Saint Edmund's Church: most French families baptized here
Thomas French (b. 1584) was baptized here; Jacob French and Susan Warren were married here...
Jacob French who's born about 1555 in Assington is not proven to be the son of Thomas French and Alice (unknown) from above. He is more likely to be the son of Stephen French who was born about 1530 with a wife Mary (but I haven't been able to locate details on Stephen). Therefore if he's not the son of Thomas and Alice, then he's not the grandson of William of 1483 either.
Jacob married to Susan Warren 9-27-1579 Bures. and had at least 7 children...all 7 DO have similiar names to Robert French (and Allice Wylton) children, but Robert and Jacob are NOT brothers. I noticed that people keep giving Jacob and Susan Warren, a daughter Jone; and confusing Elizabeth of Robert French, to the Elizabeth of Jacob French.
The Elizabeth of Jacob's family did NOT married Henry Loker. She's born 2-27-1586 Bures Assington, and the other Elizabeth is born 6-19-1580. All of Robert's children were from Knodishall where all of Jacob's children are from Assington. According the New England Historical Register Vol 142 pg 250-252 by John Threlfall, a member of the French Family Association, there have been found 2 distinct FRENCH families from Suffolk.
I hope this message doesn't come off like a "know it all" cause that I surely am not, but I am really trying to save some people some time and energy trying to make the two families fit together; and thus an incorrect tree.
Just my 2 cents I think Thomas French of 1513/15 Sax. and his 5 children are a completely different French line then that of Jacob French, who's son Thomas French born 10-11-1584 Bures. is the one who married Susannah Riddlesdale.
found on ancestry.com
Saint Edmund’s Church in Assington, County Suffolk, England, where most Frenches of this line were baptized. Photo by Mara French, 1994
This map shows the closeness of the villages of Assington (in the center) and Groton (where Governer Winthrop of Boston resided), Boxford (where Thomas French’s wife resided), Bures (where the French family lived before Assington), Twinstead (where William French’s 2 sons were born), and other outlining villages (Lamarsh, Pebmarsh, and Polstead) where other Frenches lived.
Thomas French, Sr., christened 11 October 1584 at Bures St. Mary, Suffolk County, a son of Jacob, moved to Assington ca. 1585/86, married Susan Riddlesdale 5 September 1608 in Assington. Susan was born 20 April 1584 at Boxford, Suffolk County, England, daughter of John and Dorcas Riddlesdale, died August 1658. Thomas died 5 November 1639 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Both Thomas and Susan immigrated in 1635 to Ipswich, five years after their son, Thomas Jr., immigrated.
All Frenches were baptized either at St. Edmunds Church in Assington, or at St. Marys Church in Bures St. Mary.
The Frenches came to America during the Puritan Great Migration (1620–1643). Most of them emigrating from the southeast of England and settling in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The busiest years of the Great Migration were those of “The Eleven Year Tyranny” (1629–1640) during which Charles I tried to rule without calling the Puritan-dominated parliament. Once the King was forced to call Parliament in 1640 and the Puritan revolution began, immigration to New England came to a near-complete halt.
Very few passenger lists exist from the time of the Great Migration and only in a few cases are the names of ancestors’ ships and their actual departure or arrival dates known.
The Stour River divides the counties of Essex and Suffolk, but one can see that Bures existed
on both sides of the Stour River. The parish must have been on the Suffolk side because no
records were found on the Essex side for the family French, unless they are from Mount
Thomas French, born ca. 1520 most likely in Essex or Suffolk County, England. Not much is known about this Thomas, other than we can suspect that the name Jacob, an uncommon name for any French family in England, could tell us that any Jacob French in this part of England was from this line. At this point, we are unsure if the name Jacob came from Thomas’ family or that of his wife’s family.
Children of Thomas French, 1.1
2.1 Thomas French, born ca. 1551 but not in Bures St. Mary, Suffolk, as those records have been checked. Nothing is noted for this Thomas. He would have married ca. 1570-1580.
2.2* Jacob French, born ca. 1553 but not in Bures St. Mary, Suffolk, as those records have been checked. Jacob married Susann Warren 27 September 1578 at Bures St. Mary in Suffolk County, which is right on the border along the Stour River which runs between Suffolk and Essex Counties. Assington is adjacent to Bures in the north. Jacob moved to Assington ca. 1585/86 or transferred church affiliation there. At this time, Bury St. Mary was part of Assington, owned mostly by the Gurdon family. Thomas Sr. occupied a farm located in Assington called Garlands. See Ref. It was owned by John Gurdon.
Jacob died 11 November 1615 in Assington. No probate records for Jacob have been found in the indexes for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Archdeaconry Courts of Sudbury, of Essex, or the Consistory Court of Norwich. Only 20 years after Jacob’s death, almost all of his family immigrated to New England.
Susan Warren was probably either the daughter or grand-daughter of William and Katherine Warren of Bures St. Mary. Two generations in a row had the names William and Katherine Warren. Katherine Warren married John Ansell 1 February 1558/59 but not in Bures St. Mary. Elizabeth Warren died young and her husband, William Siday, may have married3. Elizabeth French. The name Susan Warren is not mentioned as a child of William and Katherine Warren, this being the Susan Warren who came from the exact same village, was born about 1553, and who married Jacob French 27 September 1578 in Bures St. Mary.
The administration of William Warren’s estate was granted to Katherine, his wife, on September 26, 1554 in Essex. He died intestate. Katherine's will, dated July 31, 1567 but not in Bures St. Mary, Suffolk, as those records have been checked. This will was proved January 1570/1 in Essex. Katherine, in her will of 1567, bequeathed to and specifically named four grandchildren, yet failed to give the names of her four young children. Thus, Susan might have been one of these four young ones. See Ref.
No more Frenches christened in Bures St. Mary. Because Jacob and Susann were married in Bures St. Mary on 27 September 1578, it would seem logical that William, who was christened on 25 July 1580 also in Bures St. Mary, would be their first child.
3.1 William French, christened 25 July 1580 in Bures St. Mary, Suffolk. He was named after his
grandfather on his mother’s side, William Warren. See Ref. William married1. ca. 1606 but not in Bures St. Mary nor in Twinstead. He possibly had two children, both born in Twinstead, Essex, and whose names match the names of this family: Jacob and Thomas.
In reviewing Ref., one can see that possibly by 1 April 1627 there was still a William French living in Twinstead. No further record has been found for him. This could mean that the William French who had children Jacob and Thomas in Twinstead in 1606-1607 was still living there in 1627 and never moved to Halstead at all.
Further research needs to be taken regarding the possibility that this William French could have been the father of the William French who immigrated to Billerica, Massachusetts, in 1635 on the ship Defence. It is most probable that this William had son William christened 6 April 1606 in Halstead, who was the immigrant to Billerica, Massachusetts, on the basis that this William named his second son “Jacob” (after first son John) which is definitely a name only specific to this line. The name Jacob has not been recorded in any other known French family in Essex between 1580-1640.
3.2 Jacob French, baptized 12 August 1582 at Bures St. Mary in Suffolk, according to the Bures St. Mary vital records which began in 1538, at St. Mary’s Church (parents not named). Might have died young because he is not mentioned in ref. Named after his father. This son is unaccounted for as yet, but may also have moved, married, but not immigrated.
3.3* Thomas French., baptized 11 October 1584 at Bures St. Mary in Suffolk, according to the Bures St. Mary vital records which began in 1538, at St. Mary’s Church, son of Jacob, moved to Assington ca. 1585/86, married Susan Riddlesdale 5 September 1608 in Assington. Thomas was named after his grandfather, Thomas French. This entire family immigrated to New England. Susan Riddlesdale was baptized 20 April 1584 at Boxford, Suffolk County, England, daughter of John and Dorcas Riddlesdale, died August 1658, immigrated 1635 to Ipswich, Massachusetts, a few years after their son, Thomas Jr. and 3 older daughters immigrated. Thomas Sr. died before 5 November 1639 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Thomas Sr. occupied a farm located in Assington called Garlands. See Ref. It was owned by John Gurdon. The will of John Gurdon, Esq., of Assington, made December 6, 1621, left to his grandson "the messuage or farm house wherein one Thomas French doth now inhabit, called Garland's." Brampdon Gurdon, Sheriff of Norfolk 1625-29, was born in Assington Hall and had at least one daughter, Muriel Gurdon, born 1613. Thomas immigrated to Ipswich, Massachusetts before July 25, 1638 when a lot of his is mentioned as a boundary to land at the Reedy Marsh. Four of his children had preceeded him to America.
Susan died August 1658, Ipswich, Massachusetts. On March 10, 1658/9, inventory of her estate was made, totaling £12.11.6. Daughter of John Riddlesdale and Dorcas. Susan was probably the aunt of Dorcas Riddlesdell, a witness in a case in Ipswich, Massachusetts court in March 1647. Thomas’ children: All Children baptized at Saint Edmund’s in Assington. All children immigrated to Massachusetts except Margaret who died young.
Thomas French lived but a couple of years in New England, for on 5 November 1639, administration of his estate was granted to his wife and 'the land which he left is to be disposed of by sale or otherwise by advice of the Magistrates of Ipswich, for the maintenance of his wife and education of his children which are not yet able to provide for themselves, nor were disposed of in their father's life.' "A widow French was a Commoner in Ipswich in 1641. There is no further mention of her (Susan Riddlesdale French) until her death in August 1658. Administration of her estate was granted to her son John."
3.4 Elizabeth French, baptized 27 February 1586/7 in Assington, daughter of Jacob. Elizabeth married William Siday; however, another source says Elizabeth Warren married William Siday. Note: This is not the Elizabeth who married Henry Loker, baptized 1576/7 in Bures St. Mary.
Researcher John Threlfall says that there were 2 distinct Riddlesdales families and that the French family is not descended from the Loker branch. There is no evidence that Elizabeth, wife of Henry Loker, was nee French. Elizabeth died March 1648 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
3.5 Susan French, baptized 1589, died 1 August 1613 Assington, daughter of Jacob. This record clearly states that this burial record is Jacob’s daughter and not his wife.
3.6 John French, baptized 27 March 1596, Assington (parents not named). John married1. Sarah probably about 1620, unknown location. Their daughter Sarah, was buried at Assington 22 January 1620/21. This John may have been the John French who immigrated to New England ca. 1635 – more research is needed. If this John is not the one who immigrated, then it was the John French who was the son of William French, born 24 June 1599. The John who immigrated to New England did not name any of his children Jacob or William; but he named them John, Marie, Sarah, Joseph, and Nathaniel. These names do not correlate to this family; however, the Thomas of this line, and “a” John French and “a” William French all have the same DNA test results.
3.7 Robert French, baptized 25 June 1600, Assington, the son of Jacob and Susan. Mentions mother Susan in his baptismal record. It is strange that nothing has been heard about Robert, and he is not listed as among the early immigrants to Massachusetts unless he was the “Robert” without a surname listed on the ship Defence in 1635 to New England. Does anyone know what happened to this Robert? Could Robert have been the one who lived with his brother, William of The Leete, married Elizabeth and had son Francis on 5 April 1625 and died in childbirth in Halstead? This same scenario could have happened for Robert’s brother, John.
Children of Thomas and Susan (Riddlesdale) French, 3.3
The American side of this line continues on Jim Conant French’s website (over 6,000 Frenches). Following is just a brief summary of the descendants born in England. All children were baptized at Saint Edmund’s Church in Assington. All children except Margaret immigrated to Massachusetts, and she died as a minor.
4.1 Thomas French, baptized 27 November 1608 in Assington, died 8 August 1680 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, married Mary Scudamore, ca. 1631 . Immigrated in 1630 to New England. Scudamore marriage has not been proven. Mary died 6 May 1681. Will. In 1630, this eldest son, then 21, sailed for New England in the Winthrop Fleet of eleven ships with about 700 colonists. In the next few years, three of his sisters, Alice, Dorcas and Susan, also immigrated to New England. In late 1636, Reverend Nathaniel Rogers, the Vicar of Assington, also immigrated to New England, where he became the pastor at Ipswich, Massachusetts, until his death in 1665. Four other Assington families also came with Rogers. Over the next year, Thomas French (the father), his wife Susan and remaining children, also crossed the Atlantic to settle in Ipswich, where he first appears on record in New England in 1638 with a grant of land. John Winthrop wrote to his wife just before they set sail that there were seven hundred passengers. Six months after their arrival, Thomas Dudley wrote to Bridget Fiennes, Countess of Lincoln and mother of Lady Arbella and Charles Fiennes, that over two hundred passengers had died between their landing April 30 and the following December, 1630. That letter traveled via the Lyon April 1, 1631 and reached England four weeks later. The French family who were on the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 were: Thomas and his wife Susan, and their children Thomas Jr., Alice, Dorcas, Susan, Anne, John, and Mary according to the Winthrop Fleet website.
4.2 Alice French, baptized 9 April 1610 in Assington, died 26 June 1666 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Immigrated 1630 with brother, Thomas , married Thomas Howlett of Topsfield, Massachusetts, in 1634.
4.3 Dorcas French, baptized 9 July 1614 in Assington, died 30 December 1697 or 14/15 October 1694 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Servant to John Winthrop. Immigrated 1633, married1. Christopher Peake 3 January 1636/7 of Roxbury, Massachusetts, married2. Griffin Craft of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Served in the family of John Winthrop, Jr. in Ipswich, Massachusetts. A letter written by Thomas Gostlin to John Winthrop, Jr., from Groton on June 11, 1633 refers to both Dorcas and Susan: "she is one of the goodman French's daughters of Assington. I have sent two of them, one for your father and the other for you. Your father must take his choice. The eldest must serve for 3 years, and the youngest 4...pray let them be delt as well with all as any of the same quality."
4.4 Susan French, baptized 2 April 1616 in Assington. Immigrated 1633. (see 4.5 above)
4.5 Ann French, baptized 15 March 1617/18 in Assington. Immigrated 1637.
4.6 Margaret French, baptized 12 March 1619/20 in Assington, died 25 November 1635 in Assington. She was the only child not listed on the immigration records.
4.7 John French, baptized 26 May 1622 or 10 June 1622 (according to the Assington parish register) in Assington. Immigrated 1635, married Freedom Kingsley in 1654, died 1 February 1696/97 in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was a tailor.
4.8 Mary French, baptized 6 January 1624/5 in Assington, died testate 15 or 28 December 1674 at Ipswich. Immigrated 1635  perhaps with her brother John, married George Smith in 1644 at Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Map If you zoom in on a google earth satellite map of England you can see the approximation of these towns: Assington (where you can still see the Gurdon acreage), Boxford (2 miles away), Edwardstone, Bures (3 miles away), Lamarsh, Twinstead, Groton, and then about 7 miles west to Halstead and Coggeshall where large French families lived.
from: www.frenchfamilyassoc.com.htm which includes multitudes of references.
found on ancestry.com
Jacob FRENCH was born on 26 April 1545 in Assington, Suffolk. He died on 11 November 1615 in Assington, Suffolk. Jacob first appears on record in the parish of Bures Saint Mary, Suffolk, England on 27 September 1578 when he and Susann Warren were married. Being no prior records of the French family in Bures Saint Mary, it seems certain that he came from some neighboring village. About 1585 or 1586, Jacob and Susan French either moved from Bures Saint Mary to Assington, or changed their church affiliations, for subsequent records of the family are found in Assington, either in the parish register which starts in 1598 or in the Bishop's transcripts which cover a few years between 1564 and the advent of the parish registers. Jacob may have had more children than those listed. October 30, 1630, Thomas French of Assington, Suffolk sailed to America with wife Susan, ["Planters of the Commonwealth"]. Children Thomas Jr., Alice, Dorcas, Susan, Anne, John and Mary and went to Boston and Ipswich as part of the Winthrop Fleet. According to C. E. Banks in his book Emigration' of this year, viz: Arbella the flagship, Ambrose, Talbot, Jewel, Charles, Mayflower, William and Francis, Hopewell, Whale, Success and Trial. The first five ships June 13 and following days. The other half of the fleet sailed in May and arrived in July at various dates. Altogether they brought about seven hundred passengers of whom these are included. The question is, are these people from Assington related to Jacob French of the same place at about the same time period? No record of Susan's burial unless the burial of Susan French, the daughter of Jacob French, on August 1, 1613 is in error and she was his wife. No probate records for Jacob have been found in the indexes for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Archdeaconry Courts of Sudbury, of Essex, or the Consistory Court of Norwich. Jacob FRENCH and Susan WARREN were married on 27 September 1578 in Bures, St Mary, Essex, England. found on ancestry.com
The parish of Bures Saint Mary lies straddling the River Stour. Part of the parish is in Suffolk and part in Essex, England. The marriage record for Jacob Frenche and Susan Waren, as well as birth records for children William, Jacob, and Thomas, are found there. The Assington parish is adjacent in Suffolk. Jacob and his wife either moved or changed parishes in about 1585 or 1586. No probate records have been found for Jacob French in the indexes for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Archdeaconry Courts of Sudbury, of Essex, or the Consistory Court of Norwich. S0117 S0220 - Jacob French first appears on record in the parish of Bures Saint Mary, Suffolk, on 27 September 1578 when he and Susan Warren were married. There being no other records of the French family in Bures Saint Mary prior to his marriage, or the rest of the sixteenth century, it seems certain that he came from some neighboring village. About 1585 or 1586, Jacob and Susan either moved from Bures Saint Mary to Assington, or changed their church affiliations, for subsequent records of the family are found in Assington, either in the parish register which starts in 1598, or in the Bishop's transcripts which cover a few years between 1564 and the advent of the parish register
found on ancestry.com