John Hynsby alias Hinsby, Hensby, Hemsby, Hensbie – a man of note in 17th Century Walsham
People using metal detectors are sometimes viewed unfavourably for their removal of artifacts from the ground with no concern for the proper recording of the find and its professional interpretation. So it was good to be approached by Brian Welsh of Grove Park and his friend, with a discovery made on Richard Martineau’s 11 acre field between the Bomb Stores and parkland behind Hall House. The small disc, of ½ inch diameter, is in good condition and inscribed. (see illustration)
John Hynsby was a Churchwarden in 1667 and his brother Edmund followed him in 1669. Three children were born to John and his wife Ann while they lived in Walsham, Ann born in 1672, John in 1674 and Robert in 1676. John’s brother Edmund and his wife Prudence had four children, Hannah 1667, John 1669, Prudence 1671, Mary 1673. According to the 1695 Survey John held 12 acres of land somewhere behind the home of Mike Unitt – West Cottage in West Street.
The disc has been cleaned up and recorded with John Newman the Ipswich archaeologist and can be viewed at Roy Peter’s home in the Causeway.
The escutcheon on the disc appears to bear the coat of arms of the Grocers Company as adopted around 1550, suggesting that John had commercial interests, wool perhaps, since John did live at what is now called Vine Cottage for a while, a house associated with the wool trade [see A Trail around Walsham le Willows published 2001]. The disc then would be a token used in the exchange and barter of goods.
Although obviously a man of some importance in the 17th century, John Hynsby ended his life, as he began it, somewhere beyond Walsham, unknown to us at present save for the discovery of the disc.
This token is mentioned in The Coinage of Suffolk by Charles Golding 1868 along with that of Stephen Vincent a grocer who lived at what is now the Six Bells and Robert Goulston who lived at what is now Vine Cottage. Hopefully, one of these will turn up in Walsham one day.
The village pound or pinfold was used to hold animals that had strayed from their owner’s fields and were causing damage. A payment to cover the cost of the damage was required before the animals could be released. In previous centuries the lord’s pound was also used to contain animals taken as surety until the owner paid a debt or fulfilled an obligation. The 14th century courts dealt with several cases of men breaking into the pound to retrieve their horses, cows, bullocks and sheep. In 1476 the lord had a pound on Hall Green, the area around Walsham Hall in Summer Road. The 1817 parish map shows a pound near the bridge in the Causeway but it doesn’t appear on the 1842 tithe map and it is probable that the present one was built c.1819 at the time of the enclosure and the closing of Clay Street. It was restored in 1984 under the Youth Training Scheme and is now a listed building.
The pound was not always made of brick. This document is dated c.1580 (it is on film at the Bury branch of Suffolk Record Office ref: J529/3)
- The Chargys to the pounde
- payde to the Capenter for fellynge of tymbyr hewwynge and Irryvynge And framynge of the pounde £5
- payde for caryynge of the tymbyr frome the woode and to the place where yt shall be reande 11s payd for dyggynge of claye and caryynge yt for to recove the postes and shores of the sayde ponde 3s 4d
- payd for the haftes of the covyes 12s
- And for Ropes and [illeg.] harness and crates 15d
- recyvyd for the bityks of the tres 5s
- recyvyd for the toppes of the trees 10s
- receyvd for chyppes 6s 8d
- receyvyd for 27 tres 45s
If you can make sense of the above you are invited to join the Research Group that meets at 7.00pm each second Tuesday in the month and is, at present, working on the Town Wardens and Church Wardens accounts and bills of the 18/19th century. They contain information about mending bridges and roads, and payments to the ringers on the thanksgiving of Lord Nelson’s Victory 6s 0d (5th Dec.1805) and payments to the ringers for ‘gunpowder and treason’ 6s 0d (5th Nov.1790)
During recent scaffold work in St Mary’s church, Walsham, the 1685 memorial plaque to Mary Boyce, popularly known as the crance, was closely inspected. Although it looks like terracotta, it is in fact made of wood. The wood was painted, not necessarily in 1685, a dull grey, with the letters picked out in black. The coarsely daubed paint has left some of the wood, reddish in colour, showing through. The wood, relatively light in weight, is not oak, but a local expert has suggested elm. The measurements of the oval medallion are 24 x 19 x 2 cm., with the small heart at the top 4 x 4 x 2 cm. The 2 cm. thickness is similar to the traditional ¾ inch elm boards used for coffins, and it is possible that the medallion was carved by Walsham’s undertaker. The small heart has a hole drilled through the sides accommodating a wire for suspension from the bracket above. The wire of stout brass may even be the original.
The Hawes Family
In the belfry of St. Mary’s church is this inscription:
‘Daniel Hawes, Walsham le Willows chimed in this tower from 1826 to 1885 and tolled the bell to 1888. Died 10th January 1890 aged 96 years. ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’. (Acts)’
Daniel was married to Mary Baker, lived at East Cottage (half of it) in Badwell Road. They had nine children – Mary, Samuel, Edny, Elizabeth, Robert, John, George, Susan and William. Although Daniel had a long life, it was a very hard one, in common with all working people in the 19th century. He first received poor relief in 1817 by working for the parish repairing roads, digging clay and working on Town Farm. He was sometimes paid in meal (presumably oatmeal) instead of money. He was one of many receiving such relief in the village. In 1824 he was so ill, the parish paid for another man to be ‘in attendance’ and for ‘sitting up’ with him. He was ill so often it is surprising he lived to be such an old man. In 1826 he was given wood for firing, meat and mutton. In 1828 both he and Mary, his wife were ill, receiving mutton from the overseers. In 1825 Mary was allowed 5s for the ‘lying in’ for the birth of Robert and another 5s for the ‘confinement’ for the birth of John. In 1829 she had 2s 6d from the overseers, after giving birth to George. She was also allowed mutton to ‘build up her strength’. She died in 1837 but Daniel lived for another half century.
Today the descendants of four of those children (from Canada, Los Angeles, Wales and Kent) are in touch via E mail and are tracing their family tree. They have a long way to go, as Robert Hawes is one of those on the earliest document for Walsham, 1283.
They have found a novel published in 1958 called The Willing Heart by Hilda Lamb whose ‘main characters are all real people whose names are mostly recorded in the family pedigree and whose medieval address was actually Hawes in le Bushes, Walson le Willows, Suffolk.’ The story is about Stephen, an illegitimate son of Richard III, whose mother marries John Hawes and comes to live at the Bushes.
‘So it came to be that it was in the fair countryside of Suffolk, at the little village of Walsham le Willows that Stephen grew to boyhood. His foster-father’s house, an old fortified manor known locally as Hawes in le Bushes, stood on a slight eminence above the river and not very far from the church on the outskirts of the village. The family was of Saxon origin and it was now more than two hundred years since the first Hawes owner had, in the year twelve hundred and sixty, gained the parchment which made him a freeman and it was his son who, adding to his patrimony and acquiring more and more land, had built the present manor which had now housed and maintained eight generations of Hawes, who held it in fief to the Earl of Essex.’
To sort out fact from fiction – There was certainly a John Hawes of the Bushes (The Rookery) but he doesn’t enter the records until 1520. The position of The Rookery is about right but it was not the manor, of course. The family may well have Saxon origins but did not buy their freedom, they were villeins although with one of the largest tenements ie: lands. And the Earl of Essex, as far as we know, had no connection with Walsham manor. However, it’s an interesting read, especially descriptions of the journey from Walsham to Stourbridge Fair that was near Cambridge. If anyone has a copy of this book, do let me know.
Stephen Hawes was a published poet and courtier, his most well known work being The Pastime of Pleasure printed in 1509. He went to Oxford, lived and studied abroad and was appointed groom of the chamber to Henry VII. Hilda Lamb, the author, has collected facts from the Hawes pedigree and woven the story around them.
The research for this article was carried out by the Hawes cousins using information from the Overseers Accounts of Walsham that are held in the Record Office at Bury.
100 Years Ago
This item was featured in a recent Bury Post. “A fire destroyed a butcher’s home in Walsham le Willows causing extensive damage to the roof of a neighbouring vestry. Mr Cawston was on his way to bed when he noticed a fire blazing outside his house. When he went outside, he saw that his cart shed and granary were ablaze. After leading his horses to safety, Mr Cawston raised the alarm, but firefighters did not arrive early enough to save the vestry roof or the granary.”
What the Papers Said
The coronation of Edward VII was arranged to take place in June 1902 but he became ill and the event was postponed at the last minute. Some towns and villages cancelled the festivities but many others, with royal blessing, went forward with their plans of celebration.
Bury Post – 1.7.1902
“Having regard to the King’s wish the coronation festivities were carried out in the parish of Walsham le Willows. The children of the village headed by the Walsham brass band proceeded to the church where they joined a packed congregation. After the service by Rev. A. L. Harrison a colourful procession with hundreds of bright flags and bannerettes wended it’s way to Nunn’s meadow where over 800 villagers were entertained to a meat tea. Messrs. H. West, I. A. Clarke, W. Clamp, and E. Bullock undertook the carving of the joints while patriotic songs were sung and the plaiting of the maypole was prettily executed by a number of girls.
An excellent program of sports was carried out and the Band played a selection of music during the proceedings. The sweet stall and the refreshment department were well patronised during the afternoon and after the National Anthem the company was regaled with cakes and buns. At dusk hundreds of fairy lights were lit in Mr. Nunn’s garden.”
As part of the festivities a cricket match took place in the village.
Bury Post – 1.7.1902
“A cricket match between the married men and the single men took place in Walsham. The single men won a match that brought into action some older men who although had not forgotten the art of batting were too stiff to run.”
Bury Post – 22.7.1902
“At the Stowmarket Petty Sessions George Pamment, a dealer of Walsham le Willows, was summoned to show why he should not contribute to the maintenance of his father who was an inmate of the Stow Union [workhouse]. He was ordered to pay 1 shilling a week and 1 shilling costs. A similar order was given to George Hubbard a Walsham labourer for the maintenance of his father James Hubbard.”
Bury Post – 22.7.1902
“Walsham’s Band of Hope this year went to Harwich for it’s annual outing. Mr. Nunn conveyed about 50 members and friends to Finningham where they proceeded by rail to Ipswich and then to Harwich where on a fine day they had a wonderful time.”
Bury Post – 29.7.1902
“The Walsham le Willows horticultural show was held in the pleasant grounds of The Grove. The favourable weather encouraged many visitors.”
100 years ago the show was a bigger affair than that of today but of course vegetables and fruit were cultivated in gardens and allotments often as a necessity rather than just pleasure. Many villagers kept chickens and there was a prize for the best 12 eggs. Some had beehives, there were prizes for the best honey in the comb. There were prizes for loaves of bread and knitted stockings. A prize was also given for the best bunch of wild flowers that grew in abundance in the surrounding pastures. In 1902 the names of Frost and Hubbard were high on the prize board, in this respect nothing has changed.