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Researched by Stephen Swailes
Dobbs Families


In October 1790 John Dobbs and Ann Pettit married at Bozeat. Their first child was born the following January and in all they had 12 children. The seven that survived to adulthood stayed in or around Bozeat and they have thousands of descendants. But where John Dobbs came from is a mystery (but see links above).

Ann Pettit born 1769 died in Easton Maudit in January 1842 aged 72. She was probably baptised at Bozeat in 1771 the daughter of Robert and Mary although there is another matching baptism at Great Doddington in 1769. Their marriage banns say that both John and Ann were "of this parish" but that simply means that both were legally settled there. It does not mean that they were born there. Bozeat's early parish registers were lost in a fire in 1729 but there are no Dobbs baptisms, marriages or burials until 1790.

The surname was fairly widespread and he could have come from any of the midland counties. If he did then Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire seem the most likely simply because Bozeat is near the county boundaries. We know from his burial record that he was born in or about 1766 but I have not found a John Dobbs in the christening records of the villages around Bozeat, in north Bedfordshire or around Olney. He married a woman from Bozeat and he stayed in Bozeat which might indicate that he was local.

These pages draw together information on the early Northamptonshire Dobbs in an attempt to shed some light on the possible ancestry of "Bozeat John". The main sources are wills, parish registers, State papers such as Patent Rolls and various documents in the NRO. Indexes to early national sources (pre eighteenth century) such as Patent Rolls and Ancient Deeds show Dobbs present in Norfolk, Devon/Dorset and also London but they are not included here.

This document was compiled by Stephen Swailes following his research into the Dobbs' family tree. Last updated 1 August 2022.


The earliest mention of the name in the southern part of Northamptonshire (so far) occurs for a John Dobbe who witnessed a grant of lands in Horton in 1382. The same John is referred to in 1386 when William Oclee of Wygeston "bocher" did not appear to answer John Dobbes of Horton regarding a trespass (Patent Rolls). Henry son of John Dobbe of Horton conveyed a house with adjacent messuage on the common green of Horton to his brother John in 1416 (NRO G(H)249). We also know of a John Dobbe who is mentioned in a document dated 1389 to 1391 relating to tenements that he held in Draughton, Thirneby or Scaldewell (Feet of Fines). Hall's book on Wollaston refers to a William Dobbe there in 1430. John Dobbes of Lamport, yeoman, is mentioned in a petition of 1453 (Nat. Archives).

We then jump a hundred years when the records show a surprising number of references to early Dobbs. These records have survived because the people they mention possessed or occupied land and because they were relatively well-placed they left wills. The name occurs in and around two localities, Oundle and Whiston.

see also Bozeat Names

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