Richard Shaw of Pinfolds

Richard Shaw of Pinfolds is a significant but very hard member of the Shaw family of 16th century Dudley to pin down, as his life parallels that of his putative first cousin Richard Shaw of Netherton.

Unlike his cousin, this Richard Shaw did not leave a will that can be traced and this creates a number of difficulties. There are, however, some important clues to work with. In reviewing the parish registers of St Thomas and St Edmund between 1602 and 1633 there are clearly two Richard Shaws and two separate families with overlapping children being baptised even though the register rarely names the mother. It is possible, though, using the dates and the known children of Richard Shaw of Netherton to separate out the children of Richard Shaw of Pinfolds.

Firstly we need to go to the will of Thomas Shaw of 1583, who we suppose is the father of this Richard Shaw, who dies when his son is an infant. Thomas Shaw appears to marry Katherine Bate (alias Smyth) in All Saints Sedgley on 22 Jan 1577 and his will makes clear that he must be the brother of Richard Shawe (d 1616) the father of Richard Shaw of Netherton (d 1657). Thomas names his two young sons John Shaw and Richard Shaw who must have been born between 1578 and 1582. This makes Richard Shaw of Pinfolds probably a little younger than his first cousin. In the 1592 will of Richard’s grandfather Robert Smyth of Wombourne, a named executor of Thomas Shaw’s 1583 will, he gives Richard Shaw £30. It would appear that Richard’s mother Katherine remarried a John Hickmans by 1592. Richard’s brother John is also mentioned but gets one sheep only. It is not clear who was looking after these two young sons but their other grandfather Richard Shaw would still have been alive in 1592. It is a presumption of this analysis they were brought up in Dudley, rather than Wombourne.

The dates therefore seem to tie him to the marriage on 3 Oct 1613 of Richard Shaw with Isabel Payton in St Edmunds Dudley. Isabel was probably born as early as 1587 and was the daughter of John Payton a significant family in Dudley at the time. Her and Richard’s children would appear to be the following, all from the St Edmund’s register – Ann (bap 31 Aug 1617), John (19 May 1622), Katherine (bap 22 Aug 1624), Richard (bap 23 Sep 1627, bur 15 Jun 1635), Thomas (bap 1 Nov 1630), Isabel (bap 16 Apr 1633) and Mary (bap 29 Oct 1636)

Isabel Shaw is mentioned in her father John Payton’s will of 1642 and Richard Shaw of Pinfolds is mentioned in the will of her half brother, another John Payton the younger in 1651.

This gives us the date of death for Isabel between 1642 and 1651 and the death of Richard himself in the mid 1650’s, a period when many Dudley wills of the Interregnum seem to be missing.

The Paytons, notably descendants of Isabel’s younger brother Henry (1608-1672) were to become Quakers and founding members of the the Dudley Society of Friends. Indeed the second entry in the Dudley Quaker register is the marriage of Henry’s son on 7 Jun 1663. There is no evidence to suggest what Richard’s views on religion in the these tumultuous times might have been.

Finally,  the 1628 will of his uncle John Shaw is significant and requires close reading. Importantly John Shaw distinguishes between his two kinsmen (ie nephews in this instance) that is to say, Richard Shaw of Netherton and Richard Shaw of Dudley (sic). I have used ‘of Pinfolds’ rather than ‘of Dudley’ in the title of this piece as it is the description used in his brother-in-law’s will and is less confusing. John Shaw, not having any children himself, names Thomas the oldest son of his brother Richard and Richard the oldest son of his brother Thomas as his overseers. This perhaps lends weight to the theory that Richard was brought up by other Shaws rather than members of his mother Katherine’s family.

The St Edmund’s Parish register always talks of Richard Shaw of Netherton, in full, when he is acting as Churchwarden. This makes it clear they do not mean Richard Shaw of Pinfolds.

The best estimate at present is that Richard Shaw of Sedgley is the grandson of Richard Shaw of Pinfolds, probably through his son Thomas. This is because of the repeated Sedgley connections and the lack of obvious connections with the descendants of the other Richard Shaw. These separate Shaw branches would thus be reunited in 1756 when Thomas Shaw married Mary Shaw.


  • Transcripts of St Thomas and St Edmunds Dudley Parish Register, BMSGH
  • Will of John Payton Yeoman of Dudley, Probate Nov 1655, PCC (Father in Law)
  • Will of John Payton Yeoman of Dudley, Probate 15 May 1651, PCC (Brother-in-Law)
  • Will of Thomas Shaw, Probate 21 Jun 1583, Worcester Archives (Father)
  • Will of John Shaw of Netherton, Probate 16 Aug 1628, Worcester Archives (Uncle)
  • Will of Robert Smythe of Wombourne, Probate 9 Apr 1593, Lichfield Record Office (Grandfather)
  • Old Non Parochial Registers of Dudley, ed Arthur A Rollason, 1899