|Bence of Thorington and Kentwell|
Thorington Hall, near Halesworth, Suffolk
|Thorington Hall: the entrance front in the late 19th century. Image: Matthew Beckett|
|Thorington Hall: the side elevation in the early 20th century. Image: Matthew Beckett|
|Thorington Hall: the gate lodge before restoration. Image: A Building Fan.|
|Thorington Hall: demolition in progress, 1949. Image: Matthew Beckett.|
Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk
|Kentwell House: the house from the south in 2017. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.|
|Kentwell Hall: the ends of the wings and the south bridge over the moat. Image: ruth1066.|
|Kentwell Hall: aerial view from the south-east, showing the moat and the U-plan of the house. Image: John Fielding. Some rights reserved.|
|Kentwell Hall: rear elevation in the 1970s, showing the absence of any effort to achieve symmetry. Image: Historic England.|
|Kentwell Hall: the staircase of c.1680 inserted in the east wing. Image: © Talybibo.|
|Kentwell Hall: the great hall, as remodelled by Thomas Hopper, c.1825-27.|
|Kentwell Hall: the dining room, created by Thomas Hopper, c.1825-27.|
Bence family of Thorington Hall and Kentwell Hall
(1) Rose Bence (b. 1572), baptised 12 January 1572/3; married 1st, 22 August 1591 at Aldeburgh, Richard Atkinson (d. 1591), and 2nd, 15 June 1592 at Aldeburgh, Thomas Johnson of Aldeburgh, and had issue at least two sons and two daughters; living in 1612;(2) Thomas Bence (1574-1610), baptised at Aldeburgh, 21 December 1574; died unmarried after 3 July 1610; will proved 30 November 1610;(3) Alexander Bence the elder (1577-c.1608), baptised at Aldeburgh, 28 July 1577; married 1st, Mary [surname unknown] and had issue; married 2nd, 11 July 1600 at Aldeburgh, Rose Johnson, and had issue one daughter; died between 1605 and 1610;(4) John Bence (1581-1635) (q.v.);(5) Robert Bence (1585-1656) of London, baptised at Aldeburgh, 28 February 1584/5; citizen and salter of London; married, about 1643, Elizabeth Kent? (d. 1696), and had issue four sons and two daughters; buried at St Benet, Gracechurch St., London, 20 March 1655/6; will proved 2 March 1656/7;(6) William Bence (b. & d. 1587), baptised at Aldeburgh, 16 October 1587; died in infancy and was buried at Aldeburgh, 10 December 1587;(7) William Bence (1591-97), baptised at Aldeburgh, 5 December 1591; died young and was buried at Aldeburgh, 27 May 1597;(8) Alexander Bence the younger (fl. 1660); born after 1588 as he was under the age of 24 in 1612; merchant and shipowner; citizen and grocer of London (alderman, 1653); MP for Aldeburgh, 1640-48 (when he was excluded during Pride's Purge); Navy Commissioner, 1642; a Parliamentarian who was a member of the Suffolk County Committee during the Civil War; MP for Suffolk, 1654-55; Master of Trinity House, 1659-60; married Anne Aylett of Rendham (Suffk) and had issue; living in 1660;(9) Mary Bence (b. 1597), baptised 17 April 1597; married John Base (fl. 1645) of Benhall (Suffk), and had issue;(10) Squire Bence (1597-1648), baptised at Aldeburgh, 17 April 1597; MP for Suffolk, 1640; a Parliamentarian who was a member of the Suffolk County Committee during the Civil War; married 1st, 26 August 1617 at St Dunstan, Stepney (Middx), Elizabeth Pett, and had issue two children (who died young); married 2nd, 1644 at Stoke Newington (Middx), Mary Salby (d. 1678); died 27 November 1648 and was buried at Aldeburgh, where he was commemorated by a monument, now lost; will proved 23 February 1648/9.
(1.1) Mary Bence (fl. 1635), born before 1612; married [forename unknown] Barkley and had issue at least one daughter;
(1.2) Elizabeth Bence (fl. 1635), born before 1612; married, William Smith of Parkfield, and had issue at least two sons and one daughter;(1.3) A son; died before 1635;
(1.4) John Bence (d. 1681) of Ringsfield (Suffk); High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1664-65; married Anne (d. 1683), daughter of Christopher Layer of Norwich, but had no issue; died 20 February 1680/1; will proved 11 April 1681;(1.5) Edmund Bence (c.1619-1702) (q.v.);(1.6) Alexander Bence (fl. 1635).
(1) John Bence (1670-1718), baptised at Benhall, 27 September 1670; educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (admitted 1685); MP for Dunwich, 1691-95 and for Ipswich, 1702-08; purchased Thorington Hall in about 1691 and Heveningham Hall (Suffk) in 1700; married, by 1692, Catherine (d. 1715), daughter and heir of Sir Sackville Glemham, kt. of Glemham (Suffk), and had issue one son (who died in infancy) and one daughter (who married Sir William Barker (1680-1731), 5th bt., of Grimston Hall (Suffk)); died 18 October 1718 and was buried at Heveningham, where he and his wife are commemorated by a monument; by his will, proved in the PCC, 12 May 1719, he bequeathed Thorington, Kelsale and Carlton to his next brother and directed his executors to sell Heveningham;(2) Alexander Bence (1672-1759) (q.v.);(3) Edmund Bence (b. 1673), baptised at Benhall, 25 May 1673; died in infancy;(4) Robert Bence (1675-1745) (q.v.);(5) Mary Bence (1676-1765), baptised at Benhall, 23 January 1675/6; died unmarried on 16 January 1765, and and was buried with her sister at Benhall (Suffk), where they are commemorated by a floor slab (on which her age is given incorrectly as 93);(6) Edmund Bence (1677-78), baptised at Benhall, 5 July 1677; died in infancy and was buried at Benhall, 23 October 1678;(7) William Bence (b. & d. 1678), baptised at Benhall, 6 October 1678; died in infancy and was buried at Benhall, 10 October 1678;(8) Rev. Thomas Bence (1680-1757), baptised at Benhall, 20 January 1679/80; educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1696; BA 1700; MA 1703); ordained deacon and priest, 1704, rector of Kelsall and Carlton (Suffk), 1705 and of Thorington, 1722; married Margaret (d. 1737), daughter and heir of Robert Barker of Bredfield (Suffk) and had issue one son (who died in infancy) and two daughters; buried at Carlton, 27 September 1757;(9) Abigail Bence (1681-1751), baptised at Benhall, 5 August 1681; lived at Saxmundham (Suffk); died unmarried, 10 March 1750/1 and was buried at Benhall, 25 March 1751.
(1) John Bence (b. 1710), baptised at Chediston (Suffk), 25 March 1710; probably died young;(2) Alexander Bence (1711-42), baptised at Chediston, 23 March 1710/1; educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1727) and Middle Temple (admitted 1729); buried at Thorington, 7 June 1742, where he is commemorated by a monument;(3) William Bence (1712-13), baptised at Chediston, 12 June 1712; died in infancy and was buried at Chediston, 4 June 1713;(4) Edmond Bence (b. & d. 1713), baptised at Chediston, 1 July 1713; died in infancy and was buried at Chediston, 9 September 1713;(5) Ann Bence (1714-94) (q.v.).
(1) Lawrence Bence (1706-47), baptised at Sibton, 8 October 1706; died unmarried, 31 March, and was buried at Henstead, 2 April 1747;(2) Anne Bence (1707-76) (q.v.);(3) Mary Bence (1709-92), baptised at Sibton, 30 September 1709; died unmarried and was buried at Henstead, 28 December 1792.
(1) Robert Sparrow (1741-1822) of Worlingham Hall, which he rebuilt c.1800 to the designs of Francis Sandys; baptised at Woodbridge, 24 October 1741; married, 8 July 1771 at St Marylebone (Middx), Mary (1745-1824), daughter and heir of Sir John Bernard (d. 1768), 4th bt., of Brampton Park (Hunts), and had issue one son and one daughter; buried at Worlingham, 18 March 1822;(2) Rev. Bence Sparrow (later Bence) (1747-1824) (q.v.);(3) John Sparrow (b. 1748), baptised at Woodbridge, 12 February 1748; presumably died in infancy;(4) John Sparrow (b. 1749), baptised at Kelsale, 5 February 1749; probably died young.
(1) Henry Bence Sparrow (later Bence) (1788-1861) (q.v.);(2) Anna Maria Sparrow (later Bence) (1787-1872), baptised at Beccles, 28 March 1787; married, 1 June 1809 at Beccles, Rev. Lancelot Robert Brown (1786-1868), rector of Kelsale and Carlton (Suffk), 1810-68, Thorington, 1821-50 and Saxmundham, 1826-68, son of Robert Brown, and had issue three daughters; died 17 March and was buried at Kelsale, 23 March 1872; will proved 1 May 1872 (effects under £12,000);(3) Matilda Sparrow (later Bence) (1791-1869), baptised at Beccles, 5 March 1791; married, 17 July 1811, Lt-Col. William Jones (c.1776-1843) of 5th dragoon guards, and had issue three sons; died 14 September and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, 20 September 1869; will proved 12 November 1869 (effects under £600).
(1) Henry Alexander Starkie Bence (1816-81) (q.v.);(2) Marianne Katharine Starkie Bence (1817-33), born and baptised at Kelsale (Suffk), 3 November 1817; died unmarried at Bracondale (Norfk), 21 May, and was buried at Thorington, 25 May 1833;(3) Edward Robert Starkie Bence (1823-89) (q.v.);(4) Rev. Thomas Starkie Bence (1824-58), born 1 October and baptised at Thorington, 2 October 1824; educated at Charterhouse School and St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1843; BA 1848; MA 1851); ordained deacon, 1847 and priest, 1848; curate of Monks Eleigh (Suffk), 1847-49; rector of Thorington, 1849-58; married, 16 April 1857 at Boughton Monchelsea (Kent), Elizabeth Frances (1829-1917) (who m2, 21 September 1865, Capt. George Alexander Warburton (1828-91)), eldest daughter of Robert Cuninghame Taylor of Boughton Place (Kent), and had issue one daughter; died 14 July and was buried at Thorington, 20 July 1858, where he is commemorated by a memorial window; will proved 18 August 1858 (effects under £4,000).
(1) Agnes Marian Bence (1852-1931), born 20 August and baptised at Duddingston (Midlothian), 2 September 1852; she and her husband took the name Bence-Trower on their marriage; she married, 6 July 1876 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), Percy Trower (later Bence-Trower) (1846-1908), wine merchant, second son of Henry Trower of London, wine merchant, and had issue six sons and two daughters; died at Shinfield Lodge (Berks), 21 April 1931; will proved 20 June 1931 (estate £3,270);(2) Edith Mabel Bence (1854-1931), born 8 February and baptised at Hove (Sussex), 3 April 1854; died unmarried at Thorington Hall, 27 August 1931; will proved 14 December 1931 (estate £28,663);(3) Millicent Bence (b. & d. 1855), baptised at Cathedine (Brecons.), 12 August 1855; died in infancy and was buried at Llangasty-Tallyllyn (Brecons.), 27 September 1855;(4) Ida Millicent Bence (1860-1951) (q.v.).
|Ida Bence-Lambert (1860-1951) |
Image: Marian Mollett
(1) Isabel Elizabeth Starkie Bence (1851-1933), baptised at St Mary, Bryanston Sq., Westminster (Middx), 19 June 1851; married, 19 October 1880 at St Michael, Bath (Som.), George Smith (1847-1928), farmer, and had issue three sons and one daughter; disinherited by her father as she married without his consent; died 12 June 1933; administration of goods granted 8 August 1933 (estate £61);(2) Albinia Marian Starkie Bence (1854-1940), baptised at St Mary, Bryanston Sq., Westminster, 12 May 1854; married, 27 September 1887, Col. John Heathfield Stratton (1837-1925) of The Gage, Little Berkhamsted (Herts), but had no issue; died 29 June 1940; will proved 29 August 1940 (estate £49,898);(3) Leila Emily Catherine Starkie Bence (1858-1910) (q.v.);(4) Mabel Mary Starkie Bence (1861-93), baptised at Stanstead (Suffk), 2 May 1861; died unmarried, 20 February 1893; administration of her goods was granted 27 April 1893 (effects £8,626);(5) Edward Starkie Bence (1862-1937) (q.v.);(6) Alice Maude Mary Starkie Bence (1868-1916), born 29 April and baptised at Long Melford, 29 June 1868; died unmarried 1 July 1916; will proved 7 November 1916 (estate £2,886).
(1) Charles Douglas Bunbury Ross (later Starkie-Bence) (1887-1969) (q.v.);(2) Edmund Starkie Ross (1889-1962), baptised at Christchurch, Folkestone (Kent), 28 March 1889; married, Jul-Sept. 1927, Dorothy Mary Faber (c.1904-94), but had no issue; died at Como (Italy), 18 September 1962; will proved 10 December 1962 (estate £39,376);(3) Leila Gwendoline Ross (1890-1967), born 7 November 1890*; served as a VAD nurse in First World War, 1916-19; died unmarried at St Andrews Mental Hospital, Northampton, 1 May 1967; will proved 26 July 1967 (estate £23,070);(4) Albinia Ivy Ross (1892-1977), born 28 April and baptised at Folkestone (Kent), 20 May 1892; served as a Red Cross volunteer nurse in First World War (mentioned in despatches); died 16 January 1977; will proved 28 February 1977 (estate £120,449).
(1) Richmond Douglas Starkie Ross (later Bence) (1916-41), born 1 July 1916; served in RAF Volunteer Reserve in Second World War and was killed in action, 5 September 1941; administration of his goods was granted to his father, 28 August 1942 (estate £32,715).
Location of archives
Coat of arms
Can you help?
- I was unable to trace any interior photographs of Thorington Hall, or a plan of its layout. If anyone can supply such images, I should be most grateful.
- Does anyone know anything about the reputed diplomatic career of Henry Alexander Starkie Bence (1816-81), which probably took place in the 1840s?
- Can anyone provide portraits or photographs of the people whose names appear in bold above, for whom no image is currently shown?
- If anyone can offer further information or corrections to any part of this article I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from current owners or the descendants of families associated with a property who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.