For many years I have been interested in the theory of Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor Thomas Dudley’s possible descent from the baronial Sutton-Dudley family of Staffordshire. In the early 1990s Marshall Kirk began circulating notes on a roundup of the various existing theories of Dudley’s ancestry, along with the exposition of a new hypothesis for whose genesis he gladly shared credit with David H. Kelley, who had voiced a similar hypothesis many years earlier. Marshall found no proof but the hypothesis has found its way into compilations of lineages. One of the key aspects of Marshall’s study was a systematic review of the baronial Sutton Dudley family into which one could argue Dudley must fit. The best existing work on the Staffordshire family is still that by H. Sydney Grazebrook: “The Barons of Dudley,” Collections for a History of Staffordshire 9.2 (1888); and “Junior Branches of the Family of Sutton, Alias Dudley,” Collections for a History of Staffordshire 10.2 (1889); followed by W. F. Carter and G. P. Mander, “Additions to Grazebrook’s ‘The Barons of Dudley’,” Collections for a History of Staffordshire for 1941 (1942), 21-80.
Well, the first two sections of Grazebrook’s work are on archive.org (where I have linked to them); but the 1941 additions have not been available until now: I have scanned them and put them up at the link above. In addition, the archive.org scans of the earlier vols. of the Staffordshire serial lack the enormous foldout pedigree charts printed with Grazebrook’s study: two accompanying the first part in vol. 9; one more accompanying the second part in vol. 10. So I have now created a pdf of the three foldout charts from Grazebrook also for download from my website.
The interesting question for the Massachusetts Dudleys is whether DNA testing can be used to test the theory of descent from the baronial Sutton-Dudleys. Are there male-line branches of the Staffordshire family sufficiently well documented to the present to be tested against any of the apparently numerous well-documented modern male-line descents from Gov. Thomas Dudley? This might tell us whether Marshall Kirk’s basic premise is sound—that Gov. Dudley had to fit into the Staffordshire family somewhere or else he would not have used the baronial arms (being neither a fool nor a liar), and the allusions of others to his status by birth would have made no sense. Does Grazebrook give us good data on any modern descendants?
One thing appears clear from Grazebrook: there is no room for the alleged descent of the Wexford, Ireland Suttons (a quo the condes de Clonard & comtes de Clonard) from the first Lord Dudley.