The Family Tree of John Richard McCoy:Information about John Spens
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John Spens (b. Abt. 1500, d. date unknown)John Spens (son of David Spens and Janett Henrie) was born Abt. 1500 in Wormiston, Crail, Fife, Scotland, and died date unknown in.He married Mariota Anstruther.
Notes for John Spens:
The following information courtesy of :Twigs of Inman & Spence@ Dr Barbara Inman Beall, Phd.vol I, Fall 1999Lancaster-Wormiston PressPo Box 173Broomfield, CO 80038-0173
The Spenses of WormistonThe town of Crail is described as"a parish and royal burgh, and a sea-port--the latter 26 miles east from Kirkcaldy, and 10 south-east from St. Andrews. It's importance has greatly declined, and notwithstanding it possesses great capabilities as a port, it enjoys but very little trade; this, in some measure, may be ascribed to the inconvenience of its harbour, for it is elegibly situated. Its principal exports consist of grain & potatoes: the imports are chiefly coals. 16 vessels belong to the port. the town consists of 2 streets, and 2 or 3 lanes; of the former one is broad and spacious, containing some good houses, several of which are of that massive and antique description which indicate past wealth. Crail was erected into a royal burgh by Robert Bruce. In conjunction with St. Andrews, Cupar, Fife, the Anstruthers, Kilrenny and Pittenweem, it returns one member to parliament. The parish church, a free church, and an united presbyterian chapel, are the places of worship. The celebrated James Sharp, archbishop of St. Andrews, was once minister of the church, and his handwriting is still to be seen in the session records (Slater's Directory, 1852).Located on the East Neuk of Fife, the ancient land of Wormiston, or Wormieston/Wolmerston is located between the towns of Crail and Cupar, just northwest of Crail. According to Barrow, "Wormieston by Crail was evidently granted by William I to a certain Winemer for 2d. blench ferm every Whitsun. Winemer had been a prominent retainer of the Countess Ada in the Crail district. It is likely that the land outside Crail to which he seems to have given his name was granted to him in return for his services to the countess and (after her death) to her son" (p. 308). William I, "the Lion", king of Scots, reigned from 1165-1214. It was also during the reign of William I and immediately following the Treaty of Falaise (1174) "that later Scottish tradition, if correctly reported by Sir Thomas Grey, assigned a sudden and massive tidal wave of Norman immigration into Scotland, bringing with it the families of Balliol, Bruce, Soules, Moubray, Sinclair, Hay, Giffard, Ramsay, Laundells, Bisset, Barclay, Valognes, Boys, Montgomery, Vaux, Colville, Fraser, Graham, Gourlay and several more" (Barrow, p. 331).As will be seen later, at the close of the fourteenth century, the Wormiston lands passed into Spens hands. According to Burke, "The family of Wolmerston, another great branch of the name of Spens, produced many worthy patriots, who did honour to their country, both in the cabinet and in the field, and had also the lion rampant in their armorial bearings" (p. 169).Anderson states:It is not improbable that Sir Patrick Spens, of the ancient ballad which bears that name, was a baron of Wormieston. The occasion of the ballad was the expedition which conveyed the princess Margaret, daughter of King Alexander III, to Norway in 1281, when she was espoused to Eric, king of that country. 'In returning home,' says Fordoun in his History of Scotland, after the celebration of her nuptials, the abbot of Balmerinoch, Bernard of Monte-alto, and many other persons were drowned.' The command of the ship that bore the princess to Norway, was given to Sir Patrick Spens as----"the best sailorThat ever sailed the sea;"and the gallant commander and all his company are represented as having been lost on their homeward voyage:"Sir Patrick he is on the sea,And far out ower the faem,Wi' five and fifty Scots lords' sonsThat longed to be at hame."Midway between Norway and the coast of Fife, they were all cast away:"Half ower, half ower, to Aberdour."Sir Walter Scott preferred to read it,"O forty miles off Aberdeen,"remarking that in a voyage from Norway, a shipwreck on the north coast appears as probable as either in the firth of Forth or Tay.But as Aberdour was the nearest port to Dunfermline, where the Scottish monarchs chiefly resided from the time of Malcolm Canmore to that of Alexander III, and as the royal commissioners, Wemyss of Wemyss and Scott of Balwearie, sent to escort the young princess to her husband, beglonged to Fife, it seems more likely that the common reading is the correct one:"Half ower, half ower, to Aberdour,full fifty fathoms deep,And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,Wi' the Scotch lords at his feet" (p. 494).Between 1981 and 1984, a series of articles concerning Sir James Spens of Wormiston (d. 1632), appeared in the Scottish Genealogist. In one of these articles, Harry D. Watson outlines the successive ownership of the Wormiston lands:...At the close of the fourteenth century the estate of Wormiston had passed into the hands of Duncan Spens, who some historians at least have derived from the MacDuff Earls of Fife. Duncan's son Alan is described as 'balivus de Crail' and from him the estate passed to Murdo Spens...In 1458 Alexander Spens, Constable of Crail, was married to Mariota Anstruther, and Christian Spens--probably their daughter--was married in 1483 to Andrew Anstruther. In 1467 Alexander Spens and James "Lumisden" of Airdrie and Sypsies were nominated by act of parliament to investigate the rents paid by the barons of Fife. A little later, the name of Spens begins to crop up regularly in the register of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary's in Crail. In 1500, for example, William Spens--son and heir of the late John Spens--sells 4 roods of land in Crail to Sir William Myrtone, chaplain of the altar of St. Michael the Archangel. In 1502 Edward Spens, a bailie, lends his personal seal to Marjorie Wemyss--'because she had none'. In 1517 Marjory "Anstrothir" (perhaps the "Mariota' we encountered before) is named as the widow of Alexander Spens and is recorded as conveying all her rights in two acres of land in Crail to her son David, "laird of Wilmerstone". On the same day, 15th July 1517, David Spens resigns the said lands to Sir William Myrtone, one of the witnesses being a certain James Spens. Indeed this David Spens--who seems to have been the great-grandfather of our Sir James--was a particularly devout son of the Church, for in the following year he makes over the rents from certain lands to the clergy of St. Mary's and the prioress and nuns of the convent of North Berwick. By 1526 he has become a bailie like Edward Spens before him.On his mother's side, David Spens was descended from the Learmonths of Dairsie Castle, three miles to the north-east of Cupar.In 1537 James Learmonth of Dairsie had bought the lands of Balcomie, which previously he had only rented, from King James V, and had set about building himself a new mansion there. Balcomie lies a mere mile to the east of Wormiston, near Fifeness--the eastermost point of the county--and it was here, on a June evening in 1538, that Mary of Guise was welcomed ashore by the new laird of Balcomie before making her way to St. Andrews and her waiting bridegroom. The Learmonths were an energetic family who had made the city of St. Andrews almost into a personal fief, monopolising as they did the office of provost. In 1549 Patrick Learmonth of Dairsie bought the Isle of May from the prior of the monastery of Pittenweem, no doubt with a view to speculative development of its meagre resources, and another Learmonth who eventually made his way to Russia via Poland is traditionally regarded as the ancestor of the poet and novelist Mikhail Lermontov. An armorial panel on the gatehouse of Balcomie Castle bears the names and heraldic devices of Learmonth and Myrtone, for in 1602 John Learmonth of Balcomie was to marry Elizabeth, daughter of David Myrtone of Randerston. His sister Helen was already married to John, brother of William Myrtone of Cambo...Margaret Learmonth was probably of the Dairsie rather than the Balcomie branch of the family, but visiting her Balcomie relatives would have brought her into at least occasional contact with the neighbouring Spenses, and the eventual match was perhaps a foregone conclusion (pp. 149-150).The Anstruthers described in this account were an equally important family, and were destined to "cross paths" with the Spenses a number of times. According to Micheil MacDonald:The Anstruthers are descendants of the Norman family of Malherbe, whose branch of that family held lands at Candel in Dorset during the eleventh century. They appear in Scotland a century later, holding the lands of Anstruther in Fife. At the time of his death in 1153, William de Candela is recorded as holding the barony of Anstruther, but it was his son Henry who seems to have been the first to adopt the territorial designation "de Ainestrother" as a surname. The "Henry de Anstrother or Aynestrothere" who rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1298 was probably his son or grandson.The descendants of David Anstruther, who is recorded in the sixteenth century as an officer in the Scots Guard or Garde Ecossaise of the King of France, was created Baron Anstrude in the French peerage and his descendants still hold the title today. Sir James Anstruther, a favorite of James VI and I, was appointed Hereditary Grand Carver, an ancient office still held by the Anstruthers. In 1595 he was appointed Master of the Royal Household.The Anstruther land at the time of Cromwell was held by Sir Phillip, who had seven sons: three of whom were knighted and two created baronets of Nova Scotia: Sir Robert Anstruther of Balcaskie and Sir James Anstruther of Airdie. The fourth Baronet of Airdie inherited the Carmichael estates in Lanarkshire in 1817 and assumed the surname of Carmichael-Anstruther. His only son was shot dead by a fellow pupil at Eton and was succeeded by his uncle. The compound surname disqualifies the descendants of his senior line of the family from being recognized as chiefs. The chiefship today has developed upon the holder of the other Baronetcy, Sir Ralph Anstruther of Calcaskie, seventh Baronet, KCVO, MC, DL, who is Treasurer and Equery to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. There is no clan tartan (pp. 70-71).
More About John Spens:
Record Change: 07 Jan 2007
Children of John Spens and Mariota Anstruther are:
- +David Spens, b. 1538, Wormeston Fife Scotland, d. 23 Sep 1571, Wormeston Fife Scotland.