What is the birth year of Thomas Grenville, and the parentage of his mother Philippa Bonville?

+9 votes
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In past months there has been a lot of debate concerning the parentage of Philippa Bonville, mother of Thomas Grenville.  Recently I reworked Thomas Grenville's "uncertain" ancestry, as the product of discussions on various profiles and G2G threads.  Click here for a five-generation chart showing Thomas Grenville's ancestry.

Somebody has recently, in a private communication, argued that if Thomas Grenville was the son of Philippa Bonville, then Philippa would have been too old to have been the daughter of William Bonville and Margaret Grey.  Here is my answer:

Thomas's birth year is generally given  around 1430.  Thomas Grenville married in 1447.  Thomas, acting as his father’s heir, held court and executed a land record in 1449.  How much reason is there to infer, from Thomas Grenville's appearance in this 1449 record, that he was over the age of 21 and therefore born by 1428?

Assuming that Philippa Bonville was indeed the mother of Thomas Grenville, the birth year of Thomas has to be after the marriage of William Grenville to Philippa Bonville.  The likely marriage date depends on the birth year of Philippa (either by 1396/7 or after 1414), depending on whether Philippa was the daughter of John Bonville or of John Bonville’s son William.

American genealogists Frederick Lewis Weis and Douglas Richardson have assumed that Philippa was the daughter of John Bonville, opposing centuries of British genealogists, most recently J.S. Roskell, who assume that Philippa was the daughter of William Bonville.

If Philippa was the daughter of William Bonville and Margaret Grey (who married in 1414), then Philippa’s birth year was 1415 at the earliest.   This would make her son Thomas’s birth year 1430 at the earliest.

Aside from the question of Thomas Grenville's year of birth, what is the evidence for Philippa as the daughter of John Bonville versus the daughter of William Bonville?

1. The Grenville pedigree in the 1620 Cornwall visitation identifies Philippa as the sister, not the daughter, of William Bonville.  Likewise, this Grenville pedigree identifies Philippa’s daughter-in-law Elizabeth Gorges as the sister, not the daughter of Sir Theobald Gorges.

2.  However, it is chronologically impossible for Elizabeth Gorges to have been the sister of Sir Theobald Gorges, and she is generally accepted as his daughter.  Furthermore, all of the Grenville wives in this pedigree, with the exception of Elizabeth Gorges and Philippa Bonville, were identified as daughters, not as sisters. 

3.  What was exceptional about Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges?  Both of their fathers – William Bonville and Theobald Gorges – were prominent Yorkists, and Thomas Grenville eventually threw in its lot with the Lancastrans.  So here we have a political reason for doctoring the pedigree:  By deliberately and transparently mis-stating Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges as SISTERS of their Yorkist fathers, the Grenville family made a point of distancing itself from a legacy of beheadings for treason (the son of Theobald Gorges was beheaded, as was William Bonville himself, shortly after watching the beheadings of and his son and grandson).

4.  Philippa Bonville fits snugly as the daughter of William Bonville and mother of Thomas Grenville (estimated age 15 or so when Thomas was born).  

5. From the peculiar arrangement of the Bonville/Grenville coat of arms at the top of the stained-glass windows in St. Petroc's Church in Petrockstowe, Devon, we can infer several things.

--The coat of arms shows Bonville impaling Grenville.  This clearly represents Philippa's marriage:  there simply was no other marriage between a Bonville and a Grenville.  
--Usually the husband's arms is on the left, "impaling" the wife's arms on the right.  The reverse order in this window--openly proclaiming
 that Philippa's family status was higher than that of the Grenvilles--would seem to indicate that Philippa's husband William Grenville had already died (around 1450).  It is hard to imagine, if Philippa's husband William Grenville was alive, that he would acquiesce in placing Bonville on the left and Grenville on the right.
--Philippa's presumed father William Bonville became a baron in 1437.  William's father John Bonville never became a baron, so his social status wasn't higher than the Grenvilles.  Therefore, the Bonville/Grenville coat of arms in St. Petroc's church indicates that Philippa was the daughter, and not the sister, of William Bonville. 

WikiTree profile: Thomas Grenville
asked in Genealogy Help by J S G2G6 Mach 9 (92.1k points)
edited by J S

6 Answers

+5 votes
Thanks John

In regards to Thomas' birth year, it would be good to see the actual deed, if possible, rather than a source describing it.  That might give a better indication of whether Thomas was acting independently, in which case I would think he would be over 21, or he is mentioned in the deed and could be younger?

And in regards to the windows, I have this vague idea that I've seen something that suggested that they aren't in their original place and may have been reversed.  Not sure of the reliability of either my memory or the suggestion.
answered by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (298k points)
Hi John, I have no reason to think that the actual deed still exists.  I read that Grenville papers got lost in a fire after the genealogy was written.  Regarding whether the stained glass window was reversed, that appears to be a theory trying to explain why Bonville impaled Grenville.  But the shape of the three clarions in the Grenville coat of arms makes it clear that it wasn't reversed.
+4 votes

John, thank you for making this post.

The parentage of Philippa Bonville has been extensively discussed for more than a year now.  People who are interested in all of the various arguments might want to read my free space page and the SGM thread on the subject.  I will probably respond to your points in separate answers.

 

Regarding the birth date of Thomas Grenville, son and heir of Thomas, you asked: “How much reason is there to infer, from Thomas Grenville's appearance in this 1449 record, that he was over the age of 21 and therefore born by 1428?”

The answer is very likely and it has to be the presumption.  By law, Thomas could not hold land in his own right or execute any land transaction until he was age 21.  The only the way this could be done is if the land in question was held by the right of his wife (who could hold it at an earlier age), or if this was really a transaction executed by his father which he was agreeing to.

So he was almost certainly (I agree it is not 100% certain) born by 1428.  If Philippa was the daughter of William Bonville, she would have been at most 12 when she married and got pregnant and only 13 years old in 1428 when she gave birth.  Even if I grant you that that he was born 1430 when she was 14 (at the oldest) when pregnant and gave birth at 15.  This was not normal even in this time period.

answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
I think you are missing the point that he was acting for his father, as his father's designated heir.
+4 votes

The Rest of the Chronology:

The argument being made is that William Grenville married Philippa Bonville, daughter (and not a sister) of Lord William Bonville by his wife Margaret Grey.  So, just how old was William Grenville and just how old was Philippa Bonville?

We know that William Grenville was heir to his brother John Grenville and that they were the sons of Theobald Grenville, and the grandsons of another Theobald Grenville.  Theobald the grandfather died in 1377 and Theobald the father appears to have died in 1380. John Grenville (William’s brother) had succeeded and was certainly of age by 1386, and was also a knight of the shire in 1389, 1394, 1397 and 1402; he served as sheriff in 1391-1392.  So he was born by 1365 and probably significantly earlier (to hold the positions he did).  William Grenville as a younger son appears in fewer records, but he was certainly of age by 1402.  He had married Thomasine Cole by 1403 and was still married to her in 1427.  So we have to place his age as by 1380 and probably closer to 1370.

For Philippa Bonville, her supposed parents had a license to marry in December 1414 so the absolutely earliest Philippa was born was in the latter part of 1415.

We have an absolute minimum of a 35 year age difference, and probably larger.

We know that William Grenville was still married to Thomasine Cole on 5 May 1427; this is the last known mention of Thomasine. The earliest William could have married Phillipa as his second wife is after this date in 1427 when William was at least 47 years old (and probably closer to 57) and when Philippa was at most 12 years old.

It is a near impossible chronology.  When the Visitations of Cornwall directly say “Willm Grenvile brother and hey. to Sr John temp H. IV. married Phillip Sist. to the Lo Bondvile. There is no way we can blindly say go with the impossible chronology scenario.  Philippa must have been (if anything) a daughter of John Bonville and a sister of Lord William Bonville, as directly stated in the Visitation.

answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
Why are you ignoring your own earlier supposition that there were two separate William Grenvilles, father and son?
I'm not ignoring it.  In fact, I still believe it to be a viable solution and one which would allow for Philippa to be a daughter William Bonville.  The biggest problem with the current theory is a near impossible chronology.  As I wrote, this theory relieves all the problems of a very old William Grenville marrying a very young Phillipa Bonville. It also removes the constraints on the marriage date of William II Grenville to Phillipa so that we don't have a series young teen marriages and pregnancies. While I believe it chronologically impossible for Phillipa to be a daughter William Bonville if there is only 1 William Grenville, this is not true if she actually married a son of William Grenville.

However, when this was brought up in the SGM thread it was firmly rejected by Doug Richardson as there being no evidence of a second William Grenville, and contrary to what is stated by both Pole and the Visitations.  He is correct - there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that William Grenville and Thomasone Cole had a son William who married Philippa Bonville.  It was just a thought on how we can reconcile the various records.

I still think that are relatively few records, and it would be impossible to tell the difference between a William the father and any William his son in the records which do exist.
+3 votes
With regard to the windows.

I place little significance in them, and I don’t see how they help us at all.  Their primary value is helping confirm that a Bonville-Grenville marriage took place.  Fact is, you don’t really know when the windows were installed, who installed them or why they were installed.  Most surviving church glass of this type was installed in the 17th century and not the 15th century, so it has the same value as a 17th century Visitation unless it can be shown when the windows were created.

The right-left thing is also essentially meaningless.  The woman’s social status had no bearing on whether her arms appeared on the right or the left, they are always on the right.  So why are they on the left?  Simple, they were re-installed backwards. St. Petrock Church has undergone multiple major reconstructions and renovations and each and every time the stained glass was removed and then later reinstalled, often in a very different location from where they started.  I can tell you from experience it is extremely common for the glass to be reinstalled in essentially a random manor.  While we may think the heraldry is critically important, an 18th century church warden just wants his pretty windows installed.  You want the windows to look right?  Then walk outside and look at the windows from the other side.

Also remember, the discussion isn’t about whether or not Philippa was the daughter of a Bonville, the question is which Bonville is her father.  Whether John Bonville or William Bonville was her father, the windows would look the same.
answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
edited by Joe Cochoit

Regarding the imagined reversal of the window, the shape of the three clarions in the Grenville coat of arms makes it clear that it wasn't reversed.  So this means that your categorical statement that "the right-left thing is also essentially meaningless" is dead wrong.

THERE WAS NO REVERSAL.  The right-left thing has to be regarded as significant.  Please acknowledge your error.

 

And furthermore, you state "Whether John Bonville or William Bonville was her father, the windows would look the same."  That statement is based on your false assumption that the window got reversed, but once again the shape of the clarions on the Grenville coat of arms proves that the window didn't get reversed.

And that means that the transposition of the arms -- Bonville impaling Grenville instead of Grenville impaling Bonville -- demands an explanation.  The whole point of heraldry is symbolic significance, and in the 15th century the rules weren't as formal as they became later.  

Your supposition about the age of the windows is no more than idle speculation, which simply ignores the evidence of the coats of arms themselves.  For example, why on Earth would somebody put a Jeue coat of arms in a church window in the 16th or 17th century, when the family died out in the 15th century?  (Alice Jeue, mother-in-law of Philippa's daughter Ellen Grenville, was a wealthy heiress.)  

You're not an expert on medieval stained glass windows, and your pretentious attitude is not helpful.

Your point on the clarions is a good one.  That particular panel must show the Bonville arms dexter, and the Grenville arms sinister, contrary to convention.  I still don't know what it means, and it is not enough to prove Philippa's parentage in the face of all the other evidence.  We are still left with a direct statement in the Visitations that she was a sister of Lord Bonville, and a chronology which strongly supports that statement.

No, I am not an expert in medieval glass, but I have done a bit of studying of it.  My view is probably colored because I have run into a very similar situation. I was trying to prove that Nicholas Eyton married a daughter of John Talbot 1st earl of Shrewsbury about 1450, something which was not generally known or accepted.  In the church of Eyton upon the Weald Moors is a stained glass window showing Eyton impaling Talbot in a position which would could only be for Nicholas Eyton - supporting evidence of the marriage.  However, I was able to show that the windows were installed in the 17th century or early 18th century.  All my window proved was that the family believed in the marriage two hundred years after the fact.  The church included coats of arms for marriages going back 100s of years so I don't find the Jeue coat of arms even slightly unusual, whether they were installed immediately or 200 years after the fact.

Your name calling is very unhelpful.

Your reference to "all the other evidence" is misleading at best.   You have acknowledged that my chronology is conceivable, while not engaging with the fault in the counter-argument, which posits a 30-year-old Philippa Bonville at her first marriage, something that just wasn't done back then.

And you seem to not realize that the Jeue coat of arms was NOT celebrating a marriage; there is nothing impaling anything, just a straight coat of arms of a family that disappeared in the 15th century.  Furthermore, there are TWO Yeo coats of arms next to each other, one of them with a difference showing a cadet branch.  Why on Earth would anybody put that into a stained glass window a hundred years after the fact?  Neither one of those coats of arms shows a marriage, although Philippa's daughter Ellen did marry a Yeo.  It is only the two coats of arms at the very top that show Grenville marriages.  Once again, the placement of Bonville impaling Grenville would seem to clearly indicate the Bonvilles' superior social status.

And your statement that "whether John or William Bonville was Philippa's father, the windows would look the same," appears to be groundless.  John Bonville was not a baron.  William Bonville WAS a baron, of higher social status than the Grenvilles.  If your father is of a higher social status is much different than the elevation of your brother after your marriage.

+3 votes

Yorkist theory:

“What was exceptional about Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges?  Both of their fathers – William Bonville and Theobald Gorges – were prominent Yorkists, and Thomas Grenville eventually threw in its lot with the Lancastrans.  So here we have a political reason for doctoring the pedigree:  By deliberately and transparently mis-stating Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges as SISTERS of their Yorkist fathers, the Grenville family made a point of distancing itself from a legacy of beheadings for treason (the son of Theobald Gorges was beheaded, as was William Bonville himself, shortly after watching the beheadings of and his son and grandson).”

Frankly, I don’t know where you are going with this.  We are talking about a Visitation given in the year 1620.  No one was trying to hide their Yorkist ancestors born 200 years before.  The next generation didn’t even try to hide it.  Ancestral and feudal rights were so important that most of the sons of those attainted petitioned and eventually received their lands back.  Neither the Bonville’s or the Grenville’s were ever attainted, and they never lost any land during the War of the Roses.  Thomas Grenville was pardoned by Richard III for any role he had in the Duke of Buckingham uprising with no loss of land or dignity.  When Henry VII came to the throne in 1485, he was made Esquire of the body of Henry VII and High Sheriff of Cornwall.  There was nothing to be ashamed of in 1620.

answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
Where I'm going with this is simple.  To restate what I already said, two and exactly two Grenville wives were identified as "sisters," not daughters.  These two wives (Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges) were both associated with Yorkist families whose heirs were beheaded for treason.  Coincidence??  I offered a proposed explanation.  Do you have a better one?  

One of the two (Elizabeth Gorges) simply could not have been the sister of her alleged brother.  This suggests that the other one (Philippa Bonville) was likewise not a sister, but a daughter, of William Bonville.
Sorry I also don't understand that they deliberately falsified the information because of some Yorkist connection.  The better explanation seems to be that the Visitation was written 200 years after these people lived and they made a mistake.

Visitations are known not to be the most reliable sources.
Well, let me rephrase: there is an unusual double coincidence here:

1.  Both Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges are referred to as "sisters" and not daughters.  All of the other Grenville wives in the 1620 pedigree were identified as "daughters," suggesting that there is something unusual that Philippa and Elizabeth shared in common.

2.  Both Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges were actually SISTERS of Yorkist men who were beheaded for treason.  Perhaps the pedigree was being used as a way to protest an old injustice.
The Grenville pedigree is admittedly flawed.  A majority of the pedigrees in Vivian's version of the Visitations contain at least one error somewhere.  This is part of the problem with this whole thing.

Just because you note an error with the parentage of Elizabeth Gorges, it does not follow that the parentage of Philippa Bonville is also wrong.

Again, neither the Bonville’s or the Grenville’s were ever attainted, and they never lost any land during the War of the Roses.  Thomas Grenville was pardoned by Richard III for any role he had in the Duke of Buckingham uprising with no loss of land or dignity.  When Henry VII came to the throne in 1485, he was made Esquire of the body of Henry VII and High Sheriff of Cornwall.  There was no old injustice to protest.  If anything, claiming a descent from Lord Bonville would have improved the pedigree.  Why would the Grenville's intentionally lie to make their pedigree less illustrious?  It doesn't make sense.

You state that "because you note an error with the parentage of Elizabeth Gorges, it does not follow that the parentage of Philippa Bonville is also wrong."  Here you misrepresent my position.

My position is based on a notable anomaly: TWO and only two Grenville wives (Philippa Bonville and Elizabeth Gorges) are identified as "sisters," not "daughters."  By coincidence (or not), the named "brothers" of those two wives were prominent Yorkists.  That is my point that so far you have failed to engage with.

By the way, I was mistaken about Theobald Gorges' son Walter being beheaded; he simply died young in the 1460s, and his Yorkist son Edmund was later pardoned by King Henry VII, and then Edmund Gorges served together with his first cousin Thomas Grenville as one of Henry VII's personal retainers.

You go on to ask, "Why would the Grenville's intentionally lie to make their pedigree less illustrious?  It doesn't make sense."  It might make sense if we think of the fate of the family that got cut out of the pedigree, the Greys -- William Bonville's wife's family.  Although, as you point out, there was no attainter, William Bonville did get BEHEADED two months after both his son and grandson got BEHEADED.  The last remaining family member, William's great-granddaughter Cecily, married Thomas Grey, descended from William Bonville's father-in-law.  And Thomas Grey was the great-grandfather of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days before getting BEHEADED along with her father.  That's a lot of prominent chopped-off heads in a single family lineage going back to William Bonville.

Perhaps it was a survival instinct for the Grenvilles through the 16th century to avoid heralds (they were never recorded in a visitation of Cornwall or Devon), because of their connection to the Grey family.  I'm speculating, but I'm not just speculating, because there is an anomoly in the Grenville pedigree that demands explanation.  Another possibility is that Bernard Grenville in 1620 made a point of saying "sister" (and not daughter) twice as a lightly-coded reference to his family's Yorkist past, because his ancestor Thomas Grenville changed sides and joined the victorious Lancastrans.

Once again, the basic point here is that there is an anomolous pattern in the Grenville pedigree, pairing two "sisters" with two prominent Yorkists.  As one of the "sisters" (Elizabeth Gorges) simply could not have been the sister of her named "brother," it stands to reason to suppose the same for the other one (Philippa Bonville).  This supposition dovetails nicely with the stained-glass window showing Bonville impaling Grenville, indicating William Bonville's elevated social status.  And, as I see things, the chronology of Philippa as daughter of William (around 15 years old at the time of first marriage) fits much better than the chronology of Philippa as daughter of John (close to 30 ?!? at the time of first marriage)

 

 

+2 votes

The other issue worth considering is whether the dates and other information Roger Granville in his The History of the Granville Family has written about Thomas Grenville is actually correct, particularly considering his doesn't cite any sources for the information.

We might not be able to check up on the deeds related to Bideford if they have been destroyed but he also states "In 20th Edward IV [1480] ... in the same year he was high sheriff of the county of Gloucester and three years afterwards for Cornwall" and that we can check.

However it looks like he has made some mistakes.  From an older list of the Sheriffs of England and Wales compiled from the Public Record Office he wasn't High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1480 in fact there is no Thomas Grenville at all in the list.  There is only a John Gryvell, esq. in 1460 and John Grevill, knt. in 1467.

A Thomas Grenville was Sheriff of Cornwall, but the dates don't quite match.  Rather than 1483,a Thomas Granvyle was Sheriff (maybe Under-Sheriff?) in 1480, and a Thomas Graynfield in 12 Sept 1485.

The Wikipedia article for the High Sheriff of Cornwall hyperlinks those to a biography of Thomas Grenville II, the son of the Thomas Grenville we are discussing but you would think he would have been too young, particularly in 1480?

If Roger Granville has where and when Thomas Granville was Sheriff mixed up or just plain wrong, why should we believe that his information about the deeds is accurate? 

 

 

answered by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (298k points)
Regarding any old land or court records that may still exist, online transcriptions may render the name in any variation of (mix and match all possibilities) G - r - e (or a) - (sometimes an extra e, but only if the previous letter was an e; and sometimes an extra y, after either e or a)  - n - (sometimes an extra e) - v (or u or f) - i (and/or e, or y) - l - (sometimes a second l, but often not, and occasionally a d after a single l) - (often but not always a final e).

Regarding the January 1453 deed, assuming it was excerpted accurately, it might be useful to keep in mind that January was near the end of the year (New Year's Day was March 25).

It was previously stated in this thread, “We are still left with a direct statement in the Visitations that she was a sister of Lord Bonville, and a chronology which strongly supports that statement.

The chronology supports what?  Even if Philippa were the ugliest peasant girl in rural Devon or Cornwall, England from 1427 to 1431, she would have still married her first husband by the time she was 24/25 years of age.  So I’m sorry to say that the statement suggesting that the chronology strongly supports her being the daughter of Sir John Bonville is totally false.  If Philippa were the daughter of John Bonville, she would have been anywhere from 31 to 35 years of age at the time of her first marriage (1427-1431) to William Grenville, Esq (died c. 1450).  If we believe that William Grenville’s first wife was Thomasine Cole and he married Philippa secondly after Thomasine died, there still isn’t any evidence that suggests Thomasine died in 1427 or even 1428.  Thomasine Cole could have lived all the way through the 1420s until the early part of 1430.

I submit the following to firmly reject the statement that the chronology strongly supports Philippa Bonville as being the daughter of John Bonville.  According to Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, the author states:  “In England during the 14th and 15th centuries, the age range for most brides was between 18 and 22 years and the age of the grooms was similar; rural Yorkshire women tended to marry in their late teens to early twenties while their urban counterparts married in their early to middle twenties.”  (Philips, Kim M.  Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, c. 1270 - c. 1540. (2003), Manchester University Press, p. 37).

The chronology strongly supports Philippa as the daughter of Lord William Bonville and his first wife, Margaret Grey.  Lord Bonville was one of the wealthiest men in Devon and Margaret Grey was a noblewoman at the time of Philippa’s birth, confirming the fact that Philippa was an upperclass/aristocratic woman who would have married her first husband in her teens!

The husband's arms are shown in the dexter half (on the right hand of someone standing behind the shield, to the viewer's left), being the place of honour, with the wife's paternal arms in the sinister half.

Impalement in heraldry: on the dexter side of the escutcheon, the position of greatest honour, are placed the arms of the husband (baron), with the paternal arms of the wife (femme) on the sinister.

In a previous thread it was stated, “It is interesting that Week St. Mary and Swannacote went to the Coleshills then to the Arundells.  Joan Coleshill, daughter and eventual heir of Sir John Coleshill, married Refrew Arundell of Lanherne.  In 1507, Katherine Granville married Sir John Arundell of Lanherne.  This is the time period and the connection which most likely explanations how Week St. Mary and Swannacote came to the Granvilles in the 16th century.”

These kinds of assumptions have led to false conclusions regarding the lands held by Lord William Bonville in 1461 and passed down through the Grenville family.  We find in the Will (written in March 1546) of Sir Richard Grenville (born c. 1495 – died 1550), who was the eldest son and heir of Sir Roger Grenville (d. 1523), the following concerning inherited lands.  The Will’s abstract summary states, “TOGETHER WILL ALL HIS OTHER LANDS IN DEVON AND CORNWALL, HE LEAVES TO RICHARD HIS GRANDSON AND HIS MALE HEIRS.”

The grandson of Sir Richard Grenville (d. 1550) who is mentioned in the above Will is no other than Admiral Richard Grenville (b. 1542 – d. 1591).  We know that Admiral Richard Grenville died in 1591 and per his IPM; he possessed lands and tenements in the parish of Week St. Mary. 

Per the Will of Admiral Richard Grenville (b. 1542 – d. 1591) written  16 March1585, the transcript states, “And all that his manner of Swan’cott and Wykeborough.  Togeather with all his landes, tenements, and hereditaments, rents, revertions, and service, lyinge or beyinge in the parish of Saint Marie Weke, or ellswhere within the county aforesaide.”

We also have evidence that Sir Thomas Grenville II, K.B. (d. 1513) owned the advowson for the Church in Week St Mary.  Which explains how Sir Thomas Grenville II, K.B. was able to appoint his second son, John Grenville, as the Rector of Week St. Mary, the office John Grenville held for many years.  This is confirmed in the following two references:

(1)    Edinger & Neep.  A Handbook of Church Law for the Clergy. (1928). “Legally, advowsons were treated as real property that could be held or conveyed, and conversely could be taken or encumbered, in the same general manner as a parcel of land.  Advowsons were among the earliest incorporeal hereditaments, and often held in fee tail."

(2)    Edinger & Neep.  A Handbook of Church Law for the Clergy. (1928). (author states, “Advowsons were frequently used by lords and landowners as a means of providing a career and income for a younger son.”).  

(3)    Rowse, A.L. Sir Richard Grenville, (1937), (author states, “Sir Thomas had willed his son John … He was fortunately so disposed, and thus Kilkhampton came by its Rector (1524-1580) … he retained it, along with Launcells from 1533-1545, then with Week St.Mary till his death in 1580.").  

The statement that Week St. Mary and Swannacote came to the Grenvilles by way of Sir John Arundell (d. 1545) is totally false, because if the Katherine Grenville marriage in 1507 to Sir John Arundell of Lanherne (d. 1545) was the connection that brought Week St. Mary and Swanancote to the Grenvilles in the 16th century, it would have passed to the heirs of their body.  Sir John Arundell had two sons from his first marriage, who would have inherited any lands brought to this marriage.  Additionally, Sir John Arundell (d. 1545) and Katherine Grenville had a daughter, Mary Arundell (d. 1557).  Any lands brought to the Arundell family from the Coleshills would have passed to either Sir John Arundell, Jr., or Sir Thomas Arundell and their heirs.  

Saying this was the connection that brought Week St. Mary and Swannacote to the Grenvilles is not true, because the manor of Swannacote and lands in Week St. Mary were held by Admiral Richard Grenville in 1591.  Admiral Richard Grenville (d.  1591) was not a descendant or heir of Katherine Grenville and Sir John Arundell (d. 1545).  So, we can say with certainty that Admiral Grenville did not inherit Swannacote and Week St. Mary from Sir John Arundell (d. 1545).  Admiral Grenville was a direct descendant and heir of Sir Roger Grenville (d. 1523), who was a direct descendant and heir of Philippa (Bonville) Grenville (d. after 1464).  Lands brought to the marriage of Katherine Grenville and Sir John Arundell would have been inherited by Sir John Arundell’s eldest son and heir by his first marriage, Sir John Arundell, Jr.

Again, per the IPM of Admiral Richard Grenville (d. 1591), it states that he possessed lands and tenements in the parish of Week St. Mary.  Admiral Richard Grenville (d. 1591) was the direct heir and grandson of Sir Richard Grenville (d. 1550).  Sir Richard Grenville (d. 1550) was the eldest son and direct heir of Sir Roger Grenville (d. 1523).  Sir Roger Grenville (d. 1523) was the eldest son and direct heir of Sir Thomas Grenville II, K.B. (d. 1513).  And Sir Thomas Grenville II, K.B. (d. 1513) was the grandson and direct heir of Philippa (Bonville) Grenville (d. after 1464).  It is stated in Sir Richard Grenville’s (d. 1550) Will that he “HELD OTHER LANDS IN DEVON AND CORNWALL.”

We also find in the following reference:

The Western Antiquary: Devon & Cornwall. The Blanchminsters of Bien-Aime Castle, v. 12, (1893).  (author states, “The last Earl of Bath died without issue 1711, and the estates in Devon and Cornwall, which had been in the male line of the family for many centuries, were claimed by two aunts … In later times the Grenvilles held the manors of Swannacote, Bynnamy, Ilcombe, Aldercombe, and other places, as well as Stow in the Hundred of Stratton.  In 1776, when the property was thrown into the Court of Chancery, it was described as follows; ‘Stanbury, Pengelly, Widemouth, Binhamy, North Lee and Woodford, Kilkhampton Woods, Kilkhampton advowson, and Week St. Mary advowson.’ ").

The Grenville family held the advowsons for both Kilkhampton and Week St. Mary for many centuries.  This is the official Court of Chancery record in 1776 listing the two advowsons of the Grenville family which they held for at least three centuries.

We also have the original statement by Roger Granville in the History of the Granville family:

Granville, Roger, (Rector of Bideford).  History of the Granville Family Traced Back to Rollo, First Duke of the Normans, With Pedigrees etc., (1895): p. 57.  (author states, “Lord Bonvill died possessed of the manors of Week St. Mary, Swannacote, and other tenements in the hundred of Stratton, in Cornwall, and the whole of this property came into William de Greynvill's possession by this marriage. Afterwards, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Swannacote was one of the principal seats of the Granville family.”)

So, we can say with great certainty that the marriage between Katherine Grenville and Sir John Arundell in 1507 did not bring the lands in Week St. Mary and Swannacote to the Grenville family!  It is apparent that the lands in Week St. Mary held by Lord William Bonville in 1461 were inherited by the descendants of Philippa (Bonville) Grenville!

It was previously stated in this thread, “--Philippa's presumed father William Bonville became a baron in 1437.”  This date would appear to be 12 years too early.

According to the HOP biography of Sir William Bonville I (1332-1408), "Bonville’s heir was his grandson, (Sir) William II, who was to be summoned to Parliament as Lord Bonville in 1449."

Sir William Bonville II (d. 1461) did not become a baron by writ until 1449.  Even so, Sir William II becoming first Lord Bonville in 1449 still predates the placement of the stained glass windows in St. Petroc's Church by his daughter, Philippa Bonville (d. after 1464).  We can be certain of this because Philippa's first husband, William Grenville (d. c. 1450), was still alive and their son, Thomas Grenville I (d. c. 1483), was still married to his first wife, Anne Courtenay.  Philippa could not have placed the windows showing Bonville arms impaling Grenville arms and Grenville arms impaling Gorges arms in St. Petroc's Church before 1450, simply because Thomas Grenville I was still married to Anne Courtenay and he had not produced an heir yet.  It’s also inconceivable to even think that these stained glass windows were placed in this church hundreds of years later in the 16th, 17th, or even 18th centuries.

According to A Complete Body of Heraldry (London, 1780):  Edmonson states,  “It was a frequent practice with the nobility of England to impale the arms of the wife; and also to place her arms in the baron side, in preference to the paternal coat of the husband’s family, particularly if her family was of a greater dignity.”

Lord William Bonville (died 18 Feb. 1461) was elevated to the peerage in 1449 and was of a greater dignity (higher social status) than that of his father, Sir John Bonville (died 21 Oct. 1396).  Sir John Bonville was never elevated to the peerage.  The 15th century Grenvilles and earlier were NOT members of the peerage and were of the same social status/social class as Sir John Bonville.   The Bonville coat of arms impaling the Grenville coat of arms in the window of St. Petroc’s church was placed there by Philippa Bonville in the early 1450s after Lord William Bonville became a peer.  The lone shield displaying the Jeue family coat of arms, a family that disappeared in the 15th century, proves that the windows were placed there in the mid 15th century and completely discredits the argument that the coats of arms were placed in the church centuries later.

The Bonville coat of arms placed in the dexter (baron) side of the shield (left-side from the viewer’s perspective) is even further heraldic proof of Philippa Bonville showing the greater dignity of her paternal family’s coat of arms over that of the Grenville family’s paternal coat of arms.  The question of who was Philippa’s father can simply be determined by looking at which of the two candidates for father, Lord William Bonville and Sir John Bonville, were of a higher social status?  Sir John Bonville was of the same social status as that of the Grenvilles (the Grenvilles were all knights and esquires).  It is a fact that Lord William Bonville was of a greater dignity (higher social status) than Sir John Bonville, as Lord William Bonville was a noble and member of the peerage while Sir John Bonville was just a knight and non-peer.  

This heraldic evidence and its symbolic significance provide the most important clue and strongest evidence in proving the parentage of Philippa Bonville.  While some individuals will still argue that Sir John Bonville was Philippa’s father basing their argument on claims that the families’ coats of arms are not in the original order because the window was reversed, or chronological claims that Philippa was way too young when she married firstly a much older William Grenville,  or that Lord Bonville’s half-brother (Hugh Stukeley) shows up in a record of the Grenville family (which must prove Philippa was sister to Lord Bonville), or Sir Bernard Grenville’s 1620 Visitation of Cornwall pedigree that states she was sister of Lord Bonville is fact, or that Sir Thomas Grenville I (d. 1483) was exactly 21 years of age when a land tenement was  issued in 1449, all remain just idle speculation.  All of these speculative arguments to make Sir John Bonville the father of Philippa are greatly diminished and discounted simply by the hard, physical heraldic evidence in the window of St. Petroc’s church showing a shield with the Bonville coat of arms (wife’s paternal family of greater dignity) impaling the Grenville coat of arms.  This heraldic truth should be enough, even to the most ardent detractors, to provide the strongest evidence in answering the question of Philippa’s parentage, which undoubtedly points to Lord William Bonville and his first wife, Margaret Grey, being the true parents of Philippa Bonville!   

Um, you seem to have badly (deliberately?) misquoted, although it seems that something could be made of the point you're advancing.  

The actual quote, from page 179, reads: “It was a frequent practice with the nobility of England, from the reign of Edward III to that of Henry VII, to quarter [not "impale"] the arms of the wife; and also to place her arms in the first quarter [not "baron side"], in preference to the paternal coat of the husband’s family, particularly if her family was of greater dignity.”

The underlying point here is that if the wife's family is of greater dignity, then the rules change, which (in my opinion as well as yours) is the only conceivable explanation for Bonville impaling Grenville in that stained glass window.

Something can definitely be made of the point I’m advancing, which doesn’t change regardless of semantics.  With regard to the first quote, impalement is the simplest form of marshalling two or more coats of arms, while quartering is a more versatile method within marshalling by division of the field by both vertical and horizontal lines.   As far as the first quarter goes in traditional rules of heraldry and marshalling, a quartered coat of arms consisted of four parts; the father's arms in the first (upper left) and fourth (lower right) quarters and the mother's arms in the second (upper right) and third (lower left).  So, the first quarter (or upper left) was on the dexter (baron) side of the shield.

If you want an exact quote, here is one from A Complete Book of Heraldry:

“Our heraldic authors say there are three rules to be observed in impaling the arms of husband and wife.  First the husband’s arms  are always to be placed on the right side as baron,  and the wife’s on the left as femme … In answer to the first of these rules, it hath been said, that, if the woman’s arms are of greater dignity than those of the husband, they may be placed on the right side.”

In the direct quote above, the context of the right side refers to the dexter or baron side (as viewed by someone standing behind the shield).  So yes, the rules did change and frequently when the wife’s paternal coat of arms were of a greater dignity than that of her husband’s paternal coat of arms.

Everything in the previous quote, including the comments, are historically accurate and stands regardless if a different word from marshalling is used instead of one or two directly from the text.  The meanings are the same!

Thank you for that additional quote; I intend to add both of them to Philippa Bonville's profile when time permits (maybe not until next weekend)..  I think it's fair to say that the principle is the same in the two examples, but the application is different.

Please be aware that, right now at WikiTree, the issue of arguing beyond one's sources is rather sensitive, as you can see on this G2G thread: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/567199/is-james-cudworth-a-false-gateway-ancestor?show=569905#c569905

The two exact word-for-word quotes from A Complete Body of Heraldry (1780) states:

“It was a frequent practice with the nobility of England, from the reign of Edward III to that of Henry VII, to quarter the arms of the wife; and also to place her arms in the first quarter, in preference to the paternal coat of the husband’s family, particularly if her family was of greater dignity.”

“Our heraldic authors say there are three rules to be observed in impaling the arms of husband and wife.  First the husband’s arms are always to be placed on the right side as baron, and the wife’s on the left as femme … In answer to the first of these rules, it hath been said, that, if the woman’s arms are of greater dignity than those of the husband, they may be placed on the right side.”

What we should also note about these heraldry statements is that the beginning of the reign of Edward III to the end of the reign of Henry VII was from 1327 to 1509.  The installment of the Bonville coat of arms impaling the Grenville coats of arms in the stained glass window at St. Pectroc’s Church occurred in the early 1450s.  This mid-15th century time period would fall right in the middle of the date range of when it was a frequent practice for wives to quarter (impale) their paternal coat of arms in the first quarter (baron side) of the shield in preference to the paternal coat of arms of the husband’s family, especially when the wife’s family was of greater dignity (or higher social status).  

If we presume that Sir John Bonville was Philippa’s father, then in this particular case, it must be pointed out that the husband’s father, Sir Theobald Grenville II (d. July 1381), was of the same dignity (or social status) as the wife’s father, Sir John Bonville (d. 21 Oct. 1396).  So, if Sir John were the father of Philippa Bonville, the stained glass window would undoubtedly show the Grenville coat of arms impaling the Bonville coat of arms, with the Bonville coat of arms on the femme (sinister) side of the shield (right-side from the viewer’s perspective).  This would be expected and would adhere to the customary order of the coats of arms for husbands and wives, and the first observed rule of heraldry.  

Since the stained glass window shows the Bonville coat of arms impaling the Grenville coat of arms with the Bonville arms in the baron (dexter) side of the shield (left-side from the viewer’s perspective) and the Grenville arms in the femme (sinister) side of the shield (right-side from the viewer’s perspective), it undeniably depicts the greater dignity (or higher social status) of Lord William Bonville (elevated to the peerage 10 Mar. 1449) (the wife’s paternal coat of arms), over that of Sir Theobald Grenville II (the husband’s  paternal coat of arms).  This is the most significant contemporary evidence to prove the parentage of Philippa Bonville and decisively trumps any 17th century visitation pedigree.    

Furthermore, the argument that the stained glass window was reinstalled backwards by an 18th century church warden where the coats of arms are not in their original orientation is proven completely false by the simple truth regarding the shape of the three clarions in the Grenville coat of arms.  The orientation and shape of the three clarions makes it perfectly clear that the window wasn't reversed or reinstalled backwards, and confirms the fact that the original installation of the coats of arms in the mid-15th century depicted the Bonville arms in the baron (dexter) side and the Grenville arms in the femme (sinister) side of the shield.

Lastly, the argument that the stained glass windows were installed in the 17th century and not the 15th century is disproved simply by the lone Jewe (or Jeue) family coat of arms, a family which died out in the 15th century.  As stated previously, the Jewe (or Jeue) family coat of arms wasn’t celebrating a marriage or impaling anything, it was just a lone/straight coat of arms in the stained glass window, which was obviously not installed centuries after the family died out.  

We also find in A New Survey of England: Devon (1972), W.G. Hoskins states (and I’m paraphrasing) that the parish church, St. Petroc’s Church, has some late medieval stained glass and a Jacobean pulpit.  The church was largely rebuilt between 1878 and 1880, retaining the 14th century arcade, 15thcentury tower and features of an earlier Norman church.  The author goes on to say that the church still has an early 14th century font with a 16th century cover, and in the vestry, some medieval glass.  

Nothing in Dr. Hoskins work would indicate that the stained glass windows in the vestry of St. Petroc’s Church were not originally installed in the mid-15th century.  Even the Petrockstowe village website states the following about St. Petroc’s Church:  “The church, largely restored in the late 19th century is worthy of a visit to see the decorated organ pipes and many other features including the 15th century stained glass windows.”  It doesn’t say the newly reinstalled stained glass windows in the vestry that were originally installed in the 17th century.  This 15th century heraldic evidence should stand the test of time as the most significant piece of contemporary evidence into answering the question of Philippa Bonville’s parentage.

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