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.