|Edward and Ann Marke: St Stephen's Church,
In St Stephen's Church, Great Wigborough there is a slab set in the nave floor engraved with the inscription
HERE LYETH BURIED THE
BODIE OF ANN MARKE THE
WIFE OF EDWARD MARKE
DECEASED THE FOURTH
DAY OF MARCH IN THE
YEARE OF OUR LORD 1621
I immediately recognised the name 'Edward Marke' for that is the name of a charity in Langenhoe set up following Edward Marke's death in 1623. Now, his land is still managed by the Edward Marke Trust (a registered charity) and is used as allotments and, in accordance with his will, all profits go to support villagers. Below is the part of his will where not only does he give the land, called Cockles Croft, that is now used for the allotments, but also he leaves gifts of money to the poor in seven parishes.
Inprimis[first] I doe give and devise all that my tenement and three Accres of land Called
Cockles Croft with thapurtenances [rights and duties] scittuate & being in langenhoe aforesaid to the poore
people of langenhoe abovesaid for ever Item I doe give unto the said poor people of
Langenhoe ten shilling[es] to be distributed amongst them within on [one] monthe next after my
deceasse in the discrecc[i]on of my executor[es] Item I doe give and bequeath unto the pore people
of the p[ar]ishe of Fingringhoe ten shilling[es] to be distributted amongst them within one month
next after my deceasse in the discrecc[i]on of my executors Item I doe give and bequeath
unto the poore people of Laier delahay ten shilling[es] and to the pore people of Wigborow
ten shilling[es] & to the pore people of Peldon ten shilling[es] & to the pore of of Aberton fyve
shilling[es] & to the pore people of Dedham twenty shilling[es] to be distributed amongst them
and every of them within one monthe next after my deceasse by my executor[es] [Essex Records Office ABW 45/110]
In his will he makes personal bequests to John, Jeffrey, William, Tobias and Robert Potter referring to them as his 'brothers' which, in this case, is most likely to mean brothers-in-law. It is likely therefore that his late wife Ann, who died two years before her husband, was also a Potter.
Evidence points to Edward being Ann's second husband for he also makes bequests to his son-in-law and daughter-in-law, Henry and Mary Bullock. At this time son-in-law and daughter-in-law were terms often used to mean step-son and step-daughter. The connection with the Bullock family would make sense of Ann being buried in Wigborough Church, the family church of the Bullocks since the early 1500s up until Sir Edward Bullock bought a new 'family seat', Faulkbourne Hall, in 1637.
Research quoted in a notebook held at Essex Record Office written by the Rev Llewellyn Bullock reveals Ann's first husband was in fact Henry Bullock whose memorial brass can be seen in the north wall of the nave. He died in 1609. We know his children were Henry, Edward and Mary, the former and the latter being remembered in Edward Marke's will.
I then turned to the will of Ann's father, John Potter of Peldon, whose will is dated 1621. In it, he makes bequests to all his sons, the same names as in Edward Marke's will, John, Jeffrey, William, Tobias and Robert Potter. He makes a bequest to his son-in-law, Edward, but no mention is made of his daughter, Ann, which would imply she had already died - both father and daughter died in 1621.
Edward Marke's will described him as being a yeoman of Langenhoe but his place of burial has not been found.
Edward Marke's legacy continues today and the people who work the allotments pay their dues to the Edward Marke Trust every Michaelmas at the end of September. 2023 heralds the 400th anniversary of this bequest to the poor of the village.
The late Peter Wormell's research in Called to the Classroom reveals that the land was not always allotments and the money was channelled into the education of Langenhoe's poor children in the days before the establishment of a Board School in the early 1800s. His tenement, the site of which became the car park to The Langenhoe Lion Car Park became the parish poorhouse while the field (where the allotments are now) produced rental income.
A Parliamentary report compiled in 1847 stated that the rent from Edward Marke's charity was given to the church warden and passed from him to a schoolmistress in part payment of her salary for teaching about 12 poor children - boys and girls. The boys were taught to read and the girls to do 'plain work'. The remainder of the costs were paid out of the parish poor rate. The income from Marke's charity was now being used for schooling, even if this had not been its specific intention...
It seems until the Board built and took over Langenhoe School (in 1878) the educational opportunities in the village had received a useful contribution from the revenues of Marke's charity.
William White's trade Directory of 1848 stated
Here is a free school supported by subscription but having two acres of land left by Edward Marke in 1623 and now let for £4 4s per annum.
Parish Church of St Stephen, Great Wigborough