To the Right Honorable Heneage Lord Ffinch Baron of Daventry Lord High Chancellor of England

Humbly Complaining Shewe unto yr Lordshipe Yr Orators Thomas Bland of Westham in the County of Essex Esquire and Katherine his wife Henry Gibbons of *** of Kent Esquire Henry Horne of *** Hall in the County of Lincoln knight of the Bath Sr William Boreman of Greenwich in the County of Kent Knight that Richard Spencer late of Orpington in the said County of Kent esquire deceased being in his life tyme and at his death inter ad seized to him and his heires of the Rectory or parsonage of Orpington aforesaid and all its Houses Glebe lands Tithes profitts comodities and emoluments thereunto belonging by virtue of an order dated on or about the ffourth day of December One Thousand Six Hundred ffourty One made by Henry Robinson Clarke then parson of the said parsonage for and during the lives of the right honorable John Lord Viscount Barkley Edward Spencer son and heir of the said Richard Spencer and John Dormer Esquire son and heir of Fleetwood Dormer at a certaine yearly rent which said lease afterwards confirmed by his then Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury the said Archbishop being patron and Ordinary of the said rectory or parsonage And the said Richard Spencer being greatly engaged and in great trouble for his loyalty to the late King Charles I and thereby had contracted great debts and forced to forsake his house Did persuade Mary his wife to join with him in a ffine and deed of bargain and sale of certain lands settled upon his wife for her jointure before her marriage of a great yearly value for and towards the discharging part of his debts in honor thereof promised and agreed to settle upon the said Mary the said rectory or Parsonage during her natural life and then afterwards remaining to his two daughters viz Margaret late the wife of John Venables Esquire and Elizabeth Spencer, Mary his other daughter being provided for in his lifetime to whom he gave One Thousand Ffive Hundred pounds upon her marriage with William Gee of Bishop Burton in Yorke Esquire which said Deed of settlement made upon the said Mary Spencer in Lieue of her jointure by some casuall means was lost in the life of the said Richard Spencer or got from the said Mary by some indirect wayes of the looseing of which said deed of settlement the said Mary in her life time made oath And the said Richard Spencer being conscious to himself of his said promise and ingagement to Mary his said wife in respect of her parting with her said jointure and that he was willing to do as much as in him lay to provide for his said wife during her life did by his last will and testament in writing bearing date in or about the year of our Lord God One Thousand Six Hundred One ***enjoy the said Rectory or parsonage during her life and if any of the lives then in being did happen to dye that the said Mary his wife the uses devise and appoint that the said Mary his wife should add thereunto another life and the said Richard Spencer that after the death of the said Mary his wife the whole benefit of the said lease should come to the daughters Margaret and Elizabeth Spencer and the said Margaret afterwards marryd with John Venables and she is since dead And of the said Will the said Richard Spencer made Mary Spencer his said Executrix the said Richard Spencer not very long after dyed very much indebted after which the said Mary his wife proved the said will and took upon her the Execution thereof and possessed herself of what goods plate and household stuff pictures and other things which he the said Richard Spencer had at his death and which she could come by a particular of the greatest part yr Orators have mentioned in a schedule annexed to this their bill to the end the confederates hereafter mentioned may make particular Answer unto and whatever the same were not the proper goods of the said Testator And yr Orators also shewe that by virtue of the said bill she the said Executrix immediately after her said husband’s death entered upon the said Rectory or parsonage and quietly enjoyed the same for some years but afterwards very many suits and differences did arise between her and the inhabitants touching the Tithes of the said Rectory to her great charge and expense. And she the said Executrix was also at great charge and expense of money for the providing for and educating for the said Margaret and Elizabeth they both living in the house with the said Mary their mother and guardian for about nine years and who all the while maintained them with dyett Lodging apparel physick and other necessaries becoming their condition and quality at the great charge of the said Mary their mother which did not nor could stand the said Mary in less than £40 per annum apeece as they well knowe being of about twenty years old apiece and entrusted by their said mother to keepe her Acompts and took notice and was present and privy to all or most of the expenses paynes and troubles the said Mary their said mother was at in all that time and they the said Mary Gee and Elizabeth Spencer or one of them or some of them by their order and * ** years before the death of their said mother caused entries at law to be made on the said Rectory or parsonage and commenced against her suites in this court to discover their mother’s title they the said Mary Gee, Elizabeth Spencer and Margaret Spencer pretending a Claim or interest in the said Rectory or parsonage with the appurtenances and that the rents and profitts of the said Rectory in which their mother lived belonged to them the said three daughters and that the said Richard their father had noe power to devise the same though they often in the life time of their said father heard him declare that his intent and purpose was that the said Mary their mother should enjoy the said Rectory and premises during her life and they the said three daughters or some of them have often soe confessed the same to be true to divers persons yet notwithstanding in Trinity Term One Thousand Six Hundred and Seventy ffive the said Elizabeth Spencer the daughter did exhibit her bill in this honorable court against the said Mary her mother to be relieved for the said Rectory or parsonage *** of Orpington aforesaid and to have satisfaccion and an accompt for the rents and profits thereof from the death of their father which happened in the year One Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty One and the said Mary her mother having putt in an Answer and pleaded that she had notice of the arguing thereof and haveing made her last Will and Testament in writing and the Oratrix and Orators Henry Gilbourne Sir Henrye Horne and Sir William Boreman Executors thereof who since her death proved the said Will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury by which Will she gave away divers legacies and by virtue of the said Will probate thereof your Orators became well intitled to the personal estate of the said Richard and Mary Spencer deceased and Elizabeth Spencer the daughter hath lately *** the said former suite agst yr Orators and Oratrix to that cause coming to heareing in this honorable Court upon the 26 May last when it was decreed that yr Oratrix and Orators would come to an account the proffits of the rectory were used by the said Mary the testatrix and after the decease of Richard Spencer her Testator and that William Gee and Mary his wife the defendants should also come into the Account and have the benefit thereof to their third of the Fund promised and that the said four then also defendants *** Margaret (she being dead) should also come into the said Accompt they then contributing to the said then Complaynant Elizabeth two thirds of her costs and a *** of this court appointed to take the said Account a to the proffits aof the said premisses wereined by the said Mary Spnecer deceased and make all just allowances but by a *** was said John Venables the also Defendant as Ad
ministrator of his said wife Margaret (she being dead) John Venables was expected out of the said Accompt as to all the profits received by the said Mary Spencer deceased. As by the said Bill Answeres, proofs orders *** proceedings *** being thereunto had appeareth which Accounts the said Elizabeth Spencer prosecuteth against yr Orator and Oratrix whithout violence and had since also *** honorable court against your orators to discover the personal estate of the said Testatrix and the said JohnVenables and Williiam Gee and his wife *** of your oratros and oratrix both in this court and at Laws and the said Venables by himself hath brought one or more suites in his Majestys Court of exchequer *** Katherine his wife by the *** of the said Elizabeth Spencer and wm Gee his said wife albeit the said John Venables hath by writing under *** therein mentioned deceased and excluded himself from all tithes interest profits and demands whatsoever inor to the said Rectory and premises or *** for the same whose said writing the said John Venables by indirect means hath gotten from your orator Thoms Bland and Katharine his wife and doth *** Mr Gee and his wife the said Elizabeth and said Margaret the late wife of the said Venables who lived in the house with their mother and were *** Debts and funerary charges of the said Richard Spencer their father and entered the same downe*** in Bookes*** and papers pat*** for that purpose with *** by their said mothers order and with her money and did and doe well know the *** payments that would yearly go out of the said Rectory

*At this point the writing becomes increasingly difficult to read due to heavy creases and folds in the parchment. The above transcription represents about one quarter of the entire document.

Historic Orpington