There are several good clues I’ve been collecting to provide a springboard for finding the English origins of the Rev. Samuel Arnold, the third minister of Marshfield, Massachusetts. Samuel Arnold appears first at Sandwich, Mass. in 1643 on the list of men able to bear arms between the ages of 16 and 60. [Shurtleff, Records of Plymouth Colony, p. 192.] He married sometime in 1648 an Elizabeth (---) for the birth of his first child is recorded at Yarmouth on 9 May 1649. [Shurtleff, p. 9] Samuel is recorded as a freeman at Yarmouth [Shurtleff, p. 200], but also at Marshfield as Mr. Samuel Arnold [Shurtleff, p. 201]. These freeman records were recorded well after the fact in 1658. He may have been in Scituate in 1657 when he witnessed a deed for Thomas Byrd on 20 March 1657/8 [Bangs, Scituate Town Records, p. 155]. However, he was in Marshfield shortly thereafter and was its minister until his death [Richards, History of Marshield, Vol. 1, p. 93]. He leads the list of freeman in Marshfield in 1689 [Shurtleff, p. 207]. Samuel died on 1 September 1693 [Marshfield VRs, p. 17]. He left a will, dated 19 August 1693 and proved on 18 October 1693, in which he mentions his wife Elizabeth, sons Samuel and Seth, grandchildren Elizabeth and Isaac Holmes, daughter Elizabeth's children, and gives books to both his son Samuel [who was also a minister] and the Rev. Rowland Cotton. [Plymouth County Probate 1:176]
In July 1680, Samuel Arnold, Senior, aged about 58 years, deposed in a court case between John Cotton of Plymouth and Ralph Powell of Marshfield. [(SJC docket #1915)]. This gives an approximate birth year of 1622, which works well with the above-cited records. He was 21 in 1643 and about 26 when he married. Also, Ichabod Wiswell printed a broadside entitled: Upon the death of that reverend and aged man of God, Mr. Samuel Arnold, Pastor of the church at Marshfield, : who deceased in the 71st year of his age, and of his ministry the 36th, September 1. 1693. Again, the age at death agrees with his deposition. This elegy which includes Arnold's own memoir type poem, gives no clues to his origins other than "old England," and that he was a fisherman before he was a minister. I'm not sure that helps.
The second clue is the presence in New England of his brother, John Arnold, a mason who died before 16 May 1661 at Boston, Mass. This John was in Boston by 1639 and admitted to the church as a single man on 22 February 1643. He was made a freeman on 16 May 1643. John’s probate is granted “to Samuel Arnold, his brother” and “said Samuel Arnold of Marshfield in Plymouth jurisdiction,” deposed on the land owned by his brother John on 31 July 1661. [Suffolk County Wills, pp. 192-93, originally abstracted in the NEHGR]. Since John was known to be in New England first (at least in the extant records) and was made a freeman first, it seems he was the elder of the two brothers.
So, the search is for a Samuel Arnold born about 1622 with an older brother named John. Using the IGI for parish extractions there are two possibilities. It should be noted that not all parish records are searchable in the IGI, so these are the only two that readily appear and the true origins may lie elsewhere. However, at Coventry, Warwickshire at the Church of the Holy Trinity we find a Samuel baptized on 31 May 1622, son of John and a John baptized on 14 June 1614, son of John. [FHL Film #1067410]. The other choice is in Mickleham, Surrey, where a Samuel is baptized on 6 July 1623, son of William and a John is baptized in February 1619/[20?], son of William.
Sadly, I cannot locate the definitive marriages of either possible father nor their wills. Surrey probate is indexed completely in all jurisdictions up to 1650. No William Arnold appears past the year 1615. Two William Arnolds marry in Surrey: On 16 June 1614, William Arnold married Audrey Start at Mitcham and another at Chertsey on 29 July 1619 to Alice Browne. I’ve yet to hack through Warwickshire probate. Only one John Arnold appears to marry there in 1600 and is unlikely. More potential marriages appear in Boyd’s Marriage Index.
Samuel Arnold has only three known children: Samuel, Elizabeth, and Seth, the first two of which are ostensibly named for their parents. So onamastics are not helpful here. Clearly we will need a will that names either Samuel, John or both as being in New England.