William Hopkins is my earlest known Hopkins ancestor, and the person I'm doing the most research on now. My first sure record of him is from the Quaker records in Southwark, but there have been suggestions that he came from Northamptonshire (see Note below). A number of other Quakers in Southwark came from there and places nearby in Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire, including people William mentioned in his will or whom he seemed to be on close terms with. The Haddons, whose daughter, Sarah, married William's son Benjamin, also came from Northamptonshire.
I have no certain record of his birth or marriage, so the first record I've found is of the birth of his son William in 1670. The Southwark Quaker records detail the births of his other ten children, and, sadly, the early deaths of most of them. Only William, Sarah, and Benjamin lived to marry and raise families.
Note: I've seen a large number of sites that show William as having been born in Northamptonshire. Sometimes they give me or this site as their source for that location. That's because early in my research I was told that he was born there, but without any proof or evidence of that. Unwisely, I used that information. Since then, I've decided that, although he might have been born there, I couldn't claim that without proof. So those sites are quoting an early, and later revised, piece of information.
There are a number of sites now that let you post family trees without any sources being cited. Take those with a large grain of salt! I consider them as clues, to research and try to verify, rather than as facts. I want to see primary records for any vital information about a person or event.
I ask that those who show William Hopkins being born in Northamptonshire in 1634 to please correct that. It's important to stop passing on mistaken information!
The London Metropolitan Archives has been digitizing parish records from the London area, and making them available online through Ancestry.com. Using that service, I've found a record of William's burial, recorded in the parish records of St. George the Martyr church in Southwark. This is the record:
This is interesting for two reasons. It gives a better idea where his garden ground was located. The Lock was an old leper hospital that was located about where Tabbard Street and Great Dover Street now intersect. It's also interesting that he was listed in the church records, even though he was a Quaker. I had thought that when someone became a Quaker, the church took no more notice of them. Apparently not.
I also found a burial record for a son of William, not identified by name, but who must have been Abraham, who died on 25 Sep 1700 according to the Quaker records.
I found some Hopkins baptismal records on Ancestry.com from St. George's parish. Previously, those hadn't been available to me. These children were:
Those Williams were born five and two years earlier than the estimated year of my William's birth in 1634, which was based on his reported age at his death.
There was also a marriage record for a William Hopkins to Ann Gilbert on 15 Apr 1667.
From these records and the ones below, it's clear that there were other Hopkinses in Southwark. It's not clear whether they were related to William.
See these pdf files for lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials at St. George the Martyr church. The baptism and burial records are primarily for people with surnames of Hopkins or similar-sounding ones. The marriage records contain a wider selection of surnames. The results of collecting these records has not produced any definite proof of William Hopkins' birth or parentage in this parish.
I've found other William Hopkinses in the London area who might have been him, his father, or an earlier son, but have found no definite link to him.
These first six records are close to the estimated birth date of 1634 for William, who was reported to be about 71 at the time of his death in 1705.
The following records are intriguing. They might be for my Hopkins family, but need further research to confirm that.
This record might be that for William's marriage to Katherine.
This might be a son named William who was born nine months before the William born on 20d 6m (Aug) 1670.
Note: This might be a good point to say that Quakers during this period still sometimes used the established church for important events, like baptisms, burials, and marriages, in addition to their Quaker ceremonies.
This is interesting because it seems to show that William of Wooburn and his family had fallen away from the Friends, as I had earlier suspected from their absence from the Quaker records after about 1720.
Unfortunately, this is all inconclusive until more definite evidence is found.
There were two Hopkins names mentioned in the Sufferings of the Quakers for Northamptonshire. A Henry Hopkins was mentioned twice, in 1663 and 1679, and a William Hopkins once, in 1663. A William Hopkins was mentioned in the Sufferings in Southwark in 1683.
I discovered a number of possible connections to William in Towcester, Abthorpe, and Foscote. Several of the people associated with him seem to have come from the Northamptonshire area.
A number of Quaker families in Southwark came from Northamptonshire, or in nearby Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire. These included the Butchers, Crosses, Gills, Haddons, Pates, Robins, Stuchburys, and Warners. See more detail about them here. You can also see a copy and transcription of William's will.
I've found some evidence that William might have been born in Staffordshire. There was a letter written by William to William Alcock of Horninglow in 1699 that led me to do further research. Here is a link to a page about what I've found.
This file was last updated on 8/31/2020.