Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Humphrey Munning and Ellen Ungle of Semer, Suffolk

St. Peter's Freston, Suffolk

Humphrey Munning is said to have been born in Nedging, the son of Thomas Munning and Unknown Barker.  His mother died at some point and his father remarried a woman named Alice Risby, she was a widow. Thomas Munning called himself a Gentleman and judging by his will he was fairly well off, owning properties in several villages in Suffolk. Most of what we know about these families is from their wills. 

In 1557 when Thomas Munning died, Humphrey, his eldest son, was already out of the house, married and living on a farm called Hazelwood. This farm must have been near the village of Freston as most of his children were baptized there. His wife was a woman named Ellen Ungle. 

His children baptized in Freston were:

Ellen bp. 10 May 1551
Christoper bp. 16 Feb 1554
Robert bp. 16 Feb 1555
William bp. 16 April 1558
Phillip bp. 1 July 1560
Humphry bp. 11 Oct 1562

After Humphry his children were baptized in Semer, closer to where he was born. They were:

Henry bp. 13 March 1565 
Elizabeth bp. 26 March 1568 
Edmund bp. 4 Dec 1570

Parish Church of Semer -All Saints

Based on these dates, I think Ellen  Ungle was likely born about 1530 as she would have given birth to her last child by age 40, which is reasonable. Some websites list her birth as 1514 which would make her way to old to be the mother of all of Humphrey's children. As she is named in Alice Risby's will in 1587 we know that she was. 

In his father's will Humphrey was left a piece of silver that once belonged to his grandfather, Henry Munning, a gown lined with fox fur, 4 silver spoons, one great brass pot with feet, one horse, 5 seams of barley and 3 seams of wheat, 20£, a winged leaved table, a further 10£ all under the condition that he not vex or trouble his Executrix, his step-mother Alice. Was there bad blood between them? Did Thomas suspect that his eldest son would take advantage of her? 

In her will, Alice mentions Humphrey and Ellen. To Ellen she left her best hat. Humphrey got 20 shillings and each of their child 5 shillings. Clearly whatever might have happened was put behind them by then. Not mentioned in her will was her son George Munning who was named in his father's will. This might have something to do with Humphrey moving back to Semer. Maybe he inherited George's land? I'm just throwing that out as a theory. 

Humphrey's estate was administered in 1596.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Humphrey Munning (1562-1624) and Elizabeth Winthrop (1569-1631) of Brettenham, Suffolk, England

Humphrey Munning and Elizabeth Winthrop are exciting ancestors. Elizabeth was a cousin of Governor John Winthrop of the Great Migration fame and founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Elizabeth's father was William Winthrop, son of Adam Winthrop. When Adam left London for the rural country life at Groton, William remained in London to carry on the business. Elizabeth was born in London in 1569. Her father died when she was young, in 1581. We don't know what became of her before her marriage, but it is not out of the question that she went to live at Edwardstone and Groton with her relatives. 

Humphrey grew up in Suffolk, England. His father, also Humphrey lived in Semer. His family had a multi-generational association with the village of Nedgings. He didn't move far, Semer is only 1.8 miles away. Humphrey received his M.A. from Magdalene College in 1585. He was ordained a deacon and priest in 1589 and was made the rector of Great Thornham, Suffolk in 1596-1597. I can't find this on the map, it is probably Thornham Magna. In 1597 he was transferred to the church at Brettenham where he remained until his death in 1624. 

The marriage record for Humphrey and Elizabeth Winthrop has not been found, but his name appears in Adam Winthrop's journal in 1592 and he calls him Cousin. There does not appear to be a family relationship between Humphrey and Adam other than his marriage to Elizabeth so I assume that in 1592 the two were already married.

Groton Hall, the Wintrop's home

From this point forward Humphrey's name appears in the journal. Adam Winthrop loaded him books, money and the two visited each other's homes. Adam also made not of attending Humphrey's sermons at various local churches, calling one a Godly and learned sermon.

The pair had at least 10 children by 1624. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter married in 1616, so she was probably born about 1595.

Humphrey died in 1624, aged about 62. He was buried at the church in Brettenham on the 24th of June. Elizabeth wrote her will around the same time, many of her children were under age at that time. Elizabeth outlived him by seven years, dying in 1631. Elizabeth named her married daughter Elizabeth Salter wife of George, sons: Richard, Theophilis, William, then Anne, Ellen, Humphrey, Abigail, Katheryn and finally Leonard.

George and  Elizabeth Munning Salter were the parents of Abigail Salter Hammond.


[1] Gov. John Winthrop Papers, Vol. 1-5, 1557-1649. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2016.) Originally published as: Winthrop Papers. Boston: Masssachuestts Historical Society, 1929 -.


[2] Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. Philadelphia, PA: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1895–. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.)


[3] The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2018.)


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Robert Leete and Alice Grundy: Parents of Phebe Leete Parkhurst

This is a continuation of the ancestry of George Parkhurst, immigrant to New England who returned to England, to live out his days. Luckily for me, his daughter Deborah and her family remained. This is what we know about Deborah's mother, Phebe Leet Parkhurst, who may or may not have come to America. If she did, she died soon after as her husband remarried about a year after his arrival.  

Phebe's parents lived in and around Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire, England. Her father was Robert Leete, son of John. Robert was an educated man, he attended college, receiving both a bachelor and master's degree and became a Fellow of St. John's College in 1545. 

His name is found in several land deeds in which he assumed land left to him by his brother and father. In these deeds he is called a Gentleman. In one deed he and Mary Leete, possibly his widowed sister-in-law, quit-claimed land to St. John's College. 

It is not until 1573 that Robert married, or if he had married previously, there were no living children and no record of his wife or marriage. He was probably around 48 years old at the time he finally got around to settling down. His bride was the very pregnant Alice Grundy. She delivered their first child a mere two months following the wedding. 

Was Alice some strumpet who trapped the unsuspecting bachelor with her charms? I doubt it. Alice's parents are unknown, but she had a brother John Grundy who also attended St. John's College and became a fellow in 1561. He went on to become a rector at various parishes in Suffolk. So Alice's parent's were not poor, and she came from an educated family. So, who knows what their story was. 

Anyway, Alice and Robert went on to have seven children; Phebe being the youngest, baptized on 20 December 1585. Robert died without a will in late 1597 or early 1598 and Alice was granted administration of his estate in February 1598

Of Robert Leete's ancestry only his father is known. John Leete of Eversden, Cambridgeshire was born about 1500. Either he or his father were assessed a tax in 1522. In 1526 John married Helen Burgoyne. In a baptismal record Helen/Ellen Leete was called a Gentlewoman. 

John Leete was buried in Little Eversden on 25 December 1551. Helen died in 1564, her estate was administered by her son, Thomas. John and Helen had at least 5 children, all sons. 

Robert's brother Edmund died in about 1580, unmarried, perhaps this late marriage thing ran in the family. Anyway, his will is of note. He lived in Eversden, which was in the diocese of Ely. I've visited the Ely Cathedral many times, what a beautiful church. Anyway, in his will which he wrote in 1551 before his father's death, he bequeathed money to his father (12 royalls) to his mother Alice he left 4 oxen and 2 milk cows, to his brother William; 4 milk cows, 4 bullocks, 20 shillings and to his children 10s each, to his brother Thomas; 20 quarters of barley, 2 draught steers and £20 in money. Edmund left his land to his parents but made a special request that his brother Robert get his house that he lived in. He described it only by calling it a 'new house.' 

The family clearly had a strong connection to the nearby Colleges, as Edmund left all his malt to the poor scholars, of which their were many! There are also several land terms in this will, one of which is new to me. Edmund had land called Freehold, which means he owned it outright. He also had land that was copyhold, he held it from the Lord of the Manor. The third term which I did not know was land called a selion. This was a strip of land, a furlong long and one chain wide. It was generally used to grow crops. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Ancestors of George Parkhurst: Immigrant to America and Returnee to England

Guildford Guildhall built in 1550 the facade is from 1683

We can trace the ancestry of George Parkhurst of Ipswich to his great grandfather, George Parkhurst of Guildford, County Surrey. George's name appears in the records on 3 April 1514. He was granted a license to sell in the local market. Later that same year he was chosen to act as Hallwarden for the Guild Hall.  The Guild Hall may or may not have been the same as the town hall, depending on the wealth of the Guild. The Merchant Guilds controlled trade in England.  the Hallwarden's job was to collect money due to the Guild. Cloth making was the backbone of the Guildford economy. 

In 1515 George served as a bailiff for the town. This was another type of civil servant job. He held these jobs off and on for the remainder of his life. One year he and another man were chosen to be 'Flesh and Fish Tasters.' This was a more quality control job, ensuring the safety of the food supply. In 1522 George was elected Mayor of Guildford. The records show he served in this position twice more. 

Clearly, George was an important man in town, holding many important posts. He was also a tavern owner and was twice fined for some offence related to the enclosure of his tavern. 

Given his age at the time he is first mentioned in the records, George was likely born 1490ish. His oldest son John born about 1510.  George Parkhurst's wife's name is Unknown, although some genealogy websites list her as Phebe, I have no idea where this information comes from. His son is also supposedly married to a Phebe and his grandson George was known to have married a Phebe. I think there is some comingling of wifely names her. 

George died between 27 April 1545 and 2 May 1546. The first date is the last time his name is mentioned in the records and the second date is that of the tax list for Guildford, his name is not on it, meaning he had died. There is no will. 

John Parkhurst, eldest son, was sent to college. He attended Magdalen college in Oxford and then joined Merton College. He took Holy Orders in 1532. John was a supporter of Henry VIII and his break with Rome. He became Chaplain to Queen Katherine Parr, Henry's last wife. He was also Chaplain to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. He received many rich appointments, including one from Thomas, Lord Seymour, to a living in Gloucestershire. If you know your Tudor history, Seymour was the brother of Queen Jane Seymour and Uncle to the King Edward VI. He married Queen Katherine after the death of Henry VIII. It did not end well for him.  I think it's pretty cool that this guy knew the movers and shakers of his time and he knew good ole' King Henry and the last of his six wives!

The beautiful Magdalen College where John Parkhurst studied.

Things changed for all the supporters of the Reformation when Queen Mary reverted the country to Catholicism. John Parkhurst left England and took up residence in Zurich, Switzerland. He returned on the accession of Queen Elizabeth I and was appointed Bishop of Norwich. He died in 1574 and left a lengthy will in which he makes multiple bequeaths to his brothers and sisters, including Christoper Parkhurst. 

Christoper Parkhurst was born in Guildford about 1520-1524. He is first named in a town record in 1546, the same one from which his father's name is absent. He lived in the St. Marys' Parish. In 1550 he and his sister sold land to the husband of a second sister. 

In 1561 John Parkhust made his brother Christoper, Keeper of the Bishop's Palace in Ipswich, the home of the Bishop when he was in residence. This was a perk of having a star in the family.

Christoper and his two wives had nine children. There is a burial for a Christoper Parkhurst in the Ipswich records dated 10 August 1595. If so he would have been about 75 years old. It is also possible that this is his son Christoper Parkhurst who was born 1572. He would have been 22 years old if so. That it is possibly the younger man is in no way unrealistic given the times.

This brings us to the last of the Parkhursts, John Parkhurst son of Christoper and father of George the immigrant to New England. John was baptised on 29 October 1554 at St. Mary's Guildford. He married a woman named Sarah in 1582. He was a clothier by trade. What we know about John comes from his will. 

His first bequests are to his wife, Sara. She gets all his household stuff, bedding, brass, pewter, linen and woolen and is to be paid a rent of £8 half yearly for life. His first son, Robert, born in 1583, is not named in the will and presumed deceased. Son George is to get all his shopstuff, all implements of trade as a shearman, his goods and stock, moveables and unmoveables and all his books. Son John gets 100marks at age 21, daughter Thamar: annual rent of £5, daughter Hellen gets 50 at age 21 or marriage, daughter Sara gets 40 at age 21 or marriage, a fourth daughter, Mary, is not mentioned in the will.

John wrote his will on 29 March 1610 and it was probated on 7 June1611. His wife, Sarah, remarried in on 7 January 1611/12 to a man named Benjamin Cole. We know nothing further of Sarah. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

George Parkhurst (1588-1675): England to New England and back again

Not everyone who immigrated to the new world made a success of it. Some didn't like it, some couldn't hack it, some were homesick. Sometimes they took one look at the Massachusetts Bay Colony from the ship and booked their return passage home on the spot. My ancestor George Parkhurst was one of those, for whatever reason, eventually returned to England for good. Here is what I know about him.

english origins
George Parkhurst was born about 1588, based on a court record. It is likely that he was born in or around the town of Ipswich in Suffolk. His family origins can be traced to Guildford in Surrey. In 1561 his Grandfather, Christopher Parkhurst moved his family to Ipswich. I will cover these older ancestors in a separate article as they are very interesting. See Ancestors of George Parkhurst here.

George married a woman named Phebe Leete, who also comes from a traceable family and will also be a future article. Phebe was the daughter of Robert and Alice (Grundy) Leete of Little Eversden in Cambridgeshire. She was baptized on 20 December 1585. Their marriage is not recorded but based on the 1612 birth of their daughter Phebe, they were married no later than very early 1612 if not 1611.

The house pictured below is  called The Five Gables, and is located in Little Eversden, the home of Phebe Leete. Phebe would have been familiar with this house. The oldest part, the hall dates from the medieval times, the newest bits are 17th century, and may have been added before  she died. 

17George and Phebe lived in Ipswich where they baptized their nine children:

1. Phebe, bapt. 29 Nov 1612 at St.Stephens; m. 1st at Wolverstone, Suffolk home of her aunt Ruth Dalton 27 March 1635 Daniel Dan. m. 2nd widower Thomas Arnold, they lived in Watertown and Providence, RI.

2. Mary bapt. 28 August 1614 at St. Lawrence, parish of St. Mary-at-the-Quay, 1638, the Reverend Thomas Carter, first minister of Woburn, MA, she died in 1687, 8 children.

3. Samuel bapt. 2 Feb 1616/17 at St. Margarets, no further information, likely died young

4. Deborah bapt. 1 Aug 1619 St. Margarets, m. 1st John Smith of Watertown, moved to Hampton, NH. and Edgartown by 1653. had 5 children.

5. George bapt. 5 June 1621 St. Margarets, m. 1st Sarah d/o Abraham Brown on 16 Dec 1643, m. 2nd 24 September 1650 in Watertown, widow Mary Veazie. d. 16 March 1698/9 age 81.

6. John bapt. 19 Oct. 1623. likely died young.

7. Abigail bapt. 1 Jan 1625/6 at St. Margaret. died young

8. Elizabeth b. in the parish of St. Mary-le-Tower. m. 1st Emmanuel Hilliard  how was lost on a boat on 20 October 1659, m. 2nd widower Joseph Merry, moved with her father to Edgartown in 1678. 

9. Joseph bapt. 21 Dec. 1629 at St. Margarets, m. Concord 26 June 1656 Rebecca Reed d/o Esdras Reed, lived in Chelmsford. 

Now businesses, these 15th century houses would have been very familiar to George Parkhurst and his family. They are located in Ipswich. It is possible he may have been inside one or two!

coming to america
It is not known exactly when the Parkhurst family left Ipswich for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We also do not know if Phebe was still alive and made the trans-atlantic crossing. Perhaps she was buried alongside her three young children. In any case, George is first found in the town of Watertown in 1642 when the town ordered that a road be built to his house. According to Bond, George had a homestall of 12 acres and five other lots of land. 

In 1644 George married Susanna Simson, the widow of John Simpson who was buried in Watertown on 10 June 1643. She had five children by him (Simon). Through this marriage George acquired most of John Simpson's land. Soon after the marriage, the combined family moved to Boston. He was approximately 56 years old, his youngest child was the fifteen-year-old Joseph. 

Soon after this second marriage, George and Susanna moved to Boston. We don't know why. He sold his land in Watertown and in 1655 he sold the last parcel of John Simpson's Watertown land. He had to petition the General Court to enable the sale of the land and in his petition he states he is near 67 years old and his wife is near destitute. He tells the court she has gone to London with six of her ten children and that she found her mother, brothers, and sisters unable to do what she had expected. What this was we do not know, but my best guess is to support her and the children financially. George, he explained, needed to leave Massachusetts and go to London to help her. The deed of sale was recorded on 13 June 1655 and that's the last of George in the American record. 

What became of the family in England, we do not know. 

George and Susanna had the following children:

10. Benjamin b.Watertown or Boston, about 1645, if he was taken back to England he returned later and settled in Woodbridge, NJ about 1670. 

11. Unknown son, prob. b. Watertown or Boston, returned to England

12. Daniel, bapt. Boston 1st Church on 10 June 1649. 

13. Joshua bapt. Boston, 1st Church on 7 March 1651/2

14. Caleb bapt. Boston, 1st Church on 26 Feb 1653/4 

It is possible that George is the 'Old George Parkhurst' who was buried on 18 June 1675, at St. Lawrence, Ipswich, England. If so, then George ended up back at the start. 

Below, is a rather gloomy St. Lawrence in Ipswich. Any Churchyard used for burials is all paved over. 

Most of my information comes from the brilliant book; Fifty Great Migration Colonists by Genealogist John Brooks Threlfall. It's expensive but worth the cost. (at least it was for me!) Click on the cover and the link will take you to the Amazon page where you can check it out. 

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