ALLEY ANCESTOR NEWSLETTER OF THE MILLENIUM 2000
A SHORT HISTORY OF HIGH WYCOMBE AND THE ALLEY CONNECTION
To introduce myself, I am Ray Alley my home town is Northwood in the county of Middlesex England.
Pat Gaddie asked me to write this short history of High Wycombe and I am very pleased to oblige.
Many of those reading
this will live in the USA. And so I must point out that, although we both use the same language, misunderstandings occur because
of different uses of the same term or phrase. Some years ago we met Anne & Glenn from the USA, we travelled together to
Austria to spend a couple of weeks skiing and were staying at the same hotel. The Journey was a disaster and in consequence
we arrived at the hotel at 2 in the morning. Saying goodnight to them in our room I noticed that the bath had no handles on
the 'taps' and said so, Anne & Glenn were puzzled, when I showed them what I meant they said "Oh you mean "faucets". Worse
was to come. We wanted to be up and out early, Anne said she was so tired that she did not think she would be up in time.
Said I "not to worry I am always up early and that I would knock her up". We use that term to wake a person up, Anne &
Glenn knew that to be a much more pleasurable act. However we have been firm friends since so no harm was done. I digress.
No I don't - I have not even started on the said history. So here goes.
The Town of High Wycombe
town was know as just Wicombe, the 'combe' comes from the old word coombe which means a deep little wooded valley, and the
'Wi' from the small river Wye that runs through the town. In very early times it would probably have been a hamlet or small
village in a clearing in the woods beside the river Wye. The earliest record I have found is a villa built by an unknown 'well
to do' Roman in about 200 AD. The remains can still be seen in the town. In 1086 at the time of the great census the town
and the surrounding land was given by King William to a Norman by the name of Robert d'Oilgi'. He was Lord to the town of
60 families, (40 villeins, 8 bordars, 8 serfs and 4 boors). It was at that time one of the two most populated towns in Buckinghamshire.
The plague known as the Black Death in 1349 apparently did not affect the town too badly.
Later Cheping was added to the
name, Cheping meaning a market. In the 13th & 14th century it did become an important market town, being the centre of
the wool trade in the area. The River Thames, which flows through the centre of London, is near the town and made a good highway
to transport the wool to the city quickly. As it improved in reputation the Cheping was dropped and great added, later still
the Great became High and the spelling to Wycombe. (pronounced Wickam)
Today the town is thriving, and once a week a market
is still held, where most items can be bought and sold. The town is now known for its furniture manufacture, the surrounding
woods of beech trees at one time being the source the timber. It had always been known for the manufacture of chairs.
Parish Church of All Saints
The church was first built just over 900 years ago. It was a Norman cross-shaped church with
a central tower. Some of the building material came from the ruins of the Roman Villa built about 200 AD, traces of which
can still be seen from the outside of the church. The church was consecrated by Wulfstan, Saxon Bishop of Worcester around
1080. In the reign of King Henry 2 (1154 to 1189) he gave the church and lands to the Abbey of Godstow. The abbesses of Godstow
extended the church, some of the money needed for the building was given by burgesses of the town and rich London merchants
born in the area. Some of these gifts could well have been given by ancestor Alley's, as the Wycombe members of this family
were merchants of London. Notably Richard Alley at one time Sheriff of London. He was a skinner by trade and some of the skins
could have been sheep or deerskins from the town.
By 1300 the church had almost reached its present size. Around 1440
the pillars were rebuilt the walls made higher and six windows added. Soon the tower was found to be unsafe, it was taken
down and the area rebuilt, adding yet two more windows. In 1522 the present tower was built, supervised by the vicar, the
Reverand Rowland Messenger, he was later clerk of works to Cardinal Wolsey when Christ Church Oxford was built.
Chapel was endowed by Mayors and Burgesses of the town with splendid vestments and jewels. Later you will see that John Alley,
Mayor in 1499 to 1500, left endowments in his will and asked to be buried there.
The church was further restored in about
1873-77 into its present form.
Early Mayors of the town
The job of Mayor in medieval times was mainly to control
and encourage trade and was nearly always selected from the merchants and tradesmen. The City of London probably has the last
of this form of mayor in the person of The Lord Mayor of London. He is elected by the trade guilds, his function being to
promote business and trade in the City and he is not involved in politics. I have a document showing a list of Wycombe Mayors
from 1285 to 1808. In that time there were three with the name of Alley all in the 15th & 16th century.
William Alley 1501-1502
William Alley 1507-1508
William Alley 1544-1545
In Wycombe a ledger book
(I have a copy of the first ledger book) was kept to record the proceedings of the town council presided over by the Mayor.
These ledgers give accounts of Alley's being present at these meetings. Some record land transfers, others gifts from the
burgesses to the church. Some of which I record here in short from and in Modern English.
18th March 1501
'an order that the mayor shall continue but one year in office.'
In the Guildhall held at Wicombe in the 15th year of
the reign of King Henry 7th, before William Alley Mayor, Roger Bramston, John Alley, Robert Ashebroke and all the burgesses
that it be ordained that from this day forth and for ever that a mayor chosen from that day forth shall occupy the office
of mayor for one year only. For the good order and rules of the said town. If there be any Burgess to do the contrary then
a punishment to loose his freedom (not put in prison but to loose his freedom to trade, a very serious punishment to a tradesman)
and pay 20 shillings fine to be levied one half to the Church and one half to (who else) the burgesses.
My list of
mayors shows that this did not last the year, for the next three years a Nicholas Gerrard was mayor, and does not seem to
have been punished as aforesaid.
The next entry has been dated with a? 1517. As I know that John Alley died in 1506
and was mentioned in this entry, and that Robert Ashebroke was mayor in 1500-01. I was able to give the archives the correct
date of 1500.
Headed Robert Ashbroke Mayor
Know ye that we Robert Ashbroke, William Alley, Hamlet Taylor guardians
of chapel of the blessed Mary with the consent of the burgesses in the Guild Hall have granted to John Alley a tenement within
the town of Wycombe in a street called Frogmore. (it then goes on to describe the boundaries) for John Alley and his assigns
and successors to hold forever.
Headed Robert Ashbrokes Land.
C1515 on the 24 January in the sixth year of
William Alley of Wicombe and Edmund Mason of Stokenchurch grant to Richard Reynolds five acres and on half
acre of arable land and one acre of woodland in the fields of Wycombe situated in Highfield. The arable land lying between
land belonging to Robert Shereborn, Bishop of Chichester. (it then goes on to further describe the boundaries)
Ashbroke must have been a rich merchant in the town. He was mayor ten times from 1500-1529. He was a witness to John Alley's
will in 1506.
Wills of Alley's who lived in or near the town
In this paper I can only give an outline of the
main bequests and points of interest to us as genealogists.
The first will is in Medieval Latin my poor translation
is as follows.
In the name of God Amen the 20th day of January 1487 (?8) I Willelmus Aley of sane memory make my testament
in like manner
My body to be buried in the sanctuary of the Blessed Mary in the church at Chepyng Wycomb
the alter 12 pence (about $0.05)
Item- to Marie Lincoln 2 pence
Item- another item for the alter 4 pence
for the maintenance of the Church 20 pence
Item- to Isabelle his wife a tenement for the rest of her life.
his wife a garden (could be an agricultural plot) known as Corbrygges.
Item- to the presbytery 11 shillings ($0.8) to
raise a memorial
The residue left to his wife and his son Willemo who he makes his executors.
From this will we
can see that since he left several bequests to the church and property to his wife he could not have been a poor man. Was
he the father of John Mayor of Wycomb? He did not mention a son John.
The rest of the will's are written in old English,
still quite difficult to translate.
The will of John Alley (Mayor of Wicombe 1499-1500
In T.N.O.G. Amen the 11th day
of August 1506 I, John Aley of Cheping Wicombe in the county of Bucks whole of mind make this my last will and testament.
He asks that his body shall be buried in the Chapel of our Blessed Lady Wicombe. He leaves money to the church, and to
the Vicar Sir Thomas Burley for the offerings he says he forgot to pay in his lifetime. He leaves money to the Chaplain Sir
Thomas Mole, and to the repair of the church and to provide light in the church. He then makes bequests to the repair of crosses
on the highways about Wicombe. He then leaves 8 marks to an honest person to sing mass in the church for two years for his
soul and all Christian souls. He then leaves tenements (houses) to his wife Agnes and after her death to his son Robert. But
if his son Robert does not have children then these tenements to pass to the town on Robert's death. He then leaves a bequest
to William his brother. He makes Robert Ashcroft (Mayor of Wicombe) and others to oversee his will.
This man is clearly
the Sir John mentioned in Gene's book. He was certainly a dignitary in the town from the bequest's to the town. The date of
the will corresponds with the death date given by Gene, and he is not mentioned again in the town records after 1504. In his
will he does not use the title Sir nor is this used at any time in the town records. (it would have been discourteous not
to use his title in these records), and I regret to say that the College of Arms can find no record of him being Knighted.
In his lifetime the church at Wicombe was Roman Catholic (the reformation was just beginning). This would account for him
asking for his body to be buried in the Chapel of Our Blessed Lady, and his request to have mass sung. The chapel today is
called The Lady Chapel. It should also be noted that he did not name a son William but a brother William. (Probably Mayor
of Wicombe). Could this William be the grandfather of Bishop William?
The will of William Alley Bishop of Exeter
T.N.O.G. Amen 1st day of April AD 1570 I William Alley by the Permission of God Bishop of Exon (now Exeter) sick in body but
perfect of remembrance make my last will and testament in like manner.
I bequeath my soul to Almighty God. My body to
be buried in Christian burial that to my wife and friends shall be thought most reverent. Item all my books of divinity to
my son Roger Alley Archdeacon of Cornwall. I give to my son-in-law Christopher Bodleighe all my books of philosophy and physic.
Item all my books of humanity to my younger sons to be given to them as they shall increase in learning some at one time and
some at another as often as need shall require. To his servants John Martin and Robert Cole 10 pence each. The residue once
my funeral and all debts discharged to my wife Sybil whom I make my sole executrix. She to see that all my children are goodly
brought up and educated and to give them such further maintenance as shall meet and require such children to have.
then names persons to see his will properly executed.
This will leaves some questions unanswered. The names of his younger
sons, who was Christopher Bodleigh?, was Sybil his second wife?. The IGI gives a daughter Jane or Joan to him. She probably
died in infancy.
In these times son-in-law could mean an adopted son, such as the son of a second wife's previous marriage.
Sybil's pre-marriage name was Bodleighe, was this her maiden name?. There appears to be a long gap between Roger his son,
and his younger sons. I am sure that at sometime or another we have all found accounts of His Grace's history.
was educated at Eton College went to Cambridge etc. What is generally not known is that the bishopric of Exeter was not in
his day a wealthy See, he did not have the comfort of a Bishops Palace. Instead he was found a living at Honiton Devon in
the humble parish church vicarage. A reference to him and Eton recently found says 'crudely carved on a shutter is the name
W Alley'. I have been in touch with Eton and they have told me I can come and see it, and possibly photograph it.
will of Robert Alye or Aly of Windsor Berkshire
This will is dated 8th Dec. 1542 and is most probably the will of 'Sir'
John's son Robert. The will gives the usual preamble, then goes on to give to his wife Christian all his lands houses and
tenements in the parish of Wicombe Bucks. And all land etc bequeathed to her by her father. After her death, to John his son.
The residue to be divided between the rest of his children. The will to be overseen by John and Andrew his sons.
one of these children be the Bishop? If only he had named them. Note that Eton College is in Windsor, which is not far from
Wicombe. Other wills show in some instances connections with the Wicombe Alley's but space is limited. I would be delighted
to hear from anyone who has other information, or has come to other conclusions than my own.
Regards to all those whom
I met at the Worldwide Alley convention and hoping that this has been worth reading.
Web-sites with possibilities to find more family connections from earlier time. We can all look at as much
information as we can on the Alley beginnings and pool all our information together. We can collect every Alley name in existence
from past to present. Look at the neighbors, the baker's lists books of early times that list customers and workers, the parish
CLUES TO BRIDGE THE GAPS IN OUR ALLEY ANCESTOR ARMOR
Jones from Louisiana sent me some parish record information on the Specotts of Thornbury, Slannings of Ley, and the Snelling
of Chadlewood. These were all family lines that came to Wealthian Alley Furse who was married to Francis Alley. There is the
will of Wealthian's brother that lists his sister Wealthian and her husband Francis Alley of Virginia.
I spoke with
Howard Jones of Louisiana, and he has a book called "A History of London" by Stephen Inwood. He indicated that a reference
was made on page 176 of a Hugh Alley of the year 1598 who wrote a pamphlet on trade restrictions. He evidently held some government
position at the time.
Howard was looking through the Alley files at The Wellington Public Library, back in 1998, he
ran across a legal paper (Land Deed) from "William Gooch Esquire the Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the said
Colony of the Dominion at Williamsburgh Under the Seal of the said Colony the Twenty ninth Day of June one thousand seven
hundred and thirty nine":
" In the Thirteenth year of the Reign that included "George the second by the Grace of God of
Great Britoun, France and Ireland King defender of the Faith or To all to whom these presents shall come greeting Know ye
that for divers good causes and considerations but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of forty shillings
of good and lawful money for our use paid to our receiver general of our Revenues in this our Colony and Dominion of Virginia.
We Have given granted and confirmed and by these Presents for us our Heirs and Successors do give grant and confirm unto Thomas
Alley one certain Tract or Parcel of land containing four hundred acres lying and being in the County of Henrico on the North
Side of James River and bounded as followeth ______. Beginning at the corner tree of Charles Christians Then on the _____Christians
Line North thirty three degrees West two hundred and seventy Poles to a corner Pine of the said Christian's Then leaving Christian's
Line and continuing the same course eighty Poles to a Corner Pine Then North fifty seven Degrees East two hundred and fourteen
Poles to Pointers Then South thirty three Degrees East three hundred Poles to a Corner Pine. Thence South fifty seven Degrees
West two hundred and fourteen Poles to the beginning With All Woods Underwoods, Swamps, Marshes, Lowgrounds, Meadows, Seedlings,
and his due share of all ____Mines and Quarries as well discovered as not discovered within the bounds aforesaid and being
part of the said quantity of four hundred acres of land and the Rivers waters and WaterCourses therein contained together
with the Privileges of Hunting, Hawking, Fishing, Fowling and all other Profits Commodities and Perderments whatsoever to
the same or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining To have hold Power and enjoy the said Tract or Parcel of
Land and all other before granted Appertaining everypart thereof_____their and every of their _______unto the said "Thomas
Alley his Heirs
and assigns forever, To be held of us our Heirs and successors as of our Manor of (?BasGreenwich) in the
County of Kent in free and common soccage and not in _________ by Knights Service Yielding and Paying unto us our Heirs of
succession for every fifty acres of Land and to proportion able for a __________greater quantity than fifty acres the Fee
Rent of one Shilling yearly to be paid upon the Feast of Saint Michael the Arch Angel and also Cultivation and Improving three
acres part of every fifty of the Tract abovementioned within three years of the Date
of these Presents Provided ______that
if three years of the said Fee Rent shall at any time be in arrears and unpaid or if the said Thomas Alley his Heirs and Assigns
do not within the years of three years _____coming after the Date of these Presents Cultivate and Improve three acres part
of every fifty of the Tract abovementioned Then the Estate hereby granted shall be and be utterly Determined and thereafter
it shall and may be lawful to and for us our Heirs and Successors to grant the same Lands and Parcels with the _______ unto
such other Person or Persons as we our Heirs and Successors shall think fit In & Witnessed whereof we have caused these
our ______Patent to be
made Witnessed our Trusty and Wellbeloved William Gooch Esq. our Lieutenant Governor and Commander
in Chief of out said Colony of Dominion at Williamsburgh Under the Seal of our said Colony the Twenty ninth Day of June on
thousand seven hundred and thirty nine, In the Thirteenth year of our Reign
(Everyone send me your favorite recipe)
Dear Pat, I have found a recipe which is quite a favorite
of ours and hope it is suitable for the newsletter.
Pastry Filling Topping
6oz plain flour 2oz
margarine 3oz icing sugar
1.5oz margarine 2oz castor sugar 2 tsps lemon juice
1.5oz lard 1 beaten egg A little water
pinch salt 4oz currants/sultanas
1oz chopped nuts.
1. Make shortcrust pastry and roll out to a circle and
put on a 10" plate
2. Trim and make pieces into strips for lattice decoration
3. Cream margarine and sugar, add egg,
fruit and nuts
4. Spread on top of pastry.
5. Cover with latticework and brush with egg
6. Bake at 400f or 200c.
Lower heat after 15 min (350f) and cook a further 5 min.
7. Mix together icing, lemon juice and water and spoon over tart
while still warm.
Regards, Ray and Margaret
OTHER CLUES FOR RESEARCH
Gene's resources show
on "DOCUMENTATION:(11/6)Thomas and Susannah Howerton
ALLEY-Page 4 3/26/93:
20. Barbara Morehead: (1976) Thomas Alley
line descends from Hugh Alley of England
21. Willis Marshall: (1978) Thomas Alley, Jr. born @1771 s/o Thomas Sr. and
Howerton; died @1866; married Nancy/Ann; children: Susannah married Jacob Rupe 15 Apr
1815; James born @1790
married Susannah Kelsey 9 July 1812 ( Willis; line-James to David
[gr-grpa Willis] who had Sophia, Richard and Marinda);
Frances born @ 1804 married Gasper
Albright 14 Sept 1826; Margaret married William Green 28 Apr 1828 (no sources given)//Thomas
Alley-beginning of ALLEY line in this country-born @1721 died before 4 April 1787;
married Jane who died after 4 April
1787(sources-"VA Troops in French & Indian Wars" vol.
2pg 143 Virginia Magazine vol. 2-Thomas Alley, enlisted 14 Sept
1755 at Fredericksburg age 34,
size 5 ft 5 in, trade-baker, country-England, Capt. Robert Spottwood's Co. 13 July 1756;
from "Virginia Gazette 1752-1755" Thomas Alley from York for felony, acquitted; Montgomery Co,
VA court Order
Bk. 1 pg. 286-"Satisfactory proof being made to this court that Jane Alley is
entitled to the pay of Thomas Alley, her
husband, who died of his wounds received at Buford's
Defeat. dated 4 April 1787; Frances Decker of Connecticut-Richard
Alley s/o David was her
22. Edythe Collins: (1988) Thomas ALLEY, Jr. born @1757 (1850 census gives
age 93, 1860
census age 100) died 1866 married Nancy Ann ? Howerton?; children: James (ancestor Edythe
Susannah Kelsey; Susannah married Jacob Rupe; Frances/Fanny married Gasper
Albright; Margaret married Wm. Green; Isom;
John ( Montgomery Co, VA will & Deed books-list
of heirs Deed Bk. L pg. 159)
(I have found evidence on the
1800 census of Montgomery Co. that the Alley's were neighbors to quite a few people with other surnames mentioned above with
whom they also married including Simpson's, and some of the Hartford Conn. Relatives were also neighbors.)
My mother was an ALLEY. I have traced her family back to Wiltshire in England to Henry and Jane Alley and their
family in 1698. Do you know if any of your ALLEY ancestors came from that part of England? I noted that
you are all descended
from Bishop William Alley so wondered where he came from and what his dates were. I don't think any of my ancestors were quite
so grand mainly being ag. labs but we are missing a few!
I also noted with interest one of the names mentioned at
the Alley Family Reunion as being "Alan Judd from Winnipeg". My grandfather's sister married Sidney Judd and we have lost
contact with the family and I wondered if he might be a "lost" relative. Would you let me have his address or e-mail or if
you do not feel that that would be appropriate would you please pass along my e-mail to him. I would gladly supply my mailing
address if he does
not have access to e-mail.
Is there to be another ALLEY Family Reunion?
Victoria, BC Canada
Patricia Alley-Gaddie: publisher of the Alley Ancestor News email@example.com
Please send any Alley research information, recipes', up to date family trees, your e-mail addresses or comments
to me, Patricia, and I will include in forthcoming Newsletter's. If you wish to sponsor an Alley Reunion, send details.
have set up an Alley web page at www.myfamily.com. Please send me your e-mail addresses so I can send you the necessary invitation
to visit the site. Then we can all go to the site and put pictures, recipes, etc where everyone can visit any time they wish.
May 12, 2000
A TRIBUTE TO George Ralph "Digger" Alley
19 March 1919-26 October 1999
Digger Alley (George
Wrote a letter to Gene Alley, 17th Jan 1993 saying and I quote "Sir John Alley ca1460 Mayor of Chipping Wycombe
in 1501and that this John was the Grandfather of William Alley who became Bishop of Exeter."
Talked with Howard Jones
of Louisiana last night. He says he finds English records through the Mormon records at LSU by looking for information recorded
on microfilm by Location of Ancestor.
(If any one comes up with Sir John's title please pass it on.)
a laser copy of Sir John Alley's coat of arms. He also gave an address of a lady who has
Record of Bishop William Alley's
records: Margaret Sharon / 8824 Finch Court / Burnaby / British Columbia /
/ CANADA / VA5 4K5 (Someone write this lady,
and see what proof of Sir John she may have.)
Digger died last year. Allan Judd sent me the information on his funeral
and a copy of the letter addressed to him by Diggers' daughter, Jocelyn.
ST ANDREW'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH / New Plymouth
/ Auckland , New Zealand
By Daughter, Jocelyn Watkin (neeAlley)
"Dear family and friends, I write with the sad
news that our father, Digger Alley, died on 26 October 1999. Dad had a stroke in June. When I saw him lying in his hospital
bed at that time, I was reminded of a great tree that had fallen in the forest, and I wondered if he would ever recover.
he had a love of life and a strong will to survive. Within a month he was walking and taking a great interest in life once
more. My brothers and I arranged for him to be cared for at Chalmers Rest Home, until such time he would be well enough to
return home. He never lost faith that he would make it and, as none of us live in New Plymouth, we arranged that his home
and garden were kept tidy and welcoming. On our visits to New Plymouth we would collect him from Chalmers for day outings
to his home. During these visits he loved walking around his garden, having the family gathered around him at the dining table
for lunch, talking on the phone and occasionally having a nap on his own bed.
My brother Bruce came up for a week
towards the end of October to spend some extra time in his garden. Dad had become almost well enough to live back at home.
He had been back attending St. Andrews church for some time, although in his track suit clothes, which were practical for
dressing, etc. On Sunday 24 October Bruce took him to the service. Dad had dressed himself into his smart suit, with shirt
and tie. He was back to his old self.
On Tuesday 26 October Dad was sitting at his dining table, about to have lunch
with Bruce. They were talking happily when suddenly Dad's head dropped on to his breast and he was gone!! Bruce called an
ambulance immediately, but they couldn't revive him. We knew that the stroke had damaged his heart and that a massive heart
attack was possible, which is what it was. Bruce said that Dad showed no sign of pain or distress and probably never realised
what had happened. So, he died in his own home, with one of the family next to him, while thinking of the future and still
much in control of life.
The funeral, on Monday 1 November, was a celebration of his wonderful life. Four out of his
five children were there, most of his grandchildren, a host of cousins, and around 300 friends. The large turnout was a testament
to his concern for others, his vigour, and his love. It was a great day for a great man!! I have enclosed a service sheet
as a momento.
His ashes now lie in his mother's grave at Huirangi, according to his wishes. This cemetery is a few
miles out of New Plymouth, towards Waitara. It is on a little hillock, surrounded by lush Taranaki farmland, overlooking the
river. His beloved Mt. Egmont forms a scenic backdrop.
Thank you for being such a friend to our father.
Jocelyn Watkin (nee Alley) On behalf of Bruce, Philip, Lyndon and Ross"