Browne Willis, description of Winslow church, c.1735

British Library, Add MS 5840, ff.177v-181r

Browne Willis, the antiquarian of Whaddon Hall, was compiling notes for a history of Cottesloe Hundred which he never completed. They were copied by William Cole while he was Rector of Bletchley. He added some notes of his own, shown in italics and square brackets (usually signed W.C.). Latin words are also shown in italics. Willis wasn't always renowned for his attention to detail, and some of his dates are slightly astray.

The Church consists of a body & 2 Iles & Chancel, which are leaded & at the West End is a strong embatteled Tower, in which hang 6 modern[?] Bells, cast out of 5 in 1668 in June.

The old Treble weighed 700li. The new 600li
The old 2nd. weighed 1100. The new 700.
The old 3rd. weighed 1100. The new 800.
The old 4th. weighed 1800 The new


The old 5th.  or Tenor weighe 2700. The present 5th 1500.
    The prest 6th. or Tenor 2000
    Sum of the Weight of the old Peal 7500
    of the new or present Peal of 6


Left in Keene of Woodstock’s Hands, who was the Founder 700 weight.

[I suppose the old 3rd. weighed 1300 Weight; or it won’t make the sum of 7500 altogether : tho’ it is so wrote in Mr. Willis’s own Hand. W.C.]

Here is also a Clock & Chimes. The Tower is 64 Foot high. The Vicarage in 1534 was returned to be 11li.5s.8d  & the clear value 40li. But it hath been endowed with Queen Anne’s Bounty twice, & vastly improved by Enclosure, & is worth about 100li p(er) Annum.

The Number of Acres in the whole Parish is 2075.
The Number of Families are 235, whereof in Shipton 19, & of Souls about 1100. It paid to the Land Tax in 1712 – 283li.3.0.

There is at Shipton an Hamlet of this Parish consisting of 19 houses (& here was likewise in this Parish,) a Cell called Bigend Farm, belonging to St. Albans, where lately was a Chapel standing, which John Deverell of Swanburn pulled down since the Restoration & sold the Timber & Stones.

Baptisms here communibus Annis are about 28, & burials about 26.

Charities given as they stood 1730.
Mr. Williams p(er) An(num) 00.10.00  
Mr. Griffin p(er) An(num) 00.10.00  
Mrs. Ford & Mr. Bishop p(er) An(num) 02.16.00


Mrs. Willimot 00.10.00  
Mrs. Egerton Dau of Mr. Fige of Winslow & Wife to the Rev. Mr. Egerton of Adstock p(er) An(num)   01.00.00  

N.B. Mrs. Egerton’s Gift is last thro’ the Abuse of her Executors the Aldrich’s lately Mercer here, whom she entrusted. They are all dead & removed out of this Parish.

[See a pleasant Story of the Wife of Mr. Egerton Rector of Adstock, but not of this Lady, but the Wife of Mr. Tho: Egerton who died in 1720, in Mrs. Manley’s Atlantis. Vol: [blank]    W.C.]

To these is to be added a Benefaction of Joseph Rogers, Carrier of this Town, who died 1722, & bequeathed 600li. to be laid out in Land towards founding a School to teach Children of this Parish to write & read wch was laid out accordingly & the schole set up.

Mr. Secretary Lowndes paved the Chancel throughout, which is 35 Foot long, & 20 Foot broad, with Bister stones Ao. 1700, & new leaded it: he also sunk a Vault at the East End for his Family, & raised the Altar 2 steps encompassing it with an handsome Rail, & paved it within the Rails with Danish Marble. His eldest Son Robert on whom he settled this Estate, afterwards set up, behind the Communion Table, the Creed & Lord’s Prayer, curiously wrote in gold Letters upon handsome Oack[?] wainscote.  He new glased the Windows throughout. In the old Windows remained only one Pane that was painted, which is still preserved, & fixed in the East Window, under his Arms, which was placed in the middle of the Window, with the date under them viz: 1700. The Arms are Argent frette Azure on a Canton Gules, a Leopard’s Head Or erased.

Here was formerly an old Herse Cloth, which was in Being ‘till within these 20 years, in a Circle about the middle of which was written:

Pray for the Soules of John & Joane Gadbury.

And here also was an old Pulpit Cloth, wrought about with Abundance Arms in Escocheons & Lozenge Wise, which the Fige’s formerly are said to have begged of the Fortescues.

Mr. Thomas Lowndes about the year 1640 gave a Com(m)union Carpet. Joane Forde, whose maiden Name was Lowndes, about that Time gave a chalice and some small Land to be distributed in Doles.

Monuments in the Church

On the Pavement in the middle of the Church is an antient stone on which is engraved in modern Letters this imperfect Inscription:

. . . . . . . William Willhouse departed
this life Ao. Dni  14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

N.B. This Stone had an Orate on it; which being lost, the Vicar Mr Croft, put this imperfect Inscription from Memory, that it belonged to William Willowes.

At the Entrance out of the Church into the Chancel lies a black Marble, at the Top of which are these Arms, viz: Frettè on a Canton, a Lion’s Head erased, & underneath is this Inscription:

[The Arms of Lowndes as they bear them now 1760, & as, I suppose they did then, are thus blasoned, A Frettè Azure, studded, Or, on a Canton Gules, a Lion’s Head erased Or.  W.C.]

The Body of Mr. Robert Lowndes who was aged 64 years, who died the 26. of January 1683, is interred under this Stone. His Father, & others of his Ancestors having formerly been buried in or near the same Place.

Near this, inclosed among the seats of the middle Ile is a raised Altar Monument, covered at Top with a Marble, wherein is inlaid in Brass these Arms, viz: Quarterly a Fess between 3 Fleurs de Lis, 2d. on a Bend 3 Mullets, 3d. as 1st. 4th. as 2d. Underneath are the Effigies of a Man & a Woman in Brass, with an Inscription as follows: under the Man are 2 Boys, & under the Woman are 5 Girls.

Here lyeth under this Stone the Body of Thomas Fyge Gentl: and Janne his Wyff, which had Issue by her two Sons, & five Daughters and died the 21 of November 1578.

On an ordinary Stone in the Chancel, set at Top with a small marble in Lozenge is this Inscription:

Here lyeth the Body of Mr. Edward Baswell: Gent, who departed this Life Aug: 30 1689.  

Under the Pavement Steps of the Communion Table is the Monument containing on a Marble the Effigies of a Woman in Brass, with an Inscription under her, which is as follows:

Here lyeth buried the Corps of Dorothy Bernard, Daughter and Coheir of Ralph Allwey, late of Shenley in the County of Hertford Esqr. who departed this Life the 15 of Aprill Ao. D(omi)ni 1634. Aetatis suæ. 26

Here was an Inscription on a Gravestone for

William Wyat born here in Winslow March 6. 1630, who died January 17 1695.

And also this on another Gravestone

Jan: 17. Joanna Pocock, Vidua, A:D:1701.

Ex Registro Archidiaconi Sci Albani

Ao.1518.8.Hen:8. Will of Thomas Palmer to be buried in our Lady Chapel (Chancel in another Account) in Winslow Church, before our Lady’s Image. X Marks to each of his Sons, & XX  Marks to each of his Daurs for their marriages. 
Ao.1524.15. Hen:8. Will of Walter Palmer, proved. To be buried in the South Ile of St. Lawrence’s Church at Winslow, before our Lady’s Image.
Ao.1532.23. Hen:8. Will of Ric: Willows, proved. To be buried in the middle space of St. Lawrence’s Church at Winslow, before the Crucifix.

A Return made about 1554, of a Terrier at St. Alban’s.
[Latin] The Churchwardens hold from the lord of the manor a messuage or tenement at the Church Style in which the curate of the same church now lives.

Terrier 1631 in Newcourt. [It is there 1634. W.C.] A Vicarage House of 4 Bays; a Lean-to & Study: two Bays of Housing, built by Robert Mainwaring, the then Vicar. A yard, Orchard, Garden & little Close, being altogether about an Acre of Ground & about 57 Acres of Glebe besides.

[f.179v] This Parish being an Exempt from the BP. of Lincoln’s Diocese, all the Names of the Incumbents, I am able to recover are only these following.

Vicarii de Winslow.

William Wellonn was instituted Ao. 1326. 19.Edw:2. ad Presentationem  Abbatis Sancti Albani.

John Albyn exchanged it for Aldebury: Co Hertford with Peter Braunche 4. Cal: May Ao 1422 1.Hen:6. He exchanged it with Wm Grecote for Steeple Claydon Vicarage 25 March 1425 3.Hen:6. He exchanged it for Crowton Co: Northampton rectory with Thomas Spencer 1428.

Henry Tomlyns Vicar of Winslow willed Sept:10.1451 29.Hen.6. to be buried in the Chancel of the Church of St. Lawrence in Winslow.

Richard Stratton occurs Vicar of Winslow Ao.1533. when it was returned, that he paid a Pension of 1li.6s.8d. to the Vicar of Little-Harwood. He was Vicar in 1534. His Successor was Thomas Hobbes Ao. 1535.
[In another place, on the same Leafe Mr. Willis in his own Hand calls him Wm. Hobbes & says he was Vicar 1534. Tho’ he has made an express Note to his Predecessor Ric: Stratton, saying he was Vicar 1534. So out of this Confusion I know not which to rely on. W.C.]
All these were presented by the Convent of St. Alban’s.

Ao. 1544. Sir William Hobbes is stiled Priest, & Curate of Winslow. Quere if not the same as the last?

Edward Inse was presented to Winslow by Queen Mary Ao. 1556. Rymer’s Fœdera Vol.15: p.443.

Richard Edmonds died 1558 Vicar of Winslow, as Mr. Newcourt informs us, [Vol:1 p.912 of his Reportorium.] & was succeeded by Wm. Lewes, who was instituted July 5. 1558, on the presentation of King Philip & Queen Mary, the Crown having presented all his successors ever since the Dissolution of St. Alban’s Monastery.

Robert Dauncey was instituted May 17 Ao. 1565 & p(er) Mortem Lewes. [Mr Newcourt only says per Mortem ultimi Incumbentis. But perhaps Mr. Willis had his authority. W.C.]

[f.180r] Philip Favour was instituted June 18. 1590 p(er) Mortem Dauncey.

Robert Mainwaring A:B: of St. John’s College Oxon succeeded, being presented Jan.10. Ao. 1597. p(er) Mortem Favour. He died & was buried here March 20 Ao. 1647-48. & was succeeded by

John Bishop instituted Ao.  1648 being presented Apr: 14. He was buried at Winslow 3 March 1651-52. In the year 1650, he was returned to be a constant Preacher, & the Vicarage to be worth 30li. p(er) An(num).

John Pownall succeeded 1652. He died Vicar & buried here September the 7. Ao. 1663.

Samuel Dix A:M: succeeded, being presented Dec: 2. 1663, by the Crown on the death of the last Vicar. He was buried here, according to the Register, Jan: 8. 1680, without any Memorial, & was succeeded by

John Jones A:M: March 11.1681. He died 27 Oct: and was buried here  November 3. 1684, & was succeeded by

John Croft A:M: who was presented Nov.23. Ao. 1684. He died here, & was buried April 29. 1716 &  succeeded by

Egerton Cutler, a Sea Chaplain, Ao. 1716. He died Ao. 1720 & was succeeded by

James Edmunds A:M: 1720, who is the present Vicar 1735.
[Mr. Edmunds died April 1765.]

[f.180v]                 The Register begins Ao.1560. 2 Eliz: the first Register ends 1715:

Robert Lowndes & Joanne Cocks 1575.
Robert Lowndes & Elizabeth Huse 1590.
Walter Grant & Bridget Lowndes 1604.
Wm. Lowndes & Frances Wendover 1612.
Tho: Egerton & Mary Fyge 1612.
Robert Lowndes & Alice Spooner 1627.
Henry Wendover & Elizabeth Lowndes 1604.
John Chetwood & Mary Glenister 1648.
Wendover Lowndes & Susan Fyge 1657.
Philip Egerton & Mary Goodwin 1707.

Edward Lowndes 1576.                  Anne Lownes 1577.
Robert Son of Robert Lowndes 1580.
Bridget Daur of Robert Lowndes 1581.
William his Son 1586.
Tho: Son of Peter Fyge 1595.      Valentine his Son 1601.
George Son of Rob: Lowndes 1597.
Robert Son of Robert Lowndes deceased 1602.
John Son of Rowland Fell 1614.
Wendover Son of Wm. Lowndes 1615.
Robert Son of Wm. Lowndes 1619.            Frances his Daur 1626.
George Son of Robert Lowndes 1633.
Wendover Son of Wm. Lowndes 1633.    Henry his Son 1642.
Wm. Son of Robert Lowndes June 19. 1652. He died in Jan: 1723 & was buried here Jan: 29. This was the famous Wm. Lowndes who got the Estate. He was Secretary of the Treasury & Member of Parliament many years
Robert Son of Peter & Dorothy Lowndes 1679.
Robert Son of Robert Lowndes \Esqr./ & Margaret his Wife Feb: 5. 1707.
[This I take to be my good Friend & Neibour Robert Lowndes of Great Brickhill Esqr. Apr: 17. 1760. W.C.]
N.B. William & Richard their Sons were born in London.
Elizabeth their Dau: June. 22. 1709.
John & Roger their Sons Nov:16. 1710.
[f.181r] Edward & Margaret their Son & Dau: May 4. 1712.
Charles & James their Sons July 26. 1713.
Henry & George their Sons Sept: 19. 1714
Francis their Son March 20. 1716.
Anne their Dau: May 4. 1718.
Sarah their Dau: July 7. 1719.
Robert & Margaret Lowndes had besides these a Dau: named Margaret who died 1710: in all 16 children.

Edward Lowndes 1576                   Tho: Fyge, Gent: 1588.
Ric: Son of Rob: Lowndes. 1591.  Tho: Son of Peter Fyge, Gent: 1602.
Rob: Lowndes 1602.
Wendover, Son of Wm. Lowndes 1617.
Anne Lowndes 1623.      Tho: Dormer 1624.
Anne Dau: of Wm. & Frances Lowndes 1637.
Wm. Lowndes 1654.         Martha Wife of Peter Fyge 1660.
Susanna Wife of Wendover Lowndes 1667.
Robert Lowndes 1683 Jan: 29.
Wendover Lowndes 1687.
Philip Son of Wm. Lowndes Esqr.1702.
John his Son 1703.           Francis his Son 1706.
Rev. Thomas Croft Apr: 14. 1710.
Peter Lowndes 1711.
Margaret Dau: of Rob: Lowndes Esqr. Apr: 17. 1710.
Hannah Dau: of Wm. Lowndes Esqr.1710.               James his Son 1710.
Charles Son of Rob: Lowndes Esqr.1713.                    James his Son 1713.        George his Son 1714.
Edward his Son 1715.
Mr. Edward Lowndes 1716.          Francis Lowndes 1717.
Mr. Henry Lowndes 1717.            
Rob: Lowndes 1718. Son of Wm. Lowndes junior.
Mr. Wm. Lowndes Son of Rob: Lowndes Esqr. 1718.          Dorothy Lowndes 1720.
Wm. Lowndes, Senior Esqr. Jan: 29. 1723.
Rob: Lowndes Esqr. Sept: 3. 1727.
Margaret his Relict Apr:23. 1728.
John Lowndes July 10. 1735.

Finished the Transcript of Mr. Willis’s 5 Volumes in 4to of Newport & Cotslow Hundreds Apr: 17. 1760. Began them Feb: 1. 1760.

Copyright 25 November, 2018