Weeke local History - Complin Family


Complin Family

The first family of Weeke to be mentioned in historical documents was the Complin family.

Baigent (Baigent) documents that at the court of the hundred of Buddlesgate held on Tuesday 29th October, 1415 there is a report concerning a ‘William Complen’. The report is of a tithingman of Wike with his sidemen, who made a presentment of John Hayward for assaulting “with a certain bow and a certain arrow, against the peace, a certain William Complen”. A fine of four pence was paid by John Hayward. This tantalising snippet is all that is recorded about this case and the William Complen. It seems that he was a significant person in the parish since he was paying the tithe and came with ‘sidemen’. He was obviously an established farmer in Weeke.

Baigent thinks that this William was probably the grandfather of the William Complin commemorated in St Matthews church(link) who died in 1498. The plaque records both William Complin and Anne, his wife. Anne Complin actually died in 1503 and so the plaque must have been produced after she had died. The church had undergone significant changes in early 1490s when the chapel of ease took over as the main parish church. This involved some changes to the church to upgrade it to its new status. This required resources and William Complin was the local farmer who provided a major part of the money for the upgrade. This includes £10 for new bells for the church which in 1490s is a significant donation. He also gave 40s towards the fresh dedication of the church.

No further information concerning William has been discovered but there is a copy of his wife’s will. She died in 1503 and her will mentions their two children Isabella and Stephen Complin.

Stephen took over the estate in Weeke that William, his father had worked during his lifetime. Little is known about Stephen but he married and had a family. He married Jane and they had four surviving children Alise, Richard, Thomas and John. Stephen’s will of 1543 records his family. His wife Jane died in 1555 and her will also mentions the family.

Richard, their eldest son took over the estate and he married Isabella and they had several children. Richard’s will in 1559 mentions his family. His wife outlived him and died in 1555 and her will has survived. Richard’s brother Thomas took over the estate and by the time his son Henry had reached adulthood the family were sufficiently wealthy that Henry was sent to Oxford. Henry was expelled from Oxford for seditious speech, but subsequently readmitted. He won an MA qualification and then became Rector of Avington in Hampshire. Later in his life he became Rector and finally Canon of Chichester.

The Complin family then began to die out in Weeke. Family members started to establish themselves elsewhere but the lands at Weeke were broken up and the Complin family lost its predominance in the parish. The last references are believed to be in the 1640s.

Release 1.0 last update 03/04/19

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