Hezekiah Hewett and his family were prominent in Thornbury during the late 1600s and early 1700s. During this period they were associated with several properties in the Town and pieces of land in the surrounding area. It is interesting to note that after 1774 the family is not mentioned in any of our sources and the various branches appear to have moved away from the town or died out.
There were in fact at least four Hezekiah Hewetts associated with Thornbury in the records we have found. We will start with Hezekiah who married Katherine Lawrence. Throughout the period of the late 1600s he was referred to as Hezekiah Hewett senior.
Hezekiah senior and Katherine
We are not sure when Hezekiah senior was born and we have found no record of his birth or baptism in Thornbury. However the last will and testament of Ananias Hewett written in 1657 has confirmed that Ananias was Hezekiah’s father. In the will Ananias left his son, Hezekiah, ten pounds. He also left ten pounds each to Hezekiah’s three sons, confirming that Hezekiah junior was the eldest and showing that in 1657 he had not yet reached the age of 21. The will also makes clear that John was the second eldest son and Guy was the youngest. According to the IGI, Ananias Hewet married Mary Lenton in Thornbury on 3rd May 1620. His will indicates that by 1657 Mary had died and that Hezekiah had married again. His second wife was named Joane and she had had a son by an earlier marriage who was not named in the will but still received £5.00. Ananias also had a daughter, Lidia, to whom he left his house and other lands jointly with his wife Joane and Lidia was his sole executrix.
Ananias Hewett was listed as living in Morton, just on the outskirts of Thornbury, in the poor law assessment listing of 1622. There are several court records available on the Internet showing that Ananias was acting as juror in Thornbury during the period 1632 to 1640. At the time Ananias wrote the will he was living in Hill.
We do not know when Hezekiah married Katherine Lawrence, the sister of Guy Lawrence, of Oldbury (not to be confused with the Guy Lawrence who was Vicar of Thornbury). Based on when their children married and had their own children, we suspect that Hezekiah and Katherine married around 1650. They had at least three sons: Hezekiah jnr, John and Guy (all written about in more detail below). When Guy Lawrence wrote his will in 1679 he left his sister and two of her children, Hezekiah and John, two shillings each. We don’t know why Katherine’s third son, Guy, was not mentioned.
Hezekiah is mentioned in several manorial records which we found at Stafford Records Office. The example shown below is a record of the Baron Court of Thornbury in August 1665. It shows Hezekiah attended the Court accused of ‘refusing to gather the Estreats & for not giving in his accounts’. We are not very knowledgeable about the customs of this period, but it appears to us that Hezekiah must have had some responsibility for collecting fines or similar charges due to the Court. We would love to hear from someone who could tell us more about what this means.
In the other cases, Hezekiah appeared in Court complaining against another person for trespass or other offences.
Hezekiah was associated with several properties in Thornbury. Throughout the 1680s he is listed in borough rent rolls and poor rate assessment listings as having two properties. One of these is regularly referred to as ‘for Tayers’ which normally means that the property was previously occupied by someone of that name. In one rent roll (thought to be written around 1688) it gives us more details.
The first is located on the west side of the High Street, just down from Daggs. It is described as being a quarter of a burgage, late Aylers, for which Hezekiah was liable to pay 3d. We assume this property is the one now known as 54 High Street. The early deeds of 50 and 52 High Street show that in 1689, the adjoining property on the south (which we assume to be number 54 High Street) was ‘of one Hezekiah Hewett wherein one Guy Hewett now inhabiteth’. We know that Hezekiah Hewett, a shoemaker, bought a property on the west side of the High Street from Arthur Ayleworth alias Ayler, a carpenter, for £20 on 10th February 1674. We note that in this record Hezekiah was a shoemaker but in later records he was described as a yeoman. We cannot explain this but he may have become a yeoman in the sense of being a freeholder after he acquired property.
The second property listed in the rent roll as being occupied by Hezekiah was on the east side of the High Street, just up from The Swan. This was described as being half a burgage, referred to as ‘Schoole land’ for which Hezekiah was liable to pay 6d. We know that this property was one of several properties owned by the Feoffees of the Free School and believe that it was the one later known as 29 High Street. We have no further information associating him with this property.
The Hearth Tax record of 1671 shows two entries for Hezekiah Hewett. In one property he had two hearths and in the other property he also had two hearths. We cannot identify these properties although they may be the same as those listed in the Rent Roll referred to above.
The 1696 Tithe Terrier shows Hezekiah owned two pieces of land in the Crossways area, which lies to the north east of the town.
111. Item Two grounds called Cannings, belonging to Hezekiah Hewett by estimacon Six acres or thereabouts bounded North by Tunbridges great leazow, South by the Lane that leadeth from Thornbury to the Crossewayes, East by Tunbridges Grove and on the West by Mrs Tayers Trotters and Mr Staffords paddocks have time out of mind paid tythe hay to the parsonage.
113. Item one paddock belonging to Hezekiah Hewett by estimacon three quarters of an acre lying North next to the Lane that leadeth from Crossewaies to Milborough heath, South next to the grounds of Christopher Raymond gent, East next to the same, and West next to the Lane which leadeth from Crossewaies to Sibland As alsoe one paddock lying betweene the Lane that leadeth to the Crossewaies and the land that leadeth to Sibland bounded East by Christopher Powell’s ground have time out of mind paid tythe hay to the Parsonage.
On 29th August 1699 Hezekiah senior, described as a yeoman, bought the two properties on the east side of the High Street formerly known as the Tygers Head, later to become known as 51 High Street and 53 High Street. We know from an indenture dated 1757 that Hezekiah had specified in his will that 51 High Street was left to his wife, Katherine during her lifetime, then it was intended to descend to their son, Guy. The other property, 53 High Street, was left to their son, John. In the event Katherine pre-deceased Hezekiah. She was buried 1st May 1701 and Hezekiah senior was buried on 27th May 1705.
We note that there is a letter written by Hezekiah Hewett of Thornbury mentioned on the website ‘Early Modern Letters Online’. The letter was written by Hezekiah in 1672 to Nathanial Freind. The website only shows the card index held by the Bodleian Library but this index suggests that the letter refers to Dr John Sprint. We can only speculate about this letter, as we have not seen it, but John Sprint was a Vicar in Thornbury from 1602 to 1624. John had been involved in controversies in Thornbury because of his puritan sympathies and his son, also John Sprint, was removed from his parish in the 1660s for being a Dissenter.
Hezekiah was Mayor of Thornbury in 1680/81. He may have served a second term as Mayor in 1699/1700, but it’s possible that this was Hezekiah senior’s grandson, also called Hezekiah, although he would only have been 26 years old at the time.
The Children of Hezekiah and Katherine
1: Hezekiah junior and Mary
Hezekiah was the son of Hezekiah and Katherine Hewett (see above) and thus he became Hezekiah junior. We are not sure when he married Mary. According to the IGI, they had at least two children, Hezekiah, baptised on 22nd August 1673 and Elizabeth baptised on 21st April 1684. Hezekiah junior died young, pre-deceasing his father. He died intestate and was buried on 24th August 1685. The administration document refers to Hezekiah as a yeoman and an inventory of his goods and chattels taken following his death refers to him as a ‘Gent’. A transcription of this inventory showing the value of his goods n £sd is given below. Hezekiah’s father was one of the three people who ‘apprised’ the goods which were left to the widow, Mary, under administration. The inventory of Hezekiah’s goods shows he was a man of some substance – it shows he owned a collection of books and even a carpet in one room.
Transcription of the Inventory of Hezekiah Hewett junior drawn up following his death in 1685.
A true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods and chattels of Hezekiah Hewett Junior late of Thornbury in the Diocesse of Gloucs. Gent deceased
had taken & apprized the Season & twentieth day of August Anno Dni. 1685 by us whose names are hereunto subscribed as followeth:
|Inps. All the wearing Apparrell||05:00:00|
|In ready money att his decease||15:06:06|
|Debts due upon specialty||85:00:00|
|Debts owing to the deceased without specialty||20:00:00|
|Debts very desperate||08:10:00|
|All the plate||06:00:00|
|In the hall chamber one Bedd bedstead with all the appurtenances||03:00:00|
|One Settle table, one chest one box one old safe one other box one trendle one spillion, one spillion cloth and one Seive||00:15:00|
|In the parlor chamber one half headed bedstead one bedd one coverlet one bolster and one pr. of blankets||01:15:00|
|Six sheets with all ye rest of ye linen||01:10:00|
|One coffer one old trunk one box and one little chest of drawers||00:10:00|
|In the parlor one bedd bedstead & all the appurtenances||06:00:00|
|One table board and frame two forms& one carpet||01:05:00|
|One other little table board & frame three joined stools two chaires two cushions and one old carpet||00:15:00|
|All the books||01:10:00|
|A warming pane a fire grate & pr. of andirons fire shovel and tongs||00:15:00|
|All the brass and pewter||02:15:00|
|In the ??? hall fower chairs one stool one looking glass||00:04:00|
|All the irongeere & other things there||00:10:00|
|One nagg one bridle and saddle||05:00:00|
|Three barells one wooden horse and all other lumber not hereinbefore apprized now apprized at||00:10:00|
Apprized by us Hezekiah Hewett Joseph Canings John Thurston
In latin – And this was proved in Reg??? Gloucester 4th September 1685 by Mary Hewett wid
We don’t know what happened to Mary or her daughter, Elizabeth, but we note that there is a burial record for Mary Hewet at Thornbury St Mary’s Church on 10th September 1710 and a burial of ‘Elizabeth Hewet’ there on 15th June 1710.
Hezekiah and Mary’s son, Hezekiah, assumed the name of Hezekiah Hewett junior as his grandfather was still alive. He married Ann Powell in Frenchay on 16th October 1701. The location of the marriage might suggest that this Hezekiah, and possibly other members of the family were Quakers. The Frenchay Meeting House was regularly used by the Quakers of Thornbury for recording their baptisms and marriages. Hezekiah and Ann had a daughter named Ann baptised on 10th August 1703.
2: John Hewett the elder and Martha
John was the son of Hezekiah and Katherine Hewett (see above). According to the IGI, John ‘Huett’ married Martha Webb in Thornbury on 12th January 1674. John and Martha had several children: John baptised on 19th February 1682, Matthew baptised on 21st June 1685 and William and Joseph whose baptisms we have not traced. All four sons were mentioned in his will so were still alive when their father died in 1722. John and Martha also had a son, Thomas, whose baptism we have not found, but who was buried at St Mary’s Church, Thornbury on 21st September 1696. They also had a daughter, Katherine, baptised on 23rd May 1693. She died and was buried on 6th April 1707. Another daughter, Anne, was baptised on 29th April 1696 and she died on 9th September 1696.
The poor rate assessment listings show that John occupied property in Kington during the 1680s. In 1689 John was the collector of the poor rate for the area of Kington.
When his father, Hezekiah, died in 1705 John was left the property now known as 53 High Street. We note John may have been occupying this property from the time that his father bought it in 1699 as the Mayors Accounts books list Hezekiah and John Hewett as sharing the single payment of the 4s 4d annual rent charge for the two properties (51 and 53 High Street) from 1700 to 1703. From 1704 onwards John was sharing the payments with Guy Hewett.
John bought the property called Cobb Hall in Chipping Street which later became part of 3 Silver Street from Anne Webb on 26th April 1715. He is listed as the owner on the 1717 assessment of poor rate in which the property is valued at three-quarters of one penny.
John died and was buried at St Mary’s Church, Thornbury on 24th September 1722. In his will John was described as a yeoman. He left 53 High Street (described as ‘the property occupied by William Burton’) to his wife, Martha during her natural life. After Martha’s death, the property was to be left to their son, John for his life and then left to his daughter, Betty (the grand-daughter of John and Martha). John left Cobb Hall to another son, Matthew for his lifetime and then to Matthew’s son, Thomas and his heirs. In default of any issue, then Cobb Hall would go to Thomas’s brother, yet another, Hezekiah. It is interesting to note that both these properties were occupied by other people and therefore do not indicate where the family were living at that time. John also owned two pieces of land, Barrow Well parrock and Worgan Well parrock, both located in Kington. He left this land to his wife, Martha during her lifetime and after her death the first piece was left to their son William and the second piece to their son, John.
The Mayors Accounts show that from 1723 to 1730 Martha Hewett and Guy Hewett were sharing the payment of the annual rent charge of 4s 4d for the two properties, 51 and 53 High Street. We are not sure why, but the 1731 accounts show that ‘Hester Grove’ was sharing the annual payment of the rent charge in the place of Martha. This is puzzling for two reasons: Martha Hewett, the elder, widow, was not buried until 2nd May 1736 and Hester Grove was the maiden name of the wife of John and Martha’s son, John. He married Hester Grove in Thornbury on 31st August 1708. The Mayors Accounts books show that from 1732 the property at 53 High Street was in the hands of the Hall family.
3: Guy Hewett
Guy was the son of Hezekiah and Katherine Hewett (see above). In 1689 he was living in 54 High Street.
Guy appears to have been a tailor, like his son (see below). In the Mayors Accounts of 1676 Guy was paid 2s 8d for four coats made to be given to the poor people of Thornbury. In 1688 the Mayors Accounts show Guy was a recipient of aid when he was given 5 shillings ‘in his sickness’.
We don’t know who Guy married, but he and his wife had several children including: Sarah baptised on 28th January 1680, Martha baptised on 20th May 1686 and John baptised on 14th July 1689 (who was a glazier buried on 4th February 1729). He must have also had two more children, Mary and Guy, who are mentioned in an indenture written in 1757. According to that indenture, in his will Hezekiah senior had left 51 High Street to his wife, Katherine, for her life but she pre-deceased him and was buried on 1st May 1701. Fortunately Hezekiah had specified that in event of Katherine’s death the property would be left to their son, Guy Hewett for his life and then after his death to Guy’s daughter, Mary. Mary died intestate without issue and the property was left to her eldest brother and heir at law, Guy Hewett.
We don’t know when Guy senior died. There are references in various documents to ‘Guy Hewett’, but we don’t know whether they relate to Guy senior or his son, Guy. For example we know that one of the Guys was a bell ringer at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury some time during the period 1698-1717.
Later references we know relate to the younger Guy as the older Guy would have been over 100.
On 3rd June 1757, Guy Hewett, a tailor of Thornbury sold 51 High Street to James Wade. At that time the property was occupied by Richard Fowler, a shoemaker.
In Guy’s last will written on 28th February 1761 Guy doesn’t mention a wife or any children and we have found no marriage record elsewhere. He left 54 High Street to ‘his kinsman’, William Hewett. He gave his kinsman John Hewett (brother of William) two guineas by way of a mortgage on the house. Guy directed that the two brothers should share his remaining goods, chattels and wearing apparel. He also gave five pounds to Betty, the wife of Daniel Fowler.
We assume that William and John Hewett were Guy’s nephews and the sons of John Hewett the younger (see above). Betty appears to be William and John’s sister and daughter of John Hewett the younger. On 26th January 1741 under the name of Elizabeth Hewett she married Daniel Fowler at Thornbury.
The four sons of John (the son of Hezekiah and Katherine) and his wife Martha:
1: John the younger
John baptised on 19th February 1682. John purchased the property now known as 38 High Street from Phillip Mansell jnr in a deed of lease and release dated 18th/19th February 1706. On 7th/8th July 1716 John conveyed a stable and slaughterhouse (presumably at the rear of his property) to Thomas Alway who lived at what was to become 40 High Street.
On the deeds written in 1716 John is described as a victualler of Kington. They also show he was married to Hester. We believe therefore that they are likely to be the John Hewett and Hester Grove who were married in Thornbury on 31st August 1708. John and Hester had several children, including the following: Martha baptised on 12th September 1709, Thomas baptised on 21st March 1711 (according to the IGI) or 1712 (according to Scribes Alcove) and buried at Thornbury on 25th March 1713, Anne baptised on 15th April 1714 and buried on 31st August 1714, Betty baptised on 13th February 1715 (according to the IGI) or 1716 (according to Scribes Alcove), another Ann baptised on 26th February 1716 (according to the IGI) or 1717 (according to Scribes Alcove), John baptised on 13th March 1719, another Thomas baptised on 1st May 1720, William baptised on 14th March 1721 (according to 1721) or 1722 (according to Scribes Alcove), another William baptised on 26th December 1722 and Joseph baptised on 2nd June 1724.
The last will and testament of John’s father, John Hewett the Elder in 1722 shows that he left John his house called Cobb Hall in Chipping Street (later part of 3 Silver Street) on the understanding that it could be used by John’s mother, Martha, until she died. He also left John a parrock of land called the Worgan Well parrock in the Tything of Kington on the same basis.
On 25th October 1731 John conveyed 38 High Street to Thomas Alway. The property was described as ‘All that messuage wherein Phillip Mansell the younger victualler deceased in his lifetime dwelt & wherein one William Pearce blacksmith inhabiteth situate in the burrough of Thornbury and adjoining to a house late of William Green deceased and now of the said Thomas Allway on the Southside thereof and to a house of John Thurston gent on or nigh the Northside formerly purchased by the said John Hewett of the said Phillip Mansell junior ‘. John was described as a butcher in the deeds relating to this sale.
We are not sure when John died. We note that there is a possible burial of ‘John Hewet’ at Thornbury on 15th April 1733. Hester died on 20th July 1765 aged 78 and she was buried in Thornbury on 22nd July 1765.
Note – in his will dated 1761 Guy Hewett (see below) left 54 High Street to his ‘kinsman’ William Hewett and left two pounds to his ‘kinsman’ John Hewett, the brother of William. We cannot be sure but we feel that William and John were sons of John Hewett the younger. According to the IGI William married Bethia Ducy in St James Church, Bristol in 1755. They had at least three children all baptised at St Michael Church in Bristol: Susanna baptised on 17th April 1757, William baptised on 30th May 1762 and John baptised on 8th August 1763. We know from William’s will dated 2nd January 1764 that he was a cordwainer late of Bristol. He left the property at 54 High Street to his wife, Bethia. His will also mentions that he wanted his wife “to have paternal care in the bringing up of his infant son John Hewett”. The 1770 poor assessment list shows that 54 High Street was owned by Bethiah Hewett and occupied by John Niblett. Bethia’s probate record dated 20th October 1774 shows she was a widow living in Bristol at the time of her will. She left 54 High Street to Betty, wife of Daniel Fowler. Betty died in 1793 aged 77 so we suspect that she was William’s sister and Bethia’s sister in law. Thus, this seems to imply that the Hewetts owned the house from 1674 to 1774 at least.
He was baptised on 21st June 1685. We are not sure who Matthew married or where they lived. They had several children including William baptised on 19th May 1710, John baptised on 13th July 1712, Ann baptised on 13th April 1716, Hezekiah baptised on 30th March 1718 and Christian baptised on 25th June 1721 and buried on 23rd August 1722. They also had a son called Matthew who was buried on 16th July 1726.
When Matthew’s father died in 1722 he left Matthew the property called Cobb Hall for his lifetime and then it was to descend to Matthew’s son, Thomas and his heirs. In default of any issue, then the property would go to Thomas’s brother, yet another, Hezekiah.
He also left Matthew ‘the mortgage of eight pounds which is upon part of Canings Ground situate in Kington, the said Matthew paying his brother Joseph Hewett the full sum of forty pounds of lawful British money and upon non payment thereof I give the same mortgage unto my son Joseph Hewett, the said Joseph Hewett his executors admins or assigns paying unto his brother Matthew Hewett his executors admins or assigns the full sum of forty pounds of lawful British money’. He also made a financial bequest of £50 towards binding Matthew’s son, Thomas, out as an apprentice. Matthew was also left a bed and bedstead and ‘my Great Brewing Kettle’.
Matthew, was buried on 15th November 1730, thus pre-deceasing his mother. We are not sure what happened to Matthew’s son, Thomas, who should have inherited John’s property in Chipping Street, but it ended up being owned by Hezekiah Hewett another of Matthew’s sons. On 30th July 1739 Hezekiah Hewett sold the property at Cobb Hall to Thomas Stokes for £9. Hezekiah was described as a mariner, now or late of Thornbury and younger son of Matthew Hewett yeoman. Hezekiah was baptised at Thornbury on 30th March 1718.
In his father’s will dated 1722 William was left a piece of land called Barrow Well parrock to be given to him after his mother’s death. We know that at that time William was still unmarried as John left William £50 to be given to him ‘immediately after the decease of my executors or upon the said William’s marriage (if approved by his mother Martha) which shall first happen’. We don’t know what happened to William but we note that there was a burial of ‘William Hewts’ in Thornbury on 14th May 1724.
We don’t know much about Joseph, except he was alive at the time his father wrote his will in 1722. In his will John left Joseph his clothes and case. He left a sum of money to Joseph’s daughter, Hannah.
It appears that Joseph married Jone Winter Anderson in Bristol on 5th August 1712. They had a daughter, Hannah, baptised on 31st January 1713 and a daughter, Joanna baptised on 31st January 1714. It looks like Joseph’s wife died giving birth to their daughter Joanna. ‘Joan’ died on 30th January 1714 and was buried in Thornbury St Marys Church on 31st January 1714 aged 44.
It is possible that Joseph may have re-married – there is a marriage to Mary Shepard in Bristol on 11th August 1714. This may account for baptisms of Joseph, son of Joseph, at Stone on 13th July 1719 and Ann on 11th August 1715 also at Stone. Joseph, a son Joseph, was buried in Thornbury on 2nd March 1721.