Travels down the female line: de Berthelot / Bartelott / Barrtelott / Bartellot de Stopham family

Note dated 27/11/2013: An important update about Elizabeth Bartelott can be found here: “When the Genealogy Mistakes of Others Can Lead You Astray: Elizabeth Bartelott”

Note: a large debt of gratitude is owed to Peter Bartlett’s “History of the Bartletts of Pendomer” For a full history of the de Bertholet / Bartelott / Bartlet family, this website is a great information resource.

When tracing my family tree, I’ve had to make a number of decisions. Where to start, what branches of the family tree to follow and how long I’d spend trying to find more information about any one individual. Another choice was deciding to initially focus on the male lines of descent. While the female lines of descent are just as important, tracing the male lines has been filled with challenges, quagmires and mysteries all their own. With two busy careers, there is only so much time that can be spent on research.

However, I have had the pleasure of stumbling across some surprising and intriguing finds amongst the ladies of the family which has led to some exciting investigations. These leads have provided some brilliant detours.

One such find was Elizabeth Bartelott, wife of Charles Roane. These two are the “parents” of a majority of Roanes living in the US today.

The Roanes were a classic example of the English landed gentry. By that, I mean they were on the lower scales of nobility designated by the title “Sir”. One such Roane, Sir Robert Roane, lived at Greenwich Palace in service to King Charles II until that palace fell into ruin.

Tullesworth (now Tollsworthy) Manor, Chaldon, Surrey, England

The origin of the Roane family of Chaldon, Surrey, remains something of a mystery. Owners of  the Tullesworthy Estate, they claimed descent from Charlemagne – which is as yet unproven. Regardless, they were a respected and affluent family, a status which lasted into the early 19th century. Charles Roane’s niece Lucy Roane made a celebrated marriage with John Chetwynd, a Member of Parliament, and their son Walter would become 1st Viscount Chetwynd of Bearhaven. As a side note, John Chetwynd met an unfortunate and untimely end. His death certificate cites him dying from an excess of sneezing brought about from sniffing too much snuff.

The ancestral home of the de Stopham Bartelotts, Stopham, Sussex, England
The ancestral home of the de Stopham Bartelotts, Stopham, Sussex, England

The Bartelotts, by comparison, were an ancient English noble family of Norman decent. Rare in terms of Modern England, the Bartelotts of Stopham, Sussex are a noble house which continues to the present day. While many of the old Norman nobles in England died out or lost their family seats, the Bartelotts’ thousand-year-plus lineage and prestige continues. They have – and still do – control a vast estate.

Below is a partial family tree. For my purposes, I’ve concentrated on tracing the line that gives us Elizabeth Bartelott – yet another decision!

So why discuss this family? It was the Bartelotts who gave the Roane family its prestige in both the Old and New worlds. Understanding the Bartelotts is key to understanding the influence, power and respect the Roane family had in Virginia in the Eighteen and Nineteenth Centuries. The Roane family’s prominence was so great that the will of Charles’ father, Robert, was later published in Virginia:

The Bartelott name has undergone several variations over the centuries. The origins of the name come from 11th Century Lisieux, Normandy, France where the family name was de Berthelot. At this time, the family were lesser Norman nobles in service to a higher ranking Norman overlord, the Earl de Bryan. The name remained when they arrived in England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. A marriage with an Anglo-Saxon chieftain’s daughter saw the name change to Bartelott as well as Barrtelott. de Berthlot, Barrtelott, Bartelott and de Stopham Bartelott (and ultimately Bartlett) are all names that describe the same family in England.

The ancient church of Stopham - one of the family's main burial places
The ancient church of Stopham – one of the family’s main burial places

The family claims descent from Pepin The Great through his daughter Berthe, sister to Charlemagne, and her husband Duke of Aiglant. She had a son, Berthelot who was murdered while he was in attendance upon his uncle King Charlemagne at court. At present, I haven’t found any records indicating that Berthelot actually existed, married or produced any children. More about this claim can be found here

Adam de Bertelott
While the family’s story definitely begins with Robert de Bertelott in Lisieux, it properly starts with Adam de Bertelott when he arrives in England as part of the Normal invasion as part of his overlord, Count Guido de Brionne’s (known as Guy de Bryan once in England), retinue. Adam held the key position of Steward of Guy de Bryan’s household and estate. He was responsible for keeping order, collecting tithes, taxes and rents due to the de Bryan estate. For this, Guy de Bryan granted Adam an estate of his own. Adam had at least two sons, Robert and Radolphus (known as Ralph). Robert, the elder, went into service as Steward to the de Bryan estate.

Robert’s heirs were irrevocably tied to the de Bryans. Whever the de Bryans had lands and estates; you will find the name Bartelott. This would continue until 1405, when the male de Bryan line became extinct. There were marriages between the two families. In 1235 Amabil de Bryan de L’Isle married Ralph (de Bartelot) de Stopham and took with her a share of her father’s estates. Through the de Bryan’s, Bartelotts spread to Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. Once the de Bryan line ran out, and after the plague decimated the population, this branch of the Bartelott family was forced to alliance themselves with new families of influence – oftentimes families descended from the female de Bryan lines.

Ralph, the younger of Adam’s sons, was established as “de Stopham”, presiding over the family seat at Stopham, Sussex. It’s worth noting that the surnames de Stopham and de Bertholott/Bartelott refer to two different branches of the same families established by Ralph and Robert. It’s a moot point, however, as Assoline de Stopham (the last of the de Stopham line) married her cousin Adam de Bartelott, forever merging these two family branches into one.

Next to the Stopham estate was the large estate owned by the Earls of Arundel who lived at Arundel Castle. As with the de Bryans, the de Stopham Bartelots continued a long and lasting relationship with the Earls of Arundel, a family of influence and royal connections. The Bartelotts accrued influence, land and prestige through their associations with the de Bryans and the Arudnels.

Middle and Later Medieval Periods

In middle and late Medieval periods, the Bartelotts were to become closely allied, through marriage, to the powerful houses of Freke, Prowte and Churchill (the Dukes of Marlborough and Winston Churchill’s ancestors).

This is brief overview of this family’s illustrious history. Although Ellizabeth Bartelott wouldn’t be born for another two hundred years, the family steadily accrued power, influence and prestige – all of which enhanced the Roane family’s standing in England when she married Charles Roane; a standing which the pair brought with them to Virginia when they emigrated.

The wealth of information available about this family is what has made my genealogical detour both rich and fascinating. Its story brought the early, middle and late medieval period in England alive in a way dry and dull history books couldn’t. For all the times I suffered in History classes learning about the Norman invasion of England in 1066…never suspecting that a potential ancestor was right there in the thick of things.

Every Roane descended from Charles and Elizabeth has this as part of their family history.

23 thoughts on “Travels down the female line: de Berthelot / Bartelott / Barrtelott / Bartellot de Stopham family

  1. My grandmother was a Roane from Gloucester County, Virginia. Since receiving my copy of the book; Charles Roane the Immigrant, I have been quite intrigued by this branch of my family. I stumbled across your web site and I am very excited to have found it! Thank you for all of your hard work and research. I can not wait to tell my children!

    1. Dear Elizabeth

      Thank you for your kind comments. I haven’t read the book “Charles The Immigrant”, however, I’ve come across references to it. What were your thoughts about the book? Is it worth hunting down a copy?


      1. Dear Brian
        Yes, I think it would be worth your time to find a copy of this book. The title is; “Charles Roane the Immagrant and His Wife Francis Roane”
        compiled by, Jefferson Sinclair Selden, Jr., (his wife was a Roane). The book was published in 1982. I am the last generation listed in this book. The book is almost 900 pages long and is packed with alot of interesting information. Are you a descendant? ELizabeth

      2. Dear Elizabeth

        I’m a descendant through my paternal grandmother. She’ was a Roane on the African America side. Her family’s origins were in Plain View, King & Queen County (my ggg grandfather, George Henry Roane b. 1806). I’m still searching various records to discover the name of his father. George’s birth was recorded in the Roane family bible as a member of the black side of the family, which was a rare find indeed. So it’s a matter of finding that one last bit of information, the name of his father, which is the missing piece of the puzzle!

  2. Dear Brian,
    My g grandfather was Claiborne Thomas Roane, born at Plainview, in King and Queen. I looked in the “Roane Book” to see if I could be of some help with George H. Roane’s father. I found the name but the dates don’t line up. The book says George was born in Middlesex Co., VA and his father was Thomas Nathaniel Roane, wife Mary Newton (Rayne). This says he was first married 4-8-1885 to Willie L. Maxwell, second wife Daisey Lee.

  3. Thank you for looking, Elizabeth. I really appreciate it. Aye, the date wouldn’t be right for the George Henry Roane (1806) I’m researching. All we know for certain is that he was born in Plainview and then sold to a John Warren in Henrico County VA along with his son Patrick Henry Roane. We don’t kow the year that sale took place (it’s still kind of strange using the word “sold” when relating to ancestors).

    It’s exciting to meet a descendant of Claiborne. He’s in my database, however, I don’t know much about him. I have his father as Randall Roane (b. abt 1820), and his mother as Catherine (b. abt 1845) and his wife as Lucy Corbin. He seems to have had quite a few brothers and sisters. He and Lucy had six? Is this correct? If you have them, would you be happy with sharing stories or photos of Claiborne, Lucy and/or his brothers and sisters? It would be brilliant to add thier stories to the ones being uncovered – kind of giving voices to names from the past.

    It’s been on the back burner, but I am trying to figure out Randall’s place in the overall family tree.

    My initial hunch is that slaveowner Charles S. Roane (b. 1776) figures into this story somewhere. His son Charles Alexander Roane, being born in 1817, doesn’t fit timescales.

    Out of curiosity, and to ask a favour if I may, does the Roane book mention of the following names: Braxton Roane, Mary Roane, Absolom Roane or Baylor Roane? These were some of the George Henry Roane’s brothers and sisters. They were born between 1800 to 1832.

    Thank you once again for getting in touch.

    1. P.S. . . . . . . .oops, I made a mistake. I don’t have the enlistments papers for Claiborne, I have them for my other grandfather, Frederick Wolffe.

      Did you know that we are related to George Washington? I will get back with you on that also.


  4. Dear Brian,

    I will be happy to look them up. I’ll get on it in the morning!


  5. Brian, I can’t say, I know how it feels regarding family being “sold”, but I know it must create some angst in you. I have different information on Claiborne. He was born on 4-17-1830 to Charles M. Roane and Mary “Polly”Dutton. Educated by private tudors, Member of Salem Meth. at “Pampa”, Gloucester,Va. Mustered into the Civil war 24th Va. Cavalry (I have his letters). Occupation Post Master, Wood Cross Rds Gloucester,Va., carpenter(I have a table he made) and farmer. He died at Woods X Rds. 7-17-1914. Married 1st 1857, Lucy F. Chapman who died shortly after child birth. Married 2nd, Ann ELizabeth Medlicott (my g gr. mthr). They had 3 girls: Lola Evelyn Roane, b. 12-4-1866. Lola had 4 children (my mom wrote in the margin that one of her sons was named Claiborne and he lived in D.C., but his father was a Dr. C. Harvey Smith). Lola divorced Dr. Smith because of cruelity, and remarried Mr. Prilliman. Anyway, back on track, next daughter was Lulie Marshall Roane b. 8-16-1869, Last daughter Annie Lee Roane b. 11-27-1874, my grandmother.
    I have a picture of Claiborne, war enlistment document and letters. I live in Richmond, Va., if you don’t mind me asking where do you live. I would like to meet you and show you what information I have. I will get back with you on the other family members you asked about.


    1. I’m not sure if “fine” is the most appropraite word to use, however, slavery isn’t so much of an isue for me. That was the world and the society my family were caught up in. I knew it before starting to trace my ancestors. Thank you for the information about Claiborne and his family. How wonderful to have furniture made by his hands.

      I am an expat living in Cornwall, England. I moved here many years ago after finishing university in CT. My father, however, lives in Maryland. I’m sure he’d love to meet you and share information. That would be quite fiting. I began this odyssey as a birthday present for him. I’d be more than happy to introduce you to each other. My email address is anamericanincornwall[at]gmail[dot]com.

      Thank you once again for checking yur bible for the names I enquired about. And no – I had no idea the family had connections with George Washington. I knew about the Patrick Henry connection (Spencer Roane’s wife, Anne Henry)…but no idea about George Washington!

    2. Hello to both of you,
      I descend from Mary Mildred Roane, sister of Claiborne Thomas Roane. She was my GreatX2 Grandmother and married Joseph Allen Bristow. She died in 1871.

      I would love to communication with you and compare notes. I am having trouble tracing accurately the parents of Mary “Polly” Dutton BTW.
      Can we connect via email?

      Nice to meet you two,
      Thanks, Leila

      1. Hi Leila

        Nice to meet you too.

        Claiborn has beena hot topic of conversation amongst some of the African American Roane family members I’m in touch with. We’re keen to find any of his descendants who might still have his personal papers. Especially anything to do with his slaves..and if he acknowledged any black family members like Charles, Richard & Alexander Roane did.


  6. I am sorry to say that the only name that I found was Mary Roane, but there are alot of them. Do you have a middle initial?

    It’s wonderful that you live in England! Have you ever knocked on the door
    of the ancestral home? I’m kidding. But seriously, do you know if anyone has ever tried to make contact with the family who lives there now?

    My husband and I plan to travel to England sometime in the next couple of years and hope to visit Stopham. I would like to meet you as well.

    Our Washington connection is, William Roane, one of the immigrant Charles Roane’s sons. I do not have a birth date, he settled in South Farnham Parish in Essex Co., Va. He was a mamber of the Virginia Assembly. His will was probated on 12-20-1757. He married Sarah Upshaw in 1726, they had 6 children. I have their names if you want them. One of their sons, Col. William Roane married Judith Ball Crolle (widow of John Crolle). Judith was Washington’s mother’s sister.

    I would love to meet your father, maybe one day this summer.


    1. Thank you for looking. I’m afraid I don’t have a middle name or initial for the Mary Roane I’m trying to trace. All I know for certain is that she was born on the Plain View, VA plantation abt. 1815.

      Thanks as well for the George Washington connection. I’m sure my family will be thrilled at that!

    2. lol – you may laugh but I’ve seen both the Stopham estate (Barcelott family seat) and the old Roane manor. It was tempting to asy hello, but I thought better of it 😉 I’ve also seen both family’s local churches, where quite a number of our ancestors are buried. That was quite the surreal experience.

      If you’re ever in Cornwall, you’ll have to pop in for a proper English cream tea. I’ve been told I do a credible one, for an American at any rate. 🙂

      Thank you for the information about William and his children. They’re all there on the family tree.

  7. When we plan our trip to England, I will let you know. I would love a cup of your tea. My grandmother drank it that way. If you find out anything else exciting please let me know, and I will do the same.

  8. I enjoyed reading your genealogy. It is exciting when I come across a missing piece of my lineage. Charles and Elizabeth Roane were my 8th great grandparents. One of their granddaughters married a Thomas Corr. That line eventually came to live in Gloucester, VA where my mother was from. Thank you for all the work you put into this.

    1. Hello and nice to meet you.
      You’re welcome – and thank you for your reply. As yo’uve probably seen, other descendants of Charles and Elizabeth have left comments too with some great information. Who knew a blog could connect long lost or unknown branches of the family with each other! 🙂

      1. I am also a Roane descendant. My mother’s maiden name is Roane and she is also in the Charles the Immigrant book under Tucker Anne Roane, married Christopher Paul Crum in 1974. I am not in the book as I was born in 1983. I am searching for a copy. I actually stumbled across this thread because I am searching for baby names. I would like to preserve the Roane name. We were considering Baylor and I am so happy to see it is a family name. We are also considering Spencer. I would love to correspond with either of you.

    1. Hi Lane
      The Irish connection is a bit of a mystery. It all has to do with an Archibald Roan(e) who was Irish. It’s claimed that he’s the son of Robert Roane and Elizabeth Bartelott. I’ve poured through parish records, probate records, parish records, etc in Chaldon, Surrey…and there’s no mention of an Archibald Roane. He could be related to Robert Roane, however, I haven’t found anything…yet.

  9. Hello,
    I recently came across this site. My name is Robert Craven Roane. I am an eleventh generation direct descendant of Charles’ father, Robert Roane. My family owns and still resides on the Virginia property where Charles Roane settled in 1664. I would love to hear from all of you.

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