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 is 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, the earliest known 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 Appleby line is a royal line!

Who was Anthony Appleby?

The only official record of him states he was born in 1610 in York. It lists his parents as 'unknown'. His name does not appear in the records of births and baptisms in the York parish records. There are three Anthony Applebys recorded as being baptised around that time, each have a family line that can be followed, and none lead to the Applebys of Bathurst, NSW. The church generally did not baptise children who were born illigitimately, and if they were baptised, their parents were listed as unknown. That indicates that either our Anthony Appleby was not born in York or if he was, he was born out of wedlock. And how did he come by the name Appleby? Was his father named Appleby, and if it was, why is there no record of him? If he was born out of wedlock, was he named Appleby because that is where he was conceived or where his 'unknown' father came from? This was often the way illigitimate children got their surname back then when a parent wished to hide the fact that a child was theirs.

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

The only other reference my research has found to the existence of Anthony Appleby - apart from the fact that the Applebys of Bathurst, NSW must be descended from someone with the surname Appleby - is a single reference to a shepherd named Appleby living with his wife/partner in the early 1600s on the moors surrounding Hoggarth Farm near Keld in the Yorkshire Dales. There is a shepherd's cottage at a locality near Hoggarths Farm that is still known as Becksmeeting. Our Anthony Appleby had a son, also named Anthony Appleby, who was born between 1625 and 1635 at Becksmeeting. From him there is a direct line to the Applebys of Bathurst, NSW.

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 there 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 'illigitimate'. 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 indentified as the child's mother, 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).

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. Is there a record of anyone named Sarah Howard visiting Appleby in 1609? Yes there is. In that year Sarah Howard, the 22 year old daughter of Sir Robert Howard, travelled to Appleby Castle in 1609 to visit her 19-year old third cousin, Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford, who had inherited the castle four years earlier. After Sarsah's return to the Howard family home of Brockdish Manor Hall, Norfolk, all references to Sarah ceased.

Appleby Castle

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.

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 to Lady Clifford, who she had just visited, for help. Lady Clifford had family in York, which is situated midway between Appleby Casle and Sarah's family home, Brockdish Manor Hall. Sarah Howard was not a common name so it is likely that the Sarah Howard living in York with a son named Anthony of Appleby, and Sarah Howard, the daughter of Sir Robert Howard, were one and the same.

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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