Category Archives: Busby

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)”



Nicholas Busby & Bridget Cocke to New England, 1637

Nicholas Busby and his wife, Bridget Cocke were from Norwich, Norfolk, England and sailed with their children, Nicholas, John, Abraham, Sarah and Anne, along with Anne’s husband and their children, to Massachusetts in 1637.

Thanks to an article by Richard L. Bush, The English ancestry of William and Anne (Busby) Nickerson and of Nicholas and Bridget (Cocke) Busby, published in The American Genealogist, 2011, volume 85:242-253, a more complete picture of the Busby family is available.

Nicholas Busby was born c1582, probably in Claxton, Norfolk, England or in a town close by. He was the son of another Nicholas Busby and probably the Margaret Busby buried in Salhouse, Norfolk, England on 7 June 1595, who resided in Claxton and the grandson of John Busby who first lived in Great Oakley, Essex and then in Acle, Norfolk, England. These relationships have been proven through wills.

Bridget Cocke appears to be the daughter of Christopher Cocke and Margaret (MNU) (Allen), baptized at St. Mary Coslany between May and September 1582. She died before 3 July 1660, when the inventory of her estate was taken, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

Nicholas Busby married Bridget Cocke on 24 June 1605 at St. Mary Coslany, Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Nicholas and Bridget (Cocke) Busby were the parents of twelve children, most of whom did not survive to adulthood:

Children (All events at St. Mary Coslany, unless otherwise noted):

1. Richard, baptized 19 November 1606; buried 25 June 1608
2. Thomas, born c1607; buried 28 January 1635/36, St. Clements, Norwich, Norfolk, England; married Anne Reade, 10 September 1626, All Saints, Norwich, Norfolk, England.
3. Anne, baptized 2 February 1607/08; died after 1686, probably Plymouth County, Massachusetts; married William Nickerson, c1627, England. William died c1690, probably also in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.
4. Nicholas, baptized 9 September 1610; died before 25 July 1657; married Unknown. Nicholas apparently returned to England and may be the Nicholas Busby who married Sara Cutler, 1 January 1645, St. Stephen Coleman, London, England. Son Joseph Busby received a legacy of 20 pounds from his grandfather. He is mentioned as being of London with a guardian John Ffardell, in 1661. He is likely the Joseph Busby, baptized 30 November 1646, St. Luke Chelsea, London, England.
5. John, baptized 12 January 1611/12; buried 23 September 1614
6. Susanna, baptized 5 December 1613; buried 24 September 1614
7. Catherine, baptized 6 August 1615; died after 27 November 1661; married William Savory, 20 October 1636, St. George Colegate, Norwich, Norfolk, England. This family remained in England.
8. John, baptized 9 February 1616/17; buried 10 April 1669, All Saints, Norwich, Norfolk, England; married Elizabeth Rodgers, 7 October 1643, All Saints Church.
9. Abraham, baptized 7 September 1618; died 1687, probably in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Abigail Compton, widow of Joseph Briscoe, 23 September 1659, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. This might be a second marriage for him, as he was 41 years old in 1659.
10. Sarah, baptized 12 December 1619, St Peter Parmentergate, Norwich, Norfolk, England; died 25 April 1695, Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts;  married John Grout, c1642, probably Watertown, Massachusetts.
11. Amy, baptized 22 April 1622; buried 1 September 1625, both at St. Peter Parmentergate, Norwich, Norfolk, England.
12. Livewell, baptized 31 January 1627/28, St. Peter Parmentergate; buried 2 August 1629, St. Clements, both churches in Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Will of Nicholas Busby, 1657
Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Case 165
Source: American Ancestors

In the name of God amen I Nicholas Busby being sicke in body but in pfect memory, Blessed be ye Lord therefor doe make this my Last Testament as hereafter followeth first of all I will and bequeath my soule into the mercyfull hands of Almightie God trusting & unfainedly beleeving to be saved by ye active & passive obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ & my Body to the earth to be buryed therein at the charge of my Executrix heereafter named. I doe appointe my three sonns that are here in New England, that is to say, my Sonne Abraham Busby, my sonne William Nickerson & my Sonne John Grout to gather vp all my debts mentioned in my debt bookes & to make there of a true accott, & to deliuer it as they shall receiue it vuto my Executrix heereafter named….Impris I doe make my Loving wife my whole Executrix of all my Estate, & to possesse this my dwelling house wherein I liue, dureing her life, and all my household Stuffe plate & money; & for my farme if she will consent therto that it be sold & she to receiue the price thereof & to add to it my stocke & to discharge the seurall Legacies…..the Remainder… be for her maintenance dureing her life…..Vnto John Busby, my Eldest Sonne, seaventy pounds more then that I sent him the Last yeare, wch was thirtie pounds, & this Seaventy pounds to be payd in such goods as are gathered in by the Brethren above said, within Seaven monthes after my decease…..Vnto Abraham Busby, my Sonne, sixtie pounds…..And after his Mothers decease, this my now dwelling house, with the garden & fruite trees scittuated & being in Boston…..Vuto Anne Nickerson, my daughter, the sume of fiftie pounds; (more then that I sent her the Last yeare)…..Vnto Sarah Grout, my youngest daughter, the some of Sixtie & five pounds; vnto my grand Child Joseph Busby, Sonne of my Sonne Nicholas Busby, deceased, the sume of Twenty pounds; vnto Sarah Grout, my grand child, tenn pounds; vnto my two Sonns John Busby & Abraham Busby, my printed bookes, in manner following; to John Busby, all my Phisicke bookes, as Glendall practice, Barrowes method, Dutch Phisicke & garden of health, Mr. Coggans treatis, and the Dialogue of Phisicke Surgery, with Plinnys Naturall Hystory. Vnto Abraham Busby, my bookes of Divinitie, vizt. Mr. Perkins, Mr Willet sinops and Comentary on the Romains, & mr Hieroms two bookes; as for the rest of my bookes of divinitie, or Hystory, my desire is that they may Loveingly & Brotherly devide them betweene except the three Bibles; first, the thicke Bible, I giue vnto Anne Nickerson. The Best Bible, to Sarah Grout, and the bible in my Hamper, to Katherin Savory. As for my Apparell, I giue vnto John Busby, my Sonne, my blacke Stuffe Cloake, & the remainder of my apparell I Leave to my wife to dispose of. As for my weaving tooles, as the two Loomes, the one, I giue to John Busby in case he come over to New England, or else to William Nickerson the same. And the other Loome & warpins & bobings & wheels & shetells & other Implemts thereto belonging I give vnto my Sonne Abraham Busby; And as for my household stuffe, plate & money, I leaue vnto my deare wife….I haue heereunto set my hand & seale, this five and Twentieth day of July, One thousand Sixe Hundred fifty and Seauen….”