Stogumber Shattocks

Sheep shearing, depicted in an early 16th-century manuscript

Stogumber, a tiny village in west Somerset, is the birthplace for the founder of the Massachusetts Shattucks, William Shattuck (1622-1672), and is one of the most ancient of Somerset Shattock villages.

The earliest record of a Shattock in the village is 1454 when it was recorded that Roger Shattock, a cloth merchant, had cloth robbed from his house. In a study I made of Shattocks in west Somerset, I discovered that Roger was likely the son or grandson of the common ancestor of all Shattockes, Y16884 / 16895. The jury is still out on the question of where Y16884 / Y16895 lived. A Thomas Shattock is also recorded to have been a tenant farmer in Bishop's Hull, just outside of Taunton, as he appears in the 1450 tenant's list for the Taunto Deane. And there may have been a third Shattock in nearby Milverton. So there may have been three Shattock brothers or near cousins who founded the entire Shattocke family. The following deep Shattocke family tree is reconstructed out of such documents as parish records, wills, land transactions, court documents, and other ancient records and reconciled with a considerable body of DNA evidence. The tree shows the descendants of these "Abel and Cain" descendants of the common ancestor.

Stogumber, early in the 20th century.

Stogumber History

There are local names that suggest Stogumber and area was the site of an Saxon village and the Domesday survey compiled by the Norman conquerors after 1066 lists a minster on the site, suggesting an Saxon presence. The population of Stogumber can be estimated from the Domesday survey of 1086. Although it lists only 11 villagers, they were probably heads of families, giving us an estimate of 50 villagers when we include other family members. In 2003 Channel 4's Time Team arrived in the village and dug up the front lawn of Zinch house, finding whet stones used to sharpen knives and swords, and a worked flint, which they believed dated from neolithic times. Iron age pottery was also discovered. We can eliminate a neolithic (15,000 years ago) to early bronze age (6400 years ago) presence of Shattockes in England because their genetic history puts them in western Asia. And by the middle bronze age (4800 years ago) they had slowly migrated to central Europe. Since Shattocks have been proven not to be descended from the Saxons, we can assume that they moved to Stogumber some time after 1086, the date for the Doomsday book.

A local history buff, Lesley Morgan, wrote for the local newspaper some very good articles about life in Stogumber in ancient times. She writes about a Robert Shattock who was a Baptist who was “laid into his grave without an appointed burial of the church”.

Lesley Morgan kindly dug through her archives and came up with these two very significant records:

“The earliest evidence in fact dates from the fifteenth century when there was a fulling mill at Vexford, and there were several chapmen, (cloth dealers) working in the parish already. In 1454 one Roger Shattock of Stogumber lost six dozen of white and russet cloths worth five marks when a Nettlecombe man broke into his home and made off with them” (Talk given by Mary Siraut, editor of the Victoria County History of Somerset, in 2005. From the Registers of Bishop Beckyngton, transcribed by the Somerset Record Society Vol 49, page 307).

1501 in Preston, William Tudball, blacksmith, struck John Shattock with a staff hook and instantly killed him. William was convicted of murder but fled to Halse (unpublished work by E A Couch)

Look at the date Roger Shattock of Stogumber lost his cloth. 1454! Two things. First he is a cloth dealer. Secondly the oldest Shattock reference found previously was Thomas Shattocke in the tenants list for the Manor of Taunton Deane. This is just four years later. So as far back as 1454 there was a Shattock merchant living up the Tone Valley in Stogumber. And he was a cloth merchant.

The second reference is to a Shattock murdered in Stogumber 50 years later. So Shattocks must have been living continuously in Stogumber for a very, very long time, in fact until the late 18th century. But how early is the presence in Stogumber of Shattocks?

It may have been the fulling mills that attracted Shattocks to the village. Fulling cleans wool and makes it denser and thicker. It used to be done manually, but in the 13th century the process was automated with the invention of the water wheel, which raised a hammer that fell on wool, fulling it. Manual fulling used to be done in the major towns, like Bristol and Taunton. The craft was under the control of a guild, which restricted the number of fullers in order to keep prices high. But fulling mills were located in the countryside where streams are found, like Stogumber which has the Doniford stream on its eastern boundary. Stogumber is on a slope where three roads converge to cross a stream. By the middle of the 13th century the towns had lost a significant portion of their cloth business because once fulling was done in country villages, other trades like dyeing and cloth making followed. And such trades as spinning and weaving created a cottage industry around the mills. As it happens Roger Shattuck was born about the time fulling mills had bled towns of their monopoly on the wool business and when weavers were being imported by the king to bolster the cloth making business in his kingdom. Was Roger or his father from Taunton, the nearest major wool town? Or was he an immigrant to Somerset from elsewhere in England or from across the English Channel?

In this period, there are signs that Stogumber may have acted as a market and distribution centre, though there is no documentary evidence that it had any truly urban status in the medieval period (there are no traces of a borough). Moreover, the first direct references to a formal market are in the post-medieval period. Stogumber was, however, the local wool town, acting as a centre for distribution to the cottage industries in the surrounding hamlets and farmsteads.

Indeed, Stogumber acquired a new market and fairs, established by Sir John Sydenham, in the 17th century. These continued to flourish in the 18th century, and in 1791 Collinson was able to describe the place as a small market town. The 19th century brought problems: Stogumber was bypassed by both the turnpike movement and the industrial revolution, leading to a significant decrease in traffic through the town, and to the demise of the parish's cottage industries. However, stagnation was averted by the establishment of Stogumber Brewery in about 1840.

The national success of Stogumber Ale encouraged the economy, and it was in this period that the tithe map was entitled the Town of Stogumber. The coming of the railway restored the settlement's link to major communications routes - though the station was not close enough to have a major impact on the town fabric. Despite this "boom," Stogumber had a high proportion of people requiring poor relief in the 19th century. It was rough place, and the weekend drinking town of the Brendon miners. The population fell steadily in the later part of the 19th and during the 20th century, and with the demise of the brewery and the market has returned to its village identity.

There is evidence that the Stogumber Shattocks were non-conformists, so it is not surprising that the founder of Shattocks in America, William Shattuck, was born here on March 16, 1622. It took me quite a long time to track him down to this tiny village now so far off the main highways of Somerset. I think my discussion of the research that led me to Stogumber is useful to all descendants of Stogumber Shattocks, because it can be said that a majority of them were also religious non-conformists. The Virginia Shaddocks, who are a branch of the Milverton Shattocks, and in turn the Stogumber Shattocks, are descended from a late 17th century Quaker who left Somerset for the Quaker colony in Pennsylvania. There were other branches of the Milverton Shattucks who were actively involved in the non-conformist churches in Wellington. My own English ancestor, Thomas Mitchell Shaddock (1834-1912) left Devon in 1850 a Methodist and may have sought a new life in western Ontario to be among his Metodist relatives. The New Brunswick Shaddicks, also a branch of the North Molton Shattockes, a branch in turn of the Stogumber Shattocks, were also Methodists who were deeply religious. So this account of the pilgrimage of Stogumber Shattocks to the new world applies to many later emigrations as wel..

The First Shattock Pilgrimages to the New World

The first Stogumber Shattocks came over to America from England during the great migration of pilgrims to the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1629 and 1640. The seminal book on English immigration to America, "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press, 1989), sets the stage (pp. 16-7). King Charles I tried "to rule England without the parliament and Archbishop William Laud purged the Anglican church of its Puritan members." It was a time of economic depression, epidemic disease, religious strife and constitutional crisis. It was estimated that 21,000 emigrants fled conditions at home for the Massachusetts Bay colony.

Profiling the Shattuck Pilgrims

Fischer argues that it is not persecution that drove people to leave the comfort and continuity of their English villages. It was a desire to serve God's will and be free of temptation, in other words to start fresh in a virgin land. Like modern communes, they wanted a retreat from their motherland where they could create a social environment for their families that was based on their shared Puritan beliefs. This meant that, more than any other group emigrating to America, the Puritans migrated with their whole family. "To a remarkable degree, the founders of Massachusetts traveled in families--more so than any major ethnic group in American history." (Fischer p. 25) This is an extremely important point with regards to the founding of the Shattuck family. Were the three Shattucks who came over in the great migration (widow Damaris, Samuel Shattocke and William Shattocke) from separate families? It seems likely that they were Shattocks who lived in a village or in nearby villages. Fischer p. 25: "The nuclear families that moved to Massachusetts were in many instances related to one another before they left England."

Frederick Cheever Shattuck (1847-1929). He was a prominent physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. "A shrewd and kindly judge of human nature, a whimsically humorous commentator on men and affairs, a wise physician rich in the learning derived from large experience, an impressive and stimulating clinical teacher, a far-sighted, enterprising and generous supporter of important new developments in medicine--these are some of the lasting impressions of Dr. Shattuck that lie deep in the memory of his colleagues in the Harvard Medical School." The Boston Shattucks had many prominent family members.

There is something else we can probably say about the Shattucks who arrived in the Colony. According to Fischer, they belonged to the middle strata of society, not the aristocracy and not the poor or disadvantaged. "The great majority were yeomen, husbandmen, artisans, craftsmen, merchants and traders--the sturdy middle class of England." (p. 30) Most of the immigrants to the Colony paid their own way with the cost of outfitting and moving a family of six about £50, roughly what a middle class Englishman would earn in a year. That would be equivalent to $50,000 to $70,000 in today's dollars. This eliminated the poor and the financially strapped. On top of that, not everybody was allowed into the colony. You needed to qualify. "The heads of these families tended to be exceptionally literate, highly skilled, and heavily urban in their English origins. There were a people of substance, character, and deep personal piety." (p. 31) Less than a third were involved in agriculture. This is important because it gives us clues as to the identity of the Shattuck immigrants. It also gives us clues about where to find Shattuck ancestors: in villages, not isolated farms. And for other Shattocke family branches, this portrait of the Puritans presents a snapshot of where our ancestors stood in English society, where they lived, and what occupations they pursued in the early 17th century. And a very, very important point to note is that the Shattucks who found a new life in the Massachusetts Bay colony were deeply religious and non-conformists.

You are probably familiar with real crime stories where a forensic profiler develops a detailed description of the likely perpetrator or a crime. In trying to discover the identity of the Massachusetts Shattuck pilgrims, you can think of what I have described so far as a profile of who our Shattocke emigrant to the colony was likely to be.

West Somerset

But where did that immigrant come from? If you read the page I have written about the Somerset Shattocks, you will see that all Shattockes in the world come from Somerset, in the west country of England. In fact, around 1600 all Shattockes lived within thirteen miles of each other in west Somerset, although there was a least one family living in North Molton, on the border of Devon and Somerset, across the Exmoor wilderness.

It is almost certain the Shattockes who landed in the Massachusetts Bay colony were from west Somerset. And that narrows our search for their home village down to a matter of a few miles.

Where in west Somerset? A researcher early in the 20th Century, Charles Edward Banks, collected information about early settlers in New England between 1620 and 1650. It was published in 1937 by the Bertram Press in a book titled, "Topographical dictionary of 2885 English emigrants to New England, 1620-1650." He identified two Shattocke immigrants to Massachusetts, William Shattock, who settled in Watertown, just outside of Boston, and Samuel Shattock, who settled in Salem, just to the north. His sources were Charles Henry Pope (The Pioneers of Massachusetts, Boston 1900) and Sidney Perley (The History of Salem, Salem 1924-28).

Banks identifies the ships that carried the first pilgrims to the Massachusetts Bay colony. The "Mary and John" made two trips from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts Bay, one in 1630 and once in 1633-34. According to a book by Ann Natalie Hansen (The English Origins of the 'Mary and John' Passengers, Sign of the Cock, 1985), the passengers came from many towns in Dorset, Devon and Somerset. Charles Edward Banks, in The Planters of The Commonwealth in Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston, 1930 (p. 87), wrote: "Mary and John, Thomas Chubb, Master. She sailed from Plymouth, England, March 20 [1630], with one hundred and forty passengers from the counties of Somerset, Dorset, and Devon."

Title page of Captain John Smith's 1616 work A Description of New England. The Puritans who left England might have seen this "ad" encouraging them to emigrate to North America.

The night before sailing must have been a mixture of excitement and chill fear among the strangers who met in the coastal town of Plymouth in the south east of Devon, England. They had no idea of the trials they would be put through, including being dumped in the wilderness by a captain who feared taking his ship up the Charles River. Hardships and disease took their toll.

There is an excellent short account of the voyage by Maude Pinney Kuhns in The "Mary and John:" A Story of the Founding of Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1630 (The Tuttle Publishing Company, 1943). An excerpt from the book can be found here. You get a very good idea of the incredible hardships faced by the early settlers seeking their own land and freedom after centuries or millenniums of bondage and finding hostility in the weather, in the native people, and even among their own people. The story of the Shattocke families in the Massachusetts colony is at the very core of the American experience. Shattuck ancestors were among the very first immigrant people to a new land that offered the promise of religious and economic freedom. The central celebration is Thanksgiving every year when American families come together and acknowledge their shared history and their solidarity and mutual support. The Shattockes of New England are among the nation's founders.

The passenger lists for the Mary and John in 1630 and 1630-34 have never been fully reconstructed. We don't even know if the two Shattockes were on the same ship. I have consulted the latest passenger list for the Mary and John maintained by the Winthrop Society, an organization composed of descendants of Winthrop Fleet passengers, and Shattocke or any of its variant spellings are not listed. There are no Shattockes that appear on other passenger ships during this period.

The best reason why we do not find William and Samuel on the Mary and John passenger lists is that they would be 12 and 14 in 1633-34. Children were not usually listed as passengers. Still, you would expect to see at least a father or fathers for them and Damaris' name.

"The Landing of the Pilgrims" (1877) by Henry A. Bacon

In the end it probably does not matter if the Shattockes who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony were on the Mary and John. The fact is we can be certain that they emigrated from west Somerset. As I show on the page devoted to west Somerset, I establish the area in west Somerset as the origin point for all Shattockes throughout the world.

Can we find the specific village in west Somerset? In the list of Somerset parishs listed by Banks, there are three parishs where we find Shattockes in the emigration time frame: Yeovil, Tolland and Wedmore are villages that show Shattocke residents. We can probably eliminate Yeovil right away. It was some distance from where the majority of Shattockes lived, and it only shows a William and Mary Shattocke dying there in 1624. They apparently had no parents or children there. For the same reason we can probably eliminate Wedmore. It shows a Joannis Shattocke and Johannam Nurfeilde marrying in Wedmore in 1584 and having a daughter Grace. But again, Wedmore is some distance from where most Shattockes lived. And there were not other Shattockes in the parish record or in nearby villages.

The most likely town is Tolland. If you read the research I have done on west Somerset (here), you will see that Tolland is very near two multi-generational Shattocke villages, West Bagborough (4 miles) and Stogumber (3 miles). And there is a clear link between Shattockes in the area and one of the Puritan pilgrims from Tolland who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony. 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.” In fact this is Alexander Shattock who married Agnes Sealy Jan. 15, 1605. The marriage was recorded in Tolland. There was an Alexander Shattock who died and left a will in 1546 in West Bagborough. Utlimately the West Bagborough Shattocks trace back to Stogumber.

House at Coleford Water. The hamlet of Coleford Water consists of three or four houses. The lanes leading to it are single track with hardly any passing places. Picture from Wikepedia Commons.

If you look at the beginning of the list on this page from the Banks Topographical Dictionary, you will see the name Henry Wolcott from Tolland. He emigrated to New England in 1630 aboard the Mary and John. He was granted 100 acres in Dorchester, the original landing place of the Mary and John immigrants, only twelve miles from Watertown. Was there a family connection between the Wolcotts and the Shattucks? There is an interesting paper written by Philip Ashford, "The West Somerset Woolen Trade 1500-1714" that has a section on the Wolcotts of Tolland and mentions the emigration of a member of the family to New England. The Wolcotts had been living in Tolland since at least the late 15th century because Thomas Wolcott was born there at that time. He was a tucker, meaning he operated a water driven mill that gave woolen cloth its final processing, by soaking and beating to remove impurities. Note that William Shattuck of Watertown, one of the three Shattocke Puritans who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony, came from a family that were weavers.

Guess who the Wolcott family historians make the father of Henry Wolcott, our Puritan immigrant to the Massachusetts Bay colony? It is John Wolcott, the very same John Wolcott who made Alexander Shattock a beneficiary in his will in 1623. This links Henry Wolcott of the Massachusetts Bay colony to the Shattockes in nearby Watertown and Salem. Henry's father had a very close relationship with Alexander Shattocke and that bond was forged in Tolland, Somerset. What gives this connection additional credence is the fact William Shattuck, founder of Shattucks in America, was a weaver. And Samuel Shattuck of Salem has been described as a dyer of cloth. These two Shattucks were children of Shattucks involved in the wool and cloth business. I think the Shattockes in Tolland, Stogumber and West Bagborough might have been suppliers of wool and cloth to the Wolcott mill in Tolland. (See below.)

In correspondence with a Wolcott descendant and family historian, John Wolcott, he had this to say: "Another possible connection is that John Wolcott, who left a bequest to Alexander Shattock in his 1623 will, was married in 1579 to Agnes Crosse. William Shattock was married to Mary Crosse in 1595. We think that Agnes was probably the daughter of John Crosse who was the parish priest at Tolland as we have found no other Crosses at Tolland."

William Shattock married Mary Crosse in Combe Florey, which is half-way between Tolland and West Bagborough. It is intriguing to think this William may have been the grandfather of William Shattuck (ca. 1622-1672). But that is pure speculation. At the very least this evidence strengthens the ties between Tolland families and the Shattocks.

Tolland church, St. John the Baptist

This is a second major reason why I think Tolland, Stogumber and West Bagborough are likely origin points for the Shattocke pilgrim immigrants. There as a very active Puritan community in the neighborhood.

In looking at the Christian names of Shattocks in this area, you do come across many William and Samuel Shattocks. William Shattocke married Marye (sic) Crosse in Combe Florey Nov. 29, 1595, a village only one and half miles from Tolland. He baptized a daughter, Johanne Shattocke Apr. 19, 1598. In 1653 a different William Shattocke, his wife and children, destitute, are ordered by the court to be removed from Tolland back to Crocombe, about 5 miles away. Presumably Crocombe was their native parish. There was a Shattocke family living in the area from which Henry Wolcott emigrated. Can we find a Samuel Shattocke in Tolland? Yes we do. The reference comes from Lemuel Shattuck's Descendants. Lemuel Shattuck in his Memorials (p. 13) says: "In the year 1525 Samuel Shattocke and Alice Shattocke of Tolland, in Somersetshire, appear upon the Rolls which contain Assessments of the Subsidies granted by Parliament."

West Bagborough is on the edge of the Quantock Hills, up the valley from Taunton at a distance of 22 miles, 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, have six children in West Bagborough. I have records of the family that show continuous habitation into the late 18th century.


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 crosses 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 record that goes all the way back to 1454.

Other names found in the West Bagborough parish registers are Johanna and William, which are names found among William Shattuck's children. Was he remembering his close relatives back home?

"Samuel" was a very rare christian name among early Shattockes. Plus it has a biblical origin, making it a very popular name in Puritan families (According to George R. Stewart, author of American Given Names, New York, Oxford University Press, 1979).

"Samuel" appears to be a Christian name popular in the area of Tolland and West Bagborough at the time. But it is not a popular name among Shattocks in other areas of Somerset at this time. There is a Samuel born in 1662 in Taunton. But the only places where we find Samuel Shattockes before that date are a Samuel Shattocke, who was assessed for land in Tolland in 1525 (according to Lemuel Shattuck in his Descendants) and a Samuel Shattick born in West Bagborough in 1575.

Samuel Shattock of Tolland owned enough property for it to be taxed. I think he was probably born in Stogumber about 1490, which would make him a son or grandson of Roger Shattock. Certainly the fact that the Shattockes of Tolland appear to a relatively wealthy family fits within the scenario Fischer describes for New England pilgrims. The Shattockes of Tolland were able to afford emigration to the Massachusetts Bay colony. Samuel Shattuck in Salem owned a shop.

We know that William Shattuck (ca. 1622-1672) of Watertown, Massachusetts, one of the first Shattockes in the Massachusetts Bay colony was a weaver because he left his loom to one of his sons. And we know that Taunton, Somerset was a major woolen industry center and the woolen industry was dominated by Dissenters who separated from the Church of England to return to a more fundamentalist interpretation of the bible. So it is not surprising to find William Shattuck both a weaver and a Puritan Dissenter.

The DNA Evidence

The Shattocke family tree I developed is derived from DNA data. It shows the Shattucks of America and the Shattocks of west Somerset are genetically linked. All descendants of William Shattuck of Watertown (ca. 1622-1672) have an SNP mutation called Y19751. All descendants of the west Somerset branch of the Shattocke family I call the Southwark, London Shattocks share that mutation with Shattucks. They have a common ancestor who lived in west Somerset. According to Bob Shattock, a descendant of the London Shattocks in Melbourne, family oral history has their founder born in a village outside Taunton in west Somerset. (See the page devoted to the Southwark, London Shattocks.) This is compelling evidence that the Shattucks of America are descended from Shattocks who lived in a village west of Taunton in west Somerset.

The two original male pilgrims in the early records of the colony, William and Samuel, where not brothers and some people have said. There are no records of them together in Massachusetts and they seem to have lived in separate towns (Watertown and Salem). The widow Damaris lived in Salem, so there is a possibility she was the mother of Samuel. Let's see if we can find a home for Samuel in the area around Stogumber.

Is there a likely candidate for Samuel Shattuck's father or grandfather in west Somerset?

Samuel Shattock of West Bagborough

Samuel is a forename we find as early as 1625, when Samuel Shattock appears in a tax list for Tolland, just a few miles from Stogumber. It is certainly possible Samuel was an ancestor of Samuel Shattuck, since there were only a handful of Shattocks alive in 1525.

There is a Samuel Shattock born to Richard Shattock 1 Jun 1575 in West Bagborough, (West Bagborough is only 5 miles from Stogumber). But he disappears after that. No record of him. So a possible scenario is that he was the grandson of the earlier Samuel Shattuck and also the father of Samuel Shattuck (born in 1620). It is likely that the "widow Damaris" was newly widowed in New England and it is not surprising she was married again realtively quickly as a single woman, especially if she had dependents, just like a newly widowed man with dependents, would want a partner pretty quickly in a young colony carved recently out of the wilderness. Since it is likely Damaris was related to Samuel Shattuck (she lived in Salem where Samuel is found), that would make Samuel Shattock of West Bagborough the husband of Damaris. He would have been 45 years old when he had Samuel, not impossible. And he would have been 55 or older when he emigrated to the colony. Again, this is not impossible, there were people who emigrated at that age. The other possibility was that he was the grandfather or father and never left West Bagborough. But then we would expect to see at least his burial record in West Bagborough and a birth record for a "son" Samuel.

Samuel Shattuck has a biblical Christian name and gave his children biblical or religious names. The evidence is that many Shattocks in the area around Stogumber and West Bagborough were dissenters or non-conformists. Certainly the subsequent history of Shattucks in America, who were very religious non-conformists, supports this. And it appears Samuel Shattuck's family were Quakers. In fact according to Lesley Morgan, in an article she wrote about early Stogumber baptists, there was a Robert Shattock who was buried in Stogumber in 1669 without Church of England rites because he had not been baptized, presumably the earliest record of a non-baptist burial in Stogumber. If Samuel Shattuck had not been baptized he would not have been entered into the West Bagborough parish baptism record. It may be the case that Samuel Shattock born 1575 in West Bagborough became an anabaptist and never baptized his children. And he may have emigrated because he was very religious and wanted to be part of the new community of non-conformists in the Massachusetts Bay colony.

Samuel Shattuck names his first son Samuel which suggests that his father or grandfather had that name. And one of his daughters was named Damaris which suggests it was his mother who was the "widow Damaris" who also lived in Salem. The Samuel born in 1575 is the only Samuel found in Somerset at this time. I think Samuel Shattuck born 1575 emigrated with his wife Damaris to the colony because he belonged to a congregation that emigrated en masse. Part of the evidence for this is the fact there are very few Shattockes in West Bagborough after 1620, whereas there was at least three families before that.

Lemuel speculates that William Shattuck of Boston, who lived there between 1650 and 1658, and was a shoemaker, was not related to William of Watertown (1622-1672). I think Lemuel is correct. In fact there is a William Shattock born in West Bagborough in 1606 and another born in 1627 who could have joined the pilgrimage of Puritans and Quakers to the promised land. And there were William Shattocks born in 1616, 1621, 1622 and 1623 in Stogumber. According to Lemuel Shattock (p. 13 Descendants) there was a William Shattocke and Joanna in the Taunton area who were assessed for goods in 1597. But he would in his seventies by 1650. This makes it most likely the William of Boston was from Stogumber or West Bagborough.

I think Samuel Shattock born 1575 died in Salem at a relatively old age for his time, around 60 years of age. Given that Stogumber was a center for the wool and cloth trade, were is a very good chance he was a serge maker and hatter and his son followed in his footsteps.

So which village was William born in: West Bagborough or Stogumber?

William Shattock of Stogumber

William Shattuck of Watertown's precise age is not known but the best guess is that he was born in 1622 in Somerset.

There is a William Shattock born 1606 in West Bagborough. But he would have been 16 when he conceived William Shattuck. And there is no record of a William Shattock born in West Bagborough around 1620. So unlike Samuel, William was not born in West Bagborough, but most likely in Stogumber, a mere five miles away. There are a lot of Shattocks in the area, and they went back at least as far as the middle of the 15th century, so I don't think it is likely they were brothers or near cousins.

St. Mary's church in Stogumber where William was born.

The only place in the entire county of Somerset where there was born a William Shattock around this time was in Stogumber. In fact there are three William Shattocks that were born, all to John Shattocks (plural). (My cousin John Shattock of Leicester discover the 1621 and 1622 baptism records in the Stogumber parish records.)

John Shattock

William Shattock 1 June 1621

William Shattock 16 March 1622

William Shattock Mar 16 1623

Philip Shattock Mar 2 1624

John Shattock (Johan) Mar 18 1626

Ann Shattock Jan 18 1627

George Shattock Nov 16 1628

Richard Shattock Jun 14 1629

Marie Shattock May 22 1631

There must have been at least two John Shattocks who had sons named William. In fact, in the 1842 Protestation Return, which listed all males in Stogumber who were over the age of eighteen, there were two "John Shatoks."

Unfortunately the mother's name is not given.

It is possible the William Shattock born in 1621 died in infancy. It was common practice to name a second male child with the same Christian name as a deceased first child. This would be important if you were intent on honoring a male relative by naming your child after him. The other possibility is that the Williams were born further apart but baptized between 1621 and 1623.

Lesley Morgan, who is a local historian in Stogumber, sent me a picture of the road that once was the main thoroughfare between the ancient ports of Watchet and Minehead on the coast of Somerset and Taunton. The road made Stogumber an important link in the wool trade in Somerset when Shattocks lived there. When the modern turnpikes were built, bypassing Stogumber, it became much quieter village tucked away in the countryside. Lesley told me the road in places is difficult to traverse even on foot at times in "Wellies."

"John Shattock" is an important name. William of Watertown named his first male child John. He also had a brother or cousin named John. William of Watertown named his second child Philip. William of Stogumber had a brother or cousin named Philip. However, according to the naming convention of the time, Philip could be the maternal grandfather's name.

If William Shattock born March 16, 1622 in Stogumber is the same as William Shattock who immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony, why is there no evidence of the rest of the family in Massachusetts? Did he undergo a conversion to the Puritan religion and leave his family behind? But he would have been in his late teens when he emigrated. Did he become a servant to another family immigrating to the Puritan colony? Did he go over to the new land with relatives, that is his "cousin" Samuel and "aunt" Damaris and an uncle who died on the way or in the new colony? Did his entire Stogumber family emigrate but succumbed to disease in the trip over and after landing? I think the fact there are two John Shattocks alive in Stogumber in 1642 suggests that William traveled without his father and presumably mother.

William was a weaver who must have learned his trade from his father. And John Shattock of Stogumber was living in a wool village. According to British History Online:

Weavers, fullers, dyers, and clothiers were prominent in the parish in the 16th and 17th centuries, including members of the Sweeting and Dashwood families. Individual craftsmen were clearly prosperous. A weaver died in 1636 leaving looms, two reeling machines, cloth, yarn, flock, and wool worth £22. Another seems to have finished his own cloth, for he owned not only weaving equipment but also two racks, shears, a brass furnace, and a supply of wool and cloth.

St. Mary's interior.

The other factor that makes this a strong possibility is that villages in Somerset can be identified by the common Christian names that you find in their parish records. William is a rare name in Staplegrove and Milverton Shattocke families at this time. The name is quite common in the cluster of Shattock villages further up the Tone Valley, in Stogumber, West Bagborough and Tolland. The first marriage we find in the Stogumber parish records is the marriage of William "Shaddock" to Alice Lewse in Stogumber May 7, 1560. They have a child William, born Aug. 27, 1565. There is a second William born Dec. 26, 1578, but it is not clear who the parents of this William was since their names are not entered into the record. John Shattocke is born April 7, 1577. There is a second John Shattock born Apr. 14, 1595. Were these the father and grandfather of William Shattock? A John Shattock died Jan. 6 in 1561 or 1562 and another who died May 16, 1695. One of these is more likely to be the grandfather.

Curiously, William and John are very common Christian names in the North Molton registers at this time.

What of William of Watertown's other children? The next son was named William, presumably after himself, although it could have been his grandfather if his grandfather was named William. Then two biblical names follow, Benjamin and Samuel. Perhaps this reflects William's intensified religious beliefs.

Looking back from the church to the village.

As I discuss on the Massachusetts Shattucks page, William acquired his one acre of land in Watertown at or before the age of seventeen and married three or four years later. Children could be indentured servants as early as the age of seven, so we need not be surprised that William could have left his service under a weaver at that young age and embarked on an adult life. It is possible he inherited the land from his father, indeed could have lost his entire family by the age of seventeen if they had emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony and fallen victim to disease. But since there is no evidence of a Shattuck family in Watertown, the more likely scenario appears to be he was in the service of an enterprising weaver who left Somerset to found a weaving business in the new world.

There is however, one more piece of evidence that makes William of Stogumber a likely match for William of Watertown. The 1641-2 Protestion Returns, which listed all men of the age of eighteen or over in a parish, lists the following William Shattocks in Stogumber:

  • Shatock, William
  • Shatock, William jun
  • Shatock, William

I went through the parish records beginning in 1560 to determine how many Williams would have survived until the 1641-2 Protestation Returns. The number of William Shattocks who were born and died during the period left five Williams alive. So there are two William Shattocks unaccounted for. One of them could have been William Shattuck of Watertown, Massachusetts.

In the reconstructed ancestral Shattock tree at the top of the page, I have worked out William's probably genealogy. It shows four generations of Shattocks before them, each with the Christian name of John, father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather. His third great grandfather is Samuel Shattock, born about 1490, a grandson of Roger Shattock.

Stogumber Links

Explore Stogumber on these pages: