Ann Toovey

Ann Toovey married William Rolles in All Hallows Church in the City of London in 1686. Both their families were from the Turville area on the edge of the Chilterns.

It seems that Ann’s father was Peter Toovey of Turville who left a will of 1668. In this will Peter Toovey lists his children as one son named Peter and four daughters, including Ann. In William Rolles will of 1711 he mentions Peter Toovey of Wormsley as his loving brother-in-law.

Peter Toovey’s marriage settlement of 2 Apr 1684 has survived together with other papers of the Toovey family in Turville held at the Aylesbury Record office. There is a paper trail of land directly from this will of 1668 to four generations later with the will of Peter Toovey, the great grandson in 1746. The 1684 marriage settlement finalises the will of 1668 and transfers the messuage and freeholds to Peter (jnr) on his marriage. The father of his bride William Rose in return commits to pay seven pounds a year annuity to Peter’s mother, the widow Elizabeth Toovey for the rest of her life.

Peter (jnr), Ann’s younger brother, was a ‘cousin’ of both John Toovey (1621-1698) yeoman and Quaker of North End, Turville Heath and of William Toovey (1624-1700) maltster and Quaker of Henley. This is stated in John Toovey’s will of 1698 and matching Quaker burial record, when Peter Toovey yeoman of Turfield Heath is appointed overseer.

No baptism record exists for Ann although two of her sisters would appear to be recorded as being baptized in St Mary’s Turville. They are Mary the eldest daughter baptized on 30 Oct 1653 and Elizabeth 17 Jun 1656. Ann is the youngest daughter and therefore likely to have been born in about 1660 and she was some ten years younger than her husband. She would also have been less than ten years of age when her father died and may even have spent some time in London. Her mother Elizabeth Toovey (nee Forbes) as mentioned in her father’s will and her brother’s marriage settlement, was still alive in 1684. Her brother Peter is noted as still a minor in 1668. In the marriage settlement of 1684 it is noted that the fourth sister Sarah had already died.

A number of the Toovey relations took up careers in the City of London and this may also explain the venue of the Ann’s wedding. In particular, the descendants of William Toovey (1624-1700) were livery members, most prominently John Toovey, another Quaker had served as an apprentice Grocer in the City of London for seven years from 1674. Ann’s mother Elizabeth Toovey must also have a wide network of relations and connexions both in London and Gloucester.

Peter Toovey (jnr) is mentioned in the wills of his brother-in-law William Rolles (1711) and his nephew Peter Rolles (1738) as well as that of his cousin John Toovey (died North End, 1698). The marriage of Elizabeth Rose from Bix, daughter of William Rose (later) of Woolwich, Kent is recorded in the Oxford Archdeacons Marriage Bond Index for 1684.

After her marriage two years later in 1686, Ann Rolles (nee Toovey) moved to Garsington Oxfordshire, where William Rolles had been born and had inherited an estate from his father in 1669. All her six children were baptized there.

A number of other wills help make things a little clearer. Peter Toovey of Wormsley’s will, written 1739, leads us to the wills of his grandson Peter Toovey who himself died and left a will of 1746. The death of William Toovey, the intermediate generation, and his will of 1749 makes it clear that this whole male line of Toovey has died out – although William had sisters surnamed Sarney and Harding(?). Significantly both Peter Toovey (1746) and William Toovey (1749) mention their Rolles relations – referring to William Rolles of Bottom House, Lewknor – this is Ann Toovey’s eldest son, who died and left a will himself in 1755.  William Toovey (will 1749) also mentions Ralph Toovey (deceased, a tailor, and a Quaker) who was the son of John Toovey and Jane Rolles (bap Garsington 1660) – the latter being the younger sister of William Rolles. This John Toovey, a maltster of Henley-on-Thames  must have been another cousin. If he is a brother to Ann Toovey then the will of Peter Toovey 1668 is almost certainly wrong and this seems unlikely. If this John Toovey is a cousin he cannot  be the son of John Toovey of North End (d 1698, buried Henley Quakers aged 78) or his brother William Toovey of Henley (d 1700) as both have documented and different sons called John Toovey.

There are other Toovey lines based in nearby Greenfields and ‘the Howe’ as well as Watlington itself all stemming from the mid sixteenth century. Together the diaspora of Toovey families by 1700 came to possess a substantial land holding on the edge of the chilterns in this area. The proliferation of landowning John Tooveys presents real issues in bringing them together.

A number of records from Turville parish church help provide a distinct focus on the Turville Tooveys. Firstly there is the Toovey tomb, whose recorded monumental inscription solidly corroborates the above, listing the descendants of Peter Toovey of Wormsley and the extinction of four male Tooveys in the space of nine years. It states that Peter died on 14 Jan 1741 aged 76 years. This would make him born in about 1665 and hence younger than his four sisters. Peter who is recorded elsewhere as being the chief constable of the Desborough Hundred was clearly a prominent citizen after about 1690, but records would indicate that things were not always so easy. Written in the parish register on 12 Apr 1663 there is a confession and abject apology by John Toovy for his religious indiscretions during the Commonwealth. He is described as clerk to the Minister and wants to retain this role. We can surmise that part of the parish register must indeed be in his hand. This one feels has to be the same John Toovey of North End, Turville Heath, the Quaker who is buried in Henley in 1698. This episode gives a very clear indication of how beliefs had to be adapted in a period of extreme national political turbulence prior to the Act of Toleration in 1689. John Toovey continued to hold radical beliefs throughout his 78 years. Neither his cousin Peter Toovey nor Ann Rolles (nee Toovey) appear anywhere on Quaker records. However, further analysis continues to reveal deep radical roots with his wife’s connections to two radical preachers – Richard Delamaine and James Forbes, who were appointed to preach a radical polemic from the cathedrals in Hereford and Gloucester under the Commonweatlh. This is discussed and speculated upon under the biography of Ann’s father Peter Toovey.

Selected Sources

  • Will of Peter Toovey, father of Ann, probate 17 Jul 1668, National Archives
  • Will of John Toovey of North End, probate, 9 Jan 1698, National Archives (lists Peter Jnr as a cousin).
  • Will of John Toovey, Maltster of Turville Heath, 1728, Aylesbury. (husband of Jane Rolles, states his grandfather’s name as John Toovey)
  • Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies  – D-X977 – Deeds and associated documents, mainly of the Toovey family, relating to property at Turville, 1523-1842 (D-X977/6 for Peter Toovey’s marriage settlement of 1684).
  • Will of Peter Toovey of Wormsley, Ann’s brother, probate 1743, National Archives
  • Will of Peter Toovey, great nephew of Ann, 1746, National Archives
  • Quaker marriage details of Ralph Toovey and Ann Hawkins on 13 Mar 1732, parents and professions,,uk
  • Records of Buckinghamshire Vol VIII Bucks Herald Office, Aylesbury, 1903 (History of Turville Church and MI) pp 353-390