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1926 Preface

"The Powell Pedigree"
Published in 1894 by Edgar Powell, and revised in 1926.

Preface to the 1926 edition.

It is now thirty-four years since I issued "The Pedigree of the Powell Family" which gave particulars of the family history from the earliest date to which I had been able to trace it, down to June, 1891. Many suggestions that a continuation of the pedigree up to the present date, covering the periods of both the South African and the Great War, would be acceptable, have led me to collect particulars and print them in the present volume.

As to the earlier history of the family I have not been able to discover anything of much value, but the following notes may be of some interest. I have found the Compotus rolls of the Manor of Mildenhall among the Add. Charters in the British Museum (Nos. 53138 and 53139), which show that a John Powle was lessee of a croft and two acres of land in the Manor during the years 1464 and 1467.

The New Calender of early Chancery Proceedings in the P.R.O. give a reference (No. 566/20) to a cause before Cardinal Wolsey, then Lord Chancellor (January, 1527/8), in which "yore daily pore orature John Powle, Joyner of London." sues Thomas Saxy and Elizabeth his wife touching the ownership of "the Messuage or tenement called The Swane and garden thereto belonging with appurtenances sett & lying in the town of Mildenhale." The Bill, Answer and Replication are extant, but insuch a very bad state that a large portion is quite illegible. However, in what remains and is legible, the orator or plaintiff states that Thomas Powle and Johanna his wife formerly owned the premises, and that they had a daughter, Emme, who inherited on the death of her parents, and herself died without issue, and that he, John Powle, claims the estate as son and heir of Richard Powle, brother of the said Thomas: an Isabella Sutton is also mentioned in the case. These are probably the same perons as are incidentally mentioned on page 4 of my former volume.

There is also an additional piece of evidence to be added to the large Chart Pedigree, in which, as printed, there is no evidence as to what became of Simeon Powell. I can now add that I have found among the Court Rolls of the manor the record of a Court held on 12 January. 1676, when the verdict of the Homage was as follows: "Wee finde that Simeon Powell late Copiholder of this Manor dyed since the last Court seised of several copihold lands and tenements holden of this manor viz. a tenement or cottage called Mussels alias Stonhmas together with an orchard and croft of land thereunto belonging and of several pieces and parcells of land lying in the fields of Little Barton containing togethre by estimation fifteen acres and that David Powelle is his brother and next heire." This shows that Simeon died intestate and without male issue.

The diary of John Rhodes, Rector of Barton Mills, 1662-1667, shows that David Powell was living in the parish in 1666, and was one of the collectors of the King's taxes in that year.

Those interested in the armorial bearings of ancestors may care to know that Robert Smythe, of Tuddenham and Mildenhall, bore :

Azure on a bend sable 7 billetts or 4 and 3;

and Robert Wysset, of Barton Mills, bore :

Argent on a bend sable 3 wolves' heads erased of the field

A sketch of the above arms and confirmation of the coats by William Hervy Clarencieux in 1561, may be seen in the British Museum, Harleian MSS. 1460, fol. 20 and 140.

In his Will, proved in 1532 (P.C.C. Powell 20), Robert Smythe leaves a "ring with my seal of arms" to his wife, and mentions also a ring "wrought with fethers & ye five wounds picturyd theron." He wished to be buried in "the quyer or Church of Toodenham."

In the "Visitation of Warwickshire, 1682-83," which was printed by the Harleian Society, will be found the arms and pedigree of the Dakins (or Dawkins) family of Maxstoke Hall, to which Susannah belonged, who was the wife of Peter Parker the printer and stationer. She was married to Peter Parker as "Mrs. Susannah Cripps, widow," by licence in December, 1664. The arms of the Marshall family are given in the Harward pedigree.

In the war in South Africa eight of the family were on active service with the army, and Major-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, of course, stands conspicuous by his splendid work during the Siege of Mafeking, wherein he showed his great qualities as a commander. His family endeavoured to show their sincere appreciation of his services at the large gathering in the Mercers' Hall, on 26th September, 1901, by the presentation of a chronometer in commemoration of that siege and gallant defence. [That chronometer, an inscribed gold half-hunter, was willed by B-P to his grandson, Robin Baden Clay.] By his great educational work undertaken a few years later in founding the "Boy Scouts" and "Girl Guides," he has done and is doing a notable service to our country - and not to our country only - of which his family may well be proud.

In the Great War, 1914-19, our family, like most others, suffered very severely. If we include those already in the navy and army, there were thirty-eight of the name engaged in active service in various parts of the world, and of these no less than nine laid down their lives in their country's service, leaving many homes cruelly desolate. Besides many other distinctions gained, to five was the D.S.O. awarded. Nor must we forget the splendid service rendered by the many ladies of the family, who as nurses both in England and abroad and in other ways, rendered most valuable help during those strenuous and trying years of the war.

It is instructive to look at the family from a statistical point of view, and to compare the two periods of thirty-four years, viz. from June, 1857, to June, 1891, and from June, 1891, to June, 1925.

Taking the male issue only, resulting from the marriage of David Powell and Susannah Thistlethwayte on 27th April, 1723, it seems that in June, 1857, there were forty of the name living, and that in June, 1891, that number had increased to seventy nine, showing an increase of nearly one hundred percent. in the first thirty-four year period. In June, 1925, however, I can find but ninety one males living, and if we eliminate the disastrous mortality in the Great War the number would only have reached one hundred, showing the rate of increase has dropped from one hundred per cent. in the first period to about twenty five per cent. in the second period - a serious position.

To look also at the female side of the family for the same period, we find in the first period thirty six births, of whom six died young and fourteen married into other families, while in the second period there were only twenty six births, of whom one died young and five have so far married.

The portrait of David Powell here given is a reproduction from the miniature taken at the time of his marriage, kindly lent by Miss A.M. Powell, of Wokingham. It is a water-colour painting on ivory and dated 1761, with the signature J.J., and therefore probably the work of James Jennings, F.S.A., who lived in London and exhibited many miniatures at the Society of Artists between 1763-93. The initials and date can be read clearly enough on the miniature, though they are obscured by the grain of the plate. Maria Powell, a former owner, described it as the miniature of her father set with diamonds.

The David Powell here presented was a person of very considerable ability, which showed itself early and caused his uncle, Thomas Baden, to advise a University career for the boy. He evidently employed his time well at Dr. Dorman's school at Kensington, and the following well-written little note at the age of ten is interesting :-

"Honrd. Madam,

"Mary tells me you was much frighted last night a going home. I shall be very uneasy till I know how you do; and how my dear father got to town. I beg Madam you will write me word as soon as ever this comes to hand. My Duty to my father. I am your most Dutiful and obliged son

David Powell."


May 20, 1736.

"My master and mistress present their humble service and they too are very impatient to know how you do."

The note is addressed on the back to "Mrs. Susanna Powell, In Crown Court, Broad Street behind the Royal Exchange."

At that date, during the Walpole administration, travelling was dangerous and rioting serious and frequent in London, which may explain the boy's anxiety.

His career as a London merchant, dealing largely with Italy, was no doubt very successful, and from the accounts of his executors in 1810 it appears that he owned freeholds in various places valued at over £35,000, and Government and other Public Securities valued at over £216,000. His Will is dated in 1800, but codicils added in 1802 and 1804 seem not to have been properly witnessed, as the writing had to be sworn to by Tullie I. Cornthwaite and W. Sykes before the probate could be granted.

In the present volume I give also the results of my researches on the families of Sparke, Griggs, Kipling, and Harward from whom we all descend.

The Sparke pedigree has interested me much, and owing to the kindness of the late Mr. Gery Milner-Gibson-Cullum, who lent me his Manor Rolls, and of the Rev. Leslie Mercer, who allowed me to make a transcript of the Hawstead Parish Register from 1558 to 1857, I have been able to work it out at considerable length. Here, however, I only give the direct line, printing expenses being now so heavy - Messrs. Clowes tell me they are just about three times as great as they were in 1891.

An Andrew Sparke appears as one of the leading men at Brandon when the "Inquisitio Nonarum" was taken in the fiftieth year of Edward III., and there were several of the surname at Saxham, which is close to Hawstead, in the fifteenth century.

The family at Hawstead seem, in spite of the occasional family law-suit, to have had rather an ideal existence, with their important handicraft, now, alas, nearly extinct, their musical interests and comfortable farms, in those spacious times when over-population and industrialism can hardly have been even a dim nightmare of the future.

After the death of John Sparke in 1540, the blacksmith's business descended to his son Ralph, and continued in the leader branch of the family for three generations till the death of a John Sparke without male issue in 1599. His widow, Frances, married Henry Spark, her late husband's cousin, as I have shown, and Henry's sons took on the business. From a younger brother of Henry descend the Sparkes of Bury St. Edmunds and Walsham-le-Willows. The last Edward Sparke on the pedigree, owing to the financial troubles of the times, mortgaged his estate at Hawstead by a conditional surrender to Hamon Lestrange, of Pakenham, and E.Hobart, who foreclosed in 1694.

My pedigree of the Griggs family I lent to the late Dr. Muskett for his "Suffolk Manorial Families," where it is given with some additions, but as that publication is somewhat scarce I reprint it here.

In the Kipling pedigree I have been helped as to the earlier parts by the kindness of Mr. Charles Waistell, of North Allerton, and by members of the Kipling family at Romaldkirk, who possess several autograph letters of Charles Kipling, of Stepney. To Laetitia, his third wife, through whom that Christian name was first introduced into the family, I have given the surname of Main, as in her Will she appoints her brother, John Main, as executor, but I have not yet found the registered entry of her marriage (1881-85), or that of her mother. She was the granddaughter of John Topham, of Gray's Inn, and neice to his two sons - Richard, who married Olivia, daughter of Sir Bryan Stapleton, of Mytton, and John, who was sword-bearer to the Lord Mayor, 1657-59, and later Sargeant-at-Arms to Charles II at Windsor. Richard Topham, son of the last-named John, was M.P. for Windsor, 1679-1710, and left a legacy of £50 and distant remainder of real estate to John Kipling, son of the said Laetitia, about which some enquiry was made in 1775 by Laetitia Powell and her mother, but of this I have not been able to trace out any result.

I have avoided repetition as far as possible, but give here a reduced reproduction of the large chart pedigree in the former volume, abbreviated to show only ancestors of those families that are treated herein.

Edgar Powell.

January, 1926

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