Essex and the Phyppe or Phyppes Family of England

The following is a collection of records which emphasize “Phyppe” or “Phyppes” and similar spellings, with much emphasis on Essex and the London area. One factor that is interesting is the number of family members who were involved in the cloth or clothing trades. We have the following in the list below:

  • A dyer at 1325
  • A draper at 1496
  • A “hacher” (?) (explained below) at 1499
  • A tailor at 1602
  • A clothier at 1615
  • A tailor at 1681

Even as late as 1883, a Dalby Phipps was listed in a directory as a tailor at Hook Norton. This is in Oxfordshire. He was also barber and church warden (verger). He is said by multiple sources to have spent time at the Red Lion, across the street, around the middle of church services. (See here and here.)

Stephen Phipps, the colonial-era resident of Philadelphia in America, was a tailor.  He acquired land in Philadelphia in 1772. (See also here.) Records pertaining to him appear in the Winterthur Library; see here.

We’ve dealt in the past with the Spitalfield Riots which hit London in 1768. This had to do with journeymen weavers. Some of the looms which were cut to pieces in the riots belonged to Everard and Phipps. The past post dealt with several Phipps individuals in the area who were weavers, one who was a silk mercer, one who was a framework knitter, etc.

That post also dealt with the claim that the Spitalfield weavers had come there as Huguenots before the reign of Louis XIV. This story can be compared to claims that the Phipps AKA Phibbs family of county Sligo, Ireland had come there as Huguenot refugees.

A working hypothesis could be that the Phyppe or Phipps etc. families associated with cloth-related trades in the London/Essex area may tie into the Francis Phipps family of Reading, Berkshire, England, with earlier connections to Nottinghamshire. Some members of that family were known to have London connections as barristers and/or as politicians.

14th century (1300s)

The John Phyppe family set up a wayside cross at Waltham Forest, at a place which became known as Phip’s Cross but later as Whipps Cross. The location was in northeast London, fairly close to Bobbingworth (see 1575).

31 July 1325

A debt record dated 31 July 1325 involves “John the Dyer” as plaintiff. John was a son of Philip Phyppe of Wilton, Wiltshire, described as a merchant of Dorset. He owed £6 to Hugh Sampson, merchant of Southampton in Hampshire (abbreviated Hants).

27 September 1361

William Phyppes was witness to a document dated 27 September 1361 and involving the village of Wottone, likely Hill Wootton in Warwickshire (below at 1546). One of the other persons mentioned was a tailor.


William Phyppes was witness to a document dated 1363 which concerned Wotton, likely Hill Wootton in Warwickshire (below at 1546).

4 November 1369

William Phyppes was a witness in a document dated 4 November 1369 and involving Wotton or Wottone. This was likely Hill Wootton in Wariwickshire (below at 1546).


William Phyppes was a witness in a matter dated 1370 involving Wotton or Wottone. This may have been Hill Wootton in Warwickshire (below at 1546).


A deed which is not from the Essex area but which uses the Phyppe spelling is dated the Saturday after the apostles Philip and James in 45 Edward III (45th year of the reign of Charles II, 1371-1372). This is from William, son of Richard de Bulkylegh of Chedle (Cheadle) to Philip Phyppe of the manor Tymperlegh.

Timperley used to be in Cheshire, but is now in the county of Greater Manchester. This is quite a distance more or less north.

This relationship is also discussed in a feoffment by William de Bulkilegh, rector of the church at Chedle, and Richard de Okelegh, chaplain, to Henry del Scoles and others, chaplains. This was for lands in Tymperlegh and refers to property they had acquired through the “gift and feoffment of Philip Phippe.” This is dated the Thursday before St. George the Martyr in 48 Edward III (1374-1375).

Also a letter of attorney by William, son of Richard de Bulkylegh of Chedle to William de Bulkylegh of Chorlegh concerned the possession of the manor at Tympurlegh by Philip Phippe. This is dated the Saturday after St. Philip and St. James the Apostles, 45 Edward III (1371-1372).

See also a listing at the National Archives for a 1342 lease involving Richard de Bulkylegh

A feoffment was a deed giving someone land in change for a pledge of service. Chedle is today Cheadle in the county of Greater Manchester. The de Bulkylegh or de Bulkilegh family evidently later became known as Bulkeley.

Much has been made of the Rev. Peter Bulkley, a significant Puritan immigrant to America and who appears to likely descend from this family.


A heraldic seal is described in an Essex County record of 1376 which pertains to John Phyppe. This may be the same John Phyppe whose family set up the wayside cross at Waltham Forest (14th century (1300s), above). The John Phyppe of the record, however, was John Phyppe, Jr., of Navestoke in the county of Essex.

The record refers to an oval with a shield of arms, with a cross between some indistinct charges. Navestoke, if the same as Navestock, is in south Essex. This is close to Chipping Ongar, mentioned at several points below.

12 September 1410

A Chichester deed, dated 12 September 1410, was witnessed by John Phyppe. Chichester is in West Sussex in southeast England.

20 December 1463

A deed in the county of Essex is dated 20 December 1463, and is from Thomas Bertylmew (Bartholomew?) of Walden (Saffron Walden), son of William Bertylmew, to William Nooke, John Gale, and John Phyppe of Walden.

This was land on a a lane called “the Fresschwell hundryd.” This would be Freshwell Hundred, and it’s interesting to note that a street called Freshwell does still exist in the town of Saffron Walden today, in the northwest part of the town, between Freshwell Gardens and Bridge Street.

The “Walden” being referred to as the home of the John Phyppe of this deed would be Saffron Walden in Essex.

15 March 1464

A general pardon to a number of individuals included Ralph Phyppe, “late of the same,” meaning Saham (apparently Sohom) in Cambridgeshire, a husbandman.


A 1466 deed in the county of Essex mentions John Phyppe, perhaps the same one mentioned above, or perhaps a son.


Under collectors’ accounts from 1473-1475, which appear to be in Latin, comes a record which refers to “Londonias et in Essex” and to “Henrici Phyppes et Johannis.” “Et” is “and” in Latin.

Is this referring, then, to Henry and John Phyppes in London and in Essex?

23 December 1496

A debt record refers to Simon Phyppes (Phipps), a London draper, as debtor, and Thomas Partriche (Partridge), a London fishmonger, as credit. The amount involved was £12.

Note that this Simon Phyppes was a draper. A draper is defined as someone who sells cloth and dry goods. Note the references to tailors at 1602 and 1681, and to a clothier at 1615. London is not in Essex, but Essex is near London.

In fact, Hornchurch, where the surveyor John Phipps who came to Jamestown, Virginia in 1621 is from, was in John’s day a part of Essex, but is today a part of a London borough.

6 July 1499

A grant confirmation, dated 6 July in 14 Henry VII, refers to land located near “phyppes hache in Enefeld.” The town of Enfield is in the London borough of Enfield.

What a “hache” was is not clear. An old book of Somerset “dialectal and archaic” terms, however, notes that the word was used in the sense of “to hatch, or hatchel flax.” A flax hatchel is pictured here. See also here. Hatcheling flax is the “first process” in making Irish linen, and is also known as heckling flax.

So, it would appear that a good guess is that this was a place where someone named Phyppes was engaged in combing flax in one stage of its processing. This is only a guess, but it appears to be a good one. If so, this would indicate yet more involvement in a cloth-related trade.

Around 1514-47

Various records, especially noticeable in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments (from which the famous Christian classic Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is derived), refer to individuals named Phyppes, Phyppe, Phippes, Fippe, as Lollards.

These were religious dissenters who dared to believe that they could study the scriptures themselves, that they could pray apart from the Catholic church, and that they should not reverence religious statues and icons.

They suffered severe persecution. “Lollard” is a fairly generic term for a religious dissenter of the period. One must wonder whether there could be a link of some kind to the later Quaker Joseph Phipps from Reading, Berkshire.

The family members who were involved appear to have been concentrated in the parish of Hughenden (now Hughenden Valley) in Buckinghamshire. Buckinghamshire borders (in addition to other places) Greater London and Berkshire.

If the family in Hughenden was connected to the high-society family in nearby Reading, Berkshire, they certainly would have been disowned. The distance from Hughenden to Reading, using modern highways, is only 20.8 miles. Apple Maps suggests that it could be walked in 7 hours and 15 minutes – a long time today, but such walks were common as recently as the 19th century.

26 June 1545

Christopher Phypp was a witness in a deed written in Latin and dated 26 June 1545.

Why Latin? The late Middle Ages is generally understood to be from about 1301 to 1500. This page from the University of Nottingham explains that Latin was often a preferred language for medieval documents.

One reason was that it was easy to abbreviate without misunderstanding. Latin was used in scholarship as late as the 17th century.


A grant of lands in Hylwotton (apparently now Hill Wootton) in Warwickshire “in tenure of Wm. Phyppe” is mentioned in a record of 1546. Although not in Essex, this does involve the Phyppe spelling. This is not very far from Coventry.

22 September 1552 

An inventory dated, apparently, 22 September in 6 Edward 6 (1552) appears to be  from the county of Essex and is headed “Sowthsubury.” This record appears to be an inventory of church goods and mentions Rychard Phyppe.

Today, the railway station of Southbury is in the London borough of Enfield (see 1499, above). Is this the same as “Sowthsubury”?


The case of Phypps v. Croker involved Elizabeth Phypps, a widow, as plaintiff. This was an Oxfordshire case rather than Essex, but it involved the Phypps spelling. Oxfordshire borders Berkshire, among other counties. Berkshire, in turn, borders Greater London.


A deed poll dated 1563 refers to William Phyppes of “Maxstock Maxstoke” (apparently Maxstoke) in Warwickshire.

19 December 1564

The will of John Phipps, a yeoman of East Tilbury in the county of Essex, is dated 19 December 1564.

3 October 1574

A record not from Essex, but from near there in the county of Middlesex, concerns William Fyppes. This concerns the parish of Stebunheth. Stebunheth is better known as Stepney. (See also here.) Stepney was a parish in the historic county (historic counties were superseded by administrative counties) of Middlesex, in the London area.

William Fyppes was a gardener, and William Reynolds was a laborer, both “late” of London. On 3 October in 16 Elizabeth (1574), they stole a gray gelding from Andrew Butcher. The horse was worth £3.

William Reynolds got away, but William Phyppes, as his name is spelled at the bottom of the record, pleaded guilty. As a result, he was sentenced to death by hanging – all this for half-ownership in a £3 horse.

Obviously, not all of the Phyppe, Phipps, etc. family had money. To what extent could that have been the result of religious rifts which we discussed before, with some of the family having become Lollards and, later, Quakers? (Then later, the Civil War (1642-51) brought more family rifts, and then the American Revolution brought still more.)

12 June 1575

Thomas Phyppe married Jane Dynge on 12 June 1575 at Bobbingworth, Essex, England, according to a parish register abstract in Family Search. This is a short distance northeast of London in the Epping Forest district about 3 miles from Chipping Ongar.

Another and perhaps more credible abstract, however, appears in a published account, which refers to the couple as Thomas Phyppes, not Phyppe, and Jone Kynge, not Dynge. Thomas was of “ffulmer” in Cambridgeshire, and Jone’s residence was unstated. They married 12 June 1575.

11 August 1587

A conveyance dated 11 Aug in 29 Elizabeth (1587) involves John Phyppes of Bristol, a stainer, as the party of the first part. What was a stainer? Quick Internet searches suggest that it might have involved wood or possibly wallpaper.

Note that the parents of William Phips (born 1650-51), first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony (but not of Massachusetts), supposedly came from Bristol, the city of this John Phyppes. William’s genealogy and the circumstances of his life, as portrayed in published accounts (including peerage sources, encyclopedic biographies, and a biography by Nathaniel Hawthorne) appear extremely suspect, however, as has been already noted.

As we have earlier discussed, some circumstantial factors suggest a very strong possibility of a link from this William to the Reading, Berkshire Phips family, with fairly direct connections to James II. Could the Bristol branch have been yet another segment of the family which suffered from a family rift of some kind? The evidence suggests a very high likelihood of this.


A record dating from 33 Elizabeth (the 33rd year of the reign of Elizabeth) involves the case of Rooke v. Newman, Phyppe, and others. Although this case is not known to involve Essex, it uses the Phyppe spelling. The matter appears to have involved the notorious Star Chamber.


A record dating from 41 Elizabeth involves the case of Ireland v. Phyppe, Parker, & others. Although this case is not known to involve Essex, it also uses the Phyppe spelling. This case, as well, appears to have involved the Star Chamber.

23 January 1599

A feoffment dated 23 January 1599 mentions land belonging to William Phyppes. This appears to have been in or near Mountsorrel. Mountsorrel is a village in Leicestershire.

Leicestershire is in the Midlands and borders Warwickshire (mentioned above) and Nottinghamshire (where the Phipps family of Reading, Berkshire is supposed to have come from). The nature of feoffments is discussed in Wikipedia, here.

4 March 1602

Anne, wife of John Camber of East Tilbury in the county of Essex, was indicted according to a record of 4 March 1602. See 6 March 1602, below.

6 March 1602

The will of John Camber of East Tilbury in the county of Essex was written 6 March 1602. An online abstract is confusingly formatted, but appears to refer to his godson Thomas Phippes and also to a cousin named Thomas Phippes. An Edward Phippes is also mentioned in connection with the probate; he was “next of kin of the deceased.”

John Camber who wrote the will also mentions his cousin Isabel Harris. Can we assume that she was likely related to the William Harris who came with John Phipps of Essex to Jamestown, Virginia, both as surveyors, in 1621?

Note that an Edward Phippes, a tailor, was of St. Martin in the Fields (in Westminster in London); after he died, his widow Philippa Phippes married William Parker in London on 3 December 1586.

Could this Edward have possibly been the Edward mentioned in the Camber will? A 1592 record refers to expenses for the burial of Edward Phippes at St. Martin in the Fields in 1592; could this have been a late record for the same death?

A 1602 Essex record is an indictment of Anne, wife of John Camber of East Tilbury, evidently because she did not “repayre” to church, apparently meaning that she did not “betake” herself to church. Another record, dated 4 June 1603, is described as a sentence of John Camber of East Tilbury in Essex. Could this actually pertain to his widow?

Actually, this is likely a son, since another will, this one dated 16 February 1626, is of John Camber, gentleman, of Tilbury in Essex. A copy is at the National Archives in Kew.

Reference is made to some John Camber of Essex, who received a passport to travel “beyond the seas,” evidently to help with learning some other language. An earlier (1498) deed refers to a John Camber of Essex


The case of Phypps v. Fleming involved Richard Phypps and his wife Elizabeth. This does not involve Essex, but rather the parish of Tettenhall, in what was then Staffordeshire. This isn’t that far from the location of the 1546 grant, above.

Today, Tettenhall is in the metropolitan borough of Wolverhampton.

22 November 1615

The will of Nicholas Phyppe (see also here), dated 22 November 1615, is not from Essex, but uses the same Phyppe spelling. He was living at Leighe (Leigh), Westbury, Wiltshire, and was a “clothier.” (Notice tailors at 1602 and 1681 and a draper at 1496.) The will was proved 7 June 1616.

He mentions his son Thomas Phippe, “brother Henry Phippe” (Nicholas’s brother, or Thomas’s brother?), sons Edward Phippe and Paule Phippe, wife Johane, son Robert Phippe, daughter Elizabeth Druce, daughter Margery Cogswell, cousin Thomas Phippe, son Nicholas Phippe, sister Rachell, son Henry Phippe.


John Phipps, the surveyor, came to Jamestown, Virginia, supposedly from Hornchurch in Essex, as has been discussed in a number of earlier posts.


A record dated 11 July 1681 from the county of Essex indicts Edward Phipps, blacksmith, and his wife Mary, Edward Phipps, and George Phipps, another blacksmith, along with William Holgate.

All of the Phipps individuals were from Chipping Ongar (see 1575) in the county of Essex, but Holgate was a tailor from Harlow. Harlow is also in Essex.

These individuals assembled in what was described as a riotous and unlawful manner in Chipping Ongar. There they assaulted persons who appeared to be identified as a sheriff and a bailiff. James Phipps was a witness.


Sarah, wife of Edward Phipps, was buried 20 April 1705 in the parish of Ongar in Essex. Chipping Ongar, mentioned a few times above, is located in the parish of Ongar.


A bill and answer from 1727 involves Elizabeth Phypps (Phipps), the widow and administratrix of her late husband Robert Phypps. He had been a London plasterer. Elizabeth was the plaintiff, while the defendant was Catherine Lilly. London and Essex border each other, of course.

See also Phypps (Phipps) v. Lillie, 1729.

Index of locations mentioned above

  • Bristol: 1587
  • Buckinghamshire
    • Hughenden, High Wycombe: Around 1514-47
  •  Cambridgeshire
    • Cambridgeshire generally: 1575
    • Sohom: 1464
  • Cheshire
    • Timperley, now in Greater Manchester: 1371-2
  • Dorset: 1325
  • Essex
    • Bobbingworth: 14th century (1300s), 1575
    • East Tilbury: 1564, 1682 (multiple times)
    • Essex generally: 1466, 1473-5
    • Hornchurch: 1621
    • Navestock: 1376
    • Ongar (parish): 1705
      • Chipping Ongar: 1575, 1681
    • Saffron Walden: 1463
    • Whipps Cross: 14th century (1300s)
  • Leicestershire
    • Mountsorrel: 1599
  • London
    • Enfield, London borough: 1499, 1552
    • London generally: 1473-5, 1496, 1727
    • Stepney, London borough of Tower Hamlets: 1574
    • Westminster, London: 1602
  • Oxfordshire: 1558-79
  • Staffordshire
    • Tettenhall, now in Wolverhampton: 1603-25
  • Warwickshire
    • Hill Wootton: 1361, 1363, 1369, 1370, 1546
    • Maxstoke: 1563
  • West Sussex
    • Chichester: 1410
  • Wiltshire
    • Westbury: 1615
    • Wilton: 1325

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