Has anyone noticed the unusual range of dates concerning the first two in our Cawood line, Johannes de Cawood and his supposed son, David de Cawood?
Of course, we don't have birth or death dates for either one. Instead we have dates which show land ownership or a religious confirmation. However, it is my belief that there were possibly two Johanneses or two Davids, or two of each.
The earliest date we have for Johannes is 1201, when he was Keeper of the Forest. For argument's sake, let's say the youngest age at which he could have held this title would have been 16, which would put his birthyear about 1185. The earliest date we have for David is 1263, when he was made Abbot of Selby Abbey. Let's say the youngest age at which this could have occurred would have been about 20, which would put his birthyear at about 1243. This would mean that in order for them to be father and son, Johannes would have been about 58 when David was born.
Now, the title of Keeper of the Forest was hereditary, so it would have passed to the eldest son. The first mention of David having the title was 1279, at which time Johannes would have been 94 years old, assuming he lived that long. It could be that David was not the oldest son, so perhaps an older brother who had no sons of his own held the title between Johannes and David. However, there is no mention of another Cawood holding the title during the 12th century other than these two.
Also, in 1312, David held one-third of the town of Cawood in return for his service as Keeper of the Forst. If he was born about 1243 (around the latest possible year for him to be born), then he would have been 69 in 1312.
We know for a fact that David's son, John, was born on 13 January 1294, as he was baptized in All Saints Church, Cawood, the next day. At the youngest, David would have been about 51.
In today's world, it is not impossible to father a child while in one's 50s, but it is a little surprising when it happens. However, 800 years ago, when lifespans were much shorter due to the effects of extremely difficult lifestyles, no medical care of any kind, and the dangers of day to day life, it would be highly unlikely that not one but two successive generations would father a firstborn son while in their 50s.
I'm not saying it's impossible, just highly unlikely, and therefore makes me suspect. Does anyone have any documentation that shows these two are father and son? Is anyone else suspicious of these dates?
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