The English Ancestry of William1 Chadbourne
of Kittery, Maine

The surname Chadbourne has several possible origins. It may have a descriptive meaning, such as "Chad's brook," or "Chad's ford," but it is generally thought to denote a person from the village of Chatburn in the parish of Whalley, near Clitheroe, about twenty miles northeast of Preston, Lancashire. At least one other place name in the area bears the prefix "Chad," i.e., Chadswell.

A false clue has long obscured the true ancestry of immigrant William Chadbourne of Kittery, Maine (Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire [Portland, Me.: The Anthoensen Press, 1928-1939 (reprinted Baltimore, 1972)], 134, 651-2). Libby, Noyes, and Davis repeated a speculation that William was from Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, and indeed, a William does appear in the baptismal register for that parish. An exhaustive search of the Winchcombe registers produced nearly one hundred Chadbourne entries between 1595 and 1635 and nineteen distinct Chadbourne families, but failed to reveal a William with children Humphrey and Patience, as seen in the Kittery family. Probably influenced by the Banks manuscripts at the Library of Congress, Libby, Noyes, and Davis went on to mention Tamworth, Staffordshire, a parish about 90 miles north of Winchcombe, in their Chadbourne entry.

That Tamworth was the true origin of the American Chadbournes was communicated sometime before April, 1959, by R.O. Wilson, then living in Richmond, Surrey, England, to the late Fred Babson Chadbourne of New York, New York, who hired Noel Currer-Briggs to look into the matter. Here we find the names Patience, Humprey, and William as children of a William Chadbourne, the exact combination which appears in the records of Maine, and this family disappears from English records at precisely the time we would expect the immigrants to Maine to do so. A short manuscript synopsis of Currer-Briggs' work was compiled by Fred B. Chadbourne in May of 1959 and circulated privately to interested family members.

In 1972 the will of Robert Chadbourne of Tamworth, father of the immigrant William, was abstracted and published by Noel Currer-Briggs on page 80 in his English Wills of Colonial Families, (Cottonport, La.: Polyanthos, 1972). Since that time, several people have published sketchy outlines of the correct Chadbourne pedigree, most notably Helen and Evelyn Stager of Luverne, Minnesota (A Family Odyssey, The Ancestors and Descendants of Joseph Harrison and Ada Belle (Marsh) Stager [Pipestone, Minn.: The Authors, 1983]).

Tamworth straddles the border between Staffordshire and Warwickshire, but since the parish church of St Editha, where William Chadbourne's family was recorded, is in the Staffordshire part of the city, references to Tamworth here will use Staffordshire for consistency. It is noted, however, that Robert Chadbourne, in his will, states his residence as Tamworth in Warwickshire, and it may be that the family resided in that portion of the parish.

The following are abstracts of all Chadbourne entries from the parish registers of the Church of St Editha, Tamworth (Percy W.L. Adams, ed., Staffordshire Parish Registers Society. "Deanery of Tamworth. Tamworth Parish Register. Part I - 1558-1614 [n.p.: all printed, 1917], and from the original parish register thereafter, as noted below.

Tamworth, Staffordshire
Book I - 4 March 1556/7 to 19 July 1614 (all entries mixed)

1575, Aug 21 Thomas, s. of Thomas Chadburne, bpt
1575, Aug 30 Thomas s. of Thomas Chadburne, bur.
1576, Sep 14 Robert, s. of Thomas Chadburne, bur.
1576/7, Jan 28 Robert Chadburn & Margaret Dooley, m
1578, Apr 9 Robert, s. of Robert Chadburne, bpt
1579/80, Feb 15 Margery, d. of Robert Chadburne, bpt
1582, Mar 30 Willm, s. of Robert Chadburne, bpt
1584, June 3 John, s. of Robert Chadburne, bpt
1586/7, Mar 17 Walter Chadborne, Tamworth, bur.
1587, Apr 9 Randall, s. of Robert Chadborne, bpt
1589, Aug 15 Willm Bawdwyn, Chadbornes servant, bur.
1590, May 11 Thomas, s. of Robert Chadborne, bpt
1604, Oct 9 Richard Hewer & Margery Chadburne, m
1609, Oct 8 William Chadburne & Elizabeth Sparry, m
1610, Sep 30 Willm, s. of Willm. Chadburne, bpt
1612, Nov 8 Patience, d. of William Chadburne, bpt

Book I, and others - 19 July 1614 to 31 December 1675 searched


1615, Apr 23 Humfrey, s. of Wm Chadburne
1617/8, Feb 22 Susanna, d. of Wm Chadburne
1619, Sep 6 Edward, s. of Thomas Chadburne
1619, Oct 29 Judeth, d. of John Chadburne
1620, Oct 15 Willm, s. of Wm Chadburne
1622, Sep 25 Anne, d. of Thomas Chadburne
1623, June 1 Robert, s. of Willm Chadburne
1623, Sep 28 Alice, d. of Randall Chadburne
1624/5, Feb 8 Robert, s. of John Chadburne
1625, Mar 29 Walter, s. of Randall Chadburne
1625/6, Jan 1 Eliz & Margarett, ds. of Thomas Chadburne of Wigginton
1627, 9 Dec John, s. of Randell Chadburne of Tamworth
1629, May 24 Margrait, d. of John Chadburne
1629, Aug 9 John & Isabell, children of Thomas Chadburn of Wiginton
1630, June 13 Mary, d. of Randle Chadburne of Tamworth
1632/3, Feb 17 Eliz, d. of Randle Chadburne of Tamworth
1633, July 28 Edward, s. of John Chadburne of Tamworth
1634, Dec 14 Thomas, s. of Tho Chadburn
1635, Apr 19 Sara, d. of Randle Chadburn: Tamworth
1635/6, Mar 20 Alice, d. of John & Jone Chadburne
1636/7, Mar 19 Barbra, d. of Thomas & Ann Chadburn
1638, May 20 Susanah, d. of Randle Chadburn
1642, May 1 Wm, s. of Thom Chadburne
1645, July 27 Sarah, d. of Edward Chadburne Tamw: sould
1646/7, Jan 24 Elizabeth, d. of Edward Chadburne Tamw
1648/9, Mar 7 Samuel, s. of Edward Chadburne
1650, Apr 10 Samuel, s. of Edward Chadborne
1651/2, Jan 24 Ann, d. of Edward Chadburne
1653, Dec 24 Joana, d. of Edward Chadborne was borne
1659/60, Feb 20 Robert, s. of Edward Chadburn was borne
1665, Apr 25 Ester, d. of Walter Chadburne of Tamworth & Margret ux
1669, Sep 12 Frances, d. of Walter Chadburne of Tamworth & Margret ux
1670, Nov 20 Willm, s. of Tho Chadburne of Hoppas & Alice ux


1618, Nov 10 Thomas Chadburne & Anne Mare
1618/9, Jan 21 John Chadburne & Jone Owres
1632, Oct 1 Thomas Chadburne & Anne Bull
1648, Apr 15 Joseph Reignolds & Anne Chadburne
1653, June 1 Randl Fernsworth & Mary Chadbn
1655, June 14 William Smart & Isabell Chadburne both of Wiginton by banns
1656/7, Jan 26 James Jackson of the psh of Dronfield & Susana Chadburn of Tamworth by banns
1662, Apr 8 John Garnet & Alice Chadburne both of Tamworth
1665/6, Feb 27 William Burcher & Barbara Chadburne
1671/2, Feb 8 John Ling & Johanna Chadburne

Marriage Banns

1654, Sep 24 William Battman sherman & Margret Chadboorne
both of Tameworth 3rd and last time


1616, Apr 18 William, s. of William Chadburne
1618, Apr 26 Susanna Chadburne infant
1622, Dec 16 Robert Chadburne of Tamworth
1625/6, Jan 18 Margarett, d. of Thos Chadborn
1626, Sep 23 Margery Chadburne widdow Tamworth
1626/7, Jan 19 Robt, s. of Willm Chadburne of Tamworth
1629, June 9 Elizabeth, d. of Tho Chadburn
1630, June 26 Alice, d. of Randle Chadburne: Tamworth
1632, June 10 Anne, w. of Thomas Chadburne of Wigenton
1633, July 11 D. of Thomas Chadburne of Wiginton
1638/9, Mar 20 Sara, d. of Randle Chadburn of Tam
1647, May 3 The body of John s. of Randle Chadburn of Tam
1649, Apr 18 The body of Samuel s. of Ed Chadburn
1649, Apr 24 The body of a child of Edeth Chadburn - a bastard
1649, Sep 19 The body of Ann wife of Tho Chadburn
1650, May 30 The body of Elizah wife of Edward Chadburn
1650, Dec 5 Samuel, s. of Edward Chadbon
1652, Aug 31 The body of Mary the wife of Randle Chadbourne of Tamworth
1653, Aug 23 The body of Randle Chadborne
1653, Sep 17 Eedeth, d. of widow Chadburne
1660, May 4 Ann, d. of Edward Chadburne of Tamworth
1660/1, Feb 2 Edward Chadburne of Tamworth weaver
1644, May 17 Mary d. of widdow Chadburne of Tamw
1664/5, Jan 1 Sarah, d. of Walter Chadburne of Tamworth
1664/5, Jan 14 A female child of Edward Chadburne
1667, Oct 28 Joane Chadburne of Tamworth widdow
1672, Sep 19 Thomas Chadburne of Hoppa
1673, Apr 29 Mary, d. of Thomas Chadburne of Hoppas

My search has turned up a most extraordinary account which gives us a rare insight into the background of the Chadbourne family. In The Book of John Fisher, Town Clerk and Deputy Recorder of Warwick 1580-1588, transcribed and edited by Thomas Kemp, Deputy-Mayor of Warwick, 1900, we find a very informative deposition by Robert Chadbourne, father of the immigrant, which survives in this day-to-day diary of a judicial officer. This rare manuscript shows the range of cases seen in the late 1500s before the justices of the peace, everything from horse stealing and complaints about beggars to the imposition of sanctions against Catholic recusants (report of John S. Griffiths to the writer, then the date 3 Sep 1985).

By the Act of Uniformity, Elizabeth I decreed that all persons were to attend church on Sundays and Holy Days or pay 12d per offense. Persons over 16 who defied this Act were fined 20 for every month of absence (The Book of John Fisher, 115). The deposition reads as follows:

primo die novembris Anno xxiiijo of Rne Elizabethe [1582] coram humfrid Crane Johni Fisher et Thome Powell

Robart Chadborne borne in Lancashire in Preston in Andens a Sawer being examyned when he was at the church to heare dyvyne servise saiith, That he was in the church at Tonworth within this half yere or there about in the company of one Richard dolphyn & many more only to goo through the church But he saith that he was not in any church to hear dyvyn servyce the space of foure or fyve yeres or there about as he remembreth.

And being askid whie he wold not come to the church he saith yt was bycause his father and mother brought him up in the tyme of King henry the eight and then there was other order And he myndith to observe that order and to serve the lord god above all things.

Being askid what is in the church that he mislikith, or thinkith is not wth the service of god he answreth that he praith the hearers to pardon him for he will say no more.

Being demaundid whither he thinks that the Quenes maty Q. Elizabeth is supreme governor over all causes as well ecclesiasticall or tmpall within this Realme of England he answeereth that he thinkiith so.

Being damaundid whither the quenes mats ought to be obeyed in those lawes that she makith and that those lawes which be made by her ought to be obsved and kept as well in matters ecclesiasticall as tempall, he aunswereth That first he is afrayd to displease god above all things. And then afraide to displease his mighty prynce.

Being demaundid whither the order set downe and agreed uppon & comaundid by the quenes maty to be & that is now comonly used in the Church of Englond is acording to gods institutyon or as it ought to be. he aunswerith that it is against his conscyens.

Being offred to be set at libtye upon condycion that he will this night goo to the church and resort to the church in the tyme of dyvyne sruice & sermons uppon Saboath and holy dayes he utterly refusith it & will not doo yt
(The Book of John Fisher..., pp. 114-115).


From his deposition, we learn that Robert Chadbourne was born in Preston, Lancashire, and brought up in the reign of Henry VIII. There are virtually no Lancashire wills prior to 1550, and although many were indexed in the 19th century, some have gone missing since that date. Many were transported to Richmond in open carts in 1748 and more than 10,000 were lost, large numbers disappearing when at least one cart overturned in Wensleydale. Almost all from the deanery of Amounderness were lost (Anthony J. Camp, Wills and Their Whereabouts [Bridge Place, near Canterbury: The Society of Genealogists, 1963], 35). Eight wills and administrations for Chadbournes between 1550-1650 were indexed, and those extant have been examined. The most promising was that of Thomas Chatburne of Elswick in the parish of St Michael on Wyre. Not only was it near Preston and in the Deanery of Amounderness, it also named a son Robert. No further supporting information has been found and it has been impossible to reliably connect this Thomas with our Robert from existing records.

This will is badly damaged and a large part of the right side of the sheet has been torn away. It is dated 7 July (possibly 1560), but the year is missing (presumably torn away); it was proved that year, but the probate clause is absent. A short abstract of the names found in the surviving fragment of this will was made by Dr. Alan G. Crosby of Preston, Lancashire, as follows:

1560 Thomas Chatburne of Elswick, parish of St Michael on Wyre, Deanery of Amounderness, Lancashire

Robert Ballard
son Robert Chatburne to be sole executor
witnesses: ...Kyrkby, Robert Ballard, Thomas Brown
a list of debts owed to the deceased names the following:
Edward Turner of Crossbrake (?)
William Swartbrecke of Risicar
Robert Horneby
Robert Ballard
Richard Bond
Thomas Browne
Henry Kyrkebye
John Cotton

The will of Katherine Chatburne of Elswick, probated in 1561, might be that of Thomas' widow, but this will has been missing for many years and not even an abstract survives. There are no manorial court records for Elswick at the Lancashire Record Office.

Some of the papers of the Earls of Derby are deposited there, but no mention of Chadbournes is to be found among them.

The absence of Preston parish registers for the 16th century made it impossible to follow the family of Robert Chadbourne there. The registers of St John, Preston, the only church there in the 16th century, do not begin until 1611, and the Bishop's Transcripts only date from 1616. The parish registers of St Michael on Wyre do not start until 1659. Parishes adjacent to the latter were checked for Chadbournes, and although a few were found, none seemed relevant.

A thorough search of the Tamworth parish registers shows very few people named Chadbourne, but all appear to have been related. The repetition of the names Thomas, Walter, and Robert among each group supports this conclusion.

A. ROBERTA CHADBOURNE, born Preston, Lancashire, probably 1530s or later; buried Tamworth, Staffordshire, 16 December 1622; married there 28 January 1576/7, MARGARET DOOLEY who, as "Margery Chadburne widdow" was buried there on 23 September 1626. Her parentage has not been discovered.

Despite being married in the Anglican church and allowing his children to be baptized there, it is clear from the deposition in John Fisher's book that Robert Chadbourne was a Roman Catholic. He clearly states that he was raised in the time of Henry VIII when there was a "different order" (officially-sanctioned Roman Catholicism). Henry reigned from 1509 to 1547 and declared the new order in 1537. There was considerable religious confusion at this time, and the subsequent reigns of Edward VI and his sister Mary did little to settle the matter. It was not until Elizabeth I succeeded to the throne in 1558 that things began to stabilize and the "new order" was identifiable. Robert Chadbourne may well have been referring to the "time of Henry VIII" in a very broad sense since, if he was truly brought up in that reign, he was unusually old at the time of his marriage.

We get few clues about the status of Robert's family. From his deposition we know that he was a sawyer. The Preston Guild Merchant kept reliable records, updated every twenty years. These records were published and edited by W.A. Abram in 1882, but neither Robert nor anyone of the surname Chadbourne appears on the rolls.

The burial on 15 August 1589 of William Bawdwyn, "Chadbornes servant," indicates that the household was at least of a size to support one servant.

Will of Robert Chadburne

Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 14 Dec 1622

In the name of God Amen In the yeare of or Lord god 1622 in the xxth yeare of the Raigne of or Sovraigne Lord king James the xiiijth day of December &c. I Robert Chadburne of Tamworth in the County of Warwicke Carpenter beinge sicke in bodie yet thanks be to god in good and parfit Remembrance remembringe the uncrtayne hower of Death Doe ordayne and make this to be my Last will & Testamt in manner and forme Followinge First I give & bequeath my soule to Almightie god and my bodie to be buried in Tamworth church yarde Item I give & bequeath unto Margret my wyfe all my worldlie goods wch I possesse moveable & unmoveable payinge unto evry one of my chilldren xijd apeece And alsoe that my sonne Randulphe and his wife shall have hold & quietlie enioye the one halfe of the house and Backeside Wt my aforesaid wife duringe the tearme of my Lease wthout any let or molestation And yf it happen that my wiffe duringe this tyme wch I have in my house shoulde be so mynded to sett or assigne over hir tyme wch is yet to come that then it shall be Lawfull for my Sonne Randulphe to have the refuse of the same givinge as another should give Alsoe I do ordayne & make to be my overseers of this my will to be Pformed Christopher Wilcox & my sonne William Chadburne Wittnesse unto the same

/s/ Christopher Wilcox
/s/ William Rutter

fuit administrato scdum tenorum testamenti suprascripti Margarete Chadborne Relici & c.

Commissio mro Johanni Oldacre Clico Currato de Tamworth. Ob: dca Margareta Chadborne de Tamworth in Com Warw vide et Ranulphus Chadborne de ead Carpenter.

Ro. Master.

Entry from the Administration Act Book

Apud 31 dei decembris Ao Dni 1622. Comissa fuit administraco bonorum Robti Chadburni dum vixit paroch Tamworth defuncti Margarete eius Relict iurat curam mro Johanne Oldacres Jurat ibm &c Ad administrand ead iuxa tenorem testamti dci def lris administrator annex &c.


The Imventtory of the goods and Cattaile of Roberte Chadburne of Tamworth Latte decessed preseid by Thomas Righte Copper Thomas Egginton day laborer as Followithe

First his parrell
0 -10s-0
Itm his linnene
2 -3s-4d
Itm his beadinge
1 -0 -0
Itm all hiss wooden Stuffe
1 -3s-4d
Itm his Tulls and all yorne [iron] stuffe
0 -16s-8d
Itm peutter & brasse
1 -10s-0
Itm a smalle lease of a house
1 -10s-0
Itm Cowe
1 -10s-0
Itm part of a pigge
0 -4s-0
Some-10 -7s-4d
Thomas Right
his marke
Thomas Egginton
his marke
Children, all baptized in Tamworth, Staffordshire, surname CHADBOURNE:

i. ROBERT1, bpt 9 Apr 1578; no further record.

ii. MARGERY, bpt 15 Feb 1579/80; m Tamworth 9 Oct 1604 RICHARD HEWER. Children, all bpt Tamworth, surname Hewer: 1. Alice, bpt 1 May 1605. 2. Margaret, bpt 11 Nov 1606; bur there 27 Dec 1606. 3. Richard, bpt 27 Dec 1607. 4. Robert, bpt 26 Nov 1609. 5. Elizabeth, bpt 29 June 1611. 6. Thomas, bpt 23 Apr 1613. 7. John, bpt 14 Aug 1618.

1. iii. WILLIAM, bpt 30 Mar 1582, became the emigrant to North America (q.v.).

iv. JOHN, bpt 3 June 1584; m Tamworth, 21 Jan 1618/9 JONE OWRES, bur Tamworth 28 Oct. 1667. If Jone is the widow Chadbourne mentioned in the burial of Edith Chadbourne, then John was deceased before 17 Sep 1653. Children, all bpt Tamworth, surname Chadbourne: 1. Judeth, bpt 29 Oct 1619. 2. Robert, bpt 8 Feb 1624/5. 3. (perhaps) Edith, bur there 17 Sep 1653. 4. Margaret, bpt 24 May 1629. 5. Edward, bpt 28 July 1633. 6. Alice, bpt 20 Mar 1635/6.

v. RANDALL/RANDULPHE, bpt 9 Apr 1587; bur Tamworth 23 Aug 1653; m MARY _____, who was bur. in Tamworth 31 Aug 1652. Children, all bpt Tamworth, surname Chadbourne: 1. Alice, bpt 28 Sep 1623, bur. there 26 June 1630. 2. Walter, bpt 29 Mar 1625. 3. John, bpt 9 Dec 1627, bur there 3 May 1647. 4. Mary, bpt 13 June 1630. 5. Elizabeth, bpt 17 Feb 1632/3. 6. Sara, bpt 19 Apr 1635, bur. there 20 Mar 1638/9. 7.Susanah, bpt 20 May 1638.

vi. THOMAS, bpt 11 May 1590; m1 Tamworth 10 Nov 1618 ANN MARE, who was bur. there 10 June 1632; m2 there 1 Oct 1632 ANNE BULL, who was bur Tamworth 19 Sep 1649. By the burial of his first wife in 1632, he was of Wigginton, a chapelry of Tamworth, one mile and three quarters north of the town. Children by his first wife, all bpt Tamworth, surname Chadbourne: 1. Edward, bpt 6 Sep 1619. 2. Anne, bpt 25 Sep 1622. 3. Elizabeth [twin], bpt 1 Jan 1625/6, bur there 9 June 1629. 4. Margaret [twin], bpt 1 Jan 1625/6, bur there 18 Jan 1625/6. 5. John (twin), bpt 9 Aug 1629. 6. Isabel (twin), bpt 9 Aug 1629. Children by his second wife, all bpt Tamworth, surname Chadbourne: 7. daughter, bur there 11 July 1633. 8. Thomas, bpt 14 Dec 1634. 9. Barbra, bpt 19 Mar 1636/7. 10. William, bpt 1 May 1642.

THOMASA CHADBOURNE, his marriage and further career are unknown. He is a contemporary and possibly a sibling of Robert. Two of his children are seen in the Tamworth parish register.

Children, surname CHADBOURNE:

i. THOMAS, bpt 21 Aug 1575; bur 30 Aug 1575.

ii. ROBERT, bur. 14 Sep 1576.

WALTERA CHADBOURNE, buried Tamworth 17 Mar 1586/7, was possibly a sibling of Robert, or some other adult relative. The first-born son of Robert's son, Randall, was named Walter, as well (q.v.).

Research in England was funded through contributions by John Carleton Chadbourne, George Freeman Sanborn Jr., Theodore Saunders Chadbourne, Mrs Jack T Bennett, and the English Research Fund of the Chadbourne Family Association, to which many members generously donated. Searches were conducted in English records by John S Griffiths and Dr Alan G Crosby. Records in Salt Lake City, Utah, were searched by Gordon L Remington. Useful conversations with Jerome E Anderson, Melinde Lutz Sanborn, George Freeman Sanborn Jr, and Robert Charles Anderson are acknowledged. By prior agreement of the Chadbourne Family Association, a similar presentation of the English ancestry of William Chadbourne may be found in the July/October 1993 issue of The New Hampshire Genealogical Record.
Contributed by George Freeman Sanborn, Jr, F.A.S.G.
of New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury St, Boston, MA.

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