Possible Correction to Blaby Pedigree by Susan Morris

I received the following e-mail from genealogist Susan Morris who was doing research for a Freer descent.  She feels that a correction is in order within the pedigree of the Blaby Freer line, found in Burke's Peerage. This significantly changes how the Freer line descents through   Sir James Touchet 7th Lord Audley since he had two sons with the same first name, John, from two different wives. I have included the whole message here as an addendum to the web page for clarification for those reading the pedigree. I have indicated the person in question on the Blaby Lineage Chart by a RED DOT. I have asked permission to post her information here.


Dear Stan:

I have a client who is descended from William Leacroft Freer. In her family archives there is a pedigree chart showing his marriage to Anne Maria Hickman, a descendant of Edward III, as is shown on your website.

My first task was to prove the pedigree, using Burke's "The Complete Peerage", "Britain's Royal Families, The Complete Genealogy" by Alison Weir, "The Peerage of England" by Arthur Collins and other sources.

As a consequence of my researches I have satisfactorily proven that Anne Maria Hickman was descended from Edward III, but not by his son Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester but by the marriage of his son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Earl of Beaufort to Katherine Swynford.

This is a much more interesting lineage since, through his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster, John of Gaunt was the ancestor of the kings Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard III, Edward IV and Edward V.

And, by through the children of his third marriage, to Katherine Swynford, they became the ancestors of all the monarchy who came after, including the Tudors, the Stuarts and our present Queen Elizabeth II. [I'm English, hence my use of the word 'our'.]

The mistake in the pedigree lies with the parentage of John Tuchet, 8th Lord Audley.

His father, Sir James Touchet, 7th Lord Audley was married twice and had children by both wives. Unfortunately, he chose to give the name John to a son by each of his wives.

The pedigree chart on your website shows John Touchet to be the son of James Touchet and Joan Bourchier. However, Joan Bourchier was the second wife of James Touchet.

His first wife was Margert Dayrell, and the John who became the 8th Lord Audley was their son. Margaret Dayrell was the great great granddaughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Sywnford.


In Burke's "The Complete Peerage", volume 1, under Audley, it states that:

James married firstly in or before 1483, Margaret, daughter of Sir Richard Dayrell and that he married secondly, at or before 1488, Joan, daughter of Fulk [Bourchier] Lord Fitz-Warine.

It notes that Joan's son and heir was "John, aged about 7 at his father's death in 1497, who has been confused with his elder brother of the half-blood, John, who was born in 1483".

Joan's son was her heir, but he was not James' heir, so he did not become the next Lord Audley .

In "The Peerage of England" by Arthur Collins, Volume IV, under the heading of Touchet, Lord Audley, the first wife of James is given as Margaret Darell and the son and heir as John. Through his second marriage to the daughter of Fulk Bourchier, he had 4 sons (including a John) and two daughters.

[The book was published in MDCCXLI (1741) and there is an original set of four volumes in the Rare Books Collection at the Library of the University of Cambridge in the UK. I have a reader's ticket and was able to study the book there.]

So, the John Touchet, who became 8th Lord of Audley was the son born in 1483, daughter of James and his first wife Margaret.

And, not only was James Touchet, 7th Lord Audley unfortunate enough to lose his head on Tower Hill in 1497, he made life difficult for family historians by giving the same name to two sons by different wives. These ancestors had no consideration for their descendants!

Note that in many sources the surname of Margaret is most frequently given as Dayrell, but sometimes the spelling of Darrell or Darell is used.

My first consideration on making my discovery about the family's alternative and more correct descent from Edward III was to question who was I to disagree with such an established pedigree. Therefore I have spent considerable time checking and re-checking the information given in the sources above and I am quite confident that I am correct in my interpretation, especially since Burke's "Complete Peerage" refers to the confusion which has arisen from the two sons being named John. It would appear that the confusion has been perpetuated through the centuries.

I look forward to receiving your comments.

Best wishes

Susan Morris

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