Edmund Rice Deacon
(Abt 1594-1663)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
Thomazine Frost

Edmund Rice Deacon

  • Born: Abt 1594, Suffolk, ENgland
  • Marriage: Thomazine Frost on 15 Oct 1618 in Bury St Edmunds St Mary, Suffolk, England
  • Died: 3 May 1663, Marlboro, Middlesex, Massachusetts about age 69
picture

bullet  General Notes:

Deacon Edmund Rice b Suffolk County, ENgland, prob in neighborhood of Stantstead, Bury StEdmund St Mary's, and Sudbury. His family is uncertain. Thomas and Henry are variously thought to be his father, he clearly was closely related to the Henry who married his wife's sister, eitehr son or brother, others around have been thought to be maybe his brothers. His birth record or christianing record or other record that would establish his origins has never been found.


SEveral versions of Edmund Rice's pedigree have circulated for nearly a century, one made into Burke's Peerage, that make him a grandson or great grandson of William Rice son of Rice ap Thomas, a nobleman from Wales of Welsh princely descent who rose high in the Tudor dynasty and married into the outskirts of the royal family. I've seen three variations on how Edmund Rice is descended from the Howard family. THis pedigree seems to have been put toghether by substantial guesswork. It cofused William the son of Thomas Ap Rice with a William of BUckinghamshire who was granted estates and honors, etc. by Mary Tudor, but was not actually related to Rice Ap Thomas, (whichever way his name went), and he had a slew of children whose names resembled those of Edmund and his apparent relatives in Suffolk, but they are proven to be absolutely different people. So our Edmund Rice was apparently a commoner. IT does remain possible that he ws related to a local gentry family named Rice, though the will of that Rice provides no reason to think he was at all closely related.

According to the Rice Family Association, Edmund Rice's Y haplogroup is soundly Norse; I1a. DYS 455 = 8 almost exclusive to I1a. DYS 394(19)/ 390/ 385a, b = 14/23/14,14, and DYS 462 = 13; DYS 511 = 10. DYS464a,b,c,d for Ultra-Norse was 12,14,15,16. Most likely his direct paternal line ancestors were Norman, though conceivably they were Norse vikings, and it is not impossible that his paternal line ancestor crossed the channel as a French or Dutch trader.

Sumner Chilton Powell, in Puritan Village, and a follow-up journal article, examine Edmund Rice's history and personality in some detail; I am having trouble tracking it down, but it may have gone into more detail on the differences between Edmund Rice and Peter Noyes.

Rice was an ambitious young yeoman, and a land speculator in a time when that was unheard of, and odd. He constantly bought, sold and traded land like he thought he was at the New York Stock Exchange, in semi-feudal Suffolk, Hertford and Middlesex County New England, and quickly became prosperous and a large landowner wherever he was. He built up Sudbury by buying and selling lots of land in the unsettled back woods. It is unclear what social class he came from. Current Rice Family Association mythology has him starting out on the lowest ranks of English society, which would mean he was a vagabond beggar. To back that up, the Rice Family Association calmly explains that the reason why Edmund Rice and Thomazine Frost, both evidently residents of Stanstead, married in Bury St. Edmunds, is that they were in service there! Hardly. Edmund Rice and his father or brother both married into a very respectable, financially successful family of clothiers and mercers. Thomazine's father had lands and houses and resources and left a will probatable in the Prerogative Court. It would be consistent with the gene for bipolar disorder that Edmund Rice both suffered from and carried, if his father's fortunes went up and down, resulting in the failure of his father to leave any record of money or property. Powell says that a severe economic crisis and problems in the wool trade had left much of the wool industry in Suffolk bankrupt just two or three years before Henry Rice, if he was Edmund's father or his brother, died. Serious economic repercussions continued well past 1620; affecting, for instance, prices and wages, and employment of people who worked in that industry; which was the main industry of the area. If Edmund's father had been overextended or poorly prepared he would have been particularly vulnerable to the disaster. Edmund seems to have begun by owning 3 acres of land in Berkhamstead, but by a very ambitious program of land speculation, he soon owned a large amount of land. Others were buying and selling land in Berkhamstead, often gaining land for their own use, but Edmund Rice was particularly agressive about it.

Edmund Rice was politically as well as financially ambitious. In Berkhamstead, England, he served on the church vestry, Church of England, and in Sudbury, he was a deacon in the Puritan church. He always became a lay church leader, which church did not matter, and a town leader. He apparently travelled both to Berkhamstead and to Massachusetts with a partially interelated group of Puritans. Edmund Rice was never devout; it looks like he was more of an opportunist. In Berkhamstead, town burghers treated him as if they recognized his leadership ability but thought him unstable, and he never made it beyond the lowest ranks of town government. . HE did somewhat better in New England, prevailing over more experienced leaders by force of his personality.

In Berkhamstead, Edmund Rice served as vestryman and church warden, which was an office with substantial power over local finances and expenditures, but according to the followup article on Powell's book, apparently the chief men of the town did not find Rice stable enough to trust him in higher office. Stability was crucial to advancing in an English village, and one demonstrated stability in an English village of that time by being around for a very long time, owning and managing land in a settled way, and basically acting stable, which is something Edmund Rice was not capable of.

Peter Noyes and Edmund Rice helped found and run the town of Sudbury, Massachusetts. Peter Noyes was more stable, and better at the degree of compromise required to run a new village full of people from all over England with radically different experiences and ideas. Over time Peter Noyes became politically dominant. Edmund Rice's moods cycled over time; in each place where he lived, he was extremely successful, both financially, and politically, for a time, and seemed happy; but then grew crochety and began to have troubles getting along with people, and to find all sorts of fault with his situation and with the people around him. His complaints included people he couldn't deal with, the political situation, high taxes, restrictive feudal strictures on land ownership - you name it. Then he would move elsewhere and begin over again. In Sudbury, Edmund Rice grew grisly and stopped getting along with anyone and moved on.

Two generations of Sudbury men selected Edmund Rice repeatedly as one of their leaders, with full realization that they were ignoring men of far more English governmental experience who had come with him. Rice brought two other ambitious young yeomen to Sudbury with him; Darvell, a chief burgess of Berkhamstead (a town Rice had moved to in Hertford) and Thomas Axtell, son of the mayor of Berkhamstead who was also a chief burgess. Neither of them held office in Sudbury.
He ended up with more land than any other Sudbury settler. He was first chosen to represent Sudbury as a Deputy of the General Court (Mass. Legislature) for the session starting 7 October 1640. He was one of the early settlers who were commissioned by the General Court to lay out lands for Sudbury setters on 4 September 1639. He was named to hear small claims for the court in Sudbury as early as 2 June 1641.He was elected Selectman eleven times, Deputy to the General Court five times and Judge of Small Causes 3 times before he removed to Marlborough in 1656. Conceivably it was the move to this new town that best personifies his dissenting nature for he was one of, if not the most, important leaders of Sudbury, yet he helped found the new town. However he worked within the system and helped define the laws that governed colonial Massachusetts.
It is not yet clear why he and a very few others became leaders. None of the Sudbury men, excepting the minister, Edmund Brown, were well educated but most could read and write. The early General Court was headed by John Winthrop or Richard Saltonstall, both well educated. But several early Sudbury settlers had had lots of experience in government in England yet were passed over.
All these Englishmen had come from a tight class system and titles such as Mister still were carefully restricted. On the list of General Court members in which Edmund first appears (May 1640) were 27 as Mister and 3 as Captain or Lieutenant. Edmund Rice was one of thirteen without any title. He became a Freeman 13 May 1640, which meant he was accepted into the Puritan Church and was then entitled to vote. But even though acceptance by the church was necessary, the clergy did not rule these early settlers. Edmund Brown, the minister at Sudbury, had land taken away from him by the Town Meeting, for example.
Despite the fact that Edmund served at least five times in the General Court in Boston there is no direct evidence that he was friendly or hob-nobbed with the colony's leaders. But there is indirect evidence that John Winthrop was aware of him other than as a member of the legislature. Edmund Rice married Thomasine Frost and Thomas Blower married her sister, Alice Frost.
Blower arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 but died shortly after 1639. In 1640, Nathan Lufkin of Hitcham, Suffolk, England wrote to John Winthrop in Boston that Thomas Blower owed him 24 pounds and that Edmund Rice knew about it. By this time Alice Blower had already remarried. The tone of the letter suggests that Lufkin and Winthrop were well acquainted and that Lufkin and Edmund were also. Hitcham, Stanstead, and Groton, Winthrop's old home, form a triangle about 8 or 9 miles on a side in the southwestern portion of Suffolk County. This was in the Stour River Valley that had been a major center of Puritanism for at least a generation before.
In fact the extended families of the three Frost sisters, Elizabeth (who married Henry Rice), Alice and Thomasine, were at the center of one of the largest networks of interrelated Puritans who immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

I'm still having trouble pinning down more details on this, however. Not to mention how these people knew each other in Sudbury, and what Puritan networks took some of them to Berkhamstead.

Edmund may have had a brother, Henry Rice and/or a twin named Robert. Allegedly, Henry, buried 1621 Stanstead, Suffolk, Engl, d 11/16/1621, married Elizabeth Frost, Thomasine's sister, who remarried ____ Whales, who turned up in Sudbury MA.

The Rice Family Association web site says the following:

His brother or father, we really don't know which, probably introduced them for Henry had married Edmund's wife's sister, Elizabeth, some 13 years before in Stanstead only a mile away from Glemsford. I once asked a volunteer at the church in Glemsford why Edmund and Thomasine were married in Bury St. Edmunds which is more than 10 miles north. She immediately replied, "they were married where they were in service" referring to the fact that most young girls were sent out to work in their teens.

Thomasine's ancestors were embedded in Stanstead and Glemsford back to the 1460s but she and Edmund Rice after only eight or nine years moved with four children 66 miles west to Berkhamsted, Herts. A number of other relatives and neighbors also moved to Berkhamsted which was a center of Puritanism. There was also recently released land there for sale. Edmund owned 15 acres when about 11 years later they moved to Sudbury, MA.and so did some of their neighbors. That move was some 3, 000 miles west!

Since the Frosts and all their kin were well to do people in the textile industry, it seems doubtful that their daughter was ever in service in Bury St. Edmunds. Hard to tell about Edmund Rice.

I get Berkhamstead 30 miles from Stanstead. Sudbury area cultivated its own Puritan divine, and according to Sumner Chilton Powell, one, a Rev. Brown, was a key to the founding of Sudbury, Massachusetts.

From English Notes on Edmund Rice, The American Genealogist, Mary Lovering Holman; Volume 10 (1933/34), pp. 133 - 137

From register of Stanstead, Suffolk.

Bapistms.

1608 Edward Ryce the son of Henry Ryce. May
1609 Henry Ryce the son of Henry Rice Feb [1609-10]
1612 Elizabeth Ryce the daughter of Henry Ryce Nov.
1615 Mary Ryce the daughter of Henry Ryce June.
1617 Ann Ryce the daughter of Henry Ryce. March [1617/18[ 1619 Marie the daughter of Edmund Ryce 23 August
1620 Henry Ryce the son of Edmund Ryce 13 February [1620/1]
1622 Edmund Ryce the son of Edmund Ryce 26 October
1625 Thomas Ryce the son of Edmund Ryce 26 January [1625/26]

Marriages:

1605 Henry Ryce to Elizabeth Frost. Noveember

Burials

1608 Henry Ryce the son of Henry Ryce September
1621 Henry Ryce was buried November.

The rector who sent these records stated that there were no other mentions of the name Ryce but that the Frosts were a Stanstead family. He sent only the name of the month but a second time sent the day also of the baptisms of Edmund 's children. He also states that he is positive tha the Edmund baptized in 1622 is Edmund and not Edward, and if he is correct than the entry in the register is an error. Edmund Rice had no son Edmund, and a deposition in the Middlesex Court Files gives Edward's age as 70 in 1692.

Mary Holman htinks that Henry probably came to Stanstead when he married Elizabeth Frost. He may have been father of Edmund who in 1605 was about 11 years old, and the marriage to Elizabeth a second marraige. Or he may have been an elder brother. No estate was found for im at Ipswich. However, since Elizabeth was the sister of Edmund's wife, the view that Henry and Edmund were brothers is more favored.

Edward Frost of Stanstead, co Suffolk, clothier, will dated 26 Jul 1616, proved 4 Oct 1616, left bequests to Thoamsine his wife, William his son, and daughters Elizabeth, now wife of Henry Rice, Anne, now wife of Laurence Collen; Alice, wife of Thomas Blower, Mary Frost an Thomasine Frost, and to Edward Rice, son of daughter Elizabeth Rice. Two Bigges were among the exeuctors.

Mary Lovering HOlman presents the Stanstead baptisms. Thomasine daughter of Edard was bapized there on Aug 11 1600. Edward's later children were baptized at Glemsford, adn also two Rice's;

Christan son of John and Kathrine Rice, bapt 16 Nov 1617, and Ambrose Witt or Will married Margaret Rice, 31 Oct 1620.

Edmund Rice married wife Thomasin before Dec 1618, but the marriage was not found by the rector.

Mary Holman thinks that the first son of Edmund was named Henry for Edmund's father. Second son Edward was presumably named for the wife's father. Third son was Thomas, and Edward Frsot had two sons named Thoams who both died.

Mary Holman mentions that many accounts give Edmund a son Edmund, but she insists that he had no such son.

Mary Holman lists 10 total children of Edmund Rice and Thomazine, and one child of his second wife Mercy (Hurd) Brigham.

Mary Holman credits Edmund Rice for the naming of Sudbury Massachusetts, since Sudbury was near Stanstead, but Sumner Chilton Powell credits a Rev. Brown, a Puritan minister from Sudbury also instrumental in the founding of Sudbury, with that.

Mary Holman gives an account of what other records were searched.

There were three churches in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. All Saints, register beginnning 1564, St. Gregory's, register beginning in 1653, and St. Peter's register begging in 1693. all Saitns searched from 1564 to 1619 for marriages, no mention of Rice; baptisms from 1590 to 1600, gave only that of Thomas, the sone of Hughe ap Ryce, 17 June 1583, and no burials. (According to Google, ap is a Welsh patronymic. Means son of.) St. Peter's was searched from 1593 to 1601 (there is a iatus in the register from 1601 to 1639). No Rice found. The registers for the period for St. Gregory's are gone.

The wills at Ipswich were examined from 1580 to 1660. As Stanstead and Sudbury are both on the border of Essex, teh wills in teh Commissary of London, Essex, and Herts were read., the Chancery proceedings have been also examined and teh Feet of Fiens for Suffolk, 1618-25 *these might have been done earlier).

The Suffolk Lay Subsidies show the important family of Rice of Preston, near Sudbury, who were allied to the Appletons.
Also a family at Bures St. Mary. This parish is so exactly on the ocunty line that it is sometimes called in Essex and sometimes in Suffolk. The reailway station is in Essex but the main part of the town is in Suffolk. Tehre were two emigrants from Bures who settled in Sudbury. The resgisters of Bures do not however give the baptism of Edmund Rice and the Lay subsidy shows only a William Rice there in 1597 and 1604-5. In 1610-11, Thomas Rice appears in Bures subsidy. The Essex Lay Subsidies show Rices in varilus near-by parishes but apparently it will be as difficult to find anything more about Edmund Rice as it was before the Baptism of his first children in Stanstead was discovered.

From Rice Family Association web site and teh Frost TAG articles: Edmund Rice married Thomazine Frost at St. Mary's, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, 15 Oct 1618

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Posted at Genforum by Charles Julian, cjulian0007@yahoo.ca

A. Notes on Edmund Rice

( http://www.edmund-rice.org/ancestor.htm )

I did some looking around and here are the findings. A search of available batch records reveals that there are five records for Rices in the county of Suffolk at about the time Edmund resided there ( c. 1590-1630 )

1 Johes Ryce
. . . + Kathernm Wyatt 24 SEP 1612 Glemsford, Suffolk.

1 Johis Rice
. . . + Katherine
. . . . . . 2 Francisca Rice chr. 04 JUL 1613 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Katherina Rice chr. 17 SEP 1615 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Christiana Rice chr. 16 NOV 1617 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Johannis Rice chr. 09 JUN 1620 Glemsford, Suffolk.

What's significant about these seemingly irrelevant records is that the town of Stanstead, residence of Edmund Rice, is in the Glem valley, and Glemsford is the next town over. So in all of Suffolk County, which is a pretty big place, the only other Rices on record from this period turn up a mile down the road from Edmund and also in the Glem. Searching the Glemsford batch manually gives the following setup for Rices of Glemsford.

1 Johannes Ryce
. . . + Katherine Wyatt 24 SEP 1612 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Francisca Rice chr. 04 JUL 1613 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Katherina Rice chr. 17 SEP 1615 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Christiana Rice chr. 16 NOV 1617 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Johannis Rice chr. 09 JUN 1620 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Alicia Rise chr. 09 JUN 1622 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Rosa Rise chr. 01 MAR 1624 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Anna Rise chr. 18 NOV 1627 Glemsford, Suffolk.

1 Margareta Rise
. . . + Ambrosius Witt 31 OCT 1620 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Ambrosius Wiett chr. 18 AUG 1622 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Alicia Wiett chr. 30 JAN 1624 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Maria Wiat chr. 15 JUL 1627 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Anna Wiate chr. 20 DEC 1629 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Thomas Wyat chr. 19 JUL 1632 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Margareta Wyat chr. 18 JAN 1634 Glemsford, Suffolk.
. . . . . . 2 Susanna Wyat chr. 11 JUN 1637 Glemsford, Suffolk.

John and Margaret Rice or Rise of Glemsford, presumably brother and sister, married Catherine and Ambrose White, brother and sister, children of Thomas White/Witt/Wyatt of Glemsford. John Rice had one son, John, named for himself. Margaret Rice had a son, Ambrosius White Jr, named for Ambrosius Sr, and a son named Thomas White, probably for the grandfather of the same name. There are no Rice records previous to this and the birth records of John Rice and Margaret Rice are not to be found at Glemsford despite the fact that records at this parish go back to 1550.

Hypothesis: Rices of Glemsford are related to Edmund and Henry Rice of Stanstead, i.e. there is a collective Glem Valley Rice family. Edmund and Henry Rice are brothers, one older one younger, who married sisters named Frost ( Thomasine and Elizabeth Frost are mentioned in their father Edward's will ). None of these Rices Henry, Edmund, John or Margaret has a birth record at any of the Glem Valley parishes even though, for example, all of the Whites and Frosts do Edward Frost and Thomas White Sr were christened at Glemsford on 13 March and 14 March of 1560 respectively. If Rices are not on record at Stanstead parish, which isn't logged on the IGI but presumably has been searched for earlier Rice occurrences, then they are unlikely to have been born in the Glem Valley at all and probably came from elsewhere. As mentioned previously, Edmund Rice's Y-DNA indicates a Norman background, e.g. de Ryes or de Roi, and so an origin for the family somewhere in England's southeast seems most probable.

Henry Rice's marriage to Elizabeth Frost in 1605 is the earliest Rice record from the area. Edmund Rice was born about 1594. Margaret Rice was the last Glem Valley Rice of this generation to be married. Her husband was born 1596 so she was probably born c. 1596-1604. In all likelihood the Rices, probably four siblings, arrived in the valley between 1595 and 1605. The surname Rice doesn't occur consistently anywhere in Suffolk until the appearance of generations subsequent to this. The tree in question is probably of the shape

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From Matt Tomkins, gen-medieval list:

All that's only relevant if the Suffolk surname is indeed derived fromthe Welsh name Rhys - but my point was that Rice's early appearance inSuffolk (in the 14th century) makes a Welsh origin doubtful (though not impossible). A local East Anglian origin then becomes more likely - however I have no idea what it might be, except that the occurrence of de Rys in Norfolk makes a toponymic or topographic explanation worth considering. However assimilation to a Welsh name is hardly likely in 14th century East Anglia, a time and place when Welsh names were extremely rare.
Nathaniel Taylor:
I'm not sure that just because the name appears early it cannot be froma Welsh forename. Reaney & Wilson's earliest references are sparse andscattered: Wm Res in Lincolnshire (a 1203 Curia Regis roll); John Reesin a Suffolk Fine of 1288; then others in Shropshire & Worcester who are even more likely to be Welsh.
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The surname Rice goes back a long way in Suffolk. The 1638 muster rollfor Suffolk listed 6 men called Rice and 3 called Rise or Ryse. The 1524/5 lay subsidy return for Suffolk listed at least one Ryce (mentioned in Reaney's Dictionary of English Surnames). In 1445/6 a John and Elizabeth Rys of Thaxted in Essex owned land in Mildenhall in Suffolk (Calendar of Feet of Fines for Suffolk) and the 1327 lay subsidy roll for the county listed two men called Rys, in Brettenham and Worlingham (other surnames ending in -ice are commonly spellt -ys in this period; Rys would probably have been pronounced like the modern Rice). I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to the surname's origins. Its presence in Suffolk at such early dates doesn't entirely rule out a Welsh origin - Welsh surnames were found in the Midlands in the same period - but Richard McKinley's Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages states that 'up to and including the early 16th century, very few surnames (whether locative surnames, or ones in other categories) that can be definitely identified as Welsh, Scots, or Irish occur in East Anglia' (p. 100). Curiously, a brief flick through the Norfolk poll tax returns reveals a Hugh de Rys in Toftrees and a Phillip de Rys nearby in West Raynham in 1379 (Carolyn Fenwick's edition, ii, p. 103). Could it have been a toponymic, or perhaps topographic, surname?
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Reaney & Wilson gloss 'Rice' simply (among a list of spelling variants)as derived from the Welsh forename Rhys, citing scattered English examples from the 12th century forward with no particular geographic focus. They don't mention a form 'de Rhys' though there could well have been a toponym of some sort which was later regularized and assimilated to the Welsh-derived patronymic. As an analogue they do gloss two meanings of 'Price': one from 'ap Rhys' but the other simply a metonymic for a merchant or exchange cashier (price). Bet it would be hard to sort out the merchants from the Welshmen now.

Post by Matt Tomkins to soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup:

It isn't impossible that 13th- and 14th-century East Anglians had surnames formed from a Welsh personal name, but it is rather improbable. There is just no evidence for migration from Wales to the region at such early dates, certainly none in the form of unequivocally Welsh surnames (see McKinley's 'Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames' - or any of his other works - and Reaney's 1952 article entitled 'Onomasticon Essexiensis' in 'Essex Review' 61, nos. 243, 244). Some Suffolk names do derive from Celtic personal names introduced by Bretons after the Conquest, but Rice has never been mentioned in that connection, and I am doubtful whether Rhys was ever in use in Brittany (it seems not to have been in the corpus of medieval Cornish names, so I suspect it was a specifically Welsh name, rather a general P-Celtic one). I do have a likely candidate for a local explanation of the East Anglian surname Rice - the Old English (possibly also Old Scandinavian) word 'hris', meaning brushwood. In Middle English this became rys or ris, occasionally rise; in the early modern period it was generally spelt ryse, rise, ryce, rice; and in more recent times it stabilised as rice, still meaning brushwood (the OED gives many examples, from 1205 to the last decade of the 19th century). Hris could have given rise [no pun intended] to either a toponymic or topographic surname. It is a common element in place-names, sometimes surviving in their modern forms as Rise- or Ris-, but also often as Rice-. Examples are Rice Bridge in Little Clacton in Essex, Rice Bridge in Bolney, Sussex, and Ricebridge in Reigate, Surrey (there is also a Risebridge in Romford in Essex, and one of the Suffolk hundreds was called Risebridge, spelt Rysbregge in 1334). There are also a number of simplex place-names formed from 'hris' alone - Rise in Yorkshire, for example. Rise Hall in the parish of Akenham in Suffolk may possibly be the place from which the Suffolk Rices took their name - it was called Rice Hall in the 16th century (though the name may instead have been a corruption of Rous, since its pre-1260 lords were called le Rous - J. Corder, 'The Visitation of Suffolk, 1561', Harleian Soc. NS 2 (1981), 173; and Copinger, 'Manors of Suffolk', ii, 228-30). Hris, in its ME form ris, rys, could also have given rise to a topographic surname. This was even recognised by Reaney - see his entry for Rise, which offers 'hris' as one of two alternative explanations for William de Ris in 1210 and Robert del Rys in 1332 (the other is that it is a toponym, from a simplex place-name Rise). For some reason Reaney seems to have assumed that whenever the name appeared without a preposition it must have been a Welsh patronym - but of course not all topographic surnames had a preposition, and most that did lost it pretty quickly, so when Ris/Rys appears in East Anglia at an early date a ME topographic (or OE/ME toponymic) explanation must be a more likely origin that a Welsh patronymic one. Matt Tompkins
From Nat Taylor:

Reaney also cites an early 13th-century 'Res' in Lincolnshire, which may be an analogous formation, or something else entirely?


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Google EArth finds that Stanstead and Berkhamsted, Hertford, are 37.5 miles apart. However, Bury St. Mary (a church in Bury St. Edmunds), Sudbury, and Stanstead are only a few miles apart. They are interspersed with alot of other little villages.

Bishop Storford Great Donmow Dunmow
Braintree Witham Ely
Thetford Stowmarket Lavenham (adjacent to Stanstead)
Haddenham Lakenheath Long Melford (between Stanstead and Sudbury)
Halstead Great Yeldham Fitchingfield
Stradishall Haverhill Mildenhall
Ixworth Mundford Southern
New Market Lakenheath Waterbeach
Cambridge (to the east) Linton Saffron Walden


Bury St Edmunds is in West Suffolk, closer to Norfolk and Cambridge. BSt E has two traditional parishes, St Mary's and St James'--the latternow a cathedral. Registration District for both is Bury St Edmunds. The one on the border with Essex, 5 miles SE Sudbury, is named Bures StMary--note spelling of Bures. The parish church is, naturally, St Mary's. It's in the Registration District of Sudbury.

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My post to Rice list:

I posted on teh gen-medieval list to check. I noticed that Edmund had a son Edward misidentified as Edmund, and that there is massive confusion about whether the name of Thomazine Frost's father was Edmund or Edward. My 3X great grandfather from Suffolk, Edmund Miles, is occasionally identified as Edward.
They confirmed that the names Edmund and Edward were often confused, and gave more examples. One guy was either Edmund alias Edward, or vice versa. One name was more common than the other and got substituted for it.
"In answer to your question, I've seen two instances of men in the 1600's who occur in records as "Edmund alias Edward." My impression is that people were not as familiar with the given name Edmund, so used the form Edward instead. The "alias" merely reflected that practice."
"Were the names Edmund and Edward confused?"
"Yes is the short answer, Edward Gibbon the historian often comes up as Edmund."
The two names are very similar. Both are Saxon, both were the names of kings, and one means rich guardian while the other means rich keeper.
So Edmund Rice could have originally been known as Edward Rice.

Deacon Edmund Rice b Suffolk County, England, prob in neighborhood of Stanstead, Bury St Edmund St Mary's, and Sudbury. His family is uncertain. Thomas and Henry are variously thought to be his father, he clearly was closely related to the Henry who married his wife's sister, either son or brother, others around have been thought to be maybe his brothers. His birth record or christianing record or other record that would establish his origins has never been found.

SEveral versions of Edmund Rice's pedigree have circulated for nearly a century, one made into Burke's Peerage, that make him a grandson or great grandson of William Rice son of Rice ap Thomas, a nobleman from Wales of Welsh princely descent who rose high in the Tudor dynasty and married into the outskirts of the royal family. I've seen three variations on how Edmund Rice is descended from the Howard family. This pedigree seems to have been put together by substantial guesswork. It confused William the son of Thomas Ap Rice with a William of Buckinghamshire who was granted estates and honors, etc. by Mary Tudor, but was not actually related to Rice Ap Thomas, (whichever way his name went), and he had a slew of children whose names resembled those of Edmund and his apparent relatives in Suffolk, but they are proven to be absolutely different people. So our Edmund Rice was apparently a commoner. IT does remain possible that he ws related to a local gentry family named Rice, though the will of that Rice provides no reason to think he was at all closely related.

According to the Rice Family Association, Edmund Rice's Y haplogroup is soundly Norse; I1a. DYS 455 = 8 almost exclusive to I1a. DYS 394(19)/ 390/ 385a, b = 14/23/14,14, and DYS 462 = 13; DYS 511 = 10. DYS464a,b,c,d for Ultra-Norse was 12,14,15,16. Most likely his direct paternal line ancestors were Norman, though conceivably they were Norse vikings, and it is not impossible that his paternal line ancestor crossed the channel as a French or Dutch trader.

Sumner Chilton Powell, in Puritan Village, and a follow-up journal article, examine Edmund Rice's history and personality in some detail; I am having trouble tracking it down, but it may have gone into more detail on the differences between Edmund Rice and Peter Noyes.

Rice was an ambitious young yeoman, and a land speculator in a time when that was unheard of, and odd. He constantly bought, sold and traded land like he thought he was at the New York Stock Exchange, in semi-feudal Suffolk, Hertford and Middlesex County New England, and quickly became prosperous and a large landowner wherever he was. He built up Sudbury by buying and selling lots of land in the unsettled back woods. It is unclear what social class he came from. Current Rice Family Association mythology has him starting out on the lowest ranks of English society, which would mean he was a vagabond beggar. To back that up, the Rice Family Association calmly explains that the reason why Edmund Rice and Thomazine Frost, both evidently residents of Stanstead, married in Bury St. Edmunds, is that they were in service there! Hardly. Edmund Rice and his father or brother both married into a very respectable, financially successful family of clothiers and mercers. Thomazine's father had lands and houses and resources and left a will probatable in the Prerogative Court. It would be consistent with the gene for bipolar disorder that Edmund Rice both suffered from and carried, if his father's fortunes went up and down, resulting in the failure of his father to leave any record of money or property. Powell says that a severe economic crisis and problems in the wool trade had left much of the wool industry in Suffolk bankrupt just two or three years before Henry Rice, if he was Edmund's father or his brother, died. Serious economic repercussions continued well past 1620; affecting, for instance, prices and wages, and employment of people who worked in that industry; which was the main industry of the area. If Edmund's father had been overextended or poorly prepared he would have been particularly vulnerable to the disaster. Edmund seems to have begun by owning 3 acres of land in Berkhamstead, but by a very ambitious program of land speculation, he soon owned a large amount of land. Others were buying and selling land in Berkhamstead, often gaining land for their own use, but Edmund Rice was particularly aggressive about it.

Edmund Rice was politically as well as financially ambitious. In Berkhamstead, England, he served on the church vestry, Church of England, and in Sudbury, he was a deacon in the Puritan church. He always became a lay church leader, which church did not matter, and a town leader. He apparently travelled both to Berkhamstead and to Massachusetts with a partially interelated group of Puritans. Edmund Rice was never devout; it looks like he was more of an opportunist. In Berkhamstead, town burghers treated him as if they recognized his leadership ability but thought him unstable, and he never made it beyond the lowest ranks of town government. . HE did somewhat better in New England, prevailing over more experienced leaders by force of his personality.

In Berkhamstead, Edmund Rice served as vestryman and church warden, which was an office with substantial power over local finances and expenditures, but according to the followup article on Powell's book, apparently the chief men of the town did not find Rice stable enough to trust him in higher office. Stability was crucial to advancing in an English village, and one demonstrated stability in an English village of that time by being around for a very long time, owning and managing land in a settled way, and basically acting stable, which is something Edmund Rice was not capable of.

Two generations of Sudbury men selected Edmund Rice repeatedly as one of their leaders, with full realization that they were ignoring men of far more English governmental experience who had come with him. Rice brought two other ambitious young yeomen to Sudbury with him; Darvell, a chief burgess of Berkhamstead (a town Rice had moved to in Hertford) and Thomas Axtell, son of the mayor of Berkhamstead who was also a chief burgess. Neither of them held office in Sudbury.
He ended up with more land than any other Sudbury settler. He was first chosen to represent Sudbury as a Deputy of the General Court (Mass. Legislature) for the session starting 7 October 1640. He was one of the early settlers who were commissioned by the General Court to lay out lands for Sudbury setters on 4 September 1639. He was named to hear small claims for the court in Sudbury as early as 2 June 1641.He was elected Selectman eleven times, Deputy to the General Court five times and Judge of Small Causes 3 times before he removed to Marlborough in 1656. Conceivably it was the move to this new town that best personifies his dissenting nature for he was one of, if not the most, important leaders of Sudbury, yet he helped found the new town. However he worked within the system and helped define the laws that governed colonial Massachusetts.
It is not yet clear why he and a very few others became leaders. None of the Sudbury men, excepting the minister, Edmund Brown, were well educated but most could read and write. The early General Court was headed by John Winthrop or Richard Saltonstall, both well educated. But several early Sudbury settlers had had lots of experience in government in England yet were passed over.
All these Englishmen had come from a tight class system and titles such as Mister still were carefully restricted. On the list of General Court members in which Edmund first appears (May 1640) were 27 as Mister and 3 as Captain or Lieutenant. Edmund Rice was one of thirteen without any title. He became a Freeman 13 May 1640, which meant he was accepted into the Puritan Church and was then entitled to vote. But even though acceptance by the church was necessary, the clergy did not rule these early settlers. Edmund Brown, the minister at Sudbury, had land taken away from him by the Town Meeting, for example.
Despite the fact that Edmund served at least five times in the General Court in Boston there is no direct evidence that he was friendly or hob-nobbed with the colony's leaders. But there is indirect evidence that John Winthrop was aware of him other than as a member of the legislature. Edmund Rice married Thomasine Frost and Thomas Blower married her sister, Alice Frost.
Blower arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 but died shortly after 1639. In 1640, Nathan Lufkin of Hitcham, Suffolk, England wrote to John Winthrop in Boston that Thomas Blower owed him 24 pounds and that Edmund Rice knew about it. By this time Alice Blower had already remarried. The tone of the letter suggests that Lufkin and Winthrop were well acquainted and that Lufkin and Edmund were also. Hitcham, Stanstead, and Groton, Winthrop's old home, form a triangle about 8 or 9 miles on a side in the southwestern portion of Suffolk County. This was in the Stour River Valley that had been a major center of Puritanism for at least a generation before.
In fact the extended families of the three Frost sisters, Elizabeth (who married Henry Rice), Alice and Thomasine, were at the center of one of the largest networks of interrelated Puritans who immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

I'm still having trouble pinning down more details on this, however. Not to mention how these people knew each other in Sudbury, and what Puritan networks took some of them to Berkhamstead.

His brother or father, we really don't know which, probably introduced them for Henry had married Edmund's wife's sister, Elizabeth, some 13 years before in Stanstead only a mile away from Glemsford. I once asked a volunteer at the church in Glemsford why Edmund and Thomasine were married in Bury St. Edmunds which is more than 10 miles north. She immediately replied, "they were married where they were in service" referring to the fact that most young girls were sent out to work in their teens.

Thomasine's ancestors were embedded in Stanstead and Glemsford back to the 1460s but she and Edmund Rice after only eight or nine years moved with four children 66 miles west to Berkhamsted, Herts. A number of other relatives and neighbors also moved to Berkhamsted which was a center of Puritanism. There was also recently released land there for sale. Edmund owned 15 acres when about 11 years later they moved to Sudbury, MA.and so did some of their neighbors. That move was some 3, 000 miles west!

Since the Frosts and all their kin were well to do people in the textile industry, it seems doubtful that their daughter was ever in service in Bury St. Edmunds. Hard to tell about Edmund Rice.

I get Berkhamstead 30 miles from Stanstead. Sudbury area cultivated its own Puritan divine, and according to Sumner Chilton Powell, one, a Rev. Brown, was a key to the founding of Sudbury, Massachusetts.

1608 Henry Ryce the son of Henry Ryce September
1621 Henry Ryce was buried November.

The rector who sent these records stated that there were no other mentions of the name Ryce but that the Frosts were a Stanstead family. He sent only the name of the month but a second time sent the day also of the baptisms of Edmund 's children. He also states that he is positive that the Edmund baptized in 1622 is Edmund and not Edward, and if he is correct than the entry in the register is an error. Edmund Rice had no son Edmund, and a deposition in the Middlesex Court Files gives Edward's age as 70 in 1692.

Mary Holman htinks that Henry probably came to Stanstead when he married Elizabeth Frost. He may have been father of Edmund who in 1605 was about 11 years old, and the marriage to Elizabeth a second marraige. Or he may have been an elder brother. No estate was found for im at Ipswich. However, since Elizabeth was the sister of Edmund's wife, the view that Henry and Edmund were brothers is more favored.

Edward Frost of Stanstead, co Suffolk, clothier, will dated 26 Jul 1616, proved 4 Oct 1616, left bequests to Thoamsine his wife, William his son, and daughters Elizabeth, now wife of Henry Rice, Anne, now wife of Laurence Collen; Alice, wife of Thomas Blower, Mary Frost an Thomasine Frost, and to Edward Rice, son of daughter Elizabeth Rice. Two Bigges were among the exeuctors.

Mary Lovering HOlman presents the Stanstead baptisms. Thomasine daughter of Edard was bapized there on Aug 11 1600. Edward's later children were baptized at Glemsford, adn also two Rice's;

Christan son of John and Kathrine Rice, bapt 16 Nov 1617, and Ambrose Witt or Will married Margaret Rice, 31 Oct 1620.

Mary Holman thinks that the first son of Edmund was named Henry for Edmund's father. Second son Edward was presumably named for the wife's father. Third son was Thomas, and Edward Frsot had two sons named Thoams who both died.

Mary Holman mentions that many accounts give Edmund a son Edmund, but she insists that he had no such son.

Mary Holman lists 10 total children of Edmund Rice and Thomazine, and one child of his second wife Mercy (Hurd) Brigham.

Mary Holman credits Edmund Rice for the naming of Sudbury Massachusetts, since Sudbury was near Stanstead, but Sumner Chilton Powell credits a Rev. Brown, a Puritan minister from Sudbury also instrumental in the founding of Sudbury, with that.

There were three churches in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. All Saints, register beginnning 1564, St. Gregory's, register beginning in 1653, and St. Peter's register begging in 1693. all Saitns searched from 1564 to 1619 for marriages, no mention of Rice; baptisms from 1590 to 1600, gave only that of Thomas, the sone of Hughe ap Ryce, 17 June 1583, and no burials. (According to Google, ap is a Welsh patronymic. Means son of.) St. Peter's was searched from 1593 to 1601 (there is a iatus in the register from 1601 to 1639). No Rice found. The registers for the period for St. Gregory's are gone.

The wills at Ipswich were examined from 1580 to 1660. As Stanstead and Sudbury are both on the border of Essex, teh wills in teh Commissary of London, Essex, and Herts were read., the Chancery proceedings have been also examined and teh Feet of Fiens for Suffolk, 1618-25 *these might have been done earlier).

The Suffolk Lay Subsidies show the important family of Rice of Preston, near Sudbury, who were allied to the Appletons.
Also a family at Bures St. Mary. This parish is so exactly on the ocunty line that it is sometimes called in Essex and sometimes in Suffolk. The reailway station is in Essex but the main part of the town is in Suffolk. Tehre were two emigrants from Bures who settled in Sudbury. The resgisters of Bures do not however give the baptism of Edmund Rice and the Lay subsidy shows only a William Rice there in 1597 and 1604-5. In 1610-11, Thomas Rice appears in Bures subsidy. The Essex Lay Subsidies show Rices in varilus near-by parishes but apparently it will be as difficult to find anything more about Edmund Rice as it was before the Baptism of his first children in Stanstead was discovered.

Hypothesis: Rices of Glemsford are related to Edmund and Henry Rice of Stanstead, i.e. there is a collective Glem Valley Rice family. Edmund and Henry Rice are brothers, one older one younger, who married sisters named Frost ( Thomasine and Elizabeth Frost are mentioned in their father Edward's will ). None of these Rices - Henry, Edmund, John or Margaret - has a birth record at any of the Glem Valley parishes even though, for example, all of the Whites and Frosts do - Edward Frost and Thomas White Sr were christened at Glemsford on 13 March and 14 March of 1560 respectively. If Rices are not on record at Stanstead parish, which isn't logged on the IGI but presumably has been searched for earlier Rice occurrences, then they are unlikely to have been born in the Glem Valley at all and probably came from elsewhere. As mentioned previously, Edmund Rice's Y-DNA indicates a Norman background, e.g. de Ryes or de Roi, and so an origin for the family somewhere in England's southeast seems most probable.

All that's only relevant if the Suffolk surname is indeed derived fromthe Welsh name Rhys - but my point was that Rice's early appearance inSuffolk (in the 14th century) makes a Welsh origin doubtful (though not impossible). A local East Anglian origin then becomes more likely - however I have no idea what it might be, except that the occurrence of de Rys in Norfolk makes a toponymic or topographic explanation worth considering. However assimilation to a Welsh name is hardly likely in 14th century East Anglia, a time and place when Welsh names were extremely rare.
Nathaniel Taylor:
I'm not sure that just because the name appears early it cannot be froma Welsh forename. Reaney & Wilson's earliest references are sparse andscattered: Wm Res in Lincolnshire (a 1203 Curia Regis roll); John Reesin a Suffolk Fine of 1288; then others in Shropshire & Worcester who are even more likely to be Welsh.
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The surname Rice goes back a long way in Suffolk. The 1638 muster rollfor Suffolk listed 6 men called Rice and 3 called Rise or Ryse. The 1524/5 lay subsidy return for Suffolk listed at least one Ryce (mentioned in Reaney's Dictionary of English Surnames). In 1445/6 a John and Elizabeth Rys of Thaxted in Essex owned land in Mildenhall in Suffolk (Calendar of Feet of Fines for Suffolk) and the 1327 lay subsidy roll for the county listed two men called Rys, in Brettenham and Worlingham (other surnames ending in -ice are commonly spellt -ys in this period; Rys would probably have been pronounced like the modern Rice). I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to the surname's origins. Its presence in Suffolk at such early dates doesn't entirely rule out a Welsh origin - Welsh surnames were found in the Midlands in the same period - but Richard McKinley's Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages states that 'up to and including the early 16th century, very few surnames (whether locative surnames, or ones in other categories) that can be definitely identified as Welsh, Scots, or Irish occur in East Anglia' (p. 100). Curiously, a brief flick through the Norfolk poll tax returns reveals a Hugh de Rys in Toftrees and a Phillip de Rys nearby in West Raynham in 1379 (Carolyn Fenwick's edition, ii, p. 103). Could it have been a toponymic, or perhaps topographic, surname?
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It isn't impossible that 13th- and 14th-century East Anglians had surnames formed from a Welsh personal name, but it is rather improbable. There is just no evidence for migration from Wales to the region at such early dates, certainly none in the form of unequivocally Welsh surnames (see McKinley's 'Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames' - or any of his other works - and Reaney's 1952 article entitled 'Onomasticon Essexiensis' in 'Essex Review' 61, nos. 243, 244). Some Suffolk names do derive from Celtic personal names introduced by Bretons after the Conquest, but Rice has never been mentioned in that connection, and I am doubtful whether Rhys was ever in use in Brittany (it seems not to have been in the corpus of medieval Cornish names, soI suspect it was a specifically Welsh name, rather a general P-Celtic one). I do have a likely candidate for a local explanation of the East Anglian surname Rice - the Old English (possibly also Old Scandinavian) word 'hris', meaning brushwood. In Middle English this became rys or ris, occasionally rise; in the early modern period it was generally spelt ryse, rise, ryce, rice; and in more recent times it stabilised as rice, still meaning brushwood (the OED gives many examples, from 1205 to the last decade of the 19th century). Hris could have given rise [no pun intended] to either a toponymic or topographic surname. It is a common element in place-names, sometimes surviving in their modern forms as Rise- or Ris-, but also often as Rice-. Examples are Rice Bridge in Little Clacton in Essex, Rice Bridge in Bolney, Sussex, and Ricebridge in Reigate, Surrey (there is also a Risebridge in Romford in Essex, and one of the Suffolk hundreds was called Risebridge, spelt Rysbregge in 1334). There are also a number of simplex place-names formed from 'hris' alone - Rise in Yorkshire, for example. Rise Hall in the parish of Akenham in Suffolk may possibly be the place from which the Suffolk Rices took their name - it was called Rice Hall in the 16th century (though the name may instead have been a corruption of Rous, since its pre-1260 lords were called le Rous - J. Corder, 'The Visitation of Suffolk, 1561', Harleian Soc. NS 2 (1981), 173; and Copinger, 'Manors of Suffolk', ii, 228-30). Hris, in its ME form ris, rys, could also have given rise to a topographic surname. This was even recognised by Reaney - see his entry for Rise, which offers 'hris' as one of two alternative explanations for William de Ris in 1210 and Robert del Rys in 1332 (the other is that it is a toponym, from a simplex place-name Rise). For some reason Reaney seems to have assumed that whenever the name appeared without a preposition it must have been a Welsh patronym - but of course not all topographic surnames had a preposition, and most that did lost it pretty quickly, so when Ris/Rys appears in East Anglia at an early date a ME topographic (or OE/ME toponymic) explanation must be a more likely origin that a Welsh patronymic one. Matt Tompkins
From Nat Taylor:

Reaney also cites an early 13th-century 'Res' in Lincolnshire, which may be an analogous formation, or something else entirely?

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My post to Rice list;

I posted on teh gen-medieval list to check. I noticed that Edmund had ason Edward misidentified as Edmund, and that there is massive confusionabout whether the name of Thomazine Frost's father was Edmund or Edward. My 3X great grandfather from Suffolk, Edmund Miles, is occasionallyidentified as Edward. They confirmed that the names Edmund and Edward were often confused, and gave more examples. One guy was either Edmund alias Edward, or vice versa. One name was more common than the other and got substituted for it. "In answer to your question, I've seen two instances of men in the 1600's who occur in records as "Edmund alias Edward." My impression is that people were not as familiar with the given name Edmund, so used the form Edward instead. The "alias" merely reflected that practice." "Were the names Edmund and Edward confused?" "Yes is the short answer, Edward Gibbon the historian often comes up asEdmund." The two names are very similar. Both are Saxon, both were the names of kings, and one means rich guardian while the other means rich keeper. So Edmund Rice could have originally been known as Edward Rice.


picture

Edmund married Thomazine Frost, daughter of Edmund Frost and Thomazine Clenche, on 15 Oct 1618 in Bury St Edmunds St Mary, Suffolk, England. (Thomazine Frost was christened on 11 Aug 1600 in St. James, Stanstead, Suffolk, England and died on 13 Jun 1654 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts.)




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