Anthony, Arthur, Lyonnell and the Arms of Chute

Steve Chute

Traditionally the Chutes of America have assumed that Lyonell and Arthur were brothers and sons of Anthony Chowte who was the brother of Philip of Appledore, King Henry VIII’s Standard Bearer at the Seige of Boulogne in France in 1545. They have been supported in this scenario by the Bethersden Chute Heraldic Roll (or BCHR) prepared for Baron George Choute of Kent in 1698 and by the monumental work of William Edward Chute in his Genealogy and History of the Chute Family in America. WEC based his pedigree of the Chute family’s English ancestors on William Berry’s Pedigrees of Berkshire and Hampshire and on an old parchment pedigree for Lionel Chewte of Ipswich, Mass. Family lore has maintained that this parchment was brought with Lionel when he came to New England in about 1638/9. Interestingly, an 1857 transcription of this parchment by Dean Dudley of Boston, Mass. (published in the Apr. 1859 NEHG Register) replaces Arthur as Lionell’s brother with another Anthony. However, Dudley noted that the parchment was much water damaged and it is possible that this change was merely an error in transcription of a partially damaged portion. There are also other disturbing differences between the various records such as with the names of the wives of Anthony and Arthur.

Adding to the confusion is the existence of a 9 generation pedigree (refered to by the British College of Arms as Norfolk 11/78-83) of a branch of the Chute family seated in South Pickenham in Norfolk that were descended from the Chutes of the Vyne in Hampshire. This pedigree lists the children of Anthony, brother of Philip of Appledore, as Christopher, Arthur, William and a daughter. NO MENTION is made of any Lyonell. Further, this pedigree states that the brothers Anthony and Philip were sons of an Anthony Chowte whereas all other sources of which I am aware describe them as the sons of Charles Chewte and his wife who was a daughter of John Crispe (Crips Crippes). In spite of these major differences with other existing pedigrees, the College of Arms, in a 1999 letter to our Lionel Chute of New Hampshire, described it as ‘officially recorded for Chute’ and they make no mention for example of the BCHR. This Pedigree notes that Arthur was of Wrentham in Suffolk and later of nearby Willingham All Saints (also known as Ellough) and that he was first married to Elizabeth See and secondly to Margaret Playters.

In attempting to establish a consistent interpretation of the relationship between Philip, Anthony, Arthur and Lyonell we are forced to closely examine whatever primary documents exist that link these characters from our past. Here the above mentioned pedigrees and family histories cannot be considered definitive as they were most often prepared generations after the fact, from partial Visitation records, various estate accounts, land deeds, wills etc., and most of these original souces are no longer available to us to aid in sorting out the inconsistencies in the secondary documents. Let us start with the Last Will & Testament of Philip Chowte of Bethersden which is still extant and a copy may be ordered from the British Archives.


Philip’s will was dated 1 March 8th Elizabeth (1566). It specifically provided legacies for the children of his brother Anthony. Moreover he carefully recorded the bequests for each child by name. Included were Christopher, Arthur, William and daughter Dorothy. There was NO MENTION of a Lyonell! Yet in 1566 Lyonell was a young lad of about 17 to 18 years. There does not seem to be any logical reason why Philip would purposefully disinherit a young nephew while including all of his siblings, male and female. I believe this record forces us to seriously consider that contrary to tradition Lyonell was NOT a son of the Anthony who was the brother of Philip of Appledore.

A VISITATION OF KENT IN 1531 (by Thomas Benolte - Clarenceux King of Arms)

This Visitation records a two generation pedigree headed by ‘Philipe Chowte of herne in the P’yshe of apledore in the county of kent, esquier’. Apparently in 1531 Thomas Benolte was able to confirm the Arms borne by Philipe Chowte. According to the College of Arms Philip would have had to provide evidence that his family had displayed these Arms ‘from ancient time’ which they imply meant some 60 to 80 years prior to the Visitation. The record of this Visitation as it now exists refers to Philip as ‘at this present Capytayne of the castell of Cambre’. Since the Castle was not even constructed until ca 1538/39 it is apparent that the original record has been revised at a later time. Further the Arms given for Philip in the existing record include the canton augmentation to his Arms ‘per fess Argent and Vert a Lion passant reguardant Or’ which was not granted to Philip until after the Seige of Boulogne in July 1545, indicating another revision of the original Visitation. Regardless of such alterations to the 1531 record it seems clear that we may assume that Philip’s family had borne the unaugmented Arms described for at least two generations prior to 1531. Thus, as will be verified by the next Visitation record, Anthony as well as Philip were entitled to bear these Arms. Also of significance in the present discussion is that Philip’s second wife was Elizabeth Gyrlynge, whose family Arms are depicted on the BCHR and link her with the Girling clan of Suffolk and Norfolk.

A VISITATION OF LONDON 1633/34 (by Henry St George Richmond Herald)

This Visitation record includes a five generation pedigree signed by Charle Chute and a description of his Arms blazoned in French as ‘Il porte geules trois espees de chevalier arg. trauversees en fesse de moulets or’. This Charles was the ancestor of the Chutes of the Vyne in Hampshire.

From this Visitation we learn that Charles was the son of Arthur Chute, the grandson of Anthony Chute and that this branch of the family was entitled to bear the same Arms as those of Philip Chowte prior the augmentation of 1545. Indeed we can safely conclude that the Anthony heading this 1633 pedigree was the brother of Philip Chowte whose will clearly identifies a brother Anthony with a son Arthur. We further learn that this Anthony also married a daughter of a Girling of Suffolk and that this Arthur Chute esq. was of Wrentham in Suffolk and that he was married to Elizabeth See, daughter and coheir of Henry See of Herne. This is in agreement with the Norfolk11/78-83 pedigree recognized by the College of Arms and solidifies the connection of these Chutes to the northeastern corner of the County of Suffolk.


The Gyrlyngs of Suffolk into which both brothers Philip and Anthony married were by the late 1400s wealthy famillies of generally yeoman class who might well have looked favorably on the rather poorer but amerigous Chutes. Their land holdings were largely confined to the northeastern corner of Suffolk in places such as Sotterley, Ellough, Wrentham, Brampton, South Cove, Benacre, Westhale, Wangford, Wenhaston, Mellis and a few miles to the west at Horham, Stradbroke, Fressingfield and Bungay. There are numerous wills and parish records dating to the late 1400s and early 1500s for these Gyrlyng/Girling families. The 1524 Subsidy Returns for Suffolk list a John Gyrlyng of Sotterley whose will was proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich in 1545. This John may have been one and the same as the John Girlyng, gent. who paid £40 Subsidy in 1524 in Ellough. In Stradbroke Thomas Gyrlyng paid in excess of £24 and he is probably the same Thomas Gyrlynge whose 1526 will was proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich. He was also likely the same person who paid £60 for holdings in Fressingfield. Also in 1524 William and Richard Gyrlyng paid subsidies for South Cove, William Girling for Brampton, Henry Girling for Mellis, Robert and John Gyrlyng for Wenhaston, William Gyrlyng for Wangford, John Gyrlyng for Westhale and William Gyrlyng (whose 1554 will was proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich) for Benacre. The Gyrlyng clan of Anthony’s, Philip’s and Arthur’s time were clearly concentrated within a very few miles of Wrentham. It would seem very probable that their Gyrlyng wives were among the daughters of these families.

According to Joan Corder’s Dictionary of Suffolk Arms the Arms displayed on the BCHR for Philip’s second wife Elizabeth Gyrlyng are those of the Gyrlynges of Stradbroke and Horham. There also were Gyrlyng families in Norfolk, in Titleshall,Wellingham, Lyng and Sparham all near East Dereham. The Wellingham family of William Gyrlyng in 1552 displayed these same Arms.


There are a significant number of other primary source documents that also place Arthur (Chowte, Cheute, Chewt, Chewte) in this particular corner of Suffolk. They include wills, subsidy returns, land transactions and parish records. Arthur’s Uncle Philip is also tied to this region by his bequest to the poor of Wrentham in his will and by his appointment ca 1540 as Bailiff for Frostenden Manor for Anne of Cleves who received the holding for life as partial compensation when she was set aside by Henry VIII. Lyonell Chowtt was married in Frostenden. Arthur’s Aunt Mary (Chowte) married into the Alleyn family from this same region. Interestingly we find later Alleyn (however spelt) families in this area displaying Arms virtually identical to the unaugmented Arms of her brother Philip. In 1524 there was another Chute in Wrentham, one William Choughte who possibly was the same person as the William Chowte who was an executor in 1526 of the will of Robert Kempe of Gissing in Norfolk.

It is perhaps significant that in Thomas Robson’s 1830 The British Herald or Cabinet of Armorial Bearings etc it is recorded that Chowghton Chowthton and Choughton families bore armorials with 3 swords barwise on either a gold shield or a silver shield. According to the BCHR the Chute armorial was until the time of Philip of Appledore 3 swords on a gold shield, not the red (gules) shield we commonly associate with our arms. It is also clear from the above records that Anthony and Arthur used the familiar 3 sword Chute Arms as evidenced by the brass memorial in the Church of Ellough and by the use of a seal on deeds related to Benacre in 12 Elizabeth as is reported by Joan Corder. Her sources indicate that both the plain 3 sword armorial and one augmented with an orle of mullets were used by the Chutes of Ellough and Wrentham.

Of the above collection of Arthur related primary source documents there are two, both wills, that merit separate consideration.


First consider the will of Lyonell Chewte who was the clerk of the Parish of Brampton which lies literally within walking distance of Ellough, Sotterley and Wrentham. His will was proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich on 1 August 1592. In it he mentions his son Lionell, who emigrated to New England in 1638/39, and his daughters Grace, Sara and Judith. One of the witnesses to this will was Arthur Chewte gent. This document provides a direct link between Lyonell (and Lionell jr) and Arthur. Secondly consider the will of John Cowlfax of Willingham (also known as Ellough) which was prepared on 20 May 1569 and was proved 6 Oct 1569. His brother (in-law) Arthur Cheute gent. was one of the executors. The will was witnessed by Lyonell Chewte. Again Lyonell and Arthur are linked in a single primary document. On the basis of these two documents I believe one must accept that there is a family relationship between Arthur and Lyonell, and thus between Lyonell and Anthony and Philip. It has been widely held (but not by the College of Arms) that in fact Lyonell and Arthur were brothers. However as stated above, I believe that this is not the case, based on the fact that he is NOT mentioned in Philip’s will. So what relationship is left? Cousins, distant or not? I would now suggest that the existing evidence is best explained by Arthur being Lyonell’s FATHER and NOT HIS BROTHER.


Arthur’s second wife Margaret Playters, daughter of Christopher Playters of Sotterley, was buried in Ellough in 1607 at age 85 indicating she was born in 1522. This information fits neatly with the 1523 birth date for her first husband John Throckmorton with whom she had six children. He was attainted and executed for treason by Queen Mary 28 Apr 1566 and Margaret married Arthur Chewte 17 Dec 1573 after the death of his first wife Elizabeth See. Considering Margaret’s age I would suggest that Arthur was likewise born early in the 1500s, probably by 1525 and almost certainly before 1530. Philip’s birth date has been given as 1506 so his older brother Anthony (father of Christopher, Arthur, William and Dorothy) was likely born ca 1503 to 1505. Anthony would then have been between 20 and 27 years old when Arthur was born.

Most secondary sources place Lyonell’s birth date at ca 1550 which would have made him about 19 years old when he witnessed the Cowlfax will. If he had reached his age of majority before witnessing the Cowlfax will he might have been born perhaps as early as 1548. Arthur would then have been between say 18 and 23 at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth See. We do not yet have a firm date for this marriage, however, a record from the Court of Chancery:Six Clerks Office:Early Proceedings, Richard II to Philip and Mary C1/1405/38(National Archives) dated 1556 records Arthur Chowte married to Elizabeth See at that time. Henry See married the widow Elizabeth Crompton in 1531 (S.T. Bindoff, History of Parliament- Commons 1509-1558) which means that his daughter Elizabeth could have been about 17 years old if she married Arthur in 1548. As discussed in the sketch of the Atte See family of Herne in Kent it is very probable that Philip’s second wife Elizabeth Gyrlyng was in fact the widow of his fellow MP Henry See and that Philip and Elizabeth would have raised Elizabeth’s three daughters (Elizabeth, Millicent and Mary) who were all under the age of 10 years when their father died sometime before 1539. One may easily surmise that Philip would have had a hand in arranging the marriage of Elizabeth See and his nephew Arthur.

I suggest that Lyonell b. ca 1550 was the eldest son and heir of Arthur and Elizabeth See and that Charles Chewte, father of Challoner Chewte, was Lyonell’s younger brother. I further suggest that Charles was born somewhat later in Arthur’s marriage to Elizabeth, say ca 1560. Charles Chewte and Ursula Challoner ‘s eldest son and heir, Challoner, was not born until ca 1598. A Bearsted (about 5 miles east of Malling) parish record states that Chaliner Chewte was christened 2 Feb 1598. If Charles had been born much earlier than 1560 his marriage to Ursula ca 1598 would have been rather later in his life than was usual for a first marriage. I also suggest that Arthur and Elizabeth had possibly three daughters. One of them, Elizabeth, married Alexander Sherman, son of Francis Sherman of Bruisyard (between Framlingham and Saxmundham). Francis’ father Thomas Sherman of Yaxley died in 1551 and his will clearly indicates that at this time Francis was a very young schoolboy.

Assuming Francis was born ca 1540 then his son Alexander could have been born ca 1560 and his wife ‘Elizabeth Chewte of Soterley’ was almost certainly a daughter of Arthur Chewte and Elizabeth See. Alexander and Elizabeth had a daughter Frances who married first William Deye of Eye and second William Dusgate. The will (2 Nov 1634) of Alexander Sharman (Sherman), gent. of Thrandeston (between Diss and Eye) leaves everything to his daughter’s children Sharman, Abigail and Thomas Deye with Thomas as his executor. Alexander outlived both his wife and his daughter as his will stipulates he is ‘to be buried by wife and daughter in church of Little Thornham’. Little Thornham is undoutedly Thornham Parva which lies a short distance south of Thrandeston and Yaxley. In his will Alexander also mentioned his ‘cossen Lyonell Chewete of Dedham County Essex’. This reference must be to his nephew Lionel jr son of Lyonell who I believe was the brother of Alexander’s wife Elizabeth Chewte. In these times the use of ‘cousin’ in this context was apparently common. A second possible daughter is the Susan Chute who was recorded by the Heralds of the Norfolk Visitations (1563,1589,1613) as ‘Susan da of ..... Chute of Suffolk’. She was included in the Norfolk pedigree for Pointer of East Dereham, as married to a William Warner (ca 1575) son of Thomas Warner and Mary Pointer.

A possible third daughter may have been the Thomasen Chewt who according to Ellough Parish records married a William Bedell (Beadle), a widower, on 1 Nov 1613. A William Beadle of Beccles, gent. made his will on 5 Jan 1620. The will was not probated until 10 Feb 1629 which means he most probably died sometime in 1629 or late 1628. This will mentions ‘cousin Lionell Chowte of Dedham’. It seems likely that here again the term ‘cousin’ refers to William’s nephew Lionell, son of his wife’s brother Lyonell.

Finally I suggest that the will wherein John Cowlfax names Arthur Cheute as his ‘brother’ (ie brother-in-law) indicates that John was first married to Arthur’s sister Dorothy Chowte although he was at his death married to Margaret, the widow of Martin Frens.

The attached pedigree chart shows how these various familial connections fit with the notion that Arthur was indeed the father of Lyonell the elder. I suggest that Lyonell, the eldest son and heir, stayed close to the family holdings in northeastern Suffolk. Frostenden parish records show that Lyonell (Chowtt) married Susan in All Saints Church on 8 Sep 1578 at which time he would have been about 30 years old. When Lyonell died in 1592 he was then 44 years old and his children were all minors under the age of 14. He was at this time Clerk of Brampton Parish and had also been Rector for the Parish from 1577 until his death. It seems probable that grandfather Arthur and step-grandmother Margaret (then in their late 60s) stepped in at this time to support Susan in raising and educating Lyonell’s children. Also she may have remarried and there is a remote possibility that she was the Susan Chute who married William Warner after Lyonell’s death.

Perhaps also the portrait, inventoried at the Vyne in 1956, of Arthur and his wife supposedly ‘receiving the news of their sons’ death’, was painted to commemorate Lyonell’s death. The lady in the painting would then have been Lyonell’s step-mother Margaret Playters. The younger son, Charles (who outlived his parents and could not have been the son mourned in the above mentioned painting), removed to Kelvedon in Essex and to London and to Bearsted in Kent. Charles apparently entered law in about 1580 to become the first in a long line of lawyers. About 1582 he acquired four messuages and land in Hoe, Swanton Morley, Worthing and Beetley from William Warner (The Evans-Lombe Collection: Norfolk Records Office, Archon Code 153, EVL 361/2, 459x3). Is it just coincidence that the mother of the William Warner who married Susan Chute was Mary Pointer from East Dereham very near to where the aforementioned properties are located or might the William Warner named in this land transfer actually be the same person who married Susan Chute of Suffolk? Then this William Warner would have been Charles’ brother-in-law (or less likely, possibly the future husband of his sister-in-law Susan Chewte).

In 1592/3 Charles was returned as an MP for Thetford, some 20 miles south of the properties mentioned above. He also served as ‘feodary and clerk of the markets of the Queen (Elizabeth) in the Duchy of Lancaster’, codified land registrations for James I, visited Sir Walter Raleigh during his confinement in the Tower of London and would later support the Parliamentarian cause. This interpretation of the family connections fits the facts far more neatly than having an aging Anthony father a son virtually a generation younger than his other children and it explains why Lyonell was not mentioned in Philip’s will.

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