The Fige / Fyge family

Thomas Fige, gentleman (d.1579), seems to have arrived in the area soon before 1560, when the first of five children was baptised at Granborough: Agnes (1560; m. Thomas Kerne before 1588), Mary (1562; m. John Hill before 1588), Jane (1565, d.1573), Isabel (1567; unmarried in 1588), Peter (1568). His son Thomas (d.1588) and daughter Joan (who married John Walker in 1572 at Granborough) were born earlier. He witnessed the will of Thomas Jeffes of Granborough on 31 May 1558, and may have drawn it up as its wording is very different from the usual local style.

Figge family treeThe family tree on the right is from The Visitation of Bucks 1634. Click on the image to see a larger version. Thomas' grandmother Margaret came from the Topesfeld or Topesfeilde family of Little Saxham, Suffolk.

Thomas Fige was buried at Winslow on 6 Nov 1579, followed by his wife Jane on 29 Dec 1581 (nee Carter, of North Marston; she was widow of Ralph Rainesby of Herefs, and her daughter from her first marriage Molde married Anthony Jackson of The Bell, Winslow). They are commemorated by a memorial brass in Winslow church showing 2 sons and 5 daughters. Thomas' will, made in Jan 1579, gives his place of residence as Shipton. It seems unlikely that he would have lived in an ordinary farmhouse, but there is no information about his house (he does not seem to have had any connection with Biggin). Jane's inventory (Jan 1582) does not list furniture, but some of her clothes were fairly expensive. Thomas had substantial property in Essex at Writtle, Chelmsford and Prittlewell which he left to his eldest son Thomas. He left his property in Winslow, East and Botolph Claydon to his younger son Peter. His daughter Joan married John Walker at Granborough in 1572; their granddaughter Jane married Robert Gibbs and became the ancestress of the Gibbs family of Winslow.

Jane's will also mentions her "daughter Kerbye & her Children", who was probably another child of her first marriage; her husband was Robert Kirby. They had children called Abimelech (living at Hanslope in 1600), John, Mary and Alice.

Peter Fige, gentleman (b.1568, d. 1660) became the leading inhabitant of Winslow after his brother Thomas died. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Edmonds (Rector of Shenley 1574-1605 and apparently a native of Winslow), and the following children are recorded:

Peter Fige was one of the overseers of the will of Anthony Jackson of The Bell in 1592. His half-sister Molde was married to Anthony Jackson, and Peter Fige continued to act on her behalf later. Anthony Jackson's estate was valued at £184, of which £87 was money owed to him by Peter Fige. Was this real debt or a way of subsidising the widow?

In 1600 Peter Fige held the Moot Hall, although he was not one of the jurors who made the presentment to Sir John Fortescue that year. He appears to have been the leader of the tenants in their dispute with the lord of the manor 1603-13: his name comes first in the list of complainants, and he made the request for the king's letters patent to confirm the agreement in 1613. He was bailiff of the manor in 1611 and later (Allen v Jackson c.1616).

There is an order for the arrest of Peter Fige, dated 10 July 1622 (Centre for Bucks Studies D/P 435) referring to him as "Peter Fige late of London gentleman alias Master Peter Fige of Winslowe". He was to appear at Westminster to do satisfaction to John Davy, knight, for a debt of £200 and £5 damages. This could refer to the elder or younger Peter.

In 1625, Peter Fige bought Tookey Mead from the Lees (owners of Biggin) (VCH Bucks: Winslow). He is mentioned in 1633 when he took the inventory of his brother-in-law William Edmunds. In 1634, Samuel Rawlins (who appears from the parish registers to have been a Winslow resident) "abused Peter Fige of Winslow as he was coming to make proof of his gentry" (Cal. S.P. Dom. 1634–5, p.187).

On 9 June 1638, an indenture was drawn up by which Peter Fige the elder would hand over to his son Peter his lease of the tithes of Winslow and the office of bailiff of the manor, which he had been re-granted by the lords of the manor on 28 April 1638 for an annual payment to them of £136 13s 4d (British Library, Add.Ch.53941). This was part of a retirement agreement which coincided with Peter jr's marriage, but it was immediately negated by another document in which Peter the younger handed it all back to Peter the elder for ten years (Centre for Bucks Studies, D97/104/1/3):

This Indenture made the ninth daye of June in the fowerteenth yeare of the Raigne of o(ur) Sovraigne Lord Charles by the Grace of God Kinge of England Scotland France and Ireland defender of the Faith etc. [1638] Betweene Peter Fige the younger of Winslowe in the Countie of Bucks Gent of the one partie and Peter Fige father of him the saide Peter of Winslowe aforesaide in the saide County of Bucks Gent of the other partie Wittnesseth That the saide Peter Fige the sonne for divers good Causes and Considerac(i)ons him the saide Peter Fige the younger thereunto lawfully moveinge Hath granted betaken and to Ferme letten. And by these p(re)sents doth grant betake and to ferme lett unto the saide Peter Fige the Father all that the office of Bayliffe and Bayliwicke of the Towne and Libertie of Winslow aforesaide with the members thereunto belonginge and the Stewards seate and Chamber thereupon Builded Called the Mote Hall Scituate in the markett place of the Towne of Winslowe abovesaide Together w(i)th the Tolles of all Fayres & marketts within the saide Towne yearely arisinge or happeninge and the moitye or one halfe of all wayfes and strayes  happeninge and belonginge to or by reason of the manno(r) of Winslowe aforesaide and allsoe the moitye or one halfe of all Amerciam(en)ts of Affrayes and Bloodshead att the veiw of Franckpledge. Holden for the saide manno(r) of Winslowe to bee p(re)sented and Assessed And likewise the Fee or salarie of Fiftie three shillings and Fouer pence to bee taken and received yearely from the handes of the Tenants and Fermers of the Right Ho(noura)ble Phillip Earle of Pembrooke and Mountgomary Henry Earle of Danby S(i)r Robert Pye knight and George Feildinge Esq within the saide Manno(r) of Winslowe duringe the Terme hereafter exp(re)ssed To have and to hold all and singular the said lett p(re)misses with the Rights members and app(er)tenances thereunto belonginge unto the saide Peter Fige the Father and his Assignes From the Feast daye of the Annunciac(i)on of the blessed Lady St. Mary the virgin last past before the date hereof unto the full end and Terme of Tenn yeares from thence next and im(m)ediately Followinge fully to bee Compleat and ended if the most Noble Lady Katherine Dutches of Buckingha(m) wife of the Right Ho(oura)ble Randell Mackdonnell Earle of Antrim And the saide Peter Fige the Father happen both soe Longe to live Yeildinge and payinge therefore yearely duringe the saide Terme to the saide Peter the younger and his Assignes The Rent of one pepper Corne upon the Feast day of the Annu(n)ciac(i)on of our Ladie St. Mary the Blessed \Virgin/ Provided allwayes Nev(er)thelesse and upon Condic(i)on (that is to saie) that if the saide Peter Fige the younger happen to die w(i)thout heires of his bodie lawfullie begotten in the Life time of the saide Peter Fige the Elder And that the saide Lady Katherine Dutches of Buckingha(m) happen to bee then Livinge that the saide Peter shall and maye hold and enioy the saide Bayliffe or Bayliwicke and other the saide p(re)misses for the said  \terme/ of Tenn yeares to beginn as aforesaide if shee the saide Katherine Dutches of Buckingham soe Longe live.
In wittnesse whereof the saide parties to these p(re)sent Indentures have enterchangeably sett their handes seales on the daie and yeare first above written.
Sealed and deliv(er)ed in the p(re)sence of
Nich(olas) Rolfe                 Rob(er)t Maynwaring                     Peter Fyge Jun(ior)
Jo(hn?) Colls                      Francis Campion

Peter sr also handed over much of his land to Peter jr and divided his house (probably opposite the site of Winslow Hall) into two at the court baron of 12 Sep 1638. The property was to revert to Valentine Fige if Peter jr had no children.

In 1640, Peter jr & Martha Fige surrendered Rose Close containing 5 acres to Henry Pym, then to Valentine Fige (Manor court records, Centre for Bucks Studies, D175/2).

On 6 Aug 1642, the Duchess of Buckingham and her husband the Earl of Antrim, lords of the manor, drew up an indenture with Sir Henry Reve of London, granting him "all those messuages, howses, edifices, buildings, barnes, stables, tenthes, lands, tenements, tolles, mulctures, baylywicke offices, fees, salaries, pencions, liberties, priviledges, advantages, profitts , comodities, emoluments, imunities and hereditaments" in Winslow now in the tenure of Peter Fige the elder or his assigns by a lease for a term not exceeding 5 years from last Michaelmas. Reve had paid £400 and would pay a yearly rent of one peppercorn; the annual income was said to be £120. Peter Fyge's term would have expired no later than Sep. 1646, but his son was bailiff in 1647 (see below); the will of Sir Henry Reve of Barnes was proved on 12 Dec 1642, which would explain why his agreement never came into force. See also Sequestration 1647.

"Elizabeth, wife of Peter Fyge sen., gent." was buried at Winslow on 15 Nov 1650. Peter Fyge senior was buried at Winslow on 13 June 1660. His wife's two sisters were married to Robert Maynwaring, Vicar of Winslow 1597-1648, and Henry Wendover, gentleman, of Winslow.

Peter Fige the younger (b.1594, d.1665) subscribed at Oxford University on 23 April 1613. On 30 May 1638 he married Martha Colles at St Albans Abbey. She was the daughter of William Colles, baptised 18 March 1606/7 at St Stephen's, St Albans and buried at Winslow 17 Mar 1658/9, and sister of Edmund Colles of Elstree (d.1679). Martha's mother Susanna Colles died in London in 1648 (see her will); if Peter was hoping to inherit from her, he was disappointed. Peter is described as bailiff of the manor in a surrender of 1647. He was evidently in financial trouble in 1647, mortgaging some of his property to Francis Dodsworth of Whaddon. An agreement between the vicar and churchwarden of Swanbourne on 30 Jan 1658/9, recorded in the parish register there, was "attested by us, John Pownell, Minister of Winslow; Peter Fyge, Justice of Winslow". These children of Peter and Martha were baptised at Winslow:

Valentine Fyge of London (b.1602), apprenticed to William Noke 1618, apothecary (1626-1669) and citizen of London, and a friend of Samuel Pepys (who refers to him as Mr Fage). He was warned for irreverence (1626), "in the matter of Mr Goddard" (1632) and "questioned for practising upon the body of Mrs Ganocke" (1640). He had an archbishop's medical licence (1635). He lived in Fleet Street, was a Common-Councilman for the St Bride's precinct, Farringdon ward, and a Presbyterian: ruling elder of 5th Classis of London Province 1655-60, member of Grand Committee of Provincial Assembly, 1655. He married Margaret Blake (10 Oct 1626); she was the sister of William Blake (d.1632). See entry in Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London. See entry in The Rulers of London 1660-1689. He witnessed the will of Elizabeth More of Fleet Street in 1639 (PROB 11/181/575) and was executor for her sister Alice Foxley in 1646, both nee Lambert of Buckingham. He was also overseer of the will of the Puritan Ann Hitchcocke (1632). He joined his brother Peter in a surrender of 1647. His son Valentine studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge (1645-9), was curate of Bridgnorth (1652-4) and was buried at Winslow on 29 Sep 1654; according to evidence given when his father tried to recover his arrears of pay at Bridgnorth "was accounted a most pious preacher & of godly lief & conversacon" (TNA, E134/1658-59/HIL24). Valentine sr had four sons alive in 1663 (when he was executor of his sister Rebecca's will) including Peter, Charles Fyge (mercer of Gnosall, Staffs, 1639-76) (see his will and inventory) and:

Thomas Fyge of London (b. before 1634, apprenticed 1649, d.1705) was a physician and city-councilman, who married (1) Rebecca Allcock (d. 1672), (2) Mary Beacham (d. 1704) of Seaton, Rutland. See entry in The Rulers of London 1660-1689. See his will, which shows that he was a very rich man with extensive London property. Clear 1894, 83: "On a monument in the Church (lately destroyed) was a record that Thos. Fyge, Gent. - last heir-male of that family - departed this life March ye 19th 1706." The year should be 1704/5. His will mentions his "sister Cressy". He had 6 daughters including:

Sarah Fyge (b. 1668, d. 1723). She was a poet and advocate of women's rights. See her will for more information about her. She was born in London but died at Winslow. She married (1) Edward Field of Shenley, (2) Thomas Egerton, Vicar of Adstock, probably a descendant of Mary Fyge and Thomas Egerton (see above). Her will mentions three sisters.

and Hannah Fyge (b.1683 d.1738), the youngest daughter and a very wealthy woman when she died in London. See her will.

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Copyright 30 October, 2020