Richard Cotgreave – “in Chesher”

Several early Welsh manuscripts recite the genealogy of the princes and nobility of Powys with names involving long lists of ancestors like Morgan ap David ap Goronwy ab Madog. Many of the names are recycled many times – David, Gruffudd, Madog and Einion. Most of their wives are listed as daughter of Welsh lords and lordlings with simliar names.

But David ap Morgan ap David of Sutton Iscoed near Wrexham was married to “Richard Cotgreave o Swydd gaer lleon”.

Swydd in this context means “county” and Caerleon – “the city of the legions” – is an old name for Chester. So English translations, that date from about 100 years later, give this as “Richard Cotgreave in Chesher”.

Identifying Richard is difficult. None of his relatives are specified, and even the daughter to married David of Sutton isn’t named. But a rough date can be calculated. Sutton’s son – Richard Cotgreave’s grandson – is known to have been active in 1361, so he can’t have been born any later than about 1340. To have had a grandson born then, Richard must surely have been born in the thirteenth century, or at a stretch just around 1300.

But who could he be, given that the Cotgreaves of Chester all descend from Thomas de Cotegrave, who died in about 1270 and whose only provable offspring at the time are a son and grandson both called William. Thomas’s son was an adult by the 1280s, and his grandson appears to have married in 1310.

Unless the original records have somehow preserved plenty of reference to both the Williams but mysteriously forgotten Richard, there must be a mistake. Presumably “Richard Cotgreave in Chesher” is really a mistake for the second William de Cotegreve, and it was his daughter who married into the Powys nobility.

National Library of Wales: Peniarth MS 139, MS 287
British Library: Harleian MS 1972, MS 4181
Lloyd, J.Y.W (1882) The History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog, Volume 3.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s