worthies of Ash.
Most, at least, of the witnesses seem to have been chosen more for
their relative youth than for grey hairs. The marriage register records
the weddings of Augustine Rolfe to Agnis Apty in 1565 and of Thomas Knowe
to Agnis Hookes in 1570 and Thomas Thurrocke was the father of a young
Family, of whom his son William has the distinction of being the first
child whose baptism is recorded in the registers. John Warren was a
widower, his wife Joan having died in 1567; he may or may not have been
the John, son of William Warren, who died. in 1572.
William Warren the elder, founder of the charity, had been a
leading parishioner for many years and was one of the two
churchwardens who, in company with William Wyels, had taken the inventory
of church goods to Dartford in 1552. By the time he made his will in 1569
there were three William Warrens in the parish, representing three
generations of the family; one of them died in May 1571 and he, almost
certainly, was William the elder. A James, son of William Warren who
married Agnis Butcher in 1563, a William Warren whose son William
was christened in 1566 and an Alice Warren who married Robert Skudder in
1571 may all have been his children.
The Warrens do not appear to have remained long in
the parish after the elder William’s death, but
they, or some of the same name, were in evidence again by the reign of
Charles II. There were then two Warren families in Ash, one headed by
George and his wife Nary and the other by James and his wife Elizabeth.
James, son of James and Elizabeth, who was christened in 1673, was
probably the James Warren junior, a Southfleet yeoman, who was buried at
Ash in 1705. Elizabeth died in 1713 and ‘Old James Warren’ in 1715, at
the age of eighty-six. With the old man’s death, Ash seems to have been
left once more without any Warrens, though no doubt there were still some
not far away.
In 1763 a William Warren of Chelsfield, then a widower,
married Jane Middleton of the Ash yeoman family of that name; he may have
been the William Warren, farmer, who died, aged eighty-one, in 1796. The
last Warren entry in the ancient registers is of yet another William, who
died in 1603 after what must have been a painful illness; his is the only
death that Mr Lambard’s diagnostic register attributes to the stone. If
he was of the same family they had come down in the world, for he was
described. as a labourer. Ups and downs were common enough in rural
England, which always had a class but never a caste system.