In the early 1400s, everyone in England knew the name Rochford. Family members were among the leading knights of the realm.
Yet today, all that survives are a few old place names, some muddled local histories, and very little else. The story of this family has been a mystery for half a millennium.
My aim is to unravel that mystery. Over the years I have collected thousands of pieces of primary evidence about the Rochfords. I have used these to reconstruct their story, from the 1100s until their final days in the time of Henry VIII. And on this site, I am sharing it all.
The Origins Rise and Fall of an English Family, 1066-1550
Tells the story of the Rochfords of Fenne and Stoke Rochford through biographies of eighteen principal family members.
More info & PDF download
A companion volume of records, citations, working notes, etc., for researchers. Contains all the citations for Volume One, 1200+ abstracts and transcripts, and commentary on their interpretation.
More info & PDF download
Charts & Maps
One huge genealogical chart, or a number of smaller ones, showing thirteen generations of the family from the 1100s to the 1500s, with coats of arms and illustrations. Also a few maps from the book showing various places associated with the Rochfords.
Browse and download charts and maps
Rochford Tower, built by the Rochfords around 1460 as part of their main residence at Fenne. Photo copyright Shane Bradshaw, all rights reserved.
The battle of Falkirk, 22 July 1298, where King Edward I defeated the insurgent Scots under Sir William Wallace. Sir Ralph de Rochford II fought in the vanguard under Sir John de Segrave. From The Rochester Chronicle, copyright The British Library Board.
The arms of Sir John de Rochford II, third from left in the middle row, in Powell’s Roll of arms of the mid-1300s. This manuscript is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Ashmole 804, pt. IV, p. 022-023).
The battle of Tewkesbury, 4 May 1471, where Edward IV finished off the House of Lancaster’s hopes for the throne for good. (Public domain)
Stoke Rochford church. The large window to the left is the south chapel, built in memory of Sir Ralph Rochford III and his wife Margaret in 1448. The window to the right is in the north chapel, built around the 1470s for his son Henry Rochford of Fenne. The central window is in the chancel above the alter. These and the other windows were once full of stained glass memorials to the Rochfords. Photo copyright Jinjabird Photography, http://www.jinjabird.com
Pictures of monuments and effigies, coats of arms and heraldic artefacts, buildings and landscapes, etc., most of which are also included alongside the text in the book.
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