27073. Pope


  1. (poss.) John Pope (d. aft. 1498) m. ____; Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
  2. John Pope (d. 1550) m. Emma ____ (d. bef. 1569); Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
  3. Thomas Pope (d. 1602) m. (1) Margaret ____ (d. bef. 1584); Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
  4. Johanna Pope (1560?–1629) m. ca. 1585 Thomas Whitcomb (d. 1619); Taunton, Somerset, Eng.


Much useful information about this family was located by Robin Bush and reported in Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John, 1630, vol. 26 (Toledo, Ohio: Burton W. Spear, 1997), 61-73, but it calls for careful analysis, and the editor’s summary at 71 errs on some of the critical details.

Related surnames

423. Whitcomb


In his 1997 report on the maternal ancestors of John Whitcomb, Robin Bush included a complete list of parish register extracts bearing the Pope surname (pp. 71-3) and selections from the rolls of the feudal manor that administered land holdings within the same territory. These records showed that Lewis Pope, John Pope, and Thomas Pope (Johanna’s father) were all charged with lands they had each received by grants from John Pope his father in 1549–50, in some cases subject to the condition that the elder John’s widow Emma hold it during her lifetime (p. 63, from DD/SP 325/107). These entries corroborated the will of John Pope, merchant of Taunton, which named his widow and three sons as his heirs (p. 68, from DD/X/SR 5, p. 32).

John had obtained most of this property by grants from Nicholas Tose and was first charged for these lands in 1548/9 (p. 63, from DD/SP 325/196). In 1539/40, he had been charged 8s 8d for 1 cottage with curtilage in the tithing of Extraportam (without the gate), late of John Danyell (p. 63, from DD/SP 325/97); in 1549/50 this land was charged to his son John. The 1539/40 assessment is the earliest record that can be positively assigned to the testator of 1549.

Another property belonging to this family is documented only sporadically in Taunton manor, and although the testator of 1549 appears not to have been charged with it, it nevertheless was charged to the heirs of his son Lewis:

This Lewis Pope of Taunton, gentleman, died testate in 1623, and his will names his daughter Johane as his principal heiress (p. 67, from Frederick Brown, ed., Somerset Wills, 2:22; PCC 126 Swann). In September 1623 Johane also was reportedly charged with the same land (p. 67, citation omitted).

Robert, who held the ditch of the manor from 1581 until he granted it to his brother Lewis by 1597, was the son and heir of Lewis Pope, who was the testator of 1557 (p. 71, citation omitted; p. 63, from DD/SP 85), and the second son of John, testator of 1549. It stands to reason that the ditch had come into Robert’s possession by inheritance from his father and grandfather, even though neither had been charged assessments upon it. On these grounds, the John Pope who had held it of the manor in 1498/9 is the likeliest candidate for the father of John Pope, testator of 1549.

There is reason to believe that there were two other men of this name who lived somewhat later in Taunton. In 1512/3, one John Pope entered accounts for lands held in marriage with Katerina, late wife of Ralph Herny (p. 62, from DD/SP 325/74); she reappeared as John Pope’s late wife in 1528/9 (p. 63, from DD/SP 325/88). On the other hand, the late husband of the widow Elena Pope in 1508/9 is not named (p. 62, from DD/SP 325/71), but among the lands that she had granted to her son Robert by 1526/7 is 1 dayne of bondland called le Strenge in Holway hundred (p. 62, from DD/SP 325/86). It thus appears to be another John Pope who was charged with 1 acre land of overland in la Strenge in the same hundred in 1506/7, among other lands (p. 62, from DD/SP 325/69). Unfortunately, the testator of 1549 has not been positively identified as a successor in interest of either Katerina or Elena; and thus it has not been ascertained whether either woman was the wife of the man who held the ditch in 1498/9.

Bush also does not show which lands were held by grants of men of the Pope family, except when the grantees were named Pope or Whitcomb. This renders it difficult to establish when the various men named John, Lewis, Thomas, and Robert Pope surrendered the use of land for reasons other than inheritance. If they provided marriage portions for women other than Johanna, or granted the ditch to John Attlane after 1498 instead of receiving it from him before then, one could not tell from Bush’s report. His research allows for a more detailed reconstruction of the Pope family of Taunton manor than any prior publication, but there is still potential for future discoveries in the records that he cites, as well as those yet to be consulted.

Created 11 December 2013; last updated 16 December 2013.
Austin W. Spencer | email: spencer@rootedancestry.com