Lionel's Father Was Not Anthony: Part 2
Lionel's Father Was Not Anthony: Part 2

by Lionel Chute, July 2009

Steve Chute submitted an essay to this website (titled “Anthony, Arthur, Lyonell and the Arms of Chute”) proposing that Lionel was not the son of Anthony, but rather the son of Anthony's son Arthur. His justification hinged on the following 6 points:

1) The will of Philip Chowte (Anthony's brother) provides legacies for Anthony's children (Christopher, Arthur, William and Dorothy) but makes no mention of a son named Lionel - “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”.

2) Arthur of Wrentham and Lionel of Brampton, both in Suffolk, lived within a few miles of each other.

3) Arthur witnessed Lionel's will, which was proved in 1592.

4) In 1569, Lionel witnessed the will of John Cowlfax of Willingham, Suffolk (very near Wrentham). In the same will, Arthur was named as an executor.

5) Lionel's son, Lionel Jr. was mentioned in the 1634 will of Alexander Sherman as a “cossen”. Alexander was married to “Elizabeth Chewte of Soterly”. As Sotterly in Suffolk is next to Wrentham where Arthur lived (and Arthur's wife was from Sotterly), it is assumed that Elizabeth was Arthur's daughter. If true, then Elizabeth and Lionel Sr. were brother and sister, and Lionel Jr. was in fact a nephew (commonly refered to as a “cousin” in those days) of Alexander Sherman by marriage.

Church of All Saints in Ellough, Suffolk, England

6) Lionel's son, Lionel Jr. was also mentioned in the 1620 will of William Bedell as a “cousin”. William married Thomasen “Chewt” at Ellough Parish in Suffolk in 1613, the same parish where Arthur and his wife Margaret were buried in 1611 and 1607, respectively. Assuming that Thomasen was another daughter of Arthur's, Thomasen and Lionel Sr. were brother and sister, and Lionel Jr. was in fact a nephew (“cousin”) of William Bedell.These are all compelling points that support the idea that Lionel's father was Arthur and not Anthony. But an even stronger case can be made when we look at the issue from the other way around, namely -

What evidence is there that Lionel was Anthony's son?

The answer to this question is virtually NONE. Only two documents, neither original to the 1500's when Anthony and Lionel lived, have ever been found claiming that Lionel was a son of Anthony. The documents are the American Chute Pedigree, (also known as the Lionel Chute Scroll or “LCS”), and the English Chute Heraldric Roll (also known as the Bethersden Chute Heraldric Roll, or “BCHR”).

"Lionel Chute Scroll"
American Chute Pedigree (“LCS”)

The American Chute Pedigree is privately owned in Massachusetts by a descendant of Ariel Parish Chute of Sharon. Reputed by 19th century researchers to have been brought to America by Lionel Chute Jr. in the 1630's, the document has since acquired the nickname of “Lionel Chute Scroll”, or LCS. But modern Chute genealogists became skeptical of its provenance. Steve Chute, in his 2006 essay “The LCS and BCHR: Comments on their Accuracy and Relative Antiquity”, suggested that the LCS was younger than and derived from the BCHR. Now, three years later, a recent analysis of the document by this author confirms that the LCS is a copy of the BCHR, probably created in 1723 or 1724 for Thomas Chute of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Reasons for this assessment include:

1) The document's appearance. Compared to the English Chute Heraldric Roll, which was professionally rendered and elegant in appearance, the American Chute Pedigree is a rough and incomplete draft. The “scroll” actually consists of 2 pieces of paper, of differing dimensions, that have been stitched together. The handwriting is hurried and uneven, and there are numerous inconsistencies between and within generations in the layout and conventions used. Information is missing in some text boxes and in the graphic illustrations of allied family arms. In short, the document is more of a work in progress than a professional pedigree.

St. Margaret's parish church in Sotterly, Suffolk, England, where the Playters family originated

2) Identical content of the LCS text to that of the BCHR. Both the LCS and BCHR begin with Alexander Chute of “Tanton”, but the BCHR continues in the 17th century with Philip Chowte's grandchildren (leading ultimately to the patron of the pedigree, George Chute of Bethersden) while the LCS continues with the American branch (Lionel Jr., James, James Jr. and his 9 children). Until this split however, the text of both pedigrees is identical. At first glance this would seem incorrect, as: the arrangement differs; there are an unequal number of text boxes, and; there are numerous spelling differences. But upon closer examination we find that the arrangement only differs due to transposed birth orders (e.g. BCHR 4th generation is James-Philip-Anthony and LCS 4th generation is Philip-James-Anthony), the documents make different choices regarding the lumping and splitting of married couples (i.e, one pedigree dedicates 2 boxes for a particular husband and wife while the other uses just one, and vice versa), and, consistent with the overall poor workmanship of the LCS, all of the spelling differences can be attributed to LCS transcription errors. The fact is that the content of the LCS and BCHR, from the 1st generation until they diverge in the 15th generation, is identical. There are no substantive differences between the documents, with many entries even sharing the same phrasing (e,g, “John Chute of Tanton Esquire sonne and heire maried Jane daughter of Sir John Brumfeld Kt” (BCHR) vs. “John Chute of Tanton Esq m Jane the daughter of __ Bronfeld and had issue” (LCS), “Anthony Chute maried Anne Treforth and died without yssue” (BCHR) vs. “Anthony who married Anne Indford and died without issue” (LCS), “Robt Chute Sergeant at the Lawe and Baron of the Exchequer lived 13 H 6” (BCHR) vs. “Robt Chute Sargant at Law and after Baron of the Exchequer who lived till the 13 year of Henry 6th 1435” (LCS), etc.)

Entry for John, son of Alexander, showing the original Chute coat of arms and the stitching holding the pieces of the document together

3) LCS emphasis on Philip Chowte's line. The first, largest, and most elaborate arms illustrated in the LCS is the version of Chute (or Chowte) that includes the royal lion augmentation specifically given to Philip Chowte by Henry VIII. But, according to the LCS, North American Chutes beginning with Lionel of Ipswich, Massachusetts are all descended from Philip's brother Anthony, whose coat of arms was never augmented with the royal lion. As an independently-created American pedigree, it would be both incorrect and misleading to present Philip's augmented coat arms as the leading or primary heraldric arms. As a copy of the BCHR however, the presentation of Philip's arms makes perfect sense since the BCHR was commissioned by Philip's great-great-grandson George and logically follows Philip's line.

The undue emphasis on Philip's line continues both in the text and the allied family arms illustrations. In the text, the LCS splits in Anthony and Philip's generation and depicts 3 of Philip's children (George, Edward and Anthony) by his third wife Margaret Culpepper. On the same horizontal line and to the left of Philip's children are four sons of Anthony, from whom the pedigree continues. There is no reason for the LCS to include Philip's children, especially as nowhere else in the document are there included any other offspring of direct line siblings. Similarly, the Culpepper surname is displayed in the LCS among the allied family arms illustrations, which is inappropriate considering that the Culpeppers are only allied with Philip (through his wife Margaret), and not with Anthony or his descendants.

4) Errors and omissions in the American portion of the Pedigree. The allied arms for the wife of Lionel Jr. clearly reads “Baker”. But Lionel's wife’s name (from the original Belstead marriage record) was Tomasine Barker. If Lionel Jr. brought this Pedigree with him to Massachusetts (as earlier genealogists had assumed), he would have certainly known and published his wife’s correct surname. Similarly, the LCS fails to record Lionel’s son Nathaniel, his daughter Mary, or his mother's first name.

Another glaring error in the LCS occurs in the second to last generation (James Jr.). James is clearly listed as married to “the daughter of Wm Wood”, but we know from several sources that Mary Wood's father was not William but Thomas Wood of Rowley. Thomas Wood's will of 1687 even includes a bequest to “my daughter Chute”. It is amazing that the LCS would contain such a “recent” error: presumably, neither James Jr. nor Mary ever saw the LCS, as this mistake would certainly have been corrected.

5) The time span of the document. The pedigree runs from Alexander Chewte of Taunton (“1268”) to the married children of James Chute Jr. of Rowley (1648-1724), with no abrupt change in penmanship other than a few scattered text boxes that may have been drawn by a different hand. In other words, the majority of the document appears to have been written by one person, which if true, would mean that it was assembled when the pedigree ends, in the 1700's. Moreover, 2 clues in the text of the last generation (James Chute Jr.'s children) allow us to precisely date the document. First, Elizabeth Chute is listed as married to Andrew Stickney, whom we know died in 1717. There is no mention of Elizabeth's second husband Henry Lunt, whom Elizabeth married on 3/28/1724. Second, Hannah Chute is shown as married to Timothy Jackman, which we know took place on 4/9/1723. It therefore stands to reason that the LCS was created after April 9, 1723 (when Hannah married Timothy Jackman) but before March 28, 1724 (when Elizabeth re-married Henry Lunt).

6) Thomas Chute's social status and known interest in Chute heraldry. The last generation of the LCS displays James Chute's 9 children (3 sons and 6 daughters), all of whom were married at the time. But the only married couple in this generation allowed 2 text boxes (one for himself and one for his spouse) is James' sixth child and third son, Thomas (1690-1771). Further, although most of these Chute siblings had children of their own by 1723, only Thomas' text box includes the phrase “and had issue”, a phrase that occurs throughout the pedigree for each Chute in the direct line of succession. It would appear, therefore, that the LCS was created for Thomas, which makes sense given what we know about him. Unlike his siblings, Thomas left Rowley for Boston, where he was married and worked as a tailor. About 1717 he moved to nearby Marblehead, Massachusetts, where he stayed for the next 20 years. While in Marblehead, Thomas opened and operated an inn. He then became the Deputy Sherriff for Essex County in 1733, a position he held for 4 years. Thomas moved (permanently) to Maine in 1738, where he continued to run an inn. But before leaving Massachusetts, “Thomas Chute of Marblehead, Massachusetts” hired John Gore, a Boston carriage painter, to profesionally render his Chute coat of arms. The elaborate drawing of Chute arms that resulted still survives as a component of the Gore Roll, believed to be the oldest portfolio of American arms in existence. It is unclear when Thomas' arms were drawn: the rendering includes the date “1719” in its title, but John Gore (1718-1796) would have been an infant at the time, and the watermark of the paper used for the roll has since been dated to around 1731. The consensus among Gore Roll historians is that all of the arms, including Thomas Chute's, were drawn in the mid or late 18th century. But regardless of when precisely this version of Chute arms was made, it is significant for 2 reasons. First, it shows that Thomas, unlike his parents or any of his siblings, had a keen interest in Chute heraldry, enough to commission an artist to do a professional rendering. Second, the arms that Thomas had Gore draw are mistakenly those of Philip Chute of Appledore (e.g., including the Royal Lion augmentation), the exact same arms that are displayed, also incorrectly, in the LCS.

In summary, the English portion of the LCS was directly copied from the BCHR, albeit with numerous transcription errors. It was created for Thomas Chute of Marblehead, son of James Jr. and Mary (Wood), in 1723 or 1724. The BCHR is therefore the originating, and only document purporting Lionel to be a son of Anthony.

Coat of Arms from the Lionel Chute Scroll
English Chute Heraldric Roll (“BCHR”)

The English or Bethersden Chute Heraldric Roll is held by the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester, England. Thanks to two anomalous features in the pedigree, a connection between the English line and later American branch can be made:

1) Although the pedigree was commissioned by a direct descendant of Philip Chute of Appledore, it splits briefly in the 14th generation to list 4 children of Philip's brother Anthony (Christopher, Arthur, William and Lyonell). There is only one other split like it in the BCHR (9th generation, Christopher son of Anthony).

2) Although 4 of Anthony's children are shown in the pedigree, the last two share a single text box (“William and Lyonell”). This double-entry is the only one of its kind in the BCHR – every other Chute descendant depicted, regardless of gender or generation, has a dedicated text box. The odd choice of combining sons William and Lionel in a single text box is especially curious as there is plenty of room in this part of the document to have provided two boxes instead of one. It raises the possibility that Anthony's son “Lyonell” may have been added to the pedigree later as an afterthought, or, that the evidence warranting the inclusion of “William and Lyonell” to the BCHR somehow involved both men.

Unfortunately, however, the BCHR is not a reliable record of Lionel's parentage. It was commissioned by Sir George Chute, Baronet, of Bethersden, England in 1698, more than 100 years after Lionel of Brampton's death in 1592. It also lacks any references or sources used in its manufacture, providing no way to confirm the depicted line of descent. As a secondary source of information, therefore, the BCHR cannot by itself serve as proof that Lionel was a son of Anthony: this would require corroboration and validation by official (e.g., 16th century Visitation records, registered pedigrees, etc.) and/or primary (e.g. original parish birth records, wills, etc.) documents. Further, the BCHR was never registered or certified by the College of Arms in London, the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of English families and their descendants. And for good reason. Research by genealogists Steve Chute and Francis Chute has found that the document contains at least 3 serious factual errors:

1) The 8th generation lists a son named Robert Chute who was “Sargeant at the Lawe and Baron of the Exchequer” in the time of Henry VI (1422-1471). But the real identity of this person was Robert Shute of Oakington, who lived under Queen Elizabeth over 100 years later! Robert Shute, a well-known judge who served as Baron of the Exchequer from 1570 and a Justice of the Queen’s Bench from 1586 to his death in 1590, is clearly unrelated to the Chute (or Chowte) family.

The Robert Shute error

2) The 11th generation states that Edmond Chute sold the Manor of Taunton to Lord Denham. But the Chute family were never owners of the Manor of Taunton, which was part of the holdings of the Bishop of Winchester (“The Chutes may have been bailiffs or other factotums associated with the Manor, but they were never in a position to sell the Manor”- Steve Chute). More broadly, the BCHR portrays the Chute family as being long-time nobility of Taunton, with 11 generations of Chutes (beginning with Alexander in 1268) residing there for over 200 years. But exhaustive research of medieval documents has failed to turn up any evidence that the Chute (or Chowte) family ever owned land in Taunton.

3) The 14th generation claims that Anthony Chowte (the supposed father of Lionel) was married to “the daughter of See of Kent”. But we know from the 1633 Visitation of London that Anthony married a daughter of ‘Mr Girling of Suffolke’. We also know from several primary sources that it was Anthony's son Arthur who was married to Elizabeth See, the daughter and coheir of Henry See of Kent.

Errors like these may be attributed to poor research and/or outright forgery to aggrandize Chute family ancestry. But whatever the reason, the magnitude of such errors warns that nothing in the BCHR can be assumed to be correct without external proof, including the assertion that Lionel was a son of Anthony.

Anthony vs. Arthur

And so, the only known source claiming a father-son relationship between Anthony and Lionel is from a factually incorrect, non-annotated Chute pedigree written in 1698, more than a century after both men had died. Thirty years later, this pedigree was then copied for Thomas Chute of Massachusetts, who perpetuated its errors and assumptions in his American version. The pedigree was then picked up by William E. Chute, who published it as fact in his Chute Genealogy book of 1894. And it lives on today, on this very website. But despite a century of painstaking research of primary information (visitations, wills, parish records, archdeaconry records, manorial records, court cases, deeds, etc., etc.) by Chute historians, absolutely nothing has been found to confirm the notion that Lionel was Anthony's son, or even that they knew each other. To the contrary, our latest research suggests the opposite - that Anthony as Lionel's father is unlikely at best. We now know that:

1) Anthony bought 90 acres of land “with their appurtenances” in Norfolk with his wife Johanna in 1527, just prior to receiving a lifetime position as one of the King's gunners. Presumably, the land purchase was to provide a suitable home for his family, which had either already begun or was about to. What we know of Anthony's son Arthur is consistent with the idea that Anthony's children were born before 1540: Arthur had 2 children (Charles and Philip) with his first wife Elizabeth in 1560 and 1561, respectively. This would likely put Arthur's birthdate prior to 1540. And since Arthur's second wife Margaret was born in 1522, we can further presume that Arthur was of a similar vintage and not more than 15 years younger than she was (he died in 1611). This would place Arthur's birth somewhere between 1522 and 1537.

Brampton Parish Church

2) Lionel was ordained as a Deacon in Peterborough in 1575, prior to becoming the Rector of Brampton Parish, Suffolk in 1577 and marrying Susan “of Ipswich” a year later. We also know from the translation (from the Latin) of Lionel's ordination as Deacon that “...was ordained Deacon Lionel Chowt...at the commendation of Master Rodes of the college of Saint John within the university of Cambridge.” Lionel's apparent attendance at Cambridge prior to his ordination narrows the window of his birth considerably, as the average age of Cambridge students at that time was 15. Lionel must then have been born between 1555 and 1560 – prior to 1555 is unlikely given his attendance at Cambridge, and after 1560 is equally unlikely given his marriage to Susan in 1578 (and the fact that he appears as a witness to the will of John Cowlfax in 1569).

Therefore, since Anthony probably fathered his children in the 1520's and 30's, and Lionel was born in the late 1550's, it is doubtful that Lionel could have been Anthony's son. In fact, the only way that Anthony could have sired Lionel would have been as an old man with a second wife (or mistress) half his age. But lacking evidence that Anthony ever had a second wife, and with no records at all that connect Anthony with Lionel or Lionel with Anthony (other than the dubious BCHR), there is nothing to support this unusual scenario.

But while Anthony is a poor candidate for Lionel's father, his son Arthur is an excellent one. Arthur was having children circa 1560, was named executor of a will in 1569 which was witnessed by Lionel (when Lionel would have been a minor), was a wealthy landowner and “Gentleman” who could get his kid into Cambridge (Arthur's other son Charles became a lawyer and a Member of Parliament), was living permanently in Suffolk by 1567 (as was Lionel by 1577), was a resident of Wrentham (within walking distance to where Lionel was married (in Frostenden) and lived (in Brampton)), and, in 1592, even witnessed Lionel's last will.

In conclusion, all descendants of Lionel Chute of Brampton need to free themselves of the “tradition” that Lionel was the son of Anthony. The only source claiming this relationship comes from an inaccurate and unofficial 1698 pedigree. And despite years of research, this claim has never been corroborated. In truth, we do not yet know who Lionel's father was, although it appears increasingly likely that it was Arthur. But with only the BCHR as evidence, none of Lionel's descendants can (or should) claim any connection to the armigerous Chowte family.


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