I wish I knew.
For some time, I’ve been attempting to sort out the kinships and identities of the various Hugh Filbees of Lewknor, Oxfordshire. If you were a Hugh Filbee living at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in the 1600s and 1700s, you most likely had a son, perhaps a brother or, even more likely, a cousin, named Hugh, and there’s a good chance you married a woman named Alice or Ann.
If you examine the parish registers of St Margaret’s at Lewknor, and St Mary’s at Adwell, you’ll find mention of myriad men named Hugh Filbee dating back to the earliest entries. I wrote about the Lewknor register in this post. In 1585, Hugh Filbee and his wife Alice (of course) baptized son William at Adwell. Jump ahead in that register a hundred or so years to March, 1708/9, and you’ll discover the baptism, and (…more)
Hugh Filbee of Lewknor, Oxfordshire, Letters of Administration 30 May 1772 Oxfordshire Records Office: ref Arch b.32 f.66
May 30th 1772
“Appeared personally Hugh PhFilbee and alledged that Hugh PhFilbee late of the parish of Lewknor in the County of Oxford deceased died in the Month of April last a Widower intestate without making a will and that he the Appearer is his natural and lawful son Wherefore he prayed Letters of Administration of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased to be granted to him on giving the usual Security—
Let Administration pass as prayed the said Hugh PhFilbee having been sworn duly to administrator as usual Before me D Burton, Chancellor Present Andw Not. Pub.”
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Earlier in the week, I transcribed the 1756 will of Hugh Filbee, yeoman of Lewknor, Oxfordshire. What does Hugh’s will tell us?
Although nothing in the probate mentions the exact date of Hugh’s death, we do know the date it was proved: 16 January 1767. This coincides with the burial of Hugh Filbee in Lewknor on 14 January 1767. (See chart)
“I Hugh Filbee of the parish of Lewknor in the County of Oxford Yoem[an]“
Hugh was a gentleman farmer.
We also know he owned land, which he’d purchased during his lifetime vs having inherited it.
He left sons Hugh and Henry equal share in “All that my Freehold Estate which I lately purchased of Mr. William Rolles commonly called Steven’s Farm,” were “situate within the precincts of Lewknor aforesaid or in a Meadow called Shillingford Mead.” Additionally, he left son (…more)
Yeoman Hugh Filbee was buried in St Margaret’s churchyard in Lewknor, Oxfordshire, on 14 January 1767. Here is a transcription of his will. While it sheds light on the names of his children, and suggests his wife had predeceased him, it provides few if any clues which help distinguish him from the various Hugh Filbees who had been baptized at St. Margaret’s and were living in Lewknor in the mid 18th century. Still, it’s a start
Will of Hugh Filbee of Lewknor, Oxfordshire Made 24 May 1756; proved 26 January 1767 Oxfordshire Records Center: ref 24/3/3 [To facilitate online viewing, the following transcription does not reflect the line breaks of the original document.]
“In the Name of God Amen. The Twenty Fourth day of May [word scratched out] in the Twenty Ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God (…more)
A reader’s question prompted me to revisit my problematic Filbee family, whose fondness for the given name Hugh makes researching this line difficult.
The Filbee surname is found in my maternal grandfather’s part of the family tree. Alice Filbee, and generations of Filbees before her, lived and died in Lewknor, Oxfordshire. Alice (1748–1819) was my 5th great grandmother. She married William Quartermaine in Lewknor on Christmas Eve 1768. Their grandson was Thomas Smith, whom I’ve written about here.
In researching this surname over the years, I’ve come across many variations, including: Fylbye, Filby, Filbie, Fillby, Felby, Philby, Philbey. Filbee families were scattered all around Oxfordshire in the 17th-19th centuries, but my particularly confusing branch lived in Lewknor. From the parish register transcripts, it’s clear that, at any given time, there were two or more Filbee men living in the village, but I’m most interested in those named Hugh. There (…more)
The more common the name, the more difficult the research can be, and my Smiths of Lewknor are right up there. Thomas Smith, a watercress grower, and his wife Eleanor “Ellen” Holland, raised a large family in Lewknor, Oxfordshire, in the mid 19th century. Smiths had lived in that area for decades, so Thomas’s brothers and cousins were also baptizing, and burying family members in the local church at the same time. There were also Smith families living in the nearby Postcombe, a hamlet so tiny it had no church of its own.
Here are the records of Smith baptisms and burials during the time Thomas and Ellen lived in Lewknor. I’ve taken them from the published parish registers. The next step of course is to order the FHL microfilms to view the parish registers themselves. Births and deaths after the date range here would come from records at (…more)