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Katherine More was born 23 November 1586 in Shipton, Shropshire, England to Jasper More (1547-1613) and Elizabeth Smalley (c1550-) and died 1623 England of unspecified causes. She married Samuel More (c1585-) 11 February 1611 in St. James' Church, Shipton, Shropshire, England.

Biography

It was in 1959 that the mystery of why Samuel More would send his three children on the dangerous journey on the Mayflower was explained. Jasper More, a descendant of Samuel More, prompted by his genealogist friend, Sir Anthony Wagner, searched his attic and discovered a 1622 document which detailed the adultery of the children's mother, Katherine More. That admission led the father, Samuel More, to believe that the children were not his offspring.

In 1616, Samuel More accused his wife Katherine More of adultery and bearing four children with Jacob Blakeway, a neighbour. Samuel More, under his father Richard's direction, removed the four children from their home, and four years later, without their mother's knowledge, they were transported to the New World on board the Pilgrim Fathers' ship the Mayflower.

The More Children on the Mayflower

Mayflower plaque in St. James Church in Shipton, Shropshire commemorating the More children baptism. courtesy of Phil Revell

Samuel More (c1585-) and Katherine More (1586-), were cousins in a wealthy Shropshire family matched in a prearranged marriage. They baptized four children at St. James Church in Shipton. But soon it became evident that all four were bastard children of an illicit affair between Katherine and her secret lover Jacob Blakeway (c1585-).

A bitter divorced erupted and Samuel signed over all four children to agents for the Mayflower company: John Carver (1565-1621), Robert Cushman (1577-1625), and Thomas Weston and thence assigned to senior Pilgrim families as indentured servants. In 1620 they traveled on the Mayflower to help settle Plymouth Colony in the New World.

Three of the four children died that first winter and are buried in an unmarked grave with other pilgrims that died on Cole's Hill and recognized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb in Plymouth.

After the Mayflower sailed, Katherine made another attempt to challenge the decision through the courts. It was this legal action in early 1622 before Chief Justice James Ley which led to the statement from Samuel explaining where he sent the children and why, the historical evidence for his parent's history.

Larden Hall

Katherine More grew up in Larden Hall, an estate home built by her father, Jasper More. Jasper More, master of Larden, a 1000-acre estate between Much Wenlock and Ludlow in Shropshire, England.

She was the youngest child in a wealthy family. When her elder brother died from a pistol duel in 1607, the estate inheritance befell to her.

Jasper More's sons died leaving no male heir. The estates were held in an entail whereby inheritance was restricted to male heirs but Richard More, father of Samuel More (c1585-), in the marriage settlement paid 600 pounds to Jasper More, so there must have been clear title. It was arranged that Katherine would marry her cousin and indeed, on 4 February 1610, (old date style) Katherine, 25, the last unmarried daughter of Jasper, married 17-year-old cousin, Samuel More.

Marriage and Family

1st Partner: Samuel More

Katherine and Samuel More (c1585-) were distant cousins of the More Family and played major roles in the elite circles of London. Married at the church in Shipton on 11 Feb 1611. She was reported to be age 23 and he was age 17. But they were matched in an arranged marriage (which was no longer a common style) and it short time it became evident that her four children were products of her affair with Jacob Blakely.

This notorious affair led to her divorce from. They are found in several court records concerning the divorce and custody of the children. After they went overseas, Katherine made several attempts in court to find her children and to regain custody.

Samuel More continued to act as secretary to Edward la Zouche and on 11 June 1625, he married Elizabeth Worsley, daughter of Richard Worsley, Esq. of Deeping Gate (in Maxey) in Northamptonshire and cousin to Lord Zouche's second wife, although he was only separated not divorced from Katherine More. There was no divorce as it is known today and neither party was allowed to remarry during the lifetime of the other. On February of 1626, Samuel More obtained a royal pardon, possibly to protect himself against accusations of adultery. It is not known if Katherine was still alive at the time of his second marriage.

  • page 217 of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volumes 35-36. July 1905. "The English Ancestry of Richard More of the Mayflower". Katherine More (52), daughter of Jasper of Larden (37) & Eliza Smalley, married her third cousin, Samuel "the Parliamentarian" More (54) of Linley, son of Richard (44). The children of this marriage are recorded at Shipton, and are the well known More children of the Mayflower company.
  • page 364-365 & page 366 of The visitation of Shropshire, taken in the year 1623 by Treswell, Robert; Vincent, Augustine, ca. 1584-1626; Camden, William, 1551-1623; Grazebrook, George, 1831-1917 ed; Rylands, J. Paul (John Paul), b. 1846 joint ed; College of Arms (Great Britain) Published 1889. Part 2 of 2. "Moore of Larden and Mounslawe."

2nd Partner: Jacob Blakely

While married to Samuel, Katherine had a notorious affair with Jacob Blakeway (c1585-). Believed to be the father of her four children.

Katherine did not deny her relationship with Jacob Blakeway, stating there was a former betrothal contract with him, and therefore he was her true husband. This would have made her marriage to Samuel invalid. Samuel quotes her words in his declaration, though she could not sufficiently prove by witnesses yet it was all one before god as she sayed. At that time any of the usual witnesses would have been dead.

Mayflower at Provincetown Harbor



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Children


Offspring of Jacob Blakeway and Katherine More (1586-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ellen More (1612-1621) 24 May 1612 baptism at St. James Church, Shipton, Shropshire, England 1621 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts
Jasper More (1613-1620) 8 August 1613 Baptism at St James Church, Shipton, Shropshire, England 6 December 1620 Onboard the Mayflower in Provincetown Harbor, Provincetown Harbor, Massachusetts
Richard More (1614-c1694) 13 November 1614 Baptism at St James Church, Shipton, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom 1694 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States Christian Hunter (1615-1676) Elizabeth Woolnough (1623-) Christian Hunter (1615-1676) Elizabeth Woolnough (1623-) Jane Crumpton (1621-1686)
Mary More (1616-1621) 16 April 1616 baptism at St James Church, Shipton, Shropshire, England 1621 Onboard the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts

Siblings

References

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Residences

Footnotes (including sources)

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