Mary ALSTON 
- Baptised: 21 Jun 1663, St Lukes Chelsea
- Marriage: Sir James CLAYTON Knt.  on 3 Mar 1683/84 in Westminster Abbey London
- Died: May 1730 aged 66
CHESTER'S REGISTERS OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY, LONDON,
Married .-March 3rd, 1684/5, James Clayton and MARY ALSTON
He was only son of Sir Thomas Clayton, Kt., Warden of Merton College, Oxford, by Bridget, dau. of Sir Clement Cotterell, Kt. He was of the Vach, and Lord of the Manor of Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks., where he died without issue, 28 Nov., 1714, in his 65th year, and was buried in the church. She was youngest dau. of Sir Joseph Alston, first Bart. of Chelsea, Midx:, by Mary, dau. and coheir of Mr. Crookenberg, a merchant, of Bergen-op-Zoom.
She was baptised at Chelsea, 21 June, 1663, and survived her husband till May 1730.
She was his second wife, as on the 1st of June, 1677, he had licence from the Vicar General to marry Elizabeth, dau. of Sir Richard Grubham Howe, of Wishford, co. Wilts., Bart.
She died in childbed 9 April, 1681, and was buried in Merton College Chapel.
The Will of Maria Clayton of La Vach in the parish of Chalfont St. Giles co. Bucks widow dated 21st September 1724.
I desire to be buried in the Chancel of the parish church of Chalfont St. Giles in or near the grave of my late husband James Clayton.
I give my manor of Chalfont St. Giles and the mansion called the Vach, with all my messuages tenements and woods and hereditaments to my nephew Joseph Alston of Newhouse, co. Suffolk son of my brother Isaac Alston Esq. with remainder to my godson Joseph, son of Joseph my nephew and to his heirs male, in default of heirs male to the daughters of my said godson or to the rightful heirs of my nephew Joseph Alston.
My said godson Joseph when in possession of the estate may settle part as joyture for his wife - also my nephew and his son may lease any portion for a term of 21 years.
I give to Sir Eveling (sic) Alston Bart. L10 for mourning
I give to Mrs Mary Alston widow of my brother Isaac L20 for mourning.
I give to my nieces Mrs Ann Arnold, Mrs Margaret Smith, Mrs Alre Carter, Mrs Martha Spence daughters of my brother Edward Alston L20 for mourning
I give to Mr John Arnold, Mr Thomas Carter, Mr Anthony Smith and Mr Samuel Spence the respective husbands of my said nieces L10 for mourning
I give to my nephew Joseph Alston son of my brother Edward Alston fifteen (?) per annum.
I give to Mrs Margaret, Mary, Ann, Charlotte Alston, daughters of my nephew Joseph Alston of Newhouse L20 each for mourning
I give to my goddaughter Mary Alston daughter of my nephew Joseph L100
An annuity of L20 to my servant Elizabeth Kettleby, also the use of the red room and the outer room
thereto belonging in the Gallery of my house (the Vach) with the furniture therein and free egress and ingress to said rooms - also yearly 6 loads of billet or faggot wood with some convenient place to store it.
To Richard Betworth at the age of 21 - L20
To Rebecca Betly, my late servant L10
To my servants Tho. Stevens and Tho. Bettworth L10 each if they shall be living with me at the time of my death.
The residue of my property I leave to my nephew Joseph Alston of Newhouse, whom I appoint sole executor.
I give to my godson Joseph Alston L20 for mourning
I give to Mr. Will. Besley 20 guineas for a monument of White marble to be set up at the upper end of the Chancel of the Church of Chalfont St. Giles in the corner near the window opposite the monument of my said dear husband.
Signed: - Mary Clayton.
Witnesses: James Gaylor, Mary Clive, William Davies.
CODICIL dated 6th June 1728.
I give to Mr. Will, Besley and Mr. John Markham the sum of L200 in trust to be put out at interest for the benefit of my niece Ann Arnold, daughter of my late brother Edward Alston and her children.
On the death of my niece ans when the children respectively shall reach the age of 21, the said sum of L200 to be divided amongst them - Should John Arnold husband of Ann pre-decease his wife, them she is to receive the capital and interest of said L200 for her own use absolutely,
Signed Mary Clayton. Witnesses: Hen. Carter, Anthony Ewer.
Proved 19th June 1730 by Joseph Alston Esq. executor named in will.
Transcribed by Susan Perrett.
The Alston and Clayton Families
(Because there are so many people with the same Christian name each has been given a number to distinguish between them),
The two key people as far as Chalfont St Giles is concerned are Mary Alston (1663-1730) who married James Clayton of The Vache and Margaret Mary Alston (1701-1784) her great niece who married the Francis(1) Hare who became Bishop of Chichester and who owned the Vache after the Claytons.
Francis(1) Hare ready had a son named Francis(2) by his first wife and subsequently had a second son Robert by Margaret Mary Alston. The first son made an unusual match by marrying Margaret Mary's sister Charlotte who thus became her sister's daughter-in-law!
Published accounts (including the Victoria County history for Bucks) state that Mary Clayton left the Vache to her niece and this is how it came into the possession of the Hare family. However investigation has shown the truth is far more complex.
The Alston family originated in Suffolk and the branch with which we are concerned was eventually based at Edwardstone. Successive generations were good business men and made good marriages to prosperous wives. Unfortunately there was a tendency for there to be few sons and a succession of early deaths. This led to a number of inheritances by daughters.
There is quite a strong link to Bucks in that Joseph(1) Alston the first baronet "of Chelsea" who together with his son, also Joseph(2) , bought Bradwell Abbey in 1666 , today within Milton Keynes. This estate was added to his extensive property in the City of London, houses in Chelsea and property in Norfolk as well as Suffolk. Bradwell became the family seat, both Joseph(2) Alston the second Baronet and his son Joseph(3) the third Baronet became High Sheriffs of Bucks in 1670 and 1702 respectively.
Joseph(1) Alston the first baronet (1603-1688) had four surviving children at the time of his death, Joseph(2) the eldest who became the second Baronet, Isaac, Edward and Mary (who had married James Clayton of the Vache in Chalfont St Giles). In his very complicated will the first Baronet split up his property. Most of the Chelsea property and part of the City property went to Joseph(2), the rest of the Chelsea property and some of the City properties and all Suffolk property went to Isaac. Edward received the remainder of the City properties. Bradwell Abbey was not mentioned in the will as it was already settled on the eldest son Joseph(2) . Mary and James Clayton only received £20 each because as it says in the will, "I had lately gave my daughter a portion of £4250 on her marriage".
Both sons Joseph(2) and Isaac died within a year of their father dying in 1688 so their inheritance descended to their children. In the case of Joseph(2) it descended to his son another Joseph(3) who became the third Baronet; and in the case of Isaac who died intestate it descended to his son, yet another Joseph(4). It is this latter Joseph(4) (1671-1736) who is of most interest to the Chalfont St Giles story. He had married in 1699 Laurentia Trumbull who brought significant property to the marriage, both through the original marriage settlement and through being the sole heir of her father who died in 1718. They had nine children whom only three lived to become adults, a son another Joseph(5) (1706 to 1733 ) who never married and died in 1733 before his father, and three daughters Margaret Mary who married Francis(1) Hare, Ann who married a Stephen Soame, and Charlotte who married Francis Hare Naylor the son of the of Francis(1) Hare. On Joseph's(4) death in 1736 he was survived by his mother and the three daughters.
However in 1730 six years before his death in 1736 Joseph(4) inherited the Vache from his aunt Mary Clayton who had had no children. In her complex will she left it to him for his life and then entailed it on his male heirs so it could not be sold. She also left a number of other restrictive legacies including the right for her long time servant and presumed companion, Elizabeth Kettleby to live in two rooms at the Vache for her life and to receive regular loads of wood for her fire. Unfortunately Mary Clayton and the Vache were encumbered with considerable debt, the reason for this is not known but James Clayton had had to sell well over half the estate long before his death and had also taken out a mortgage on the remainder of the estate. Whether he was not good at running the estate, was a gambler or indulged in high living we do not know. In summary Joseph(4) inherited an estate he could not sell and with debts whose interest payments were greater than any income he could get by renting out the estate.
The only option for Joseph (4) was to seek an Act of Parliament to allow him to, to circumvent the legal position.
This he did and an Act was passed in 1731 which allowed him to sell the estate to pay off the debts but with any surplus money having to be re-invested in new land which had the same restrictions as Mary Clayton had specified in her will so that further inheritance had to descend only in the male line. Joseph(4) had also made an arrangement with Mary Clayton's servant Elizabeth Kettleby to give her an annuity in exchange for moving out of the Vache so that restriction of having a sitting tenant was also removed. But Joseph(4) did not sell the Vache immediately, maybe he could not find a buyer. Then as already said, in 1733 his only son dies leaving him with three daughters and his mother as his heirs.
His eldest daughter Margaret Mary had married Francis(1) Hare in 1728 and they had been living since 1730 at Herstmonceux Castle which they did not like. Francis(1) Hare obviously did like the Vache, for in 1734 he bought it from Joseph(4) Alston leaving Herstmonceux to be taken over by his eldest son Francis(2) who had just come of age.
It was only two years later in 1736 that Joseph(4) Alston died and left the rest of his property to his daughter Margaret Mary for life and then to her son Robert. Josephs(4) two daughters, Ann and Charlotte were left sums of money.
In about 1743 Charlotte married her sister Margaret Mary's stepson Francis(2) Hare Naylor and the relations within the Hare family became very strained. (See the Hare family page for why Francis(2) adopted the surname Naylor and the intrigues in the family).
Margaret Mary survived until 1784 although her husband had died in 1740
She is buried in the church of Chalfont St Giles with her husband.
From this time there do not seem to be any Alston connections to Chalfont St Giles except as part of the Hare family. See the separate page about the history of that family.
National Probate Wills
Victoria County history of Buckinghamshire.
"Stemmata Alstoniana" - Lionel Cresswell 1898
Ref: History Chalfont St Giles http://www.chalfonthistory.co.uk/alston.html
Some dates are dubious in this piece - 2017
Mary married Sir James CLAYTON Knt.  [MRIN: 1094], son of Sir Thomas CLAYTON Knt  and Bridget COTTERELL , on 3 Mar 1683/84 in Westminster Abbey London. (Sir James CLAYTON Knt.  was born about 1649, died on 28 Nov 1714 in Chalfont St Giles and was buried in Chalfont St Giles.)