My Paternal Family
Grtx3 grandparents: Henry and Ann3 Wray
Henry Wray was baptised at Bengeo, Herts on 11 May 1718. He married Anne Mead at Sawbridgeworth, Herts on 3 March 1746 (their first child was baptized in the following year):
In common with three of his brothers, Henry moved to Hatfield, Herts. He and Ann had at least seven children who were all baptized at Hatfield between 1747 and 1769. Hatfield was a market town which straddled the Great North Road near the crossroads of the St. Albans to Hertford highway. In the nineteenth century, it was surrounded by ‘luxuriant pasture and corn land’ though the topography was ‘rather hilly’ and was originally forested. The parish church of Hatfield is St Ethelreda (below). Around 1760, many Wrays were congregated at Cromer Hyde which was a populated lane about three miles north of Hatfield (see below).
Information about Henry can be gleaned from the Hertfordshire Militia Lists. From 1759 until 1761, he is recorded in the town of Hatfield and, significantly, is described as a labourer and carpenter - there are several instances of Wray hurdle makers being noted as carpenters in parish records.
Around 1761/62, Henry and Ann moved a few miles east to Tewin.The first mention of the Wrays at Tewin is in the Militia List of 1762 which records Henry’s presence in the village. He is only mentioned in the List for that year - which confirms that he is the Henry who was in the Hatfield List until 1761. (The Militia Lists in 1762 only included men aged 18–45 and Henry would have been 45 in 1763.) Thus, Henry and Ann Wray moved to Tewin around 1761-62.
Tewin is an ‘attractive, small, straggling village’ situated 170 feet above sea level. It is about three miles north-west of the county town of Hertford. In 1841, its population was 522. With no less than five Greens – Burnham, Upper, Lower, Archer and Poplar – which may explain the description of ‘straggling’), Tewin is spread over almost 2,700 acres. It is partly arable land, partly woodland and its geology is of chalk and a little London clay. The village’s name derives from Anglo-Saxon words - Tew (God of war) and in(g) (‘sons of’ or ‘an enclosure or meadow’). So, Tewin means either ‘Son of God’ or, more charmingly, ‘God’s meadow’. A settlement was established from about 600 AD on the site of a temple to the ancient god, Tew, and From Norman times the community has been served by the church of St Peter (see below). Its imposing edifice is approached through a long, narrow, straight lane. Beside the church is a memorial to the dead of war. Two other ancient buildings at Tewin are its inns – ‘The Plume of Feathers’ (c1600) and the ‘Rose and Crown’ (1700-50). The Wray family is mentioned briefly in The History of Tewin. A dozen Wrays were found in the villages burial registers and on headstones in St Peters Church between 1810 and 1990. A Frederick Wray is recorded on the WW1 Memorial beside St Peters. He was born in around 1882 and was the son of Henry and Pamela who lived in nearby Datchworth. By 1871, there was no Wray living in Tewin although Robert’s grand-nephew, James Wray, later lived at Upper Green in 1881 – and he was still living there at the turn of the century.
St Peters, Tewin, Herts
Henry lived in Tewin until his death in 1782 when he was aged 64. His wife Ann survived for almost thirty more
Why can we be sure that the Wrays of Tewin were previously living in Hatfield? After the move to Tewin, the family continued to have strong links with Hatfield: · Ann, Henry and Ann’s daughter, although baptized in Hatfield, married and lived in Tewin until her death there in 1821. · When William and Mary’s daughter, Anne was buried in Tewin in 1815, she was living in Hatfield. · After William and Mary’s daughter, Sal, was born, she was baptized in Tewin though the parish register notes that William and Mary were living at Hatfield. · William and Mary’s son William was living in Hatfield with his wife, Susan, until his death in 1870.
The Burial Records of Henry and Ann at Tewin in 1782 and 1811 respectively
Wrays recorded in the Hatfield, Herts Militia List. Based on the date they first appeared in the List, John, Robert and William were probably Henry’s brothers
Wrays recorded in the Tewin, Herts Militia List. Based on the date they first appeared in the List, James and William were probably Henry’s sons and Robert was William’s son, and my ancestor. So there are three generations of Wrays together at Tewin.