Nicholas Arnold, of Ilchester

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Nicholas Arnold, of Ilchester

Birthplace: Northover, Ilchester, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Death: January 24, 1622 (72)
Ilchester, Somerset, England (United Kingdom)
Place of Burial: Yeovil, Somerset, England, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of (Not Richard) Unknown Arnold and NN Arnold
Husband of Alice Arnold and Grace Arnold
Father of Thomasine Hacker; Joanna Hopkins; Margery Barnard (Arnold); William Arnold; Agnes Arnold and 4 others

Occupation: Imagrant, Tailor, live in Ilchester about half mile from Northover, onthe banks of the River Ivel - member of the Guild of Tailors
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Nicholas Arnold, of Ilchester

Early Records of the Arnold Family


Reprinted from The New England Historical and Genealogical Registek forOctober, 1879.


• 564 Washington Street. 1879.

free online

_________________________________________________________________ Rhode Island Historical Society Collections, Volumes 11-14 By Rhode Island Historical Society GENEALOGY OF THE FAMILY OF ARNOLD

Nicholas Arnold. Born ca 1550 in Northover, Somerset.22 Nicholas died in Jan 1622/3 in Ilchester, Somerset. Buried on 26 Jan 1622/3 in Ilchester.22 Occupation: tailor.

There are two articles on the Arnold family in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, volume 33 (1879). First Edwin Hubbard’s article “Early records of the Arnold family,” on pages 427–432. Following that is Henry T. Drowne’s article “Mr. Somerby’s Genealogy of the Arnold Family” on pages 432–438.

Check out The American Genealogist 20 (1943), 120 article by G. Andrews Moriarty. It comments on the validity of Somerby’s genealogy. Nicholas first married Alice Gulley, daughter of John Gulley & Alice [Gulley]. Born ca 1553 in Northover, Somerset. Alice was baptized in Northover on 29 Sep 1553.22 Alice died ca 25 Apr 1596 in Ilchester, Somerset. Buried on 25 Apr 1596 in Ilchester.22

m. ca 1569, Ilchester,Somerset,England Nicholas ARNOLD Alice GULLEY b. ca 1550, Northover, Somerset, England d. Jan 1622/23, Ilchester, England bur. occ. b. abt 26 Sep 1553, Northover,Somerset,England d. 25 Apr 1596, Ilchester, England bur. 25 Apr 1596, Ilchester, England occ. Spouses: 1, 2

Children Tamzen ARNOLD Joane ARNOLD Margery ARNOLD William ARNOLD Robert ARNOLD Elizabeth ARNOLD

Nicholas Arnold is not the son of Richard. There is no proven parentage for him

No Arnold Royal Line Editor's Note: The 10 September Ancestry Daily News, contained an article by Karen Frisch regarding a castle in Wales. In it, she referenced a previously published connection between an ancestor of hers and the historical residents of Abergavenny Castle. ( <> ). As Kory explains below, that connection turned out to be inaccurate and his message serves as a reminder to us all of the need to be wary when using compiled lineages. Thanks much to Kory for sharing this! For most genealogists, the possibility of royal or noble ancestry is attractive. After all, if our interest is to trace a family as far back as possible, royal ancestry allows us to do that better and easier than most of our lines. Besides, it helps give us a solid connection to history. Hence, I can understand and share the interests of Karen Frisch in learning "about ancestors so ancient they exist more in the realm of imagination-before photographs or even surnames" (Ancestry Daily News, 10 September 2002). Unfortunately, in her comments about our mutual ancestor, William Arnold of Rhode Island, and his descent from a Twelfth Century Welsh princess, she has fallen into a trap common to many American genealogists. That trap is ready acceptance of a long-disproved connection to royalty. A royal line was apparently first suggested for William Arnold by Horatio G. Somerby in 1870. It was published in the October 1879 issue of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Unfortunately, Somerby was a very accommodating genealogist who was remarkable for providing his patrons what they wanted, even if documents had to be re-written or falsely cited to provide the links to royal lines. His work is routinely shunned by experienced genealogists today. Without passing judgment on the earlier generations of this ancestry, the alleged lineage eventually descends to a Thomas Arnold, second son of Richard Arnold. Thomas is named as the father of William, who is what we often call the "gateway" ancestor, the immigrant who left Great Britain and settled in the colonies. Here, with the gateway ancestor, is where the lineage breaks down, as is the case with a large number of so-called royal lines. The Rhode Island Arnold family kept a remarkable family record (begun by the immigrant William), which documents William (born 1587), his siblings, and his mother. It does not document his father. That record identified a younger half-brother of William as Thomas Arnold (born 1599) whom many early researchers wrongly believed to be the New England immigrant of that name who settled first at Watertown, Massachusetts, and 20 years later moved to Rhode Island. A 1796 obituary of a descendant of this Thomas Arnold identified the immigrant Thomas as the son of a "Thomas Arnold, a native of England." Hence the faulty connection was made (and published as early as 1819) that William was the son of a Thomas. Armed with this information, Somerby found an early Arnold pedigree, adjusted generations 13 through 16 to fit in Thomas and his alleged father Richard. He then plugged in the immigrant "brothers" Thomas and William as sons of this Thomas Sr. and presto, a royal lineage was pasted onto another worthy American family's lineage. The problem is, it just was not so! The January 1915 issue of the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register" has an article by Edson S. Jones, which explains this all quite clearly. It also shows that the immigrant Arnolds (Thomas and William) were not brothers, and that neither of them is connected to the royal line published earlier. It further reports accurate research in English parish registers regarding the parentage of William Arnold. In 1902, the author, Jones, had visited Northover parish in Somerset where he found two church register entries, which matched William Arnold's family record exactly. In a neighboring parish he found additional records, which matched information about the Rhode Island immigrant. In 1921, Fred A. Arnold elaborated in-depth on these and other findings about the Arnold origins in the Rhode Island Historical Society Collections. His 24-page article explains exactly and clearly that William was the son of Nicholas Arnold, born about 1550 and who was buried 26 January 1622/23. His half-brother Thomas married and remained in England, as did all of his siblings. William is not related to the immigrant Thomas Arnold, and the ancestry of his father, Nicholas Arnold is unknown. His mother's parents are known, but no further. There is no known (or even suggested) royal ancestry for this Arnold family. This same article was transcribed and included in the 1921 Arnold Memorial by Elisha S. Arnold and the original 1921 article was reprinted in 1983 in a collection by Genealogical Publishing Company, Genealogies of Rhode Island Families from Rhode Island Periodicals. The true ancestry of William Arnold has been known now for a hundred years. It has been in print for 87 years, in at least four different publications. It is time to leave mythical royal ancestries behind us, not only for the Arnolds, but for the hundreds of other gateway ancestors who have been plugged into faulty, sometimes fraudulent, lineages. -----For more information about myths to which many family historians fall prey, see Kory Meyerink's article on "Genealogical Myths" in the forthcoming issue of Ancestry Magazine. You can contact Kory through his company's website at: <>

Ancestry Daily News 9/19/2002

Photo is of Northover Inn in Northover, England. Bob & Claudia visited approx. May 2002. Ilchester is just across the river.

Nicholas was born in Northover, Somersetshire, England.

Christening: 29 Sep 1563

 , Bagbere, Dorsetshire, England 

Served a 7 year apprenticeship to a tailor as a young man.

About 1575, he moved to Ilchester, about a half a mile from Northover, across the River Ivel.

Member of the Guild of Tailors for nearly 50 years. Buried at the churchyard at St. Andrew, Northover, England.

1st wife Alice Fulley Arnold, died 1596 and Nicholas remarried to Grace ?.

Historical Event: Founding of 13 American Colonies:

His goods after death were valued at £7, 16 s. and 5 d. (WellsRegistry, Liber 43, folio 5). He mentions his second wife Grace and two daughters, unnamed. Son William and friend Ambrose Chappell were named as overseers.

Of Melcombe Horsey and Cheselbourne Manors, Dorsetshire

The Will of Nicholas Arnold of Ilchester in the Countie of Somersett Tayler, 18 Jan. 1622 [1622/3]. To Grace Arnold my wief all my goods movable and unmovable w'thin and wth thout Dores to thintent she shall guid & bringe up my two youngest Daughters her Children and when it shall please god to take her out of this mortall lief to Dispose the said goods at her pleasure unto theis two Children. Grace my wief to be sole executrix. My sonne Wm Arnold & Ambrose Chappell my frend to be over seers. Witnesses: John Raven, Thomas Arnold. Proved at Wells 28 July 1623. Inventory, L7. 16d 5d (Wells Registry, lib. 43, fo. 5.)

The Arnold entries found are as follows: "Baptizat, Alice lilia John Gullye 29 Septembris A° D m 1553. Tamsine filia Nicholas Arnolde 4 January A 1) m 1571." (The mother,

ister and father of William Arnold.) No other Arnold bap-

tisms arc found, although the entries appear to be complete for several years; the real reason being that between the birth of Tomasine in 1571, and Joane in 1577 their father Nicholas bad removed with bis family into the compact part of Ilches- ter and established himself there in business, as a Merchant

tailor. The only Arnold marriages found are those of "1558 — Margaret Arnold and Christopher Tuck. 1603. Margery Arnold and Thomas Curnard." (The latter being the sister of William, horn in 1581.) No Arnold burials are found at Northover before 1700. John and Alice Gully the parents of Alice Arnold were propably born there before 1508, the last year of the reign of Henry VII., before the era of registration had commenced in England, but the Northover records show the birth to them of 8 children before that of Alice in 1553, the burial of 3, Elizabeth, Robert and Christian between 1543 and 1546, and the burial of a grand daughter lone, the daugh- ter of John Gully, Jr., in 1550. From this last date we ap- proximate the birth date of John Sen., John Gully Jr. was buried 1559, his mother and father, "Alice Gullye ye wife of John Gullye n° Aprilis Anno Dm 1583° aged about J$, John Gullye was buried 15 Septembris Anno Dm 1591 " age about 81. At this latter date their grand son William Arnold, 4 years old was living at Ilchester. All of the Gully family except Alice (Arnold,) are buried in the church yard of "Old St. Andrew." The records furnish us nothing more than these bare names and dates, to throw any light upon their history or character. We only know that they were of strong, virile stock, raised a large family and lived here four score years, during one of the most interesting and important periods in English history, that of the reformation, which redeemed it from popish rule, and placed the Church and nation under the supremacy of the King.

A short sketch of the location, and the times in which they lived will be of interest and perhaps serve as a background for what little personal knowledge we have gleaned of them from the records.

The little parish or hamlet of Northover is on the Foss road, on the north side of the river Ivel, at its crossing by the ancient Roman ford, and is really only a suberb of Ilches- ter, on the south side of the river, with which it is now con- nected by an arched stone bridge. The living is a vicarge in the deanery of Ilchester. Its church, "St. Andrew," has a


square tower with four bells, and is in sight of, and but half a mile distant from "St. Mary Major" in Ilchester.

The rector of St. Andrew, at the date of the baptism of Alice Gully, 1553, was Thomas Mayster, who held that office 48 years, from his appointment in 1508, until his death, Aug. 18, 1556. Her parents, John and Alice Gully, were born about the time of his appointment and may have been christened and married by him ; It is certain that all their children were recorded in his time. His incumbancy, commencing in the last year of '"he reign of Henry VII., covered the entire reign of Henry VIII., 38 years; 6 years under his son "the boy King" Edward VI. and 3 years of that of his daughter, the "Bloody Queen Mary," who came so near restoring the popish regime that had been overthrown by her father.

During this time he saw the destruction of the monasteries and Abbeys of the old religion, .the supremacy of the Pope overthrown, and the substitution of that of the King pro- claimed ; he had been already in office 30 years when the royal injunction of Henry VIII. was issued, making it the duty of the clergy to keep a parish register. He commenced his regis- ter that year and continued it until his death in 1556. Mr. Jones says, it commenced with sparce entries in 1531, those before 1538 being some privately kept by him before receiving the order. Mr. R. E. Chester Waters in his "History of Par- jsh Registers in England," says that but 812 of these registers, commenced in 1538, have survived the negligence of their legal guardians, and of these, 8 only have been discovered with dates earlier than 1538, those of St. James, Garlickhithe, St. Mary Bothaw, of London and 6 others, which begin in 1536. As the Northover register antedates all of these, it must be the earliest extant register in England. The injunction of 1 538, was sent by Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, to all Bishops and Curates throughout the realm "charging them to God that in every parish church the Bible of the largest volume should be placed for all men to read on : and that the Curate of every parish should keep one book of record, which book he shall every Sunday take forth, and in the presence


of the church wardens or one of them, write and record in the same all the weddings, christ'nings and burials made the whole week before ; and for every time that the same shall be omitted, shall forfiet to the said church 4 shillings, 4 pence."

The Wardens were not appointed by Rectors as assistants but elected by the parishioners, to see that he attended to his duties, and to attest his returns. The first records commenced under this order were written on paper, and it was soon real- ized that something more durable was necessary, and so Oct. 25, 1597, a new ordinance respecting registers was adopted at Canterbury and approved by Queen Elizabeth under the Great Seal. Under this "every parish was to provide itself with a parchment book in which the entries from the old paper books were to be fairly transcribed and signed by the minister or church wardens, to be kept in a sure coffer with three locks, of which the minister and wardens was to keep a key ; and for further security against loss, a true copy of the names of all persons, christened, married or buried in the year before was to be transmitted to the bishop of the diocese within a month after Easter to be preserved in the Episcopal archives." A note in Vol. 1., Somerset Parish Registers, Northover marriages, page 14, says, "The earliest register is a transcription parchment, made in 1598, by Thomas Lover- ige, Vicar, of the paper Register that began in 1534. Three entries appear to be of the date 1531."

It was this transcript, that Mr. Jones found at Northover in 1902, and it was from this same book that William Arnold before embarking for the new world, copied the baptism of "Alee Gully the daughter of John Gully 29, Sept., 1553," adding so lovingly, "who was my mother."

Having finished his search of the two old records of North- over and Yeovil, and finding that at Ilchester, Limington, Yeo- vilton and Muchelney there were no records earlier than 1635 ; Mr. Jones then went to Wells to examine the "Bishop's Transcripts" there, and see if they contained any additional information from this locality. This was a new field, and his


search here was amply rewarded. First he found that the "Transcript" was not a record hook, such as was kept in the parishes, but that they were the original yearly reports, usually in the full autograph of the Rector or Vicar and attested by the church wardens, and filed, not recorded, just as received. From Ilchester he found very few remaining, and many of these badly mutilated and much decayed. Evi- dently the clergy in many years had failed to make returns, and the bishops had at times neglected their care, while many more had been destroyed during the wars of the Common- wealth and James II.

From the few he did find, he copied the following items, in some way connected with his search :

1594, June 30. Earliest record. "1595/6 Feb. 15, christened Mary, daughter of Melchiseck Joanes." He was warden with William Arnold in 1622, and had then been living here more than 26 years. "1595, Oct. 5. Married, Robert Hacker and Thomasine Arnoll." See baptism of their oldest son Rob- ert, Jan. 22, 1597/8 and six more children on family record. "1595, Oct., Burial, Agnes d. of Nicholas Arnoll." Not on family record, probably died young. "1596, April 25. Burial, Alee W. of Nicholas Arnoll tailer." (mother of William.) These items have since been printed by Mr. Edward Dwelly in Vol. II., Wells Transcripts, p. 31, with this note, "The above three years are written on paper now very much decayed and are not signed." 1616, christened, April 7, "Thomas son of William Hopkins" (son of Joane Arnold, see family record.) 1622, December 22, Baptizat, "Stephanus filius William Arnoldi, 1622/3 Janury 26, Sepultus. Nicha- laus Arnold."

This transcript of 1622, has not as yet been printed by Mr. Dwelly but will be soon, with others already copied. It is the first time that the name of William Arnold has been found on a public record, and strange to say, in it, under his own hand, as church warden, he attests the record of the baptism of his youngest son Stephen, and the burial of his father Nicholas. Through the kindness of Mr. Dwelly, I am enabled

Nicholas Arnold1 M, b. 1550, d. 26 January 1622/23

    Nicholas was born in 1550 at Northover, Somersetshire, England. Nicholas was bound over and served as an apprentice tailor in his early years in the small village of Northover. Nicholas married Alice Gully, daughter of John Gully and Alice (?), circa 1570 at Northover, Somersetshire, England. Nicolas became quite skilled in his trade and after the birth of his oldest child, he moved to the larger town of Ilchester on the opposite bank of the Ivel River, near the ancient Roman Ford. There he became a prosperous merchant tailor until his death. His son William also entered the trade and became a part of his father's business. During his life Nicholas had been an influencial citizen of Ilchester as well as a member of the Guild of Tailors for nearly 50 years.2 Nicholas's wife, Alice, died in April 1596 in Ilchester, Somersetshire, England, leaving him a widower. Nicholas married 2nd Grace (?). Nicholas departed this life on Thursday, 26 January 1622/23 at Ilchester, Somersetshire, England, at age 73 years. Nicholas was laid to rest in St. Mary Magdalen's Church, Tauton, Somersetshire, England.

Family 1 Alice Gully b. b 29 Sep 1553, d. Apr 1596 Nicholas and Alice had 6 children: Children

   Tamzen (Thomasine) Arnold b. b 4 Jan 1571
   Joane Arnold b. b 30 Nov 1577, d. b 10 Mar 1621/22
   Margery Arnold b. b 30 Aug 1581
   William Arnold+ b. 24 Jun 1587, d. 1675
   Robert Arnold b. b 18 Oct 1593
   Elizabeth Arnold b. 9 Apr 1596, d. Apr 1596

Family 2 Grace (?) Nicholas and Grace had 2 children: Children

   Thomas Arnold b. b 18 Apr 1599
   Elenor Arnold b. 31 Jul 1603


   [S137] Ethan L. Arnold, An Arnold Family Record: Three Hundred Twenty-Three Years In America, page 5 - Nicholas Arnold, b. Northover c. 1550, apprentice tailor there until 1575, moved to Ilchester 1575; there he & son William were merchant tailors until his d. 1622.
   [S622] William Arnold.

Thomas Nicholas Arnold was born in 1549 in Ilchester, Somersetshire, England. He was christened in 1550 in Northover, Somersetshire, England. He died on 24 Jan 1622 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. He was buried on 26 Jan 1622 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. He married Alice Gulley in 1551 in Lemington, England.

Alice Gulley [Parents] was born on 25 Sep 1553 in Northover, Somersetshire, ENGLAND. She was christened on 29 Sep 1553 in Nothover, Somerset, England. She died on 25 Apr 1596 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. She was buried on 25 Apr 1596 in Somerset, Ilchester, England. She married Thomas Nicholas Arnold in 1551 in Lemington, England.

They had the following children:

     		M 	i 	William Arnold was born on 24 Jun 1587. He died on 07 Sep 1685.
     		F 	ii 	Miss Arnold was born about 1605 in Ilchester, Somerset, England.
     		M 	iii 	Nicholas Arnold was born on 15 Nov 1596 in Ilchester, Som, Eng. He was christened on 15 Nov 1596 in Ilchester, Somerset, England.
     		F 	iv 	Joanna Arnold was born on 30 Nov 1577. She died on 10 Mar 1621.
     		M 	v 	John ARNOLD was born about 1585. He died on 30 Dec 1664.
     		M 	vi 	Joanna Arnold was born in 1577. He died on 10 Mar 1621/1622.
     		F 	vii 	Elizabeth arnold was born on 09 Apr 1596. She died in 1596.
     		M 	viii 	Richard Arnold was born about 1597 in Ilchester, Somerset, England.
     		M 	ix 	Robert ARNOLD was born on 18 Oct 1593. He was buried in Oct 1593.
     		F 	x 	Isabel Arnold was born on 12 Apr 1597 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. She was christened on 12 Apr 1597 in Ilchester, St. Mary's, Somerset, England. She died about 1702.
     		F 	xi 	Eleanor ARNOLD was born in 1603 in Cheselbourne, Dorset, England. She was christened on 03 Jul 1603 in Ilchester, Somerset, England. She died Unknown. She was buried in 1603 in Rhode Island, USA.

Generation No. 21

Parents of Anthony Arnold William Arnold, of Cheselbourne, later removed to Isle of Wight, County of Hampshire. Bar Divider

Generation No. 20

Parents of William Arnold

John Arnold, born about 1585, resided in Chelshire, where he died in 1616. Bar Divider

Generation No. 19

Parents of John Arnold

Thomas Nicholas Arnold, born about 1550 in Northaver, Sommerset; died 18 Jan 1622 at Hehster, Sommerset. Alice Gulley, daughter of John Gulley. Bar Divider

Generation No. 18

Parents of Nicholas Arnold

Richard Arnold II, removed into Dorsetshire, and became seated at Bagber in the Parish of Middleton, Otherwise known as Milton Abbas.
Nicholas was born Northover, Somersetshire, England about 1550, buried Ilchester, Somersetshire, England 26 Jan 1622/3, and married (1) about 1570 Alice Gully, the daughter of John and Alice Gully. Nicholas m. (2) about 1598 Grace _______, who is the wife mentioned in his will. Nicholas was a tailor, and likely spent his apprenticeship in the village of Northover as a young man. About 1575 he moved with his small family about half a mile across the River Yeo to the larger town of Ilchester, and there established himself as a merchant tailor. The mention of his occupation in his oldest daughter's baptismal record, and in his wife's burial record suggest that he was a prominent tailor, and probably a member of the Tailors Guild. Guilds were strong trade unions, being important to the political structure of their day. Nicholas remained a tailor his entire life, as he is called such in his will which was dated 18 Jan 1622/3 and proven at Wells, Somersetshire, England 28 Jul 1623. Children, first seven of first wife, last three of second wife; the first baptized in Northover, and the remaining born and baptized in Ilchester:

  • Tomsine, bp 4 Jan 1571, m. Ilchester 5 Oct 1595 Robert HACKER. The baptism of their seven children is recorded in William Arnold's family record.
  • Joane, bp 30 Nov 1577, bur. Yeovilton, Somersetshire, Eng. 10 Mar 1621/2, m. ca 1612 William HOPKINS. Her two oldest children accompanied her brother William Arnold to America in 1635.
  • Margery, bp 30 Aug 1581, m. Northover 1603 Thomas BARNARD.
  • William, b. 24 Jun 1587, m. Christian PEAK and sailed to North America in 1635 with his wife and four children.
  • Robert, bp 18 Oct 1593.
  • Agnes, b. ca 1595, buried Ilchester Oct 1595. She is not included in William Arnold's family record.
  • Elizabeth, b. 9 Apr 1596, d. an infant. The fact that William Arnold gives her birth and not baptism in his family record suggests that she died too soon after birth to be baptized. She and her mother probably died within a very short time of each other and may have been buried in a common grave.
  • Thomas, bp 18 Apr 1599, witnessed his father's will in 1622; m. (1) ca 1622 Margaret, who was buried at Ilchester 18 Oct 1623; m. (2) Jane. This is not the Thomas Arnold who came to Rhode Island about the same time as William Arnold, as had been thought for many years.
  • Daughter, b. ca 1601. In his will, Nicholas Arnold mentions his two unnamed youngest daughters, children of his second wife. No name has been found for this one.
  • Eleanor, bp 31 Jul 1603.

from Find a Grave contributor Stan Arnold

view all 31

Nicholas Arnold, of Ilchester's Timeline

January 11, 1549
Ilchester, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
September 29, 1563
Age 14
Bagbere, Dorsetshire, Engl
September 29, 1563
Age 14
Bagbere, Dorsetshire, England
January 4, 1571
Age 22
Northover, Ilchester, Somersetshire, England
Age 26
Ilchester, Somersetshire, England
November 30, 1577
Age 28
Ilchester, Somerset, England
August 30, 1581
Age 32
Ilchester, Somerset, England
June 24, 1587
Age 38
Ilchester, Somerset, England
Age 41
Ilchester, Somerset, England