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Adm. 1521 Bently cum Arksey, Yorkshire

Ordnance Survey Map- 1841




m.c. 1558 MAUDE MAN

William of Bentley cum Arksey was taxed in 1524.

All Saints Church- Arksey


3I. WILLIAM- b.c.1535, m.1. c.1564 MARY SMYTHE (d. of William Smythe of Stainford, Hatfield, m.1. before 1556 John Symkinson of Dancaster, Yorkshire (d. after 1562)), 2. Prudence ______ , bur. 22 Aug. 1590 Scrooby, Nottinghamshire

II. James- vicar of Sutton cum Launde, Notts.

III. Henry-


"The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers"- Charles Edward Banks, 1929, pp.35-9


m.1.c.1564 MARY SMYTHE (d. of William Smythe of Stainford, Hatfield, m.1. before 1556 John Symkinson of Dancaster, (d. after 1562))
2. Prudence ______
bur. 22 Aug. 1590 Scrooby, Nottinghamshire

In 1579 William and Mary sued in chancery William and Francis Hobson, claiming life settlement of lands in Doncaster, late of John Symkinson, formerly husband of Mary.(1)

Srooby Manor House- Home of the Brewsters

Scrooby Manor was in the possession of the Archbishops of York. Brewster's father, William senior, had been the estate bailiff for the archbishop for thirty-one years from around 1580. With this post went that of postmaster, which was a more important one than it might have been in a village not situated on the Great North Road, as Scrooby was then.


4I. WILLIAM- b.c.1566 Scrooby, m. MARY ______ (b.c.1568, d. 17 Apr. 1627 Plymouth), d. 10 Apr. 1644 Plymouth, MA

II. Prudence- m. Robert Peck of Everton


(1) PRO- Proceedings in Chancery, C2 Eliz. B31/1, a bill addressed to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper

"The Lamson Family of Jonesport, Maine"- p.407
"Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907"- Emma Brewster Jones


b.c.1566 Scrooby, Nottinghamshire
m. MARY ______ (b.c.1568, d. 17 Apr.; 1627 Plymouth)

d. 10 Apr. 1644 Plymouth, MA



William studied briefly at Peterhouse, Cambridge before entering the service of William Davidson in 1584. In 1585, Davidson went to the Netherlands to negotiate an alliance with the States-General and in 1586 he was appointed assistant to Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State Francis Walsingham, but in 1587 Davidson lost the favour of Elizabeth, after the beheading of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.

Cambridge was a centre of thought concerning religious reformism, but Brewster's time in the Netherlands, in connection with Davidson's work, gave him opportunity to hear and see more of reformed religion. In the sixteenth century reformers had hoped to amend the Anglican church, but by the end of it, many were looking toward splitting from it.

St. Peter's College, Cambridge- Rudolph Ackerman- 1815

After Davidson's disgrace, Brewster returned to Scrooby where he held the position of bailiff and postmaster being appointed about 18 months before his father's death. As such he was responsible for the provision of stage horses for the mails, having previously, for a short time, assisted his father in that office. (1)

"22 Aug. 1590
48. Mr. John Stanhope to Mr. Secretary Davison.

Regrets he cannot comply with his request. On the death of old Bruster, one Samuel Revercotes had written to him for the place of postmaster at Scrooby, with which he had complied. States his reasons for not conferring the place on young Bruster, who had served in that place for his father, old Bruster."(2)

On the back of this letter are the following notes in Davison's hand:

"That Brewster ought not to be displaced more than the rest of the Postes. If he were possessed of the place by Mr. Randolph's guifte longe before his fathers death, no good cause now to except against him then ought he more to be displaced than the rest of the postes. But he was possessed of the place by Mr. Randolphs guifte longe before his fathers death as may appear by the:

Enmt. of his name in the rolls amongst the other postes:
by receipt of the fee the yeare and halfe;
the testimony of his mr that recommends him thereunto.
Mr. Mills that was privie to the guifte and
did both register his name and pay him the wages
his exercise of the place now above a yere and a half & wch may be testified by the postes his next neighbours.
Neither is there any just otherwise cause now to except against him either in respect of his:
sufficiency for the service
discharge thereof hitherto
or other reason whatsoever."

In a different hand (probably William's):
"Therefore he ought to be no more displaced than the rest of the postes.
Other reasons:
The charge he hath been at for provision this hard year proveth dear.
The loss he should susteyn or rather to be bearing by being suddenly dispossessed.
The enrollment of the example."(3)

By the 1590s, William's brother, James, had become a rather rebellious Anglican priest and vicar of the parish of Sutton cum Lound, in Nottinghamshire. From 1594, it fell to James to appoint curates to Scrooby church so that William, James and leading members of the Scrooby congregation were brought before the ecclesiastical court for their dissent.

A church court in 1597 considered simony charges against James Brewster, vicar of Sutton cum Launde, Notts. Before the Rev. Mr. John Benet, LLD "appeared William Brewster, gen., brother of the aforesaid James Brewster, cleric, which William gave assent to the findings of the court, by which the salary of said cleric was to be withheld." (the original Latin reads: "cum consensu et assensu Willelmi Brewster gen. fratris dicti Jacobi Brewster clerici").(4)

From about 1602, Scrooby Manor, the Brewster's home, became a meeting place for the dissenting Puritans. In 1606, they formed the Separatist Church of Scrooby.

Restrictions and pressures applied by the authorities convinced the congregation of a need to emigrate to the more sympathetic atmosphere of Holland, but leaving England without permission was illegal at the time, so that departure was a complex matter. On its first attempt, in 1607, the group was arrested at Scotia Creek, but in 1608 William and others were successful in leaving from The Humber. In 1609, he was selected as ruling elder of the congregation.

Initially, the Pilgrams settled in Amsterdam, and worshipped with the Ancient Church of Francis Johnson and Henry Ainsworth. Put off by the bickering between the two, which ultimately resulted in a division of the Church, the Pilgrims left Amsterdam and moved to Leiden, after only a year.

William was in Leyden in 1609 when before the aldermen he came, age 42, as guardian of Ann Peck, native of Launde, when they granted to Thomas Sinkinson of Hull, merchant, the power to receive 7 that Ann had left in the hands of William Watkin, pastor of Clarborough when she left England.(5)

In Leiden, the group managed to make a living. William taught English and later, in 1616-1619, printed and published religious books for sale in England though they were banned there, as the partner of one Thomas Brewer. In 1619, the printing type was seized by the authorities under pressure from the English ambassador Sir Dudley Carleton and William's partner was arrested. William escaped and, with the help of Robert Cushman, obtained a land patent from the London Virginia Company on behalf of himself and his colleagues.

Plimouth Plantation

William came to Plymouth on the "Mayflower" in 1620 and his family arrived the following year on the "Fortune". He was one of the leaders of the Pilgrims and served as Governor of the Colony. As the only university educated member of the colony, William took the part of the colony's religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.

William Brewster's chest, brought from England and now in the possession of Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, was constructed of six planks and served as his bed, storage space and as a writing desk. In fact, tradition has it that the Mayflower Compact was drafted and signed on top of it.


William Bradford's Copy of the Mayflower Compact



Signing of the Mayflower Compact- Bas Relief at the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown

The following is from Gov. Bradford's Letter Book:

"This next year being Anno. 1626, we sent Mr. Allerton into England, partly to make some supply for us, and to see if he could make any reasonable composition with the adventurers and because we well knew that nothing can be done without money, we gave him an order to procure some, binding ourselves to make payment thereof, as followeth:

Know all men by these presents, that whereas we William Bradford, Governour of Plymouth in New' England, and William Brewster, Capt. Miles Standish, Isaac Allerton, Samuel Fuller, Edward Winslow, John Jeney, John Howland, and John Allden; being all inhabitants of Plymouth, aforesaid, are for ourselves, and divers others, our associates, &c. And whereas the said Isaac Allerton (by God's providence) for the necessary occasions of the colony abovesaid, is bound for England ; and whereas divers of us above named, have acquainted divers of our worthy and approved friends (by our letters *) with our raw and weak estate, and want of ability of ourselves to manage so great an action, as the upholding of the plantation aforesaid. If therefore God shall move the heart or hearts of any of our friends, in compassion of our wants and present straits, to lend us above named, the sum of one hundred pounds sterling, for the space of two years, upon any such- terms as shall be agreed upon, between him or them and the said Isaac Allerton, our partner and agent, and deliver the same into his hands for our use ; that we, the said William Bradford, William Brewster, &c. together with the said Isaac Allerton, do bind ourselves, our heirs, &c. jointly and severally, for the faithful performance of such obligations, conditions, or covenants, as shall be agreed on, &c. In witness whereof, we have put to our hands and seals, this 2d of July, Anno 1626, &c.

Upon this order, he got two hundred pounds, but it was at thirty in the hundred interest, by which appears in what straits we were; and yet this was upon better terms than the goods which were sent us the year before, being at forty-five per cent, so that it was God's marvellous providence, that we were ever able to wade through things, as will better appear if God give me life and opportunity to handle them more particularly, in another treatise more at large, as I desire and purpose (if God permit) with many other things, in a better order."(6)

Brewster was granted land amongst the islands of Boston Harbor, and four of the outer islands (Great Brewster, Little Brewster, Middle Brewster and Outer Brewster) now bear his name.

William Brewster's Chair- Pilgrim Hall Museum

Brewster died in 1644 and was likely buried in Miles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury.


I. Jonathan- b. 12 Aug. 1593 Scrooby, m. 1624 Lucretia Oldham (d. 1679), d. 7 Aug. 1659 CT

5II. PATIENCE- b.c.1600, m. 5 Aug. 1624 Plymouth, THOMAS PRENCE (b.c.1600 Lechdale, Gloucestershire, m.2. 1 Apr. 1635 Plymouth, Mary Collier, 3. 1662 Mercy Southworth (m.1. Samuel Freeman), 4. c.1667 Mary ______ (m.1. Thomas Howes, d. 9 Dec. 1695), d. 29 Mar. 1673 Plymouth

III. Fear- b.c.1605, m. Isaac Allerton (d. 1659), d. 12 Dec. 1634 Plymouth

IV. _____- bur. 20 June 1609 Leyden, Holland

V. Love- b.c.1611 Leyden, m. 1634 Sarah Collier (b.c.1615, d. 1691), d. 1650 Duxbury

VI. Wrestling- b. before 1620, d.s.p. after 1627


(1) TAG- Vol.41, No.1, p.1
(2) "Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1581-90"- p.686
(3) Ibid
(4) Act Book of the York Diocese Chancery Court, 1595- 1599, R. VIII. AB. 46, ff. 104 v, 122, 131
(5) NEHGR- Vol.111, pp.319-20
(6) "Governor Bradford's Letter Book"- in The Mayflower Descendant- Vol. V, No. 4 (Oct. 1903), p. 198

"The Lamson Family of Jonesport, Maine"- p.407
"Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907"- Emma Brewster Jones

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