Laslett family history

John Laslett of Woodnesborough and his wives, Katherine, Ruth, Elizabeth and Joan

John Laslett was baptised at Harbledown on 3 May 1601. He was the second son of Charles Laslett of Harbledown and his wife Agnis Laslett née Blaslam (page 10). He was a yeoman farming lands in Woodnesborough and was married four times. John's will indicates that he was illiterate and this fact probably helps to account for the various spellings of his surname that appear in different records. The following variations have been noted Lasy, Lacie, Lasley, Lastly (or Lascly), Lacely, Lasly, Lacelet, Laslet, Laslett.

John's father died in 1606 and from the way that John named his children it appears that he must have been very close to by his Uncle George at Hackington.

Woodnesborough (pronounced ‘Winzbru’ or more lately ‘Woonzbrer’) is a parish and village situated about 15 km East of Canterbury and 2 km South West of Sandwich. The parish is 2940 acres and its population, as an indication of size, was, in the early part of this century, around 900. The village’s name is from the Anglo Saxon Wodnesbeorge “Woden’s Hill” or “hill sacred to Woden”.

It is also mentioned above that John was a yeoman, that is, a man who farms land which he owns and whose main business and preoccupation is farming. Lord Macaulay narrowed down the definition of a yeoman to one who cultivates his own fields with his own hands, but in Kent the term embraced wealthier men, landowners who farmed several hundred acres and who frequently leased and let other land as well.

William Lambarde in his Perambulation of Kent, published in 1576, talked of the Kentish yeomen as "warm and wealthy yeomen...who, in this their estate, please themselves, and joy exceedingly; insomuch as a man may find sundry yeomen (although otherwise for wealth comparable with many of the gentle sort) that will not for all that change their condition, nor desire to be apparelled with the titles of gentry."

In researching this book I have found many Lasletts over more than a dozen generations and it is significant that of all those many hundreds of kinfolk only two have both desired and also been able to claim gentleman status. Kentish yeomen have always been well satisfied with their distinctive station in life and consider that they are the best farmers in England farming the best land in the country.

John's first wife's name was Katherine. She was buried at Woodnesborough on 6 October 1629 as 'the wife of John Lacie' with no name shown in the parish register but luckily the Bishop's Transcript at Canterbury disclosed the name 'Katherine'. They had had one child, Hanna. On 28 September 1630 the Bishop's transcripts record that John Lasley married Ruth Cater at Ash. Ruth was the mother of John's next six children, John, Elizabeth, Thomas, George, Robert and Sara. Ruth was buried at Woodnesborough on 13 November 1640 and on 5 April 1641 at St Marys Canterbury John married for a third time. The marriage is recorded as John Lacely alias Lasly a Yeoman and Widower of Woodnesborough and Elizabeth Neale of Northbourne widow of Ingram Neale late s p deceased. John has signed the licence book in an unsteady hand 'John Lasly'. The bondman on the marriage licence record was given as Thomas Cater of Faversham, clerk. He was probably the brother of John's second wife Ruth. We have found recorded the birth of one child, Stephen, from this marriage but there were probably two other children born, George and Joseph. The Woodnesborough records for the Civil War period 1644-7 are very low in numbers so it is probable that the baptisms were not recorded. We have found no record of Elizabeth's burial but John married for a fourth and probably last time on 25 November 1651. This marriage is recorded in the Woodnesborough Parish Register as John Lastly and Joan May.

John was buried at Woodnesborough on 5 December 1665. He is shown in the Parish Register as being of Gt. Mongham. A search of Great Mongham Parish Register found no record of John although the baptism of two grandchildren and the burial of his daughter Elizabeth were found. We can only surmise that his last wife, Joan, had a cottage at Walmer near Great Mongeham and that John divided up his property at Woodnesborough (and perhaps Ash) among his children and moved to Walmer. Ruth must have died about 1660 as it appears from the Great Mongeham Parish Registers that various family members took it in turns to live with their father at Walmer from 1661 until 1664. The Hearth Tax returns of 1664 for the Lathe of St. Augustine show a John Lacy of the Boro of Great Mongeham, 2 hearths, chargeable. So perhaps John had two cottages, one in Walmer and another in Great Mongeham. Anyway the death of his daughter Elizabeth, her burial is recorded at Great Mongeham in 1664, seems to have convinced John to return to Woodnesborough to spend his last days with his son John on the home farm.

In John's Will (see page 205.) made on 21 November 1665 reference is only made to sons Thomas and Joseph, and to daughter Sara. The only property mentioned is a house, in the occupation of Robert May, with backside barn, orchard and half an acre in the village of Walmer near Deal. The house is probably the one in which John lived when shown as being "of Gt. Mongham" as Great Mongham is a neighbouring parish to Walmer. Additionally the Robert May mentioned is probably a relative of John's last wife Joan May. Joan was buried at Great Mongeham on 29 March 1671 O.S. as Joanna Lacy, widow.

In Wills J.S.W. Gibson says "people often settled inheritance long before death - it is not unusual when a will has been made to find some children (known to be surviving) omitted, or left a token amount such as a shilling. This is more likely to indicate that they have already been 'set up' in their livelihood long beforehand, or, in the case of daughters, provided with dowries, than to be a sign of disapproval."

Family of John and Katherine Laslett


HANNA - baptised 24 August 1628 at Woodnesborough as Hanna daughter of John Lacie.

Family of John and Ruth Laslett


JOHN - baptised 20 November 1631 at Woodnesborough as John son of John Lacie. Married Mildred Elde of Ash at Ash on 29 December 1656. She was buried at Ash on 20 September 1657. John's second marriage was on 3 June 1658 to Mildred Fishendin of St Marys parish Sandwich at Woodnesborough. Mildred was buried at Woodnesborough on 20 December 1680. John was buried there on 15 April 1719.

See chapter John and Mildred Laslett of Woodnesborough on page 15.

THOMAS - baptised 24 April 1636 at Woodnesborough as Thomas son of John and Ruth Lacie. Married twice, first wife's name was Mary by whom he had children Robert and Catherine, second wife was Isabella Calton whom he married as Thomas Laslet at St. Pauls Canterbury on 18 October 1668.
Robert - baptised 11 March 1656 old system at Ash.
Catherine - baptised 28 September 1659 at Ash. A Catherine Lanslett was buried at St Mildred’
Elizabeth - baptised 23 January 1661 old system at Great Mongeham as "Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Lausly or Lacily'.
Edmund - baptised 16 March 1670 old system at St. Pauls Canterbury as Edmund Lacelet, buried there on 2 November 1671 as Edmund Lacy.
Edmund - baptised 29 January 1672 old system at St. Pauls Canterbury.
GEORGE - baptised 2 April 1639 at Woodnesborough with his twin brother Robert as George and Robert sons of John and Ruth Lastly (or Lascly). The twins were buried together at Woodnesborough as George and Robert Lastly (or Lascly) on 16 April 1639.
ROBERT - baptised 2 April 1639 at Woodnesborough with his twin brother George as George and Robert sons of John and Ruth Lastly (or Lascly). The twins were buried together at Woodnesborough as George and Robert Lastly (or Lascly) on 16 April 1639.


ELIZABETH - baptised 23 March 1633 old system at Woodnesborough as Elizabeth daughter of John Lacie. On 24 April 1664 buried as 'Elizabeth daughter of John Lausly or Lacily' at Great Mongeham.
SARA - baptised 25 October 1640 at Woodnesborough as 'Sara Lassy'. Mentioned in father's will in 1665.

Family of John and Elizabeth Laslett


STEPHEN - baptised 19 December 1641 at Woodnesborough as Stephen son of John and Elizabeth Lassly. Became a Blacksmith at Deal. Married Ann Lyham at Preston on 6 July 1665. When he died his body was taken back to Woodnesborough for burial. He was interred on 6 May 1690 as Stephen Lacelet of Deale. Ann was buried at Ash on 21 October 1719 as 'Ann Lacey of Deal'.

See chapter Stephen and Ann Laslett of Deal on page 18.

GEORGE - probably born during the Civil War period 1644/7 at Woodnesborough. No baptismal record found. Wife's name Susan.
Jonathon - baptised 31 January 1663 old system at Great Mongeham as 'Jonathon son of George and Susan Lausly or Lacily.
JOSEPH - probably born during the Civil War period 1644/7 at Woodnesborough. Joseph is mentioned in his father's will and was probably over 21 at the time, that is in 1665. No baptismal record found.