Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Question from Adriane - George Medley, half brother of Henry Grey

I would like to know what happened to George Medley. Lady Jane Grey's father had a half brother named George Medley. I have looked at the family tree and I see no half brothers to her father. Exactly who is George's mother and father? He tried to help Lady Jane Grey before she was murdered and could not succeed. Where did he go after this? I can trace my family tree to John Medley back to the 1500s early settlement of Virginia. I live in the USA and have a long lineage of Catholics and they have traced our roots here. I would love to know about George. There may be a possibility that he is related to John.
Can anyone let me know where to look for George's family tree after Lady Jane Grey?
I am a junior at the University of North Texas and 50 years old.
Thanks Adriane Medley Thames

4 comments:

PhD Historian said...

In two parts, due to length:

George Medley was the son of Margaret Wotton (or Wooton) by her first husband, William Medley. According to William Berry's "County Genealogies: Pedigrees of the Families in the County of Sussex" (1830), Margaret bore three children by William Medley. First daughter Margaret married Nicholas Lavender, while second daughter Mary died unwed. Son George married Mary Danet (or Dannet), daughter of Gerard Danet of Warwickshire. Berry includes a fairly extensive family tree for the lineal descendants of George Medley through to the end of the eighteenth century (on page 74 of his book, available through Google Books).

Margaret Wotton's second husband was Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, father of Henry Grey and grandfather of Jane Grey.

The Medley family line that included George seems to be traceable only as far back as the late 1400s, to George's paternal grandfather Bennett or Benedict Medley of Whitnes or Whitnash in Warwickshire. The family's landholdings are described in "A History of the County of Warwick, Volume 6: Knightlow Hundred." I do find very vague evidence that the Medley family may have originated in Yorkshire.

You stated that your Medley ancestry can be traced "back to the 1500s early settlement of Virginia." While there were two attempts to colonize Virginia in the 1590s, both of those attempts failed (e.g.: the "lost colony" of Roanoke). Virginia did not become a sustainable colony until the 1610s. I do find a John Medley who was born in Great Tey, Essex, England before 1692 and who died in Essex County, Virginia in about 1759. The only other John Medley that I find in the Americas at any point before 1700 was born in Yorkshire, England in 1615 and died in 1663 in Maryland rather than Virginia. So, might John Medley of Great Tey have been your ancestor who immigrated to Virginia, doing so sometime between 1700 and 1750?

Intriguingly, John Medley of Great Tey, Essex was born just 22 miles from Tilty, also in Essex. George Medley, son of Margaret Wotton, held lands at Tilty. His mother Margaret spent time at Tilty Abbey after Thomas Grey's death in 1531. But I find no mention anywhere of any direct descendant of George Medley having immigrated to the New World. Given the geographical proximity of the sixteenth-century descendants of George Medley of Tilty to the late-seventeenth-century Medleys of Great Tey, I am inclined to suspect that the Medleys of Great Tey may perhaps have been a distant and collateral branch descended from George, perhaps via either of his two younger sons (see below). Further research into George’s younger sons and their descendants is required.

PhD Historian said...

As for the history of George Medley (also spelled “Medle” and “Madeley”) ... He was not a particularly wealthy man, though he did own some property and was a “gentleman” in sixteenth-century terms. George held a 1/3 interest with Lord John Grey (Margaret’s second son by Thomas Grey) and Henry Grey in The Minories, a small former monastery in London (the site of the monastic chapel is now a children’s park located just over the road to the north of the Tower of London). George also owned the manor of Tachbook Mallory (Warwickshire), which he left to his eldest son Henry following the latter’s marriage to Frances Throckmorton. His primary residence seems to have been at Tilty in Essex, though there is evidence to suggest that he held that property on longterm lease (‘leasehold’) rather than owing it outright (‘freehold’). George died early in 1563 leaving sons Henry, William, and Thomas and daughters Elizabeth and Mary. His will, probated 3 February 1563, is available online from the National Archives (GBP 3.30). At four pages, it is surprisingly long. It would undoubtedly contain evidence of the extent of his property holdings and his surviving family. I would be happy to transcribe it for you if you want to buy it and forward the PDF to me (Lara will give you my email address). For me personally, as someone whose scholarly interests focus on the Greys of Bradgate (including Margaret Wotton Grey), I would be delighted if I were able to confirm for you that you are indeed a descendant of Margaret Wotton Medley Grey.

It must be noted, however, that the family name of Medley (and its many variant spellings) was quite common in England. There was, for example, a very wealthy London merchant by the name George Medley who is mentioned in 1536 as 1/3 shareholder in a debt of ten thousand pounds owed to the King and who later served as Chamberlain for the Corporation of the City of London in the 1540s and as Alderman in 1550. One must therefore be exceedingly careful when researching the Medley descendants of Margaret Wotton Medley Grey not to confuse them with some more-distant or even unrelated line. It is entirely possible that your ancestor shared the Medley surname but had no blood tie whatsoever to either George Medley or Henry Grey.

Adriane Thames said...

Thanks for all your comments I am not sure which one John Medley it is I do not have complete access to the family tree. I need to get this and attach it to the question. This may bring more light to the question. I know that Francis, George, Washington, and Benedict are all family names given to the men in the USA. They all the men have served in the military and all the wars in USA

up to my sons who are Henry and Austin Thames.

Lisa said...

I am, also, a descendent of John Medley born in Essex, England, 1688.
I am interested in finding his parents and so forth.
John Medley had a grandson who, John Medley born 1746 who fought in the American Revolution.