East Anglian Ancestors

Norfolk & Suffolk genealogy

Samuel Fuller, Mayflower passenger


Samuel Fuller was a doctor and church deacon.  Born in Redenhall, Norfolk 20 Jan 1580, he was one of the pilgrims who formed the colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts.   Travelling aboard The Mayflower with his servant William Button, he was one of 41 men to sign the Mayflower Compact.

It would be fabulous to claim a genetic ancestry from Samuel Fuller but unfortunately I can’t although I did find a connection to him by marriage whilst wading through the wills of my ancestors in Redenhall.

I have a few gaps left to plug, but it is my belief that my East Anglian Corbens are descended from the Redenhall Corbyn’s.  I have transcribed a number of Corbyn wills over the years. Two of these wills refer to members of the Fuller family of Redenhall.

My 13 x great Uncle John Corbyn left a will in Redenhall in 1540 in which he referred to John Fuller, grandfather of Samuel Fuller.  John Fuller senior was described as the ‘bellechilde’ of John Corbyn as was his brother William and other members of the Fuller family.  Although I can’t find a definitive explanation of the term “bellechilde” I am reasonably sure that it means godchild.

John Corbyn left many legacies.  Some gifts were left to John Fuller including 5 kine that were in the possession of John’s father William Fuller.   There were also several legacies to John Corbyn’s nephew Richard Corbyn.

Richard Corbyn left his own will when he died in Harleston in 1589.  Richard had 9 children and left legacies to each of them.  His daughter Frances, born about 1553 is named in the will as ‘Frances my daughter now the wife of Robert Fuller.’  One of the witnesses at the bottom of the will is Robert Fuller butcher.  Both Samuel Fuller and his brother Edward were children of Robert Fuller and his first wife Sarah Dunckthorne.  Sometime after Sarah died in 1584, and before 1586 when Sarah Fuller daughter of Robert and Frances was born, Robert married Frances Corbyn.

So I can’t claim direct descendancy from Samuel Fuller or his brother Edward who was also on board the Mayflower but at least I have a genetic connection to their step mother Frances.  And that’s probably the closest I will ever get to have a Mayflower ancestor!


Author: Jacqui Beard

Wife, mother, & property/finance professional having an obsession with genealogy bordering on the unhealthy. I live just north of Cheltenham with my family, a grumpy border terrier and four plump, friendly chickens. When not "playing with dead people," as my husband so charmingly puts it, I can be found pottering around the garden or writing.


  1. Hello, I came across this site accidently. Interesting my family are the Norfolk Corbyn’s, we had no idea they were around as far back as the 1500’s…..if I have read it correctly.

    • Hi Christine

      Thank you for your email. There were definitely Corbyn’s in East Anglia as far back as the late 1300’s. I have a considerable number of Norfolk wills from 15th – 17th century so can put the majority of families together with some degree of certainty, but there are a few assumptions in the website too, which should be clearly indicated.

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