2021-10-23 23:47:48 UTC
John SHELLEY 1456-1527 and Elizabeth MICHELGROVE 1560-1513
Elizabeth Michelgrove, the daughter of John Michelgrove and Anne Sydney, was born on the 28 March 1460 at Earnley, Sussex and she was baptized the same day in the church of Earnley.
Her father had died shortly thereafter and his inquisition post mortems were taken on the 1 July 1461 at Chichester Sussex and in Smethe Kent in the same year, where it was found that Elizabeth was his sole heir, and she was aged one and quarter years in Sussex and one and half in Kent. Thus giving her year of birth as 1460.
A writ for an inquisition of proof of age was issued on 8 November 1474, following a petition by John Shelley the then husband of said Elizabeth Michelgrove claiming Elizabeth was of full age, [that is 14 years]. This was taken at Steyning in Sussex on the 29 March 1475. The inquisition gives the day and place of Elizabeth’s birth as 28 March at Earnley, Sussex, fourteen years earlier (ie 1461). She was baptized on the same day in the church at Earnley by the chaplain Thomas Elyot. All the witnesses at the inquiry stated she was fourteen years and upwards at the date of the inquiry (ie 1461). The inquiry into the proof of age also stated that Nicholas Gaynesford esquire had the wardship of Elizabeth by the Kings commission, and the Escheator had required him to be present if he had anything to say why she should not now have the lands of her inheritance, “..who came not, nor any for him”.
This apparent conflict in her date of birth is resolved by the Patent Rolls. On 22 May 1460 the lands were in King’s hands by the death of said John Michelgrove and the minority of his daughter and heir Elizabeth. The marriage of the heir was granted on that date to the Keeper of the Great Wardrobe to apply to the value of the great robe. On 29 January 1461/2 custody of the lands and marriage of Elizabeth were then granted to Nicholas Gaynesford who was then the King’s Esquire and Usher of the King’s Chamber.
From all of this it is clear that Elizabeth, the only child of John Michelgrove was born on 28 March 1460 at Earnley, Sussex four months after the death of her father. By November 1474, and probably not long before that date she had married John Shelley at the age of fourteen and a half.
John Shelley established the Shelleys as landed gentry in Sussex with his marriage to Elizabeth Michelgrove in 1474. Thus John Shelley was able, in 1474, to secure the marriage of Elizabeth Michelgrove and thereby bring the extensive Michelgrove estates near Arundel under his control. For three centuries thereafter, the Shelleys were landed gentry in Sussex, with various branches in West and East Sussex. The branch in East Sussex included the black sheep of the family, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
John Shelley, Elizabeth's husband, was aged 30 at the death of his father, John Shelley citizen and mercer and a late sheriff of the city of London on 12 November 1486. In his will dated 6 October 1486 John Shelley Senior mentions his wife Margaret, who survived him by nine years; a daughter Joan Meres, another Anne Shelley, a nun at Dartford; and of course his son and heir John Shelley together with the latter's daughter Ann. John Shelley senior possessed lands in Cambridge, the manor of Offord Danes. He also held property in Sawbridgeworth, Chelsin, Hunsdon, and Stansted Abbotts in Hertford. Sir William Shelley justice [the son of said Elizabeth and John Shelley Junior] in his will left the manor of Chelsin to his son confirming his lineage.
Thus it is abundantly clear that the father of said John Shelley [the husband of Elizabeth] was said John Shelley a citizen and mercer and late sheriff of the city of London, and his mother was Margaret. This is contradiction to popular genealogy that has his father as John Shelley of Rye, Sussex and his mother was Beatrice Hawkwood, which is apparently erroneous.
Elizabeth the wife of John Shelley died on the 30 July 1513 and was buried in Clapham church, Sussex. Her husband John Shelley died on the 3 January 1526/7 and their deaths are commemorated by one of the finest brasses in the county. His Armour showing Shelley arms [ sa. A fess engrailed between three whelk shells or) and hers in a robe, the arms of her husband and those of Michelgrove (quarterly or and az. a falcon proper). The inscription states she is the daughter and heir of John Michelgrove of Michelgrove. The are four more armorials on the brass. Above his head are his arms, and below his feet the same but impaled with Michelgrove; above her are those of Michelgrove and below her the same but impaled with Sydney (or. A pheon az.).
Apparently, Elizabeth's mother was one Anne/Mary Sydney a daughter of William Sydney of Kingsham. [further research needed].
Inquisitions post mortem were taken on John and Elizabeth Shelley in 1527. Those in Sussex have been briefly summarized by the Sussex Record Society [See Sources]. She and her husband had settled a number of these properties on their children. They had settled some of their lands on their son and heir William Shelly, a justice of the common bench on his marriage to Alice, sister and co-heir of Edward Belnapp. John Shelley also settled the manor of Hoope in Rudgewick on Richard Shelley and his wife Mary. In the inquisition on Elizabeth Shelley she is referred to as daughter and heir of John Michelgrove otherwise called John Fawkenor.
Inquisitions post mortem were also taken on John Shelley in Hertford and Kent. The Kent inquisition concerns a property central to the history of this family back to its earliest days. It showed John Shelley seized at his death of the manor of Hurst otherwise called Fawkenherst and the advowson of the church of Fawkenherst in the right of his wife Elizabeth, the heir of John Michelgrove of Sussex (otherwise called John Fawkenor). Falconhurst ( as it is now known, a property close to the northern edge of Romney Marsh was held “ of the king in chief by service of keeping a Falcon for the King”
An inquisition post mortem was taken on John Shelley in Hertford on the 26 October 1527. In that inquisition it showed he died seised of considerable landholdings in that county. The principal ones were the manor of Temple Chelsin, Chamberlyne and Bletches manors in Sawbridgeworth. In the Hertford inquisition there is mention of his sons William, Richard, and Edward as well as George Shelley, rector of Wiston and Thomas Shelley rector of Pulborough.
Their children include at least the following
1. Sir John Shelley, Knight who was slain at Rhodes in 1522
2. Sir William Shelley, who married Alice aforesaid
3. Richard Shelley of Patcham, who had married Mary daughter of Richard Urdswick and widow of Thomas Scott
4. Edward Shelley of Warminghurst who married Jane daughter of Paul Eden of Penshurst, who both are commerated by a brass in Warminghurst Church.
5. Reverend George Shelley onetime rector of Wiston
6. Thomas Shelley, onetime rector of Pulborough
7. Anne (Alma) Shelley who married Sir Richard Shirley of Wiston
8. Joan (or Jane) who had married Edward Bellingham of Eringham and then William Everard of Albourne
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"Catalogue description Michelgrove, Elizabeth, whom John Shelley took in marriage. Proof of age Sussex." Discovery https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6545308. Accessed 12 Oct. 2021.
"#28 - Proofs of age of Sussex families, temp. Edw. II to Edw. IV.." Full View https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hx1fkv&view=1up&seq=28&q1=michelgrove. Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.
"Catalogue description Lease." Discovery https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/27082a6a-b144-463a-9bbe-3577cb53c1e1. Accessed 12 Oct. 2021.
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