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Combs &c. Families of
Abingdon, Berkshire, England

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Abingdon, a borough and market town, having separate jurisdiction, situated in the hundred of Hormer, county of Berks (pre-1974), "includes the parishes of St. Nicholas (townships of Norcol, Sandford and Shippon, which are without the limits of the borough) and the parish of St. Helen... "The living of St. Nicholas is a sinecure rectory, the vicarage being annexed to that of St. Helen... The living of St. Helen is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Berks, and diocese of Salisbury... in the gift of the Crown. Abingdon is 26 miles NNW of Reading, and 56 WNW of London, lies abt 11 miles northeaest of Sparsholt. (See also Parishes within 11 miles of Sparsholt, Berks and see below re the History of Abingdon).

1560 Wills and Administrations. John COMBE Abingdon, ad. 113I (Extracted by Combs Researchers Joe Kendalll and Denise Mortorff from "The Index Library Index to Wills Proved and Administrations Granted In the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks 1508-1652," ed. by W.P.W. Phillimore. London. British Record Society Limited. 1893, p. 42)

1617 Wills and Administrations. Mary COMBE, Abingdon. ad. 139ii (Extracted by Combs Researchers Joe Kendalll and Denise Mortorff from "The Index Library Index to Wills Proved and Administrations Granted In the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks 1508-1652," ed. by W.P.W. Phillimore. London. British Record Society Limited. 1893, p. 42)

1647 Wills and Administrations. William, William, Abingdon [no further entry] (Extracted by Combs Researchers Joe Kendalll and Denise Mortorff from "The Index Library Index to Wills Proved and Administrations Granted In the Court of the Archdeacon of Berks 1508-1652," ed. by W.P.W. Phillimore. London. British Record Society Limited. 1893, p. 43 ("See also Combe"))

1647 William COOMBE or COOME, Abingdon. (Extracted by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll from "British Record Society. New Series. Vol.8. London, 1995," which includes Berkshire, England Wills and Administrations 1508-1652)

29 Jan 1647 Wills and Administrations. Wm. COMBE., Abingdon, Berks. To Jn. C., s., 29 Jan. 1647,p.7. (Extracted by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll from "The Index Library -- Index to Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Now Preserved in the Public Record Office", Chancery Lane Vol. VI, 1631-1648. ed. Marc Fitch. London: The British Record Society. 1986, p. 95)

Note: Key to abbreviations not yet available. Tentatively interpreted as William COMBE, of Abingdon, Berks, deceased. Administration of estate to son, John COMBE

02 Oct 1690 (Stafford Co VA DB D, Part II, p. 47) Richard HUMPHREY of Abingdon County of Berks Black Smith Brother and Heir of Thomas HUMPHRY (186a) late of Potomack in the County of Stafford in Virginia Planter deced, power of attorney to George MASON of Potomack aforesaid Gentl. and John WAUGH of the same Clerke to enter into all the lands in Paspitanzie in the County of Stafford in Virginia wt was late ye lands and plantacon of the said Thomas HUMPHREY and to take and convey the said lands to Nicholas BATTINGE of Oarston vth in the Parish of Plympstock in the County of Devon Marriner & his heires. s/Richard HUMPHREY. In presence of Hen. KNAPP, Andrew EFFY…. In Testimony that said Richard HUMPHREY hath signed these psents in presence of us the Major Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Borough of Abindgon in the County of Berke within the Kingdom of England Wee have hereunto putt our hands & comone Seale the day & yeare above. (p. 48) Robert SELLWOOD; Major Jams CORDEROY; Symon HAWKINS; James CLACKSON, William HAWKINS, George DREW, Thomas KINGE Bailiffe, Thomas SPARKES, Anthony COMB, EDWARD ALLAM; MICHEL RAWLINS; THOMAS DICKARD. (Deed & Will Abstracts of Stafford Co, VA, 1689-1693. Ruth and Sam Sparacio. [contains abstracts from Stafford County Deed Book D, Part II])

1693 Elizabeth COMBES, wid., Abingdon, Berks., 1693,Folio 4. (Extracted by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll from "The Index Library - Index to Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and now preserved in the Probate Registry, Somerset House, London", Vol.XI, 1686-1693. ed. C. Harold Ridge. London: British Record Society Limited, 1958, p. 64)

ca 1702 Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Depositions taken by Commission. E 134/8Wm3/Mich25 Wm. HUTCHINS and his wife Anne. v. Richd. KIRTON and his wife Anne.: Disposal of the personal estate of John COMBE, late of Abington, mason, late father of Plaintiff Anne, and of Martha BIGNALL, wife of Richd. BIGNALL, &c., &c.: Berks. 8 Wm 3." (Combs &c. Extractions from the PRO Catalogue, E Series - record not yet acquired)

History of Abingdon, excerpted from Rev. Samuel LEWIS' Topographical Dictionary of England (See also History of Berks):

"Abingdon... according to a manuscript in the Cottonian library, quoted by Dugdale, was, in the time of the Britons, a city of considerable importance, and distinguished as a royal residence, whither the people resorted to assist at the great councils of the nation. By the Saxons it was called Scovechesham, but acquired the name of Abbendon, the town of the abbey, on the removal hither, in 680, of a monastic institution previously founded at Bagley wood, now an extra parochial liberty in the vicinity, by Cissa, viceroy of Centwine, the ninth King of Wessex, on which Ceadwalla, his son and successor, bestowed the town and its appendages. After the establishment of the monastery, Offa, King of Mercia, on a visit to Abingdon, was so much pleased with the situation, that he erected a palace here, in which he, and his immediate successors Egfirth and Kenwulf, occasionally resided. The monastery continued to flourish till 871, when it was destroyed by the Danes. In 955, Edred, grandson of Alfred, laid the first stone of a new monastery, which was completed after his death by the abbot Ethelwold, and his successor Ordgar. The extent of its endowments, subsequently augmented by Edgar, and Canute the Great, raised it to the dignity of a mitred abbey. William the Conqueror celebrated Easter at Abingdon, in 1084, where he was sumptuously entertained by Robert D’Oilly, one of the most powerful barons of the time, under whose inspection, he left his son Henry to be educated in this convent, where the prince received that education which afterwards procured him the surname of Beauclerc. At the dissolution, the revenue of the abbey was L1876. 10. 9. A nunnery was also founded here by Cilla, neice of Cissa, over which she presided till her death, when it was removed to Witham; the site of it was afterwards given by Edward VI. to Christ's Hospital in this town. The Gild of the Holy Cross, established here at a very early period, was dissolved in 1547; its revenues amounted to L85. 15. 6. In the early part of the civil war, Charles I. garrisoned Abingdon, where he established the head quarters of his cavalry. On the retreat of the royal forces to Oxford, in 1644, the Earl of Essex took possession of the town, and garrisoned it for the parliament, and, a few days afterwards, Waller's army (1), which had been stationed near Wantage, entered Abingdon, and, among other excesses, destroyed the cross in the market place, particularly noticed by Camden for its beauty. Many unsuccessful attempts were subsequently made, by the royalists, to regain possession of the town; the garrison, on these occasions, put every Irish prisoner to death, without trial, whence the expression, "Abingdon Law." The town, which is pleasantly situated at the influx of the small river Ock into the Thames, is handsomely built, and consists of several spacious streets diverging from the market place; it is well paved and lighted, and amply supplied with water: the races take place in September, when assemblies are held at the new court house. The manufacture of woollens, formerly carried on here to a great extent, has quite declined. Malting is now the principal business, which, with the dressing of hemp, and the making of sacking and sail cloth, constitutes the chief employment of the labouring classes. Several wharfs and warehouses have recently been constructed, where the Wilts and Berks canal joins the Thames, near its confluence with the Ock. The market days are Monday, chiefly for corn, and Friday, for provisions only. The fairs for horses and horned cattle are held on the first Monday in Lent, May 6th, June 20th, Aug. 5th, Sept. 19th, the Monday before old Michaelmas day, (a statute fair,) and Dec. 11th.

"The government, by charter of in corporation granted in the reign of Philip and Mary, 1557, is vested in a mayor, high steward, recorder, eleven principal, and sixteen secondary burgesses, assisted by a town clerk, chamberlain, two bailiffs, and two serjeants at mace. The two bailiffs, though appointed from among the secondary, act as principal burgesses; and the mayor, and three of the principal burgesses annually elected by the corporation, are justices of the peace, and hold a court of quarter session, a court of record weekly for the recovery of debts under L10, and a court leet for the manor on Easter Wednesday. The elective franchise was conferred in the reign of Philip and Mary; the borough returns one member to parliament. The right of election is vested in the inhabitant householders not receiving alms; the mayor is the returning officer. The market house is a spacious and clegant building of freestone, erected in 1678, having a commodious hall, in which the borough sessions are held, and the public business transacted. The summer assizes, and the July and October sessions for the county, take place here, and the magistrates for the county hold a petty session every Monday for the Abingdon division. The county members, who are previously nominated at Reading, are elected here. The county bridewell, a handsome stone edifice, erected in 1811 at an expense of L26,000, includes a neat court house, in which the assizes and sessions are held.

Abingdon comprises the parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Helen; the former includes the townships of Norcol, Sandford, and Shippon, which are without the limits of the borough. The living of St. Nicholas is a sinecure rectory, the vicarage being annexed to that of St. Helen; it is rated in the king's books at L29. 11. 3. The church is a very ancient structure, having some remains of Norman architecture. The living of St. Helen is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Berks, and diocese of Salisbury, rated in the king's books at L7, and in the gift of the Crown. The church is a handsome structure in the early English style of architecture, with a square embattled tower, surmounted by a lofty spire. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists.

The free grammar school, for the education of sixty-three boys, was founded by John ROYSE, citizen of London, in 1563, and endowed with a house and premises in Birchin-lane, London. The master, in addition to his salary, receives one guinea per quarter for each pupil instructed in writing and arithmetic, and is allowed to receive ten private pupils. William BENNET, in 1608, bequeathed lands, which now produce L100 per annum, for instructing, clothing, and apprenticing six boys on this foundation. Thomas TEASDALE, formerly a scholar here, bequeathed the glebe and tithes of the rectory of Ratley, in Warwickshire, for the maintenance of an usher, whose duty is confined to the classical instruction of Bennet's six boys. The school is entitled to four fellowships and six scholarships at Pembroke College, Oxford, under the respective endowments of Thomas TEASDALE and Richard WIGHTWICK. Bennet's scholars have the preference, and, in default of application from free boys, the master's private pupils are eligible. In 1756, Robert MAYOTT bequeathed to the corporation, in trust, a meadow, with its tithes, now let at L45 per annum, for educating poor children of Abingdon; of whom ten of each sex, nominated by the mayor and burgesses, are also clothed. In 1703, John PREVOST bequeathed property, with which, land at Oakley in the county of Bucks, was purchased, now producing L45 per annum, to be expended in the instruction of children in reading and writing, and in placing them out as apprentices. There are eleven boys on this foundation, who, in addition to the founder's directions, are clothed and taught arithmetic. In 1713, Richard BELCHER gave L14 per annum, and in 1753, Joseph TOMKINS L100 South Sea stock, for the instruction of children in the borough. There are also a National, and a British school; to the former, in 1826, Edward BEASLEY, Esq. bequeathed L200.

Christ's Hospital, on the west side of St. Helen's church, erected in 1446, on the site of the ancient nunnery, by Geoffry Barbone and Sir John de St. Helen, originally belonged to the brethren of the Holy Cross. It received its present name from Sir John MASON, who, in 1553, induced Edward VI. to incorporate, as Governors of Christ's Hospital, some of the inhabitants of the town, to whom a part of the old endowment was assigned for the support of thirteen poor women, which number has been increased to thirty two. The building consists of a long range of apartments, with cloisters in front, and a handsome turret and dome in the centre. The Hospital of St. John, endowed before the Reformation, for six poor men, was rebuilt by the corporation in 1801. In 1826 E. Beasley added L600 to the endowment. Near the church of St. Helen is another hospital, erected in 1707 by Charles TWITTY, for the maintenance of three men and three women; to which John BEDWELL in 1799, and Samuel CRIPPS in 1819, bequeathed L200 each; and in 1826 E. BEASLEY L600. Opposite to Twitty's Hospital is a fourth, for three men and fifteen women, built, in 1718, with the surplus funds of Christ's Hospital. There are also alms houses for four men and four women, endowed by Benjamin TOMKINS in 1733, and six other small alms houses, near the river, for poor widows. E. BEASLEY also bequeathed L700 to the mayor and bailiffs, the interest to be distributed to the poor on Good Friday. St. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir John MASON, British Ambassador at the court of France, and Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and the late Lord Colchester, were natives of this place. Abingdon confers the title of earl on the family of BERTIE."

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