Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


Boston (USA) to Bures
Michelle Coughlin travels to Bures (UK) to search for the ancestral homes
of the Pelham and Waldegrave Family



Michelle Marchetti Coughlin Biography

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, an historian of early American women’s history and author of One Colonial Woman’s World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, explores the life of an average woman who lived in early New England.

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is an independent scholar and former editor who holds graduate degrees in history and English and American literature. She lives south of Boston with her husband Mark. Michelle recently served as a Massachusetts Humanities Scholar-in-Residence for the Westport Historical Society, researching the life of Elizabeth Cadman White (ca. 1685–1768), one of the first owners of the society's historic Cadman-White-Handy House. In the fall of 2013 this research was used in a Brown Center for Public Humanities course on historic house interpretation to develop programming for the Handy House.

Michelle is currently researching the seventeenth-century poem and letter-book of Mehetabel’s mother, Elizabeth Douglas Chandler (ca. 1641–1705), and has begun work on a book about Penelope Pelham Winslow (ca. 1633–1703), a member of the English gentry who was married to Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow. She has also been serving on the Board of Directors of the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth, Mass., where she has been involved in planning such events as an author panel on "Revolutionary Women," a program on slavery, and a symposium to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Adamses’ marriage.

Early in March, I was contacted by Michelle Coughlin from Boston, USA, who is researching the Pelham and Waldegrave family for a book she is preparing.
Through my web site, Michelle asked if I could assist them with access to Ferriers and SmallBridge Hall which were the local ancestral homes to these two families
She is writing a book about the life of Penelope Pelham who emigrated from Bures aged only 9 to New England, with her father Herbert Pelham
With vessels taking over 60 days when the weather was fair to reach the american coastline, what an experience for such a young girl to undertake.


Subsequently on May 19th 2016, I met Michelle and her husband Mark at Bures railway station to escort them around the village.

Our first stop was to keep an appointment with Sara Petre at Ferriers.
Sara very kindly opened up her house and gave them a conducted tour of the house and outbuildings

To see where Herbert Pelham lived, was a wonderful experience for both my visitors

< Sara Petre, Michelle and Mark

Mark, Michelle and Geoffey Probert

Time was now nearing 1pm, when we all travelled to Gt Bevills to meet up with Geoffrey and Nella Probert who had very kindly offered them lunch

Geoffrey then gave our guests a brief talk of how his family had connections with the Harlackenden family from Earls Colne

As you will read from other pages about the Pelhams, Herbert married for a second time in the New World to Elizabeth
Bosville, widow of Richard Harlackenden, again from Earls Colne
Geoffrey father, Richard Harlackenden Carwardine Probert was named after his forbears who were the squires of Earls Colne from the late 16thc, when an earlier Richard Harlackenden then agent of the de Veres Earls of Oxford bought the estate from the spendthrift 17th Earl.
The 18thc descendants of the Harlackendens' at Earls Colne were Carwardines who twice married the Proberts and Richard subsequently inherited both family names.

To say they were impressed on seeing the 15thc house was an understatement, this was the first time they had ever seen a property with so much history and age.

After lunch a swift tour of the grounds and it was time to say farewell and move onto our next venue.


We then proceeded to Smallbridge Hall where we were met by Heather and Michael Hargrove
Smallbridge being the ancestral home of Jemima Waldegrave, Herbert Pelhams first wife
They were given a marvellous tour of the Hall and grounds and the massive restoration work that is being undertaken
The highlight being shown the bedroom where Elizabeth 1st stayed, when she visited the Hall back in 1561.

<< Heather and Michelle

With time now approaching 4.15pm, we visited St Marys Church where they could view the Pelham Memorial stones set in the Church Floor, together with the magnificent Waldegrave Memorial

The day couldn`t end without a visit to Chapel Barn, which Geoffrey had very kindly left open for us.

On arrival at the Chapel, I described to them the various tombs/effigies and how some of them had originated from Earls Colne Priory
You may recall from the text above, the Harlackendens has a connection with Earls Colne Priory

Now, nobody could leave the Chapel without seeing the Bures Dragon.
The party were absolutely astonished at seeing this large monster on the distant hillside.
Michelle and Mark were extremely keen to see the Chapel, but with a Dragon outside that was beyond all of their expectations.

With the time now at 5.45pm it was time to say farewell and Michelle and Mark boarded the train at Bures, to return to their Hotel in London.

With American history not really starting until Christopher Columbus landed in 1492 or even much later when the Pilgrim Fathers landed in the 1600`s, my guests were astonished, how our small English village had its roots going back so much further than their own.
Gt Bevills
15th cent
Smallbridge circa 1383
Ferriers 16th cent
Chapel Barn circa 855

This was a memorable trip for everyone, and one I especially enjoyed arranging as my guests were so appreciative of the work that I had put into making their visit, so rewarding.

Alan Beales