Sunday, February 23, 2014

Valentine Rowell of Mancetter, England and Salisbury, MA

english origins
Valentine Rowell was the son of Thomas and Margaret Milner Rowell. He,presumably named for his Grandfather Valentine, was baptized 22 June 1622 in Mancetter, Warwickshire, England. He traveled with his father to America. None of his siblings made the crossing. 

Valentine like his father was a carpenter by trade. He settled in Salisbury with his father. He was granted lands in 1640, in the original division, and his name appears on the list of admitted "townsmen" in 1650. He too, bought and sold land during his lifetime. Although he took the oath of fidelity in 1646 he never took the Freeman's Oath, nor did he become a full member of the church. 

his wife joanna
St. Mary's Cambridge
Joanna Pinder was the daughter of Henry and Mary Rodgers Pinder of Ipswich. It is not known when Henry Pinder came to America but he presumably came by 1635. His wife and children came in the boat the "Susan and Ellen" in 1636, Joanna was then fourteen years of age. Henry Pinder was born about 1580 and was married to Mary Rodgers at St. Mary the Great in Cambridge, England on 22 May 1614.   Henry lived in Ipswich until his death in February 1661.  His wife Mary died sometime before 1655 and he remarried the widow of Robert Andrews. Joanna and Valentine, both aged about 21, married in Salisbury on 14 Nov 1643.

children of valentine and joanna, all born in salisbury
Thomas b. 7 Sept. 1644, m. 8 Sept. 1670 Sarah Barnes, d. 1684
John b. 1645/6, d. 1649
Philip b. 8 March 1647/8, m. 5 Jan 1670/71 Sarah Morrill, d. 7 July 1690 killed by Indians
Mary b. 31 Jan 1649/50, m. 18 Sept. 1673 Thomas Freame, d. Unknown
Sarah b. 16 Nov. 1651, m. 26 Oct. 1676 Thomas Harvey, alive in 1716
Hannah b. Jan 1653, m. 16 Sept. 1674 Thomas Colby, d. 9 Aug 1707
John b. 15 Nov. 1655, d. 18 Feb 1655/56
Elizabeth b. 10 August 1657
Margarite b. 8 Sept. 1659

At least two of their children died very young, both sons named John.  Nothing is known of the last two children, both girls, other than their births. In March of 1673, their daughter Mary and Thomas Freame were accused of having premarital sex and sentenced by the court: he to a whipping of 15 lashes and a fine of 4 pounds and she to 10 lashes and a fine of 40s.  To avoid their punishment, they choose to marry. 

In the mid 1640's settlers began crossing the river Powwow and building home sites there. Eventually it was decided that the town would be divided and a new town called Amesbury would be established.  Valentine Rowell was one of the first settlers to establish the new town.  On the "first of the third, 1655" Valentine signed an agreement to remove to the new town.  In May of 1658 he received 40 acres of land. The map, below, from the 1800's gives you and idea about the location of Salisbury, the Powwow river and Amesbury.

Valentine does not appear to have held any town offices, he is most often mentioned in land deeds and conveyances. His son Thomas received land in Amesbury in what was known as the Children's lot, one child from each family was allow land in that division.

Valentine died May 17, 1662, in his prime, aged about 40. His oldest child was 18 and his youngest was three. His widow, Joanna administered his estate. Joanna remained a widow for some years, this was fairly unusual as most widows with young children remarried quickly. She married (second) September 18, 1670, William. Sargent, and (third), October 26, 1676, Richard Currier.  Joanna died in October 1690.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts

I started writing this blog a little over two years ago. It began as a way for me to record my family history for a small circle of my own family.  Since I began, I have been surprised by the number of people who have read my blog, over 88,000 and counting.  I get frequent comments from readers, mostly positive, thank goodness, but I have had the occasional negative comments as well. One thing that I have come to realize is that to defend my writing against those who disagree with my content, I need to do a much, much better job of annotating my findings. With that in mind, I have decided to rewrite almost all my blog postings and include a bibliography.  So to all you folks who having been dying for my next installment of the Munning family, (VBG) I'm afraid you will have to waiting until I get this mess cleaned up.

My first blog article was about my ancestor Mary Perkins Bradbury who lived in Salisbury, Massachusetts. In 1692, after being accused of being a witch, she narrowly escaped with her life during the Salem Witch Trials. I decided to begin this rewriting of my blog with her husband, Thomas Bradbury of Wicken Bonnet, England and Salisbury, Massachusetts.  So, here goes.....

english origins
Thomas Bradbury of York, Maine and Salisbury, Massachusetts was identified as early as 1869 as the Thomas Bradbury who was baptized at Wicken Bonhunt, Essex, England on 28 Feb. 1611. (1) Although there are no documents that tie Thomas the Colonist to the Bradbury family of Wicken Bonhunt, there are multiple factors that make this identification possible.

Thomas Bradbury traveled without any apparent family member to New England by 1635 and his May 1636 marriage to Mary Perkins, implies that he had reached his majority by that time, making him the right age.(2) Thomas Bradbury of Wicken Bonhunt was the son of Wymond and Elizabeth Whitgift. (3)  The first child, a son, of Thomas and Mary was also given the highly unusual name of Wymond.(4) Each of their subsequent children share the name of a family member of either Thomas or Mary.

A third argument for Thomas’ identity is his relationship to his employee, Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Robert Charles Anderson and John B. Threlfall, both noted genealogists, believe that Thomas and Sir Ferdinando Gorges were second cousins, three times removed through marriage. Gorges’ first wife was Ann Bell, the daughter of Margaret  Barley who was the daughter of Phillipa Bradbury and John Barley. Ann Bell Gorges’ brother, Edward, was well known to Wymond Bradbury.(5) Anderson and Threfell do not believe that Margaret Bell, the wife of William Whitgift and possibly Elizabeth’s mother, was the sister of Ann Bell, but rather it seems, her mother. All very confusing! John Threlfall writes that Margaret Bell, whatever her identity, was probably a second wife and therefore not the mother of all of William’s children. A third Bradbury Family researcher, Marshall K. Kirk, believed that Margaret Bell might have been a sister of Sir Robert Bell of Norfolk, he points out that the Visitation of Essex calls her Margaret, daughter of Unknown Bell of Norfolk. (6 )

wicken bonhunt
Wicken Bonhunt, also know as Wicken Bonnant, is a small village to the south of Saffron Walden, bordering the villages of Newport and Claverings.  In Saxon times it was two separate manors, Wicken and Bonhunt, but it was combined into a single unit in Elizabethan times for tax purposes.(7) The Manor of Wicken was purchased in 1557 by Matthew Bradbury, Thomas’ great-grandfather and would become the family seat for several generations.

The parish church of Wicken Bonhunt is St. Margaret’s, but the village is also home to the Chapel of St. Helen, a 10th century building that  one of the oldest surviving buildings in the east of England. The chapel would have been over 500 years old when Thomas was born. The family also made use of the parish church in the nearby village of Newport Pond; Thomas’ siblings William and Anne were both baptized there.  

The Chapel of St. Helen on Bonhunt Farm
© Copyright Robert Edwards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

About 1600 William Bradbury built a house on his property for his son Wymond, it was and is called The Brick House. On 24 June 1605, Wymond married, in London, at St. Michael’s church on Crooked Lane, the twice widowed Elizabeth Whitgift Cole Gill. Wymond’s brother Matthew was married to Jane Whitgift, her sister.

The Whitgift girls have an interesting ancestry which has been traced to Whitgift, Yorkshire, England. Elizabeth’s ancestor John Whitgift, Gentleman, is said to have established his sons in various careers.  His son Henry, Elizabeth’s grandfather, became a wealthy merchant in Great Grimsby, Yorkshire. Another son, Robert, found a career in the church and was the last abbot of the monastery of Wellow in Yorkshire which was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1536. (8) Henry Whitgift married Ann Dynewell and had sons John, William, George, Phillip, Richard and Jeffery.(9)  

John Whitgift 
Henry’s eldest son John is said to have begun his education at Wellow Abbey and later attended Cambridge University. Like his Uncle William he chose a career in the church, not the Catholic Church of his uncle but the newly formed Protestant Church of England. He became an ordained minister and would rise through the ranks, eventually becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583. As Archbishop he would be the confessor to Queen Elizabeth I and was at her bedside when she died.  He also crowned her successor King James I.  John Whitgift never married and he shared the wealth he accumulated with his family, including Elizabeth Whitgift.

children of Wymond and Elizabeth
Wymond and Elizabeth had at least four children who were named on her tomb, they were:

1. Jane b. 1606 believed to have died in childhood(10)
2.William b. 1607 m. Mary Rogers, d. prior to 1650 (11)
3. Anne b. 1608/9 m. 1. Nicholas Troughton and 2. ____Stubbs, she was the executor of her father’s estate in 1651(12)
4. Thomas b. 1610 m. Mary Perkins, d. 1694/5 Salisbury, Massachusetts

thomas bradbury in england
Nothing much seems to be known about Thomas’ life prior to his emigration to New England. We do know that his mother died when he was quite a young child.  There is no indication that his father remarried, but that doesn’t rule it out.  His parents married in London and his father was living in London when he died, so it is entirely possible that Thomas too lived in London. It is also not known how or when Thomas met and became employed by Sir Ferdinando Gorges.

Gorges' signature
Gorges was a career soldier who was knighted for his service at the Siege of Rouen in 1591. He was the Governor of the Fort at Plymouth for many years. In 1606 King James I founded the Plymouth Company with the intent of establishing settlements in New England, Gorges became a shareholder in the company.   In 1622 he and John Mason were given an enormous land grant which they split between them.  Gorges’ half became the state of Maine.  Sir Ferdinando Gorges never traveled to New England but employed several men to act there as his agents. Thomas Bradbury was one of those men.

in america
Sir Ferdinando Gorges’ interest in New England seems to have been for financial gain and not religious fervor. Was that the same for Thomas? The first evidence of Thomas in York, Maine is a deed he wrote on 5 May 1636.(13) It is not known when or where he met Mary Perkins or when or where they married but, their first child was born 1 April 1637, so they were at least married by mid 1636.(13) It is probable that at least the first two of their children were born in York, Maine. By 1640 he was living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the newly founded plantation of Salisbury.

On 13 May 1640, Thomas swore an oath and became a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (14) In order to become a freeman, Thomas had to have been a member of the church. It would be interesting to know if he had previously been of the puritan persuasion, had he come to believe it or did he just recognize the need to belong to the church in order to get ahead. It is interesting to note that his Great Uncle, the Archbishop of Canterbury despised Puritans. In any event Thomas immediately became a  very active and important man in Salisbury and the Colony itself.  He was the town clerk and recorded some of their earliest documents.  He was a school teacher, soldier, justice of the peace, juryman, judge and county recorder.(15) He was known as Mr. Bradbury in deference to his status. In fact he seems to have been the ideal immigrant.

children of thomas and sarah

 1. Wymond b. 1 April 1637 prob. in York, Maine(16), m. 7 May 1661 Sarah Pike d/o Robert 
Pike, he   d. 7 April 1669 on the Island of Nevis, age 32.
 2. Judith b. 2 Oct 1638 prob. in York, Maine, m. 9 Nov 1665 Caleb Moody
 3. Thomas b. 20 Jan 1640/41 Salisbury, d. unmarried
 4. Mary b. 17 March 1642/43 Salisbury, m. 15 Dec 1663 John Stanyan of Hampton

 5. Jane b. 11 May 1645 Salisbury, m. 16 March 1667/68 Henry True in Hampton

 6. Jacob b. 17 June 1647 Salisbury, d. 1669 in Barbados age 22
 7. William b. 15 Sep 1649 Salisbury, m. 12 March 1671/72 Rebecca Wheelwright Maverick in  
 8. Elizabeth b. 7 Nov 1651 Salisbury, m. 12 May 1673 Rev. John Buss
 9. John b. 20 April 1654 Salisbury, d. unmarried 24 Nov 1678 age 24
10. Anne b. 16 April 1656 Salisbury, d. 1659 age 3
11. Jabez b. 27 June 1658 Salisbury, d. 28 April 1677 Salisbury age 19

As successful as Thomas and Mary were, they could not protect their children from the ravages of early death. Of their 11 children, six died by the time they were 32.  Two son died on islands in the Caribbean in the same year. Although this was not unusual for the time, it must have been extremely difficult to bear.

Unlike some of their children Thomas and Mary both lived to a great old age. Thomas died first on 16 March 1694/5 at the age of 85.  Mary outlived him by five years and died on 20 Dec. 1700, she too was 85 years old at her death.

I deliberately left out Mary's ordeal during the Salem Witch Trials as she is the subject of my first blog article, which I will like to once I have rewritten it. 

If you think I have anything wrong here, please let me know, in a nice way! Thank you for reading and please do not copy this article.

(1) Bradbury, John M. Esq, "The Whitgift Bradbury Family", The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,  Vol. 23, 1869, p. 263.

(2)  ibid
Robert Charles Anderson and John B. Threlfall in their article, Ancestor Table for Thomas Bradbury, state that Thomas and Mary Perkins were married about 1636.  
(3) ibid

(4) Anderson, Robert Charles and Threfall, James B. “Ancestor Table for Thomas Bradbury of Agamenticus and Salisbury (1611-1695)”, The American Genealogist, Vol. 55, January 1979, p.2

(5) ibid, p. 3.

(6) Kirk, Marshall K. “A Probable Royal Descent for Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts”, The New England Historic and Genealogical Register, Vol 161, 2007, p. 27-36

(7) "Local History of Wicken Bonhunt Village in Essex." Local History of Wicken Bonhunt Village in Essex. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.

(8) Rivington, J. G. and Rivington, F., Ecclesiastical Biography: Or lives of Eminent Men, Connected with the History of Religion in England from the commencement of the Reformation to the Revolution, Vol. 3, 1836, p.553

(9) Ibid

(10) Threlfall, John Brooks. The Ancestry of Thomas Bradbury (1611-1695) and His Wife Mary (Perkins) Bradbury (1615-1700) of Salisbury, Massachusetts. Madison, WI: J.B. Threlfall, 1988. Print.

(11) Ibid (there are no page numbers in this book)

(12) Ibid

(13) ibid

(14) Anderson, Robert Charles, George Freeman Sanborn, and Melinde Lutz. Sanborn. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999. Print. Vol 1, A-B, p. 375-381

(15) Hoyt, David Webster. The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Hampton, and of York County, Maine. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1982. Print.p.70-72

(16) Ibid 14, Anderson says that on 13 May 1637 Thomas Bradbury and William Hooke wrote to Governor John Winthrop asking for a Minister for York, Maine.


Learn how to cite your sources like a professional with Elizabeth Shown Mills Stripped Bare Guide to Citing Sources available at by clicking the link. 


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