The difficulty is getting past the early 18th century. So many records, often held by the church, were destroyed by war or fire or religious conflict.
But if you are a descendant of Thomas Edward Ivens (b.1810), a son of William Ivens of Swinbrook (the chap who went to the Azores) and Elizabeth Flora Hickling (his first wife) then we can go back quite a bit further….
Thomas Edward Ivens married Henriatta Carew. She was the daughter of Thomas Robert Carew and Jane Alcock – and this is where it gets interesting because it opens up two lines back to medieval England.
First, the Carew side: In a straight line going back 11 generations from Thomas Robert Carew to Baron Nicholas Carew who married Joane Courtenay (b.1411). We can go back further, but for now let me tell you a bit more about the Carew family.
One of Baron Nicholas’ other sons was Thomas Carew, who was the great, great grandfather of Sir George Carew. Who was he? Only the Captain of the Mary Rose that sank in Portsmouth harbour on that fateful day 19th July, 1545.
Sir George’s Aunt, Catherine Carew married Sir Philip Champernowne of Modbury and together later became the grandparents of Sir Walter Raleigh – their daughter Katherine Champernowne having married Walter Rawleigh of Fardell, and their son was the Walter we all know about.
But back to Baron Nicholas for a moment. From Baron Nicholas we can go back a further seven generations in direct line to Lord William de Carew who married Alice Marshall, the daughter of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke and Isobel de Clare. (Remember this for later!)
Remember Joane de Courtenay (b.1411) three paragraphs back? Well she can be traced back through 7 generations to Robert, Baron of Oakhampton. His sister Elizabeth Courtenay (b.1127) married Peter of Constantinople, son of Louis VI, King of France, grandson of Philippe I, and grandson of Henri I.
Oh, by the way, did you know that Philippe I had 2 marriages? The second was to Bertrada de Montfort, daughter of Simon I de Montfort (1025-1087).
But I digress, and it is so easy to do so. Let’s go back to Baron Nicholas again. His grandfather, Sir Leonard Carew (1343-1369) married Alice Fitz-Alan, granddaughter of Edmund Fitzalan and Alice de Warenne (1277-1338).
Why do I mention this? Because these are the key families in medieval England at the time. de Warenne; de Clare; Marshall; de Montfort; Courtenay. But there is more……
Back to the beginning and Jane Alcock.
- Grand daughter of William Alcock, who married Mary Loftus, who was:
- Great grandaughter of Nicholas Loftus, who married Margaret Chetham, who was:
- Daughter of Thomas Chetham, who married Susanna Davenport, who was:
- the grandaughter of William Davenport, who married Margaret Assheton, who was: daughter of Richard Assheton and Ann Gerrard, who was:
- Daughter of Thomas Gerrard and Margery De Trafford.
We are now back to the 15th century and the story gets interesting again as the lineage splits.
One the one hand we have Thomas Gerrard, who can be traced back, on the one side, to Henry II, via William Longspee, the de Beauchamp, de Mowbray and de Braoise families. While another of his ancestors takes us via D’Evereux, Talvas, de Ponthieu and others to Hildegard of Flanders (935-990). Hildegard was the grandaughter of Baudouin II of Flanders who in turn was a son of Alfred the Great.
Back again to Thomas Gerrard: His wife was Margaret de Trafford:
- Daughter of Edmund de Trafford and Margaret Savage, who was:
- Grandaughter of John Savage and Maud Swynnerton, who was
- Daughter of Robert Swynnerton and Elizabeth Beke.
Robert Swynnerton has his own strong lineage – and remember that these families inter married which makes the story even more complex to explain. But Elizabeth Beke was the daughter of Nicholas Beke and Joan Stafford, daughter of the Earl of Stafford (1301-1372) and Margaret de Audley.
- Margaret de Audley was the daughter of Hugh de Audley and Margaret de Clare, who was:
- Daughter of Gilbert de Clare and Joan Plantagenet
- Joan Plantagenet was the daughter of Edward I (‘Longshanks’) and Eleanor ‘Castille’, and grand daughter of Henry III, and great, great grandaughter of Henry II and the fabulous Eleanor of Aquitaine, and therefore great, great, great grandaughter of William the Conqueror.
- Gilbert de Clare was the great grandson of William Marshall and Isabella de Clare (Bing!)
The de Clare family can also be traced back to Alfred the Great.
So, who are the families that feature in this story?
D’Aubigny, de Audley, de Beauchamp, Beaumont, Beke, Le Bigod, de Bohun, de Braoise, Carew, de Clare, de Clifford, de Courtenay, Le Despencer, D’Evereux, Longspee, Plantagenet, de Ponthieu, Stafford, de Taillefer, Talvas, de Trafford, Marshall, Montfort, de Mortimer, de Mowbray, Warenne, de La Zouche.
(By the way, what do Alfred the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in Common? ……………………… the same middle name!)