1666 Deed of Settlement from John Kendall als Mills to his betrothed, Martha Mitchell

Title Deed

DB111/3 (18 May 1666) Deed of settlement[1] 


Cover: 18th May 18 Charles2 (1666): Jn Kendall to Robt Hooton in trust – Deed of Settlem’t of house adjoyn’g to North Bridge in Newport Pagnell. 

This Indenture made the eighteenth daye of Maye in the eightteenth yeare of the raigne of our most gratious Sovereigne Lord Charles the second by the grace of God King of England &c Betweene John Milles alias Kendall of Newport Pagnell in the Countie of Bucks Carpenter of the one part and Robert Hootton of Newport Pagnell aforesaid mercer and Martha Michell of Newport Pagnell aforesaid widdow of the other part, Witnesseth that whereas there is a marriage intended shortly to be had and solemnised by and betwene the said John Milles alias Kendall and the said Martha Michell and allsoe For the better provideinge of a livelyhood for the Said Martha Michell in case she happen to survive the said John Milles alias Kendall her intended husband the Said John Milles otherwise Kendall hath demised given grannted bargained sold aliened released infeoffed and confirmed And by these presents doth devise give grante bargaine sell allien release infeoff and confirm unto the said Robert Hootton his heires and assignes All that Messuage or tenement with the appurtenances scituate and being in Newport Pagnell aforesaid and adioyninge to a bridge called north bridge and now in the tenure or occupation of Edward Sibley togither with all

yards gardens backsides wayes easments commons proffits and Commodities whatsoever unto the said messuage or tenement belongeinge or in any wise apperteineing and alsoe the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders thereof all the estate righte title interest terme of yeares Claimes and demandes whatsoever of him the aforesaid John Milles otherwise Kendall of and in the aforesaid premisses and every part thereof togither with all deeds writeinges evidences scripts and miniments whatsoever touching or concerning the aforesaid premisses or any pte thereof To have and to hold the aforesaid messuage or tenement and premisses with appurtenances and every part thereof (interlined: from the day of the decease of) unto the said Robert Hooton his heires and assignes (interlined: for and dureing the terme of four hundred years next ensuing) to and For such uses intents and purposses as is hereafter in and by these presents mentioned and expressed and to and for noe other intent or purpose whatsoever that is to saye to the use and behoofe of the said John Mills otherwise Kendall and Mather Michell For and dureing (crossed out words) of their naturall lives and the life of the longer lived of them and From and after their deceases then to the use and behoofe of the right heires of the said John Milles otherwise Kendall For ever To bee holden of th’Cheife Lord or Lords of the fees thereof by the rents and Services theirefore anciently due and of right accustomed And the said John Milles otherwise Kendall doth heireby for him and his heires grante that he? and they the aforesaid ?premisses with the appurtenances [a few words lost in the fold] part thereof (interlined: for the terme aforesaid) unto the said Robert Hootton his heires and assignes (interlined: for the uses aforesaid) against him the said John Milles otherwise Kendall his heires and assignes all other person or persons whatsoever shall and will warrent acquit and For ever defend by these presents And the said John Milles otherwise Kendall for himself his heires executors & Administrators and assignes and every of them doth Covenant promise grante and agree to and with the said Robert Hootton his heires and assignes and every of them that hee the said Robert Hooton his heires and assignes and every of them shall and lawfully may From time to time and att all ltimes hereafter (interlined: dureing the said terme) peaceably and quietly have hold use occupy possess and enioye all and singular the aforesaid premisses and every part thereof togither with the rents issues and profitts of the same For the usses aforesaid without the lett trouble or deiniall of or by the said John Milles otherwise Kendall his heires or assignes or any other person or persons whatsoever In Witnesse whereof the parties aforesaid to these present Indentures interchangeably have sett their hands and seales the day and yeare first above written Annoq’ Ann 1666. 

Signed/sealed: the marke of the said John Milles als Kendall 

Sealed and delivered in the presence: Richard Barton; Edward (the X marke of) Milles als Kendall; J Chapman. 

Verbatim transcribed by Celia Renshaw, 27 July 2023 

Settlement deeds 

This is a deed of settlement. It is essentially a type of trust.[2] Settlement deeds were a way of ensuring property remained in the same family, most often the descendants or dependents of the owner. A freeholder who wanted to draw up a trust would convey his property to a trustee or body of trustees. In this deed it was Robert Hooton.[3] Trustees were normally relations or friends, who would hold the property on the owner’s behalf during his lifetime and then in trust for specified heirs. Such settlements were commonly drawn up at the time of a marriage, or when children reached the age of twenty-one.

Settlement deeds usually go into detail describing the land to ensure the full parcel remains in the hands of the trustees rather than in the possession of only one family member who might be able to sell it off. A marriage settlement could include an arrangement for the payment of an annual income for the owner’s wife, should she outlive her husband, and it could specify allocations to children of that marriage. In this instance, John’s settlement names only Martha Mitchell while specifying that the property will go to John’s “right heirs” after both of John Sr.’s and Martha’s deaths. Sometimes part of the estate was purposely excluded from the settlement, leaving it available for mortgaging or selling to raise capital in the future.


Although this deed seems to be written like a draft version, with changes and interlinings, it is signed and witnessed so it is an official document. It may have been created quickly due to the arrival of the plague in Newport Pagnell that year.  

No marriage record was found for John and Martha, but it must have happened between 18 May 1666, when John had this deed drawn up, and 27 August 1666, the date he dictated his will in which he named Martha as his wife.[4] The Newport Pagnell register shows only a few marriages in 1666, before and after the plague. John and Martha may have married immediately after the deed was completed, possibly not in the church. However, given the vast number of burials entered in the parish register that summer, one marriage amongst so many other events may have gone unrecorded. 

John was buried in Newport Pagnell on 30 August 1666, three days after his will was written.[5] In his will, he bestowed ownership on his wife (as a dower right) of a property leased by an Edward Sibley, which would then go to his son, John Jr., after Martha’s death. No physical description of the property was included in the will, nor is Edward Sibley mentioned in the deed of settlement. Without a descriptive overlap, it is difficult to be completely certain the will covers all the land John received from his father in 1654. The will may be referencing all of the Old North Bridge property, or John may have owned or leased other property. No additional deeds for John have been thus far discovered, but that does not preclude the possibility of owning or leasing other land.[6]

Martha Mitchell

With John Sr.’s death, Martha was widowed for the second time in about three years. The Newport Pagnell parish registers show Martha was likely the widow of John Mitchell (var. Michell and Michael) who was buried at Newport Pagnell on 7 Aug 1663.[7] His will was written 7 Aug 1663 and proved 24 Mar 1664 in Buckinghamshire.[8] Four or five children of John and Martha Mitchell were baptised c1653-1664 (the last one possibly posthumous).[9] All or nearly all of them died before or during the plague. Martha’s stepson, John Jr. may have been the only child in that blended family to survive to adulthood.[10] No baptism has been found for him, but John Sr.’s first marriage must have been about 1645 to 1650 (during the Civil Wars when many parish records were unkept or chaotic) to produce a son who was sufficiently adult in 1673 to carry out a deed.[11] 

We don’t know Martha’s maiden name but Robert Hooton as a trustee for the settlement deed is suggestive, though he could instead be related to John or his first wife. It’s notable that John didn’t name his son, John Jr., as heir in the deed. John Jr. was a teenager in 1666.  Perhaps John, or his solicitor/deed-writer were protecting against a later possibility by bequeathing the property to his “right heirs.” For example, they didn’t know if Martha was already expecting or how long John would live, so they could have had more children. Sadly, the plague put a stop to that. 

About a year after John’s death, Martha married George Rawbone on 3 Sep 1667 at Newport Pagnell.[12] George was named as occupier of the Old North Bridge property (later the Ship) in 1673 when John Kendall als Mills Jr. feoffed it to John Rawlins of Stoke Goldington.[13] But before that happened, a displeased John Jr. brought a lawsuit against his uncle, Richard, and his stepmother and her husband in 1670, details of which can be found in the 1670 Chancery case.[14]

Other posts in this series:

1629/30 Robert Markes to Ralph Kendall als Mills

Land of the Kendall alias Mills Family

1654 Deed of Gift from Ralph Kendall alias Mills to his son, John

1666 Will of John Kendall (alias Mills)

1670 Chancery Case: Kendall vs. Kendall

1673/74 John Jr. and the Old North Bridge Property

1681 Lease and Release to Jeremiah Smalridge

[1] Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, original deed of settlement DB 111/3, John Kendall als Mills to betrothed wife, Martha, and Robert Hootton (1666); Aylesbury Buckinghamshire Record Office.

[2] Tim Wormleighton, Title Deeds for Family Historians (Bury, Lancashire: The Family History Partnership, 2012), 22.

[3] It was unusual to have only one person named as a trustee. According to N. W. Alcock in Old Title Deeds, a pair of trustees, generally one related to the bride and one to the groom were the norm for a marriage settlement deed. It’s possible the decimating effects of the plague caused this deed to be both hasty and less complete than usual.

[4] “England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858,” database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 March 2023), John Kendall, 1666.

[5] England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1718, bur. John Kendall als. Miles, 1666, FHL microfilm 1042392, items 14-16; digitized images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 13 April 2023).

[6] Without a physical description of the land in the will, it is not possible to state conclusively that Edward Sibley was renting the Old North Bridge property. John, Martha, John Jr, and John’s newly acquired stepchildren would have needed a place to live during their all-too-brief time together. They may have leased a property, owned another parcel, or lived with family, but no other land record for John has been found to confirm any supposition.

[7] England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1718, bur. John Mitchell 1663, FHL microfilm 1042392.

[8] Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury Probate Records 1545-1857: D/A/WF/1/42/230, John Mitchell, image group # 107184160, no item number; digital images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org: accessed 25 July 2023).  

[9] England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1718, baptisms for children of John Mitchell 1663, FHL microfilm 1042392.

[10] England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1718, burials for children of John and Martha Mitchell , FHL microfilm 1042392.

Children: from the 1663 will of John Mitchell were Susannah (bur 14 Jan 1664/5), Martha (26 Feb 26 1654/5-4 Aug 1666), John (19 Nov1657- 14 Aug 1666), William (bur either 9 or 27 Aug 1666). Ann may have been born posthumously (15 May 1664), and may have passed in 1666 as well.

[11] Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, original counterpart of feoffment DC13/3/1/1 (1673/4), John Kendall alias Mills (Jr) to John Rawlins of Stoke Goldington; Aylesbury Buckinghamshire Record Office. A 1670 Chancery case brought by John Jr. is an indication he was about 20 or 21 that year, making him around 16 when his father passed, thus creating a likely birth of about 1650.

[12] England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1718, mar Martha Kendall to George Rawbone, 1667, FHL microfilm 1042392.

[13] Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, original counterpart of feoffment DC13/3/1/1 (1673/4), John Kendall alias Mills (Jr) to John Rawlins of Stoke Goldington.

[14] The National Archives of the UK (TNA) Chancery ref. C 8/172/47 (1670), John Kendall als. Mills vs Richard Kendall als Mills, William Bristowe and Martha Kendall.

Author: ancestorquests

I'm Keri-Lynn, an "amateur professional" genealogist. I have a degree in Family History and have been researching my family lines for many years.

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