Manx Genealogy Archive 2

Radcliffe of Knockaloe and Baron Fitzwalter.

I am looking into the Radcliffes of Knockaloe Moar. Rita Browne (Christian historian) and J A Brew both suggest this family was descended c1500 from John Radcliffe, 9th Baron FitzWalter who was beheaded for alleged involvement in the Perkin Warbeck plot.

The ancestry of the Fitzwalters, an Essex family, is straightforward enough from the 1st baron in 1247 to 7th baron who only had a daughter, who married John Radcliffe of Norfolk, which is where the RADCLIFFE name came in.

After John 9th Baron was beheaded, (and the evidence justifying this was in my opinion IFFY to say the least), his son petitioned for a restoration of the family honours, and this was agreed a decade later, so his eldest son, Robert became 10th Baron, and later was created 1st Earl of Sussex, marrying Margaret Stanley.

Browne and Brew both claim that Thomas Radcliffe, Abbot of Rushen at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536-1540 was a younger BROTHER of the 10th Baron(1st Earl of Sussex), and as he was the founder of the Knockaloe line that the Radcliffes of Knockaloe were descended from the FitzWalters.

Unfortunately, I know of NO verifiable independent evidence that Thomas WAS the younger brother of Robert Ratcliffe, 1st Earl of Sussex.

One can find genealogies on line that say that Robert Radcliffe's son Henry, who became second Earl of Sussex was born at Knockaloe c1506, and died at Knockaloe in 1557. As the Earls of Sussex were prominent in UK affairs, I am unconvinced that the 2nd Earl of Sussex was born and died at Knockaloe, unless he had his own private jet or broomstick to fly between Knockaloe and London.

If there IS any evidence that Henry Radcliffe, 2nd Earl of Sussex was born and died at Knockaloe, that increases the chances of this link being true.

Browne and Brew BOTH say that Thomas Radcliffe was made Abbot of Rushen thru influence with the Stanleys. This seems plausible, BUT the Fitzwalters were an Essex family, around Great Dunmow, and the Radcliffe who married the 8th baroness was from Norfolk, which are NOT classic Stanley territory.

One, at least of the sources that supports this line, places the Earls of Derby in Derbyshire, which is a natural enough supposition, but is just that, a supposition. Had the source suggested the Earls of Derby were related to the Diddymen of Knotty Ash that would have been less plausible, but more likely !!!! I am therefore skeptical as to this linking of the Essex/Norfolk family with the Stanleys.

Taking a guess, and it is a Guess, there were Radcliffes in Ordsall, Lancs, which is a far more promising territorial association, but to go from that to saying "this is the link" is again supposition.

Can anyone offer serious evidence on the origins of Thomas Radcliffe, last abbot of Rushen, or whether the 2nd Earl of Sussex was born and died at Knockaloe, or accomplished both processes elsewhere.

Robert H