Lionel Branch (aka Leonell Braunch) was born at Abingdon-on-Thames in Berkshire which claims to be Britain's oldest continuously occupied town, with people having lived there for at least 6,000 years. Lionel was the seventh child, third son of William and Katherine (Jennings) Branch. On 02 Jul 1585 he matriculated Magdalen College of Oxford University as a 17 Y/O commoner and graduated on 11 Feb 1590. These dates confirm his birth year as 1568. (see reference, "Oxford University Alumni 1500-1886", page 171, attached to this memorial.)
Lionel Branch and his wife, Valentina Sparke, were married on 08 July 1596 at St. Martin, Ludgate, in the city of London ["Leonell Branch of London gent. and Valentia Sparke of St. Martin Ludgate said city, spinster, daughter of "__?__" Sparke late of said city, draper, deceased, gen. lic., 7 Jul 1596."] ("London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, page 9,is the source of the attached copy of their July 1596 marriage record). Their only child was Christopher Branch, Sr. (b. Abt. 1598 Greater London, England, d. 1682 Henrico VA). Valentina Sparke was born circa 1575 in London, England and died in 1600 of unspecified causes.
Valentina (Sparke) Branch was buried on 04 Aug 1600 at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster (Ref: “Memorials of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster” 1460-1603, Edited by Burke.)
Lionel Branch died intestate in London, England and was buried with his wife, Valentina, at St. Margaret's Churchyard, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England.
From all accounts, Lionel was the "black sheep" of the family. Called "my unthrifty and disobedient son" in his father's [William Branch (1524-1601)] will and bequeathed merely "my black gown". Obviously, no love was lost between Lionel and his older brother, Thomas, either. Thus, when Thomas made his will in 1603 he bequeathed nothing to Lionel and willed the valuable Bull Inn property of Abingdon to his brother-in-law, Robert Payne. William Branch, the younger brother of Lionel still at Oxford, felt that the natural male heirs of their father, William Branch (1524-1601), should inherit the Bull Inn and accordingly brought suit to upset the will, the cause being decided in favor of Robert Payne in February of 1603-4.
Christopher Branch, Sr. (1598-1682), the only son of Lionel Branch, returned briefly from his home in Henrico, Co., VA to Abingdon in 1632 with the same goal of having the ownership of the Bull Inn of Abingdon invalidated by a court suit. He was also unsuccessful. See Christopher Branch, Sr.'s FAG memorial for a discussion of his attempt to gain ownership of the Bull Inn of Abingdon.
Lionel Branch's parents were:
Father: William Branch b. Aft. 1524 at Abingdon, Berkshire, d. Bef. 24 Apr 1602. Served as Mayor of Abingdon.
Mother: Katherine Jennings b. c1532, bur. 25 Aug 1597 at St. Helen's Church, Abingdon. Her lineage is proven to Charlemagne through King William I (the Conqueror).
Bio by Gresham Farrar.
Valentina Sparke Branch
1575–1600 (m. 1596)