Rev. Stephen Bachiler of Hampton: Some Additional Information

Return to Rev. Stephen Bachiler Table of Contents

By George Freeman Sanborn, Jr.

The New Hampshire Genealogical Record

January 1991 - Vol. 8, No. 1 (reprinted with permission of the author)

Return to Rev. Stephen Bachiler table of contents

A great many people descend from Rev. Stephen Bachiler, the founder of Hampton, New Hampshire, who came to the area then called Winnacunnet with a group of settlers in October 1638 from nearby Newbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His controversial career, both in Old and New England, before and after his arrival in Hampton, has become legendary, and much detail can be found in Frederick Clifton Pierce's, Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy (Chicago, Ill.: The Author, 1898), although this work contains many errors; in V. C. Sanborn's, Genealogy of the Family of Samborne or Sanborn in England and America. 1194-1898. (Concord, N.H.: The Author, 1899 [reprinted Boston, 1969]); and in Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis', Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Portland, Me.: The Anthoensen Press, 1928-1939 [reprinted Baltimore, 1972], hereafter Genealogical Dictionary). That he was married a total of four times is now well known. Further evidence that his first wife and mother of all his children was probably a sister of Rev. John Bate, Bachiler' successor at Wherwell, Hampshire, was discovered by Charles Edward Banks in an English court record (Court of Requests, Public Record Office, London. REQ2/678/64, dated 2 November 15 Charles I [1639]), and preserved by Charles Hull Batchelder in his extensive manuscript collection on the family at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. A photocopy of the original large vellum document of this suit, and a careful transliteration of it, have recently been received by the writer.

The fourth Mrs. Bachiler apparently had two children while she was married to the aged minister, but in view of her propensities and the fact that she and Mr. Bachiler did not live together, it seems highly likely that those children were not his; George Rogers of Kittery, Maine, may have been their father. One of them is never seen by name and may have died young, while the other, Mary, survived and married William Richards (Genealogical Dictionary, 82; Province and Court Records of Maine. Vol. I. [Portland, Me.: Maine Historical Society, 1928], 146, 164, 170 and 176).

That Mr. Bachiler returned to England in old age, after the collapse of his fourth marriage, has long been known. Reports that he died in Hackney, Middlesex, in 1660, aged 100 years, appeared in print, but were long ago disproved. These were based partly on tradition that he lived to a great age and died in England, and partly on a hasty conclusion made in error by someone reading material published in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Vol. VIII. - Fourth Series. (Boston, Mass.: The Society, 1868), 583-584. This error showing him dying in Hackney aged 100 years was caught many years ago and corrected in the "Additions and Corrections" to the Genealogical Dictionary (supra, 781). People still, however, persist in carrying on this incorrect information which actually pertains to a Rev. John Bachiler who died in Hackney in 1674!

Some years ago, Philip B. Simonds of Little Compton, R.I. (who discovered that he had nine lines of descent from Stephen Bachiler, as does the present writer), engaged the services of Brooks & Simpson, Ltd., of London, a highly reputable genealogical research firm, to discover more about Mr. Bachiler's origins and his death. The results were published by Rosemary E. Bachelor in Machias, Maine, in The Batchelor Family News-Journal, 4[April 1974]:5, and show that a very comprehensive search was made to verify previously known or surmised facts respecting the aged minister. Nothing promising was found until they searched Boyd's index to London burials and found several Stephen Bachilers. One of these appeared to be the correct one, and they wrote: "However, a 1656 entry at Allhallows Staining, London, states 'Steeven Batchiller, minister, that died at Robert Barbers, was buried in the new churchyard Oct. 31, 1656.' John Goode was parish rector 1654-1662, so this entry does not relate to a rector of the parish and would appear to be our client's ancestor."

The Sanborn Family Association in its continuing search among English records for the father of the three Samborne brothers who settled in Hampton with their maternal grandfather, Rev. Stephen Bachiler, is naturally interested in the Bachiler ancestry as well. Bachiler's daughter, Ann, widowed by the time she was 30, married secondly (by a license issued at Rochester) in Strood, Kent, on 20 January 1631/2 (Strood, Kent, parish register, Kent Record Office, Maidstone, Kent), as "Mrs Anne Sanborne," to "Mr Henry Atkinson," and they brought the suit mentioned earlier against John Bate, son of Rev. John Bate, thus establishing the basis of these family connections between Bate, Bachiler, and Mrs. Atkinson, among others. What became of the Atkinsons is still not known. They do not appear to have come to New England. The Rochester marriage licenses do not survive for the period in question, from which further information might have been found. However, it has been established that this Henry Atkinson was not the girdler of that name in London who Charles Hull Batchelder thought must be the second husband of Ann (Bachiler) Samborne (supra).

The present writer, a founder and first president of The Sanborn Family Association, has from the start of that organization in 1984 directed the English research carried out by Michael J. Wood, Esq. of London, and Mrs. Mary Rumsey of Alton, Hampshire. Among many other things, I asked Mr. Wood to look up the Court of Requests record and transcribe it in its entirety. I also asked him to verify the Brooks & Simpson report. His research on this matter adds to our knowledge. At the Guildhall Library in London, Mr. Wood read the earliest surviving parish register of Allhallows Staining (MS 17824), covering baptisms 1642-1710, marriages 1653-1710, and burials 1653-1710, for the burials only, between the years 1653 and 1670. Since it is known from records here that Rev. Stephen Bachiler was still in New England in 1654, the date of commencement of the burial register of Allhallows Staining was not a problem. Mr. Wood found the following:

"Steeven Batchiller Minester that dyed att Robert Barbers
was buryed in the new church yard Octob 31th 1656"

Because the alumni directories of both Oxford and Cambridge universities reveal only two people named Stephen Bachiler (our Rev. Stephen Bachiler and his son), it is concluded that in all probability the above record refers to the aged founder of Hampton, New Hampshire.

The Churchwardens' Accounts for Allhallows Staining survive from a very early date, and reveal another bit of information (MS 4956/3, Guildhall Library, London). Receipts include payment for burials, and the payments took the form of donations, poor relief, and the like, as well as routine expenses. On page 193, for the year 1656, Mr. Wood found:

Receipts by Richard Pockley, churchwarden:
        £     s.     d.
         "Received for Stephen Bachilers knell     000 - 01 - 06"

The receipt of Is. 6d. for Stephen Bachiler's knell is in the midst of receipts described as for burials, and there is no mention of payment for his burial also. It would thus seem (were this not contradicted by the parish register itself) that he was buried elsewhere, and only the tolling of the bell was performed for him at this church. Very few other entries are for knells.

Evidently, then, Rev. Stephen Bachiler was buried in the new churchyard of Allhallows Staining on 31 October 1656, presumably aged above 90 years, as he had matriculated at St John's College, Oxford, on 17 November 1581, and would later give his age as 71 years upon his arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the William and Francis on 5 June 1632 (Genealogical Dictionary, 81).

The church of Allhallows Staining was rebuilt in 1674, three years after it had collapsed while the sexton was digging a grave. It is believed that centuries of burials inside the church and near the foundation on the outside had actually undermined the otherwise sturdy edifice. The tower, and that part of the west end of the old church immediately attached to it, did not fall (Rev. Alfred Povah, D.D., The Annals of the Parishes of St. Olave Hart Street and Allhallows Staining, in the City of London [London: The United Parishes, 1894], 317-320]). The church of Allhallows Staining stood on the west side of Mark Lane near its northern end, just south of Fenchurch Street. The church was taken down in 1870 when the parish was united with the parish of St Olave Hart Street. The tower, built in the 15th Century, was preserved and a small but pleasant garden created around it. An engraving showing the interior of the church, and one showing a splendid view of the outside, may be seen on pages 319 and 330, respectively, of the above-cited work. In 1873, when the churchyard, situated in Star Alley, Mark Lane, was laid out as a garden, the old gravestones, with three exceptions, were covered with earth, but an accurate plan had been made of the churchyard, indicating the gravestones in their several positions, and a copy of all the legible inscriptions was annexed to the plan. A copy of the plan, with the inscriptions, was preserved among the parish records of Allhallows Staining (ibid., 329). Evidently, none could be found for Mr. Bachiler.

It is ironic that Mr. Bachiler was apparently buried just seventeen days after his fourth wife petitioned for a divorce in New England, alleging that he had gone to England many years since and married again (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, M.D., Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Vol. IV.-Part I. 1650-1660. [Boston, Mass.: The Legislature, 1854], 282; Massachusetts Archives, Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, 9:28; , 81-82 [which would date the petition thirteen days before the minister's burial]). There is no evidence that he did, in fact, marry again in England, and he could not have been there more than two years. It is not clear whether the divorce was ever granted. Such matters were then heard by the Court of Assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the records for the relevant period of time are missing and presumed destroyed. Perhaps word of the old man's death arrived before the Court could consider the petition, thus making it redundant. The Sanborn Family Association is continuing its research on both the Samborne and the Bachiler families, and welcomes the assistance of all persons interested in these early New Hampshire settlers. P. 0. Box 706, Derry, NH 03038-0706

Return to Rev. Stephen Bachiler Table of Contents