Forncett’s Marcon Family Story


At the meeting of Forncett History Group on 20th September, David Kirk (Wreningham Heritage Group) talked about a family who are commemorated in a magnificent ledger slab in St Peter's church

Family history is nearly always fascinating, but when David Kirk and his wife, Alison, moved from Suffolk to Wreningham they had no idea that researching their family history would lead to the story of a very well-connected Forncett family from the 1600s/1700s. David's talk took us on a journey through the Marcon family tree describing not only the Marcons of Forncett but also the wider family and their many significant roles in Norfolk and in Norwich.

Working together with another Marcon expert on Ancestry, David has pieced together a tree that goes from the present day back to John Markant who was born around 1495, probably somewhere in continental Europe. The Marcons are believed to have arrived in England from Europe as worsted weavers. In 1565 there was great concern in Norwich about the decline in the worsted industry. The city authorities arranged for thirty households of religious refugees to come over from the Netherlands to teach the local craftsmen how to produce different types of cloth. David cited records of a Walter Marcon, worsted weaver and freeman of Norwich in 1598, who died in 1636 and is buried in Norwich cathedral. 

The Marcons rapidly made their way in Norwich society. A Matthew Marcon was a sheriff of Norwich in 1658 and mayor in 1665.

The ledger slab in St. Peter's church commemorates four family members: Edmond Marcon (1648-1709) and his wife Grace (1654-1710), and their two children, Edmond (1684-1727) and John (1672-1719). Edmond's father, John Markon (1619-1667) arrived in Forncett around 1645 and the family undoubtedly owned a significant estate in the parish and around. Their wealth is testified to by the quality and workmanship of their ledger slab. Whilst we don't know where they lived in Forncett, recent work by David and colleagues has transcribed documents in Latin held at Norwich Record Office that pertain to some of Grace Marcon's property. This is "work in progress" so more information may yet emerge.

In the early 1700s the Marcon family also owned a considerable estate in Edgefield, near Holt, and the links between Edgefield and Forncett continued until the 1800s. 

Readers of this blog may recall an article entitled "A question of drawing a line" (Nov 2022). The subject of this article was a Thomas Marcon who was born in Edgefield around 1792 and who moved to Street Farm in Forncett in 1814. Reference to David's Marcon tree shows that Thomas was the great grandson of Edmond Marcon (1684-1727) who is commemorated in the St. Peters ledger slab.

In summary, David's talk was a magnificent exposition of just where a family tree can take you when using all the range of sources that can now be accessed online. It brought to life the people documented on the floor of St. Peter's church and also showed the value of strong links between our many local history groups.