This paper is part of a research project I have undertaken in an attempt to find the ancestors of my great-great-great grandfather Philip Newell of Bareneed, Newfoundland. Lyme Regis, Dorset and Uplyme (only 2 km away but in Devon) were the home of a Newall / Newell family that I have been researching for almost five decades. There is no direct evidence that my ancestors came from this area but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to justify continuing my research.
The publication The History and Antiquities of the Borough of Lyme Regis and Charmouth by George Roberts published in 1834 provides the following summary of the Newell family in Lyme Regis:
This family attracted my attention since:
- they were noted mariners with connections to Newfoundland, the Channel Islands and France;
- they had connections to Bristol (see my research on John Newall of Bristol and Newfoundland);
- the Newall surname is most common in the North of England (Lancashire) which is an area where I get numerous distant DNA matches;
- Many members of the Newell families of Bonavista and Trinity in Newfoundland trace their roots back to other areas of Dorset;
- The area around Lyme Regis has connections to Colonial Massachusetts and Colonial Virginia, both areas where I get a number of distant DNA matches to individuals with Newell, Newall, Newhall and Nowell surnames.
I do not have any distant Ancestry DNA matches to individuals with Newall and similar names with ancestors from Lyme Regis or Uplyme; however, my analysis of Ancestry DNA matches by town in England (see my Ancestry DNA Section) indicated that at the town/ village level, when adjusted for population, the towns of Lyme Regis in Dorset and Uplyme in Devon have some of the highest density of my non name specific DNA matches in England. However, many of my other ancestors from Newfoundland (e.g. Norman, Bartlett) have connections to Dorset.
Edward I granted Lyme (original name of Lyme Regis) a charter in 1284, making the community a free borough with a merchant guild. At that time it was engaged in trade with France, and by 1311 it had become an important English port. At that time Lyme’s trade with France (especially Morlaix on the coast of Brittany), Flanders and other coastal towns was in the ascendancy; the expression “wool out, wine in” , perfectly describing its daily function (see: Lyme Regis Museum).
The earliest reference to the Newall name in this area was a William Newall who was listed in the 1542 Muster Roll for Charmouth (2 mi NE of Lyme Regis). He may be the William Newall (Captain of Foot) who received a pension in 1648 for service during the 1644 Siege of Lyme Regis . This fits with the fact that during the Seige of Lyme Regis, Newalls Fort guarded the entrance to the town from Charmouth (see Civil War below).
In 5 Elizabeth I (c 1564) there was a a John Newall of Uplyme, Devon who had an Estate that was being disputed by George Summers and Richard Newall.
In the Dorset Muster list for 1569 there was a John Newall listed at Dalwood (6 mi NW of Uplyme and 7.5 mi NW of Lyme Regis). The 1542 Muster Roll for Dorset also had two Nualls (George and William) at Beaminister (10 mi NE Lyme Regis) and the 1569 Muster Roll for Devon also listed a John Newale at Ottery St Mary (14 mi WNW of Lyme Regis). Devon Muster Roll of 1569 also had a Richard Jewell (I get distant DNA matches to this name) living near Colyton (4 mi West of Uplyme).
Lyme Regis played a key role in the English Civil War. By the end of 1643, most of the south-west of England was under Royalist control; only Plymouth, Poole and Lyme Regis held out against them. Prince Maurice laid siege to Lyme Regis between 20 April and 16 June 1644. After the Siege, the Earl of Warwick sent a letter to Parliament, detailing the hardships endured by the town during the siege, and requesting “some speedy course will be taken for their relief”. (Source: Wiki). One of the Forts that defended Lyme Regis during the Siege was referenced as “Newall’s, Newel’s or Newhill’s Fort” in the 1910 publication The Great Civil War in Dorset, 1642-1660.
Lyme Regis also played a key role in the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. This was an attempt to overthrow James II by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II. Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis on 11 June 1685. The rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth’s army at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. An inscription on the wall of Lyme Regis church suggest where the communities sympathies lay.
A Richard Newell of Combpyne ( 3 miles west of Lyme Regis) was recorded as a Devonian involved in The Monmouth Rebellion.
Lyme Regis enjoyed a long period as an important port, trading with France, Africa and the Americas and although small by today’s standards, was at one time estimated to be larger than Liverpool. However, that changed in the mid 17th century as relations with France deteriorated and by 1700 trade had all but ceased. Ships were being built larger, making the harbor unsuitable to any other than smugglers and fishermen. The harbor and port activities went into decline as the ships went elsewhere to unload their cargo (source: Elizabeth Johnson, 2006)
There were no Newall / Newell DNA matches for the region around Lyme Regis but my research had indicated that this family may have started to move to other areas in the 17th century (possibly as a result of the decline discussed above). In The History of Lyme-Regis by George Roberts published in 1823 the author states that the Newell name was “extinct” [in terms of Lyme Regis by 1823]. If the family left the area then I would not expect to get post 1800 Newell DNA matches.
As part of my research on the Newell / Newall family of Lyme Regis I prepared an Ancestry family tree for Andrew Newall (c 1593 – 1663). This tree traces Andrew from his roots in Lyme Regis to his marriage to Mary Pitt, from Bristol, to the birth of their children in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts (Charlestown is immediately north of Boston and was annexed to Boston in 1873). Charlestown is at the center of the Newell/ Newhall matches for Massachusetts. A deed dated 1664 establishes the link between this Andrew and Lyme Regis
I have tentatively identified Andrew as the son of John Newall, merchant of Lyme Regis, Dorset who had his Will probated in 1644. In this Will John identifies a grandson John who was the son of his son Andrew. The question then becomes who was the John Newall who left this Will in 1644.
A Will for Alice Newall of Uplyme probated in 1593 is the keystone for identifying the early Newalls / Newells in Lyme Regis and the surrounding towns like Uplime (in Devon). Alice’s Will identified her four sons William, John, Nicholas and Joseph plus a daughter “Winefred” and a possible unborn child .
Will Alice Newall; 4 Nov. 1593, proved 20 Dec, 1593 ; to be buried in the church of Uplyme, Co. Devon; to the “poore” of Lyme Regis ….son Joseph, daughter Winefred, the child now in my wombe, sons William, John and Nicholas.
Alice’s estate was valued at £318 which equates to several million pounds today. Her estate included a 20 ton bark (ship) valued at £60 and several firearms.
There is no clear evidence regarding who Alice’s late husband was but there was a John Newell who married an Alice Col[?] at Feering, All Saints, Essex, England in 1575 who may be a possible candidate.
If her husband was John then it is possible that he was the John Newall who was captain of a English privateer that landed captured Spanish bullion at Dartmouth (40 miles SW of Lyme Regis) in 1589; possibly as part of the English Armada that attacked Spain in 1589 (see below).
A true Note of all suche Spanishe [?] bullion and all other things as I Frauncis Burnell have received to the use of my Lorde Admirall in part of his Lordship’s tentes of those kindes of commodities growing out of two prises brought into Dartmoth anno I589 by the 4 severall shippes or barkes whereof George Somers John Newall Charles Buckeley and James Beare were Captaines or Masters(19 Decemb 1589 fo 258). Source: Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum.
A 1589 a John Newall is recorded as the Captain of the Ship Delight (a Dorset Ship) sponsored by Amyas Preston and George Somers. This ship was operating with the ship Julias of Lyme (possibly the Julian of Lyme owned by Amyas Preston). John Newall’s ship was very likely the Delight of Lyme that around this time was conducting English Privateering Voyages to the West Indies. Preston’s fleet consisted of the Julian and its little pinnace, the Delight which is likely the ship John Newall was commanding in 1589.
The George Somers noted above is likely the George Somers born in Lyme Regis in 1554 who later became Sir George Somers a founder member of the Virginia Company and later an admiral of the Virginia Company and was linked to the father of Mountjoy Blount who sold land to John Newell [Newall?] of Lyme Regis in 1624 (for more on Blount see the Lyme Regis Links to New World section later in this document). One other source links a George Summers [Somers?] to the Newalls of Uplyme (see below).
George Summers – Richard Newall , Estate of John Newall, of Uplyme – Devon PEOCEEDINGS IN THE COURT OF REQUESTS, Bundle XXIX  Elizabeth I .
The other two Captains referenced in the 1589 document were Charles Buckeley and James Beare . In 1589 a Charles Buckeley was in command of the privateer Unicorn of Barnstaple [Devon]and he might also be the Charles Buckley who later became an English Pirate. A James Beare was in command of the privateer Swiftsure (80 tons) in 1589.
Alice’s eldest son William inherited her messuage (property) at Crutt Hall [possibly Court Hall], Uplime [Note Uplyme in Devon is just 2 km NW of Lyme Regis] . This William, a merchant, wrote his Will in Sept., 1610 before setting out on a long voyage :
This William was likely considered lost at sea by January, 1614 since on that date a Commission to administer his estate was granted to John Newall (his brother) during the minority of Alice (his daughter) . On 3 May, 1615 commission to administer the estate was transferred to Margaret Jermyn, grandmother to Alice; this may suggest that William’s brother John was away on a long voyage. Finally in January 1632 commission to administer the estate was transferred to William’s son John Newell MA
1632, com. granted to John Newall, master of arts natural son, — de bonis non, Margaret Jermyn being- dead. [Iiudd, L. 7.]
Likely the John Newall M.A. Cambridge who was headmaster of Boston Gr. School [near New Sleaford] 1597-1609 (see below).
Newall, John: mat. pen. 1588 Dec: B.A. 159i; probably M.A. 1600. Admitted under M'' Rob. Baynes. One John Newall B.A. was Headmaster of Boston Gr. School 1597-1609 (Thompson, Boston, 285). Biographical register of Christ's College, 1505-1905
John was Master of the “Free Grammer School” (AKA Carre’s Grammar School) at Sleaford, Lincolnshire from 1609-1615 (see also reference in the Clergy Database ).
A John Newall had a son John born 1602 in Sleaford who died in 1604 and a daughter Margaret who was Married in Lincolnshire c 1615. He might also be the John Newell who married Rachall [Rachel] Orkin at Sibsey, Lincolnshire (near Boston) in 1606. Rachel Newell was buried in Sibsey in 1618. In 1632 John assumed Administration of his fathers Will (18 years after his fathers death) which may indicate that he had returned to Lyme.
Newall William Uplyme died at sea?; will dated 1610; 1614 admon to brother John during minority of daughter Alice; 1615 admon to Margaret Jermyn, grandmother of Alice; 1632 admon to son John, Margaret having died. Source: CONSOLIDATED INDEX TO DEVON WILLS
One other aspect of the Administration of William Newall’s Will that is of interest is that Alice’s grandmother was Margaret Jermyn. This would be the family name of William’s Wife (Grace).
Another key component of Alice Newall’s Will was the fact that she made Charitie Newall an overseer of her Estate. This is likely the Charitie Newall of Lyme Regis who died c 1603.
There was a Charytie Newall of Lyme Regis listed in the Dorset Muster Roll of 1569. It is almost certain that Charitie was related to Alice and in the tree I have made the assumption that he was her brother-in-law. I have tentatively identified Charitie’s son John as the father of Andrew Newall. This is based on individuals identified in the 1644 Will .
In the Ancestry tree for Andrew Newell I have traced one of the last families of Newalls / Newells in Lyme Regis. This family descends from Alice’s son Nicholas (a name found among Newalls /Newells in Wiltshire; the North of England and Newfoundland). Nicholas served as Mayor of Lyme Regis (see below).
Nicholas married Mary Coad who died in 1682 and he subsequently remarried to Elizabeth Paviott in 1684.
Newell, Nicolas, of Lyme Regis, Dorset, mercator, & Elizabeth Paviott, of Powerstock, Dorset ; B’dman [Bondsman] , John Lymmen, of Lyme Regis, merchant. Wit., Tim. Hallett and Nath. Butler. Seal: (1) a rose tree in bloom, with Nicholas Newell round the margin (2) anliqtte, tvoman’s head [Antique woman’s head]. ; 22 May 16S4 [1684 see below]. Their marriage was recorded in the records of Powerstock Church : Nicholas NEWELL of Lyme & Elizabeth PAVIOT married 29-May 1684. Elizabeth was the daughter of Jonas PAVIOT, vicar of Powerstock and Elizabeth Powell, of Sherburne [Sherborne?]. They were married in 1655 and Elizabeth was baptized in 1656. His father and grandfather were likely from Beamister, Dorset. Johane Paviot from Beaminster married John Nyle (Niles) and had 2 children. She passed away on 26 Jan 1615 in Beaminster, Dorset, England.
Note: I and my sister and cousins get a number of distant DNA matches to a Jacques Paviot Lapensee B:1648 Rochefort, Poitou-Charentes, France D:Jan 1674 Ste-Trinite, Contrecoeur, Vercheres, Quebec, Canada Daughter Marie Madeleine Paviot.
Nicholas and Mary had a son John (1686-1755) and two daughters Mary (married John Domett) and Elizabeth (married Joseph Winter both died in 1725). A number of Winter families in Newfoundland trace their roots back to this couple. Nicholas and Elizabeth had one daughter who was also called Elizabeth; she is referenced as “Elizabeth the younger” in his Will. His son John had no children and in his Will written in 1722 (Probated 1755) left his estate to his nieces, nephews and the bulk of his estate went to his sister Elizabeth (the younger since Elizabeth Winter had died in 1625). Elizabeth died a few months after John so she inherited property which under the terms of her Will went to her niece Elizabeth. I have assumed that this niece was Elizabeth Domett; however, however, other sources make the assumption that there was an Elizabeth Newell. The key to identifying this Elizabeth is the Will of John Newell dated 1755 leaving Combmore in Charmouth and the Ship Inn in Lyme Regis to his sister Elizabeth Newell the younger. In her Will, probated in 1755, his sister Elizabeth leaves her lands in Charmouth to her niece Elizabeth the wife of John Puddicombe surgeon. Other researchers have identified “Combmore” as the property in Charmouth later known as Wood Farm. Wood Farm passed to the Elizabeth who married John Puddicombe surgeon and apothecary of Lyme Regis. In a Will dated 1828 Mary Domett Warren (wife of Samuel Warren of Charmouth, daughter of John Puddicombe and Elizabeth) left all that Farm called Wood Farm in Charmouth to her grandson Samuel Warren Puddicombe, the fatherless son of said daughter Mary Elizabeth Austin. Further evidence that Elizabeth who inherited property was Elizabeth Domett (daughter of John Newell and neice of Elizabeth the younger) is that John Puddicombe and Elizabeth named their first son Benjamin Domett Puddicombe. Much of the confusion comes from the tradition in this family of using the wife’s maiden name as a middle name for children. It is possible that the Elizabeth Domett who married John Puddicombe had Newell as a middle name.
One of the last links of this family to the history of Lyme Regis was the story of Lieutenant James Warden (1736–1792) who was a Royal Navy officer and Lord of the Manor of Charmouth. He died in a duel after an argument with a neighbouring landowner (death recorded on the large tabletop tomb to James Warden near the entrance to Charmouth Church). His life is recorded in the Web Site James Warden – Charmouth`s Tragic Hero. Panels on his tomb refer to James Warden`s widow whose maiden name was Elizabeth Newell Puddlecombe. They were written by her brother, Rev. John Newell Puddlecombe who was famous as a poet and was a Fellow of Dulwich College. His brother, Rev Thomas Newell Puddicombe was Vicar of Branscombe in Devon from 1786 until 1812. All three of these were children of John Puddicombe and Elizabeth Domett. The Newell name continued on as a middle name after this since in her Will of 1798 his widow Elizabeth Newell Warden mentions her niece Elizabeth Newell Warren.
Lyme Regis Links to New World
One important connection between Lyme Regis and the New World was that Lyme Regis was the home of Admiral Sir George Somers (1554–1610) who was an Admiral of the Virginia Company. In 1609, Somers was appointed as Admiral of the Virginia Company’s Third Supply relief fleet, organized to provide relief to the Jamestown colony settled in North America two years before. On 2 June 1609, he set sail from Plymouth on the Sea Venture, the flagship of the seven-ship fleet, destined for Jamestown, Virginia. The fleet carried a total of five-to-six hundred colonists bound for Jamestown. Somers ship was wrecked in Bermuda and his company remained in Bermuda for 10 months before continuing on to Virginia with the surviving 142 castaways. Somers returned to Bermuda in the Patience to collect more food, but he became ill on the journey and died in Bermuda on 9 November 1610 (Wiki) . Sir John Harvey, a later Governor of Virginia in the 1630s, was also a native of Lyme Regis. During this period (1630s) a number of Newells were transported to Virginia:
Surname, First Name, Date, Sponsor, Location in VA.
Newell Daniel 1654 Thomas Binns Surry
Newell John 1637 Capt Francis Turner Charles River
Newell Peter 1653 Capt William Whittington Northampton
Newell William 1654 Thomas Fowke Westmoreland
Newill Richard 1651 Richard Bayly ???
The John Newell transported to Charles River in 1637 may be the Jonathan Newell who was a prominent cloth merchant residing in York and James City counties, Virginia in 1661. Jonathan died in 1679 and his widow, Elizabeth, was his administratrix. Jonathan and Elizabeth did not have children so his brother David Newell was his heir: In the west end William Sherwood had all the land between James River, Back River, Pitch and Tar Swamp and Kings mill’s Creek , amounting to about 378 acres secured from time to time as follows : 120 acres lying north and east of New Towne , purchased in 1677 from David Newell , brother and heir of Jonathan Newell who got it from John Knowles (Source THE CRADLE OF THE REPUBLIC). In the late 1680s a Mr Newell, possible relative, was part owner and supplied the rigging for a ship built in Virginia.
Jonathan Newell had is main operation in Jamestown but he also had a branch of his business in Williamsburg. A Charles Yuille (or Ewell, as a branch of this family is now called) came to Virginia in 1690 under contract to build the capital at Williamsburg, accompanied by two brothers. This is relevant since I have distant DNA matches to Yuille, Yuill, Youell, Youle, Yule and Ewell in America and numerous matches in Scotland.
There is also a very direct connection between Andrew Newall of Lyme Regis and Colonial Virginia. Andrew married Mary Pitt of Bristol.
Robert Pitt and Henry Pitt were sons of William Pitt and Mary Pitt, of Bristol. William Pitt was son of Thomas Pitt, who made his will in May, 1613. Thomas Pitt, who patented lands previous to 1646, on the Appomattox, was probably another brother. Robert Pitt's sister Maud married Dr. Richard Russell, of Lower Norfolk Co., referred to by John Ferrar in his verses as that "learned physician." Russell appears to have removed to New England, as did Mary Pitt, another sister, who married Andrew Newell (Mary Pitt died Sept. 26, 1684). See New England Hist. and Gen. Mag., Vol. 45, p. 151; and Vol. 49, p. 255.
Andrew’s brother-in-law was Col. Robert Pitt who made a will on 6 June 1672 at Isle of Wright Co, Virginia. In 1642 documents related to the county boundaries, a William Neville of Isle of Wright is recorded has having a neighbor Robert Pitt (Neville is frequently confused with Newell in English records). Other neighbors of William Neville include the surnames : Jones, Drury, Wolf, Nosworthy, Russel, Blount, Coffin and Nuttall. Many of theses names stand out in my searches for Ancestry DNA matches in England and SE USA. Nuttall being especially interesting since it has such a strong signal in the the North of England.
The earliest Neville DNA matches in Virginia are a cluster of matches that link to John Neville, born 1662 in Northampton, Virginia who married Elizabeth Bohannon in 1685 at Isle of Wight, Isle of Wight, Virginia. This John Nevill is likely the same person as John Neville of Nansemond [extinct county now Surrey, adjoining Isle of Wight, County and parts of which were transferred to Isle of Wight] and wife Elizabeth sold to Arthur Skinner 125 acres in Isle of Wight formerly patented by John Neville. This John Neville was likely the son of William Neville / Norvell (see above) who in 1642 had a plantation near the border of Isle of Wight County and Nansemond.
In most early documents the Neville name is used for this family and the Norvell spelling is likely a result of transcribing cursive writing. However, in researching the Norvell name I found 30 DNA matches to myself, my sister and my cousins with a number common to several of us! All of these matches are linked to Virginia or surrounding southern states. A number of these trace their origin to Norvells of Isle of Wight or Norvells of Skiffes Creek (see Thomas Nowell). The fact that matches to this name are localized may support the conclusion that it is a local version of Nowell or Neville.
Before leaving Virginia there is one other interesting connection with the Newalls of Lyme Regis. I earlier indicated that the neighbors of William Neville of Virginia include one with the surname Blount. It might be coincidence but in 1624 John Newell [Newall?] Lyme Regis purchased a property from Mountjoy Blount (at that time Baron Mountjoy in the Irish peerage and later 1st Earl of Newport).
Blount (b.1597) was the illegitimate son of Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire and his lover and future wife, Penelope Devereux. Lord Devonshire left no legitimate children, and so his hereditary titles became extinct at his death. Mountjoy Blount’s father Charles was born at Hooke Park, Dorset (12 miles NE of Lyme Regis) and was linked to Admiral Sir George Somers an Admiral of the Virginia Company (see earlier discussion). The Newall connections to Blount would not be significant except for a series of potential DNA connections to Blount name in Virginia and neighboring areas of North Carolina settled by people from Isle of Wright Co, Virginia (e.g. James Blount/ Blunt, Chowan County) plus DNA links to the Blount name in English. Many of these come from individuals from America who trace their Blount ancestors back to Sir Walter Blount the first of the Blount Baronets, of Sodington, Worcestershire. This cluster of matches for Blount of Sodington may occur since this is the best documented Blount line in England. One interesting fact about the Sodington area is that it near Linley, Shropshire home of Humphrey Slaney a merchant who had operations in Newfoundland in the early 1600s (see my research on Richard Newall‘s voyage to Newfoundland 1623). It is also near a cluster of early Newall / Newell families from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire (the border with Worcestershire is a mile to the south) that I have researched as possible relatives of Richard Newall.
Mountjoy Blount who sold land in Lyme Regis comes from a junior branch of the Blounts of Sodington that predates Sir Walter Blount. These Blounts trace their roots back to Sir Thomas Blount (d. 1456) of Cleobury Mortimer, his son Walter was summoned to Parliament as Baron Mountjoy in 1465. There is a third group of related matches that have the Blunt surname (a common variant of Blount). This group includes some individuals with Blunt ancestors in Virginia but none that trace their roots to Worcestershire. Many of the Blunts trace their roots to either Wiltshire, England or Marnhull, Dorset (32 miles NE of Lyme Regis and 20 miles NE of Hooke Park, birthplace of Charles Blount). There are also a number of Blunt matches from Newfoundland several of which trace their roots to Mary Ann Blunt who married Robert Linfield, born abt 1774 in Marnhull, Dorset, died 18 Jan 1860 Twillingate, Newfoundland.
One of Andrew Newell’s great grandchildren (see tree), Captain Andrew Newell, may be key to understanding some of my DNA connections to Nantucket and Nova Scotia. Captain Andrew Newell was born in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts in 1702 and in married Eunice Coffin at Nantucket in 1726. Andrew. At least two of their children were born in Nantucket but eventually they relocated to Sherborne (west of Boston).
Capt George Newell (1791–1872), a grandson of Andrew of Sherborn, moved to Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. I have no Newell, Newall or Newhall matches with direct matches to Sherborne or Farmington; however, Sherborn (a small town) has a very high ratio of matches to population and Farmington had many matches with Newells , Newhalls and Ewells from Massachusetts in their trees.
Andrew’s wife, Eunice, was the daughter of Joseph Coffin from Nantucket and Bethiah Renuff (I get matches to Renouf of Channel Islands) . Coffin is an ancient English family which originated in Devonshire. The Coffins have held a number of manors, the most notable of which is Portledge in Devon, England, which they held for over nine centuries. The progenitor of the American Coffins was Tristram Coffin, a Royalist, who came to Massachusetts from Devonshire in 1642. He was the original proprietor of Nantucket. The American branch is one of the Boston Brahmin, a group of elite families based in and around Boston. Many American Coffins are or were Quakers (source: Wiki). I have 30 distant DNA matches for Coffin and Nantucket, including one that has Eunice daughter of Joseph (her spouse not identified). See also the earlier reference to Wm. Coffin linked to Cornelius Noel of Virginia.