Family & Will of Stephen Agard, Esq. (~1513-~1563) of Broughton, Northamptonshire (Rev 11/16)

Stephen Agard Will page 1

Stephen Agard Will page 1






Stephen Agard, Esq. of Broughton, Northamptonshire, was born about 1513 and died shortly before 13 Oct 1562, when he was buried in Broughton.  He was probably the second born surviving son of George Agard (~1486? – 1522) and his wife, Elizabeth Middlemore (~1487? – ?).  The family consisted of three surviving children that I know of:  eldest son John, Stephen, and, I would argue, their sister, Katherine.  As Stephen held Broughton by 1546, I am guessing that John died young without surviving heirs.

Stephen’s Family

We know Stephen was born about 1513, because when his father died in 1522, court documents give his son Stephen’s age as nine years old.  Stephen married Elizabeth Raynsford (~1510? -1573), daughter of William Raynsford and wife, Alice or Agnes Anne, about 1534.  Stephen and Elizabeth had seven known children (all named in his will):

  1. Ambrose Agard, Esq, the eldest son, and born about 1535? and died 1612 in Chipping, Lancashire, England.  He married twice and had many children.
  2. Mary (Mary Jane?) Agard
  3. Elizabeth Agard, m. Thomas Osborne.
  4. Bridget Agard, m. William Kynsman on 10 Feb 1567/68 in Cransley, Northamptonshire.
  5. Eleanor/Elinor Agard
  6. John Agard, Gent., m. Elizabeth (–?–) and had children.  Buried 3 Jul 1602 in Broughton.
  7. Abraham Agard, m. Jane Dracote on 25 Jun 1588 in Broughton.  He died 1615 in Broughton.

Stephen’s Property Interests

Below is a list of references naming Stephen Agard in relation to his property interests.  His will lists property which doesn’t appear below.  I don’t know much about any of the cases/items below in depth, yet:

1 Jul 1527 – Deed by which William Willington covenants to deliver to Stephen Agard, alien of age, certain deed and writings relating to the Manor of Dycheford [Ditchford co. Worc.] etc. 1 July 19 Henry VIII (1527)

28 Jun 1535 – Lease to William Sheldon of his manor of Ditchford Friary and all his lands, tenements and hereditaments in Ditchford Friary then in the occupation of William Wyllyngton of Barcheston, esq., for 99 years at a yearly rent of £20

12 Jun 1543 – Stephen conveyed the manor,  etc, above to William Willington.

1544-1551 – Legal case vs. John Hubberd and Agnes, his wife, because Stephen has refused to lease them a cottage and some land he holds in the manor of Box, Wiltshire.

1 Jun 1555 – Covenant between Francis Savage of Elmley Castle co. Worcs., esq., and Stephen Agard of Broughton, co. Northants., esq. that Francys Savage would keep the said Stephen indemnified against the said William Wyllyngton, in respect of the said lease and of all manner of covenants specified in the conveyance of 12 June 1543.

1558-1579 – Court case regarding property in West Lavington, Wiltshire, part of Potterne manor.

7 Jun 1561 – Exemplification under the Great Seal of depositions of witnesses, concerning a lease granted by Stephen Agard to William Sheldon, of the manor of Dycheford. [co. Worc.]

Stephen’s Death

Stephen Agard Burial Record, Broughton, 1562

Stephen Agard Burial Record, Broughton, 1562

Stephen’s death was recorded in some of the earliest surviving burial records for the parish of Broughton – look for Stephanus Agarde toward the bottom of the page.





Stephen’s Will

Transcription of Stephen Agard’s Will, 1562

In Stephen’s will (Available at the UK National Archives: reference PROB 11/47/102, Will of Steven Agarde of Boughton, Northamptonshire) he left sums to the poor, as well as:

  • to Stephen Warner, “twenty shere”
  • to Stephen Dexter, “tenn sheve”
  • to Elizabeth Agarde, “my wief”, 100 pounds
  • to Mary Agarde, my daughter, 40 pounds
  • to Elizabeth Agarde, my daughter, 40 pounds
  • to Briget Agarde, my daughter, 40 pounds
  • to Elinor Agarde, my daughter, 40 pounds
  • to John Agarde, “my sonne”, 40 pounds
  • to Abraham Agarde, “my sonn” 40 pounds
  • to John and Abraham, various lands for a period of ten years, for their raising and schooling

Nothing is specifically left to his son, Ambrose, though Ambrose was made an Executor, along with Gregory Warner and Stephen’s widow, Elizabeth.  The manor of Broughton is not mentioned, either.  I assume the manor was entailed to Ambrose, so that that didn’t have to be mentioned, though there was a court case over the estate of Stephen Agard of Broughton, with son, Ambrose, suing his mother, Stephen’s widow, Elizabeth; I don’t know its details:

Witnesses to the will were Anthony Dotes, Thomas Dexter, Harold Kinsman and Edward Beliger(?).  Edward Beliger might be Edward Belcher.  If so, he could be related to Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth’s first husband, Robert Belcher, and thus Stephen’s step-son.

Katherine as Stephen’s sister, not his daughter

Various family histories, including The Visitation of Northamptonshire Made in 1564 & 1618-19…, show Katherine Agard, wife of Harold Kinsman of Loddington, as the daughter of Stephen Agard.  I think that Katherine was, instead, Stephen’s sister.

Stephen’s will mentions “brother kinsman” in relation to a bond for his widow, and one of the will’s witnesses is Harold Kinsman.  I think these two are the same person.  The use of the word “brother” at the time could also stand for any kind of brother/brother-in-law, etc, type of relationship.  Here, I think Stephen is calling Harold Kinsman his brother-in-law.

The argument that Katherine is Stephen’s sister is buttressed by dates.  We know Stephen was born about 1513, as he was aged 9 when his father died in 1522.  For Katherine’s approximate birth date, we need to work forward, then backwards.  Katherine Agard and Harold Kinsman had a daughter, Elizabeth (or Ann), who married Thomas Dexter.  Thomas died in 1608, leaving a son, Stephen, aged 50, who was thus born abt 1558, as his primary beneficiary and thus the eldest surviving son.  Allowing mothers to be 18-25 yrs old when they have their first child (though Stephen wasn’t necessarily that), a good rule of thumb for the era, I guess Elizabeth [Kinsman] Dexter, Stephen’s mother, was born about 1535-40.  Which means her mother, Katherine, was probably born about 1510-22.  Katherine Agard would have been the right age to be Stephen’s sister but not the right age to be his daughter.

Mention of Dexters in Stephen’s will

Also interesting in Stephen Agard’s will was the mention of a Thomas Dexter as a witness.  Witnesses to wills were usually people with strong connections to the family or had some claim or tie to something being bequeathed, to legitimize the gift and show that everyone was aware of the bequests at the time the will was drafted.  They were also usually about the same age as the person making the will or a child of theirs or a male relation of the wife, there to look after her interests.  The Thomas Dexter who married Elizabeth Kinsman would probably have been born about 1530-35, just slightly older than Elizabeth.  This would make him only about 30 years old when Stephen died, and in my mind, too young to have been the same Thomas who was the witness to Stephen’s will.  He would also have been his niece’s husband, not a relationship I would usually consider extremely close.  Now I am curious to find out who this Thomas was and how he was so strongly connected to Stephen’s family.

A Stephen Dexter was also named in the will, receiving a small amount of money.  While ‘our’ Stephen Dexter was alive, born in 1558, I doubt Stephen Agard would have left his niece’s child something – unless Elizabeth was a favorite of his for some reason, which is possible.  Unsure of his exact connection to the family.

Connection to the Warner family

Two persons with the surname Warner are mentioned in the will, ‘brother’ Gregory Warner and a Stephen Warner, who was left a small amount of money.  Elizabeth Middlemore, Stephen’s mother, remarried to Edward Warner, Gentleman, after her first husband, George Agard’s, early death.  Gregory and Stephen were probably step or half brothers of Stephen’s or otherwise related to Edward and familiar to Stephen.

I don’t know who represented Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth’s interests at the signing of the will, as at the time, a wife would usually have had a male relative as part of the proceedings, looking out for her interests.

Revised:  12 Nov 2016

Connection to Olney-Hooker Family: Stephen Agard was the brother of Katherine Agard, m. Kinsman, the 4x great-grandmother of Alice Dexter (1705-1779), wife of William Olney (1706-after 1777).


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