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Friday, August 2, 2013

John Pye of The Mynde 1444-1550

I have had great hesitation in writing about this John (there were many by this name over the centuries), simply because he presented such a monumental task of sifting through documented facts and speculation. It is documented that he did live from 1444-1550, to the tune of 106 years. This would be a remarkable feat today, but in the 14th and 15th centuries, it would have been almost incomprehensible. He is buried in Much Dewchurch where an epitaph stated his age, that he had three wives, 42 children and another 26 by ‘other’ women. During the Victorian era, this openly visible account of a less than virtuous man was considered offensive to many so it was removed from sight. It would also seem as though many other pieces of information about him were also removed. I can find no indication of what he did for a living, how he supported all those children and how he traveled to distant places and managed to procreate in a manner more associated with rabbits.

There are papers concerning him but they are in the National Archives in London or in the towns where he and his lands were associated. The papers are too delicate for copying or microfilming so it means a hands on approach. Unfortunately, a trip to London is not in my budget.

I’ll proceed with what information there is and state – up front – the caveat is that not much that is known is documented.

This John Pye was the son of John Tregos Pye (Tregos is the name of a place) and his wife Agnes Andrews. Agnes was the daughter of Roger Andrews ap Ithell, AKA, Roger ap Ithell ap William ap Andrews of Brown's Place, which became the Mynde. It is believed this is how The Mynde came into the possession of the Pye family. Roger’s wife is unknown. John Tregos  and Agnes had at least 7 children, but so far I’ve only discovered one son, John, the subject of this blog.

John married three times. According to birth and death dates of the three women, it would seem likely that Ann de la Bere was his first wife. Ann was the daughter of Sir Richard de la Bere. This family was from Cotentin, in Normandy, and were followers of William the Conqueror. One branch of the family settled in Gloucestershire, while Sir Richard’s branch were associated with Kinnersley  Castle in Herefordshire. Many of this family served as Sheriff’s of the county from Edward III on. Richard was married twice. His first wife Anne (Touchet) Audley, daughter of James Touchet, Lord Audley is the one concerned with here. Richard and Anne had a daughter, Ann, who became the first wife of John Pye of The Mynde.

James Touchet, Lord Audley was a distinguished veteran of the One Hundred Year’s Wars and the opening phases of the War of the Roses. He was also quite well connected. His first wife Margaret Roos was a descendant of the FitzAlan/Arundel family. His 2nd wife was Eleanor de Holland, an illegitimate daughter of Edmund de Holland, 4th Earl of Kent by Constance (Plantagenet) of York, daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and Infanta Isabella of Castile. James and Eleanor were the parents of Anne (Touchet) Audley, who married Sir Richard de la Bere. Edmund de Holland maternal and paternal grandmothers were Plantagenets. His mother was of the FitzAlan/Arundell family. Eleanor herself was a gt. granddaughter of King Edward III of England. Anne de la Bere was a 3x gt. granddaughter of King Edward III of England, in an illegitimate line of descent..

So John Pye of The Mynde married well when Ann de la Bere became his wife.  

His 2nd wife was Anne Brydges.  The Brydges family was quite prominent in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in the 1400-1500’s.  I’ve searched about everything I  can find and have only found one Anne Brydges who fits the time line of John Pye. This Anne’s father was Rowland Brugges (one of the ways this name was spelled) and her mother was Margaret Kelom. However, no marriage information is given for her so it cannot be said she is the 2nd wife of John Pye. Every other Anne Brydges (and variant spellings) I could find either did not fit the time line or was married to someone else. So the 2nd wife is inconclusive.
                The Church of St. David, Much Dewchurch, Herefordhire, England

His third wife was Elizabeth Whitney, the daughter of Sir Robert Whitney and his wife Alice Vaughn. Alice was the daughter of Thomas Vaughn and Ellen Gethyn. The Vaughns were a notable family in Wales.  Earlier ancestors of the Whitneys had been followers of William the Conqueror. They received lands in the Marches of Wales and took the name De Whitney of the Wye. The estate included about 2,000 acres and remained in the family until 1893. Sadly, for Elizabeth, her father, Robert, was attainted in 1459 as a Yorkist, for this was the time of The War of the Roses.  The Vaughn family has roots in Wales going back to the 10th century. They were mentioned in the Domesday Book and several other early records of note. They remained in the Marches of Wales, marrying into many of the families  considered to be Marcher Lords.

The engraving on John Pye’s tomb that was removed from public view I given here.

Here lyeth the Bodyof John Pye of Minde
a travayler in far countryes, his life ended
He left behind him Walter, his son, heire of Minde
a hundred and six yeares he was truly
and had sons and daughters two and fourty!

John Pyeof mynde

sone of Jon. pye, seconde sone of Jon. pye of Sadlebowe, esq
married 3 wiefes

his first wief was Anne, da. to Sr. Richard Delabyre, knight
his second wief was Anne Brigees
and his third wief was alrothes, da. to Sr. Robert Whitney, lord of Whitney
Hee had bye theme 42 children
And hee had by Concubines 22 Children

It is sad to say that with all these children, there are only names for about a half dozen of them. My belief is that most of them moved to other places in England. If you are searching for your Pye ancestors and have hit a brick wall, give a thought to the possibility that your ancestor was a child of John Pye of The Mynde.

Herefordshire biographies
 By John Hutchinson

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Vol. III 1908
By William Richard Cutter