no image

William Brewster (1505)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
William Brewster
Born in Bentley cum Arksey, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Bently Arksey, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died [date unknown] in Doncaster, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Apr 2010
This page has been accessed 5,169 times.
English flag
William Brewster is managed by the England Project.
Join: England Project
Discuss: england

Disputed Origins

A number of unsourced genealogies have been created linking William Brewster and wife Mary Harvey, Robert Brewster and Humphrey Brewster, Galfridus Brewster b: 1380, John Brewster, John Brewster b: c.1325 and John Brewster b: c.1299 to create an ancestry for William Brewster and for Elder William Brewster 1566-1644 who emigrated in the ship Mayflower from Plymouth, England to New Plymouth, Massachusetts. Although no sources are offered to support this descent line, we find many unsubstantiated genealogies with a claim for descendants of Elder William Brewster to trace their genealogy from "John I in 1279, who lived in Rushmere, Suffolk, England followed by John II and III; then Galfridus, John IV" etc. for example The Brewster Bunch Family Story by Judy Brewster pub: Amazon in a Kindle Edition


In 1970 John G Hunt published an account of the family of William Brewster of Doncaster in NEHGR Volume 124 p 253 in 1970.[1] This was a follow-up article to his previously published treatment of this family published in 1965 in TAG Volume 41 p 1-5[2] In 2014 the General Society of Mayflower Descendants published the latest research on Elder William Brewster and the authors call these two articles the current state of research on this topic.[3]

William Brewster first appears in 1524 when he was taxed in Bentley cum Arksey, South Yorkshire, England. William Brewster is next taxed Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.[1] Doncaster is seven miles North of Scrooby. William Brewster of Doncaster married at an unknown place by about 1534 to Maude Mann. Maude Mann was the sister of Chistopher Mann, William Mann, Annis Mann and Isabel Mann.[1] The date of marriage is based on the approximate birth date of their son William Brewster of Scrooby. Nothing is known about the birth or death dates of Maude Mann and William Brewster of Doncaster. Nor do we know who their parents were. We do know Maude was living when she was named in her brother's will dated 11 OCT 1558. The death date of 1590 in Scrooby for William Brewster sometimes seen on un-sourced Internet sites is not the death date of William Brewster of Doncaster. That is the death date of their son William Brewster of Scrooby. A William Brewster was witness to the same instrument on 13 Jan 1558 but it isn't clear if this was William Brewster of Doncaster or his son William Brewster of Scrooby. John G Hunt believes it was the son. We find no evidence of him in Scrooby. The children of William Brewster of Doncaster and his wife Maude Mann were published by John G Hunt in NEHGR Volume 124 p 253 in 1970.[1] Only two children are listed:

  1. William Brewster of Scrooby b ?1535 d 1590; witnessed the will of his uncle Christopher Man on 13 Jan 1558 with Thomas and John Simkinson of Doncaster. He was named in the will of Bartholomew Bryan of Scrooby dated 6 May 1564 as William Brewster "dwelling in Scrooby."[1][4] He married first Mary Smythe daughter William Smythe of Stainforth parish in Hatfield. She was sister of John Smythe of Hull and widow of John Simkinson of Doncaster. She was the mother of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower. He married second to Prudence and had James, Prudence and John.[1][2]
  2. Henry Brewster b ?1537 d ?1600, vicar at Sutton on Lound, Nottinghamshire, England from 1565-1594. His wife Agnes was buried 15 Mar 1597/8 at Sutton on Loud. He had no known children.[1][5]

John G Hunt lists no sons named James Brewster or Benjamin Brewster. In 2014 the General Society of Mayflower Descendants published the latest research on Elder William Brewster and they called these two articles the current state of research on this topic.[3] They did presumably have a grandson named James Brewster.[5][1] Although it has not been decisively proven that this grandson James is identical to the man of the same name who was vicar.[3][6] However, the evidence is fairly strong that he was.

The will of Maude's brother Christopher is not only helpful in determining her maiden name it also helps us elucidate the identity of the mother of William Brewster the Mayflower passenger, Mary Smythe. Christopher's will was witnessed by John Symkinson who was the first husband of Mary Smythe, the mother of Thomas Sinkinson of Hull by her first husband and the mother of William Brewster the Mayflower passenger by her second husband William Brewster of Scrooby.[2] In 1609 William Brewster of the Mayflower while living in Leiden gave power of attorney to his half-brother Thomas Simkinson of Hull to receive money that Anne Pecke had left in England. Ann Peck and her brother Robert Pecke were wards of William Brewster. They have been identified as the children of William Brewster's half-sister Prudence Brewster and her husband Robert Pecke of Everton.[2] These two records link William Brewster of Leiden to his grandfather William Brewster of Doncaster just seven miles North of Scrooby. The will of Thomas Symkinson Alderman of Doncaster dated 29 Jan 1558 proved 2 May 1560 names John Simkinson and his two children Dorothy and Thomas Simkinson as well as Thomas Smythe, John Smythe of Hull, William Smythe and Alice widow of Chirstopher Mann among others.[1][7] The will of John Smythe of Hull dated 8 Aug 1592 proved the following October made it evident that Elder William Brewster and the younger Thomas Smythe of Hull were maternal half-brothers when he named "my nephews" William Brewster, John Smythe and Thomas Simkinson executors of his estate.[1] For an in depth discussion of the will of Christopher Mann please see the profile of Maude Mann.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 John G Hunt "The Mother of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower" in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1970) Volume 124 p 250-254 link to article at AmericanAncestors
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John G Hunt, "New Light on the Brewsters of Scrooby and New England" in The American Genealogist (Demorest, Habersham, Georgia, United States: D.L. Jacobus, 1965) Vol 41 p 1-5 link
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Merrick, Barbara Lambert, and E. Virginia Hunt. William Brewster of the Mayflower: and his descendants for four generations. (Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2014), p 1-2, 2014. The GSMD "Silver Book"
  4. York P&E, 17:389
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nottingham Parish registers, vol 21, Marriages at "Sutton on Lound," p 11, 12. See also, will of Richard Ellis, made there in March 1586 (York P&E 23:227) which was witnessed by Henry Brewster, clerk, and James Brewster, clerk, presumably his nephew and his successor as vicar.
  6. George F. Willison, Saints and Strangers - Being the Lives of the Pilgrim Fathers & Their Families, with Their Friends & Foes: & and Account of Their Posthumous Wanderings in Limbo, Their Final Resurrection & Rise to Glory, & the Strange Pilgrimages of Plymouth Rock (New York, New York : Reynal & Hitchcock, 1983) p 462-3 link
  7. York P&E court, vol. 16 f. 46
  • see Collections Concerning the Church or Congregation of Protestant Separatists Formed at Scrooby in North Nottinghamshire in the Time of King James 1 Founders of New Plymouth, The Parent Colony of New England by Rev. Joseph Hunter published by John Russell Smith, London, 1854. From about page 19, the author begins to look for evidence in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, of the William Brewster who emigrated to New Plymouth, Massachusetts in the ship Mayflower, and to examine the possibility that several other Brewster families in the area at that time might be related.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Sponsored Search by

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


On 16 Oct 2018 at 21:45 GMT Gillian Thomas wrote:

Hi Profile managers, thank you for your care for William Brewster's profile. The England Project has taken on management of his profile as it is project protected. We invite you to join the project and continue to contribute your expertise about him and his family. Regards, Gillian, Leader England Project.

On 13 Oct 2018 at 05:53 GMT Gillian Thomas wrote:

Hi project managers, the England Project would like to take on management of this profile. I am adding the England project box today and will send you a trusted list request to add me to the trusted list for the profile. Please contact me if you would like to discuss. Regards, Gillian, Leader, England Project.

On 1 Nov 2017 at 19:11 GMT Valerie Willis wrote:

I propose separating this profile from the parents given here - there is no evidence for connection to the preceding generations entered here.

On 5 Mar 2017 at 19:46 GMT Sharon Smith wrote:

On 13 Mar 2016 at 21:58 GMT Walter Pack Sr. wrote:

Birthdate: 1510

Birthplace: Hatfield, Nottinghamshire, England Death: Died 1558 in Nottinghamshire, England Find A Grave Memorial# 135379052 Burial: St Wilfred Churchyard - Scrooby Bassetlaw District, Nottinghamshire, England

On 26 Feb 2016 at 14:09 GMT Sharon (Ticehurst) Levine wrote:

Married in 1558, but all 3 sons born 1537-8?

Is there any primary source material at all for the Brewsters earlier than Elder William?

On 7 Apr 2013 at 14:15 GMT Tom Bredehoft wrote:

verify birth and death dates before merging

William is 38 degrees from Graham Chapman, 22 degrees from Janet Wild and 13 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

B  >  Brewster  >  William Brewster

Categories: England, Pre-1700 PPPs