I’m sure you’ve noticed the popularity of naming William Dayton and Agnes Green parents of Ralph Dayton. It seems to show up everywhere. Both the hypothesis and the story constructed upon it are very appealing, so much so that we would like to believe it.
We’ve seen the August 9, 1584 record of marriage for Guilielm’ Dayghto’ & Agnete Greene in The Registers of the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields and there is certainly no denial that the timing is ideal to fit one of Ralph’s probable birth years. But it is interesting that nobody (at least, that we have found) offers any citation or reasoning that links Ralph with William and Agnes. Ralph does not appear in the same register—we’ve searched it.
The story is commonly told this way:
William Deighton was the first one in this line to leave York, the home of his ancestors, shortly after the death of his father, Robert. William’s mother then married Sir Francis Ayscrough. William left for London at that time and settled somewhere near St. Martin’s on the Fields, where he married Agnes Green and had four sons—Ralph, William, Nicholas and Thomas.
The known history of Ralph begins with his marriage to Alice in 1617. Until another record is found, anything before 1617 should not be accepted as fact, even though we want to accept it.