The La(u)nce family have links with Hartley going back to at least the c14th. But they are mainly associated with Ash parish; they owned North Ash Farm from the 15th to the 19th century. A couple of fields at the south end of Church Road belonging to this farm - Kitchen Croft and Bazes Shaw, belonged to this farm. The Launce family are commemorated in the name Lancecroft, New Ash Green.
John Launce of Southfleet (1424)
"In the name of God, Amen. 24th day of November in the year of the Lord 1424. I John Launce, clerk, Rector of the church of Southflete, being of sound mind, good memory and healthy memory, make and constitute the present will in this manner....."
He leaves his soul to God, the blessed Mary and all the saints. His body to be buried in Southfleet Churchyard.
He directs that his tithe corn be sold and half of the sum to be used for Southfleet Church for necessary books,
To each of his godsons over 7 years old - 6s 8d.
He leaves 10 marks for a chaplain to say masses for his soul and the souls of his mother and father, for one year.
As for the remainder of his estate, the executors are to use it for the health of his soul.
He appoints John Ferby esquire, John Launce and Joan Launce as executors.
Given at Southflete, the said day and year.
Proved at London, 2 March 1425.
Will of James Launce of Ash (1527)
Reference: TNA PROB11/
In the name of God, Amen. The 18th day of May in the year of our Lord 1527, I James Launce of Asshe nexte Dertford in the county of Kent, yeoman,of good mind and good memory being, do make this my last testament in manner and form following, that is to say.
First I will and bequeath my soul to Almighty God, to Our Blessed Lady St Mary the Virgin, and to all the holy company in heaven, my body to be buried in the parish church of Ash aforesaid in the chapel of St Blase. Item. I bequeath to the high altar there - 40d. Item. To the same church - 6s 8d. Item. I give to the same church of Asshe - 33s 4d the which I laid out to the use and behalf of the same church of Assh for reparations and other necessaries to the same belonging, when I was churchwarden. Item. I bequeath to our Lady light to be maintained within the same church - one mother sheep. Item. I bequeath to St Peter's light to be maintained in the said parish church of Asshe, every of them - one mother sheep. Item. I will and bequeath £6 13s 4d to a honest secular priest, which can sing his plain song to sing and celebrate within the church of Asshe beforesaid. And in the chapel of St Blase by the space of one whole year next and immediately after my decease which shall be elected and deputed by the advise and discretion of my executors and overssers.
Item. I bequeath to John Launce my son - two horses called 'Dikk' and 'Ball', two oxen and 2 sterys of the age of 2 years and 2 cow bullocks of the age of 2 years, 20 mother sheep of the age of 2 years and upwards, to be delivered at the discretion of my executors and overssers. Item. I bequeath to the same John - 1 mattress, 1 pair of sheets, 1 brass pot, the lesser of 3 and 3 platters. Item. I give to my said son John - 5 quarters of wheat, 5 quarters of barley, 5 quarters of oats, good and merchantable. Also I will that the said John my son do not abide with his brother William until the feast of St Michael the Archangel next following the date hereof, and do his diligent labour with the foresaid William his brother, as he hath done before time with me, nor else find such an honest person in his stead until the foresaid feast of St Michael, as the same William will be contented withal, then I will that the foresaid John have no wheat that I have to him bequeathed or given.
Item. I give to John Hadlowe my servant - half a quarter of wheat and half a quarter of barley. Also I bequeath to Joan Hadlow my servant - 2 bushels of wheat and 2 bushels of barley. Also I will that Thomas Master have 2 mother sheep. Also I bequeath to John Newman my sister's daughter's son - 1 mother sheep. Also I bequeath to every of my godchildren - 4d. Also I give and bequeath to my sister Joan - 2 bushels of wheat and 2 bushels of malt. Item. I bequeath to John Marschal - 1 lamb. Also to Thomas Marschall - another lamb. Item. To John Stone - another lamb. Also I bequeath to Agnes my daughter, the wife of Robert Mannsell - 6s 8d. Also to Margaret my daughter, the wife of John Juge - all such duties and debts as her husband oweth unto me.
Also I give and bequeath unto William my son all that my lease or leases concerning the manor of Asshe with all the lands thereto pertaining lying within the said parish of Asshe and Standstede. Also I will and bequeath that the foresaid William my son, have my great ship's chest, a great spit and a great cauldron with rings with a great tressell for the term of his life. And after his decease to remain to his heirs, owners of the house that I dwell in. The residue of all my goods moveable, I will and bequeath to the foresaid William my son, whom I make and ordain my sole executor. And Nicholas Sibyll gentleman my overseer. And he to have for his labour and diligence - 10s.
And this my last will and testament to be fulfilled so that it be pleasing to Almighty God for the health of my soul and all Christian souls.
Proved at Rochester 12 July 1527 by William Wyles curate of Ash and Nicholas Sibill.
William Launce of Ash dated 1 March 1551
(this will is written in the 3rd person)
He bequeaths his soul to God and body to be buried in Ash Churchyard.
John Lance his son - £10 when full age of 21
Agnes Lance his dau - £6.13.4 when full age of 20
Johan Lance his dau - £6.13.4 when full age of 20
Margaret Lance, his dau - £6.13.4 when full age of 20
Sibell Lance, his dau - £6.13.4 when full age of 20
James Lance his son - 2 yearling steer and 6 sheep
Dorothy Carpenter his dau - 2 sheep
Robert Carpenter - 1 sheep
John Lance, son of his brother John - 1 sheep
Thomas Barnard - 1 sheep
Robert Lance - 1 sheep
Alice dau of William Lance - 1 sheep
Parnell his wife and Wm Lance son - all leasehold land and personal estate
As to lands in Ash in elsewhere. Parnell his wife to have tenement where he dwells and tenement in Roger Strete which he purchased of John Dawe, for her life with remainder to son James, remainder to son William. Tenement and croft where onle Jennyns lives to William his son.
Witnesses: Sir William Miles, parson of Ash, Johan Hodsoll, and Thomas Kettill the elder.
John Lance of Ash, husbandman, 12 July 1555
He leaves his soul to Almighty God, the blessed lady and all the company of heaven and body to be buried in Ash Churchyard.
John his son - tenement & garden in Nox Street
James his son - £6.13.4 to be paid by John
Witnesses: Thomas Bettell of Asshe, James Launce of Asshe and William Launce of Stanstede.
James Lawnce of Ashe, yeoman, 22 October 1592
He leaves his soul to Almighty God and body to be buried in Ash Church.
Ash Parish Church - 20 shillings "towards the building of certain seats in the said church to be planed (?) there by the discretion of the churchwardens and sidesmen there"
Elen his wife - household stuff in his house in Ash, except malt green and mustard green querns and other specified items.
Thomas his son - items excepted above
William his son - £5, to be paid a year after his decease
Richard his son - £5, to be paid when 25
Thomas and James, his sons - remainder of personal estate
Land at Ash, Stansted, Westerham, Gravesend, Hartley and Kemsing. Son Thomas to get messuage called North Ash in occupation of the said Thomas and lands in Ash, Kemsing and Hartley. Son James to get lands and tenements in Westerham and Stansted. James son of James to get all lands in Ash which he has purchased of Henry and William Refe. Son William to get 3 tenements which he owns in Ash in the tenure of Anthony Robynson, John Lamord and William Johnson. Son Richard to get land in Gravesend.
(X) James Lance
Witnesses: (X) Thomas Comfort, (X) William Kipps, (S) Henry L...sdon, (S) Thomas Comfort jun, (S) William Johnson, (S) Richard Clarke
Thomas Launce the elder of Ash, 17 September 1624
Commends soul to Almighty God, body to be buried in Ash Churchyard.
Thomas Lance, 2nd son of eldest son James -
£5 out of £39 owned him by James
Mary and Jane, daus of James - £10 each out of said sum of £39
Thomas Lance, his youngest son - his house and land at Pettins, Ash in occuption of said Thomas Lance and Edward Bell. Also use and occupation of woods called Wheatyerse Woods
William Lance, son of said Thomas - £5
Sara Lance, dau of said Thomas - £5
Thomas Lance, son of said Thomas - £5
Jesper Lance, his 2nd son - his 3 houses at West Yoke in Ash and land belonging in occupation of William Johnson and John Lambert. And also use and occupation of 2 pieces of ground called Beadsall Croft and nexk of wyneyard in Ash during the lease and another piece of land called Church Grove. Also residue of personal estate. Appointed executor.
(X) Thomas Lance
Witnesses: (X) William Johnson, (S) Steven Swanne (S) William Brown
Proved 22 October 1624.
William Launce the elder of Ashe, yeoman, 1 June 1664
Leaves soul to Almighty God.. "And my body I yield to the earth from whence it was taken" to be buried at the discretion of executors.
Margaret dau, wife of Jn Letchford jun - £50, one feather bed, one feather bolster, 2 pillows "being on the bed whereon I now lie", a third of his linen after wife's decease, one joined chest at the foot of maid's (?) bed.
John Letchford, son in law - £10
James Launce, son of brother Robert - 50s
Joan Launce, dau of brother Robert - 20s at her full age of 18 years
Poor of Ash - 20s
Thomas Terry, servant - 5s if still with him at his decease
John Adgoe, servant - 5s if still with him at his decease
Sarah Launce, servant - 5s if still with him at his decease
William Launce, son - £50
William Launce son and Dorothy dau - remainder of personal estate, also appointed executors
(X) William Launce
Witnesses: (S) Edward Best, (S) Edmund Hodsoll, (X) Jane Wyburne (X) John Adgoe
James Launce of Ash, yeoman (1739)
Leaves soul to Almighty God, body to be buried at discretion of executors.
"Item: I do give and devise all and every my messuage, lands, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever with their appurtenances, situate, lying and being in the parish of Ash aforesaid and in the parish of Hartley or elsewhere in the said county of Kent unto my only son James Launce"
Elizabeth, dau, wife of John Lake - 1s
James, son - remainder of personal estate
(S) James Lance
Witnesses: (S) Samuel Attwood; (S) Richard Dunstan; (S) Michael Page