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Michael Metcalf

"For many years the statement has repeatedly appeared in print that Michael Metcalf, the dornick weaver, of Norwich, co. Norfolk, England, and later of Dedham, Mass., was the son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf, parson of Tatterford, co., Norfolk, and that he was baptized at Tatterford 3 Sept. 1586.  An examination of the parish registers of Tatterford proves this statement to be an error, for on 3 Sept. 1586 Leonard Metcalf, son of Leonard, was baptized there.  This error was probably made by some zeolous American who could not read the sixteenth century writing but was determined to find the parentage of the redoubtable Michael.  All that can be said at present is that the parentage of Michael Metcalf is unknown.  He was, however, probably born about 1592, since in his examination on embarking for New England, in Apr. 1637, his age was given as 45.  (Cf. Pope, "Pioneers of Massachusetts," page 312, and Savage, "Genealogical Dictionary, " vol. 3, page 203.)  (The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol. LXXVIII, 1924)
"The presumed English ancestry of Michael Metcalf of Dedham, Mass., which represents him as a son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf of Tatterford, co. Norfolk, while reasonably entertained as possible, has been held in abeyance, through a misapprehension of the evidence relating to it.  An examination of the parish registers of Tatterford disclosed a Nicholas [sic.] baptized in 1586, son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf, who was rector of Tatterford, and Amy, his wife.  This had been assumed as an error for Michael; but this assumption, of course, was rejected as an unsound inference and the relationship of the Rev. Leonard Metcalf to Michael, the emigrant, rejected as a consequence.  The error in this conclusion lies in the fact that the registers of Tatterford are a piece of patchwork, constructed prior to 1616 by the wardens of the parish from the then existing Bishop's transcripts.  On the first written page of the registers is found this statement:  "True Coppies of certayne Bills Indented of the Marriages Christninges and Burialls....extracted owte of the office of Registershipp of the Archdeconry of Norff: as followeth."
The actual registered entries begin in 1616, but the continuity from 1569 is broken.  Bills for years, 1570, 1579, 1580, 1585, and 1590 are marked as "not to be found".  Four years later are also recorded as "not found," but 1590 is the significant loss in connection with Michael Metcalf, as will be explained.  This fact has not been taken into account by previous investigators.
The Rev. Leonard Metcalf became rector of this parixh in 1574, and was the only head of a family of his name there; but, while it is known that he had a large family, only the baptisms of five sons are of record, namely,  John, in 1583, Leonard and Nicholas in 1586, Matthew in 1592, and Nynian in 1596.  The writer, however, has found in the Diocesan Registry at Norwich (in the Consistorial Deposition Books) a deposition of Michael Metcalf, in which he describes himself as of Norwich, dornick weaver, aged 45 years, and born in Tatterford.   This carries his birth year back to 1590, and, as the records for that year are missing in the synthetically prepared registers, it explains why it is impossible to produce positive evidence of his parentage; but the negative evidence is quite as strong, for, in addition to his own statement of age and birthplace, there is nothing to show that any other Metcalf family lived there, and Rev. Leonard Metcalf was by all reasonable circumstantial evidence his father.  His place in the family is in the gap between Nicholas and Matthew shown above.  Confirmatory collateral evidence is found in the fact that Michael Metcalf as warden of St. Benedict's, Norwich, 1619-1634, a natural position for the son of a clergyman to occupy, and his fine signatures on the deposition and the Warden's Account Book, written with a sure hand ending in a graceful flourish, further indicate his early training and association in an educated family.
The statement in the Metcalf genealogy published in the Register (vol. 6, p 171), that his wife Sarah was born at "Waynham," should be corrected, for an entry in the records of the First Church of Dedham, Mass., states that she was born at Heigham, near Norwich (co. Norfolk), 17 June 1593.  She was a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bensyle Elwyn of that parish (see Mr. Moriarty's article on "The Elwyns of Norfolk," in Miscellaneoa Genealogica et Heraldica for March 1926), the Elwyns being a distinguished family in that county.
In another deposition in the same court made in 1614, the Rev. Leonard Metcalf, clerk, rector of the parish of Tatterford, states that he was 73 years of age, that he had been the incumbent there for forty years, and that he was born at Apperside in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
These facts lay the foundation for further research into the earlier generations of the Metcalf family, which seems to be peculiar to Yorkshire.
Amy, wife of the Rev. Leonard Metcalf, died in 1602, and his estate was administered in 1616 as of West Barsham, Norfolk, of which he was vicar, holding this living as well as the recotry of Tatterford.
[Colonel Banks is to be congratulated on having discovered at last something definite regarding the ancestry of Michael Metcalf.  With regard to my article in the Register of January 1924, referred to by him, I should like to point out that at the time that was written there was no definite proof that Michael was born at Tatterford, such as is furnished in the deposition discovered by Colonel Banks.  Moreover, the record of his age then known was that of the shipping list, which made him born in 1586, the year in which Leonard, son of Rev. Leonard  Metcalf was baptized, a baptism which has been called a baptism of Michael, which was clearly wrong.  I agree with Colonel Banks that Michael must be a son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf, born in a year of which no baptismal records remain, about 1590, because there was no other Metcalf in the parish at this time.  Colonel Banks has made a slight error when he says that Rev. Leonard Metcalf had sons Nicholas and Leonard baptised in 1586.  Leonard was baptized 3 Sept. 1586, but Nicholas was baptized 8 July 1587.  Matthew was baptized on 18 Dec. 1594, and not in 1592, as stated above.  There are no records in the registers for 1592.  In addition to the above children, Rev. Leonard Metcalf had a daughter Marie, baptized 28 Au. 1601.  Rev. Leonard Metcalf was undoubtedly the father of Richard Metcalf of Tatterford and of Michael Metcalf.  Thanks to Colonel Bank's discovery, we now have a good starting point for further investigations regarding Michael Metcalf's ancestry.  Apperside is a hamlet in the vale of Wenslydale, North Riding, Yorkshire. ---G. Andrews Moriarty, Jr.]"   (The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol. LXXX, 1926)

"Metcalf: Additional Records  Contributed by G. Andrew Moriarty, A.M., L.L.B., F.S.A., of Bristol, R.I.
The following records throw additional light on the English connections and activities of Michael Metcalf, the dornick weaver, of Norwich, co. Norfolk, England, and later of Dedham, Mass., concerning whom the Committee on English Research (now the Committee on English and Foreign Research) communicated to the Register (vol. 78, pp. 63-65) and article by the present writer and also (vol. 80, pp 312-313) and article by the late Charles Edward Banks, M.D., Colonel, U.S.A., Retired. Considerable research shows the impossiblility of establishing the ancestry of Micael Metcalf beyond his father, Rev. Leonard Metcalf, rector of Tatterford in Norfolk, who, according to his deposition (infra), was born in the hamlet of Apperside, in Wensleydale, Yorkshire.  Examination of the records of this region shows that a large proportion of the inhabitants bore the name of Metcalf.  In the extracts from the subsidy of 1542-1544 for Apperside (infra) a large number of Metcalfs appear; and, when one remembers that this subsidy represents but a portion of the inhabitants, it is easy to see that a large proportion of the inhabitants were named Metcalf.  The names Michael and Leonard were very common in the Metcalf family of this
region, where the Metcalfs formed almost a clan.  There can be no doubt that the gentle family of the neighboring Nappa Hall were related more or less remotely to the innumerable Metcalfs of the vicinage, but just how it is impossible to say, owing to the lack of wills.  It may be suggested, however, that perhaps  Rev. Leonard Metcalf was the son of the Michael Metcalf who is found at Apperside in the subsidy of 1542-1544.
From the Books of the Mayor's Court
1624  Michael Metcalf and Xopher Church searchers of the dornix weavers.
1627 & 1628  Michael Metcalf and Thos. Tilney wardens of the dornix weavers for one year.
1629  Michael Metcalf and Xopher Church sworn as wardens of the dornix weavers.
1636, Saturday, 14 May,  "Inquisicio artis de Dornix weavers."  Michael Metcalfe, Simon Bowman, and others sworn.  (Fo. 104 b.)

From Sessions Books and Search Books
1631, 12 December, In a list of those ordered to pay to overseers of other parishes appears the name of Jeffery Medcalfe, ordered to pay  1d. to St. Michael at Thorne, and Michael Medcalfe, ordered to pay 1/2d. to St. Paul's.
1633-34, (Easter to Easter).  In Walter Rye's "The Norwich Rate Book" (p 75), in St. Edmond's Parish, is listed Michael Medcalfe

For some prospective colonists, urban residence indicated earlier mobility in accordance with the general patterns of English internal migration.  Edward Hawes, for instance, moved from Warwickshire to London to be trained as a cutler and Michael Metcalf made a shorter move from an outlying village to Norwich when he became a weaver's apprentice.
Several of the urban artisans had been named freemen of their towns, a status that conferred political privileges and indicated some measure of economic stability.  For instance, emigrants from Norwich who were freemen included the weavers Nicholas Busy, William Nickerson, Michael Metcalf, Samuel Greenfield, John Gedney, and Francis Lawes; the caldenderer Thomas Oliver; the grocer John Baker; the locksmith William Ludkin; and the joiner Samuel Dix.  (Virginia DeJohn Anderson, "New England's Generation: The Great Migration and he Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century" Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991 pages 29, 33)

June 21, 1618, Freeman of city of Norwich341,342,343

1619, warden of St. Benedict's, Norwich; 1619-1634338,339,340

(Norwich Sessions Rolls)
1635, 11 July.  In the Court of the Mayor.  Michaell Medcalfe, Simon Bowman, and diverse other dornix weavers came into this Court and Informed that Augustine Thurton, who worketh with Thomas Mollett, and Tho: Evered, who worketh with John Brady, have an intencion to gather a multitude of people together at the Unicorne this night, to doe (as they feare) some unlawfull Act, And have desired this Court to prevent the same.  The said Augustine Thurston saith that hee and the said Tho: Evered did upon Tuesday last goe abroad to diverse dornix weavers shopps in this City and did invite the severall Jorneymen to mete this afternoone at the Unicorne to elect 4 feast makers to make a feast for the Jorneymen dornix weavers.
Thomas Evered saith that the Jorneymen dornix weavers have used to have yearely a feast amongest themselves, And upon Tuesday last hee and the said Augustine did speake to most of the Jorneymen in the City to mete at the Unicorne this afternoone to consent howe they might drawe their wverall masters to give greater wages, And he saith that the intent of this metinge was onely to knowe how the Journymen would holde together concerning the mending of their wages and that they might have promised one annother that they would have no lesse then vj d. a weeke more than nowe they have, yf they could gett ytt.  Thurton and Evered bound in 40 pounds each to answer at the Sessions. (Norwich Sessions Minute, Book 8)

Extracts From Wren's "Parentalia"  (Parentalia, or Memoirs of the Family of Wrens, was compiled by Christopher Wren, son of the famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren was a nephew of Bishop Matthew Wren, and was published in London in 1750 by Stephen Wren, son of the compiler.  A new edition was published in 1903.  A life of Bishop Wren, from which the estract here given has been taken, is included in "Parentalia.") (Matthew Wren, D.D., 1585-1667, a prominent clergyman of the Church of England, elected Bishop of Hereford 5 Dec. 1634 and consecrated Archbishop Laud 2 Mar. 1634/5 was elected Bishop of Norwich 10 Nov. 1635, and was translated to the See of Ely in April 1638.  A follower of Archbishop Laud and a vigorous opponent of Purtitanism, he was impeached by the Commons in 1641 and was imprisoned from time to time until the Restoration, when he recovered his episcopal rights and dignities.  The following extract is from his answer to the Sixteenth Article of Impeachment against him)
"He [Bishop Wren] further denieth that Daniel Sunning, Michael Metcalf, and the rest in this Article named, or any other os his Majesty's Subjects, to the Number of 3,000 did remove into Parts beyond the Seas by reason of any thing done by this Defendant.  And he humbly prayeth, that it may be consider'd, that the jumour of separating themselves from the Church of England into foreign Parts is of a much higher Growth than since Anno 1636.
And that out of these Dioceses where they could have no Pretence of vigorous Persecutions, they went so plentifully, as that the two chief
Colonies in New England, long since took the Titles of Plymouth and Boston. And thither, into New England, of those which are named in this Article, went Francis Lawes a poor and mean Weaver, John Dicks a poor joiner, Nicholas Busby a poor Weaver, Michael Metcalf and Nicholas his Son, a Dornix Weaver(of some Estate, he only) but he was call'd in question for some Words against the King, and so slipt away.  John Durant is supposed to be the same with John Berant, he a poor Weaver that went into the Low Countries, and thither went Richard Cook a Draper newly set up, that kept but one Apprentice."  (Wren's Parentalia, edition of 1750, p 101)"

From Depositions in the Diocesan Registry, Norwich
1635  Michael Metcalf of Norwich, dornick weaver, aged 45 years, born at Tatterford, co. Norfolk, testifies regarding the practices of the clergyman of St. Edmund's, Norwich. (Ib., 1635)
1635, 11 July.  In the Court of the Mayor.  Michaell Medcalfe, Simon Bowman, and diverse other dornix weavers came into this Court and Informed that Augustine Thurton, who worketh with Thomas Mollett, and Tho: Evered, who worketh with John Brady, have an intencion to gather a multitude of people together at the Unicorne this night, to doe (as they feare) some unlawfull Act, And have desired this Court to prevent the same.  The said Augustine Thurston saith that hee and the said Tho: Evered did upon Tuesday last goe abroad to diverse dornix weavers shopps in this City and did invite the severall Jorneymen to mete this afternoone at the Unicorne to elect 4 feast makers to make a feast for the Jorneymen dornix weavers.
Thomas Evered saith that the Jorneymen dornix weavers have used to have yearely a feast amongest themselves, And upon Tuesday last hee and the said Augustine did speake to most of the Jorneymen in the City to mete at the Unicorne this afternoone to consent howe they might drawe their wverall masters to give greater wages, And he saith that the intent of this metinge was onely to knowe how the Journymen would holde together concerning the mending of their wages and that they might have promised one annother that they would have no lesse then vj d. a weeke more than nowe they have, yf they could gett ytt.
Thurton and Evered bound in 40 pounds each to answer at the Sessions.  (Norwich Sessions Minute, Book 8)  (City of Norwich, Corporation Records, Search Books.)

A dornik weaver (embroidery weaver), he lost his property by a star chamber fine having become a devoted Puritan, he fled to America from persecutions which he describes;   I was forced for the sake of the  liberty of my conscience, to flee from my wife and children, and go into New England; taking ship for the voyage, September 17, 1636, being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following, the veering about to Plymouth in Old England:  in which time I met with many sore afflictions.  Leaving the ship I went down to Yarmoutn in Norfolk County, whence I shipped myself and family to come to New England; sailed April 15, 1637, and arrived three days before midsummer following, with my wife and nine children, and a servant."
In a postscript, he alludes again to the troubles he sustained at the hands of the Bishop Wren (Bishop of Norwich) and Chancellor, in consequence of which he was driven from his family:  "Sometimes my wife did hide me in the roof of the house, covering me with straw."
The family settled at Dedham.  (History of Medfield)  He sailed from Ipswich on the John and Dorothy with Captain William Andrews on 4/6/1637 with 8 children and a servant.

Persecuted by Bishop Wren for non-conformity, he took ship alone at London.  Sept. 17, 1636, for New England; driven back by storms to Plymouth; he sailed from Yarmouth, April 15, 1637, with wife, nine children and servant.

4/15/1637;  Sailed on the Rose of Yarmouth.   Servant Thomas Comberbach, aged 16.  (Savage's)
In the examination one week before sailing on the Rose of Yarmouth, from Yarmouth, Michael calls himself 45 and Sarah 39.  From the religous tyranny exercised by Bishop Wren of Norwich he felt forced to escape, even at the expense of seperation from his family.  He embarked at London, 9/17/1636, for New England, but was sadly tormented by tempests, and at Christmas the ship put back to Plymouth.  By April 1637, he was successful in securig a license permitting his family to come with him.  He arrived at Boston, three days before midsummer with nine children and a servant.  (The Sanborn Family, V I - FR Sanborn)
The rosters of passengers to New England contained the names of dozens of English men and women whose lives were distingished by their steadfast commitment to noncomformity, even in the face of official harrassment ... the Rose carried Michael Metcalf away from the clutches of Norwich diocesan officials.  Metcalf had appeared before ecclesiastical courts in 1633 and again in 1636 for refusing to bow at the name of Jesus or to adhere to the "stinking tenets of Arminius" adopted by the established church.  Before his departure, Metcalf had composed a letter "to all the true professors of Christs gospel within the city of Norwich" that chronicled his troubled encounters with church officials and explained his exclusively religious reasons for emigration.  Thomas and Mary Oliver, Metcalf's fellow parishoners at St. Edmund's in Norwich, had also been cited before the archepiscopal court in 1633, and set sail for Massachusetts the same year as Metcalf ...  Clark, English Provincial Society, 372; Savage, Genealogical Dictionary, IV, 270-1; Breen and Foster, "Moving to the New World,: WMQ, 3rd ser., XXX (1973), 202-3, 207 n. 37; Jewson, ed., Transcript of Three Registers, 8; 1550-1641, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1912), II, 309; Powell, Puritan Village, 4; "Michael Metcalfe," NEHGR, SVI (1962), 279-84.  The incomplete survival  of ecclesiastical records in England makes it impossible to discover the full extent of colonists' troubles with the authorities.
Several emigrant clothworkers chose yet another option -- abandoning their trades in order to devote themselves to full-time farming .... Even Michael Metcalf, one of Norwich's more successful weavers (and one of the town's fieriest Puritans), took up full-time farming when he settled with his large family in Dedham.  No loom appeared among his possessions at the time of his death, apparently indicating that Metcalf had relinquished all connections with his former trade when he moved to New England.
 For Michael Metcalf, see Daniel M. Wheeler, The Wheeler Family of Rutland, Massachusetts, and Some of Their Ancestors (n.p., 1924), 1902); L.M. Harris, communicator,  "Metcalf Family," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, VI (1852), 171; his will and inventory are in the Suffolk County Probate Records, Vol. 1, 497-599; Vol. 4, 214-15.
(Virginia DeJohn Anderson, "New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century" Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991 page 140)

June 18, 1637, landed at Boston347,348,349

July 14, 1637; joined church

5/13/1640;  Freeman.   (Savage's)

1639; Selectman

1641; on committee to build new meeting house.

1652, date of Michael's chair; oldest dated chair in N.E.350,351,352

1656;  Engaged to keep Dedham, school.  To be paid 20 pounds, two thirds in wheat and one third in corn.  Not over one third of the corn was to be Indian corn.  In extreme weather he might keep the school in his home, instead of the schoolhouse, he hot weather he might use the meeting house provided the house be left clean, and any broken windows repaired.  (The Sanborn Family, V I - FR Sanborn)

But many households contained more than the family bible; their small libraries often included well-known Protestant religious tracts, devotional manuals, and printed sermons by English and New England divines.  Michael Metcalf, Comfort Starr, and Nathaniel Tilden, for instance, all owned copies of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, as well as other religious titles.   (Virginia DeJohn Anderson, "New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century" Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991 page 174)

Will proved Feb. 1, 1664-5; inventory, oe364. 10s. 5d.; will disposes of his books. Michael Metcalf made a covenant in his own will benefitting his own children by his first wife, and also one of the children of Mary Pigge, his new wife, by her first husband. That stepchild is identified in Michael Metcalf's will as "Martha, the wife of Benjamin Bullard."

Some bequests were more personal and testified to strong emotional ties between grandparents and grandchldren.  Michael Metcalf, for instance, left his "Largest gray Horsmans Coate" to a grandson.   (Virginia DeJohn Anderson, "New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century"  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991 page 184)

In Michael Metcalf's family, two of three sons stayed in Dedham, whereas the third settled in Medfield -- without actually having to move from his home town, since Medfield was carved out of Dedham land in 1651.  Four Metcalf daughters found spouses in Dedham, but two of their sisters moved to Reading and Rehoboth when they married.  Elizabeth and Jane Metcalf were unusual in traveling more than twenty miles from home; most daughters ended up living within ten miles of their parents. Both Edward Johnson and Michael Metcalf were town proprietors, and this fact largely determined the settlement patterns of their sons.  For the Metcalfs, see Isaac Stevens Metcalf, Metcalf Genealogy (Cleveland, Ohio, 1898), 8-20.  (Virginia DeJohn Anderson, "New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century"  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991 page 185)



 



 
 


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