William Davenport, who married Grace Alloway in 1707 and died in Reading, Berkshire, in 1723, was an ancestor of my wife Jessica. I began investigating his ancestry several years ago, not anticipating any wider interest beyond a few other descendants, but was subsequently contacted by the late William Addams Reitwiesner, a prolific American researcher who was interested in William Davenport because he is also a known ancestor of Catherine Elizabeth (Kate) Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge.
Some of William Davenport's descendants were convinced that he had been born in Shropshire into a family of gentry that had migrated from Cheshire in the early seventeenth century. This account was presented as probable but unproven in a pamphlet written in 1890 by Canon James Davenport (1857-1930), Jessica's great great uncle, who carried out extensive research on the Davenport family, and his conjectural conclusions were subsequently incorporated into a book written in 1914 by Francis Martineau Lupton, a great great grandfather of Catherine Middleton. Canon Davenport carried out a great deal of research to try to prove William Davenport's Shropshire ancestry, but conceded, in a further pamphlet written in 1923, that the evidence he had been able to find was inconclusive. I set myself the challenge of proving William Davenport's ancestry, and in the course of my research discovered conclusive evidence that William Davenport had been born in Reading and was not descended from the Shropshire family.
There is a known ancestral connection between the royal family and the Davenport gentry of Shropshire. Journalists and others interested in such relationships have found unsubstantiated information on Catherine Middleton's ancestry in sources such as Lupton's book, and spurious accounts of common ancestors of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have appeared on various websites and in the popular press. I have therefore made available the results of my research disproving this connection via this website in response.
A detailed explanation, summarising previous research and describing my own findings, is available in The Ancestry of William Davenport of Reading.