David Pilcher and -- Haye
David Pilcher was born about 1526 to Luke Pylcher and Alice --. David married -- Haye, one of the daughters of William Haye and Joan Tufton. The Hayes had five daughters (Joane, Mary, Agnes, Bridget, and Margaret) but it is not known which one of them was David's wife.
In both his father's and his brother-in-law James Sysley's wills, David is called Davy. David is listed in an index to Chancery proceedings dated 1558-1579 as one of the defendants in a Chancery suit concerning The Swan in Hastings, Sussex, England (perhaps the half-timbered building still standing and used as a bed and breakfast in the old town area of Hastings). He also held freehold lands and tenements in Hooe, Sussex, England and a tenement named "Capenowar" (probably Chapenore, which is on Tanyard Hill) in Battle, Sussex, England.
David's will was dated 10 March 1576/7. He noted that he was of Battle, Sussex, England, left bequests to his unnamed wife, and made "my Broother Wyllyam Haye" and "my Brother Thomas Haye" his executors.
David and (Miss) Haye’s children are:
- Thomas Pilcher, born about 1556/7, mentioned in his father's will, inherited Capenowar and leases in Hooe, a plebeian at Balliol College, Oxford, matriculated 1575, scholar in 1575, B.A. 28 May 1576, M.A. 16 May 1579. He is believed to be the Venerable Thomas Pilchard, a Catholic martyr executed (hung, drawn, and quartered) 21 Mar 1586/7 in Dorchester, Dorsetshire, England. If so, Thomas was educated at Douai, Nord, France and received a priest's orders at Rheims, Marne, Grand Est, France. Thomas was sent on a mission to England, arrested, and banished "but returned almost immediately." He was arrested a second time in Mar 1586/7 and imprisoned in Dorchester, Dorsetshire, England. One Father Worfield, who knew him, said, "Mr. Pilchard was taken in London, being recognized in Fleet Street by an acquaintance who had known him very well some years before at Oxford; for he was a person easily recognized owing to a decided squint, though his eyes were nevertheless not without a charm." In the fortnight he spent in jail, he is said to have converted thirty people. He was one of a small number of Catholics executed during a time of intense fear at court around the time of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587. His execution was particularly gruesome, as the person hired to perform the quartering was a cook or butcher by trade, not a professional executioner, and carried out the sentence clumsily. He reportedly called out, "Is this then your justice, Mr. Sheriff?" He was disemboweled and his last reported words were said to have been, "Miserere mei!" (Latin for "Have mercy on me!"). Father Worford reports that Thomas's limbs were hung on the walls of Dorchester, as was the custom, but "Dorchester and the whole surrounding country was stricken with such terrible storms and terrified with such horrible and unusual lightnings, until the limbs of the Martyr were taken down from the walls, where they had been hung as usual, that the like had never been heard of." He also seems to have been buried in an agricultural field, rather than on consecrated ground. Of Thomas's personality and appearance, Father Worfield said: "He gave great edification by the remarkable sobriety of his demeanour, his candour and sparing talk, and above all, his piety and devotion in saying Mass...there was not a priest in the whole West of England, who, to my knowledge, was his equal in virtue...He was of a most gentle disposition, more than moderately learned, a remarkable pattern of priestly life. He was above the middle height, and had, as I have said, a cast in his eyes; his countenance was modest and sedate ; he wore a small beard round the mouth and chin; was sparing in food, with most sweet and holy manners ; and what I used most of all to admire in him, he was always like himself. He was between thirty and forty years old."
- Luke Pilcher, mentioned in his father's will, inherited lands and tenements in Hooe, will dated 20 Jun 1583 and proved 23 Jul 1583.
- Anna Pilcher, mentioned in her father's will, married William French (mentioned in Luke Pilcher's will as "brother," or in other words, brother-in-law, seems to have originally been a tailor but later became a shipowner and merchant in Rye, Sussex, England, bur. 12 Mar 1602/3 in Rye, administration granted to relict 15 Mar 1602/3) 20 Oct 1581 in Rye Sussex, England (in the marriage record, she is called "Agnes Pylchar" but at this period, Anna, Anne, and Agnes were interchangeable names), buried 24 May 1617 in Rye, Sussex, England, will dated 5 May 1617 and proved 14 May 1617.
- Mercye Pilcher, mentioned in her father's will, married William Nowell (mentioned in Luke Pilcher's will as "brother," or in other words, brother-in-law, son of William Nowell, administration granted to unnamed relict 18 Dec 1584).
- John Pilcher, mentioned in his father's will, inherited lands, tenements, and heriditaments in Battle, married 1) Catharine Collyn (bur. 13 Aug 1590 in Burwash, Sussex, England) 19 Dec 1586 in Burwash, Sussex, England (John had obtained a license to marry Catharine 16 Dec 1586, in which he stated that he resided in Salehurst, Sussex, England) and 2) Joan Hepden (of Burwash, Sussex, England, dau. of Thomas and Mary (Harmer) Hepden, bur. 8 Aug 1624 in Burwash, Sussex, England), buried 19 Sep 1621 in Rye, Sussex, England, administration on his estate was granted to his relict Joan 1 Nov 1621.
- Constance Pilcher, mentioned in her father's will, married Thomas Ensing (b. abt. 1575, a merchant, land chamberlain of Rye, Sussex, England from 1599 to 1600/1, representative of Rye at meetings of the Brotherhood which controlled the Cinque Ports at New Romney, Kent, England on a number of occasions from 1600 to 1621, deputy mayor in 1615, likely a Puritan, will dated 14 Dec 1631 and proved 27 Mar 1632, buried 2 Feb 1631 at Hove, Sussex, England) 27 May 1594 in Brightling, Sussex, England, buried 21 February 1624/5.
- Ancestry.com. England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: England, Marriages, 1538–1973. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.
- Wainewright, John, "Venerable Thomas Pilchard," The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 12, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911.
- Pollen, John Hungerford, Acts of English Martyrs Hitherto Unpublished, London: Burns and Oates, 1891, pgs. 261-8.
Records related to the David and -- (Haye) Pilcher family but not copied below due to copyright considerations:
- Reed, Paul C., "The English Ensigns: Ancestral to Thomas Ensign of Scituate, Massachusetts, and James Ensign of Hartford, Connecticut," The American Genealogist, Vol. 75, Jan 2000, pgs. 1-15.
- Reed, Paul C., "The English Ensigns: Ancestral to Thomas Ensign of Scituate, Massachusetts, and James Ensign of Hartford, Connecticut (Pilcher/Pylcher Descent)," The American Genealogist, Vol. 75, Apr 2000, pgs. 130-44.
- Reed, Paul C., "The English Ensigns: Ancestral to Thomas Ensign of Scituate, Massachusetts, and James Ensign of Hartford, Connecticut (Wybourne Descent and Haye/Hayes Descent)," The American Genealogist, Vol. 75, Jul 2000, p. 229-40.
Name: William French
Marriage Date: 20 Oct 1581
Marriage Place: Rye, Sussex, England
Spouse: Agnes Pylchar
FHL Film Number: 1067288
Reference ID: item 3
Name: Thomas Ensinge
Marriage Date: 27 May 1594
Marriage Place: Brightling,Sussex,England
Spouse: Constance Pilchen
FHL Film Number: 1067120
Source: Ancestry.com. England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: England, Marriages, 1538–1973. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.
Pilchard (Pilcher), Thomas Venerable, martyr, born at Battle, Sussex, 1557; died at Dorchester, 21 March 1586-7. He became a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, in 1576, and took the degree of M.A., in 1579, resigning his fellowship the following year. He arrived at Reims 20 November, 1581, and was ordained priest at Laon, March, 1583, and was sent on the mission. He was arrested soon after, and banished; but returned almost immediately. He was again arrested early in March, 1586-7, and imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol, and in the fortnight between committal to prison and condemnation converted thirty persons. He was so cruelly drawn upon the hurdle that he was fainting when he came to the place of execution. When the rope was cut, being still alive he stood erect under the scaffold. The executioner, a cook, carried out the sentence so clumsily that the victim, turning to the sheriff, exclaimed "Is this then your justice, Mr. Sheriff?" According to another account "the priest raised himself and putting out his hands cast forward his own bowels, crying 'Miserere mei'". Father Warford says: "There was not a priest in the whole West of England, who, to my knowledge, was his equal in virtue."
POLLEN, Arts of the English Martyrs (London, 1891), 201-3, 320-1; English Martyrs 1584-1603 in Cath. Rec. Soc. (London, 1908) 288-9, 395; FOSTER, Alumni Oxonienses (Oxford, 1891); KNOX, Douay Dairies (London, 1878) passim; CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, I, no. 42. JOHN B. WAINEWRIGHT.
Source: Wainewright, John, "Venerable Thomas Pilchard," The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 12, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911.
From Chapter XII (Father Warford's Recollections):
Mr. Thomas Pilchard20 (1587). I knew him at Oxford as Fellow of Balliol and Master of Arts  . He went from Oxford to Rheims and was made priest, and here again I was intimate with him in the year 1583. He gave great edification by the remarkable sobriety of his demeanour, his candour and sparing talk, and above all, his piety and devotion in saying Mass.
He returned to the English Mission, where he bore himself in so praiseworthy a manner, that there was not a priest in the whole West of England who, to my knowledge, was his equal in virtue. Certainly to this day his memory is in benediction throughout all that country, where he was universally held for something more than a Seminarist, having the reputation of being a true apostle. Many were the souls he gained to God. Whether at home, on a journey, or in prison, he was always at work and never excused himself from preaching and administering the sacraments. An unwearied chastiser of his own body, he was accustomed to sleep on the ground even in prison and in fetters, and when he had a bed to sleep on if he chose. Accordingly, he was glad to give it up to his fellow-prisoners, and by such acts he brought more to God when in prison than when free.
He was imprisoned at Dorchester, whither there ran to him from every side those who were solicitous about their souls. All were helped, all consoled, no one left him without receiving a lesson in some virtue or other. The very thieves were attracted and converted by his meekness,
and though in close imprisonment, he was accounted the oracle of the whole county. His prudence and constancy frustrated all the stratagems of the gaolers.
When he had lived a good while in prison, his fervour remaining unchecked by any of the dangers that beset him, the magistrates decided to bring him to trial, and he was condemned to death. But as sentences of this sort were rare in that place, an executioner could hardly be found to carry it out, until at length a cook, or rather a butcher, was hired at a great cost, to take it in hand.
But after the rope was cut, and the priest being still alive stood on his feet under the scaffold, the fellow held back, either struck with fear or stupefied by some supernatural agency. At length compelled by the cries of the officials to finish his work, he drove his knife, hardly knowing what he did, into the belly of the priest, and leaving it there he again hung back horror-stricken, whereat all the spectators groaned and murmured. This lasted so long that Mr. Pilchard coming completely to himself and finding himself naked and horribly wounded, inclining his head to the Sheriff who was present, said to him, “Is this then your justice, Mr. Sheriff ?”
On his saying this, the executioner taking fresh courage, rushed on him, and throwing him to the ground laid open his belly and brutally tore out his entrails to the horror of the spectators, and so finally completed his cruel task.
On the scaffold before being hanged, Mr. Pilchard said several things which showed his great piety, and it was remarked by all the Catholics of that county, that of those who had part in his death, there were none but came to a bad end, such as for instance befell the cook and the greater part of the jury almost immediately afterwards. Others were overtaken by great misfortunes, the Sheriff, for example, from being a rich and powerful man died miserably within two years, having fallen into great adversity.
Among those who were put to death with our Martyr, there were some whom he converted to the faith. One of them was a young man of great bodily strength, who had been a notorious robber. Mr. Pilchard, the night before, reconciled him to the Church, and brought him to an excellent confession of his sins, and he fearlessly professed himself a Catholic on the scaffold.
Mr. Jessop in the prison and elsewhere was Mr. Pilchard’s most faithful companion, and his chief instrument in helping souls. Though he was a man well skilled in secular business, he devoted himself so energetically to gain souls that he astonished every one. Mr. Pilchard was taken in London, being recognized in Fleet Street by an acquaintance who had known him very well some years before at Oxford; for he was a person easily recognized owing to a decided squint, though his eyes were nevertheless not without a charm. At this sight Jessop was unable to conceal his grief, and, being known to have kept Mr. Pilchard’s company elsewhere, was also cast into prison.
There is a noteworthy story told in this connection. Whilst he was led along on horseback with his hands tied behind him, the officers on entering a town wished for his sake to put a cloak over his shoulders, but he shook it off and said, “I am not ashamed of these fetters, nor is it right to drag me secretly like a thief; I wish all men to know that I am held in bonds on account of the Catholic religion.”
Jessop, then, was used to minister in all things to Mr. Pilchard, whom he loved most devotedly and venerated because of his eminent virtues, and therefore when his friend was taken from him by death he thought his life a burden, and often grieved that it had not been his lot to meet death in company with so great a servant of God; indeed I know not why he was never tried for his life.
At length he died in prison from grief or the filth of the place, though he was a man in the flower of his age, being less than forty years old. In his will he gave special directions that his body should not be buried in a graveyard, but as closely as possible to the body of Pilchard in the fields by the place of his execution. When his friends and his wife asked him to consult in this matter the honour of his family, and not to make light of consecrated ground, he replied that all graveyards were now profaned by the bodies of heretics, and that it could not but be, that the blood and members of so great a Martyr would abundantly sanctify the place he had chosen. He therefore begged that nothing more might be said on that subject, for that he would die the more willingly if he knew for certain that he should be buried with his Father, Mr. Pilchard. It was, therefore, so done, but at night so as not to be publicly known.
I learnt all these things from his sister and other relations of his, whom I know to be persons most worthy of credit. They also informed me as an indisputable fact that Dorchester and the whole surrounding country was stricken with such terrible storms and terrified with such horrible and unusual lightnings, until the limbs of the Martyr were taken down from the walls, where they had been hung as usual, that the like had never been heard of. Thus, too, when Father John Cornelius, who had been admitted into the Society of Jesus not long before his apprehension, was condemned to death for the same cause, the leading men of the town came to the Judges, and begged that the quarters of this priest might not be fixed on the walls according to custom, because it was known for certain that tempests had of late years occurred on account of the exposure of Mr. Pilchard’s body, causing great loss to many, and especially destructive to the harvest.
Whilst I was living in England less than six years ago, it happened that a joiner in that same town named Pike21 was put on his trial for having spoken in prison too freely in favour of the Catholic religion. The bloody question about the Pope’s supremacy was put to him, and he frankly confessed that he maintained the authority of the Roman See, for which he was condemned to die a traitor’s death.
When they asked him, as is their wont, whether to save his life and his family he would recant, he boldly replied that it did not become a son of Mr. Pilchard to do so.
“Did that traitor, then, pervert you ?” asked the Judge.
“That holy priest of God and true Martyr of Christ,” he replied, “taught me the truth of the Catholic faith.”
Asked where he first met him, “It was on a journey,” said he, “returning from this city.”
Until he died, Mr. Pilchard’s name was constantly on his lips, and he recalled with heart-felt words the Martyr’s memory, and so the son followed the father. Thus did that holy and glorious Martyr beget other Martyrs.
He was of a most gentle disposition, more than moderately learned, a remarkable pattern of priestly life. He was above the middle height, and had, as I have said, a cast in his eyes; his countenance was modest and sedate ; he wore a small beard round the mouth and chin; was sparing in food, with most sweet and holy manners; and what I used most of all to admire in him, he was always like himself. He was between thirty and forty years old.
20 Venerable Thomas Pilchard suffered at Dorchester, March 21, 1587. He matriculated at Balliol, 1574 or 1575, aet. 18.
21 The Venerable William Pikes suffered at Dorchester in 1591. The day is not known.
Source: Pollen, John Hungerford, Acts of English Martyrs Hitherto Unpublished, London: Burns and Oates, 1891, pgs. 261-8.