Ludlow, Shropshire

Probably the most difficult task facing me is that trick of finding a way to make it easier for you, the reader, to picture the place all of these different ancestors hold in your family tree. One way is to create a pedigree chart that sends you back through 2 then 4 then 8 then 16 great grandparents. But what happens when we get to 32, 64, 128 then 256 great grandparents and so on back in time?  I have all those branches established online and if you like you can examine that chart at some point in time. It has taken years to fill in names and places in that tree. It goes back to the 4th Century A.D. in places where Viking kings were identified by historians as the ancestors of Norman, then British royalty.

Let’s begin with British nobility found in the Clifford Whittington branch of our tree. Clifford was Betty’s father and his pedigree chart is laid out in these pages going back in time to Nathaniel Littleton, William Whittington and the earliest settlers of Accomack, Virginia in 1638. Links to these folks are found at Nathaniel Littleton and William Whittington.

Nathaniel was born at Hopton Castle in Shropshire County. Nathaniel’s parents were Edward Littleton and Maria Walter. The Littletons were famous jurists (judges) including terms in the Supreme Courts of England and Wales, as well as Chancellor of England. Nathaniel’s father was the Chief Justice of North Wales, his grandfather (Thomas) was a renown English preacher and his great great Grandfather Judge Thomas was the premier legal mind and author in the middle ages.

Nathaniel’s mother, Maria Walter, was the daughter of Sir Edward Walter the Chief Justice of South Wales. Edward was married to Maria Hakluyt. Maria’s father Thomas (b. 1492) became a grandfather to the world famous geographer, entrepreneur and investor Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616). Richard’s father, Richard Sr, was our Maria Walter’s brother. She was an aunt to the man (Richard Jr.) many people credit with the British push to colonize America. For a condensed review of  16th century, Littleton family history and genealogy click this link.

As one searches through the Littleton branches one finds generations of royalty dating back centuries. Nathaniel’s grandmother, Alice Thornes ties us to the Royalty of Europe. Her great grandfather, Roger Thornes (1445-1531) was a Shropshire Lord who married Jane Kynaston. The Kynaston line has a colorful history all its own. There are two Robin Hood characters in our tree and one of them was Jane’s brother, Humphrey Kynaston. The other is found in the Fulk Fitz Warin lineage. Jane Kynaston’s father, Roger Kynaston, married Elizabeth Grey (1440-1501) and she continues the line back to the monarchs. The Grey family is loaded with nobles who are found in the pages of English history. The Kynaston family descends from Welsh royalty in our house of Gywnned (Lywellyn the Great, Owain and others) via Gruffydd Vychan ap Iowerth. Elizabeth Grey was the daughter of Henry Grey and Antigone Plantagenet the granddaughter of King Henry IV of England.

The Gray family lineage includes the likes of de Mowbray, de Bohun, Cobham, Culpepper and Bolingbroke. All of these names appear in British history books as major players in events in the Middle Ages. Many of them have Wiki pages established in their name.  Joan de Mowbray is the daughter of John de Mowbray and descends from King John I Lackland. Take one name from the family tree in 1525 and open that person’s history of great grandparents and you find nothing but nobility. It was the rule, one could not marry outside of the noble class, and the marriage had to have approval. A person who married without approval of the church, courts and even the monarch, could be declared an outlaw and surrender title and properties.

I just randomly picked a name in our tree: Maria Hakluyt (1518-1583). Her mother was a Trentham, her maternal grandmother a Corbet.  The Corbet line rapidly expands, introducing big names in Shropshire history: Corbets, Hoptons, Devereaux, Ferrers and Vernons.

Now we can head to yet another part of Clifford Whittington’s tree, that of Southy Whittington of Accomack, Virginia (1687-1773). Southy is the son of William Whittington and Esther Littleton. He brings together two lines steeped in American and British history. His relatives on this side of the ocean were second sons eager to create a new life for their wives, the daughters of aristocrats in Britain. Esther’s mother was a Bowman and her father, Southy Littleton, son of Nathaniel. The name Southy was originally the surname of the Southy family of Britain, some of the first settlers of Jamestown, several of whom were killed in the Jamestown Massacre of 1623. The Whittington line runs deep into Viking lore, one thousand years ago when the name was spelled as de Vysenstien (

The Whittington name shows up in seven villages of Britain and includes castles, manors and pubs famous for a good ale, fish and chips. There is even a Christmas Decoration Shop and Restaurant notorious for bad food and poor service. But how can that be? Certainly not what one would find in any Whittington dining room I have enjoyed.

Off to the Sullivan line in history. Betty’s mother (Clifford’s wife) Laurel Sullivan has an incredible line of royal DNA packed away and waiting to be brought to the surface here. In another section of this website I present several pedigree charts that show how today’s family descends from Obadiah Bruen and those with whom he built the communities of New Haven CT, Newark NJ, the Hamptons on Long Island…. He was surrounded by an illustrious group of men and women who shared a common belief in God, a church and a sense of community development. The Pierson family were notable preachers, professors and the founder of Yale University, as an example. The Sheafe and Bruen families were British entrepreneurs. Sheafe was one of the magnates in the textile industry and a very wealthy man who was known as a church benefactor and community philanthropist. He operated homeless shelters and soup kitchens on his property as an example of his generosity.

In researching the Whittington links I began to see names that I recognized as being in the Smith and Slaymaker lineage and traced Josephine Parker and Leb Smith’s descent from King Edward III and others.