Letter from America

When I was a boy, my father showed me an old letter to my great grandfather, Frederick Caesar Linfield. I was intrigued as the envelope was addressed to Hon. F C Linfield. My father explained that his grandfather had been a Member of Parliament and presumably the writer of the letter thought that was how he should be addressed.

The envelope had a Cleveland, Ohio postmark dated 17 June 1939 and contained a letter from a Mr Pearson and a small piece of parchment-like paper with faded writing which we could not understand. This paper appeared to be signed by George Lynfield. The letter told us that the parchment was one of a pair of bonds in Latin between George Lynfield senior and George Lynfield junior and a John Gatland. The bond enclosed with the letter was for George senior. Mr Pearson explained in his letter that he was breaking up a collection of documents and that he thought my great grandfather might be interested in them as they could be in some way related. He was asking fifteen shillings for the bond, though whether he ever received it I do not know. Frederick C Linfield died on 2nd June 1939 before the letter arived and I imagine that my grandfather and father had other things on their minds. They may have thought the whole thing was a hoax. Certainly, they never pursued the second bond but my father kept the first one.

When he died in 1978, I discovered the letter and bond amongst his papers and thought that I too would keep them and perhaps one day find outif the bond was genuine. However, needless to say, I put them away and forgot about them until the formation of the One Name Group, at which point I showed them to the committee to see what they thought.

[The John Gatland referred to in the bond is almost certainly the father of Fortune Gatland who married, in 1594, Giles Linfield of Ardingly. His father was Edward Linfield of Bolney, from whom descend the 13 or so members of the Group shown on the membership list as the descendants of Julian Linfield of Bolney -Ed.]

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