The sons of James Cardinall: John, James, Charles, William and Thomas


John Cardinall

The eldest of James and Dorothy’s children, John was born in London and baptised in Hackney on 20th June 1627. In his eleventh year, 1638, John began at Colchester Grammar School.[1]Admissions to the Royal Grammar School of Colchester. He may have been briefly at Trinity College, Cambridge – a John Cardinall was admitted there in 1644.[2]Alumni Cantabrigienses Aged 18, in 1645, he was apprenticed to Edward Vavasor of the Grocers’ Company in Middlesex – the record refers to him as John Cardinall, son of James Cardinall of Little Bromley, gent. It appears he went back to Essex at some point, but married at St. Bennet Gracechurch, London in 1664: he was John Cardinall of “Bromley, Essex” (whether Great or Little is unclear), bachelor, gent., aged 36, and his bride was Susan Latham, also from “Bromley, Essex”), aged 28.[3]Joseph Foster, London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869.

John and Susan’s first son, John, was baptised in Great Bromley in 1665, then the family moved to Tendring where two more children were baptised: – Elizabeth in 1669 and James in 1672. It seems almost certain that the “Johannes Cardinall” in the 1670 Hearth Tax Return, the only Cardinall to appear in that document for Essex, is this particular John. He was rated for a two-hearth house. I have been unable to trace him further than this. His burial entry may have been lost on one of the trimmed page edges of the Tendring register. If he was buried in Tendring, he must have died between 1672 and 1691.

In April 1691, Robert Drury of Tendring wrote his will (which was proved in February 1693/4). He left Susan Cardinall, widow, the house she was living in with its lands, and on her death, this house and land were to pass to Susan’s son John. I think it’s likely that this is Susan, née Latham, and John, her son, is the one baptised in Great Bromley in 1665.

Two clauses in Drury’s will refer to John Cardinall again:

“Whereas I bound out at his request John Cardinall an Apprentice (the Indentures being cancelled) desired me to take him for my servant which I yielded unto and the 4th of August last [ie 4 Aug 1690] did begin his yeare which cometh out 4 August 1691 hee being taken blind I give unto the said John Cardinall tenne pounds to be disposed of by his Mother or as my executor shall see convenient. And I give him likewise all my wearing apparell.”

I’m not clear as to whether it’s John Cardinall himself who is bound out as an apprentice, or if John had an apprentice who was sent to work for Robert Drury. John would have been 26 at the time, which seems rather old to be an apprentice, although I suppose it’s not impossible. Whoever the apprentice was, they lost their sight. It may have been John, seeing as the £10 for him is to be used by his mother or Drury’s executor, as if John himself wasn’t capable of spending the money himself.

Drury left Elizabeth, wife of Robert Sparling, two houses. She appears to be the daughter of John and Susan – on 2 April 1689, Elizabeth Cardinal married Robert Sparling in Tendring. When she inherited the houses, she only had months left to live herself, and died in December 1694. She and her husband had three children: Robert (1690-1719), Elizabeth (1693-1693), and John (1694-?). John was baptised a month before Elizabeth was buried, so she may have died due to childbirth complications.

Drury left an extensive amount of property to James Clarkson, who Drury describes as his “kinsman” – the familial link and the reason for the childless Drury to leave property to the Cardinalls and Clarksons appears to be due to a common link between the three families and the Welbys, which I will explore in more detail elsewhere.

James, the youngest son of John and Susan, isn’t mentioned in Drury’s will. He married Elizabeth Guilberd (Gilbert) in 1701 and had three sons: Charles (1703-1746), James (1706-1710) and William (1706-1726). The Gilbert family would cross the Cardinalls again when William Cardinall Wade, married Anne Gilbert Bearman in 1785. James died in 1707 and Elizabeth remarried the following year, taking her children to Beaumont-cum-Moze. Theirs is another story.

James Cardinall

I know almost nothing at all about James, however, the Essex Record Office has two documents which may well refer to him, concerning copyhold property in Great Bromley called Glamfields and Bounds. The first is dated 27th September 1677, where Mary Hatch surrenders to the use of Mary Cardinall, spinster, of Colchester. Mary is in the guardianship of her parents, James and Mary, and Daniel Hatch quits his claim.[4]ERO ref: D/DHt T42/8 The next is dated 3rd October 1684.[5]ERO ref: D/DHt T42/9 Mary Cardinall, wife of Robert Rich, clerk, has died, and her son and heir, Robert, is admitted to Glamfields and Bounds.

ERO has, on microfilm, the memorandum book of “Robert Rich, vicar of Ramsey 1681-1729”.[6]ERO ref: T/A 336/1 Robert, the son of Robert Riche, vicar, and his wife Mary, was baptised in Ramsey on 18th November 1683; he had been born two days earlier. Mary seems to have died from complications in childbirth as she was buried in Ramsey on 1st December.

But…. does any of this refer to James, son of James?

Thomas Cardinall

I have not been able to find any trace of Thomas, except for a baptism in Wivenhoe in 1674. Robert, son of Thomas and Mary Cardinall was baptised there on 21st May, and fortuitously the entry names his godfathers: Sir Thomas Bowes and Robert Drury esquire. Given that Sir Thomas Bowes was a half-cousin of Thomas’ (Sir Thomas Bowes, born in 1628, shared a grandparent, Judith Starling, with Thomas and his siblings, but Bowes was descended from Judith’s first marriage and Thomas from her second), it is quite likely that Thomas was in Wivenhoe. But he’s the only Cardinall I can find there until the baptisms of three children of John Cardinall (1696-1760?) in the 1730s. What became of Thomas, and baby Robert? What became of his wife, and was she herself connected with the Bowes and Drury families?

William Cardinall

It may be as well to mention that, while John and Susan’s children are baptised in Tendring, children of William Courtnell, a labourer, and his wife Elizabeth are as well – Elizabeth in 1673, Mary in 1678 and Richard in 1694 (it seems that Richard is the father of Jane, baptised in Tendring in 1723). It is quite possible for “Cardinall” to be misheard as “Courtnell”, but with John Cardinall’s family having their spelt as either Cardinall or Cardinal at the same time, how likely is it that it would also be written Courtnell?

Charles Cardinall

Charles married Sarah Mason in Dedham on 23rd January 1661/2; this isn’t a surprise as Dedham comes up often in the story of the Cardinall family. They were both single, and Charles was of Colchester; two sons, Charles and Robert, were baptised at St. James’ in that town, Charles on 30th June 1672, and Robert on 24th May 1678.

Both Charles senior and junior were dyers, and both left wills, as did Sarah.[7]Sarah’s 1689 PCC will is focused on her Mason, Webb and Peacock relatives in Dedham. Charles senior only mentions his wife and son, and “my brothers Cardinall and my sister Clarkson” – Robert must have died in early childhood. He owned property in Bradwell-on-Sea and “Powstead” (methinks this is Polstead, rendered with the Essex inability to sound the letter L!). Charles junior died in 1700; there is no mention of a wife in his will, and he wanted all his property in Colchester, Thorrington? and Polstead to be sold, the proceeds to be divided up between certain family members.

These wills are very important in tying together the Cardinalls. For instance, Charles senior, who died in 1682, mentions in his will “my brothers Cardinall and my sister Clarkson”, and then Charles junior mentions James Clarkson, his cousin, and then his aunt Dorothy Clarkson, a widow. Charles junior also mentions his cousins James and John Cardinall in Tendring (the two sons of John and Susan Cardinall, each inheriting a rather tasty £50 each). This is crucial in proving the link between the Cardinalls and the Clarksons, explaining how John Cardinall’s children later ended up inheriting the manor of New Hall in Tendring.


1 Admissions to the Royal Grammar School of Colchester.
2 Alumni Cantabrigienses
3 Joseph Foster, London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869.
4 ERO ref: D/DHt T42/8
5 ERO ref: D/DHt T42/9
6 ERO ref: T/A 336/1
7 Sarah’s 1689 PCC will is focused on her Mason, Webb and Peacock relatives in Dedham.