Humphrey Coleborne

Humphrey Coleborne, yeoman of Rowley Regis, left a will Probate 15 Sep 1660. It is clear though that his interests and roots came firmly from the nearby town of Dudley, also at the time in Worcestershire. 

His widow is Margery Shaw but there is no date found for the marriage. Richard Shaw in his will of 1657 mentions his daughter Margery, wife of Humpfrey Colbourne (sic) leaving her a notional twelve pence. We know that Margery Shaw belonged to the Shawe family of Dudley and was the sister of Oliver Shaw (1618-1693) and was baptised in St Edmund’s Dudley on 21 May 1614. There is a marriage recorded on 3 Jul 1626 in St Giles Rowley Regis of Humphrey Coleborne and Eleanor Turton and this is pretty certainly a first wife. She is the daughter of John Turton, a wealthy yeoman in Rowley Regis. It is on the basis of the wills of his two fathers-in-law that we can surmise that the marriage of Humphrey Coleborne and Margery Shaw took place in about 1647. Humphrey would therefore have to be born around 1600 – within a date span when there is a twenty year gap in the Rowley parish register

In his own will, Humphrey mentions the deceased Thomas Shawe (presumably his second wife’s brother) and their son Thomas Shawe, as he had purchased some land from him and which he then leaves back to his widow, Margery.

Humphrey’s will also mentions Thomas and Ann Turton, who we can presume are the brother and sister-in-law of his first wife

From the Rowley Regis parish registers we can identify four of the children that match with the will. His eldest son was John (bap 13 Oct 1629) and younger son Humphrey. His married daughters are Eleanor (bap 28 Sep 1628) and Mary. And three younger unmarried daughters, Margery, Hannah (bap Mar 1651) and Judith (bap 14 May 1655).

The Colebornes of Dudley are a significant burgher family in sixteenth century Dudley. A James Colborne was listed as one of the richest citizens paying 5 shillings Poll tax on the dissolution of St James Priory in Dudley in the 1530’s. Richard Shaw’s own great grandmother was a Clare Coleborne. Unfortunately the Dudley Parish registers do not allow us to bridge these gaps but there can be little doubt that Humphrey inherited both the names and some wealth from these forebears.

A document of the Sutton family dated 1521 held at the Norfolk Record Office seems to imply that James Colborne was a servant of Sir Edward Sutton and this perhaps explains his preferment to partake in the division of land in the following decade caused by the dissolution of St James Priory, all part of Henry VIII’s policy of Dissolution of the Monasteries. The same document mentions Richard Jones, another servant to the Sutton family who we can presume is the husband of Clare Coleborne, the parents of Katherine Jones (the wife of Richard Shawe) and also Elizabeth Jones (the wife of Richard Bendy and hence the ancestor of William Bendy). The root of all these burghers’ wealth is thus all tied up with their service to the Sutton family and their preferment with ex-monastic lands.

The two overseers of Humphrey’s will are named as his two sons-in-law William Bach and Richard Martin. William Bach who married Humphrey’s daughter Eleanor (m 26 Apr 1659, St Thomas, Dudley) would appear to be the father-in-law of Edmund Darby (1670-1746). Richard Martin (alias Jones) married the daughter Mary on 26 May 1651, St Giles Rowley Regis.

Humphrey’s oldest son and heir John Coleborne would appear to marry Margaret Parkes  in St Giles Rowley Regis on 26 May 1659 a few months before Humphrey’s death. This couple are the parents of the Mary Coleborne (bap 1665) who marries Adam Read of Dudley in 1684. His only other surviving son was Humphrey, married to a Susanna, who died in 1715.

Humphrey Coleborne was buried in St Giles Rowley Regis on 3 Dec 1659. His second wife Margery died some time after 1670.

Humphrey Coleborne was the closest common ancestor of both William Noel Downing and Molly Evans, who married on 20 Jul 1919. On this calculation the couple were sixth cousins once removed.


Selected Sources

  • Will of Humphrey Coleborne, yeoman of Rowley Regis, Probate 15 Sep 1660, National Archives PCC
  • Will of Richard Shawe, yeoman of Netherton, Probate 17 Nov 1657, National Archives PCC
  • Will of John Turton, yeoman of Rowley Regis, Probate 7 May 1635, National Archive PCC
  • Will of John Coleborne, Probate 22 Feb 1695, Worcester Archives (Son)
  • Edward Chitham: Story of Dudley
  • Visitation of Staffordshire, 1663 Dugdale (explains the marriages of the two Daughters of Richard Jones and Clare Coleborne and that she is the daughter of Cornelius Coleborne)
  • GIL/1/402-404, 717 x 6 – Norfolk Record Office, cit National Archives  Appointment by Edward Sutton knight, lord of Dudley, of William Lynde his servant and John Hill to receive seisin from Thomas Hayles and Richard Southall of a burgage in the parish of St. Thomas Martyr of Dudley, 13 selions in Pecokes feld, and a horsemill in Dudley, 17th Jan. 1515; grant of same by Sutton to Richard Jonys his servant 1st Nov. 1521; appointment by Sutton of James Colbourne his servant and Ralph Tolke to deliver seisin in same, 1st Nov. 1521. Signed by Sutton
  • Burkes Landed Gentry, 1838: Under an entry for the Gaunt family of Highfield, co Stafford, lists the pedigree of a the Colborne or Colbrond family of Tipton and Rowley Regis. This goes back to William Colborne (d 1505) who is married to a Maud Sheldon. It notes that he had several children and would be a good father to James Colbourne and other Dudley lines, whose names appear in sixteenth century documents held in the Dudley Archives. Claire Sheldon is noted as the sister of Maud. Under this reasoning the Colbrands are armigers and the original seat of the family would be Colbrand Hall, near Tipton.