Thomas Newman of Fifehead
c.1560* - 1649

 Relationship to me: Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Gen -11
Born c.1560* (estimated)  
Died 21st Oct 1649 (see below)  
Age over 80  
Father:      Thomas Newman of Fifehead Magdalen c.1540* - 1574
Mother: Dorothy ???? - 1576
Brothers: none
Sisters: none
Married: Ellen Mayo, daughter of Richard Mayo of Fonthill
Children: Richard Newman of Fifehead (assumed to be eldest) 1584 - 1664
Thomas d. 1668? (see note below
  Robert will proved 1653
  John will proved 1658

* I have estimated the birth dates for each generation between Robert Newman of St. Thomas's, Salisbury (c.1370-1402) and this Thomas Newman of Fifehead 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.


(1) The inscription on the memorial in Fifehead chapel (see below) gives the date of Thomas's death as 1649, which agrees with the text which states that he was over 80 years of age. However the date given in my father's records is 21 Oct 1602, which almost certainly comes from the Latin text on the memorial as recorded in John Hutchin's History of Dorest p58 which incorrectly states the date of Thomas's death as MDCII = 1602.

photo by Chris Newman Oct 2004

The Latin inscription below left is taken from John Hutchin's History of Dorset while the 'verbatim' translation was kindly given to me by Jerry Gandolfo.
* Note - John Hutchin's History of Dorset (page 58) incorrectly shows the date on the inscription as MDCII = 1602. It actually reads MDCIL = 1649.]

Thomas Newmannus sub vicino cespite requiescit
Ex generosa prosapie Newemannoru [de Newman
Hall cohr(?) Essex
] ortus
Judicio antiquus ingenio solo novissimus
Pietate in Deum charitatem pauperes insignis
In Anglia municipaliiure
Sagax non subdolus
Lex ipse sitimet perfectissima
Ultra octoginta annos corpore moratus
Supra octogenarium animo moratus
Arthritide & senectute altero morbo confect
Octobris XXI, M.D.C.IL
placide animam egit

 Thomas Newman rests under the neighbouring turf
Raised from the gentle family of
Newmans [of Newman Hall Essex]
Ancient in judgment, very new in quality alone
Outstanding for faith in God, charity towards the poor
Openly eager for the right of the Citizen in England
And very thirsty for the best Law
Enduring more than 80 years in body Enduring in soul beyond 80
With arthritis and old age, killed by a different disease
On 21st October 1649 He calmly faced his death.
[translation, courtesy of Peter Foden]

The Latin inscription on the left (above) is taken from the photograph above while the translation has been carried out by istorian Peter Foden. The words "de Newman Hall, county. Essex" have been added as an afterthought as can be seen in the photo below:

Peter Foden's translations of Thomas and Richard's monument inscription were accompanied by the following comments:

I am reasonably happy with the sense of these translations, although grammatically some lines are obscure. “Very thirsty for the best law” is odd because “lex perfectissima” is in the nominative, but so is “ipse” (he), and “siti” is I think dative (-met is an emphatic suffix). And Janani seems an odd name for the second daughter.

Given the date of the Pardon, I suggest that that Richard is one and the same as the erector and composer of the inscription.

I am interested in the alteration, which may have had fraudulent intent: I know of a similar example in Sussex, where a family claiming an estate through Chancery litigation in the 18th century made such an alteration in order to strengthen their case (without any other evidence).

The Latin is very good and poetic, wherein lies the difficulty. If it had been simple dog-Latin it might have been easier but also far less interesting. I am not sure that the Royal Pardon implies that Richard was a Parliamentarian: participation in Civil War on whatever side would open up risks of later prosecution and dispossession. You will notice that the pardon is for ‘waging war against us, our Parliament and Realm of England’. Also that some questions (such as eligibility for office) were still to be debated in Parliament.

I notice that there is a Latin form Junana for Jane given by Trice Martin in The Record Interpreter, which is close enough to Jananus.

  (2) Thomas Newman: There has been confusion as to whether this Thomas was the eldest son of Thomas d.1649 or whether Richard (1584 - 1664) was his eldest son. Since Richard's memorial insciption (situated on the same plaque immediately below Thomas's) seems to state that Richcard was the eldest son, Thomas is shown as the second son.

A document dated 1609 relating to a lease of the Manor of Buckland Newton Dorset and associated appurtenances was discovered by Harold Biggs (see email dated 10 Dec 2013), and includes the names of Thomas Newman and his three children as joint lessees. The children's names were given as Thomas (the younger), Robert and Mary. Initially it was assumed that the elder Thomas refers to Thomas d.1649, but given that his son Richard Newman's name doesn't appear on the lease, it seems more likely that the document refers to Thomas d.1668 and that the three children were his. By 1609, the children of Thomas d.1649 would have been adults - indeed it was in the year following this lease agreement that Richard Newman engaged in his own land transactions when he purchased the estates of Sparkford and Cadbury.

As usual, Campbell Newman offers a different perspective on his website saying: "On 30th October 1635, Thomas Newman of Fifehead, scholar of Pembroke College Oxford aged 15 years, matriculated with his younger brother Richard. He died unmarried in 1664, the same year as his father, leaving his estates to Colonel Richard Newman". This however belies the inscription on his brother Richard's memorial at Fifehead which states that Thomas's "son, Thomas, (was) taken away in the prime of life by an attack of fever". Since Thomas (the elder son) must have been born before 1584, he would have been long past the prime of life if he had died in 1668 (84 years later).

Tony Newman suggests in his article in the Newman Chronicle of April 1998 that the Thomas Newman buried near the entrance gate to the Fifehead Magdalen churchyard was this eldest son of Thomas Newman. The size of the gravestone certainly suggests that he was a man of means when he died.

(3) Robert Newman: Raymond Mercier kindly sent me a copy of Robert Newman's will along with many others which I have not yet appended to this website (refer email dated 7 Jan 2004). Raymond believed that Robert was an older brother of Richard, but has no birth date for him.

(4) John Newman: As for Robert above, Raymond Mercier sent me a copy of John Newman's will which I have not yet appended to the website. Raymond added a note in his 7th Jan 2004 email saying that "John's (will) is interesting in that it refers to a Cottage in Evercreech parish that he passes on to his grandson William. According to FamilySearch ( John was married to Margaret Conquest , but no children are indicated. At least I assume that John was one of the brothers - but this supported by the names of his parents Thomas N & Ellen or Ellin Mayo, which are given on that site."

The National Archives website offers access to John's will - see - which describes him as John Newman of Evercreech.

Last Updated: 16 Jan 2014 - Richard Newman assumed to be Thomas's eldest son.
Updated: 12 Jan 2014 - information from Harold Biggs added.
Updated: 10 Dec 2004