I had seen the Radcliffe Saga, but as that is generally regarded as a work of fiction and related to Ballaradcliffe, rather than Knockaloe, I had not devoted any great attention to it, given its reputation. I had also looked at the Vic County History series re the parish of Radcliffe & Prestwich, as my own thoughts were that a Lancs Radcliffe was a far more likely start point. The only point of possible relevance in the Prestwich account was that the property in Radcliffe & Prestwich passed to Henry 2nd Earl of Sussex, but this was AFTER the alleged split of the IOM and the FitzWalter line, so whilst it indicated some largely unspecified connection between the Essex and Lancs families that was as far as it went.
In so far as one can place any reliance on the Radcliffe Saga, the account suggests that Henry Radcliffe, 2nd Earl of Sussex was heavily involved in State affairs, and if he had lived at Knockaloe would definitely have needed a Lear Jet to get him to and from work in London. The Radcliffe saga also gives a place for death, which is London, and whilst I am chary of accepting anything that appears in that source, which was why I had not looked at it closely, I am willing to believe it is probably right here, and that my initial doubts about the 2nd Earl of Susses passing away in the IOM have strong persuasive backing.
So, where does that get us ? I think we can agree that the 2nd Earl of Sussex did not spend a lot of time in the IOM or die there, which is what I had already suspected. If we agree that the 2nd Earl of Sussex died in England, and we accept he was the grandson of John 9th Baron FitzWalter, and that seems sound, then that English tree is perfectly OK, but the loss of a death at Knockaloe weakens the claim that Robert Radcliffe 1st Earl of Sussex and Thomas Radcliffe the alleged “Last Abbot of Rushen” were brothers..
The red .”this can serious damage your ancestry” Warning Notice to The Radcliffe Saga is also relevant, and I confess that when I read the comment on “Cod Genealogy”, I had not bothered to go much further on the basis that unravelling a different batch of Radcliffes was hard enough without cluttering my mind with flights of fancy. I missed the comments about the spurious Last Abbot.
So, the very existence of Thomas Radcliffe as “Last Abbot of Rushen” (Good title for a pop song ???) is now as improbable as the trace of his parentage to 9th Baron FitzWalter. What do we have left ?
Omitting the references to Thomas being Abbot of Rushen, Rita Browne, (who seems to have been conscientious and hard working) says that a Thomas Radclyf “was an agent to an indenture of 1532 by which the church was seriously repressed. Was party to the dissolution of Rushen 1537 accepting a quid pro quo of a lease or a grant of Knockaloe Moar – Like many of those who went out of religion – he married – his wife is said to have been a daughter of Deemster William McChristen …of Milntown. Entered on the Manorial Records in 1539.”
If Rita Browne is right, then the mysterious Thomas Radclyf, ALTHOUGH NOT THE LAST ABBOT OF RUSHEN, is the first of the family at Knockaloe Moar, with the 1539 entry on the Manorial Records. Can anyone confirm or deny that part of the story ? Also do we have any idea about this 1532 indenture that Rita B refers to. Usually where someone is as detailed as she was, an entry like that has some provenance, so what did the 1532 indenture say, and if Thomas Radclyf was not the Abbot, as Rita must have assumed, then what was he ? Was Thomas one of the secular officers of state, and not a religious official ? Was he rewarded by the Stanleys for reducing the powers of the church in 1532 and again in 1536-37
This still leaves the ancestry of Thomas Radcliffe (PRESUMED 1st of Knockaloe) in the air, and if anything even more obscure than the spurious kinship to the 1st Earl of Sussex. It is disappointing when data collapses, BUT it is worse if nonsense survives. I had expected the FitzWalter link to fall apart, but the Last Abbot fiction was an unwanted but valuable blow.