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The Descent of Me

Several decades ago, well before the internet and the current craze for genealogy, a great uncle of mine traced a line in our family tree back to Edward Plantagent, King Edward I of England.  This must have involved him in quite a lot of effort, travelling and inspecting registers of births, deaths and marriages.  Over the years I have often wondered how accurate this line actually was.  Well, today I got round to comparing the earlier parts against records available on the Web. 

The main discrepancies were in the spellings of the names: "de Courtney" vs "de Courtenay", "Emeline Downey" vs "Emmeline Dawnay", "Trethwiffe" vs "Trethurffe", and so on.  Some of these may be misreadings, some may be just the natural variability in spelling that existed in the Middle Ages.  In one case I think my great uncle merged two consecutive Sir Hugh de Courtenay's into one.  However, in general I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of his work.  So, here is my slightly corrected version [with a few extra dates and details from the web and some corrections suggested by Jenny Barnett in the comments]:

  • Edward Plantagent, Edward I King of England (1239-1307) = Eleanor of Castile
  • Elizabeth Plantagenet (1282-1316) = Humphrey de Bohun 4th Earl of Hereford
  • Margaret de Bohun (d 1391) = Hugh de Courtenay (1303-1377) 2nd Earl of Devon (fought at the Battle of Crecy)
  • Edward de Courtenay (2nd son) = Emmeline Dawnay (d 1371?)
  • Sir Hugh de Courtenay (d 1426?) = Maud Beaumont (3rd wife)
  • Sir Hugh de Courtenay(1426?-1471 executed after the Battle of Tewkesbury) = Margaret Carminow (b 1422?)
  • Elizabeth Courtenay = John Trethurffe (d.1510)
  • Joan Trethurffe = John Tregarthin (of Gorran)
  • Joan Tregarthin (1515?-1581?) = John Kellaway
  • Mary Kellaway = William Cooke (b 1514? of Thorne, Devon)
  • Christopher Cooke (b 1540? of Thorne) = Margaret Garland (of Marwood)
  • John Cooke (b 1582? of Tregessa) = Prudence Godolphin
  • Prudence Cooke (d 1636) = Arthur Levelis (1611?- 1671 of Trewoofe)
  • Prudence Levelis (1636-1660) = Richard Vosper (of Trewoofe)
  • John Vosper (d.1729) = Mary Phillips
  • John Vosper (b 1698?) = Grace Barnacle
  • William Thomas Vosper (of Lewannick 1738-1830) = Elizabeth Adams (1743-1821 of Altarnun)
  • John Vosper (b 1767) = Eleanor Baldock (1773-1837)
  • John Vosper (b 1802) = Mary Popplestone (1808 - 1868)
  • Matilda Vosper (b 1832?)  = Thomas Beer Randle (b 1826?)
  • Laura Randle (b 1869?) = Ernest Cripps Thornhill
  • Patrick Thornhill (1900-1989) = Alice Leighton (1910-1949)
  • Clare Thornhill (1934-1997) = John Brelstaff (b 1934)
  • Tristram Brelstaff (b 1958) = Elisabeth Tapsfield (b 1960)

By the way, the great uncle was George Thornhill, brother of Patrick Thornhill in the above list.

Reader Comments (9)

I too have been double checking my tree that was handed to me some 30 years ago done by a distant relative which starts with Edward I. I agree with everything until we get to
John Vosper = Eleanor Baldock not Badcock
John b 1802 = Mary Popplestone
Matilda b1832

John who married Eleanor was one of 12 his brother George who married Mary Menhinick they had a son Alexander Vosper who married his cousin Emma Vosper sister to John who married Mary Popplestone. Emma and Alexander had three children one of them Caroline married William Barons and they are my great great grandparents. I have more info if you wish to obtain it. By the way Alternun is Altarnun and Gorlan is Gorran. I was born 1954.
April 3 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Barrett
Thanks for that. I have updated the list with your suggestions. I also think that there must be another generation between John Vosper (d.1729, married Mary Phillips) and William Thomas Vosper (b 1738). This also suggested by the fact that the mother of William Thomas is listed as Grace Barnacle at http://www.airgale.com.au/individuals/i2605.htm#i25741.
I suspect that this area could be the weak point in my list.
April 5 | Unregistered CommenterTristram
My tree shows that Mary Phillips was his 2nd wife. It could be that we have the wrong date for his death. The person who did my tree was really confused with the Vosper family probably because they kept marrying their cousins.
Matilda was one of 11. If you log on to John Vosper born 1689 you will find the Vosper family tree with dates and information.
April 7 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Barrett
This site http://west-penwith.org.uk/burbur1.htm gives a burial date of 1660 Aug 19 for the burial of "Prudence w. of Mr. Richard Vosper". This makes it almost certain that there has to be 2 generations between Prudence Levelis and William Thomas Vosper.

Again, it is just my assumption that the John Vosper who married Mary Phillips is the father of the John Vosper who married Grace Barnacle. I don't know if there is actually any evidence to support this. As you suggested, it could be that the original compilers of our lists got confused and over-interpreted the records.
April 8 | Unregistered CommenterTristram
I think you are probably right. If I find any more information will let you know.
April 12 | Unregistered Commenterjenny barrett
Eliza Vosper was my great-grandmother.Her daughter was Linda Bettinson, from Looe, Cornwall.I don't who know Eliza's parent's were but have been told that Earl Vosper was related, and that we came down the Plantagent line.

Linda inherited a "castle" about 1958, from an old aunt, but did nothing about it.
Have just recalled that 2 of my great uncles, one a William Vosper, immigrated to NZ and bought a lot of farmland in Cambridge, about 1880's, raised horses for racing and established polo. Linda stayed with them when she visited NZ for her 21st Birthday.
John Vosper and Grace Barnacle were my 7th great grandparents, and William Thomas1738 was the brother of my ancestor Grace 1731. However I have different parents for John...Thomas 1661 and Elizabeth Karkeefe 1766, and continue back on the Vosper line.
I am currently trying to validate the connection between my wife and Edward 1st, and have struck the same uncertainty in between the marriage of Prudence Levelis to Richard Vosper (1654) and the marriage of Wm Thos Vosper to Elizabeth Adams (1765).
I have a John Vosper (2nd son, 4th child of Prudence and Richard bp1660) marrying Agnes Jewell (Juell, Sewell??) 1697 in Launcells [England Marriages 1538-1973]. They had a son Thomas who married Ann Hill (1727 [England Marriages 1538-1973]), and I think the Wm Thos Vosper (bp1728 [England Births and Christenings 1538-1975]) who married Elizabeth Adams is a son of Thomas Vosper and Ann Hill.
I'd appreciate any comments on my post.
April 10 | Unregistered CommenterTim May

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