Before 1546

So, you’re fortunate enough to have solidly traced your line back to the beginning of the Wing parish records – congratulations! Now what? Below are some suggestions that might be useful.

A Very Brief Historical Background

The War of the Roses, which took place from 1455 to 1487, could be considered the crossover point between medieval times and the Tudor period, so the century or so before the Wing parish records began was a time of great change. Under the feudal system the gentry had all the power, but in early Tudor times the merchants started to work their way up a bit. The poor old downtrodden medieval peasants didn’t really improve their lot though, daily life was pretty hard – get up early, work in the fields (a wage statute from 1495 set the working hours as 5am to 7pm in summer, and the hours of daylight in winter), eat pretty poorly, produce more children than you could afford to feed, and die relatively young.

Keep in mind that the Church was extremely influential and many aspects of life were administered by ecclesiastical authorities (including law and education – but of course only posh folk with money had the opportunity to educate their children). The concept of parish registers to record baptisms, marriages and burials was introduced in 1538 (Wing’s survive back to 1546) which was really a way of pointing out you didn’t exist unless the Church said so! Wives naturally belonged to their husbands, so any property (or debts) that she brought into the marriage became her husband’s. People generally didn’t move around much.

This time frame is not my area of speciality – if you are more knowledgeable than I am about early records that are useful for genealogical purposes and have some pointers, additions or corrections to make, please don’t be shy, let me know.

Feet of Fines

Some legal actions (generally over land) can be found in the surviving Feet of Fines records. I’ve collated those I have come across that involved Wing. Entries included fall in the 1200 to 1383 period.

Taxation

The lay subsidies list for Wing for 1332 survives, as do some alien subsidy lists mentioning overseas immigrants in the 1440 to 1450 period.

Chancery Records

Records of the Chancery also generally involve disputes over land or other debts, and the ones I’ve located involving Wing can be found here. Entries fall in the 1299 to 1595 period.

Common Pleas

The Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas list civil cases. A selection of entries in the 1418 to 1519 period can be found here.

Exchequer Records

There are a few deed involving Wing amongst the Records of the Exchequer between 1487 to 1609 period.

Muster Rolls

Muster rolls listed the inhabitants of a village liable to pay for the defensive arms of the village, along with those who actually held the arms. On this website I have transcriptions of the rolls for 1522 (a goodie as it also lists the value of their land and goods) and 1535 (this roll has names only).

Wills

There are 22 surviving wills for Wing residents that were proved in the Archdeaconry of Buckingham from 1483 to 1546. These are held at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies – find them in their online index.

Churchwardens Accounts

The churchwardens accounts for Wing survive as far back as 1527 and some entries are for rents received or various payments to named residents.

Medieval Miscellany

Walter WALSH was farming the lands of the priory in Wing around 1385, according to a petition to the King by John de Melton, parson of Drayton Parslow, who felt that Walsh was disturbing the tithing that Melton should have been enjoying [SC 8/251/12514 at The National Archives].

There was a case sometime in the early 1500s between Thomas FOUNTEYNE and others, tenants of Crafton and Sir Robert Dormer, the lordship of Crafton, and a second case regarding a mortgage of land at Wing between William AWELDE and Sir Robert DORMER [REQ 2/3/115 and REQ 2/3/348 at The National Archives].