| Thomas Wyncoll (I) was
the only surviving son of Thomas Wyncoll (H).
He was born in 1719, but all efforts to find a record of his baptism have
proved unavailing. From the fact that his father was then in occupation
of the Valley House, Langham, it may be safely assumed he was born there.
The Langham church registers are much mutilated at about this period and
it is not surprising, therefore, that the baptismal entry does not appear
recorded on such registers. But the omission gave me much trouble, and
for sixteen years I tried to prove Thomas Wyncoll (I) the son of his father
Thomas (H) without success. It then struck me to try the Court Rolls of
Langham and Dedham,
Definite information as to the year of his
birth is to be derived from the Court Rolls of the manor of Overhall and
Netherhall, in Dedham, now in the possession of Mr. G. Beaumont of Coggeshall,
for at a court held for that manor on the 22nd July, 1728, "it was presented
by the Homage that Thomas Wyncoll, Gentleman, a customary tenant of the
Manor, had died since the last Court (held 28th March, 1727), and that
Thomas Wyncoll an infant and the only son (filius unicus) of the
said Thomas and of the age of nine years, by Penelope his Mother, prayed
that he might be admitted tenant and he was admitted tenant accordingly,
and because the said Thomas was under age the lord granted the guardianship
of his body to his Mother, the said Penelope Wyncoll." A presentment was
also made in Langham Hall manor on 26th July, 1728, of the death of his
father and concerning the 22 acres of land adjoining the Valley house,
called "Fordlands and Oatlands" previously referred to "and that Thomas
Wyncoll is the son and heir of Thomas Wyncoll deceased." At this and subsequent
courts, proclamations were made, but Penelope Wyncoll failed to take admittance
as guardian of her son and ultimately, default having thus been made, the
lands were seized into the hands of the lord of the manor, who regranted
same to John Potter, of Wormingford, gentleman, the purchaser (in 1724)
of the Valley House, Langham.
| Many members of the family are
doubtless aware that on the death of a copyhold tenant (or even on a sale
during his lifetime) every fresh owner of the property is compelled before
three proclamations in open court are made to take admission to such property,
whether he derives it by descent as in the present case, or through a will.
Therefore the position on Thomas Wyncoll's father's death in 17271
was this:- There was no will, and according to the custom of the manors
of both Overhall and Netherhall in Dedham, and Langham Hall, the descent
was to Thomas (I), "an infant and only son (filius unicus) of the said
Thomas, and of the age of nine years" (
For some reason, difficult to understand, his mother, Penelope, chose to take admission, as guardian to the small property at Dedham that his father had purchased from Robert Mixer and his wife, leaving "Fordlands and Oatlands" to revert to the lord by default as is proved on pp.72 and 73 of Minute Book 9 of the Langham Hall manor Court Rolls. This shews conclusively that Thomas Wyncoll (I) was the son and heir of Thomas Wyncoll (H) deceased.
The only suggestion I am able to offer as to why Penelope took admission to the Dedham property on behalf of her son Thomas, and allowed the Langham land to revert to the lord of the manor, is that the former was residential property, and she paid the necessary fine and fees to keep it for her own purpose until her son's majority and did not feel disposed to pay the fifteen guineas lord's fine besides the steward's fees (which are always a great deal more than the fine) to take up the latter.
The three proclamations were made in open court long before Thomas attained his majority, and he therefore lost all right to regaining "Fordlands and Oatlands." Presumably, Thomas Wyncoll attained his majority in January, 1739, and was then unmarried as, on the 25th of that month, he sold the Dedham property to Thomas Semen, and had he possessed a wife she would have been compelled to join in the surrender to dispose of her dower.
It seems that Thomas Wyncoll returned to Langham soon after selling his Dedham property and married a lady whose christian name was Elizabeth. I have been unable to find any record of the marriage, but the first baptismal entry in his family is that of a daughter, Penelope, on 7th May, 1743.
It will be noticed, on reference to the extracts from the Langham church registers given in the appendix i., that the name of Thomas Wyncoll's wife is given as "Mary" in one instance. I believe this to have been a mistake on the part of the person making the entry. The first daughter was evidently named Penelope after her grand- mother, and it is most probable the second was named Elizabeth after her mother.
Having had the good fortune to find a complete set of the old Langham parish rate books, overseers' and churchwardens' books, from 1735 to the present time, I am able to positively trace out the land Thomas Wyncoll farmed in this parish. We find the first entry in the list of names rateable for the six months ending October 1st, 1744, and full extracts are given in appendix iii., as are the "Outsitters'" list overseers books, the entries of each corroborating the other.
This "Outsitters'" list appears to apply to those who held land in the parish but did not reside there. It may be, as I believe to have been the case, that Thomas Wyncoll died in 1785 and the holding "late Bains" was carried on by his son Thomas (J) (who we know was then living at Mile End) for another year.
These books have cleared up a matter which had given me much trouble. Many years ago I discovered an old Ordnance map made in 1814 on which the farm, now known as "Hill farm" and in the occupation of Mr. S. R. Blyth, was marked "Wyncoll's farm." Until we were fortunate enough to find the above mentioned books I was only able to surmise the connection; but of course now we are able to prove that Thomas Wyncoll lived at "Hill farm" as tenant from 1744 to 1785. The reason for the farm being known for several years later as " Wyncoll's" is obvious. It is still marked on Kelly's map of Essex as " Wyncoll's farm."
I do not think that Thomas Wyncoll owned any land in Langham as his name does not appear in the Court Rolls as taking admission or surrendering any property, nor do we find that he sold any freehold. It is interesting to note that he farmed, for apparently one year only (1752), the old "Valley farm," the home of his childhood, which he left when six years of age. He acted as overseer at Langham in 1777 and also attached his signature in the following years at the parish meetings -1745, 1746, 1755, 1757, 1768, 1771, 1775, 1776, '777, 1781, 1782, and 1783 - a tracing of which I have taken.
It may be of interest to note that the overseers' books give a complete specified list of all persons buried in Langham from 1739 to 1773. These entries appear in the rate book because it was incumbent on the parish overseers to note that the affidavits stating that persons were "Buried in Woollen" were duly carried out, in accordance with the Act passed in 1688. No Wyncolls appeared in this burial list.
After having been able to give so much of the life and deeds of Thomas Wyncoll (I) it is regrettable that I am unable to record the exact time of his decease, or where he was buried. The last we can learn of him is the time he gave up the Langham holdings in 1785; he was then 67 years of age. I find from a deed that in 1791 "Elizabeth Wyncoll, widow," was a tenant of "Mandeville's House," situated exactly opposite the " Hill farm," and later the site of the "Old Windmill," demolished a few years since. I think it is fairly certain that this was Thomas Wyncoll's widow, and that he was deceased at the time.
I am unable to find any record of his will.
He was probably a man of some means, seeing that he was farming, at one
time, at least 360 acres of land and the fact that in most of the parish
documents he was described as "Thomas Wyncoll, Gent." leads one to suppose
that he was considered a man of some position; also being the only son
of his parents, who, we know, were at one time possessed of considerable
means, it is reasonable to think that he inherited a considerable amount.
| William, his eldest son, resided
at Langham all his life. He does not appear to have prospered. He was an
Overseer 1781 and 1782, and farmed until 1787, in which year he became
tenant of the "Greyhound Inn" and so continued until his death in 1810.
From 1789 to 1810, he acted as one of the ringers at the parish church.
He married twice - of the first marriage no record has been traced, but
his second wife was Deborah King, a widow, of Mile End, Colchester, and
they were married at that parish church on 8th January, 1783. He died on
7th June, 1810, leaving no issue by either of his wives. His will2
was proved on 3rd November, 1810, by his widow, Deborah, his sole executrix
and legatee. The witnesses to such will were Brook Baines Hurlock, James
Bacon and Sarah Wyncoll. Deborah Wyncoll married a third time to William
Hart, of Langham, and died on the 21st October, 1823, aged 62 years.
It would appear that Thomas Wyncoll hired, what afterwards became the home of the family at Mile End, from the Corporation of Colchester. In a History' of Colchester, published in 1788, there is the following entry amongst the particulars of the premises (the Severalls estate, Mile End) held by the several tenants in 1767:-
A farm, consisting of a messuage, barn, cartlodge and granary with other houses in good repair and arable land: the said premises are in the occupation of James Tiffin, who took the remainder of a term of 16 years from Michaelmas 1753, granted to Wincole, afterwards assigned to May, but not yet assigned to the said James Tiffin, at a yearly rent of 56l.
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