English Heritage

Philip Shaddock
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Medieval wool merchants

On the Celtic Origin page I discuss the DNA evidence that identifies Shattockes and our genetic cousins the Parrishs and Byars as descendants of Alpine La Tène Celts from southern Germany and Switzerland and Pontic steppe ancestors before that. The evidence indicates we were immigrants to England sometime between 400 BC and 1400 AD, with the weight of the evidence indicating arrival in England in the late 14th century, early 15th century. Records in the middle of the 15th century indicate a presence in two villages in Somerset, Bishop's Hull and Stogumber. Shattockes spread to other Somerset villages, as far west as North Molton in north Devon. By the late 16th century Shattockes are found as far east as London, along the coast of Dorset and Devon and as far north as Bristol. In the early 17th century we spread to the Americas. In the late 18th century and early 19th century we spread to Canada and Australia.

On this page I present the story of the Shattockes in England, from the beginning of written records until the massive diaspora of Shattockes to the English colonies. We were a wandering horde.

Our Ancestors in West Somerset

The case is pretty strong for west Somerset as the homeland of all the scattered Shattocks, Shattucks, Shaddocks, Shaddicks, Shadducks and other name variants around the world. There are virtually no Shattockes that show up in the earliest parish records north of Bridgwater, Somerset, south of Bampton and east of Taunton. There are no 16th century or earlier records of the family further south in England or in Dorset. There are no records of Shattockes in the middle or north England. There are no records of Shattocks born in London before 1550.


Somerset is shown outlined in red. The Shattockes are found in western Somerset.

The next graphic shows where Shattockes are found in documents from the middle of the 15th century (Stogumber and Bishop's Hull). Also shown is how the villages distribute in the late 16th century and early 17th century. Villages that had Shattocke families in the 16th century are dated in red color. Notice that there was a family of Shattocks who had moved to London by the late 16th century. 

Although parish records were mandated in 1538, many parishes did not begin record keeping until much later. The villages are concentrated in the area west and north of the town of Taunton, up the Tone valley and further north to the area around Stogumber and as far west as North Molton on the border between Somerset and Devon.The distance between Tuanton and Stogumber, near the top of the map, is only about 10 miles (15 km). The distance from North Molton on the far left and Taunton on the far right is 30 miles (50 km). 

There are only about a dozen villages where families are found in the 16th century. They cluster up around Stogumber, Staplegrove, Milverton and Bampton. There is a family in North Molton across the Exmoor on the border with Devon and there are a couple of villages with Shattocke families north of Bridgwater. There are no villages south or east of Taunton or east of Wellington. 

It is the case that the common ancestor of Shattockes lived about 1420 A.D. at a time when the population was fairly static on a comparative basis. You would expect Shattockes to originate from the area where they are most dense. That is certainly true of west Somerset, but can the point of origin be narrowed down even more? Parish records are actually pretty good for Somerset although they sputtered into existence from 1538 until well after 1600. There is a very good indication of where Shattocks are found in west Somerset in the form of a compulsory oath men eighteen and older had to swear to officials in villages. It is called the Protestation Oath of 1641-1642. Males had to swear an oath of allegiance "to live and die for the true Protestant religion, the liberties and rights of subjects and the privilege of Parliaments." In effect it acted as a very reliable census of English males at the time. The Protestation Return shows the following number of Shattocks.


The Protestation Returns show Shattocks over the age of 18 living in ten villages in west Somerset, plus two areas in Devon (villages near North Molton and Culmstock), one in Virginia (a Shaddock who the Byars and Parrishs are descended from), 2 in New England (William and Samuel Shattuck pilgrims), 1 in Dorset and 1 in London. Shattockes (including Byars and Parrishs) living today descend from some of these individuals. 

What can we conclude from this "census" of Shattocks in 1641-2? That Stogumber has the largest population of Shattocks when you add in the nearby villages that probably housed Stogumber expatriates, and especially when you factor in William Shattuck of Watertown, Massachusetts, who was born in Stogumber and Jasper Shattock of Nether Stowey, who was born in Stogumber. Crowcombe and West Bagborough are only a few miles from Stogumber, making 12 of the 34 Shattocks over the age of 18 living or born within walking distance of each other. The second largest concentration of Shattocks was in north Devon in the villages of North Molton, South Molton, Molland and Yarnscombe, all descendants from a North Molton founder. 

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there was only 34 Shattocke males over the age of 18 in the world in 1642. The 14 to 15 thousand Shattockes (Byars and Parrishs) alive today are descended from some but not all those 34 individuals. (This is an estimate of the number of Shattockes with the different forms of the surname, and including the Byars, Byas and Parrishs who are descended from a Shattocke ancestor.)

Major Shattock Villages in Somerset Early History


Stogumber today is a tiny village well off the beaten track. But it had the largest population of Shattocks in the world in the middle of the 16th century and almost certainly earlier. 

The earliest records of Shattockes anywhere in the world are found in the villages of Bishop's Hull (now a suburb of Taunton) and Stogumber, ten miles apart, separated by the Tone valley in west Somerset.There is Thomas Shattocke, on the 1450 tenant's list for the Taunton Manor and Roger Shattock (1450), a cloth merchant in Stogumber who was robbed in 1454.

A century later parish, legal and tax records indicate that Shattockes had spread over a wider area. There was a William Shattocke who married Alice Lewse in Stogumber in 1560. There was a Samuel Shattocke who was assessed for land in Tolland in 1525. John Shattick had a daughter Johane Shattick in 1542 in North Molton. Bampton Parish in 1524 lists a tax payer called Thomas Shatok (sic) who was taxed for ownership of goods. So it is pretty clear there were a lot of Shattocke families spread around Somerset and North Devon by the first decades of the 16th century. 

When you look at the map showing the hotspots for Shattockes, Stogumber, Taunton - Staplegrove, Milverton and North Molton - South Molton, which strikes you is that these are villages that were heavily populated with weaverers. Indeed Roger Shattock in Stogumber was a merchant who is recorded as suffering a theft of his broadcloths in 1454. The Quaker Shattock who left Milverton in 1686 to emigrate to the Quaker colony in Pennysylvania was a weaver. So was William Shattuck (1622-1672), the Puritan pilgrim founder of the Shattucks in America who settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony. 

The view is from around Tolland looking south to the Taunton area. This is the Shattock homeland.

The Shattocks of west Somerset appear to have gone through explosive growth in the 16th century. We have a case history of what happens to the dispersion of a family with the history of Shattucks in America. They descend from a single individual, William Shattuck (ca. 1622-1672). You see a very rapid expansion of the family from a single location (Watertown, MA on the Massachusetts Bay) over the succeeding generations. At first the family spread from coastal Massachusetts to the interior, with a branch of the family transplanting to South Carolina at the turn of the century and spreading out from the coast to eventually the entire south under the family surname Shaddock. The northern Shattucks spread to neighboring states then joined the American wagon train to the west, eventually settling in California and the northwest coast.  Lemuel Shattuck documented this thoroughly and highly accurately in his Memorials, and his thesis that all Shattucks descend from a single ancestor has so far been corroborated by DNA evidence. And we are able to give the branches of the family geographical names. If his ancestors could have spread out across America in the 200 years up to Lemuel's time, forming geographical nodes that are echoed in the DNA data, I have no doubt the same can be found for Shattocks. And we are beginning to find the records that prove that. 


The will of William Shattocke, the second, probated in 1607 in West Bagborough. His list of worldly possessions makes it clear that he was a farmer. The will is written in "secretary hand," a cursive style of writing common at this time in English history. This will was found and transcribed by Deanna Wallis.

When you study the wills that Shattocks in west Somerset left behind, you find they clustered around the largest Shattock villages. It is not a coincidence that the villages with large, multi-generational Shattocke families are also villages with the wealthiest of Shattocke families. In a society with no family benefits you needed either land or money to start a family. The richest families had the largest families and kin networks because the parents could give land or money to give their children a start in life. This is a phenomenon described by E.H. Rigby in his study of the medieval family in A companion to Britain in the later Middle Ages (read the excerpt on a sub-page of this one). But it is well documented in our own family tree. The largest group of Shattocke descendants are the Massachusetts Shattucks. With 8,000 living descendants they are by far the largest branch of the Shattocke family with as many as 13,000 living descendants. They have grown to this number from a single individual, William Shattuck (ca. 1622-1672) the pilgrim to the Massachusetts Bay colony about 1640. What drove this population explosion was free or cheap land that successive generations moved to and raised families on in a steady march to the west. (See the North Dakota Shattucks as a great example of this. Read how successive generations moved from Massachusetts to the mid-west to the far west.) The same is true for the Shattockes who emigrated to other English colonies seeking land to raise their families on. The result is that 87% of the living descendants of that original Shattocke in the 15th century are born and live outside of England. In England land was too expensive or simply not available for sale. In fact the largest spurts of emigration out of Somerset came when economic conditions and crop failures drove people to "greener" pastures. In England the largest multi-generational families are found in villages inhabited by weavers. Fathers passed on their skills to sons and daughters who then had a skilled trade that gave them the opportunity to start households and families.

This phenomenon might also explain why so few branches of the family survive over time. Going back to the Shattocke family tree, you see that all the living descendants of the original Shattocke founder belong to only six branches. Look at the dates associated with the SNPs for each of these three branches (shown in bold green). The DNA estimate is approximately 1600 for the Massachusetts Shattucks, which happens to fall close to the arrival date of the Shattucks in the Massachusetts Bay colony (between 1635 and 1641). The DNA estimate is approximately 1640 for the A8033 Parrishs - Byars, which happens to be close to the arrival of a Shattocke, Jon. Shaddock, in the Chesapeake bay colony in 1637.  In each case there was a steady increase in the growth of the ensuing branch as sons left the family farm and traveled to the frontier to homestead on virgin land.  

One of the factors that must be considered in this diaspora of west Somerset and North Molton Shattockes to other parts of England and in the early 17th century to the English colonies is the law of primogeniture in England. "Promogeniture" means "first born." In England the whole real estate of the intestate passed to the first born son. (One should add the living first born son.) That left the other living sons scrambling to make a living. Some apparently scrambled all the way out of the county of Somerset. In the century and a half before 1540, the birthrate was very low, so not too many sons would have survived to the age of fourteen. But after 1500 suddenly there was more than one son who survived into adulthood. He had to move further afield to marry and start a family. And when land was not available he had to find work as an itinerant farm worker or a trades person.  

The distribution of Shattockes appears to cluster around these multi-generational Shattocke villages with wealthy Shattocke family members. Let's look at each of them in turn.


Taunton's oldest building is dated 1578, when Queen Elizabeth I was sitting on the throne. 

I lump Taunton, Staplegrove, and Norton Fitzwarren together because the paper trail indicates the families moved freely between these towns. (See this side-by-side map showing the three areas in relation to each other.) You cannot really discuss Staplegrove and Taunton as if they were separate towns. Taunton was a major producer of cloth and the first place in Somerset to do so. There is documented proof of a merchant Shattock family in Staplegrove and there is a Staplegrove family legend of a once prominent family that fell into ruin. (The family legend and John Shattock's 1533 will is discussed on the Staplegrove page.) See the page devoted to Taunton for a discussion of the impact of the wool trade on Shattocke fortunes. In nearby Kingston St. Mary, is a "George Shatoke" who is found in the will of John Bult dated 18 Sep. 1558. In nearby Creech St. Michael (less than two miles away) there was a mill in which a Henry Shattocke owned an interest. And another name found among the Taunton - Staplegrove - Norton Fitzwarren Shattocks, Thomas Shattock, was involved in a legal dispute over land in Creech St. Michael in the 1591-1596 time period. We don't see a Shattock child born in Creech St. Michael until 1670. The father, John Shattocke, left a will in that year. It is possible West Monkton was founded by a Shattocke born in the Staplegrove - Taunton branch of the family. 

The parish records for West Monkton (four miles north east of Taunton) don't begin until 1599, but it appears Shattocks owned land there from at least that time if not sooner. Christopher Shattocke was involved in a dispute over land there sometime between 1603-1625. There was a will for a Henry Shattocke in 1610 and another Henry Shattocke will in 1613. Henry Shattock assigned a lease to another man there in 1647. He is described as a yeoman, which signifies his position as land owner. There follows continuous Shattock habitation in the village. Shattocks with the Christian names of "Henry" and "Christopher" in West Monkton Shattocks were most probably close family relations with the Taunton - Staplegrove - Norton Fitzwarren Shattocks, if not individuals who actually lived in those villages. 

I cannot leave out North Petherton as another link to the cluster of Taunton - Staplegrove - Norton Fitzwarren Shattocks. More than one Christopher Shattocke was born in one village and died in another. The name Henry Shattock appears in descendants in 1669 and 1694. Henry is a signature name for the cluster of Shattocks around Taunton. North Petherton is 6.5 miles north of Taunton, just one-half mile over the walking distance that was considered to be the maximum for labourers working in one area and living in another (according my correspondent John Shattock). The village was on a main route from Bridgwater to Taunton and then south to Exeter in Devon. Parish records are among the earliest (1557) showing a John Shattocke marrying a Joan Nowell in 1561 in North Petherton. They had John and Richard, two common Shattock names. I write about this village on this page.

I also lump Milverton, Langford Budville, Runnington, Wivelescombe and Wellington villages together because the appear to be an "economic zone" stretching out from Milverton. DNA evidence groups descendants of Milverton and Wellington Shattocks (along with Virginia Shaddocks) under the Y29590 SNP mutation. The parish records show the first Shattock family in Milverton in 1588, then a Shattock family in Langford Budville in 1606 and no Shattock family in Wellington until 1760. Milverton is only six miles west of Taunton, and it seems probable that in the 16th and early 17th centuries the fulling mill for their product, indeed the market for their product, was in Taunton. However, it is possible that the Milverton Shattocks descended from an ancestor from Stogumber. I devote a page to Milverton here.

Bishop's Lydeard is a village that is only 5.5 miles (7.5 km) northwest of Taunton. It is only 2 miles (4 km) south of West Bagborough. Milverton is only 4 miles (6 km) to the south. It must be considered to be a crossroads among Shattock villages and the parish records show Shattocks, apparently from all the branches of the family, have lived there over the centuries. However, there is a multi-generational family that owned land and had descendants in Bishop's Lydeard as far back as the beginning of parish records at the end of the 16th century. I write about Bishop's Lydeard on this page


St. Mary's Church, Stogumber

The villages of Crowcombe and Stogumber were also places where relatively wealthy Shattockes lived. The road between Taunton and the coast runs through Stogumber. The main road from Bridgwater to Barnstaple crossed the Taunton to Watchet road in Stogumber. The streams in the area were used by dyers, tanners, and fullers in cloth and leather work until the trade diminished into the 1800s. Northam Mill in Stogumber was first recorded as a fulling mill in 1568.  There were already multiple Shattock families in Stogumber when parish records began in 1559, and a lot of Shattock families lived there up to 1760. There is a Sir Thomas Shattocke, son of Johane Shattocke, widow, who was buried in the churchyard of nearby Bicknoller in 1533. He was probably not a knight, but his title in Johane Shattocke's will indicates he was a man in an elevated social position.

I had suspected that Stogumber was a major Shattocke village before I got confirmation of the fact when Lesley Morgan, a local historian in Stogumber, sent me a note from a lecture about the origin of the cloth trade in Somerset. (Source: The Register of Thomas Bekynton Bishop of Bath and Wells 1443-1465 Part I, p. 307) Roger Shattocke was a cloth merchant in Stogumber in 1454. That is highly significant because he would have be at least at the age of majority in that year, so born sometime before 1433 and likely much earlier. That makes it likely he was the son or grandson of the common ancestor of all Shattockes, Y16884. (The same could be said for Thomas Shattock, tenant farmer of Taunton Deane, who is on the tenant's list in 1450.) And the fact Roger was a cloth merchant is significant because it indicates high social status and a vocation that might have meant he traveled. So the question becomes: was he or his father the immigrant from Europe? He was living at a crossroads in the wool trade between Taunton and Bridgwater and the coastal shipping ports of Minehead and Watchet. And he was drawing on the work of local people and a fulling mill. Lesley Morgan tells me that the Shattockes appear to have come from the south part of the parish. 

Lesley Morgan also notes that in 1501 in Preston, William Tudball, blacksmith, struck John Shattock with a staff hook and instantly killed him (Notes & Queries for Somerset and Dorset, Vol. 19,  p. 131). Tudball was convicted of murder but fled to Halse. This suggests there was continuous Shattocke habitation in Stogumber since at least the middle of the 15th century. 

Stogumber's parish records began in 1559, and William and Alice Shaddock (sic) are shown as marrying there in 1560 and having a large family. The Shattockes were land owners here, as indicated in documents found in this interesting box at the Somerset archives in Norton Fitzwarren:

Admissions to the manor of Vexford. 1578-1595 ...35/15/1           Copyhold admission. Land and tenement in Vexford. 1 Margaret Luttrell widow 2 John Shattock and Christopher son of Henry Shattock, brother of said John. Autograph: Luttrell. Seal: ?lion’s... LUTTRELL FAMILY OF DUNSTER MANUSCRIPTS   Box 35.  (South West Heritage Centre)

Lesley provides the following information about Vexford: "Vexford is in the south of the parish and now is very depopulated. It is not what I consider the far south (Coleford Water etc) since, in between, is an outlier of Elworthy parish. Historically there were three Vexfords. Higher Vexford which can be regarded as part of Hartrow manor, Over Vexford and Lower Vexford, which were manors in their own right. Lower Vexford has been owned by a variety of people but the records have not survived well. It was the centre of the tanning industry. Over Vexford is the interesting one. Geographically it is an odd shape, starting in the centre of the village and running south to the Elworthy boundary. It was owned by the Luttrell family of Dunster Castle."

The document refers to a purchase or an inheritance of property within the "Over Vexford" area owned by the Luttrell family. This in effect pinpoints the location of the family of Shattockes in the Stogumber area. This scenario is supported by the fact there were fields named after fulling mill drying racks in Over Vexford, connecting the area to the wool trade, the business Shattocks were involved in. 

At the beginning of Parish records in Stogumber in 1559 there were at least three families of Shattocks in Stogumber and other Shattocks in nearby parishs. 


St. Pancras' Church, West Bagborough

It is difficult to decide if West Bagborough should be lumped in with Stogumber or Staplegrove. West Bagborough is on the edge of the Quantock Hills, up the valley from Taunton, on the way to Minehead, which was a major shipping point for wool and cloth. It is a very, very small parish, with a population of 348 people in 2014. In 1894 the population was only 107. We happen to know the population of the village in the 14th century. When the plague ravished the village its population was reduced to 64 people over the age of 14. The residents were so traumatized by the plague that they did not return to their homes around the manor house, choosing instead to build new homes away from the infected area. The parish records begin in 1558 and a Shattock child, Johanne Shattock, is baptized at the church April 15, 1560. Her parents, John and Johanne, had six children in West Bagborough. There is a will dated 5 Sep 1558 of Florence More that bequeaths to Florence Shatocke "a pair of amber beades."  I have records of the family that show continuous habitation into the late 18th century.


St. John the Baptist Church in Tolland, Somerset

In nearby Tolland (4 miles or 7 km distance), there was a tucking mill owned by the famous Wolcott family who were prominent wool and cloth merchants, exporting much of their products through the port of Minehead on the coast. Alexander Shattuck is a beneficiary in the will of John Wolcott (c. 1547-1623) of Tolland, a miller, in a will dated 1623, “7 pence each to Richard Locke and Alexander Shattuck.” There is an Alexander Shattock whose will Lemuel Shattuck cites in his Descendants family history (1855). He was buried in West Bagborough in May 1588 and his will was probated that year. On the page The Ancestral Home of the American Shattucks in England I present evidence that Tolland and West Bagborough were the home villages of the Shattock pilgrims in the early 17th century Massachusetts Bay colony.


Monument to Sir Amyas Bampfylde, erected by his son John in 1626 in the south ailse of the Church of All Saints, North Molton.

North Molton
 has two industries, mining and wool, that might have attracted a German migrant to the village as early as the 14th century . Although mining occurred here, it is the woolen industry that enriched the town and sustained Shattockes for many generations, until the wool industry declined. Although Shattockes were in North Molton when records began, it was not until the next century that they dispersed south into Devon. The evidence is that they were weavers and perhaps sheep husbandmen. When the wool trade declined, they spread throughout north Devon, becoming mostly farm laborers. See the Yarnscombe page.

We know that our genetic cousins the Parrishs and Byars are descended from a Shattock who left west Somerset early in the formation of the Chesapeake Bay colony. Parrishs and Byars are descended from our common ancestor Y16884 and split off from Shattockes about 1640. Don Parrish, who has extensively studied Y16884 Byars and Parrishs and their movement over time in the American south, traces them back to Virginia in the early 17th century. He finds the earliest traces of them in the same historic Virginian county where Jon. Shaddock is shown to have been transported to from England as an indentured servant: Henrico county. This means that a Shattocke male was either adopted by a Parrish or Byars family or a Shattocke male fathered a Parrish or Byars child at that time. Hopefully DNA testing of direct west Somerset Shattocks will show what branch of the west Somersets that male belonged to. 

There is evidence of London Shattocks as early as 1566. By the late 16th century, London controlled the vast majority of the export trade in cloth, so you would expect to Shattock merchants to go to London to find a market for their wool and cloth. There are records of Shattocks in London in the late 16th century and into the 17th century. Some evidence has been found of their involvement in maritime trade, including a John Shattock who was a key player in North Atlantic trade out of the island of Madeira. 

The earliest example of a Shattock presence in London dates back to the second half of the 16th century. It is a notice of a marriage between Mary Shattock and William Pickering in London in 1566. 

St. Bartholomew the Great interior. It is the oldest church in continuous use in London. Worth a visit!

A search for London Pickerings at this time turned up Sir William Pickering (1516–1575), courtier and diplomatist, born in 1516, the son of Sir William Pickering (d. 1542), by his wife, Eleanor, daughter of William Fairfax. It could not be this William Pickering because he died unmarried. But it could have been a member of the family. 


Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, Festival at Bermondsey 1659. Bermondsey is an area of Southwark.The Tower of London can be seen in the background.

There is no evidence of a Shattock family in London prior to this marriage. But there is a baptism record of the birth of Susan Shattock June 3, 1576 at the St. Saviour church in the Southwark area of Surrey, just across the river from London. This means John Shattock was born prior to 1555, if we assume he was at least 21 when he had Susan. This makes it likely that John was born in Staplegrove, Somerset. He may be the grandson of John Shattocke of Staplegrove, who bequeathed property and a store and its "gear" to his sons and daughter in 1533. 

Her father was John Shattock. In 1601 there is a record of a tax paid by John Shattocke (sic Shuttocke) in Southwark. Tokenbooks are the written record of the effort, by the officers of St Saviour parish, in the weeks preceding Easter each year, to require every head of household in the parish to purchase tokens for the Easter communion, one token for each person over sixteen years of age in the household. These tokens were to be turned in at the church by communicants on the day of communion. It appears his gift to the church was timely. In 1602 a John Shattock dies in London. There are records of other Shattocks in the early 17th century in Southwark that may be his children and grandchildren, including a John Shattock who had four daughters Margaret, Grace, Ann, and Hanna beginning in 1631. 

After this date there are records of Shattocks doing business in London, including owners of inns, and merchants. Could this be a son 

Reference: C 2/JasI/S15/41; Description: Short title: Shattocke v Franklin. Plaintiffs: Agnes Shattocke, late the wife of Francis Shattocke (daughter of John Tyler). Defendants: William Franklin and Thomas Hobman. Subject: title to messuage called the Flower de Luce [inn] and tenements in Fishers Alley in the parish of St Andrew Holborn, London. Document type: [pleadings]. SFP Date: 1603-1625; Held by: The National Archives, Kew

There was a John Shattock who was a merchant and clothier.

Title: John Shattock, cit. & haberdasher to John Johnson, cit. & merchant tailor, assignment of lease of Kings Head, Southwark, for 21 years. Reference: CLA/022/04/020/6. Date: 9 Novr 1671. Held by: Corporation of London Record Office: City of London

Another example is William Shattock, merchant of London:

Reference: PROB 11/374/559. Description: Will of William Shattock, Merchant of London. Date: 19 December 1683. Held by: The National Archives, Kew


By the nineteenth century Shattocks would rise to the highest ranks in London, becoming stockbrokers, members of the London Stock Exchange, wealthy collectors and high ranking civil servants. See the Southwark London Shattocks.

The Chattocks and Shaddocks of Dorset

The confusion brought on by the similarity in the spelling and pronunciation of the Shattock and Chattock names is especially prevalent in Dorset where both forms of the name are found. The Chattock name is found there very early, A.D. 1356. In his Antiquities (1884), Christopher Chattock transcribes a land document (p. 74).

A.D. 1356. Let all the faithful, &c. Elizabet, who was wife of Hen : (de) of Bromwych, have released to Thomas Chattok a pasture and wood called Brorahull, lying at Brockhurst, and nine selions of land in Lutelbokenholdefeld. So that, &c. In testimony, &c., Henry Wattesone, William Chattok, Geoffrey (le) the Webbe (the Weaver), and others. Dat. Bromwych, S. a. P. B. V. M., 29, Edward III.

Christopher Chattock notes: (41) This charter has an endorsement on the back, thus : " Eliz : Hy : Chattok's wife her release ; " showing that this Henry Chattock married the widow of Henry de Bromwich. This field, Broomhill, still forms one of the fields of the Hay, as will be seen by reference to parish plan.

You do not find in the records a Shattock or Shattick spelling until 1583: "John Shattock creditor 15 Oct 1583 under Dorset Administrations Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset vol. 2 p. 89." Then there is nothing until 1642 when John Shatticke signed an oath to the Protestant religion. And the first Shaddock or Shattock spelling to show up after that is the parish records for Joseph and Ann Shaddock when they begin to have five children in 1821. Shaddock is typically a Devon form of the name so it is possible these Shaddocks were from nearby Devon.

So it appears there was a Thomas Chattock in Dorset as early as the middle of the 14th century, half a century prior to the estimated birth of Y16886, the genetic ancestor of all Shattockes from whom our family are descended. It is possible that John Shattock from Somerset was doing business in Dorset as early as 1583. After that there is probably some Chattocks spelled as Shattocks or Shaddocks and vice versa.

Shattockes Occupations

John Shattocke listed as a tenant farmer in the Taunton Deane in 1450 may have been a food or sheep farmer. So Shaddocks were involved in farming from very early. Many combined weaving and farming. William Shattuck, the pilgrim founder of Shattucks in America farmed and was a weaver. But I think it was weaving and other activities associated with the wool trade that Shattocks were deeply engaged with.

The cloth trade was the basis for the English economy throughout the middle ages. The Weavers' Guild had established a monopoly over the trade in London. But by the early 14th century there was considerable resentment among citizens of the privileges and wealth of the Guild. In 1321 the Court of Hustings broke the power of the Guild by allowing Freemen to set up their own looms and trade in cloth as long as the King received his tax. The Guild fought back, trying to control the craft, but many weavers left the city and set up their looms in the country. Seeking to expand the industry, the King allowed Flanders weavers, already upset over conditions in Flanders, to settle in the English kingdom, bringing their looms and their skills with them. And he allowed them to form their own guilds. Bristol and Taunton were the chief settlement areas in Somerset. The source of these settlers was from Flanders and the Low Countries. 

The evidence indicates that Shattocks were concentrated in villages that had a very high proportion of weavers from the early 15th century until the 18th century. The weaver worked at home and marketed his cloth at fairs. One of the earliest records of a Shattocke was Roger Shattock, cloth merchant of Stogumber, who had cloth stolen from his home in 1654. He would had to have belonged to a guild in order to have the right to sell cloth. He acted as a middleman between tradesmen weavers and buyers. During the 18th and early 19th century many Shattocke families worked in their homes combing, spinning and weaving wool into cloth.
We have some perspective about the wool industry in Somerset in figures quoted in "Pensford and the Growth of the Cloth Industry in Late Medieval Somerset" (by John Hare, The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society). John Hare tells us that the 1350s Somerset had already achieved "a dominant position" in the trade (p. 173). By the 1390s Somerset had become "by far and away the most important cloth-manufacturing county in England. North Molton on the border between Somerset and Devon, was also a major wool town. "By the late 15th century, the West Country was responsible for what Carus-Wilson described as ‘possibly half the whole cloth production of the country, and for almost all the broadcloths’ (1987, 679)." In the 1390s the industry was concentrated in four main towns, Taunton, Bath, Wells, and Frome. However the shift to the countryside occurred earlier and more extensively in Somerset than in neighboring counties. 

By the early 16th century Somerset was one of the richest counties in England, ranking second in a survey of lay and clerical wealth in 1514 (Schofield 1965, 504). The cloth industry would have played a considerable importance in this growing wealth. In the 1390s, Somerset produced 25% of the country’s cloth. But a few years before in 1377, it possessed only about 4% of the country’s population (see poll tax figures, excluding Cheshire and Durham for which there are none, Dobson 1970, 54–7). Even allowing for a degree of internal migration, the textile industry provided a source of employment that allowed the creation of an exceptional concentration of new wealth. This would have affected most of the county’s society, whether in generating jobs, consumer goods or food and other agricultural products. (pp. 1777-8)

Hare cites the extensive church re-building that occurred at this time as evidence of the wealth that was generated by cloth-making.

The business had its ups and downs, buffeted by interruption of trade networks in Europe by wars, currency fluctuations and changing market conditions. Shirley Bray, writing for the newsletter of the South Molton Museum (Local History News, June 2016) tells of one period when Shattockes were living in South Molton: "Trade was not always good, an article in the Daily Post, London, dated July 4th 1743 tells us that owing to a decline in trade, only 303 Serges a week and sometimes less had been made instead of the 500 a week that had been produced previously. This had resulted in the deaths of 200 people in South Molton in one year of poverty and “gaol pestilence”. There was a similar situation throughout the West Country."

The industrial revolution would eventually doom weaving as a cottage industry, first with the invention of the flying shuttle in 1733 and then in the late 18th century and early 19th century the development of the power-weaving factory.

But eventually the industrial revolution and competition from foreign markets would turn much of England's work force into surplus labor. A number of these moved to the cities and found jobs in factories or trades. Shattockes who moved to the towns of Bristol, Exeter, London, Cardiff in Wales, Birmingham and other towns and cities of England and its colonies became successful trades people, entrepreneurs, professionals, civil servants and business owners. 

I have included on this site an excerpt from a book published in 1923 by Joseph Hoyland Fox, called "The Woollen Manufacture at Wellington, Somerset; Compiles from the Records of an Old Family Business." It describes a major woolen trade route, from Minehead on the western coast of Somerset (for the import of cotton from Ireland) to the port at Topsham on the east coast of Devon where ships exported wool and cloth to markets in Europe. It also includes local color, such as the condition of roads and the obstacles to trade.

Shattock Gentry


Sir Henry Shattock's name on a 1685 tax document.

I have not discovered even the most tenuous indication that Shattockes were descended from royalty or even married into royalty, although a female descendant of the Tawstock Shattocks (Gwendoline Isa Shaddick 1888-1956) married a hereditary Irish peer with the illustrious name Cecil Vivian Moore Etienne Le Fanu (1877–1936) in 1917 at the wonderful church of St. Martin in London. However there is a good case to be made that some of the Shattocks of Staplegrove, beginning in the late 15th century probably until the 18th century, would be considered to be members of the gentry. In the 16th century, there were at least three "Sirs" Thomas, John and Henry. Since there are no records of Shattockes being knighted we have to assume these were honorific titles.

John Shattock in his will of 1533 in Taunton gives his "shoppe" and its "gear" to his eldest son and his "mansion" or "abode" to his other son. A shop owner would be considered to be part of the town's ruling class. Political power was largely held in local hands. West Somerset Shattocke wills throughout this period testify to the family's wealth, as indeed do the deeds and numerous Shattocke-owned farms that James William Shattock (1869-1948) refers to in his 1943 letter to his son. He describes the Shattockes as a "family of importance" in the history of Taunton and its surrounding villages.

There is a John Shattocke described as a "vintner" in a 1569 document associated with Taunton. He would have been a merchant, since wine was largely imported. That might have sent him at least to London to purchase his supplies, if not further afield in Europe or the Mediterranean.  In 1632 we find a James Shaddock (sic) in London identified as a vintner (wine merchant) and a member of the "Worshipful Company of Vintners." He had a London apprentice: “Robinson John son of John, Edmonton, Middlesex, yeoman to James Saddock, 2 May 1632, Vintners’ Company” The Vintners' Company got its first Charter in 1363.  It was one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City  of London. The wine trade was a major part of the English economy in the late medieval period, accounting for up to a third of imports. The Vintners' Company was a classic medieval guild, and membership in it gave the bearer rights and social status. This is very good evidence of how well Shattockes were doing in this period of time. Taunton was a major exporter of cloth famous for its quality and wine was a principal exchange item for wine. This suggests Shattockes in Staplegrove / Taunton and London were travelling between the two towns enabling the trade as merchants. 

The fact that sometime between 1571 and 1643 John Shattocke donated to the St. Saviour church in Southwark (across the river from London), indicates a presence of a Shattock in London. In 1614, John Shattocke, blacksmith, is called as a witness in a trial concerning the theft of iron. This is probably the same John Shattocke or his son. Blacksmiths were not of the first rank of society, but they were often described as yeomen, meaning they were respected members of society.  

Just over a hundred years after we find a John Shattocke described as a "vintner," we discover that there is a John Shattocke, described as a merchant, who got into a what looks like a trade dispute with the governor of the island of Madeira off the coast of Portugal. The dispute involved a group of English and New England merchants, of which John Shattocke was the spokesperson. It was serious enough to to reach the royal court and the attention of Charles II. The incident appears to have unfolded over two years from 1675 to 1677. 

The trade dispute confirms that at least one Shattock in this time period was a merchant trading beyond the borders of England. The island of Madeira was a major exporter of wine and important stepping stone in the North Atlantic trade. 

Shattocke Emblem?

Shattocke Family Crest

The involvement of Shattockes in the wool and cloth industry is supported by visual evidence.  It is in the form of a graphic found by Ken Shattock in the public library in London in 1970. It is a crest bearing the description "A dexter hand holding a lion's gamb," which translates as "a right hand holding a lion's leg." The twisted fabric out of which the hand rises is obviously a reference to the weaving of cloth. The hand is transforming three skeins of wool thread into a figurative symbol, the lion's paw. The fist of the hand and the lion's paw are linked. The lion symbolism represents the weaver's pride in the product, a statement of its strength and enduring quality. English wool was highly prized for its quality in high medieval Europe, and Flemish weavers were the most expert in its transformation into quality cloth and tapestries.  The graphic may have been on a sign outside a Shattocke shop, or a symbol attached to the products exported from Taunton to markets in Europe.

The number three appears to be "woven" into this graphic. There are three bands of each of two colors in the twisted rope at the bottom. There are three lion's claws. There are three skeins of wool at the base of the hand and three fingers gripping the lion's leg. Does this have religious significance, as in the "Holy Trinity?" The little finger is pointing up. Fingers pointing up are found in medieval paintings and tapestries, signifying the connection between earthly life and the spiritual realm beyond this world. Paul Shaddick quotes a possible biblical reference: "Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." A commentator on Ecclesiastes 4:12 has this to say, and it seems to fit:

Perhaps the most direct answer to the question is that rope technology serves as an ideal illustration of the practical benefits of working together. A single strand ravels easily and does a poor job of distributing load to its component fibers. Laying two strands, which would be the natural illustration of the point, results in a rope that is little better than the twine itself. Four or more strand ropes give up a degree of pliability and are more complicated to manufacture for marginal gains in strength. To this day, three-ply or plain laid rope is only rivaled in popularity by synthetic, braided ropes. Three turns out to be the sweet spot when it comes to rope strands.

What gives a religious interpretation of the symbolism in the graphic credence is the fact that the wool industry was dominated by non-conformists and English Dissenters who were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The Massachusetts Shattucks are descended from English Dissenters. William Shattuck (ca. 1622-1572), the founder, was a weaver.

Was this perhaps a sign of quality on containers for Shattocke woolen goods exported from England? 

You can download a much larger version of the graphic here

The Story Continues

On the next page, we come to the final chapter in the tale of the wandering horde of Shattockes. I call it the "Great Diaspora to the English Colonies." 

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