This Volume contains the history of the Cust family from Robert Cust of Pinchbeck in 1479 to the death of Sir Richard Cust, Bart., in 1700. In it are also printed the earlier title-deeds and other family records, which are now at Belton, in order to preserve them from future risks of decay or destruction, and to make them accessible to all those who are interested in the annals of Lincolnshire.
Although the earliest of the deeds at Belton is only dated in 1479, it will be seen in Chapter I that the Custs were long before this established in Holland, the southern part of Lincolnshire, and they appear to have owned land at Pinchbeck in the reign of Edward III.
In the muniment room at Belton is a complete series of the deeds referring to a small estate at Pinchbeck in Holland, which was held in 1479 by Robert Cust, and which has been transmitted by fourteen generations of male descent to its present possessor Adelbert, Earl Brownlow. It is at his request that I have arranged these deeds and other family records for printing, and I have attempted to give some account of the successive owners of this little property, which is particularly interesting from the fact that although the Custs ceased to reside at Pinchbeck after 1617, yet they have always clung with tenacity to their original paternal acres, whilst all the other land in the parish of Pinchbeck has since that time changed hands.
Starting, then, with Robert Cust in 1479, whose ancestors had probably been long before this in possession of some part at least of his lands, a separate Chapter has been devoted to each of his successors; and in the Appendix to each Chapter will be found the authorities on which it is based. These include, besides the Belton records, many other documents, such as wills, inquisitions, and registers, collected from other sources, in order to make the history of each generation as complete as possible.
In one point of view the history of the descendants of Robert Cust is a simple one, as, with the exception of the Custs of Quadring and Gosberton, to whom Chapter VII is devoted, there are no younger branches of the family to be recorded; and even this branch is supposed to be now extinct. On the other hand, the family history is much complicated by the numerous intermarriages of the Custs with the heiresses of neighbouring landholders, necessitating in the cases of Margaret Randson (1581) and Beatrice Pury (1644) separate Chapters being given to the history of their respective families.
The first of these ladies, Margaret Randson, the wife of Henry Cust, brought with her a bundle of deeds relating to her Bicker estate, which has enabled the pedigree of her ancestors, the Randsons of Bicker — a long-forgotten Lincolnshire family of some local importance — to be reconstructed for ten generations up to Ranulph de Biker, who lived in the reign of Edward II.
The materials for the history of the first four generations of the Cust family are somewhat meagre, but in the time of Queen Elizabeth, Henry Cust, the fourth in descent from Robert Cust, added considerably to the Pinchbeck property, having in some way acquired money, probably as a local lawyer. His son Samuel Cust, a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, who abandoned the family home at Pinchbeck and lived first at Haconby and then at Boston and Stamford, also increased his property by several judicious purchases for which he paid large sums, and must have made a good deal of money by the practice of his profession. Samuel Cust, who was an active county magistrate, is mentioned during the Civil Wars as taking part with the Parliamentary side; but nevertheless his son Sir Richard Cust found enough favour with Charles II. to be created a Baronet in 1677. Sir Richard Cust sat in Parliament as M.P. for Stamford from February 1678 — 1681; and after a long and prosperous life died at the age of 78 in August 1700, having survived his eldest son Sir Pury Gust. His wife Beatrice Pury, the heiress of Kirton, survived him and died at the age of 92 in 1725. Chapter XII goes fully into the history of her family, and discusses an interesting question as to her connection with the Purys of Berkshire.
Perhaps the most interesting figure in all the Cust annals is Sir Pury Cust, with whose life and that of his first wife Ursula Woodcock this Volume ends; and although he never succeeded to the Pinchbeck estates, it would be impossible to omit him in any history of the family. Born apparently with a passionate love of adventure, he first of all made a prolonged tour of more than a year over the greater part of Europe, and after his first wife’s death took an active part in bringing William, Prince of Orange, over to England in 1688. At that time, regardless of all risks of failure, Pury Cust raised a troop of horse amongst his friends and neighbours for the Earl of Devon-shire’s regiment, with whom he went to meet the Prince of Orange, a service which William III. afterwards recompensed by knighting him early in 1690. Sir Pury Cust, who had before this fought one campaign in Ireland, appears to have been present with his regiment at the Battle of the Boyne, and afterwards went with William III. to Holland.
In the last Chapter is discussed at considerable length the right which Ursula Woodcock brought to the Cust family of quartering the royal arms of Edmund of Woodstock, and of representing the Fitzwilliams of Aldwark and the Foljambes of Walton. This right she inherited from her grandmother Ursula Bellingham, one of the co-heiresses of her brother Thomas Bellingham, only son of Troth Foljambe, the granddaughter and heiress of Alice Fitzwilliam of Aldwark. It is shared by the descendants of the other sisters of Thomas Bellingham: Cicely Bellingham, who married Thomas Cholmeley, and Jane Bellingham, who married Edward Slaughter of Cheyneys Court, Herefordshire, 1 whose descendants are known to exist.
[box]Note. — Each Chapter has an Appendix in which will be found the original documents referred to in the text by numbers in brackets.[/box]
- The Cust Family, 1218—1479
- Robert Cust of Pinchbeck, 1479—1491
- Hugh Cust of Pinchbeck, 1491—1534
- Henry Cust of Pinchbeck, 1534 — 1547
- Richard Cust of Pinchbeck, 1547 — 1554
- Richard Cust of Pinchbeck, 1554 — 1583
- The Custs of Quadring and Gosbebton, 1574 — 1695
- Henry Cust of Pinchbeck, 1583—1617
- The Randsons of Bicker, 1327—1581
- Samuel Cust of Pinchbeck, Haconby, Boston, and Stamford, 1617—1663
- Sir Richard Cust, Bart., 1663—1700
- The Pury Family, 1444—1644
- Sir Pury Cust, 1655-1698/9
- Ursula Woodcock’s Royal Descent
- Additions and Corrections
[box]Source: Cust, Elizabeth, Lady. Records of the Cust Family of Pinchbeck, Stamford, and Belton in Lincolnshire. London: Mitchell and Hughes. 1898.[/box]
- See Additions and Corrections, p. 469.