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John Maybury of Sussex [ca1540-1618]
Common ancestor of most Mayburys, Mayberrys, Mabrys, etc.


A brief overview of our research

Our research began in the 1950s with a focus on the family of Francis Maybury who arrived in Virginia in the 1670s. At the same time we began compiling information on other early Mayburys and Mayberrys in America. Beginning about 1995 we made numerous attempts to discover Francis Maybury's ancestors in England. But these efforts were all fruitless.

In 2003 we initiated the Maybury DNA Project to take advantage of new scientific tools available to genealogists. It soon became clear that most Mayburys, Mayberrys, Mabrys, Maberrys, etc., had a common ancestor, who lived in England about the 16th century. That same year we began hearing from Maybury descendants in England. With their help we were able to produce an amazing amount of new information that gave us a fairly comprehensive picture of the Maybury family in England and Ireland.

Bill and Doris Maybury of Herefordshire had done extensive work on Bill's ancestor, William Maybury, the likely ancestor of the Maybury family in County Kerry, Ireland. They also spent countless hours exploring English records, family data, academic sources, etc. on the wider Maybury family. They made field trips to County Record Offices and other places to gather Maybury information. With the help of their genealogist friend, Eirlys Spawton, they began to reconstruct the relationships of the early Maybury generations and track their movements in England.

John and Lettice Tanner of Berkshire had also been gathering Maybury records from early parish registers in England. Their "Early Maybury References in England and Wales" grew to include, not just baptismal, marriage and burial records, but Bishop's transcripts, wills, court records, and other documents. In addition, John's transcriptions of 16th and 17th century documents proved extremely helpful as did his ability to sort out and reconstruct the relationships of the early Mayburys.

With the coordinated efforts of these English cousins we discovered that the likely common ancestor of all the Mayburys was John Meberie (sic), a skilled iron worker in Sussex who was born about 1540. While he was probably born in England, it is also possible that he was imported from France where the iron industry was established earlier. Our research led us to a number of scholars with expert knowledge of the development of the iron industry:

  • Jeremy Hodgkinson of the Wealden Iron Research Group helped us to locate various kinds of information about our early ironworker ancestors.
  • Brian Awty also of the Wealden Iron Research Group, shared his special knowledge of the early iron industry in Sussex. We were amazed to learn that Mr. Awty had already begun to reconstruct the family of the hammerman, John Meberie, as part of his study of the development of the iron industry as it moved to other parts of England. .
  • Peter King, an economic historian with a special interest in the iron industry between 1500 and 1815, contacted us to share information about some of the specific forges where the early Mayburys were employed.
  • Chris Evans, an historian at Glamorgan University, helped us to understand the iron industry in the Forest of Dean. His articles have also helped us to understand the patterns behind the movements of iron workers from one location to another.
  • We also had valuable help from several professional researchers whom we engaged to locate information about the Maybury family, particularly in Shropshire and in Derbyshire.
John Maybury of Sussex, our common ancestor

Our study of English parish records led us to the conclusion that the common ancestor of all the Mayburys -- however the name is spelled -- was John Meberie (sic) , a skilled ironworker who married Margaret Bourder at Brightling, Sussex in December 1565. John Maybury's name was spelled at least nine ways in original records during his own lifetime:
Meberie, Mabery, Mayberie, Meabury, Mabry, Maberye, Maybery, Maybury & Mayberrie


John and Margaret Bourder Maybury were the parents of four sons and three daughters when Margaret died in February 1576. Margaret and three of their children are buried at St. Dunstan's Church in Mayfield, Sussex (picture on the right). John Maybury married a second time in June 1576 at Mayfield, Sussex to a widow, Alice Fuller. John and Alice had two more children. In the late 1590s the iron industry, having depleted most of the forests of the Weald, began to move to other parts of England. By 1600 John Maybury and two of his sons were working in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. John's wife, Alice, died at Ellastone, Staffordshire in May 1603. John then married a woman named his third wife, Eleanor, by whom he had at least one more child, William, born in Monmouthshire in 1606. John Maybury also had two illegitimate children, a daughter and a son, who were born about 1570 and 1573 in Sussex. The Maybury name has been passed on through at least three of his sons, Nicholas, Clement and John (1577).

By the middle of the 17th century descendants of John Maybury began emigrating to Ireland and America -- and later to Australia. These conclusions are supported by the our study of the DNA of modern Mayburys.

The children of John Maybury

We believe that the thirteen children listed below are all of the children of John Maybury. Nicholas, Clement and John (b. 1577) are listed in red because it is through them that the Maybury name continued to future generations.
  1. Joan Maybury [by Margaret Border] - probably born in 1566 or 1567, the oldest child of John and Margaret Border. was likely named for her maternal grandmother, Joan Border. Johan Maybery (sic) was married to James Turnys on 4 June 1593 at Burwash, Sussex. On 22 March 1593/94 was buried at Etchingham, Sussex after giving birth to a son, who was baptized the same day.
  2. Nicholas Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was born about 1567 or 1568 at Brightling or Etchingham in Sussex. Nicholas, like his father was a hammerman. He married a woman named Marye (Mary), who died in 1633 in Whittington, Shropshire. We know that in 1633 he was a hammerman atf Fernhill forge near Oswestry in Shropshire. Nicholas was buried on 13 March 1634 also at Whittington, Shropshire.
  3. Elizabeth Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized at Etchingham, Sussex on 30 January 1568/69. She died in January 1592/92 at Etchingham and was unmarried.
  4. John Maybury - a "base born child of John Mayberie", was baptized on 13 August 1570 at Etchingham, Sussex. The parish record does not identify the mother. He very likely the John Mayberie (sic) who was buried on 5 May 1593 at Bexhill in Sussex.
  5. Richard Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized on 10 September 1570 at Etchingham, Sussex. Richard died in infancy sometime in the year 1572 and was buried at Mayfield, Sussex.
  6. Dorothy Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized on 17 January 1571/72 at Mayfield, Sussex. Dorothy died in infancy and was buried on 5 February 1571/72 at Mayfield, Sussex.
  7. Christopher Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized on 1 March 1572/73 at Mayfield, Sussex. He is probably the same Christopher Maybowrie (sic), whose daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized at St. Botolph's Parish in London on 3 August 1600. Beyond that we have found no other record of Christopher Maybury. He may or may not have had other children.
  8. Awdryan Maybury - "a base born daughter" was baptized to John Maybury sometime in 1573 at Mayfield. She apparently lived only two months and was buried at Mayfield the same year. There is nothing in the record to identify the mother.
  9. Mary Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized on 25 April 1574 at Mayfield, Sussex. No additional record of Mary Maybury has been found.
  10. Clement Maybury [by Margaret Border] - was baptized on 4 December 1575 at Mayfield, Sussex. He was a hammerman and is known to have worked at Wednesbury, Staffordshire, where he had several children baptized, and also at Parkend Forge in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, where he had a child baptized in 1617. Just over two months after Clement Maybury was baptized, his mother, Margaret Maberye (sic) died. Four months later, his father Jonathan Maberye (sic) married his second wife, Alice Fuller at Mayfield. Alice was the widow of William Fuller.
  11. John Maybury [by Alice Fuller] - was baptized on 6 April 1577 at Mayfield, Sussex. He was also a hammerman, was at Makeney in Derbyshire by 1598 and remained there until about 1605 when he moved to Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. He was buried at Cleobury Mortimer on 20 January 1655.
  12. Agnes Maybury [by Alice Fuller] - was baptized on 30 November 1578 at Mayfield, Sussex. No additional records of Agnes have been found.
  13. William Maybury [by Eleanor _____] - was baptized on 25 July 1606 at Monmouth in Monmouthshire. We have found no further record of this William and it may be that he died as a child.
In recent years our progress has been considerable. We know that most of John Maybury's sons and many of his grandsons continued in the iron trade as "hammermen" or "forgemen". We are also discovering where they worked along with other details of their families. The records left by John Maybury and his children spell the family name several different ways including: Meberie, Maberye, Mayberye, Mayberie, Maybery, Maybury, etc. More complete records of these families and their descendants can be found in our book, The Mayburys, published in 2011.










April 2016