Requests for clarification to Michael Wright yield this follow-up on 19 Apr 2012:
Hi James and Jeffrey,
I certainly can try to help here. James, I am not exactly sure what you are trying to do, but I am assuming that you would like to build a proper family tree for John Wright (1488-1551) of Kelvedon Hatch, Co. Essex, England, who is the first John Wright of that place for whom we have written documentation (Philip Morant, "History and Antiquities of the county of Essex...." in two volumes, published between 1763-1768 and references therein).
So here it goes...I have to warn you, this is a VERY convoluted story because so many people have pecked at it for over 150 years and so many errors have become accepted through time as though they were facts....
The first John Wright in our family line that we know well has been presumed by most to have been born ca. 1488, a son of a Rev. John Wright, who was supposed to have been a "divine of Dagenham" born ca. 1450. Their birth places are usually mistakenly given as Dagenhams, based mostly on a misinterpretation of the entry in Burke's, "The General Armory of England, Scotland and Ireland", p 1139 which places the granting of one of the Wright arms (extinct with the death of Henry Wright, 2nd Baronet of Dagenhams in 1681) as having been "granted 20 June 1509". This is, in fact, a typo in Burke's book because the College of Arms has it recorded that this particular arms and crest were granted to John Wright of Wrightsbridge "20 June 32 Elizabeth I", that is 20 June 1590, not 1509. So, at present a cautious genealogist must conclude that their birthplaces are not proven to be Dagenham and might well be any of a number of other places. At the time of John Wright's death in 1551, the family held land and houses in the parishes of Havering, Brentwood, South Weald, Layndon, Ramsden Bellhouse (The Bellowes house), Childerditch, with most of the house and estate properties outside of Kelvedon Hall, being located in or near Brentwood and a good deal of the arable farm land located in the Liberty of Havering. Furthermore, there were no properties in the village of Dagenham nor in the vicinity of Harold Hill at the site of the Dagenham Manor. The closest property to Dagenham Manor that John Wright (d. 1551) bequeathed to his children was a farm at Wrights Bridge, South Weald Parish. We have tried to locate as many as possible of the properties mentioned in John Wright's will and trace their ownership to see if John Wright (d. 1551) purchased them in his lifetime or inherited them from his wife's family or his own, but have been successful in only a few instances that still do not tell us which location might be the original home of Rev. John Wright (d. 1509). One thing does appear quite clear from this research and that is that no member of this Wright family ever was in possession of the Manor of Dagenhams and Cockrells until 1633 when a descendant of John Wright (d. 1551), Dr. Lawrence Wright (1590-1657, son of John Wright of Wrightsbridge) purchased it from the Thomas Legett estate. It was the grandson of this Dr. Lawrence Wright, Sir Henry Wright, 2nd Baronet of Dagenham, who died underaged and without issue in 1681 so that his sister, Mrs. Ann (nee Wright) Pye inherited the estate and manor home of Dagenhams. And so Dagenham Manor passed out of Wright ownership after only 52 years of their possessing it, and some 137 years after Rev. John Wright was supposed to be "of Dagenhams". It also cannot be shown that Rev. John Wright (d. 1509) was ever associated with the parish church of the villiage of Dagenhams (St. Peter & St. Paul) because there are no records before 1538 for that parish. It remains possible he was "of Dagenham", but not provable, and given the lack of any lands or houses owned there by John Wright (d. 1551), unlikely. Now, leaving the issue of where they were born, let us move on to the family of John Wright (d. 1551 at Kelvedon Hatch) where things get ever more confusing.
John Wright (d. 1551) married Olive Hubbard in 1509 (place unknown) and had by her four sons: John the Elder (d. 1563), Robert (d. 1587), Myddle John (d. 1558), and John the Younger (d. 1680). Their birth places are also not known for certain becasue they were all born prior to the keeping of parish records. Now to the matter of their descendants that you were asking about: The John Wright who converted to Roman Catholic faith in 1605, and was possessed of the Kelvedon Hall estate and the advowship of the Kelvedon Hatch church (St. Nicholas) at that time, was a primogenitor descendant of the eldest son, John the Elder (d. 1563). Catholic John Wright's descendants would hold Kelvedon Hall for another 300 years and the descendants remained Catholic to the end. As a result, after 1609, the Wrights of Kelvedon Hall never again were allowed to present the minister at St. Nicholas Church. The Thomas Wright of Wethersfield, CT (d. 1670), who you were also asking about specifically, is a documented descendant of the second son, Robert Wright (d. 1587). Deacon Samuel Wright of Springfield and Northampton, MA is a descendant of the third son, Myddle John Wright (d. 1558).
It was a Y-DNA profile comparison between several of us Dea. Samuel Wright descendants and a proven descendant of Thomas Wright that established Deacon Samuel Wright and his descendants as proven members of the Kelvedon Hatch Wright family. The records to prove Dea. Samuel Wright's descent from John Wright (d. 1551) are largely missing. We have his birth record (June 29 or 30 1606) and a college matriculation record (1624), but no marriage record, no child chistening records for his first five children, no ship list record..... nothing between 1624 and 1639 when he first appears in the early Agawam (as early Springfield was called) records in the Massachusetts Bay Colony being granted home lots and serving on court juries. The subsequent records of him in Springfield and later in Northampton paint the picture of a man of education, resources, influence and enterprise who served willingly and ably for the good of the community, much as his third cousin, Thomas Wright did in Wethersfield.
If you want me to trace the specific descent from John Wright (d. 1551) of the three men we are talking about: Catholic John Wright of Kelvedon Hall, Thomas Wright of Wethersfield, Ct, and Deacon Samuel Wright of Springfield & Northampton, MA, I can do that, but it would take more effort than I am up for at the moment.
If you want that additional detail, catch me tomorrow after I have had some sleep.
Best Regards, Mike Wright