Did Douglas Richardson say that Katherine (Peverell) Hungerford was born ca. 1394 ?

+10 votes
According to the biography of Katherine (Peverell) Hungerford, she was born ca. 1394, and the source given is Richardson's "Plantagenet Ancestry", page 288.

This does not make sense to me, since Katherine was married in 1399 and apparently started having children ca. 1402 (eight years after her supposed birth year of 1394).  And a 1394 birth year would have been when her mother was about 52 years old (possible, but doubtful).

  I think a birth year of about 1382 would make more sense, and Katherine would have been 17 years old at marriage, and her mother would have been about 40 years old when she had Katherine.

WikiTree profile: Katherine Hungerford
in Genealogy Help by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Pilot (116k points)

2 Answers

+9 votes

The profile is correct.

Her age comes from the IPM of her mother dated 10 December 1422: "She died on 14 August last. Katherine wife of Walter de Hungerford, knight , and Eleanor wife of William Talbot, knight , are her daughters and next heirs, Katherine is aged 28 years and more, Eleanor 40 years and more."

She was contracted to marry Walter Hungerford (obviously as a very young child) on 8 October 1396.  The actual marriage would not have occurred until they were older but in such cases we just use the contracted date.

The dates are unusual enough that it is fair to question the published IPMs; i.e. perhaps it should be age 38 and more?  Still the primary records we have say she was born c1394 and contracted to marry in 1396.

by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
Two IPMs give the birth date of her oldest son Robert Hungerford.  He was said to be age 26 in 1439 (born c1413), which though young is not an impossible date for a woman born in 1396 (especially since she would have married young given the marriage contract).  He was also said to be age 40 and more in 1449 (born c1409) which seems both less precise (rounded to nearest decade) and much less likely.
I would also note that the linked IPM I gave is to the Mapping the Medieval Countryside site.  This is an academic re-evaluation of the IPMs to extract more data from them led by professors at the University of Wincester and King's College in London.  As such these IPMs have been re-read and re-transcribed to check for accuracy.  It makes it more likely that the "age 28" is exactly what the original IPM says and not "age 38" as I hypothesized.

The original IPM could still be wrong, but the transcription is likely correct.
Hmmm... her grandson Robert Hungerford was age 30 and more in 1459 (born 1429).  This makes it less likely that her son Robert was born in 1413, and much more likely that he was born 1409 or before (age 40 and more 1449).

Since Robert is supposed to be a 2nd son, I think the age in the IPM must be wrong.  I think we should change the date with a full explanation.
Robert was apparently the eldest surviving son, but his brother Walter Jr. would have been the eldest actual son (although he predeceased his father). He was taken prisoner in a war in 1425, so if he was 18 years old, he would have been born about 1407 (when his mother would have been 13 years old if she was born in 1394). Or could Walter Jr. have gone to war before the age of 18?

In any case, if Katherine was born about 1394, some of the dates for her children need to be corrected (Walter Jr. currently listed as being born in 1402 or 1403).
+6 votes
In Royal Ancestry (3:359-60), Richardson has her birth as about 1394 (age 28 in 1422 when her mother died), her marriage by agreement in 1396, and that they had four sons, two daughters.  The oldest son, Robert was born 1409-13, depending on which age record one accepts.  This would make her 15-19 years old at his birth.

The dates, however, seem odd.  Her parents were said to have been married before 1372, and they had only three children, so Katherine's birth 22 years later seems strange.

I do not have time to check Richardson's sources, sorry.  That may illuminate the issue more.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (44.1k points)
It's also odd that, though her sister is apparently older, she is mentioned 2nd. Usually the eldest child would be mentioned first. I have noticed that birth date estimations are often out in the IPMs, the juries from different counties often coming in with ages that are different from by as much as 10 years, so at best, they only tell you if a person is underage or not, that seeming to be the only significant issue to them.

Maybe all we can safely say is that she was born "before 1394" (that "and more" can cover a lot of ground.)
Monica - if you're speaking of order in Richardson... I've noticed that he'll sometimes list the "next entry" first, regardless of ages... so, if the entry for Katherine's mother or father is #8, and she's #9, she might be listed in the text of #8 before an older sister.
no, I meant in the ipm

generally speaking, in Wills, ipms and so on, the custom is to list people by seniority
So if you know Katherine is the eldest, but she says she's 28, and the other one says she's 40, I suppose that's how you write it.
It's not as if they'd have been at the inquisitions to be asked :)

I do find they are very loose with estimated ages in the ipms.

Still, it's very odd that it would have 28, 40, in that order, and it not be a mistranscription. They usually estimate in round numbers, too, which makes it all the more suspect. For those ages, I would have expected the estimate to have been 40 years and more for the one, and 30 years or more for the other, and in that order. 28 is an unusually specific number, and it's unlikely the jurors would have known Katherine's exact age. Their mandate was to identify the heirs and establish that they were or were not of age.

I'd be interested to know if there any other examples in the ipms for this county like this. If not, I think the digits must have been misread.

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