Priscilla Carpenter

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Priscilla Carpenter (unknown)

Also Known As: "Not Druscilla Dillen", "Dillen", "Druscilla", "Drucilla Dillen", "Priscilla Dillion"
Birthplace: of Wrington, Somerset, England
Death: before December 21, 1653
Wrington, North Somerset Unitary Authority, Somerset, England
Immediate Family:

Wife of Alexander "of Leyden" Carpenter
Mother of Nathaniel Carpenter; Juliana Kempton; Alice Bradford; Joan Carpenter; Ann Carpenter (died young) and 3 others

Occupation: Keeping House
WikiTree: Unknown-549710
WikiTree (being investigated): Dillen-1
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Priscilla Carpenter


The Carpenter sisters obviously had a mother, but her identity is firmly unknown.

A letter from Alice (Carpenter) (Southworth) Bradford, addressed to Mary Carpenter at Wrington and dated approximately 1644 or 1646,[1] begins, "Loving Sister, We understand by your letter, that God hath taken to himselfe our aged mother out of the troubles of this tumultuous world, and that you are in a solitary condition as we easily apprehend."[1] This is the only evidence relating to the Carpenters' mother, indicating that she died sometime prior to 1646.

Bogus claims from IGI were debunked in 1971 and 1989

The claim for Priscilla or "Dillie" Dillen as the wife of Alexander Carpenter and mother of his daughters apparently originated in the International Genealogical Index (IGI), which listed a marriage and a number of baptismal records at Bath and Wrington in which Priscilla was supposedly named.[2] Several of the cited records, including the supposed marriage, do not exist in the original registers. None of those that have been found—two baptisms at Bath and five at Wrington—provide any name for the wife of Alexander.[3] A burial record for Presilla Carpenter in 1653, aged 101, is inconsistent with the above letter in which the Carpenter sisters' mother had died by 1646.[4]

Robert Charles Anderson's Great Migration Begins briefly profiles Alexander Carpenter; he mentions the IGI problem as well as "some discrepancies" in the subsequent correction. Anderson does not cite any of the baptisms; of the five daughters he accepts as children of Alexander, three roughly correspond to recorded baptisms—one at Bath and two at Wrington.[5]

The given name of Priscilla for the wife of Alexander Carpenter of Wrington, Somerset, England has been deduced from a burial record in Wrington for a Priscilla Carpenter around the time that a letter between two of the Carpenter sisters spoke of their mother's death. (see the section "Death" for more information)

For many years the wife of Alexander Carpenter was thought to be a woman named Priscilla Dillen, due to some entries in the International Genealogical Index which have since been found not to exist in the parish registers. Unfortunately those fictitious entries became sources for several well respected genealogical papers.

Priscilla Dillen's profile has been disconnected as the wife of Alexander Carpenter and mother of his children. Her profile has been preserved and the errors leading to her creation are discussed on that profile. Her profile has been labelled as Uncertain Existence.

Estimated birth year

Nathaniel, the oldest son of Alexander Carpenter was born in July 1582 (see "Children"). Allowing for Priscilla to have been at least sixteen years of age at the time of the birth of this son, her birth year was 1566 or before.

The death record for Priscilla Carpenter at Wrington in December 1653 gave her age as 101 years. A birth year of 1552 would have been unlikely, as this meant she was giving birth mainly during her late thirties and forties, and had her last known pregnancy in 1598 at the age of 46.

A birth year of around 1560 would make Priscilla about 22 when she had her first child, 38 when she had her last child and 93 years old when she died which was still a respectable age.

Birth location

Wrington, the place where the Carpenter family lived from 1580 onwards, is in Somerset, England.
It is about 10 miles due east from Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset on the coast, about 11 miles south-west of Bristol and 20 miles due west of Bath, Somerset, where the Carpenter family were known to be living in the early 1580s .
Priscilla's birth location has been given as Somerset (uncertain).


No marriage has been found for Alexander Carpenter and Priscilla, but it is very probable that they were married before the birth of their first son Nathaniel who was baptised in Bath, Somerset in July 1582.


The following children were baptised as children of Alexander Carpenter. A mother's name is not given. It is possible that Alexander may have had children by more than one wife, as there is a six year gap between the first two children (in Bath) and the last five children (in Wrington).
There is no baptism record for Alice Carpenter in either the Bath or the Wrington parish register. It is likely she was born between 1584 and 1589 in a different parish to her siblings.

Alexander's first two recorded children were baptised at St James, Bath, Somerset, whose registers are extant from 1569.

  1. Nathaniell Carpenter Sonn of Alexander Carpenter Christened the xxv th [July Ano 1582] [1]
  2. Julian Carpenter the Daughter of Alexander Carpenter was Christned the vij th [March ano 1583] (7 March 1583/4) [2]

The following children were entered in the baptism register at Wrington, Somerset. There are two surviving versions of the register from this period - the original paper register and a copy register made in 1599. The version from the original is given first with the copy register entry following in brackets:

  1. Joa. Carpenter the daughter of Elisander Carpenter baptised ye same day [2 August 1590] [3] (Jone the D of Ellesander Carpenter [August 2 1590] ) [4] A Joan Carpenter was buried at Wrington on 13 February 1609/10. As there was no other Carpenter family in Wrington at this time, this death is probably of this Joan aged about 20 and unmarried. [5]
  2. An. Karpender the daughter of Alexander Karpender baptised the first day of October [1592] [6] (Ann the D of Elxannder carpenter [October 1 1592] ) [4]
  3. Annis Carpenter the daughter of Elisander Carpenter baptised also the same day [16 day of December 1593] [7] (Anns the D of Ellexander Carpenter 16 Decemb 1593.)
  4. Marye Carpinder ye daughter of Elisander Carpinder baptised ye 6 Feb [1596] [8] (Mary the D of Ellexander Carpenter, Febru. 6 1596) [9]
  5. Priscilla Carpender the daughter of Elisander Carpender baptised the 3 daye of September [1598] [10] (Precylla the D. of Ellesander Carpenter, Septend. 3 1598) [11]

Later life

The family relocated to Leiden in the Netherlands sometime between 1610, when Priscilla and Alexander's daughter Joan died in Wrington and 1612 when their daughter Julian married there. It is likely that Alexander may have been travelling between the two countries regularly 1612, as he is recorded as acting as a witness at a wedding in Amsterdam in 1600.

Priscilla may have been the witness "Dille Carpenter" at the marriage of Isaac Allerton in Leiden in 1611. [12]

It is not known when Priscilla was widowed, but there are no records for Alexander after 1613, and at some time before 1653, Priscilla and her unmarried daughter Mary returned to live in Wrington.


Two documents combine to give a probable date of death and a name for Priscilla.

A transcription of a letter from William Bradford (husband of Alice Carpenter) in Plymouth, Massachusetts to his "loving sister" Mary Carpenter in Wrington, Somerset was printed in the New England Genealogical Register in 1860. [13] The commentary accompanying this letter states that the originally transcribed date of 19 August 1664 must be wrong and was probably 1644 or 1646 to fit with other events (the death of William Bradford in 1657). The letter starts:

Loving Sister
We understand by your letter, that God hath taken to himselfe our aged mother out of the troubles of this tumultuous world, and that you are in a solitary condition...

From this we can deduce that Mary was unmarried and had been living with or near to her mother.

The substance of the letter is an invitation to Mary to join William and Alice Carpenter in Plymouth Colony. Much of the letter is concerned with how to get a reply back to the Plymouth Colony and how to book a passage to the Colony, but there is a telling sentence in the middle of the letter:

and sundrie of our ministers (hearing of the peace and liberty
now in England and Ireland) begine to leave us and it is feared many
more will follow.

The Civil War in England lasted from 1642-1650. The West of England was heavily involved in the fighting, so it was very unlikely that William would have described England being a peaceful place at that time. However 1650-1660 was decade of the Puritan Commonwealth. Cromwell had also subjugated Ireland in the Third Civil War 1650-51. This was more likely to be the "peace and liberty" that William described, bemoaning the ministers in the American Colonies returning to England which was now very Puritan friendly. It is more likely that the date of the letter was 1654 rather than 1644.

There is a burial of a Prescilla Carpenter in Wrington on 22 December 1653: [14]

Prescilla Carpenter Dyed the 21 th of December and was buried the 22 th of December: of one hundred and one years old

There had been no other Carpenter BMDs in Wrington since Joan Carpenter's death in 1610. And there would be no further Carpenter entries until the early 1700s.

Research Notes

These are the children of Alexander Carpenter and his wife listed by Myrtle S Hyde in The Mayflower Descendant 1989. [15] The parish register of St James, Bath, Somerset reviewed by Gerald K. Deacon of Bath in 1971 (1559-1699 for baptisms marriages and burials)
The parish register of Wrington reviewed by H.C.Smith of Wrington in 1971
Only entries naming Alexander Carpenter have been added to this profile

  • 1582 July 25 Nathanill Carpenter, son of Alexander (baptism St James, Bath)
  • 1584 March 7 Julian Carpenter, daughter of Alexander (baptism St James, Bath) (note that this is 7 March 1584/5)
  • 1590 August 2 Jane (or Jone) the daughter of Alexander Carpenter (baptism Wrington)
  • 1592 October 1 Ann the daughter of Alexander Carpenter (baptism Wrington)
  • 1593 December 16 Anne the daughter of Alexander Carpenter (baptism Wrington)
  • 1596 February 6 Mary the daughter of Alexander Carpenter (baptism Wrington) (note that in the journal article this was corrected to NS dates and given as the year 1597. This was 6 February 1596/7)
  • 1598 September 3 Presilla the daughter of Alexander Carpenter (baptism Wrington)

'Robinson-Yochem Genealogy Pricilla Dillen

      Sex: F AKA: Druscilla // Individual Information
         Birth: 1562 - Of Wrington, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 1
         Death: 20 Dec 1653 - Wrington, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 1
        Burial: 22 Dec 1653 - Wrington, Somerset, England 1


        Father: Living
        Mother: Living Spouses and Children 1. *Alexander Carpenter (Abt 1560 - 1612) 3 
      Marriage: Abt 1581 - Of Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
               1. Juliana Carpenter (1583-1663)
               2. Agnes Carpenter (Abt 1585-1617)
               3. Alice Carpenter (1590-1671)
               4. Mary Carpenter (1595-1686)
               5. Priscilla Carpenter (Abt 1597-1689)
               6. John Carpenter (Abt 1599-      )


      Sex: M

Spouses and Children 1. Living

               1. Pricilla Dillen (1562-1653) 1

Priscilla (or Drucilla) Dillen was born c. 1560 in England. Nothing is known of her parentage. Priscilla married Alexander Carpenter, from Wrington, near Bath, England, in 1560 (Slaught says c.1564).

Priscilla and Alexander had six children:

  1. William of COBHAM (earned Grayhound Coat of Arms 1663);
  2. Mary b. c. 1587? (1577 per SAINTS & STRANGERS) in England, died 1667 in Plymouth, MA, never married;
  3. Alice b. 1590 in England, died 1670 in Plymouth MA, married c. 1610 in Leyden, Holland to Edward Southworth, 2 sons; went to Plymouth 1623 via ANNE; married c. 1623 in Plymouth to Gov. William Bradford, 3 children; died in Plymouth;
  4. Agnes b. in England, died c.1617 in Leyden, Holland, married 1613 to Deacon Samuel Fuller in Leyden, no children;
  5. Juliana b. 1584 in England, died 1665 in Massachusetts; married 1611 to George Morton in Leyden; to Plymouth via ANNE (child born aboard shyip) 1663, 5 children; married 1627 to Menassa Kempton, no children of this marriage.
  6. Priscilla b. 1597 in England, died 1689 in Massachusetts, married 1619 to William Wright, died in Duxbury, MA; one son: Richard.


  • SAINTS & STRANGERS by Willison 1945, Appendix A.
  • [Br%C3%B8derbund WFT Vol. 3, Ed. 1, Tree #0905, Date of Import: 14 Jun 1999]
  • OF PLYMOUTH PLANTATION by Gov. Wm Bradford;


Priscilla married Alexander Carpenter in 1581.

They had at least 5 daughters and perhaps 3 more children, according to the "Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family" by Amos Carpenter in 1898: Julianna; Alice; Bridget; Agnes; Priscilla; Mary; William; and Joan.

Priscilla Drucilla "Druscilla" Carpenter formerly Dillen

Born 1568 in Wrington, Somerset, England

Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]

[sibling%28s%29 unknown]

Wife of Alexander Carpenter — married about 1581 in Somersetshire, England

Mother of Nathaniel Carpenter, Juliana (Carpenter) Kempton, Alice (Carpenter) Bradford, Ann Carpenter, Agnes (Carpenter) Fuller, Mary Carpenter, Priscilla (Carpenter) Cooper and William Carpenter

Died 20 Dec 1653 in Wrington, Somerset, England


Drucilla or Priscilla was born in 1568. Priscilla Dillen married Alexander Carpenter Their children were: William Carpenter, Juliana, Joan, Alice, Anges, Mary, and Priscilla Carpenter. The children were born in England and most were baptised in the area of Wrington, Somerset, England.[1].

Her husband was a religious dissident who fled England about 1608. She and the children moved with him to Amsterdam, then Leiden. The daughters eventually became part of the Pilgrim Colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The last daughter to immigrate was Mary, who remained with her mother and finally joined her sisters after the passing of their mother in 1653.

Birth: 1562 Somerset, England

Death: 1644 Wrington North Somerset Unitary Authority Somerset, England

Priscilla married Alexander Carpenter in 1581. They had at least 5 daughters and perhaps 3 more children, according to the "Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family" by Amos Carpenter in 1898:

. Julianna Carpenter (1584 - 1665)

+ sp: George Morton + sp: Manasseh Kempton

. Alice Carpenter (1590 - 1670) + sp: Edward Southworth + sp: William Bradford

. Bridget Carpenter

. Agnes Carpenter (1593 - 1617) + sp: Samuel Fuller

. Mary Carpenter (1597 - 1687)

. Priscilla Carpenter Cooper (1597 - 1689) + sp: William Wright + sp: John Cooper

. William Carpenter

. Joan Carpenter

 Alexander Carpenter (1560 - 1612)*


 Julianna Carpenter Kempton (1584 - 1665)*
 Alice Carpenter Bradford (1590 - 1670)*
 Agnes Carpenter Fuller (1593 - 1617)*
 Priscilla Carpenter Cooper (1597 - 1689)*
 Mary Carpenter (1597 - 1687)*

*Calculated relationship

Note: "Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family" by Amos Carpenter [1898]

Burial: Non-Cemetery Burial

Created by: Tim & Grace Record added: Jul 27, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 55512734


  1. Carpenter, Amos Bugbee (1898). “A genealogical history of the Rehoboth branch of the Carpenter family in America, brought down from their English ancestor, John Carpenter, 1303, with many biographical notes of descendants and allied families.” Page 36. < Archive.Org >. What is known of Alexander Carpenter is given in the English Ancestry. He had six daughters, namely : (i) Mary, (2) Alice, (3) Julia Ann, (4) Agnes, (5) Priscilla, (6) ]:5ridget. He had a son William, b. in 1599, who lived and died in England.
  2. WikiTree contributors, "Priscilla (Dillen) Carpenter (1568-1653)," WikiTree: The Free Family Tree, ( : accessed 09 February 2024). Cites


  1. NEHGR14: p. 196 (adding to the confusion, the letter's date was apparently mis-transcribed as 1664 and the later date is frequently cited, including in Holman1919, which is otherwise reliable)
  2. ↑ Pease1988
  3. ↑ Hyde1989: p. 182
  4. ↑ Hyde1989: p. 183
  5. ↑ GMB1: p. 314
  6. Kidder, Frederic. "Letter of Mary Carpenter". New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 14, 1860, pp. 195-6 or directly here for those without a NEHGS subscription Internet Archive Accessed 3 March 2021
  7. Holman, Mary Lovering. The Scott genealogy. Boston: H.G. Scott, 1919, pp. 284-5.
  8. Pease, Janet K. "Errata and addenda 24, Carpenter". Mayflower Descendant, vol. 38, 1988, p. 190.
  9. Hyde, Myrtle S. "Errata and addenda 32, Carpenter". Mayflower Descendant, vol. 39, 1989, p. 182-3.
  10. Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration begins: immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, vol. 1, A-F. Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1995, p. 314.
Invalid sources
  1. Find A Grave: Memorial #55512450 for Alexander Carpenter repeats debunked information.
  2. Heinsohn, Robert Jennings, Ph.D., SMDPA. "The Carpenter Sisters of Leiden." Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, originally published at (link now broken). The article was withdrawn by its author due to errors found after publication. See: Facebook post and reply on the page of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 21 Dec 2017. An archived copy of the original article is available at Wayback machine archive, 16 April 2004.
  3. An article on the Carpenter sisters was deleted by Wikipedia. A copy is preserved as an orphaned page off of a now-missing personal user profile; in other words, it is no longer a Wikipedia article. It cites Scott Genealogy and Great Migration Begins as sources for the paragraph claiming that Priscilla was Alexander's wife, but as noted above, neither of those sources says anything about her.
  4. The Wikipedia article on Religious separatism doesn't say anything at all about the Carpenter family.
  5. “Did Priscilla Dillen, supposed wife of Alexander Carpenter, exist?” < link > A burial at Wrington in 1653 for a Presilla Carpenter cannot be the sisters' mother, since their mother had died by 1646.
view all 26

Priscilla Carpenter's Timeline

of Wrington, Somerset, England
July 15, 1582
Wrington, North Somerset, England, United Kingdom
March 17, 1584
Bath St James, Somerset, England (United Kingdom)
August 2, 1590
Wrington, Somerset, England
August 3, 1590
Wrington, North Somerset, England
October 1, 1592
Wrington, Somerset, England
December 16, 1593
Wrington, Somerset, England
December 29, 1597
Wrington, Somerset, England (United Kingdom)
Wrington, Somersetshire, England, United Kingtom