Thomas Winchcombe (c.1520 - 1574).

Thomas accumulated several Manors in his lifetime. Crookham and Henwick in Berkshire was transferred to him by his father in 1554: the Ryall, Birlingham, Eckington, Wollashull, Worcester manors through his first marriage (presumably a life interest only or for his use only while his first wife lived); Halton in Buckinghamshire through his second marriage (again perhaps a life-interest only or for his use only while his second wife lived): Colesbourne in Gloucester settled on him and his wife by his father-in-law and West Gringe inherited from his father. He is usually referred to as Thomas Winchcombe of Chalgrove. Chalgrove, together with Golder Farm in Oxfordshire he leased from Magdelen College, Oxford.
He is rather a mysterious figure as I have been unable to track down either his burial place or a Will. There is a plaque to him and his second wife in the Church at Chalgrove. This was erected following an instruction in the Will of his son who died in 1623.
1571 appears to be "crunch time" for Thomas who, by now, was on his third marriage. He disposed of everything he owned "in the realm of England.". Crookham had already gone, sold in 1554 to
John Goddard, husband of his niece, Mary (see John(2)'s page). The estates acquired through his first marriage would have reverted to his wife's heirs (John and Margaret Hugford, children from her previous marriage) on his death but records show that they were holding in 1571 so one must presume that he quitclaimed around that date. In 1571 he sold, or mortgaged all of his goods and chattels at Chalgrove and Golder Farm to Edward Horton, his own brother's brother-in-law. Edward then passed it all on to Sir William Grene. Edward Horton also bought West Gringe in the same year. (Thomas' son later bought this back after trying, unsuccessfully, to prove the sale invalid).
The Inventory of his goods and chattels at Chalgrove and Golder Farm suggest the wealthy lifestyle of a wealthy man and a man who made advantageous marriages.  There were silk and tapestry cushions, curtains, hangings and quilts; there were carpets and 14 beds and bedsteads to accommodate children and servants. The books in his study included 2 Bibles and an Abridgement of Statutes.  There was countless linen, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery and furniture which included '2 little chests with velvet for jewellery', 'a fine basket to put a gentlewoman's work in' and a chest full of his old apparel.  Perhaps he left in just the clothes he stood up in but his wife, it seems, left none of hers behind!  All of the farm implements are included with 'a great lowbell(?) which Edward Burran had in keeping to take larks.' There were 100 ewes, 100 lambs, rams. oxen, carthorses, bulls, colts, 40 swine, poultry, geese and 'a great deal of hens'…….and, rather touchingly, 'my wife's gelding with a fine mare and one colt.'
This Inventory says that he left the premises, leaving all behind. Where did he go? Why did he go? What did he do with the money? How did he get by without all his goods and chattels?  Did he not miss the comfort of his Bible? Does this explain the absence of a Will - because he had nothing to leave? He had another 3 years to live somehow and somewhere.
Perhaps, as a Catholic, it was a political move to avoid sequestration of his property or to raise money to pay his fines. Perhaps he took himself off to Spain - perhaps he found himself in the Tower - perhaps he became a monk.  The possibilities are endless. I only assume his Catholicism but it seems more than likely - his son and daughter definitely were, a nephew became a Benedictine monk, he married into known Catholic families, his sister-in-law married into the staunchly Catholic
Fermor family and another nephew hid priests in a hollow oak tree near to his house.
His first marriage was to
Dorothy Vampage the daughter of Robert Vampage. It seems that there were no children and Dorothy died in 1557.
He then married
Christian Bradshaw, the daughter of Henry Bradshaw. Henry Bradshaw was a member of the Inner Temple and by 1552 had become Chief Baron of the Exchequer.He witnessed the Will of Edward V1 in favour of Lady Jane Grey and there was a rumour that he had a hand in forging the Will of Henry V111.  He died as Mary came to the throne and so avoided any persecution. Thomas and Christian had 3 children - Benedict, Mary and Anthony. Anthony died in 1556 and his mother died shortly after. She is buried at Chalgrove.
His last marriage was to
Elizabeth. Her genealogy is not known but with Thomas' track record I would expect her to come from an important family of the day. The only record of her existence so far is the mention of her in the Chalgrove Deed of Sale.

1. Jack of Newbury
2. Second Generation
3. Third Generation
4. Fourth Generation
The Ghost of Noke
5. Fifth Generation
6. Sixth Generation
7. Seventh Generation
The Boleyn Connection
8. Eighth & Ninth Generations
9. Genealogical Site Ring
10. Really Useful Stuff (Links)
11.The Gloucestershire Winchcombes
12.Nathaniel Winchcombe 1757-1817
Victoria History Berkshire
Victoria History Buckinghamshire
Victoria History Oxfordshire
Will of John Winchcombe 1557
Will Benedict Winchcombe 1623
PRO Doc E/133/2/263
Thames Valley Papists (T.Hadley)
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