Reference Number: *
Change Date: 17 Jan 2015 at 18:29:11
1. FHL book 929.273 Sp33 "The Spencers of the Great Migration," by Jack Taif Spencer and Edith Woolley Spencer (Gateway Press, Baltimore; 1997) vol. 1, partial excerpts from pp. 79-80, 85:
"When we seek to define the status of the Spencers at Edworth in the mid-1500s, it seems clear that they were still in the "tenant" category. In Rev. John Holding's study, he found that the farm operated by the Spencers was held under a leasehold arrangement from the lord of the manor (in this case the PARRYS). A careful reading of ANNE (Merrill) Spencer'S will (widow of JohnC) shows that there was no mention of the distribution of land or tenements to her oldest son. Holding calculated that the leasehold at Edworth would expire in the year 1575. Anne died in 1560, so apparently her son's operation of the farm was safe for another fifteen years. We know that MichaelB did serve out the remaining years of the lease, but by 1573 he had located at STOTFOld, a short distance south of Edworth.
Just what lease or ownership arrangements the Spencers had at Stotfold has not been revealed in the literature, but presumably it was another leasehold. MichaelB and his wife Elizabeth still had several small children at this stage and indeed their last three children (including GerardA born at Stotfold There was at least one other living son (ThomasA, b. 1571), so it seems unlikely that GerardA (b. 1576) would have inherited a leasehold. In any event, GerardA and Alice Whitbread had all of their children born at Stotfold.
In the sequence of events mentioned above, it would appear that leases were the predominant pattern of land usage at least by the parents and grandparents of GerardA Spencer (b.1576) Rev. Holding notes that GerardA in 1615 conveyed a lease to his brother, ThomasA, (b. 1571) and quote "conveying them next year to the same". This may have marked the year when GerardA and Alice Spencer moved from Stotfold, but their new location has never been ascertained. Apparently they did not move to co. Essex as was once believed since a careful search of the records in 1993 in Braintree and nearby towns revealed no clue as to their presence in that region. At this time in the family's history, the children ranged in age from one to fourteen years."
"...This vast expanse of time brought us from Thomas1 of Badby down through HenryH, ThomasG, RobertF, and JOHNE Spencer. The "E" generation ended about 1500 with the death of JOHNE of South Mylls, Beds. His children, however had survived the internal struggles of the 1500s for the possession of the English Crown.
The children of JOHND Spencer of South Mylls and CHRISTIAN BAKER came on the scene in time to witness the attack on the Catholics by Henry VIII (1509-1547) and the great religious struggle of that period.
The life spans of the children of JohnSpencer of South Mylls (ca 1500-1568) (William, Robert, JOHN) and ETHELREDE BAKER coincide almost exactly with the reign of Henry VIII to the mid-1500s. It was during this period also, that we note the shift of the family from SOUTH MYLLS to EDWORTH. JohnC (later the husband of ANNE Merrill) was the first born at EDWORTH shortly before Henry VIII ascended the throne in 1509.
The Spencer occupation at Edworth extended on for another three-quarters of a century to about 1576. The last Spencer to be born at Edworth appears to have been ThomasA Spencer in 1571. His unborn siblings (KatherineA, GerardA, and RichardA) were born at STOTFOld. Thus, those who lived at Edworth survived the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547), EdwardVI (1547-1553), and much of the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). It was during this period that the Spencers in generations "C" and "B" of Edworth were exposed to the great religious convulsions under HenryVIII and the restraints implosed under Elizabeth I against the rising Puritan forces.
When GerardA (b. 1576) (father of the Four Brothers) was born at Stotfold, Elizabeth was in the middle of her reign and the great battle against the Spanish Armada (1588) took place when GerardA was only twelve years of age. When GerardA and Alice Whitbread were married at UPPER GRAVENHURST in 1600, Elizabeth'S long reign was coming to a close and Puritanism had become a widespread influence in the life of the average Englishman. During the years that Gerard and Alice's children were born (1601-1614), James I (1603-1625) had come to the throne and the struggle against the Puritans was intensifying. Charles I (1625-1649) continued to oppress the Puritans and by 1630 the stage was being set for a great Civil War between the religious and political factions.
We can now see that the Four Spencer Brothers were young men who had arrived on the scene at a critical juncture in English history. It is clear from the record that neither they nor their parents were in a solid position of land ownership. Indeed, this Spencer line for generations seemed to be in the "tenant" class. Consequently, Gerard and Alice's children easily could have looked to America for the "great salvation" and the acquisition of a promised one hundred acres of free land for each emigrant."
2. FHL book 929.273 Sp33 "The Spencers of the Great Migration," by Jack Taif Spencer and Edith Woolley Spencer (Gateway Press, Baltimore; 1997) vol. 1, pp. Preface-78:
The co-authors, Jack and Edith Spencer, have been accumulating data on the history and genealogy of the Bedfordshire Spencers for many decades. Indeed, as far back as the 1950s, they were corresponding with Donald Lines Jacobus (Dean of American genealogists) regarding his monumental genealogy of the "Four Spencer Brothers" which was published in The American Genealogist (TAG) in the early years of that decade...
Another important source of information has been the enormous collection of genealogical records compiled by Flora S. Clark of Elkin Park, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this gold mine of information of some 1,400 typed pages on the Bedfordshire Spencers and their New England descendants was never issued as a formal publication. However, the former librarian of the Spencer Historical and Genealogical Society, Dr. Rowena Spencer of New Orleans, undertook the massive task of organizing and indexing all of Flora Clark's data...
...Suffield's long-time Historian, Mr. Hawley E. Rising ... supplied us with the Spencer vital records, the early maps of Suffield, and invaluable photographs of buildings and monuments.
Finally, recognition is given to Zena Grant Collier of Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire, England, who devoted several years in the early 1990s to reviewing every conceivable record on the origins and lineage of the Spencers of Bedfordshire. From America, Collier worked under the guidance of two individuals. One was Henry C. Spencer of Green Valley, Arizona, Past President of the Spencer Society. The other individual was Dr. Rowena Spencer of New Orleans. The nearly 300 pages of the English Research was indexed by the co-authors of this book.
The co-authors also wish to give special recognition to Henry C. Spencer for his life-long contributions to the genealogy of the Bedfordshire Spencers. His many publications in the "Le Despencer", Quarterly Journal of the Spencer Society, have been a source of invaluable information, especially on the Four Spencer Brothers...
The PARAMETERS of The Spencer History
The genealogy and history of the Spencers (DeSpencers) of England and America extends back at least one thousand years beginning with the Vikings and Normans in France (Normandy) and later with the first centuries of Norman rule in England.
As might be expected there were several lines of Spencer descendants in England after their beginnings at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. In the present study, the authors have a principal interest in the Spencer line which produced the emigrants from Bedfordshire to New England about 1630 A.D...
The accompanying Chart will show the lineage of the Five [Immigrant] Spencer Siblings back to Thomas[I] Spencer who was a native of Badby in Northamptonshire a county immediately northwest of Bedfordshire on the east.
1. Thomas[I] Spencer of Badby
2. Henry[H] of Badby m. Isobel Lincoln
3. Thomas[G] b. ca 1378
4. Robert[F] b. ca 1406
5. Robert ca 1432-1521
5. JOHN[E] b. ca 1434 (Living 1490)
6. Robert b. ca 1460
6. JOHN[D] b. ca 1462 m. Christian Baker
7. JOHN[C] 1505-1558 m. Ann Merrill
8. Michael[B] b. ca 1531 (moved from Edworth to Stotfold between 1573
and 1576) m. Agnes Limer; m. Elizabeth ___ (d. 1599)
9. John1557- [Children:] Daniel m. Sarah Audley; Francis, d. 1636, m. Marg. Marler; Elizabeth 1586-; Anne 1590-.
9. Michael 1558-
9. Ann 1560-
9. Joan 1564-
9. Alice 1566-
9. Thomas[A] 1571- m. Margaret Spencer. [Children:] Anthony m. Kath. Mills; Gerard, d. 1601, m. Joan Mills; Thomas; Richard; Margaret m. Simon Spencer.
9. Katherine 1573- m. ___ Bland. [Children:] Sarah and Hannah Bland.
9. Gerard[A] 1576-1646 m Alice Whitbread [Parents of the five immigrants William, Elizabeth, Thomas, Michael, Gerard, and non immigrants John and Henry.]
9. Richard 1580-1646
8. Johnca 1533-1560
8. Gerard ca 1543-1577 [Children:] Richard, Agnes, Joan, and a child 1576/7.
8. William b. ca 1545
5. Henry b. ca 1436 (Living 1490)
5. Thomas ca 1438-1490 m. Margaret Smyth(?)
4. Thomas ca 1408-1453 m. Joan ___
...The family of JohnC Spencer and Ann (Merrill) Spencer all lived in the town of Edworth in southeastern Bedfordshire. The oldest son, MichaelB Spencer (who was the grandfather of the children who came to New England) moved to the nearby town of Stotfold about 1572 and some of the "A" generation, including GerardA, were born in this new location. Our principal interest will focus on the children of GerardA Spencer and his wife, Alice (Whitbread) Spencer, who were the parents of the Five Siblings who emigrated to New England, 1630-1631.
Much of the information in the above chart is based on the extensive data published by Donald Lines Jacobus in the The American Genealogist (TAG) between 1951 and 1954. This monumental work includes nearly 100 pages of text. All the descendants of the Five Siblings owe Jacobus an immense debt of gratitude for his publications on the Spencers. For the much older generations in England (approximately "E" to "I") the authors relied heavily on the study of the Bedfordshire Spencers published by Vicar JohnHOldING in 1903. Holding was the first to review the so-called "Phillipps Manuscript" which threw much light on the earlier generations in east Bedfordshire.
The accompanying map of the counties in present-day England shows that Bedfordshire is located in the Central Heartland of England and that it provides ready accessibility to the Greater London area as well as the East Anglican counties of the Channel Coast. The Heartland stretches clear across England from Hertfordshire on the east to Gloucestershire on the west. However, Bedfordshire also has close links to East Anglia and the Fens. The Heartland itself extends about seventy miles from east to west and 100 miles from north to south. It is largely a rural area, but today also includes the urban sprawls from London and Birmingham. The most significant topographic features are the Chiltern Hills in the east and the Cotswolds in the central section. The term "Hills" is appropriate for elevations which range up to a thousand feet as a maximum.
Although the towns of Edworth and Stotfold in Bedfordshire played pre-eminent roles in the early history of the Spencer Siblings, there apparently was a change in location by the family of GerardA Spencer and Alice (Whitbread) Spencer before their children went to America about 1630. One writer (L.E. DeForest) suggested the family may have removed to co. Essex where there was a focus of leaders in the Puritan movement.
Braintree was believed to be the new location of the Spencers. In 1993, the authors of this article sponsored a research study in the areas in and around Braintree and Chelmsford to ascertain if there was any trace of Gerard and Alice Spencer and/or their children. All records pertaining to property deeds, probate records, marriages and births, were carefully explored by Adam Smith, a local historian well acquainted with the vital records in co. Essex. No trace of any kind could be found of this particular Spencer family.
There have been other suggestions that the family may have moved to London and that the Spencer siblings departed from that location on their long journey to New England. This hypothesis, like the one respecting co. Essex, remains to be proven.
Braintree and its environs, of course, were the home of the members of the well known "Braintree Company" which came to the Boston area in 1632 and first settled at Wollaston (Quincy). They remained at Wollaston only a few short weeks before moving on to Newe Towne (Cambridge) late that same year. We know that William1 Spencer was not among the Braintree Company because already he was at Newe Towne in 1631 (perhaps in New England by 1630). The earlier arrivals at Newe Towne had been passengers in the first flotilla of ships in the Wintrhop Fleet in the summer of 1630...
DeFOREST, L. E. "Moore and Allied Families". 1938.
Jacobus, Donald L. "The Four Spencer Brothers - Their Ancestors and Descendants". The American Genealogist, Vols. 27-30, 1951-1954.
Spencer, HAROld L. Jr. "A Spencer Genealogy - The Descent From Gerard of Haddam, Connecticut". 1977.
Spencer, William D. "The Maine Spencers". The Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire, 1898.
BANKS, Charles E. "The Planters of the Commonwealth". Gen. Publ. Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1979, 231 pp.
BREMER, Francis J. "The Puritan Experiment". St. Martin's Press, N.Y. 1976. 255 pp.
GIES, FRANCES & Joseph. "Life in a Medieval Village". Harper Perennial, 1991. 258 pp.
HINDE, Thomas. Ed. "The Domesday Book, England's Heritage, Then and Now". Crown Publ. New York, 1985. 351 pp.
HOldING, JohnRev. "The Spencers of Bedfordshire". England, 1901. 60 pp.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY. 'The Age of Chivalry". Washington, D.C. 1969. 378 pp.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS of The GENEALOGICAL Records FOR The NEW
Many genealogists in both England and America have attempted in recent years to resolve the lineage of the "The Four Spencer Brothers" (William, Thomas, Michael, Gerard) and their sister (Elizabeth) who came to New England about 1630 from Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England. These five siblings were the ancestors of thousands of Spencers who now reside in the United States. Most of the research which has focused on their ancestry in England began in the early years of the twentieth century and has continued up to the present day (1996). Despite the importance of the subject, only a half dozen or fewer writers have made important contributions to the published literature. Probably the most significant milestones have been the writings of Vicar JohnHOldING in 1903, Henry F. WATERS in 1907, and Donald Lines Jacobus in the mid-1950s. A third contribution of an unpublished nature has been the research of ZENA COLLIER of Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire, who commencing in 1989 under the auspices of "The Spencer Historical and Genealogical Society of America", has delved into many resources in Bedfordshire and adjacent counties which were hitherto unknown to the American workers. In the present article, we shall attempt to review Collier's material as well as summarize some of the progress made by Holding, Waters, Jacobus, and others.
At the outset we must caution that despite the valiant efforts of the above named authors a final solution to the complete lineage of the Five Spencer Siblings has yet to be achieved. It is true that we are on sound ground for about four generations leading back from the Five Siblings. However from the fifth generation back in time the trail becomes somewhat uncertain. Many theories have been advanced regarding those earliest generations but some questions still remain Perhaps the situation is not entirely discouraging for there still remains a great challenge for the future students to confirm those early generations of Spencers who were the ancestors of the Five Spencer Siblings of Stotfold Beds We do know that the trail would lead to the first Normans who came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror...
In addition to the sources mentioned above, the data in the International Genealogical Index from Salt Lake City has been especially valuable for corroboration of generation "D" in England as well as the clarification of surnames of some of the wives of the early Spencers. Mention also should be made of the old Visitation Records of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire dating from the 16th and 17th centuries which were attempts to establish the credibility of the "gentry" as to lineage and coats of arms. Some of these Visitation Records are questionable, but in some cases they support the evidence from other sources.
Aside from the IGI, separate searches have evolved based on related records found in the Salt Lake City archives. Notable among these is the lineage developed in 1963 by Dr. James LeRoy Kimball and Virgil Spencer of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Their results were summarized in an article published by the present authors in "Le Despencer", the journal of the Spencer Historical and Genealogical Society in America, Vol. 17, 1993. In 1993 we believed that the Kimball-Spencer lineage might well serve as a standard for judging the credibility of other published articles prior to 1993. Our continuing review of sources has tended to support the Kimball-Spencer records, especially for the early generations in England. However, the Kimball-Spencer lineage for generations "C" and "D" was faulty. We shall discuss these changes in detail later in the present article.
Our Chart No. I summarizes the lineage of the Spencers of Befordshire and Northamptonshire as viewed by most of the genealogists, both English and American, who have published on this subject. The Chart also summarizes the visitations of 1566, 1572, and 1634 which included lineages for the Spencers of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
CHART I: Proposed Lineages Leading to the Four Spencer Brothers who Came to America from England about 1630:
HenryI of Badby m. Isabel Lincoln
ThomasH of Eaton Socon
RobertG of Colmworth m. ___ Smyth
JohnF of S. Mylls
RobertE of S. Mylls m. Anne Pecke
JohnD of Cople m. Christian Baker
JohnC of Edworth m. Anne Merrill
MichaelB of Edworth & Stotfold m. Agnes Limer, m. Elizabeth ___
GerardA of Stotfold m. Alice Whitbread (Parents of the Four Brothers.)
JohnD of Edworth m. Christian Baker
JohnC of Edworth m. Anne Merrill
MichaelB of Edworth & Stotfold m. (not in IGI), m. Elizabeth ___
GerardA of Stotfold m. Alice Whitbread
VISITATION BEDS. - 1634:
JohnF of S. Mylls
RobertE of S. Mylls
JohnD of S. Mylls m. Christian Baker
JohnC of London
Four dau. - line extinct.
VISITATION HERTS. - 1572:
JohnF of S. Mylls
RobertE of S. Mylls
JohnD of S. Mylls m. Christian Baker
JohnC of London
HERALD VIS - 1566:
RobertE of S. Mylls m. Anne Pecke
JohnD of Pavenham m. Anne Arnold
ThomasC of Cople m. Anne Bowlkeley
ThomasG of Eaton Socon
RobertF of St. Albans m. ___ Smyth
JohnE of South Mylls.
JohnD of Kempston m. Christian Baker
Back to Geoffrey
HenryI of Badby m. Isabel Lincoln
John H of ___, m. ___ Warnstede.
WilliamG of Redborn m. Elizabeth Empson
Sir WilliamE of ___ m. Susan Knightly
Sir JohnD of ___ m. Mary Catelyn
K. Spencer 1979:
HenryI of Badby
JohnH of Hodnell
JohnG, m. Ann Eupson; m. Jane Gruant
RobertF of S. Mylls, m. Anne Pecke
JohnE of S. Mylls m. Christian Baker
JohnD of Edworth m. Isabela Osborne
JohnC of Edworth m. Anne Gerrard
MichaelB of Stotfold m. Annes Lymer, m. Elizabeth ___
GeratA of Stotfold m. Alice Whitbread
HenryI of Badby m. Isabella Lincoln
ThomasH of Eaton Socon
RobertG m. Anne Peake
JohnF of Pavenham m Anne Arnold
ThomasE of Cople m. Anne Bulkeley
JohnC of Edworth m. Anne Clark?Arnold?; m. Anne Merrill.
MichaelB of Stotfold m. Agnes Limer; m. Elizabeth ___
GerardA of Stotfold m. Alice Whitbread
The reader should become acquainted with the names and locations of the English counties located in the "Heartland", especially Bedfordshire (Beds), Hertfordshire (Herts), Cambridgeshire (Cambs) and Northamptonshire (Northants). Special mention should be made of the many small towns in these counties where the Spencers had lived for countless generations. The most important of these towns for the ancestors of the Five Siblings are South Mylls (near Blunham), Edworth, and Stotfold in Beds. There also are many other towns in eastern Beds associated with the general ancestry of the Spencer family beyond the direct lineage of the Five Siblings. One of the major mysteries still confronting the genealogist is the delineation of the exact relationships among these various branches bearing the surname of Spencer (and sometimes Despencer). Zena Collier in her unpublished research notes (1989-1995) has made the most extended effort to solve the riddle of these various linkages.
After the construction of the Spencer lineage based on the Kimball-Spencer charts of the 1960s, the present authors reviewed many additional sources, including the Visitations of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in the 16th and 17th centuries, the IGI, and especially the research notes compiled by Zena Collier between 1989 and 1995. We also have re-studied the many charts compiled by Vicar John Holding in 1903, with special emphasis on the information that he found in the old "Phillipps Manuscript". Based on these sources we have constructed a new lineage chart which is designated the "Holding-Phillipps Chart" (see Chart No. II). We will review the new chart in some detail as it relates to Holding's earlier charts. On this Chart No. II we have presented not only the lineage of the Five Spencer Siblings of New England, but also the ancestry of the "Cople Spencers" who were closely related to the "Spencers of South Mylls". The Cople descendants eventually became the line of Spencers who settled n Virginia, often referred to as the "southern Spencers", although there were also other Spencer immigrants in the South aside from the Virginia line from Bedfordshire.
II. The "HOldING-PHillIPPS" CHART:
CHART NO. II. The "HOldING-PHillIPPS" CHART, A PROPOSED LINEAGE FOR The FIVE Spencer SIBLINGS of Bedfordshire WHO CAME To NEW England ABOUT 1630:
-ThomasI of Badby = Isabel Lincoln
-HenryH of Badby = Isabel Lincoln
-John of Hodnal & Wormleighton
-ThomasG of Eaton Socon (b. ca 1378) [Author lists Thomas as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-John of Begery (b. ca. 1404)
-Alice = Robert Arnold of St. Neots
-Thomas of Eaton Socom (ca 1408-1453) = John ___
-RobertF of St. Albans (b. ca 1406) - ___ Smyth of Bedford. [Author lists Robert as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Robert of South Mylls, Blunham & Cople (ca1432-1521) = Ann Pecke of Cople (d. 1523.
-Alice (b. ca. 1478) = Thomas Dyckons.
-Johane (b. ca 1490) = ___ Batell
-John of Pavenham (ca1486-1531 = Ann Arnold. [Author lists John as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Elizabeth = John Slade
-Rose = John Colbecke
-Thomas of Cople (1514-1547) = Anne Bulkley [Author lists Thomas as first Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.] Children: Robert of Cople (ca 1533-1620?) = Rose Cokain; William; Elizabeth = Robert Parrys; Anne (unm.). [Note that author continues with three more generations from Robert to Spencer descendants in Virginia.]
-Henry of Colmworth (b. ca 1462; living 1490)
-Thomas of Eaton Socom (ca1438-1490) = Margaret (Smyth?) (d. 1506). Children: John, Elizabeth, Andrew?
-JohnE of South Mylls (b. ca 1434; living 1490) [Author lists John as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Robert of South Mylls (b. ca 1460)
-John of South Mylls (ca1500-1568) = Ethelrede Baker
-William of South Mylls & Northants (d. 1582) = Isabel Osborne
-Robert of St. Albans (living 1572) = Frances Foster, Herts; = ___ Smyth. Children: John (1562-1622) = Margaret Bayly of Herts; Ann = ___ Gylman of Herts.
-John of London (d. 1583 = ___ Tichborne; = Margaret Green. Children: Mary = John White, = Thomas Ballard; Christian = Reginald Greene of London; Jane = Richard Cockerham of London; Margaret = Laurance Greene of London.
-JohnD of South Mylls "John of Kempston" (b. ca1462) = Christian Baker
-JohnC of Edworth (ca 1505-1558) = Ann Merrill (d. 1560)
-MichaelB of Stotfold (b. ca 1531) = Eliz. ___ (d. 1599)
-JohnA (b. 1557)
-Thomas (b. 1571) = Margaret Spencer
-Katherine (1573-) = ___ Bland
-Gerard (1576-) = Alice Whitbread. [Author continues with another generation down from Gerard.]
-John of Edworth (ca 1523-1560)
-Gerard of Edworth (ca 1543-1577) = Ellen Whysson
-William of Edworth (b. ca 1545)
The Spencer lineage on the "Holding-Phillipps" chart is divided into two main groups. On the left is the line of "Cople Spencers" which leads eventually to the Spencers of Virginia. The
Virginia Spencers were first represented in America by Nicholas 1 Spencer who came to America "sometime during or before 1659". Thus, Nicholas1 Spencer came to America at. least one generation later than the Spencers in New England. The latter represented the tenth generation from ThomasI of Badby, while the Cople Spencers had eleven generations coming down to the "third Nicholas". Some members of the first generation in America from Cople returned to England, making it difficult to trace their colonial descent. The best authority on the Virginia line is Henry W. RIGBY who prepared his unpublished report in 1977.
In reviewing the Holding-Phillipps Chart (No. II), we could begin with the first generation in New England and trace them backwards in time or we could begin with the earliest known generation in England and come forward in time to the first generation in New England. We shall elect to begin with the earliest postulated ancestor in England and come forward to the Five Siblings of Beds.
III. The "TRAP" FOR SCHOLARS of The Spencer Genealogy
Before examining the earliest generations line by line, let us note at the outset that many lineages developed by genealogists of the past failed because of two women who occupied central positions in the descending line for the Spencers of South Mylls. These two women were ETHELREDE BAKER and CHRISTIAN BAKER. Both women (see chart II) were married to a JohnSpencer, but one of these men was JOHN[D] Spencer of Kempston and the other was JohnSpencer of S. Mylls. Because of this similarity, a majority of the early lineage charts were derailed. The records found in the International Genealogical Index were critical in identifying CHRISTIAN BAKER as the gr gr grandmother of the Five Siblings of Beds who came to New England about 1630.
One of the first examples of the "Baker mixup" was repeated by Vicar John Holding in 1903 when he reprinted the chart for the Spencers of South Mylls from the Visitation of Bedfordshire, 1634 (Harleian Society of London, 1884). We have placed dotted lines around the mistaken entry for CHRISTIAN BAKER (see Chart VI). This single mistake in 1634 mislead nearly every Spencer genealogist up into modern times.
Conversely, if we make the single change from CHRISTIAN to ETHELREDE BAKER in Chart V, we seem to have a consistent record of this South Mylls line. However, it was not the line leading to the Five Siblings of New England. CHRISTIAN BAKER was in a parallel line from the South Mylls Spencers and was the true gr gr grandmother of the Five Siblings.
IV. The VISITATION CHARTS
Chart III. The Visitation of Bedfordshire For Spencers of Cople 1566 (Holding, p.3)
-Robert Spencer of South Mylls = Ann Pecke of Cople
-John Spencer of Pavenham = Ann Arnold
-Thomas Spencer of Cople = Ann Bulkley
-Robert Spencer of Cople (as yet unm.)
-Elizabeth Spencer = Robert Parrys
-Anne Spencer (unm.)
-Elizabeth Spencer = John Slade
-Rose Spencer = John Colbecke
-Alice Spencer = Thomas Dyckons
-Johane Spencer = ___ Battell
Chart IV. The Spencers of Cople, Visitation of Bedfordshire, 1634 (Holding, p. 4)
-Thomas Spencer of Cople = Anne Bulkley of Burgate, Southampton
-Robert Spencer of Cople = Rose Cokain of Hatley, Beds
-Nicholas Spencer of Cople, Esq. = Mary Elmes of Lylford, Northants
-Alice Spencer = Gains Squier of Rowland
-Nicholas Spencer = Mary Gastwick of Willington, Beds.
Signed Nicholas Spencer
The Cople lineage as shown in the Visitations of 1566 and 1634 (Charts III and IV) seem to have held up well to later scrutiny so far as they go. We note that the 1634 Chart began with Thomas Spencer of Cople (1514-1547), but does not reveal the earlier generations leading to Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon (b. ca 1378).
We shall now return to the early generations on the Holding-Phillipps chart (No. II) and attempt to evaluate their sources and credibility.
Chart V. The Spencers of St. Albans ? Visitation of Hertfordshire. 1572
-John Spencer of South Mylls, 1475
-John Spencer of South Mylls = Christian Baker (note: the correct entry should be Ethelrede Baker)
-William Spencer of South Mylls = Isabella Osborne of Kélmarsh, Northants
-Robert Spencer of St. Albans = Frances Foster of Brantfield, Herts; = ___ Smythe of Beds.
-John Spencer (b. 1562)
-John Spencer of London
By me Robert Spencer (Note: Robert did not identify his mother correctly)
CHART VI. ThE Spencers of SOUTH MYLLS. VISITATION of Bedfordshire. 1634 (Holding, p. 5)
-John Spencer of South Mylls, 1474
-Robert Spencer of South Mylls
-John Spencer of South Mylls = Christian Baker (Note: The wife was Etheldred Baker and the error has been repeated by many genealogists)
-William Spencer of of South Mylls, Beds = Isabel Osborne of South Mylls & Meyrs Asby, Northants.
-Robert Spencer of St. Albans, Herts = Frances Foster of Brantfield, Herts; = ___ Smyth of Beds
-John Spencer (1562-1622) = Margaret of Bayly (marr. 2nd to Twyford Wath)
-Anne Spencer = ___ Gylman of Herts
-Mary Spencer = John White of Nordian; = Thos. Ballard
-Christian Spencer = Reginald Greene of London, grocer
-Jane Spencer = Richard Cockerham of London, grocer
-Margaret Spencer = Laurance Greene Merchant
-John Spencer of London, Merchant = Anne Clark of London
IV. The EARLIEST ANCESTORS LEADING To The Spencers of SOUTH MYLLS and COPLE, Bedfordshire.
We shall first focus on generations C, D, E, F, G, H, and I. The present authors have carefully reviewed all of the voluminous records on the Spencers of central and eastern Beds which are available up to 1996. Many of these records will be presented in detail later in this article. From an overall view, we believe that the study by Vicar John Holding (1903) and the Phillipps Manuscript presented in his report offer the most credible evidence for the earliest generations beginning with ThomasI Spencer of Badby, Northants. The final master chart prepared by Holding (pages 50-51) suggests that ThomasG of Eaton Socon (living 1433) may have been the ancestor of the Spencers of Eaton Socon. Based on this assumption, we have included HenryH of Badby and ThomasI of Badby as the two preceding generations. From ThomasG of Eaton Socon (who was in the Phillipps Manuscript), we take the next step to RobertF of St. Albans who was born about 1406 and who married a woman with the surname of SMYTH. The siblings of RobertF of St. Albans were Johnof BEGERY (b. ca 1404) and Thomas of EATON SOCON (b. ca 1408). The latter Thomas Spencer and wife Joan had no children.
In summary, we have combined Holding's early generations (G, H, and I) with the Phillipps Manuscript starting at generation F (Robert of ST. ALBANS) and following in the South Mylls line to JOHNE of SOUTH MYLLS, JOHND of KEMPSTON, and JohnC of EDWORTH. The critical juncture lies with JOHNE of SOUTH MYLLS (b. ca. 1434). Some genealogists (esp. Zena Collier, p. 100) depicted the descent as flowing through Thomas of EATON SOCON (d. 1490) and his wife Margaret (SMYTH?). Margaret died in 1506. Their son Johnwas considered by Collier to be the likely JOHNE of SOUTH MYLLS leading to JOHND of KEMPSTON and JohnC of EDWORTH. We shall examine this suggested linkage in detail at a later point when we read the Will of Thomas and the Court Mandamus relating to Margaret's estate. However, we find no positive evidence to prove that John, son of Thomas and Margaret SMYTH, was the JOHNE of SOUTH MYLLS leading to JOHND of KEMPSTON and JohnC of EDWORTH.
The lineage chart leading to the Spencers of Cople has followed the same principles as those described for the Spencers of South Mylls. We know that the Cople and South Mylls families were very closely related because of the naming of beneficiaries and executors in some of the Wills left by the male line. For example, Robert of SOUTH MYLLS (b. ca 1460) was named as an executor for Johnof KEMPSTON (d. 1531) and Robert of COPLE (d. 1521). They respectively were his cousin and uncle.
V. The Estates of Thomas of EATON SOCON (ca 1438-1490) and WIFE Margaret (SMYTH?) (d.1506).
As mentioned above, ZENA COLLIER (p. 100) considered the eldest son (JOHN) of Thomas and Margaret to be the Johnof SOUTH MYLLS leading directly to JOHND of KEMPSTON and JohnC of EDWORTH. Although this hypothesis does not seem proven, we will review the Will of Thomas and the estate of Margaret (Court Mandamus) for reference purposes.
The Will of Thomas Spencer dated as 22 Jan 1490/91 contained the following provisions:
1. To be buried in Eaton churchyard.
2. To son John, all lands, tenements, rents, and services belonging in Eaton in fee simple.
3. If he dies without heirs, executors to sell and give Elizabeth, testator's daughter, 20 marks from money received and Henry, testator's brother, to have aforesaid lands for a smaller sum of money than anyone else by 20 marks and if he doesn't buy them then, Thomas FITZHUGH and JohnBETTS shall have them.
4. Executors: Thomas FITZHUGH, JN BETTS, HEN Spencer. Pro by HEN Spencer. Power reserved to THOS FITZHUGH.
From the foregoing Will of Thomas Spencer, we can identify his brother Henry, his son John, and his daughter Elizabeth. If Thomas was born about 1438, we can estimate his eldest son Johnto be born about 1463, or closely parallel to the generation of JOHND of KEMPSTON. Hence, we find a problem in depicting Thomas's son Johnas the father of JOHND of KEMPSTON. On the other hand (Chart II), the JOHNE, who was the son of RobertF of ST. ALBANS and born about 1434, fits well into the time scale for generation D, E, and F.
There is no mention of the widow of Thomas, in the latter's Will, but this omission is probably related to the Will of JohnSMYTH, a relative of Margaret's, who made bequests to both Margaret and her husband Thomas. For some reason, JohnSMYTH's estate was disposed under a Mandamus, or Court Order, but this was issued nearly a decade after the death of Thomas. Such action is perhaps a reminder that there was no mention of Margaret in the Will of Thomas, nor is their any mention of the property at Wold (Old?), Northants. The Court Order reads as follows:
"John Smyth. Writ of Mandamus 28 May 13 Henry Vii inq. 30 December 14 Henry VII (1498). He was seized of the under-mentioned manor etc in fee, being so seized, gave them to one Thomas SPENSER and Margaret, wife of the said Thomas, his cousin and heir, to hold to them and the heirs of the body of the said Margaret, with remainder in default to one Alice BRETT, her heirs and assigns for ever; by virtue whereof the said Thomas
and Margaret were seised. Thomas in his demesne as of free tenement and Margaret in her desmesne as of fee tail, and they had issue between them one William SPENSER; and afterwards the said Thomas SPENSER died so seised and the said Margaret survived him and continued her possession, and was and still is solely seised in her desmesne as of fee tail, by the form of the gift by right of survivorship. He died 10 March 12 Henry VII (1497). The said Margaret, aged 40 and more, is his cousin and heir".
"NORTHAMPTON. The manor of Wold with its appurtenances in Wold, the three virgates of land and a quarter in the same town, also the advowson of the church of the same town to the same man belonging; also two other messuages and three virgates land in Wold, worth L7, HELD of John, EARL of OXFORD, by socage."
One suspects from the Court Order of 1498 that Margaret had to exert her rights to part of the Wold property which had been divided between her and Thomas according to the wishes of JohnSMYTH. Whatever happened to Thomas'S half of the Wold property is not revealed, but it may have been disposed of by Thomas earlier and the proceeds invested in the Eaton Socon property.
The mention of Margaret as his "cousin" may be subject to interpretation. In Holding's ancestral chart of the Cople Spencers (pp.50-51 and our Chart VIII), he calls Margaret a "daughter" of JohnSMYTH of "OULD" (Wold?). The Smyth Mandamus is also at odds with the later Will of Margaret (see below) in that the Court Order cites a son, William SPENSER, who does not exist in Margaret's Will. The so-called "William SPENSER" would seem to be the son-in-law William Reynolds. Furthermore, there is no reference in the Court Order to an "Andrew Spencer" mentioned in Margaret's Will.
For comparison, we quote a verbatim version of Margaret (SMYTH?) Spencer'S Will of 1506:
"MarGT. Spencer (Eaton Socon). "5 day of Our Lord 1506", pr. 19 Nov. 1506. (161). For her mortuary as custom and manner is to the church of Lincoln 20d.; to the high altar for tithes forgotten 12d.; to Eaton church 5 r. land abutting on "Hundyssh dytch". To the prior of St. Neots 8d. to pray for her.
"To JN. Spencer sr. land in his grandfather's will, and the "platt", a pair of great "landyrens", also 1 a. land; to Andrew Spencer 1/2 a. land; residue of land and house that she dwells in to d., w. of WM. Reynolds; 2 and 1/2 a. meadow to be sold, WM. Reynolds to have option of buying; a priest to sing for her and her husband as long as the money lasts; residue of goods to exor., he to give part to poor, part to godChildren and part to himself. Exor. s. WM. RAYNALD, witn. JAS. STEvenSON, vicar of Eaton, and JN. MAN".
The reading of Margaret's Will reveals the existence of son-in-law William Reynolds (RAYNALD) as well as an Andrew Spencer who may be a sibling of Elizabeth. In addition, the mention of "JohnSpencer sr." as a beneficiary of land in his "grandather's will" poses one of the great enigmas in Spencer genealogy. The correct interpretation is critical to the linkage between generations "D " and "E" in the ancestral line of the Spencers of South Mylls (see Chart III). If we assume the reference is to John, son of Thomas and Margaret, then the grandfather might be RobertF of ST. ALBANS, or it might be Margaret's father (JohnSMYTH?). No Will has been found for RobertF of ST. ALBANS and JohnSMYTH mentioned no grandson in his Will according to the Court Mandamus.
After weighing the pro and con, we believe that the reference to a "grandfather" referred specifically to JohnSMYTH. In the Mandamus quoted above, JohnSMYTH (or the court) clearly split the estate between Thomas and Margaret, so that Margaret in her Will still had control of property, presumably at Wold (Ould) in Northants. She refers to "JohnSpencer, sr. land in his grandfather's Will". Thus we can infer that John, son of Thomas and Margaret, had inherited his father's share of the Smyth estate as well as his mother's share of the same estate. One flaw in this hypothesis is that Thomas (b. ca 1438) in his Will mentions only the property in Eaton Socon and makes no reference to Wold Manor in Northants. The same can be said for Margaret's Will. In terms of geography, however, Wold Manor was a long distance from Eaton Socon and both Thomas and Margaret may have disposed of the property after the death of JohnSMYTH. Actually, we do not know when JohnSMYTH died. The Court Order was dated 1498, but the property granted by JohnSMYTH to Thomas and Margaret may have been made many years earlier while JohnSMYTH was still living.
JOHNE Spencer of South Mylls (b. ca 1434) is listed as living in South Mylls, perhaps the first Spencer to live there. His wife is unknown, but perhaps she had land in South Mylls and wished to live there. JOHNE Spencer had two sons, Robert of South Mylls and JOHND of South Mylls, the latter known as "Johnof KEMPSTON", a suburb of Bedford.. He was in the line leading to the Five Siblings of New England. Robert (b. ca 1460) as the eldest son received the property of JOHNE and was known to have land at Duloe, Charlton, and Blunham (adjacent to South Mylls).
Johnof SOUTH MYLLS (b. ca 1500), son of Robert (b. ca 1460), owned land in at least nine different locations. His wife was EHELREDE BAKER (often mistakenly identified as CHRISTIAN BAKER).
There is one final but significant reservation regarding Thomas Spencer (ca 1438-1490) of Eaton Socon. His origin is noted in the Phillipps Manuscript (Chart VII) as being the grandson of ThomasG of EATON (b. ca 1378). in contrast, Holding thought that this same Thomas was the grandson of HenryH of BADBY and ISABEL LINCOLN (CHART V). Holding even hints that the Thomas who was the son of Henry of BADBY may have been the ThomasG of EATON SOCON (probably 1438). However, another generation down the line, Holding identifies Thomas of BADBY as married to Margaret SMYTH of OULD (Wold). Regrettably, we do not know the source of Holding's information on this Northants lineage. We recall Holding's statement on page 51 as follows: One thing, however, is certain; the Bedfordshire Spencers were allied to those of Northamptonshire, but where the point of junction lies, it is impossible for us to say.
Apparently Holding had not seen the Wills of JohnSMYTH, Thomas of EATON SOCON (b. ca 1438), and the latter's wife Margaret. Is it possible Holding had the clue to the descent of all the Spencers of Eaton Socon and South Mylls but failed to recognize it? We note that Holding in his document made repeated references to tracing the Spencers of Edworth and Stotfold to ancestors who came from St. Albans. Perhaps he was strongly influenced by the Phillipps Manuscript (Chart VII) where RobertF of ST. ALBANS is shown as the father of Robert of COPLE, JOHNE of SOUTH MYLLS, and Thomas of EATON SOCON (d. 1490). It is fascinating to see that this Robert of ST. ALBANS was married to a woman with the surname of SMYTH. There is a strong possibility that Margaret of EATON SOCON (d. 1506) also was a SMYTH. The SMYTH name leads us back to Northants and the Manor of Wold. A close approximation to OULD or WOld is the town of "Old", a few miles NE of Northampton. The town of Wormleighton, although in Warks, is close to the western border of Northants. As a consequence, we can see that the SMYTHS of Old as well as the Spencers of Badby, Everdon, and Wormleighton all revolved around the northern area of Northamptonshire (which also is the location of the ALTHORPE Spencers and the former home of DIANA Spencer, Princess of Wales, daughter of the recently deceased EARL Spencer).
CHART VII. The LINEAGE of The Spencers of EAST Bedfordshire AS INTERPRETED byVICAR JohnHOldING from The PHillIPPS MANUSCRIPT.1903
-Thomas Spencer of Eton (Living in 1433)
-JohnSpencer of Begery = Alice
-Alice Spencer = Robert ARNOld of St. Neots
-ANNE ARNOld = JohnSpencer of Pavenham (See below.)
-Thomas Spencer (d. 1453) = Joan [Author lists Thomas after Robert, but I arrange differently for a better visual on descendancy of Robert.]
-Robert Spencer of St. Albans = ___ SMYTH of Beds.
-Robert Spencer of Cople (d. bef. 1523) = ANNE PECKE (d. 1523)
-JohnSpencer of Pavenham (d. 1523) m. ANNE ARNOld (See above.) [Child:] Thomas Spencer (b. 1514)
-JohnSpencer of South Mylls
-Robert Spencer of St. Neots [Child:] JohnSpencer (d. 1568)
-JohnSpencer of Kempston
-Thomas Spencer (d. 1490) [Children:] John and Elizabeth.
CHART VIII. The LINEAGE of The Spencers of NORTHANTS and WARKS SHOWING POSSIBLE Origin of The Spencers of EATON SOCON, BEDS. from HenryH Spencer of BADBY and ISABEL LINCOLN (After Holding, pp. 50-51):
-Geoffrey le Despencer (son and heir of Thurstan, descended in the fifth generation from Robert le Despencer; steward to William the Conqueror, 1066; d. 1251)
-Hugh le Despencer (Justiciary of England; slain at Evesham,1265) = Alice Bassett, relict of Earl of Norfolk.
-Hugh le Despencer Earl of Winchester
-Alianora = Hugh Courtney, Earl of Devon
-Geoffrey = Emma, dau. of St. John
-Sir John =Anne Spencer, 1274
-Adam Spencer of Stanley, co. Gloucester [Author lists as second son, however, I reposition for an easier visual on the descendancy of his brother William.]
-Sir William Spencer of Defford; d. 1328
-John Spencer of Defford = Alice Deverell
-Nicholas Spencer of Defford = Joan Pollard
-William Spencer = Margaret Clare [Children:] John Spencer o.s.p. 1445; Alice Spencer.
-Thomas Spencer [Author lists him as first son; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Henry Spencer of Badby, d. 1476 = Isabel Linclon
-John Spencer of Hodnall and Wormleighton = ___ Warnstede. [Author lists John as first son; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-John Spencer of Hodnall = John Graunt [Child:] Thomas Spencer of Everdon.
-Thomas Spencer of Badby = Margaret Smyth of Ould
-William Spencer of Redbourn = Elizabeth Empson [Author lists William as eldest Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Jane Spencer = ___ Smyth of Shefford
-Sir John Spencer, d. 1522 = Isabel Graunt [Author lists John as eldest Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Sir William Spencer, d. 1532 = Susan Knightly [Author lists William as eldest Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Sir John Spencer, d. 1595 + Mary Catelyn (relict of Thomas Burgoyne of Sutton, Beds.)
-Mary = Thomas Bolles of Wallington, Herts
Chart No. VIII is a copy of the linkages presented by JohnHOldING on pp. 50-51 in his report of 1903. In a footnote, Holding suggested that the ThomasG Spencer who was the son of HenryH Spencer of Badby and Isabel Lincoln posed an interesting question as follows: "Is it possible that the Spencers of Eaton came from this Thomas?" In our Chart II, we essentially adopted this suggestion and then followed the chart of the Phillipps Manuscript for the descendants of ThomasG Spencer of Eaton Socon who was b. ca 1378 and living in 1433.
One of the fascinating aspects of Holding's final chart is the linkage back to one of the most powerful DESpencers of the realm in the person of HUGH le DESpencer, Justiciary of England, who was slain at the battle of Evesham in 1265. It is but a few steps back to Robert le DESpencer, Steward to William the CONQUEROR in 1066.
VI. The COATS-OF-ARMS AS EVIDENCE of The Linkage of The Bedfordshire and NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Spencers.
The similarity in Coats-of Arms between the Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Spencers was noted by John Holding in his 1903 study (p 51). We can quote directly from his article:
"One thing, however, is certain; the Bedfordshire Spencers were allied to those of Northamptonshire, but where the point of junction lies it is impossible for us to say, as we have no materials at our disposal to enable us to decide. They must have satisfied the Heralds in their visitations in 1566, 1634, and 1663 that they were of the same family, otherwise they would not have been allowed to bear the same coat of arms and crest, as they did with one slight difference only, that whereas on the bend sable of the Northampton arms there are three escallops (shells), on the Bedfordshire shield there are three fleurs-de-lis. The crest is exactly the same - a griffin's head between two wings expanded emerging out of a mural crown.
The actual descriptions of the Coats-of-Arms from the several Visitations were as follows:
Spencer of ST. ALBANS, 1572 (Herts):
ARMS - Quarterly Or and Gules, in the second and third quarters a fret of the first, over all a bend Sable charged with three fleurs-d-lis Argent.
CREST - Out of a ducal coronet Argent, gemmed Gules, a demi-griffin of the first, beaked and eared of the second, collared per pale of the second and Or, winged of the third, on each wing and on the breasts fleur-de-lis Sable.
Spencer of SOUTH MYLLS, 1634 (Beds):
ARMS - Quarterly or and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret of the first, on a bend sable three fleurs-de-lys argent.
CREST - Out of a mural crown per pale argent and gules, a griffin 's head, collared or, beaked gules, between two wings expanded, charged on the breast and on each wing with a fleur-de-lys sable, all counterchanged.
Spencer of COPLE, 1566 (Beds):
ARMS - Quarterly Or and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret or; on a bend sable three fleurs-de-lis argent.
Spencers of COPLE, 1634 (Beds):
ARMS ? Quarterly - 1, Quarterly or and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret of the first, on a bend sable three fleurs-de-lys, Spencer; 2, Argent, three pickaxes sable, PECK; 3, Sable, two lions passant or, ARNOld; e, blank.
CREST - Out of a ducal coronet gules a griffin's head argent, collared or, between two wings expanded of the third, charged on the breast and on each wing with a fleur-de-lys sable, and on the neck a crescent.
Holding noted the Coat-of Arms for some of the Northants Spencers bore three scallops in place of the three "fleurs-de-lis" Argent.
Some of the terms used for the coats-of-arms may be unfamiliar to the reader. GULES - red, represented in engravings by parallel vertical lines. FRET - ornamental network. ARGENT - silver, whiteness, shining. SABLE - black. PASSANT - any animal represented as walking with the dexter forepaw raised.
There may be a special significance attached to the close similarity of the Spencer Coat-of-Arms in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire. As we noted earlier, there has been considerable discussion among genealogists as to whether the Spencers of Beds were closely related to the Spencers of Northants. The identical characteristics of the Coats-of-Arms would seem to add much weight to the linkage of the South Mylls Spencer with Henry of BADBY and ISOBEL LINCOLN. The relationship may be one based on "cadet" branches of the earlier ancestors in Northants, i.e. younger sons of the family who were excluded from the line of inheritance when the oldest son in a family inherited the estate, a custom long entrenched in the well-to-do families in order to prevent the breakup of the feudal manorial system.
VII. The Linkage 10 Henry Spencer and JohnSpencer of BEGERY.
Henry Spencer is clearly identified in the Will of Thomas of EATON SOCON (d. 1490) as a brother, but almost nothing is known about Henry. Henry also is shown on the chart of the Phillipps Manuscript (Chart VII) as well as Holding's final chart (Chart VIII), again as a brother of Thomas of BADBY (who as we noted seems to be the same as Thomas of EATON SOCON who died ca 1490).
Turning now to JohnSpencer of BEGERY, we have another significant point. There is no doubt that Johnof BEGERY has an important linkage to the Cople Spencers. What is the basis for considering him to be a sibling of Robert of ST. ALBANS and. Thomas Spencer of EATON SOCON (b. ca 1408)? A search of a II existing records traces the beginnings of Johnof BEGERY to a list prepared in 1433 by a Commission created by Henry VI "for all persons of quality to take an oath". The list included "Thomas Spencer DE GETON" and "JOHANNES" (John) Spencer. From this simple entry it has been deduced that this was Thomas of EATON (1378) and his son John(later of BEGERY). Since Johnhad no residence indicated in the Commissioners' List, it was believed that he must the son of Thomas6 Spencer. We find this concept incorporated in the Phillipps Manuscript (Chart VII). The same source identifies Johnof BEGERY as a brother of Thomas of EATON SOCON who died in 1453, but left no heirs. Johnof "BEYGAI" was listed as one of the Executors of the Will of Thomas "of Ford by Eaton Socon", strengthening the view that he was a close relative of the deceased.
A final comment is made on the "F" generation level which as we see on the Holding-Phillipps Chart (No. II) includes Johnof BEGERY, Henry, and Thomas of EATON SOCON (b. ca 1408). The main deviation from this concept is found in the Phillipps Manuscript which would include "Robert of ST. ALBANS" (m. to ___ SMYTH), Thomas of FORD (m. Joan ) who died in 1453, and Johnof BEGERY in a generation preceding Henry and the Thomas who d. in 1490 (m.. Margaret SMYTH?). There is perhaps some justification for this alternate view in that Johnof BEGERY who was an adult in 1433 would likely be a generation older than Thomas of EATON SOCON (d. 1490) who is believed to have been born about 1438.
As we can see from these various considerations, the ancestors of both the Cople and South Mylls Spencer tines could deserve more study. ZENA COLLIER herself throughout her five-year study proposed many theories regarding these early ancestors, especially in regard to the Spencers of South Mylls. Collier (p. 237) considered it most likely that the very early Spencers who lived in Blunham and Mogerhanger were the direct line to South Mylls. She also leaned heavily towards the Spencers of Hatley who lived along the eastern border of Beds with Cambs. She did not comment on Robert of COLMWORTH (or ST. ALBANS?) who occupies a prominent slot on the Kimball-Spencer Chart (No. IX).
VIII. The KIMBALL-Spencer CHART of 1963 (Chart No. IX)
Earlier we mentioned the Spencer lineage compiled in the 1960s by DR. James L. KIMBALL of Salt Lake City and Virgil Spencer of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but which was never formally published. The present authors (Jack and Edith Spencer) presented an outline of this lineage in their "Comparative Analysis" article published in 1993 in the Le Despencer Journal (Spencer Historical and Genealogical Society). We have drawn a detailed Chart (No. IX) of the lineage proposed in the Kimball-Spencer papers. This is an appropriate point to look at their version of the early Spencer ancestors as derived from the then existing records at Salt Lake City.
First, their treatment of the descent from ThomasG of EATON SOCON, 1433, and the next three generations is identical to the Phillipps Manuscript with the exception of "RobertF of ST. ALBANS" who they tag as "Robert of COLMWORTH". The entry of "COLMWORTH" as an early location for this Robert is a new designation. Colmworth is in the far northern section of Bedfordshire and a considerable distance from St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Colmworth, however, is next door to Eaton Socon in county Beds.
The "unknown" Henry (as designated on most charts) is now "Henry of COLMWORTH" in the Kimball-Spencer lineage.
Robert of SOUTH MYLLS (later Robert of COPLE) who married Ann PECKE) is shown in the line leading to the Five Siblings of New England, whereas in fact he was the head of the Cople line leading to the Spencers of Virginia. The same can be said of Johnof PAVENHAM. He married Ann ARNOld, but had no relationship to CHRISTIAN BAKER.
CHART NO. IX. The Kimball-Spencer Version of the English Ancestors of the Five Spencer Siblings of Bedfordshire who came to New England about 1630.
-HenryH of Badby = Isobel Lincoln
-ThomasG of Eaton Socon (b. ca 1378 ? living 1433)
-John of Begery (b. ca 1404)
-Thomas of Ford, Eaton Socon (b. ca 1408-1453 = Joan ___.
-Robert of Colmworth (b. ca 1406) = ___ Smyth of Bedford. [Author lists Robert as 2nd Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Robert of Cople (b. ca 1432)
-Henry of Colmworth (b. ca 1436)
-Thomas of Eaton Socon (b. ca 1438)
-JohnE of South Mylls (b. ca. 1434) [Author lists John as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-JohnD of South Mylls (b. ca 1462. [Author lists John as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his brother's descendancy.]
-Robert of South Mylls (ca. 1460-1521)
-Alice of South Mylls (b. ca 1486) = Thomas Decons
-Johanne (b. ca 1490 = ___ Battell
-John of South Mylls (b. ca 1486-1532), d. at Pavenham = Anne Arnold; = Christian Baker. [Author lists John as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-William of South Mylls (b. ca 1496) = Isabella Osborn
-Robert of St. Albans (b. ca 1498) = Frances Foster
-JohnC of Edworth (1505-1558) = Ann Merrill ca 1509-1560
-John Jr. of Edworth (ca 1533-1560)
-Gerard of Edworth (ca 1543-1577) = Ellen Whysson
-William of Edworth (b. ca 1545)
-MichaelB of Edworth (b. ca 1531) = Agnes Limer (1532-1562); = Eliz. ___ (ca 1542-1599)
-Alice of Edworth (b. 1556)
-John of Edworth (b. 1557)
-Michael of Edworth (b. 1558)
-Ann of Edworth (b. 1560)
-Joan of Edworth (b. 1564)
-Thomas of Edworth (b. 1571) = Margaret Spencer
-GerardA of Stotfold (b. 1576-1646) = Alice Whitbread (Ten Children, five f whom were the sibings who came to New England about 1630 and all of whom were born at Stotfold, Bedfordshire.)
-Richard of Stotfold (b. 1580)
-Katherine of Stotfold (b. 1582) = ___ Bland
In conclusion, the Kimball-Spencer lineage is confused between the Cople line of descent and that of South Mylls. The upper and lower ends of Chart IX may have some merit in that the former has a strong resemblance to the Phillipps Manuscript (No. VII). The lower end of the K-S Chart from JohnC Spencer (1505-1558) and Ann Merrill (d. 1560) is a credible ancestry leading to the Five Spencer Siblings of New England.
We might repeat that the confusion over the Cople and South Mylls lines has been duplicated over and over by most Spencer genealogists in the 20th century.
IX. The LINEAGE DEVELOPED byH.R.Spencer, 1927.
One of the earliest American genealogists to study the English lineage of the Spencers of Bedfordshire was H.R. Spencer of Duluth, Minnesota. His unpublished notes were widely adapted by John Kimball and Virgil Spencer in their own studies. It is noteworthy that H.R. Spencer completed his work a quarter century before the reports by Donald Lines Jacobus in the early 1950s. H.R. Spencer actually visited England as well as Normandy and was well acquainted with the work which John Holding had published in 1903. H. R. Spencer developed the Spencer lineage clear back to the time of William the Conqueror (1066 A.D.). For our purposes, however, we will show in the accompanying chart only those Spencers from the early 1400s onward.
CHART X. The LINEAGE PROPOSED byH.R. Spencer: "THE Spencers of Bedfordshire. England and EAST HADDAM. CONNECTICUT". 1927.
-Thomas Spencer (living 1435)
-John of Hodnell &Wormleighton (Ancestor of Duke of Marlborough & Earl Spencer of Althrope)
-Thomas of Eaton Socon (living 1453) [Author lists Thomas as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-John of Begery (b. ca 1432, living 1453)
-Thomas of Eaton Socon (d. 1453; no issue)
-Robert of St. Albans (& South Mylls) = ___ Smyth [Author lists Robert as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Thomas of Eaton Socon (ca. 1448-1490)
-John of Kempston & South Mylls [Author lists John as eldest Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-Robert [Author lists Robert as second Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-John of Edworth (1505-1558) = Ann Lymer
-Michael of Edworth & Stotfold (d. 1599) = Alice Lorimor; = Eliz. ___ [Author lists Michael as eldest Child; however, I rearrange for a better visual on his descendancy.]
-John, Michael, Thomas, Gerard, Richard, Joan, Anne, and Katherine.
Beginning with Thomas Spencer who was living in 1435, H.R. Spencer follows the Spencer lineage described in Holding's report of 1903. However, when it came to the children of Henry of BADBY, H.R. developed the succeeding generations from Thomas, the second son of Henry. Holding did not pursue this line, but merely suggested the possibility of such a connection.
From Robert of ST. ALBANS (and SOUTH MYLLS), H.R. follows the Phillipps Manuscript on through Johnof SOUTH MYLLS (d. 1503) and his son Johnof KEMPSTON. H.R. errs in naming Ann LYMER (Lorimer) as the wife of the second John, whereas it was Ann Merrill. H.R. made no attempt to delineate the Cople line from Johnof BEGERY.
One feature of H.R. Spencer's lineage is the emphasis on the Spencers of Badby, Northants, as the origin of the Spencers of South Mylls. Holding himself hinted at this, but later stated that "the Spencers were allied to those of Northants, but where the point of junction lies it is impossible to say". (End of quote). Actually he may have had the answer before him on his last chart where he tags "Thomas of BADBY" as the husband of "Margaret, daughter of JohnSMYTH of OULD" (Wold). We know for sure from their wills that this Thomas and Margaret both died in Eaton Socon. It seems strong evidence that both came from Northamptonshire and formed the link to all the famous Spencers who later came to live at Althorpe.
The main reference by Herbert R. Spencer was published in 1927, but he continued his research for some years after that time. Two letters which he wrote in 1932 are included here to illustrate the course of his thinking following the 1927 publication. Both letters were preserved by Henry C. Spencer of Green Valley, Arizona.
In these letters, we note an emphasis on the hamlet of Stratton, Beds, located just a short distance from Edworth which has been considered the main focus of the Spencer ancestry in the 1500s. References are made to JohnC Spencer (Jr.) and his father JOHND Spencer (senior, also known as "John of Kempston"). Today, we would still consider Edworth as the main focus for these two men.
Herbert R. Spencer also developed a key interest in the Manor of Eyworth which was in close proximity to Edworth. Most of the Eyworth records fall in the 1300s and relate primarily to some of the "Lords le Despencer" who owned many manors scattered over a wide area in England. in the present day we do not believe that the Edworth and Stotfold Spencers were direct descendants of the owners of Eyworth Manor. Somewhere in the distant past there may have been a common ancestor, but genealogists to date have not identified such an individual or family.
We include the letters by H.R. Spencer primarily to demonstrate how advanced was his knowledge for the early part of the 20th Century. He was almost alone at that time in the pursuit of the Spencer genealogy and a full quarter century in advance of the monumental work published by Donald Lines Jacobus on the ancestors and descendants of the Four Spencer Brothers of New England in The American Genealogist.
The two following letters by Herbert R. Spencer to Dorothy Selden indicate that the two were related in some manner or other.
Herbert R. Spencer & Roger W. Spencer, 25 Feb 1932
Spencer & Spencer, Attorneys at Law
1102-3 Alworth Bldg.
Dear Dorothy Selden:
I have yours of the 23rd and I hasten to reply the fact that you are of the "Noble House of Bedfordshire Spencer", a certificate of which I hope to have ere long does not necessarily unfit you for "going into trade". Many women of noble birth have done the same. You do not tell me what trade you have embraced.
I have a letter from Mr. Martin in which he expresses surprise that no one heretofore has followed out the history of the second son (Thomas) of SIR Edward DESpencer 1342 who owned the Manor of Eyworth, Beds. I have asked Martin to investigate this Eyworth Thomas. The fact that in 1342 SIR Edward DESpencer and ANNE his wife owned Eyworth and that after that time Spencers were found at Biggleswade, Stotfold, and Edworth where there were none before 1342, all within three or four miles of Eyworth, is suggestive of the thought that Thomas Spencer, second son of SIR Edward, may have resided at Eyworth and became the ancestor of the Bedfordshire Spencers. It was about this time that the "de" was omitted from the family name. This thought is accentuated by the letter of KING Edward III to his son the PRINCE of WALES, a copy of which Mr. Martin sent me, and a copy of which I am sending you. I wrote to the county Record Office at Bedford to look up the history of Eyworth and ascertain if Thomas (SIR Thomas) resided there and to ascertain if he left any heirs. The Secretary has replied and I am enclosing his letter and a copy of my answer. If you like I will send you copies of my correspondence hereafter. It will keep you in touch as the matter drags along. I am also enclosing a copy of my letter to Mr. Martin. You may return Mr. Emmison's letter if you will and also the Biggleswade paper.
I feel quite encouraged over the progress we are making in our search. If we can establish the fact that SIR Thomas, the second son of Edward resided at Eyworth and was the ancestor of JohnSpencer of Edworth, it gives us a clear history back to the first Robert of 1066. If this is demonstrated, it shows that we came from the main line of the Despencers, and that this present LORD Spencer and the DUKE of MarLBORO came from a younger branch of the family. I trust that your work will not interfere with your health and that next summer you may have time enough to visit us. I should be delighted to have you meet my sons. Since writing you I have another grandson (Gerard's boy). He is named Robert LEE Spencer, a fine little chap. Since I never met you but once I would like to have a photograph of you. The picture you once sent me does not visualize your appearance as I remember it.
Hoping to have some real facts to send you relating to your family descent.
I remain as always, Affectionately yours, H.R. Spencer"
15 June 1932
Dear Dorothy Selden:
I am sending you a list of the early Spencers of Bedfordshire. All these early Spencers lived within a few miles of Edworth when our JohnSpencer was buried in 1558. The College of Arms is slow. I have a man at Bedford by the name of EMMISON working on our case. He is in charge of the Historical Society of Bedford and is manifesting some interest in our family; He has recently dug up from old sources the list of names I am enclosing. You will observe that in 1543 a JohnSpencer "senior" lived and paid taxes at a little suburb of Biggleswade called Stratton. Fifteen years later, JohnSpencer Senior was buried at Edworth. Mr. Martin thinks JohnSpencer Senior of Stratton is our JohnSpencer Senior of Edworth. I think this is probably so, as Stratton is only three or four miles from Edworth. The word "senior" seems to connect the two. The College of Heralds is still trying to ascertain something regarding SIR Thomas Spencer, son of Edward DESpencer, who went to France with the PRINCE of WALES, time of Edward III. So far I have not had any information. SIR Thomas lived at a time when he could have been the father of Thomas of Eaton Socon 1410. Whether he was, we have not ascertained. The College of Arms is so slow I may be wearing wings and blowing a celestial trumpet before we obtain our certificate of descent from Robert of 1066. ANNE Morgan, sister of J. P. Morgan, is descended from Gerard Spencer of East Haddam through one of her grandmothers. She is interested in the Society of "CHEVELIER William LE CONQUEROR". Possibly she may inject some speed into the College of Arms. I am, however, not depending entirely on the College of Arms. This Mr. Emmison of Bedford appears to be a man of some enterprise. He has published the records of several Bedfordshire churches. Edworth, Eyworth, and several others. It is plain that the country about Eaton Socon was settled by the DESpencers in early times, and I am in hopes that we will be able to straighten out the connection before long. I am pleased to know that you are enjoying your business career and only wish you were near enough to help in my search for your early progenitors. I notice your compatriot Huey Long is making himself as much of a nuisance in the Senate as he was at home. As Lord Dunbury (?) used to say "it is so easy for a man to make a damned fool(?) of himself" - It seems still easy in modern times.
Take good care of your self my Dear Cousin and believe me as ever.
Affectionately yours, H.R. Spencer."
X. SOME REFLECTIONS ON The EARLY English ANCESTORS of The NEW England Spencers.
The present authors have included ten charts representing the research efforts of major genealogists working on the Spencers of Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Hertfordshire. Some of the charts also represent the Visitations of 1566, 1572, and 1634. Out of this mass of evidence, what conclusions can be drawn?
1. We believe the lineage shown in Chart II is the closest we can come at the present time to the actual ancestry of the early Spencers of eastern Bedfordshire leading to the Five Spencer Siblings who came to New England about 1630.
2. It is clear that the lineage of Chart II (Holding-Phillipps) presents two main lines of descent, one running down from Robert of COPLE (b. ca 1432) for the Spencers of Cople and eventually to the Spencers of Virginia who came to America about a generation (1659) after the New England Siblings. The Cople line of descent from Robert of COPLE is clear and credible.
3. The second line featuring the Spencers of South Mylls, Edworth, and Stotfold is somewhat more indistinct, especially in the early generations. From generation"A" to "D", the lines are clear and distinct. The linkage to generations "E" and "F" are somewhat indistinct, especially that between "D" and "E". However, this link is established in the Phillipps Manuscript (Chart VII).
4. As we proceed backwards from the Spencers on line "F" (John, Robert, and Thomas), the connections must be labeled as "probable". These lines lead back through HenryH of BADBY and ISOBEL LINCOLN. The strongest evidence for the Badby connection is based on the lineage proposed by John Holding in the final pages of his report (p.50-51).
5. Following the work of Holding in 1903, the most extensive research of modern times was conducted by ZENA COLLIER of Bedfordshire from 1989 to 1995 (unpublished). Unfortunately, Collier had not seen a copy of Holding's 1903 report until late in her six-year effort. Collier made determined efforts to trace the East Beds Spencers backwards in time from the South Mylls residents. In so doing, she thoroughly explored all the areas around South Mylls to the eastern borders of Bedfordshire (and often into Cambridgeshire). In the final analysis she was unable to establish the linkages to South Mylls, although many valuable contributions were made to our understanding of the "cadet" Spencers, i.e. those younger sons who inherited little or none of their family properties.The prime recipient always was the eldest son, thus preventing the breakup of major land holdings.
6. The intriguing aspect of the lines leading to Badby and Northamptonshire is the direct connection to the major Despencer ancestry of England and the tremendous wealth and power held by the Despencers clear back to the time of William the Conqueror and the d'ABITOT family of Normandy. John Holding in his final Chart (extending backwards from HenryH of BADBY) shows the continuity of this lineage, including HUGH le DESpencer, the Justiciary of England, who was slain at Evesham in 1265. Six generations back from HUGH le DESpencer we find Robert le DESpencer who was steward to William The CONQUEROR in 1066.
BLAYDES, FREDERIC (Editor). "The Visitations of Bedfordshire, 1566, 1582, 1634". The Harleian Soc. of London, Vol. 19, 1884.
COLLIER, ZENA. "Research Notes From England, 1989-1995". Unpublished.
COOKE, Robert & SIR Richard ST. George. "The Visitations of Hertfordshire, With Hertfordshire Pedigrees, 1634". The Harleian Soc. of London, Vol. 22, 1886.
HOldING, JohnVICAR. "The Spencers of Bedfordshire, England", 60 pp. 1903.
INTERNATIONAL GENEALOGICAL INDEX, EDITION of 1990. Church of the Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City. No. A0034. Reviewed by Edith W. Spencer
Jacobus, Donald Lines. "The Four Spencer Brothers, Their Ancestors and Descendants". The American Genealogist (TAG). Beginning Vol. 27, No. 106, April 1951. Vol. 27-30. 1951-1954.
KIMBALL, DR. JohnLeROY & Virgil Spencer. Unpublished Ordinance Sheets, Salt Lake City, 1963.
RIGBY, Henry W. "Possible English Origins of Oliver Spencer of South Carolina". Unpublished, 1977.
Spencer, H.R. "The Spencers of Bedfordshire, England, and East Haddam, Connecticut". Unpublished 1927.
Spencer, Jack T., Edith W. Spencer, & Virgil Spencer. "A Comparative Analysis of Genealogical Records For Ancestors of the Four Spencer Brothers in England." Le Despencer, Journal of the Spencer Historical and Genealogical Soc., Vol. 17, 1993.
Spencer, Jack T. & Edith W. Spencer. "The Five Spencer Siblings of Bedfordshire, the Role of the Braintree Company, and the Beginnings of Cambridge, Mass." Le Despencer, Vol. 17, 1993.
Spencer, KAREN L., LIBBI CROWE, & FRANCES POWELL. "Trip Reports to England, 1989". Parts published in Le Despencer, 1989.
Spencer, Virgil. "Ordinance Sheets from Salt Lake City, 1963". Ten generations of Spencers in England leading to the Four Spencer Brothers of New England. Unpublished.
TRITTON, DIANA. "The Thomas Spencer Family". Le Despencer, Vol. 13, 1989.
WATERS, Henry F. "Genealogical Gleanings in England". Two Vol. The New England Hist. Gen. Soc., Boston, 1901.
Vital Records for the Early English Generations of the New England Spencers.
I. The OVERALL VIEW.
In an earlier chapter, the authors presented a broad sweep of the early Spencer generations in England leading to the "Five Siblings of Bedfordshire" who came to New England about 1630.
The review included the Spencers of South Mylls, Bedfordshire, as well as the closely related Spencers of Cople, Beds. The latter group included the Spencers of Virginia who came to America about a generation later than the new England Spencers.
In listing the vital records for the early English generations we shall follow the sequence of generations as depicted in the "Holding-Phillipps " Chart of the authors' earlier article.
An overall view of the Spencer descendants from JohnC Spencer and Ann Merrill may be helpful in visualizing those Spencers who came to New England alongside their near uncles and cousins who remained in England. The relationships are depicted in Chart I. These cousins were descended from uncles JohnA (b. 1557), ThomasA (1571-1631) as well as their aunt, CatherineA (b. 1573), all of whom were siblings. Of course, none of the members of the "A" generation came to America and only the sons and one daughter of GerardA undertook this monumental task. (Please keep in mind that the English generations are labeled in reverse as "A", "B', "C", etc. back to the earliest identified ancestor in generation "I". For those who came to America, the numbering begins with generation "1", then "2", etc. up to the late 20th century which may be generation "12" or even "13").
We also have a chart (No. II) showing some of the ancestral lines of the Whitbread family since Alice Whitbread was the mother of the "Five Spencer Siblings" who came to New England about 1630. The Whitbread family became famous in England as the founders of the Whitbread Brewery enterprises and which today has become so well known as the sponsors of the Whitbread round-the-world yachting races.
CHART I: The near relatives of the five Spencer siblings of Bedfordshire who came to New England about 1630:
-JohnC Spencer (1505-1550) = Anne Merrill (d. 1560)
-MichaelB (b. 1531) = Agnes Lymer (d. 1562); = Eliz. (d. 1599)
-John (b. 1577 Edworth) children b. Baldock, Beds.: Daniel = Sarah Audley; Francis = Margaret Roberts.
-Michael (1558-1560 Edworth)
-Anne (b. 1560 Edworth)
-Joan (b. 1564 Edworth)
-Alice (b. 1566 Edworth)
-Thomas (1571-1631 Edworth) = Margaret Spencer (?). Children b. Stotfold, beds.: Gerard (b. 1601) = Joan Hills; Anthony = Katherine Hills; Thomas; Richard; Margaret (d. 1635) = Simon Spencer.
-Catherine (b. 1573 Edworth) = ___ Bland
-Gerard (b. 1576 Stotfold) = Alice Whitbread. Children b. Stotfold: William (1601-1640) = Agnes Harris; Elizabeth (b. 1602) = Timothy Tomlins; John (b. 1604); Henry (1605-1607); Thomas (1607-1767) = Ann Derifield, = Sarah Bearding; Richard (1608-1614); a son; Michael (1611-1653) = Isabel ___; Gerard (1614-1685) = Hannah Hills, = Rebecca Porter Clark. [Note that the pedigree continues with another generation from the children William, Thomas, and Gerard.]
-Richard (1580 Stotfold-1645)
-Gerard (ca 1543-1577) = Ellen Whysson. Children b. Biggleswade, Beds.: Richard, Agnes, Joan, a child (b. 1567).
-William (b. ca1545)
Chart II. The Near Relatives of Alice Whitbread who Married Gerard Spencer of Stotfold, Beds. - Parents of the Five Spencer Siblings who Came to New England about 1630.
-Thomas Whitbread (b. ca 1522)
-John (b. ca. 1548 Upper Gravenhurst, Beds. = Eleanor Radcliffe. Children all b. Upper Gravenhurst:
-William (ca1573-1640) = Elizabeth ___. Children b. Upper Gravenhurst: Henry (b. 1601) = Eliz. Farnell; William (1602-1602); John (1603-1621); Elizabeth (1605); Henry Whitbread; Thomas (b. 1607) = Joan Carter; Sibyl (b. 1610) = Caesar Lucas; William (b. 1612) = Joan Cooper. [Note that the author continues with another generation or two from children of this family.]
-Henry (b. ca 1576) = Elizabeth Leventhorpe. Children b. Cardington, Beds.: Henry (b. 1605) = Eliz. Whitbread; John (unm.); Elizabeth (b. 1607); Eleanor = Robt. Sheering; Mary; Ann = Samuel Baker; Frances.
-Alice = Gerard Spencer
-Francis (b. 1581)
-John (b. 1584) = Mary Newman. Children b. Elstow, Beds.: Eleanor 9b. 1616) = William Newman; William (1617-ca 1660) = Eliz. Peck; John (b. 1617 ? twin); Judith (b. 1619 = Wm. Edwards; Mary (b. 1622), and Thomas (b. 1624).
-Judith (b. 1591) = Richard Poulter
II. The Vital Records of the Early Generations in England
The Family of HenryH Spencer (ThomasI) of Badby, Northamptonshire, and ISABEL LINCOLN.
-JOHNG Spencer (HenryH) of Hodnall & Wormleighton, Northants.; b. ca 1376.
-Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon, Beds. (may have been the first at Eaton Socon); b. ca 1378. (Living in 1433).
The Family of ThomasG Spencer (HenryH ThomasI) of Eaton Socon.
-JOHNF Spencer of Begery; b. ca 1404.
-Robert Spencer of St. Albans (and Colmworth?); b. ca 1406; m ___ SMYTH of Bedford.
-Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon; b. ca 1408; m. JOAN. (There were no children).
The Family of RobertF Spencer (ThomasG, HenryH, ThomasI) of St. Albans (and Colmworth?) and ___ SMYTH.
-RobertE Spencer of South Mylls, Blunham, & Cople. (Line of Cople Spencers leading to the Virginia Spencers); b. ca 1432; m. Ann PECKE of Cople (d. 1523); d. 1521.
-JohnSpencer; b. ca 1434; d. (Living in 1490).
-Henry Spencer of Colmworth; b. ca 1436; d. (Living in 1490).
-Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon; (His children were John, Elizabeth, Andrew?. John sometimes believed to be the John of South Mylls); b. ca 1438; m. Margaret SMYTH (Probably of Wold or Ould, Northants); d. ca 1490.
The Family of JohnE Spencer (RobertF, ThomasG, HenryH, ThomasI) of South Mylls; b. ca 1434, living 1490.
-RobertD Spencer of South Mylls; (An executor of the Wills of Robert Spencer of Cople and John Spencer of Pavenham); b. ca 1460.
-JohnSpencer of South Mylls; (Known later as John of Kempston. An ancestor of the Five Spencer Siblings of Bedfordshire who came to New England about 1630); b. ca 1462; m. CHRISTIAN BAKER; d. ?
The Family of JOHND Spencer (JohnE, RobertF, ThomasG, HenryH, ThomasI) and CHRISTIAN BAKER; (gr gr grandfather of the Five Spencer Siblings of Bedfordshire)
-JohnC Spencer of Edworth; b. ca 1505; m. Ann Merrill (d. 1560); d. 1558.
The Family of JohnC Spencer of Edworth (JohnD, JohnE, RobertF, ThomasG, HenryH, ThomasI) and Ann Merrill.
-MichaelB Spencer of Edworth, Beds.; (The first of the Spencers at Stotfold, Beds); b. 1531 at Edworth; m. (1) Agnes Lorimer (Limer), 22 Jan 1555/56 at Edworth. Agnes bur. at Edworth, 23 Feb 1562; m. (2) Elizabeth ___ in 1563; Elizabeth bur. at Stotfold, 18 Nov 1599; d. after 1599. Probably bur. at Biggleswade, Beds.
-JohnB Spencer of Edworth; b. ca 1533 at Edworth; d. ca 1560.
-Gerard Spencer, b. ca 1543 at Biggleswade, Beds. (perhaps earlier); m. Ellen (Helen) Whyston (Whysson), 10 July 1568 at Edworth, Beds. Ellen was the dau. of Wm. and Elizabeth Whyston; d. ca 1576 at Biggleswade. Will dated 8 July 1576 and proved 20 May 1577.
-WilliamB Spencer of Edworth; b. ca 1545 at Edworth.
The Family of MichaelB Spencer (b. ca 1531) and Agnes Lorimer (d 1561/62 and Elizabeth ___; (The first three children were by Agnes Lorimer).
-JohnA Spencer (MichaelB, JohnC, JohnD, JohnE, RobertF, ThomasG, HenryH, ThomasI). (Holding states that JohnA may have settled at Baldock, Beds, where several of his children were baptized); bapt. 20 April 1557 at Edworth, Beds.
-MichaelA Spencer; bpt. 27 May 1558 at Edworth, Beds.; bur. 21 April l560 at Edworth.
-Anna Spencer; bapt.) 24 July 1560.
-Joan Spencer; bapt. 21 Aug 1564 at Edworth. AliceA Spencer; bapt.) 30 Aug 1566 at Edworth.
-Thomas Spencer; bapt. 12 Mar 1571 at Edworth; m. Margaret Spencer (?) who was bur. 19 Dec 1635 at Stotfold. (So identified by Jacobus. Holding identifies Margaret as the daughter of Thomas who married a Spencer); d. 1631.
-Katherine Spencer; b. 1573 at Stotfold, Beds. m. ___ Bland; d. Before 1645. (Katherine had daughters Sarah and Hannah Bland). It appears that Katherine was the first child baptized at Stotfold after the family had moved from Edworth. Some records indicate that GerardA was the first of the children born at Stotfold.
-Gerard Spencer (the father of the Five Spencer Siblings who came to New England about 1630); bapt. 20 May 1576 at Stotfold; m. Alice Whitbread of Upper Gravenhurst, Beds, on 10 Nov 1600. Alice was born at Meppershall, Beds, ca 1580 She died in May of 1646. She belonged to a family of considerable prominence. Gerard moved from Stotfold sometime before his children emigrated to New England. Possibly Gerard moved to London, but this is not confirmed; d. before 1646.
-RichardA Spencer; b. (bapt.) 9 July 1580 at Stotfold. m.?; Will dated 17 Mar 1645; codicil dated 29 May 1646; proved 6 June 1646.
Donald L. Jacobus made the following comments on the Family of MichaelB Spencer: "The division of Michael's children between the two wives is somewhat different from what might be inferred from the Rev. Mr. Holding's book because of the discovery of the burial of the first wife, Agnes, early in 1562. The name of the mother is not stated in the Edworth baptisms, but Elizabeth is stated as mother of the two children, GerardA and RichardA, who were baptized at Stotfold. We therefore assume that Elizabeth was the mother of the other children who were born after 1562 and before the birth of GerardA in 1576, though it remains possible that there was a second, unknown, wife between Agnes and Elizabeth.
Holding published the Will of GerardB Spencer (superscripts added by present authors):
"1576, July 8. Gerard[B] Spencer, Biggleswade, c. Bedford, yeoman. To be buried in the Church or Churchyeard of Biggleswade, afsd. To Richard[A] Spencer my son at 21. To Agnes[A] and JOHAN[A] Spencer, my daughters, and to the child of my wieff is now conceived with, &c., at 18. To Helen my wieff. To my goddaur JOANA my brother's daur. To my brother Michael[B] Spencer. To the poor of Biggleswade alsd. Helen my wife and brother Michael[B] Spencer to be executors."
John Holding comments on the family of GerardB Spencer at some length:
"GerardB Spencer married Ellen WHYSTON as appears in the Edworth register, on 30 July 1568. According to his mother's will he was 17 years of age in 1560, and apparently her youngest son, so that at the date of his death he would be only 34.
Some of the entries which appear in the St. Albans register may possibly suggest the origin of Gerard's name, Garret being only another form for Gerard or GARRARD. Names were often spelled as pronounced.
GerardB Spencer seems to have thriven in his undertakings, for he was able to bequeath L60 to his son and forty markes each of his daughters, which, at 13 shillings and four pence each, would be L53 6s. 8d. for the two; so that his personal estate would amount to something hike L135, which is equal to about L1,500 of our present money, not counting his "substance and gooddes for the most part in other men's handes, as ..."
There are a number of entries in the Edworth register of the WHISTON family, and one alone shows the class to which they belonged; for we find the burial of "Edward, servant of JohnWHISTON, buried August 23, 1586". A Michael WHISTON was married to Alice WALLIS of Langford, 30 October, 1566, at Edworth; and there is the burial of Elizabeth, wife of William WHISTON, recorded on 29 April, 1560, who were doubtless the parents of Gerard's wife. The name of WARREN SQUIER occurs frequently in the register from 1555-1560.
The Family of JohnA Spencer(b. 1557) and wife ___? ?:
-Daniel Spencer (JohnA, MichaelB, JohnC...). Daniel was the chief heir of his Uncle, RichardA Spencer. Daniel was a London grocer; b. at Baldock, Beds.; m. Sarah AUDLEY of Hitchin, Herts, 28 Dec 1626; d. ca 1668 (Will proved).
-Francis Spencer. (The Wills of Daniel and Francis can be found in "Genealogical Gleanings in England" by H.F. Waters. See Vol. 1 (NEHGS), p. 627 and Vol. I I, pp. 913-914); b. at Baldock, Beds.; m. Margaret (MarLER) RobertS; d. 1638 at London.
-ELlZABETH Spencer; b. 1586 at Baldock, Beds.
-ANNE Spencer; b. ca 1590 at Baldock, Beds.
The Family of ThomasA Spencer (1571-1631) and Margaret Spencer (?).
-ANTHONY Spencer; m. Katherine HillS at Stotfold, 7 Feb 1632/3.
-Gerard Spencer; b. (bapt.) 20 Sept 1601 at Stotfold; m. Joan HillS on 4 Aug 1628 at Stotfold. Joan was bur. at Stotfold on 12 Aug 1649. (Four Children).
-Thomas Spencer (Received lands near St. Albans, Herts, under a bequest from his uncle, RichardA Spencer). RichardA1 Spencer (He was named in the Will of his uncle, RichardA, but he does not appear in the detailed abstract given by Henry Waters; hence, the existence of such a son in the family of ThomasA remains to be verified).
-Margaret Spencer (Named as deceased in the will of her uncle, RichardA Spencer in 1646. Her two children were not mentioned in the Will); m. SIMON Spencer on 22 Nov 1629.
The Family of GerardA Spencer (b. 1576-d. before 1646) and Alice Whitbread (1580-1646) of Upper Gravenhurst, Beds.
-William1 Spencer (GerardA, MichaelB, JohnC...). (The oldest of the Four Brothers who came to New England about 1630); bapt. 11 Oct 1601 at Stotfold, Beds.; m. Agnes HARRIS, 1633, Stotfold, Beds. Witn.: Agnes Pratt. (IGI A034); d. 1640 at Hartford, CT.
-Elizabeth1 Spencer (Also an emigrant to New England, perhaps a year prior to her four sibling brothers); bapt. 31 Oct 1602 at Stotfold, Beds.; m. Timothy TOMLIN (Timothy and Elizabeth were first at Salem, then first settlers at Lynn, MA).
-Henry Spencer; bapt. 11 Aug 1605 at Stotfold, Beds.; bur. 20 Oct 1607.
-Thomas1 Spencer (Second oldest of the Four Brothers); bapt. 29 Mar 1607 at Stotfold, Beds.; m. (1) Ann Derifeild (Derifall), Ann b. ca 1610; m. (2) Sarah Bearding (BARDING) at Hartford, CT, 11 Sept 1645. Sarah d. before 1674; d. 11 Sept 1687 at Hartford, CT.
-Richard Spencer; bapt. 11 Dec 1608; bur. 6 May 1614.
-Michael1 Spencer (Third oldest of the Four Brothers); bapt. 5 May 1611 at Stotfold, Beds.; m. ISABEL ___; d. 1653 at Lynn, MA.
-Gerard1 Spencer (Youngest of The Four Brothers); bapt. 25 April 1614 at Stotfold, Beds.; m. (1) Hannah HillS (Hannah d. before Gerard made his Will in 1683 and perhaps much earlier); m. (2) Rebecca (Porter) Clark after 1677. She was the dau. of John and Anne (White) Porter of Windsor; d. 1685 at Haddam, CT.
In connection with the emigration to New England by the children of GerardA Spencer and Alice Whitbread Spencer there has been some speculation as to whether the oldest of the children (William, Elizabeth, Thomas) might have developed some connection with the Puritan leaders in nearby county Essex prior to their departure from England. There have been many statements in the historical literature that William1 Spencer had close ties with the Rev. Thomas Hooker who was active at Chelmsford and Little Baddow in co. Essex. Hooker's followers became known as "The Braintree Company" when they set out for New England in the spring of 1632 (although Hooker himself did not leave England until 1633).
The authors of the present article sponsored a study in 1993 in the Braintree area and adjacent towns of Essex county hoping to find some trace of the family of Gerard and Alice Spencer, or at least of their oldest son, William. The study was done by a competent historian, Adam Smith, and proved entirely negative. In addition, we know that William Spencer was not a member of the Braintree Company because he was in New England at least one year before the Hooker group arrived at Wollaston (Quincy), Massachusetts, in the summer of 1532.
If William1 Spencer was an early follower of the Rev. Hooker in England, it does not seem to be borne out by any historical evidence or by the chronological events of that period.
III. HOW The FOUR Spencer BROTHERS of Bedfordshire WERE FIRST IDENTIFIED IN The HISTORICAL LITERATURE.
Much credit must be given to Henry F. Waters for his first identification of the Four Spencer Brothers in the English records. It was a result of reading the Will of RichardA Spencer as follows... [I do not transcribe since it is only a transcript of the will which I already have from a different source.]
IV. Records PUBLISHED byVICAR JohnHOldING IN 1903 and Donald L. Jacobus IN The 1950s.
In his writings of the early 1950s on the Spencers of Bedfordshire, the Dean of American genealogists, Donald L. Jacobus, published the first comprehensive history of the descendants of the Four Spencer brothers as well as their immediate ancestors in England. It was a landmark in genealogy which has scarcely been equalled to this day. A half century before Jacobus, the first great landmark had been written by Vicar John Holding of Stotfold, Bedfordshire. Jacobus naturally leaned heavily on Holding's material and made the following comments:
In 1903 the Rev. John Holding, M.A., then Vicar of Stotfold, Co. Bedford, England published "The Spencers of Bedfordshire". Despite a lack of formal arrangement, the book is a mine of information. The most prominent family of the Spencer name in Bedfordshire had their seat at Cople in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a good account is given of this family, tracing it back to one Thomas Spencer who was living at Eton, Buckinghamshire, in 1433. (Jacobus erroneously quotes Holding at this point because the earlier writer had identified the location as "Geton" or "Eton" which referred to Eaton Socon in Beds and not "Eton" in Bucks). Several other groups of Spencers in various parishes and towns are included, but their connection, if any, with the Spencers of Cople does not appear. Herein, so far as we know, the ancestry of William, Thomas, Michael and Gerard Spencer (The Four Brothers) is for the first time set forth, though some years earlier the noted antiquary, Henry F. Waters, had found mention of the Four Brothers in the Will of their London uncle, RichardA Spencer, and had published this in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and in 1901 included it in his "Genealogical Gleanings in England".
In addition to the focus at Cople, Holding describes other branches at Eaton Socon, Blunham, and South Mylls (adjacent to Blunham), all located in Bedfordshire. Many of the interconnections between the branches may have been lost due to the destruction of many old families in the War of the Roses (1455-1485) between the houses of Lancaster and York. Also, as happens in modern times, the surname of the original family disappears when the hereditary line is maintained only through the daughters of the family. This happened to the Spencers of Blunham (South Mylls) when the original property passed over to the GILMAN family. A further complicating factor was the inclination of the eldest son in the family to show interest only in his own line of descent and to disregard that of other branches of the family.
Holding noted that most English parish registers are good only back to about 1538. He found the Edworth and Stotfold registers in Bedfordshire to be quite clear from the middle of the 16th century onwards for at least another century.
Holding further states:
"There have always been two large farms in Edworth comprising really the whole land in the parish with the exception of about eight acres attached, as glebe-land, to the Rectory, giving the total area of about 1,122 acres; so that the Spencers' farm would be over six hundred acres in extent, a very large farm even in the present day, and giving employment to half the laboring poor in the place. The population at the last census in 1901 was only 86. The Hall where the Spencers resided is still standing, although much modernized and is occupied at this day by a gentlemen named SMYTH, who holds a very good and respectable position in the county, and what is interesting to note is able to show his armorial bearings and to be styled "gentleman", although technically but a yeoman, farming his own land (Authors' notes: It is quite remarkable that a "SMYTH" family appears at this point because the surname appears associated with the Spencer lineage far back into the 1400s).
Edworth is a parish on the borders of Hertfordshire, and is situate half way between Baldock and Biggleswade, and about two miles from Stotfold. The Roman way (now called the "Old North Road") passes a little to the west of the village. The church is a small edifice of stone, built about A.D. 1250, and capable of seating 120 persons. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south transepts, north and south porches, and an embattled western tower containing three bells. There are two ancient and stained-glass windows in good preservation, and in the chancel a memorial window to members of the SMYTH family."
Holding cites a marriage between RobertUS PARRYS of Ellington and Elizabeth Spencer, daughter of Thomas Spencer of "Copool", but no date is given.
"With these indisputable facts before us, we think we may safely conclude that JohnC Spencer, who died at Edworth in 1558, must have been known to all or most of them, and that it may have been from a member of the Parrys family that he obtained the lease of his farm at Edworth. The lease of the Edworth farm would expire about 1575, which would make it one of twenty-one years.
We find ANNE Spencer in her will conveying her interest in the lease to Michael[B] Spencer her eldest son, who must have remained there as long as the lease was in force; and then, if not further confirmed or continued in the tenancy, he must have removed elsewhere. The latter event took place, for we find him at Stotfold in 1576, where the first evidence of his appearance there is the record in the register of this parish of the baptism of GerardA Spencer, son of MichaelB Spencer and Elizabeth his wife, 20 May 1576. We place the lease at twenty-one years for reasons which will appear shortly.
In closing our investigation we will gather together and summarize our facts. As early as 1555 we find a person named JohnC Spencer living at Edworth in Bedfordshire; he is proved to be the ancestor of Gerard1 Spencer who migrated from Bedfordshire to New England about the year 1638. This JohnC Spencer had the leasehold of an extensive farm, of which the terms of tenancy expired about the year 1575, being apparently one of the usual tenure of twenty-one years. He died in 1558, and from the contents of his widow's will he appears to have been of considerable substance; and although ranking as a yeoman and tenant farmer, was apparently connected with some of the best and most distinguished families in his neighborhood. There is every indication that previous to his advent at Edworth he had resided at St. Albans, where he was held in such high estimation as to be chosen one of the first chief burgesses of that town, and as such named in the Royal Charter granted to it by King Edward VI in 1553. For some reason his name suddenly disappears from the roll of chief burgesses and his place is filled by another, according to the provisions of the charter that "if any chief burgess shall die or live out of the borough, or be removed from his office, the mayor and chief burgesses shall within eight days after such death or removal choose one or more of the inhabitants to be the chief burgess for their lives". JohnC Spencer was not removed from his office nor did he die at that time, for the register of burials at St. Albans has been strictly searched, and no entry can be found there of his burial; hence we conclude that he removed himself elsewhere.
There also is the strongest collateral evidence that he left a son William behind him in St. Albans, who settled there, and in time also became one of the chief burgesses, and afterwards mayor of the borough.
We also have every reason to believe that this son, for some reason or other, travelled to his brother's home at Edworth, where he had a child baptized in 1565.
A grandson of this JohnC Spencer is proved to have possessed an estate in St. Albans, and is styled "Gent." in his Will; another grandson also, at his burial, is entered in the register as "gen" or "gentleman", both of these men had become citizens of London."
(Authors' Note: It seems quite clear from the above description by John Holding that he had mixed the two JohnSpencers of the same generation. It seems certain that Holding was speaking of the JohnSpencer who had married Ethelrede Baker. The reader is referred to the Holdings-Phillipps master chart showing the relationships between the families of the two JohnSpencers. The John Spencer who was the grandfather of the Four Brothers had married Ann Merrill and his father was married to CHRISTIAN BAKER.. As we have mentioned earlier, nearly all later genealogists were confused about these two main descending lines).
We shall close the material presented by Vicar John Holding and now turn to the important study conducted by Donald L. Jacobus in the 1950s and published in The American Genealogist (TAG). Jacobus commented on JohnC Spencer as follows:
"JohnC Spencer was called "senior" at burial. The recorder in entering the burial of Ann Spencer, widow, paid her respect by the following tribute: "the good hospitality keeper, and she did give to the towneship in the towne for iii s. a cow & the parson and churchwarden to have the letting of them and the distributing of the money to the poore and to se the stock maintained etch of them to have iiii d. of the vi s. for ther paynes to se this truly done according to her last will".
Her will, dated 13 June 1560, proved 21 April 1561, calls her widow, in Edworth, Beds., and names her son Gerard (aged 17); son Michael, to have the chest that was his brother JOHN's; JOHN's son Michael's Child, to have L20; ELISABETH LYMER, to have L4 at marriage; Alice AYSTEIN to have a calf; servants; for the mending of "London Brygge waye" 10 s; brother Edward's children, to have the L1 that he borrowed of her, and the barley he gave her sons to his children; Nicholas MERRYLL and JohnMERRYLL his brother, to have the barley their father gave her sons; and the poor of Edworth, to have the gift already mentioned. Michael Spencer was a witness.
From the Will of Ann (Merrill) Spencer we gain the impression that our Spencer family at that period was of the yeoman class, and somewhat better off than the average village family of the time and place. (Webster defines "yeoman" as "a man of the commonality of the first or most respectable class; a freeholder; a man free born"). Whether they were in origin a younger branch of an older gentry family, or a more humble clan which by industry and good fortune had improved its lot, we are not in a position to affirm. It would be necessary to prove the parentage and more remote ancestry of JohnC Spencer, Sr. by documentary evidence, before claiming any specific connection with any other Spencer family in England. From the terms of the Will, it would seem that Anne's brother was Edward MERRYLL or Merrill, and that this her maiden name. A search of Merrill wills might confirm this conjecture." ...
COLLIER, ZENA. Unpublished Research Notes from Bedford, England, 1989-1995. 270 pp.
HOldING, JOHN. "The Spencers of Bedfordshire, England". 60 pp. 1901.
Jacobus, Donald Lines. "The Spencer Ancestry in England". The American Genealogist (TAG). Beginning with Vol. 27, No. 106, April 1951. Vol. 27-30. 1951-1954. 96 pp.
INTERNATIONAL GENEALOGICAL INDEX. Church of the Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City. Microfiche. 1990 Version.
KIMBALL, James LEROY, DR. Unpublished Ordinance Sheets, Prepared by the LDS at Salt Lake City, 1963, for Virgil Spencer.
Palmer, ALAN. "Kings and Queens of England". Crescent Books, 157 pp. 1979.
Spencer, Jack T., Edith W. Spencer, Virgil Spencer. "A Comparative Analysis of Genealogical Records For Ancestors of the Four Spencer Brothers in England". Le DeSpencer, pp. 66-74, Vol. 17, 1993.
Spencer, Jack T. & Edith W. Spencer. "The Five Spencer Siblings of Bedfordshire, the Role of the Braintree Company and the Beginnings of Cambridge, Mass.". Le DeSpencer, pp. 100-111, Vol. 17, 1993.
Spencer, Jack T. & Edith W. Spencer. Why and how Did the Spencer Siblings Come to America". le Despencer, Vol. 18, pp. 83-96, Vol. 18, 1994.
Spencer, KAREN L., LIBBI CROWE, FRANCES POWELL. Trip Reports to England, 1989. Parts published in the le DeSpencer Journal. 1989.
WATERS, Henry F. "Genealogical Gleanings in England". Two Vol. 1,760 pp. New Eng. Hist. Gen. Soc. Boston, 1901."
- John Spencer b: AFT 1500 in of, Bedfordshire, England