Answers to Questions


WINCH, Tewin, circa 1669

November, 2010




Simon Winch (swinchy @t of Ashtead, Surrey, writes,  My ancestor, John Winch, was baptised sometime during Oct of 1669 and and I believe he was the third son of Sir Richard Winch of Tewin, Herts. The heralds visitation of Hertfordshire during 1669 does not acknowledge him as Richard's third son & fourth generation, with right to bear Arms. I suspect, because the visitation took place earlier in the year? What documentary evidence may exist to prove his birth & parentage and how may I obtain this documentation? Can you guide me to the correct web sites to further my research?

Technically there is only one "correct" web site to establish whether you have any claim to Sir Richard Winch's Coat of Arms, and that is the College of Arms, who will investigate your claim in the light of their own records. Of course they will charge for the privilege. I believe that using a Coat of Arms without their approval is technically illegal under an ancient law - but I have never heard of a modern prosecution. While I have not used it to explore armorial families, the records in the Society of Genealogists may be useful.

I don't have access to the 1669 Visitation (although I do have some earlier visitations) so my starting point was to see what information I had to connect Richard Winch to Tewin.

Information from the County Histories

A check on the major county histories indicated that the connection between the Winch family and Tewin appears to have been short lived - but demonstrates how each history draws information from the earlier ones and the differences between different accounts may be due to the Chinese Whispers effect.

Between 1643 and the time Chauncy wrote his The Historical Antiques of Hertfordshire in 1700 the manor of Tewin changed hands several times and he says:

Sir Francis Boteler, Kt., son of Ralph Boteler of Tewin, the fourth son of Sir Henry Boteler; he conveyed the house and part of the land to Richard Winch, Esq., Brother of Sir Humphrey Winch of Haunes in the County of Bedfordshire, Bar. and the other part of the estate with the Advowson of the Church to Charles Hutcheson, Esq. who married Isabella his [Richard Winch or Francis Boteler?] daughter and one of his co-heirs, both whom [presumably Winch and Hutcheson but could be Boteler and Hutcheson] sold the House and Land to William Gore, Esq. who is a justice of the Peace for the County. has made a fair Addition to the House, and is the present possessor hereof.

Salmon does not describe Tewin in The History of Hertfordshire in sufficient detail to say anything relevant.

Clutterbuck explicitly quotes Chauncy in his The History of the County of Hertford and notes the ambiguity in the transfer to Gore.

Cussan, in his History of Hertfordshire says the the estate passed to Sir Francis Boteler after the death of his uncle Sir George Boleler in 1757. He does not say anything about his sources, which may have included Chauncy and Clutterbuck.

The Victoria County History does not mention the Winch connection, but describes the history of Tewin House, explicitly quoting Cussans  (who I guess got his information from Chauncy or Clutterbuck) but relating the  transfer to the death of Francis Butler (= Boteler) in 1690, perhaps putting a different interpretation on one of the ambiguities in Chauncy.

It would seem that Clutterbuck, Cussans and the Victoria County History have all based what they say on the writings of Chauncy, in some cases putting different interpretations on ambiguities in the original text. The only new information after the 1700 account would be that the property transfer to Richard Winch could not have taken place before 1757, which would fit with him being at Tewin by 1669. However, if he was a Sir Richard Winch I would have expected Chauncy to have said so, as he was very particular in correctly identifying the status of his potential customers for his History.

This raises an important point. Everyone takes about the way the internet spreads incorrect information because so many lazy family historians fail to properly check sources  - see for example The Dangers of Internet Genealogy. In fact this is nothing new, as the above examples from the County Histories show - even well respected printed histories can quote earlier historians without checking their facts, and in many cases not giving their sources.

Information from Online Archive Indexes

It is always worth checking the online archive indexes, accessible using Access to Archives via the National Archives web site. This only scrapes the surface of the vast number of manuscript documents available to family historians - as in most cases personal names are not included in the index. For instance a manorial court document may contain many personal names but only be indexed as "XXX Manor Court Book" and often the only way to find out what it says is via the depository which holds the document.. However you can be lucky - and in this case Richard Winche of Tewin was involved in the sale of property  in Cambridgeshire in 1674 - the surviving document being held in the East Sussex Record Office (reference DLW/570):

Bargain & Sale  18 Sept 1674


a) Dame Lettice Wendy, wid & relict of Sir Thomas Wendy of Haslingfield, co.Cambs, kt of the Bath dec'd, Edward Atkyns of Lincolns Inn, co.Middx. esq., Richard Winche of Tewin, co Herts., esq

b) Sir Allen Brodrick of Wandsworth, co. Surrey, kt., Sir John More, kt, one of the Aldermen of the City of London, and Sir Thomas Player, kt. Chamberlain of the City

Property: Manor of Haslingfield Scales, co.Cambs., Manor of Minchins, Manor of Melfords, co.Cambs, Manor of Harston als Harliston, Manor of Hauxton, messuage and lands in Barrington, co.Cambs. in occ. of William Pryor, messuage and moiety of water corn mill in Barrington in occ. of William Webb, wood or coppice ground called Eversden Wood (12a) in Eversden, co.Cambs

Information from Registers

familysearch (including Beta version) gives the following entries for Tewin


Elizabeth Winch daughter of Richard Winch christened 8 June 1667, died 25 February 1670

John Winch son of Richard, christened 6 Oct 1669

As always, the register may contain important information that is not in the indexes, and you should always check with HALS or on microfilm at your nearest LDS Family History Centre. In looking at the microfilm it is a good idea to look at other entries to see (a) if there is anything special with the entry compared with others in the same register and (b) whether there are other entries in nearby years which may have been mis-indexed. It is also a good idea to check the burial indexes to see if "your ancestor" survived infancy. (A common error made by people who are over-reliant on indexes.)

If John was a third son I assume the others were born before he came to Tewin and you need to find them (probably not in Hertfordshire) to see if the dates make sense. If you can locate them (presumably born circa 1660-1997) is there any evidence that Richard left the area where they were born by 1667, when Elizabeth was baptised at Tewin.

Other Hertfordshire Information

If, as seems likely, Richard was Lord of the Manor, and if the manorial records survive, these will give the dates he was at Tewin. However it may not throw any light on his family.

One might expect Richard to have made a will, There are no obvious Hertfordshire Wills - and the Online Will records at the National Archives have a number of Richard Winch wills, which you will need to check.

HALS may have other records relating to Tewin which are not indexed by surname. These probably includes the Hearth Tax for 1662/3 (which could be too early) and they may have other years. To really check this out you need to visit HALS. There could be other documents at the National Arcives relating to matters such as property ownership and taxation - but I cannot advise on these.


The evidence from the Hertfordshire related records I have consulted point to a Richard Winch, of some status, but not described as a Knight, moving to Tewin in the 1660s where he had two children. He was still there in 1674 but had left by the 1690s.

December 2010

Simon provides some further comments: I have a 19th century manuscript Pedigree (of unknown origins) claiming 3 sons of Richard Winch of Tewin. (Richard's brother is Sir Humphrey Winch of Hawnes, Beds). Samuel & Humphtrey Winch are acknowledged in the heralds Visitation of Hertfordshire 1669. John, his third son, is omitted for reasons previously stated. The dates for John Winch are a perfect match and his bothers, Samuel & Humphrey were most likely born in the County of Bedfordshire. (Everton being the family seat).

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

November 2010   Page created