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Monday, September 23, 2013

John Pye 1495 – 1582



Yet another John Pye comes forth as the son of John Pye and Ann de la Bere. It is said he was of Nansarth (Lansreath), of St. Stephen’s in Brannel, in Cornwall, though it does not appear he was born there. Not much is known about this John, not even the name of his wife. But he does appear in the The Visitations of Cornwall, comprising the Heralds’ visitations of 1530, 1573 and 1620, Lt. Col. J.L. Vivian, p. 287.

Having said that, there is no solid proof this is the same man who is John, s/o John Pye and Ann de la Bere. Every indicator seems to point in the direction of this being true, but lacking is the verification. So this continues to be a work in progress.  According to the pedigree shown in The Visitation, he had three sons, Alexander, John and John. The pedigree concentrates on Alexander, mentioning only that the first John had 2 sons and the second John had one son.  Although it may seem odd to us to have two children with the same name in one family, it wasn’t an uncommon thing in the 14th and 15th centuries. Usually it meant that the older one had died and the next child born was given the name of the diseased sibling, depending on whether male or female, of course. In this case, though, it appears that both men by the name of John lived to adulthood and had children. Most likely they had pet names they used or they used their middle names, which is a custom that shows also up in the Canadian Maritime Provinces in the 1800’s and 1900’s.

It has also been claimed that this John Pye married Elizabeth de Courtenay. Unfortunately, there is not a speck of evidence to support this. To date, the wife of this John is unknown. The story of this John seems to be that he left Herefordshire to claim his inheritance from his mother (de la Bere) in Devon and Cornwall, a much larger territory than what he would have received at the Mynde.  It has been stated, in several different places that land in St. Brannel, Cornwall, originally owned by the Carminow family, came into the hands of the Courtenays. This is quite likely as the two families had intermarried. What seems odd about this, is that later on the Pyes ended up with the land that had been in the hands of the Courtenays. The Pyes eventually sold the land to the Tanner family, which seems normal as there had been several marriages between the Pyes and the Tanners over the years. So we have a connection between the Carminows and the Courtenays and then between the Pyes and the Tanners, but nothing to connect the Pyes with the Courtenays.  This search continues on.

John’s son Alexander married Marion Corne, d/o Robert Corne and his wife Elizabeth Vyvyan (now commonly spelled Vivian). Alexander was the first born son, and I’m sure his name reflects his mother’s family. Through several generations there have been no male Pyes named Alexander. I’m convinced his name is a clue to who his mother or grandfather were, but, again, no proof.


Alexander and Marion’s Anthony married Constance Pownd (Pound), the d/o William Pownd. There is another family, John Pownd, whose daughter, Blanch, married Sir John Trelawny.  So far, I haven’t been able to connect these two Pound families, but the name Blanch is another clue, as it appears with some frequency in the Pye family.

The children of Alexander and Constance (Pound) Pye were:

Elizabeth (1579-1626) m. Thomas Burgess of Truro, Cornwall. They had 21           children. Their oldest son, another Thomas, 1601-1684, was b. in Truro           Cornwall, but d. in Sandwich MA. He and his wife (Dorothy Phippen) are    the ancestors of Thornton Burgess, early 1900’s author of children’s     book, i.e.  Old Mother West Wind.
Jane (1581-?) m. Henry Burgess
Margaret (c. 1583-?) m. William Cathcher – 10 children
John (1585-1617) m. Jane Tanner
Anthony II (1590-1656) m. Elizabeth Trethewey – 5 children
Thomas (1589- ?) m.  Grace Cosyn
Otwell (1591-bef. Sep 1683) m. Jane Thomas
Nathaniel (c. 1593-bef. Sep 1669) m. Jennifer
Joan (? -?) m. George Phippen (? – Jul 1650) Parents of Dorothy Phippen

I will leave this Cornwall branch of the Pyes to indulge in some more research. It’s quite possible the Nova Scotia and some of the Newfoundland families all originated in Cornwall. More investigation is necessary.

Visitations of Cornwall  Lt. Col. J. L. Vivian
The Visitation of the County of Cornwall 1620, Henry St. George, Harleian Society