Port Eliot: Marriage Connections — 17th Century

Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy (1609)
GEDY of Trebursey, Cornwall
BOSCAWEN of Tregothnan, Cornwall
The marriage of John Eliot (later Sir John Eliot the Patriot) and Radigund Gedy was planned by the couple's fathers, friends and neighbors in Cornwall. Radigund was the only child and sole heiress of her prominent father (Richard Gedy of Trebursey) and mother (Katherine, daughter of Hugh Boscawen of Tregothnan), making her a very desirable connection for young John Eliot. In the spring of 1609 (just before the death of John's father), the under-age couple were married; nine children blessed this union. Richard Gedy (who had paid £80 for the wardship of his son-in-law) lived twenty years after his daughter's marriage, at which point the sizeable Gedy estate (including Trebursey) came to the Eliots.

John Eliot and Honor Norton (1632)
NORTON of Southwick, Southampton (Hampshire)
WHITE of Southwick, Southampton (Hampshire)
John Eliot (oldest son of Sir John Eliot) was just one month past his twentieth birthday in November of 1632. His father, Sir John, was imprisoned in the Tower of London and dying of consumption and ill treatment. According to the laws of England, if this minor son were found to be unmarried at the time of his father's death, the son would be made a ward of the court and suffer greatly at the hands of the tax system. Realizing the devastating effect this would have on the estate, Sir John set about arranging a suitable marriage for his son and heir. To this purpose, Eliot sent for his friend, Sir Daniel Norton, who soonafter visited the dying patriot in the Tower. They agreed that Norton's daughter, Honor, would marry young John Eliot, if the two young people met and liked each other. On Monday, 26 Nov 1632, John Eliot rode to the house of Daniel Norton to meet his future wife; the couple met, and "a liking and affection grew between them". Knowing that speed was of the essence, Sir Daniel Norton (who was still at the Tower with Sir John) wrote to his wife, giving his permission for the marriage and asking her to send immediately for a licence. John Eliot and Honor Norton were married at the parish church in West Burrant, at nine o'clock, on the morning of November twenty-eighth of 1632. They had ten children.

Unbeknownst to all involved, however, Sir John Eliot had died in the Tower between one and two o'clock that morning, making young John Eliot a legal ward of the court at the time of his marriage. How sad Sir John would have been to know what trouble his son and estate would endure over the next decades. The crown which had behaved so cruelly and inhumanely to the father would show no mercy to the son, and the Eliot estate would have remained financially bereft during young John's lifetime had it not been for the generosity of his new father-in-law and the marriage settlement arranged between the two fathers. In consequence, Sir Daniel Norton settled £3,000 on his daughter, and John Eliot was to have £500 per annum as present maintenance, Honor to receive £700 per annum for her Jointure. Honor died in 1652.

Click here to read Court Report transcriptions relating to this marriage.

Col. Nathaniel Fiennes, M.P. and Elizabeth Eliot (1636)
FIENNES (Saye and Sele) of Newton Tony, Wiltshire
TEMPLE of Stowe, Devon
Elizabeth was the oldest daughter of Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy, who married Nathaniel Fiennes (second son of William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, and later Speaker of Cromwell's Parliament) on 11 Aug 1636, at the Church of St. Mary in Haynes, Bedford. They were blessed with at least two sons, one of whom (William) became the 3rd Viscount Say and Sele. Nathaniel married a second time in about 1650, so Elizabeth died before then.

Sir Peter Fortescue and Bridget Eliot (1646)
FORTESCUE of Woodleigh, Devon
SPECCOTT of Thornbury, Devon
Bridget Eliot was the second daughter and fifth child of Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy. She married Peter Fortescue (his sister, Anne, was married to Bridget's brother Edward) at St. Mary's in Churchstow, Devon, on 12 Jan 1645/6. They were blessed with two children, a son and a daughter. Bridget died young, in June 1663, and Peter remarried six years later.

Edward Eliot and Anne Fortescue (after 1649)
FORTESCUE of Woodleigh, Devon
SPECCOT of Thornbury, Devon
Edward Eliot was the third son of Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy. On his father's death, Edward inherited the estate of Trebursey in South Petherwin, Cornwall. He married Anne (also spelled Anna) Fortescue, daughter of Francis Fortescue and sister of Peter (husband of Edward Eliot's sister, Bridget). No records have yet surfaced for this marriage, but – according to her father's will – Anne may have brought an inheritance of £1,000 with her. Edward and Anne were blessed with at least eight children. Anne died in 1661, but Edward lived until April 1710, with no evidence of a second marriage.

Nicholas Eliot and Katherine Prideaux (1651)
PRIDEAUX of Gurlyn, Cornwall
ROSCARROCK of Cornwall
Nicholas Eliot, the youngest of the nine children born to Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy, married Katherine Prideaux (daughter of William Prideaux & Johanna Roscarrock) at the parish church of St. Erth, Cornwall, on 18 Apr 1651. They had at least two children, a son and a daughter. Nicholas and Katherine died before September 1689 and were, most likely, buried at St. Juliot in Cornwall. Unfortunately, St. Juliot's parish register from that time is missing.

Edward Norton and Susanna "Susan" Eliot (1657)
NORTON of Southwick, Southampton (Hampshire)
WHITE of Southwick, Southampton (Hampshire)
Susan Eliot was seventh child and fourth daughter of Sir John Eliot and Radigund Gedy. She married Edward Norton of Hampshire on 29 Sep 1657 at St. German's Church, St. Germans, Cornwall. Susan died just five days after the Christening of her son, John.

John Speccott and Honor Eliot (1664)
SPECCOTT of Penheale, Egloskerry, Cornwall
Honor Eliot, the first child of John Eliot (eldest son of Sir John Eliot) and Honor Norton, was named for her Grandmother (who was also her Godmother), the illustrious Dame Honor White Norton. John and Honor werearried on 15 Feb 1664 at St. German's Church in St. Germans, Cornwall. They had three sons and one daughter, all who died either unmarried or without issue.

John Sparke and Douglass Eliot (pre-1673)
SPARKE of The Friary, Plymouth, Devon
Douglass Eliot was the fifth child and third daughter of John Eliot (eldest son of Sir John Eliot) and Honor Norton. This couple had three sons (John, Jonathan & William) before Spark's death in 1680 (his wife lived on until December of 1699). In 1663, before his marriage to Douglass Eliot, John Sparke is listed as having married one Mary Carew, but this union remains lost to history.

"Addenda and Corrections to the Heraldic Church Notes of Cornwall, Page 76"
Douglas Eliot married John Spark, of Plymouth. The following are from the Registers of Charles Church, Plymouth: John, son of John Spark, Esq., and Mrs. Duglis his wife, baptized 4th February 1672; William, son of John Spark, Esq., and Mrs. Duglis his wife, baptized 30th April 1676, Mrs. Duglas Spark buried 23rd December 1699. Charles Church was the second ancient church in Plymouth, built to accommodate the more Puritan Cromwellians of the town who did not care to hear the Royalist preaching at the original parish church of St. Andrew. The Trevanions at St. Germans were baptizing at Charles Church, too.

William Savery and Bridget Eliot (1665)
SAVERY of Slade in Cornwood
STRODE of Plympton, Devon
Bridget Eliot was the third child and second daughter of John Eliot (eldest son of Sir John Eliot) and Honor Norton. Bridget died before the writing of her husband's will in 1691. They had at least one son. William's second wife was the sister of Sir Francis Drake, Prudence.

Sir Edward Wise and Radigund Eliot (1675)
WISE of Sydenham, Devon
Radigund Eliot was the sixth child and fourth daughter of John Eliot (eldest son of Sir John Eliot) and Honor Norton. Sir Edward died six months after their marriage, and Radigund survived her husband by 19 years. They had no children.

Sir Henry Hele and Susan Eliot (1676)
HELE of Fleet House, Devon
Susan Eliot was the eight child and fifth daughter of John Eliot (eldest son of Sir John Eliot) and Honor Norton. He died, childless, ten months after their marriage. She was buried at St. German's in 1683, so she must have just gone back home to her family.

William Eliot and Ann Williams (pre-1683)
WILLIAMS of Thame and Burfield (Burghfield)
William Eliot was the son of Nicholas and Katherine Eliot, Sir John's youngest child and fifth son. Almost nothing is known about William Eliot; he was an officer in the Royal Navy, and his wife was the daughter of Lawrence Williams of Ireland. It seems likely that they were married somewhere in Ireland. Their oldest son, Edward, was born about 1683, so the marriage would have taken place before that time. William and Anne Eliot were blessed with six children, four sons and two daughters. Two of the sons died as infants. It is through the youngest son, Richard, that the present line of the Earl of St. Germans descends. William was living in 1694, though he predeceased his wife who died on 11 Apr 1723. Anne was buried at St. German's Church in Cornwall.

Daniel Eliot and Katherine Fleming (1685)
FLEMING of Stoneham, Hampshire
CROMWELL of Hinchinbrooke, Cambridge
WRAXALL of Somerset
Daniel Eliot was the third son of John Eliot (who was the eldest son of Sir John) and Honor Norton. Married c. 13 Jul 1685 (license date), and neither bride nor groom had living parents at the time of their marriage. Daniel & Katherine had one daughter in May 1687 and Katherine was buried in December of the same year. Daniel never remarried, so – since he had no son -- he raised his cousin's son (Edward Eliot) as heir to the Port Eliot estate. Katherine's grandmother was Cromwell's aunt (Dorothy Cromwell Fleming).