The Bartlett Ancestry

The following article, by an unknown author, was sent to John and shared with our email group in early 1997. It is but one of the "theories" of the ancestry of Bartletts in America.



All persons in this country, named BARTLETT, are without doubt of Norman ancestry. There is a large estate at Stopham, Sussex, England, consisting of some thousands of acres, which has been in the possession of the BARTLETTs for hundreds of years. From junior members of the family in former times, came the first settlers on the American shores. The ancestral mansion was built in 1309 and is a noble building of stone. Near it stands the old Norman church built by the family in the thirteenth century, and on the stone floor, along the aisles of the church are marble slabs with inset figures of brass, showing a regular succession of BARTLETTs from John, who died in 1428, to Colonel George BARTLETT, or BARTTELOT, as the name was spelled in early times, who died in November, 1872 aged 84 years. He had married an heiress of the Stophams and came into possession of the whole property, the male line of the Stophams having failed.

"BARTLETT FAMILY" by Levi Bartlett, 1876, reports, "The records in the church are complete from John BARTLETT, who was born early in 1300 down to the present date (1876). There are some very curious and handsome coats of arms in the windows, bearing the family names, and the names of those with whom they were married, also, old memorial windows of Stopham and BARTTELOT, the date of the oldest figures 1273."

Here have the BARTLETTs lived since the time of the Norman invasion. The first of the family was Adam BARTTELOT, an Esquire in the retinue of Brian, a Knight, and they came to England with William the Conqueror, and fought at Hastings. Both were granted lands. In the Fifteenth Century, a castle appears at the crest of the coat of arms which was granted by Edward, the Black Prince, to John BARTTELOT, for taking the castle of Fontenoy, in France, in command of Sussex men. In the Sixteenth Century, a swan was added, and granted, by the Garter King of Arms. Since that time the crest is double, a castle and swan. The original coat of arms of the family was three open, left handed falconer's gloves, with golden tassels about the wrist. The coat of arms now in use is very elaborate, representing different coats of arms of families who have intermarried with the BARTTELOTs.

The family lineage with the succession from the Norman ancestor to the present time may be found in Sir Bernard Burke's "Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronage" which in England is the authoritative book of titular genealogical reference; almost every public library in this country has a copy amongst its standard works of reference.

The name is spelt in many different ways in the family record. BARTTELOT occurring most frequently in the older documents. At the present time, with few exceptions, the spelling is BARTLETT. It appears that in former times, many of the younger members of the family who were obliged to seek their fortunes elsewhere on the occasion of their elder brother to the entailed inheritances, adapted a different spelling of the name. It is quite evident that this change in spelling was not originally, wholly the result of caprice or accident. The intention may have been that it should be designative, to denote the diminutive, or lesser of the BARTTELOTs.

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