John Spencer

John Spencer (abt. 1482 - bef. 1568)

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John "of South Mylls and Bramfield" Spencer
Born about in South Mylles, Blunham, Bedfordshire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Brother of
Husband of — married about 1495 [location unknown]
Husband of — married 1550 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Englandmap
Profile last modified 13 Feb 2020 | Created 21 Feb 2011 | Last significant change: 13 Feb 2020
15:36: Traci Thiessen edited the Biography for John Spencer (abt.1482-bef.1568). [Thank Traci for this]
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John Spencer of South Mylls, the son of Robert Spencer of South Mylls and unknown mother, was married to Christian daughter of .... Baker, and had three sons:

1. William Spencer of South Mylls and Meyrs Ashby in Northamptonshire married Issabell Osborne, dau of Edward Osborne of Kenolmarsh, Northamptonshire.
2. Robert Spencer of St Albans Hertfordshire (1572 - Harl MS5867) married Frances dau of John Forster of Branffeld Hertfordshire and had two children - John 10 yrs old in 1572 ob 6 Jan 1622 s.p. marr Margaret Bayly, and Anne wife of ... Gylman
3. John Spencer of London, marchant, married Anne dau of .... Clarke of London and had four daughters - Mary, Christian, Jane and Margaret [1]

The Visitation of Hertfordshire 1572 shows the same family with basically the same information other than it shows a fourth son, also named Robert, married to .... dau of .... Smyth of Co Bedford[2] The informant was John's son Robert, who should have known if he had a brother also named Robert, but as there's no mention of a second Robert in John's will I have doubts. Or had he died s.p. before 1584?

Neither Visitation shows his daughter Ann (Barnwell), who is a legatee in John's will, and who is also mentioned in her brother Robert's 1584 will. Nor do they show a daughter who married Reynold Basse, again mentioned in Robert's will

He married Etheldreda Vaughan, daughter of .... Coker of Mappowder, Dorset, widow of Richard Watkyns Vaughan, at some between Apr 1550 when her first husband died, and 1551 when he and Etheldreda were plaintiffs in a Chancery Court case (C 1/1270/83), date 1544-1551. [3]

He and Etheldreda had no children.

His will is dated 20 Dec 1560, probated on 24 Nov 1568.[4] As the will names his son Robert's wife Frances who didn't marry until 1561, and their two children born 1562 and later, the date looks incomplete "a thousand five hundred three score" followed by " ~~ ", as though the scribe knew there was a word missing, eg "seven", or possibly the last word was illegible and he didn't transcribe it.

The will of John Spencer late of Southmylles requested that he be buried in Blunham next to the body of his late wife Etheldrede. The lengthy will also mentions:

my gentle and good brother Sir John Baker, priest ie ? his brother in law? Brother of his first wife Christian Baker perhaps?
my son William Spencer
my son Robert Spencer he didn't marry Frances Foster until 1561
Robert's daughter Ann Spencer (unmarried)
his chamber at Bramfield
Robert's son John Spencer who wasn't born until 1562
my son John Spencer of London
John's dau Elizabeth
my daughter Ann Barnwell m Edward Barnwell of Cransley, Norfolk
my daughter in law Jane Fysher? he uses "daughter" for "daughter in law". I=Does he use daughter in law for step daughter?
my ?noste? Coke of London (is this Coker, his second wife's maiden name?)
my daughter Frances Spencer ie daughter in law
my daughter, William Spencer's wife ie daughter in law
my son John Spencer's wife

He acquired the manor of Bramfield in 1565 after his son Robert had married the daughter of the previous owner. It was was alienated to John Forster and Margery his wife in 1557/8. On his death in February, 1559, Forster bequeathed the manor of Bramfield to his wife for the term of her life, with remainder to his son Humphrey, and in 1565 Humphrey conveyed it to John Spencer, gentleman. (Humphrey's sister Frances was married to John's son Robert). John Spencer, citizen and grocer of London, and George Smyth sold it in 1567.[5] It seems that John the father acquired the property in 1565, and on his death in 1567 it was sold by his son, John the grocer.


  1. Ed F.A.Blaydes "The Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582 and 1634". The Harleian Society 1884. p 195.
  2. The Visitations of Hertfordshire. The Harleian Society 1886.
  3. The National Archives online catalogue. Plaintiffs: John SPENCER and Etheldrede his wife, executrix and late the wife of Richard Watkyns Vaughan of London, prothonotary.
  4. The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 50 [1]
  5. 'Parishes: Bramfield', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), pp. 343-345. British History Online [accessed 23 May 2019].

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posted by Jo Fitz-Henry
Proofs for a 2nd Robert Spencer who married a dau. of ______ Smith in the 1572 Visitation.

The ____Smith is likely the same George Smith of the Bramfield sale in 1567 dealings.

Robert Spencer = married dau. of George Smith of Annables, Herts and his wife, the dau. of William Litton. This Robert was also known as Robert Spencer of Lincoln's Inn, Gent. who held part [Mawdelynbury] Mardley manor, Herts. on 14 July 1562. Appears again in 1563 at Mardlebury His son John Spencer has dealings with Humphrey Foster. John Spencer = [Joan who died 1599], bought Mardley manor from Humphrey Forster George Smith married a Litton. and appears in Visitation of the Litton family. Henry Spencer, son of John Spencer c. 2 Sept. 1562 died bef. 1616-17 (d.s.p) Demised Mardley manor to Rowland Litton bef. 1603

posted by Robert Spencer
[In 1557 ( Trinity Term) Land transaction between John Foster [Forster) MP, and Margery his wife: and John Spencer and Etheldreda, his wife. . ]

Just another dated example for John and Etheldreda.

posted by Robert Spencer
Hi Robert Done!
posted by David Cooper
HI David, can we move the following to the John Spencer of Pavenham & Cople, it doesn't belong on this profile: " Another Curious litigation case: C 1/454/45 Short title: Waterson v Jakson. Plaintiffs: Janet, late the wife of John Waterson of Bedford, butcher. Defendants: John Jakson of Bedford, cobbler, Robert Stowkly, and John Spencer of Cople, gentlemen. Subject: Conspiracy to accuse complainant of the theft of a gown `of died tawny lyned wt bukram.'. Bedfordshire. Date:1515-1518 Is this John Spencer of Cople relevant to John Spencer of South Mills?"


posted by Robert Spencer
Spencer-18823 and Spencer-751 appear to represent the same person because: The profile of Etheldreda showed she wasn't the wife of John Spencer who had been married to Christian Baker, so as part of the England Project clean up operation of the Bedfordshire Spencers I detached her and created a new John Spencer husband for her. And inevitably after more research I found that the first John Spencer was correct after all! So I need to merge them to get back to square 1. Sorry! But the biography will look a lot better.
posted by David Cooper
Could somebody please tell me the evidence that John Spencer bore the arms shown on this page? The 1634 Bedford Visitation shows that his distant descendant bore these arms, but that means nothing in light of the well-known forged Spencer pedigree which accompanied the 1594 grant of arms -- after this John was dead.
posted by [Living Schmeeckle]
Source for below comment is here, sorry for misunderstanding: Source for 1st Marriage to Ann Clarke - 1572, Visitation of Bedfordshire- Additional Pedigrees: Page 195 and page 196, follow lines "A" and "B" closely.
posted by Robert Spencer
This is another profile that has a lot of duplicative information in it. Kathy P, you did such a great job on his son; are you willing to take this one on, too?

Also: the Baronetage source referred to as source of his two marriages links to that publication, but I could find no information about Spencer in that publication.

posted by Jillaine Smith

John is 23 degrees from Peter Roberts, 17 degrees from Emma Smith and 10 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Blunham, Bedfordshire