Every Virginian, every American, owes Sir Thomas Dale, Governor of Virginia, a tribute

Virginia Governor, Sir Thomas Dale
(died 1619)

Work in Progress



In 2007, we will celebrate the settlement of Jamestown, the first permanent Virginia colony, which was settled four hundred years ago. Each Virginian, every American, owes Sir Thomas Dale, Governor of Virginia, a tribute.  If not for Dale, North America could have become part of the Spanish Empire.  We would certainly not be able to take our freedom for granted had it not been for Dale and several other governors.  Unfortunately, we know very little about Dale or his fellow governors. 


Because there is a great deal of information about this period, we eventually concluded that facts about leaders like Dale and Gates must have been “socially corrected” in history’s ledgers.  Possibly because of their religious views, but more than likely because they had actually been Dutch employees when fighting the Spanish in the Low Countries.Sir Thomas Dale  Subsequently, England and Holland were at odds for sixty years shortly after English captains had assisted the protestant forces against the Spanish.


Dale arrived in the Virginia settlement to find undisciplined settlers whose ranks had been ravaged by disease and the elements.  His odds of survival on this assignment were less than 10%!  His tenure in Virginia is well documented by more masterful writers.


After five years in Virginia, he returned to England with the Indian Princess, Pocahontas.  Upon return, Dale was involved in a correspondence campaign with the Dutch military in an attempt to regain his company of soldiers in the Low Countries. Dale had fallen in arrears providing for his military company in Holland, and would have been arrested if he stepped on Dutch soil.  Less than eighteen months after his return, Dale was sent by the English East Indies Company to fight the Dutch in their attempt to establish their trade bases for the Dutch East Indies Company.  While sailing to the East Indies, the English and Dutch agreed to appoint Thomas Dale the Admiral in charge of a joint English-Dutch fleet to fight Chinese pirates.  Dale died in the East Indies.


We had hoped to establish the ancestral roots of Dale had very little information available to study in detail.  From his will extract, we knew the names of the men he had named as overseers of his estate, we knew the name of his wife, we knew the name of the other governors and soldiers of the period, and we had extracts of letters he had written to the Dutch.  We spent eight years reading every book we could find about this period and made innumerable trips to England and Holland. We established a web site called Sir Thomas Dale where we have posted a great deal of information for others interested in this period.


A great mystery that consumed us during our study was how someone In England during this period could come from ordinary roots and share the confidence of the kings and princes of Europe towards the end of his life. This was not how the game of life was then played. Once we felt confident that both Valentine Dale and Thomas Dale had somehow descended from William Dale of Bristol, we went back and took another look for more clues in that will. In fact, that will is of "Harry Dale", and in the margins the name William is annotated. In England at that time, Harry was a nickname for Henry.

Isabel Plantagenet of Ambresbury, daughter of Henry Plantagenet, the 3rd Earl of Lancaster, had married in her youth Henry de la Dale. We found a record that indicated Ambresbury was the same as Amesbury, which was adjacent to Fyfield, the region about which we have written as the home of Valentine Dale. Isabel Plantagenet married Henry some 200 years before the birth of Valentine Dale. However, Isabel's ancestry was very notable and it would have been as notable at that time as an American family today showing descent from George Washington two centuries ago.

Isabel's father was also the Earl of Leicester who in 1324 was a leader in the confederacy that deposed King Edward II, and became the guardian of King Edward III. Her brother Henry was one of England's top soldiers, was commander at the siege of Calais, and the King's lieutenant in Flanders. Her sister Maud married in 1352 the Duke of Zealand in Holland. Her other sister married at Reading Abbey in Berkshire, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

Therefore, Isabel and Henry de la Dale were the aunt and uncle of Henry IV, King of England, who died in 1413. His son, King Henry V, was born at Monmouth Castle which we kept stumbling across in our research, and which was located very near Throckmorton's Clearwell. There is more, King Edward III's son, Thomas Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester was the Earl of Essex, a title that descended via his daughter, Anne Plantagenet of Gloucester to her son Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex. The Earl of Bath had descended from the Bourchiers and several generations later, Robert Devereaux, the Earl of Essex inherited this title. As you read this collection of works about Thomas Dale, you will see these highlighted names repeated frequently. If our Thomas Dale had descended from Henry de la Dale and Isabel Plantagenet, his relationship with the Earl of Essex is much easier to understand as they both had common Plantagenet roots. Please understand that we have yet to make any genealogical connections, and have drawn this possibility because of the repetition of the same geographical locations. This theory would explain why Dale was able to mingle with the royalty of three major countries.


Here are the highlights:


Lady Dale

Lady Dale, Elizabeth Throckmorton, was the wife of Thomas Dale. She was the daughter of Thomas Throckmorton Throckmorton and Elizabeth Berkeley. Berkeley These are generic family heraldry.


He was only married to her for a month before he sailed to Virginia, and was with her less than eighteen months before he sailed to the East Indies on his final voyage.  We were afraid that her family would not reveal much information; however, we found on her side of the family a great many contacts to the military, and even some folks with the surname Dale.


The Throckmorton fortune had apparently resulted from several generations of explorers sailing from Bristol starting with John Throckmorton who had the rights to trade with Iceland.  Lady Dale’s father, a courtier of Queen Elizabeth, had died several years before her marriage and left the family some thirteen manors spread across England, and a table of debts that finally left the family in debtors prison in several generations.

q       Her mother was the daughter of Richard Berkeley of the martial Berkeley’s of Stoke Gifford, located just outside of Bristol. This family was interconnected with one of the most famous martial families of that period, the Barons Chandos of the de Brugge family. We now believe that fellow governor Thomas Gates also descended from this family.  A John Brugge had been a fellow captain serving with Dale in Holland and we believe he was of this family, possibly the stepson of Lady Dale’s sister.

q       The Berkeleys were also intermarried with the Shirley’s Shirley(Shirley Plantation).  Gates and Dale had replaced as Governor, Lord de la Warr, whose wife was the daughter of famous soldier Thomas Shirley. Her uncle on the Berkeley side was another famous English soldier, William Herbert. 

q       Brother John Throckmorton had been the Lt. Governor of Flushing in Holland in 1616 and been a soldier in the Low Countries prior to this.  He was second in command of the Sidney Regiment in 1616 serving under Robert Sidney, brother of Sir Philip Sidney.  Sometime prior to this, John Throckmorton  had served as secretary to the 2nd Earl of Pembroke who had married Sidney’s sister. Throckmorton married Anne Southey whose niece married the overseer of Dale’s Gift in Virginia and subsequently remarried Colonel Nathaniel Littleton of Virginia military fame. 

q       Her sister Mary had married the famous soldier, Sir Thomas Baskerville, who was killed at Cadiz in 1596.  She remarried another soldier, James Scudamore, whose son-in-law was Gyles Brugge. Brydges (Brugge)  Gyles’s father had refused an order to murder Queen Elizabeth when she was a young princess for which Elizabeth continue to reward the family.

q       Her brother was Baron William Berkeley of Berkeley plantation, and most of the other stockholders like George Thorpe and William Tracy were her cousins.  Another major stockholder, John Smith, came from Nibley, which was located very near the Throckmorton family estate at Tortworth in Gloucester.

q       A 1645 Virginia land record mentioned that William Shrimpton of Whitchurch in Hampsire was sole survivor and inheritor of the land that Lady Dale had inherited from her husband. In her will, she had named Shrimpton as a deserving friend.  We could find nothing more about a link to the Throckmortons or Dales, but Whitchurch is very near Wherwell, home of fellow Virginia Governor, Sir Thomas West, 3rd Baron de la Warr. 

q       First major clue:  When we took a look at the geography of Whitchurch, we saw that it as only four miles south of Litchfield where the will of Dr. Valentine Dale (will 1589) was registered, and ten miles east of Tidworth where his father John Dale (will 1550) resided.  His father John Dale had been a member of Grays Inn, and a Member of Parliament for Surrey. Our Thomas Dale was listed as Sir Thomas Dale of Surrey when Knighted. 

q       Dr. Valentine Dale was a member of Queen Elizabeth’s administration serving as Ambassador to France and peace envoy.  Historians have reported there was no connection with Thomas Dale.  However, his daughter married the Earl of Leicester’s best friend, Sir Roger North, North and his grandson was a playmate of Henry, Prince of Wales.   Valentine’s aunt remarried Charles Berkeley of Stoke Gifford sometime before 1560.  Lady Dale had descended from the Berkeley’s of Stoke Gifford but Charles was such a popular name in that family we could trace it no further. Valentine’s cousin, stepson of Charles Berkeley, William Dale of Fyfeld died in 1566 and his widow remarried a John Cooke, a name we encountered in the will of Thomas Dale. In fact, Valentine even had a brother named Thomas Dale.  Because previous researchers have said there was no connection, I respected their opinions and continued the search.


q       Second major clue:  Baron Throckmorton remarried the daughter of Thomas Baynum who left his estate in Gloucester, Clearwell, to Lady Dale’s brother.  In a 1609 deposition involving Clearwell, we found the mention of the testimony of John Dale, son of Edward Dale.  Subsequently, we found the 1593 will extract of a John Dale of Castle Morton in Worcestershire, which was less than twenty-five miles north of Clearwell. He was a cooper at the castle and left sons John Dale (baptized 1563), Robert Dale (baptized 1566), daughters Agnes (baptized 1568), and Joane (baptized 1570).  There was a fifth entry but the document had been eaten away.  This is the time period of Thomas Dale’s birth.  Clearwell was subsequently purchased by famous Low Country military legend, Sir Horace Vere who had married Lady Dale’s cousin.  Horace and his brother, Francis, were two of the most famous English generals to fight in the Low Countries, and they had descended from a cadet branch of the Earls of Oxford. Oxford  In fact, their uncle was the influential Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.  Another uncle was the soldier, the 16th Earl of Oxford whose daughter married Peregrine Bertie, Bertie 11th Baron Willoughby, the English general of the Low Countries preceding Sir Francis Vere.  


Lady Dale had given us some valuable clues to the ancestry of Thomas Dale. We now hoped the overseer’s of Dale’s will would provide additional clues.


The overseers of the will of Sir Thomas Dale.

We knew from his correspondence to the Dutch that he had a brother, and previous researchers had thought that Dale may have had a sister and brother.


Thomas Dale’s will was written in 1617 before he went to the East Indies.  In this, he called himself Thomas Dale of London, but in other records he was Thomas Dale of Stepney in Middlesex.  His overseers:

q       William Throckmorton. This was his brother-in-law.

q       William Cooke. We found a will 1616 will extract that indicated that William Cooke was the sister of Elizabeth Cooke, widow of John Dale of Whitechapel in Middlesex.

q       Thomas Smythe. This was the Treasurer of the Virginia Company, and Governor of the East India Company. The Treasurer of the Virginia Company was the Chief Executive Officer, and the East India Company was the greatest trading company organized in England in this period of exploration.   Dale would have reported to Smythe while in Virginia, and then again on his final voyage.  Smythe’s father was the famous “Customer” Smythe who we found specifically mentioned as “very friends Thomas Smythe, Customer of the Port of London and his wife” in the 1559 will of William Dale, haberdasher of London, son and heir of Matthew Dale of Bristol. 

q       Earl of Southampton, Southampton Henry Wriothesley (1573-1624) Dale and Southampton had been friends for at least two decades at the time of the will in 1617.

o       The Earl of Essex, when he was the top military man in England, sent Thomas Dale on a mission to France in 1598 to fetch Southampton to serve as Essex’s number two commander in Ireland.

o       Ireland would prove to be the downfall of Essex, and Southampton, Thomas Smythe, and Thomas Dale would all be penalized for their roles in this bizarre affair. Southampton was allowed to pay a heavy fine in return for his life being spared.

o       Southampton had been educated at Cambridge at the age of twelve, and his personal tutor was the Dean of the College of Saint Johns, Reverend William Whittaker.  Whittaker’s son, Reverend Alexander Whittaker was Dale’s personal chaplain who had accompanied him to Virginia and officiated at the Christening of Pocahontas.

o       Southampton was acknowledged to be one of the closest friends of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dale was thought to have been the personal bodyguard of Henry.  Although we could find no proof of that appointment, Henry did personally request in writing that Thomas Dale be released from his responsibilities in the Low Countries to go to Virginia on the very day he was confirmed Prince of Wales, future King of England.  A letter written in 1617 by Sir Henry Saville to the Dutch acknowledged that Thomas Dale was a friend of the Earl of Southampton.

We found it very interesting that Dale, Smythe, Southampton, and possibly Cooke had been involved in Essex’s rebellion as had Essex’s cousin, Thomas West, the future Lord de la Warr. (As was Edward Maria Wingfield, the very first President of the Virginia Company.)


One other entry in the will extracts caught our attention:  In 1641, Lady Dale was mentioned as the widow of “Sir Thomas Dale of Stepney in Middlesex, deceased in parts beyond the seas.  We also found another entry dated 1622 about Thomas Dale, “Thomas Dale deceased in parts beyond the seas to brother Richard Dale”.  We then found a 1619 will of a Richard Dale of Saint Swithin (near Stepney) and he mentioned sister Isabella Gayer, alias Dale.  Subsequently, we discovered that Richard Dale was also  “deceased in parts beyond the seas”. 


Thomas West, Lord de la Warr.

Because Thomas West’s name appeared so frequently in Virginia history with Gates and Dale, and because it had appeared in our study of both Dale and his wife, we decided to take a closer look.  Sir Thomas West Westwas the first cousin of Essex, and his family fortunes had been diluted by the year 1600 when he was a poor justice of the peace at the time of Essex’s rebellion living near the Earl of Southampton.  His grandfather, George West, had been the 1st Baron de la Warr, and the Earl of Bath.  Bath Bath is near BristolBristol and will prove to be an important location later in this story.  Another West first cousin, Katherine Leigh, married Robert Dale of Rutland.  Rutland will prove even more important in the Dale story.

q       West carried the bier of Sir Phillip Sidney in his 1587 funeral, one of the largest in English history.

q       He lived very near Whitchurch, the home of a William Shrimpton who inherited the Thomas Dale lands in Virginia. Cheriton was also a town near Whitvhurch, and also the town in the area on the Eastern Shore of Virginia where Dale’s property was left to Shrimpton.

q       West served in Ireland with Dale and Gates in 1599, and traveled with Essex from Ireland to England during the Essex Rebellion.


The Dale Genealogies in London

Earlier researchers had said they thought Dale may be from Northampton, or Bristol and believed somehow related to William Dale of Brigstock in Northamptonshire.  We went to London to research genealogies and found quite a bit of information on various Dale families that had been collected.  But there was only one mention of Sir Thomas Dale and not one family was attempting to claim him. We thought it interesting that no one was even trying to claim him!


We did conclude, as several before us, that Sir Thomas Dale descended from the Harry (William in the margin) Dale family of Bristol.


William Dale of Bristol and London left a will in 1512 in which he mentioned his children.  First, he mentioned his mother church in WorcestershireWorcester.  He mentioned three sons and two daughters. We found this coat of arms for the Merchants of Bristol. Bristol Merchants

q       The Children of (William) Henry Dale of Bristol:

q       William Dale (alive in 1512)

q       Thomas Dale (alive in 1512)

q       Maud Dale = Shippon

q       Johane Dale = John Wyatt. [Virginia Governor, Francis Wyatt descended from this family.] 

Sons Thomas and William were to be executors, and son-in-law John Wyatt was to be the overseer of the will. 


The fact that Matthew was not mentioned, as an executor of his will, gave us the opinion that he was younger than his brothers.  We found very little more about William and Thomas other than from Matthew Dale’s will in 1549 when he mentioned William’s daughter Elizabeth Dale, and cousins Roger and Robert Dale, presumably sons of brother Thomas or William Dale.


Matthew Dale’s will in 1549 gave us much more information.  His wife was Margaret Chapman of BathBath whose brother was the famous Peter Chapman of Bath.  In 1521, Peter Chapman gave testimony that he was the brother-in-law of Matthew Dale of London and Bristol in testimony confirming the death of a Robert Dale of Dauley, son of Dale of Westerdale, and his sons Robert and Thomas Dale.  Perhaps this was the “cousin Robert Dale”.


Matthew was a wealthy haberdasher and was to be buried in the church of Saint Mary Magdalen in London.  He mentioned sons Henry, James, John, Matthew, and his heir William Dale.  He mentioned Henry Wyatt, his sister’s son.  He mentioned daughter Mary Marler, wife of a successful tradesman and Roanoke voyage investor.  Finally, he mentioned son-in-law Gregory Esham.

  Someone years ago sketched Matthew's coat of arms in a Dale genealogy, and at the outset it seemed similiar to that of the Earl of Southampton. Southampton's Southampton and the sketch. Matthew Dale Sketch It is defined in the 1842 The General Armory with a chevron sitting on a black field with three cranes in a vigilant position. This publication indicates it was extended to Matthew Dale of Bristol; and sons Henry Dale of Bristol, Matthew Dale, Judge of the Guildhall, and John Dale, citizen of London.

q       The Children of Matthew Dale:
William Dale (will 1559) was the eldest son and heir of the haberdashery business.  He mentioned brother-in-law Walter Marlar, brother Henry Dale, and brother-in-law William Roswell.

q       Mary Dale, wife of Walter Marlar (M1545), Roanoke voyage investor.

q       Henry Dale, haberdasher was listed as of Bristol by the 1842 , The General Armory.

q       James Dale (will 1551) mentioned brothers John and Matthew, Uncle Peter Chapman, sister Mary and her husband Walter Marlar, brothers William and Henry Dale, and brother-in-law Gregory Esham.

q       John Dale of Saint Mary Magdalen in London and Ware in Hertsford, who married in 1567 Elizabeth Lane, daughter of William Lane. The General Armory indicated John Dale was a citizen of London.

q       Mentioned cousin Robert Dale, and we found a Robert Dale, Haberdasher of London, alive in 1563.  He also mentioned cousin Roger Dale, and cousin Elizabeth Dale, (uncle) William’s sister.

q       Elizabeth Dale was first married to Gregory Esham (Isham) and secondly, to William Roswell of Ford Abbey, the Queen’s solicitor. He died in 1566 and left a lengthy and detailed will indicating that his manors were in Devon and Somerset.


We believe that William Lane, father-in-law of John Dale, was the brother of Ralph Lane who would later be appointed Governor of Roanoke on the Roanoke voyages.  In fact, William Lane may have been Captain William Lane, captain of one of the John Evangelst on the Roanoke voyage. On that Roanoke voyage as a young lieutenant was Thomas Gates serving Lieutenant General Christopher Carleili. Sir Philip Sidney and Carleili had both married daughter’s of the Queen’s Secretary, Francis Walsingham. 


The Lanes were from Orlingbury in Northamton, quite near the homeplace of Gregory Esham, the son of Thomas Esham of Northampton and Elizabeth Vere, daughter of Richard Vere of Oxfordshire. In fact, in 1608, there was a William Kirkham and William Lane both registered near Orlingbury.   Gregory was one of the wealthiest men in England at the time of his death.  He was a wool exporter and his company accounted for 5% of all the duties paid to the government.  He, and wife Elizabeth Dale, lived in Braunston in Rutland quite near a large body of water today known as Rutland Water. We found their son Sir Ewesby Esham located in Northampton in 1608 just a few miles from the Lane family in Orlingbury.  They also had a daughter who had married Gregory Esham’s younger partner, Thomas Barker.  A Thomas Barker witnessed the will of John Dale of Castle Morton in Worcestershire.  Coincidence?


The Rutland Manors

Less than a mile away from Gregory Esham’s Rutland estate was Manton manor, which we found had been transferred, along with one other, from Sir Henry Sidney to a William Kirkham in the late 1570s.  Roger Dale had received this from Kirkham in the 1580s. In Joyce Youings' 1986 Ralegh's Country, she reported that William Kirkham (D1620) of Blagdon, Devon had been arrested, jailed, and later released in the 1586 Babington Conspiracy. Queen Elizabeth's minister, Sir Francis Walsingham had discovered this plot and Robert Cecil made it public. Walsingham's son-in-law was Phillip Sidney, son of Henry Sidney who had rewarded the Rutland manors to William Kirkham. The name was unusual enough that we thought to take it seriously. Had the Sidney's taken back these two manors and deeded them to Roger Dale? had they been rewarded to Roger Dale for his role in the Babington conspiracy?   A Thomas Kirkham led us back to the Cecil family Cecilto whom Walsingham owed his power, and to whom Thomas Dale corresponded so we took the Kirkham name seriously. We found a record where Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, acquired the manor of Brigstock in Northampton where William Dale, member of Parliament for Brigstock. This William Dale was thought to be related to Sir Thomas Dale, and his in-laws were members of Saint Mary Magdalen in London!    This William Kirkham was the uncle by marriage to George Cary, CareyLord Deputy of Ireland, a title that Sir Henry Sidney had held on two occasions. He was married to the sister of the Earl of Leicester Leicestermaking his son, Sir Phillip Sidney a cousin to the Earl of Essex.Essex  Essex and Baron de la Warr were cousins, and we read that de la Warr was one of the carriers of Sir Phillip Sidney’s bier in 1587. 


Henry Sidney’s daughter, Mary, was married to the very powerful, 2nd Earl of Pembroke Pembrokewho in 1588 was Mayor of Bristol.  His home was originally Ragland Castle in Monmouth, home of the Earls of Worcester Worcesterwhich was located only several villages from Clearwell. His second wife was Lady Dale's aunt. Moreover, his secretary was Lady Dale’s brother, John Throckmorton.  Their country manor was Wilton Manor, and it was only twenty miles from the home of the 3rd Baron de la Warr, Thomas West.West  Finally, West, Herbert, and Thomas Dale were all involved in Essex’s Rebellion.


Every turn we seemed to take brought us back to the Sidney family.  In fact, prior to his death, it was Philip Sidney’s dream to develop North America. 


Kirkam’s other manor was Tixover, just outside Duddington.  Roger Dale may have also received Tixover as a Roger Dale of “Tekesore” was mentioned in 1622. 


Our best guess is that Roger Dale, or his father, was a soldier in the Irish campaigns and had either purchased, or was rewarded these manors for his efforts.  His brother Robert Dale had married Katherine Leigh, cousin of Lord de la Warr.  Robert’s son was William Dale (D 1616) of Brigstock in Northampton, who was a member of the East India Company and a merchant grocer. Robert was married to Katherine Leigh, daughter of John Leigh and Elizabeth West, aunt of the 3rd Baron de la Warr!  Although we later identify them with Rutland and Northampton, this group of Dales were earlier located in the Stoke-on-Trent region near Newcastle. 


Because we were still drawing blanks on Thomas Dale’s exact ancestry, we hoped that the military would provide us another clue. 



Sir Thomas Dale and the Military

The mystery about Thomas Dale is that his military origins were as a common soldier.  In a letter that Dale wrote, he told us that he had started as an ordinary soldier.  However, at the end of his life he had the King of France, the King of England, and the Prince of Holland write letters of endorsement.  We hoped that his military service would reveal more facts, but what was most interesting is that this entire group had all participated in previous military events.  We list just a few of them here. [If they do not appear, it does not mean they were not in attendance, just that we were not able to confirm.]



Presidents & Governors

1586-1587 Campaign in Low Countries

1596 Cadiz

1599 Ireland

Essex Rebellion

Campaign in Low Countries after 1600

Related or accompanies the Earl of Essex or Sir Walter Raleigh

Edward Wingfield







John Radcliff






John Smith






George Percy







Thomas West







Thomas Gates







Thomas Dale







George Yeardley






Samuel Argall






Francis Wyatt






TreasuersThomas Smythe & Earl of Southamptom








1587:  Dale started his military career in 1587, the same year that Sir Philip Sidney was killed fighting in the Low Countries. This was the first major English sortie into the Low Countries, and was led by Elizabeth's first and most "significant other". Philip Sidney, Leicester's nephew, and poster boy of chivalry was second-in-command.   Some researchers claim that he escorted the Earl of Essex to the Low Countries in 1586. Essex was Leicester's stepson, and when Leicester started to age, Elizabeth took a fancy to Walter Raleigh. Leicester promoted his stepson to compete against Raleigh.  

1591: A significant part of the English military went to France with Essex to support the Protestant Henry IV of France in 1591, and Thomas Gates supposedly joined those forces in France.  Perhaps Dale escorted Essex to France where he met Gates and gained the favor of Henry IV of France. Thomas Gates was a Captain of a company of English soldiers in Normandy.

1594: By 1594, Dale was specifically mentioned as a Captain in the Low Countries in a letter requesting some of the English captains be sent to fight in Ireland.

1595: A Thomas Baal was shown as one of the English Captains and some feel that this was actually Thomas Dale.  Some researchers claim Dale was appointed as the personal bodyguard of the infant, Henry, Prince of Wales, to protect him from Scottish lords.  We could find no mention of this in the Dutch records.  However, Dale and Henry had a very close relationship and even James I of England specifically mentioned in a letter that Dale had served the family, and Prince Henry for a long period. In six years, Thomas Dale had moved from common soldier to a Captain, a significant rank in that period.

1596:  With Drake as admiral, and Essex heading the soldeirs, the English raided the Spanish port of Cadiz, and afterwards Essex knighted many of the men we would later meet in Virginia such as Thomas Gates, Thomas Smythe, and George Percy. Samuel Argall was Vice Admiral of the fleet, and Edward Maria Wingfield was among the English.  Lady Dale’s brother-in-law, Thomas Baskerville was killed as was Thomas Smythe’s brother.  Strangely enough, we could find no record of Thomas Dale attending Cadiz and can only assume he was fighting with Maurice or Henry IV.

1598: Essex, Elizabeth’s favorite and then the top English military man sent Thomas Dale to fetch his friend, the Earl of Southampton who was then residing at Dieppe in France, and bring him back to serve as his second in command in Ireland.

1599: Dale was in London helping to raise troops for the Irish Campaign to be led by Essex.

1600: Dale, Gates, and West were together in Ireland fighting the Irish under Essex’s command. Dale was apparently commander of a company of 150 men.

1601: Essex was executed; Southampton, Thomas West, and Thomas Smythe were all punished for their part in the Essex Rebellion.  Dale lost his military command and requested help from Robert Cecil, then the most powerful man on Elizabeth’s staff.   He told Cecil in a letter that he would prefer not to return to France to serve his old employer, Henry IV of France, but would should Cecil insist.

1601-1603: Sometime in this period, Dale distinguished himself at the siege of Fort de la Bella at s’Hertogenbosch in Holland. In this period he also performed heroic acts at Damme, just north of Brugge in Belgium. 

1603: Sir Francis Vere (brother of Horace Vere) wrote Cecil that he would give Dale command of a company in Holland if Dale could provide the financing. King Henry IV of France wrote and said he would provide a company of men if Dale would command it.  Finally, he was given provisional command of a company in Holland that had been commanded by a Captain Condegrave. Condegrave challenged but Dale’s heroic previous efforts swung the vote in his direction.

1604: Robert Cecil, in a role much like Prime Minister, wrote the Dutch a very favorable letter about Dale for King James I of England.

1604-1611:  Every year, Thomas Dale was shown in the Dutch military records as one of the English captains serving in Holland. Appearing with him as other captains were Thomas Jatts (Gates), Thomas Morgan, John Brugge, Horace Vere, Francis Vere, Captain (Francis?) Wyatt, plus others.  Dale was in the Zeeland Regiment in 1607 and 1608, and the Holland Regiment in 1609 and 1610.

1611-1618:  The Dutch records continue to show payment to Dale as commander of his company from 1611 to 1618, and his second in command Francis Willoughby was supposed to have commanded his company. Willoughby’s ancestor had been the sponsor of Captain John Smith when he was orphaned.  This is the period that Dale ran afoul of the Dutch military officials.  In 1620, Dale’s name was scratched out and Willoughby listed as commander.

1606: Thomas Dale was knighted by King James I at Richmond and took the title of Sir Thomas Dale of Surrey.  Normally, only Barons and above can add a name location like Surrey to a title leaving us with the question, did Dale really do this? If so, how was he able to defy the normal practice? 

1606:  Thomas Dale and Thomas Gates serve together, with Gate’s aid, Francis Yeardley, at Tertol in Holland.

1608: Captain Thomas Coppley, who claimed that Dale had taken some of his earnings, made a claim against Dale to the Dutch authorities. Dale insisted that Coppley return to England and Southampton wrote a letter of support in Dale’s behalf.

1611-1614: Dale had been asked to serve as High Marshall in Virginia under his “comrade in arms” Sir Thomas Gates.  Francis Yeardley accompanied Gates as captain of his personal bodyguard.

1614-1616: Thomas Dale replaced Gates a Virginia Governor.

1616: Dale returned to England with Pocahontas leaving Francis Yeardley as Virginia Governor.  He states the reason is that Lady Dale is ill.  A note from one of her cousins, George Thorpe of Berkeley Plantation, hints that perhaps there was a minor scandal connected with Dale’s departure.  Subsequently, Thorpe married the daughter of a David Dale that suddenly appeared on “Dale’s Gift” on the Eastern Shore.  Was this a son by a previous marriage?

1617-1618: Dale is in continual correspondence with the Dutch to get his pay that had been in arrears.  In this period he wrote his will which we discussed previously.  There are letters of endorsement to the Dutch from major Englishmen including King James I.

An agreement is reached and Dale’s old lieutenant is to be made commander of his company. (This does not appear to have taken place until 1620 after Dale was dead.)   Dale was appointed Admiral of the English East India Company fleet to sail to India and relieve Nathaniel Courthope who was besieged by the Dutch. Both the English and Dutch were claiming trading rights for the East Indies. Dale arrived in November of 1618 with his six ships and engaged the Dutch capturing their command ship, De Zwaarte Leeuw.  Dale then besieged the Dutch who were holding Jacarta. 

1619: Sometime during the six-month siege of Jakarta, Dale caught a simple illness that he could not shake. In July, Dale received a letter from his English superiors advising him to take command of a joint fleet of 16-20 ships of both the English and Dutch to fight the Chinese raiders who were disrupting trade and open more trade with the Chinese.  On August 9. 1619 Dale died from his illness.  One source claims he was buried on the Island of Masulipatan located off the south east coast of India, another that he was brought back to England. 

1622: Dale’s will was finally registered in London as “Thomas Dale of parts beyond the seas” and his estate was again registered in an administration in 1641 as “Thomas Dale of Stepney in Middlesex, deceased in parts beyond the seas”. 

1626: The will of a Captain for the East Indies Company, Rowland Coytemore (1565-1626) of Stepney in Middlesex came to our attention. He had sailed on the last voyage with Dale and claimed home in the same part of London as Dale. His wife was Dorothy Lane, widow of Wiliam Harris of Wapping.  The Harris family was intermarried with the Thomas Smythe family, and had several members settled in Virginia near land where Dale had established his headquarters. We unsuccessfully tried to tie Dorothy back to the Lanes and Dales.


The most startling thing we learned from the correspondence was that both Dale and Gates were in the employ of the Dutch the entire period while they were in Virginia.  Both men had to argue their cases but were finally paid for their unpaid salaries.  If this was done without the knowledge of the English, this could have been very embarrassing and a cause to be erased from family records.  However, we found nothing more in the military records to indicate the ancestry of Thomas Dale. 


It is important to remember that England had been a relatively insignificant European player until English wool exports brought great wealth to England, and English explorers started to develop trade links.  Around the time of the Roanoke voyages, attacking and looting Spanish frigates amassed great wealth.  England had a victory in 1588 when they scattered the Spanish Armada, and this was followed by several victories like Cadiz in 1596.  England’s total population before 1600 was less than four million, so the little band that pulled off these victories had to have a ‘fraternal atmosphere” and we believe that this was the family that united the English captains that settled in Virginia and New England. 



At the end of eight years, we were still left only with the ability to offer an educated guess about the ancestry of Thomas Dale.  Dale may have started as a common soldier, but he quickly became an officer, and apparently a man highly respected for his military skills. He must have had access to money to be able to arm himself as a Captain, let alone accompany of 90 to 120 men. 


It is our opinion that Dale was the grandson of Matthew Dale of London; probably the son of John Dale and Elizabeth Lane who were married in 1567, about the time that we estimated Thomas Dale would have been born. There is no proof of this but some notes in London would indicate that John and Elizabeth had a son named Richard and another named William.  They had another son named John Dale who was born in 1582 in Clavering in Hertford. If this was his parents, we believe that he may have been introduced to the military and sea as a young page or deck hand via his mother’s family who were heavily involved in the Roanoke voyages.  Clavering was only a few miles from Barley where a George Dale of London had his manor.  This George Dale (will 1560) attended the same church as Matthew Dale and had three sons; John, Thomas, and Richard which was an ideal line-up of names.  Located quite close to Clavering in Hertfordshire was the Manor of Hundson, then occupied by the Queen’s cousin, Sir George Cary, the only Lord Mayor of Ireland not to be a member of the Sidney family.  Up the road five miles was Saffron Walden, the country residence of “Customer Smythe” and his son, officer of both the East Indies and Virginia Companies, Thomas Smythe.  Nearby Smythe stood the grand mansion built by Robert Cecil’s father!
Another neighbor of John Dale in Hertfordshire was Captain Thomas Morgan, who led the first group of three hundred English volunteers to the Low Countries to defend the Dutch Protestants against their Catholic Spanish rulers. If Dale was from Hertford, his father would probably have been involved, and Sir Thomas Dale would have been heavily influenced as a child. Morgan's daughter married the previously mentioned George Cary, Lord Deputy of Ireland, whose uncle, William Kirkham had passed the Rutland manors to Roger Dale. Morgan's granddaughter, Cecily Baynum, would subsequently marry Sir Thomas Dale's brother-in-law, an overseer of Thomas Dale's will, and the person to have inherited CLEARWELL.

If Thomas Dale was not the son of John and Elizabeth, he probably descended from Matthew Dale’s brothers, Thomas or William.  Robert and Roger Dale were Matthew’s cousins, and it was a Roger Dale who received the manors of Manton and Tixover in Rutland. Because the name Roger Dale is so popular in a geographic band stretching from Wincle in Cheschire to Rutland, we would imagine that he was quite a popular military figure in the wars against Ireland.  Perhaps Thomas Dale had served as a page to a father or uncle on this side side of the family.


The Dr. Valentine Dale connection is still very valid.  He was resident ambassador to France and knew Henry IV. He would have had the political connections to get Thomas Dale properly introduced, but he died only two years after Thomas Dale entered the military at the services of the Dutch.  He had a brother named Thomas who had children, but none were named Thomas. Valentine Dale’s family connections to the Berkeley’s of Stoke Gifford are also compelling. 


Interestingly enough, the name Valentine Dale repeats itself on the Matthew Dale side of the family.  Valentine Dale (1559-1598) was a respected judge in the Middle Temple and grandson of Matthew Dale of London.  We suspect that Valentine Dale was of the same clan, and perhaps his grandfather John Dale of Tidworth (Will 1514) was a brother to Harry (William) Dale of Bristol (will 1512). We were struck by the tight geographic area where we found the homes of fellow Virginia Governor Baron de la Warr, William Andover, WiltsShrimpton of Lady Dale's will, and Dr. Valentine Dale's father's home.


We do think that Dale’s immediate family would have looked as follows:

Richard Dale (D1619)

Thomas Dale (D1619) & Elizabeth (Berkeley) Throckmorton

Isabella Dale Gayer (Died after 1619)

John Dale (D1616) = Elizabeth Cooke


Wm. Cooke (Died after 1617)


Baron Wm. Throckmorton of Clearwell


James Scudamore


John Throckmorton



Before we conclude, we would like to point out the large number of the above-mentioned persons who were involved in Essex’s rebellion.  The Essex rebellion was a complicated affair involving much more than Essex wanting to share power with Queen Elizabeth.  Essex was suspicious of those around Elizabeth, particularly Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury. Cecil was behind the conspiracy to have Raleigh thrown in the tower, and now he also was conspiring with King James of Scotland to help him in the transition as the English King.   Certainly, James must have felt grateful to these men who had supported his ascendancy.  Cecil was also the most powerful person on the staff of King James.  It is my guess that Cecil wanted to keep this little cabal under control and what better method than sending them on the Virginia adventure. Four or five of them would be involved in the Gunpowder Plot several years later, and this would have fed into Cecil's storyline quite well.


Essex’s Rebellion:  The Earl of Essex, The Earl of Southampton, William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, a Sidney family member and 1588 Mayor of Bristol, Thomas West, Lord de la Warr, Edward Manners, the 4th Earl of Rutland, The Earl of Sussex, Edward Maria Wingfield, Wingfieldfirst President of the Virginia Company, Thomas Smythe, Treasurer of the Virginia Company, Sir Edwin Sandys, a major shareholder in the Virginia company, Edward Littleton, ancestor of Nathaniel Littleton of Virginia, Edward Baynum and Thomas Dale.


After eight years, I leave you with little more than speculation but hopefully this research will trigger another mind to explore another unturned stone and provide the information to understand the root of these English captains who risked all to settle North America.






  • Reference Maps

    • William Dale of Bristol (W1512) (Click on me Mate!)

      • Maud Dale = Shippon
      • Joanna Dale = John Wyatt
        • Governor Francis Wyatt's ancestors
      • William Dale
      • Thomas Dale
        • Robert Dale
        • Roger Dale
        • Joanna Dale = Thomas Mosley
      • Matthew Dale = Margaret Chapman
        • Mary Dale = Walter Marlar (Roanoke Investor)
        • Henry Dale (W1590) Haberdasher
        • John Dale (D1599) = Elizabeth Lane
          • John Dale of Clavering
        • James Dale (W1551) of London
        • Matthew Dale (Inner Temple)
          • Elizabeth Dale = William Parker
          • Thomas Dale (W1597)
          • Valentine Dale (1559-1598)
        • William Dale (W1559) Haberdasher
        • Elizabeth Dale = Gregory Esham of Braunston, neighbor of Roger Dale of Braunston
          • Ewesby Dale

    We have colored coded the generations to make the genealogy easier to understand.
    William Dale, Mayor of Bristol & Agnes (Felicia) Wynter "To mother church in Worcester"
    Matthew Dale (will 1549)of London & Margaret Chapman of Bath (+) Joanna Dale & John Wyatt (*)   Thomas Dale of Bristol William Dale
    Matthew Dale & Margaret Cooke (1) John Dale (2) & Elizabeth Lane (3) James Dale William Dale (5); Elizabeth Dale (1st) Gregory Isham (6) & (2nd) William Roswell (7) Mary Dale & Walter Marlar (4) Henry Dale Henry Wyatt Robert Dale (9) & Mary Palmer Roger Dale (W1570) (10)   Elizabeth Dale (11)
    Valentine Dale (1A) Matthew Dale (1B) Elizabeth Dale & William Parker (1C); John Dale (2A) of Clavering bordering HUNDSON in HERTFORD Rich. Dale (2B)     Ewesby Esham & Anne Fitzwilliam Anne Esham & William Lane (6A) Mary Eshan & Thomas Andrew (6B)     Thomas Wyatt (Puritan rebellion leader) Robert Dale of Wincle & Katherine Leigh (9B) Thomas Dale Roger Dale of Tewksbury (10A)    
          North Dale (2A-1)           Euseby Andrew Mary Andrew & William Lane (6C)   George Wyatt William Dale of Brigstock (9C) & Elizabeth Ellyott (9D) Roger Dale        
                      Francis Wyatt (Gov. Of Virginia) Mary Dale of "Bristol"          
        Notes from the past:                          
    + Margaret's brother was a famous low country soldier, Peter Chapman who gave testimony that Robert Dale of "Dauley" had died in 1521. A Dawley is less than ten miles from Wincle where we found Roger Dale.

    6 Gregory Isham was fabously wealthy from the textile trade. Their country home was in Rutland immedialtey adjacent to the Rutland Manor received by Roger Dale. His son married Anne Fitzwilliam, daughter of the Lord deputy of Ireland. She was 1st cousin to Sir Philip Sidney. Isham's daughter married into the same Lane family of Ralph Lane, Governor of Roanoke.          
    * Her descendant also will become a Va. Governor. 6A William Lane was one of Captains in Northampton, and served as commander of Southsea Castle. William Lane was the nephew of Roanoke Governor, Ralph Lane.          
    1 Matthew was a judge in the Inner Temple, and a judge in the Guildhall. He received the chambers of his uncle, William Rosell at Middle Temple. Roswell worked alonside the other Dr. Valentine Dale. She was the daughter of Wm. Cooke, and Thomas Dale years later names a Thomas Cooke as an overseer of his will. 6B Thomas Andrew was the presiding sheriff at the trial and execution of Mary of Scots.  
    1A This is not the same Dr. Valentine Dale that served on Queen Elizabeth's staff. This Valentine Dale became a distinquished judge. 6C We are not sure if this is the same William Lane that married her aunt, or her cousin.    
    1B Matthew received William Roswell's chamber at the Middle Temple, and married Mary Wise of HERTFORD. 7 William Roswell held the very prestigious post as the attorney for Queen Elizabeth. Roswell named overseers in his will which would indicate he was well connected.          
    1C A William Parker of Devon was named as a recipient of the Virginia Company Charter, sailed with Raleigh to Africa, and sailed to the East Indies with Dale on his last voyage, and Elizabeth Dale had a son named William Parker. 8 William Roswell was the Queen's Solicitor General, and he mentioned Dr. Valentine Dale in his will.          
    2 JOHN DALE lived in Clavering in 1582 because their son was born there. Clavering was in Hertford, bordering Hundson. Captain Thomas Morgan, the first English soldier to take English volunteers to the Low Countries only lived one mile away. Morgan served on the staff of the Prince of Orange who later would support Sir Thomas Dale in his bid for a company of soldiers in Holland. Morgan's daughter married neighbor Baron Hundson, Queen Elizabeth's cousin; and his other daughter married Christopher Baynum. Baynum's son lived at Clearwell Manor, and his sister married Lady Dale's brother who subsequently inherited Clearwell Manor. Lady Dale's brother was one of the four overseer's mentioned in the will of Sir Thomas Dale. 9 A "Robert Dale" was mentioned along with "Roger Dale" in the Matthew Dale will of 1549. Cousin could also mean nephew as Matthew referred to his neice, Elizabeth Dale (11) as his cousin.          
    2A Only five miles away was the country home of a George Dale who died in 1560, had been a member of the Middle temple, and had a son named Thomas Dale.              
    2A-1 North Dale. Dr. Valentine's daughter married the 3rd Lord NORTH, whose cousin by marriage married Robert Dale of Downham in Norfolk, and whose aunt Christian North married the 3rd Earl of WORCESTER and lived very near CLEARWELL Manor. 9B Wincle is important because it is near the home of Thomas Savage, the young Ensign that resided with the Indians in Virginia and who retired on land adjacent to Dale's in Northampton County, Va. The Leighs are important because, as indicated below, you can see how her family connections tied her children into important family alliances.          
    2B 9C William Dale of Brigstock sat on the board of the east Indies Company, and was thought to be somehow related to Sir Thomas Dale. Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, a definite acquaintenace f Sir Thomas Dale, was involved in some messsy affair where he confiscated land in Brigstock.          
    3 Elizabeth Lane was the brother of Captain William Lane who sailed one of the ships on the Roanoke Voyages, and both were related to Sir Ralph Lane, Governor of Roanoke. Gov. Ralph Lane's family originated in Orlingbury which was sandwiched among the Dales, Eshams, and Cecils. 9D Elizabeth was the daughter of a Thomas Elloyt. Was it the Thomas Elloyt, friend of Walsingham, who lost his life trying to learn more about the planned murder of Queen Elizabeth?          
    4 Walter Marlar was an investor of the Roanoke Voyages. 10 Was this the Roger Dale granted the Sidney manors in Rutland by William Kirkham?          
    5 William Lane had inherited the haberdashery business, and mentioned Thomas Smythe's father in his will. Thomas Smythe was secreatry of the Virginia company and an overseer of Sir Thomas Dale's will. 10A In Tewksbury was one of the manors of Lady Dale's grandfather, William Read.          

              Wm. West, Earl of BATH W. Carey & Mary BOLEYN   Wm. Kirkham of Rutland , uncle of George Cary, deeded Rutland Manors  
      Richard Berkeley of Stoke Gifford (Just outside Bristol)   John Leigh & Elizabeth West, sister of Earl of Bath Lord De la Warr & Anne Knolleys Francis Knolleys & Katherine Cary !st Baron HUNDSON of Hertford (1) Captain Thomas Morgan of HERTFORD near HUNDSON Roger Dale received Rutland manors from Kirkham  
    Elizabeth & Tho. Throckmorton Catherine & Thomas Leigh       Lord De la Warr & Anne Knolleys Cecelia Knolleys George Cary & Anne Morgan Joan Morgan & Christopher Baynym      
    Lady Dale; Elizabeth Throckmorton& Sir Thomas Dale, Gov. Of Virginia Sister Catherine Lee married Robert Dale, above       3rd Lord de la Warr, Gov. Of Va. Earl of Essex   Thomas Baynum      
                        NOTE: Queen Elizabeth grew up at Hundson, and made her cousin, Henry Cary, the first Baron Hundson and he was one of the few men she trusted. Henry Cary promoted the idea that the Chesapeake woul dbe a good place to outfot the privateer ships. He was a major investor in the Roanoke voyages., and the family originated in Wiltshire very near TIDWORTH. Tidworth was the home of John Dale (W1514) & Agnes Newport whose son William Dale's widow married into the BERKELEYS of Stoke Gifford (Just outside Bristol) . Their other son, John Dale, was an elder of Gray's Inn where many of the English explorer's studied, and was the father of Dr. Valentine Dale, Cecily Baynum of CLEARWELL & Wm. Throckmorton of Beverly Plantation in Va., and brother of Lady Dale!      

    Last Updated on 5/23/2000
    By Vaughn Baker vaughn.baker@usa.com