Frome Pobjoys


All Pobjoy genealogy leads to Frome, but frustratingly, never quite gets there!


Living bearers of the name and its variants appear to descend from a dozen branches, most of which can be traced back to East Somerset and West Wiltshire. I have not yet been able to link any living Pobjoys with certainty to the Pobjoy/Pobjay families that flourished in Frome from the mid-1500s until the mid-1800s, however.


Although there are dozens of Frome Pobjoys I have been unable to account for, there is enough evidence to piece together a speculative outline of how the family grew and then declined with the local woollen cloth trade and associated industry.


There were also Pobjoy families nearby in Norton St Philip from the 1590s to the late 1800s, and this is where 'my' Pobjoys originate from.

'Popejoy' became a distinct surname variant by the 17th century. Some of the Popejoys of this period were carpenters in West Wiltshire, like contemporary Pobjoy/Pobjays in the Frome area, and some of the Wiltshire Popejoys may have been Frome 'strays'.


All living Pobgees are descended from John and Elizabeth Pobgee who lived in Bruton, near Frome, at the end of the 17th century.

In 1742 Robert Pobjoy, probably a member of one of the prosperous families of Frome cardmakers, married Mary Rossiter, spinster of Foxcote, at Great Elm near Frome. Their descendants became bakers, millers and publicans in and near the hamlet of Foxcote and, more recently, farmers.


By the 1750s there were Pobjoy families living in Southwark and also near St George, Hanover Square, apparently related to the Frome cardmakers, but who do not appear to have living Pobjoy descendants. However, there are many living Pobjoy descendants of William Pobjoy, who married Sarah Lee in 1787, and of James Pobjoy who married Magaret Harris in 1784. William and James may both have had Frome origins.


William Pobjoy, a spinner of Frome, moved to Bradford-on-Avon with his family in the 1770s to be foreman of a small workshop. He may have been related to two brothers and a sister, William, Sarah and John Pobjoy, who all married in Trowbridge in 1803. John's grandchildren by his son John may have emigrated.


Richard Pobjoy, born in Frome in 1800 according to Census returns, married Ann Ford in 1820 at Marston Bigot, a parish which included the mill at Spring Gardens in Frome where Richard worked as a cloth-dresser. Richard and Ann had nine children, at least two of whom emigrated to the USA. Other descendants still live in Swindon.