Part 4 - Introduction


A branch of the Danish family of Copinger, already treated of, was settled in Suffolk at a very early date.  They probably appeared there in the time of King Alfred, having come over in the Danish fleet in 860, headed by Inguar and Hubba. This company of Danes was permitted by the King of East Anglia to encamp in two different bodies during the winter.  Traces of these camps are still open to be seen.  "One such spot," says Mr. Hollingsworth,[1] "exists in Stowmarket, on the road leading to Finborough, where the meadows slope down to the rivulet, the hop grounds, and the nursery garden, bear the name of The Dane Croft, thus marking, I presume, one of these encampments.  A village in the adjoining Hundred, on the same line of road, but to the left, is still also singularly ominous of their evil name, and is called Ratles-Dane or Rates-Dane, now pronounced Rattlesden."  The river was then navigable up to near Rattlesden, for much of the stone used in building the abbey at Bury, by Baldwin, the abbot, who died in 1097, was brought from Caen in Normandy to Ipswich, and thence to Rattlesden, where it was landed.  After continuous struggles during many years, Alfred determined to convert these Eastern Danes into friends and engraft them upon the nation.  He therefore proposed to Guthrum, the Danish governor of Suffolk, but at that time a fugitive from the force of Alfred's arm, that he should embrace Christianity, and still retain the governorship of East Anglia, with certain lands in Sufolk and Norfolk for his soldiers.  After some delay the Dane consented.  He was baptised; and then returning to Suffolk, he divided many of its lands, where the Saxon proprietors and their families had been killed, amongst his soldiers.  Many Danes became, under Guthrum, large proprietors of the soil, and changed the fierce excitements of war for the wild pleasures of boar hunting and other silvan sports.  Guthrum retained his governorship for some years, and died and was buried at Hadleigh, twelve miles from Stowmarket.

In the Great Roll of the Pipe for the first year of Rich. I. (1189-1190) mention is made of Copin de S. Edmonds (filius Slemae); and a Warinus Copin is also named. These, however, were probably members of the family of Coppin or Copping, a very extensive family in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.  It appears from an Inquisition taken about the beginning of the reign of Ed. I. (before his eighth year), respecting the city of Winchester, and preserved among the Miscellaneous Records of the Queen's Remembrancer's Office, that Nichas Koppinger was Mayor of Winchester in the reign of Hen. III.  His name, however, is not to be found in the Winchester Tables during the reign of Hen. III.[2]  About ten years later we find the family mentioned in the county of Norfolk.  For by an original writ, 8th February, 1290 (19 Ed. I.), Greffrey Coppinger of Waketowt, in Norfolk, and Walter Coppinger were required to answer Stephen, son of John de Stowmarket, for an assault.[3]

About the same period a Roger Coppinger of Waketun is mentioned under the head Norfolk in Rotuli Hundredorum, thus:-

It Will Gyffard vic' cep' de Rog' Copping de Waketun que fecit appllar' a quod appllator XL's ut dimittet eu in pace.

Also -

Decut qd Wills Giffard et Petr' Constab ej' fecut quemd pbatore applare Rogm' Copping' injuste ad dampnu ipius de xl's et silr fecut applare Johem Fayrman et Ricm de Pco qui fine fecunt ut essent sub pl p XIs.  Et silr fcut applare Rog'm Leverdem qi fine fecit eod modo p XIs.

The family of Copinger was at a later period seated at Fashborne or Farcing Hall, in the parish of Buxhall, in Stow Hundred.  They were possessed of the manor and advowson of Buxhall, 35 Hen. VIII., with divers other lands in Buxhall and Rattlesden, 13 Eliz.  Here they flourished in great repute for many generations, and were so famous for wealth and hospitality, that "to live like the Copingers" became a proverbial expression throughout the county of Suffolk.[4]

The manor of Buxhall came into the family by the marriage of the only daughter of John Sorrell with John Copinger.  The manor originally belonged to the Esturmy family, and its devolution is thus traced in a manuscript entitled "Antiquitates Suffolciences, or an Essay towards recovering some account of the antient Families in the County of suffolk."  Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. 20,695.  The collection was mostly made by Sir Richard Gipps, Knt., of Great Whelnethan, Co. Suffolk.

"Sturmyn, anciently Esturmy.  Sir Roger was Lord of Buxhall in Stow Hundred, 38 Hen. III.  There were 5 Knts. successively in this family, Sir Wm., Sir Robt., his son, Sir Roger his son, Sir Wm. his son, who lived 2 Ed. II., and Sir Wm. his son, who abt 40 Ed. III. left Rhoisia, his sole daughter and heir, marryd to William Clements of Stow, by whom he had issue Emma, his sole daughter and heir, marryd to John Cakestreet, who left Alice, his sole daughter and heir, marryd to John Sorrell, whose sole daughter and heir marryd to John Coppinger. They bore quarterly G and Or upon a Bend az. (?sa.) 3 plates."

From the pedigree it will be seen that the descents here given of the Esturmy family are not quite accurate.

[1] History of Stowmarket, p. 19.

[2] Archæl. Journ., vol. vii., pp. 375 and 381.

[3] Communication to Jermyn by Mr. Kedrington, 1813.  Add. MSS., B. M., 8,191.

[4] See Cole's MSS., vol. 28, Brit. Mus. Davy MSS., Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 19, 124. Jermyn's MSS. Add. MSS., 8, 206.  McKeon's Inquiry into the Charities of Lavenham, p.95.


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