Massie of Coddington I

by Kenrick Armitstead

The Massies of Coddington, the only ones to spell the name in this way, and from whom descend the Masseys of Poole and Rosthorne, are thought to be a younger branch of the Puddington family. They start with Hugh de Masci who married Agnes Bold, Heiress of Coddington, in the reign of Richard II, and the manor descended uninterruptedly to the present head of the family, who sold it to the Duke of Westminster.

Hugh de Massie's son William, born in 1383, purchased Coddington and Bechin. He also had lands in Eggerley, Church on Heath, Aldersey, Crewe, Handley, Chorlton, Churton, Barton, Carden, and owned all Pepper Street in Chester. He married Alice Woton, daughter of Adam Woton who was mayor of Chester in 1434. William had two sons, Morgan and John. Morgan, the elder, had the entail of his mother's lands, but the two brothers shared their father's inheritance. A licence for an oratory in the manor of Coddington was granted to John in 1490.

Roger Massie, John's great-great-grandson, suffered a recovery of Coddington in 1541 which included 28 messuages, one water mill, 3,000 acres of land, 1,000 of meadow, 2,000 of pasture, 300 of wood and 40 of heath and moss. He settled these estates on himself, and then in tail male on his son and heir John.

John disinherited his son Thomas, heir by his first marriage, but instead settled on him the manor of Clutton the land he held there. He made elaborate arrangements in the event of a failure of male issue, settling his estates on his sons John and William, with remainder in default of male issue to George Massey of Puddington. passing over his two daughters Jane Margaret. In default of issue to George he left remainder to his brother John of Coghall, and in default of him to William Massey of Chester. His widow married Arthur Starkey. In the event, these precautions proved unncessary as his son John and his wife Anne Grosvenor had no fewer than eighteen children:

1. John, born 1601, was living in 1630, but died unmarried in his father's lifetime so that the second son Roger was heir by sole survivorship.
2. Roger, married Mary Myddleton (see below).
3. Richard dsp.
4. George dsp.
5. Edward (see below).
6. William of London
7. Richard, died in Ireland
8. Robert, citizen of London, married Jane Massey of Hoggesdon in the parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch, and was buried at St. Lawrence, Old Jewry, in 1670. He left issue Edward Massie, from who Ormerod thinks that a George Massey who married Catherine Graham at Hackney on 30 December 1769 probably descends.
9. Hugh, merchant of London, had children Hugh. Mabell and Elizabeth, all minors in 1670. His will was dated 1677. Hugh is said to be the ancestor of the Irish Massies.
10. George.
11. Hamon.
12. Grace, born and died 1610.
13. Christiana dsp.
14. Grace
15. Margaret, married Hugh Williamson of Chowley
16. Christiana
17. Anne, married Edward Owens of Shrewsbury
18. Mary.

Edward, the fifth son, was an officer of considerable note in the civil war, with whom Clarendon deals at length in his History of the Great Rebellion. He began by fighting under the royal banner, but "finding that there would be little gotten but the comfort of a good conscience, he went to London, where there was more money and fewer officers". Taking service under the Earl of Stamford, he was at once made a lieutant-colonel and appointed Governor of the city of Gloucester. He inveigled the King to besiege him there by the hopes of a speedy surrender, and then, answering his summons with an insolent defience, held the place until the garrison was reduced to its last barrel of powder, and he was relieved by Lord Essex. This long and obstinate defence, for which he received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament, was of the greatest service to the parliamentary cause. He achieved another success at Ledbury where he had a hand to hand encounter with Prince Rupert. He says in his account of the battle "the Prince sent me word by my trumpeter that I sent, that in the fight he sought me out, but knew me not till after, no more I knew him. But it seems we charged each other, and he shot my horse under me, and I did as much for him."

In 1647 he was a Major-General with a seat in the House of Commons, where he obtained great influence, and was thrown into prison for taking part against Cromwell. He managed to escape to Holland, and had the effrontery to present himself to the Prince as a sufferer for the King his father. His sincerity was never questioned, as his interest and abilites were of the highest, and he was given command of a regiment of horse under the Duke of Buckingham. He was severely wounded at the battle of Worcester, after which he rode six miles with the King, "but not being able to keep pace with him any longer, the King took his leave with tears trickling down his cheeks, saying 'farewell my dear and faithful friend, the Lord bless and preserve us both", and so they parted. Massie wheeled off by way of Bromsgrove, but being unable from the anguish of his wounds and excessive weariness to travel further, he threw himself at the mercy of the Countess of Stamford, and was received as a prisoner at Broadgate. His wounds were thought to be mortal, but he recovered and made a last effort to Capture Gloucester for the King. The dark and stormy night, which was largely responsible for his failure, helped to save his life. "He had been seized by a troop of horse, and was conveyed by them towards his prison, being bound on his horse before a trooper. In the darkest part of the night, in a wooded and hilly defile, he contrived to throw the soldier off his horse, and disetangling himself from his hold, by means of his strength and agility, secured his retreat into the woods." He was still living in 1670, and was buried at Abbey Leix in Ireland.

Roger, our ancestor (generation 8), was born in 1604 and was a Captain of Horse in the civil war, and unlike his brother Edward he remained loyal to the King throughout. He was taken prisoner at Middlewich and compounded for his estates. He later compounded to contempt in not attending Charles II's coronation to receive the order of knighthood. Since the reign of Henry III payment of a fine for not accepting a knighthood had been a not uncommon occurrence, as acceptance would involve the recipient in considerable expense and time, and many country gentlemen preferred to remain as they were.

In 1640 Roger married Mary, daughter of Roger Myddleton - she was born in 1610 and died in 1707 aged 97. They had four children:

1. John (7) - see below
2. Roger, ancestor of the Masseys of Poole. He married Mary Edwards. The Masseys of Poole still survive (in the male line?). Roger's great-great grandson Francis Elcock Massey married Caroline Louise Hornby whose father rented Poole Hall from his son-in-law. He was also father of Mary, who married John Richard Armitstead.
3. Edward, who married Elizabeth Bowes, was ancestor of Rostherne which are now extinct in the male line , but are represented in the female line by Boles of Marbury and Brookes of Haughton, Shropshire.
4. Anne, m. Trafford Barnston of Churton dsp.

John Massie (7) had three wives. He married first Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of William Wilson of Chester and Terne, Registrar of Chester, who lived on the walls near the steps down to the river, which were made for his benefit, below the Wishing Steps. Their marriage settlement was dated 1674. They had five children:

i. John, died 1709 aged 31 without issue.
ii. William, married Anne Williams, buried 23 May 1729 without issue. Anne was the daughter of Sir John Williams, Bart, of Pengethley. His father, Sir Thomas Williams, MD, of Eltham, was physician to King Charles II who made him a baronet. William Massie's name appears on a list of papist recusants in Chester in the reign of George I, and he seems to have been the last roman catholic of the family.
iii. Elizabeth, married Francis Elcock of Poole died without issue.
iv. Anne
v. Margaret

John married secondly in 1693 Dorothy, daughter and coheiress of Peter Dutton of Hatton, and widow of John Walthall, by whom she had had no children. They jointly sold Hatton to Hon George Cholmondeley in 1699, and she conveyed her estates to her husband by deed of indenture. Dorothy died without issue and was burried at Coddington on 2 July 1701. After her death her estate was claimed by her cousin, the son of her uncle Thomas Dutton, but was confirmed to the Massies.

In 1711, at the age of sixty, John married his third wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Puleston of Pickhill, and by her had two children, Richard his heir and Mary who married Eubule Roberts of Llanprydd. Elizabeth was buried at Coddington in December 1731.

Richard Massie (6) married in 1735 at the chapel of Minera Charlotte, daughter of Revd Thomas Lloyd of Plas Power, and had a family of eleven:

1. John, baptised 5 July 1736
2. Maria Sobieski, baptised 11 July 1737
3. Thomas, baptised at Coddington 4 July 1738
4. William, born 1740
5. Elizabeth, baptised 16 November 1741
6. Richard Myddleton 1743-44, died aged 6 months
7. Anne, baptised 18 August 1744
8. Frances, baptised 25 May, buried 28 November 1746
9. Edward, baptised 9 September 1747
10. Robert, baptised 3 February 1748
11. Charles, baptised 11 May 1750.

John, the eldest son and heir, "Black Jack Massie of Coddington" burned down Coddington Hall, a fine example of the black and white style. He married Joan . . . . . . and died childless in March 1773 at the age of 35. Maria Sobieski died unmarried aged 24 and was buried on 27 October 1760. Maria may have been named after Maria Casimire Clementina Sobieski, granddaughter of the King of Poland who married James Stuart, the 'Old Predender' in 1719, which would suggest the family had Jacobite tendencies.

Thomas succeeded his brother Black Jack. He had the Old Hall pulled down, presumably as it was beyond repair after his brother had set fire to it, and lived at Parkgate where he owned considerable house property. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Marriott of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and had an only child, Richard. He sold the manorial rights of Broxton to Sir John Egerton of Oulton, and lands in Barton, Churton and Clutton to his cousin William Leche of Carden. His wife died in 1815, but as late as 1880 "Old Madam Massie" was remembered in Parkgate for her deeds of charity.

William lived in Chester, died in 1806 and was buried at Coddington on 25 September without issue. Elizabeth married her first cousin William Lloyd of Plas Power and died without issue. Anne died without issue. Edward had a son Watkin, who married Mary, daughter of Sir Alec Mackenzie of Fairburn and was a judge in India. He died without issue. Charles married Benedicta, daughter of Robert Lloyd of Maes Mynan and had children:
William, Thomas, Maria and Emma.

Last Update: 04/10/99
Web Author: Nigel Watts
Copyright ©1999 Kenrick Armitstead & Nigel Watts - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED