The Bullock Family of Great Wigborough

The Bullock Family of Great Wigborough

In 1925 the Reverend Llewellyn Christopher Watson Bullock was instituted at St Stephen's Church, Great Wigborough and was to be rector there until 1933.

A descendant of a wealthy Berkshire family, it was fitting that the rector should return to the village where his ancestor, John Bullock, had settled in the mid to late 1500s. John Bullock (who died in 1595) moved into Moulshams Manor in Great Wigborough and, as the Reverend wrote in his 1905 book Memoirs of the Family Bullock AD 1166 - 1905.

This established the Essex branch of the family which for at least three centuries was the chief representation of the old Arborfield [Berkshire] stock.

John, who, according to most histories, began the Wigborough and Peldon branch of the Bullock family, became Lord of the Manors of Moulsham at Wigborough Magna and Loftes in Great and Little Totham

In Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of The Landed Gentry Vol.1 the entry for John reads

JOHN BULLOCK Esq; the first of the family who settled at Great Wigborough in Essex where he died 10 February 1595 and was buried in the chancel of the church there.

John's grandson, was to become Sir Edward Bullock (1580 - 1644) knighted by King James I and a Cavalier in the English Civil War. In 1637 Sir Edward bought Faulkbourn Hall in Witham becoming Lord of the Manor there and this was to remain the family seat until 1898.

For 260 years and over ten generations of the family, the Bullocks held Faulkbourn Hall while still owning their estates in and around Great Wigborough.

In the eighteenth century, The Manor of Abbess Hall [Abbots Hall], Great Wigborough, also came into the family by marriage.

Eventually the Great Wigborough estate was to come to Colonel John Bullock (1731 - 1809) who served as a Member of Parliament for 56 years, and was Father of the House. He was colonel of the East Essex Militia and in 1802 the High Sheriff. He was born in 1731, the eldest surviving son of Josiah Bullock and Hannah Cooke, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Cooke, Member of Parliament for Colchester and governor of the East India Company.

After Colonel John Bullock's death, the Manor of Abbess Hall, Great Wigborough, was sold in two lots in 1810 and then Moulshams Manor was sold in the 1830s to pay for a large extension to Faulkbourn Hall, a picture gallery, needed to house the large collection of paintings in the family's possession.

We find, however, in The Rev Llewellyn Bullock's Memoir, that he believes a branch of the family came to Great Wigborough much earlier than previous records indicate. This is borne out by two wills.

In a will from 1553, a John Bullock of Moch Wigborowe the Younger left considerable property in that neighbourhood. He leaves his two sons the houses of Rowses and Warestock together with surrounding neighbourhoods. The Rev Bullock goes on to say, it is pure speculation who the elder John was, but it is quite possible he was one of the seven sons of Thomas 2nd of Arborfield where the family originated.

From another will, that of Henry Bullock, proved in 1579, Rev Bullock tells us a considerable portion of the family property lay in the Parish of West Mersey. He goes on to say

Among the parishes whose poor benefitted under the wills of John and Henry Bullock were Much Wigborough, Little Wigborough, Fingringhoe, West Mersey, Salcot Wigborough, Tollesbury, Layer Bretton, Peldon and Tolleshunt Knights

Clearly these two men were possessed of huge tracts of land in this area well before their relative was to become Lord of Moulsham Manor.

Several Bullock inscriptions have been lost and swept away in previous restorations of the church in the distant past, but one still survives in the chancel wall, that of Henry Bullock who died in 1609. The brass was fitted to the chancel wall by the Reverend Theobald (incumbent from 1886) to prevent it being lost. In a previous restoration it is believed the Purbeck marble stone it had been attached to - the screws and indentations are still visible - was reused to form the step into the church.

By the time of the 1841 census there is a William Bullock living in an unnamed house close to The Hyde which is situated on Wigborough Hill close to Moulshams Manor and the church. After this there are no references to any of the Bullock family in the Wigboroughs or Peldon.

Elaine Barker

Author: Elaine Barker

Related Images

 Here lyeth the body of Henry Bvllocke Late of Wigborowgh in the County of Essex who deceased ye 13 of June 1609.
</p><p>Plaque in Great Wigborough Parish Church.
</p><p>The Parish Registers of Great and Little Wigborough by P.A.F Stephenson gives us its origin:
 <i>A large Purbeck marble slab, now forming the stepping stone into the church from the porch, formerly held a brass, the screws of which still remain with indentations in the marble. This small brass in memory of Henry Bullock now on the chancel wall fits the indentation and was found by the Reverend F Theobald [rector from 1886 - 1925] on his appointment and was inserted by him in its present position for preservation. There is little doubt that during a former restoration the slab being found to fit the doorway was thus made use of and the brass torn off. </i></p>  GWG_CHC_023GWG_CHC_023
Here lyeth the body of Henry Bvllocke Late of Wigborowgh in the County of Essex who deceased ye 13 of June 1609.

Plaque in Great Wigborough Parish Church.

"The Parish Registers of Great and Little Wigborough" by P.A.F Stephenson gives us its origin:
A large Purbeck marble slab, now forming the stepping stone into the church from the porch, formerly held a brass, the screws of which still remain with indentations in the marble. This small brass in memory of Henry Bullock now on the chancel wall fits the indentation and was found by the Reverend F Theobald [rector from 1886 - 1925] on his appointment and was inserted by him in its present position for preservation. There is little doubt that during a former restoration the slab being found to fit the doorway was thus made use of and the brass torn off.


13 June 1609
ID: PH01_BLK
Source: Mersea Museum