by Peter Badham

Illustrating the point made in Part 1 that Chancery documents can turn up which are linked to known stories there is one I found recently dated 1743 for a case of Stevens v. Baddam.1 Actually when read it is quite clearly Stevens v. Baddam but it is indexed as Pevison v. Baddam! The Baddam complained about turns out to be one John Baddam, wharfinger2 of St. Olave Southwark. This John is, of course, the father of Elizabeth, our letter writer featured in the last chapter of Badham Delvings. We saw that his roots were in Bishop's Frome, Herefordshire and this is confirmed in the details given in Richard Steven's complaint against him. This complaint seems to have originally started on 23rd October 1722. Basically, Richard says that John sold him “divers freehold and copyhold properties...and a cyder mill” for the “very great price of £1,200”. John is accused of being less than honest about the value and overheads.

We learn that there was already a mortgage of £335 from Francis Rufford, which had been assigned to an Elizabeth Brookes who had advanced John further money, in all amounting to £720. Richard Stevens paid off these mortgages and the balance of £428 went to John Badham, although £40 was left in the hands of a London solicitor, perhaps appropriately called William Rivet as the £40 seems to have become firmly fixed there. It was also alleged that John Badham didn't get a proper release from his mother Frances, now the wife of Henry Mills. Frances and Henry were married at St. Catherine’s by the Tower on 23rd January 1721 by licence, widow and widower respectively. Frances as the widow of John senior would, during her lifetime, have had to release the property in the manor court which reminds us of another source of records. The manor of Bishop’s Frome was not surprisingly one of the Diocesan manors and at least some of the manor’s records survive in the diocesan record office. (Currently, Hereford County Record Office has this function.) It is obvious that the property involved is the one we have seen in the two other Chancery Proceedings described in Badham Delvings.3 We thus, also, know that John's father was dead at the latest by 1720 and crucially that his mother's name was Frances, a fact which hadn't emerged in the two documents above but which allows us to pinpoint his Hereford family, as mentioned. It allowed us to clear up a mistake in the provisional family tree we had for the family group from Stoke Lacy and Bishop's Frome. We had the wrong marriage identified for John the wharfinger's mother and father, probably because we don’t have a record of the marriage to Frances in our database. The identification of the cider mill and property in Bishop’s Frome as being at Wotton adds to other evidence which allows us to connect Elizabeth to a detailed family tree going back six generations from Elizabeth to 1632. An outline extract is shown in Figure 1 - Family Tree (N.B. A more legible version is available on request!).

This family had considerable property and as a result they tended to leave wills, or at the least, the family needed to take out administration. There is a series at the Hereford Record Office and others in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury records at the National Archives which help to make this tree reliable. Also reproduced here is a transcript of the will of Elizabeth’s great-grandfather, John the elder who died in 1705 only four years before his son who died in 1709. Possibly he knew his son was not well as he went to some lengths to help the grandchildren, even adding a codicil to his will leaving the latest grandchild Thomas, born after the will was drawn up, an amount to pay for him to be apprenticed to a trade. He completed this codicil on 3rd November 1705 but unfortunately we don’t have a record of Thomas’ birth or baptism, so we do not know how recently born he was. Unfortunately for Alexander, the last-born son we know of, he was born a year after his grandfather died and, therefore, missed out. It seems that most, if not all the family, moved to London when John junior died and we know that grandson John became a wharfinger in the parish of St. Olave, Southwark where he was involved in smuggling
and that he wrote to Sir Robert Walpole complaining about being compromised by corrupt excise officers.4

Rotherhithe from Eighty Picturesque Views of the Thames and Medway  1834. 
Drawn by W Tombleson, Engraved by J Carter.

The wharf John leased was just downstream from St. Olave’s church but further down-river is Rotherhithe. Having reconstituted Elizabeth the letter writer’s aunts and uncles, we can now identify with some certainty that her uncle Richard (193) “of Rotherhithe” died at sea in 1728 aboard a vessel from London called the Jamaica Merchant. This happened off Cape Apolonia which is a point on the coast of the Bight of Benin in west Africa. The Bight was a regular area for collecting slaves on the triangular voyages that left England with trading goods with which to buy slaves in Africa, crossed the Atlantic to the West Indies and exchanged slaves for sugar to take back to England. It seems likely, therefore, that not only was John involved in smuggling but his brother Richard was involved in the slave trade. Perhaps he was on board with some of the slaves who finished up on Lucas Garvey’s plantation. All this seems a radical move from generations of yeomen farmers in the Frome valley of Herefordshire. Perhaps by this point the ancestral lands were becoming so divided that they were no longer viable.

As we have seen, it is a Chancery document which provides us with the key piece to this puzzle. The pieces of another jigsaw are beginning to emerge also. We have also noted that the cider mill and other property that wharfinger John sold to Richard Stevens for the solid amount of £1,200, was part of the estate at Wotton at Bishop’s Frome. This is situated between the villages of Bishop’s Frome and Stoke Lacy, as can be seen on the map. Incidentally, the Rd. Browne who witnessed this will was probably a neighbour living at Hall Court just to the east of Wotton. The Brown(e) family had held manors in the area for many centuries, mainly in the parish of Avenbury, just to the north. You will see from the outline family tree that Francis, who died in 1688, had descendants and in fact these were numerous and include at least two Society members. This side of the family were at times sited at Bromtree as well as for many generations at Walton. By the time of the tithe apportionment in 1843 they were still farming a large acreage at Walton. Given that John Badham at the top of the tree desired to be buried in the chancel of the church at Stoke Lacy, I begin to think we may eventually find a large estate, which stretched from the western side of Stoke Lacy parish across towards Bishop’s Frome village. The main residence could have been in Stoke Lacy, hence the burials in the chancel of the Stoke Lacy church. A second possibility is a string of linked farms resulting from provision for the sons of one founder.

The map (Figure 3) attempts to show the proximity of these Badham centres. Walton was marked originally on the Lewis map from about 1840 and was the base of the “Francis” side of the family. Hall Court we have mentioned as the home of a branch of the Browne family. Bromtree was where Francis Badham who died in 1717 made his will. Wotton or Wootton, as it is on the modern Ordnance Survey map, is the base of the “John” side of the family, showing a clear use of one name for generations to show which branch they belonged to. Badham Cottage appears in the Tithe apportionment and the parish boundary between Bishop’s Frome and Stoke Lacy runs north south alongside the west boundary of the Cottage plot. The boundary between Stoke Lacy and Much Cowarne joins that of Bishop’s Frome at the most westerly corner of the latter parish, where a farm is squeezed in at Panks Bridge which was in Badham occupancy or possibly ownership. Hopton remains an important residence and is on an anciently-settled site, the history of which might repay investigation. Whilst thinking about boundaries, it is also worth noticing how the boundary with Worcestershire cuts in close to Bishop's Frome a reminder to look at records from this county. All the parishes in proximity have shown a Badham presence at one period or another and there is no doubt that the family was settled here early in the sixteenth century.

Leaving aside this speculation, we see how a document from a London depository, that is The National Archives, can both help link together family structures and paint us a more detailed picture. For this family we now have, for example, descriptions of life during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion; the problems of running a business loading and unloading ships in the Port of London where smuggling seems to have been rife and the customs officials corrupt; and also we sense the dangers of going to sea, perhaps looking for a fortune through the slave trade, but in any case dying far from home. We get a sense of the value of property in rural Herefordshire, especially it seems if you were making “cyder”, an activity which is now industrialised in Hereford by Bulmers.
Hopefully further research in Chancery records will produce similar nuggets of facts about earlier Badham lives.

Transcript of Will of John Badham of Wotton, Bishop’s Frome, Hereford. 1702 and 1705

  1. In the name of God Amen The seaventeenth day of November ye ffirst yeare of ye Rayne of our most
  2. gracious Soveraigne Lady Queen Anne over England yr Anno D.m.. 1702 I John Badham ye elder of
  3. Wotton in ye parishe of Bpps Frome in ye County of Hereford yeoman being sick in body but of sound
  4. perfect & well disposing minde & memory all laud & praize bee given to Allmighty God for ye same
  5. doe hereby make my last Will & Testament in manner & forme following ffirst & principally I comitt
  6. & commend my Soul into ye hands of Allmighty God my Creator hopeing to bee Saved by ye alone merits
  7. & mediation of Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour & Redeemer & my body I commit to ye earth from
  8. whence it was taken to be decently interred according to ye discretion of my loveing wife And as touching
  9. such personall Estate & Substance it hath pleased Allmighty God to blesse mee w.thall I doe dispose
  10. thereof as followeth Impri..s Whereas my Sonne in Lawe Thomas Drew of Cannon ffrome in ye County of
  11. Herefordgent by his Obligation Standeth bound to mee in Twenty pounds Conditioned for the two
  12. payments of ten pounds currant Englishe money w.th ye due & lawful Interest thereof att a day long since
  13. past NOW my Will is & I doe give devise & bequeath unto my two grandaughters Elizabeth and
  14. Rebeca daughters of my s..d Sonne in Lawe Thomas Drew ye s..d Tenn pounds due on ye s..d receited
  15. Obligation & Condition together w.th ye s..d receited Obligation the sd Tenn pds to bee devided betweene
  16. my s..d two grandaughters according to ye discretion of their s..d father Thomas Drew to whom I give all
  17. such interest money as is now due to mee or hereafter shall bee due for ye same Item I give & bequeath
  18. unto my grandchildren James & Edward ye two Sonns of my sonne in Lawe James Brompton of
  19. Cannon ffrome aforesd gent ye some of Ten p....ds in money to bee devided betweene them att the
  20. discretion of their sd Father James Brompton Item I give & bequeath unto my grandaughter Susanna
  21. Badham daughter of my sonn John Badham all that my bedd & bedding w..th ye bolsters coverings
  22. Curtaines & furniture therein belonging & now being in ye Parlor att Wotton aforesaid & alsoe my large
  23. brasse Pott & my Ingraved Wainscott Chest in ye Chamber where I usually lye Item I give & bequeath
  24. unto my s..d sonn John Badham ye use & usage of all my hogsheads Cyder Vessels Coopery ware & my
  25. tack of teeme & husbandry goods & allsoe my Mault Mill Cyder Mill & beddsteeds to hold & make
  26. use of ye same for & during ye terme of his na....ll life And from & after his decease to remayne
  27. att Wotton aforesd as Standards there to & for such Childe of my sd sonn John Badhams as shall
  28. bee his next customary heyr Item I give devise & bequeath unto my grandchilde James Badham
  29. one of ye sonns of my s..d sonn John Badham all that my piece or parcell of arrable land
  30. now in ye posession of ffrancis Ensall Scytuate lying & being in a Common field called Richlowe in ye s..d
  31. parishe of Bpps ffrome conteyning three acres or thereaboute bee ye same more or lesse to have and
  32. to hold ye said parcell of arrable land unto my s..d grandchilde James Badham his heyrs & assignees
  33. forever immediately from & after my decease And my will & meaning is that my Ex....or hereafter
  34. named shall have ye letting and selling of ye sd parcell of land in ye minority of my s..d grandchilde
  35. ??????? ye rente issues & p..fitte thereof to & for ye use benefitt & advantage of my s..d grandchilde
  36. James Badham & pay ye rent thereof unto him when hee shall attaine his full age of one and
  37. twenty years Item I give devise & bequeath unto my sd sonn John Badham All that my messuages
  38. or tenem..ts called Upper & Lower Henner situate in ye parishe of Leom.....r [Leominster] in ye s..d
  39. County of Hereford now in ye possession of Thomas Mason w.th ye lands meadows leasowes pastures
  40. hereditam..ts & appurtenancesthereto belonging & therew.th now used & enjoyed To have and to hold ye
  41. same unto my s..d sonn John and his heyrs forever Neverthelesse on Condition that my s..d sonn John or
  42. his heyrs shall payor cause to bee payd unto my grandchildren Francis Badham ye s..d James Badham
  43. Susanna Badham &William Badham ye sonns & daughter of my s..d sonn John Badham ye sume of One
  44. hundred pounds of currant Englishe money w.th due and lawfull Interest for ye same in manner following
  45. (vizt)to ye s..d ffrancis twenty pounds w.th lawfull Interest for ye same att his age of one & twenty years
  46. to ye s..d James twenty pounds w.th lawfull Interest for ye same att his age of one & twenty years
  47. to ye s..d Susanna twenty pounds w.th lawfull Interest for ye same att her age of one & twenty years
  48. and to ye s..d William twenty pounds wth lawfull Interest for ye same att his age of one & twenty years
  49. being ye residue & remaynder of ye s..d one hundred p...ds And if either or any of them shall die before
  50. they shall attaine their s..d ages of One & Twenty years that then ye person(?) & legatee of him her or
  51. hem soe dyingw.th Interest thereof shall bee payd & equally distributed amongst ye survivor & survivors
  52. of them And my Will is that if my s..d sonn John or his heyrs shall fayle in ye paym..t of any of ye s..d
  53. sumes ye money as af.res..d bequeathed unto my s..d grandchildren ffrancis Badham James Badham
  54. Susanna Badham & William Badham Then I give devise & bequeath all my s..d Messuages or Tenem..ts
  55. called upper & lower henner & ye lands grounds hereditam..ts & p..misses thereto belonging unto my s..d
  56. loving Sonne in Lawes Thomas Drew & James Brompton & to their heyrs To the intent that they or ye
  57. survivo.s of them or ye heyrs of ye survivo.s of them shall make sale of ye same & out of ye money
  58. therebyraysed (their costs & chardges being first deducted) pay unto my s..d grandchildren ffrancis
  59. James &William ye severall sumes of Twenty p...ds a peice w.th ye lawfull Interest thereof and to s..d
  60. grandchilde Susanna ye s..d sume of fforty pounds w.th ye like Interest as they shall severally come to ye
  61. age of one and twenty years And ye remaynd.r of ye s..d monies arriseing by such sale shall pay unto my
  62. s..d sonn John & his heyrs Item I give and bequeath unto my s..d sonn John ye sume of one hundred
  63. pounds in money Item I give & bequeath unto my s..d loveing wife Elizabeth ye sum of twenty pounds
  64. in new money to bee payd her imediatly after my decease for & towards defraying of her funerall en
  65. expenses when it shall please God to call for her, & allsoe my bedd whereon I usually lie w.th ye Bolsters
  66. Coverings Curtaines & furniture thereto belonging & all my Sheets & Linnens of all sorte & ffower dishes
  67. of my best pewter & all ye rest  of my personall estate not herein before by me bequeathed And I give &
  68. bequeath twenty p...ds in money to bee layd out for & towards my funerall expenses according to ye
  69. discretion of my s..d loveing wife ItemI doe hereby nom...te ordaine & apoint my sd loveing sonns in
  70. Lawes Thomas Drew & James Bromptonas Exec.t..s in trust of this my Will & Testam..t And my will is that
  71. my just debts shall bee truly payd And that my Exec.t..s shall bee allowed out of my personall Estate ye
  72. charge of ye p..bate of this my p..sent Will & allsuch charges and expenses w..ch they or eyther of them
  73. shall necessarily pay or expend about yeproving thereof willing them to do this my Will justly & truly
  74. p..formed in every respect In Witnes whereof I ye sd John Badham testator to this my last Will &
  75. Testament containingtwo sheetes of paper to each sheete have put my hand & seale ye day & yeare w.thin wryten 
  76.                         sign.
  77.             Joh--is ┼ Badham sen
  78. Signed Sealed Published & declared by sd Testator
  79. as his last Will in ye p..sence of us whoe have
  80. subscribed our names hereto in his p..sence & att his
  81. request
  82. Mary Ensor
  83. Edw: Slaughter
  84. Rd: Browne   
  85. M......d.m
  86. That Whereas I ye w.th.in named John Badham ye testator have omitted & not
  87. given any Legacy in & by my w.th.in wrytten Will unto my Grandsonn Thomas
  88. Badham one of ye children of my sonn John Badham NOW my Will is & I doe
  89. hereby give devise & bequeath unto my s..d grandsonn Thomas Badham ye sume
  90. of Ten pounds of currant Englishe money to binde him in App..ntice to some
  91. Trade & to bee payd him by my Exec....rs w.th.in named out of my p..sonall Estate w.th.in
  92. six months next after my decease & to be Imployed for ye purpose aforesaid
  93. In Witness whereof I ye s..d John Badham ye Testator have hereon put my
  94. hand & seale & indorsed the same as a Codicill on the back of this my Will
  95. conteyning two sheetes of paper the third day of November Anno D.m...
  96. 1705                                                  Signu.
  97. Signed Sealed & published           Joh..is  ┼  Badham senr
  98. in ye p..sence of us
  99.               Signu..
  100. Joh..is □ Hollings
  101. Jgg-m (?) Edwards Cleri...

Probate was issued on 8th December 1705

NOTE: Where standard shortenings have been used these are indicated by inserting a full stop for missing letters. A question obviously means there is some doubt about the transcription of the previous word. One inclusion in square brackets is included as the shortening may not be obvious if you are unfamiliar with the area. The line numbers correspond to lines in the original as is normal transcription practice. Clericus is probably what was intended in line 101 for Clerk, that is clergyman.

PB 13 November 2008  (Almost exactly 303 years later)


  1. TNA C11/774/22.
  2. Wharfinger = an owner or keeper of a wharf.
  3. TNA C11/506/7 and C11/509/4.
  4. Badham Delvings, Chapter 15.