(Adapted from an account by L. C. SIER, published in the Essex Archaeological Society's Transactions, 1910.)


The Wyncolls of
Suffolk and Essex:
Arms of Wyncoll
Author's Addendum
Text Chapters:
  • Intro + John Wyncoll (A)
  • Roger Wyncoll (B)
  • John Wyncoll (C)
  • Isaac Wyncoll (D)
  • Isaac Wyncoll (E)
  • Thomas Wyncoll (F)
  • Thomas Spring Wyncoll (G)
  • Thomas Wyncoll (H)
  • Thomas Wyncoll (I)
  • Thomas Wyncoll (J)
  • William Wyncoll (K)
  • Thomas Wyncoll (L)
  • Charles Wyncoll (M)
  • Charles Edward Wyncoll (N)
  • Pedigree Diagrams:
  • Fowler and Alexander
  • Gawdy
  • Umfreville
  • Waldegrave
  • Wyncoll
  •      ONE day, in August 1881, I was sitting in my bungalow at Jhansi, in India, when T. R. A. G. Montgomery, a subaltern of the Cheshire regiment, came in and asked me what my county was.  I told him Essex, as I knew my grandfather had lived and my father been born at Severall's farm, Mile End, Colebester.  He showed me a book, Excursions in Essex, published in London by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, in 1818, in which he said the name of "Wyncoll" was mentioned.  He gave me this book and I found that it mentioned the fact that Mr. Isaac Wyncoll in his will, dated March 1681, directed that a bull should be killed on the premises of Twinstead Hall every Christmas for the benefit of the poor of Twinstead, Great Henny, Pebmarsh, and Alphamstone. 

         I sent the book home to my father, who replied that he knew nothing about the family.  I then promised myself if ever I could manage to get quartered at Colchester I would set to work and learn all I could of the "Wyncolls."

         I managed to get there in 1888, and started my quest at once. This account is the result, very imperfect, of years of pleasant work.  If it gives as much pleasure to other Wyncolls to gain the information about their forefathers, as it has to me to collect it, my work will not have heen in vain. 

    Arms of Wyncoll:
    Ermine, a chevron quarterly per chevron or and sable, between three crescents, gules. 

    Crest: On a wreath, an arm couped at the shoulder, embowed and erect from the elow, habited in armour proper, garnished or, holding in a hand of the first a spear of the second, headed argent. 

    Granted at Cook's Visitation of Suffolk, 1577.

         A perusal of the following pages will provide ample food for reflection as to the vicissitudes of our family. 

         One fact is made tolerably clear, and it is a matter for congratulation, which is, that, although occupying an important social position in the county of Essex during some of the most troublous reigns of our sovereigns, the family was consistently fortunate in avoiding collisions with the authorities.  This was very different with many other county families, especially during the Commonwealth.  But, although we escaped annihilation in this direction, we met our fate in another, for it seems to me that our misfortunes were brought about by dissentions amongst ourselves, and that such dissentions were caused, in each instance (and I make the assertion even at the risk of being thought ungallant) by, alas, what is too frequent with most families -- the ladies. 

         Thomas Wyncoll's ("F") second wife (nee Mary Spring) may have been a most estimable person in his eyes, but she certainly was not so in the opinion of his first wife's children, with the consequence that Thomas (Spring) Wyncoll ("G") was cut off with the proverbial shilling and practically ejected from his ancestral home by his half-brother, Isaac.  Again, Penelope, the wife of Thomas Wyncoll ("H") a generation or two later put the finishing touches on our family's misfortune, in addition to which she has perpetuated her memory by tantalizingly raising false hopes of a fortune awaiting us all in Chancery.  I fear the myth still exists. Some excuse may surely be found for my ungallant statement above.  My sincere hope is that our star is once more in the ascendent.

         Mr. L. C. Sier has written an article on the family in the Essex Archaeological Society's Transactions founded principally on information I had gathered, and has consented to my augmenting it. Messrs. Wiles and Son, the printers, are kindly giving me every assistance, and this little family history is the result. 

         I must acknowledge my indebtedness to my cousin, William Wrench Wyncoll, and to Mrs. John Felgate (nee Wyncoll), wife of Mr. John Felgate, of Wivenhoe, for much help and encouragement; also to many Essex and Suffolk clergymen, chiefly the Rev. Thomas Myers, vicar of Twinstead, the Rev. T. S. Raffles, rector of Langham, and the Rev. T. Hughes, vicar of Little Waldingfield. My good friend, Mr. S. Meynell, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, has also worked hard for me, and given me the benefit of his knowledge of "where to search."

         As to the origin of the family, whilst not pronouncing a definite opinion, the following remarks may not be out of place.

         It is well known that many Flemings settled in the eastern counties, amongst other places at Lavenham and Sudbury. They came on the invitation of Edward III. and under the protection of his Queen, Philippa of Hainault. Their cloth was long famed for the fineness of its texture; and many of them amassed large fortunes.

         Mention is made of these facts, because the first of the family under review I can find was a "clothier," at Little Waldingfield, near Sudbury.

           In the Calendar of Patent Rolls, Tower of London, the following entry appears: "Ricus de Wynkle (sic) Confessor Regis." 1 This royal confessor, then, may have accompanied Queen Philippa from her Flemish home to the English court.   
    1. Edward III, M 12, p.147, to John Wyncoll, of Nether Hall, Littte Waldingfield.
        Again, in the same reign (in 1362), one finds "John Wynckel" as priest at Little Wenham, 2 Suffolk; and, further (in 1391), one"Alan Wyndecole" and Mabel his wife were admitted to a copy hold cottage and land at Langham, 3 near Colchester, then called "Browynges."  This property was sold by Alan Wyndecole in 1428, and a few years later (in 1443) is called "Wyndecoles." From that year until 1753 it is variously called "Wyndecolls," "Wincolls" (1593 and 1609), "Wynkoles" (1620), and thence forward "Wincolls" and "Windcolls."

         I have been unable to connect Alan Wyndecole with the Waldingfleld family.

         From 1500 to the present time the family has spelt its name "Wyncoll." John Wyncoll the elder, of Little Waldingfield, the first Wyncoll above referred to, so signs his will in 1521 and it so appears on all the family monuments since. As will be noticed here- after, it has been spelt by others "Wyncold" (the Heralds' College), "Wincold," "Wyncole," "Wyncol," "Wincoll," and "Wincol."

         Before proceeding with the facts collected relating to the branch still represented, it will, perhaps, be well to give a brief resumé as to the other side of the house -- the elder and, so far as I have ascertained, the extinct branch.

    2. Feet of Fines, Record Office, Suffolk: 35 Edward. III. (file 93), No. 3. Abstract. Final agreement in "Curia Regis" at Westminster in the octave of St. Martin 34 Edward III, and confirmed in Hilary term 35 Edward III., between John Wynekel, parson of the church of Little Wenham, plaintiff, and William de Waldyngfield and Aunflesia his wife, defendant, of one messuage, 30 acres of land, and one acre of pasture with the appurtenances in Brende Wenham and Little Wenham. The said William and Aunflesia acknowledged the same premises to be the right of the said John. To hold to the said John and his heirs of the chief lord of that fee for ever. For this acknowledgment the said John gave to the said William and Aunflesia 20 marks of silver.
    3. Manorial Rolls of Langham.
           John Wyncoll, a clothier, of Little Waldingfield, near Sudbury, the common ancestor, is the first of the family I can find.  He is a party to a grant 4  of the 24th October, 1504, to Thomas Appulton and Margery his wife and others of a messuage, etc., in Little Waldingfield. That he was extremely well off is evidenced by a perusal of his will. 5   He was a devout R6man Catholic, the earlier provisions being for church purposes, such as the bequest of his soul to the Virgin Mary, 20d. to the high altar for tithes and offerings "negligently forgotten or withdrawn,"  21s. for "the changing of the little bell" and bequests to the friars of Sudbury and the prior of Clare for trentalls of masses.   
    4. Bodl. Suffolk, cli. 492.
    5.  At Somerset House, reference No. 18: Maynwarying. 1521.
         In addition to his house and land (of which latter he owned a good deal) in Little Waldingfield, John Wyncoll also possessed a house and land in Groton, a house at Sudbury, tenements and land on "Hompell Green," and another house at Bildeston.  He was actively engaged in business up to his death, and he bequeathed his dyeing house, with a piece of land lying in Whenfield, to his son John upon condition that the son paid his mother 10l. a year during her life, and he also directed that his sons Robert and Roger should "set in the said dyeing at all times when they should need, paying salt sitting xiid. to the said John and he to find them sufficient nettes, trenches, coverings and jetis."

         He directed his executors (his sons John, Robert and Roger) to place over his grave a tomb of brick a yard in height above the ground to be closed above with a stone of marble on which a brass with the day and time of his decease and a "picture" of himself and another of his wife in brass were to be "grayned in the said stone for a perpetual memory to be prayed for."  This tomb is not now in existence, although such fact is little to be wondered at, seeing that the same treatment was undoubtedly meted out at Little Waldingfield church as was happening at the hands of the Iconoclast, William Dowsing, at Sudhury and the neighbouring churches 122 years later and that, in order to purify the atmosphere of that church and allay the religious susceptibilities of the worshippers the offending "pictures" in brass were removed.

         John Wyncoll made his will upon his death bed and died in November, 152 I.  It was attested by "Sir Richard Pyke, his ghostly advisor," Thomas Mathew and Richard Studwicke and was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 29th November, 1521.  His wife, Alice, outlived him.

         He had four sons, as shewn by his will:- John (surnamed "Black John" 6 ), Robert, Roger and William and a daughter, Katherine.

         The pedigree at Heralds College is, doubtless, incorrect.  In fact it is stated that the pedigree was handed to the herald and signed by John Wyncoll (C) in 1577, whereas he died in December, 1576; he did not know his grandfather Page's christian name, and he gave his father as an eldest son and heir whereas he was third son.

    6. Harl. MSS.  1560.
    7. Proved in Prerogative court of Canterbury. Somerset House, ref. Pennyng, No.13.
         John, the eldest son (" Black John"), styles himself " clothier in his will, dated the 20th May, 1544 7   He directs that he shall be buried in the middle of Little Waldingfield church and gives sums of money to replace the broken bell of that church, for masses and for the "most needful repairs for thoroughfare between the house where he dwelt and Hempill Green," legacies to his sons John, Roger, and William, and to his daughters Mary, Katherine Crypt, Joan Cage, Margaret Cowmeny and to the children of his "late daughter Alice Spencer" and devised his farm at Woodhall and lands in Great and Little Waldingfield to his wife, Joan, for life and after her decease to his son John.  He also devised to his son John a house and croft of land (7 acres) at Hempill Green, his dyehouse with pightle belonging, and a house in Lavenham to his son William, as well as making several other devises of real estate to his children.  His brother, Roger, was appointed supervisor of his will. It was attested by William Syday, Roger Wyncoll the elder, William May and others.  He died on the 12th August, 1544. 8
         Robert Wyncoll, the second son, was of Little Waldingfield, and describes himself as a "cloth maker."  By his will 9 he directs that his body should be buried within the churchyard of Little Waldingfield; and gives 12d. to the altar of that church for tithes, and 10d. each to the prior and convent of the friars of Sudbury, to the prior and convent of the friars of Clare, and to the warden and canons of the friars of Babwell, for trentalls of masses for the weal of his soul. He gives his lands and tenements to his wife Margaret, and, after her death, to his son Andrew; and if the latter should die before his (testator's) wife, then everything should be sold by his executors (his brothers John and Roger), and half the money should "be done in deeds of charity" and the other half "to be divided between the children of John Wyncoll and Roger Wyncoll his bretheren hy equal portion." The will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 31st October, 1531.
    8.  Brass in Little Waldingfield church:  "Hic jacet Johanes Wyncoll clothier quie obiit xij die Augusti dni Mllocccccxliiij Cujus anime propicietur Deus. Amen."  Size of effigy 18¼ by 7½. Inscription 13 by 5. Local. 
    9. At Somerset House, reference No.9: Thower.
         I can find no further trace of the son Andrew, and it is possible that he died in his mother's lifetime, and that half his father's estate eventually passed to the children of John and Roger Wyncoll, in accordance with the provisions of his father's will.

         Roger, the third son, will be dealt with in the next chapter.

           William 10 died in 1519, before his father, as is borne out by the latter's will.  He left a widow, Joan, two sons, Robert and John (who is probably the John buried at Lavenham on 20th March, 1559), and three daughters, Mary, Joan and Alice.   
    10. Will proved 11th July, 1519, in Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Somerset House, ref. No. 20: Ayloffe.  1519.
           Katherine, the daughter of John Wyncoll the elder (A) married and had one child.

         John, the eldest son of John Wyncoll ("Black John") is styled "the Rich" in the pedigree at the British Museum (Harl. MSS.) and in other pedigrees.  There is ample evidence from his will in justification of such a term.

    11. Somerset House, No. 24: Arundell. 
         The will 11 is dated 25th May, 1580, and testator describes himself therein as a "clothier."  It is too lengthy to give more than is likely to prove of general interest and, therefore, the pecuniary and other bequests, which were numerous, are omitted.   He directs that he shall be buried in the church or churchyard of Little Waldingfield, if in the church, near his father, mother and first wife and, if in the churchyard, near his two brothers. After many pecuniary bequests to servants and the poor 12 and of land in Alphamstone, he gives to "John Wyncoll, clerk, Parson of Clopton ... all his interest in the Parsonage of Brickelsey in Essex"; to Thomas Wyncoll his lease of Spirling, part of the manor of Brampton Hall; to Roger Wyncoll his moat and land within, "being sometime the cyte of the Manor of Woodhall as it was supposed, and which was sometime Mr. Luttrell's."  He appointed his nephews, Roger and Thomas Wyncoll, executors, and John Gurdon, Thomas Appleton and Edward Coleman supervisors of his will.  Among the witnesses to this will were Thomas Appleton, John Pemstubbs, William Bloyse, John Spencer the elder, Robert Gale and Edward Coleman.
    12. Charity hoard in Little Waldingfield church: "John Wyncoll, of Little Waldingfleld, Gent., by his last Will and Testament bearing date the 25th day of May in the year 1580, giveth and deviseth five several parcels and closes of land to the use of the Poor of the said Parish, 12 acres, now in the occupation of Joseph Spraggens in the said Parish."
         The following particulars of other descendants of John Wyncoll (" Black John ") may prove interesting.

         John, his eldest son's name, is included in the Wyncoll pedigree in the Visitations of Leicester, 1619, evidently handed in by his grandson, of the Middle Temple and Town Counsellor of Leicester. 13  Such pedigree is incorporated, so far as the same has been found to be correct, in the pedigree given at the end of this chapter.

         William, the second son, married first, Alice, daughter of Richard Spencer, of Waldingfield, and sister to " Rich" 14 Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of London.  His third daughter, Alice, married the father, Sir John Spencer himself, and thus became the step-mother of the Lord Mayor.

         Anne, the daughter of William Wyncoll last mentioned, married, first, Sir Lionel Halliday, Lord Mayor of London, and, secondly, Sir Henry Montague, knight, Recorder of London (1604), King's Serjeant (1611) and Chief Justice of the King's Bench (1616). It was whilst the latter was Chief Justice that he awarded execution against Sir Walter Raleigh after the return of this extraordinary man from the delusive expedition to Guiana.  Raleigh was brought before the judges of the King's Bench that they might doom him to die under the sentence pronounced fifteen years previously.  Sir Henry Montague's language on this occasion forms a striking contrast with the opprobrious epithets which had been used by his illustrious predecessor (Sir Edward Coke) at the original trial. Lingard truly says that the Chief Justices' address was "conceived in terms of respect unusual on such occasions." 15

    13. "When the King was at Leicester, August 18th, 10 Jac., the Mayor delivered the Mace to the King and he presently delivered it to the Mayor again. Thereupon, Mr. John Wyncoll, the Town Counsellor, made an oration in Latin which was pleasing to the King and Prince. This learned Town Counsellor, who again addressed the King in 1614, was descended from a family seated in Waldingfield in Suffolk, and was a Member of the Middle Temple. He was resident in the town of Newark, in Leicester, at the time of the Heralds' visitation in 1619, when he entered his pedigree, as printed in the History of Leicestershire."
    Nichol's Progress of James I., vol. ii., p.458.
    14. Harl. MSS. 1560.
         On the 14th December, 1620, Chief Justice Montague became Lord Treasurer, and was created a peer by the titles of Baron Kimbolton and Viscount Mandevil.  In 1626 he was created Earl of Manchester.  "He was," says Lord Clarendon, "a man of great industry and sagacity in business, which he delighted in exceedingly; and preserved so great a vigour of mind, even to his death, that some, who had known him in his younger years, did believe him to have much quicker parts in his age than before." 16   "He piqued himself on his Consistency, and took for his motto, which is still borne by his descendants, 'Disponendo me, non mutando me.'" 17  He died on the 10th November, 1642, in the eightieth year of his age.  Sir Henry Montague left no issue surviving him by his wife (nee Anne Wyncoll).  She died in Aldersgate Street, London, and was buried at St. Botolph's church, Aldersgate Street, on i4th November, 1614.
    15. Rebell, i. 84.
    16. Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, vol. i., p.361.
    17. Harl. MSS., No. 1067, fol. 77, and No. 1174, fol. 75-88.
         The accompanying pedigree of the elder branch of the family 18 will supply other interesting information, but, as before mentioned, it would seem that this branch has died out.

         There were Wyncolls among the first settlers in America, 19 viz., Humphrey, of Cambridge, Mass., 1630.  Was, perhaps, from Little Waldingfield, Co. Suffolk.

         John, Salem, 1631, Felt.

         John, Watertown.  Son of Thomas of the same, perhaps a passenger in the "Rebecca" from London, 1635, with Elizabeth, 52, who may have been his mother, though more probably his aunt, a proprietor, 1637.  Freeman, 1646, removed soon after to Kittery. Representative at Boston.  1653-4-5, and in the second year was titled Lieutenant.  In 1665 was of sufficient loyalty to be made a Justice by the Royal Commissioners as if of Newichawanock.  His residence was in Berwick.  He was representative again for Kittery, 1675-7-8, and from 1676-85, in the Commission under either or both Stoughton and Danford as President to serve as clerk and Registrar. Yet seeming to rejoice most in the style of captain he wed Elizabeth and died 22 Oct. 1694.

    18. Compiled on the authority of the Visitations of Gloucester and Leicester, 1619 the wills of John Wyncoll the Elder, John Wyncoll "the Rich", William Wyncoll (snn of John), Margaret Gardner of Ipswich, Edmond Chaplin of Little Waldingfield, and Edmund Chaplin of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.
    19. A Genealogical Directory of the First Settlers in New England, by James Savage.
         Robert, of Mass., but of what town can hardly be judged. Admitted as Freeman 6 May, 1635.

         Thomas, by Farmer, marked as of Salem 1631.

         Thomas, Watertown, a proprietor, 1642, is therefore supposed by Bond to have come after his son John, and to have brought with him Beatrice, who died 1 June, 1665, and he died 10 June, 1657, well advanced in years. Bond says he was allowed in 1649 to keep an inn.

         I now come to the existing branch of the family, which sprang from Roger, the third son of John Wyncoll.

         It is proposed to treat only of the head of each generation, leaving the pedigree sheet at the end of the article to supply information as to collateral branches.

    Previous Top of page Next