Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mystery #5: Where was the bishop born?

Humphrey Henchman, Bishop of Salisbury, England in the 17th century, was the son of Thomas Henchman and Anne Griffith. Of this we are pretty certain since he mentions his brother Morris in his will and Morris was a son of Thomas and Anne, baptized in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, England in February 1597. Three of Morris' siblings were also baptized there - in 1584, 1587 and 1588. But three others, born between 1589 and 1596 (including Humphrey), are not in the parish register.
There was a debate raging for many years as to the birthplace of the bishop. Author A. Wood says Humphrey Henchman was born at the home of his aunt and baptized in Barton Seagrave as per notes made in the parish register by kinsman William Henchman who was rector of that church in the mid-17th century. The notation reportedly stated that Humphrey was baptized December 22, 1592 in that parish. However, this cannot be verified because microfilms of Barton Seagrave parish records are not available before 1609. Rev. Henchman stated that the early registers were in very poor condition.
Another researcher vehemently disagrees with Mr. Wood's claim because Thomas and Anne Henchman were living in Burton Latimer during that time frame. Anne's sister, Jane, was the wife of the rector at Burton Latimer, Owen Owen. Jane died 7 months before Humphrey was born. Rev. Owen died 3 months after Humphrey's birth. It would seem likely that, since Jane and Owen had young children, Thomas and Anne would remain in that town to help out. But, since three of their children were not listed in the parish register, one might wonder If the family was somewhere else during that time frame. Occasionally a baptism or marriage was missed, but three in a row for one family seems a bit of a stretch.
Since Thomas was originally from Wellingborough in that same county, it would seem likely that they might have gone there. However, the missing children are not mentioned in Wellingborough records. Anne was born in Wales. Could they have been visiting her family for an extended period of time? Records for Carnarvon are very sparse during that time frame since it was a very poor part of the country and paper and ink were expensive. No records were found for that area. Thomas was a skinner, a member of the Skinners Guild of London, so it is possible that they could have gone to London for a time and that the three missing baptisms could have been done there. Research is being done in the microfilmed records of the Skinners Guild to see if Thomas is mentioned there during that time frame. Since there are so many churches in London, it would be very difficult to search all of them for those records.
More to follow. Keep tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment