Family Records for the Essex Branch

Our records for the De Liston family start when Godfrey The Chamberlain married  Avicia De Liston daughter of Robert De Liston this record comes from the  matters pertaining the widows and children in the time of Henry II.

Liston Overhall was already held by this tenure in 1185, when Avicia de Lyston, widow of Godfrey the Chamberlain, and daughter of Robert de Lyston, with a son who was of age, was bound, as its holder, “facere canestellas ad summonicionem ad festum regis.”

An earlier record of a Godfrey the Chamberlain can be found in the North when he was witness to a charter by William brother of Malcolm King of The Scots.

They had one confirmed son.

Others may include:

2/  Roger De Lyston also in Scotland between 1165 and 1172 witnessing charters for the Bishop of St Andrews.

3/ Ranulph Fitz Godfrey The Chamberlain who was in the household of Henry The Younger and Richard I, he knew William Marshall who funded him to take the Cross with Richard I on the 3rd Crusade.  He died at the Siege of Acre in 1191 as described in the Annals of Roger De Hoveden. He was also a witness to a charter when Richard I was in Rouen in 1190 and he appears in the history of William Marshall.

Roger De Hoveden Ref… 
Rouen 28 June 1190  ( trans 160 ) Ref….
Charters Witnessed
The History of William Marshall Ref…

4/ Geoffrey who purchased land from William son of Agnes in Stansfeld, Suffolk in the time of Richard I.
Feet of fines No. 23

In 1212 Johannes De Listone was returned per serjanterium faciendi canastellos.

In 1224 John Son of Adam De Alliston sells land at Stansfeld, Suffolk
Feet of fines No. 144 page 23

In the Time of Henry III, Godfrey De Liston has a close relationship with the King as bailiff of Cookham, Forrestier around Windsor and supplies for Westminster.

Windsor Castle Ref…

Fine Rolls of Henry III Ref…

Godfrey holds Leyton manor of sir Hugh De Neville and  has a son John who dies in 1303 , he in turn has a son called John who inherits.

In Suffolk Thomas De Liston is Clerk to The Earl of Pembroke, William De Valence.
Public record office

Sir William De Valence was half brother to Henry III he married Joan De Munchensi daughter of Waren De Munchensi Lord of Swanscombe and Joan Marshall one of the 5 daughters of William Marshall 1st Earl of Pembroke. Sir William De Valence died in 1296 and came to England in 1247 so the following are in that period.
It was the previous Earl of Pembroke that commissioned the writing of The History of William Marshall.

A. 3530. Grant by Henry son of William de Elmeswall’, to Thomas son of Nigel de Liston, clerk, Alice his wife, and John and Simon their sons, for 10 mares, of land called ‘Varelond’ in Meleford parish, between land of Sir William de Valencia and the road from Henry’s house to the tigh of Kentewalle called ‘Haylokestye.’ Witnesses:—John de Curmavile, John Peytem’, and others (named). Portion of seal.

A. 3469. Release by Alice, late the wife of ‘Thomas, son of Nigel de Liston, clerk to Sir William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, of ‘all her right in the lands and tenements which he has by demise of the said Thomas, in Melleford. Witnesses :—Simon de Frestone, ,Sampson de Batesford, and others (named). Seal

A. 3781. Grant by Henry son of William de Elmeswelle, to Thomas son of Nigel de Liston, clerk, for 10 marks, of land called ‘Varelond’ in Meleford parish, between Sir William de Valencia’s land and the road from Melford church to Kentewall tigh called ‘Haylokestye.’ Witnesses: —Sir John de Curmanvile, John Poytevin, and others (named). Portion of seal.

William Alston of Stisted
Ref Harts MSS No 1390 British Museum (Vide Burke).
The family of Alston is upon record so early as the reign of Edward I (1272-1307), when “William Alston of Stisted in Essex, for want of warranty of Burkscraft in Stisted did grant or confirm to John de Carpenter of Naylinghurst, so much of the better land in Stisted except his mansion house there”. In that time of Edward III, Hugh Alston bore for arms, azure ten stars or four, three, two and one, which was long before coat armour was granted by patent: Henry and Robert Alston also mentioned in the Botule (?) Hundredorum as having land at Fulbourn Cambridgeshire.

1296 Lyston Johannes De, enrolled pursuant to the ordinance for the defence of the sea coast as a knight holding lands in the county of Essex , but unfit for service
Ref …….

In 1314 Johannes De Listone 24 October to January 1315 claimed expenses for attendance at Parliament four shillings each per diem, tested at Westminster 9th March 1315.

John De Liston died shortly before 17 October 1332.

His wife Eleanor is recorded as she makes a charter for Richard and Ellen de Strelleye in 1335.  The seal shows the Liston coat of arms

Seal of Alianor De Lyston

John and Eleanor had a son John and heir John, aged 22 [Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 7, no 451]. The younger John died in 1349, leaving a son John who had been born in 1337 [Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 9, no 349; vol. 10, no 392], who in turn died in 1359, leaving as heir his uncle William de Liston, aged 30 and more [Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 10, nos 473, 551]. In fact William must have been well over 30 years old, as his son and heir Thomas was born around 1341 [Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 12, no 151].

1342/43 – John Liston and Thomas Liston were both in France with William Bohun, Earl of Northampton fighting the French in Brittany. John served as a banneret for Bohun, a banneret being a knight in charge of a group of other knights.

John and Thomas may have been related to John Hawkwood, they seem to have close associations with De Vere ( Earl of Oxford) fighting together on occasion.
Ref …

Chaucer also had connections to John Hawkwood and it has been speculated that the Knight in Cantebury Tales was based on Hawkwood.  Chaucers Grand daughter by his son Thomas  was later to marry John De La Pole Earl of Suffolk.

1351 Sir John de Liston was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Carbonell, and thereby the Manor of Carbonels passed into the Liston family.  

William De Lyston had died by 1367 as his wife Joan is listed as holding the right to make the wafers and present them to the King.

Thomas their son sold the land to Richard Lyons just before the peasants revolt in which Lyston manor was sacked and he lost his life.

We then pick up on a dispute between Robert or John Liston ( some sources say it was John and some say it was Robert, I think they were brothers as records exist for both) in the 1430s with John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk and his son in law Robert Wingfield.  The dispute was over land which Robert Liston claimed he had inherited from Sir William Carbonell, an inquisition post mortem held in autumn 1432 named Robert Wingfield as the heir without explaining why.  When it came to court Liston won and was awarded the properties.  Wingfield took action and  took them back and again Liston took it to court and won.  Wingfield went to his father in law the Duke of Norfolk and had Liston outlawed for assault but Liston had a powerful ally in the Earl Of Suffolk, William De Le Pole.  William De Le Pole had Wingfield imprisoned in the tower for 9 months, the Duke of Norfolk also seems to have spent time in the tower.  In November 1440 Liston was pardoned for outlawry and his goods were restored.

A different take on this can be read in  An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Clavering …

This book states the arms of Liston as vert ten plates, 4,3,2,1 impalling carbonel gules , a cross argent in a bordure ingrailled ore.  by Francis Blomefield.


On the medieval soldiers database John Aliston is listed as a archer under the command of William De Le Pole, Earl of Suffolk.

Roberts wife was Isabella, Robert died in 1478, Isabella died in 1491.  It seems his daughters inherited.  Roberts father was John who was the son of Sir John De Liston and Elizabeth daughter of Sir William Carbonell mentioned above.

As Roberts family can be traced back to Sir John De Lyston it means we have and least two branches of the family because it was William and his son who inherited Liston.

In 1440 we have a record of Robert Lyston Senior and Robert Lyston Junior relating to the manor of Badyngham in the dispute above.  They leased the manor to William Pye for 22 years.


William De La Pole was murdered in 1450 and this changed the power base in East Anglia.  The Duke of Norfolk never really recovered from his dispute with Liston and William De la Pole leaving De Vere to become the main power base in East Anglia.

This was confirmed at the battle of Bosworth when John De Vere 13th Earl of Oxford and his men killed the Duke of Norfolk.  Richard III also died in the battle creating Henry VII as King.

It is at this time that William Alliston appears in the manor rolls of Castle Hedingham being born about 1480.  A William Eliston is named in the will of the 13th Earl of Oxford.

Prior to this there is a surviving will of Thomas Alston made on 30th August 1469 in which he mentions his brother William as well as a John Alston and his six sons the first of which is born in 1427.

The arms of the Alstons are very similar to the Listons.

Alston coat of arms
Alston coat of arms

Some of these Yeoman probably made up De Veres archers in the battle of Bosworth.

The families of William Alliston of Castle Hedingham are documented and many are traceable through to today as well as many of the descendants of Thomas Alston.

Copyright where applicable Mark Alliston
All other rights recognised and referenced.

Thanks to Helen Proszenyak for help with the early records.

We are now looking at the Scottish branch with Tricia Barnett.

If anyone has any other information please contact me with references etc.


Research takes time Donations welcome

Origins of the surname Liston and Alliston