Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Story of Dominyche Fullagar (Fullagarde)

The story of my paternal 12x Great Grandfather Dominyche Fullagar (Fullagarde) (c.1518-1558) will be a short one.  The information I have found has come from oral family history recorded by descendants in England, although there is one piece of evidence that provides proof of some of the particulars of his story. That's his last will and testament.

Dominyche was born 500 years ago in 1518, according to family history, in Headcorn, Kent, England.

His name was most likely pronounced as "Dominic".

There are no records in existence that can provide proof of his date of birth or the names of his parents, so I'm unable to fill in those blanks.

Public Domain,

In the supposed year of Dominyche's birth, King Henry VIII had been the monarch of England for nine years, James V ruled Scotland and Francis 1 was the ruler of France.

Henry VIII was to remain the monarch of England during the majority of Dominyche's life.

Dominyche married Alice Hemersham around 1539, in the village of Headcorn, Kent.  He would have been 21 years old and Alice was 17. Their son William was born the following year, probably in 1540. 

Dominyche's occupation was 'mercer'.  He was a trader in cloth, textiles and woollens, and he seems to have been rather well-off.  Whether he had inherited land and wealth from his father, or had become very prosperous as a result of his occupation is unknown.

Headcorn at that time was a village that had prospered with the growth in the textile industry.  Many of the weavers in the village would have been Flemish weavers who had escaped French rule and settled in England.  Dominyche would have often visited the Cloth Hall in the centre of his village to buy fabrics from weavers such as these.

Village of Headcorn

The Old Cloth Hall apparently still stands in the village of Headcorn.  Reputedly it's the building on the right in the photo above.

In Dominyche's time, the Exchequer would have been next door.  It served as a bank, and Dominyche would have gone there to get a line of credit in order to make his fabric purchases.  It's likely he would have then sold them in places such as London or even in Europe.

(Note:  this information about Headcorn was provided by a distant relative from her own family tree research, but is apparently not correct according to a local historian who has been researching the village for many years.  I received a message from this historian stating: "I have read your piece relating to Headcorn and would like to offer some corrections. I have been a local historian in Headcorn for many years. The building in the High Street shown is not a cloth hall, it is known as Shakespeare House and was possible a weaving house?, The building to the left is 'Chequers', named that as it was an inn called the 'Ball and Chequers'. It was NEVER a bank there would not have been one in the village at that time.")

Dominyche died on the 21st of December 1558, when he was only 40 years old.  He died in the village of Headcorn.

Now to his last will and testament. It's at this point, that I'll mention the Week 20 prompt for the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - Another Language.

The language of Dominyche's will is extraordinary and obviously reflects the nature of the English language during the period known as the Tudor Period in England. This was known as Early Modern English, the stage of the English language as it developed and was used from the late 15th century until the mid-to-late 17th century.

The transcript reads:
In the name of God Amen. The 21st day of December in the year or our Lord God 1558 and in the first year of the reign of our sovereign Lady Elizabeth by the grace of God Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the faith.
This is the last Will and Testament of me Dominyche Fullagarde mercer of the parish of Headcomne being sick in body and of perfect remembrance I bequeath my soul to almighty God and my body to the ground to be buried in the church yarde of Headcomne or its where.
Then I will William Fullagarde my son my part of one messuage garden barn and other housing thereunto belonging and the land thereunto belonging by estimation 13 acres more or less within the borow of Headcomne of its where within the parish of Headcomne in feesimple forever.
Also I will that William Fullagarde my son shall mine executor of all my moveable goods recervynge (?) my wife shall have half the household recervynge (?) the tunnes of the bruehouse and Alice my wife shall have two kine and a bull and the said William my son shall pay to Alice my wife 20 (pounds) of lawful money of England by equal portions within one hole year next after my death.
I will that Alice my wife shall have her dwelling in the house as long as she lyveth she being sole widow and when the housselhold is shift my son to choose first so that my wife shall not medle with the shopp of mercerie furthermore I will that my wife and William my son to keep for the house and to bear the charges between them and to shift the profits betwixt them.
Also I will that in case William my son do not suffer my wife quietly to be with him that then she shall disentre him.
Then I will that my brother Nicholas Hemersham shall mine oversear of this my Will and Testament and to have for his pains 13s/4d to be paid immediately after my death and I give to everie one of my Godchildren 4d and I give to Thomas Bames dwelling with me 10 shillings immediately after my death and William my son being my Executor to pay my bequeathes and to receyve all my debts in witness hereof Nicholas Mr. Hemersham James Mr. Hynchell Richard Buchorse Vicar with other.
What fantastic language!  It's an absorbing read.  I find some of the spelling quite interesting.  What on earth is "recervynge"?  Would that be "revenue"?

It appears that Dominyche was only survived by his wife and one son.  Essentially, the will states that Dominyche's wife Alice should have a few cattle, plus the sum of £20, and should have the use of the house during her lifetime. Son, William and Alice were to share the profits of the shop and to live together in the house.

I find the remark "My wife shall not medle with the shoppe of mercerie", quite interesting. Perhaps Alice had tried to have a say in the business when Dominyche was plying his trade, and perhaps he had not appreciated that at all!

Son William was to have "messuage, garden, barn and 13 acres".  

A typical 16th century middle class house

 A "messuage" was a dwelling house wtih outbuildings, possibly similar to the house pictured here. 

"Messuage" was an Anglo-Norman French word with its origin in the Latin language ... 'manere' meaning "to dwell".  

Presumably this sizeable 13 acre property contained the "shoppe", although that is not clear.
Dominyche's brother-in-law was also mentioned in the will ...  "my brother Nicholas Hemersham shall (be) mine oversear of this my Will".  Dominyche also gave 4 pence to each of his godchildren.  I wonder how many there were?  Did Dominyche have lots of godchildren because he and wife Alice only had the one son?  There are endless questions I'd love to find the answers for, but it's likely a lost cause given that the life of my 12x Great Grandfather was lived so very long ago!

Special Note to any family members:  If you have information to share, can I graciously ask that you do so.  Please use the comments box below or email me.  It may prove to be invaluable to the story and provide future generations with something to truly treasure.

Extra note:  I'm joining Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project / challenge.

The prompt for Week 20 is 'Another Language'.

You can join by blogging or posting on social media with the tag #52ancestors.

Check out this FB page:  Amy Johnson Crow


  1. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thanks, Chris

  2. My names Ryan seager from folkestone I just found by family tree I am related

  3. Lyle Trevor Pledge was located in Calgary Alberta, Canada for the past many years and presently moving to Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia to semi-retire. My Grandmother Ada Fullagar past away in November 1922 within a month when my Father Trevor George Pledge was born, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. My second cousin Anne Saint (bless her) has recently telling about my Grand-mother's side of the family. Fascinating to learn about my family.

  4. I have read your piece relating to Headcorn and would like to offer some corrections. I have been a local historian in Headcorn for many years. The building in the High Street shown is not a cloth hall, it is known as Shakespeare House and was possible a weaving house?, The building to the left is 'Chequers', named that as it was an inn called the 'Ball and Chequers'. It was NEVER a bank there would not have been one in the village at that time.

  5. I'm a Fullagar descendant as well. It's fascinating to get a glimpse of our ancestors' lives.
    We're cousins!

    1. Hello cousin. Lovely to virtually meet you. Our Fullagar ancestors most certainly had interesting lives and I've loved the research into the various branches of the family.

  6. i have a more than a little information on Dominyche and onwards. he would be my several times great grandfather. his son married a "Kelsham, daughter of Lord Kelsham of Kelsham hall, now Kelsham farm in Headcorn. I have a reasonably comprehensive record up to me, and my children/grandchildren. Currently researching John Fullagar who was sentenced to death in 1809 for larceny, whose sentenced was commuted to life and transportation to Australia. He married an Esther Latham who was sentenced to 7 years at Lancaster Quarter sessions, from these two spring the Australian branch. The American branch comes from three brothers who emigrated in the 1800's and set up their own businesses. Anything else I can help you with, just please ask. Alex Fullagar

    1. Thank you Alex for your information. I was unaware of the John Fullagar who was transported to Australia and would love more information about him. If you use the 'Contact Form' at the top to the right of this page, we would be able to email, which might be a better way of communicating.

  7. Hi my name is Michelle I’m from Australia and I too am a Fullagar descended(my Grandfather is a Hukins)