Alexander Thomas Coffin (Long Tom)

This site is for the descendants of, Alexander Thomas Coffin, Born Nantucket Island, USA, 1813 or 1818. Son of Alexander Macy Coffin and Catherine Campbel. Whaler out of USA, Stock keeper/Sawyer in NZ. Married 1st: Mary Ainge, 24th Aug 1853, no children. Unmarried 2nd Caroline Henrietta Bathurst, Born around 1835, Greenwich, England. She moved to New Zealand 1852 (on the settler ship called the Samarang), She Died 19 October 1920 in Stratford. Buried 21 October 1920. He Died 26 July 1901 in O’Kains Bay.
1855 Alexander Bathurst – Coffin, O’Kains Bay, Married 1879 Sophia Dorrett Ridder. He Died 26th Oct 1935, She Died 1st Jan 1951.
1856-1856 William Henry Bathurst (Infant death)
1858 Edward James Coffin, O’Kains Bay, Un-married. Died 22nd June 1941
1860, 11th May. Henrietta Louisa Coffin, O’Kains Bay, married Robert Kean Osborn, from Jamaica b.1878
1862 Silas Augustus Bathurst, O’Kains Bay. Married Catherine Anne Phoebe Thomas. He Died 29th March 1950. She Died 13th Sept 1960. They were 1st Cousins. Her mother was Carolines sister. Silas never took on the Coffin name. His Elderly children didnt even know they were Coffins.
1864 Seth Silverneil Bathurst- Coffin, Married Harriett Elizabeth Reeve, born 20 June 1871.
1865 Philip George Bathurst – Coffin, O’Kains Bay. Married: Elizabeth Peters. He Died 21st Nov 1951
1867 Alfred William Bathurst Coffin, O’Kains Bay. Married: Ellen Martha Rix. He Died 3rd Oct 1951. She Died 20th May 1941.
1870 Richard Uridge Bathurst – Coffin. O’Kains Bay. Married: Eleanor Greenfield. He Died 24th July 1943
1870 Lillian Frances Coffin. O’Kains Bay. Married: William Alfred Reeve
1872-1872 Walter Herbert Bathurst
1873 Charles Samual Bathurst/Coffin, married Ngareta Wairoa (Start of Maori Line)
1877 Peter Coffin Bathurst. O’Kains Bay. Never Married. Died 4th Oct 1895. Killed by Accidental tree falling.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sir William Coffin 1495

One of the most celebrated men of the family was Sir William Coffin. Born about 1495, younger brother of Richard Coffin, lord of the manor of Alwington and High Sheriff of Devon in the late 15th century. T.L. Pridham’s Devonshire Celebrities records the following curious story about Sir William Coffin:

Sir William Coffin was on one occasion passing Bideford churchyard, and seeing a number of people standing idle, he inquired the reason, and was told that the corpse of a man had been brought there to be interred, and the mourners were all assembled, but the priest had refused to read the burial service, as the friends of the deceased would not render up the dead man’s cow, which was the only property that was left, out of which to pay the priest’s fee or mortuary. On hearing this, Sir William sent for the priest, and required him to perform the duties of his office, which on his still refusing to do, Sir William ordered the sexton and others to place him in the new-made grave, and bury him instead of the corpse; but the priest, preferring life to such a kind of death, repented ere it was too late, though not until the threat had been in a great measure carried out. This act of Sir William’s might have proved of serious consequences to himself, for in those days such an offence against a priest would be looked upon as most culpable, and might have cost any other man his life. As it was, the circumstance was made known to the king (Henry VIII), and Sir William was summoned before parliament. However, the interest which he possessed in the House, and the favour he was in at court, saved him from punishment, and, seizing the opportunity to draw the attention of parliament to the mischievous consequences of the priests’ arbitrary demand of mortuaries, he begged parliament to take the matter into serious consideration, and so diverted the storm which he had expected would have fallen on his own head. An act was soon passed which put a stop to such disgraceful practices, and limited, on favour of the poor, the extent to which such demands could be carried.”

William joined Henry VIII’s household about 1515, and took part, as a gentleman of the privy chamber, in the tournament between Henry VIII and the French King held at Guisnes in 1519. The following year William accompanied the King to the ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’ where he appears to have been chosen by Henry VIII as one of the champions in those celebrated tournaments..

He was Master of the Horse at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533.

On 18 Oct 1537 William Coffin was knighted, having by then become steward not only of Queen Jane’s manor and liberties of Standon in Hertfordshire, but also (in 1535) of Hitchin, another royal manor in the same county. In that capacity, it was his duty on 17 Oct 1538 to receive the surrender to the Crown of the priory of Hitchin from the Prior and his brethren.

But within two months, on 8 Dec 1538, Sir William died of the plague. His widow wrote from Standon to the King’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, asking him to inform the King that her husband had “died of the great sickness, full of God's marks all over his body”, and begging Cromwell to let her know how she and her servants now stood.

At Sir William Coffin's death, it was found that he had bequeathed his best horses and a cast of his best hawks to his master, the king. The bulk of his large estates he bequeathed to his elder brother’s son, Richard Coffin. He died in the year 1538, and was buried at Standon, in Hertfordshire, of which place he had been High Steward.

He is commemorated by an inscription on a slab at the foot of the chancel steps. (Prior to the church's restoration in 1864, this slab had been in the centre of the chancel immediately above the steps). The inscription reads:

Here lies William Coffin, Knight, sometime of the privy chamber with his sovereign Lord King Henry the eighth, Master of the Horse unto queen Jane the most lawful wife unto the aforesaid King Henry the eighth, and high steward of all the liberty [and] manor of Standon in the county of Hertford, which William deceased the eighth day of december Anno domini 1538, [in] the thirtieth year of the reign of King Henry the eighth.”

1 comment:

  1. I have extensive information on descendants of Tristram Coffin. Most especially his son John. My husband was 10th generation of John. It is by far too extensive to post here. Please email me at and I will forward to my nephew who is the person that has done research on the family for years now. We have traced our line to present and know burial place of all and have photographs of many.

    Best wishes,
    Glenda Coffin