White Hart Crest of the Royal County of Berkshire David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History

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William Fynderne - © Nash Ford PublishingWilliam Fynderne (d. 1444)
Born: circa 1395
Sheriff of Berkshire
Died: 13th March 1444 at Childrey, Berkshire

The background of William Fynderne Esq. is unknown, although he was probably a younger (the fifth) son of the prominent Fynderne family of Findern in Derbyshire. He first came to prominence in Berkshire upon his marriage to Lady Kingston, the widowed lady of the manor, in her own right, of Frethorne in Childrey. This lady was born Elizabeth Childrey and was the daughter and eldest co-heiress of Thomas Childrey (alias Chelrey). She inherited Frethorne, as well as large estates in the counties of Wiltshire and Somerset in 1407, during her first marriage, to Sir John Kingston. The Childrey family is noted as being of some importance early in the fourteenth century.

From the epitaph on Williamís fine brass in Childrey Church (the largest in Berkshire), it would appear that he died at an early age. It speaks of a knowledge of law in the first line, but this was probably no more than every country gentleman felt bound to possess, and for which he may possibly have studied at one of the inns of court. It further suggests that he served his King, Henry V, with distinction in the Hundred Years War. Perhaps he was at the famous Battle of Agincourt. Such service would certainly make him an ideal candidate for Sheriff of Berkshire, an office he held in 1432. He was also elected Member of Parliament for the same county, along with Robert Shottesbrooke of Shottesbrooke, two years later. On 8th May in this year, he was present at the great council held in the Bishop of Durham's palace in the Strand when King Henry VI endeavoured to reconcile his uncles, the Dukes of Gloucester and Bedford, between whom a quarrel had arisen about the conduct of the War in France. In 1436, William subscribed fifty pounds, a large sum in those days, to the loan ordered by the Privy Council to be raised from the peers, ecclesiastics, cities, towns and influential persons of the kingdom, to enable the King to send an army into France under the Duke of York.

William Fynderne died on the 13th March 1444. Despite the fact that his wife must have been somewhat his senior, Elizabeth survived her second husband by nearly twenty years. She appears to have resumed the name of Kingston, being so styled in her inquisition post mortem taken in 1464. The coupleís beautiful brass having been laid down in her life-time, the date of her decease was never inserted, but it occurred some time in 1362. They are believed to have had at least two sons together, although all Elizabethís estates were inherited by her son by her first marriage, Thomas Kingston.

William is the person alluded to in the ordinances of William Fettiplace of Childrey, in 20th July 1523, wherein a sum of twelve pence is directed to be paid "to him who shall preach Mr. Fynderne's sermon at Childrey."


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