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Witnesham Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk


The family of Meadows were possessed of lands in this parish as early as the 34th of King Henry II.; and a very full and minute account of the different branches of that ancient house, by an eminent genealogist, is given in the Gent. Mag. for 1824, Part ii., p. 51 8, from which we select the following particulars:

William Meadows, of this parish, who died at Bushmere, in 1588, left by Agnes his wife, two sons, namely, Daniel Meadows, of Chattisham, the ancestor of the Earl Manvers, who was born at Rushmere in 1577. He purchased of Sir Robert Hitcham, Knt., in 1630, the lordship of Witnesham, and died at Chattisham, in 1651.

William, the eldest son of William and Agnes, born in 1559. He resided at Coddenham from the year 1597, to that of 1612, and marrying Grigil, a daughter of ______ Mynter, of Witnesham Hall, purchased that mansion of his father-in-law, and made it his residence. He died in 1637, and left issue three sons, viz.: Thomas Meadows, of Coddenham, who married and had issue; Daniel Meadows, who succeeded his father in this parish; and Ralph Meadows, born in 1600. He purchased Henley Hall, of the Damerons, in 1630, and was ancestor of the late John Meadows Theobald, of Claydon, Esq., who assumed that name in 1776.

Daniel, who inherited here, married Amy, the daughter of John Brame, of Campsey Ash, Esq., by whom he had a son and a daughter, Daniel and Mary. He died in 1675, and Daniel his son succeeded; who was succeeded by another Daniel Meadows, who resided for many years at Botesdale, but died at the family mansion in Witnesham, in 1771, at the advanced age of 90 years.

John Meadows, his only son and successor, was born in 1726, and in 1751, he married Frances, the youngest daughter of Humphrey Brewster, of Wrentham Hall, Esq. Mr. Meadows was appointed Coroner of the Liberty of Bury St. Edmund's, by Rowland Holt. Esq., of Redgrave Hall. He died at Botesdale, in 1763, leaving issue two sons and two daughters. Daniel Meadows, the youngest son, died a Captain in the Army, in 1779, unmarried.

Philip Meadows, the eldest son of John Meadows, and Frances his wife, was bred to the law, and practiced for many years as a solicitor at Botesdale, until the year 1801, when he removed to Witnesham. On the death of his mother, he purchased an estate there, of the Earl of Westmoreland, and in 1810, erected thereon the present mansion, "Burghersh House;" so named from its proximity to the ancient mansion belonging to the family of the Burghershes, of this parish.

The Rev. Philip Meadows, B.A , of Burghersh House, rector of Bealings Magna, who married in 1803, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Morgan Graves, is the present representative of this ancient family. Philip Meadows, Esq., his father, died Oct. 16, 1824, in the 73rd year of his age.

ARMS. Meadows: quarterly: 1 and 4, sable; a chevron, ermine, between three pelicans, vulned proper: in a canton, a lion, seiant; and in chief, a label of three points: 2 and 3; a chevron, ermine, between three etoiles, argent (for Brewster). Crest: a pelican, vulned, proper.

William Latymer was instituted to this rectory, in 1538, on the presentation of Edward Latymer, Esq.; and in the same year, the King appointed him Master of the College of St. Lawrence Pountney, in London. In 1547, he was Proctor for the Clergy of the Diocese of Norwich, and voted in convocation for priests' marriages. He resigned Witnesham in 1554, probably in order to avoid being turned out, for his marriage; and appears to have retired to Ipswich, where he resided when the returns were made, in the following year, of those who received annual pensions: his was, .28 13s. 4d.

He appears, however, to have complied with the times before the death of Queen Mary, if it be correct that he was instituted to the rectory of Kirkton, in Colneis hundred; in 1554, on the presentation of Sir Thomas Felton, Knt.; and in the return made by the Bishop of Norwich, to the Archbishop, in 1563, he is thus described: "Kirkton, Mr. Will. Lalymer rector, doctus, non residet, degit in Aula Regia. "He probably continued to hold this rectory at the time of his decease, as there was no other institution before 1583. But whether he conformed or not in the time of Queen Mary, he was certainly a great favorite of her sister Elizabeth, to whom he became Chaplain and Clerk of the Closet; and soon after her coming to the Crown, was made Archdeacon of the exempt jurisdiction of Westminster, and Dean of Peterborough. He died in 1583, and was buried in Peterborough cathedral.

In 1559, Nicholas Wendon, LL.D., rector of this parish, was appointed Archdeacon of Suffolk, and installed Prebend of the 4th stall in Norwich cathedral, in 1561. In Archbishop Parker's Metropolitical Visitation, in 1570, he was returned not to be in orders, although rector of Witnesham, that he lived at Lound, in Suffolk, and was no minister, having gone in a cloak and a Spanish rapier by his side; on which he was ejected out of the prebend, but not from his Archdeaconry.

Alexander Chapman, D.D., was born in Norfolk, about 1577, and admitted a Norwich scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1592, being nominated by the corporation of that city; and after taking the degree of A.B., was elected Fellow, in 1598. He proceeded, A.M., in 1600, and quitted his fellowship about two years after, for the rectory of Witnesham. He was installed Arch-deacon of Stow, in 1610, and Prebendary of Lowth, the same year; both in the diocese of Lincoln: as also Prebendary in that of Canterbury, in 1618. He commenced D.D., in 1610, and deceased in 1629; was buried in the north transcept of Canterbury cathedral, where an elegant monument was erected to his memory.

In 1776, the Rev. John King, M.A., was presented by his college, to this rectory. He was a native of Richmond, in Yorkshire, and received the rudiments of his education at the Free Grammar School in that town. From thence he removed to Cambridge, and entered of St. Peter's College; where he proceeded to the degree of A.B., in 1760, was elected Fellow, and the same year, appointed Under Master of the Free Grammar School of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1763, he proceeded to the degree of A.M.

He removed from Newcastle to Ipswich, in 1767, having been appointed Master of the Free Grammar School in that town; and in the same year, was chosen by the corporation the Town Preacher; which situation he filled for a period of 23 years. In 1798, he resigned the mastership of the school, and retired to a residence on his rectory, where he closed his earthly career, Jan. 26, 1822, in the 84th year of his age.1

It has been supposed, from relics found in the vicinity of this parish, that some warlike encounter has happened here; and about twenty years since, a human skeleton, with that of a horse beside it, was dug up, within six feet from the surface, with several marks of military accoutrements, a part of the saddle, stirrups, &c.; which confirms the supposition. The studs of the saddle were of silver.

1. There is an engraved Portrait of Mr. King (a private plate), by Bond, from a miniature by Dunthorne.

NOTE. As a "Supplement to the Suffolk Traveller,'" we wish to avoid, as much as possible reprinting what has already appeared in that work, but would rather refer our readers to the same; especially when the Editor gives more ample details than usual, of any place, which is particularly the case in the above and the foregoing parish.

County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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