A de Mittõn family primer ….”to begin the beguine”….. and why bloodlines mattered…..

The Greeks defined the word history to mean ‘his story’. My story was researched to document the French-Norman de Mittõn family bloodlines of the Norman Conquest of 1066 and subsequent harrying of the north campaigns beginning in 1069. This story chronicles the family’s enduring pedigree history in proximate areas of England for over 700 years. The family descendant’s continue to live in these areas. Others migrated beginning in the 19th century to Canada and later early 20th century to the United Sates.

Great Mitton Hall and Mytton Church near the Ribble in Great Mitton, Lancashire England

57675 Mitton, Bruce - Ivo Great Mitton Print

“Great Mitton”

Painting by Ivo David commissioned by Bruce Floyd Mitton-2016

The family de Mitton is based on research from historic books, papers, web site original source references as well as library archives and primary sourced family genealogy documentation. This effort includes personal visits to Great Mitton as well as from the British and Clitheroe libraries. Sources are sometimes conflicting as we are extrapolating esoteric information from the 11th– 12th century to start with. Even so; their is a lot that can be found if one digs enough and able to reconcile the often paradoxical. My interpretation of people, places and events may be benevolent for the same reason as Churchill said: “History will be kind to me because I am going to write it”. As a Mitton I wrote this with perhaps the same prejudges in some areas. I will leave that for the reader to differentiate the legitimacy of my efforts at interpreting the ancient who, what, where and when of the de Mitton ancestry.

Bruce Floyd Mitton

“The family of Mitton have lived in the Deanery of Craven and the Wapentake of Staincliffe in the West Riding of Yorkshire since the time of the Conquest. Ralph de Mitton held land there then, and the family continued there until the middle of the 14th century”- “Genealogy and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry”- Burke`s Peerage Ltd. 17th Edition

Le roots

The ancient French Norman surname “de Mittõn” is derived from the 1087 Doomsday identified manor location “Mitune”. The families initial demesnes were granted by feudal charter dated November 23, 1102. The de Mittons were of French Norman lineage; thus the name was ameliorated from the Doomsday medieval Latin recorded name “Mitune” to the French Norman “de Mittõn” meaning of that manor. The family surname was legally certified for the poll tax in 1219. It has had a continuous 800 year formal family surname since. It appears the family dropped the “de” in the 16th century as those members of the family were living in the Craven area of Yorkshire, about a 50 mile radius from present day Great Mitton. Mitton still remains the same Doomsday identified location name in present day Lancashire, England. See Doomsday: http://tinyurl.com/zvupu

DSC_0921Great Mitton is on the the north side of the Ribble river and now a township.

The first de Mittons

The de Mitton family progenitor is first identified in 1102 as Radulphus le Rous or “Ralph the Red”. Charters and other evidence suggest he was an illegitimate son (4th.) of Robert de Lacy by an unknown mistress. Please see; http://tinyurl.com/Ralph-the-Red http://tinyurl.com/Ralph-the-Red-Ashworth

Ralph and his descendants had a feudal bloodline connection with the  de Lacy family from 1102 for well over the next two hundred years until the death of Henry de Lacy, the 3rd. Earl of Lincoln in 1311 of the last male de Lacy lord of Bowland. These two centuries of de Mitton manor holdings were the largest de Lacy alienation’s as Lords of Bowland. Ralph’s manors were held in demesne, meaning in their own name. Mitton manor was the “magna” manor. It remained within the de Mitton family until the death of the paramount Henry de Lacy in Feb. 5 1311. The de Lacy`s baronies titles ended with the 1348 death of Henry`s daughter Alice. Eventually these lands after 1351 part of the Duchy of Lancaster. Now the property of the Crown. The Queen is the present Duke of Lancaster.
The prefix “de” identified that manor meaning “of” Mit~tune as a location in the Doomsday book. The name “Mit~tune” itself was a root Danish-Scandinavian location description name. It meant “middle-town” in the Doomsday book. The adaption of the old French Norman (pronunciation emphasis); de Mittõn” meant the same similar type location for geographic identification as recorded in the Doomsday book (most likely a local Saxon person transcribing). The “de” with the lower case “d” also signified the family as of a  “noblesse” bloodline. In this case of the blood line of the de Lacy’s.
The later local area descendant de Bailey and Shireburne families emanate from Ralph’s grandson Otto de Mittõn. He became known as Otto de Bailey after he was granted Bailey manor by his eldest brother Hugh de Mitton. Hugh was successor lord of the family’s manors at the time.This included the separate manor of Bailey as one of the Mitton family’s demesnes. Hugh was the eldest son of Jordon, son and successor of Ralph the Red. The eldest son was always the first heir by primogenitor and is still the case in England today.

 Lord of the Manor

The original charter granted other feudal manors in and around the present day Great Mitton including Bailey and Aighton where Stonyhurst is. All these locations were approximately three to four miles from Clitheroe. The first 1102 charter included additional manors to Ralph at Clitheroe`s castle rock and proximate Mearley. As a Norman feudal designate Ralph the Red replaced the Englishman Orm at the these castle rock manors in 1102. A common occurrence by the Normans post 1066 conquest to secure Saxon lands for themselves and their nobility. See notes pg. 387; http://tinyurl.com/1102-Charter

The Nov. 23, 1102 charter to Ralph the Red is the first mention of a Norman designate to actually be residing at Clitheroe since the 1066 conquest. The Norman absence prior to Ralph the Reds arrival was more than likely due to King Williams “harrying of the north” campaign initiated 1069-70. That Norman Yorkshire subjugation left much of the area devastated or “wasta” and of little value. This was how many of the area manors were recorded in the Doomsday book at that time; meaning of no agricultural value. “Mitune” manor was described as such in Williams great survey (completed 1087).

The “harrying of the north” did secure Northumberland lands for King William l, conquests of England. This was at a great cost to the local population from the scorched earth subjugation as cited above. It`s purpose was to deny cultivation to resistant Saxons for decades. It seemed to have worked. The areas desolation explains the Norman delay in occupying this area until Ralph the Reds arrival. See Northumberland map; http://tinyurl.com/q329dpu . 

The de Mitton family held their manors under the paramount Lords of  Bowland, the de Lacy family. Beginning with Robert de Lacy`s sub-feudal grants to Ralph the Red Nov. 23, 1102 were continuous until the death of Henry de Lacy, 3rd. Earl of Lincoln and 9th. Lord of Bowland. Henry died Feb. 5,1311, (as previously noted). This Henry de Lacy (the 4th. Henry de Lacy) was the last male de Lacy Lord of Bowland. After his death and no later than 1312, the de Mittons ceased to be lords of their surname manor.

They were replaced by that date with a new paramount Lord, the Earl of Lancaster, Thomas Plantagenet. He was the husband of Alice de Lacy, her fathers Henry`s only surviving heir. Under a life estate agreement with Henry de Lacy for the pledging of his daughter Ann to Thomas Plantagent when she was 9 years old. Thus Ann’s husband became the real inheritor of the de Lacy baronies. Thomas Plantagenet did not have a blood connection with the de Mittons as did his wife’s family, so Mitton manor itself was then granted by Thomas Plantagenet to another family. No lord of the manor resided at Mitton manor ever again.

Some de Mittons did continue to hold land in nearby areas including Aighton that included Stonyhurst, part of the original 1102 charter lands to Ralph the Red. Eventually some family descendant’s migrated to Canada in the late 18th and early 19th century. Many others remained in the Craven and continue as residents of Clitheroe to this day.

Ralph`s precursor

Ralph’s 1102 grants were the largest alienation’s of manor lands by the de Lacy’s to that date. (Henry the 1st confiscated the Bowland lands from Roger de Poitou in 1102 and banished him from England and replaced him with the de Lacy`s). Blood connections were almost always the bases for feudal manor grants after the conquest when the Normans were a usurper minority. The charter affirmations of lands to Ralph by the de Lacy’s was undoubtedly due to the advantageous strategic location of Clitheroe. It`s castle rock defensive topography and location being able to secure the growing de Lacy barony. The de Lacy`s may have also wanted Ralph the Red as the new paramount feudal family`s presence in that area. It is probably why Ralph establishes a church at the same time at Mitton manor. http://tinyurl.com/de-Lacy-s

“Robert de Lacy had one illegitimate child by an unknown mistress”;

5. RALPH le Roux (-after [1135/41]).  “Robertus de Lacy” granted “Magnam Merlay…et Tuisleton…et…in Cliderhou” to “Radulpho le Rus” by charter dated 23 Nov 1102[95].  His parentage is confirmed by the charter dated to [1135/41] under which “Ilbertus de Lacy” confirmed the grant of “magnam Mitton, Haghton, magnam Merlay, Twisleton…in Potreton et…in Cliderhou” to “Radulfo le Rouse” and granted further property to “eidem Radulfo fratri meo” (meaning my brother). Third edition of Charles Cawley’s Medieval Lands; Untitled English Nobility. See 5 at: http://tinyurl.com/Ralph-the-Red http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3L-O.htm

“The same to my brother”; ‘eidem Radulfo fratri meo’

“Robert de Lacy (1) also had an illegitimate son named Ralph le Rous (the red).  One of the first things that Robert did when he received the honour of Clitheroe was to make a grant of lands to Ralph, in a charter dated 23rd November 1102, which included Great Mitton and from this time Ralph and his descendants took the surname de Mitton.  We can be certain that Ralph was a son of Robert’s because when Ilbert de Lacy (2) was confirming his father’s grants following the restoration of the lands in 1135, his charter reads ‘eidem Radulfo fratri meo’ – the same to my brother Ralph.  This grant was also made with the consent and advice of ‘my brother Robert’, another piece of evidence for a third legitimate son of Robert de Lacy (1)”. Elizabeth Ashford; Lancashire historian and author of “The de Lacy Inherence”.

As Lord of Bowland, Robert de Lacy also held by right the honour of Clitheroe. Bowland  comprised a Royal Forest (a forest then meant a hunting preserve) and ten manors including Mitton manor. It consisted of eight townships with four parishes and covered an area of almost 300 square miles.                                                 


Clitheroe Castle


Ralph the Red is the first documented Norman at Clitheroe being enfeoffed there when he replaced the Englishman Orm at Clitheroe`s castle rock. This early charter grant was right after the de Lacy`s replaced Roger Potui the first Lord of Bowland and the Honor of Clitheroe.The combined above mentioned manors including the magna manor Mitton were considerable grants of land to Ralph the Red. Clitheroe castle became the administrative site for the de Lacy`s baronies in the following decades.

The de Lacy`s fiefdom included their original Blackburnshire -Pontefract lands given to the first Ilbert de Lacy (of the conquest) by the Conqueror. He was granted over 170 manors. It was that first Ilbert who built Pontefract castle. His eldest son Robert de Lacy was heir and sometimes known as Robert Pontefract for holding the great fee of Pontefract. Roberts own heir was a second Ilbert de Lacy (named after his grandfather the first Ilbert as noted above). It was he as successor who identified Ralph the Red as his brother in the second 1135 restated charter (re-confirming his fathers feudal grants to Ralph). Ilbert (2) died after the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 (without issue). He was succeeded by his younger brother the 1st Henry de Lacy of the great Norman family. Henry had one son, another named Robert (the 3rd. Robert de Lacy) who succeeded and died in 1193. This third and final Robert de Lacy was the last direct male successor of the original de Lacy’s of Normandy and the 1066 Conquest*.

*Note: A second de Lacy line then inherited the de Lacy’s barony’s through a bloodline descendant from Alberta de Lisours, the daughter of the first Alberta, the only daughter of the first Robert de Lacy and sister of the eldest Ilbert (2nd.), Robert (2nd), Henry (1st) and thus a half sister of the illegitimate Ralph the Red. Got all that?

Much of the Clitheroe area had been destroyed by King Williams “harrying of the north” campaign in York beginning winter 1069-70. It was many decades beginning the next century before full recovery from that devastation.The new Norman overlords apparently did little to assert their personal presence in Clitheroe until the de Lacy land alienation to Ralph the Red in 1102 prompted a presence. Ralph the Reds charter having caused the removal of Orm the Englishman at Clitheroe`s castle rock represented Clitheroe`s new Norman presence under the de Lacy’s. It became an administrative site for their barony. Eventually the first Henry de Lacy who succeeded his elder brother Ilbert (both half-brothers of Ralph the Red) “granted a charter to the Burgess of Clitheroe” to hold the a market in Clitheroe. That early first de Lacy charter was the initial beginning of Clitheroe as a market town for the area. Henry de Lacy`s charter for such was probably initiated in the late 1140`s.

DSC_0955Clitheroe today

Henry de Lacy had became the 4th Lord of Bowland and held the Honour of Clitheroe resulting from his elder brothers death in 1141. Henry died on a crusade September 25th 1177. His son Robert (3rd. named Robert de Lacy) succeeded and was the last direct de Lacy male bloodline descendant of the original de Lacy family of Normandy (as noted above*). He died without issue in 1193*. The subsequent de Lacy’s of the then successor 2nd. line of de Lacy`s were not of a direct male bloodline from the original de Lacy’s of the Conquest and Normandy. It would seem the de Mittons were and are descendant from an early post conquest male de Lacy issue, abet an illegitimate one.

Note: their were two de Lacy brothers, Ilbert and Walter of Normandy that accompanied William, Duke of Normandy in the 1066 invasion and subsequent battle of Hastings.

That first market charter (circa late 1140`s) granted to the Clitheroe Burgess was restated with a second charter 1283 reaffirming the first Henry de Lacy`s grant by his 5th. generation descendant, another Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln. He was the last of the male line of the great de Lacy`s family to be Lord of Bowland and hold the honor of Clitheroe. His only surviving daughter Ann succeeded but the de Lacy lands went to her husband Thomas Plantagenet, nephew of Edward l and Earl of Lancaster. This included Mitton manor and precipitated the replacement of the de Mittons as Lords of Mitton manor. A common occurrence with a sub-feuded manor when a paramount male bloodline connection was severed by a lack of a male heir. “Ancient charters and other muniments of the borough of Clitheroe, in the County Palatine of Lancaster from the original documents”-1851 by J. Harland. http://tinyurl.com/de-Lacy-Charter to-Ralph

Mitton Church DSC_0669

Ralph the Red was the founder of All Hallows Church, now known as “Mytton Church”. He was its first rector in 1103 as that “magna” manor lord and was probably responsible for the earliest building of the original Norman church. The Normans ruled initially through the local church. The churches and parishes were often addendum’s to the magna manor and could include extensive lands under the domain of the local parish with the manor lord serving as parish priest. The combined church and state sanctioned feudal manors were a powerful hold over the local population.The de Mitton family held the “advowson” or the right to collect the tithes of the parish for well over the next 100 plus years.The manors were the basic structure of political organization in medieval England. A feudal lord of the manor was a dominate local overseer of the local population under those early feudal apportioned manor and church demesnes. DSC_0750

                                          Mitton Church from the manor site                                                                                                                                                                              The de Lacy’s of whom the scion de Mitton family were feudal benefactors (from above probable male bloodline) were originally from Lassey, Normandy prior to the 1066 Norman Conquest. The Normandy born de Lacy’s first male identified is Hugh de Lacy born circa 1015 of that Normandy location. He had two sons by his second wife Emma de Bois L`Eveque, Ilbert and Walter. Both sons accompanied the Duke of Normandy in the 1066 Conquest of Saxon England. Ilbert de Lacy’s of the Conquest direct male bloodline ends with the death of his great grandson, the third named Robert de Lacy August 21,1193 (as previously described*) who dies with out a male heir as we have noted above. See; http://tinyurl.com/Robert1193

Lands, Lords and bloodlines joined. 

Mitton 49 The de Lacy family surname continued from that Robert de Lacy death in 1193 but not by any direct male bloodline from his original de Lacy family of the Norman Conquest. The surname was adopted in 1193 by the grandson of Albreda Lisours, Roger fitz (means son of) Eustance. Alberta Lisours was a direct de Lacy descendant and great, granddaughter of Ilbert de Lacy of the conquest.

Roger fitz Eustance thus became his grandmother Albreda Lisours (de Lacy) designated heir by her being the closest bloodline descendant of the first de Lacy to have received lands from the Conquerer, King William I. Roger then extended the de Lacy’s family heirs through his own 2nd. legitimate scion line from his maternal de Lacy grandmothers side of the family.

To clarify, their were two lines of de Lacy’s; the second beginning 1193 after the death of the 3rd Robert de Lacy who died without issue. Abreda above was his first cousin and was the closest direct bloodline descendant to Ilbert de Lacy of the Conquest and Lord of Pontefract. It was she who then designated her grandson Roger fitz Eustane as her heir to the de Lacy barony after the death of her cousin Robert de Lacy in 1193.

Heres how successor Feudal title worked.

The first Ilbert de Lacy had accompanied King William l, Duke of Normandy in the harrying of the north which history regards as the final complete Norman conquest of England. Albreda`s bloodline forbears (do to the absence of a male heir by Robert, d.1193) were the closest direct bloodline (although from a female descendant, her mother) back to the original de Lacy grantee Ilbert de Lacy (1st) by William the Conquerer. That was the cachet for such an inherence.

Albreda de Lacy was a granddaughter of Robert de Lacy (also reputed father of Ralph the Red) and was the only surviving great grandchild of the original grantee Ilbert de Lacy from King William l. She was thus by feudal bloodline right able to designate her grandson Roger fitz Eustance, Constable of Chester and Baron of Halton as successor to what became an extended de Lacy barony. Pontefract and Bowland became additional parts of Rogers already considerable lands. In consideration; Roger did adopt the de Lacy surname as his own to acknowledge the original grantee Ilbert de Lacy`s family in distinction to King William l.

The significance of this remaining bloodline succession allowed the de Mittons original bloodline connection to the the 1st. Norman de Lacy`s to maintain their feudal relationship with the second line of de Lacy`s for another 120 years until 1311. This bloodline connection was more removed from this new addendum scion of de Lacy succession. However the de Mitton family was kindred enough to the first male line of de Lacy`s requisite feudal standing to kept their manors under the succeeding second line successors of de Lacy`s as Lords of Bowland and the Honor of Clitheroe. Bloodlines, even if some what tenuous over time were still the predominate currency of succession in feudal times as often today.

The Mitton descendants of “Ralph the Red” from 1102 to this day remain a seemingly direct male scion bloodline from the Norman de Lacy family of the 1066 Conquest. The de Mitton male line extends back to their Norman born precursor the cited Ilbert de Lacy who was the ‘Sire de Lacy’ recorded as fighting at Hastings and a prominent participant in the harrying of the north. Ilbert became a “tenant in chief” to King William l as Lord of Blackburnshire and built Pontefract castle. His first son and heir was Robert de Lacy, begotten father of Ralph the Red by an unknown (but perhaps Saxon) mistress.

Ralph is recognized as the progenitor of the de Mitton family (after the family’s magna manor and church location as original grantee and founder of that church). Their tenure as Lords of their feudal manors precisely corresponds to the de Lacy`s as their feudal overlords. When the de Lacy successor male bloodline ends in 1311 with the death of Henry de Lacy, 3rd. Earl of Lincoln, as do the de Mittons as feudal Lords of the their namesake manor. However, there is no known formal recording of that paramount family’s de Lacy surname attributed to Ralph the Red per-say. He was illegitimate. The first formal recorded de Mitton surname was in 1219 in the Assize Courts register for the county of Yorkshire during the reign of King Henry the 3rd. 1216-1272. Surnames had become a legal requirement for the poll tax. http://tinyurl.com/de-Mitton-surname-definition.

Shireburne Scions Surname Substitution 

* “It is not, however, with the Shireburne’ s that we must begin, for in fact the owners of Stonyhurst should not, on ordinary principles, have born this name”;

Centenary Record. 1894 by John Gerard.

The de Mitton-Bailey to Shireburne scions surname first began with …… “Richard and Alice (Shireburne) leaving no living male child, the direct line of the Shireburnes came to an end. They left, however, two daughters, Margaret and Johanna, co-heiresses. The latter appears to have died unmarried, but Margaret married about 51 Edward lll., 1377, Richard de Bayley – de Stonyhurst who predeceased his father, John de Bayley (who held Stonyhurst). Richard de Bayley and Margaret Shireburne had a son Richard, who was born at Stonyhurst Oct. 12, 1381 and was baptized at the church of Mitton”; The Family of Sherborn, by Charles Davies Sherborn, London 1901

Richard Shireburne (referenced above), born Oct. 12, 1381, is the paternal patriarch of the scion Shireburnes of Stonyhurst Hall. From Richard until 1758 the Shireburne family of Stonyhurst Hall were all direct descendants of Ralph the Red, progenitor of the de Mitton family and his grandson Otto de Mitton founder of the de Bailey family. After 1391 the family was known by the surname; “Shireburne”(s) of Stonyhurst Hall.

The de Mitton to Shireburne scion line initially began with Otto de Mitton of Bailey manor, younger brother of Hugh de Mitton then lord of de Mitton manor. Otto de Mitton had been conveyed Bailey manor by his older brother Hugh de Mitton circa 1200. Otto was then known as either Otto de Mitton or Bailey. The next generation descendants of Otto de Mitton`s family began to use the surname de Bailey after their manors `Doomsday` locations identification.

Richard, the only child born to Richard Bailey and Margaret Shireburne in 1381was given his Mothers family surname, Shireburne to perpetuate her family name. As Margaret’s only child Richard was sole heir to his Mother and her spinster sister Joan Shireburnes inheritance as well as to his fathers Bailey paternal line inheritance that included Stonyhurst, held at that time by his grandfather John Bailey. Richard Shireburne was the 5th. great grandson of Otto de Mitton and or Otto de Bailey of the extended Bailey scion line of the de Mitton family. The importance of the Baileys bloodline was reflected in the later combined coat of arms that prominently displaced the double eagles of the Bailey family over the Shireburnes. And all successor 1st born Shireburne males had the given name Richard to reflect the importance of the paternal Richard Bailey line to the Shireburn family of Stonyhurst Hall from which they had derived that Halls inheritance.

The first Richard Shireburnes father Richard Bailey died in 1388 having predeceased his own father John Bailey (That John Bailey succeeded his father also named John in 1372). Richard Shireburne grandfather John Bailey held Stonyhurst Hall at the time of his own son`s death in 1388 through to his own death in 1391.

Richard Baileys wife Margaret Shireburne was left a widow in 1388 after only 10 years of marriage. When Richard Shireburnes grandfather John Bailey died 3 years later in 1391 it made Richard Shireburne at age 9, the direct and sole heir to his Bailey grandfathers Stonyhurst Hall. Stonyhurst then became a bilateral Bailey – Shireburne house. The Shireburns later adopted a coat of arms reflected the combined families connection, prominently displayed at Mytton church’s Shireburn Chapel.

Thus the de Baileys and after 1391 Sur-named Shireburne`s of Stonyhurst Hall are extended scions of the de Mitton family including that families progenitor Ralph the Red, the founder of Mytton Church in 1103. He was the original grantee of Bailey and Aighton in 1102, the doomsday survey location of Stonyhurst Hall. This also explains why the Shireburns regarded Mytton Church as the families church even though they remained prominent Catholics long after Henry the 8ths. established the Angeline church of England.   


Stonyhurst Hall

Paradoxically Richard Shireburnes grandfather was John Bailey who had come into possession of Stonyhurst in 1372 upon his own father death also named John Bailey. The first John de Bailey (referred to now) was Richard Shireburne`s great grandfather. That first John Bailey was deeded Stonyhurst in 1362 from his cousins Emily and Cecilia de Mitton. This was apparently the result of the death of the de Mitton sisters own brother Roger de Mitton. He seemingly held Stonyhurst at time of death but had predeceased his de Mitton sisters without issue. This lack of male heir to Roger resulted in the sisters decision to deed Stonyhurst to their closest male cousin who at the time appears to be John de Bailey (1).

We can only surmise the laws of primogeniture were that women could not keep property. As such Stonyhurst would go to a male bloodline descendant of the original grantee, in this case the choice on the part of the sisters was their cousin at the time, the first John de Bailey great grandfather of the first Richard Shireburne. At least that is what the deed would indicate according the the Coucher Book of Whalley. That first John Bailey who died in 1372 was a great, great grandson of Otto de Mitton the paternal founder of the extended Bailey family scions of Otto’s family the de Mittons.

Richards aplenty

Although the Baileys of Stonyhurst Hall were descendants of Ralph the Red, it was Richard Shireburnes mothers surname rather than his fathers Bailey surname that became synonymous with Stonyhurst Hall for the next 400 years. Richard inherited Stonyhurst directed from his Bailey grandfather, the second John Bailey upon his death May 22, 1391. Thus Stonyhurst was never in the possession of the Shireburne`s per say, but only by way of descendant de Mitton male bloodlines thru the extended male bloodlines of Otto de Mitton aka. Otto de Bailey. The Shireburne surname after the 1391 did not reflect the male surname of the original possessors of Stonyhurst from which Richard Shireburne inherited Stonyhurst. His was a new surname from his Mothers paternal family, not his fathers to which it should have been Bailey__;

This is what John Gerard meant by the above quote* from the Centenary Record of 1894; the Shireburnes as we have documented; “for in fact the owners of Stonyhurst should not, on ordinary principles, have born this name”. The first Richard Shireburne was in fact the 4th. great grandson of Otto de Mitton aka. Otto de Bailey.

Sir Richard Shireburne Patriarch

The Shireburnes of Stonyhurst Hall family progenitor Sir Richard was born Oct. 12,1381, baptized at the families Mytton Church and died May,1441 age 60. He was married to Agnes Harrington before Aug. 4th,1391 (when he was 9 yrs old). Richard`s given name (after his father Richard Bailey of which he was often referred to) continued to be the given name to all Stonyhurst Hall born successors for the next 400 years. The given name to the first born male was meant to be synonymous with the surname Shireburne. It also explains why the coat of arms were a combined Bailey-Shireburne one after 1391.This was to acknowledge the families paternal line was descendant from Richard de Bailey, the father of the first Richard Shireburne and husband of Margarete Shireburne. The last of the male line to hold Stonyhurst was Nicholas Shireburne. He succeeded his elder brother Richard, the first born successor who predeceased his younger brother Nickolas without male issue. Nicholas died in 1717. His daughter Marie, Duchess of Norfolk succeeded and died in 1754

The Shireburnes of Stonyhurst Hall paternal bloodlines derived from early Norman de Mittons and then directly from Otto de Mittons scion family the de Baileys of nearby Bailey manor. Ralph the Red was the original grantee of that manor as well from Robert de Lacy. The Shireburne`s legitimately trace their paternal roots to Ralph the Red, the founder of Mytton Church. It is why the Shireburne effigies are at the families ancestral Anglican Mytton Church and not at the families Catholic chapel at Stonyhurst. It also explains why the coat of arms is a combined Bailey-Shireburne at Shireburne Chapel at Mytton Church in Great Mitton. All Shireburne family baptisms, weddings and deaths were always conducted at their ancestral Anglican Mytton Church even though the family remained prominent Catholics after Henry the 8ths. reign.

The Bailey to Shireburne successor bloodline from Ralph the Red became extinct with the death of Nicolas Shireburne . The last Shireburne of that line to hold Stonyhurst was his daughter the 8th. dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Margarete Marie Shireburn who died in 1753. She is entombed at Mytton Church (with others of her immediate family). Marie had no children and was left a widower early on and thus the dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

The existing Mittons are of a paternal bloodline derived from their family primogenitor Ralph the Red. Their has been no interruption to the Mitton family paternal descendant’s since Ralph the Red was first lord of the Mitton manor. His descendants adopted this formal surname in 1219 and is still the family name today.


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