The Spencer Family
The Spencer name is derived from the individual in charge of the household stores (the Spence). On a plaque in the church at Dives-sur-Mer, Normandy, France is a list of all the knights who took part with William the Conqueror in the invasion of England. Named on the plaque are Gurillaume le Despensier and Robert le Despensier. The Despensier brothers were members of the d’Abitot family of France.
THOMAS SPENCER of Badby, Northamptonshire had a son: 1. HENRY G. SPENCER
Henry G. Spencer, Esq. of Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire was born c. 1356. He married c. 1378 Isobell Lincoln, daughter and co-heir of Henry Lincoln of Badby, Northamptonshire. Henry G. Spencer’s will of 1416 appointed his son John and Thomas executors of his will and his wife, Isobell overseer. The will was sealed with the arms: Quarterly, in the second and third a fret, overall on a bend, three escallops. (The arms of Hugh Despencer grandson of the Earl of Winchester were: quarterly argent and gules, in the second and third a fret, overall a bend sable.) Henry and Isobell’s children were: 1. John Spencer of Hodnall and Wormleighton, Northamptonshire was born c. 1376. 2. THOMAS SPENCER 3. William Spencer 4. Nicholas Spencer
Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire was born c. 1378 and he was living in 1433. His children were: 1. John Spencer of Begery was born c. 1404. 2. ROBERT SPENCER 3. Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon was born c. 1408. He married Joan (surname unknown). They had no children.
Robert Spencer of St. Albans, Hertfordshire was born c. 1406. He married a Smyth of Bedfordshire. Their children were: 1. Robert Spencer of South Mylls, Blunham and Cople, was born c. 1432. He married Anne Peck of Cople. 2. JOHN SPENCER 3. Henry Spencer of Colmworth was born in 1436 and he was living in 1490. 4. Thomas Spencer of Eaton Socon was born c. 1438. He married Margaret Smyth of Wold or Guld, Northamptonshire. In his will of 22 January 1490/91 he asked to be buried at Eaton. He bequeathed his son John his lands, tenements, rents and services belonging in Eaton in fee simple. If John dies without heirs, the lands were to be sold to his brother Henry for a lesser price and 20 Marks given to Thomas’ daughter Elizabeth. If Henry does not want the land it was to go to Thomas Fitzhugh and John Betts.
John Spencer of South Mylls and Kempston was born c. 1434 and he was living on 1490. His children were: 1. Robert Spencer of South Mylls was born 1460. He was an executor of the wills of Robert Spencer of Cople and John Spencer of Pavenham. 2. JOHN SPENCER
John Spencer of South Mylls and Kempston was born c. 1462. He married Christian Baker. The 1634 Visitation of South Mylls, Bedfordshire recorded the Spencer arms: Quarterly and gules in the second and third quarters a fret of the first, on a bend sable three fleur-de-lys argent. The crest out of a mural coronet per pale argent and gules, a griffin head collared or, beaked gules, between two wings expanded, charged on the breast and on each wing with a fleur-de-lys sable, all countercharged. Their child was:
1. JOHN SPENCER
John Spencer of St. Albans and Edworth was born in 1505. His wife may have been Anne Merrill. John was one of the chief Burgesses or Aldermen of St. Albans, Hertfordshire. He was named in the Royal Charter Edward VI granted to the town in 1553. The Visitation of St. Albans (1572) recorded the Spencer Arms: Quarterly or and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret of the first, over all a bend sable charged with three fleur-de-lis argent. The 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, winded of the third, on each wing and on the breast a fleur-de-lis sable. John moved to St. George Parish, Edworth, Bedfordshire where he leased 600 acres from Robert Parrys of Ellington the Lord of the Manor. Robert Parrys had married Elizabeth Spencer a daughter of Thomas Spencer and Anne Bulkley of Cople. The lease was to expire c. 1575. Edworth is situated half way between Baldock and Biggleswade. There were only two large farms in Edworth together comprising 1122 acres. John Spencer had the lease of one. The family resided at The Hall. John was buried at St. George’s Church at Edworth on 9 June 1558. John was called “senior” at the time of his burial. The recorder in entering the burial of Anne Spencer, widow, paid her respect by the following tribute: “The good hospitality keeper, and she did give the township of Edworth two of her best beasts to let to two poor folks in the town for three Shillings a cow and the parson and the churchwarden to have the letting of them and the distribution of the money to the poor and see the stock maintained.” Her will was dated 13 June 1560, and proved on 23 April 1561 in Edworth. She was buried at St, George’s Church at Edworth on 16 June 1560. It named her son, Gerard (aged 17); son Michael, to have the chest that was his brother John’s; John Spencer, son of Michael’s child to have 20 pounds; Elizabeth Lymer or Lorimer, to have 4 pounds at her marriage; Alice Aystin to have a calf; servants for the mending of “ London Brygge Way”, 10 Shillings. Her brother Edward’s children were to have the 1 Mark that he borrowed of her; Nicholas Merrill and John Merrill his brother to have the barley their father gave her sons. Michael Spencer was a witness to her will. John and Anne’s children were: 1. MICHAEL SPENCER 2. John Spencer was buried at Edworth on 21 April 1560. 3. Gerard Spencer, yeoman, of Biggleswade was born in 1543. He married Ellen Whyston in 1568. She was a daughter of William and Elizabeth Whyston. Gerard’s will was proved on 20 May 1577. He was to be buried in the Church or Churchyard at Biggleswade. The will named his son Richard, under 21 to have 60 pounds, Agnes and Johan (under age) and a child unborn to have 40 Marks apiece at 18 years of age. Brother Michael Spencer to have 5 Marks. Wife Ellen and brother Michael named Executors. 4. William Spencer. He settled in St. Albans and in time he became one of the chief Burgesses and afterwards mayor of the Borough.
Michael Spencer of Edworth and Stotfold Court, Bedfordshire, was born in 1531 and was living in 1599. In his will he referred to himself as a yeoman. He married (1) at Edworth on 20 January 1555, Agnes Limer who was buried at Edworth on 23 February 1561. He married (2) about 1563, Elizabeth Whitehead. Elizabeth was buried at Stotfold on 18 November 1599. The removal of the family from Edworth to Stotfold occurred between 1571 and 1576. Michael’s children by his first wife Agnes were born at Edworth. They were: John, Michael and Anne. Children by his second wife, Elizabeth were: 1. Joan Spencer was baptized on 21 August 1564. 2. Alice Spencer was baptized on 30 august 1566. 3. Thomas Spencer was baptized 12 March 1571. He was buried on 13 June 1631 at Stotfold. He married Margaret Spencer. 4. Catherine Spencer was baptized on 20 august 1574. She married a Bland and had two daughters, Sara and Hannah. 5. GERARD SPENCER 6. Richard Spencer was baptized at Stotfold on 9 July 1580. He died in London in June 1646. His will dated 17 March 1645, called him gentleman. In a codicil dated 29 May 1646 to his will above, he left all his copyhold lands and tenements near St. Albans to Thomas Spencer, son of his brother, Thomas. He left to his nephew, Daniel Spencer, a grocer of London, a son of his brother John, 8 messuages or tenements in the London Parish of St. Michaels, Lothbury and all his tenements in the counties of Kent and Essex. He left messuage or tenement in London near the great inn called The Crosse Keys, to his niece’s Sara and Hannah Bland. To his relatives in New England: he left 50 pounds apiece to the sons of his brother Gerard, deceased, and 50 pounds to be divided between the children of William Spencer, deceased, son of his brother Gerard.
Gerard Spencer was baptized at St. Mary the Virgin Church at Stotfold, Bedfordshire on 20 May 1576. He married Alice Whitbread a daughter of John Whitbread and Eleanor Radecliffe of Ion farm at Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire. Alice was born at Meppershall c. 1580. She died in May 1646. Gerard and Alice were married on 10 November 1600 at St. Giles Church at Upper Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire. The name Gravenhurst dates from Saxon times and was from medieval times a center for brick making. The Whitbread arms were: Azure a chevron between 3 hinds’ heads erased gules. The crest was a hinds’ head erased gules. The motto: Virtue Non Astutia. In 1615 Gerard leased his land in Stotfold to his brother Thomas in London. The following year he conveyed these lands to Thomas. It is possible that Gerard and his family moved from Stotfold some years before the emigration of his sons to New England. He may have moved to London where his brother, Richard Spencer had become a prosperous haberdasher. It has also been reported he moved with his sons to New England. Gerard and Alice’s children were: 1. WILLIAM SPENCER 2. Elizabeth Spencer was baptized in 1602. She married Timothy Tomlyns. She may have come to America before her brothers. 3. John Spencer was baptized in 1603/4. He probably died before 1646. 4. Henry Spencer was baptized 1605 and he was buried in 1607. 5. Thomas Spencer was baptized in 1607. He was Sergeant of the Train Band in Hartford, Connecticut. He served in the Pequot war of 1637 under Major John Mason. He was Chimney Viewer of Hartford in 1650 and Constable in 1657. In 1671 he received a grant of 60 acres for his military service. He was Surveyor of roads in 1672. He married (1) Ann Derifield and (2) Sarah Bearding. His cousin Samuel, Captain Allyn and Lieutenant Caleb Standly were named overseer of his will dated 17 September 1683. His children were: A. Obadiah Spencer B. Thomas Spencer C. Samuel Spencer D. Jarred Spencer E. Sarah Spencer F. Elizabeth Spencer G. Hannah Spencer H. Mary Spencer I. Martha Spencer. 2. Richard Spencer was baptized in 1608 and buried in 1614. 3. (A son buried 1609/10) 4. Michael Spencer was baptized in 1611. He married Isabel (surname unknown). 5. Gerard Spencer was baptized in 1614. He was made a freeman of Cambridge in 1634. He was Ensign of the Train Band of Haddam, Connecticut in 1656 and he served as an Ensign in 1672 in King Phillips war. He was a Representative to the General Court of Connecticut (1674-1675) and he was a Deputy to the General Court (1678-80). He Married Hannah Hills and he probably married Rebecca (Porter) Clark after 1677. Gerard’s Will was dated 17 September 1683. His children were: A. William Spencer B. Nathaniel Spencer C. Rebekah Spencer D. Thomas Spencer E. John Spencer F. Samuel Spencer G. Joseph Spencer H. Ruth Clark (step daughter) I. James Clark (step son). He mentions grandchildren and daughter’s Brooks and Cone. 6. Rachel Spencer.
William Spencer was baptized at Stotfold, Bedfordshire on 11 October 1601. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He married at Stotfold in 1633 Agnes Harris, a daughter of Bartholomew Harris, yeoman, Mayor of Barnstaple, County Devon, England and his wife, Elizabeth (Collamore) Harris. Agnes Pratt was a witness. Agnes was christened on 6 April 1604 at Barnstaple. Agnes had a brother, Richard and a sister, Priscilla. (Agnes’s ancestry has been traced to Charlemagne). William and his brother’s Thomas, Michael and Gerard emigrated to New England in the Winthrop Fleet. William Spencer was one of only four gentlemen in the Fleet. In 1632 William is recorded as being an inhabitant of New Town, afterwards Cambridge, Massachusetts. On 4 March he took the freeman’s oath. William was a Deputy to the General Court of Massachusetts from 1634 until 1637. He was a member of the committee formed to frame a body of fundamental laws for the Colony of Massachusetts. In March 1636 William was appointed Lieutenant of the Military Company of New Town. On 13 March he was founder of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. William Spencer, Gent. Appeared fourth on the charter granted by the General Court of Massachusetts. William moved to Hartford, Connecticut where his brother, Thomas Spencer, had settled. He became town Clerk in 1639 and at a general meeting of the whole town, on 23 December 1639, there was chosen to order the affairs of the town for one year, William Westwood, William Spencer, Nathaniel Ward and John Moody. He was an early member of the First Church. His name appears on the Founders Monument. William was a representative to the General Court of Connecticut in 1639 and 1640. William Spencer’s will was dated 4 March 1641. He mentions his wife, son Samuel, and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth. He appointed John Pratt, John Talcott and Matthew Lane overseers of his estate. In the inventory of his estate there is mentioned land yet remaining at Concord on the Bay. This was probably part of the grant of 300 acres beyond the Alewife River made him by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1638. William’s will also provided that two-thirds of any estate in England and Massachusetts, due his wife, be used for their children’s welfare. William and Agnes Spencer’s Children Were: 1. Elizabeth Spencer was born c. 1633. She married (1) William Wellman and (2) Jacob Joy. 2. SAMUEL SPENCER 3. Sarah Spencer was born 7 March 1636. She married John Case 17 August 1656, who was born at Gravensend, County Kent, England.
Samuel Spencer was born c. 1634 at Hartford, Connecticut and died 1716. He married Sarah Meakins who died on 24 April 1706. She was a daughter of John and Mary (Bidwell) Meakins. John Meakins mentioned Sara Spencer in his will of 22 November 1702. Samuel was overseer of his uncle Sergeant Thomas Spencer’s will of 1687. Their children were: 1. Samuel Spencer. 2. Sarah Spencer (born 1671) married Joseph Easton. 3. Hannah Spencer (1674-1702) married Caleb Stanley, Jr. 4. Elizabeth Spencer (1676-1748) married Lieutenant Nathaniel Marsh. 5. Rachel Spencer (born 1678) married Captain Joseph Cook. 6. Mary Spencer (1681-1756) married Captain Cyprian Nichols. 7. Abigail Spencer (born 1678) married (1) Nathaniel Humphrey and (2) John Hubbard.