Linton in Pictures
A History of Linton
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FLACK FAMILY MEMORIALS IN LINTON PARISH CHURCH

The Flacks were a prominent Linton family from the Restoration period in the 1660’s until the sale of their Grip Farm Estates in 1783. The three grand monuments close to the north door signify their wealth and importance since they are larger than those of the contemporary Lone family. They were originally placed in the Chancel, above and to the sides of the Vestry door and were described by William Cole when he visited the Church in 1742. Underneath were two additional stone tablets, now gone, which commemorated Robert and Thomas Flack, students of Peterhouse College in Cambridge.

Robert Flack senior’s story is a tragic one, five of his seven children dying before they were 30 years of age. His only surviving son, John became estranged from his parents and led a life of dissipation and debauchery. John died in Hinxton at the age of 34 years, leaving a young widow and 3 year old son called Barrington.

Robert senior paid £785 to purchase the Grip Farm from the Richardson family in 1662 and also acquired lands in Hinxton, Fulbourn, Ashton, Stevington End, Hadstock, Balsham, West Wickham, Horseheath and Lincolnshire. He was a very successful lawyer in Cambridge and the Shire, and is described on his memorial as shrewd and conscientious in all manner of affairs. He was consulted by his neighbours on all aspects of the law and was a devout churchman.

Robert senior had married Anne Butcher in Hildersham in 1653 and they moved into the Grip Farm after 1662. The house is described as a mansion and a plan survives from 1732. It was the second largest house in Linton after Barham Hall and the Hearth Tax of 1674 shows that it had 10 fireplaces. There was a ten acre garden, a bowling green, a domed cellar used as an ice house and 376 acres of land.

The premises were enlarged by Robert and the resultant mansion was at least twice the size of the present Hadstock Road house. You can still see the great balls of the entrance gate which was bricked up in the nineteenth century. Robert senior acted as Steward for the Linton Manorial Lords and became one of the most important figures in the local community.

His first marriage produced four children and George, the eldest son is commemorated in the white marble memorial placed on the left side of the north door of the Church. George’s bust is over the memorial. He was a Grays Inn lawyer who specialised in municipal law and the epitaph describes him as, “a greatly missed son whose parents dedicate their tears in this marble monument.” He was only 28 years of age , “a youth of great promise.” George’s sister, Barbara had died as an infant and his brother Robert died at Peterhouse College in 1682 when only 17 years old.

Robert senior re-married soon after the death of his first wife in 1664. His second wife was another Ann but we know nothing of her background. The couple produced three children but further tragedies soon overtook the family. Their eldest son, Thomas died at Peterhouse College in 1682, only four years after his stepbrother Robert and he also was only 17 years of age.

Their youngest child, Susannah had married a Cambridge physician, Christopher Green in 1689. He was a fellow of Caius College , Professor of Physick from 1700 to 1748 and a tutor to John Addenbrooke. This marriage seemed set to restore the family fortunes and a grandson was born soon afterwards. Susannah seems to have been a special kind of woman and the inscription on her memorial in Linton Church describes her as "a fine woman, the envy of her sex and a devoted wife and mother. She was very religious and a woman of exceptional candour".

Tragedy struck when she fell ill at her house in Cambridge and died at the age of 23 years, only 4 years after her marriage. She was conveyed in a hearse to Linton and buried next to her step brother, George. Her bust sits above the memorial and on each side there is an angel weeping. Her husband Christopher describes himself as, “an unhappy and melancholy widower who placed this memorial to his wife in July 1693.”

Yet more bad luck followed when Edward Chapman died of jaundice in 1695, aged 40 years. He had married Anne Flack, a child of Robert senior’s first marriage. Two children were born and Edward and Ann lived in Cambridge, where he carried on thriving business as a woollen draper. He was an alderman of the corporation, well respected and a good father and husband. His wife had his body conveyed to Linton where it was buried in the Chancel. The floor memorial was later removed to the Millicent Chapel where the coat of arms and parts of the inscription can be seen today.

John or Jack Flack was born in 1668 and was the only male heir of Robert senior after the death of George. He clearly upset his parents by his outrageous conduct in the company of Squire Millicent and Thomas Sclater, who were then still unmarried. John married Ann Barrington of Great Dunmow in 1697 but his father did not approve of the match. The couple lived in a newly renovated house in Church Lane, number 3 today but eventually moved to Hinxton. John died there, a bankrupt in 1702 and his father did nothing to help his young widow. There is no memorial to John or his widow in Linton Church and I cannot find any trace or record of a Hinxton memorial.

Within two years Robert senior was dead and his wife, Ann passed away in July 1705. Their black marble monument is placed on the right of the Church door. Their Wills left the bulk of their property to their grandson Barrington, but nothing to his mother. Robert senior left his chariot to Christopher Green with a request that he should lend it to Ann Chapman “so often as she be minded to come to Linton.”

Barrington’s mother came to live at number 3 Church Lane and later re-married to a friend of Squire Millicent, Sutton John Coney. Barrington Flack grew up in Linton and later married Susannah Barrington, a close relative of his mother’s who came from the Isle of Wight. They lived at the Grip Farm mansion but he died elsewhere in 1749. His widow, Susannah resided at the Grip mansion and died childless in 1778. Her brother, Sir Fitzwilliam Barrington sold all the Linton Estates to Bishop Keene of Ely , the new Lord of the Manor of Great and Little Linton. The rich Flack family disappeared from Linton although the name still survives in the area.