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Woodbridge Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Wudebryge, Vdebriga or Udebrige

The following additional observations concerning this parish, are extracted from a copy of the "Suffolk Traveller," formerly belonging to the Rev. Thomas Carthew, A.M., and F.A.S., perpetual curate of Woodbridge; which are in marginal notes, principally of his handwriting.

In the second edition of that publication it is said: "Wood-bridge took its name from a wooden bridge, built over a hollow way, to make a communication between two parks, separated by the road which leads from Woodbridge market-place towards Ipswich. At the foot of the hill from this hollow way, about a stone's throw from where the bridge might stand, is a house, which at this day retains the name of Dry-Bridge."

Mr. Carthew observes: "This silly story about the two parks, accounts very well for the house being called Drybridge House: but that an ancient town should take its name from so trifling a circumstance, and withal so recent, for the bridge was standing within a century, is a supposition too foolish even for such an author as the compiler of this book.

"Were I to hazard a conjecture on a matter so obscure as the original of a town's name, I should think it was originally Oden, or Woden Burgh, or Bury, or Brigg: i. e. Woden's Town. In the Priory rolls, in Henry VII. time, it is still Wodebrigg, and the spelling in the Confessor's time, Udelsbruge, favors this etymology. Brigg and Burgh are synonymous. See ' Verstegan,' 212. Thus Felbrigg, in Norfolk, is written Felbrig and Felburgh."

To the account of the Lime-kiln quay, where formerly the Ludlow man of war was built, Mr. C. adds, "and where there is still a dock for building of ships, wherein merchant ships to the amount of 200 tons burthen are frequently built, besides small craft."

"The Priory was granted, in the 33rd of King Henry VIII., to Sir John Wingfield, and Dorothy his wife, but they dying without issue, it was, by Queen Elizabeth, re-granted to Thomas Seckford, Esq., and after continuing 109 years in that family, it came by will, anno 1698, to the Norths, of Sternfield; and from them also by will, about the year 1711, to the family of Carthew."

The manor which formerly belonged to this Priory, is now the property of Rolla Rouse, Esq., Barrister at Law, who purchased it of Mr. Dykes Alexander. The lordship of Woodbridge Ufford, &c., is vested in the Rev. J. Worsley.

"The church of this town, being only a bare curacy, was in 1607, augmented by Mrs. Dorothy Seckford, who by will did devise her impropriated rectory of Woodbridge, to the persons to whom she had devised her estate at Woodbridge, to settle an orthodox minister to the same during life."

Weever has these inscriptions from this parish church: "Hie jacet Johannes Albred, quondam Twelewever istius ville ob. primo die Maij 1400. et Agnes uxor eius ""This Twelewever, with Agnes his wife, were at the charges (people of all degrees being then forward to beautify the house of God) to cut, gild, and paint, a rood loft or a partition betwixt the body of the church and the choir: whereupon the pictures of the cross, and crucifix, the virgin Mary, of angels, archangels, saints, and martyrs, are figured to the life: which how glorious it was all standing, may be discerned by that which remaineth."

For John Kempe, who died July 3, 1459, and Joan and Margaret, his wives; also for "Robert Partrich, botcher who dyed on Midsomer day, 1533, Mariory and Alis his wyffs - - - Mariory the 6th of Henry VIII., Alis on their souls, their children souls, and all cristen souls, almighty Jesu haue mercy."

Robert Beale (or Belus), if not a native, was the eldest son of Robert Beale, a descendant from a family of that name, residents in this parish. He appears to have been educated to the profession of the civil and canon law, and married Editha, daughter of Henry St. Barbe, of Somersetshire, and sister to the lady of Sir Francis Walsingham; under whose patronage he first appeared at court. In 1571, he was Secretary to Sir Francis, when sent Ambassador to France; and himself was sent in the same capacity, in 1576, to the Prince of Orange. His most considerable work is a collection of some of the Spanish historians, under the title "Rerum Hispanicarum Scriptores:" Francfort, 1579, 2 vols., folio. He died in 1601.

Jeffrey Pitman, Esq., was originally a tanner in this parish, and afterwards High Sheriff of Suffolk, at the decease of King James. He had two wives, Alice and Anne; by the first, he had seven children, three of which died in their infancy: William his eldest son, and Jeffrey his second son, were both students in the law, at Gray's Inn, and died unmarried, in the lifetime of their father, who deceased in 1627. Anne his wife, and Mary and Avis his two daughters, survived: Mary married to Edmund Burwell, of Rougham, in this county, Esq., and Avis, to Wm. Alston, of Marlsford, Gent. Mr. Pitman was a liberal benefactor to the town of Woodbridge.

Nathaniel Fairfax, M.D., who practiced in this town for several years, was of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and brother to John Fairfax, A.M., vicar of Barking, in this county, and a Fellow of the same College: he was of the same family as General Fairfax, who headed the Parliamentarians in the civil war. Dr. Fairfax was twice married: his first wife was Elizabeth, the daughter of _______ Blackerby, of Norwich, who died in 1680; the second was Elizabeth, the widow of Francis Willard, of Woodbridge, and daughter of Nathaniel Bacon, of Ipswich, Esq., who survived him. He was author of a whimsical treatise of the "Bulk and Selvedge of the World, wherein the Greatness, Littleness, and Lastingness of Bodies are freely handled." This was dedicated to Sir William Blois, Knt., of Grundisburgh Hall: published in 8vo. London, 1 674; and was presented by his son Blackerby, afterwards M.D. also, to the library of the above named college, when a student there.

ARMS. Pitman: gules; two battle axes in saltier, or, between four mullets, argent. Fairfax: argent; three bars, gyronelle, gules; surmounted by a lion rampant, sable, armed and languid, azure; with a crescent for difference.

NOTE. The public are indebted to the late Mr. Robert Loder, the Framlingham historian, for much interesting information respecting this town, contained in his "Statutes and Ordinances for the Government of the Almshouses, in Woodbridge;" which gives a full, and correct account of that noble institution. At the end are prefixed notes relating to the Priory, the church, and its ancient and modern monumental inscriptions.

In 1796, appeared his second edition, enlarged, of the "Orders, Constitutions, and directions, for and concerning the Free School at Woodbridge." His edition of the "Woodbridge Terrier, exhibiting an account of all the Charities in that Town," published in 1787, was followed by a second impression, in 1811, with notes and explanations. With this edition it was Mr. Loder's intention to have connected a History of the ancient and present state of the town, want of materials, however, obliged him to decline it. This is to be regretted, as nothing further has since appeared concerning this place.

The following is abridged from Mr. Loder's account of Charities, Estates, and Town Houses, given in his "Terrier of Woodbridge," 2nd edition. 1811.

CHARITIES. An almshouse, and garden thereto belonging, situate in the said town, founded in 1587, by Thomas Seckford, Esq., Master of the Requests, for the reception of thirteen poor men. Also a messuage in the said garden, for the reception of three poor widows, nurses to the said alms-men. For the support thereof, endowed by the founder with an estate in Clerkenwell, in Middlesex, now let on building leases, at the net annual rent of .563 10s.; also a piece of laud in Woodbridge, containing 2A. 3r., and a small tenement in the same town, called Capthall. The principal inmate receives .27 per annum, the twelve poor men .20 each, and the three nurses each .12. There is an exhibition to the minister of .10, to the churchwardens .5 each, and to the poor of Clerkenwell, .10 annually. The remainder is expended in clothing, firing, surgery, repairs, &c. The surplus, if any, to be distributed among such poor and indigent people, living in Woodbridge, as do not receive alms of that, or any other parish.

Since the above period the revenues of this institution have greatly increased, so much so, that the governors recently determined upon the erection of a handsome structure,1 for affording to twenty-four necessitous and decayed tradesmen, and women, a comfortable asylum in their old age.

A free school founded in 1662, by indenture of five parts, between Robert Marryott, sen., of Bredfield, Esq.; Francis Burwell, of Sutton, Esq.; Mrs. Dorothy Seckford, of Seckford Hall, in Great [Dealings, widow; Robert Marryott, jun., of Bredfield, Esq.; John Sayer, of Woodbridge, Gent., and others, inhabitants of the said town. To the three first may be attributed the establishment of the school; the latter being only parties in the deed of institution, on behalf of the inhabitants, who, by the settlement, granted .10 per annum from the town estate, with a grant of .5, chargeable on lands in Great Bealings, and a like sum on lands in Bredfield, and ditto on lands in Sutton, amounting together to .25, with a schoolhouse, garden, &c., and 2 acres of pasture land, in Woodbridge. By the ordinances of this school, the master is obliged to teach boys, being children of the inhabitants of the town, free; and also any other like boy, for .1 only, since augmented to .3, by an order of Chancery.

The town lands are situate in the parish of Martlesham, and consist of the Lamb Farm, comprising a cottage, now in three tenements, with a barn, outbuildings, and 51A. 20p. of land, being copyhold of the manor of Martlesham Hall. It was given by one John Dodd, in the reign of King Henry VII., to be employed for the maintenance of the poor people of Woodbridge, and to defray such other charges as the town should be charged with. The Street Farm contains 9A. 2r. 39p. of copyhold land, partly held of the manor of Seckford Hall, and partly of that of Iken cum Framlingham. This was given by the will of Jeffery Pitman, in 1627, to feoffees, to the intent that the rents and profits thereof, should be employed about the reparations and maintenance of the church. These together produce the yearly rent of .55. The sum of .10 is paid to the master of the school; the residue is paid to the churchwardens, in aid of a church rate.

In 1637, John Sayer gave by will, unto the inhabitants of this town, his close, called Garden Close, in Melton, in the county of Suffolk, and the hop ground at the lower end thereof, containing by estimation 10A., and his fen in Melton, and his hemp-land thereto belonging; for purchasing bread and clothing for the poor. This estate now consists of five enclosures, containing in the whole 15A. 2r. 26p.; the rent of the land is wholly laid out in the purchase of bread, and forty-two 3d. loaves are weekly distributed, on Sundays, among poor persons attending the church.

There are also several small sums paid as rent charges and ground rents, and a large house in Pound Street, made use of as a work-house; with several houses in different streets belonging to the town, where poor persons dwell rent free.

Mem. In 1666, the plague raged with great violence here, which carried off the minister, his wife and child, and three hundred inhabitants.

In 1804, Messrs. Alexander and Co. opened a banking house in Stone Street, in this town.

In 1807, February 18th, a tremendous storm, in which four vessels belonging to this port were totally lost, together with most of the crews, by which calamitous event upwards of forty persons resident in this place, were left widows and fatherless. A liberal subscription was raised for their relief.

February 5th, 1814, the new theatre in this town was opened, under the direction of Mr. Fisher.

In 1815, the sale of the materials of the barracks here, took place. They were erected in 1803, and were capable of containing 724 cavalry, officers and men, and 720 horses; and infantry, 4165 officers and men.

October 29th, 1818, a new organ was opened in this parish church: most of the respectable families attended: the sum of.84 was collected.

Of the different persons appointed to the Mastership of Woodbridge School, Mr. Hawes has noticed the following:

Edmund Brome, clk., was born in the parish of Clerkenwell, London, in 1642, and was admitted of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1657, where he continued until after the restoration of King Charles II. He was elected master of this school, in 1665, and curate here in the following year, and soon after was appointed chaplain to Mrs. Dorothy Seckford, who granted him a lease of the great tithes of this parish for 60 years; and he afterwards held the livings of Great and Little Bealings. Mr. B. was twice married; by the first wife he had issue, a daughter Dorothy, who married Richard Taylor, vicar of Witcham, in the Isle of Ely; and Edmund, President of St. John's College. By his second marriage he had fourteen children.

Philip Gillet (alias Candler), a descendant from an ancient family of that name, resident at Yoxford, in this county. He was schoolmaster here about nineteen years, and married Deborah, the daughter of Richard Golty, rector of Framlingham, by whom he had issue two sons and four daughters. He deceased in 1689; she in 1695.

Philip Gillett (alias Candler), their eldest son, succeeded to the mastership of this school, and was afterwards instituted to the rectory of Hollesly, in this county. He married, first, Deborah, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Samuel Golty, rector of Denning-ton, by whom he had no surviving issue; secondly, Mary, one of the daughters and co-heirs of John Clinch, of Miselton Hall, in Burgh, Gent., by whom he had issue one son and two daughters.

[Mr. Hawes acknowledges himself much beholden to this gentleman for the perusal of the manuscript collections of Mr. Zaccheus Leverland, so frequently quoted in his own; and the ready aid Mr. W. S. Fitch, of Ipswich, has afforded, by the liberal use of his valuable transcript from Mr. Hawes manuscript, demands from us a similar acknowledgment, in closing our account of this hundred.]

ARMS. Brome: ermine; a chief indented, gules. Gillet (alias Candler]: ermine; on a bend engrailed, sable, three pikes' heads erased, argent, double brassed, gules. Crest: a pike's head erect,, erased, gules, double brassed, or.

1. A neat engraving of this building, by D. Buckle, from a drawing by S. Read, appeared in Mr. Pawsey's Ladies' Pocket Book, for 1840.

County of Suffolk

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

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