The following is a THEORY about the parents of Ann(e) Allwood, who married the Reverend Peter Thacher (or Thatcher) circa 1614 in England. They were the parents of the Reverend Thomas Thatcher of Massachusetts.
The best estimate for the birth of Peter is March 1587. Based on the estimated birth of Peterís and Anneís son John in 1615, they were likely married in 1614. In order for Anne to be at least 18 when she was married, she was likely born in or before 1596. Therefore, an estimated range of dates for her birth is 1587 to 1596, with the middle of that ten-year range being the more likely.
Peter was the rector/vicar/curate at St. James in Milton Clevedon, Somersetshire, England before 1620 and until at least 1623. I believe he was likely there after finishing studies for the priesthood at Cambridge, in about 1612. If so, then it was while he was there that he would have met, courted and married Anne. Therefore, there are two possibilities for Anneís origins. First, she might have been from his hometown (Queen Camel, Somersetshire). Second, she might have been from somewhere close to Milton Clevedon. I have not found any evidence of an Allwood family in/near Queen Camel, so I believe the area around Milton Clevedon is more likely.
Near Milton Clevedon are Bruton, Shepton Mallet and Frome (formerly Frome Selwood in some records). Using the Latter Day Saints on-line database, I have identified three (or two?) possible couples who could be the parents of Anne Allwood.
The first couple is Thomas and Elizabeth (Cooke) Allwood, reportedly married in Frome in 1582. The second (or possibly the same?) couple is Thomas and Mrs. Allwood, who reportedly had a daughter Alice, baptized in Bruton in 1588. The third couple is John and Elizabeth (Browne) Allwood, reportedly married in Frome in 1595.
I have no evidence that would permit the exclusion of any one of these couples but there is circumstantial evidence which might permit a rank ordering of the couples by likelihood.
I believe that Reverend Peter had first cousins named Thomas and Clement, who lived in Bickerton and Marston Bigot respectively. Both villages are very close to Frome, where these two men were both baptized. Therefore, Peter might have been visiting cousins in Frome and might have been introduced to Anne Allwood there. If the third couple (John and Elizabeth (Browne) Allwood, married in 1595) even had a daughter Ann, she would have had to have been their firstborn, circa 1596, to even be 18 by marriage in 1614. If the first couple (Thomas and Elizabeth (Cooke) Allwood of Frome) even had a daughter Ann, she could have been born any time between their marriage in 1582 and the likely end of Elizabethís childbearing circa 1605. Therefore, if they had an Ann, she could be the right age to be the wife of Peter. Finally, the second couple (Thomas and Mrs. of Bruton, if they are not the same as couple # 1), having a daughter Alice in 1588, could also have had a daughter Ann born between 1587 and 1595.
Geographic clues might also be helpful. Bruton is certainly much closer to Milton Clevedon than Frome is, but Bruton was also a small, rural parish, whereas Frome was a growing village/town with more people (and, therefore, more marital prospects). Frome is only about 10 miles from Milton Clevedon, so the distance would not have prohibited a courtship and proposal.
Naming clues might also shed some light. Anne and Peter named their first son John and, when he died young, named a second son John. This might indicate that the name John was important to them. Peterís father was also a Peter, so this was not the source of any importance of the name John. Perhaps Anneís father was named John? Anne and Peter had other sons named Peter (for Peterís father or for Peter himself) and Thomas. Perhaps Anneís father was named Thomas (although the name Thomas was well-used in the Thatcher family, with one of Peterís uncles probably being a Thomas and with another of Peterís uncles naming a son Thomas)? Anne and Peter had daughters named Anne, Martha and Elizabeth. We do not yet know the name of Peterís mother, so one of these names could be hers. The daughter Anne could have been named for Anne herself or for her mother. The daughter Elizabeth could be for Elizabeth (Cooke) Allwood or for Elizabeth (Browne) Allwood if either one of them was the grandmother.
Returning to geography, there might be another clue. About 1623, Peter and Anne (and children) left Milton Clevedon and moved to Salisbury (in Wiltshire, England), where Peter served at St. Edmundís. In fact Anne died there circa 1634 and Peter remarried, to one Alice Batt, the daughter of Christopher Batt of Salisbury. Elizabeth Batt, Aliceís younger sister, married a Richard Allwood in Salisbury in 1639. I believe this might be the same Richard Allwood who had married Dorcas Verin in Salisbury in 1624 and he may have been a widower (he might have been substantially older than Elizabeth Batt because he died in 1644). If these Richards are one and the same, then he was likely born before 1604, and more probably during the 1590s. This would make him the correct age to be a brother or first cousin of Anne Allwood, and he might have moved to Salisbury as a single young man with them. There was also a Richard Allwood baptized in Bruton in 1576, but he is not likely the same man (the age being wrong, but who might have moved to nearby Shepton Mallet and fathered Phillip and John, baptized in 1609 and 1624 respectively).
One final point on geography bears mention, and that is the migration to New England. Peterís and Anneís sons Thomas and Peter both migrated, along with their uncle Anthony Thatcher and his family. Christopher Batt ďjuniorĒ, brother of Alice and Elizabeth Batt, also migrated. One William Carpenter, who had married a Mary Batt in Salisbury in 1605) also moved his family to Massachusetts. On the same ship that Anthony Thatcher took were Phillip and Joshua Verrin, brothers of Dorcas (Verrin) Allwood.
I believe that the most likely couple to be Anneís parents is Thomas and Elizabeth (Cooke) Allwood of Frome. If Anne was their daughter, then she named a child for each of them. I would suggest that further research on this couple (and on the Thomas Allwood, father of Alice in Bruton) might provide evidence to support or refute this theory. If anyone has any information that might solve this puzzle, or is researching the Peter and Anne (Allwood) Thatcher family and their antecedents, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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