RAVENSCROFT Ravenscroft Middlewich, Ches., a family associated with parish, but hailing originally from,;

the original line is represented in the 17th cent. by a family named Croxton. A younger branch appears in Wales for the first time in the 14th cent.; the present notice need begin only with HUGH DE RAVENSCROFT, who was steward of Hope and Hawarden and Mold in the middle of the 15th cent., and m. Isabella Holland of Bretton in Hawarden parish. Passing over his son Henry (d. 1486) and his grandson Ralph Ravenscroft, we come to two of this Ralph's sons, (I) George and (II) John.

(I) GEORGE RAVENSCROFT ‘of Bretton’,

Ralph's eldest son, opens a line of squires who were prominent in Flintshire; he was alive in 1517, and his son THOMAS RAVENSCROFT was alive in 1547. Thomas's eldest son was GEORGE RAVENSCROFT, sheriff in 1578-9, who d. in 1592 and is commemorated (like others of the family) in Hawarden church; he was Member of Parliament for his shire in 1563-7; his wife, Dorothy, was the heiress of John Davies, constable of Hawarden castle and owner of Broadlane hard by, which she brought into the family. (Elizabeth, sister of George Ravenscroft, m. the lord chancellor Egerton whose romantic story is narrated in the D.N.B.) Of George's children, his daughter Katherine m. Robert Davies of Gwysaney (see under Davies-Cooke), and three of his sons must be recorded:

(1) THOMAS RAVENSCROFT, the eldest son, sheriff Public and Social Service, Civil Administration in 1606-7, d. in 1630.

Two of his sons were ROBERT RAVENSCROFT (1589 - 1640; Member of Parliament in 1614) and THOMAS RAVENSCROFT, originator of the separate line of ‘Ravenscroft of Pickhill’ in Denbighshire (but near Bangor-on-Dee — see P. Fadog, iii, 181). Robert's son was colonel THOMAS RAVENSCROFT, who acquired some notoriety in the Civil War. Though his wife was a daughter of that zealous Royalist William Salusbury of Rug, he sided with the Parliamentarians, and in November 1643 handed over to them the castle of Hawarden — ‘betrayed by one Ravenscroft’, as archbishob John Williams scornfully describes the surrender (J. R. Phillips, Civil War in Wales, i, 180, ii, 99). In May 1648 he was a member of the parliamentary committee which supervised Flintshire; but after 1660 was pardoned. He was succeeded by his son EDWARD RAVENSCROFT, who m. Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Lloyd of Esclus, and died in 1678. Their son was the last male of the line, THOMAS RAVENSCROFT ‘of Broadlane’ (1670 - 1698), sheriff in 1692, Member of Parliament 1697-8, who d. 3 May 1698, leaving two heiresses, Honora and Catherine. It was by marriage with Honora's daughter that the family of Glynne, and afterwards that of Gladstone, came to own Broadlane, which was rebuilt in 1752 and is today known as ‘Hawarden castle’. On the other hand, Catherine's portion of the estate was purchased (1756) by the Grosvenors.

(2) WILLIAM RAVENSCROFT,

second son of George, born at Bretton, went to Brasenose College, Oxford, and to Lincoln's Inn, of which he became a Bencher; he was ‘Clerk of the Petty Bag’ in the court of Chancery. He was Member of Parliament for Flintshire in 1586-7 and 1601, for Old Sarum in 1601-11, and for Flint Boroughs in 1620-2, 1624, 1625, and 1628, d. unmarried in 1628, and was buried at Hawarden.

(3) ROGER RAVENSCROFT,

a younger son of George, was rector of Dodleston in Cheshire, and d. in 1634. Perhaps the best known of all the Ravenscrofts was Roger's son THOMAS RAVENSCROFT (1592 - 1635?), the musician, who was b. at Hawarden in 1592 and is commemorated in the D.N.B. Our congregational tune-books have time and again drawn upon ‘Ravenscroft's Psalter’, i.e. The Whole Book of Psalms edited by him in 1621 and including forty-eight of his own settings. The D.N.B. says nothing of his ancestry, but his Melismata, 1611, has a dedication to his uncles Thomas and William, mentioned under (1) and (2) above.

(II) JOHN RAVENSCORFT

was the second son of Ralph Ravenscroft, and started the line of ‘Ravenscroft of Hawarden’; see the pedigree in P. Fadog, v, 271-2. This John's second grandson, THOMAS RAVENSCROFT, b. at Hawarden in 1563, lived in Middlesex; he was buried at Barnet, Herts., in 1630. His son JAMES RAVENSCROFT (1595 - 1679), a barrister, acquired fame by his charitable benefactions. Of James's numerous children, the D.N.B. has given a full account of one, the dramatist EDWARD RAVENSCROFT, yet without establishing his descent — he dedicated one of his plays to the Thomas Ravenscroft (1670 - 1698) mentioned under I (1) above, as a kinsman. Edward Ravenscroft was b. in 1643 at Colston Bassett, Notts., and was buried there 13 February 1703/4.

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Published date: 1959

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