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Mary (Machell) Stoughton (abt. 1582 - abt. 1634)

Mary Stoughton formerly Machell aka Cudworth
Born about in Englandmap [uncertain]
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married 18 Jun 1611 (to 1624) in Southwark, London, Englandmap
Wife of — married 1624 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about in London, Englandmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 28 Aug 2009
This page has been accessed 2,628 times.
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Magna Carta Trail Pending
This profile is in a Magna Carta trail that is pending
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NOTE: Mary's parentage is disputed. See notes, below.



Mary Machell[1]

Mary Machell, nurse to Prince Henry, married, as her first husband, Rev. Ralph Cudworth.[2]

"On 18 June 1611 at Southwark he [Rev. Ralph Cudworth] married Mary Machell"[3] (marriage at St. Mary, Newington, Surrey[2])

"They had three sons, [Major] James, Gent., Ralph, D.D.,... and John, and three daughters, Elizabeth (wife of [Rev.] Josias Beacham/Beachamp), Mary, and Jane."[2]

The children of Mary and Ralph "were christened at Aller over the following decade." Mary's husband, Ralph Cudworth, "having been awarded Doctor of Divinity in 1619, died at Aller in autumn 1624, and John Stoughton (son of Thomas Stoughton of Coggeshall), also Fellow of Emmanuel College, who succeeded him as Rector, took the widow Mary Cudworth as his own wife."[4]

Dr. Stoughton paid careful attention to the education of his stepchildren, and in 1632 when Stoughton received preferment to St Mary Aldermanbury in the City of London and the family left Aller, Ralph matriculated from Emmanuel to begin his university career. His elder brother James Cudworth married and emigrated permanently to Scituate, Plymouth Colony in New England in 1634.[4]

Mary (Machell) Stoughton was living in December 1634. In 1637, Dr. Stoughton remarried.[2] Mrs. Stroughton "died in 1635, and Dr. Stoughton married a daughter of John Browne of Frampton and Dorchester. Dr. Stoughton died in 1639,"[4] on 4 May (buried 9 May). His will, dated 4 May 1639, was proved 20 May 1639.[2]

Research Notes

Birth: A Mary Manchell was baptized on 15 May 1584 at Saint John, Hackney, London, England.[5]

Parents: Mary's parents are not certain. In Douglas Richardson's latest published work, Royal Ancestry (2013), they are Matthew Machell and Mary Lewknor[2] while an alternative theory is that they were instead Matthew's brother John and his wife Ursula Hynde. As the result of a Magna Carta project challenge (to develop a Richardson-documented Gateway Ancestor), John Schmeeckle concluded that her parents were irrefutably John and Ursula. That the evidence presented clearly supports John and Ursula as parents is disputed, as discussed in the section below.[6]

Children's Father: "Mary Machell had two daughters, Jane and Marie Stoughton, and perhaps a son Matthew...."[7] This could be an error in part. The source for this is the will of Rev. John Stoughton, which names his "daughters" Mary and Jane.[8] The quote is from a 1975 publication which supports John a Mary's father (hence the reference to "uncle" Matthew).


Sometimes "following the land" helps, so I've listed some of the locations below that are mentioned in the biography.
  • Surrey
    • St Mary, Newington, Southwark, Surrey, 1611 marriage of "Rodolphe Cudworthe minist[e]r, maried to Mrs. Marie Machell"[3]
  • Hackney
    • St. John's, Hackney, Middlesex, England, 1584 baptism of Mary (no parents mentioned in record)[5]
  • Sussex
    • St Julian, Kingston by Sea, Sussex, 1617/8 marriage of James Harison and Marie Mashall[9][10]

Disputed Parents

Mary's parents are said to be either Matthew Machell and Mary Lewknor or John Machell (Matthew's brother) and Ursula Hynde. Neither has primary sources to clearly show who her parents were. The Magna Carta connection is through the wives, not Matthew or John.
Richardson shows Mary's parents to be Matthew Machell and Mary Lewknor and has Mary's trail continuing to the Bigods (Hugh le Bigod and Roger le Bigod) through the Lewknors.[1]
Boaz shows Mary's parents as John Machell and Ursula Hynde.[11] Ursula's Magna Carta connection is through her mother, Jane Verney, as outlined below.
In a G2G discussion, an argument is made that Mary's parents could not be Matthew and Mary (Lewknor) Machell but instead must be John and Ursula (Hynde) Machell (see this answer). Subsequently, the parents for Mary's WikiTree profile were changed. However, there did not appear to be consensus on this change, so her profile now has no parents attached. Even the post saying the parents could not be Matthew and Mary stated as a conclusion "There is a plausible argument that Mary (Machell) Cudworth was the daughter of not Matthew Machell but rather Matthew's brother John of Hackney, so Matthew Machell should be detached as Mary (Machell) Cudworth's father." While the argument may be plausible, it is not persuasive enough to support attaching John and Ursula as Mary's parents. ~ Noland-165 21:28, 3 July 2018 (UTC)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol II, p 10 CUDWORTH #16. Mary Machell
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), Vol II, pp 363-367 CUDWORTH, p 366 #16. Mary Machell
  3. 3.0 3.1 "London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812," database with images,; "Rodolphe Cudworthe minist[e]r, maried to Mrs. Marie Machell ye xviiith [18th] day by lisence," June 1611, parish of St Mary, Newington, Southwark, Surrey, England; citing Reference Number: P92/MRY/002; London Metropolitan Archives, London, England
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wikipedia: Ralph Cudworth] (son Ralph), with several footnotes.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Mary Manchell, 15 May 1584); citing SAINT JOHN,HACKNEY,LONDON,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 569,924. (image not available)
  6. For additional details of the debate about Mary's parents, see this G2G discussion.
  7. Records of the Cudworth family : a history of the ancestors and descendants of James Cudworth of Scituate, Mass. (pdf), collected and compiled by W. John Calder ; edited and rev. by Arthur G. Cudworth, Sr (1975), p. 6.
  8. Will of John Stoughton published in Genealogical Gleanings in England, p. 179.
  9. Parish record transcribed as James Harison married Marie Mashall 3 Feb 1617/18 (transcribed by Charlotte Ryan from the parish records of St Julian, Kingston by Sea, Sussex (accessed 29 June 2018).
  10. This marriage is posted because it is apparently crucial evidence that Mary m Cudworth is not the daughter of Matthew and Mary (Lewknor) Machell. See this G2G comment, which notes "TWO marriages of two separate women named Mary Machell: In addition to the well-known marriage 1611 of Mary Machell to Ralph Cudworth just outside of London (where the family of John and Ursula Machell was located), there was the 1617 marriage of Mary "Mashall" of Kingston Bowsey, the Lewknor estate far from London where Mary (Lewknor) Machell was buried in 1604." (A citation is needed for Mary's burial.)
  11. Adrienne Boaz, Specific Ancestral Lines of the Boaz, Paul, Welty & Fishel Families (2014)


Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Magna Carta Project

Needs Research to determine what her connection is (see "Disputed Parents" above). ~ Thiessen-117 00:05, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Mary (Machell) Stoughton appears in Magna Carta Ancestry in a Richardson-documented trail from Gateway Ancestor James Cudworth to Magna Carta Surety Barons Hugh le Bigod and Roger le Bigod (vol. II, pages 8-12 CUDWORTH). This trail, set forth below, has not yet been developed on Wikitree.
See Base Camp for more information about identified Magna Carta trails and their status. See the project's glossary for project-specific terms, such as a "badged trail".
As noted above, researchers disagree on who Mary's parents were and, therefore, on her Magna Carta connections. The following paragraphs discuss her Magna Carta connections through Ursula Hynde (wife of Matthew's brother, John, as traced by John Schmeeckle.
Mary Machell, as daughter of Ursula Hynde, would be the granddaughter of Jane Verney, granddaughter of Margaret Inwardby (her father's mother). ("JS")
"Margaret is descended, through her great-grandmother Katherine Missenden (see details on her profile), from Robert FitzWalter the leader of the Magna Carta surety barons, as well as surety barons Henry de Bohun, Hugh le Bigod, his father Roger le Bigod, and Richard de Clare." (From Margaret's profile, accessed 22 June 2018.)
Jane Verney's maternal great-grandmother, Anne Norbury '("JS") is descended from Magna Carta surety barons Saher de Quincy, Robert de Vere, Henry de Bohun, Hugh le Bigod and his father Roger le Bigod. Anne Norbury also appears to be descended from Geoffrey de Say and Richard de Clare. (See details on Anne Norbury's profile.)

Magna Carta Trails

Unbadged Richardson-documented trail to the Bigods (MCA II:8-12 CUDWORTH):
Gateway Ancestor James Cudworth (trail pending/5-star needs re-review)
1. James is the son of Mary Machell (trail pending/needs research & re-review)
2. Mary is the daughter of Mary Lewknor (NO PB*/needs development)
3. Mary is the daughter of Edward Lewknor (NO PB/needs development)
4. Edward is the son of Edward Lewknor (NO PB/needs development)
5. Edward is the son of Edward Lewknor (NO PB/needs development)
6. Edward is the son of Elizabeth Radmylde (NO PB/needs development)
7. Elizabeth is the daughter of Margaret Camoys (NO PB/needs development)
8. Margaret is the daughter of Richard Camoys (trail pending/needs development)
9. Richard is the son of Thomas Camoys (trail pending/needs development)
10. Thomas is the son of John de Camoys (trail pending/needs development)
11. John is the son of Elizabeth le Despenser (trail pending/needs development)
12. Elizabeth is the daughter of Isabel de Beauchamp (badged/100% 5-star)
13. Isabel is the daughter of Maud FitzJohn (badged/100% 5-star)
14. Maud is the daughter of Isabel le Bigod (badged/100% 5-star)
15. Isabel is the daughter of Magna Carta Surety Hugh le Bigod
16. Hugh is the son of Magna Carta Surety Roger le Bigod
* NO PB = The Magna Carta Project does not yet manage this profile. There is no project box or project section on the profile.

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Comments: 12

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Any new developments since the 2018 argument about Mary's parents? Are both theories still viable?

posted by Traci Thiessen
edited by Traci Thiessen
Yes she had parents but they are uncertain and in dispute. Read "research notes" and "disputed parents" sections for details.
posted by David Douglass
A comment by Jillaine Smith made 21 June 2018 on another page is relevant also:
One of the largest weaknesses in the Boaz/Schmeeckle theory is the claim that the set of Machell children baptized in Hackney, London must be the children of John Machell and Ursula Hynde who'd been married the year prior. BUT they were married about 60 miles north in Madlingly, Cambridgeshire. I believe the John Machell does end up in London, but so does his brother Matthew. So I don't see how this set of baptisms necessarily associates with John and Ursula.
posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
Is this it? No parents?
posted by Larry Herbstritt
comment posted on another page by John Atkinson:

I still think the idea of her being a nurse to Prince Henry is fairly unbelievable. Records for his household staff reveal that they are all male, and with a number of doctors. There are no court sources of payments to her, and the only source is in an introduction to her son's writings published in 1733 or about 100 years after she died, and 45 years after the son died.

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
update 2 - done with the re-vamp of this profile. Additional research is required before consensus can be reached that accepts one set of parents over the other.

update - done with this profile for now. Editing continuing at Space:Magna_Carta_Sandbox.

Hi! I'll be working on an edit for this profile in a Space page. To get the raw coding I need, there will be a bit of upheaval (a couple of "Restore"s), and then I will do an initial edit that will include detaching the parents' profiles. I hope to finish my edit by tonight & will replace whatever is currently the biography with it - so please, no editing here! If you would like to provide comments, please do so at Space:Magna_Carta_Sandbox.

Please contact me with any questions.

Thanks! Liz, co-leader, Magna Carta Project

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
Added a source for the marriage of Ralph Cudworth and Mary Machell.

Added sources for the baptisms of Ralph and Mary Cudworth's children.

Added daughter Jane Cudworth.

posted by Charlene Newport
Added sources for the baptisms of John and Ursula Machell's presumed children.
posted by Charlene Newport
I have edited the page. There is no absolute certainty on her parentage. She was daughter of either John Machell and Ursula Hynde or Matthew Machell and Mary Lewknor.
posted by Paulo Canedo
David, it appears that Richardson dropped the ball on this one. I have given a detailed response to Joe Cochoit's reply that you mentioned. Once again, there is not a shred of evidence that Mary (Machell) Cudworth was the daughter of Mary (Lewknor) Machell. Richardson's reputation is not a substitute for the lack of either primary or secondary sources (until 300 years after Mary's birth, and then Bellasis noting disagreement about Mary's mother).
posted by [Living Schmeeckle]
I have been tracking the Cudworth saga for ten years, and I would suggest that in the absence of some real evidence as opposed to old recycled speculations, that we should let this go. It is incorrect to say "there is not a shred of evidence" as in the g2g link:

Note particularly Joe Cochoit's reply, which I have verified in detail.

The explicit association of the family of Matthew M to Cudworth is a far better argument than that of Boaz. Ideal case? no. But this is 17th century London, with calamaties such as fires, no wonder there are limited records. Frankly, Richardson is a leader in this area, and his unambiguous conclusion that this is a valid line gives it some significant weight.

posted by David Drabold
It looks like Mary Machell's parents might have to be detached, because she could have been the daughter of the BROTHER of Matthew Machell. This would eliminate her Magna Carta ancestry. I will be starting a G2G thread on this soon. I already mentioned this problem on the following G2G thread:
posted by [Living Schmeeckle]