Baptised 22nd November 1629.
Joseph died Dec.28th 1713 buried Jan 3rd 1714.
Grace died Feb 16th ; buried Feb 20th 1712.
|Will dated 15th
Jan.1714; proved 22nd Jan 1715.
Joseph Usborne of Staplehurst, Co. Kent.
(I give) My dwelling house, land and premises in Gracechurch St. London, known by the sign of 'The ffaulcon' and in the occupation of Lydia Usborne & Waylett or their assigns, to my three sons Thomas, John & William to their right heirs for ever, but on the condition following, which is that they pay £20 every year into the hand of them who I make, my grand-daughter Lydia's guardians........till she attains the age of 21 years.............£100 to my daughter in law Lydia Usborne, £100 to my son Thomas, £50 to my daughter Hannah, £50 to my daughter Deborah.....also £60 apiece to my 3 great grand-sons Joseph Bowell, his brother and Edward Mighall when 21.
I give the yearly rent of my house and land at Bilting, near Godmersham in occupation of Sarah Dunning to my daughter (Hannah) Gilham for life and after her death to my grand-daughter Lydia Usborne and her heirs. My two dwelling houses, Mill house and Mill pond, land & premises at Cranbrooke & Frittenden in Kent, now in the occupation of Chittenden & Moore, to my 2 sons, Thomas & John & their heirs. I give and bequeath to them my two tenements at Barrow Hill at Ashford in Kent..........house and land in Staplehurst to my son William & his heirs. Land & premises near Stockbridge......in Rumney Marsh......to my said son William and his heirs.
To the poor of the Parishes where I have lived, Staplehurst £5; Belhursden (Benenden?) 40/-; Ashford 40/-; Tenterden 40/-; all of these in Kent. Brightlestone 40/-; Heathfield 40/-. these in Sussex. Sons John and William Exors.
An altar tomb near the south porch of Staplehurst Church has the following inscriptions: Here lies ye body of Mr Joseph Usborne, minister of ye gospel who departed this life December 28th 1714. Aged 85 years. Also ye body of his dearly beloved wife Mrs Grace Usborne who departed this life February ye 16th 1712. In ye 81st year of her age.
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|As a young man of
25, Joseph was invited by the inhabitants of Benenden, Kent, to preach
among them. In order to retain him in the ministry there, they
voluntarily subscribed to increase his stipend from £40 to £60. He was
examined by one of Cromwell's committee, and obtained the Protector's
Order for the Living. After the restoration of the monarchy Parliament
approved a new Prayer Book. In 1662 the Act of Uniformity required
religious conformity, based on the prayer book, from all ministers. Two
thousand dissenters in England, including Joseph, were ejected from
their livings for non-conformity. The Royalist Hendon family, who owned
the living pressed him to remain. However he refused to conform since
"Faith and a good conscience would stand him in more stead than a
hundred livings" The Dean of Rochester, Dr Buck, offered to enter
into a bond of £500 to put him into a better living than Benenden,
provided he would conform. But Joseph answered that "if he could
have conformed at all, it should rather have been at Benenden, than any
other place whatever, because he could never meet with a more loving
people, or place where he was likely to do so much good".
The fate of ministers who continued in non-conformity was fines, jail and even deportation. Joseph was fined. The Five Mile Act forbade dissenting clergymen or school masters from coming within five miles of a City or Corporate Town "unless he swore that he would not at any time endeavour any alteration in government either in Church or State". Great damage was done to education and amongst the manufacturing and commercial sector. A painted design in the Loft at Loddenden suggests the room was used for Joseph's secret prayer meetings