Notes on the families of Martha Chaplin and Robert Parke MA 1630
Martha Chaplin and Robert Parke were first cousins. Marthaís father William and Robertís mother Alice were siblings and the children of William Chaplin of William Chaplin of Tarnes Farm. Robert Parke appears to be a descendant of The Parke family of Gestingthorpe mentioned in the Visitations of Essex 1634. Below I have set out the evidence to support this view. It should be read in conjunction with the genealogy of the Chaplins of Semer.
William Chaplin of Tarnes Farm
William Chaplinís will identifies three siblings, a brother Clement, a sister Joan Ballard and a "said" brother Thomas of whom nothing is known except his name. Three children are mentioned, Edmund the eldest son, William, and Alice who is under 21. Another William, Clementís eldest son is also mentioned as under 16.
Alice Chaplin daughter of William of Tarnes Farm was born after 1554 (under 21 in 1575) and was left property in Acton. Robert Parke of Acton had a wife called Alice who is named in his will. An Alice Chaplin married a Richard Parke[r] at All Saints Sudbury on 27 Sep 1579. It is probable but certainly not proven that Alice Chaplin daughter of William of Tarnes Farm is Robert Parkeís wife Alice.
William Chaplin of Semer
William of Tarnes farm had a son called William, Aliceís brother. There is no definite evidence that this William is William of Semer however it seems probable on the grounds of proximity and the lack of other suitable candidates. Unfortunately Muskett does not record a will for William of Semer.
Robert Parke of Acton
This Robert Parke is probably the son of William Parke of Gestingthorpe. William Parke mentions a son Robert in his will and Robert Parke leaves property in Gestingthorpe to one of his sons. He also sold land in Gestingthorpe in 1571/2 and was executor of his brother John Parkeís will.
Robert of Acton mentions that he has three children, Edmund, second son, William the youngest, but the eldest son is not named. His wife is named as Alice.
Robert Parke MA 1630
This Robert was known to have been born circa 1580 from his age. Early references give his birthplace as Preston, Lancashire although later it was realised that he was from Suffolk. There are no Parke baptisms recorded in the BTs for Preston, Suffolk around this time however a baptism of a Robert Parke, son of Robert has been found at Poslingford on the 3 Jun 1580. Unfortunately the motherís name is not given however it is assumed that Robert baptised in Poslingford is the immigrant and the son of Robert of Acton. This seems to be a plausible hypothesis but is not proved. It is a pity that the eldest son of Robert of Acton is not named in his fatherís will.
Robert Parke married Martha Chaplin at Semer on 9 Feb 1602.
Martha Chaplin, wife of Robert Parke
There were three Martha Chaplins in the area all of similar age. Martha, daughter of William of Semer, Martha, daughter of Edmund of Lindsey and Martha, daughter of Clement.
Martha daughter of Clement married Benedict Posford at Semer on 13 Aug 1611. Her father Clement mentions Martha Posford "my goddaughter" in his will, presumably a granddaughter.
Martha daughter of Edmund was married Thomas Brain (second husband). She is referred to as "my daughter Martha Brain" in her fatherís will.
Martha daughter of William of Semer can be identified as the wife of Robert Parke because her stepmother Ann Chaplin mentions Ann Parke and William Parke, children of Robert Parke in her will. In addition a pedigree from Candlerís MS quoted by Muskett shows this Martha as wife of Robert Parke who went to New England. Unfortunately Muskett does not give a date for this MS. Still further evidence comes from the will of Marthaís brother Clement. He mentions his kinsman William Parke of Roxbury in New England. In the Muskett version of this will is Parke is wrongly transcribed as Clarke [TAG].
Thus Martha daughter of William can be positively identified as the wife of Robert Parke and the other Marthas can both be excluded
Martha Chaplin had a brother Capt. Robert Chaplin married to Elizabeth Astye. He is of interest because he was thought to be Marthaís father at one time, a source of endless confusion.
Suffolk Manorial Families, Volume III pp 80-120 by Joseph Muskett 1910. This is the key Chaplin reference and includes all the relevant Chaplin wills.
News Letter of the Parke Society XXIII, No 3 p 1, 40-41. This contains the Parke wills and an extended Parke pedigree from the Visitation of Suffolk 1634.
News Letter of the Parke Society XV, No 1 12-13 Mentions Robert Parke of Actonís property in Gestingthorpe and that he was executor of his brother John Parkeís will.
Th American Genealogist Vol. 33 No. 1 p 11-12. January 1957. This contains a transcript of the will of Clement Chaplin. It is important because it corrects a transcription error in the Muskett version in which William Parke is wrongly transcribed as William Clarke.