Sir John Digby Knight

Sir John DIGBY Knight (1464-1533)  was  Alex’s 15th Great Grandfather; in the Miner line.

Since our Digby ancestors really were knights, their coat of arms belongs on each of their pages.

Sir John Digby Knight was born 1464 in Stoke Dry, Rutland, England. His parents were Everard DIGBY Esquire and Jacquetta ELLIS. He married  Katherine GRIFFIN on 1485 in Eye Kettleby (Ab Kettleby), Leicestershire, England.  After Catherine died, he married 24 Oct 1517 in Eye Kettleby  to Sancha Willoughby.  Sir John died May 1533 in Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England.

Stoke Dry Village

Katherine Griffin was born 1463 in Braybrooke, Northamptonshire, England. Her parents were Nicholas GRIFFIN Lord Latimer and Marina BELERS. Catherine first married 1475 in Braybrooke, Northamptonshire, England  to John Belers Esquire.   Katherine died 1516 in Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England.

John Belers was born in 1459 in Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England.  John died 27 Jan 1476 in Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England.)

Annuitates concessea per Johannem Bellers Ar.

Item it is agreed that during the life of Katherine Digby late the wife of John Bellers Esq’ John Villiers shall pay yearly to Dame Marine Greene in recompence for Kettleby & Sistonby viij  xij  ix  [£8 7s 9d]  to be made sure thereof.

Item Jasper Roskin shall in likewise pay to the same Dame Marine in like recompence yearely to the sayd Dame Marme during the life of the sajd Digby xivj* viij** [14s 8d] and the sayd Jasper other xxvj” vij** [25s 7d].

Item it is agreed that in as goodly hast as can be thought by the aduice of good substantiall the states of the land according to the partitions be ingrossed togeather with the state that shalbe made to the sayd Katherine Digby &c, that is to say to each of the part to them assigned in taile & fault of issue the remainder to be either of the copartners of the Moietie of the same entayle

The Griffin family’s roots can be traced back  to Henry I King of France  (See his page).

Sancha Willoughby was born 1457 in Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, England. Her parents were Sir Robert Willoughby Knight and Margaret Griffith. Sancha first married 1477 in Strelley, Nottinghamshire, England. to John Strelley Esquire (b. 1448 in Strelley, Nottinghamshire, England. – d. 2 Jan 1502 in Strelley, Nottinghamshire, England). Sancha died May 1533 in Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England.

Demise by Sanche, late the wife of John Strelley, esquire, to Simon Digby, esquire, of the manor of Trowell and all lands therein during the nonage of John Strelley, son and heir to her siad husband, ‘the remainder thereof after the full age of the said John the son to the same John Strelley the son for term of forty years; which manor was assigned to her as parcel of her dower by Sir Henry Willughby, Sir Gervas Clyfton, knights, and other cofeoffees of her husband according to the award of Sir Thomas Lovell: [Notts. Date: 4 May, 18 Henry VII [1503]

John Markham, knight, and Anne, his wife, daughter of John Strelley, esquire, deceased, and of Sanche, his wife and executrix. v. Simon and Roland, sons and executors of John Digby, knight, second husband of the said Sanche.: Legacy of the said John Strelley, who died possessed of the manors of Strelley, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Chilwell, Wheatley, Oxton, Shipley, and North and South Leverton. Date: 1538-1544 .

Children of  John and Katherine:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Elizabeth Digby 1486
Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England
Humphrey Hercy Esquire
Grove, Nottinghamshire, England.
2. William DIGBY Esquire 1495 in Ketteby Luffenham, Rutland, England   [Ab Ketterby is about 25 miles NW of Luffenham,
I’m not sure which is meant by the above combination
Rose PRESTWICH 1518 in England.
Ellen Roper
Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire, England
3. Simon Digby 1490
Eye Kettleby
4. Anne Digby 1492
Eye Kettleby
Sir William Skeffington
5. Alice Digby 1494
Eye Kettleby
 George Ashby
6. Rowland Digby 1497
Eye Kettleby
7. Everard Digby 1500
Eye Kettleby
8. Dorothy Digby 1503
Eye Kettleby

Sir John sheriff of Rutlandshire in 1485; also member of Parliament,. Sir John was knighted at the Battle of Bosworth Field fighting for Henry VII [where he defeated Richard III].  John’s father and five uncles also took part in the Battle of Bosworth.  He might have been related to Sir Simon Digby about whom Giles St. Aubyn in his book, “The Year of Three Kings, 1483″ says he joined Henry in his march through Wales to Bosworth.

Battle of Bosworth Field Reenactment

The Battle of Bosworth Field (or the Battle of Bosworth) was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between theHouse of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty by his victory and subsequent marriage to a Yorkist princess. His opponent Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it one of the defining moments of English history.


1. Elizabeth Digby

Elizabeth’s husband Humphrey Hercy Esquire was born 1482 in Grove, Nottinghamshire, England. His parents were Humphrey Hercye (b: 1437 in Grove, Nottingham) and   Joan Stanhope (b: 1455 in Shelford, Nottingham).  Humphrey died 9 Oct 1520 in Grove, Nottingham, England.

Humphrey Hercye Family Tree Source:The visitations of the county of Nottingham in the years 1569 and 1614

2. William DIGBY Esquire (See his page)

4. Anne Digby

Anne’s husband  Sir William Skeffington (c. 1465-1535), lord deputy of Ireland, belonged to a Leicestershire family and was sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire under Henry VII. He was master of the ordnance and a a knight of the shire (Member of Parliament) for Leicestershire from 1529–1535 in the reign of Henry VIII., and in 1529 was appointed deputy in Ireland for Henry’s son, the duke of Richmond, the nominal lord lieutenant of that country.

Sir William was born in Skeffington, Leicestershire. His brother John was the patriarch of the Massareene family. He was appointed High Sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire for 1508, 1515 and 1521 in the reign of Henry VII and was knighted by that king for his services. In 1523, he received from Henry VIII property near Tunbridge that had belonged to the executed traitor Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

He was appointed in 1529 deputy in Ireland to Henry’s son, the duke of Richmond, the nominal lord lieutenant of that country.  He crossed over in August 1529, but his power was so circumscribed by instructions from Henry that the head of the Fitzgeralds, Gerald, 9th earl of Kildare,, and not Skeffington, was the real governor of Ireland. This state of affairs lasted for three years and then in 1532 the deputy was recalled.

In 1534, Kildare being in prison in England and his son Thomas, afterwards the 10th earl, being in revolt, Skeffington was again appointed deputy , at approximately 70 years of age. After some delay he landed at Dublin in October 1534 and marched at once to relieve Drogheda, but further progress in the work of crushing the rebellion was seriously delayed by his illness. However, in the spring of 1535 he was again in the field. He took Maynooth Castle, killing and executing the entire garrison. The heavy artillery used by him on this occasion earning for him his surname of “The Gunner”; he forced some of Kildare’s allies to make peace and captured Dungarvan.

William died in Dublin on the 31st of December 1535, and was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He was succeeded by his eldest son Thomas.

He was last Roman Catholic to hold the office either of Lord Deputy or Lord Lieutenant, with the exception of the Duke of Tyrconnel in 1687-1689 and Lord Fitzalan in 1921-1922.

He first married Anne’s great aunt Margaret, daughter of Everard “Greenleaf” DIGBY William Skeffington was so fond of Digbys, that when she died, he married her great niece Anna, the daughter of Everard’s grandson John Digby of Kettleby.

William and Margaret had four sons, including Sir Leonard Skeffington, who would hold the post of Lieutenant of the Tower of London. Sir Leonard is credited with having invented the “Scavenger’s Daughter“, which was a torture device used in the Tower during Henry VIII’s reign Following Margaret’s death, William Skeffington married secondly, Anne Digby, a daughter of Sir John Digby of Kettleby and his wife, Katherine Giffin. This marriage produced two further sons and three daughters.

5. Alice Digby

The will (at Nat. Archives) of John Digby d. 1533 of Eye Kettleby asks for masses for the souls of John Bellers and Parnell Ashby (as well as others known to be his close kin) John Bellars was the first husband of the Katherine Griffin who was the first wife of John Digby. John Digby and Katherine Griffin’s daughter Alice married George Ashby so presumably Parnell was a daughter of George and Alice.  Parnell is a female first name – Petronilla in Latin.


The visitations of the county of Nottingham in the years 1569 and 1614

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12 Responses to Sir John Digby Knight

  1. Pingback: William Digby | Miner Descent

  2. Pingback: Everard Digby Esquire | Miner Descent

  3. Pingback: Henri I | Miner Descent

  4. Pingback: Everard “Greenleaf” Digby | Miner Descent

  5. Kelly Maxon Penticoff says:

    incredible! I have just started a search of my family tree (Maxson) and am so excited to make all of these discoveries of my ancestors!

  6. Kelly Maxon Penticoff says:

    Sir John Digby is my 13th Great Grandfather!

  7. barrie north says:

    looking for elizabeth digby married john north rothley 1790

  8. Cindy Boyan Spalla 3x great grand daugher of James Lester Moore says:

    its amazing how far back this trail is. Just when I think “oh this is the last of the line”, there is another generation! My 3x gr grandfather was a Moore, via Beckwiths of Connecticut. Thanks for the research and stories!

  9. Liz says:

    Hi reading your pieces on Sir John Digby .Eye kettleby andAb kettleby are different villages
    Eye kettleby doesn’t have much in the way of houses now.

  10. Alan Morris says:

    Sir John Digby and Katherine Griffin are the 14th great-grandparent of my late wife Angela June Morris (nee Bugler) who sadly passed away on 23 May 2017 aged 73, She would have been delighted to know she was distantly related to you.

  11. Sandy Saunders says:

    Have you discovered a William Digby (died 1605) of Welby? Welby was a village about 3 miles south of Ab Kettleby, 4 miles north of Eye Kettleby. We are carrying out an archaeological study of the deserted Medieval Village of Welby which William was Lord of the Manor

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