Jack O'Newbury

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Jack O'Newbury (1489-1557) was the much-used nickname of John Winchcombe II. He is often mistakenly identified as John Smallwood alias Winchcombe (1465 - 1519) who was his father who originally came from Barking in Essex.[1] The Winchcombe being his stepfathers surname. Jack was one of the richest and most influential English cloth merchants of the early 16th century. As the nickname suggests, he resided in Newbury in Berkshire.

Biography[edit]

Jack was supposedly born, John Winchcombe, at Newbury in Berkshire. His father, John Smallwood alias Winchcombe (1465 - 1519), originally came from Barking in Essex.[2] The Winchcombe being his stepfathers surname. This John came to Newbury around 1500 as a clothier. His son, John, also followed in his footsteps as a cloth worker in Newbury. He is said to have set up the first factory in England, sent troops to the battle of Flodden and refused a knighthood from King Henry VIII. His story is told by Thomas Deloney in his Pleasant History of John Winchcombe and less fully in Thomas Fuller's History of the Worthies of England.

Jack was a great patron of Newbury and the site of his house can still be seen off Northbrook Street. Contemporary panelling from this building can be seen in West Berkshire Museum. His father began the rebuilding of St. Nicolas Church in 1500 and was buried there under an extant brass memorial upon his death in February 1519. Jack also invested in the Church but also became a MP.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peacock, David. The Winchcome Family and the Woollen Industry in Sixteenth-Century Newbury. University of Reading, 2003, p. 207.
  2. ^ Peacock, David. The Winchcome Family and the Woollen Industry in Sixteenth-Century Newbury. University of Reading, 2003, p. 207.