Hannah & Samuel Howse's Ancestor

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Note: Before 1752 the year began on March 25th. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year, not the beginning.

Reverend John Howse was born between 1560 and 1566, some researchers say in Eastwell, Kent, England, but show no documentation, and it  is very unlikely. He is said to be a younger son of Thomas Hulse and Alice Hinton, but again there is no documentation that he is their son, although they did have a son named Thomas. Some researchers say he was born at Cossington, Leicestershire, some 95 miles northwest of London, in 1564, but again with no documentation. Other researchers believe he is from the Besthorpe Howse’s of Norfolk County, that Joshua Crowell Howes outlined in his book Genealogy of the Howes Family in America, but again shows no connection to our John. The Evans Family website states, “Indeed, this geography would be favorable in support of his education at Cambridge, his marriage in nearby Suffolk, and his probable Puritan sympathies, since the general region of East Anglia was a stronghold of Puritan sentiment. Moreover, due to the custom of primogeniture it was common for younger sons of country gentlemen to enter the service of the Church, since they did not inherit land. Nevertheless, although these coincidences are suggestive, they remain entirely unsubstantiated and the origin of John Howse and his wife must be properly regarded as unknown.” Thus his ancestry remains a mystery.

Researchers say John married Alice, surname said to be Lloyd, on August 30, 1592 in Eastwell, but a marriage record for them can’t be found in the Eastwell church register. Others say they married in Lavenham, Suffolk County, which is a possibility. There is an entry for a Jn Howse & Alce Smith als Hubbard who married in 1588 in Yoxford in Boyd’s Marriage Index for Suffolk, which is also a possiblity. (Yoxford is about 94 miles northeast of London.) They may have been married in Egerton, as he was the curate there in 1592. Unfortunately, records for that church are missing from mid 1587 to mid 1593. So her surname and their marriage date are unknown. Some researchers go on to say she could have been a second wife.

After study at Cambridge University John was licensed to serve St. James Church in Egerton, (mouse over photo right) about 17 miles from Canterbury. Some researchers say they then moved to Ashford, but a plaque on the wall of St. James’ church has him listed as a vicar there until 1603, and in April of 1603, he became the minister at St. Mary’s Church in Eastwell. So the Ashford reference is unlikely, But it should be noted that both Egerton and Eastwell are in the Ashford Borough, so those that say they moved to Ashford, probably don’t mean the town of Ashford. In the book “English Origins of New England Families Vol. 1 First Series,” it reads in part: “It is evident that Rev. John Howse had older children, who were born before he settled at Eastwell, and among them was a daughter Hannah.” They had at least nine children, all born in Kent County — ancestor Hannah, their eldest child; Elizabeth, baptized on August 24, 1595, at St. James’ Church in Egerton, (see note below), married at a young age to John Champion in Eastwell on September 28, 1607, and was a witness to her father’s will; daughter Penimah, baptized on April 11,1596, also in Egerton, married Robert Linnell; Drusilla born about 1601, (Egerton baptism records for this time are missing), married Simon Player in Eastwell on April 17, 1637; ancestor Samuel; son John was baptized on June 19, 1603, (the second entry, after an April entry, on the first page signed by his father) in Eastwell, married Marye Osborne there on September 18, 1623; Priscilla baptized on August 25, 1605, in Eastwell, died there at the age of 13 and was buried on November of 1618; Thomas, who is said to have been baptized on August 21, 1608, in Eastwell, married a woman named Elizabeth, and died in London at 36 years old in 1644; and Henrie baptized on June 28, 1612, in Eastwell. Baptismal records are not available for all of these children, because some pages of the registers are missing or have been damaged and are unreadable. But it is believed that the last seven children were all born in Eastwell. The baptism records for those born there are the church records their father Rev. John Howse entered into the Bishop's Transcripts of County Kent. Note about Elizabeth: in the Egerton records there is a baptism entry for an Elizabeth, daughter of John, that could be Howse, for the date noted. This record is on the page in-between Hannah’s and Penimah’s baptism records, but this page it is not signed by John Howse, as the other two pages are. It is also transcribed with the surname of Knocke. So this may or may not be our Elizabeth. it should also be remembered that baptism dates are not birthdates, so these children could have been born some time prior to their baptism.

John, called the “parson of Eastwell,” wrote his Nuncupative Will (filed in the Consistory Court of Canterbury, volume 49, fo. 306) on August 30, 1630. (Mouse over and click on the image of his will on left to enlarge it in a new window/tab.) In it he wrote, “To my wife Alice all my goods, and I make her my sole exectrix.” The will was witnessed by “Elizabeth Champion, one of the testators daughters, Drusilla Howes, and Mrs. Joane Wallis.” John died shortly afterward in Eastwell and was buried there in the St. Mary's churchyard on September 2nd as Mr John Howse. His will was proved on September 8th by his wife.

After her husband died, Alice did not remarry after his death. She lived as a widow for another 10 years in Eastwell. She died and was buried in the St Mary's Churchyard there on July 17, 1640. Her burial record is recorded on the 1639/40 page of the Eastwell Parish Register and simply says “Allice Howse June 17.” (Mouse over and click on her burial record image left to enlarge it in a new window/tab.)

St. Mary's (mouse over photo right) was an Anglican parish church in the hamlet of Eastwell, dating back to the 15th century that today in in ruins. In 1951 the roof of the nave collapsed, and the remaining shell of the church was demolished in 1956, leaving only the 15th century footings and tower, and the 19th century mortuary chapel. There is a churchyard cemetery that is next to the ruins, but it is not certain that John and Alice’s graves are still there. We do know that most of the monuments are in the care of the Victoria and Albert Museum which includes two chest tombs of nobility.

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