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Chronology of the Mapes family of Norfolk

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The genealogy of the Mapes family of Norfolk is largely based on the 1631 Visitation of Norfolk. It should be noted that there is no entry for the family in the 1563 Visitation, so the information for the early generations has to be considered suspect. The pedigree from the Visitation is (estimated dates are in italics):

John MapesJoyce da & h of John Blount son of Sir Hugh1360
Robert MapesElizabeth da of … Gray1390
John MapesJane da of … Higham
Christopher MapesThomazine da of … Heron
John MapesAnn da of …. Moore1480
John MapesAlice da of …. Wolmer 1557?[1]
Leonard MapesCatherine da of Richard Southwell of St Faiths15491619
Francis MapesAnne da & coh of Richard Loveday of Norwich 1638

The death dates for Francis[2] and Leonard[3] are documented, as is the baptism of Leonard[4]. Various places estimate Francis' birth year as 1588 and there are baptism records for other children of Leonard around this time. Richard Southwell lived from 1531 to 1600, and those dates are consistent with his daughter being the wife of Leonard.

No evidence has been found for a Wolmer/Woolmer family in Norfolk at this time so it is not known where Alice was from.

In the Visitation, against Ann Moore is given the arms "Gules, a fesse inter three boars' heads couped close argent". These are the arms of the Moore family of Wolterton, whose pedigree is also listed in the 1631 Visitation of Norfolk. There is one Anne in that pedigree who might be a match, the daughter of Thomas son of Edmund, born about 1490. The dating evidence for the Moore family is covered below.

Although there are references to a Heron (or Herne) family in Norfolk, there is nothing to connect Thomazine. There is even less to connect Jane, and Gray was such a common name that tracing Elizabeth would be almost impossible unless her marriage to Robert shows up in a Gray pedigree. There is no candidate in the Grey pedigree in the 1631 Visitation.

According to the Inquisition Post Mortem taken in 1361 following the death of his father, John Blount (not to be confused with the Blount family of Sodington, Worcestershire) was aged 23 and more.[5] Since Joyce was his daughter and heir, and subject to the normal caveats about the ages given at inquisitions, she was probably born about 1365.

If we assume that Robert Mapes was born about 1390 and that Leonard Mapes was born about 1558, that means five generations cover about one hundred and seventy years, or an average of thirty four years per generation. This does not seem likely, although not impossible. One explanation would be that there were three generations of John, not the two given in the pedigree. This was not an uncommon error, but it could just as easily apply to a duplicate at any level of the pedigree.

The Moore family

As noted above, Ann the wife of John Mapes senior, may have been the daughter of Thomas son of Edmond Moore. According to Blomefield, Edmond had half of the manor of Wolterton about 1437[6], so he had to have been born by 1416.

Edmond's daughter Blyth married Sir Roger Achley, who was mayor of London in 1512. Sir Roger was a draper and became freeman by servitude in 1479.[7] This would put his birth about 1458. One Richard Achilley (perhaps son of Roger) became an apprentice in 1498 and gained his freedom in 1508.[8] That would put his birth about 1484, the marriage of Sir Roger and Blyth shortly before that, and Blyth's birth perhaps about 1465.

Cicely, another daughter of Edmond, married firstly Everard Briggs. In the Brygg pedigree he is named as Edward, second son and heir of John Brygg of Sal(l)e. He was actually the heir of his brother Thomas who died in 1494. At the Inquisition Post Mortem taken after Thomas' death, Everard was said to be aged 26 and more[9], so born about 1468. This is consistent with Cicely being a younger sister to Blyth.

A third daughter, Ellen, married Thomas Cawse and their daughter Elizabeth married Sir William Jenney. He was born in 1421[10] and died in 1483. That would put the birth of Ellen in the same time period as Blyth and Cicely.

According to the Moore pedigree, Edmond married Catherine daughter of John Chattoke, Mayor of Norwich. He was Sheriff in 1450 and Mayor in 1457.[11] That would put John's birth before 1420 and more likely 1410.

There was also a John Chattoke who was a citizen and draper of London in 1461; he would have been born before 1440. If he was was the son of John Chattoke of Norwich, that would explain how Sir Roger Achley (who was from Staffordshire) came to marry Blyth. A birth date about 1445 for Catherine would be consistent with her being the mother of Blyth and Cicely. Since Thomas was the second son of Edmond and Catherine, he would have been born after 1465 and his daughter Ann around 1490.

None of these dates fit with Edmond being of age by 1437, but they do tell a consistent story.


  1. There is a burial record from St Peter Mancroft, but this may be for his son John
  2. Francis Blomefield. "West Flegg hundred: Rollesby," in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11, (London: W Miller, 1810), 183-188. British History Online, accessed January 21, 2020, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol11/pp183-188.
  3. A photograph of his memorial is attached to his profile
  4. Norfolk Record Office; Norwich, Norfolk, England; Reference: PD 26/1
  5. M. C. B. Dawes. "Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward III, File 156," in Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Volume 11, Edward III, (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1935), 1-20. British History Online, accessed January 24, 2020, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/vol11/pp1-20.
  6. Francis Blomefield. "Hundred of South Erpingham: Wolterton," in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 6, (London: W Miller, 1807), 452-456. British History Online, accessed January 24, 2020, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol6/pp452-456.
  7. https://www.londonroll.org/event/?company=drp&event_id=DREB26
  8. https://www.londonroll.org/search
  9. Maskelyne and H. C. Maxwell Lyte. "Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry VII, Entries 1001-1050," in Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Series 2, Volume 1, Henry VII, (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1898), 430-451. British History Online, accessed January 26, 2020, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/series2-vol1/pp430-451.
  10. From the 1563 Visitation his was of full age in or before 1442.
  11. Francis Blomefield. "The city of Norwich, chapter 19: Of the city in the time of Henry VI," in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I, (London: W Miller, 1806), 136-165. British History Online, accessed January 26, 2020, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol3/pp136-165.

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It might not be helpful but I ran a search for Mapes in the National Archives Discovery and saw a couple lawsuits regarding Elizabeth Mapes / Elizabeth Wolnor. Not an Alice, but perhaps Wolmer was a corruption of Wolnor?

This 1589 lawsuit could support an estimated DOB for Leonard.

posted by H Husted
Hi Heather, I did see both of these but neither of them seemed promising enough for me to spend money on ;) The Leonard Mapes lawsuit most probably is "our" Leonard, but it fits with what we already know and I don't think it is going to help us narrow down his birth date. I've searched all the published IPMs and there is nary a Mapes; most frustrating! I've also looked at the Norfolk Record Office database but nothing obvious came up there either.
posted by [Living Hampson]
It’s frustrating for sure. What’s your take on the tale that Francis was a surveyor with the Virginia Company?
posted by H Husted
I did see something like that somewhere, but I don’t remember where. The idea sounds unlikely though.
posted by [Living Hampson]
edited by [Living Hampson]
I see where that story comes from - https://books.google.com/books?id=KvUsAAAAYAAJ&q=mapes#v=snippet&q=mapes&f=false. He claims that Francis had a son Thomas, but Blomefield states that Francis' heirs were his two daughters and he presumably got this from an IPM held after Francis' death. Unfortunately the IPMs from that time haven't yet been published so we can't easily check. He also has one John Mapes as husband of both Ann Moore and Alice Wolmer; the chronology clearly doesn't support that. I'd give this claim a very low credibility score.
posted by [Living Hampson]
Found an abstract of the IPM - https://archive.org/stream/genealogist32selb#page/n155/mode/2up. Held at Norwich 15 Jan 1639, Katherine ux John Guibon aged 30, and Ann aged 12.
posted by [Living Hampson]