Francis Bacon Trowbridge.

The Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) online

. (page 2 of 115)
Online LibraryFrancis Bacon TrowbridgeThe Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) → online text (page 2 of 115)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

average one mile broad, and contains in all 2,443 acres. It is divided into
several tithings : on the north is that of Staverton ; on the west that of Trowle ;
on the south that of Studley; and there is also the town liberty. The town
itself is situated, as nearly as may be, in the center of the whole parish.

"Writers on Trowbridge, especially those connected with it, have sought to
establish for their town a greater antiquity than has generally been conceded to
it, but until we come to the end of tlie eleventh century we can find no trace of
the history of this place and then we find it in Domesday Book, where it is called
Straburg; a strange form of the name, but nevertheless pretty clearly to be
identified with what we now call Trowbridge. It is as follows : —

'Brictric holds Straburg. His fatlier held it in the time of King Edward and it
paid geld for 10 hides. The land is 9 carucates. In demesne are 2 carucates and 7
serfs. There are 11 villan.s and 6 coscets with 7 oanicates. There is a mill paying 10
shillings, and 10 acres of meadow and 12 acres of pastin-e. The wood is .5 furlongs
long and 3 furlongs broad. It was worth £4; it is now worth £8.' [Wilts Domesday,
p. 131.1

* The name in the early records is variously spelled : Troubrugge. Trobrugge. Troubrlgge.
Troubrvge. Troubbridge. Trouhrldge. Trubbridge. Troborldge. Trobrydge. Trobreeg. Troobridg.
Troblebridge, Trobblebridge. Tbroughbridge. Throw-bridge, Trobruig. Trobridge. Trowbrydge,
Trowbridge. Sturbrigge, Sturbridge, Turbridge, Strobreidge, Strobridgc. Strowbridge and Straw-
bridge, the final e being omitted in many cases. Tbe mode of spelling now generally adopted Is
Trowbridge. „

t The following account of Trowbridge is extracted from "Early Annals of Trowbridge.
by Rev. W. H. Jones. Canon of Salisbury, published in "The Wiltshire Archwologlcal and
Natural History Magazine" for June, 1S75.


"In A. D. 1100, just thirteen years after the completion of the Domesday
record, Trowbridge (Trobregc) and Staverton are recorded as being in the pos-
session of Edward of Salisbury, a great Norman noble, who was Vice Comes, or
sherifi of Wiltshire, and had no less than 38 manors in this county. In a docu-
ment of the date A. D. 1120-1130 it is enumerated amongst those estates which
were of his own acquisition in contra-distinction to those which he enjoyed by
inlieritance, and this looks rather as though he had purchased it. The descent of
the manor from that time to the present can be easily traced.

''But though Trowbridge had its castle, in these early days it was but a small
and unimportant place. That it was but an insignificant town, even fifty years
after this time, seems evident from the following facts. It is not mentioned
among the towns in Wiltshire on which rates were levied in 1168 (14 Henry II)
'to marry the king's daughter' to the Duke of Saxony, nor among those from
which 'aid' was taken in 1187 (33 Heniy II), by the king's justices."

It is stated in the preceding sketch of Trowbridge that it was an insignificant
town in IICS, but in 1158 (4 Henry II) in the Devon Feet of Fines there is
mention of John Troubrugge.* It would, therefore, seem not unlikely that the
name had an origin independent from the town of Trowbridge.

The first syllable of the name Trowbridge is probably derived from the Old
English word trough, trogh or trou and the Anglo-Saxon irog or troh, a natural
trough or channel in a stream, and the second syllable from the Old English word
hrigge, hregge or hrugge (unassibilated brig or hrugg) and the Anglo-Saxon
hrycg or Iricg.j:

It is reasonable to suppose that the first individual who bore the name of
Trowbridge was one who lived near a stream running swiftly in a well-worn
channel through the arches of a bridge.:}: He may have got his name for some
feat of daring at or near the bridge, or taken part in its defense. He may
have received his coat of arms for valor while in command of the defense of
the bridge in some engagement, and, if so, the color of the bridge in the, arms
would indicate that the conflict was a sanguinai-y one.

The copies of documents and records relating to the Trowbridge family in
England which are printed in this genealogy were selected from a large amount
of data gathered by Mr. Lothrop Withington of London, whose services were
engaged to conduct the researches in England which resulted in successfully
establishing the parentage and immediate aneesti-y of Thonias Trowbridge, the
primitive settler in America. It wiU be shown that he belonged to the Taunton,
Somersetshire, branch of the family, and after the proof of his parentage was
established the main effort of the researches in England was to prove the connec-
tion between that branch and the other families of the name there and in the
adjoining county of Devon. Investigations in that line are still progressing and
the indications are that several generations more will be added to the pedigree of
Thomas Trowbridge printed in this genealogy. Short as this is, compared with
the centuries that the name flourished before his birth, his descendants will be
gratified to know that of ordy a vei-y few of the early New England settlers has so
much authentic ancestral lineage been proven as is printed here.

The records show that the Trowbridge family were long seated in Devon, and
it is said§ that the barton of Trowbridge in the parish of Crediton was in the
possession of the family in tlie reign of Edward I.

* The early calendar of the Devon Feet of Fines for Trowbridge is as follows :
4 Henry II : .John Astur and .To. Troubrugge in Wesfrode.
13 Henry II : Tho de Troubriggc and Tho Pees in Crediton.
22 Henry III : Peter de Trobrige and Rlc Pruet in Caddeswelle.

t Bardsley's "Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames" ; "Century Dictionary" ;
"Webster's Dictionary."

t See the description of the arms in the Parnell collection mentioned on page 15.

§ "Trowbridge Family," which states that the family derives its name from this ancient

U :,' ^ iWfkL/7 I . ^ ■ '^'-^— - =^


I \ i -; ■ ■ - ~ \ r \ V \ - ^ ■ '1 ■ V - / ■ t7 \ \ > - /'r






i«;^ -.'-.^














It is su]ipose<:l that a younger braiieli of tlie Devonshire family of Trowbritlfie
settled in Somersetshire,''''' and many documents relating to it have been found in
the records of that county.

It is, however, in the Trowbridge family that is found residing in Taunton,
Somersetshire, about the middle of the sixteenth century, that most readers of
this genealogy will feel the chief interest, for from this branch of tlie fiimily, it
will be shown, sprang Thomas Trowbridge, the primitive ancestor of a very largo
majority of the Trowbridges in America.

Taunton stands on the great road leading from Land's End in Cornwall
to the north of England, lying between Exeter and Bridgewater, thirty-three
miles northeast of the former and eleven miles south of the latter — the situation
rendering it the thoroug'hfare from Bristol and Bath to Exeter and Plymouth.
It has been noted for its manufacture of woolen, and its trade may be traced
back to the reign of Edward III, who first brought woolen manufactories to
England. It was with this trade that the Trowbridges of Taunton were so long

"Taunton has ever been a principal town in the county of Somerset. Before
the modern improvements were introduced, it was deemed well built. Its streets
are spacious, as it extends over a considerable extent of ground. The houses,
even in the middle of it, are furnished with good outlets, which contribute much
to the pleasantness and salubrity of the town, as well as to the convenience of
its inhabitants. It is a mile long, from east to -west, and its streets have a
gradual descent to the river. It stands in a fertile and extensive vale, and is
called by Camden one of the eyes of the county. The county all around is
beautified with green meadows, abounds in delightful orchards and gardens; is
enriched ■with 'wood, and peopled with numerous villages, so as to exliibit to the
eye of the spectator, who approaches the town, a charming scene. The county
in itself, though, in the w'inter, moist and marshy, is supposed, by some, to derive
its name (Somersetshire) from the summerlike temperature of the air. The part
of it in which Taunton is situated has, if not an exclusive, yet a peculiar claim
to the excellent qualities ascribed to the whole. On account of its fertility, the
peasantry used to boast that it was so fruitful with the zun and zoil, alone, as
to need no manuring. This country is called by the inhabitants, Taunton Dean,
that is the vale of Taunton, and from the high conceit of its pre-eminence above
other counties, hath arisen a beautiful proverb — 'Whnre slioxdd I he horn, else,
hut Taunton Dean,' — as if it were a disparagement to be born in any other
place; and none in England, nay, in the whole world, were to be compared
with it."t The motto of the town of Taunton is: Defendamus, Let us defend.

The description of Taunton in Domesday Book is as follows ::j:

"The Bishop of ■Winchester holds Taunton. Archbishop Stigand held it in the time of
King Edward, and it paid the geld for tjft.v-four hides and two yard-lands and a half,
of which there was arable land enough for one hundred ploughs. Besides this the
Bishop has in demense twenty carucates which never paid the geld and thirteen ploughs.
There are eighty 'Villans. eighty-two bordars, seventy bondmen or slaves, sixteen coli-
berti and seventeen swineherds, who render seven pounds, ten shillings, and amongst them
all they have sixty ploughs."

"The himdred of Taunton-Deau is divided:}; into three districts, the hundred of
Taunton market, the infaring division and the outfaring division. Taunton
market comprehends that part which is distinguished as the borough of Taunton.
The infaring division is subdivided into the hundreds of Holway, Hull, Poundis-
ford, Staplegrove and jSTailsbourne and includes the parishes of Taunton-

■* Somerset, the land of the Svimorseetan, is one of the West-Saxon shires which grew by
gradual conquest from the M'elsh. The land had no distinct title before the English Coniiuest.
t Brief sketch of Taunton extracted from .Tames Savage's "Uistory of Taunton."
J: According to Savage's "History of Taunton."


St. James, Ruishton, Stoke-St. Mary, Wilton, Trull, Bishop's-Hull, Pitminster,
Corfe, Staplegrove, Kingston and Eimpton (in Dorset). The outfaring division
contains the parishes of Anger's-Leigh, Bagborough. Bradford, Cheddon-Fitz- '
paine, Combe-Flory, Cothelston, Heathfield, Hill-Farrance. Lydeard-St. Lawrence,
Nynehead, Norton-Fitzwarine, Oake, Orchard-Portman, Otterford, Tolland and

"The manor of Taunton-Dean is bounded on the north by the manors of
Broomfield and Iton; on the north-east by the manors of West-Monkton and
Cheddon-Fitzpaine ; on the east by the manors of Creech-St. Michael and Thorn-
Falcon and the rivulet called Black brook; on the south-east by the manors of
Thurlbeer, Orchard-Portman and Staple-Fitzpaine; on the south and south-west
by the manors of Yarcombe, Church-Stanton, Clayhidon and West-Buckland ; on
the west by tlie manor of Bradford; and on the north-west by the manors of
Bishop's-Lydeard and Cotheleston.

"In the hundred of Holway are the tithings of lluishton and Henlade in the
parish of lluishton; of Holway in the parish of Taunton-St. Mary Magdalen; of
Stoke in the parish of Stoke-St. Mary; of Chipleigh in the parish of Nynehead;
and of Galmingrton and Sherford in the parisli of Wilton. In the hundred of
Hull the tithing of Dipford in the parish of Trull; of Hull and Eumwell in the
parish of Bishop's-Hull ; North-Trendle in the parish of Pitminster. In the
hundred of Poundisford the tithings of South-Trendle, Blagdon, Pitminster,
South-Fulford, Duddleston and Corfe. all in the parish of Pitminster. In the
hundi-ed of Staplegrove the tithings of Staplegrove and Byrland in the parish of
Staplegrove; of Pyrland, Obridge, ]\Iill-Lane and Grassgrove in the parish of
Taunton-St. .lames; of Holford in Corabe-Flory and Lydeard-St. Lawrence; and
of Ilbeer in the parisli of Kingston. In the hundred of Nailsbourne the tithings
of Kingston, Nailsbourne, North-Fulford, Cushuish and Tetton in the parish of

The map facing page 18 shows the location of Taunton and its neighborhood,
with the modem spelling of some of these names.

About the middle of the seventeenth century there resided in Tauntfln a family
of Trowbridges the head of which was Thomas Trowbridge, who was engaged in
business there for many years as a mercer and was a man of wealth and conse-
quence in the town. His home was in the parish of St. Mary Magdalen and in
the register of that church were found the following entries :*


1564 Will"" Trowbridge November 27

1566-7 Agnes Trobblebridge January 3

1568 Alis Trobblebridge June 24

1568-9 Tomsin Troblebridge February 24

1570 John Troublebridge Marche 25

[Hiatus in the register of baptisms from July 7, 1582, to June 10. 1588.]

1598-9 Elizabeth the daughter of John Trowbridge February 8

1601 John Sonne of John Trowbridge Male .31

1602-3 Prudence daught-er of John Trobridge February 3

1604^5 Agnes daughter of John Trobridge Februai-y 10

1607-8 William sonne of John Trubriedge Marche 22

1609 James sonne of John Trowbridge December 3

1612 Joane daughter of Mr. John Trowbridge Maye 21

1615 Tacy daughter of Mr. John Trowbridge Maye 7

♦ They should be referred to in connection with the documents hereafter printed.



1563-4 Will™ Trowbridge Alice Longe ,lanuai-y 31

1594 Kobte Godsall Dorathie Trowbridg September 22

1616 Jobu Ilurly and Elizabeth Tro\vl>ridse June 2

1621 William Mace of Exetter and Prudence Trobrige July 1
1629 Charles Wether & Agnis Trobrids IJecember 13
1637-8 Aldrid Seaman & Tacio Trobridg January 1


1566 Eobte Strowbridge December 24

1616 William Trowbridge Marche 27

1616 Joane daughter of Mr. John Trowbridg October 14

1619-20 Mr. Thomas Trowbridge Februarie 20

1622 Agnes wife of Mr. John Trobridgc Juno 6
1638 James Troberidge October 22

1653 Mrs. Alice Trowbridge August 25

1653-4 John sonne of Thomas Trowbridge February 16

1672-3 Thomas Tmwbridge February 7

At the end of 1611: John Boone, John Tniwl)ridge, Tristram Morse, church

At the end of 1615 : Andrew Hendlygh, Jolm Trowbridge, Francis Wills,

At the end of 1622: Mr. Jolm Trowbridge, Mr. Hugh [Pitcher?], church
wardens 1623.

St. Mary Magdalen Church, Taunton, was originally onl.y a chapel dependent on
the conventual church. In olden times there were seven chantries annexed to
St. Mary Magdalen Church, and the priests who officiated in them were pensioned
at the dissolution of the religious houses. The name of W. Trowbridge is given
as the last incumbent of the Holy Cross fraternity and his yearly pension in
1553 stood at £4. He may have been Sir William Trowbridge, curate of Euish-
ton, whose will was proved at Taunton July 4, 1562.

Will of Sir William Trowbridge. Curate of Ruishton.*

"In the name of God, Amen. In the year of oiu' Lord God 1502 and on the fith day
of June. I, Sir William Trowbridge, Cnrate. Ruishton. of good mind and perfect remem-
brance, make this my last will and testament, in this manner following : First, I give
my soul to Almighty God, and my body to be buried in Christian burial, at my
parishioners' pleasure. Item. I give to the cathedral churoli of Wells. 4d, and to the
poor 12d. and I give to the children of John Trowbridge, my brother, to every and each
of them, 10s. Item. I give to Ruishton Church 3s, 4d. Item. I give to Alice Lane,
my sister-in-law. 3s. 4d. Tlie rest of my goods, not given nor bequeathed, to Dorothy
White, the wife of John White, whom I make my sole executrix. hereto. Jolui
Rowsewell, Clerk, Stephen Mather, John Zezar." [Archdeaconry of Taunton.]

Will of William Trowbripce of Tauxton.

"In the name of God. Amen, in the yere of our Lorde god, 157."). and in the xxviij day of
maye. I, Willyam Trobridge, of the parishe of St. James, by Taunton, beinge of perfitt
mynd and memorie. Do make this my la.ste will & testamente in manner & forme as
followethe. Firste I giue my soule to almightie god. and my body to be buried in the
churche or churchyarde of St. .lames aforesaide. Item I giue all my goodes. moveable
and vnmovealile, Dehtes, & others, that were & is Dew vnto me, vnto my four children,
viz: to William, Alice, Julian, and Elizabeth Trobridge, whom I make my whole &
ioynte executors. And. if it aney of them to Die, the goodes to be divided umongeste
the reste of my said children that .shall happen to be alive, and to the bringinge vp of my
saide children. And my will is that my fathe-i-law, John Springe, and ray brother.

* Modernized spt


Thomas Trobridge, shall be my ouerseers, to & for the beholf of ray foresaid children
during their minoritie, & for the bringinge rp of them. And the residue that is and
shalbe left, over and aboue the premises, my will is that it shalbe divided umongeste my
aforesaide children, in equal portions. ,\nd for their paines I giue to John Springe my
beste cloke, and vuto ray brother, Thomas Trobridge. my beste spanishe leather gerkin.
In wittnes of this to be of trothe, is John Awdrie and Richarde Berrie with others."
Administration during the minority of the executors granted to the overseers named in
the will June 6, 1575. [Archdeaconry of Taunton, no. 5, p. 200.]

June 27, 1610. "Bill of Complaint of Thomas Trowbridge of Taunton Somerset, mercer,
that whereas being seized etc of one messuage and dwelling house situate in Taunton
standinge in the Markett place and bodye of the same Towne nere unto a certen Crosse
commonly called the High Crosse there unto which dwellinge house in the ffore ijart
thereof there is a verie faire and spacious shoppe belonginge and standinge under the
Rouffe of the said Messuage which shopp standeth and openly to that part of the streete
of the said Towne where the chiefe part of the Markett place of the said Towne is and
where the greatest Concurse of people (in the tyme of the marketts here) ys beinge a
Markett of greatest request and chiefest note in all the Country there aboutes By
Reason of which convenient standinge of the said Shoppe your said Orator having had
the use and possession of the said Shoppe by the space of neere Thirtie yeres ....
and being far stricken in age desiring to let same .... John Trowbridge his
natural and only son having the nexte shoppe adjoining .... for selling of
woolle clothes .... Your orator being desirous to prefer one Thomas Chicke of
the said Towne of Taunton .... some time .vour orator's servant .... to
whom he granted about half a year ago a lease of the said shoppe for your orators
Chick's live, said Chick promising to keep the shop for the same trade which not doing
he must surrender it up, etc. But now so it is said Chick having bought a dwelling
house with a shoppe in another remote place in the said towne to which he seeks to draw
the custom and has shut up the orator's shopp and threatens to let it out for some other
trade." Desires possession, ".\nswer of Thomas Chick, defendant, June 30. IGIO. Says
that 3 or 4 years ago the complainant leased the said shoppe to Benjamin Cosyns of
Taunton, mercer, for complainant's life at £7 yearly who entered in and traded for 2 or
3 years but said Cosyns shortly after growing in decay was compelled to give said shopp
over to one James Proctor of London, mercer, the said defendant being his customer and
chapman has wished him to take over the business which he did with Complainant's
knowledge, but not being able to furnish it suitably would desire to left it till he is
more able." [Chancery Proceedings, Mitford, 115, no. 104.]

From the above bill of complaint it appears that Thomas Trowbridge, the elder,
was a mercer and a man of wealth. That he was a man of generous impulses and
public spirit the following account of the well-known Trowbridge Charity,
established by him, bears witness:

"On the 4th of December, 1614, Thomas Trowbridge, the elder, of Taunton,
granted and assigned unto ten trustees two closes or pieces of ground, called
Tunaways, the one consisting of five acres, and the other one acre, and lying in
West-Monkton, for the residue of a term of one thousand years, commencing on
the 28th of September, 1613, upon trust, that out of the rents and profits of the
said closes, then worth six pounds per annum clear to pasture, there should be
paid on St. Andrew's Day yearly, unto the churchwardens and overseers of
St. Marj IVIagdalen, six pounds, whereof they were to pay on tliat day yearly,
to the churchwardens and overseers of St. James, in or near Taunton, forty
shillings, to be by them distributed amongst forty of the poorest, oldest, most
honest, and impotent poor of that parish, by a shilling a-piece ; the same distribu-
tion to be made on St. Thomas's Day, before Christmas; and within a month
after such distribtition, the said overseers of St. James to give a note of the
names of those that received the said benevolence to the churchwardens and
overseers of St. Mary IMagdalen aforesaid.

"And that the residue, being four i^ounds, should be distributed by the said
churchwardens and overseers of St. Mary Magdalen, amongst eighty of the like
poor of that parish, by one shilling a-piece, the same day ; and a note kept of the
names of the said poor, and such names delivered in at Easter, before the con-
stables of the borough of Taunton, two or more of the trustees being called in.



And if the profits amounted to more than six pounds, the residue to be in lilie
manner distributed amongst the poor of Taunton St. Mary Magdalen, and to be
accounted for as aforesaid. And if the profits should not amount to six pounds,
then a proportional abatement to be made on each parish, and the residue to be
distributed as aforesaid. And when the number of trustees should come to four,
then a new deed to be made to some person or persons, who should assign tluMr
interest back again to these four, and as many more as they should think exijcdi-
ent, the major part to be the most efficient and honest inhabitants of the town of
Taunton; so that the term might be preserved to the uses aforesaid. And that
this gift should go on to the increase of the relief of the poor, and not to ease any
rate or taxation. And the donor desired that the poor should be assembled on
St. Thomas's Day, at divine service, at their respective parish churches, except
such as could not; and after the distribution made, the donors name to be men-
tioned, and they put in mind to thanlc God for His mercy."*

On the west wall of the south porch of St. Mary's Church is a tablet, about two
feet sis inches long by one foot three inches wide, painted black, with the
following inscription in gilt letters :

3Ii: Tho' Trowhridge by
deed gave out of his Lands
ill Westmonktoti, to the
Poor of Taunton S'. Marij
Magdalen^ the Sum of
Four Pounds P'^ An: to he
distributed by the Church
Wardens and Overseers
on S' Thomas's Pay, and
Forty-sliillin gs PT An : to
Taunton S': James\i, but
if the Lands yield more
then the over2)lus to the
Poor of Taunton S': Mary
Magdalen, and if less, the?i
a ^wo/jori/o/jaife abate-
ment of both Parishes.
lie died 1619.

A similar tablet is also placed in St. James's Church.

* Savage's "History of Taunton," pp. 240-2. This charity is stiil distributed under the
above terms.


In connection with the foregoing account of the charity the following letter
from Mr. Henry Trowbridge (No. 50) of New Haven, Conn., to his brother
Thomas will be of interest to members of the family.

London, January 20, 1860.

"I visited Taunton yesterday. Immediately on arriving there I went to St. Mary
Magdalen, sent for the sexton, and inquired for the celebrated tablet, the inscription of
which .you know. I asked him if he could tell me where our revered ancestor was buried.
He could not ; for in the restoration of the church all the vaults were filled up and paved
over. The original slabs over the graves were, except as taken care of by descendants,

Online LibraryFrancis Bacon TrowbridgeThe Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) → online text (page 2 of 115)