Humfrey Pye – Scrivener
Humfrey Pye was a cousin of my 7 x great grandfather and an elder son of William Pye, and his wife Margery, of Haughton, Staffordshire, England.
In the Will of Margery Pye it refers to Margery’s “dear sone, Homfrie Pye, citizen of London”. The term, “citizen of London” suggested that Humfrey was a member of one of the ancient livery companies or guilds of the City, and indeed Humfrey was a member of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners.
Scriveners were ‘Writers of the Court Letter’ as opposed to members of the Stationers’ Company who wrote church service books and other books. Scriveners wrote confidential documents, such as wills, charters and legal documents.
Humfrey Pye began his apprenticeship under John Yarlington on 19 May, 1597. He was taken in as an Assistant of the Company in 1611; became an a Steward about 1623; rose to Warden by 1624 and an Upper Warden by 1625, the year he died. Therefore Humfrey did not reach his goal of obtaining the rank of Master Scrivener.
I am fortunate to have two samples of Humfrey’s writings – one was his own will and the other the memorandum of his brother, Robert’s, will. Robert Pye began his apprenticeship as Scrivener on 20 May 1611, to Thomas Preene.
From his Will it is stated that Humfrey Pye owned a number of parcels of land. A property at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London (did he ever witness any hangings at Newgate?) the rent of which was to benefit his sisters, Elizabeth and Joan. Land at Church Eaton and Woodeaton, Staffordshire bequeathed to his mother, Margery, and after her death to his brother, John. Land in Ranton and Haughton, Staffordshire bequeathed to his mother, Margery, and after her death to his brother William. His other siblings, Margaret, Ann and Thomas were bequeathed money.
William junior was his mother’s favourite child, possibly because he was the youngest. William Pye junior is the father of the Robert Pye mentioned in my previous article, “Roman Catholick or inclined to that Religion.”
Humfrey’s father, William Pye, was listed as a “Yeoman” and a “Husbandman”, but I do not believe he was a large landholder. Perhaps Humfrey and Robert showed sufficient aptitude and writing skills to enable their father to send them to London to be apprenticed into the Company of Scriveners.
It was interesting to note that at the time of Humfrey’s death in 1625 there is evidence of only two of Humfrey’s surviving eight siblings being married. Margaret to Thomas Tully and Ann to a Mr Haughton, and they had children. Being the beneficiaries of Humfrey’s will, both William and Joan married in 1627. Joan was 54 years of age. William and Ann appear to be the only siblings to have children and I have found it strange that Ann’s husband is not named in Humfrey’s will nor in Margery’s will. There is a blank space instead of his name in both wills.
“Item I doe give and bequeath unto the Children of my Sister Ann Hawten now the wife of (blank space) Hawten fouer score and ten pounds of like lawfull money of England equally to bee devided amongst them.”
There is nothing in the Haughton parish records to shed light on who Ann Haughton’s husband or children were – perhaps they lived in another County. If Humfrey’s land was to be bequeathed down through family members than it would be inherited by Ann’s children, because William only had the one granddaughter who died unmarried. However, I suspect the land passed out of the hands of this Pye family. I don’t believe that it passed to members of my direct ancestry.
I feel privileged to have a connection to Scriveners, Humfrey Pye and Robert Pye, Citizens of London.