- (poss.) John Pope (d. aft. 1498) m. ____; Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
- John Pope (d. 1550) m. Emma ____ (d. bef. 1569); Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
- Thomas Pope (d. 1602) m. (1) Margaret ____ (d. bef. 1584); Taunton, Somerset, Eng.
- 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 editors summary at 71 errs on some of the critical details.
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 (Johannas father) were all charged with lands
they had each received by grants from
John Pope his father in 154950, in some cases subject to the condition that the elder Johns 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:
- 1498-99 Taunton Borough 2s from John Pope for the ditch of the borough of Taunton and for the watercourse from the hedge of John Portmans garden running to the gate of the vicar of Taunton, late of Richard Beancombe. (p. 62, from DD/SP 325/61)
- 29 Sep 1581 Taunton Borough Robert Pope for pasture of the ditch of Taunton from the garden hedge of Henry Portman knight deceased to the gate of the vicar of Taunton, formerly of William Scorriar, containing in lengeth 16 feet, and a certain parcel of land of the lords waste, part of the ditch of the vill of Taunton aforesaid as far as the water runs there 24 feet, and in length 54 feet, late of William Scorriar, by grant of John Attlane Refers 4 Elizabeth I (1561-2), fine 10s (p. 65, from DD/SP 88)
- 8 Sep 1597 Taunton Borough Lewis Pope for pasture of the ditch of Taunton from the hedge of the garden late of Henry Portman knight to the gate of the vicar of Taunton, late of William Scorriar, containing in length 16 feet and a certain parcel of land of the lords waste, parcel of the ditch of the vill of Taunton, containing in breadth from the boundary of the lane of Taunton as far as the water that runs there 24 feet and in length 54 feet, late of John Attlane, by grant of Robert Pope, his brother, on condition that Grace, now wife of the said Lewis Pope, hold the same for life if she survive the said Lewis. Refers 24 Eliz I (1581-2), fine 10s (p. 66, from DD/SP 89)
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 Roberts 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 Popes 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 Bushs 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.
Austin W. Spencer | email: firstname.lastname@example.org