In today’s post I’ll continue my recent theme of focusing on ancestors who were early immigrants to the future United States. I’ll be purposefully focusing on details of the immigrants’ lives before they arrived in the New World, and will address their activities once here in another post.
Stockdale Coddington was baptized on March 8, 1570, in Saint Mary the Virgin Church in the village of Bletchingley, in Surrey county, England. Thus we can surmise that he was born somewhere within Bletchingley Parish in late February or early March, 1570. Stockdale was the third-born child and eldest son of the four children born to James Quidington (1530–1606) and Joan Stockdale (ca. 1537–1612). Quidington was a common Surrey variant spelling of Coddington, along with Cuddington and Quedinton.
1570 was 449 years ago, which may be hard to conceptualize for non-historians. To help you visualize England in 1570, here are a few guideposts: Elizabeth I had been queen of England for a dozen years, Pope Pius V had just excommunicated Queen Elizabeth (on February 25, 1570), Thomas Tallis was a 65-year-old composer, and William Shakespeare was not yet six years old (not until about April, 1570). The King James Bible would not be published for another 41 years. It would be another 12 years until England tried to colonize the new world (unsuccessfully, at Roanoke from 1584 to 1589), and 37 years before England founded its first successful colony in the New World—Jamestown in 1607. The voyage of the Mayflower was still 50 years in the future.
According to the system of “hundreds” set up by the Anglo-Saxons and used until Victorian times, the market village of Bletchingley was in Tandridge Hundred in the southeastern corner of the county, and was the focal point of Bletchingley Parish. Tandridge Hundred has survived essentially unchanged (in terms of boundaries, parishes, and settlements) from its listing in the Domesday Book in 1086 until the present day. Bletchingley Parish covers an area of approximately 9 square miles (5,790 acres or 2,342 hectares), so it within this area that the Coddingtons had their home, probably within the village proper rather than in the surrounding farmlard (I’ll come back to this in a bit).
Surrey is a county in southeast England, just to the south of Greater London. It is a rural, landlocked region that has been sparsely settled from prehistoric times until early modern times. Topographically and historically, Surrey was blanketed with a dense forest (the Surrey Weald) on its southern borders, and had low, rolling chalk hills further north. The village of Bletchingley, located atop an east-west ridge in these rolling hills, was first settled in Anglo-Saxon times (probably around 600–800 AD). The name “Bletchingley” is believed to derive from the fuller’s earth soil in the region that was used for bleaching.
The village of Bletchingley itself is remarkably preserved, in part because it was never reached by railroad or modern highways. The Norman church from about 1090 AD (pictured above) is beautifully preserved, as are timber-framed houses from the late Middle Ages (pictured below in 1900) and a few other buildings that would have been familiar to the Coddingtons in 1570, including the Bletchingley Farmhouse once owned by Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. The church would have had a spire atop the square tower in 1570, but it was destroyed by lightning in 1606 and was never rebuilt. Bletchingley Castle was once one of four castles in Surrey, but it was demolished after the Battle of Lewes in 1264. At least two pubs in Bletchingley Parish (The Whyte Harte and The Bell) survive from the late 1300s and are still open as of 2019. They would have already been nearly 200 years old when Stockdale visited them, if indeed he ever did.
From at least the time of the Domesday Book (and probably extending back into the Anglo-Saxon period), all of the land in Tandridge Hundred was owned by members of English nobility rather than by those who worked and lived on the land. In the Domesday Book, Richard of Tonebridge owned all of the land of ‘Tenrige Hundred.’ The manor of Bletchingley was given by Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves in 1540 until her death in 1557. Anne had made Thomas Cawarden keeper of the manor, and he was the owner when he died in 1559. His executors sold the land in 1560 to William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham. Howard would have been the landowner from the time of Stockdale’s birth until Howard’s death 45 years later in 1615 (see this excellent parliamentary history of Bletchingley for more details).
A significant clue as to whether Stockdale grew up in the village or in the surrounding countryside can be found in the occupation of his father, James Coddington. According to research done by the famous American genealogist John Insley Coddington (very helpfully, also a Coddington cousin), James was an innkeeper at Bletchingley from about 1567 until his death in 1606.
If Stockdale Coddington had been born in or near town, he would have had a chance to go to the free Bletchingley Grammar School on Stychens Lane, founded on September 8, 1566. Rents from the land were put into a fund to hire a school master to educate any children born in Bletchingley. The original school was rather short-lived, as the rents did not cover the necessary expenses. It’s not clear when the school fell into disarray and became an almshouse, but the original free school didn’t seem to have survived much more than a decade or two.
What we do know about Stockdale is that he did not spend his entire life in his childhood home of Bletchingley. While both of his parents lived in Bletchingley from about 1567 onwards, Stockdale spent only his childhood there. I do not know why (or even exactly when) he left his childhood home, but his future profession may give a clue. Stockdale was a barber and a surgeon, so it is possible that even a brief education at the Bletchingley Grammar School gave Stockdale the tools (especially reading) and ambition to pursue a career in the surgical arts. Alternatively, living in an inn that would host travelers—perhaps even traveling barber-surgeons—may have influenced him as well.
According to an unpublished manuscript by John Insley Coddington,
Stockdale was a barber-surgeon who probably practiced in London 1591-1595, and may have served his apprenticeship in the Company of Barber-Surgeons (records destroyed in Great Fire of 1666). Barber-surgeons were not doctors because they had no university degrees, but they were men of many talents: they cleaned wounds, amputated arms or legs when necessary, shaved men and trimmed their beards, pulled bad teeth, applied leeches to anything that looked infected, and were not only useful but indispensable citizens.
Stockdale moved to London around 1591, but whether he moved there directly from Bletchingley or first resided in Reigate (a village about 5 miles west of Bletchingley), I do not know. Using Occam’s razor (doubly appropriate not only because of the barber reference, but also because William of Occam was from Ockham, another small Surrey village), let’s assume that Stockdale moved to London directly from Bletchingley around 1591, when he was about 21 years old. As barber-surgeons learned their profession by apprenticeship, Stockdale would have chosen to move to London as a single man to apprentice under a member of the Company of Barbers and Surgeons. Once his multi-year apprenticeship was over and he could join the Company and work on his own, he then appears to have moved to Reigate, where he met the woman he would marry.
On February 23, 1594/1595, a 24-year-old Stockdall Quedinton married Frances Ismangale in London. The parish register (pictured below courtesy of the London Metropolitan Archives) notes them as both being “of Reigate in Surrey.”
The young couple were married in the medieval parish church of St. Dionis Backchurch (pictured below in 1839) in the Langbourn ward of the City of London. The church that Stockdale and Frances were married in was built at some point before 1288. It would have already been at least 300 years old by the time of their wedding. The medieval church of their wedding was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Sir Christopher Wren’s rebuilt church survived until it was demolished in 1878. The modern church of St. Dionis (located six straight-line miles away in Parson’s Green) bears no relation to the original St. Dionis Backchurch other than having been built with proceeds from the sale of the original church site. The original medieval church they were married in is roughly where the modern Gap store is located on Gracechurch Road in the City of London.
After marrying, Stockdale and Frances moved to Dorking (about 10½ miles west of Bletchingley, and about 6 miles west of Reigate). The couple had two or perhaps three children together—all daughters—between 1595 and 1599. All of their daughters were born in Dorking and at least two died young. Frances also died tragically young, and was buried in Dorking on November 21, 1599. She was only about 25 years old at the time of her death.
On March 25, 1600, 30-year-old Stockdale married 19-year-old Sarah Wood of Dorking (see parish record below).
They married in the Church of St. Martin of Tours in Dorking. The St. Martin’s in which Stockdale and Sarah were married was built in the 11th century to replace an even older church on that site. Although the church was heavily refurbished in the 19th century, parts of the church they were married in still survive in the church that stands on that site today.
Before I continue, let me clarify Old Style and New Style dates, because this very issue has confused several previous researchers studying early seventeeth century Coddington family history. Stockdale and Sarah Coddington were married on March 25, 1600. This was not just any date—this was the start of the calendar year and the first day of a new century in Elizabethan England (and most of the rest of Europe and its colonies as well). The day before March 25, 1600, was March 24, 1599. Of course, we now consider January 1 to be the first day of the calendar year, and that’s why genealogists and historians use a system of “double dates” for dates between January 1 and March 24 during this historical period. A double date like “February 1, 1610/1611” indicates that February 1 would have been considered to be near the end of 1610 in the Old Style, but near the beginning of 1611 in the New Style.
Why does this matter? Well, because Stockdale had a daughter named Mary who was christened on February 15, 1600/1601. There are no records of her birth, but typically christenings were about a week after birth, so we can assume a birth date of about February 8, 1600/1601. But who was her mother? The church records only give her father’s name. Stockdale’s first wife Frances was buried in Dorking on November 21, 1599. Typically burials were a day to a few days after death, depending on the religious leanings of the family. Stockdale didn’t marry his second wife (Sarah) until March 25, 1600. Given a familiarity with Old Style dating, we can now see that daughter Mary’s christening on February 15, 1600 (according to parish records; or February 15, 1600/1601 as genealogists would write it) is 10 months and 22 days after their wedding date—plenty of time to have a child. So Mary was definitely Stockdale and Sarah’s first child.
Stockdale and Sarah appear to have had twelve children together—nine boys and three girls, all of whom appear to have been born and baptized in Dorking. Besides Mary, whom I’ve already discussed, the only other Coddington child I’ll look at in this post is their eldest son and third-born child, John Coddington, my 10th-great-grandfather. John was baptized on May 26, 1605, as recorded in the original parish register (pictured below):
Sarah Coddington died in Dorking on March 25, 1621, at the age of 39, leaving Stockdale with as many as 11 surviving children. While Sarah is the matriarch of the Surrey Coddington family that came to America, she never left her native England.
On November 23, 1622, Stockdale married Hannah Taylor in Dorking, and she appears to have stepped quickly into the role of stepmother to Stockdale’s surviving minor children.
In 1631, Stockdale’s oldest son, 25-year-old John Coddington, was mentioned in the will of his brother-in-law Raphe Dalton, of Dorking, on June 19, 1631. John Coddington witnessed that will, indicating that he was still in Dorking as of summer, 1631. Raphe was the husband of John’s older half sister Mary Coddington (through Stockdale’s first wife, Frances Ismangale). Raphe Dalton wrote his will just two and a half years after he and Mary were married in Dorking (on February 2, 1629).
On April 8, 1635, Stockdale’s 33-year-old son John and John’s 33-year-old wife Mary were included on the passenger list for the Suzan and Ellen, which sailed from London around March 1635, bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony (their names were given as “Jo: Corrington” and “Mary Corrington”). In all, there were 92 passengers aboard the Suzan and Ellen. The ship’s master made the following statement on the passenger list on the day John and Mary were listed:
Theis under written names are to be transported to New England imbarqued in the Suzan and Ellin Edward Payne Mr. The p’;ties have brought Certificates from ye Ministers and Justices of the peace of they are no Subsedy men: and are conformable to ye orders and discipline of the Church of England.
Beginning in February 1634, ship’s captains were required by Archbishop Laud’s Commission not to allow “subsidy men” (men wealthy enough to be assessed in a tax subsidy) to depart without special license from the Commission, nor to allow less wealthy men to depart without affidavits from two justices of the peace and their local minister attesting to their loyalty to the king and the English church.
John and Mary’s names are listed 88th and 89th on a list of 92 people made by Master Edward Payne, and the occupations of the last 10 people on this list were unfortunately omitted.
We unfortunately know nothing more about the voyage or their arrival, other than that the Suzan and Ellen’s port of arrival in the New World was Salem, Massachusetts.
John’s father Stockdale, his stepmother Hannah, and the rest of the Coddington siblings appear to have stayed back in England, at least for the time being. Stockdale and Hannah did eventually travel to the New World, but none of the other Coddington siblings made the voyage.
Shortly after arriving, John and Mary Coddington settled in Boston, about 15 miles southwest of Salem. Sometime within the first decade of her arrival in Massachusetts, Mary died without apparently having had any children with John (although John has a daughter named Mary who was born in 1646, which better fits the time frame of his first wife. In any case, daughter Mary died in 1650 and John Coddington was left without wife or children in the Boston.
It is not known exactly when Stockdale and his wife Hannah came to America. A date of 1644 has been traditionally cited (e.g., in Farmer 1829; Colket 1975), presumably because Hannah is known to have died in Roxbury, Massachusetts in May (or July) 1644, but their migration was probably earlier than 1644. One bit of evidence in support of an earlier date is the fact that his wife Hannah received a bequest in 1643 from Elizabeth Hobbert in New England. To receive the bequest she would presumably have already been in America.
Possibly because his son John had settled in Boston, Stockdale and Hannah initially settled in Roxbury, a town about about three miles southwest of Boston. Stockdale’s wife Hannah (described as “an ancient woman”) died of apoplexy (stroke) in July 1644 (and according to Pope 1908 was buried on July 20, 1644). After Hannah’s death, Stockdale moved one final time. After his wife died, he left Roxbury, Massachusetts, for Hampton, New Hampshire, about 45 miles northeast of Boston. Hampton was initially settled in 1638, so it was less than ten years old when Stockdale arrived. He was certainly in Hampton by Fall 1648, as he bought land there on “20 (10) 1648” (which could be December 20 or October 20, depending on the calendar system being used). It was in Hampton that he wrote his last will and testament, which was proved on February 11, 1650, shortly after he died in January or February 1650.
John Coddington was the administrator of his father’s estate, and he immediately sold his father’s land in New Hampshire, apparently to pay for expenses related to his father’s care and funeral.
By 1650, then, John Coddington found himself rather alone. His wife had died, as had his 3-to-4-year-old daughter Mary. His mother Sarah died in England more than a decade before he came to the New World, and his stepmother Hannah died in Roxbury in 1646. The rest of his siblings had remained back in England.
At the age of 45 years, with no family and no heirs, John married an 18-year-old midwife named Emma (or “Emm” as she is referred to in most records). Had he decided to call it quits, his entire Coddington line in America (including me and thousands of others) would not exist.
John and Emm had two children together—a girl and a boy. Daughter Sarah was born in Boston on October 4, 1651, but died on November 8, 1656, at just five years old. Son John Coddington was born in Boston on February 9, 1653/1654. John junior would go on to live a long and prosperous life. John senior was known to family historians then and now as “John of Boston.” John junior moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey, as is known as “John of Woodbridge.” John of Woodbridge served two month-long terms in King Phillip’s War, became a weaver, and was one of the early settlers of Woodbridge.
John senior lived out his life in Boston, dying there on August 18, 1655. An inventory of his estate was taken shortly thereafter and I’ll present it here to give a window into his life:
An inventory of the good and chattells of John Coddington deceased 27 August 1655 [sic] prized by us whose names are underwritten.
£ s d
Imprimis 20 lbs of Cotton wooll prized at 1 – –
Item, severall pieces of pewter 1 10 –
2 brasse potts, 2 skilletts, 2 posnetts
1 kettle, 1 iron mortar, 1 frying pan
1 spit, one warming pan, + other trifles
in the buttery and brasse mortar 5 10 –
2 old swords & 1 pike 1 – –
1 age, 1 saw, 1 pair of pinsheares, 1 hammer – 6 –
glazier’s tools 1 – –
fire pan, cobiron tongs + trammel – 10 –
2 bills due for debt 9 17 –
1 piece of canvas 7 3 –
3 chests, 2 boxes, 1 trunck + 3 chairs 2 – –
1 piece of cotton + linen cloth 1 10 –
things in the sea chest es wee are informed – 5 –
2 Tables, 1 forme, + 1 joyne stoole 1 – –
bookes + several things 3 10 –
a frame of window and glasse – 7 –
2 barbers razors, 2 basons, 1 towel – 7 –
1 comb, 1 glasse for powder + a case for them – 5 7
5 gally potts
6 lbs of lead (1s bd.), of pewter (5 s.) – 6 6
6 ells of Lockrum (12 s.), 6 yards of housewife’s cloth 1 2 –
Item 1 pr. of gloves, 1 pr. of shooes – 8 –
Item 1 prspective glasse – 2 –
Item 1 old pr. & 1 new pr. of hoase – 7 –
Item 1 stuffe suit 1 10 –
Item 1 yard of stuffe – 5 –
Item 3 silver spoones with some broken silver + 1 gold ring 2 – –
Item Cash 9 12 –
Item 1 pr. of bootes + spurres + looking glass – 10 –
The sea chest is prized among the three
chests, but what is in it wee know note, + it
havening beene at sea, wee know not whether
the things therein are any thing worth or
not but that she hath prmissed, when
she understands she will bring in the value
of them to ye Recorder.
Witness our handes
At a meeting of the Magistrates 13 Sept. 1655, Power
of Administration to the Estate of John Coddington
deceased is granted to Emm his late wife.
Emm Coddington the same day deposed before ye
Magister that this was the true inventory of
the estate of her late Husband, John Coddington,
to the best of her knowledge + that when she
knows more, she will discover it.
That’s all for this post. There is a surprisingly large amount of things I had to leave out to keep this from getting even longer. One of those things is the unexpected link between the Coddingtons and the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. You may have recognized Dorking from other reading you’ve done about the Mayflower passengers. Several of the Mayflower passengers, including my ancestors Priscilla Mullins and her father William Mullins also spent large portions of their English lives in Dorking. In fact, there is surviving evidence that John Coddington and William Mullins knew each other from their time in Dorking. I’ll save this tidbit and others for future posts.