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Posted by: Cynthia Rodriguez (ID *****7254) Date: April 21, 2009 at 06:27:58
In Reply to: THOMAS KEENE of ISLE OF KENT, MD & NORTHUMBERLAND CO., VA by Betty Clingman of 1590

Dear Betty,
Hi. I am Carol Thompson, a very distant cousin. I am descended from Thomas Keene II and Mary Keene’s youngest son Matthew and his wife Bridget. I have lived in Cambridgeshire England for the past six years, and have been on many a quest for answers, without any new success. Nonetheless... I wish you sunny weather, good luck, and a big breakthrough!

I personally want to believe that Thomas Keene in Maryland, then Virginia, and Henry Keene in Maryland are both sons to Thomas Keene and Elizabeth Gosnold of Suffolk, as named in the Robert Gosnold will of 1615.. But that is all just wishful, until we can prove some tangible connection. (At least my relative Matthew named a daughter Ursula). My twin sister Cynthia Rodriquez and I research together. I am posting under her name, so she gets credit, or blame, for everything I write.

I thought I would take a moment to give you some reference books for wills and documents, as I have seen your requests in prior posts on The additional background is intended just to be helpful to anyone else who happens to read this post, because I already see you have done extensive research over the years. Please, check out the references before you claim them as gospel… because everyone makes mistakes, sigh.

If you are lucky, the family home of Robert Gosnold III and Ursula Nauton, called Otley Hall is open for visitors. (grandparents 13 generations ago) In his will, dated 1615, Earleshall, county Suffolk, he mentions his dau. Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Keene, for L8/yr, and then mentions his grandsons Henry and Thomas Keene for L20. Otley Hall is usually open only a handful of days a year to the public, depending on the mood of the current owners, who are at present extremely nice folks who have a busy family. Check out the 7 days available to join a tour in 2009.
Inside the front foyer of Otley is a family tree chart, which you have mentioned in a prior post, but our American kinfolk are not well documented. A partial outline of the family chart is at the back of the Otley Hall guide booklet. Admitedly there are a few errors in the old chart, because of early mistakes in documentation. Some Keene’s are married into the family before 1615, as I have referenced a few in my following notes. As we know, Ursula was the daughter of Elizabeth Wingfield and William de Naunton, and the granddaughter of John Wingfield and Elizabeth de Vere. I love the cherished scrolled paneling inside the library, which was a wedding gift to Ursula from Robert. There are many deVere homes in England, and I live near Burleigh House, but I most love the small and austere Hedingham Castle, which is very near Cambridge. Check out that website:
It was at Hedingham that John DeVere, 12th Earl of Oxford was born in 1408, and he was sadly beheaded for treason, on Tower Hill in London along with his eldest son in 1462. (16 gen ago.) We’ve numerous royal relatives buried in Westminster Abbey, and when at Windsor, in the chapel stalls, you can see the crest of Sir Anthony Wingfield, knight of the garter 1541.

In recent years, with the archeological dig at Jamestown, a renewed interest in Robert III’s nephew Bartholemew, explorer and commander of the ship “Godspeed”, has increased the search for genealogical proof on both sides of the pond. (My mother, LaRita Dawson Couch, was invited to view those bones in the open graves at Jamestown, and to submit dna for sampling. It was thrilling for her, even though they proved not of a Gosnold.) She has researched this family for over 30 years, spending much time in England, and Virginia, following their migrations, working with professional genealogists and librarians. Both sons of Anthony Gosnold died very early in the initial quest to settle America, Bartholomew d.1606 and his brother Anthony d.1609. (David Elisha Davy’s unpublished account in the British Museum, though extensive in documentation, shows significant errors in the genealogy of this branch of the Gosnold family, because of wrong assertions which have been widely dispersed, but some have been corrected with the finding of three wills of relatives from Bartholemew Gosnold’s wife, Mary Golding. The Golding wills were found by 1950, but not yet evaluated at the publication of Virginia Gleanings in English Origins of New England Families, Vol III., which recreates in part the gleanings of Lea published in THE REGISTER, LVI-LVII, 1898) Bartholomew also refers in personal writings to planning the Virginia Company round the dining table at the home of his Aunt Ursula (Naughton-Wingfield) Gosnold in Otley. Those explorers had to recruit financial backers along with willing friends and relatives to make the venture a success.

There are two Anthony Gosnold’s listed in original Virginia Company papers, along with Bartholomew. It is a mistaken belief that both men named Anthony are father and son, as inferred in Virginia Gleanings in England, footnote on page 158 of the above listed book, and in the legal opinion given p. 544, where J. Henry Lea, Esq. “can only hazard the conjecture” that the younger Anthony is son of Anthony the brother of Bartholomew, from a codicil in his will dated 1639 in which he mentions brother Edmond, across the seas. Conflicts in locations of Anthony are admittedly raised on page 545, as this Anthony seemed to reside in Bury St. Edmonds from 1614-1636.

Undisputed, Anthony the elder and Bartholomew Gosnold are brothers, both sons of Anthony and Dorothy (Bacon) Gosnold. The younger Anthony is more likely a son to their deceased 1st cousin, Robert IV. (The Gosnolds of Otley, Origins of New England Families, Second Series, Vol II, page 100, see pages 79-107, pub after 1950, as he references dated articles.) It is probable that Robert Gosnold III is the grandfather of this young Anthony, as stated in his will: to Anthony Gosnold, my grandchild, now in Virginia L100, if he shall return in one year after my decease. (This notation was overlooked in the original transcription published by Lea in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol 1 iv, pg 405, 1902.) Anthony the grandchild, is the second son of pre-deceased Robert Gosnold VI, whose eldest son and heir Robert Gosnold V inherited Otley. (Numerous Gosnold wills are recorded in the article Genealogical Gleanings Among the English Archives, p.531-540, English Origins of New England Families, Vol III.)

Anthony was about 17 when he sailed with Bartholomew and Anthony Gosnold in 1606-7, but he did not return to England to claim his inheritance. In 1621, Anthony petitioned for the land left to him in the wills of both his drowned uncles, claiming 16 years of hard work as a servant when he should have been as free. Claiming he survived the fevers and the starving time. On 30 Oct. 1621, that same year, he was granted 3 shares of land, one for himself, and one each for brother Robert Gosnold and another to Roger Castle (bro-in-law of Ann Talmache, his brother’s wife. Ref: Records of the Virginia Company, Washington 1906, p. 541) Anthony eventually returned to England and married twice. (English Origins of New England Families, Second Series, Vol II, pages 98-101 which sets straight some of Davy’s false presumptions.)

Thomas Keene probably followed his cousins to America after 1630 and before 1637. In the year 1653, months after his death, he was granted land for the transporting of 11 people including John Earle and his wife. They may be relatives from Earleshall in Suffolk, and that could be worth a little digging. As documented, his widow Mary had to petition for legal share of that 527 acres for her and their children. We do not know if they arrived earlier, because of an error, this original list of headrights was not filed until 1553. That list is on page 251, and the land is described on page 495 of Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666, Vol 1. Col. Clayborne’s original 100 immigrants are listed on page 244-5. This plot at Cherry Point Neck is later referenced 25 Mar 1742 as near Oxford lying on the river Delaware, with the same features, as the premises of Bridget Keene, beside John Clifton: Virginia Colonial Abstracts, page 376-7, Vol I, Northumberland Co Records 1652-1655.

I have more notes from reading other entries documented in this book with the will of Robert Gosnold III of Otley, the most helpful being that of his grandfather , Robert Gosnold the Elder, dated 1572, which lists names of Robert and Ursula’s 6 children, 4 who pre-deceased them. Another 4 children were born before his 1615 will, which was accurately published by Lothrop Withington in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography July 1906 (correcting the wrong 1616 date by Coppinger, and the mis-gleaning by Lea, and the children unidentified or misidentified by Davy.) It is titled: Will of Robert Gosnold of Earlshall, Suff., Esq. Dated, 15 Aug. 13 Jac. 1, pr. 1 Nov. 1615, P.C.C. 101 Rudd. The gleaning by Lea also records the wills of many other relatives, and gives footnotes, but they too may contain errors. The will of the son who was his executor, Anthony Gosnold, dated 1631, mentions recompense to Elizabeth, his sister in-law (sic), L8/yr as bequeathed in his father’s will. p.635

An earlier entry establishes Thomas Keene in Suffolk, referring in part to Hessett’s estate…“the will was surrendered, by the said Walter Hoo (adm.), onto the hands of Anthonye Rowse, George Scott and Thos. Keene, 21 Nov in the 30th year of Queen Elizabeth (1587), (Hesset Suffolk Eng), and proved subsequently”... p.657

Will of Edmond Bacon of Hedgesett, co. Suff. Proved. 13 Nov 1553, refers to wife Elizabeth. Robert Kene, his brother-in-law. His mother-in-law Anne Gosnold, now the wife of Robert Gosnold of Otley, gentilman, to whom he is bound to pay an annuity until her death. Son John Bacon, brother George Bacon. Dau also named in context.

Will of Thomas Bacon March 1546, mentions wife Anne, and brother-in-law Robert Keene.
(Ann Doggett of Groton in Suffolk, m 2) Robert Gosnold of Otley as his 2nd wife.)

Also, in the book Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Vol I, page 558…
Keene, Tho.: Orphan of Tho Cane, “one steere of Thomas Keenes given for two years schooleing” 10 Oct 1659. 15.30 (The dec’d: The name Keene appears in the same entry as Cane. ) Next entry: An a/c for the cattle belonging to his orphans, Wm, Thos and Mathew Keene. 10 Oct 1659.15.30.)
Keene, Tho, dec’d: His son Tho Keene has bequest from his Godfather Francis Simmons. 16 Apl 1661.15.93.

One last issue, I saw your query about Henry Keene, whom I’ve only begun to research. I did find that Davy’s notation that Mary Gosnold m. Henry Keene of Thrandeston, was believed in error or perhaps she was a presumed younger (undocumented) daughter of Robert and Ursula Gosnold. However, there is a Mary Gosnold of like time, documented dau of Anthony, not Robert, as stated in her great-grandmother’s will, as ref above on page 99, English Origins, Vol II.

Well, I do hope you have a lovely trip to England. If by chance you are near Cambridge or Burleigh House in Stamsted, and wish for some company, just give me a holler and I will come meet you for a cuppa tea. Please, do try to take a digital photo of the family tree in Otley entrance, so we can all compare notes, or at least take a close-up of our little section of the tree.

The last time I visited Otley was the very first open day after several years closure, when all the villagers came out to meet the new owners. As the mistress was standing in the entry, it was too busy to linger there or to take photos. But you should have heard the locals talking in the garden... my great-grandad built that stone wall...I helped build that mound when I was a lad...or most interesting was the talk of when they dredged the pond for artifacts. The preservation society had recently found a family cradle, and it was on display, so I ran my hands along the inside, where all those sweet little baby heads had lain... and I found a small nail pressed in a seam, undetected... it was ancient, hand hammered with a square head, and it is now a treasure of mine.

I will be moving to Stuttgart Germany in mid May, but maybe we will meet before then.

Carol Couch Thompson

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