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Mary Brewster (Smythe)

Also Known As: "Mary (Brewster) Simkinson Smythe", "widow Simkinson", "Mary Simkinson"
Birthdate: (32)
Birthplace: Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England
Death: circa 1567 (24-40)
Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England
Place of Burial: Hatfield, Nottinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Smythe, of Hatfield and Agnes Smythe
Wife of John Simkinson and William Brewster, of Scrooby
Mother of Thomas Simkinson; Dorothy Simkinson; "Elder" William Brewster, "Mayflower" Passenger; John Brewster, of Scrooby and William Brewster
Sister of Cuthbert Smythe; Vicar Francis of Crowle Smythe, Vicar and Richard Smythe
Half sister of Thomas Smythe; Jennet Smythe; John Smythe, of Hull and Agnes Smythe

Occupation: married 1567
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Brewster

Mary Smythe was born about 1536, of Stainforth, Hatfield, West Riding, Yorkshire, England and died about 1567.  

  • Parents: daughter of "Elder" William Smythe ( d. between 25 Jan 1559 and 2 May 1560) & Agnes Simkinson


  1. about 1553 in Stainforth, Hatfield Near Doncaster, Yorkshire, England to John Simkinson, who died on 23 Dec 1562.
  2.  on 1 Jan 1565 to William Brewster II, son of William Brewster and Maude Mann, (William Brewster II was born in 1535 in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England and died on 10 Aug 1608 in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England.). She was his first wife; he married Prudence Perkins second abt 1567.

Children of John Simkinson & Mary:

  1. Thomas Simkinson4 b. 1555?, d. 1611
  2. Dorothy Simkinson4 b. 1557?, d. after 1591

Children of William Brewster and Mary:

  1. William Brewster (abt  1566 - 1644), the Mayflower Passenger, married Mary ---, who came in The Mayflower, with her husband. He is possibly the only noted son of William & his first wife Mary Smythe Brewster (NEHGR 125:150) as suggested by various documents at Doncaster, Yorkshire, England and other research.


  •  Hunt, John G. "The Mother of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower", in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), Vol. 124:250, 1970 . 
  • Their son William was named along with his half-brother Thomas Simkinson as nephew in the will of their uncle John Smythe of Hull in 1592, which comprehensively named his nieces and nephews. The fact that she was not mentioned in the will suggests that she had no further children after William, and thus probably died soon after 1566. Mary, as wife of John Simkinson, was named in the will of her father William Smythe. 
  • An undated proceeding found in the Great Britain Public Record Office, rev. C2 Eliz. B 31/1 reports "Bill of Complaint by William Bruester and Mary his wife, the late wife of John Symkinson late of Doncaster, Yorks. The said John was seized of lands in Doncaster and in his lifetie did convey them to the said Mary then his wife for the term of her life and afterwards he died at Doncaster."


In 1970 John G Hunt published an account of the family of William Brewster of Duncaster in NEHGR Volume 124 p 253 in 1970.[1] This was a follow-up article to his previously published treatment of this family published in 1965 in TAG Volume 41 p 1-5[2] In 2014 the General Society of Mayflower Descendants published the latest research on Elder William Brewster and the authors call these two articles the current state of research on this topic.[3]

William Brewster of Scrooby was born about 1534 to William Brewster and Maude Mann probably in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England where we find the last record of his parents. His date of birth is estimated based on the birth date of his son Elder William Brewster.[1] A William Brewster witnessed the will of his uncle Christopher Mann on 13 Jan 1558 with Thomas and John Simkinson of Doncaster. Although we are uncertain if this was William Brewster of Scrooby or his father, William Brewster of Doncaster, John G Hunt believes it was the former. He was named in the will of Bartholomew Bryan of Scrooby dated 6 May 1564 as William Brewster "dwelling in Scrooby."[1][4] Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England is a small village on the River Ryton near Bawtry in the northern part of the English county of Nottinghamshire. Scrooby is located just seven miles South of his ancestral home in Doncaster.

He married first Mary (Smythe) Simkinson, daughter William Smythe of Stainforth parish in Hatfield. She was sister of John Smythe of Hull and widow of John Simkinson of Wakefield and Doncaster. She was born say 1535 based on the estimated birth date of her youngest son. With her previous husband she had two children:[1][2]

  1. Dorothy Symkinson[1]
  2. Thomas Simkinson who died in 1612 in Hull[1]

Mary Smythe and William Brewster had one child:

  1. "Elder" William Brewster, "Mayflower" Passenger. He was born in 1566 or 1567 in Doncaster, England and died

10 April 1644 in Duxbury, Plymouth Colony. He married Mary, whose parents are unknown.[1] According to an undated proceeding addressed to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (1558-1579) Mary (Smythe) Brewster and William Brewster sued Francis Hobson. She is identified as the late wife of John Symkinson late of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England and she testified that her late husband was seized of lands in Doncaster and in his lifetime he did convey these land to her when she was his wife for the term of her life and afterwards before he died at Doncaster.[5] Since the proceeding is undated we only know that this event occurred during the career of Sir Bacon between 1558 and 1579. Mary probably died by 1567 based on the estimated birth dates of the three children of William Brewster and his second wife.

William Brewster married second to Prudence shortly after the birth of his first son. It has been postulated that her maiden name may have been Peck or Perkins but not with any confidence.[1][2] Prudence Peck and William Brewster had only three children. The children are specifically listed on NEHGR Vol 124 p 251.[1] Please see his profile for information about these tree children.

The fact that Mary was not mentioned in the will of John Smythe of Hull, 1592, and that fact that he did mention nearly every one of his nieces and nephews, suggests that she had no further children after William, and thus probably died soon after 1566.[1]

Their son William was named along with his half-brother Thomas Simkinson as nephew in the will of their uncle John Smythe of Hull in 1592, which comprehensively named his nieces and nephews. The fact that she was not mentioned in the will suggests that she had no further children after William, and thus probably died soon after 1566. Mary, as wife of John Simkinson, was named in the will of her father William Smythe.[1]

The Will of William Smythe , elder, of Stanforth

And other documents related to this profile:

  1. Will of William Smythe, elder, of Stanforth in parish of Hatfield, dated 25 Jan. 1558/9 and proved 2 May 1560 (York P & E court, 16:46): He requested burial in the church of our Lady of Hatfield, and left legacies for the poor of Hatfield, Woodhouse, Stainforth, Thorne, Fishlake, Sykehouse, Barnby, Bramwith, Armthorp, Kirk Sandal and Stristhorp. Naming two servants, he provided that "Cecilie Hunsworth have x s. and the use of the house she lives in so long as she lives, and to have of my son Thomas when he shall forten to come thither every bakyn & brewinge as she hath had my son Francis Smythe vicar of Crowle [various furniture and] 17 pounds, a cowe, a calfe and a my sons Thomas and Richard [various property and some money] my son John Smythe of brother in lawe every one of the children of my sons and daughters a yew and a lamb...the rest of my goods not bequest, I geve to John Grene and Jenet his wife; John Parke and Agnes his wife; John Symkinson and Marie his wife; and Thomas Saile and Margaret his wife whom I make executors." Note: in addition to the four sons and four daughters before listed, there seems to have been a son, Cuthbert Smythe of Fishlake, whose will was proved 2 Oct. 1551 (York P & E court, 13:767): because he named only two brothers, Francis and Richard, two sisters Marie and Margaret, and left lands at Hatfield and Stanforth, it is believed that Cuthbert may have been a brother of the full blood of the said brothers and sisters, which could indicate that Thomas, John, Janet and Agnes were older children, and indicated that their father, William, the testator of 1559, had two wives, and issue by each.B John Grene made his will in 1559 (proved 1562, York P & E, 17:138); his widow Jenet took for her final spouse Nicolas Cressy; her will (York P & E, 19:840), dated 27 Sept. 1575, proved 6 Oct. following, refers to her son John Grene, and leaves several legacies including an ewe to Dorothy Simkinson, her niece. John Parke’s will, proved 7 June 1582 (York P & E, 22:268), names wife Agnes, and several daughters. Thomas Smythe of Stainforth made his will 24 March 1568 (proved 22 July 1569, York P & E, 18:157), naming brothers John, Richard and Francis Smythe, and sons William and John. The last named William of Stainforth, made his will in 1591, proved the same year (York P & E, 24:738), naming sons John and Robert, and daughters Dorothy and Elizabeth; this Elizabeth died in 1617, testate, of Stainforth (York P & E, 34:598). Wm. Parke of Staynforth in his will, July 24, 1551, proved 1551 (York P & E, 13:768), named brother John Parke, brother in law Thomas Smythe, sister Chapman..."my father & mother...Wm. Smythe, my father in lawe...supervisors, Sir Francis Hastings, Kt., my master; Wm. Smythe, John Parke, and Francis Parke my my wife Johane, lands in Whaith, late of Thomas Recard." The said Sir Francis Hastings ["Haistings"] made his will Oct. 22, 1558, proved in 1566 (York P & E, 17:523); among his executors was John P’ke (i.e. Parke), and a witness to this will was Thomas Smythe, yeoman, seemingly Parke’s brother-in-law. From the foregoing, one might suppose that Wm. Smythe, sr., of Stainforth, had taken for his second wife before 1551 the mother of John and William Parke, aforesaid, and that she may have arranged the marriage of her stepson Thomas Smythe to her daughter by her first husband, Parke; also that her son John Parke married her step-daughter, Agnes Smythe. Was this supposed second wife of Wm. Smythe some connection of Sir Francis Hastings? The appointment of her supposed son as an executor in his (Sir Francis’) will, in company with Francis Frobysher and Martin Anne, was rather important; Frobysher was married to Christian, sister of said Sir Francis; Martin Anne, Esq., was nephew of Alice Anne who was wife of Thomas Grene, brother of John Grene who married the aforesaid Wm. Smythe’s eldest daughter, Jennet.
  2. The Hastings had long held important holdings in Hatfield & Doncaster (cf. Joseph Foster’s edition of Robert Glover’s Visitation of Yorkshire in 1584/5 and 1612, p. 372-3; Surtees Society Publications, vol. 45, p. 273-278 incl., and the aforesaid will of Sir Francis, in which he left money to the parish of Hatfield).
  3. In Joseph Hunter’s South Yorkshire: The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster (London, 1828-1831), vol. 1, p. 150, there is an account of a perambulation of the Level of Hatfield Chase made by 25 "regarders of the chase." Among these were William Smith and John Parke whose names appear consecutively. On page 190 of the same volume Abraham de la Pryme (1672-1704) is said to have recorded, among other inscriptions, the following as found in Hatfield Church: Orate pro animabus Willielmi Smith et Catherinae et Agnetis uxorum ejus. One of these (? Agnes) would seem to have been a Simkinson, judging from the wills abstracted above.
  4. Thomas Gent, History of Kingston upon Hull (Hull, 1869), p. 121-125, showed that John Smythe was mayor of Hull in 1563, 1572, and 1583. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 14:199, 202, reports the burial at Hull of Thomas Simkinson and his relict Ann, in 1611 and 1634, respectively, she having been that Ann Wilkinson of Donnington in Lincolnshire who married him at Lincoln 12 Oct. 1598 (Lincoln Marriages; cf. Mayflower Quarterly, vol. 36, p. 55-57).
  5. Her first husband, John Simkinson of Doncaster, was buried there 25 Dec. 1562, as shown by the parish register. By him, Mary was mother of Thomas Simkinson, ?1555-1611, merchant of Hull (see note C above), and of Dorothy Simkinson, b. ?1557 - d. after 1591, doubtless that "Dorothy of Scrowbie" styled niece in the will of John Smythe of Hull, 1592 (see note E below).
  6. York P & E court, 25:1051-1052. John Smythe, alderman of Hull, directed that he be buried in Trinity Church "next where Jane my late wife was buried." The principal legacy was a bond for £300 made by the testator’s deceased son Mr. Edward Smythe, at the time the latter was assigned the testator’s lands, which were to be delivered to said Edward’s daughter, Frances, when she should marry or arrive at the age of 18 years. The testator left his wife Anne £120, and other legacies to his son Thomas Trimingham, naming also "the four children of my late nephew, William Smythe of Stanforth, deceased; the goods late belonging to my brother Thomas Smythe...John Parke, late of Stanforth deceased, and Agnes his wife, my cozen Thomas Drax of cozen Master Francis Cresay of neece Jennet Drax and her neece Alice Bladworth of neece Mary Thomas Levens of Stanforth and Dorothy his sister Saile of Dorothy of Scrobie my my brother Sr. Francis Smythe who saith he hath an obligation of myne...let him render into the hands of the executors of this my will the said bond and desiring of God he maie become obedyant to the lorde’s words...and to obey her Majesty’s views, then I will that my said brother have five marks toward the releving of my cozen Francis Steare x Xopher Durembroke, who now dwells in Holland five pounds to be allowed him upon the clearing of his accompte and debts which he is owing unto me...the balance [uncollected debts] I leave to John Grene, John Smythe, William Brewster and Thomas Simkinson, my nephews, whom I doe make, constitute and ordeyn my full executors."
  7. John Venn and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, part I, under the names: Brewster, William; Brewster, James; Grene, John; Smith, Francis; Smith, Edward.
  8. Nottinghamshire Parish Registers, vol. 21, Marriages at "Sutton on Lound," p. 11, 12. See also, will of Richard Ellis, made there in March 1586 (York P & E, 23:227), which was witnessed by Henry Brewster, clerk, and James Brewster, clerk, presumedly his nephew and his successor as vicar.
  9. The Rev. Joseph Hunter, Collections concerning...the founders of New Plymouth... (London, 1854), p. 203-205; cf. Wm. Peck, History of Bawtry and Thorne (1813), p. 19-32.
  10. The Register, vol. 111, p. 319-320, Oct. 1957.
  11. York Fines, IV, p. 31 (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record series VIII); will of Simon Fowe of Myssen, Notts., dated 1613 (York P & E wills, 30:121).


  • 1. ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 John G Hunt "The Mother of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower" in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1970) Volume 124 p 250-254 link to article at AmericanAncestors
  • 2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 John G Hunt, "New Light on the Brewsters of Scrooby and New England" in The American Genealogist (Demorest, Habersham, Georgia, United States: D.L. Jacobus, 1965) Vol 41 p 1-5 link
  • 3. ↑ Merrick, Barbara Lambert, and E. Virginia Hunt. William Brewster of the Mayflower: and his descendants for four generations. (Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2014), p 1-2, 2014. The GSMD "Silver Book"
  • 4. ↑ York P&E, 17:389
  • 5. ↑ "2. Gt. Brit. Public Record Office, ref. C 2 Eliz. B 31/1, an undated proceeding addressed to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (1558-1579): "Bill of Compaint by William Bruester [!] and Mary his wife, the late wife of John Symkinson late of Doncaster, Yorks. The said John was seized of lands in Doncaster and in his lifetime did convey them to the said Mary then his wife for the term of her life and afterwards he died at Doncaster." an "undated" proceeding. So we don't know the date. But Lord Bacon had the seal from 1558-1579 so it had to occur between those years.

In Geni World Family Tree

Mary Brewster (born Smythe) Gender: Female Alias name: Mary (Brewster) Simkinson Smythe, widow Simkinson, Mary Simkinson Birth: Circa 1535

 Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England

Occupation: married 1567 Marriage: Spouse: William Brewster, of Scrooby Dec 25 1562

 England, UK

Death: Circa 1567

 Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England

Burial: Hatfield, Nottinghamshire, England Father: William Smythe, Elder Mother: Agnes Smythe (born Simkinson) Husbands: William Brewster, of Scrooby John Simkinson Children: Thomas Simkinson Dorothy Simkinson William 'Elder' Brewster, III Siblings: Cuthbert Smythe Francis of Crowle Smythe, Vicar Richard Smythe Source: View full record on Geni website

view all 13

Mary Brewster's Timeline

Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England
Age 20
Doncaster, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
Age 22
Doncaster, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
Age 25
Doncaster, Yorkshire, England
Age 30
Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England
Age 32
Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, , England
April 27, 1627
Age 32
Hatfield, Nottinghamshire, England
February 15, 2002
Age 32
May 23, 2002
Age 32