One of the many family history puzzles to be solved is the
parentage of the Mary Fienes who married Frank Wheatleigh.
Their daughter, Dorothy Wheatley, married Thomas Blisse on November 22, 1614
at Holy Cross Church in Daventry, Northampton. This Thomas is the emigrant
ancestor to Rehoboth, MA.
In the book, Genealogy of the Wheatley
or Wheatleigh Family by Hannibal P. Wheatley, M.D., (1902) the author states
that Dorothy Wheatley is the granddaughter of the Thomas (Fiennes) Lord
Dacre who was executed in 1541. Several sources agree that this
Thomas (Fiennes) Lord Dacre and his wife,
Mary Neville (daughter of George (Neville) Lord Dacre and his third wife)
had three children: Thomas Fiennes who died at age 15 in 1553,
Gregory (Fiennes) Lord Dacre, and Margaret Fiennes. When Gregory (Fiennes)
Lord Dacre died without issue in 1594, his sister Margaret (Fiennes-Lennard)
inherited Hurstmonceaux and the Barony. The title then passed down
through the Lennard/Leonard family.
If Mary Fienes is indeed the
granddaughter of Thomas (Fiennes) Lord Dacre and his wife, Mary Neville,
then who are her parents? Is Mary perhaps a child of Thomas,
Gregory's unmarried brother, who died at age 15, or is she an illegitimate child of
Margaret (Fiennes) Lennard and her
husband Sampson Lennard are the parents of Thomas Leonard (1577-1638) who
married Lydia White.
This Leonard line is connected with the descendents of Thomas Bliss
of Hartford and will be featured at a later date.