The Kendalls held the manor at Smisby for just over 150 years which spanned nine generations. However, the Kendall’s history while in the possession of the manor is not readily available and inaccuracies in written pedigrees and the passage of time have clouded their story.
The main sources are the pedigrees provided by the visitations of the Heralds as well as those sources which have elaborated on these, such as Nichols and HJB Kendall. Although it is better not to make assumptions and rely only on primary sources of information, in some cases there is a need to apply some reasoning to make sense of the available information. This article is a summary account which addresses the main personalities and some historical anomalies.
During the 16th century, Henry, the heir of George Kendall of Smisby, inherited sizable land and properties from his maternal grandfather. Henry Kendall’s mother is not named in the various pedigrees and neither is her father from whom the Kendalls gained considerable wealth. This article aims to identify this line of descent and provide an identity to Henry’s mother, the daughter of Jennings, and provide information on his grandfather.
Laid into the wall of St James’ Church, Smisby is an alabaster stone memorial to William Kendall and his wife Anne. The memorial is quite damaged and worn, mostly from foot traffic before it was moved from the chancel floor near the choir to its current location. Although there are large cracks in the slab there is also evidence of modern “restoration” which has replaced some of the original alabaster with modern pieces. The church was renovated during 1894 and 1895 and reopened in 1896, at which time the floor was raised to allow for heating channels to be put in and it is at this time the memorial slab was moved and the restoration damage occurred.
Anne Reddish1 was married to William Kendall (1490 – 1547) of Smisby and they had one son, George Kendall (1527-1566). In William Wryley’s 1592 copy of the visitation of Warwickshire 1569 she is recorded as “Ann dau. of Redishe of Redishe, co. lancs.” There is no further information readily available in other pedigree works, such as the Harleian, Nichols or Fletcher. At the time, Reddish was to the south east of Manchester in the County of Lancashire and although there is a pedigree for the family of that name with the armorial bearings of argent a lion rampant gules collared or, there was no obvious candidate for Anne, or mention of the Kendalls in the Reddish pedigree.
St James’s Church, Twycross was used by the Kendalls well into the 18th century. With regard to the church, in his work of 1622, Burton states that “In a South window the portrait of two men, kneeling the one having an arrow fixed in his head; the other, an arrow in the middle of his body; under which is written, Orate pro animabus Thomœ & Ricardi Kendal. The inhabitants report, that these two Kendals were slain with arrows at Bosworth Field, 1485”1.
George Kendall’s will was written in 1566 during the minority of his son and heir, Henry Kendall, by his first wife Joan Jennings the daughter and heiress of William Jennings of Westminster. He was survived by his second wife Mary Repington the daughter of Francis Repington of Amington. She was to remarry Clement Fisher of Great Packington.
George Kendall’s will is contained in the United Kingdom’s National Archives and is in folio 48 of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills in the series PROB 11 which relate to wills from 1384 to 12 January 1858. Probate was granted on 1 November 1566.