East Anglian Ancestors

Norfolk & Suffolk genealogy

The Children Of Richard Fairweather of Aspall


Various genealogical sites on the internet concerning Suffolk Fairweathers list a number of individuals purporting to be children of Richard Fairweather and his wife, Helen, that I believe to be spurious. Together with my daughter, Jacqui, I have investigated this family in detail and outline my findings below. Documents and sources used include:

Parish Registers of St. Mary, Bedingfield.
Will of Richard Fairweather of Aspall 1566
Will of Nicholas Fairweather of Kenton 1584
Will of John Fairweather of Winston 1624
Will of William Fairweather of Winston 1577
Will of John Dobbs of Aspall 1608 (Died 1630)
Will of Robert Dobbs of Aspall 1583
Will of Emma Dobbs (nee Buxton) of Aspall 1593
Will of Walter Brooke of Bury-St-Edmunds 1589

1. JOHN FAIRWEATHER 1538-1626 Baptised at Bedingfield 27 Aug 1538. Married Alice Buxton 4 Aug 1566
Most researchers seem to be aware of 8 of the children of John Fairweather and Alice Buxton viz Nicholas (died in infancy), John, Thomas, Edward, Sarah, William, Joseph and Isaac. However, the naming of John Dobbs as a witness to the Will of John Fairweather led me to investigate the Dobbs family further. John Dobbs’ mother, Emma Dobbs, nee Buxton, left a bequest in her Will to each of the 9 children of John and Alice who were living in 1593. Two of these must be children of which I was previously unaware. One was named in the Will as Marie Fairweather and the other was unnamed. Alice Buxton was a half-sister to John Dobbs, same mother different fathers.

2. MARGARET FAIRWEATHER 1543- Baptised at Bedingfield 10 Mar 1543. Married William Marryett About 1560
Margaret is shown on some internet sites as married to John Dobbs. This is incorrect. John Dobbs was married twice. Firstly to Agnes Blomfield 5 Oct 1585 in Stonham Parva and secondly to Margaret Grove 2 Feb 1597 at St. Julians, Norwich. The Will of Richard Fairweather describes William Marryett as his son-in-law, but does not specify the first name of William’s wife. The Will of her brother William Fairweather, however, refers specifically to “my sister Marga…. Marryett” (the original Will has been torn and a fragment following Marga…. is missing) The children of William Marryett and Margaret Fairweather are mentioned in the Wills of Richard and his brother Nicholas in addition to that of William.

3. THOMAS FAIRWEATHER 1544-1615 Baptised at Bedingfield 27 Jul 1544. Father of Priscilla, Grace and Emma.
I suspect that he may also be the father of Thomas Fairweather who married Elizabeth Spencer at Bury St. Edmunds 1619. I am still seeking evidence regarding this possibility.

4. WILLIAM FAIRWEATHER 1547-1577 Baptised at Bedingfield 21 Sep 1547. Married Alice Ling 1574.
Father of one child, Edward. Left an informative Will that indicated that he had only one sister, Margaret, but parts of the Will are ambiguous and may be open to misinterpretation.

5. ELIZABETH FAIRWEATHER Reputedly born about 1537.
I do not believe that this individual ever existed. The impression that William Marryett married an Elizabeth Fairweather probably arose from misreading the Wills of Richard and Nicholas. Both referred to Elizabeth Marryett but Richard specifically stated that she was his grandchild (belchilde), and Nicholas called her his kinswoman. The person referred to was actually the eldest child of William Marryett and Margaret Fairweather.

6. EDWARD FAIRWEATHER Reputedly born about 1550.
Another individual who, almost certainly, never existed. The error arose from a misreading of the Will of William Fairweather. The relevant passage, written without any punctuation as was the custom at the time, read “And unto John Thomas and Edward Fayerwether my brother John his son and to either…..” With punctuation added this now reads “And unto John, Thomas and Edward, my brother John, his son(s)….” and clearly refers to the three eldest sons of his brother John, who had been born by 1577 when the Will was written. I have seen a copy of a letter from the Norwich RO, summarising important elements of William’s Will, that includes the mistaken interpretation that Edward was William’s brother.

Apparently a case of Roger, a son of Nicholas and Alice, being assigned to the wrong parents.

8. MARGERY FAIRWEATHER Reputedly born about 1554.
I cannot find a shred of evidence to suggest that this person ever existed.

It is concluded that Richard fathered only four children, John, Margaret, Thomas and William. However, it is quite possible that evidence exists that I have been unable to find. I would be happy to exchange information with any researchers who feel that they could contribute to the debate concerning this family.

John Bird


  1. Roy Leonard FAIRWEATHER (my father)

    Died 1997 (Hendon, London) – NOT 1977 !

    His elder brother – John “Jack” Walter FAIRWEATHER missing.

    Would you like further information on the living relatives of these two ?

    • Dear Ian.

      Thank you for your email and for the corrections; they are always appreciated. I will make the changes as soon as the website is next updated. Thanks again.