The History of Church Preen was written by Arthur Sparrow, who died in 1898. The book is therefore now out of copyright. Arthur Sparrow was the Lord of the manor for Church Preen for roughly 25 years at the end of the 19th century, and seems to have spent a lot of that time investigating the history of the place.
I was excited to find a family history for the Dickins family within the book, although I have yet to prove some of the links between generations to my satisfaction. I do not have a copy of the book; I borrowed it using the inter-library exchange system several years ago, and photocopied as much as I could while I had it. I will type up what I have, in case it is of use to other people, probably one page a day.
The History of Church Preen
by Arthur Sparrow, privately printed.
William Typper and Robert Dawe were two traffickers in monastic property, and as Edward Dyer's interest in Preen was sold to them 33 Elizabeth (1590), the probabiliy seems to be that a compromise was arranged with William Dyckins, who was at that time in possession of the property, by which he was left in undisturbed possession. It appears that soon after William Dyckins came into possession most of the tenants (who had long leases, generally for eighty-one years, granted to them by Sir John Castle, the last Prior) arranged to surrender their leases and have new ones granted by William Dyckins for a longer perios; and this they did, as they say in their evidence, upon the advice of Judge Leighton, of Plaish, and of Mr Plowden. Evidently William Dyckins thought to strengthen his title and the tenants probably wished to make sure thast their leases were good, as far as William Dyckins was concerned.
The Manor of Preen remain in the Dyckins family from 1560 to 1749, when the mortgagees of John Dickins (the sixth in descent from Humphrey Dickins) sold the manor to Miss Elizabeth Price, granddaughter of Thomas Price of Wabscott, in the parish of Middle, by Margaret, sister and co-heir of THomas Thornes of Shelvoche.
The Dickins family were of Leaton in the parish of Bobbington, co Stafford, where they had been seated from the time of Henry VI; they were also Lords of Churchill, Co Worcester. The first member of the family who lived in the Prior's house at Preen appears to have
page 38 ends
been Richard Dyckins, the younger brother of Humphrey; as, according to the evidence of one of the witnesses at the Hughley Commission, he was living in the house ar that time. Probably the house was occupied by some members of the family continuously after this date, until the time when they ceased to be the owners of Preen.
Thomas Dickins, the great-grandson of Humphrey, lived in the prior's house and his father John may have done so, for in Preen Church are his initials; "I.D. 1646"
This Thomas married Margaret Corfield, who is referred to page 48. I am not sure that John, the son of Thomas Dickins lived at Preen: he probably died in his father's lifetime, but both his two sons, Thomas and Matthew, were buried at Preen.
Thomas, the elder of those two sons, probably lived for some time at Leaton, but Matthew, the younger, certainly lived at Preen, either in the Prior's house of in an old Manor-house described by Mr Hardwick as a large half-timbered structure, and called "The Hall" of Church Preen, and which stood upon the site of the present farmhouse adjoining Preen Manor. In the Index Villaris of "Mr" Adams, of the inner Temple (London, folio 1680), "Prene in the Hundred of Condover~" is described as having the seat of "one gentleman". This doubtless refers to Matthew Dickins: he was churchwarden in 1686.
It may be that the elder bother Thomas was living in the Prior's house at the time of his death in 1710. Matthew had a son named John (churchwarden in 1727), who lived at
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Preen and was there buried 5th December, 1762. John Dickins, son and heir of Thomas (cousin of the above John) was of Leaton and Preen. At the latter place he was buried 19th of February 1760. [typer-upper's note: I don't think that's right. That John Dickins died 1744 I believe.]
He married MAry, the daughter of Sir William Fowler, of Harnage Grange. Their only son Richard, was the last member of the Dickins or Dyckins family that lived at Preen, and he was buried there on 28th October 1764. The registers of five of his children are to be found at Preen.
So that it appears for seven generations, lasting one hundred and eighty-nine years, the Dyckins family held the Manor of Church Preen.
The following genealogical account, which I have put together Pedigree of Dickins, compiled from the Records of the Heralds' College, Parish Registers, Inquisitions Post Mortem and other evidences.
Arms: Ermine a cross flory sable.
William Dyckins, of Bobbington, Staffordshire, was father of:
Thomas Dyckins, of Bobbington, who was Lord of Churchill in Worcestershire, in the time of Henry VI. He had issue two sons:
I. John, his heir.
II. Thomas, whose son Richard was father of Thomas of Morehall, Staffordshire. The latter, by Edith his wife, daughter of Thomas Corbin of Morehall,
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and his wife who was a Miss More or Morehall, had a daughter Alice, who became heir to her mother. Alice Dickins married Matthew Moreton, of Engleton, Staffordshire, and had issue:
Edward Moreton, living 1583.
Alice, m her third cousin once-removed, William Dickins, ut postea.
Isabel, m John Eggington, of Rodbaston, Penkridge.
The eldest son:
John Dickins, of Bobbington, m Eleanor Blount, and was father of:
Hugh Dickins, of Bobbington, m Joan daughter of Humphrey Lea of Enville, and had issue three sons:
I. Humphrey, his heir.
II. Thomas William
III. Richard, of Church Preen, living 1590.
The eldest son:
Humphrey Dyckins, of Bobbington, by Elizabeth his wife was father of:
William, the next hold of the Bobbington property.
He bought the manor of Church Preen in 1560 from Richard Coverte, brother and heir of Giles Coverte, who died June 23rd, 1559. (Inquisition post-mortem taken at Southwark). The son of Humphrey
end of page 41
William Dickins, of Bobbington, Lord of the Manor of Churchill, m as already stated, p41, Alice Moreton, and had a son, John. He was living in 1503, and was succeeded by his said son:
John Dickins of Bobbington, and of Newlands in the parish in the parish of Much Malvern; b in the autumn of 1578; m first Elizabeth Mackworth of Betton Grange, Shropshire, and had issue:
I. Thomas, his heir
II. Richard, s.p.
III. Francis, died young
I. Margery, wife of Thomas Perry, of Wergs in the parish of Tettenhall, Staffordshire.
By his second wife, Jane, daughter of Edmund Braddock of Adbaston, Staffordshire, by whom he had issue:
IV John, d 1661, having m. Jane, dau. of Francis Woodhouse, of the Woodhouses, Wombourne, Staffordshire, by whom he had issue--
1. Tomyns, of Morse, Staffordshire, who entered the family pedigree and arms at the Heralds' visitation, April 10th, 1663, being then aged 40. He had previously m. Mary, dau. of John Corbyn, of Aymour, Worcestershire, and had issue Tomyns, b. 1661; John; Mary, b. 1654; Elizabeth; Anne, and Jane.
3.John (2 and 3 bracketed together as citizens of London
1. Elizabeth, m. first, Thomas Perry of Wergs
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(cf the marriage of her half-aunt Margery) and secondly Nathaniel Hilton, citizen of London.
VI. William (bracketed together as citzens of London).
II. Elizabeth, m. Herbert Walwyn, of Newland, Worcestershire.
John Dickins died in April 1656, and was buried in the "lower part of the choir" of Great Malvern church on the 25th of that month. It is probable that "I.D. 1646" on the reading-desk of Preen Church, refers to him (see p. 39).
He was succeeded by--
Thomas Dickins, of Leaton (which property eventually passed to the Moseleys), in the parish of Bobbington, who at the Herald's visitation, April 10th, 1663, was aged 65. He was twice m; first to Margaret, dau. of William Corfield, of Church Preen (see p.48), and had issue by her--
I.Elizabeth, m. Roger Bird, of Ipsley, Warwickshire.
II. Margaret, m JOhn Lacy, of Feckenham, Worcestershire.
III. Alice, m. John Smallwood, of Middlewich, Cheshire.
He m. secondly, Elizabeth, dau. of Robert Walwyn, of Newland, and had issue--
II. Thomas, b.1637.
end of page 43.
IV. Anne, m. John Pratt, of Tuckhill, Staffordshire.
V. Rachel, m. Henry Welwyn of Colwall, Herefordshire.
VI. Elizabeth, m. William Reade, of Manley, Worcestershire.
VII. Jane, died young.
The eldest son--
John Dickins, of Church Preen, b. 1631; m. as a minor, circa 1648, Sarah, dau of Samuel More, of Linley, Shropshire, and had issue by her--
I. Thomas, his heir.
II. Matthew, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 1686, b. after 1663, and was buried at Preen, May 27th 1752, leaving by Mary his wife--
1. John, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 1727; b Dec 31st, 1695; bapt at Preen, Jan 9th, 1696; m. there Nov 5th 1722, Ann Stary (who was buried at Preen in the "desk pew", May 26th, 1773, aged 83). He was also buried there, Dec. 5th, 1762.
2. Matthew, bapt. at Preen, March 22nd, 1700; but there, May 27th 1752 [Fee's note: I wonder if Mr Sparrow got mixed up as he has given this burial date for this matthew and his father Matthew too...]
1. Elizabeth, bapt. there Sept. 19th,1704, and buried Sept. 22nd, 1704.
2. Mary (twin with Elizabeth), bapt. on the same day, and buried Oct. 2nd, 1704.
3. Mary, bapt at Preen, Jan 4th, 1706; m. there May 2nd, 1736, to John Bollen, of Preen, and afterwards of Brockton, in Stanton Long (who was buried in a vault in Preen Church, May 29th, 1782, aged 77); buried in the vault in which her husband was afterwards buried May 2nd, 1773.
4. Ann, bapt. at Preen, June 9th, 1709; m. there, April 21st, 1730, to John acton, of Astley Abbots, and had a dau. Hannah, bapt at Preen, March 9th, 1730.
I. Elizabeth, aged 14, at the 1663 Visitation.
He d. in 1679, probably in his father's lifetime. His will, proved in the same year, names John Turton, of Alderhayes, Robert More of Cheapside, and his wife as executors. [Fee's notes: John Turton was married to one of Sarah Dickins's More sisters, and Robert More was one of her brothers.]
John Dickins's eldest son,
Thomas Dickins of Leaton, b. 1653, borrowed £400 in 1679, and charged his estates with £600 for his younger son, Thomas. He was buried at Preen, December 21st, 1710, leaving issue by Mary his wife,
I. John, his heir.
II, Thomas, of Leebotswood, m. at Preen, May 29th, 1728, Mary Martin of that parish.
The eldest son--
John Dickins of Leaton and Preen, whose mortgagees sold Preen July 30th, 1749, to Elizabeth Price (see page 54). In 1709 he owed £1056 to Joseph Girder, Serjeant-at-Law. He m. Mary, dau of Sir William Fowler, of Harnage Grange, having settled an annuity of £150 upon
(footnote: A John Dickins was buried at Preen May 5th, 1718, but I do not know to whom the entry refers.)
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her. He was buried at Preen, February 19th, 1760,(Fee's notes: no, Sparrow got this wrong. John Dickins who owed the money to Joseph Girder died in 1744) having had issue a son and three daughters--
I. Richard, his heir.
I. Mary, m John Moreton of St Giles, weaver
II. Hester, m Mr Wilson.
III. Diana, m Francis Jones, of Lindion, Derbyshire.
The only son--
Richard Dickins, sometime of Preen, was buried there October 28th, 1764, leaving, by Ann, his wife, two sons and four daughters--
I. John, his heir.
II Fowler, bapt. at Preem, June 23rd, 1749.
I. Ann, bapt. there, September 14th, 1746.
II. Elinor, buried there, March 31st, 1751.
III. Ursula, bapt. there, June 26th, 1751.
IV. Mary, m there, July 30th, 1790, John Mansell, of Much Wenlock (who died there and was buried at Preen, April 20th, 1784). She was also buried at Preen, July 30th, 1790.
The elder son--
John Dickins, born in 1737, was father of John Dickins, Captain RN, of Woodford Grange, Staffordshire; b. 1772, m twice and had many children, one of whom was--
Robert Archibald Dickins of Woodford Grange, a Major in the Yeomanry, who died at an advanced age in 1893, and was buried at Trysull, having had an only son, Bramah, who died unmarried in his father's lifetime.
end of page 46
Margaret Corfield, who married Thomas Dickins in or about 1630, was a member of an old Shropshire family, a branch of which had for several generations been tenants at Preen under the Prior.
They traced their descent from one Edward, who held Corve in Stanton Long, in Corve Dale, in the twelfth century; his son, Ralph Fitz-Edward, held Corve in 1180, and from him presumably descended Richard de Corfielde, Lord of the Manor of Longville, who married Abigail Lutwyche.
The eldest son of the said Richard de Corfields was John, of Chatwall, who was buried at Cardington in June, 1561; the youngest son, Thomas, was of Much Wenlock: he was the father of three sons, Sir William Corvehill,"Priest of the service of our blessed Lady St Mary within the church of the Holy Trinity" at Much Wenlock;
(footnote: Copy of entry of Sir William Corvehill's buril in Wenlock Register; "26th May, 1546. Here was buryed out on the Strete called Mardfold out of the two Tenements next unto Sancte Owens Well, on the same side of the well, the body of Sir William Corvehill, Priest of the Service of Our Blessed Lady St Marye, within the Churche of the holy Trinite ~&c which two hows belo'ging to the said S'vice he had i' his occupacion, wt their apparten and parte of his wages, which was viij markes and the said hows in an overplus; whose body was buryed in the chancell of our blessed
Lady before the altar under the stone in the myddle of the said altare, upon the left hande as ye treat and stand on the heighest steppe of the thre, before the said altare, who fete streche forth under the said alter to the wall in the East of the altare, the body there lying within the erth in a tomb of lyme and ston which he caused to be made for himselfe for that intent; after the reryng and building of the new Ruff of the said chansell which rering framyng and new reparyng of the altare and chancell was don throw the councill of the said Dri William Corvehill, who was excellently and singularly experte in dyverse of the vij liberal sciences and especially in geomtre, not greatly by speculacion but by experience; and few or none of handycrafte but that he had a very good insight in them, as the making of Organs, of a clocka and chimes, and in kerving, in Masonrie, and weving of Silke, and in peynting; and noe instrument of musike being but that he could mende it, and many gud gifts the man had, and a very pacient man, and full hineste in his conversacion and lyv'ng; borne here, in the borowe of Moche Wenlock, and sometime monke in the
monastrie of St Mylb'ge here. Two brethren he had. one called Dominus JOhn, Monke in the said Monasterie, and a secular preiste called Sr Andrew Corvehill, who dyed at Croydon beside London, on whose soule and all Christian Soules, Almighty God have m'cy, Ame'. All this country hath a great losse of the death of the gd Sir William
Corvehill for he was a gud Bell Founder and a maker of the frame for bells" Thomas Butler's Register, referered to on
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A secular priest called Sir Andrew, who died at Croydon, and Dominus John, monk in the monastery at Wenlock.
To return to the eldest son of Richard, John Corfield: he was also of Longville and Chatwall, and in 1505 received a grant of lease of lands in Preen for eighty-one years from "Sir" ~John Castle, the last Prior of Preen. He was the
father of five sons:--
I. Thomas of Chatwall.
II. William of Church Preen, married Elizabeth Ball, of Bourton and was father of Margaret, married Thomas Dickins, as stated on page 43 and 47. His will, dated December 28th, 17 Elizabeth, 1574, is as follows:--
"I, William Corfeld of Prene in the Countie of Salop and Diocese of Hereford, sick in bodie but in perfitt remembrance in mynde, thankes be given to Allmightie God, doe make this my last Will & testament in manner and forme as
end of page 48
hereafter followeth. first and principallie I comend my soule to Almightie God my Maker and redeamer and my bodie to be buried in the parish church of Preene at my last end. Item I give and bequeath to the people that to my parrishe church will come at the daie of my buriall, my funeral being ended, everie one of them... pence apece. Item my will and entent is and I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my wief my whole tenement with the appurtenances, and all therunto belonging, and all my goodes and cattell mouvable and unmoveable to rear and kepe my children, untill they come to
full age of Twentie and one yeres, with sufficient meat, drinke, and clothe as it mete for their behaviour, as longe as she kepeth her widowhood, and if so be that my foresaid wife list to marie at any time, my will ys that my sone William shall have my foresaid tenement with all meadowes, leasues, pastures with all thereto belonging, as longe as the yeres endure yf he will be ruled and governed by his mother and his frendes. Yf he will not be ruled by his mother and his frendes, my will ys that it shall remaine to one of his brethren which pleaseth his mother best. Also my will
is that if William my foresaid sonne doe not enter of my foresaid tenement within the space of tenne yeres, the I give and bequeath to William my son twentie poundes; yf he doe enter within ten yeres, my will is that his parte do remain amongst his fellowes. Also my will is that if it chance Elizabeth my wief to decease or marrie before my foresaid children come to their full age of xxi yeres, then William my sone to finde my foresaid children sufficient
end of page 49
meat, drink and cloth, according as they had in tymes past, untill they come to the age as is foresaid. Item my will, and entent if and I give and bequeath to John my sone Twentie poundes yf he will be ruled by his mother and his frendes, yf he will not, to have but five pounds. Item I give and bequeath to Richard my sonne Twentie poundes. Item I give and bequeath to Thomas my son Xxvj. Item I give and bequeath to frauncis my sonne Twentie Poundes. ITem I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my daughter ffourtie mearkes if she will be rules by hir mother. Also my will and entent is
that my foresaid children shall have everie one his parte when he cometh to age of Twentie and one yeres. Also my will is that if anye of my foresaid children chance to decease before they come to their age as is aforesaid, my will is that his or her parte to remaine to and amongst their fellowes. Item I give and bequeath to everie godchild of mine iiid. Item I give and bequeath to every brother's child and sister's of myne iiijd. Item I give and bequeath to Majorie Myddleton my servant maid a two yere old heifer and the Croppe of a Cowe. Item I give and bequeath to my sone
in lawe Humfrey James children a two yere old heyfer to be sett forward for them.
Debts owing to the foresaid William Corfield dew to be paid at this tyme, A thousand five hundred and seventie fower.
Imprimis Richard Lee, of Longley, esquier, doth ow
end of page 50
unto me the somme of ten poundes which I lent hi out of my purse. Item William Bickfork, of the parrishe of Hampton, doth owe unto me fouer poundes wanting xvjd for certain cattell which I soulde him. Item William Wollaston, of Trecot Graunge, doth owe unto me iiijli, xiijs iiijd for certaine cattell which I soulde him. Item Richard Baule, of Burton, doth owe unto me xls which I lent him out of my purse. Item Thomas Wollastone doth owe until me xxs for a hore which I soulde unto Thomas Dod, he being suertie. Item Humfrey James doth owe unto me xjli ijs which I lent to him out of my purse. Item John ffarmer, of Broone, doth owe unto me xls for a cowe and a calfe. Item Hugh Hardwick of Pattenham, doth owe unto me xxs I lent him out of my purse. Item William Pidge of Plashe, doth owe unto me Twentie shillings which I lent him out of my purse. Item John Mydleton, of Preene, doth owe unto me Twentie Shillings which I lent him out of my purse. Item iiij heyfors of myne in the custodie of David lloyds, in the parrish of Manava which I sett to him the first milk and calf. Item my will and entent if and I doe make and constitute Elizabeth my wife my true and laufull executrix of this my last will conteyned to see me honestly brought home, my funerall discharged, my debtes paid and Legacies paid which I have given and distributed to my foresaid children.
"This being witnesses, John Pinches th'elder, William Pidge, and John Pinches the younger with others."
Proved on August 25th, 1575, by the representative of the said Elizabeth the relict and Executrix.
end of page 51
From the Prerogative court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, 33 "Pickering".)
III. "Sir" John, vicar of Preen, whose will, in 1548, directs that he shall be buried in the chancel of the church.
IV. Richard and
The second son, William (page 48), was father of five sons:-- 1, William, 2, Thonas, 3, John, 4, Francis, and 5, Jasper; the first two of whom, with their widowed mother, Elizabeth Corfield, have evidence at the hughley Commission, in 1590. They were tenants, under an original lease, granted about 1510 for eighty-one years. to their grandfather, John Corfield. The third son on William Corfield, John, was of Hughley and he left the following will:
"in Dei nom' Amen, ijndo die May anno dom' 1556. I John Corfylde of Hughlee within the Dioces of Hereford being of wholle mynde and in good and p'fyte remembrance, laud and prayse be unto Almyghtie God, make and ordaine thys my present testament containing my last wylle in man'r and forme folowing that ys to say; Fyrst I comende my soule unto Almightie God my maker and redemer and my body to be buried in the church of Moche Wenlocke.
"Item I give and bequeath to the Mother Church of Hereford vjd. Item I give and bequeath to William my son my best pane and pewter dish. Item I give and bequeath to my sone Richard my second pane and pewter dyshe. Item I give and bequeath to ... a pewter dyshe and to Alice Taylor a pewter dyshe.
"Item I give and bequeath to Thom' Taylor sone to Thomas Taylor an Haffyer of my cow. Item I given and bequeathe to Elizabeth Corfylde iijs iiijd. Item I give and bequeath to the church of Hughlee xvjd a torch and two tapers. Item my wyll ys that I be brought honestlye home. And the residue of my goods not afore bequeathed I put to the discretion of Margaret my wife helfe takinge during her life and of this my present testament I make and ordene Thomas Corfyle and John Pinchesse myne executors this my last wyll and testament executed accordinglye.
"And I hereby revoke and adnulle all and every other former testaments, wylles, bequests and executors by me in anye wayse before thys time made and named wylled and bequeathed. These being Wytnesses Sir Roger (Stringer), p'son there, Thom Haynes, Thomas Taylor with others."
(Taken from an office copy transcribed from the original in the District Probate Registry at Hereford and lent to me by Colonel Corfield.)
The Corfields remained at Hughley for two centuries; indeed some of the family are still to be fouond lingering in the neighbourhood.
At Preen, the descendants of Thomas and William, the first and second sons ov John Corfield of Longville and Chatwall, remained within the last fifty or sixty years.