Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888)

pp.6-8 on the Civil War and Commonwealth

During the time of the Civil War 1642-1648, Winslow was situate in the midst of the contending parties, and consequently did not wholly escape the miseries incident to such a position, for the army of the King being encamped at Brill, and the Parliamentary Forces quartered at Aylesbury and Newport Pagnell, Winslow occasionally received the troops of both, as the marches or expeditions of the several armies required.

In 1643 the Royalist party collected a force of about four hundred men from Bicester, and the Villages of that neighbourhood, and suddenly made their appearance at Winslow, where they captured about forty horses and a considerable store of provisions, a resident named Jackson being their guide and assistant. After pillaging Winslow, the troops went on to Swanbourne, and there met a picket guard of musqueteers of the Aylesbury Garrison, these made the best defence they could, but being overwhelmed by numbers they retreated to the Church, and finally had to yield themselves prisoners.

In a scarce black-letter pamphlet of the period, purporting to give "a true and exact relation of the plundering and pillaging of Winslow and Swanbourne, and divers other Towns in the Counties of Buckingham and Hertford - it is stated of the Royalist troops, "they cut in pieces what household goods they cannot carry away, they sweepe cleane divers of our pastures, leaving no cattel behind them, and that no cruellty may be left unexercised by them, they have this day ffired a country village called Swanbourne, in seven places of the town, for no other reason but because they were not willing to be plundered of all they had, and they guarded the ffire so carefully with all their forces that no neighbour durst adventure to quench it." This matter being reported to the House of Commons, an order was made assigning the inhabitants of Swanbourne, timber out of Whittlebury Forest to repair the houses that had been burnt down and destroyed by the King's forces in that village.

In January, 1644, Capt. Abercromby of the Parliamentary Army, was sent out from Newport Pagnell to procure intelligence and supplies in the neighbourhood of Winslow, Abercromby fixed his quarters at Addington, (where his entrenchments may still be seen). At this time a few Royalist soldiers were posted at Hillesden House, under Col. Smith, some of these happened to be busily engaged in hunting up supplies at Winslow when Abercromby arrived at the town, upon which Smith prudently withdrew his small force and retreated to Westbury. Abercromby, writing from Addington, on the 15th January, 1644, to the Earl of Essex, rather boastfully relates his exploits in this neighbourhood; he states-"upon Thursday, according to my letter I went to Winslow, and within half-a-mile of the town I met a country-man who told me the enemy was within the town drinking, dancing, and sinking (?) themselves, and that some forty four were with their colors at the towns end, I advanced towards them, and they made no great haste, but at last I advanced with a full body upon them-they took heels and I followed, and they run the highway to Padbury Bridge. But I confess they beat us at running if it had been for a thousand pound." In June, 1644, King Charles was at Buckingham, and his advance guard held "Winslow, but this was only for a time, for by his indecision; and want of plan he was outgeneralled in all directions, so that his army soon received a vital blow at Naseby Field, and the King ultimately lost both crown and life.

The Church Register of Christenings, Marriages, and Burials, commences with the year 1560. The Book is in an excellent state of preservation, Up to the year 1588, the entries are made in Latin. Occasionally we find a paragraph relating to other matters of parochial interest., In 1560 there were 5 christenings, 3 marriages, and 2 burials. In 1563, 8 christenings, no marriages, and 5 burials. These figures give some idea of the population of Winslow 300 years ago. In 1600, there were 18 christenings, 4 marriages, and 7 burials. For the first few years no entries of any general importance occur, they relate principally to the families of Lownes, or Loundes, Deverall, Hogson, Spooner, Hyrst, Tomlin, Goodwyn, Gyles, etc. In 1649 occurs an entry of a marriage not performed in the parish, viz,-"Mr. Thomas Bishop, Minister of this parish, and Mrs. Ffrancis White, of Steeple Claydon, were married att Steeple Claydon afore- said, May 31st, per Thos. Berry, Cur." In 1650, Mr. Bishop was returned as a constant preacher, and the Vicarage worth £30 per annum. He was buried at Winslow, March 3rd, 1652. Another entry is as follows,-"Memo, yt on September 17th, 1653, Was collected and paid in to ye High Constable of this Hundred, John Adams, junr., for ye relief of ye inhabitants of Marlborough, impoverished by an extraordinary ffire, wch undid many families, the sum of £2 1 1, as appears by ye acquittance suffixed, John Pownall, Minis."

During the Commonwealth an Act was passed, providing for a careful registration "in a book of good vellum," of all births, deaths, and marriages, in each parish, by "some able and honest person chosen by the inhabitants and householders," who was to be a sworn officer, and who should subscribe the entries in the presence of a Justice of the Peace."

"Bucks to wit. Whereas Robert Wells, of Winslow, hath bin by ye inhabitants of ye sd P'rsh elected and chosen P'rsh Registrar, according to a late Act of Parliament in yt behalf provided. These are therefore to signifie yt ye said Robert Wells is approved and has bin this 22nd day of November, 1653, sworn before us, ye undersigned,    Rich Pigott."

In the 5th year of the Protectorate, a Marriage Act was passed (which came into operation September 29th, 1653), whereby civil marriages were authorized to be performed by a Justice of the Peace.
Then follow many curious entries of the Publication of Banns, relating to such Marriages, of which the following are specimens.-"Thomas Curtis of Little Horwood, and Jane Bradbery of Sinkilboro, was published three severall market days in Winslow Market, and was married June 14th, 1654.
Thomas Taylor of ---- and Mary Anstey of Swanbourne, was published three severall market days in Winslow Market, and was married, Septem. 17th, 1654.

1655. George Roade and Jane Starling, both of the parish of Woughton, was published three severall market days in Winslow Market-place, one ye 11th of October, one ye 18th, and one ye 25th.

1656. Williarn Holland of East Claydon, and Elizabeth Wootton of Steeple Cladon, was published three severall market days in Winslow Market-place, one ye 17th April, and one ye 24th, and one 1st May, and married 12th of May.
Thomas Holloway and Mary Edins, boath of the parish of Swonbourne, was published in Winslow Market-place, etc.
1657. Wendover Lowndes and Susan Ffyges, was published three severall Lords dayes in Winslow Church, one ye 27th of Septr., one ye 4th, and one ye 11th of Octr., and was married Novemb 10th."

The publication of intended marriages, continued to be made in Winslow Market-place up to 1660, and the Church Register contains the particulars of 43 such cases. The parties concerned, lived in Addington, Adstock, Aston Abbots, Beachampton, Cublington, Hillesden, Hogston, Shenley, Stoke Hammond, Princes Risborough, Bledlow, Wing, etc.

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Copyright 25 July, 2015