Thomas Britnell and Sarah Rance

Thomas Britnell / Brudenell was born in 1700 in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, England to parents Thomas Britnell (1664-1740) and Ann Harding (1677-1745).

Thomas was baptised at St Andrews, Chinnor on 1 April 1700. The surname Britnell seems to be written as Brudenell when the latin form is used in the parish registers.

Chinnor, Oxfordshire baptism register 1700

At the age of 25 Thomas married Sarah Rance on 28 October 1725 at her home parish of Bledlow, Buckinghamshire, by license.

Holy Trinity, Bledlow

Sarah was born in Bledlow Ridge in 1706 and baptised at Bledlow on 10 April 1706.

She was the daughter of John Rance (1656-1712) and Sarah Gibbons (b 1662).

Sarah was one of four children born to the couple.

Thomas and Sarah had thirteen children which were all baptised at Crowell –

  1. Thomas b 1727 & d 1778 Crowell, marr Jane Ball, 3 children
  2. Sarah b 1728 & d 1734 Crowell
  3. Jonah b 1730 & d 1772 Crowell, marr Mary Almond, 6 children
  4. John b 1732 Crowell d 1807 Aston Rowant, marr Mary Croxford, 8 children
  5. Susannah b 1733 Crowell d 1792 Chinnor, marr Thomas Stevens
  6. Sarah b 1734 Crowell, d 1782 Stokenchurch,  marr Henry Ball, 5 children
  7. Ann b 1735 & d 1780 Crowell marr Thomas Stacey
  8. James b 1737 Crowell d 1808 Bledlow, marr Mary Wharton, 9 children
  9. Hannah b 1738 Crowell, d 1763 Bucks, marr Thomas Chowne
  10. Elizabeth b 1741 & d 1744 Crowell
  11. Mary b 1743 Crowell, d 1763 Oxford, marr Edward Aire/Ayre
  12. Benjamin b 1745 & d 1763 Crowell
  13. Phillip b 1749 Crowell, d 1728 Bledlow, marr Ann Hutchins, 3 children

Thomas and Sarah had a large family, losing 3 children in childhood.

Crowell Oxfordshire

Crowell is a tiny village in Oxfordshire, located  between Chinnor and Kingston Blount near to Thame. The main part of the village is at the foot of the Chiltern Hills with part of the parish extending up onto Crowell Hill. In 1841 the population of Crowell was 169.

What is left of the old Village – there were only 22 Dwellings in the whole Parish in 1951, compared with 40 in 1851 – is dominated by the Flint-built Church which stands raised above the Road. You can read more about Crowell here.

In 1754 Thomas appears in the UK Poll and Electoral Register as a landlord and tenant in Crowell.

UK Poll Book, Crowell 1754

Thomas Britnell’s will was written in January 1763 available here.  Thomas left the following bequests, and typically the farm passed to his eldest son Thomas –

  •  to Sarah my wife all my lands, except the Close which we call Long Close, which I allow her to mortgage or sell to pay £20 which I owe to James Floyd of Kingston.
  • all my goods and cattle to be at her disposing.
  • After her decease I give my son Jonah Britnell £22
  • sons John and James Britnell £6
  • sons Benjamin and Phillip Britnell £8
  • I give Jeffery Barney 12d to be paid twelve months after my wife’s decease if demanded.
  • daughters Sarah Ball, Susannah Stevens, Hannah Chown, Mary Britnell £6
  • After wife Sarah’s decease I give all my above property to my son Thomas Britnell, for him or his Executors etc to raise out of [it] and pay all the above legacies as described.The Witnesses to the will were John Hunt, Thomas Hearn and John East and the will was probated on 23 April 1763.

Thomas died in 1763, but the actual date was not recorded in the burial register, but we know it was sometime between January 17th (when he wrote his will) and 23 April when it was probated. His wife Sarah was buried the same year and they appear in the burial register together.

Crowell burial register