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MASHBURN-Steve-latest-portraitThe Connection is Not What You Think

Did Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster have something to do with naming Northampton County, NC after his ancestral home of Northamptonshire, England?

There is no direct evidence that the Mashbornes that appear in Northamptonshire, England during the 1600’s are the ancestors of Edward Mashburn, Sr. the father of the schoolmaster. However, there is some circumstantial evidence:

The largest concentration of Mashbornes in the 17th c. English records are found in Brackley, Northamptonshire. The second largest concentration is found in Oxfordshire. Brackley is on the county line between Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. Although a few Mashbornes can be found in London. Kent, York and other places, it seems clear that the Mashborne family in the 1600 and 1700’s was based in the south Northhampshire/Oxfordshire area.

The most common given names for the Mashbornes in Brackley are Edward, Matthew, James, Samuel, Daniel and to a lesser extent, John. With the exception of Jethro, these are almost the only given names found for the early North Carolina Mashbornes.

Since the Mashbornes appear in Northhampton County, North Carolina, it is tempting to think that they had something to do with naming the county after their ancestral homeland. Two facts indicate this was not the case:

The latest that our direct line could have lived in Northhampton, England would have been 1675, the year Edward Mashborne Sr. married Sarah Sindery in London. However, since Northampton County, North Carolina was formed in 1741, we have a three (maybe four) generation gap between Northhamptonshire, England and Northhampton County, North Carolina with no evidence that the Mashbornes in North Carolina even knew about the Mashbornes in Northampshire, England. After all, the only time that Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster referred to his heritage was to stress his London roots.

Proof Positive

More definitive, perhaps, is that North Carolina state records tell us that Northampton County, North Carolina was named for James Crompton who was the Earl of Northampton from 1727 to 1754 long after Edward Mashborne the schoolmaster had arrived in America (c. 1698).

Therefore, the appearance of Mashbornes in two places named Northampton appears to be a coincident. But the coincident is even more remarkable in that there is some connection with the Crompton family in terms of historical events.

The Comptons

A older relative of James Compton, the Earl of Northampton, was Henry Compton, the Bishop of London from 1675-1713. As Bishop of London Henry Compton made an effort to get the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) to support Edward Mashburn’s missionary school.

It gets more bizarre. Henry Compton, earlier in his career, lost his position as Dean of the Chapel Royal for refusing to suspend Rev. John Sharp whose anti-papal sermons were objectionable to pro-Catholic King James.

Rev. John Sharp

So who was John Sharp? The rector of St Giles’s-in-the-Fields who baptized our ancestor Edward Mashborne in 1676!  He also may have connected the marriage service a year earlier for Edward Mashburn, Sr and Sarah Sindery. As great as these events are (at least to us), John Sharp went on to even greater things.


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