An Unmarried Mother

This is another note from the parish register of Eydon in Northants, in Syd Tyrell’s A Countryman’s Tale:

John Hinton sonne of Henry Hinton of the Graynge and Jane Warce whom he got with chylde being his mayde, was baptised 13th January 1623

This is interesting as this suggests the infamous practice of a master having his wicked way with a servant, but here, he seems to have stood by her. The child has the father’s name, and they went to the trouble and expense of baptising him, which requires several Godparents, so this arrangement must have been acceptable to people around them.

Which reminds me of the surname of Fitz- which was a common title for the illegitimate sons of kings and the aristocracy. This is a name that is often associated with Ireland, which makes me wonder if such offspring were sent away for a new life without the embarrassment of their presence, but it may also have been a means of continuing the family line. I read somewhere else of the number of lords who had had their heads removed by Henry VIII; in fact, if we add in the beheadings of his daughters, plus those lost in the wars, a lot of the top families took a real hammering male-heir wise. Which reminds me of the term ‘an heir and a spare’. Maybe the Fitz title, as the above example, was a male heir held in reserve in case the family line failed.


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