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Matthew Wynge


While scientific DNA testing suggests that our "WING" ancestors arrived in the British Isles from what is now either Germany (through the Anglo-Saxon Invasion of the 5th Century) or Denmark (the Viking Invasion prior to the 11th century), genealogists and historians can only trace the beginning of the modern Wing family to Banbury, Oxfordshire, England during the late 1500's. This was a particularly chaotic and violent era in British history as the monarchs, in the era of Henry VIII onward, fought to bring its people out of the last holds of the "Dark Ages" by dissolving the archaic feudal system to gain central control over its lands and resources, and by declaring its independent soveriegnty from the well established Roman Catholic Church for influence of its people. The monarchy, in their self-proclaimed divinity, declared themselves the sole mediator between their subjects and God, and as is often the case with attempts for exclusive audience with God, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people tragically perished in war, disease, persecution and poverty over the course of the next century. While our earliest known ancestor, Matthew Wynge, a prosperous tailor within the growing influential merchant class of English society is the earliest identified Wing ancestor, it is with his son, John Winge, that our current Wing lineage is heralded.







Hague Cathedral





Rev. John Winge


Educated at Queen's College (one of several colleges at Oxford University) John became a clergyman of the established (Anglican) church at the age of 19. Shortly after accepting a fulltime ministerial position he married Deborah Bachiler, daughter of the controversial ex-Vicar of Wherwell, Reverend Stephen Bachiler. John and his wife eventually removed to The Hague, Netherlands, to escape the growing political and social tension between England and her disenfranchised poor and working class who had found their allegiances tossed about in public political and religious controversy. 


Harboring Protestant ideals, he accepted the post of Reverend at the Hague Cathedral and stood before Europe's most influential aristocrats and intellects of that era; including an audience of "The Queen Of Hearts" Elisabeth Of Bohemia, daughter of England's ruling Stuart King, James I (of King James Bible). She, her Protestant husband,Frederick V, King Of Bohemia, and two of their eight children*, Rupert and Henry, were forced into exile in 1622 by the Holy Roman Emperor,Maximillian as a result of losing key military battles early in the Thirty Years War between the Protestants and Catholics which ravaged much of Europe . This proximity brought Rev John Wing under close scrutiny of the Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud and became cause for official international correspondence between the diplomats of England and Holland.


[*One child of Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart was the notable female intellectual and advocate of religious liberty, Elizabeth, Princess of Palatine, who remained with her grandmother until re-joining them at the Hague years later]


Many of England's Protestant ruling and gentry class, forebears of Puritanism, were in support of Frederick, King of Bohemia and his fight against the oppressive Holy Roman Empire. One such person was Theodiphilus Clinton, the Earl of Lincoln, who sought the advice of his estate steward and personal secretary, Thomas Dudley, on the feasibility of sending mercenary troups into Germany to fight in support of the King. The recommendation AGAINST this action given by future governor of Massachusetts was heeded. The Earl eventually underwrote the sailing of "Winthrop's Fleet" to America in the "Great Migration", the flagship of which was named for his sister, the Lady Arbella.


A few of Rev John Wing's sermons, undoubtedly heard in part by the banished royal family, were eventually published as a set of five books considered by many as being controversial for the day. One of the books is currently held in the Presidential library of John Adams in Boston. Three others are currently held by The British Museum and the fifth, an often quoted revolutionary Puritan tract advocating the equality of women originally printed in 1620, was gratefully received from a private collector by the Wing Family Of America genealogical society during its 2008 annual National Family Reunion  held in Sandwich Massachusetts.



(Reprints of these sermons are currently available to purchase)






Rev John Winge had recently returned to England, but died in London from a long term illness which he alluded to in his letters at the age of 45 the very same year the Massachussets Bay Colony charter was signed.


 “…no hand but Gods should have withholden myne; but such was the infirmity of myne owne body, that for divers days I could not write at all, and such is the sorrowful distraction of a sick family, that (as yet) I am neither able to write soe advisedly of my self as I would, nor goe abroad [word marked out] to sift out…Thus your Lo[rdshi]p hath the first f…ts of my recovered frailty, I am yet but feeble, and unfit for this, and unable to doe more, till God shall give me strength to travayle; which…”


[ Letter written on Sept. 28 1624 to Britain’s Ambassador To Holland, Sir Dudley Carleton, in reply to the Ambassador’s inquiry into Rev John Winge’s knowledge of the facts concerning the “Amboyna Massacre”]


While the the circumstances precipitating the return of Rev. John Winge and his family to England are not well documented or specifically understood, it may be safe to assume that the ambitions of the family patriarch, Rev Stephen Bachiler, could have played a significant role in the decision; as even his untimely death seems to have to been unable to dissuade the determined Bachiler from acting upon his political and religious desires.



How incredibly frustrating it must have been, then, for the aging Rev Bachiler, a political maverick who in earlier years helped quietly spawn the Puritan revolution in England, to witness in irony the successful formation of companies led by men seemingly less inspired than his protégé. One today can only imagine the dreams held in Rev Bachiler’s heart or dare concieve the political plans craftily conspired in his mind. Yet, as fanciful as they may seem to be, our playful ponderings would be neither unfounded nor unwarranted, because in London less than a year after the demise of Rev John Winge, the Rev Bachiler is documented as becoming instrumental in the formation of a colonizing company, comprising mostly of businessmen and merchants believed to be even more philosophically liberal than those men who formed the Massachusetts Bay Company, known as the “Company Of Husbandmen”.


Perhaps the only shortfall in the company’s dealings was in the forming of sound political backing, as they, unlike the the Massachusetts Bay Company who established a long-standing relationship with the Earl of Lincoln over the course of several years, opportunistically sought the attention of feudal capitalist and fervent supporter of the throne, Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Gorges’ experience in colonizing of America spanned nearly 40 years, as it was through his patents that the Jamestown and Popham colonies came into brief existence. The determination of their meager populations, unlike the Puritan’s dream of religious and personal liberty, was based solely on the promise of wealth and therefore quickly waned into dissolution as they were quickly met with hardships. It was quite possible this experience alone, despite the questionable success, the Company of Husbandmen found attractive of Gorges; and the more important fact of his sworn disdain for Puritanism, which placed him on the wrong side of a swelling political tide, must have undoubtedly been cautiously considered by the anxious Bachiler and his company.


When considering the length of time and amount of work historically proven to be needed to formulate and implement plans as lofty as colonization, it is doubtful that the Company was able to successfully set sail in less than one year’s time since the idea’s initial inception as the known documented facts would seem to indicate. It is quite probable that Rev John Winge, along with his wife and four children, had been called back from Holland by Rev Bachiler in order to fulfill a role of an official capacity considered long before the documented introduction of the idea in 1630.


SEE "Unforgiven Puritan - Biography of Rev Stephen Bachiler"


His widow, his four sons and his father-in-law, Rev Stephen Bachilor (who secured their passage aboard the "William & Francis" ) made sail to the new colonies just twelve years after the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims of 1620.




Early Exploration


Popular mythology would have one believing that the Mayflower pilgrims and other early English "planters" arrived blindly and boldly into the New World. However, explorers funded by private investor groups and endorsed by the respective monarchies of England, France, Holland and Spain had been treading the soil and waters of the North American continent extensively for nearly 120 years by the time of the arrival of the Mayflower, oftentimes crossing paths within days of one another. This exploration, with a few noted exceptions, was less about colonization and more concerned with increased capital gains, as the nations of Europe sought means to replenish their treasuries depleted by battles conducted against each other by exploiting the natural resources of coastal North America of its fish, fur, and medicinal plants. Sassafras, for example, which aided in the treatment of the symptoms of syphyllis and gonorhea that was running rampant throughout northern Europe, was found in abundance and extracted extensively from the peninsula of Cape Cod decades before the arrival of the Mayflower. Hindsight shows that the unwillingness on the part of these nations to cooperate and share valuable information of their discoveries contributed to much of the early tragedy and suffering experienced throughout the explorations and early attempts to colonize. True plans for establishing permanent English settlements on the mainland of America were not even seriously and thoughtfully considered as a means to expand the British Empire until the growing Protestant movement of England began to erode the influence of its monarchs. It was only then that King Charles I, son of James I, who became frustrated by the political conflicts stemming from the social changes of his country and realized the advantage of exporting the source of his country's cultural and social upheaval. The Protestants would export to England the fruit of their labor as repayment for their newfound religious freedom.



New World Protestantism


"Protestant" is an umbrella term that refers to Bible-based Christianity which had developed from Martin Luther 's "95 Thesis" that challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Papacy. By early 17th century, the Protestant movement within England adopted the teachings of Luther's secessor, John Calvin. Proponents of Calvinism "splintered" and formed into two basic religious communities. The Puritans accepted ecclesiastic authority of the Church of England but desired to "purify" it of its Catholicism and corruption from within. The Pilgrims on the other hand, were deemed radical by the mainstream English population as separatists who sought to create an entirely separate Christian Church as an alternative to both the King's Church of England and the Catholic Church. By the 1650's, two more significant variations had developed, The Quakers and The Baptists; each with its own distinction that often brought strife and contention from the others.


These two groups, the Pilgrims and Puritans, began arriving in the Americas with the aid of different investors and Royal land charters and patents. These charters were intended as legal binding contracts agreed upon by the investor group, the King, and the "Planters", which dictated the financial terms, the geographical boundaries of their particular proposed settlement and established ground rules of governance. In 1620, after landing briefly at Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine to assess the prospects of establishing a fish harvesting and processing community at their intended destination of northern Virginia, the Pilgrims, led by William Bradford . While off the shores of Cape Cod, they realized the original patent and its trade agreements would no longer apply, so they illegally drafted a social contract that would be later referred to as the beginning of Democracy in America, "The Mayflower Compact".


In 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Company (later Colony) after much political and legal wrangling in both England and the New World, settled the Boston Bay area as a corporation for religious freedom for the Puritans, led by John Winthrop, whose utopian idealogy propelled him to attempt to create a "heavenly" kingdom on earth. With political, legal and financial supporters still in England, the corporation quickly and masterfully organized and began defying their King with the implementation of many new laws, agencies and trade arrangements, so that by the 1650's the Massachusetts Bay Colony became a completely successful self governing entity. There were of course other settlements such as the already mentioned outpost fishing and trading villages along the coast of Maine, and colonies elsewhere within modern day New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern regions, but these two are our primary concern at this time with regard to our ancestry.


See Gov Thomas Dudley's Letter To The Countess Of Lincoln, dated 1631





Wisely foreseeing the need for labor and specialized craft and trade skills for the building of their new home in America, the Puritans and their investors permitted additional passage aboard their ships bound for America for select people not of the particular community or Church in exchange for basic but essential services needed to secure the success of the venture and the community. Those who had the means to invest hard-earned currency in such very high risk ventures were led to believe that they were in effect purchasing entitlements that they may not have otherwise enjoyed in England once landing upon dry land, but the political arrangements which secretly transpired aboard the “Lady Arbella” while in transit were such that their purchased liberties were all but ignored. They had become excluded from the decision making process in an intentionally altered theocracy, and under the narrowly interpreted Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company, the immigrants were coerced into strictly adhering to the authority of its Governor, lawyer John Winthrop, who had ascended to the position following Matthew Craddock’s abrupt resignation due to conflicting philosophical differences just prior to embarking.


There were less than a dozen "Court Assistants", (investors and Charter framers primarily from the old English landed gentry class, in service to the Governor) who remained with the Company and came to America with the political and legal authority to administer to the affairs of the common settlers and establish a rule of law within the challenging early days of the founding of Massachusetts. Rules were therefore eventually implemented to slowly phase in and admit select segments of the general male population. “Mechanics”, surveyors, engineers and other skilled specialized tradesmen were encouraged to become "Freemen" so as to aid in the civil transformation of a growing and diverse band of refugees who found themselves pressed along the edges of a formidable wilderness in desparate squalor to a functional, prosperous and God-faring society.


Initially, upon their arrival in 1630, only the most pious of Puritan men who were not already members of the clergy were admitted as a Free Man, for such a noble position of social ranking was not to be occupied by those of common deportment or of meager means. A candidate was required to renounce all prior Church affiliations and swear an “oath of fidelity” towards God, the Puritan Philosophy, and most significantly, to the governing authority of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This oath entitled them to the right to file legal suits, conduct basic business transactions and voice their concerns of community issues, but it also obligated them to many political, legal and administrative responsibilities which often deterred potential candidates. Therefore, a second phase was implemented in response to the demands of a growing population, and included the "oath of allegiance", which was opened to Church men proven to be of good social standing and personal character.


Essentially, Puritanical thought, or at least, the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s intepretation of it, dictated that the only way one could enjoy basic civil rights was to first prove before a jury of "saintly men", typically consisting of members of the Court of Assistants and ranking Pastors, that he had called upon as one of "God's Elect" and therefore deemed to be virtuous, moral and beyond reproach to become a leader among ordinary men. This Freemen system evolved into the formation of a lower governing body of legislators within the Massachusetts Bay Colony who voted on community-level issues that would be passed along to be hopefully considered and enacted upon by the upper house, the Court of Assistants.


From the perspective of the impoverished laboring lay colonial planter, the "Free Men" system afforded inroads to priviledged opportunities of legal justice and civil liberties not otherwise available to the common working-class. Many, however, like Quaker Daniel Wing, believed that to partake in such an opportunity not only required the taking of an oath which was critical to virtually every aspect of financial, social, civil, legal and religious prominence within early Puritan America and was contrary to Jesus' message, but also, obligated them to other responsibilities both known and unforeseen that would require them to answer to an authority other than that of God; so in true Christian nature, they simply and respectfully declined the opportunity and was happy to continue laboring in service to what they percieved as God's Glory. There were also others who viewed this growing dilemma more pragmatically, and realized that such a “church-state” could potentially become an oppressive oligarchy which would aggressively enforce its perceived authority, unchecked, as a “Divine Right”, thereby violating the very premise of the Puritans coming to the New World in the first place.


As we investigate today the actions of those caught in the grips of the religious fervor of the 17th century, it becomes all too easy for us to scorn those who , as we will see, defied the very precepts they sought to embrace. Personally, while I believe that any violence or hostile aggression committed “in the name of God“, regardless of how He may be pereived, is illogical, counter-intuitive and obscene, I also believe it is equally imperative to temper the impulse to pass judgement upon them, and search beyond the superficial facts of documented history to uncover the very mind-set from which our ancestors perceived the frailties of their own life. Because as we this very day are slowly waking from the restless slumber of Nationalism and attempting to re-established ourselves in this limitless geo-political world of commerce, our immigrant ancestors were attempting to establish themselves in a boundless world juxtaposed between traditional religious dogma and liberty of conscience.






(Text composed by Dennis Wing, Genealogical data verified by Raymond T Wing)



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