ID PH01_SPR Article from Mersea Museum / Elaine Barker

TitleSpring Wyncoll
AbstractTWO SPRINGS, A PENNY FARTHING and A PEDALO!

This research is a funny old business! You set off in one direction and before you know it you've gone down a totally different path!

This particular path involves my research into a man called Spring Wyncoll.

I set off on the research being inspired by a picture from 1888 of a Fingringhoe man, Spring Wyncoll. The picture, in the possession of Pat Wyncoll, shows him posing by a penny farthing looking like a showman in a dapper suit with gleaming shoes.

Spring Wyncoll - penny farthing

By the time of this picture the penny farthing (also called an 'ordinary' or a 'high-wheeler') was being superseded by the modern bicycle referred to as a 'safety bicycle'. The penny farthing's heyday was short-lived being popular in the 1870s and 80s and, as you will read, this particular example ended up being broken up for its parts.

Pat Wyncoll then pointed out a kerb grave on the eastern edge of Peldon churchyard in danger of being engulfed by bramble and hedging. Its inscription on the north side reads

'In loving memory of Spring Wyncoll'.

In the parish burials' register the Rector, Edgar G Bowring, adds in the margin

.. parish clerk, sexton and gardener at the rectory for thirty years.

Although he was born in the Abberton/ Langenhoe area and, once married, lived and worked mainly in Fingringhoe, Spring Wyncoll spent his later years in Peldon and appears in the 1911 census living at Goings Cottages, Peldon with his first wife Emily (born in Little Horkesley in around 1863); they don't appear to have children. He is described as a 'gardener (domestic)'.

Born in 1863, Spring worked throughout his life as a groom and a gardener. As with many agricultural workers he moved about for work living at different times on the Causeway at Langenhoe, Brick House in Fingringhoe, in Colchester and for thirty years in Peldon.

It is likely his first wife Emily died sometime after the census of 1911 and during that time he possibly married Frances A Bloyce (in 1916 Oct - Dec in Tendring).

Spring Wyncoll died 14.5.1930 aged 67 and is buried in Peldon Churchyard with second wife, Frances, who died aged 85 on 5.9.1934 (born approx.1849). Her name is commemorated on the other side of the kerb grave.

On Frances' death the following entry appears in the Essex County Standard

Mrs Frances Wyncoll passed away at the age of 85. With her husband, the late Spring Wyncoll who for many years was Parish Clerk, she took a great interest in church and parish affairs. Essex County Standard 14.9.1934

Some disquiet emerged during my research for there appeared to be two Fingringhoe Spring Wyncolls. There is a Spring Robert Wyncoll, approximately six years younger than our Peldon parish clerk, who was the son of a publican, Robert Wyncoll, living in The Whalebone in Fingringhoe. Was the showman posing by the penny farthing Peldon's or The Whalebone's Spring Wyncoll?

A chance meeting (at Great Wigborough church coffee morning) with Geoff Wyncoll (Pat's cousin) resulted in him sending me the following picture.

Spring Wyncoll pedalo

The drawing above appeared in Yachting Monthly and was used in a local paper. The article which accompanied it paints a hilarious picture of the launch!"

'Cycle Boat' on the Colne

A DRAWING made from an old photograph in the possession of Mrs Bassingham of Fingringhoe, of the 'cycle-boat' which the late Mr Spring Wyncoll, of Fingringhoe, built, and which his friend, Mr Crickmar, pedalled on the water from Fingringhoe to Colchester. The boat (which was more of a flat-bottom punt than the drawing suggests) was built in an upper room at the Whalebone Inn, and launched through the window. The 'engines' were the mechanism of the first bicycle introduced into Fingringhoe, a 'penny-farthing'.

Conclusive proof that it was indeed Spring Robert Wyncoll, the son of the Whalebone's landlord, who was the owner of the penny farthing.

Spring Robert Wyncoll was to assist his parents in the pub before becoming a boat builder along with two of his brothers. Following his father's death in 1919, his mother, Catherine took over the Whalebone. In the 1939 register Spring was living with his wife in Spring Villas, Fingringhoe.

On further investigation I discovered the story of the 'cycle boat' had been retold several times in different publications each giving a bit more information about Spring's life.

'A CYCLE BOAT' With the death of Mr Spring Wyncoll, at Fingringhoe, nr. Colchester, Essex, at the age of 73, the memory of his 'cycle boat' is revived. Mr Wyncoll having had a 'penny-farthing' built in Colchester (which was the first cycle to appear in Fingringhoe), built himself a boat in an upper room of the Whalebone Inn. He built in the cranks of the cycle with two paddles, and then proceeded to ride his 'cycle boat' on the Roman River and the Colne. A friend of his Arthur Crickmar, made the first expedition from Fingringhoe Mill to East Mills at Colchester on this peculiar craft. History does not relate what happened to it.

In his youth Mr Wyncoll was apprenticed to the Rowhedge Iron Works as a shipwright and boat builder, and later made one voyage as a ship's carpenter from London to Australia and back. Apparently, a sailor's life did not appeal to him, and again he took to boat building, this time at Husk's yard, Wivenhoe, and later at Cox and King's. He then set up on his own at Mersea, where he built and repaired small craft.

Eventually he retired to Fingringhoe, where he became a Parish Councillor, one of the five Charity Trustees, and a keen parish historian. His death was due to a road accident in which he was injured some months earlier, and from the effects of which he never fully recovered.

Spring's escapade didn't escape the attention of local author, Hervey Benham, for in his book The Last Stronghold of Sail he holds up the story as an illustration of the 'gaiety and zest of life in those days of hard toil and uncertain livelihood'

Peldon's Spring Wyncoll seems to have led a much more decorous life serving church and community!

Postscript And what of such an unusual first name?

Geoff Wyncoll writes

I believe the first time Spring was used as a forename was my 7th great grandfather, Thomas Spring Wyncoll 1663 to 1710. His parents were Thomas Wyncoll and Mary Spring. Young Thomas married Dorothy Umpreville who was the direct descendant of the kin of William the Conquerer who came to England in the 11th Century. Thomas and Dorothy named one of their sons Spring, born about 1689. Since then there appear to be a few boys named Spring.

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Thanks to Pat and Geoff Wyncoll
The Hervey Benham Trust

AuthorElaine Barker
SourceMersea Museum
IDPH01_SPR
Related Images:
 A gentleman - Spring Robert Wyncoll ?
 Photo by Gill, Colchester.  MSY_009
ImageID:   MSY_009
Title: A gentleman - Spring Robert Wyncoll ?
Photo by Gill, Colchester.
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Relaxing - Robert Wyncoll relaxing in his room at the Whalebone in Fingringhoe ?  MSY_011
ImageID:   MSY_011
Title: Relaxing - Robert Wyncoll relaxing in his room at the Whalebone in Fingringhoe ?
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Outside the Whalebone Inn, Fingringhoe.
 Robert Wyncoll was the innkeeper and you can just see his name over the door. He died in 1919, and Mrs Catherine Wyncoll took over.  MSY_013
ImageID:   MSY_013
Title: Outside the Whalebone Inn, Fingringhoe.
Robert Wyncoll was the innkeeper and you can just see his name over the door. He died in 1919, and Mrs Catherine Wyncoll took over.
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 The Pedalo - a photograph that has been handed down the Wyncoll family.
 Spring Wyncoll of Fingringhoe built the pedalo and his friend, Mr Crickmar, pedalled it on the water from Fingringhoe to Colchester. The pedaller in this photograph has not been identified.  MSY_PED_001
ImageID:   MSY_PED_001
Title: The Pedalo - a photograph that has been handed down the Wyncoll family.
Spring Wyncoll of Fingringhoe built the pedalo and his friend, Mr Crickmar, pedalled it on the water from Fingringhoe to Colchester. The pedaller in this photograph has not been identified.
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Death of Mr Spring Wyncoll at age of 73. Fingringhoe's G.O.M.
 Rode Cycle-boat on the Colne.  MSY_SPR_001
ImageID:   MSY_SPR_001
Title: Death of Mr Spring Wyncoll at age of 73. Fingringhoe's G.O.M.
Rode "Cycle-boat" on the Colne.
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Spring Robert Wyncoll and his Penny Farthing. Writing on the back of the photograph dates it as 1888. Photograph by P. Damant, Mersea Rd., Colchester.  MSY_SPR_003
ImageID:   MSY_SPR_003
Title: Spring Robert Wyncoll and his Penny Farthing. Writing on the back of the photograph dates it as 1888. Photograph by P. Damant, Mersea Rd., Colchester.
Date:1888
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Indenture Spring Robert Wyncoll to J.A. Puxley, East Donyland.
</p><p>
 This is to certify
 that the within named
 S R Wyncoll served
 & completed the
 specified time mentioned
 in this Indenture
 John A Houston
 Manager
 
 This is to certify that the within
 named S R Wyncoll has served for
 two years & two months as improver
 at my yard making up 7 years
 servitude at Ship's Carpentry & Joinery
 May 12th 1892
 John A Houston
</p>
<p> Read More
 <a href=mmphoto.php?typ=ID&hit=1&tot=1&ba=cke&bid=MSY_SPR_012>Detail side of Indenture </a>
 <a href=mmresdetails.php?col=MM&ba=cke&typ=ID&pid=MBK_RCS_PUX>Puxley - shipbuilders at Rowhedge </a>
</p>  MSY_SPR_011
ImageID:   MSY_SPR_011
Title: Indenture Spring Robert Wyncoll to J.A. Puxley, East Donyland.


This is to certify
that the within named
S R Wyncoll served
& completed the
specified time mentioned
in this Indenture
John A Houston
Manager

This is to certify that the within
named S R Wyncoll has served for
two years & two months as improver
at my yard making up 7 years
servitude at Ship's Carpentry & Joinery
May 12th 1892
John A Houston

Read More
Detail side of Indenture
Puxley - shipbuilders at Rowhedge

Date:22 May 1885
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty
 Indenture Spring Robert Wyncoll to J.A. Puxley, East Donyland
</p><p>
 This Indenture Witnesseth That Spring Robert Wyncoll
 of the age of Sixteen years or there abouts residing in the Parish of Fingringhoe
 in the county of Essex with his own free will and consent and also with the consent of his Father
 doth put himself Apprentice to J. A. Puxley Yacht Smack and boat builder
 of East Donyland in the county of Essex
 to learn her Art and with her after the Manner of an Apprentice to serve from the Eighteenth day of May
 One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Five to the 7th day of March One Thousand Eight
 Hundred and ninety
 During
 which term the said Apprentice his Mistress faithfully shall serve her secrets keep her lawful commands every
 where gladly do he shall do no damage to his said Mistress nor see to be done of others but to his Power shall tell
 or forthwith give warning to his said Mistress of the same. He shall not waste the Goods of his said Mistress
 nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not contract Matrimony within the said Term nor play at Cards or
 Dice Tables or any other unlawful Games whereby his said Mistress may have any loss with her own goods or others
 during the said Term without Licence of his said Mistress shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not haunt Taverns or
 Playhouses nor absent himself from his said Mistress's service day or night unlawfully But in all things as a
 faithful Apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said Mistress and all hers during the said Term
 And the said J.A. Puxley agrees to pay the said apprentice as follows viz
 For the first year nothing. The second year three shillings per week the
 third year four shillings per week The Fourth year 5 shillings per week
 and the remaining Ten months six shillings per week and
 teach
 her said Apprentice in the Art of a Shipwright which he useth by the best means
 that he can shall teach and Instruct or cause to be taught and instructed
 and the said apprentice agrees to find himself with meat drink and all other necessaries during
 the term of his apprenticeship and the said apprentice further agrees when ordered by his mistress or whosoever may
 be appointed to order him to work at any place and at any time and to be paid for any hours he may have been ordered to work
 at the rate of nine hours and a half per day and the said apprentice agrees at the end of his apprenticeship to make up
 any deficiency of time he may have been absent except with his Mistress's consent and by sickness
 And for the true performance of all and every the said Covenants and Agreements either of the said Parties bindeth himself unto the
 other by these Presents In Witness whereof the Parties above named to these Indentures interchangeably have put their Hands and Seals
 the Twenty Second day of May and in the Forty fifth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign
 Lady Victoria by the Grace of God of the united Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland QUEEN Defender of the Faith
 and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Five
     S R Wyncoll
     J A Puxley
     Robert Wyncoll
 Witness J A Houston
</p>
<p> Read More
 <a href=mmphoto.php?typ=ID&hit=1&tot=1&ba=cke&bid=MSY_SPR_011>Reverse side of Indenture </a>
 <a href=mmresdetails.php?col=MM&ba=cke&typ=ID&pid=MBK_RCS_PUX>Puxley - shipbuilders at Rowhedge </a>
</p>  MSY_SPR_012
ImageID:   MSY_SPR_012
Title: Indenture Spring Robert Wyncoll to J.A. Puxley, East Donyland


This Indenture Witnesseth That Spring Robert Wyncoll
of the age of Sixteen years or there abouts residing in the Parish of Fingringhoe
in the county of Essex with his own free will and consent and also with the consent of his Father
doth put himself Apprentice to J. A. Puxley Yacht Smack and boat builder
of East Donyland in the county of Essex
to learn her Art and with her after the Manner of an Apprentice to serve from the Eighteenth day of May
One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Five to the 7th day of March One Thousand Eight
Hundred and ninety
During
which term the said Apprentice his Mistress faithfully shall serve her secrets keep her lawful commands every
where gladly do he shall do no damage to his said Mistress nor see to be done of others but to his Power shall tell
or forthwith give warning to his said Mistress of the same. He shall not waste the Goods of his said Mistress
nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not contract Matrimony within the said Term nor play at Cards or
Dice Tables or any other unlawful Games whereby his said Mistress may have any loss with her own goods or others
during the said Term without Licence of his said Mistress shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not haunt Taverns or
Playhouses nor absent himself from his said Mistress's service day or night unlawfully But in all things as a
faithful Apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said Mistress and all hers during the said Term
And the said J.A. Puxley agrees to pay the said apprentice as follows viz
For the first year nothing. The second year three shillings per week the
third year four shillings per week The Fourth year 5 shillings per week
and the remaining Ten months six shillings per week and
teach
her said Apprentice in the Art of a Shipwright which he useth by the best means
that he can shall teach and Instruct or cause to be taught and instructed
and the said apprentice agrees to find himself with meat drink and all other necessaries during
the term of his apprenticeship and the said apprentice further agrees when ordered by his mistress or whosoever may
be appointed to order him to work at any place and at any time and to be paid for any hours he may have been ordered to work
at the rate of nine hours and a half per day and the said apprentice agrees at the end of his apprenticeship to make up
any deficiency of time he may have been absent except with his Mistress's consent and by sickness
And for the true performance of all and every the said Covenants and Agreements either of the said Parties bindeth himself unto the
other by these Presents In Witness whereof the Parties above named to these Indentures interchangeably have put their Hands and Seals
the Twenty Second day of May and in the Forty fifth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign
Lady Victoria by the Grace of God of the united Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland QUEEN Defender of the Faith
and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Five
S R Wyncoll
J A Puxley
Robert Wyncoll
Witness J A Houston

Read More
Reverse side of Indenture
Puxley - shipbuilders at Rowhedge

Date:22 May 1885
Source:Mersea Museum / Mandy Sainty