Oh the English Summer – what a joy to burble about on a Sunday dreaming of the England of yester-year…oh how my mind is haunted…..
To explain – I was going for a walk to Emberton because it was a nice day and I had spent too long slaving over a hot computer (so hot it got stuck). This was the first visit for me and the last outing for my baseball boots which had, like all my other cheap footwear, given up the ghost. But not before I met some ghosts of my own.
The way to the country park (read campsite) was over a bridge. On the bridge I paused because I saw a plaque, and the plaque said that on the bridge back in 1643 The Battle of Olney Bridge took place. This had my blood racing, for I realized that at this place I was in the land of my ancestors.
To explain, from being a Family Tree enthusiast I knew that at least one or two of my family were involved in the English Civil War. Unfortunately though, the more I learn about it, the more questions are thrown up because during a Civil War records are not kept properly, if at all.
The connections hinge on one Sir Samuel Luke who was the head honcho at the Newport Pagnell barracks. He was a staunch parliamentarian and Puritan – to the point that some wit wrote a satirical poem about him in a rather unflattering way. (‘Hudibras’ published after the restoration of the monarchy in 1663, by Samuel Butler, was basically a mock heroic poem criticising the Puritans, later the style was called ‘Burlesques’. He actually worked as a secretary for Sir Samuel Luke – its as if he was stalking him for a literary attack in his own home!)
Sir Samuel Luke was also the squire at the Manor of Haynes, the residence of my folks in the early 1600s. Being a smallish place the gentry would have known and employed the village people. By 1643 the Luke family had been in Haynes for two generations and my family would also have been there for two generations. Or would they?
The investigation began when I got home – the family tree at that time has some unknowns which had not been untangled, and I tried yet again to make sense of the information!
Richard (1)of Shillington, Born 1586, married a lass (Marie) in 1612 and went to live in Haynes :
It is possible that Richard (1) was the father of Matthias (1), born in B1628 Haynes (Son of Richard) but this sits badly with the surviving records of the siblings of Matthius(1). The clues to geneology are all in the names:
Richard 1)’s oldest child was Alice born 1614, named after Marie’s mother. The next child was named Thomas, possibly after Richard1s brother. Then a birth in 1619, with no name, then in 1622 Joan – the name of Richard (1)’s grandmother. A child that died as a baby was named John, probably because he was not expected to survive.Then in 1624 the initial A only – no parents named, may have been another Alice, and then at last the child with his fathers name, in 1627 a Richard. The youngest child may have been Matthius born 1628.
But the records are a jumble – nearby places show evidence of an extended family with other Richards having kids – and there are two more births recorded in Haynes having Richard as a father – which would make Richard (1) 47 when his last child was born. Not likely, but not impossible.
What is pretty certain is that Richard (1) would have been 42 when Matthias (1) was born. And this raises the question as to whether there was an unrecorded birth of a Richard (2) around the time that Richard (1) and Marie were married in 1612, their first child. This makes sense name-wise as Richard (2) would have been the eldest son with his fathers name.
The theory failed a little when I considered that if Richard (2) was born in 1612 he would only be 16 when his son Matthius (1) was born in 1628 – a young age and not following the pattern of eldest son named after the father.
But then I had to consider that a year before, the records show a Richard born in 1627, son of Richard and I wondered if this could be Richard (2)’s son, thus suggesting that Richard (2) DID exist, but was born BEFORE Richard and Marie were married in 1612 – say perhaps in 1610 (his father, Richard (1) would have been 24 years old). And Richard (2) would have been 17 when his eldest son Richard was born in 1627, brother of my ancestor Matthius (1) born 1628.
This date fits with the other dates and perhaps Richard (2) was born in another place and had his mothers surname before changing it to his fathers after they were married which is why he was not discovered in the records. Great detective work, I thought I could live with this theory!
But it didnt stop there of course! Confidently I decided to tackle the information I had about Matthius 1 (born 1628 in Haynes)
The records at Haynes show Matthius (1) had children, but do not mention his marriage or his wife.Again there was no eldest son named after his father Matthius. Things were looking messy again.
What I can say is that Matthius (1) was fifteen at the time of the Battle of Olney Bridge – and I am pretty sure that he was there (and obviously survived). His father may have been there – whether it was Richard (2) who would have been about 33 years old, or Richard (1) who would have been 57 had he still been alive. So there may have been one generation of my family there, or there could have been two, or three. What fascinates me is that Richard (2) is a ghost on my family tree and also a ghost of Olney Bridge. Maybe one day I will come across a record somewhere that will allow me to really see him….