Lees Of Virginia


Col Richard Lee

Colonel Richard Lee's Parents

In 1988, a study by William Thorndale was published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, he stated that his research proved that Col Richard Lee was actually the son of a John Leyes, a clothier, and his wife Jane Hancock and that Richard had been born not at of Coton Hall in Shropshire England, but in Worcester England. In this publishing, Thorndale presented what appeared to be legitimate sources and arguments which carefully and systematically dispelled the accepted ancestral lineage of Col Richard Lee from the prominent English Lee’s from Shropshire.  Since that publishing, it appears that the majority of  research today has adopted this parentage of Richard Lee from this John Lyes and Jane Hancock assertion, even though this 1988 publishing had overridden the legal and historic documented facts that stated otherwise.  I have discovered that there is no evidence of historical documentation that can back up Thorndale's claim.

For public to read, here is a link to William Thorndale's Publication of "Parents of Col Richard Lee of Virginia", Vol 76, December 1988, Page 253: Parents of Col Richard Lee of Virginia
As of recent research and review of Thorndale's article, I have been able to disprove Thorndale's attachment of John Leyes and Jane Hancock, as well as Thorndale's listed 'siblings' for Col Richard Lee of Virginia.  I have found and have proven that the 'sources' of documentation that Thorndale used as his supporting evidence of the parental and family relationships were not primary UK Parish records as he stated in his article but genealogical references at best.  I will explain.

I am confident that my conclusions on Thorndale’s research, the "Parents of Col Richard Lee of Virginia" publishing and findings on Col Richard Lee are false.  William Thorndale uses the Family Search Data Collection as his sources for his section of research where he determines that the parents for Col Richard Lee are John Leyes and Jane Hancock in his article.

Question: Why is this source, the Family Data Collection archive, unreliable and not actually a source?  

Because the Family History Library Family Search Data Collection is just a reference as it is a repository where ALL genealogical data available, both the good and bad, sourced and unsourced, is collected and the data is stored in this archive where the researcher must follow through to the main source to see if the source information (usually a submitted GEDCOM where the data most likely came from by a submitter to the LDS library or a similar genealogy site upload) leads actually to an attached document or just a genealogical assertion or 'guess' from the GEDCOM submitter.

How and why the NGSQ and the genealogical community never challenged Thorndale's use of these references as  sources for an article that literally blew up the genealogical world and changed all research regarding Col Richard Lee's parentage and was accepted as valid …  is a puzzle to me because it is simply unacceptable or a very big oversight.

So basically in knowing this NOW, when reading Thorndale's article one can clearly read it as a research paper all based on the authors opinion, not factual evidence in the primary resources cited as we now know they do not exist.  It is very important to note that in REALITY there is NO CORRESPONDING UK PARISH RECORDS TO THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE RELATIONSHIPS THORNDALE ESTABLISHED BETWEEN COL RICHARD LEE AND JOHN LEYES OR JANE HANCOCK AS PARENTS (ie., birth marriage, death, etc for this 'family') AS HE REFERS IN HIS RESEARCH!!!!! Period.

In Thorndale's section "The Solution" beginning on page 258, Thorndale states repeatedly of ALL THE WORCHESTER PARISH RECORDS that he checked and then all of his references point to the Family History Library (FHL in his bibliography) in Salt Lake -  the FHL's Family Search Data Collection - not a specific PARISH RECORD!!!!!  In researching the various films and source records he quotes, none can be found, even in the FHL archives.  I suggest researchers reading this go directly to the UK Parish record archives to verify the non-existence of the PARISH records he mentions when coinciding with birth, marriage, death, probate, Wills, etc., in regards to ALL dates mentioned in the article in regards to John Leyes, Jane Hancock, Richard Lee and the mentioned siblings.  None exist.

Please fact check in reading the article: Specifically Thorndale's source references - FHL # 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 46, 47 (especially read the source reference bibliography, pointedly #47).  Thorndale does surround his speculations with real information in a way that may or may not be relevant, but are in general HIS OPINIONS and INTERPRETATIONS, not fact based - but most importantly - the resources in regards to Col Richard Lee's parents and the facts presented by Thorndale to tie the relationship as fact and non-factual sources.  I cannot stress the importance enough to have facts sourced and documented properly, especially in genealogy, and especially when it comes to a specific historic figure such as Col Richard Lee. I have noticed that in the genealogy research for the past generation when a FACT is missing that ASSERTIONS of a researcher have been wrongly replaced as a fact.  Just because a researcher states "Probably did not marry" or "Probably moved to Alabama" - "PROBABLY"S" are not FACTS.  Yet unfortunately over the past recent decades those 'probably's" have become the arguments others relied upon in not accepting current research findings, even though more "FACTS" have become available.  That is not how real genealogy is suppose to be.  It is suppose to be an exact science.

You may be questioning 'How can this be? How can the Family History Library Family Data Collect not be a source?'  Just like Wikipedia and Find a Grave are not acceptable sources in genealogy (NO - Wikipedia, Wikitree, Find-A-Grave ARE NOT primary genealogy sources - neither are other family trees or GEDCOMs) neither are publications and articles - they can be references IF they contain specific historic documentation such as a photo of an appropriate headstone, or point to an archive where one can view a parish birth record, burial record, etc., but they are not the source - only the PRIMARY source can be considered of any legal value to form a genealogical relationship -  Here is an example of a FHL Family Search Data Collection "Source" birth for Richard Leyes and John Leyes as father:

Source: familysearch.org, Records - FHL (Family History Library)

Richarde Lyes
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
Name: Richarde Lyes
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 14 May 1612
Christening Date (Original): 14 MAY 1612
Father's Name: John Lyes

So most researchers would question why this is not a valid source, I can understand the mistake -  yet it is not a source but a reference - here is where the researcher MUST seek the source from which the record, or reference, derives.

How to verify a FHL source - (I have linked the  above Family Search reference here: you will have to have a family search account to view - it is free to sign up)

The above image of the 'birth' or Richardus Leyes and father John Leyes 
reference is from a family search user submitted trees 
- if you go to family search and go to the record there is also a tree symbol to the right 
- click on to that and the prompt will ask if you wish to view the person or tree
- view tree 
- go to the "Home' Person 
- guess who's tree it is, mine 
- Jacqueli Finley 
- I am the source.  

I created this "SOURCE" and showing now as an example of a bad source on the Family History Libraries Family Search and how Thorndale's article fooled the genealogy world and the majority of Lee researchers.

There is no record - this was created by a Lee research family tree  GEDCOM that I submitted to  the LDS Family History Library in regards to my research efforts in locating Col. Richard Lee's parents. 

The information was taken from the family data collection, there is not an image of a parish record. This May 1612 birthdate  was information taken off several research notes and various trees that I researched, there never was and cannot be considered a primary source, but unfortunately it is being quoted as one now because of family tree researchers not checking the reliability of the reference and/or confusing a reference for a source. The Family data collection is just that: a COLLECTION - all the information (data) submitted to
the LDS Family History Library, AKA Family Search, by site users like you and me over the years. In this case I was the source (or the GEDCOM tree).

Please remember that Family Search is a very useful tool, that has to be used properly like any genealogy database -  but if the main source is the Family History Library Family Data Collection  for any confirmation in regards to genealogy purposes, it is not really a source at all and should not be considered a primary source ever. 

Step by Step How To Verify FHL Reference:

From Family Search:

Richarde Lyes
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
14 May 1612
John Lyes

Click on tree image:

14 MAY 1612
Saint John Bedwardine,Worcester,Worcester,England


Click on the 1 source:

Attached By


Richarde Lyes, "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"
7 November 2014
View • Edit • Review Attachments • Detach • Report Abuse • Tag 0

This extracted IGI record was used to create this person.
Learn More...

-Now view "person' from prompt instead of viewing tree. 

-Go to the tree's home person. 

-You will get my profile - Jacqueli Finley. 

I created this 'source' myself years ago and to prove this point how a 'source' can be created that can appear to be legit  - but is not - on the FHL Family Collection Library - so why I suggest strongly to investigate all genealogical references thoroughly - as if they do not point directly to a legitimate primary source such as legal documentation it cannot be considered a legitimate primary source which IS NEEDED to PROVE a family connection.

Please - Do not and never make assumptions in genealogy - ie., secondary sources opinions, etc., are not sources really and IF it is a real UK Parish record it WILL be visible on LDS as a UK Parish document located in the UK Archives, as the parish records should visible on most genealogy websites with record searches that include International records - the UK was/is EXCELLENT in record keeping (i.e., Magna Carta, etc.,) so never 'assume' that their records are poor across the pond, they that is where our ancestors learned the essentials of historic record keeping for goodness sake.  Our predecessors taught us what we do in record keeping today. One of my most cherished possessions are my Burke's Peerage collection.  They have been a very useful research tool indeed.

It is Best GENEALOGY PRACTICE to never assume anything in genealogy - t
hat is what my mentor Jim Lawler taught me and the best advise I can give.  And this point of Col Richard Lee's parents was an argument between Prof. Lawler and I because I thought he added an unnecessary generation and that John Leyes and Jane Hancock did not belong - he then insisted that Thorndale was right.  

Jim Lawler taught me to use PAF via the LDS Family History Library and about GEDCOM's way back then, so Jim would never have questioned a source record from the LDS archives or for the record as not having a document within the FHL data collection, me neither for that fact.  The FHL and Family Data Collection are a very useful and necessary tool for researchers and historic data collection, but please seek out where the source records lead because there may not be anything but a user submitted GEDCOM at the trail end that has only the data input as a source without a document source.  I went with a hunch and found the problem, and now responsibly passing the information on publicly as the Lee DNA results from all the descendants submitted kits are showing primarily that the Lee of Virginia lines are a foggy soup - with all the misinformation out there, and many researchers lead in the wrong direction, including myself, we are trying to sort it out.  But please be cautious as you search and attach lineage ancestors because many lines have been mashed together and many sent onto dead ends or wrong ways .... but please keep testing DNA and upload results onto GEDMatch so eventually we can all sort this mess out and correct our lineage and heritage correctly! Please.

The BEST and ONLY way to get the birth, baptism, marriage, death, and probate records for this time period and England - I found searching the UK archives of the vital records. It was these records that Thorndale cites and cannot be found because the film reference is a user submitted source, not an actual parish document. 

Please check for yourselves - the dates for the relationships Thorndale gives to John Leyes, Jane Hancock and their children are all listed on pages 261 through 263 - there are no parish records that coincide.

This probably does not surprise many of you who research the Lee family that deal with more than often heated arguments, hidden records that were available no longer visible, mis-information, lines that seem to go nowhere and let us not forget the documented lines that constantly get thrown out of the Lee family because of purportedly wrong DNA matches from DNA projects that promote DNA from individuals whose lines cannot be properly verified, which by the way is an inappropriate misuse of DNA material and possible illegal (or will be in the near future when laws about DNA are updated) regardless of what is being said.  There is not a legitimate historical society or legal entity that would accept results or interpretations of DNA test comparisons from any DNA project(s) of separate individuals from separate lineages descending from a common ancestor when the DNA does not come from the specific common ancestor shared by these two separate individuals claiming descent, mainly because the facts, i.e.; the individuals tested, labs doing test, DNA test performed, DNA sources, etc., cannot be publicly verified.  This should not be done, and is unacceptable that this is being done to the Lee descendants TODAY and IS being used to confirm or deny a genealogical descent from Col Richard Lee.  Books have been published by appointed DNA experts doing the same thing, taking unconfirmed and unverifiable DNA tests and their interpretations of the results and using the information as factual evidence to confirm or deny relationships in which none of the DNA involved can be verified to the common ancestor's DNA which is WRONG. Period. 

So why would Thordale possibly do such a thing?   Good question. 

IF none of Thorndale's cited sources were never verified why was this nonsense published? I am thinking that is a very good question because genealogical publication standards seem to have been lowered in this case.  It is also noteworthy that in the same edition of the December 1988 Volume 76 NGSQ publication on page 308 that the LDS Family History Library Data Collection had been announced for public use, so it was a relatively 'NEW" archive and possibly the discrepancy of being used as a source was overlooked.

DNA was just a concept and at the early stages of development in 1988. It was still unclear if and how lineages could be verified in the future with the use of DNA testing, yet there was that possibility that it would someday be useful to tracing lines to common ancestors.  Keep that in mind, please, as I try to explain one theory. When Thordale  introduced a generation that in reality did not exist to the line as parents of Col Richard Lee, he then introduced a foreign Y-DNA into Col Richard Lee's lineage yet introduced new Hancock female DNA that does exist in the lineage but in another generation ascending from Richard Lee's Shropshire line. SO in theory IF DNA research progressed in the future (remember we are still back in 1988!) then creating a discrepancy in Y-DNA data between lines descending from Col. Richard Lee (if we do not have a direct DNA sample from Col Richard Lee himself) when comparing individual descendants from separate descending LOV lines.  And THAT is exactly what is happening today.

This IS relevant due to factual evidence just recently discovered that a discrepancy has been found in the DNA trail from the Ditchley/Blenheim lines indicating that there may be an NPE in the descent from Col Richard Lee in those lines, mainly affecting the descent from Col Richard Lee to General Robert E lee descendants.  Anyone can see this by triangulation of multiple DNA samples from multiple (male and female) Lee descendants taking from various LOV lines that have documented pedigrees to Col Richard Lee and the Shropshire Lee ancestors. Perhaps the disconnection of Col Richard Lee from his true parents and ancestral descent and adding a generation not related to him was the result of the prior knowledge that there may be an existing NPE in the more prominent lines and there appear to be a long standing covering up of Lee family indiscretions that has been the subject of argument for decades now.  This may also explain why so many of these DNA tested Lee descendants have DNA matches (over 90%) to the English Lee’s and their female counterpart’s (wives/mothers) DNA, yet DO NOT match to some of the descendants of the Ditchley/Blenheim lines (both male and female DNA).  This may also explain the long standing discrediting of generations of descendants from William Lee (son of Richard) and the discrediting of those of us who dare to disagree with those associated with the historic society who promote the Lee family history, control the artifacts, and WEALTH. But regardless the bottom line is we all just want the lineage to be correct for us to leave behind our BEST EFFORT before our history and heritage is erased from history altogether, it could happen - we should ever be mindful of the future, remember?


Now here is the truth of the matter:


I challenge any and ALL researchers to go to all the Parish records referenced by Thorndale regarding John Lee (or Leyes) Jane Hancock, Richard Lee, etc., death/birth/probate/Wills/marriages and locate them - for I have found that NONE exist in ANY of the English parishes of that timeframe, not just from the Worchester and Shropshire areas, but the WHOLE of English parishes but for the references in Thorndale’s publishing.  Please - IF you can locate these transcripts and sources that Thorndale presents as evidence to Col. Richard Lee's parentage, please share them with us, because they simply DO NOT EXIST!  I have shown why and have attached his article for all to read and verify. *I have attached near the bottom of this page the Vol 76 Dec 1988 Issue of NGSQ with Thordale's Article, as well as a PDF file of specific cited dates, individuals, and events.


All Parish Records that I have found, and publicly available, point back to the original findings of Richardus Lee and his wife Elizabeth as parents prior to Thorndale’s “research’ in 1988.


Col. Richard Lee's parents are Richardus Lee and Elizabeth Bendy, as Col. Richard Lee's baptismal records show his birth at Shropshire, citing Ricardus Lee as parent (father and present at baptism) as well as the will for Richardus Lee mentioning 'son' Richard Lee in the probate record.


Richardus Lee died in 1621, which left Col Richard Lee fatherless at the age of three by my research findings, as his mother died when he would have been 13, as this could explain why he was instructed, educated, interned by uncles, cousins, and family members in other parishes surrounding the Shropshire area, so that he could be well versed on the different trades associated with his family and wealth, which in turned he found useful in his entrepreneurism he exercised as he matured and created at the time the wealthiest empire in the American Colonies. Why the baptismal record shows St Chad's Shrewsbury Shropshire and Not Aveley at Coton Hall?  Shrewsbury being 10 to 20 miles from Aveley or Langthorne was not really that far to be a reason to discredit and Aveley, Coton, Shrewsbury, Langethrone Essex all are part of Shropshire county Parish, as Shrewsbury was the place of record for the baptism of Col Richard Lee and yet also for the verified probate record (cited and media attached to this page) for Richard Lee of Coton (Richardus).  One would think that the evidence was conclusive when considering Col Richard Lee's sworn statement of his Last Will and Testament proven 1663/64 and same for Richard Lee of Coton per his Will and Probate proven 1621.

There could have been many reasons, ALL SPECULATIVE at that time for the use of St Chad's in the stead of Aveley, as the plague was rampant during this period of history, as well as the reasons of weather conditions, clergy availability, denominational considerations, chapel availability or simply the record keeping place of choice of Richard Lee of Coton, but the source records are legitimate and verifiable publicly.  Why the mother Elizabeth Bendy not present on the record?  Well that too is not so unusual for the time. 

Any argument against the baptismal record I am presenting of 15 May 1617 St. Chad's, Shrewsbury being Col Richard Lee's baptismal record the researcher in doubt should be seeking a legitimate legal source and fact, not opinion why this would not be his baptismal record.  It IS the ONLY baptismal record in the UK Parish archives that fits within a 25 year span of Col Richard Lee's possible birth and within a 20 mile search range within and around the Shropshire area for the time period search of 1599-1622.  Anyone can check this fact for yourself through a UK Parish record search system.
Records are attached to this webpage so that anyone can verify as anyone can also obtain IF they know how to search UK Parish records.   At least they are visible today and I have attach these records and links to this publishing also.

My research concludes, as I demonstrate, that the whole John Leys (AKA Lee, Lies, etc) and Jane Hancock as Col Richard Lee's parents is incorrect and possibly made up from a personal GEDCOM or research as there are no legitimate parish sources or records, other than Thorndale's publishing in 1988.


I am listing the LEGAL and HISTORIC primary documentation, as well as listed historic reference publication which include documentation source records, proving Col Richard Lee descends from the Lee’s of Coton Hall, Shropshire (AKA SALOP) England as follows:


Source: Cobbs Hall Bible record:

Colonel Richard Lee, Son of Richard Lee of Nordley Regis in

Shropshire, died at Dividing Creeks in the Co of Northumberland Va. March 1 1664

This is from old Lee Bible - Cobbs Hall Bible record, a photographic reproduction of which is in the Lee Magazine, VIII, 12. URL:[[1]] Item: 12 12: Cobbs Hall: Bible Series: ENGLISH ANCESTRY OF THE LEES 264F: SOURCE: Society of the Lees of Virginia Collection, 1771-2000. 82 boxes, 264 A--264 CCCC (PDF Image also attached to this profile)

Source: Richard Lee and Elizabeth Bendy parents of Col. Richard Lee PER Lee Family Digital Archive:

 “The Emigrant's Parentage

The problem of Richard Lee's parentage has long baffled genealogists. In recent years, however, information has been brought to light which permits older evidence to be interpreted with new assurance.

Richard Lee was unquestionably descended from the ancient Shropshire family of that name, for he used the generic arms of Lee of Shropshire, and a contemporary officer of the College of Arms attested his right to do so. It has been argued that, using those arms without quarterings, he might have been any one of the presumably innumerable descendants of Reyner de Lega in the thirteenth generation. This argument overlooks the fact that, to have used the arms of Lee of Shropshire after the Visitations of 1569 and 1623, Richard Lee must have been a scion of either Coton or Langley.

It may be noticed incidentally that in the one certain example of Richard Lee's use of armorial bearings, the inscription on the silver tankard which his son John presented to Queen's College, Oxford, convenience and good taste alike required the use of the generic Lee arms without quarterings. The same maybe said of the well-known Cobbs Hall woodcarving (which may once have adorned the Emigrant's home on Dividing Creek) and of the Lee arms on the communion cup which Hancock Lee presented to Lee (i.e., Wicomico) Parish. The woodcarving does include a crescent label, a heraldic difference commonly used by the Coton Lees to show that they were the younger branch of the Shropshire family.

In addition to his use of the Lee arms, the Emigrant left direct testimony regarding his origin. The inscription on John Lee's famous tankard (which must have been executed pursuant to his father's instructions) declares that Richard Lee was of “Morton Regis” in Shropshire. This inscription has perplexed generations of genealogists because it could not be found that any place called Morton Regis had ever existed in Shropshire. It was supposed that “Morton Regis” was somehow a mistake for Nordley Regis, but it was hard to see how “Nordley” could have been transcribed as “Morton.” This difficulty disappears when it is considered that Nordley was commonly called Norley.14 In old English script “Norley” could easily have been misread as “Morton,” particularly so in the Emigrant's very difficult handwriting. The only possible explanation is that Richard Lee wrote “Norley Regis” in his instructions, the engraver made it “Morton Regis,” young John Lee knew no better, and no one who did ever noticed the mistake or had it corrected.

This mistake was repeated on the tombstone of Richard Lee II, who died in 1714. It declares that he was “of an ancient family of Merton Regis in Shropshire.”15 This tombstone was probably ordered by Richard Lee III, then resident in London. Richard III was three generations removed from Nordley Regis and unable to consult any family records in Virginia. He presumably relied on John Lee's tankard for a statement regarding the family's origin.

In Virginia, however, it was known that the family had come from Nordley Regis, despite the “Merton Regis” on Richard II's tombstone. When Thomas Lee of Stratford sought information regarding his ancestors he addressed his inquiry to Coton. (A letter addressed to “Merton Regis” could not have been delivered.) The reply of Lancelot Lee is of no value to us except as proof that Thomas Lee knew that Coton was his ancestral home. Lancelot Lee, admitting that he knew nothing of the collateral branches of the family, mistakenly identified the Emigrant as the sixth son of John Lee of Coton.

If we may conclude that the Emigrant was indeed a scion of the Lees of Coton, then in point of time he must have been a grandson of John Lee (1530–1605). He could not, however, have been a son of John Lee's eldest son and heir, Thomas: the children of Thomas Lee, being in the line of succession to the manor, were well recorded. It has been proved that six other sons of John Lee died without issue. By their elimination only Richard, the sixth son, remains as a possible father for Richard Lee the Emigrant.

The probability thus indirectly established is confirmed by the only surviving direct and positive evidence. That evidence is found in a Bible record kept by the Lees of Cobbs Hall, the first entry in which reads as follows: 

“Colonel Richard Lee “[Son of Richard Lee] of Nordley Regis in Shropshire died at Dividing Creeks in the Co of Northumberland Va. March 1 1664” From old Lee Bible) It must be acknowledged that this entry is not a contemporary record. The Bible in which it appears was printed in London in 1765 and was the property of Charles Lee IV of Cobbs Hall (1744–1785).19 The record of his descent must have been taken from an older Cobbs Hall Bible. Moreover, it is evident on the face of the record that the first entry had been copied into that older Bible from a still older Lee Bible. Thus the entry which concerns us has been copied twice.

That fact, however, does not destroy the validity of this record as evidence. When the copying was done there existed no motive for fabrication: the good faith of the copyists can be assumed. They intended to make an accurate record and their work can be accepted as such, subject only to the possibility of inadvertent error in detail in the process of transcription. They can have had no personal knowledge of the existence in Shropshire of a place called Nordley Regis, yet they, like Thomas Lee of Stratford, were not misled by the “Merton Regis” on the tombstone of Richard Lee II. They must have had access to a more authoritative source. Their quotation marks show that the first entry in their record was not a later restatement, but was rather a precise quotation from a contemporary, or nearly contemporary, document.

The brackets within the quotation marks are puzzling. Except for their position at the beginning of the quotation, they might be taken to mark an interpolation by one of the copyists. However, close examination of the spacing in the manuscript text shows that the line “Son of Richard Lee of Nordley Regis” was first written without brackets: the first is crowded directly under the first quotation mark, the second is inserted into the normal space between “Lee” and “of.” In these circumstances the brackets do not appear to affect the integrity of the indicated quotation, but rather to have been used as an afterthought to single out and emphasize the fact stated within them.

In evaluating this first entry in the Cobbs Hall Bible it must also be considered that the two copyists were able to check their facts against an authoritative source known to have been available to them, though not available to us. This source was the tombstone of the Emigrant himself, which was still to be seen near Cobbs Hall as late as 1798.20 Both copyists must have been familiar with the inscription on this tombstone, which presumably included some statement as to the Emigrant's origin. It is unlikely that they would have copied into their record anything at variance with it.

In view of these considerations and of the mass of corroborating circumstantial evidence given above,21 the Cobbs Hall Bible record can be accepted as conclusive proof that Richard Lee, the Emigrant, was indeed the son of Richard Lee of Nordley Regis and the grandson of John Lee of Coton. In November 1930 it was so accepted by the College of Arms”


Source: Last Will and Last Testament of Col Richard Lee, the Immigrant:


Note: The following transcript of Richard Lee's Last Will and Testament is taken from Edmund Jennings Lee's Lee of Virginia, 1642–1892: Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of the Descendants of Colonel Richard Lee (Philadelphia, 1895) pp. 61–64. (Please Note:  I have HIGHLIGHTED in his Will and Last Testament Col Richard Lee's sworn statement of his identity):


Richard Lee, the Immigrant (c.1613–1664)


IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. I, Colonel Richard Lee of Virginia, and lately of Stafford Langton in the County of Essex, Esquire, being bound upon a voyage to Virginia aforesaid, and not knowing how it may please God to dispose of me in so long a voyage, utterly renouncing, disclaiming, disannulling, and revoking all former wills, either script, nuncupative or parol, and schedules or codicils of wills whatsoever, do make, ordain and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, first: I give and bequeath my soul to that good and gracious God that gave it me and to my Blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ, assuredly trusting in and by his meritorious death and passion to receive salvation, and my body to be disposed of whether by sea or land according to the opportunity of the place, not doubting but at the last day both body and soul shall be reunited and glorified.

Next, my will and desire is that all my estate aforesaid, both lease land, free land and copyhold land and houses be with all convenient speed that may be, sold for the payment of my debts to John Jeffries Esq. and what the sale of that shall fall short of, to be made good out of my crops in Virginia, to be consigned to my good friends Mr. Thomas Griffith and Mr. John Lockey, or one of them in that behalf, and in case the estate of Stratford be not as speedily sold as I desire, that then the best improvements possible may be made from year to year of my said plantation, and my servants labour with such directions and appointments as the said Griffith and Lockey shall order for the better and sooner payment of my debts, and that my number of servants be still kept up, and continued out of the labors by the said Griffith and Lockey, or one of them, for the better managing and effecting thereof.

Also my will and earnest desire is that my good friends will with all convenient speed cause my wife and children (all except Francis if he be pleased) to be transported to Virginia, and to provide all necessary for the voyage, and from time to time till my estate be disentangled and free of all my debts, to provide and allow for them, and every one of them, a competent and convenient maintenance according as the product of estate will bear, relation being had to the payment of my debts and the annual supply of my several plantations, all which I absolutely refer to the said Thomas Griffith and John Lockey, and after my debts are paid, I give and bequeath my estate as followeth:

To my wife, during her life, I give the plantation whereon I now dwell, ten English servants, five negroes, 3 men and 2 women, 20 sows and corn proportionable to the servants; the said negroes I give to her during her widowhood and no longer, and then presently to return to those of the five youngest children, also the plantation Mocke Nock.

Item. My will and earnest desire is that my household stuff at Strafford be divided into three parts, two of which I give to my son John, and bind him to give to every one of his brothers a bed, and the other part I give to my wife Anna Lee.

Item. I give all my plate to my three oldest sons, or the survivor or survivors of them, each to have his part delivered to him when he comes to the age of 18 years.

Item. I give to my son John and heirs forever, when he comes to the age of 18 years, all my land and plantation at Machotick, all the stock of cattle and hogs thereupon, also 10 negroes, viz. five men and five women, and 10 English servants for their times, all the corn that shall be found there, all tools, household stuff and utensils thereupon.

Item. To Richard and his heirs forever, when he come to the age aforesaid, I give my plantation called Paradise, with all my servants thereupon, all my stock of cattle and hogs, all working tools and utensils, and corn that shall be found thereupon to be for the provision of the said servants.

Item. To Francis and his heirs forever, when he comes to the age aforesaid, I give the Paper-makers Neck and the War Captains Neck with five negroes, three men and two women, and 10 English servants, and the stock of cattle and hogs, corn and tools and utensils upon the said several Necks.

Item. I give and bequeath to the five younger children, viz.: William, Hancock, Betsey, Anne, and Charles, the plantation whereon John Baswell now lives and so all along including Bishop's Neck and to the utmost extent of my land towards Brewer's and also 4,000 acres upon Potomack, also the two plantations before bequeathed to my wife, after her death to be divided between them or their survivors or survivor of them, also all the rest of my cattle, hogs, corn, household stuff, tools or whatsoever is or shall be found upon the said plantations at the time of my death, all which said estate so bequeathed to my younger children, after my debts are paid, I desire may be employed upon the said plantations for a joint stock to raise portions of the said children against they come of age aforesaid or the females married. The said servants and what other products of their labors whether money or whatsoever to be equally divided between them or their survivors or survivor of them, but the said land only to be divided between the male children.

Item. I give and bequeath to my eldest son John, three islands lying in the Bay of Chesapeake, the great new bed that I brought over in the Duke of York, and the furniture thereunto belonging.

Item. My will is that my horses, mares, and colts be equally divided in two parts, one whereof to be and belong to my three eldest children, and the other to my five youngest, and shall be sold as they increase toward raising money for their portions, and in case any of the three eldest children die before they come to the age of 18 years, that then his or their portion come to the survivors or survivor of them, and in case they all die that the whole personal estate equally to return to the five youngest children, but the land only to the male children, and if the five younger children die before they come to the age aforesaid, or the females married, then their parts to be divided among the eldest or survivors or survivor of them.

Item. My will is that my son William Lee have all that land on the Maryland side, whereon George English is now seated, when he comes to the age aforesaid; also my will is that goods sufficient be set apart for the maintenance of the gangs of each plantation for the space of two years, and all the rest of my goods to be sold to the best advantage and the tobacco shipped here to Mr. Lockey and Mr. Griffith towards the payment of my debts.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Francis, after my debts are paid, my whole interest in the ship called Elizabeth and Mary, being one-eighth part, also one-eighth part in the ship called The Susan, and in case of the death of Francis, I give the same to Charles, and in the case of his death to the two girls Elizabeth and Anne.

But in the case that by the blessing of God upon the industry and labor of my people upon the several plantations, my said debts be fully satisfied before the said land at Stratford be sold, nevertheless I will and entreat my good friends, Mr. Griffith and Mr. Lockey, or one of them, [that] it may be sold to the most and best advantage, and the produce thereof put out at interest, and the interest thereof be employed for and towards the better education of John and Richard, equally, to assist the one in his travels for the attainments of a reasonable perfection in the knowledge of Physick, the other at the University or the Inns of Court which he shall be most fit for, and the principal money to be equally divided between the two daughters when they come to age or be married, and that the said daughters be utterly debarred from all former legacies given to them as aforesaid, but in case of their death then the sale and produce of said estate at Stratford to be equally divided between my eldest son John and my youngest son Charles. Also I desire and order that my wife, my son John, and all my overseers, that either all or one, shall from time to time keep a correspondence with the said Griffith and Lockey, and order all my affairs in Virginia to the best advantage, as they or one of them shall direct them, and ship all my tobacco and what else shall be raised upon the said plantations to the said Griffith and Lockey for satisfaction of my debt and advantage of my children and do yearly give them an account of all horses, mares, negroes, goods, and all other things according as they shall receive directions and instructions from the said Mr. Thomas Griffith and Mr. Lockey.

Lastly: For the use aforesaid I make and ordain my ever loving friends Mr. Thomas Griffith and Mr. John Lockey, Merchants, John and Richard Lee, my full and sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament, but in respect to my son Richard, till he cometh of age, I do absolutely place all the management of my will upon the care and trust of my first mentioned executors till my said son, Richard Lee, comes to age as aforesaid, hoping the same friendship to mine after my death which they have always done unto me.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Sixth day of February, in the 16th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles II., King of Great Britain, &c., &c., and in the year of our Lord 1663. [1664]

(Signed) RICHARD LEE. (Seal)

Signed, sealed and delivered before us

Peter Ashton

George Wall

W. Carter Seaward

It is important to note that Ricardus Lee (Richard Lee of Coton) changed his residence and left Aveley/Coton after his marriage to wife Elizabeth Bendy to reside at Stratford Langethorne, Essex  - which is same location of Col Richard Lee of Virginia's sworn testament of identification in his Last Will and Testament.

This will was probated in London, the next year: 1664-5 Richardus Lee. January. Decimo die p robatum fuit Testamentum Richardi Lee nup de Stratford Langton in Com Essexine sed apud Virgi nia in ptibus transmarinus ar defunct hents, &c. Jurament Thomae Griffith et Johis Lockey duo r Execut, & c, guih. & c., de bene & c. Jurat. Reservata ptate Similem Comnem faciend Johi e t Richo Lee alt Execut & c."

Johis P C C Probate Act Book fo 3.

Evidential Proof of Parental/Child Connection:

Regarding Will of Richardus Lee (Richard Lee of Coton) Proven:


JOHN LEE of Coton Hall (aged circa 59 in 1588/9) mar. Joyce, only dau. of John Romney of
Lulsley, co. Worcester, bur. Aiveley, 4 Dec. 1609

Thomas William Edward Gilbert RICHARD

Mentioned in Chancery suit 1610 — j Elizabeth Bendy

as having life interest in farm at | married at Aiveley apd.
Aiveley apd. Bapt. at Aiveley 21 Oct. 1599.

6 Oct. 1563. Ment <! in Wills of
his father 1605 and brother Gil-
bert 1621. (Left Aiveley to live
at Stratford Langthorne, Essex. )

Note: .John Lee of Cotton or Coton Hall and Joyce Romney his wife had eight sons of whom five are men-
tioned in this transcription. Of Gilbert Lee the record states he was of Tolleshunt, Darcv, Co. Essex;

that his (Richardus) will was dated April 12. 1621. the year of his marriage to Elizabeth ; that lie

was a leather merchant trading with Virginia, and that his ship fought the Spanish Armada.

It should be apparent and accepted that in Col Richard Lee's sworn statement stating his identity as from Stratford Langethorne, Essex and that in Richard Lee of Coton's place of residence at the time of his death was also Stratford Langethorne, Essex that Col Richard Lee IS THE SON OF Richard Lee of Coton. With two LEGAL probated documented PROVEN Will's that DO ESTABLISH a LEGAL PARENTAL Father to Son RELATIONSHIP through the sworn statement of TITLE IDENTITY the acceptance of Richardus Lee of Coton and Stratford Langethorne Essex as the FATHER of Richard Lee of Virginia and Stratford Langthorne, Essex should be unquestionable. I rest my case on the matter.

Source(s): Baptismal Record(s): 

listing Richard (Richardus) as father and present:

Richardus Lee; Present at baptism of Richard Lee:; County Shropshire; Register type Composite; Register date range 1616-1638; Archive reference P253/A/1/1; Page 2; Record set Shropshire Baptisms; Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Subcategory Parish Baptisms; Collections from United Kingdom, England; (source image attached)

Richard (Richardus) Lee listed as present (Father) at baptism of Col. Richard Lee; County Shropshire Register type Composite Register date range 1616-1638 Archive reference P253/A/1/1 Page 2 Record set Shropshire Baptisms Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers) Subcategory Parish Baptisms Collections from United Kingdom, England Note:source image attached - Primary Source:; First name(s) Richard; Last name Lee; Birth year -; Baptism year 1617; Baptism date 15 May 1617; Denomination Anglican; Place Shrewsbury, St Chad's; Father's first name(s) Richard; Mother's first name(s) -; Mother's last name -; Residence -; County Shropshire; Register type Composite; Register date range 1616-1638; Archive reference P253/A/1/1; Page 2; Record set Shropshire Baptisms; Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Subcategory Parish Baptisms; Collections from United Kingdom, England

 Source(s):  Marriage record of Richardus Lee and Elizabeth Bendy:

England Marriages 1538-1973 Transcription; First name(s) Ric.; Last name Lee; Name note -; Marriage year 1599; Marriage date 21 Oct 1599; Marriage place Alveley; Spouse's first name(s) Elizabeth; Spouse's last name Bendy; County Shropshire; Country England; Record set England Marriages 1538-1973; Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Subcategory Parish Marriages; Repository: England, United Kingdom.

Shropshire marriages Transcription; First name(s) Ric; Last name Lee; Marriage year 1599; Marriage date 21 Oct 1599; Marriage place Alveley; Denomination Anglican; Spouse's first name(s) Elizabeth; Spouse's last name Bendy; County Shropshire; Register date range 1561-1721; Archive reference P10/A/1/1; Page 37; Register type Composite; Record set Shropshire Marriages; Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Subcategory Parish Marriages; Collections from United Kingdom, England; Repository: DC Thomson Family History.

England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973; Name Ric. Lee; Gender Male; Marriage Date 21 Oct 1599; Marriage Place Alveley,Shropshire,England; Spouse Elizabeth Bendy; FHL Film Number 502909, 506789; Household Members ; Name Age; Elizabeth Bendy ; Ric. Lee; ancestry.com

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900; Name Richard Lee; Gender Male; Birth Year 1563; Spouse Name Elizabeth Bendy; Spouse Birth Year 1593; Marriage Year 1599; Number Pages 1; Household Members ; Name Age; Elizabeth Bendy ; Richard Lee; Source number: 975.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: DPS.


 Source: Probate of Will of Richardus Lee:

UK, Probate Records 1269-1975.Name Lee, Richard; Death 1621; Vital Shropshire, England; First name(s) Richard; Last name Lee; Year 1621; Probate year 1621; Inventory year 1620; Parish Shrewsbury; County Shropshire; Country England; Series description Registered wills and original wills, administrations and inventories, 1494-1860, and, act books, 1532-1638 for Diocese of Lichfield Episcopal Consistory Court; Piece description Original wills, administrations, inventories; Piece surname range L; Piece year range 1621-1623; Record set Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield And Coventry Wills And Probate 1521-1860; Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers); Subcategory Wills & probate; Collections from England, United Kingdom 

Source reference: International Find A Grave Memorial:

UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current; Name Richard Lee; Birth Date 1563; Birth Place Alveley, Shropshire Unitary Authority, Shropshire, England; Death Date 1621; Death Place Shropshire, England; Cemetery Alveley Churchyard; Burial or Cremation Place Alveley, Shropshire Unitary Authority, Shropshire, England; Has Bio? Y; Spouse Elizabeth Lee; Find A Grave: Memorial #139408889; Note: He was the son of Sir John Lee of Coton Hall and wife Joyce Romney. He was baptized at Alveley church on Oct. 6, 1563, as noted in the church registers. He married Elizabeth Bendy in 1586. He was originally buried in the 13th century chapel at Coton Hall. In 1878 the chapel roof collapsed and all the Lee monuments were moved to Alveley church.

Additional historical documentation that confirms Col Richard Lee descent from Richardus Lee and Lee's of Shropshire -
Documentation for Richard Lee linage from Shropshire, Coton Hall Lees Compiled by Jacqueli Finley:  

*Richard Lee Baptism record: 
The Parish Registers of Broseley, Shropshire, 1570-[1750], Volume 1 By Broseley (England), Pg. 16. Note: Father Ricardus Lee present. (Record microfilm attached below).

 *As Will of his father, Richardus Lee, wife Elizabeth Bendy, also does confirm lineage of Richard Lee b.1617/18 married Anne Constable: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 46, Pg. 71.  (Record microfilm attached below).

*Letter from Lancelot Lee, of Coton, to Thomas Lee, of Stratford JOURNAL ARTICLE: A New Clue to the Lee Ancestry: The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jan., 1899), pp. 255-260 Published by: Virginia Historical Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4242160 Page Count:6 Title: A New Clue to the Lee Ancestry Created Date: 20160808195236Z

*Family Trees By François Weil Harvard University Press, Apr 30, 2013 - History - 320 pages  http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674045835&content=reviews

*Annual Report, Volume 2 By American Historical Association U.S. Government Printing Office, 1907 - Historiography Congressional Serial Set U.S. Government Printing Office, 1907 - United States Pg.929 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.156996/page/n7

*Edmund Jennings Lee, Lee of Virginia, 1642-1892: Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of the Descendants of Colonel Richard Lee, Pg. 38 Heritage Books, Jun 16, 2008 - Reference - 664 pages : https://archive.org/details/leeofvirginia16400inleee/page/n5

*Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) include section: Genealogical gleanings in England, by H. F. Waters.  https://archive.org/details/newenglandhistor1877wate/page/n5

* Miscellanea Genealogica Et Heraldica Hamilton, Adams, and Company, 1894 – Genealogy, Pg. 109  https://archive.org/details/miscellaneagenea03lond/page/n7

 *Full text of "Genealogical history of the Lee family of Virginia and Maryland from A.D. 1300 to A.D. 1866, LEE FAMILY  VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND  FROM A.D. 1300 TO A.D. 1 866 WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS EDITED BY EDWARD C. MEAD  URL:https://archive.org/stream/genealogicalhist00mead/genealogicalhist00mead_djvu.txt

 *Society of the Lees of Virginia Collection, 1771-2000. 82 boxes, 264 A--264 CCCC (38 linear ft.)  Eleanor Lee Templeman (1906-1990), a Northern Virginia author, genealogist, and historian, assembled much of this collection. Her writings and correspondence capture the activities and interests of the Society, as well as the genealogy of the Lees.  Scope and Content Note: This collection documents the family history of Lees in Virginia, especially to the Lees related to Richard Lee the Emigrant. (There are extensive series of files by names of individuals with the surname of Lee, by surnames of other families which intermarried with the Lees, and by names of properties associated with these families.  Other major series cover the English ancestry of the Lees, antique objects associated with the Lees, and the records of the Society of the Lees of Virginia. There are files on dozens of related families, but the Goldsborough and Boothe families are particularly well represented. The photograph collection provides portraits of many of the Lees as well as pictures of Lee homes and other related subjects. Other formats include: correspondence, letters, maps, genealogical charts, books, periodicals, newspaper and magazine clippings, business records, index cards, completed membership applications, brochures, booklets, prints, reports, court records, property records,histories)


* "Stratford Hall: The Great House of Lees" By ETHEL ARMES WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT https://archive.org/stream/stratfordhallthe00rich/stratfordhallthe00rich_djvu.txt

* Emma Lee Bettis Manuscript: "Lee Family of Shropshire, England 1100 AD to 1961 in America - called the Lee Family of Virginia" compiled by Emma Lee Bettis


Media of Parish Records and Original Documentation:

Richardus Lee and Elizabeth Bendy Marriage Record.

Col Richard Lee Baptismal Record.

Richardus Lee Probate Record.

Society Lees Records RLee.pdf
232.5 KB

 Here is the entire NGHSQ December 1988 Vol 76 issue - Thorndale's Article:

24.7 MB

169.5 KB

Additional Notes by Jacqueli as a PDF on the above link.