writing the foregoing, we have acquired further data on the family to help fill in several gaps, inconsistencies and that suspected connection which now appear separately below (rather than seeking gradually to merge or integrate  such new material into Winstons original but often  uncertain conceptions, understanding  and structure).  There may thus be some over-lap, repetition and necessary revision   in our new account  - to be  given below. 

             Additionally, we shall have the important benefit of an earlier  biography of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, complied from many sources, including the archives at Blenheim (in Oxfordshire),  written  in 1818,  by one William Coxe.   This was originally intended to be written about 1740   by one of two  respected  historians of the day - suggested to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough in her widowhood - with a grant of £1000  as desired by her  but, for whatever reason,  had apparently never materialised.*    With the support of a later  (3rd ) Duke of Marlborough however (an inheritable  title), Coxe  ultimately took on this long neglected  project himself.  His effort  included a limited section on the familys origins which we now incorporate into  our present re-analysis and understanding  - gained from many  other sources as well. 

   [*  It has been subsequently discovered however that such an earlier  history had in fact been so produced by one Thomas Lediard, Esq,  FRS  - dedicated to an even earlier (2ndDuke of Marlborough Lord Charles Spencer in 1743.  Its contents appear to be suspiciously similar to those of Coxe which would suggest that Lediars preceded that version..  We  shall  now seek to utilise them both without distinction  unless something stands out that merits separate identification (as by the insertion of either  [Cx]  and/or [ Ld]),  as appropriate.  And, more recently, we have become aware of the source of seemingly much of this same material - from an even earlier source the Complete Baronage - by George Cockayne of 1727  and, especially,  its 1812 extension  (the Peerage), by Collins and Brydges.

          We  thus  usefully begin our genealogy (again) on the bssis of at least 5 new sources  as follows:     

THE EARLY CHURCHILL GENEALOGY (2)    ca 1000  to 1500.


          In his book on  Marlborough,  His Life And Times (1933), Sir Winston Churchill described  how his namesake ancestor, the first Winston Churchill (1620-1688), sought to promote his familys interests after the Civil War,  with the returning monarch Charles II,    by better establishing his own familys Pedigree and Coat of Arms.  This would no doubt entail assistance by the College of Arms in London, as well as examination of many old documents held in national and local archives.  A familys possession and right to such Arms was very important for their security and advancement at the time.  The Monarch needed  trusted families around  him where that trust had built up - over many generations reflected in their Coats of Arms  - which  indicated  those who were well established, reliable,  trustworthy, and loyal and had been  so  - over time  (generations).  

<              It was thus concluded, as touched on above, that the Churchill Arms implied descent from an a very ancient  family - of one Otho de Leon which Leon was a semi-independent region immediately to the south-west of Normandy, in France. (They may have derived even earlier from the  Poitou  region further south [Cx].)  [Also noted in Ld]   Both Leon and Normandy were known to assist each other in difficult times, before and after the year 1000  and, unsurprisingly, this included providing  men to  aid William the Conqueror, in his invasion of England  in 1066 no doubt with promises of  land  and property  if  successful.  Williams army thus consisted of about 20 or so Chief Barons, each of whom would expect to gain and hold (under William and the Crown), a major Barony or Honour of territory - each containing about  50  or  more often (purposely) widely-scattered Manors (such as the Bigods, Malets, Peverells and Varrens).   Some of these could then be granted in turn by such  Barons to their respective senior  Knights  and their  Companions who fought with  them so divided up that each received (to hold of their Baron)  one or more knights fees of land    each containing one or more Manor(s)  of, say, 400+  acres, and a good house.  In time, these would often be inherited or effectively sold - in ¼ or ½  fee portions.  [Fee  or Feu from Feudal as part of that well established and hierarchical socio-economic/property  system of ca 800 to 1500+ - throughout Europe.]  

              Indeed, that first Churchill was said to have received initial grants or rights (typically under a more powerful Norman Baron, or his immediate Companion) to many smaller Manor Lordships especially in  Somerset, and rather fewer in  Devon, Dorset, Worcestershire, Oxford , and even (more northerly) Shropshire [Cx].  [I have also noted one reference only of an early Churchill manor in Hampshire.]    Amongst these, Coxe singles out  (for whatever reason, but see later)  a very small manor called Corton, in the parish of Portisham, near the south coast    just below Dorchester, Dorset.   [Ld describes this as Corfstone, I believe.]   Various sales, tradings and transfers of such early properties then transpired between many such  landed families  in the  period 1100-1400+.   [Note  we have now confirmed the early Churchill ownership of Corton, Dorset as being the case from as early as 1086, and possibly  even before 1066.   But,  more impressively,  was their ownership of over 80 (!) manors in Somerset,  as of 1086 or earlier.  This would make the first Churchill, if not a Baron,  then at least an exceedingly important Tenant-in-Chief  - as being Lord  of so many Manors  in one  county (Somerset)   most unusual and probably worrying  for subsequent  Monarchs. [Yes; see below). Fir it could conceivably provide a power base for any rebellious competitor.

          [The following is from the British Historys account on Somerset - as per  both the main Domesday Book (called the Exchequer Domesday - to differentiate  it from that called the Exeter Domesday (which sometimes included more detail on many west country Manors) :  

        “There was no other Lordship belonging to the church in Somerset comparable to Taunton in importance.   That  great fiefdom  was headed by the Bishop of Coutances, and also fills some five and a half columns of Domesday Book for Somerset.  This fief, however, like that of the Bishop of Bayeux (mostly in France) which was represented in Somerset by one Manor onlywas akin  to the  lay baronies  and so, on the Bishops death, was dealt with  (ie re- distributed) in like manner.   It did not therefore descend or transfer  as a whole  (as to a relative)  and so  makes it difficult to trace its later devolution and, therefore, the ownership identity of its many Manors as so first recorded in 1086.  Of the true church lands in the county, the most important were those of the Bishop of  Bath and Wells, and of the Abbeys of Bath, Glastonbury, Muchelney and Athelney. In the early days of the Conqueror's reign the See of Wells had recovered the manor of Banwell, which had been wrested from it by Harold, but there are signs in Domesday that the imposition of knight-service on lands of the Church (ie by Laymen rather than Churchmen), was already making itself felt in the frequent mention of knights (milites) as their Arms became increasingly quartered [and boarded] in respect to the  Bishop's many former manors.

        “But the famous abbey of Glastonbury was the chief sufferer in Somerset;  its chroniclers' complained of the loss of its lands by their gradual distribution among the Norman knights are confirmed by the Domesday Survey. Portions of its  thegn lands (of the former Anglo-Saxons) were annexed to that  fief of the Bishop of Coutances, but its chief loss was caused by the imposition onto that Abbey of a quota of forty knights.  To supply this large contingent, knights had to be enfeoffed, which involved the practical alienation of many manor thus transferred to them  (and to other influential Boron-like  Normans).  Tillhuus,  the Domesday Survey (1086) shows a very large number of these  in the hands of  Roger de Courcelles, initially, but about 30 or more years later his  successors  [mostly not his own descendants] found they   were  either taken back by the Crown,  given to some more trusted Barons or simply sold on when the Royal finances were  low.]  Muchelney was only called upon to provide one knight and Athelney escaped free.”  [We also find the following]:

           “With the church lands, as with those held by the King,  Domesday reveals that there was a lack of any systematic rules for  allocating same to the invading forces.  Thus, under the fief  of  Roger 'de Corcelle'  we read that his at Puckington had formerly been held  'of St. Peter's (once thought to be  Muchelney Abbey) . Yet under Muchelney's prior fiefdom we cannot trace Puckington or find that Abbey making any claim to this Manor.  But, with the help of the  Exeter Survey, we discover that Domesday only accounts for 11  5/8; Hides of desmesne, 5 hides in the hands of the villeins, and 2 hides of encroachment.  There remains, therefore, to be accounted for 1  3/8 hide portion , which would more than cover this new holding of Roger. The fact that such encroachments are sometimes recorded under the religious houses affected, and sometimes not, makes it extremely difficult to trace them out.”  [And again]:

          “A curious feature also noted n in the major [Exchequer] Domesday Books coverage for Somerset  [in contrast to that of the Exeter Domesday) is the appearance of a Maltese Cross in drawn in the margin of the text, against the entries of certain Manors.  We find it against the Count of Mortain's manors of Crowcombe and Heal, of which he had effectively  robbed St. Swithun (of Winchester) , as of Tintinhull and Kingstone Manors -  of which he had also deprived Glastonbury. It calls our attention   also to the fact that Roger de Corcelles was holding land at Long Sutton  which two English thegns had previously held of Athelney Abbey;  ie -  'et non poterant ab ea separari';  it also stamps Roger Arundel as the wrongful holder of Ash Priors, stolen from the Bishop of Wells; and it stands against the record of Glastonbury's right to Brompton Ralph and Clatworthy, two manors which William de Mohun had contrived to annex to his own fief.”  [Its hard to believe, but descendants of the Courcelle, Mortain and Mohun families  (by then as  Churchill, Martin and Moon) were still gaining manors suspiciously when the Monasteries were being  dissolved by Henry VIII ca 1540s; see much later.]

      “But it does not distinguish all the losses which had been inflicted on the Church. In its place, however, an accusing finger points to Stratton-on-the-Fosse and Middlecote, of which Glastonbury had also been robbed by the grasping Bishop of Coutances. Glastonbury and Athelney, which had suffered most at the hands of the newcomers [from France] , group together, at the end of their fiefs, some of their chief losses, from which we learn that Roger de Corcelle had been preceded by his father [Wandrill de Corcelle] , who had obtained Limington by giving in exchange five hides which he held of Glastonbury, with no power to separate them therefrom. To Athelney's loss of Long Sutton we are indebted for one of those double entries, which sometimes prove so instructive:”  [Here  - a long Latin quotation.] 

         We insert instead a quote regarding the chief culprit in these regards:

           “Of the Lay (ie non-Church) tenants,  the Count  Robert  de Mortain,  half-brother to the Conqueror (as was Odo, made Archbishop of Canterbury), was by far the most important;  it was  reckoned that  the assessment of his Manors  was over 342 hides and their annual value at £346 6s. 4d.   The figures for the fief of the Bishop of Coutances are slightly in excess of both these, but the Count could claim, like the Bishop, that he held nearly a tenth of the county, whether from the standpoint of assessment, or from that of annual value.   As Tenant-in-Chief in twenty counties, the Count can hardly be said to be associated especially with any one, unless it was that of Cornwall, in which he practically reigned supreme; for whether he was actually its Earl or not, he was virtually the only lay Tenant-in-Chief within its borders.  

           With Somerset, however, he also had a connection of a special kind, for it was there that he raised his castle of 'Montacute,'  which became, on the breaking up of his fief, the head of a great 'Honour' [a group of very many  Manors]   comprising his broad estates in the counties of Somerset and Dorset.  Robert de Mortains share of the spoils of England was greater than that of any other single  man.   Manor upon manor among the dashing streams of Devonshire,  the hills  of Somerset and much of Dorset  came to him including by an exchange with an ecclesiastical body, the possession of which, like the possession of Pevensey, seemed to mark him out as the very embodiment of the overthrow of England.  The Count further improved his home estate by obtaining Tintinhull, close to Montacute, from Glastonbury Abbey, to which he gave 'in exchange' Camerton, south-west of Bath, a manor of not half its value.”

           “Next in importance to the fief of the Count of Mortain were those of Roger de Corcelle.  [Others of near importance were Roger Arundel and William de Mohun.]    The holdings of the first of these (Roger de Courcelle) , covered  more than five columns of DomesdayBook (!). They were held  largely as  Tenant-in-Chief or Under-tenant  in the one county, such that  ' there were not,  'six  Hundreds [Administration areas each  of many parishes] in Somerset of any capacity, in which this ubiquitous  Feudalist had not some interest.'    The persistent endeavour to make him the founder of the house of Churchill (see ref. 146)   is not proven.”  [However, the author  of this opinion in his  Introduction on Somerset, does add that  while the name appears at  Domesday as 'Corcelle',  'Curcelle', 'Corcelles, 'Churcelle,  etc,  he notes that it  is still found regularly enough in the next century (1100s)  and that he has suggested ( ref.147)  that  it does likely “ derive  from Courseulles in the county of 'Calvados,' on the Normandy coast.”  

          We note that the author  does  nothing  to  refute the gradual evolution of the latter name  specifically toward Churchill - in the many locations where the name Courcelles, etc was consistently found initially (as via Domesday) and  altered gradually in many documents thereafter.   If the eventual name Churchill (or similar) came from elsewhere,  where is the evidence  ?  Moreover, what became of those many instances  of Courcelle, etc otherwise ?   In any case, we  now paraphrase the following text - to retain some semblance of neutrality in this matter]:   

        “Roger de Courcelle is remarkable not only for the number of his Somerset tenures he held as Tenant-in-Chief , but also for that of the Manors he  held as an Under-tenant, especially if, as asserted, he was sometimes also shown as  Roger 'Whiten/Whiting'  who often also held  of the Bishop of Coutances. The devolution of  Rogers  many estates remains, unfortunately, subject to doubt  where  this has  been investigated. (ref 148).  Here one can say no more than that  “ the Baronial Malets often succeeded him, as at Curry (Mallet),  and in the bulk of his Barony and his many  tenancies”, but apparently under a fresh grant after some (unexplained) forfeiture of his [Rogers] fiefdom , rather than by inheritance and descent.”

      [Which fresh grant and forfeiture details however seems to  have remained  mysteriously and purposely lost or unrecorded !]  

          However, the  Churchill-held  Manors gradually became  eroded  in any case through the failure to produce sufficient male heirs)  and the  resultant continuous sub-dividing of  their remaining manors in order  to promote marriages for  their  many more viable daughters - ca 1250-1450 [Cxto sons of other contemporary middle-ranking families (see references to same below).  The eldest male lines (could otherwise rely on male primogeniture to inherit most of any  existing estate  intact but their more significant properties  apparently  became  increasingly tenuous as a means of providing future financial security and status for such  later eldest Churchill sons ie by the 1500s.  The same applied to the Peverells and to the family called de Mohun (later Moon), de Brionne (later Brian) and de Mortain (later Martyn/Martin},  the latter from that  extraordinary power base described above.        

        Meanwhile, to review, Winstons and/or Coxes findings  (jointly)  suggested that Otho  (possibly appearing also as Gitto or Guido (or vice versa)  through  uncertain  transcribing)  [as  by Ld]  had two sons Richard (described later  as  de Leon, Lord of Motalban (b ca 1012), who apparently continued his line back in Leon)  and Wandrill - Lord of Courcelle (b ca 1015, as estimated) - whose youngest  son  came to  England with the Conqueror in 1066.”     While Winston doesnt name this key first ancestor of his own English line ie Someone de Courcelle, say,  one finds him named elsewhere [Ld]  - as  a  Roger de Courcelles (b ca 1045), the son of  Wandrill  de  Courcelle  and wife  Isaabelle de Toya - who likely married about 1040, we estimate.  [Note: one account  reverses this father son order.]   This Roger, aged about 21 at the invasion in 106 seemingly,  would still  be  just 40  or so at the time of the Doomsday survey -   often  identifiable as the  Roger de  Courceulles  who held so much property in 1086  in that name  - in Somerset and his descendents later as  de Churchille, etc  just as de Brionne became de  Brian,  or  Bryande Mortain became Martin   and de Bartelot  became  Bartlett,  etc.   [The latter will display a most significant role by the  time of Henry VIII.]

              [Interestingly, we had earlier come upon a reference to the view that Wandrill had indeed come  from that  small port on the Normandy coast conveniently called Couricellum, allegedly founded  in the late  900s by the Vikings, and known to trade with southern England (such as Brixham, in Devon, or Weymouth, in Dorset, for example) before 1066 and that Wandrill or his son Roger de Courcells likely already had some small fiefdoms near there, as a consequence.   One does wonder if  Corton in Portisham, Dorset very near the south coast (just below Dorchester)  may have been one such;  Corfe Castle was nearby and  Ive seen other Manors elsewhere spelt as Cortune/Corftone)  sometimes transcribed as such as Cortone, Corfeton  or  Corsetone possibly with the letters   ts  and  f  being confused in early transcriptions).  Many Manor  names  often  evolved by virtue of uncertain spellings and pronunciations over the centuries.

          [And now we have found via Doomesday  that Corton in Dorset was indeed owned by Roger de Courceulles  in 1086  or earlier,  and that Domeday source (which gave the Normandy origins for  dozens of other  major players in 1066) clearly shows   Roger s line had indeed itself derived from just such a Norman location. His entry read: 

            “ de Courceulles, Roger    of  Courseulles-sur-Mer, Calvados, Normandy” 

     He  now held large holdings in Somerset, and some in Dorset and Wiltshire.”  (actually only one each in those latter two);  Somerset was by far his major county at least initially;  some change in Monarchs  in the mid-mid- 1100s seems to have required rewarding  new allies and reducing others. Roger may have died relatively young and his son(s) were not in a position to defend such  widespread  holding from such as the Malet and Poyntz families...]

              We see that Wandrills son Roger is shown (elsewhere) as marrying one  Gertrude de Torbay, daughter of  a Guy de Torbay, in about 1075 ie after settling in  England.   We must note that the ports of Brixham and Dartmouth are situated on Torbay a large bay just off south Devon!  This could account for the Churchills holding some of their earliest property - in south Devon (just a few  miles  north-east of   the important County town of Exeter) from about that time,  as well as some  in Worcestershire, Wiltshire and  Oxfordshire  (where other Courichelles, Churchilles, etc were apparently also settled)  - through  later marriages or  royal gifts   - by the  1100s-1200s.  [Note that the account of that effective census/survey  of 1086 (Doomsday Book)  lists the 28 inhabitants of Curcelle (Churchill)  in Devon as including someone there named simply Roger who would typically have or need no other surname that early than simply  being  of that place being considered. 

          Roger was a Norman name (not Anglo-Saxon   as Alfric or Wolftuna, etc)  and so would imply the one who held such a Manor  there  -  as   Roger….. de Curecelle (or similar);   he was possibly  already settled in mid-Devon by 1086,  or before.    [The location of that early Courcelle (Churchill ) family in Devon  may have been near Totnes or Torbay (eg at Marldon ?)         (and, only later, in  BroadClyst and  then in  Rockbeare,- 5 miles  north-east of Exeter, as discussed later).   While holding much property in Somerset, he or his eldest sons in turn, would probably not live there  themselves  but have a local Yeoman  collect  rents as required at least until the ownership of those manors began to be transferred or re-assigned from Roger and family to others.  [See later re the Malet family in particular;  whoever held or controlled the larger Abbeys (as Glastonbury) seem  to have determined who ended up with various  nearby Manors that had previously been solely under such Religious Houses control;  as eg Shepton Malet as it was later known.]

             Winston then shows the next certain member of  his family as  John de  Curichelle” (born, we estimate, about 1090), apparently being Rogers eldest surviving son and described later as Lord of Courcelle (but which one?);   This Johns son, in turn,  says Winston,  was Sir Bartholomew de  Cherichille (or later de Churichelle)  -  a man of great note in the tyme of King Stephen.   [both Cx and Ld a]  - ie ca 1140-50.   The fact  that  John was a son of Roger is not shown by Winston,  nor  this Johns marriage to  a Joan de Kilrington, by about 1110-20 (as estimated), as noted elsewhere. [As was also a  younger Wandrille de Courecelles, a likely namesake of Rogers father Wandrill de Courcelles.]     There appeared  initially to be no manor or village named Kilrington, (although  there was one called Kilmington  a little further south-east).   However, we  later noted  that  there was at least a  family named  de Kilrington  settled early in the   large Hundred of Broadclyst, just 6 miles north-east of Exeter, the capitol town of Devon - another port  not far from Totnes and Torbay.  The de prefix implies that they must have been the principal family of such a place,  so named,  locally.  In any case, Broadclyst and, later, neighbouring  Rockbeare, immediately to its south will both prove most relevant in respect of  locating this  earlier (pre-1500s)  Churchill family in Devon (see below).

            Bartholomew is said [Cx and Ld]  to have married Agnes FitzRalph, daughter of  a Ralph FitzRalph,  a Lord of Tiverton (later the home of the Courtenays,  Earls of Devon) which is about 10  miles north of Exeter (and hence significantly  near Broadclyst  - about mid-way between Exeter  and  that apparently late manor of Churchill - in north Somerset).  We estimate that Bartholomew was born about 1110-15   and would marry Agnes FitzRalph  ca 1135.  [But, see Collins, later]He appears to have been knighted by Stephen around 1145-50  - for his bravery in protecting him from the forces of his cousin the Empress Matilda  who was claiming the throne for some years  ca 1140s-50s.  Bartholomew died by 1152 when defending Stephens Castle at Bristol, along with one of the FitzRalphs, possibly a brother-in-law where both may have resided for a time with their families.  Significantly, Bristol was not far from that Somerset  Manor of  Churchill just along the north coast and from where  Bartholomew was latterly (?recently) said to be of.  Its name would have been established only after Bartholomew settled there probably around the e 1140s (when he and Agnes would be having any issue) and hence why it was not included in the Doomsday survey in 1086   ie as yet another Domesday Manor called Courcelle.  [Note that where that early manor of Churchill was located, had previously been the manor of Benwell which had had some prior ownership changes involving both King Harold (pre-1066)  and later, King William and others.]

        Thus, from other sources (as Ld) we find that   Bartholomews  eldest surviving son  was (apparently) the oddly named Pagan de Churchille- born about 1145  (as estimated)  to Bartholomew and  wife Agnes (FitzRalph).   We know nothing for certain about where he and any siblings were  born or resided however;   but south Devon near Totnes and /or (as Broadclyst and/or Rockbeare) begin to seem probable. (Note - I have come across sons of other landed families at this period with this unlikely first (given) name - of  Pagan).

         At Bartholomews death, he was Master of  Stephens Castle  in Bristol (possibly in conjunction with  Ralph FitzRalph) - where they likely both died defending it.  Were his family already residing with him there, or were they with Agnes parents - the FitzRalphs  - elsewhere (as in or near Tiverton, Devon  a little further south (associated with the FitzRalphs) and, significantly, quite  near Broadclyst).    In any case, where was Pagan living later - when he in turn married by  about  1180, say - apparently to an Agatha de Brus (c1165-1230);  recall a fellow land-holder in Totnes - William de Brus!  Both the FitzRalph and the de Brus surnames suggest  Norman or propertied  status  in  this early post-Conquest society.  Some residential property consistent with that must have been extant for the  next generation or so, but we have no direct clues where this may have been; was it near the manor of  Willdyarde (later Churchill,  in the  Broadclyst  area of in mid-south Devon  (or some prior association with the more southerly  Totnes-Torbay area) ?  The latter are beginning to look  increasingly  promising and relevant.

            [It turns out that  the other  Manor of this name of Courcelle  (later Churchill  was being (or had already been ?) created about this same time - in more southerly Broadclyst  (where Bartholomews mother Joan de Kilrington father most likely held a Manor).  Indeed, she and her husband John  de  Courichelle (and/or  any other of their children)  may still have lived into the mid- to late-1100s.   And the Tiverton-based chief Overlord  of the  area apparently a Baron FitzRalph,  is said to have controlled over 30 manors thereabouts - quite possibly therefore including some in that  nearby  Broadclyst and, just to the north, Bradninich areas. [A family who were later setttled in that latter parish (the Sainthills) would effectively 'shadow' the Churchills later in Rockbeare - as described in Cnapter 5 below.]   

        Roger de Courcelles  would likely be of his (FitzRalph's) retinue by 1086.    [Yes, indeed; for we have just noticed an entry via the National Archives site for the place name Churchill in England (with the time period filter set for  1000 to 1099).   The Doomsday Book (for 1086) thus shows there were Manors  called such as Curcelle  or similar  - namely, in Oxfordshire, Worcestershire  (where there were two)  and in Devon (all  eventually becoming  Churchill  in time).   As noted, there was no reference yet to the manor of Churchill - in Somerset, however; it was likely established only later, around  1145 or so.

          But, promisingly, we find that the forename Roger occurs as an inhabitant and/or property holder  in  both the Devon and the Worcester Manors of that name (Curcelle or similar) ).   Most of the inhabitants at that time were still native Anglo-Saxons with names that were only qualified later by their  occupation.  Where a forename occurs on its own, however, and is clearly of Norman French  extraction, it generally implies they would be of that manors principal family (not their feudal  staff) and only known beyond the  Manor  (and its localised Doomsday context)  by their fuller name as  Roger   de Courcelle  or, possibly his  brothers, Robert de Curcelle, John de Curcelle,  or whatever.   Such titles (or full names) would often be unnecessary or  redundant for the Doomsday survey and  its local inhabitants themselves.   And while everyone living there would also be  of  there,  they would not normally be  accorded that fuller name - that early and local;  by far,  most people had a single name and need not be known otherwise, other than as the  woodsman or the Stockman, etc

          Roger was thus listed (as such) in the other properties he also held - as apparently granted him by the King or other of the chief Barons - between about 1070 and 1080, say, albeit  residing  mainly in just one of them  -  elsewhere.  It would appear that the manor of Churchill in Somerset came into the family (possibly as a gift to Bartholomew by Stephen or the Fitz Ralphs)   rather later,  as noted.   Many references have been noted for it in later Archive records, but none before the 1200s.   One is increasingly inclined to believe that the earliest main Churchill manor was in fact that in south Devon (possibly in Broadclyst).   How that timing compares with those in Oxford and Worcester (and possibly that one-off  near Corton in south-east Dorset, or nearby in Hampshire),  I remain  unaware.

---  ---  ---  ---  ---

           But, in any case, the situation for the Churchills from the 1150s to the early 1300s  seemed somewhat confused;   at some uncertain point, the immense range of properties held by Roger de Courcelles   in Somerset - at the time of the Domesday survey (1086) and shortly thereafter  (to ca 1150s),  often becomes inexplicably associated later with the family of Malet instead.  We shall next, therefore,  attempt to trace the ownership of many of those 80 or more Somerset  Manors known to have been held originally by Roger de Courcelles (or similar), as per the Domeday coverage as of 1086 (listed by county), but later shown not to have remained with them (as often shown on the British History Online site) from some uncertain date thereafter (eg by say 1130 or so).   We have noted in passing that one of these entries (name misplaced) gave a rather  brief explanation for its changed  ownership with no clear date shown.  We shall thus try to discover whether there might be at least one or two other such entries (out of over 80 (!) that actually elaborates more revealingly on  that  scant  detail.  We  cover just some of these in alphabetic order :    

  (1) Aisholt “In 1086, the Lands of Roger de Courcelles included Aisholt (previously  Holt) and Holcombe.  Alweard  held both before 1066 and later held Holcombe of (from) said Roger in 1086 when Rogers tenant at Holt was one Robert.  The two estates seem to have been combined as the Manor of Aisholt probably as a Fee of William de Curcis Barony in 1166.”      [Note: No mention  made of exactly when and why Rogers ownership  ceased.] 

(2) Aller “The Manor of Aller was held by Ulward in 1066 but by 1086 it had passed to Ralph de Limesy and thence descended with the Barony of Cavendish in Suffolk”.  [No mention of Roger de C. having ever  held this Manor, although it was listed as such in the Domeday survey.]  

(3) Ashcott   “Held previously by a grant of same to GlastonburyAbbey ( in 729 !)  and, in 1066, held for them by two Saxon Thegns, and then by Walter of Douai  in 1086.  Glastonbury Abbey also had another Manor at Ashcott held by Almar  in 1066 and by Roger de Courcelles in 1086.  It probably descended, like Curi Malet, through the Malet family [no dates] to William de Forz, a son of Mabel nee Malet and thence through the Beauchamp family.  Again, no further reference to  when or why Rogers former ownership thus ceased. We note that the latter descent through the Malet, de Forz and Beauchamp line, was often shown thus. 

(4) Ashington Vitalis “ Ashington Manor was  in the south  of Somerset (near that at  Mudford Soke both of which became known by the associated name  of their  sub-tenant (Vitalis) who held them both before 1066  - of their former Tenant-in-Chief   being Godwineson in the first case and Toki…..  in  the other.   Vitalis  then remained   sub-tenent  of both after 1086 - when the Tenant-in-Chief  (now for both)  had become Roger de Courcelles.”   [Oddly, this same situation applied at the only Manor known to have been held by Roger in Dorset,  after 1066  at Corton where Vitalis had also been  sub-tenant initially of  two Saxon thegns and  then of said Roger  by 1086.   Might Roger or his father have traded with such  thegns along the south coast (or with Vitalis himself) before 1066. ?  There  was also a Hugh de Courcelles  active around 1120+.]

[Note:  We first noted that the  terms Sub-tenant, Chief Tenant and Lord of any Manor were sometimes used ambiguously as in both the foregoing entry and in the next  below.  We shall try to learn  what is the significance of each term in different contexts.]

(5) Ashway “  “In 1066, the Lord in this Manor was Aelfric;  in 1086, Hugh was Lord.  The Tenant-in-Chief in 1086, however was Roger de Courcelles.”  The Heading for this entry  was shown as Lands of  Roger de Courcelles. In  another  Domeday site, it showed that “in 1086, Hugh  held this Manor from Roger de Courseulles”. (which Hugh clearly a Norman is unknown.)

(6) Barrington According to the DoomesdayBook site, “this Manor was held in 1086 by Roger de Courceulles”.    The British History site, however, makes no reference to him as owner, noting only  “ that at 1066,  it  belonged to the Crown and while it was not expressly mentioned in1086, it was almost certainly included in the associated Royal Manor of South Petherton (in that Hundred) [and that  it thus]  descended, as did that Manor,  in the Daubeny family until 1483.”  [No explanation was proffered as to what happened to it between 1086  and,  say, ca 1200 to 1300.]

(7)  Barton St David The DomesdayBook  site notes that in 1086, “Norman held this Manor from Roger de Courceilles.”   British History notes that  “Barton was probably a single estate including at least part of Keinton Mandeville but had been divided in two by 1066 and the Keinton lands separated from it by 1086.   In 1066 the larger Barton holding was held by Edwulf but in 1086 Edmund FitzPain  held it of the King.  The smaller holding was held by Alstan in 1066 but was held by Norman under Roger de Courcelles by 1086  (as per the Victorian History of Somerset).”The subsequent descent of that smaller Barton St David holding [held by Roger] is obscure and the pattern of subsequent freeholds in the parish difficult to unravel.” [Again!]

(8) Batcombe Roger de Courseulles and Azelin of Glastonbury Abbey  held it in 1086…”.   [British History says -  “In 1066, four estates here were recorded in what probably formed   Bruton parish. The land held by King Edward, called Bruton, was by far the largest, and included a settlement with burgesses.  A second estate with the same name was held in 1066 by Godwin, and in 1086 by Erneis of Roger de Courcelles. The subsequent descent of this second estate has however not been discovered with certainty, but in 1086 the main holding was still in the hands of the Crown and later by the Tancarville family.  Two other holders in the Tancarville fee before 1161, and also grantors to the Priory, were Wandrille de Courcelles and his tenant Roger de Granton, the former possibly a successor to the holding of   Roger de Courcelles in 1086.  [This could imply that this later Wandrille was a son of Roger and a brother of John and/or Bartholomew and thus a namesake of their father or grandfather  and may have lived to ca 1120-40, say.]

(9) Blackmore “Ansketel holds it from Roger de Courceulles in 1086.”  [I was unable to locate any account of this manor in British History but today it is a B&B Farm whose website includes the following:   The Blackmore Manor is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of A.D. 1086  but  there was confusion as to its location some ascribing it to be near Churchill and Carhampton [in Somerset], but is now recognised as being the Blackmore near Cannington. It was spelt in the Domesday “Blachamore” and was described as follows: “Anschitil holds it (as of 1086) of Roger de Corcelle. Aluric held it in 1066, and paid geld (a tax) for 1 virgate of land. The whole was and is worth eight shillings.”  This indicates an estate of between one and two hundred acres- smaller than most. The “virgate” was a measure of land. Not a great deal of it was arable. There were two cottages. It is not known who had the Manor after Roger de Corcelle, who had great holdings of land in Somerset after the Conquest but, by the 14th century, this Manor  was owned by a family called Tresseleven.]

          In 1086, “Ansketil also held of Roger de Courcelles a nearby manor of Dudesham, which had been held by three English Thegns in 1066. William of Eston may have been the Lord  and was probably followed by his son Robert and grandson, also Robert. No further trace of the estate has been found until 1474”.

(10) Broford “This small Manor is near Shepton Mallet and in 1066 was owned by Glastonbury Abbey.” In 1086, it was held by William - from Roger de Courcelles. [And then?]

(14) Chilton Trinity to include Idstock, was held in 1066 by Wulfa and in 1086 by Roger de Courcelles. Roger's tenant was probably John the Usher, since by the earlier 1200s, the estate was held by Helen of Wigborough, John's successor in his other Somerset holdings.   By 1284, William of Wigborough was said to hold the vill (village) of Idstock of the king in chief, but in 1312 he was returned as holding the demesne lordship for 1/20 knight's fee of Nicholas Poyntz, a successor to a Robert de Courcelles in neighbouring estates. [That demesne lordship had apparently lapsed by 1408, when Idstock was said then to be held of the Countess of Kent as part of the widely scattered hidings of the former Holland family.  We shall find that the Poyntz family re-enters our story around 1480, near the crux of the Wars of the Roses.]

(18) Compton Dundon -   “Five hides at Compton were given to the Abbot of Glastonbury in 762 by King Cynewulf and were restored in 922 by Edward the Elder. They may be the five hides held by two monks in 1066 and then by Roger de Courcelles in 1086 which were recorded as part of the Abbey's estate at Walton.   Five hides at Dundon, said to have been given to Glastonbury by Edgar in the mid-10th  century,  were held of the Abbey by Algar in 1066 and by Roger de Courcelles in 1086”.   [The local Abbey in most cases was Glastonbury.]

       “The Courcelles holdings in 1086 passed, possibly before the death of Henry I (1135) , to Robert Malet  and, by 1166, Compton and Dundon were  assumed to have formed part of the fees [now] held by William Malet and known later as the Barony of Curry (Curi or Cori) Mallet.  They were part of the estate of the second William Malet II, on whose death  ca 1216 they passed with one half  of the Barony to his daughter Mabel.   In 1255 William de Forz, son of Hugh, did homage to the  Abbot of Glastonbury for the manor of Dundon, to which were attached ten fees (!) - formerly belonging to William Malet III,  who died in 1259, leaving only four  under-aged daughters”.

        [Note:  Henry I was King  from 1100
to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror.   On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Princes  Robert and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but young Henry was left landless. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from his brother Robert, but the others  deposed him in 1091.  Henry then gradually rebuilt his own power base in the Cotentin and tallied himself with William Rufus against Robert.  Henry was present when William Rufus died in a hunting accident in 1100,  and so swiftly seized the English throne, promising at his  Coronation to correct many of William's less popular policies.   He married Matilda of Scotland and they had two surviving children,  William  and Matilda (later an Empress).    Robert, who invaded in 1101, disputed Henry's control of England but this military campaign ended in a negotiated settlement that confirmed Henry 1st as King. The peace was short-lived, however, and Henry invaded Normandy in 1105 and 1106, finally defeating Robert  and kept  him  imprisoned for the rest of his life.

         Considered by contemporaries to be a harsh but effective ruler, Henry I skilfully manipulated the Barons in England and Normandy [possibly including Roger de Courceulles ?].  In England, he drew on the existing system of justice, local government and taxation, but also strengthened it with additional institutions, including the royal Exchequer and itinerant Justices.  Many of the officials who ran Henry's system were the  new men" of more obscure backgrounds (rather than from the older ca 1086 families of higer  status), and they rose through the ranks as the new Administration   [As Malets and Poyntz?]    Henry encouraged ecclesiastical reform, but became embroiled in a serious dispute in 1101 with the  Archbishop of Canterbury  which was resolved through a compromise solution in 1105. He supported the Cluniac order and played a major role in the selection of the new senior clergy in England. [Could this explain his possible annoyance that so much property in Somerset formerly held by  Glastonbury abbey had gone  maunly to Roger de Churchill (for a time)?

         Henry's son William drowned in the White Ship disaster of 1120, throwing the royal succession into doubt. Henry took a second wife,  in the hope of having another son, but their marriage was childless. In response to this, he declared his daughter Matilda his heir and married her to Geoffery d Anjou.   But, the relationship between Henry and the couple soon became strained, and fighting broke out in France along the border with Anjou. Henry died on 1 December 1135 after a week of illness. Despite his plans for Matilda, the King was eventually succeeded by his nephew Stephen of Blois  - as King Stephen.  Matildas supporters fought on and off with Stephen through the 1140s and 50s at the time of Barttholomew de Churchill who supported Stephen..]

(19) Curry Malet   “The second half of the manor of Moorlinch (see also Shapwick) was acknowledged in 1339-40  and was in 1303 regarded as one of the ten fees then held of the Abbot of Glastonbury by the heirs of William de Vivonia or de Forz  (d. 1259),  fees elsewhere described as at Polden and formerly held by William Malet whose Barony of Curi or Cory Mallet (including  Polden) derived from the 11th-century holdings of Roger de Courcelles.  [No explanation or analysis as given for that earlier  derivation (nor for a comparable passed to.]  The Forz share of that Barony was subsequently known as Dundon super Polden”.

          [King Stephen (ca 1094- 1154),  became  King of England from  December 1135 until  his death in Oct 1154.   As noted, his reign was marked by the  mini civil war with  his cousin and rival,  .   Stephen had been early placed into the court of his uncle  Henry I in France.    He  rose in prominence and was granted extensive lands.  He married Matilda of Boulogne that made the couple one of the wealthiest in England. Stephen narrowly escaped drowning on the White Ship with William in 1120.   William's death had left the succession  open to challenge. When Henry died in 1135, Stephen quickly crossed the Channel  and, with the help of his brother Abbot of Glastonbury, took the throne, arguing that the preservation of order across the kingdom took priority over his earlier oaths to support the claim of Henry I's daughter, the Empress Matilda.  [Clearly, Glastonbury was of major significance to our Roger.]

        The early years of Stephen's reign were largely successful, despite a series of attacks on his possessions in England.   In 1138, the Empress's half-brother Robert of Gloucester rebelled against Stephen, threatening civil war. Together with his close advisor, aleran de Beaumont, Stephen took firm steps to defend his rule, including arresting a powerful family of Bishops. When the Empress and Robert invaded in 1139, Stephen was unable to crush the revolt rapidly, and it took hold in the south-west of England.  Captured at the  battle of Lincoln in 1141, he was abandoned by many of his followers.  He was freed only after his wife and one of his military commanders, captured Robert at the Rout of Winchester, but the war dragged on for many years.

          Stephen became increasingly concerned with ensuring that his son would inherit his throne and found himself in a sequence of increasingly bitter arguments with his senior clergy.   In 1153, the Empress's son, Henry, invaded England and built an alliance of powerful regional Barons to support his claim for the throne. .  [Bartholomew had fought for Stephen ca 145-52 and was rewarded with his Manor at Churchill (near Bristol) around this same time.]   Later that year Stephen and Henry agreed to the Treaty of Winchester, in which Stephen recognised Henry as his heir in exchange for peace, passing over William,  Stephen's second son. Stephen died the following year.   Henry II, would thus at least ultimately succeed  Stephen - in 154 - as the first of the Angevin kings. We now continue with the ownership of the early Somerset Manors  :

(20)  Croscombe No entries found.   It was likely another manor    formerly of Glastonbury.

(21)  Currypool No Brit Hist entry.  A Domesday site shows Roger de C as Lord and Tenant in Chief  in 1086  (under the heading  Lands of Roger de C.)  It was in north-east Somerset with  340 Sheep !

(22) Doulting (see Butleigh part of Glastonbury Abbey held for a time by Roger de C and later (unexplained) by the Malets. Possibly near Shepton Mallet (See next)

(23) Shepton (Mallet)  -   (See Domesday Text for Somerset;  shown  initially to be of the   Land of Roger de Courceulles, and previously of the local Abbey (Glastonbury),  but both later of the Malets. [See again relevant  Footnote above]  The basis of that exchange still needs clarification.  Henry 1st was a new broom, apparently.

        [Note: we  have now reviewed about 20 of these early manors  but found consistently that the detailed circumstances of  these transfers, sales  or re-allocations  seem to  have been essentially unrecorded - in contrast to thousands for which such  detail is typically available.    We have now read the view  on this in the British History account on Somerset;  Rogers holdings were not dispersed by later inheritance or marriages but by some  re-grant of same to another Baron or equivalent and the Forfeiture of his former rights;  this was not that uncommon as when a new King appeared on  the  scene needing to reward new trusted allies.]

On the Malets

           The Malets clearly replaced the early Churchills hold on their Somerset power base, seemingly in conjunction with the dictates of later Monarchs;  trust was at a premium then.  But, as will become apparent, the Malets too were to have their problems.  According to Dugdales Baronage (1675)  which pre-dates Cockaynes,  the  first  relevant William Malet (I) was another Norman who accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066 at Hastings.   He had in fact supervised the Burial of the deposed and slain King Harold that year and, by 1069, had become Sheriff of Yorkshire - with 32 Lordships  in that county.  He also oversaw the eventual defeat of an attempted invasion by the King of Denmark at the mouth of the Humber, and in York itself (ca 1090s?)  

           His son, Robert Malet, had received the Honour of Eye, in Suffolk, from King William I  which would have entailed an even  larger number of Manors. By 1086 he would hold those (32) in Yorkshire, 221 in Suffolk (where he endowed a Benedictine Abbey),  and 14 in other scattered counties. By  1101, with those 260+  Manors, Robert Malet  also held the Office of the Great Chamberlain of England, under King Henry the 1st.  But, within a year, he had lost much of this wealth and position - by joining with others in deserting Henry in his conflict with his brother Robert  (2nd Hen 1).   And, by 10 Hen 1 (1110) , the King had also disinherited the lands of Robert Malets son William Malet II for having (somehow) injured him.  Shortly after this (ca 1115),  his son in turn (William Malet III)   held 12 Knights Fees of the Abbey of Glastonbury (possibly held to that point by Roger de Coourseules ?), namely, 10 in Dundone Pyldon and 2 in Shepton, both in Somerset.  [The activities of the Malets during the period ca  1120 to 1150, say, seem unknown. They may have suppressed any account made to explain the unjustified switches of ownership.  They later held  the Manor of Danegel  in Somerset from which, in 2 Hen 2 (1156)  he (William Malet III)  was expected to raise £25 to support the intended marriage of that  Kings daughter - by 10 Hen 2 (1164)  - and, by 14 Hen 2 (1170), a further £15 was required.

          A 4th William Malet  (IV) followed,  and who, in 6 Richard I (1195),  accompanied that King  to Normandy and had to pay a £100 Fine  the following year for his Livery and for his possession of  (?many) lands of inheritance.  It was this William Malet IV who held the Honour of Curi Malet (where he resided) in the county of  Somerset. and others lands elsewhere all now held by him   of the King for which he had to provide the King with the service of 20 Knights.  He had also to  pay 100 shillings to King John  (in 1205)  for permission to proceed in law against one William de Even more for the Lordship of Swinton.   By the 12th  to 15th years of  King Johns reign (1211 1215),  this William Malet IV held the important Office of Sheriff  of Somerset and Dorset.  But, at that time, he had to provide the King with an additional 20 Knights in order to discharge a debt owed  to him (King John).  And then, in 1215, he was one of many Barons who  rebelled against that  King - for which “he had to transfer ownership of the greater part of his lands in Somerset, Dorset and Surrey” -  to one  Hugh  de Vivion (who had married a Malet daughter).  William Malet was also to suffer ex-communication from the church in Rome.  

         William Malet IV soon died -  before  9 Hen 3 (1216).  His  considerable  debts then  transferred to the husbands of his only heirs 2 daughters one of whom was the above mentioned Hugh de Vivion and the other Robert de Moscegros who had jointly to pay a Fine of 2000 Marks (less 500 Marks still owed to Malet by the King for his recent Service in an expedition toPoitou in France with 10 Knights and 20 Servants) , which Fine was not paid until after 1216.  When one of the daughters later re-married  to  Sir Hugh Poyntz, the large Malet Barony was then split between him  and Hugh de Vivion  - by about 1220.  The Malet  heirs still  held a few other Manors however.  [Note that this present mini-section on the Malets will have its  counterpart  on the Poyntz family during another period of  disturbance , albeit some 260 years later when they, not the Malets, were again seeking advantage during a period of national  conflict  -  due to the Wars of the Roses !]

        We may now better appreciate how tenuous were the property rights of the early Barons and other Chief  holders  of  the  nations Manorial Lordships.  We  now return to continue our account by Sir Winston Churchill  who would  mostly  be unaware of these  earlier Doomsday ( Roses)  events, and their complex sequelae);   he  had meanwhile skipped  in his coverage to the time of the Barons Wars  under King John and Henry III  (1215-1250) (touched on above) and the subsequent reign of Edward I  (ie ca 1265-1300s).  By  this time,  the Lordship of the Somerset manor of Churchill  (ex-Benwell) had long been seized by the Crown  (during  those conflicts of the 11-200s) and likely given or sold to a local favourite as the Malets or, later, the Poyntz s.  That latter families, later  much reduced, may have  held it  through the  1300s and  the Wars of the Roses 1400s), with  the Poyntzs at least, through  the  era  of the Tudors (1500s).

         But, can we be sure which of the two  possible Churchill manors (in Somerset or Devon) was so seized at  that earlier time;  (possibly both)  ?   There was thus a gap of about 200 years before Winston continues his account of the pedigree in any detail.  We will  now seek to fill this gap, as well as consider that latter question of  the locations of  the earliest  English manors of  Curcelle, Churicchele, etc  (later Churchill) -where their eldest sons, and their families, may or may not have resided. 

               As noted, Winston stated that the surname of Bartholomews father, known originally as John, Lord of Currichell, or de Churechile, and since known as  de  Churchille -  was based on a placename seemingly located in Somersetshire”.   Thus, his son was eventually referred to in records as Sir Bartholomew de Churchill   from about the 1150s-1160.  The entry in Wikipedia for the Somerset village of Churchill  shows  that it was (and is)  about 8 miles east of Weston-super-Mare - on the north coast of Somerset (as was Bristol, about10 miles further  east and, again, that  Wikipedia states, a little too confidently, that  the Churchill family derives its name from it  having had historical connections there.   Its location near the north coast of Somerset, and that far west, does seem a little odd, however, and unexpected.  For our focus has typically been more in the south  of  the neighbouring counties of Devon  and, later, Dorset further   to the south and east,  and do nearer  on the south coast.

             In any case, we  were intending at this point to proceed next with The Churchills in Devon (and subsequently  in Dorset).  However, we have discovered  an apparent source of much of the information on which Coxe and Lydiard(?) (and hence Winston Churchill)  seem to have based their reports to this point and one feels that setting most of this out verbatim  next  (as an Addendum) , may prove  helpful about here.  We may be able then to adjust any inconsistencies accordingly.

An ADDENDUM  for Chapter  4 above.

         Our coverage of the Churchill descent from 1066 to about 1700 had eventually seemed fairly complete (if not yet set out fully above, by any means) except for a rather vague period from about 1500 to 1550, although there were some brief shafts of light starting to clarify some of that period as well.  But, in particular, seeking anything arising from   yet other  sources on which they likley relied as regards such as the later  Roger Churchill (ca 1518-1552)  who was  (often alleged to be) …. of Catherston, Dorset,   born ca 1520, and married  to Jane Megges (nee Peverell), she about 20,  and to have died  around 1575… has proved to be very elusive or non-existent as has anything on his apparent father William Churchill originally of Roockbeare, Devon until his death.     This was  the weak link  in our story to that point !

          I believe I have now located the probable source being sought in regard to this Rogers  birth  at least (see below).  Very likely, these assumed facts were originally quoted by an earlier  researcher in this field just once, and subsequently re-quoted by many others -  generally without mentioning that original source (if even aware of it);   It was then taken  on board as virtual gospel.   It may well be so and, if I cant myself (or someone else) locate valid documentary evidence, it may have to remain as  probably correct,  and leave it at that for now.

        The source (or sources) concerned in the  case of Roger was in fact an oft-quoted one for very much of early English genealogy namely Collins Peerage of England  published in  London in 1812, being an extension of that compiled by its predecessor Cockayne - published much earlier in 1727.   Both therefore post-dated Winston Churchill of course, who had  already died by 1688.   The latter seems to have relied himself on similar early sources, as did Cockayne and Collins in this sphere presumably based on more original documents in either the College of Arms and /or Public Record Office of the day (as in State Papers and Feudal Aids), and/or on earlier local (County) researchers such as William de la Pole in the 1600s. Fortunately, Collins et al cite many of those sources themselves. This could also include Dugdales Baronage of England (1675), I believe.   In any case, before citing that sought after  reference to support that later event pertaining to our much later Roger Churchill (of ca 1520-1530, say), we shall first re-cover our tracks  by reprising some of our prior coverage in case it may provide further consolidation to our story thus far; 

         Thus Collins (with Brydges) begin their account (being an extension of that produced by Cockayne  85 years earlier) by  noting that it,  in turn,  is based (in part) on an yet another earlier account(!)   -  by the Revd.  Dr.  James Anderson - from his Genealogical Tables (2nd Edit.  pp 580-81) produced about 1715.  He was a respected genealogist based mainly in Edinburgh.] This reference however shows an immediate Footnote  a   which we reproduce here:  

   a   The Duke of Marlborough  [being the title and article on this particular English Dukedom  (with its Churchill antecedents), in Collin1812 Peerage]   is  been provided   Anderson  - as being  [the same as?]  that  given in that (account) on   the Duke of Mindelheim in Serbia; (and afterwards, in exchange, that on the Prince of Ellenburg in  Upper Austria [both apparently being other titles awarded to John Churchill - by Continental authorities, after Blenheim].   The present compiler [Collins] thus includes it in his Peerage  - [but on  Andersons  authority];   not withstanding its claim [by some?] to be  deficient in  references to original documents…”

          This seems an odd admission to include right from the start, especially as he (Collins) then immediately begins his copy of the pedigree  with:   “The patriarch of the family - according to that Reverend and illustrious Antiquary [Dr Anderson] -  was Gitto de Leon, of a noble family in Normandy, who lived AD 1055, and had two sons Richard and Wandrill. Richard, the eldest, was Lord of Montalban, and progenitor of the present noble house of Leon in France , by his wife Yolande, Countess of Luxemburg:  

         Wandrill de Leon, the second son, was Lord of Courcil, [ b  from Baronagium Genealog MS]and, by marriage with Isabel de Toya, was also father of two sons Roger  de Courcil and Roland de Courcil, [the latter being] the  ancestor of the Courcils of  Pictou, from whom those of that name in Normandy  and  Anjou are descended. 

         Roger de Courcil, eldest son of Wandrill (a Saints name in Normandy), came to England in 1066, with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded for his services with divers lands in Somerset, Dorsetshire and Devonshire (as appears by Domesday Book) part thereof being   (later called) Churchill  in Somerset. c

[ c  This is contradicted by Collins   (as per  Hist. Som. Vol. 1 p 58)  who notes that this Manor is not mentioned among Roger de Curcelles initial possessions at Domesday, when it had  formed part of the Manor of Banwell, and later,  by the time of Edward the 3rd  (1320) , it belonged to the family of Cogan.  Sir John Churchill later bought it [300 years later] -  in the time of Charles 2nd  [actually in the time of Cromwell 1652] - from Richard Jenyns, Esq. [We have since concluded that it was 1st granted to Bartholomew de Churcille by King Stephen, by  about 1142,  long after Domeday; it must have been subsequently  lost before 1320. Benwell had been in alternate ownership between the King and the Bishop of Wells  before and after Domesday.] 

          Returning briefly  to our much earlier discussion, we see that the father of Roger de Courcelle was Wandrill de Courcellis said to be the the first of this name to come into this country [and a later descendent  did fight with*] Robert the Consul  (Earl of Gloucester) about the year of grace 1142  and took part in the wars between the Empress [Matilda] and Stephen [ca 1140-1160] as did Bartholomew.   Through supporting the Plantagenets, King Henry the 2nd advanced  Churchill in marriage with the lady  Roais, sister and heir to Lord Halcubus Solariss, or the Old Baron de Soleignie (Lord Umphrayes) [sadly, none of these strange names  appears in the National Archive  Indexes; It would in fact make more sense if this description pertained instead to the FifzRalphs as described elsewhere] who was descended from  the much respected  Lord Reginald Montalban in the time of Chmarlemagne (ca 800].”  [!] [ * This added by myself as the actual wording appeared erroneous.]

              The foregoing was said to be collected out of the Notes of Sir William de la Pole  - written in his own hand out of the Digests of Hamon  de St. Columbe and copied by me.    -  W. Churchill.”      [ca 1650s-60s]   Who obtained and retained it through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries one wonders !?!  [It was apparently 1st  copied in turn on March 30 1713 from that  Original (Churchill) copy  - seemingly by  one  C. Hatton  and it (or yet another copy? ) was eventually lent to the Editor of these  Notes and Queries,  in 1920,  R. Pearse Chope (by whom?) - to then appear in that publication.]

             This said Manor was said to be anciently written as Curichil, Cheuechil, Chirchil, etc and was so called from being the abode of Rogers [later] descendants]. Roger had apparently wedded Gertrude, daughter of Sir Guy de Torbay and by her had three sons (ca 1110-25) first, John de Curichill (see more below); second, Hugh FitzRoger, Lord of  Corfeston in Dorsetshire who, marrying the sister and heir of……Bond, Lord of Fisherton,  his offspring [otherwise of the  Churchill  blood and family] assumed that latter surname (of Bond) , and bore the Arms of that family viz  sable, a fess, Or;  and thirdly, Roger FitzRoger,  from whose [unnamed]  son, by Mabel (heiress of a French family of Solerys, or Soleris(!), that surname [of Solers],  descended in that  family. [Note: surnames beginning with  Fitz… apparently denoted legitimate offspring of  for some time before they denoted illegitimate ones but we see thatat times a family dropped such surnames for their mother.] 

          First son, John de Curichil espoused Joan de  Kilrington (ca 1110) and by her  became  the father of [the future] Sir Bartholomew de Chirchell, a great warrior, celebrated in ancient songs, who held Bristol for King Stephen and later died fighting in that cause.  This Sir Bartholomew wedded Agnes, daughter of Ralph FitzRalph, Lord of Tiverton (in Devonshire) [ca 1150)  and by her had a son Pagan de Cherchil (bn ca 1150).

          Second son, Hugh FitzRoger could be the earlier (?Sir) Hugo de Couselles (otherwise) who held 5 Knights Fees and provides   a new perspective on the early Churchills. by virtue of the residence of his wife as described here.   For she was  the sister and heir of an early member of the Bond family, he who had  been then the  Lords of Fisherton    I hadnt enquired further at the time just where Fisherton was, assuming it would likely be in that  same south-eastern end of Dorset with Corton  nearby oddly held on its own by John de Courcelle  (miles from the Churchills many Somerset Manors) and where I knew the Bonds also held  property (as in……..)  before settling in Dorchester.  But, on a later  occasion, I checked it out on Wikipedia and was surprised to find that it was in fact another like Corton off on its own but in Wiltshire (north of Dorset).  I quote from the article:  “  In 1086, Fisherton was owned by Roger de Corcelle. He was also the owner of class=rvts52 href="Curry Mallet in Somerset, under which  this Wiltshire manor was held. In the time of , Fisherton had been owned (before 1066) by a man named Bondi”.  !!  The Bonds would thus appear to have been  outlier at Corton also through an earlier Anglo-Saxon contact pre-1066 - Vitalis (who may also have had some manors  in Wiltshire (as I recall).

         Third son (of Roger and Gertrude), Roger FitzRoger, did likewise with their issue who took as their new surname that of his wife s line (Soleris?) which I believe weve seen before in conjunction with several other odd names.  Courselles (or, later, Churchill) had little meaning in 12th century England  and being the son, or grandson, of someone called Roger (or Hugh) was no better for reflecting ones inheritance and family !  There were many Rogers and Hughs.  

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          We might reasonably assume that the son of the first son(ie of John above), Bartholomew, and his son(s) in turn (as Pagan),had inherited some land near Broadclyst where their grandparents - the de Kilringtons - held property.  Little seems known about Pagan except that he was]… father of a later Roger de Cherchile (bn ca 1185) whose son of same name [bn ca 1220] seems to have  had [in his adulthood]  free warren in his own lands of Cherchille   during  the reign of King John (seemingly ca 1220s, say],  d  and that younger Roger  in turn left a son Elias [bn ca 1245 ?)     [A John de Chrchulle of Popleton, in/nr Courchelle, Worcs in  t Hen III (ca 1230-40)  was also mentioned, as was an Inq PM  (see  C132/42/27) in the National Archives)  regarding  an contemporary Churchill Manors then.

[ d  Contemporary with said Roger [or ?Elias]   was also a Richard de Churchille (bn ca 1230-40)  who, much later (in 14 Edward I (1296),  was a witness to an agreement between the Hospital of St John the Baptist in Bath (Somerset) and Thomas de Hereford, one of the Burgesses of Bristol, concerning a house in Redcliffe in the suburbs of Bristol, being in the fee of the Berkeley family.     (See Rot. Term. Pasch. 14 Edw 1).] 

          We consider next the Churchills who settled in Devon.



         The early Churchills spread gradually from Somerset to Devon between about 1130 to 1250 - appearing in both the Totnes and Broadclyst areas. We begin with    William de le Poles brief account  of  the Hundred of Totenaise (and later, in more detai, that of Broadclyst) -  both in south Devon.  The formers  name was taken from  Totnes, a small town a few miles inland from Dartmouth  and was held in the 12th century by one the chief Barons of the day (thus also called  a Barony). It contained  many smaller Manors -  typically held  under that chief Baron (generally an  Earl) by  different senior knights or major landowners.  It had been held overall,  before 1066,  by a Saxon thegn one Jodekille de Totenaise and, by 1086, by  Sir Henry Novant who held 27 knights Fees (!) in that, his Honour, or Barony, of Totnes.  It was later held by a relation  Roger Novant whose wife Alice had apparently married the latter without the required consent of the then King - John  (c1190s?) who hence seized same and gave it to a neighbouring  Earl - of Cornwall - a comparable but seemingly  more trusted Baron.  Another large holder of such Fees in that one Honour was William de Brus, who held 25 such Fees.  We list below  all other such holders there then - ca 1140s-1220s   sadly without knowing the exact location of their various individual manors  in that given Barony: 

William FitzWilliam  - 10 Fees;   Robert Vepont   -  8 Fees;   Willian Bozun 8 Fees; William Lancasters daughter  - 8 Fees;   Hugh de Curcille  - 6 Fees;  Robert de Stantor - 6 Fees;  Marice de Pole 6 Fees;  Wido de Britvill 5 Fees;  William de Reigny - 3 Fees;  Robert de Marychurch  - 3 Fees;   William FitzJohn 1 Fee;  Richard de Boscum ½ Fee;  Roger Bozun - ½ Fee;  RalphFitzStephen ½ Fee;  Richard FitzRalphs daughter ½ Fee;  Serlo de Holm a part of Despensers former Fee.

        While we are uncertain  just which were  the properties so held by the above-named Fee holders, we do know  there was a parish there later called MaryChurch (near present day Torquay) in that same part of Devon and thus that said Robert of (de) there  could well have held it;  others with  the  de element in their names could equally so apply in some cases.  This suggests  that Hugh de Curcelle (ie later Churchill) may similarly have been of  his own local manor then (recently given that name) located as we previously concluded - in or near the parish of Marldon just 3 or 4 miles from Totnes,  and similarly  from Torquay or MaryChurch.

           We seem also to have located where Roger de Curcelle (later Churchill)  first  resided at Curcelle (later Churchill) in the  Torbay-Totnes-Marldon   area whose  sons and/or grandsons  likely later settled in or near Wyldyarde  in Broadclyst and, subsequently, in  Rockbeare a mile or two south - in mid-south Devon.   In the meantime, we have sought to complete the pedigree - beyond the times of  Sir Bartholomew de Churchille - by such as the foregoing account  of Broadclyst by WIlliam Pole and then  with the aid of the famous Red Book of the Exchequer(Libre de Sac……..) which  usefully recorded the taxes due from all such early estates - in the hope that some names and geographical references would appear (with or without dates)  - to help consolidate our working hypothesis regarding the origins and subsequent descent of the Churchill family (and its later  branches) ie post-1200 or so.   We can  now see how significant would be that Broadclyst area ca 13-1500s and the roles of the Tylles, Creuses and Wadhams in the shift of the Churchills from Torbay, Broadclyst and Rockbeare in Devon    more eastward - to mid-south Dorset via  Colyton  and Catherston.   

         In another Section of the Red Book, Hugo de Curcellis  is also shown as paying 20 shillings tax for his property- but oddly listed under Dorset and Somerset (with Devon not otherwise shown);  other names previously noted  only in the  Totnes Honour were similarly  mentioned again only in that same Dorset/Somerset Section as eg RalphFitzStephen and William FitzWilliam.  The year  was 1171.  By examining other entries, it became obvious that such taxes were recorded for a number of years (but certainly not every year )between about 1160 and 1212  after which they were apparently recorded in another early Exchequer series (E/…?…)) of such early central government records sadly not as easily accessible as those  given  in that early published Red Book.   Thus, for 1161-62 for Somerset on its own, we find that a Wandrille de Curcellis paid 20 (xx) Marks tax (about £15 / yr, he likely a grandson of the earlier Wandrill.  And that in 1160, there was also a Roger  fitzHugo  - paying  less than  10 shillings tax there. Ive seen no one else so named  and can only assume that said Roger was likely a son of Hugo de Curcellis.    In Somerset, in 1166, there is an entry: “Carta Hugoniis de Curcellis tenet Rege feodum jx sumius militis et de illo feoda dedits afterillius Roger de Greintone  (a small manor near Glastonbury and Shepton Malet) quartem parti militis”.   Did Hugos son Roger take on a new name - once shedding that of FitzHugo by this later date ?

         By 1166, Hugo de Curcellis also paid tax in Wiltshire (in Carta Abbattle de Wiltonia) as did an Elias de Langford (a manor in the parish later called Churchill - in Wilts), as well as a Wandregesilus de Curcellis (likely a latin form of Wandrill).  But Hugo de Curcellis is also noted still paying tax   in Dorset and Somerset (presumably the latter)  - in 1186-87, as was Cerne Abbey (in Dorset).     Interestingly, a William Malet paid 20 Marks tax in Somerset in 1156 and 1160   (when one or two  Churchills were still residing  as property holders in that county possibly from ca 1130 to 1200, say).     For Dorset that year, only the 5 Abbeys  (Milton, Abbotsbury, Cerne, Sherborne and St Edwards) were shown as paying taxes of only  vij or just  ij) marks), per year.   In Devon  for 1162 (now Shown), we see that tax was paid by William FitzReginald,  Robert FitzMartyn, Count Robert de Ripriisse, Roger de Novant (at xx Marks) and by Tavistock Abbey.  

         Finally , we see that as early as 1195-96 a Henricus de Tilly paid considerable tax (at ca 10 to 18 marks per year - in Devon,  as he did also in1197, 1200 and 1212 as Henricus de Tylli (Latin form).  Presumably, Tylle House, Devon  continued to be so occupied for many generations by that early  landed Tylle family - for over 300 years (!), with the Churchills  nearby in BroadClyst and then Rockbeare, seemingly  after their respective times in the Totnes area, a little  south-west.  Meanwhile, the  Tylles  remained in Broadclyst as we shall gratefully see.

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           But, we  leave these Tax returns and  hope that other  property documents and Wills  at the PRO at Kew might one day prove even  more informative. [Sadly, they didnt  - at least with  my first sortie  there - in August 2018;  the writing was too often in Latin or the early English was in its known abbreviated legal format  for ca 1200s, and often very small!]    Pagan and Agatha appear  to have had surviving sons Roger and Richard de Churchill in a the decades of  1190-early 1200s.  Again, just where is not  apparent but it seems possible that  they had established or taken over one or other of their Churchill  manors in Devon by then.  [Yes now supported  via that Doomsday entry for Courcelles in Devon as early as ca 1080-1120! -  likely near Totnes.  There are  also several references to a Hugh de Courcelle who held an impressive 5 or 6 Knights Fees in south Devon within  the Honour of Totnesaie (today Totnes)  just inland from Torbay (as described above)  -  in the reign of King John or earlier (from ca 1150s-1180s).  To whom he was married and who were his heirs, were not yet aware.  He may well have not lived into the 1200s.

            The elder son of Pagan  - Roger Churchill  - is then shown as having a son (or grandson?) Elias (by unknown wife) in about 1235-40  who in turn  married one Dorothy Columbieres - around 1275.  That latter surname may again suggest someone of French (or Norman) descent, and possibly landed therefore.  However,  we have also noticed that there was a local landowner in  Broadclyst John Columbe  - who seems to have owned  an important  property there  called Columbjohn (later incorporated into the vast estates of Henry Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devonshire).    Could Dorothys surname have started out similarly - as  “Columbeare, say  - the suffix beare being quite common locally and  meaning the woods.  [Note: There was, awkwardly, also a surname in Normandy of Columbiere noted in an index !?]

            It appears from the account of Broadclist by Pole that  the Churchill family  had firstly resided in that  early manor there, called Wyldyarde,  which  likely  was soon re-named Churchill  Farm and /or Manor -  some time after the Doomsday survey (around 1200, say).   From there, they seem to have shifted a mile or two south (ca 1300)- into Rockbeare   across the local road (and boundary).   We may thus continue seeking to complete  the pedigree from the period just after the lifetime of Sir Barthalomew de Churchille  (c1110 -1154)in Somerset.    Acording to Coxe,  the Churchills are, fittingly,  next located  and established in Devonshire (generally) having inter-married there with families of distinction and property in the  1200s-1400s+   However, no supporting  names, places or dates are provided  by him  at least (or Ld).    We will however introduced some seemingly relevant surnames in this regard as arise from William de Poles survey .

           [Weve  also noted references to  an early  Mathew Churchill marrying in Devon about this time ca 1250s during  the reign of Henry 3rd  - and,  later,  to a John and Elias  de  Churchill holding  land there formerly held by  Henry de Wildyarde in or near  Kilverton (in Broadclys Hundred)  in the time of   King Edward the 1st (ca 1290s), later called Churchill ! (see further references below). There is a small river flowing through Broadclyst and Rockbeare called the Columbe and hence that family name  of  Colunbiere/Columbeare  is now seen as likely to be English as Norman  reflecting those Woods by the Columbe. This  places the sons Elias and John (and/or  the next  Churchill generation (including John)  more  reasonably into Broadclyst and later  neighbouring Rockbeare (ca 1290-1310)  in a manor  in this  mid-south Devon  area  -  later named  Churchill(ex-Wildyarde) after its then principal family).    This is further confirmed in later references and documents.

               We have seen that there were several  parishes eventually called Churchill  one in Somerset, two  or three  in Devon,  two in Worcester, one in Oxfordshire, (and possibly one in Hampshire).    But one of those in Devon is a hamlet in the far north of the county at  East Down  (near Barnstable)  - and probably not too  relevant for our subsequent focus  - but the other two,  located  in the south of Devon,  may prove more so   One, as noted, was  in the large parish  (and Hundred) of Broadclyst - about 7 miles north-east of Exeter -  likely that held earlier by the  Wildyardes , and the other further to the east, nearer the border with Dorset (and, quite coincidentally, not far from Tylle House, Weycroft Castle.   Colyton and Catherston were nearby.   [Another, if earlier,   may well have been in the Torbay area (see reference later to the Lord of Marland (?Marldon) near  Paignton seemingly  a part of the large Honour of Totenais (later Totnes),  in the heart of that  area.]  Other  interesting entries for the Hundred of    Broadclyst are desxcribed by Hoskins next:

            Broadclyst  is  an exceptionally large Hundred covering fifteen square miles (say 2 miles across by over 7 miles running roughly north-south), including wooded hills such as Killerton and lother Manors such as Churchill and Southbrook. These date from shortly after  the Domesday survey (1086).”   That is, from  about 114/50 , say.   “Of the ancient Freeholders here, the most interesting, in view of their later history, were the Churchills, who took their name  from the  manor farm called Churchill  in this parish  - as early as the time of Henry II  (11541189)”.   “This hamlet or  Mnor called Churchill”, states Hoskins,  “is almost certainly the original home of the present Churchill family.”   [That is, when Hoskins wrote.]  We note that this is at variance with the description given above regarding Churchill in Somerset - the family name also thought (wrongly) to have come from that  Manor.  But, equally, it may well not come (took their name) from  - but rather to have given their name  to…all those earlier manors so named!   None of them were in fact   the original home of that later famous family. The one  described above, in Broadclist was, in fact, previously called Wildyarde.                  

                On the face of it, this would seem the equally  likely conclusion regarding the location of the various original Curcelle manors eventually and gradually altered to  Churchill but, again,  into  which  latter   forms  the  familys original  surname  seems gradually to  have  evolved  (from such as Curcelle or  Courichel, etc) rather than arising  from any  such pre-existing  English villages already so named  (on some typological grounds) - at about the times mentioned.  This fits well with its presence (with that nme not yet being the case  (in Broadclyst)  before the Conquest -  there being no apparent significant  hills  in the district,  nor manors of that  or comparable  name until later a little later.

           Since  noting the marriage of  an earlier Churchill with   Joan de Kilrington (thought at one point possibly to be   de  Kilmington), we have noted that an early family named  de Kilrington (so spelt) were  fittingly also established - at Broadclyst  - and so  likely accounting  for some of the Churchills earlier, if limited, estate there (near Kilverton and Wyldyarde - next door to Rockbeare).   [See references by Pole to this surname there.]   And, our assumption that the Churchill holdings in Braodclyst and Rockbeare,  may have been geographically quite close to each other, has recently  been further  confirmed in an early map of the area.  The London Road between Exeter and Honiton (on the way east to Dorset) passes directly by Rockbeare Court and hamlet  on its right (just into Rockbeare parish ) and, of the 5 miles northward from there comprising  neighbouring Broadclyst, the manor or farm lands of  Churchill were noted in an early  map -  to be just  a mile to the north  across  that same road (being now the division between those two neighbouring parishes (and near a new Airport with some older roads now removed).

        The Churchills thus  appear to have been seated in this south Devon  area  for  a very considerable time, even  before 1300  (now possibly from ca 11100  (as per Domesday Book)  and would continue to do so,  mainly in Roackbeare and/or Ottery St Mary as noted.  We  have  also since spotted a Wikipedia entry for  a Little Churchill Farm House  very near where Rockbeare Court would be; it is now a Grade II listed building.  The main Churchill  manor house, however,   across the road - in Broadclyst itself  (ca 1170-1470s, say) would likely have had a  larger Churchill Farm, and Manor House,  nearby presumably now long gone but with the immediate district or hamlet still shown on maps - as  Churchill   (with no significant hill, or church, in sight).   [However, it appears that any earlier Churchills in the area m ay have been settled briefly even earlier further south,  as an early outlier at Marldon, near Totnes, between Dartmouth and Torbay.]

          He  does so by considering each of the many hamlets or manors located within this one large parish (or even the Hundred of same name) - as bounded by the curving river Clyst. We mention only a few of these here:  Bere  in earliet times this was held byWilliam Martyn (of  Count de Mortains line) which soon went to the Hastings family, but Lady Martyn had given the land to a John Bamfield in whose family it remained some centuries, being held as late as the 1600s by a John Bamfield, Esq.    (We have noted an interaction between Bamfield and Churchill on two earlier  occasions ca 1400s, I believe.)   A Roger de Dauney held Danford and Holwel manors,  followed by several later William and John Dawneys, until the last had only daughters one of whom married a Mathew Churchill (of ?) and another into the Baron Sackville family). (This will have to be interpreted later in terms of other references to the Downeys of Norton, further south).  Clyston hayes was  held of the Petre familys Manor of of Exeter  .   Cutton with reference to the Chapel at ClumbeJohn and to Ash Clyst, held by Torre Abbey.  Wyldyarde held in earliest times by a Henry de Wildyarde  who lived in 1264, but  afterwards  by Elias de Churchill, Bartholomew de Churchill(probably a grandson of the  1st  Bartholomew) and finally John de Churchill.  The latter had two daughters Margaret and Agnes Cuhurchill who married into the ?Hildersey and Giffard families,  respectively, the latter thus acquiring the then major Churchill manor at (formerly Wildyarde).

          Southbrooke A Robert de Morcelles held it in 27 Hen 3 (1243) and then his son Warin;  it later came to Sir Oliver Dinham and family ca 1300 until a daughter and heiress of that family married  a Curchill (forename and date presently unknow; possibly ca 1350, say).   It would appear that Southbrooke, with Wyldyarde (next door),  were both early estates in BroadClyst which Hoskins had described as established  only sometime after Domesday, with the latter soon known as Churchill (l due to the name of that principal family  residing there;  Churchill Farm was noted on a later maps of the area in that south-east portion of BroadClyst.  Further east was Kilerton held in  the time of Edward 1st (1300+) by the Raleighs

          Elias and Dorothy appearr to have had  3 sons - John,  Gyles and William Churchill   in the 1340-60s  [Cx & Ld].   One says appears here  in that the  dates and names for the  pertinent events  around this period  still remain rather vague;  could there have been  earlier Elias and John Churchills, for example? No, but there were other Wsndrilles and Hugos a little earlier!] <>We recall that the younger Rogers son, Elias de Churchile had, in 8 Edw 2 (1335), granted  to one John Bampfield, his meadow called Pleyford in Cliston  e having  married [ca 1350) Dorothy,  daughter of the ancient family of Columbieres (near Kilrington?)…and, by her, had 3 sons John,  Giles and William de Churchile.   John, the eldest (bn ca 1360) , was a witness to a Charter concerning William Bampfield  in 5 Richard 2 (1382and was also mentioned in  a Charter of 11Henry 4 (1399),    

[  - from Sir William Ploles MS of Charters.]

Eldest son and heir John Churchill married in about 1385. Joane, daughter and co-heir of Roger Downey of Norton (by Dartmouth), south Devon, by Juliana, his wife, daughter and co-heir of William de Hildehere and was by her - father of two daughters [only] - Margaret and Agnes, later wives ca 1410-15, respectively, of Andrew Hilardison  of Devonshire and Thomas  GIffard of Cornwall [who gained from her] the Lordship of Churchill- seemingly that centred on Wyldyare in Broadclyst - and other lands [formerly held by said Elias and his son eldest John Churchile]

            Giles Churchile, the second son [bn ca 1370), held the Manor at Yealampton and Lyneham [near Meeth, Okehampton] in Devonshire  [likely gained through marriage - ca 1395)] but, remaining childless, they went by an [unnamed]  heiress, to the ancient family of Crocker. [Possibly, see their pedigree.]

       Thus  third  son, 
William Churchill (b ca 1375),   apparently became son and heir to  Elias on the latters death (ca  ?1390)- with neither older brother  leaving surviving male issue.  The Churchill line thus carried on through this William seemingly snow in the  Rockbeare area by ca 1390.   Indeed, William was  himself later described fittingly  as  of  Rockbeare, Esq in  Devon  around that time.    This   immediately abuts the manor of Churchill(ex-Wildyarde) in neighbouring Broadclyst  to the immediate  northeast into which it may well  have extended.   William appears to have married [to whom?] by about 1395-40   and may have had   a son  Gyles (Snr) around then  (1400) - who would himself marry about 1425 or so  (to whom again unknown)  - and with whom he apparently  had  a sonGyles Jnr - about 1430.   Significantly, both  these latter Gtyles Churchills were  also described as being  'of Rockbeare'*.  [We can see that the missing intervening Churchill in this sequence would  thus be the foregoing younger Gyles Churchill, son of Gyles Snr.]      The younger Gyles in turn had son Charles Churchillin about 1445-50, again in Rockbeare we assume.

         * ROCKBEARE  [as we learn from Magna Britannica  (1822 ],  is in the Hundred of East Budleigh and  the deanery of Aylesbear, in Devonshire, and lies about seven miles north-east of Exeter;  the village of Marsh Green , to the south-east,  is also in this Manor  [its former name being that of  Rockbeare Baldwin.] This source continues:

        “At an early period, Alice, relict of John FitzRichard, gave the manor and church of Rockbeare to John, son of Theobald.  [This, notes the M.B.,  from something  called Chapples Collections undated -   but thought to be in the reign of Edward III  (ca 1330-60s ).   [This  suggested  early period  seems too late;    Alices gift  sounds  more like a  Domesday item  - of 250 years earlier.[But see Poles view on this and the following.]  In any case ], “ …   Robert Burnell,  Bishop of Bath and Wells, then gave his Manor of  Rockbeare  [how and when acquired not shown]  to Matilda, Countess of Gloucester;   [This lady was the daughter of Robert , 1st Earl of Gloucester (1090 -1147) - an illegitimate son of King Henry 1st, and  said to be a powerful Baron);  she would thus have been born  about 1120  (and should  be distinguished from the Empress Matilda, her older aunt (and half-sister of her father, Robert);  confusingly, both were also known as Maud.  The elder aunt (the Empress) died in 1167 while this younger niece (the Countess)  did so in 1189 ).   Bishop Burnell would thus have had to give Rockbeare  to her around 1150, say, possibly at her marriage about then.  However, this  Bishop apparently lived a century later - from 1239 to 1292 !   [Something is quite wrong  in Magna Britannics account on Rockbeare with at least  two gross errors thus far.]Thus.   the name  Rockbeare meant in fact Rook Woods (rooks being a type of crow common there).    (ca

         [One must thus try to accommodate some of this information, and dates, with what appears to be the case with respect to the Churchills holding of Rockbeare Manor, likely following their loss of an early Churchill  manor in neighbouring Broadclyst, just to the north from at least  the  early 1300s - where the Churchills appear to have held a manor under their own name (if formerly called Wyldyarde), within that parish (or its associated Hundred so named) . The questionable validity of the  account on Rockbeare seems further confirmed when the very next statement in this confused description  claims that this Countess Matilda   then  "bestowed Rockbeare   on to another fsmily. In any case, a little  later (ca 1390 to ca 1570s),   this Manor was generally considered to be  held by the Churchill family, as we have often been informed from many quoted sources.   

       The (associated?) manor of Rockbeare Baldwin belonged, at an early period, to Baldwin de Belstone (ca 1300?). It was later held by a succession of absentee landlords such as the Beaumonts, Bassetts and Fulfords. It is possible that the Churchills had in fact become Chief Tenants as early as the late 1300s of one or more of a succession of such inheriting Freeholders who likely never resided there (quite possibly in that  (ex-Baldwin) portion of Rockbeare themselves.   As Chef Tenants there, the Churchills could sub-let its property while paying only a token annual rent to such as the Beaumonts, etc. through these same three centuries.  They may well have been Leaseholders, rather than Copyholders initially , but one noted that William Pole ends his account on Rockbeare by pointing out that one of the families to whom the Bssets eventually sold their estate was “the Churchills of Clist”, the neighbouring Manor or parish just to the north when Eliass eldest son John Churchil had only 2 daughters and the ex-Churchill manor at Wildyarde in Broadclyst seemingly went in marriage to his daughters husband Thomas  Giffard of  Cornwall.  But, the senior line of the family forunately continued through John's brother William, and sons, at Rockbeare.

        [Note that our account may hopefully now proceed fom anout this point, with most locations,  dates and inter-family relationships better known.  We  continue  next  by considering further the Churchills  of  Devonshire and Dorset  (which may involve some  over-lap with certain aspects introduced  earlier) There has thus been a gradual shift in  the elder Churchills counties of residence from Somerset (and other counties to the north) - to  those of Devon and Dorset (but with some earlier evidence of being in south Devon almost from the start).]   

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            We continue  now with  Poles account of the subsequent events of those times:   The  Charles Churchill mentioned above (now of Rockbeare, Esq) , “was, he notes,  engaged by Thomas Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, in the Yorkist cause of Edward 4th [in his conflict with the Lancastrian faction - around 1470]  and, remaining loyal to that Monarch  (after  Courtenay had deserted that King), did thereby obtain the latters support in arranging a marriage [ca 1472] between himself,  Charles Churchill, and one Margaret Wydville [apparently a relative   of the  Kings Consort - Elizabeth nee Wydville].  [Sadly, Charles soon died however, possibly fighting in that cause(ca 1474)  but not before he had, by daid Margaret, a son and heir, one Thomas Churchill, [Snr] born ca 1473, his mother Margaret having eventually re-married into a landed family settled near Bristol - some unknown time later.] 

[ * Note that the elder of her new family was seated near Bristol) and one wonders how much of her inheritance (as a  Wydville co-heiress, say) remained available for her young son Thomas Churchills  upbringing and future marriage prospects (in backwater Rockbeare)  - compared to that to be enjoyed from the same source (?) by her 2nd husband - one Robert Poyntzs issue ?]  

        Thomas Churchill, Esq  [born quite possibly in Rockbeare -  about 1473] -  was thus the the only son of said Charles Churchill d. ca 1474).   After a period between 1475 and ca 1485 when we have no information about where and by whom Thomas was raised,  he is said to have married ca 1495 one Grace Tylle, daughter and coheir of Thomas Tylle, Esq - of Tylle House   [the latter residence having usually been described as situated  in Cornwall but we have concluded (from a remark  by Pole,  read some time ago, that it was in fact lobg situated in  east Devon;  this was happily later confirmed in Poles Collections which describes that family as in fact residing in Tylhous (sic), being yet another of those small manors located within the large area (Hundred)  described as Clyst or Clistonin  east Devon   bounded by the river Clyst and thus virtually next door to the Churchills, recently of Wylyarde  (later Churchill) manor in that same Hundred.[It seemed to go to Giffard of Cornwall and hence that county may have been wrongly assumed to be where the Tylles resided; they didnt. One can imagine that one of Thomas's uncles back at Rockbeare would at some point, contact his family's former neighbours in the Broadclyst area near Wycroft and Tylle House to help arrange a marriage for his orphaned nephew Thomas. The latter twould thus soon marry Grace Tylle and so shift his centre of gravity north-east from Rockbeare towards Colyton and Axninster. Equally. he may welll have gained some degree of security from holdings retained in Broadclyst with the help of any money provided by his mother Margaret.      

         William Pole describes Thomas Churchill and wife Grace having a first son   William Churchill, Esq    but this may not be accurate -in regard to both his order of birth and his status;   while he wascertainly born to said Thomas Churchill Snr and wife Grace, it appears that William  was not their eldest son and so was not, subsequently, of Rockbeare, Esq.    Rather, Thomas and Grace appear to have had  at least two sons firtly, a namesake Thomas Churchill (Jnr) - of Roackbeare, Esq (bn ca 1494)  and, only secondly, said William Churchill (bn ca1496) also of Roakbeare but,  as an adult, he would likely be of Gent status (only) ' as a second son, and/or even that of  Yeoman possibly,   for a time.  (Thomass status - as Esq -  might itself however also be uncertain - unless his familys position (as Leashold Tenants-in-Chief, say) warranted that status-  once theyd purchased  Rockbeare from the Bssets.  Did they receive a leg-up by any advantage  gained  through  the brief marriage with Margaret Woodville - some years earlier  ? We have assumed so.]

           In any case, this ca 1473-born Thomas Churchills elder son in turn,  Thomas Cgurchill Jnr (bn ca 1494) ,  is shown (elsewhere) to have married one Iseult Provencher (possibly of nearby Kenn, south of Exeter, in south Devon), in about 1515 (as estimated) from whom the senior Churchill line would appear to have  continued in Rockbeare (as per  this Thomas Jnrs  Will of 1577)   - with 3 or 4 sons, and 1 daughter,  while second son (this Thomass younger brother -  William  Churchill, Gent,   would smarry Mary Creuse , eldest daughter and co-heir of Richard Creuse, Esq -  of Wycroft Castle, fittingly also  in  quite near Tylle House in east Devon - [likely by 1515-17)] .

Nearby was Southwood held by the Dinhams   and thence, via the the Francis and Courteney families, went to
Sir John Wadham (ca 1450s).   The next propery mantioned by Pole was Evelaugh which we note gets us closer to  the neighbouring Hundred of Axminster where the younger branch of the Wadhams had also settled, before they appear in nearby Catherston just across the border into Doset.  

         Also nearby, setill in BroadClyst, was   Tylhous (Tylle House) (sic)  - where a Robert de Tylle  resided as early as the time of Henry 3rd (who reigned over 50 yers in the 1300s).  He was sudceeded by 7 more Tyllle  fathers and eldest sons,   until a Stephen Tylle who had two daughters - (the 1ST of unknown name ) and the 2nd an Elizabeth Tylle - who married  William Wadham of Catherston (ca 14/90s) and had issue John Wadhan Snr   ca 1490),  who had a son John Wadham Jnr (ca 1520), an MP,  who had an eldest son George Wadham (ca 1545) who sold Tylle House to a Mr Henry Burrow (ca 1570, say) whose wifes brother  (a Reynell) ater held it.   Finally, we have the oddly named manor of  Anke  (possibly after the old Norman surname of Anketil ?).  It had been given by Henry 1st to William Despenser whose line there ended some generations later with a sole daughter - Margaret  Chesledon (?)  who appears to have married the same  William Wadham  (as a 2nd wife)  and whose grandson George  likewise sold Anke, aong with Tylle House,  to the Burrows(or Broughs?)  and thence to the Reynells.  [This ends Poles insert on BroadClyst.]        


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              With Coxe (and others) we proceed next to  the reigns of Henry VI  (1422-1461) and Edward IV (464-1483 with a short gap), during the Wars of the Roses, when  he also finds    “William Churchill  - beig a lineal descendent of Bartholomew, now later seated, fittingly,  at Rockbeare, in Devon”.   [We may note that  the uncommon term lineal is also used in this same context  by Ld   in  his account which we understand  preceded that of Cxe and thus from whom  the latter   quite likely acquired  much of his material.]   “And,  that  a “Charles Churchill, grandson of said William, was  a distinguished warrior during the 2nd phase of troubled reign of Edward IV  (1471-1483) when Charles fought for that \Monarch initially under the Banner  of   Devons  Baron Thonas Courteney (who had succeeded the FitzRalphs), then Earls of Devonshire, and was much honoured for his efforts”. [Cx]   [We vshall note later that William Pole also refers to Charles Churchill  and the honours so gained  (and a  promised marriage) - during this troubled period.]

            Moreover, we have since become aware of another useful account of the family during  this period.  This was shown in a reference on the useful Genuki family history site - based on an earlier entry in the respected publication  Notes and Queries for Devon and Cornwall (written  in  1920-21) .  It reads as follows [with added comment in square brackets]:  

     Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries Vol  XI  -    (1920-21):

        “Item  58.   The Churchill Family.     The following is from a Note written originally by or for Sir Winston Churchill (1620-1688)  and recently  lent (sic)  to our Editor  (R.  Pearse Chope).   [Who held it in the interim and eventually so lent it to them was not mentioned.]   “It may be of interest to our readers [notes Chope] …. as it appears to differ from the published pedigrees for this family.   As an example, [he cites] Burkes Peerage which traced [the erlier] Sir Winstons  (recent) descent  from  one  “Charles Churchill [b 1445], son of Gyles  Churchill [b ca 1420] and grandson of a William Churchill of Rockbeare, Devon.” [b ca 1400].   Said Charles  had apparently been engaged by Thomas Courtenay. Earl of Devon, in the  cause of Edward IV [who reigned from  1460s to 1480s] and, remaining true to that King (unlike Courteney) ,  was  [ca 1471]  offered [by the King or his spokesman ] a financially attractive marriage to one Margaret Woodville  [b 1455], she being  somehow associated  with the  Queen Consort  [Elizabeth  nee Woodville]  as mentioned briefly above,  they hence appear to have married in 1472 but certain subsequent events fail to  further confirm  such a union when they possibly could have but chose not to.   

        [We Note that Thomas Churchill of the 1577 Will  (b ca 1494)  would himself be a grandson  of the same  William Churchill mentioned above (bn ca 1400)  as would his younger brother William [a possible namesake ?) -  b ca 1496 - from  whom our later Churchills descend.]      [Note: Charles soon died (possibly in battle?) and had only the one son Thomas - (by said Margaret) in about 1473 as strongly alleged.]

        [The Note then refers to its author Sir Winston Churchill  (one of these later descendants)  having resided for a time at Ashe, near Musbury, Devon (prior to his eventual Knighthood) - from whom descended the future Duke of Marlborough.  This reference was likely  inserted into these Notes simply to further under-line the Churchills Devon origins and credentials.]    It then relates the intervening Churchill descent (their genealogy) in the next section of the Note  (not attributed to any specific source, other than the present Note so lent), which is thus entitled:

Genealogy of The  Churchills.

           “John Churchill of Churchill, Esq descended of that ancient and sometimes illustrious House, surnamed de Courcellis   and, more commonly now in Devonshire,  as  Churchill.  [The then abode of that early John is not stated, nor his relevant  dates.]   The last person  whereof  in the county)  was  John Churchill of Litlam  (Littleham)  [being the son of whom not given, but someone who was a son of Elias] who married  one of the daughters and coheirs of John Downey of Wydbere (in Plimtree, Devon near Broadclyst?) by his wife Joane, sole daughter and heir of William Wodebere of Wodebere. [Note: we show this  John Churchill, as the 1st son of Elias,  marrying (ca 1350) a daughter of a Roger Downey of Norton Downey, which appears to have been  near  Dartmouth and thus nowhere neare Broadclyst).  This would place this John (then of Littleham (apparently just north-east of Broadclyst  as being born around  1325 and hence Elias about  1300.    With joane, John had but two daughters and coheirs (Agnes and Margaret [who married into the Hillardison and Giffard families, respectively ]; the Churchill line then necessarily continued  with Eliass 3rd son William (b ca 1335)  (his 2nd  son Gyles having had no issue). See above.] 

         The present genealogy then continues - even more confusingly - by identifying the aforesaid John Churchill [of Litlam  (Littleham) [apparently near either Broadclyst or Exmouthe]  as having Arms and   being  the  grandchild  of  an Otho Churchill  [who apparently was]…the  son of [an earlier] John Churchill [who was] the son of [a?later] Bartholomew, [who was] the son of Elias de Churchill of Elyas Hayes in Comb-Ralegh near Broadclyst (anciently Comb-baunton) by Emma his wife, the relict of Sir Robert Dinham [and] daughter and sole heir of Sir Hugh Widworthy  of Widworthy, by his wife  [also an Emma] she the sole daughter and heir of Sir Walter Giffard of Weare Giffard.   Elias was son to Sir Hugh  [?de Coucelles] and grandchild to Roger de Courcelle of Marland [Courcelle and Marland  in the Paignton/Totnes/Torbay area and possibly now called Marldon] thus being in Devon from ca 1150s !] who did great service to King Henry the 2nd   in his expedition against Tholouse.  [Date being sought:  It was in fact  1159 (and thus peoves consistent with our Tax records then in The Totnes Barony (1150 to 1200).]   He  was consequently honoured by that King with many Lordships and Signioryes in both Somerset and Devon and many inheritances from noble families who married into that  House as those of Crocker (of Totnes area), Hillardison, Giffard,  Denys, Cobham,  Wadham, Prideaux, etc.  [ie around 1300 to 1400+, presumably.]

               [We have also noted a document held at the Devonshire Record Office (number 48/22/2/1) which concerns the purchase (for £1,127.) of the then combined Manors of Litlam (Littleham)  and Exmouthe, Devon  (possibly near one another or quite separated !) by one Sir Thomas Denys  of nearby Holcombe Burnell, Knt.,  formerly held by the Monestry of Sherborne, Dorset. There was no date but another such sale was noted involving this same Knight, along with Sir William Petre, for the year 1547 when many such former Monestery properties were being bought from the Crown (which had gained them earlier in 1535-40s  at the Dissolution of same); this William Petre then bought more than most in Devon.  They were often then sold on quickly at a fair profit.  Presumably, the Sherborne Monestry had purchased this manor from an earlier Chrchill (ca 1400+) or they had held it from much eearlier and had nly leased it to John Churchill around 1350+SirThomas Denys would likely be a descendant of the same Denys family  with whom the Churchills allegedly interacted in south Devon two  centuries before.] 

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            We  now return to this same stage in Coxes account - realizing that these various   accounts  differ in several  respects which will have to be further analysed (now in conjunction with Sir Wm Poles recently discovered account also)  to  arrive at a hopefully   more valid  and internally consistent  conclusions. Moreover,  it seems that  a younger Wandrille de Courcellis was involved in that later generation.  In the meantime, we return to Coxes account of the 1400s:   

            Charles Churchill (b ca 1445) is shown by Coxe (following the above remarks regarding his continuing support for Edward IV) to have married (ca 1472) a  Countess  Margaret Wydeville, an apparently  younger sister  of Elizabeth Wydeville (who beame Queen  Consort on marrying Henry IV in 1464 ),  both girls  being daughters of  Sir Richard Wydville (or Woodville) .    By said Margaret,  Charles had  but one child a son Thomas Churchill ca 1472/3,  who would likely be raised at Rockbeare.   Sadly, his father Charles died quite soon (ca 1474) , possibly in a recent batttle,  and  Margaret Churchill, as she would presumably then have been,   later   re-married (ca 1483 or so)  - to    Sir Robert Poyntz  whose family had a large  estate at Iron Acton, near Bristol, Gloucestershire, where  she   later had a   2nd  family by him between about  1480+ to 1490s.   One would assume that no record survives showing Margarets full name at this later marriage.    She died in 1520 (as did her husband); it was noted in the account on  a modern day Poyntz website that she  was  buried  in  the  churchyard of St James the Less, the local church, shown as age 64/65.  Sir Robert was apparently buried in the Chapel he had built in Bristol, although his own local church also had a family chapel.  [Note: This is discussed further below.]

             When I examined these matters further, however, I discovered that the relationship  between Elizabeth Woodville (who married Edward IV) and the  Margaret Wydville  who apparently married Charles Churchill, firstly, as revealed through  a most complex series of events.  This can be described in various ways but may be  best done chronologically as follows: 

          The Wars of the Roses (so called much later) began much earlier in the 15th century when various  disagreements  arose concerning the proper succession of the royal family on the death of an earlier  monarch.   Eventually, two opposing sides  of the nobility emerged in support of  either the Lancastrian(& Welsh) sides of the Royal family  or those associated more with Yorkshire,  The two sides thus  adopted the Red and the White rose,  as their respective symbols.  Some supporters switched sides when seeing their own futures either  threatened or enhanced,   accordingly.   Many short-lived conflicts and battles ensued between the  1450s and 1480s.  In Devonshire , the important Courteney family (Earls of same) sought support for the Yorkist Hen ry IV around 1468-72 and one of the local  volunteers to assist him was Charles Churchill of Rockbeare,  then aged about 25.   However, Courtney soon decided to switch sides.  But,  for a consideration, Charles is said  to have agreed to remain a supporter of Henry IV and his reward  was  the  promise of a marriage that would advance his estate.  This  apparently  soon followed  in 1472.  His bride was said to be Margaret  Wydville/Woodville  , then aged 17, not unusually young at all in those days when  adulthood in such classes  was typically anticipated much earlier than today.

       To identify this young bride, we must, ideally,  describe those long fought Wars of the Roses. In the early 1400s, the then Duke of Bedford employed one Richard Wydville)  as his Chamberlain,  his father having been  Sheriff of Nottingham.  Richards son, of same name, also entered the Dukes service in his turn around 1425 .  The Dukes first wife died shortly after this and he  re-married in 1433, at a mature age ,  to a 17year old Jaquetta, a Duchess  of Luxembourg of that small nations royal family.   They had no issue before he soon died  in 1435, leaving her a young and very wealthy widow, with no children.  In such circumstances, she would require the Kings permission as to whom she, as a Duchess,  could re-marry.   However, she was apparently attracted to the younger  Richard Wydville, then  aged about 30;  they soon married  but without such permission, in 1437, and were consequently fined £1000,  but this was later rescinded.  Through the 1440s and 50s they then had a large family of Wydville/ Wioodville children including  5 sons and 8 daughters; all would become increasingly influential in royal circles,  their parents being  worth £8000 a year (about a million or more).  

        Their eldest daughter Elizabeth  Wydville (b 1437) would thus marry the monarch himself - Edward IV - n 1464,  further consolidating her  familys wealth and influence, including that of her  younger siblings one of whom was  a Margaret Wydville (b 1454).  And her eldest brother Anthony Wydville was made an Earl, Lord Rivers.   But the Lancastrians sought to besmirch the now Yorkist Wydvilles, pointing out Richards non-aristocratic  background, and hence his and Anthonys  various estates were often attacked.    Richard  and a younger son John became embroiled in the Battle of  Edgecote  Moor   in 1469, where they (as Yorkists)  were defeated and both summarily executed.  By 1470/71, Edward needed further support.

         Richard was thus succeeded,  as 2nd Earl Rivers,  by his eldest son Anthony Wydville (b ca 1439).  He became  known as a great Tournament champion and replaced his father  as the Kings frequent   companion  and protector.  He appears to have married firstly, aged about 26 (ca 1465),  Elizabeth de Scales , daughter of Thomas de Scales, a Boron,.  She died in 1473 without issue.  He soon married 2ndly in about 1475, Mary FitzLewis, daughter of a Henry Fitz Lewis - which union was also childless.   But, he did have a mistress of long standing.

       Around this period, King Edward had gone  briefly  into exile accompanied byAnthony Wydville (in 1470) but  they returned together the following year when  Edward re-gained  the throne. In 1472, he  sent Anthony and his younger brother Richard Wydville to aid the Bretons in Brittany  with  1000 English Archers against the French, whom they defeated.  Anthony he was then appointed  Guardian of the Prince of Wales household  when they went to live at Ludlow Castle,   he having  previously been appointed  High Sheriff for much of neighbouring Wales where, at sone earlier point,  he would have met meet various persons of influence  in that Principality including no doubt one William Strandling, Sheriff of  St Donats Cstle in Glamorgan,   and thus his daughter Gwendline whom he seems to have known  sometime before that appointment.  She in fact had become his mistress with whom he had an illegitimate daughter as early as 1455 when they were both rather  young and  rhus  long before his 2 childless marriages.   She would thus be his sole heir on day.

       One of Anthonys  (and Elizabeth)s younger sisters,  Margaret  Wydville,  had herself not long been born - to their father Richard Wydville and wife Jaquetta  (in 1454) and  his own daughter Margaret  appears to have been born and so maned  shortly after this.  There were thus 2 young Margaret Woodvilles  -   of very similar  ages,  growing up in the 1460 their common denominator being Anthony Wydville - the brother of one and the father of the other.  

        Illegitimate  children wwere  not uncommom in the upper classes in those days and while such sons of that status often acquired  a surname prefixed by Fitz  (from the French - Fils)   of the fathers first name, the daughters would typically  take on his  actual surname, rather  than  that of ther parents.  As Anthony was to have no legitimate issue from either of his  wives, young Margarets future would  thus be quite assured, not only by Anthonys  status as an Earl,  but  by his close  association with  the King, and his own inherited wealth.  Any  potential  future husband who supported the Kings position  (as Charles Churchill of Rockbeare, Esq)  would quite  reasonably expect such a marriage  to be financially attractive.  The future for Anthonys younger sister  Margaret Wydville (b 1454),  was of course equally assured but at a  more established social level; she would marry Thomas Fitzalan,  10th Earl Arundel, and have by him 4 children.  Nevertheless, if the bride chosen for Charles had in fact been the latter Margaret instead and he soon died (as he did  about  a year later)  would there have been any difference between the two in a  tendency to suppress knowledge of any such brief first  marriage  and   issue ?

       For, when we seek evidence of that first marriage of Anyhonys daughter (of ca 1472) , or of that od Eliz\abeths young sister,we find  in both cases ,that the young  Margaret Wydvilles  concerned are both  subsequently shown as only marrying into the two respective aristocratic families  described   to Sir Robert Poyntz in one case vaguely implied as occurring   around 1480 or so and  to Lord  Thomas Fitzalan, albeit considerably  earlier,   in  1466;   his Margaret  being   aged  but 11 or 12 only - being   her parents 7th daughter, born in 1454.    In neither case would such marriages be considered not to be the girls first .    The descriptions available indicate that she was the slightly older Margaret,  with Sir Roberts bride, on the other hand,  being  clearly described as the  illegitimate daughter of  Anthony Wydville  and Gwendolina  Stridling rather than the recent widow of a Charles Churchill.  That Margaret couldof course well have had a prior marriage therefore ca 1472 somewhere.  But no reference to same is suggested whatsoever in the description of her later marriage. It it did occur, why might its occurrence have been  supressed ?  Moreover, the date of that apparent 2nd marriage  appears to have been lost or obscured.   If so, Why ?   Who arranged the marriage and what was the Dowery ?

        When the King died suddently in early 1483,   Elizabeth, the Queen  (nee Woodville) ordered her brother Anthomy (Lord River) to bring  the Primce of Wales, now King Edward V, straight  back to London from Ludlow - under armed guard.   This he immediately set out to do but they were  soon intercepted by Richard,  Duke of Cloucester (a fervent Lancastrian), who  arrested them.  Anthony wasthus imprisoned and later  beheaded -  in June 1483 - at Pontefract Castle;    Richard was seeking the Monarchy  himself to become  a short reigning Richard III - before Henry Tudors final victory in 1487.   Edward V had reigned but briefly  before being deposed by Richard and, with his young brother,  were placed in the Tower and mysteriously disappeared ( presumed murdered).  Henry VII married Elizabeth (nee Wydville)s eldsest daughter Elizabeth of York - to help cement matters betweenYork and Lancaster and so finally end the Wars of the Roses.  Both sides had virtually exhausted  them salves and Henry picked up the pieces.

          Meanwhile, back in Rockbeare,  Devon, Charles assumed marrriage to his Margaret Wydville (she described by Coxe  as a Countess - wnich she may well have been - as the daughter of  an Earl but they could easily confuse which Earl.  She   was at least blessed by a son Thomas Churchill in 1473 before Charles untimely passing within a year or so. [ I have noted no other young widow described  as appearing then  in that situation.]  What was young Margaret Churchill to do now ?  In what position financially was  she  and her  infant son  Thomas Churchill  left  ?    Just where would any such information eventually be recorded and  archived ?   Not in that quoted in the Wikipedia  article devoted to Margarets next husband  - Sir Robert Poyntz.  He  was a Lancastrian  ssupporter of Henry Tudor  -at least at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and quite probably before that. 

         We may recall that Anthony Wydville was captured and executed in 1483 and was not available to oversee his daughters future after that date.  But, between 14737 (when she was 12) and 1483, he certainly was available to so do. If Margaret did marry a Yorkist supporter (as Charles Churchill)  after Earl Courtney, his Devon over -Lord, deserted that cause,  it would without doubt be Anthony Wydvill, her father , who would have overseen such a promised union.   He would not do so if her next marriage was  with a family of the other side ie  around 1576-1482, say!  Who would so arrange that marriage then or after ?   It likely wasnt in fact so arraged  in the early 1470s.     Was it only so arranged after 1482  therefore ?  Yes, likely with the dates of marriage and consequent issues birthdates  somehow  lacking or obscured. 

           Whatever the circumstances that then prevailed in those confused times near the end of the Wars of the Roses , there is thus a parallel  ambiguity over the years 1472 and 1482   about  the events surrounding  the life of Margaret Woodville (nee Stradling, ex-Churchill (possibly)  - soon  to become a Poyntz) -   - during which time she was aged between 17  and  27 having possibly borne  a child born Thomas Churchill  near the start of  period.   For how long might he have  remained  with her and where ?  As noted, this ambiguity also applies over the dates of birth of her subsequent  Poyntz children,   I have estimated that they were probably  not born until  the mid-1480s.  By this time, young Charles Churchill would be about 10 or so and thus  more suitable  to be cared for by some close Churchill relative back at Rockbeare.  It is difficult to imagine that his parentage details were somehow invented by such as Coxe or Pole).

         And yet the historians who composed the facts  about Sir Robert Poyntzs subsequent marriage and issue conveniently show no reference whatsoever to his young bride having had any prior union.   Nor are any dates of his marriage or births of his later children given. Might it have  compromised   their prestige  in local  society, or  the basis of their future economic status or property ownership ?     Sir Roberts Will was proved (PCC) in Apr 1520.  He seems to have had  a Chapel built for his burial in St Marks church, Bristol (part of Guants Chapel) which would appear to be at variance with the location of his wifes burial - in the churchyard  at St James the Less in  Iron Acton, later that same year.   [ Who decided upon the latter ?]                                     

Addendum on the Parentage of Thomas Churchill (bn ca 1473)

              Around the year 1450, a son one Robert Poyntz, - was born into an established landed family long settled on a Manor estate about 10 miles north-east of Bristol on the Somerset border with Glousestershire.   While Bristol was a very important commercial City, and Port, with many wealthy merchants in the import- export business trading with the Continent,  those established landed families in estates nearby as the Berkelerys and the Poyntzs - continued during the Wars of the Roses to maintain their positions and status more by the security of their estates, their  rental  incomes  and by good marriages  than by concerns over how trade was being affected by the War.  Of course, who one knew in  the changing hierarchies holding royal power  then remained very important to many as well.  By 1470, the above Robert Poyntz had likely not quite reached the age where he would  begin to be overly concern himself with  the current situation   with the War, nor declare himself an active  supporter of either  faction.

              Another  son Chales Churchill - was born just a little earlier - around 1445 also into an established landed  family settled on a Manor estate also about 10 miles north-east of another  City,and Port, but a smaller one  that of Exeter, in Devon.   Again, his familys interests  centred on their  property and marriages, rather than trade, although  there had been more set-backs in its viability than with the Poyntzs with that excess of earlier daughters over sons and many property  losses  through  the dictates of former Sovereigns - as described elsewhere;  their Esquire status  was barely  hanging on.   Moreover,  in  that regard, the two families had, as they say, history.    Much earlier, the Churchills held a great many properties throughout Somerset, the county now lying between them. [It would be rather poetic if a particular one of those namely  Idstock (nr Curry Malet))  proved to be about mid-way between the 2 familys later respective seats by ca 1470, say.  For that was the one Somerset Manor that appears not to have accompanied  the great majority of ex-Churchill holdings  that wasnt transferred  quite so mysterious (being essentially unexplained) to the Malets -  who must have supported some  new King by about 11170, say -  300 years earlier (!) but, rather, was transferred (just as surreptitiously ) from the Churchill to the Poyntz family.]  Someone must have chosen the right King to support. Did this possibly repeat itself ?

             By about 1470,  the chief over-Lord in Devonshire  - the County Earl, Thomas Courteney, decided to support the current King EdwardIV in his on-going struggles against  the  incessant provocations of the Lancastrian opposition.  Courteney encouraged support from his countys nobles and lesser knights and Esqires.  One of the latter who answered the call was shown to be Charles Churchill now of Rockneare, he then aged 25.  [We may note in passing that Robert Poyntz was then about 20 and one reads nothing about him supporting one side or the other;   had he have been 25 or so then, we may well have seen such references to him in this regard as we would more likely do  in just a few years time.]   But, by about 1472, Courteney decided to switch or cease his allegiance.  Charles  was one of these Devon men who preferred to remain with Edward however and to this end he was apparently promised the reward of an arranged marriage with someone  whose financial position and/or  property would enhance his own then limited standing.  This fact (as it appeared to be) was recorded in such as Coxes Churchill account and in Poleslocal  history of Devon  in which it is clearly stated that Charles then married one Margaret Wydville in about 1473 and with her have  a son Thomas Churchill ca 1474 before Charles sadly died shortly after possibly fighting for the King.. 

         How much continued contact did Margaret Churchill  have with her young son Thomas between 1475 to 1485, say ?  And where ?    It turns out that Margaret was the illegitimate daughter   of the mistress of  Sir Anthony Woodville one Gwndoline Stradling of Glamorgan in Wales.  Anthonys sister Elizabeth Wydville had married  King Edward who had found both her father Richard Wybville (1st  Lord Rivers) and now  his  new brother-in-law. Anthomy (2nd Lord Rivers) very helpful and competent in protecting  him in his precarious role  as  a Yorkist monarch.   The Wydvilles were very wealthy in their own right and even more so after their connections with the King.  So any arranged marriages overseen by either Queen Elizabeth - for her many siblings,  or any by Anthony - for  his own  issue  (as with  Charles Churchill) would thus be equally affordable and significant..  As it turned out,  both these Wydville siblings had a relative  named and/or known as Margaret Wydville born  only a year apart (1454 and55).  The slightly elder girl was Elizabeths much younger sister and the other Margaret was Anthonys daughter by Gwendoline, born slightly later.

         At some point after the latter Margaret Wooodvilles  apparent husband Charles had died (ca 1474-77) a second marriage for his new widow would eventually be arranged.   Information about that would appear to have been presented to the world just as it had already been for her  name-sake  aunt at her   first and only marriage - likely arranged by  Elizabeth that is, as though it too was to be her first and only marriage.    By this point, young Robert Poyntz had become  a little older and would likely become more obviously involved in the national struggle.  Did he (or his father) see the familys) interests best aligned with or against the King ?

         A very thorough analysis of the attitues displayed about then by his nearby City of Bristol merchants ca 1466 to 1475+ (by the Bristol Historical Society ) sadly doesnt mention that local family and it  maddeningly stops a touch early for our chief focus.  It doesnt seem to conclude that Bristol (or its nearby major  land-holding neighbours)  were  either mostly for, or against,   the King.  There thus  appears no clear evidence that the Potyntz family supported either faction .prior to the  1480s.    An article on Wikidedia on the latter family, does give  an account on Sir Robert Poynt- of Iron Acton, the familys Manor near Bristol:  He lived from 1450 to 1520 giving the names of his parents and children  and that of his wife.  It doesnt mention what side he or his father were on during the Wars of the Roses -  except to note that he fought latterly at least for Henry Tujdor, the Lancastrian victor, in 1485 at Bosworth, and in 1487 at the very  end of those many Wars.  We may point out that Yotkist Anthony Wydville had already been captured  by the Lancastrians in 1483, shortly after the Kings death earlier that same year (of a stroke)  with Anthony  then executed at Pontefract forthwith allegedly after writing his Will.   Robert Poyntz  was said to be one of the Executors of Roberts Will written just before he was beheaded.  This seems rather odd.  Did Anthony have no surviving Yorkist  colleagues to serve this role ?  What did he leave to his only heir Margaret;  he had been a very wealthy man.   Who dictated the instructions of the Will of a man about to be beheaded ?  Who witnessed it a Lamcastrian ?   Who benefitted ?  Whom did Margaretthen  marry….and  WHEN ?  We have alluded to this in our reference to the Wikipedia  article.   

        For these two questions are conveniently answered - in both cases from  the same source: the article on Robert Poyntz.  He was married, on an unknown date, to none other than Magrgaret Woodville (so identified) , the illegitimate daughter of Anthony Woodville, and  subsequently had by Robert  sevevral Poyntz children.   Their dates of birth, as her date of marriage,  are not reported.  It may well have been that, suspiciously,  they married only in or after 1483, say.  When and where had Margaret last live with  her son Thomas (if she did) ? Margarerts marriage to Robert Poybyz is described solely as though it was her first and only one.  Can we realistically accept that Coxes and Poles records were therefore  entirely invented.   ?  Why bother to seek out such a fairy tale if it was.    Is there no evidence pertaining to our principals for the years 1472 to 1482, say ??  Why not ?  This blank period should be more explicable.  

NOTE:  I have just discovered that there is no PCC Will proved for Anthony Woodville (etc) for ca 1483-85. despite the record referring to same  (see below).    BUT, there are 4 Inq PMs for him ca 1485-87 fot Nortolk, Suffolk, Canbridge and Herts !   Why ??  Was the Will destroyed forthwith ? Who would be  motivated to do so ?  If the Will had left his large estate to his only heir  Margaret, who would want to convince her that it was, for eample only if she married a particular man (her 1st husband having died  some time before). We wonder what Sir Robert Poybtz Will (PROB 11/19/388  of April 1520)  might breveal as to his wealth and propery;  we apparently being unable examine  that of his apparent rival Anthony Woodville). {See also article on the Poyntz  family (in Dorset) for many useful PRO suggestioms.]

         Meanwhile, Thomas Churchill, apparent son of that 1st marriage by Margaret, wherever and with whomever  he grew up (but see below), and only son of Charles Churchill and (presumably) Margaret Woodville   (nee Stradling)   would himself , a little latermarry -   about 1493 - to Grace Tylle, daughter of Thomas Tylle - of Tylle House.  This latter estate has often  been described elsewhere  [by Ld and many others since]  as located    in  Cornwall;  but it now seems to have always  been right next door,  in Broadclyst, where a farmhouse of this same unusual name was noted  [Cx].   [Yes, and now confirmed in  Poles  Notes as one of the Manors of that Hundred,  along with  neighbouring Wildyarde which appears to have  become Churchill - where that family were long settled .  Thomas and Grace, who likely grew up as childhood friends therefore , would have firstly a  namesake son Thomas Churchill (Jnr) about 1494,  followed by:

  second son:    WILLIAM  CHURCHILL  - by about 1496. 

             Whether the elder sof these two boys,  Thomas (Jnr) ,  shown to have married an Iseult Provencher  in  about 1516,  left any issue locally (as in Rockbeare)  - that directly extended that senior Churchill  line there or nearby  -  into the later 1500s/early 1600s, say - is presently (ie at an earlier writing) uncertain.  It seemed  likely and will be checked out further r one day.  [Indeed;  it has now been so checked by the convenient discovery of the 1577 Will of this said  Thomas Churchill (Jnr) - of Rockbeare -  now discussed in the next section. [ There was apparently  a later Rev Peter Churchill in that part of Devon and, in 1645-46, a George Churchill of Rockbeare, Yeoman   was wrongly fined during the Civil War by the  Roundheads for allehedly aiding the Royalists which was later rescinded.]     


           The preceding sections  have  provided further confirmation of the extended period of geographic stability for our early Churchill family - in that south Devon area amazingly of 600 years or more (ca 1200, say, to about 1800+) !   Another early branch seems to have settled similarly in Oxfordshire   mainly at the Yeoman level -  but leading to a senior Army commander, to be described later.  As noted, Parishes (formerly Manors) established with the name Churchill also exist in three or four other west country counties, around Oxfordshire. 

           [We have since received a copy of that 1577 Will of Thomas Churchill ;  to be precise, it was in fact a copy of an Abstract of that Will -  as the originals of many early Devon Wills, including it,  had been  destroyed by  enemy  bombing in 1943.   Fortunately, someone   had made  written abstracts of same  earlier and these were later typed up.  We cant be sure how much meaningful content  may be lacking. The typed abstract appears thus  - under the title of    the Churchill  Family:

Will of:  CHURCHILL, Thomas - of Rockbeare Written 17 May 1577  and Proved 24 Dec 1577.

         “ Being whole of body & perfect of remeberance….  My soule to Almighty God & my Body to be buried in a  holie  grave. 

           Whereas William Sherman of Otterye St Mary in the countie of Devon, Gent  did by his Indented Deede dated the 20th August in the 4th and 5th  yeares of the Reigns  of the late Sovereign Lord & Lady Kinge Philip  & Queene Marye (ie 1558), demise to [me] the said Thos: Churchill and mye assignes all  his (ie Williams) tenancies & farthings of customary lande adjoining same, with appurtenances, being in Typton parish of St Marye, now in the occupancy of Ellen Denys, Widowe and before that of Richard Reynell, her late husband, deceased.  [Note: Denyss were inter-married with Churchills in the previous century.]

        [His  assignes appear to be listed next as]:  William Churchill, Thomas Churchill and  George Churchill being sonnes of the said Thomas Churchill

       The tenantcy in Typton [presumably as a Leashold sold to Thomas] is left [firstly] to middle  son Thomas and then [on Thmas death] to son George and then likewise] to son Robert    and   then to  daughter Beaton,  then to [grandson] John, son of William, and then to [grandson] Charles, son of Thomass son John Churchill, dececeased.  [The latter (John) would seem to  have been Thomass  3rd son (born after sons William and Thomas but likely before George)  and who had possibly   died ca 1560s, say, not long after having 2nd son Thomas a little earlier.]   

          To every one of my childrens children 1 yeo  apiece.  To  Ibote   my  wife the residue (of my [Rockbeare] estate) and I make her my sole executrix.

          To the Pullers (of his Casket?)  - Harry Andrewe and James Style  - 3d for their paynes.”

           “No signatures nor witness  names found.  Inventory of possessions completed by above Pullers and two others Total value    -  £ 23.17.2. ”

---  ---  ---  ---  ---

         One might reasonably assume that the above Thomas's eldest son William Churchill (born about 1518,say,) would have automatically inherited the main property [Manor]  in Rockbeare which would have been legally confirmed earlier and   so not be mentioned formally in the Will.    As such, it would presumably continue to be the seat of that  senior line of the Churchill family per se (being still in Devon).  We cant be certain whether the name shown for his daughter Beaton) was her forename or possibly her married surname.  It would be helpful (if it was a surname and there was a Beaton Will left by either her husband or her Beaton father-in-law.  [Note: We later came across a Churchill daughter given this same name in 1604, born to a GEorge Churchill in Ottery St Mary nearby. He would seem to be one of THomas's grandsons born about the 1570s.]

It seems odd that Thomas apparently had a son Robert who wasnt included in his list of assigns (sons)  initially;  should it therefore have actually read George instead (or even vice versa) ?  (Robert could even have been  a son-in-law, as they were often referred to as son at the time,)  We can appreciate the naming of a grandson as Charles Chyrchill , as that name was rather significant relatively recently in the family. 

           It seems quite possible that the name of the wife of Thomas (of the Will) was Iseult (often then  pronounced as Isote) and likely spelt phonetically  as such  but,  wrongly transcribed later as  Ibote with  the internal S of that name (often written in many words then in an exaggrated way - essentially as a long thin capital S which was then wrongly transcribed as a small case  b from the original Will or its abstract (when being typed).  We may note that all the male forenames reflect names frequently seen both before and since within this Churchill families  of Devon and Dorset [We think in particular of those found later in such as Muckleford (in Bradford Peverell), the Comptons and the Bredys likely via the agency of a Bartlett; see later.]

          We might reasonably conclude that,  as Thomas  then had at least two grandsons,  he  was quite possibly the homas we assumed to be bon  about 1494, married by 1516, had issue around 1518 to 1530, say,  and grandchildren about 1545-60 - before dying  in 1577.   He thus fits very well our above described elder son ThomasChurchill (Jnr) (with a wife Iseult),  and with a younger brother William Churchill, born himself around 1496, who would likely  marry  by ca 1518).  The elder brother Thomas  did indeed have issue as suggested producing  his own eldest son William  (about 1518, say) who, as Rogers first cousin, would  become  son and heir  of  the still senior Rockbeare  line and property  - as of   1577.   His eldest son in turn would likely be born in the 1560/70s and inherit in his turn.  There would  thus still  be 'Churchills  of Roackbeare' and area  (and/or of Devon per se) into the 1600s  presumably,  including, I believe, one or two Clergymen named Peter Churchill).  [W shall seek to better clarify these relationships in a subsequent pedigree. Their descendants appear to be those eventually noted in the Civil registrations of births, deaths and marriages in such as Ottery St Mary (Honiton Registration District) and/or Exeter - after 1837.  Moreover, some local church registrations became available from 1538 and should provide further  confirmation or leads to same.

[We have recently discovered another Will which should help filll in sunsequent genertions. It was written by a George Churchill - of Rockbeare, Yeoman - in 1659, a year before his death there in 1660. In it, he makes reference to his wife Mary and sons Thomas, William, George and Peter Churchill, leaving them bequests of several Hundred Pounds in total. We would assume there would be at least two intervening generations in Rockbeare between Thomas (died 1577) and this George (died 1660) with his 4 sons likely born ca 16330s-'40s. We would hope to locate any Church registrations, Taxation records, Militia lists and/or Will references eo assist us to this end.

          We may 'kill two birds with one stone' in this quest if we could integrate such knowledge with that pertaing to the comparable two geneaions of the Sainthill family. They were briefly referred to above having eventually settled at Brad pre-1500, more to the South-east. They seem to have subsequently held property in Rockbeare - long after the Churchills arrived there - but under what jurisdiction seems uncertain. The Churchills' status in this regard also becomes less certain after about 1600.


           We have already considered the presence of the Churchills in Rockbeare as descended from surviving third son William Churchill (ca 1375-1430) who had apparently settled there by ca 1400, immediately next door, south of their forner Manor in Broadclyst. It appears that they already had some interests in Rockbeare - as Tenants-in Chief - after purchasing its main Manor from the Bassets or the Fulfords (as we understand but the Abbey of Canonsleigh also held some of it then). The Churchills were still iving there after 1600. But then, so were the Sainthills seemingly; but, who actually owned what, and from when ?

          The unusual surname 'Sainthill' seems to have evolved from an earlier Anglo-Saxon one - from before the Conquest -from a name such as 'Sweyne-atte-Hill', say, later becoming such as Swayntill and eventually Sainthill - by the mid-1400s. [One has noticed names such as 'John-ate-Wode' (Wood) gradually become John 'Atwood', or such as 'Harold-atte-Hil' becoming Harold 'Athill' (often noted in Norfolk).] Later, and less properly, 'Sainthill' sometimes morphed into suach as 'Saint Hill' and even 'St. Hill' - with their saintly connotations of rectitude and virtue. Later possessors (as Peter Sainthill 1) seem to have e felt a need to reflect or at least adopt those implications.

           We may obtain a clearer perspective on the family if we begin rather earlier - with the aid of a remarkably thorough account of them peblished in London in 1844 by a much later descendent - one Richard Sainthil, RN. His book has the rather unrevealing title of 'Olla Podrida' which refers to a culinary concoction of many different meats and vegetables that remain after being boiled up together and the resulting 'soup' poured off. What's left is said to be 'almost edible' and, only at the end of this lengthy discourse of the book's many topics does he detail for the reader the recipe for the obscure dish of its title - with the hope they will find the book's contents a little more palatable.

          To exemplify the book's wiide range of contents, its first 100 or so pages are devoted entirely to an analysis of the silver coins minted in the 1600s in Exeter. By pages 290 to 350 or so, he then provide an account of his famiiy's history, if scattered in different sections, after which he also does so (rather more briefly) for that of the 'Aclands of Kilverton' (in the north of Broadclyst Hundred). This is possibly relevant in that his own family appears to have had its early centre of gravity in neighbouring Honiton (and later in 'Clyst Honiton' further weet - by the time of Edwwards II and III (ie during the1300s).

          The evidence for this early location of his family is provided by scattered records of the early Parliaments. Reprsentation of the English in Parliament, before about 1400, was provided for various main towns in different counties, or simply for the county itself. We find that for Devon, a name that appears several times (for different Parliaments, under a given Monarch) was that of one Walter Swaynthull who was said to have resided near Honiton abd later in 'Clyst Honiton', Devon. Near the end of the regn of Esward II and throughout that of Edward III (ca 1330-1380), Walter Swayntill, possibly a father and son, represented Devon and/or Exeter in 7 or 8 different Parliaments. The spelling of the name - crucially with the 2nd letter always being a 'w' - followed by vowels 'a', 'e' , 'ay' or 'ey', and the final 3 letters typically being 'till', 'hull' or 'hill'. Before the Conquest, we may recall that an earlier Abglo-Saxon leader was King 'Cnut', whose father was King Sweyne, after whom Cnut would nname one son 'Swayne'. Today. we have Swain and Sven; These were all definitely not Norman ! But, by the later 1400s, that previously invariable 'w' seems to have been purposely dropped - the name even becoming 'Sayntall', at one point. That simple expedient seems to have shifted their confidence rowards peeomulgating a Norman descent.

           We are next told that Walter's brother Reginald Swayntnill held propery in the parish of Aulscombe, called 'Wadhays',(as had their father and grandfather apparently) from the time of Edward 1st (ca 1270-307) or earlier - as conveyed to them from Henery de Boteler (Harlein MSS 2410) and that Walter later paid Subsidy Tax on it in 1323. [A Devonshire Association article on Wadhays describes both Reginald and Walter as 'de Sweynthill' nand places its location 2 miles norh-west of Honiton (see www.devonassoc.org.uk and link to Wadhhays). Their ancestors had thus come south - from a hamlet or farm in Kentisbeare called Swayntill or similar (and later, as Ssinthill, it still exists today). [I fiknd it very difficult to account fot its evolution from that earlier Sazon form, or similar, to its present form; one wonders when that 'w' was dropped. and by whom ?] Walter had a daughter 'Joane' who married William de Heaton of 'Old Port' to whom Wadnays was later conveyed (or inherited?) (ca 1350?) and so was left in turn to their daughter, also Joane, and future husband Richard Smaister (by about 1380, say), and then passed lineally to one Linpenny who sold it to a William Hurst of Exeter around 1425, and thece to a William Bodley, seemingly also of Exeter (this also from 'de la Pole's 'Devon').

          Just why this subsequent information is included is not made apparent. It may have implied that any unrecorded son of Walter (I've seen a William suggested) settled on a diffrent property that wasn't so well recorded as that of Wadhays. The line appears next to become re-esablished thereby further south, near Bovey Tracy, just beyond Exeter - quite possibly on property owned by the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, who dominated ownership thereabouts - only renting it ouit on Leasehold or Copyhold basis. That Wadhays itself was later acquired by one William Hurst of Exeter possibly indicates the family still had connections there which, we recall, Walter represented in Parliament some generations before. He ws said to be "well learned in the law" and so had liklely been educated in a Grammar Schol, or higher, associated with Exeyer Cathedral. We might usefully note that if Walter and his brother had come from a small family manor after which they and their ancestors were named (as located in Kentsbeare to the north, beyond Collompton), their futures (and hopefully that of some unrecrded male descendants) may well have continued south towards that major ciy, possiby via Clyst Honiton, which was at least closer to Exeter than Honiton or Aulscombe. One can't imagine the younger generations reversing their progress south to the City, to return to that earlier hamlet in Krntisbeare in the north.

           Our next useful finding in this regard (not known by our later Richard Sainthill RN in 1844) was a reference in the Narional Archives to 2 or 3 legal cases dated ca 1490s. One was C1/142/74 between a John Hake and his then wife Jhone (nee Maayne) as Plaintiffs, and John Seynthill, father of Richard Seynthill, late first husband of said Jhone, as Defendants, regarding Money promised to Jhone but not received, on her earlier marriage to said Richard Seynthill. The case produced 5 documents the dates for which apparently range from 1486 to 1515. There is also a record in the Devon Record Office (D1/508M/Koger/240) in respect of property in the Manor of South Teign in North Bovey parish conveyed to a John Flavell, possibly dated 26 Jan 1516. [I have not yet seen these documents.] Also relevant was an earlier case (C1/96/89) dated 1486 to 1493 wherein John Seynthill, Richard's said father, was said to then be 'of Moreton' (now Morton Hampsted) which conerned properties in 'A....ton' and 'South Teign' in North Bovey, was supposed to be settled on Jhone at her first marriage (to Richard) - which may have ended in divorce when they wereen't forthcoming. [I note another case, C1//28/33, with reference to Honiton and/or Aulscomce and to John Seythill. A John-atte-Wode (Wood) was also mentioned; Wode/Wood could become 'Woodland' or 'Woodbury', both nearby in south Devon today].]

           While our author did not know of the existence of such documents, nor their contents (as Moretonhampsted) , he did know of another frequntly suggested location of the marriage aof his namesake ancestor Richard Sainthill to Jhone Mayne in which. oddly, such as North Bovey and Moreton Hampstead are never mentioned. In this quite alternate view, the Richard who married Jhone Mayne of Exeter (where thry lilrely married), is shown insead as being 'of Sainthill' (formerly Swayn-at-hill ?),that hamlet or farm in Kentisbeare, some 14 miles north-east of Exeter, and thus not one 8 miles or less south-west of same - with Bovey, Teign and Moreton all nearby. Quite a difference. He also knew that from Peter, Richard's elder son, descended the senior line of the later Sainthills and from his second son, Edward, the junior branch likewise (of which he was then himself the main descendant; the senior branch having died out in the male line about a century before he was born). Much attention was paid by historians to that senior line and just where it originated and/or settled, and what it may have accomplished. [I 'feel' (no more than that) that said Peter, once settled at Bradninch, heard about that hamlet in nearby Kentisbeare (quite coincidentally) and promoted the idea that it was the origin of his family and thus somehow associated wuith Bradninch from much earlier tim (there being however absolutely no basis for this idea; there was no convenient 'drift' westward by 'de Swaytills' into that early Cornish Barony). One will leave it at that.

           Much less attention was paid to the junior line, however. Because of this disparity, we were ourselves seduced along that senior line firstly and thus, as said Peter Sainthill had moved into London-based activites centred on MIddle Temple and 'legal Lomdon, including some education at that Inn of Court (which seems not to hav been completed; (he History places a ? before its Middle Temple reference in his case), he had nevertheless made some influential contacts there, including help in getting an obscure west-country seat to contest as an MP. It was for that reason that we were at least able to take advantage of the much more organised and trustworthy facility (now online) called the' 'History of Parliament' than was avialble in Rchard Sainthil's day (in Victorian times).

           Peter Sainthill did gain his seat in that pbscure Cornish oconstituency (of Grampound, only recntly t enfranchised to warrent 2 members; later to be referred to as one of the 'Rotten Boroughs). So there wwas indeed an entry for him in the said History. But its information turns out not to be consistent with the view promoted by his later family (and various Devon 'Sources') with respect to their more northerly (Bradninch (and area) origins. We may thus quote and paraphrase the HIstory's entry :

      "Peter Sainthill was born before 1514, son of Richard Sainthill of Moreton Hampstead, Gent, by Jhoane, daughter of Richard Mayne of Exeter. Richard Sainthil died 9 Dec 1525. Peter was possibly educated (after Grammar School in Exeter?) at ?Middle Temple, an Inn of Court in London and eventually married (firstly) on 26 Nov 1552,aged about 40, Catherine, daughter of Sir Humphrey Browne (of that Inn), she the widow ofa Richard Townesend (who died 1551, without issue), and (secondly), ca 1558) Juliana, daughter of William Shine of Bradley, Berkshire (she too having married before, twice). They had 2 sons and a daughter." We will consider other aspects of elder brother Peter Sainthill's career and such issue after first consolidating and clarifying our understanding about the origin of his father's family - apparently in the Moreton Hampstead - Bovey Tracy area in south-west Devon (around 1460-1490)- this location having nothing whatsoever to do with Peter's eventual residence at more northernr Bradninch - in the 1550-60ss. This will be discussed later - afte considering the family's quite different and more likely origins, as well as the junior line descended from second son Edward Sainthill (born by ca 1518, say).

           We saw above that Richard's father was a John Saynthill when involved in litigation in the 1480-90s. Conveniently, we find that one website shows this man's family to have been of North Teign, and Bovey. A John Saynthill (born South Teign ca 1450) and wife Joane Wyke, appear thereby to have married around 1470-80(as estimated) and had issue in North Bovey - including Richard Sainthill ca 1480 who seems to have settled later in Moreton Hampstead some miles inland nearer Dartmoor. John himself is shown as born to a Walter Seynthill around 1425 (with said Walter possibly born to an earlier William of that line (who may have named hWalter after the earlir MP). We have no data on wwho of the family first appeared in this region south-ewest of Exeter - mostly ownwed by the Courtenays (Earls of Devon), from the 1250s. We should get a better picture of the events affecting Richard Saunthill's marriage and property around the years 1500+ (before his apparent early death in 1525) - once we can examine that litgation with the man who seems to have married as his first wife Jhone/Joane Sainthill (nee Mayne)..

           Richard Sainthil RN ubnderstood he descended from the junior branch of the family - ie from Eddward, second son of that earlier Richard Sainthill. Edward was somehow settled in Rockbeare - from an unknown date and in an unknown property there. But Richard could find no confirning evidence about this. Fortunately, he was eventually asissted in this by one John Putman, Esq, of the College of Arms, in 1827, who held the College's position of 'Portcullis'. He produced a useful pedigree which showed that Edward Sainthill married Elizabeth Yarde, daughter of ohn Yarde of a landed family of Honiton by about 1545. [We note that this date is about when many ex-Monestery properties were coming onto the market.] They had a son Richard, likely named after Edward's father, around 1550 and he in turn married, as 'Richard Sainthill of Rockbeare, Gent', to 'Ffyda Harlowing of Sidmouth, Genntlewoman' and did so in Rockbeare in 1592; this is only known (despite Rockbeare's arly registers having been destroyed or lost) by virtue of the marriage having also been recorded in the register of Sidmouth's church because Fryda was of an important local family there. This proves most fortuitous in that we learn thereby that the Sainthills of Rockbeare were not themselves Esquires of Rockbeare, but Gents only (as would be their parents and children presumably, thus indicating they held only Lease- or Gopy-hold property tnhere (if indeed they held any). [However, it is possible that it would only be Peter 1 who was able (could afford) to buy Free- or Lease-hold ex-Monestery (Canonsleigh Abbey) property - if some time earlier (ca 1550-60, say).] Richard and Fryda had an elder son Francis Sainthill in Rockbeare about 1595 who married Susanna Pyne of Wimple (a neighbouring parish just to the east) by about 1620 and had a son Nicholas Sainthill ca 1625.

          We may note here that it would be around this time (ca 1625-35) that George Churchill (possibly a son of a Thomas Churchill Jnr, Thomas Snr being he of the 1577 Will) would likely also marry loccally and soom have his 4 sons ca 1635-45,, as referred to in his 1659 Will, then seeming adults. Francis Sainthill died quite young (ca 1640 as estimated) and his son Nicholas (then about 16) decided to seek employment - as a Mariner - sailing ouut of Topsham, near Sidmouth, where he would settle with his own family after marrying late (ca 1673) 'Elizabeth Weber of Exeter, Spinster'. George's 4 sons, if a little younger than said Nicholas, would probably all know him as he left for Topsham to become a Mariner, as they would liater knmow his progeny as well - son John (1676-1730) and grandson, also John (bn 1703), both Mariners of Tposham in their time. In George Churchill's reent Will, he left eldest son Thomas just Fve Pounds - probably because he would also inherit the Leaehold of the family property (as well as benefittng in other respects (see below); Next son George Jnr was left One Hundred Pounds (50 Pounds of which represented money owed to George Snr); third son Peter also received One Hundred Pounds, from which £50 was to be paid to a Johan Orchard(?) of Bradnynch, Widow, to whom he was somehow Bound so to do (she possibly being his sister), and to 4th and youngest son Ambrose Churchill, he also left One Hundred Pounds. He had two daughters, Mary and Johan, ro whom he left Five Pounds apiece and several grandchildreen (unnamed) would receive Twentie Shillings each .Their existence indicates that their parents were likely born around 1625-35 and msarried in the 1650s, say. They would thus be contemporaries of Winston Churchill and his son John (born 1650), of neighbouring Dorset.

          IThe Sainthills thus ceased being residents of Rockbeare as a viable family there from around that time 1650-60 (the lattter year being when George Churchill died there) and my earlier awareness that the last Sainthill there, described as the 'late Mrs Sainthill', was finally identified - as 'Susanna Sainthill (nee Pyne), widow of Francis and mother of Nicholas. Their relationship, if any, with the 'Churchills of Rockbeare' had confused me - having never come across that surname before and wondering if it had in fact been a mistake for 'Churchill'. It wasn't (as I now appreciate). They seem to have died out there around 1650 thus ending the junior line of the 'Sainthills - that of Rockbeare' (said by one source (Historic England) to have 'acquired Rockbeare from Canonsleigh Abbey at the time of the Reformation' - a rather ambiguous period by which to place an event; it was likely in about 1550. After about a centuury there, theey continued in a sense at nearby Topsham - as Mariners (not Manor owners), until the time of our author - during Victoria's reign. However, according to national defence needs, Merchant Mariners, especially its Officers, were often required to transfer to the Naval service and the next two Sainthills in the descent opted for this latter route (as did the younger sons of the Gentry ('Gents') generally in those days, often from the age of 12, since it typically led to senior Naval Officer standing, being equivalent to Esq status, something highly sought then and not otherwise attainable by maany. Our author would have this ranking (as did his fsther who had displayed heroic bravery in his day). Subsequently, various cousins and nephews gradually spread the name Sainthill into many other occupations and regions.

           We may continue with George Curchill Snr's Will of 1660: He states next that 'Whereas I hace recently pruchased two 'Reversions' situated in Rockbeare (that is, properties he bought that would revert to him only when the former owner(s) died) - the first, called 'Ford', on the death of a Clement Perryman and the other after the death of Michael Fillimore, called 'West Parke', which (latter} said Reversion and Tenement I made my sonne Thomas Purchasor thereof, as by its Deeds doth and may appeare, And whereas I have also Bound n my son Thomas - to myself, my Executor and my Assigns in a Bond of Three Hundred Pounds which requires him to 'Devise, Assign, Grant and Sell On his interest and rights to such Estste unto Ambrose my sonne - as by the said Bond apeareth. And now my Will and Desire is that if my sonne Ambrose do Marry and hereafter do procure and settle himself in a convenient estae elsewhere, then my Will is that Thomas shall well and truly pay Ambrose Two Hundred ans Fiftie Pounds and then he and his Executor and asstgns may have and enjoy the said Reversion and Tenement aforesaid. Item - All resdue of my Goodes, etc I do bequeathee to Mary my wife whom I make my sole Executor And I appoint and charge my sonnes Fhomas, George and Peter to aid and assist their Motherr in the best manner they can to see my Will thus performed. Signed: Geo: Churchill Wirmessed by a 'Wolliam Sottle'. The Will was proved in London on 7 Novemnber 1660 (the year the Monarchy was re-stored). We find that the value of money in the mid-1600s was about 1000 times what it is today. George Churchill's estate was thus worth about $100,000 in today's money. If it had been Freehold in his father's day, say, and he had a similar family (with 3 to 5 sons), he may well have been forced to sell by about the 1630s in order to set them up on their own smaller proberties. George was in a similar situation, if now as a Yeoman, and was just about abole to provide his sons with adequate means to afford their own, if smaller, properties, possibly with some help from the perents of their respective brides in this same social level. The recent Civil wat had left manny families less secure. Youngest son Ambrose was probably still too young to marry (at ca 16-17, say, and so born around 1642). We may reasonably eatinate the eldest Thomas son was thus about 10 or 12 years older.

           Our original concern had been to discover which Sainthills had lived in Rockbeare and whether they co-existed there with the senior branch of Churchills after ca 1520 or so - when the latter family's junior branch began to migrate towards Dorset. If so, they would certainly have known each other and may have shared documentation that could help reveal the identities nand dates of their various respective menbers. Sadly, we are now aware that the crucial church registers for Rocckbeare are lacking for most of the period of concern. It would now appear that the status of the 'Sainthills of Rockbeare' was that of haaving acquired (ytpically for a small cost) the 'manor of 'the local church' only of that parish (as previously held seemingly by the Abbey before 1545) which would generate a rather small income - as collector (but not recipient) of such annual Tythes. Such 'sub-manors' became established for many churches when the Freehold owners of the main Manor in such a Parish were some distant Abbey or absentee Landowner. The latter's income from the Manor per se was that of the much greater rents paid by the Copyholders (or Leaseholders) of its many farms. They would also control tthe advowons for the Church incumbent. Who would be responsible for the absence of so many years of the registers we cannot say. Are the records of the main Manor of Rockbeare still extant, one womders ? Who holds them ? Later holders include the Duntze and Porter families in the 17th and 18th centuries. Did they retain all their prior Lease histories ?

           We can see now that the overlap of the presence of both Sainthills and Churchills in Rockbeare would cover roughly the years 14545 to 1660 or so. That is, from the arrival of Edward (and/or Peter 1) Sainthill until the move by Nicholas Sainthill to Topsham. The Churchills had arrived much earlier, around 1400+, and appeared to stil be there, or nearby, after the 1670s but in what capaciy is difficult to determine. Information on wnen and who were born and/or married to whom, or died, is lacking over much of this period - for both families. Wills and litgation records provide the only likely sources although Taxs and MMilitia lists may provide some. We can see that the two families were both in Rockbeare during the Civil War period (ca 1640s and during the following decade of the Commonwealth.) Any such information, from those sources, if and when discovered, will hopefully be added here:

           Meanwhile, here are a few records from the National Archives that pertain to Litigations between members of George Churchill's family (as himself, Peter, Ambrose and Thomas sand various locals in Rockbeare or Otterey St Mary. We place theeir reference numbers in chronological order (years shown in bracketts):

          C7/264/44 (1607); C5/399/75 (1613; C2/ Jas1/C15/65 (1623-1625); C6/24/105 (1636); C10/27/64 (1654);C10/473/48 (1663); C10/156/87 (1670); C8/203/34 (1676); C10/411/31 (1681); DRO 3839M//T11(1682); C10/539/8 (1687); ADM 106/482/329 and/330 (1696); C10/413/80 (1698); E134/4Geo 1/Mich 3(1718) and M/ich 4 (1719) - when Rev Peter Churchill was Rector of Shobroke parish of which the litigation concerns; abd, finally, DRO 6071Z/F//2 (1732). None of these are currently available on-line, as they haven't been digitised (unlike PCC Wills).

           Meanwhile,to complete our coverage of the Sainthill family, if rather more condensed, we consider finally their so-called Senior line - as descended from elder brother Peter Sainthill 1 (born ca 1512, say). He likely arrioved in London around ca 1535-40, as estimated. As with his younger brother Edward, we are not aware with what family they grew-up during the 1520s-'30s and thus how their immediate ffutures were influenced and determined. The litigation documents involving their mother Jhone may reveal some things, recalling that their father Richard had apparently died as early as 1525 and their psrents may have divorced. Somehow, Peter got to London and maybe entered Middle Temple by 1538 while Edward and his young wife settled in Rockbeare - having acquired a role in respect of the 'manor' - possbly of the church there with its presumably modest 'living' (as collector of its Tythes; a kind of ''sub-Steward'. We womder if Richard's fther John may have had any suuch influence in arranging both these initial placements for his grandsons ? Unless, it followed from the sale of some relevant property there when the MOnesteries were dissolved (see later). In any case, we at least kdiscover various items of nterest from the History of Parliament entry for Peter Sainthill.

          It is hard for us to appreciate the degree to which 'yuoug-Gents-about-town' anticipated maturity in earlier times. With various young lawyers as friends, Peter would no doubt take advantage of any promising possibilities that so presented themselves. The History shows that after possibly attending Middle Temple, he evetually married, firstly, in 1552 Cartherine, daughter of one Sir Humphrey Browne, an emmminent judge of the day. How this came about and was delayed until he was aged about 40, after 15 years in London, making such legal and political contacts (ca 1535-50, say) is rather difficult to justify. But, we may recall that this was a period of great flux in royal, governmental and public circles. The Dissolution of the Monesteries ca 1535-45s suddenly freed up the availability of quality property at suspiciously low prices- if one knew the right people (as Robert Bartelot, Sir William Petre and Sir John Tregonwell) - ie in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, respectively. Peter Sainthill seems to have known them all ! According to the entry in the Pariamenrtry History covering Peter's biography, he had indeed "bought former Monestery properties to the tune of £600...." an enormous anmount in today's terms. Where did a man with his rather modest bakground get this sum ? His father had died young, his mother had re-married (apparently before her first husband's death - after a divorce) - implying mmoney problems; he would thus have little or no money after leaviing his assumed Grammar School, ikely in Exeter, around 1525 or so.

          The History does refer to a small property [Leaseheld?] he may have inherited in Moreton Hampstead earlier which, if sold and with the capital raised (including some borrowings; his family still wed moneylenders in London significant sums after the War) osed to purchse a number of other smaller ex-monestery properties (also mentioned in the History), effectively at a discount, then re-selling them at profit, he could more understandably then afford that major purchase such as at Bradninch and/or Rockbeare (held previously by yhe Abbey of Canonsleigh) which itself had been purchased by about 1540 by one Richard Grenville - a Cornwall MP (with a prtner) for £1170. The institution 'Historic England' is quoted as noting that Rockbeare, amongst hundreds, was held (from the Conquest) by the Bishop of Bath and Wells who gave it to Matilda, Countess of Gloucester, who later gave it to Canonsleigh Abbey on its foundation about 1284. Itappears that this Abbey was suppressed from ca 1536 during the Dissolution of the Monesteries by Henry VIII's Agents (as Tregonwell and Bartlett)and soon sold on to Richard Grenville (of an influential Cornish family) and partner before the Sainthills acquired it or whatever part of it Grenville wished to sell on. Alternatively, Peter Sainthill may have used most of his money to re-build Bradninch House (as described later) around 1545-50. It was a former 'Barony' still held by the Duchy of Cornwall with quite possibly various Deputy positions required by its absentee Lanlord - to help run it. Peter would no doubt have heard about tbth of these possibilities when repreaenting his small Cornish constituency.

           It also refers to him applying for a Coat of Arms about then (ca 1546) based it seemed solely on his exagerated self-description of his virtue and honour, which was somehow successful although the History pointed out that such virtue wasn't its own reward in his case compared with that soon gained by his ex-Monestery profits. As his position improved, he somehow acquired a role pertining to the Admiralty and when stationed nar Poole in Dorset had occasion to write to Admiral Edward Seymour (related to Jane Seymour, ex-Queen) pointing out to him that a Ship had gone aground on the Isle of Wight nearby, and signing himself 'your assured friend'. The significance of this is not made explicit but they do point out that Admiral Seymour, known for having enriched himself through such 'found treasure', and his brother, both subsequently 'disappeared' (in fact executed, I beleve, ca 1550). In any case, that new 'rotten Borough' in Cornwall (Grampound) had recently been enfranchised and required its second MP, the choice of Peter Sainthill being accounted for by virtue of his friendship with Admiral Seymour; he was thus returned for same in 1547. [Those returned for most seats then generally had such influential backers or had close ties with the area; Peter had no connections then in Cornwall. However, he soon would have - ain the form of another local MP who happened to be the Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall) - an influential Lawyer-cum-Treasurer with a Middle Temple background.

           It would seem to be only then when Peter heard about something called the Duchy's borough of Bradninch (an ex-Cornish Barony, albeit situated just beyond Cornwall) - in neighbouring Devon. Like Roakbeare, with its often absentee landlord, it required a Steward or even Sub-steward, to look after the responsibilites of the Church there (as collecting its Tythes, etc). The Freehold for the Manor per se was of course held by the Duchy (in perpetuity) and thus the Stewrd would typically be a 'Genleman' (not an Esq holding his own Freehold estate). But, there was a large House there that needed re-nuilding. Peter soon moved in - and re-built it. 2 or 3 yeras later, Middle Temple's renown Judge, Sir Hemphrey Browne's daughter Katherine's first husbsnd had died and in 1552, she re-married - yo Peter Sainthill whose prospects had recently improved. He was then 40. He may have stood at the next election in 1553 but declied or avoided seeking such influence (since it might be a reflection on his father-in-law who had stood security for an MP who was in dis-favour and so ran successfully instead for another Cornish seat a year later - a small port near Plynouth). His first wife had recently died without issue and he re-married in 1560 - a Juliana Shine (a widow who had married twice before) with whom he finally had 2 sons and a daughter in the 1560s - a little before Peter was declared Insane, in 15661571 (at Bradninch).

          Peter's elder son, Peter 2,was born in Bradninch in 1561 where he would no doubt inherit his father's roles with the church and/or the Barony there, collecting the Tythes (but not the Manor's rents which of course went to the Duchy, the Freehold owners (in perpetuity) - to pdrovide income for the Prince of Wales (just as today), as part of the latter's income. As his fatther Peter 1 was becoming ill during his childhood, and died when he was still onlnly 10, there may have been some oversight by uncles (and his mother) for himself and his younger boether during the late 1560s/early 1570s. After education at Middle Temple in the 1580s, he would marry Elizabeth Martin ca 1590 and have several children, including a Peter Sainthill (3) in 1593, well known later in the fsmily as 'the Cavalier'. Peter 2 would also not survive his sons' youth by much, dying in 1618. His eldest son, Peter Sainthill 3, 'the Cavalier', would fight on the Royalist side in the coming Civil War - ca 1643-'46 - just as John Churchill (1593-1659) and his son Winston (<1620-1688) would also do. Like the former, rhey too had to pay their Fines for being on the losing side). But, unlike the Churchills, Peter first sought refuge in Italy, in 1646, after the surrender by the Royalists in Exeter, having first written an account of his estate and debts on which his Fines would be later calculated and paid - by his son and heir Samuel Sainthll - by ca 1652.

           Peter 3 had been elected an MP (for Tiverton) in both the 'Short' and 'Long' Parliaments, held in April and November that year. Once Cromwell had gained power, ca 1643, Peter was disbarred from holding any further Office of State. His support of the KIng continued however, through 1644/45 when he provided him with a night's hospitality at Bradninch in July 1644 and Camping facilities for his Army in Sept 1645 before their last stand in Exeter where General Fairfax surrendered in Apr 1646. Peter had already left for Italy with a Pass provided by Fairfax. Once in Legorno, he soon contracted a serious illness and died there in1548. His unmarried son and heir Samuel moved in to the (still Leased?) House in Bradninch.and seemed to assume an Esq status forhwith, but I have no objective evidence of its justification or not. [One has more recently appreciated that since the 1600s (and probably for some time before), the stylimg - as Yeoman, Gentleman or Esquire - signifying levels of society below that of Knight in the Feudal system ca 1100 to 1500, was based on rather more than just property ownership (vs renting). Moreover, it was increasingly determined by social convention with no mandatory or legal basis ultimately, so was inceasingly adopted simply as appeared fitting - amongst one's peers; no more and no less.]

           A diary was kept by Peter 3, and was continued by his son Smuel, relating to the family's capital and debts on whhich basis they were to be Fined accordingly - by the the Commonwealth Parliament. It was to equal one third of its net value. This seemed to have been eventually settled by Samuel wno would likely have sold off elements of property, possibly acquired by his father or grandfather from their ex-monestery holdings and borrowings. But Samhel remained unmarried and without issue, so by his Will (1708) he initially intended to leave the estate Of still unknown property holdings, if any) to his neaarest relative (of the junior Rockbeare branch) but, falling out with the latter cousin , left it instead to another relatve, his nephew, Edward Yarde of Treasbeare (1637-1732), the unmarried son of his sister Dorothy and Thomas Yarde, then 71. Edward subsequently married, changed his surname to 'Sainthill' (by Act of Parliament), and had a son (ca 1712) and lived to 95 ! The son (seemingly an Edward) married (ca 1740) and left as his heiress, an Elizabeth Saithill (bn 1745), who married (ca 1765) a Rear Admiral Thomas Pearse (1749-1820) whose son George (1790-1851) married a lady fom Jamaica, a wealthy plantation and slave owner. These latter Sainthills and then Pearses were all 'of Bradninch House', in their day. A List of Freeholders in Devon (as per 1733) included one Edward Sainthill - 'of Bradninch, Esq' (!). The only other Devon Freeholder of this surname about then (1751) was a John Sainthill, Mariner - of the junior branch in Topsham.

          Sanuel makes just two Churchill references when reporting the family's estate accounts, including Rckbeare, as an extension of his father's searlier entries; that is, during the mid-1600s. One entry implies that after Peter 3's beother Edward Sainthill's line left Rockbeare, to settle in Toppsham, Samuel must have stepped in on Nicholas's departure to continue as Collector of Tythes, etc for the Rectory (or Vicarage?) there for he mentions receiving a small payment for same from one 'Churchill' [with no date shown] and, sadly, also no forename; it could well have been George. On the other occasion, he mentions this 'Churchill' from whom he then actually borrows some funds - "to allow me to pay certain expenses" for which he seems not to have had the ready cash. These account records were included in Ricahard Sainthill's much later book on the family. It seems posible that the Sainhill's connection with Rockbeare may have been more than Samuel simply stepping in to continue Nicholas's role regading the Church only (as Edward and his direct descendants seem to have done from about 1550).For they may have done as Leaseholders under Edward's elder brother Peter (a la 'primogeniture'). For we have located a Will for 'Peter Sainthil of Bradninch, Esq' (Wr. 1647 in Legorno and Pr. 1653) in london - by his brother Robert (who had already resided in Legorno for some time, as a Merchant, being younger than Samuel , I believe). In it, he refers twice to Rockbeare (almost as much as to Bradninch), if in some indecipherable context which one shall, in time, seek to interpret. It could rhelp resolve this matter. Significantly, he mentions his brother Robert many times but uncle Edward nor any cousins not at all. We can still see no basis for him being styled 'of Bradninch, Wsq' since rhe Freehold for Bradninch was held (only) by the Duchy of Cornwall. [But we now see that anyone might simply assume that styling. if it seemed acceptable and 'fitting' to one's peers.

           So, we haven't been able to deduce which Sainthills may have been resident in Rockbeare coincident with any Churchills ca 1600s, say); ie when they may both have lived there from the time of Edward Sainthill and his subsequent generations - whatever their respective stations in the parish - from ca 1550 to about 1650, when Nicholas left. We know from Thomas Churchill's Will of 1577, that Thomas left 3 or 4 Churchill sons (William, Thomas, George and possibly a Robert) and 2 such grand children (both Johns) and 1 gt-gradson (a Charles) but dates of birth and/or marriages for same remain very approximate. These would likely prove comparable in generation with those of Richard Sainthill(Snr)'s equivalents - in the succeeding 3 Peters, plus Edward, Richard and Francis. Samuel and Nicholas would be those of Bradninch and Rockbeare/Topsham, respectively, living into the 1700s. We do have 2 items concerning an apparently ?later George Churchill: his Will of 1660 and a reference to him being fined for something in the Civil war, later recscinded. Finally, from this ''pool' of Churchills would likely come thhose later of Ottery St Mary and area, just 2 miles to the east. From the Freeholder Lits for Devon we see that there were 6 such Churchills listed as follows: An oAmbrose Churchill was still in Rockbeare in 1721, likely George's son or grandson, as was a John Churchill; a Charles Churchill was an Attorney at Law in Ottery St Mary that same year (requiting an Apprenticeship) - where an Edward Churchill also resided even earlier - in 1711 and a William Churchill was there as late as 1762. There was a Peter Churchill in Shobrooke (near Crediton, a little to the north-west) - in 1711 and 1721 - possibly the Vicar there and son of our earlir Peter. . There were also tthose Churchills noted in Dorset in connction with Roger Curchill ca 1540s-50s in Bradford Peverell (Muckleford end), Lt Bredy and the Comptons - whatever induced them to also migrate to that neighbouring county following the earlier William's move, with his sons Roger nad John ca 1525-35 or so.

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            We may now return briefly to the events at Rockbeare before 1500 concerning those brothers Thomas and William Churchill (bn. there ca 1495). ) The elder brother, apparently Thomas, would be ready to marry about 1516, say - to an Isault Provencher (an almost unique surname in the area; did she, or her father, hold property? This Thomas was he of the Will of 1577 and William shortly after (ca 1518); both would live into their late 80s it woul seem. A union would likely be sought for the latter, younger brother - with the daughter of a family with moderate property - to combine (in value) with whatever, if any, William himself may already have been  provided  (as  a second son) -  from  his fathers or mothers estate.   It appears that some such property was available possibly via  Mary Creuses inheritance (if now in the Churchills gift)  located not much further east - near her (Mary's) fathers residence  at Wycroft Castle, Devon  (just a little north-east of Colyton) very near that countys eastern border with Dorset.  The de Broke family (as a Lord George Cobham)  held the chief manor there in the early 1500s.  What, if any, property the Creuses may have held there is uncertain.   This is not that far from  Catherston, Dorset  (long held by the Wadhams) located  just across the Devon-Dorset boundary (near Lyme Regis).  Our Dorset Churchills (to be) - starting with this William (Thomas of Rockbeare's youger brother) seem to have settled there initially (as referred to in various earlier accounts, as by Collins) when first settling in east Devon and then in nrighbouring west Dorset - by virtue of these various family connections amongst the Creuses, Wadhams, Tylles and Churchills.  The bits and pieces of younger son William's line begin thus to fall into place!

         What Churchills, however, may already have been extant as far east as Dorchester (or even Corton/Waddon) in  south-east Dorset - as early as 1500, or before,  is also uncertain.  If any, from what line of Churchills might they have descended ?   And, to whom did they lead ?  In  any case, our story willl now focus entirely on the  foregoing second son   William Churchill  (bn ca 1496)originally of Rockbeare, Devon  - and his  important subsequent Dorset descendants.  And so next we have: 




            The assuned younger brother of Thomas Churchill of Rockbeare   (1494 - 1577)  - ie  William Churchill (b ca 1496) - would marry Mary Creuse, daughter of Richard Creuse of  Wycroft Castle, in east Devon,  possibly about 1518.  [Note: Creuse was also spelt as Crewse, I believe.]  This may have been  before William  moved  further east  from Rockbeare  to the Colyton  area in that south-east corner of Devon very near the Dorset border  (where Marys family had resided).  He and  any  family seem to have remained there only a short time however - before moving just over the border  - to  Catherston  Lewiston,  in west  Dorset, ca 1520 (as estimated) .  The Wadham family a later one of whom  (Francis, with wife Dorothy) would famously established Wadham College, Oxford  (in 1610) -  appears to have owned manors in both these latter two parishes (and elsewhere, including possibly much further east - in the Portisham area, near Dorchester; see later).  

            Williams wife Mary (of the local Creuse family) was said to be related to the Wadhams. [Yes; her sister Elizabeth Creuse had  married John Wadham.]   William Churchill  would  thereby appear to have established the main Dorset branch of the Churchill family - from which, eventually, would  derive  a number of  illustrious  descendants.  He  is said to have died as late as 1583 - some miles further  east  in Dorset  - in the parish of  Piddlehinton,  aged an impressive 90 or so ! (Cx).    This is difficult to confirm (although his apparently older brother Thomas back in Rockbeare also lived to a good age - into his 80s).   William  left no Will  (located thus far) and the  relevant parish registers or Bishops Transcripts (if yet made) seem not to have  survived.   The suggested 1583 death could have applied instead to his third son, William Churchill Jnr (bn ca 1525-30).    We must stress that this account of William Churchill Snr and his assumed progeny is based on a number of disparate sources the veracity of which all require confirmation.  Reliable documentary evidence over this period would appear to be  rather  sparse, however.   But first, we describe his family:

          William Churchill (Snr) would,  by Mary (nee Creuse)  have at least three sons - Roger Churchill, his heir,  who would later be (briefly) 'of Bradford Peverell, Dorset, Esq' (born ca 1518, as estimated),  John Churchil of Dorchester, Draper -   bn ca 1520; he died quite young, in 1557, andWilliam Churchill (Jnr) (possibly settled later  in either Corton or  Pulston  in that county, Gent [bn ca 1525 or so ).   Awkwardly (for identification purposes), John would himself have two sons - named William (bn ca 1541) and John (bn ca 1547). For convenience, we shall therefore refer to the foregoing family as, respectively, William (Snr), father of  eldest son Roger and of his (William Snr's) two younger sons   as John (I),  and  William (Jnr) while John (I)'s two sons will be referred to, in turn, as William (II) and John (II). The elder of John (I)s  sons  William (II)  - bn 1541 -  was, by his last Will (1599),  to be buried in St Peters church in Dorchester and  appointed  his  son and heir, yet  another  John Churchill (III)), Gent (bn ca 1568),   to be his sole Exectutor.   [Note: These relationships are further confirmed  below.]  The latter  John (III), after residing in Fordington (on  the north edge of Dorchester)  would eventually be seated at nearby rural Muston in that same county (from ca 1612), thereby   becoming 'of Muston, Esq'.  John (I)s younger son  John (II) - bn 1547) somehow acquired  the Manor at Corton (which we believe was already in the family but previously held by whom seems uncertain).   He  had only two daughters and his property (including Corton)  subsequently left the Churchill family on their marriages one to a son of the Monun family (;ater Moon) an equally ancient family originally from Normandy .]  

            It is quite possible that Rogers  two younger brothers John (I) and (William (Jnr) were, according to Collins, born in  reverse order to that indicated above.     Finally, we report that the junior Churchill line that subsequently descended  from  John Churchill (III) of Dorchester, Esq (bn ca 1568)  and  wife Eleanor (nee Meller),  via Muston eventually,  is said to have been well depicted by Hutchins in his History of Dorsetshire.  That particular line is not, however, the  one  we wish to focus on here.  For that, we must return to William Snrs eldest son Roger Churchill, and to Collins who continues]:   

        “Roger Churchill, Esq,  eldest son and heir of [said] William Churchill (Snr) - of Rockbeare, Gent  [and wife Mary Creuse], is then [gratefully] shown by Collins in his Peerage as referred to above]  to have been   of CatherstonDorsetshire, and, by his wife  Jane,  daughter of William Peverell of  Bradford Peverell, Esq  [allegedly relict of Thomas Megges, Esq,]  had a son Mathew Churchill of Bradford Peverell, Esq…who took to wife Alice Gould.”  

           [We pause here  in Collins account  to point out  that we believe that when Roger married Jane, in about 1542, say, she was in fact not then the relict (widow) of ….anyone… but, rather, was indeed still an unmarried Jane Peverell (bn ca 1520).  This is fully explained later.  Also, one must assume that Collins  understanding of just where  this  Roger was then   of  - around  1535, say, (whether with or without his parents and siblings) -  and where  and when he soon married  JanePeverell  -  was itself  based on earlier trusted sources - known or seen by Collins.  We have since contributed to this aspect by discovering that the Manor of Catherston was shown in the British  History  site to have been previously settled by members [a younger son] of the Wadham family, otherwise formerly of Somerset,  and in particular by a John Wadham  who had,  at some point,  also married  one of the co-heiresses of Richard Creuse of Wycroft (as had our William Churchill  (Rogers father).  

        They  would thus be effectively brothers-in-law(by about  1515-20 , say) and    William, Mary and their issue may well have then moved to this brother-in-laws Manor of Catherston, Dorset  whether to rent  or lease a suitable property there.   Roger Churchill wwould then  be  appropriately described  as being of Catherston seemingly if not yet as an Esq, then as a yoiung Gent (ca 1538-40)  - just before marrying Jane Peverell of Bradford Peverell, Dorset   recently held by her father William Peverell, Esq, who had recently died by  about 1525 (his Inq P M being in 1527).    Jane probably lived with her  mother (also Jane) and new step-tather Sir John Mervyn - in Sherbone, Dorset  (his former abode) until about 1540, say, after which Jane and Roger likely married and resided at Bradford Peverell thenselves for  the following decade (1542-1552).  They would then both be described as  of  that   Manor Roger now  as its  Esq  -  until his early death there - about 1552, as we have estimated.    

          It would  be significant that the  two daughters of Richard Creuse of Wycroft, Devon (near its border with Dorset)  Elizabeth  and Mary -  would marry, respectively, John Wadham of Catherston (ca 1516)  and William Churchill, formerly of Rockbeare (and later of Colyton),  both quite near Tylle House, Catherston and  Wycroft (ca 1520s-30s).   We must also recall  that other, slightly earlier, common denominator -  via the Tylle connection;  Grace Churchill (nee Tylle)s sister (……?…..) seems to have married a Wadham in the previous generation. The three families were clearly mutually influential and relevant to one and other. ]   

      [We now continue with Collins account (generally without dates) and his reference to the wife of Roger and Janes only son -  Mathew Churchill (bn ca 1545) which he shows to have been one]:   “…Alice, daughter of James Gould of Dorchester, Gent - by whom Mathew  was thence father of a Jasper Churchill [Srn)  of Bradford Peverell,  Esq.     Jasper, in turn,  married  Elizabeth, daughter of a  John Chhaplet  of Herringston, Esq. [whom we later concluded must in fact have been  a John Chaplin]  and, by her,  left two sons …John Churchill, Esq(to be) and  Jasper Churchill (Jnr), Gent  [We shall seek to apply apptopriate dates to all these events below.]

         Elder son  John Churchill, later of  of Minterne Magna, Dorset, Esq  became a member of Middle Temple and was married (in London) to Sarah, daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Winstone  - of Standish,  [Gloucestershire]   by whom he had a son Winston Churchill,  born in London, in 1620,   while younger son Jasper Churchill Jnr  would marry…… and have  sons Jasper Jnr and  another  John Churchill, the latter to becomethe  a Knight and   eminent counsel in the reign of Charles II),  and who, by Susan,  daughter of Edmund Prideaux, Esq,  left 4 daughters, his co-heirs. He eventually bought the ancient Manor of Churchill  [in Somerset] from Richard Jenning, Esq, [in about 1652]  but, dying  in 1685, greatly in debt [after arranging costly marriages for his 4 daughters], his estate, amongst others, was soon sold  on [by about 1687, having been in the Churchill family, off and on, for over 500 years.

A Necessary Re-orientation.

            At this  point, we conveniently  pause again to take stock and  re-orient ourselves  in order to  establish a new perspective on the subsequent Churchill family.   It seems we should  re-trace our steps from  remarks made  by the earlier Winston Churchill in his initial account of the family -  in two respects.  Firstly, when he described the location of the earlier settlement of the family at Churchill  in  Somerset (where the main manor of the Churchills, so named,  appeared initially to be located  and, secondly, when he spoke of the assumed loss of  that manor (apparently) by an earlier Churchill which was  then, at some point,  acquired by one  Nicholas Megges, when he married Jane Peverell (ca 1540-45, say) implying that it had been previously acquired by the Peverells. [Winston appears not to have known about Bradford Peverel, Dorset therefore.]   This Nicholas  was geberally believed to have subsequently died  before   Jane  who, as  generally reported,  only then married, secondly,  as a widow, our Roger Churchill (Wiliams eldest son)  - in about 1555-60, apparently -  from whom the  Churchill line of our prime interest was  understood to then descend.

             By this unlikely means, Roger  allegedly re-gained  possession of that  original Churchill  manor (in Somerset) - as described above when a possible brother, John Churchill, would become the ancestor of the other branch of the family  -  apparently to soon reside initially at somewhere understood  to  be  Munston  (noted Winston) seemingly in mid-north Dorset - not too  far from and contemporary with where his own father, also John, (and Winston himself)  would themselves reside  (ie at Wooton Glanville)  as somehow descended from  Roger Churchill being that Johns elder brother.    There had, in addition,  been suspicions that  Roger  had  lost the earlier estate  (as held by the Megges)   but when the latter man died, Roger  then  married Megges widow Jane  and thereby  re-gained that estate.  Quite inconsistent with all this however  was  the  idea that  Rogers  and Janes grandson Jasper Churchill   was  subsequently  employed by the Megges as a Blacksmith.

            But,  these events, and the Megges connection, turn out not to have occurred with respect to that seeming earlier Churchill manor in t north Somerset   -  at all,   nor to  one wrongly assumed later to be in north Dorset either at Munston,   nor  even to  another and actual Churchill manor, established l in south Devon (at Broadclyst or Rockbeare)  !   Moreover, it also appeared, importantly,  to necessitate a reversal of the order in which Jane Peverell  married her two respective husbands and to have done so in fact,  in a quite different locale   namely, more to the south east - in south Dorset near, but not in,  Dorchester;   that is, in neither north Somersetnor in north  or  south Devon both further  to  the east- and in Dorset! 

             Moreover, any confusion, shadiness or disquiet arising during this ambiguous period (as implied by Winston) is only compounded  when we find in the genealogical literature differences of view regarding who was the eldest son of William and Mary (nee Creuse) once the family concerned had left Devon, and later Catherston  in west Dorset,  -   apparently settle  eventually  at what turned out to be one or other of the  small manors of  Muston or Pulston, both nearer  Dorchester in Dorset  - where some Churchill  may have settled (and thus not at any more north-westerly location  called,  if similarly  (in the former case), Munston  - as Winston had wrongly understood and assumed.   He seems in fact to have had no inkling of  from where  the brothers Roger and John Churchill  may have actually derived  - if not  north-west Dorset  nor, before that,  from an earlier  Churchill manor in  north Somerset.  Nor did he have any idea who their father may have been  - as William Churchill - of Roakbeare (next to Broadclyst), in mid-south Devon;   ie  - not in Somerset or Dorset, at all).

             The foregoing  is rather a lot to take in  and re-orient ons self about.  Winston had seemingly confused various disparate elements (people, places and dates) of the events described  -  with  all elements wrongly approximated as well.  And while Muston manor would, much later, become a  property sold to the later Dorchester Churchills, it is possible that it too became confused with that  similar manor nearby - called Pulston - in a neighbouring valley (of the Cerne) at the time of the Dissolution (and sale) of the Monasteries ca 1535-45 - with their many associated and more distant manors.  [Note: we have more recently seen reference to a Dorset Mnaor called Pauston which, phonetically, is of course very similar to that of  Pulston.  But its location today seems  unknown.]

              Thus, neither the Somerset nor the Devon  manors  called Churchill were the site where the alleged events involving Roger, Jane,  Mathew , or Nicholas Megges, unfolded.  They had, rather, all occurred only further east - in mid-south Dorset after the younger Rockbeare son William Churchill  (ca 1496 - ?1573   or, less likely, 1583)  seems to have  migrated  to there (with his young family)   via  Colyton, Catherstone  and possibly Bradford Peverell (near Dorchester) -   ultimately  by the 1530s-40s, it seems. 

             I believe that makes 3 or 4 necessary changes of tack in our perspective !]   And while a John Churchill could well be the ancestor of the later Churchills of nearby Muston (via Dorchester earlier),  he had himself never settled in the latter but did so instead only in Dorchester itself   seemingly around 1540, while his apparently elder brother Roger had likely done so  at nearby Bradford Peverell, a little north of Dorchester,  next to Charminster, with its Pulston manor a little to the north,  where their father William  Churchill (bn ca 1496), and younger sons, may  have settled  a little before that).  But the latter certainly needs confirmation.

             In addition (as we have often alluded , William  didnt arrive there from  a Somerset manor either (as Winston seems to have implied)  but, rather, from that  later manor  in  BroadClust / Rockbeare , in  mid-south Devon.  (A much later John Churchill, grandson of the earlier John of Dorchester, did, with his son William,  become  interested  in Muston but rather later - ca 1610-1612 (as now mentioned in passing above);   they were not however part of the senior  line of  their  grandfather John apparently older brother  - Roger Churchill.   Winston seems to have presumed that certain events occurred  both rather  earlier  and later than proved to be the case entailing different generations of the family, at different locations  and with different orders in which  Jane  nee Peverell actually married her  two  husbands in about 1542  (to Roger) and  1553 (to Nicholas), respectively.

            The manor from which these early Churchills came was in fact (as already noted) the one in mid-south  Devon at Rockbeare  (and/or neighbouring Broadclyst).  And, it was that  same one family from which both Roger and his apparently younger brothers John and William Jnr probably came equally being a part of essentially the one family of their mutual father William Churchill Snr  - previously of Rockbeare (where he was the younger brother  of Thomas Churchill (d 1577).   The ancestor of the later Churchills - who settled at either or both  Pulston   and/or  Muston (to which Winston should  more clearly have referred (rather than to a  Manston or Munston)  was thus not a John Churchill coming from an early  Somerset manor to  establish or augment  a later centre for that family as at Munston (in north Dorset)  - but rather his (and  elder brother Rogersfather (of the previous generation)  - said  William Churchill  (b 1496) after he had left  Rockbeare in his native south Devon (around 1530-35, say)  to settle eventually in south-east Dorset with his family via Catherston in the 1520s.  

          This may have been  preceded   by  temporary sojourns at Colyton  in  south-east Devon before that in  Catherston Leweston just across the border in west Dorset.   They  then settled ultimately  further east in  mid-southeast  Dorset   seemingly at Pulston,in the north  of Charminster parish and/ or at nearby Muston in Piddlehinton parish, a little to the east at least ca 1530s-40s before Roger married Jane Peverell of Bradford Pevere (ca 1542).    But, again, objective documentary confirmation remains lacking. This may well be why Winston seems to have had no idea of the existence of said William Churchill of Rockbeare, Devon(nor his elder brother Thomas of the 1577 Will),  nor his prior descent,  or just what Munston/Manston might have signified,  or when or where !

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           According to Coxe, it was this Williams eldest son Roger, who married sole heiress Jane Peverell (as her first husband,  both  then single,  around 1542, as estimated),  and probably then  settled (after Catherston in west Dorset) -  at the Peverells former manor  of  Bradford Peverell , a little north of Dorchester town and  immediately  west of the parish or village of Charminster (with its Pulston manor  in its northern part).   And the seeming second son of William and Mary - John Churchill - would apparently do so similarly, but in nearby Dorchester town  itself at about that same time   estimated also to be around 1540-42.  [One would love to know what was Williams role in all this ca 1535-40 (and that of Sir John Mervy, as step-father) in arranging all this); see later.]

          William  the father had apparently  already settled  and continued  residing at, say,   Pulston  (those  few miles north  of Bradford  Peverell and Charminster)  likely with  younger (?third)  son William Churchill Jnr (born ca 1526-28 ?) .  [The latter is not to be confused with  the William  Churchill born later - in  Dorchester  ca 1541 -   to  John Churchill, Draper  of that town (Rogers younger brother);   nor with the William who would assume ownership of Rockbeare in 1577 - on the death of his father Thomas Churchill. That latter, and younger William (b. about 1515, say)  would be the nephew of our older William Snr  (b. about 1496).]    But evidence   remains sparse.  One has sometimes wondered if  William Snrs  family  may have all remained  back at Catherston in west Dorset a little longer - until some uncertain date  - nearer 1538-40), say.   Moreover, there has been some evidence that John Churchill of Dorchester (bn ca 1522)nay even have derived instead  from  that  other, more eastern  branch of the family (described later).

              But, again, no registers, Wills, property or litigation documents seem to exist to  help resolve or confirm any of this overall conception although circumstantial evidence accrues in respect of sales of properties overseen  by the Dorset agents of Henry 8ths Secretary Thomas Cromwell associated with  the Dissolution of the Monasteries - around 1535-45 to be further  described below.   [Any Catherston documentation (as pertaining to  the Wadhams) for that period (ca 1530s-40s) would also be particularly  helpful.]   We have at least had a kind of mini-breakthrough in this regard however with the discovery of a history of the ancient (ex-Norman) Bartelot/ Bartlett  family which describes  certain  of  their  activities  in the 1540s in regard to  the sudden availability of ex-Monastery properties  - for themselves and their various  friends, relatives  and several inter-related landed families of Dorset.  This will be analysed extensively below.

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           There were thousands of Manors established throughout the country,  even before the Norman conquest, the great many documents for which are now indexed on-line within the National Manorial Document Register (MDR).  Sadly, Pulston or Muston manors in Dorset are not amongst   them (although we have  more recently noted  that 6 such  early documents for Pulston  are held by the Dorset Record Office   but only for the 1470s).  There is also a property litigation document  (C / xxx) in respect  of  Pulston   - dated 15xx).   Ironically, Munston (Manston) manor (also in Dorset, but to the north)  is shown in the MDR  -  but with only one surviving document; (moreover,  there were two  other Muston manors nationally- one in Yorkshire  with only two documents  and the other intriguingly also in Dorset (to confuse matters) at  Winterborne Muston-  some 5 miles south-east of  Piddlehinton).   About a dozen small villages in that area running west to east  have a winterbourne  running through them; this is a small stream that disappears in the dry summers and only exists during the winter as a small  winter bourne.  There are thus many such hamlets with this  as part of their name;  A small manor called Muston/Mustone  was located in one of them.  But the main manor of Muston (sometimes called Musterone) and quite unrelated, was located some miles north-west of that more minor Muston Winterbourbe  manor.    

             In any case, the Manor records for  Piddlehinton Manor itself (which, as we believed,  could well have included records for that larger Muston  manor  also),  are available but, for some unknown reason, have apparently  been long held  in the Library archives at Eton College, near Windsor, Berks (where, quite coincidently,  two later Churchill sons attended  ca 1700 and 1745).    Such manor documents generally cover all the usual categories - of Rentals, Terriers, Court Books and CopyRolls, etc. with  good coverage throughout the significant 1500s. Do they show any Churchills there as holder or even tenants, one wondered under the previous Freeholders  (possibly the Bartlett or Lowman famiies, as I once noted en  passant) - around 1530-50 ?   I have written to the  Eton Archivist making enquiries. Results, if any, will be placed here in due course:  [The archivist was most sympathetic but explained that she worked on her own there and  it would likely be months before she could examine the records concerned even if simply to determine if any Churchills were involved in that one Manor in the 1500s. But, she said, I  was welcome to visit to make this search myself !]

             I thus did so some weeks later - only to discover that while the  records  there did indeed cover the manor concerned  (Piddlehinton) very thoroughly, they didnt cover or include (whatsoever) any records for its neighbouring  manor of Muston  which, while also  in the same parish-  of Piddlehinton (as were those for  that same-named  Piddlehinton manor), wasnt  itself a part of that latter manor and its records but was in fact a quite separate manor (basically a large Farm with a quality house), albeit  also located  in that same large civil  parish (at its southern end),  along with or near two large ex-parish fields called North and South Nouvard).  The records for Piddleninton manor itself were   however those held at Eton - because that manor, along  with hundreds  of others, was, during and before the reigns of Henry V and VI,  held by various religious authorities (Priories) in France - to where their annual profits had long been  sent.  Henry V (then at war with France as at  Agincourt) decided that these monies should in future stay in England, so he transferred their ownership Leaseholds) to English Priories from which rents he  financed (endowed)certain  new Colleges, as especially that at Eton  - about  1460.   Its trustees then  became the new  Freehold Landlords of  many such formerly Leaseheld manors,  including Piddlehinton (until 1944 !) but,  sadly,  not for Muston manoitself  - almost next door in that same parish.

             The main tenant or Copyholder at any given manor had then to keep records (Court Rolls) showing the rent paid - by any sub-tenant Copyholders  - to  be collected annually by the relevant Official of the new  Landlord Eton College.   Sadly,  neither Muston  nor Pulston (as learnt later) were one of these formerly French owned-manors, however.  Where were  their   manor records kept therefore, and to which Leaseholder  did  their  chief Copyholders   submit such  annual accounts ?  Taxes would, subsequently, have to be paid by  that Freeholder to the government (King) of the day. [They should be recorded in some appropriate Exchequer records however.]

             I did believe the Muston Lease was held  in the mid-1500s by a member of the Bartlett family of  nearby Piddleton/PIddletown and that its chief Copyholder then (the Tenant or Farmer) might well have been  our William Churchill father of  brothers Roger  Churchill of Bradford Peverell (ca 1518-1552)  and, seemingly,  John Churchill  of nearby Dorchester (ca 1522-1557) both (apparently) dying young at  comparable ages  of  about 36A line of Churchills, subsequently settled at Dorchester ca 1550-1800    descended from that latter  John (and  thence from his  son William and  the latters son John (d 1621), in turn, etc ) - seems to have materialised initially out of thin air - with no one ever querying who was the father (of that seemingly earliest, first  John  Churchill of Dorchester - and thus the ultimate progenitor of the family only later recently at Muston - from ca 1612, as explained elsewhere). 

              I originally believed  that  the probable father of that  earlier John  - ie William Snr  (or his 3rd son William Churchill Jnr)  had eventually sought to purchase  that  Muston Lease- or Copyhold  himself around 1580  - but this was apparently delayed until a  subsequent purchase of those two  neighbouring fields called North and South Nouvard  - fittingly by a William Churchill   in 1586;   the  purchase of the main Muston  farm and  manor Freehold was  however delayed until ca 1610-12, when finalised by those later Dorchester Churchills - and not by their assumed progenitor William Churchill Snr (never of Dorchester).  I now feel that Coxe got that wrong and that our progenitor quite possibly didnt inhabit Muston manor at all  or only briefly but, rather,  did so mainly at nearby Pulston manor - in  n north Charminster instead  - bearly an hours walk to the west. A William Churchill appears there as a recent resident or owner as early as ca  1545-50.

              Meanwhile, one or other of these two earlier  William Churchills (Snr or Jnr) (now more likely to have been associated  with Pulston  from the  mid-1540s)   -   had died (without traceable Wills).    In  1609, the later  John Churchill - of the Dorchester line (the earlier Johns grandson) - did finally commence  purchase of Muston Manor possibly only finalised in 1612 or so when its actual Freehold became available - after a long and rather suspect series of complex transfers (redolent of the sales promoted long after dissolution of the  monasteries to apparently to obscure names of  often very brief  ownership, buyers and sellers and the prices alleged.    It would be him  (said Dorchester John) or his son William who would presumably lastly acquire the Muston manor records and accounts    unlikely to show  the chief tenant or Copyholder to have  been (from as early as ca 1545 ,say) our earlier  William Churchill Snr (born ca 1496),  but more likely a member of the Copyholding Lowman family who would previously have paid their rent to some religious Priory (as original Freeholder, if not the Crown) and only much later to the Dorchester Churchills.    Its  all rather  complicated and opaque.  [Cerne Abbey now appear to have been that former owner (before 1545). 

           Why did that later William Churchill (bn ca 1541) of Dorchester , or his son  John Churchill (bn ca 1568),  decide to purchase this particular small manor  of  Muston  ?     Or, indeed why did that William  buy those house-free (?) Nouvard fields) a little earlier - in ca 1586 ?    Was there (nevertheless) some existing  family connection with the earlier Churchills (of William Snr) in respect of these  particular manor properties  and  intra-family arrangements made as to who would later prefer to live where, etc  - especially as an Esq ? [Note: We have two PRO references which could help in these questions: (1) C2/Eliz/C42] - which concerns a 'Claim of Redemption as Heir' of Nouvard Fields (and Farm) by one Christopher Cheverell, with a William Churchill and, intriguingly, an Edward Wadham as Defendants (dated somewhere within the lengthy pewriod 1558 and 1603) and (2) that concerning a Chapel in Dorchester involving John Churchill(I) as Defendant - in the period 1547-1553.] If ever read, their contents will be reported here:

          The Dorchester Churchills were meanwhile soon assuming a respectable pedigree in  town - from ca 1550 or so (albeit with no admitted forebear known to  precede their  young father  (John (I) bn ca 1520-22)  who was shown as suddenly residing there by ca 1540-45.  Did their earlier progenitor (William Snr ) already have interests in  Muston/Nouvard and/or Pulston manors; r even in Corton  ?  If possible, this should be  addressed one day.  Could it be the case that not only the Bartletts but the Churchills (and Martyns) also wished to obscure the exact origin of their recently acquired and considerable properties including even William Snr often entailing those multiple transfers ? [We report on one such sale in 1549 below].

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             Our focus to this point has thus been  on this very  progenitor - William Churchill Snr (b. ca 1496, as estimated)   the seeming second  son of Thomas and Grace (nee Tylle) of  Rockbeare  in south Devon who, with recently married  wife  (ca ?1515)  - Mary Creuse, daughter of Richard Creuse of Weycroft Castle, in east Devon (near Dorset), now appears  to have  had their    first son   Roger  Churchill - by about 1518  - possibly  before   they moved from Catherston  further east into  Dorset - around 1535, say, as now believed.  They  may  well have had  further  issue  there,  as John, William, Richard, Alexander and even a Rowland Churchill,   during 1520-30 - at  Catherston  or, latterly,  nearer Dorchester (including Bradford Peverell, Charminster (Pulston), or at Piddleton Muston).  There seems to be  no surviving relevant church or manor records  to establish same in any case.   Was anything ever enrolled into the national Patentor Close Rolls or those of the Exchequer;   E And  Manor Court Books ?

              It  is sometimes easy to forget that at this period, as earlier, a young man of any family who held  rights to some property,  generally didnt simply marry some girl he happened to meet and fall in love with;  it was almost inevitably pre-arranged by his and her parents alone - with future property holdings,  capital value and  rental income,  strongly in mind.   And, because of  primogeniture, the elder son in that  prior  generation as Thomas  Churchill Jnr (ca 1490s-1577) - would thus expect to  inherit  the bulk of his father (Thomas Snr)s estate back at Rockbeare - quite intact (including any gained  earlier from the Tylle, say)   once the younger Thomas had inherited.   Once married (ca 1515. Say to an Iseult Provencher,  Thomas  would  likely remain on the family estate  at Rockbeare and Broadclyst  (with any Tylle property  conveniently next door) where a  Churchill manor had  apparently   been located from ca 1300-1700+).  When said Thomas died  (1577), the estate would likewise go to his eldest son, seemingly  nother  William Churchill born ca 1515.   But, what about  Thomas younger  brother, also William,   after he married about that same time to Mary Creuse (her sister Eizabeth having apparently married John or William Wadham of Catherston ?

              The landed Wadham family had apparently held 30 manors at one time in the west country (including in Colyton,  and  Catherston, Dorset  and, as mentioned, may also have provided  Copyhold  or Leasehold property at one or both  for  this new-to-the-area young and related Churchill family.  Support for this idea comes in a Footnote in Coxes account where he notes that “we have located proof that the Churchills at that time ….had alliances with both the Creuses and the Tylles - with whom the Wadhams, Lords of Catherston (and virtually of Baronial status)  were  also connected in marriage.  In Poles Families removed from Devon by 1620( a copy of same published in 1822), we find his remark that “a branch of the (Wadhan) family settled at Catherston - having married the heiress of the FitzPains (?Pynes) who had held that Manor previuosly) and that a Wadham son had married a co-heiress (Elizabeth)  of Thomas Tylle of Tylle house, Devon;  and that there were several other Wadhams descended from this branch by the time of Queen Elizabeth…” (and thus from that of Henry VIII, presumably.    [Yet  to  be viewed also is the  Will of Thomas Wadham (1513) - with an Inq P.M. held in 1523 (held at Sherborne, Dorset). There are also several Tylle Wills, I believe,  associated with  this same area and period.]

              All this seems to account for William and Marys 3  older sons   Roger, John(?)    and William Jnr (and possibly one or two others   as Richard, Alexander or Rowland) -    being  sometimes shown  as  born and/or  raised in Catherston  (ca  1520-30s) - where the family seems to have  first settled in Dorset (as noted above) and where Roger in particular would later  often be described  as having  been from  or of but based on what evidence or source ? [This seems to have been eventually established by means of Collins Peerage and/or Poles Collections.]   This was presumably after  that  briefer stay  near  Colyton   in south-east Devon  - where William  was once  described  as being a Copy or Leaseholder ie holding, managing and/or  working land so held (but not by  Freehold), and thus  having  to pay some annual  rent (possisbly only a token) for same (rather than to collect rent  - from other tenants for his own familys income!) - as the Freeholder.   His status and styling would  possibly have been that of Yeoman therefore,  if only for a time.  His presence in such a position should be shown on the  relevant  Rolls for the Manors concerned. Where are they ?  Were the Wadhams  the Freeholders ?  [ What about the Cobhams, Tylles  and Creuses ?]    

         After a few years at Catherston, a better opportunity seemingly arose -  for a larger farm/estate/manor  - either at the Manor and Farm  of Muston in the parish of  Piddlehinton (as formerly believed) situated some  4  miles north-east  of Dorchester or (now) in that at Pulston - slightly to the west of Muston  in  the north of  Charminster parish just above neighbouring  Bradford Peverell (where all of the family may have resided initially (from ca 1538-40, say.     But, to begin with, he would  presumably have to   continue operating  as  a Leaseholder at any other estate  there  - as the Freehold of that first property was apparently then recently obtained  by a family called Bartlett -  as formerly owned by Cerne Abbey, before all Cernes  Freehold Manors   were seized for Henry the 8ths agents (ca 1535-42- by the agency of Cromwell and his deputies  (including the Bartletts; see later) who  left  one or two  PCC Wills,  I imagine (and  some property transaction documents)  - which could possibly  help verify or not some of  this, as would those, if any, of the Tylles,  Creuses, Wadhams, Martyns, Cobhams, other Bartletts   or even Peverells).

          [Indeed; we have more recently stumbled upon a vertitable treasure trove of potentially useful information pertaining to this very matter.  It will now comprise a new section on the Bartlett family shortly to be inserted into  our existing account below. [One may haave to exclude any Will information from this, however, as it was quite simple to arrange inheritance of any suspect, cheaply acquired property prior  to ones own demise -  by prior legal property transfers that need not  manifest themselves via Wills.]

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               In any case, it  was now apparent that it was this Muston manor (near Dorchester) in south central Dorset) to which  Winston should  have been referring when describing where  that  alleged  other branch of the family was thought eventually to have  re-settled  fter Somerset (seemingly in the person of  a  John Churchill)  -  somehow related to Roger) and  thus not that parish of  similar name more in mid- Dorset (Munston), while Roger was wrongly assumed to have remained initially at the familys much earlier manor in  north Somerset  - which he had  allegedlt re-gained (and his son or grandson ceased having to  Blacksmith at) - by the convenient expediency of Roger marrying Jane, who was  (wrongly) assumed to already be  the widow Megges.   That staus would however only come much later as the widow Churchill.

              For both  Roger and that seeming earlier John Churchill, as brothers (and/or with their parents William and Mary nee Creuse), would actually have  left  the familys prior  manor -  in Rockbeare  (in south Devon)  -  and not from that  at  Churchill  - in more northerly Somerset).  And they would have done so (once born) with their Rockbeare father William Churchill Snr to settle firstly if briefly at Colyton, Devon  (as  ?Leaseholders) and/or then at Catherston, Dorset  (via the Wadhams with whom they wer related through marriages to both the Tylles and the Creuses) - before moving finally to either  Muston in Piddlehinton - in mid-south Dorset or, as now seems more likely,  - at  slightly more westerly Pulston manor, in Charminster - just north of  Bradford Peverell as thern held by Jane nee Peeverell (ca 1530s) the furure bride of Wiliams eldest son Roger Churchill.   But, the dates for this probable  sequence  are still rather tenuous and uncertain.  Winston seems to have assumed  that all this was somewhat  earlier than was apparently the case, and also as occurring more to the enorth-west, than it did.         

            These two  alleged older sons  (and brothers) Roger and John   eventually  married and settled into their respective new properties nearby(ca 1540s as  at  Bradford Peverell  manor for Roger, and  in  Dorchester town for John (with  third  brother William (Jnr), possibly remaining with his father  - at  such as Pulston  or, now less likely,  Muston.   The family apparently already had property in nearby Corton possibly Leaseheld (but of whom?)  but, mysteriously,  from much earlier as mentioned above.  But firstly, in Chapter 7, we set the scene just before those  two  elder sons  had so married and settled  -  in those mid-south Dorset locations, near each other.  



             Significantly,  in  all three Devon or Dorset  settings (Colyton, Catherston and Dorcheter area (possibly including Pulston or Muston),  William Churchill Snr appears to have  had to function   mainly as   a  Yeoman !   Our  initial feelings (later reversed) - that the early Churchills had probably emanated  from solid Yeoman stock somewhere in the border lands between Dorset and Devon -  turns out  to have almost  been the case !   But that would not  reflect  a stepping stone in their otherwise assumed gradual and progressive advancement  from  more  modest beginnings,  but rather  simply a  necessary re-grouping or side-step - by a second son (William) - after the contingencies  arising from primogeniture (in Rockbeare);  that is,  in an already (and long established)  landed  family basically of Gentry and/or Esq status.   [We may recall the royal circles in which  his ancestor Charles Curchill  briefly inter-acted.]  Thus, the references just above to having to Lease or pay rent for (and working or managing)  land owned by others,  rather than  generally leasing or renting out their own  Freehold  land - to others (tenants)  appears to have been the case at least for a time.   The  Churchills had  indeed really been (and would continue as)  a landed family - virtually from the start but with one or two such rocky phases along the way -  especially for certain younger sons.   But, they seem to have had  remarkable resilience and stamina - to stay  afloat and indeed effectively win out in the end. We shall see below that this may have entailed receiving a helpful leg up by their good friends the  Bartletts as  regards such as Pulston (and/or Little  Bredy,  Compton,  Muckleford, etc),yet  to be  described.

            In any case, successful Yeomen often bought  out smaller landed Gentry  (and Esquires) who had found themselves  in debt through unpaid  loans and mortgages taken out in hard times (as during the Civil war).   Eventually, the Bartletts  of Piddleton (and  Muston)  may have been in this  position themselves and thus this branch  of  the  Churchills would gradually rise again, by purchasing this Freehold manor from them (rather than simply gaining  same as  a  reward  for aiding  a  countrys conquest).  Enquiries about purchasing had apparently begun  as early as the 1580s (as weve now noted above) but, for whatever reason,  took much longer to finalise by  about 1610-12.  [As also already noted,  this proved to be by a  later  John Churchill ( bn ca 1568)  -  of the Dorchester branch as Rogers apparently senior Bradford Peverell  line  were having their own problems  before  that  -  with  the early deaths of  both elder son Roger and his only son Mathew Churchill, in turn,  in the  mid-1570s. 

              Their cousins in Dorchester had somehow bought their own (ex-religious) property in the town (not a Manor) likely at a bargain price - and thus soon re-joined the Gentry  almost from the start (John had apparently been an employee initially(as a Draper) in the cloth/drapery  trade of his  in-laws to be.  Such assistance may very well have come   to the aid of both branches  of the  Churchills at about that same  time (ca 1540-45).   It seems possible that the Churchills generally had also gained equity in several disbursed properties elsewhere from about  that time (of the Dissolition) and, along with arranged marriages, soon  provided younger members with  initial footholds even if  entailing  some  temporary, if suspiciously small,  mortgages and debts at the start. Yhey eventually thrived, but not for a time.                                                                

              By the  mid-1530s,  it had appeared initially to us that  there were NO other local south Dorset Churchills  living there - only William and Mary - with their young family  whom we believed  had  partly grown up  in any case im more westerly Catherston,  say, but soon settled in or near  Dorchester  and area by about 1535 or so. Thus was  about 15  miles  further east into  such parishes  as Bradford Pcverell,  Dorchester,  Corton  and quite possibly in the nearby Cerne and/or  Piddle valley areas.   There would  thus soon  be  more Churchill issue  born and raised in all  these new mid- and south-east Dorset centres.   It  was however later realised that there were  also  pockets of Churchills in such as West and East Compton and  in Muckelford nearby not far from Bradford Peverell,  as well as a new (to us)  John Churchill serving as a Bailiff  in Dorchester rather  earlier in 1525 (!) - which  may well muddy  our  waters  a little.  To whom were these l;atter Churchills born, one wondered;   when and  where ?   And, of what station were  they ? And of what branch of the Churchill family ?

             [It is just conceivable that a line had survived out of their earlier possession of Corton  manor (near Waddon).   Who previously held  its  Freehold, or even Leasehold,  Deeds, one wonders, and from when ? We have more recently also discovered some Churchills at nearby Waddon (next to Corton) as early as the late 1300s (!) who continued  there  to ca 1500, (comprable to those in Rockbeare, Devon)  so we may need to re-assess some of our  overall perspective.]     Our family of  interest  had formerly been  out  of Somerset originally, and then primarily of  Devon,  prior to this latter mid-Dorset period ie before 1535, say -   where they had been  settled for over  three centuries.  This was then effectively continued during  Tudor (1500s),  Stuart (1600s) and Georgian (1700s) eras.  The senior Rockbeare line back in Devon had also continued  over these centuries but apparently without  producing any particularly noteworthy descendants ca 1600-1800+  - of which we are aware at least.  [The William Churchill who would inherit Rockbeare in 1577 likely died by about  1590,  say,   and later Churchills in Devon of that line  ncluded a Rev Peter Churchill yet to be investigated

Correcting Some Confusion in the John-William-John-William Sequence  in regard to the   Churchills  of  Dorchester.                                                         

             We may usefully quote (and paraphrase) Coxe  at  about  this point:   “William and Mary had  at least three sons  Roger, John and William.  As  the two younger of these,  John and William, are not directly connected with our major concern (the descent of Marlborough from Roger), we shall only observe, before concentrating on Roger and his senior line,  that the first of these two younger sons, John of Dorchester (born ca 1520 as we have estimated)  obtained presumably from his  father  ?William Snr bn 1496) - the manor of Corton  (possibly only transferred as  Leasehold), that ancient possession apparently of of Roger or John de Courcelle.  [Just if and how William (out of Devon) would be given  any such rights or control over Corton (from ca 1520, say, or earlier ), as a second son,  seems most uncertain. There was also that other, earlier 1525 Bailiff -  John Churchill - and his possible earlier line via Waddon.]  

          In  any case, Williams apparent second son John, in turn,  later had some connection with same and, by Edith Bond, left two sons William (born ca 1541) and John (ca 1547) again as estimated - when he (their father John) died young in 1557.   This latter William would inherit the Dorchester property, while John, the younger son, seems to have gained further control of Corton.   He  had only two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth,  (by whomever)  -  by whose later marriages the Churchills property there would  [as related earlier] be conveyed out of that familys ?ancient control  into  that of these other local families:    [What about neighbouring Waddon ?  Were they lost or sold  it even earlier ?]

          Thus Anne, the elder girl  (b 1576)  married Maximilian Mohun of nearby Fleet, Esq  (about 1595) and so  Corton was thereby conveyed to that equally ancient family,  while younger daughter Elizabeth married Brian Williams, Esq. (of Herringston?) for whom no other named  property is  mentioned.  He goes on to describe the Wills of  this younger son John then described as   of Corton, Gent (written in 1599 and proved (apparently)  in 1600)  and  that of his older brother  William (born ca 1541) by then also  of Dorchester, Gent (said, oddly,  to be have been written much earlier, in 1559, but not  proved until 1602  - when he too died.”  [Note: Collins seems to have associated the 1599 Will with a William Churchill (to be buried in St Peters, Dorchester; this needs to be reviewed.]  He may have  been the William who sought in 1586 to buy those two fields near Muston if it wasnt in fact his older same-named uncle William Churchill Jnr ( born ca 1525) who did so.    There seems to be no evidence.      

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               Before Coxe  would presumably then go on  to describe next  the  comparable events for that  next, apparently younger, third brother William Jnr (having first dealt with Roger and then John ),  he seeks firstly to  inform us that these two younger alleged brothers of Roger -  John and William (in that order of birth) have  often been confused by genealogists in regard to where each first settled -  with  the younger John (II) (bn ca 1547) often wrongly shown  as the brother who first settled  into  Dorchester    and the elder brother, William (bn ca 1541)  being later described as the one described later as being  'of  Corton',  whereas, said Coxe,  it was actually the other way around  (as we have so described  them above)    So, Yes, such confusion seems indeed  often to be have been the case - for two such Churchill brothers, so named….but,  sadly, Coxe seems himself to have been confused as to  the particular generation to which  these two brothers, so named and otherwise confused,  actually belonged !  

            He was not in fact describing the  two younger  brothers  of Roger  - ie John (I) and William Jnr said to be born in that order - in about 1520-22 and 1525 , respectively (after Roger) or even in the other order),   as he seems to have believed  (with Roger himself assumed to have been born around 1518-20 all to William  Snr of Rockbeare (bn ca 1496)  but, rather, he was in fact describing  the  subsequent and younger two sons - of  that elder William Snrs second  son John Churchill (I) (bn ca 1520-22)  (apparently being  Rogers next younger  brother).  This  latter John  Churchill(I) was  of Dorchester, Draper (from at least ca 1540, and it was his second son  - John II (b. ca 1547) - who was later properly described as  being  of  Corton (however acquired) ,  and that it was John Is  first son- William II (b. ca 1541,  who was, again,  properly described  later  as  of  Dorchester, Gent

            This  may well account for  the confusion mentioned;    two sets of  same-named  brothers, each set being of a different generation (and, likely, orders of birth therein) - could well be a source of much future confusion   in regard to the dates of several events of their respective lives.    Indeed, it seems that while the two brothers in the earlier generation were born - as second and third sons (after Roger)  - to William Snr) - those of this next, and younger, generation (born to Rogers younger brother John (I), the Draper))  - who arrived in the other order with William born first (ca 1541) and  youhger brother John II (later of Corton), only second (ca1547) to that  John Churchill (I) (himself bn ca 1520-22).   But which William Churchill and which John Churchill wrote the two Wills ascribed to these same two oft-repeated forenames  - and of which generati on were they - in that essentially Dorchester branch of the family?  Their respective dates  and Will details will presumably provide valid answers to anyone interested.

               Thus, after describing Rogers  marriage around 1538-42 , say, his son Mathews birth about 1545, a daughter Margarets about 1550, and  his own early death  ca 1552,  one had originally written that:  “Rogers  (younger) brother  John Churchill soon had  3 children himself (quite likely in Dorchester) with Edith (nee Bond).  These  were  William (II) (1541), Elizabeth   (1544) and John II (1547) born during this same 1541-47 period - before  he, their father  too would die quite young in 1557  (aged only 36 or so).   His Will was written and proved that same year.   In  it, he refers to his two sons William (bn ca 1541) and John (ca 1547),  and their  sister Elizabeth - born between them.”   Once  realising  Coxes confusion (over and above that of the  prior William - John reversals), we were now able to write more confidently our accounts of the respective descents from William Snrs apparently two elder sons Roger and John (I)    (most likely in that order) -   as follows in Chapter 9 below; but first we have::




            We may imagine William Churchill Snr in conversation with one of his  own father (Thomas of Rockbeare )s better off  friends  - either still in Devon or Dorset (as one of the the Wadhams, say),  around 1535 or so - discussing  possible marriage partners  for his (Williams) two eldest  sons Roger and John.   But, of course,  we have  absolutely no  details  concerning this  other than assuming that something like this conversation and/or enquiry most probably would have taken  place  and that it resulted  in  introductions and negotiations  with, respectively, the mother and step-father of  Jane Peverell recent sole heiress of an  ancient landed family  (in the case of  first son Roger)  and likewise (regarding second son John) with the parents (and especially the father) of Edith  Bond  a daughter of one of the established local Bond families of Dorchester and of Steeple in east Dorset.  [Who, remarkably, may have changed their surname from Churchill to Bonde same generations earlier ![see Pole]  This to be looked into when more convenient.]   Such a meeting could well have taken place in the main town in the area Dorchester by way of mutual acquaintances,  as via the Cloth trade in Dorchester and/or Axminster or Exeter. 

           [Since writing the foregoing, I have come across further detail on these matters. It seems that  a William Peverell of Bradford Peverell, Esq  (bn about 1490s-1500) would marry  Jane Baskerville,  of Sherborne, Spinster,  in about 1520,  with whom he had a daughter and sole heir,  Jane Peverell, about then.   William  died young soon after (ca 1525),  and his Inq PM in 1526/27 revealed that his  property then consisted of…….. .[An  earlier William Peverell had an Inq PM in 1502, quite likely the younger \Willisms father and it might yhus show  similar property ownership.]  Jane Baskervilles father Philip Baskerville and family resided in Sherborne in his adulthood, although the centre of his family was apparently still in Herefordshire to thr north-west;   he had possibly obtained a Teaching Position t at the new Sherborne Public School). Jane nee Baskerville (now Peverell) and her infant daughter Jane Peverell likely continued living at Bradford Peverell for only a short btime before she  re-married - to Sir John Mervyn of Fontwell Magna, Wiltshire (just across the border with Dorset to the north) in about 1528.   They may have then lived in either Bradford Peverell or at his own family estate inWiltshire in one or both of which Jane Peverell would presumably have grown up - through the 1530s. , and possibly also at thevery small manor called Bardolphston, near Piddleton, some miles north.

         Meanwhile, William Churchill (of Rockbeare and Catherston) b was on the look out for a suitable  match for his eldest son Roger around 1536-38, say.   The presence of Jane Peverell at Bradford Peveverell (now with her mother and new step-father (tJohn Mervyn)   was  no doubt brought to Williams and Rogers attention. The young couple were likely soon  married - around 1538-42. Roger would thus become an Esq of that estate.  They would have h two Churchill children - Matthew and Margaret likely in the 1540s before Roger sadly  died, about 1552, as estimated.  It would now be the roles of John and Jane Mervyn (possibly nincluding William Churchill and his second son John Churchill in Dorchester)  to arrange the futures for Mathew and Margaret.  We can see now why that for Margaret was probably at Sherborne (where she would marry Barthlomew Olde of that town.  But Mathews future likelt remained at Bradford and so closer to Dorchester, where Alice Gould lived.        

             Roger Churchill  thus married Jane Peverell (of a clearly landed family then of Bradford Peverell and elsewhere (as Bardolfston  nr Piddleton)  about 1538-42  (as estimated) while  his  presumed slightly younger brother John would do so in Dorchester when, as noted, he married Edith Bond  at about the same time (ca 1539-41).  One would assume that the latter marriage would entail  less valued  property arrangements (for  a second son)  than elder son Roger would expect, and attain  (if the  birth order as presumed here is valid).  Indeed, this would be consistent with Roger (not John) being the elder son and thus marrying a sole heiress of what seemed  then a considerable landed estate (manor).   Ediths  branch of the Bond family didnt appear to be quite as well off in property possibly only renting at Herringston  (but the senior line of that family were (later)  quite well off  - from both the Cloth  trade and gaining certain other properties quite reasonably, we understand).  

           The   boys presumed father  William Snr and the rest of the  family would  likely remain for  some time (1540s to  1560s  at such as the Muston or Pulston manor farms on  their  presumed Copy or Lease held  land (after leaving Catherston, say).   The futures of any other sons (and maybe daughters)  are sadly unrecorded in church or manor records which seem not to have survived.  Again, we accept that the Lowman family nay have been the major  Copyholders - at Muston, at least -  over an unknown later period.  But they too were also in a position to Lease or sub-let their long-held Copyholds.

           Many families based on inherited property in the countryside   before Elizabethan  times - relied mainly on rental income for their livevihood and gentry status - but where a larger town or city (as Dorchester, Exeter, Bristol, Sherborne  or, even  London) was nearby and developing,  younger sons, if sufficiently-educated, often made their way more lucratively there  - in commerce,  the services,  government  or the professions - as the 16th and 17th centuries unfolded.  Roger Churchills apparent younger brother John and his issue followed this latter route - in Dorchester town and, through businesses - in the Drapery,  Clothing  and  Brewing trades - gradually acquired status and financial security.  This was   reflected in their purchasing property, marrying well  and becoming elected to such positions as Bailiffs, County High Sheriffs, Local M.P.s. and with  at least one a  Barrister and another a Priest.  We shall describe further details of this Dorchester branch  of the family as descended from one of the many John Churchills later (see pp 90-112).   But, on the contrary, we have next our primary family of focus - out of town disrupted as it may have been from any  such smooth sequential progress, (compared to that of the Dorchester town branch) due mostly to early male deaths  in the country over  succeeding generations and hence difficulty in holding necessary property.  Others did better by not only holding theirs, but  acquiring more property, almost suspiciously, as we shall see, around mid-century.    

            These apparent facts, including details of the relevant  marriages (possibly passed down in the Churchill family archives or by word of mouth) are not always verified in parish registers  (often lacking) or other written documents.  There is one Internet site which indicates that Roger Churchill and  Jane  Peverell may have  married in Sherborne, Dorset  - in about 1540 - and have  their issue there.  This is quite conceivable if one or other of Janes parents (a William and Jane Peverell she nee Baskerville) had died  young and she was brought up in some relatives or step-parents home  in  such as Sherborne (a town comparable to Dorchester but smaller - some miles north) if, that is, her inherited estate at Bradford Peverell was possibly  managed in the interim by some Leasehold tenant.  I believe her mother and new step-father did live  sometimes in that more northerly direction, or  even  in Wiltshire,  ca 1530-45,  initially, than in or near Dorchester (as in Bradford Beverell)   [See litigation re Sir John Mervyn.]

          Roger  and Jane could at most  have had  but one other child after Mathew in about 1550-, say.  Indeed, some pedigrees do show a daughter Margaret Churchill born to them; and such a birth  in  that latter year seems much more reasonable  than one a  full decade later (as shown on some sites, unless it was a  much delayed baptism).   For one thing, this Margaret Churchill  married  Bartholomew Olde  on 21 June 1574 in Sherborne and by him had   issue there the first  in  May 1575, I believe.  Had Margaret been born as late as 1560, say, shed be  but 14 at her marriage.  It seems much more likely she was born in 1550  therefore not long before  her father Rogers early death - in about 1552, as estimated.  [The 1550  birth date could  easily have been  mis-read and/or wrongly  transcribed at some later point especially as 1560.]  She and Bartholomew had issue  Sybil, John and William  -  all,  including Margaret, referred to as still living  as per their fathers  Will in 1595.  Who arranged their marriage, one wonders  ?  (Probably Sir John Mervyn.)  What did  Margaret bring to the union ?  Her mother Jane was still alive in  and  through the 1570s.  

           But, in any case,  no other earlier issue is  apparent  from  Mathews  and Margarets clearly fertile  parents (Roger and Jane) thus further confirming that Roger was indeed most  unlikely to have been a second husband to Jane ie post-1555, say - especially with Lawrence Megges so often shown as  born to her and  (actual second  husband) Nicholas Megges) - ca 1553/4.   Roger Churchill  was clearly  her first husband therefore before  dying young  only a year or so before (ie ca 1552)   and  so producing only those two, earlier born, surviving Churchill children.  [One did wonder if this couple  may have had an even earlier child ca 1540-42, saywho died in infancy.]   As noted, the large town of Sherborne a little north-west of  Bradford Peverell was mentioned in some pedigrees  in respect of Roger and Jane, and their issue  (re baptisms,  burials, and possibly even  their marriage); Fonthill Gifford in Wilts was another possibility her Mervyn step-fathers  and mothers known abode ).  There was  an important School and  Hospital in Sherborne from the early 1500s. Might Janes parents or guardians  have lived there as would daughter Margaret - who did  herself marry and have issue there  at least if later ?  

           Promisingly, Sherbornes registers are shown as complete from 1538 and are available on-line (through the Dorset Historical Centre in Dorchester but via Ancestry).  They are not very legible however;  I could not confirm a marriage for Goger and Jane there - around 1540.   Oddly, no Will or Administration is apparent for Roger either.   Jane would  soon re-marry to one   Nicholas Megges, said to be  of  Downham (probably the one in  the Cambridgeshire Fens, although there  is another in  Kent)   in about 1553, as estimated.  She soon had her first (and possibly only) child by him  -  a son, Laurence Megges,  within that year, seemingly -  likely  in Bradford Peverell  where they  settled.  But, again, there appears to be no baptismal evidence corroborating these  dates  although the dates of Lawrences  own subsequent marriage and children  seem to fit  this estimation. 

            Jane had no other issue with Nicholas (ca 1555-60+, say) when she would still be only 35 or so.   And, most oddly, her death - in 1578/79 - was registered  in the register for the  neighbouring parish of Charmnister;   another  entry in her own churchs register,  at Bradford Peverell,   was rather ambiguous in this regard.  The death and burial  for  Nicholas himself,  only a few months later, was however only registered, as would be expected,  in the register for  Bradford Peverell, the manor of which he was now deemed the local Lord as would be that  for his son Lawrence Megges, in turn.  What was Mathew Churchills status  then - in this respect ?  And, where was he ?  

             We are not aware how the property arrangements concerning  Bradford Peverell on Rogers  marriage (ca 1538-42 or so) would be affected by his early demise - just  10 or 12  years later.  There  were  of course now  his  two young Churchill children to consider, as well as Janes future welfare.   What would Matthews  inheritance rights  be ca 1552 just  before his mother Jane re-married ?   And what were thyr just after ?  The Megges were a family, originally from Kent (with clergy members seemingly associated with the  Cathedral in Canterbury), who  later settled in Ely (oddly, with its comparable Cathedral), but in the distant  Fens.   We dont know how they (or specifically Nicholas Megges) became thus involved in the future of a recently widowed heiress in rural south Dorset.   How would he, seemingly in the distant Fens,  even become aware of her first husbands recent decease ?  No national newspapers in those days.

           It was apparently not uncommon in those times for such as an uncle (ie of Jane or Roger) to instruct a lawyer friend or relative when next in London to enquire outside the Chancery Courts  if other lawyers - typically from any and all other  provinces (who often congregated there)  knew of any financially suitable second husband for a recent widow with property (and children).  Or, equally, some interested bachelors may  have  left such a standing enquiry.   Or, did  the Anglican clergy have a network; for  they would know very soon when and where widowed heiresses of manorial property became available?  

            In  any case, some compromises were  presumably struck  to the parties  mutual  benefit  - with  the upbringing and education of any  children a major consideration, one would assume.   It was clearly a practical, not a romantic, arrangement.  A check of legal documents indexed on the Internet for the uncommon name Meggs or Megges shows nothing to aid us in this regard directly,  except we note that   the Megges were often  involved in property disputes  in the Fenlands.  They seemed to be a rather litigious family often seeking to maximise financial gain and/or minimise property losses or debts by frequently going to law (or marrying heiresses ?).  Thus, litigation between Nicholas Meggs and his tenants in neighbouring Muckleford (part of Bradford manor) appeared within months of the marriage.

             Roger and Janes  only known  son Mathew (bn ca 1545) would thus  likely have had some Grammar school education  in Dorchester( (or Sherborne )  ca 1557-63  - ie after his father  Rogers death and mother Janes re-marriage.  It would likely be overseen by an uncle, say , or Janes new step-father (Sir John Mervyn where, through those same auspices, Mathew  would later marry fairly well,  in about 1569 -  to Alice,  daughter   of one  James  Gould, Gent -  seemingly of a  local Dorchester family involved in  the Cloth trade and in town  politics.  [There was however more than one Gould family in Dorchester at that time and we cant be sure which one Mathew married into.]  In any case, was  this arranged through any influence of the cousin line of Churchills in Dorchester ? Most probably.   John 1s elder son William Churchill 2 would be about 27  by then and gaining in maturity and thus be of  likely  influence to assist in such family decisions.  

               Reference has already been made to Mathews  only son Jasper Churchill (bn ca 1568-70) with his Dorchester Gould mother - Alice.   Initially, we had no information   regarding  Jaspers  future occupation (possibly a Husbandman in his youth  likely on the Bradford Peverell estate).  But it seems that his father Mathew was to die quite young himself;  I have seen both 1574 and 1577 mentionedwhen Jasper would be but 4 to 7 only.  He would presumably con tinue to be be brought up by his mother Alice  - possibly in Dorchester with Mathews cousin line of Churchills  likely  ready to offer support.   Mathews mother (and Jaspers grandmother) Jane, while also soon to die - on 11 March (1578/79),  may nevertheless have been able to  help  arrange any early education or training for Jasper shortly before.  We have copies of the actual church burial entry for her which, as mentioned and inexplicably  took place (seemingly) at the neighbouring parish Church (St Marys)  in  Charminster rather than  at Bradford Peverell  church itself.  The unqualified entry in the Charminster  register for the year 1578/79   reads clearly thus:   

      “Was Buried  xi March --Jane Megges, wife of Nicholas Megges, Esq  of Bradford” 

            But, where so Buried ?   We shall find that Janes apparent  second husband Nicholas Megges  left  instructions in his own Will, probably written shortly before his own death in August that same year,  to be buried himself  within the  church  at  Bradford Peverell.  This  contrasts  with  Janes assumed  burial in the  churchyard -  of a neighbouring  parishs church.  Ive seen no reference to Charminster  in regard to either Roger, or to Janes parents, the Peverells;  one had  assumed that  they would all be buried at Bradford Peverell itself.  But might Mathew Churchill have been buried  in Charminster, a few years before  his mother (this yet to be checked) if they had jointly preferred  to live there  -  in his young adulthood-  rather than in his (now) step-fathers house in Bradford ?  And might his son Jasper, with  wife Alice and mother Jane,  have all lived in neighbouring Charminster  as well ?  Or, even in Dorchester ?  Interestingly, Charminster, also just north of  Dorchester,  lies more or less mid-way between Bradford and Pulston  being thereby quite  convenient to bany Churchills residing in either.

           [Note:  We   have recently stumbled upon evidence (concerning Jaspers sons apprenticeship in London),  the associated papers for which (dated 1606)  show  Jasper Snr  then  as a Tailor - resident in Bradford Peverell  - long after  his father Mathew,  his grandmother Jane  and his step-grandfather Nicholas had  all died.  He had quite likely resided there over the preceding   decade or more  although the capital  property  there would now  be held   by Lawrence Megges  The  occupation  shown for Jasper Snr - as a Tailor would strongly suggest  he had trained in same (in the 1580s, say)  with  his Churchill relatives  in Dorchester.   The Goulds and the Churchills there were  apparently both occupied in the Cloth trade (or similaly - as Merchants, etc) including his second cousin John Churchill, seemingly born  the same year as Jasper about 1568.

           Usefully, someone has kindly transcribed entries from the Bradford Peverell church register when it was still extant  but, for unknown reasons,  did so for  the  six years 1577 to 1582 only,  into  printed form.  [This printed transcription was found on line, I believe.]  Included  were some surprising details regarding the burial there of Nicholas Meggs.  We quote this verbatim:  

              “The 12th day of August 1579 was buried Mr Nicholas Meggs, Lord of this manor of Bradford Peverell and Muckleford, Esq the body of whom lyeth on the south-west side  of  (t) Jane  - a narrow blue marble stone being between them -  so that on the south side, between his bodie and  (that of)  Mrs Anne [?Peverell], lyeth a broad marble stone making mention of John Peverell  (by inscription) and on the north side between their (ie Nicholas and Janes) two bodies lyeth that narrow stone aforementioned making  mention of….nothing.   He was of age Lxx”.  (ie 70 years and thus 5 or so years older than Jane (and Roger), seemingly, and so born about 1508/9). He would thus have been about 45 before he w married for the first time to Jane  Churchill, widow, when she was about 32. 

           The  brackets shown just before Janes Christian name contained a symbol not  available on my keyboard but  seemed essentially a long, narrow Christian  cross, which may  signify  either  relict (ie recently deceased  wife of - the presently interred subject) and/or  simply implies a tomb there.  We must report also that another Bradford Peverell register entry in this brief period so transcribed, dated a little earlier, under the heading of Burials, appeared  a bit surprisingly - as follows:

             “ The 11th day of March 1578  (in todays calendar: 1579) - Mrs Jane Meggs , wife of Nicholas Meggs, Armiger, Bradford Peverell.”  The words was buried or buried were not included but, as noted, the relevant details were written  in the Burials section ).   It would seem that one or other of the two registrations of Janes death and/or burial in  the registers of  neighbouring churches  - may be  a statement regarding  the actual burial in the others church   of a fairly important local personage of probable interest to those in both  congregations and  so recorded (copied)  for posterity in both  registers.  The Charminster register asserted more explicitly that Jane was buried on the date mentioned but with  only an implication that she, as everyone else so registered in that  given church,  was indeed  so  buried there.  And the Bradford entry doesnt actually say  - was buried (wherever) - although her husbands entry in the Bradford register seems to imply that  his wife Jane  was in fact buried in  that latter church (either inside it -  next to him (without inscription) - or, possibly, in the churchyard).  [One would assume that Roger Churchill too would have been  buried inside  that  same (Bradford) church (of which associated manor he would then (ca 1552) have still been  Lord, and with some inscription, but no reference to  same  appears to  have been noted  or  reported on. How strange.]

           In any case, those printed transcriptions of just a few of Bradford Peverells  baptisms, marriages and burials (over  that 6 years period) at least provides us with some additional  information that pertains to our earlier statement regarding the earliest members of the Churchill  family to reside in  mid-south Dorset (in or near Dorchester).  For amongst  those entries were several with the  Churchill surname that at first appeared  to have no direct connection to the particular landed family we have been investigating  that is, as descend more certainly from William Snr - via Roger or John in this immediate Bradford Peverell - Dorchester area.  They could well have preceded them there (although later information further reduces that possibility).   

           These other Churchills  in fact  resided in Muckleford, that  small hamlet, 2 miles west,  attached  to Bradford Peverell  and, apparently  part of that  same one combined  parish and Manor  (although sometimes wrongly referred to as a sub-manor in its  own right).    These Yeoman Churchills  may have  originated  from such as  third sons of  third sons, as it were,  elsewhere as in  north Devon or even Somerset, with their forefathers having gradually drifted  south-east from there over some generations - a century or more earlier  and, only coincidentally,  settling in such as Muckleford  (amongst several other places as the nearby  Comptons).  That is, that  one of these  other places just happened to come under  an adjoining  manor - of Bradford Peverell that would soon  be held if coincidentally - by a Roger Churchill of the more landed Rockbeare family a possible distant relation. 

           Or, they  may have had  a closer, more recent connection with that  Rockbeare  area as more recent nephews or cousins. [It was new information in this regard, as  mentioned above, that qualified our view.]  If so, they may have been effectively given a leg up -  with one or two small tenancies provided them in such as Muckleford  by its  new Freeholder there - Roger Churchill before he died young in 1552 or so. Moreover, around 1540-45, the Churchills may well have been helped in  acquiring Copyhold properties in other  nearby Dorset villages  (as the Comptons or Bradys) - as via  the Bartletts  (described below).      

           Additionally, this new information  unwittingly negates  an overly confident assertion made in the well respected local  history publication Notes and Queries -  for Somerset and Dorset  regarding  the order in which Jane Peverell married her two husbands.  Thus, firstly, we may note again that in that  slightly later  period 1577-82,  for which  those  transcriptions were  conveniently made (of   baptisms, marriages and burials in Bradford Peverell),  a greater number of Churchill entries were included than expected.   Some of these names had, in any case, already cropped  up in certain  land dispute  documents pertaining to this manor  - first noticed when  scanning various Chancery Court indexes when and  where these s two camps of  Churchills, may have overlapped. 

            Firstly, we find that the earliest  register transcription was  for  the  burial of  Robert,  son of  a John Churchill, in July 1577; said Robert may  have been a young child born in the mid-1570s, say likely in  Muckleford.   [If  said John Churchill married ca 1570,  he would likely be  born about 1545-50, but to whom ?  [WE now have the details of the Will left in 1577 by Thomas Churchill of Rockbeare with both a John and a Robert Churchill mentioned as son and grandson !]     Next came the baptism  in Jan 1577/8 of   Florence, daughter of an  older  Robert Churchill possibly Johns brother - and thus also born about that same time.   We  find next  the already reproduced entry for  Mrs Jane Meggs, wife of  Nicholas Meggs  of Bradford Peverell, Armiger (Esquire)     March 11, 1578/79.   As  noted,  it  doesnt have the term buried  associated directly with it,  however.   Next,  there is an entry  under  Burials -   of Jane  and   Elinor, daughters of John Churchill and wife Isabel, for  1578  and  April 1579, respectively they likely sisters of deceased Robert.   Prior to this, there is an entry for the marriage of   a  John Churchill (probably the same  man) to an Elizabeth Bates or Boytes - in Oct 1578  (possibly  called Isabel at times?).  . It seems there were two contemporary John Churchills living in Mickleford in the 1570s - differentiated  as the elder and the younger;  they could be father and son or, more lilkely cousins or  uncle and nephew.    We have already mentioned  the Burial shown around  this date (in Bradford Peverell itself)  of Nicholas Meggs  (12 Aug  1579) a few smonths after his wife Jane died that same year (in March) - oddly also  registered next door  in Charminster church. 

          The Bradford  (with Muckleford)  transcriptions  then show a John Churchill (seemingly the elder)  had married a Margaret Devenish, widow [in early 1580]; who     had presumably married  firstly a   Mr  Devenish  (?Robert) -  in the 1560s-70s  who appears  to have died  in the late 1570s [se also later].  However,  her latest  new husband John Churchill the elder - of Muckleford - soon died himself, being buried  there on  8th Aug  1580.   The younger John (with Elizabetn/Isobel?)  then had a son Roger  Churchill baptised  in Dec !581 (a name we know had been in the family),  while their  next son Edward  was so  in Oct 1582.   Meanwhile, the now Margaret Churchill, widow had  married again (for the third time)  to  Richard Crewe -  on Oct 21 1581    These transcription sadly then cease in late 1582.  Over a longer (10 or 20 year) period, (as during the 1550s-60s), say,  there may have been  several previous Churchill entries  associated with Muckleford, - in the original Bradford Peverell register.  But that  register per se is  apparently now lacking  (since 1900 or so ?)   and no comparable transcriptions of same seem to have been  made covering  earlier years. We are thus unable to pursue the  origins of this branch of the family further.  [We may again recall   that there were Churchills with many of these same forenames listed as sons and grandsons of the more senior Thomas Churchill during the 1550-70s  - prior to his death in in Rockbeare 1577.]

            But several similar Churchill entries were  also noted in other indexes as residing in  the nearby Compton parishes.   That same family  may have taken on  one or two small  leasehold or copyhold tenancies  there as well - in  what had briefly become Roger Churchills newly acquired manors (with Jane) ca 1540-45 (as, again,  with help from the Bartletts). 

          And, Secondly,  from the various Chancery litigations mentioned, we find, in addition,   such earlier cases as: John Churchill (likely the elder) and (1st?) wife Joan  vs  Sir John Mervyn, Knt  - regarding land in Muckleford - in  PRO records  REQ 2/15/1 (for 1547-53)  and  REQ 2/4/64  (for 1552-53) dates and subjects which prove particularly  relevant  to our own present  interests.    Moreover, the latter Proceeding entailed the man (Sir John Mervyn) who  had apparently  recently re-married Jane Peverells mother, also Jane,  earlier in the century (ca ?1525-30)); this  might help clarify  certain relationships.  Other Chancery records that could be relevant are those  for  Robert Grosse of Muckleford, Yeoman  vs Nicholas Megges and wife Jane  (nee Peverell, ex-Churchill) of Bradford Peverell also in 1553  (in C 3/120/3), C3/63/91),  (C78/22/33) and (C 78/23/14) -  all  regarding  Copyhold lands in Muckleford. and/or  Bradford Peverell shortly after   they had apparently  married that same year and Nicholas Megges had assumed Lordship.   Also in 1553 appears Nicholas Meggs and wife Jane vs Sir John Mervyn (21 April) - regarding those same manors (C 78/72/17).  There  were others that seem of comparable relevance. [We  had initially assumed that the Churchills involved in these Muckleford  matters were unrelated to Jane Peverells first husband Roger Churchill and their issue Mathew and Margaret Churchill unless  distantly.  (But, it should now be kept in mind that any such relationships  may well not be so distant.)

            Thus, one was rather unconvinced when reading the aforementioned  article  in   Notes and Queries  for Somerset and Dorset   in which Item 125 of Section 87  clearly informs  us  that….

        “ William Peverell of Bardolfston (this could be an ancient  manor in/nr Piddleton  - - to be further established)  in about 1516-18  married  Jane Baskerville, daughter of Phillip Baskerville of Sherborne,  Dorset (a little to, the north) .   She survived said William (who  apparently died ca 1525),  by whom  shed  had an only daughter and heir  Jane Peverell (ca 1520, say).   Jane the mother  then married, secondly, Sir John Mervyn of Fonthill Gifford (in Wilts), becoming his first wife.  Her daughter Jane Peverell  (presumably continued to be raised  by  her mother Jane (nee Baskerville, ex-Peverell, now Mervyn ) and step-father Sir John Mervyn possibly at Fonthill or at Sherborne ca 1520-36, say),  later married, firstly (says this Notes and Queries article),  Nicholas Megges of Downham (ie about 1542 or so) by whom she then had a  son Lawrence Megges about 1543, one might reasonably suggest.   Bradford Peverell was thus (subsequently) held by Nicholas (and his Megges descendants)  - until 1770  (ie for over 200 years!). 

         “Although Hutchins (in his History of Dorset)   says this daughter  Jane died in 1578, and that Nicholas Meggs died soon after -  in 1579, thus making her  pre-decease  her alleged first husband,  Hutchins (nevertheless) states  (in his separate account of the Dorset Churchills) that  ”Roger Churchill of Catherston  married Jane, daughter of William Peverell, and widow of Nicholas Meggs” - who would thus have pre-deceased her !  “This latter statement is (however) no doubt correct,” (says the Notes and Queries author)  “as we find in the Chancery Proceedings of the time of Queen Elizabeth that Joan Churchill, widow,  [considered here as equivalent to Jane seemingly] had a suit brought against her by Thomas Lye concerning damage to the lands, and Deeds of lands, held of the manor of Muckleford - that had been held by the Peverells of  neighbouring    Bradford Peverell.”  [Note: Muckleford was in n integral  part of the one Manor of Bradford Peverell and not a proper manor in its own right.]   

            The author  properly began  the sentence concerning Hutchins comment  with the conditional term :Although….  because it is manifestly inconsistent with his following remark as expressed when Hutchins discusses the Churchills that Roger had married the widow Meggs (since her husband Nicholas Meggs was still alive even  after Janes (and Rogers own deaths) such that, in fact, it was the widow Churchill who was married, secondly, to Meggs   The author nevertheless then comes down on the side of  that  former conclusion, inconsistent though it certainly is  with that  latter  fact.  This choice and decision (that it was however indeed “no doubt correct) was based solely on the inappropriate Chancery Preoceeding abstract therein cited.    We  may examine that litigation   more carelly to establish that it was indeed inappropriate:

           The Chancery Proceeding referred  to  turns out to be  C2 / Eliz / L3 / 34   Lye  vs Churchill   of  17 Nov 1558.  The abstract describes Thomas Lye, Plaintiff,  as Complaining against Johan Churchill, Widow,  Defendant, in regard to the earlier Conveyance of  a property in the manor of  Muckleford (effectively a hamlet and sub-manor within the main Manor of Bradford Peverell  - in the Dorset parish of same name) that single property there  now  held by Thomas Lye, the Plaintiff in fee  - as he had inherited it - from her (Johans) now deceased (prior to 1558)  late husband John Churchill”.  that is John and Johan/Joanenot Roger and Jane !

           We have seen above that a John and Johan Churchill were indeed amongst the several Churchill names in Muckleford noted (coincidentally and conveniently) in that transcription of the  Bradford Peverell church register, for entries  made over just  those 6  later years (1577-82).  While, it  is the case  that the forename Jane is sometimes transcribed in early west-country documents  as Jone, Joane or Johan(e) (and vice versa), in this case, the  lady concerned had definitely married a John Churchill not  a Roger (and in any  case, she was consistently referred to as  Joan/Johan,  never as  Jane).   The author concerned should thus have checked the relevant cited document itself (or at least its abstract as indexed)  to verify or not that  overly confidant  assumption regarding the identity of the lady (Joan/Johan/Jone) Churchill concerned.  She certainly was  not  Jane nee Peverell;  nor any Peverell.   Moreover, if Jane was a widow Churchill in 1558, when did she lose Nicholas (first) and only then marry Roger, allegedly, and have her various later  children - to then lose Roger as well all before the year that  Court case was heard ?!

           However, there is, happily, such a thing as serendipity and it seems to have come to  our rescue here.  For,  thanks to that Lye vs Churchill reference so provided,  we subsequently took more note of a Will reference held in our rough notes  for one  Thomas Lye - of Aylesbeare, Devon (which intriguingly neighbours the parish of Rockbeare !).  This Will  (PROB  11/149/290)  was dated 25 May 1558.  It could well refer to the aforementioned Thomas Lye (the slightly later Proceeding date possibly accounted for by any delay in the cases  hearing  in the  relevant Court)  or, equally, it could refer to Lyes late father, if  recently deceased,  when such legal matters may well have come to the fore  as a consequence.  But, in any case, it might well provide us with a clue as to just what branch of  the Churchills it was that settled in Mukleford about when Roger first arrived there as well (via Catherston?) from that very Devon district !

            How, therefore,  was Thomas Lye  related to  John Churchill of that small manor (and so inherited a fee of land there) and how, equally, might the latter  have related to our Roger ?  (There were also  references to a family called Lie settled  later in Muckleford quite possibly being of that same line differently spelt.)

            We can in any case now see Jane Peverell as, almost certainly, marrying firstly Roger Churchill  in about  1538-42, as estimated  -  and  Nicholas, only secondly - in  about 1553  -  over 10 years later  (and after  Rogers early death, about 1552).  And, significantly, she does not become a widow again, after this, before her own demise  just 5 months before that of  her  second husband, Nicholas Megges.   For, as noted, he died  later that same year -  being  buried on 12  August  1579 - at Bradford Peverell.  Jane  was  thus simply no longer  around to marry, secondly,  a Roger;  (nor indeed was Roger) !  Before considering how Rogers only son Mathew got on subsequently, we report next on what was happening   in Dorchester itself.



              We  now appreciate that John Churchill 1, the Draper, was  settled initially into an unknown property in Dorchester where, ca 1539-40, he married Edith,  daughter of one    William Bond   (shown to be of both Lutton -  in more south-easterly Steeple (Isle of Purbeck)  -  but somehow  also    of Herringston (nearer Dorchester).   As already noted,  John  left two sons William 2  and John 2, (in that order)  - with  a  daughter Elizabeth born between.  [Just where John 1s next, younger brother - William 1  (or Jnr)  - had settled  seems  uncertain; he  may well  have remained  at Muston or, now,  more likely at Pulston - with their father  (William Churchill Snr) if he did indeed settle in one such manor farm)  and  hadnt  died earlier.] 

             John 1 of Dorchester (bn ca 1520)  was understood to have trained as a Draper presumably in his late teens (1536-39)  - probably under the tutelage of said Ediths  father  or an older brother (Dennis Bond,  a Linen-Draper)   presumably arranged by Johns father  William  Snr (otherwise, by whom ?).   But this latter suggestion is never mentioned or intimated in any history or pedigree Im aware of.   [Indeed, an alternative descent has also been suggested which implies an  earlier  birth - nearer 1510-12  than the 1520 we nave concluded or as  we have also suggested, within another  branch of the Churchill family altogether settled earlier near Corton snd Wddone; [see later.] 

              Any early appearance of  Gentry or Esquire status for such a young man as John  Churchill as indicated   later  (with no paternal identity  apparent in  later published pedigrees) could well be explained by a purchase (by or for him) seemingly at  a good discount)  - of  an ex-religious property  in  Dorchester - possibly in conjunction with his in-laws ca 1542-48).  [We have later concluded that this may well have been with the assistance also of one of the Bartlett family.]   In any case, one would most reasonably conclude that this Johns apprenticeship and subsequent marriage to a Bond daughter must have been arranged through the oversite and contacts of his apparent  father William Churchill Snr - around  the years 1540-42.    How would this contact have come about ? Where did William reside at that time ?  Who did he know… and why ?  No  role for John Churchills sudden Gentry or even Esq status post-1550) is  ever  discussed in terms of   an apparent  father  William Churchill Snr of….wherever (or indeed of any other name).  How odd.

             We assume that John was soon employed  as a Draper himself - under the wing of the Bond family during these early 1540s and, only later, with the assistance of that family, as well as the   Chirchills,  and the Barrtletts,  acquired that seemingly reasonable  ex-Chantry  property  in which he and Edith were soon able to live comfortably in some improved style  (for a Draper).   Such a property seems to have become  available  by virtue of Henry VIIIs recent wholesale acquisition of all such  ex-religious properties about then  which were often  soon sold on - to  other local buyers generally at  competitive  prices).   But then John  died, seemingly quite young  in 1557 - and left a Will  dated that year in which he left that  property in Dorchester  to  his elder son William Churchill (II)   (then aged but 16 or so), and clearly of Dorchester also.

           William  would later marry a Miss Swayne, daughter  of  John Swayne  of  Blandford in about 1565  (arranged by his widowed mother and her Bond family presumably)  and have  issue (see  description of the 'Colliton pedigree')  being the next two sons of that Dorchester  branch of the Churchills (so named)  that Coxe said he did not  intend to  pursue further   in  any detail  -  it  not being directly germane to his primary goal - of focusing on Rogers line - leading to Marlborough.   To Williams  second son, John II, then only 11, John (I)   was somehow able to leave  another  house - seemingly in Charminster, just a mile north of Dorchester, formerly owned by one Mathew Wolfe/Wolffe, an Attorney useful to constitute a temporary 'holder'in such ogten complesx roperty sales     The small manor of Corton (nearer the south coast) must also have been somehow acquired  by John II about rhen - possibly as a  Leasehold from John I.  But how would the latter  man, himself have acquired it earlier  ?   At this point, we simply didnt know, but it seems to have been in the family from earlier times, and given to him by.....whom ??.

            [We will see later by his own Will that John (ii) somehow ended up owning (and/or able to leave) other properties as well - in Dorchester,  and at Tolepuddle and Athpuddle  near Muston,  and  in Corton itself,  including its Chapel .   How did a second son of a second son  (of a second son) (!) - end up  having so much property to leave - by a relatively young age (52) - at his death (in 1599)  ?   He and his only (and elder) brother William II of Dorchester seem both to have acquired property from a father who  was himself but  a second son, and  but a Draper  at that  - who had died even younger ? Did Cerne Abbey hold property in Tolpuddle, etc ? The Brtletts lived nearby.

            John II had no sons and so, as noted,  all that  unexplained property soon went out of the Churchill family on his elder daughters marriage  in 1593 to  Maximillian Mohun (of another local and ancient landed family).  As implied earlier, these  Churchills who strongly appeared to descend  from William Churchill of Rockbeare, seem to have  acquired  sufficient property, whether Copyhold,  Leasehold or Freehold - through in-laws such as the Tylles , the Creuses, the Peverells, the Bonds  and, in JohnIIs case, the Collis or Collins family his wife being a Mary 'Collis'. (of which surname one had never previously heard).  But, again, we must consider what help, if any, they may  also have received from the Bartlett, Martyn or  Tregonwell families (to be described later) then distributing ex-Monastery properties  to family and friends ad libitum in many Dorset localities (presumably with some kick-backs?) often via very temporary  brokers - provded a complex sequenceof brief 'owners' (for a fee).

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          We recall also  that in 1525, when John I was still a youngster, aged about 7)   there was already an  older John  Churchill  in Dorchester listed as a Bailiff there !  [Unless he  was somehow the same man but, of what line ?]  This would normally be  someone of  sufficient local standing who oversaw decisions by the  Court (as the payment of fines, etc).  One naturally wonders - what was his origin ?  Moreover, could he not be  the younger John (I)father especially as that  later John would himself  be elected  a Bailiff in his time. Why  wouldnt a neutral researcher not take that as the  most likely explanation ?    After all, the pedigree for the Dorchester Churchills  (see elsewhere) oddly shows no other origin for them with John 1 simply appearing as though a  ready-made young gentleman of leisure - with no apparent need of a father,  an origin or an income.  Or, even more radical, could he not be the same one John Churchill, an early Baailiff,  born around 1500  - elsewhere but, to whom ?  

          In any case, by about 1545-50   the John Churchill of Dorchester   must otherwise have done quite well  - to acso quire that  ex-Chantry property in Dorchester  and soon buy some other rent-producing houses there.  Had he previously received some financial support as from his seeming father William Snr  (bn ca 1496)   who, as weve suggested,  may  have  arranged his apprenticeship and marriage  as well (possibly with  the Bond family). But this might have  shown descent from who was then a mere Copyholder/ Yeoman possibly not so desirable on an Armorial  pedigree of Gents and Esquires pointedly soon produced  by the Dorchester family later  - as the impressive Colliton  pedigree - for  the Dorchester Churchills (see later) descended from… no described line.  [Or, had the Bartletts helped out ?]

             [We may again remind ourselves that these two later-born younger brothers John (2)  and William (2)   (born in the 1540s)  were not the two younger sons of William Snr who was (possibly)  still a Yeoman  as of Puliston or Muston, say,  with an older  1st son Roger (as Coxe describes him) but in fact were indeed the two sons of William Snrs younger second son  John Churchill (1), Draper of Dorchester (c1518*-1557) - namely William 2 and John 2, respectively, in that order.  [* Unless John I  was born as early as ca 1500, say, near Corton !]

            We might, however, usefully note here also  what name John 1 give to his first son ?  And why ?  It was, of course,  William.  We may ask after whom would he most reasonably have been so named ?   In most such cases, that name choice for a first born son does indeed  honour that of the new fathers own father (not his father-in-law).  He was, fittingly, as we have strongly implied, most likely  named after William Churchill Snr (bn ca 1496) - originally of the Rockbeare family and later (apparently) of Pulston or Muston. But this seems  never to be mentioned in typical accounts of the Dorchester branch of the family (nor indeed does  the concept branch itself appear to see the light of day there).  And, if someone of same was later to buy a manor, why Muston ?   Whoever did, should have gained the manor records.  Can we inspect these please to see the name of the Copyholders  ca 1530-50 presumably recorded there repeatedly -  over many years. ?  [If it wasnt a Churchill,  it was likely members of the Lowman family.]

            We may similarly re-cast Coxes account of those two second generation brothers -   seen now more properly as sons of John (1) Snr (the Draper).   Thus, he might have  more accurately written instead: because they (John and William) are not our prime consideration, we shall only observe that the first of these two sons of John 1  by Edith  - was William 2  who,  on his fathers early death in 1557,  obtained  their  Dorchester property (possibly gained in part from the Bonds when John  married Edith), as well as anything received from his own father William Snr);  otherwise, these overseers of John may have had friends of influence when ex-Monestery properties were being distributed.   John 1s second son - John 2  - would seemingly obtain his small manor at Corton (likely inherited earlier by his father John 1 but, from whom ? 

           [ I later noted in the actual register copy, the baptism  of  John 2s  (1st) daughter  Anne  - in Corton  (in Portisham parish) in June 1576 shown indeed born  to a John Churchill  there (whose wifes name  is oddly not shown).  This John - of Corton  - would  be our John 2 -  born  around  1547, to John 1 and Edith   and who  presumably married  in about 1575.  [Yes he seems to have married a Mary Collis or Collins,  in 1575 possibly in Lytchett Minster (near Purbeck) ?  There appears to have been no landed family of that or similarly spelt surname locally although I have spotted the very rare comparable name Collys.

            As noted, John Churchill (2) and  this latter wife  had two daughters only, but no son.  The elder daughter  Anne, as noticed,  married Maximillian Mohun  (1593) when she was but 17, who thereby acquired Corton (and other properties) from the Churchills.  The  younger daughter Elizabeth (b ca 1580)  married Brian Williams, Esq (ca 1598)   oddly, another landed family from Herringston and Dorchester) although no Churchill property appears to have been  conveyed to him thereby (as in Dorchester, say).  Johns wife Mary died young in 1583   and John  in about 1599 leaving a Will.  But its validity seems  to have been an issue initially, as it was accompanied by a  legal  evaluation or judgement called a Sentence - published  by a Doctor of Laws in London (one John Gibson), in Latin  - apparently to establish its bone fides.   It  refers to the  Testator of concern John Churchill,  Deceased  on several occasions, as well as to his two daughters - Anne Mohun (alias Churchill) the elder, and Elizabeth Williams (alias  Churchill),  and to John;s older brother William Churchill (2), as well; also mentioned were  about 6 or7 seeming local witnesses who presumably knew John Churchill and  could verify the extent of his apparent estate.  [We later discovered the  actual Will itself - now described further below and, thankfully, in English.]

            An initial  scrutiny of  the Sentence document   revealed  no named properties.  [One had hoped that a house in Charminster, apparently left to John 2 by his father  in 1557 (and so under his (John 2s) adult control by ca 1567, say). might have been mentioned in relation to its possible tenants  Jane (nee Peverell; ex-Churchill)  and/or  her first son Mathew Churchill who had previously  resided next door in Bradford Peverell.   Was it sold  earlier (in the 1570/80s) or taken in by one of his sons-in-laws by ca 1600 - amongst those various other  properties ?]   This matter  of  this  Charminster property and its possible significance is discussed further  about 8 pages hence (along with the previously missing Will.]

            I can see no reference by Coxe  to any comparable outcomes for John 1s assumed younger brother William 1 whom we have described above as William Jnr) (nor others even younger, including Richard, Alexander, or Rowland  (clearly referred to by John 1 in his Will as   “my brother”).    That is, whom he (William Jnr) married, if he lived,  and what if any property he may have held to  pass on to any issue or relatives. As mentioned, he  likely remained at Muston or  Pulston manor (or similar) and may have taken over a Copyhold   on his father William Snrs  death alleged to be as late as  1583.  But, if his father   had actually died rather earlier, it may well have been this younger son William Jnr (b ca 1524, say) who died in that later year having  continued  as Copyholder and effective Yeoman of the  Pulston manor, say  responsible for producing the accounts for the actual  Landlord (as ex-Cerne Abbey?).   A  later  Churchill  of  Dorchester (one John (3) William 2s first son would   finally have the funds  to complete purchase of the Muston Freehold at least from a Nathaniel  Bartlett - ca 1609-12).  [To whom was Nathaniel  born ?]

            To what extent  any other member of the Churchill family  (as of Rogers line) may have had any interest or right  in regard to Pulston or Muston is unknown.  One would like to know the motivation of any later Dorchester Churchill who chose to purchase  the Freehold of that particular (Muston) Manor -  rather than that of any other (of hundreds   locally).  Surely, there had been  some  prior family connection and reason ? . This same reasoning might  apply also to the purchase of the associated land at Nouvard earlier (1586); for if he wasnt William Snrs 3rd son William Jnr  but, rather, was John 1s first son William 2  (bn ca 1541) of the Dorchester family (and thus father of the John Churchill 3  who finally bought the estate about 1612);  in any case, the same question arises;  what brought their  interest to this particular area and manor -,possibly run previously by an apparently Yeomen level Churchill father whose status  in its manor records some may prefer  remained  unidentified.   We will see below that there was  a Copyholder family named Lowman who had equal interests and history in such as PIddlehinton and M uston manors (but seemingly not Pulston).  We must accept that our William  Churchill Snrs position during the 1540s-60s  may remain a mystery.

              We see that  Coxe  had also read (or  translated) John 2s Will of ca 1600 - before 1818 - referring to the same few named parties as we have mentioned above, although he did discern also a reference on just one occasion to  a John Churchill who was not specified with the usual  description Deceased;  did  this refer to   John 2s nephew, (born ca 1568, say) son of the older brother William 2, although in what context is not revealed.   That latter William  of Dorchester ,had  long written his own Will in 1559  (two years only after the death and Will of  his own father John 1)  but oddly it was not proved  (by this Williams son John 3 (1568-1621) - as sole heir and Executor)  - until 1602,  just a year or two  after that for John 2.   If and when read, that Will may reveal more on  William 2s position in the  existing structure of the  Dorchester family.  [Note: We have also referred to William 1  here as William Jnr - son of William Snr (who has not been so numbered; if he was, he would have to have been  described possibly as William 0 (zero) !

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           Both Roger and his brother John  thus had their respective  issue  - presumably  in their two nearly neighbouring parishes Bradford Peverell and Dorchester  - in the 1540s.  But we have no objective evidence where  such issue was  in fact  born and baptised  - for while all baptisms, marriages and burials were  expected by law to be more formally church registered from the  year 1538,  not all early registers survive.  Roger and Jane are said to have had a son  Mathew and a daughter Margaret quite possibly in Bradford Peverell - in about 1545  and 1550, respectively (as  weve estimated),  before Roger soon died  quite young around 1552,  oddly also aged about 38 , as was  his  (apparently younger) brother John - at his equally early death  in 1557 just down the lane  in Dorchester.  Their  mutual father was quite possibly  then still living, as well as any  younger brothers Richard, Alexander or Rowland Churchill somewhere.

              We have recently discovered the fulsome pedigree for the Dorchester  Churchills - as  posted on the Internet  (ca Dec 2017)  -  complied by the official Dorchester Parish Archivist    Michael Russell.   It  is very thorough and well set out with most relevant Wills fully detailed.  One says fulsome but this must be  qualified in that  it  appears  restricted to that branch of the family settled  essentially in Dorchester  - shown as  emanating  from the above  John Churchill. It  thus covers the period  from about  1540 or so  - eventually to well into the 19th century.  As I am compiling my own version of  the  family  emanating from whom I have concluded was  Johns  elder brother Roger Churchill,  I can gratefully revise (or have already) some  of  my  coverage - which also touched  on  Johns line which  may now require further  adjustment.  Where relevant, there will be acknowledgement of new information by  insertion of  initials (MR).]   Our  later account of the Bartlett family may also require similar consideration  of  initial understandings. in regard to  both these Churchill lines - in light of any new information.  

             While  appreciating  that  the  Dorchester authors remit must focus on families of Dorchester per se first, the qualification suggested follows immediately with  his opening sentence:   “Passing over the earlier descents,  we come to the following line of descent ’’…  (ie for this Dorchester branch of the Churchill family that began with John, the Draper) ... namely that descending from   John Churchill of Dorchester, (now an)  Esq - ca 1512 -1557)  - and the following several  generations of that town   and,  later on,  of  Muston” (a small  manor in Piddlehinton  parish), a little  to the north-east.    It  is first  explained that  this,  the Colliton  pedigree,  is based on a wide range of sources, many of which will be  listed in Notes at the end.   It is also pointed out  that  there were many temporary inhabitants (of Dorchester) with the surname Churchill not directly associated with the settled family in Dorchester (on which he will focus)  but whose  records  have been  cross-referenced     to aid research into their origin as well.   He  has not  however (he notes) attempted research himself into same -  much beyond  their time here.   [This sounds similar to those uncertain Churchills  of Muckleford  and  of East Compton and Lt Bredy, Dorset  - enquiries regarding their  origins we too will presently  leave in abeyance.]

            But, in the case of any data  (of such earlier descents)  pertaining  to the above John Churchills origins, we find that this too has, for some reason, been  totally passed over and  not further addressed whatsoever  -  even en passant.   It  is thus oddly identical to the start of  the Colliton pedigree (of Dorchester Churchills) itself - apparently produce  by  a later member of that  family  (by ca 1600-50   or so, as roughly estimated).  Still, it serves our purpose of providing useful insight into  the  Churchill line that we take to have  descended  in parallel  with that  branch from  Roger and Jane  - at least over the earlier period - from about 1540 to  1600+.  After that, both lines continue to impress with their varied achievements, if relatively independently.  Good marriages would seem to beessential.

             The presently produced Dorchester pedigree thus again commences rather in mid-air without showing anything whatsoever regarding where this initial John Churchill (d.  1557), the Draper,  may  have come from, nor how he came to be in Dorchester almost as a ready-made property-owning young married  Draper,  soon  elected a Bailiff from ca 1540 other than being given  a rather early estimated year of birth - of 1512 at somewhere unknown, to someone unknown,  of unknown  previous standing or education or traininng.   In particular, he is shown as having no siblings, no father  and no explanation of how or by whom his apprenticeship, or marriage, may have been  arranged seemingly with the local Bond family.   Within a few years, he has somehow managed to purchase  an ex-Chantry property  - by the mid to late  1540  (and thereby presumably acquire Gent  status, at least,    and develop  a  residential  home on it significant enough to be given its own name of Colliton House.   Unless he was the sole Draper in town, one suspects that, with three children to raise, he must have had some financial help in purchasing such a  property, when still comparatively young.  Who (and where) was  his father,   and any older siblings, for example. ?

            [Note: we have of course more recently learnt of  an apparent friend of the Churchills (of all beanches)  John Bartlett -  who  appears to have had considerable  influence in the  provision of under-valued ex-religious properties  that  became conveniently available to friends and family after  the Dissolution of the Monasteries ie during the 1540s a key decade in our story.  Young men in their 20s a generation before (or after|) didnt have this over-looked advantage.  WEhy so many of different families appearing in the Bredys around that time only ? Odd that it was one of Cerne Abbeys outliers. ]  

          John Churchill  of the Dorchester branch  of that family seems to have died quite young* - in 1557,  leaving a widow Edith and   three young children    aged about   16, 13 and 9, say.  Hopefully, her parents (or in-laws) were still alive but, in any case,  she  is said to have soon re-married.  Who would have arranged this and  how quickly ?  What would be Johns elder son (William)s source of income -  to allow him to assume the  role of the next  (and  only adult member) of the  local Dorchester  family ?  Maybe John 1s Will can provide some clues  about the situation then.  As noted, this has now been examined. [* But see below re an even   earlier possible Churchill birth than assumed to this point.]

              By his Will,   John Churchill)   left  a  relatively significant sum of £200 to his younger son  John Jnr (our John 2) when 21 (ie about 7 years  hence - 1564), as well as a  house  formerly  owned  by  one  Mathew Wolffe  seemingly in the country,  as it included  land and a  meadow.  [According to MR,  it was apparently  located in or near Little Barton, a hamlet  in the south end of the parish of Charminster  (just  2  miles north-west  of Dorchester). This we found  rather interesting  in that the  burial  of  John Snrs  apparent sister-in-law Jane Megges  (ex-Churchill; nee Peverell)  was  registered in the church  of  that same village which, oddly, wasnt  then her own home  village  (of Bradford Peverell)  next door.   When  coupled with our earlier view that she and son Mathew  Churchill may well have  resided in Charminster by the 1570s, say -  if, that is,  she  had  separated from her second husband of   Bradford Peverell, this Churchill-owned house becomes of further interest.  Where might Jane and Mathew have lived - around   the 1570s, say possibly with Matthews  wife Alice and any issue (as Jasper Churchill) ?

             In contrast,  and intriguingly, this second husband (Nicholas Megges) was  himself appropriately buried  in the church of Bradford  Peverell   just a few months later (with more certainty).    It is interesting  too  that  the aforementioned John Jnr  would eventually settle in Corton  -  after marrying - around  1575, say -  just  when Mathew Wolffes  house  may have become  conveniently available - for such as Jane and Mathew Churchill.  The latter  man was  of course a first cousin of that younger  John Churchill. 2.   Sadly, no  PCC  (or Dorset) Will seems to be  listed for a Mathew Wolffe (nor for a Mathew Churchill) of  this relevant period.

             Did  brothers  Roger and John  Churchill Snr both know Mathew Wolffe before  their  respective sons  were born ?  (I can see no earlier Matthew Churchills in the recent family background).   

          In his Will, John  Snr  left  his  unmarried daughter Elizabeth  £41 and split the remainder  of his  estate between his  elder son  William 2  and  his own widow Edith.  It seems odd that there was no reference at all to anything pertaining to his apparent Drapery business.  One noted that one of his Overseers was a Richard Churchill whom we  take  to be a younger brother (but  without evidence).    [MR appropriately describes Johns elder son William (b ca 1541, say) as of Dorchester  and younger son John (b  ca 1547) as being  of Corton  (ie later, in the 1570s)  and thus doesnt perpetuate any of the  confusion  regarding the abodes of these two particular Churchill brothers - as  often described  elsewhere.]   Whether  the latter property  was  transferred to John 2 (Jnr)   only when turning 21 (about 1565), and  then  held  Leasehold,  say, possibly only  after marrying  (ca 1574), is uncertain;  his elder daughter  Anne   was  baptised  in Corton  in June 1576  (who later married Maximillian Moone / Mohun there - on 4 Oct 1593, when she would be just 17).   Was Cortons   Leasehold)  held by John Snr  beforehand ?   But how  obtained ?  From his father  ?  But, who and where was he ?

        [NB  We have since discovered by means of the Dorchester Municipal Records that a  much earlier Churchill (another John) made reference to his manor of Waddon (adjoining Corton)  by the year 1460 !?  This injects into our analysis of the Churchill familys earlier movements and distribution a quite new orientation.  The implication would seem to be that the Churchill family held these neighbouring southerly manors by some much   earlier grant by some major land owner quite possibly as a long term Leasehold. We shall follow up this idea by noting any other intervening Churchill presence in this  area just south of  Dorchester   ca 1500-1530s, say.]

               We recall from  Coxe  that Corton  later went in marriage with said Anne Churcuill to the Mohun family - ca 1593.  Her father John Jnr  died about  1600,  and asked to be  buried in Corton church  [MR].  He seems to have married a Mary Collis/Collins - in 1575   - in Lytchett Minster (nr Purbeck).  Were  the Collis/Collins landed ?  Little seems known of them.  [Did  MR gives Johns wife as - a Mohun, however ?]

               [At this point in our survey, we have just come across, on the Internet,  a copy of the  Will for this latter John Churchill (ca1545-1600)  kindly transcribed by one Helen Ford  (of   WikiTree).  [Why there was also that  earlier  Sentence pertaining to  this same  individuals Will  (if less detailed and in Latin)  is not known;  there must have been some initial difficulty in validating  the Will proper.]  In any case, the main points of the actual Will  are gratefully reproduced here (paraphrased):

        Name of Testator:  John Churchill - of Corton, Portisham, Dorset, Gent                      Catalogue No.  PROB 11/95/155           Signed 1 Oct 1599     

      My body to be buried in the church at Portesham near to my wife  (unnamed)    To the Poor of Dorchester, and to the Poor of Bridport, I leave £80;  to the Poor of Abbotsbury £20;  to the Poor of  Portesham £10;  To the Poor of Fleete £10. all such bequests to be overseen by my Executrix, with  advice of learned counsel.  [Note:  see Memorandum at end where this remarkable total of £200 for the Poor (an atypically large amount)  is subsequently rescinded.]    I give to  my sister (Elizabeth) Smith  £20 as a remembrance.  I give to (…?…s) son (unnamed) - now living with my brother at Dorchester -  £20  [Could this have been Mathews son Jasper?};  to my brother William and to his son John, I give  each a Mourning Cloake. I bequeath to my younger daughter Elizabeth Williams all my houses in Dorchester (!?) and the lands belonging thereto (in Dorchester and Fordington Fields)  to have and to hold  by said Elizabeth and the heirs of her body. Otherwise, (failing same) to my elder daughter Anne Moone (Mohun) and heirs,  or to my own right heirs forever.  Said Elizabeth also to get all the Implements in my  houses in Dorchester  - and she to have use of the Leases, on Tolepiddle and Athepiddle, (ex Martyn,Tregonwell or Bartlett…?]  and the  tythes   and  profits  belonging thereto.”

         “ To my elder daughter Anne Moone, I give all my part of the  Lease on the Farm at Corton and to her also the use of  the Free Chapel at Corton  [which John must have had the use of himself -,ie by virtue of also holding the Lease  thereof]  and to her heirs, otherwise to my younger daughter Elizabeth Williams and heirs, otherwise [that use] to my own right heirs, forever.  I give all my other chattels, plate, etc at Corton to be divided equally between my two daughters Anne Moone and Elizabeth Williams  To my servant and to my shepherd -  £5 and 40 shillings, respectively.  All other my chattels not given above to go to my elder daughter Anne Moone - whom I will and ordain to be my sole Executrix .  And  I appoint my friend George Watkins, Gent and my cousin Mr Wm Bonde  [son of……….Bonde]  to be   Overseers of this my Will signed in the presence of witnesses:  George Watkins, John Moone  and Edward Shaw - 1 Oct 1599.”

             This Will  was apparently  first drafted earlier  in the year 1599  and  subsequently brought by John Churchill, the testator,  to the house of his friend Mr George Watkins, in Boxenton  -  where a William Napper  (possibly a Notary Public) was also present; the latter  being  informed by the testator that this document was  to be his last  Will and  Testament and  that he  wanted it to  be issued and published, with witnesses (which would include Napper).  This was  duly effected   on   8 April 1599  and Wm Napper subsequently drafted and signed a  Memorandum  confirming such  (as Willimo Napper de Prinknoll)  [seen elsewhere with a Devenish relevance ]- on 4 Nov 1599 along with a seeming colleague Henry Poundes.  The Memorandum must then have been attached to the Will and  so was also transcribed - with it as described here.

              In addition, there was  effectively a Codicil  attached and transcribed as  well which  states (paraphrased) that   “Whereas I, John Churchill, Gent  have by this my last Will (as within written) declared that certain sums of money - amounting to £200. in total  - were to be employed for the relief of  Poor artificers in various Dorset towns and villages  therein named, do hereby declare that as I have in my lifetime already delivered the said  monies to same,  my intention now is that they shall not have more such benefits   and that the residue of my Will [including now such monies]  shall in all other respects remain exactly as written.”  This was signed by  John Churchill and witnessed by Morgan Moone, Edward Shaw, and George Watkins.  No date is given but we may assume that it too was written and signed on or about 4 Nov 1599  (ie after that signed as above - on 1 Oct 1599.    The Will was  proved   12 March 1599/1600.   This John Churchill (2) likely died about February 1599/1600, sayand was presumably buried in Portisham church as requested.   [Who paid Subsidy taxes at Portisham/Corton (as owner of that latter Manor) over the centuries, one wonders ?  Ditto with respect to Waddon next door.]

            Sadly, there was no reference in  the Will to the former Mathew Wolfe property in Charminster - as left to this then rather young John  by his father John in1557   where, we have reasoned,  Jane and Mathew might reasonably have  resided  in the 1560s-70s  -  although this  now seems less likely.  In any case, what happened to  it ?  [Note: By the above Municipal records, it became obvious that Mathew Wolfe was a local Attorney (and Merchant) who dealt with several recorded house sales in Dorchester in the 1550s.]  Finally, one must consider just how this younger John Churchill acquired his several (!) houses (plural) in Dorchester. A great many rather reasonably priced properties in Dorset had suddenly become available to friends and relatives through the agency of the Bartlett family (working with Tregonwell) after the Dissolution of the Monestries in the 1540s-50s, often having undergone a rapid succession of ownership  transfers through apparent helpful agents or brokers, thus obscuring their origins.  We can say no more. 

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            Corton  manor,  small though it  may have been,  had apparently been in  possession of the Churchill family for many years  - possibly since John de Courcelle or even earlier !  Who possessed such Freehold ownership  or tax documents by ca 1500-1550s  ?   Was it subsequently held Freehold or only by Leasehold ?  Possibly the other properties referred to in the foregoing Will (as Tolepuddle and Althepuddle)   were originally also part of such an extended early Corton manor ?  [However, t latter were located suspiciously near where John Bartlett then  rlived.]    Who held the implied other part of the Corton  Lease?  Thus, John would appear not to be  the Freeholder but only a (partial) Leaseholder  - such that some Trust or other family branch may have held the  actual Freehold  in perpetuity?  Consistent with this is the fact that in his Will, John was described as of Corton, Gent  -  not Esq.  He must have held  only Leases or Copyholds  in any property.  [Note: All Dorchester properties, at least, were apparently only held as Burages   of the Crown.  Such ciyzens were not Esqs therefore, but only Gents.  But that shouldnt apply to Corton.]

             [Note: a new possibility has recently arisen in this regard when it was noticed  that  one of the powerful Courtenay family (Earls of Devon) with Freehold possession of much property there - also held some in Dorset, including Portisham (I believe), much of  it having been granted to them directly from the King when the first  Courtenay appeaed on the scene s( oddly, not from Normandy in 1066, but apparently from Poitot  wo or three generations later !?) quite atypically;  was some kind of necessary Royal financial transaction behind all this ?   They were settled  initially at Okehampton Castle in Devon and later at Tiverton Castle  (previously held (as I understand) by the FitzRalphs ca 1100+).  They rather quickly became the chief property owners throughout  Devon and soon became and remained the Earls of Devon over many subsequent generations. They held sway !]

            We also noted (earlier) that  the first Churchill listed as a Bailiff  for Dorchester  was a John Churchill  - but in a surprisingly early 1525 and would thus have been born  about 1495-1500, say,   Where ?  And  to  whom ?   [Possibly to the John Churchell of Waddon nr Corton his grandfather, incredibly,  having been  there from ca 1360s-1400.]  He is not described as related to the later  John Churchill (d 1557) which seems odd;  for he too would become  a Bailiff.   It wasnt that common a surname then and, as both had been Bailiffs,  both would necessarily be of  a  comparable social standing locally.  In any case, the first Dorset Churchills may not, after all, have been those descended from the father (William)  of Roger and  his assumed younger brothers William Jnr and seemingly now, John Churchill said farther William Snr having arrived from the west (with them), as we have understood.   And now, with the more recent discovery of a John Churchill residing in Waddon in Portisham (next to Corton) much earlier,  we extend this other Churchill source even further back in history.  How are they linked ?  It seems not impossible that the western branch of the family later spreading east from  Somerset/Devon into Dorset ca 1520s-30s (in the form of William Snr and family), did so because of this pre-existing south-eastern branch -  at Corton/Waddon  and ?later Dorchester  (see below) - possibly with some common denominator as the Courtenay Overlords (or their successors) who may have held Freehold properties at both Broadclyst/Rockbeare, Devon in the west  and  in  Portisham and Waddon (and Tolpuddle ?), Dorset more to the east !?  [There were earlier John Churchills amongst the western family, in the early 1300s, I believe.]

            The  elder son and heir  of  John Churchill Snr (d. 1557) William (b ca 1541) -  and his two younger siblings, would  presumably have continued growing up in the  Dorchester property of Colliton House under the guidance of their mother Edith (and any new partner).  By about 1559, William would  have finished his secondary education  and/or any training within the  family  Drapery/Clothing/Tailoring business. His brother and sister would still be in school.

          We might at this point   consider for a moment that there was in fact no Churchill family  then  resident in Dorchester - about which one might later confidently  generalise as a growing, accepted  influence in Dorchester.  There was but a teenage boy and two younger chidren living there, with their re-married mother.   That teenager (or possibly his eventual elder son) would however be later interviewed by the visiting official from the College of Arms in london at their next Visitation of Dorset - and be duly informed regarding a newly constructed pedigree of his wn family - commencing as the  Colliton Pedigree  - for a Churchill line for which no origin is described or suggested.     That visiting official then appears to have sought out no other possible (non-Dorchester) members (or informants) of  that Dorset family.    

          As they grew, the children (or their newly re-arried mother (?) seem a to have  had  a little rental income from  a few  smaller  properties their ex-Draper father had somewow acquired  in Dorchester.   William married in about 1567 (a decade after his fathers death)) to a daughter of  John Swayne of Blandford  (near Sherborne) .  They would have  4 daughters after an only son John (b ca 1568) who effectively thereby kept  the Churchill  line going in Dorchester from the age of 17 (when William also died) ie  effrctively by the skin of  their teeth,  it would seem. [We might suggest that the relatively late marriages of  both of John Snrs two sons (William and John, who only married yet another decade later) could imply that  neither were born as early as  sometimes suggested.]

           At about that date, son William had  himself been elected a  Bailiff  of Dorchester  where we assume the Clothing business continued.    Indeed,  his only son John (b ca 1568) was  also described  later as a Draper or  Clothier himself and,  it is again interesting that in his Will, William too had styled himself as being   of Dorchester, Gent,  (not Esq).   Possibly he had divested himself of his major property by transferring it previously to this son and heir John, leaving him otherwise only  the remainder of his goods, chattels etc  - after small bequests to his daughters and their children.  Oddly, the Will was not  proved until 1602.

             We come next  to  this only son of William 2 -  John Churchill (bn ca 1567/8 -  the   seeming  heir of the  main Dorchester estate.  He would  be styled  of Dorchester, Clothier  and later as of Stinsford (a suburb of Dorchester),  Gent but, ultimately, he (and male heirs)  would finally become  of Muston, Esq from 1612  (that latter property, at least, finally being held as a Freehold (after a large number of brief ownerships and their transfers).   We note   too  that all the Dorchester properties conveyed over the years appear to have been held  ultimately by the Municipality as Burages   of the Crown and so awlays only Leased to successive holders of same who thus remained or became such as  of Dorchester, Gent -  if not having  a given  occupation rather than Esq)    After  secondary  education in Dorchester  presumably (ca 1580-85), and some time learning to be a Clothier, this John Churchill nevertheless entered Oxford University in 1587  and  Middle Temple in London in 1589.  Aspirations were afoot (with financial backing). 

              It was at about this time (1586) that his father William Churchill (apparently)   purchased the land at Nouvard field,  next to Muston.   [We may recall that his cousin Jasper of the parallel senior Churchill line in Bradford Peverell (just north of  Dorchester)  and also  born about 1568,  and  of  the  same generation as  this John,  did not himself  proceed to any  form of higher education (or to the purchasing of property that brought the crucial Esq status and thus future marriage security - when discussing arramgements with a potential father-n-law) but at least did subsequently become a trained Tailor around this same time (ca 1584-86) quite possibly in association  with tthis cousin in Dorchester.  Whether the Dorchester John  ever practised as a Lawyer (rather than be employed primarily  as a Clothier, and land-owner eventually), is not mentioned.  Once home, he would marry Eleanor Meller, daughter of John Meller of  Little Bredy, Esq (just south west of Dorchester)  around 1597 and with her have a very large family indeed - over the next two decades.  [We shall find that some earlier Churchills had already resided in Lt  Bredy from around 1542  - when Johns father William was just a year old in Dorchester !  Who were they one wonders and did they have  some family connection therefore ? [Did the Mellers and the Churchills both do  well in Lt Bredy (and Dorchester) - via the Martyns and Bartletts ?]  

         [Note:  We have made reference above  to Jasper Churchill being described in 1606 as a Tailor (when still residing at Bradford Peverell, Dorset) and, as the above  John Churchill of Dorchester (b ca  1568) was described as a Clothier, we could easily imagine Jasper having  trained as a Tailor under this cousins (and the latters fathers) tutelage and protective wing (ca 1582+)  and subsequently being  influenced by this cousins admired  higher education so becoming ambitious for his  own  eventual sons in that regard.  The affects apparently went both ways: John would name two of his sons, otherwise inexplicably,   Mathew and Jasper (!)  while cousin Jasper named his  first son John, and only second one Jasper Jnr).

            By 1609-12,  John 2, then past 40,  was finally in a position to complete  purchase of the small manor at Muston in Piddlehinton.  The account of the Colliton Churchills of Dorchester makes no reference as to why the Freehold of that particular rural property (or that of neighbouring Nouvard Fields,  considerably  earlier), was ever purchased by members of their (Dorchester)  Churchill  family.  Why seek to purchase  that  manor and those fields ?   [1586  to 1612 was 26 years a  very long time over which to apparently stretch the purchase of anything as well asbeing a rather long time after the Bartletts could presumably influence the purchase price,  or availability,  of any such ex-religious freehold  propertyin Dorset(as ex- Cerne Abbey) - as they appeared to haveoften done 60 years before (in the  1540s-50s).]  It may  be noted that John Churchill, Clothier (and  only latterly of Muston Esq), died quite young in 1621 intestate leaving wife Eleanor and several children with very little money but at least the senior line of their male desecedents  would   now have the important appellation  Esq !  Those successive eldest sons would  later  appear to have married surprisingly well… and thrive as a result, as would those of the Megges following timely marriages..



             We pause a little here   to consider that last point and to  cover  a relevant  aspect of our story before continuing further with the seior descent - from Roger Churchill being  the other branch of the family.   We may  usefully recall firstly the period around the 1550s-60s when Jane (nee Peverell) had just lost her first husband Roger Churchill (ca 1552) and was thus  left  in  Bradford Peverell with her two very young children - Mathew and Margaret. As previously noted, a  second marriage was quickly  arranged for her - with one  Nicholas Megges  - by whom she very soon had her last child  - a son, Lawrence Megges, in about 1553 (but no other subsequently).   Meanwhile, according to an excellent overview of the above-named Connection -  by Michael Russell  (who  usefully posted  coverage also of  the Colliton Churchills of Dorchester)  - concerning a Thomas Devenish (born about 1530) who had somehow also acquired a little (Copyhold)  land  -  in Bradford Peverell - ca  1555  - when aged  25.   He had   settled there with his wife  (name unknown) whilst studying for the priesthood.   Their children,  born there between 1556 and  1564  or so,  were  Robert,  Agnes,  William and  Lawrence  Devenish.  Thomas  was ordained  a priest  in  1561 - at Salisbury, Wiltshire and, conveniently,  then  became Curate at his neighbouring parish of Charminster - by 1567.   Janes two  Churchill children, Mathew and Margaret, were now aged about 21 and 17, respectively,  also still residing in Bradford, and would soon  marry: Mathew in about 1567  in Dorchester to  Alice  Gould (as noted earlier) ,  and Margaret in 1575  in Sherborne (further north) to a Bartholomew Olde,  where they settled and had issue.     

           Rev Thomas Devenishs eldest son, Robert Devenish (b. 1556), still of Bradford Peverell (its western end) , would also soon marry locally  - in 1573 to  an  Eleanor Churchill (of that same district, near Muckleford).  Her origins are uncertain but there were two or three Churchill families (of Yeomen status),  as previously noted,  residing then  in that western  (Muckleford)  end of Bradford Peverell about 2  miles distance from the main Manor house.  A later  Elinor Churchill was baptised there in  about 1580, I believe.    The Muckleford Churchills  didnt appear initially to be close relatives to  Roger Churchill - who weve assumed  came  to Bradford  somewhat  independently and earlier , in about 1538-42 -  to marry Jane Peverell,  heiress of that Manor.   This  would entail acquiring  Freehold  lands  in various areas nearby- to be let out under Copyhold regulations to tenant Yeomen possibly Churchill relations from Devon?).  [As noted earlier, two of the families of Copyholders there  (the Lyes and some Churchills) seem both to have come from the  Rockbeare and Aylesbeare area of Devon - after Roger - and thus they may well have been relations given such tenancies by him around 1540-44 or so.]   So, these seeming  relations may have been closer in blood than we initially appreciated.

              In any case,  Robert and Eleanor  Devenish had their first born, a Benjamin Devenish,  in 1574 - probably  in Muckleford.   It  is quite possible they subsequently had further issue  together - but  in Dorchester  -  to where they  had apparently soon moved, after 1575, but any church records of same were  likely destroyed in a known later Dorchester fire  (ca 1612/13).    We know the foregoing and much of what followed  thanks to the article by  Michael Russell entitled  Benjamin Devenish, Tailor and Master  (of a Dorchester Brewhouse) 1574-1643.   What occupation  his father  Robert  Devenish  may have pursued in  town  seems  unknown;  he may have returned daily to work in Muckleford -  where his three younger siblings appear to have  remained.  Agnes (thought born about 1560)  married  a John Lawrence ca 1582,   while  William Devenish (bn ca 1558)  married Mary Yeate  in May 1579.  Interestingly,  the latter couple  were described as Servants to Nicholas Megges, Esq  (recently widowed in March that year) - but that employment would  soon end  -  in  August, when Nicholas  Megges  too died,  aged 70.  William Devensih himself  died in 1588, aged only 30,  while  his wife Mary soon joined him, in  1590 of similar age. [Bradford Peverell doesnt seem to have ben a very healthy area to live.]

             The Rev Thomass son Lawrence Devenish  (possibly named at birth (ca 1563) after Lawrence Megges, appears not to have married.  He had apparently inherited the familys Copyhold  land there, with  its house,  on his fathers death in 1605.    The house,  said to be  opposite that  of a  Margaret Churchill (at  some unknown period), was  likely situated in Mickleford.   We may recall that   John Churchill (seemingly the elder)  of that hamlet,  had married a Margaret Devenish, widow [in early 1580].  She, of unknown maiden name,  had thus  previously married  a  Mr ……Devenish - probably in the late 1570s .  However,  her latest  new husband John Churchill the elder  - of Muckleford, Yeoman  soon died himself, being buried   on  8th Aug  1580 leaving this  Margaret now a Churchill - a widow for the third time !   However, she soon re-married yet again,  - as Margaret Churchill, widow  - to a Richard Crewe  - on 21 Oct 1581  This information allows us to  estimate just when the Devenishes lived in their house  opposite a Margaret Churchill;  it would  likely be  during 1581.  [Which Devenish had  she  married  earlier, one wonders ?  Had  Robert returned   to marry her as his second wife ?]  

            [We may recall that there was of course another, slightly earlier,  Margaret Churchill  residing in that area during those times namely, the only daughter of Roger and Jane Churchill (nee Peverell) of Bradford Peverell proper -  born about 1550  (as estimated) - presumably in the Manor house in Bradford itself  (and after whose forename  the younger Margaret  may well have been named). This elder Margaret Churchill would  likely have continued living there  - until marrying in 1574  (but in Sherborne).   If anyone lived opposite her during that earlier period, the (Manor) home concerned would hardly be referred to as where  Margaret Churchill lived if,  as it was  by 1553,  the home of Nicholas Megges and said  Jane  (ex-Churchill) and,  by 1579, that of their only son,  Lawrence Megges. It would be, rather, where that other,  older Margaret Churchill had lived further west,  in Muckleford.]   

           In  his Will, written 20 March, 1632/33, Lawrence Devenish, seemingly the youngest son of Rev Thomas,  is described  as of Bradford Peverell, Yeoman.  He  left  about 10 bequests  to various relatives and friends but no mention is made of any wife or children.  To his apparent sister Agnes Lawrence, wife of John Lawrence, he left  the 40 shillings owed him  by said John, to whose son Phillip Lawrence,  he nevertheless leaves 8  Pounds .  To his (other?) sister Jane Bigwell , he leaves just 10 pence (or possibly more  -  as  it is shown as xld).  [Did  his father Thomas re-marry  in about 1565, say, and have a second daughter Jane - who married a  Mr Bigwell in about 1595 or so ?]   In any case, he also  leaves 10 pounds to a John Bigwell, son  of  Robert Bigwell,  and  is equally generous to a cousin John Tibb(s) - leaving him also  10 Pounds, along with 5 Bushels of Barley.  He leaves 5 Pounds to  Charity Hardy, daughter of  John and Margaret Hardy, when she reaches age 18. Finally, he leaves 10 shillings to the church of Bradford Peverell and to its then Vicar - Thomas Kinge, Clerk, 10 pence.  All other possessions were to go to his nephew Robert Bigwell - whom he  made  sole Executor. It was signed  by Lawrence  on 31 May 1633 and  .proved by the said Robert Bigwell.   The latter man, likely born around 1590,  would  presumably be a son of his sister Jane and her Bigwell husband, while his cousin John Tibb(s) would be  born earlier, around 1560-70, say, to an aunt -  a sister of his father or mother.   

             As noted, this Devenish family of  Yeomen, lived on Copyhold land (with a house) somewhere within the parish of  Bradford Peverell (probably in its Muckleford area to  the west), previously held by their father  Rev Thomas Devenish, initially its senior tenant;  he later became the Curate  in neighbouring Charminster.  His children were  apparently added to the  Muckleford tenancy Copyhold  from their respective births - likely for   lifetimes only,  it then  reverting to the Bradford Peverell manor -  after 1633.  The Will was witnessed by  his  nephew  - Benjamin Devenish son of Lawrences older brother Robert Devenish.  Benjamin was apparently brought up in Dorchester - during the 1580s   - to where, we recall,  his father  and mother had moved about 1577 or so. 

             Benjamin  seems to  have been set to  an apprenticeship as a Tailor there with a family friend or relative around 1588-92, say.  His father Robert had married an  Elanor Churchill  - of the  Clothier  family in Dorchester .  William of that branch was   likely becoming influential by then.  He had in fact been in the Clothing trade himself there (his father John having been  a Draper) and indeed Williams son John Churchill 2 (bn 1568) was himself described as a Clothier.  He too had probably  trained in this  same sphere - around 1582 or so after Grammar school,  and  before continuing a  legal education  -at Oxford  or  an Inn of Court in London  - around 1590-92.  

             Before the turn of that century therefore, Benjamin with such training and encouragement - would likely be able to support himself and soon consider  marriage -  initially as a Tailor - but later as a  man who could reasonably be seen  as an aspiring and worthy Esq himself one day - to facilitate  a marriage into the gentry.   Just whom and when he so married remains unknown.  However, we do at least  learn that she too was yet another   Churchill  - as strongly indicated  by Benjamin Devenishs s eventual Will (written in 1643)  in which he refers two or three times to  “.. my brother-in-law John Churchill ”  and, on one occasion at least, crucially,  as  “..John Churchill, Esq ”.   [Benjamins own styling  in the Will, however, had remained as Yeoman.]  As with many of the Wills of those days  (and earlier) there is sadly often very little reference to just where various individuals resided.  Of all the Churchills, none had a forename more common than John.  But, at least the styling ‘’Esq  narrowed  the field considerably.  But, where was that John  from ?  Where did he reside ?  That is, who was he,  and who was his sister, who had married Benjamin ?

            Firstly, we note that  John Churchill, the Clothier, had married an Eleanor  himself she nee Meller (about 1597) but she didnt go on to re-marry (as Eleanor Churchill, widow ) to a Benjamin - after John died quite young in 1621.  And while  this latter John had  eventually become an Esq himself (oncompleting the purchase of the small estate (at Muston) in 1612),  he wasnt yet so styled when living for a time earlier in Stinsford (I believe), just on the edge of Dorchester, but still then, a Gent.   And, in any case, he died much too soon to have warranted Benjamins reference  in 1643  to  him as a brother-in-law John Churchill  who  still owed him money   22 years after his death !   But that John did have a large family with Eleanor, and while one son, his 4th,  was yet another  John Churchill (bn ca 1604) of good education   he became a Priest and his styling was  thus always  that of  John Churchill (of wherever), Clerk, never Esq (never  owning his own estate). 

             And, in any case, all sisters  of these two John Churchills (Esq or not)   were accounted for in respect of their subsequent marriages (except possibly one (a Sarah).  There were also at least two  earlier John Churchills settled in Muckleford (in Bradford Peverell) but they were all Yeomen, not Esqs.  Nor was there an Eleanor Churchill available in the Dorchester family (nor that of Bradford per se) to account for Roberts wife (in 1573); she too therefore was most likely a daughter of  one of Mucklefords Yeoman  families (as was the Margaret Churchill across from whom the Devenisheshad apparently lived -  in 1581).    

            But, there was, however, one other John Churchill, Esq with his own Freehold property, who may well have had a  sister available to marry Benjamin Devenish -  around the relevant period.  And he was more likely than the others  to nevertheless be in need of money - not yet re-paid by 1543.  The Civil war was  fast developing  and royalists were soon to be fined for opposing the winning side. Yes, that other John Churchill, Esq was the one of Wooton Glanville, Esq - father of young Winston - who was also about to  marry - and was also in a tenuous financial state.  And let us recall that this John Churchill, Esq was born to the elder Jasper Churchill - of the (non-Yeoman) Bradford Peverell  branch  - of  the manorial Churchills from which parish  the Devenishes came !  One of the  Churchill  daughters from that John Churchill (of the manorial branch of the  family)  had  most likely married Benjamin Devenish. While Benjamin and bothers were initially of Yeoman status, their father was at least a Curate and priest educated, and with a  salary.

            Happily, something then  transpired  that helps us consolidate this interpretation.  It  was recorded in something called  The Casebook of Sir Francis Ashley JP, Recorder of Dorchester, 1614-1635 gratefully published by the  Dorset Record Society  in 1881.   One case in particular, which occurred in Sept 1630, was  cited by Michael Russell in his welcome article on Benjamin Devenish.    On Sept 2 that year, Benjamin  was  in Dorchester with two other men -  called John Burd, a Farmer, and  Jasper Churchill (!), shown as a Cutter (sic) from London.  The three of them, seemingly close friends, had become embroiled in an altercation with a fourth man, William Amey, who had   Complained to a Constable of their aggressive  behaviour  towards  him.  They were  thus brought  as Defendants  before the  local Recorder who concluded that they  should at least be  bound over - to keep the peace - until the next Quarter Sessions.  John Burd appeared to be the major culprit  (having threatened  to strike Amey  with a stone, and even to kill him) and so had to pay the  larger penalty - of £40, while the   other two paid only £20 each,  to ensure they did indeed keep the peace, or forfeit those sums.  They must have kept the peace as, nothing further was  knowingly reported on this  matter.

            That  behaviour  of  John Burd  proved however to be another case of serendipity for us   he being chiefly responsible  for  the  affray and  the subsequent inclusion  in Judge Ashleys Casebook of  the names of all three involved.   [We may recall our earlier serendipitous  dividend was  discovered in that litigation archive (Megges vs Lye) indicating that the Yeomen Churchills of Muckleford  very likely derived from the same otherwise landed family of  Rogers father William -  Churchill in or near Rockbeare, Devon.]   To see why this later revelation proved equally helpful to us, we must first correct an error in that the Jasper Churchill,  so fortunately reported on,  wasnt  in fact  a Cutter - from London, but rather a Cutler  from that distant city;  although, crazily enough, he might conceivably have actually been a Cutterequally well  - if that term denoted a specialist role for a Tailor (one who cuts out the pattern of cloth for any given garment).   For the latter man (the actual Cutler of London), was in fact the known son  of the elder  Jasper Churchill (Snr) who had  indeed trained to be just that - a Tailor if  more locally in Dorchester  where he remained !  [One couldnt make it up.] 

            And thus, in  either case, one might equally have  gained  evidence in regard to  identifying just who was the John Churchill, Esq  whose sister would   (ca 1612)  marry  Benjamin Devenish -  being the younger Jaspers fellow companion on that  occasion in 1630 (and the elder ones companion when they apparently trained (almost) together - in the late 1580s/early 1590s in Dorchester.   In one fell swoop, we seem to have identified the three Churchills at the centre of our mystery !  The bride concerned would of course  also be a sister of  the younger Jasper Churchill  (as well as of John, Esq, later of Wooton) - all born ca 1590-95, say)  thus making that Jasper  another brother-in-law of Benjamin.  [Note: he was not of course the younger namesake Jasper Churchill born later (ca 1609)   to John and Eleanor in Dorchester who was neither a Cutter nor a Cutler.]

            If the  Jasper (Jnr) concerned (born ca 1593) did make that  lengthy journey from London that year, he would be about 38, while his elder colleague Benjamin Devenish would be nearer 56.  That he was a colleague, despite the age difference, would be due to  their  common denominator of  Jasper Churchill Snr - whose funeral they may or may not  have  both recently attended locally,  as well as having shared memories of the Dotchester familys Clothing business and of the two John Churchill Esqs (albeit of different generations)  during the years  around 1600 -1610, say.  This would likely be  when Benjamin Devenish would be considering marriage and  the name of the sister of John Churchill Esq  (and of Jasper Churchill Jnr) was apparently mentioned in this regard  (if, sadly, not as yet  privy to ourselves - with respect to her forename). 

            If the elder John Churchill of Dorchester (1568-1621) was not the Esq being sought, nor was  his 4th son John Churchill, Cleric (1604-1682).  Iit may be noteworthy  that  the latters  said father John did  also name two  of  his other  sons Jasper (1609) and Mathew (1615);   some mutual affection clearly existed  between the two Johns (of Dorchester/Stiston, and of Wooton Glanville, respectively) thereby.  The other (Bradford)  Churchill sequence of  Mathew-Jasper Snr-John -Jasper Jnr -  in the  family - was clearly within the Dorchester branchs purview.  We thus conclude that the  John Churchill Esq  referred to in Benjamins  Will was t indeed  John Churchill -  of Wooton Glanville, Esq  - and not one of the Dorchester-based Churchills.  The  common denominator was not just Tailoring but also Bradford Peverell !   Thank you John Burd,  Francis Ashley, Dorset Record Society  and Michael Russell !



           We  now consider  the  rest of the 6 generations of Roger Churchills Bradford Peverell  branch (as from the Roger-Mathew-Jasper-John-Winston-John Churchill sequence being  comparable to those same 6 generations  of the Dorchester branch of the family -  and over basically that  same period: (1550-1700)   (to be further covered   below).   As  noted,  when John 1 and Edith were  having  their family -  in  Dorchester in the 1540s,  his  closest brothers Roger  and  (possibly) William  Jnr,  would presumably be  starting theirs as well    at Bradford Peverell for Roger  and,  quite possibly,  at Pulston or some other south Dorset manor, for assumed  3rd brother William Jnr likely in tow with  their mutual father William Snr   residing there  or similar for a time,  possibly as a Leaseholder.   But, the lack of parish register data  still makes all this quite tentative.   Whether any of the others worked with John and/or his sons in the growing Dorchester  business(es), or with William Snr at  the estate at  Pulston,  Lt Bredy, or Compton) , is unknown.  It was originally thought that the records for Piddlehinton  manor  (awkwardly  held at Eton College), may have finally shed some light on this period that is, in regard to the identity of the main  Copy-,  or Lease-holder  at neighbouring  Muston manor also in  Piddlehinton  parish,  that early.  Sadly, they didnt - as explained earlier.  The archives of some ex-religious landlord (as Cerne Abbey?)  may well hold the secret - somewhere. [Eg with the documents to be held by the eventual final holder(s) of Muston post-1612.]

           But, as noted,  John 1s eldest son, William 1 of Dorchester  (b. ca 1541) succeeded him in about  1557 as the senior Churchill in Dorchester, if  aged  but  16 or so (as estimated)  -  living with his mother Edith and, shortly, a new step-father.  Thus, around 1560, say, the Churchills of Dorchester, still without any constructed pedigree,  consisted solely of one young man  (not 2 or 3 inter-related families) there.  Similarly, Mathew and Margaret  had also lost their father  (Roger)  ca 1552 (in that same decade) -  when only 10  and  7  -  and were left in the care presumably of  their widowed  mother - Jane (nee Peverell; ex-Churchill) with,  again,  a new step-father - Nicholas Megges  - shortly to join them from ca 1553.   We can reasonably assume that they too would receive suitable educations  locally and  would  later receive any additional occupational  training, if needed (when fathers die so  young), from their close  Churchill  relatives (and widows) nearby  - as at Dorchester - where John 1 and his young son William lived) -  or at Muston orrPulston, say, where  their grandfather William may well have lived then - (following that  assumed early schooling). But the only Churchill there by the time they were teenagers would be fellow  teen  John 1.    However…

          Mathew Churchill would  soon marry Alice Gould in about 1567, probably in Dorchester, she being the daughter   of  a James Gould of  a local Merchant family there, dealing in Cloth.  This union was probably  arranged in part by  the Dorchesters young William Churchill and/or his guardian and/or by Sir John Mervyn..   [We note that there were two or more Gould families in Dorchester then and Alice may not have been of the principal one.]   Mathews sister Margaret Churchill would, only  little  later, also marry a Bartholomew Olde  in Sherborne 10 miles to the north in Sept  1574  and soon have by him (there) sons John and  William Olde  and a daughter Sybil  - by  the  late 1570s.  This union may well have been arranged by her mother Janes step-father, Sir John Mervyn and his Sherborne- raised wife Jane nee Baskervile, ex-Peverell).     [Margarets  alleged birth as late as 1560 (noted on certain  sites)  seems  much less credible;  the transcription of same could well have been misread as such  at some point (rather than the  1550  that  appears  much more likely, and  better fits  the timing of later known facts).

            One wonders  if this couple  were introduced due to some common denominator in Sherborne (as the Baskervilles).  We note that her husband  Bartholomew Olde  was listed in the Sherborne Schools archive  records  as  a Warden  of that School  in 1584/5  when we might reasonably estimate his age to be a moderately mature  35 or so, say,  for such a position, and  his wife thus of comparable age again supporting her birth around 1550,   and so not one  a full decade later.  [Note:  the Bartletts seem also to have had some Sherborne School connections, as they did almost everywhere.]

             Batholomew appears later as a Bookkeeper and later still as a  Draper or Haberdasher - with his own business in Sherborne (ca 1590+) .  He left a Will - dated 30 Dec 1595  (PROB / 11 / 85 / xx )  and  in it,  left  £5. to his parish Church, !0 shillings to the Poor of the town  and £40. to  his wife Margaret who would then be about 45.   The latter sum was to be paid to her in two £20 portions: the first, one month after his decease - and the other, a year later;  he also left  her his furniture, bed, blankets, etc   and  best Silver spoons.  He  left another £40  also - to his younger son John, when he turns 21 and in the meantime, to receive an allowance of £5. a year until  16 (so then still a young teenager aged about 13, say, and  so born ca 1582);   this amount to him  if  still living at Bartholomews  death,  but otherwise the £40  to go to his daughter Sybil.  His seeming elder son William was to receive rental income from his fathers former shop, I believe. (to be confirmed) .  There was also the familys residence in Sherborne to be inherited presumably. (Did  the  Olde boys attend Sherborne school ?)

           Our account must now consider the futures of Mathew (only son of Roger and Jane), and  Margarets only brother)  and  then, in turn, that of  his (and Alices) only son - Jasper Churchill (Snr) -  and their descendants.  Very little has emerged with respect to Mathew Churchill (nor to his father Roger) .  We may reasonably assume that he remained at Bradford Peverell with his mother from about 1553  (aged just ca 7) until his own marriage around  1567 when he (and/or his son Jasper  later)  may have been employed initially on the former family estate.    He appears to  have died quite soon after his marriage to Alice, however,  by about 1575  (as suggested in often unreliable on-line family histories).  As noted, they had  just that one son said Jasper Churchill  (Snr)  - about 1568  probably in Bradford Peverell (but possibly in Dorchester) who would thus be but 7 or so when he  in turn lost his own father Mathew.  His grandmother  Jane  (now Megges) may or may not have remained. in Bradford  (recall her death/butial  oddly registered  in neighbouring Charminster in 1578/9) - even if ownership of Bradford manor was by now (post-1553) in the hands of her second husband Nicholas Megges (and subsequently (post-1580) in those of  his  only son (by her)  Lawrence Megges  (1553-1598) -  during the 1580s-90s. and subsequently in those of  later Megges descendants for many generations. But remaining a Churchill widow (ca 1552-1560s, say) was apparently not an option financially for Jane  nee Peverell.   Did the church step in to help her ?  Or ? 

             Both Jane and Nicholas were, after Mathew, shortly to die  themselves of course (thus reinforcing the likelihood that Jane could  indeed  not have married Roger only secondly ie as a recent Megges widow - that late).   Moreover, had she somehow done so, that would of course leave insufficient time for subsequent Churchill births - of Mathew, Margaret  and, after Mathew married,  of  Jasper and various Churchill events  subsequent to that the dates for which are much better known and reliable.   Only an earlier first marriage by Jane - to Roger Churchill - allows all this.  Contrariwise, there appears to have been no issue born to Nicholas and Jane before Lawrence Megges  in 1553 -  (nor indeed afterwards, despite Jane  still being in her early 30s).  By providing one male Megges heir, Jane may have decided shedone her  duty  in an apparently quickly arranged but likely loveless marriage).

          Where were  the Churchill children  then brought up, otherwise, one wonders ?  Was it  in the Megges  household at Bradford Peverell, or partly with  one of their  Churchill cousins or uncles  in Dorchester,  or even with  their long-lived grandfather William Snr  possibly still at Pulston (allegedly until 1583), or  somewhere nearby  ?   And now, there is the possibility of a home in Charminster, just next door which parish, intriguingly, includes Pulston manor on its north.  We learn that the cousins of Mathew William and John Churchill (sons of Mathews uncle John 1 of Dorchester, who  had already  died in 1557) -  would remain in Dorchester and  Corton, respectively   in the ensuing later Elizabethan period  1565-95.  

             And, would  Roger and Janes one son Mathew not  inherit  some property  rights from his mother (in Bradford Peverell)  - held for him in  trust one would assume   - before she re-married ca 1553 possibly  as negotiated by her father-in-law William or by  her quite able Dorchester cousins ?  One assumes that this would  likely be the case and that, as a consequence, Mathews  son Jasper (b 1568), in turn,  would to some extent  also subsequently so benefit, even if indirectly.  [Might  they have rented, at a reasonable rent,  for example, that house (ex-Mathew Wolffes) in Charminster from John Churchill of Corton  (in Portisham) who claearly refers to it in his Will ?]

           In his Will, Nicholas directed more pointedly that he at least be buried in the church at Bradford Peverell.  It almost appears that he and  Jane had split-up and that she and Mathew had  moved next door to Charminster some  years before (or Pulston?). In any case, the Freehold of Bradford was  inherited  by the son Lawrence Megges by 1580  and he would have a large family there in the 1580s  before his own death  in 1598 he also to be buried at Bradford Peverell.  

            We find from his Will (PROB 11 / 92 / 237) a most unusual opening statement viz:  “ I,  Lawrence Megges of Bradford Peverell, Esq,  being sick of body but of sound and perfect memory, do this present day of October in the 40th year of the Reign of our Queen Elizabeth (ie 1598) , make and ordain this  my last Will and Testament - in manner and form following;   First, I  wish to state that I, Lawrence Megges, have received and suffered many wrongs and unnatural practices committed by my uncle Henry Megges and his sonne Percival Megges …”. (!)  This is followed by various barely legible remarks regarding a Robert Miller  and   ends with  “ ...and I ordaine Mr William Churchill - of Dorchester, Gent  [born ca 1541] and his sonne John Churchill [born ca 1568] to be Overseers of this my Will” signed by 4 witnesses  on 15 October 1598 ).   He clearly trusted the Churchill family of Dorchester and we would assume that his half-brother Mathew (and son Jasper) would likely also have benefitted from this apparently trusted family relationship as well.

            Such an unusual accusation by this man, the almost immediate litigations commenced by his father Nicholas Meggs  against  Bradford  tenants  (in 1553)  just after his marriage (and earlier by his relatives in  the  Fens), the lack of any inscription in respect of his wife Jane in the Church and  her seeming removal in any case to Charminster,  all evoke an impression (no more)  of an  awkward, dysfunctional family into which Jane was somehow placed possibly involuntarily. [Weve more recently noted reference in  the  probatum of  Lawrence Megges Will  of  him having in fact been  later declared a Lunatic.  This could imply something like intermittent dementia or general paresis; he was only 45 at that time.  It could account too for the odd public accusation in his Will against his  uncle  and cousin  of  unnatural practices  allegedly  committed by them - against him.]  I hope to re-examine this Will to better convey its details; he had several other surviving children who one presumes were mentioned in same. 

          Subsequent Megges  descended from  Lawrence   nevertheless continued to inherit and hold the manor of Bradford Peverell  (acquired initially about 1553  from  widowed Jane Churchill (nee Peverell).   What the legal position of her and son  Mathew was in relation to ownership of or benefits from  that manor  just prior to her re-marriage - to Nicholas Megges Im unaware.  The senior Megges  family then  collected its rental income for another two hundred years ! (to 1770);  they of course being referred to locally as Lords of that Manor.  [Who, we still wonder  arranged that particular re-marriage  -  of Jane Churchill (nee Peverell)  -  to a Nicholas Megges of the distant Fens, rather than to some  local Dorset man better known by her family ?   What, one wonders,  were  his bona fides, incentive or motivation  in doing  so ?]   It later appeared that one of the families paying some of  that rent to the Megges (possibly subsidised) could have been that of young Jasper Churchill - around 1600-1620.  

---  ---  ---  ---  ---

         .[Note:  We have made reference above  to Jasper Snr being described in August 1606 as a Tailor (who resided then in Bradford Peverell, Dorset) and, as the above  John was then described as a Clothier, we could easily imagine Jasper having  trained as a Tailor under this cousins (and the latters fathers)  tutelage and protective wing (ca 1582+).  Moreover, he   was likely also  influenced by his admired  higher education and so could well have become ambitious for his own  sons in that regard.  The affects apparently went both ways: John would name two of his sons  Mathew and Jasper (!)  while cousin Jasper Snr named his  first son John and only his second one Jasper Jnr !] 

           Mathew would thus have only the one  son   Jasper Churchill (Snr)  - in about  1568.  Finally, we  recall that this  elder Jasper allegedly married an Elizabeth Chaplet (?Chapell) - about 1589 she shown, I believe, as also being of a family of  Herringston (!).   But there is however virtually no  evidence in Dorset (or even all  England)  of  any such family surname as Chaplet.  Moreover, we notice that in an early (1595)  Chancery Suit  (C47/83) concerning various Dorset manors involving a Sir William Willoughby, one of the  9 original hamlets of Charminster  wasitsel called  Herringston;  alias Little Herringston) !  [Note that the surname Willoughby rappears elsewhere in our story; see p……]

         And while there were no Chaplets residing anywhere in Dorset, as far as I can see, there were at least two entries for the similar name Chappell (or  similar) listed in the 1570s - in Charminster (with its Little Burton hamlet also) )and  another in Dorchester itself.  There was of course also Wolfeton/ ?Wolveton  House in Charminster  (in a neighbouring hamlet of that name)  of which  the Trenchard and Mohun  families (inter-married)  had long been previous gentry owners.    I see that the Dorset Record Office holds a collection of Trenchard family Manor Deeds, and records for Wolveton House , at least - with  reference  D- BLX.   But -  Wolffe House ?   Where was that ?  Who sold and/or bought it in the  later 1570s ?]            

          Being a relative, young Mathew Churchill would likely have been  assisted not only by his mother biut also by the one Churchill then in Dorchester ca 1560-65  - in respect of some education at least and probably  some form of employment.  And, there would soon be the matter of a suitable marriage partner around 1567 or so  Indeed ,as already noted, he married one Alice Gould of a known Dorchester family about  then and  they soon had their  first and only son Jasper Churchill (Snr) in about 1568  (as estimated)   quite possibly in  either Bradford Peverell or in Dorchester.  This was  the same year that John Churchill 2 was born to William Churchill (II) and wife  also in Dorchester.  But,  sadly, Jasper too  lost his father Mathewquite early - in about 1575 (as estimated) - and was now  himself in need of support in regard to his future especially after 1579 when both his grandmother Jane and  her second  husband Nicholas Megges , J aspers step-grandfather, died that same year.

            By  about  1582 or so, Jasper Snr would therefore also need  training in some skill.   Guess who would  most likely be training  in the family business in Dorchester - just then  (after any secondary education) ?  Dorchesters John Churchill (III) and Jasper Churchill Snr would thus very likely have become close (and related) friends  over those few teenage years effectively becoming Clothiers  or similar together.   But John would soon go on to higher education in London from that  point (ca 1588)  while Jasper Snr would remain at Bradford Peverell  - apparently living with  his half-brother Lawrence Megges and also soon considering marriage    as a locally trained Tailor.  

             In about 1589Jasper Churchill Jnr   would indeed marry -  that  Elizabeth Chaplet (?Chapell)  in Dorchester likely arranged by the Dorchester Churchills. These two brothers were probably educated locally in Dorchester with their father Jasper Snr supporting his recently born young family as a Tailor there probably within the  existing Churchill  business - still run by the Dorchester John Churchills father William and, on his return  from London, increasingly by John 3  himself.  He would later live in Stinsford   conveniently mid-way between Bradford Peverell and Dorchester.   Once married and into work himself (ca 1590), Jasper Snr seems to have  made certain that his  first  son -  named John Churchill (bn ca 1590 - possibly in Bradford Peverell)  would also have a good education at that same Inn of Court in  London ca 1608-12), while his second son, the younger Jasper Churchill  (Jnr) born  ca 1692), would  also receive useful  training and, again, in London but as a Cutler within  the Worshipful Company of Cutlers - between 1606 and 1612.  He likely  had   other  siblings beside elder brother John  -  particularly  a  sister  -  born about  1594 -98, say. who could well have married   - around 1618,  particularly to a young Devenish, we may now suggest.     His parents  Jasper Snr and Elizabeth were, after all, of proven fertility and there was little birth control in those times

             By 1606, this younger (and later)  Jasper (Jnr) would begin his apprenticeship as a Cutler - with one Richard Ball,  in London,  under the auspices of that Worshipful  Company, while his slightly elder brother John Churchill would  continue  his higher education, after Oxford (ca 1606-09),  around that same time  or a little later,  at an Inn of Court  to become a Lawyer.   They may even have lived together there for a tim in London.  Interestingly, these  two brothers father Jasper Snr was described  on his younger sons Cutlery Apprenticship  papers in  1606   as  being of Bradford Peverell,  Dorset,  Tailor !    The younger Jasper qualified about 1612, a little before his brother John Churchill  would  qualify  himself - as a Lawyer  - by about 1614, as estimated.   Both would soon marry and have issue within the next few years, as would their sister (?Margaret) , it would appear. Thus:

           John would marry one Elizabeth Winston(e) of Gloucestershire (he having quite possibly  trained with her brother at the same Inn of Court) - by which means an intoduction to his sister could possibly have been effected.    The younger  Jasper (Jnr) now styled  Citizen and Cutler,  of London  - would also marry in London to another  Alic/Ellis  (surname unknown)   and by her eventually her have (4) children John, Thomas, Jasper (3) and Sarah, all born  in London in the  1620s.  His brother John Churchill likely begun working as a young awyer in London by about  1615 or so.  He and wife  Elizabeth  soon thad heir first born - Winston Churchill - there in 1620.   Meanwhile, back in Dorset (at Bradford), their father,  the  elder Jasper  Snr, the Tailor, seems to have died - by about 1625-30 (as estimated earlier),  aged about  62. 

            John and Elizabeth appear to have only Leased their initial Dorset property at Minterne Magna  (possibly held previously by his Dorchester cousins  as obtained during  a brief  period of ex-Monastery land sales and transfers via the ultimate Agency of sir John Tregonwell  and /or the Bartletts - ca 1550  or so. Like so many of the Dorset properties it  being sold and re-sold forthwith to various relatives and friemds, etc it was simply and possibly quickly  re-granted (or ?selling) its Freehold - to a new but different(non-religious) category of institution namely, to Winchester College  - to serve similarly as a another source of income - by renting or leasing it back to any who could afford it.  In any case, John and Elizabeth  later moved to neighbouring   Wooton Clanville (also ex-Cerne), the Freehold of which  they were apparently able  (somehow) to acquire.  He would henceforth now become  John Churchill, Esq.      One of his sisters (bn ca 1596)  strongly appears to have then married Benjamin Devenish of Dorchester, Yeoman  -  also around  1620-25.  [I find it hard  to believe that this still relatively recent  law graduate could have become financially viable in his brief  time in London, or even back in Dorset in Civil War or Commonwealth times , to arrange  this major shift in his status and fortunes.  On the contrary.  Did the Winstones,  aor his  Tailor father,  or  any of their Dorchester cousins   contribute to this apparent quantum advance in his position ?  one doubts it  Why would a young  active Lawyer choose to leave London - to reside in rural Dorset (and so far from Dorchester) ? Daily travel was very slow then, especially  in the winter.  What was his income source ?           

             By the time the  said Benjamin wrote his Will (1643) , the Civil war had started and, his father-in-law John Churchill, Esq, as a Royalist, had indeed built up some debts possibly defending his position  or paying off his  Wooton mortgage and had  borrowed  money from his son-in-law  Benjamin Devenish, Yeoman  (who had done quite well in business in neutral Dorchester).    Benjamin  would thus refer in his Will (see later)  to  “…my brother-in-law John Churchill, Esq…”.  But, before this,  John  and wife Elizabeth and family would likely have attended  the funeral of his father Jasper Churchill Snr  (around 1625-30 as estimated),  presumably in either Bradford Peverell  or Dorchester,  as would  younger brother Jasper Churchill Jnr -  the Cutler also from London.  For the latter man  was more certainly  in Dorchester around  that time  , and in the company of  Benjamin Devenish -  namely, in Sept 1630   when they  were both arrested there together in that altercation described above.  The two branches of the Churchill family of Bradford Peverell (and later of London and latterly Wooton Glanville) as descended from Roger (bn ca 1520) - and that of Dorchester (and later of Muston)  - as descended from John (bn ca 1522)  - were thus in contact and known by each ot at least until the 1640s or so - at  the start of the Civil  War. [Where should  Jasper Jnrs Will  fit in ?]

            After that, there seems to have been a gradual decline and drifting apart of the two branches in in their mutual contacts and  awareness of  developments in each others  later family histories.  After the War, Winston sought (during the 1650-60s)  to discover the background of his own line of Churchills and seemed  rather uncertain of their  relationships with other branches much before those of his own father and grandfather.  While  in Dorchester and Muston, the senior figures in that latter Churchill family seem  focused more on their own local accomplishments  - unrelated to the War or  to subsequent Restoration concerns of the Court or  Government away in London.  There were  only two eldest sons of the Dorchester-Muston family quietly occupying so many of  the subsequent decades only locally from the  1640s  to almost 1700.   And Winstons own life soon became much more London focused after his father John had died in Wooton (or even in Minterne to which he or his son may have returned (somehow).  [The Colleg retained the Freehold until late Victorian times, I believe.]

         [Note: One may need to place more data about here - regarding the London Churchills ca 1640s-1700 -   to better balance that of our coverage of the Dorchester branch  as described above to  that latter year   ie  in regard to Jasper Jnr  and  both  John and Winston of Wooton, and  the latters famous son John and wife Sarah, in turn  (ca 1670s+  - and then even  Jasper 3 !  -   ie  all in the section on the Later Descent from Roger   above to better match that in the following Chapter - on  Johns comparable Dorchester descendants up to 1700).   It may hhave been covered sufficiently earlier ? After he 1650s, there appears to have been less mutual contact between the two branches including  in London (with  Sir John also   - also  shown elsewhere in any case ?   (One thinks of Winston writing his family history in about 1655-65 and (apparently) being barely aware of his  cousin line in  Dorchester or Muston (or similar)  they having  kept  a rather low profile over that change-over period.]  For the next Churchill generation descended from Roger,  see Chapter 21 and later.]



           We   continue next with  the Churchills of Dorchester from  eldest so  John Churchill 3, son of William 2 and wife Eleanor (nee Meller),  who had  moved by ca 1615 to a house  in Stinsford which neighbours Dorchester to the  north-east.   Presumably,  his eldest son, William 3,  continued  on at Colliton House, Dorchestr.   John, who had finally completed purchase of Muston manor by 1612, sooon died  intestate, however - in 1621, aged just 53;  his wife Eleanor  was thus granted Administration  of their property .(MR)   It would presumably soon pass on to her ownership intact at that point.  Some 20 years later (ca 1641), now long a widow, she felt the need to write her own Will in the following terms (reduced and paraphrased):

         “ I, Eleanor Churchill, (by now) of Dorchester, Widow,  do dispose of my (estate)… amongst my children…(who, she notes,  suppose  it to  be  greater than  it is) desiring that they  accept its  (consequent)  small provisions - when  parcelled  out as follows [recalling that  she had borne about 14  children in total ca 1598-1618,  but with several dying young):   To my sons Richard, John, Maximilian, and Thomas Churchill 10 Pounds  apiece.  To my two daughters Edith  and Joane (Churchill still ?) - 5 pounds and  a Gold Border,  respectively.   To my two (named) servants 10 pounds  and 5 pounds, respectively.  To the poor (unspecified) 5 pounds.   Finally, to my eldest son William, whom I make my sole Executor, I leave all the residue of my goods and chattels (including a silver basin and ewer), and a 50 pound legacy given me by my late deceased brother Miller.”

              Thus, beyond that latter Miller money, she seems to have had about £70. only of her own Churchill money  in total left - to share out.   The Will was written in April and proved in London in July, 1641.   For her children  and grandchildren,  the  Civil War was just around the corner.  At least, they (or just William?) had their properties.  presumably now including Muston manor, small as it was.  Was it (or they) profitable ?  Or, did they  just pay for  themselves, as it were  with Muston  at least providing a family seat in the country and hence that  important styling Esq - for its  future eldest Freeholder Churchills of that line (as when negotiating marriages?)   In her Will, Eleanor made small bequests to her 4 surviving daughters who had,  by that time,  all married. [Recall that John Churchill of Wooton Granville (post Minterne) was finally assuming an Esq status himself, about then.]

              Eleanors eldest son and heir William Churchill (2) (1599-1680) had not long been  appointed High Sheriff of Dorset - in 1639.  We might assume  that the Churchill property still held  in 1621 (including now the freehold of Muston manor since 1612),  when finally  administered by Eleanor, would  soon be  effectively transferred to eldest son William - as he was now 21  and  had also already married   to a Mary Yarde  of distant Churston Ferrers, Devon - in 1620.    [This, oddly, a parish where some of my own Millman ancestors resided in ehe 1700s.]     But, according to MR, the estate  wasnt  transferred  (formally?) to William  until 1641   that is, only on  his mother Eleanors  death.  What she  had received from  its profits for her earlier  growing family of teenagers before that, if any (including latterly from Muston), would likely now have to be shared with William (and all the other siblings, with their young families)!   In 1632 and 34 (when aged about 35),  William was involved in some  minor financial conflicts  concerning the Muston manor  and  was threatened with a fine for failing to pay expenses due.(MR). 

             This William Churchill was thus now head of the Dorchester and Muston  Churchills - from 1641 (and effectively from before that probably)  until his  death in  1680   being  buried at Muston  (where some of the family had likely lived  latterly).  To what extent they still relied on the Drapery/Clothier and/or Brewing business in Dorchester for their main income and general position  in local society (or increasingly on  rental income from property in both Dorchester and Muston - over that  lengthy and tumultuous 50 year period,  I  am  unaware.   Assuming both  parents and  Williams siblings  were by then  no longer around, the Muston family then consisted essentially of  William  and Mary (nee Yarde)  and their  family - of  4 surviving sons and 3 daughters  - born in the 1620s-30s [and thus contemporary with John Churchills young family atMinterne an/or Wooton, including u young Winston and his siblings. ]

           They would all have then lived subsequently through the Civil War, the Commonwealth and the Restoration periods but as  Roundhead or Royalist supporters  seems  uncertain. [We know rather  more about the latter Wooton Glanville Churchills (as Royalists) over this same long and significant period.  I read somewhere that Dorchester tended to cooperate with the Royalists both before and during the Commonwealth period but essentially sought to remain neutral.]   That next generation  were mostly now  adults over that  considerable  post-1640s era.  William was credited with  (re-)building Colliton House around this time (possibly with Yarde money?) but otherwise appears to have sought  to live the life of a quiet country  gentleman at now family-owned Muston manor having  only reluctantly, it was said,  served briefly as High Constable (1634) and High Sherriff (1640)  for the county before the Civil war  (which would soon begin), followed by Cromwells  Commonwealth decade of the 1650s.  William would finally serve as  Deputy-Governor for  Dorchester during that latter  period. 

          [We may recall that the Royalist-supporting Dorset lawyer John Churchill and his son Winston (of Rogers line)  were still living in Dorset -   Winston at Ashe House - during  those  awkward times  with Fines hanging over them both.   It  is hard to remember that they had  descended  so recently  from the Roger-Mathew-Jasper branch of the Churchills - of Bradford Peverell (with some assumed support and influence by their Dorchester cousins).   They seem  otherwise  to have lived parallel lives in south Dorset  to their respective kith and kin of Dorchester and Muston (to whom we had referred  as leading  rather low-profile  lives;   possibly this was more a function of their more local than national focus ? 

           After the Commonwealth and Restoration periods, it was  Williams  son John Churchill 3 (1622-1682) who, in turn,  led the latter branch of the family.    We see that  noWill was left by his father William  just 2 years before  John, as eldest son, had also  died.   The latter  was a contemporary of  Winston Churchill of Wooton  (who had  become, post-1660,  a local MP for Weymouth, and later  knighted).  Their cousin in London, Sir John Churchill - would  also serve later as an MP - (for Bristol).   We may note that  no Churchills in Dorset or Devon seem to have served such  Parliamentary roles before 1660 -  as in  Cromwells day,  or earlier, through theentire times of Henry VII  o Elizabeth I.]   But, over the following three hundred years, both branches of the family would display impressive competence in many spheres of leadership and public life all descended it seems from William Churchill of Roackbeare,  Devon - of whom so little is  reflected in public (or private?)  records.

            John Churchill (1622-1682)  would in any case automatically inherit the Dorchester and Muston estates  in 1680  (which may well have been transferred to him previously).   He seems to  have been relatively productive   through the eventful  times of his long life still with its Civil war, Commonwealth period and  return of Monarchy (Charles II)  phases dominating  everything  nationally.   However, he sadly lived only 2 years in his recently inherited position  -as  Squire of  Muston  manor (prior to which he would have been styled Gent, I believe).   To what extent, if any, those national events  touched life in Muston in rural Dorset, just before this, might depend on whether one was a Roundhead, a Cavalier or essentially  neutral  - and keeping that low profile suggested.   

           This latter John Churchill 4 (1622-1682) of the Dorchester line had also became a student at Middle Temple in London  - in 1647 (age 25) - just before Cromwell completed his takeover by 1650  -  being the same year that he (John)  married, firstly, Bridget Vaughan of Ottery St Mary, Devon  (near William Churhcill Snrs s origins) , and, in 1664, secondly, Frances Hooke of Hampshire.  With neither, however,  did he produce  surviving issue.  After the Restoration, he became a JP  and soon an MP,  for Dorchester,  in the first Cavalier Parliament (as would  Winston Churchill - for nearby Weymouth being the son of the  other contemporary John Churchill  then in Dorset -  the recent lawyer of  Wooton Glanville).  He  and  son Winston had both been fined  by the Roundheads for supporting the albeit absent King during the 1650s.  What fines, if any, were suffered by the Dorchester-Muston branch of the contemporary family (as above William and son John), Im unaware.   We may recall that the 3rd (Sir) John Churchill yet another lawyer - of London also kept his powder dry in this regard;  one assumes they would all know (of) one another.   Yet Winston appeared to have little knowledge (or interest?) in those cousins back home.  [This may require more scrutiny.]             

          John Churchill (4)  of Muston, Esq  did leave a Will - in 1682 -  but  its contents are not shown by MR other than indicating  that he was  in financial difficulties, with  most of his property going  eventually to his younger brother William Churchill  - 5 years his younger and  later himself described  as   of Muston, Esq  (1627--1702).  Some of the other brothers  had also married and had issue by then and can be  considered, later, if relevant.   It becomes obvious in later generations that Colliton House did  remain  within the family for many years and that both it and Muston became seats for  later  heads of this ex-Dorchester branch of the family.  Johns younger brother William then  held the Dorchester-Muston estate some 20 years. 

          From the income streams of the family appearing somewhat tenuous over  the 50 year period 1660-1710s  say,  their subsequent Wills  suddenly reflect much  larger legacies and bequests -  seemingly based on inherited property or its sales.  One or two very good marriages also appear to have contributed to this seeming quantum leap in the fortunes of this  (?junior) branch of the Churchill family.  What rent-producing properties  did they gradually acquire, own  and/or sell then - between 1690 and 1740, one wonders ?

            We shall leave this Dorchester branchs future for now based as it has been initially on that  direct sequence of the first 6 principals:  John-William-John-William-John-William (!)(Churchills) - passing the estate  efficiently from father to eldest son over the period 1550s to 1702  (except in the last case, where it went instead from the third John  to his next and younger  brother, not eldest son, William).  The descent over the following  6 generations (through essentially the Georgian era) , while more financially secure,  would prove much more complex.  Im quite unaware of their situation by the Victorian period and later.  Muston was eventually sold to a local family (surname Tory) in  1906 from the trustees of  a William Churchill of the day.   The latter branch of the family  had thus  held  it  for over 300 years since the Bartletts (and,  before the Dissolution,  by Cerne Abbey, from before the Conquest). Some of us are cognizant of from where thst family surname gradually  derived/evolved in the early  1300s -  in backwater Rockbeare,  Devon.  They had certainly all done the best they could subsequently …considering. 



                 The purchase of properties in Dorchester and surrounding districts were revealed much more thoroughly when I happened upon a website showing such sales as recorded in the Municipal Records of Dorchester,  as noted above.  In  this, such transactions were recorded there in a very consistent way over several centuries (1200-1700+).    Typically,   the buyer, the seller and the exact location of the property concerned were given  and recorded, as were  the   names of  two Attorneys who would oversee matters,  followed by  the names of one or two current  Dorchester  Bailiffs or  Constables,  plus  about 10  other  Witnesses    being trusted  local citizens of some standing.  It was thus a very thorough, consistent and reliable  system.

              Thus, the first sale noted involving a Churchill was one for which a John Churchyll was one of   several  Witnesses  to  a sale dated  1 March 1538/39.  I scanned backwards in time from that event for a few years and could see no earlier Churchills involved  in such sales  - as earlier in the  1530s.   In the other, later direction, I soon found a John Churchill, now a Bailiff, as a Witness - in May 1540,  and again in  June 1545, as  a  Constable.   In March 1547,  he (or a man of this name) was again one of several Witnesses  before he  was noted as  a Constable again in 1549 and  as a Witness in 1550.  (I noticed several men shown similarly in these same roles (public offices) despite often being described at other  times by their  actual occupations;  such roles clearly werent mutually exclusive.  One noticed  also  - between 1543 and 1549, several sales in Dorchester involving  Robert Martyn of Alfpuddle, Esq a known friend, it would seem,  of both the Bartletts and the Churchills; he would be a descendent of a very influential Count Robert de Mortain, a relative of the Conqueror. at and before Domesday Book times.   

             On  20th  Oct 1549, a Dorchester property situated on the west side of South Street, between  properties then held by a John Stratford, all three lately belonging to the Priory of St John, Dorchester,  recently dissolved,  and  lately in the occupation of one  Fabian Cornwyke,  were now to be sold to an Owen Hayman, he to  hold same of the King  in free Burage, of his Borough of Dorchester’– as detailed by Charter.  [As noted earlier, I believe this was typical of Dorchester properties  whereby one effectively held ones property by Leasehold only;  and so the holder would be  consequently addressed  as  being of Dorchester,  Gent- (not Esq). [Any further entries of this type found involving  Churchills or Bartletts  in the 1540-50s may  be placed here.]  The purchase of the ex-Chantry property by John Churchill, also in 1549, I believe, was oddly not noted at this point  (or earlier).]

           We may recall our reference earlier to the surprising report that a John Churchill had been a Bailiff in Dorchester as early as 1525 implying  his  possible birth   around 1500, or earlier, say.   As we have since noted several  entries for ?subsequent John Churchill(s)  - in the roles of Witness, Constable and Bailiff (as just above),  one would reasonably assume  thhey were likely  all the same man   continuing  to about 1545. or even 1549 and still be in keeping with a birth of such a man around 1500  or before.    This could thus include the John Churchill, Clothier (and/or Draper) of 1549 and. even more, he who Witnessed  the first sale  noted -  of 1538/39.  The progenitor of the later Churchills of Dorchester  we have  taken however to be the John Churchill  who married Edith Bond in ca 1540 and had as their first born a William Churchill  in about 1541,  and then Elizabeth (ca !543) , and finally a  John Jnr in about 1545  (he  later of Corton, Gent) all their subsequent marriages being consistent with such years of birth (not earlier) as would be that of their father John 1  born ca 1520 with a marriage of ca 1538-40, respectively rather than  so significantly earlier (as 1490-505-  or 1525-30,  say).   In any case, the seeming later John Churchill (Ediths husnand)  died quite young (as initially believed) -  in 1557 - aged on the latter  basis, about 36-38.    [A first marriage  by ca 1540  would  seem a little late  for a John Churchill (a Bailiff in 1525) , likely  born about 1495-1500.] 

             With this new scenario, we must of course ask just who was this earlier John Churchill, and who his father ?    And we recall that the Colliton pedigree for the Dorchester Churchills provides no clues as though the one who first drafted it wasnt too sure either (or wished to obscure it).  We had understood  that the William Churchill who had emigrated from Devon to Dorset around 1520-30  or so was the father not only of Roger Churchill, who married Jane Peverell about 1540, but of his apparently slightly younger brother John (bn ca 15120, say) who married around  that  same time.  Moreover, we must continue to point out that this latter  Dorchester John Churchill named his first born William !  We shall leave this for now (basically in the air) and continue examining any other, earlier Dorchester records - in case they may yet reveal some suggested answers to these  matters. 

            As noted, we found nothing before that 1538/39  entry for a John Churchill (as a ?youhg Witness)  until  a reference was noted (when examining earlier years)  concerning that  position of Bailiff for a man of this same name but for  1525.  But we now find something interesting for 1521,  just four years before this, when  a Charter was enrolled  into the Dorchester records which stated that  Joan Aden  (nee Churchill), late wife of a  Robert Aden,  thereby granted  to  her son John Aden  her house  on the east side of South Street which was next to that of John Williams (of a well off local family).  It stated also   that she had received this house as a bequest from her brother Thomas Churchill to hold of the Lords of the Fee of the Borough of Dorchester.  Two Attorneys were  appointed, as directed by the Charter, to ensure the legality of this  transfer of the Lease.  It was witnessed by two Bailiiffs and 12 others (!) - on 21 May, 1521

            Now, if we assume that said Joan, then a widow with a grown son John, was then reasonably aged about 45-50, say, and her already deceased brother Thomas Churchill had left her the house as a bequest, and so possibly a  little older than she, both  could  quite reasonably have been born in the period 1465-1475.   (We may recall that our William Churchill of Rockbeare was the younger brother of a Thomas Churchill - thought also to have been born about 1490s.   Thomas was not a common forename amongst the Churchills considered  thus far.)   However,  that Devon Thomas seems to have left a Will dated 1577 (at this point, yet to be read  unless it was that  of a son (or father?) of  this said Thomas (Snr) who had possibly followed his uncle or nephew (William) eastwards to the Dorchester area ?   [Note: The 1577 Will has now been read.  [See pp  ……as to its relevant contents.]

         In any case, we find next, in going back to earlier dates,   another Charter, dated the 11th year of the reign of Edward the IV (1470)  which recites details of a sale of a house on the south side of  high West Street which was held previously by the Feeoffment of  an earlier John Churchill, a brother of one Osyth Churchill.   We might reasonably place the birth of such brothers around the period 1420-30, say, and (most) likely within the same family as discussed above.  An uncommon  forename such as Osyth could prove useful in seeking out earlier relationships. [Sadly, this does not prove the case; a St Osyth (in Essex) proves to be such a totally dominat target in the National Archives indexes that ther is no room whatsoever for its presence as a forename of anyone in those years.]

            In any case, this brings us within reach of our next find being a portion of the Will of  one  John Chirchille, dated 28 Oct 1418,  which was read out in the Dorchester Court on the 4th March 1420  (7th Henry V) probably shortly after this John  had died  (and so became enrolled in the official, records with Witnesses, etc).    In  it,  this John says  “I, John Chirchille of Waddone, Dorset   bequeathe  to  John Chirchulle, my younger son and his heirs, after the death of Margery, my wife, a Burgage with Curtilage adjacent (House and Garden), in West Street, Dorchester, (between those of Richard Turke and John Chalpin (?Chafin)).  Again, we may estimate  that said  John, the testator, would  likely be born around  1360, say, and so married Margery by about 1390, and had their children around  1400 or so.  If he named his younger son after himself, this might  imply he named his elder son (born, say, ca 1395) after his own differently-named father one ….?.... Churchyll, say (bn ca ca 1370,  which name at present remains unknown to us  It might also have been John, of course.  He would likely inherit Waddon, one suspects and  would in turn be expected to live to about 1440 or so.  Would the Churchills of Devon know of this branch of the family in south-east Dorset quite possibly residing also in Dorchester from  the mid-1400s ??  Did William of Rockbeare (bn ca 1496) make contact with same - as he moved eastwards ?  Were the Bartelot or Martyn families a common denominator ? [Or, even the Wadhams ?]

        Finally, we can report on a Chancery Proceeding (E 179/ 363/ 275)  concerning that possibly earlier  John Churchill  - of Waddone (Waddon), Dorset   - which records  Receipts issued for payments made  pertaining to the Tythe tax (of one tenth of some assessed property values)  collected for  the churches in Salisbury diocese - by one John  Circholl  (as so spelt in this Proceeding)  for a local Abbot in one case - and then sent to Canterbury dated ca  1463 1465.   In  it,  we see that this John was described as the Bailiff for  the Abbot of Netley.  This was a very impotant Abbey near Southampton Water from 1240 to 1500+.   We may quote the National Archives website entry - for the abstract of this case - to gain some idea of the matter:

           “This bundle  of two  small sheets  of parchment is comprised of …(1)  a Receipt issued by John, Abbot of Milton an(Abbey in Dorset)), collector of the second moiety of the tenth granted (and thus ultimately given)  to the King (Edward IV)  by the clergy of the province of Canterbury on 23 July 1463 and due to be paid by 25 March 1465 (then like New Years day)  to  John Circholl, Bailiff of the Abbot of Netley - at the latters (ie Johns) Manor of Waddone in Dorset, acknowledging receipt of  8 shillings, 8 pence for the tax due on this estate for this payment of the tenth.  Given under his Seal of Office  (“no longer attached”) on 4th April 1465.”  [We may note that  the  identity of the estate to which the term  this refers  is ambiguous and that the moneys paid (by whomever) seem oddly described as paid to (not by) the said John Circholl.]    The second sheet of parchment - (2)  was another, similar Receipt -  issued by the same collector  (John, the Abbot  of Milton)  acknowledging receipt, from the Abbot of Netley, of  5 shillings for Charlton Marshall (in the parish of Spettisbury, mid-north Dorset),  and 9 pence from the same for the Abbot of Bec-Hellouin (in France?)  - being the (total) tax due for this same payment of the tenth. - given at Milton Abbey, Dorset    25 February, 1465.     Both documents are wholly legible.   This bundle, notes the Archives  website abstract,  with its own Piece number, was added to the E 179/ Series (from Unsorted miscellanea) on 11 Jan 2013.”  

             We may recall that  the  earlier  John Churchill of Waddon (likely born about 1360, say, wrote his Will in 1418 and part of it was published in the Dorchester Municipality Records  and read on March 1st 1420  before Witnesses  (shortly after his death that year). The family clearly retained their possession of Waddon (next to Corton) through the mid-1400s (with the War of the Roses resulting in  some turmoil of  royal loyalties including some Abbeys and Priories, no doubt).  The above John Cercholl, likely born around 1420, say,  would seem to be a direct descendent (possibly the  grandson) of the earlier John Churchill above  (likely spelt diffferently then).  He may have originated from the early Wiltshire and Dorset Churchills - via  his Charlton Narshall  and Woddone contacts - to somehow gain  his position at Netley ca 1300, say.  [But more evidence certainly needed here possibly  from early Monestery records.]    And such Abbeys and their properties would of course become the centre of attention again after 1535 when Henry VIII began to dissolved the Monasteries  such that they (and their many associated properties)  were subsequently sold off to  highest bidders (ca 1540s)  by the Commissioners and their Agents appointed to do so (and possibly re-sold, at a profit, if considered   to be have been bargains). 

           Taking advantage may well have been  that  amalgam of inter-married families as the Bartletts, the Martyns, the Churchills and others'. And,   what were the roles of those  otherwise Devonshire  Wadhams, Petres  and  Courtenays both before and  after that period - ie ca `1530s-50s ?  Did they provide a link or bridge between such as Colyton  in south-east Devon (with its Castle) and Portisham, in south-east  Dorset near Waddon and Corton -  possibly via Catherston, Bradford and Dorchester ?  Those  influential  families seemed to have had properties in both regions.  From whence might the Churchills have come to Waddon  et al ? (See above).   Had they (as early as Roger and Hugo de Curcelles) - held it from 1066, or even before ? Or, had they a temporary centre in nearby Hampshire (where another manor, eventually called  Churchill,  seems also to have  existed for a time possibly near Netley Abbey on Southampton Water  - asn early Port for the Normans ?

             [To include about here:  - an  item re a Rev Bartelot and  one on  a Martyn - in my notes on the Dorchester Records.  Also, I have various other Municipal record items to include somewhere appropriate.   Thus, there are a number of documents on Waddon manor (Dorset) held in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre (?) under their  File Code   865 / xxx.  These include two grants of property in 1423 to  or from a …. ?… Martyn (865/98)  and details of a sale in West Waddon from the  Chafyn to the Zeal  family in 1495-1501 (865/92).  There are also two Sets  of property Deeds for Waddon  mentioning  various  family names (over the years) including Churchill but rather later (1561-1707) -  in  865/111 and 865/96.   There are, in the latter, names of several Witnessses to a later marriage (ca 1594 -98)  between a Reymes and Coker  (re a Farm in Portisham) that includes  the names Trenchard, Gould,  Samways, Meller, Napper, Chapple, and Garland ! [The latter two seen elsewhere and possibly  relevant in unrelated  contexts. (eg - a Garland was to be supplied by  Robert Bartlett, son of John (as per the latters  Will 1560s) with  provisions and  money for life);  they clearly felt somehow obligated.]

               In the National Archives, there are two documents in the SC 6/ series relevant to Waddon:   One is a Description of the Office of Bailiff there specifically for the Manor of Waddon (!)  - over the period 1460 to 1483. (SC 6/ 833/30).  This gets us  quite close to that early Dorchester Bailiff  -  John Churchill -  in 1525.   The other is a description of  lands  in various Manors, including some in Waddon held  by Notley Abbey  ca  2 Rich III  (1485).  They include many references to Southampton  (where there was slso a Netley  in ancient times and, as noted,  a manor called Churchill, I believe).  Another  Notley Abbey (and/or Priory) seems  also to have existed  in Buckinghamshire with widely distributed church properties for income.  The Bailiff  role may have been  in respect of that (Notley)  Priory  - rather than one called Netley ?  But written script often confuses os and es with their frequent cavalier  loops in ancient script. 




           After my disappointing examination of the Piddlehinton  Manor documents held at Eton College (which didnt include those for Muston manor, as expected, despite both manors being in the parish of Piddlehinton), I reviewed the various results of my visit to the National Archives at nearby Kew,  made during that same trip south  (from Yorkshire) - still seeking information concerning  William Churchill Snr (ca 1496-1570+) , but without very much benefit either,  the 16th century writing often being small and  indecipherable.    I was however, reminded at some point  that I should finally look up what I could find about the  oddly named  ‘’Robert Bartlett, alias Hancock  which I had come across earlier on a number of  occasions -  as one who seemed to be somehow associated (ca 1540-50)  with Piddleton, Dorset  in general and even with Muston manor at times.!  I had clearly left it on the periphery of my attention for too long.   This has now been corrected and led to the following resume.  We shall therefore consider this next before returning to our primary coverage of the Dorset Churchills per se  (rom page 72) which may now benefit from any new interpretations facilitated by the insertion here of  this  20+ page  section on this most relevant family:

         The History of  the Bartletts    a  Possible Template for Analysing the  Churchills.

            The following is a resume of what I discovered often to my  joy and amazement about the Bartlett family.  But, before gaining any insight as to the specific name Robert Bartlett, alias Hancock which had caught my eye,  Id noticed a later  Chancery case C8/112/52 Bartlett v Browne and  Churchill at the National Archives .  It was for some reason signed by one Hugh Wadham and  concerned property in  Lutton, Dorset being the same parish from where our first Dorchester John Churchill (1s)  wife Edith Bond, the daughter of one Richard  Bond,  had come whose family  appeared  to be of  long standing  there.  Both the Bonds and Wadhams, as I believed,  had  some  connections with  the Churchills  and it now seemed that  all three families had some mutual interactions, as well,  with the Bartletts.   However, the Bartletts  concerned  did not, on first examination,  appear to represent a branch of that influential family that would advance  our understanding  of the origins of our Churchill family, although  there may have been some clues there - so we  examined  this first.

            Thus, two bothers Thomas and Richard Bartlett, both of Lutton, Dorset  -  Husbandmen  (with wives, Mary and Joan) -  Complained that their father Andrew Bartlett , late of Lutton, deceased,  had been seized of  one Copyhold Tenement in the manor of Lutton (as recorded by manor Copy Roll) -  for the term of their  lives - with the Reversion thereof  to go to their brother Andrew Bartlett Jnr,  but  Andrew Snr  had also held  the Remainder (of the Tenement holding seemingly) and he had  made a contract and agreement with one Thomas Corbett (?), also of Lutton,  [at which point the text becomes too difficult to  decipher reliably].   So,  I had it  photo-copied  at Kew and sent to me on-line - to scrutinise more carefully at home.  Sadly, this was little better.

            The disagreement  seemed to involve the renting out of property and  certain guarantees  for other  Bartlett children (Robert , Susan and Mary) to whom a John Churchill of Lutton, Yeoman paid £100  (a lot then)  and a certain Cottage  with 4 acres was to go to  a Henry Browne - who was to marry a Bartlett daughter (I believe).  Figures of £60  and £260  were also mentioned.  Unfortunately, there appeared to be no dates shown (other than some time after 1553 possibly), so one couldnt  relate the timing and the individuals involved in these event in Lutton,  to other events  or earlier individuals of interest elsewhere.  But, it later appeared that any earlier connections between the families concerned was more often at a higher level of social status  than  that here - of  Husbandman and  Yeoman.  But the Esquires and Gentry would all have their  share of  those who  soon descended to all levels of society below those of that status  - with some later reversing this direction of movement.

             We  may thus try to discover anything useful with regard to any interactions between such as the Bartletts and Churchills in areas nearer Muston or Pulston,  say  hopefully  above the level of   Husbandman and Copyholder,  as noted at Lutton   If Subsidy taxes were paid by the Bartletts there;  did  any Churchills not at least engender records of their own presence there or nearby also in the 1530s or 40s  ?   Are there  no extant records of same remaining (as any Muster lists) - unless one was an undoubted   Leaseholder or Freeholder ?  Manor records clearly show the names of  Copyholders at   neighbouring (Eton-owned)  Piddlehinton  Manor (eg - one Thomas Lowman);  what might the comparable records of Muston or Pulston Manor Freeholders (as local Abbeys or even  the Bartletts)  show - in regard to any  presumed Copyholder (or Leaseholder) renting  from them - over that slightly  earlier period ? 

             And, after they sold it, rather later, to the  other  branch  of the Churchills (those of  Dorchester),  who became or remained  the  Copy-  or Lease-holder)  of  such Manor lands  ?   We can but travel hopefully guided in part by an analysis of the Bartletts comparable  journey.  [Try early Exchequer tax records ?] They stress their connections with three families in particular including the Churchills. Surely their many records witness the name of those who held the Copyholds of Pulston and/or Muston (from ca 1530 to 1580), say,   ie  before they sold the latter at least,  over the  period 1586 to 1612,   to the new Freeholder being now a Churchill of the Dorchester family - if oddly rather gradually, and piecemeal  ?

              Our focus was ultimately to be on this Bartlett familys involvement in the Piddleton (Piddletown)  area of Dorset,  and in particular initially with Muston Manor of neighbouring Piddlehinton  parish,  in the period 1535-55, say.   Eventually, the Bartletts  seem to have  sold  their Freehold in that small  manor by 1612 - to a member of the Dorchester branch of  the Churchill family   both branches having descended seemingly - from a Churchill family of Devon who were of landed (Freeholder) status in the recent past.   The  possibly senior  branch appears to have been  seated over the same period at Bradford Peverell (initially).   Both  branches  emanated, we believe,  from the same one father  - William Churchill   albeit a Yeoman or  Copyholder himself  for a time - whom we understood may have settled at either Pulston or Muston by mid-century ie from ca 1535-45)  (after a shorter  stint at Catherstone, in west Dorset, being friends (and inter-married with) the Wadhams). 

               While the immense amount of data resulting from  the fulsome  investigations  of the Bartlett family by their Australian progeny (especially by one Peter Bartlett apparently)   provides promising potential  in resolving our own uncertainties, we appreciate that  it may  well  remain unresolved (for a variety of reasons) and so  must continue to temper any optimism.

              We shall arrive at some of the details regarding this  familys presence in south  Dorset after first describing briefly their origins and subsequent spread in south England  generally as gratefully provided by Peter Bartlett and family in considerable detail - after  enormous effort and impressive  searches of all manner of background records.  This was then followed by their most comprehensive reporting of same.  Thankfully, no stones have been  left  unturned,  nor unreported !


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             The first Bartlett,  as the first Churchill,  appears to have arrived in England  in 1066 with  William the Conqueror.   Both families would function eventually at the highest levels in  the  new society with the Churchills doing so  rather later and less widely than the Bartletts.   As mentioned earlier, the new King William  relied on about a dozen or so Chief Barons with their large retinues of knights and supporters ie as his Special Companions expected to protect and support him and his family.   One of these with whom the Bartletts seem closely aligned was that of Robert de  l Eu, a powerful Baron related to William himself.  Another close ally was the family of  de Brionne -  seemingly from the same Normandy district as the Bartletts.     The French forms of many of these  surnames were gradually  adapted to more English versions.  Thus,  de Brionne became de Bryan, and then Brian, de Courcelle  became  Churchelle, and thence  Churchill and  the name that became Bartlett was apparently originally de Bartelot (pronounced, I assume,  Bar tel - owe). 

           The de Brionnes had an important  role in the protection of Williams royal family (and his immediate  successors), while  the Bartelots  apparently had a similar role, as Special Companions, in turn,  in the  protection of the de Brionnes/Bryans both coming from the Liseux area in Normandy.  Thus, where the  Bryans settled on widely distributed lands granted them by the King,  so too were the Bartelots/Bartletts - on lands they obtained comparably through the good offices of the Bryans living nearby.  Any other families sharing in this  Companionship  in particular areas (as the west country generally), including the Churchills,  would likely have done so by less obvious, less  direct means (such as inter-marriage) which we do not try to analyse in detail here - in those pre-1500s days.  

          [The origin of the name Bartelot  is suggested to go back as far as the time of Chrarlemagnes mother  Queen Bertha - one of whose daughters, also named Bertha, married a Duke and they called an early son Berthelot  - apparently meaning little Bertha.  He in turn named a son someone de Berthelot  (born ca 1010), say, who apparently had a son Adam de Barthelot around 1035.  This man, who accompanied William in 1066,  was considered the ancestor of all the  later Bartletts in England whatever the precise origin or form of his familys earlier name.] 

            This first Bartelot in England,  Adam de Bartelot (ca 1035-1077), soon returned  to  Liseux however, to marry a French girl with whom he  had two sons - Robert and Ralph de Bartelot  - seemingly in the late 1060s.  (Marrying an English girl instead could compromise  Norman property inheritance  rights).  In their  protection roles, the Brionnes and the Bartelots were soon granted various manors and, in the case of the   Brionnes,  eventually raised to Baron status themselves. [Our Roger de Courcelle, or sons, being  significant land holders in Somserset, didnt quite achieve this comparable advance  them selves, before the Malets seemingly displaced them.]  But they eventually failed in the direct male line and that Brionne/Bryan/Brian  name gradually disappears from the  property records - by the late 1300s/early 1400s.  But the Bartelot/Bartlett  family itself seemingly thrived in male progeny  and it became apparent that they continued to reside in many of those  same  areas in Sussex, Dorset, Devon and Somerset - where the  Bryans  had  originally held their  Freehold manors - in the 12th to  15th centuries (including  Brianspiddle in Dorset, for example, near Piddletown/ Piddleton where a latter Bartlett certainly resided (and where, in neighbouring Bardolphston Piddlde, were early Peverells and Churchills).

            The Churchills  had also been granted certain properties in these same counties apparently, but they too suffered increasingly from having too few viable sons to inherit same although it seems they  managed to hang  on (just).  The marriage of their many more daughters soon diluted the extent of their earlier manorial holdings(portions of which would have to  accompany their daughters to promote marriages).    Some of the few remaining younger sons were necessarily reduced to the role of Yeomen as noted renting or managing rather than owning property as Leaseholders or  Copy-holders.  But, through the Bartletts, this was apparently to change especially from about 1540-50 - through the unexpected activities of   John and /or Robert Bartelot /Bartlett alias Hancocke.  Iohn  had been  appointed an Agent by Cromwell or his Deputy Tregonwell - for overseeing  property sales after  the Dissolution of the Mesenteries in the south-west.    This will hopefully be described more thoroughly  later.  In the meantime, we continue describing  that  background of  Bartletts in the west country more generally.

             Adam de Bartelots  eldest sons  were thus, in their turns, the effective  Stewarts  to the de Brionnes/Crians  and assisted them  in administering their  widely scattered  manors.  One estate in West Sussex, at Stopham, however, seems initially to have been held by a Robert d lEu, second son of  Count Robert d lEu  shortly after  the Conquest - when much land in that invaded area was granted to that important Count and hence to his sons, in turn, although first son William de l Eu had unwisely sought to rebel against the Conqueror and was eventually  caught and executed.  It thus remained in second son Robert d l Eus family.  Who were they ?   It  somehow  became jointly owned  later by  the de Bartelots and the de Bryans (sometime after  the Doomsday inquiries of 1086); and when a de Bryan daughter (sole heiress) of same married a John Bartelot, Esq  around 1200,  the latter family seems then  to have inherited that important Sussex estate.

             It could be argued that the Stopham estate was essentially the property of the Bartelots from the beginning however - to the extent  that  second Robert d lEus name might reasonably  have arisen from (Ro) Ber d-l ot  and  soon shortened to  Bartelot -  rather than this latter name having arisen as  mentioned above (through Berthas son Berthelo, say).  In any case, at Doomsday, the entry for Stopham was ambiguous (the scribes often assuming that future  readers (essentially tax collectors)  would know to whom  a given Christian name simply entered on its own for a given manor- as Robert, say,   typically referred  only locally,  unqualified by any other surname;  a case can thus be made that a (Ro) bert  [delEu]   or Ro:  Bertelot  then held it and  leased it back to his  younger brother Radolphus  (Ralph)   de Bartelot) . Several successive Ralph Bartelots de Stopham then  held it through the 1200s.  Both  surnames -  Bertelot  and d   de lEu -  were said to often appear later in respect of the same lands and manors and may therefore  have been  of that  one family from  earlier.    

             Thus,  Stopham  remained a Bartelot(later Bartlett)  manor and effective centre for  the  original family for many years.  About the year 1360, a Thomas Bartlett  of Stopham married Assuline de Stopham, whose son John in turn married a Joan de Stopham and a grandson, also John (ca 1425-1493), married  Olive Arthur about 1465.  Their two sons  Richard and William Bartlett were said to be born in 1471 and ca 1475, respectively.  This brings us closer to our more understood Tudor century of the 1500s - when we hope  increasingly to find  more  information - with  specific dates,  places and names that quite soon a shift westward and ppear in Dorset–– along  with the Churchills, amongst several other interactive families, in that west country.   Interesingly, there were several Churchill entries in the records for east Dorset from the mid -1300s onward  (see Wadddone  manor record above.) Were any early Bartletts in the vicinity ?  It was quite near to Lutton - where those later Husbandmen of that family were in litigation with a Yeoman Churchill.  And was the former Churchill manor thought to be in Hampshire  (near Netley Abbey) relevant ?




            According to the Bartlett history, early members of their family gained in position and power by virtue of their close association with not only the de Brionne / Bryyan family, for whom Adam de Bartelot and his elder son Robert  (and  succeeding elder sons),   had effectively become  Stewards,  but  also with the  Arundels, the chief family in the Bartelots  original base in Sussex (and elsewhere in the south).  Thus, they often represented the nearby Kentish Cinque Ports  as MPs -  effectively as  a gift from that dominant family - to whom Adams younger son, Ralph and his line similarly served as trustees and accountants over future generations.  These associations continued through the 13th and  14th centuries by means of a succession of mostly elder sons - Robert - in the first cases  and of elder sons Ralph in the  latter who tended to remain more at the family holdings at or near Stopham in Sussex, or in neighbouring Kent, through to the 14 and 1500s.  

             Significantly, however,  one of the last de Bryan daughters, Maude,  married a Ncholas de Mortaine (later Martyn) of Waterston Manor in Piddleton, Dorset.  It would likely be  the  Bryans and Martyns presence and  their contacts in Dorset (from that time ca 1380s,  say) that  accounted for that union and property.  And where the  Bryans settled, the Martyns and the Bartelots/Bastletts (of Roberts line) were generally also to be found  n -  by virtue of receiving grants of property from the Bryans and by inter-marriages with them and other allied families.  

            But Roberts line also benefitted from the Arundel connection as witnessed in the 1332 Will of one William Arundel (with wife Alice)  by which this Robert de Bartelot,  then already described simply as   of Dorset  was left property there  - in Shaftesbury   “..for himself and his heirs for ever.”  [Just where ? Aws it nar Spettisbury ?]   The Bryans and Bartelots also  resided  subsequently near each other -  innearby Bryanston (1335) and  Stourpaine (1346-52) where  said Robert seems to have lived,  with  a Thomas Bartlett later noted in the  Manor Book for nearby Stockwood (just south of Sherborne) in the 1380s.    His  likely son, Sir William Bartlett, was a   Kings Tax  Collector for neighbouring Somerset about then  (1400-25).   And a William Bartlett was the Rector of  the church in Buckland Ripers, Dorset   from 1346  to 1391.  This was located a little north of Weymouth. [We have recently noticed a Burial entry there  - for 1764  - for a William Bartlett, son of William amd Mary (they likely born locally ca 1735, say some 350 years later!]

           The  appointment of a Rector  to  a given churchliving was often in the gift of the local Lord of the Manor - who frequently held that churchs advowson.   Several such advowsons in Dorset were held by the inter-married Frampton, de la Lynde, Martyn  and Bartlett families during those  pre-1400  times.  Said William Bartlett  was presumably  so assisted in gaining that early Dorset placement. For we find that almost a century later,  the advowson for this same church was  then held by a Margaret Frampton - who  gave the living there to a John Bartlett in 1431    In the meantime, a  Richard  Bartlett served as Rector in  Catherston  in distant west Dorset - from  1396 to 1418 where a member of the Wadham  family would likely soon hold  that  advowson.   Our William Churchill and family appear to have  reside there around 1520-30 when that Manor it was still held by the Wadhams with whom they were inter-married.  (Manor records, if exgtant,  may confirm this.)

         When the Bryan family finally failed in the male line,  about 1420 or so,  the Bartelots/Bartletts were thus at least well established in many of those same western areas gained through that familys earlier generosity   who had gained themselves  through their  close connections,  in London, to the Royal family.  The Bartletts   had themselves gained several important positions in London through  that Royal favour, before that Bryan connection ceased.    The Bryans principal  residence by then had become   Werdesford (?Waterston) Castle  near Piddleton, Dorset  where a btanch of the Bartlett family had apparently also been settled  - from about 1450.  [See below  for  the year 1444.]  A  Robert Bartelot  was later chosen  Mayor of nearby Dorchester  as  erly as 1448-50.  His possible brother, John Bartelot,  became one of the  towns  many Bailiffs   a year later. (A  John Churchill would hold that same  position (as many did briefly) more than once (from 1525) two  generations later. An even earlier Bailiff (though not of Dorchester) resided in nearby Waddon ca 1475).  

              The Bartlett  history proceeds next with an account of the progression of that  family in Dorset  as they advanced from the period when, often as churchmen, they held  several s  church livings,  to one where they began to hold more land as well, and also appesrmore in public office   initially in  tht  important centre of  Dorchester and  area.  But first, a very good account is presented that sets the scene  - of  the times then  in Dorset (and elsewhere in England)  - times that  affected so many including both the Bartlett and the Churchill families we must assume.  We quote from the formers account (with light paraphrasing) which covers these matters from somewhat earlier: 

             “Those (late 14th and early 15t) centuries)  were difficul  times  in  England - which had yet to  recover fully from the Plague of 1348-49 - when half  the population of Dorset was  lost ..... .The country was  still embroiled in its never ending (100 years) war with France  and  discontent with social conditions generally and  with the church in particular  was making itself felt.  It was also a bad time for the Bartletts to have lost the patronage of the now deceased Bryans - enjoyed for so long. Their own status gradually changed and would affect future generations  as well.  Like most Dorset families, they  (and the Bryans) had been decimated by the plague with their numbers much reduced by the start of the 15th century.  All the known Bryan estates had been sold or inherited by other families - except for Stockwood Manor (between Sherborne and Dorchester)  and  where, as late as 1423,  its Manor Court records show that a Phillipa de Bryan, unmarried daughter of the last Sir Guy de Bryan, still resided there along with her longest serving ?Steward  Sir William Bartelot - possibly as a Lessee of the estate.  This status was still the case according to the Manor Court records there in 1444. Over the ensuing  years,  one or more Richard  Bartlett(s)  held positions as Vicar  locally - in two of the many Winterborne parishes in south-east Dorset (ca 1455-95), while  aRev Henry Bartlett  was Vicar at Charminster about  then -  while residing at neighbouring  Fordington,  on the north edge of Dorchester. 

            It would be about this time (ca 1476) that Sir Robert de Bartelot  was entrusted by Edward  IV  to bestowe  the  Order of the Garter upon a foreign Duke  - of Urbino an Italian nobleman  then acknowledged as the Renaissance Man par excellence - of all Europe. There must have been de Bartelots  then  in Royal service of the first Tudor  - Henry VII  - in  London . They would have  have been loyal to a succession of differing royal families during that ime and  through  those unstable years of the Wars of the Roses   - on either side of the 1450s.  Thus, a  William Bartlett  resided in  both Dorchester and Piddleton  during the period  1465-80.   Finally, we note that a John Bartlett, probably Williams son,  was  shown living at  Piddleton in 1495, during Henry VIIs reign.   He was  followed a generation later (with Henry VIII  now on the throne)   by his 3 seeming sons -  William, Richard and Robert Bartlett by 1525, and then by their sons in turn,  by the 1540s.    Some of these Bartlett residents are also now noted by means of the Lay Subsidy and/or Militia Muster Lists,  and others, including the latters issue,  find  confirmation of  identities with the happy survival of  the earliest Piddleton parish church Registers  -  of Baptisms,  Marriages and  Burials commencing from 1538.

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             It is obvious from the above summary that the Batrletts became settled in many parishes and manors in Dorset, and Somerset during the two centuries from the 1340s  to 1540s+. As explained, they did so initially due to their close association with two particular families the  Bryans and the Arundels, with later connections with the Martyns,  de la Lyndes and Kellaways.  During those 200+ years, there would of course be an impressive 10  or so generations   of marriages, births and  a consequent redistributions of granted, purchased  or inherited properties - in many such districts.  This would no doubt  entail  various Robert, John, Richard, William and  Thomas Bartletts    respectively marrying  on many occasions into a  plethora  of other similarly landed  or near landed middle class families (including the Martyns and Churchills) - so acquiring  further property and local and national positions of public office  and influence.  Clearly, we make  no attempt to analyse  and distil all this potential detail - from either the Bartlett history itself  nor from examining countless other  archive sources so arising including many property transfers or litigation documents generally over the entire  area and period.  It was clearly a complex, inter-woven network.

              Our task, rather, is simply to identify  the most likely individual  Bartletts  who were  responsible for acquiring, and later selling, any particular and  relevant  Dorset properties  in the times of the early Tudors  that may impinge upon the lives of the early Churchills  - in such as  Piddleton,  Piddlehinton  and associated manors.  as well as in nearby Dorchester, Charminster  and  Bradford Peverell.   And, once doing so, to determine if the major Lease- or Copy-holders of same, under any Bartlett Freeholds were ever, from about the 1530s to 1560s,  a particular (temporary) Yeoman - one William Churchill  (ca 1496-1580s) who was  not of the junior  branch of that Dorset family near there then -   centred primarily on Dorchester but was,  rather, the  progenitor of  both that branch  and  the apparently more senior one settled  initially at  Bradford  Peverell  - with a possible earlier association with Catherston in west Dorset.  The small manor at  Pulston in the north of Charminster (which parish neighbours Bradford Peverell), was a thought to be one such.   

            (Intriguingly, a Burial entry for said Williams daughter-in-law Jane nee Peverell was noted (for 1578/9)  in the Charminster register itself .)  Moreover, we see that her father William Peverell (d ca 1520)  was once described as of Bardalphston being a manor in or  near Piddleton as well as  of Bradford Peverell.  What could that imply, if anything,  with regard to William Churchill arranging a marriage between his eldest son Roger and said Jane Peverell   1535-40 she then a sole heiress ?  It seems to imply that there  could  be a Bartlett  invluence in those arrangements that early.

             The history of the Bartletts continues with the fact that  from  the de la Lynde family descended  members of the Collier and Lowman (Lawman)  families who were more clearly Lessees and/or Copyholders of  property in or near Piddleton apparently owned by the Bartletts.  In addition, a  Robert Bartlett of the day either leased himself or owned a former Holles property nearby.  This family, who produced a famous MP for Dorchester,   were apparently also related to  two or three of those other relations.   We did note that the rent paid for farms  then owned by Eton College - in nearby Piddlehinton  manor itself  (but sadly, not Muston itself albeit located in that same parish) - was indeed  paid  in Tudor times by that then current Lessee or  Copyholder   Thomas Lowman, and  his  sons in turn.

             It is possible that comparable Manor Court records for neighbouring Muston Manor could show that the Lowman family also  paid   rents for same there -  although ones initial  understanding was  that they were in fact  paid (for a time),  by William Churchill Snr (born ca 1496), and later  by  his third son William Jnr (born ca 1525-30).   In any case, surely the records for same by which this could be ascertained one way or the other havent simply disappeared ?  The names of the Muston Lessee or Copyholder through the period 1530 to 1590, say,  havent,  we assume,  disappeared !    Although the precise relationships amongst the Bartelots at this time is difficult to determine, certain connections may be suggested. 

             There were three other families in these same areas of Dorset about then with whom the Bartletts  also interacted    the  Prowts/Prouts, the Frekes and the Churchills and information on them could help clarify relationships, places  and dates for all four families.   The Bartletts had  known the  Prout family “for a very long time and (were)  linked to them by a series of marriages”, notes the Bartlett history.  They too  were  of Norman descent and were major landowners - at Litton Cheney, Frampton and Bridport    - (south-west of Dorchester).   They had been Mayors and Bailiffs of Bridport and a William Prout had been a Dorset MP  in Parliament. 

            Hutchins, in his famous  History of Dorset,  shows  an  estate near Litton Cheney  to be occupied by the Bartelots  - initially as Lessees - of  absentee owners (whohad  likely purchased it from the Prouts)  then residing in Hampshire.  It was headed then or a little later by one  George Bartelot who apparently  purchased the estate outright around 1500, and it was later in the hands of his son John Bartlett, before 1525 - when his name appears as a  payer of the  Subsidy tax there (of £25).  His son in turn, another John Bartlett , was also shown paying tax there  a little later  (1539- at £35),  as well as appearing on the local Muster list  for 1542   being mounted on horse and armed.   In 1545,  this younger John  now paid  the  £25 Subsidy there    the estate  apparently remaining in the family into the 1600s.   We assume that the Prout family had continued in the area  as well, beyond the  1540s,  as a Prout daughter would marry a Bartlett son in Piddleton about then (see below). 

             The second close family, the Frekes, were  also considerable  landowners and  held  influential  positions in the legal profession and in local government. They too were linked by marriage  to all three of the families concerned.  Thus, a Joan Prout, who had married a Thomas Freke, (in about 1500), was related to the  Alice Prout  who would   marry Robert Bartlett at Piddleton  in 1542.  The Freke name  comes up again later.

             The third family long associated with the Bartletts werof course the  Churchills who, according to the Bartlett history,  had also arrived in England  in 1066  - with the name de Courcelle as part of a contingent led by Count Robert de Mortaine (later Martyn) and Count Guido de Brionne (later Bryan).  As we have noted, the latter two were both in a position to grant lands to their closest associates and followers - in those same parts of Wessex (ie Somerset, Devon and Dorset) where the Bartelots enjoyed similar advantages.  All four family names thus appeared close to one another in those earliest years (1300s-1400s).  By the mid-1400s,  the Churchill name had  appeared in or near Dorchester,  as well as  in Court circles in London.  (We have described  above their earlier presence as well  in Somerset and Devon ca 1130s -1500+.) [And now around Corton and Waddon, soth Dorset.]

            There were also Bartelots living in or near  Dorchester  around these dates,   and  in  adjoining Fordington  and Stinsford.   A Robert Bartlett had been Mayor in Dorchester in 1450-53 as note above and his apparent son John was Bailiff there as also mentioned.  Shortly after,  they  likely resided in one or other of those latter nearby manors with which  the Bartletts would still be  associated well into the 1600s.  If we assume that Robert would have been born by about 1415, and married ca 1440,  his son John would likely be born shortly after (by ca 1445, say) and   reasonably be a Bailiff by the 1470s.   

           It is this Johns son William Bartlett born about then, and so married by 1495, say,  that provides us with our first reliable evidence regarding  important relevant  dates and connections as the Turor period of the 1500s loom.  For  the earliest  surviving  Piddleton parish church registrations (of  baptisms, marriages and  burials). commenced in 1538.    From these, combined with existing names and dates given on Subsidy rolls and Muster Lists, we cmore confidently construct  a network of relevant family relationships - including  places and dates.

            Thus we find that the foregoing William is named as father  in  an early burial entry  in that register of an adult son Edmund Bartlett   dated  the 1st of January 1540  - at St Marys church in Piddleton- a few miles north-east of Fordington.  The Bartlett history concluded that as this latter Bartlett in the family had no property in his own name (for which he would otherwise be recorded as paying Subsidy tax before 1540), he was likely Williams youngest son  (of the five  it was concluded he had), the other four being John, Richard,  Robert  and Thomas.  If Edmond was an adult in 1540, aged about 25 and so  born around 1515  (after those  four  earlier sons (and possibly 2 or  3  daughters)  - all born at roughly 2 year intervals, say,   we could reasonably place Williams marriage to about 1492 or so  (when he apparently married an Alice or Aline  Covert).  This indicated his  birth  around 1470, as suggested  above   - long before  those church registers had  actually commenced. 

           William and Alice/Aline) would thus have their large family between about 1493  and  1518, say, in whatever order.  He subsequently paid £30 tax for his Piddleton property in 1525 by which time  his sons would be  aged ca 10 to 30.  William was believed  to have also inherited and held property  at both Fordington (on the edge of Dorchester) and at Sock Dennis, just over the border into  Somerset, on both of which he also  paid  tax.  That in Fordington was later inherited by his son Robert (born ca 1506, say)  on Williams death by about  1542  (as William was apparently still alive  in 1540  - attending  youmgest son Edmonds early burial that year).  A possible older son  Richard  (born ca 1502) was said to  have inherited the familys partial hold on Sock Dennis by that time.  The other,  possibly eldest, son   John Bartlett (born ca 1497, say, and one of those John Bartletts described above, would later also hold property in  Somerset.  His  prior career was most  interesting, if rather  complex, and  is  detailed  more fully below. 

              First, in this regard, we seek to explain a certain seeming anomaly and  confusion in the findings in the  Subsidy and Muster rolls over this period.   A little to the north-east of Dorchester, in Piddleton,  whose Subsidy list for 1525  showed this   John Bartlett (born ca 1497)  and thus not the one  of Litton Cheney) - paying just £2, and his apparent brother Richard (born ca 1502), just £3 as relative youngsters.   But a William Bartlett, seemingly their father (bn ca 1470),  paid £30  t that year  (1525) , indicating he held most of a good property in Piddleton.    20  years later (1545), we find eldest son John,  now aged about 45-47,  paying that higher rate (£35) -  having presumably  inherited the bulk of the Piddleton property on his fathers death  around 1542.  [Significantly, this was about when former Monestry properties were beginning to become relevant in the lives of many young locals. just strating out their married lives then.] 

         John Bartlett had apparently married an Agnes Hancock around 1520  - with whom he would  have  4 sons  himself -  Richard (?1520), William (?1522), Thomas (?1525) and Robert{?1528) each  taxed at  between  £1 and  £3 only they presumably not yet holding sufficient property in their own names yet - to pay more.  We have assumed that  these 4 sons  were  born between   1520  and 1530, say,  and so aged  then  from  about 10 to 20 ; ie  essentially teenagers not required to pay very much. And Henry VIII was just beginning his dominant royal position - vis a vis the Monesteries ,

            This is supported by the Piddleton Muster findings  of just 3 years earlier (1542) which show that John, who would then be about 43, was mounted and with arms awhile his 4 young sons were seemingly also available, - but only on foot.  All of these male Bartletts,  including John, were  however now described with only  their mothers  maiden surname Hancock in  that Muster  list; this was apparently allowed  on a complex tax law basis.   John Bartlett died in 1558, referring in his Will to his wife Agnes and theireldest son Robert (who would then be about 30),  and to another Robert Bartlett  the younger possibly a nephew or grandson), but to no other  brothers, sons, or daughters).  By 1569,  a seemingly later John and  Robert Bartlett  now appear on the Muster list for Piddleton  and, by 1594, another  generation on,  an even  later John Bartlett  alone pays the Subsidy there at just £3;  this small amount implying that  someone else likely then owned or held the  major proportion of the property there  (or this John was still too young to pay more).  [Note: We  wrote the forgoing before the following which may entail some repetition but hopefully will provide a more comprehensive picture.]:

            The Muster  for Piddleton in  1542 showed  no men named  Bartlett (or similar)  but did show those  named  Hancock (as now mentioned above),  and we also find differences in Subsidy tax paid in 1525  by William Bartlett  (at £30) and his possibly eldest son John Bartlett  (at just £3), on the one hand, and that paid  in 1545 at the higher rate  by that son John  only  indicating that he must have inherited the bulk of  his father Williams property in Piddleton   on  the latters estimated death  in  1542.   This could indicate that John was the eldest son (born ca 1496-98, say).   Because  two of Williams other sons - Robert and Richard  - were already living at their recently inherited (?)  properties - in Fordington and Sock Dennis, respectively - as per the 1545 Subsidy lists for those parishes, when they (presumably) were shown in the  1542  Piddleton Muster  as  Hancock (including John himself), there may be a need  to clarify just who were the sons of William and Alice,  and who those of John and Agnes manifesting similar forenames but these oddly different surnames.   Ex-Monestry properties were becoming increasingly available just bthen - between about 1537 and 1545.  And John Bartlett, alias Hancocke, had many relations and friends

            Any confusion  as to which set of sons were Williams, and which Johns  (and thus the generation each set represented - never mind which were accorded the names Hancock  and which Bartlett  on the next Muster  and Subsidy lists), needs to be better determined.   We may recall  that in about 1518-22  Williams eldest son John Bartlett married  Agnes Hancock  and, because  of the  primogeniture law then still applying, it  would increase the scope of their descendants  inheritance (ie by  including any from the female Hancock side of the family) if John and his descendants  added the name  Hancock to ,their own Bartlett surnames  The names in that form (or just as Hancock on its own) on those  Muster  lists were thus those  for  John and his four (part-Hancock) sons, not any of those of his father William.  But the formers surnames (of John and sons)  seem to have  reverted to Bartlett by the time of the next Subsidy just 3 years later - in 1545There seems to have been an advantage in utilising this alternative tewporary surname when ex-Chancery properties, etc  were being bought and/or sold , or re-sold, at suspiciously low prices. The reason for such sales, thus obscured, will be elaborated further below.

            Lists of such  taxes paid by Bartletts  elsewhere in Dorset, in 1525 and 1545,  showed them still owning property then at  Litton Cheney, Frampton (5 miles north-west of Dorchester), Piddleton, Wooton Granville(!?), Compton  (north-west of Dorchester) and Stourton Caundle.(5 miles east of Sherborne).  But, by 1569, such payments were made  only at Litton and Piddleton the latter (only £3) now by a presumablya younger generation  John Bartlett.  [What about Muston, Pulston,  Fordington or Stinsford?]    As mentioned, the introduction of parish registers in 1538  could  well provide  more reliable information concerning  births, marriages and deaths in our families of interest if and where they had survived.  This would apply to those in all 6 of the above areas where the Bartletts still held property, and so generally resided, when  those significant  life events could now be registered. We shall focus next on Piddleton in particular in this respect. 

           The very first event recorded in the Piddleton church marriage register (gratefully transcribed decades ago by Phillimore and now posted on-line by that parishs present- day records manager; (those for baptisms and burials sadly not being yet available),  was that for a Thomas Bartlett  who, on Nov 30  1539,  married ?Meliora Curland (?Garland) there.   This Thomas  would likely have been  born about 1515 possibly as a later born son of William and Alice, or one of their eldest son Johns earlier born sons. 

            We have touched on Johns younger brothers as Richard at Fordington,  Robert  in Somerset and Thomas still in Piddleton,  above.  What of Johns own story during or after his residence in Piddleton  - where his four  BartlettHancock sons were apparently born, grew up and married ca 1520-1540s ?  If their respective uncles had married and disbursed to other areas, where did  John and his sons, also now married, go ?  And what  did   John and Agnes do ?  Who, if any of them, remained at Piddleton ?  Possibly just Robert ?   None of the family lived at bearby Piddlehintons  own Manor, nor at its neghbouring  Muston manor (Hall or Fa)  - which the family had apparently acquired  in 1545  from Crown sales of  ex-Cerne Abbey holdings.   They likey then rented  these out to either Leaseholders or Copyholders (as the earlier Churchills  possibly or, later,  the Lowmans) until the Bartletts Freehold on that latter Manor and Farm was finally sold - by one  Nathaniel Bartlett  ca 1610-12 to  John Churchill of Stinsford and Dorcheste, Gent.  That family would apparently then reside there (now as Esqs, some centuries !,  but likely still renting out the associated Farm to such as the Lowmans.

            Usefully,  the Piddleton  register transcriptions show us details of four more marriages of the local male Bartletts  - all seemingly born to that John (William and Alices eldest son John) and his wife Agnes nee Hancock who had themselves likely married around 1518-20   These  4 sons  also married there  -  in the 1540s.   Subsidy and Muster lists show they likely resided there  as minor property holders (or at least as  young men fit for Militia duties)  about that same  time. They married as follows:  Richard (bn ca 1518) married  Alice Haines on 29 Jan 1541/2; Robert (bn ca 1520) married Alice Prout on 20 July 1542; Thomas (bn ca 1522) married Edith Skottes on 11 Nov 1542, while  a William Jnr (?bn ca 1524), having likely  married elsewhere nearby (around 1545, say), but at least had  a daughter Johane Bartlett baptised at Piddleton  (where they likely still lived) - on  6 March 1547Their possible friends and acquaintences Roger and John Churchill -were having their early issue in Bradford Peverell and Dorchester, respectively -  about then also. 

             This completes the saga of John Bartlett/Bartelot/Hancock, seemingly eldest son of that  earlier William Bartelot.  John was said  to have eventually retired to his main home - in Piddleton - where he died in late 1558, aged about 60  apparently.  In his Will, (PROB 11/42/A/440), written on 4 Nov 1558,  he  does  not sound at all like a man through  whose auspices so much valuable property was apparently transferred, about 15 years earlier.   After leaving various friends some single Pecks of wheat and/or barley and the  Piddletown  church 20 shillings, he  refers to just one son Robert (both having been for a time  alias Hancocke)  - to  whom he leaves  various livestock and all my Wooden houses,  and also  6 …..?......  Robert is also to receive a relatively small  amount of  cash  (£25 ?)   to be paid him directly by the hand of my wife Agnes (who at least is later also referred to by him as  Roberts mother). But  Robert  is required to pay any of his father Johns outstanding debts.   He leaves his house in Dorchester to  a Roger Bartlett (no  relationship stated)   and to Robert Bartlett the younger, he leaves  a yearling bullock.

              He then Wills that  Agnes my wife shall  hold all  my Copyholds  peacefully without any trouble from my son Robert.  And to Agnes he also leaves all my movable and unmovable  goods.   [One is curious as to what all my Copyholds refers  here; one would assume, almost by definition,  that  it wouldnt  refer to my Freeholds and/or Leaseholds (which one would normally let out to Copyholders) . Did they produce  an income stream for their inheritor ?]     He then appoints his son Robert to be  Executor of his Will but adds that Sir Thomas Garland  is to have his Meat and Drink provided him by Robert for Sir Thomas life (!) ,  as well as both Robert and Agnes each paying him £10 yearly (!) she  during  her widowed estate  (state ?).  Why this odd  consideration of a knighted Thomas Garland ?  Did he assist John significantly in their earlier years ? (See also wife named ?Carland above.)

             The Will was witnessed by John Butt, Roger Riche, John Jollyett and John Bonde  - who were to receive two sheep each  (ie 8 in total  - 4 from Robert and 4 from Agnes, so divided). for their pains.   The Will was proved on March 1st, 1558/59  by the son Robert Bartlett. as Executor.    Robert would likely be about 35-40 then   and so the eventual sale of Muston by one Nathaniel Bartlett  after 1600  would quite possibly  be a grandson of this Robert, born about 1570, say, to a son of said Robert - of almost any forename born about 1540-50;  there were several  Bartletts born in Piddleton  then, I believe.  He would presumably be the eldest surviving son of a Bartlett of this same status. We find no Will later listed for either Johns widow Agnes  or  his son Robert - although there is an intriguing entry in the Archives for an Inquisition Post Mortem on Robert Bartlett alias Hancock dated  Nov 1577-78    (C 142/ 180/ 27)  and an associated  record  WARD 7/ 20/ 24 of same date pertaining to issue of same.  These have yet to be examined (with interet).

             Moreover, we  see there is a  Proceeding C2/Eliz/ B3/ 60 in which a William Bartlett and John Style  Complain against a William Frampton and wife Emma  in which reference is made to  the Will of  Alice Bartlett alias Hancock  for whom the Complainants were or had been Executors. The brief resume notes that it concerned a possible Fraud in regard to a Contract pertaining to  Muston Farm, Piddlehinton  and  a House in Puddletown called Islington House which is or was owned by Robert Bartlett. (he possibly said Alices deceased husband,  [See above such reference, or his  son].  It was dated somewhere between 1588 and 1603].                              

            We should note that young men just starting out in life as married adults  would  of course be very interested in the availability of any reasonably-priced first homes for their expected families.   This was certainly the case for young John Churchill in Dorchester around the 1540s where, without any significant funds we know of,  he suddenly acquired a very good ex-Chantry property  ca  1545 (although the sales documents may have been delayed, entailing  a succession of transfers and unrecognised nmames, to a later date).  One might find that these recently married  sons of John Bartlett similarly so appear, otherwise unexpectedly,  in different  towns and villages in south Dorset which had recently been the property of  various religious foundations.  It appears that some of the other contemporary Churchills also so benefitted as at Little Bredy,  Comptons,  Frampton  and Pulston (!).  




          The Bartlett family history soon provided  answers  to some of the above questions when it continues with a new section in which we learn that  “…John Bartelot  had been  appointed to the position of  Investigator of Monasteries.” .But how would such an  appointment have come about, for a small Freeholder living in Piddleton,  in rural Dorset ?   It  would have resulted, says the history (somewhat vaguely),  through  “influences exerted by other members of the Bartelot family that is, by those of Williams generation, or before (ca 1530s-40s),  partly back in Sussex but, one feels,  mainly  in London.  This  appointment  must have transpired by about 1536-38, when John would have been coming up 40 with  his children back home  - about to marry  in Piddleton, or nearby,  and settle down  - wherever they reasonably could .  Just where that wherever might be  for them (and their friends and relatives) could soon  be influenced  from a much greater choice throughout Dorset -  than would otherwise have been the case -  previously  -  as we shall see.  After becoming an Agent or Commissioner,  John Bartlett  was becoming  a good man to know, or be related to- especially for that next aspiring generation.

             It seems that some years before,  the Kings chief minister Thomas Cromwell had taken an interest in a legal wrangle in which  land had been apparently aken from the Bartelots  in Sussex by some nefarious means.  He became aware of the latter familys  apparent bona fides,  trustworthiness and  general competence and subsequently assisted those of that family who had  settled in the  west country  - where he was  once an MP  - for Taunton    in gaining various appointments at Court in London from ca 1530 or so.  Thus, Johns brother Richard Bartelot,  became  one of Cromwells Secretaries.  Henry 8th would soon dissolve  the  Monasteries (and all related religious institutions) and, by about 1535, they were starting to be  sold off  in considerable numbers, generally  to the highest local bidder (and often  then re-sold)  - with money yhus pouring into the countrys  (and Henrys) Treasury, and likely into the profits of  such local Agents (to buy such as Wooden Houses (in Dorchester ?).   

            There was thus considerable  scope for fraud and improper valuations  in such a massive sell off.  When the King asked  Cromwell to organise some oversite, he seems to have chosen Sir John Tregonwell to be the Chief Inspector at least for  the south-west of England in this respect.  Sir John was a very bright man out of Cornwall who thrived at Oxford in Civil Law.  He was soon holding important government positions in London and amongst other activities,  had successfully guided the King in the legality of his recent divorce proceedings against Catherine of Aragon.  Sir John  later  settled in  south  Dorset himself - around 1534 - on marrying  the widow of  one of the landed Martyn family of that  county and thus soon knew most of the local land owners nearby.  His marriage ensured that he was then related to a number of such inter-married local Dorset families - as the   Bartletts, the Churchills, the Kellaways and the Martyns - all of whom owned or would soon own property in and near Piddleton  (and of course elsewhere  across south Dorset).

              One of these was a near neighbour -  John Bartelot/Bartlett of same - whom he appointed to be one of his Investigators and later a Commisioner  (to first value all  local church and Abbey properties  and their many associated manors. mills and advowsons (church livings) pertaining thereto !    Those in these inter-related families who hadnt inherited the first (eldest) sons major share of theie families existing small estates,  through primogeniture, would suddenly now be very interested in any  new properties that might now become available -  in the new situation,   ie   - for 2nd and 3rd sons, especially ca 1540s-50s !  Monasteries and Abbeys were of prime interest when they also owned so many properties  for income) in  more distant, often rural, parishes - much beyond their own immediate Abbey grounds. 

             [We have noted that it was in about  the later 1540s that  John Churchill, a young Draper  in Dorchester, suddenly purchased an ex-Chantry property there  when having no recorded property-owning father behind him.  He was thence rather suddenly of  propertied status himself.  The Bartlett history, as we have noted, emphasised the long friendship between themselves and, amongst others,  the Churchills.   Their account  points out in this regard that an English professor and authority on the  Dissolution period, confirmed that “a cartel  of well-off  Dorset landowners, of which John Tregonwell and  his neighbour John Bartelot/Bartlett  (alias Hancock) of Piddleton  had been accused of fraud  in some of these early transactions”.  In any case, it was, notes the history, during this time of Henry VIII  that the Bartelot name had already reached its zenith amongst Court circles in London itself (as noted above) -  having held  several useful positions  there.  [We have noted 4 such names ourselves.]  

           Thus, this group of Dorset men involved in the overseeing of of these property sales (and re-sales)   turn out to be clustered around that south Dorset area, including Piddleton and Dorchester.   Examination of the National Archives for Crown sales of ex-Monastery properties  (in class E 127/) reveals an almost endless stream of sales made  via  Sir John  Tregonwell - to the, Kellawys, Churchills, Martyns, Frekes, Rogers and Bartelots/Bartletts, including John and brother Richard.  We may quote one line:  “Although far too numerous to  be reproduced in this History, such vast Dorset institutions as Bath Abbey, Milton Abbey, Cerne Abbey and Hinton Abbey, as well as a  multitude of smaller Monastery-owned Manors, Farms and Mills, etc  were thus acquired by  (or through?) this  cartel of Piddleton  area  families”    backed as they were by official Auditors/Valuers  who were seemingly part of this same  scheme  ”!

             An enquiry later noted that  “Since John Bartelot of Piddletown was  appointed one of Henry VIIIs  Investigators and a Commissioner - concerning  resumption of Monastery sales in 1535 (they had apparently begun earlier  on a lesser scale))  with  Sir John Tregowell,  now also of  Piddleton, being Chief Commissioner of same for Dorset.   It  is clear that these  two men headed  a  cartel of  local Dorset friends and associates who  were able to acquire such property on very favourable terms”.   Hence, John Tregonwell, by the time he wrote his Will (1565) , was no longer simply   of Piddleton Esq  but  was now   of Milton, Knight  (with prime ex-Abbey buildings and  land  he had at least paid for - but probably less than their true worth),  as would be his heirs- for some generations  to come.   They noted too that while John Bartelots surname  was generally already accepted as Bartlett  by the 1530s , he and his son Robert, nevertheless soon  re-adopted the identity of  Bartelot  alias Hancocke, etc  in many of  these  transactions and,  apparently, without always  disclosing  their true (often changing) main abodes over that period

             While Cromwell was soon to be executed (related to other  matrimonial  matters) by Henry in 1540 many of the transactions referred to were already in hand and often on-going, as and when would prove convenient;  one of these of interest to us, a little later  in 1544/45, is described for us fully now in the Baetlett history - thus:  

       “36 Henry VIII…The Manor of Muston, alias Mustertonne, alias Piddle Musterton   and its Farm, (mainly) in Piddlehinton  and (with a little in neighbouring)  Piddletown,   with pasture for 100 ewes, 4 rams and their lambs, the stock and moiety of hay on the Farm -currently belonging to Cerne Abbey valued at  £10.10.4; (?!)   plus lands in  Rumford  near Worth (Purbeck),  and Eastworth,  a parcel of Tewkesbury Abbey, lands in Tarrant Rawson, also a parcel of Tarrant Abbey; and Chapman;s coppice in Milborne St Andrew;  the site of the Priory of Hinton  -   (all the above ) sold to John Bartlett alias Hancock and his son Robert, and their heirs  for the sum of £710.5/-.” !! (This was seemingly the total price  composed of  £700. for Muston and Farm,  and all those other properties (!),  plus that  £10.5/-  for the stock and hay, still  belonging (formerly) to Cerne Abbey.)

          We may note that Cerne Abbey was closer to Pulston Manor which was likely also part of that Abbeys former holdings.  It is not known (as yet) who  may have purchased that Abbeys many other properties but it seems that Sir John Tregonwell himself obtained permission to buy the larrger and richer Milton Abbey - for  £1000.  -  for himself and heirs.  Cerne Abbey ad properties may have been disposed in a more piecemeal way to  various s purchasers likely friends and relatives of John Bartlett as the Martyns and the Churchills.  This could include property in Pulston, Frampton, Little Bredy and Compton Valence. [Who held Frampton Court, one wonders,  before the Brownes, that other influential local family, if former Yeomen),  acquired it ?]  We note that Some Dorchester property sales in these categories transpired as late as 1549.

Cerne Abbey.

              From the prelude to the description of this sale, one cannot but assume that the previous Freeholder of all this property must have been one or more of the larger local Abbeys or Monasteries recently acquired and then  sold by the Crown  following the Dissolution of the Monasteries Act  of  1535.  Yet,  just who so held the Freehold of Muston Manor (and Farm), or that of Pulston,  themselves, prior to 1545,   is not explicitly mentioned.  We may however reasonably assume that it had been Cerne Abbey until some uncertain date ca 1540-47, say.  In regard to that latter Abbey, we may note comments provided  in an excellent site devoted to that institution see:  cerneabbeyhistory.org   pertaining to  that period: 

               Cerne Abbey was founded in 987 AD  as a Benedictine Monastery whose  ruins are located at Cerne Abbas (about 6 miles north of Dorchester and a little north-west of Piddleton) is near Forston and Godmanston.   (The latter was held later by the quite wealthy  Brownes of nearby Frampton.)   As with its comparable local Abbeys of Sherborne, Milton and  Abbotsbury, Cerne was worth about £500 annually by the 1500s.  It was a significant land owner of about 8,000 acres scattered across many (28) villages and towns,  in several  parishes. These included Long and Little Bredy , Milburne St Andrew, and many others  in respect of  which Bartletts,  Martyns  and Churchills in particular seem to have benefitted,  and possibly others in the Cerne valley itself as in nearby Charminster,  with its Pulston manor about 2 miles north (very near Forston,  Frampton and Milburne).

            Cerne Abbey  had   been an ally of the Yorkists before  1471 when Henry VI and wife Margaret of Anjou once sought protection there;   but,  after Henry Tudors victory (ca 1485),  it reverted to the other (Lancastrian/Tudor) side.    From 1535 to 1539, there had been drawn out attempts  by Cerne Abbey to  resist full Dissolution - but it was finally closed  by 1540.  The  Commissioners had been  instructed to seek our evidence of  monastic abuse (throughout the country) as one pretext to close and appropriate  such Abbeys  and all their properties forthwith (some from as early as 1533).    While John Bartelot/Bartlett  had been sometimes a little too proactive in obtaining  such evidence of  misdeeds, gaining thereby  the disapproval of  Cromwell for same

“… that latter chief Overseer seems nevertheless to have continued to treat John with considerable tolerance…” 

             This may have related to johns friendship with Sir John Tregonwell and to the incriminating evidence  that others had, in any caase, already  obtained   regarding the Abbot and deputies at Cerne Abbey.  (This  concerned  a long catalogue of recorded immorality there - with local girls.)  It was finally closed by Sir John Tregownell - on 15 March, 1539.  The full break with Rome followed soon after and, by 1545, most of  the properties so acquired by the Crown  had been  re-distributed by Tregonwell and Bartlett, et al  often to  family and friends).  Thus, “in Cerne, all the buildings and lands were eventually Leased out by the Crown to….“…a succession of  different people, each of whom sought to make a quick profit.”  (ie by quick re-leasing  turnovers to other friends and relatives presumably.)  It appears that such transfers of Leasehold ownership were too quick and frequent to always be properly recorded and monitored in the associated manor records  - with the latter sometimes conveniently misplaced or lost. [See now the entry above discovered in the more nationally recorded, and retained, Patent  Rolls  - on Muston.]

              In any case, with all the activities that  John and Robert Bartlett were no doubt still involved in at this time (including apparently the purchase (and re-sale?) of many other  minor properties Leases), one would  assume that neither  Bartlett would  reside at Musto Hall  itself (they already having  homes in neighbouring Piddleton),  nor operate its Farm,  but would simply put in or continue with a known local Farmer  (Yeoman) as a pro-tem Manager (Copyholder).   It was our initial understanding that this may, at some early point, have  been  our  William Churchill    (1496-ca?1583) and/or  his younger sons (William Jnr and/or Richard who would   both be of age by   1545  or so).  But, it appears that the Lowman family already had such roles in Piddlehinton - possibly  including Muston,  and may havesimply resumed  same  a little later (post- 1550, say).

             Thus, in the Will of  Henry Lowman, Yeoman of Piddlehinton  (1581), he states  “… I give the moiety of my farm called Mustertonne, otherwise called the Farme of Muston, to my wife [Alice Lowman]  to have and to hold the (Lease of) said farm (not the Manor or its  farm house) during her life, and I give the other moiety unto my son John [Lowman] the elder, and after [my wifes] decease, the whole (Farm) Lease to remain unto my said son John Lowman (Jnr), and the Executors of my said Leases.”   There is no reference to Muston Manor, Hall or  House per se, however;  such  Leaseholds (and even Copyholds) were often inherited by their Holders wife and/or sons for their lifetimes, at least, in turn.   The Lowmans appear to have been Copyholders and/or  Leaseholders of  land  in  many parishes in  central  Dorset, many  owned originally by the de la Lande and other families   from  the early 1500s or before. They may, therefore,  have so held Muston farm  earlier, as well (as leased from Cerne Abbey or similar, who held the ultimate Freeholds -   originally of the Crown).  William Churchill and his sons may have benefited at Catherstone  or nearer Dorchester (ie at Pulston in  Charminster) around the earlier  1540-50  period - when the Bartletts  had  increasing local influence, as weve noted. William may have wished to remain incognitio durimg this  period amd nence leave  no Will but settle matters beforehand, through  legal trusts, etc.

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      [Since writing the above, I have discovered an entry in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls for the year 1549 (being the 3rd Edward VI) which describes the purchase by two London Merchants (surnames Edwardes and Knyght) of an enormous number of ex-Chantry or Monastery properties, or even just their rental incomes , etc  for about  £5,000 in total.  This  included… “the rent or tenth of 21 shillings and  ½ pence per annum - granted to them from the manor of Musteron, alias Muston, Dorset , late of Cerne Monastery,  that had been formerly granted  to John and Robert Bartlett, their heirs and assigns, by a Patent  of 28 July 1545 (37 Hen VIII) …and also 57 shillings and 11 and 3/4 pence  per annum from the manor of Hempsted in Gloucestershire,  late similarly of the Priory of Lanthonie  next Gloucester, that had formerly been granted on 4th November 1545 to one Thomas Atkyns of London, Gent and Margaret his wife, their heirs and assigns;    said Edwardes and Knyght  to now hold (ie have the benefit  of) these rents or tenths (of 21 snillings  and about 57 shillings  of the King - as held of of his Manor of East Greenwich in free Socage, by Fealty only, rent free and with the benefits of all Issue (produce) of said properties”.      

          These were but two of over  50 such properties included in that  one transaction most of rather greater value and all having little or nothing in common as regards their location or former owners/holders.  They were so conveyed by such convenient and cooperative middle men (in distant London) no doubr for a worthwhile fee.

           It  serves for us to confirm that it was indeed Cerne Abbey who held Muston before 1545  and that such ex-monastery properties (in their thousands) had been so  transferred to many first buyers and quickly sold on (ca 1545-65) to a succession of subsequent  brief  owners, thus largely obscuring their actual  past histories. 



              It was  several times emphasised by the Bartletts  in compiling their history that  the Dorset Churchills generally were often close associates  of themselves  (and  of other inter-married families as Martyns, Kellawys, Frekes and Prouts).  We have thus noted that  DorchesterJohn Churchill  (ca 1520 -1557)  was somehow able to purchase that  ex-Chantry residence in Dorchester about this same time (by 1545-49 or so.).   It would seem almost predictable  that some comparable  arrangement with the father of that John Churchill (and/or of the latters elder brother  Roger Churchill) -  ie the said William Churchill Snr - (and his other children),  would also have been somehow assisted  in such acquisition of properties  - beyond that of  Copyhold or Leasehold.  We shall see that something of this form indeed appears to have so transpired.  [And who and where were the Richard, Alexander or Rowland Churchill  of those times?  Did they too purposely keep a low profile ?    

             In any case, were  the Churchill names destined  never  to appear in any of  the relevant documentation  inferred in the Bartlett history ?  That family were  frequently mentioned therein.  Might  the  relevance  of  Dorchester, and maybe the  wrong Corton,  have taken  precedence  when seeking to identify  these  earlier (pre-Dorchester) Churchills their presence assumed wrongly not to have been as early as they probably should have;   ie  - more in the early to mid-century ca 1530s-40s  rather than during primarily the 550s-90s.   Just where was the fsather of Dorchesters young John Churchill settled - before John  acquired that ex-Chantry property in Dorchester !?

             And, what about Johns elder brother Roger Churchill (ca 1520-1552) who married Jane Peverell - sole heiress of the Peverells property at Bradford Peverell so close to Charminster and Fordington.    But Roger  soon died rather young himself in about 1552   leaving but  a single male heir Mathew Churchill  ((born ca 1545) -  from whom  two  very important Churchills would  ultimately descend.   Was Mathew  assisted in his plight by his Dorchester cousin, one might reasonably wonder  ?  Was there any property acquisition via Bartlet assistance  for Roger and his one orphaned son Mathew ?  Should the latter man not have been  recorded in the 1569  Muster,  or in earlier Tax Subsidy lists ?  Many  oddly appear  missing in that later muster.

              We noted in the Bartlett  history that   “…the Manor of Muston  was comprised of 610 acres of  land, a Manor House and  a Farmhouse ..” (as well as 4 cottages, I believe);   And that   “Eastworth  was a manor in Cranborne, Dorset (a little to  the east) with two manor houses (!)  Eastworth  and  Holwell - while  “ the Priory of Hinton (in  the other direction - Somerset) was itself also of considerable size…and might have been expected on its own to fetch  the  alleged price paid for Muston, etc.”   In other words, there were several properties available for anyone deemed needy amongst family and friends of the Tregonwells and Bartletts.   There were, apparently, surviving  title Deeds for Muston, at least  for the years  1545/6, 1556,  1586,  1592,  1607,  1608/9 and 1612  (!) - where the Bartletts family name  was apparently spelt in 5 different ways, sometimes  with  the alias Hancocke, sometimes without.   All very tricky to disentangle in the near or distant future.  Was this particular manor purposely sought by simply someone seeking Freehold / Esquire status ?   From such small acorns, giant Esquired (family) trees may grow well, faster than from Yeomen or even Gentry acorns.

             These Muston title documents were  presumably  re-drafted whenever an  additional sale and purchase was made to the estate  (as from Little Piddle, Nouvard or Piddlehinton parish, say), or its overall  ownership  and boundaries conveniently changed.    We recall that in 1586, there was apparently some involvement with some  William Churchill   who was thought  initially (by this writer) could  be  William Snrs third son William Jnr (born ca 1525?) , being the third son (after Roger and John) of the assumed  elder of that family William Snr (bn ca 1496) who may well have died by 1583 (and more likely before).   However,  hat early purchaser  seems  to have been identified  instead, as the  son  (born over a decade later in 1541)  of John Churchill (I) of Dorchester  (which Williams own son would be  the next John Churchill of Dorchester (III)  (and Stinsford)   born 1568 who would finally complete the Muston purchase - from one  Nathaniel Bartlett - in 1609/10 and/or 1612). Why would  the 1541-born and town-raised William have any interest whatsoever in that small rural farm and manor house by the 1580s/90s ?  Was there  a prior Bartlett-Churchill connection ?

             Parties or witnesses who counter-signed these many changing title Deeds over those years included that later William Churchill of Dorchester (born 1541),  hi