Martin Ballard of Southwell, East Allington and Upton, Nottinghamshire (c.1596-1663).

Martin Ballard of Southwell, East Allington and Upton, the son of William Ballard, Jr and his wife Alice was born c. 1696, died 21 March 1663.   He was probably the Martin Ballard who became a minister and served the parish of Upton during at least the years between 1633 and 1639. Martin Ballard appears in the East Allington register as the father of at least three children. Paul Ballard noted the poor quality of the microfilm in that part of the register where the relevant entries are located, so it is difficult to determine if  all references to him have been identified. The baptismal records from that register list the following children: (1) 4/9/1615 — Elizabeth; (2) 2/2/1616 — Sara;  (3) 10/17/1619 — Rececca.

The legible entries do not give the name of Martin’s wife. They also do not mention his occupation. If Martin’s older brothers were born in approximately 1592 and 1594, he must have born in approximately 1595, which would make him a young 20 years old at the birth of his first child. After 1619, Martin and his family disappear from the register — perhaps they moved to Upton in Nottinghamshire at about that time, or perhaps that is when he studied for the ministry.  Paul noted:

 Since I was anxious to continue tracing Martin and his children, I checked to see what church records were available for the parish of Upton in Nottinghamshire (located between Southwell and Newark-upon-Trent). According to the information in Nottingham Parish Registers. Marriages, Vol. 16, p.157 (London, 1912), the Upton registers go back to 1586. The marriages for Upton from that date are published in that volume, but, of course, not the baptisms or the burials. Interestingly, there is a specific mention in the book (at p.166) that Martin Ballard was the vicar of Upton from 1628 to 1663. On the same page, the marriage on 5/4/1649 between John Sands and Rebecca Ballard is listed. This was most likely Martin’s daughter who had been baptized in East Allington in 1619.

Unfortunately, the Family History Centers do not offer a microfilm of the parish register for Upton. In fact, it appears that none of the parish registers in Nottinghamshire (maybe with some exceptions) are available there. The Centers do have available the Bishop’s transcripts from 1633 to 1812 (FHL British Film 504053, Item #1), which I reviewed. These transcripts cover only a few years prior to 1686, i.e., 1633-1634, 1635 and 1639(?). Although Martin Ballard signed all three of these transcripts, they do not appear to contain any other Ballard information. A closer look at the actual parish registers of Upton can evidently only be had in Nottingham (where I assume they are today). PB – Correct, they are at the Nottinghamshire Record Office in Nottingham but there is also a transcript in the Society of Genealogists.

Although Upton is small in size, there are at least two books written about life there around the time of the English Civil War. A Nottingham Village in War and Peace: The Accounts of the Constables of Upton 1640-1666 (Thoroton Society Record Series, Vol. 39, 1995) contains a few mentions of a “Mr. Ballard,” evidently referring to the Vicar, Martin Ballard. It also refers once to “Major General Thomas Ballard’s brief siege of Newark, 27-28 February 1643” (at p.132), but makes no connection between the General and the Vicar.

The other book, Francis H. West, Rude Forefathers: The Story of an English Village 1600-1666 (London, 1949), is a gold mine for information about Martin Ballard, since he is prominently featured. In the section entitled “The Vicarage” (pp.77-84), it is written (pp.77-80): “There are many references in the account books to Mr. Martin Ballard, vicar of thye parish for 36 years, whose incumbancy covered the most eventful period of Upton’s history. During the Civil War he shared in the discomforts and hardships of his parishioners, contributing with the others to the maintenance of the troops in the vicinity of the village, and sometimes accompanying the constable on missions to Newark.

Macauley, in his description of England in 1685, refers to the humble origin of the majority of the country clergy. One of Martin Ballard’s daughters married John Sandes the Weaver, another a Thomas Sare who apparently could not sign his own name…. Whatever his origin was, Mr. Ballard probably had a good deal more learning than the Squire. The records show that he was often consulted about the numerous official documents, warrants and assessments which descended upon the 17th century wardens and constables. In 1646 he helped draw up the statement of the loses incurred by the village during the troublous years of the Civil War.

Of his opinions and personality we know nothing. Presumably he conformed to Parliament’s ecclesiastical regulations and accepted the Directory Service Book without voicing any objections, for … he was allowed to retain his living during the Commonwealth. But the Commission which was set up in 1654 to enquire into the state of the ministry in the parishes, reported that he was too old for the responsibilities of his office, and that the village required a younger man as its minister. Possibly because a more suitable man was not forthcoming, Mr. Ballard was not removed from his vicarage and remained there until his death in 1664 nearly four years after the restoration of Charles II.

The parish registers and his will give us a glimpse of the last months of his life which appear to have been clouded with sorrow and misfortune. Two of his children, Martin and Elizabeth, were undutiful and refused to write him. On 4th September, 1663, his wife Joan, died, to be followed in January by their widowed daughter, Rebecca Sandes. Two months later the lonely old man, lying in his four-poster bed in the vicarage parlour, dictated his last Will and Testament to his son-in-law, Thomas Sare, and two of his parishioners. His undutiful children he cut off with a shilling apiece. The rest of his property he left to his three grandchildren. The next day he died. On March 22nd, 1663-4 his body was buried in the church, across the way from the house in which he had lived for 36 years.

Martin Ballard left a nuncupative will. (A nuncupative will is one that is dictated by word of mouth to witnesses.)
That upon 20th day of March Anno Dni 1663 Martin Ballard the late vicar of Upton neare Southwell in the county of Nottingham being then in perfect mind and memorie and being fitt in body and did (with intent to make his last will nuncupative) dispose of his estate in manor following or words to that effect.

Viz. He said that he had a son called Martin Ballard and a daughter whose name was Elizabeth and sayed that they were disobedient and would not write to him and therefore he sayed that he did give the said Martin his said son and the said Elizabeth a XIId apeece. And he did give the rest of all his goodes, debts having first been paid and funerall expenses discharged to his three grandchildren John Sandys, Rebecca Sandys and Sarah Sare to be equally divided amongst them : there being then and there present and witnesses to the same[.] Richard Gibson. Thomas Sare. Frances the wife of George Harper. [This section of the book also contains the inventory of Martin Ballard and a description of the living conditions in the vicarage.]

From the will and other information contained in Rude Forefathers, we know that Martin Ballard died 21 March 1663/4. He was married, at least towards the end of his life, to a woman with the first name “Joan,” who died on 4 September 1663 and who may or may not have been the mother of his children. We also know from the same source that Martin had at least four children: Martin, Elizabeth, Rebecca (who married John Sandes (Sandys)) and an unnamed daughter (who married Thomas Sare). If the unnamed daughter was Sarah (born 1616), then the only birth (baptism) missing would be for his son Martin.  Rebecca died as a widow in January 1663/4. She and John Sandes had two children, also named Rebecca and John, who were living at the time of Martin’s will in 1663. The unnamed daughter (Sarah?) evidently died before her father, since she was not named in his will. She and her husband Thomas Sare had one child, named Sarah, who was alive at the time of the will. Finally, we can deduce that Elizabeth and Martin had moved away from Upton.  John Weisner’s notes:

He was born circa 1596. He was the son of William Ballard. Martin Ballard held property on 9 July 1614 as evidenced by The Chancery records (C5/589/68) consist of one document, dated 9/7/1614. That document mentioned William Ballard of Southwell, gent. and Alice his wife, the sole daughter and heir of John Martyn (also spelled “Martin”) late of East Allington in the County of Lincoln, yeoman. Martyn agreed to convey lands in East Allington, West Allington and Gonerby to William and Alice Ballard and their heirs to become their property after the death of himself and his then wife Isabell. He then, in fact, conveyed the land as promised to Martin Ballard, one of the sons of William and Alice. Later, Isabell died and John Martyn married Margaret Leake, sister of Richard Leake, who, after the death of John Martyn, allegedly combined with Symon Buttree to disinherit the Ballards. The Martin Ballard mentioned here, who must have been a brother of Edward, was most likely the minister who acted as a witness to the wills of both Edward and Ellen. He held the office of Vicar of Upton in 1627. He left a will on 20 March 1663 at Upton, Nottinghamshire, , England;

“Mr. Ballard’s nuncupative will.

‘That upon 20th day of March Anno Dni 1663 Martin Ballard the late vicar of Upton neare Southwell in the county of Nottingham being then in perfect mind and memorie and being fitt in body and did (with intent to make his last will nuncupative) dispose of his estate in manor following or words to that effect. Viz. He said that he had a son called Martin Ballard and a daughter whose name was Elizabeth and sayed that they were disobedient and would not write to him and therefore he sayed that he did give the said Martin his said son and the said Elizabeth a XIId apeece. And he did give the rest of all his goodes, debts having first been paid and funerall expenses discharged to his three grandchildren John Sandys, Rebecca Sandys and Sarah Sare to be equally divided amongst them : there being then and there present and witnesses to the same[.] Richard Gibson. Thomas Sare. Frances the wife of George Harper. [This section of the book also contains the inventory of Martin Ballard and a description of the living conditions in the vicarage.]'”

Francis H. West, Rude Forefathers: The Story of an English Village 1600-1666 (London, 1949). He died on 21 March 1663 at Upton, Nottinghamshire, , England; Francis H. West, Rude Forefathers: The Story of an English Village 1600-1666 (London, 1949). He was buried on 22 March 1663 at Upton, Nottinghamshire, , England; Francis H. West, Rude Forefathers: The Story of an English Village 1600-1666 (London, 1949).

Children of Martin Ballard:

Elizabeth, baptized 9 April 1615 at East Allington, Lincolnshire, England.

Sara, baptized 2 February 1616 at East Allington, Lincolnshire, England.1

Rebecca, baptized 17 October 1619 at East Allington, Lincolnshire, England and died January 1663/4 at the age of 44. Identified as the wife of ___________ Sands on 4 May 1649,

Martin, baptized c. 1621.

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