William Payne

William Payne was probably born around 1670 not far from Thame in Oxfordshire. We know a fair bit about him from various records most notably his will of 1747. He was a glover and clearly ran a successful business as a master glover and breeches maker in the small Oxfordshire market town of Thame where he lived for over fifty years. The glove trade was closely related to the tanning business that was to be a theme repeated in the subsequent generations notably with John Warmington. He was part of the class of literate tradesmen with a progressive and perhaps non-conformist outlook that was typical in a small market town like Thame. Other related trades are currier (curing leather) and fellmongerer (stripping and dealing sheep hides)

William Payne’s parents may have been John Payne and Elizabeth Towersey, who were married in St Mary the Virgin, Thame on 21 Nov 1660. This is the only Payne marriage recorded in the register and has no associated baptisms with it. It is likely that William had a brother (or other relation?) called Francis, who was active in Thame as a contemporary in the allied trade of fellmongerer. When Francis died in 1743 the administration of his estate was carried out by his widow Joanne and William Payne, the younger, Glover of Thame.

William Payne married Elizabeth Collingwood on 4 Apr 1692 in Bampton Oxfordshire some 30 miles west of Thame, the other side of Oxford. Elizabeth Collingwood’s father was Bartholomew Collingwood, also a glover. We can surmise that in all probability William served his seven year apprenticeship as a glover with his future father-in-law and ended up marrying his master’s eldest daughter. The couple had five children that survived, all were well educated and literate. Only his eldest son William Payne, the younger (bap Thame 14 Jan 1697/8) stayed with his father in Thame and he too became a glover. His two younger surviving sons Bartholomew (bap Thame 4 Apr 1700) and John (bap Thame 22 May 1704) became very successful in the City of London and their respective wills show they amassed considerable fortunes of several thousands of pounds. Bartholomew served a city apprenticeship to the Drapers’ Company that would have required considerable financial backing from his father. A bond for £15 dated 15 Mar 1716 shows Bartholomew’s seven year indenture to a John Tims, Citizen and Draper of London. But both Bartholomew, with these important livery company connections, and John seem to have amassed their money in the sugar trade – refining, baking and distributing.

William’s sister-in-law Jane Eversidge also lived in Thame. Jane, like Elizabeth Payne, was born a Collingwood in Bampton and seems to have moved to Thame with her new husband, John Mallory in about 1699. However John Mallory and both her two small children by him died in rapid succession. Jane remarried Thomas Eversidge (or Eversuch in Bartholomew Collingwood’s will) in Thame on 12 Nov 1706 and continued to live there at least through to the 1720’s.

William had two daughters, the two eldest of his children. Elizabeth Payne (bap Thame 29 Dec 1693) married John Rolls on 4 Dec 1721 in St Mary the Virgin, Thame. John Rolls had served an apprenticeship as a currier with a Joseph Darval of New Thame for seven years from 29 Sep 1713. The newly married couple appear to have moved to Bicester some 30 miles north of Thame immediately after the marriage. Although John died very young on 17 Nov 1733, Elizabeth Rolls, his widow, brought up the three young children in Bicester. Her wealthy brothers in London, Bartholomew and John both mention her in their own wills of 1772 and 1768 respectively and this suggests there was strong financial support between the family despite the distances involved. Two of the children married in to the Devonshire family of Priors Marston. The youngest Mary Rolls is mentioned in her grandfather’s will of 1747 but unlike her siblings had no mention in the wills of her uncles – suggesting that she died unmarried in her early twenties.

William’s second daughter Anne (bap Thame 11 Dec 1695) married Richard Carter a shoe maker from Long Crendon another village just outside Thame on 21 Sep 1720. Both Richard and Ann predeceased Ann’s father and their six children probably had to rely again heavily on their Payne relatives. William Payne in his will of 1747 mentions his grandchildren William Carter, John Carter, Richard Carter, Ann Carter, Mary Carter and Elizabeth wife of Austin George.

Austin George is recorded as marrying Elizabeth Carter on 8 Oct 1745 and they had a son born in 1746 (no bap. found) called William George. However sadly the burials of both Elizabeth George, ‘wife of Austin’, and Austin himself are recorded in St Mary’s for 1746 and 1751 respectively. The timing might suggest that Elizabeth died in giving birth to her first child. She predeceased her grandfather by two months, a fact too late to be reflected in his will. Austin George left a will of 1751 that reveals that he too was a glover of Thame. An indenture record from 10 Sep 1731 exists to show that Austin was apprenticed to William Payne, Breechesmaker of Thame and hence he went on to marry his master’s niece (or possibly granddaughter). Again the family seems to have been supportive and the two brothers, Bartholomew and John, in London again mention their orphaned great nephew William George in their respective wills. Moreover, Austin names William Payne (jnr), glover, his widow’s uncle as trustee of his own will. Mary Carter married James Wakelin of Henley on 20 Sep 1752 in St Mary’s. Richard Carter (jnr) became an apprentice to Bartholomew Payne in London in the Draper’s company.

The burial of William Payne is recorded at St Mary’s on 19 Mar 1746/7. His wife was buried at the same church on 28 Feb 1750/1. She was 76.


Other notable contemporaries in Thame:

Samuel Thornbury, Vicar (1722-51) and John Kipling, Schoolmaster – both Oxford Graduates. Samuel Woolaston, apothecary, will 1741 NA: William Eustace, Grocer, will 1739 NA;


Selected Sources:

Parish Register of St Mary Thame, OFHS Transcripts

Will of William Payne, Glover of Thame, 1747, National Archives

Wills of Bartholomew Payne, Draper and John Payne, Sugar Baker, National Archives

Will of Bartholomew Collingwood, Glover of Bampton, 1714, Oxford Wills

Will of Austin George, Glover of Thame, 1751, Oxford Wills

Administration Papers of Francis Payne, Fellmonger of Thame, 1743, Oxford Wills, FIndMyPast.com

Drapers Company Records

UK Register of Duties paid for Apprentices Indentures, Ancestry.com