Richard Emptage married Joan [Jone/Johan] Allyne in 1565 at St John the Baptist Church in Margate.
It was soon after the St John’s parish registers began and so we are lucky in finding the record but not so lucky in finding the baptisms of their children as Richard and Joan set up home in St Peters, where the registers didn’t begin until some 20 years later.
Fortunately, Richard’s will, dated 1567, named his wife as Johan, and his children as Thomas, Edward and Alice. He referred to the possibility that Johan was pregnant at that time and so she was, with Martha.
We don’t know the date of Richard’s death but in 1571 Joan, by then a widow, married John Sackett at St Peters.
John Sackett was a member of another well established Thanet family, a reasonably prosperous yeoman in St Nicholas at Wade, which explains how Joan and her Emptage children arrived there.
He died in 1588 and in his will John Sackett refers to his wife Johan and two of her children by Richard Emptage: Edward and Alice. However, he refers to Martha as his daughter.
We believe that Martha was the child who Johan was expecting at the time that Richard wrote his will and indeed, when she married John Fuorte in 1587 in St Nicholas at Wade, her name was recorded in the register as Martha Emptage.
It is possible that John Sackett thought of Martha as his own daughter because he married Johan whilst she was still pregnant or shortly after the birth and therefore he was more closely involved with Martha. He would have been the only father she had known.
John left the lease of his farm in which he then dwelled to Johan during her widowhood. If she married again, it would revert to her son, Edward Emptage, on payment by him of £100 to his mother.
He made provision for what would happen to the farm if Edward died. First, it would go to his daughter Martha and if she died, to his wife’s daughter Alice, wife of Richard Langley.
To Martha, John Sackett left his fresh and salt marshes at Chambers Wall, St Nicholas and two young heifers. To her husband, John Foorde [Fuorte] he left £60 in addition to the £60 which he owed him.
Edward Emptage also received £60 “of good and lawful money of England” to be paid to him when he became 21 “on condition that he shall hold himself full contented and not trouble my executor for any other demands or else this my said gift to be void from him and his”.
To his son in-law Richard Langley, John left 100 marks but there was no specific bequest to Alice apart from the reversion of the farm should both Edward and Martha die.
John Sackett named his wife Johan as his only executrix.
So from John’s will, we know that by 1588, Edward had not yet reached 21. And that Alice and Martha were both married, as confirmed by the parish register: Alice to Richard Langley in 1584 and Martha to John Fuorte in 1587. Frustratingly, there is no mention of Richard and Johan’s son, Thomas.
John Sackett died in 1588 and his widow Joan went on to marry Richard Knowler. Joan died in 1603 and her brass memorial is in the church of St Nicholas at Wade. It confirms that she had two sons and two daughters by Richard Emtage [sic].
The will of John Sackett, proved in the Canterbury consistory Court, 1 October 1588, held in the Kent Archives Office, PRC 32-36-110
That John Sackett was a reasonably prosperous yeoman is clear by his bequests to his wife’s children or her daughters’ husbands.
Edward Emptage and John Foorde [Fuorte] were each left £60 by John Sackett.
According to the National Archives currency converter, a general guide for historical values, the value of £60 of 1590 money would be some £10,300 in 2017.
In 1590, it was enough to buy 7 horses or 32 cows or pay 1200 days wages for a skilled tradesman.