By far, most mid nineteenth century Purseys come in this category – and most of them are agricultural labourers rather than farmers.
Those who were farmers are from the wealthier branches of the family. The earliest were the Purseys from Hertfordshire.
Thereafter, a number of the Street Purseys had farms as did the Pursseys from Stogumber.
One of the most intriguing was one George Pursey. In November, 1834, the Stamford Mercury recorded the death of George at Greaves’ Lane, Farnsfield near Nottingham. It described him as “an opulent farmer” who died in his 75th year. His son George was also a farmer who died aged 64, in 1858. George the younger was obviously a character who requested that at his death, all the children under seven of Edingley and Farnsfield should receive a penny bun each. There were 120 recipients!
And then there were the farm labourers. They are too numerous to mention them all but among the most notable is one of my own ancestors Thomas Pursey (b Pitminster, Somerset 1787). He met a distinctly sticky end in 1856. Despite his 67 years, he had been hard at work in the fields one summer in 1856. On finishing work, the Taunton Courier reports that he retired to his ingle nook to enjoy a pipe before going to bed. Apparently, a candle fell from the table into his lap and set his clothes alight. Although he was taken to hospital the next day, he was so extensively burned, the nurses could do little for him. However, it was 13 days later before he finally expired from the burns he sustained.
Also at Pitminster, in 1823, one William Pursey had been in the act of lifting a dray when it fell on him and ruptured a vessel on the brain. The Bristol Mercury reported that he died instantly.