The family of Roger Wake and Elizabeth Catesby
(15xGreat Grandparents)

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  His Parents:   Her Parents:
  Thomas WAKE   William CATESBY
     Joan BARRE
Roger WAKE Elizabeth CATESBY
Bd  1452 Bd  
Bp   Bp  
Dd  16/03/1503/4 Dd  
Bur   Bur  
Occ   Occ  
 Their Children:
 1   Thomas Bd  
 2   Richard Bd  
 3   William Bd 1481
 4   John Bd  
 5   Elizabeth Bd  
 6   Margaret Bd  

Note - The birth order of the children is unknown.



Roger of Blisworth left a will dated 12 March 1503.  There is a table tomb commemorating him and his wife Elizabeth in the Lady Chapel of Blisworth Church.  The inscription on the tomb says that Roger died on 16th March 1503.  (Old Style dating)
Elizabeth Catesby came from Ashby St Ledgers.  Her parentage is in doubt.  Peter Gordon's book "The Wakes of Northamptonshire" states that "Roger married Elizabeth daughter of William Catesby of Ashby St Ledgers."  It continues by saying "Roger was more fortunate than his father-in-law.  Catesby was a close adviser of Richard III, being given the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1483 and Speaker of Richard's only Parliament in the following year.  He fought at Bosworth and was captured and beheaded three days later, 25th August 1485."  This William Catesby married Margaret la Zouche.  Other sources of information show Elizabeth Catesby to be the daughter of the William Catesby who was the father of the above William.


Blisworth Church
Tomb of Roger Wake and Elizabeth Catesby

The history of the tomb is as follows:-

The Table tomb of freestone commemorates Roger Wake of Blisworth and his wife Elizabeth and is dated 1503.  On the Purbeck marble top there are brass figures of the couple together with their ten children.  Roger Wake is bareheaded, with long hair and wears plain plate armour with an apron of mail, pointed passegardes on the shoulders and a breast plate with five taces and tuilles attached to the lower one.  He wears plain mail on his legs, with broad sabbatons and short rowelled spurs on his feet.  A long sword hangs diagonally from his left side.

Elizabeth Wake is dressed in a tight-bodiced, full skirted gown with an ornamental girdle round her waist.  The cuffs are of fur.  She wears a pedimental cap with a veil on her head.

The brasses of the children are less accomplished.  The seven boys have long hair and wear rather short loose gowns and their shoes are visible.  The three girls have very long hair and wear gowns similar to that of their mother.

The shields at the top left and bottom right corners of the slab are those of Wake, silver, two bars gules, in chief three torteaux.  At the top right and bottom left, there are shields of Wake impaling Catesby, silver, two lions rampant, sable, crowned gold.  Above the main figures, now missing, was a representation of the Holy Trinity with scrolls.

A marginal inscription, partly mutilated, reads: Here lyeth Roger Wake Esquyer lorde of Blysworthe in the counte of (Northampton and Elizabeth) his (wife ...) which Roger decessyed the XVI day of Marche the yere of our Lord God MCCCCCIII on whose soule ihu have mercy.

The east side of the tomb is completely new and has been coloured: on it there are three shields in ornamental surrounds with three Wake knots in between.  One of the shields is different from the others with Wake impaling three chevrons (de Clare).  The west side has a similar arrangement.  The south side, which is irregular, has one shield only with two Wake knots and a lion rampant.

Roger Wake was born at Blisworth in the family's manor house, which lay to the north west of the church.  He was Sheriff of the county in 1483-4.  As a follower of Richard III, he fought at Bosworth Field where the King was killed  He was imprisoned in 1485 by Henry VII and his manors and lands were forfeited.  They were restored to him two years later after he had appealed to the King and had been pardoned.  He married Elizabeth Catesby, daughter of Sir William Catesby of Ashby St Ledgers.  After her husband's death in 1503, she married Sir John Grey, fourth son of Thomas, Marquis of Dorset, and they lived in Blisworth.  The date of Elizabeth's death is not known.

This monument was previously built fronting the arched recess, the rear had no panels but lay alongside the main wall with irregular masonry.  It now stands in a central position in what could have been a chantry chapel.  The south isle probably contained tombs of former Wakes prior to 1500, but only the present one has survived.


Page updated 25/08/2010