Central to the kinship group of a Harris family of Buckinghamshire (Bucks.) was the Pigott family of Bechampton, Bucks., an account of which may commence with Richard Pigott, of Little Horwood, Bucks., who was of a family of well-established yeomen farmers that came to possess, by 1453, the Manor of Bechampton.

He was appointed Escheator for Bucks. on November 4, 1455. He married, firstly, Alice Finnell, da. of Richard Finnell, of Winslow, Bucks., and had issue, Robert Pigott; of Whaddon, Bucks. Richard Pigott married, secondly, Joan Dayrell, da. of Paul Dayrell, Esq., of Lillingston Dayrell, Bucks. She married, secondly, Richard Forster, Gent., and was recorded in the Close Rolls of 1492, with her son, John, in which she is shown to have held Wolfe’s Manor, and tenements in Bechampton. The said John Pigott married Isabel Edy, da. and coheir of John Edy, of Stony Stratford, Bucks. Their son, Robert Pigott , was established in Bechampton. He married Lucy Saunders, da. of Thomas Saunders, Gent, of Stow, Bucks.

Their son was Thomas Pigott, of Bechampton, recorded in a grant from George Tresham, his brother-in-law, dated July 13, 1545. He married Isabel Tresham, da. of Richard Tresham, Esq., of Newton, Northants. His Will was proved in 1593 (P.C.C.). He had issue:

1. Valentine Pigott, Esq., Serjeant-at-Law, of Loughton, Beds. His Will was proved in 1590 (P.C.C.). He married, firstly, Anne Andrewes, da. of Sir Thomas Andrewes, of Northants.Ursula Pigott, eldest da. and coheir, married her kinsman, Christopher Pigott, of Doddershall, near Aylesbury, Bucks.

Christopher Pigott’s brother, Thomas, represented Aylesbury in the 1589 Parliament before serving as county sheriff in 1593-4. This Thomas is linked to Margaret Berman (Bourdman), recorded as being in the household of Captain Thomas Harris in the 1624 Muster (‘The Living and the dead in Virginia’, February 16, 1623, p. 170: Thomas Harris, his wife Harris, Ann Woodley, Margaret Berman).

Sir John Gibson, of the armigerous family of Crayke, Yorkshire (Barry ermine and sable a lion or), married Anne, da. of Sir John Allott, Fishmonger of Wood Street, London, and Mayor in 1590, widow of the aforesaid Thomas Pigott. Margaret Berman* (Bourdman) was a niece of Sir John Gibson on her mother’s side (Village Tensions in Early Virginia: Sex, Land, and Status at the Neck of Land in the 1620s: David R. Ransome,The Historical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 365: Cambridge University Press).

*’The eldest of three recorded daughters of Adam Bourdman, she was baptized at Bilton Ainstyon, 4 Feb. I599′ (ibid.).

Mr. Ransome states: ‘Despite an alternative explanation of her origins, Adria Harris would appear to be Audry Hoare, one of the fifty-seven maids sent out by the Virginia Company in I62I. Surviving company records claim that she was then I9,and was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where her father was a shoemaker. Both her parents were alive in I62I, and she was one of at least four children. Her brother Richard had been an apprentice to a fustian dresser,and the implication was that he was already dead. Of her two sisters one, Joane Childe, was married and living in London ‘in the Blackfryers downe in the Lane neer the Catherine’, and it was this Joane who brought Audry to the company’s offices. There it was noted that her skills included ‘plaine worke and black workes’ and the making of ‘all manner of buttons’ (ibid.).

‘Relying on the claim that Adria was an Ancient Planter, made when Captain Thomas Harris re-patented Longfield, Henrico county on 25 Feb. I639 (Nugent, Cavaliers and pioneers, I, p. 101), Meyer and Dorman, eds., Adventurers, p. 355, suggest she was perhaps the daughter of Edward and Ann Gurganey. From the latter Harris claimed on I2 July 1637 to have inherited Longfield by a will made on 11 Feb. I620: Nugent, Cavaliers and pioneers, I, p. 6o. Neither on that occasion nor in an earlier registration of the grant on 2 May I636 (ibid., p. 37) was there any mention of Adria as an Ancient Planter’ (ibid.).

‘Audry Hoare the daughter of Thomas Hoare was baptized at St Mary’s, Aylesbury, on 25 Aug. I604’ (ibid).


2. George Pigott, who married, after 1566, Eleanor Claver, da. of Marmaduke Claver, of Bucks. He succeeded his father as squire of Bechampton.

3. Edmund Pigott, Citizen & Grocer of London, who died in 1613, who married Susan Kindlemarsh; his issue being baptised at St Michael, Cornhill, London.

4. Matthew Pigott; Rector of Bechampton, 1568-98, born in 1538.

5. Isabel Pigott, who married George Salisbury, of Haversham, Bucks.

6. William Pigott, who married a da. of Robert Harris, Rector of Bechampton, 1526-1551.

7. Lucia Pigott, who married Robert Lee, of Hulcott, Bucks. ‘Sir Robert Lee, of Hulcote, Bucks, b. 15 June, 1543; d. in August, 1616, married, in 1561, Lucy, daughter of Thomas Pigott, of Beachampton, and had eight sons’ (James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, vol. 3, 1888).

Robert Lee was the son of Benedict Lee, of Hulcot, Bucks., and his second wife, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Cheney, Esq., of Chesham Boyse, Bucks. The said Robert Cheney died in 1542, aged 47. His da., Margaret Cheney, married Richard Duncombe, of Moreton, Bucks. They had issue: John Duncombe, of Moreton, who married Mary Russell, da. of William Russell.

Their da., Katherine, married, in 1581, Drewe Woodliffe. whose son was John Woodliffe, who settled in Virginia, and whose da., Anne Woodliffe, was named as ‘kin’ of Thomas Harris in the Virginia Muster. Katherine’s sister, Elizabeth Duncombe, m. … Lee (Visitation Bucks., 1634, ‘Duncombe of Maids Moreton’, and, if this Lee was one of the eight sons of Robert Lee and Lucia Pigott, as is highly probable at a time when siblings married into the same family, then descendants of Robert Harris, Rector of Bechampton, were kin of the Woodliffes; res ipsa loquitur.

‘Robert Harris, succeeded as Rector of Bechampton June 11, Anno 1526, being presented by William Tylor (Taylor) on the Convent of Luffields title and right. He died Anno 1551, 5 Edw. VI, and was succeeded by John Bierly instituted June 1, 1551, on the presentation of Robert Pigot, Esq. He resigned Anno 1553, and was succeeded by Robert Corbet presented June 23, Anno 1553, by William Lord Grey and others, by the Grant of this turn from Robert Pigot Esq. and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton the alternate patrons; which Sir Nicholas had obtained Luffield dissolved Priory and its endowments of the King. Thomas Allen was instituted July 2, Anno 1557, 4 & 5 Philip and Mary, on the death of the last Incumbent, on the presentation of Robert Pigot Esq. Richard Lovel was collated by the Bishop on a Lapse, and instituted March 9, 1558, 4 and 5 Philip and Mary. Matthew Pigot was instituted Anno 1568’ (Browne Willis, The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred, and Deanry of Buckingham, pp. 139-148, 1755).

Robert Harris, Rector of Bechampton, a son of John Harris of Maids Moreton, which is situate 6 miles west of Bechampton, had issue: 1. John Harris, defendant in a case concerning land in Aylesbury: ‘Slegge v Harrys. Plaintiffs: Edward Slegge of Cambridge, gentleman. Defendants: John Harrys and Joan his wife. Subject: Messuage in Aylesbury bought of William Sakevyle and John Dudley. Buckinghamshire. 1556-1558 (National Archives. Reference: C 1/1473/28.); 2. a daughter, married to William Pigott, brother of Matthew Pigott, who succeeded as Rector of Bechampton, and Valentyne Pigott (Thomas Langley MS.).

John Harris, born c. 1530, held 230 acres of land of the manor of Greenhams in Maids Moreton in 1587, lands previously held by his grandfather in 1518 (Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives, ref. D4038/A/12/18.), where his nephew, Leonard Pigott, son of William Pigott and his sister, also held land (Alfred Leslie Rowse The England of Elizabeth p. 111, 2003.). Leonard Pigott is recorded here: ‘Pigott v Drurye. Plaintiffs: Lenarde Pigott. Defendants: Thomas Drurye. Subject: To discover a counterpart of a lease. Lands in Maids Morton [Maids Moreton], Buckinghamshire, late the inheritance of William Pigott, plaintiff’s father, deceased, who in his lifetime granted a lease thereof to Henry Earle and his wife’ (The National Archives, ref. C 2/Eliz/P13/35. 1558-1603).

The Woodliffe family also held tenements in Maids Moreton: Gift by John Frayne of Chetwode to Robert Woodlef of a messuage or farm in Maids Moreton (Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, ref. D4038/A/12/17. Gift by Robert Woodlef to John Lombard of Buckingham of his tenement in Maids Moreton. (ibid., ref. D4038/A/12/18. March 2, 1560). In 1557, Robert Woodliffe settled Peterley upon himself and Anne Drury, whom he was about to marry. He died in 1593, and was succeeded by his son Drew Woodliffe (Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxxiv, 34; Fine R. 35 Eliz. pt. i, no. 37). In 1577, Thomas Harris was in dispute with John Lombard (Lambard) about Robert Woodliffe’s gift: ‘Final concord between William Richardson and Thomas Harrys pfs. and John Lambert senior def. of 2 messuages, 2 cottages, 2 tofts, 2 gardens, 2 orchards, 200 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture, 4 acres of wood and 20 acres of furze and heath in Buckingham and Maids Moreton: consideration £80’ (Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, Day after St. Trinity. 1577).

John Harris is recorded in a Pleadings case of circa 1560, in which he is a defendant against the executor of John Finch, son of Sir Moyle Finch, and cousin of Erasmus Finch, who sponsored Margaret Bourdman in Virginia, habitee of the Captain Thomas Harris household, as described herein. ‘Sir John Gibson was an uncle on her mother’s side, and she was recommended to the company by Captain Wood, Mr Erasmus Finch, and Mr Kilband’ (David R. Ransome, ibid., p. 337).

*‘Stevensons v. Forde. Plaintiffs: John Stevensons, executor of John Finch. Defendants: John Forde and John Harrys. To complete purchase, and for discovery as to a contract. Land, parcel of and belonging to the manor of Aylesbury. Buckinghamshire’ (National Archives. Reference: C 2/Eliz/S27/34).

John Harris was the probable father of Thomas Harris, aforementioned, and James Harris, who married ‘Luce Lucas’ ,on November 30, 1587, in Maids Moreton. She subsequently married John Tredway: ‘9 Sep 1601 Jo Tredway & Luce Harris, widow’. This family appear thus: ‘Tredway v Bunby. Plaintiffs: John Tredway. Defendants: Thomas Bunby. Subject: lands held of the manor of Cheneys, Buckinghamshire. 1603-1625′ (National Archives, reference C 2/JasI/T8/65).

John Tredway was the son of Richard Tredway, gent, of whom the Duncombes were tenants: ‘Richard Tredway, gent., Edmund Waller, gent., demandants. John Duncombe, gent.,* tenant. Griffith Hampden and Ann his wife, vouchees. 1 messuage, 1 garden, 2a. pasture in Dinton’ (D-LE/1/52. November 28, 1584). (Lee family deed). *John Duncombe, great-grandfather of Anne Woodliffe, ‘kin’ of Thomas Harris.

The Child family were also tenurially associated with the Cheneys: In 1577, John Cheyney, Esq., left a rent-charge of £5 per annum to the poor of Amersham, Chesham Boyse, and Drayton Beauchamp; chargeable upon a farm called the Moze, in Chesham parish. In 1622, William Child left a rent-charge of 20s. per anum to the poor of this parish. John Cheney, Esq. was the uncle of John Duncombe, whose da., as stated, married Drewe Woodliffe. It would be reasonable to assume that Adria Hoare’s sister married a grandson of William Childe, a son of one of his sons, John or William. William Child’s first-cousin, Nathaniel Child, d. 1647, married Isabel Treadway, b. 1591, the highly likely step-sister of any children of James Harris. These may have included a Thomas. Any children of Thomas Harris, disputant of the gift of Robert Woodliffe, may have included a Thomas.

Whatever the case, any Thomas of the above named would not have felt out of place in the household of Thomas Harris of the Virginia Muster. He could have had conversations about Maids Moreton with those assembled, asking if they knew of Edward Duncombe. M.P, ‘brought up at Maids’ Moreton, just outside Buckingham (whose) forebears included William Russell, gentleman of the horse’ (The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010), ancestor of Anne Woodliffe, who would have witnessed this conversation. He would have been very familiar with Anne’s family, of course, and, perhaps, from a familial association. He could have enquired of the household member, Margaret Berman, about her uncle’s family, stating that his kinsman was Thomas Pigott, whose widow married her uncle.

It is unlikely this supposed Thomas would not have engaged his host and namesake in conversation, as they would have probably been one and the same, a very reasonable assumption, given the associations outlined; certainly as reasonable as the assumption that, say, Thomas Harris married Joan Vincent; yet assumptions are not given equal credence; ones cherished are repeated as fact; ones disliked are dismissed, and the same mechanism is employed in the ‘validation’ of cherished assumptions by ‘proofs’ of DNA. A method of DNA analysis is supported which confirms what is cherished, ones that challenge this are ignored, however much they are supported by eminent people in this field of research.

(The first notice I can find of the Hoare family of Aylesbury finds them dwelling in the parish of Walton in 1489: ‘Grant from John Balkey of Aylesbury, co. Buckingham, late the younger, to John Baldwyn, John Baldwyn, knt., Richard Fryr, clerk, Ralph Verney, esq., Richard Heynys, citizen and mercer of London, Richard Crypte, citizen and mercer of London, John Spycer of Aylesbury and Thomas Hoore of Walton in the parish of Aylesbury, of the Lordships called Castell (Castle) Fee and Bawdys (Bawd’s) Fee in Aylesbury and Walton’ (National Archives, ref. 705:349/12946/495742. 21 October 1489).

200 years later, William Hoare, shoemaker, represents this family: Conveyance (feoffment). D-PC/42/2. 11 January 1683. (1) Henry Dunmall of Aylesbury, saddler, executor of the will of Henry Jordan, shoemaker, of Aylesbury, dec’d., (2) William Hoare of Aylesbury, shoemaker. Messuage in Aylesbury in a certain place there called Castle Fee in a street called Cobbler’s Row, the messuage of William Talboys the elder, west, and the messuage of Elizabeth Freer, widow, now in the occupation of Richard Talboys, east, late in the occupation of the said Henry Jordan. (D-PC/42/2. January 11, 1683).

1. … HOARE.
1.1. … HOARE.
1.2.1. ELIZABETH HOARE, BAPT. JAN. 31, 1579.
1.2.2. WILLIAM HOARE, BAPT. MAY 14, 1582.
1.2.3. JOHN HOARE, BAPT. DEC. 16, 1584.
1.2.5. THOMAS HOARE, M. APRIL 7, 1621, ANNE WALKER. (PROB 11/197/630, 1646). ‘YEOMAN OF AYLESBURY’.
1.2.6. JANE HOARE, M. OCT. 1. 1621, JANE DRUSE.

*’In the name of god Amen I Thomas Hoare of Aylesbury in the county of bucks cordwayner (shoemaker) being sick of body but in perficke rememboran thanks be to god for I do ordaine this my last will and testament in mannoure of foarme following first I give and bequeath my soule into the hands of almighty god my Saviour and redeemer by whose mearitor I hope to be saved and my bodye to the grounde from whence it came to be buried in the churchyarde of Aylesbury at the discreation of my executrx

Imprimis I give and bequeath to my daughter Agnes Orton xiid to be payde to her within one month after my desease

Itm I give and bequeath to my daughter Auradrye xiid to be payde to her when she demande it after my desease and also to her daughter xiid a peace

Itm I give and bequeath all the rest of my goodes and chattels lands unto my wife whome I doo ordeigne to be full executrix of this my last will and testament and I doo ordeeine to be overseers of this my last will my trusty and wellbeloved friends John Forrister and Jones Orton and I give to either of them for their paynes vid a peace

Sealed and delymend in the presence of John Forrist Christopher Arden Jones Orton’

Proved April 5, 1627 by Elizabeth Hoare, widow and executrix. Centre of Buckinghamshire studies, ref. D/A/WF/26/229.

Thomas Harris, of Longfield’ died without issue:

The curls in the James River made the description of the location of a patent confusing. At a basic level, plantations were north or south of the river, but the curls made for a close east/west relationship between them. For instance, take the first grant of land to a Thomas Harris on the south side of the James River, of 750 acs., at Neck of land, within Diggs his hundred (later Bermuda Hundred), dated Nov. 11, 1635; on July, 12, 1637, it is described in a repatent as S. E. towards Bremoes devident (north side of the river). 0n Feb. 25, 1638, it is again described as E.S.E. into the woods towards Bremo, 100 acs. for his own per. adv., 100 acs. for the per. adv. of his first wife Adry Harris, as being Ancient Planters, & 620 acs. for trans. of 13 pers. (Adry Harris was not an ancient planter; an explanatory supposition would be that she had married one before marrying Thomas Harris).

The plantation of Thomas Harris was ‘Called by the name of the Long feild’ (July 12, 1637), which was also called ‘Curles’, after its locality on the curles of the James River. In an analogical sense this is synonomous with someone from Southwark describing themselves as of London, of which Southwark was a part. ‘Curles’ was a geographical term applied to plantations within this general area. There were two plantations specifically called Longfield within this area.

This has led to much confusion. On 15 August 1637, 300 ac. north of the river, were acquired by Robert Craddock and John Davis, which had been assigned by ‘Jno. Baugh of Varina planter to Wm. Cooke & Richd. Carpenter, 13 June 1636, and by them assigned to Jno. Davis & Robt Craddocke of Harihatoxs planters 29 July 1637′(B. 1. pp. 451, 452). John Davis also called his land Longfield, a common enough English practice concerning long strips of land.

John Burton took out a patent for 700 acres in Henrico on the ‘long field’ beside Cornelius Creek in Lily Valley, about 7 miles from the present city of Richmond, VA. On 22 March 1665: Jno. Burton, 700 acs. Henrico Co., p. 479, (585). 300 acs. Nly. on a great swamp, Sly. towards land of Alice Edlowe, Widdow, Wly. over the river & Ely. into the woods, called by the name of the old feild; 300 acs. another parte joyning on the head of the ‘Long feild pattent’, beg. at a white oake marked 4 wayes at the extent of the deviding line of Jno. Burton & Jno. Davies running along the greate slash S.E. by S. & c. 600 acs. granted to Rob. Craddock & by Hoel Prise, his Atty., should unto Jno. Cox, who assigned to sd. Burton, & 100 acs. due for trans. of 2 pers. Thus, John Burton became known as ‘John Burton of (this) Longfield‘; the locality of which is shown in the Perrin patent: ‘Richard Perrin, 740 a., 1 R., 24 P., Henrico Co., N. side James Riv., 13 May 1673, p. 445. 474 acs. called the ‘Worlds End’; from John Burton’s house down the riv. 12 poles below Cornelius’ Cr., granted to Capt. Mathew Edloe 2 Oct. 1656 & sould to sd. Perrin; 266 A., 1 R., 24 P. at the head &c. Trans. of 5 pers’.

William Randolph purchased, from the colonial government, the escheated lands of Nathaniel Bacon in this locality, as shown in this deed: ‘Richard Ligon, of Bristol Parish, Henrico Co., is indebted to William Ligon, of Henrico Parish, Henrico Co., and bound for 200 pounds 1 Nov 1707 … The condition is that there is a parcel of land on north side of James River, between plantation called ‘Curles’ belonging to Col. William Randolph, and plantation of John Woodson where he lives, containing 200 acres left to Mary Ligon by her father Capt. Thomas Harris, dec’d’.

This land, on Curles Swamp, was adjacent to that of Major William Harris: Henrico Co Wills & Dds. 1688-1697, p. 386: ‘John Woodson, Sr. of Henrico Co to Edward Lester, land next to Richard Cocke, next to land formerly William Harris’s on Curles Swamp, next to land given by Thomas Harris to his da. Mary Lygon’. This can be placed in the context of Mary (Harris) Ligon making a false claim of ancestry, a common practice. Her her son was suspended from his office as surveyor in 1703 for being less than honest.

Neither Major William Harris nor Mary (Harris) Lygon were heirs to either of the Longfield plantations.

The confusion surrounding the Captain Thomas Harris narrative is compounded by the Broadnax versus Soane case of 1700, the purpose of which is commonly described in an abbreviated form: ‘to establish the boundaries of Longfield’, without adding that it was a Crown property, and that the case was adjudicated by the Crown so as to clarify a grant of it at the usual rate per acre. This is the verbatim account of the judgement: (The crown) ‘hereby grants unto him (Broadnax) by patent this seventh day of May 1700, which patent is granted which appears a former patent granted with Thomas Harris being dated that of 25th day of February 1638, that the said being now called Curls, formerly Longfield‘. This is not Bacon and Randolph’s Curles Swamp lands. The two Longfields have been confounded.

Moreso, the Crown was granting this land as an escheat, its last owner having died without issue. In Virginia, in the absence of heirs, land escheated to the Crown, which was determined by a Jury of Escheat, and it is certain that the judgement of 1700 referred to an escheat jury verdict. William Broadnax’s boundaries were given as those pertaining in 1638: ‘Thomas Harris, 820 acs. comonly known by the name of the Long feild, Henrico Co., 25 Feb. 1638, p. 615.

To propose that Thomas Harris had children who were cheated of their inheritance by the Crown has no credence when measured by the norm of this time: Primogeniture as the means of inheritance was the cornerstone of English and, thus, Virginia society, and was mainly set aside in the case of acts of rebellion against the Crown.

The entire narrative of Major William Harris being a son of Captain Thomas Harris (assumed to be an ancient planter) is akin to jigsaw pieces being forced to fit into spaces they do not belong.

Genealogical enquiry is often nothing more than psychology disguised, with resulting belief systems being a mile wide and an inch thick.

copyright m stanhope 2016