Thursday, November 17, 2011


All Saints Church of East Budleigh, East Budleigh, Devon, England
The church where Richard Conant was Church Warden.

Richard Conant's signature on his will dated 1629

Richard CONANT was born in 1548 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. He died on 21 September 1630 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. He was buried on 22 September 1630 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. Richard married Agnes CLARKE on 4 February 1578 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom.

Richard Conant was the third generation after the French refugees. Richard married Agnes Clark in 1578. They had eight children; the last two of their children were Christopher and Roger. It is believed that most of all of the Conants living in the United States are descendants of Roger and Christopher Conant. These two brothers helped to settle the colony of Salem, Massachusetts in the early 1600's.

Will of Richard Conant: "In the name of God, Amen, on the twentieth day of Novemher, in the year of our Lord God 1629. I, Richard Conant, of East Budleigh, in the countie of Devon, yeoman, knowing the certenty of death, but of the time and hour most uncertain, and therefore preparing my selfe ready whensoever it shall please the Lord to call mee out of this transitorie life into his celestialI kingdome, whereunto pswaded by faith I shall aspire in and by the death, meritts and previous bload sheding of Christ Jesus my onlie Lord and Saviour and Redeemer, doe by this my testament containing therin my last will in manner and forme as followeth: first I bequeath my soule into the hands of Almightie God and my body for Christian buriall, and as touching my worldlie goods: first I give and bequeth unto my grandchild, Richard Conant, sonne of Richard Conant, of East Budleigh, my silver Bowle, only reserving the use thereof to my wife dureinge her life tyme: Item, I give and bequeath unto my sonne, John Conant, my siIke grogren dublet and turkie grogren hose: Item, unto my sonne, Robert Conant, I give and bequeath my second best clokes and myne other other apparell (except the worst) and the other before mencioned. Item, I give the poor of the parish of East Budleigh the sume of twentie shillings to bee disposed according to the discretion of myne executrix: Item, I give and bequeath further unto my sonne, John Conant, my gold ringe with a Turkies in it: Item, I give and bequeath unto Jane Knowles and Susan Knowles, children unto my daughter, Jane Knowles [Knowles erased and Wotton written over it] namely to each of them five pounds to bee paid unto them at their day of marriage if soe they marrie with the consent and Iikeing of their friends, particularlie of the fatherinlawe, Phillippe Wotton, of their mother, and onkle, John Conant. lf they marry not: to be paid Untoe them they being of the age of thrity yeares. And if in the meantyme, before their said age or marriage. it happen that all of them dye, then that her portion of five pounds bee likewise paid to the sister sirviveing: Item, I give and bequeath unto all my childrens children (vizt. to every of them in p'ticular except such as have a larger portion given them) five shillings: All the residue of my goods, as well moveable as immovable, or chattels whatsoever is myne or in me for to give in Budleigh or elsewhere, my deb's being paid funeralls discharged and respect had to my promise made to Phillip Wotton, my sonneinlawe, and my daughter Jane, his wife, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Jane Wotton (onelie reserving the use thereof unto my wife, Agnes Conant, during her life tyme), and doe make my said daughter whole and sole executrix: And I doe also ordaine my sonne, John Conant, of Lymington, in Somersetshire, to be this my over-seer to see this my will and testamint to be fullfiled. In witness whereof, I. the aforsaid Richard Conant, have hereunto put my hand, scale, even the day and yeare first above written. (Signed) Richard Conant Witness: John Conant Robert Conant The inventory was taken on September 30, 1631 by John Richards, Robert Conant, and John Leye: the total amount was £129 14s. 4d.

Agnes CLARKE was born on 16 May 1548 in Cloyton, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. She died on 22 February 1630 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. Agnes married Richard CONANT on 4 February 1578 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom.

They had the following children.
Joan CONANT was born on 20 January 1579.
Richard CONANT was born on 12 February 1581. He died on 13 September 1625.
Robert CONANT was born about 1583. He died on 12 May 1638.
Jane CONANT was christened on 9 May 1584. She died after 1630.
John CONANT was born on 18 March 1586 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom. He was christened on 18 March 1586 in of, East Budleigh, Devon, England, United Kingdom. He died on 13 April 1653.
Thomas CONANT was born on 30 April 1587 in East Budleigh, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom.
Christopher CONANT was christened on 13 June 1588.
Roger CONANT was born on 9 March 1592. He died on 19 November 1679.
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(II) Richard, son of John and ____ Conant, was probably born in the parish of East Budleigh about the year 1548. In 1606 Richard Conant and Henry Cowden were church-wardens of the parish, and in 1616 Richard Conant again filled the office. In 1630 he was rated at two shillings sixpence, next to the highest rating in the parish. It is interesting to remember that Sir Walter Raleigh was born at Hays House in East Budleigh, and his father was one of the church-wardens in 1561. Sir Francis Drake was also connected with the parish, and the tales of these two explorers must have had an important influence in leading two of the sons of Richard Conant to embark for the new world.
The marriage of Richard Conant took place at Colyton, a market town of Devonshire, eight miles from East Budleigh. The quaint record reads: "Rychard Counnett, the soone of John Counnett, of Easte Budleye, was wedded unto Agnes Clarke, the daughtr of John Clarke, senior, of Collyton, the iiij days of ffebruary, 1657." Agnes Clarke was born May 16, 1548, and her mother Anne, daughter of William Macye, of Colyton. After a married life of nearly fifty years, Richard and Agnes Conant were buried the same day, September 22, 1630, and both are spoken of as persons of "exemplary piety."
The inventory of the estate, which amounted to one hundred and twenty-nine pounds fourteen shillings and four pence, contains some interesting items as showing how an English cottage was arranged in those days. In the Hall, among other things, were "one long tableborde, 1 squre tableborde, 2 formes, 3 chairs and 6 joynt stolls." The "new parlour" contained a feather bed, "2 feather boulsters, 1 yard of Blankett and coverlett," while the "old parloud" was rich in "1 standing bedsted and 1 trundle bedsted." In the Buttery were "3 dozzen of Tranchers, 6 brasse Candlesticks, 1 pessel and morter," beside sundry other house-keeping furnishings. In the "Shoppe next to the Hall" were "2 beames and skales with some brass and leadden waights" beside a counter and a chest; but the only item "in the longe Enery and in the Kitchen" reads "2 cubbords." The "brewinge House" had "3 brasse pots, 3 brasse Caldrons, skillets, and a brasse ladle" besides divers other utensils; and the Milk house had "10 brass milk pannes" and other items. The "Weaving Shopp" had "2 old Coffers with some boards and other small triffells," and was evidently a place of storage for bedding not in use. The new parloud is referred to again as containing "on silver bowle and 5 silver spoones" and no other silver is mentioned. There is no statement regarding knives or table utensils of any kind except in the brewing-house, where "1 dozen wooden dishes and one dozen of spoones," probably wooden, are enumerated. Forks were scarcely known then. The Conants must have been people of some education, because the new parloud had a "liberry table, 2 great deskes and one lesser one, on grete byble and a deske and other bookes." The contents of four chambers are disclosed. Some of the unusual items are "2 dozen of Table napkins," evidently kept for occasions of great ceremony, "2 pare verginalls," a musical instrument of primitive construction, "a Skaymer and cheese Racke," which might more properly belong in the buttery, and "a crosbowe and bender." The parlors were evidently furnished with beds - a custom which obtained in many New England farmhouses well into the nineteenth century.

Eight children of Richard and Agnes (Clarke) Conant are recorded:
Joan, Richard, Robert, Jane, John, Thomas, Christopher and Roger.
The two younger brothers migrated to America; but the last record of Christopher Conant occurs in November, 1630, when he was a member of the first jury for cominal trial in this country, impanelled for the trial of Walter Palmer, for manslaughter. It is possible that he may have returned to England, because if he had died in Massachusetts some record of that fact would probably have been preserved.
Of the sons of Richard Conant who remained in England:
John became a fellow of Oxford University and rector of St. Thomas Church, in Salisbury. On July 26, 1643, he preached a sermon before the House of Commons, which was printed by order of that body. From a rare copy which has been preserved we know that the title page gave the theme as "The Weal and Woe of God's People," and the discourse, which contains fifty-six printed pages, was delivered on a fast day, or day of "publike humiliation."
Two of Richard Conant's grandsons also entered the church. Richard (3), son of Richard (2) Conant, was graduated from Emanuel College, Cambridge, in 1645, and afterwards became vicar of the church at East Budleigh; but the most noted of the family was Rev. Dr. John Conant, vice chancellor of Oxford University. He was the son of Robert Conant, and grandson of Richard, and was made fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, July 3, 1633. He becama an eminent Oriental scholar, and was noted for being a sound and solid expositor, and "for clearing the true sense of such texts as were misinterpreted by the Socianians and other heretics." Dr. Conant became rector of Exeter College, vicar of Kidlington, regius professor of Divinity, and on October 5, 1657, was appointed by Richard Cromwell to be vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford. After the restoration he was installed archdeacon of Norwich, and finally made prebendary of Worcester. His biography indicates that he was a man of unusual character, wisdom and influence.
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Marriage of Richard Conant and Agnes Clarke
4 February 1578, Colyton, Devon, England
The Marriage Registers of East Budleigh lack the names of females from the beginning to 1005; but the date of Richard Conant's marriage is given: "4 February, 1578." Luckily this omission is supplied by the Registers of Colyton where the marriage took place. There it is recorded that "Rychard Counnett, the sonne of John Counnett, of Easte Budleye, was wedded unto Agnes Clarke, the daughtr of John Clarke, senior, of Collyton, the iiij. daye of ffcbruary, 1578." Colyton is a market town of Devonshire, twenty-two miles east of Exeter and about eight miles east of East Budleigh.

The Manor of Colyton was part of the possessions of Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and Marquis of Exeter, who was beheaded in 1538. His estates, of course, reverted to the Crown, and a number of the wealthy inhabitants of Colyton purchased from King Henry a portion of the manor. These citizens were enfeoffed by the King, who also granted them the management of fairs and markets. The name of John Clarke stands first on the patent from the King, and also appears on the patent of the second incorporation of enfeoffment, which was granted by Queen Mary. He d. 0th and was buried 9th Apr., 1585* He m. 9th June, 1544,t Anne, daughter of William Macye, of Colyton, and their daughter Annes, or Agnes, was born I0th May, 15484
Richard and Agnes Conant were buried on the same day, 22 September, 1630.§ Both are spoken of in the Life of John Conant as persons of "exemplary piety," and judging from what is known of the character of their children this was undoubtedly the case. His will, which is printed in full, is preserved in the Archdeaconry Court of Exeter, and was proved 13 October, 1631.
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Richard Conant
Richard Conant was one of the leading men of East Budleigh, a church-warden , as was his father before him and evidently in good circumstances. In 1588, Richard was assessed for lands in East Budleigh, Devon of the yearly value of four pounds. He was church warden in 1606 and 1616. Richard's wife Agnes was the daughter of John Clarke born about 1519, the leading merchant of Colyton, a neighboring parish. He married 9 June 1544, Ann Macye and died 6 April 1585, Cloyden, Devon,. England.
Richard and his wife Agnes were buried the same day: 22 September 1630
Richard Conant was the son of John and Marie Conant. John was born about 1520, Gittisham, Devon, England.
Source:The Conant Family in America--Frederick Odell Conant
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Richard Conant
RICHARD CONANT was born in the parish of East Budleigh about 1548. In 1588 he was assessed for lands there and he was church warden in 1606-16. He married 4 February 1578, AGNES CLARK, daughter of JOHN CLARK, SR. of Collyton and his wife, ANNE MACY, whom he married 9 June 1544. Anne was the daughter of WILLIAM MACY of Collyton. Savage states that he is said to be the brother of Dr. John Conant of the Great Assembly of Devines at Westminster. Richard and Agnes were apparently a family of some means as their son John was educated at Oxford and his son Roger must have been well educated also. Richard and Agnes were buried on the same day, 22 September 1630. His will was proved at Exeter, 13 October 1631
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