Archive for the ‘Dorset’ Category

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

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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.]

Thomas Pitman Percy, d 1832, Sherborne

Friday, March 14th, 2014

This is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Pitman Percy of Sherborne in the County of Dorset Gentleman. I Give devise and bequeath unto my Daughter Maria … premises … situate in Newland in Sherborne aforesaid … As to all that Dwellinghouse … that I now occupy also the dwellinghouse in the occupation of John Creese etc also the lumber house … Also the cottage … before it [was] occupied by John Walters … unto … my said daughter Maria Percy … And I order and direct that a wall shall be built from the quoin of the East side … to stop all communication and passage between my said Daughter’s premises and my son Georges … the expense of the wall to be jointy … paid by my said Daughter and Son … and after his decease to apply to apply the rents and profits thereof … for the maintenance and education of all the children of my said Son George …

I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Mary Mills … the sum of three shillings a week … to commence immediately on my decease. I give unto my son William Percy the sum of Two hundred and fifty pounds to be paid to him at the end of three years after my decease … I give unto my said son George the sum of Two hundred pounds to be paid him at the end of three years … And as to all the rest residue and remainder … I Give … unto my Daugther Maria … And I appoint her sole Executrix … And I do declare that if either of my said children shall give unnecessary trouble …. then I hereby revoke the devise … and in lieu thereof I bequeath one shilling

In Witness whereof I have to each sheet of this my Will … and to this last my seal also this twenty sixth day of October one thousand eight hundred and thirty one.

At Sherborne on the 12th day of July 1832Maria Percy Spr the sole Executrix herein named was duly sworn before me. M Marsh


The Sherbourne Purseys/Percies

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Despite some odd transcriptions of the Pursey family name, most Purseys can be identifiable as just that. A strange thing happened in the mid-1750s in Sherbourne – they somehow morphed into Percys!

This process is most identifiable with the children of Thomas Pursey and Rebecca Pitman. Thomas and his siblings were born in the 1720/30s in Taunton, the sons and daughters of Edward and Ann Blisset (alias Paviour). Kevin Percy and his family suggest that Edward (who was base born in 1692) is the son of Edward and Sarah Lucas, and that he in turn was the son of John Purse and Joanne Reade. They believe John might have been the son of Thomas, a son of Robert and Emma Meade. Robert, born in Yorkshire and married in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, was the only son of Gunpowder plotter Thomas Percy (see Gunpowder Tom tree).

Kevin made a good deal of his findings and research, available on his Percy Family website [sadly, no longer online at end March 2014] . The tree posted here makes good use of that research and is supplemented by information provided from David Hollister (for which grateful thanks).

Interestingly, whilst the descendants of Thomas and Rebecca are well documented, there seems to be no extant information on his six brothers, other than details of some of their marriages in Taunton. I have not been able to identify any of the brothers’ offspring – anywhere!

If you know otherwise, please do get in touch.