Sunday, 21 May 2017

I have just had an interesting email from a leading researcher in the subject of the families of Blounts and Lewknors which she has asked me to post up here on my blogsite.

She writes:

The supposed “James Blount” Bookplate
As I write this, in May 2017, it is almost 20 years since I was first asked by the late Kyle VanLandingham, knowing that I would be in North Worcestershire, to check out the veracity of the claim that James  Blount, son of Thomas Blount of Astley, Worcestershire, had married into the Clare family of Kidderminster.
I found no evidence of any such.
Kyle then asked whether there was any evidence of James Blount (died before 1655) having married into a family called Lewkenor. The only mention of that name that I found in Worcestershire Record Office, then at County Hall, was the 1580 will of Nicholas Lewkenor, which mentioned a Richard Lewkenor of Sussex. There might have been other mentions with one of the several spelling variants, e.g. Leuknor, but I knew nothing of this spelling at that time.
I visited the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester where I found a host of Lewkenors.
Both Kyle and our fellow sleuth, Bromfield Nichol, have since died, and I have done little research into the Blounts, until six months ago, when I was asked by another researcher for my opinion on the “James Blount – Clare marriage”. I revisited all known information but, again, I still I found no such marriage.
In the course of our exchanges, my contact sent me a copy of page 17 of Bolton’s “An American Armory”, published 1927, which was new to me, and I believe that I now understand the Clare marriage theory.
This page has two entries for Blount:
  1. “Blount: (Or) 3 fruited twigs in pale fessways (sa). Impaling: (Or) 3 chevrons (gu) (Claire).
    Crests: 1: sun in splendor; 2. A stag’s head cabossed.
    Seal owned by Mrs.Charles G.Irish of Utica, N.Y., used by her great grandfather Jacob Blount of North Car. Should be 3 bars nebulae?
    Bookplate James Blount of Carolina about 1740. Painting owned by Miss Lena Smith, Scotland Neck, N.C.”
  2. “Blount: Or 3 bars nebulae sa (should be Barry nebulae or and sa). Impaling: 3 fleurs-de-lis (Mountford?).
    Crests: 1. A sun in splendor; 2: feathers.
    Painting owned by Miss Lena Smith, Scotland Neck, N.C.”
Miss Lena Smith was a contemporary of Miss Helen Prescott, who visited England in 1902, the year in which she published her genealogical chart “Blount and Blunt”, which can be seen on She visited England with the *expectation* of finding a James Blount – (unknown given name) Clare, but never found this. Miss Prescott also added dates – as I think she found them – to her chart, which should be taken with care, e.g. she gave the date of death of the older James as 1655 and that this death took place at the Battle of Worcester, “in 1655” . We know from the will of his half-brother, Charles, dated 1655, ( that James senior was dead by then. Miss Prescott was proposing the battle (which, of course, took place sin 1651) as a possible cause of death for James; again, there is no evidence.  
  1. There were two James Blounts connecting the Astley family with Virginia: the “gateway ancestor” and his father. The identity of the father’s wife is not known – neither is the identity of his mother. I keep reading on the internet that the older James’ mother was Bridget Brome – she was his stepmother, his father’s second wife. It is clear from Thomas Blount’s will (on, that James was NOT his son by Bridget. This is also confirmed by the first will of Bridget (by then Bridget Stanley), 1636, Worcester (England) County Record Office, in which she leaves five shillings to each of her children and to James Blount her son-in-law (stepson) ( Unfortunately, the surname of James senior’s first wife is not known.
  2. The bookplate design can be easily dated to the latter part of the 17thC through its Chippendale design surround. The name “James Blount” is a further addition.  
 Descent from Walter Blount of Astley
Walter Blount of Astley, Worcestershire, d 1561, 3rd son of Sir Thomas Blount, d 1524 of Kinlet

Robert Blount of Astley, d 1573

Thomas Blount of Astley, will dated 1624 m 1. Unknown, 2. Bridget Broome

James Blount, d before 1655 (son of Thomas by first, unknown wife)

Capt.James Blount, settled N.Carolina (will, dated 1686, signed with seal (

Thomas Blount of Tyrell County, North Carolina, d 1706, m 2. Mary Perry/Scott

Thomas Blount 1687-1729 m Anne Reading

Capt.Jacob Blount, 1726-1789, of Blount Hall, Beaufort, signed will with seal, m Barbara Gray

William Blount, 1749-1800, Governor of the Territory South of the Ohio. Founded Knoxville.
John H.Wheeler writing in “Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians”, Columbus, OH, 1884, stated: “Miss Helen Malvina Blount Prescott, in her unpublished manuscript genealogy of the descendants of Capt. James Blount said the following: ‘The Coat of Arms (said to have been taken from his tomb) (What tomb !?) engraved as a copper plate, was in the possession of his descendant James B.Sheppard of Raleigh and destroyed by him about 1840.’”
Putting everything together:
  1. James Blount, the ‘Gateway Ancestor’, signed his will with a seal. James was entitled to the arms of the Blounts: the Kinlet and Kidderminster Blount families having died out in the male line. Could the bizarre, but recognizable, design on the left hand side of the supposed “coat of arms” have been taken from a signet-ring home-made seal? 
  2. This proposed home-made seal might then have been used on Capt.Jacob Blount’s will in 1789.
  3. Governor William Blount would, obviously, not have used a home-made seal.   
  4. James B.Sheppard of Raleigh is said to have destroyed “the plate” about 1840.
  5. The surround of the supposed “coat of arms” is in the “Chippendale” style, popular in the later 1700s and is presumably as on the painting owned a century later by Miss Lena Smith.
  6. In the 1800s the study of heraldry became very popular. “English Heraldry” by Charles Boutel, pub. London and New York in 1867, makes many references to “Clare”, but none to “Lewkenor” nor to any of its spelling variants. Lewknor (sic) was proposed by the late Brom Nichol, based on his comparison of Fairbairn’s Crests (pub 1905) with other heraldic sources. At about 1610 Sir Lewes Lewkenor, King James I’s “Master of the Ceremonies” married Mary Blount of Dedisham (of Mountjoy-Mapledurham descent), whose mother was first cousin to the West brothers and, of course, Lord de la Warr, but I have found no Blount husband for any Lewkenor lady. 
Did someone in this family have a book with a bookplate inside showing the arms of the Lewkenors? Was it believed that this book with its bookplate came from some ancestor in the past? Or is this a complete red herring? There is, sadly, a great deal of totally wrong information circulating on the internet.
The “bookplate” story needs to stay a mystery until someone is fortunate enough to understand it.

With best wishes, G

Thursday, 8 May 2014


There exist several references which connect the Lewknors and the Blounts. One Captain James Blount is known to have settled in North Carolina in 1655, and a copy of his “Coat of Arms” is depicted herewith.

James, and his father, another James, are mentioned in several English family wills as “being overseas” and may be identified as James, the eldest son of James, the eldest son of Thomas Blount of Astley, Worcestershire.

Capt James Blount, the immigrant, impaled the Clare arms of his mother with that of the Blount family. Barry nebulee of six, or and sa. For BLOUNT; impaled with Or. Three chevronels (tinct not known) possibly for LEWKNOR (but if gules, for CLARE).

Dexter on the shield is a bizarre interpretation of Blount. It is believed that the crest is the sun in splendour, charged with a sabaton or sollaret, broader at the toe than at the heel, as was the fashion in the sixteenth century, as seen on various Blount of Kinlet tombs.

Sinister was believed to be Clare – understandable as, with the tinct being unknown, the Clare arms are also three chevronels, but the crest of the Clares is a stags head, while the crest on the sinister side of the American shield is a unicorn.

The only combination of chevrons with a unicorn crest thus far found is Lewknor, as per Burke’s The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales1884.

Lewknor (West Dean, co. Sussex and co. Worcester) Az, three chev. Ar. (another, or.)
Crest 1: a greyhound courant ar. Collared or.
Crest 2: a unicorn’s head erazed az.bezantie, horned and maned or.
(other sources give the same information)

Upon looking for Lewknors who might be associated with the Blounts of Astley, it was found that Eleanor, daughter of Sir Christopher Brome, was married to the second of three Richard Lewknors of West Dean, while her sister, Bridget, was married to Thomas Blount of Astley, grand-father of Captain James of the “Coat of Arms”. As unreliable as the rules of heraldry can be, especially when transferred to the colonies, it can be supposed that the sinister side of the arms shows a Lewkenor marriage. Could it be, perhaps, that this was a West Dean Lewknor?

The first Richard of West Dean, Sir Richard Lewknor 1541-1616 was Chief Justice of Chester and Deputy President of the Council of Wales. He was buried originally at Ludlow, but later interred at West Dean. West Dean church was seriously damaged by fire in 1935 and the first Sir Richard’s tomb was completely destroyed. Fortunately, the coats of arms which decorated the tombs were previously recorded by M G Knight of Chawton House, Hampshire. Mr Knight recorded that the arms were topped by “the Lewknor crest”, without stating what that crest might be. There exists a portrait of Sir Richard, which shows his arms with the Greyhound crest. The whereabouts of this portrait is presently unknown, but it was photographed for the National Portrait Gallery. Sadly – one of many dead-ends, the negative has deteriorated beyond use. The greyhound crest for Sir Richard makes sense as Mr Knight recorded that the feet of his effigy rested on a greyhound.

I mentioned in one of my postings below, the four daughters of Sir Roger Lewknor d 1543 – Jane, Katherine, Mabel and Constance. Gillian drew my attention to one thread of connecting evidence lay in the Lewkenor Carpet of Arms which was bequeathed to Sir John Lewknor of West Dean (described as “head of the family” in Phillimore’s Sussex Heraldry) by Constance. Constance’s first husband was Thomas Foster of Newnam, Worcestershire which I suspect is Newnham Bridge, Lindridge, making her next-door neighbour to the Blounts of Soddington, distant cousins, but living a mere ten miles away from their fellow catholics, the Blounts of Astley. The carpet is now in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It may be noted that the bottom middle arms shows a greyhound crest .

So, from the above, one surmises that the greyhound crest would have been associated with the senior line, which died out with Constance in 1634. She bequeathed the carpet to Sir John Lewkenor of West Dean, descendant of the first Sir Richard of West Dean, second son of Edmund Lewkenor of Fyning who died in 1544, completely by-passing the descendants Edmund’s first son, Thomas Lewkenor Esq, 1538-96, of Selsey, and his sons: Sir Lewes 1565-?1626 (husband of Mary Blount of Dedisham). Richard, (will probated 1605), Samuel baptised 1571 (married Jane Hopton of Shropshire), and Thomas (who might have been married to Mary of Ludlow).
Can it be that Sir Lewes might have used the unicorn crest of the Dallingridges of Bodiam Castle, from whom both branches are descended, while Sir Richard continued to use the greyhound crest? Anybody out there got any ideas???

The Lewkenor Carpet

Some time ago I had posted up onto this blogsite a great deal of information regarding the Lewkenor Carpet and had built up a modest following with comments etc., from various readers. Unfortunately my blogsite was "hacked" and as a result I lost many of my postings, including this.

Following numerous requests from disappointed readers, I have decided to republish the data I had in my original Blog and trust that followers once more will add their valued comments.

With reference to the last posting wherein I touched upon the Lewknor Carpet, there is an in-depth description of this carpet, detailing the hatchments of each of the coats of arms, and which records some of the Lewknor alliances written by Fane Lambarde FSA, in the Sussex Archaeological Society Collections Vol LXX (1929) pps 1-7.

In his preamble, a very clear and erudite history of the tapestry is laid out and I repeat much of it here for the reader.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century one of the largest land-owners in Sussex was Sir Roger Lewknor; amongst other of his possessions being Bodiam Castle, Cannoys’ Court, etc. The son of Sir Thomas Lewknor and his wife Katherine Pelham, he was born about 1465 (S.A.C., LXVIII., 281). The difficulties of dealing with the Lewknor pedigree were noted by Durrant Cooper in S.A.C., III., 90. But it seems that Sir Roger married three times. His first wife was Eleanor, daughter of George, Lord Audley; and by her he had one daughter only, named Jane. This Jane, marrying three times, had issue by all three husbands. The curious divorce suit, to which she was subjected, is noted in S.A.C., LXVIII., 279; and there we read that her three young step-sisters were under the guardianship of Sir Henry Knyvett, second husband of her daughter Ann in 1546, a fact which emphasises the difference in age between Sir Roger’s children by his first and third wives.

Sir Roger’s first wife Eleanor died; and for his second wife, he married Constance Hussey, daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Hussey, and widow of Henry Lovell of Brambletye. By her he had no issue, and she died in 1525.

And so Sir Roger, in or about 1532, found himself at an age approaching the allotted span of life. With no son to succeed him, his great estates must pass to the children of his only daughter Jane. Still in hope of a male heir, he decided to marry again. Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Messant, was chosen; and to them three children were born., viz Katherine in 1533, Mabel in 1536, and Constance in 1541. To his intense disappointment, all three were daughters. And then the youngest was born, Sir Roger must have been about 76 years old. Sir Roger died in 1543, and his widow – marrying his cousin Sir Richard Lewknor as her second husband – was the mother of at least ten more children. The Inq. P.M. of Sir Roger is recorded in Sussex Record Soc., XIV., 142. Elizabeth is called his second wife – Constance Hussey being ignored.

As noted above, his three young daughters were, in 1546, wards of Sir Henry Knyvett, the husband of their step-niece, Ann. These daughters grew up; and somewhile about 1560, the youngest, Constance, married, for her first husband, Thomas Foster of Newnham in Worcestershire. In Worcestershire she doubtless forgathered with her cousin Jane, who married Anthony Sheldon. Anthony was a nephew of William Sheldon famed for his establishment of the Tapestry Industry in Worcestershire. And it wasthrough his interest, no doubt, that the “Lewkenor Carpet” was woven. It is thus described in Archaeologia, LXXIV., 199:

“... A magnificent Armorial Tapestry at Chawton Manor, owned by Mr Montagu George Knight, measures 16ft 3 ins long by 7ft 2 ins wide. It is dated 1564, and contains shields indicative of the Lewkenor marriages in the wide border. A pair of nude figures support a shield surrounded by a wreath of leaves and flowers, and in the right and left of the hanging are two shields, each similarly encircled with a wreath. The design and execution are very fine, and if the date is correct, it would point to a very high development of tapestry weaving at an early period. The hanging must be assigned to the Sheldon Looms, as apparently Barcheston was the only English factory then at work in the country....”

By Thomas Foster, Constance had one son, Anthony, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Mary and Mabel. After his death she married, for her second husband, Edward Glemham of Chichester. He was alive in 1588; but there appears to have been no issue of this marriage. Constance was alive in 1617 (see Sussex Feet of Fines, Sussex Record Soc., XX., 446). And in the Consistory Court at Chichester, XVIII., f. 341, v. is the nuncupative will of Constance Glemham of Trotton, Sussex, widow, “being a very aged woman,” made “in or about the moneth of Aprill,” 1634, before Robert Tomlinson, Clerk, Rector of Trotton; residuary legatee, Anthony Foster, her son. Afterwards testatrix in presence of Elinor Buckland, gentlewoman, and of Mr Anthony Foster bequeathed to her grandchild, Mr Water (sic) Buckland, a piece of gold, value 33s. Or thereabouts. Testatrix often said that her son Anthony Foster should have all her goods. Witnesses: Ro. Tomlinson, El’nor Elfeck alias Buckland. Administration was granted 8 Dec., 1634, to Anthony Foster, principal legatee; Master Robert Tomlinson, Clerk, and Eleanor Elfecke alias Buckland having been sworn.

And so we have Constance dying on 26th July 1634, at the age of 93. (See Sussex Inquisitions, No. 472, Vol. XIV., p. 103). Thus the extraordinary span of one hundred and seventy years – embracing the whole of the Tudor period – separated the birth of the father and the death of the daughter.

The following is extracted from the Cannoys Peerage Case (Case of Thomas Stonor, Esq., Appendix No. II., p. 7).

“....Constance Lewknor had issue by Thomas Foster, a son Anthony, and a daughter whose name has not been ascertained; it appears, however, probable that she married a person of the name of Bateman. Anthony succeeded to Trotton, and resided there. When the Heralds Visitation of Sussex was made in 1634, he was living, as was also his wife Elizabeth (Buckland), but it does not appear that they had any child or children. In 1644 administration of the goods, etc., of Anthony Foster, late of Trotton, esquire, was granted to his sister’s daughter Constance Bateman, but of Constance or of any other member of the family, no subsequent trace has been obtained, although long and laborious searches have been made both in Sussex and in London....”

By Constance Glemham, the carpet was bequeathed to the then head of the Lewknor family, Sir John of West Dean. That he set a high value on this piece of work is shown by a document, dated 1662, in which Sir John Lewknor gives the following injunction:

“... Remember to keep safe ye Carpet of Armes now aged about 100 yeares wch in ye failure the elder house totally consuming itselfe by daughters and heires and passing into other names, was sent hither by Constance Glemham of Trotton, who was one of thoes heires, for record to the younger house and whole name...”. (See Chawton Manor and its owners, by W.A.Leigh and Montague G Knight 1911. - Note: The Lewkenor estates descended to the Knights, and following the death of Mr Montague George Knight, it passed into the possession of his nephew and heir, Major Lionel Charles Edward Knight).

The Coats of Arms, which record some of the Lewknor alliances, may be attributed as follows:

Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Messant - Quarterly Or three lozenges gules, and gules three fleurs-de-lis or

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor to his third wife Elizabeth (mother of Constance), daughter of Thomas Messant (S.A.C., III., 96). Nowhere are the Arms of Messant recorded; so that the proof that they are as above is negative; they cannot apparently belong to anyone else.

Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Tregoz – Azure two bars gemelles and in chief a leopard or

There is no recorded marriage of a Lewknor to a Tregoz; but Lewknor quartered the Arms of Tregoz through the marriage of Sir Thomas Lewknor to Jane, daughter and heir of Sir John Doyley. See No. 13.

– Or on a chief gules three roundels or Impaling De Spencer – Quarterly argent a bend sable and gules a fret or

This records the marriage of Ralph, Lord Camoys, to the daughter of Hugh de Spencer, Earl of Winchester. This is according to the Pedigree recorded in the Visitation of Sussex, 1634, Harl. Soc., LIII., 29. This descent is not confirmed in the Complete Peerage, II., 507. Sir Roger Lewknor’s grand-father, Sir Roger, married Eleanor, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Camoys (Complete Peerage, II., 508). See No. 5.

Crest. A White greyhound with a red collar. Coat of Arms - Azure three chevrons argent

2. LEWKNOR impaling La WARR
Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling La Warr – Quarterly of four
1 & 4 Gules crusilly fitchy a lion rampant argent; 2 & 3 Azure three leopard’s heads inverted jessant de lis or

This records the marriage of Sir Roger’s uncle, Sir Roger Lewknor, to Mary, daughter of Reginald West, Lord La Warr.

3. MOYNE impaling HOLLAND
Moyne – Argent two bars and in chief three molets sable Impaling Holland – Azure floretty a leopard rampant argent.

This is a very doubtful attribution, nor is there any record of the marriage that it records. The connection with Lewknor, as through a Camoys marriage, is shown in No. 10. It has been usual to record the impaled Coat as that of Braose (azure crusilly a lion rampant [crowned] or).But the field is charged with what appears to be fleurs-de-lis rather than crosslets; and the leopard is tricked exactly as a leopard of England up-ended. The Braose charge was a crowned lion, though often enough the crown is omitted.

Camoys – Or on a chief gules three roundels or

Usually the chief is charged with silver roundels; but here throughout, they are gold.

5. LEWKNOR impaling CAMOYS
– Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Camoys – Or on a chief gules, three roundels or

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor’s grand-father, Sir Roger, to Eleanor, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Camoys. And through this marriage came the Trotton estate, which descended to Constance Glemham.

6. CAMOYS impaling MEULX.
Camoys – Or on a chief gules three roundels or, impaling Meulx – Azure three pales or on a chief gules three crosses patty argent.

Of the marriage here, there is no record; and the attribution of the impaled shield is doubtful. The Meulx were a well-known Hampshire family. See Visitation of Hampshire., Harl.Soc., LXIV., 134, where the field is paly or and azure, and the crosses are or. See also The Oglander Memoirs, p. 90.

7. LEWKNOR impaling TREGOZ As “B.”

8. LEWKNOR impaling MESSANT As “A.”

9. LEWKNOR impaling PELHAM.
Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Pelham – Azure three pelicans argent.

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor’s parents, Sir Thomas and Katherine, daughter of Sir John Pelham.

10. CAMOYS impaling MOYNE
Camoys – Or on a chief gules three roundels or Impaling Moyne - Argent two bars and in chief three molets sable.

There is no record of any such marriage in the Camoys Pedigree, and the attribution to Moyne is doubtful. See No. 3.

The Moyne’s were a Dorsetshire family of long standing – see Heraldic Notes at the end of Prideaux’s Dorsetshire Manor Houses.

Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Dalingridge – Argent a cross engrailed gules.

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor’s great grandfather, Sir Thomas, to Philippa, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Dalingridge, through whom Bodiam Castle was acquired.

12. LEWKNOR impaling HUSSEY
Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Hussey – Barry ermine and gules.

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor to his second wife, Constance Hussey. She was the widow of Henry Lovell of Brambletye (Visitation of Sussex, Harl. Soc., LIII., 121).

13. LEWKNOR impaling DOYLEY.
Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Doyley – Gules three stags’ heads or.

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor’s ancestor, Sir Thomas, to Joan, daughter and heir of Sir John Doyley.

14. LEWKNOR impaling AUDLEY.
Lewknor – Azure three chevrons argent Impaling Quartely of four: Audley - 1 & 4 Gules a fret or, Touchet - 2 & 3 Ermine a chevron gules.

This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor to his first wife, Eleanor, daughter of George Lord Audley.