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Wrentham Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Wrentham or Wretham

At the period of the Doomsday survey, this lordship was held by Robert de Pierpoint, under the famous William, Earl Warren; and that family continued interested in this parish until the time of King Edward III., when Sir Simon de Pierpoint, of Belstead Parva, and Henstead, was living.

Sibilla, his daughter, married Sir Edmund de Ufford, third son of Sir Thomas Ufford, and nephew of Robert, Earl of Suffolk. Sir Edmund died in 1374, when Sir Robert, his son and heir, succeeded. He married Helen, daughter of Sir Thomas Felton, Knt., and died in 1400.

Amey, their daughter and co-heir, married Sir William Bowet, Knt. (probably a brother of Henry Bowet, Archbishop of York) . In the 11th of King Henry IV., Sir William, and Amey his wife, resided in this parish. He died about the 10th of the succeeding reign; she survived, and remarried Sir Henry Inglose.

The Doyleys, a Norman family of great antiquity, who became first settled at Oxford, built the Castle and Bridge there, in 1071, and new walled the city; a branch of which house, and the first concerned in this county, resided in this parish; namely, John, son of Robert D'Oyly, whose descendant, in about the sixth generation, married Anne, sister and sole heir of Thomas Legate, of Pondhall, in Hadleigh; and removed thither. He died in 1447.

In the 43rd of King Edward III., Michael de Poinings died, seized of the manor of Northall, in Wrentham; and in the 49th of the same King, Mr. Parkin states, that John (or Edward) le Dispencer, son of Ela, sister and co-heir of John Calverley, held the same; probably in trust.

In the 10th of the following reign, Richard, Lord Poinings, devised this lordship to the lady Isabel his wife, for life; remainder to his son and heir, Robert; who died possessed of the same, about the 25th of King Henry VI.; which, with his other large possessions, for want of male issue, descended to Eleanor, his cousin and next heir, the wife of Sir Henry Percy, Knt., afterwards Earl of Northumberland. This lady was the daughter of Richard, Lord Poinings' brother.

"Wrentham Hall, in this parish, was the seat of the ancient family of Brewster, from the reign of King Edw. VI., until the year 1797; when, by the sudden death of the last heir male, that venerable mansion, and the estates belonging to it, became the property of Mrs. Meadows, and John Wilkinson, Esq., aunt and first cousin of the deceased; by whom the whole was sold, in 1810, to Sir Thos. Gooch, of Benacre Hall, Bart.

"The Brewsters were gentry of consideration in this county for a long period; but they appear to have attained their highest elevation during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, to whose party Robert Brewster, Esq., the then possessor of Wrentham Hall, was a warm advocate. He sat in the Long Parliament which dethroned the Monarch, for the borough of Dunwich, in the room of Henry Coke, Esq., disabled for his loyalty. The writ issued for his election, by vote of the house, bears date Sept. 2, 1645.

"Among the five gentlemen of Suffolk, to whom the representation of that county was granted by Oliver Cromwell and his officers, in July 1653 (the assembly commonly called Barebone's Parliament), appears the name of Francis Brewster. In the Parliament of the succeeding year, Robert Brewster, of Wrentham, sat again for Dunwich; and in that of September 1656, he was one of the ten representatives of Suffolk, and voted for conferring the title of King upon the Protector."1

The Earl of Stradbroke is the present owner of the lordship. Patron, Sir Thomas Sherlock Gooch, Bart.

William Wotton, a learned divine, was born here, in 1666; of which parish his father was rector. At the early age of ten years, he was admitted of Catherine Hall, Cambridge. In 1679, he took his first degree, and afterwards obtained a fellowship of St. John's College. On entering into orders, he obtained the rectory of Middleton, and the sinecure of Llandillo, in Denbighshire. He died in 1726.

Dr. Wotton, published, "Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning," which book was ridiculed by Swift, in his "Battle of Books;" "An Abridgment of the Roman History;" "Memoirs of the Cathedral of St. David's and Landau;" and "Letter to a Student in Divinity."

CHARITIES. The town estate consists of a tenement, occupied by poor persons rent free; the town meadow, containing nearly three acres, rent 3; and land, called "Bull Fen," rent 3. It is unknown how the property was acquired. The rents are carried to the overseers' general account. An allotment of 25A. 1R. 18p., awarded for the use of the poor, lets at 45 a year; and the rent is laid out in coals, which are distributed among the poor inhabitants. A rent charge of l a year, given by Robert Edgar, for the poor, is payable out of part of an estate in this parish, now the property of Edward Holland, of Benhall, Esq.

1. To preserve the memory of an ancient family, and their residence, which was taken down by Sir Thomas Gooch, soon after he purchased the same, the above account was inserted in the "Gentleman's Magazine," for 1812, part i., p. 313, with a view of Wrentham Hall, erected in 1550.


County of Suffolk

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

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