Robert Newman of Fifehead Magdalen
c.1516* - 1556

 Relationship to me: Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Gen -13
Born c.1516* (Jaynie Ballard has 1494)  

1556 - buried in the Chancel at Fifehead (Note: Jaynie Ballard has d.1558)

Age ??  
Father:      Robert Newman of Stour Provost and St Austyn's Abbey c.1494* - 1558
Mother: ????
Brothers/Sisters: ????
Married: Christian .... or Alice according to Somerset records see notes below.
Children:  (see notes below) Robert Newman of Fifeild (or Fifehead) c.1536* - 1576 (b.1523 by Jaynie Ballard)
  Richard Newman of Charlton Musgrove c.1538* - 1573 (b.1525 by Jaynie Ballard)
  Henry (see notes below) (b.1525 by Jaynie Ballard)
  Thomas Newman of Fifehead Magdalen c.1540* - 1574 (b.1529 by Jaynie Ballard)

* I have estimated the birth dates for each generation between Robert Newman of St. Thomas's, Salisbury (c.1370-1402) and Thomas Newman of Fifehead (c.1560-1649) based on the assumption that each was at least 20 years old when they had their eldest child. Such a short generation time implies that there may be too many generations listed in the pedegree. Jaynie Ballard's tree suggests that this is the case since it omits Robert Newman of Stour Provost and St Augustin's Abbey which results in her generation gaps appearing less problematic.

Note 1: This is the first Newman to claim to be of Fifehead Magdalen, and it appears that it was he who first leased the estate from the Abbey of St Augustine's, Bristol - on 20 November 1530 according to Wayne Newman in a letter to the Newman Name Society published as an article in the Newman Chronicle in April 1998. Both Wayne Newman and Tony Newman (in the same article) show Robert's wife as Christian show Robert and both show him having four sons, Robert, Richard, Henry and Thomas. This date preceded the dissolution of the monestries by just seven or eight years, and occurred at a time when the monestries were very unpopular because of their wealth and corruption. The monestries were so wealthy and owned so much land that it was no longer necessary for the monks to work the land as they had done before the 15th Century, and it was common for hired labour to be used instead, and for church properties to be leased to wealthy families to provide 'free' income for the monestries.  [See separate page on Abbey Leases.]  

My own information about Robert, his wife and his children (obtained before I discovered Wayne and Tony Newman's article) is quite conflicting. The information from Burke's Commoners, ii, pp 111-113 shows Robert Newman of Fifehead Farm dying in 1556 and having a wife called Alice and children named Robert, Richard, Henry and Thomas. Proceedings of Somerset Archeological Society Vol XXXIX - Pages 156 and 157 has Thomas Newman of Fifehead Magdalen also dying in 1556 and having a wife called Helen, four or five sons (Thomas, John, Richard and Robert and perhaps Henry) and one daughter (Elizabeth). On the other hand, John Hutchin's History of Dorset (Third Edition 1870) pages 57 and 58 gives a different story again which happens to be the same as that which came to me from my father, quoting "Robert Newman living at Fifehide 23.Hen.VIII" having wife "Christian" (not Christiana) and children: Robert, son and heir, Richard of Charlton Musgrave and Thomas (whose son Thomas is described as "Thomas of Fifehead Magdalen". I have used the latter information in the above table. Apart from omitting the third son Henry, it is largely consistent with Wayne and Tony Newman's information.

Note (added May 2019): According to the Grant of an Augmentation to Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen, Co. Dorset, gentleman, by Sir Edward Walker Garter, dated 2nd April, 1664 provided to me by the College of Arms in April 2019, "Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen in the County of Dorset, Gent is son & heir of Thomas Newman Grandchild of another Thomas Newman & Great Grandchild of Robert Newman Gent, unto home, & unto Christian his wife". It seems clear that Robert's wife was indeed called Christian.

All three documents supplied to me by Somerset County Council in 1991 go no further back than Robert Newman, so I currently have no idea where the information I have recorded about his ancestors comes from, other than that it was handed down to me by father.

Note 2: Jaynie Ballard's genealogy shows Robert born in 1523 followed by Henry (b.1525), Richard (also b.1525) and Thomas (b.1529). She claims to have "cobbled together" her tree from the LDS site, this website, the Newman Name Society Chronicles and Wayne Newman's April 1998 letter to the NNS Chronicle, so her dates should have more standing than mine.

Last updated: 3 Aug 2013