Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-01 > 0885340693

From: Diana Trenchard <>
Subject: John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 23:58:13 +0000

Can someone please help me sort out the ancestry of John Russell, 1st Earl
of Bedford (c1485-1555)?

The pedigree published by Gladys Scott Thompson a former archivist at
Woburn Abbey (seat of the Dukes of Bedford), only goes back four
generations. A recent enquiry to Woburn elicited the reply that they have
no newer information. From various (unreliable) sources I have gleaned
bits of information, but I am very unhappy about putting it together. I
therefore welcome corrections and more reliable facts.

The pedigree from the former archivist at Woburn is:

JOHN RUSSELL, 1st Earl of Bedford, born c1485-9, His parents were:

JAMES RUSSELL, died 1505, and Alice Wyse, daughter of John Wyse of
Sydenham, Devon. James was married secondly to Joan (unknown) of Moreton,
Somerset. The parents of James Russell were:

JOHN RUSSELL, also died 1505, and Elizabeth Froxmere, daughter of John
Froxmere of Wych [now Droitwich]. The parents of John Russell were:

HENRY RUSSELL alias Henry Gascon/Gascoigne, died 1464, and Elizabeth
Herring (died 1456), daughter and co-heiress of her father John Herring
(died 1495) and Alice. Henry Russell was MP for Weymouth 1425/6, 1427/8 and
1441/2. He married secondly Isabella Hymerford (died 1479). The parents of
Henry Russell were:

STEPHEN RUSSELL alias Stephen Gascon/Gascoigne/Garsquen, died 1438, and
Alice 'of the de la Tour family'. Stephen Russell was MP for Weymouth
1394/5. Alice was a daughter of Hugh (?), a granddaughter of Cecily de
Blynchesfield, and heir-general of both the Blynchesfield and de la Tour

The archivist was unable to take the Russell family any further back than
this Stephen. She made the suggestion that Stephen might have been a native
of Gascony - but without presenting any evidence for this apart from the
alias name and the fact that Stephen owned ships trading with Gascony.

Other pedigrees (from unreliable sources) centre on THEOBALD RUSSELL (died
1340) of Yaverland in Isle of Wight, Kingston Russell in Dorset, and
Horsington in Somerset.

One reference states that the grandfather of this Theobald was a common
ancestor of the Earls (and subsequently the Dukes) of Bedford. Other
references state that the Earls of Bedford descended from a son of
Theobald's second marriage. Most of these references 'appear to agree' on
Theobald's ancestry.

The parents of THEOBALD RUSSELL are given as Sir WILLIAM RUSSELL (died
1310/11) and Jane Peverell, daughter of Robert Peverell. William was
Constable of Carisbroke Castle, IOW. The parents of William were:

RALPH RUSSELL (fl 1223-1239) and Isabel Newmarche, daughter and co-heir of
James Newmarche of North Cadbury, Somerset. According to the one reference,
this Ralph would also have been the ancestor of the Earls of Bedford
through another unknown son. The parents of Ralph Russell were:

JOHN RUSSELL (Governor of Corfe Castle 1220/1) and Roheise Bardolph,
daughter of Thomas Bardolph and Adela/Sybil Corbet, former mistress of
Henry I. Roheise was also married to Henry de Pomeroy.

To return to THEOBALD RUSSELL (died 1340), he is said to have married
twice. First wife was Eleanor Gorges, daughter and heiress of Sir Ralph de
Gorges and Eleanor (unknown) who remarried Guy de Ferre. By Eleanor he had
three sons, his heir Ralph, William (died sp) and Theobald who assumed the
name of Gorges after inheriting from his mother. Theobald's second wife is
said to be Eleanor de la Tour, daughter of John de la Tour, by whom he had
a son WILLIAM.

WILLIAM RUSSELL, son of Theobald and Eleanor, married the daughter and
heiress of Muschamp. They had a son HENRY RUSSELL who married the daughter
and co-heir of John Herring. Henry had a son JAMES RUSSELL who was the
father of JOHN RUSSELL, 1st Earl of Bedford. (There is no mention of
Stephen Russell, apparently a proven ancestor, or of his wife Alice, also a
proven ancestor.)

Bearing in mind that Stephen Russell was MP for Weymouth in 1394/5, I also
have a THOMAS RUSSELL who was MP for adjacent Melcombe in 1384/5 and
1389/90, and a WILLIAM RUSSELL who was MP for Melcombe in 1340/1 and taxed
at the same place in 1367/8, but I don't know if they are connected.


Diana Trenchard

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