All Saints’ Church, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England

 The Becher Family History

Becher Coat of Arms


Those who appear on the memorial tablets within the Chancel are noted in bold red




HENRY BECHER


Henry’s family came from Bishops Morchard, Devon. He was born c.1517 and the youngest of eleven sons; all but Henry died without issue and he became heir to the family’s lands in Kent. Henry married Alice Heron of Edgecombe House, Croydon, Surrey, the daughter of Thomas Heron and Elizabeth Bond . Henry was of All Hallows Parish, Broad Street, London but by 1560 also of the Parish St Christopher le Stocks. Henry and Alice had ten children.

Elizabeth born c.1540 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. She married on 5th October 1560 at St
echer Coat of Arms Christopher le Stocks, Clement Kelk

Henry born c.1542 in the parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London

Edward born c.1544 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. He married, by licence dated 5th October 1580, Frances Brooke, only daughter of William, Lord Cobham

Fane born c.1546 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. He married Susan, daughter of George Dabridgecourt of Stratfield Say, Hampshire on 12th May 1572 and died c.1596

William born c.1548 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. He married, by licence dated 12th April 1578, Judith, daughter of John Quarles of London. William was then of Old Jewry and Judith of Islington. They had a son, Sir William Becher, Clerk of the Council.

Mary born c.1549 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. She married on 4th September 1569 at St Christopher le Stocks, Chidiock Wardour

Bartholomew born c.1550 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London.

Margaret born c.1551 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. She married, on 23 July 1571, Sir Thomas Dabridgecourt of Startfiled Say, Hampshire, at Stratfield Say. Margaret died on 3rd November 1614.

Mabel born c.1553 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. She married Sir Richard Norton of Tisted, Hampshire

Dorothy born c.1555 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London.

Henry, secondly married, Jane, widow of Oliver Lovebond of London, in 1568, the Marriage Articles dated 5th May 1568. They did not have issue.

He was Alderman of Broad Street Ward, London in 1570 and Sheriff of London 1569-70. Henry died on 15th January 1570/71 was buried at St Christopher le Stocks on 29th January.

In the Church of St Christopher le Stocks is a memorial which reads:

“Here lie the bodies of HENRY BECHER, Alderman and late Sheriff of London: and ALICE, his first wife, one of the daughters of THOMAS HERON of Edgcombe in the County of Surrey, Esquire, by whom he had ten children, After the decease he married with JANE the widow of OLIVER LOVEBOND, of London, with whom he lived for three years, and died on 15th day of January, Anno Dom. 1570”

HENRY BECHER

The son of Henry Becher was also Henry. He was of London and Fotheringay, Northants, born c.1542 in the Parish of All Hallows, Broad Street, London. He married Judith Riche on 15th May 1566; Judith was the daughter of John Riche of London, gentleman and Apothecary to Queen Elizabeth, and Anne Kelk; they married in London on 9th July 1547. John Riche was the son and heir of Thomas Riche of Marston Morteyne, Bedfordshire.

In 1597, Henry bought the Rectory and College buildings at Fotheringay from Gamaliel Crays

Henry and Judith had seven surviving children:

Jane baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 23rd November 1572 and buried there on 16th August 1575

William baptised on 12th September 1574 at St Christopher le Stocks


Edward baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 3rd August 1577 and later of Peterborough and Longthorpe. He did not marry.


Elizabeth baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 28th August 1580 and married Thomas Anscell of Great Barford, Bedfordshire at Fotheringay on 17th August 1602. She was buried at Great Barford on 19th September 1652

George baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 17th April 1587 and later of Clavering, Essex. He married Elizabeth Whytney and they had issue.

Ursula baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 5th January 1589. She married a Matthew Dennis

Dorothy baptised at Southill, Bedfordshire on 25th October 1590. She married George Kympton of Weston, Herts, at Fotheringay, Northants, on 27th November 1610

Henry was buried at Fotheringay on 1st June 1608 and Judith, his wife, was buried at Fotheringay on 4th October 1615.

SIR WILLIAM BECHER

Sir William, the son of Henry Becher and Judith Riche above, was baptised on 12th September 1574 at St Christopher le Stocks, London. He was later of Fotheringay, Northants and Howbury, Renhold. In 1603 he acquired Howbury from the Gostwycke family of Willington and in that year, he presented Rev. Henry Gale to the living of Renhold. He was Sheriff of Bedfordshire  1612 - 1613 and knighted by Kong James 1 in Kirby on 27th July 1619. He had married Elizabeth, daughter of Oliver, Baron St John of Bletshoe, at Southill, Beds on 25th February 1594.

William sold the Rectory and College property at Fotheringay to John Browne of the Middle Temple in 1629.

William and Elizabeth had nineteen children:

Ollife baptised at St Christopher le Stocks on 23rd May 1596

Oliver baptised at Bletsoe on 31st December 1598

Dorothy baptised at Bletsoe on 15th April 1600 and married at Fotheringay on 16th Janaury 1626/27 William Conyers, of Walthmstow, Sergeant at Law. She died in 1659

Judith baptised at Bletsoe on 15th April 1600 and buried there on 5th August 1600 – Dorothy’s twin

Henry baptised at Fotheringay on 2nd May 1602, who by Anne, his wife had three children:

Edward baptised at St John’s, Peterborough on 2nd December 1634

 

Mary buried at Renhold on 7th January 1635/36

Elizabeth baptised at Renhold on 4th March 1638/39

Anne baptised at Renhold on 9th October 1603 and married at Fotheringay on 26th August 1624 Edmund Hardinge of Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire. She was buried there on 10th August 1659

Elizabeth baptised at Renhold on 9th March 1605/06 and did not marry.

William baptised at Renhold on 26th July 1607 and buried there on 17th November 1607

William baptised at Renhold on 20th November 1608

Edward baptised at Renhold on 5th August 1610

St John baptised at Renhold on 14th November 1611 and buried there on 17th March 1684/85. He married an Elizabeth and had a son, St John. Elizabeth was buried at Renhold on 22nd April 1701

Judith baptised at Renhold on 29th November 1612 and did not marry.

Francis baptised at Renhold on 29th May 1614 and buried there on 12th January 1696/97, having died on 3rd January

Fanus baptised at Fotheringay on 21st December 1615

Katherine baptised at Renhold on 23rd December 1618

Henry baptised at Fotheringay on 29th June 1620

John baptised at Fotheringay on 9th May 1622

Howard mentioned in his father’s will

Sir William was buried at Renhold on 22nd December 1640 and Elizabeth, his wife, was buried there on 17th September 1658. In his will he left, inter alia, money to the Vicar of Renhold, Nathaniel Hill, and the poor of the Village

OLIVER BECHER

Oliver Becher, the son of Sir William Becher and Elizabeth St John, was baptised 31st December 1598 at Bletsoe, Bedford. He matriculated a Fellow Commoner from Queen’s College, Cambridge, Easter 1615. Oliver was admitted at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 8th February 1616/17. He married on 24th July 1626/27 at East Haddon, Elizabeth Tate, born c.1599, daughter of Sir William Tate of De la Pré Abbey, Northants and Elizabeth Zouche, daughter of Edward, eleventh and last Baron Zouche of Harringworth. 

They had ten children:

William born at Fotheringay on 24th April 1628

Oliver born at Fotheringay on 4th July 1629 at about 12.00 p.m. and was baptised at Fotheringay on 16th July 1629. Oliver died c.1680

Edward born at Fotheringay on St Luke’s Day 1630 at about 7.00 a.m. and baptised at Fotheringay on 25th October 1630. He died, aged 5 on 13th December 1634 and was buried at Fotheringay

Elizabeth born at Howbury on 14th March at about 12.15 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 22nd March 1631/32

John born at Howbury on 30th July 1633 at about 4.30 p.m. an was baptised at Renhold on 20th August 1633. John died on 28th February 1633/34 and was buried in Renhold on 1st March 1633/34

Francis born at Howbury on 2nd August 1634 at about 4.30 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 10th August 1634.

Mary born at Howbury on 12th September 1635 at about 3.00 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 13th September 1635 and buried there on 11th May 1659

Judith born on 14th October 1636 at about 11.30 p.m. She was buried at St Bartholomew the Great 17th December 1655 “from the House of the Countess of Bolingbrooke”

St John born at Howbury on 8th November 1637 at about 12.00 p.m. and buried at Renhold on 20th April 1659.

Katherine born at Howbury on 8th August 1640 and baptised at Renhold on 17th August 1640

Oliver was buried at Renhold on 12th November 1680 and Elizabeth, his wife, on 29th March 1662/63.

SIR WILLIAM BECHER

Sir William the son of Oliver Becher and Elizabeth Tate was born on 24th April 1628 at at Fotheringay, Northants at about 4.00 a.m. and baptised at Fotheringay on 5th May 1628 He is also referred to by has father Oliver in the 1634 Visitation as aged 6. He was admitted Pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge on September 17th 1645. He, firstly, married at Renhold on 15th February 1655/56 Frances St John, daughter of Oliver, Lord St John of Bletsoe, who was baptised at St Bartholomew the Great on 9th April 1626 and buried at Renhold on 17th September 1658.

On 16th November 1660 he was knighted at Whitehall and was MP for Beds in 1667. In 1660 William was one of the Magistrates who sent John Bunyan to prison.

William and Frances had two children:

Arabella born on 17th January 1656/57 at about 8.00 p.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 30th January 1656/57. By licence, dated 14th June 1684, Arabella married Thomas Huxley of Edmunton, Middlesex, the brother of Elizabeth, her father’s second wife. Arabella was buried at Renhold on 13th October 1700

St John born on 2nd August 1658 at about 4.00 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 17th August 1658 and buried there on 17th March 1684

William married, secondly, Mrs Elizabeth Hillersdon on 24th December 1660 at St Peter, Paul’s Wharf, London. Elizabeth Hillersdon was the widow of Thomas Hillersdon of “Elstowe”, Bedford. Elizabeth was nee Huxley, the daughter of John Huxley of Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, heir of John Huxley of Edmunton. William and Elizabeth had the following children baptised in Renhold:

William born on 4th January 1661 at about 9.00 p.m.

John born on 22nd June 1664 at about 11.00 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 21st July 1664 and buried there on 11th May 1673

Elizabeth Their only daughter, Elizabeth, known as Betty was born on 4th March 1662 and baptised at Renhold on 12th March 1662/63. She died unmarried of Smallpox on 17th April 1701 and was buried on 22nd April.

George born on 28th October 1667 about 10.00 a.m. and was baptised at Renhold on 11th November 1667 and buried there on 12th November 1740

William died on 5th December 1694 aged 65 and was buried in the Chancel of Renhold Church on 9th December. At the time of her death, Elizabeth, William’s wife, was living at Bow, Middlesex; she died on 12th January 1704/05 and was buried at Elstow, Bedfordshire on 20th January.  

By William's will of 10th December 1691, he wished to be buried in the Church, with the rest of his ancestors. He left £5 to his brother Francis and to his brother, William, and his wife, £5 each for mourning. To his son George and daughter Betty the like sum.

WILLIAM BECHER

William Becher, eldest son of Sir William Becher and Elizabeth Hillersdon, nee Huxley, was born on 4th January 1661: However no record of his baptism has been found.  He married, on 3rd September 1695, Mary, daughter of Matthew Dennis of Kempston, baptised at Kempston on 12th September 1673.

William and Mary had one son:

     William born 2nd October 1697

Mary died on 17th November 1697 aged 24 and was buried at Renhold on 20th November 1697.

William secondly married at St Benedict’s, Paul’s Wharf, London on 10th August 1699, Jane Clarke, daughter and coheir of George Clerke of Launde Abbey, Watford, Northants.  M.P. for that County 1661-62. They had two children:

Jane Rachel born on 12th July 1700 at about 2.00 a.m. at Kensington and baptised on 9th August 1700. She married Thomas Lewis of St Pierre, Monmouth, c.1719 and had a son Craven who was baptised at St Pierre on 1st August 1729, and three daughters – Frances, Elizabeth and Jane. Craven married Mary Longford at St George, Mayfair, London on 14th October 1752. Jane and Thomas had another son who must not have survived childhood.

Mary born on 3rd July 1702 at about 6.45 p.m. and died of convulsions on 13th January 1702/03. She was buried at Renhold on 17th January.

William died in 1724 and was buried at Renhold on 5th June 1724

WILLIAM BECHER

William was the only son of William Becher and Mary Dennis, born at about 1.30 p.m. on 2nd October 1697 and baptised at Renhold on 8th October 1697. He married at St James, Clerkenwell on 16th June 1726, Elizabeth, aged 30 and daughter of John Clarke of Hackney, Middlesex.

William died on 12th June 1751 and was buried in Renhold on 26th June. Elizabeth died on 3rd July 1766 “possesses of an income of £1500 per annum”

William and Elizabeth had no children

William in his will of 1748 left Howbury, after Elizabeth’s death, to his nephew, Craven Lewis, second son of his sister, Jane Rachel Lewis, provided he took the name, Becher, and adopted the Coat of Arms – see above. If Craven did not survive, the Estate was to pass to the surviving male child of John Becher, his cousin, citizen and salter of London, namely Robert, John and Richard.

Elizabeth, in her will of 1766 appointed her niece, Catherine, wife of William Abney as sole Executrix.

JOHN BECHER

The Estate of Renhold, Salph End and Goldington passed to the second son of John Becher, the son of Sir William Becher, in 1766.

John married Mary Trucker, the third daughter of the late Samuel Trucker, Consul to Alicante, Spain and they had one son

William, born 2nd June 1748. William married Martha Ford, eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth Ford of Newman Street, London at St Mary - St Marylebone, St Marylebone, London on 30th November 1778.

John was alive in June 1773 for he prepared a list of all the families of Renhold in that month. However, he must have died soon afterwards. For some reason his son, William, did not succeed. John’s brother, Richard, succeeded.

RICHARD BECHER

Richard appears in the Parish Record referred to as Richard Becher Esq. at the baptism of a servant in 1774. In the sale document of the Estate, Richard is “late of Bedford Square, London, who hath lately left the United Kingdom for the East Indies”. Richard needed to sell the Estate in 1781 to pay off several mortgage debts totalling £17,500 (£1,235,000 in money of 2000). The Howbury Estate was thus sold to Nathaniel Polhill in 1781 for the sum of £17,500. This sale ended the Becher connection with Renhold, which began in 1603

Sources Parish Records The Visitation to Bedfordshire 1634 FHRS 1920 Volume V Part II Gentlemans Magazine Alumni Cantabridgiensis Victoria County History for Northamptonshire Papers of Oliver, Richard and Sir William Becher at the County Record Office