LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 1999-03 > 0921424656
Subject: NORWOOD, Judge; 1600-1660, London
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 10:17:36 EST
Our family has an old legend regarding the origins of our immigrant ancestor,
Francis NORWOOD. As of this writing, no one has been able to establish his
connection to any of the NORWOOD families of England.
The legend, passed down through the family to one of Francis NORWOOD's 2nd
great grandsons, is as follows:
A Judge Norwood "of England," was born about 1600 and was one of the judges in
King Charles I's reign. Taking an active part in politics and being in the
minority, his "large landed estate, located in Norwood Village, was
The story has it that this Judge Norwood owned land called Norwood Park,
variously described as in Essex Co., or in London, and that this land was
confiscated by the government after the Restoration, and a school--The Norwood
School--established by the government, supporting 600 scholars. By the mid
1800s, Francis's descendants spoke of this school as if it were then in
His politics were evidently anti-royal, and he has been described as a
regicide, or at least as an encourager of the execution of Charles I.
Implications are that he sent his son Francis to New England to escape
anticipated reprisals when Charles II resumed the throne.
There are many problems with the story. One is that Francis shows up in New
England in 1657, three years before the Restoration, and I'm not sure that
anyone was anticipating the return of the king that early. Could they have
been? This may indicate that Judge Norwood's politics have been somehow
completely misconstrued, and he was actually a Royalist who sent his son out
for fear of Cromwell's government. At the time of the Commonwealth, Royalists
would probably have been in the minority in government service. Some evidence
for this is that Francis Norwood never joined the Congregational church in
Gloucester, Mass. where he settled; he showed tolerance of Quakers and at
least one of his children was a Quaker; and he was distrusted by the
community, who regarded him as a witch/wizard. Despite his apparent
marginalization, he was one of the wealthiest men in the town at his death in
1709. Could the regicide legend have been concocted to protect the family
from the criticism of the Puritan community? Why didn't he go to Virginia?
Anyway, lots of questions. If anyone can direct me in my research, I'd be
very grateful. Where should we be looking now?