The Roanes of Middlesex & Surrey, England: Pushing their story back 136 years!

When it comes to genealogy, fate is a mercurial and funny thing indeed. I’ve spent years attempting to push back the story of the Roane family in England to no avail. One chance discover and the next thing I know, I’ve pushed that story back 136 years. I would have been over the moon going back at least one generation. A seemingly innocuous yet interesting English Civil War extract allowed me to do much, much more.

Robert Roane of Chaldon, Surry, England, born in 1611, has been a genealogy ‘dead end’ for the past four years.  No matter what I threw at him, details of his parents couldn’t be found. While I found other contemporary 17th Century English Roanes in Surry, London, Middlesex and Yorkshire, I didn’t know if he was related to them or, indeed, how these other English Roane family groups were related to one another.

What did I find?  A biography for the Grey Coat School in Greenwich, London, England. And I loved the name of the road where this school is located: Roan Street. This is a street I’ve walked down many, many times when I worked in the area in themed 1990s. Fate, it seems, has a keen sense of humour:

     The school was founded by John Roan (c 1600-1644) of Greenwich, son of John Roan, a Sergeant of the Scullery to James I in the Palace of Placentia (Wikipedia article). In 1640, Roan was appointed Yeoman of His Majesty’s Harriers. During the Civil War he was arrested for trying to obtain recruits for the King’s Army and as a prisoner of war, he was ‘stripped of all he had and in great necessity and want, ready to starve’. His brother Robert would not come to his aid, and his release was eventually obtained by a friend, Richard Wakeham.  – excerpt taken from

I’d already done a preliminary work-up on John Roan(e)’s family. So the family tree for Robert Roane had already been done. All I need to do was add Robert to it.

As the 17th Century Roane family tale unveiled itself, it became apparent that this family had been in service to Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell (The Commonwealth Period), Charles II and James II. With titles like Yeoman of His Majesty’s Harriers, Under-auditor of Exchequer, Sergeant of the Scullery, Yeoman of the Scullery and Sergeant of the Poultry – this Roane family group were like middle management at the English royal court over subsequent generations. That is to say they were Gentlemen commoners and not nobility. As commoners they had become part of the British Establishment and, as such, were in close proximity to the power brokers of the day as well as the monarchs themselves. All in all, not a bad discovery to make. I’m still trying to discovery what these archaic job titles and functions were. What were these men responsible for? What were their daily tasks? And, more interestingly, what proximity did these court functions put them how close to the monarch did these job functions place these men? These will be some interesting questions to answer.

So far, I’ve been able to trace this line back to Anthony Roane, born in 1475 in Whetstone, Middlesex, England. He is recorded as having six sons. To-date, I’ve only been able to locate two as well as a daughter, Alice:

Anthony Roane family tree
Anthony Roane family tree – click for larger image

Second Generation: Descendants of Humphrey Roane:

Below is son Humphrey’s and daughter Alice’s lines of descendants:

Humphrey Roane descendants
Humphrey Roane descendants – click for larger image

And continuing with Humphrey’s line, we have his son Anthony Roane and his descendants:

Anthony Roane II - Under-auditor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I (from 1558)
Anthony Roane II – Under-auditor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I (from 1558) – click for larger image


Second Generation: Descendants of Robert Roane:

This is the line from which I’m descended. Below is son Robert Roane’s descendants.

Robert Roane I descendants
Robert Roane I descendants – click for larger image

Taking his children in turn, here are the lines of descent for Frances, Thomas (Yeoman of the Scullery to James I), William (Scholar at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University (Law & Medicine). He later became a fellow at Trinity until 1643) & John Roane (Sergeant of the Scullery to James I from 1621):

Elder children of Robert Roane I
Elder children of Robert Roane I – click for larger image

And my direct ancestor, Robert Roane’s family – which has been updated as per the previous post. It is from his son Charles that many a Roane connected to Virginia is descended from.

Robert Roane II descendants
Robert Roane II descendants – click for larger image

As mentioned previously, this is a primary sketch of this Roane family tree. Much more research is required, especially finding the usual birth, christening, death records and more personal individual histories. However, this was just too good not to share.

I’m so happy I’m a stubborn and persistent character and not one to give up easily. By continually plugging away, I found the key to unlock this family’s past.


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