The search for the origin of Symon Ogbourne in England (Emigrant to Virginia -1652)

Symon Ogbourne – Emigrant to Virginia – 1652

Since so many modern Americans are descended from this man,  there is naturally a desire to know of his origins in England.  It was identified some years ago that Gloucestershire is likely to be the place of origin as there are a number of entries in the archives of this county which refer to a Symon Ogbourne in the early 17th century.

Symon’s arrival in Virginia follows closely on from the conclusion of the Civil War in England, Scotland & Wales.  The Battle of Worcester which took place on 3rd September 1651 is generally recognised as the the final act of the 9 year hostilities.  It is possible that Symon took part in this battle on the Royalist side. The battle of Worcester destroyed the final hopes of the Royalists regaining power by military force. Charles II was forced into exile and the long and bitter Civil War was over.  It is distinctly possible that Symon served as a Lieutenant in the Royalist army,  and that the outcome gave him the incentive to seek his fortune in pastures new.

The information available which link the name to Gloucestershire are as follows:

Parish of St Mary de Lode, Gloucester
Baptism entry for the daughter of Symon Ogbourne, 1628 – Parish of St Mary de Lode, Gloucester 

  • Two daughters were born to a Symon Ogborne and christened, and one buried in the Gloucester City church of St Mary Lode in the 1620s:
  • Anne OGBURNE C: 10 Jan 1622. Father: Simon OGBURNEBaptism of Anne, daughter of Simon Ogburne Ogburne 1622
  • Baptism of Anne Ogbourne daughter of Symon Ogbourne at Church of St Mary de Lode, Gloucester 1622
  • Susanna OGBORNE C: 15 Mar 1628. Father: Symon OGBORNE
  • Burial unreadable first name & month N or M…… 30th ….. 1629 daughter of Symon Ogburn

The registers for for St Mary de Lode parish actually commence from 1675, and the Bishop’s transcripts have therefore been searched for the above entries. 1619, half of 1621, 1627, and 1630 – 1636 are missing.

People who use ‘ancestry’ website may like to note that the indexing of names in the UK parish records has many faults – The scripts themselves are not easy to read from the way in which letters of the alphabet were written in the 17th century,  and there are many records which exist where the condition makes them totally illegible.  And multiple errors have been found in the indexed names of Ogbournes for which amendments have been accepted by ‘ancestry’  where the person preparing the index has made totally incorrect recording of names.  (written with some sympathy for the difficulty of the task of the indexers!)  The extracts from records shown above are of a readable standard.

(The rector of the nearby parish of Lassington made the following entry in the parish register “The old register books belonging to the parish of Lassington were embezzled and lost in the late time of confusion. ” [The Civil War]

A reference to a Symon Ogborne, aged about 20 of Hardwicke, Gloucestershire is found in “Men & Armour for the County of Gloucester” in 1608. This record was compiled on the King’s instructions to identify the men available and fit to fight in a war with France. The men with variants of the Ogb*rn* name were as follows:

  • Hardwicke [in Elmstone Hardwicke parish, Cheltenham] Simon Ogborne. Aged about 20. lower stature. No occupation was given for Simon, who was recorded of ‘lower stature’ – i.e. height.

June 2018: Various other records in the Gloucestershire County Archives were searched for other occurrences of the name of Ogbourne and Symon in particular. The archive contains many very detailed records kept by Gloucester City including ‘Stewards and Chamberlains’ receipts and payments in the 17th century which include large numbers of transactions with named people in the city, including many items which related to the defence of the city during the Civil War period. (1642–1651). However no reference to any Ogbournes was found other than those already known of which are set out below. (Also the name of anyone with the first name of Symon or Simon was not found in any other record examined). This leads to a conclusion that Symon was not resident in the city of Gloucester during the Civil War. However the Symon Ogbourne who settled in Virginia in 1652 is thought to have been a single man during this period, and in his 20s – which would have made him a target for joining the military – thus it seems highly likely that Symon will have had an involvement in the The English Civil War (1642–1651). The war gripped most parts of the the country in series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians (“Roundheads”) and Royalists (“Cavaliers”) over, principally, the manner of England’s government. The war took place first (1642–1646) , second (1648–1649) and third (1649–1651). The war caused great loss of life and devastation, the action included a number of battles, but a greater feature was action to change control of towns and cities in what was a merciless way. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.The city of Gloucester committed itself to supporting the Parliamentarians in the war and saw much action during the period including resisting Royalist action to take control of Gloucester, an important strategic city. This included a concentrated attempt in August/September 1643 to take over control of the city which was attended by King Charles I, all of which failed. A further development in the search for Symon has been the discovery of the baptism of “Simon Ogburne” on 2 Mar 1614, son Of Thomas and Jane Ogburne at the church of St Peter le Bailey, Oxford, though this seems to be much less likely to be ‘our man’.

The Church of St Mary de Lode is a very ancient church with an amazing history.   We can say that a Symon Ogbourne attended this church for the baptism of two daughters, and perhaps the baptism of a son named Symon who later settled in Virginia.

St Mary de Lode Church, Gloucester Interior of St Mary de Lode St Mary de Lode - Interior view

Other Ogbornes mentioned in the Gloucestershire Men and Armour listing include:

  • Thornbury [South Glos.] Anthony Ogborne butcher. Aged about60. middle stature.
  • Maugersbury [Stow on the Wold] Thomas Soogburne servant to John Freeman. Aged about 40. middle stature.
  • Thornbury [South Glos.] William Ogburne scrivender. Aged aboutb 40. middle stature

‘Men & Armour Gloucestershire 1608′ “contains a fairly complete list of all the men from the ages of 16 to 60 in Gloucestershire in 1608″.

Elmstone Hardwicke Church
Elmstone Hardwicke Church

Searches in the church records of Hardwicke, (now known as Elmstone Hardwicke) near Cheltenham Gloucestershire have been unrewarding – no record of an Ogbourne in the following records was found in :

  • Baptisms 1564 – 1652
  • Marriages 1594 – 1612
  • Burials 1608-1620

This suggests that Symon’s residence in [Elmstone] Hardwicke was temporary, rather than long standing. See also Chapter IV dealing with the ‘EARLY OGBOURNES’ which includes much information about Symon and in the extensive information gathered by Fielding and Patricia Ogburn “A Collection of Genealogical Information about the Ogburn Family in the United States” dated 1980

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Focusing on the history of the name of Ogbourne, Ogborn, Ogburn and other variants, including the early form of Ocheburne & Okebourne