John Underhill1

M, b. circa 1576, d. 1608
FatherThomas Underhill b. 1545, d. b 7 Jun 1591
MotherMagdalen Amyas d. c Dec 1597
     John was born circa 1576 in Warwickshire, England, at Kenilworth Manor.2 John was born and raised at Kenilworth and grew up with the son of the Earl, Robert Dudley Jr. These two circumstances were to influence almost every twist and turn in his adult life. It is quite likely that John assumed that he would eventually receive the position of his father under a retainer of his contemporary, Sir Dudley Jr., and there are indications that he had acted as his father’s assistant to prepare for that role. The younger Dudley though had his own ideas of what to do with his life that were far more exciting to him then being settled on a manor in the northern parts of England. Just as significant is that while furthering his education in London, Robert became fascinated with the sea and exploration. As soon as he came of age, he planned a large expedition to the South Seas, but the Queen forbad the adventure. He was allowed, however, to form an exploring voyage to the West Indies. John went with him, likely on a retainer. The voyagers returned to England in late May of 1595, and landed at St Ives, in Cornwall. It was fortunate for John that St. Ives was chosen as the port, for while in St. Ives, John met the young lady who was to become his wife, Honor Pawley. John then is found in London in October of 1597, but later in the month he is on record as a witness to a will at Kenilworth. This is the same year that his mother took ill and died and he may have gone to Kenilworth to be of assistance to her. By this time John's and Honor's family already consisted of two children. Interestingly, Robert Dudley also had found his way back to his home manor and apparently had taken on the role of Lord of the manor, as a birth of his child is recorded there in 1597. Both families remained at Kenilsworth until 1605. At this time Sir Robert apparently decided that manor life lacked appeal as did his wife, for he obtained permission to leave the country and go to Holland and then to travel throughout Europe. John and possibly his youngest brother, Clement went with him. Robert received his license to leave 25 June 1605, and left shortly after. Robert took with him his new love interest, a lady of noble birth, Elizabeth Southwell, disguised as a page. Upon arriving in Holland Robert, left immediately, traveling thru France and going on into Italy where he and his mistress eventually would spent the remainder of their lives. John, however, remained in Brussells where he brought his family from England. Dudley did prepare John for what was to become his final career choice, that of a soldier. Robert connected John to those who would hire him as a mercenary. A document exists dated 13 December 1607, showing that John Underhill was serving as a Sergeant in Bergen-op-Zoom, but in the next year he is found listed as having died.3 John married Honor Pawley, daughter of James Pawley and Isabell Bonython, before 18 October 1597 in St. Ives, County Cornwall, England. On this day, John & Honor file a suit to gain rights to her father, James Pawley's estate. He and Honor were blessed with John, Lettice, Petronella and possibly others.. John departed this life in 1608 in Bergen Op Zoom, North Brabant, Netherlands.


Honor Pawley b. c 1577, d. b 18 Dec 1658


  1. [S1092] J. H. Morrison, Underhills of Warwickshire, Chapter III, pages 79-107.
  2. [S1092] J. H. Morrison, Underhills of Warwickshire, page 85 - John was of age in December 1597.
  3. [S781] Henry C. Shelley, John Underhill Captain of New England and New, page 93-102.