The Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll & the Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll — Comments on Their Accuracy And Relative Antiquity
The Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll & the Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll — Comments on Their Accuracy And Relative Antiquity

by Steve Chute, 2016

The Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll (BCHR) and the Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll (LCPS) have been compared line for line on the basis of a transcription of Lionel’s Scroll by published by Dean Dudley in 18591. In 1856 a pedigree scroll, purportedly Lionel’s original scroll depicting Lionel’s descent from an Alexander Chute living in Taunton Somerset England ca 1268, was in the possession of Ariel Parish Chute of Lynnfield, Mass. It was made available to Dean Dudley, a lawyer and noted antiquarian of Boston for study. Dudley completed a careful transcription of the LCPS on 1 Jan 1857. He prefaced his article as follows:

‘The following is the substance of an ancient tabular pedigree, on parchment, now in the possession of Mr. Ariel P. Chute of Lynnfield, Mass., who inherited it from his ancestors. We do not vouch for the accuracy of its details, though the original manuscript bears evidence of being at least one hundred and fifty years old. Portions of the manuscript are nearly illegible, but they have all been satisfactorily deciphered. At the sides of the pedigree, the coats of arms of the various families with which this family has intermarried, are impaled with the arms of Chute. These arms we have described in notes at the end of the article.’

Perhaps the single most treasured antiquity of the American branch of the Chute family is this ancient pedigree, written on parchment, which was according to family tradition brought by Lionel from England in his sea chest. Several copies of this scroll were made by Amelia Parish Perkins sometime after about 1825 but certainly before Dudley’s examination of the original in 1857.

The pedigree referred to as the Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll (or BCHR) also begins with an Alexander of Taunton living in 1268. The BCHR was drawn as a chart showing each generation with links showing the descent to the following generation. It is a rather elegant and thoughtfully constructed pedigree with carefully crafted heraldry for each individual over these first 14 generations. Each family member, male or female, is paired with their spouse along with a beautifully rendered coloured depiction of the Chute Arms in pale with those of the spouse. This wonderfully preserved roll was commissioned by Sir George Chute, Baronet, of Bethersden in 1698 to commemorate the family and is currently held in the Hampshire Records Office in Winchester, England.

Item Number Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll
1 Alexander Chute of Tanton in the county of Somersett 1268 Alexander Chewte of Taunton in the county of Somerset, A.D. 1268
2 *John Chute of Tanton, Esquire sonne and heire maried Jane daughter of Sir John Brumfeld, Knt.
Richard Chute, 2nd sonne lived in the time of K.E.j 1274
*John, Esq. of the same town m. Jane Bromfield, dau. of Sir John B
Richard of the time of Edward the first, 1274
3 Cuthbert Chute of Tanton Esquire, K.E. 2/1308 m. Christian daughter of Sr John Chideake, Knight Edward, Esq. m. Christiana Chiddock, dau of Sir John C. and had issue temp Edward III, 1308
4 James Chute mar. the daughter of Richard Grenfeld
*Phillipp Chute, K.E. 3/1332 m. daughter of Sir John Britton Kt.
Anthony Chute maried Anne Treforth and died without issue.
*Phillip, Esq. of Taunton m. the daughter of Sir John Brittan
James m. the daughter of Richard Greenfield
Anthony m. Anna Indford (or Indforte) and d.s.p.
5 George Chute, 1344 m. daughter of Thomas Tirrell
Joane maried to Sir John Carmino Knight
George m. the dau of Thomas Faril, Esq about 1344
Jane m. John Cameron, Knight
6 Ambrose Chute maried Anabell daughter of Sir John Chichester Knight Ambrose, Esq. of Taunton m. Amabel Chittester dau of Sir John C.
7 Edmond Chute mar. Dyonice daughter of Henry Stourton 1379
Christian maried Ralphe Menell Esquire
Edward m. about 1379 Dionis dau of Henry Sturton (or Stourton)
Christian m. Ralph Mansell, Esq.
8 William Chute mar. the dau of Archdecon and died without issue
*Henry Chute 1421 m. Joane dau of Edward Baskerville
Anthony Chute mar. daughter of Sir John Clifton Kt and had
     Christopher Chute of Dorcetshire m. Ammerika dau of Richard Waldegrave
Robert Chute Sergeant at the Lawe and Baron of the Exchequer lived 13H6
*Henry, 1420 m. the dau of Edward Hasherfield, Esq.
William m. ...... and died d.s.p.
Anthony m. the dau of Sir John Clifton and had
     Christopher of Hertfordshire who m. the dau of Richard Wellgrave Esq
Robert Sargeant at law, and later, Baron of the Exchequer, lived to the reign of Henry VI
9 Robert Chute of Tanton, Esquier m. Alice daughter of Morrice Barkley 1438
Anne maried to Sr John Sentley Kt
Robert (1438) esq of Taunton m. Alice dau of Mark Bartley Esq
Anna m. John Stanley
10 Charles Chute 1480 m daughter of Sr John Cheny Kt Charles m. the dau of Sir John Chang and, about 1480, had a son Edmond
11 Edmond Chute of Sussex sold the mannor of Tanton to the Lord Denham of whom discended the Earle of Bridgewater Edmond who sold the manor of Taunton to Lord Donhare about 1502
12 Robert Chute sonne and heire m. Jane daughter of John Lucas Robert m. Jane Lucas dau of John L.
13 Olyuer Chute mar daughter of Read of Kent
*Charles Chute maried daughter of John Crippes of the Ile of Tennent
Lyonell Chute maried dau of John Butler
William Chute Maried dau of John Badlesmere of Tonbridge
Oliver m. the dau of Relide
*Charles (1580) m. the daughter of John Crips of the Isle of Guernsey

William m. the dau of John Braddelson of Turbridge.
14 Anthony Chute mar daughter of See of Kent
   Christopher Chute
   Arthur Chute
   William Chute
   Lyonell Chute

Phillipp Chute of Apledore in Kent mar. Margarett daughter of Alexander Culpeper of Bedisbery
dau of Gyrling of Sussex
Joane dau of Thomas Dussing, 3rd wife
   Thomas died young
Anthony m. dau of William Gee
   Anthony (transcription error?)
   Lionel m. dau of Stephen Greene.

Phillip m. dau of Coolpepper

   George m. lady of Kent
*The asterisks denote the descent.

On the other hand the LCPS showing 19 generations is somewhat crudely made by comparison. It does not consistently use two text circles for married individuals and the placement of the text circles is somewhat haphazard. A recent photograph, supposedly of this scroll, shows that it consists of two separate sheets of parchment of different sizes that have at some stage been sewn together. There are other tears in the document that have also been repaired with stitches. Both sections contain significant water damage, especially the bottom section where large portions are illegible. The accompanying heraldry is far from complete showing only 10 Coats of Arms compared to the 30 Coats displayed on the BCHR in only 14 generations.

However, these two Pedigree documents are remarkably similar in content through the first 14 generations; from Alexander in 1268 to the brothers Anthony and Philip born ca 1503 - 1506. Thereafter the BCHR primarily follows the lineage of Sir George Chute descended from Philip while the LCPS follows the American line descended from Anthony. For generations 1,2,5,6,7,9,10 and 12 the two pedigrees are essentially identical and what differences there are may be explained as errors made by Dean Dudley in transcribing what he admitted was a badly damaged manuscript. With the exception of the Arms drawn for the Brittan/Britton family in the 4th generation, even the heraldry around the edges of the LCPS which Dudley said was much defaced is in essential agreement with that depicted on the BCHR for the corresponding persons on the family tree. In generations 3, 8, 11, 13 and 14 there are small differences in the level of detail and dates which appear on one document but not on the other and in one instance a Cuthbert on the BCHR becomes an Edward on the LCPS.

Perhaps of even greater significance in determining the relationship between the LCPS and the BCHR is to note that both documents make very similar factual errors:

1. Both the LCPS and the BCHR list, in generation 8, a younger son Robert Chute, living in the time of Henry VI, who is identified as a Sergeant at Law and Baron of the Exchequer in apparent confusion with Robert Shute2 of Oakington who over 150 years later was a Sergeant at Law by 1577, a Baron of the Exchequer by 1579 and a Justice of the Queen’s Bench from 1585 to his death in 1590. It is interesting to note that William Edward Chute’s history of the Chute family3 and John Burke’s history of English commoners4, both present pedigrees obviously derived from the BCHR and both include this erroneous record.

2. In generation 14 the LCPS gives Anthony a wife who is the daughter of a William Gee and the BCHR gives him a wife who is the daughter of See of Kent. However, the 1633 Visitation of London by Richmond Herald Henry St George clearly records a five generation pedigree for Charles Chute (signed by Charles Chute) who was Anthony’s grandson that states that Anthony married a daughter of ‘Mr Girling of Suffolke’. This particular error was corrected in the manuscripts of W. E. Chute and John Burke. Further, the Coat of Arms depicted on the LCPS for Gee were according to Burke’s ‘General Armory'7 the Arms borne by several Gay and Guy families in England. However, the ‘Promptuarium Armorum’ shows a Coat of Arms for Gee that is essentially the same as those displayed on the LCPS8. More seriously the BCHR represented the Arms of the Lords Say as being those of the See family into which it was claimed that Anthony Chute had married. It is interesting to note that it is now known that Anthony’s son Arthur (or Anthony on the LCPS) did marry a daughter of Henry See from Kent, which perhaps resulted in this generational error on the part of the scribes of the BCHR. The Arms of See bear absolutely no resemblance to either the Gee or the Say Arms.

3. In generation 4 the BCHR and the LCPS list Philip Chute’s wife as the daughter of Sir John Britton or Brittan. However, neither the BCHR or the LCPS display Arms for Britton. The BCHR displays the Arms of a Breton family of Essex in England while the LCPS displays very different Arms that are similar to those given on the ‘Gore Roll of Arms’8, and in Burke’s General Armory7 for a Breton family of Norfolk, England.

4. In generation 9 the BCHR claims that a daughter of Morrice Barkley married Robert Chute while the LCPS claims Robert’s wife was a daughter of Mark Bartley. However, neither the BCHR nor the LCPS displayed the Arms of Barkley or Bartley. Rather the BCHR displayed the very different Arms of the prestigious Lords Berkeley of Somerset and Gloucester, England as those of Barkley. In so far as Dudley was able to determine the Arms for Bartley on the LCPS were also those of the Lords Berkeley. Also in this generation the BCHR records the marriage of Anne Chute to John Sentley while the LCPS names Anne’s husband as John Stanley. Both manuscripts are in error as the allied family in this instance was St. Maur.

5. In generation 11 the BCHR records that Edmond sold the Manor of Taunton to Lord Denham at an unknown date while the LCPS records that Edmond sold the Manor of Taunton to Lord Donhare (likely a transcription error) in about 1502. William E. Chute3 states that the sale was in 1502 and John Burke4, states that the manor was sold about 1500. Chute and Burke both also make the claim that Alexander was Lord of Taunton Manor in 1268. However, such a sale was clearly impossible as the Chute family were never at any time owners of the Manor of Taunton which was part of the holdings of the Bishop of Winchester. The Chutes could have been bailiffs or other factotums associated with the Manor, and they could have enjoyed a relatively privileged position in the society of their day, but they were never in a position to actually sell the Manor. According to the BCHR, William E. Chute and John Burke, Edmund was not even living in Somerset but resided in Sussex, which is another error because Edmond is known to have been linked to the county of Suffolk … possibly a transcription error of some ancient manuscript where ’s’ was often written like an ‘f’, the so called ‘long s’? Edmund might have sold a messuage or a land holding of some sort to a Lord Denham/Donhare but not Taunton Manor.

However, the BCHR included the additional information that from Lord Denham ‘discended (sic) the Earle of Bridgewater’. This information is not included on the LCPS nor on any of the other documents, probably because their authors were able to determine that no Lord Denham had ever been linked with the ‘Earle’. The ‘Earle of Bridgewater’ was actually the son of Giles, Lord Daubeney. In Edmond’s time Giles Daubeney was King Henry VII’s Lord Chamberlain and leading military general. Curiously at this time a Lord John Dinham/Denham was serving King Henry VII as his Lord High Treasurer. Perhaps then the BCHR entry is a confused interpretation of some nearly 200 year old record that involved these two Lords and some property held by Edmond.

6. The first 14 generations described by the BCHR, LCPS, W.E. Chute and J. Burke contain a number of potentially ambiguous chronological errors. The dates on the BCHR are given no context but are simply associated either with the Chute family member or with the corresponding spouse. There is no way to know whether or not they refer to births, deaths, marriages, deeds of sale, court appearances, tax assessments etc. However the LCPS, W.E. Chute and J Burke pedigrees generally do take the dates as representing either a birth or marriage. Such interpretations present serious problems with respect to the pre 1500s lineage. Of greatest concern is the date of 1480 associated on the BCHR with the Charles Chute who married a daughter of John Cheny/Chang, apparently representing either the marriage date or the birth date of Charles. The LCPS specifically states that 1480 refers to the birthdate of Charles’ son Edmond. John Burke omits the 1480 date on his Chute pedigree and on the pedigree given by William E. Chute the date 1480 again seems to refer to either the birth or marriage of Charles. These pedigrees then continue the lineage with Edmond’s son Robert, his grandson Charles and his great grandsons Anthony and Philip. While the BCHR gives no dates related to Anthony and Philip, other reliable sources state that Anthony and Philip were born ca 1503-1506. Thus the LCPS, W.E.C. and Burke imply a totally impossible generational span of 25 years between the birth of Edmond and his great grandsons Anthony and Philip. However, this chronological schism can be removed by making two simple but reasonable assumptions: firstly that the pedigree maker incorrectly placed the 1480 date with ‘Generation 10 Charles’ instead of placing it with ‘Generation 13 Charles’; secondly that 1480 represents the birth date of ‘Generation 13 Charles’ . The resulting pedigree displayed on the BCHR* is then consistent with about a 20 to 22 year generational span with all dates falling within the expected life span of each individual family member in the pedigree when one works back in time from the known 1503 and 1506 dates of birth for ‘Generation 14 Anthony and Philip’.

* The suggestion5 has been made that the scattered records available to originally construct the BCHR/LCPS pedigrees led to recording Charles (who married Cheny), Edmond and Robert as father, son and grandson whereas they may have actually been brothers and all the sons of 9th generation Robert Chute and his Barkley (Berkeley) wife. Thus the BCHR 13th generation brothers Oliver, Charles, Lyonell and William (listed as sons of Robert Chute and Jane Lucas) would become some combination of brothers/cousins as sons of Charles, Edmond and Robert. Such a reconstruction of the pedigree would probably result in a descent more compatible with the growing body of circumstantial documentation indicating that Edmund, Robert, Oliver, Charles, Lyonell and William were all living about the same time and were all associated with the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. However, any such reconstruction creates other chronological inconsistencies further up the family tree and there are virtually no records to guide any such alterations to the chronology. More data would be required to make any informed decision on pre 1500 reconstruction of the BCHR.

Taking into consideration all the similarities and the shared errors between the BCHR and the LCPS as noted above, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that portions of one of these two manuscripts were copied from the other. Undoubtedly they were drafted by different scribes and were augmented or altered by a few additional source materials, but for the first 14 generations it seems logical to assume that one might have been copied from the other. The two pedigrees are quite separate after the 14th generation as the BCHR follows the descendants of Philip Chowte while the LCPS follows the American descendants of Anthony Chowte.

The latest date recorded on the BCHR, which was drafted about 1698, was 1697. American Chute family tradition maintains that the LCPS came with Lionel to New England. Since we know that he arrived in 1639 this would suggest that the LCPS may have been the original document. However, there are a number of details that taken together suggest that the scroll examined by Dudley may have been the more recent of the two pedigree manuscripts:

(a) The BCHR records a number of dates associated with some of the first 10 generations, from a date of 1268 for Alexander to a date of 1480 for Charles Chute in the 10th generation. No other dates are recorded until 1695 and 1697 at which time they were simply indicating that the person was living, even though the birth, death, marriage etc. dates would have been available for many of these later generations. The BCHR does NOT place any interpretation on the significance of the various dates recorded in the first 10 generations. It is only possible to assume that a recorded date refers to some contemporary event known to the scribe who prepared the Roll for Sir George Chute.

As already noted the BCHR and the LCPS are very similar for the first 14 generations. However, the LCPS recorded (i) the 5th generation date of 1344 as the marriage date of George Chute to a ‘dau of Thomas Faril, Esq’ (Faril is likely a transcription error for Tirrell as is recorded on the BCHR), (ii) the 7th generation date of 1379 as the marriage date of Edward Chute to ‘Dionis dau of Henry Sturton(or Stourton)’, (iii) the 10th generation date of 1480 as the birth date of 11th generation Edmond Chute who sold the Manor - the LCPS also included a date of 1502 for the sale of the Manor and (iv) the 13th generation nonsensical date of 1580 associated with Charles Chute (transcription error ?).

Given the overall similarity between the BCHR and the LCPS these differences certainly suggest that information may have been gleaned from the BCHR and then interpreted/changed/augmented by the scribe of the LCPS, just as was done by W.E. Chute and John Burke at a later date.*

*William Edward Chute, whose pedigree chart closely follows the BCHR, chose to interpret 1268 as the death date for Alexander and in generation 10 added a date of 1502 for Edmond’s impossible sale of Taunton Manor. John Burke, who also closely followed the BCHR, interpreted the date of 1438 in generation 9 as the date of the marriage of Robert esq. of Taunton to Alice Berkeley. He also added a date of 1500 for Edmond’s sale of the Manor but omitted any mention of the 1480 date that the BCHR associates with Charles Chute in Generation 10.

(b) The LCPS did not record Lionel’s son Nathaniel nor his daughter Mary. His sisters Grace and Sarah are also missing from the chart. Further the scroll gives Baker as the surname of Lionel’s wife and her given name is missing, when his wife was Tomasine Barker whom he married in 1612 in Belstead, England. Surely if Lionel had ever been in possession of this scroll these obvious omissions would have been corrected. These are the types of errors typical of pedigrees prepared from partial data many years after the fact ... in this case probably many years after Lionel’s death in 1645!

(c) Dean Dudley in 1857 while transcribing the LCPS noted that ‘the original manuscript bears evidence of being at least one hundred and fifty years old’. This statement suggests that Lionel’s scroll dates back only to the early 1700s and was thus contemporary with the BCHR (1698). The LCPS examined by Dudley consisted of 19 generations beginning with Alexander in 1268 and ending with the 9 children of Lionel’s grandson James. As noted by Dudley the scroll ends with ‘Hannah, m. Timothy _____ of Newbury’ and the LCPS must have been prepared sometime after this marriage. It is known that Hannah’s marriage to Timothy Jackman was on the 9th of April 1723. If indeed this scroll had come to New England with Lionel then as was noted in 1927 by Dr. Harold Bowditch of the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historical & Genealogical Society ‘a later hand must have made additions’. Dr. Bowditch was at that time accessing the claim of Arthur L. Chute (grandson of Ariel Parish Chute) to bear the Chute Arms6. Yet, Dean Dudley was a serious antiquarian of some repute, and if the manuscript had shown any evidence of having generations added to an earlier version he most certainly would have recorded that on his transcription. Instead he merely comments that ‘here ends the MS’. This pedigree scroll is still held privately by a member of the Chute family who permitted it to be digitally photographed in 2009. An examination of these images indeed shows that there were no obvious changes in the style or penmanship throughout the pedigree and confirms the serious degradation of this Chute family heirloom, mentioned by Dean Dudley. However, these images also include additional information that Dudley did not include in his transcription of the scroll that was provided to him in 1857. Further, what can be seen in the photograph of the heraldry in many cases is so at odds with Dudley’s description that one is led to conclude that the photographed scroll was not the one examined by Dudley.* Perhaps it was one of Amelia Perkin’s copies.

Taking all of the preceding arguments into account it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll was drafted after 1723 and that the Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll of 1698 was referenced for the pre 1500s portion of the scroll. Together they represented a flurry of genealogical activity on the part of the Chute family on both sides of the Atlantic, beginning about the end of the 17th century.

*An examination of the photographic images of the supposedly original LCPS revealed the following anomalies when compared to the Dudley transcription:

2nd Generation - On the digital image the virtually illegible text circle for John Chute is over written with clearly legible text that mirrors the findings by Dudley, while the text circle for his wife with text still visible is left untouched as the pertinent information is now contained within the first circle.

8th Generation - The text for Christopher Chute on the digital image clearly indicates that he was from “Dorset Shear” while Dudley recorded his place of origin as “Hertfordshire” on the scroll provided by Ariel P. Chute. Perhaps of greater significance is that Dudley was unable to decipher the name of Christopher’s wife whereas the digital image clearly shows her name as Ammerica, in agreement with the BCHR.

9th Generation - In the photograph one can clearly read ‘Morris Bartley’ which on the manuscript viewed in 1857, Dudley took the name to be ‘Mark Bartley’. Of much greater significance is the difference in the appearance of the the coat of arms for this family on the scroll examined by Dudley and as opposed to it’s appearance in the photograph from 2009. The photograph very clearly shows a red shield with a chevron ‘ermine’ between ten predominately ‘silver billets’ arranged 4, 2 above the chevron and 2, 1, 2 below. Dudley plainly stated that on the manuscript he examined it was not possible to determine the colour of the shield or the colour of the billets.

12th Generation - The Arms of Lucas displayed on the manuscript Dudley examined were described as consisting of a red shield with a bar gemel (two closely spaced narrow bands horizontally across the shield) between 6 roundels pierced (more properly called annulets) whose colour he could not determine. These Arms are very similar to those displayed on the BCHR but with the bar gemel replaced by a fesse (a single broad horizontal band). However, in the photograph of the Lucas Arms, although somewhat defaced, they are best described as a silver shield with a red fesse between six red annulets which is indeed the most common version of the Arms of the Lucas family of East Anglia and are the same as those displayed on the Gore Roll for Thomas Lucas of Colchester.

13th Generation - The first text circle on the digital image of this generation appears to have been touched up to make the water marked text readable. One can clearly see Oliver’s wife as a daughter of Reade, not Relide as given by Dudley for the transcription of the scroll he examined. The second text circle on the image contains the following enhanced text, “Lionel Chute who married the daughter of Mr. Gibbons”. The BCHR includes a Lionel for this generation but that gentleman is said to have married a daughter of John Butler. Dudley’s transcription makes absolutely no mention of this Lionel.

Apparently, the scroll Dudley examined did not have this text circle. If it had been on the chart, even if illegible, he would have recorded it’s existence in the manner he used to record the badly damaged entry for one of Lionel jr.’s siblings, ie. “one, m. ____” . The only circumstance in which Dudley might not have mentioned the presence of this second text circle was if it were unreadable and he viewed its position as linked with Oliver’s circle, thereby representing the circle for Oliver’s wife.

15th Generation - The digital image of the text circle shows that George Chute, son of Philip, married a daughter of “Gore of Kent” while Dudley could only discern “a lady of Kent” on the scroll he examined. It is now known that George married Elizabeth Gage of Bentley, Sussex, England.

16th Generation - From the photograph one can see that for the Arms of Baker, the shield was divided between azure and black (sable) with a canton of some sort in the upper dexter corner, and perhaps one can see a bird (martlet)in gold. Obviously these are very similar to the Arms recorded by John Gore for Barker (not Baker) which are described as “Per fesse nebuly azure and sable, three martlets gold, a canton ermine”. Dudley makes no mention of a canton and thus on the parchment he examined there either was no canton or the shield was so defaced as to make it undetectable.

18th Generation - In the photographed scroll the text circle for the wife of James Chute indicates that she was the daughter of “Wm Wood” while Dudley simply stated “dau. of __ Wood”.

If the above anomalies had been restricted simply to evidence of touching up with some additional information added one might have been led to conclude that these were changes made to the parchment pedigree viewed by Dudley sometime after his examination. However, the comments made above with respect to Generations 8, 9, 12, 13 and 16 lead to the conclusion that the pedigree manuscript examined by Dean Dudley in 1857 can not have been the same document that was photographed in 2009.

The establishment of a possible provenance for the LCPS begins by recalling that Lionel’s scroll ended with the nine children of James Chute II, the grandson of the immigrant Lionel Chewte of Dedham, Essex, England. One of these children was James’ third son Thomas born in 1690 in Byfield MA. While the scroll indicates that all of these nine children were married at this time, only Thomas and his wife were both allowed an individual text circle. One is led to suspect that James Chute II and his son Thomas may have been involved with the creation of the parchment pedigree we now know as the Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll. How might such an involvement evolved?

The BCHR was prepared about 1698 when Baron George Chute was about 33 years old and just seven years after the death of Lionel Chute’s son James. James’ son James II was then aged about 49 and Thomas was a child of 8 years. Sometime thereafter news of the new pedigree chart likely reached James II in Massachusetts. James would have already had a collection of various family documents including whatever papers etc. that his grandfather had brought from Dedham in 1639. One may surmise that he then made requests through family connections for more details and that he later received a textual transcription of at least the first 14 or 15 generations of the manuscript - no photography in those days and a hand drawn complete copy would have been prohibitively expensive! There may have been some written descriptions of Coats of Arms to accompany the text but these would have been extremely difficult to decipher for anyone unfamiliar with heraldic terminology.

One might question the hypothesis that James and Thomas had access to such information being so far removed from England but that would be to discount Thomas Chute’s commercial enterprises and the significant ties the Chute family in America had with the Reade, Epes, Winthrop and Symonds families both in England and in the Massachusetts Colony. Edmund Reade from Wickford, in Essex and his wife had five sons and three daughters. Each of these three daughters became the ancestresses of countless Americans alive today including the Chute family. Margaret and Elizabeth were the Great Aunts of James Chute II and Martha was his Grandmother. Consider then, the following linkages:

1. Margaret the oldest daughter married John Lake, one of the British aristocracy, and by him had several children. However she later left him and, with her daughters Hannah and Martha Lake, accompanied her youngest sister Elizabeth to New England.

2. Elizabeth was newly married to John Winthrop jr. the founder of Ipswich, MA and the first Governor of the Colony of Connecticut. John’s father was the Governor of the Massachusetts Colony. John and Elizabeth’s son, Fitz-John Winthrop, would also become the Governor of Connecticut.

2. Martha, the third daughter of Edmund Reade and Elizabeth Cooke married Daniel Epes of Maidstone, Kent about 1620. Daniel was a grandson of Alan Epes who was a Jurat and Bailiff for Lydd in 1544-55. Alan would have undoubtedly been acquainted with Philip Chowte, then Captain of Camber Castle just 5 miles southwest of Lydd. Daniel and Martha had a son Daniel and three daughters - Elizabeth, Martha (who died young) and Mary. When Daniel sr died in London in 1630, his wife Martha (Read) married Samuel Symonds and moved with him to Ipswich in Massachusetts. They were accompanied by Martha’s four children and five of Samuel’s from a previous marriage. She and Samuel had another four children born in Ipswich. Symonds was one of the wealthiest settlers to New England and would later become the Deputy Governor of the Colony. The young Elizabeth Epes met and married James Chute son of Lionel Chute the local schoolmaster. Her brother Daniel Epes married his step sister Elizabeth Symonds. Thus, our James Chute II had many influential Epes and Symonds aunts and uncles, including Great Aunt Elizabeth married to the Governor of Connecticut. He grew up amidst countless influential Epes, Symonds, Winthrop, Gallup, Harris, Dennison, Duncan, Baker and Emerson cousins.

3. Thomas Reade, the youngest brother of the three Reade sisters, maintained close ties to both England and the colonies. He initially came with the family to New England but returned to England during the civil war to join Cromwell’s army. He served as a Colonel and for a time as the Governor of Stirling Castle. He afterwards returned to the Reade estates at Wickford, Essex. Before leaving for New England he had married Priscilla Banks the daughter of John Banks of Maidstone and Ashford in Kent, not far from Folkestone and Thomas’ own Reade cousins. Priscilla Bank’s brother Caleb had a son John. This John, Sir John Banks, Bart., nephew of Priscilla Reade, became a notable personage in the affairs of the county of Kent and a world wide merchant financier. He was a Governor of the East India Company, a director of the Royal African Company and in 1694 he served with Sir George Chute, Bart. who commissioned the BCHR.

4. The Folkestone cousins of Thomas Reade, who bore the same Coat of Arms, were connected through marriages to the Dixwell and Oxenden families of Kent. In turn the Dixwells and Oxendens were married to Chute descendants of Philip Chowte of Bethersden. Elizabeth Dixwell, daughter of Elizabeth Reade (of Folkestone) and Mark Dixwell, married Edward Chute ca 1655. Mark, a Colonel in the Parliamentary Army and was killed at Arundel during Sir William Waller’s assault on the Royalist garrison at Arundel Castle in late 1643. His brother John Dixwell was also one of Cromwell’s commanders. The Dixwell brothers would undoutedly have been known to Thomas Reade. Elizabeth Dixwell, and her siblings were taken under the wing of their Uncle John who raised them as his own after Mark’s death. John was also one of the Judges at the trial of King Charles I in 1649. At the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 he was branded a regicide and fled through Holland to New England. He lived in New Haven under the assumed name of James Davids, Esq. His true identity remained known to only a few until his death when a large bundle of papers and letters, that had been sealed upon his instructions, were opened. Throughout her Uncle John Dixwell’s exile in Connecticut, Elizabeth Chute had maintained a clandestine correspondence with him under the pseudonym of Eliza Boyce, sending him news and supplies.

5. Thomas Chute left Newbury at an early age for Boston probably to apprentice as a tailor, a trade he practised throughout his lifetime. There he married Mary Curtis in 1712 and before 1720 they had relocated to Marblehead, MA. He has been called “a jack of all trades” and he certainly seems to have been a master of them all! Besides tailoring, Thomas ran a mercantile business selling hardware, dry goods, crockery, wigs, flour, rum, tobacco etc. He kept a stock of bunting and made ships flags to order. He sold his labour to clear land for others, to build roads and bridges. He hauled masts for ships from the surrounding woods. He rented pastureland to his neighbours and marketed their dairy produce. He was a deputy sheriff in 1733 and at other times for a fee acted as a lawyer, representing clients in various civil suits. By all accounts he was “a man of substance and probity” and in later life, after moving to Windham, Maine he was known as “Mr. Thomas Chute, Gentleman”. In Windham he essentially recreated his Marblehead enterprises, served in the local militia first as Sergeant and then as Captain and was for years the town clerk and the town’s representative to the General Assembly in Boston. Thomas was a prime example of a growing class of well off yeomen in the New England colonies that were increasingly involved with guiding the development of the colonies and were looking for ways to display their status (8,9,10). Thomas in the course of running his mercantile enterprise undoubtedly had frequent contact with shippers and Captains of vessels trading between England and the colonies and thus additional ways in which he and his father could have received notice of a new Chute pedigree in the early 1700s.

The above comments certainly suggest that the Chute family’s social position and family connections and/or Thomas’ business ties could have made it possible for them to acquire all the requisite information about this English pedigree manuscript. Then sometime later, with his children grown and married, James II with the help of Thomas took the time to put all his information together to create the manuscript we now call the LCPS.

Thomas is known to have had an interest in his family history as sometime after about 1730 he commissioned the coach painter John Gore (1718-1796) to create a Coat of Arms for him possibly to be placed on his personal chaise. Gore advertised such services in the Boston newspapers. Gore later produced a book of paintings of Coats of Arms consisting of a number of individual parchments leaves bound together with 8 Coats of Arms on each leaf, 4 on each side. The design provided for “Thomas Chute of Marblehead in the county of Esix” is one of the 99 Coats displayed in this book, now known as ‘The Gore Roll of Arms’. It is “a valuable list of the coats of arms as used in New England in the earliest years of the eighteenth century”. Of the Arms on this roll, heraldry expert, Harold Bowditch states “that they represent, in the main, orders given by customers for paintings of arms, for there was a good deal of call for the work of the heraldic artist at that period, probably in large part for the decoration of coaches …”. They were also used for seals, engraved silverware, embroidered decorations in the home, armorial portraits, tombstones, coffins etc., often without regard to the traditional right of the purchaser to use the Arms8,12.

It is of interest to note that all ten of the Coats of Arms displayed on the LCPS are reproduced on John Gore’s Roll as a group of paintings that numbered 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 59 and 61 in order of appearance on the Roll. The 53rd painting was for the family Mansale (ie Mansell according to Dudley) one of whom appears on the LCPS as the husband of Christiana Chute but without any accompanying Coat of Arms. Paintings 56, 57, 58 and 60 have no known connection to the Chute family although the LCPS does record that Thomas’s sister Anne married a Thomas Brown. These ten paintings do not totally duplicate those on the LCPS rather they change, enhance or correct some of them using the “Promptuarium Armorum” as a source for the corrected Arms*. For example, Gore corrected Chittester on the LCPS to the correct family, Chichester, and altered one of the tinctures in the chief of the shield from gold (Or) to azure (Az) to correctly portray this family’s Arms. He changed the name of Britton/Brittan to Breton and produced an entirely different Coat of Arms, one for Breton of Norfolk. He changed Barkley/Bartley with Barkeley and replaced the ermine chevron with the silver chevron commonly displayed on the Coat of Arms of this famous Somerset/Gloucester family whose name was usually spelled Berkeley.

It is apparent that at some point John Gore saw the Lionel Chute Pedigree Scroll and included the Arms he saw on his Roll as part of the Arms he knew to be associated with one of his New England customers ie. Thomas Chute of Marblehead. It is equally obvious that Gore did not participate in the preparation of the Chute scroll for then the corrected family names and Arms would have been used. Gore probably first viewed the scroll when approached by Thomas wanting a Coat of Arms to be painted on his carriage.

*This was a book of some 4400 Coats of Arms prepared by William Smith who was the Rouge Dragon Poursuivant in the College of Arms from 1597 to 1618. The book came into the possession of John Gore ca 1734 and was the main reference enabling him to provide his services as an heraldic painter.


1 (a)Dudley, Dean. "New England Historic and Genealogical Register": Pedigree of Chute or Chewte,, Vol. 13, April 1859, pp. 123-124, and (b) Chute, Francis Chaloner. The Chutes of the Vyne, Woodfield Publishing Group, 2005, pp.100-102.

2 The Peerage of Ireland, A Genealogical and Historical Account, Vol.5, pp.200-205, 1789 by John Lodge and Mervyn Archdall.

3 Chute, William Edward. A Genealogy and History of the Chute Family in America: With Some Account of the Family in Great Britain and Ireland, with an Account of Forty Allied Families Gathered from the Most Authentic Sources. Salem, Massachusetts, 1894. Available online at

. 4 Burke, John, Esq. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, 1833. Vol. 1, pp. 632ff

. 5 Private communication from Francis Chaloner Chute, author of The Chutes of the Vyne, Woodfield Publishing Group, 2005

. 6 Application to the Committee on Heraldry, New England Historic Genealogical Society for the registration of the Coat of Arms that belonged to Lionel Chute. 28 Mar 1927.

. 7 The General Armoury of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, 1864, by Sir Bernard Burke. Encyclopaedia Heraldica or Complete Dictionary of Heraldry, Vol.1, 1828 by William Berry. The British Herald: Or, Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, from theEarliest to the Present Time, Vol.1, 1830 by Thomas Robson.

. 8 ‘The Gore Roll of Arms’ by Harold Bowditch, Rhode Island Historical Collections, Vol. XXIX, Jan. 1936, No.1; Apr. 1936, No.2; Jul. 1936, No.3; Oct. 1936, No.4 and Vol.XXX, Jan. 1937, No.1; Apr. 1937 No.2; Jul. 1937, No.3; Oct. 1937, No.4 and Vol.XXXI, Jan. 1938, No.1; Apr. 1938, No.2; Jul. 1938, No.3; Oct. 1938, No.4.

. 9 The Varieties of Political Experience in Eighteenth Century America., pp.192-193, 2004, by Richard Beeman.

. 10 Collections of the Maine Historical Society, Ser.2, V.7, pp.412-424, “Thomas Chute: The First Settler of Windham, Maine, and his descendants” by William Goold.

. 11 Windham in the Past, p.166, 1916, by Samuel Thomas Dole.

. 12 ‘The Gore Roll’ - a paper read before the International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences held in Bruges, Belgium in 2004, by David B. Appleton.


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