he had no legitimate issue. Yet Munch holds that the ‘Affreca’ who laid claim to Man in 1293 was ‘no doubt’ his granddaughter (Chronicle of Man, p. 136), and peerage-writers, following Lodge, have assigned him a son Miles, from whom, by a grossly fictitious pedigree, they have derived the Lords Kinsale.
The well-known tale of his great exploit, as given in Fuller's ‘Worthies,’ and reproduced in Burke's ‘Peerage,’ is that by which he is best known; but it first appears in the ‘Book of Howth’ and in the Laud MS. (15th cent.) of the ‘Annals of Ireland’ (Cartulary of St. Mary's, ii. cxx), and is certainly a sheer fiction. It is pretended that the privilege of remaining covered before the sovereign was conferred upon John and his heirs in memory of this exploit; but this is an even later addition to the legend, and one of the earliest allusions to ‘the offensive hat’ is found in a letter of George Montagu, who so describes it to Horace Walpole in 1762 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. ii. 115 a).
[For fuller details see the papers by the writer on ‘John de Courci’ (Antiquarian Magazine and Bibliographer, vols. iii–iv.), and on the Book of Howth (Antiquary, vols. vii–viii.). The original authorities for the subject are the Patent Rolls, Close Rolls, Charter Rolls, Oblate and Fine Rolls, Prestita and Liberate Rolls, and Chancellor's Rolls (Record Commission Calendars); the Expugnatio Hiberniæ of Giraldus Cambrensis (being vol. v. of the Rolls edition); the Annals of Loch Cé (Rolls edition); Benedictus Abbas (ib.); Roger de Hovedene (ib.); Gilbert's Historical Documents of Ireland (ib.); Cartulary of St. Mary's, Dublin (ib.); the Book of Howth, being vol. v. of the Carew Papers (ib.); Munch's Chronica regum Manniæ (Christiania); Annals of the Four Masters (ed. O'Donovan); Regan's Anglo-Norman Poem on the Conquest of Ireland (ed. Michel); Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum; and Hearne's Liber Niger. The other authorities referred to are the Reports of the Historical MSS. Commission; the Ulster Journal of Archæology; Gilbert's Viceroys of Ireland; and Lynch's View of the Feudal Dignities of Ireland.]
COURTEN or CURTEENE, Sir WILLIAM (1572–1636), merchant, was the son of William Courten, by his wife Margaret Casiere, and was born in London in 1572. A younger brother, born in 1581, was named Peter. Their father was son of a tailor of Menin and a protestant. After enduring much persecution at the hands of the Spaniards, he escaped to England in 1568; his wife, a daughter Margaret, and her husband Michael Boudean accompanied him. The refugees at first set up a manufactory of French hoods in Abchurch Lane, London, but afterwards removed to Pudding Lane, where they traded in silk and linen. The son-in-law, Boudean, soon died, leaving a son Peter, and the daughter married a second husband, John Moncy, an English merchant. The father and mother apparently lived till the close of Elizabeth's reign.
At an early age Courten was sent to Haerlem, as factor to his father's firm, and the younger brother, Peter, went to Cologne. At Haerlem,William married the deaf and dumb daughter of Peter Cromling, a Dutch merchant there, who brought him 60,000l. About 1600 William returned to London, and Peter remained as his agent in Holland, but paid his brother frequent visits. In 1606 the two brothers entered into partnership with their brother-in-law Moncy to continue and extend the elder Courten's silk and linen business. William contributed half the capital. In 1619 proceedings were taken in the Star-chamber against Courten, Burlamacchi, and other foreign merchants settled in England, for exporting gold, and a fine of 20,000l. was levied on Courten. The firm (Courten & Moncy) prospered, and it was estimated in 1631 that the capital amounted to 150,000l. The prominence of the brothers in the city secured each of them the honour of knighthood. William was knighted 31 May 1622, and Peter 22 Feb. 1622–3. William's operations were not confined to his London business: he built ships and traded to Guinea, Portugal, Spain, and the West Indies. His fleet at one time numbered twenty vessels, with nearly five thousand sailors on board. About 1624 one of his ships discovered an uninhabited island, to which Courten gave the name of Barbadoes. It seems that his agents in Zealand had suggested to him the expedition. With a view to profiting to the fullest extent by his discovery, he petitioned in 1625 for the grant of all unknown land in the south part of the world, which he called ‘Terra Australis Incognita.’ In the same year he sent out a few colonists to the islands, and on 25 Feb. 1627–8 received letters-patent formally legalising the colonisation (Sloane MS. 2441; Ligon, Hist. of Barbadoes). The grant was addressed to ‘the Earl of Pembroke in trust for Sir William Courten.’ Courten, in accordance with the deed, began colonisation on a large scale. He sent two ships with 1850 persons on board to Barbadoes, under Captain Powel, who, on his arrival, was nominated governor by Courten and the Earl of Pembroke; but the speculation proved disastrous. Three years later James Hay, earl of Carlisle, disputed this grant, claiming, under deeds dated 2 July 1627 and 7 April 1628, to be owner of all the Caribbee islands lying