Trees

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The English 'Drax, Dracas(s), Drakes' family trees


There are five main ‘Drax, Dracas(s), Drakes’ families in the World.

These names originate in a very small area bordered in the north by the Humber Estuary, half-way up the east coast of England, to about 25 miles south, and extending from Grimsby, Lincs., on the east coast, about 50 miles west to Darfield & Wombwell in the West Riding of Yorks. The area is sufficiently small for it to seem almost impossible to even consider that they aren’t all related to each other. They all appear to have descended from the earlier generations of the Darfield family, who came to England with Henry II in 1154 from Normandy, France. I have numerous smaller trees and individual notes, which I am gradually connecting into these larger trees. Most people around the world named ‘Drax’, ‘Dracas’, ‘Dracass’ or ‘Drakes’, appear to descend from one of the following five trees.

The progenitors for these five main trees are:

A - Geoffrey Drax (Drakes) born 1126 in the Cenomana Diocese of Normandy, France - this Yorkshire West Riding family descends, via a younger son in Warwickshire, to the London, Barbados & Dorset family; this ancient line is suspected to be the origin of all the Drax, Dracas(s) & Drakes trees. Their slaves are believed to be the origin of the West Indian ‘Drakes’ families, some of whom have migrated to the USA & Canada.

B - Thomas Dracas (Drakehurst, Draykas, Drakehas, Drakes) married 1602, and lived at Stainton le Hole (Stainton le Vale), Lincs. - this Lincolnshire Wolds family moved from there to South Kelsey, then to Tealby, then back to Stainton le Vale & nearby Ludford, Lincs.

J - Richard Drax (Rych Drakes) born before 1591 at Messingham, Lincs.: the Winteringham, Lincs. family - this is the only tree that currently has ‘Drax’, ‘Drake’ and ‘Drakes’ interspersed throughout to the present day [NB. ‘Drake’ is not normally related to ‘Drakes’]. Former trees ‘C’ [Ludford], ‘D’ [Isle of Axholme], ‘E’ [Winteringham] & ‘G’ [Winteringham] have now been linked to this tree.

L - William Dracass (Dracas) born 1702, probably at Old Clee, Lincs. - this Old Clee & Leverton, Lincs. family moved to the southeast fenlands, near Boston, Lincolnshire - possibly related to trees ‘N’, ‘B’ & ‘J’.

N - William Dracas (c1650-1684), who married in 1672 at Irby upon Humber, Lincs. - former tree ‘M’ [Jonathan Dracass, born about 1785 in Yorkshire, living in Sheffield in 1841] has now been tentatively linked to this tree. This Sheffield branch is likely to have migrated here via the 18th century waterways bringing food and supplies from Old Clee & Irby upon Humber via the Humber estuary to post-industrial-revolution Sheffield. There is a nice clear map of the water-transport links inside the front cover of Dry Cargo Barges on the Humber Waterways by Mike Taylor. - probably part of tree ‘B’ or ‘J’, or both.

Others: There is a small 19th century ‘Drakes’ tree in Cornwall, which I cannot connect to Lincs. I suspect that this may be an unrelated ‘Drake’ family that has picked up the all important ‘s’ over the years. It is remotely possible that they are a branch of tree ‘A’, though I doubt it. There is a small ‘Drake’ family of fishmen from Brixham, Devon, who migrated to Grimsby, Lincs., and became ‘Drakes’ due to the local surname’s influence, but they do not appear to be related to the other ‘Drakes’ families. There is a ‘Drake’ family in Ireland that are sometimes referred to as ‘Drakes’ in error.

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There are 600,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, yet there are about 1.5 million surnames currently in use in the UK. Of these, about a third did not exist here prior to 1950 and, with the current rate of immigration and some rare old names dying out, this statistic is likely to soon be only half. The new surnames are mainly the result of: deliberate name changes after marriage by combining elements of both surnames into a new surname, forming a doubled-barrelled surname, deliberate name changes due to preference, or by immigration. Though there are about 400 very common surnames that are each shared by over 100,000 people, there are other ancient surnames that are in danger of dying out.

The use of hereditary family-names (surnames) in Britain is an 11th century Norman-French invention, as is primogeniture, where the eldest son inherited the major part of any land and any hereditary title. There are very few instances of apparently-hereditary family-names in Anglo-Saxon Britain, as inheritance of land and titles was usually by being a suitable leader who was often, but not always, related to the deceased. Hereditary surnames in Britain began after 1066 and were in general use by the landed gentry by the 13th and 14th centuries; however, it was not until 1400 that most families in England and Scotland used surnames, though many in Scotland, the north of England and Wales still didn't used them until the 17th century and some not until later.

This is interesting, as regards the earliest known 'Drax (Drakes)': Geoffrey Drax (Drakes), who was born in 1126, and was recorded in the 16th century Herald's Visitations as being 'of Cenomana, Diocese of Normandy, France.' Family surnames were still a new idea in the 12th century and it was still common to refer to people by the name of an Estate that they held or by a well-known name to which they were, sometimes distantly, related. Since Cenomana is not a Norman-French name, but a name with a Celtic origin, according to a linguist I know, it seems possible that he was related to the Canmore family, who were kings of Scotland, though this may be only by marriage? See my notes below.

For more information, please see the following excellent book: The Surnames Handbook: a guide to family name research in the 21st century by Debbie Kennett; published by The History Press, 2012.

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A possible, but unlikely, French connection.

The rare English surname 'Drax' is found in various forms over the centuries, especially as 'Drakes'. I suspect that the original spelling may have been 'Draix' 'de Raix' or 'Dreux'. Jean Froissart's 15th century Chronicles show that there was a 'lord de Raix' in the Black Prince's army at the battle of Nájera in 1367, and the Heralds' Visitations show that 'Edward Drakes (Drax)' bravely fought in the Black Prince's army there, where he was knighted and later died. His younger brother 'Richard Drakes (Drax)' had earlier fought in the Black Prince's army at the battle of Poitiers in 1356. Members of many noble families could be found on both sides of the English Channel and thus often in opposing armies during battles in France [see quotes below]. There is a town named Raix near Poiters, where the château de Raix dates from 1110 [see print and photo below].

I visited the village of Raix, near Angoulême, France in April 2012, where I made local enquiries and took photos of the area. There are no surviving records to link Gilles de Laval Seigneur de Raix with the village, as all local documents, including the church records, were destroyed during the French Revolution. Gilles de Laval Seigneur de Raix was from Brittany, France; his family name was 'Laval' not 'de Raix', which is also found spelt as 'Rais', is locally pronounced as 'Rai'; the 'x' or 's' being silent. My research is still ongoing and I will post any new information here as soon as it is discovered, but it seems very unlikely that the English Drax (Drakes) families are related to 'de Raix' or anyone at Raix village.


Gilles de Laval Seigneur de Raix le 21 Juin 1429 Maréchal de France + 1440. He was associated with Joan of Arc. [see: The Campaigns of Joan of Arc, according to the Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet]

"It was on a Saturday, in the morning, between Najarra and Navarretta, that this severe and bloody battle was fought, in which multitudes of men were slain. In this engagement many were the brilliant actions performed by the prince of Wales, his brother the duke of Lancaster, Sir John Chandos, sir Guiscard d'Angle, the captal de Buch, the lords de Clisson and de Raix, sir Hugh Calverly, sir Matthew Gournay, sir Louis de Harcourt, the lords de Pons and de Partenay. On the other hand, among the Gascons, the lords d'Armagnac, d'Albret, de Pommiers and his two brothers, do Mucident, de Rosem, the earls de Perigord, de Comminges, de Carmain, the lords de Condon, de l'Esparrc, de Chaumont, de Pincornet, Bartholomew de Cande, de Geronde, sir Bernard d'Albret, sir Aiinery de Tarse, the souldich de l'Estrade, sir Petiton de Courton, with many other knights and squires, gave equal proofs of gallantry." (From Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the adjoining countries: from the latter part of the reign of Edward II. to the coronation of Henry IV, by Jean Froissart)

"The king of Castille held a grand council with the barons and knights of France, on the manner of commencing the campaign, for they knew the enemy had taken the field. He was desirous of acting in a manner becoming the honour of a king, and for the benefit of his country. Many were the debates, and the account of the force in Castille was estimated. It was said, that the king could summon into the field thirty thousand horse, with their riders armed, according to the custom of the country, with darts and javelins, and thirty thousand infantry, if not more, with slings. The French knights considered all this, and said it was certainly a great number of people, but it was useless as an army; for they had formerly acted in so cowardly a manner that no confidence could be placed in them. Through their cowardice, the prince of Wales had won the battle of Najarra; and the Castillians had been completely defeated by the Portuguese at Aljubarota. The count de Lerma took up this speech, and supported the Castillians, By way of excuse, he said, — “With regard to the battle of Najarra, I must beg leave to speak to that. It is true that many noble knights from France were present with sir Bertrand du Guesclin, who fought valiantly, for they were all slain or captured; but you must also know that the flower of knighthood of the whole world was under the command of the prince of Wales, whose good sense, courage, and prudence, were unrivalled. Such is not now the case with the duke of Lancaster. The prince had, at the battle of Najarra, full then thousand spears, and six thousand archers: and among the chivalry were three thousand equal to the Rolands and Olivers; such as sir John Chandos, sir Thomas Felton, sir Oliver de Clisson, sir Hugh Calverley, sir Richard de Pontchardon, sir Garsis du Châtel, the lord de Raix, the lord de Rieux, sir Louis de Harcourt, sir Guiscard dangle, and hundreds more whom I could name, who were then present, but who are either dead, or have turned to our side. These are not now opposed to us, nor is the event so doubtful as it was in former times: so that whoever has confidence in me, will join my opinion for instant combat; and that we march to cross the river Duero, which will redound to our honour.” (From Chronicles of England, France and Spain and the Surrounding Countries, by Sir John Froissart, Translated from the French Editions with Variations and Additions from Many Celebrated MSS, by Thomas Johnes, Esq., Volume II, London: William Smith, 1848. pp. 228-249)

17 years after the Battle of Poitiers. "The King of England was soon made aware that he had lost Poitou, Saintonge, and Rochelle; that the French had a considerable fleet at sea, consisting of 120 large vessels, besides galleys and barges, commanded by Owen of Wales, Don Roderigo de Rosas, the Count of Narbonne, Sir John de Raix, and Sir John de Vienne; and that they intended to make a descent on the shores of England." (From The history of the life and times of Edward the Third by William Longman, 1869. )

                                                                                           Photo courtesy of fr.wikipedia.org

The château de Raix, which dates from 1110, with the Mayor's home to the right..

                                                                                        Photo taken by Chris Drakes April 2012

The château de Raix, which dates from 1110, with the local Mayor's home to the right.

                                                                                        Photo taken by Chris Drakes April 2012

The château de Raix, which dates from 1110, showing the main gates to the garden.

                                      Photo taken by Chris Drakes April 2012

The château de Raix, which dates from 1110, showing the garden from the rear gate.


Raix arms

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Whilst the above is a possible family origin, it cannot be ignored that there is considerable similarity between the Drax arms and those of the Comtes de Dreux - both having a blue & gold chequered shield with a red border. The English Drax line might be related to the French Comtes de Dreux, with their arms having gained the Prince of Wales emblem 'three feathers' in 1367. The Comtes de Dreux are descended from the King of France. Robert I (1123-1188), Count of Dreux, the Perche and Braine, son of Louis VI, King of France. The earliest known Drax (Drakes) in England was Geoffrey Drax, who was born in 1126, was he a slightly younger relative of Robert? I would appreciate sight of a detailed Dreux family tree with cousins and illegitimate issue, for this period, if you know of one.

   
                                                                                              arms by Chris Drakes

The Drax arms and the arms of Comtes de Dreux

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Draix, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France

       

The arms of Draix & Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France

A third possible origin for the Drax (Drakes) surname is from Draix, in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. An example of the surname 'Draix' has been found in Pas-De-Calais, France in 1838, though this has yet to be linked to a tree.

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The Lincolnshire families

If you have ever carefully picked your way up a steep slope covered in loose stones, or through wet boggy ground looking for drier patches or rocks to step on, through dense woodland, through nettles or brambles, and eventually come across something that possibly looks like a recently walked meandering route that you decide to follow, then you have experienced England before decent roads were built. In the early days of man in England, after the ice sheet retreated northwards, all progress across country was this difficult. There is evidence that the early winding routes of man were still in use when the Romans arrived and that some were even used by them, though they also built straight military roads that took little account of old routes. Long after the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans had either left or been assimilated into the native population, came the period referred to as the Middle Ages and, with the old Roman roads long since fallen into disrepair, there were still no decent English roads. From the 17th century onwards came coach roads, then tolls roads, then canals, then railways, but these were all major routes; surprisingly, it wasn't until the 20th century that the country was covered with small roads that were in good repair and usable in most weather conditions. Today, it is difficult to imagine England without tarmac roads criss-crossing every part of the country. People and light goods could be transported by foot, by horse or packhorse, by cart, or by wagon; however, the routes available to heavy wagons, especially in wet weather, were few, and these were often so heavily rutted and flooded as to be impassable. So, how were heavy goods transported across England throughout the preceding two thousand years? The main means of transporting heavy goods was by water; that is either by sea or by river, and later by canal, until the railways were built.

There appear to be possible links between these trees via the waterways of the rivers Trent, Humber, Ancholme & the Isle of Axholme, with all their tributaries, including the Rase. Since any blood-line link between the different trees must be prior to the 18th century, the lack of decent roads would have made the waterways the main transport routes. The river Rase flows from Tealby to Market Rasen, into the Ancholme, which passes near Winterton, Winteringham, South Ferriby and Barton on Humber, into the River Humber, which flows past the river Trent (which flows from Gainsborough), the Isle of Axholme and into the North sea near Grimsby and Old Clee. All of these places have early 'Drakes/Dracas/Drax'. They may have been 'watermen' by occupation, though they may have just spread across Lincolnshire by using this means of transport. In the days before decent roads and railways, rivers and canals would have been the main means of transporting goods to market and for export; the only other way being by packhorse. Other than locally, close to their homes, employment and prospective marriage partners would have often been found during such trips, especially to local markets. Many men would have taken over their father-in-law's farm or business if they had no sons and thus moved to a new area.

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The first English Drax (Drakes) came over with King Henry II in 1154 from France


King Henry II of England, with whom the first Drax (Drakes)
came to England from Normandy in 1154

Referring to the relationship between Henry II and his sons: ‘It is the common fate of sons to be misunderstood by their fathers, and of fathers to be unloved of [by] their sons.’ All of his sons, at some time, openly rebelled against him, mainly at the prompting of his wife Eleanor. (Source: The Plantagenets by John Harvey, p.58)


St. Swithun's over The King's Gate, Winchester, Hampshire

Winchester was the capital of England, until 1154, when Henry II moved the Treasury from there to London; he disliked Winchester because his mother, Empress Matilda (Maude) the daughter of Henry I, had been defeated there in 1141 during the Civil War.

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The family tree of Geoffrey Drax (Drakes) 'of Conmora, Cenomana, Normandy'

(Source: various different versions of the Harleian & Surtees Society Manuscripts, including William Brack’s tree; The Genealogist 1898-9. Vol. XIII. p. 168; www.familsearch.org & other websites shown under my ‘Beginner’s ideas’ page)

The following is a sample from the earliest of my trees. I have included it here to allow you to see the format that I use in MS Word. This is in case, like me, you prefer not to use a complex commercial family tree program, some of which do strange things with your data.

NB. There are many versions of this tree and several contain dates that were apparently 'guessed' by the compilers, and a few also contain apparent transcript errors. I have 83 A4-pages containing the various versions of this tree. Whilst attempting to combine all the data into one tree, I discovered a wide variety of names and years, mostly caused by human error and guesswork. There are hundreds of website entries with various versions of, or extracts from, this tree.

If you would like to see what are probably the most accurate versions of these trees, I suggest that you view those published by the Harleian Society & Surtees Society in the late-19th and early- to mid-20th centuries. Copies of these can be found in major Public Libraries & Archives, such as those in County Towns; they are often to be found in the 'Local Studies' section of other large Public Libraries.

First Generation
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1. Geoffrey Drax (Geoffrey Drakes, of Conmora) was born/christened about 1126, of Conmora, Cenomana, Normandy. About 1155, he married ………, who was born/christened about 1130, and was also of Conmora, Normandy. He first came to England with Empress Mawde. He returned to England in 1154 with Henry II who gave him lands in Kent with the ‘confyrmacyon of the captenshype’ of Faloys in Normandy. This was most likely to have been an honorary title at court, as was common under all the Plantagenet kings of England. The family does not appear in the surviving records of the military commanders of Falaise, Normandy, France, and this title continued to be used by them after King John lost that part of Normandy to the King of France.

They had the following child:
     2     i.  Geoffrey  Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1156 in Yorks.

Surnames were in use in France before 1066, but the use of surnames in England did not come about until after the Norman Conquest, when they were mainly used by the Norman land-owners. Many surnames were derived from place-names (some in England, some in France), landscape features (e.g. Vale, Hill), father's names (e.g. fitz-William - son of William), or family names (e.g. Canmore, Kings of Scotland) and were normally only used by the nobility and landowners until the middle of the 13th century, when other classes began to take up surnames. By the middle of the 14th century over half the population had begun to use surnames, but it wasn't until the fifteenth century that most people in England had a surname. (For more information, please see: The Surnames Handbook: a guide to family name research in the 21st century by Debbie Kennett; published by The History Press, 2012)

'Conmora' is neither a French word nor a placename; it's origin is possibly a surname and appears to be of Celtic origin (information from a linguist contact). 'Cenomana' was the ecclesiastical diocese around Le Mans. Richard de Lucé, was Castellan of Falaise about 1190, and Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, Justiciary of England (and later of Ireland), was castellan of Falaise in 1202. In 1221, Hubert de Burgh married Margaret Canmore the daughter of William the Lion, king of Scotland and a descendant of the English Saxon royal line. 'Canmore' is also spelt 'Caenmor' and this in French, the primary language of Norman nobility, would be pronounced 'Conmor'. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination for this to have evolved into 'Conmora' by the time of the 16th century Herald's Visitations of Yorkshire, on which this tree is based. This might possibly suggest that Geoffrey Drax (Drakes) may have been a member of the Scottish House of Canmore, who had extensive links in France & Europe? I have found no link between the Drax (Drakes) family and Hubert de Burgh, or Richard de Lucé, though there was a great deal of inter-marriage between such families. Geoffrey Drax's grandson John was also the Castellan of Falaise, at some time after Hubert de Burgh, though such titles were not hereditary at that time and were frequently just honourary positions at Court. Such honourary position were frequently given to minor members of Royal or loyal families.

Having spent hundreds of hours working on the origins of 'of Conmora' and the possible links to 'The House of Canmore', I realise that this line of research is beyond my abilities. It will need a Medieval scholar with knowledge of Anglo-Norman manuscripts and access to the relevant contemporary records to progress this investigtion. Any help would be gratefully received and faithfully applied, with full acknowledgement to the researcher involved, and I would be pleased to help where I can.

  
photos taken by Chris Drakes in April 2011

  
photos taken by Chris Drakes in April 2011

  
photos taken by Chris Drakes in April 2011

Memorial to Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, near Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. He died on 13th November 1093. His body was initially buried at Tynemouth Priory, then moved to either Dunfermline Abbey or Iona before being finally re-buried in 1250 with his wife's remains in a reliquary beside the high-altar at Dunfermline Abbey following her canonisation.

Second Generation
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2. Geoffrey Drax (Drakes) was born/christened about 1156 in Yorks. He married ………, who was born/christened about 1160 in Yorks.

They had the following child:
     3     i.  John  Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1187 Yorks.

                           photo taken by Chris Drakes in March 2012

Richard I, the Lionheart (Cśur de Lion) (1157-1199), outside The Houses of Parliament, London. He was King of England (1189-1199), Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany.

Third Generation
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3. John Drax (Drakes) was born/christened about 1187 Yorks. In about 1216, he married Margery Fytzjohn in Yorks. She was the daughter and sole heir of Ewstace Fitzjohn, and was born/christened about 1191 in Yorks. He was Captain of Faloys.

They had the following children:
     4     i.  Robert  Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1217 in Yorks.
           ii.  Geffrey Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1219 in Yorks.
          iii.  Ewstace  Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1221 in Yorks.
          iv.  Beatrice  Drax (Drakes), born/christened about 1223 in Yorks., and died without issue.

          Photo taken by Chris Drakes in July 2012

The stunning early-20th century gilt statue of a knight by the sculptor Frank Lynn Jenkins outside The Savoy Hotel, The Strand, London.

Fourth Generation
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4. Robert Drakes was born/christened about 1217 in Yorks. In about 1246 in Yorks., he married ………, who was born/christened about 1221 in Yorks.

They had the following child:
     5     i.  John Drakes, born/christened about 1247 in Yorks.

About 1258 an unknown volcanic event somewhere in the world (location currently unknown) created so much debris in the upper atmosphere that rainfall and thus crops failed worldwide. Between 200 and 600 megatons of sulphate were ejected into the Earth's atmosphere, making this event far bigger than that caused by Vesuvius (AD79), Krakatoa (1883) and Mount St. Helens (1980), and would have undoubtedly caused worldwide famine and millions of deaths. Evidence of this eruption has been found in the form of ash deposits in polar ice, in core samples, and at the bottoms of lakes. The event is also clearly recorded at Sptialfields cemetery, London, where it is known as the London famine of 1258. Our ancestors, no matter where they were on the planet, would have suffered as a result of this catastrophe.

Fifth Generation
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5. John Drakes was born/christened about 1247 in Yorks. In about 1276, he married Mary Pannell in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1251 in Yorks., the heiress and daughter of William Pannell, the 'Lord of Drax'. I have been unable to prove it, so far, but I suspect that the earlier generations were of a different, possibly French, surname. I suspect that it may have been this marriage that caused the family to adopt the 'Drax' surname, as John became the 'Lord of Drax'; see my thoughts under '1.' above.

They had the following children:
     6     i.  Robert Drakes, born/christened about 1277 in Yorks.
           ii.  Sybel (Sybell) Drakes, born/christened about 1279 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iii. John Drakes, born/christened about 1281 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iv.  Phillip Drakes, born/christened about 1283 in Yorks.
          v.  Mary Drakes, born/christened about 1285 in Yorks., and died without issue.
         vi. Morris Drakes, born/christened about 1287 in Yorks.
         vii.  William Drakes, born/christened about 1289 in Yorks., and died without issue.
        viii.  George Gefrey Drakes, born/christened about 1291 in Oxford, and died without issue.
          ix.  Thomas Drakes born/christened about 1293 in Canterbury, Kent.

Sixth Generation
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6. Robert Drakes was born/christened about 1277 in Yorks. In about 1306, he married Katharine Clarell in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1281 in Yorks., and was the daughter of William Clarell.

They had the following children:
     7     i.  Thomas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1307 in Yorks.
           ii.  William Drakes, born/christened about 1309 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iii.  Robert Drakes, born/christened about 1310 in Yorks.
          iv.  John Drakes, born/christened about 1312 in Yorks., and died without issue.
           v.  Mary Drakes, born/christened about 1313 in Yorks.
          vi.  Kateren Drakes, born/christened about 1315 in Yorks.

Seventh Generation
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7. Thomas Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1307 in Yorks. He was a Shergant at law. In about 1334, he married Lucy Mayfield in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1311 in Yorks., and was the daughter of John (Jn.) Mirfield.

They had the following children:
           i.  Sir Edward Drakes, born/christened about 1335 in Yorks., and died without issue. He was knighted by Edward the Black Prince at the Battle of Navaret, Spain where he was slain.
   8     ii.  Richard Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1337 in Yorks.
          iii.  John Drakes, born/christened about 1339 in Yorks.
          iv.  Robert Drakes, born/christened about 1341 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          v.  Thomas Drakes, born/christened about 1343 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          vi.  Mary Drakes, born/christened about 1345 Yorks.

      

In 1367, Sir Edward Drax was knighted by the Prince of Wales - Edward of Woodstock - also known as 'The Black Prince', having fought in his army at the The Battle of Nájera (Navaret) in Castile, Spain on 3rd April 1367, where he died. His tomb is in Canterbury Cathedral, Kent.

                   arms by Chris Drakes

The Drax Arms from the 16th century Herald's Visitations of Yorkshire: Chequy or and az. On a chief gu. Three ostrich feathers in plume issuant of the first. Crest: A demi dragon with wings endorsed or, out of his mouth a scroll with Motto: 'Mort en droit'.

These 'Drax' Arms were originally awarded to Sir Edward Drax, who was knighted by The Black Prince in April 1367 at the Battle of Navaret, in modern-day northern Spain; hence the 'Prince of Wales' feathers. The first actual documentary record of them, that I can find so far, are in the 16th Century Herald's Visitations of Yorkshire. A later descendant of a brother's line, via a younger son of the family, was knighted by The Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, during the Commonwealth and this was later confirmed by Charles II on his accession after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 (see below).

                                                          Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

The Battle of Nájera on 3rd April 1367 from Jean Froissart's Chronicles published in the 15th century

For further information, see: Battle of Nájera

Eighth Generation
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8. Richard Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1337 in Yorks. In about 1366, he married Christian Falos (Fullas or Faloys) in Yorks. She born/christened about 1341 in Yorks., and was the daughter and heir of Richard Fullas of Draxburgh. Between 1355 and 1357, he served in the Black Prince’s own company, during his expedition in France, including the highly successful Battle of Poitiers. He was the second son, whose elder brother, Sir Edward Drax, died at the Battle of Navarre in 1367 without issue.

They had the following children:
    9     i.  John Drakes (John Falas, called Drax; John Falas of Drax), born/christened about 1367 in Yorks.
          ii.  Richard Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1369 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iii.  John Thomas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1371 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iv.  Peter Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1373 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          v.  Katherine Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1375 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          vi.  Edward Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1379 in Yorks.
         vii.  Lucy Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1381 in Yorks., and died without issue.

                                                             Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

The Battel of Poitiers 19th September 1356 from Jean Froissart's 15th century Chronicles

For further information, see: Battle of Poitiers

The following quote about the reign of Edward III, and the Black Prince’s expedition in France between 1355 and 1357, is the more interesting in that it was written by an English scholar shortly after World War II in The Plantagenets by John Harvey, published by B. T. Batsford Ltd. in 1948: '[The Black Prince's] victory at Poitiers and the subsequent captivity of the French King, though they led to the apparently satisfactory Peace of Brétigny, were illusory benefits. The Dauphin and the influential men of France were determined not to recognize such a peace, and though their decision entailed a century of almost unmitigated misery and desolation it was ultimately vindicated by the verdict of history. We in England are accustomed to think of ourselves as the outstanding example of undaunted pluck; it might do us good to contemplate the picture of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century France, ravaged by the scum of England and the worst mercenaries of Europe, constantly defeated, constantly acknowledging defeat on paper, yet never despairing of ultimate victory. No nation has any monopoly of courage, nor any corner in abstract justice; and the futile waste and abuse of these qualities in war will go on until a victor appears, great enough not only to forgo the fruits of victory, but to apologize to the vanquished and make heartfelt restitutuion.'

If you are interested in a fictional film about this period, I recommend 'Timeline', a 2003 DVD, starring Paul Walker, Frances O'Connor, Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly, Anna Friel, and Michael Sheen, which is still available via amazon.co.uk

If you are interested in a good historical-based fictional story about the period leading up to and including the Battle of Poitier, I thoroughly recommend 'Saint George for England' by G. A. Henty (1832-1902), written in 1885 and based on historical facts drawn from Froissart's Chronicles (see: Crecy, Poitiers, Wat Tyler & Otterburn & The full text in 12 volumes) and the work of a Victorian historical writer named 'Mr. James'. There have been numerous re-prints and copies are available via ebay.co.uk & amazon.co.uk.

Ninth Generation
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9. John Drakes (John Falas, called Drax; John Falas of Drax) was born/christened about 1367 in Yorks. He was a Sgent at armes. In about 1396, he married Margaret Barley at Woodsome, Yorks., which is near Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield. She was born/christened about 1371 in Woodsome, Yorks., and was the daughter and heiress of Thomas Barley, of Woodsam in Woodhall, & Isabel Fitzwilliam.

They had the following children:
  10     i.  Robert Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1397 in Yorks.
          ii.  Thomas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1399 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iii.  Richard Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1401 in Yorks. In about 1424, he married Eleanor Rokeley, who was born/christened about 1401 in Yorks. He died without issue, and she second married his brother Robert.


A knight swears fealty to his King, from a manuscript c1390

Tenth Generation
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10. Robert Drakes (Drax, Robart Drax of Drax) was born/christened about 1397 in Yorks. In about 1426, he first married Eleanor Drakes (née Rokeley), his brother Richard’s widow, in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1401, and was the daughter of Robart Rokby of Rokby Fulthivatt. In about 1438, he second married Katherine Mayfield, who was born/christened about 1406, and was the daughter of Wm. Mirfield.

Robert Drakes (Drax) and Eleanor Drakes (née Rokeley) had the following children:
  11     i.  Alexander Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1427 at Drax, Yorks.
          ii.  Robert Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1429 in Yorks. He was Parson of Dirfield. He married John [sic] (i.e. Joan) Leake, who was born/christened about 1433 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iii.  Alice Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1431 in Yorks. She married Robert Allot (Allet), who was born/christened about 1427 in Yorks.
          iv.  Margaret Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1433 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          v.  Agnes Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1435 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          vi.  Katherine Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1437 in Yorks. She married Thomas Wakefield of Newark, Notts.

Robert Drakes (Drax) and Katherine Mayfield had the following children:
          i.  Jane Drakes, born/christened about 1441 in Yorks.; she married Nicholas Mountney (Wortley) of Wortley, who was born/christened about 1437 in Yorks.
          ii.  Elizabeth Drakes, born/christened about 1439 in Yorks.

Eleventh Generation
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A11. Alexander Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1427 at Drax, Yorks. In about 1456, he first married Jone Wortley at Wortley, Yorks., which is near Pudsey, west of Leeds. She was born/christened about 1431 at Wortley Yorks., and was the daughter of Nicolas Wortley & Isabel Tustall; granddaughter of Sir Nicholas Wortley, who was born/christened about 1404, and her great uncle was Sir Thomas Wortley, born/christened about 1400, of Wortley Hall. In about 1472, Alexander second married Miss Fitzwilliam, who was born/christened about 1435 in Lincs.; she died without issue.

They had the following children:
  12     i.  John Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1457 in Yorks.
          ii.  Nicolas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1459 in Yorks. In about 1488, he married Katharine Lovell in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1463 in Yorks., and was the daughter of Roger (Wombell) Lovell of Wombell. He died without issue.
          iii.  Thomas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1461 in Yorks. He was a priest, Doctor of Divinity & Parson of Dirfield.
 13     iv.  Robert Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1463 in Yorks.
          v.  Isabell Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1465 in Yorks.
          vi.  Isabell Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1467 in Yorks.

Twelfth Generation
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12. John Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1457 in Yorks. In about 1486, as ‘John Drakes’, he married Margaret Amyas (Amys) in Yorks. She was born/christened about 1461 in Yorks., and was the daughter of Percyvall Amyas of Netherton, Yorks.

They had the following child:
 14     i.  Isabell (Isabel, Elizabeth) Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1487 in Yorks.

13. Robert Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1463 in Yorks. In about 1492, he married Jone Wyat in Yorks.; she was born/christened about 1467 in Yorks., and was the sister of Sir Henry Wyatt.

They had the following children:
  15     i.  Thomas Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1493 in Yorks.
          ii.  Henry Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1495 in Yorks.
  16   iii.  Isabell Drakes (Drax), born/christened about 1497 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          iv. [According to William Brack’s tree there was another daughter: Katherine Drax, who first married Thomas Wakefield of Newark, and second married John Frobisher of Altofts; buried at Normanton 13 April 1543.]


Richard III (1452-1485) was the last Plantagenet King of England. There has been a great deal of renewed interest in him, following the discovery of his remains under a car park in Leicester, and his re-burial in Leicester Cathedral on 26th March 2015.

Thirteenth Generation
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14. Isabell (Isabel, Elizabeth) Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1480/8 in Yorks. On 30.4.1500, she married Walter Calverly (Caverley) at Thornhill, Yorks. He was born/christened about 1509 in Calverly, England. He died after 1547.

Isabel Drax and Sir Walter Calverley had the following children:
          i.  Sir William (Walter) Calverly, born in 1521 in Calverly, England.
          ii.  Gilbert, had a cross of gold in his step-mother’s will.
          iii.  Thomas Calverley.
          iv.  John Calverley, Archdeacon of Rochester, Rector of Beckenham, Kent.
          v.  Alice Calverley, mar. Robert Warcop, of Warcop.
          vi.  Margery Calverley, mar. Henry Radcliffe; Margaret, mar. Christopher Bolling, sett. 9 Feb. 23 Hen. VIII.
          vii.  Anne Calverley.
          viii.  Jane Calverley.
          ix.  Elinor, or Helen, Calverley, mar. Miles Hodson, of Newcastle (C.P.).
          x.  Elizabeth Calverley.
          xi.  Maude Calverley.
          xii.  Isabel Calverley, mar. Gilbert Leigh.

15. Thomas Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1493 Yorks. In about 1521, he married Anne Nevell (Neville, Nevile) at Chevet, Yorks. She was born/christened about 1500 at Chevet, Yorks., near Crigglestone, south of Wakefield. She died after 1585. She was the daughter of Sir John Neville, who was the Knight of Althorpe in the Isle of Axholme, and Elizabeth Bosvile. Sir John Neville also built the church at Keadby nearby.

They had the following children:
          i.  Thomas Drakes, born/christened about 1522 in Yorks.
          ii.  Henry Drakes, born/christened about 1524 in Yorks. In about 1550, he married Ellen Hyot in Huntingdonshire. She was born/christened about 1528 in Huntingdonshire, and was the daughter of John Hyot.
          iii.  Jarvys Drakes, born/christened about 1525 in Yorks.
          iv.  John Drakes, born/christened about 1527 in Yorks.
          v.  Alexander Drakes, born/christened about 1528 in Yorks.
          vi.  Robert Drakes, born/christened about 1530 in Yorks.
          vii.  Gabriel Drakes, born/christened about 1531 in Yorks.
          viii.  Frances Drakes, born/christened about 1533 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          ix.  Margaret Drakes, born/christened about 1534 in Yorks., and died without issue.
          x.  Elizabeth Drakes, born/christened about 1536 in Yorks.
          xi.  Mary Drakes, born/christened about 1537 in Yorks. [According to William Brack’s tree, she married David Sherbrooke, M.D.]
          xii.  Ursula Drakes, born/christened about 1539 in Yorks. [According to William Brack’s tree, she married Richard Grinningham of Morton, Lincs.]
          xiii.  Frances Drakes, born/christened about 1540 in Yorks.
          xiv.  Brydget (Bridget) Drakes, born/christened about 1542 in Yorks.[According to William Brack’s tree, she first married George Layton of Buckinghamshire, and second married George Harrison of Hansworth.]
          xv.  [According to William Brack’s tree, there was another brother: Gamamiel Drax.]

16. Isabell Drakes (Drax) was born/christened about 1497 in Yorks., and died without issue. ‘Issabell Drax first married ……… Fisher of London, sans issu. She second married ……… London, of Kent.’
She had the following children by her second marriage:
          i.      ……… London. (Source: Harleian MS)
          ii.      ……… London, who died in Moscouvy. (Source: Harleian MS)

Note: This tree continues to the 1590s in the Harleian & Surtees Society Manuscripts; I am still working on this branch of the family, down to the present-day descendants. To give you some idea of the amount of work involved, the earliest tree (partly shown above), with all its various source notes, takes up 83 A4 pages and still needs extensive evaluation and editing into one tree, hopefully of about 20 pages. I am also still working on all the other ‘Drax, Dracas, Dracass & Drakes’ family trees.

This family is believed to descend, via the younger son of a priestly branch, to the Drax family at Charborough Park, Dorset. The descendants of other sons are possibly responsible for the Drax, Dracas(s) and Drakes lines to be found in north Lincolnshire. Sadly, there is a considerable dearth of documentary evidence linking any of these present day families to this ancient line, though the Charborough Park line was later awarded the arms of Sir Edward Drax from 1367 [see above]. Sir Edward Drax died without issue, and the Charborough Park family is no longer a direct male-line, such having been broken in the 17th century and several times since by female-only descent. There may be a more senior male-line descendant branch since the death of Sir Edward Drax.

        photo taken by Chris Drakes in March 2012

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, outside The Houses of Parliament, London.

Sir James Drax was knighted by The Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, during the Commonwealth and this was later confirmed by Charles II on his accession after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. His descendants, via several female lines to the present-day, are the Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax family, of Charborough Park, Dorset; Sir Edward Drax's arms appear on the main gate there. It is interesting that a descendant of this line was Sir Henry Drax, who was Secretary to the Prince of Wales in 1744, thus continuing the link with The Prince of Wales. There are numerous 'Drax' & 'Drakes' in the world, some of whom may descend from the same origin via a pure unbroken male-to-male line.

  
                                                                                                         photos by Chris Drakes in July 2006

Sir James Drax and Henry Drax, of London & Barbados
They are the ancestors of the Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax family of Charborough Park

                   arms by Chris Drakes

The supposed Arms of Alexander Drax of Wombwell, Tickhill, Yorks.
[NB. Though I have seen this elsewhere, I believe that the colouring in this version is an error]


The Arms of Thomas Drax of Sibsey, Lincolnshire.


Bookplate inscription, 'To the Worshipfull Thomas Drax of Sibsy in the County of Lincolne Esq. This Plate is humbly Dedicated by Richard Blome.'

1715 Arms of Worshipful Thomas Drax of Sibsey esq.

                                                                                                              copyright Chris Drakes

A Royalist Cavalier from the English Civil War period (1642-1651)
An original pen & ink drawing c1830


London 1645

This map of London in 1645 shows how small it was then, covering the river Thames from Vauxhall Bridge to Wapping and almost as far north as Shoreditch, with roads leading off to the villages of Marylebone, Hackney, Newington & Deptford. Even by the late 18th century, wealthy Londoners would take a carriage to the little village of Knightsbridge for a day out, but they had to sure to 'return before dark because of the highwaymen on the road back to London'. Any modern visitor to Knightsbridge will consider it to be part of central London. Even in 1840 a map of London shows two roads going south, right out into the countryside, where there are tiny clusters of homes around two crossroads at Streatham and Brixton. Up to the 1850s, letters to people in London were often simply addressed with no house number or sub-district of London, just a name and street, such as, 'Mr Smith, Red Lion Square, London.'


The Drax (Drakes) family is mentioned on several other family tree websites, including:

Woolley family

Milsom family

Calverley family