Who was the father of Ann (Bodrugan) Cole? William or Nicholas?

+6 votes
515 views

This question is a spinoff of the long-standing Grenville/Bonville conundrum.  My provisional reconstruction of the Grenville pedigree, after a lot of discussion, is here: https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Grenville-Family-Tree-92

That five-generation chart (with a whole bunch of Magna Carta descents) has one error that hasn't been discussed yet: the father of Ann (Bodrugan) Cole.

 According to the 1630 pedigree of the Cole family prepared by King-at-Arms William Segar, the wife of Sir John Cole was Ann, daughter and heiress of Nicholas Bodrugan.  This would seem to be demonstrably false.

This 1630 pedigree was the basis for the extended Cole pedigree in Joseph Jackson Howard's Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldrica, vol. 2 (1876), starting on page 234.

This 1630 pedigree seems to also be the sole basis for the earliest generations in James Edwin-Cole's 1867 Genealogy of the Family of Cole, in Devon.

However, the plot thickens.  Vivian's Visitations of Cornwall, on page 90 (click on the link at the bottom of the index page), reproduces without change the Cole pedigree from the 1573 Cornwall Visitation.  This pedigree starts with Sir John Cole who married an un-named daughter of William Bodringham (a variant spelling of Bodrugan), not Nicholas.

This William could have only been William, the recognized bastard son of Otto Bodrugan and the last direct male descendant of the Bodrigan family.  Roskell's History of Parliament includes a biographical sketch of this William at http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/bodrugan-william-i  

This bastard William had a nephew, son of his half-sister Joanna, who also went by the name William Bodrugan, but the nephew was too young to have been the father of the wife of Sir John Cole.  The nephew William Bodrugan also has a biographical sketch in the History of Parliament, at http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/bodrugan-william-ii-1416.

The bastard William also had an uncle William, who died without issue around 1380; this elder William's heir was his brother Otto, father of bastard William.  See the Bodrugan family section in John Maclean's Parochial and Family History of the Deanery of Trigg Minor, vol. 2, p. 551, at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924091781355;view=1up;seq=613;size=150, but this source doesn't mention bastard William.

Bastard William's father Otto was the youngest of three brothers.  The eldest brother, Henry, had a daughter who married Richard Sergeaux.  The second brother, William, as mentioned above had no living children when he died around 1380.  The third brother, Otto, had a daughter Joan, who had two sons who took the name Bodrugan and shared the Bodrugan inheritance with the heirs of the daughter who married Richard Sergeaux.  There were no other heirs.

However, that 1630 Cole pedigree invents a fourth brother, Nicholas Bodrugan, who was the father of Ann Bodrugan, heiress, who married John Cole.  If I am not mistaken, the fact that the Coles didn't inherit anything from the Bodrugans proves that Nicholas didn't exist, and William Bodrugan (father of Ann) being a recognized bastard explains how the Coles inherited the right to quarter the Bodrugan arms without inheriting any land (which was entailed for legitimate sons).

So... if this argument that Nicholas Bodrugan wasn't a real person makes sense, I would like to change Ann Cole's father from Nicholas Bodrugan-10 to William Bodrugan-69.

WikiTree profile: Anne Cole
asked in Genealogy Help by J S G2G6 Mach 9 (92.3k points)
wow! My eyes didn't glaze over reading that. Good job John! I agree with your analysis. If Nicholas is in trees across the Internet, we can work toward marking him with the {{Disproven Existence}} research notes box after he's detached from Ann. As a first step in that process, could you add {{Uncertain Existence}} to his profile? Thanks!

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Disproven_Existence
Thanks; I added {{Uncertain Existence}} to Nicholas's profile.

1 Answer

+4 votes

I'm not sure if it makes any difference, but The Genealogy of the family of Cole, notes on pp. 4-5 seems to put in an extra generation.  It has Ann Bodrugan as the daughter and heir of Sir Nicholas Bodrugan, who is the second son of another Nicholas Bodrugan, who is the third son of Sir Henry Bodrugan.

In this scenario, the reason Ann might not have inherited much of the Bodrugan lands is that her cousin Joan, was the heiress of the eldest son, and presumably she would have inherited most of the Bodrugan lands?

answered by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (305k points)

You're right about the extra generation in the Cole genealogy, which is chronologically impossible.

My understanding is that in general daughters inherited equally, regardless of who was the eldest.  However, this situation has a special twist:  Sir Otto Bodrugan died in 1331.  His eldest son Henry died five weeks later, before coming into his inheritance.  His daughter got nothing, because Sir Otto's heir (according to his IPM) was Henry's younger brother William.  Then William died around 1380, when the youngest brother Otto inherited it all -- but he didn't have any legitimate sons.  So the elderly Otto made arrangements for the Bodrugan estates to be divided among the heirs of Richard Sergeaux (whose deceased first wife Elizabeth had been Otto's niece (daughter of either Henry or William, depending on which secondary source you prefer) and the heirs of Otto's daughter Joanna (who was married four times; two of her sons took the Bodrugan name).  According to Richard Sergeaux's profile at the History of Parliament, it was the children of his SECOND wife who stood to inherit a couple Bodrugan manors, which implies that the "rules" governing inheritance were being ignored.  And perhaps this is why William the bastard and his nephew William joined forces to litigate the estate, which eventually netted him the reversion of the manor of Markwell after Richard Sergeaux died (per his page in the History of Parliament). 

So perhaps, if there was a younger brother Nicholas, his daughter and heiress wouldn't have been in line to inherit, anyway; because it was all going to the heirs of Otto's daughter Joanna, except for the land that Otto decided to give to Sergeaux and his heirs.  But once again, it seems that the fourth son Nicholas just doesn't exist, at least not before the 1630 Cole pedigree.

 

I found this in the Cornwall Archives database, which indicates there was a Nicholas Bodrigan

RefNo ME/565
Title
Gift in perpetuity, lands in Nanslosek, Trelowthas manor, Probus
Date
9 Jun 1354
Format
Manuscript
Extent
1 piece
Description
Parties: 1) Henry de Beage and John Tocty 2) Nicholas de Bodrigan. Property: two parts of all land and of half an acre in vill of Nanslosek. Witnesses: lord William de Bodrigan, knight; Ralph Rostaek, Stephen Trenynyek, Thomas Nettow, Walter, clerk. Vesica seal. Given at Gorran. In Latin.

This must relate to the same lands

Title
Letters of attorney, seisin of land in Nanslosek
Date
9 Jun 1354
Format
Manuscript
Extent
1 piece
Description
Parties: 1) Henry de Beage and John Totty 2) Richard Bodman. To put Nicholas de Bodrigan in peaceful seisin of two parts of a messuage and of half an acre of land [Cornish acre] in the vill of Nanslosek [Probus?] Tongue for seal torn off. Endorsed: William Kembro Trebylcok. Given at St Goronus [Gorran?], Monday 9 June 1354.

Another charter from Cornwall Archives, definitely states that Nicholas was the brother of Otto (Oto), and cites Nicholas two daughters, Margaret and Katherine, and also Otto a daughter Margaret.  No mention of Ann anywhere.  I also found one that definitely names Elizabeth who married Sir Richard Cergiaux, as daughter of William.

Title
Grant in tail, lands in Pollacka and Tregarton, Gorran
Date
25 Oct 1361
Format
Manuscript
Extent
1 piece
Description
Parties: 1) John de Lyvetston, chaplain 2) Nicholas de Bodrugan. Property: lands in Pollacke [Pollacka] with common of pasture etc in Trewolgarthan [Tregarton] of Nanwronen etc. Term: For life, then to Margaret (party 2's daughter) and her husband.; to Katherine (Margaret's sister) and heirs; to Margaret, daughter of Oto de Bodrugan and heirs; to Oto de Bodrugan, brother of party 2. Witnesses: Sir William de Bodrugan; Sir Richard Cergeaux, knights, Ralph Benyll; John de Nansladron; Walter Tremur. Seal, device, brown, clipped. Given at Markwyll. In Latin.

Thank you John, for showing that Nicholas Bodrugan definitely existed.  I have to revise my earlier thoughts, and I think that I was mistaken in thinking about the rules of inheritance.  It seems that, as Joe Cochoit explained on this other thread (toward the bottom), the Bodrugans were paying "fines" to transfer land outside of the inheritance system, so speculation about who "should" get the land isn't useful, except for the following observation:

Sir Otto de Bodrugan entailed his manors, meaning that they could only pass to the eldest male heir.  He eventually ran out of male heirs, because none of his three sons (Henry, William and Otto) had a legitimate son.  Nicholas Bodrugan, whoever he was, wasn't a legitimate descendant in the male line of Sir Otto; and his brother Otto wasn't either, because they didn't inherit Sir Otto's land, most of which eventually went to the sons of Sir Otto's son Otto's daughter Joanna (who had four husbands).  It seems plausible to surmise that Nicholas and his brother Otto were illegitimate sons of one of Sir Otto's three sons, presumably "Lord William," who witnessed Nicholas's 1354 deed.

Nicholas Bodrugan had a married daughter in 1361.  If the daughter had just gotten married, then she was most likely born by 1350, which would put Nicholas's birth around 1330 at the latest.  This would mean that Nicholas's father would have been born around 1310 or so--the generation of the three brothers Henry, William and Otto.  

It seems impossible that Nicholas could have been a legitimate son of either Sir Otto or one of Sir Otto's three sons, because he didn't inherit the Bodrugan manors.  Furthermore, neither of Nicholas's two mentioned daughters was named Anne, but so far we don't have any record before that 1630 pedigree for Anne's name.

The 1630 pedigree seems to be clearly mistaken in its assumption that Nicholas Bodrugan was the younger brother of William and Otto, and doubly mistaken in presuming that William and Otto were the SONS of their brother Henry.  This brings us back to the 1573 Cornwall visitation pedigree for the Cole family stating that Sir John Cole married a daughter of William Bodringham.  This seems to be the most likely Bodrugan connection for the Coles.  Any thoughts?

John, I don't think that Otto and Nicholas were necessarily illegitimate.  You are quite correct that there is a mistake in making them the sons of Henry, but they could still quite easily be the sons of the elder Otto, who died in 1331.  We know from IPMs that his eldest son Henry died shortly afterwards, and effectively Otto and Henry were succeeded by the next brother William, who was 20, so born about 1311.

The elder Otto was only 41 when he died, presumably his wife Margaret about the same age or slightly younger so Otto and Nicholas could have been 10 years or more younger than William, Nicholas born about 1330 as you say.  That would explain why he doesn't appear in any of the documents until the mid-1250s.

There were actually quite a few documents in the Cornwall archives about the Bodrugans, including another 3 or 4 that mentioned Nicholas in some capacity, so looking at all of those might help to piece the family together a bit more, but we know that William only had a daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir Richard Sergiaux, but died either without issue or had a daughter who also died young.  Then when William died, he was succeeded by Otto, who also only had a daughter Joan, who had issue, and an illegitimate son William.  Nicholas could quite easily have died before Otto, and the two daughters as well, (there was another charter dated slightly after 25 Oct 1361, where his daughter Margaret and husband weren't mentioned) which would leave Joan and her son/s as heirs and again we know that one or more of them changed their name to Bodrugan.

Related questions

+3 votes
4 answers
178 views asked Jul 6, 2013 in Policy and Style by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
0 votes
3 answers
180 views asked Aug 2, 2013 in Genealogy Help by Nae X G2G6 Mach 5 (53.8k points)
+4 votes
0 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
2 answers
32 views asked May 6, 2016 in Genealogy Help by Lisa Fisher G2G Crew (720 points)
+5 votes
1 answer
93 views asked Sep 29, 2015 in Genealogy Help by D T G2G3 (3k points)
+2 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright

...