Page 18 - DLN Dec2013-977
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Jane Freeman was the apple of her father’s eye. She had survived against all the
odds. All her brothers and sisters had died mostly in their infancy, leaving Jane an
heiress to her father’s vast estates.

Jane was born in January 1603, the daughter of Ralph Freeman and Joan Crowch.
She was christened in the Freeman family church in London where the Freeman
had their London home. Young Jane was not even a teenager when her mother
died but was brought up in the family home by her Aunt and Uncle – with
occasional visits from her father. Eventually a husband was found for Jane.
Obviously he had to be a person of title, wealth and substance as his future wife
came with a considerable dowry.

Sir George Sondes of Lees-Court in Kent became the lucky gentleman. He married
Jane Freeman at St Michael Cornhill in September of 1620. Jane was just 19, her
husband was only 21 but the future looked very bright for the young couple.

Jane and George Sondes moved to Lees-Court in Kent where they started their
family. Their children were christened in the family church of St James in Sheld-
wich. Unfortunately most of their children died before the age of 5 but two boys
lived. The eldest was called Freeman Sondes, the younger was named George
after his father. Freeman died aged 4, but 18 months later another son was born
and was christened Freeman.

Jane Sondes (nee Freeman) died soon there after, leaving Sir George with two
boys aged 4 (George) and 18 months (Freeman) to raise alone. These two little
boys were to grow up and act out a major drama in Lees Court.

It was a large, influential household indeed. Sir George had his own bread baked;
his own beer brewed; he ate his own meat, fruit, vegetables. His own carpenters
made furniture and carried out repairs. His many maids wore simple uniforms
made from flax grown on his own estate. Lees Court had its own chapel where
prayers were said daily - on Sundays they were in Sheldwich Church. Sir George
had 50 horses, 500 sheep, over 100 cattle. His granaries held over 1000 quarters
of his own wheat and malt, together with barns full of corn, flax and hops.

When young George was 10 and Freeman 8, their father was imprisoned in
the Tower of London for several years. Eventually, with the king restored to
his throne, Sir George was released and his sons were attractive young men.

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