Meet the Gentry of Ash

Ash Parish, Surrey ~ 1540 to 1650

The Gentry tended to be a transient group as properties were bought and sold, people rose to prominence and then faded away, and were often absentee land owners.

The Gentry – those who were not members of the nobility but were entitled to a coat of arms, especially those owning large tracts of land.

Absentee Gentry/Landlords

Ash Manor was owned by Winchester College, Hampshire and who employed stewards to run the manorial farms. Cleygate Manor (part of which was in Ash Parish) came into local hands in 1565 when it was bought by William Harding, Yeoman of Wanborough; eventually Cleygate ended up belonging to the hugely influential Woodroffe Family, owners of Poyle Manor in Tongham which extended into the southern tip of Ash Parish. Frimley was part of Aldershot Manor owned by the White family, and their records can be found in Aldershot’s Parish Church. Volume 1 of the Ash Parish Register contains no records for the Lords of the Manor of these places.

Resident Gentry

Sir Henry Brown of Henley Park (c.1559–1628): he was appointed Keeper of Henley Park in 1590.

10 Feb 1590 Assignment for life of Sir Henry to the Keepership of Henley Park in Ash, with herbage and pannage and fee of 6d a day, granted to Sir Henry Browne by letters patent as it was held by his father, Anthony, Viscount Montague, before him.

Surrey History Centre

Henley Park was an enclosed Royal hunting lodge so it was not available for Ash parishioners to farm (and certainly not to hunt which could be bring severe punishment). For centuries, the Crown had rewarded its loyal supporters with the position of ‘Keeper of Henley’ and we do have some Ash records for this group. Sir Henry Brown (son of Viscount Montague) had 2 daughters baptized at Ash:

  • Francys Brown, daughter of Sir Henry Brown was baptized 17 September Anno Do (mini) 1608; a knight’s daughter deserved a complete entry
  • Mary Brown, daughter of Sir Henry Brown was baptized 1609; this entry is not so fancy – Sir is abbreviated to Sr

By the time of Charles I, the Crown was looking to generate income any way it could and Henley Park was sold; brothers Arthur and Stephen Squib (originally from Dorset) were Keepers from 1623, and in 1633 Arthur Squib (a Westminster lawyer) became its sole owner.

Stephen Squib and had three children baptized in Ash Parish Church: Annemarie in 1628, Henry in 1630, and Thomas in 1632. Stephen Squib moved his family to Pirbright.

  • Annemarie Squib daughter of Mr Steven Squib was baptized 11 May 1628

Arthur Squib Esq was buried in Ash Parish Church on 8 May 1650 (the record is much deteriorated, and his wife, Mistress Joan Squibb widow was buried on 10 February 1650:

Arthur Squib over-extended himself when he purchased Henley Park and was heavily in debt and his Will took almost 3 years to achieve probate. This Will was curious as Mr Squib left blank spaces for the amounts of certain bequests:

Excerpt from Arthur Squib’s Will

Item I give unto Alice Huntingford …. Item I give unto both of my present servants …. a piece Item I give unto the poore of the saide parish of Ashe the Some of ….

Arthur Squib’s daughter, Frances Squib, married John Glynne (later Sir John Glynne of Henley) and two of his children were baptized at Ash: Jane Glynne in 1636 and Thomas Glynne in 1640:

Sir John Glynne KS (1602 – 15 November 1666) was a Welsh lawyer of the Commonwealth and Restoration periods, who rose to become Lord Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, under Oliver Cromwell. He sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1660.

Sir John Glynne and Family with Henley Park in background

Henry Farrar of Westwood Place: this Worplesdon estate of 300 acres was bought by Henry Farrar in 1599 who owned it until 1643; Westwood Place was closer to the Ash Parish Church than Worplesdon Church and Henry Farrar and his wife, Martha Woodward Farrar, had three daughters, Martha Farrar, Katherine Farrar and Emily Farrar, baptized at Ash. By 1631, the Farrar Family had moved to Great Amwell Hall in Hertfordshire purchased from Henry’s brother, William Farrar of Virginia Colony.

  • Martha Farrar daughter of Mr Henrie Farrar of Worplesdon was baptized 20 August 1617

Select Sources

  • The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 240
  • A Topographical History of Surrey Volume 1 by Edward Wedlake Brayley et al 1850
  • Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: AS/1/1