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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Burke's Genealogical and Thomas Rogers, Esq.

Source for the following: 
A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, by Barnard Burke: Rogers of Rainscombe, Rogers, Rev. Edward-Henry of Rainscombe, co. Wilts, M.A. &. 1827.  

“The family of Rogers were seated at Bryanstone, co. Dorset, till the close of the 17th century.  

Thomas Rogers, Esq. (1433/34-1489) of Bristol, admitted to Lincolns Inn, London, on the Sunday before Lent , 1454, created Serjeant-at-law 1478, of Bradford on Avon, m. Cecilia Besill d. and co-heir of William Besyll or Besill of Bradford.  He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn at the same time as Walter Hungerford.   Pupil lawyers were about 16 years old giving Thomas a possible date of birth c1438. The Hungerford's were hugely important landowners and allied to the Lancastrian cause of Henry Vl as was most of the West Country. At the time of Thomas's admission his father Thomas of Bristol was a Burgess, then Sheriff in 1455, and Mayor in 1459. In 1460 Pakenham sold Smallbrook to Thomas Rogers of Bradford, serjeant-at-law, who died in possession in 1478. It descended in the same way as Rogers's manor of Bradford to his great grandson Anthony Rogers.

Thomas chose instead to practice law. He went to Oxford University and ultimately settled in Bradford in Wiltshire. He became an honorable and distinguished lawyer. In 1478, when he was 43 years old, under appointment by the Crown he was created "Serviens ad Legem," a life office bestowed because of professional attainments and worth of character. He was a great influence in his community and amassed a considerable fortune. He was appointed Sergeant-at-Law, a little before his first marriage. A son William was born of this marriage. After the death of his first wife, he married Catherine de Courtenay in 1483. She was the daughter of Sir Philip de Courtney, Knight of Powderham Castle in Devon. She and Thomas had two sons, George, the elder and John. Catherine or Katherine (as it was more frequently spelled) was the second daughter and youngest child of Sir Philip, who was born in 1404 and died in 1463. Her mother was Elizabeth Hungerford, daughter of Lord Walter Hungerford and Catherine Peverell.


Editor's Note: Burkes may be considered a good first source, but even it has some date questions.  In the second to last paragraph about Thomas Rogers, Esq. his birthdate is given as 1433/34, and then several sentences later, he is estimated to have been born in 1438 since "pupil lawyers were about 16 years old"  But in the last paragraph it is reiterated that he became "Serjeant-at-law in 1478," at age 43, which brings him back to a birth of 1435 or so.  

I believe Katherine de Courtenay was the mother of my line of Rogers. Thomas and Katherine's grandson became Rev. John Rogers the martyr.

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