Browning of Coaley reorganisation

+5 votes

I have been looking at the Browning (Browninge, Brounyng) family of Coaley, Gloucestershire and would like to propose a significant restructure because I believe there are a couple of generations missing.

The current wikitree descent has:

William Browning of Melbury-Stampford (1400-1472), MP for Dorset intermittently 1439-1456 - dates well sourced to "History of Parliament"

son: John Browning of Coaley (1440-1523) m Margaret Harding - no dates in sources

son: Richard Browning of Coaley (1468-1497) m Elizabeth Parsons - no dates in sources

son: John Browning of Coaley (1493-) m Christina Webb - no dates in sources

(note currently subject to a pending merge with Browning-328 - please ignore for this discussion)

son: John Browning of Coaley (1519-1573) m 1541 Joan Tovey - burial date from FamilySearch but otherwise no dates in sources

son: John Browning (1554-1646) m. Mary Codrington - unsourced; died in York, Virginia

son: Captain John Browning (1588-1635) m. Elizabeth Dameron - born in Suffolk, England; emigrated to Virginia 1621; died York, Virginia Genealogy of the Brownings in America from 1621 to 1908 gives a thorough account of his descendants but nothing of his ancestors.

Overall, this means that all the vital dates in the period 1400 to 1588 - some 188 years or 6 generations - are unsourced.

The main sources for the descent shown above are the Abstracts of records and manuscripts respecting the county of Gloucester ("Abstracts") by TD Fosbrook, printed 1807, and the visitation of the county of Gloucester, taken in the year 1623 ("Visitation") published 1885. I'm assuming that Fosbrook included the visitation in his sources for Abstracts but I have confirmed this. No dates are given in either source.

Visitation has the following descent (highlighting differences to WikiTree in red)

William Browning - no dates

sons: William Browning & John Browning a clerk - no dates - inserted generation

son of William: John Browning m. Margaret Harding - no dates

son: Richard Browning m. Elizabeth Parsons - no dates

son: John Browning m. Christian Webb

children: John Browning m. Joane Tovey; Mary m. John Smyth 1609.

son of John: John Browning

Visitation quotes extracts from the parish registers, including the marriage of Mary & John Smith. This gives a discrepancy in dates of about 80 years compared to the WikiTree version - partly accounted for by the inserted generation.

Abstracts has the following descent (also highlighting differences to WikiTree in red)

William Browning - no dates

son: John Browning - no dates - inserted generation

sons: William Browning & John Browning a clerk - no dates - inserted generation

son of William: John Browning m. Margaret Harding - no dates

son: Richard Browning m. Elizabeth Parsons - no dates

son: John Browning m. Christian Webb

children: John Browning m. Joane Tovey; Mary m. John Smyth 1609.

son of John: John Browning m. Mary Codrington

son: John m. Elizabeth Bridges

daughter & heir: Elizabeth m. John Dowell.

This gives two extra generations which allows us to account for the 80 missing years.

The single extra generation in Visitation is contradicted by History of Parliament (see [[Browning-4257]]) which states that William Browning MP did indeed have a son called William but he died without heirs. This makes the Abstracts version with two additional generations more likely.

Other sources

There are some other primary sources that support the Vistation timelines over that of the current WikiTree:

1. The parish registers shows a marriage of John Browning and Joane Tovey in 1623 in Olveston (which Abstracts identifies as the home of her father)

2. An Inquisition Post Mortem was taken in 1628 for John Browning of Coaley, who had died 7 August 1628; it names his widow Christiana; it recited an indenture dated 6 June 1623 between John Browninge & Christiana his wife and John Tovy of Olveston, making reference to the marriage of John Browning's son to John Tovy's daughter Joan. 


1. The assertion that Capt John Browning who emigrated to Virginia in 1621 was the son of John & Mary Codrington seems to conflict with Abstracts. Therefore should this link be removed?

2. It seems consistent that the marriage between Joan Tovey and John Browning was in 1623 rather than 1541. Therefore should this date be changed?

3. Given the missing 80 years, it seems consistent that there are two generations missing as per the Abstracts descent. Should these two generations be added in?

4. There are no sources given for the dates for John & Margaret Harding, Richard & Elizabeth Parsons, John & Christian Webb, John & Joane Tovey, Mary & John Smyth or John & Mary Codrington. Therefore should these dates be removed and approximate dates added consistent with the sourced start and ends?

5. Finally it's clear on these new dates that [[Smythe-266]] is not the son of John Smith & Mary Browning so should this be removed?

6. Is there anything else that should be considered at the same time?

Many thanks

== EDIT ==

(Working through the new dates reveals a new duplicate for Margaret Harding)

Proposed dates for new descent; in red where there is a supporting source and in blue where the dates are interpolated.

William Browning - 1400-1472 - unchanged

son: John Browning (1440-)

sons: William Browning (1470-) & John Browning (1465-) a clerk - 

son of William: John Browning (1500 - 1553) m. Margaret Harding (1503 - 1564) - based on wills; birth date of M.H. supported by the marriage of her parents William & Isabel at Cam in in 1496

son: Richard Browning (1530 - 1594) m. Elizabeth Parsons - based on will

son: John Browning (1570 - 1628) m. Christian Webb - source: IPM

children: John Browning (1605-)  m.1623 Joane Tovey; Mary m.1609 John Smyth - source: OPR

son of John: John Browning m. Mary Codrington

son: John (-1708) m. Elizabeth Bridges - OPR

daughter & heir: Elizabeth (1703-) m. John Dowell. - OPR

WikiTree profile: John Browning
in Genealogy Help by Andrew Turvey G2G6 Mach 3 (34.6k points)
edited by Darlene Athey-Hill

Thanks for your work on this!  I'll try to keep this discussion in visibility (part of the reason for my comment wink).

4 Answers

+6 votes
The proposal sounds good so long as all the profiles get well documented!  As for Virginia's Captain John Browning, my big concern is that in the past the Virginia Brownings have gotten mixed up with the Maryland Browning family, which is a different family, and as a descendant of the Maryland Brownings I am on guard to make sure that the two families don't get reconnected!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (364k points)
Thanks - yes I saw that concern re Maryland vs Virginia Brownings.

I'll make a note on the profile when I split it.
+5 votes

A transcript of the Lay Subsidies for part of Gloucestershire in 1581-1595 have for Coaley (Cowley) - Richard Brownynge (or Browninge) in 1581, 1585 & 1592 and John Browninge in 1595.  Presumably Richard died sometime between 1592-1595, which is another indication that the current dates on these profiles is out.

There are other Browninge/Brownynge names attached to other areas, who are probably other family members or other estates the family held.

by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (481k points)

I've added a note to the John Browning who supposedly died in 1573 to the effect that if burial information names the father then it is almost certainly the burial of a child.  

Back to Richard Browning - his will (as Richard Browninge of Cowley) is in the National Archives, dated 30 July 1593 and probated 7 February 1594 (this could be 1594/95)

They are also available via and The Genealogist if you subscribe to either of those sites.

I also found wills for John Browninge of Cowley/Coaley proved in 1553 and Margaret Browninge in 1564.  They are also available at in a Gloucestershire Wills database.  They are difficult to read and I didn't the time to spend transcribing them, but the will of John Browninge, definitely mentions his wife Margaret and son Richard.

That in any case should give you some dates to work from in correcting these profiles.  

  • John Browning died about 1553, his wife Margaret about 1564
  • their son Richard Browning died about 1594
  • Richard's grandson John Browning married in 1623
+7 votes
I've just had a quick look at the 1593 will of Richard. He mentions eldest son John, son Richard and then a tribe of daughters (no last names but all their children). Daughters were Katherine, Ann, Jane, Joan and Ursula.
by Elizabeth Viney G2G6 Mach 2 (28.1k points)
Many thanks Elizabeth. Is his will available on line anywhere?
I found it on Ancestry. But it is behind the paywall.
Can you post a link?  I'll pull up a copy.
+4 votes
All actions complete. Please let me know if anyone disagrees with any of the changes I've made.
by Andrew Turvey G2G6 Mach 3 (34.6k points)

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