Peter Brown Family History

William Underhill (c1420)

General History

William Underhill was one of my 15th generation ancestors.

Key Dates

c1420: William Underhill born

William Underhill was born in about 1420 possibly in East Grinstead, Sussex. In 1444 he was one of a number of tenants of Hedgecourt Manor and had a croft called Coteland. He paid rent of 8d.


Children Returns to 'Top of Page'

William Underhill had possibly one child but probably more

  1. Richard Underhill as born in about 1450 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. In 1495 Richard was fined as a tenant for not attending court. On 6th April 1503 the early court rolls for Hedgecourt shows "Richard Underhyll having died holding a croft in Lingfield called Cotelond paying 8d". In 1507 Richard is shown as purchasing land called 'Eastland', (later known as 'Hosiers'), at Felcourt Heath (unsure if this realtes to father or son).
    1. John Underhill was born in about 1490 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. In 1503 he is shown in the early court rolls for Hedgecourt to be the son and heir of Richard. He married Agnes. Details of John Underhill & Agnes are are shown separately as they are direct ancestors
    2. Thomas Underhill as born in about 1490 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. He is possibly shown in the Lay subsidy Rolls of 1524 in the Hundred of Lyndefeld Arch as being taxed on wages worth £1. Thomas left a 'Will' dated 12th March 1537 in which he was described as 'Senior of Lingfield' and he died about on about 14th March 1537 in Lingfield, Surrey (or at least prior to 24th March 1537 when the 'Will' was proved).
    3. William Underhill as born in about 1490 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. He is possibly shown in the Lay subsidy Rolls of 1524 in the Hundred of Lyndefeld Arch as being taxed on assets worth £3.
    4. Richard Underhill as born in about 1490 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. He was mentioned in his brother Thomas Underhill's Will of 1537. He probably witnessed his brother John Underhill's 'Will' of 1539. He had children
      1. Ano Underhill (other god children were mentioned in Thomas's Will of 1537, but un-named)
      2. Ano Underhill (other god children were mentioned in Thomas's Will of 1537, but un-named)
      3. Thomas Underhill as born in about 1530 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. He was mentioned in his uncle Thomas's 'Will' of 1537. Details of Thomas Underhill are shown separately
      4. John Underhill (This link is pure guesswork) as born in about 1510 possibly in Lingfield, Surrey. He was possibly buried on 7th April 1584 in Lingfield, Surrey. ('John of Doggetts). He possibly witnessed his uncle John Underhill's 'Will' of 1539. He married Joan. Joan was possibly buried on 8th September 1581 in Lingfield, Surrey. ('Joane, wife of John of Doggetts).

Personal History Returns to 'Top of Page'

General history of Underhills & Lingfield

A larger version of this map can be found here.

In the fifteenth century Underhills held a croft within Hedgecourt Manor. (see bottom left of map). In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, several generations of the Underhill family are known to have been tanners; the families lived at White House Farm, Baldwins Hill, Lingfield (now known as Cromwell Hall off the Felcourt road).
Baldwins Hill and Frith Manor are right on the Surrey/Sussex border to East Grinstead, with East Grinstead town centre being less than 2km south which is why parish registrations oscilatted so much. Frith manor was less than 0.5km from Baldwins Hill with Felcourt being about 2km distant. Puttenden Manor is much more distant from these three locations (say 10km-see top of map) and Limehouse was probably about 5km distant at the edge of Lingfield village.
Old maps indicate the presence of Lime kilns used by farmers, as do names of fields and woods. In the Lingfield area they are shown at the entrance to Weir Courtney along Blackberry Lane (about 0.5 km north east Whitehouse) , at the Workhouse site in Newchapel Road, in 1730, plus another further along, also near the entrance to Lyne House Farm (1877 - this may mean the name is a corruption of “Lime”).
The manor of Sterborough alias Prinkham was held of the Abbot of Battle and probably originally formed part of the abbey's manor of Limpsfield. Prinkham House and Prinkham Cottages are left of Old Forge on Moor Lane –Marsh Green Road. This is located on the surrey/kent border, just north of the sussex border.

Verification & Concerns Returns to 'Top of Page'

  1. There are a number of name variations in the parish records (Underhill, Underill,Undrill, Undririll, Undirill, Undrell, Vndrell, Hunderhill)
Documents Returns to 'Top of Page'


  1. Thomas Underhill (Family ref 1) left a 'Will' that was dated 12th March 1537 and was proved in 12th March 1537.(ref LMA-DW/PA/ ????????). The link is to an Abstract of the Will. The 'Will' mentions his brother Richard (executor) and his godson Thomas son of brother Richard. Overseers were William Weston, priest. Witnesses were Morgan Moryce, clerk; John Wody; ... Tanner; WW . Thomas was described in the 'Will' as 'Senior of Lingfield'.


  1. The Early History of Hedgecourt Manor and Farm from the Felbridge & District History Group provides some information on early tenancies. Hegdecourt covers the area from Newchapel to Felbridge.
    The early court rolls for Hedgecourt shows:
    1. 1495 is the date of the first surviving court roll for the manor of Hedgecourt and the juror is Roger atte Fenne [of Gibbshaven] with a large number of the tenants fined for not attending the court including William Quethworth, Richard Underhill, William Skrynelond, William and John Burley of Trolnhurst, John Harling of Horne, Robert Sondes gent and Edmund Alfrey gent. 
    2. 6 Apr 1503: Richard Underhyll died holding a croft in Lingfield called Cotelond paying 8d, his son and heir is John. Edmond Alfrey pays 6d rent for Morehale. Robert Sondes pays 12d rent for Northlond in Lingfield and Felbriggen in Tandridge
    3. 1541 William Chalfroft, John Payne and John Myles are paid to enclose the land called Mylwoode.
    4. In 1561, Lagham court again instructs people to clear their ditches; “Robert Dane had a day to scower his ditch near certain lands called Coops Moors under penalty of 6s 8d, Thomas Infield had the same day to scour his ditches near Edgecorte Parke and Shawnores under penalty of 20s.
    5. The names that appear in the records for Hedgecourt manor between 1560 and 1570 are John Thorpe, Bartholemew Harman, John Underhill snr, John Underhill jnr, Roger Harling, Anthony Sands Gent, John Alfrey, John Uhurst, William Estland, Thomas Hapyll, John Byshe and Thomas Byshe. This list will not include all the tenants as it only contains the jurors of the courts and those mentioned in the transactions of the court which are mainly fines for not attending.
    6. A rental for the manor of Hedgecourt survives for 1598-9 and lists:
      1. Roger John Underhill tenement and certain lands called Estland                   2s 1d
      2. Thomas Underhill one tenement, two crofts containing 7 acres and another croft  of 2 acres late John Estlands       4d
      3. Estland would appear to be the latest name for the land held by Agnes Hosyer in 1444 and Richard Underhill in 1507. Cottcroft was called Coteland in 1444 and is in the parish of Lingfield.
      4. George Turner for a croft of land in Lingfield called Cottcroft, late Richard Underhill              8d
    7. In 1444 we get the first detailed list of tenants for Hedgecourt Manor
      1. William Underhile 1 croft called Coteland       8d
    8. 1st May 1507   Richard Swaynlond sells his freehold croft of land at rent of 25d in Lingfield to Richard Underhill [this is later known as Hosiers after Agnes Hosyer from the 1444 rental, this land is located at Felcourt Heath and is held of Sheffield-Lingfield]. John atte Fenne paying 6d for Honnies and Cuelyn Croft [parts of the land previously held by Roger Hussey]
Sources Returns to 'Top of Page'
  1. Sussex Record Society -  East Grinstead Parish Registers 1558-1661:
  2. Surrey parish register - Crowhurst, Lingfield, Horne
  3. Sussex parish register - East Grinstead, Hartfield, Worth, Withyham
  4. Kent parish Register - Cowden
  5. Sussex Marriage Index CD
  6. Surrey Marriage index CD
  7. Surrey Wills Abstracts
  8. Sussex Record Society – Marriage Licenses at Lewes 1586-1642,1670-1732, 1772-1837 (Volumes 1, 6, 25,26)
  9. Lewes Will Microfilm
  10. Sussex Family History Group - Baptism & Burial records
  11. IGI (International Genealogical Index: Latter-day Saints) - batches of parish records: see LINKS-Research Web sites