North Wiltshire

Nowell, Newell and Farnewell of North Wiltshire

This report examines the Newell and Nowell families of north Wiltshire but in doing so it also needed to address the history of the Farnewell (Fernewell, Farnwell, Furnewell, etc.)  and Goldney family names in this area.  The analysis focuses on the ‘Hundred of Chippenham’ which includes the towns of Chippenham, Box, Ditteridge, North Wraxall and a number of other towns in northwest Wiltshire.

 

16th Century

The starting point for my research was a record from 1544  that documented that a Richard Watkins alias Vaughan received a grant for lands in Wiltshire including two messuages [a dwelling house with outbuildings and the adjacent land] situated in Dichrugge [Ditteridge, a hamlet near Box, Wiltshire]. These two messuages were leased to Nic. Newell, Alice his wife, and their sons Wm. and John [note: this lease may predate the sale].

Richard Watkins’s referenced above was born before c. 1507 and was the 5th son of Walter Vaughan of Bredwardine, Herefs; Richard’s full name was Richard Watkins Vaughan but he customarily used the shorter form. He started his career in the service of his kinsman William Edwards, one of Wolsey’s secretaries, probably as a tutor.  In 1529 Watkins was appointed a notary for the proceedings in the King’s divorce and by 1535 he was collector of customs for Bristol. In the 1530’s Watkins lived in London. In 1543 he bought three manors in Somerset and a house at Box, Wiltshire; for these he should have paid nearly £1,145, but the crown remitted £200. Watkins made one of the Somerset manors, Hunstrete, [west of Bath] his country home. Watkins was elected an MP for Bramber in 1542. Bramber [Sussex] was a borough controlled by the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, to whom as Treasurer Watkins was responsible at Bristol. Watkins died in late April 1550 when his son and heir Polydore was 18 years old. 

https://books.google.ca/books?id=u_eIrJpc_T0C

The land in Ditteridge that was sold to Watkins in 1544 had previously belonged to Edington Priory and ownership passed to the Crown after the Dissolution; the house was surrendered in 1539 and in 1541 most of its estates were obtained by Sir Thomas Seymour. It is possible that Nicholas Newell had leased the property from either the Priory or from Seymour.

Researching the people documented in this record revealed a complex picture of how family names changed over time.  This Nicholas Newell was likely the same person as Nicholas Farnewell, of Chippenham, clothier who was involved in a court case in 1529, and the Nicholas Affarnewell, who in 1526 was involved in a land transaction with Henry Goldeney, clericus related to land in in Langley Burrell (a village and civil parish just north of Chippenham).

In 1539 Henry VIII conducted surveys of armed men in England available for defence (Muster Rolls), the Muster Rolls for North Wiltshire did not record any Newells or Farnewells but did include 6 Nowells:

 

Surname Forname Town Hundred
Nowell Edward Hartham. Chippenham
Nowell John Boxe. Chippenham
Nowell Richard Boxe. Chippenham
Nowell Thomas Boxe. Chippenham
Nowell Willm. Bittson. Chippenham
Nowell Wyllyam Boxe. Chippenham
Nicholls Nicholas Boxe. Chippenham

Source: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dutillieul/ZWiltsMuster/N.html

Box had a William (Wyllyam) Nowell and John Nowell but no Nicholas; however, he might have been the “Nicholas Nicholls” recorded in Box or he might have been too old for service. In 1544 a Nicholas Nowell married a Barbara at Box. This could be a younger Nicholas or a second marriage for the Nicholas who was married to Alice. A list of taxpayers in Box recorded in 1545 list 8 taxpayers including three Nowells:  Nicholas Nowell, John Nowell and William Nowell.  In this list Nicholas Nowell was the principal taxpayer in Box.

http://www.wiltshirerecordsociety.org.uk/pdfs/wrs_v10.pdf

The preceding would suggest that the name had changed to Nowell but in 1553 there was a conveyance [called a feet of fines] of messuages [see above] and lands in Box and Dyteridge, Wiltshire between William Newell and Polydore Watkins alas Vaughan. Polydore was the son of Richard Watkins alias Vaughan from the 1544 list of tenants and Nicholas Newell was almost certainly the son of Nicholas Newell of 1544.  In addition in 1558 a Nicholas Newelles was involved in a court case related to a property called Chapel Playsted [now called Chapel Plaister] in Box.

Short title: Baly v Newelles 1558. Plaintiffs: William BALY of Week St Lawrance, co. Somerset.Defendants: Nicholas NEWELLES.Subject: Messuage, land and wood called the chapel of Playsted [now Chapel Plaster] in Box, formerly of William Baly of Ford, great-grandfather of complainant. Wiltshire

In 1546 A Nicholas Nowel was buried at Box which suggest that the 1558 Nicholas may have been a son of the earlier Nicholas; likely the Nicholas who married in 1544. Also circa 1558 there was a land transaction involving land in Boxe, Dytcheridge and North Wraxall  owned by Michael and John  Nowell.

During the 1560s Nicholas and John Nowell were involved in several court cases involving land in Box and Ditteridge:

  • Anno 3 Eliz [c1561].— William Matravers and Nicholas Nowell and Barbara his wife; messuages and lands in Bydston. [Biddestone 3 miles west of Chippenham].
  • Anno 6. [Eliz] William Crowche, arm., and Michael Nowell and John Nowell ; messuages, lands and pasture for three hundred sheep in Boxe and Dycheridge.
  • Anno 6. [Eliz] Thomas Blanchard and John Nowell and Margaret his wife ; messuages and lands in Boxe and Dycherydge.
  • Anno 9 [Eliz] Nicholas Nowell v. William Leversage. A new lease of, and fine for, the capital messuage of Rudloe, in Box, Wilts.

A list of Taxpayers in 1576 list a Michael Niwell  at Box and a John Newell  at Trowle (10 miles from Box).   In the 1629  there was a Wll probated for Henry Longe that made reference to land held by his mother(16th century), that land lying in Chappel Field and of certain meadows and pastures in Ditchridge aforesaid formerly in the occupation of Reginald Nowell. This may be the Chapel Plaister property.

The preceding discussion suggest that during the 16th Century the names Farnewell, Newell and Nowell frequently referenced the same families.

Apart from the confusion between Newell and Nowell during the 16th century there was also another name involved. Earlier we pointed out that the Nicholas Newell of 1544 was likely the same person as the Nicholas Farnewell, clothier of 1529 and and the Nicholas Affarnewell, who in 1526 was involved in a land transaction with Henry Goldeney, clericus related to land in in Langley Burrell (a village and civil parish just north of Chippenham).  In 1542 a Henry Farnewell alias Goldeney, and John Skott and Matilda his wife were involved in a court case related to ; messuages and lands in Langley Burell.   This Henry Farnewell gradually changed his name to Henry Goldney alias Farnewell and then to Henry Goldney. In 1553 this Henry Goldney (a clothier) was appointed the first “Bayliff” of Chippenham and MP for Chippenham.

The following diagram outlines some of the issues related to name changes involving Farnewell, Newell, Nowell, Goldney and Farnwell.

 

This diagram demonstrates that by the mid-16th century both the Newell and Nowell family names were recorded in the ‘Hundred of Chippenham’, Wiltshire and that in some cases the name used for an individual or family group switched between Newell and Nowell.  It also suggest that Nicholas Farnewell (1526 & 1529) may have been the ancestor of some of these Newells and or Nowells.  In addition, this Nicholas Farnewell might also be the ancestor of the Goldney families of north Wiltshire; therefore, the next section will review of the origins of the Farnewell name before moving on with analysis of the Newells and Nowells of north Wiltshire during the 17th and 18th centuries.

 

Origins of Farnewell

There are only a handful of post 1600 references to the Farnewell name in the UK and the name almost completely disappeared after 1900.  Ancestry.com reports only 37 historical references to the name compared to 4006 for Cornewell. The name Farnwell (seen in 16th century Wiltshire associated with alias Goldney) is only slightly more common. Given this, it might be justified to consider occurrences of this name as random typos related to another more common name such as Cornewell or Farewell.  However a search for records prior to 1500 revealed that there is evidence for this name in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire   and Worcestershire dating back to the 14th century. The earliest reference I found was from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (40 miles NW Box) on 1377/78 and references William and Walter Farnewell, Farnewall, Farnewalle in various court cases. In 1381 there was another court case involving a William Farnewall in Herefordshire. In 1439 a Richard Farnewell was a Juror in Worcestershire

In 1465 the” Accounts and Memoranda of Sir John Howard, first Duke of Norfolk, A.D. 1462, to A. D. 1471” make numerous references between 1463 and 1468  to a William Fernewale, ‘Ferne wale’, Fernwale, Fernwalys, Fernwalle, Femuelle, Fernwalys   who made numerous journeys through England and Wales  in the employ of the Duke.

The next and most significant reference was in 1485 when Henry VII (recently crowned) issued a:

Grant, for life, to John Farnwell, gentleman (in 23 Sept. consideracioun of the feithfuU service which oure true subget and feithfiiU liegeman John Farnwell, gentilman, hath doone unto us, aswele beyond the see as on this side in oure victorious journay, and so during his lyfe entendeth to do heraftre), of the office of keeper of the park of Abourley,[abberley see below] co. Wore,[see previous]  with fees, &c. out of the lordship of Abourley. P, S. 15 Sept. No. 122. Pat. p. 1. m. 4 (82).

https://archive.org/stream/materialsforahi00offigoog/materialsforahi00offigoog_djvu.txt

Henry Goldney of Chippenham traced his family back to this person:

https://books.google.ca/books?id=ve8_AQAAMAAJ

except the Goldney documents give the name as John Goldney; however, I cannot find any source documents that use Goldney.

In 1489  the Register of Bishop Thomas Milling records the ordination at Herefordshire of Thomas Farnewell as Subdeacon at Flaxley Monastwry, Glocestershire. In 1506 John Farnewell received a BA from Oxford and in 1512 he received his MA. :

Farnewell John sup for BA 18 Oct 1506 adm 27 Nov det 150J sup for MA 16 May 1512 lic 18 Jan 151 Farwell inc 31 Jan M John Farnwell of St Mary’s Hall was guardian of Burnell chest in summer 1513 and summer 1514.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=ZlAGAAAAQAAJ

In 1526  a Thomas Farnewell was ordained in Worcestershire Diocese. In 1534 and 1536 a John Farnwell was a clerk (religious) at Westbury College, Gloucestershire (near Bristol) and in 1543/44, at the surrender of the college to the Crown, Johanne Farnwell was listed as a sociũ (likely Sicii or fellow). This was likely the John who received his BA in 1506. In addition, this John was likely the father of the Matilda Furnewell or Farnwell who married Richard Coningsby. This marriage was documented in the Visitation of Shropshire of 1623 as part of the history of the Coningsby family (no date given but likely early 16th century).   Richard Coningsby was born at Leominster, Herefordshire and Matilda’s father is listed as Johan’es  Furnewell or Farnwell decom [Deacon], Glouc.  The Coningsby tomb at Rock, Worcestershire includes the Arms for Farnwell which as quartered by Coningsby; these show a lion sejant rampant gules, within a bordure engrailed sable.

https://archive.org/stream/heraldryworcest00grazgoog#page/n254/mode/2up/search/farnwell

These are the Arms of the Cornewall  Baronets of Moccas Court,  Herfordshire who claim descent from a younger branch of the de Cornewall family, Barons of Burford, lineally descended from Sir Richard of Cornwall (d.1296), a natural son of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall (1209-1272), (2nd son of King John) by his mistress Joan de Bath. The male line of this family died out but in 1771 the family name transferred (by royal licence) to the husband of a daughter. Interestingly, the original line of this family had connections to Richard Watkins Vaughan of the 1544 land transfer discussed earlier.

Note Cornwall spelled Cornewaille in 1312 doc see: http://www.aspilogia.com/N-Parliamentary_Roll/N-0170-0237.html

The arms of Farnwell (Co. Gloucester) are a Lion sejant holding a palm branch vert, a border engr.

https://books.google.ca/books?id=YMmX7QdO-OkC

However, I could not find a family history for this name!

Based on the preceding discussion it is clear that the Farnewells of the ‘Hundred of Chippenham’ likely had roots in common with the Farnwell families of Herefordshire, Worcestershire  and Glocestershire and possibly with the Cornewall family of  Herefordshire and  Worcestershire. However, the persistence of the spelling suggests that it was likely an alternative spelling rather than typos.  Considering that both the Cornewall and Farnwell Arms feature a Lion it is perhaps possible that the ‘ Far’ part of the name was derived from the French word for Lion.

 

The Farnewell or Farnewall spelling continued to occur in Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire after 1550. For example the Registers of Fownhope, Herefordshire for the second half of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century record both Farnewell and Farnewall.

and there were several Farnewells at Severn Stoke, Worcester in the late 16th century.

1576  Christening Alicia Farnewell, SEVERN STOKE,WORCESTER,ENGLAND

1579  Christening   Johannes Farnewell  father Richardi Farnewell  at SEVERN STOKE,WORCESTER,ENGLAND

1583  Christening  Christening  Georgius Farnewell  father Richardi Farnewell  at SEVERN STOKE,WORCESTER,ENGLAND

In Chippenham, Wiltshire the name continued on during the late 16th century as an alias for Goldney; however, there were references to Farnewell without Goldney up until the early 17th century:

1612    10 June:  Hugh Barrett and Gabrial Farnewell v Henry Longe, Henry Sherfield, Thomas Atkins and Richard Sherfield        Estate of the late Robert Wroteslye of Chippenham. Bonds for debt and disputed properties.      C78/225, no. 9 [101]

One of the last references to Farnewell was in 1703 when a William Farnewell was recorded at Bristol.  https://books.google.ca/books?id=_pRnAAAAMAAJ

Later references in the North of England might be related to the parish in Scotland.

The connections between Nicholas Farnewell of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire go beyond the family names. The most important industrial region of England during the sixteenth century was the West Country, the seat of the fine broadcloth manufacture. see  https://books.google.ca/books?id=C8CuCwAAQBAJ.  Nicholas Farnewell was described as a clothier and Henry Goldney was also a clothier. During the 16th century Wiltshire was the centre of a major woolen cloth industry that had connections to Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Somerset. Clothiers would travel throughout this region looking for wool.  In 1564 there is a record that shows that the lands in Box and Ditteridge were used for raising sheep: William Crowche, and Michael Nowell and John Nowell ; messuages, lands and pasture for three hundred sheep in Boxe and Dycheridge.  As discussed in the preceding section the owners of these lands in 1564 were Nowells not Farnewell. The next section examines the Nowell and Newell names in north Wiltshire.

 

Nowell and Newell, North Wiltshire Post 1575.

In the 1576 list of taxpayers in Wiltshire there were two Newells and two Nowells, all of whom were living in or near Box, Wiltshire (see below):

LIST OF TAXPAYERS FOR THE SUBSIDY OF 1576

John Newell, ROWELYE AND TROWLE  (7 miles south of Box in HUNDREDUM DE BRADFFORDE)

Mychell Niwell, BOX  [see burial Michael Nowell, Box in 1581]

Edward Nowell,  BYDESTON AND HARTHAM [Biddestone 5 miles NE Boxl]

Raynolde Nowell, COLLERNE [Colerne 3 miles N of Box and 3 miles S of North Wraxall]

http://www.wiltshirerecordsociety.org.uk/pdfs/wrs_v10.pdf

Note from above Doc: “In the north-westem part of the county, and especially in the hundreds of Malmesbury, Chippenham, Melksharn, Calne, Bradford, and the liberties of Trowbridge and Corsham, a striking proportion of both the I545 and I576 levies was furnished by capitalist textile employers—— ‘ clothmen ’ or ‘ clothiers ’.”

By the 2nd half of the 16th century the number of Birth, Death and Marriage records for Wiltshire referencing Newell and Nowell starts to increase. The records for Newell increase slowly and were scattered in North Wiltshire with only four in Box.   The following analysis demonstrates that the birth and death records do not provide a complete picture.

The town of North Wraxall is just 7 miles north of Box. This community only records two Newell and one Nowell BDM records for the 17th Century.

North Wraxall, Wiltshire BDM 17th Century from Findmypast.com

Nowell George            —        —        1679    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           North Wraxall, Wiltshire, England

Newell George            —        —        1686    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     North Wraxall, Wiltshire, England

Newell Mary   —        —        1684    Wiltshire Marriages Index 1538-1933           North Wraxall, Wiltshire, England

In addition, there were Newells/Nowells living in West Kington just 2 miles north of North Wraxall and Castle Combe just 2 miles northeast of North Wraxall.

Newel  Arthur  —        —        1665    Wiltshire Marriages Index 1538-1933           West Kington, Wiltshire, England

Nowell Arthur  —        —        1681    Wiltshire Wills And Probate Index 1530-1881      —Note Name change for Arthur

Newell Mary   —        —        1656    England Marriages 1538-1973           Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England [near North Wraxall]

However, other records indicate that there were other Newells living there. For example a list of North Wraxall burials from 1605 to 1799 list other Newells and Nowells  in North Wraxall.

North Wraxall – Burials 1605-1799

1686 26-Feb Newell George

1720 08-Nov Newell John

1723 29-Mar Newell Joan

1635 09-Dec Nowell William

http://www.wiltshire-opc.org.uk/Items/North%20Wraxall/North%20Wraxall%20-%20Burials%201605-1799.pdf

 

The Will of Mary Newell of North Wraxall dated 1614 list two sons and several grandchildren.

1614 Will Mary Newell North Wraxall Wiltshire

Reference:PROB 11/124/452

Description:Will of Mary Newell, Widow of North Wraxall, Wiltshire

Date:31 October 1614

Held by:The National Archives, Kew

Mary Newell of North Wraxall Co Wilts widow will proved 31 Oct 1614 son John Newell son William Newell and his four children daughter Elizabeth Duke sons Philip and Robert Collens and daughter Joane Collens Lawe  [Essex Institute]

Also in 1646 a Richard Newell from Wiltshire became an apprentice clothworker in London to Thomas Ashley Master, Co. Clothworker.  Richards father was listed as ‘John Newell (Male) , Maulster – Wraxall, Wiltshire         Father of apprentice”.

These records suggest that the BDM records from the 1600s do not provide a complete picture.

During the late 16th and early 17th century the BDM records for Nowell increase much more rapidly than for Newell with over 40 individual Nowells recorded in Box between 1550 and 1599 and many more outside Box.  The records in Box include a small cluster of Newells between 1606 and 1608 (William, Nicholas, Jane and John). These names might suggest that these are decedents of Nicholas Newell from 1544 but these names also occur in the Nowells of Box. Without consulting the source documents it is difficult to determine if the Newell and Nowell names in Box were interchangeable or if they represent separate family lines.

 

Newell and Nowell BDM (Findmypast.com) for Box, Wiltshire  1550-1613.

  1. Nowell William —        —        1565    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  2. Nowell Giles —        —        1569    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  3. Nowell Nicholas —        —        1580    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     Box, Wiltshire, England
  4. Nowell John —        —        1581    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  5. Nowell Michael —        —        1581    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     Box, Wiltshire, England [See note 1576]
  6. Nowell William —        —        1583    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     Box, Wiltshire, England
  7. Nowell Margaret —        —        1586    England Marriages 1538-1973           Box, Wiltshire, England
  8. Nowell Franncis —        —        1590    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  9. Nowell Susan —        —        1590    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  10. Nowell Rachell —        —        1592    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  11. Nowell Priscilla —        —        1595    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  12. Nowell John —        —        1596    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  13. Nowell Thomas —        —        1596    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     Box, Wiltshire, England
  14. Nowell Agnes —        —        1597    England Marriages 1538-1973           Box, Wiltshire, England
  15. Nowell John —        —        1597    Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990     Box, Wiltshire, England
  16. Nowel Harry   —        —        1598    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  17. Nowell Giles —        —        1599    England Marriages 1538-1973           Box, Wiltshire, England
  18. Nowell John —        —        1600    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  19. Nowell William —        —        1600    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  20. Nowell Elizabeth —        —        1601    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  21. Nowell Richard —        —        1602    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  22. Newell William —        —        1604    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  23. Newell Nicholas —        —        1605    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  24. Newell Jane —        —        1606    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  25. Newell John —        —        1608    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  26. Nowell Margaret —        —        1608    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  27. Nowell George —        —        1610    Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917  Box, Wiltshire, England
  28. Nowell John —        —        1611    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England
  29. Nowel Edward            —        —        1613    England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975           Box, Wiltshire, England

By the 17th century the number of Newell BDM recorded in Wiltshire also starts to increase; mainly outside Box (there are only a handful of  Newells BDM recorded in Box during the 17th and 18th centuries).  However, during the 17th Century the number of Nowell BDM records in Wiltshire increases rapidly and is 4 X the number for Newell. The Nowell family continues to have a strong presence in Box up to the 20th century.    There is a family tree for a William Nowell of Box (born 1575) extending up to the 20th century posted at:

http://gw.geneanet.org/ghicks?lang=en&v=NOWELL&m=N

 

Case Study Philip Nowell

The life and family of Philip Nowell of:  Rockhall House, Combe Down, Somerset [now Bath]; Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico, Middlesex [now London]; Warminister, Wiltshire  and Monkton Combe, Somerset [3 miles SE of Bath] provides an excellent example of how families with roots in north Wiltshire dispersed. Philip was baptized in Monkton Combe, Somerset in 1780 (see below); died at Rockhall House, Combe Down [his house in Somerset] and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London ; his parents were Samuel and Ann/Anne.

Field Value
County Somerset
Place Monkton Combe
Church name St Michael
Register type Transcript
Baptism date 9 Jul 1780
Person forename Phillip
Person sex M
Father forename Samuel
Father surname NOWEL
Mother forename Ann

 

The history of Philip’s family is documented at: http://www.combedown.org/tng/getperson.php?personID=I29&tree=street-nowell.

This Site traces the history of this family back to a William Nowell born c 1576 in Box. The family remains in Box up until a Benjamin Nowell (Born Box 1715)  moved to Colerne, Wiltshire (situated between Box and North Waxall), likely around the time of his marriage in 1744. Benjamin was buried in Colerne in 1774. Among his many children was Samuel Nowell, born at Colerne c 1746, who married at Biddestone, Wiltshire (3 miles from North Wraxall) in 1770. This Samuel had 13 children, all born at Monkton Combe, Somerset, including Philip Nowell born 1780.  I cannot vouch for the information posted on this site but I have checked the data and the data for Philip’s life appears solid as is the names of his parents. The key connection from my perspective is the link back to Wiltshire. Philips father Samuel died at Monkton Combe in 1816 and his DOB from the burial record was 1744. This date matches the DOB for Samuel Nowell born in Colerne, Wiltshire.

Nowell Samuel        1744  1816  1816  National Burial Index for England & Wales        Monkton Combe, Somerset, England

Nowell  Samuel —           —           1746       England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975      Colerne, Wiltshire, England

The history of this family provides an interesting case study in migration out of Box and from the perspective of my family history it is interesting since this family includes a Philip Nowell and the links to Bath might shed light on the Nowells/Newells of Bath and Bristol.

Philip’s life is well documented since he was a builder responsible for some significant construction projects during the first half of the 19th century including renovations to: Longleath House, Warminster; Buckingham Palace; Windsor Castle and the homes of the Dukes of Wellington plus he was the mason/contractor responsible for building the Duke of York’s column at the end of Regent Street, London and Brompton Cemetery where he was buried. On most of these projects he collaborated with the Architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt. .Likely as a result of his work and possibly his Masonic membership he was made a “Knight of Hanover” which is a German knighthood conferred between 1805 and 1837 by the Hanoverian kings of England (not considered an English Knighthood).

Philip’s father Samuel (likely a mason by trade) was a quarry master in the stone quarries of Combe Down (a hill outside Bath that was one of the main sources of Bath Stone) when in 1805  he purchased the land for a new quarry. His quarry, later known as the Byfield Mine, produced high quality stone and he was contracted to provide building stone for the renovations to Longleat House near Warminster, seat of the Marquis of Bath. Likely as a result of this contract his son Philip became the Mason on the project which was under the direction of architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt.  Philip and his younger brother Isaac moved to Warminster around 1805 and Philip lived there up to the 1820s when he moved to London (working as a builder). The opening of the Kennet and Avon canal in 1810 made it easier to transport Bath stone to London and after his move to London Philip also became involved in selling stone form the Byfield Quarry to his clients in London. Philip and his sons Philip Jr an Arthur operated out of London until 1850 when Philip remarried, built  Rockhall House  in Combe Down  described as perhaps the ugliest Victorian building on Combe Down. Philip died at Combe Down in 1853 but was buried with his first wife in Brompton Cemetery in London.

See: https://www.combedown.org/owners-and-occupants-of-109-113-115-117-church-road-combe-down/occupants-of-109-113-115-117-church-road-combe-down-from-1805-to-1850/ for more information and a painting of Philip.

From the preceding discussion it is not apparent how the Nowell family of Wiltshire became involved in the quarrying of stone and why they moved to Combe Down.  The link is that Box, Wiltshire also had quarries  for Bath Stone that date form the 7th century.  Stone found in the archaeological investigation of a Box Roman Villa is of local origin and Box stone was used for the construction of Malmesbury Abbey in the late 7th century. Stone quarried in the parish was used in the late 12th and early 13th centuries for the abbeys at Stanley and Lacock, and in the 15th and 16th for Great Chalfield Manor and Longleat House (which Philip Nowell much later renovated). Transport of stone from Box was improved in 1727 when the Avon was made navigable between Bath and Bristol (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box,_Wiltshire).

Rudloe manor RAF station (just outside Box) was established on top of huge quarries from which Bath Stone had been extracted. Interestingly, in 1567 we find Nicholas Nowell involved in a court case re the messuage of Rudloe in Box:

19 Apr. 9 Eliz. Nicholas Nowell v. William Leversage. A new lease of, and fine for, the capital messuage of Rudloe, in Box, Wilts.

 

 

To be continued.