Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our 14th Great Grandfather. Hung for Murder and Deer Poaching.

Thomas Fienes, Baron Dacre. Our 14th Great Grandfather.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Our digital family reunion this evening finds Utah Valley enveloped in a nice winter storm. I'm in my chair listening to Vivaldi as I research our family history. We have a very interesting ancestor to meet tonight in our online gathering. His name is Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre and his wife Mary Neville our 14th Great Grandparents.

Our 14th Great Grandmother Mary Neville.

It amazes me how many of our family lines all come into contact during the reign of Henry VIII of England. Many of our ancestors served in Henry's Court and were counted as his good friends, and yes - his lovers.

Let us begin with the Relationship Chart

14th Great Grandfather Thomas Fiennes Baron Dacre and Mary Neville
George Fienes and Ann Sackville
Frank Wheatlye and Mary Fiennes
Thomas Bliss b. abt. 1590 England married Dorothy Wheatley
Mary Martha Bliss married Nathanial Harmon
John Harmon Sr. married Sarah Roberts
Sarmal Harmon married Mercy Simpson
John Harmon b. 1716 d. 1742 and Mary Hasty b. 1721 d. 1753
Martha Harmon b. 1740 and William Williams B. 1740 Prince George Maryland.
Nancy Ann Williams and William Cantwell
Martha Cantwell and Jacob George
Frances George and Henry Fiddler
Eldora Elizabeth Fiddler Edwin Sherman Pierce
Walter Edwin Pierce and Vesta Althea Dennis
Violet Mae Pierce and Walter Albert Mattson
to their children
Luella, Linda, John, Marvin

Thomas Fiennes was the 9th Baron Dacre. He was born in 1515 and hung on the gallows in 1541. Dacre was the son of Sir Thomas Fiennes and Jane Sutton daughter of Edward Sutton, 2nd Baron Dudley. When his father died in 1528 he became heir apparent to his grandfather's title and the family seat at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, and he succeeded to the title at the age of approximately 19 in 1533. In 1536 he married Mary Nevill, daughter of George Nevill, 5th Baron Bergavenny.

The Crest of Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre

Here are the important facts concerning our 14th Great Grandfather.
  • Thomas was a young boy at the time of his father's death in 1528.
  • Thomas married our Great Grandmother Mary Neville in 1536 just before his nineteenth birthday.
  • The couple had three children. Gregory (George) was our 13th Great Grandfather.
  • Thomas was a Peer of England and served King Henry VIII. In May 1536 Lord Dacre (Thomas) sat on the controversial trial of Queen Anne Boleyn and her brother, George Boleyn on charges of incest. Both were found guilty and condemned to death by beheading.
  • Lord Dacre gathered a force of 200 men to help Henry VIII against the rebellion of the North.
  • Lord Dacre served on the jury who found Lord Darcy guilty of Treason.
  • Lord Dacre was a member of the Commission of Sewers to search and defend the coast of England.
  • When Henry VIII's son Edward was christened, Lord Dacre was appointed to bear teh spice plates. A month later, when the Queen Jane Seymour, was buried, he was one of those to bear the canopy over her corpse at the funeral.
  • Lord Dacre met Henry VIII's next bride, Anne of Cleves, upon her arrival from Germany.

On the last day of April 1541, when he was 24 years old, Thomas and several of his friends trespassed in Laughton Park, Susses to hunt deer belonging to Sir Nicholas Pelham. During the evening hunt they were discovered by the gamekeeper. A fight broke out. The gamekeeper was stabbed by the sword and died. Although not the one who delivered the fatal blow, our 14th Great Grandfather was still an accomplice and stood trial.

During the trial he was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Henry VIII did not pardon him.
The following is the complete transcript of the trail in the original language and spelling.
'...There was executed at Saint Thomas Wateringe, three gentlemen, John Mantell (Lord Dacres brother-in-law), John Frowds, and George Roidon; they died for a murther committed in Sussex, in companie of Thomas Fines, Lord Dacres of the South: the truth whereof was thus. The said Lord Dacres, through the lewd persuasion of some of them, as hath beene reported, meaning to hunt in the parke of Nicholas Pelham, esquire, at Laughton, in the same countie of Sussex, being accompanied with the said Mantell, Frowds, and Roidon, John Cheinie, and Thomas Isleie, gentlemen, Richard Middleton, and John Goldwell, yeomen, passed from his house of Hurstmonceux, the last of Aprill, in the night season, toward the same parke, where they intended so to hunt; and coming unto a place called Pikehaie, in the parish of Hillingleigh, they found one John Busbrig (or Busbridge), James Busbrig, and Richard Summer standing togither: and as it fell out, through quarelling, there insued a fraie betwixt the said Lord Dacres and his companie on the one partie, and the said John and James Busbrig and Richard Summer on the other, insomuch that the said John Busbrig received such hurt, that he died thereof the second of Maie next insuing. Whereupon, as well the said Lord Dacres as those that were there with him, and diuerse other likewise that were appointed to go another waie to meet them at the said parke, were indicted of murther; and the seauen and twentith of Jun the Lord Dacres himselfe was arraigned before the Lord Audleie of Walden, then lord chancellor, sitting that daie as high steward of England, with other peers' of the realme about him, who then and there condemned the said Lord Dacres to die for that transgression. And afterward, the nine and twentith of Jun, being Saint Peter's daie, at eleuen of the clocke in the forenoone, the shiriffs of London, accordinglie as they were appointed, were readie at the tower to haue receiued the said prisoner, and him to haue lead to execution on the Tower Hill; but as the prisoner should come forth of the tower, one Heire, a gentleman of the lord chancellor's house, came, and in the kings name commanded to staie the execution till two of the clocke in the afternoone, which caused manie to think that the King would haue granted his pardon. But neuerthelesse, at three of the clocke in the same afternoone, he was brought forth of the tower, and deliuered to the shiriffs, who lead him on foote betwixt them unto Tiburne where he died. His bodie was buried in the church of Saint Sepulchers. He was not past foure and twentie yeeres of age, when he came through this great mishap to his end, for whom manie sore lamented, and likewise for the other three gentlemen, Mantell, Frowds and Roidon. But for the said yoong lord being a right towardlie gentleman, and such a one as manie had conceiued great hope of better proofe, no small mone and lamentation was made; the more indeed, for that it was thought he was induced to attempt such follie, which occasioned his death, by some light heads that were then about him...'
The case was tried in the court of King's Bench on June 27th, before the lord chancellor (Lord Audley of Walden), 'sitting that day as high steward of England.' Lord Dacre at first pleaded 'not guilty;' but, 'overpersuaded by the courtiers, who gaped after his estate, to confess the fact', he pleaded guilty, and 'cast himself on the king's mercy, as the only way to save his own and his servant's life.'

The whole company was indicted on the charge of murder. Although the combined innocence of Dacre and his party was so clear that the privy council hesitated long before ordering a prosecution, and then probably only under pressure from the King Henry VIII, now nearing his worst, 'cruelly, royally vindictive', was resolved that the young man should die, and his 'surpassing self-wilfullness' drove his councilors to a decision, though not without a long and stormy debate.

The judges attempted thereupon to use their influence with the king to obtain mercy. The king, however, was determined, and Dacre was ordered to be executed next day, June 29th, at 11 a.m., on Tower Hill.

Upon his death, our Great Grandmother Mary was penniless. Because of his crime, Thomas lost his titles, lands and wealth.

Mary Neville and her son, our 13th Great Grandfather Gregory (George).

Shortly thereafter, King Henry VIII took pity on the young widow and return some of the land and wealth so she could be cared for to the end of her days.


1 comment:

  1. I am also descended from Frank Wheatlye and Mary Fiennes. The identity of Mary's parents is the subject of much debate, and there is not much to prove or disprove the idea that she is the illegitimate daughter of George Gregory Fiennes. However, we do know that she is not the daughter of George's wife Ann Sackville. They only had one daughter, who died very young and unmarried. The identity of Mary's mother is unknown. I keep George Gregory Fiennes on my family tree, but with the knowledge that it may just be wishful thinking that he is our ancestor.