15. MARSH

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Fay Sampson’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)

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 JOHN MARSH and JOHAN (15)

 

JOHN MARSH was the only known son of William Marsh of the village of East Langdon north of Dover.[1] We believe his father to have been a farmer, as his grandfather and great-grandfather were. John probably followed in the family tradition.

We have much more detail about his family than we do for earlier generations. He made his will in 1544. Though we do not have the text, the family details were probably gleaned from that by earlier researchers.

He is thought to have been born in the 15th century, but we do not have enough information to speculate about when.

He married Johan.

 

JOHAN. We do not have details of their marriage, so we do not know her maiden name. Her baptismal name was doubtless taken from John’s will.

It is likely that she was the mother of John’s children, but we cannot rule out the possibility that his first wife died and he married Johan later.

 

John, and probably Johan, had eight known children, whose names, we assume, were also gathered from John’s will. The order is probably that given in the will, and may be the order of their births.

William, who was still living in 1526. This seems to imply that William died before his father’s will of 1544. William does not appear in the list of sons involved in a lawsuit over property after their father’s death.[2]
Stephen, of Marton, living in 1544,
John the younger, of St Mary’s, Dover, yeoman, who died in 1595,
Robert, of Marton, who died in 1600,
Richard, living in 1544. He, too, does not appear in the lawsuit of 1556-58.
Kirchen or Chrisian, who married Henry Poore in 1595,
Alys, who married Robert Browne and was still living in 1595,
David, who married Nicholyn.

Several of this family are said to be “of Marton”, rather than “of East Langdon”.

“Marton” is the hamlet of Martin in the north of East Langdon parish, while the village, church and manor house are in the south. This was the seat of the Marsh family.

Today, it is known as Martin, but over the centuries it appears as Marten, Marton, Merton, Mershton.

The house was originally a grange, or outlying farm, of Langdon Abbey in the neighbouring parish of West Langdon. Langdon Abbey was a daughter house of the priory of St Augustine in Canterbury. This fits with earlier documents showing the Marshes renting land from the priory.

After his break with the Church of Rome, Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, destroyed some of the buildings and sold off the rest. Langdon Abbey is said to be the first monastery dissolved in 1535. The grange was purchased the Marsh family, who had been the tenants. The dates make it almost certain that this was John Marsh, husband of Johan.

The house became known as Marston Hall.

 

Ruins of Langdon Abbey[3]

 The suppression of the monasteries had a profound effect on local communities. It removed the major source of healthcare and education. These were gradually replaced by secular provision, but this could not have happened overnight.

Around 1599, the house was rebuilt by a younger John Marsh, in brick and flint, with a timber frame. A datestone was found on a 16th-century beam with the names “John and Isabella Marsh”.[4]

In the Hearth Tax of 1664 there is one Marsh household in East Langdon.[5] Thomas Marsh’s house is one of 13 chargeable for the Hearth Tax. There are 8 households too poor to pay. All of the latter have just one hearth.

The chargeable households range from 10 to 1 hearths. Thomas Marsh is the third highest, with 6 hearths. This would have been the 1599 house. It is evidence of the Marshes’ standing in this community. They lived in a substantial dwelling house, and this was likely to have been so even before the rebuild.

 

John made his will on 17 Oct 1544, in the closing years of Henry VIII’s reign.

We know from a lawsuit of 1556-58 that he left messuages and land in Martin, in East Langdon, and West Cliffe to his surviving sons John, David, Robert and Stephen.

Johan appears to be named in this will, so she evidently survived him. We do not have a death date for her.

 

[1] https://jjhc.info/marshjohn1545. Other genealogical details are taken from this site.
[2] National Archives: C 1/1454/27
[3] Fortified Britain – Langdon Abbey, West Langdon.
[4] Historic England: Marston Hall and Outhouses with Donkey Wheel. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1070057?section=official-list-entry
[5] Kent Online Parish Clerks. https://www.kent-opc.org/Parishes/Tax/ELangdonHearth.html

 

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