Our family trees can be linked back to Christopher Sentance in the 16th century, so he is probably our oldest known ancestor. However, there is some doubt about this – and it is also possible we are descended from a brother or cousin of Christopher’s.

Christopher Sentance and his family

Christopher was born in Grantham in 1559 and married twice – first to Mary Flowers, with whom he had six children: Elizabeth; Richard (born c.1588); John (b. 1590 but died in infancy in 1591); Dorothy (b. 1592); Rachel (b. 1594) and Dinah (b.1597). Both Rachel and Dinah died in 1604, possibly of the plague which broke out in Grantham that year.

Mary Flowers died in 1602 and Christopher married again – to Helen Elyot. They had three children – Thomas (b.1605), Christopher (b. 1607; d. 1617), and Henry (b.1608). Henry appears to have subsequently emigrated to the West Indies on the “Paul” of London , and from there travelled to Virginia , where he is mentioned in land registration documents from the 1650s and 1660s.

In his will, Christopher is described as one of the “waits” of the town of Grantham . The word “wait” apparently referred to a town musician, who had special permission to play through the streets on certain occasions, soliciting money. In other words, he was a busker!

Christopher’s son Richard married Mary Turnbull in 1613 in Grantham, and their son Thomas was born in 1615. They may have had other children. Mary died in 1670 in Grantham.

Thomas Sentance, Valentine and Broughton

Thomas Sentance married Ann Broughton in Great Ponton, near Grantham, in December 1655. We can’t be sure that this Thomas was the son of Richard and Mary, but it is certainly a possibility. Roger Sentance, who first researched the family history in the late 1970s, favoured this line of ancestry.

(An alternative ancestry suggested by Jim Sentance is that the Thomas Sentance, father of Broughton and Valentine, was born in 1630 - and is the son of a John Sentance, born in Denton in 1605. John married Margaret Greene in 1629. John was a similar age to some of Christopher’s children, so he could be descended from a brother or cousin of Christopher’s. Roger Sentance attributed John’s parentage to Peter Sentance of Pinchbeck and his wife Catherine – but this connection is not properly documented.)

Thomas and Ann are believed to have had two sons, Broughton (1656-1704) and Valentine (d.1741). However, it is also possible that Valentine was a son of Broughton’s – as we have no clear birth information for him, which may reflect the disruption to record-keeping created by the Civil War. Whether brothers or father and son, the families are clearly linked. Both men brought up their families in Great Ponton, where Thomas and Ann were married. In addition, Valentine has a son and a grandson named Broughton. Interestingly, Broughton (b.1656) was growing up in Grantham around about the time that its most famous son – Sir Isaac Newton – was graduating from the Kings School and moving on to Cambridge University .

Broughton (1656-1704) married twice and had ten children, at least two of whom died in infancy. However, it is Thomas and Ann’s other son Valentine who is of most interest to us, as he is our ancestor. To continue our family history, go to the next page where you can read more about Valentine (d.1741), his son Broughton (b.1708) and his grandson Valentine (1741-1809).