Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet

NameJohn ADAMS 160
Birth Datesay 1503
Birth PlaceBarton St. David, Somersetshire, England
Death Datebef 1543
Death PlaceBarton St. David, Somersetshire, England
Misc. Notes
This John Adams is the earliest known ancestor of the Massachusetts immigrant Henry Adams. According to Bartlett,600 this John Adams “of Barton David, born probably about 1500 to 1505, is named in the Muster Roll for the Tithing of Barton, Somersetshire, 1539, quoted above, and is classed among the ‘able bylmen fyndyng harnys’ (that is, equipments of that rank), and he is credited with supplying a ‘bowe.’ The material valuation of persons listed in the Muster Roll at that period was as follows: -- those possessing land of the annual value of £5 to £10 were charged with supplying one bow with a sheaf of arrows; those possessing between £10 and £20 in value were charged with supplying the same weapons. It can be said that John Adams, probably only a copyholder in the manor, came in this latter class, having personal property to that amount. The smaller sort, like husbandmen and craftsmen, not having sufficient value in goods to be assessed to one whole furniture, were induced by ‘good persuasions withal’ and ‘love of their country’ to join together by two or three or more to provide either pike, bow or arquebus. The Muster Roll of the Tithing of Barton St. David in 1539 contains in all twenty-one names of able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 who were of sufficient financial ability to provide arms and armor, but it is not assumed that this list comprised all the able-bodied men of the parish able to bear arms, such as laborers and servants. (Accounts, E-101; 59/21, Public Record Office, London.)

“The Subsidy Rolls of the Hundred of Catsash, (which are the equivalent of our modern tax lists), give little help in the solution of this family history. The earliest examined related to the first year of Edward III (1327), in which only six persons were listed and taxed as property owners in Barton St. David, and two of these were ecclesiastics. None bearing [p. 28] the name of Adam(s) appears there in this roll. The subsidy rolls of the reign of Henry VIII for Somersetshire are few and in a generally decayed state, rendering examination difficult and somewhat inconclusive. Those for 1542 and 1543 are badly damaged, especially in a section comprising Barton, but there still can be read the names of Robert ‘Adamps’ and Alys Adams, widow, owning taxable property in the shape of ‘goods,’ and after that date the name of Adams does not appear in any subsidy for that parish. This seems to establish conclusively that the family were copyholders of the manor and not freeholders. The Alys Adams above named may be the widow of John1 Adams, of whose death and the settlement of whose estate no record has survived. In the Muster Roll of 1569 the name of Adams does not appear in the parish list. At that date archers were becoming obsolete as effective in warfare and muskets had recently been introduced, and it may well be that the males of this family were not in possession of the new military arm -- the matchlock.

“The pedigree of the Adams family of New England will therefore begin with John1 Adams of Barton David, and his wife Alice (as assumed).
ChildrenHenry (~1531-1596)
Last Modified 10 Sep 1999Created 1 Dec 2017 using Reunion for Macintosh
New England genealogy files of Robert J. O’Hara, automatically output by Reunion for Macintosh. For additional genealogical data in other formats, including specialized lists of immigrant ancestors and notable kin, please visit my main genealogy page: For information about many of the localities mentioned here please visit