Exploring CPP 10a214: Wingfield Family Lines

By Hillary Nunn with Rebecca Laroche

In her July post, Rebecca Laroche addressed the treatments for gout in The College of Physicians of Philadelphia manuscript owned by Anne Layfield. One gout remedy in the manuscript’s later section, Rebecca noted, ends with the following testimony, presumably from the E. Layfield himself: “Master Rob. Wingfeld gaue it me with / much adoe, & great intreaty, at / Sir Rich. Wingfelds at Easton / Its singular good, I haue tryed it.”[1] Layfield’s mention of the Wingfields suggests that his family maintained a connection with Elizabeth Downing’s family of origin – something that opens up new possibilities for bridging the earlier and later sections of the recipe collection.

Elizabeth Downing, as her family history shows, had been a Wingfield by birth. This is something easily overlooked, though, since she went by her first husband’s surname, Morrison, when she married Calybute Downing in 1594. Her father is identified as Robert Wingfield of Upton County, Northampton; he died in 1580.[2] E. M. Dewing’s history of the Wingfield family’s branches makes clear that Elizabeth’s parents traced their roots to Orford, which puts their ancestral home near that of the Easton branch of the Wingfield family in Letheringham.[3]

OrfordMap

The Easton branch of the Wingfield family features a Richard and Robert who would have been alive around 1640, when Anne Layfield owned the CPP manuscript. Upon his father Anthony’s death in 1638, Richard Wingfield inherited the title of Baronet of Letheringham and Easton[4]; Richard’s son Robert never married and died in 1712.[5] While we have no clues as to whether either suffered from gout, these two men would likely have been Layfield’s source for this CPP manuscript recipe treating the condition.

Layfield’s explicit mention of travel to the Wingfield home in Letheringham adds yet another geographical dimension to our thinking about the CPP manuscript. While earlier we had considered recipe sources in Stamford and Stratford-le-Bowe, the Wingfield references make clear that the manuscript contains contributions from yet another region. How these three areas – and the contributors who hail from them – might overlap gives us yet another avenue to explore in our research. And even more tantalizing, it allows us to imagine a common familial line, or at least continuing social network, uniting the Downing, Wingfield, and Layfield families.

[1] The Historical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, MS 10a214, fol. 224.

[2] W.C (William Colwell) Downing, Genealogy of the Downing Family and Immediate Collateral Relations (Philadelphia: Press of the Dando Print. and Pub. Co., 1901) 12.

[3] E. M. Dewing, “Pedigree of Wingfield” Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History 7 (1948) 63.

[4] John Burke and John Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland, 2nd ed. (London, 1841) 574-75.

[5] Dewing, 60.


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