Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2013-01 > 1357427760

From: Brad Verity <>
Subject: The Cressetts of Upton Cressett Part 3: Thomas Cressett & HisWives(?) (Was Re: Jane Wrottesley, Mother of Cecily Cresset?)
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2013 15:16:00 -0800 (PST)
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With Thomas Cressett and his wife "Jane" Corbet, we enter the scope of
my personal project, the descendants of Edward I, so I'm looking at
him in much closer detail than I did his father & grandfather.

THOMAS CRESSETT of Upton Cressett Hall
Douglas Richardson says Robert Cressett and his wife Christian were
married by 1455, at which date the couple, plus the other Stapleton co-
heirs, presented a new rector for Stapleton in Shropshire. The
earliest I can find Thomas in Chancery Rolls is 1484, when he was made
steward of a royal manor. Assuming he was of age by then, Thomas was
born by 1463. As he was the eldest (or at least the eldest surviving)
son, and there’s no reason to believe his parents were underage in
1455, that year seems a good estimate for Thomas’s birthdate, and fits
well with Sir Richard Corbet of Moreton Corbet, the brother of
Thomas’s presumed wife, being born in 1451.

Exactly when Thomas was married to Sir Richard Corbet’s sister is not
known. We can’t even be 100% certain that Thomas’s wife was a
daughter of Sir Roger Corbet. The only evidence we have that says so
are a Cressett pedigree and a Corbet pedigree, both apparently taken
at the 1623 Visitation of Shropshire, more than 150 years after
Thomas’s marriage. The fact that both families included the marriage
is promising, and in both pedigrees her first name is given as “Jane”.
But there unfortunately doesn’t seem to be any surviving evidence from
the late 15th or early 16th centuries to validate the pedigrees.
Augusta Corbet, in her extensive 2-volume study of the family, ‘The
Family of Corbet: It’s Life and Times’ (1914), has only this to say of
Jane Corbet, “The daughters were…Jane, married to Thomas Cresset, of
Upton, Co. Salop”:

Her only source for this appears to have been “the Pedigree”, which no
doubt was the Corbet one from the 1623 Visitation. The Corbets were a
knightly family, one of the leading ones in Shropshire, with
connections to the peerage from 1467-1470 when Elizabeth, the widow of
Sir Roger Corbet (and the mother of Thomas Cressett’s wife), was
married (as his third wife) to one of Edward IV’s most trusted nobles,
John Tiptoft, and was countess of Worcester as a result. She even,
rather miraculously, gave birth to his son and heir in 1469 at the age
of 42. Tiptoft was so loyal to Edward IV that he was speedily executed
when Warwick the Kingmaker re-installed Henry VI as king of England in
1470. But Edward IV was back on the throne the following year, and
another of his loyal supporters, Sir William Stanley, younger brother
to the Lord Stanley, was married to the twice-widowed countess of
Worcester by the end of 1471.

Sir Richard Corbet came of age by 1472, having weathered the
Readeption of Henry VI and the return of Edward IV under the
guardianship of Walter Devereux, 1st Lord Ferrers of Chartley. As soon
as Edward IV was back on the throne in 1471, however, Richard,
probably knighted by the newly re-instated Yorkist king, was placed on
the commission of the peace for Shropshire. Also serving on that
commission was a lawyer about the age of 50, a fellow Yorkist, Robert
Cressett of Upton Cressett Hall. This is the first record the two
appear in together, but it may not indicate the families were tied by
marriage at that point. Before young Sir Richard Corbet set off on
Edward IV’s 1475 French expedition, he enfeoffed in May of that year a
large portion of his paternal inheritance (and expected maternal
inheritance) to five men, one of whom, Thomas Thornes, was Sir
Richard’s brother-in-law, married to his sister (whom the pedigrees
name ‘Mary’) before 1469, by which year their son and heir Roger
Thornes was born. It seems if Sir Richard at that point had another
brother-in-law, the son of a prominent Shropshire lawyer, he would
also have made that brother-in-law, or his father, a feoffee on this
important transaction:

For the possibility that Thomas Cressett’s Corbet wife was the widow
of John Tywnyho of Keyford (died by Oct. 1475), see my Part 2 post
from yesterday. As a widow, she could negotiate her marriage to
Cressett without the involvement of her mother or her brother Sir

Whenever and however it was arranged, the marriage brought much more
(status, connections to the child earl of Worcester, and the Stanley &
Devereux families) to the Cressetts than vice versa. My gut instinct
is that the Cressett/Corbet marriage was not arranged by Sir Roger
Corbet before his 1467 death, as two other of his daughters’ marriages
(to Cholmondeley & to Thornes) seem to have been. Since Elizabeth
Hopton bore the earl of Worcester’s heir in 1469, she was fertile up
to her first husband’s death. It’s quite possible that Thomas
Cressett’s wife was Elizabeth’s youngest daughter with Sir Roger
Corbet, born in the 1460s, and not married until the latter years of
Edward IV’s reign.

In March 1484, Richard III made Thomas Cressett master of the chase of
Clee and steward of Corfham manor in Shropshire, during the minority
of the earl of Shrewsbury:

Thomas is called the king’s “servant” in the patent, but whether he
was serving him in the royal household, or more generally in a
Shropshire capacity, is not clear. Bosworth and the accession of Henry
VII to the throne must’ve been bumpy, but marriage to Sir William
Stanley’s stepdaughter may have helped him transition to the new Tudor
monarch. The Upton Cressett Hall website says, “Robert Cressett's son,
Thomas, was imprisoned by Henry VII in the Marshalsea, probably for
conspiracy, but he escaped in 1503 and was pardoned in 1505. He did,
however, supply soldiers for Henry VIII's French Wars of 1512-13 and
the family were reconciled to the Tudor Throne”:

By 1490, Thomas was the head of the Cressett family. The Rev. Purton
in his 1916-17 article, has nothing to say of Thomas’s career. We
don’t even know whether he was an attorney, like his father had been.
We do know Thomas made his will on 20 Aug. 1520, and presumably died
not long afterward.

In his latest edition of Plantagenet Ancestry, Douglas gives Thomas
two wives, Jane Corbet and Eleanor ----:

In typical Douglas fashion, he cites the exact same sources that Brice
Clagett did in his 2004 newsgroup post, but gives no mention of
Clagett or why he disagreed with some of his arguments. And as these
sources have come under question in this discussion of the Cressetts
in the past few days, and Douglas hasn’t commented about them, we can
assume that he continues in his books to cite sources that he hasn’t
actually read.

Sigh. Brice’s speculation that the Eleanor who was the widow of Thomas
Cressett and who received a dispensation to marry Sir John Lingen in
1522, was Eleanor, the daughter of Thomas Milewater of Stoke Edith,
Herefordshire, can be discounted with the following passage from
Richard Hodgson’s online genealogy database, “The Lingen family
records, and our many years of research have not revealed a previous
marriage of Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Thomas Milewater (died in
or before 1473) of Stoke Edith, Herefordshire, to Thomas Cresset (will
dated 1520)…We now have several entries stating Eleanor Milewater
inherited Stoke Edith in 1473, and of her marriage to Sir John Lingen
in 1499/1500 (or less likely, 1512). He died in 1530. So far we have
not established the year of birth of their son, another Sir John (who
married in 1530 Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Englefield), was High
Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1544 and died in 1545-46; or when his
mother died…The only conclusion I can come to at the moment is that if
Eleanor Milewater Lady Lingen died before 1522, the Marriage
Dispensation would be understandable. The fact that the relict of
Thomas Cresset had the same Christian name could a coincidence”:

Since we know that the manor of Stoke Edith descended to Sir John
Lingen (d. 1546), we know that Eleanor Milewater had to have been his
mother. And since we know that Eleanor Milewater was born by 1473, she
could not have borne children after 1522. So we know that Eleanor,
widow of Thomas Cressett, who married Sir John Lingen in 1522, could
not have been Eleanor Milewater.

Who was she then? One possibility that hasn’t yet been considered is
that Thomas Cressett had only one wife, who survived him and then
married Sir John Lingen. The only sources that say the first name of
the Corbet wife of Thomas Cressett was “Jane” are the Corbet &
Cressett pedigrees from the 1623 Visitation of Shropshire, which was
information gathered 100 years after Thomas Cressett’s death, and is
faulty in other important respects, including his children. What if
her first name was instead “Eleanor”, and she was named after her
maternal grandmother, Eleanor Lucy, Lady Hopton?

This post has taken much longer than I originally thought. I’ll have
to wait until Part 4 to go over the children of Thomas Cressett &
“Jane” Corbet.

On Jan 5, 12:38 am, David Topping <> wrote:
> Brad, many thanks for this excellent summary.

My pleasure. I know it's a bit complicated, but I'm enjoying looking
into the Cressetts, and am glad you also are finding it useful.

Cheers, -----Brad

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