Letter from William Medlicott

(1862 – 1930) to H.E. Medlicott

Craven Arms.
4th September 1911.

Dear Sir,
Your letters and the sketch of what you have accumulated of “Medlicott” history have been very interesting to me, and I feel sure we can give mutual help in fathoming it out. Although the family may not have had very distinguished members it has a good claim to the distinction of having owned lands at the place from which it takes its name since Plantagenet times, and this is something, as few other families in England can claim to have done so. Mr. Richard Medlicott of Eaton is a landowner there. He may be said to represent the second line from John Medlicott of Medlicott, whose will is dated 2nd July 1592; and here I may mention that I am ninth in descent from the said John; being descended from John (bur. 13 May 1670) the third son of the first named John’s only son Edward (also of Medlicott, Will dated July 1634), and my branch has not ceased since that time to own property in Wentnor Parish, near, though not in, the Manor of Medlicott. I am very pleased to hear that you would like to see the old tablets replaced in the Church. They are quaint, and the heraldry displayed, erratic. I have always thought that they should not have been removed at the restoration in 1886, and many interested in the family have expressed the same opinion. They were all in the Chancell, I think, excepting one which was in the corner where the pulpit is now; and the chancel was no doubt the burying place of the senior line. The before mentioned Edward by his Will directed his “bodie to be buried in the (crypt) or chancell of Wentnor”, and the inscription to Edward (ob.1795) reads: “Under this monument lyeth the body of –” None of those, to whose memory the tablets are, being direct ancestors of mine, I have hesitated to move in the matter, but should be very glad if you would take the initiative. Those more immediately interested should perhaps first be approached – but here, although I have made what I think is almost a complete pedigree of the descendants of John (ob.1592) I am (I may almost say have recently become) not quite clear who is the head of the family.

John Medlicott (baptised John Rogers M.) is given in Bagshaw’s Directory 1859 as Lord of the Manor and Kelly’s 1870 gives Mrs. Scott as Lady of the Manor, so that he probably died between those dates. There is no monument or tombstone to him at Wentnor, and I do not think he lived at Medlicott. I have been under the impression, and have gathered the same from old inhabitants that the senior line became extinct at the death of Miss Catherine Medlicott (ob.1891) whom I knew and from whom I had a copy of the pedigree extracted from C.35 in the College of Arms, and who was the only child of John’s younger brother Edward (ob. 1855, to whom there is a mural tablet with the arms in the church of the adjoining Parish of Norbury). I have recently been told that the Hall with Farm and Manor were not sold to the Scotts but leased to them for a hundred (?99) years and that a Mr. John Medlicott of London had lately visited Medlicott. My most reliable informant aged 82 tells me he believes it was originally so leased, but has little doubt that the Scotts subsequently purchased it outright a good many years ago. This is likely to be the case, but if the lease is still in operation it has probably about 40 years to run. I will try further to ascertain the existence and whereabouts of this Mr. John.

And now I will tell you how the tablets came to be ousted. The Rector at the time the Church was restored was the Rev. Henry North, who being enthusiastic in the work, I believe conceived the idea of getting the Rogers family to restore the Chancel as a memorial to their family and, on their consenting to do so, it was considered that only their memorials should find places on its walls. The small (Medlicott) brass was – as a kind of douceur – however, put on the chancel wall on the north side, at whose expense I do not know. There is a great deal of blank space on the wall on the same side at the bottom of the nave where room for the tablets could be and might have been found. A good deal of credit was given to those who had the restoration in hand for the care which had been taken to preserve the most ancient features of the fabric, and (putting personal feelings on one side) it does seem a little inconsistent that the same care was not taken not to obliterate a name as old possibly as any part of the church and to the building of which perhaps the early possessors contributed.

Mr.Glenn also tells me that Mr. North at that time gave away piles of old Parish papers to a woman in the village and they were probably used by her for fire lighting. Much information might have been gleaned from them of Parish and County History. I had asked Mr.Glenn if any old Parish accounts were in existence.

With regard to the use which has been made of the name by a winner of the Chester Cup and others, it has frequently been used by authors and, although generally purely fictitiously, I think it may not have been altogether so by Walter Besant in “All sorts and Conditions of Men” – “There is Tower Hill on which was formerly the residence of Alderman Medlycott, Guardian of Nellie Carellis.” He also introduced Alderman Medlycott in “The Chaplain of the Fleet.” Can you enlighten me? There were descendants as you know of your ancestor Thomas of Pontesbury in London for some generations and Edward (ob.1634) had a son William a citizen of London.

With reference to the origin and date I have recently made copies of the fourteen deeds referred to in Eyton’s “Antiquities of Shropshire,” from a copy of the Haughmond Abbey Chartulary in the Free Library at Shrewsbury and have come to my own conclusions as to the pedigree to be deduced from them. The reference Library (Shrewsbury) is particularly rich in MSS. relating to County history.

I think I have now touched on the points in your letters and will proceed to your paper.

The information in the first part is, I presume, derived from the Visitation of Shropshire for 1564. Many years ago I made a copy of it at the British Museum (Harl.MS.1241) fo. 117b augmented with notes etc. until the year 1620) and as you seem to get in more generations between Richard who married Jane Boycott and Bartholomew than my copy shows, I am enclosing a tracing (see below) of it with some notes in black pencil, some of which may contain a little that is new to you. Llewellyn I. is given as the son of Sir Roger de Meibron. I have not been able to find out who the Knight was. Have you? And while on the subject of Knights – Have you been able to identify Sir John Medlicott Knighted by James I (perhaps no great honour) at Belvoir 7th August 1624. My only idea is that he and his immediate ancestors may have followed the fortunes of the Vernons and of the Manners.

I know of two quasi-business arrangements between members of the family and the Vernons, tending to prove the relationship.

Possibly a royal descent could be traced through the Vernons. The Rev. W.G.D. Fletcher in a paper printed in Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society says that “The marriage of Thomas Mytton and Eleanor Burgh brought a royal descent into the families of …. Medlicott….” but I do not think so. I may here say that I am a member of the Archaeological Society and have an idea that I may sometime write a paper and offer it on the Parish History of Wentnor which would of course include the subject of our correspondence.

I have seen I have no doubt the Will of Richard, the husband of Jane Boycott at Lichfield District Probate Registry, and, if you have not, I will send you my notes from memory of it. We have both described his wife as of Eye, but I have no doubt it means Edge, a hamlet in Pontesbury Parish and only a short distance from one called Boycott, a place still having a connection with a family of the name.

You will notice that I have queried the Christian name of Jane Mitton’s husband; Blakeway’s “Sheriffs of Shropshire” and pedigrees of that family give his name as Richard – (I hope to see Sir Adam Litton’s Will at Somerset House when an opportunity occurs). Their children’s alliances being made chiefly south of Pontesbury and indeed of Medlicott have previously caused me to think that they indicated a link with the latter place.

The Sayes of the period were of Richard’s Castle, Ludlow, the Heynes and Phipps families of Church Stretton district and Lidon, which is Lydham about 2 miles south west of Wentnor – I think the maiden name of the wife of the last Thomas should be given as Sherar not Seimor.

Harwood is Hamwood, a parish between Pontesbury and Shrewsbury. The last entries on the pedigree (shown above) are from Hamwood registers. I believe I have all the entries from them and some from the Pontesbury ones, but I hope to see a printed copy (Shropshire Parish Register Socy) of the latter shortly. The Society is next going to print those of the Shrewsbury parishes.

I have a few notes on Whitley which was a moated house within the liberties of Shrewsbury in the Parish of Saint Chad, and also memoranda relating to some of the families with whom marriages were made.

There were Medlicotts in Pontesbury parish at Cruckmeole (near Hamwood) and at Longden in the latter part of the 16th Century and I have seen at the Hereford District Probate Registry the Will of Thomas Medlicott of Longden dated February 1550, who had, so I gather from my notes, a son Thomas, (this son Thomas I had thought might be your ancestor); it is witnessed by Thomas Modlycott of Whyttley, which I think indicates relationship.

There is a nuncupative Will of “Richarde Modlicott of the Towne and Countie of Salop Gentleman” dated 23rd December 1603 at Somerset House – his brother Arthur “now living in London” being sole beneficiary. He is probably “ye Lawyer” and query – is he to be identified as shown in black pencil? The pedigree does not, however, show a brother Arthur as I have it.

I am conversant with the articles in Burke’s Baronetage, and Landed Gentry of Ireland.

The history of the Manor which I can give pretty clearly I find I must send you a little later as I shall be rather fully engaged for the next week or so, but you may like to see this.

It is very interesting to me to hear the authorities you have consulted, and that some of the earlier Medlicotts bore arms, which were granted before the recorded visitations. Have you ascertained any dates, or the christian names of the bearer, or their places of abode? I wonder if the arms were as now, or as given in 1564. Unfortunately I cannot enlighten you as to whom the original grant was made, the discovery would perhaps disclose something more than the bare fact.

You have doubtless read what Eyton says with reference to the Abbey’s lands at the dissolution, I shall be able to say a little as to them and also as to the family legal differences at M.

At present it seems that all of the name that we know of who can trace their ancestry for three centuries do so to Thomas of Pontesbury or John of Medlicott (ob.1592) and the link between them is one wanting, and then others to Llewellyn of the Lay Subsidy Roll 1327 and to the 1564 pedigree. The Public Record Office may hold some details. The various letters you have received must be very entertaining. I shall be very glad to have your comments on what I have written which I hope is not too long.

Yours truly,

H.E. Medlicott. Esq.,