Transcription: original spelling

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This is an original-spelling transcription of a letter from Matthew Knightley to Robert Coke, the husband of his niece, Winifred Knightley, giving him part of the Knightley’s pedigree. The letter contradicts the 1558 Knightley pedigree given in the Essex Visitation.

I am sharing this so that people know the facts about the Knightleys from an invaluable primary source. If you wish to quote from it, please make sure you credit as follows: Letter from Matthew Knightley to his nephew Robert Coke re Knightley family genealogy, 1557, held at Norfolk Record Office, reference: EVL 584, 463 x 6. Transcribed by Helen Barrell Please also include a link to the page with the transcription on, so anyone finding a reference to it has the full context.

See also the version in modern spelling.

Sir for so muche as you desire to have a pedegre of the stocke that your wives become of, I cane not remember the proper names, but of a fewe of them, it is so longe seth they deperted, for my grandfather Knightley deperted (as I suppose) above a hundred years synce, and my mothers father Thomas Daniell nye fower score yeares synce, for this I cane remember I did see,

John Knightley my father and Dame Cassandre Jefforde were full cosine jermines The which Dame Cassandre hadd a sonne called Sir John Jefford a mann of fyve score yeares ould, except two, And departed a lytle before Crismas laste paste. The which Sir John lefte a sonne called Sir Thomas Jefford a mann about 3 score & 8. He maried fower of his children to 3 worshipfull mens heires upon one daye, and kepeth a worshipfull howse, at his mannor of Chillington, & hathe a sister maried to Mr Franncis Sherlowe of Staunton esquire of vi or vii hundred markes two milles from Asby Dallowsouthe where my L. of Huntington lyeth. To eyther of these two places you maye be hartely welcome if you have any busines in thes parties if that you come with halfe a score horses, Sir these Jeffordes of Staffordshire and the Jeffordes of Northamtonshire be eyther farre of or noe kinde as they like wise of Buckinghamshire be,

my unkle Robert Knightley of Ingletone in Brude parishe had one daughter called Issable. The which Martha Morton my godfather did marye, by whom he had James and Thomas Morton the which I trust be a lyve at this daye. The which is towarde the lawe and well accepted in his country and kepethe a good howse.

There is not one that beareth the name of Knightley in Staffordeshire, I was the youngeste & laste of that name my great unkle Knightley maried a gentle woman which was the heire of the Charltons in Shropshire. The which gentlewoman would not marye with him excepte he would be called after her name Charlton, And soe because of the great lande he was contente, by these meanes all the worshipfull men of the Charltons which be very manye be Knightleys in dede.

Sir Richard Knightley of Faldsley 3 miles from Daivtree in Northamtonshire said unto me that his grandfather & myne were brethren. The which Rychard had children Rychard, Sir Edmonde, John & Sir Valentine. The which Sir Valentine is nowe a lyve, and kepethe a worshipfull howse, And hath maried his sonne & his heire into the howse to him for the ladye his wife is departed. If god had not sent Sir Valentine Knightley heire male the name of the Right Knightleis had bene at an end.

My ladye Knightley my L. of Oxfordes daughter sometime the wife of Sir Edmonde Knightley a man of xvtene hundred markes lande she beinge one of the heires generall (as you knowe) lyeth now at Coulchester as I here saye if you will any thinge with her.

Sir I have left out more of the kindred than I have expressed that be both of howse kepers and of faire landes. Thomas Daniell my grandfather had a sonne called John Daniell which was of the old Earles of Oxenfords councell and one of his executors. The which John Daniell gave me liberall exhibition to bothe universities and also gave me my promotions. The which John Daniell had one daughter onely, the which he maried to the sonne and heire of Mr Neweport of Fornishe Pelham in Hartefordshire. By whom my fore said daughter Mary Daniell had a daughter by her husband Mr Neweporte called Grace. The which Sir Henry Parker sonne & heire to my L. Morley did marye, by whom he had a sonne which is called Sir Henry Parker for that if that my ould L. Morley be alive, or else he is L. Morley he had by my kindwoman Dame Grace Neweporte nighe three hundred markes of sacke rent.

Sir I have sent for your pleasure a parte of your wives pedegree and if you journey into any of these parties that I have spoken of, you maye be bould to claime kindred of the foresaid parties. They will doutles make you good chere and shewe you more of your kindred then I have done by the grace of god who preserve you, I thanke you for your gloves. I praye you keep this well lett my other neces have a coppy thereof.

Written at Cozington the vith of November Ao Dni 1557: your unkle Mathewe Knightley

There is a tailear a good poore mann in Southwerke which callthe him selfe Knightley. His mothers name was Ringley he saith he was my brother Sir Thomas Bastord. If ther be any of the name of Knightleys they be noe soule sibbe to you, for my cozin Richard Knightley caused a Harrold of Armes to take the Knightleys armes of a [conune? Tomure?] in [Fowles? Sowles? Powles?] because he was not of the Right stock.

[On the reverse]:

Doctor Knightleis letter: To his worshipfull cozin Mr Robert Coke in Lincolnes Inne be these delivered from Cozington.