In 1506 a young man named John Digby inherited the Manor of Milton from his grandfather. He was only about eleven years old and it is odd that his father was not the beneficiary. Forty years later John married a lady from Horton and sold the Manor. His father, not surprisingly, disputed the sale and took the matter to court, and lost. This of course might explain why the family for the next few centuries adopted a slightly more humble existence.
The name re-appears in the early 1700s when a Thomas Digby married Emma West “both of this Parish” and to this day there is a complete family tree. In 1774, a carpenter called William Pillmore was in Court for:
“assaulting with force and arms ….. and did beat and wound and ill treat ….. the said Thomas ….. that his life was greatly despaired of”
It is difficult to ascertain what this was all about, but no lasting damage was done as Thomas lived for a further twelve years.
The youngest son Samuel sired thirteen children (having married twice), so the name was fairly secure for the next five or six generations to come. After another Thomas, two more Samuels and two more by the name of William, we come to my grandfather Samuel, who died at the early age of 42. My Grandfather lived at one time at 47 Green Street (the home of the late Clive Green) and was a great supporter of the Church and its choir. At his funeral, the choir gave to his widow a number of lilies that have now been carefully nurtured on and grow in the garden of 7 Milton Court.
Reginald his son (and my father) was very much a countryman, and became the Chief Railway Permanent Way Inspector for the Midlands Railway. Reginald was a natural musician and a prominent member of the Milton Band. His daughter Dorothy, being the life and soul of the village community contributed greatly to the W.I., Cycle Speedway, Football Club, Skittles Teams and various outings to name but a few. Roy, the eldest son, inherited his father’s musical gift and played for the Milton Football Club, but later moved to Northampton.
Only the younger son, Alan, was left in the village to bear the name of Digby. Not very much of father’s musical prowess was left by the time Alan came along but he is still able to get a tune from most instruments, albeit not always the sweetest of tunes. Despite working overseas at times, Alan just like his sister has always been deeply involved in most of the civic and social activities of the village including the Parish Council and the Football Club besides being an author, and much much more.
His daughter, Victoria, might just become the last Digby in Milton Malsor – but it has been just a mere 500 years since their arrival!