Daniel King (1670-1716)
Daniel King only briefly held joint title to the manor of Great Linford. His father, also called Daniel, had in 1665 married Martha (1644-1694), a sister of Sir William Prichard, the London merchant who would purchase Great Linford manor in 1678. Daniel and Martha’s son was born September 28th, 1670, and baptised October 5th at the church of St. Swithin London-Stone.
His father’s lofty ambitions appears to have succeeded in elevating the family in the eyes of society, such that on June 14th, 1707, his son could consider himself of sufficient means and stature to successfully apply for the right to bear a coat of arms.
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record of October 1910 provides the following heraldic description:
Arm: “Party per fesse indented gules and sable, a lion rampant or, crowned with a ducal coronet argent between three crosses-crosslet fitchee argent.
Crest: "On a wreath or and gules, an ostrich head couped at the neck proper, gorged with a ducal crown or, between two ostrich feathers argent.
The same document also provides a brief but illuminating history of the King family.
Daniel King of St. Stephens, Walbrook, London, was born 1629, and died 22 July, 1682, being buried at St. Olave's. Southwark, London. He was a citizen and skinner of London, and married 3 April, 1665, by license, Martha Pritchard, third daughter of Francis Pritchard of Horseley Down, Surrey. She died 8 December, 1694, and was buried at St. Olave's, Southwark. He was related to the King family of Southwark and thus of kin to William King of Cobham, Kent, and John King of Bromley, Kent, though as yet the link of relationship has not been traced. He left issue, sons Francis and Daniel, and daughters Elizabeth and Mary. Daniel King of Eltham, Kent, Gent, was born about 1670, and living in 1705. He was granted the above coat-of-arms to which he added in the Second and Third Quarters “Ermine, a lion rampant sable with a bord, azure” for Pritchard. He was one of the executors of Sir William Pritchard, Kt., Alderman and Lord Mayor of London.
He married 26 April, 1700, Jane Niccol, only daughter and heir of William Niccol, second son of Paul Niccol of Hendon Place, Middx., England, by whom he had an only child, Jane, borne 21 October, 1701.
Daniel was a significant benefactor to Trinity Church at the Minories (the area adjacent to The Tower of London where Sir William Prichard had a house), recorded as having contributed the substantial sum of £400 to the restoration of the church in 1711, rather eclipsing the £100 provided by Lady Prichard, the widow of Sir William Prichard.
Daniel King's brief Lordship of Great Linford Manor
Upon the death of Sir William, Daniel was named the joint beneficiary of his will, along with his cousin Richard Uthwatt. Yet for reasons unknown, Daniel decided to disinvest himself of his joint inheritance of Great Linford Manor and sold his half of the legacy to Richard. Exactly when is uncertain, but both Richard and Daniel are named together at Great Linford in a 1708 Act of Parliament, “granting an Aid to Her Majesty to be raised by a Land Tax in Great Britain.” By 1713, the poll book for the county of Buckinghamshire lists only Richard Uthwatt (spelling his name as Uthwait) as entitled to vote as a householder of Great Linford, so it seems likely that Daniel sold up between 1708 and 1713. He died in 1716 at Eltham, London and was buried December 18th in the family vault at Holy Trinity Church, Minories, aged 46. He was joined by a daughter Ann in 1734 and his wife Jane in 1743.
Daniel King’s death and a scandal in the crypt
As a postscript to the story, it is clear that Daniel King was held in high regard by his fellow churchgoers, as the following account published in A History of the Minories attests.
At a Vestry held in the Parish Church this 12th day of December anno domini, 1716 It was Ordered that the following Testimonial of Duty and respect to the Memory of Daniel King Esq. lately deceased should be made and entered in the Book And a Transcript thereof signed & sealed by the Parishioners and presented to Mistress Jane King his Relict and Executrix (viz) To all Christian People, to whom these presents shall come or be seen. We the parishioners of the Parish of Trinity Minorys within the Liberty of the Tower of London send Greeting in our Lord God everlasting Whereas . . . [recapitulating the former grant of the Vault] - and Whereas it pleased Almighty God to take to himself the said Daniel King the 9th day of this Instance December. Now know ye that Wee the said Parishioners in full Vestry assembled upon the melancholy occasion out of our great regard to the Memory of the said Daniel King and Duty and Respect to all his Relations do confirm the said Order &c.
However, the same book paints a less than flattering picture of later affairs, and by 1770 it appears that in regard to the vault the parish had, “apparently come to the conclusion that Mr. and Mrs. King and their daughter had had it to themselves long enough.” Worse was to come as a great scandal convulsed the parish, with the discovery in 1786 that certain scurrilous individuals led by a local coal-dealer had taken it upon themselves to saw up coffins in the vault to use the wood for their own purposes. The account given of the opening of the vault makes for grim reading.
And when the Parishioners were met, the Vault was opened, and to the utter Astonishment of every Beholder (but Coal-Dealer's Acquaintance) they saw several Limbs lie in different Parts of the Vault with perfect Flesh on, cut and mangled in too shocking a Manner to relate and Some Scores of Coffins removed and knocked to Pieces!
We must presume that Daniel, his wife and daughter were posthumous victims of this indignity, a rather sad end to their story.