Edward Pursey & Ann Blisset (alias Pavior) (Taunton – Sherborne, Dorset)

The lineage of Edward and Ann is officially recognised. In a letter to Kevin Percy of New Zealand, the principal of the College of Arms stated “it would be appropriate to record your family pedigree here back to Edward Pursey and Ann Blissett”.

Kevin spent a great deal of time and effort trying to establish a link to the Percies of Northumberland. He generously published his research online though sadly, this is no longer available.

Edward of High Street, Taunton St Mary and Ann Blisset (Blissitt alias Paviour) married in October 1716. They had eight children – John, Edward, Benjamin, Thomas, Benjamin, Daniel, Joseph and Mary. Of these, it is only the line of Thomas which we know anything substantive.

Thomas was born in Taunton in 1725 (bap. 14 June) under the name Pursey. At the age of 24 in 1749, he is found in Sherborne, Dorset. Prior to that, according to a statement he made in 1758, Thomas indicated he had spent time in Yeovil and Crewkerne, both in Somerset.

At some stage, Thomas married Rebecca Pitman, although their marriage does not show up in any known registers. In transcriptions of the Sherborne parish registers, their first son Thomas born in 1749, appears as a Pursy. In the same registers, younger brothers William b1758, and Joseph b 1759, both appear as Pursey. Daniel b1751, and Thomas Pitman b1754, are listed but without surnames whilst John b1762, and daughters Ann b1753 and Rebecca b1765 are not listed.

(In the equivalent entries on Ancestry, Thomas is a Purcy, Thomas Pitman, Joseph, John and Rebecca all appear as Purseys and Daniel a Purcey. William and Ann are missing. You could say that this illustrates the problems with transcribing, bad spelling by the registrar or the illiteracy of those being registered. It is interesting to note however, that within numerous and diverse Somerset transcriptions, the Pursey name is almost universally written and transcribed as Pursey; Percy almost unheard of. Here in Sherborne we have four different variations – all within the same family.)

In 1761, Thomas was doing well enough to be able to take on an apprentice – William Jeffrey, and again in 1781. This time it was one John Percey – though who this actually is, I don’t know.

By the time he died in November 1810, Thomas had become a Percy. The parish register referred to him as such as did he in his will which is listed in the ‘Wills’ section of this site.

However in August 1809, this short item appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle :

Hampshire Chronicle, August 1809

Hampshire Chronicle, August 1809

Of course, there are other Thomas Purseys/Percies around at the time. This for my money, is the Thomas Pursey, who died in Sherborne less than a year later.

Subsequently, Thomas and Rebecca’s offspring widely referred to themselves and are almost universally noted as Percies. Sons Thomas Pitman Percy married Ann Barnard, Joseph married Elizabeth Hewlett (and emigrated – also to New Zealand) and John married Ann Snook, remaining in Sherborne. But what happened to Daniel? He was certainly alive in 1809 as he was mentioned in his father’s will. The others all did well in life – John was an auctioneer, Thomas, carpenter and joiner, subsequently ‘gentleman’, and Joseph, also a carpenter. All left wills.

And what became of Thomas’s siblings – John, Edward, Benjamin, Daniel, Joseph and Mary – the other children of Edward and Anne Blisset. All born in Taunton between 1717 and 1735, they do not currently show up reliably in any records – anywhere! That said, a carpenter Benjamin does appear in the London records. He lived in Horsley Down, Southwark and died in 1795. His son Benjamin (also a carpenter in Great Castle Street, London) was the executor of his will. Both were Purseys. Further, there is a record of a Joseph Pursey having made a will in 1757. In it, he leaves everything to his brother Daniel (a house-carpenter) in Ling, Somerset. He too, is listed a Pursey. I believe both are good contenders to brothers of Thomas – or at least related.

[This article was originally published in a slightly different form under Thomas Pursey and Rebecca Pitman in March 2014.]

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4 Comments to “Edward Pursey & Ann Blisset (alias Pavior) (Taunton – Sherborne, Dorset)”

  1. nic says:

    The Purseys and the Paviours were obviously very close and interlinked – not only did Ann marry Edward but the Taunton St Mary parish registers list a Henry Purcey marrying an Elizabeth Pavior in both 1731 and 1747, and a Christopher was apprenticed to cooper Daniel Pavier/Paviour in May 1729.

  2. JM says:

    Thomas Pursey 1725-1810 and Rebecca Pitman 1729-1806 – their son Joseph Pursey my husbands 4th GG – married Elizabeth Hewlett in Yeovil 27 Apr 1794. Joseph & Elizabeth’s son Joseph Hewlett Pursey 1797-1864 died in HUTT, New Zealand – Harriett 1810-1867 Married William COOK 1811-1843 there is also an Elizabeth Pursey 1814 – but as yet i do not have history for her and there could be more children, but again i don’t have them.

    I am wondering about Joseph Hewlett Pursey and he so fits into the family i have. It would seem J.H. was a pioneer in the HUT region in New Zealand – and you can read about his endeavours via “”Hutt Valley Biographical Index and Genealogies website “www.hbig.gen.nz”. From what i have read on your expose of the PURSEY name makes me wonder if my Tree is all wrong and wonder if you have come across any of the names mentioned here as Children of Joseph & Rebecca. I would love to be able to keep Joseph Hewlett Pursey in the Tree if possible – nice to have someone do really well.

    Thanks –

    • nic says:

      Many thanks for the info on Harriet and William Cook.

      I personally am not in much doubt about Joseph Hewlett being the son of Thos and Rebecca and the parish records certainly point that way. I haven’t come across Joseph and Rebecca.

      Joseph – the father of Joseph Hewlett – died in 1828 leaving a fairly lengthy will. What is striking is that Joseph Hewlett doesn’t figure in it – even though he was in the country (he didn’t leave England for Australia until 1841).

      So what happened? Did Joseph Senior and his son Joseph Hewlett have a massive falling-out? Maybe, provision was made for him earlier on. Whatever the case, is it unusual if not odd.

      As for Elizabeth – I do not know what happened to her. Maybe another reader off the site will provide the answer at a later date.

  3. nic says:

    Thomas Pitman Percy was the eldest surviving son of Thomas and Rebecca Pitman. He died in Sherborne, Dorset in 1832, aged 77. His will proves that contrary to the tree posted on Kevin Percy’s site, he not only had sons (William and George) but that they survived.

    It was Maria who was the main beneficiary. She received all his land including his house in Newland as well as other property in Sherborne. After three years, Thomas directed that the land was to be divided and the western part handed over to brother George. He made provision that George’s share should support him and any of his children until they reached the age of 21.

    Daughter Mary – by this time married to George Mills – was to receive three shillings a week for the rest of her life, payable equally by George and Maria from the receipts of their respective properties. Sons William and George were to receive £250 cash and £200 respectively – but only three years after Thomas’s death. He stipulated that in the event that they contested his will, they would receive nothing but a shilling!

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