Humphrey Newton 1466-1536

43. ‘Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman’

In which we introduce the volume with the above title, by Deborah Youngs (2008, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge), to learn more about the written legacy of Humphrey Newton, my 14x gt grandfather.  According to Youngs, he ‘belonged to a section of society conventionally labelled “the Gentry”: the lesser landowners located between the yeomanry and the peerage, and encompassing, by the late fifteenth century, the categories of knight, esquire and gentleman’.

How is it possible to discover a book’s worth of material on a man and his family, who, in their time, would have been well known locally, but hardly at all, further afield?  And how did my ancestry, inhabited by such folk as iron workers, artisans, apothecaries, carriage painters and ministers of various faiths, come to acquire someone from the propertied classes?  By the time my great grandmother, Humphrey Newton’s direct descendant, left these shores, she was a servant, grand-daughter of a failed apothecary who had faced bankruptcy and hardship in the early 19th century, and daughter of a ‘stationer’ father who, as far as we can ascertain, absconded to Australia, abandoning his wife and two very small children?

I had not before known of the terms cartulary and commonplace book.  Yet it is through these means, and other papers widely scattered through England’s various repositories and record offices, that we learn about Humphrey’s life and times.  Folk who owned land and other property would have generated records such as deeds, settlements, wills, court records and related matter.  Many of such documents can be found in record offices across the country.  Deborah Youngs suggests that these are ‘overwhelmingly formal and impersonal, and generated by their landed interests’. (p. 3)  Some of Humphrey’s records of these types were brought together and transcribed by Humphrey’s son William into a ‘cartulary’, ‘a collection of land deeds systematically arranged according to place/property [plus] … several genealogies, two rentals, and a poem’. (p. 4)

Further, though, and on a more personal note, we find that Humphrey also kept a ‘commonplace book’, a rather random collection of differently sized pages.  It is made up of 29 folios covering such things as ‘estate accounts, legal documents, land deeds, genealogies, prayers, chants, astrological charts, medical recipes, prophecies, literary extracts and love lyrics – a number of which are his personal compositions…it is very much a notebook, bitty, laconic, sometimes inscrutable…’. (pp 4-5)  These, and other records researched by Youngs, allow the creation of a 230-page biography which looks at Humphrey ‘in the context of his family, the law, landownership, religion and cultural interests’. (p. 5)

By all accounts, Humphrey was not a remarkable man of his times.  What was remarkable was the legacy he left – aided and abetted by various folk afterwards who compiled summaries and/or transcribed earlier versions – enabling an assiduous researcher to study his life and times in the round.

It will already be clear to readers of this post that I can do little more than offer a very brief and incomplete summary of Humphrey the man, as part of my exploration of this branch of my family tree.  In the next post I will take a look at Humphrey’s own ancestry, and later on I will review just a few of the highlights of his life.  I regret that the book I will use as source material appears to be available only through used book dealers, at some expense.  I feel myself lucky to have acquired a copy, and highly recommend it to any of the very very many people who descend from him.  It would be nice if it could be re-printed!

To recap, the book (from which page numbers cited above are taken) is: Humphrey Newton (1466-1536). A Early Tudor GentlemanDeborah Youngs. The Boydell Press.  Woodbridge, 2008.  A search on the title brings up a website on which a preview can be seen, well worth seeking out:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=iqUfpEwtNWYC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ViewAPI&hl=en&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

A review of the book by Kitrina Bevan can be can be found through the same search – when I tried to copy and paste the url, it brought up the full article, which may be against copyright laws, so I leave it to the reader to search for it!

42. Backlers Looking Back: the Pellatt/Newton line, leading to Humphrey Newton (1466-1536)

In which we begin a new approach to backlers.com by delving into the past through the line of Mary Pellatt (1789-1857), oldest child of Apsley Pellatt (1763-1826) and Mary Maberly (1768-1822).  Mary Pellatt married Samuel Backler (1784-1870)  in 1810.  It follows that in tracing Mary Pellatt’s diverse ancestral lines, the ‘Backler’ relevance will be only to her and Samuel’s descendants.  As far as is known, these are the descendants of Mary Backler (1813-1882) and her cousin/husband Henry Pellatt (1797-1860); Susannah Backler (1817-1883) and her husbands James Boulding (1823-1892) and Edwin John Cross (1834-1889); and Esther Maria Backler (1830-1918) and her husband Magnus Christian Abelin (1826 – 1890).  Posts 25 and most of those following trace these lines.

The first post in this new series of random ancestral trails stretches far into the past.  It arises from the entry in my precious Pedigree of Pellatt showing that William Pellatt (1665-1725), the son of Thomas Pellatt (1628-1680) and Hannah Alcock ( – 1693) was first married to:

Grace, only daughter of Apsley Newton [my emphasis], of Southover.  She ob. Jan 13, 1710. Aged 46. Bur. at All Saints Lewes, in same vault as Thomas Pellatt, her father-in-law.’

This line then descends through the first Apsley Pellatt (c.1699-1740) and his wife Mary Sheibell (or Scheibel), and their son Apsley Pellatt (1736-1798) and his wife Sarah Meriton ( – 1798) to the above-mentioned Mary Pellatt, the oldest of their 15 children.

The descent back through time from Mary to Grace can be seen in the above diagram from my Family Historian database.

We can then trace further back in the Newton line, to my 14x Gt. Grandfather, Humphrey Newton (1466-1536).  This diagram introduces us to the name of ‘Apsley’, first seen with Apsley Newton (1639-1718), and further back as the surname of Jane Apsley ( – 1627), who was married to William Newton (1563-1648), they being my 11x Gt. Grandparents. The name Apsley distinguishes successive generations of Apsley Pellatts.  (When this name is correctly transcribed, it makes searching this line relatively easy.)

The line of descent also introduces a new region of England – Cheshire and surrounding areas. My Backler blog to date has focussed on East Anglia and the London area, and migrations away from there.  Other of my ancestors originated in South Wales.  I had no idea that lurking in the distant past were ancestors whose lives and times took place just a few miles away from my current home in Manchester, England.  And, once I started searching for this line, I came across a BOOK all about my said ancestor Humphrey Newton.  (Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman by Deborah Young.  2008. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge)

In my next blog I will attempt to summarise some of the findings in this book, and then will start to trace the various lines of descent to Mary Pellatt.  This should help to while away the wintery Covid days and nights.