The following excerpt is courtesy of Howard Metcalfe from his manuscript "Some Descendants of Rev. Leonard Metcalf." Our thanks to Howard for his efforts and permission to post this information. Most of his extensive citations have been edited out for use here. For the complete manuscript in PDF form go to his excellent website .

Descendants of Reverend Leonard Metcalf

Michael2 Metcalf (Leonard1) , son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf and Amy ––. Born in 1590 in Tatterford Parish, Norfolk, England. Died on 24 December 1664 in Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, about 74 years old. Buried on 27 December 1664 in Dedham. Married twice.

Exposition on Michael Metcalf:
Michael 1 was born in 1590 in the Parish of Tatterford in Norfolk, England. While the earlier Yorkshire Metcalfes were, as far as is known, zealous Catholics, the Norfolk family was forced into becoming zealous Protestants, and Michael, at least, became a staunch Puritan.

Michael married Sarah Ellwyn on 13 October 1616 in Hingham (Heigham), near Norwich, in Norfolk. She was born and baptized on 17 June 1593 in Hingham, the daughter of Thomas Elwyn and Elizabeth Benslye of Hingham, the Elwyns being a distinguished family in Norfolk.

In 1619–1634 Michael was Warden of St. Benedict’s in Norwich. He also owned a cloth factory in Norwich and there he employed more than a hundred men making material known as Damask, or Dornix—material used for making curtains, carpets and other hangings. Hence he has been referred to by his descendants as “The Dornix Weaver.”

However, like most Puritans, Michael and his family felt persecuted for their religious beliefs. So, with his family and probably other local Metcalfs, Michael emigrated through Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1637.

They left Ipswich in Suffolk, their last port in England, aboard the Rose on 15 April and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, on 8 June 1637. There they founded the very extensive branch of the family in New England and other Northern States which commonly does not use the terminal e.

“Many of these Metcalfs, along with others in England, were severely harassed by Bishop Wren, a vigorous opponent of Puritanism, who was eventually tried by Parliament during the reign of Oliver Cromwell” for acts committed by him during his term of two years and four months as the Holy See of Norwich. Howell’s State Trials, Volume IV, page 33, cites Article XVI of the impeachment:

That by suppressing means of knowledge and salvation, and introducing ignorance, superstition and profaneness, many [some 3,000] of his majesty’s subjects which used trades, spinning, weaving, and making of cloth, stuffs, and other manufactures of wool—and making of cloth . . . that is to say Daniel Sonning, Michael Metcalf, John Besant, Nicholas Metcalf, and many others, some of whom setting a hundred poor people to work, have removed themselves into Holland and other parts beyond the seas, and there set up and taught the natives the said manufactures, to the great hindrance of trade in this kingdom, and to the impoverished, and bringing to extreme want of very many who were by these parties set to work, to the great prejudice of his Majesty and his people.

The defense of Bishop Wren alleged that Michael and Nicholas Metcalf (possibly Michael’s brother) were “call’d in question for some Words against the King, and so slipt away” to New England. Michael tells us of his journey to America below:

To all the true professors of Christ’s Gospel within the city of Norwich:

. . . I was persecuted in the land of my father’s sepulchres, for not bowing at the name of Jesus, and observing other ceremonies in religion, forced upon me, at the instance of Bishop Wren, of Norwich, and his chancellor Dr. Corbet, whose violent measures troubled me in the Bishop’s Court, and returned me into the High Commissioner’s Court. Suffering many times for the cause of religion, I was forced, for the sake of the liberty of my conscience, to flee from my wife and children, to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London, the 17th of Sepr 1636; being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following, then veering about to Plymouth in Old England, in which time I met with many sore afflictions.

Leaving the ship, I went down to Yarmouth, in Norfolk county, whence I shipped myself and family, to come to New England; sailed 15th April, 1637, and arrived three days before midsummer, with my wife, nine children and a servant.

[In a postscript Michael wrote] . . . my enemies conspired against me to take my life, and, sometimes, to avoid their hands, my wife did hide me in the roof of the house, covering me over with straw.

In the new world, Michael was admitted as a Townsman at Dedham on 14 July 1637 and joined the local church on 16 January 1639. He was made a freeman of the town on 13 May 1640 (and/or on 18 May 1642), was chosen a Selectman of Dedham in 1641 and headed a committee to design a new meeting house. By 1641 Michael owned one of the principal clay pits on Dedham Island, the clay being used for the new industry of brickmaking.

Sarah died on 30 November 1644 at Dedham,11 and Michael married second Mrs. Mary (Sothby) Pidge, a widow of Roxbury, Massachusetts, on 13 August 1645 in Dedham. Michael and Mary had no children, although Mary had children from her previous marriage.

In 1657 Michael was the schoolmaster of Dedham. Michael died on 24 December 1664 and was buried three days later. Mary survived him. His will dated 15 September 1664, three months before his death, follows:


Michael Metcalfe, Senior, of Dedham, being aged, Doe make this my Last Will. Whereas, there is a Covenant Between my selfe and Mary my wife, made before our marriage, bearing Date the 13 of August 1645, wherein it may appear that she reserved to herselfe, and to her dispose, her Lands, and Estate, so that I received no Estate with her; Yet, neverthelesse, I give unto her ffor the terme of her widowhood, in household stuffe, and other goods, as shee thinkes meete to Chuse, for her use, not exceeding the value of sixteene pounds, and not being such as I shall particuarly Dispose of, in this my Last will, which household stuffe, so chosen by her, shall Bee to ffurnishe the Roome, which my Executor shall prepare for her, at his house, to Receive her into, after my Decease. All which household stuffe and goods, I give to my Executor, to have, after the Decease of my wife. Unto my wife, six punds, to be paid to her within one month after my Decease in Current pay. Unto Sonne John Metcalfe of Medfield, one ffeather and Bolster, my second book of Martyrs, Mr. Perkin’s second book, Luther on the gala, one silver spoon, one pair of sheets, on Long Chest, in the Upper Chamber, one Diaper Boardcloth. Unto my Executor & his Heires, all that my Land in Neponset plaine, and three Acres Laying in ye Lowplaine next to Peter Woodward’s, Also halfe my Divident in ye Cedar swampe, neer the Saw Mill, & 3 Commons & ye odde. Unto my Grandchild Michael Metcalfe, the Elder, all that my Land and Improvments within the Lotte I dwell in, my three acres in ye wigwaom plaine, my swompe next to my house, provided he give my Executor that Little parcel of his swampe west end of his house, otherwise my gift to be void. Also I give him my Natick Dividend of twenty-three acres, more or lesse; four Cow Commons; halfe my Cedar swampe, at the Saw Mill; my wood Land, at the West of Toune; all the particulars I have belonging to husbandry, in one kind or another; all the Remainer of my Household stuffe not Disposed of in this my Will. Also my first Book of Martyrs, Mr. Perkin’s first Booke, one silver spoon. To my Daughter Wilson, ffortye shillings. To my Daughter Elisabeth Bancrafte, ffive pounds. To my Daughter Martha Stowe, twenty shillings. To my Daughter, Jane Walker, forty shillings. To my Daughter Rebecca Mackintosh—ffive punds. To my wife’s Daughter, Martha Bullard, twenty shillings. To my Daughter, Sarah Onion, three pounds. All which six Legacyes, Last namedl, shall be paid at, in, or Before, the second March next after my Decease, in Current Payment.

To my Daughter Stowe’s eldest sonne, which she had by her first husband, Wm. Brignall, ffour pounds, to be paid him when he shall attayne to Lawful age. To my Grandchild, Jno. Mackintosh, and Robert Onion, all my wearing apparel to be equally divided by my Executor in order as their names been here set down; my Grandchild to choose first: To my Grandchild, above said, all the Lumber in my house. Moreover, if any of ye persons that are Legattes in my present will, shall by themselves, or by any others, make or cause to make any Disturbances, or Contortion, in word or Deed in Reference to any thing given in this my Will; then all that Legacye to that person, shall be utterly voide. Thomas Metcalfe of Dedham, my sonne, to be my executor, to whom I give all the Rest of my Lands and Goods, not formerly Disposed of.

Michael Metcalfe

Before the witnessing hereof, I give to my Grandchild, abovesaid, my single acre of Meddow; also my Largest gray Horsemans Coate, also two oxen, one Cow, to be delivered to him at Lawful age. All the Books, aforesaid, given to my soone John, after his death I give them his sonne Michael my Grandchilde.

Signed and sealed in the presence of us
Peter Woodard, his mark X, Jonathan ffairbanke
Edward Ranson, Recorder
Jonathan Fairebanke

Michael and Sarah had eleven children, the first seven baptized at St. Benedict in Norwich and the last four at St. Edmondsbury.

1st Wife of Michael Metcalf: Sarah Elwyn , dau. of Thomas Elwyn (son of William Elwyn and Alice ––) and Elizabeth Benslye. Born and baptized on 17 June 1593 in Heigham, Norfolk, England. Died on 30 November 1644 in Dedham, 51 years old. Buried in December 1644 in Dedham. Married Michael on 13 October 1616 in St. Bartholomew, Heigham when 23 years old (Michael was about 26 years old).

Exposition on Sarah Elwyn : Sarah Metcalf “wife of our brother Michael Metcalf Senr died comfortably Novr 30, 1644, aged 51 yrs 5 mo. 13 days. She was born at Wagnham near Norwich June 17, 1593—married October 13, 1616” The quotation is from the records of the First Parish Church of Dedham.

“His [Michael’s] wife, Sarah, was born in the adjoining [to Norwich] town of Waynham, (?) June 17, 1593, where they were married Oct. 13, 1616. . . . His wife, Sarah, died Nov. 30, 1644 . . . ”

Issue of Michael Metcalf and Sarah Elwyn:

  1. son Michael Metcalf . Born on 13 November 1617 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. Baptized on 30 November 1617 in St. Benedict Parish, Norwich when two weeks old. Died on 19 January 1617/8 in Norwich, two months old. Buried on 20 January 1617/8 in St. Benedict Church, Norwich.
  2. dau. Mary Metcalf . Born on 14 February 1618/9 in Norwich. Baptized on 17 February 1618/9 in St. Benedict Parish when three days old. Died on 5 May 1676 in Dedham, 57 years old. Buried in Dedham.
  3. son Michael Metcalf . Born on 29 August 1620 in Norwich. Baptized in St. Benedict Parish. Died on 25 March 1654 in Dedham, 33 years old.
  4. son John Metcalf . Born on 5 September 1622 in Norwich. Baptized in St. Benedict Parish. Died on 27 November 1675 in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 53 years old.
  5. dau. Sarah Metcalf . Born on 10 September 1624 in Norwich. Baptized on 10 March 1624/5 in St. Benedict Parish when six months old. Died on 25 February 1671/2 in Dedham, 47 years old.
  6. dau. Elizabeth Metcalf . Born on 20 September 1626 in Norwich. Baptized on 4 October 1626 in St. Benedict Parish when two weeks old. Died on 11 May 1711 in Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 84 years old.
  7. dau. Martha Metcalf . Born in 1627/8 in St. Benedict Parish. Baptized on 27 March 1628 in St. Benedict Parish when a few months old. Died on 26 December 1717 in Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 89 years old.
  8. son Dea. Thomas Metcalf . Born on 27 December 1629 in Norwich. Baptized on 11 January 1629/30 in St. Edmund Parish, Norwich when two weeks old. Died on 16 November 1702 in Dedham, 72 years old.
  9. dau. Anne Metcalf . Born on 1 March 1631/2 in Norwich. Baptized on 4 March 1631/2 in St. Edmund Parish when three days old. Died in May 1632 in St. Edmund Parish, about two months old. Buried on 13 May 1632 in St. Edmund Parish.
  10. dau. Jane Metcalf . Born on 24 March 1632/3 in Norwich. Baptized on 29 March 1633 in St. Edmund Parish when five days old. Died on 24 October 1701 in Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, 68 years old.
  11. dau. Rebecca Metcalf . Born on 5 April 1635 in Norwich. Baptized on 12 April 1635 in St. Edmund Parish when seven days old. Died on 8 December 1667 in Dedham, 32 years old.

Back to Home