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Prentices of Essex and Suffolk Counties, England: Part 2

The Prentices of Essex and Suffolk Counties, England: Part 2
Winter 2000 and Revised 23 Oct 2000

Note: For the earlier article providing information about the Prentice families of Essex County, see Prentices of Essex County, England in our Fall 1999 issue.

John R. Threlfall has generously provided us, by letter of 7 Oct 2000, with information about the earliest known PRENTICE families in Essex and Sussex Counties, England. Both counties are covered here because of the proximity of some of the Prentices to each other in the adjoining counties. We have combined his information with information provided by Ian Prentice and others in the hope that it will aid Prentice researchers in compiling Prentice family trees.

The surname PRENTICE, and its spelling variations, is not a common name. It would be reasonable to use a couple rules-of-thumb for the earliest generations of Prentices:

  • Prentices are probably closely related who are living in proximity to each other in a small community in a given time frame. For example, in a village of 100 families in a given year, two families named Prentice are probably closely related.
  • There is probably an ancestor-descendant relationship between generations shown in proximity to each other. For example, in a village of 100 families where Prentice families appear over a span of 100 years, later Prentice families are probably descended from earlier Prentice families.

With those rules-of-thumb in mind, it is interesting to examine the 1327 Essex County and Suffolk County, England, Tax Rolls:

1327 Essex County Tax Roll

In the 1327 Lay Subsidy (i.e. tax roll) of Essex, five Prentices are listed:

  • Henry Prentiz of Stowe
  • Thomas Prentyz of Finchingfield
    • Finchingfield lies only about 3 to 6 miles NE of Shalford where we have identified Valentine Prentice's roots in the early and middle 1500s.
    • It also lies only 10-15 miles from the White Colne area where we believe we may have identified the ancestors of Henry Prentice, The Planter, in the early 1500s.
  • Alice Prentiz of Colchester. Colchester lies only about 5 miles east of the White Colne area, mentioned above.
  • John Prentiz of Weald.
  • Thomas Prentiz of [Saffron] Walden. Saffron Waldon lies about 10-15 miles NW of Finchingfield and Shalford, mentioned above.
  • Thomas Prentiz of [Saffron] Waldon.

1327 Suffolk County Tax Roll

In the 1327 Lay Subsidy (i.e. tax roll) of the adjoining county of Suffolk, four Prentices are listed:

  • John Prentys, weaver of Sudbury. (See Henry Prentice of Sudbury )
  • John Prentys of Great Livermere. By email of 23 Oct 2000, Ian Prentice indicates that John is a member of the family of "The Prentices of Palgrave, Bungay and Stowmarket, England and Pennsylvania" which appears in our Fall 2000 issue.
  • John Prentysz of Nayland. (See John Prentice of Nayland )
  • William Prentys of Assington

Sudbury, Nayland and Assington all lie with the Sudbury-Colchester-Braintree triangle which has legs of about 15 miles

6 generations and 173 years separate 1327 and 1500, the date to which we have traced the probable ancestors of the New England emigrants, Valentine Prentice and Henry Prentice. The 7 most likely ancestors are those 7 living in Finchingfield, Colchester, Saffron Walden, Sudbury, Nayland and Assington.

We don't know how many produced children, how many children were male or whether there was intermarriage between those families. However, since large families were common, if we take a conservative estimate of an average of 2 surviving and marrying males per family per generation (2x7x6), that would produce 84 Prentice males by 1500, a great many of whom would likely be living within a few miles of those locations.

It seems likely, therefore, that 1 or more those 7 Prentices are the ancestors of Prentices who, in 1500, were living within 10 miles of the towns within that triangle, and 1 or more of those 7 are the likely ancestors of Valentine Prentice and Henry Prentice of New England.

It also seems likely that 1 or more of those 7 are the likely ancestors of the Prentices of Glemsford and Langley discussed in our Winter 2000 article since they lie only 3-4 north of Sudbury.

It is also likely that 1 or more of thsoe 7 are ancestors of the emigrant to New England, Thomas Prentice "The Trooper" since his roots lie in Clare which lies 6-7 miles NW of Sudbury and about 5 miles west of Glemsford and Long Melford

If you have any information which can help us identify the ancestry and descendants of any of the folks mentioned above, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com..

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