A Royal Connection?

Just about everyone who is interested in their ancestry hopes to discover they are descended from someone famous, or at the very least, there is someone famous in their family line who they can claim a connection to. Is there someone rich and famous in the line of the Applebys of Bathurst, NSW? There might well be, and it might be royalty - the English King Henry VII no less!

From the outset, let me say that no 100% tried and true direct link has been found, however there is a distinct possibility. A line can be followed that suggests there nay be a familial link between Henry VII and the Applebys of Bathurst, NSW, but the chain has two weak links - and they relate to Anthony Appleby, an early male with the surname Appleby in the family line. Was he the son of Sarah Howard, and was Sarah Howard the great great granddaughter of King Henry VII? If so, then this would make this Appleby line a royal line!

Who was Anthony Appleby?

His birth is recorded in the parish records of Romaldkirk. The record reads: "Anthonie Applebee, Gender: Male, Christening: Apr 14 1611 - Romaldkirk, York, England". His father is recorded as being Ambrose Applebee; his mother is identified as Mary Appleby, the wife of Ambrose, however at the time of his birth, her name was Mary Combe - it would be another two years before she would marry Ambrose in the town of Barnard Castle, Gianford, Durham and become Frances Appleby.

Records kept in York indicate a Sarah Howard was living at at Clifford Tower, York, with a child, 'Anthony of Appleby' in late 1610/early 1611. Clifford Tower was owned by Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford, the 2nd cousin of Sarah Howard, daughter of Sir Robert Howard. The only official record of Anthony in York states he was born in 1610 in Romaldkirk, York, and lists his parents as 'unknown'. As there is only a record of one Anthony Appleby being born in Romaldkirk in 1611, it is fair to assume that the two Anthony Applebys detailed above are one and the same and that Ambrose Appleby appears to be his father and Sarah Howard possibly his birth mother.

In my research I found a reference to a shepherd named Appleby living with his wife/partner in the early 1600s on the moors surrounding Hoggarth Farm near Birkdale in the Yorkshire Dales. There is today a solitary shepherd's cottage at that locality that is still known as Becksmeeting, Kirkby. Anthony Appleby, the son of the aformentioned shepherd, appears to have been born there in the Parish of Kirkby (historically known as Kirkby-in-Cleveland), and not the Parish of Kirkby Malzeard. His father was also named Anthony Appleby. The Appleby's of Bathurst, NSW, about whom these web pages are about, are descended from him. The cottage is about two miles from Pendragon Castle, and within its castellary. The owner of Pendragon Castle was Lady Anne Clifford, the same woman who had given the young "Anthony of Appleby" and Sarah Howard refuge in Clifford Tower, York, from 1610.

Shepherd's cottage on Beckmeetings Farm near Hoggarth's Campsite

The First Weak Link

The first weak link in our chain is between Anthony Appleby and Sarah Howard. Buried in the civil records of the city of York is a single reference to a Sarah Howard living in York in 1610 with her 2 month old son, whose name is listed as Anthony of Appleby. It is a short entry but it speaks volumes. That there is no mention of a husband, or that she is the "wife of ..." is a telltale sign that she was probably single, and that her son was probably 'illegitimate'. The child had not been given her surname, nor that of the child's father, but was identified by a placename. This all indicates that she did not want to be identified as the child's mother. It also suggests that she may not even know the identity of the child's father, except that he came from Appleby (now known as Appleby-in-Westmorland), unless, of course, the surname of the boy's father was Appleby, in which case she was giving the child his correct name, but cleverly disguising that fact.

Was there a Sarah Howard living in Applebly in 1609, the year in which Anthony would have been conceived? There may well have been, but there is no record of one living there.

Appleby Castle

It is known that Sarah Howard, the 22 year old daughter of Sir Robert Howard, travelled to Appleby Castle in 1609 to visit her 19-year old 2nd cousin, Lady Anne Clifford (1590 - 1676), 14th Baroness de Clifford, who had inherited her father's ancient barony by writ four years earlier upon his death. Along with it came ownership of numerous castle across Northern England including Skipton Castle in Yorkshire and Pendragon Castle, Brough Castle, Appleby Castle and Brougham Castle, all in Westmorland (now Cumbria).

After Sarah's return from Appleby Castle to the Howard family home of Brockdish Manor Hall, Norfolk, all references to Sarah ceased. Traditionally, in an aristocratic family like the Howards, an unmarried daughter would continue to live at the family home until she got married, or she died. In the case of Sarah Howard, there is no record of her either marrying or dying, having a family or not; she just vanished from the records. A disgression that would bring shame on the family, like a birth out of wedlock, usually led to a person being banished from family life and forced to live in exile to avoid shame being brought on the family.

Though there is no evidence that this is what happened to Sarah, all the tell-tale signs are there. She vanished from family life a year after visiting Appleby Castle. If she had been banished at that time, it would have been logical for her to turn toher 2nd cousin, Lady Clifford, who she had just visited a year earlier, for help. Lady Clifford had family in York, which is situated midway between Appleby Castle and Brockdish Manor Hall, Sarah's family home. It was at Clifford Tower in York, then owned by Lady Clifford and occupied by some of her family members, that a Sarah Howard is recorded as living with her 2 month old son, "Anthony of Appleby", in 1610.

The Second Weak Link

The second weak link is between Sarah Howard and King Henry VII, and revolves around her father, Sir Robert Howard, and an affair he had with Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. Margaret Douglas was King Henry VII's grand daughter. Was Sarah Howard born out of that affair? The evidence points to it. If so, she is of the royal line. That line is set out below for readers to draw their own conclusions.

King Henry VII Tudor

King Henry VII Tudor
Born: Pembroke Castle, Wales (28.7.1457)
Died: Richmond Palace, Surrey (21.4.1509)
Buried: Westminster Abbey, London)
Married: Elizabeth of York (1486  1503)
Children: Arthur, Prince of Wales (1486  1502)
Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots (28.11.1489  18.10.1541)
King Henry VIII (28.6.1491  28.1.1547)
Mary, Queen of France (March 1486  25.6.1533)

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots

Margaret Tudor Born: Westminster Palace, London (28.11.1489)
Queen of Scots (1503-13)
Died: Methven Castle, Perthshire (18.10.1541)
Married: James IV of Scotland (m.1503  d.1513)
Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus (m.1514  div.1527)
Henry Stewart 1st Lord Methven (m.1528)
Children: James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay
Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay
James V, King of Scotland
Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross
Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox

Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox

Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox
Born: Hartbottle Castle, Northumberland (8.10.1515)
Died: Temple Newsam, Leeds (7.3.1578)
Buried: Westminster Abbey, London
Married: Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox (6.11.1544)
Children: Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley (7.11.1545 - 10.2.1567):
Charles Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox (4.5.1557  4.4.1576);
Sir Robert Howard

Sir Robert Howard Born: Sion Abbey, London (1537) Said to be son of Lord Thomas Howard  uncle of Anne Boylen and Catherine Howard - with whom she had an affair) See Footnote.
Died Tybbenham, Norfolk (1598)
Married: Philippa Howard/Buxton
Lived at Brockdish Manor Hall, Norfolk.
Children: Robert Howard;
Thomas Howard;
John Howard;
Ann Howard;
unknown Howard;
Bridget Howard;
Charles Howard;
Edward Howard;
Elizabeth Howard/Kinne;
Joan Howard;
Phillip Howard;
Sarah Howard;
William Howard

Sarah Howard
Born: Brockdish Manor Hall, Norfolk. (1587).
Details of death unknown Married: no record

Footnote: The King discovered the affair of Lady Margaret Douglas and Lord Thomas Howard in early July 1536 and had both of them imprisoned in the Tower of London at that time. Margaret appears to have become pregnant in April 1536. The pregnancy could have been hidden when she was first imprisoned. While in the Tower Lady Margaret reportedly fell ill with a fever, and the King allowed her to be moved to Syon Abbey under the supervision of the abbess. The reported illness could have been the pregnancy as the birth took place in January 1537, at which time the fever disappeared. She was released from imprisonment on 29 October 1537.

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