Lollards near London and Surveyors in Virginia

Recent posts dealt with Phipps, Phips, Phyppe, Phip, etc. family members in the outlying areas surrounding London. Two locations were discussed which could be of central importance, and we could add a third, that being Hornchurch, where John Phips came from when he arrived in Jamestown, Virginia as a surveyor in 1621. The first two locations are Whipps Cross (formerly Phipps or Phip’s Cross) and Hughenden.

You could connect these three locations together by drawing a shape roughly like the letter C, north of London with the open part of the C-curve facing the city. Two of those locations – Hornchurch and Whipps Cross – are within the M26 motorway belt which surrounds London, while the third, Hughenden, is not far west of the M26.

One could easily arrange a Phips tour by traveling, say, from Hornchurch – east and slightly north from Central London – to Whipps Cross, northeast from Central London, to Hughenden – west and slightly north from Central London. Here’s a quick refresher on the importance of these three locales:

HORNCHURCH: This is where John Phips, the surveyor who came to Jamestown in 1621, was apparently born. In his day it would have been Hornechurch (with an “e”) in Essex County; today this is a part of East London.

WHIPPS CROSS: This is where the John Phyppe set up a crucifix in the late 14th century (1370s or 1380s?), as what was known as a wayside cross. That landmark became known as Fypps Cross, Phippes Cross, etc., and finally as Whipps Cross. At one time, this was in Essex County, as was Hornechurch (Hornchurch). The John Phyppe family may have been related to the Alexander and Agnes (Bright) Phips or Phipps to whom the surveyor was born about 1602, with all of them having been located in Essex County.

HUGHENDEN: This is the location of a Lollard (religious dissenter) family known as Phippes, Phyppe, Phyppes, Phips, Phip. A recent post noted an intermarriage with a family known as Littlepage, but also called Afrike or Africke, which name had changed by the early 20th century to Affleck. The “Afrike” surname looks as though it may have arisen at least in part due to an attempt to hide or disguise their Lollard identity, which was an illegal religious stance at the time.

The name Littlepage resurfaces in America in a surprising location, a location which may or may not be of significance to Phips or Fips or Phipps etc. researchers.

Preliminary searches in primarily secondary sources indicate that a fairly early family to come to Jamestown was the Chiles family. One member of the Chiles family to do so was supposedly Walter Chiles, who came to Jamestown from Bristol (the city associated with William Phips, the Massachusetts Bay Colony governor). Some indications suggest that there may have been a Church of England vs. Quaker rift in the Chiles family as there seems to have been in the Phips family.

Walter Chiles who came to Jamestown is supposed to have had a son named Henry Chiles. Henry Chiles died in 1720 in Virginia (perhaps born, as a very rough guesstimate, around 1650 or so). His first wife was a LITTLEPAGE, and he bought land from a LITTLEPAGE.

Then a later Henry Chiles – presumably related – was very closely associated with a man named James Walker, who was another surveyor. Henry Chiles deeded land in Goochland County – the county we’ve kept coming back to in various posts – and this land was later deeded to James Walker. James Walker witnessed the will of Henry Chiles in Amelia County, the county where we’ve found John and Tabitha Phipps references. Henry Chiles witnessed the will of John Walker, Jr., the brother of James Walker, in Goochland County.

We’ve already discussed the fact that John Fips/Phips who married Tabitha shows up in Lunenburg County, Virginia living on the same property as another Walker – Tandy Walker – with Tandy having Goochland County dealings. As the editor of the Witcher family blog has noted, John Phips – presumably a different one – was listed under James Walker in Amelia County in a tax list, while (another, one would think) John Phips is listed in Lunenburg County in 1748 and 1750 as living with Tandy Walker. In 1749, John Phips is listed with Peter Fontaine – another surveyor.

Were these Walkers – James Walker and Tandy Walker – related? And is only coincidence that the Henry Chiles who was so closely associated with James Walker appears to have descended from a Chiles who married a Littlepage, with the Littlepage family having intermarried into the Phips family of Lollards near London?

And this may just be an odd quirk, but Peter Fontaine, as a surveyor, seems to have been associated with another surveyor who was a Moseley. The Moseley was extremely closely associated with the Matthew “Phrip” but sometimes Phips, Phip, etc. family of Norfolk, Virginia. That family was also very closely associated with the “Walke” family, which earlier appears to have earlier been Walker.

So some of the Littlepage family seem to have decided to call themselves Afrike, some of the Walker family decided to call themselves Walke, and another family associated with Phripp – the Taylor family – decided to call themselves Tayloe. (And, of course, the Phips family decided to call itself Phripp.)

And we shouldn’t waste time looking at variant spellings? What, exactly, was going on here?

And, according to various sources, 10,000 acres in Amelia and Brunswick Counties were given to James Walker and Henry Chiles and several others at one point. Henry Chiles also received 1800 acres on the Appomattox River (a river that has come up again and again in recent research) in Goochland County, the same county where a Francis Eppes or Epps obtained massive acreage.

This Walker family appears to tie into the Bolling family. The Bolling family has come up repeatedly in recent research and in recent posts. We’ve discussed, for example, land in Campbell County held by a “Phelps” who may actually have been a Fips, Phips, etc., with that land being adjacent to Bolling and Pleasants. (We’ve discussed the Pleasants connection at length.) An early Henrico County Bolling (born about 1734) is believed to have married a Phipps – or Felts – or something similar.

Parenthetically, a later (1803) record in the American State Papers, by the way, has a certain John Walker signing with an “X” “for self and brother Tandy.” This may have been the later Tandy Walker who was the son of the Tandy who worked with John Fips. This had to do with land they had claimed in Washington County.

A 1746-1751 Amelia County survey record shows John Fipps with land surveyed adjoining Chiles. A 1749 Amelia County tax list shows Jno. Phips at, apparently, the same property as James Walker.

We could go on and on, recounting various connections involving these people and land deals, with the Phips family weaving in and out, either directly or indirectly. What were these people up to? What was going on?

Do these records suggest that it’s possible that a Phips family intermarried with a Littlepage AKA Afrike family in England, that one member of that family, John the surveyor, came to Jamestown as did some of the Chiles family, who were also close to and/or related to the Littlepage family, with the Chiles family being extremely close to the Walker family which was also close to the Phips family? And could part of the Phips family have come to Maine, while another part came to Virginia due to religious differences?

Although information on “Sir” William Phips seems often contradictory, confused, and questionable, his father, James Phips, supposedly came from Bristol. People think they arrived perhaps about 1638-1639. Bristol is around 100 miles west of Hughenden. One route leads past Reading, where lots of other Phips or Phipps records were found.

John Phips came from Hornchurch to Jamestown in 1621. Walter Chiles supposedly came from Bristol to Jamestown before 1638. James Phips supposedly came from Bristol to Maine around 1638-9. Different Phips or Fips or Phipps branches have been treated like different species, but one needs to consider the religious and political rifts that we know polarized parts of the family.

Through all of this research, several factors following emigration, after the family became established in America, have become evident:

  • Evidence of name changes, perhaps sometimes to help prevent religious persecution and perhaps not always intentional, but evidently not always because of religious views yet perhaps still intentional
  • Involvement in several to many counties – and maybe in multiple colonies – in quick succession or perhaps even simultaneously
  • Identification as surveyors or merchants, and association with others who were surveyors or merchants

Throughout all the recent research, one question that one could easily ask is: What in the world were these people up to? A second question, largely based on what we know of later (but not much later) generations of the family, would be: Whatever it was, was it legal?

With that in mind, it might be interesting to note, again, allegations of a possible connection to piracy, as we’ve discussed earlier. It might also be relevant to quote from Wikipedia regarding the Walter Chiles who emigrated from England to Jamestown, Virginia. He was on the governor’s council, “but was removed the following year because of his involvement in illegal trading with the Netherlands.”

Illegal trading. Hmm. Where have we heard that before? Multiple posts have noted the strong possibility of unlicensed Indian trading. In addition, we’ve discussed the direct connection with John Blackmore, the man accused of piracy and repeatedly charged with illegal aspects of trade, but always let off the hook at the highest levels of colonial government.

Blackmore, with an undisclosed and not entirely clear yet documented Phipps connection, was a strongly suspected pirate with dealings in Jamaica and “Carolina.” We also know that at some point, the lucrative Fips or Phipps or Phips trade with the Caribbean utterly ceased, due to the Revolutionary War, and at another point the lucrative slave trade disappeared.

It would appear that at least part of the Virginia/North Carolina Phips etc. family is likely derived from a mix of Catholic and Church of England and Lollard and maybe even Quaker heritage. A bit later on, however, orientation of some of the family may have shifted dramatically. We just might come from a long line of crypto-crooks, dabbling in various forms of illegal trade for generations while paying off colonial governments.

Points made in various previous posts point to something like that as a real possibility – and – that would explain a LOT.

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