The Tindale-Tyndale Trail in Tynedale

PART 2: The Tindale Family Name

So far as I can find no-one has focused on the Tin/Tyndales in the Tyne valley in connection with the origin of the Translator's family. His immediate ancestors now appear to be fairly surely located in Gloucestershire at the time of William's birth widely agreed to have been in 1494. Mozley (1937) seems still to be the best general authority on the early times, updated by Overy and Tyndale (1954); but neither seek to illumine possible Tyne valley antecedents.

A summary of the often stated position regarding the earliest Tyndales is found in the footnote to the 1887 edition of Foxe's Martyrs by the editor Josiah Pratt:

Hugh Tyndale, a descendant of Robert, Baron de Tyndale, of Longley [Langley?] Castle, in Northumberland, settled in Gloucestershire during the wars of York and Lancaster, where he passed for sometime under the name of Hutchens, having been concerned in a quarrel between the contending families.[1]

The issues raised here include: Who was Hugh? Who was Robert? Can any dates be assigned? What occurred in the times of the civil war known as the Wars of the Roses (ca. 1455-87) that prompted his departure — if he existed? The questions about Hutchens under various spellings and the details of the quarrel; where the Tyndales came from before Gloucestershire (if, indeed, the Translator did hail from that county), and what later family history exists — I leave to others.

Apart from, possibly, the use of the name Hutchens, the rest of this notice is not substantiated on the evidence produced in the publications on the Translator — but is this any reason to dismiss the entire passage? There may be some clues, or at least starting points, which may be capable of revealing some useful facts. On this basis — and not on the basis of seeking to prove Pratt right or wrong (or, rather, his sources) it is worthwhile seeing what may be unpicked; perhaps, even deconstructed.

Instead of debating each point and reviewing all the sources available to Pratt and others, I shall set out the family history as can now be pieced together from combining information contained in the sources here and in Part 1. With all the reservations previously referred to this can only be a 'best guess'. What will be revealed is that the there was/is confusion and some carelessness in spelling the name Tin/Tyndale.[2]

I will argue here and in Part 3 that the spelling of the name is of greater significance than has been accorded hitherto; and that thereby may be shown that there were probably more than one immigrations to Gloucestershire — probably from Northumberland, but not necessarily directly so.

Overy and Tyndale (1954) found a Hugh Tyndale in Gloucestershire, recorded at Cirencester, in 1385. This cannot be the Hugh referred to by Pratt as the dates are astray by up to a hundred years.[3] But if their spelling is reliable, he would appear to be the earliest known Tyndale in that region as the others mentioned there are variant spellings — Tindale, Tindall, and Tendale.[4] Some of the confusion can be dispersed if the assumption is granted that there could have been more than one migration of Tin/Tyn-dales into Gloucestershire; and doubly so if the Tindales and Tyndales are recognised as identifiable lines.

The suggestion here — and it can be no more than that — is that the Tyndales arrived in Gloucestershire later than the Tindales, and perhaps others with spelling variants of the name. It is the Northumberland connections which are treated here, and it will be seen that there are coincidences in dates which indicate possible direct migrations from there to Gloucestershire without intervening staging posts, though this does not preclude such possible movements — from Northamptonshire for example.

It will be seen later here that the Tindales appear to have died out in the Tyne valley in about 1233, with the reservation that the name was carried by right of the husband to 'assume' the maiden name of his wife, and by younger sons who do not figure in property transactions. But this latter situation could have produced other documentation such as wills, taxation, civil or criminal records. The adoption of the mother's surname extends the possible usage of Tindale into the next generation — to about 1273, the death of Nicholas de Bolteby (see Table 1). It should be said, however, that the variant spellings still exist (or have been reintroduced) in Northumberland and elsewhere, and the most frequently encountered appears to be the Tingroup of variant spellings. Tindal, Tindale, Tindall, Tindell, Tindill, Tindle are all in the current Newcastle upon Tyne telephone directory; but not a Tyndale.[5]

The earliest records after the Conquest have the family name of Tindale prefixed with de; and all(?) Tyndales in the Tyne valley up to the times of the Wars of the Roses also bear the same prefix. Clearly indicating Norman French influence this prefix will be omitted in the text here to avoid repetition.

Rudder (1779) boldly proclaims that:

Robert de Tyndale had three sons, Adam, Robert, and John. Adam de Tyndale was living in 1199, and had issue by Helewise his wife, one daughter, Philippa, married to Nicholas, Baron of Bolteby, in the time of king Henry the Third. [k. 1216-72][6].

As will be seen, the family to which Rudder is referring had their name spelt Tindale — as the primary sources show. If, as these records show, the family name Tindale died out at this time, how could the Tyndales be descended from this source? Did the change in spelling of the name occur at this time? In Part 3 it will be seen that the name Tyndale arose apparently independently and from an entirely separate origin and may be indicative of a second line after the manner of the Delavals (see note 7).

Maybe there were other Tindales, perhaps other younger sons. But if so they are not recorded in later secondary sources though the primary source material is extensive and has been reviewed more thoroughly than Rudder had a mind to; he was, after all, not specifically addressing the question of Tyndale except as a very minor part of a much larger work.

By Norman custom a daughter would succeed her father if there was no son (though an illegitimate son of age might pose problems), and even to the exclusion of the father’s brother. It was customary then, as now, for the wife to take the husband’s family name, and in this manner many baronial families became extinct before the end of the 1200s, thought sometimes the name was continued by descendants in the female line by assumption of the maternal family name by a younger son or by a husband of lower social standing on marriage.[7]

The records do not always reveal cadet lines, or they may have been overlooked, or the records lost. There are, then, opportunities for ‘missing persons’ and continuance of the family name in other places where their pre-history is not worthy of official note. A younger son with no inheritance of title or lands may simply ‘disappear’. As may be seen below in Table 1, and more particularly in Part 3, such phenomena may figure in the Tindale/Tyndale trail. Furthermore, a baron was expected to provide a considerable dowry for each of his daughters and this seems to have been to the extent of two manors. Obviously, with more than one daughter and over only one or two generations the family property assets could become seriously reduced. Younger sons were less well provided-for than daughters and this meant that they tended to fall in the social scale and to remain unmarried — and therefore to migrate. Also, not all families followed Norman procedures, as the influencs of history on the natives meant that there existed a separate system (or systems) of inheritance and succession for many non-Normans until well after 1066, and Pictish (Scottish) emphasis on the maternal line had direct and indirect effects as can be seen above in the dowry system and also in provision for widows.

The administration of the Norman earldom of Northumberland carried forward many informal practices and institutional procedures from Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian times. Because Northumberland maintained some political independence for several generations after the Conquest, the old institutions (including for example taxations, and land tenancies) were maintained in various degrees until at least the time of Henry II (k. 1154-89) when the earldom was fully(?) incorporated into the realm of England.

Family Tree of the Tindales to 1233

The following table provides the recorded information available for the family of Tindales in the Tyne valley.

Family tree of the Tindales to 1233

1. Adam (I)

mentioned 1165 and 1190. Held land in Langley (Pratt incorrectly writes Longley, which does not exist in Northumberland). Whether Adam (I) was related to the Lords of Tindale or whether the ‘de’ signifies a place name is not known. My preference is fo the latter largely because it is likely to have been adopted as a surname precisely because he (or a forebear) had come from Tindale to the area of Corbridge (such place-name surnames are seldom given or taken by people who remain in their place of birth but are often attributed to those who hail from that place.)

Adam (II)

Following the death of Adam (I) Helewise married her steward Robert (confusingly, a son of another Adam), apparently without offspring. A rather obscure sequence of fines and pardons are recorded 1196-1205 concerning Helewise and this second marriage, because after the death of her first husband Helewise was 'in the king's gift'. This was probably because the franchise of Tindale was commanded directly from the king's authority.

If this is the Robert who went to Transover in Northamptonshire — as Rudder might have been persuaded into believing — then he should perhaps be a de Cardoill or a de Tindale in the earliest records in that county. No mention in the Northern records of a brother John nor of any offspring of Helewise and Robert. Neither is Adam (I) overtly credited with a baronry.[8] All in all, this Robert does not seem to be a satisfactory fit.

2. Adam (2)

was under age (14?) in 1196 and in the custody of his mother, but was of age in 1199 when he paid scutage (payment instead of feudal service) to king John. Land and/or property mentioned in Warden[9], Alrewas[10], Haydon, and Langley. Numerous mentions in the Pipe Rolls and elsewhere up to 1233, including the return for his baronry of Langley in 1212 which Adam (II) stated he held the baronry in capite by the service of one knight as his antecessors had done since enfeoffed by Henry II, probably in the 1150s, after restitution of Northumberland from Malcolm IV (who succeeded to the earldom of Northumberland in 1152, and became king of Scotland in 1153 at the age of only 13) to the English crown in 1157. Possibly, therefore, the antecessors of Adam (I) were as described by Rudder as the dates fit but the relevant documents appear now to be lost. Adam II almost certainly died 1233.

The baronry of Langley 'consisted of a group of manors and vills lying between the archbishop of York's regality of Hexhamshire, and the lordship of Tyndale'.[11]. Thus, Langley was not a single property in the early days, though later the focus of the Tyndale family was to become Langley Castle first referred to as such 1365). [12]. Note also that the 'peculiar' of Hexham was well within the prince bishop of Durham's territory, and that by implication Langley was outside the lordship of Tindale — separated , indeed, by this 'peculiar'. This simply confirms the 'floating' aspect of the boundaries of that lordship — see Philippa, following.

3. Isabel de Tindale,

the elder sister, married Walter, son of William Tunstall of Thurland in Yorkshire, who seems to have died before 1242 and apparently without issue. These Tunstalls were of the same family as the later Cuthbert, bishop of London and Durham.[13]

Philippa, daughter of Adam (II) and co-heir with her sister Isabel; wife of Nicholas de Bolteby, who in consequence of the issue he had with his wife became entitled to the baronry of Langley for his lifetime together with its liberties and customs. This appears in a letter of Alexander, king of Scotland, to Henry III concerning a boundary dispute. If the baronry were not in the franchise of Tindale no such letter could have been conceived. The title could be passed on, but not displayed, through the female line, and could also be 'assumed' by the husband.[14] In this way Nicholas occurs in at least one primary document as Nicholas de Bolteby de Tindale, but this does not formally descend to his male offspring. Thomas de Multon took his mother's socially elevated name of de Lucy and who can say now whether or not their children or descendants used the name of Tindale? It is quite possible, as the pedigrees concentrate on the main lines; but the name of Tindale did not now carry a baronry and the properties were now outside the male line of inheritance, and so the name would have held very little status.

The baronry of Langley continued in the de Lucy family until 1368 when it became part of the great Percy family holdings through the second marriage of Maud (by that time, de Umfraville) to Henry Percy, the first (modern) earl of Northumberland. In 1632 it was conveyed to the Radcliffes of Dilston who on the attainder of James Radcliffe, earl of Derwentwater, ceded all his estates to the crown.[15] Dilston, as will be seen in Part 3, was intimately connected with the Tyndale name until the time of the Wars of the Roses, when it followed Tindale into extinction as the family name of a baronry.

With Isabel and Philippa, the family name of de Tindale would appear to have terminated in 1233, at least that is what the existing records indicate; though the possibility of as yet unrevealed, or lost, material must be allowed for. Even so, to attribute the origin of Tyndale the Translator to this shortlived line of Tindales cannot be supported on the evidence presently available.

Bruce Marsden


Main Sources

The following are in addition to those in Part 1.

• T.C Banks, The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England ... from the Norman Conquest to the year 1806. J. White. London, 1807.

• John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe. 8 vols, 4th edition, revised and edited by J. Pratt, 1877.

• B.W. Greenfield, Genealogy of the Family of Tyndale, privately printed, London, 1843. Numerous pages of family trees. (Greenfield was marrying into the Tyndales and was keen to establish to his satisfaction kinship with the Plantagenets).

• B.W. Greenfield, Notes Relating to the Family of Tyndale of Stinchcombe and Nibley..., Mitchell & Hughes, London, 1878.

• J.C. Holt, Magna Carta, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

• I.F. Mozley, William Tyndale, 1937.

• C.Overy and A.C. Tyndale, 'The parentage of William Tyndale, alias Huchyns, Translator and Martyr', in Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, LXXIII, 1954, pp208-15. I am indebted to Dr VSC Tyndale for a copy of this document and for discussions on Tyndales outside of Northumberland; and look forward to his contributions on that subject.

• S. Rudder, A New History of Gloucestershire, Cirencester, 1779.


1. Foxe (1887) vol V pp 114-115. The remainder of the footnote does not concern us here.

2. NCH Part II Vol III, Corbridge Deanery, pedigrees and text.

3. The Wars of the Roses extended over most of the second half of the 1400s, with particular vehemence in the Corbridge district in the 1460s.

4. The spelling variants Tindale, Tindall, Tendale, can be accounted for in two ways. Firstly as phonetic representations of sounds (Gloucestershire and Northumbrian dialects are highly distinctive, as is the French nasal pronunciation which may have yielded the Ten- variant), and secondly by slight errors in transcription from other documents (e for I, double l for le).

5. The Cumbria and North Lancashire directory provides Tindal (3), Tindale (1), Tindall (18) and Tindle (2): Tyndall (I): and no Ten ... s. The Northumberland directory has no Ten ... s and no Tyn .... s; Tindal (2), Tindale (6), Tindall (10), Tindell (1) and Tindle (7). At this distance of time any conclusion based on these facts must be of little or no value, but it may give a pointer towards viewing the spelling of the name(s) in earlier centuries.

6. Rudder (1779) writes 'Tyndale', which probably indicates a use of secondary sources or lack of discrimination, as the primary sources are firmly Tindale for these early years.

7. Hedley op cit p 19 mentions the first line of Delavals (note the Norman prefix integrated with the name) of Collerton as becoming extinct before 1158, but a second line 'assumed' the name and continued to 1388. Hedley also mentions the Tindales of Langley becoming extinguished before the end of the thirteenth century, which is evident in Table 1 following.

8. The term 'baron' meant 'king's man' so all tenants in chief who held knight's service were barons, and this included earls and bishops. After the Magna Carta (1215 with revisions 1216 and 1217), increasingly the summons to parliament became the principal criterion for membership of the House of Peers, resulting in 'lesser' and 'greater' baronies. The Tindales, therefore, may be considered lesser barons by reason of their tenancies and not due to a high social standing.

9. For consistency modem spellings are usually used here for place-names.

10. I have yet to ascertain the exact location of this place which is not mentioned on modern maps. It was probably in the vicinity of Warden and Haydon as they are close together just to the west of Hexham where the river Allen joins the Tyne.

Other contemporary spellings include Allerwash, Allerwes, Allerwas, Allerwasse; and they seem to be unrelated to Allerwascheles and Allerwasche as they are sometimes mentioned together.

11. Hedley op cit p. 231.

12. The author has made a tour of the places named in the history of the Tin/ Tyndales in the Tyne valley and this may become a later contribution to the Journal.

13. The Tunstall family maintained properties in Yorkshire, and the future bishop Cuthbert Tunstall held the rectory of Barmston in Yorkshire and of Stanhope in Durham, this latter being very close to Tin-Tyndale properties on the southern fringes of Northumberland. The Ridleys, too, have long been a powerful Northumberland family from near Haltwhistle and bishop Nicholas Ridley is said (DNB) to have been a relative of Cuthbert Tunstall. What links to any Tyndale of that time remains to be found, but just possibly the Translator may have had in mind ancient family connections when he sought out Cuthbert Tunstall in London.

14. See Part 3 for 'assumption' of the name Tyndale.

15. See Part 1 and also Part 3.