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                                            The Love Family of Staplehurst

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Alice Love c1570
The first mention in the registers of the Love family is Alice. ‘Ales’ Love married Walter Turner in Staplehurst on 28 April 1590. They were said to be ‘young folke’. We don’t know where Alice originated.

John Love d1688
John Love was not baptised in Staplehurst but John was married in Staplehurst to Millicent Crump on 10 April 1645. ‘Millisan’ Crump daughter of Jemes (James) was baptised in Staplehurst on 19 February 1625/6.


John and Millicent are known to have had the following children:

There is a large between the baptism of James and the events of subsequent children. This can be partially explained by the interruption of the register during the Common Wealth period. We have John’s will which clarifies the surviving children but there may have been further events we are unaware of. We need to also note that John’s wife is referred to as Millisant in the early events and Mildred in the later events. This may be just a modernisation of the name as the dates of baptism of Millisant and the age of Mildred at her burial are compatible, but we cannot rule out a second marriage which we have no record of.

John Love, senior, was buried in Staplehurst on 19 September 1688. He leaves a will which is documented below. The will states that he was a yeoman. Mildred Love, wife of John Love, was buried in Staplehurst on 19 September 1679. The record actually states ‘Mildred’ as does the memorial inscription which says:

‘Her lyeth interred the body of Mildred the wife of John Love the elder who departed this life the 6th day of September 1679 aged above 54 years.
Here lyeth interred the body of James Love son of John Love the elder who departed this life the 27th day of March 1680 in the 24 year of his age.
Her lyeth interred the body of John Love ye son of John Love the younger who departed this life the 14th day of October 1683 in the 6th year of his age.’

The Will of John Love
The will (reference PRC 17/77/201) is dated 18 August 1688 and proved in October 1688. It states that John was a yeoman of Staplehurst. He states that he wants to be buried at ‘Lynnon’ and that by Parliament Act lately this cannot happen so the money saved (50 shillings) is to be paid to the poor of Staplehurst.  He leaves to the poor of Staplehurst £3 to be distributed at his burial.
    He gives to his son-in-law John Slaney ten pounds.
    He gives to his son-in-law Christopher Fuller ten pounds.
    To his daughter Hannah, wife of Thomas Bredgeland, £100 to be paid by his son within 2 years.
    To his granddaughter Jane Slaney, he gives £50 to be paid when she is 18.
    To Elizabeth and Hannah, daughters of his daughter Hannah, he leaves £50 to be paid when they are 18.
    To Thomas, son of Hannah, £50 when 22 years old.
    To his grandsons Robert and James, sons of his son John, £50 when 22 years old.
    To Jane, daughter of John, £50 when 18 years old.
    To Mary Smith, his servant , 20 shillings.
    To Christopher Fuller, his grandson and son of his daughter Mary, £50, when 22.

Hannah, his daughter, is to have his bedstead from the best chamber and the feather bed, bolster, coverings etc. from the little chamber, all the linen, pewter and brass except his brass ‘furnare’ which will go to son John who gets the rest of his estate. John is also executor.

James Love 1654 - 1680
James is the son of John and Millicent Love. He was baptised in Staplehurst 28 November 1654. His will identifies him as a yeoman.  It is an unusual will as it makes allowance for children if he should have any but none are named. He does not appear to have had any children.

James married Sarah Stephens in Staplehurst on the 05 June 1678.

He was only 24 when he died. He was buried in Staplehurst 06 April 1680 and is included on his family’s memorial inscription with the words:  ‘Here lyeth interred the body of James Love son of John Love the elder who departed this life the 27th day of March 1680 in the 24 year of his age.’

The will (reference: PRC 17/75/107) identifies James as James Love of Staplehurst, yeoman. It is dated 12 March 1678 and proved in April 1680.

The bequests are:

Witnesses: Peter Bridgland, Martha Bridgland and Samuel B?

John Love, his brother is the sole executor. 

There is no record of what became of his widow Sarah.

John Love 1646 - 1698
John Love is the son of John and Millicent Love. He was baptised in Staplehurst on the 30 August 1650 although the record notes he was born in 1646 some 5 or 6 weeks before Christmas. The register refers to him as ‘gentleman’.



John’s first wife was Jane Staple of Hucking. Jane was the daughter of Robert Staple of Hucking.  We have yet to find the marriage record. John and Jane had the following children

Jane was buried a few days after the birth of her last son; almost certainly a childbirth complication. The baby only survived for a few weeks. 

John was married a second time to Catherine Finch from Maidstone on 01 March 1691/2. They were married at Linton by license. The marriage license states that John was a widower of Staplehurst and Catherine was a spinster of Maidstone.

All 3 of his surviving children mentioned in John’s will (reference PROB 11/447 is dated 2 September 1697) are children of his first marriage to Jane Staple and there is no record of children from the marriage to Catherine in the register.

John left an extensive estate across several parishes.
To his eldest son Robert he leaves property in Frittenden, Hollingbourne, Milton-nest-Sittingborne and Durking(?).
To his daughter Jane he leaves property in Yalding, Tudley & Capell, Chart and Sutton Valence, plus 46 acres in Staplehurst where the tenant is Thomas Gony (Gomery?), plus 4 acres in Staplehurst late occupied by John Usborne but now Jane Watter, widow, Robert Dedman and Mary Brothwell, widow. There is further property in Staplehurst, probably cottages, occupied by Thomas Card, William Chaxfield, Samuel Huggins, George Stoud and Thomas Gent.
Son James gets all his other property including the house that John dwells in.

His wife Katherine has free use of ‘house I now dwell in’ during her widowhood or until James is 21. He makes financial allowance for Katherine to bring up his children, particularly James who is only 11. Katherine and James Wills are to be guardians and executors.

James Love 1686 - 1723
James Love is the son of John Love and Jane Staple. He was baptised in Staplehurst 21 November 1686.

James married Sarah Freebody of Frittenden who was the daughter of Robert and Hannah Freebody. (Note that James’ brother Robert married Mary Freebody of Frittenden.) They probably married in 1706.  There are two relavent marriage licences. The first is dated 28 September 1705 which enables a marriage between James Love and Sarah Freebody of Frittenden to take place in either Frittenden or Sandhurst. James was said to be a grazier of Staplehurst; a bachelor. The second license, dated 15 April 1706, is for James Love, gentleman of Staplehurst, bachelor, to marry Sarah Freebody of Frittenden; a spinster. The marriage is to happen at Frittenden or Halden.

I’m not sure what to make of this other than that the first licence was probably not fulfilled and a second license was necessary and that James’ status was upgraded probably with the result of an improved marriage settlement.



Children from the marriage were:

James Love died at 37 years of age on 22 October 1723 and was buried under the Tower of Staplehurst All Saints Church on 25 October 1723. His monument inscription says:

“Here’s interred the body of James Love gent. of this parish who departed this live October 22 1723 in the 37th year of his age. He married Sarah daughter of Robert and Hannah Freebody of Frittenden Gent. Left issue by her one son and 2 daughters, James, Jane & Sarah. Also in memory of Sarah wife of James Love Gent. who departed this life May 1764 aged 81 years.”

James Love 1709 - 1773
James Love is the son of James Love and Sarah Freebody. He was baptised in Staplehurst on 09 August 1709. We know his wife’s name was Elizabeth but we have not found a marriage.

Elizabeth died in child birth and was buried in Staplehurst 17 November 1746 at just 29 years of age. The child, Elizabeth, was baptised the same day.

There is no record of James remarrying or having further children.


Elizabeth, the daughter of James and Elizabeth, was baptised on 17 November 1746; the same day as her mother’s funeral. James died 17 Jun 1773 aged 61 (according to the monument inscription but this does not really tie in with the baptism) and he was buried under the Tower in the Staplehurst parish church on 21 June 1773. We have not found a will for James. 

The monument inscription for James and his wife Elizabeth is:
“Here lyeth the body of Eliza(beth) Wife of James Love the Younger of this Parish who departed this Life November the 14th 1746 in the 29th  Year of her age. Left issue one Daughter Eliza(beth). Also in memory of the said James love who departed this live June 17th 1773 Aged 61 years.”

Robert Love 1675 - 1733
Robert Love is the son of John Love and Jane Staple. He was baptised in Staplehurst 01 June 1675. Robert married Mary Freebody a spinster of Frittenden by license which was dated 01 October 1694 with the church specified as Pluckley or Egerton. Robert was described as a gentleman.


 The couple had the following children:

Robert’s wife Mary was buried in Staplehurst on 21 December 1723. From the monument inscription below, we know she was 41 years of age.

Robert Love was buried in Staplehurst 25 May 1733. The register shows that he was living in Marden at the time of his death. There is a monument at the parish church inscribed as:

“Here lyeth the Body of Robert Love senior of this Parish who died May 22 1733 Aged 57 years. Also here Lyeth ye Body of Mary his wife who died ye 17th December 1723 aged 41 years. Left issue 3 sons & one daughter: Staple, JN, Robert, and Hannah. Here Lyeth the Body of Sarah Love wife of Robert Love. She died 13 May 1733 aged 33 years. Left issue 3 daughters Mary, Sarah and Jane. Also Jane daughter of Robert Love junior by Sarah his wife died Feb. 14th 1733 aged 13 months. Also here lyeth the body of the above named Robert Love who died April the 1st 1734 aged 33 years.”

Robert Love 1702 - 1734
Robert is the son of Robert Love and Mary Freebody. He was baptised in Staplehurst 02 May 1702.

We know that he married Sarah Heath of Cliff as Sarah left a will. We have not found the marriage record but can assume they married about 1728 or 1729.


 There were 3 children from the marriage.

Robert Love died the 01 of April 1734 and was buried with his parents on 05 April as is indicated on his father’s monument inscription (see above). He was only 33 years old. Robert’s wife Sarah had died the year before and was buried 18 May 1733.

It was unusual for a wife (as opposed to a widow) to leave a will, but Sarah has done so and probably it was drawn up shortly after her marriage. The reason Sarah made a will is there was a marriage contract by which she brought £440 to the marriage with the condition that she was authorised to dispose of the money. The will is summarised below.

Robert also left a will (reference PROB 11/667) which  is dated 31 March 1734 just days before he was buried. It was proved 31 October 1734.

He first request to be buried beside his dear wife.

He leaves £5 to his sister Hannah Love to pay for mourning; to each of the poor in Staplehurst he leaves one gallon of wheat; and the remainder of his estate is to go to his surviving daughters Mary and Sarah Love to be paid when they are 21 years old. If his daughters do not survive, then the estate is to be divided between his sister Hannah Love, and brothers John and Staple Love.

He request that after his debts are paid and probate resolved, that the lease on the farm he occupies be disposed of at a convenient time. His goods and chattels are to be sold and the money to be put aside for his daughters.

Executors are named as David Brown of Cliffe, his brother-in-law; his brother Staple Love and his cousin Mr. James Love, both of Staplehurst, and Samuel Bailey senior of Frittenden. He request Samuel Bailey to look after his farming business and gives him £5 per annum to compensate until the farm is disposed of. Witnesses are Richard Morton and Robert Wooden.

 Sarah's will states that she is the wife of Robert Love and formerly she was Sarah Heath of Cliffe. While her will is dated 24 Oct 1729, she did not die until 18 May 1733 and the will (reference PROB 11/669) was proved 18 Jan 1734/5.

The reason Sarah made a will is there was a marriage contract by which she brought £440 to the marriage with the condition that she was authorised to dispose of the money. Her father must have been dead as she had had trustees appointed : Edward Cole, doctor; David Brown, gentleman (and also the husband of her sister Mary); Heath Callant, gentleman.

Sarah leaves £100 to her husband Robert; £5 to Mary Ware of Cooling, Kent, widow; and £5 each to John and Ann Love, children of James Love, deceased yeoman, late of High Halslow, Kent. The balance of the £440 is to go to her brother in law David Brown and her sister Mary Brown. By the time the will is proved, Mary Brown is a widow.

Staple Love 1695 - 1741
Staple Love is the son of Robert Love and Mary Freebody. He was not baptised in Staplehurst and, being the oldest son, was probably baptised in the parish that his mother was from.


Staple’s first wife was Elizabeth Porter and, while they were both said to be from Staplehurst, they married in Langley on 29 April 1725. Staple and Elizabeth had only one child, Mary, baptised at Staplehurst. Mary was baptised on 25 February 1725/6 but survived for only a few days and was buried 01 Mar 1725/6.

Elizabeth, wife of Staple, died 13 September 1728 aged 26 and was buried in Staplehurst on 17 September 1728.

Staple married for the second time to Ann Brattle of Goudhurst. They married in Staplehurst on 20 January 1734/5.

Staple and Ann had three children baptised at Staplehurst

Staple Love died 30 March 1741 aged 46 according to his monument inscription. He was buried in Staplehurst on the 31 March 1741 which seems an unusually quick burial. The monument is inscribed as:
"Here lyeth the body of Staple Love who died March ye 30th 1741 aged 46 left Issue 3 children Viz:  Robert, Thomas and Mary.
Her Lyeth the body of Eliza wife of Staple love who died Sepr the 13th 1728 in ye 26th year of her age Also Mary their Daughter died an Infant 1725."

Staple Love was buried 31 March 1741. A will has not been found for Staple although we do have an inventory of his goods taken just after his death (reference PRC 11/82/22).
His inventory  was dated the 10 April 1741 and is signed by John Bayly and John Austen. The inventory of goods and chattels amount to a total of £276/7/0.
He has £101 of livestock; eighteen sheep, 6 bullocks, 3 cows, etc. There is 18 acres of wheat, 8 acres of oats and clover and 10 acres of pease plus stored produce all totally £76/6/0.  There is a wagon, 2 ploughs, a harrow etc. There is reference to hop poles.
In the house, there is a kitchen, a parlour, a baking room, a buttery, wash house, milk house, and 5 chambers.

There is a burial of Anne Love, widow, aged 80 in Staplehurst on 24 February 1787.

Robert Love b1736
Robert Love is the son of Staple Love and Ann Brattle. He was baptised in Staplehurst on 27 April 1736. 

In 1769, Robert was accused of fathering an illegitimate child of Jane Startup. The child, Mary Love Startup, was born in Lomas Ponds, near St. George Fields, Surrey on 07 February 1769. Jane Startup must have come to the area some months after the birth because in July 1769, she was interrogated (Examined) in Marden about the child and then named Robert Love as the father (reference  P244 15/1/615). In February 1770, the child is removed from Marden to St. Saviour, Southwark, Surrey (reference P244 13/3/319). 

Robert Love married Martha Earl of East Sutton. They married by licence at East Sutton on 27 August 1784. Robert is noted as a bachelor and Martha is a spinster. Robert’s brother Thomas and brother-in-law John Cole stood as witnesses.

This is a late marriage, Robert was 48 years old. There is no further information.

Stephen Love c1705 - 1771
Stephen Love married Martha Vane in Smarden on 01 March 1732. We have not yet found where Stephen was from originally.


Stephen Love was not baptised in the Staplehurst parish church. The eldest son was probably born in Smarden but the 3 daughters are likely to have been born in Staplehurst. The family is almost certainly non conformist. There is no baptism records and the wording of the Stephen’s will indicates he favours a non conformist approach.

Stephen and Martha had the following children, none of which were baptised in Staplehurst parish church.

Stephen Love was buried in Staplehurst on 12 April 1771. He left a will (reference PRC 17/98/449) dated 21 January 1771 and  proved in the Archdeaconry Court on 08 May 1771. Stephen is identified as Stephen Love of Staplehurst, yeoman.
Unusually, this will does not have the normal preamble about commending the sole which is a strong clue that the family were non conformist. The will drops directly into bequest. These are summarise as: 

Executors are his brother Thomas Love, nephew Stephen Love, son-in-law Iden Walter and son-in-law Samuel Bromley. Witnesses: Thomas Philpott, William Pain, and Richard Willis.
Stephen then adds a codicil on the 08 April 1771.
He now decides, that as opposed investing his personal estate, the principle is to be divided among his three daughters six months after his decease.
He also appoints his son-in-law Richard Southon as another executor and Stephen Love, his nephew is no longer one of the executors. The codicil is witnessed by John Austen and John Merrall.

Stephen’s widow, Martha, was buried in Staplehurst 09 September 1784 at the age of 84.

Susanna Love d1783
Susanna Love was not baptised in Staplehurst. She appears in the registers several times. Her origins are uncertain. 

Susanna had an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth, baptised in Staplehurst on 13 April 1773 with the comment added ‘baseborn’.

Susanna had a second illegitimate child, son Robert Love, baptised in Staplehurst on 12 September 1777; again with the comment ‘baseborn’ added.
In 1778, John Reeve of Staplehurst is alleged to be the father of Robert Love, illegitimate son of Susannah Love. He is required to put up a bond of £100 to indemnify the parish against cost of birth, education, nourishing or upbringing of Robert Love. Reference: Staplehurst P347/15/3 Doc #: 318 Bastardly Bond 1 Sep 1778. 

In 1780, Susanna LOVE  of Staplehurst is examined about the father of her unborn child and names William REEVES of Staplehurst. He is called as a witness. Reference: Staplehurst P347/15/1 Doc #: 212 Bastardly Examination 8 Dec 1780 and reference: Staplehurst P347/15/4 Doc #: 331 Bastardly Witness 8 Dec 1780. 

A girl child is baptized the 11 February 1781. She is named Elizabeth Reeves, daughter of Susanna, baseborn. This is the child of Susanna Love who has used the name Reeves.

Susanna Love was buried 21 February 1781, probably as a result of complications related to child birth.

The baby did not survive. Elizabeth Reeves daughter of Susanna Love, infant, was buried 13 February 1781. 

As Susanna named her second daughter Elizabeth, I assume the first daughter, also Elizabeth had died. There is a record of Elizabeth Love, infant, being buried on 20 January 1779 which I believe is this child.


Robert Love 1777 - 1866
Robert Love is the illegitimate child of Susanna Love. He is reputed to be the son of John Reeve. He was baptised in Staplehurst on the 12 September 1777.

Robert Love was married to Avis. We have not found the marriage but can assume it would have been around 1798. Robert is reported to have been a labourer.


Robert sometimes uses his father’s name Reeves, but all his children were baptised as Love.

Robert and Avis had a large family with eleven children baptised in Staplehurst.

Avis Love was buried 23 September 1821. She was 48 years old. Having given birth to 11 children, over 21 years and raising the family on the income of a labourer, she must have been worn out. 

According to a settlement examination regarding his son Elijah, which took place in Islington in 1842, Robert was then living at 133 High Street, Horton Old Town, Middlesex. (Reference: P347 13/2 Bundle 2 97). 

In the 1851 census, Robert, a widower of 74 is recorded as Robert Reeves. He is living with his widowed daughter Sophia Buss and is shown as an agricultural labourer.

Again, in the 1861 census, Robert is recorded as Robert Reeves. He is a widower, 83 years old, and a lodger in the home of Sophia Buss, his widowed daughter. He is noted as an agricultural labourer born Staplehurst.

Robert Love was buried in Staplehurst on 01 April 1866. He was noted to be 88 years of age.

Robert Love 1798 - 1872
Robert Love is the son of Robert and Avis Love. He was born 10 November 1798 and baptised at the parish church on 25 December 1798. Robert married Harriet Watts of Staplehurst but not in Staplehurst. Harriet was the daughter of Concemore and Ann Watts She was born on 09 July 1805 and baptised at the parish church on 04 August 1805.

Robert and Harriet were non conformist; their children were baptised at the Congregational Church in Staplehurst.

Robert and Harriet had the following identified children:

 In the 1841 Census, Robert and Harriet are living at Ballard Cottage in Staplehurst.

 In the 1851 Census, Robert and his family are living at Fanel Farm, Staplehurst.

Living with the family is Harriet, Robert’s married daughter, and her husband and baby.

 In the 1861 Census, Robert and Harriet were living at Church Street, Boughton Monchelsea. All the children have left home.

In the 1871 Census, Robert is living at Ashurst Farm in Staplehurst and is recorded as Robert Love-Reeves. He is 72 and an agricultural labourer. His wife, Harriet, is 65. 

Harriet Reeves death was registered in Maidstone in the 2nd quarter 1871. She was said to be 65 years old.
Robert Love Reeves’ death was registered in the Maidstone district in the 3rd quarter 1872; he is recorded as 73 years of age.

John Love 1800 - 1867
John Love is the son of Robert and Avis Love. He was born 19 December 1800 and baptised 01 February 1801. John had an illegitimate son by Elizabeth Allen, John Love Allen who was baptised 18 April 1824 in Staplehurst. John and Elizabeth Allen were then married on 27 June 1824.



Elizabeth’s grandfather, William Allen, left Elizabeth £2.50 in his will in 1841 and her uncle John Allen, left money and property to her son John Love Allen.

John, like others in his family, also used the name Reeves. In the 1851 census, John is recorded as John Reeves and is living in Staplehurst village.

John was buried in Staplehurst in 1867.
His widow, Elizabeth, appears in the 1871 Census as Elizabeth Love-Reeves, head, widow, 66, pauper, born Staplehurst. She is living at Lindridge Farm and has 2 boarders. 

Elizabeth Love’s death is registered in Maidstone in the 4th quarter 1878; she was said to be 74 years old.

Elijah Love 1816 - 1842
Elijah Love is the son of Robert and Avis Love. He was baptised 10 March 1816 in Staplehurst. He was married to Elizabeth, maiden name unknown. The couple had one child, William, who was born about 1838. 

In January 1842, Elijah Love was in the parish of St. Mary, Islington, Middlesex. He had a wife, Elizabeth, and a four month old son William with him.  He became ill and the family had to claim relief from the overseers.

On the 20 January 1842, Elijah’s wife and father were examined to determine his legal place of Settlement. Elijah was too sick to attend the examination.
The record of the examination and subsequent actions are held at the CKS under reference P347 13/2 Bundle 2 97.

Elizabeth is identified as Elizabeth Love wife of Elijah of St. Mary Islington, Middlesex. She states that she is the lawful wife of Elijah and that they married at St. John, Clerkenwell, Middlesex on 06 October 1839.  They have one child, William, aged 4 months. She states that her husband has not taken a 12 month lease nor acquired legal settlement since their marriage.

Robert Love, otherwise Reeve, identifies himself of the father of Elijah and gives his address as 133 High Street, Horton old Town, Middlesex.  He states that Elijah is about 26 years of age and born in Staplehurst.
He says that in October 1831, Elijah was a yearly servant to John George of Moat Farm in Staplehurst. He worked for £2 per year together with his board and lodgings. He worked for a second year for John George and ‘slept at his master’s house’. He quit service in October 1833. 

The outcome of the examination was that Elijah, his wife  Elizabeth and his son William were ordered to be removed by Staplehurst parish. The order is dated 20 June 1842. There is an additional note stating that  Elijah is unable to be removed due to ‘sickness & infirmity’. This is also dated 20 June 1842. Then on the 05 March 1842, there is a further note stating that Elijah has died and that the rest of the family can now be removed. They request Staplehurst to pay £3.7.10 to cover their cost. 

William Love 1827 - 1904
William Love is the son of John Love and Elizabeth Allen. He was baptised in Staplehurst on 07 Oct 1827
. He was married to Mary, maiden name unknown and living in Marden.  

In the 1861 Census, William is living at Taylor’s Cottages in Marden.

In the 1881 Census, William is living near Folly House, in Marden.

In the 1891 Census, William is living at Pattenden Lane, Marden.

In the 1901 Census, William is still living at Pattenden Lane, Marden.

There is a death registration of William Love in Maidstone in the 3rd quarter 1904; he was said to be 75 years old.

Elijah Love 1838
Elijah Love is the son of Robert and Harriet Love. He was born in Staplehurst about 1838 but no baptism has been found for him.  In the census for 1871 and 1881, he is noted as Elisha, this may be a Kent accent interpretation in other counties.
In the 1871 census, Elisha is found living at Walton Place, Chelsea, London.

 In the 1881 Census, Elisha is found living at High Street, The Crown Brewery, Hungerford, Berkshire.

Elijah Love b1841
In the 1871 Census, Elijah is found living at a Public Lodging House in Marylebone, London. He is 30 years old, unmarried and a painter born Staplehurst.

I have no idea who he is.