About 1535 – ?

From: www.users.qwest.net/~katieibond/coffin.html

Peter COFFIN (b. abt 1535, Portledge, Devon, England) m. Mary BOSCAWEN (b. 1545, St. Michael Penk, Crnwll, Engl; d. 4 Sep 1622, Pinkerville, Devonshire, England), 1560, Of Brixton, Devonshire, England; they had: Nickolas (Nicholas) (1560-1613)

Nickolas COFFIN (b. 1550 in Butler’s Parish, Brixton, Devonshire, England; d. 8 Oct 1613, Butler’s Parish, Brixton, Devonshire, England) m. Joan AVENT, 1583, Devon, England; they had: [Children]

Peter COFFIN (b. 1580, probably Brixton, Devonshire, England; d. 13 Mar 1627/28, Plymouth, Brixton, England) m. Joan/Joanna KEMBER (b. 1584, BRIXTON, Devon, England; d. 30 May 1661, Boston, Suffolk, MA) dt. Robert KEMBER and Anna, 1600/1608, BRIXTON, Devon, Eng; they had: Tristram (1605-1681), dt. Robert KEMBER and Anna; they had: Tristram, John, Joan, Deborah, Eunice, and Mary. [Children]

Tristram COFFIN (chr. 11 Mar 1610, Brixton Parish, Devon, England; d. 2 Oct 1681, Nantucket, MA) m. Dionis STEVENS (chr. 4 Mar 1610, Brixton Parish, Devon, England; d. 1692, Nantucket, MA), dt. Robert STEVENS and Dionis [unknown]; they had: James, Mary, Peter, Tristram, Elizabeth, John, Deborah, and Stephen. [Children]
Mary COFFIN (b. 20 Feb 1645, Haverhill, Essex, Mass; d. 13 Sep 1717, Nantucket, age 74; converted by Quakers from Providence, Rhode Island; held first Meeting of Friends in her home in 1702; m. Nathaniel STARBUCK, Sr., son of Edward and Katherine Reynolds, 1662 (brother Peter m. Nathaniel, Sr.’s sister Abigail), married at age 17.

Became known as “The Great Mary” of Nantucket. She is said to be a most extrordinary woman who participated in public gatherings, Town Meetings which were frequently held in her home. For several years meetings for workshops were held in the “great fore-room” of her home known as ‘Parliament House’ situated on what is now known as Island View farm between the Macy’s and the North Head of the Hummock ponds. She was a Quaker leader and helped establish a Meeting on the island in 1701. The first Friends Society was formed in 1704 and the first meeting house was built in 1711. The Nantucket Monthy Meeting was established on May 16, 1780. She was a minister in the Society as were her children and her grandsons, Elihu COLEMAN (published one of the earliest protests against slavery) and Nathaniel Coleman, and her granddaughter, Priscilla BUNKER.

James COFFIN (b. 12 Aug 1640, Devonshire, England; d. 28 Jul 1720, Nantucket. MA) m. Mary SEVERANCE (b. abt 1644, Salisbury, Essex, MA; d. 28 Jul 1720, Salisbury, Essex, Mass), dt. John SEVERANCE and Abigail KIMBALL ?; they had: Mary, Dinah, James, John, Deborah, Ebenezer, Joseph, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Ruth, Abigail, Experience, Jonathan, and Nathaniel. [Children].

Dinah COFFIN (b. abt 1674, Nantucket, MA; d. 1 Aug 1750, Nantucket, MA) m. Nathaniel STARBUCK, Jr., son of Nathaniel, Sr. and Mary COFFIN; 24 years age difference, 20 Nov 1690; 2m. Abisha FOLGER (b. 27 Sep 1700, Nantucket; d. 22 Jan 1788), 2m. Sarah Mayhew.


From: www.islandregister.com/rcoffin/rcoffini.html

The Island Register is pleased to present to you the results of

Ross Coffin’s search for his past:

“My Father’s Shoes – Our Coffin Story”.

Ross writes:””My Father’s Shoes” was never meant to be a commercial adventure but instead was a project brought on by my fathers death to help me deal with it. I also have worked with my hands all my life and thought it was time to put the old mind to work and learn some computer and research skills. It was the best move I’ve ever done (next to marrying my beautiful wife and having our kids). I’ve really enjoyed the years spent researching with Donna and the Island Register clan, I really feel like a Maritimer, and it gives me pride to say so.

I think the one way to market my book is to offer it free off the net via the Register” And, so, we are proud to be able to present to you the fruits of Ross’s labours, a wonderful manuscript representing many years of research. We must thank him for his generosity, and for thinking of the Register!

© 1998, 1999
Ross Coffin, rrcoffin@istar.ca
2325 Century Road,
North Gower, Ontario
K0A 2T0.


To Sarah, Owen and Robert:  Who we are, is who we were.

– Intro 1-


The following essay is about our ancestors the Coffins. It tells the story of their 350 years in North America. The following biographies were written in order, from my ancestor, Tristram Coffyn, the first Coffin in America right up to my father, Robert Coffin, who’s death inspired me to find out more about our ancestry. In all, the essay covers the ten generations leading up to the present day. Among them are pioneers, judges, members of parliament, whalers, doctors and shipbuilders. Although I speak mainly of my direct ancestors, the research covers a broad range of topics as it was my intent to draw a picture of our early history, describing our ancestors life and times.

The name Coffin is an ancient name. It is thought that the Coffins first originated among the Norse of old Scandinavia before the tenth century and spread to Normandy during the Norse invasion. In the period leading up to the Norman Conquest in 1066, the Coffins of Normandy, were thought to be living at the Chateau Couriton, near Fallaise, on the west coast of France.

The name Coffin, originates from an old Hebrew word meaning “one who sells baskets”. Another definition is derived from the Norman word “Coffeyn”, which meant guardian of the boundary. Members of the Coffin family were placed in the four corners of the west country to keep the territory in control of William the Conqueror. Early place names bear this out. In the east there was a valley named Combe-Coffin, in the south there was Coffin-Will and in the east Coffin-Ingarly.

Some of the Coffins came to England before the Norman Conquest, and settled in Somerset and Devon. At the time of the Great Survey of all the lands, ordered by William the Conqueror, the Coffins are mentioned in the Doomsday Book, as being in possession of several hides of land, a hide being as much area that a family could utilize in order to substain it’s members. The British seat of the Coffins, Portledge Manor, near Bidefore, Devon, was granted to Sir Richard Coffyn, Knight, for services rendered to William the Conqueror. The earliest record of Coffin ownership for Portledge is 1251. Portledge was held by the Coffins for seven centuries, with the eldest son inheriting the estate. Today, the same property is a hotel, and sold only recently out of our ancestors’ hands to recover losses due to outstanding taxes.

During the reign of King Henry VIII from 1509 to 1547, Sir William Coffin was a Knight under the famed King. Sir William was an expert at jousting and was the “Master of the Horse” at the

– Intro 2 –

Coronation of Henry’s wife Anne Boleyn in 1534. Coffin’s wife Margaret, was Anne Boleyn’s chambermaid, who along with three other maids, accompanied Anne to the Tower, where the Queen was ordered to be executed for not producing a male heir to the throne. Sir William’s education and accomplishments saw him as as a member of the Privy Chamber of Henry VIII, and upon Coffins death, he bequeathed his best horses and prized hawks to the King. It’s unclear to tell where William Coffin fits into our direct history, however many speculate that he was an uncle or great uncle to our ancestor, Nicholas Coffyn.

Nicholas Coffyn was the grandfather of our immigrant son, Tristram Coffyn who in 1642 first came to America. Beyond Nicholas, there has never been any proof brought forward to the identity of Nicholas’ father, however, there has been much speculation. Therefore, the true history of our ancestry shall start with Nicholas Coffyn.

Nicholas Coffyn was born near Brixton in Devonshire about 1560 and married Joanna (last name unknown) in the year 1580. His occupation is unknown as is his father or mother’s name. Some speculate that his father was Peter and his mother was Mary Boscawen b. 1552. When Nicholas died in 1613 he left five children, Peter, Nicholas, Tristram, John and Anne. His son Peter was our immigrant, Tristram’s father. Peter was born in Brixton during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, around 1580. Peter married Joan Thember, born 1584, daughter of Robert and Anna Thember. The Coffyns had six children, Tristram, John, Joan, Deborah, Eunice and Mary. Peter was the Church Warden of St. Mary’s Church, in Brixton during the period around 1614. Little else is known of Peter except that he had a farm as stated in his will written, December 1, 1627 and proved March 13, 1628.

“In the name of God, Amen, ye 21st day of December in ye third year of the raigne of our Sovraigne Lord Charles… I Peter Coffyn of the Parish of Brixton in ye county of Devon, being sick of body but in perfect minde and memory, doe make and ordaine this my last will and testament… I give and bequeath unto my sonne one feather bed, my best brasen panne and my best brasen crocke. I give and bequeath unto Johan Coffyn my wife ye issues pfitts and comodities of all my lands tenements and hereditaments with in ye sayd Parish of Brixton during her widowhood she yeelding and paying therefor yearly unto the sayd Tristram Coffyn my sonne his heirs and assignes the summe of fifty shillings of lawful English money at ye four most usual feasts of the year and also sufficient meat, drink and clothes and convenient lodging unto ye said Tristram according to his degree and calling”. In later years Peter’s son Tristram Coffyn brought the Coffin name to America and from Tristram most North American Coffins can trace their ancestry.

– Intro 3 –

My Father’s Shoes

                                       My Father’s Shoes
                     Return to


From: http://www.mathematical.com/coffinpeter1535.html
*Peter (Coffyn) Coffin
born 1535 Portledge, Devonshire, England

*James Coffin
born 1514 Portledge, near Bideford, Devonshire, England
died 15 December 1566 probrably Monkleigh, Devonshire, England
buried 17 December 1566 Monkleigh, Devonshire, England

*Mary Cole
born 1516 Knoston, Devonshire, England
married 1534 Portledge, Devonshire, England
(end of information)


*Mary Boscawen
born 20 January 1552? St. Michael, Penkivel, Cornwall, England
christened 20 January 1552? St. Michael, Penkivel, Cornwall, England
died 4 September 1622 Pankeville near Brixton, Devonshire, England
married 1560 Brixton, Devonshire, England

*Nickolas (Nicholas) Coffin (Coffyn)
born November 1561 Butler’s Parish, Brixton, Devonshire, England
christened 1568 Butler’s Parish, Brixton, Devonshire, England
died 8 October 1613 Butler’s Parish, Brixton, Devonshire, England
buried 3 November 1613 Brixton, Devonshire, England
Tristram Coffin born 1563 Brixton, Devonshire, England
died before ?16 October 1602 (will Proved)

biographical and/or anecdotal:

notes or source:

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