The baptisms of three children of John Robins and his wife Agnes are recorded in the parish registers of Lanivet, Cornwall, in the period from February 1680/81 to February 1684/85. No direct record of the marriage of John and Agnes has been found. However, the available evidence indicates that Agnes was the daughter of William and Agnes (Blight) Hicks.




Some key documents in the identification of Agnes, wife of John Robins, are those relating to the nuncupative will of George Drew of Lanivet, yeoman, made in April 1679, and a subsequent court case of the same year. George left only small amounts to some of his family members and bequeathed most of his property to Agnes Hicks, daughter of William Hicks of Lanivet, and made Agnes the executor of his will.[1] An inventory of George’s goods was taken by John Blight, George Nettell and John Robins. The statements in the court case indicate that George Drew and Agnes Hicks had been betrothed and would have married each other if George had lived. Those giving evidence were:[2]


1 John Sammon of St Columb Minor, gentleman, born there, aged 40. William Hicks, father of Agnes, was his “unkle” and Agnes Hicks, the executor of the will in question, was John’s “Cozen Germin”. John was asked to give evidence by Agnes, the executor.

2 Charity Prior of Lanivet, widow, born there, aged 60. Present when George Drew made his spoken will. Asked to provide evidence by John Robins.

3 Agnes Hicks, wife of William Hicks of Lanivet, yeoman, aged 70. Mother of Agnes Hicks, the executor, who asked her to give evidence.

4 John Blight of St Issey, gentleman, born there, aged 49. Asked to provide evidence by the executor who “is his sisters daughter”.

5 John Robins of Lanivet, farmer, born there, aged 25. In “noe way related” to the executor Agnes Hicks and was asked to give evidence by her mother Agnes Hicks.


John Robins was clearly acquainted with the Hicks family and given that his wife’s name is known to have been Agnes, these records suggest the possibility that he married Agnes Hicks, the executor of George Drew, between 1679 (when the court case took place) and February 1680/81, when the first recorded child of John Robins and Agnes was baptised. The court case alone does not confirm this. However, there is other evidence that supports this suggestion in the form of continued association between the Robins and Hicks families. In particular, there is direct attestation of kinship between the children of John Robins and members of the Hicks family.


In the 1707 record for the administration of the estate of John Robins of Lanivet, one of the parties was Thomas Polkinghorne of Breage.[3] Mary, daughter of William Hicks, of Lanivet, had married Thomas, son of Nicholas “Pokenhorne”, in 1673.[4] When a second administration grant was made in 1723 for the remaining part of John’s estate, one of the parties was Thomas “Hick”.[5]


In 1689, John Robins himself was named as the principal creditor and administrator of the estate of Thomas Hicks of Lanivet. The right of administration had been renounced by Thomas’s widow Beatrix Hicks.[6] Thomas is documented to have been a son of William Hicks.[7]


The 1711 will of Richard Robins, son of John Robins and Agnes, names his kinsman Thomas Hicks along with Thomas’s brother William Hicks and sister Elizabeth Hicks.[8] These were evidently the children of Thomas and Beatrix Hicks as Richard’s will names them in connection with Badcock’s tenement which is the property in a lease involving Thomas Hicks and his wife Beatrix in 1681,[9] and the baptisms of Thomas, William and Elizabeth, children of Thomas and Beatrix, are recorded in the Lanivet parish registers in the 1680s.[10]




The earlier genealogy of the Hicks family is somewhat unclear. There are records of several individuals who appear to be related, but gaps in the Lanivet parish registers in the middle of the seventeenth century make it difficult to establish the exact connections and chronology of the individuals involved. The issue is also affected by the fact that the family sometimes used the surname Watts as an alternative to Hicks. This is made explicit in the 1602 will of John Watts alias Hicks[11] and is also apparent from the 1640 will of Thomas Hicks, where occurrences of the surname Watts in the will have been altered to Hickes or Hicks.[12] Even as late as 1689, Thomas Hicks was buried on 12 September but on 24 November that year his daughter Elizabeth was baptised as the daughter of Thomas Watts, deceased, and Beatrix his wife.


Three individuals married between 1670 and 1680 are separately documented to be children of William Hicks and therefore are likely to be siblings of Agnes, daughter of William and Agnes (Blight) Hicks. The three are:


1 Jane Hicks, bur 24 Aug 1703, Lanivet;[13] m 22 Feb 1670/71, Lanivet, Richard Nottle.[14]

2 Mary Hicks, bur 5 Sep 1689, Breage;[15] m 16 Jun 1673, Lanivet, Thomas Polkinghorne.[16]

3 Thomas Hicks, bur 12 Sep 1689, Lanivet;[17] m 1680, Egloshayle, Beatrix Polkinghorne.[18]


The will of John Watts alias Hicks and other records suggest the following family.


JOHN WATTS alias HICKS of Lanivet, d 1602-03, m JONE.


i               THOMAS, living 1602, had a son William who was also living in 1602.

ii              AGNES, m 1590, St Columb Minor, ROGER ELLERY.

iii             JONE, m 1600, Broadoak, WILLIAM CREWES.

iv             JOHN, living 1602.[19]


The will of Thomas Hicks and other records suggest the following. The testator may have been the son Thomas mentioned in the will of John Watts alias Hicks.


THOMAS HICKS of Lanivet, yeoman, d 1640, m MARGERY.


i               WILLIAM, living 1640, had sons William and Thomas, both living in 1640.

ii              CONSTANCE, m 1625, Lanivet, NICHOLAS GROSE.

iii             ANNIS, living 1640.

iv             ELIZABETH, bur 1608, Lanivet.


It is possible that Thomas’s son William was the William who married Agnes Blight, and Thomas’s daughter Annis would then be the Agnes Hicks who married John Sammon in 1629. Unfortunately, Thomas’s will does not give the surname of Annis but it gives the impression that his daughters had children. Given that Agnes (Blight) Hicks appears to have been baptised in 1619, it is doubtful that she would already have two sons by 1640, as Thomas’s son William did, although it is possible.


On the other hand, William’s son William cannot currently be ruled out as the William who married Agnes Blight. It seems probable that he would be too young, but his date of birth and lifespan is not currently known with enough precision. There were at least two men named William Hicks in the Lanivet area in 1657 when a lease referred to William Hicks the elder.[20] One William Hicks was buried at Lanivet on 7 January 1688/89.[21]


The date of marriage of William Hicks and Agnes Blight is unclear. There are records showing a William Hicks of Lanivet with a wife called Ann in the period from around 1636 to 1679. A Thomas Hicks was baptised at Lanivet in an unclear year, possibly 1636,[22] and a Mary Hicks was baptised in 1641,[23] children of “Gulielmi Hickes et Annæ”. The names Agnes and Ann were sometimes used interchangeably but one of the entries on the page for 1641 refers to another woman as “Agnetæ” so it might be expected that a distinction would be made in this case. An indenture of 1660 mentions William Hicks, yeoman, and his wife Ann of Lanivet[24] and Ann, wife of William Hicks, was buried there on 31 January 1679/80.[25]


One possibility is that both the older and younger William Hicks married women named Ann and that the older William had a subsequent marriage to Agnes Blight. Although this is consistent with the evidence located so far, it is still speculation and further investigation would be needed to firmly establish the parentage of the William Hicks who married Agnes Blight.


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1                      HICKS.


                Children of            Hicks:

i               AGNES HICKS; m 20 Apr 1629, St Columb Minor, Cornwall, JOHN SAMMON.[26]

2              ii             WILLIAM HICKS; m AGNES (BLIGHT) FENTON.


2          WILLIAM HICKS of Lanivet, yeoman, married AGNES BLIGHT, daughter of Gilbert and Elizabeth (Udy alias Roe) (Harris) Blight (see here). Agnes was baptised on 11 April 1619 at St Issey.


                Child of William and Agnes (Blight) Hicks:

i               AGNES HICKS, bur 16 Apr 1721, Lanivet;[27] m ca 1680, JOHN ROBINS (see here).

[1] Kresen Kernow, AP/D/775.

[2] Kresen Kernow, AP/D/775.

[3] Kresen Kernow, AP/R/1670.

[4] Lanivet parish registers. The fathers of Mary and Thomas are named in the marriage entry. The Pokenhorne residence is given as Breock but it seems likely this should be Breage rather than St Breock as there was a Nicholas Polkinghorne recorded in the Breage parish registers in the relevant period.

[5] Kresen Kernow, AP/R/1887.

[6] Kresen Kernow, AP/H/2265.

[7] Kresen Kernow, AR/4/1577.

[8] Kresen Kernow, AP/R/1757b.

[9] Kresen Kernow, AR/4/1577.

[10] Lanivet parish registers: Thomas Hicks; William Hicks; Elizabeth Watts (see the above discussion of the Hicks family for their use of the surname Watts).

[11] Kresen Kernow, AP/W/34.

[12] Kresen Kernow, AP/H/1047.

[13] Lanivet parish registers.

[14] Lanivet parish registers. The marriage entry names their fathers.

[15] Breage parish registers.

[16] Lanivet parish registers. The marriage entry names their fathers.

[17] Lanivet parish registers.

[18] W.P.W. Phillimore, Thomas Taylor and Mrs J.H. Glencross, eds., Cornwall Parish Registers: Marriages, 6 (London, 1904), 10. The date of the marriage is given as 31 (sic) Apr 1680. Beatrix, or Beatrice, may have been the daughter of Ralph Polkinghorne of Crowan whose will, dated 20 Aug 1680 names his daughter Beatrice (surname not stated) and his son Ralph, among others (Kresen Kernow, AP/P/1665). An indenture of 1689 mentions Ralph Polkinghorne of Gwithian along with William Hix, son of Thomas Hix of Lanivet, deceased, and Richard, son of John Robins of Lanivet (Kresen Kernow, AR/4/1580).

[19] He may be the John Hicke mentioned in the 1622 will of John Illary of Lanivet (Kresen Kernow, AP/I/19). A John “Hexe” of Lanivet made his will in 1678 (Kresen Kernow, AP/H/1939).

[20] Kresen Kernow, catalogue entry for AR/4/1575.

[21] Lanivet parish registers.

[22] Lanivet bishop’s transcripts.

[23] Lanivet bishop’s transcripts.

[24] Kresen Kernow, AD103/77. It may be noted that the property in the indenture was at Rothen in Bodmin and that an earlier lease of 1623 relating to South Rothen mentions Gregory Badcock of Lanivet, husbandman (Kresen Kernow, catalogue entry for AD103/71). This is suggestive of a link with Badcock’s tenement in Lanivet with which the Hicks and Robins families were later connected.

[25] Lanivet parish registers. There was also an Agnes Watts, widow, buried at St Columb Minor in 1705 although that may the Agnes Jordan, widow, who married William Watts there in 1664.

[26] St Columb Minor parish registers. As William Hicks of Lanivet was the uncle of the John Sammon of St Columb Minor who gave evidence in the 1679 court case, it would appear that John’s parents were the “John Samyn and Agnes Hickes” who were married at St Columb Minor in 1629.

[27] Lanivet parish registers.