This is my first time writing on this subject, although I read all of the threads and did some other research. I am trying to link Major General Humphrey Atherton to the ancient line....if it is at all possible!
After reading extracts from "Pleadings and Depositions in the Duchy Court of Lancaster ... By Lancaster (England : County Palatine)." Page 27
There is a court case where one branch tries to claim its rights to property.
LIGITIMATE LINE-Ralph(d.1461)to his nephew Henry(d.1474), Hamlet, Thomas(Died about 1513)..eventually to the Stlanley family.
Nicholas of Atherton(died 1420) became heir of Bickerstaffe, he had at leat 2 sons, Nicholas(d.1424) and Ralph(d.1461).
The family rights eventually wast to Ralph(d.1461). With no legitimate issue, althought there were 4 "Bastarde" sons and 1 daughter the Manor...rights went to Ralph's(d.1461) brothers son, ie. his nephew, Henry(died 1474).
Three generations later in 1506 Ralph, son and heir of Humfrey Atherton, put in his claim; because it was shown that Humfrey's father, Piers, was one of four illegitimate children of Ralph Atherton(d.1261).
Ralph's "Bastarde" sons heirs tried to reclaim their right.
"The said Raulyn (d.1461) had a son called Pers Atherton ... The said Pers, bastard, had issue Humfrey, father of the now plaintiff(Ralph)."
Now if we back up from Major General Humphrey Atherton(1609-1661), Edmund(1576-1613), Humphrey(1550=1586) we are pretty close to 1506.