Sunday, 28 February 2016

Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Fortuitously I visited St Mary half an hour before Mass today and found a lovely lady practising on the organ in preparation for the said Mass who kindly allowed me to have a look around and take interiors [I say fortuitously because this feels like a building that is normally kept LNK - an assumption on my part but I had no expectation of gaining access so it was a pleasant bonus].

Having said that this not a terribly interesting interior having undergone three restorations which left little of interest and the exterior, whilst crisp and spruce, is equally pristine but the location and churchyard are attractive.

ST MARY. Small E.E., but much renewed in 1849, 1876 and again in 1905 (by Carée). The chancel has lancet windows on both sides. The E window is new, but has C14 niches to its l. and r. The W side has a larger lancet.

St Mary (2) 



MEPAL. Here the Isle of Ely dips down to the fens and New Bedford River and Old Bedford River run side by side cutting across the great loop of the Ouse like a chord of an arc. They mark one stage of the work of draining the fens. When the island was held for Parliament in the Civil War General Ireton, wanting a road for his troops, made the Causeway which begins at Mepal and now bridges the two rivers; it is still called Ireton’s Way.

The little church has been here 700 years but is much made new. In it we found a tablet to James Fortrey, a refugee from Brabant who lived at the old farmhouse. We are told of him that he was bred in court and in camps, was page to the Duchess of York under Charles the Second and groom to her husband, James the Second, but that he did not follow his royal master into exile for reasons of his health.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Gascoigne Weld 1617 - 1701

Gascoigne first appears in his father's will (actually seemingly only appears here) who died in 1650 "therefore in the first place I do give unto my son, Gascoigne Wild, which is now my only son living that I had by her all my houses, lands and tenements both free and copyhold situate, lying and being in Braconash, Hempnall, Fordham or in any other town or towns those manors, advowsons as also those any lands and tenements free and copyhold lying in Mulbarton that I lately purchased of George Euston Clarke and also my manor and manors, lordship and lordships of Tasburgh which I purchased of Sir Robert Gaudie and George Gaudie [Gawdy], Esq., also all other my lands and tenements situate, lying and being in the town of Tasburgh aforesaid and with the marsh and meadow grounds I late purchased of Sir Robert [illegible] known or called by the name of Clarke Marsh or by what other name or names whatsoever the same are known or called by as all what is copyhold or freehold to the same belonging as also I give unto him, the said Gascoigne, my lands in Saxlingham and Tasburgh I bought of Mr Marmoll and my capital messuage or tenement with all the lands, tenements and appurtenances as well freehold and copyhold to the same belongings which I late purchased of Henry Elms, gent, and others situate, lying and being in [illegible] and the towns adjoining in the county of Suffolk to have and to hold all the aforesaid manors, messuages, lands, tenements and premises as well freehold and copyhold with all and every their rights, members and appurtenances unto my said son, Gascoigne Weld, and the heirs male of his body begotten or to be begotten".

Matthew, his father, anticipated familial fall out following his death as his opening paragraph is a plea to the beneficiaries to accept his will and not dispute any part of it although where dispute should come from is hard to see since his eldest son, another Matthew, pre-deceased him as did his eldest son from his second marriage, Edmund, leaving Gascoigne as sole heir.

Gascoigne, on his father's death, became a landed gentleman but left a remarkably small footprint behind.

He married in around 1640 Ann Hall, daughter of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, by whom he had Judith died young, Elizabeth married Richard Rutter, Anne died young, Mary married Rev William Starkey, Joseph died 1712 unm, Gascoigne died young and Matthew died young.

He then appears to have married Margaret Long the widow of Francis Batchcroft by whom he had no issue.

His third wife, who he married in 1671, is commonly noted as Philippa Calthorpe but given she was 39 at the time of the marriage, and I have been unable to find any trace of her in various Calthorpe lineages, I think she was a widow rather than a Calthorpe by birth. By Philippa he had Barbara who died unmarried in 1690 aged 18.

And that appears to be the extent of his footprint on time; with the death of his only surviving son, Joseph, in 1712 the Welds of Norfolk disapparate.