Sir Martin Frobisher Revised Ancestry

In 2005, a Plantagenet ancestry for Sir Martin Frobisher was proposed on SGM [1]. Citing that post's sources, the last 6 generations of Sir Martin's ancestry are now shown on genealogics ( as:

Gen 1. John Drax of Woodhall d. bef 7 Feb 1516 m. Jun 1513 Beatrice Woodrove/Woodruff
Gen 2. Nicholas Drax of Woodhall m. Katherine Wombwell
Gen 3. Robert Drax of Woodhall d. bef 9 Mar 1549 m. Katherine Fleming
Gen 4. Katherine Drax m(1) Thomas Wakefield of Newark
Gen 4a. Katherine Drax m(2) John Frobisher of Altofts d. 13 Apr 1543
Gen 5. Bernard Frobisher d. bef 1 Sep 1542 m. Ann Yorke d. 22 Sep 1549
Gen 6. Sir Martin Frobisher b. abt 1535, d. 22 Nov 1594.

Unfortunately, the proposed ancestry relied on JW Walker's 'Yorkshire Pedigrees' for Drax of Woodhall [Harleian Society 94:166], and Frobisher [HS 94:188]. Walker's Drax/Frobisher link contains an ancestry theft - i.e. using one family's valid ancestry to extend and benefit the ancestry of another without adequate proof or notice of uncertainties. It is a rather obvious fiction, given that the Drax/Woodrove marriage was Jun 1513 - no way could son Nicholas have a gr-gr-grandson b. 22 years later.

One good test of any Sir Martin Frobisher ancestry is if satisfies poet George Gascoigne's claim that Sir Martin was 'a kinsman of mine' (See Gascoigne's DNB @"frobisher";, the statement appeared in Gascoigne's preface to Humphrey Gilbert's 'Discourses').

A Drax ancestry cannot satisfy the poet's claim. The following 6 generation ancestry does meet the poet's test, and still provides a likely Plantagenet ancestry :

Gen 1. Sir William Gascoigne (b.1403, d. bef Mar 1454) m. Margaret Clarell (d. aft Mar 1454)[7]
Gen 2. Margaret Gascoigne (d. aft 27 Nov 1490) m. William III Scargill Esq. (d. bef 5 Aug 1484) [3][4][5][6][7][8][9][15]
Gen 3. Jane/Joan Scargill m. aft 5 Aug 1484 John Frobisher Sr. of Altofts (living 1517, d. aft 15 Apr 1521) [2][3][4][5][6]
Gen 4. John Frobisher Jr. of Altofts (living 1517, d. 13 Apr 1543) m. dau of William Fryston of Heath [1][2][4]
Gen 5. Bernard Frobisher (d. bef 1 Sep 1542) m. Ann Yorke (d. 22 Sep 1549) [1][2][4]
Gen 6. Sir Martin Frobisher (b. 1535/1540, d. 15 Nov 1594) [1][2][4]

The comparable George Gascoigne ancestry :

Gen 1. Sir William II Scargill (d. 30 Dec 1497) m. Constance __ [10][11][15]
Gen 2. Sir Robert Scargill (d. bef 31 Mar 1531) m. Jane Conyers (d. 5 Jan 1546) [10][11][12]
Gen 3. Margaret Scargill m. Sir John Gascoigne of Cardington (d. 4 Apr 1568)[10][11][13]
Gen 4. George Gascoigne poet (abt 1534 - 7 Oct 1577) [10][11]

No reliable Scargill pedigree has been found [14], existing ones misdating, transposing and conflating four consecutive generations of William Scargill in the records [15]. Sir Martin's Gen 2 ancestor, William Scargill III, who d. in his father's lifetime, was son of the poet's stated ancestor William II d. 30 Dec 1497 [15]. Sir Martin is thus 2 generations later than the poet from their common ancestor. This is feasible given Sir Robert was a later son, and Frobisher's near ancestors had early children. While both lines have credible chronology, an as yet undocumented generation in the poet's ancestry - before Sir Robert (i.e. brother of Wm III, all of Wm III's sons being noted in his will) - is possible. Such an added generation wouldn't affect Sir Martin's ancestry.

An earlier kinship also exists, as William Scargill's wife Margaret descended from Chief Justice Sir William Gascoigne by first wife Elizabeth Mowbray, while the poet's Gascoigne of Cardington line descended from the Chief Justice by second wife Jane/Joan Pickering.

Ravilious and MichaelAnne previously posted a Plantagenet ancestry for Sir William Gascoigne's line via Brian Thornhill and wife Joan FitzWilliam, dau of Plantagenet descendant Sir William Fitz William of Sprotborough. Leo has that line in his database. Although the exact placement of Thornhill's wife in the FitzWilliam family may be questioned by some, there seems little doubt she was a descendant of Sir William.

Terry Booth
Chicago IL
Copyright 2010.

[1] 'Plantagenet ancestry of Sir Martin Frobisher' @ Given the careful attention to the non-Drax generations, it is unfortunate Walker was also cited.
[2] Hunter in South Yorkshire i:32 notes two generations of John Frobysher before Bernard and Martin, relying much on Flowers' near contemporary 1563 Yorkshire Visitation for Frobysher of Altofts ( Hunter then identifies Sir Martin of Altofts as their descendant, adding that Hopkinson identified John Sr.'s wife as Joan dau of William Scargill of Lede, and in a footnote states that it was through her that Frobisher was related to poet George Gascoigne - but the footnote doesn't identify William Scargill's wife. Flowers' Visitation doesn't name John Sr.'s wife or the wife and children of Bernard. Visitations of the North, Vol II, page 96 in Surtees Soc; Vol 133 (1921) has a 'Frobyser' pedigree based on Flowers' 1567 notes for 4 generations and also shows John Jr.'s wife a dau of William Fryston of Heath. It then adds further detail "in Glover's hand" - thus about 1585 and contemporary - showing Bernard's 3 sons including Sir Martin, with two John's as a brother and a nephew (the Drax connection?), and discussion of several related wills and IPM's including Sir Martin's ( A.S. Ellis; 'Notes and Queries'; Vol 63; p 311 - at times citing Hunter - shows John Sr. m. Jane Scargill, John Jr. m. dau Richard Friston of Altofts, they in turn parents of Bernard, and Bernard/Ann Yorke had Sir Martin.( John Jr.s 20 Sep 1542 will, prob. 20 Apr 1543 mentions sons Francis, Anthony, Edmond and dau Agnes, but not Bernard - not a surprise, since Bernard d. bef his father [Testamenta Eboracensis Vol VI; Surtees Society; Vol 106; p 164 @]. John Frobisher 'thelder' was alive 15 Apr 1521 when he witnessed John Pickerd of Normantown's will ['Miscellanea'; Thoresby Society Vol 9; Leeds; 1899; p.166 @ - Testamenta Leodiensia.]

[3] In 1401/2, Altofts was held by William I Scargill, then the minor son and heir of Sir John Scargill. This William was grandfather to the William III Esq. whose dau Jane m. John Frobisher Sr. of Altofts - perhaps Frobisher received portions of Altofts as a maritagium : "De di. car. terre in ALTOFTES, nuper Ade de Castelford, nichil, quia in manu domini racione minoris etatis Willelmi Skargyll, filii et heredis Johannis de Skargll, chivaler, in custodia Willelmi Burgoigne." ['Feudal Aids 1234-1431. Vol VI. Yorkshire & Additions. PRO; London; 1920. page 603 @,52036. The 1401/2 aid was collected for the marriage of Blanche dau of Henry IV - the entries show this same William Scargill minoris held other lands not noted here.]

[4] Both John Sr. and Jr. Frobisher were admitted as members of the York Guild of Corpus Christi about 1517, along with a George Friston of Altofts (Surtees Soc; Vol 57; page 191 @"john+frobisher";) - the footnotes on the page identify their wives and their relationships to Sir Martin (one suspects the notes rely on Hunter's statements).

[5] There is a short pedigree for Scargill in William Wheater; 'History of the Parishes of Serburn and Cawood'; page 177 @ stating that Jane Scargill m. John Frobisher, she being a dau of William Scargill and Margaret Gascoigne. But the pedigree dates are incorrect, confuses several generations of William Scargill and omits others, thus raising questions about any portion of it. It is likely based on Thoresby/Whitaker [13 below], and one suspects may originally have come from Hopkinson (who Hunter wisely quotes but once - for Frobisher Sr.'s wife's name).

[6] The 15 Aug 1480 will of William Scargill Esq. of Lede, probate 5 Aug 1484, names sons William and John, provides money for the marriage of daughters Jane and Sybill, and makes his wife Margaret his executor. [Testamenta Eboracensis; Vol III; in Surtees Society; Vol 45 [1864]; page 256 @]. She was alive 27 Nov 1490 based on a Plumpton letter, when son John was then dead but William was still alive ['Plumpton Letters and Papers'; Joan W Kirby ed.; p. 99 @].

[7] MCA page 203 states that Margaret Gascoigne m. William Scargill, showing her as dau of Margaret Clarell by her third husband Sir William Gascoigne (b. 1403, d. bef Mar 1454). The entry includes many source citations for Gascoigne not repeated here. It does not however identify which William Scargill she married or note any details about him.

[8] A 28 Mar 1468 charter mentions William Scargill (the younger) esq and his wife Margaret, with John Gascoigne (likely Margaret's brother, then deceased) having been a feoffee with him. The lengthy charter is in 'The Parish Registers Of St. Chad 1751-1800'; 1891; Page 593 @

[9] There is good heraldic evidence of both the Wm Scargill/Marg Gascoigne marriage and George Gascoigne association in the Scargill Chapel of Whitkirk church (founded in 1448 by Sir William Gascoigne and wife Constance). Dodsworth's 1620 Church Notes show 'In the South quyer window. Scargell paled with Gascoigne' and the tomb of Robert Scargill and wife Jane Conyers [Yorkshire Archeological Series; Vol 34 (1904); page 28 @] that Wheater also describes.

[10] George Gascoigne's ancestry is in 'Gascoigne of Cardington' in the Bedfordshire Visitation, p.173 @ A recent bio w sources for George's birthdate are in editor G. W. Pigman's preface to a new edition of the poet's 'A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres'; Oxford Press; London; 2000 @

[11] George Gascoigne's ancestry, with added sources, is also in Gentlemans Magazine; Vol 92; page 316 @ Stemmata Nobilium of Glover & Lennard is cited as confirmation that William Scargill m. Margaret Gascoigne.

[12] The wills of Sir Robert and Lady Jane are listed in Index of Wills in Yorkshire Registry as 1) Sir Robert Scargill, Mar 31 1531, Thorpe Stapleton, adm, Vol 10 Fol 30 and 2) Lady Jane Skargill, 24 Jan 1546 wid of Sir Robert S.kt., Lede Hall, bur Whitkirk Jan 5 1546 Vol 13, Folio 281. Her will is in 'Testamenta leodiensia: Wills of Leeds, Pontefract etc' in Thoresby Society; Vol 19; Page 178 (not online and not seen).

[13] Sir John's bio is in 'The House of Commons: 1660 - 1690'; Members C-L; Vol 8; page 193 @

[14] For instance, 'Ducatis Leodiensis' by Thoresby, w additions by Whitaker as 'History of Leeds', i:225 has a Skargill of Thorpe Hall pedigree with Margaret Gascoine m. a Sir William Gascoigne living 1350 and 1380 & a dau Jane m. John Frobisher. But Margaret Gascoigne's husband was not a knight, dying before his father who was. Nor does the chronology work - chronology which Wheater in [5] above adopts. Thoresby/Whitaker/Wheater also do not show the same 6 generations of Scargill as those stated in William Scargill's 1425 assize of novel disseisin for the descent of Quicke in Saddleworth [see Dodworth's Yorkshire Notes; Wapentake of Agbrigg; in Yorkshire archæological and topographical journal; Vol 8; page 12 @].

[15] There are 4 consecutive generations of William Scargill in the record. William I son of John was involved in the 1425 assize of novel disseisin [14] but underage in 1401/02[see 3]. Sir William Esq. II m. Constance, founded a chantry in Whitkirk in 1448, and per his IPM d. 30 Dec 1497, outliving his son. William III Esq. m. Margaret Gascoigne d. bef 5 Aug 1484 (see [6]). Sir William IV (heir to his grandfather in 1497 at age 30) m. Elizabeth ___, whose 7 Apr 1525 will gives a horse to Robert Scargill (relationship unstated). On 30 Oct 1506 ['Descrip. Cat. Ancient Deeds'; Vol V; 1906; page 245 @] is a deposition that Sir William IV 'the younger' consulted grandfather William II, still alive then (the events thus before 1497). William IV is named as a son in the 1480 will of William III, identifiable as a relation of Robert based on his wife's will. Sir Robert and wife Jane Conyers - heraldry on their tomb - were buried in the Whitkirk chantry founded by William II.