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FITCH: Early Generations

From a recently published monograph on the Essex family of Fitch, skilfully composed by John T. Fitch of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, we reproduce here the opening generations. We have had a special interest in this work ~ first because it is exemplary in its cross-referencing to its sources, and second because of the contribution made to the research by the family's heraldry.

William Fytche of Little Canfield
and his Descendants

Arms of Fitch

In 1994, the author was fortunate to learn of the planned sale of four Fytche ancestral portraits of the 17th and 18th centuries. These are shown on pages 28, 29, 52, and 53. They had been purchased in England, prior to 1929, by the late Grant Fitch, a banker in Milwaukee, and came, eventually, into the possession of his granddaughter. Because of their condition, all four of the paintings required extensive conservation. In the process, a few anomalies surfaced regarding the later addition of legends and coats of arms. It is the purpose of this monograph to set the paintings in their genealogical context and to discuss the heraldry depicted in the various coats of arms. We begin with brief mentions of the earliest documented ancestors of William Fytche of Little Canfield.*

For a more detailed discussion of the first three generations, see John T. Fitch, English Ancestors of the Fitches of Colonial Connecticut. (Camden, ME: Picton Press, 2nd edition, 1994)

The Genealogy

1. WILLIAM FECCHE, FICCHE, FYCCHE, FICHE, FYCHE, FYTCHE, FITCHE* of Wicken Bonhunt, Essex Co., England. First mentioned on the Plea Rolls of 1428.[1] Received grants of land at the manor court of Widdington in 1440/1 and in 1458/9.[2] Death reported at Widdington court on 24 April 1466.[2] Wife's name unknown. The court post mortem inquisition stated that "John Fytche is son and next heir of the same William."[2]

Child (may have been others):

+ 2 i John, b. bef. 1437.

* All of these spellings were used at one time or another in manor court and other records. The most common spelling of the name in later generations, however, was Fytche, which, except where it differs in direct quotations, will be used here.

[1] Exchequer of Pleas, 6-7 Henry VI, Public Record Office, E13/134. [2] Court Rolls, Manor of Widdington, New College Oxford.

2. JOHN FYCH, FYCCHE, FYTCHE (William) was born no later than 1437, because in 1467 he was said to be "aged 30 years and more"[1] First mentioned on a Court Plea in 1458, which said he was "of Wykyn."[2] On 14 May 1467, he was again acknowledged as son and next heir and admitted to his father's estate; and, on the same day, he received additional grants of land.[1] He married Juliana ______.[3] John's death was reported at the court session of 9 April 1468, at which time it was stated that "Thomas is his son and next heir and aged three years."[1] Custody of the land was given to Juliana, who later married Richard Westley.[3] She probably died about 1475, because a 1505 court record indicates that at that time she had been dead for 30 years.[1]

Child (may have been others):

+ 3 i Thomas, b. abt. 1465.

[1] Widdington op.cit. [2] Essex Record Office, Chelmsford, UK, (hereafter E.R.O.), Marc Fitch Collection (hereafter M.F.C.), A9355, Ewen Vol. B, ff. 189, 190. [3] Fitch pedigree, dated 10 Nov. 1977, compiled from records at the College of Arms, London, by Rodney Dennys, Somerset Herald.

3. THOMAS FITCHE, FYTCHE, FITCH (John, William) was born about 1465, because he was said to be three years old at the time his father's death was reported at the manor court of Widdington on 9 April 1468.[1] He was admitted to his inheritance at Widdington court 9 November 1487, i.e., when he was about 21 years old.[1] Thomas married Agnes Algore before 22 December 1490 when they received land from her parents, Robert and Margaret Algore.[2] Agnes was the only child and heiress of her father. She brought Brazen Head Farm in Lindsell, Essex, to the marriage. In the same year, Agnes received more land when her mother, Margaret Algore, died. In 1497, Thomas received an additional grant of land at the manor court of Lindsell Hall,[2] and in November 1505, he took possession of land, which his father John had left in custody of his widowed mother, Juliana.[1]

Thomas died, 21 April 1514, as commemorated on a brass in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Lindsell.
[3] Agnes died before 3 May 1527.[1] Beneath them on the brass are images of eleven children ~ six sons and five daughters.[3] Thomas and Agnes are also commemorated in a stained glass window in the same church.[3] This window, and a second showing their son William and his first wife, Elizabeth, were probably paid for by William, who had the advowson of the church (the right to be the patron of the church and to recommend its clergyman) from King Henry VIII.

Children (these and prob. four others

4 i Margaret, b. abt. 1494.

5 ii Richard, son and heir,
[1] succeeded to land at Widdington 9 Nov. 1514[1] and to Brazenhead farm, Lindsell;[9] bur. Lindsell, 26 Jun. 1579;[5] m. (1) Eleanor Storke,[6] d. abt. 1533,[4] dau. and heir of Tristram Storke of Trent, Somerset;[6] m. (2) Jane ______,[2] bur. Great Leighs, Essex, 25 Jun. 1593.[7]

+ 6 iii William, b. abt. 1496.

7 iv Thomas, m. Margaret Meade.
[6] Admitted tenant of lands in Widdington 3 May 1527.[1]

8 v Roger*, will 12 Jan. 1558/9;
[8] d. Panfield, Essex;[8] will proved Consistory Court, London 22 Feb. 1558/9;[8] m. Margery ______.[8] Admitted tenant of Hartshede, his mother's lands in Lindsell, 25 Sept. 1533.[2]

9 vi Katharine, mentioned in settlement 1505.

10 vii Joan, mentioned in settlement 1505.

* Roger was the ancestor of the Fitches of colonial Connecticut.

[1] Widdington op.cit. [2] Court Rolls, Manor of Priors Hall, Lindsell, New College, Oxford. [3] Brass and window, Church of St. Mary, Lindsell. [4] Chancery Proceedings, 1533. [5] Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Lindsell, Soc. Gen. Transcripts. [6] Fitch pedigree, op. cit. [7] Burial register, St. Mary's, Great Leighs, Essex Co. [8] Consistory Court of London, 193 Horn [Bishop], Greater London Record Office, DL/C/357/1. [9] Rev. William Holman, mss. for History of Essex, E.R.O. T/P 195/15. [10] Based on age and year of death. [11] Courtesy British Library, MS 32490 M M 43. [12] Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

6. WILLIAM FYTCHE (Thomas, John, William) of Little Canfield, Essex
Fitch ~ Early Generations, Part II
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The Baronage Content Page January-February 2000
© 1998 John Townsend Fitch