|Joseph Usborne (source documents)|
|By diligent search of the Archbishops’ Registers at Lambeth, the books of First Fruits and Institution in the Public Record Office, documents at Canterbury and other sources, an authentic account has been obtained of about fifty Vicars of Benenden.|
Mr Joseph USBORNE.
One Austin being turned out of this living for insufficiency, the people got Mr Usborne to preach among them for half a year, during which time he had an invitation to a place in Sussex.
The people of Benenden having notice of it, met together, and united in an earnest request to Mr Usborne to continue with them. As the income was but small, they readily entered into a subscription to increase it to £60.
The Patron of the living being abroad with KING CHARLES, it fell into the hands of a committee in London to provide for the place.
When the Protector took upon him to place and displace Ministers Mr Usborne was tried by a committee, when he brought a certificate from the people, and another from the neighbouring Ministers as to his abilities and behaviour. He obtained the Protector’s order for the living, and the Vicarage house being gone to decay, the committee agreed to repair it.
At the Restoration in 1660, when all the Ministers whom Oliver put in, were to be immediately turned out, HENDON, Esq., the patron who came over with King Charles, finding Mr Usborne greatly beloved by the people, and knowing the living to be but small, would not present any one in his room. His brother also (afterwards Sir John Hendon) desired him to continue there and, if he possibly could, to conform.
But he told him that faith and a good conscience would stand him in more stead than a hundred livings, and he quitted this Vicarage in 1662.
Mr Buck, the Dean of Rochester, promised him a better living than Benenden, provided he
would conform. To which he answered, that if he could have conformed at all, it should have been at Benenden rather than for any other place whatever. His integrity was the more remarkable, as he had six children when he was silenced, and his wife was not got up from lying in of the last of them.
After his ejectment, he lived for sometime in Staplehurst, and then went to Heathfield, Sussex,
he had four children more, and there he
continued for several years. He afterwards preached nine years at Brightelmstone (Brighton). About 1681, he was sued for £20 a month, on account of his Nonconformity. Upon this he came to London, and preached some time at Peckham. He afterwards went to Ashford, and from thence to Tenterden, where he continued about nine years.
He spent about nine years more at Bersted, near Maidstone, where he concluded his ministry, by reason of his infirmities, and then returned to Staplehurst, where he finished his course, December 28 1714 aged 85.
(Ministers ejected or silenced in Kent. The continuation of the Nonconformists’ Memorial, by Edmund Calamy. III. p.537. Pub.1727. Also Register and Chronicle, by Bp. White Kennett, p.286, pub.1728). First Fruits: Josephus Usborne, Feb.1658. (See also Brief Hist. of Staplehurst Independent Church, 1662-1888, by Rev. Thos. Thatcher, pub.1888, p.11).
Presentation by Oliver CROMWELL, Benenden. Know all men by these presents that the 20th day of July 1658 there was exhibited to the Commissioners for approbabacon of publique preachers a Presentacon of Joseph Usborne, Clerke to the Vicarage of Benenden, in the Countie of Kent, made to him by his Highnesse Oliver Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England etc. the Patron thereof under the greate seale of England together with a Testimony etc. In witnesse etc. Dated at Whitehall the 20th day of August 1658 Jo.Nye, Registrar. (Augmentations of Livings etc 1647-58, at Lambeth Library. Vol. 968.f.127).
Joseph Usborne, Clerke, admitted the 20th day of July 1658 to the Vicarage of Benenden in ye county of Kent upon a pres: exhibited the same day from his Highnes the Lord Protector under the great seal of England and Certificates from Robert GIBSON, A.BROUGHTON, Thomas MONINS, Robert MASCALL, John PLAYER, John DURAND, Daniel POYNTELL, Edward BRIGHT, Joseph WHISTON. (Augmentations Vol.999, f.71).