Monday, November 9, 2015

{48} Father of Gertrude Paston (d. 1605), Wife of Sir William Reade of Osterley Park

Impalement of Gertrude (née Paston) Reade,
from a Paston pedigree drawn up in 1573
Last month, in my post on the Frank Gardner episode of Who Do You Think You Are, I included a line of descent from King Edward I to Dorothy Burdett (1715-1794), wife of Rev. John Rolleston, ancestors of Frank Gardner's mother. I had a question come to me about the 11th generation in that descent - Gertrude Paston, the wife of Sir William Reade of Osterley Park. Here is the descent:

Edward I had a daughter
1) Princess Joan ‘of Acre’ (1272-1307) m. 1) Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester (1243-1295), and had
2) Lady Margaret de Clare (1293-1342) m. 2) Hugh Audley, Earl of Gloucester (c.1291-1347), and had
3) Lady Margaret Audley (c.1321-1349) m. Ralph, 1st Earl of Stafford (1301-1372), and had
4) Hugh, 2nd Earl of Stafford (1341-1386) m. Lady Philippa Beauchamp (c.1340-bef.1385), and had
5) Lady Margaret Stafford (c.1365-1396) m. Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland (c.1364-1425), and had
6) Lady Margaret Neville (1396-1464) m. Richard, 3rd Lord Scrope of Bolton (1394-1420), and had
7) Henry, 4th Lord Scrope of Bolton (1418-1459) m. Elizabeth Scrope (d. 1504), and had
8) Richard Scrope of Bentley (d. 1485) m. Eleanor Washbourne (d. 1506), and had
9) Eleanor Scrope (c.1476-by 1509) m. Sir Thomas Wyndham of Felbrigg Hall (d. 1522, descended from Edward I), and had
10) Mary Wyndham (c.1508-1596) m. Erasmus Paston, Heir of Paston Hall (by 1508-1540, descended from Edward I), and had
11) Gertrude Paston (c.1539-1605) m. Sir William Reade of Osterley Park (c.1538-1621), and had
[see the original post for the remainder of the descent]

My assignment of Gertrude as the daughter of Mary Wyndham and Erasmus Paston differs from many other sources, which instead make her the granddaughter of that couple, the daughter of their son and heir Sir William Paston (c.1528-1610) and his wife Frances Clere. Per the Paston pedigree made c.1620 by Richard Mundy, in the Harleian Society's Visitation of Norfolk 1563, 1589 and 1613, Erasmus Paston and his wife Mary Wyndham are given only one child, son and heir Sir William Paston. He, in turn, with his wife Frances Clere, is given four sons (Christopher, Wolfstan, John and Thomas) and three daughters (Eleanor m. John Echingham, Frances m. Thomas le Gros, and Gertrude m. Sir William Reade).

The above parentage of Gertrude Paston agrees with the Reade pedigree in Middlesex Pedigrees, which was made by the same Richard Mundy, also about the year 1620 (Bridget Stanhope, the youngest daughter of Sir Michael Stanhope and Anne Reade, is shown unmarried. She was born in 1614 and married the 1st Earl of Desmond in 1630). It says that Sir William Reade's wife was "Gertrud d. of Sr William Paston of Norff."
Sir William Paston (c.1528-1610)

Using the above Reade pedigree from Middlesex Pedigrees as its source, the 1981 History of Parliament (HOP) biography of Thomas Reade, the elder son of Sir William Reade and Gertrude Paston, states that Gertrude was the daughter of Sir William Paston of Norfolk.

It's worthwhile to remember that these particular volumes of the Harleian Society series are not transcriptions of the original Norfolk visitations enrolled by the heralds in those three years (1563, 1589 and 1613), or in Middlesex in 1620, but rather a combination of pedigrees made by Richard Mundy, a draughtsman employed by the College of Arms, to use for his own reference as he accompanied the heralds on their visitations. Mundy never imagined these working notes of his would be published two-and-a-half centuries later, and we cannot know today how accurate he was trying to be when it came to genealogical details (as opposed to heraldry, which was the focus of his employment). This means that pedigrees made by Mundy have an even stronger need for verification through chronology than the original visitation pedigrees made by the herald with the family representatives.

And when chronology is applied to Gertrude (Paston) Reade, difficulties arise with the parentage Mundy has assigned her. Thomas Reade was first returned to Parliament in 1589. Presumably he would have to have been of age, so born by 1568, but his HOP bio states that he was probably returned due to the influence of the powerful Cecils, his wife's family, so the possibility that he was a little younger, maybe age 19 or 20, cannot be ruled out. He couldn't have been born any later than 1570, however, as he entered St John College, Cambridge in 1583. Thomas Reade married Lady Mildred Cecil on 28 February 1586 at St Margaret Church, Westminster, and this agrees with a birthdate for him of no later than 1570. Mildred was born 11 June 1569.

Extracts from the earliest parish register of St Margaret Church in Paston, Norfolk were published in 1863 in The East Anglian on pp. 3-4, and the baptism and marriage entries are included in the International Genealogy Index (IGI). Luckily the parish register provides us specific dates for some members of the Paston family.

Sir William Paston and Frances Clere were married on 5 May 1551 at St Margaret Church, Paston, Norfolk. They had a daughter Anne baptized there on 16 July 1553, and their eldest son and heir Christopher Paston was baptized there on 18 June 1554.
St Margaret Church, Paston, Norfolk
To have been a daughter of Sir William Paston and Frances Clere, and mother of a son Thomas Reade entering Cambridge in 1583, married in 1586, and M.P. in 1589, Gertrude (Paston) Reade would have to have been the first child born to the couple, in 1552. Even then, that is stretching it. The Anne Paston born in 1553 was married in 1572 at age 19, and Christopher Paston born in 1554 was married in 1577. There's no reason to think a daughter born in 1552 would have been married in 1568/9 (and that's assuming Thomas Reade was born as late as 1570) at age 16/17. Plus, there's no record of a daughter Gertrude baptized at Paston in 1552 (though there's always a possibility, however unlikely, that she could have been born elsewhere).

In 1675, herald Francis Sandford (then Rogue Dragon Pursuivant) wrote a large manuscript on the Paston family, which was published in Norfolk Archaeology in 1855 as 'Account of a MS. Genealogy of the Paston Family, in the Possession of His Grace the Duke of Newcastle'. On p. 47, Sandford assigns Sir William Paston and Frances Clere three children, sons Christopher and Wolfstan, and daughter Anne, wife of Sir George Chaworth. This matches perfectly with the entries in the Paston parish register. Sandford assigns to Erasmus Paston and Mary Wyndham three sons (Sir William, Thomas and Edmund) and three daughters (Eleanor or Anne, m. Edward Echingham, Frances m. Thomas Le Gros, and Gertrude m. Sir William Reade).

Erasmus Paston, from his monument in St Margaret Church, Paston
[photo by jmc4 - Church Explorer]
Sandford's account of the children of Erasmus Paston at least matches better than that of Mundy, to the monument inscription of Erasmus Paston in St Margaret Church, Paston, which states that he died on 13 November 1538 and had 3 sons and 9 daughters:
"Here Erasmus Paston and Marye his Wiffe enclosed are in Clay,
Whiche is the Restinge Place of Eache untill the latter days,
Of Sonnes thre and Daughters nyne the Lorde them parents made,
Ere crewell Death did work his crewell spite or fykell lyff did fade"
[My thanks to Derek Howard for the above transcription and link]

According to the Paston parish register, Erasmus Paston was buried on 6 November 1540, so his 13 November 1538 date of death on his monument inscription (M.I.) is off by a week and two years. But if the nine daughters mentioned on the M.I. is the correct number, which seems very likely since Erasmus's widow Mary (Wyndham) Paston commissioned it, Erasmus had even more daughters than the three Sandford assigned him. This could explain the entry in the Paston parish register of "Mrs. Ellen Paston" married to "Wyllm Clifton" on 8 February 1553/4. This daughter and marriage do not appear in Richard Mundy's 1620 Paston pedigree, nor in the 1675 one of Francis Sandford. It works well chronologically for Ellen (Paston) Clifton to have been a daughter of Erasmus and Mary (Wyndham) Paston.

Erasmus Paston has a 1982 biography in History of Parliament, which states he had three sons and three daughters, citing the above 1620 Paston pedigree by Richard Mundy as one of its sources (though that pedigree only gives Erasmus one child, son and heir Sir William), as well as "Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), 47-48", which I haven't seen and cannot find online.

Given the chronological evidence, I favoured the assignment that Sandford made in 1675 over the notes Richard Mundy used in 1620, and thus in my database Gertrude, wife of Sir William Reade, is the daughter of Erasmus Paston and Mary Wyndham. Whether she was their daughter or their granddaughter doesn't affect her descent from Edward I through the baronial Scrope family, but it would be nice to know for accuracy's sake, which Paston, father or son, fathered her.

Very happily, the Norfolk Record Office, in conjunction with the Paston Heritage Society, held, from October 2013 through January 2014, an exhibition entitled The Pastons and the Pursuit of Power. Included in that exhibition was a Paston pedigree drawn up in 1573 by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms. It clearly shows that Gertrude, wife of Sir William Reade of Osterley Park - as well as her sisters Eleanor, wife of Edward Echingham of Dunbrody Abbey (d. 1582, descended from Edward I), and Frances, wife of Thomas Le Gros of Crostwight Hall (d. 1622) - were indeed the daughters of Erasmus Paston and Mary Wyndham, and that Sir William Paston (c.1528-1610) was their brother, not their father.

This is a good example of how the pedigrees which originated from Richard Mundy's manuscripts, published by the Harleian Society, need to be used genealogically only as a guiding outline, and that the relationships within them need to be verified through other sources.

The next blogpost will cover the lines of descent from Edward I for Erasmus Paston.

Cheers,                                     ----Brad

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