Nicholas Hathaway

The earliest Hathaway in America was Nicholas Hathaway. He first appears here in early 1638 when he lived in Braintree, Mass., where his name was used in deed descriptions for property adjoining his property. He was born in England about 1595 and his death record has never been found. Some think that he may have returned to England before his death, others maintain that he died here. His name did not appear on a list of men in Plymouth Colony in 1643 that was taken to show men capable of bearing arms, so he may have died before that date or was out of the area at that time.

The Hathaway Family Association (HFA) has spent much effort in an attempt to identify this Nicholas Hathaway and to connect him to the English family of Hathaway. For the serious researcher who wants all of the details, I would recommend the purchase of the two Hathaway volumes described on the web page under "genealogy resources". All of the details of the research are described in these two books. I will attempt to summarize here the pertinent information that connects Nicholas to the early English ancestors described in the articles on early Hathaway's in the forest of Dean and St. Briavel's castle.

One of the traditions of some branches of the family has been that Nicholas was descended from the family that at one time in the 13th and 14th century lived in the castle at St. Briavel's in the forest of Rewardin or Ruardin. Part of this tradition is supported by a coat of arms that is flying on the top of the castle to this day. A copy of this Coat of Arms was obtained from England by an early Hathaway researcher in the 19th century. As of now there is no registered coat of arms for the Hathaway family that lived in Ruardin, but this coat of arms was registered to a Hathaway family at some point as it is in Burkes General Armory. There were other Hathaway families in England in the 1400's and early 1500's and to this point no connection for certain has been made back to the Ruardin family except by this coat of arms and some logical conclusions that we shall summarize here from the Hathaway Book.

This is the coat of arms and it is described thus:

"Sable, A bugle horn garnished and rimmed stringed argent" which means a white bugle on a black shield.

Note that we do not present this coat of arms here to lay claim to it, but only to use it as evidence of a connection between the Hathaways of Ruardin who seem to have died out in 1376 and our Nicholas who was born in 1595, a gap of over 200 years. It is a slim connection at best.

It should also be noted that the forest of Ruardin and Castle of St. Briavels is located on the West Side of the River Severn. The family that we shall follow lived in Kingscote, Gloucester, which is east of the Severn and slightly south, but not very far away.

The HFA hired a researcher in 1960 and 61 to look for evidence in England that would further the family of Nicholas. While there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence and much of it is very logical, there is no written proof of the rest of the Hathaway connection that we will present here. The person hired was a Mr. Firth and he searched Wills, Transcripts, and town records and made a quite thorough search of the data in Gloucester and the parish of Kingscote. When the search was completed, only two wills appeared to have a connection. Fortunately, the name Nicholas, for whatever reason, was fairly rare in the Hathaway family. This was the only will that mentioned a Nicholas and as we will see it has very strong logical connection to our Nicholas.

The will was of one Margaret Hathaway of Kingscote, dated 2 November 1630. It reads thus: (verbatim)

" In ye name of God Amen. I Margaret Hathaway beinge very weake & sicke in bodye but of pfect memory thanks be to God doe here make my last will & testament as it followeth. First I commend my soule into ye hands of my merciful lorde & heavenly father assuredly trustinge to bee saved by ye only maritte of my blessed redeemer the lorde Jesus & my body to ye earth from whence it came disposinge of worldly goods & substance in this manner."

"I give unto my sonne Matthew Hathway my cart & my plough harnesse, my cesterne & my maltmill, also a cheese wringe an axe an Iron Barre my beste ploughe stringe & my dray bridler."

"I give to Daniell Hathway sonne of ye said Matthew one lambe"

" It to my sonne Thomas Hathway of Chippen Sodbury one sheepe wch hee hath allready in his keeping & a tennon sawe."

"It I bequeath unto Margrett Hathway wife of ye sayde Thomas my best gowne and hatte."

" It I give to Thomas sonne of ye sayde Thomas Hathway one lambe."

"It to William Corbett of ye prsh of Yeate a plough stringe."

"It to Mary Corbett wife of ye sayde William my best petticoate & a little coffer standinge under the window in the ulter chamber."

"It to John Corbett sonne of ye sayde William a lambe if he live to full age."

" It I give to Agnis Sanniger widow of Riddlsett in ye prsh of Barkley my second gowne"

"It to my sonne Nicholas Hathway of London five shillings"

"It to my son Abraham Hathway of London a piece of Medyle of five yardes or five yardes or thereabouts & twenty shillings in money"

"It I give unto my sonne Anthony Hathway twenty Shillings"


She uses the remaining paragraph to close the will by appointing her daughter Sarah and son Matthew as executors and lists debts owed to her son Nicholas (five pounds) and a Francis Alborne of Iron Acton (five shillings).

The will was proved at Gloucester on January 8, 1630.

Surely this must be the mother of our Nicholas Hathway. He has a brother named Abraham and one named Matthew, which will be more important in a moment. It appears that this Nicholas left Kingscote and removed to London, where he left for the America some years later.

Who then could be the father of our Nicholas? There is one other will that has only an extraction, but it is of a Thomas Hathway of Kingscote and it was from July 10, 1610 and it names his relict as Margaret Hathway and his son Matthew as Bondsman. When this will is coupled with a list entitled "Smythe's Men and Armour for Gloucestershire" it gives reasonable proof that this family is related. The list contains Thomas Hathway and sons Matthew and Gyles and was made in 1608 to number the men capable of bearing arms in the shire. Nicholas would have been 13 years old at the time, so was not listed. Gyles appears to have died before 1630 as he is not mentioned in the mother's will but he is mentioned in the parish records as "son of Margaret". This was in relation to his death which occurred on May 30 with no year given.

One other fact ties our Nicholas to Kingscote and London and to Margaret and Thomas and that is a baptismal record in Kingscote on November 25th 1621 for Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Hathway. He also had a daughter baptized in St. Savior's Parish, London on February 29, 1623.

A possible list of the children of Thomas and Margaret was constructed from wills, baptismal and marriage records that are admittedly incomplete but give a good picture.

  1. Sarah b. ca 1584. She was named in her mother's will as executor
  2. Matthew b ca 1586. He was mentioned in both wills and was listed in the Smyth's list.
  3. Gyles b ca 1587. Mentioned in the list and in fathers will and died before 1630
  4. Thomas b ca 1590. Mentioned in mother's will as living in Chipping Sodbury.
  5. Nicholas b. ca 1595. Mentioned in his mother's will. Living in London in 1630
  6. Elizabeth b. ca 1597 and died 1624
  7. Mary b. ca 1599 married to William Corbett, mentioned in mothers will.
  8. Agnis b. ca 1601 Mentioned in mother's will as Agnis Sanniger
  9. Abraham b. ca 1603. Mentioned in Mother's will, living in London in 1630
  10. Anthony b. ca 1605 Mentioned in Mother's Will.

A brief summary of other information that might point to the parentage of this Thomas Hathway exists from the work done for the HFA in and near Kingscote.

There is a will of a Thomas Hathway who died in 1588 that mentions a son named Thomas. This may be the grandfather of our Nicholas.

There is a will of a Robert Hathway that mentions a son Thomas and a wife Catherine. This will is from 1545 and is possibly the great grandfather of our Nicholas.

So all of this information is unproven but logical and seems to connect. For more details and further interesting reading, please see the Hathaway volumes.

The short biography entitled "Hathaways 1200 - 1600" which is contained in the second volume is similar to the information presented on this page by Clyde Hathaway and provides further insight on the early Hathaway family, detailing the 12 generations of Hathaway from 1066 to mid 1300's.

For those of you with a need to travel it is possible to stay in the castle at St. Briavels. It is now part of an organization of youth Hostels and the cost to stay there is very reasonable. You can find it on the Web and make your reservations on line.

The Pipes family Home Page   06/04/99