Name: RICHARD Batchelor
Birth: 1643/1645 in England
Death: 1682 in Norfolk, Va.
Change Date: 25 JAN 2001
My date of birth for Richard Batchelor is from a deposition he gave in Lower Norfolk Co. in the case of William Dafnall and wife, who had killed a bull not their own; the deposition is signed by Richard Batchelor with a mark "B," and states that RB was 26 years "or thereabout" (see DB E, p. 99, 16 Aug. 1671; (for an abstract, see Charles F. McIntosh, "Ages of Lower Norfolk Co. People, Abstracted from Depositions in Book E, 1666-1675, Norfolk Co. Clerk's Office," WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY 25,1, p. 135).
That Richard Batchelor was born in England seems fairly certain, since he sailed on 23 Aug. 1661 from Bristol, England, to Virginia as a servant indentured to William Donning (see Peter Wilson Coldham, THE BRISTOL REGISTERS OF SERVANTS SENT TO FOREIGN PLANTATIONS, 1654-1686 [Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1988], p. 159). This book transcribes a register held by the city of Bristol Council which was kept from 1645 to 1686.
The date and place of death of RB are from his will, which is dated 12 March 1680/1, and proven 17 Oct. 1682 (Lower Norfolk Co. DB 4, f. 128; for an abstract, see Charles Fleming McIntosh, comp., ABSTRACTS OF NORFOLK COUNTY WILLS [Colonial Dames of America, 1914], p. 84). The will identifies Richard Batchelor as "of Lower Norfolk County in ye Southerne branch of Eliz. River."
Since RB seems to have been alive as late as 20 Apr. 1682, when he assigned land to Matthew Caswell (see files of Matthew Caswell I and Alice Batchelor for details), his death appears to have occurred more precisely between this date and the date of the proving of his will--i.e., 20 Apr.-17 Oct. 1682.
The first document I have for RB is the BRISTOL REGISTER entry. Coldham's preface to the 1988 transcription of the registry states (p. vi) that all but a small handful of those who emigrated as servants from Bristol in this period were laborers, farmers, or tradespeople, most coming from the West Country of England, the West Midlands, or Wales, but with a proportion from further afield. Coldham notes that many of these probably came to Bristol having already arranged to indenture themselves, but that a great number came to Bristol in order to find a prospective master to whom to indenture themselves. The early entries in the register state that indentured servants were promised the following in exchange for a 5- or 7-year indenture: a house, an axe, a year's provisions, and double apparel, when their service had ended. This was in addition to free passage overseas.
Though the BRISTOL REGISTER entry says that RB sailed for Virginia in 1661, on 15 Sept. 1658, Henry Forrest received a grant of 700 acres in Gloucester Co. for transporting RB to the colonies (VA Pat. Bk. 4, p. 217; see Nell Marion Nugent, CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS, ABSTRACTS OF VIRGINIA LAND PATENTS AND GRANTS, 1623-66 [Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1963], vol. 1, p. 377).
In addition, a Richard Bachelor is listed as a headright of John Porter in a 15 Aug. 1659 Lower Norfolk Co. record. Porter claimed 300 acres for transporting six persons into the colony, including Richard Batchelor (see Lower Norfolk Co. DB D, p. 213). This record places RB two years earlier than the 1661 Bristol Register entry, and, if his age in the 1671 deposition is correct, he would have come to Virginia at the age of 14, rather than 16. It seems likely that this 1659 record does refer to the Richard Batchelor who left the will in Norfolk Co., since it, too, is a Norfolk Co. record.
These 1658-9 records create a puzzle. If RB was born in 1645, then the 1658 and 1659 records would refer to a rather young boy. Someone of this age would not likely have emigrated independently. Did RB already have family members in Virginia? Did he come with family members prior to 1658, return to England, then emigrate definitively in 1661? Or is the 1671 deposition wrong as to his age? Had RB come to Virginia as a grown man to make arrangements for his later immigration?
John Porter may provide some clues as to the background of RB. According to Boddie, SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ISLE OF WIGHT CO., VIRGINIA, pp. 113f (cited below), John Porter was a representative to the Va. legislature from Lower Norfolk Co., and on 12 Sept. 1663, was tried by the house of burgesses for being "loving to the Quakers," for having been at Quaker meetings, and for being "so far an Anabaptist as to be against the baptising of children" (citing Weeks, "Southern Quakers and Slavery," pp. 23-4). Boddie notes that both John Porter, Jr., and his wife were arrested in the early 1660s for attending Quaker meetings, and John Porter (Sr. or Jr.?) was among the contributors who gave tobacco to build the first Quaker meeting house in Nansemond Co., Va.
In addition to transporting RB, John Porter reported in 1659 that he had transported one William Goldsmith to Va. The Bristol register has a 22 Aug. 1659 entry for one William Goldsmith of Wapping, London, yeoman, who was transported to Barbados by William Stafford. Is this the same William Goldsmith? Did RB also come from Wapping?
On 27 Sept. 1665, RB received 300 acres in Lower Norfolk Co., VA, on the Southern Branch of Elizabeth River, the south side of Deep Creek, running along the creek southwest to a pine on the east side of [John] Manning's Creek. This indicates that he had finished his period of servitude by this date. This land was given to RB for transporting to Virginia Arthur Long, Ann Pine, William Joyner, Susan Norton, Stephen Hardich, and Henry Skinner (VIRGINIA PATENT BOOK 5, p. 452/546, as transcribed in Alice Granberry Walter, ed., VIRGINIA LAND PATENTS, NORFOLK, PRINCESS ANNE, WARWICK--PATENT BOOKS "O" AND "6"--1666-79 [Lawrence, New York]). This land was on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River on the south side of Deep Creek.
RB assigned this land to Matthew Caswell, who claimed it as his headright on 20 Apr. 1682, noting that the land ran to the mouth of Manning's Creek, to the land of Lake, Etheridge, and Hasell (VA Pat. Bk. 7, p. 146; Nugent, CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS, vol. 2, p. 234). Hassell is evidently Edward Hassell, the first husband of Matthew Caswell's wife Johannah Biggs, sister of Ann Biggs Batchelor. The Manning family was to be much intermarried with descendants of Richard Batchelor in Norfolk Co., Va., and Nash Co., N.C. The Etheridge family was connected by marriage to the Yates family, a family that--like the Biggses--had Quaker sympathies in the latter part of the 17th century. For more information on the 1682 patent of Matthew Caswell, see his file.
On 6 Nov. 1665, Thomas Everidge received a headright grant in Lower Norfolk Co., VA, for having transported, among others, RB to VA (VA PAT. BOOK, 5, p. 531; see CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS, vol. 1, p. 564).
In her COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY FAMILIES OF NORTH CAROLINA, vol. 3, Smallwood notes that Richard Batchelor empowered his father-in-law John Biggs in 1672 to sue for RB's bill against John Chadwell; this court statement was witnessed by RB's brother-in-law Thomas Mercer (citing Court Orders 1666-76, pp. 85-6).
Smallwood also notes that in 1673 Edward Hews sued RB; the sheriff of Lower Norfolk Co. came to RB's house to leave notice of the suit, and RB was not at home, so the court ordered that RB's estate should be attached (citing Court Orders 1666-76, p. 108a).
On 15 Mar. 1675/6, RB received 700 acres in Lower Norfolk Co., 300 of them due to RB out of several assignments from a patent for 1200 acres granted to Edward Browne and Richard Starnell on 9 Mar 1658/9, and 400 of them near the head of Deep Creek in the Southern branch of the Elizabeth River, due to RB for transporting Sara, Elizabeth, and Margaret Needham, John Thomas, Francis Harris, Mary Batten, and 2 negroes to Virginia (VIRGINIA LAND PATENTS; NORFOLK, PRINCESS ANNE, WARWICK--PATENT BOOKS "O" AND "6"--1666-79, ed. Alice Granberry Walter [Lawrence, New York], p. 600).
As noted above, not long before his death, RB and his wife Ann assigned a tract of 300 acres in Lower Norfolk Co. to their brother-in-law Matthew Caswell.
After RB's death, on 21 Oct. 1684, Ann Biggs Batchelor sold 350 acres out of the tract RB patented on 15 Mar. 1675 to Major John Nicholls (Va. Pat. Bk. 7, p. 420).
BATCHELOR FAMILY, p. 9, states that at his death, RB owned 3,000 acres in Lower Norfolk Co., Virginia. I am not sure of BATCHELOR FAMILY's authority for this statement; it appears to be Norfolk Co. DB 4, 16 Aug. 1675-6 Oct. 1686, p. 128.
From the records cited above and from RB's will, it is clear that the plantation of RB was in Norfolk Co. in the vicinity that is today known as the borough of Deep Creek. According to Hubert J. Davis, THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP (Richmond: Cavalier, 1962), p. 73, Deep Creek is a small, prosperous rural village located at the eastern entrance to the Dismal Swamp in the southwest corner of Norfolk Co. Before this portion of the county was settled, the area was an Indian hunting ground. About 1650, John Ferebee, Edward Brown (see 1675 deed above), and John Cherry moved their families into this area, which is in the twentieth century one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the nation (p. 75). Deep Creek was originally part of the Elizabeth River Parish (77). Davis notes that there had long been a Batchelor's Mill at Deep Creek (p. 78). On this mill, which was built by RB's son Joseph, see file of Joseph Batchelor.
An article entitled "House Near Dismal Swamp Used as Hospital in Civil War," by Chris Gwyn, LEDGER STAR, 22 Oct. 1964, also speaks of the settlement of Deep Creek by Ferebee, Brown, and Cherry in 1650, and states that the village is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in Virginia, having been inhabited since 1650.
Another article, "Deep Creek Important Long Before the Revolution," NORFOLK LANDMARK, 22 Oct. 1911, notes that the village of Deep Creek was of less consequence in the 20th century than previously, and had been an important town long before the American Revolution. Both these articles are in the vertical files of Norfolk Co. places in Sargeant Memorial Room, Norfolk Public Library.
A volume entitled CHESAPEAKE; A PICTORIAL HISTORY, by Charles B. Cross, Jr. and Eleanor Phillips Cross (Norfolk: Donning, 1985), notes that Washington crossed Deep Creek on his trip around the outskirts of the Dismal Swamp in 1763 (p. 35), and included pictures of the Hendren-Creekmur House in Deep Creek, and of the village itself in 1910 (59, 125).
Richard Batchelor's land in the Deep Creek area of the county appears to have been near the mouth of the creek, where the creek emptied into the Elizabeth River; on this, see file of his son Joseph Batchelor.
From various 17th-century documents in Lower Norfolk Co., it is clear that RB's neighbors in this area of the county included the Creekmore, Hodges, Maund, Ballentine, Ballentine, Cherry, Biggs, Manning, and Tucker families, all of whom were intermarried in complicated ways as the 18th century progressed, and who continued to intermarry as they filtered into North Carolina and moved west from there.
Richard Batchelor's will names his children, willing his homeplace to his eldest son John at John's full age of 21, to his son Joseph 100 acres adjoining when Joseph should be of age, to his son Richard 100 acres when Richard should be of age, to his son Edward 100 acres adjoining when Edward should be of age, to his daughters Alice and Edy a cow each, and to his wife Ann free liberty to life in his manor house during her natural life. The will also leaves a pell of land to Charles Shaw out of RB's grand patent, and 300 acres to Matthew Caswell. Ann Batchelor is appointed executrix, and the will is witnessed by Francis Sayer, Thomas Bigg, and Charles Shaw, with RB signing it (spelling his name Richard Bacheler). When the will was proven by Shaw and Biggs, John Ferebee deposed as to the authenticity of its provisions for Caswell.
Caswell was RB's brother-in-law, husband of RB's wife Ann Biggs' sister Johannah Biggs (on this, see file of Matthew Caswell).
To my knowledge, no one has been able to discover the English origins of RB to date. As I have noted, Coldham's preface to the 1988 edition of the Bristol Registers states that the bulk of those who emigrated as servants from Bristol appear to have been drawn from the West County, West Midlands, or Wales, though many came from further afield in England.
A Lower Norfolk Co. family with whom RB's family seems to have been somewhat connected was the Hodges family, a family known to have Quaker sympathies. The will of Robert Hodges in LNC (10 Sept 1681) mentions a brother John in Dartmouth and a brother-in-law Peter Shepherd in Modbury. Both towns are in the West Country--in the South Hams area of Devonshire. John Hodges witnessed the will of John Biggs, RB's father-in-law. Could RB have come from Devonshire? In his BATCHELDER, BATCHELLER GENEALOGY (Chicago: W.B. Conkey, 1898), Frederick Clifton Pierce includes various English Batchelor records. Several of these pertain to a Devonshire Batchelor family. Frederick notes that the French Roll of 4 Henry V, m. 31, lists a Walter Bacheler of Dartmouth, merchant, in the retinue of the Earl of Dorset, and that a William Bachelor, also a Devonshire man, left a will pr. 1410 (p. 42).
Another possible lead is the genealogy of Rev. Stephen Bachiler, a noted Puritan divine who came to New England in 1632. This line is studied exhaustively in Frederick's book, which shows that SB was born in 1561, graduating from St. Johns College, Oxford in 1585/6. In 1587, he was presented by William West, Lord de la Warr, with the vicarage of Wherwell in Hants., where he was rector until he was ejected from the living in 1605, because of his nonconformist views. After having been excommunicated from the church of England, he left England in 1632, having apparently lived in South Stoneham and Newton Stacey in the county of Southampton in the intervening period (pp. 26-8).
F.C. Pierce's BATCHELDER, BATCHELLER GENEALOGY (1898) contains an interesting description of SB. Pierce says that from tradition and his descendants, it is very probable that he was tall and sinewy, with prominent features, especially the nose; he was dark-complexioned with black, coarse hair in early days, white in age; his eyes were black as sloes and his features long rather than broad. Pierce also notes that SB had uncommon intellectual vigor (37-8). Note that the prominent nose also appears among the descendants of RB--see files of Hattie Paralee Batchelor and Wilson Richard Bachelor, son of Wilson Richard. The black, coarse hair and dark eyes are also common in my branch of the Batchelor family, descended from RB.
Pierce notes that Daniel Webster's grandmother Susannah Bachelder Webster was a descendant of Rev. Stephen B. In a 5 March 1840 letter to his son Fletcher, Daniel Webster says that the family is indebted to Susannah for a large portion of the sense that belongs to it, she having been a woman of uncommon strength of understanding (123).
Could RB of Lower Norfolk Co., Va., have had any familial connection to the Rev. Stephen Bachiler? It seems to me that this is at least a possibility worth exploring, for the following reasons. First, the southeastern corner of Virginia seems to have had a high proportion of Puritan sympathizers in the 16th century. Since the Anglican church was the established church of the colony, these do not seem to have taken the sectarian path of some other English and New England Puritans. They seem instead to have remained Anglican, while adopting many Puritan tenets (indeed, Anglicanism in Virginia in general during the period was heavily tinged with Puritanism).
As John Bennett Boddie's SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, VIRGINIA (Chicago, 1938), pp. 55-7, shows, a group of Anglicans with Puritan sympathies settled in Lower Norfolk Co., and in 1640 requested that an Anglican divine with Puritan leanings, Rev. Thomas Harrison, be appointed their pastor (citing Lower Norfolk Co. Ct. Order, 25 May 1640). It is interesting to note that among those making this petition was Thomas Sayer/Sawyer, who seems to have been related to RB's father-in-law John Biggs (on this, see file of John Biggs, immigrant).
As tensions rose in Virginia between Anglican of Puritan sympathies and those who wished the church to be purged of all noncomformity, Thomas Harrison was banished from the colonly in 1648, as was a Puritan minister in nearby Nansemond Co., William Durant (p. 59). In that year and the several years following, a colonly of Puritans left this area of Va. and moved to Maryland. Among those making this move was Oliver Sprye, who had brought over Richard Batchelor's Lower Norfolk Co. neighbor John Cherry (see file of John Cherry for details) (p. 60). Historians think that, from this point, as the Quaker movement began to impact the southeast corner of Virginia, it gained strength because it provided religious nonconformists a new vehicle to express their dissatisfaction with the officially mandated religious beliefs. It is interesting to note that in 1675, RB's father-in-law John Biggs was fined by the Lower Norfolk Co. for not having had his children baptized; the fact that he refused to swear an oath in court suggests that he had become a Quaker (on this, see file of John Biggs).
An article entitled "Isle of Wight County Records," WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY, ser. 1, vol. 7,4 (1899), pp. 209f, states that the Southside Virginia counties. had many dissenters among their population, and that Col. William Byrd had attributed this to the low grade of tobacco grown in these counties, which rendered the support of a competent clergy difficult and precarious. The article notes, "At an early day a considerable Puritan party developed, at the head of whom were the brothers, Richard and Philip Bennett, who had settled in Nansemond county" (p. 211). As the article adds, Richard Bennett managed throughout his life to keep in some sort of conformity with the Church of England, since Puritanism did not necessarily mean Congregationalism, or severance from the Church of England (ibid.).
There is another suggestive lead in the genealogy of the Rev. Stephen Bachiler. SB had a grandson Nathaniel Batchelor of Southampton (BATCHELDER, BACHELLER GENEALOGY, P. 39). In 1661, Paul Mercer, a merchant of Southampton, left a will naming Nathaniel, Francis, Benjamin, and John Bachiler--all grandchildren of Rev. Stephen Bachiler--as heirs.
A 1648 Lower Norfolk Co. court record suggests that John Biggs may have had relatives in Southampton, or may even himself have been from Southampton. The Southampton Assembly books of the first half of the 17th century show that a John Biggs was a prominent merchant there at the same time at which Paul Mercer was a merchant in the city. This John Biggs also appears to have been a burgess of the city. The John Biggs of Lower Norfolk Co. who was the father-in-law of Richard Batchelor named in his will a daughter Katherine Mercer (for details, see file of John Biggs). All these connections point to the possibility that Richard Batchelor of Lower Norfolk Co. might have had some relationship to the Batchelor family of Co. Southampton, England, from which Stephen Bachiler stemmed. (For more information on Stephen Bachiler, and sources that also explore the Mercer connection in his family, see also V.C. Sanborn, THE ENGLISH ANCESTRY OF THE AMERICAN SANBORNS , esp. pp. 19-21; V.C. Sanborn, "Stephen Bachiler and the Plough Company of 1630," GENEALOGIST 19 ; Charles E. Batchelder's biography in NEW ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY 46 , pp. 58-64, 157-61, 246-51, 345-50; Savage's GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF NEW ENGLAND; and Sybil Noyes, et al., GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE [Baltimore: Geneal.Publ. Co., 1979], pp. 81-2).
One final possibility to explore in attempts to discover the English background of Richard Batchelor: another Bigge family which went to New England had Batchelor connections. This is the family of John and Rachel Bigge of Tenterden and Cranbrook, Co. Kent. Several members of this family went to New England with a Batchelor family; the wills of John Bigge's sons Smallhope Bigge (Cranbrook, 1638) and John Bigge (Maidstone, 1640) both name William Batchelor of New England as a cousin. For more on this, see file of John Biggs, immigrant to Lower Norfolk Co.
The LDS IGD, version 3.02, British Isles, has three entries for Richard Batchelors that might be promising avenues for those wanting to find the English origins of the Richard of Lower Norfolk Co., Va. One is for a RB baptized 24 Sept. 1643, St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, England. The parents of this Richard Batchelor were Richard and Alice Batchelor.
This is promising because the age is so close to that of the RB of Lower Norfolk Co., and because the RB of LNC named a daughter Alice. In addition, a Thomas Sayer was baptized in the same church on 19 Apr. 1601. Major Francis Sayer, a neighbor of Richard Batchelor's father-in-law John Biggs, spoke of John Biggs as a kinsman when he gave testimony about John Biggs' refusal to have his children baptized. The father of Francis Sayer was a Thomas Sayer who seems to have been in Va. by 1623. If the Va. Thomas Sayer were born in 1601, he would have been the right age to be the one in Va. by 1623.
Could it be that the kinship connection of John Biggs and Thomas Sayer's son Francis was via the Batchelor line? For further details, see file of John Biggs. The LDS sources for the Batchelor and Sayers IGI entries cited above appear to be St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, England, 1558-1613, 1638-1668. Both appear to be in LDS film 094691.
There was also a Biggs family in St. Mary Whitechapel parish in this period. A John Biggs left will 30 Jan. 1635, pr. 2 Sept. 1636, stating that he was a resident of St. Mary Whitechapel parish, and naming a widow Joan, brother Thomas of Wilhamstead, Berks., sister Susan Ward, brother Henry in Virginia, sister Mary Cooper, and friend Francis Rogers in Va., as well as Edward Valentine, occupant of JB's tenement. For details, see file of John Biggs.
Note that the Mercer family, into which John Biggs' daughter Katherine married, was also from Stepney, England. See file of Christopher Mercer, father of KB's husband Thomas, and file of Thoams Biggs.
The IGI also lists a Richard Batchelour who was baptized 28 Aug. 1642 at St. Martin in the Fields parish, Westminster, London, England, son of Richard Batchelour and Elizabeth, and a RB baptized 9 May 1641 at Mereworth, Kent, England, son of Richard and Katherine Batchelor.
ANN Biggs b: 1644/1647
- Edy Batchelor b: 1665 in Deep Creek Lower Norfolk
- John Batchelor b: ABT 1665 in Deep Creek Lower Norfolk
- Alice Batchelor b: ABT 1665 in Deep Creek Lower Norfolk
- JOSEPH Batchelor b: 1668 in Norfolk County, Va.
- Richard Batchelor b: AFT 1674 in Deep Creek Lower Norfolk
- Edward Batchelor b: ABT 1671 in Deep Creek Lower Norfolk