In 1066, William of Normandy invaded Britain and promptly adopted the civil and geographical jurisdiction of England which the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen had set up, composed of Manors and Hundreds (or Wapentakes). The Normans fused this with their own feudal system in which the monarch owned all land, kept a lot of it and granted the rest to their loyal nobles in return for military service, and also to the Church.
This manorial system remained in place for many centuries, evolving and gradually weakening over time, and only brought to a final end in the 1920s. Because it lasted so long, its workings and records vary hugely, and to our modern senses are complicated and difficult. But the records the system produced can be vital to genealogical research in England, especially before parish registers began (1530s-50s) and for another couple of centuries after that as well.
At its simplest, the system divided up the whole of England into small chunks called ‘manors’, each held and ruled over by a ‘Lord of the manor’ and overseen collectively in groups called ‘Hundreds’ or ‘Wapentakes’.
Though manors varied in size, many consisted of a village with its surrounding land, waterways, woods and waste. There was usually a large house within the manor (a capital messuage) where the Lord would live or stay.
Every manor had a ‘manor court’ by which the Lord or their most senior servants (steward, deputy steward, bailiff) oversaw local affairs.
Each Hundred was composed of a number of local manors, ruled over collectively by a Hundred Court with responsibility for taxation, laws and keeping the peace. Local custom and practice determined how often these courts met: manor courts might be held every three weeks or only a couple of times a year, while Hundred courts traditionally met every month, reducing in importance as Sheriffs and their county-level administration took over these responsibilities.
This deed, technically a feoffment, was made between Robert Markes and Ralph Kendall als Mills on 16th of February 1629/30. It transfers ownership of property on or near the Newport Pagnell Old North Bridge for a sum of £5. See below for the transcription and analysis.
DB111/1 (16 Feb 1629) Feoffment
Cover: Robt Markes to Ralph Kendall als Mills – Feoffm’t of a Piece of Ground adjoyning to North Bridge in Newport Pagnell. Date: 16th Feb’y 1629. Wits signatures: John Wareyn; Thome (his mark) ?Wryght; George (his mark) Rabone; George ?—- (?Hall?)
As explained in the post titled Ralph Kendall als. Mills 1629-1658/9, Ralph purchased property on the Old North Bridge in Newport Pagnell. Though the bridge and anything built near or on it are long gone, there is pictorial evidence of that area.
1798 Engraving of Old North Bridge by J. Walker & T. Tagg.
This 1798 hand-colored engraving by J. Walker and T. Tagg shows the old North Bridge as seen from the north bank of the Ouse looking southwest. Its stone construction and arches are clearly present. What appears to be a two-story building in the center of the picture is approximately where the land held by the Kendall als Mills family was located. It’s highly doubtful the building in the engraving was constructed by the family as its architecture dates to a later period. As in many towns over the centuries, the buildings on this plot were built, demolished, and rebuilt multiple times.
DB111/28 Nov 1654 Deed of Gift. Ralph to John Kendall als Mills
Cover: 8th Nov’r 1654. Ralph Kendall als Mills to Jno Kendall als Mills – Deed of Gift of Messuage adjoyning to North Bridge in Newport Pagnell.
Witnesses’ signatures: Thomas (his mark) Williamson; Thomas Laughton; Godfrey Withers Sealed and delivered and quiet and peaceable possession and seisin of the Burges or Tenement and other the within granted premises was had taken and delivered by the within named Ralph Kendall otherwayes called Mills unto the (wi)thin named John Kendall otherwaies called Mills in … [end of line or endorsement not visible?]
This Indenture made the eight day of November in the yeare of Our Lord God one thousand six hundred fifty four 1654 Beetweene Ralph Kendall otherwise caled Mills of Newport Pagnell in the County of Bucks Carpenter as well for the naturall love and affection which hee beareth to John Kendall otherwayes call’d Mills his sonne As Allso for and in Consideration of a competent somme of mony to him in hand paid by the saide John Kendall the receipt whereof the saide Ralph Kendall doth acknowledge by these presents hath given granted
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
Verbatim transcript by Celia Renshaw, 7 Aug 2023, from image online at Ancestry
In the Name of God Amen The Twenty Seaventh day of August One Thousand Six hundred Sixty-Six in the Eighteenth yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of God King of England Scotland &c, I John Kendall of Newport Pagnell in the County of Bucks Carpenter being in perfect memory and remembrance praised bee God doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following.
First I give and bequeath my Soule to Almighty God my maker hopeing in the merritts and pasion of our Savior Jesus Christ to deserve the pardon and forgivenese of all my Sins. As for my Body to bee disposed and buried at the discretion of my Executor hereafter nominated.
Item I give unto my wife Martha Kendall the house now in the tenancy or occupation of Edward Sibly for the terme of her life and after her decease to returne to my Sonne John Kendall and to his heires for ever.
Item I give unto my wife Martha Kendalle the summe of Thirty pounds of lawfull money of England to bee paid to her by my Sonn John Kendalle within two yeares next insuing the date hereof.
Item I give to my Sonne John Kendall One Featherbedd one Bedstead standing in the other house, two paire of Sheets, One great Flagon one litell Flagon one Winchester quarte One Coverlid & one Blanket one posnit? two porige potts One Bolster one pillow one Bason two kettles three platters one Candlesticke two Chests two tables two Cuberds with my wearing Aparell.
Abstract of Bill and Answer analyzed by Keri-Lynn & Celia Renshaw, 8 Aug 2023, from images supplied by TNA to Keri-Lynn
Primo day of Februarie 1670
To the right honourable Sr Orlando Bridgman Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of England
First sheet: the submission of John Kendall alias Mills (referred to by us, for clarity, as John Jr. and later as Aberford John), the only child of John Kendall alias Mills Sr. and an unknown first wife. John Sr. died in the plague at Newport Pagnell in 1666, after marrying a second time, to widow Martha Mitchell. John Sr. was the son of Sherington Rafe, making him the brother of Thomas and Francis in New England and of Richard in Enfield.
John Jr., the complainant in this Chancery case, referred to himself throughout the charge as ‘Your Orator’ (standard form of address to the legal authority) – for simplicity ‘he’ or ‘John Jr.’ has been used instead.
DC13/3/1/1 (1669-1689) Property on North Bridge – the Ship & Cottages. In 1673, Kendall alias Mills to John Rawlins, messuage in occupation of George Rawbone. Other later deeds in the bundle concern Walter Beaty (Scotch chapman).
Transcription by Keri-Lynn
This Indenture made the one & thirtieth day of January in the Four and twentieth yeare of the Raigne of o[ur] Sovaigne (sovereign) Lord Charles the second by the grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland King defender of the faith &c. Between John Kendall als Mills of Newport Pagnell in the County of Bucks Carpender of the one part And John Rawlins of Stokegoldington in the County aforesaid yeoman of the other part Witnesseth that the said John Kendall als Mills for the better secureinge of a Messuage or Tenement with the appurtences in Newport Pagnell aforesaid which the said John Kendall by Indenture bearinge even date with these presents hath Conveyed to the said John Rawlins and his heires and for divers other good causes and valuable Considerations him thereunto especially moveinge Hathe Devised granted bargained and Sold And by these presents doth devise grant Bargaine and sell unto the said John Rawlins and his assignes All That messuage or Tenement with the appurtences scituate neare the North Bridge in Newport Pagnell aforesaid now in the occupacon of George Rawbone Together with all houses edifices buildings barnes Stables yards orchards gardens backsides hedges ditches trees fences mounds wayes Easements Commons proffitts and Comodityes whatsoever unto the said Messuage or Tenement belonginge or in anywise appertaineinge And also the reversion and reversions remainder and remainders thereof And all the Estate right Title Interest Claime and demand whatsoever of him the said John Kendall als Mills of in and to the same premisses and evry part thereof and Coppyes of all deeds writeinges and Evidences concerning the same premisses To have and hold The said Messuage
DB111/6 Sale by lease & release, Lease 1 Sep 1681
Transcription by Celia Renshaw
Cover: 1st Sep 1681. Geo: Rawbone & others to Jerem’h Smallridge – Lease for a year
Endorsed: Sealed and delivered by the within named George Rawbone and Martha his wife, in the p’sence of: Tho Chapman; Rich. Saunders.
Sealed and delivered by the within named John Kendall als Milles & Martha his wife in the p’sence of: Rich: Saunders; John Smalridge
Text: This Indenture made the first day of September in the three and thirtieth year of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles the second by the grace of god of England &c Annoq Dmi 1681 Betweene George Rawbone of Newport Pagnell in the County of Buks Carpender and Martha his wife and John Kendall otherwise Milles of Abberforth (Aberford) in the County of yorke Carpender and Martha his wife of the one parte And Jeremiah Smalridge of Newport Pagnell in the county of Bucks Maltster of the other part Witnesseth that the said George Rawbone and Martha his wife John Kendall otherwise Milles and Martha his wife, for and in consideration of the summe of Six pence unto them or one of them in hand paid and for other divers good causes and valuable considerations them hereunto moveing hath granted bargained and sold and by these p’sents doe grant bargaine & sell unto the said Jeremiah Smalridge his Executors,
This is a descendancy chart for the known children and grandchildren of Ralph Kendall als Mills. He and his descendants were documented with multiple surname spellings throughout their lifetimes. Some used the full alias, while others used only Kendall or only Mills; some switched between the alias and using just one surname. Keep in mind that clerks and vicars were writing their names for them. We know for a certainly that most of the family members were illiterate as they typically signed their names with a mark, so they were dependent on others to write their name. From Ralph’s time onward, his descendants which stayed in England mostly used the Mills surname, though some continued with Kendall. Ralph’s North American descendants mostly used the Kendall surname.
The place names for the birth events for Ralph’s family on the family group sheets and pedigree chart are derived from christening events. Though we cannot be sure individuals were born in the same location they were christened, that is what generally happens and if birth events are not entered on RootsMagic no date or place will show up in a pedigree chart.
Several more generations of descendants from Thomas and Francis have been researched and are available at FamilySearch and on Ancestry Trees and other websites. The list below is provided to show the known children and grandchildren of Ralph Kendall als. Mills and their spouses. In the descendancy chart, the children of Ralph are in red and his grandchildren are in green.