Generation 18 – Elizabeth Spencer (1389 – 1430)

47 Generations of Family History
Generation 18
Elizabeth Spencer / Despencer
(abt 1389 – after 1430)

Facts

Name: Elizabeth Spencer
Birth: abt 1389
Place of Birth: Bonby, Lincolnshire, England
Parents:
Father: Sir Hugh “Justiciar of South Wales” le DESPENCER Knt
Mother: Sybil

Spouse: Jenkyn Maye
Marriage: abt 1430
Place of Marriage: Possibly Chippenham, Wiltshire, England

Children: They had 1 known child
i. John ‘of Melsham’ Maye

Death: after 1430
Place of Death: Possibly Chippenham, Wiltshire, England
Cause of Death: Unknown
Burial: Unknown
Place of Burial: Possibly Chippenham, Wiltshire, England

Heraldry: Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable Source: Wikepedia

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable
Source: Wikepedia

Family Connection: 17th great-grandmother

Short Biography

Elizabeth SPENCER [1, 2,  3, 4].  (Elizabeth Despenser) or Daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, Knt., was born about 1389 in Bonby, Lincolnshire, England.

My first connection to Elizabeth was found in the Maye of Charterhouse Pedigree, which was sourced from the Visitations of Somerset. One of the biggest problems I find with the Visitations is the lack of dates for Births and Deaths and very often we are left with only an estimated date. These pedigrees however are sourced from family members and this particular pedigree was recorded in 1623. It’s also easy to assume that mistakes can be made by family members and this is very apparent in this particular pedigree.

Elizabeth is recorded as ‘Daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, Knt. So the full particulars of who she was or at least her Christian name was unknown by the person recording their family history. This particular record can be found below.

Maye of Charterhouse Hidon Upon Mendip - page 49 Pedigree Source: The visitations of the county of Somerset, in the years 1531 and 1573, together with additional pedigrees, chiefly from the visitation of 1591

Maye of Charterhouse Hidon Upon Mendip – page 49 Pedigree
Source: The visitations of the county of Somerset, in the years 1531 and 1573, together with additional pedigrees, chiefly from the visitation of 1591

The Spencer and Despencer family are actually two separate trees and may not have any connections to each other. The Spencer family are direct ancestors of Princess Diana and Sir Winston Churchill and when I first began investigating Elizabeth I first turned to the Spencer family for answers. The family rose to prominence during the 15th century and can be easily traced back to the 14th century but I found no record of a Sir Hugh Spencer being a member of this family and no Spencer’s knighted before the late 15th century.

So I finally turned my full attention to the Despencer family and immediately discovered lots of references to more then one Sir Hugh Despenser and more importantly their names were often wrongly transcribed or written as Spencer.

My second reference came when I discovered the last will and testament of Sir Hugh Despenser who died on the 14th October 1401, his will was written on the 1st July 1400 in Hampton, England and below is an abstract of this record.

The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight.
Dated at Hampton, 1 July 1400 [f0. 46.]
In Norman French.

The Chapel of the Friars Preachers of Stamford, where my uncle lies, to be made longer, and a marble stone placed there for my father and my mother, and another for my eife and myself.
To my daughter Elizabeth cii for her marriage.
My feoffees of land in Caldeford, Sulihull, ffencot, and Morecot, which I have by the gift of mt uncle Sir Ralph de Ferrers, to enfeoff my wife for life.
My manor of Kyrkelond in Staffordshire.
My lands in Rothley to Thos. ffrysby for life.

John Horspate.
John Burley.
Jankyn Brett.
The Manor of Esynden, which I had by the gift of Sieur del Spencer.
No probate annexed

Source: Early Lincoln Wills: An Abstract of All the Wills & Administrations Recorded in the Episcopal Registers, 1888
http://www.mocavo.com/Early-Lincoln-Wills-an-Abstract-of-All-the-Wills-Administrati ons-Recorded-in-the-Episcopal-Registers-1888/913611/112

Sir Hugh Despenser, Knt and his wife Sybil had only one daughter, who should have been Heiress to her father’s wealth and vast estates, but he died whilst she was still a child and more importantly she was still unmarried. In 1403 her mother Sybil was called into the Court of Common Pleas due to a family feud over land and property owned by Sir Hugh Despenser. Sybil lost everything that her husband had once owned  but pleaded to live in the manors for the term of her life, but was refused.

Sybil died on the 16th August 1415, what became of her daughter Elizabeth wasn’t recorded and the only marriage that can be found for her was recorded in the Maye of Charterhouse Pedigree.

Between 1420 and 1430 in Wiltshire, England, Elizabeth Spencer married a wealthy clothier from Chippenham named Jenkyn Maye and they are recorded as having one child John ‘of Melsham’ Maye who was born about 1430.

Below is an image depicting 15th century costume, Elizabeth Spencer would have worn clothing very similar to this.

15th CENTURY ENGLAND: Simple, blue linen gown and white headdress/veil, worn by Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville (consort to King Edward IV of England), from the series “The White Queen”, on Starz. The series is based on the historical fiction series "The Cousin's Wars", by Philippa Gregory. (COSTUME DESIGN: Nic Ede).  Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/328622104032573009/

15th CENTURY ENGLAND: Simple, blue linen gown and white headdress/veil, worn by Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville (consort to King Edward IV of England), from the series “The White Queen”, on Starz. The series is based on the historical fiction series “The Cousin’s Wars”, by Philippa Gregory. (COSTUME DESIGN: Nic Ede).
Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/328622104032573009/

Elizabeth Spencer is a very important person in my family history, because she is a stepping stone and a gateway ancestor into a family history that dates back centuries and just as importantly England’s history itself.

Jenkyn MAYE [1, 5]. He was born Abt. 1400 in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England [5]. Mayo Coat of Arms was Sable, a Chevron or between three roses argent, a chief of the second [5]. Maye of Charterhouse Pedigree in see image for more details [1]. He died in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England.

Jenkyn MAYE and Elizabeth SPENCER. They were married Abt. 1420 in Wiltshire, England [2, 4]. They had 1 child.

  • i. John ‘of Melsham’ MAYE [1]. He was born Abt. 1430 in Melksham, Wiltshire,
    England [1]. Mayo Coat of Arms was Sable, a Chevron or between three roses
    argent, a chief of the second [6]. Maye of Charterhouse Pedigree in Somerset,
    England [1].

Sources

[1] edited by Frederic William Weaver., The visitations of the county of Somerset, in the years 1531 and 1573, together with additional pedigrees, chiefly from the visitation of 1591 (Printed for the editor by W. Pollard in Exeter), Maye of Charterhouse Hidon Upon Mendip – page 49. see image for more details.

[2] Alfred Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills. An Abstract of all the Wills & Administrations recorded in the Episcopal Register of the Old Diocese of Lincoln (290 High Street, Lincoln), The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight. The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight. Dated at Hampton, 1 July 1400 [f0. 46.] In Norman French. The Chapel of the Friars Preachers of Stamford, where my uncle lies, to be made longer, and a marble stone placed there for my father and my mother, and another for my eife and myself. To my daughter Elizabeth cii for her marriage. My feoffees of land in Caldeford, Sulihull, ffencot, and Morecot, which I have by the gift of mt uncle Sir Ralph de Ferrers, to enfeoff my wife for life. My manor of Kyrkelond in Staffordshire. My lands in Rothley to Thos. ffrysby for life. John Horspate. John Burley. Jankyn Brett. The Manor of Esynden, which I had by the gift of Sieur del Spencer. No probate annexed.

[3] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, Hugh Le Despenser – Page 73.

[4] Charles Herbert Mayo, A genealogical account of the Mayo and Elton families of the counties of Wilts and Hereford (Chiswick Press), Page 4 – The Origin and Local Distribution. At Chippenham refided Jenkin Maye, who married a daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, and was the ancestor of May of SCharterhoufe, Somerfet, bearing ” Sable, a chevron or between three rofes argent, a chief of the fecond.

[5] Charles Herbert Mayo, A genealogical account of the Mayo and Elton families of the counties of Wilts and Hereford (Chiswick Press), Page 4 – The Origin and Local Distribution. At Chippenham refided Jenkin Maye, who married a daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, and was the anceftor of May of Charterhoufe, Somerfet, bearing ” Sable, a chevron or between three rofes argent, a chief of the fecond.

[6] Charles Herbert Mayo, A genealogical account of the Mayo and Elton families of the counties of Wilts and Hereford (Chiswick Press), Page 4 – The Origin and Local Distribution.
Charterhoufe, Somerfet, bearing ” Sable, a chevron or between three rofes argent, a chief of
the fecond.

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2 thoughts on “Generation 18 – Elizabeth Spencer (1389 – 1430)

    • The connection between Diana’s Spencer family and the Despenser family may not have any links, although the surnames are often confused with each other. Its a little complicated, because although both family’s carry similar coats of arms, it is believed that the link between the two was fabricated by a member of the Spencer family many centuries ago.
      I dont relate to Diana, because my line follows the Despenser family.
      Elizabeths surname was spelt incorrectly on the Maye of Chsrterhouse pedigree. Her surname is actually Despencer, although i always record surnames the way they are spelt in documents, or record both. Which in this case I have done.
      I agree that the costume photo really makes a difference.
      Thank you Amy and hope all well 🙂

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