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Mary Hopkins (Kent)

Also Known As: "Giles Stepmother"
Birthplace: Ratlake, Hursley, Hampshire, England
Death: before May 9, 1613
Hursley, Hampshire, England
Place of Burial: Hursley, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert Kent alias Back; Robert Kent, Black; Joan Kent and Joan Kent
Wife of Steven Hopkins and Stephen Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger
Mother of Elizabeth Hopkins; Constance Snow, "Mayflower" Passenger and Giles Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger
Sister of Giles Kent

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Hopkins

Mary Kent

  • born: say 1580, of England
  • buried: 9 May 1613, Hursley, Hampshire, England
  • Parents: believed to have been Robert Kent and Joan Machill
  • Husband: Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644)

Children of Stephen Hopkins and his wife Mary, baptized in the parish of Hursley, Hampshire, England:

  • Elizabeth Hopkins was baptized on 13 March 1603/04. She was alive at her mother's death in 1613, but nothing else is known of her. As she did not board the Mayflower with her family, it is assumed she may have been married or deceased. Author Caleb Johnson believes she had died prior to the Mayflower sailing. This theory is given credence by the fact that Hopkins and his second wife Elizabeth also had a daughter named Elizabeth, born about 1632.[4]:165
  • Constance Hopkins was baptized on 11 May 1606 and died in Eastham, Plymouth Colony, in mid-October 1677. She was a Mayflower passenger in 1620. By 22 May 1627 she had married Nicholas Snow in Plymouth and had twelve children. Her husband was a passenger on the ship Anne in 1623 and died on 15 November 1676. Both Constance and Nicholas were buried in Cove Burying Ground Eastham, where she has an extant memorial.[10]:307,354 [14]:234,236
  • Giles Hopkins was baptised on 30 January 1607/08 and died in Eastham between 5 March 1688/9 and 16 April 1690. He was buried in Cove Burying Ground, Eastham. He was a Mayflower passenger in 1620. On 9 October 1639 he married Catherine Wheldon in Plymouth and had ten children, recorded at Eastham, Plymouth Colony. They moved to Yarmouth and later Easton. Catherine was listed in his will (as "Catorne") but likely died sometime shortly after him.[14][10]:307,308 [15]

biographical notes


Mary Kent is believed to be the first wife of Stephen Hopkins, born in Ratlake, Hampshire, in about 1580, the daughter of Robert and Joan Kent. Robert's father may have been named Andrew Kent. Joan's maiden name was probably Machill, or a variation thereof such as Machell, based on documents of the time. Research indicates Joan's parents' names were sometimes given as Robert and Joan Machell and that she (Joan the younger) had a brother Giles and sister Elizabeth. Giles and Elizabeth also appear as the names of two of Mary's children.[12][13]:58

Per Neal, the Machell and Kent families may have been able to trace their ancestries back to ancient times when they first appeared at the manor (then castle) of Merdon in Hursley parish, which could have been as early as the 13th century.[12]

Mary's father, Robert Kent, died when she was young, leaving her mother Joan a widow. Mary's ancestry is difficult to research, but author Simon Neal determined that she had originally come from the Hursley area. No marriage record has been found for Mary and Stephen who had three children together between probably 1603 and 1608 – Elizabeth, the eldest, Constance, and Giles. The baptism records for the three children have been located in the parish registers of Hursley, Hampshire. It is known that after their marriage around 1602 or before, Mary and Stephen resided with her mother Joan where they ran a small alehouse. Stephen departed for America in 1609, with his children being left in the care of his wife Mary and her mother Joan. In 1620 Stephen, his second wife Elizabeth and children Giles and Constance were Mayflower passengers.[12]:126-127,138

Manorial court documents relating to the manor of Merdon list the following court date and charge: 3 Sept. 3 James I (1605): Alehouse keepers – Joan Kent (and two others named) are charged with being common tipplers and have broken the assize of bread and ale. Therefore each of them is in mercy (fined) 4 pence. Joan Kent was the mother of Mary Kent, wife of Stephen Hopkins.[13]:62

Joan Machill's brother Giles was named in the manorial court for the manor of Merdon, Hursley, Hampshire, for a minor offense with a date of 3 October 1611. At the time Giles Machill was recorded as innkeeper of the Star and his sister Joan Kent was the alehouse keeper.[13]:64

In 1611 Joan Kent died at about age 50, leaving the three Hopkins children in Mary's care. Mary died in 1613, at about age 33, with her burial entry appearing in parish registers on 9 May 1613 where she is described as the wife of Stephen Hopkins. Her inventory and administration were held on 12 May 1613 where it was noted she was the mother of Elizabeth, Giles and Constance and that she was a widow although at the time Stephen Hopkins was very much alive in Virginia. This may have been an error since apparently some monies from his employment at Jamestown did reach his wife and she may have known he was alive. In 1614 Hopkins received a letter at Jamestown informing him of his wife's death and shortly thereafter came back to England to care for his orphaned children.[12]:126 [4]:164,165

Per author Neal, the Kent family continued its line through Giles Kent, Mary's probable brother, and continued to flourish in Hursley throughout the 17th century.[12]:138


Stephen Hopkins was from Hampshire, England. He married his first wife, Mary, and in the parish of Hursley, Hampshire (date unknown); he and wife, Mary had their children Elizabeth, Constance, and Giles all baptized there. It has long been claimed that the Hopkins family was from Wortley, Gloucester, but this was disproven in 1998.



Birth -- unknown (means we don't have a clue so any guess is not valid) Marriage -- unknown (ditto--guessing not allowed) Burial -- 9 May 1613, Hursley, Hampshire per county records Children -- Elizabeth, Constance, Giles (they're listed in her probate on 12 May 1613)

Caleb Johnson's article in The American Genealogist 73:161-171 in 1998 tells how new information was found in 1998 about this family in Hursley, Hampshire, England. Or see for more details.

They found:

-1- The burial record of Mary, wife (or listed as widow to expedite guardianship of the 3 children named in probate) of Stephen Hopkins (who was probably off in the New World at the time);

-2- Baptism records of the three children (Elizabeth, Constance and Giles) matching the names in the probate (shown in #1) and;

-3- Mary's probate (more in Appendix 1 of Caleb's biography of Stephen Hopkins).

Excellent Mayflower Quarterly article (June 2012) by Simon Neal -- the latest in the search for the family of both Mary from Hampshire and 2nd wife, possibly Elizabeth Fisher in London.

with the HUGE detailed back-up appendix (sources) at


NOTE: These two articles cited below are also reproduced, in full, as appendices, in "Here Shall I Die Ashore" by Mayflower scholar and historian Caleb Johnson.

  • Note: Stephen Hopkins a Sarah Palin Mayflower Ancestor -

A Pilgrim of Substance with a Problematical Past Jun 27, 2009 Rosemary E. Bachelor


One of Sarah Palin's more controversial ancestors is Mayflower Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins. Four centuries have not separated the fact and fiction of his past.

Stephen Hopkins was not one of the religious dissenters aboard the Mayflower but, like Richard Warren, signed on for the voyage from London. He, too, seemed to be a man of some standing, probably a leather worker and merchant. With him on the Mayflower were his second wife, Elizabeth, children Giles and Constanta to his first wife, and, to his second wife, Damaris, and Oceanus, born during the voyage, plus two indentured servants, Edward Doty and Edward Lister.

Was He the Virginia Stephen Hopkins?

Caleb Johnson maintains in his 2007 book, Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins, Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim, that the Stephen Hopkins on the Mayflower is the same Stephen Hopkins that was onthe ill-fated 1609 voyage of the Sea Venture to the Virginia Colony, was shipwrecked during a storm and spent nine months stranded on an island before he and his fellow mates finished building a sturdy enough vessel to get to Jamestown.

The Virginia Stephen Hopkins defied authority, tried to incite a rebellion and was sentenced to death, but pardoned after he whined about his fate. This doesn’t seem to describe the Stephen Hopkins of Plymouth Colony, who is often mentioned in Plymouth Colony records as a responsible man. He was chosen to accompany Gov. Winslow to meet with Chief Massasoit to conclude a treaty with the Indians, was selected to sit on the first Council of Governor’s Assistants and was chosen to serve on it three more years. Yet, it is important to balance against this the Plymouth Colony records that also show Hopkins ran afoul of the law several times, for assault, for not properly regulating other people’s alcohol intake, and for overpricing.

Who Were the Stephen Hopkins Wives?

Many professional genealogists hesitate to say much about the immediate family of Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins. Some sources say he had a wife, Mary, that died in England in 1613 and was buried at Hursley in Hants. Others claim Stephen married Constance Dudley (1580-1613) in 1599 in London and that it was she who died in 1613. He married 2) Elizabeth Fisher in 1618 in London and she died in Plymouth, MA, in 1639.

Sarah Palin’s Descent from Stephen Hopkins

Sarah Palin’s descent is through Stephen’s son, Giles, whose age places him as a son of the first wife, be she Mary or Constance. Many have questioned why Hopkins bypassed Giles, his oldest son, to make Caleb Hopkins, born by a second wife, his heir and the beneficiary of a handsome estate. It may be because Giles, who had come with his father on the Mayflower, was by then well established and a substantial land owner. Here is Sarah’s lineage:

~ Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins was born ca. 1579 and died at Plymouth, MA, in 1644.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC Sarah Palin's Ancestry: Solid New England The General Society of Mayflower Descendants Plymouth Colony Governor Thomas Prence ~ Giles Hopkins (1607-1690) was baptized at Hursley and married Catherine Weldon/Wheldon (ca. 1618-ca.1688) in 1639 at Plymouth. They lived at Yarmouth and Eastham, MA.

~ Deborah Hopkins (b. 1648) married Josiah Cook(e) in 1668 at Eastham, MA.

~ Deborah Cooke, born at Eastham, MA, in 1678, married, ca. 1700, Moses Godfrey (1667-1743) of Eastham and Chatham, MA.

~ George Godfrey (ca. 1707-1768) married Mercy Knowles (1717-1758) at Chatham in 1733. She was a descendant of William Brewster.

(See continuation of this line in an article giving Sarah Palin’s descent from Mayflower Pilgrim William Brewster.)


Presented by William Addams Reitwiesner, a Library of Congress staff member, from data primarily compiled by genealogists Robert Battle and Michael Hurdle; arranged in this form by the current author.

The Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA

Read more at Suite101: Stephen Hopkins a Sarah Palin Mayflower Ancestor: A Pilgrim of Substance with a Problematical Past | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Hopkins married his first wife, Mary by 1604 in England .She was buried at Hursley, Hampshire, England on 9 May 1613. They had 3 children: Elizabeth (who died in England), Constance Snow, and Giles. See Anderson's The Pilgrim Migration.

Find A Grave contributor Ramona Michael adds: Mary and Stephen's daughter, Constance Hopkins Snow, came over on the Mayflower with her father, Stephen, her step-mother, Elizabeth Fisher Hopkins, her younger brother, Giles, and her half-sister, Damaris. Half-brother, Oceanus, was born onboard the Mayflower on the trip to America.

Constance's mother, Mary, died in 1613. Her older sister, Elizabeth, either died prior to the voyage of the Mayflower or stayed behind in England, as she is not listed on the passenger list.

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Mary Hopkins's Timeline

Hursley, Hampshire, England
May 13, 1604
Age 24
Hursley, Hampshire, England
May 11, 1606
Age 26
Hursley, Hampshire, England
January 30, 1607
Age 27
Hursley, Hampshire, England
May 9, 1613
Age 33
Hursley, Hampshire, England
May 9, 1613
Age 33
Hursley, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom