Filmer, James

Male (abt 1478/1490) - 1571


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  • Name Filmer, James 
    Born (abt 1478/1490) 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation of Hurst & of Otterden 
    Died 1571 
    Buried Otterden, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • A JAMES FELMER was left one sheep in his uncle, JOHN FILMER, of Otterden's will proved in 1498. This could have been him.

      He is also mentioned in his father, BENEDICT's will dated 16/9/1508 and proved on 15/11/1508. when he was made executor of that will and left the residue of his father's goods and all his lands and tenements.

      Most persons with the name FILMER who can trace their origins to Kent are descendants of James Filmer of Otterden and Marjorie RAYNOR, daughter of Robert Raynor of 'Bamletts' Doddington. James died in 1571. Marjorie was buried at Wychling in 1588.

      They were recorded in the Visitations of 1574 (Harleian Soc. Vol. 74), by their son Robert Filmer of Little Charleton in the parish of East Sutton, to whom Cooke, Clarenceaux, confirmed the arms of the family in 1570, viz. sable, three bars and as many cinquefoils, or. The crest - on a ruined tower, or, a falcon, wings expanded proper, beaked and bellied, or. The extreme simplicity of the arms seems to indicate a much earlier usage. He is again mentioned in the Visitation of 1592.

      James and Marjories's children were all born before the Bishops transcripts were returned so their dates of birth are uncertain except for Robert, who was born in 1525. It seems likely that he was either the second son or the twin of his brother, George. In most documents and wills they are referred to together and seem generally to have been treated equally and in preference to the other children.

      Her other children were sons, Reginald, John, William and Isaac and daughters, Benet, Agnis, Margaret, Fraunces, and Rabige. (They are all referred to in various wills).

      At the time of his marriage the degree of James' property inheritance was not inconsiderable. At the very least it must have included the manor of Herst, twenty-six acres of lands and woods in Bourdfield, the old 'Filmer' farm, other messuages, tenements and at least a further twenty-nine acres of lands and woods at Slaide and elsewhere in Otterden and Wichling. He probably also held land in the old parish of Monkton and may have held the manor of Cleynden in Axtama Hundred.

      His status would seem to have been such that he would have been on level terms with many of the surrounding yeomen and farmers. The family would probably have had their eyes opened to the opportunities in London by the activities of Sir Anthony Aucher, who was in high favour with King Henry VIII, and it is possible that it was his influence that encouraged their son Robert eventually to take up law. The other male children, however, appear to have all been local farmers and all but Isaac married locally.

      James had clearly educated all his children but how this came about is not clear. Certainly he had been doing well enough to support his large family, no doubt helped by the steadily rising price of corn, which by the time of his death was fetching some three times of that when he was born.

      It also seems likely that his growing family required him to rebuild his residence at Herst. The house was visited by Reginald M. Filmer and is described by him in 'A Chronicle of Kent' as being timber framed with panels filled with whitewashed loaming. It would have had no glass in the windows. The contents can be gleaned from an inventory taken at his death (reproduced later) which, if correct, indicates a fair degree of simplicity in the home. Outside it had the advantage of a deep well of pure water.

      When James was 70 years old, Clarenceaux King-at-Arms, confirmed the arms of the family viz. sable three bars or, and as many ciquefoils in chief or, and granted his son, Robert, a crest - a golden falcon with expanded silver wings rising from the tower of a castle also in gold. This implies that at least one of James' ancestors had been designated 'Esquire' (Armiger) and as such had borne heraldic arms.

      His will was made originally in April, 1552 and it is thought likely that he may have been seriously ill at that time:

      JAMES FILMER of OTTERDEN. (Act Books). Dated 16/9/1553.

      ROBERT FILMER and GEORGE FILMER have been cited as executors of the will of JAMES FILMER of Otterden. ROBERT did not appear. (Partly illegible)

      Reference. P.R.C. A. Act. 13/82. (Latin).

      He did not die, however, until 1571 when it was proved (Arch C.C. - A 41 36; K.A.O. -U 120 T200/5). It is reproduced below:


      Dated 24/4/1552 Proved 22/6/1571

      JAMES FYLMER's will was made originally in April, 1552. He did not die, however, until 1571 when it was proved:

      'In the name of God Amen The xxiiijth daye of Apryll in the yeare of our lord god a thousand fyve hundrethe fyftye and two, and in the syxte years of the Reigne of our sovereigne lorde Edwarde the Syxte by the grace of god Kynge of Englande Fraunce and Ireland defender of the faythe And in earthe supreame head of the Church of Englande and Ireland I, JAMES FYLMER of Otterden in the Countye of Kente sych in bodye and whole of mynde and of perfect remembrance thanks be unto god doe ordayne and make my last wyll and Testament in manner and forme followynge, fyrst and chyeflye I, gyve and bequeathe my sowle to all mightye god my creator Trustynge assuredlye that thorowe the precyous bludsheadinge and marytter of his sonne Jesus Chryst my only advocate mediator and savyor to be an inherytor of the Kyngdome of heaven in to whose handes I nowe doe and when I shall departe out of this Transytorye worlde and vale of myserye I shall comytt my spirytt. Also I gyve unto the poore mens boxe of the Churche of Otterden aforesaid xij-d. Item I gyve to the Reparations of the said Churche vj-s. viij-d. Item I gyve to the Reparations of the Churche of Wytchelynge vj-s. viij-d. Item I give to MARGERYE my wyef one of my best kyen, one quarter of wheate, one quarter of ottes. Also I gyve to my sayd wyef fourtye shillinges to be payd unto her within one yeare after my decease. Also I give to REGYNALL my Sonne in corne cattell and other things to the value of twentye markes, (a. mark was worth 13s. 4d.) to be delyvered unto hyrn by my executors within one quarter of a yeare next after my decease. Also I gyve to either of my daughters AGNES, BENNETT and MARGARETT Tenne poundes to be payd unto them and either of them in the dayes of their severall mariages by my executors. Item I gyve to RABIGE my daughter tenne poundes to be paid unto her in the daye of her marriage by my sonne ISAAKE at the oversight of my executors. Also I gyve to GEORGE my Sonne my greate brasse pott. Item I gyve to ROBERT my sonne and to the sayd GEORGE all my chestes cupbordes spyttes brandyrons and one greate maultynge fate (vat). To be equallye devyded emongest them. And the resydue of my howshold staff I gyve and will equallye to be devyded between my sayde wyef and the sayd GEORGE. The resydue of all my goodes and cattells not wylled nor bequethed my dettes and legacies payde and fulfylled I give to the sayd GEORGE and ROBERT my sonnes whome I ordayne and make my executors. Item I will that ROBERT BARNES be the overseer of this my testament and last will and to have for his labor xiijs. iij-d.

      This is the last will of me the sayd JAMES FYLMER made and declared the day and Yeare above wrytten for the order and disposytyon of all my lands and tenements in the countye of Kente. First I gyve to the above named ROBERT and GEORGE my sonnes all my messuage or Tenement with all lande medowe pasture and woodd thereto belonging with the appurtenances in Otterynden wherein I nowe dwell together with xxvj acres of lande and woodd in Bordfeilde to have to them and to the heyers of their hodies lawfully begotten forever. And yf yt happen any of my sayde Sonnes to departe without yssue then the survyvor of the sayd ROBERT or GEORGE to be the others heyer, and if yt happen the sayd ROBERT or GEORGE to make sale of his parte of the premisses the other of them to by yt, and to have the preferment thereof before any other, if he wyll, and if yt happen the sayd ROBERT and GEORGE to departe without yssue of their bodycs lawfullye begotten. Then I will that the said messuage or Tenement with all and synguler the premysses and appurtenances shall remayne to REGYNALL my Sonne and to the heiers of his bodye lawfully begotten for ever upon condycyon that the sayd REGYNALDE his heyers or assignes shall paye or cause to be payde to JOHN and WYLLYAM my Sonnes or the heyers of their bodies lawfully begotten within two yeares next after such Remaynder to hyrn or them happened either of them twenty poundes, and if it happen the said REGINALD to dye without yssue of his bodye lawfully begotten before such Remaynder to hym happened Then I will that the said messuage or Tenement with all and synguler the premysses and appurtenances shall wholye remayne to the sayd WYLLYAM my sonne and to his heyers for ever uppon condycyon that the said WYLLYAM his heiers or assignes shall paye or cause to be payde to his sayde brother JOHN or to the heyers of his bodye lawfully begotten Twenty poundes within one yeare next after such Remaynder to hym or them happened. Also I will that my foresayd wyef shall have one chamber at her owne electyon with free egresse and regresse in my said messuage or Tenement with fyer and fuell as long as she will contynue therein and also that her cowe aforesayd shall be there kepte the wynter and somer at the costs and charges of the sayd ROBERT and GEORGE their heyers or assignes. Item I gyve to the sayd WYLLYAM my Sonne my Tenement at Slaide in Otterynden with the appurtenances with xxvij acres of lande belonginge to the same and vij acres of Woodlande which I lately purchased of ROBERT BARNES lyeing in Otterynden. To have to hym and his heyers for ever and if yt happened the sayd WILLIAM to dye without heyers, etc., then the sayd Tenement at Slayde with all and syngular etc. shall remayn to the said JOHN my sonne and to his heyers, etc. and if JOHN die without heyers, etc., the Tenement at Sleyde shall remayne to all my other sonnes then lyvynge equally to be devyded. Also I will that the sayd JOHN shall occupy the Tenement at Sleyde for a terme of five yeares after my decease payinge therefore yearlye to the sayd WILLIAM xxxiij-s. iiij-d. and payenge the lordes Rente and other charges thereof and keepynge the Reparations thereof tenants lyke at the oversight of my executor. Item I gyve to the abovenamed ISAACK my sonne my tenement with appurtenances at Paytonstrete in the parishe of Wytchelynge with all landes etc. to have etc. for ever. And if the said ISAAC dye without heires then I will the sayd tenement to ROBERT and GEORGE my sonnes etc. for ever. Also I gyve to my wyef one annuitye or yerelye Rente of xxvj-s. viij-d. goinge out to be payde to her out of my sayd Tenement at Paytonstrete at the feastes of thannunceacon of oure ladye and St. Mychell tharchangell by even portyons for the terms of her lyef. Also I will that the sayd REGYNALL my Sonne shall occupye my tenement at Payden strete until my sayd Sonne ISAACK come to thage of xxj yeares payenge yearlye therfore to my Executors five pounds and keapynge the Reparations thereof Tennate lyke. Moreover I gyve to the sayd JOHN and REGYNALD my Sonnes two acres of Woodlande lyenge in Otterynden to the landes of St. ANTHONY AUCHER, Knight, East and Northe and to the lands of me the aforesayd JAMES West and South equallye to be devyded between them.

      (The will continues further indicating if the said JOHN or REGINALD die without heirs of his body, the survivor of them to be the other's heir, if both should die without such heirs, the said piece of woodland shall remain to son WILLIAM).

      Wyttnes ROBERT BARNES, AUGUSTYNE HENEKER and others. Proved 22nd June, 1571.'

      Ref. Arch C.C. - A 41 36;
      K.A.O. U120 T200/5

      An inventory of goods and cattle was also taken at his death.

      Imprimis two yearinge steares l.s.
      Item one two yearinge heyfer x.s.
      Item two mare colts xiij.s. iiij.d.
      or
      Item iiij mares iij.1i. vj.s. viij.d.
      Item iij olde geldings xxx.s.
      Item xv wethers xl.s.
      Item One Rame v.s.
      Item viij kyen vj.1i. xiij.s. iiij.d.
      Item xxviij teggs xl.s.
      Item v quarters of wheate iij.1i.
      Item viij quarters of oates xxxiij.s. iiij.d.
      Item v hoggs viij.s. iiij.d.
      Item one calfe iij.s.
      Item xl ewes and xxx lambes v.li. xiij.s. iiij.d.
      Item v olde playne bedsteds v.s.
      Item one fetherbed and bolster xx.s.
      Item one flockbed and bolster x.s.
      Item iij mattresses with bolsters x.s.
      Item iij pillows olde vj.s.
      Item ij paier of blancketts vj.s.
      Item viij coverlette xxiiij.s.
      Item xx paier of sheetes. iiij.1i.
      Item ij bylls xvj.d.
      Item v chests xvj.s.
      Item ij cupbords xij.s.
      Item xiij platters x dishes vij
      saucers two saltsellers of
      pewter xx.s.
      Item ij chayers ij.s.
      Item vj cushions iij.s.
      Item ij tables and ij formes v.s.
      Item ij white testers vj.s.
      Item Tooles for husbandrye
      courte carte and ploughes xl.s.
      Item Other lynnen xiijs. iiij.d.
      Item v candellsticks iij.s.
      Item For tubbs other lumber
      and ymplements of
      householde iiij.1i.
      Item In redye money vij.1i. ix.s.
      Item The corne growinge on
      the grounde xiij.1i. vj.s. viij.d.
      _______________
      lxxj.li iiij.s. i.d.

      The inventory does not add up. It appears to reflect a simplicity in the home continuing from an earlier age rather than James fairly well to do status.


      It will be noted that the Manor of Herst is not mentioned. Possibly it had been given to son George during James lifetime or that it was given in trust for Marjorie, his wife. It is likely that his property holdings were increased between the time he drew up his will and his death and that he would also have disposed of some property to his children directly or on their marriages. It is felt therefore that his will is not a good guide to assess the extent of the family's land holdings.
    Person ID I16016  Hougham
    Last Modified 11 Aug 2004 

    Father Filmer, Benedict (Benet)
              b. (abt 1427/1436)
              d. 1508 
    Mother Pepere, Joan
              d. 1512 
    Married 1467 
    Family ID F5906  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Raynor, Margerye
              d. 1588, Wychling, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1522  Doddington, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Probably at
    Children 
    +1. Filmer, George
              b. Abt 1523
              d. (1581/1582), Borden, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location
    +2. Filmer, Robert
              b. 1525
              d. 31 Aug 1585, East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
     3. Filmer, Agnis
              b. Abt 1526
              d. 1593  (Age ~ 67 years)
     4. Filmer, Benedicta (Bennet)
              b. Abt 1528
              d. 1591, Wychling, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 63 years)
     5. Filmer, Margaret
              b. Abt 1530
              d. Aft 1584  (Age ~ 55 years)
    +6. Filmer, Reginald (Raynold or Regynall)
              b. Abt 1531
              d. 1 May 1606, Wychling, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 75 years)
     7. Filmer, William
              b. Abt 1533, Sutton Valence, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location
    +8. Filmer, John
              b. Abt 1534
              d. (? 1580), Stalisfield, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location
    +9. Filmer, Isaac
              b. Abt 1536
              d. Dec 1568, Stalisfield, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 32 years)
     10. Filmer, Rabige
              b. Abt 1537
              d. Dec 1568, Stalisfield, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years)
     11. Filmer, Frances
              d. Aft 1584
    Family ID F5863  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - Abt 1522 - Doddington, Kent Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Otterden, Kent Link to Google Earth
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