Back to Zinzan

As Don McLean didn’t quite sing:

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that posting used to make me smile;
And I knew if I did my deed
That I could make those people read
And maybe they’d be happy for a while…

And then, out of the blue, this turned up on the Blogger site:

Hello, I enjoyed your article on Sigismund Zinzan and his brother. I too am a blogger and am researching and writing about an Englishman by the name of Henry Meese, who was a London Merchant who owned land in Virginia. His parents are said to be Robert Meese and Mercy Brend, the step daughter of Sigismund. This is according to the Visitation of Oxford. I would like to put a link to your article in my post, with your permission. Also, I was wondering if you could speculate on how a London/West Moulsey girl (Mercy) would meet and marry a farmer in Over Norton, Oxfordshire? I am having trouble making any connection between these families and I cannot picture a scenario where they would come in contact. Thank you for your time. Jeanie

Now, I was pretty pissed off by Blogger, so I switched to WordPress. Since Blogger won’t let me reply at length, here we go:

Hello, Jeanie. Nice to hear from you.

Three points jump out at me:
  • Once I see the word “scrivener” in such a context, and such a date, I am minded that such law-clerks were into land-deals and money-lending (what we’d now call “stockbroking”).
  • Then I wonder if you are under-valuing the Meese/Mace ancestry. The Meese/Mace family were no simple peasant farmers. I’ll guess you are aware of the 1665-6 land-grant to Lt Col Henry Meese. I note, with interest that due by transportation of twenty persons &c. Take on the free labour of a score of convicts, and get a Virginia estate.
  • My main speculation on how a London/West Moulsey girl (Mercy) would meet and marry a farmer in Over Norton, Oxfordshire? It might amount to saying we shouldn’t assume the Elizabethan and Jacobean gentry and business class didn’t put themselves about a bit. 
Mercye daur.of Nic. Brend of West Moulsey in com Surr. Esq.
Ho, ho! “Esquire”, indeed — so armigerous gentry.
The corresponding Visitation of Surrey omits such a personage, but we get a passing mention of Sir Nathaniel Brent [page 90]. Then on the site, by dint of scrolling down we eventually find:
Anthony A. Wood, the historian of Oxford University, states that Sir Nathaniel Brent was the son of Anchor [Ancar] Brent of Little Woolford in Warwickshire, a younger son of Richard Brent, gentleman, eldest son of John Brent of the house of Cossington in Somersetshire. He also mentions a William Brent, whose great grandfather, William Brent, of Stoke Lark, in Gloucestershire, was younger brother to Richard Brent, grandfather to Sir Nathaniel Brent.
Cotswold careerings
MapFrom Little Wolford, nip south-east down the decent A3400 road, through Long Compton, making time for a leisurely lunch at the Red Lion. Then have a glance at those mysterious Rollright Stones as you go, before turning right onto the B4026 minor road to Chipping Norton, and — lo! — you’ll be passing those Meese lands.

Another interesting figure here is Thomas Brend — who is significant enough to have a wikipedia entry.  He is memorialised in the church of West Molesey:

On the chancel floor is a brass tablet to Thomas Brend of West Molesey, 1598, the father of eighteen children, four sons and six daughters by Margery his first wife, ob. 1564, and four sons and four daughters by Mercy his second wife, ob. 1597.

Above are two shields, the first bearing a cheveron between three dexter hands, and the second the same impaling a cheveron with three rings thereon between three standing hinds.

It looks to me that you need Herbert Berry’s Shakespeare’s Playhouses (which seems to be a prime source for these wikipedia pieces). A further wikipedia entry, on Matthew — another son of Nicholas Brend, again ties up the Brend/Zinzan connection:

During the time Sir Matthew Brend was underage, his mother, Margaret, had not received the one-third of the income from Nicholas Brend’s lands to which she was entitled, and in the summer of 1623 her second husband, Sir Sigismund Zinzan, and her son, Sir Matthew Brend, agreed upon terms for payment to Margaret of the sums owing to her. However this settlement was almost immediately revised in September of that year when Sir Matthew Brend was required to provide a jointure for his bride to be, Frances Smith. A new agreement was then reached under which Brend granted his mother a life estate in his properties in Southwark, including the land on which the Globe Theatre was built, and the property was conveyed to Frances Smith as part of her jointure, with her interest to take effect after Margaret’s death. In the late fall of 1624, pursuant to this agreement, Sir Sigismund Zinzan became effective owner of the Globe in right of his wife, Margaret, and continued to be so for a period of more than two years, despite lawsuits filed against him in Chancery by Sir Matthew Brend. According to Berry, Zinzan and Brend eventually negotiated a settlement, and in any event Zinzan’s interest in the Globe in right of his wife came to an end when Margaret Zinzan died at some time prior to 20 June 1627. After the termination of Margaret Zinzan’s life estate, the new owner of the Globe was Sir Matthew Brend’s wife, Frances.

There were other frictions between Brend and his stepfather. In 1624-5 Brend alleged that Zinzan had harvested valuable timber on the family estate in West Molesey during the nineteen-year period during which Zinzan had been ‘master’ there. Zinzan denied the charge, claiming he had taken only a few pollarded trees to repair buildings on the property, and for use as palings for fences.

I’m wondering who the lawyer and scrivener might be in all that kerfuffle.
There’s a summary of this, and more, from the National Archives site. Don’t give up yet: in this complicated tale of relationships we encounter one Mercy Brend Frobisher. A fidget through wikipedia tries to make her the wife of Peter Frobisher, son of Sir Martin Frobisher — except Peter was the heir, but only a cousin.

1 Comment

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One response to “Back to Zinzan

  1. Thank you for your very helpful reply! I suppose I have underestimated the Meese Family. I know that Robert Meese’s son Charles did an apprenticeship with a London Goldsmith and Henry must have done one with a Linen Draper as that was his occupation. On Charles’ application his father was styled “esquire” so I assume he had acquired a bit of wealth. I am looking into getting the Berry Shakespeare book, I’ll have to see if the Library can locate a copy for me.

    I lived in England many years ago, and I stopped to see the Rollright stones!

    Thanks again for your help.


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