Illustrations for Paxson/Paxton Family in England

Graphics to Illustrate
Paxson logothe Paxson/Paxton Family Paxson logo
in England

This page is still under construction.
But you can jump down to look at Barton Hartshorn, Bycot Manor, Finmere, Hillesden, Hunger Hill, Launton, Marsh Gibbon, or Tingewick.

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Paxson coat of arms

            The Paxson coat of arms, as interpreted and illustrated by Martha K. D. Paxson. There is some thought that she misinterpreted the description, and the three stars should be in a vertical line beneath the chevrons. Her design was made into a gorgeous leaded glass panel by stained glass artist Joe Diano.

            One technical description of the arms is given as:

      "ARMS: Ermine, two chevrons, the one sable, the other azure, between three mullets, in the pale of the last.
      "CREST: An eagle's head erased, azure, charged on the neck with two chevrons, or, between a pair of wings argent. Semee of mullets gules."

            In any event, our branch of the family has no legal right to the use of this coat of arms.

            The motto, "Industria ditat", can be translated as "industry enriches" or "diligence enriches". The second word is from dito, ditavi, ditatus—related to the substantive "rich man" (dives). [a] How about "Industriousness enriches"? or "Hard work enriches"? That is a slightly different connotation from "diligence" enriching.

WMP's coat of arms

            A more angular and less graceful rendition of the Paxson coat of arms, with the stars in a vertical line but interspersed with the chevrons, was published in W. M. Paxton, The Paxtons . . . We Are One! (1903). He dates it 1250, but names no individual or story to account for its grant.

Map of Buckinghamshire

map of Buckinghamshire

   Barton Hartshorn, Buckinghamshire, is 4 1/4 miles west south west from Buckingham. The parish records exist back to 1582. This map is copyright by Kevin Quick and is used with his kind permission.

   Apparently it was the Manor House, earlier known as the manor of Barton Hartshorn, alias "Beggars Barton", that was purchased by Edmund Paxton in 1569/70 from John Wellesbourne, son of John. Edmund Paxton's son William succeeded him at the manor, and died in 1628. He left a son Thomas, but apparently the manor passed to the Butterfield family, a member of which had married the Paxton heiress. Edmund styled himself a yeoman, and was obviously fairly prosperous. His brother Henry (originally thought to have been our ancestor, but without any proof) was only a husbandman, living in Hillesden. The third brother, William, was a husbandman in Barton Hartshorn.[1]

    See Barton Hartshorn as part of the hundred of Buckingham, in Buckinghamshire, in a 1847 map.

   The Manor House (on the map to the right) was built of stone in 1635, although by now it is much altered. King's End Farm is a 17th century stone house with a stone barn with thatched roof built at the same time.

   The church of St. James was, like so many others, rebuilt in the 19th century. The only old part is the 13th century nave. The two square-headed windows in the south wall are 14th century, while those in the north wall are 16th century. The pointed south doorway is a reset 13th century, while the blocked west doorway is late 15th or early 16th century. Above it is a 13th century lancet window. [2]

   Finmere is eight miles northeast by north of Bicester, in Oxfordshire on the River Ouse. Its parish records exist back to 1566.

      Church of St. Michael
   Photo by MJP Grundy, 5/1999.

   The parish of Hillesden, also spelled Hillesdon, is 3 3/4 miles southwest of Buckingham in the hundred of Buckingham. A small branch of the Ouse marks the boundary on the south and south-east. The soil, as in most of the other parishes in the area, is clay. It is kind of fun to realize that in the twelfth century Hillesden was owned by our ancestors (in another line) Walter Gifford and William Marshall.[3] The Paxtons did not descend from them and were probably beneath the notice of the great lords who, in any event, did not have their main abode in Hillesden.

   See Hillesden as part of the hundred of Buckingham, in Buckinghamshire, in a 1847 map.
   The parish church of All Saints was rebuilt in 1493 in the later English style. But then the building suffered a "thorough restoration" in 1875. The east window on the south aisle has some remains of 15th century stained glass illustrating eight scenes from the legend of St. Nicholas.[4]

                                                   interior looking east

   During the Civil War the manor house of Sir Alexander Denton was garrisoned by the Royalists. The garrison surrendered on 4 March 1643/4, the house was plundered and burned, and Denton was sent to prison where he died. It was said that the surrender was "much to the ease and comfort of the poor inhabitants of the almost wasted county of Buckingham" who had been oppressed by the owners of the great house.[5]
   Hillesden Hamlet still contains some tiny, old, thatched cottages that would have been lived in by folks well beneath Sir Alexander in the social and economic order. It is possible that Henry Paxton, who died in 1559, lived in a house not too unlike these (minus modern plumbing, of course).

Recent photographs of Hillesden, and the information on the town where not otherwise referenced, courtesy of Barbara F. Gill.


     Launton is a village on the Bicester Road in Oxfordshire 1 3/4 miles east of Bicester. Edward the Confessor used the income from the Manor of Launton (among others) to endow his new Abbey Church at Westminster. Monks then came up from Westminster to supervise the Manor, which by 1267 was described as a pretty simple two-roomed thatched house. Later it was leased to tenant-farmers, one of whom rebuilt it in 1650.

     The earliest extant map of Launton, 1607, shows a building where the pub (shown in the photograph to the left) stands. It seems likely that there has been an inn or public house there at least that long. Husbandman Edmund Paxton died in Launton in 1609. Presumably he would have been quite familiar with the pub.

     The Westminster monks built a chapel in Launton. Later a church was built, and in 1435 the churchyard was consecrated for burials. The parish records did not begin until 1648, or at least that is the oldest records that survive.


   Recent photographs and notes on the village of Launton, courtesy of Barbara Gill

Bycot Manor, view 2    Bycot Manor is now a nineteenth century edifice. This is not what Henry Paxson would have known in the early 1680s. He also would not have owned it, in spite of the fond hopes of late nineteenth century Henry D. Paxson's articles in the Bucks County Historical Society's publication.

  Bycot Manor, 1979  
  Photographs by MJP Grundy and KW Grundy, Sept. 11, 1979

      Marsh Gibbon is in the southwest part of the union, hundred, and county of Buckingham. See a 1847 map showing Marsh Gibbon in the southwest part of the hundred of Buckingham, in Buckinghamshire.

Air view of Marsh Gibbon, ca. 1976, and Map of the village showing the same orientation as the air photo.
Air view from John Cutforth, Marsh Gibbon: En landsby i England, part of the verdens landsbyer series (1976), p. 6; map on p. 7.

air view of Marsh Gibbon Photo by Kay Walton of St. Mary's Church and Manor Farm

      The village is unusual in belonging not to a lord or the crown, but to the Ewelme Trust, established in 1442 by William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and his wife Alice, to support an almshouse at Ewelme in Oxfordshire. Alice Chaucer was the grand daughter of Geoffrey Chaucer, and widow of the Earl of Salisbury. As the widowed Duchess of Suffolk, Alice was an astute and powerful landowner in East Anglia, who appears from time to time in the Paston family letters.[6] The Manor of Marsh was part of the endowment for the Ewelme Trust. The Trust escaped Henry VIII's dissolution of monasteries and other foundations, perhaps because the king was its immediate patron. During the reign of Elizabeth I the manor was leased to various individuals, and in 1617 James I granted it to augment the salary of the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Thus the lords of the manor have been the trustees of the almshouses.[7]

      As you can see on the map and photo above, the church and Manor Farm are adjacent to each other. This is clearly seen in the panorama view (to the right) by Kay Walton, sent to me and used with her kind permission, 2006.

      The Manor House dates mainly from the time of Elizabeth I, somewhat altered early in the 17th century when the attic was added. It was partially refaced in the 18th century. Most of it would have been known by our ancestors living there in the middle decades of the seventeenth century.

The Manor House, from Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:205; and a photo by MJP Grundy, 5/1999.

      There is a second manor in the village, Westbury Manor. In the twelfth century the Gibbewin or Gibevin family came into possession of it. They provided the "Gibbon" in the village's name. In the seventeenth century when our Paxsons were living in the village, Westbury Manor was in the hands first of the Howell family, then after 1659, of the Francis family.[8]

      There are other physical remains of the village that would have been familiar in the years before 1682 when our ancestors left for Pennsylvania. The Greyhound Inn is from the 17th century. Near the Manor House in 1841 it was noted that there were vestiges of earthworks, "said to have been thrown up by the parliamentarians" in 1645, although we were unable to see them more than a century later.[9]

Photo by Kay Walton of Box Farm House on Castle Street

      Kay Walton has kindly sent me some of her photographs from a 2006 visit to Marsh Gibbon. They show some of the old farm houses, many with thatched roofs. I do not know their specific dates, but these places would have been the dwellings of prosperous yeomen farmers, not our Paxson "labourers". The first two are on Castle Street: Box Farm House is shown to the right, and Long Herndon Farmhouse is in the long narrow photograph below. The third picture is Forge House on the south side of Church Street, and the fourth is Middle Farm House. A publication titled Department of the Environment List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Borough of Buckingham, Buckinghamshire has descriptions of buildings all over Buckinghamshire that have any significance. The entry on Forge House states it is a seventeenth century building constructed in two "builds". It describes the House: "2 left-hand bays are timber framed with whitewashed brick infill. Right-hand section is of coursed rubble stone with timber lintels to openings. Thatched roof. Large stack of thin brick with pilasters to left of stone section, lobby entry below. 1.5 storeys, 3 bays, irregular 2- and 3-light barred wooden casements, those to upper floor in thatch." The "door with small staircase window to upper left" is twentieth century.

Photo by Kay Walton of Long Herndon Farmhouse on Castle Street Photo by Kay Walton of Forge House on Church Street Photo by Kay Walton of Middle Farm House unidentified cottage from the College Buildings part of Marsh Gibbon; photo by Kay Walton, and kindly used with her permission.

      Kay also sent me photographs of much smaller seventeenth century cottages. Of course they have been much altered and modernized. But in the picture to the right you can get some sense of the type of cottage in which our Paxson ancestors were likely to have lived. This one is in the College Building section of Marsh Gibbon.

enlarged detail showing St. Mary's Church, from an 1848 map

      Probably the most familiar landmark in most English towns is the village church. Marsh Gibbon's church of St. Mary the Virgin has largely been rebuilt since our ancestors worshipped there. The sketch to the right enlarged from an 1848 map is probably the best image we have of what the church would have looked like when our Paxsons were there.

      The drawing of St. Mary's Church by Kathleen Gell, printed on a post card, below, shows the church the way it looks today with its over-sized 19th century chancel stuck on the east end. [From a post card.]

Post card with sketch of St. Mary's Church by Kathleen Gell

      Construction on the east end of the building was started in 1240, with the south aisle added around 1300. The west tower was built soon after. Visitors today can still see some excellent 13th century carvings on the four eastern pillars of the nave and chancel arch. There is a good example of a "perpendicular" 15th-16th century window. The entrance to the rood screen and loft (although the screen and loft were removed in 1879-80), and the 14th c. tomb of a rector are still there. The church as it appears today suffered two major Victorian "restorations" and bears little resemblance to what our ancestors would have recognized.

      The rector at the time our family lived in the village was Doctor Say. He donated the parish register book, so we have him to thank for the records being in a proper book. Since the parish records date back to 1577, perhaps Dr. Say donated the second or a subsequent volume. He was succeeded by Mr. Dodd. The latter's epitaph paints him in glowing colors (as epitaphs usually do) but makes no mention of what he thought of Quakers rearing their heads among his flock. The attitudes of established clergy varied widely, from friendly or at least tacit toleration to virulent opposition and persecution. Since there are no records of Paxsons in Marsh Gibbon being persecuted for non-payment of tithes, for instance, we might cautiously assume that Mr. Dodd was at least not vindictive. It is also possible that the Paxsons were so insignificant he didn't bother noticing them--especially since they continued to have their babies baptized in the church.

Here lies the Body
of the Reverd MR John Dod
Batchelor in Divinity
and Rector of this Church
he dyed on the 24th day of May 1698
and in the 66 year of his Age
He was A truly pious person
A learned & laborious Minister
A kind Husband, a tender Father
A sincere Friend
& one of great compassion to the poor
he was one of the best of men
full of good works
he now Rests from his labours
& is of Blessed Memory on Earth
& happy for ever in Heaven

Tower of St. Mary's, photo by Barbara F. Gill Tower of St. Mary's, photo by Barbara F. Gill Tower of St. Mary's, photo by Barbara F. Gill Tower of St. Mary's, photo by MJP Grundy, 5/1999

   Barbara F. Gill shared with me the three photographs of St. Mary's Church, above, and they are shown here with her kind permission. The first shows the church with a convenient yew blocking sight of the nineteenth century addition at the right end of the building. The second shows the 1860 chancel in its out-of-proportion immensity. The third is a view of the church from the graveyard. There are several Paxton ancestors buried in the church yard, but no stones for them remain (if there ever were any).

   The picture to the right shows the church from an angle that enables us to see what would have been familiar to our ancestors before they left in 1682. The only difference might have been a small pyramidal roof on top of the tower, which has since been removed.


   Tingewick church

Tingewick seems to have been spelled Tingxwek from time to time in the seventeenth century. It lies along the road from Buckingham to Deddington. As late as 1900, several houses from the 17th century still had thatched roofs. I do not know if any of them still exist, with or without thatched roofs. Whether one of them was the "red house" mentioned in Paxton wills, I do not know.

      The church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, has bits of an earlier twelfth century church. The nave was lengthened westward and the north aisle added about 1200. The present chancel and west tower (seen here) were built in the late fifteenth century. "Below the parapet of the tower is a moulded cornice, with plain gargoyles at the angles and a grotesque boss in the center of each face." Unfortunately the detail on this photo is not good enough to see them. However, the similarity between this tower and the one on St. Mary's church in Marsh Gibbon, is obvious. The south aisle was added in 1830 and the south porch in 1867. The font is late sixteenth century.[10]

   Hunger Hill, the home of Thomas Ellwood, where the monthly meeting for the Upperside of Bucks were held for nearly forty years in the second half of the seventeenth century. By the nineteenth century it was derelict, and about 1870 the building was demolished.
Hunger Hill    Thomas Ellwood was tutor to Mary Springett's children, including Guilema, who later married William Penn. Thomas also served as amenuensis for John Milton, and was reputed to have suggested, once Milton had written about Paradise lost, that he needed to write about Paradise found [Regained]. Ellwood did a fair amount of writing himself, and was asked to edit George Fox's manuscript journal for its first publication.
   From Quaker Biographies (Philadelphia: Friends' Book Store, 1912), Vol. 2, facing p. 99.

Citations and Notes for this page

a. My thanks to Professor Don Laing for the translation.

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:148.

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:148.

. Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England..., 5th ed., 4 vols. (S. Lewis & Co., 1842), 2:473; The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:174.

. Lewis,  A Topographical Dictionary of England, 2:473; The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:176-80.

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:173.

. See Helen Castor, Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph During the Tumultuous Wars of the Roses (NY: HarperCollins, 2006).

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:207

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:208.

. Lewis,  A Topographical Dictionary of England, 3:239.

. The Victoria History of the County of Buckingham, 4:250.

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Last updated on 9m/15/2022.