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   Chapter 15 THE ARDENS OF LONGCROFT

Shakespeare's Family By C. C. Stopes Characters: 7649

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


This main line of Ardens having thus become extinct, we have to go back some generations to find the younger branch that carried on the name. Simon, the second son of the Thomas Arden who died in 1563, brother of the William Arden who died 1546, and uncle of Edward Arden, who was executed 1583, seems to have been an important man in his own day. He was much trusted by his father and nephew, and was elected Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1569, when he bore as arms three cross crosslets fitchée, and a chief or.[427] His first wife was Margaret; his second Christian,[428] widow of Thomas Bond, of Ward End. In a catalogue of all the noblemen and gentlemen resident in Warwickshire, 1577-78, by Henry Ferrers, of Baddesley, is mentioned Edward Arden, of Park Hall, and Simon Arden, of Saltley, his uncle;[429] and in the Subsidy for Warwickshire, 1581, he is mentioned as one of "those collecting, and not assessed themselves."[430] During the first half of Elizabeth's reign he purchased Longcroft, in the parish of Yoxall, Staffordshire, a property that had previously been in the family. In 18 Elizabeth (1576) he found one light horse for the royal service there, and paid to the Subsidy of 1590, 26s. 8d. for his lands at Yoxall, valued at £10.[431] He seems, however, to have got into trouble in his old age. The draft of a petition of his (circa 1595-98) is preserved among the Longcroft papers,[432] which is well worthy of being transcribed:

"To the most honourable the Lord High Treasurer of England.

"The most humble petition of Simon Arden, of the age of 100 years or thereabouts, praying your good Lordship's aid in his owld age against the great wrongs and oppressions offered by Edward Darcie, Esquire, one of the grooms of her Majestie's Privy Chamber.

"As by the enclosed may plainlie apeare:

{The Pedigree. John Arden had issue Thomas.

{Thomas had issue William, Simon, George, Edward, Thomas.

{William had issue Edward & Francis.

{Edward had issue vivens Robert.

"The said John Arden did infeff John Kingsmel, Sergeant-at-Lawe, Sir Richard Empson, Sir Richard Knightley, Sir Robert Throgmorton,[433] Knights, and others, of the manor of Crudworth, and other lands in the county of Warwick, to divers uses; the said Thomas, being seized in fee, granted to me, and his said other sons, dyvers several annuities, being all the patrimony he provided for the same his younger sons. The said Thomas did afterwards make other assurances to the said William. The said annuities were paid unto all the said younger sons during their lives, and unto me till the attainder of Edward Arden. By which means the premises came into the hands of her Majestie, in what time that the same remained in her hands, by your Honor's order I was paid mine annuitie, being 20 marks by the year. And after that the same was granted to the said Edward Darcie, your Lordship did likewise very honorably apporcion how much thereof should be yearely paid unto me by the said Edward Darcie, and how much otherwise, according to which aporcionment the said Edward Darcy paid his part thereof unto me foure or five yeares, and about six yeares sithence denyd so to do, urging me with seutes in the Court of Requests, and in the Honourable Court of Exchequer Chamber, and at the Common Law. Also for the space of vi yeares now together seeking by this countenance to oppress me. The said Robert Arden payeth unto me the porcion of the said annuity apointed by your Lordship's order, or rather more thereof than he was charged with by your order, and I have desired but ye residew of Mr. Darcie. I have had judgment against him in the Common Place, he hath removed the record into the King's Bench by writ of Error; so yt by injunction out of the Court of the Exchequer Chamber to entertain time and delay me til deat

h hath wholy interred my ancient bodie already more than half in grave, knowing, Mors solvit omnia, by my death my cause wil be remeadiless.

"Be therefore so much, my good Lord, as to take my cause into your own hands, and for God's sake to end it. I protest mine adversary hath caused me to spend more then such an annuity is worth to purchase. Age wold have ease, which is expedicion in causes of suit and molestacion, and expedicion in justice is the most Honour that may be; which is no small part of your Honor's comendacion. Almighty God long preserve you in all felicity, that this Realm of England may more and more long take profit of your most wise and grave counsels."

Perhaps on his coming to Longcroft he found the old Arden arms there. Before the grant to his grand-uncle Robert there had been Ardens in Yoxall.[434] Certain it is that after that date they appear in Longcroft Hall and in the parish church. The headship of the family fell to his heirs in 1643. Simon's son[435] Ambrose[436] married Mary Wedgewood 1588, and died 1624. His son Humphrey[437] married Jane Rowbotham at Marchington, December 1, 1630. Of his family, Henry married Catherine Harper, but died without children, November 26, 1676; John, of Wisbeach, married Anne, and died without heirs, April 2, 1709, aged 84;[438] Humphrey, of Longcroft, who married the daughter of -- Lassel, and died January 31, 1705, aged 74. His daughters Elizabeth and Katharine died unmarried. His son Henry married Anne Alcock, and died 1728, aged 63. Humphrey's son and heir, John, was born 1693, and died 1734, aged 40. He married, first, Anna Catherine Newton, and second, Anne, daughter of the Rev. John Spateman, Rector of Yoxall, 1730. He was High Sheriff of the County in 3 George II. His son, Henry Arden, of Longcroft, married Alethea, daughter of Robert Cotton, Esq., of Worcester, and died June 22, 1782. The full pedigree is given, and the monuments at Yoxall are described in Shaw's "Staffordshire," and in French's "Shakespeareana Genealogica." Descendants still survive in this country and the Colonies.

FOOTNOTES:

[427] Fuller's "Worthies."

[428] Administration of goods of Christian Arden, wife of Simon, 1563 (Lichfield Wills).

[429] Nich., "Col. Top. et Gen.," vol. viii., p. 298.

[430] Lansdowne MS., xxx. 27, 30.

[431] Subsidy Rolls, Yoxall, 1590; Shaw's "Staffordshire," i., pp. 100-102 and 499; and Talbot Papers, Heralds' College, Dugdale p. 932.

[432] See also manuscript notes on the copy of Shaw's "Staffordshire," by Samuel Pipe Wolferstan, Esq., of Statfold, preserved in the British Museum, p. 102.

[433] Note that this is the same man appointed trustee by Mary Shakespeare's grandfather.

[434] "Nichola, d. of Geff de. Shenton, sued Joan, formerly wife of Ralph de Anderne, of Yoxhale, for a messuage in Yoxhale" (De Banco, Trin., 23 Ed. III.).

[435] His will proved 1625 at Lichfield. Simon's daughter Elizabeth became second wife of Clement Fisher of Wincote, addressed by Sir Aston Cokaine in verses alluding to Shakespeare (Dugdale's "Warwickshire," 1140).

[436] Shaw's "Staffordshire," p. 102; MS. notes of the author, Brit. Mus.

[437] Ambrose had another son Ambrose, whose family appears in the registers of Barton:

Frances, daughter of Ambrose Arden, bapt. February 19, 1631, buried June 7, 1634.

Humphrey, son of Ambrose Arden, bapt. November 2, 1634.

Henry " " " " October 7, 1637.

Benjamin " " " " July 19, 1642.

John " " " " September 3, 1643.

William " " " " January 8, 1647 (buried Sept. 18, 1666).

Robert Masson and Elizabeth Arden were married December 22, 1644.

Ambrose Arden, gent., buried July 15, 1656.

[438] His father had been married twice; but this second Humphrey is the son of Jane Rowbotham. See Registers of Marchington.

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