Marriages at Winkburn, 1553 to 1773

Note.—Winkburn was formerly a "camera" or cell of the Knights Hospitallers, and, like Ossington, was parcel of their Commandery of Newland in Yorkshire. An account of the "camera" of Winkburn, with a schedule of the Knights' property there, is recorded in a manuscript still at Malta—the report of Prior Philip de Thame in 1338—printed by the Camden Society, Vol. 65. Having been seized by the King at the Dissolution of the Order, it was in 1548 granted by King Edward VI. to William Burnell, a merchant of London, and Constance his wife, daughter of Edward Blundeville, of Newton Flotman in Norfolk, in exchange for the rectory of Betchworth in Surrey. The Burnells became extinct in the male line by the death of D'Arcy Burnell without issue in 1774, and of his brother John Burnell at Calcutta, unmarried. D'Arcy Burnell left the estate upon trust for his brother John Burnell for life and then to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten, failing whom, upon trust, " for such person as shall be my heir at law, in tail, with remainder to my own right heirs for ever." Advertisements were inserted in many newspapers by the trustees to discover such heirs, but the family had become so entirely extinct that no connections were found nearer than the descendants of Dorothy and Olive, the two daughters of William Burnell, the second of the name to hold the estate, whose marriages took place as far back as 1603 and 1608 respectively, 170 years before the Chancery Action which settled the title to the estate! This action (Pegge v. Burnell, Chanc. Pro. Div. II. bdle. 573) declared the right heirs to be Peter Pegge of Beauchief Abbey, whose ancestor, Edward Pegge of Beauchief, had in 1662 married Gertrude Strelley, granddaughter and heiress of Dorothy Burnell, who married Gervase Strelley of Beauchief, 20 Sep. 1603; and Richard Bristowe of London, son of William Bristowe of Beesthorpe (Caunton), descendant and heir of Olive Burnell by her marriage with William Wombwell of Blacker Hall, co. York, 9 Aug. 1608. These two gentlemen took the surname of Burnell and possession of the property, but Mr. Pegge Burnell bought Mr. Bristowe Burnell's share in the house and park during his lifetime, and soon after the latter's death in 1789 appears to have acquired the remainder of his moiety. Peter Pegge Burnell in his turn died without male heir, 8 Feb. 1836, aged 85, and left the estate to his nephew Broughton Benjamin Steade, whose father, Thomas Steade, of the old Yorkshire family of Steade of Onesacre, had married Melliscent Pegge of Beauchief, 30 Aug. 1768. Broughton Benjamin Steade took the name of Burnell, 11 Mch. 1836, and his grandson, Col. Edward Strelley Pegge "Burnell," is the present squire—by virtue of his direct male ancestor having married a lady in 1768 whose ancestor had married a lady in 1662 whose ancestor had married a Burnell in 1603, 312 years ago! Having followed this thinning-down of Burnell blood at somewhat undue length, we may be allowed to mention one or two other matters in connection with the parish before we proceed to describe the Registers.

Thomas Blundeville of Newton Flotman, a famous Elizabethan writer, chiefly on geography, astronomy, and horsemanship, was brother-in-law to the first William Burnell of Winkburn, and in the "postscript" to his "Arte of Logicke" (London, 4to, 1617), says: "I wrote this Booke many yeeres past, whilest I sojourned with my most deare Brother in Law, Master William Burnel, a man of most singular humanitie and of great hospitalitie, at his house in Winkborne in Nottinghamshire, not farre from Southwell." Blundeville's first wife was Rose Puttenham, and she appears to have died at Winkburn, for her burial is recorded in the registers on 24 Oct. 1564. Her husband's name is there given as Thomas "Blumfeeld," a good example of the way the terminations "ville" and "field" were used indifferently in 16th and 17th century surnames. Parish registers show that Glanville, Bosvile, Baskerville, Mandeville, Longueville were frequently written Glanfield, Bousfield, Baskerfield, Manterfield, Longfield, in some cases becoming fixed in those forms. Thomas Blundeville's sister, Constance Burnell, had died 12 Apr. 1562, and was buried in the church of St. Botolph without Aldgate, London.

Another notable visitor to Winkburn was Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland, who resided here a year or more after the death of her husband, John, the 4th Earl, in March 1588. The baptism of her posthumous daughter Frances (afterwards wife of William, Lord Willoughby of Parham) is recorded in the registers in October of that year, and several letters addressed to or from the Countess at Winkburn in 1588 and 1589 are printed in the Rutland Correspondence.

The Registers also record that Robert Markham of Cotham died at Winkburn, 22 Nov. 1606, and was buried at Cotham on the following day, which, considering the distance and the time of year, seems a somewhat remarkable circumstance. This Robert Markham was the famous courtier described by Queen Elizabeth in a well-known couplet as "Markham the Lion." He was father of Gervase Markham, who, like Thomas Blundeville, wrote books on horsemanship, as well as many other subjects.

Humphrey Catherens, whose burial is entered in the Registers 20 Jan. 1611, was Humphrey Catherens of Quarendon in Leicestershire, whose daughter Dorothy had married William Burnell III. in 1597.

As the Registers of Winkburn are not readily accessible to the public and yet contain so many entries of interest, we have departed from our usual custom and prefaced our abstracts of the entire Marriage entries with copious extracts from the Baptisms and Burials.

The Benefice of Winkburn was a Donative until such were abolished by the Act of 1898, but the stipend is not altogether an arbitrary one, being partly derived from a small endowment recorded at the end of the second volume of Registers. Nor was it an exempt jurisdiction, a Visitation of the Bishop being recorded in 1764. We have not seen any Manor Rolls of Winkburn, but if such exist it is quite possible they contain Wills and Grants of Probate and Administration—jurisdiction in such matters being a usual privilege of manors belonging to the Hospitallers, a privilege which their subsequent lay owners frequently retained and exercised down to the final abolition of such Courts in 1858.

To come to the Registers themselves: when the Parliamentary Return of 1831 was compiled there were three volumes of Registers at Winkburn having entries prior to 1813. These are given as Vol. I., containing Baptisms 1727-1812, Burials 1740-1812, and Marriages 1740-1752; Vols. II. and III. containing Marriages 1754 to 1811. It is a curious fact that while a previous volume, beginning so early as 1541, has since come to light, the second and third volumes mentioned in 1831 have since disappeared, and not only these, but the volume which should exist for Marriages from 1813 to 1837. Colonel E. S. Pegge Burnell, in whose custody the Registers, though illegally, have been allowed to remain by successive Archdeacons, has very kindly tried to find the missing volumes for the purpose of our work, but without success. We have in a slight degree supplied the loss, so far as some of the Marriages are concerned, by continuing them for another twenty years after the existing Registers fail us from the Bishops' Transcripts at York, but even this source then dries up.

The two volumes of Registers now at Winkburn may be described as follows:—

Vol. I. consists of 47 leaves of parchment, measuring about 11½ by 5 inches, stitched in a limp parchment cover, and contains entries of Baptisms and Burials from 1541 to 1748, and of Marriages from 1553 to 1745. All classes of entries are missing for the years 1558-1563 inclusive. The first 21 leaves are devoted to Baptisms; leaves 22 to 39 to Burials; and 40 to 46 to Marriages. The 29th and 47th leaves are fragments only, without entries; and the second page of. leaf 46 contains some Baptisms for the years 1747-8. The entries are in Latin until 1622, and the volume is headed: "Liber parochialis de Winckburne tam baptizatoru[m] quam vincto jugali conjunctoru[m], ac defunctoru[m] nomina continens, in pargameno p[er] Robertu[m] Wighton, ibidem verbi dei ministru[m] ac Curatu[m] conscriptus atq[ue] collectus Ann[o] salutis n[ost]re p[er] Christu[m] 1600 forma et more sequenti ex ultori Codice sumptus."

Vol. II. is a thick volume of parchment leaves, most of them blank, measuring 15¾ by 6 inches, bound in rough calf. It contains Baptisms and Burials from 1740 to 1812 and Marriages from 1740 to 1752, and is the volume described as No. I. in the Parliamentary Return of 1831. At the end of the volume is a Terrier of the endowments of the curacy, and the church furniture, fees, etc., dated at the Visitation of the Archbishop, 2 May, 1764.

The extracts from these Registers have been made by Mr. T. M. Blagg, F.S.A., who wishes to acknowledge the facilities afforded him both by the present incumbent, the Rev. David Hunt, and by Col. E. S. Pegge Burnell.