Helen Moorwood   [April, 2013]
3a. Introduction

George Ormerod (History of Cheshire, 1816-1819, revised by Thomas Helsby, three volumes, 1877-82), J. P. Earwaker (East Cheshire, 1877) & John Paul Rylands (Glover’s 1580 Visitation of Cheshire, 1882) together give exhaustive accounts of the documentation behind their pedigree charts. They did all the superb genealogical spadework in the 19th century. (No references are given below. All dates and details are from quotes and references in one or all three titles given immediately above.)

I came along about a dozen years ago and produced a series of articles on my findings up to then. This had arisen out of my Duxbury research, partly because there was an early Sir Thomas Arderne in Standish of Duxbury territory and also even in my home town of Darwen, which and who intrigued me. I soon realized that he was one of the Cheshire Arderne family that produced Mary, John Shakespeare’s wife. Peter Duxbury put these articles on the Duxbury Family History Site in 2004, even creating a sub-section ‘the Bard’, to accommodate all which had more to do with him than the Duxburys. Sadly, Peter died in 2005, but the site was taken over by another ‘cousin’ in 2007/8, Ronald Duxbury Taylor. This sub-section is still there, and will remain there for the foreseeable future, thanks to Ronald. The Duxbury home page is at www.duxbury.plus.com. Scroll down and find Helen’s story from Duxbury to Shakespeare, subsections 17. Robert Glover (1544-80) and Mary Arderne’s Cheshire family and 18. Sir John Arderne. 19-21 were labelled ‘not available’ at the time, and never will be in this place. This current set of files is a belated attempt to continue these early offerings and bring all up to date.

Having at your side the Arderne Family Trees/Pedigree Charts 4. FT1. THE EARLY ARDERNES OF CHESHIRE (page 1) and 4. FT2. THE EARLY ARDERNES OF CHESHIRE (page 2) will help the reader to follow the Arderne descent clearly. This whole CHESHIRE ARDERNE file is devoted to establishing the true ancestry of Mary Arde(r)n(e), wife of John Shakespeare of Stratford, who appears at the bottom of Family Tree 3. THE ARDERNES OF ALVANLEY & HARDEN, CHESHIRE.

Arderne origins

Sir John de Arderne [Sir John(1)] (?c.1190-1236) was the first to move from the Midlands to Cheshire when he was granted the fee of Aldford in c.1220 by Randle de Blundeville, Earl of Chester. He took his name ‘de Arderne’ with him. The origin of this name was the same as that of the ‘de Arden’ family name of the Midlands, assumed by all historians and genealogists to have come from the region of Arden around the ancient Forest of Arden. Both families therefore shared the same origins, but once Sir John(1) had moved permanently to Cheshire, this junior branch developed completely separately from the senior branch. Confusingly for later historians and genealogists, however, this junior branch also retained or gained ownership of the manor of Elford in Staffordshire, another Midlands county. The Elford connection was reinforced by Sir John’s grandson Sir Peter’s marriage to Margery de Elleforde. This manor was used for the next century for younger sons, or daughters, but still remained as part of the main estates of the Cheshire family until the marriage of a daughter took Elford to the Stanleys.



Gules, three cross-crosslets fitchée/fitchy

and a chief indented or

Crest, a plume of feathers or

Once the family had established itself in Cheshire, their ‘name of origin’ stuck and received various spellings, but the most common by far remained ‘(de) Arderne’ or the optional ‘Ardern’. This was true for the rest of the 13th century. Perhaps the most notable figure in genealogical terms was Sir Peter de Ardern (?c.1247-1292), the first on record to use the three cross-crosslets fitchy arms. A drawing of his seal from 1288 is given on Ormerod’s Arderne pedigree. He was granted the manor of Alvanley in 1265, resulting in him appearing as “of Aldford, Alvanley, and other manors”. His son Sir John(2) (1266-1308?) was “of Aldford, Alderley, Alvanley & Elford” and his brother Peter of Over Alderley, who married heiress Elizabeth Alderley, moved to there and founded the line of Arderne/Stanley of Alderley & We(e)ver. (A later Arderne of Alderley daughter & heiress married a later Sir John Stanley, see STANLEYS of HOOTON page 1.) Sir John(2)’s son Sir John(3) (>1300-1349) stayed at Aldford in Cheshire and his family was known as the Ardernes of Aldford and Alvanley. Gradually the ‘de’ was dropped from their name.

Arderne of Harden

Confusions started to arise in 1331 when Sir John(3)’s son Peter Arderne (1325-1368/9) married (a child marriage) Cicely, daughter & heiress of Adam de Bredbury. The Manor of Bredbury at that time was already divided into two parts, the owners of both of which were called Lords of the Manor. In addition to Bredbury Hall in the centre it contained Goyt Hall in the south and Harden Hall in the north. Peter Arderne inherited the northern part of Bredbury containing Harden Hall and moved there as one of his main seats.

This produced the problem of an ‘Ardern(e)’ living at Harden, which created no end of confusion for scribes recording these names in documents. The situation was presumably affected by the presence of so many local families in Cheshire and Lancashire who had taken their surname from their manor/hall and were still living there. The list of these at the time runs to dozens, but a glance at the list of Lancashire gentry on the Preston Guild Rolls of 1562 and 1582 will suffice: Barton of Barton, Bold of Bold, Charnock of Charnock, Cuerden of Cuerden, Farington of Farington, Halsall of Halsall, Hoghton of Hoghton Osbaldeston of Osbaldeston, Sankey of Sankey, Standish of Standish, Osbaldeston of Osbaldeston, Walton of Walton, Whittingham of Whittingham. Although these dates are two centuries later than Peter Ardern(e) of Harden, this is an indication in itself than two centuries earlier there had probably been far more, with the situation in Cheshire mirroring that in Lancashire. And now we had the Ardernes of Harden – or the Hardernes of Arden – or the Ardernes of Arderne? This naming problem is pursued further in Arden, Ardern, Arderne, Harden, Hawarden.

The problem is reflected by Peter (the same one as above) being called “of Alvanley & Arderne” on at least one occasion. For the following two centuries the situation remained unchanged. We do know, however, that the family consistently called itself Ardern(e) and their hall was known, by locals at least, as Harden Hall. So it appeared in 1577 when Christopher Saxton produced the first reliable county maps, with “Harden” appearing next to its little symbol for hall on his maps of Lancashire and Cheshire. This was, of course, repeated on John Speed’s map of 1611. Although in Cheshire, it lay in an ‘arm’ of land protruding NE of the main body of the county, separating Lancashire from Derbyshire at this point. This ‘anomaly’ in county boundaries was mainly the result of the courses of two local rivers, the Tame and the Goyt, which combine at Stockport, both tributaries of the Mersey. The result was that Harden Hall was indeed on the Cheshire side of the Tame, but it was far closer to SE Lancashire than to Chester and many parts of Cheshire.

Quite naturally, the Ardernes looked for their brides in both counties and neighbouring Derbyshire. Most interesting, in the current context, is the large number of marriages with Stanleys, who were an up and coming family, with their senior branch the Stanleys of Hooton in the Wirral and their junior branch the Stanleys of Lathom in the Lancashire Hundred of West Derby. This was another family with its origins (name and place) in Stoneleigh/Stanleigh in Staffordshire, moving to the Wirral in the 14th century and making Hooton Hall their major residence on marriage to a Hooton heiress. A junior branch later became the Stanleys of Lathom in Lancashire and after the Battle of Bosworth, which the Stanley armies won for Henry VII, the junior branch became the Earls of Derby. The various Stanley-Arderne marriages can be seen on the Family Trees of both families. Their families remained intertwined.

One branch back to the Midlands

One further problem in pursuing the Ardernes comes because one member of the family, Thomas Arderne, Esq. (?c.1445-1511) of Harden, moved (back) to the Midlands at the end of the 15th century. All the Cheshire authorities (Ormerod, Earwaker, Rylands) are unanimous in seeing off Thomas to Leicestershire. It is perhaps understandable and not surprising that none of them pursued his history after his move, because all were concerned with establishing the history of Cheshire.

What is surprising is that, although his existence in the Midlands was noted by many pursuing the ancestry of Mary Arden Shakespeare, none of them followed his trail back to Cheshire more than perfunctorily. All were so sure that the Shakespeare family of Stratford had its roots in the Shakespeares of Warwickshire and elsewhere in the Midlands. They were all equally sure that Mary Arden must have had her roots in the Ardens of Warwickshire and elsewhere in the Midlands. The very idea that the Ardern family of Wilmcote, not far from Stratford, might have had its origins in Cheshire, was just not considered as a possibility worth pursuing. This was despite the fact that John Shakespeare, when applying in 1599 for permission to impale his wife’s Arderne arms into his own Shakespeare arms, was awarded the arms of the Cheshire Ardernes of Alvanley and Harden. It was another case of 18th and 19th (and indeed even 20th) century searchers for Shakespeare’s ancestors assuming that the Heralds in 1599 had been telling lies, were ill-informed, had produced an alternative version of the Warwickshire Arden arms because Cheshire was a long way away, the family was more obscure and would never know about it, etc., etc., etc.. Why did not a single one of them consider that the Heralds might actually have known exactly what they were doing? First of all the heralds did indeed award the Warwickshire Arden fess chequy arms, but immediately crossed these out and substituted the correct ones for Mary’s family. The problems with the coats of arms are all covered under John Shakespeare’s applications for arms in 1596 & 1599: introduction and its sub-sections.

Further details about other muddles appear in Development of SHAKESPEARE-ARDERNE theories 1780s-1980s. Meanwhile a few individuals still needed sorting out, mainly Two (Sir) John Arderns, two Thomas Arderns, two Robert Arderns c.1500.

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