Katherine More

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Katherine More

Also Known As: "Catherine More"
Birthplace: Shropshire, England
Death: Died in Shropshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Jasper More, of Larden and Elizabeth More
Ex-wife of Samuel More, the Parliamentarian
Partner of Jacob Blakeway
Mother of Ellen More, "Mayflower" Passenger; Jasper More, "Mayflower" Passenger; Capt. Richard More, "Mayflower" Passenger and Mary More, "Mayflower" Passenger
Sister of Elinor More of Larden; Richard More of Larden; Janna More; John More; Maria More and 4 others

Managed by: James Henry Hohorst
Last Updated:

About Katherine More

Katherine More (1586–?) was the youngest daughter of Jasper More (1547–1613) and his wife Elizabeth Smale (sometimes spelled as Small). Katherine was baptised 23 November 1586 and raised in Shropshire, England.[1]. She died between 1622 (last mention in records) and 1625, when her husband remarried.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_More

Katherine and her children were at the center of a mystery in early 17th century England that caused early genealogists to wonder why the More children's father, believing him to be Samuel More, would send his very young children away to the New World on the Mayflower in the care of others. It was in 1959, that the mystery was explained.


Jasper More's sons died leaving no male heir.[6] The estates were held in an entail whereby inheritance was restricted to male heirs but Samuel father, Richard, in the marriage settlement paid 600 pounds to Jasper More, so there must have been clear title.[7] It was arranged that Katherine would marry her cousin and indeed, in 4 February 1610, (old date style) Katherine, 25, the last unmarried daughter of Jasper, married her cousin, seventeen-year-old Samuel More.

"Jasper of Larden and Richard of Linley had a common great grandfather, William More of Larden.  One line of William’s descendants, down to Jasper, continued to live at Larden. Another line moved away from Shropshire as marriage and opportunity prescribed. One descendant (named Robert) of this cadet line returned to Shropshire and in 1583 purchased Linley Hall for £1400 from his father-in-law at the time of his marriage. Robert was the father of Richard, who inherited Linley in 1604, when he was in his early forties, and some twenty years younger than Jasper, his second cousin."

At some point during this time, Samuel began working in London as secretary to Lord Edward Zouche, privy councillor, diplomat and courtier.[9]

Over the next four years, Katherine bore four children:

  • Elinor, baptised 24 May 1612,
  • Jasper, baptised 8 August 1613;
  • Richard, baptised 13 November 1614;
  • Mary, baptised 16 April 1616.

All were baptised at St. James parish church in Shipton, Shropshire.

In a deed dated 20 April 1616, Samuel cut the entail on the Larden estate to prevent any of the children from inheriting. During the long court battle, Samuel would deny that he was the father of the children borne by his wife, Katherine, and stated them to be children of the adulterous relationship.[12] Katherine did not deny her relationship with Jacob Blakeway, stating there was a former betrothal contract with him, and therefore he was her true husband. This would have made her marriage to Samuel invalid.

Samuel More took custody. During the time the children were with the tenants, Katherine went there and engaged in a struggle to take her children back:[22]

'Katharine went to the tenants dwelling where her children had been sequestered, and in a hail of murderous oaths, did teare the cloathes from their backes.'

There were at least twelve actions recorded between December 1619 and 8 July 1620 when it was finally dismissed.

"As agent for the merchant adventurers investment in the Mayflower voyage, Thomas Weston played an instrumental part in the incident of the More children of Shropshire, who had been taken from their mother’s home in 1616 in a dispute centering on her supposed adultery. The children had been held incommunicado in Shropshire for four years and then brought to Weston and were held at his home in Aldgate, London, for some weeks until the Mayflower was to sail.[6] They were then given over to the custody of three senior Pilgrim officials for the voyage to the New World. Three of the four children died the first bitter winter in Plymouth. Only Richard More survived.[5]"

Within several weeks of the More children’s arrival in London, and without their mother Katherine More’s knowledge or approval, they were in the care of others on the Mayflower, bound for New England.

the mystery explained

It was in 1959, that the mystery was explained. Jasper More, a descendant of Samuel More prompted by his genealogist friend, Anthony Wagner, searched and found in his attic a 1622 document, which detailed the legal disputes between Katherine More and Samuel More and what actually happened to the More children.[2]

"On July 8, 1985, the genial and candid owner of Linley, Sir Jasper More, to whom we are all indebted for finding Samuel More’s deposition in his family’s archives, wrote one of the authors: “You ask if tales of Katherine More came down in the family lore.  The answer is a very definite NO  I think everything possible was done to hush it up and it is only in this century that the facts have begun to come to light” .

It is clear from these events that Samuel did not believe the children to be his offspring.[3] To rid himself of the children, he arranged for them to be sent to the Colony of Virginia.[4]


"Katherine sought an annulment in 1616, on grounds of pre contract, which was not granted. Then Samuel filed for divorce, which was granted. In this era that did not solve the marriage bond completely - Katherine retained her dower rights, but he children were under Samuel's legal control."


As quoted http://www.cyberancestors.com/cummins/ps38/ps38_335.htm

"The story is almost protean in the multiplicity of its dimensions. It reveals more than half a dozen themes reflecting issues of personal behavior and social customs, most of which continue to preoccupy us, some perhaps more than ever, at the dawn of the twenty-first century: Lineage and Dynasty, Property and Social Class, Gender Roles, Passion, the Treatment of Children, Exile, and How the Pursuit of Honor Can Lead to Perverse Outcomes."


  1. Shipton Parish Register – held by Shropshire Archive
  2. Anthony R. Wagner. The Children in the Mayflower (The London Times) 30 June 1959 p. 11
  3. Anthony R. Wagner. The Origin of the Mayflower Children: Jasper, Richard and Ellen More, (Boston: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1960), vol. 114, p. 163-168
  4. Donald F Harris, PhD., The More Children of the Mayflower, Part III, The Mayflower Descendant, vol. 44, no. 2 (July 1994), p. 20


  1. http://capecodhistory.us/genealogy/family/f937.html#51 
  2. [S2497] Genealogies of the Mayflower Families, 1500s-1800s, Gay Boyd Roberts, (Name: Name: Name: Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985;;;). p. 750 Katherine More, mar. Samuel Moore of Linley, had illegitimateson Richard More, by Jacob Blakeway. Katherine was the daughter of Jasper More of Larden.
  3. [S3202] Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants, Marcellus Donald Alexander R von Redlick, (Name: Name: Name: Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1988;;;). p. 212 Katherine More, b. 1587, liv. 1620; m. Samuel More, of Linley;by Jacob Blakeway, liv. 1618, had an illegitimate son, Richard More; daughter of Jasper More and Elizabeth Smalley.


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Katherine More's Timeline

November 23, 1586
Shropshire, England
November 23, 1586
Shropshire, England
May 24, 1612
Age 25
Shropshire, England
August 8, 1613
Age 26
November 13, 1614
Age 27
Shipton, Shropshire, England
April 16, 1616
Age 29
Shipton, Shropshire, England
Age 36
Shropshire, England