Late Middle Ages and Renaissance Heritage

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Trenoweth § Treadway § Woodrove § Camoys § Noyes § Haynes § Bowyer § Howe § Rich § Armytts and Brigham

A number of Jackson ancestors have their earliest records in the late Medieval period, generally defined as 1250-1500. The decades between 1485 and 1625 include what we know as the British Renaissance era, leading to –in the Jackson family history– the departure of most ancestors for North America sometime after about 1630.[1]

It was a truly tumultuous era in English history: the Hundred Years War (1337) began, Chaucer penned The Canterbury Tales (and thus, was born the modern English language), The Black Death (1348-49) ravaged all of Europe, the British vanquished France in the Battle of Agincourt (1415), and William Caxton printed the first book in England (1417).

The 1500s and 1600s are no less noteworthy. Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1558. It was the era of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson. It was the epoch of the rise of the Church of England, the Reformation and years of religious turmoil exemplified by King Henry VIII.

Some ancestors made their first appearance in the Jackson family tree during this period while other families were descendants of the 1066 Norman invaders and melded into the evolving British social landscape.

Many of the Jackson ancestors of this era originate first in the Northwest of England in the countries of Lancashire and Derbyshire, then married into families in center-east of the Isle, between Sheffield and Ipswich, finally ending up in the south-west around Glastonbury from whence they voyaged across the Atlantic to North America.

Trenoweth of Cornwall

The Trenoweths are unique among the English ancestors: they are the only clan originating in the Cornwall region, on the western-most peninsula of the British Isles. The surname dates to at least the 10th century where it appears in Anglo-Saxon chronicles as “Trefneweth.” Like so many of these early medieval names, spelling variants and the proliferation of familial branches makes tracing reliable ancestral linkages exasperating.[2]

That said, the oldest Cornwall ancestors seem to have been Joanna Trenaco (ca. 1274-?) and Stephen Trenouth (ca. 1269-?), Bonnie’s 22nd great-grandparents. There were at least two branches of the family at this time: one centered around the village of Truro and the other in the area of the town of Newlyn. Both were prosperous and aristocratic but little biographical details remain about them.

Following Stephen and Joanna, there are eight generations of Trenoweth male heirs until Elizabeth Trenowith (1500-1552) wed Thomas Spry (1500-1595) around 1520. They are Bonnie’s 13th great-grandparents. The Spry lineage is described above (“Austen / Spry,” on the European and English Roots page). Many of these noble gentlemen and their siblings married into other privileged Cornwall families like Basset (“Basset / Harcourt,” on the In the Beginning page), Trejago, Tregarthian, and Hagar (see “Hager,” on the Early Massachusetts Settlers page).


Treadway of Buckinghamshire

The Treadway surname also has numerous variants that evolved from the original Cornish form Threthway or Tretheway. The most remote forebearer might have been Robert of Trethwy, a Frenchman and relative of William the Conquerer.

Given how common this surname is (the database reports thousands of matches just in the 1500s and 1600s), determining lineages accurately is virtually impossible. There are eight generations of Treadways in the Billick/Jackson family tree before the name disappears with the marriage of Lydia Treadway to Josiah Jones in 1667 (noted in”Joseph Mixer and Anna Jones“). These range from George Tredway (1462-1522) (Bonnie’s 14th great-grandfather) to Nathaniel Treadway (1615-1689), the latter being the first of the family to emigrate to the Colonies. Nathaniel was a weaver by trade and a prominent figure in Watertown, Massachusetts civic affairs. Genealogical and historical records offer little to no information, however, about the earlier Treadway ancestors save that they were mostly resident in region of County Buckinghamshire, a bit north-west of London.

Woodroves of Woolley

Some genealogies trace the Woodrove ancestors (with early variants like Woodroffe, Woodruffe, Woodroofe, and Woodruff) as far back as one Richard Woodrove , born in 1190. A more reliable lineage begins a century-and-a-half later with John Woodrove (1353-1397), a native of Woolley, Yorkshire, a hamlet between Leeds and Sheffield in the northern part of England. John Woodrove is Bonnie Jackson’s 17th great-grandfather. The Woodrove family took ownership of Woolley Hall, the town’s medieval manor house, in 1377 and it remained in their hands until 1559.

Through the 14th– and 15th centuries the Woodroves prospered and expanded their land holdings; several were knighted. Richard Woodroffe (1440-1522) was the High Sheriff of York between 1510 and 1518, and one of the last members of the Woodroffe/Woodruff family to reside in Woolley Hall,[3] which the family was forced to sell in 1559. The Woodrove/Woodruff surname leaves the Jackson ancestral line with the marriage of Agnes Annis Woodruff (1500-1558) to William Noyes (1500-1557) around 1522 (see below). These are Bonnie Jackson’s 12th great-grandparents.


There are multiple branches of this surname and ancient recountings are not totally clear but the earliest patriarch of this line might be John de Cameys [sic] (ca. 1045-ca. 1109), a veteran of the Battle of Hastings.

Later, in 1091 he participated in the conquest of Glamorganshire in Wales. For that, he (and his heirs) were granted an estate and manor in a hamlet known as Flockthorpe, in the county of Norfolk; all in a region called “Cemeis” in Welsh from whence the family derived its surname. The family held this barony for several centuries.

There followed five more generations of Flockthorpian Cameys/Camoys before we find the oldest reliably documented Jackson ancestor: Ralph Camoys (ca. 1247-1298),[4] Bonnie Jackson’s 20rd great-grandfather.

Ralph’s great-grandson, the Baron Thomas de Camoys (1351-1421), commanded troops at the Battle of Agincourt in October of 1415, one of England’s most important and celebrated victories over France in the Hundred Years’ War. At the age of 64, Thomas was the oldest commandeer in either side of this famous encounter. In recognition of Thomas’s service, King Henry V named him Knight of the Garter in 1416, perhaps the most prestigious order of chivalry in late medieval England.

In 1424 Alice Phillippa Camoys (1400-1455) married Sir Leonard Hastings, Lord of Leicestershire (1396-1455); they are Bonnie Jackson’s 16th great-grandparents. Sir Leonard was also a veteran of the Battle of Agincourt and a very prominent public official, serving at various times as Justice of the Peace, sheriff, and member of Parliament. Their daughter, Sarah Hastings (1420-1467), wed Robert Noyes (1420-1497) in 1441 ending the Camoyes and Hastings names in the Jackson family ancestry (see “The Noyes Clan,” on the Late Middle Ages page).

Across several generations from the 11th through the 14th centuries, numerous other noble families —Avranches, Courtenay, Mauduit, Basset, Grandmesnil, de Brewes, Despenser, Louches, et al.— married into the Camoys family.[5]

The Noyes Clan

The Noyes family are descendants of the prominent family who first appear in England shortly after the Norman Invasion (1066) with the arrival of Lord William de Noyers (William of Noer), Steward of William the Conqueror. The name Noyes in England was first recorded in Norfolk, in 1066.

The earliest documented occurrence of the Noyes surname is found in the marriage of Robert Noyes (1390-1432) and Alice Hastings (1393-1437), natives of Suffolk, England, and Bonnie Jackson’s 16th great-grandparents. One family tree suggests that Alice was a daughter of Elizabeth Plantagenet (1363-1425), of the famous royal family with roots in the French province of Anjou—bluebloods who ruled England from 1154 to 1485. However, no documentation definitively confirms that relationship.

Seven more generations of the Noyes family can be traced from the 14th century leading to the 1642 marriage of Dorothy Noyes (1622-1715) to John Haynes (1621-1697) in the Massachusetts Colony. Members of the Noyes family hailed from villages like Weyhill, Childerton, Urchfont and Penton Grafton in the Counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire, around the larger cities of Andover and Salisbury. Few details are known about the individuals. They were a prominent family with significant land holdings, most notably Ramridge Manor in Weyhill, site of the current Ramridge House built in 1740. The earliest Noyes will on record, that of Joan Mondey (1465-1532), enumerates a long list of livestock, land titles, and valuable possessions (several silver spoons are listed), indicative of an affluent family.

The history of the Noyes family in America is taken up below (see “Noyes,” on the Early Massachusetts Settlers page) with the Puritan immigrants of Watertown, Massachusetts.



The Haynses are thought to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, resident in England well before the 1066 Norman invasion. The Haines surname[6] enters the Jackson family lineage in the late 15th century with one Richard Haines (1490-1550), Bonnie Jackson’s 12th great-grandfather. Richard was born and died in Northampton, UK, a rural region in south-central England north of Oxford and west of Cambridge. Little is known of Richard Haines’ life. He lived in a very tumultuous epoch in British history, contemporaneous with monumental figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Henry VIII, Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Moore and Martin Luther but any details of Richard’s involvement in public happenings have not been preserved.

Numerous genealogies record Richard’s father as Robert Innes (Haines) of Innermarkie (1470-1551) a heritage that would lead to some interesting ancestors of quite noble pedigree. However, there seems to be no documentation to support this relationship and more than a few reasons to suspect it is inaccurate.[7] Thus, for this narrative, the Haines family goes back no further than Richard Haines’s birth in 1490.

We do know that Richard married Thomasine Foxley (1495-1589)[8] around 1511 and that they had five sons. The Foxleys’ Northampton ancestors can be traced back another two or three generations.[9]

Richard ad Thomasine’s middle son, Nicholas Haynes (1525-1585), was born in Sherborne, England, a small town due west of Portsmouth, often visited today for its striking Castle and Abbey. In 1538, Nicholas married Elizabeth Ann Elcock (1519-1586), another Sherborne native. Their son, John Haynes (1550-1620) married Alice Lambert (1554-1620) in October 1575.

Their son, Walter Haynes (1583-1665) married Elizabeth Gourd (1585-1659) in 1612. They are Bonnie Jackson’s 9th great-grandparents. The marriage produced ten children between 1613 and 1640. The story of the Haynes name continues in 1638 with the emigration of John Haynes (1621-1697) and Dorothy Noyes (1627-1715) to the Massachusetts colony (see “The Haynes’s in America,” in the Inland Migration page).

The Lambert name is thought to have held property in Woodmansterne since the time of the Norman Conquest. However, the oldest documented reference to the family is a 1333 deed in which one John de Lambert passed his property on to his son. Jackson family links to the Lamberts go back to Richard Lambert (1455-1532), Bonnie’s 11th great-grandfather. Unfortunately, no biographical details have been uncovered any of the Lambert individuals known to be Jackson ancestors.


Brief mention will be made here of the Bowyer family since they are predecessors of the Howes (immediately following, below). The Bowyer ancestry is problematic in that the surname is common and frequently confused with the equally common Bower and Boyer surnames. Although more senior ancestors are noted in numerous family trees, it seems that Thomas Bowyer (ca. 1564-1630) of Colchester, England, is as far back as truly reliable documentation can confirm.[10] He is Bonnie Jackson’s 11th great-grandfather.

The Howes

Given the difficulty in tracing the Old-World Howe’s accurately, I won’t attempt to provide any details about them. “The Colonial Howes” (see below) are most probably descendants of Robert Howe (1570-1624?) and Eme Ingold (1574-1634?) whose heirs hailed from various towns in south, central England; locales like Hatfield and Wiltshire.[11] At least five branches of the Howes immigrated to the New World and some of them are surely relatives —if not direct blood ancestors— of their son, James Howe (1598-1702), Bonnie Jackson’s 10th great-grandfather, and the longest-lived person in this document. Accurately tracing the Howe progenitors in England and their descendants in North America is fiendishly difficult. First, there is the matter of the surname: extremely common, sometimes spelled without the final “e.” Secondly, the Howes used and reused a small number of Christian names with a large number of offspring, making it nearly impossible to sort out the proper relationships between dozens of Josiahs, Johns, Marys, Elizabeths and so on.

The Rich Ancestors[12]

The Howes’ Old-World ancestors appear to include a titled London family beginning with Richard Rich (1375-1415). Through the 14th -, 15th -, and 16th-centuries, the Rich’s attained titles like Sherriff of London, Lord Rich and, most notably, Richard Rich, 1st Baron of Leighs, Lord Chancellor of England (1496-1567).[13] The Rich surname eventually merged into the Howe family with the 1620 marriage of Bridget Rich (1596-1642) to Sir John Howe (1598-1671), 1st Baronet of Howe.[14] The Howe legacy in Europe is difficult to trace and offers no insight into the Jackson family Colonial ancestors. One early historian, characterizes the family thus:

The Howes were among the noble families of England many generations prior to the settlement of New England, and the name first appears in the records during the reign of Henry VII. They owned estates in Somersetshire, Gloucestershire, WIltshire, Nottingham and in Ireland. The sturdy Puritans of this name –John and Abraham Howe, arrived in Massachusetts shortly after the settlement of Boston. They were probably relatives, perhaps brothers, but whether or not they came over together cannont be definitely determined.[15]

Thus the noble Rich clan and the Sir John Howe noted here are likely not direct relatives of any Jackson family descendants but may well be distant cousins or aunts and uncles. There is, however, much more to be said about the colorful history of the documented Jackson precursor Howes following their migration to North America; see “The Colonial Howes,” a couple of pages ahead.

English Reformation Period Ancestors

Armytts and Brigham

Another English branch of the family line goes back to the 15th-century with one William Armytts (1475-1528), a native of a region called Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, Yorkshire, a rural, agricultural area about thirty miles east of Leeds. He is Bonnie Billick’s 13th great grandfather.

His daughter, Elizabeth Armytts (1504-1573), married Thomas Brigham (1500-1560) around 1525 thus introducing the famous surname into the family line. Thomas was a tenant farmer but otherwise very few details are known about the lives of these ancestors prior to their arrival in North America. Throughout the 16th– and early part of the 17th-centuries they continued to reside in the Holme, Yorkshire region, and based on wills, they were landowners. The area was known for growing hemp and many of the family were probably farmers.

Thomas Brigham (1550-1586) (Bonnie’s 10th great grandfather) was a cloth worker/weaver. The Brighams tended to have largeish families of five to seven children and often remarried well into their seniority. The afore-mentioned Thomas had three wives. His son, John Brigham (1574-1621) and his wife, Constance Watson (1578-1615), had eight children between 1599 and 1615. The Brigham name persisted in the line for six generations until Mary Brigham wed Gershom Fay in 1702 (see “The Brigham’s and Fay’s in the Colonies”).

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[1] This is, of course, a frightfully simplified way to label these several centuries of English history.
[2] Surname variations include; Trenouth, Trenoweth, Trenowith, Trenowyth, Trenowythe, Trenowth, Trenewith. The family tree I follow herein is based on John Lambrick Vivian, The Visitations of Cornwall: Comprising the Heralds’ Visitations of 1530, 1573 & 1620 (Exeter: W. Pollard, 1887), p, 434.
[3] Since converted into a boutique hotel and wedding venue. See the Wikipedia article.
[4] Spelling variants include: Cameys, Cameis, Camois, and Cammoys. There are several reported ancestors of this Stephen, but the relationships are too murky to record here.
[5] Not all these families are described herein.
[6] Many variations: Eynes, Heynes, Heanes, Haines, and Haynes. The Haynes Manor and the ruins of Haynes Castle still stand near the village Haines in Devonshire.
[7] Several family trees show this dubious relationship.
[8] The birth, death and marriage dates for Ms. Foxley are not certain.
[9] There are several Foxley families known at this time, probably unrelated or only remotely so to Thomasine’s forebearers.
[10] Bowyers before this are a confusing lot of families from Staffordshire and Hertfordshire, who may or may not be related. Even Thomas’s spouse’s name is uncertain and thus not included here.
[11] There is no definitive information regarding Robert Howe’s wife. The names Elizabeth Griffin, Margaret Griffin and Margaret Whitmore appear in some family trees but without any supporting documentation. Even Robert’s birth and deaths dates are uncertain. Eme Jugold appears also as Gold and Ingold.
[12] I include this section just to clarify what I believe to be errors in some online family trees wherein the Rich family is linked directly the Colonial Howe family line that landed in America around 1635.
[13] Lord Chancellor presides over the House of Lords and until changes in 2006 and 2007, functioned as the head of the British judiciary. This was a very important and powerful role.
[14] Some records suggest that Bridget married three different Howe’s: John (1602-1680), James (1603-1702), and James (1598- ?). This is almost surely genealogical confusion.
[15] Cutter, 1908, p. 1884.

{last update: 1-Mar-2020}