Peter Brown Family History

William Feldwick (1558) & Agnes Browne

General History

William Feldwick & Agnes Browne were one of my 12th generation ancestors.

Key Dates:

William Feldwick was born in about 1558 probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. He was the son of John Feldwick & Thomasine Infield . He was stated as being aged 30 or more at his father's PM inquisition in 1592 and son & heir of John Feldwick. He married Agnes Browne, possibly in about 1584, probably in West Hoathly Sussex, but he may have married previously and only married Agnes in 1594 (see concerns-item 4 below). William left a ‘Will’ that was dated 25th July 1628 and was buried on 25th June 1633 in West Hoathly, Sussex (but PM inquest says he died on 24th August) . A PM Inquest was held on 5th August 1634 (Chancery 581.115).

Agnes Browne was possibly born around 1563, probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. Agnes was the daughter of Thomas Brown & Elizabeth Teynton (family ref 9). She was mentioned in her father’s ‘Will’ of 1582 as under 21, ('during their nonage'), and second youngest child; her brother George Browne’s ‘Will’ of 1614; and her brother Edward Browne’s ‘Will’ of 1627 ('my sister Agnes Feldwick'). Agnes was executor Edward Brown's 'Will' of 1627 and also to her husband's 'Will' of 1628.

Children Returns to 'Top of Page'

William & Agnes had maybe seven children.

William Thomasine John Anne Elizabeth Sarah Mary
  1. William Feldwick was born in about 1581 probably in West Hoathly, Sussex (see archive notes below). He was buried on 28th June 1617 in West Hoathly, Sussex ('batchelor') and his estate was administered in 1617.
  2. Thomasine Feldwick was born in about 1585 probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. She married John Balcombe in about 1606. Thomasine & John were administrators for her brother William's 'Will' of 1617. Thomasine was buried on 11th April 1625 in West Hoathly, Sussex ('wife of John Balcomb of Worth'). Thomasine & John had at least one child.
    1. John Balcombe was born in about 1607, probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. He was named in his grandfather William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628. He married Magaret Brouker on 27th May 1630 in Worth, Sussex. John and Margaret had five children ( John, Robert, Thomasine, William & Mary)
  3. John Feldwick was born in about 1588 probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. He was shown at father's death in 1633 as aged 40 or more - PM Inquest in 1634. Details of John Fedwick are shown separately as they are direct ancestors.
  4. Anne Feldwick was born in about 1590 probably in West Hoathly, Sussex. She was named in her father William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628. She married John Gibbs (Gibb) on 21st November 1611 in West Hoathly, Sussex. John was overseer to father in law William Feldwick in 1628. Anne & John had at least two children.
    1. Anne Gibbs (Gibb), who was possibly born in about 1625 possibly in West Hoathly, Sussex. She was named in her grandfather William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628.
    2. Elizabeth Gibbs who was baptised on 15th July 1627 in West Hoathly, Sussex.
  5. Elizabeth Feldwick was born in about 1595. She was mentioned in her uncle Edward Brown's 'Will' of 1627 and in her father William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628. She married Thomas Comber on 1st December 1625 ( license issued at Lewes on 29th November) (see Thomas Comber 1570 family ref 1)
  6. Sarah Feldwick was born in about 1597. She was mentioned in her uncle Edward Brown's 'Will' of 1627 and in her father William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628. She married William Mills (Miles) in about 1625. William was overseer to his father in law William Feldwick in 1628. Sarah & William at least one child.
    1. Anne Mills (Miles) was baptised on 25th June 1626 in West Hoathly, Sussex. She was named in her grandfather William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628.
  7. Mary Feldwick was born in about 1600. She was mentioned in her uncle Edward Brown's 'Will' of 1627 and in her father William Feldwick's 'Will' of 1628 (as then unmarried). She possibly married John Homewood on 11th February 1633 in West Hoathly, Sussex.

Personal History Returns to 'Top of Page'

William Feldwick 1558:

William acted as a juror on the County Coroner Court on 7th March 1587 in East Grinstead and on 20th June 1593 in West Hoathly. William was overseer to brother in law George Browne's 'Will' in 1614 and was parish Clerk of West Hoathly.

He owned property of a house, barn and certain lands and tenements of about forty acres, commonly known by the name of Feldwickes, (or Feldwyke) situated in the parishes of West Hoathly and Ardingley (next to Wakehurst); and of one other parcel of land in West Hoathly, of about thirty acres, called Nicholles or Homewoods (see PM Inquistion 1634).

In the "Subsidy Roll" for Rape of Lewes of 19 James 1 - 1621, William Felwyke lands of West Hodely are shown as tax due on £6 8s. (For further details of other Family Names see Taxation-Subsidy Rolls.)
William was fined 10 guineas (£10 10s) for non attendance at the coronation of Charles I on 2nd February 1626 to receive a knighthood. A commission dated 28th January 1630 was issued to 'enforce an unwarrantable fine for this pretended neglect'. The collectors of this fine were Sir Walter Covert & Richard Lewknor and was recorded on the "Book of Compositions".

Under the terms of his will, William left the part of parsonage tithes to his son John, which, according to his IPM were the tithes of the Rectory of West Hoathly, a Brown asset. It's not clear how William came by the tithes, as they they had been bequeathed to John Brown and Nathaniel Brown under the terms of the wills of George and Edward Browne, but since Agnes was executrix of Edward's will and inherited the residue of his estate not bequeathed, jointly with John Browne, perhaps she kept these in lieu of something else. William went to great lengths  to ensure that his son John did not inherit the Feldwick lands even though he is shown to be the son and next heir in the IPM, but he did not cut him off completely, providing him with an income. It is questionable whether Agnes have wanted John to inherit what was traditionally a Browne asset if he were not her son- thus reconfirming the parentage.

Verification & Concerns Returns to 'Top of Page'

  1. There were numerous differant spellings of "Feldwick" in the parish registers eg Feldwick, Fieldwick, Feldewick, Feldweeke, Feldwicke, Velvick, Vilfick, Velveck.
  2. There is a query on the name of the person a Willam Feldwick married in 1606. Name presumed to be Anne Browne and it is sometimes shown that this was the Agnes Browne, daughter of Thomas (as stated by Source 1). However the daughter of Thomas Browne is always shown as Agnes in the three separate Wills and timelines do not fit with dates of marriages of children and birth of grandchildren. A Anne Feldwick was buried on 3/12/1646 and shown as a widow.
  3. The parish records for West Hoathly only started in 1606 and baptism's are missing for 1607 & 1609. Burials are missing for 1607, 1608, 1619 & 1621. Marriages are missing for 1607, 1608, 1609 & 1619. All missing 1641-1644 and there are other occasional small gaps.
  4. It is not clear whether William married twice and only married Agnes Browne in 1594 (having the first four children by his first wife). The reason for this is that in Edward Browne's 'Will' only the three daughters Elizabeth, Sarah & Mary are mentioned, implying there were no other living children of Agnes. However this may be because he thought that John & Ann were well provided for and did not need any money, or maybe he wasn’t on friendly terms with them.
  5. Source 1 also mentions a possible daughter Frances and that she is mentioned as being in George Browne's Will which is incorrect as Frances is shown in that 'Will' as daughter of Bridget Browne. They also say she married a Mr Balcombe and had son John which is incorrect as that would be Thomasine.  They also state William married Agnes in 1606  and had six children including John & Ann which is also incorrect as they were born between 1585-1592 with two other children.
  6. Other sources mention that son John may have been born on 7th May 1585. There appears to be no foundation to this date (it is before parish registers and date very inconsistent with PM Inquistion). Another source mentions that Mary may have been baptised on 16th September 1610 at East Grinstead. This is incorrect as there is nothing in the parish register (see source 2).
  7. Chris Allen provided some information in October 2015:     I recently came across the attached on under the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers – Register of Apprentice Bindings 1591 to 1596; City of London Haberdashers Apprentices and Freeman, headed November 1595. London Metropolitan Archives ref: CLC/L/HA/C/011/MS15860/002.    It appears to say along the lines of !Willm Felwick son of Willm Felwick of Westhodeley in County? of Suffex yeoman M/R (Master?) Christopher Waters of ? L: (London) ...............” which is about as much as I can manage. It is unclear who these William Feldwicks refer to but see concern 4 which may mean that the son William was born a lot earlier than shown.
Documents Returns to 'Top of Page'


  1. William Feldwick (Family ref top) left a 'Will' dated 25th July 1628 which was proved on 4th October 1633 (PCC Prob 11/164/499). The link is to a transcript of the 'Will'. The 'Will' mentions his wife Agnes; his son John; his grandsons John Feldwick, William Feldwick & Thomas Feldwick; his daughters Anne Gibb, Elizabeth Comber, Sarah Miles & Mary Feldwick; his sons in law John Gibb, Thomas Comber & William Miles ( acting as Overseers); his godchildren & grandchildren John Balcombe, Thomas Comber, Ann Gibb, Anne Miles; Witnesses Henry Faulconer, Richard Teynton & John Browne.
  2. William Feldwick (Family ref 3) had his estate administered in 1617."William Feldwick - buried 28 June 1617 West Hoathly, then a bachelor. Admon granted to his sister Thomasin Balcombe als Feldwick and her husband John Balcombe in 1617. William called "Junior of West Hoathly."


  1. Post Mortem Inquisition 1634: ref 405. WILLIAM FELDWICKE. Vol. 581, No. 115. E. G-., 5 Aug. 10 Chas (1634). Died 24 Aug. 9 Chas. at West Hoathly. Heir, son John, then aged 40 and more. Lands." Feldwickes" in Westhothly. Made will 25 July 1628 son John F. wife grandson John F., grandson William F., grandson Thomas F. my grandchild John Balcombe my daughters Anne, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary. The link is to a transcript of the PM Inquistion. (Note: Sussex record Society shows Inquistion held in 1639 (15 Chas), but transcription shows it as 1634)
  2. WAKEHURST PLACE ARCHIVES: Deed to suffer a Common Recovery  WAKEHURST PLACE/40  11 Oct 1619 - Contents: a) William Feldwicke of West Hoathly, yeo. to (b) John Gibb of West Hoathly, yeo
    Messuage in which (a) lives called Feldwicke and all barns, buildings, lands etc. (100 a.) in West Hoathly and Ardingly and parcels of land called Holmewoods in West Hoathly (50 a.)
    A recovery is to be suffered with demandant (b) and tenant (a).
    Addtional Notes by Jane Wicks:
    The "Exemplification of a Common Recovery" is likely to be a very large and impressive looking document, possibly bearing a portrait of James I as well as the Great Seal, and issued by the Court of Common Pleas. Despite it's impressive looks, this document will contain no valuable information in itself. The interesting thing is, what it's existence tells us about the Feldwick family. A Common Recovery, was a completely fake legal procedure, a collusive action, the purpose of which was to break an entail, in order for the land to be sold or settled in some other way. Very briefly, this would involve the demandant, in this case William's son in law, John Gibb, initiating a court procedure, to recover land that he claims to have been dispossessed of, in the last 30 years, by one Hugh Hunt, and calling upon the "tenant in tail" William Feldwick, to prove his title. Basically, this claim would have been, uncontested and the land conveyed by the court to the demandant. The property would then revert to "fee simple" and could be sold. In this case, John Gibb would have conveyed the property back to William Feldwick. Willam does not seem to have sold anything and the purpose was obviously to ensure that his son, John, did not inherit, which would have been the case had the entail remained. Since there is nothing in the wills of either, John or Walter Feldwick, the entail must be of much longer standing. There is a clue to the fact that they held the land in "fee tail", in that neither will specifies the lands to be inherited, effectively they did not have the power to leave the land in any other way. Hugh Hunt is the usual culprit named in a common recovery, but he didn't actually exist. The role of the common vouchee was usually played out in court by the court crier, he often assumed the name of John Doe, but in this case, he is Edward Howse, likely also an assumed name. The common vouchee is the supposed loser in the court case, he is ordered by the court to compensate the tenant in tail for the loss of his lands in equal value, no such payment was actually expected to be made. 
  3. WAKEHURST PLACE ARCHIVES: Exemplification of a Common Recovery  WAKEHURST PLACE/41  29 Nov 1619 Contents:John Gibb, demandant, William Feldwicke, tenant, and Edward Howse, common vouchee
    Premises as in No.40
  4. The Book of John Rowe (Sussex Record Society) under the manor of Plumpton, 1597 records: Auncyent freeholdes within the Bedlewycke of Plompton Buskage.This book covers for areas around Lewes details of 'fines' or 'Relief' due on succession or alienation and 'heriot' due on death. More details can be obtained from the introduction to the book. (see taxation-subsidy rolls).
    1. William Feldweke for a yard land called Feldwekes and for lands called Nicholls and Homewoods Xs ijd
  5. William Feldwick-c1581:
    1. Letter of Administration: 7th July in the year of our Lord 1617. On which day Master William Inians, priest, surrogate etc, granted administration of the goods etc, of William Feildwick otherwise Felvicke junior, late whilst he lived of Westhothely, bachelor, deceased intestate, to John Balcombe husband of Thomazine Balcombe otherwise Felvicke, natural and legitimate sister of the said deceased, in good and faithful administration etc, sworn on the holy [word of God] the same John of Worth, yeoman, and John Bishe of the same, gent, are bound in £80. (Left margin) Account returned. Inventory exhibited amounting to the sum of £38
    2. London Metropolitan Archives ( . Worshipful Company of Haberdashers - Register of apprentice bindings 1591-1596 . Ref: CLC/L/HA/C/011/MS15860/002 Folio/Page no: 262. Willm Felwick son of Willm Felwick of Westhodley in the county of Suffex, apprenticed (lit charged) to Chriftopher Waters citizen and haberdafher of London for seven years from 26th day of Nov: 1595, given the same day. (note -he was probaly about 14years old at this time)
    3. Transcription of the Admittance to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers for William Feldwick (circa 1581 –1617) taken from the Register of Freedom Admissions 1526-1613 the original of which is held by the London Metropolitan Archives. under ref: CLC/L/HA/C/007/MS15857/001folio/page no 150. Willm Felwick by [Christ]ofer Waters, 25th February 1602/03. (Meaning that he was admitted as a freeman by his master. As a freeman he was able to take on an apprentice who was between the ages of 17 and 21. He had to have attained the age of 21 to be made a freeman -ie he was born circa 1581)
Sources Returns to 'Top of Page'
  1. Sussex Genealogies  (Ardingly Centre) - John Comber 1932
  2. Sussex Record Society -  East Grinstead Parish Registers 1558-1661:
  3. Sussex Parish Registers – East Grinstead, West Hoathly
  4. Sussex Record Society – Marriage Licenses at Lewes 1586-1642,1670-1732, 1772-1837 (Volumes 1, 6, 25,26)
  5. Lewes Will Microfilm
  6. Sussex Family History Group-Sussex Marriage Index CD
  7. Sussex Family History Group - Baptism & Burial records
  8. IGI (International Genealogical Index: Latter-day Saints) - batches of parish records: see LINKS-Research Web sites
  9. Chris Allen whose wife Norma is a direct descendant on Nicholas Feldwick 1628 []
  10. Sussex Record Society - PM Inquistions vol 15:- Henry VII - 1649
  11. Jane Wicks ( who was a descendant of Priscilla Feldwick and has provided me with some transcriptions and other related information.