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Matthew Wynge

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago

 (submitted by Raymond T Wing)  


    Matthew Wynge was a tailor of Banbury, Oxfordshire, England.  It is known that he was not originally from Banbury, but his residence prior to Banbury is still unknown. The only contemporary records known about Matthew are the baptisms of his children (with the exception of his oldest son, Fulke)  at St. Mary's Church in Banbury (1576-1592), the record of his second marriage on 25 OCT 1613 (also recorded in the church registrar), his will (at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury) and the burial records of his first wife (Mary, 24 JUL 1613) and of Matthew himself (on 19 OCT 1614).


    From these meager records, as well as knowledge of contemporary English history, we are able to piece together a biography of his life and times.  Matthew was born around 1550, either at the end of the reign of Henry VIII or (more likely) during the short reign of his son, Edward VI. His early life must have been highly influenced by the religious convulsions of the English throne. Before Matthew's birth Henry VIII split from the Roman Catholic Church and founded what is now called the Anglican Church. Upon Henry's death, his young son, Edward, was crowned King. However, as he was then only 9 years old, a council of regents were appointed by his father to run the country. The regents futher solidified the Protestant reforms of the church. Edward's death, while still a minor, in 1553, caused chaos. Henry's eldest daughter, Mary, a Roman Catholic, eventually was crowned Queen after the brief (9 day) reign (in name only) of Lady Jane Grey (who was not only a Protestant, but the daughter-in-law of the chief Regent.) Most of the powerful Lords in England were Protestant, and had tried to prevent Mary from assuming the crown. During her short reign of 5 years, she had almost three hundred religious dissenters executed, earning the epithet of "Bloody Mary." (In reality, she was merely continuing the tradition of her father in executing those who got in her way.) After Mary's death in 1558, her half-sister, Elizabeth acceeded to the throne of England. Elizabeth was a Protestant, and once again changed the church service to Protestantism.


    During this time, church attendance was manditory. Persons who failed to attend church were severely fined and even imprisoned. The English population had "front row seats" into the religious convulsions caused by the Royalty. The local parish priest likely was replaced several times during this brief period. Church Registers were usually destroyed when the faith was changed (which is why almost no parish records exist prior to the start of the reign of Elizabeth I in 1558.) During this time period EVERYONE was able to see, first-hand, how every aspect of religion is subject to interpretation. This, plus the new technology of the printing press, had revolutionized the whole concept of religion. The invention of the printing press made it possible for people to own their own Bible. No longer did they have to rely on the word of the parish priest for what the Bible said. They can now read it for themselves. This technology required people to be better educated (so they can read the books now being printed) which caused a flourishing of the colleges. This increased education also helped give rise to the middle-class, of which Matthew had belonged.


See:  Wing Family

        Matthew Wynge of Banbury, England

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