Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

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Joseph M James
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Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Joseph M James » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:10 pm

After extensive research: Robert and William de Knightley were born in the middle to late 1200's. Robert being the elder son inherited his father's estates which partially came from good marriages. The arms of Knightley were Paly of ------------ ( 1st. and 3rd. quarters of the Knightley arms). The Ermine --------- ( 2nd. and 4th. heiress of Pantulf). Robert gave his younger brother William part of the estate to farm to help support William, his wife, two sons and daughter Alicia or Alice, but William was a neer-do-well, basically a criminal and was killed in self defense in the act of trying to kill a another man in 1300. Robert seems to have been a good brother and uncle because in 4 E 2, approx. 1311 in the 1st. paragraph of Latin ( previous post Cotes of Woodcote) Robert is giving Roger ( his nephew,the eldest son of the nefarious William) part of the Knightley estates. Roger would become the direct ancestor of the Knightleys of Fawsley, Northamtonshire ( extinct. 1938, the estate is now owed by a distant cousin surname Gage). Anyway, back to the arms. As I said Robert seems to have been a good uncle and wanting to arrange for his niece Alice (again, the daughter of William the bad) a good marriage he made a deal. Since Alice was the daughter of a known criminal, therefore undesirable as a wife and the arms and family of Knightley(besides William that is) were much more prestigious then Cotes at the time. Knightley and Cotes could trace their lineage back to the conquest and held the same social rank, so this made a good match and they were neighbors holding estates in Shropshire and Staffordshire, Robert, among other things gave John de Cotes the right to assume the arms of Knightley as part of Alice's dowry. None of the arms arrangement is in any surviving records that I know of at the moment, but is the only thing that makes sense to me since it was never contested.

2nd. paragraph of Latin ( previous post Cotes of Woodcote): This is the will of Roger de Knightley ( son of the Roger in the 1st. paragraph of Latin) 49 E 3, approx. 1376 whereas Roger wills part of his estate to (guess who) Thomas de Cotes the grandson of Alice (de Knightley) Cotes and Thomas' heirs. If Thomas dies without heirs that part of the estate reverts back to Robert de Knightley ( son of Roger, the will maker) or John the son of the aforementioned Robert and his heirs. If Thomas,Roger and John all die without heirs the estate goes to John son of Richard de Somerford and his heirs or William the younger son of Richard de Somerford etc. Witnessed by John de Knightley son of the will maker and others and with the seal of John de Knightley at the bottom of the document.
I guess because of the dangerous age they lived in Roger was covering all his bases.

3rd. paragraph of Latin: Ellena Calueley is testifying that Thomas de Cotes gave among other things, part of the estate near Swynnerton to Agnes Knightley as her dowry when she married Robert Fouleshurst. 16 R 2 approx. 1393

Whew; I'm glad this is over. As far as I'm concerned I'm satisfied with all this, but await any responses.
JOSEPH M JAMES

Joseph M James
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Re: Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Joseph M James » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:42 pm

I realize I totally screwed up the blazon, but I tired and in a hurry, sorry, but the Paly of---------- still appears to be Knightley and the Ermine appears to come from Pantulf I just got the locations on the shield wrong.

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Chris Green
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Re: Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Chris Green » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:00 am

That is all fascinating stuff, but does not explain why John Cottes (sic) bore a banner of the ancient Cotes arms in Henry VIII's army in 1513. By your theory the Cotes family would then have been using the Knightley arms for going on 200 years. John Cotes can hardly have rummaged around in his cupboards until he found an old banner and decided that it would have to do. I think we can be confident that he and his fellows would have been arrayed in the newest and finest kit that money could buy. This was after all supposed to be Henry VIII's big moment, taking an army onto the continent. If any soldiers wore old kit and bore old banners it was the second army that the Earl of Surrey had to scrape together to fight the Scots at Flodden.

It seems inconceivable to me that the family would have forgotten about the arrangement after 200 years, but then rediscovered it by the time of the Visitation of Shropshire in 1623, nor that they would have failed to explain all this to the visiting Herald, providing evidence. The record of the Visitation would surely at least have provided an explanation for how the ancient Cotes arms had ended up (slightly modified) as the family's crest.
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Joseph M James
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Re: Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Joseph M James » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:23 pm

I agree, BUT (I love big buts) I managed to get a look at the genealogy of Cotes of Cotes and Cotes of Woodcote starting with the earliest Cotes recorded and ending in 1886. this included marriages and it appears Alice de Knightley was the only person to inject Knightley blood into the Cotes bloodline.

Next I looked at the crest: I found a list of the captains, their standards, and the counties they came from when they entered France in 1513. We have ( I'm rehashing) Cotes crest Shropshire 1623, A cock proper, beaked, combed, and legged or. Cotes standard 1513, Sylver, (argent?) a coke (cock) goulls (gules) his hakell (comb?) and tayll (tail) gold. Slightly different but in the main similar enough.

I decided to to cross reference the standards with the arms listed in the visitations. The 1st. name I picked was listed two names below John de Cottes.
Sir John Maynwaryng of Eghtfeld Shropshire, his standard of 1513; gold, a ass hed (ppr?), haltered sabull and a cressent upon the same.
Mainwaring of Eghtfield Shropshire, visitation 1623 crest; An ass's head erased proper, haltered or. Again pretty close. I did further checking. Some of the standards were based on the coas and some were based on the crests.

It's my theory that either Cotes at that time of Alice had no coa or assuming the arms of Knightley was a major step up in social rank or if the cock was the ancient of arms Cotes by using it as a crest it allowed Cotes to "Lord" their ancient arms over any resulting coa.

Watch'a think, a load of bull or a reasonable theory.
JOSEPH M JAMES

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Chris Green
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Re: Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Chris Green » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:34 am

I was not of course suggesting that the Cotes crest was invented as a substitute for the ancient Cotes arms. I can quite well imagine that a Cotes at some stage, probably during the 14th century (like many others whose arms were created before crests became commonplace) decided that the cock that graced his shield would equally well serve as his crest. The Maynwayrings you quote clearly had the same, eminently sensible, idea.

As for your theory: if, as your research seems to indicate, the Cotes family could be traced back to the Conquest and, as you say, had the same social rank, it would seem strange that the family would not have been armigerous at an early date. The discarding of the ancient Cotes arms and the illicit assumption of those of Knightley only occurred at a date post 1513 and before 1623, during which time the Cotes were clearly the Knightleys social equals.
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Joseph M James
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Re: Knightley/Cotes arms- I have a theory?

Post by Joseph M James » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:13 am

No more theories, just some things I found.
The earliest mention of the Knightley/Cotes shared arms that I have found was by Sampson Erdeswick (1553-1603) in his Survey of Staffordshire in which he says "It would seem the Cotes should derive themselves from the Knightleys, or else they do the Knightleys wrong by usurping their armory". I guess he didn't think of knocking on the Cotes door and asking about it, he'd rather just put it in a book. The next references are in the 1800's, not discounting what was in the visitations.

Woodcote Hall the seat of the Cotes family in Shropshire, burned down in the early 1870's, then was rebuilt in 1875. I would imagine most if not all records were lost, though a member of the extended Cotes family I found in a genealogy message board seems to think they know who might have some very old records. I have reached out and I am awaiting a reply.

In Miscellanea Genealogica Et Heraldica vol.1 1868 there is an extensive genealogy provided by Sir R. Knightley, Bart. M.P. of Fawsley in which it states the arms of Robert de Cotes and Alice de Knightley after they were married were "argent, a fret azure, on a canton or, a lion rampant sable, impaling Knightley. In the next column over under Alice's brothers name (Roger) it appears that Alice and Robert died and Alice granted custody of their underage son and his future property to Roger. Maybe after being raised to maturity by his uncle Alice's son was allowed to adopt the Knightley arms. Who knows ?
And that's it, if Sir R. Knightley's genealogy can be believed then I have gotten the closest I will probably get to the original Cotes arms and the next thing is to find out who threw them over for the Knightley arms and why. Unless something miraculous happens I think this the end.
JOSEPH M JAMES

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