Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cuthbert Scofield Family History

Beatrice P. (Scofield) Syska (my grandmother) is the daughter of Harry Scofield (1870-1965) and Maud Justina (Selleck) Scofield (1882-1968).  The families of both Harry and Maud can  be traced back to the first English colonies in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  In fact,  Richard Scofield  (my 9th great grandfather) came to America from Rochdale, Lancashire England in 1635 aboard the "Susan and Ellen" ship.  His brother, Daniel Scofield (my 8th great grandfather) followed in 1641, both settling in Stamford, Ct.

The Spanish Armada and English ships in August 1588 by unknown painterBeatrice is related to both Richard and Daniel, as well as a number of other early american settlers.  Beatrice's ancestory consists entirely of American colonists from the 1600's. I'll post more about that in subsequent blog (the ancestry is quite intertwined with a number of cousins marrying - due to limited number of settlers)

The Scofield (Skofield/Schofield/Scholefield) family can be traced in England to the middle ages.  Cuthbert Scofield (Richard and Daniel's grandfather) was born about 1540 to 1550 at the Scofield Hall in Lancashire England. Sir Cuthbert was knighted for his service against the Spanish Armada.  

  •  A photocopy of a page headed: Encyclopedia of Biography, from A History of England shows a sketch of Sir Cuthbert Scofield and identifies him as a younger son of the Scofields of Kent, who was knighted in 1588 by Queen Elizabeth I, for his services in the fight against the Spanish Armada. This entry indicates that Arms were granted to the family in 1582 and Cuthbert was granted Arms upon his knighthood. 
  • In 1290 the family became known as the 'Scofields of Kent'. Arms were granted to the family in 1582, under Queen Elizabeth I, as: Gules, a fess between three Bulls Heads, couped, argent. (Red shield, a silver band between three silver bulls heads cut off straight at the neck) 
  • The Scofield family took their name from the estate of Scholefield. Early references of the family include  'John de Scolefield' as witness to a charter around 1310 (Coucher Book of Whalley, p.692). More about the Scofield name and history of Scholefield Hall in next blog entry.
An Interesting Historical 'Affair'

Cuthbert Scofield was son of James Scofield and Anne Lathom, daughter of Edward Lathom of Parbold.  Cuthbert married Ann Halgh, daughter ( illegitimate) of Sir John Byron and Ann the wife of George Halgh, date unknown.   Around 1561 Cuthbert filed a suit in the Bishop's Court of Chester for a divorce from "the Lady Byron's daughter" on the plea of adultery

  • Documented depositions from Cuthbert's tailor and sister, Helen Scofield, both witnesses to the incident which state, Mrs. Scofield and Michael Goodricke were alone in an upper chamber of Scholefield Hall while Cuthbert was away with his mother at the Rochdale market. When Cuthbert returned, the tailor told him of the goings on, and he,  "got to his sword" in an attempt to slay Michael Goodricke and Ann Scofield who both escaped out a window.  Cuthbert pursued the couple and was seen chasing them across fields, swearing vengeance before they escaped to Rochdale.
  • William Lathom and his wife deposed that Michael Goodricke "brought a gentlewoman" into their house whom he called his wife and they stayed there for two months while waiting for passage to Ireland. Upon discovering she was Mr. Scofield's wife, they "presentlie rid ye house of them." 
  • Michael Goodricke and Ann Scofield soon afterward left for Ireland. Ann Scofield's friends testified that Cuthbert was remarkable for "hys hatrid that he bare vnto women" and his numerous infidelities.

Cuthbert Scofield fathered two sons out of wedlock with Jane Langley: Alexander Scofield, born 1588, and John Scofield, born 1590. The Rochdale Parish Register notes, “b 1588, baptized Alexander, filius of Mr. Cuthbeard Scofeld et Jane Langley."  

Since Cuthbert did not have any legitimate heirs, his estate, along with Scholefield Hall went to his nephew, Gerrard Scofield.  Cuthbert's illegitimate son, Alexander, under the guardianship of Cuthbert Holdsworth, sued his cousin Gerrard in 1601 for the "Manor of The Holt" (Scholefield Hall), but lost the case.   Alexander married Mary Norton and fathered Richard (1613-1669) and Daniel (1620-1671), both of whom emigrated to America.

Scholefield Hall once stood in the field in the foreground below the lake. The site was in hands of Schofield family for over 400 years.  In it's heyday, the Hall, most probably built about 1500, was one of the most spectacular in the region.  The ruins and remains are a tourist attraction in Rochdale, England, in part because many Americans can trace their heritage to the emigration of Richard and Daniel Scofield.

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