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Richard BUSHROD (1576-1628)

[Also spelt in records as:- Bushrodd; Bushrode; Bashrode; Bushrok; Bushroodes; Bushrot - Richardus]

Habadasher & Merchant Adventurer of Dorchester

©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington March 2009 - Last updated February 2012

Sherborne Abbey

Where Richard Bushrod was baptised in 1576
© Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

Richard Bushrod was baptised on the 3rd February 1576 at Sherborne Abbey in the County of Dorset, the second of four children that survived infancy of John BUSHROD Senior (2), a husbandman, by his wife Margery FELTONS. Richard's elder brother John BUSHROD Junior was to inherit most of their fathers estate, with himself and his younger brother Robert receiving five pounds of lawful English money, ten sheep and a silver spoon each. His sister Margery then only 7 years old had a higher cash sum of six pounds thirteen shillings and four pence but no other bequests. Presumably the rather precise calculation by their father was designed to ensure that he treated them all equally.

John BUSHROD Senior, made his will on 17th March 1589 and died in Sherborne on  26 Mar 1590; probate being granted 5th May. I have transcribed his will below:-

In the name of God Amen the seventeenth dau of March in the two and thirtieth year of the reign of our Soverign Lady Elizabeth by the grace of God Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, I John BUSHROD of Sherborne in the County of Dorset Husbandman being sick in body but perfect of remembrance thanks be given unto Almighty God do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say

First: I do bequeath into ye hands of the Almighty my soul which he of his fatherlie goodness gave unto me when as he fashioned me in my mothers womb

And as to my body I commend it to the earth from whence it came knowing that in the last day I shall receive yet again perfect and immortal life to the glorious body of Jesus Christ

Impremis: I give unto my son John two acres of wheat; two acres of mescorn?; two acres of Barley; two acres of dredge; my old wayne with furniture to the same; a little heifer; a featherbed which was my fathers; ten sheep, two platters; two pottingers; two saucers; a cauldron that was my fathers; a Silver spoon and all my wearing apparel saving my best cloak to be delivered unto him within three years next after my decease. But if my wife Margerye, whom I will make my executrix, shall happen to contract herself in marriage within the said three years that then the said portion to be taken from my said execurix by my overseers and they to keep it to the use of my said son until the three years be full ended and then to deliver it unto my said son (3).

Item: I do give unto my son Richard five pounds of lawful English money; ten sheep and a Silver spoon to be delivered at his day of marriage or at the age of twenty one years.

Item: I do give unto my son Robert five pounds of lawful English money; ten sheep and a Silver spoon to be delivered in such sort as last before rehearsed

Item: I give unto my daughter Margery six pounds and thirteen shillings and four pence of Lawful English money to be delivered as is aforesaid.

Item: I do give unto Charles WHIFFEN two sheep

Item: I do give unto my godson John WAYE two sheep

Item: I do give unto Luce DOWLE two children the ewes

Item: I do give John YETMAN three shillings four pence

Item: I do give unto the Parish Church of Sherborne two shillings

Item: My will is that if Margery my wife shall happen to marry or contract herself in marriage within three years next after my decease that then such portion or portions as I have given unto Richard, Robert and Margery my children then my overseers shall take all such portions into their hands and use it to the preferment of my said children until the time of their marriages or one and twenty years of age as is aforesaid.

And: if any of my said children do decease before the time of receiving their said legacy that then such portion or portions shall remain unto those of my children that then shall be living to be equally divided among them.

All: the rest of my goods not before given nor bequeathed as well moveable and unmoveable I do give unto Margery my wife whom I do make whole [sole] executrix of this My Last Will and Testament

And: I do appoint John CUPPER, John WYNNYFFE, William MORRIS and Henry BUSHROD my brother to be overseers of this my Last Will and Testament and for their wynes I do give them four pence a piece. Witnessed to the same John YETMAN; Anthonye INNHAM; Henry BUSHROD

Proved in London 5th day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred and ninety before Thomas LOVELL public notary by Margerie relict and executrix of the deceased.

Marriage and Children

Richard Bushrod married Dorothy WATTS about the turn of the century. I have not so far been able to locate their marriage but there is an entry in William Whiteway's diary for the 22nd November 1627 which reads ' The 22nd hereof died Mr John WATS, and the 30th hereof died his daughter Mrs BUSHRODE'. The Parish registers for Holy Trinity confirm that John WATTS was buried on the 23rd November followed by Dorothy the wife of Richard Bushrod on 4th December 1627. Richard therefore lost his wife and father-in-law in the space of 11 days.

According to the book 'John White the Founder of Massachusets' by Rose-Troup, Richard had numerous dealings in connection with his trading in New England with a 'John WATTS of Dorchester' who sailed to Cape Ann and was later accused of stealing salt from one of the islands offshore. This is likely to have been Dorothy's brother John WATTS who was referred to by the Rev RG Bartelott in the biographical notes at the end of the book.

Richard and Dorothy had the following children. All those shown as living at Richards death are mentioned in his will. Where I have some additional confirmation I have commented in brackets in italics.

(1) Thomas BUSHROD [1605-1677] Baptised 12 June 1605 Holy Trinity Dorchester: He was admitted as a Freeman of Dorchester on 7 Jan 1629/30 by which time he is described as a merchant. He married the sister-in-law of William WHITEWAY the diarist, Wilmot PARKINS on 21 July 1629. They had a son 'John Bushrod baptised at Holy Trinity on the 9th September 1632. He is referred to in William Whiteways diary as being born on 31 Aug 1632 but he died on 1 April 1633, followed by his wife Wilmot on 21 April 1633. Thomas emigrated to New England arriving about 1635 and married again to a Mary Piersey in York Virginia abt 1656 and later to Elizabeth Nowell in 1661. He died there 24 April 1677.

(2) John BUSHROD [1606/7 - Bef 1612] Baptised 8 Jan 1606/7 Holy Trinity Dorchester, said to have died pre 1612

(3) Anne BUSHROD - Baptised 21 April 1608 Holy Trinity Dorchester, She married Samuel WHITFEILD [WHITEFIELD] in Holy Trinity church on 24 Apr 1628.

(4) John BUSHROD [1612-1683/4] - Baptised 23 April 1612 Holy Trinity Dorchester.

      At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to the clothier John DALE to learn the trade. He became an enthusiastic constable for Dorchester being elected in both 1631 and 1632 and is often referred to in both William Whiteway's diary and 'Fire from Heaven'. He was a clothier by trade and assistant governor in 1633 and was elected a Captial Burgess on 4 Sep 1639 to replace John Blatchford who had been absent in France for 3 years. He took on the Stewardship of the Brewhouse when Benjamin Devenish died in 1643, was elected Mayor of Dorchester twice in 1644 and 1655, and MP for Dorchester in 1659. From the quarter session records it appears that he lived in a house just west of Dorchester goal. He was buried in All Saints church Dorchester 3rd Jan 1683/4 as John Bushrod senior. I have not been able to locate his marriage but he had a son John bap 16th Dec 1627

(5) Elizabeth BUSHROD [1614-1618] Baptised 17 Sep 1614 Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester & buried there 9 Aug 1618

(6) Samuel BUSHROD [1616-1646] Baptised 9 Oct 1616 in Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester, he married there on 1st September 1640 to Martha the daughter of another wealthy clothier John ALLAMBRIDGE who had been constable in 1628, Capital Burgess of the town in the early 1630's and was to be Mayor in 1642/3. They had 2 children; Mary bap HT 20 Nov 1642 and Martha on 9th Nov 1645; before at the young age of 30 Samuel died and was buried at Holy Trinity on 31 July 1646. He was shortly followed by his daughter Martha on 17th October that year. Samuel's Will with probate granted on 1 June 1647 (Ref Prob/11/200) is available at the National Archives]

(7) Deborah BUSHROD [1618-1619] Baptised 20 July 1618 at Holy Trinity and buried there 5 Nov 1619

(8) Elizabeth BUSHROD [1620-?] Baptised 24 Sep 1620 at Holy Trinity Dorchester

(9) Dorothy BUSHROD [1622-?]- Baptised 22 Dec 1622 Holy Trinity Dorchester

(10) Mary BUSHROD [1624-1627] Baptised 27 Feb 1624/5 Holy Trinity Dorchester and buried there 7 April 1627

(11) Richard BUSHROD [1626-1667] Baptised 25 Jun 1626 Holy Tinity Dorchester. He followed his older brother Thomas and emigrated to New England marrying there to an Apphia Hughes. He was buried in Bushfield Westmourland Virginia in 1667


Richard Bushrod, was described as a mercer or ‘haberdasher’ which generally meant a dealer in household goods and clothing, but he was also a merchant adventurer with a business established over many years where he carried on a trade in fishing for cod and the bartering of furs from New England which he sold here and in France. He was one of the Rev. John White’s parishioners and a man of some substance in Dorchester with substantial properties in various parts of Dorset and he sat in a prominent position amongst the pews at Holy Trinity church.

Like many of those who surrounded John White he was an active social reformer and a generous benefactor of the hospital, the free school and the poor. For example in his Will he signed a deed for an annuity (or rent charge) of 40 shillings per annum out of lands that he owned in the Parish of Glandville Wootton in Dorset 'for and towards the better and more comfortable maintenance of the Schoolmaster of the Free School in Dorchester'. He also left in his will a lump sum of £50 which was later to be used to reward the ‘godly trades people’ of Dorchester.

Rose-Troup in her book about John White says that Richard Bushrod ‘had twice represented the Borough in Parliament and was destined to do so a third time’ (John Hutchins account shows these to have been in 1613/4; 1621/2 and 1625/6). William Whiteway’s diary confirms that he was also Bailiff of Dorchester 1621-1622 and 1626-1627.

A strong supporter of the puritan movement and the ideals espoused by John White his knowledge of New England and the opportunities it presented was crucial to what followed. White persuaded him that a colony could be formed of the surplus men required for fishing who were then employed to double man his ships. They formed a plan to leave them on the coast subsisting off the land and growing crops so that they would become self sufficient and be able to rejoin the fishing fleet next season.

John White felt that this could form the nucleus for a larger colony and a refuge for those persecuted for their religion, both from those wishing to leave the separatists at Plymouth and from England. They together with other like minded friends and traders came together to take the issue forward and formed the Dorchester Company so Richard Bushrod was one of its founding and most influencial members. He acted as their representative in applying for the necessary authority for a patent to settle a plantation in New England which was granted by the Council for New England on 18th February 1622/3.

On 26th January 1624/5 he was chosen Capital Burgess for Dorchester. We have a small insight into the trading being done when the ‘Amytie’ and the ‘Fellowship’ two ships employed by the Dorchester company return from New England on 1st August and the 15th September 1625. They bring with them ‘dry fish, corfish [codfish] , train oil, quarters of oak and skins of Fox, racons [racoons] , martyn’s [pine marten], otter, muskuatche [muskrat], and beaver’ and are unloaded by Richard Bushrod and William Derby.

Even after some of his business ventures, and the Dorchester Company failed in 1626 he persisted with John White and others in setting up the foundations for, and was listed as a member of, the New England Company.

Unfortunately he only outlived his wife and father-in-law by 7 months and died at the age of 52 on 1st July 1628. I have transcribed his Will:-

Will of Richard BUSHROD dated 28 June 1628

In the name of God Amen: I Richard BUSHROD of Dorchester in the County of Dorset Habberdasher being in perfect health and memory do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following that I bequeath my soul into the hands of my most merciful God and loving father that gave it me and redeemed it by the blood of his dear son my only Saviour whose merits I aspire myself of that glorious inheritance that the Lord hath of his free mercie granted to all the faithful As to my body I do appoint to be buried according to the discretion of my executors for my estate that God hath blessed me withall I appoint to be divided and bestowed as followeth

Unto: my Executors Mr John WHITE Clerk, Mr William WHITEWAY the elder merchant, Mr William DERBY Gentleman of Dorchester, Mr Henry MANIFORD of Long Suton Town? and my brother John WATTS the haberdasher the sum of Forty shillings Servant money during their natural lives and after the decease of them or any of them forever unto such persons as by them or the greatest part of them shall be currently? named or chosen forty shillings per annum to be paid to them or to their assigns yearly out of my lands in Glandfield & Wooten als Wooten Glandfield at the feast of Annunciation of the Virgin Mary [Note: 25th March] and St Michael the Archangel [Note 29th September] by several portions which rent charge or annuity I will and appoint to be employed by them or the greater part of them or their assigns to such charitable uses as shall be then the most conveinient.

And: if the said sum of forty shillings be behind and unpaid by the space of forty days after such forty days as it ought to be paid Then the owner of the said lands shall forfeit for such default twenty shillings by distress or other means.

Item: I give and devise to my said executors and their heirs and assigns forever one annuity or yearly rent charge of forty shillings by the year to be issuing? and growing and to be preserved? and taken at the Feast of St Michael the Archangel yearly and out of my messuage & tenements lands and grounds and appertuances situate at Wooton Glandfield als Glandfield Wooten within the County of Dorset for and towards the better and more comfortable maintenance of the Schoolmaster of the Free School in Dorchester aforesaid the said annuity to commence and begin at such Feast of St Michael the Archangel and shall next happen after there shall be as many Captial Burgesses of the Borough of Dorchester in the County of Dorset as there be others dwelling out of the said Borough that shall be Ffeoffee of the Schoolhouse and lands belonging thereto and not before

Item: I give to the poor of each Parish in Dorchester Forty shillings to be distributed by the Overseers of each Parish in Clothes for them.

Item: I give unto my son John BUSHROD the sum of five hundred pounds I do give to my daughter Anne BUSHROD three hundred and fifty pounds to be paid in some living for her and her children if the Lord do bless her with any I do give unto my son Samuel Three hundred pounds I do give to my son Richard two hundred and fifty pounds I do give unto my daughter Elizabeth two hundred and fifty pounds I do give unto my daughter Dorothie two hundred and fifty pounds and all these sums to be paid unto them in manner and form following All my sons portions on the day of marriage or the age of twenty four years All my daughters at the day of marriage or the age of one and twenty years which shall first happen and in the meantime the monies shall be employed? for their better maintenance and training? of them up in learning?

Item: I give to my brother Robert BUSHROD his son William BUSHROD the sum of twenty pounds more than the legacy given him by my uncle Henry BUSHROD late deceased of Canford my will is that my executors shall give good security? for the performance? of this will and legacies therein before he shall be possessed of this my estate and be admitted hereunto unto my Overseers

Item: I do give all my lands household stuff goods moveable and unmoveable unto my son Thomas BUSHROD whom I make my whole and sole executor of this my Last Will and Testament

The 28th day of June Anno Domini 1628 Richard BUSHROD of Dorchester in the County of Dorset haberdasher being sick and weak of body but good and perfect memory I praise my God and having already made my Last Will and Testament do now further declare in my will which I appoint to be added to my Last will as a codacil in manner and form following

Vizt: that whereas I have already ordained and appointed my son Thomas to be executor of my said will, I do now will and ordaine that my said son before he does my said will, shall enter into bonds to my loving friends whom I have already nominated and appointed to be overseers of my said will, in the sum of two thousand pounds well and truly to perform my said will and to pay in unto them or to the survivor or survivors of them within six months next: after they or the survivor or survivors of them shall require on demand the same such and to raise of the legacies in or by my said will given or bequeathed to the ( benefit??) of my children as my said friends or ye survivor or survivors of them shall appoint to be by them employed or disposed for the use and benefit of this to them I give by my said will given or bequeathed the same lagacies which my said son shall so pay in

Also: I give to the town of Shafton in the county of Dorset the sum of fifty pounds of lawful money of England towards the building of a schoolhouse there to be paid within three months next after the foundation of the same school shall be paid

Also: I give and bequeath over and above the money which I have given to good uses by my said will fifty pounds of lawful money of England to be paid to my said overseers within 12 months after my death and to be then employed and bestowed to such good use as overseers and they the survivors of them or the majority of them shall think fit.

Also: I do appoint for the maintenance of all my said children except my executor to whom I have by my said will given, any legacy shall be had and raised out of the benefit of their said legacies until the same legacies shall be paid

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and year above said in the presence of Richard BUSHROD signed and published in the presence of :-

John WHITE; Simon WHETCOMBE; John HUMFREY; George WAY; William DERBY

Genealogical Notes:-

(1) Sources: [DV] Dorset Visitation 1623 page 3; [FFH 206,] : [IGI] : [JH]: [MRD]: [OPC]: Parish Registers for Holy Trinity Dorchester and Sherborne Abbey: [PRO]: [QS] : [RT] Rose-Troup John White Founder of Massachusetts:[WW] William Whiteway’s Diary; Terry Masons Family History Site is given as an example of family historians holding data about this family see

(2) His father Johis [John] BUSHRODE married his mother Margerie FFELTONS at Sherborne on 7th Oct 1571: The surviving children were baptised:- (a) John BUSHROODES (Junior) bap 16th August 1572 (b) Richardus BUSHRODD bap 3rd Feb 1576/7 (c) Robert BUSHROT bap 15th June 1580 (d) Margeri BUSHROD bap 16th March 1582/3 who survived to marry Robert Rapsey in Sherborne on 13th June 1597

(3) The will is written in this way to make sure that his eldest son John was 21 years old when he inherited

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