Transatlantic Shermans

Henry4 Sherman(#) is the first of the Suffolk co. Shermans of the armigerous Yaxley ancestry to settle in Dedham, Essex co. He came here in 1534, by his own statement, at the age of about 23 years. He and his wife Agnes are the ancestors of thousands, some still in England, some who have returned to England, and the greater number in America,

With every family there is a point of departure in its research for ancestry: the Last-known affiliation of a generation with its predecessor. In the case of our American Sherman family which descends with a genealogical table documented by many primary sources, Henry(4) Sherman is our point of departure into the past. We have firm points about him (New Light; on Henry(4) Sherman....by this compiler, op.cit.) which will some day serve to connect him with his father, grandfather and great-grandfather Suffolk.

With this in mind we designate him Henry4, as he has been considered In all other earlier genealogies. Since he was of the age usual for a young man to be at the end of his apprenticeship, it is probable that he knew of a good opportunity to start his own business here. He may have had an initial gift of capital from his father, or have inherited the usual f20 or f40 "when he cometh out of his 'prenticehood' " sum. The amounts seem paltry to us but f40 in 1534 could buy a fair mansion.

Dedham was a prosperous clothing village where interest in Puritanism attracted and kept Lecturers of as keen Intellect as anywhere in England.

This was at a time when there was no snobbishness toward money "from trade". Noblemen and other upper-class families were eager to place some of their sons as apprentices to rich merchants - the Lowest rung on the Ladder to wealth. There was pride in membership in the Guilds which had the economic power in the Land. Each craft was termed a "mystery" with guarded secrets. They early, wisely, had a religious side to avoid the suspicion of being a dangerous association. These Fraternities were once known as Aldermen, in the Saxon meaning.

There was rank and Livery. All men of these years wore clothes distinctive of their status. The "masters" were the highest in a Guild (remember that Southfields is often miscalled "The "Master Weaver's House"). The Halls were sometimes formerly noblemen's houses, as the former mansion of the Earl of Essex was the home of the Draper's Company in London.

Through charters from the Crown, the Guilds acquired legal power over their trades, comparable and in many areas greater than today's unions, as they had monopolies in regard to selling as well as producing.

For their charters they paid fees to the monarch, who when he needed money would extort more money. The Lord Mayor was selected from the Companies and a great show was put on for Coronations, with elaborate allegorical pageants, some 22 feet high, drawn by nine horses.

The Companies were the money-men supplying venture capital: for sea route searches, Icelandic voyages, New-world plantations (Later, the Ulster plantation too.) The Guildhall in London was the scene of great banquets - still a highlight of the City, at which the monarch was a jovial guest.

Those Shermans who were called "Citizen and Merchant of London" were the equivalent of today's presidents of large companies or had a seat on the Exchange.

Concern for his children's security was a matter of lifelong concern to a father. We have seen that Thomas3 Sherman spent his life adding as much as possible to the manors and riches he had inherited, so that his nine sons would not feel and want. As the only surviving son, he himself had received a large portion from his father, sharing slightly with a sister. Some of his sons received a legal education, others were apprenticed and provided with cash for going into business to make their own fortunes.

Henry Sherman became a leading clothier and was able to set up his sons Henry(5), and Edmund(5) in their own businesses. His son Robert(5) he sent to the university. His daughters married well-to-do men. Henry's descent included a number of ministers: the Rev. John(7) of New England; John(7) of Norwich, Norf. Arch deacon John(7) of London, John(7) of Bradwell, Juxta Mare, Essex; Samuel(7) of Alderton, Suff.; Edmund(7) of Ipswich.

Of those who remained in England, Bezaliel(7) Sherman is the ancestor of Mary Vincent who married Neil, third Earl of Roseberry (Archlbald Primrose of Dalmeny, Scotland, the first Earl).The fifth Earl's mother was a grandniece or Wm. Pitt. Also a peer of the U.K. (Baron Roseberry), he, Archibald Philip Primrose, In 1878 married, Hannah, only child of Baron Meger Amschel de RothschiLd, of Mentmore Bucks.

Returning to England also was Philip(7)'s descendant, Mildred Sherman (dau. of Wm. Watts Shernan of Newport, R.I., one of Mrs. Astor's "400") as wife or Lord Camoys.

Married to Sir Ronald Lindsey were first, Martha(15) Camron, then Elizabeth B. Sherman Hoyt, cousins of Gen. Wm. Tecumseh Sherman, and descendants of Hon, Samuell(7) Sherman, emigrant.


The relationship of the Dedham Shermans to those of Yaxley is that of cousinship, the exact degree is not known at present. Yaxley (name means cuckoo clearing) while ancient has never been anything but tiny so that all the Shermans there of old are doubtless or the same family.

It is probable that the ones staying In Yaxley descend from the eldest son of each generation going back to the late 1300s or early l4OOs. It is therefore probable that the original coat of arms was the one still used by Yaxley in the 18OOs with those who left there bearing the variation, as argent for or and the holly leaves for the oak leaves. Thus we find the Ottery St.Marg family recorded argent as were the Dedham family, In later years more of the Shermans used the original gold color and the oak leaves, as they chose. This has come to be regarded as the usual coat since this version is the one the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic General. Soc. in informal cooperation with the College or Arms entered in A Roll of Arms, Part 3, text, p. 1O, cut of arms #216.

The emigrant Shermans descended from the armigerous Henry of Dedham, with Yaxley root are entitled to bear these arms as are their descendants:

"Sherman, Edmond of Wethersfield, 1635 and New Haven, CT., his brother Richard of Boston, Mass. and their sister Mary Bacon; also Samuel of Boston, MA., and his brother Philip of Roxbury, MA . and Portsmouth, RI., as well as their first cousin Capt. John of Watertown, these three being first cousins once removed to the first-named Edmond, Richard and Mary."

Looking at the names of Henry's children for a clue to his parentage we find Alice(5) (a Butter or "Butler?" name), Judith(5), Henry(5), Edmund(5), John(5) and Robert(5).

Perhaps we might search first among the early Shermans (ante) those with these names.

There is Henry of Y, son of John (1349-56, son of John; Henry, formerly John's husband (1395); Sir (Rev) Henry who died. by 1528; the Rev. Master Henry, died before 1525); Robert, son or John of Y (1466); the Robert, son or John and Margaret, or the other Robert named in the will of this John (1465); Henry or Lavenham (an old man, in 1567 perhaps ?); Henry of Bury St. Edmund's 1524 tax. (His father?) Thomas(1) grandfather of Thomas(3) could have had a brother, a possible great-grandfather of Henry of Dedham.

How astonished Henry(4) Sherman would have been if he could have known that the short walk he took from his home to the Manor Court on October Ilth 1574 would be of interest to his descendants in 1967.

This was not an ordinary stroll, for Henry was on his way to give testimony in a dispute about land between Sir Thomas Seckford, Lord of the Manor of Overhall and Netherhall, and Forth,

In preparation for this suit, maps were made in I573, of which the Steward's sketch Map of Dedham Lands,- c 1500 ,A.D, [Date is in error, states Dep. keeper of the records]. It Is not drawn to scale but is important to us as it shows a small parcel held by Henry. The manors had been granted to Seckford. in 1562 by Queen, Elizabeth in appreciation of his dedication to her maps of England which he had caused to be made at his expense. Seckford had large Suffolk holdings, within less than ten miles from Ipswich. There was a Hall at Gr. Bealings and at Martlesham. The Woodbridge School was founded by him. His Shire Hall was of Flemish design with an opening so that carts could be driven through. He also owned Woodbridge Abbey. He was a lawyer and M.P.for Ipswlch In the days of Queen Elizabeth.

It Is possible that Henry Sherman may have known Sir Thomas before the latter held Dedham lands. At any rate the only suit we have found in regards to Henry has been in regard to Webbe of Woodbridge.

The most notable fact about Woodbridge today is the fact that the head of Oliver Cromwell is in the possession of Canon Horace Wilkinson here. (A. Mee, Suffolk op., cit., pg.433)


The Deposition (see photostat and translation) is an " official paper In the possession of the British government. So we have a primary source for the facts of Henry's statement: of age 62 or thereabouts in 1574 and that he had lived in Dedham for 40 years.

In this light when we reexamine old conjectures that he was son of Thomas(3) we find that what were discrepancies hard to explain away, are no longer possible to consider at all.

In 1551, time of Thomas(3)'s will, Henry was 40 years old; he had lived in Dedham from the age of 23 In 1534. His grandchildren were listed in baptisms (Parish Register of St. Mary's as printed in Reg., v. 5O, pg .414-417, op cit) as early as 1560.

The Henry(4) Sherman, son of Thomas(3) Sherman, was still an apprentice at the time of his fathers will in 1551, so was probably under 21. He had a son Thomas(4) of Diss, in 1587 (see will or Richard(4), Thomas(3). to nepthew. ante,p 47). Henry of Dedham has no son Thomas, of Diss, Norfolk.

Deposition of Henry Sharman of Dedham of Dedham, in the case or Seckford v. Forth, taken at Dedham, Ilth October, 16 Ellzabeth [1574]

Henry Sharman of the aige of lxij yeres or there about sworen & examined, to the First Interrogatory sayth that he knoweth the manor of Dedham, for that he hath Dwelt In Dedham by the space of xl. yeres. To the Second, third, 4th and 5th Interrogatories he can saye nothinge. To the vith, he sayth that he never knewe or herde that any Do hold any landes or tenements of the said Manor or Dedham, otherwyse than by copie of court roll, and not freely according to the course of the common Lawe. To the vijth that he kroweth lands and tenements in Dedham called Jopes. To the viijth, that the said lands called Jope.s Lyeth on the sowth parte of Kynes highway leading from Dedham to Maningtree, And are in the tenure of the said Defendant or of his assignes, but howe many acres they Do conteyne he knoweth not. . To the jxth, that he hath herds yt commonly reported, that the said Landes called Jopes are holden of the Manor of Netherhall in the said Interrogatory mencyoned, but by what rent or service he knowcth not. To the xth and xjth he can saye nothinge. To the xijth, that all copie holders of the said Manor of Dedham have used to be emersed for not Doing their suyte to Court, or ells to gyve a fyne for respect of suyte to court, And this he knoweth to be true for that this examinat is and hath byn a copie holder of the said Manor by the space or these xxtie yeres. To the xiijth [blank] To the xjvth, that he knoweth that the Defendant and his Auncstors have alwayes paid a yerely rent to the Lord of the said Manor of Dedham, but how much the same rent is, and whether the same be paid for copie holde lands yea or no, this examinat knoweth not.

(Public Record Office, D.DL. 4/16/18.)

[Transcription by Mrs. S. M. Campbell. 64 Waldegrave Park, Twickenham, Mlddlesex, England . 14 June 1952, for New Light on Henry Sherman...by B. L. Stratton, 1954.]

Shearman/Sherman descendancy per a chart of "Arthur Sherman Meloy Map" fround in the Freehold Historical Association under the "Brinley Collection" in file drawers.

His chart shows:  

Thomas Sherman Essex, England John(2) Sherman & wife Agnes Yaxley, England Thomas(3) " Walker England Henry(4) " Agnes England Henry " Susan England Samuel " Phillipa Hon. Philip " Sarah Peleg " Elizabeth Benjamin " Hannah Thomas " Phebe NJ Oliver " Abigail NJ Thomas B:1760 " Catharine Howell NJ. (Hank's addition)

(#) A question has been pointed out by John H. Sherman from California that Henry(4) Sherman is not the son of Thomas(3). Letter is copy from Transatlantic Shermans, by Bertha L Stratton, 1969 which covers this question. Meanwhile I am checking into this problem. Examining notes of Charles Polmaroy Sherman in an attempt to clear this up.
*Copy sent to me by John H. Sherman. Pacific Grove California. 1/20/95

[Go to top of page!]
[Return to Sherman's Genealogy Page!]

This page URL=http://hankk2kab.net/Henry4.html

Last revision, Monday, September 30, 2013