I’ve been exploring the background of John Elliott (1626 – 1674), the first husband of my 8 x great grandmother Elizabeth Greene née Leete, in the hope that it might shed some light on Elizabeth’s own origins, as well as providing useful context for my ancestors’ lives in seventeenth-century England.

Old map of part of Northamptonshire, including Raunds

In my last post I wrote about John’s first marriage, to a woman named Ursula or Ursly. I still haven’t found any record of John’s birth, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that his family origins lie somewhere in Northamptonshire. In his will of February 1672, John writes:

I will give and bequeath unto my very Loveing Kinswoman Alice Flintam the daughter of Phillipp Flintam late of Raunds in the County of Northampton deceased the sume of five pounds of good And Lawfull money of England to be paid unto her appon her daye of Marriage by my Executrix hereafter. 

As with other wills I’ve examined, it’s frustrating that the writer uses the vague term ‘kinswoman’ rather than specifying the nature of his relationship to her. Was Alice his cousin or his niece? Was she a blood relative or a relation by marriage? I’ve managed to find records for Alice and her father Philip, thanks to the sterling work of the Rushden and District History Society Research Group in putting many of their local parish registers online. The Flintam or Flintham  family feature prominently in the records of Raunds parish church. Alice Flintham was christened there on 16th September 1653: she was the daughter of Philip and Elizabeth Flintham. This means that she would have been about twenty years old when her relative John Elliott died. Sadly, she would not live long enough to enjoy the sum of money bequeathed to her: Alice died in the following year and was buried in Raunds on 8th December 1675.

Parish church of St Peter, Raunds

There is no trace of the marriage of Philip and Elizabeth Flintham in the Raunds register, so it’s not possible to determine whether the Flinthams were connected to the Elliotts by marriage. There are plenty of Elliotts among those christened, married and buried in the parish around this time, but none matching the details we have for John Elliott. However, another surname that does feature prominently in the local records and provides an additional link with the Elliott family is Ekins. In his will, John Elliott leaves money to another relative, Joseph Elliott:

I will give and bequeath unto my very Loveing Kinsman Joseph Elliot son of Joseph Eliott late of the parish of Stepney in the County of Middx Cooper deceased the sume of five pounds of Lawfull money of England to the putting of him forth to be an Apprentice.

In my earlier post about John Elliott’s will, I traced the family of Joseph Elliott, citizen and cooper of London. Judging by the dates when his children were born, Joseph Elliott the elder was probably about the same age as John Elliott – making it possible that the two men were brothers, and that Joseph the younger, to whom Joseph left money to pay for his apprenticeship, was his nephew. Joseph senior must have married his wife Anna by 1650 at the latest, though I’ve yet to find a record of their marriage. If the order in which Joseph lists his children in his will (written in 1660) reflects their order of birth, then Jane was born first, though a record of her baptism has yet to come to light.

Red Maid Lane and the Hermitage area are visible in the bottom left-hand corner of this section of Rocque’s 1746 map of London

The first child of Joseph and Anna Elliott for whom we have a record is their daughter Joanna, who was christened at St Dunstan’s, Stepney, on 11th June 1651. Joseph is said to be a cooper and the family’s address is the Hermitage, an area on the borders of Stepney and East Smithfield (see map above). Joseph and Anna Elliott were at the same address when their son John was baptised on 3rd May 1654. When their daughter Ann was christened on 16th March in the following year, the Elliotts were at an address that is difficult to decipher, though the second word appears to be ‘Rents’. Joseph Elliott the younger was baptised on 18th January 1659, when his parents were living at ‘Redmayde’ (Red Maid) Lane. We know that Joseph was the Elliotts’ last child, as Anna died shortly after giving birth to him and was buried at St Dunstan’s on 14th April 1659. Since her address is said once again to be the Hermitage, it’s possible that all of the addresses given in the parish records actually referred to the same place.

Joseph Elliott the elder wrote his last will and testament just over a year after his wife’s death, signing and sealing it on 15th November 1660. I haven’t found a record of Joseph’s death or burial, but we know that the will was proven in 1661. The death of their father would have left the Elliott children as orphans: Jane would have been 11 years old or thereabouts, Joanna 10, John 7, Ann 6 and Joseph only 2. I wonder if John Elliott and his wife Ursly became the guardians of some or all of these children?

Joseph Elliott’s will mentions, among other beneficiaries, his sister-in-law Katharine Ekins: presumably the sister of his late wife Anna. Despite the many records for this family in the Raunds register, I’ve yet to find one for Katharine, so I can’t tell whether it was her maiden or married name. Among the notable members of the family in the seventeenth century were Thomas Ekins (c.1650 – 1702) of Rushden, Member of Parliament for Higham Ferrers, and Rev. Robert Ekins, a minister at Oakham who was ejected from his living at the Restoration and became a prominent Nonconformist.

These connections suggest that John and Joseph Elliott may themselves have been born in Northamptonshire. Not only that, but their wives may have had roots in the area too.