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Written by JAMES ERNEST HOBBS who researched this family in the 1960ís




Thomas Francklin, gingerbread baker, of Wye, who died in 1770, was the ancestor of Ethel Francklin, who married Ernest Arthur Miles at Ramsgate in 1916. Her descent from Thomas is shown in the family tree "The Francklin Family of Wye, Margate, and Ramsgate, Kent". The ancestry of Thomas Francklin of Wye is, however, uncertain.


There seem to have been two main branches of the family in Kent in the sixteenth century. One, which was armigerous, and is mentioned in the Herald's visitations, stemmed from John Frankelyn of Chart Sutton who died in 1500; the other was descended from Thomas Franklen of Rowling, Chillenden, who died in 1528. Descendants of both families were living in Wye or in nearby parishes in the seventeenth century, and Thomas Francklin of Wye (ob.1770) may have been descended from either of them, but the most likely association is with the Chillenden family.


The Francklins of Chart Sutton, Wye, Maidstone and Mereworth Castle, Kent are described in detail in a book privately printed in 1932 by Charles A. H. Franklyn of Folkstone entitled "A Short Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Families of Frankelyn of Kent and Franklyn of Antigua and Jamaica B.W.I.". The descent from John of Chart Sutton (ob.1500) of the Francklins living in Wye and thereabouts in the seventeenth century is shown in the family tree "The Francklin Family of Chart next Sutton Valance, and Wye, Kent". Thomas Francklin of Wye (ob.1770) may have been descended from John Francklin of Bilting, Wye, Gentleman (1563-1619) either:-


(a) through his son - John Francklin of Molash, gentleman, (1600-1677) who mentions two sons in his will, Robert and Charles, but there is no evidence of either of these having a son named Thomas. or


(b) through his son - Thomas - who married Elizabeth Simmons at Marden in 1628. or


(c) through his son - Henry Francklin - woollen draper of Ashford (1619-1703).


There are other possibilities. Arthur Francklin of Badlesmere, gentleman (1601-1669), son of Arthur Francklin of Badlesmere, gentleman (1570-1641), had inter alia two sons Thomas and John, who were baptised at Badlesmere in 1646 and 1650 and who were alive when their father died in 1666. Either of them could have been the father of Thomas of Wye (ob.1770). He may have come from Maidstone: there was a Thomas Francklin, son of Nicholas and Francis Francklin, baptised at Maidstone 13 May 1682. This would conform with his marriage at Wye in 1707 and his wife's baptism in 1686. His gravestone at Wye is now difficult to read and the age on it when he died in 1770 may be eighty two or eighty eight. The latter seems more likely.


No baptism of a Thomas Francklin between 1680 and 1690 has been found at Wye or at any of the nearby parishes including Ashford, Molash and Badlesmere. Thomas of Wye (ob.1770) was probably a Nonconformist in early life as his children were either recorded as "born not baptised" in the Wye registers or were baptised later in life. Some of the Francklins who were descended from John of Chart Sutton (ob.1500) may have been Nonconformists. Members of the maidstone family were officers in the Commonwealth forces in Kent and John Francklin, son of Arthur of Badlesmere (1570-1641) was captain in Colonel Weldon's regiment in the Parliament forces at the Siege of Exeter where he was severely wounded and died in 1646. His brother James, a jurat at Faversham, was in August 1662 displaced from office following the Corporation Act of 1661. Under that Act, Royal Commissioners were appointed to visit boroughs, to see that all members of the corporation and their officials took the oath of allegiance to Charles I and also made a declaration against the Solemn League and Covenant. James Francklin must have refused to do this.


The descendants of Thomas Franklen of Rowling, Chillenden, (ob. 1528) are shown in the family tree "The Francklin Family of Chillenden, Goodnestone, Petham and Thanet, Kent". They were, without doubt, related to the Chart Sutton Francklins as Henry Franklen of Sandwich, gentleman, (ob.1631) left his "sealing ring wch hath my armes being the Dolphin engraven upon it" to his nephew, Henry Francklin of Thanet and Petham, yeoman, (ob.1673), who seems to have been the only male descendant of Thomas Franklen of Rowling, Chillenden (ob.1528) to continue the line. Henry of Sandwich (ob.1631) and John of St.Mildred's Canterbury (1589-1613) had no sons and William Francklin of Boughton under Blean (1621-1658), the only son of Thomas Francklin of Goodnestone and St.Martin's Canterbury (ob.1654/5), had no sons who survived infancy.


John Francklin of Petham and Thanet (1617-1666), the only son of Henry Francklin of Petham and Thanet (ob.1673) had six sons but only three of them, Henry, John and James, were alive when their grandfather died in 1673.


The eldest son, Henry, first lived in Thanet after his marriage in 1666 but moved to Petham when his grandfather died in 1673. The Petham Manor records show that he and his brothers sold Dane Farm and Copthall, which they had inherited from their grandfather, sometime between 1679 and 1683. Henry seems to have moved from Petham before 1679, but where he went is not known. He could have been the father of Thomas Francklin of Wye (ob.1770). His wife died at Canterbury in 1727. Records of five of his children have been found.


1. MARY bur. 14th November 1668 at Minster Thanet.

2. ELIZABETH bapt. 18th January 1669/70 at Minster, Thanet.

3. JOHN bapt. 4th June 1672 at Minster Thanet. He was later John Francklin, carpenter of Cobham (1672-1727) whose children are mentioned in the will of his sister Anna.

4. HENRY bapt. 6th May 1674 at Petham. He was later Henry Francklin, yeoman, of Mersham and married twice.

†††† (i) 21st June 1699 at St.George's Canterbury to Margaret Boys

†††† (ii) 10th May 1715 at the same church to Mary Whiting. Children of these marriages were baptised atMersham over the years 1701 to 1722.

5. ANNA, spinster, of Margate bur. 11th June 1755 at Minster Thanet. (Will dated 29th March 1750 proved Archdeaconry Court Canterbury). Executrix of her mother's will.


John the second surviving son of John Francklin (1617-1666) was not to inherit under his grandfather's will if he married Mary, daughter of Richard Denies of Stelling, who his grandfather judged "not to be afitting wife for him for some reasons not fitt here to be expressed". The marriage did not take place. John, who had been churchwarden in 1677, moved from Petham circa 1679 (the date of the last Manor Court at which he appeared) and Mary Denies married Henry Uden at Stelling in 1683 when she was thirty one years of age. However, John Francklin married Elizabeth Badcock at St.Mary Dover 6th July 1679. She is mentioned in the first church book of the "Church of Christ in and about Dover", the General Baptists, as being a member of that church and "of Deal" in 1676. No baptisms of their children have been found but one child, John, was buried at St.Mary Dover in 1690. In 1694, she is referred to in the General Baptist records as "widow Franklin".


James, the youngest surviving son of John Francklin (1617-1666), inherited from his grandfather some property in Upper Hardres. Nothing more is known of him other than that he was presented at the Quarter Sessions in 1680, as "of Petham", for a hedge "unbrushed" between Hardres and Bridge. No records of his marriage or of any children have yet been found.


A search of the Hearth Tax records for East Kent in 1664, excluding Canterbury and the Cinque Ports, has produced only the following house occupiers with the name of Francklin (other than Arthur of Badlesmere).


Hundred of Bridge and Petham††††††††† Store Street

††††††††† Henry Francklin†††††††††††††† iiii hearths

Hundred of Filborough†††††††††††††††† Molish

††††††††† Mr.Franklin††††††††††††††††††††† iii hearths

Town of Ashford

††††††††† Henry Francklin††††† ††††††††††ii hearths (not charged)

Hundred of Ringslow (Thanet)††††††††† Wray Borough

††††††††† John Franckling††††††††††††††† iiii hearths


These can all be identified as members of one or other of the two families.


Perhaps one day some piece of information will be turned up which will complete the jig-saw; the best guess at the moment, bearing in mind his Nonconformity, the names of his children, his social status and the later movement of his son John to Thanet, is that Thomas Francklin of Wye (ob.1770) was the son of John Francklin who married Elizabeth Badcock, the baptist, at Dover in 1679, and that his father was John, son of John Francklin of Petham and Thanet (1617-1666), baptised at St.John Thanet 22nd January 1645/6.


Thomas Francklin (ob.1770) married Barbara, daughter of Cosman Ertzberger, at Wye church on 13th July 1707. Her father's tombstone in Wye churchyard is interesting:


"Here lieth the body of Cosman Ertzberger of this town. He was a native of ye City of Basil in ye canton of Bern and came to England with ye Right Honourable Heneage Earl of Winchelsea (Ambassador to Constantinople) in ye year 1678. He liveth in this town sixty five years and dieth April ye 4th 1744 aged 89Y. He left issue surviving 3 sons and 5 Daughters, 38 Grand Children and 21 Great Grand Children. His eldest surviving son John of this Town Erected this stone in memory of his dear Father.


..................... the Body of Mary first wife of the aforesaid Cosman Ertzberger by whom he had one ................. daughters. She died August 30th 1689 aged 30 years ........abeth his second wife by her he had ........ sons and 3 daughters. She died September 23rd 1752 aged 82 years."


The marriage licence of Cosman Ertzberger when he married Mary Smith of Smeeth in 1679 gives his name as Adsberry and describes him as a gentleman of Eastwell, the home of the Earl of Winchelsea. When he married again in 1692 to Elizabeth Sanford of Ashford, the licence gives his correct surname and describes him as tailor of Wye. In his will (dated 16th June 1741 proved Archdeaconry Court Canterbury 14th April 1743) he left ten shillings each to his son Cosman Ertzberger and to his two daughters Frances Dodd, widow and Barbara, wife of Thomas Franckling, "to be paid after their mother-in-laws decease". They had, no doubt, been provided for earlier when they married.


Thomas Francklin's name appears among the freeholders in the polls for the knights of the shire to represent Kent in Parliament in 1734 and 1754. At the earlier date, his abode is given as Wye but owning freehold at Challock. At the later date, his abode is the same but the freehold was house and land at Westwell occupied by W.Kingsland. They were probably the same properties. It may not be just coincidence that Thomas Francklin of Goodnestone and St.Martins Canterbury (ob.1654/5) owned property in Westwell which he left to his wife during her life and then to his son William Francklin of Boughton under Blean (1621-1658) for William's daughters (see above). His brother Henry Francklin of Petham was his sole executor and his nephew John Francklin (1617-1666) was to inherit Rowling in Chillenden if William had no heirs male - which was the case.


Barbara, wife of Thomas Francklin died in 1758 and her gravestone in Wye churchyard reads:


††††††††††††††††††††††††† "In memory of

†††††††††††††††††††††† Barbara the wife of

†††††††††††††††††††† Thos Francklin of this

††††††††††††††††††† Town.She died December

††††††††††††† the 10th 1758 aged seventy two years,

†††††††††††††††††† left issue six children viz

†††††††††††††††††† Thos. Sarah John Elizabeth

††††††††††††††††††† Barbara and Mary. Thomas

†††††††††††††††††††††† and John are not."


The son Thomas died in 1761 and refers in his will to "the son and sons of my late brother John Francklin deceased" and he gave "unto the widow of my late brother John Francklin deceased the sum of Twenty pounds". So John died before 1761 and this explains the comment at the end of the inscription on his mother's grave. The other son, William who was born in 1713/14, must have died when young.


Their father died in 1770 and his gravestone at Wye reads:


††††††††††††††††††††††† "In loving memory

††††††††††††††††††† of Thomas Francklin Sen,

†††††††††††††††††† †††††late of this town

†††††††††††††††††††† who died April 10 1770

††††††††††††††††††††††††† aged 8- years

†††††††††††††††††† He left three daughters viz

††††††††††††††††††† Sarah Elizabeth Barbara"


There are also gravestones nearby for Thomas Francklin (1708-1761). Barbara, wife of John French, (d.1786), John French (d.1790) and James Oliver (d.1791).


In 1750 the family was subject to some national notoriety arising from the marriage of Elizabeth to John Collington of Throwley who was executed at Maidstone on 7 April 1750 for aiding and abetting arson. The curious story of this alleged crime is told in a separate note entitled "Mr. John Collington". Elizabeth later married Fleet Eldon, a barber of Charing.


Thomas senior in his will, left his copyhold property to his executors, his sons-in-law John Laming of Wye gentleman and John French of Wye wheelwright, with instructions to sell and divide the money between his four daughters: Sarah wife of John Laming, Elizabeth wife of Fleet Eldon, Barbara wife of John French and Mary wife of James Oliver. (Mary Oliver must have died between the time the will was written in 1765 and her father's death in 1770). He gave five pounds to Sarah the widow of his late son John Francklin deceased, five pounds to his granddaughter Mary daughter of his late son John Francklin deceased to be paid when she reached the age of twenty one, and ten pounds to his granddaughter Sarah Collington together with "the cherry coloured bed in my middle chamber as the same now stands with the furniture and appurtenances thereunto belonging"


Details of the copyhold property owned by Thomas Francklin senior and by his son Thomas Francklin (1708-1761) are given in the records of the Courts Baron of the Royal Manor of Wye. On 16 October 1738 Thomas, senior, surrendered to the use of his will "one messuage formerly called Zeals, one kitchen, one garden, one orchard containing one rood abutting to the messuage of Thomas Pope, formerly called the Saracen's Head to the south, to Wye churchyard to the north, to lands called Churchfield to the west, and to the Common Marketplace of Wye to the east, now in the tenure of Thomas Francklin with the right to use the well at the Saracen's Head paying proportion of the repairs". The manor rent was two shillings yearly. At the Court Baron on 18 July 1770 it was recorded that this property was sold to James Oliver of Wye plumber and glazier and the proceeds of the sale divided among the daughters as ordained in Thomas' will.


On 14 May 1756 it was recorded that Thomas Francklin the younger of Wye, plumber and glazier had purchased from Elizabeth Court (formerly Elizabeth Simmons now widow of Stephen Court of Waltham) a piece of land called Dungeon in Wye which adjoined the Kings Highway to east and south, abutted to the vicarage land to west and south, and to the lands of Thomas Dobson to north and west. When Thomas died in 1761 this land was inherited by his son and heir Thomas Francklin of Wye, tailor, but at the Court Baron on 21 April, 1763 he surrendered it to the use of his grandfather, Thomas Francklin of Wye gingerbread baker, the Rev. Nicholas Brett of Springgrove, Wye, clerk and David Hughes of Wye, carpenter who were trustees of his father's will. This was the land which Thomas Francklin (1708-1761) had left on trust to "the son or sons of my late brother John Francklindeceased."


Little is known of the freehold land mentioned in the poll records but in 1746 Mr. Francklin paid land tax on a cottage in Challock rated at one pound and occupied by widow Clerk and Thomas Francklin Senior paid tax on property in Wye rated at four pounds and occupied by himself. In the same year Sarah Francklin owned property in Wye rated at two pounds and Thomas Francklin junior occupied property there rated at six pounds.


It was not until 1798 that the copyhold property left on trust by Thomas Francklin junior (1708-1761) was sold and the proceeds divided among the son's of his brother John. John, whose birth does not appear in the registers, must have been born in 1712 and was apprenticed in 1726 to Dan Besum of Kennington tailor, the fee being eight pounds. In 1734, John Francklin (married Sarah Reynolds at St.Lawrence Thanet. Their first child Elizabeth was baptised at St.John Thanet in 1735. Their second child was baptised at Wye in 1738 and six others at St.John Thanet, the last there being named Mary in 1752. They then seem to have moved away from Thanet.


There was another child after Mary whose baptism has not been found. Isaac Francklin, greengrocer, of Margate died there on the 19th November 1843 and the age on his death registration is given as ninety years and nine months, that is he was born in 1753 if the age record is accurate. The 1841 census gives his age as eighty five (they recorded to the nearest five years) and that he was born in Kent. He was named after his grandfather Isaac Reynolds.


On 12 October 1798 the Court Baron at Wye recorded that of the original trustees of the will of Thomas Francklin (1708-1761) only David Hughes survived and that John Francklin, brother of Thomas Francklin, had died leaving four sons William, John "now of Margate, gent", Thomas and Isaac "now of Margate, gent", of whom Thomas and William were since dead Thomas without issue, and William leaving two sons, William Francklin now of Sheerness labourer in the King's Yard there, and John lately intestate without issue. The property called Dungeon was in the occupation of William French and was described as messuage barn garden orchard etc. The claim to ownership was successful and John Francklin, his wife Ann Isaac Francklin, his wife Sarah, and their nephew William sold it to William Ladd of Wye, wheelwright.


†† John Francklin (born at Wye in 1712) died some time between 1752 and 1761 and most likely between 1758 and 1761 if one is to explain the inscription on his mother's gravestone at Wye. His wife, Sarah died some time after 1765 and she is mentioned in her father-in-law's will).


Where they moved to and the children grew up is not known. Isaac came back to Margate and so did his eldest brother John but the latter some time after his marriage as his younger children only were baptised at St. John Thanet, from 1783 onwards.


Early directories of Margate and of Kent between 1796 and 1811 describe John Francklin (1741-1820) variously as Droit Collector, Harbour Master, Collector of Rates under the heading "Pier and Pavement Officials". He lived at a house in the High Street, rated at thirteen pounds in 1801 and his address is given as Quality Court in 1811. His connection with the harbour is an interesting repetition of history if the "best guess" of his ancestry is correct. John Francklin (1617-1666) was "pier warden" some time before 1662. According to Lewis' History of Thanet, second edition, 1736:


"Two persons living in Margate and St.John's are every year on May Day, chosen to take care of this pier, by the name of Pier Wardens, and two others that are called Deputy Pier Wardens. It is the office of these Wardens and their deputies to collect the Droits, as they are called, or the Monies due to the Pier, of which they are to give an Account to the Parishioners and their Successors in this Office, within twenty days after the choice of new Pier Wardens. But collecting the Droits', according to the Orders or Decrees, requiring a constant Attendance, the Pier Wardens had antiently allowed them a Droit-gatherer. Thus, by a Book of the Pier's Accounts dated 1609-1610 Henry Culmer appears Droit-gatherer, and accounts for a collection of £125 14s. 7d. for gathering which he is there allowed a Salary of £12 11s. 0d. about 2s. 0d. in the pound, which this officer well deserves if he collects the Droits according to the Lord Wardens Decrees. It is likewise the Office of the Pier Wardens to inspect and provide for the Repairs of the Pier, but they cannot make any new Works above the value of five pounds without the consent of the Inhabitants.


In 1662 I find complaint made to the Duke of York, then Lord Warden or Admiral of the Cinque Ports, that this Pier and Harbour was much ruinated and decayed, and that the Moneys formerly collected and received for the repair thereof had not been duly improved for that End, and that for a long time past there had been no due Accounts given, nor elections made of successive Pier Wardens yearly, is by ancient customs and Orders of former Lord Wardens ought to be. On which Colonel John Stroode, then Lieutenant of Dover Castle, wrote to the four Captains of the Companies in the Liberties of the Cinque Ports in this Island (Thanet) to summon Edward Taddie, Thomas Wheately, John Franklyn, Jeffrey Tomlin, and the Widow Bishop, late Pier Wardens, to produce the Writings and Orders touching and give up their accounts: Which Summons is dated March 6th 1662. But what was the effect of this I don't find; I suppose the Persons summoned obeyed the Summons, and did as they were required."


The position regarding the collection of Droits and the repairs of the Piers continued to be unsatisfactory intil 1724 when the Pier Wardens petitioned for and obtained an Act of Parliament to legalise their duties. Further act were passed in 1787 and 1799, the former also providing for the pier income to be used for the paving, lighting, cleaning and widening of the streets in Margate-hence the mention of John Francklin in the local Directories under the heading "Pier and Pavement Officials". After considerable damage to the old wooden Pier by a heavy storm in 1808, another Act was obtained in 1812 for separating the management of the pier and harbour from the paving and lighting and vesting the future harbour of Margate in a joint stock company, who were enabled by an increase in the droits and pierage to pay the interest of a large sum which was lent for constructing a new pier.


In 1812, John Francklin (1741-1820) was seventy one years old and was, no doubt, ready to retire when the joint stock company was formed. He had had an assistant, Thomas Holness, for years. He executed his will on 3rd January 1805, leaving all his property in trust with the income to his wife during her life and then to their children. His widow did not prove the will and, when she died, administration with the will annexed was granted to their son Thomas, 2nd January 1827.


Their son John Charles Francklin (1779-1825) was licensee of the Bull's Head tavern in the Market Place at Margate from some time before 1811 until his death in 1825 when his third wife, Elizabeth, continued the licence but only for eighteen months as she died the following year. In his will he left his property to Elizabeth for life then to his two sons: John Edward Francklin and Thomas Francklin and to Sarah Solly Palmer, Elizabeth's daughter by a previous marriage. Probate was granted to Elizabeth on 16th January 1826 but, after her death, adminstration was granted to John Edward Francklin on 28th October 1826. Administration of the goods of Elizabeth Francklin was granted on 12th December 1826 to Francis William Cobb, a creditor, who perhaps owned the Bull's Head. The Cobbs were brewers as well as bankers in Margate.


Little is known of John Edward Francklin (1801-1843) except that he was a sailor. His son, John Charles Francklin (1826-1904) was living with his parents in "Garden Row", Margate, in 1841 but, at the time of his marriage in 1847, he was living at 21 Cross Street, Islington, Middlesex, and is described as bootmaker. There were a number of boot factories in Shoreditch and Islington. His wife was also born in Margate, although they married in London, and for a few years they lived at 9 white Cross Place, Shoreditch. They then moved to Walmer, back to London, to Margate and finally settled in Ramsgate around 1860.


Their son, Frederick Charles Francklin (1863-1924) was a printer, and according to his obituary notice in the "East Kent Times", was first employed at Ramsgate by W. Jennings who was associated with the starting of the first Ramsgate newspaper the "Thanet Advertiser". Later he joined Waterlows in London and, thereafter was in charge of printing works in France, Belgium and Holland, returning to England firstly to Lincolnshire and then back to Ramsgate. He was appointed Works Manager of the "East Kent Times" in 1905 and continued in this position until his death in 1924. He was an athelete of some ability in his youth, a Volunteer and an Inspector of the Special Constabulary during the 1914-18 war. For some years he was treasurer of the Ramsgate Liberal Club.


He met his future wife Jane Beer Hyne in France and they were married at Boulogne in 1890, their daughter Ethel was born at Ostend in 1893.



History of Kent††††††††††† Edward Hasted†††††††††††††† 1797-1801

History of Kent††††††††††† W.H.Ireland†††††††††††††††† 1829

History of Thanet††††††††† John Lewis††††††††††††††††† 1st. Ed. 1723

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2nd. Ed. 1736

History of Four Families†† C.A.H.Francklyn†††††††††††† 1932

Kent Records Vol.XVII††††† "XVIIth Century Miscellany" 1960

Kentish Sources II†††††††† "Kent and the Civil War"††† 1960

17th Century Kent††††††††† C.W.Chalkin†††††††††††††††† 1965

Visitation of Kent 1574††† Harleian Society††††††††††† Vol.74

Visitation of Kent 1592††† Harleian Society††††††††††† Vol.75

Visitation of Kent 1663/8Harleian Society††††††††††† Vol.54

Probate and other recordsKent Archives Office, Maidstone

Census Returns†††††††††††† Public Record Office, London

Parish Registers

East Kent Times

Alumni Oxoniensis††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1715-1886

Local Records††††††††††††† Margate Public Library

Universal British Directory††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1796

Kentish Companion††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1797

Holden's Directory†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1811

Pigot's Kent Directory†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1823, 1839

Pigot's London and Provincial Directory††††††††††††††† 1826-27

Post Office Directory, Kent††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1855, 1866

Kelly's Directory, Kent††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1882

A Second Kentish Patchwork†††† R.H.Goodsall††††††††††† 1968

Records of the Royal Manor of Wye†††††† The Library, Wye College






In March 1749/50 during the Kent County Assizes at Maidstone there were brought to trial:


JOHN STONE late of Challock Lees for maliciously and wickedly setting fire to the Barn Corn and Hay Ricks of Mr. John Clarke of Throwleigh and JOHN COLLINGTON a gentleman farmer of considerable Estate for councelling, abetting, aiding and hiring the said John Stone to commit the said wicked Act. Likewise the Trials of STEPHEN BARRETT and JOSEPH GREGORY for going in disguise to the Barn of the above mentioned John Clarke of Throughleigh and forcibly taking him from thence, beating him and firing a Carbine and Pistol at him-for which purpose they were hired by the above Mr. John Collington.


The story of the events leading up to the trial and consequent execution of John Stone and John Collington at Penenden Heath, Maidstone on Saturday 7 April 1750 is told in full by R.H.Goodsall in his book "A Second Kentish Patchwork" (1968). The trial created much interest at the time and there was sensational reporting of John Collington's reputedly sadistic life in various periodicals including "The Universal Magazine" Volume 6 (April 1750), the Newgate Calendar" Volume II, and the "Ladies Magazine" Volume I (April-June 1750). In these it was reported that John Collington after the death of his first wife remarried in 1741, his new wife being the daughter of a Mr. Franklin, "a Tradesman of an Exceeding good Character" of Wye in Kent.


This second wife of John Collington was Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Francklin, gingerbread baker of Wye (circa 1690-1770). Elizabeth was aged about 25 years when she married but her husband was some 20 years older. John Collington was born on 23 March 1696/7, the son of Nathaniel Collington, M.A. who, it is recorded on his memorial in Pluckley Church, was Rector of that parish for 63 years and was 93 years old when he died in 1735.


John Collington's worthy parentage added spice to the lurid magazine stories of his life. He was reputed to have ill-treated his first wife, and even to have murdered her, after she had borne him ten children of whom only four survived, "and the six that died were buried in his own orchard, to save the charges". If the stories were based on local heearsay it is surprising that Thomas Francklin allowed his daughter to marry such a man. It was even more surprising that, if John Collington was really guilty of the crime he was reputed to have committed, his second wife's father and sister should have accompanied him in the coach to Penenden Heath on the day of execution. Goodsall points out other discrepancies between Collington's reputation and the reported facts and it seems possible that he was an unfortunate firebrand who was not as black as he was painted and may well have been a victim of local prejudice. Possibly some of the evidence against him was "rigged"; certainly hanging, even in that brutish age, was extreme punishment for his crime. Right up to the last moment he hoped for a reprieve but on the Gallows he received a message that "no respite could on any account be obtained for Mr. Collington there having been interest made against him by noblemen and gentlemen in the country round where he lived."


John Collington, whose address at that time in the marriage licence records is given as Rye in Sussex, married Grace Wheeler of Charing in 1728. According to the contempory periodicals his father had brought him a grocer's shop in Rye following apprenticeship to a grocer in London but he moved to Charing after his marriage and on his father's death in 1735 inherited property in Throwley where he settled as a farmer, and where he was living when he married Elizabeth Francklin in 1741.


One of the accusations made against him was that he did not have his children baptised and gave them a name himself. It seems likely that he was a non-conformist and this could have been one reason for his unpopularity in Throwley. Thomas Francklin (seems also to have been a non-conformist for the Wye registers, although they record the births of his children, do not record any baptism until 1744 when two of his daughters, Barbara aged 23 and Mary aged 19 were baptised. This however may have been due to the puritan inclinations of the incumbent at that time as Thomas Francklin was married in Wye church and the baptisms in 1744 followed the entry of a new curate, Heneage Dering, in 1743.


Certainly Thomas Francklin appears from the contempory reports to have borne no grudge against his son-in-law and there is no suggestion in records of the Francklin family that Elizabeth was treated in any way different from her sisters. It was five years after Collington's execution before she married again; she was then nearly forty years old and married Fleet Elden, a barber of Charing, who was only nineteen. In 1761, as did her sisters, she received £20 under the will of her brother, Thomas Francklin, and in 1770, when her father died, she shared his estate equally with her three sisters, Sarah wife of John Laming, Barbara wife of John French, and Mary wife of James Oliver. Among other minor bequests old Thomas Francklin left £10 to his granddaughter Sarah Collington who was also to have the "Cherry coloured bed in the middle chamber" when she reached the age of 21. The will was written in 1765. In 1769 Sarah married Edward Boys, gentleman, of Willesborough, anunlikely match if her father was really guilty of the crime for which he died. It was Edward Boys, the eldest son of Edward and Sarah Boys of Boys hall, Willesborough, who in 1793 married Susannah the daughter of William Hobbs, yeoman, of Aldington. The following year Edward's younger brother William Boys married Susannah's sister Elizabeth Hobbs. Their mother, had died in 1787 and is buried with her husband Edward Boys in Willesborough church.


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Grace Wheeler======††††† JOHN††††† ======Elizabeth Francklin

of Charing††††† 1728††† COLLINGTON††† 1741†† daughter of Thomas

††††††††† †††††††|†† Gent of Throwley†† |††† Francklin,

†††††††††††††††† |†† Son of Nathaniel†† |††† gingerbread baker

†††††††††††††††† |†† Collington M.A.††† |††† of Wye and Barbara

†††††††††††††††† |†† Clerk, Rector of†† |††† formerly Ertzberger

†††††††††††††††† |†† Pluckley†††††††††† |††† born circa 1716 Wye

†††††††††††††††† |†† born 23 March††††† |

†††††††††††††††† |†† 1696/7. Pluckley†† |††† later married 1755

†††††††††††††††† |††††††††††††††††††††† |††† Fleet Elden, barber

†††††††††††††††† |†† executed 7 April ††|††† of Charing

†††††††††††††††† |†† 1750. Penenden†††† |

†††††††††††††††† |††††††††††††† Heath†† |

†††††††††††††††† |††††††††††††††††††††† |

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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† |††††††††† 7Jan1768

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sarah Collington†† ======†† Edward Boys

†††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††died.16Mar1787††††††† |†††† Gentleman of

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† buried in†††††††††††† |†††† Boys Hall

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Willesborough†††††††† |†††† Willesborough

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Church††††††††† |†††† and the Moat,

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mentioned in††††††††† |†††† Sevington

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† will of grand-††††††† |†††† bapt.20Jul1744

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† father Thomas†††††††† |†††† died.19Mar1796

†††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††Francklin dated†††††† |†††† buried in

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 27Jun1765.††††††††††† |†††† Willesborough

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† pr.Archd.Ct.††††††††† |†††††††††† Church

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Canterbury††††††††††† |

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 23Apr1770†††††††††††† |

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† |

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†††††††††††††† |††††††††††††††††††† |†††††††††††††††††† |††††††† |

††††††††††† Edward Boystwin ofSarah Boys††††††† William Boys |-John

††††††††††† of Ashford††††††††††† bapt.25Sep1768††† b.10Aug1775|-Mary

††††††††††† bapt.25Sep1768††††††† at WillesboroughWillesborough|-Margaret

††††††††††† at Willesborough††††† mar.1789 to†††††† m.9Nov1794†† |-Elizabeth

††††††††††† mar.17Sep1793†††††††† William Knowles†† to Elizabeth |-Martha

††††††††††† at Smeeth†††††††††††† of Canterbury†††† Hobbs of†††† |-Joseph

††††††††††† to Susannah Hobbs†††††††††††††††††††††† Aldington,

††††††††††† dau.of William Hobbs††††††††††††††††††† yeoman

††††††††††† of Aldington, yeoman




Francklin family of Chart next Sutton Valance & Wye(Large tree 1.5Mb)


Francklin family of Chillenden, Goodnestone, Petham & Thanet(Large tree 1.5Mb)


Francklin family of Wye, Margate & Ramsgate(Large tree 1.5Mb)



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