It’s not often I have a chance to walk the footsteps that my ancestors took, but I had the chance to do just that on our recent cruise of the British Isles.
Joan Antrobus, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, is my 10X great grandmother. The descent is a bit messy because I descend from her more than once. Added to the mix is that she married twice – first to Thomas Lawrence and then to John Tuttle. I’m also descended from the Tuttles, but from Richard Tuttle, brother of this John Tuttle.
The Lawrence saga begins in England. Joan/Joanna Antrobus, daughter of Walter Antrobus and Joan Arnold, was born in 1592 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. She married (1) Thomas Lawrence about 1609. They had seven children, all in St. Albans:
Joan, born 29 August 1610; died 31 August 1610
Jane, born 18 December 1614: died 2 March 1680, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married George Giddings (1609-1676), 20 February 1633, St. Albans, Hertfordshire
Mary, born 17 November 1616; died 28 November 1616
John, born 26 July 1618; died after 1635
Thomas, born 8 March 1620
William, born 28 June 1622
Mary, born 10 April 1625; died 27 March 1715, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts; married Thomas Burnham (1619-1694), c1645
I am descended from both Jane, who married George Giddings and Mary, who married Thomas Burnham.
Thomas Lawrence died sometime after July 1624 and Joan/Joanna, widowed, with small children, married (2) John Tuttle, c1627.
John and Joanna had five children of their own, with Abigail, Simon and John being born in England. they emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Planter in 1635:
Abigail, born 24 November 1628; died after 1635
Simon, born 10 January 1630/31; died 11 January 1691/2; married Sarah Cogswell
John, born 21 March 1633/34; died after 6 April 1657
Hannah, born c1636 died probably in Ireland; married before 20 March 1657 in Ireland
Sarah, who married Richard Martin
Now that I’ve shared some basic information, here is the rest of the story, which is well detailed in the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Great Migration series. If you have access to it, there are numerous details about the Tuttles given.
This post will only cover the bare essentials. John Tuttle was a merchant and probably at least middle class for the time period. In 1649, he entered into a business deal that soured. His dealings were quite extensive as he traded in Barbados and contracted with London, England businessmen.
John and Joanna Tuttle were living in Ipswich as late as 1649, but their life circumstances changed rapidly after that. By 16 November 1649, the Tuttles were living in Boston. However, with business woes hanging over his head, John boarded a ship and sailed to Southampton, England. John was in Southampton by 6 March 1650/1 at which time he wrote a letter to John Gore (connected to his business dealings) in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Perhaps he traveled there to try to sort out the finances and get his business back on track. Records showed that he owed a “considerable sum of money,” but the amount isn’t stated.
It isn’t known exactly how long he was in Southampton, but John never again returned to the colonies. Instead, he moved on to Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. At some point before his death, wife Joanna and daughter Hannah joined him.
On 27 September 1659, George Giddings and Joseph Jewett were appointed administrators of John Tuttle’s estate with the notation that he left no will when he died “two or three years ago in Ireland.”
In fact, John Tuttle died on 30 December 1656. On 15 May 1661, “Johanna Tuttell,” was named executor of his will, which was allowed and proved in Ireland.
Joanna’s death date is unknown, just that her son Simon deposed in 1674 that he was the only surviving child of his deceased parents. She most likely died in Ireland, as apparently did daughter Hannah.
At the beginning of this post, I talked about walking in the footsteps of my ancestors. I have been to both Boston and Ipswich in Massachusetts, but had never been to Southampton, England or anywhere in Northern Ireland.
In May, I had the opportunity to visit both as our cruises sailed out of the Southampton harbor and one of our British Isle stops was Belfast, Northern Ireland. We had a long day in Belfast, so there was plenty of time to sightsee in the city and take the train a very short 20 miles to Carrickfergus.
Southampton was heavily damaged during World War II being a seaport with deep waters excellent for shipping supplies. Much of the city has been rebuilt.
A small part of the ancient city survived the bombing raids – the old city wall still has many sections standing and St. Michael’s Church, built, with parts of it built in 1070, escaped almost unscathed in the war.
Being Puritans, I don’t know whether the Tuttles would have attended services at a Church of England, but if they did attend services, St. Michael’s on Bugle Street was the parish church.
It is a beautiful building, simple inside but with beautiful stained glass windows. Photos in this post were all taken by me.
St. Michael’s Church, Bugle Street
Across the street, there is an old Tudor building, which has survived through the ages:
The ancient walls, which I wouldn’t classify as ruins because while large sections are gone, there are still substantial portions doing their job today.
These walls were definitely built to last and they have!
We sailed from Southampton towards Ireland and then on to Northern Ireland, where we docked near Belfast. Dave and I decided to take the train to Carrickfergus before exploring Belfast since it was further away from the ship.
There was a local gentleman on the train who also got off in Carrickfergus. We had stopped to look at Dave’s map on his phone and he said he’d like to show us a bit of the town if we had a few minutes. He never said his name and his walkabout was such a whirlwind that we didn’t even think to ask. (The Irish accent wasn’t too easy to understand either!) However, we are grateful to him pointing out a few of the historic sites before we toured Carrickfergus Castle.
Right off the train, we entered the town through the old gate:
A Little Better View of the Old Gate
Next, we turned left down another street because the old gent wanted to point this building out:
Constructed in 1640!
This is one of the only buildings still left from the time that John and Johanna lived in Carrickfergus.
Less of the original wall has survived here compared to the one in Southampton as Carrickfergus was entirely encircled by a wall at one time:
Remnant of the Old Wall
The old parish church was a short walk from the waterfront, but it is Church of Ireland. I’ve never been to a church where I couldn’t figure out how to get in. None of the doors looked like a main entrance and all the doors were locked!
However, as John and Joanna were Puritans they likely didn’t attend Church of Ireland services. I was told that the Presbyterian Church first held services in Carrickfergus about the same time that the Tuttles moved there. Those services would probably have been held in someone’s home. I asked about burial practices. As they weren’t Church of Ireland, I was told that John and Joanna likely were buried down the road at an auxiliary cemetery that is still used today. We didn’t have time to walk down there.
Next, we headed onward to Carrickfergus Castle itself. We walked through a small square before we crossed a very busy street to the castle.
The castle is almost as old as St. Michael’s Church, as construction was started by John de Courcy about 1177.
The castle was there to protect and it was perfectly situated:
Invaders would have a tough time getting by this fortification.
I had the same feeling in Southampton and Carrickfergus that I get when I walk around old cemeteries where ancestors are buried. I feel like I’ve come back to visit them and pay my respects. I’ll probably never have another opportunity to visit Northern Ireland, so I am glad that this visit took me to the only spot with which I have any Irish connection.