Laslett family history

Roger and Joane Laslett of Harbledown, Kent

Roger was probably born at Nantwich in Cheshire in 1509. He was the second son of John Laslett a yeoman farmer and his wife Margaret (page 6). Unfortunately this was before Parish registers were started so we are unable to find any written record of his baptism or the parents’ marriage. There is a 1586 affidavit (see page 204) in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives in which Roger Laslett was a witness in a land dispute. In it is he confirms that he is ‘Roger Lacelett of the parish of Harbledowne where he has lived for the space of forty years or thereabouts originated in the parish of Namptwhich (Nantwich) in the county of Chester (that is Cheshire) aged about Lxxvij years…’ He made his mark with the date being 2 May 1586.

In this document Roger also states ‘that his … brother was farmer of the parsonadge of Harboldowne abowte five and thirty yeeres agoe by the space of three yeares and before him his father with both which persons this deponent did dwell and yearlie in Chery tyme did fett (fetch) cheryes in the name of tith cherryes from the saide parcell of gownde called the Cherry Garden and hee saith that since that tyme hee hath knowen the farmers of the saide parcell of grownde yearlie pay their tenthes and tithes …’

From the above we can assume that Roger left Cheshire around 1546 with his father and brother probably as a farm labourer for his father who took over a farm called the Parsonadge. The OED identifies a Parsonadge as ‘the benefice or living of a parson; a rectory.’ In addition, Roger states that he collected tithes and that he knows that the owners of the ground have paid their annual tenths and tithes. The fact that Roger’s father farm was the living of an Ecclesiastic, in all probability the Rector of Harbledown, and that Roger personally collected tithes and ‘knew’ that tenths and tithes had been paid would seem to indicate that the move of the family from Cheshire to Kent was related to church matters. In Cheshire, perhaps they had been employees of the Eccesiastic who later had the benefice of the Parsonadge and had moved with him to Kent. (The ten years leading up to 1546 saw Henry VIII’s break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries so perhaps even the land passed at that stage to the laity. In 1547 Edward VI came to the throne and turned Henry VIII’s Anglicised Catholic Church into a Protestant one. Queen Mary attempted to reverse this from 1553 until Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 and things religious settled down as much as they could.

Roger also states that his brother took over the Parsonadge farm from his father around 1551 and farmed it for three years. Did his father die in 1551? Did the family give up the farm in 1554 because the living of it passed to another Rector?

In the Canterbury City Plea Rolls there is an item dated 17 Aust 1562 there are papers covering a law case in which William Stephen sued Anthony Moswell, yeoman and his wife Katherine concerning the cherry garden. On 1 October 1562 there is an entry that John Lacye was bound on a recognizance of £10 to give evidence. One is tempted to think that John Lacye may be either Roger’s father of brother. In addition, there was a Margaret Laslett buried at Harbledown on 15 December 1564. This is probably Roger’s mother as he named his first child Margaret.

It is conjecture but going by the earliest spellings of Laslett in Kent, that is Lauslet/Lawslett, the name may probably be derived from the Cheshire surname Launslet/Lancelot. This, in turn, probably derives from the Lancelyn family who, by the end of the eleventh century, held the manor of Great Bebington (now known as Lower Bebington) in Cheshire. The Lancelyn family has lived in Bebington/ Bromborough continuously for over 900 years, with Scirard, the son of Roger Lancelyn Green, still living in the 17th century home - Poulton Hall.

Anyway, Roger settled in Harbledown, which is just outside Canterbury and is the site of St Nicholas Hospital. This hospital was founded in 1084 as a hospice of lepers by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfrac. The 1847 edition of Bagshaw's Directory describes Harbledown as "a pleasant village on the London road 1m west of Canterbury. The situation is exceedingly picturesque on the brow of a hill and is remarkable for the salubrity of the air".

No record of marriage has been located but in Cowper's transcript of the Harbledown PRs (which he supplements with details from the BTs) there is a record of a Roger Lynsyle married Elizabeth Busmean on 3 September 1564.

Roger was buried at Harbledown on 7 April 1593. Joane was buried there on 28 January 1602 O.S.

Family of Roger and Joane Laslett


WILLIAM - baptised at Harbledown on 30 October 1563. Buried there on 7 March 1564 O.S.
JOHN - baptised at Harbledown on 27 January 1565 O.S. and buried there on 29 April 1566.
WILLIAM - baptised at Harbledown on 29 February 1567 O.S. and buried there on 21 March 1567 O.S.
JOHN - baptised at Harbledown on 17 July 1569. In 1597 married Ann Abraham at Faversham. Mentioned in his brother George's 1641 will. Ann was buried at Harbledown on 30 April 1646 as Goodwife Lacelett and John was buried there on 5 June 1646 as Goodman Lacelett.

See chapter John and Ann Laslett of Harbledown on page 9.

CHARLES - baptised at Harbledown on 1 May 1576. On 25 January 1595 O.S. married Agnis Blaslam at Harbledown. Charles was buried at Harbledown on 21 October 1606.

See chapter Charles and Agnis Laslett of Harbledown on page 10.

GEORGE - baptised at Harbledown on 26 January 1581. Married Agnes Blasrams at Sturry on 27 June 1620, then on 18 November 1622 Jane Forster at Cosmos Blean. Jane was buried at Hackington on 7 January 1622 O.S. On 19 May 1623 married Anne Court at Harbledown. Anne died at Hackington in 1631. George then married Annah Knock at Guston on 7 July 1625. Annah was buried at Hackington on 22 February 1630 O.S. On 21 September 1631 George married Ann Bailey at Hackington. George died at Hackington in 1641.

See chapter George Laslett of Hackington and his wives Agnes, Jane, Anne, Annah and Ann on page 11.


MARGARET - baptised at Harbledown on 15 January 1560 O.S. Married Nicholas King on 2 August 1599 at Harbledown.
MARY - baptised at Harbledown on 24 February 1572 O.S. Married Robert Claringbole, yeoman. Both were buried at Barham, Robert on 6 August 1639 and Mary on 28 February 1639 O.S. From Robert's 1638 Will (witnessed by George Laslett) we can identify the following children:
George Claringbole
Richard Claringbole
Robert Claringbole
Thomas Claringbole