More on the Gravener family

In my last post I wrote about the Graveners of London, a number of whom were beneficiaries of the 1652 will of Stepney widow Elizabeth Greene, and about their links with the Medlicott, Monger and Dixon families, also mentioned in the same will. Since writing the post, I’ve discovered some additional facts about the Graveners.

According to the family pedigree in the 1634 Visitation of  London, Robert Gravener or Gravenor was the second son of William Gravenor, of Hollis in the parish of Enville in Staffordshire, and his wife Frances Clarke. Their elder son was John Gravener. According to this same source, Robert Gravener married Joane, daughter of Richard Nicholls of Hendon, Middlesex. In 1634, Robert (the elder) had four children living: Robert (the younger), Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth. These were the daughters who married John Monger, William Medlicott  and Thomas Dickson respectively.

If this information is accurate, it means that the younger Robert must have died some time between 1652, when Elizabeth Greene mentions him in her will, and 1656, when Robert the elder composed his own will, which does not mention a surviving son. The pedigree in the Visitation also suggests that the three Gravener daughters were still unmarried in 1634, which provides some clue as to their ages. Elizabeth Greene’s will also mentions ‘my cousin John Gravener the sonne of John Gravener’: could this refer to the son of Robert Gravener’s older brother?

In his will, Robert Gravener refers to his part ownership of a ship called the ‘Lisborne Marchant’ and bequeaths the money from the sale of his share to ‘Master Roger Garland and Captaine Bayley.’ It seems that the Lisbon Merchant was a hired merchant ship that formed part of the Commonwealth Navy in the 1650s.  It carried 34 guns in 1652 and 38 guns in 1653. The ship took part in the Battle of the Kentish Knock against the Dutch in October 1652, when it was commanded by Captain Simon Bailey.

Action between English and Dutch ships in the First Dutch War (painting by Abraham Willaerts)

Simon Bailey is almost certainly the ‘captaine Bayley’ of Robert Gravener’s will. I suspect he is also identical with the ‘Goodman Bayley’ of Deptford, mariner, whose wife Rebecca was one of the beneficiaries of Elizabeth Greene’s 1652 will, receiving her best mohair kirtle and one of her best frocks.

Besides Robert Gravener, his daughters and his sons-in-law, Elizabeth Greene also mentions other members of the Gravener family about whom I’ve so far managed to discover little. Among these is ‘my cousin Elizabeth Gravener the daughter of Master Humphrey Gravener deceased’. I’ve now managed to find Humphrey Gravener listed in the Charter of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, granted by King James I in 1606. Then, in 21st October 1647, we have the burial record of ‘Mr Humphrey Gravenor’ at the church of St Faith under St Paul in the City of London. This tallies with a will written in August of the same year, by Humphrey Gravenor, a grocer (but then I understand apothecaries were originally members of the Grocers’ Company) which I’ve just acquired and am in the process of deciphering. I’m hoping it will provide further clues at to the links between Elizabeth Greene and the Gravener family: watch this space.

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