The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 9) – An Exciting New Contribution from a Reader

Just a few days ago, via our good friend Kathryn Warner, a superb genealogist dealing with the medieval period got in touch with us to share his research on the matrilineal line descending from Eleanor of Castile, carrying the same mitochondrial DNA as King Edward II. His name is Kevin McKenzie, and as well as being a sollicitor, he says “I have been a pretty obsessive genealogist since my early teens!”

Kevin wrote to us with his own original research into the matrilineal line, which, like the research previously provided by Kathryn Warner, brings us to the late 17th century, possibly even the early 18th century, following another line. This is a huge leap forward, and we are extremely grateful to Kevin for sharing this information with us. Family tree researchers out there – please, if any of the women Kevin lists below are in your family trees, get in touch with us! You may carry the mitochondrial DNA of King Edward II!

Kevin writes:

“I was surprised to see from the Auramala Project website (see The Search for Edward II’s Descendants #5) that two of the individuals given with a matrilinear descent from Eleanor (in fact through Joan of Acre), where they are looking for possible living matrilinear descendants, are Philippa Bonville and her sister Margaret Bonville who married Sir William Courtenay of Powderham Castle.

I have information for you regarding Margaret Bonville’s matrilineal line descendants at least as far as the late c17th and I do know that the lady which the matrilinear section of my tree ends with – my ancestress Mary Drake – had a very large number of children.

I also think I can clear up the question of Margaret Bonville’s maternity and whether this was Eleanor’s matrilineal descendant Margaret Grey or instead one “Margaret Merriet”.  Helpfully it seems that Margaret Merriet is a confusion with Sir William Bonville’s grandfather’s wife, Margaret daughter of Sir William d’Aumale, cousin and heir of Sir John Meriet, junior (see extracts from Rootsweb posts as marked in yellow below) – and so the Auramala Project will I am sure be very interested in this – as I can give them an answer to their request for information on this which is a positive one from the matrilineal lines research point of view!

The tree goes as follows and, as you will see, this section of it is entirely matrilinear:

1  Margaret Grey (not Margaret Merriet) = Sir William Bonville, KG (1393 – 1461)

2  Margaret Bonville = Sir William Courtenay of Powderham Castle  (Margaret’s sister Philippa married Sir William Grenville and was thereby the ancestress of Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge)

3  Joan de Courtenay = William Carew of Mohun Ottery

4  Cecily Carew (sister of Admiral George Carew of the Mary Rose) = Thomas Kirkham

5  Thomasine Kirkham = Thomas Southcote

6  Mary Southcote = Sir William Strode of Newnham Park (d 1637) (a direct descendant of Gregory, son of Thomas Cromwell, and his wife Elizabeth Seymour, sister of Queen Jane)

7  Joan Strode (sister of William Strode MP, one of the famous Five Members) = Sir Francis Drake, 1st Baronet (nephew of Admiral Sir Francis Drake)

8  Mary Drake = Elizeus (or Ellis/Elisha) Crymes of Buckland Monachorum, Devon, MP, Colonel of the Parliamentary  garrison of Plymouth during the Civil War (their son Lewis (or Ludovic) is an ancestor of mine, but not in the seamless matrilinear line).”

Thank you once again Kevin for this extremely valuable information!

Ivan Fowler.


The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 7) – Kathryn Warner’s genealogical research

After Kathryn Warner’s visit to Pavia in late September, she became passionate about the genealogical side of the Auramala Project, and we are very, very happy about that. Kathryn turns out to have a real talent for genealogy, and with her extremely in-depth knowledge of the 14th century royal family and it’s many, many branches, she has an edge over most other researchers. In fact, Kathryn has done what we feared was not going to be possible – she has breached the obscurity barrier from the 1500s to the 1700s, for at least one line of matrilineal descent from Eleanor of Castile. In the space of literally a few days, Kathryn managed to trace 17 generations, and since the last generation includes no less than four women, all carrying Edward II’s (well, really Eleanor of Castile’s) mitochondrial DNA. What a breakthrough! This latest generation must surely bring the research into the 1700s. Please, any reader who finds any of the women listed below in their genealogy should get in touch with us, you may be the carrier of Edward II’s mitochondrial DNA!

Here is the text Kathryn sent to us in full:

17 Generations of Female Descent from Edward II’s Mother Eleanor of Castile – by Kathryn Warner

Generation 1) Eleanor of Castile, queen of England, countess of Ponthieu (c. late 1241 – 28 Nov 1290)

m. Edward I, king of England (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307)


Generation 2) Joan of Acre (spring 1272 – 23 April 1307) [Note: Second surviving daughter of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, born in the Holy Land]

m. (1) Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford (2 Sept 1243 – 7 Dec 1295)


Generation 3) Elizabeth de Clare (16 Sept 1295 – 4 Nov 1360) [Note: Fourth child and third daughter, born just a few weeks before her father died; married three times and a very wealthy widow for almost forty years; co-heiress of her brother the earl of Gloucester with her older sisters Eleanor de Clare Despenser and Margaret de Clare Gaveston Audley; founded Clare College, Cambridge; often known by her first married name, Elizabeth de Burgh]

m. (2) Theobald de Verdon or Verdun, justiciar of Ireland (8 Sept 1278 – 27 July 1316) [Note: he abducted her from Bristol Castle in early February 1316 and forcibly married her]


Generation 4) Isabella de Verdon (21 March 1317 – 25 July 1349) [Note: Born at Amesbury Priory, Wiltshire, eight months after her father’s death, and named after her godmother, Edward II’s queen Isabella of France; Edward II sent a silver cup as a christening gift for his great-niece; younger half-sister via her mother of William Donn de Burgh, earl of Ulster, whose daughter and heir Elizabeth married Edward III’s second son Lionel of Antwerp; co-heiress of her father with her three older de Verdon half-sisters]

m. Henry, Lord Ferrers of Groby, Leicestershire (1290s/early 1300s – 15 Sept 1343)


Generation 5) Elizabeth Ferrers (c. mid to late 1330s – 22 Oct 1375)

m. David de Strathbogie, titular earl of Atholl (c. early 1330s – 10 Oct 1369) [Note: Son of Katherine Beaumont, whose sister Isabella married Henry of Grosmont, first duke of Lancaster; David was thus a first cousin of Blanche of Lancaster, who married Edward III’s third son John of Gaunt and was the mother of Henry IV]


Generation 6) Elizabeth de Strathbogie, also called Elizabeth of Atholl (1361 – 1416)

m. (2) Sir John le Scrope (will dated 23 Dec 1405)


Generation 7) Elizabeth le Scrope (c. 1395 – 1430)

m. Sir Thomas Clarell of Aldwark (1394 – 1430)


Generation 8) Elizabeth Clarell (c. 1415 – 1503)

m. Sir Richard Fitzwilliam of Aldwark (will proved 5 Sept 1488)


Generation 9) Margaret Fitzwilliam (? – ?; her brother was born in 1448) [Note: had two sisters Isabel and Katherine; possibly more female lines to be investigated here]

m. Ralph Reresby (d. 1530)


Generation 10) Elizabeth Reresby (? – ?)

m. Edward Eyre of Holm Hall (d. 1557)


Generation 11) Lucy Eyre (d. before 1556) [Note: had sister Anne Eyre]

m. Humphrey Stafford of Eyam (the famous plague village in Derbyshire)


Generation 12) Gertrude Stafford (d. either before 1600 or in 1624) [Note: Gertrude had sisters Alice, Ann and Catherine Stafford; possibly more female lines here; another line from Catherine is below]

m. Rowland Eyre of Hassop (d. 1626)


Generation 13) Jane Eyre (seriously!!!) (d. after 1611) [Note: had sister Frances Eyre]

m. Christopher Pegge


Generation 14) Jane Eyre and Christopher Pegge had daughters Prudence Pegge, b. 1598, and Anne Pegge.

Another line, the same as above to Generation 11, Lucy Eyre

Generation 11) Lucy Eyre

m. Humphrey Stafford of Eyam, Derbyshire


Generation 12) Catherine Stafford (d. 1595), sister of Gertrude Stafford, above

m. Rowland Morewood of The Oaks


Generation 13) Anne Morewood (b. c. 1578) [Note: had sisters Gertrude, Mary, Alice, Faith and Elizabeth Morewood; possibly more female lines here to check]

m. James Bullock of Greenhill in July 1607


Generation 14) Elizabeth Bullock (christened 12 April 1608)

m. Godfrey Froggatt of Mayfield (d. 1664)


Generation 15) Elizabeth Froggatt (1636-1669) [Note: Elizabeth Bullock and Godfrey Froggatt also had daughters Alice, Catherine, Barbara (1639-1675), Anne, Mary and Priscilla Froggatt, Elizabeth’s sisters. With any luck should be some lines of descent to trace here]

m. Thomas Burley of Greenhill


Generation 16) Sarah Burley

m. Charles Johnstone of Pontefract


Generation 17) Jane, Elizabeth, Sarah and Barbara Johnstone [Note: I don’t have their dates of birth and death or any more info, but this must take us into the 1700s ]

The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 1) Craig L. Foster of the Family History Library enters the team

After a several-month hiatus, the genealogy side of our blog is coming back to life, keeping a pace with the progress in the archival research.

Since May 2013, we have enjoyed the collaboration of Craig L. Foster, a research consultant at the Family History Library, a division of FamilySearch, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a privilege for the Auramala Project, as Craig is well respected professional in a highly specialised field, and is working with the largest and most detailed genealogical databases in the world. Craig has been following the direct female line of descendancy down from Edward II’s mother, Eleanor of Castille, toward the present, in the hopes of discovering a living carrier of Edward II’s mitochondrial DNA. It is painstaking and at times frustrating research, and it is not the regular work of the Family History Library, since their emphasis is on assisting people to find their ancestors. We are very grateful both to Craig and the Family History Library for the time and effort dedicated to the Auramala Project.

Family History Libary
The Family History Library, Utah

The family-tree mapping is an ongoing process, and we still have not found our living descendant(s), so please, genealogy enthusiasts, do keep checking on this blog and write to us as soon as you see a name appear in these genealogy blog posts that you know for certain appears in your own family tree. We really need people around the world to get involved and help us track descendants. A big thank you in advance to anybody who can help with this.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of things, by following one of the lines that Craig has mapped out. Remember, the key aspect is that mitochondrial DNA follows the path from mothers to their children, but is NOT passed on to the next generation by men, only by women. So both men and women bear it, but only women transmit it.

(The following information is courtesy of Craig L. Foster. Mr Foster is a research consultant at FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah ( FamilySearch collects digitized records and other information to assist people around the world searching after their ancestors. FamilySearch does not normally perform research on DNA and to search for living descendants.)

The effigy of Eleanor of Castile in Westminster Abbey
The effigy of Eleanor of Castile in Westminster Abbey


The first generation is made up of the 17 (!) children of Eleanor herself, including Edward II. Of these, only female children who had female children of their own interest the research, as they are the only ones to pass on Eleanor’s mitochondrial DNA. These daughters are in red.

Generation 1

Children of Edward I ‘Longshanks’, King of England and Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu

  1. 1.      Eleanor of England+ b. 17 Jun 1264, d. 12 Oct 1298
  2. 2.      Joan of England b. c Jun 1265, d. b 7 Sep 1265
  3. 3.      John of England b. 10 Jul 1266, d. 3 Aug 1271
  4. 4.      Alice of England b. c 1267, d. 1279
  5. 5.      Henry of England b. 13 Jul 1267, d. 14 Oct 1274
  6. 6.      Juliana of England b. 1271, d. 28 May 1271 (Known as Katherine of England)
  7. 7.      Joan of Acre+ b. c Apr 1272, d. 23 Apr 1307
  8. 8.      Alfonso of England, 1st Earl of Chester b. 24 Nov 1273, d. 19 Aug 1284
  9. 9.      Margaret of England+ b. 11 Sep 1275, d. 1318
  10. 10.  Berengaria of England b. 1276, d. bt 1276 – 1279
  11. 11.  Mary of England b. 11 Mar 1278, d. b 8 Jul 1332
  12. 12.  Alice of England b. 12 Mar 1279, d. c 1291
  13. 13.  Isabella of England1 b. 12 Mar 1279, d. 1279
  14. 14.  Elizabeth Plantagenet+ b. Aug 1282, d. 5 May 1316
  15. 15.  Edward II, King of England+ b. 25 Apr 1284, d. 21 Sep 1327
  16. 16.  Beatrice of England b. c 1286
  17. 17.  Blanche of England b. c 1290, d. 1290

Unfortunately, the line of Eleanor of England dies out very quickly, due to the extremely unhappy love-life of her daughter Joan de Bar (see Kathryn Warner’s blog on Edward II for all the details). For the moment, we will follow the line represented by Joan of Acre, the seventh child of Edward I ‘Longhsanks’ and Eleanor of Castille.

7. Joan of Acre Plantagenet

Joan of Acre was born circa April 1272 at Acre, Israel.2 She married, firstly, Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, son of Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Gloucester and Matilda de Lacy, on 30 April 1290 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.2 She married, secondly, Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester before 2 August 1297, without her father’s consent, although this was pardoned on 2 August 1297. She died on 23 April 1307 at Clare, Suffolk, England.3 She was buried at Priory Church of the Austin Friars, Clare, Suffolk, England.3
She was also known as Joan Plantagenet.4 From 30 April 1290, her married name became de Clare. From 1297, her married name became Monthermer.

Children of Joan of Acre and Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester

  1. 1.      Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester5 b. 10 May 1291, d. 24 Jun 1314
  2. 2.      Eleanor de Clare+1 b. Oct 1292, d. 30 Jun 1337
  3. 3.      Margaret de Clare+1 b. 1293, d. Apr 1342
  4. 4.      Elizabeth de Clare+6 b. 16 Sep 1295, d. 4 Nov 1360

Children of Joan of Acre and Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester

  1. 1.      Mary de Monthermer+1 b. 1298, d. a 1371
  2. 2.      Joan de Monthermer1 b. 1299 – Became a nun
  3. 3.      Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron Monthermer+1 b. 1301, d. 1340
  4. 4.      Edward de Monthermer, 3rd Baron Monthermer1 b. 1304, d. b 3 Feb 1340


  1. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.
  2. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 82. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  3. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families, page 83.
  4. [S125] Richard Glanville-Brown, online , Richard Glanville-Brown (RR 2, Milton, Ontario, Canada), downloaded 17 August 2005.
  1. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 244. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 245.

Naturally, this line continues with the children of Joan of Acre’s daughters, in this case Eleanor de Clare, Margaret de Clare, Elizabeth de Clare and Mary de Monthermer. This is a very fruitful line. As Craig Foster wrote to me in a recent email “there are thousands upon thousands of descendants. I’m a descendant in this line, but not along the direct female line, so I don’t have the mitochondrial DNA we’re looking for.”

We’ll see how this, and other lines work out in following blog posts.

Note: Craig L. Foster has made extensive use of the resources of the Family History Library, and