The Rev John BALL(1591-1639) was a cousin of the Rev John White (1575-1648) ‘The Patriarch of Dorchester’ and this and his own families background shaped his future.
John White’s mother was Isabel BAWLE (1552-1601) the daughter of John BAWLE of Lichfield(2) and she had two brothers Robert and Henry both of which entered the church. John Ball (1591-1639) was the son of Isabel's brother Robert Bawle (1551-1613) and therefore well known to his aunt.
Rev. John [Johannes] BALL of Lichfield (b.late 1520's-deceased before 1574):
Researcher DJ Fisher in his monograph on page 225(1) conjectures that John was born in the late 1520's the son of John & Sibyl BALL of Conduit Street Lichfield (b.1490s-living 1556) which seems to be a reasonable proposition given the limited information available. What is more certain is that he was a student of Christ Church Oxford in 1551 being awarded his BA on the 26 Jan 1554/5; his MA on the 20 Oct 1558; and his Bachelor of Canon Law (B.C.L.) on the 24 Jul 1564(3). As was common for graduates through this system on completion of his BA Degree he joined the church, and was duly ordained a priest at Wells Cathedral in 1554(4).
John's alumni record goes on to suggest that he may have been vicar of Payhembury in Devon but I think this is unlikely as church records for this particular John Ball show that he was appointed as vicar on 5th June 1568 but his post became vacant by natural death in 1582. In my view he is more likely to have been Vicar at Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire, as a John Balle features as being resident there as Vicar during the 1561 clerical survey. Most records for Chipping Sodbury however only survive post 1600 so these are clues to support later research rather than conclusive proof.]
Rev. Robert [Robertus] BALL (1551-1613) of Lichfield(1) was educated at New College Oxford which he entered in 1569 and his uncle Henry followed in 1571(12).
of his father Rev. Robert BALL (1551-1613)
Picture Courtesy of the Warden and Scholars of New College Oxford
New College Oxford was founded in 1379 by William Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester, for the education of priests, as there was a shortage of properly educated clergy following the black death. In conjunction with New College he also founded Winchester College in 1382 as a feeder to the university. Known affectionately as “Wykeman’s School” it saw the education of many great churchmen. Among these was his father who studied at Winchester College between 1564 (when he was thirteen) and 1569(1b), when he matriculated at New College Oxford (1c. & 3). As a scholar in residence under the founders statutes he automatically became a fellow in 1571(1d). He was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree at New College on 10 June 1573 and his MA on 22nd June 1577(3). The following year his mother, Alice BALL of Lichfield, presented him with the right of patronage of the parish of Bucknell Oxfordshire which she had purchased in 1574(6).
When Thomas Barker the Rector of Eastington in Gloucestershire left, Robert Bawle resigned his fellowship at New College, and was appointed Rector on 15 Feb 1581. He remained there until his death in 1613 (4). The Victoria County History for Gloucestershire confirms that 'Robert Ball (during the period 1581-1613) was a graduate and a preacher at Eastington(5).
Robert appears to have married twice. I have not been able to locate any information on his 1st marriage but she appears to have been the mother of his 7 children. From his will it is clear that they had 4 sons and three daughters thought to have been born circa 1586-1594:- (Eldest son Nathaniel; 2nd son Samuel ; 3rd son John (1591-1639); youngest son Daniel) (Eldest daughter Ann; 2nd daughter Elizabeth; Youngest daughter Judeth).
His 2nd wife was Ursula CLOTTERBOOKE (d.1642) the widow of William CLOTTERBOOKE of Eastington by whom she already had the following children (8) .
(2) Elizabeth Clotterbooke who married Thomas HICKS of Cromhall in Gloucestershire
(3) Anne Clotterbooke who married John ELLIOTT of Westhorpe in Wiltshire
(4) Mary Clotterbooke who married Nathaniel CALEY of Bristol
(5) Rev. Samuel Clotterbooke (b.1592) MA. A graduate of Magdalen Hall Oxford ordained a deacon at Chapel Bishops Palace Gloucester, Rector of Dunton Buckinghamshire
(6) Daniel Clotterbooke Merchant of London
(7) John Clotterbooke of Hodborough Gloucestershire
(8) Josias Clotterbooke of Bristol a grocer who married Margaret the daughter of Richard COLSON a Bristol merchant
In 1610 Robert made benefaction to New College Oxford of the advowson of the parish of Bucknell Oxfordshire on condition that it always presented a scholar of the college and preferably one of his own relatives. This has been the subject of research by Mr French and I have provided a link to his extensive notes which can be viewed on line below(1) . Suffice it to say that this benefaction is remembered today in the stained glass window on the north side of the Hall at New College where it bears the name 'Rob. Ball socius (Fellow) 1571' and the arms of the benefactor which matches the shield of the Rev. Richard Ball recorded at the College of Arms in 1613 (See picture above).
When Robert died he left a Will which I have transcribed below. He is careful to return all the effects that Ursula brought to their marriage to her and leaves her money and lands but the main part of his estate is divided between his children by his first wife. After Robert's death the living at Eastington was held by Richard Capel, another noted Puritan divine.
Dated 5th July 1613 - Proved 7th February 1613/4
Calendar of Gloucestershire Wills Consistory Court of Gloucester Ref 209
In The Name of God Amen the fifth day of July in the year of our Lord God 1613
Probate granted 6th February 1613/4
Dated 7th January 1640/1 - Proved 3rd April 1642
Consistory Court of Gloucester Ref110
In the name of God Amen I Ursula BALL of the parish of Eastington in the County of Gloucestershire Widow weak of body by reason of age & many natural infirmities
, but of good and perfect memory and understanding I thank my God; for the better establishing of love and peace amongst my children & family do hereby renounce & ??? annul
all former Wills & bequests whatsoever, and do now make this my last Will and Testament this 7th day of January in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred forty one in manner and form following
The Rev John BALL(1591-1639)
Birth and Education
Rector of St George’s Church Langton Matravers (1618-1628)
(1). Alice BALL
(2). Sara Ball
(3). John BALL
(4).Samuel BALL (b.1626) is described as being the son of John Ball of Langton in Purbeck Dorset. He was a graduate of Christ's College Cambridge where he was Admitted pens. (age 19) on 5th January 1645-6. It also states that he attended school prior to admission at Wotton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire. (15)
(5). Phineas BALL (6). Dorcus BALL
(7). Hannah BALL
He was noted for his acquaintance with the works of Bellarmine and was strongly influenced by Puritans of the severe school so that he was ordained by an Irish Bishop in order to avoid signing the Articles. He was keenly interested in the opinions of the exiles in Holland and New England but disapproved of the views of the Separatists. He disputed with Cotton and others and his ‘Trial of the New Church Way in New England and Old’ when sent to Winthrop roused a storm of anger, and a reply, very vigorous though unsatisfactory, was composed in Boston. His “Treatise on Faith,” it will be seen, was used as a catechism by White in Dorchester. Ball “never utterly condemned any use of the Common Prayer Book, nor allowed Separatism because of some abuses”, and therein White agreed with him.In William Whiteway’s diary there is a brief mention of him preaching to the Archdeacon on a visit to Dorchester on 29 March 1627. His “Treatise on Faith,” was to be used from 1641 in the new hospital in Dorchester which was ‘for setting to work the poor children of the Borough’. Apart from being taught spinning and how to remove “blacks” from knots of wool, they were to be instructed in religion according to John Balls catechism and they had to learn four verses every week.
Rector of All Saints Dorchester (Dec. 1628 - May 1629)
DeathWill of Rev. John BALL (1591-1639) Langton Matravers
Will dated : 4th June 1639 Proved 29 April 1640.
PRO 11/Piece 182: Coventry Quire Numbers 1-53 (1640)
First: I commend my soul into the hands of God that gave it me and redeemed me by the precious blood of his dear son And my body to the earth whence it was taken in assurance of the resurrection thereof to the Glory by Jesus Christ
Item: I give and bequeath to the poor of the parish of Langton Twenty Shillings of lawful English Money to be distributed amongst them by mine executor or any one of my Overseers after named at my burial
Item: Whereas I have by deed of use indented provided for means of maintenance for my three sons John, Samuel & Phineas out of my land in Holton I do now declare and ordain by this my last Will and Testament And my will and meaning is that mine executor and Overseers after named and any and either of them shall have full power and authority by virtue of this my last will to take and receive the proven rents or rent charge due unto & belonging to them & either of them my said sons by virtue of the said Deed of use indented from the day of my decease till they and each of them shall attain full age of one and twenty years And to employ the same for the maintenance of my said sons and each of them or for the binding of them and each of them Apprentices And that my Executor and Overseers and all and either of them shall stand discharged by virtue of this my last will from all suits and accounts which otherwise my sons or any or either of them might have had against them when they should come to full age for such rent charges or ???? of my Land received and laid out by them for the benefit of my said sons and any and either of them
Item: I give and bequeath to my son John my best silver salt
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Samuel my silver beer bowl
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Phineas my other silver salt consisting of three pieces
Item: I give and bequeath to my daughters Alice, Sara, Dorcus and Hannah to each of them one hundred pounds of lawful English Money which said legacy of one hundred pounds shall be paid unto each of my said daughters at the age of one and twenty years or the day of her marriage which shall first happen for as she marry with the consent & good liking of mine Executors and Overseers or the minor part of them And my will and meaning is that in the meanwhile these legacies to them and each of them so bequeathed be by mine Executors and Overseers employed or put forth to be employed in some lawful trade for their maintenance and better advancement.
Item: I give and bequeath all the rest of my goods and chattels moveable & unmovable by this my last will not disposed of to my four daughters before named allowing and appointing my Executor and Overseers to sell the said goods in whole or in part according to their discretion And to employ the monies by such sale raised in some lawful course of trade for the behoof of my said daughters And my will and meaning is that both the residue of the goods (if any any shall be unsold ) And the monies by such sale and employment raised be equally divided amongst my four daughters by mine Executor and Overseers And the portion of such goods and monies to each of my said daughters belonging shall be delivered and paid unto her at the age of one and twenty years or the day of her marriage which shall first happen Always Provided that before such division of the said goods and monies amongst my daughters there be first allowance made to my two eldest daughters Alice & Sara and my son John to each of the five pounds of lawful English money being a legacy bequeathed to each of them by their grandmother Alice PITT and by me received for them. And if any or either of my daughters shall die before she or they attain the age of one and twenty years or be married Then I do will and ordain that both the monies and portion of goods to her or them so dying bequeathed shall be equally distributed amongst my daughters surviving which shall attain the age of one and twenty years or be married
Item: I ordain and constitute and do make my dear brother Samuel BALL sole executor of this my last will nevertheless in Trust only to keep employ and dispose & order all things before mentioned for the best behoof & benefit of my children And I give and bequeath to my said brother Samuel the sum of forty shillings of lawful English money And I do appoint my dear and loving kinsman Mr John WHITE of Dorchester Clerk and Dennis BOND Gent and John HARDY Yeoman my Overseers earnestly entreating them to do their best endeavour that the content of this my last will & testament may be duly executed and performed according to my plain intent & meaning And I do give and bequeath each of my said Overseers the sum of twenty shillings of lawful English money And in testimony that this is my last will I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourth day of June and in the fifteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith Anno Domini 1639
Signed sealed & published by the said John BALL to be his last will & testament the day and year above said in the presence of us Francis LEWIS Clerk; Robert SERRELL; John HARDY; Phillip GILLINGHAM
Probate: Proved at London by Samuel BALL executor 29 April 1640
Genealogical Notes & Sources:(1). Since I originally wrote this short biography in 2009 a great deal of in depth research has been carried out on the Ancestry of the Ball families of Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Virginia by D.J. French and a copy of his 309 page monograph is freely available for study on the internet and can be found at The Mary Ball, George Washington's mother website. My interest is confined to the ancestry of John Ball (1591-1639) because of his association with the Rev John WHITE and the Dorchester Company but I am grateful for the additional background provided by Mr French and to Steven Bushnell for alerting me to it. John Ball's father Robert Ball is covered on pages 29 to 32. For ease of reference below I have extracted a few of Mr French's footnotes [See pages 97pointing to original source material which are relevant to John Ball's ancestry - Mike Russell OPC Dorchester Dec 2014.
(3). Oxford University Alumni images available on line at ancestry.com:- register of students, graduates, and officers who attended Oxford University between 1500 and 1886. Original data: Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892. - Surnames recorded as 'Ball' and 'Baule'
(4). The Clergy of the Church of England database (CCEd) is an online database of clergy of the Church of England between 1540 and 1835. Some entries recorded under the surname spelt 'Ball' ; 'Bawll' and 'Balle'
(5). A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972 - Sub Heding Churches - Footnote Source 66:- Ibid. xlix, state of clergy 1584, f. 31; lii, state of clergy 1593, f. 3.
(6). See British History Online:- The Victoria County History of the County of Oxford, vol.VI ed Mary D Lobel Oxford University Press London 1959, p76
(7). This is Rev.William MEWE BD the son of William MEWE of Gloucester a graduate of Emmanual College Cambridge where he matriculated in 1618. He was awarded a BA degree in 1622; MA in 1623 and BD in 1633. He was ordained a deacon at Peterborough 22nd July 1627 and a priest 23rd july 1627. A member of the Westminster Assembly he was appointed Rector of Eastington on 7th May 1635 a position he held until about 1669
(8). Visitation of Gloucestershire 1623 (Ursula Browning page 32) and 1682-4 (William CLOTTERBOOK of Eastington page 15)
(9). Daniel FOWLER of Stone house was the father Anna FOWLER the wife of Richard CLOTTERBOOKE the eldest son of Robert BALL's 2nd wife Ursula CLOTTERBOOKE by her first marriage to William CLOTTERBOOKE of Eastington
(10). John BROWNING Gent. Robert's 2nd wife Ursula's maiden name was BROWNING and her pedigree is recorded in the 1623 Visitation of Gloucestershire - see link ay (8) above. John Browning was her brother
(11).Note:- the 1682-4 Visitation refers to her father as being Thomas Browning of Cowley but is in my view less likely to be accurate than her own family tree compiled in 1623
(12). Henry Bawle (c1554-1603) of Lichfield was awarded a BA on 28 Feb 1575/6, an MA 27 Oct 1579, and a BD 4 July 1588. Some genealogical records suggest that he married a Mary Rogers c1575 in Lichfield but I have not located where this information comes from as it does not seem to link to a known marriage record. I have also been unable to locate his ordination or curacy but he was preceptor (i.e. a minor canon who administers the musical life of a cathedral) and a prebendary of Bursalis in 1582 at Chichester Cathedral. He was licenced to preach and appointed Rector of Ulcombe in Kent on 2nd August the following year. He is again recorded as Preceptor of Chichester in 1587 when he became a prebendary of Owinge there. On 20 Jan 1593 he became a resident Canon at Chichester Cathedral and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity on 4 July 1594. He was made an Archdeacon 14 Apr 1596 until his death. The Church of England Clergy database then suggests that he became Rector of Tangmar in the deanery of Pagham in Sussex. His 'natural death' is recorded four times in the register between May and October 1603.
(13). Parish Marriage Register for Melcombe Regis St Mary's held at Dorset History center Ref: PE/MCR:RE1/2. Shown under the year 1619 - Entry:-"John BALLE of Langton and Sarah PITT of this P [ar] ish were married".
(14). Municipal Records of Dorchester Page 615 & Somerset & Dorset Notes and Queries Vol vi p190
(15). There are documents held at the Dorset History Centre worth further investigation concerning Samuel Ball and property at Holton [East Holton] situated on the coast abt 5k south of Lytchett Matravers e.g. " Samuel Ball to John Reekes, assigment of land in Holton - Ref D/RGB/11658 1650" ; Samuel Ball and Thomas Fletcher sale agreement, Holton D/RGB/11630 1664; -Samuel Ball to Andrew Combe, lease of East Holton Farm D/RGB/11657 1662; Short title: Trenchard v Ball. Plaintiffs: Hannah Trenchard. Defendants: Samuel Ball.Subject: property in Holton, Dorset.Document type: bill, answer.C 6/152/223 1661; Obligation Henry and John Reekes of West Morden to Samuel Ball of Holton D/RGB/11632; Samuel Ball and others to Thomas Fletcher, release of land in Holton D/RGB/11664 - 1678: John Reekes and Samuel Ball articles of agreement for letting tenement in Holto D/RGB/11659; Samuel Ball and others to Thomas Fletcher, lease of lands in Holton D/RGB/11668 - 1678
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