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Dadswell Family History

Generation 1
Robert Doudeswell (ca 1560-1636) & Elizabeth Doudeswell, Margaret Crayford

On this page:
Robert's story
Key family dates
Further information

Robert Doudeswell's story

Robert Doudeswell, the earliest member of the Dadswell family identified so far, was born about 1560, possibly in Gloucestershire in south west England, and is believed to have been a cattle dealer.

John Dadswell, (1) who in the early 1930s researched Dadswell family history and genealogy, wrote:

Robert Doudeswell came from Gloucestershire, a dealer in Welsh Runts, who drove his herds to markets and fairs before settling in Sussex.

John Dadswell did not cite a source for this statement. It may have been family tradition, or it may have been presumed Robert came from Gloucestershire because the Doudeswell name appears to derive from there.

Before arriving in Sussex, Robert married Elizabeth (maiden name and birthdate unknown), and they are known to have had nine children.

Robert and Elizabeth's birthplace are unknown but 'Welsh runts' is a generic term which describes small hardy cattle raised in Wales and which were driven by cattle dealers to markets and fairs in the south of England.

One such fair was at East Grinstead, not far from Rotherfield, Sussex. Sometime in the latter part of 1600, Robert, Elizabeth and their first-born son (Robert) were settled at Rotherfield.

According to John Dadswell, Robert was apparently a wealthy man when he settled in Crowborrowe (sic), Rotherfield Parish ca 1588. In 1604 he bought a copyhold cottage at Palesgate. A transaction in Rotherfield Manor Court Rolls states:

Comes Robert Doudswell and Elizabeth his wife and prays out of the Lord's hand a cottage with a little garden lyinge in Palesgate . . .

All except the first of their nine children were baptised at St Denys Church, Rotherfield.
St Denys church, Rotherfield
Elizabeth died at Rotherfield in 1610 and was buried there on May 31.

Almost a year later, Robert married a second time. At Rotherfield on 20 May 1611, he and Margaret Crayford married and subsequently had three children. Only one, a daughter, grew into adulthood. Margaret died in 1634 and was buried at Rotherfield on May 12.

According to one reference, Robert was - in 1622, 1623 and 1624 - official ale taster, an important and coveted post. An ale taster's duties were to see that all beer brewed in their division was sound and of a required strength; that the measures were true and the prices as fixed and that the breweries in no way 'broke the assize of beer'.

Robert died at Rotherfield in 1636 and was buried there on September 22.

He and Elizabeth are the earliest-known ancestors of all family members.

(1) John Dadswell's work is lodged with the Sussex Archaeological Society, Lewes, Sussex (https://sussexpast.co.uk/).

Additional information: see Balch, Barbara, A Dadswell Family History and Genealogy, self published, Canada, 1980.
Picture: Church of St Denys, Rotherfield.

Key family dates

Robert Doudeswell
born ca 1560 -
buried 22 Sept 1636
married (1) Elizabeth (family name unknown)
born ? -
buried 31 May 1610
Children -

1. Robert Doudeswell born ? - buried 25 Oct 1590/91

2. Frances Doudeswell baptised 24 Aug 1589 - died ?

3. Mary Doudeswell baptised 31 Oct 1591 - [married Nicholas Torner] - died ?

4. Margaret Doudeswell baptised 1592/93 - died ?

5. Alice Doudeswell baptised 19 Dec 1596 - [married Thomas Pike] - died ?

6. Elizabeth Doudswell (Dodswell) baptised April 1599 - died ?

7. Katherine Doudeswell baptised Oct 1601 - [married John Thatcher] - died ?

8. Margery Doudeswell baptised 11 March 1603 - died ?

9. Robert Doudeswell baptised 22 Feb 1606 - [married 1. Ann Hodely, 2. Mary Aynscombe] - buried 11 Sept 1676
Robert Doudeswell
born ca 1560 -
buried 22 Sept 1636
married (2)
20 May 1611
Margaret Crayford
born ? -
buried 12 May 1634
Children -

1. Female child born ? - buried 14 April 1612

2. Jone Dodeswell baptised 12 Sept 1613 - [married John Browne] - died ?

3. Child born ? - buried 3 Nov 1619

Further information

Information on Robert Doudeswell (1606-1676, generation 2, ninth child of Robert and Elizabeth Doudeswell)

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