Work in Progress
This page is regularly added to or corrected as I discover or am given more information. Any information you can provide about your family members, past or present, would be very welcome. Please forward to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page was last amended on 14th July 2012.
Principal Internet sources
The Succinct Genealogy of the House of Mordaunt was a family history written by Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, and published in 1685 under the pseudonym Robert Halstead (Not really an Internet source but those kind people at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, sent me this pdf copy). It gives an account of each of the eldest sons in line and a full autobiography of himself but it is clear it's main aim was to establish the prestige and pedigree of the family. While most of its content is not in dispute, "there is printed the text of a charter by which Eustace de St. Gilles gave to his brother Osbert 'dictus le Mordaunt,' Radwell, which had been given to himself by the Conqueror as half a knight's fee. This charter has been denounced as 'one of the most daring and successful concoctions intended to provide an ancient house with a Conquest pedigree.'" (Quoted from "British History Online). There is no mention of a Mordaunt in Radwell (var. Radennelle, Radeuuelle) in the 1086 Domesday Book. That early detail notwithstanding, much of the other material is probably more reliable, especially when confirmed by other sources.
British History Online is a digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Of particular value have been the copies of county histories, written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which carefully researched the histories of individual manors, priories and churches. I have freely quoted extracts below, with minor editing, from the pages on 'Parishes: Turvey'.
While Turvey remained the home base, other manors and estates passed in and out of Mordaunt hands including Steppingly in Bedfordshire, Burston (Aston Abbots), Chesham and Ellesborough in Buckinghamshire, Shephall in Hertfordshire, and others.
www.tudorplace.com.ar cannot be ignored. The personal site on a period of English history by an enthusiastic Argentinian national, it contains a host of information which, while some of it is confused or is contradicted by other sources, does fill in some gaps or invites further thought. I asked webmaster Jorge Castelli for his sources for some of the information but he was unable to tell me in precise detail, simply saying he got it all from the Internet
The earliest records, 1148 - 1475
- William mordaunt (sic), is recorded in Hampshire in 1148 in 'The Winton Domesday,' ed. F. Barlow(in Winchester Studies I, ed. M. Biddle, Oxford 1976) according to 'A Dictionary of English Surnames' revised edition published by Oxford University Press, 1976. I have not been able to pursue this source any further as yet nor do I understand why 'mordaunt was written with a small 'm.'
- Osmund Mordaunt is mentioned in 1197 as the father of Eustace Mordaunt. 'www.tudorplace.com.ar' says that he married Ellen Fortis in 1159 in Copley, Bedfordshire, and this is confirmed by Halstead. Halstead mentions landholdings in neighbouring Felmersham and that he received from Ellen land in Chellington, between Radwell and Turvey.
- Eustace Mordaunt, who, in 1197 according to the records of Radwell Manor, had recognised by the Lord of the Manor his right to 1 virgate of land (about 30 acres) which his father had held. Then, by marriage, he acquired a share of the manor in Turvey, a few miles south west of Radwell:
"There is no mention of a tenant holding in Turvey in 1086, but the family of Mordaunt is found holding this manor from the early 13th century. Halstead, the authenticity of whose early charters is doubtful, claims in his Succinct Genealogies that Eustace Mordaunt acquired this manor by marriage with Alice de Alneto (var. Danno or Dauney) sister and co-heir of Hugh de Alneto, and that Sarah, another sister and co- heir, married Robert de Ardres, thus leading to the formation of the two manors of Mordaunts and Ardres held conjointly for some time.
"The cartulary of St. Neots certainly furnishes evidence that the de Alnetos preceded the Mordaunts in Turvey, for their name constantly recurs as benefactors to the priory. On one occasion there is mention of three generations when Hugh de Alneto (brother of Alice) confirmed the grants of Hugh his grandfather and William his father of land in Turvey. Therefore it seems likely that an intermarriage did take place, especially as in 1225 an assize of mort d'ancestor was summoned between Eustace Mordaunt and Robert de Ardres and John Trailly their overlord concerning 3 carucates of land, of which each was awarded 1½ carucates (about 180 acres).
A Eustace le Mordant was listed in 1176 in Berkshire in the 'The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twenty-sixth year of of Henry III' according to 'A Dictionary of English Surnames' revised edition published by Oxford University Press, 1976. I have not been able to pursue this source any further as yet and am, so far, mystified by it because the twenty-sixth year of Henry III was 1241 or 1242. If this William and the one or two Eustaces are all connected it suggests that this family already by this time held a number of estates in different counties, Hampshire, Berkshire and Bedfordshire and would explain how Eustace came to be able to marry an heiress to another sizeable estate.
- William Mordaunt, (d. "not long after" abt. 1280, according to Halstead). He married Amice of Olney, according to Halstead, who, after William's death, "took into her Second Bed, Ægidio de Albeny, Lord of Demster," and as Amicia de Albeny granted an estate to William her son and Robert, his son.
- William Mordaunt (died after 1323, according to Halstead he was still alive in the 16th year of Edward II), "The heir of William, son of Eustace, held this property in 1278-79." This William "probably the heir referred to, received recognition of his right to land in Turvey from Thomas Wood in 1313–14. He was living two years later, but by 1346 had been succeeded by his son." Halstead gives his wife's name as Rose (Roesia) de Wake but British History Online records that, as a widower, he married Nichola, the widow of John de Steppingley and that her daughter Maud married William's son, William.
- Robert Mordaunt (b. abt 1260s ?). His first wife, Mary of Rutland (married abt. 1285 according to Halstead), died without children. He then married Johane de Bray and had one recorded son. He is acknowledged as being owed £40 by the Prior and convent of Caldewell in the Calender of Close Rolls, Edward III, 7th July 1332.
- Edmund Mordaunt, (d. 1374 according to the history of Ellesborough or 1372, according to the following from the history of Turvey), probably a son of Robert, "of whom it is stated in an inquisition taken in 1372 that on the Sunday before the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude (which is 28th October and fell on a Thursday in 1372) in that year, being seized with homicidal mania, he killed his wife Ellen (née de Broc), whom he had married abt. 1353 according to Halstead), and drowned himself on the same day in a pool in Turvey." Halstead omits this incident, perhaps not surprisingly. The British History Online webpage on the history of Buckingham states that Edward Mordaunt held a manor at Ellesborough from the overlord by military service. I am confident that this is a mistranscription of Edward for Edmund. Halstead wrote that they had only one (surviving) son
- Robert Mordaunt (b. after 1353 and d. before 1397), "who according to Halstead united in one the hitherto separate manors of Mordaunts and Ardres." He married Agnes L'Estrange, died some time before 1397 and was followed by his son
- Robert Mordaunt (d. 1449). He sat in the House of Commons (May 1421) as one of the two "knights of the shire" for Bedfordshire. Rather dismissed by Halstead who bemoaned he considerably impoverished the family estates, The History of Parliament Online goes into greater detail of his life, dismissing Halstead's assertion that his financial problems arose from his support for the Yorkists in the War of the Roses. The History also relates that he was one of the armed group of supporters of Lord Grey who stormed the Bedford court-house in January 1439. He married Elizabeth Holdenby and died in 1448
- William Mordaunt (d. abt 1475) together with his wife, Margaret Peeke, according to Halstead, strove 'by a provident and frugal proceeding to repair those breaches the over-liberal ways of his Father had made in the Fortunes of his Family. Their endeavours did succeed, and as an approbation thereof, and a blessing thereupon, Providence sent them to enjoy the Fruits of their worthy Cares, Three Children, whose merits from their Natures and Good Education, made them all have (as well as deserve) excellent Fortunes.'
- John Mordaunt ( - ), who was to be knighted for his services to Henry VII and whose line was to become Barons of Turvey and later, Earls of Peterborough and Monmouth.
- William Mordaunt ( - ), whose line was to become the baronets who continue to this day.
- Elizabeth Mordaunt who married Sir Wiston Brown of Abbess Roding(?). The Visitation of Essex apparently called her Maud!
- Joan Mordaunt is omitted by Halstead but listed by the Latter day Saints records which state she married Giles Strangeways of Melbury. That the Strangeways were close to the Mordaunts is evidenced by a document listed in the Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry VII: volume 2: 1500-1509, recording the transfer on 25th February 1502/3 to "John Mordaunt esquire and his heirs...the manors of Douelissh, Dunteyssh and Estpulham co. Dorset and Estoket co. Somerset with all lands etc. in these counties late of Nicholas Latymer knight." Witnesses included "Henry Strangeways esquire, William Mordaunt, Wiston and Humphrey Broun" (British History Online)
My Belgian correspondent, Michel Mordant informed me of a book he had found on the website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, "manuscrit de M. le Mis Alexandre de Massiac et l'histoire de sa famille jusqu'en 1814." According to Alexandre de Mordant de Massiac, there was a third son of William and Margaret, named
- John Simons Mordaunt ( - ). The book relates that, after the "Reformation," John Simons, a Catholic, feared for his life and fled to Vernon, in Normandy, in 1534. There he was a lawyer, married Louise de Morin and founded a new branch of the family, the de Mordants. Very interesting but I have yet to find any corroboration in any source.
- Maud Mordaunt according to Halstead
- Elizabeth Mordaunt according to Halstead
- Cassandra Mordaunt, sister of Robert, a nun according to Halstead
- Lora (de) Mordaunt (1350? - 1373?). Some family histories on www.ancestry.co.uk include a Lora Mordaunt or a Lora de Mordaunt, a daughter of Edmund and Ellen de Broc, and that she married a Thomas de Coven of Waltham, Kent, when she was 14 years old. I have yet to find other evidence of her.
- William Mordaunt (? - ?), son of William, married Maud de Steppingley, daughter of his step-mother. 'www.tudorplace.com.ar' has a birthdate of 1292, which must be wrong. Halstead mentions him as if he were a younger son than Robert, which seems more likely, as Robert must have been born in the 1260s to marry by 1285.
- William Mordaunt?, (see 'As yet, unplaced Mordaunts' below)
- Edward Mordaunt (? - ?), son of William, married Eleanor. Not mentioned by Halstead, he appears in a Mordaunt history, 'Historical anecdotes of the families of the Boleynes, Careys, Mordaunts, Hamiltons and Jocelyns' by Emily Georgiana Susanna Reilly, published in 1835, revised 1839, based on a genealogical chart at Tollymore Park. Tollymore/Tollamore was the home of the Hamiltons and the chart was presumably compiled after the marriage of Anne Mordaunt, daughter of John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon, to James Hamilton of Tullamore, future Earl of Clanbrassil, in the mid 1700s.
- Richard Mordaunt, a son of Eustace's son Willam, according to Halstead
- Agnes Mordaunt,a daughter of Eustace, according to Halstead. An amazing number of families claim descent from an Agnes Mordaunt, stating that she married a John FitzRogers. The only snag is they seem to be about 150 years or more out in their dates. There were just too many Agnes Mordaunts about at this time!
- Robert Mordaunt, a second son to Osmond, a brother to Eustace, according to Halstead, but I have found no other record of him.
As yet, unplaced Mordaunts
The early records available to geneaologists were concerned mainly with the ownership of the land and inheritance. As such, they did not bother too much with younger sons and daughters who may well have been occupying family estates but whose names only crop up occasionally.
Adam Mordaunt "of Worstead was taken for the death of John Atte Fen. He presents a writ of bono et malo and puts himself on the country. He is acquited. (Extracted Parish Records for Norfolk - Norfolk Gaol Delivery Rolls, 1307 - 1316, transcribed on www.ancestry co.uk)
- John Mordant (sic) of Turvey married Agnes Bendish according to a Bendish family genealogical list (former link now interrupted). Her brothers died early-to-mid 1300s so they must be roughly contemporary with William and or Robert above. However, as the webpage itself points out, there is no corroboration from the Mordaunt side.
- John Mordant of Turvey
- Agnes Mordant who married a ? Fotheringay. There may be some confusion here; Agnes née L'Estrange, the widow of Robert, son of Edmund above, married Thomas de Fotheringay after 1397, according to Halstead.
- Elizabeth Mordant who maried John Warren of Walden
- Nicholas Mordaunt is named in the "Shotley Taxpayers." whatever that may be, "Bedfordshire - Suffolk Green Books, Subsidy List, 1309 - 1332" (again, whatever that may be), on www.ancestry.co.uk. Also listed are Robert, William and a William junior, who do fit in with those dates. Was he another brother/son/uncle?
- Roger Mordaunt:
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Edward III, on 8th August, 1346:
To the sheriff of Southampton. Order to cause John de Kent, proctor of John Tarsyn, diocese of Arras, John de Lichefeld, Robert de Suthampton, John Paternoster and Roger Mordaunt to be released from gaol, delivering to John de Kent all the instruments touching the matter, as the king lately ordered the sheriff to cause proclamation to be made that no one, upon pain of forfeiture, should bring to England bulls, processes or instruments prejudicial to the king or his realm, deliver them to archbishops, bishops, earls or others, and that no one should receive them upon pain of forfeiture, and to make scrutiny upon their coming into the realm and to take and imprison all found bringing such bulls etc., and although the sheriff arrested John de Kent and the others because they brought bulls, processes and other things prejudicial to the king and his people and refused to show them to the mayors, bailiffs or other keepers of the king's ports, and imprisoned them in the gaol of Wyndesore castle, as he has notified the king, yet they have shown the king that they were ignorant of the proclamation, and they are ready to stand to right thereupon, and they have besought the king to provide for their release and have found before him in chancery Thomas Trayly of co. Bedford (the Traylys/Traillys were the overlords to the Mordaunt manor in Turvey), John de Greneweye of co. Essex, Aymer Simeon, Richard de Norton, William de la Marche and John Hert of co. Hertford, who have mainperned (ie. stood surety) to have them before the king, his council or justices to stand to right upon the matter and further to do and receive what shall then be ordained.
From: 'Close Rolls, Edward III: August 1346', Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III: volume 8: 1346-1349 (1905), pp. 146-152. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=101195&strquery=essex mordaunt Date accessed: 01 June 2009.
Looking for further detail of this incident, I found the following in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, although the dates do not quite match up, the twenty-sixth year of Edward III's reign would have been 1352/3:
"Proceeding now to the nineteenth year of this king's reign, there came to the presence of the king certain legates from Rome, complaining of certain statutes passed in his parliament tending to the prejudice of the Church of Rome, and the pope's primacy: viz. That if abbots, priors, or any other ecclesiastical patrons of benefices should not present to the said benefices within a certain time, the lapse of the same should come to the ordinary or chapter thereof; or if they did not present, then to the archbishop; if the archbishop likewise did fail to present, then the gift to pertain not unto the lord pope, but unto the king and his heirs. Another complaint also was this, that if archbishops should be slack in giving such benefices as properly pertained to their own patronage in due time, then the collation thereof likewise should appertain to the aforesaid king and his heirs. Another complaint was, that if the pope should make void any elections in the church of England for any defect found therein, and so had placed some honest and discreet persons in the same, that then the king and his heirs was not bound to render the temporalties unto the parties placed by the pope's provision. Whereupon the pope being not a little aggrieved, the king writeth unto him, certifying that he was misinformed, denying that there was any such statute made in that parliament. And further, as touching all other things, he would confer with his prelates and nobles, and thereof would return answer by his legates.
"In the twentieth year of his reign, another letter was written to the pope by the king, the effect whereof, in few words to express it, was this: to certify him that, in respect of his great charges sustained in his wars, he hath by the counsel of his nobles, taken into his own hands the fruits and profits of all his benefices here in England.
"To proceed in the order of years: in the twenty-sixth year of this king, one Nicholas Heath, clerk, a busy-headed body, and a troubler of the realm, had procured divers bishops, and others of the king's council, to be cited up to the court of Rome, there to answer such complaints as he had made against them. Whereupon commandment was given by the king to all the ports of the realm, for the restraint of all passengers out, and for searching and arresting all persons bringing in any bulls or other process from Rome, tending to the derogation of the dignity of the crown, or molestation of the subjects; concerning which Nicholas Heath, the king also writeth to the pope his letters, complaining of the said Heath, and desiring him to give no ear to his lewd complaints."
Roger Mordaunt, too, appears to be a contemporary with William and/or Robert or even unhappy Edmund above. Mention of the overlord, Thomas Trayly (vis Trailly above) confirms him of the Turvey family. By taking the side of the Church against the King, he was a precurser of the later generations who opposed the protestant reformation of the Tudor kings and queen.
- William Mordaunt and Eleanor Mordaunt:
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Edward III, on 18th February 1360 at Westminster:
To John Malyns the elder, William Mordaunt, John Alsay and John Sporun in Bedfordshire, to deliver 167l. at the receipt of the exchequer, to keep 50s. for their expenses as collectors, pay 28s. to John de Meperteshale one of the arrayers and 10s. to John de Middelton, and repay 36l. 10s. 8d. (residue of the moiety, which amounts to 337l. 8s. 8d.) by view of the prior of Newenham, Peter de Salford and John Mareschal. (
From British History Online)
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Richard II, on 27th May 1379 at Westminster:
William Mordaunt to receive £15 12s for 39 days attendance as knight of the shire for Bedfordshire (For what was discussed at this early meeting of Parliament, please go to this appendix copied from British History Online. Note that proceedings were recorded in French as the king and all nobility/gentry still considered themselves French 213 years after the conquest, and that one minor but long lasting decision of the session was that all goldsmiths had to identify their work with individual hallmarks!)
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Richard II, on 10th July 1385 at Westminster:
John son of Clement de Bellocampo of Wiboldeston, being cousin and heir of Richard de Bellocampo of the same, to Richard Belgrave and Margery his wife, their heirs and assigns. Quitclaim with warranty of all lands, rents and services, wards, reliefs, escheats etc. in Wyboldeston, Chaluesterne and Eton which were of Richard de Bellocampo. Witnesses: William Mordaunt, Robert Baa, John Fage of Chaluesterne, Richard Stokkere, Walter Audymer. Dated Westminster, Wednesday in the quinzaine of Easter 8 Richard II. (
From British History Online).
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Richard II, on 6th November, 1387:
1. William Britteville of Bereforde knight to William Mordaunt and Eleanor his wife, the heirs and assigns of William Mordaunt. Charter with warranty of a piece of his wood of Langenhoo in the parish of Colmorth called the Croune, with hedges and ditches and a way leading thereto between the wood of the prior of Bisshemede and the wood of John Lorde. Witnesses: John Chanew, John Fage the elder, John Bereford, John Lorde, Richard fitz Hugh. Dated Collesden, 26 October 11 Richard II.
From the Calender of Close Rolls, Henry V, on 10th May, 1415:
2. William Britteville of Bereforde knight to John Lorde. Letter of attorney, appointing him to deliver to William Mordaunt and Eleanor his wife seisin of the piece of wood and the way (above described). Dated (as the last).
(from British History Online)
To the escheator in Lincolnshire. Order to give Margaret who was the wife of William de Roos of Hamelake knight .......a moiety of one knight's fee in Collesden lately held by Eleanor Mordaunt and in the tenure of William Mordaunt at 100s. in Bedfordshire .... (from British History Online)
These dates seem to place William and Eleanor contemporary with the two Roberts above. Perhaps, as an "heir and assign of William" he was the son of William and Maud de Steppingley.
- A Henry Mordant (sic) is recorded in The History of Parliament Online 1386 - 1421) as parliamentary member for Hastings, 1404-06, 1411-14, 1421-?, holding land at Oree, Wilting, Guestling and Fairlight. I have discovered nothing more about him.
- A Robert Mordaunt endorsed 'Deeds relating to Saffron Walden' according to records held in Essex Record office, ref. D/B/ 2/4/113 in Essex in 1464. This seems to place him as a contemporary of William Mordaunt, above, the father of Sir John and Willam of Hempsted.
- A Sir Ralph Mordaunt, whose daughter Lucy Mordaunt married a Sir Thomas Atthill in 1471, is listed in Burkes Landed Gentry. This places him also as a contempory of William Mordaunt, above, the father of Sir John and Willam of Hempsted if it is genuine. Prestigious ancestors were invented by people anxious to boost their family's pedigree, including Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, and Burkes always prints them. So, this may be such an invention. But, there again, it may not. I am grateful to Brian Young from Australia, doing research into his wife's family, the Atthills, who wrote informing me of this entry.
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Tudor and Stuart Mordaunts