Woorliche Woolrych Wolrich part 2

Spending a few more days resting has allowed me to carry on with the Worlich's.

To this end I found a Victorian book all about the Stansfields (bear with me I haven't lost the plot). Very big in Halifax the Stansfields, and very concerned with their good pedigree. They were also very happy to have married into the last surviving female heiress of the Wolrich's and they then did the pedigree and genealogy right back to Alfred (yes one of those kinds of genealogies). That said, from what I can see, they weren't making the whole thing up.

Read all about it here  I've opened the book at chapter 10 where the good stuff starts.

It is all a bit stuffy and Victorian but Francis is there. Mostly because he is the son and heir. This thing would have been so much harder had he been the third obscure son. 

photo P. May
So to recap - Francis, (son of Thomas of Alconbury), went to Jesus college in Cambridge matriculating in 1558. His younger brother Arthur was also at Jesus, matriculating to the same college in 1565. There is another brother (Charles) and a sister, Honor, who probably married her cousin Charles Worlich of the Suffolk branch (if one of the Visitations of Suffolk is accurate).

There certainly is a Suffolk branch of Worlichs, as the manor of Cowling (Culinge/Cooling) is held by one John Worlich in 1553, and there is a will of 1568 left by a "John Worliche gent of Cowlinge Suffolk"; which I have been unable to locate (it is mentioned in "A calendar of wills relating to the county of Suffolk proved in the perogative court of Canterbury between 1383 & 1604). That date is remarkably close to the one graffiti'd on the church. Were the brothers coming to visit their sister, or pay their respects to a dying relative?
If John's son Charles Woorliche did indeed marry Honor Worlich, then it is probable that their son was Thomas, probably named for his maternal grandfather; and he carried on in the educated line, being admitted to the inner temple on the 23rd of Nov 1584. There is some speculation that his uncle Francis had also been admitted to the inner temple, but I can't find anything in the temple rolls to prove this (that was a marathon of reading!).
photo Pat May

Francis also married, as did Arthur. Francis' descendants were Royalists during the civil war, but despite being the main line of Wolrich's eventually this line died out, and as I said earlier, the last heiress married into the Stansfield family of Halifax.

As an associated point of note I feel I ought to say that there is a black and gold monument in Saffron Walden church, it follows like this...

"1568 William Byrde son of Beatrice wife of Thomas Byrde and daughter of John Woolrich of Cowlidge, Suffolk gent. He married Mary Woodall (1613) daughter and heiress of Jacob Woodall of Cockermouth and Joan Bacon. William and Mary had 3 sons William, Thomas and George and 1 daughter Mary. Mary married secondly William Woodhall the elder and had 4 sons and 7 daughters
Monument erected by sons William and George"

I would love to show you a photo, but I can't without breaching copyright. There is a nice example on Fickr though if you fancy looking it up.

That would suggest that Charles may have had a sister, and she married well enough not to need to scratch on the walls like her cousins. On reflection, that is unfair, this family as a whole were accomplished at managing their position in society. They were educated,  they married well and despite eventually extinguishing as a family line they were still going strong in the form of another Thomas Wolrich who was vigorously fighting legal battles over land in Cowling some 116 years after the graffiti was made. I wonder if he noticed Francis and Arthurs names in his parish church? It would be nice to think that he did.

But there - I think that is as much as I can do.

Arthur and Francis Woorlyche pt 1

It has been a few days since I left hospital. I've had a general anaesthetic, a spinal anaesthetic, a mophine pump and lots of heavy duty painkillers. I've been comfortably numb and very sleepy.

I can't drive, or lift anything very heavy, or really do much except rest; therefore journeying out to churches to look for graffiti is off the cards. Instead, between extended naps I have decided to take a different kind of a journey -  to see if I can make a little sense out of a couple of likely lads who found themselves in Cowling on September the 24th 1567.

This all started when a very prolific and successful graffiti hunter Pat May gave me two names - Francis and Arthur Woorlyche; along with the date and place mentioned above (she did it to stop be from getting bored I'm sure). I'm using the blogger app to record and share what I find with her because I can't sit at the computer at the moment. Blogger works dreadfully on mobile devices - I'm sorry about that. If this comes out all garbled I shall blame the technology not my state of mind.

The first thing I noticed was the spelling of Francis, it is the masculine variant; the educated masculine variant. Being a Frances (feminine) I've noticed several different spellings of my name. Fraunceys, Ffrancys, Francies, Frawnceys to name but a few (out of interest, it can be a surname as well as a first name). The nice thing about this name is its steady nature. It isn't too common a name, but it isn't too unusual either. It stands out without being flash. I used to hate my name when I was little, but now I love it. Not the diminutives though, all the diminutives for Frances are dreadful (shudders).
So I made a couple of assumptions that I could start to test. Firstly that both the names were masculine. (So not a male/female couple). Secondly that they were related to each other by dint of their surname, and what a great surname too! "Woorlyche"... it has a presence to it don't you think?

 When said out loud it becomes quite obvious that the "rly" sound can be recorded in lots of lovely variants. 1567 is a good time period for variant spellings. I wrote out some possibilities in my notebook ....
Worlich(e), Woolrich, Wurlich(e), Woolrych, Wolrich(e). As I was doing this I started thinking "wool-rich, sounds merchant class". I have to try very hard not to let my imagination run away with me sometimes. Making a couple of assumptions to get you started is OK, too many assumptions is just plain folly.

For instance - I bet you're thinking that two people wrote their names, independently but in tandem, on the same day. That is likely, but not necessarily true. It is just as likely that one person scratched both names ....  or that one person scratched their name first and the other person, not to be outdone, executed their graffiti later. It is that kind of evidence that lawyers and archaeologists spend a lot of money and time arguing about.
Anyway - onto to the next item. That being the date. A very specific date, September the 24th 1567. Out of interest that was the ninth year of Queen Elizabeth the first's reign. Mary Queen of Scots was having a rough time and abdicated in favour of her infant son, the French were having their Third war of religion. When I originally calculated the date I thought that it fell on a Sunday. But I was wrong; it actually falls on a Wednesday.

Days and dates and things like feast days and when Easter falls in a particular year makes my head hurt. So I ended up using this clever website, it explains calendars and dates in a friendly non threatening way. That said I'm still not sure that I have grasped the calculating of it, thank goodness for modern technology.

The next reasonable thing is to do is to put the names into a search engine - which promptly spits them back out at you. What the internet then does by means of an apology is turn up is another Woorlyche (Charles) living in Cowlinge, but in 1736 (some 169 years too late!) Plus a crest, and the first of the funky spellings (Worlich, Wolrich). 

The crest is 'An arm embowed in armour Argent garnished Or holding in the hand a battle-axe Or'. Personally I love the way heraldry takes language to a whole new and somewhat pompous sounding height- very well done chaps. One dead end explored and discounted.

Now I could just whip out a credit card and buy myself a subscription to a specialist genealogy site. But I don't have any spare cash and it doesn't improve my lateral thinking skills. The next reasonable thing to do is to look at the history of Cowling, or Culinge depending on how you fancy spelling it. ....because now I've got the whole "spell it as you see it" bug I'm going to indulge myself. It is possible to waste hours surfing around so I decide to add in the search term "manor", just to make it all sound a bit more historic.

Lo and behold - up pops this... one John Worliche who owns the manor in 1553.  You have to scroll down to section 13 to find the relevant section, and in doing so you'll get a flavour of how Cowling has been. Let's pursue this John a little further....

Pursuit takes us to a book published in 1905 called "The Manors of Suffolk". I'll leave it up to you to determine the veracity of its contents. I'm personally a little suspicious of Victorian research (yes I know it was published in the Edwardian era but I bet it took longer than 4 years to gather the source material). There is also a will which might be related to this "John", but frustratingly I can't locate the document online, only references to the fact that it exists.
Still no Francis or Arthur - but now there are other family branches to investigate.  Dutifully I start, with every combination of spelling and lots of bits of scribbled on paper. Dead end after dead end.  I chase Worlichs in and out of the county, down to Kent, up to Stafford.

Along my way I met with Walter, who was involved in a suit for trespass, who lived in Everton Bedfordshire and who's wife Elizabeth left a very unusual bequest to Clare college.

I nodded briefly with a Worlich who worked on Kings college chapel. I scour visitations, which told me a lot about the lineage of various Worlichs (I take back everything I previously said about heralds, they rock).

I also read the will of a man some 536 years dead who went by the alias of Worliche ... he was very interesting, and provided me with another spelling of Cullyng/Cowling. It was then that I realised that Wickhambrook is right next door to Cowling... that it turns out is an important fact...

because...then it happened.

I fell across Francis - son of Thomas Worlich / Woorlich / Woorledge / Worlege  of Alconbury, and shortly afterwards, using the volumes of the Alumni Cantabrigiensis, his brother Arthur. Now Thomas, was a very industrious man, an MP, who made a good marriage, leased good property, and who's family had split into branches that include Everton Beds,  Wickhambrook Suff and his own place of residence Alconbury in Hunts.

That's when I realised that I was going to have to try to determine whether this marital link between  Honor Wolrich of Alconbury and Charles  Wolrich of Cowling is likely. But that will have to wait until tomorrow, pain meds and sleep now.
Note to self - Does Thomas, father of Francis and Arthur marry Jane Wingfield or Elizabeth Wingfield?

(N.B. I edited this a week later it was first written - it is mostly the same as the original, hopefully a little more coherent). 


Almost everyone who goes to Flowton church sees the dog. Well he is a stunning hound, faithfully waiting on the east jamb of the main porch door, nose in the air. His chest is rounded and on his flank there is etched a cross which may or may not be a cross potent (one of the ends has a "crutch" finial), along with a St Andrew's Cross. He has strange leaf shaped paws that are at odds with the beautiful flowing lines of his head, and sadly he has no eyes or ears.

Flowton, in backward order, has been known as Floughtone - Flohtun - Floctun - Flochetuna - Flokton and Flocctun . The speculation is that the name derives from a flock (of sheep) enclosure / farm. Which is quite a lovely idea; a sheepdog, stopping at the church door.

People who like graffiti quite often like to be the first to find it. They also like to share, and while not all of them are competitive, there is nothing quite like that first intake of breath when you see something that you believe no one else has seen in hundreds of years. Graffiti is quite invisible in churches, partially through the ability of limewash to obscure it, Victorian efforts to abrade it and the social conditioning which teaches church visitors to look at the shiny things, the brass, the glass, the alter decoration, not the plain old walls.

Several times I have been *caught* with a torch, shining its light across the base of a pillar, or poking around in a doorway. After the initial bemusement I tell the person what I am doing and watch their incredulous eyebrows dance up and down and across their forehead while they try to work out if I am for real.

It helps being a slightly overweight middle aged woman with a large camera (and sporting a badge proclaiming Suffolk medieval graffiti survey). There is nothing like a badge to lend a bit of authority to a narrative.
But back to Flowton, and to the piece I hope I found first. It doesn't really matter if I did, that is only ego after all. The graffito is reward enough in itself. A ship, a warship maybe, with crenellations suggesting castles fore and aft. It seems to be the remembered idea of a ship more than an accurate representation, although there are accurate elements, like the bow spit at the front. The helm inside suggests a knight, but is grossly out of proportion. The rigging, sails and crow's nest have been lost and the absence of an anchor is also a sticking point.
However I still gasped as it was a proper ship, and my first.


There are worlds within worlds that echo across church life. Bells and their ringers are one such orbit that until I started to seriously visit churches I was ignorant about. It wasn't that I didn't know that bells existed. It is just that the process of bell ringing was dealt with by other people. My involvement was mostly to stay away from the ropes, not touch things that didn't concern me and nod approvingly while appreciating the sound of a well rung peal.

Yet who wouldn't love to spend at least half an hour up in the Gods, looking at the enormously heavy bells and their ropes and frames?

After all these aren't things you can get to see every day. I reckon a significant proportion of people will be within earshot of a bell but few have actually seen them? Suffice to say I felt honoured, if a little scared, climbing up a set of *long* ladders to reach the bells at Wormingford.

See those ladders to the left, at the back... ladders like that!

I am actually a tiny bit scared of heights, and I have to steel myself and remember not to look down. This looking down advice is especially true when half way up a swaying ladder following a Tower Captain nearly twice my age who is shinning up and down easily and putting me to shame.  If you look down you freeze (or get the urge to throw yourself off), neither is a good option.

Once up there it is worth every second of the climb though.

Some towers have proper bell chambers, like this one at  Sible. It is homely and filled with pieces of mismatched furniture, and all things necessary to bell ringers. Then you wonder, as you've just squeezed your way up a narrow winding stone staircase... how the hell did they get any of this stuff up here? It must have been a nightmare to push it up the steep spiral steps in the half dark.

St Gregory Sudbury &  St Mary Belchamp Walter
Of course, there is also the graffiti. Those who ring bells love to scratch graffiti. Their names, their dates, sometimes the names of the bells that they ring, sometimes the change order. This piece, from Belchamp Walter makes me want to scuttle off to see if I can find something about the maker. Who why and what was going on here?

It isn't all memorialising either. There are more organic designs to be found; beautiful plants growing from the walls, birds singing and strutting across the stone. The top design is executed in low relief, the piece to the right covered in limewash but still flowering through. You wouldn't think there was so much life in a bell tower.

St Gregory Sudbury
But back to the bellringers....now then Issac Brazier (maker) who were you? What did you make ? Why were you in St Gregory's church tower in the 18th c ? What relationship did you have to the bells?



I thought I was taking a photograph of a crudely scratched cross. I nearly didn't bother because.... well, after a while you get pretty used to taking hundreds of pictures of crosses and tally marks.
Imagine how I felt when I got home and reviewed the photos. The cross had feet, and possibly a head! In fact, the cross has become a *he* - a little knight waiting for battle next to the chancel.
I can't possibly tell what time period the knight is from, the church was built in 1400 so he can't be from before that date, but he isn't detailed a enough to place him by the armour/helmet etc. Was he even a real person? Maybe he was the idea of a *real* man.
Here's another thing. There is a scratch dial design just to the side of a pillar niche. Great, we all know what a scratch dial looks like, and that it marks out time (albeit crudely). But how? How can this dial possibly work, inside, without the slanting direct light of the sun? It's mystifying.

 Is it a metaphysical scratch dial, a symbolic dial demonstrating not the real passing of time, but the idea of passing time? Maybe not all scratch dials are created equal, or are some of the scratch dials not scratch dials at all?
In the same vein I would also like to know which saint originally resided in that niche - because the graffiti is very definitely clustered by it. Whoever it was, they were the focus of the common man. Not much chance of me finding out right now though. The church is dedicated to All Saints. Someone was covering all their bases with that dedication!


A female face, presently hiding behind a noticeboard but looking up the nave, in company with the consecration marks, compass drawn designs and harp...


Looking for the Scarletts in West Bergholt part 2

I am not anything special, I don't even own a history qualification; nevertheless I like to spend a lot time in the past. Sometimes I think I am better in my own company, and as I am quite capable of peopling my surroundings with ghosts of those long gone I'm generally happy with this entertainment. Recently I went to Wormingford church and noticed some 17th c names, initials, a merchant mark and a date of 1673. After a bit of  sideways thinking, three ghosts popped into being as potential instigators of this graffiti. Let me introduce you...

There is the eldest, Christopher, he was born in West Bergholt in 1659. The middle boy, the *clever* boy Thomas was born in Wormingford in 1660 and the third son, called John (after his father) arrived in Copford in 1662. For those of you who aren't acquainted with the villages along the Suffolk/Essex border, all three villages are in quite close proximity to each other and to the town of Cochester.

Yes - I couldn't help myself. I did a little researching on line in order to try and piece together some of the boys' family tree. Mostly to see if they had uncles and cousins who could have scratched up the Wormingford graffiti.

Interestingly one of the first things to come to light was another sibling; the baby of the family, a girl called Frances. Of course I am going to approve of the name Frances; it is my name after all (I like little Frances a lot already, I'm sure she was very clever).

As for their surname,  Scarlett is an English metonymic occupational name for a dyer, or a seller of  bright red (expensive) cloth. By this time the name doesn't necessarily mean that the Scarletts were still dyers or cloth merchants, but I bet if you go down far enough it will have a cloth bottom. The Scarletts must have been pretty well off as a family, sending all three boys to the Grammar School in Colchester.

The little cherubs mother, one Mrs Frances Scarlett (nee Bettesworth) was the daughter of Thomas Bettesworth, and her people came from Winchester in Hampshire. She married John Scarlett, who interestingly doesn't appear at the Colchester Grammar School, although his brother Thomas does.

So the three boys' father was a John and their uncle a Thomas. Grammar school educated Uncle Thomas marries a Sara(h) Driwood, and there I can find no children (If anyone wants to chime in feel free, I'm not a paid up member of any genealogy sites).

Around 1662 Uncle Thomas has a 7 or 8 hearth house in West Bergholt called unimaginatively "Scarletts" and although I'm making a bit of a jump here ascribing that house to this man, it could fit.

In 1670 John Scarlett makes a land deal involving a piece of land near Church field Wormingford and is described as a "Gentleman". Both brothers seem to be doing well for themselves. Today Wormingford's Church lane runs into Bowdens Lane, a property called Bowdens being held for a while by a family called, you guessed it "Scarlett".

Go back a generation and the grandparents were one Christopher Scarlett and Alice Doggett. At this point I get some dates again. She was christened on the 14th of May 1601 and married on the 14th of July 1624. He died on the 23rd September of 1650. When they married they were living in Boxford Suffolk (not to be confused with the other two nearby Boxteds in Suffolk and Essex).

Meanwhile, we have his occupation to help in figuring out his social class.  He was a Mercer, as was Alice's father (a Mercer being a dealer in expensive cloth - I told you there would be cloth involved). Alice's father's memorial is set into the floor of the vestry area in Boxford. I remember seeing it because there is a large circle mark on the neighbouring stone, not to mention his brass mentioning the East India company. I'll return and get a photo another day.

Chappel (another local village this time in the Essex direction) may have been where Grandfather Christopher intended to live. A medieval freehold, called *Bacons* was sold in 1650 to one Christopher Scarlet, who was succeeded the same year by his son Thomas (that'll be Uncle Thomas I suppose). After a dispute the estate was split in 1664 between Thomas and a Stephen Smith of Crepping Hall. The status quo was maintained between the two families until 1713 when they both sold up to John Little. This means Uncle Thomas can potentially lay claim to two properties, Scarletts in Bergholt and Bacons in Chappel  (forgive me - this is starting to sound like a folk song)

Finally one last generation Great-grandfather John Scarlett, who married Mary Horsman. She was from a Norfolk family and her father held a knighthood. So money gets money, and with all the extra Christopher's and Thomas's you can't prove that the graffiti in Wormingford church was the Grammar School pupils I thought it might be; but it is corroborative that the three sons of John Scarlett are living close to, if not actually in Wormingford while their uncle is dividing his time between Chapel and West Bergholt.

As for the graffiti in this post? Well I thought I ought to go to West Bergholt and Copford to see if there was any. If I know anything about children it is that you have to make things fair. It's no good going to the birthplace of one and not doing the same for the other two. West Bergholt has some  lovely bits of graffiti on the porch door Go inside and you find Uncle Thomas' tombstone. No mention of a wife or children....

 Copford had no graffiti or tombstones to add to the story (it does have interesting wall paintings though). So here the Scarlett story stops for a while.


Charles Freeman

Helles memorial Gallipoli
In 1895 a male child was born to Caroline and George Freeman. He was christened Charles, gifted with his mother's maiden name as his middle name and spent his childhood in rural Gloucestershire. I can only guess at what the Freeman's hoped for their son's future, but I do know that every parent is hard wired to achieve a most basic human drive; that of protecting their child. The Great War disabused so many parents of this illusion of control, and 20 years after he was born Charles Stow Freeman was killed in Gallipoli.

Families deal with anxiety, loss and grief in different, sometimes creative ways. Fast forward 100 years and the piece of information that comes down to me is that Charles is an unlucky name. Because Charles Stow Freeman was killed, as was the next Charles (in the Second World War) the name Charles became emotionally charged, and dropped out of family use.

Sherborne Gloucester
However Charles could so easily have been a James, or a Thomas, (like his two cousins fighting in France). It could have been Walter, or William.  What matters isn't the name, but recognising the multitude of names.  The proverb runs that "Truth is the daughter of time", but the truth is that we haven't really moved on so far in the last 100 years, scratch the surface and the hostility bleeds through.

So maybe the best I can do is read the names, the dates, the ages, of those men memorialised; and when I feel sick with the sheer volume of all that loss, remember to look around; to notice and nurture the relationships  I have with others, as well as be grateful for the freedoms I take for granted.  Remember to see to that and see that those who follow do the same.

The Scarlett Merchant Mark part 1

Dragon from Wiston (wallpainting of the Dragon/ Wyrm)
People go to Wormingford to romanticise about Dragons . After all, it was a dragon that terrorised the countryside and gave the village its name.

Bures, Wiston and Wormingford all lay various claims to this beast, and the locals postulate about whether the Wyrm was really a dragon, or an escaped crocodile from the royal menagerie in London... and whether or not the body of the Dragon lies in the silty bottom of the Mere.

 But I went to Wormingford because it is mentioned in Violet Pritchard's book "English Medieval Graffiti".
17th c "JS" "CS" and "RT"

I wasn't expecting to have my imagination captured by several sets of  17th c initials and a date of 1673... despite it keeping good company with something called a "Merchant mark". The graffiti scratches are sometimes light, sometimes heavy. I had to use a really strong raking light and lots of contrast to get some of them. That globe shape with a flag or a backwards number 4 protruding from the top would appear to be the merchant mark of the Scarletts.

"TS 1673" and merchant mark
Merchant marks are different from Mason's marks, often being more elaborate than the straight angular lines made by the masons. The merchant mark was used by individuals, families and guilds to identify themselves and their wares.

I've seen merchant marks before. They aren't that unusual. The Springs of Lavenham used quite a numeric looking mark (they were involved in the cloth trade and were wealthy enough to have their bequests to the church memorialised on a boss incorporated into the rood screen).

Paycockes' merchant mark

The Paycockes of Coggeshall employed a three ball split stave as their mark.  I like the way that the Paycockes' mark is contained within a shield. It is like a poor man's coat of arms (or should I say a *well to do* middle class but *not quite knightly* faux coat of arms).


"SH" "T Scarlett 1673" and merchant mark
The merchant marks at Wormingford would suggest that the Scarlett family have been busy.
T. Scarlett appears twice with the merchant mark and at least once with just his initials. I suppose that this doesn't mean that the same person scratched all the TS graffiti. I'm assuming here that T stands for Thomas. But Thomas could have been a name shared by grandfather, father and son.

So I started with an assumption and a date. It is as good a place as any to start, and if nothing else gives a bit of context. The restoration of Charles II had occurred some thirteen years previously. The Great Plague and Fire of London only eight and seven years before. The Test Act of 1673 which excluded from public office all those who refused to take the oath of allegiance, or receive communion according to the rituals of the Church of England and renounce the doctrine of transubstantiation showed how much religious tension there was within the kingdom. 

Then I decided to go sideways. Where would I find online records that would be likely to capture wealthy merchant families? What resource could I use? Then I realised, I had spoken with the keyholder who had told me quite a bit about his life including his schooling...Check the schools!
very faint "C Scarlett 1673"

Well actually check the one school. The Colchester Royal Grammar. The same school that the keyholder had attended has provided some sort of education for the surrounding district since 1206.

This is what I found...firstly a C. Scarlett who was admitted to the school on the 25th of June 1672. That wasn't the name I was looking for but it did marry up with one of the other Scarlett names.

Then C Scarlett became one "Christopher Scarlett" and was joined by a "Thomas Scarlett" and finally a "John Scarlett". Interesting, not in the least because the funny I initial with the cross bar is the seventeenth century way of representing a J.

So we have a JS a C Scarlett and a T Scarlett all in graffiti in the pillars, all cropping up in the Grammar school records.
Very faint "TS"

Finally I found that the sons of John Scarlett (gentleman) and Frances (his wife) the first being born at (West) Bergholt in 1659, the second at Wormingford born 1660 and the third at Copford? born 1662 were all admitted to the Grammar. The first in his 14th year, the middle boy in his 13th year and the third in his 11th year.

This might all be pure co-incidence, but if it isn't then why were three Grammar schoolboys scratching their names, and a merchant mark on the pillars of the church where the middle boy was born?

A middle boy who it is recorded "excels the two others in ability and industry".... and the trail doesn't end there - there is a 17th c house called Scarletts in West Bergholt that needs some investigation.