John Busby of Acle, 1568 & Nicholas Busby of Claxton, 1618

Yesterday, I shared details about the family of Nicholas Busby, born c1582, probably in Norfolk, England and his wife, Bridget Cocke, born c1584 and also from Norfolk, England.

Today, I will share the wills of John Busby, originally of Great Oakley, Essex, England who removed to Acle, Norfolk, England, which is about 80 miles northward up the English coast. He was a mercer and is likely the father of Nicholas Busby who died in 1618 in Claxton, England and the grandfather of Nicholas Busby who married Bridget Cocke and emigrated to Massachusetts in 1637.

I have not been able to find an image of the actual wills, so abstracts will have to do.

Anna C. Kingsbury published A Historical Sketch of Nicholas Busby, the Emigrant in 1924. Note that I have no idea who Ms. Kingsbury came to decide on the birth years/order of the children, except that Joan was the only one identified as under legal age in 1568.  It can be found on

Abstract of the will of John Busby, as obtained in England, by J. Gardner Bartlett, genealogist, reads, ‘The will of John Busbye, late of Much Okeley [Great Oakley], co. Essex, now of Acley [Acle], co. Norfolk, mercer, dated 22 Sept. 1568. to Nicholas Busby, now my eldest son, four of my best silver pots. To Agnes my daughter 3 pounds-6-8, and a silver spoon. To my daughter Jone Busby 3 pounds-6-8 and a pair of silver laches, when 21 years of age; if she die before that time, remainder to my sone Edward Busbye. To my son Edward Busby all residue of my goods, he to be sole executor. My nephew John Godfrey to be supervisor. Witnesses, Edmund Cooke, John Gouldurg, John Broughton and John Rochester the writer. Proved 27 mar. 1570 by the executor.’ (Archdeaconry of Norwich, vol. 15, fol.1.)


  1. Agnes, born c1541
  2. Son, born c1543, but before Nicholas and who predeceased his father
  3. Nicholas, born c1545
  4. Edward, born c1547
  5. Joan, born no earlier than 1548, as she was under the age of 21 years when her father wrote his will.

Claxton and Acle, both in Norfolk, are not far distant from each other and both are due east from Norwich, home to Nicholas Busby and Bridget Cocke, who emigrated to Massachusetts.

Next, there is the will, presumed to be that of Nicholas, above, born c1545, also abstract by J. Gardner Bartlett and noted in the Kingsbury book.

Nicholas Busby was born c1545 and died in Claxton, Norfolk, England between 17 June 1615, which is the day he wrote his will, and March 1617/18, when it was proved in court.

“In the name of God, Amen, I Nycholas Busby of Claxton, co. Norfolk, being of perfect memorie make this my last will and testament as followeth, first, I give unto Nycholas my youngest sonnetone silver spoone; unto John my eldest sonne one black stuffe dublett with a payre of stockings, a payre of shooes, and a hatt. All the rest of my goods whatsoever I give and bequeath unto Susann my late  wife. In wittnes wherof I have sett my hand this 17th of June 1615

Witnessed by us, Robert Crook, Edmond Heard, Robert Peachie, Edmund Heard [mark]. [No probate is given, out registered between wills proved 4 Mar. 1617/8 and 7 Mar. 1617/8.] (Consistory of Norwich, vol. Trotter, fol. 14.)


1. John, born c1580; living in 1615, when his father wrote his will
2. Nicholas, born c1582; died 28 August 1657, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Bridget Cocke, 24 June 1605, St. Mary Coslany, Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Nicholas who died in 1618 was probably married to (1) Margaret, buried 7 June 1595, Salhouse, Norfolk, England. His wife, Susan, who survived him was the widow of Thomas Plumbe. She wrote her own will a few years later, but did not mention any Busbys, so she was the stepmother of John and Nicholas Busby.

“The will of Susan Busby of Langley,co. Norfolk, widow, dated July 1619. My goods to my three sons, Matthew, George and Richard Plombe. My tenement in St. Saviour’s Norwich, given to me by my late husband Thomas Plumbe (who received it by the will of his late father Matthew Plombe). To the daughter of my brother Robert Sherwin, the latter and John Francis of Norwich to be super¬ visors. My sons George and Richard Plombe to be executors. Proved 20 Mar. 1623/4. (Archdeaconry of Norwich)”



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