By Graham P. Steer

Del. J. F. Wadmore, Esq.,  from pencil sketch by E. Bigg, Esq.

NOTE: This estate consisted of 140 acres and was once called "Old Court".
In 1681, it was purchased by our ancestor, William Hendon, who was the
grandfather of Richard and Josias Hendon.


This brief history is dedicated to the Memory of


of Barrow Gurney, Somerset, England
and their emigrant sons


who took their family to America



Although William Hendon of King & Queen County in Virginia began his life in Somerset in 1676, the son of a local gentleman farmer, his parents were in fact from the opposite sides of England. William's mother, Dinah Counsell, was born in 1643 at Barrow Gurney, Somerset, in the south-west of the country, while his father, William Henden, was born in 1640 at Hothfield near Ashford in the south-east of the country. Both families were of good yeoman stock, with excellent family connections. The Counsells were landowners who sent their sons to Oxford University, whilst the Hendens were clothiers and wool merchants who favoured Cambridge University for their sons.

  The Hendens had the added distinction of being courtiers to four monarchs: Queen Elizabeth Ist (1558-1603), King James I (1603-25), King Charles 1(1625-49), and King Charles II (1660-85). Three generations of Hendens were knighted for royal service, and the family lived in some style at a forty roommansion called The Place House at Biddenden, purchased in 1616 by Sir Edward Henden who was Baron of the Exchequer.

  Other branches of the family, descended from Sir Edward's uncle William Henden, (died 1580) Yeoman of Tenterden, who tanned at Tenterden, Rolvenden and the Isle of Oxney, and it is from these people that most of the English and American Hendens trace their lines. William's eldest surviving son Symon Henden (1567-1630) was the great-grandfather of William Hendon of King & Queen County, Virginia, while his second son John Henden (1572-1610) was the ancestor of the Hendens of Dartford (ancestors of the author of this family history). An accompanying genealogical table explains this in more detail.




According to the Calendar of Kent Feet of Fines dated 21 September 1227, Adam de Hendenne of the parish of Woodchurch in Kent, was the proprietor of 15 acres of land in a part of the parish called 'Hendenne'. A generation later, in a document dated 3 November 1260, Augustine de Hendene and his wife Coditha were farming 18 acres of land at Tenterden. By the 15'" century the Hendens were at Ashford and Canterbury, and individuals were making their marks: a Thomas Henden is recorded at Oxford University in February 1455, whilst a Nicholas Henden entered the Benedictine monastery of Westminster Abbey in 1510. On the Kentish Weald the Hendens had bought up property vacated by the Black Death, as the plague was known. The prudent acquisition of land and sheep meant that they became one of the richest local families of clothiers, working the wool in the cloth halls of Kent to sell atthe London markets. By the 1530s the family who were our ancestors, were established at Benenden.

Our ancestor William Henden (born circa 1535) left Benenden to marry Marie Stace of Tenterden in 1561. Tenterden was the Stace stamping ground where there was a prosperous market, and so William and Marie stayed there, set up in business, and brought up five children there. A sixth child was born in 1580 just before William's death. Symon, born 1567, and brothers John, born 1572, and William, born 1574, all farmed the Henden lands inherited from their father, but as the next generation increased, there were fewer lands to divide amongst the sons and therefore individuals went off to make their own fortunes elsewhere.

The following is a more detailed account of what I have been able to discover about the Hendens who left Tenterden for Hothfield, who became ancestors of the American branch.



In the 17th century the village of Hothfield in Kent was a rural parish to the north east of Ashford, a typical country place with cottages, ancient parish church and a large mansion which was the seat of the Tufton family. Sir John Tufton, who was made a baronet in 1611 by King James I, was acquainted withour relative Sir Edward Henden through their mutual interest in The Virginia Company of London.

There is no doubt that the Tuftons and the Hendens at that time, with their entrepreneurial spirits, were excited by the possibility of new colonies and new riches in the Americas. The Virginia Company of London was chartered by the King in 1606 for the purpose of trading and making settlement in the British-held territories of North America. Sir John Tufton was one of the principal shareholders, and amongst the others was Sir Edward Henden. Both men attended the Court of King James I, and Sir Edward practised law in the Courts of Common Pleas with Sir Humphrey Browne who was father of Tufton's wife. The two families were indeed well acquainted.

It seems likely that, through the friendship of Sir Edward Henden and the Tuftons of Hothfield, Sir Edward's kinsman William Henden (ancestor of the American Hendons) was appointed steward in the household of Sir John Tufton`s son and successor Nicholas Tufton, created Ist Earl of Thanet by King
Charles I in 1628. We know that William Henden came to Hothfield sometime following his second marriage to Mary Covert in about 1637, and that he had two children baptised at Hothfield Church, Ann in 1638 and William (the ancestor of the American line) in 1640. A daughter Elizabeth was also buried inHothfield churchyard, having died in infancy. The parish registers describe William as "steward" but the only likely estate at Hothfield was the local mansion house called Hothfield Place. In those days a steward was the manager of the domestic concerns of a large household with servants, or the manager of a wealthy noble or gentleman's landed estate. Records have not yet revealed the nature of William Henden's stewardship.

The house at Hothfield is no longer standing, but in its day it was grand enough to entertain Queen Elizabeth I and was set in rolling acres of farmland. As the Tuftons did better for themselves and were away more and more at Court, the Hothfield estates would have been left largely in the charge of
William Henden.


              THE CIVIL WAR BEGINS
In the early 1640s trouble was brewing between the King and Parliament, and it was clear that while the Tuftons and their retainers were for the King's party, most of the people in the surrounding area of Kent were for Parliament. Even Sir Edward Henden was having difficulties with Parliament in his capacity as Baron of the Exchequer. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, the Tuftons and the Hendens were living in hostile territory and were under suspicion.

In August 1642 Colonels Sandys and Livesey and their forces of 2,300 troops secured Kent for Parliament in the face of almost no resistance. However, there was rebellion at Hothfield Place. The house was besieged and ransacked by the Roundheads and the Tuftons and their retainers fled temporarily. Later Lord Thanet was condemned by Parliament for his part in the Kentish uprising, and the parliamentary sequestrators (appointed to seize the properties of landowners with a fine for assisting the King) ordered Lord Thanet to pay 9,000 pounds for his part in the attempted rebellion, an enormous sum of money in those days now reckoned to be millions of pounds.

On the Ist of June 1648 a major engagement against Parliament took place at Maidstone, the town where William Henden's parents-in-law had lived and where his son John (by his first marriage to Mary Owen) was at school. Lord Fairfax, for Parliament, approached Maidstone from the villages of Farleigh and Loose, arriving in the evening at 7 pm with a force of about 8,000 volunteers, headed by men recently released from prison. The Royalists, headed by the Earl of Norwich, had between seven and eight thousand supporters who barricaded the streets and sent out units against Lord Fairfax. There was fierce fighting in the streets and it is believed that William Henden may have taken part. Three hundred royalist rebels were killed and one thousand taken prisoner. When the uprising looked doomed, many royalists fled to Rochester and surrendered to the army. William Henden seems to have returned to Hothfield Place. The Royalist cause was utterly lost when, in 1649, the King was executed in London and the country proclaimed a republic. Not many months later, in early 1650, William Henden died too, and one wonders if his death was caused by injuries received in the king's cause.



By 1650 Sir Edward Henden was also dead, and in his place at The Place House, Biddenden, resided Sir John Henden, his nephew, another staunch royalist. The republican government prevented Sir John from taking his full inheritance, possibly because it was known that two of his sons, Edward and John, were attending the Prince of Wales in the Low Countries, where he had fled following his father's execution. Sir John seems to have had property in Maidstone, inherited from Sir Edward, which he kindly made available to Mary Henden, widow of William Henden of Hothfield, raising suspicions that Mary'shusband might have been actively involved in the royalist cause.

Under the new Commonwealth regulations of 1653, the system of recording baptisms, marriages and burials was changed, and until the restoration of the Prince of Wales, as King Charles II, in 1660 none were recorded at Maidstone. It is therefore difficult to know exactly what happened to widow Mary and her family in that period. We do know that her stepson John Henden qualified and practiced as an apothecary, and that he lived in property in the High Street in Maidstone which belonged to Sir John Henden. It is likely that the rest of the family lived upstairs, the custom of the time. John died young in his early thirties in late 1659, leaving the "lands and tenements in Tenterden and Ebony in the Isle of Oxney in the County of Kent" to his only surviving brother, William. He mentioned in his Will, dated 20th September 1659, a married sister, Mary, wife of Robert Blanchard, and Ann, who was unmarried. What happened to these sisters is not known, and they seem to have disappeared from the records. It has evenbeen suggested that, following the restoration of the monarchy in Britain in 1660, these sisters might have been amongst the first settlers who left for Virginia, thereby paving the way for their brother's migration in later years. Alternatively, they might have settled in the west country and have been the cause of theirbrother William's occasional visits there and his meeting Dinah Counsell, whom he later married.



William Henden, who inherited his brother's fortune and property at the age of 19, came into his inheritance at 21 years in accordance with the law in 1661. He seems to have continued to live at Maidstone, but whether he farmed or simply lived off the income he received from his lands, is not known. At some stage before he was 29 years old, he found himself in Somerset, where he became acquainted with the Rector of Marksbury and his family. In 1669 he married the Rector's only daughter, Dinah, who was 26 years old. His father-in-law performed the service and afterwards the young couple lived at Marksbury, possibly at the rectory with Dinah's ailing mother and aged father. From the time of his marriage he became a Somerset gentleman, probably in charge of farming his father-in-law's glebe lands (property which came with the position of rector or vicar) in and around the village of Marksbury.



  Dinah Henden was one of the twin daughters of William and Jane Counsell, born in 1643 at Barrow Gurney. Nothing further has been discovered about her sister Hester, but it is likely she died in infancy, especially as she was a twin. Dinah had at least two older brothers, William Counsell and Solomon Counsell, but sadly, Solomon died as a teenager, deeply lamented by his family and is commemorated in Marksbury Church on the Counsell memorial. A third brother is believed to have been John Counsell who went to live at Haverford West in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where he was a teacher at the Grammar School.

  No marriage has been found for Dinah's parents in Somerset, but a Deed referring to property in neighbouring Gloucestershire belonging to Dinah and her brother William, suggests that this came to them via their mother, who may have been born there.All we know about Dinah' s mother is that her name was Jane.

  Dinah`s father, William Counsell of Marksbury, is much better documented. He came from a prosperous land-owning family at Barrow Gurney, which had settled there in the time of Queen Elizabeth Ist. Records show that William was baptised there in 1610, his cousin John Counsell in 1612, and that both boys studied at the same time at Oxford University (at Cloucester Hall, now renamed Worcester College). William probably intended himself for the church, cousin John went on to study medicine and became a doctor. William was not ordained but probably managed his family's land at Barrow Gurney. Being classically educated, he may have tutored the sons of local gentry. By the time he was in his thirties, he was a respectable gentleman with a wife and family.

  With the defeat of the King, his execution and the coming of the Commonwealth, the religious life of the country changed enormously. Priests were dismissed from their parishes if they did not support the Presbyterian doctrines favoured by the new regime, and in their place men of good standing were elected by the parish to act as "registers" of births, marriages and deaths, rather than baptisms, marriages and burials. The religious element was taken out and these acts were regarded as civil records only. Holy Communion was abolished, marriage in front of the church altar and baptism were no longer permitted. At a burial there were no prayers. Christmas Day and religious holidays were abolished, many taverns, theatres and places of entertainment were closed. People were expected to live sober, blameless lives, wearing modest clothes of black and white.

  At Marksbury, where William Counsell had gone to live with his family, the local community elected him "clerk" as he espoused Presbyterian views. When the Commonwealth ended and the King and Church of England were restored, William Counsell was sustained as Rector of Marksbury, having madehimself agreeable to the new regime. One wonders what his real views on religion were!



   In the first years of their marriage, Dinah and William Henden produced children, Jane (1670) and Solomon (1671), both baptised by their grandfather who entered the details in his parish register. Infant Jane sadly died shortly afterwards, but Solomon grew and prospered, was sent away to Haverford
Grammar School in Wales. We now know that a John Counsell, probably Dinah's brother, married in 1677 at Haverford West, and it seems likely that he was the justification for young Solomon being sent so far away for his education. Otherwise the heir to the Counsell's Barrow Gurney estates would have beeneducated at one of the local Somerset Grammar Schools or sent to school in Bristol. We know from Solomon's Will made in the 1730s that he had cousins, the Jones family, in Pembrokeshire, and it seems likely that they were descended from his maternal uncle John Counsell .

    Dinah's parents both died, and after the Rector's death in 1674 (commemorated in the church at Marksbury) the Hendens stayed on at Marksbury, having two more sons: William (1676) and John (1679). William (1676) was the ancestor of the American Hendons.

  We know nothing of William and John's education, but they may have been tutored by local clergymen or even sent to Bristol. As second and third sons respectively, they were not expected to inherit much from their parents (the eldest son traditionally inherited the whole estate), and so they had to prepare themselves to make their own ways in life. They may have expected to train in the law, join the navy or become merchants of some kind. Bristol, which could be seen from the hilltops at Barrow Gurney, was a bustling thriving port which I offered many possibilities.

   In 1681, when young William was six and John just two, the family moved to Barrow Gurney. Their father purchased an old manor house there called "Old Court" and 140 acres of land from Cornelius Hasell. In 1689 when Solomon Henden went up to Cambridge University, his father William was described as bailiff, which implies that he was acting as a land-steward for local gentry (his father had occupied a similar position at Hothfield House in Kent).Whether or not "Old Court" was still in his possession by 1689 is unclear. However, it is possible that William both acted as a land-steward and cultivated his own farmlands at Barrow Gurney. The house which he purchased from Hassell was a medieval manor house and it was there that the Henden boys grew up. On Sundays they attended church and passed the large tomb of their Counsell ancestors by the yew tree in the churchyard. When young William was nine, his elderly relative Alice Counsell died and was buried there. Being alone in the world (her husband Josias Counsell had died in 1669), Alice may have lived with the Hendens at their spaciousmansion. Perhaps Josias Counsell had been some kind of hero in the Civil War, or a favourite uncle whose portrait hung in the mansion. But he was obviously spoken about, enough to impress the young William who, when he had children of his own, decided to name his son Josias after him.

  The Counsell tomb contained four or five generations of the family. The founder, who had come to Barrow Gurney, was a Richard Counsell, and there i-tad been other Richards after him. Dinah Henden was proud of her lineage and, as was the custom, taught her children about the family's past. Her sons grew up knowing much about their ancestry, and so it is not surprising that when the time came, William Hendon of King and Queen County, Virginia, also named his eldest son Richard after his Counsell ancestor.

 St. Peter's Church Marksbury

Inscription on memorial tablet to Revd. William Counsell, M.A. Rector of Marksbury 1662-1674, who died April 25 1674 aged 64. His wife, Jane, who died
March 18 1664 aged 57
And their son, Solomon,, who died July 28 1668 aged 17
     Buried at Marksbury, near Bath Somerset U.K.

The memorial tablet set in the north wall of the chancel on the edge of
the sanctuary, inside St. Peter's Church reads:
                      In Memoriam Guiliemi Counsell Clerici Artium Magistri Atatis 64
    huisque parochiae Rectoris qui occubuit April 25 Anno Domini 1674
                 Itidem Jauae uxoris etus dilectissimae quace hine Anno Atatis 57
    migrauit Marty 18 Anno Domini 1664
                  pariter  Salomonis fily eonrm ultimo geniti qui  Anno Atatis 17
    expiravit spiritum July 28 Anno Domini 1668



  When the Henden boys Solomon, William and John were growing up in the 1680s, the large-scale commercial cultivation of tobacco in the plantations of Virginia and Maryland were making many men rich. In the following ten years the port of Bristol saw thousands of emigrations and the exploitation of two-way trade from the colonies. Private enterprise provided the colonies with indented labourers. Those who could not afford to pay for a passage entered into a contract with the master of a ship by which, in return for being carried across the Atlantic, they allowed themselves to be sold for a term of years after their arrival. Doubtless many of these white "servants" did well after they had earned their liberty and many are known to have been well-treated while they were still bound to their employers.

  The Henden boys were, however, not in this class. They were the sons of local gentry, probably able to buy their passage and even set up a small business or purchase a small plantation. Just as in England, in the colonies too possession of land determined your position in society. Beneath the landed aristocracy of the colonies, which corresponded to the English gentry, were yeomen, tenants, artisans and servants.

  In 1696 a Board of Trade and Plantations was established in London to promote emigration and trade with Virginia. Although an attractive proposition for the ambitious migrant, the conditions of life and the hardships which the colonists suffered there, made American life radically unlike life in England. In addition, there was a sense of isolation with the great empty distances between settlements, and fear of violence on isolated farms and villages. Yet many thought it a worth while venture, to escape the European wars which had been raging for twenty years, and to be part of a new community.

  In 1696 William Henden junior was a young man of twenty, his brother John just seventeen. They may have seized their chances and taken a voyage to see what they could make of themselves in Virginia, as many young men did, embarking from the port of Bristol. Although no records of their crossing or arrival have been found, this is not unusual, for some records in the colonies were later destroyed in a fire, while the British did not always survive. However, there might be another reason why the boys went unrecorded, and it had to do with their friend Nicholas Rogers.



A certain Nicholas Rogers is recorded in the registers of Wraxall (the parish next to Barrow Gurney, where the Henden boys lived) as marrying a Gartred Jennings in 1698. He is thought to have been a Hampshire man, born around 1674, the son of William and Eleanor Rogers who were married at Northwood. After his mother's death and father's remarriage, Nicholas later went to live in Portsmouth and Christchurch, both places where there were large numbers of boats, and it seems likely that he engaged in mercantile sailing between Portsmouth and Bristol, perhaps even owning or being captain of his own boat. There in Bristol he met and married Gartred Jennings, and decided to make his fortune by going to the colonies. Possibly in Bristol Rogers met the two Henden brothers who were his contemporaries, and they may even have gone into some kind of business together. Sadly, all this is mere conjecture as any kind of documentary evidence is almost impossible to come by, however the pattern of events is not unusual.

Rogers may have taken one or both of the Hendens to the colonies, most likely William who in the first few months after his arrival married a young woman known to us through the records as Mary. William and Mary soon became parents. There in Virginia, the first American Hendons were born: Richard, incirca 1698 ,named after his Counsell ancestor at Barrow Gurney, and Josias, in circa 1700, named after Uncle Josias Counsell.

Meanwhile in England the war with France had ceased and the temporary lull was a good moment for would-be migrants to leave and take advantage of the new prosperity in north America. Sometime between 1700 and 1702 Dinah and William Henden decided to Leave Barrow Gurney and join their sons in the colonies. The next part of the story is clouded in mystery and many family legends have grown up as to what really happened.



After graduating from Cambridge University and being ordained a priest in the Church of England, Solomon Henden, Dinah and William's eldest son was appointed vicar of Llanhaden in Pembrokeshire in 1694, and remained there until his death in 1745. He was apparently unmarried. He had money and property in Wales which had probably come from the sale of the estate at Barrow Gurney, but he forgot his roots there. Nor were his particulars inscribed on the family memorial tablet in the little church at Marksbury where his grandfather had been Rector.

What happened to the Hendens at Barrow Gurney after 1700 is a mystery. They disappeared from the records, and being gentry they should have been recorded somewhere. Even more mysteriously, Dinah and William Henden, their sons William and John, and Dinah' s brother William Counsell also disappeared. Several theories have been put forward, including some kind of disaster at sea when the family was crossing the Atlantic to the American colonies, and this is quite feasible.Was the family lost? Did Dinah`s brother perish too, for her nephew, John Counsell of Bath, sold the family estates at Barrow Gurney in 1703 on his 21st birthday, presumably just after coming into his inheritance. No burial for his father has been found. Just as these tragic events took place, William Hendon appeared at King and Queen County in Virginia in 1704 when he was listed as being the proprietor of a small plantation of 70 acres. He was the survivor of the Barrow Gumey Hendens, and was probably waiting for his family to join him in the prosperous plantations of Virginia. But what really happened to them?

Could it be that they were on their way to Virginia but they perished because they were elderly? Were they shipwrecked? Did they ever make it to King and Queen County? We cannot know for certain. If they arrived in Virginia, their fortune from England would have bought more than a 70 acre plantation. Sofar, there is little evidence except the absence of what should have been.

There have been several legends told about the fate of the Hendens, including the following two which bear scrutiny: that three Henden brothers started to America in three different ships - one ship was wrecked off the coast of Ireland and the brother returned to England, while the other two made it to America. A second legend has it that two brothers, Josias and Richard, who were related to Sir John Henden of Biddenden in Kent, fled to America to avoid service in the Navy after their uncle was killed
in the service. At least two other stories passed down by word of mouth register a family connection with an aristocrat and boats which passed or sailed from Ireland.

What seems to have happened is that very soon after William Hendon (the spelling changed in America) registered his 70 acres of Plantation, he died leaving a wife and two young children. The boys would have had little memory of their father but they may have heard stories of an aristocrat (Sir John Henden or Sir Edward Henden) and an English Lord (the Earl of Thanet at Hothfield), and possibly mixed up the details. As it turned out, they were indeed related to Sir John and Sir Edward Henden, and as their father had lived near Bristol, his boat had probably left for America from there, sailing past the southern coast of Ireland. The fact of three brothers is intriguing, as Dinah and William had three sons: Solomon, William and John. Solomon, as we know, studied at Cambridge and became vicar of Llanhaden in Wales. Did he try and fail to reach Virginia by boat? His position as a clergyman puts this into doubt. Was John the uncle who was killed in the navy, according to the legend? That leaves just William. As William certainly made it to King and Queen County, we must surmise that John and his parents probably did not. Were they drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of county Cork, Ireland? Did anyone survive and return to England? The absence of their names in any records suggests not. Here is an area for future investigation.



Grace Hendon Chancey, who wrote "The Hendons from Gunpowder River" in 1977, was of the opinion that Richard and Josias were both born in England around 1700, and that Josias was an indentured apprentice to Nicholas Rogers of Baltimore in Maryland. Rogers, who made his Will in 1717, mentioned "my servant Josias Hendon" and a list of tools and clothes he was to have. But how can that have come about if the Hendons were originally from Virginia and if they had money?

Grace Chancey proved that Josias and Richard were brothers, and it is evident from contemporary colonial records that Richard was a man of property. He also removed to Baltimore and when his son predeceased him in 1760, the son referred in his Will to "the rest and residue of my estate....either in thisProvince, in England or be divided between my loving wife, Mary Hendon, and my loving son Benjamin Hendon, and my loving daughter Dinah" as if he were expecting an inheritance from England. The English estate might have been from the Counsells of Barrow Gurney, the estate "elsewhere" might suggest the American Hendons knew about Solomon's property in Pembrokeshire.

If Richard had inherited his father's property at 21, as was customary under English law, Josias would have received nothing. It seems Josias had been apprenticed to Nicholas Rogers at an early age, possibly because of the death of his parents. If Rogers had been acquainted with the Henden brothers in England and brought them to America, he might have felt responsible for young Josias when the boy's parents both died, and realising the orphan would not inherit anything, decided to offer him a roof over his head, food and security as an apprentice. Where exactly Richard had been during Josias' apprenticeship is unknown, but if his property was held in trust until he was 21, he might have been with the family of hisTrustee or a maternal relative. Some have suggested that Richard and Josias` mother was perhaps a relative of Nicholas Rogers or his wife.

Richard's inheritance from his father would not have been worth so much, but it would have given him a good start in life so that he could improve himself. In 1723 at Baltimore he married Sarah Gardner, who also inherited land. In 1732 he bought 300 acres of land on the north side of the great falls at Gunpowder River and called it "Hendon's Hope". He gave a dowry to each daughter on her marriage and an interesting inventory of his "goods and chattels" was made when he died in 1768.

Richard Hendon died in 1768, his brother Josias having predeceased him by many years, dying in 1738. They almost certainly never stepped on English soil, yet they grew up in a very English society and would have known something of their English forebears.

Ironically, a family legend in England amongst Kentish Hendens was repeated at the time of the American Revolution, namely that Hendens had gone to the colonies and might be fighting against their English cousins. This legend was repeated by a contemporary of the Revolution, William Henden (1763-1848) to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one of whom was Sarah Dickson (1838-1924), who passed it on to her granddaughter Florence Hudnott (1903-2000), who repeated it to Graham Steer.



IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. I, Solomon Henden of the parish of Lawhaden in the County of Pembrock, Clerk, being of sound perfect and disposing mind and memory thanks be unto God for the same, and considering the uncertainties of life and certainty of death, and also willing and desirous to dispose of my worldly goods and Estates which it hath pleased God to endow me withal, do make, publish and declare this, my last Will and Testament touching the disposal thereof in manner and forme following.

That is first I recommend my soul to God and my body to be buried in the earth with Christian burial by ye Executor or Executors therein after named and appointed by me. Also I give devise and bequeath all my messuages tenements and lands with the appurtenances commonly called and known by the names ofKNAVESTON and EAST GRINTON or be the same called and known by any other name whatsoever situate set lying and being in the parish of BRAWDY in the County of Pembroke. And also the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders thereof and the rents, issues and profits unto my well beloved kinsman JOHN JONES ,Gentleman, son of Thomas Jones, Gentleman, now of Brawdy in the said County. To have and to hold all and singular the said premises with the apputenances unto the said JOHN JONES, his heirs and assigns for ever.

Item: I give and bequeath the sum of two Guineas unto JANE SKYRME, Spinster, to be paid to her immediately after my decease. Also I give and bequeath the sum of two pounds in money unto and amongst the poor of the parish of Lawhaden and one pound to and amongst the poor of the parish of Bletherston which said sum to be distributed as my Executor or Executors shal think most expedient and fitt.

And lastly all the rest and residue of the personal estate which I shal die possessed of, interested in, or intituled unto, I give and bequeath the same unto my best beloved cousins THOMAS JONES, JANE JONES his wife, and JOHN JONES whome I make and appoint joynt Executors of this my last Will andTestament. In witness whereofI the said Solomon Henden have hereunto put my hand and seal the fourth day of August in the year of our Lord 1736.

Signed sealed published and
Declared by the said Testator
As his last Will and Testament                                          SOLOMON HENDEN
In the presence of us,who have                                            (signed & sealed)
Subscribed our names hereto
In the presence (of) the testator


            Archives reference: SD/1746/150 W

MAY 5 1746

Let this Will be registered and administration of the Goods and Chattels and all the Personal Estate of Solomon Henden of the parish of Lawhaden in the County of Pembroke, Clerk, lately deceased, Committed to his cousins THOMAS JONES, JANE JONES his wife and JOHN JONES the joynt Executors, they the said Thomas, Jane and John being sworn before me.

                                                                                           GEORGE PHILLIPS
Probate : 16 August 1746



1/ Looking at the handwriting and comparing the name Solomon Henden in the text and comparing it with his signature, there is virtually no difference. This indicates that Solomon himself drew up the document and wrote it in his own writing. This also accounts for some minor errors in the text. As one of the few educated local people, Solomon may have already drawn up wills for his parishioners and therefore knew the formula.
2/ The beneficiaries mentioned in the Will, the Jones family, seem to be related through his mother's family (John Counsell of Somerset, Dinah's brother, married a local girl at Haverford West and the Jones are thought to be their Descendants).
3/ Jane Skyrme was probably his housekeeper and her legacy was at least a year's wages.
5/ The form of the Will is typical of the period. The odd spellings of some words are quite usual as this was before the first dictionaries.
6/ Clerk: another word for Vicar (correctly given it was 'Clerk in Holy Orders')
7/ Messuages : house and grounds
8/ Appurtenances : a right belonging to property
9/ Reversions : the return ofproperty, leased or rented, to the original owners
10/ Remainders : an interest in an estate
II/ Places : LAWHADEN - still exists - between Narberth & Haverford

                E-mail to Harry Hendon,  USA


The Will and inventory relating to the estate of Solomon Henden arrived today. It seems that he possessed property "called Knaveston and East Grinton in the parish of Brawdy in Pembrokeshire", as well as a lot of household items which probably came from Barrow Gurney. He was not married. His Will was made 04.08.1736 and probate granted 05.05.1746, presumably he died at the beginning of 1746. The witnesses to the will were three members of the same family: Solomon Marychurch, his wife Jane Marychurch , and John Marychurch. I have managed to establish that Solomon Marychurch was married at Solomon Henden's church at Llawhaden 04.04.1734 to Jane Price. I suspect John Marychurch is his brother. The name Marychurch is so unusual but there is a family of that name in Haverford West back in the 1680s when Solomon Henden was at Haverford West Grammar School. They may be old friends and young Solomon was probably a godson,
There were no other Hendens mentioned in the Will, which proves that Sol`s brothers William and John were not around in 1736. Perhaps when he made his Will that year, Solomon informed his relatives in the Colonies that he was not well (nephew Josias was alive another 2 years and Richard longer) and that is why the families expected "an inheritance". The bad news for the Hendens was that, despite being the closest blood relations, they were passed over in favour of (as Solomon called them in his Will) "my best beloved cousins Thomas Jones, Jane Jones his wife, and John Jones" (their son). It seems young Johnwas in favour: "my well beloved kinsman John Jones, gentleman, son of Thomas Jones, gentleman, now of Brawdy, Pembrokeshire.... To hold all and singular the said premises etc....unto the said John Jones, his heirs and assigns forever". It was probably impossible to consider kinsfolk overseas due to the impracticality of informing them and letting them make their claim.
The fact that Thomas Jones was his cousin might explain how Solomon got to go to Wales in the first place. Thomas' mother or father was obviously a relative, but how? Did Dinah have other sisters who married and went to Haverford West? Was it through Jane Counsell, Dinah`s mother? Or was it through Ann Henden, Solomon's great-aunt? Alas, the name Jones in Wales is impossible to trace, but the fact that these Jones had money and were gentlemen and were from the Haverford area should make it easier. I suspect that Solomon was sent there to Haverford Grammar School, and his relative either lived there orwas a teacher at the school. After all, there were schools in and around Bristol for pupils who lived in Barrow Gurney.

This will does not give any hints to the Henden history, but confirms a lot of what we suspected.

On another tack, it seems that the Mary Henden, wife of Robert Blanchard, mentioned in the Will of John Henden (d.1659 Maidstone), might have been the wife of ROBERT BLANCHARD of NANSEMOND in Virginia, who was living there in 1659. So far I have traced only one son, BENJAMIN, who married, had 3 sons and a daughter, and died in 1719 in Nansemond Co. Virginia. His descendants left for NorthCarolina. Benjamin would have been a contemporary of Dinah and William' s sons and may have been their contact.

July 11 2002



1642 /  Outbreak of Civil War in England between the King (Charles I) and Parliament. Oxford is made the new capital city by the King. Parliament holds London.
1643 /  Prince Rupert storms Bristol with his troops for the King, his uncle.
1644 / The King loses control of the north after the Scots Army crosses the border of England and tips the Balance in favour of Parliament. Parliament forms 'the new Model Army' under Sir Thomas Fairfax.
1645 / Battle of Naseby. The King is defeated. Royalists retreat to Devon and Comwall. From this time onwards, the war is mainly sieges
1646 / The King's army surrenders and Charles I gives himself up to the Scots. Oxford surrenders.
1647 / The only Royalist strongholds are now the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.
1648 / Discontented Parliamentary soldiers and an uprising of Royalists (with the support of the Scots army) start the Second Civil War. Sir Thomas Fairfax for Parliament defeats the Royalists of Kent at the Battle Of Maidstone (1st June 1648)
1649 / Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton contrive the trial of King Charles I. The King is found guilty and on 30 January 1649 is executed outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.
1650 / Later Cromwell begins his notorious Irish Campaign

1650 / Cromwell defeats the Scots royalists at the Battle of Dunbar.

1651 / Cromwell defeats the executed king's eldest son, Prince Charles, at the Battle of Worcester.
1655 / Royalist uprising in Wiltshire led by Col. John Penruddock is put down by Parliament.
1658 / Death of Oliver Cromwell. His weak son Richard succeeds him as head of state and is proclaimed Lord Protector.

1659 / General dissatisfaction with the new regime. Many uprisings in Cheshire.

1660 / George Monck negotiates the return of Charles Ist eldest son and rightful heir, Charles II, from exile (29 May 1660).