Sunday, October 27, 2013

THE FALCONER'S DAUGHTER Part 1: Frances Latham, 1637 Immigrant (10th GGM)

 DORT-WINSOR/Barker/Latham (m. Dungan; Clarke; Vaughn)
Shakespeare's writing often alludes to the art of falconry:
 "If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
I'd whistle her off and let her down the wind
To prey at fortune."
(Othello 3.3.259-62)
 An adult hawk taken from the wild to be trained for falconry was considered 'haggard' -wild and difficult to subdue even with the restraining leather laces, or 'jesses,' on its legs.
"Forth comming from her darksome mew."  
(Faerie Queene, Book I. Canto v.20) 
The hawks of English royals were kept at the 'mews' of Charing Cross from the time of Richard II and, despite the fact that Henry VIII turned the mews into stables, the falconry term stuck. 

LEWIS LATHAM, falconer to King Charles I, was the father of my 10th great grandmother, Frances Latham Dungan Clarke Vaughn. (Her immigrant story is shared in Part 2.)
Portrait of Lewis Latham
Lewis was born around 1584 in Elstow, a medieval village in Bedfordshire, England, more than 50 miles north of London.
He was trained in the noble art of falconry and became under-falconer to Charles, the Prince of Wales.  When the prince ascended the throne as King Charles I, he retained his falconers and, in 1627, promoted Lewis to King's Sergeant-Falconer. 
Lewis' brother Simon was also a falconer whose book on the subject of falconry "Lathams Falconry, or the Falconers Lure and Cure in two books," gained authority in the field with at least three editions (1615,1633, and 1652.)  
detail from Simon Latham's book on falconry

Lewis Latham married Elizabeth*  in 1608 and undoubtedly provided well for a family that included his first-born, Frances, two sons, Henry and John, and four other daughters, Ann, Catharine, Elizabeth, and Ellen -all of whom are mentioned in his will dated 6 May 1653, two years before his death.  [probated in 1655, London] 
According to one Latham family researcher, his widow (*Winifred Downes Latham, possibly 2nd wife) applied for past unpaid salary due her late husband that resulted in an inquiry indicating Latham's original royal courtier fees prior to 1640 were:
King's Falconer - £40 per annum
Sergeant of the Hawks - £65 per annum
Although his widow's efforts were initially unsuccessful, she was eventually awarded about £40 per annum until 1664, presumed to be the year of her death.

Records suggest that Latham may have been a royal falconer at the time of the 'high and mightie prince Henrie, Prince of Wales, older brother to Charles who assumed his brother's title upon Henrie's death in 1612



  1. Frances Lathom is also my 9th great grandmother.

  2. Frances Latham (Dungan) is my 11th Great grandmother. Thank you for this.

  3. Frances is my 9th great grandmother through her son, Thomas Dungan.

  4. Does anyone know what happened to Lewis Latham after Charles I's execution?

  5. I have Latham's in my tree from Glos and Warwickshire