Henry Sherman I was born circa 1512 in Essex, England and died 1590 Colchester, Essex, England of unspecified causes. He married Agnes Perpoynt (1521-1580) 1540 JL in Dedham, Essex, England. He married Marion Smith (c1530-1584) 5 June 1581 JL in Essex, England. He married Margery Sherman (c1530-1594) 1585 in Essex, England.


The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 166 (October 2012):245-58 (Part 1), "The Earliest Shermans of Dedham, Essex, and Their Wives," "Part I: Henry Sherman the Elder and His Wives," by Michael Johnson Wood. A small excerpt from the article (see article for a very lengthy documented narrative):

Henry Sherman, a prominent clothier in Dedham, who died in 1590, had several children. His two eldest sons, Henry the younger and Edmund, had between them fifteen grandchildren who settled in New England, either as young adults or with their parents. They did not all leave issue, but most did, which is why so many descendants of Great Migration colonists have a Sherman line.

In "New Light on Henry Sherman," Mrs. B. L. Stratton conclusively proved that Henry Sherman the elder was not the son of that name of Thomas Sherman of Yaxley, Suffolk. That Henry, who was under age 21 in 1551, had a son Thomas who in 1587 was living in Diss, Norfolk, where his children were living in the early 1600s. In contrast, Henry Sherman the Dedham clothier was born about 1512, settled in Dedham about 1534, was fathering children in the 1540s, and was not survived by a son named Thomas. Exhaustive research, by myself and others before me, has yielded no clue to the true origin of the Dedham clothier.

The Shermans of Yaxley were armigerous, whereas the Shermans of Dedham were not; otherwise; they should have been recorded in at least one of the Visitations of Essex. Yet they were not recorded there, and they did not even put in a claim that had to be respited for further evidence. They had no such pretensions until a little before 1660, when one of Henry’s great-grandsons, Edmund Sherman, a London merchant, was using the arms of Sherman of Yaxley, according to Guillim, but without authority. A thorough search of the records of the College of Arms, reported by Mrs. Stratton, did not produce any arms registered to a male-line descendant of the Dedham family.

HENRY SHERMAN[64] was born about 1512,[65] perhaps in Essex. He settled in Dedham, Essex about 1534, and late in life in Colchester, Essex, about 1584. He died between 26 February 1589/90 and 25 July 1590 (dates of codicil and probate), probably in Colchester.

Last Will & Testament

As Henry Shearman the elder, of Colchester, Essex, he left a will dated 20 January 1589/90, with a codicil dated 26 February 1589/90, proved in London 25 July 1590.[66] The will named son Henry Shearman and his children Henry, Samuel, Daniel, John, Ezechiell, Phebe, Nathaniel, and Anne Shearman; son Edmonde Shearman and his children Edmonde, Richard, Bezaliell, Anne, and Sara Shearman (all under age; sons under 22, daughters under 21), son-in-law William Petfield and his children Richard, Susan, and Elizabeth Petfield (all under age); wife Margerye; son Robert; Jane and Anne Shearman, underage daughters of Robert [evidently the testator’s son Robert]; daughter Judith Petfield; son-in-law Nicholas Fynce; the wives of sons Edmond, Henry, and Robert; the poor of All Hallows [i.e., All Saints, Colchester]; and the poor of Dedham and the free school of Dedham (the testator asked to be buried in Dedham). Executors were to be sons Henry and Edmond.

Marriage & Family

1st Marriage: Agnes Pierpoynt

His first wife, whom he married about 1539, was perhaps A DAUGHTER OF ROBERT PERPOYNT of Dedham [See article for the heavily documented logic for this statement]. She was probably identical with AGNES, wife of Henry Sherman the elder, who was buried in Dedham 14 October 1580.

Children of Henry Sherman and his first wife (if Agnes was his second wife, she could have been the mother of at least one of the youngest children):

  1. ALICE SHERMAN, b. say 1540; bur. Dedham 20 Oct. 1580 as Alice, wife of Nicholas Fince; m. ca. 1562, as his first wife, NICHOLAS FINCE, b. after 25 Aug. 1532 (date of his father’s will), bur. Dedham 28 Feb. 1593/4, son of John and Ellen (___) Fince of Ardleigh, Essex.[67] Nicholas and Alice had seven children baptized in Dedham from 1562/3 to 1578. The burials of five in infancy or childhood are recorded there, and the other two children, Judith and Alice, may have died young also as they were not named in their grandfather’s will.[68]
  2. JUDITH SHERMAN, b. say 1543, bur. Dedham 1 April 1601 as Judith, wife of William Petfield; m. Dedham 27 June 1566 WILLIAM PETFIELD, clothier, living in 1610,[69] probably the elder son of John Petfield of Earls Colne, Essex, clerk, whose undated will proved 17 June 1572, names also a younger son Matthew.[70] William and Judith had nine children baptized in Dedham from 1567 to 1588, the eldest being named Matthew.
  3. Henry Sherman (1545-1610) - b. say 1545; m. SUSAN Lawrence. See Part 2.
  4. EDMUND SHERMAN, b. say 1548; m. (1) ANN PELLETT; (2) ANN CLERE. See Parts 3 and 4.
  5. John Sherman, b. say 1551,[71] bur, Dedham 16 Oct. 1576, unmarried. He left an undated nuncupative will, probably proved in 1576.[72] The will mentioned brothers-in-law "William Pettfylld" and "Nycollas Fynce"; brother Robert Sharman; "my mother"; and "my father."
  6. Thomas SHERMAN, b. say 1555; bur. Dedham 16 March 1563/4. Probably he was the godson of Thomas Butter, as discussed above.
  7. ROBERT SHERMAN,[73] bp. Dedham 6 Feb. 1559/60; bur. St. Stephen Coleman Street, London, 14 Jan. l602/3.[74] He was educated at Cambridge University, and became a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1599[75] He m. (1) Dedham 9 Dec. 1583 BARBARA BROWNE, bp. Dedham 1 April 1561, daughter of Martin and Katherine (Reynolds) (Warner) Browne;[76] (2) shortly after 4 July 1597 BRIDGET JENNEY, daughter of Francis and Margaret (Peyton) Jenney.[77] Robert’s will, dated 10 Jan. 1602/3, proved 20 Jan. 1602/3,[78] names wife Bridget; children Jane, Mary, Anne, and Robert; son Richard. Brother Henry Sherman was to be executor…

2nd Marriage: Marion Smythe Wilson

He married next in Dedham 5 June 1581, MARION (___) (SMYTHE) WILSON, widow of Thomas Smythe of Dedham, then of Edmund Wilson of St. Leonard’s, Colchester, whom she had married in Dedham 5 April 1563 . She was perhaps "Mrs Sherman" buried at St. James, Colchester, 4 August 1584.

3rd Marriage: Margery Unknown

Henry married last MARGERY ___, who was living when he made his will.


Offspring of Henry Sherman I and Agnes Perpoynt (1521-1580)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Alice Sherman (1540-1580)
Judith Sherman (1543-1601)
Henry Sherman (1545-1610) 1545 Dedham, Essex, England 28 August 1610 Dedham, Essex, England Susan Lawrence (1548-1610)
Edmund Sherman (1548-1600)
John Sherman (1551-1576)
Thomas Sherman (1555-1565)
Robert Sherman (1560-1603)



  • Henry Sherman (1512-1590) List of Famous Descendants


Footnotes (including sources)