George Otway 1578-1640

Born: 1578
Died: 1640
Father:Thomas Otway
Children:John Otway, Isabella Otway, Thomas Otway, Katherine Otway, George Otway, Rachel Otway, Richard Otway, Arthur Otway, Jane Otway, Abigail Otway, Mary Otway
Education:Christ's College, Cambridge - B.A .1599, M.A.1603
Christened: 06 Jul 1578
Updated: 01 Mar 2001


Christs College, Cambridge, Matric 1596/7.

Extract from Rockbourne Clergy and Churchwardens in 17th Century by Andrew Winser, published 1979

George Otway (1625-1639)

The Cromlums were succeeded in 1625 by George Otway and his wife Rachel. Since he was ordained priest in 1601, he must have been well over forty when he came, but one of his first entries in the register was the birth of his son George, followed by a daughter Rachel in 1626 and another son, Richard, in 1628. Most of the wills made at this time are witnessed by George Otway, for he was a Bachelor of Arts and, with William Guidot and Gilbert Pope, was one of the three men in Rockbourne who could write their name. If the belfry was not built during this time, at least the west-end of the church was fortified by three buttresses, one of which bears the date 1630, flanked by two initials E.H. and J.P. These were the initials of the churchwardens; we can only guess at their names - Edward House?, Edward Hunt? and John Pope?

Mr. Otway died in September 1639 - and we have his will. It discloses several things about him. He was a scholarly Bachelor of Arts, had nine children, two servants, Francis Curtis and John Ffulford, and a house at Cote Corner in Sarum. He left the lease of his house to his wife together with the traditional best bed, ‘household stuff to value of fortie pounds’ and ‘three quarters of wheate and three quarters of barley to keep herself and her children the year after my decease’. For spiritual sustenance she received Fox’s Book of Martyrs in three volumes and ‘Mr. Perkins works in another three volumes’. The rest of his library, which Mr. Otway obviously cherished, was divided between his four eldest children. Katherine, who had just married a Mr. Hieronymous Banes of St. Martins-in-the-Fields, was left with the duty of reading the works of Dr. Barnes, and Jane found herself the possessor of ‘ Jerome’s Dying Songs’ and Doctor Tail’s ‘Walking with Bifield’s Principle’. His eldest daughter, ‘being sick’, and presumably unequal to heavy theological reading, was left £10. Sadly, she never enjoyed her legacy, for she died six months after her father. The boys shared between them all his books in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, commentaries on the Old and New Testament and Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘History of the World’.

How well Mr. Otway discharged his duties we do not know, but he certainly took trouble over his preaching. He left his second son, Arthur, ‘all my sermons and the rest of my notes wherein I have laboured and spent much pains’. Thomas, his eldest son, who presumably became the head of the family, received his father’s common-place book which contained his accounts and ‘manners of trading’. One supposes that ‘trading’ refers to his profits from the glebe land.

Thomas Otway was one of the witnesses to the Will of Kellway Guidott, mentioned above, and at his death held the lease of West Park from Lord Salisbury and other substantial holdings in Rockbourne. How long he lived in Rockbourne is uncertain, but he was not living there in 1664. His father died in the same year as Mr. Otway and he may have left the parish at this time. Could Kellway and Thomas Otway have become life-long friends? When the Otways came to Rockbourne Kellway was twenty-five and Thomas must have been about the same age. Did Richard Penny name his third daughter in memory of Abigail Otway? It is pleasant to toy with these possibilities.

The most interesting item in Mr. Otway’s will, however, was the legacy to his wife of ‘the lease of my dwelling house, commonly called the Brick House in Rockbourne, with the orchards and gardens, and of Davies Close during the terms of years not expired’. As we shall see from the account of Mr. Otway’s successor, there was no permanent Parsonage House in Rockbourne but, without further information, we cannot tell where this Brick House stood, nor from whom it was leased. Its name, however, suggests that the walls of many other houses in the village were either of timber with lath and plaster infilling, or of chalk and flint, and that brick was, or had been, the distinguishing feature of this particular building.

Note by Michael Otway

‘Brick’ could have been ‘Brook House’ since the will also mentions bequests to ‘my son-in-law Jeremy Baines and my kind neighbour Walter Pope 2/-’. Brook House was connested with the Pope family.

It would seem that John had left the family long before they moved to Rockbourne. Perhaps there had been a family row.

Will proved 1640.

Information from the College of Heralds, Dublin (GO MS 176 Pages 215-223)

ID: 344   Generated by GedTree on 27 Aug 2002

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