H is for Howe – a farm in Watlington, Oxfordshire. It had been occupied by a Toovey ever since 1633. Then in 1649 it was purchased from Sir John Symeon by a John Toovey, jnr of Greenfield. There are a lot of Johns in this tale.
27 years later John Toovey (of The Howe) sold the farm to (yes a John) John Toovey of Swyncombe, when he dies the estate divided between his sons William Toovey and (yes you guessed it) John Toovey. This John Toovey was the last Toovey of the Howe (though not the last John).
John Toovey had two daughters: Catherine and Elizabeth. Catherine fell in love with John (of course) Hine. John Hine works in a local mill and is not approved of by Catherine’s father. The two lovers take the only course open to them, they elope and travel to Oxford to get married. However John Toovey pursues them and overtakes them on Magdalene Bridge. Catherine is brought home again.
However true love is seldom thwarted, and John and Catherine try again just a fortnight later. This time John reverses the shoes on the horse’s feet to send Catherine’s father in the wrong direction. I know they succeeded in getting married because I am here, but as yet I can’t discover where. Possibly they were married by Catherine’s uncle who was a local Rector.
Twenty years later John Toovey had forgiven them enough to leave half of The Howe to John Hine and Catherine. The other half he had left to Elizabeth 20 years before.
The tale caused enough of a stir to be recorded in the local Parochial Notes.
© Ed Toovey
Toovey Surname Study
Next week’s letter is ‘I’. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up I with surname studies? If so, please send them to Ros Haywood at sos [at] surname-society.org
letter H courtesy of openclipart.org