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Decendants of James Phelps of Nether Tyne, England

Excerpted from The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, (Save $201 by ordering through us.) Two volumes. By Judge Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin. (Eagle Publishing Company of Pittsfield, Mass., 1899). Vol. I, p 70-71


As a result of the book The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, (available in hardbound or CD-ROM) by Robert Charles Anderson, it is accepted by a consensus of recognized genealogical scholars that William Phelps of Massachusetts and Connecticut is NOT the William Phelps of Tewkesbury records, but more likely from Crewkene. This book provides ample detail as to the Phelps found in early Connecticut and Massachusetts. Furthermore, recent DNA testing of descendants of William and George Phelps has shown thus far that the two men do not appear to be related.


James Phelps, born about 1520, supposedly at Nether Tyne, Staffordshire, is said to be the brother of Francis Phyllyppe, both probably sons of Richard Phyllyppe of that place—referred to in 1588, after his death, as late of Tewksbury. James Phelps married Joan, born about 1542, around the year 1559. They resided in Tewksbury, Gloucestershire, where James died about 1588. Joan was given permission to administer his estate, May 10, 1588, by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. They had nine children and their oldest son William is my [Oliver Seymour Phelps'] ancestor. Their sixth child, Edward is the ancestor of William Phelps of Vevery, Switzerland (1877).

William was baptized in Tewksbury on August 4, 1560, and married Dorothy (born about 1563) around the year 1586. William and Dorothy had eight children before William died about 1611. Dorothy and William's brother, Nicholas, administered his estate when he died. When Dorothy died prior to May 31, 1613, Nicholas was commissioned to administer William's estate during the minority of William Jr.

In 1590, according to Church records, William was granted a Lenten license to "eat fleshe because sieke," with the privilege to terminate when he recovered. In 1607, William served as the Bailiff of Tewksbury.

William Jr. was born between 1597-1599 and was baptized at Tewkesbury Abbey Church, Gloucestershire, England, on August 19, 1599. In about 1619 he married his first wife, Elizabeth. William and Elizabeth's first child, Richard, was baptized at Tewksbury Abbey around 1619, and soon thereafter, they probably removed to one of the southern counties (probably Soberest or Dorchester) as there is no further record of them or their children in Tewksbury.

William Phelps [since proven to be from near Crewkerne, and not the William Phelps of TewkesburyEd], Elizabeth, their six children, and his brother George, [since disproved—Ed] aboard the ship Mary and John, became the first of the Phelps immigrants to the New World, landing in Massachusetts on May 30, 1630, being with an organized church company, and becoming the first settlers and founders of Dorchester, which claims the distinction of being the first town in Massachusetts Colony to organize a town government. They became original members of Reverend Warham's church, organized March 19, 1630, at Plymouth England, the day before embarkation.