The Bevis: A Later Mayflower

Carpenter Family
(from Stiehm-Burton-Schutt
Family) Connects to Bradfords

The Bevis, also known as the Bevis of Hampton was a ship that brought “Emigrants” from England to New England in 1638 at a time when thousands of Puritans left England seeking freedom of religious practice. The ship master was named Robert Batten. One voyage carried 61 settlers from Southampton, England, leaving on 16 May 1638, to “Newengland”. The ship’s destinations included: Newbury, Weymouth, Wells, Maine, Newport, Salisbury, and Charlestown.

The passengers on the Bevis were mostly Puritans, among them were the Carpenters (William, his son William, and William’s family) leaving England for the New World driven by the quest for religious freedom at a time when England was moving toward ardent Catholicism. Charles I was  the King of England. His religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of reformed groups such as the Puritans and Calvinists, who thought his views too Catholic. Charles reign would end with Oliver Cromwell. (By the end of 1648 Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army had consolidated its control over England. Charles was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649.)

Some in Charles’ court noticed the Bevis was almost entirely composed of Puritans and agents of the Kingdom sought to prevent the ship from setting sail in May of 1638, but failed to prevent the sailing. So, 18 years after the Mayflower, more of our ancestors arrived.

Amos Carpenter in his book, A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF THE REHOBOTH BRANCH OF THE CARPENTER FAMILY IN AMERICA,  describes the family as such:

This William, the progenitor of the Rehoboth family, came over in the ship ” Bevis ” with his son William, son’s wife Abigail and their children. He was registered at Southampton, at the time of emigration as a carpenter by trade and as coming from Wherwell, but it is evident that he was a resident of London. It appears that all the family were Dissenters and consequently obliged to leave the City of London for a more quiet place. Alexander went to Leyden and William, the son of William, went to Wherwell. There is no evidence that the father was there only as he went to join his son at the time of emigration.

The son was described as such:

William Carpenter, wife Abigail, had seven children viz: John; William; Joseph; Hannah; Abiah; Abigail and Samuel.  . . . William was b. 1605 ; his wife was Abigail; she d. Feb. 22, 1687 ; he d. (7) Feb. 7, 1659, in Rehoboth, Mass. A farmer. William Carpenter was admitted a freeman of Weymouth, May 13. 1640: was representative of Weymouth, in 1641 and 1643 and from the town of Rehoboth in 1645 ; constable in 1641. He was admitted as an inhabitant of Rehoboth, Mass., March 28, 1645. Governor Bradford (who married his cousin Alice; manifested great friendship for William Carpenter and favored him in all his measures in the Plymouth Court: and ever after that it appears from all their dealings and transactions whether private or public, that they were close friends. There is no doubt but that it was through the influence of Gov. Bradford and his wife Alice that William Carpenter of Weymouth was induced to come to New England . . .

The Bevis and the Mayflower were not the only ships that brought Puritans to New England. It is estimated that from 1630 through 1640 approximately 20,000 colonists came to New England,


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