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History Notes




BEFORE touching on the records of the particular family, which is the immediate subject of this work, it may be interesting to consider from a general point of view, the probable origin of the name as found in East Anglia. During my study of the subject, three theories have suggested themselves :-

1st. That the name came from Wales, in which case it would be an abbreviation of the Welsh Ap Howell.

2nd. That the name is of Dutch or continental origin.

3rd. That the name was known in the district at such an early date that we may regard it as indigenous.

With regard to the Welsh theory, the name Aphowell is certainly to be found as early as 1492, when one John Aphowell, public commissary, accompanies Bishop Goldwell on his visitation of the Diocese of Norwich, in that year (cf Norf. Antiq Miscellany). I have also met with the name of Nicholas Aphowell, at Bury St Edmunds in 1545; and also at Thetford, of which place he was Mayor in 1542. (See Appendix.) The same surname is also to be found in the 16th century, at West Bradenham, Norfolk, and Parham, Suffolk.

In searching the Chancery Bills and Answers, I have as yet met with only one suit giving a connection with Wales; viz. [B. & A. Jac. I. P. 25,16. Powell als Butcher v. Powell als Butcher.] In this suit, dated April, 1621, the "Daily Orator" or complainant is one " Thomas Powell als Butcher of Norwich." He states that his father, "Henry Powle somtyemes of St. Edmunds Bury co. Suff." was at one time living in Wales, and that he himself was living there some time previous to the suit, when his uncle Paul Powle sent for him to London. The Henry and Paul here mentioned were grandsons of a certain Powle Bocher, plumber, of Bury, to whom I refer again later on.

This is, of course, evidence only of a migration from Suffolk to Wales, but suggests a probability of the family in question being previously connected with the Principality.

As to the Dutch origin. Mr. Moens, in his history of the Walloons, of Norwich, has shown that the name existed among the Dutch immigrants to this country; a certain John Powell being there mentioned as one of thirty Dutch merchants who came over to settle in Norwich in 1565. A Dutch family of name was certainly residing in Norwich in the early part of the 17th century (cf. will of Charles Powell, P.C.C., Cope, 32), very possibly descended from the above John Powell The fact that a large proportion of testators of the name before 1500 were resident on or near the sea coast, may indicate that there were also earlier immigrations of the name.

In support of the indigenous theory, it may be said that the name of Powell was represented in East Anglia at a very early date. The first mention of the name, of which I am aware, occurs in the Hundred Rolls of Edward I. It is there stated that one Radulphus Powel held land in capite of the King, at Carleton, in Suffolk, in the reign of John, and the name Mazelina Powel is also given as a landowner in the same place. In these records we also find the name of Galfridus Powel, at Foulmire, in Cambridgeshire.

On the Court Rolls of Burwell (at the Record Office), we again find the name in 1321; and a John Powel appears as an inhabitant at "Wytleseye," in the Subsidy Roll for Cambridgeshire, 1 Edward III. (1327). In Blomefield's History of Norfolk, the name occurs several times previously to 1400, the earliest mention being that of Powl, a chaplain at Tyrington in 1342. From the list of wills given in the Appendix, it will be seen that the name, whatever its origin, had become fairly common in Suffolk at the close of the 15th century.

Besides the family whose pedigree is treated of in this work, there were several others of the name in East Anglia; and I here subjoin a list showing the places with which they were respectively connected, and the periods to which the pedigrees of them which I have, refer:--


Bury St. Edmunds, and afterwards Great Waldingfield 16th and 17th centuries.

Rendham 17th century.

Drinkstone 18th and 19th centuries.

Stratford and Nayland 17th century.


Banningham and Hainford 18th and 19th centuries.

Bawdeswell 16th century.

Bircham Magna 16th century.

Cromer 15th and 16th centuries.

Helloughton 16th and 17th centuries.

North Elmham 16th and 17th centuries.

Norwich 17th century.

Ringstead St. Andrew 16th and 17th centuries.


Saffron Walden and Stebbing 17th and 18th centuries.

Dedham 17th century.

Any information as to the above, or any families of the name in East Anglia, would be gratefully received by the writer.

The pronunciation of the name in days gone by can only be guessed from the spellings, and these differ very much. In fact, it may be shown that any of the forms, Powell, Powle, Poul, Pole, Polle, Poole, and Pulle, were capable of representing the name. It is not, indeed, very uncommon, to find spellings as different as Poole and Powell, used for a testator's name in the same will. It must also be remembered that the name Paul was formerly spelt Powle.

From the above remarks it will be seen that there were families of the name living in East Anglia of at least three distinct origins, and it is impossible, without further evidence, to say to which we must assign the Mildenhall family, which is the subject of the present work. We find, however, that the name had been known at Burwell, a village only a few miles distant from Mildenhall, as early as 1321, and a John Poule was a testator of the same place in 1506. (See Appendix.) The name also appears at Barnham St. Martin, some twelve miles to the north-east of Mildenhall, in 1459, and a John Powle was Vicar of Ixning in 1452. From these facts one would be inclined to suppose that, whatever the more remote origin of the family may have been, it had been settled in this district for a long time before the commencement of our pedigree.

There is, however, a tradition in the family of Welsh descent, which possibly may yet be shown to have some truth in it; but, unfortunately, no documentary evidence is forthcoming of the tradition having existed previously to the present century; and the late Mr. James Powell, in his elaborate pedigree of the family, written at the close of the last century, makes no mention of it.

The earliest mention of the name in connection with Mildenhall occurs on the Court Rolls of the manor in 1477. Between this date and 1484 (when, unfortunately the Rolls suddenly ceased) we find that there were at least three people of the name living m the parish, viz. Thomas, Richard, and Isabella Poule. From 1484 till 1519 the Court Rolls are missing, and at present we have very little that throws any light on this period. There are, however, three documents which help us: 1st. A fine of 1498. This refers to a William Powle connected with the place, and runs as follows:--

"Haec est finalis concordia facta in curia domini regis apud Westmonasterium a die paschaae in unum mensem anno regnorum Henrici Regis Angliae et Franciae Septimi a conquestu tercio decimo coram Thoma Bryan Willielmo Danvers Johanne Vavasour et Thoma Wode Justiciariis et aliis domini regi fidelibus tunc ibi presentibus Inter Willielmum Powle et Rogerum Page querentes et Ricardum Copynger et Elizabetham uxorem ejus deforciantes de uno messuagio quinquaginta et sex acris terrae decem acris prati decem acris pasturae sex denariatis redditus et libertate unius falde cum pertinentibus in Mildenhale unde placitum conventionis summonitum fuit inter eos in eadem curia Scilicet quod predicti Ricardus Copynger et Elizabeth recognoverunt predicta tenementa et libertatem cum pertinentibus esse jus ipsius Willielmi Powle et illa remiserunt et quietamclamaverunt de ipsis Ricardo Copynger et Elizabeth et heridibus ipsius Elizabethae predictis Willielmo Powle et Rogero et heredibus ipsius Willielmi in perpetuum et preterea iidem Ricardus Copynger et Elizabetha concesserunt pro se et heredibus ipsius Elizabethae quod ipsi warrantizaverunt predictis Willielmo Powle et Rogero et heredibus ipsius Willielmi predicta tenementa et libertatem cum pertinentibus contra omnes homines in perpetuum Et pro hac recognitione remissione quietaclamatione waranto fine et concordia iidem Willielmus Powle et Rogerus dederunt predictis Ricardo Copynger et Elizabethae quadraginta marcas argenti."

— P.R O Feet of Fines, Suffolk, Easter Term, 13 Hen. VII. (1498).


On the De Banco Rolls (E. 13 Hen VII., rot. 21), the entry occurs thus: "Wills Powle dat dno Regi decem solidos pro licentia concordandi cum Willo Copynger (hiatus in MS., the edge of the roll having been cut off) .... uxore ejus deplacito convencionis de uno messuagio," etc., as described above.

It seems curious that we have here a William instead of Richard Copynger; but this may possibly be a clerical error. The licence to agree would be the second step taken in levying the fine, the Foot of the Fine, or Chirograph, being the last (cf Blackstone II. 349).

It is impossible to say for certain, in the absence of the deeds which accompanied the suit, what the precise nature of the transaction was; it may have been a conveyance, for the same form would have been used had William Powle and Roger Page been the purchasers of the "one messuage 56 acres of plough land, 10 acres of meadow 10 acres of pasture, six pennyworths of rent, and the liberty of one sheep-fold with their appurtenances in Mildenhale," as mentioned in the document. It may also have been that William Powle, being already in possession, wished, for some reason, to strengthen his title by the levying of a fine.

The next information is given by the Rental of the Manor(1501), as given in the account of the Court Rolls. From this we find that one William Powle, no doubt the same person as mentioned in the Fine, was Subseneschal to the Cellarer of Bury Abbey, and acted as Seneschal or Steward of the Manor, at Mildenhall. He does not, however, appear as a tenant of the Manor in the Rental (as would have been the case had he held land there); but it is possible either that he may have sold the property, or that the land referred to in the Fine may have been in the Manors of Aspals or Twamhyll, which were in the parish. In this Rental we also find mention of a Thomas Poule, and Johanna his wife, and a statement that they had held land since 1494.

The third document which mentions the name is a deed, 14th July, 1503, by which Henry Pope, of Mildenhale, arm.; Nicholas Bakhot of the same, gent., and Andrew Place, of Hunnyngton, clerk, conceded half an acre of land, with a barn and garden, to Johanna, late wife of Thomas Powle, widow, John Bakhot, John Heynys Thomas Brightwell, and others.

These documents, unfortunately, do not give us any connection between Thomas and William. It seems probable that the Thomas of 1404 was the same Thomas whose wife is described as a widow in 1503; but, supposing that to be established, there is no clue given as to whether he had any issue.

From the heading of the Rental, it appears that William Powle acted as Seneschal for the Manor of Mildenhall, in which capacity he would be judge of the manorial court, and must have been a person of considerable legal knowledge, and well acquainted with the customs of the Manor. Acting thus as agent for one of the principal Manors assigned to the Cellarer's office, he must have been intimately connected with Bury, and I have been at considerable pains in searching for some mention of him in that place, but without much success. I have, however, met with the name, representing, I believe, the same man in the following documents: 1st. In the Harleian MS., No. 58, fol. 117b, in which it appears that "William Powle, gentilman," paid a relief on entry on three tenements in Bury, situate between Blunteslane on the east, and the lane leading to Maydewaterlane on the west, soon after 1486. The next mention occurs (Boner 87, Bury Wills), in the will of one John Erle, of Whepsted, "yoven at Whepsted penultimo die Junii 1498," to which "William Powle of Bury St. Edmunds gentylman" was supervisor; his name also appears on the Patent Roll in November, 1511 (3 Hen. VIII., pt. 2, 3m.d.), where, together with Sir Robert Drury, John Heigham, and others, he is mentioned as one of the Justices for gaol delivery at Bury.

Again, in 1514, Will. Powle, gent., and Thomas Powle, the elder, are witnesses to the will of Richard King, of Bury. Then we have mention of the same persons in the Subsidy Roll for 1522-23. (See Appendix.) Again, in a Rental of 1526 of the Bury property, belonging to the office of Sacristan, now among the municipal records at Bury, we find a tenement described as "between the tenement of William Powle, gent., on the east, and the lane called Sparhawk Stret, on the west." In this document we also find Thomas Powle pays a rent of 8d. "for the Ingoyng to a tavern," also, "for a tenement late William Moors called the Angell 2s. 2d.," both in St. James' parish, Mustow. The latest mention of William is again in Harl. MS. No. 58, fol. 134, 7th Ed. VI. (1552), in which the three tenements mentioned above in the same MS., appear in the possession of John Annable, and are described as "nuper Willi Powle gent et postea Alicie Fyrmyn," from which we may infer that, either because of death or sale, his connection with the premises had ceased for some considerable time. A Thomas Powle, mercer, appears as witness to wills in Bury, in 1518, 1521, and 1526. I have failed as yet to find any proof that William was married and had issue. It seems, however, by no means improbable that he was the father of the Robert who follows him on the chart pedigree. For that the name of Robert's father was William, seems certainly probable, from the fact that he calls his eldest son by that Christian name, which was also afterwards perpetuated in the elder branch of the family; and the fact that Robert Polle, who is no doubt the same man as the above Robert Powle, appears as an attorney, on the Court Roll for 22 Hen. VIII. (1530), seems to add considerable probability to the supposition that he was son of the Subseneschal. For the present we must leave the question where it is; though it is quite possible evidence may yet be found to throw light on it.

It seems curious that William Powle should have left no will, but so far I have been unable to find any such document, or any administration which could be his; but it may perhaps have been in the book now missing from the Bury Registers.

Robert Powle appears to have been sworn into a tithing in 1520, from which we-may assume that he was born not later than 1508 (see Mildenhall Court Rolls); and from the entry on the Rolls in 1530 we gather he was an attorney. His death does not appear on any of the extant Rolls, but we know he was living in 1550 (Will No. 2) and that he was dead before November, 1589.

As to the history of the earlier ancestors shown on the pedigree, I regret that I. am unable to add much to the bare fact of their existence. But in going through the churchwardens' accounts for the Parish of Mildenhall, which begin 19 Hen. VII., I have found the following entries:-

21 Hen. VIII. (1529).

"Item recep de Johe Dobeson pro firma quinque rod tre de le lamplond ad XlId. per annum viz. pro IIII. annos ad festum S. Mich. 21 Hen. 8 IIIIs.''

32 Hen. VIII. 3rd quarter (1540).

" To poull the plomer when he came to se the work on the Stepyll for his labr and for his costs XIId."

And in 1543.

" Recd for ye beqweth of Jone Dobeson XXd."

On a loose sheet without date, of probably about the middle of the 16th century, to judge from the writing, I found the following:--

" Jone Powle owt in led IIXI. pound recd thereof XV. pound."

The entry " poull the plomer " probably refers to a certain Powle Bocher, Plumber of Bury, who curiously enough was the ancestor of another Suffolk family of the name of Powle. His will was proved in London (P.C.C.) 1543. (See Appendix.) His son John was christened as John Bocher, but calls himself Powle als Bocher in the parish Register of St. Mary's, Bury, and in his will is described as John Powle; his descendants called themselves Powle als Butcher, but eventually dropped the Butcher, and used Powle alone for their surname. They lived at Great Waldingfield, Suffolk, where they were patrons of the living and considerable landowners. I have traced their pedigree to the middle of the 18th century.

The "Jone Powle" mentioned in the next entry is probably the wife of Robert Powle, though from the fact that she owed the churchwardens 80 Ibs. of lead one might infer some connection with the craft and family referred to above.

The name of Powle next occurs in the churchwardens' accounts for 1597, viz., " Item pd Mr Powle for ower belles indented VIIId." This opens no abstruse question in campanology; for the term "Bills indented" was and still is the term used for the transcripts of Parish Registers returned into the diocesan registry, so that we may infer from this entry that the Mr. Powle here referred to was a skilled writer, if not a lawyer. The only other entries of the name I could find ere the appointments of Adam Powell as Surveyor of Highways of West Rowe in 1664, and as church-warden in 1671.

These churchwarden's accounts are, however, very imperfect, only portions of them remaining, but they contain some lists of church goods, and other matters of considerable interest to the local historian.

Of the three sons of Robert Powle or Powell, William was probably the eldest, Robert the second, and Barnaby the youngest son. On page 25 will be found a pedigree of the descendants of William as far as I have traced them. There are, as will be seen, a good many entries of the name in the Parish Register of Mildenhall for which I have not accounted in the pedigree, and it is possible that some of these refer to other families of the name who lived in the district.

It is possible that Clement Powell, baptised at Mildenhall in 1576, is identical with a certain Clement Powell, who appears as a testator in 1629 at Saffron Walden, Essex; if so he was the founder of a large family of the name, of which one branch was living at Stebbing, in that county, in the middle of the 18th century.

The name still exists, probably represented by some remote descendant of William Powle, in an outlying hamlet in the parish of Mildenhall.

As to Robert, the second son, it would seem that, if he lived at Mildenhall, he had no issue. As he is not mentioned in his mother's will in 1589, it seems likely that the burial entry on 23rd March, 1588, refers to him rather than his father.

With regard to Barnaby, the third son, and his son David, very little is known beyond the information given on the Court Rolls of Barton Mills. From these we learn that David was the eldest son, and that he married a wife whose Christian name was Agnes; I have added her surname of Ellis, for there can be little doubt that the marriage of David Powell and Agnes Ellis at St. Mary's, Bury St. Edmunds, in 1615 refers to them. Of this David tradition relates that his horses, with the exception of one left him wherewith to plough his land, were taken by Cromwell in the Civil War. It seems probable that the Thomas Powell mentioned in the Barton Register as married in May, 16I6, was the son of Barnaby, and identical with the Thomas Powell who appears in the Mildenhall Register in July, 1617, and with the Thomas Powle who is plaintiff to a fine, Easter Term, 20 Jac. I. [1622], concerning a messuage and one acre of land in Mildenhall.

The descent and pedigree for the first four generations (beginning with Robert Powell), as given on the chart, are proved by the first eight wills, the Mildenhall Registers, and the Court Rolls and Registers of Barton Mills.

The fourth generation, it will be seen, consisted of three sisters of whom nothing is known, and two brothers, Symeon and David. As to the elder of these the information to be gathered is very scant; as to David, the younger of the two, we find that he was in possession of the family property at Barton in 1679, and sold it in that year, after which date his name does not occur again on either Court Roll or Register; from which we might infer that he left the parish.

As the will of the last-mentioned David, is not to be found, we have to turn for evidence of the next step to records preserved in the family. The earliest of these reach back to this period, and are embodied in an MS. written about 1792, and now in the possession of Charles W. Powell of Speldhurst, Kent. In this MS. the pedigree begins as under:--



│                                                                            │

DAVID,                                                            a Brother.

of Barton Mills, Suffolk, Farmer.

dd Burwell about 1693, md

Bridget Sparke of Hawsted, who

died Burwell the same year as

P. George of Denmark, 1708.




│                                                   │                                                             │

JOHN,                                          MARY,                                                  BRIDGET

bn. Barton Mills 1662,            md. Charles Smith,                      md. Stephen Gardiner,

Farmer. dd. Hawsted                    of Poslingford.                              of Burwell.

1725, md. Cath.

Moorton of Boxted.

This, it will be seen, corresponds exactly, as far as it goes, with the pedigree obtained from the Court Rolls and Parish Registers of Barton Mills. And from these we know that the "brother" was Symeon, and that he was the elder of the two sons of David Powell. Our family records, however, give us no clue as to what became of the three sisters of Symeon and David.

As to the elder of these two brothers I have been unable to obtain any information beyond that given in the Court Rolls, which show that he was living at Isleham in 1666, and alive in 1669, and in possession of the family property at Barton Mills. As in 1676 we find David in possession, it is very probable Symeon died without issue between 1669 and 1676. I visited Isleham and went through the Parish Register, but without finding any mention of the name. Nor could I find his will among those in the Peculiar Court of Isleham, which are now in the Probate Court at Peterborough; nor does his name appear on the Rolls of the Shrewsbury Fee Manor at Isleham preserved in the Muniment Room, King's College, Cambridge.

David, the younger of the two brothers, appears, as I have just mentioned, to have been in possession of the family property of Mussells and its fifteen acres in 1676, but in 1679 he sells it all to the Rev. Jas. Davies, rector of the parish; and our family records show that he left Barton Mills and moved to Burwell, where he died about 1693. I lighted the other day upon a curious corroboration of this migration. Being in a curiosity shop in Bury St. Edmunds, I was looking at a small MS. book, in which one of the first entries I noticed was, "David Powle de Barton Mills," on the strength of which I at once purchased it. The MS. in question turns out to be the contemporary record of some clerk to the Court of Common Pleas, containing a list of cases referring to this part of Suffolk and part of Cambs. from 31 Car. II. to 5 G. et. M. (1679-1692).

I find here a "David Powle of Barton Mills," mentioned in a suit in Hilary Term 33-34 Car. II. (1681); and again, in Trinity Term 34 Car. II. (1682) a "David Powell," is described as of Burwell, Cambridgeshire. This would point to his having left Barton for Burwell in 1682. And we find also that his daughter Bridget is described as of Burwell in the Hawsted Register, at her marriage there in 1687. I think there can be little doubt but that the burial entry at Burwell, 6 Apr. 1694, refers to him, though the name is spelt there as Pooly.

We next come to John, the only surviving son of the last-named David, by Bridget, his wife, daughter of John Sparke, of Hawsted. He was born about 166I-62, at Barton Mills, and came to Hawsted, probably, some time previously to 1687. He appears to have married in 1689, and lived at a farm in Hawsted, which he held under Mr. Francis Hamond, Citizen and Salter, of London.

This farmhouse and buildings, still known as "Hamond's Farm," lie a little above the hamlet called Pinford End, and between that and Whepsted. The place has been much neglected of late years, and has fallen into disrepair; but the buildings have evidently not been altered since John Powell's time. The farmhouse itself is a very old structure with an amazing amount of timber in it. The oak panelling in the parlour has the date "1620 G.S.B." carved on it, and the Hamond arms affixed to some of the panels. I should be inclined to think, however, that the house itself was built at a much earlier date than this. Opposite the farmhouse, and next the road, is another old building of timber and brick, which, though now used as a cattle-shed, would seem to have been originally meant for a better purpose, as there are good mouldings on the timber ceiling of the ground-floor room. Both this building and the house are now thatched; but in a sketch made in 1793, by some member of the family, this building has a tiled roof.

Here then lived John Powell, and hence, in June 1712, he took his son David, then just seventeen, up to London, where he was bound apprentice to Mr. Francis Hamond as a salter. Of the other five sons of John Powell, Charles and Frederick went up later to London to seek their fortunes: John, Henry and William remained in Suffolk, Henry eventually succeeding his father at Hamond's Farm. At Henry's death in 1761, his nephew Henry took it at an increased rent on a thirty-one years' lease, and his widow, who died 1803, seems to have been the last of the family who lived at Hawsted.

Beginning in 1712 we have a series of some fifty letters written from Hawsted by John Powell to his son in London, and some from others of the family. These letters are now in the possession of Charles W. Powell, of Speldhurst, and have lately been bound up. From this series I have chosen the following letters. The first is written by John Powell immediately on his return from taking his son David to London, and begins the series:--

                                                                                         Hawsted, 25 June, 1712.


As soon as I was well gott home I cold not forbear writing to inquire of your wellfare and how you fear in all things, here was some little sorrow for yor departure butt I hope that will be turned into joy when wee hear you are well and easy. In order to which forgitt not, butt Remember thy Creator now in ye days of thy youth, who hath promised he will never forgitt those that remember him and depend one him, therefore If sinners intice thee consent thou not. As for your shirts we thinke not to send them while we know whither you stay or not and then you shall want nothing that is nessassary. I camm to Poslingford from London whear I lay and brought yor cussen Bridget home with me. You had best buy some coars apron. This is all from yor loving Father

                                                               JOHN POWELL.

Pray ye first opportunity lett us have a line or two from you.


att Mr. Middletons near ye Dial

in Broad Street,



                                                                                      Hawsted, 9 Aug., 1720.


I must begin my letter as I hope you and Charles doe every day in returning thanks to God Almighty for all his Blessings soe bountifully bestowed one us all. I think I am more blessed than Jacob who never heard of his son Joseph's success as I have done of yrs, while in time of want of corn, which I again thank ye same good God is not my cause, for I have plenty in ye chamber and in ye field, though through ye wett season it is dammaged layd and grown, butt it is not wors I hope than ye generallity, Joseph's was throw great difficulty and his father full of sorrow all ye while for ye loss of him thinking he was ded, yors without any and I ye pleasure ye meantime of hearing you climeing up to this. Therefore lett us joyn to praise and magnifie his great and holy name togither and teach yor Brother Benjamine there to doe ye same wh is ye only way to continue them to us. I recd yor letter dated June ye 9th, and ye box of lining, with a complaint of yor want of money to hazard in these bubbles wh if I thought you could have been safe, you should not have wanted; I confess I don't understand them, butt I should not care to venture in these publick things, for my opinion is that when things are gott to ye highest wch one would think they now are. there will be a chaunce for sombody, butt those that began att first can indure a little loss; and in ye same letter I heard of yor masters good fortune with his ú5000 wch I heartily wish may continue, and yor pritty run in trade ye same. I recd allsoe yor last letter and I hope shall send the butter you desired, butt pray give my humble servis to Mr. Hamond and lett him know I will send him 3 Firkins as desired, butt I hope he don't expect that for brakeing ye lay which is yett unbroak and one his own account. If you and Charles com to help us reape it must be a week hence, our corn is not yett ripe. I am sorry for ye cutting of yor haire and soe are all hear, Br Fred say you are a simpleton, for had he it one his head he would never cutt it of: yor mother hope it will keep you from a bodily consumption, butt I am sure it is ye sure way to make it seize yor pockit, soe praying for a blessing one you both, I continue yor loveing Father,


My humble servis to Mr. Baden and all ye rest. My advice is to save what money you can honestly; now is yor time while youth last. Business may fall of, or sick or lame days may com, however old age will, and may make a man unfitt for action. Consider it is a great deel you must disburs in a year for meer nessessarys.


att Mr. Badens

in Abchurch Lane,



                                                                                             Hawsted, 7 Oct. 1720.


You may expect 8 firkins of butter for Mr. Baden and 4 for Mr. Hamond with carriage pd this next week by ye carrier. I perceive your bubleing is att a damp and think long to hear whither you escaped without loss. I hear there is, as I thought there would be att some time or other, a great disaster among them. Sir Jasper Cullum is returnd to London with I doubt only ye sight of an estat att a distance, there is so many debts to pay & legicyes given out that there will com little to him att present butt take notice my Lady is stil raveing mad as ye worst Bedlam and I suppose is coming to London. Yor Brother John have left me and gone to be Baily att Lackford Hall, and Brother Henry com home and had that great misfortune ye first time he went: out with the team whch was last Tuesday, they ran away and with ye tumbril wheele running over broak his legg and he was brought home 3 miles in ye tumbril before it could be sett, but I hope it is well sett, for I thank God he lye very easey yett, butt must be confined to his bed for some time, which I believe he dred, he complain he is sore allready, but he is very content and chearly and send his love to you and Charles as we all doe. My servis to all and helth and God Almighty's blessing on you both is y' hearty prayer of yor indulging father,


att Mr. Badens in Winchester Street,



                                                                                    Hawsted, Dec. 23, 1720.


I recd yors and ye box, for wch wee return thanks having nothing more to send you in Lue of it, only give you the trouble of dissposeing of what wee have sent in a hamper, wch is a goose and a few links to Mr. Baden, allsoe another with sassage to Mr. Hamond. Likewise 4 shirts for Charles, and a goose and sassage for his master, and a few for yor selves; yor sister have sent you a bagg of fillbuds, and 5s. in it to add to her old silver to inlarge her spoon, all which I send to-morrow by ye carrier with carriage pd. I am sorry to hear that trading is dull and for yor supposed loss, butt I hope all will be better than ye prospect alow of att present. I will send to Charles to buy us some nessassarys in his way of business. I hope you can credit me with money, if not I will send som, att yor leisure you may lett me know how my account stand and you will oblige yor indulging father,

                                    JOHN POWELL

All hear with myself wish you a merry Christmas and many. Yor mother have sent each half a crown for a Christmas gift and 2 bottles of old bear to drink after yor sassage.


att Mr. Baden's in Winchester Street,



                                                                                                Jan. 30 1720/21.


I recd yors with ye account of yor Receiveing ye hamper and am glad to hear you can answer a sume of money if desired; I hope you will take care and keep it so, I allso alow your accoumpts though all besmeared with ditto, I question not butt you take notice it be all spent in good husbandry; wee allsoe Return thanks for yor good thoughts and kind proffer to our Little Benjamine, att present he is not fitt to com for want of clothes beside very young, though I thank God pritty smart and senceable, beside wee are not willing to ly too hard upon ye free hors but would have you make ye best of yor business to yor own advantage and we will putt him to scool at Bury where it may be done with less charge, and som time in summer, if anything offer, he may be fitter to com for he is delighted with ye thoughts of being a Londoner. I Recd a Letter from Brother Charls and am glad to hear he gott safe to town, and I hope kindly excepted, and both of you in helth as I praise ye great God we are, only poor Harry have gott an ague, pray my servis to all, and after my Blessing to your self I remain yr Indulging father,

                                            JOHN POWELL.

I think you over honest in paying interest when it was not desired; what money Charles want and give you a good account of pass to my accompt; Without I direct for David, but within may justly be called Joseph, for yor industrious and good care towards your family, ye intrest money as in ye sack mouth; and I thank you (for) a box of Christmas fare, besid I hope many other good deeds. You may send our hamper in a week or fortnight and we will expect it without further advice, and a letter in it of yor helth and account of what our things cost. To save charge by ye post you may make up 28 pounds wt with empty bottles for it will cost a shilling without them.



                                                                                  Hawsted, 28 March, 1723.


I recd yor two letters dated March 2 and 19 with the good news that our dear little boy have been aired and returned home in good helth for wch lett us still praise ye great god. I hope his master stand his word to be att ye charge, if not lett me know it, and the other disbursements, and it shall be pd ye first after Mr. Hamond; lett him know his timber is sold att 12d. per foot where it lye, butt is not measured. By yor letter I perceive yor hott climate and roast beef aire have throwen you on the brink of that troublesom state, though happy if it be done to content, Matremony; wherein we wish you all good success hoping you will be soe carefull to keep forward that Mr. Hamond's criple dont overtake you, for if he should you will find him a troublesom fellow; ye fortune you writ of I hope you are not deceived in, young womens fortunes are often dubled in peoples mouths, but I hope you weigh all matters, knowing it is for a lives time, wh: if you have, I have noe more to say butt wish you all good success, helth, happynes, and prosperity to you and all yor posterity. I suppose by this time you can tell us one what day we may drink ye Brid's helth I hope you will let us see our new daughter in Suffolk, where shee shall be very wellcom if we know when....

                       yor indulging father,

                                           JOHN POWELL.


att Mr. Baden's in Winchester Street,



The following letter was written by John Powell, after his son David's marriage to Susannah Thistlethwayte on 27th April, 1723 :--

                                                                                    Hawsted, 5 May, 1723.


I recd yor by Mr. Hamond and am glad to hear you are soe eassey and happy in yor match. I pray God Almighty to bless you both, and continue it soe that you may say att 33 years end, as yor mother and I can, that we have lived in peace and plenty, which must be imputed to y' great Gods blessings, which I hope now you are goeing to be y' master of a family that you will live soe and instruct ye rest that you may not miss of it. I hope we wear not deceived one Satterday seven night; we drunk ye Bride and Bridgrooms helth according to yor letter, butt our legs were too old to dance, but we were as full of good wishes for yor joy and happiness and all prosperity to you as if wee had; you did not send me yore bill, pray add Freds charge to it, and Mr. Finch and I think to come up some time this month and then I hope to discharge it: likewise then will talk with Charles master. when you have hired a house lett us know it, that wee may send something to fill yor cubberd, for you will find it chargeable as our old saying is, to buy salt for ye catt likewise sope and candles must be had, and afterward it is to be hoped a cradle; consider all this and more I could tell you but for fear I should afright you. I conclude with praying for a blessing on all your undertakings wch still conclude me yor indulging Father,

                                                        JOHN POWELL.

for Mr. DAVID POWELL,--These.


                                                                                    Hawsted, 25 May, 17Z3.


I recd yrs and shall defere my coming to town till yor wife com back from Salisbury, that being part of my business to see you all, and wish her joy which pray doe you for me, and take such care of her and for her, that she may live a joyous life, and I hope shee will deserve it at yor hand by her virtuous and good liveing, which will intaile God Almightys Blessings one you both, for wch I pray. You tell me you begin to think houskeeping will be chargable, soe you will find, but I advise you as a father should, not to keep a catt ye first year for ye mice will never haunt an empty cubboard. Pray give my humble servis to Mr. Hamond and lett him know there was a neglect between us when he was hear, I payed him my year's rent to last our Lady, and for what wood I had sould though som not delivered, and he gave me noe discharge, neither did I think to aske it, therefore if he pleas to give you one for me, Life being uncertain, or enter it into his book, I shall think myself safe wch is all from

                                      yor indulging father,

                                                 JOHN POWELL

My Blissing to Charles and Fred and remind them of their duty, I never heard how Charles and his master goe one, butt when I come I shall enquire more into it. Our relation tell me he looked thin when shee was in town, though you were all well, and she joyed me though she wnt soe happy as to see your bride; all were well at Bradley and Poslingford last Thursday, and at this present here, and send love and servis. I wish you a good journey, and you and yor wife a safe return,



at Mr. Badens in Winchester Street,



                                                                                      Hawsted, 3 May, 1724.


I recd yor two letters, ye first gave account of Mr. Pitches little parcel which wee have Recd and for wch they and I return you many thanks for the trouble you had about them, being ready allways to serve you as much. Likewise ye bad news of yor wife having a great cough and headache. I hope by this time we shall hear shee is better or we wish her soe. I hope shee is not inclining to a consumtion, if she be pray take care in time and lett us know. yor mother can make a surrup with Lungs of an oak, that have relieved several and may her; allsoe yor good wishes that yor mothers mind may hold to com to London, butt in truth though she think Long to see yor wife and all of you and talk mightily of it, I find her fancy begin to flag in takeing ye journey and thinking what misfortune may happen, yett she wish good success to ye latter end of May if young folks bent mistaken. In yor last letter (you speak) of Mr. Hamond's return wch I expect to-morroW; as to yor Mare shee is very well and as brisk as ever, butt there are noe chaps hear att yor price though they still admire her, if yor fancy be to have her up, I will com up with her soon or when you desire it, then you may consider of ye best whither to sell her or keep her there or here from whence you may doutles have her safe for yor occasion, though not for every trifling journey, for rather then shee should take damage som of us will com up with her, butt it may be as well to sell her for I am sure it is very chargeable keeping a hors in town without good busines for her toward earning her living; but I question not butt houskeeping will make you- consult ye cheapest ways, I think this spring time shee seem a little thick winded butt I doe not find butt shee is helthfull and harty; I hope som time this month to com up with her then you may see her. Our cows are now att grass therefore you may soon expect som butter according to promis. I conclude all with hearty prayer for God Allmighty's Blissings one you all and good wishes for yor good success in all yor undertakings which good God if you take care to serve in your family and elcewhere as you ought, you need not fear his care for you and it will intaile his blissing one all yor posterity, wch still I heartily pray for as I ought being yor indulging Father

                                                   JOHN POWELL.

I hope Charles and Fred doe as they ought, where they want pray instruct them till I com being yor brotherly duty for I shall hardly write to them before.

We are glad to hear ye little boy is easey, in a letter by Mr. Scotchmer he tell us he eat well, drink well, live merrily and sleep well wch I think is all well if he doe his duty to God and man well. -


                                                                               Hawsted, November 30, 1724


You have this by Esqre Cullum, who have been several times att me for commands to London, and ye last night cam to our hous to Lett me know he sett out one Tuesday if I had any servis to command and he should be free to doe it; soe according to my promis by ye first I have sent you by him a. 27, a. 23, and 2 guineas in gould which make four pound 12 shillings, wch with two pounds eighteen shilling and 4 pence, taken I suppose of Mr. Tho: Hamond, makes 07=I0=04, wch is ye sum I owe you by yor last account, and if there be 13d. over yor Spouse and you drink a pint of wine with it, and I thank you for yor crediting me, and I think myself mightily obliged to ye Esqre for his troubling him self with it. I hope I shall hear by Mr. Witheril how you all doe and whither Charles have thoughts to come att Christmas or not and how. Wee are all well here, praised be y' Allmighty, only yor brother John's wife wch is often ill poor woman . . . Pray lett us know ye prices of corne, and what is thought of it; I have no more att present butt prayers for helth and prosperity one you all, which conclude me yor indulging father

                                                   JOHN POWELL.

Pray lett my landlord know his mare and colt is very well, but shee loose flesh doe what I can.


in Crown Court,

Broad Street, London.


                                                                                Hawsted, ye 24th, I725.


According to promise I write ye contents of our fathers will, and hope it will give content to all: I thought to have writ it at length but think it teadeous so hope this will surfise (here follow extracts from will of John Powell).....We are very busy in harvest when weather sute, and thanks be to God we have got in most of our wheat in very good order, though with much dificalty, and we and this country have as good or better crop than ever we knew, we have sold I5 quarters of old wheat at 39s. a qurtr, but too soon, for last week and the week before it was risen to 40s. or 42s., but I think it must fall again, if it please God we get in ye rest as well as this. Thanks be to God we are all well & joyne in love to you and hartily pray this may find all in ye like state of health. We long to hear from you all, particularly your spouse. Lady CulIum give service and thanks but think not to make up anything this year, dear brothers

I remain as allways your loveing Brother

                                       HENRY POWELL.

The series from which the above are taken contains a good deal of information, not without interest from a general point of view. Among other things, we may note that music was not neglected in the parish in these times, as appears in a letter from John Powell to his brother David in London, 6th June, 17I9, in which he says:

"The singers of Hartest have an union with us, and begg you would furnish some tunes of y newest composition from the Cathedrals and what charges you are at shall be paid."

Again, with reference to the value of land, we find, in a letter from John Powell to his son David, that a farm was taken in 1722, at Bradley for John Powell, junior,which contained " 8 score acres of plowed land," and would maintain forty milch cows, for which the rent was ú120 per annum. The capital necessary to be sunk before any return could be obtained, was estimated at about ú600.

At Hardwick House, near Hawsted, Mr. Cullum showed me a MS. in his library, containing an inventory of the contents of Hardwick House, at the time of Sir Dudley Cullum's death, in 1720, which was drawn up and signed by John Powell and a certain Mr. Finch. There is also mention in this book of a legacy of ú52 to John Powell under the will of Mrs Tyrrell. Mr. Cullum also kindly allowed me to search in his muniment-room, but I was unable to find there anything relating to John Powell beyond a Parliamentary assessment of the district for three shillings in the pound on all lands and tenements, in which he was valued at ú38, and assessed at, ú5 14s. This assessment is not dated.

In the parish accounts at Hawsted, his name appears as churchwarden; and a stained-glass window has lately been placed in the church (on the south side of the nave) to his memory, by his many descendants. A note among the papers at Speldhurst: in: his son's writing, tells us that he died at Hawsted on 16th June, 1725, at half-past eleven at night, aged about sixty-four years. His tombstone stands in the churchyard on the right of the path, as one approaches the south door. (See Will No. 9.)

Of John, the eldest son of John and Katharine Powell, I have indicated all that is known, on the chart pedigree. Of the last generation of his descendants shown there, Henry (born 1782), went to sea, and was quartermaster on the "Foudroyant." He took part in the taking of Flushing, in 1809, and was taken prisoner by the French some time during the war. He appears, however, to have been at Rangoon in the "Liffey" frigate in 1824. After this generation, all record of the eldest branch of the family seems to have been lost, and there is no clue to any descendants.

David Powell, the second son of John and Katharine, was born at Hawsted in 1695, He went up to London in June, 1712, it would seem on trial, to Mr. Francis Hamond, to whom he was soon after bound apprentice. In the books of the Salters' Company in London is the following entry: " David Powell son of John Powell of Hasted Suffolk bound apprentice to Fra: Hammond 5 Sept 1712. Turned over to Charles Middleton and by his widow to James Baden 18 Apr 1716. Sworn and made free 16 March 1720."

Through James Baden began his connection with Salisbury and the Thistlethwayte family; and on Saturday, April 27, 1723, he was married at Enfield, to Susannah, daughter and co-heiress of Edward Thistlethwayte, of the Close, Salisbury, who had married a cousin of the said James Baden. It was with a son of the latter (James Baden, junior), that he subsequently entered into partnership as an exchange broker or merchant.

After their marriage, David and his wife Susannah lived in Crown Court, Broad Street, till they moved to Clapton, to a house now called Byland House, which stands on the left of the high road from London, just before one reaches the pond. In the yard, behind this house, is a leaden cistern, with the initials and the date 1761 upon it, which is probably that at which they came to Clapton.

In the year 1766, David purchased the estate of Wattisfield Hall, Suffolk, from Samuel Moody, and became Lord of the Manor. He mentions this purchase in writing to his sister Catharine Barton, in December, 1766 (Speldhurst MSS.). In Davy's Suffolk Collections (MS.), in the British Museum, under 'Wattisfield' the following note occurs: " The property here formerly belonging to the Bakers, was purchased in 1766 of the Moody family by David Powell Esqe of Clapton Middx whose family still (1841) possess it." He is also mentioned here as being Lord of the Manor in 1766.

A property at Walsham-le-Willows, still in possession of the family, he purchased some ten years before this, though at what exact date I cannot say. In the year 1784 he died at Clapton, at the age of eighty-nine, and was buried in the churchyard of St. John's, Hackney. (See Will No. 2I.) A good many of his letters and ;several from his wife Susannah, are in the possession of Charles W Powell at Speldhurst, together with two pencil drawings of David, done by his daughter-in-law Anne Powell (born Cornthwaite). From a statement of accounts made by his son Baden who was acting executor, it appears that the total value of his estate, after all debts were paid, amounted to ú65,475.

David, the eldest surviving son of David and Susannah, was born 13th December, 1725. In 1736 we find him at the Rev. Mr. Dorman's school, at Kensington to which his brothers also went. In July, 1741, he was bound apprentice to Mr. James Whitchurch, junior, merchant, London. In the bond it is stated that the hours of work were to be from 9 till 2, and from 3 till he obtained leave from Mr Whitchurch to go. It would seem that he made good use of his opportunities, for in after life he succeeded in amassing a large fortune.

In 1760 he went into partnership with his brother Thomas, the capital of the firm being ú6,000, of which David owned three-fourths, and Thomas one-fourth. In 1766 the capital was increased to ú9,000, each partner owning a half share. In 1785 John Clark Powell (David's eldest son) was taken into the firm as partner, the capital then being úI2,000, of which the two seniors held ú5,000 each, and J. C. P. ú2,000.

The business of merchants, in which David and his brother were engaged, seems to have been to a large extent with Italy, where they had considerable dealings with the D'Israeli family, several commercial documents bearing the name of Benjamin D'Israeli being still in the possession of Mr. Henry Pryor Powell; some of these were shown to the late Lord Beaconsfield, who said he had no doubt but that they referred to his grandfather, though the name is sometimes spelt Israeli, without the initial D'.

In Lowndes' London Directory for 1787, the family firms are given thus:--

Powell, David and Thomas, merchants, 4, Little St. Helen's.

Powell, Baden and James, merchants, 3, Crown Court, Broad Street.

Powell, John, wine rnerchant, 10, Milman Street, Holborn.

In 1761, he being then thirty-five years old, David was married to Laetitia, daughter and heiress of John Clark, of Bishopsgate Street. They lived at Homerton, in a house since pulled down, and at Little St. Helen's, in Bishopsgate Street, where was also the counting-house of the firm.

There is an oil painting in the possession of the Rev. R. W. Powell, of Hornsey, taken about 1771, in which David Powell is represented playing at trap-bat with his children, his wife Laetitia is sitting down with a baby on her knee, and his mother-in-law, Laetitia Clark, looking out of a window in the house. There is also a pencil sketch of David in the collection at Speldhurst.

In I774, he purchased the estate of Reynold's Place, Horton Kirby, Kent. In Hasted's History of Kent, it is stated that the Hon. William Hanger, having procured an Act of Parliament for that purpose, conveyed it by sale to Mr. David Powell of London. Hasted also refers to the Swanscombe and Alkerdyn estates being sold by the heirs of John Bayley, who died in 1794, to Mr. David Powell. Both these estates have since been sold.

In I794 he became Treasurer of St. Luke's Hospital, London, the duties of which post have been discharged by some member of the family ever since.

A full-length picture of John Clark Powell, who succeeded his father as treasure, is in the possession of the hospital.

In 181O he died, at the age of eighty-four, and from the papers of his executor, it appears that he left a personalty of over úI90,000, to be divided among his ten children. He was buried in the tomb of his father, in the churchyard of St. John's Hackney. (See Will No. 22.)

With regard to Thomas and James, the third and fourth surviving sons of David and Susannah Powell, such information as I have been able to gather will be found in the separate tabular pedigrees of their families.

Baden, the second surviving son of David and Susannah Powell, was born March, 1731. He was in business in Crown Court, Old Broad Streelld in partner-ship with his brother James. He was legatee of all his father's landed property, and in addition to these, purchased the estates at Theydon Bois and Loughton, in Essex. He died unmarried in I802. From the papers of his executors, it appears his personalty, which amounted to £95,000, was disposed of by his will as follows:--

To each of his 17 Nephews and Nieces £2,000
To each of his 3 Brothers £10,000
To Sir Henry Martin £500
To Rev. Thomas Sikes. £500
To Mary Powell (born Townsend) £1,500
To John Powell, of Milman Street £500
Various legacies £1,000
To his brother James (Residue) £27,000

And his realty thus:--

The Wattisfield estate to his brother James Powell,
The Walsham-le-Willows to his nephew, 
and Theydon estates John Clark Powell, and
The Loughton estate to his nephew, David Powell.

Of these estates, that at Walsham-le-Willows now belongs to Mr. J. D. Powell, of Highhurst, Newick, and that at Theydon to Mr. John Cotton Powell, of Selsfield, East Grinstead.

The Loughton estate was sold after Mrs. David Powell's death in 1852; and the Wattisfield property has also been sold.

After David Powell's death in 1810 his family removed from Hummerton (or Homerton) to Clapton, to a house now pulled down, but which stood near the pond and between the main street and what is now Powell Road. This house continued to be the residence of John Clark Powell till his death in 1847, and afterwards of his two unmarried sisters, who survived him.

The history of the other members of the family is, I hope, sufificiently clearly indicated in the pedigrees which are given. It may here be mentioned that the whole pedigree, from the marriage of David Powell and Laetitia Clark, in 1761, including all their descendants to the present generation, is supported by affidavits sworn in the Chancery suit of Powell v. Powell. The Chief Clerk's certificate in this suit is dated the 5th of February, 1873.

This friendly though expensive litigation arose on an ambiguous expression in the will of the Rev. Harry Powell, of East Horndon, who died in 1831, as to the disposal of his property after his widow's death, which happened in November, 1869

With regard to armorial bearings, it was found, after search at the Herald's College, that those used during the last three generations could not legally be borne by the family. It was, therefore, decided at a meeting in 1888, to make such alterations in the bearings as were needful to procure a Grant under the Seal of the College of Arms, which has since been obtained. (Dated Feb., 189.)

The arms now registered on the books of the College, as belonging to the descendants of David Powell, of Loughton, Baden Powell, of Speldhurst, and James Powell, of Clapton, are as follows:-

"Per fesse or and argent a lion rampant guardant gules between two tilting spears erect proper. And for crest on a wreath of the colors a lion passant or, in the paw a broken tilting spear in bend proper, pendant therefrom by a riband gules an escocheon resting on the wreath sable, charged with a pheon or.

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