Archive for the ‘Hertfordshire’ Category

Sarah Pursey/Persey (Vaughan) of Welwyn, Hertfordshire

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Sarah Vaughan was obviously a great catch for her husband-to-be Henry Pursey.

She was born in September 1691 to Thomas and Jane Vaughan, keepers of the then Swan Inn in the High Street. At the time, Henry’s parents Thomas and Susannah, kept the White Hart on the corner of Prospect Place.

Sarah married Henry when she was just 21, in September 1712. A son Thomas was born a year later followed by George a year after. Although Henry and Sarah were married for more than 20 years, it seems they had no further children as in her will, Sarah mentions only George.

During her life, it seems that Sarah moved in exalted circles. She counted amongst her friends and acquaintances, noted poet and rector Dr Edward Young and surgeon Roberts Gelsthorpe. In fact, it appears the latter was more than just a friend for when he died in 1731, he left all his property in trust for Sarah (including the properties of Guessens – see property section – and Holly Hall) noting that “the said Henry Persey her now Husband shall not have use or enjoy the same estate so given”. He made provision for Sarah to sell the properties stipulating “that the money arising thereby shall be to and for her own particular separate use wherewith her Husband shall have nothing to do therewith”.

Sarah went further in her own will. Having made certain bequests, she directed her son George – to whom she had left the remainder of her estate – that if he died unmarried, “that he never lets any of the family of the Purseys inherit any part of what I have herein given him”!

Sarah remembered Robert’s kindness by erecting a monument to him in Welewyn Church. The Revd John Jones, Curate of Welwyn later intimated that Sarah was his mistress and referred to her as “Mrs P. the wife of another man”. On her death in 1743, Sarah left to her sister Elizabeth Vaughan a picture of “my dear friend Robert Gollithorp Esq which was drawn when he was a child and which hangs in my bed-chamber”.

As for Dr Young – he would inherit Guessens from Sarah’s mother Joan after her death.

Gussens, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Briefly, this property was in the hands of the Purseys of Hertfordshire. Now a grade II* listed building, it was left to Sarah Pursey (Persey), wife of Henry by her friend (and probable lover), Robert Gelsthorpe.


It was not destined to become a Pursey property however. Robert insisted in his will that Sarah solely, should have the benefit of his bequest. Sarah honoured his wishes, subsequently bequeathing the property to her mother Joan Vaughan when she died in 1743.

The beautiful house of Gussens in Welwyn

The Hertfordshire Purseys

Friday, April 12th, 2013

The Hertfordshire Purseys were a relatively wealthy family, living in Welwyn. Heading up this tree is George (d 1598) and his sister Margaret.

George had eight children by his wife Hellen: Thomas, Margaret, Anis, Henry (Harry), Clement, George, Anne and Salathiel.

Eldest son Thomas married Elizabeth Eeles in North Mimms in 1613. Their son Thomas married Alice Fyshe in 1649. They in turn had a daughter Alice but no known other children.

Second son Henry married Joane Dane in 1612. They had five children: Edward, Martha, Henry, Hellen and Jesper. Edward and Jesper died in childhood whilst Henry married Katherine ___.

Henry and Katherine had twelve children: Hellen, John, Thomas (i), Mary, George, Jane Henry, Frances, Katherine, Elizabeth (i), Elizabeth (ii) and Thomas (ii).

John, Thomas (i) and George died in childhood. The fate of Henry is unknown.

Thomas (ii), an inn-holder, married Susannah ___ and had eight children: William, Elizabeth, Susan, Henry, Mary, Martha, Thomas and Ann(ie).

William married Audrey Burd at St Benet, Paul’s Wharf, London in 1725. He too was an innholder, owning the White Hart Inn in Welwyn. He was indentured to John Pame, citizen and joiner of London in 1712. At the end of his life, he was a ‘maltster’, a business he passed on to his son William in his will. The White Hart , he passed on to his son John.

William and Audrey had seven children: William, John, Susannah, Ann, Martha, Mary, and Sarah. Of the two sons, John died childless in 1759. The fate of William is unknown. Thomas and Susannah’s son Henry married Sarah Vaughn in 1712.

In his will, John passed the White Hart to Raoul Taylor, husband of his sister Ann and friends James Swain and William Axtoll to be sold and the money divided equally between sisters Susannah, Ann, Martha and Mary.

Henry had two children Thomas and George with wife Sarah Vaughan. The fate of both remains unknown. Thomas and Susannah’s youngest son Thomas was born in 1692. His fate is unknown.

George and Hellen’s third son Clement married Anne Waterman in 1622. They had three daughters: Mary, Elizabeth and Anne.

Fourth son George had four children: Elizabeth, George, Mary and Samuel. The fate of the two sons is unknown.

Hertfordshire Purseys