2017-02-20 21:38:22 UTC
There has been considerable discussion here on the newsgroup in recent time regarding Philippe Bonville, the alleged sister or daughter of William Bonville, Knt., Lord Bonville. Most of the discussion has sidestepped facts in favor of quoting whatever secondary source or website gives the poster the desired answer.
The assumption has been made repeatedly that Philippe Bonville must have been born say 1415, in order to make her a legitimate daughter of Lord Bonville and his 1st wife, Margaret Grey, which couple married in 1414. This is in spite of the fact that Lord Bonville had at least one acknowledged illegitimate child. No mention is ever made that Philippe might have been an illegitimate daughter of Lord Bonville. I assume that making Philippe Bonville be born c.1415 is done to give the poster the desired descent from King Edward I of England by way of Margaret Grey. However, I must say that that is approaching medieval genealogy from the wrong direction.
While medieval genealogy is heavily dependant on chronology, it is also relies on the comparison of all facts which pertain to any question in hand. In this case, reviewing the chronology, we have three possible indications as to when Philippe Bonville might have been born. The 1st indication is when Philippe gave birth to her children. The second and third indications are the possible birth dates of her two known husbands, William Grenville, Esq., and John Almescombe, Esq.
In this case, we know that Philippe Bonville married William Grenville as his 2nd wife sometime in or after 1427, and that five children were born to this marriage which ended in 1447. While we don't know exactly when Philippe and William were married, but it seems to be rather close to 1427. 1428 would certainly be a good date for the marriage. Five children later, and that would place Philippe as age about 40-45 about the year 1438, or born c.1393-1398. Such a birth date would place her as a sister of William Bonville, Lord Bonville, whose father died in late 1396. Such chronology makes it impossible for Philippe to be a legitimate daughter of Lord Bonville by his wife, Margaret Grey, much less an illegitimate daughter of Lord Bonville.
Next consideration. It is virtually certain that William Grenville was born no later than c.1385, as he was heir to his older brother, Sir John Grenville, who we know was Sheriff of Cornwall for the first time in 1404. As a general rule, men were age about 40 when they first became Sheriff. If so, that would place Sir John Grenville's birth somewhere between 1364 and perhaps no later than 1370. We know that Sir John Grenville was married before 1391, his wife being Margaret Burghersh, who was born about 1376 (aged 15 in 1391). If correct, even assuming there was a wide disparity in the respective births of John and William Grenville, William Grenville's birth would presumably be no later than 1390. This would make William Grenville approximately 3 to 8 years older than Philippe Bonville. That seems quite suitable for a typical medieval marriage. Even placing William Grenville's birth at c.1385, it would still make him only 8 to 13 years older than Philippe who was a second wife. This seems quite reasonable to me.
Now we come to John Almescombe, Esq. We know that he was definitely an adult by 1450-1, when he occurs as the husband of Philippe Bonville. We have no information as to when he was born. However, it appears he was living as late as 1468, and definitely died testate before 1475. If we give him a long life of say 65-70 years in 1468, that would make him born c. 1398-c.1403, which would makes him a bit younger than Philippe Bonville. Such May-December weddings often occurred between medieval men and younger women, but I have seen the reverse, namely older women marrying younger men. A famous example is Katherine Neville and John Wydeville. In this case, the age discrepancy between Philippe Bonville and John Almescombe would not be so great, and perhaps even nonexistent.
Is there other evidence which points the way to Philippe Bonville's correct parentage? Yes, there is. The published Visitation of Cornwall (H.S.P. 9) (1874): 84–86 (Grenville ped.) makes her the sister of Lord Bonville:
“Willm Grenvile Brother and hey. to Sr John temp. H. IV. - Philip sist’ to the Lo. Bondvile.” END OF QUOTE.
We also know that William Grenville granted lands in 1447, to various feoffees, among them Hugh Stucle, Esquire. Hugh Stucle, Esq. can be readily identified as the younger half-brother of Lord Bonville.
These two pieces of evidence would tend to support the idea that Philippe Bonville was the sister of Lord Bonville and the half-sister of Hugh Stucle, Esq. Certainly the chronology supports that notion.
In contrast, we have the Grenville pedigree in Pole, Collections towards a Description of Devon (1791): 387–388, which reads:
“Willam Grenvill his brother maried Thomazin, & unto his 2 wief Phelip, daughter of Willam Lord Bonvill, & had issue Sr Thomas ...”). END OF QUOTE.
While I certainly respect Pole, he is not infallible. He makes Philippe the daughter of Lord Bonville. I should note that Pole was writing in a later period than the published visitation. In this case, I would give the visitation greater weight than Pole.
While I'd certainly like to see better evidence, I think the evidence tilts towards Philippe Bonville being the sister of William Bonville, Lord Bonville. Thus she loses the descent from King Edward I of England by way of Margaret Grey. Having said that, I still have an open mind about this matter. Should additional evidence turn up, I'm more than willing to consider other possibilities. As a descendant of Hugh Stucle, Esq., I have a personal interest in Philippe Bonville.
For interest's sake, I've copied below my current file account regarding Philippe Bonville based on my original research.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
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PHILIPPE BONVILLE, married (1st) after 12 May 1427 (as his 2nd wife) WILLIAM GRENVILLE (or GREYNVILLE, GREYNEVYLE, GRAYNVILLE, GRAYNEFILD), Esq., of Bideford, Devon and Kilkhampton, Cornwall, younger son of Thebaud Grenville, Knt., of Bideford, Devon and Kilkhampton, Cornwall, by his wife, Margaret. Her maritagium included the manors of Week St. Mary and Swannacote, and other tenements in the hundred of Stratton, Cornwall. They had three sons, Thomas, Knt., John, Gent., and William, and two daughters, Margaret (wife of John Thorne) and Ellen (wife of William Yeo). He was heir in 1412 to his brother, John Grenville, Knt., of Bideford, Devon and Kilkhampton, Cornwall, Sheriff of Cornwall, 1404–6, 1410–11. WILLIAM GRENVILLE, Esq., was living 7 Nov. 1447, on which date he granted lands to James Chuddeligh, William Chuddeleigh, and Hugh Stucle, Esquires. His widow, Philippe, married (2nd) before 1450–1 (date of deed) JOHN ALMESCOMBE (or ALMYSCOMBE), Esq. In 29 Henry VI [1450–1] John de Copleston and others granted John and his wife, Philippe, lands in Wildhays and Guakmore. In 1455 Thomas Bodrugan, Esq., of Bodrugan, Cornwall, was pardoned for not appearing before the justices of the Bench to answer John and his wife, Philippe, late the wife of William Greynevyle, Esq. touching a trespass. In 1458 he and his wife, Philippe, presented to the church of Bideford, Devon. In 1461 he and his wife, Philippe, settled 23 messuages, 1 mill, and various lands in Kilkhampton, Cornwall, together with the advowson of the church of Kilkhampton, Cornwall, on themselves and the heirs of their bodies, with successive remainders to John Grenville and William Grenville. In 1464 he sued William Pyke, of Clayhidon, Devon, husbandman and five others in the Court of Common Pleas regarding a trespass [vi et armis] at Clayhidon, Devon. In 1464 he and his wife, Philippe, settled the manor and advowson of the church of Kilkhampton, Cornwall and the manor and advowson of the church of Bideford, Devon on themselves and the heirs of their bodies, with reversion to the right heirs of Philippe. In 1468 John Bele, of Shildon, Devon, butcher, was pardoned for not appearing to answer John Almyscombe, Esq., administrator of the good and chattels of John Ferlard, chaplain, touching a debt of 62s. 8d. JOHN ALMESCOMBE, Esq., died testate before Hilary term 1475. In Hilary term 1475 William Yeo and John Barnehowes, executors of John Almyscombe sued Peter Benet, Gent., of Eltham, Kent, in the Court of Common Pleas regarding the abduction of a minor ward, John Benet son and heir of Thomas Benet.
Pole, Colls. towards a Desc. of Devon (1791): 387–388 (Grenville ped.: “Willam Grenvill his brother maried Thomazin, & unto his 2 wief Phelip, daughter of Willam Lord Bonvill, & had issue Sr Thomas ...”). Oliver, Ecclesiastical Antiqs. in Devon 3 (1842): 41. Vivian, Vis. of Cornwall (H.S.P. 9) (1874): 84–86 (Grenville ped.: “Willm Grenvile Brother and hey. to Sr John temp. H. IV. - Philip sist’ to the Lo. Bondvile.”). Granville, Hist. of Bideford (1883): 109. Rpt. & Trans. Devonshire Assoc. 16 (1884): 684–685 (author identifies Philippe, wife of William Grenville, as “sister to Wm. Lord Bonville.”). Rogers, Strife of the Roses & Days of the Tudors in the West (1890): 47–48 (author identifies Philippe Bonville, wife of William Grenville, as the daughter of William Bonville, Lord Bonville). Granville, Hist. of the Granville Fam. (1895): 56–57 (“The arms of William Graynefeld, impaled with those of his second wife [Philippe Bonville], were in Kilkhampton Church, in a hatchment of stucco.”). Vivian Vis. of Devon 1531, 1564 & 1620 (1895): 101–103 (Bonville ped.). List of Sheriffs for England & Wales (PRO Lists and Indexes 9) (1898): 21–22. C.P.R. 1467–1477 (1900): 75–76. C.P.R. 1452–1461 (1910): 189. Dalton, Collegiate Church of Ottery St Mary (1917): 31 (author identifies Philippe Bonville, wife of William Grenville, as the daughter of William Bonville, Lord Bonville). NGSQ 59 (1971): 254–262 (author identifies Philippe Bonville, wife of William Grenville, as the daughter of William Bonville, Lord Bonville). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/811, image 107f (available at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/E4/CP40no811/aCP40no811fronts/IMG_0107.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/811, image 113f (available at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/E4/CP40no811/aCP40no811fronts/IMG_0113.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/853, image 373f (available at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/E4/CP40no853/aCP40no853fronts/IMG_0373.htm). Devon Archives & Local Studies Service (South West Heritage Trust): Hankford, 47/5/1 (available at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk). National Archives, CP 25/1/34/44, #2; CP 25/1/294/74, #20 [see abstract of fines at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/index.html].