Shobrooke tombstone discovery

Discovery of Fuljames tombstone at St Swithun's, Shobrooke.

The Fuljames tombstone at St Swithun's. (Click the picture to enlarge)

We are grateful to Phil Keen for the following information about a fascinating discovery at St Swithun's, Shobrooke:

During the installation of the new kitchen at St Swithuns a section of carpet was pulled back to reveal a tombstone, located under the window in the north-west corner of the church. The carpet tape and the damp has caused some damage, but the raised wooden flooring should protect it. Before it was covered research was done on the grave and it was photographed to assist anyone doing research on the family.

The lettering reads: “Here lieth Thomas and Mary, son and daughter of John Fuljames of Pitminster, gent, and Prudence his relict, the one departing this life 21 January AD 1636, the other 26 July 1645 at the 7 year of her age.” The remainder of the inscription is damaged and unreadable.

John Fuljames, from Pitminster in Somerset married Prudence Westcote of Shobrooke in 1635, she was the daughter of the famous Devon historian Thomas Westcote. They had four children, Mary born in 1636, Thomas also born in 1636, Katherine born 1639 and Sarah born in 1641. John Fuljames died in 1644 aged only 29, and is also buried in the church.

The Reverend Worthington Jukes noted in his book that it is a pity that this tablet should have been separated so far from that of the father, and that the father and daughter had died during the plague and the turbulent years of the Civil War. John Fuljames was a Royalist, and related to Archdeacon Cotton, Rector of Shobrooke, whose daughter Margaret was married to James Rich, a Major in Lord Hopton’s troop, and who was killed in the siege of Bristol. Margaret was dying of consumption when Puritan troops seized Shobrooke Rectory in 1646. They drove out the Rector and his dying daughter and plundered the house. They are both buried in Shobrooke church. After the Civil War a branch of the family emigrated to Virginia.

The name comes from the old French “Fol” meaning foolish and “Jambe” meaning leg, so could have derived from a limp or a disabled leg. The family first appear in Cheshire and Derbyshire. There are many variations of the name, including Fulghames and Folijambes.

31 March 2016