Now it is time to take a better look at the family of my 16th great grandfather Thomas Hendley.
Thomas was one of four, maybe five children, who received land and property on the death of their father by right of Gravelkind - a system of inheritance where children (the sons that is) each receive an equal share. All four married into other local families who too had links with the wool industry and it is always endlessly fascinating to discover what life threw at these people and how events changed the course of their lives. The subject of last nights research was Alice Hendley, the niece of my ancestor Thomas Hendley and the second daughter of his brother John.
John had died in 1472 leaving his wife pregnant and three young children under the age of six. John left his estate to his son, and to his two daughters he left twenty pounds, that's about £14,000 in today's money (incidentally that could by 142 stone of wool) to be paid the day she married. The children were left under the guardianship of my ancestor Thomas, and no doubt it was was he who arranged Alice's marriage to Thomas Sheafe, a local weaver. By 1520 Alice had given birth to six children, one of who died in infancy and it is this child who is represented in the image below, as a swaddled baby, lying next to her father.
From Thomas Sheafe's brass plaque we can see that he was merchant, we know this from the trademark that lies between his initials TS.
The Hendley's story can be found here https://meanderingthroughtime.weebly.com/hendley-of-cranbrook.html