Saturday, 13 June 2009

Comberford 5: Recusants, royal guests and civil war

5.1: The Moat House in Tamworth became the principal residence of the Comberford family from 1591 onwards (Photograph © Patrick Comerford, 2011)

5: Recusants, royal guests and civil war

Patrick Comerford

The wealth inherited by the Comberford family through the marriage of Thomas Comberford of Comberford and Dorothy Beaumont of Wednesbury [see Comberford 4, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-4-wealth-from-wednesbury.html.] brought new prosperity and enhanced political and social influence to the Comberford family.

However, the continued adherence of the Comberfords to Roman Catholicism – a religious loyalty shared with many of the families in their nexus of kinship in South Staffordshire – often posed a threat to their new-found place in society in the English Midlands, until William Comberford welcomed the future Charles I as his guest at the Moat House in Tamworth. Yet those gains were short-lived, and the family’s fortunes were reversed with the English Civil War in the mid-17th century.

The eldest son and Dorothy and Thomas Comberford was:

Willows at the bridge over Footherley Brook in Shenstone ... William Comberford was robbed by a highwayman in Shenstone in 1586 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

WILLIAM COMBERFORD (1551-1625), eldest son and heir of Thomas Comberford,[1] of Comberford and Wednesbury. He was born in 1551. He was an ambitious man who made the last attempt on the part of the Comberfords to become the principal family in both Tamworth and Wednesbury.

William had conformed to the Church of England by 1586, when he was described as “being in the peace of God and the Queen.” On 27 April 1586, when William was in Shenstone, near Lichfield, where he held lands at nearby Chesterfield, he was set on by “Little Neddy,” a well-known highwayman, who stole £72, a £5 gold ring, and a sword worth £1 from him. Later, Little Neddy (Edward Stevenson) was apprehended and convicted.[2]

William Comberford bought much land in Cannock Forest, and became a leading iron founder. In 1588, he gave £25 to a fund to help resist the threatened Spanish invasion. However, unlike other landowners, there is no record of him giving any “great trees in the forest of Cannock” for use in building ships.[3]

Meanwhile, in 1588, a charter from Elizabeth I provided for a schoolmaster at the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Tamworth, to be paid for by the revenues of the Crown for Staffordshire.[4]

William Comberford’s brother-in-law, Sir William Stanford, remitted all rights in Hopwas to William Comberford in 1590 for £200. Hopwas had been leased to Humphrey Comberford in the mid-16th century by Humphrey Seymour. The quarrels between the Comberford family and Thomas Parkes continued after William took over the management of the family’s Wednesbury estates. Throughout the 1580s and 1590s, there were cases in which the Comberford and Parkes families accused each other of “trespasses, riots and contempts.”[5] The disputes in Wednesbury also involved Elizabeth Nicholas and other tenants who tried to assert their right of digging coal on the lands they held.[6]

By 1589, William Comberford was living at Comberford. However, in 1591 he moved into the Moat House in Lichfield Street, Tamworth, which had reverted to the Comberford family following the death of William’s aunt, Mary Harcourt. The Moat House remained his principle residence until his death in 1625.[7] William may already have been planning the lavish, heraldic decoration of the ceiling of the gallery on the first floor of the Moat House: the archives of the Society of Antiquaries in London includes a late 16th century folio manuscript, ‘William Wyrley his booke,’[8] with pedigrees, and heraldic and church notes compiled in Staffordshire in the late 16th century by the antiquarian Sampson Erdeswick and William Comberford’s first cousin William Wyrley (1565-1618), Erdeswick’s assistant, who was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1604. Throughout the folio there are family pedigrees, with excerpts from charters, including pedigrees for the families of Wyrley in 1592,[9] Comberford and Heronville,[10] and an autograph letter from Wyrley’s mentor, the Staffordshire antiquarian Sampson Erdeswick, to William Comberford, dated 12 January 1593/1594, relating to the families of Comberford and Heronville.[11]

In 1595, William Comberford sold Bustleholme Mill, near West Bromwich, to Walter Stanley, Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich.[12] From 1597 on, William Whorwood was William Comberford’s partner in working an iron-making smithy at Wednesbury.[13]

In 1597 and 1598, Tamworth was devastated by the plague.[14] Meanwhile, William Comberford, who had moved to the Moat House in Tamworth, was attempting to become Lord of the Manor of the Staffordshire part of the town, on the grounds that Tamworth and Wigginton had once been joined when they were held by the Hastings family and that he was the Lord of the Manor of Wigginton. He bolstered his case by pointing out that as Lord of the Manor of Wigginton he had received the fee farm rent of 100 shillings from the bailiffs of Tamworth in equal quarterly sums of 25 shillings, that he held the court leet of Wigginton in Tamworth’s Staffordshire town hall, and that he and his son, Humphrey Comberford, had asserted their right to proclaim fairs in the town. However, after a prolonged lawsuit initiated by the bailiffs of Tamworth, running for three years until 1599, his claim was rejected and he was refused the right to proclaim the fairs. The Court of Chancery issued an injunction against him on 21 May 1599, ordering him not to call himself Lord of the Manor of Tamworth again.[15]

The dispute with the bailiffs of Tamworth reflected a deeper dispute with the Ferrers family of Tamworth Castle, who controlled the Warwickshire half of Tamworth, and who saw the Devereux family of Drayton Bassett as their greatest political rivals and threat. Robert Devereux (1566-1601), 2nd Earl of Essex, had obtained for himself the positions of Lord of the Manor of Lichfield and High Steward of Tamworth, and used the latter position to secure the election of his younger brother, Edward Devereux, and the family tutor, Robert Wright, as MPs for Tamworth.[16] The Devereux family and the Comberfords were already connected through a number of ties of kinship – Essex was a cousin of Margaret Devereux of Lichfield, whose husband, Sir Edward Littleton, was the eldest brother of Walter Littleton of Eccleshall, who married Alice Comberford [see Comberford 4, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-4-wealth-from-wednesbury.html].

Less than a month before the ruling by the Court of Chancery against William Comberford, the parish registers of Saint Editha’s, Tamworth, noted on 30 April 1599 that Robert Devereux (1566-1601), 2nd Earl of Essex, had left from Drayton Bassett for Ireland with a host of men – some of them, perhaps, tenants of the Comberford family in neighbouring parishes – to make war against the Earl of Tyrone.[17] Essex had been Elizabeth’s favourite, but his expedition to Ireland was ill-advised Following a series of political recriminations, he was executed for high treason in 1601. His opponents and detractors, including Humphrey Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, attempted to link Essex and the Devereux family with Roman Catholic conspiracies against Elizabeth, and, at the turn of the century, William Comberford was described as “an ancient Papist” when he was included in a list of Staffordshire recusants sent to Lord Salisbury.[18] In September 1601, following the execution of Essex, William Comberford was accused of conspiracy, along with Essex’s uncle, Edward Devereux of Castle Bromwich, Sir Edward Littleton, who was married to Margaret Devereux, and Robert Wright, who had become MP for Tamworth along with Edward Devereux. They were suspected of being implicated in the plot against Elizabeth, but no evidence against them emerged.[19]

In the summer of 1606, acting on a tip-off, Sir Humphrey Ferrers sent the bailiffs of Tamworth with a number of his servants to break into the locked Moat House, which was then the home of William Comberford’s son, Humphrey Comberford. They were ordered to search all the rooms, including under the beds and behind locked doors and panels, for priests and for any evidence that the Mass was being said in the house. Ferrers gave a dramatic account of the search when he wrote to the Earl of Salisbury on 18 June 1606. But, despite the weight of circumstantial evidence, there was no hard proof that Mass was being celebrated in the Moat House, the search had no serious consequences for William Comberford, and the quarrel between the Ferrers and Comberford families eased with the death of Sir Humphrey Ferrers in 1608,[20] although a dispute with the Ferrers family over fishing rights continued until at least 1613 when William Comberford and Sir John Ferrers went to arbitration.[21]

5.2: Christ Church, Oxford – William Comberford was involved in a dispute with Christ Church over an annuity from the Manors of Wigginton and Comberford (Photograph © Patrick Comerford, 2007)

While William Comberford was involved in this dispute with the Ferrers family over political, family and religious affairs in Tamworth, he also found himself the subject of legal action by the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, who took him to court in Easter 1602, along with Barton Palmer and Thomas Bankes, seeking an annuity of £29 from the Manors of Wigginton and Comberford and lands and tenements in Wigginton, Comberford, Hopwas, Coton and Tamworth. In his defence, William said the manor had been granted in 1534 to “Sir George Nevyll, lord of Begavenny,” and that while Comberford was formerly a manor, he did not know if it remained one.[22]

Meanwhile, the quarrels between the Comberford and Parkes family continued after 1591, when William moved his principal residence from Wednesbury to the Moat House in Lichfield Street, Tamworth. In 1600 and 1601, as William Comberford junior, he was accused of assault and battery upon Richard Willetts, one of Thomas Parkes’s supporters.[23] When Comberford leased the smithy at Wednesbury to his son-in-law, William Coleman of Cannock, in 1606, his “forge with finery and chafery” were described as “decayed.” But it is clear that at this time that Comberford was trying to expand his iron-working business and to establish himself as a supplier of charcoal and as an ironmaster. In 1606, he was planning to build new water mills at or near Wednesbury Bridge.[24]

5.3: The last Comberford mill (in the background) in Wednesbury, before its demolition

In 1608, Hopwas Bridge was described as a private bridge in the repair of Mr William Comberford. In 1609, after disturbances at Wednesbury, where he had a smithy for making iron, William Cumberford of Wednesbury and a number of his neighbours and kinsmen, including Sir Edward Littleton of Merevel and Sir Walter Leveson of Ashmore, were fined in the Star Chambers for misdemeanours in which John Berwick of Shareshull, Staffordshire, was dangerously hurt, and a warrant was issued at Westminster on 15 July ordering Berwick to be paid £100 out of the fines imposed on Comberford and his supporters.[25]

Meanwhile, the last person to be burnt at the stake for heresy in England, Edward Wightman from Burton-upon-Trent, was burnt at the stake in the Market Place in Lichfield on 11 April 1612.[26]

In 1615, William Anson, ancestor of the Earls of Lichfield, who had bought the manor of Bole Hall, Tamworth, from Sir Walter Aston, sold the manor to William Comberford. The Bole Hall estate included the Manor of Perrycrofts on the north side of Tamworth, which was two miles from Comberford and which was leased to James Ramsbotham.[27] William also purchased the Manor of Glascote, on the east side of Bole Hall, two-ninths of the Manor of Dosthill, on the south side of Tamworth, and two-ninths of the Manor of Mancetter, eight miles outside Tamworth, previously the home of the Glover family.[28] William was now about to achieve the place in society he had longed for throughout his life.

When King James I visited Tamworth in 1619, William Comberford owned virtually all of Tamworth and the surrounding area, apart from Tamworth Castle. The king stayed at Tamworth Castle on the night of 18 August 1619 as the guest of Sir Humphrey Ferrers, while his son, the future King Charles I, stayed at the Moat House or “ye mothall” as William Comberford’s guest.[29] Palmer notes that during this visit King James knighted his host, Sir Humphrey Ferrers, “but the same distinction was not extended to Mr William Comberford.” The parish register of Tamworth records that “the kinge lodged at ye castell and ye prince at the mothall. Mr Thomas Ashley and Mr John Sharp, then bailieffes, gave royall entertaynement.”[30]

William Comberford had two rooms on the first floor of the Moat House converted into one to provide the main entertainment for the Prince of Wales.

5.4: The gallery of the Moat House, looking west, with the windows overlooking the River Tame on the south side. (Photograph © Patrick Comerford 2007)

The ceiling on the new extended gallery in Moat House was decorated with new plasterwork painted with rows of heraldic shields outlining genealogical tables that illustrated the royal descent of the Comberford family. The pattern of the shields was as follows:

South side


North side

The first row on the south side of the gallery, which overlooks the River Tame, gave an heraldic representation of the Comberford genealogy from William Comberford MP in the 15th century down to William Comberford’s parents, Thomas and Dorothy (Wyrley) Comberford.[31]

The first row runs as follows:

1, Comberford (gules a talbot passant argent).

2, Comberford impaling Edgbaston (per pale indented or and gules), for the marriage of William Comberford and Anna Edgbaston.

3, Comberford impaling Parles (gules, on a cross engrailed or, five roses of the field), for the marriage of John Comberford and Anne Parles.

4, Comberford (formerly the Parles arms) impaling Fitzherbert (argent a chief vairee or and gules, over all a bend sable), for Thomas Comberford and Dorothy Fitzherbert.

5, Comberford (formerly Parles) impaling Wyrley (or a chevron gules between three lions rampant sable), for Thomas Comberford and Dorothy Wyrley.

This row, therefore, traced the family tree from one William to another William through 200 years.

The centre row shows:

6, The royal arms of France.

7, The royal arms of Scotland.

8, The royal arms of England, which were quartered with those of Ireland.

9, The full Comberford coat-of-arms as used by William Comberford. The helmet, peacock crest and mantling with roses could still be seen in the 1970s, but by then the shield had been painted over and the original pattern could no longer be discerned. But at the end of the 18th century Shaw had noted that the shield originally had six quarters showing: 1, the original Comberford arms with a talbot; 2, Edgbaston; 3, Parles; 4, Beaumont; 5, Leventhorpe; 6, Heronville. This was a curious arrangement, considering the first row of arms on the south side of the gallery indicates that the family was using the Parles coat-of-arms as its own for over a century and that at the end of the 16th century William’s son Humphrey was using it as his own.

The third row of arms on the north side of the long room was an heraldic and genealogical chart showing the descent of Wednesbury Manor, by then the family’s principal holding, to William Comberford:

10, Leventhorpe (argent, a bend compony gules and sable, cotised of the last, in dexter chief a mullet or).

11, Leventhorpe impaling Heronville (sable, two lions passant reguardant argent, crowned or), representing the marriage of William Leventhorpe and Joan, daughter and heiress of Henry Heronville of Wednesbury (died 1406), who had inherited the Wednesbury estate through his descent from the Tynmore family, originally from Freeford, near Lichfield.

12, Beaumont (azure semee-de-lis, a lion rampant or), impaling Leventhorpe, for the marriage of William Leventhorpe’s daughter, Joan, and Sir Henry Beaumont, son of Henry, 5th Lord Beaumont (died 1413), and a descendant of John de Brienne, the last Crusader King of Jerusalem, and of the royal houses of France, England and Scotland.

13, This was impossible to make out by the 1970s or again in 2007 and 2008, but probably illustrated Beaumont impaling Sutton (or, a lion rampant vert, double queued), for the marriage of Sir Henry Beaumont’s son, another Sir Henry Beaumont, and Eleanor Sutton, daughter of John Sutton, Lord Dudley, grandparents of Dorothy Beaumont who married Humphrey Comberford.

14, Comberford impaling Beaumont, for the marriage of Humphrey Comberford and Dorothy Beaumont.

The set of eight arms at the end of the gallery also emphasised William Comberford family’s royal connections:

A, The full Beaumont coat-of-arms, with helmet, a crest displaying an elephant and castle, and a mantling charged with fleur-de-lis.

B, Beaumont impaling Cumming (azure, three garbs or) for the marriage of Henry Beaumont, 1st Lord Beaumont (died 1342) and Lady Alice Cumming, daughter of Henry Comyn, Earl of Buchan – through this marriage Henry Beaumont became King of the Isle of Man for life, Constable of Scotland, and Lord of the Manor of Whitwicke in Leicestershire.

C, Beaumont impaling Scotland, emphasising the family’s connections with the visiting prince’s Scottish birth and ancestry.

D, Cumming impaling Scotland for the marriage of Lady Alice Cumming’s grandfather and Lady Elizabeth Quincy, a descendant of Saint David, King of Scotland (1124-1153), who built Dumferline, where Charles I was born.

E, Beaumont impaling de Vere (quarterly gules and or, in the first quarter a mullet argent), for the marriage of Henry Beaumont, 3rd Lord Beaumont (died 1368) and Lady Margaret de Vere, daughter of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

F, Beaumont impaling Everingham (gules, a cross moline or), for the marriage of John, 4th Lord Beaumont (died 1396) and Katherine, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Everingham of Laxton.

G, Beaumont impaling the differenced arms of England, for the marriage of John, 2nd Lord Beaumont, and Lady Alianore Plantagenet, daughter of Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster and great-granddaughter of King Henry III.

H, A more complete representation of the arms on No 14, Comberford impaling Beaumont, with the peacock’s head crest, helmet and mantling of gold and red, charged with complementary roses of red and gold.

In the 18th century, the great room was divided in two, one 36 feet long and 18 feet wide, the other 34 feet long and 18 feet wide and used as a bedroom.[32] However, the rooms were later reunited, and the ceiling was restored to its original condition.

By 1620, William Comberford appears to have come to terms with Tamworth’s borough council. That year he built a new brick wall to divide his estate, “Moate Croft,” from Tamworth Green, and enclosing an area of six acres. To ensure there were no further conflicts with the town authorities in Tamworth, William sent to Thomas Ashley, then the bailiff of Tamworth, asking him to bring some of his neighbours to see that the ditch had been dug just inside his own boundaries. The bailiff, the town clerk and under steward, and three other members of the town council came along and approved the new boundary wall.[33]

On 7 November 1622, William Comberford was appointed High Sheriff of Staffordshire; he had been preceded in that office by Ralph Sneyd and was succeeded by his father-in-law and neighbour, William Skeffington.[34] In 1623, he donated the sixth of the eight musical bells in Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury, which is inscribed: “William Comberford, Lord of Wedgbury [sic], gave this bell, 1623.” On the seventh is, “Sancta Bartholomew, ora pro nobis,” and on the tenor is inscribed: “I will sound and resound to thee, O Lord, to call thy people to hear thy word.”[35]

William Comberford made his will on 22 June 1625 and died later that year.[36] In his will, he asked to be buried in the north end of the parish church of Tamworth, where he said his father and mother were buried. He left £20 for the poor of Wednesbury and £20 for the poor of Tamworth, the income from both sums to be used to buy bread on Good Friday.[37]

A tablet in Saint Bartholomew’s Church, recording the charities of Wednesbury Parish, noted: “William Comberford, esq and lord of this manor, gave the use of twenty pounds by will, to be bestowed for every Good Friday on the poor, in bread, anno 1626.”[38]

5.5: Saint Michael’s Church on Greenhill in Lichfield … the Skeffington family were parishioners in the 16th and 17th centuries (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

William Comberford was twice married, and he had two large families who were virtually a generation apart in age. He was aged about 16 when he married his first wife Mary, daughter of his father’s neighbour, William Skeffington of Fisherwick, Staffordshire, and his wife Isa or Joanna, daughter of James Leveson of Lilleshall, Shropshire.[39] Fisherwick was in Saint Michael’s Parish, Lichfield, and many members of the Skeffington family of Fisherwick, including Mary’s parents, her brothers and her nephew, are buried in Saint Michael’s Church, the same church where the parents of Samuel Johnson are buried.[40]

5.6: A lease dated 5 April 1599 and signed by three of William Comberford’s sons, Thomas, John and William Comberford, involving Dean’s Wood in Hopwas Hay and other lands on the Lichfield to Tamworth road (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)

William and Mary Comberford had eight sons and five daughters, many of whom died at birth or in infancy:

1, Humphrey Comberford, who died in his father’s life-time, and of whom after his half-brother William.[41]
2, Thomas Comberford,[42] the second son, and living on 5 April 1599, when Thomas Comberford and his brothers John and William leased lands, including Dean’s Wood in Hopwas Hay and other lands on the Lichfield to Tamworth road, assigned to them in 1588 by William Staunford of Packington, to a number of their kinsmen and neighbours: Walter Heveningham of Pipe Hall, James and William Skeffington of Fisherwick, Roger Fowke of Brewood, John Chetwynd and Edward Staunford.[43] He may be the same Thomas Comberford who had a lease of premises in Burton-upon-Trent for five years from 10 December 1605.[44]
3, John Comberford,[45] baptised in Wednesbury Parish in 1587, although he is described as the third son in the lease he signed with his brothers, Thomas and William, in 1599.[46]
4, William Comberford,[47] of Tamworth, baptised in Tamworth on 10 March 1576/1577,[48] fourth son, according to the lease signed with his brothers, Thomas and John, in 1599. The seals of Thomas and John are now missing from this document, but the seal of William shows a talbot passant (described in the catalogue of the Lichfield Record Office as “a horse running to the left”), an early example of the Comberford coat-of-arms.[49]
5, Francis Comberford,[50] baptised in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth as “Francys,” son of “Willm. Comberford, Esqyre,” on 6 May 1578.[51] He probably died young, although he is sometimes confused with his distant cousin, Francis Comberford of Bradley, the Quaker Parliamentarian. [see Comberford 7, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comerford-7-quaker-comberfords-of.html].[52]
6, Richard Comberford, who died unmarried in 1618.[53]
7, John Comberford (II).[54]
8, Henry Comberford (1588-ca 1600/1616),[55] born in 1588 and baptised in Wednesbury parish. He matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 29 February 1600 at the age of 12.[56] He died young, as his father had another son also named Henry who was born in 1616 [see below].
9, Agnes, baptised in Wednesbury parish in 1584. [57]
10, Anne.[58] She was dead by the time Robert Comberford certified the Comberford pedigree in Lichfield in 1663, and must have been dead at least some time after her father’s second marriage,[59] when his children included another daughter named Anne, born in 1609.[60]
11, Ales (Alice) (1575- ), who was baptised in Tamworth on 31 October 1575.[61]
12, Dorothy, who married before 1605 Walter Coleman of Cannock, a partner in the Comberford family’s iron ore and mining interests.[62] They had two sons and two daughters:
1a, John Coleman.
2a, Walter Coleman.
3a, Dorothy, who married Thomas Chetwynd (died 1633) of Rugeley, ancestor of the Chetwynd baronets. She died in 1633.[63]
4a, …, a daughter, who was professed in 1618 in the convent of Augustinian Canonesses in Louvain, where she was joined by three members of the Giffard family.[64]
13, Johanna (or Mary), who married Thomas Leveson of Willenhall,[65] a younger son of Thomas Leveson, Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1591. Although they were one of the leading Catholic families of Staffordshire, the Levesons were among the chief beneficiaries of the suppression of the chantry chapels in the Diocese of Lichfield in 1547.[66] Thomas Leveson died in 1643. Along with three other children who died unmarried (Francis, Thomas, and Sibill), Thomas and Margaret were the parents of a son and two daughters:[67]
1a, Anne (ca 1607-1678). Born ca 1607, she joined the Carmelites at Antwerp, where she was professed in 1627 at the age of 20 as Sister Anne of Saint Teresa. As Mother Anne, she was involved in the foundation of two houses at Dusseldorf (1649) and Munsterfeld (1659), and was Prioress of Munsterfeld and then of Dusseldorf until her death in 1678.[68]
2a, John Leveson (1613-post 1663) of Willenhall, who married Isabel Langtre of Langtre. He was aged 50 in 1663. They had five sons:[69]
●● 1b, Thomas Leveson (1641-post 1663) of Willenhall.
●● 2b, Edward Leveson.
●● 3b, Francis Leveson.
●● 4b, Richard Leveson.
●● 5b, Walter Leveson (died young).
●● 6b, John Leveson (died young).
3a, Elizabeth (ca 1617/1618-1652), born ca 1617/1618, who received the Carmelite habit at Antwerp as Sister Eugenia of Jesus. She had to leave the convent due to poor health, but returned to Antwerp in 1640, and received a second clothing the following year. She was one of 12 nuns chosen as founders of a new Carmelite foundation at Lierre in 1649. She died in 1652, “noted for her humility, courage, obedience and devotion to the Holy Souls.”[70]

Mary Comberford was buried in Wednesbury parish on 18 March 1597. [71] After Mary’s death, the widowed William Comberford married as his second wife the widowed Anne Spencer (nee Watson).[72] Anne was named with William in a contract with Richard Callindgwood in 1618 involving two parcels of land in Spittlefield, Tamworth, and she was still living when William made his will in 1625.[73]

William Comberford and Anne had four sons and five daughters:

14, William Comberford (William II) (ca 1610?-1656),[74] who is dealt with below before returning to the senior line of the family.
15, Elizabeth (1611-ca 1660/1663?).[75] She was baptised in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, on 14 July 1611.[76] She married in Tamworth parish on 12 January 1635/36 George Hawe of Cladmore, near Walsall, and of the Inner Temple, London, who died on 9 March 1660.[77] The representation of this line of the Comberford family eventually passed to the children of George Hawe and Elizabeth Comberford and their descendants. According to the pedigree certified by John Hawe at Lichfield on 30 March 1663, Elizabeth and George Hawe had one son and three daughters:[78]
1a, George Hawe, born ca 1643-1644. He was a student at the Middle Temple and aged 19 in 1663.[79] He married Catherine, daughter of John Persehouse, and they had a son and two daughters:[80]
●● 1b, Elizabeth, who died in 1676.
●● 2b, John Hawe, who was baptised in Walsall in 1677. He married Henrietta, daughter of Jonas Grosvenor, in Walsall in 1696.[81] Along with two daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth (who married Richard Scott), they had an only son:
●●● 1c, John Hawe, an attorney, who married Mary Craddock. John and Mary had two sons, both named John Hawe, who died in infancy, and an only daughter:
●●●● 1d, Mary (ca 1773-1855), who married Thomas Parker of Park Hall, Sheriff of Staffordshire (died 1787). Mary and Thomas had three sons (Thomas Hawe-Parker, Robert Hawe-Parker and Thomas Hawe-Parker) and three daughters (Maria, Harriet and Eliza) who died young and an only surviving daughter:[82]
●●●●● 1e, Mary Hawe-Parker, who married in 1810 Edward Jervis (1767-1859), 2nd Viscount St Vincent.[83]
2a, Mary, who married William Smallwood, of Delves, Staffordshire.[84]
3a, Anne, who married John Sansome of Walsall.[85]
4a, Elizabeth, who married Walter Richards of Walsall in 1676.[86]
16, Edward Comberford, baptised in Wednesbury parish on 3 September 1612. [87] He probably died in infancy.
17, Humphrey Comberford (ca 1613-post 1632). He was born ca 1613, probably at the Moat House, Tamworth, three years after the death of his half-brother with the same name. He is named in his father’s will in 1625 as the son of William and his wife Anne.[88] He was admitted as fellow commoner to Clare College, Cambridge, on 8 November 1632, and to the Inner Temple that year also. He matriculated at Clare College the following year, but there is no record of his graduation or any further career.[89] He may have been dead by 1663, for he is not named in the pedigree certified by Robert Comberford that year in Lichfield.[90]
18, Dorothy (II) (1614-post 1639 or 1656).[91] She was baptised in Saint Editha’s, Tamworth, on 9 January 1613/1614.[92] Ede suggests that she married … Gilpin of Wednesbury. Her brother, Colonel William Comberford, had borrowed £1,000 from Gilpin using Wednesbury Manor as security, and £700 of that debt was still outstanding and owing to Dorothy Gilpin after William’s death in 1656. However, the parish records of Saint Michael and All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffordshire (south-west of Burton-on-Trent), show she married John Balcanquall on 18 June 1639. His father, the Revd Canon John Balcanquall, MA (Edinburgh, 1611, Oxford, 1613)), BD (Oxford, 1619), was Rector of Tattenhill (1618), a canon of Rochester (1628), and Vicar of Boxley, Kent (1639).[93]
Dorothy and John Balcanquall were the parents of two daughters and a son:
● 1a, Dorothy Balcanquall, baptised Saint Michael and All Angels, Tatenhill, 15 April 1640.
● 2a, John Balcanquall, born 13 April 1643, baptised Saint Michael and All Angels, Tatenhill, 30 April 1643.
● 3a, Margaret Balcanquall (1644-1644), baptised Saint Michael and All Angels, Tatenhill, 29 June 1644, died 1 October 1644.
19, Anne (II) (1609-post 1638).[94] She was baptised in Wednesbury on 8 April 1609. She is named in her father’s will in 1625 as the daughter of William and his second wife Anne.[95] In 1634, she married Benjamin Rugeley, a younger brother of Colonel Simon Rugeley, an important leader of the Parliamentarians during the Civil War.[96] Benjamin Rugeley of Dunstall in Tatenhill (ca 1610- ), between Lichfield and Barton-under-Needwood, was a younger son of Richard Rugeley (1564-1623) of Shenstone and his wife Mary Rugeley, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Rugeley of Hawkesyard in Armitage (1539-1623). The Rugeley family was seated at Rugeley, Longdon, Shenstone and Hawksyard House (later Spode House) in Armitage, near Rugeley in Staffordshire. Benjamin’s father, Richard Rugeley, died in 1623 and was buried in Mavesyn Ridware. Benjamin’s eldest brother, Colonel Simon Rugeley of Shenstone and Tatenhill (1598-1666), was a member of the parliamentary committee at Stafford; he inherited Hawksyard but sold it to Sir Richard Skeffington. Their sister Jane married William Littleton of Pillaton Hall, Penkridge (1578-1623), while another sister Mabel married Thomas Colman of London.[97] Anne Comberford and Benjamin Rugeley had two sons:
1a, Richard Rugeley, baptised on 10 February 1635/1636 in Tatenhill.[98]
2a, William Rugeley (1637-1638). He was baptised on 19 October 1637 in Tatenhill. He died in infancy and was buried on 31 January 1637/1638 in Tatenhill.[99]
20, Henry Comberford, baptised in Wednesbury Parish on 17 August 1616.[100]

William’s second wife, Anne (formerly Spencer, nee Watson) died within a year of her husband’s death, in 1626, seised of the manor of Bolehall, of which the manor-house was then in the tenure of James Ramsbotham, in 1626, although the administration of her goods is dated 1631/1632.[101]

William Comberford had been predeceased by his eldest son, Humphrey Comberford, and tracing the descent of his estates and his family after his death is complicated by a number of factors: some of the estates passed to William Comberford, the eldest son of William by his second marriage, while other parts of the estates were inherited by the elder William’s grandson, also William Comerford;[102] William the uncle was considerably younger than his nephew William, the heir-at-law; both the nephew and his younger uncle were both involved as royalists in the English civil war; and both Williams have been confused by successive local historians and genealogists.

As Ede points out, the “story of Wednesbury manor between the deaths of William Comberford senior in 1625 and its acquisition, between 1657 and 1663, by the Sheldon family, is confused and in part uncertain.”[103] Disentangling the stories of William the uncle and William the nephew is possible by returning to their wills and the administration of their estates, and has been considerably helped by Ede’s efforts to trace the descent of the Comberford estate in Wednesbury.[104]

The eldest son of William Comberford and his second wife Anne was:

(Colonel) WILLIAM COMBERFORD, MA (‘William the Uncle’ or William II) (ca 1610?-1656).[105] He is named in his father’s will in 1625 as the son of William and his wife Anne.[106] In 1634, a list of trained horse taken at Stafford on 5 June and at Lichfield on 2 October, William Comberford of Tamworth and his nephew William Comberford of Comberford were liable for one cuirassier each.[107]

In 1636, William Comberford made a sublease for 16 years to Sir John Curzon of all his Staffordshire lands by way of a mortgage of £1,000. The fine levied in 1636 on the occasion of this sublease specifically mentions the manors of Wednesbury, Wigginton and Comberford.[108] Adams suggests the loan was soon repaid,[109] although this is not borne out in Ede’s study of Wednesbury.[110]

In 1639, as William Comberford of the Moat Hall, he received a faculty for a seat in Saint Editha’s Parish Church in Tamworth.[111] However, between 1639 and 1642, he was involved in an unsuccessful legal claim to the patronage of Saint Editha’s and the college house, which he had bought from Thomas Gore in 1639. Gore, in turn, had received the right of patronage of the Collegiate and Parish Church of Saint Editha in Tamworth and the college house from Katherine, Duchess of Lennox, in 1630. The college house was the residence for the priests of the collegiate church. However, William lost this rights three years later in 1642.[112]

Shortly before the outbreak of the civil war, William Comberford headed the list of 87 inhabitants of Tamworth who signed a petition asking for a charter for the town.[113] Ede, Adams, Stone and Swift identify this William Comberford as the William Comberford who was a royalist colonel and High Sheriff of Staffordshire during the English civil war.[114]

William Comberford, who was a suspected “church papist,” became a colonel on the royalist side, and in 1642 he was appointed the last royalist High Sheriff of Staffordshire, preceded by Sir Edward Moseley and succeeded by the Parliamentarian Colonel Simon Rugeley.[115] The Comberford family raised £10,000 for Charles I, the former royal guest at the Moat House. According to the local historian, William Hackwood, Comberford probably sold Wednesbury Manor in 1642 to raise money for the Royalist cause,[116] although it is more likely that he raised a mortgage on the estate at that time.[117]

5.7: The ancient High House in Greengate Street, William Comberford’s headquarters in Stafford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Comberford first had his royalist headquarters at the ancient High House on Greengate Street, Stafford. This had been the home of the Sneyd family and is reputedly the largest timber-framed town house in England. Charles I stayed there in September 1642 on his way through Staffordshire. The king was accompanied by his nephew, Prince Rupert, who is said to have taken shots at the weathercock on Saint Mary’s Tower from the garden of the house.[118]

By then, Oxford was the royalist headquarters, with King Charles I living at Christ Church, and on 1 November 1642 William Comberford received the degree MA from Oxford University, along with Sir William Dugdale.[119]

5.8: Charles I ... a copy of the triptych by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), painted in 1635-1636, this copy is in the ancient high House in Stafford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

As the dividing lines in the looking civil war became more clearly defined, Staffordshire had attempted to maintain neutrality. However, by the end of 1642, people in the county were steadily drawn into the funding networks. Later in November, Charles I ordered Hastings and Comberford, as High Sheriff of Staffordshire, to take control of Staffordshire. The king appointed Comberford as Governor of Stafford and as a colonel of a regiment of horse. He ordered Comberford as sheriff and Sir Francis Wortley to garrison Stafford, while Sir Thomas Leveson of Wolverhampton was to garrison Wolverhampton and Dudley Castle. At a session of the peace held in Stafford on 15 November, the High Sheriff, William Comberford, the justices of the peace, and the grand jury issued a declaration decrying “the manie outrages, riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies that have been made and committed in divers parts of this county by certain persons in arrays and warlike manner,” to “the great fear of all the inhabitants in general.” Comberford sent the petty constables to visit the “commissioners” at Lichfield on 29 November 1642, within days of the attempt by the Justices of the Peace to declare neutrality.[120]

In January and February 1643, as Governor of Stafford, William Comberford held Stafford for the king and assembled the freeholders in Stafford for the defence of the county against the parliamentarian advances led by Sir William Brereton, who was returning to Cheshire from London. On 15 January 1643, Charles I wrote from Oxford to his commander in Worcester urging him to assist Comberford: “Affairs in Worcestershire being in a good condition you are to repair to your regiment to help the Sheriff of Staffordshire in reducing the rebels there and in raising forces; and afterwards to join with Colonel Hastings or Sir John Harpur in suppressing the rebels in Derbyshire.”[121]

By the end of January, Comberford and Wortley were established in a fortified Stafford, holding the county town for the king as Comberford tried to raise horse with money lent by the townspeople. But he faced strong opposition from local forces who demanded Comberford replace the regular soldiers with a small garrison of local men. When this demand was rejected, Stafford was assaulted and Comberford was prevented from bringing in fresh supplies. Comberford sought support from Colonel Henry Hastings, who had fought at the Battle of Edgehill. [122]

On 2 February 1643, he wrote to his kinsman Ralph Weston of Rugeley, stating: “I am much engaged for your last favours, and am now forced to desire you to bring with all speed that may be all the forces you can possibly raise, for we have certain intelligence that that there will be great force against Stafford in the morning. Postscript – I pray you send with all speed to Lichfield that they will send all the muskets they can, or fowling pieces.”.[123]

As Sheriff of Staffordshire, Comberford called the commissioners to Stafford again in February 1643.[124] Although Stafford held out against the Parliamentarians, despite an assault “by a great rabble of all sorts of people” and an attack by Sir John Gell, it was eventually taken by stealth. By then, however, Comberford had left Stafford to place garrisons in Tutbury Castle, 14 miles from Comberford, and in Eccleshall Castle, the official residence of the Bishop of Lichfield. On the outbreak of the civil war, Bishop Robert Wright had retired to Eccleshall Castle. He died there of natural causes while the castle was under siege by Sir William Brereton, but it was some time before the bishop’s body could be removed for burial. Meanwhile, Lichfield’s position as a focus of supply routes gave it an important strategic significance, and both sides were anxious to control the city. Lichfield was divided, with the cathedral authorities and a certain following supporting the king, while the residents of Lichfield generally sided with the parliament, and this led to the fortification of the Cathedral Close in 1643.[125]

5.9: The Cathedral Close in Lichfield today: Colonel William Comberford took part in the siege of Lichfield on 2-5 March 1643 and returned to Lichfield in June 1643 at the height of the English civil war (Photograph © Patrick Comerford, 2011)

William Comberford took part in the first of the three sieges of Lichfield, between 2 and 5 March 1643, and he would return to Lichfield again in June 1643 following the fall of Tamworth to the parliamentarian forces.[126]

5.10: An inscription in Dam Street, Lichfield, marking the spot from which John ‘Dumb’ Dyott is said to have shot Sir John Gell (Photograph © Patrick Comerford, 2007)

The assault on Lichfield in March 1643 was led by Richard Greville, 2nd Lord Brooke, and Sir John Gell. Brooke was notorious for his hostility to the church. As he was leaning out the window of a house in Dam Street, he was hit by a deflected bullet in a shot from the central tower of Lichfield Cathedral fired by a sniper, John “Dumb” Dyott, who was a godson of William Comberford’s nephew, William Comberford (see below). The incident took place on 2 March, Saint Chad’s Day, and because of this coincidence the accidental killing of Brooke was quickly hailed as a miracle by the royalists under siege in the Cathedral Close.[127]

Three days later, however, Lichfield was captured by the parliamentary forces on Sunday 5 March 1643.[128] During the subsequent fighting in Lichfield, two people from Comberford died as they fought on the Parliamentarian side: Richard Vaughton of Comberford was killed as he was engaged in building a trench on the west side of Lichfield, outside the Cathedral Close, and was buried in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, on 21 March 1643,[129] and Thomas Riccard of Comberford was slain in the Cathedral Close.[130] This Richard Vaughton appears to have been an uncle of Anne Vaughton of Tamworth, the mother of Thomas Guy, the founder of Guy’s Hospital, London.

William Comberford then took a royalist force to garrison Tamworth Castle for the crown. As High Sheriff of Staffordshire, he issued a warrant for seizing the estate of the Lord General, the Parliamentarian commander and his neighbour, Robert Devereux of Drayton Bassett, 3rd Earl of Essex. The House of Commons moved on 4 April 1643 to compensate Essex with the estate of the royalist Arthur, Lord Capell, who was later beheaded, and from delinquent estates.[131]

By May 1643, Comberford had imposed a provisional levy of £2,000, with collectors appointed for each of the hundreds of Staffordshire.[132]

The House of Lords concurred with the Commons on 26 May, saying Essex had been “plundered, robbed, and spoiled, of his Goods and Estate, amounting to a great Value, by divers Traitors and Rebels” under a warrant issued by “William Comberford, the pretended High Sheriff of the County of Stafford.”[133]

During the siege of Tamworth in June 1643, Comberford and his supporters sought refuge with the Ferrers family in Tamworth Castle. The siege of Tamworth Castle lasted only two days, and a parliamentary detachment under the command of Colonel William Purefoy (see above) captured the castle. According to the local historian, the late Mabel Swift, although many of the garrison at Tamworth Castle were taken prisoners, Comberford escaped to Lichfield, where once again he joined the royalist army defending the cathedral city. In his absence, the Comberford home at the Moat House was ransacked by the Cromwellian forces. They mutilated the Comberford monument in Saint Editha’s Church, defaced the Comberford Chapel, and, according to Swift, also sacked Comberford Hall. By December 1644, the Parliamentary Committee was administering most of Staffordshire. Comberford was fined £5 that month and had a fine black horse taken from him. [134] .

Royalists who found themselves on the losing side in the civil war were designated “delinquents” by their victorious opponents, and the estates of the landed gentry were sequestrated. When the wars were over, those who faced losing their estates were allowed to them on paying a fine equivalent to their value. This process was known as compounding for delinquency.[135] The composition papers for Colonel Comberford show that he was in possession of various freehold properties and a number of leaseholds. However, the Manor of Wednesbury is not among those properties.[136] The Composition Papers go on to list the debts he still owed, including 23 years in arrears of chief rent rents owing to his nephew, William Comberford, the heir-at-law to the Comberford estates, an outstanding bond of £1,000, owed to a certain Gilpin, deceased, “the purchaser of the compounder’s lands in Wednesbury,” and a debt of £700 owing to Colonel Comberford’s sister, Dorothy, who, according to Ede, was probably Gilpin’s widow.[137]

By 1649, William Comberford was in a position to claim back his lands, but he was heavily in debt. In 1650, he sold the manors of Bolehall and Perrycrofts to Francis Curzon, paying off debts that had been raised using lands in Tamworth, Coton, Hopwas, Comberford and Wiggington and the Manor of Bolehall as security. (After this, the descent of the Manor of Bolehall is obscure. In 1749, Samuel Hill of Shenstone Park, Staffordshire, who had also acquired Comberford Hall, was apparently lord of the manor. By 1782, Bolehall had been acquired by George Townshend, Viscount (later Marquess) Townshend, who also acquired the Moat House, Tamworth). [see Comberford 9, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-9-moat-house-tamworth.html].)[138]

Meanwhile, the conflicts over the patronage of Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, appear to have continued after the Civil War, and in 1650, Leicester Barbour sought the tithes for the Prebend of Cotton alias Coton from William Comberford, son of William Comberford of the “Motthouse” in Tamworth.[139]

William Comberford was still living at the Moat House in Tamworth on 11 August 1654, when – according to the Staffordshire historian, Dr Robert Plot – a turbot was taken from the Trent at Fazeley Bridge, outside Tamworth, by Goodyear Holt as he was repairing the bridge; Holt presented the turbot to “Colonell Comberford, who caused it to be drawn to the life, and placed it in his Hall, where it still hangs [1686] …”[140]

5.11: Saint Editha’s Church Tamworth: William Comerford ‘uncle’ and William Comberford ‘nephew’ both asked to be buried in the Comberford Chapel here in the 1650s (Photograph © Patrick Comerford, 2007)

William Comberford made his will in 1656, and asked to be buried with his parents in the Comberford Chapel in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth.[141] He died soon after making his will, an inventory of all his fittings and furniture in the Moat House, amounting to £164.11.4, was made on 4 August 1656,[142] and his will was proved on 1 October 1656.[143]

It is clear from the inventory of his possessions in 1656 in the Lichfield Record Office that William Comberford was not well off. Adams says his fittings and furniture, valued at £162.11.4, were “a small amount for a gentleman of his standing.”[144]

In his will, William Comberford left lands at Drayton and Bardsley. He also left a book of pedigrees of the Nevilles, Earls of Warwick, to his friend, Frances, Marchioness of Hertford, later the Duchess of Somerset: “The book of pedigrees of the Earles of Warwick, I give and devise to the Right Honorable and trulie virtuous ladie, the Marchioness of Hertford, for whose sake … I bought the same.”[145] This “truly virtuous lady” was the former Lady Frances Devereux, a sister and co-heir of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, and first daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Lord of the Manor of Lichfield. Her father-law was a first cousin of Edward VI; her husband, William Seymour (1587-1660), Duke of Somerset, was the Recorder of Lichfield, and they were married at Drayton Bassett, near Tamworth, in 1617. As Dowager Duchess of Somerset, she was also the tenant of properties in Comberford, Wigginton and Tamworth between 1662 and 1674. When she died on 24 April 1674, she left her collection of 1,000 books to Lichfield Cathedral.[146]

William Comberford of the Moat House married his distant cousin Anne, daughter of the Revd Dr Richard Langham, DD (ca 1578-ca 1647), Rector of Deane, Northamptonshire, and Elston and Bottesford or Botsford, Leicestershire.[147]Anne Cumberford, widow,” of Comberford, died around 1669, according to the registered copy of her will,[148] and the probate in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury dated 3 May 1670.[149]

William and Anne had an only daughter:

1, Anne, who is named in her father’s will.[150] She died unmarried.[151]

Meanwhile, the eldest son of William Comberford and his first wife, Mary Skeffington, was:

5.12: Mancetter Manor ... one of the residences of Humphrey Comberford in 1599

HUMPHREY COMBERFORD (ca 1568-1609). He was born ca 1568. He moved into Comberford Hall in 1591. He was living there in August 1592 when he was jailed for recusancy.[152] At the same time, his brother-in-law, Edward Stanford, was put in the custody of the Dean of Lichfield.[153] In 1599, Humphrey was living at both Comberford Hall and Mancetter Manor in the parish of Kingsbury, seven miles south of Comberford and four miles south of Tamworth.[154]

In 1606, there was a plague in Tamworth from October to December.[155] Earlier that year, Humphrey Comberford was accused of harbouring priests at the Moat House in Tamworth in 1606, when he was described as “a notorious recusant.”[156] Sir Humphrey Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, who had been knighted that year, suspected Humphrey Comberford and his family of holding covert Masses in the Moat House, and ordered the bailiffs of Tamworth to gather a party to search the Moat House. Three men were found hiding in the house and, with the search party also finding a number of religious tracts, they were arrested on suspicion of being seminarians. Ferrers gave a dramatic account of the search when he wrote to the Earl of Salisbury on 18 June 1606:

“On the 17th I received notice of some suspected seminarians to have repaired to the house of Humphrey Comberford of Tamworth, Staffordshire, a notorious recusant. I ordered my servants to assist the bailiff and other officers for the search of the house, where, notwithstanding the protestations of him and his wife, they found three very suspicious persons, being strangers, whereof two lay hid in a very secret place. I have ordered the examinations of the said persons and of Comberford together with their bodies, to be sent to the Council. Although they have confessed nothing material the presumptions against them are very great, as having all the doors of the house made fast, and divers other recusants of note being there also. There were found under a bed a surplice, a vestment, and divers Popish books. At their apprehension Comberford said speeches in the hearing of Christopher Ensor and John Vale, two of my servants, and others, that they had rather left all the goods h had than that they should have been taken. After their apprehension, one of them, naming himself James Whitall, said to Robert Lisat, another servant, that that would be the worst day’s work Lisat made in his life and that he would repeat the same. Tamworth, 18 June 1606.”[157]

Despite the weight of circumstantial evidence, there was no convincing proof that Mass was being celebrated in the Moat House.[158] However, in 1607, the “benefit of his recusancy” was granted to Archibald Napier.[159]

5.13: In the Elizabethan period, the Comberfords were Catholics and it was whispered that the oak panelling inside the house hid more than one “priest’s hole” (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2007)

A “priests’ hole”, said to have been used by the Jesuits harboured in the Moat House by Humphrey Comberford, led to the River Tame, and could still be seen in the 1970s.[160] The river may have provided safe routes down to Wednesbury Manor or north to the homes of other Catholics among the Staffordshire gentry.

On 30 January 1591, Humphrey Comberford married his first cousin once removed Mary, a daughter of Sir Robert Stanford, “perhaps a church papist,” of Perry Hall, Handsworth, Staffordshire, and MP with Sir Edward Littleton of Pillaton for Staffordshire in 1604.[161]

Mary and Humphrey Comberford were the parents of five sons and four daughters:

1, William Comberford (ca 1592-1653), son and heir, born ca 1592, aged 22 years in 1614,[162] and of whom next.
2, Robert Comberford,[163] (ca 1594-1671), of whom after his brother William, in Chapter 6 [see Comberford 6, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-6-family-brought-low.html].
3, Thomas Comberford,[164] who died young.
4, John Comberford (ca 1597-ca 1666),[165] of Handsworth, Staffordshire. Ede says he was aged about 28 when his grandfather William Comberford died in 1625.[166] He married Mary, a daughter of Edward Singleton of Broughton Tower, Lancashire.[167] They had no children. He was named by his brother William as one of the executors of his will.[168] He inherited Wednesbury after the death of William Comberford in 1653 and after settling “all my lands in Wednesbury” on trustees, he appears to have paid off all the outstanding debts on estate and sold it around 1656 to his distant cousin, John Shelton of West Bromwich.[169] John Comberford’s will is dated 1657, but he was still living in 1664, when he was a party to leasing Comberford and Wigginton Manor (see below). He died within the following two years, and his will was proved in 1666.[170]
5, Humphrey Comberford, who died at Comberford and was buried at Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth on 6 April 1610.[171]
6, Anne.[172] She is named Anne in the will of her brother William Comberford,[173] and Mary in the will of her brother Robert Comberford.[174]
7, Agatha.[175] She is named in the wills of her brothers William Comberford and Robert Comberford.[176]
8, Elizabeth,[177] of Handsworth, Staffordshire. She is named in the wills of her brothers William Comberford and Robert Comberford and she was one of Robert Comberford’s executors.[178] Her will, dated 6 September 1673, was proved on 17 August 1677.[179]
9, Hesther or Esther,[180] baptised in Tamworth on 9 May 1609.[181] She is named in the wills of her brothers William Comberford and Robert Comberford.[182]

Humphrey Comberford died at Comberford during his father’s lifetime, and he was buried in Saint Editha’s, Tamworth, on 6 August 1609.[183]

The eldest son of Humphrey Comberford and his wife Mary Stanford was:

WILLIAM COMBERFORD (William ‘the nephew’ or William III) (ca 1592-1653). He was born ca 1592, was 17 at the time of his father’s death in 1610, was 19 when he inherited Comberford Hall from his grandfather in 1611,[184] was aged 22 in 1614,[185] and was 32 when his grandfather William Comberford died in 1625.[186] At the Visitations of Warwickshire he was described as “de Cumberford et Kingsberrow” or Kingsbury, Warwickshire, a reference to his interest in one-ninth of the manor of Mancetter within the Parish of Kingsbury.[187]

When his grandfather, William Comberford, died in 1625, William Comberford was his heir at law and aged 32.[188] William succeeded to the Comberford family estates, but did not take possession of them as the bulk of the estates, including the Moat House in Lichfield Street, Tamworth, and the Manor of Wednesbury, had been leased in trust by his grandfather William Comberford to his uncle William Comberford (see above). William was entitled only to the reserved rents on the Comberford estates, but he appears never to have received even these from his uncle, for by 1648 these were in arrears by 23 years.[189]

Meanwhile, the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, continued their legal actions seeking the disputed rent or annuity of £29 from the Manors of Wigginton and Comberford and lands and tenements in Wigginton, Comberford, Hopwas, Coton and Tamworth, taking William Comberford to court in 1629.[190] In June 1632, Henry Rich, Earl of Holland (1590-1649), a nephew of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and Sir William Brookes took legal action against Thomas Comberford and Thomas Leake seeking the recovery of the manors of Haywood, Whittington, Farewell and Chorley,[191] although the use of the name Thomas may be an error and refer to William Comberford.

In 1634, a list of trained horse taken at Stafford on 5 June and at Lichfield on 2 October shows William Comberford of Comberford and his uncle William Comberford of Tamworth as liable for one cuirassier on each occasion.[192]

5.14: Sir John Dyott of Lichfield – one of the trustees of the Comberford estates in the 17th century

On 16 May 1641, William Comberford placed all his interests in the Comberford estates into a trust formed by three trustees, Sir Richard Dyott of Lichfield, John Birch of Cannock and Thomas Wollaston.[193] This appears to have been an effort to secure the ownership of the estates against any loans and mortgages taken out by his nephew William Comberford, to ensure that Comberford Hall, then occupied by his kinsman Francis Comberford, returned to his immediate heirs, and to guarantee that the estates remained in the hands of the Comberford family whatever might befall the members of the Comberford family in the coming crisis.

5.15: The Cathedral Close in Lichfield ... William Comberford may have lived here at the time of the formation of the trust for his interests (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

Without actual possession of the Comberford estates, William may have lived in Lichfield, as indicated by his choice of leading Lichfield residents in the formation of trusts for his interests, by his ties as godfather to the children of key people in Lichfield at the time, and by the many bequests in his will to people who lived in Lichfield.

The first trustee, Sir Richard Dyott (died 1659) of Freeford Manor, Stichbrooke and Saddler Street (now Market Street), Lichfield, was Steward and Recorder of Lichfield, and had been MP for Lichfield in the 1620s. He later commanded the royalist troops at the Siege of Lichfield in 1643.[194] Sir Richard’s brother, John Dyott, who played a dramatic role in the siege of Lichfield, was William Comberford’s godson, while another brother, Matthew Dyott of Stychbrooke, was married to Mary Babington, a distant cousin of William Comberford, and a sister-in-law of the second trustee, John Birch.[195]

The second trustee, John Birch of Leacroft, Cannock, was a neighbour of the Leveson and Coleman families who were related to William Comberford. He was a lawyer and the son of John Birch of Bloxwich. Margaret Babington of Curborough near Lichfield, the wife of the younger John Birch, was a granddaughter of Sir Edward Littleton of Pillaton, a close friend of the Comberford family, and she was a distant (fourth) cousin of William Comberford, being a great-grand-daughter of Eleanor Beaumont who married Humphrey Babington. Margaret’s sister Mary was married to Matthew Dyott of Stychbrook, a brother of both Sir Richard Dyott and John ‘Dumb’ Dyott, while her brother, Canon Matthew Babington, was a chaplain to Charles I and a canon of Lichfield Cathedral. John Birch was imprisoned by the Parliamentarians in 1643, and his estates, including lands and rents in Leacroft worth £100 a year before the Civil War, lands in Cannock called ‘the Kingswood,’ previously worth £60, and other lands in Cannock, previously worth £50, were sequestered, having been twice plundered by the royalists. He was fined £100 in 1645, but his petition for release from sequestration in June of that year was granted in August in view of his parliamentarian sympathies. John Birch was still living in 1663, aged 69.[196]

The third trustee, Thomas Wollaston, was a member of a prominent local family in the area around Lichfield and in Walsall.[197]

When William Comberford made his will at Comberford in 1646 at the age of 54, he may still have been living in Lichfield, for his distant kinsman Francis Comberford was living at Comberford Hall.[198] In his will, William asked to be buried in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, or in the churchyard. He appointed his brother John Comberford and his friend John Birch of Cannock as his executors.[199] He removed Sir Richard Dyott as a trustee of his estates, and replaced him with his brother John Comberford, retaining John Birch and Thomas Wollaston as trustees and his executors. The move was timely, for on 16 August 1646, the Parliamentary Committee of Staffordshire sequestered all the estates of Sir Richard Dyott, including his lands in Freeford, Stychbrook, Chorley, Stafford and Lichfield.[200]

In his will, William provided bequests for his brothers, Robert Comberford (£100) and John Comberford, John’s wife, his sisters Ann, Agatha, Elizabeth and Hester, and his kinsman, Francis Comberford of Bradley.[201]

Other bequests included legacies or bequests to his friends John Birch, Thomas Wollaston, Robert Stanley, Joseph Gorwey, Thomas Wollaston’s son John, his cousin George Hawe, and his servant William Pirbard of Comberford, expressing the hope that each of them would buy a gold ring with the 20 shillings he had left them. He left £5 for each of his godchildren, John Dyott, “sonne of Anthony Dyott, Esqr, Doctor of Phisiche, lately residing in the citie of Lichfeild (sic),” … …, son of Thomas … of Whittington, Robert Ward, son of Alexander Ward of Shenstone, Staffordshire, and Elizabeth Goode, daughter of the Revd Francis Goode of Yoxall, asking that they use the £5 to buy plate “having my name and armes engraven thereon.” He also left £5 in cash to three other godchildren, Mary Walmsley, daughter of Richard Walmsley of Lichfield, Mary Baxter, daughter of Richard Baxter of Whittington, and Mary Pirbard, daughter of William Pirbard of Comberford.[202]

The bequests to John Dyott and the other godchildren show William’s continuing connections with the families who had fought on the royalist side during the sieges of Lichfield: John Dyott had fired the fatal shot that killed Sir John Gell during the siege of Lichfield three years earlier in March 1643 (see above). Richard Ward was the youngest son of Alexander Ward, an innkeeper in Lichfield who was Bailiff of Lichfield on three occasions. Alexander Ward had acquired a large estate in Shenstone and was buried there when he died on 10 December 1663 at the age of 75.[203] Both Alexander Ward and Richard Walmsley were royalist officers during the sieges of Lichfield, fighting under Colonel Hervey Bagot.[204] Richard Walmsley or Walmisley was the appraiser of probate in the Diocese of Lichfield. He was the father of both William Comberford’s god-daughter, Mary, and William Walmesley, who was Registrar of Lichfield (1692), JP for Staffordshire, Whig MP for Lichfield City (January to November 1701), and Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield from 1698 until his death in 1713. This William Walmesley was accused of misusing charitable funds in the January 1701 election, and was almost unseated on petition. He was a Whig candidate for Lichfield again in 1710 but was soundly beaten. He was dismissed as a JP in 1712, and was denounced as self-interested and insolent in politics. He died in July 1713. In 1675 he married Dorothy, daughter of Humphrey Gilbert of Fradley, and they had three sons, including Gilbert Walmesley, Samuel Johnson’s mentor, and William Walmesley, who was Dean of Lichfield Cathedral from 1720 to 1730.[205]

In April and May 1652, William Comberford leased parts of the Comberford estate for 60 years to his kinsman, Francis Comberford, and his sons, Thomas Comberford and Francis Comberford [see Comberford 7, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-7-quaker-comberfords-of.html].[206]

We know from William Comberford’s will, from William Dugdale’s Visitation of Staffordshire, and from the family tree certified by William Comberford’s brother, Robert Comberford, at Lichfield on 30 March 1663 that William Comberford died unmarried.[207] He died in 1653, probably at Comberford Hall, and his will was proved at Westminster on 10 May 1653.[208] William was probably buried in the family vault in Saint Editha’s Church, Tamworth, as he had requested in his will.[209]

Two years after the death of William Comberford, his kinsman, Francis Comberford, a parliamentarian magistrate, was living at Comberford Hall in 1655, when he joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) after Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill visited Comberford Hall that year [see Comberford 7, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-7-quaker-comberfords-of.html].[210] Francis Comberford may have been living there because of his connection with the Curzon family, who held many of the mortgages raised on the Comberford estates by Colonel William Comberford, William Comberford ‘the uncle’ [see above]. However, Francis Comberford’s interest in Comberford Hall was soon bought back by William Comberford’s next brother, Robert Comberford [see Comberford 6, http://comerfordfamily.blogspot.com/2007/12/comberford-6-family-brought-low.html].

Footnotes and references:

[1] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Warwicks, p. 35.
[2] SHC 1927, p. 139 n. 21; Adams, pp 10-11, 20.
[3] VCH Staffs 2, quoting SHC 1932, p. 298; Adams, p. 11.
[4] Stone, p. 44.
[5] See National Archives, Court of Star Chamber, Proceedings, Elizabeth I STAC 5/C29/22; SHC 1932, pp 106, 298; Adams, pp 11, 12.
[6] See Court of Chancery, Six Clerks’ Office, Pleadings, Series I, Elizabeth I to Charles I C2/Eliz/C6/40; Bagnall, p. 99.
[7] Palmer, The History of Tamworth (1845), p. 494; SHC 12, p. 218; SHC 15 (1894), p. 193; Adams, p. 2.
[8] Staffordshire, SAL/MS/99.
[9] William Wyrley Ms, ff 58-62; MW Greenslade, The Staffordshire Historians (Stafford: Staffordshire Record Society, 1982, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, fourth series, vol 11), pp 26-27.
[10] William Wyrley, ff 63-71, with their arms, f. 55.
[11] William Wyrley, ff 31-32.
[12] Victoria County History of Staffordshire (VCH Staffs) 12 (1976), p. 32.
[13] VCH Staffs 2, quoting SHC 1932, p. 298.
[14] Stone, p. 56.
[15] Palmer, The History of Tamworth (1845), p. 119; Wood (1958), p. 13; Adams, p. 2, quoting Tamworth Corporation records; Adams, pp 21-22; Stone, pp 53-54. The bailiffs of Tamworth during this period were: John Allen, 1592; Thomas Alcock and Christopher Ensor, 1597; and Francis Wood, 1598 (see Palmer, p. xviii).
[16] Greenslade, A History of Lichfield … ecclesiastical history, pp 67-69; Shaw i, p. 420; Stone, p. 55.
[17] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 168; H.C. Mitchell, Tamworth Parish Church (Welwyn: The Alcuin Press, 1935), p. 93; Stone, pp 55-56.
[18] Salisbury Mss, Part 17, ed MS Giuseppi (London: HMSO, 1938), pp 642-643.
[19] Rutland Mss, vol 6 (London: HMSO, 1905), p. 387; Stone, pp 55-56.
[20] Salisbury Mss, Part 16 (ed M.S. Giuseppi, London: HMC, 1940), pp 172-173; Stone, pp 55-56.
[21] Comberford family papers, D 5368/3/1.
[22] National Archives, Exchequer, King’s Remembrancer, Barons’ Depositions, E 133/10/1506.
[23] Adams, pp 11, 21; see John F. Ede, History of Wednesbury (Wednesbury: Wednesbury Corporation, 1962), passim.
[24] Adams, p. 11.
[25] ‘James I: Volume 47: July, August, 1609,’ Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610 (1857), pp 524-540, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=15032 (28.4.2007).
[26] Chris Upton, A History of Lichfield, pp 49-51; Howard Clayton, Loyal and Ancient City, pp 7-9.
[27] ‘Parishes: Bolehall and Glascote,’ A History of the County of Warwick: vol 4: Hemlingford Hundred (1947), pp 248-249, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=42689 (2.4.2007); Adams, p. 11.
[28] Adams, pp 11-12.
[29] Palmer (1845), pp 120, 494; Adams, p. 5; Stone, pp 57-58.
[30] Palmer (1845), p. 120; Tamworth Parish Registers quoted in Stone, p. 58; Wood (1958), p. 36.
[31] Patrick Comerford, visits to the Moat House, 1970-2011 (latest visits 22.3.2007, 27.3.2008, 4.7.2008, 25.10.2008, 26.2.2011). Shaw and Palmer describe this ceiling and the coats-of-arms (see Shaw 1, pp 422-423; Palmer (1845), pp 500-501) without explaining the family pedigrees it illustrates, perhaps because by then the gallery had been divided into two separate rooms.
[32] Shaw 2, p. 422; Palmer (1845), p. 501.
[33] Palmer, p. 500; Adams, pp 5, 25.
[34] Shaw 2, Appendix 38; Erdeswick (1820), p. 327.
[35] Shaw 2, p. 88; Charles Pye, A Description of Modern Birmingham, Whereunto Are Annexed Observations Made during an Excursion Round the Town, in the Summer of 1818, Including Warwick and Leamington, http://explorion.net/ch.pye-description-modern-birmingham/page-56.html (2.4.2007).
[36] National Archives, Probate 11/148, ff 335-336; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7; Ede, p. 82
[37] National Archives, Probate 11/148, ff 335-336; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[38] Shaw ii, pp 87-88; Bagnall, p. 59; Adams, p. 5, although Adams gives the date of his death as 1625.
[39] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55, which does not name his second wife; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[40] Shaw 1, pp 339, 341, 365, 372-373.
[41] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[42] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[43] Lichfield Record Office (LRO), Tamworth Mss, D 187/1/6 (26.3.2008).
[44] LRO, D 3155/6800.
[45] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[46] Wednesbury Baptisms (2 vol Ts, Lichfield Record Office), vol 1, p. 53; LRO, Tamworth Mss, D 187/1/6.
[47] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[48] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 62; he is not named in Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[49] LRO, Tamworth Mss, D 187/1/6.
[50] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[51] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 62; he is not named in Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35.
[52] See Visit Staffs, pp 54-55, and Adams, p. 12. He is not named in Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35.
[53] National Archives, probate 11/132; Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[54] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[55] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[56] Wednesbury Baptisms (LRO ts), vol 1, p. 53; Foster, Alum Oxon, p. 314.
[57] Wednesbury Baptisms (LRO ts), vol 1, p. 53.]
[58] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; not named in Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p.434; Adams, p. 8.
[59] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[60] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[61 ] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 51; she is not named in Visit Warwicks, p. 35, in the ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92, or Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[62] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[63] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 82-83; ‘Chetwynd 2,’ http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/british/cc4aq/chetwynd02.htm#con1 (2.4.2007).
[64] Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, p. 85.
[65] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 92, 202; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Visit Warwicks, p. 35; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[66] Upton, p. 43.
[67] ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 202-203; ‘Leveson 1,’ http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/british/zworking/leveson1.htm (2.4.2007).
[68] Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, p. 86; ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 202-203.
[69] ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 202-203; Visit Staffs, p. 156; Shaw 2, p. 169.
[70] Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, p. 86; ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 202-203.
[72] Wednesbury Burials 1561-1812 (LRO ts), p. 35.
[72] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Crequy Pedigree, f. 14.
[73] Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/3; National Archives, Probate 11/148; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7; Wednesbury Burials 1561-1812 (LRO ts) must contain an error when it says he was buried on 16 March 1618 (see p. 35).
[74] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55, where there is confusion whether he is the son of William Comberford by his first wife or of Humphrey Comberford by a second wife.
[75] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 92, 172.
[76] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 224.
[77] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 92, 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122; Shaw 2, p. 74.
[78] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122; Visitation 2, p. 41; Hawe Family Deeds, D 260/M/T/7/8; ‘Tamworth, Staffs. Marriages. Sept. 1614 – June 1837,’ Transcribed from the originals by Mrs J. Dunn for the Birmingham and Midlands Society of Genealogy and Heraldry (LRO ts), p. 7, where they are named as ‘Mr George Hane (sic)’ and ‘Mrs Elizabeth Camberford (sic).’
[79] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122.
[80] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172.
[81] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172.
[82] ‘Parker 01,’ http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/british/pp/parker01.htm (16.5.2007).
[83] ‘Ricketts 1,’ http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/british/qr/ricketts1.htm#jervis (27.4.2007).
[84] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122.
[85] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122.
[86] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 172; Visit Staffs, p. 122.
[87] Wednesbury Baptism, LRO, vol 1, p. 53.
[88] National Archives, Probate 11/148; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[89] Venn, p. 377.
[90] See ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[91] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[92] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 237.
[93] Ede, p. 83; ‘England Marriages, 1538–1973,’ Database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V5KY-2Z6 : accessed 17 June 2015), Johannes Balcanquall and Dorothea Comberford, 18 Jun 1639; citing Saint Michael,Tatenhill, Staffordshire; FHL microfilm 435,868, 873,648; ‘Baal-Barrow,’ in Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714 ed. Joseph Foster (Oxford, 1891), pp 51-78 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/alumni-oxon/1500-1714/pp51-78 (accessed 17 June 2015).
[94] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[95] Wednesbury Baptisms (LRO ts), vol 1, p. 73; National Archives, Probate 11/148; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[97] ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 258; DH Pennington and IA Roots (eds), The Committee at Stafford 1643-1645 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, for the Staffordshire Record Society, 1957), p. 354; Richard Williams, ‘Rugeley Family of Staffordshire,’ http://genforum.genealogy.com/ridgley/messages/110.html (21.5.2007). This marriage is not given by Shaw (vol 1, pp 212*-213*) or in the Visitations of Staffordshire, but is found in an addition to the Rugeley pedigree in Lord Hatherton’s Mss copy of the Visitation of 1583. Adams (p. 12) confuses Benjamin Rugeley with his brother Simon, and is mistaken when he describes Simon Rugeley as “one of the important leaders of the Royalists in Staffordshire.” For Simon Rugeley’s role as a parliamentarian colonel in the civil war and in Lichfield see D.H. Pennington and I.A. Roots (eds), p. 354, and Clayton, Loyal and Ancient City, p. 27.
[98] ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 258; Pennington and Roots (eds), p. 354; Richard Williams, ‘Rugeley Family of Staffordshire,’ http://genforum.genealogy.com/ridgley/messages/110.html (21.5.2007); Shaw 1, p. *211 (although Shaw does not give the marriage of Anne Comberford and Benjamin Rugeley).
[95] ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 258; Richard Williams, ‘Rugeley Family of Staffordshire,’ http://genforum.genealogy.com/ridgley/messages/110.html (21.5.2007).
[99] ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 258; Richard Williams, ‘Rugeley Family of Staffordshire,’ http://genforum.genealogy.com/ridgley/messages/110.html (21.5.2007).
[100] Wednesbury Baptisms (LRO ts), vol 1, p. 53.
[101] ‘Parishes: Bolehall and Glascote,’ A History of the County of Warwick: vol 4: Hemlingford Hundred (1947), pp 248-249, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=42689 (2.4.2007); copy of the administration of the goods of Anne Comberford in the Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[102] National Archives, Probate 11/148, ff. 335-336; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[103] Ede, p. 82.
[104] Will of William Comberford of Tamworth, National Archives, Probate 11/258, f. 310; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7; will of William Comberford, National Archives, Probate 11/239; Ede, pp 82-84.
[105] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55, where there is confusion whether he is the son of William Comberford by his first wife or of Humphrey Comberford by a second wife.
[106] National Archives, Probate 11/148, ff 335-336; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[107] SHC 15, p. 228.
[108] Hackwood, Wednesbury Anceint and Modern, p, 65; Ede, pp 81-82.
[109] Adams, p. 12.
[110] Ede, pp 82-84.
[111] Comberford family papers, D 5368/4/1, D 5368/4/2.
[112] Palmer (1845), p. 230; Adams, p. 12.
[113] Palmer (1845), pp xxvii-xxviii.
[114] Ede, pp 82-84; Adams, pp 12, 19; Stone, pp 59-60; Mabel Swift, ‘The Moat House,’ in Mabel Swift, A Swift look round at Tamworth History (Tamworth, privately published, 2006, ed. John Harper), pp 22-23.
[115] Shaw 1, Appendix 37; Erdeswick (1820), p. 327; see ‘House of Commons Journal, vol 3: 4 April 1643,’ Journal of the House of Commons, vol 3: 1643-1644 (1802), pp 28-30, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=8391&strquery=Comberford (28.4.2007); see Hastings Manuscripts 2 (London: HMSO, 1930, ed. Francis Bickley), pp 88-89, 93-94; Adams, p. 12; Bennett (2003), p. 11.
[116] Hackwod, pp 000.
[117] See Ede, pp 82-84.
[118] Plot, p. 336; Clayton, pp 39-41; ‘Legacies, Architectural Heritage, Stoke and Staffordshire,’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/heritage/england/stoke_staffs/article_2.shtml (3.7.2007).
[119] Foster, Alum Oxon, vol 1, p. 314.
[120] Pennington and Roots (eds), p. 354; Martyn Bennett (1999), p. 37; Peter Gaunt, The English Civil War (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), p. 174 (where Gaunt incorrectly names him as Thomas Comberford instead of William Comberford); Bennett (2003), p. 11, citing JT Pickles, ‘Studies in Royalism in the English Civil War 1642-1646, with special reference to Staffordshire,’ unpublished MA thesis, Manchester University (1968), p. 63.
[121] Hastings Manuscripts 2(1930), p. 88; Adams, p. 12; Pennington and Roots (eds), pp lxi-lxii; ‘Legacies, Architectural Heritage, Stoke and Staffordshire,’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/heritage/england/stoke_staffs/article_2.shtml (3.7.2007).
[122] Samuel Luke, The Journal of Samuel Lukes (Oxford: Oxfordshire Record Society, 1950-1953), vol 1, p. 2; Pennington and Roots (eds), pp lxi-lxii; Ronald Hutton, The Royalist War Effort 1642-1646 (London and New York: Routledge, 1999, 2nd ed), pp 40-41.
[123] Hastings Manuscripts 2 (1930), pp 88-89.
[124] Martyn Bennett (1999), p. 37.
[125] Hastings Manuscripts 2 (1930), p. 94; Adams, p. 12; Hutton, p. 62; Howard Clayton, Loyal and Ancient City, the Civil War in Lichfield (Lichfield, n.d.), p. 69.
[126] Adams, p. 12; Mabel Swift (2006), pp 22-23. However, he is not mentioned in Clayton’s comprehensive account of the civil war in Lichfield (see Clayton, passim), nor in the earlier authoritative account of the siege, (Revd) W. Gresley, The Siege of Lichfield: A tale illustrative of the Great Rebellion (London: James Burns, 1840).
[123] Shaw 1, pp 238, 362; SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 118; Visit Staffs, pp 76-77; Clayton, pp 22, 24, 159; Upton, pp 53-55.
[128] Upton, pp 55-56.
[129] Clayton, Loyal and Ancient City, p. 86.
[130] Clayton, Loyal and Ancient City, p. 121.
[131] ‘House of Commons Journal vol 3: 4 April 1643,’ Journal of the House of Commons, vol 3: 1643-1644 (1802), pp 28-30, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=8391&strquery=Comberford (28.4.2007).
[132] Martyn Bennett (1999), p. 37.
[133] ‘House of Lords Journal vol 6: 26 May 1643,’ Journal of the House of Lords: vol 6: 1643 (1802), pp 63-65, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=37256&strquery=comberford (28.4.2007).
[134] Adams, p. 12; Stone, p. 59; Mabel Swift (2006), pp 22-23; see also John Harper, ‘The Moat House – Tamworth’s Elizabethan Gem,’ Historic Tamworth, a special edition of the Tamworth Herald, 4 March 2010, p. 32.
[135] Ede, pp 82-83.
[136] Hackwood, pp 83-84; Ede, pp 82-83.
[137] Ede, pp 81-82.
[138] Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/8; ‘Parishes: Bolehall and Glascote,’ A History of the County of Warwick: vol 4: Hemlingford Hundred (1947), pp 248-249, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=42689 (2.4.2007).
[139] National Archives, Exchequer, King’s Remembrancer, Depositions taken by Commission E 134/1650/East3.
[140] Plot, pp 240-241 and Plate xxii, facing p. 266; Shaw 1, p. 432.
[141] National Archives, Probate 11/258, f. 311; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[142] Adams, pp 5, 12, 16-19.
[143] National Archives, Probate 11/258, f. 311; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[144] Adams, pp 5, 12, 16-19.
[145] National Archives, Probate 11/258, f. 310; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[146] Staffordshire Record Office, Littleton and Parker family papers, D 260/M/T/2/42; Complete Peerage 12/1, pp 69-73; Burke’s Peerage, various eds, s.v. Somerset; Greenslade, A History of Lichfield … ecclesiastical history, p. 56; Littleton and Parker papers, D 260/M/T/2/42.
[147] Visit Staffs, p. 55; NA PROB 11/258, ff. 310-311; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7; see Al. Oxon., vol L-R (1891-1892), p. 877.
[148] Comberford family papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[149] National Archives, Probate 11/332.
[150] National Archives, Probate 11/258, f. 310; abstract of will in Comberford Family Papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[151] Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[152] Salisbury Mss, part 4(London 1892), pp 267, 272; Adams, pp 5, 12; Greenslade, Staffordshire Catholics, pp 67-69; SHC 4th series, ix, pp 58-59.
[153] Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, pp 69, 77. Edward Stanford’s younger son, Robert Stanford, had a distinguished career as a Jesuit and died in London in 1659 (Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, p. 77).
[154] Visit Warwicks (1599).
[155] Mitchell (1936), p. 120.
[156] Salisbury Mss Part 16 (ed MS Giuseppi, London: HMC, 1940), pp 172-173.
[157] Salisbury Mss Part 16 (ed M.S. Giuseppi, London: HMC, 1940), pp 172-173; Stone, p. 55.
[158] Stone, p. 55.
[159] Adams, p. 20.
[160] Visits by Patrick Comerford to the Moat House 1970-2011 (latest visits 27.3.2008, 4.7.2008, 25.10.2008, 26.2.2011); Palmer (Town and Castle), p. 120; Adams, p. 20.
[161] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 92, 280; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, pp 109, 434; Adams, p. 8; Greenslade, Catholic Staffordshire, p. 77.
[162] Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; he is not named in Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[163] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8; Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35, where he is named as Richard. Ede misses out on counting him among William Comberford’s brothers (see Ede, pp 82-84).
[164] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; he is not named in Visit Staffs, p. 55; Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[165] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8; he is not named in Visit Warwicks (1619), p. 35.
[166] Ede, p. 82.
[167] Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[168] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246.
[169] Ede, p. 83.
[170] Check refs.
[171] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 218; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; he is not named in Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[172] Shaw 1, p. 434; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; she is not named in Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[173] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246.
[174] National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 442.
[175] Shaw 1, p. 434; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55.
[176] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246; National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 442.
[177] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[178] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246; National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 442.
[179] Check refs.
[180] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Visit Staffs, p. 55; Shaw 1, p. 434; Adams, p. 8.
[181] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 215.
[182] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246; National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 442.
[183] Tamworth Parish Registers, p. 216; ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92; Erdeswick, p. 293.
[184] Shaw 1, p. 434; Erdeswick, p. 293; Adams, pp 5, 8.
[185] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[186] Ede, p. 92.
[187] Visit Warwicks, p. 35.
[188] Ede, p. 82.
[189] Ede, pp 82-84.
[190] National Archives, Exchequer, King’s Remembrancer, Barons’ Depositions taken by Commission E 134/4ChasI/Mich23.
[191] Staffordshire Record Office, Mss records of the Paget family, Lords Paget of Beaudesert, Earls of Uxbridge and Marquesses of Anglesey, title deeds and related papers, Beaudesert Estate, Haywood and Shugborough, D 603/A/3/503; family settlements and related papers, William, 4th Lord Paget, D 603/A/1/19
[192] SHC 15, p. 228.
[193] See the will of William Comberford, National Archives, Probate 11/239, f. 235; and of Robert Comberford, National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 440.
[194] SHC 5/2, p. 118; Visit Staffs, pp 76-77; Clayton, pp 5, 14, 69, 74, 115, 122; Upton, pp 53-54.
[195] See William Comberford’s will, National Archives, Probate 11/239, ff 235; ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), pp 24, 42-43, 63, 118; Visit Staffs, pp 76-77.
[196] SHC 5/2, ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ pp 24, 42-43, 63; ‘Cannock: Manors and economic history,’ VCH Staffs 5 (1959), pp 49-63, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=53397 (22.6.2007); see Clayton, p. 106.
[197] SHC 5/2, ‘Visitation of Staffordshire,’ pp 320-322.
[198] Check refs.
[199] National Archives, Probate 11/239, f. 235.
[200] National Archives, Probate 11/239, f. 235; Clayton, pp 129-132; Harwood, pp 35-36.
[201] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246.
[202] National Archives, Probate 11/239, f. 235.
[203] ‘The Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 75. Ward’s inn is not identified in either Howard Clayton, Coaching City, A Glimpse of Georgian Lichfield (Bala: Dragon Books, for the author in Lichfield, n.d., 1970), or in the more recent study of Lichfield public houses and inns: John Shaw, The Old Pubs of Lichfield (Lichfield: George Lane Publishing, 2007).
[204] Clayton, pp 48, 60, 72; Salt Historical Collection, Mss 596.
[205] ‘Lichfield: Parliamentary representation,’ VCH Staffs, vol 14 (1990), pp 92-95; ‘Gateway to the Past: Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s Heritrage’: http://www.archives.staffordshire.gov.uk/ (28.9.2007).
[206] See the will of Robert Comberford, National Archives, Probate 11/332, f. 440.
[207] ‘Visitations of Staffordshire,’ SHC 5/2 (1884), p. 92.
[208] National Archives, Probate 11/239, 11/246; copy in Staffordshire Record Office, Littleton and Parker family papers, D 260/M/T/2/9; abstracts in Comberford family papers, D 5368/3/10/1-7.
[209] National Archives, Probate 11/239, f. 234.
[210] Penney, pp 229-230, 270; Journal FHS 5/3, July 1908, p. 165.

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