Chapter 4.

OUR OWN LINEAGE (up to Robert d.1659)

       John. The earliest reference we can find to our own ancestors is the burial of "John Daggett of Roxby" at Pickhill on 15th April 1608.

      We can calculate that his three children Johanna, William and Elizabeth were born between say 1555 and 1560. These dates are deduced from their respective marriages, which were recorded in 1578, 1580 and 1583 and by assuming that they were in their early twenties at the time. We can then put the date of John's own marriage at about 1550-1555, although there is no record of this nor of his wife's name. Again, assuming he married at the popular age of about 24, he would have been born somewhere about 1530. And then, working back still further, deeper into the realms of conjecture, we guess that John's father was born before 1510, the time of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon.

      Parish registers were not made compulsory until 1538 and it was many years before they came into general use. Those remaining for Pickhill do not start until 1567. Pickhill, Topcliffe and Burneston were "peculiars" outside the jurisdiction of the bishop who controlled the affairs of most other parishes in his diocese. They lost this status in 1541.

      The College of Arms has confirmed that John was armigerous i.e. that he was entitled to a coat of arms. This right descended from John via his sons. We are distinguishing between the many Williams in our direct descent by adding the Roman numeral as above. The right to bear arms or to display a heraldic shield originated in order to enable princes and knights to be identified more easily on the battlefield. The practice had been in use for some centuries but it became established on a nationally organised basis in the twelfth century.

      There is no definite evidence that John of Roxby (d.1608) and Richard of Roxby (d.1597) were brothers, but it is quite likely because they were contemporaries. This assumption may be borne out by the fact that John and Richard Dagatt were the joint purchasers of some property in "Roxby and Pycall als. Pyckhall" from Christopher Wyvill in 1567. Then again we find the names of John and Richard coupled together in a list of "Pardons for All Treasons, Rebellions and other Offences". They had been involved in the very widespread religious opposition to Queen Elizabeth's attempts to destroy signs of Roman Catholicism in churches. Fortunately they were both in a position to buy their pardons. Less well off, however, was a "Ralphe Dagget of Wathe" who was hanged for a similar offence. The Rising in the North was in 1569.

      John's daughter Johanna was married in Pickhill church on lst June 1578 to Peter Brunton of Carthorpe, a neighbouring village. Her sister, Elizabeth executed a deed in 1581 agreeing to take over her father's debts. She was described as "Elizabeth Daggett of Roxby Spinner". This early form of the word "spinster" agrees with the fact that it was not until two years later that she married Thomas Rawling at Pickhill. In 1580 John, the father, gave part of his real and personal estate to his eldest son, William. We have no knowledge of any sons other than William.

      William I . He was born about 1558 - the year of Queen Elizabeth's accession - being the first of several namesakes throughout the succeeding generations directly descending from him; the name is commonly found in other parallel lines as well. Our guess at this date of William's birth is made from the date of his marriage with Isabel Key or Kay of Holme (the small Pickhill hamlet) in November 1580, when he was described as "de Roxby". "William Daggett of Roxby yeoman" together with some other Daggetts was named in a Deed dated 31st January 1590/91, now in the North Yorkshire County Record Office at Northallerton.

      They were appointed as Trustees of a fund formed from the rents and profits of "two messuages, one toft and one croft and 8 acres of arable land" in the parish of Pickhill which was to be applied to the repair and maintenance of the parish church.

      William's name again occurs in a document of 1601 when he bought some land in "Picall" from Anthony Cawstone and his wife Isabel.

      It is interesting to note that in December 1617 he appeared as a witness in nearby Kirklington before Commissioners in a case between John Winde plaintiff and Ann Harrison defendant concerning a footpath between Sinderby and Pickhill Church. He gave his age on that occasion as " 59 or thereabouts", which tallies very well with our earlier guess at his date of birth. As "William Daggett of Roxby senior" he was buried at Pickhill in November 1638. An Inquisition Post Mortem took place before the King's Escheator in the County Of York the following year.

      The first known issue of William senior was John.The date of his baptism is not known but he was buried in April 1601 "the son of Willi Daggett de Roxby" and was, therefore, still a child. The second child was William - later known -as Magnus perhaps because of his size. He was born about 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. He married Ann Winde in 1633 and was buried in 1651. A later chapter will refer again to William "Magnus".

      Robert . William's third son was Robert, who was destined to form the link with our own branch of the Daggett family. We cannot find any record of his birth but we do know that he married Frances Raper of How (a very small Pickhill hamlet) at Pickhill on 30th April 1620. Incidentally, the bride's surname could easily be confused with Key or Kay because of the similarity then of the letters K and R, because of the habit of abbreviating words and because both family names were linked with Daggetts on a number of occasions. It can be assumed that Robert was born about say 1595-1600. (There is a record of a document signed in January 1615 by a Robert Daggett, William Kay and John Browne who transferred land in Holme to four members of the Raper family. This reference is probably to an older Robert who married Dorothy Raper in 1579 at Pickhill. He was a descendant of Richard (d.1597), not John whose line concerns, us.)

      In 1622 "our" Robert was the purchaser of a cottage and some land in Pickhill-and - Roxby. Later, he was described as a yeoman when serving as a juryman at Richmond, 16 miles from Pickhill, in 1625, and then as " gentleman " at Thirsk two years afterwards.

      Robert and his wife Frances had six children. The fifth, Michael, will be considered in the next chapter. Robert was buried at Pickhill on 10th April 1659, still described as Robert of Roxby.

      At this point let us quote some of the comments found written in the Pickhill transcripts, which illustrate the impossibility of verifying some of the events that must have occurred.


           Baptisms:   after 20th March 1624 "The names of the rest of this year are lost. Vid.Vet.Regist ."


        1640. " Many names in these and foregoing yeares are lost in the old register and soe omitted here."


        1690. "About 14 entries follow in which dates only are written, the names of those baptized being torn out."

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       Marriages:  1601. "The years 1604 & 1605 are lost in the old book."


         1624. "The names of the years 1633, 34 & 35 are torn out of the old book."  


         "The years 1640, 41, 42, 43, 44 are all lost in the old book. " The next entries are for 1645.




 Burials:  "Years between 1617 & 1621 are all cut out" .."1630 is lost, also some of 1634/5."


     The name of the first William Daggett appears along with those of Thomas Lumley and others as a witness to the Will of William Graunt, Lord of the Manor of Pickhill, who died in 1596. Graunt had been heavily fined for his part in the Rising of the North. We think the middle paragraph of the Will is worth including here because of its detailed instructions!

      "Item. My Will is that William Graunt, my ouldest sonne take Mary Byerley to wife if she will, before midsomer next. If she will not, then to take to wife Florence Wandisforde if she will, if she will not then my will is that he shall take Siselly Savell if she will before the day prefixed and if she will not then my will is that he shall take out one of noe lesse valure nor Friendship then some one of them is, and if he refuse to performe this my will, then I give unto Hew Graunt my third sonne two parts of all my inheritance within the lordship of Pickhill to him and to his heirs for ever, and if he have not issue then I give it to Thomas Graunt my seconde sonne and to his heirs for ever and for default of such issue to the right heirs of me the said William for ever.

      Item. I give to Esabel Graunt my ouldest doughter the greatest brasen pott, caudron and brode pan that I have.

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The right to bear arms descended generally via the male line of a family. In exceptional cases it could be transmitted through the female offspring. It appears that the College of Arms told one of our namesakes in Newcastle in 1967

                      "There is on record a pedigree for Dagget of Pickhill with Roxby,Co.York,

                       from JOHN DAGGET who died on 15th April 1608, down to WILLIAM DAGGETT

                       who was buried on 21st September 1812, and his issue.This was an old family

                      which used Arms, but we have been unable to discover when those Arms were granted.

                      The blazon (that is, description in technical heraldic terms) is ; - Or on a chief wavy azure,

                      three Increscents of the field.That is to say, the background of the shield is gold,

                      with a wavy division about a third of the way down; the ground above the division is blue,

                      and on it are three gold crescents, their points towards the right-hand side.*

      In order to establish your right to a variation of these Arms, you would have to prove your direct male line descent from a member of this family…"  

* from the viewpoint of the man behind the shield.

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Excerpts from Pickhill Parish Registers.

Next Chapter 5

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