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Re: William Fullwood, Roanoke Colony 1587
Posted by: Dave Fullwood Date: October 26, 2000 at 08:30:16
In Reply to: Re: William Fullwood, Roanoke Colony 1587 by Becky Austin of 211

Hi to Rett
and fellow Fullwood history researchers.
from Dave Fullwood in England

I have included below some information concerning William Fullwood who was associated with the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke, NC. Also included are some comments of my own.

Rett in his initial email to this site was asking about a possible link between William (as above in 1587) and the Fullwood’s who came later to NC. I am afraid I can’t give you a conclusive answer to this question but I have managed recently to acquire a few more pieces to a very intriguing jigsaw puzzle.

William as you know was listed as an Assistant Governor to John White’s expedition to Virginia in 1587. He was granted his own Coat of Arms for this expedition which indicates his importance to the project. According to the book (in 2nd Volume) the "Roanoke Voyages 1584-1590" published by the Hakluyt Society in 1955 and edited/written by David Beers Quinn of University College of Swansea, William …..DID NOT go on the voyage to Virginia.

Hakluyt, who wrote in the 16th century about John White’s and Walter Raleigh’s voyages, said William’s role was to stay in England and make sure the expedition had sufficient provisions for this journey. This role would require the skills of a merchant and I have discovered several references to a William FULLWOOD (merchant) throughout the 16th century and they may refer to the same individual.

One of these is an amount of money paid to William (merchant) on behalf of King Henry VIII in 1543 for purchasing various necessities for Ann of Cleeves. Ann was Henry VIII's 4th wife and by all accounts Henry disliked her intensely.

There are others where William together with a Richard Knevett is translating for a group of visiting Italians and couldn't be spared to translate for Spanish gentleman on the King's (Henry VIII) business. The Knevett reference could be significant because there are records of Knyvett's marrying into the Howard family (Duke of Norfolk) a catholic family.

I also found this reference: 1601, Jan 16 Edward Symes, ESQ of St. Sepulchre's, London, Widower, 50 & Ann FULLWOOD of same 50, widow of William FULLWOOD, of same, Merchant, deceased some 8 years; at St James Clerkenwell,London.

This means if William (merchant), the one associated with the Roanoke Voyage,
also did work for Henry VIII in 1543 he may have been 73 years old when he died in 1593. Perhaps William didn't go on the Roanoke voyage because of his age rather than his function.

From medieval times, London was the home of what were called "livery" companies or guilds for every trade and occupation within the city. The Merchant Taylors Company are one such organisation and there is a record in their papers of a William Fullwood admitted as a Freeman of the Company in 1556 by virtue of his servitude to Nicholas Fulijambe. In modern terms this may have been an award to William for his achievements, equivalent perhaps to receiving an honours degree from a University. William would have joined the Company as an indentured apprentice several years before at a typical age of 14 years.

Unfortunately, no one will ever know the full story of what happened on these voyages
throughout the 1580's because very few records of these trips were kept. England wanted to set up a colony in North America to stop Spain expanding its empire but also a base in Virginia would enable English ships to plunder the passing Spanish ships laden with Gold and Silver from central America. It was in Spain's interests therefore to find out as much as possible about English plans for colonisation and if possible to sabotage them sometimes through the use of English Catholic families.

If we assume for one moment the references above relating to the merchant William FULLWOOD, are all one of the same person, then it would be interesting to find out which branch of the family he came from in England. William could have been born in London or he could have arrived from an outlying English county such as Staffordshire, Derbyshire or Warwickshire where the main branches of the family reside at this time.

The name Fulijambe may provide a clue because Fulijambe is an old Derbyshire family. Through my research into Richard Fullwood who helped a Jesuit (Catholic) priest (Father John Gerard) to escape the Tower of London, I have discovered when he was captured in March 1594 and examined (interrogated) by Sir Edward Coke Solicitor General (who later prosecuted King Charles I),that he gave out false information and said he was from Weston in Warwickshire. There isn't a Weston in Warwickshire. He added that his parents names were Thomas and Alice and he had 3 brothers William, Anthony and John. His mothers maiden name being Allen. He also confirmed he worked at one time for a Mr Foliambe of Derbyshire.

Unfortunately, IGI records for Derbyshire are very sparse and no record has been found to confirm this information. However, I have details from a book called the "Halls of Derbyshire" where it refers to the Allen's and the Foliambe's.

Another related fact about Richard FULLWOOD from Fr. John Gerard's autobiography is that he is acquainted with Sir Thomas Knyvett (see above ref to Knevett) an English Catholic who is known to the Duke of Norfolk (Howard family) who was later beheaded for treason against Elizabeth I.

His brother, John FULLWOOD is a little more forthcoming during his examination because he says he is from Weston in Staffordshire (this contradicts Richard's testiment) and his mother's name is Alice. He confirms he has 5 brothers but does not name them.

Incidentally, whilst there is a Weston in Staffordshire, there is a Wheston in Derbyshire half way between the village of Middleton by Youlegrave (Sir George and Christopher Fulwood’s village) and Hope Parish on the boundary of Derbyshire and Yorkshire. NB: Christopher was referred to as a Papist. My web site has some details about Sir George and Christopher.

NB: There is a record of John Fullwood, age 33, on Sand Island in 1637, (a small island in the northern part of Chesapeake Bay), who was born in Hope Parish England. There is also an earlier ref in 1626. But he is not the right age to fit the testimony given by John FULLWOOD (above) in 1594 unless the age quoted (33) is incorrect.

I have a researcher working for me and they have found this reference which adds to the mystery:.
May 25 1588, Vol CCX Calendar of State Papers
The examinations of certain prisoners in the Tower, before Sir Owyn Hopton
and Richard Young, viz, Edward Dixon, Wm Bennett, an old priest, Jacob
Vandermaest, Humfrey FULLWOOD, Anthony Tutchener, Andre Van Metico a
Dutchman, suspected to be sent over to kill the Queen and Jerome Paine.

Humfrey is a first name which appears in Sir George Fullwood's Derbyshire family tree. He had an uncle of that name and he named a son Humfrey.

I find this period of English history fascinating. I hope you found this reply interesting. I am still continuing to look for references about William Fullwood mariner 1654 –1700 because I know how important this person is to your own family trees.

in Wolverhampton,
West Midlands (formerly in Staffordshire) UK
home page:

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