Ellin Martin was born around 1600, possibly in Great Hardres (Hadres,) and was married to Sylvester Eastye November 24, 1625 in the church in Ringwould, Kent. He died before 1667 when his daughter was married. Ellen died in 1649 with a will that tells us at that time she was living in Waldershare. Documentation by other researchers states that both documents, her marriage and her will, respectively, state that she was “of Great Hardres,” but I have not seen evidence of this in either document. I find it difficult to believe this very specific piece of information was not located someplace, though because it is too specific, and a bit distant, to have been grabbed out of thin air.
The location called Great Hardres in the record indicating where Ellen Martin was born is now called Upper and Lower Hardres, noted as twin villages. We did not get to visit either as they are about 20 miles distant and much closer to Canterbury. If Ellen indeed was born here, they it’s likely that this church is ripe with her relatives and ancestors.
I’m not terribly clear what record indicated that Ellen was in fact born in Great Hardres. It’s reported to be her marriage record from 1625 in Ringwould, but transcribed records provided by the church do not include or indicate this information. What this means is that it’s quite likely that relevant information to these records may not all have been transcribed and it would probably be worth our while to have these records retranscribed, including Martin records from Ringwould. This information could also be in the Bishop’s returns, the records that were supposedly duplicates sent periodically by the church to the Bishop.
I am still somewhat baffled about how she would have met Robert Estes who lived some 20+ miles distant. That’s a long way to walk and that was the transportation available at the time. It’s more plausible that her family moved to Ringwould, in which case, there might well be additional records that contain valuable information. There are some Martin records in Ringwould’s church records, but not many.
The church below is St. Peter and St. Paul at Upper Hardres Court. Parts of this church date from the 1200s. A newer church was built 3 miles away in the twin village of Lower Hardres in the 1800s, but this would have been the church in which Ellen Martin was baptized in about 1600. I would surely love to see these church records.
Sylvester married on 24 November 1625, at Ringwould, Kent, Ellin Martin. Ellin was born about 1600 and died in 1649 at Ringwould, Kent, two years after the birth of her last child, our ancestor, Abraham. Ellin’s will states she was born at Waldershire, but at her marriage she reportedly gave her origin as Great Hadres, and her name perhaps as “Hellen Martine.” I don’t see any birth location reflected in the original records below.
Here is the entire page that includes their marriage. You can see that this was a small church, with only 2 marriages that year, 14 christenings and about as many burials.
The church at Ringwould was certainly beautiful and served as a respite for me that fine fall day in Kent as well. It seems that Jim and I had a bit of excitement with the rental car, and just suffice it to say that I desperately needed a break, even though we had only driven about 6 miles, on the wrong side of the road of course, from where we rented our car in Dover. But that hair-raising story will have to wait.
The village of Ringwould was first recorded more than 200 years before the Domesday survey, in an Anglo-Saxon Charter dated 861 AD under the name of Roedligwealda (the forest of Hredel’s people). The site of a Roman period farm has been identified close to the present Ripple windmill; which is in the parish, although metal detector finds and other relics which have been found, suggest that the area was populated well before the Roman invasion. The oldest coin ever found in England was discovered by a metal detectorist working close to Ringwould. It seems probable that the village was established sometime during the Anglo-Saxon period, probably in the 6th century AD, and certainly well before the Norman Conquest of 1066.
The village of Ringwould has about 350 residents and is about the size today that it was when our ancestors lived nearby or in the village itself. The church connects both front and back street and is, in essence, the center of the village. It was also the center of village life. Musters were help here for defense and below the church in the field, target practice was held with arrows hewn from the cedar trees in the churchyard.
The walkway to the church through the center of the village remains today. It used to be a cart path, and it had to be at least 30 inches wide in order to accommodate the width of 2 pall bearers and a casket.
However, on that special day, on Monday, November 24, 1625 there are no caskets approaching the church, but instead, a wedding party. After walking past the old forge, the building on the right, the gate to the church yard would be up ahead. Inside the gate would be the gravestones of all of those relatives who had gone ahead, and perhaps a few siblings who never made it beyond childhood. This was not an anonymous place. There is no room for grief today, although the bride may have paused for a moment to quietly pay her respects if her parents were in the churchyard waiting silently for her, or perhaps her grandparents, as they motioned her inside with feathered, wispy fingers.
When Sylvester and Ellen got married, the bride entered from the doorway of the church and the first part of the service was actually conducted in the doorway. I’m thinking that in Catholic times, it would have been a blessing or cleansing of some sort. Ellen would have walked up the walk to the church, in the center of Ringwould, and into this door the day she married Sylvester.
Many of the events of their lives together would transpire here as well, including, just 10 months later, the baptism of their first child.
Sylvester and Ellin Martin Estes had the following children. Note that descendants of females with bolded names would be potentially be mitochondrial DNA candidates.
1. Robert Eastes, baptized 10 September 1626, Ringwould, Kent, died 1692 and buried 23 June 1692, Waldershire, Kent, married Elizabeth, who died in 1676 at Waldershire, Kent, and was buried 8 August 1676. Married second Margaret Coachman, 26 June 1688, Hadres, Kent. Children: Robert (1652), Elizabeth (1653), Susan (1655), Silvester (1657-1692) of Waldershare, Kent;
2. Anne Eastes, baptized 25 November 1627 at Ringwould, Kent, died young;
3. Silvester Eastes, (a female) baptized 31 May 1629 at Ringwould, Kent, married a Nash.
4. Susan Eastes, baptized 30 March 1631 at Ringwould, Kent.
5. Thomas Eastes, baptized 20 January 1633, Ringwould, Kent, died 15 April 1682, Pelham, Kent, married Sarah and had children: John (1665) of Waldershare, Kent, and later of Acrise, Kent.
6. Richard Eastes, baptized 5 October 1634, at Ringwould, Kent.
7. Mary Eastes, baptized 2 October 1636 at Ringwould, Kent.
8. Anne Eastes, born 1637 at Ringwould, Kent. [There is some doubt as to whether this child belongs to this family.]
9. Nicholas Eastes, yeoman, baptized 9 December 1638 at Nonington, Kent, married Jane Birch, died 1665, Sutton, Kent. Children: John (?-1715) of Sutton.
10. Elizabeth Eastes, born 1639/40 at Nonington, Kent.
11. Ellen Eastes, baptized 11 December 1642, Nonington, Kent, died 1729 and buried 26 December 1729 at St Leonard’s, Kent. Married Moses Eastes, 23 December 1667, at Deal, Kent. Moses was baptized 12 November 1643 at St Leonard’s, Kent and died at Deal, 19 March 1707/8 & buried 23 March, at St Leonard’s, Kent. Children: Richard (1667/8-1668), Constant (1669-1708), Aaron (1671) & Samuel (1674/5), of St Leonard’s, Kent. Ellen was the second wife of Moses Eastes, her second cousin once removed.
12. John Eastes, baptized 29 December 1644 at Nonington, Kent.
13. Abraham Eastes, born 1647, probably at Nonington, Kent, married Anne Burton (widow), 29 December 1672, at Worth, Kent. Abraham them immigrated to America and married Barbara, long rumoured to be Barbara Brock, without one shred of evidence. Abraham died November 21, 1720 in King and Queen County, Virginia.
Sylvester and Ellen’s children born between 1626 and 1636 were baptized in Ringwould, but the ones born between 1638 and 1644 were baptized in Nonington. There is no baptismal record for Anne born in 1637 or for our Abraham born in 1647, but based on his brother’s 1644 baptismal record in Nonington, it’s presumed Abraham was born there was well. St. Mary’s church in Nonington is shown below, although we were unable to visit.
Nonington is about half way between Ellen Martin’s potiential birth location in Great Hardres (Hadres) and the Ringwould area where the rest of the Estes family was located, although there are no further Estes records and no Martin records in the church records there.
Suffice it to say that indeed, St. Nicholas church in Ringwould is steeped and bathed in the history of the Estes family as well as that of their wives. Many Estes children, my ancestors, were baptized in this very baptismal font.
Most of Ellen’s children were baptized here.
Ellen and Sylvester regularly attended church in Ringwould. Sylvester was sometimes a church warden there according to Deal Parish records.
Sylvester died sometime after Abraham’s birth in 1647 and before his wife, Ellen, died, with a will in 1649. The last family record at Ringwould is 1644.
Ellen died in 1649 at Waldershire, just down the road from Ringwould, before she was 50 years of age. Many of her children were young. Abraham, the youngest, was only 2 years old. It must have pained her greatly to know that she was going to leave them, and in doing so, leave them as orphans.
In Ellen’s will, shown below, she tells us who her children are and makes the best provisions she can to care for them. It’s the one peek at her life that we have, directly from her….albeit probably through an attorney or equivalent of the time. One thing is for sure, the woman did have some financial means. This family was not poverty stricken.
In the name of God, Amen, the fifth day of April 1649, I, Elin Estes [sic] of the parish of Waldershire [sic] in the County of Kent widow, being sick in body but in perfect memory thanks be given to God, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following,
First, I bequeath my soul to Almighty God hoping by the mercy and merits of Jesus Christ to enjoy Everlasting life and my body to the Earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named.
First, I give to my son, Thomas Estes, twenty pounds of current money of England to be paid to him as followeth, that is to say, ten pounds at his age of twenty and one years of age and ten pounds when my youngest child shall come to the age of twenty and one years.
Item, I give to my son, Richard Estes, the sum of five pounds when he shall attain to the age of twenty and one years.
Item, I give to my son, Nicholas Estes, fifteen pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain the age of twenty and one years.
Item, I give to my son, John Estes, twelve pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain the age of one and twenty years.
Item, I give to my son, Abraham Estes, the sum of twelve pounds to be paid to him when he shall attain to the age of one and twenty years.
Item, I give to my daughter, Anne Estes, twelve pounds to be paid to her at her age of four and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.
Item, I give to my daughter, Silvester Nash, five pounds when my youngest child cometh to the age of twenty and one years.
Item, I give to my daughter, Susan Estes, the sum of twelve pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.
Item, I give to my daughter, MaryEstes, ten pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.
Item, I give to my daughter, Elizabeth Estes, ten pounds to be paid to her [next few words crossed through but said: “when she shall attain”] at her age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.
Item, I give to Ellin Estes, my daughter, ten pounds to be paid to her when she shall attain to the age of one and twenty years or day of marriage which shall first happen.
And I do nominate and appoint Robert Estes, my son, whole and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I give to my said son, Robert Estes, all my goods, chattels and household stuff paying my debts and legacies and funeral expenses.
In witness that this is my last Will, I do hereby publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in the presence of those whose names are hereunder written:
Thomas Jenkin, John Peers
Ellin Estes, her mark
Her will was proved at London before Sir Nathaniel Brent, Knight, doctor of laws and Master or keeper of the Prerogative Court the sixth day of December in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fifty one by the oath of Robert Estes, the son of the deceased and Executor therein named to whom administration of all and singular the goods, chattels and debts of the said deceased which any manner of ways sworn the same will was granted and committed, he being first legally sworn by virtue of a commission in that behalf issued forth well and truly to administer the same.
I have always wondered why Ellin’s will was probated in London.
At time time of Ellen’s death, she would probably have been attending the church at Waldershare, All Saints Church, which is no longer in service. Like many others in the area, it has a rebuilt Victorian Nave. Jim and I were not able to visit, but it is found on Sandwich Road, Waldershare, near Dover.
The proportions of the building are dramatically affected by the two red-brick chapels on either side of the chancel, both of which were built after Ellen’s death, so the church she knew would have been the original one without the additions.
This is likely where Anne is buried, unless her family took her down the road to Ringwould to be buried with her husband, assuming he was buried at Ringwould. It would be interesting to check the Waldershare church burial records to see if she is listed. For that matter, Sylvester could be buried there as well as Abraham’s christening record.
Ellen’s eldest son, Robert, born in 1626, would found the Waldershare Estes line. Interestingly, Robert in 1670 and again in 1680 donated money towards the redemption of English captives “out of ye Turkish slavery.
While we have managed to piece together some of Ellen’s short life, we are still left with the question of who her parents were. It feel like it’s most likely that they were all members of the same church and lived in the same area. A young couple has to live in relative proximity to court.
The church in Ringwould was gracious enough to provide their transcribed church records in a binder. I photographed the entire grouping and later extracted the relevant surnames.
Ringwould Church Records
Ringwould church records begin in 1569 and include christenings, burials and beginning in 1572, marriages. I did not copy any beyond 1746. These records were transcribed from the originals and provided at the church in Ringwould, where I photographed the pages and have extracted various surnames from their transcription.
Based on the records shown below, the Martin family in Ringwould, living the before Ellen’s marriage to Sylvester, appear to descend from the progenitor, William, who married first Margaret Clark in 1576 and then Elizabeth Hart in 1584. Both wives died, Elizabeth passing in 1597. The only name resembling Ellen is Emlin born in 1580, which would make this person too old to be having children as late as 1647. Based on these records, there are obviously some records missing, such as Thomas’s wedding and the birth of Nicholas who married in 1621.
From the looks of things, Ellen, if born in roughly 1600 could have been a child of a third marriage of William whose wife died in 1697, although he is referred to as “an aged man” at his death in 1614. If he was just age 25 when he first married in 1576, he would have been 63 in 1614. That was certainly aged for that time. However, even “aged men” could and did father children. Ellen could also have been the daughter of Thomas who would have been age 23 in 1600. If that is the case, then William Martin and Margaret Clarke would have been her grandparents. Of course, it’s also possible that her parents had already passed away and she was sent here to live with Martin relatives. It’s worth noting here that her first male child was named Robert for Sylvester’s father but their second male child is named Thomas. There is no William.
March 5, 1575 – Roger Howell and Beatrix Martyn, married
Nov. 19, 1576 – William Martin and Margaret Clarke, married
April 16, 1677 – Thomas Martyn, son of William christened
Nov. 1, 1579 – Nicholas Martyn, son of William christened
Nov. 8, 1579 – Nicholas Martin, son of William buried
Jan. 22, 1580 – Emlin, daughter of William christened
April 23, 1584 – John Martyn, son of William christened
May 24, 1584 – Margaret Martyn, wife of William buried
June 24, 1584 – William Martyn and Elizabeth Harte married
July 25, 1584 – John, son of William buried
April 21, 1597 – Elizabeth Martyn, wife of William buried
Jan. 10, 1607 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Thomas christened
April 13, 1614 – William Martin, an aged man, buried
April 28, 1614 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Thomas buried
May 29, 1621 – Nicolas Martin and Elizabeth Whitten married
July 23, 1622 – Margaret Martin, daughter of Nicolas christened
Nov. 24, 1625 – Silvester Esties and Ellen Martin married
Was Ellen the daughter of Thomas or William Martin?
Note – In Ellen supposedly was born in Great Hardres, although that location is probably at least 20 miles distant and it begs the question of why the family came to Ringwould, and when. However, familiarity and family ties in that area may also explain why the Estes family moved back in that direction some 10 miles to Nonington during the English Civil War. However, one of her sons did marry someone from Hardres, so it’s certainly possible. This marriage makes me wonder if there were relatives in that area.
July 29, 1627 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas christened
Aug. 6, 1627 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas buried
July 27, 1628 – Jane Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened
Jan. 9, 1630 – Thomas Martin, son of Nicholas christened
Sept. 15, 1633 – Ellenor Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened
April 12, 1635 – Nicholas Martin, son of Thomas and Elizabeth
Jan 21, 1637 – John Martin, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth
September 13, 1640 – Elizabeth Martin, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth christened
April 4, 1643 – Mary Martin, daughter of Nicholas christened
Nov. 14, 1644 – Wilman Martin, wife of Thomas, buried
Dec. 29, 1647 – John Martin, son of Nicholas buried
March 24, 1664 –William Martin buried
April 16, 1688 – Daniel Martin and Margaret Bradly married
Feb. 28, 1699 – Nicholas Martin, buried
April 16, 1716 – Mary Martin buried
Ellen Martin’s DNA
In order to obtain Ellen’s mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mothers to all of their children, but only passed on by their mother, we would need to find a female child of Ellen who also had female children, to the present generation. In the present generation, the descendant can be a male, so long as they descend from Ellen through all females.
To begin this process, we only have information that two of the daughters lived to adulthood, although we can’t assume that the rest didn’t.
Of the children we know of who did live to adulthood, Ellen married Moses Eastes and had one daughter, Constant, born in 1699, christened at St. Leonard’s Church in Deal, and who subsequently died in 1708.
The other daughter who may have married is Silvester who reportedly married a Nash.
Unfortunately, we have no information about any other daughters, and the presumption is that they died young. Of course, presumptions are related to assumptions.
The only other possibility of obtaining Ellen Martin’s mitochondrial DNA is to figure out who her parents were, and then figuring out if she had any sisters who had daughters to the current generation.
I turned to both Rootsweb and Ancestry to see if perhaps my records were incomplete for this family. Unfortunately, the few female lines there are daughtered out quickly, and as for the rest of the daughters….maybe they didn’t die young. Maybe someone knows something about this family. They don’t seem to have been researched, so perhaps either there is a goldmine waiting to be harvested, or the lines have died out, which is why no one has documented this lineage.
I have a scholarship for either Ellen’s mitochondrial DNA or the Martin Yline from this group of individuals. In the Martin surname project, there seem to be three Martins from Kent, but I can’t tell who is who, assuming that any one of the three could be mine. Bottom line, I would love to have someone from this family line test.
If this is your Martin line, please give me a shout. If nothing else, we can compare records and autosomal DNA!!!
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We have links to Kent we think due to the volume of DNA matches – to an ancestral couple Maxey & Gates – also Martin features in results – but a common name of course & Estes.
Maxey & Gates seem to tie into a Kentish manor somewhere.
Estes is a name I have seen somewhere on my history. Can’t remember where
I have a gg-grandmother who was a Martin, but unfortunately our knowledge of the family stops with her, we know she was in NJ at some point, then Arcade, NY and then Manchester Iowa where she died in 1893. We are stuck, at this point, in getting farther back. I’ve done a Mito. test, as I descend from daughters down from her, and to my surprise, I have 10 matches in Finland and a couple in Sweden and Norway. I’ve emailed with one in Finland and neither of us have any idea how we connect as we realize it could be hundreds or thousands of years ago. I told my cousins I’ve decided we descend from Viking Warrior Queens and we are all amused by this notion. 🙂
Wonderful story and pictures.
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The information about Ellen Martin was exactly what I was looking for. This was interesting and appreciate the information. I have Sylvester Estes and Ellen Martin in my family tree being about 11 or 12 generations back. Found it to be interesting the surname Martin appeared to look like Martine in some of the writing wished I knew for sure which spelling was right, Martine sounds a little Spanish but it might have just been an error. Guess we will never know for sure! But thanks for the work!
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I absolutely love the detective work you do with absolute thoroughness! I appreciate all you do to discover this (my) family history and to dissolve the believed but not necessarily the correct information that many cling to.
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Stew Estes, one of the Estes family researchers send me some additional information that is relevant to Ellen’s will. Thank you so much Stew. I’m posting his comments below in full:
I recently read your blog mentioning that Sir Nathaniel Brent, Knight, doctor of laws and Master or keeper of the Prerogative Court as having proved Ellin Martin Estes’ 1651 will in London. (This was not my transcription so we may have shared the same source.) You query whether it was unusual that the will was sent to London. I had not pondered that question until now. I think the answer is no.
The appendix of this book, Report of the Sepulchral Monuments Committee (Society of Antiquaries of London 1872), at 14-17, lists the Returns of Ecclesiastical Appeals in Causes of Doctrine or Discipline to the High Court Delegates. Sir Nathaniel Brent, Knight, LL.D., Vicar General of the Archbishop of Canterbury is listed as a Delegate to the Commisssion in at least 1634-1639. The explanation for the list begins at 199. (There are numerous Martin/Martin references.)
The Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06, Brent, Nathaniel by Sidney Lee states that he married Martha Abbot, the niece of the Archbisop of Canterbury. “The influence of the Abbots secured Brent’s election in 1622 to the wardenship of Merton College, in succession to Sir Henry Savile. He was afterwards appointed commissary of the diocese of Canterbury, and vicar-general to the archbishop, and on Sir Henry Marten’s death became judge of the prerogative court.” (Sir Marten was born in London so the speculative connection to Ellin is diminished.)
He was knighted in 1629, and was an official with Merton College, Oxford for some time. He seems to have spent most of his years enforcing doctrinal order. He was forced from his Warden position at Merton (apparently for refusing to pledge loyalty to Oliver Cromwell). He died less than one year after proving Ellin’s will.
Sir Brent’s wikipedia page states:
On 17 May 1649 Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell paid the university a threatening visit, and malcontents were thenceforth proceeded against by the commission with rigour. But Brent grew dissatisfied with its proceedings. The visitors claimed to rule Merton College as they pleased, and, without consulting the Warden, they admitted fellows, Masters, and Bachelors of Arts. On 13 February 1651 he sent a petition of protest against the conduct of the visitors to parliament. The commissioners were ordered to answer Brent’s complaint, but there is no evidence that they did so, and in October 1651 Brent retired from the commission. On 27 November following he resigned his office of Warden, nominally in obedience to an order forbidding pluralities, but his refusal to sign ‘the engagement,’ a statement of loyalty, was a probable cause of his resignation.
It simply may be that wills from SE England were proven by the Archbishop’s office in London. “Most people who left a will used the appropriate church court. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the highest church court in England and Wales until 1858, when the national court was established, but even in the late 1850s it was only proving about 40% of the national total of 21,653 wills.Until 1858 there were more than 200 church courts each of which kept separate registers of wills – there was no central index.” National Archives. “Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) mainly relate to testators resident in the south of England, although all parts of England and Wales are represented in the records.”
More conclusively, another site states “In Surrey, as in other counties, a will could be proved in one of several courts. Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules which determine why a will might have been proved in one court over another. The only definite rule is that between 1653 and 1659 all wills had to be proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC).”
“Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Until 1858 the Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the highest court for probate jurisdiction in England and Wales. Often testators would choose to have wills proved in this court even though their will could quite easily have been proved in a lower court. It may have been in case of potential dispute or maybe they felt that it added to their social standing. Whatever the reasons, many people of wealth and positions had their wills proved here. It was also used by people who had property in more than one diocese or for those who had died overseas. The court could be used by anyone throughout England and Wales. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills from 1384 to 1858 are held by The National Archives (PROB 11 registered wills). See the National Archives online index to wills proved in the PCC. The PCC wills can also be searched online on ancestry.co.uk”
Thus, it is probably just a product of proper procedure that Ellin’s will was proven in London, and the fact that a Marten was a high ranking official in the Archbship’s office was just a coincidence and does not suggest some unusual process. The last couple hours I spent looking into this was all for naught, but we need to prove dead ends too I suppose. And, I learned something new.
His links for sources mentioned above are as follows: