English Heritage

Much of the following information is currently being corrected and expanded in a forthcoming book on our family history. Contact me if you want to put on a list announcing its availability.

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 the Yamnaya tribes from Eurasian Pontic steppe 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 early to late medieval period. 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, and as far west as North Molton and Exeter in Devon and north east to the East Anglia counties. By the late 16th century Shattockes are found north of London in East Anglia, along the coast of Dorset and Devon and as far north as Bristol. In the early 17th century there were migrants to the Americas. In the late 18th century and during 19th century there was a diaspora to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and the United States.

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.

Worsted stall at a market in Norwich, Norfolk during medieval times. Worsted is a type of cloth.

Weavers and Cloth Merchants

The evidence is substantial that the Shattocks of the 15th and 16th centuries, including the grandsons of the founder of our entire world family, were weavers of cloth, clothiers and merchants of cloth, or otherwise engaged in the cloth trade as spinners or wool combers or other cloth trades.

Why do I think this is important? Like stone masonry, a skill like weaving, wool combing and fulling makes the late medieval commoner highly mobile compared to agricultural tenant farmers tied to the land or agricultural workers who worked within a fixed radius of their birth places. In fact this is born out in our family. William Shattuck (1622-1672), the migrant Shattock who left Stogumber for the pilgrim colony of Massachusetts and founder of the Shattuck family of America was a weaver. Samuel Shattuck, who arrived in the colony about the same time, is described as serge maker or hatter. Their cloth making skills probably made his journey to the new world possible.

The London Shattocks who became top government clerks, stock brokers and insurance executives in 19th century London, were founded by a wool comber who first appears in Suffolk in the early 18th century. DNA evidence reveals his ancestors were in Stogumber, a centre of the cloth industry in the west country of England. However it is possible, although not probable, that the London Shattocks were actually in the area, East Anglia, much longer. John Shattock of Leicester discovered the will of William Shattock of Norwich, Norfolk, who died in 1382. Did the riots in East Anglia around the time of his birth drive Shattocks involved in the cloth trade further south to the cloth centers of west Somerset? Read the article I have written that explores this scenario: East Anglia Shattocks.

The North Molton branch of the Shattocke family, also migrants out of Somerset, the Shaddicks and Shaddocks, are found near a major cloth making town where they worked until the export cloth market collapsed and they dispersed as agricultural workers and farmers in north Devon. Further south in Devon, Saltash Shaddocks, were founded by a wool comber. Another of the founders of Shattockes in North America was James Shattock, a Quaker, who migrated to the Pennsylvania Quaker colony in 1685 to escape persecution in west Somerset. James Shattocke was descended from the major branch of the family called the Milverton Shattocks, who descend from a weaver, also named James Shattock (born 1582). Milverton is less than five miles from Bishop's Hull. The ticket to James Shattock the Quaker's new life in the new world were his weaving skills. Cloth making skills made Shattockes into early English mobile workers.

St. Peter and St. Paul in Bishop's Hull, now a suburb of Taunton, but once a thriving village whose economy was largely based on weaving cloth.

The earliest record of a Shattock in the Stogumber area of west Somerset is Roger Shattock, a cloth merchant, who in 1454 had cloth stolen from his place of business. The other earliest record of a Shattock, Thomas Shattock of Bishop's Hull, who is on the Taunton Deane tenant's list for 1450, probably farmed but like William Shattuck in Watertown, Massachusetts, but he might have turned profit from weaving into land purchases. New evidence shows that Bishop's Hull, now a suburb of Taunton, is only a mile or so south of two other important cloth making centers, Norton Fitzwarren and Staplegrove. And the village itself was a center for cloth making, particularly weaving. In fact there was a fulling mill in Bishop's Hull which would have supported a network of cottage industries involved in wool and cloth trades like spinning and weaving. The picture on the left provides additional evidence. What is interesting to note is that St Peter and St Paul, the church in Bishop's Hull, has a very distinctive feature. Here is how the website devoted to the church describes the tower you see on the right in the picture: "The octagonal upper part of the tower dates from the 13th century and is believed to be in the shape of a weaver's shuttle, reflecting the importance of the weaving industry at the time and possibly that it was a gift of the local weavers."

A lineage of the Staplegrove branch of the family apparently amassed in the Staplegrove parish a square mile of prime agricultural land and a large estate house, Hope House, perhaps from profits they acquired from the lucrative cloth export market. This also appears to be the case in the Milverton branch of the family who descend from weavers and serge makers who acquired the Gerbestone and Easterlands estates, along with farms and orchards. This is important because the other earliest record of a Shattock in England is that of Roger Shattock of Stogumber, who was a cloth merchant. It adds evidence to the theory that the founder of worldwide Shattocks in England (born circa 1350 AD) was a weaver or a cloth merchant.

The DNA estimate of the birth of the Shattock founder is 1350 AD. Is it a coincidence that the late 14th century the cloth market was undergoing explosive growth?A population boom that began in the early 12th century created huge economic opportunities "Between the late twelfth and the late thirteenth centuries the number and scale of urban promotions reached hitherto unequaled levels, transforming the landscape of England in the process." ("The Medieval Town: A Reader in English Urban History 1200-1540" ed. Richard Holt and Gervase Rosser, Longman 1990, p. 5) Local lords had a clear economic incentive to promote markets on their estates and invited immigrants to settle in and around those markets. We find the greatest concentration of Shattocks in Somerset at the edge of Taunton, beyond the walls of the castle, in Bishop's Hull, Norton Fitzwarren and Staplegrove. This was one of those suburban market areas. "In the suburbs and other areas outside the jurisdiction of the borough court, scope was left for a good deal of unregulated industrial and commercial activity" (p. 10). We do not know if Shattocks came from the agrarian hamlets in Somerset or from much greater distances like East Anglia or the European Low Countries. And we find them in Stogumber where a fulling mill is found at the crossroads between towns involved in cloth making and the ports where cloth was exported.

The effect of the Black Plague on the medieval population (data from Broadberry et al. 2010 English Medieval Population).

The Black Plague arrived in the middle of the 14th century, reducing the population by up to thirty percent. This greatly improved the economic prospects for medieval peasants.

  • With land more readily available than it had been for centuries, this was a good time for many peasants, who increasingly resembled the yeoman farmers of later centuries. Even rural laborers enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, as their wages rose during a period of stable food prices. (p. 17 The Medieval Town)

While the changing economy may have adversely affected manor lords whose prosperity declined from reduced rents and increased labor costs, Shattock weavers and cloth craftsmen would have experienced increased prosperity because they "may have benefited from the increased spending power of a newly prosperous class of consumers." (p. 17 The Medieval Town) Either Shattocks moving from the hinterland would have found new opportunity in the market in the expanding outskirts of Taunton, or a more distant Shattock immigrant to the Stogumber or Taunton areas would have been able to find business opportunities for cloth making.

Indeed a snapshot of where Shattocks lived when parish records began after 1538 shows them clustered around cloth making centers and markets. Let's examine that evidence.

Our West Somerset Homeland

The case is solid and definitive 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 appears to be two Shattock families who are found in Norfolk, just north of London, a cloth making center. There are no other records of Shattockes in the middle or north England. There are no records of Shattocks born in London before 1566.

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

The next graphic shows where Shattockes are found in documents in the 16th century. Villages with Shattocks in the first part of the century are shown in blue dates. Villages with Shattocks in the second half of the 16th century have red dates. Many of the blue villages had Shattock families in the latter half of the 16th century. Notice that there was a family of Shattocks who had moved to London by the late 16th century. There appears to have been two brothers who moved to a village in Norfolk by 1570. Click on the image to see it full screen.

Shattocke villages in blue are have records in the early 16th century. Villages in blue have records in both early and late 16th century. Some Shattocks appear to have moved to the London and Norfolk areas in the middle of the 16th century.

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. There are Shattockes found as far east in Somerset as the Wedmore area and as far east as North Molton on the border between Somerset and Devon.The distance between Taunton and Stogumber, 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).

Stogumber and Taunton are the areas where the largest concentration of families are found in the 16th and early 17th century. This may due to the fact that Stogumber and Taunton might have acted as centers where cloth workers could acquire or take their work and do other shopping or selling.

  • "...a man would not normally wish to deal with a market more than 6-7 miles from home. Within this distance he could be sure of getting there and back by daylight, even in the shortest days of winter. Two markets on the same day 13 or 14 miles apaert would therefore scarcely be in competition with each other, for each would would draw its regular customers from a different area. (The Medieval Town, ed. Holt and Rosser, p. 60)

Minehead on the Bristol Channel was home to wool and cloth merchants. Stogumber was half-way between Minehead and Taunton, and may have taken most of its product to Minehead, while Taunton might have taken most of its products to Tiverton or Exeter in Devon. Tiverton is the same distance from Taunton as Minehead. Stogumber is 11 miles from Taunton.

In fact the distribution of work locations in the Tone Valley of west Somerset suggests this pattern of trade. There is a map found in Philip Ashford's study of occupations and locations of fulling mills in West Somerset (The West Somerset Woolen Trade, 1500-1714 by Philip Ashford, Somerset Archaelogy and Natural History, 2007). This map makes a very interesting comparison between the map I have created of early Shattock villages and the map Ashford has created. Shattock villages coincide with villages where there are a lot of cloth trades.

Compare this map to the map I created of early 16th century Shattock villages. Some of the villages with the largest populations of cloth workers also have large Shattock families.

Ashford identifies wool and cloth towns in the 17th and 18th century. The majority of them occupied by Shattocks (highlighted by me in bold) p. 175:

  • Apart from Dunster’s yarn market building which apparently dates from the early 17th century, the woollen industry had many other installations around which the West Somerset woollen and cloth trade was centred. In addition to the ‘dye house’ in Kingston St Mary in the 1530s, in Tolland in 1630 and in Taunton by the ‘bridewell’ in 1702 there was a ‘spinning house’ at Bradford-on-Tone in 1683 and in Stogursey at the end of the 17th century.

Shattock Clothiers

In the early medieval period, cloth making was not an industrial enterprise as we now conceive it. It was a cottage industry involving the whole family, with women spinning the wool, tending the garden and the household, while men carded, weaved, fulled, dyed and dried wool and transported the cloth to market. It was a family enterprise that sometimes employed wage laborers or apprentices, often members of the extended family such as nephews and nieces. This explains why the family business would persist in a single place for many successive generations. The family business was passed on from father to son and involved cooperation between extended family members.

I had wondered how William Shattuck's loom had been transported across the Atlantic in the 1630s in a small ship. This picture of a medieval loom suggests the wooden frame was not transported, just the metallic parts and perhaps the entire pulleys.

How cloth making was organized provides us insight into the most successful family members. They were "clothiers" (pronounced like the word "cloth"). They were also known as cloth-makers or cloth-men. The word first appeared in documents the late 14th century, which happens to be when the common ancestor of Shattocks or Shaddocks is predicted to have lived. It is also notable that clothiers first emerged in Somerset, where Shattocks first make their appearance in England.

Previous to the rise of clothiers, cloth was made by individual craftsmen and their families. The clothier was probably the original entrepreneur because some of those craftsmen learned how to "disrupt" the traditional method of making cloth by distributing the processes that went into its making to several households specializing in some aspect of cloth making. The process of cloth making can broken down to:

  1. sourcing, selecting and sorting wool,
  2. making either worsted or woollen threads by separating long fibres from shorter ones and removing tangles,
  3. spinning wool into yarn,
  4. creating sheets of cloth by weaving wool on a loom,
  5. fulling (aka tucking) the cloth to clean it and thicken the fiber by pounding underfoot or by hammers powered by a water mill,
  6. attaching the wet cloth to a wooden frame by tenderhooks to dry and stretch it,
  7. finishing it by dyeing or other processes.

Cloth making is embedded in the history of our culture and survives in such phrases as "on tenderhooks" or "dyed in the wool."

The clothier "put-out" the various steps of the process to other households in what was called the domestic system. The clothier would distribute raw or semi-processed materials to spinners and weavers and by the late 14th century was carting the cloth to fulling mills for cleaning and thickening. Today we describe this process of enriching ourselves through the labor of others "leverage."

It was the birth of capitalism. Clothiers would have to to finance the process and ultimately take the product to market, either to local markets or in some cases distant markets, even markets across the Channel. The cloth making process had to be timed, "sub-contractors" would have to be monitored and quality assurance applied. The clothier would have to ensure there was a market for his particular cloth. In some cases the processes were centralized into an early form of the factory. In his will of 1533 John Shattock bequeaths the equipment in his "shop" to his son John. Henry Shattock is identified as the owner of a cloth making establishment in Norton Fitzwarren on the outskirts of Taunton. In the case of Shattocks in the late medieval and early modern period, entrepreneurs like Sir Henry Shattock and Alexander of West Bagborough, Roger Shattock and Christopher Shattock of Stogumber and many generations of John Shattocks of Staplegrove found their Silicon Valley in the Tone Valley of west Somerset. Its hills and running streams powered the money machine that made their fortunes: the tucking mill. And a small army of skilled cloth workers fed that machine.

The invention of the water-powered tucking mill, where cloth was cleaned and thickened, eventually led to the displacement of the cloth making industry from the major towns to the more rural mills like those in the Tone Valley in west Somerset. For example: Gloucester, which in the 12th and 13th centuries had been a major manufacturer of cloth, lost the industry to these small towns and villages of the countryside, such that by 1300 weavers and fullers had left and the town had become solely a marketplace for cloth (The Medieval Town, pp. 148-149) This means that towns like Taunton and villages like Stogumber attracted cloth trades people and clothiers who had lost their jobs and business opportunities in the old manufacturing towns and followed the action to the rural mills. By the middle of the 14th century the export market for cloth increased dramatically as less wool was exported and more cloth exported. Taunton and Stogumber, at both ends of the Tone Valley, would have attracted entrepreneurs and cloth makers from the former cloth manufacturing centers, whether in England or the weavers, fullers or clothiers in the hinterland of Antwerp (Belgium) who had once relied on English wool for making cloth for the European market. The DNA estimate for the birth of our common Shattock ancestor, 1350 AD, coincides with the emergence of the cloth industry in west Somerset. This supports the immigrant thesis for our Shattock common ancestor.

Maryanne Kowaleski, in her essay "The Commercial Dominance of a Medieval Provincial Oligarchy: Exeter in the Late Fourteenth Century" (The Medieval Town, Ed. Holt and Rosser) provides another compelling reason for the immigrant thesis (p. 213):

  • It is also significant that examples of this type of upward mobility are found mostly in the decades immediately following the Black Death when the deaths of many townspeople create more opportunities for immigrants and less well-off inhabitants.

Or our Shattock ancestor, a cloth worker or merchant, may have been simply been running away from the devastation of the Black Death in a cloth town in Germany.

There is plenty of evidence that Shattocks were largely tradespeople and merchants in the early cloth industry and possibly wool mongers. Shattocks and Shaddocks are found near large herds of sheep and fulling mills in such villages as Stogumber, Bishop's Hull, Milverton and Wellington, Tolland and North Molton and South Molton in Devon. They are found in the cloth producing area of Wiltshire, and the London and East Anglia cloth markets. The fact Shattockes and Shaddocks are found in North Molton early in the 16th century--the first Shattockes found outside of Somerset--is evidence the family was deeply involved in the cloth making trades and naturally migrated to cloth markets. North Molton was located near large herds of sheep and the Barnstaple port where cloth was exported. The village's church and fine medieval houses provide a snapshot of the wealth the cloth trade brought to the medieval town. (See North and South Molton.) Similarly, another early (and perhaps the major branch of the Shattockes), the Milverton Shattocks, are found near sheep herds and the fulling mills in Bishop's Hull and Norton Fitzwarren, just outside the town limits of Taunton. This is also the case for another major branch of the family, the Stogumber Shattocks. Roger Shattock was a cloth merchant in Stogumber in the middle of the 15th century.

Water powered tucking mill. Image from O'Brien's blog.

The Tucking Mill

Before water mills were invented in the 13th century, fulling was done manually by placing the rough cloth in a trough and working it with soap and pounding it and entering the trough and stomping it. It was a craft that was largely practiced in the major villages and strictly controlled by a guild. By the 14th century the tucking mill was invented, using wooden hammers driven by water power in place of manpower. Since tucking mills required vigorous running water, it was natural to locate them on the uplands away from towns where streams with strong currents are found.

In a blog about the medieval cloth trade, Niall O'Brien comments "tucking mills were located where the rivers had swift currents and so in the uplands away from the established towns. This placed the mills close to the wool growing districts which worked best in the high ground."

Thomas Shattocke is listed as a tenant farmer in the Taunton Deane in 1450 is found in Bishop's Hull, which had a fulling mill. The local church tower is said to be shaped like a weaver's shuttle.

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.

This is perhaps the reason why we find Shattocks in the outskirts of Taunton. If they were weavers, fullers, dyers and other skilled trades people and they were new to west Somerset, they would find it difficult to work in Taunton because of the highly restrictive guilds.

Wooden hammers. Image from O'Brien blog.

O'Brien comments:

  • The move towards mechanisation was resisted by the old established fullers. In 1260 the merchant guild of Leicester passed an ordinance that no guildsman should have a fulling mill outside the town. In 1298 and 1310 complaints were made by the old London fulling firms about cloth going out to mills at Stratford and elsewhere when the cloth should have been fulled ‘by the feet of men of the craft or their servants in their houses within the city. Even as late as 1346 it was forbidden at Bristol to take raw cloth outside the city to be fulled.

Moving the craft of fulling to the uplands and away from towns created opportunities for workers out from under the guilds. The rise of the water powered tucking mill coincides with the date of the common ancestor of Shattockes. Y17171 (named after his genetic signature) is estimated to have been born about the middle of the 14th century. I have long suspected he was an immigrant to Somerset during that period of the rapid reorganization of the cloth industry. He also happens to have been born around the time when the first Flemish weavers arrived in Taunton and Bristol, the major towns in western Somerset, brought over from the Low Countries by the king to add value to the wool trade through their weaving and other cloth making skills. (See Taunton and the Rise and Fall of the Cloth Trade.)

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. The fact he is located in Stogumber is suggestive. In order to be a wool merchant in Taunton he would have to belong to a guild in Taunton in order to have the right to sell cloth. He may have been in Stogumber because he could export his cloth through the Bristol Channel ports (such as Minehead). Similarly the Shattockes in Milverton, Bishop's Hull, Norton Fitzwarren and West Monkton villages may have been there to avoid the restrictions of guilds in Taunton. In fact there are very few records of Shattockes in Taunton.

From the History of the Wool Trade by Ben Johnson:

  • Flemish and Italian merchants were familiar figures in the wool markets of the day ready to buy wool from lord or peasant alike, all for ready cash. The bales of wool were loaded onto pack-animals and taken to the English ports such as Boston, London, Sandwich and Southampton, from where the precious cargo would be shipped to Antwerp and Genoa. In time the larger landowners developed direct trading links with cloth manufacturers abroad, whereas by necessity the peasants continued to deal with the travelling wool merchants. Obviously, by cutting out the middle man and dealing in larger quantities, the landowners got a much better deal! Perhaps this is why it is said that the wool trade started the middle-class / working-class divide in England.

This creates a scenario where a travelling wool merchant from Flanders or the German Rhine Valley may have been the ancestor of Shattockes or Shaddocks, perhaps the common ancestor Y17171.

Medieval Wool Merchants

A cloth merchant acted as a middleman between cloth tradesmen and buyers. During the 18th and early 19th century many Shattocke families worked in their homes combing, spinning and weaving wool into cloth. Spinning wool also provided female members of the household with a marketable skill. 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 by 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.

The shift to the countryside was accelerated by the invention of water-powered fulling as the hilly West Country created faster flowing streams than those found in East Anglia with its flatter terrain and relatively reduced rainfall. The urban towns resisted water-powered fulling and attempted to restrict the market for cloth manufactured in the rural hinterland. Ponting in The Woolen Industry of South-west England describes the scenario (p. 16).

  • But during the fourteenth century fulling mills spread rapidly throughout the valleys of the clothing counties. Increasingly they came under the control of the new clothiers who were leading this industrial expansion. It is easy to understand the manner in which the decline of the urban and the rise of the rural trade continued, aided and abetted by the the restrictions which the city authorities exerted. Their attempt to make the guild system ever tighter as conditions turned against them is typical of what happens in a declining industry. The guild system, which previously had done much for the trade had now become a heavy burden. Not only were the restrictions expensive, but as trade declined other financial burdens increased.

Taunton, Stogumber, and North Petherton would have benefited from the shift of the industry from Bristol to the west Somerset Tone valley and to North Molton at the edge of the moors. And Shattocks found work and fortunes near the new fulling mills.

Bristol was the main export port for West Country textiles so rural clothiers would have sought other ports to get their cloths to markets on the European continent, like Exeter (Topsham) and Barnstable in Devon and Minehead and Bridgwater in Somerset or as far away as London.

The growth of the industry was accelerated by the tax laws of England. Ponting (p. 18):

  • Whatever its qualities, the popularity of English wool in the Middle Ages led the government to tax it more and more heavily, to help finance the dynastic wars with France. By contrast wool cloth was taxed much more lightly. In broad terms, since wool taxation was a complicated business, exported wool carried a tax of 33 1/3 per cent., while exported wool cloth carried a tax of only 5 per cent...The European dyers and finishers realized that they could circumvent the tax, by purchasing cloth instead of wool. So, from England, and particularly from the West England, they bought cloth that had been spun, woven and fulled, but not finished, dyed or cloth-worked...As a result the weavers of these countries suffered severely, while the wealthy section of the cloth manufacturing industry, the dyers and finishers, prospered.

This fact may have encouraged weavers in the hinterlands of Antwerp (a port in modern Belgium) to move their businesses and families to England. The burgeoning market for undyed broadcloth led to the rise of white broadcloth manufacturing in West Country.

  • To meet this market the English clothiers, particularly in the West of England, began to produce white, undyed, broadcloth...Towards the end of the medieval period, and even more during the early Tudors, we have the outstanding buildings, especially the churches, left by the clothiers, as sure signs of their prosperity.

Indeed the Peter and Paul church in Bishops Hull, on the outskirts of Taunton, has a tower in the shape of loom's shuttle, financed by weavers in the area. The St. Mary church in Stogumber is an impressive architectural example of this former prosperity in a now off-road farming and retirement village. The earliest record of a DNA confirmed Shattock or Shaddock that has been found is Thomas Shattock who owned land in Bishops Hull in 1450. And Stogumber has its mid-15th century cloth merchant, Roger Shattock. The same is true of North Molton, whose magnificent church and stately houses provide visual evidence of the prosperity enjoyed in this period. Shattickes are found in the church's parish records as soon as they began in the early 16th century.

Topography and taxation combine to make west Somerset one of the most attractive places to raise a family from the late medieval age. Ponting, p. 18:

  • Broadcloth exports from the West were more important than those from East Anglia where the coloured broadcloth trade did grow considerably, but went mainly to the home market. The export trade apparently required the heavier, more fulled cloths, and the fast-running streams of the South-west made for better fulling mills than the more sluggish East Anglian streams.

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 played a considerable role 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. 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. ("Pensford and the Growth of the Cloth Industry in Late Medieval Somerset" pp. 1777-8)

Ponting's description of the first seventy years of the Tudor age (1485 to 1555) as the golden age of the cloth industry in England coincides with the period of greatest wealth and social advancement for Shattocks. The wealthiest families in early Shattock history were the Norton Fitzwarren - Staplegrove Shattocks and the West Monkton Shattocks. The Staplegrove Shattocks amassed what has been described as a square mile of the finest agricultural land in west Somerset (James William Shattock letter of 1943). Sir Henry Shattock (ca. 1550-1610) was an owner of mills and large tracts of land. Since fulling mills were often converted to fulling mills, Sir Henry Shattock's wealth probably came from the export broadcloth market. Towards the end of this period of economic prosperity, the market shifted to London, and indeed we find Shattocks moving to East Anglia and London after 1550.

The rise and fall of the export cloth market in Somerset naturally has its close parallel in Devon. In fact Taunton might be described as more closely tied to the export market out of Exeter and its Topsham port. And the villages of South Molton and North Molton, close to the Barnstaple port, also rose and fell with the cloth export market. (See North and South Molton Shattickes.) In every case there is large, and splendid church on site largely funded by profits from the export cloth market.

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.

The major cloth making villages coincides almost perfectly with the map above I had created identifying the villages where Shattockes are found during the same period (1500-1640). This is an excellent indication that Shattockes were not farmers and peasants at this time, they were hard working cloth tradespeople who used their new found wealth to purchase some of the best farming land in west Somerset. In fact it appears that enterprising Shattockes were farmers and weavers. They purchased additional land. No better example of this can be found then the case of William Shattuck (1622-1672) who settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony. In the 1639 survey of Watertown he is reported as owning "an Homstall of one acre and three acres of upland." He may have been grazing sheep on the upland. By the time he died he had amassed over 80 acres of land. This was certainly the case with Stogumber, Staplegrove, and Milverton Shattockes and perhaps North Molton Shattickes and Shattockes as well.

Parish Records

Although parish records were mandated in 1538, many parishes did not begin record keeping until much later. However there are other ways of identifying Shattock families, particularly wills, but also land transaction records, court records, tax lists, muster rolls, the 1642 Protestation Returns, histories, goods inventories and other documents. The records of Shattock families in west Somerset and Devon are indeed fairly complete.

We have a way of verifying the completeness of those records. There was a high mortality rate among children in the medieval and early modern period. Although mothers would have 6 to 7 children, 60% of them would die before the age of 16, so only 2.6 on average would survive to the age of reproduction, which was around the age of twenty-three. The number of males who survived to the age of reproduction is half that or 1.3 on average. We can assume that each family would have a maximum of two sons who carried on the family surname. Some would have one or none.

The growth of the family to 33 sons in 1640 from a single founder in 1360 AD is predicted to be:

1380 -- 1

1430 -- 2

1480 -- 4

1530 -- 8

1580 -- 16

1640 -- 33

Thomas and Roger were born approximately in 1420 and 1424. By 1480 we would expect to find only about 4 male Shattockes. The argument here is that if there were only 33 male Shattockes over the age of 18 in 1642, then it is likely there were only 16 a generation earlier, 8 in the generation before that, 4 in the generation before that and 2 in the generation before that. And that is roughly what we find when we count how many male Shattockes are found in each generation of Shattockes from 1380 to 1642.

I keep a kind of digital shoe box of all the records of the Shattocke name in a Word document. In order to compare the count of Shattockes in the records with the prediction, I extracted from my Word document the Christian names and approximate birth dates of Shattockes between the first record in 1450 and 1674. The latter date is the date of the 1674 Hearth Tax in Somerset and Devon.

I put this information into a spreadsheet, arranged according to place and time.

Along the left of the spreadsheet I listed the villages where Shattocks are found. Along the top of the spreadsheet I listed dates from 1420 to 1670. To see how many Shattocks were alive at any given time, all you have to do is scroll down each of the columns and count the Shattock males.

As you probably know the parish records are spotty. Parish records did not begin to be used until 1538 and sometimes they were neglected, damaged or lost. However, I must say that the records for the villages that the Shattocks lived in were not as bad as I thought. There are a few names I have added to the spreadsheet that are not found in the records, which I indicate with a question mark, like "John?". But not that many.

I do not rely solely on the parish records. I use many different type of documents to reconstruct families. All these sources are found in the Word document.

If you count the number of sons to be found in 1490, there appears to be four: Thomas, Samuel, William and John. There is possibly a fifth fifteen years later, about 1505, called Alexander. This is close to the prediction. There is about eleven a generation later, a little more than predicted. This may have been the result of the fact that by the beginning of the 16th century the population as a whole was booming as the population rebounded from the plague, wars and famines.

The villages highlighted in blue in the map of Shattock villages above are where records of Shattockes up to the middle of the 15th century are found. The red highlighted villages are where records are found up the end of the 15th century.

Up to the middle of the 15th century the two main clusters are in the north part of the Tone valley (Stogumber is just a bit north of the Tone) and around Staplegrove / Taunton. There is also an outlier in Bampton and North Molton. Mapping Shattockes to villages is one way of validating the spreadsheet of early Shattockes.

There is a very good indication of where Shattocks are found in west Somerset by 1642 who in 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. In the spreadsheet I have highlighted these men in red and annotated them. 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 three villages in Devon (North Molton, South Molton, Yarnscombe 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. 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. Since Stogumber Shattocks are known to have been involved in the cloth trade, that is a pretty good support for the theory that we are descendants from skilled tradesmen in the cloth industry. 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. Again this is an area heavily involved in cloth making. The Taunton - Stablegrove area ties as the second largest area. Once again Shattockes are found in the known cloth making villages on the outskirts of Taunton.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there was only 33 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. (The modern estimate is 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.)

The tree I have reconstructed from the written records, and reconciled with the phylogenetic tree derived from the DNA results looks like this:

While there may be mistakes in the tree I have reconstructed from the old records, what matters is the Shattockes who appeared in the 1642 Protestation Return, as well as the Shattockes who appear in the earliest records of colonial America, William Shattuck (1622-1672) of Watertown, Massachusetts and Jon. Shaddock the indentured servant who appears in a court record in the Chesapeake Bay colony of Virginia in 1637. The latter is most likely the ancestor of Parrishs and Byars in the American south. These records tells us what branches of the family had survived by 1642 and went on to produce the subsequent generations of Shattockes, Byars and Parrishes.

There have been over eighty descendants who have YDNA tested, and four dozen or so autosomal relatives. This large sample of Shattockes comes from all over the world. I have particularly ferreted out and personally financed tests of Shattocks from families that have lived recently in Somerset. Some of them still live there. So I am pretty sure that we have a pretty good sample of all the branches of the Shattocke family. This has given us a very good way of validating the genealogical reconstruction of our ancient family since DNA testing finds the way the family has branched over time.

Major Shattock Villages in Somerset Early History

Download the high resolution of the following "street map" of Somerset by clicking on it. It has the advantage of showing the farms and estates and many of the locations you will not find on Google maps, like Illbeare.

Major Shattocke villages in west Somerset. Clicking on the may downloads the underlying map in high resolution.

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 New England 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 in west Somerset. 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 largely without a saftety net, you needed either land or money to start a family. (An example is Sir Henry Shattocke of West Monkton.) The richest families had the largest families because the parents could provide land or money to their children for a start in life. This is a phenomenon is described by E.H. Rigby in his study of the medieval family in his 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 the export cloth market declines and other 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 at the top of this page, you see that all the living descendants of the original Shattocke founder belong to only four sub-branches. Look at the dates associated with the SNPs for each of these three branches (shown in bold green). All these

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 fact Shattock New England, Devon and London migrants were skilled in cloth making,

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.

Staplegrove Area


I lump Taunton, Staplegrove, and Norton Fitzwarren together because the paper trail indicates the families moved freely between these villages. (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.

Norton Fitzwarren was largely an agricultural area up to the point it became an urban extension of Taunton. In the 19th century many Shattock familiess are found living in Norton Fitzwarren, working either as farm labourers or trades people. But much earlier generations whose births, deaths and marriages are found in the Church of All Saints in Norton Fitzwarren may have been involved in the cloth trade. An essay on the economic history of Norton Fitzwarren records a fulling mill in the Langford area of the village, present there since 1504. Fulling is a step in the production of cloth. A cottage industry of weavers, dyers and spinners grew up around fulling mills. Page 14 in the history of the economy of Norton Fitzwarren:

  • A tucking mill at Langford was recorded in the 1504 will of Agnes Burton of Taunton. A weaver was working in the parish c.1612 and looms are recorded in three 17th-century inventories, one listing five pairs of looms, which suggests a small workshop. Spinning turns or wheels are recorded in three other inventories. Henry Shattocke was described as a ‘clothier’ in 1678.

A tucking mill and fulling mill are synonymous terms. A "clothier" is someone involved the making or marketing of cloth.

See Taunton and the Rise and Fall of the Wool Trade for a discussion of the impact of the wool trade on Shattocke fortunes.

Curiously, Shattockes are found in Norton Fitzwarren, Staplegrove and West Monkton on the outskirts of old Taunton, in a rural setting. It is probably the case that Shattocks working in the cloth trade turned around and invested in land, as there are quite a few Shattocks on the Taunton Deane Tenant's List over the centuries from 1450 onwards.

Norton Fitzwarren may also have been important to the cloth trade as a market place. An old local rhyme touts its origins as: "When Taunton was a furzy down, Norton was a market-town."

The exception to rural Shattocks are perhaps the founders of the Staplegrove Shattocks. There is documented proof of a shopkeeper Shattock family in Staplegrove in the will of John Shattock in 1533. It was possibly his son or grandson who is listed as a vintner in a 1569 document (E 176/2/181). Wine is closely associated with the cloth trade, as Taunton cloth was often exchanged for imported wine. However, with that said Norton Fitzwarren and Staplegrove share a boundary and are only a mile and a half apart, village center to village center so the Shattocks families are probably tightly entwined.

In nearby Kingston St. Mary, is a "George Shatoke" who is found in the will of John Bult dated 18 Sep. 1558.

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. In nearby Creech St. Michael (less than two miles away) there was a mill in which a Henry Shattocke owned an interest. (See the page devoted to Sir Henry Shattocke of West Monkton.) Christopher Shattocke was involved in a dispute over land there sometime between 1603-1625. He may be tied to Christopher Shattock in the Vexford area south of Stogumber. 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. 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.

Milverton Area

I 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 Y29591 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 evident that the Milverton Shattocks descended from an ancestor from Stogumber, William Shattock (born about 1495), who was in turn descended from Roger Shattock born about 1425. 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 John Shattock, husband Johane Shattocke, who was buried in the churchyard of nearby Bicknoller in 1533. He had a son "Sir Thomas," probably not a knight, who would be found in Bampton near the Devon border and eventually North Molton, in north Devon.

Stogumber

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, Y17171 / 16895. (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 one of the major exporters of cloth, the Wolcotts, lived in Tolland, just a few miles from Stogumber.

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.

At the beginning of Parish records in Stogumber in 1559 there were two families of Shattocks in Stogumber, one in nearby Crowcombe and another in West Bagborough.

For a deeper study of the involvement of Shattocks in the cloth trade in the Stogumber area read the page devoted to Stogumber.

St. Pancras' Church, West Bagborough

West Bagborough is on the slopes of the Quantock Hills, equidistant between Taunton and Stogumber, on the way to Minehead, which was a major shipping point for wool and cloth.

In the picture on the left you can see the sloping Quantock Hills.

The first Shattock resident of West Bagborough, Alexander Shattock, may have been a weaver selling his products to the Wolcotts of Tolland and Stogumber, where tucking mills are found.

The West Bagborough Shattocks appear to have dispersed from the village beginning in the early 17th century. A branch of the family formed in Bishops Lydeard and subsequent generations appear to have been farmers and agricultural laborers. See the page devoted to the West Bagborough Shattocks.

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.

Samuel Shattock paid tax in 1525 and in 1623 Alexander Shattock was a beneficiary in the will of John Wolcott. He married his wife Agnes Sealey in the Tolland church. This is probably the same Alexander Shattock who moved his family to Bishops Lydeard when the export wool market declined in the area.


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's proximity to South Molton's cloth industry and the Barnstaple port made it attractive to Shattock weavers and merchants. The first Shattock to venture out of Somerset was Thomas Shattock born about 1500 near Stogumber in west Somerset. He is first found in Bampton, Devon, near Tiverton, a major wool and cloth market. Then later he moves his family to North Molton where the family lived for another century and a quarter. There were large sheep herds in the nearby Exmoor forest and a port where cloth was exported in nearby Barnstable. The woolen industry that enriched the town and sustained Shattockes for many generations, until the wool industry declined. Shattocks were on the move in Somerset at the same time. Shaddocks 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. He was probably born in 1616 in Stogumber and was transported to Chesapeake Bay in 1637. Don Parrish, who has extensively studied A8033 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. You can see his line of descent from an early Stogumber Shattock in the above Shattocke Ancestral Family Tree.

London Shattocks

There is evidence of Shattockes in London from the middle of the 16th century. 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. London also attracted Shattocks seeking work after the cloth export market declined in the early 17th century.

Some evidence has been found of Shattock mariners, including a John Shattock who was a key player in North Atlantic trade out of the island of Madeira.

Shattocks from Staplegrove may have followed the trend in the early modern period of nouveau riche cloth merchants from the country discovering the pleasures and social freedom of London. There is evidence Staplegrove Shattocks had homes in London.

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

Eventually London had one of the greatest concentration of Shattockes in the world. See the page I have devoted to the London Shattockes.

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.

Shattock Bourgeoisie

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. And a Milverton Shattock descendant, Mary Bellett Shattock married Count Donizio Marc De Salomes in the St. Marylebone church in Westminster, London. Count Donizio was a descendant of an ancient Venetian family of Counts and an ancient Irish family of peers.

However there is a good case to be made that some of the Shattocks of Staplegrove, in the 16th and 17th century, can be described as members of the mercantile elite who effectively ran the local government in towns. In the 16th century, there were at least three "Sir" Shattocks, Sir Thomas, Sir John and Sir Henry. The title may be honorific, but at least it describes how highly they were esteemed. I write about Squire Henry Shattocke at length. He was descended from Staplegrove Shattocks.

The medieval and early modern town had recognized classes: the mercantile oligarchy, the organized crafts with their master, apprentices and journeymen, the middling traders, and the food processors. This is how Richard Holt, in his essay "Gloucester in the Century After the Black Death" (The Medieval Town, p. 149) describes the role of clothiers and other merchants in the medieval town:

  • As in all other medieval towns, the merchants formed a social and economic elite group, the top tier of urban society. They controlled the government of the town, and through the offices of bailiff and Parliamentary burgess they represented Gloucester's interests, or their own interests, to the outside world. Whilst it is not possible to define the number and extent of this group, it is easy to identify the leading members of the oligarchy simply by looking at who held these important offices.

There was a compelling reason why merchants would want to exercise political power. "Control of civic offices enhanced the holders' commercial dealings."(The Medieval Town, p. 185). In Maryanne Kowaleski's study of Exeter she finds: "The interplay between politics and commerce can be clearly seen in late fourteenth-century Exeter when the men who dominated town government not only controlled a significant portion of Exeter's local trade, but also enjoyed extensive commercial influence in regional and international trade networks."

According to Kowaleski, people aspiring to political and economic power in a medieval or early modern town would often take gambles on overseas trade to finance their access to political and economic power.

At this time the wealthiest merchants were involved in the cloth trades and white broadcloth from the West Country was England's largest export product. Taunton was right in the thick of it, and so it appears were some Shattocks in Taunton and Stogumber.

The archival records for Taunton show Shattocks were involved in the financial affairs of the Taunton Deane manor, in this case witnessing the official recording of the tenants of the manor in the manorial roll.

  • Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, Dec. 17, 1924. The author of the news item, Sidney E. Dodderidge, writes: "Thomas Shattocke witnessed Staplegrove admissions at the exchequer, Taunton Castle, in 1568, 1572, 1573; John Shattock jun. in 1620, Thomas Shattocke in 1633."

One of the Staplegrove Shattocks, John Shattock in 1603, petitions a court to be released from his duty as a constable in the Taunton Deane and provided a list of suitable candidates for the office. A constable in the medieval and early modern period was not simply a policeman. The position of constable was a very ancient office that certainly had a "law and order" aspect but it overlapped with military and local government responsibilities. This is how the Encyclopedia Britannica describes the office in England at the time John Shattock served as constable (1603): The "chief or high constable in every local area (hundred or franchise) was responsible for suppressing riots and violent crimes and for arming the militia to enable him to do so. Under him were petty constables in each tithing, or village. The high and petty, or parish, constables remained the executive legal officers in counties until the County Police Acts of 1839 and 1840 allowed certain justices to establish a paid police force." This speaks to the position John Shattock held in the Taunton Deane, which comprised a large local area and included such villages as Norton Fitzwarren, Staplegrove and West Monkton.

In his will, Henry Shattocke of Norton Fitzwarren is described as a clothier in 1678.

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. Given the subsequent history of the Staplegrove family, where they became manorial officials, with John Shattocke a constable prior to 1603, we can say with confidence that Shattocks belonged to the Taunton oligarchy. 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.

Merchants in the luxury goods trades can be described as members of the mercantile elite. Holt (p. 149) "In terms of numbers the most important group of the oligarchy were the retailers of luxury goods, such as the mercers and vintners." John Shattock of Staplegrove is described as a vintner in a 1569 document held by the national archives in London (E 176/2/181). As a merchant importing wine, he might have traveled to London to trade, if not further afield in Europe or the Mediterranean. In 1632 we find a James Shaddock (sic) in London identified as a vintner 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 as merchants. In fact the first three Shattock families we find in London parish records are headed by "John Shattocks," the name of the purported founder of the Staplegrove Shattocks. (See the page devoted to London Shattocks.)

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 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. It is significant that Madiera was a center for the wine trade.

The dispute involved docking rights on the island of Madeira, which was a stepping stone in the North Atlantic trade that extended all the way to the north east coast of South America and reached east as far as the Mediterranean. There is a paper about the role of the island of Madeira played in the development of the Atlantic economy in the 17th century (presented at a conference at the the University of Edinburgh in 2012): The British Presence on Madiera Island. The authors of the paper lists John Shattock as one of a group of 12 British merchants who played a pivotal role in the development of the Atlantic economy. See the page I have devoted to this John Shattock.

I suspect John Shattock may have become involved in the Atlantic trade from a base in Dorset. In the Dorset Administrations Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset (vol. 2 p. 89) in 1583 John Shattock is listed as a creditor. In Melcombe Regis, Dorset, John Shattocke is named as the father of Thomas Shattocke born Jan. 13, 1599 and a daughter Elizabeth the next year. These are Staplegrove Shattock given names. Melcombe Regis is a suburb of Weymouth in Dorset, England, on the north shore of Weymouth Harbour. Interesting to note is that it seems only to have developed as a significant settlement and seaport in the 13th century, at a time when the wool export market was flourishing. John Shattock may have been shipping west Somerset cloth from the Weymouth harbor to European markets. John Shattock and his children were the first west Somerset Shattock family in Dorset.

In the late 16th century and the early 17th century, Shattocks were following the export cloth market to London. The earliest record of a Shattock in London was the marriage of Mary Shattock to William Pickering in at "Great Saint Bartholomew" in London Dec. 1, 1566. A family appears to have moved from Somerset to the Southwark area just outside the old city of London where a market became established just outside the reach of London oligarchs. Fabian Shattock was baptized in Southwark at St. Saviour Oct. 29, 1570. By about 1620 Shattocks were apparently doing quite well financially in London because Agnes Shattocke, described as the wife of the late Francis Shattocke, took Franklin and Thomas Hobman to court over the title to a inn called Flower de Luce. Francis is a name found the parish records of Bishops Lydeard, next door to Staplegrove and Norton Fitzwarren on the outskirts of Taunton in west Somerset.

The wealth of the Staplegrove Shattocks may have been stored in land purchases. In his 1943 letter to his son in America, James William Shattock (1860-1848) describes the lands held by the family in Staplegrove as "nearly a square mile of the best land in Taunton dene." Owning property was one way of transferring wealth from one generation to the next (The Medieval Town, p. 152). Owning land was also a business hedge against market exigencies and as a means of securing credit. The Taunton Deans list of tenant farmers is long, extending from the middle of the 15th century to the late 17th century, coinciding with the rise and fall of the Staplegrove Shattocks. But it would be a mistake to assume that the oligarchy was interested in becoming landed gentry. Kowaleski (p. 212) discovered that "There is no evidence that members of the Exeter oligarchy either worked for or desired the life of a country gentleman. Although some moves from wealthy town merchant to country squire undoubtedly took place, they probably involved an extremely small (albeit highly visible) proportion of any town's oligarchy." The rents collected from tenant farmers were tiny compared to the profits merchants were reaping from the export cloth trade.

Hope House, now Bishops Mead, is at 192 Kingston Rd. in Staplegrove. It is actually much larger than it looks from the front as it has a large and expansive floor plan reaching back, with additional buildings at the back as well. At the time this picture was taken it apparently was undergoing renovation on its top floor. It has been divided into separate residents. Not the palatial and architectural grandeur of other clothier family empires, but impressive for its size and the one square mile of excellent arable land its residents once owned.

Hope House-- now called Bishop's Mead--was once a large stately residence that is a measure of the wealth of the 16th and 17th century Shattocks of Norton Fitzwarren and Staplegrove. But prosperity during a time when economic conditions lifted all boats eventually came to an end when the enormous broadcloth export market sunk. By the early 17th century Shattocks and Shaddocks had already begun to leave for greener pastures, north to London and west across the ocean to the new world. The Milverton Shattocks would adapt and survive in the new economic climate and find a path to modest wealth. The North Molton Shatticks would eventually disperse to become farmers and farm laborers in north Devon. The Shattocks of Stogumber left never to return. One of them would become a rich and successful brewer in London. The Shattocks of Staplegrove became farmers and later railway station masters and coachmen with a dim memory of their more illustrious past. Hope House has been divided into condos. And it no longer answers the door (or rather emails) to Shattocks.

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."

Want your family store told on this site? Contact me.