Bobbett Research Report

Dr. Amy Harris

July 2006


The first stage of research was to determine possible parents for John Bobbett, christened in 1579 in Grundisburgh, Suffolk.  From the will of John Bobbett (probated 1576) two possible fathers were suggested for John, christened 1579: William Bobbett or Robert Bobbett and two locations were suggested: Grundisburgh and Campsea Ash, Suffolk.  As the IGI had already been searched, the first step was to check the Parish and Vital Records List (PVRL) to see the years covered by the IGI.  Both Grundisburgh and Campsea Ash’s parish registers have been extracted for all christenings and marriages from the creation of parish registers (between 1528 and 1566) until the nineteenth century. 


As the family had already researched these without definitively identifying John’s parents, therefore, the next step was to search probates and burial records (neither of which are extracted).


Grundisburgh and Campsea Ash both belong to the Archdeaconry of Suffolk and the Diocese of Norwich and the Province of Canterbury.  Potential probates could be in any of these three jurisdictions covering Eastern Suffolk—and possibly even in the Archdeaconry of Sudbury (Western Suffolk).  As members of the family had already searched the Prerogative Court of Canterbury’s wills online, I concentrated on the local jurisdictions.


The first step was to search all available indexes to Archdeaconry of Suffolk wills and extract all Bobbetts.  There is a printed index to Suffolk wills between 1444 and 1700.  (See Source 1 for complete bibliographic information).  However, this book has been removed from the Family History Library’s shelf with no indication of its proposed return date.  Therefore, it was necessary to search the microfilmed indexes to registered wills and original wills created at the time the wills were probated.  These indexes were alphabetical by first letter of the surname only and were kept yearly.  Since I was already scrolling through the index, I decided to extract all Bobbetts between the creation of the indexes (1444) and 1620.  I searched the index to original wills 1459-1549 with no results.  I then turned to the indexes of the registered wills and found thirteen Bobbetts.  They are listed below (see Notes 1 for more details):


            Wm Bobat, Waldringfild, 1458-63

            Wm? Bebatt, Helmelie, 1481-98

            John Bobbet, New Born, 1501-06

            John Bobbatt, Gipwico (Ispwich), 1506-13

            Roger Bobbett, Gipwico (Ipswich), 1518-24

            John Bobbett, Melton, 1540-43

            Wm Bobbett, Barhham, 1554-57

            Th Bobbett, Gipwico (Ipswich), 1576-77

            Cecilie Bobbett, Blaxhall, 1576-77

            John Bobbet, Holsley, 1580-81

            Elizabeth Bobbet, Rendhm, 1582-83

            Wm Bobbet, Levington, 1590-91

            Th Bobbet, Brodfield, 1590-91


Because the goal was to find John Bobbett’s father, I concentrated on the wills from the last quarter of the 16th century.  I read and abstracted the wills for Thomas Bobbett of Ipswich, Cecilie Bobbett of Blaxhall, John Bobbet of Holsley, Elizabeth Bobbet of Rendham, William Bobbet of Levington, and Thomas Bobbet of Brodfield.  Other than Cecilie (widow of John Bobbett of Blaxhall) there were not immediately obvious connections with the Bobbet family of interest.  (Of interest, however, was the fact that Cecilie had been married and had children before she married John Bobbett and she appears to have not had children with him, see Notes 2 for more details).


Before searching the Diocese of Norwich and the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, I searched for Bobbett burials in Campsea Ash and Grundisburgh.  (In all honesty, I probably should have done this first, but I would have searched all the probate indexes anyway, so not time was wasted).  I searched the parish register transcripts for Campsea Ash between 1559-1675 without positive results.  A search of Grundisburgh burial registers, 1538-1621, was slightly more successful.  The Bobbett burials in Grundisburgh are listed below (see Notes 6 for more details).


          Agnes Bobbet, 10 May 1554

Robert Bebbet, christened 30 Nov 1556 (it was mixed in with the burials, but this is the Robert Bebbet found in the IGI as a possible father for John Bobbett)

Nycholas Bobbet, 25 Feb 1559 (but in the modern calendar it would be 1560)

William Bobbet, 24 Jun 1582


For the present research problem, the most likely candidate appeared to be William Bobbet, who died in 1582 and was buried in Grundisburgh.  As he had not been found in the Archdeaconry of Suffolk wills, a search was conducted in indexes to the Diocese of Norwich wills.  Again, the index was searched from its beginning (1370) until 1603 (the end of one index).  All Bobbetts were extracted (see Notes 6 for details), but the real payoff was a will for William Bobbett, Grundisburgh in 1582.  He left behind his widow Katheryn and three minor children: John, Dorothie, and Alice.  (See transcript of will for more details).


I think that this William is the father of John, christened 1579.  There is no way of definitively proving that this is the John of interest, but several factors support the conclusion that he is.  First, William’s location in 1582 matches that of John’s birth in 1579, putting them in the same place at the same time.  Second, if William is the nephew of the John Bobbett who left a will in 1576, naming his son after that uncle would be likely.  Also, John Bobbett, christened 1579 named one of his daughters Dorothy and one son William.  While those names were not unusual (though Dorothy was more unusual than William), the conjunction of their occurrence among John’s children repeats the naming patterns from the earlier family.  Lastly, if William is John’s father it would mean that John was only 3 or 4 when his father died and his sisters even younger.  The wording of the will supports the idea that John, Dorothie, and Alice were very young at the time of their father’s death.  William emphasizes that they are underage and that his wife is to care for them according to his instructions until they are 21 and they inherit.  It is also clear that John is elder than the two girls because after he turns 21 he is to be in charge of managing their inheritance until they turn 21. 


Though this will seemed to discover John Bobbett’s father, a search of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury wills was conducted to be thorough.  There were no immediate connections visible, but there were possibilities that may connect later (see Research Log, 20 June 2006).


Further research could be done on the family of William and Katheryn Bobbett to discover her death date, the christening dates of their daughters, marriages of the daughters, etc.  The search could also be expanded to find William’s father, or the first wife of John Bobbett of Blaxhall.  Probates and burial records could also be searched for John Bobbett, christened 1579.