Roger Cave and Margaret Cecil


This article written and copyright 2011 by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist
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Roger Cave and Margaret Cecil are ancestors of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

Margaret Cecil was the daughter of Richard Cecil, esq, of Burghley by his wife Jane Heckington.  Richard and Jane had one son, Queen Elizabeth's famous William Cecil Baron Burghley, and they had three daughters: Agnes (or Anne or Anneys) who married Thomas White of Wallingwells, Woodhead and Tuxford; Elizabeth who married Robert Wingfield and Hugh Allington; and this Margaret.  It is not known to me the order of the daughters, nor even any good birthyears for any of the three, but she was the last married, which may indicate she was the youngest.  By the date of her children's birth's, this Margaret had to have been between 1522 and 1547, and she was probably born at Bourne in Lincolnshire.

See  Also: "Margaret Cecil" on Genealogics citing  Burke's Peerage

Roger Cave was born between 1523 and 1530 as the second son of Sir Thomas Cave and Elizabeth Danvers.  His uncle Ambrose Cave was his godfather.  Although he was the second son, he became his father's heir, when his elder brother died young.  Roger, in a lease of Chicheley parsonage, co Buck is then called a Gentleman, and of Stanford. (see A2A D-C/1/244)  In 1558 his uncle Francis Cave and others, grants to him and others Woodgrange in Kirkby Underwood. (see A2A FH701)  Roger was his father's heir, because his older son Richard Cave of Little Oakley, had died within the lifetime of their father, leaving only a daughter who married Edward Gates.

Margaret married firstly on 24 Nov 1561 at St Clement Danes, London to Roger Cave, Gent of Stanford (aka Stanford-on-Avon), co Northampton.  The date and place of their marriage comes from page 77 of Volume 1 of the "Genealogical Memoirs of the Extinct Family of Chester of Chicheley..." by Robert E C Waters, esq which cites the Parish Register of that place as its own source. 

Was Roger a little long in the tooth by 1561?  He had to be at least 31, possibly as old as 36 at this, his apparent only marriage.  His elder brother had died some years ago, leaving Roger the heir apparent, and now his father Thomas Cave had died 4 Sep 1558.  Why such a long delay to marriage?  Margaret and Roger had at least or exactly nine children: Elizabeth, Frances, Thomas, William, Margaret, Cecil, John, Anne and Dorothy.

In 1581, along with his brother Edward Cave and brother-in-law John Skeffington, Roger Cave is granted land in Oakley (see A2A MS3878/137)  Roger Cave died 26 Jul 1586 testate, his ten page will is referred to, but not extracted at A2A  D(W)1721/3/289/(463) with an associated date 27 Apr 28Eliz.  In 1588 when his daughter Frances is about to marry Edmund Bussy of Heydour, co Linc, the indenture to create her jointure calls him "Roger Cave late of Stamford".  (See A2A MON 3/29/43)

Roger's widow Margaret next married 14 Nov 1586 at Husbands Bosworth, co Leic (Batch M036992 wj), to Erasmus (aka Ambrose) Smith (or Smythe), esq of Husband's Bosworth, co Leics. This IGI Batch is a microfiche of the parish register of that place.  Erasmus was evidently already of that place, perhaps then or soon the lord of that manor.  The town is just about five miles as the crow flies, from Stanford where she had been living with her first husband, so it's quite possible the families already knew each other before this marriage.

This place where they married was then or later his own property and was made famous as the scene in 1616 of the execution of the last witches in England.  Some people have made the "boy about 12 or 13" the son of this Erasmus, but as can be plainly seen, the primary record only refers to "Mr Smythe" and Erasmus was seventy or more by this time, if he was even living.

Erasmus was the fourth son of his parents John Smith alias Harris of Withycotes, Leics and his wife Dorothy Cave.  He was also the first cousin of Margaret's first husband, as Dorothy Cave was the aunt of Roger Cave.  Margaret and Erasmus had no issue, but Erasmus had had at least three children by his prior wife a Miss Bayard.  As opposed to Erasmus, it is likely that the boy afflicted in 1616 was a young son of Roger Smythe, third but only surviving son of Erasmus.  Roger Smythe was born 1570/2 and so of the right age to have a son 12 or 13 years old in 1616.  Nine women were hung as witches.  Six more were to be tried, but the king hearing of it, called the boy into his presence, so the story goes, and got him to recant.  The living witches were then pardoned.  Shortly after, in 1617, Roger Smythe and Anne Goodman his second wife, sold Bosworth to George Walker, Gent.  One wonders if feelings of guilt had anything to do with the sale.

Neither Margaret's nor Erasmus's death dates or burial locations have been found by me, she was last known living Nov 1586 at her marriage to Erasmus, and he was last known living Oct 1597.  Of Roger Cave and Margaret's nine children, only John Cave died unmarried 3 May 1639, he is buried at St Mary's, Nottingham.



Thomas Cave
Thomas Cave of Stanford, eldest son, born 1562/3 as he died "qui cum annos 51" on 6 Sep 1613.  His M.I. is in Stanford Church.  He married Eleanor St John, daughter of Nicholas St John of Lydiard Tregoze by his wife Elizabeth Blount (by this marriage, Thomas improved children's royal pedigree by 14 generations).  Thomas and Eleanor had four sons and two daughters.  The apparent eldest daughter Eleanor Cave, being that intrepid woman who married secondly Thomas Roe of Bullwick the famous ambassador and accompanied him on at least one sea voyage.  Her sister Margaret Cave is perhaps equally famous as the third and last wife of Francis Baron Aungier.  Thomas and Eleanor's eldest son Richard died unmarried at Padua age 19 vita patris.  The next son, his brother Thomas then became the heir and was the father of that Thomas Cave created a first Baronet 16 Charles I.  The next son Oliver Cave went to live at Swinford, co Leic, marrying Frances Talbot, daughter of Sherrington Talbot of Rudge.  The fourth son John Cave married a woman named Bridget, their son Oliver lived at Clifton, co Warwick and John and Bridget's daughter Eleanor Cave married Edward Chamberlyne of Princethorp.  Eleanor (St John) Cave was still living 1 Feb 1607/8, but her death date and place are not known to me.  See further "Sir Thomas Cave", Genealogics citing Burke's Peerage, and showing that the Viscounts Massareene descend from this line.

Elizabeth Cave
Elizabeth Cave, probably the eldest daughter was married by 1584 to Walter Bagot (born 24 Oct 1557) of Blithfield, co Staff, esq, who was the eldest son of Richard Bagot by his wife Mary Saunders (by this marriage, Elizabeth improved her children's royal pedigree by 9 generations).  Their eldest child Lewis Bagot was born 19 Apr 1587 at Blithfield, but died vita patris and unmarried  in London, buried at St Andrew's Holborn.  Walter and Elizabeth's daughter Anne Bagot married Thomas Lane of Bentley and they were the parents of Richard Lane, Groom of the Bedchamber.  Walter and Elizabeth's son Hervey Bagot was created 1st Baronet of Blithfield and Hervey's granddaughter Mary was famously married to both Charles Berkeley Earl of Falmouth and Charles Sackville 6th Earl of Dorset.  Her first marriage all the more unusual as she had no fortune or position to recommend her, being only a Maid of Honor to the Duchess of York.  Sources call her both Mary and Elizabeth.  See her picture at this link.  When the Earl of Falmouth was slain in 1665, King Charles was said to have expressed a surprising amount of grief at the news.  She married Dorset perhaps in 1674 and died ten years later in 1684 without having had any issue.

Walter and Elizabeth's daughter Lettice Bagot (born 25 Nov 1606 at Blithfield) was engaged while they were infants to Humphrey Okeover later Sheriff of Derbyshire.  Humphrey was however married off when he was 14, evidently in violation of the contract to Martha Cheney, daughter of Sir Oliver Cheney.  This action launched a legal battle between the two sides, but Lettice married by 1630 to William Owen of Condover (baptised 1 Oct 1581).

Walter died 16 Mar 1622 and Elizabeth was buried 3 Dec 1638 with an M.I. at Blithfield

See further : "Elizabeth Cave", Genealogics citing Burke's Peerage

Margaret Cave
Margaret may have been the next child as her eldest child Henry Skipwith was born 21 Mar 1589, so she was certainly married before her sister Frances (below).  Her husband was William Skipwith of Prestwold, co Leic and of Cotes; Knt.  I'm not yet certain if he was knighted before or after their marriage.  He was the heir of his father Henry Skipwith, also of the same places who died 1588, and perhaps the families came together because of Margaret Cecil's second marriage in 1586 to Erasmus Smythe also of co Leicester.  Perhaps Prestwold or Cotes is a nearby manor to Husbands Bosworth ?

Margaret and William had six children of which I know before Margaret died in 1594.  Their male children were : Henry, George and Thomas in that order; and their female chidren were: Elizabeth, Jane and Anne in an unknown order.  After Margaret's death, Henry married Jane Roberts widow of John Markham of Sedgebrooke, but I do not think they had any children together.

Their son Henry Skipwith married first Amy Kempe, one of the four co-heiresses of her father Sir Thomas Kempe of Ollantigh in Wye, co Kent.  Henry who was born 21 Mar 1589, was created a Baronet in 1622.  Their eldest son William died vita patris and unmarried.  The next son Thomas did not enjoy his honors long, dying within three years after his father, and then at Wynter Plantation in Masulipatum, India, and also unmarried.  The baronetcy, then descended to the third son Gray Skipwith who had been baptised 1 Feb 1623 at Prestwould.  He may have already been living in Virginia, or moved there shortly afterwards dying there before 1681.  His sister Diana Skipwith had by this time already married Edward Dale of that place.

Other than being a U.S. gateway ancestor, this Henry Skipwith, widower of Amy Kempe has the other distinction of marrying secondly a woman, Blandina Penwin, who caused him much loss, he apparently mortgaging his properties to the hilt to pay for expenses related to his step-children.

Frances Cave
Frances Cave married Edmund Bussy sometime between Sep 1588 and Apr 1590.  He was knighted and apparently inherited Haydour, co Linc when his father John Bussy died Dec 1593.  Frances and Edmund's eldest child Edward was born at Rampton, co Nott, I'm not yet sure why, but he must have died young possibly vita patris.  Their five other children were all baptised at Haydour until 1598.  It seems that Edmund then married Frances' sister Anne Cave.  Could that be correct ?  Or possibly there was no other wife Anne Cave.  Their son Miles Bussy was knighted and married Grace Halford, while his sister Elizabeth Bussy married William Halford.  Both Halfords were children of William Halford of Welham, co Leic.  Burke's Peerage (cited by Leo) apparently mentions the marriage of Frances and Edmund, but apparently without mentioning the specific issue.

William Cave
William Cave was the second son of his parents.  He is also called "of Stanford".  He was knighted.  His first wife was named Margaret but her maiden name is not known.  They were married by 1593, possibly as children.  His second wife was Eleanor Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey of Enville, co Staf by his wife Anne Verney.  Sampson Erdeswick in his work "A Survey of Staffordshire" has this marriage, with her parents and siblings, but without specifying children.  He had several children by his second wife, but their names are not known.  William Betham states, that he married next to Elizabeth Burnell, but had no children by her.