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Origins of the Philbrick & Philbrook Families

The primary reference source for Philbrick/Philbrook researchers has always been Jacob Chapman's "A Genealogy of the Philbrick and Philbrook Families" which was published in 1886. Chapman remarks about the origins of the Philbrick/Philbrook families as saying that Thomas the Emigrant "is said to have been a mariner in early life, and to have been a master of a vessel before he emigrated from Lincolnshire in England." This statement is in question considering the evidence that was found in England by Mary Philbrook in the early 1930's. Mary Philbrook, the first woman to pass the Bar Exam in New Jersey, determined that the origins of the Philbrick/Philbrook name could be traced back to the geographical location of Felbrigge, near Comer, in Norfolk County, England. The following is based upon her article, "Ancestry Chasing" and "The English Connections of Thomas Felbrigge or Philbrick of Hampton, N.H." by G. Andrews Moriarty (based on Mary Philbrook's notes.)

The family of Felbrigge of Felbrigge descended from Simon le Bigod and Maud Felbrigge whose son, Roger Bigod de Felbrigge, is seen in 14 Edward I or 1286/87 A.D. Maud is daughter and heiress of Richard de Felbrigge of Felbrigge and their descendants took on the Felbrigge or Fylbrigge name from their manor.

On February 3, 1390 a Felbrigg is recorded in a request for an old license of a passport. "At the request of the King's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. For William Arundell, knight; Simon Felbrigg, knight; and Robert Teye, who proposes to visit and see the world in divers places. To pass beyond the sea from London, Dover, Sandwich or elsewhere, with their men and twelve horses, and to change 300 pounds of money and expenses."

In the early part of the 15th century a John Filbrigge is listed in the court records of Earls Colne, a town in Essex County, west of Colchester. Through out the 1400's the Felbrigge name is spelled many different ways in the court rolls Filbrigge, Fylbrygge, Filbrigg, Fylbrygg, Fylbrigge, and Felbrygge. The family variant of these many spellings appear throughout the court records of Earls colne and of Bures, a small town six miles north in Suffolk county. However, it isn't til one examines the baptismal records of St. Mary's Church in Bures that the family takes on a distinct lineage.

Another family name is also listed among the baptismal records and that is the surname of Knopp, or Knapp as it became in New England. This is important to the validity of the origin of Thomas the Emigrant's home in England as being Bures St. Mary's and not Lincolnshire as Jacob Chapman's book suggests. We find in these records the same names in both the Philbrick and Knapp families that are later found in the early records of New England. It may also provide a clue as to when Thomas and his family may have come to America from England.

Registers of St. Mary's, Bures, County Suffolk




1555 Robert Fylbrigg, 23 April

1561 Margaret, daughter of Robert Fylbrigg, 24 August

1562 Jeffery, son of Nicholas Fylbrigg, 25 October

1563/4 Edward, son of Robert Fylbrigg, 19 March

1564/5 Thomas, son of William Fylbrigg, 19 February

1566 Anne, daughter of Robert Fylbrigg, 5 May

1572 Tobias Fylbrigg, 20 April

1574 James Knopp, 19 September

1575 Humfrie Filbrigg, 20 November

1575/6 John, son of Thomas Filbrig, 2 February

1578 John Knopp, 13 July

1578/9 Priscilla, daughter of Thomas Fylbrigg, 2 February

1580/1 William Knope, 1 January

1581 Margaret Fylbrigg, 5 November

1583/4 Thomas, son of Thomas Knopp, 15 March

1584 Thomas, son of Thomas Filbrigg, 13 September

1585 Margaret Knopp, 22 August

1586 Margaret, daughter of Thomas Knopp, 7 November

1586/7 Robert, son of Thomas Filbrigg, 8 January

1587 John Knopp, 12 November

1589/90 Rose, daughter of William Knopp, 22 February

1590 Alice, daughter of Thomas Philbrigg, 25 May

1590/1 Anne, daughter of Thomas Knopp, 12 January

1592 Edward, son of Thomas Filbrigg, 18 June

1593 Elizabeth, daughter of William Knopp, 8 July

1593/4 Robert, son of Thomas Knopp, 3 February

1594 William, son of Thomas Filbrigg, 28 April

1596 Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Filbrigg, 28 November

1596/7 William Knopp, 10 January

1598 Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Filbrigg, 27 August

(Further entries are from the Elizabethan Copy)


1616 John, son of Thomas ffilbrick, 1 October

1619 James, son of Thomas ffilbrick, 2 December

1621 Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth ffilbricke, 31 October

1622 Elizabeth, daughter of William and Margaret Knopp, 31 March

1622/3 John, son of William Knoppe, 20 January

1623/4 Thomas, son of Thomas ffilbricke, 7 March

1628 Margaret, daughter of Thomas Filbrigg, 30 November

1629 Judith, daughter of William Knopp, 16 July

1631 Martha, daughter of Thomas Filbricke, 4 September




1559/60 William Fylbrygg and Cycelye _____________, 26 Feb.

1571 Henry Lamsly and Anne ffylbrygg, 4 November

1574 John Bennet and Elizabeth Knop, 25 April

1576 Thomas Moote and Anne Knop, 8 July

1581 Peter Harvy and Margaret ffilbrige, 23 April

1584 William Knop and Elizabeth Read, 27 September

1589 Robert ffilbrigg and Joan Binds, 11 May

1596 Henry Waricke and Margaret ffilbrigge, 17 November

1615 Thomas ffilbrick and Elizabeth Knop, 4 June

1620 William Knop and Margaret Deane, 6 June


1563/4 Nicholas ffylbrige, 21 February

1567 Edward ffilbrige, 15 June

1571 Robert ffylbridge, 28 June

1579 William ffylbrigge, 2 July

1590 Allice ffylbrigge, 30 July

1593 Edward fylbrigge, 23 November

1613 Thomas Knop, the sexton, 18 May

1619 Elizabeth, wife fo Thomas ffilbrick the elder, 24 April

1627 William Knop, 21 April

1628 Widow ffilbrigg, 16 June

1632/3 Thomas Filbrigge, 10 March

1633 Rose Knopp s.w., 5 March


Due to the lack of wills by the families who lived in Bures, it's impossible to establish a lineage much before the father of Thomas Felbrigge/Philbrick (The Emigrant.) Thomas Felbrigge senior was probably the son of either Robert Felbrigge who was buried 28 June 1571 or Edward Filbrick buried on 23 November 1593. One might assume that Thomas born in 1564/5, son of William, is the senior Thomas Felbrigge but that would then make that "Thomas" ten years old when John, son of Thomas Filbrig, was born on January 9, 1575/6. What we can establish from the records at Bures is the following pedigree


1. Thomas Felbrigge, of Bures, Suffolk County, perhaps a fuller, born about 1545-1550, died after 1621. He married Elizabeth, who was buried in Bures in 1619. He is probably the same Thomas who occurs at Bures in 26 Elizabeth (1583/4), and was amerced on 2 June, 38 Elizabeth (1596) at a view of frankpledge at the Bures manor court. On 26 October, 6 James (1608) he was a capital pledge and aletaster there; on 5 October, 18 James (1620) he was searcher of cloth at Bures. He and his wife Elizabeth had


1. John, bapt. 9 January 1575/6.

2. Priscilla, bapt. 2 February 1578/9

3. Margaret, bapt. 5 November 1581

4. Thomas, bapt. 13 September 1584

5. Robert, bapt. 8 January 1586/7.

6. Alice, bapt. 25 May 1590

7. Edward, bapt. 18 June, 1592

8. William, bapt. 28 April 1594

9. Elizabeth, bapt. 28 November 1596; died young.

10. Elizabeth, bapt. 27 August 1598

2. Thomas Felbrigge or Philbrick, of Bures, baptized 23 September 1584 and died at Hampton, New Hampshire in 1667. He married at Bures, 4 June 1615, Elizabeth, daughter of William Knop (Knapp) of Bures, and she died in Hampton, N.H. on 19 February 1663/4. As Thomas Felbrigge (Jr.), he was sworn as a juryman (capital pledge with homage at a Bures court 5 October, 18 James I (1620). He occurs in the Bures manor court rolls on 12 October 1631, when, as Thomas filbrig, Jr., he was amerced 3/4 as a tenant of the manor for a default. He and Elizabeth had the following children who were baptized in Bures

1. John, bapt. 1 October 1616

2. James, bapt. 2 December 1619

3. Elizabeth, bapt. 31 October 1621/2

4. Thomas, bapt. 7 March 1623/4

5. Hannah

6. Mary

7. Margaret, bapt. 30 November 1628; died young

8. Martha, bapt. 4 Sept. 1631

Among the marriages listed in the Bures' records are Thomas Ffilbrick and Elizabeth Knop (4 June 1615) and william Knop and Margaret Deane (6 June 1620.) These two families and their descendants are later found in Watertown, Massachusetts in the early 1630's. Elizabeth is the sister of William Knop based off of the English record and William and his wife Margaret had the following children

1. Elizabeth, bapt. 31 March 1622

2. John, bapt. 20 January 1622/3

3. Judith, bapt. 16 July 1629

Several other children are listed as being the sons and daughters of William and Margaret Knop (Knapp) in the colonial records of 1630. They list the following as passengers of the Winthrop Fleet

1. William Knapp

2. Margaret Knapp, wife of William

3. John Knapp, son of William

4. Anne Knapp, daughter of William

5. Judith Knapp, daughter of Willliam

6. Mary Knapp, daughter of William

7. James Knapp, son of William

8. William Knapp Jr., son of William

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