Purseys in Berkshire go back a long way and by the mid 1750s are well-established. They are the most numerous group after those in Somerset.

Concentrated in and around Wokingham, they include the two branches of John and Ann Walden, and Michael and Elizabeth Brewer/Hannah Hulford, they seem to have originated from just across the county border in Eversley, Hampshire.

John married Ann Walden in 1748 in nearby Winkfield while Michael, born about 1760. Michael Pursey married Elizabeth Brewer in Eversley in November 1778. On her death, he married Hannah Hulford. (Thanks to Chris Parnwell for much of the early information on these two families. There’s a lot more information on Christine’s family (which includes a number of Purseys) on the excellent Wokingham Remembers website.)

Descendants of both families remained in and around Wokingham for a considerable period.

A seemingly more wealthy branch can be found in the towns of Barkham, Easthampstead, Finchampstead and Binfield. The last is the seat of the family of Thomas and Judith Isley. (Although in the records, all the children of Thomas and Judith are noted as Percys, the will of one Thomas Pursey, a gardener of Easthampstead suggests they were originally Purseys.) Thomas married Mary May several years after the death of Judith. Thomas’s immediate descendants were all born in Binfield. They subsequently moved to Egham, Windsor and London.

As yet unconnected, Berkshire burial records suggest that Richard Pursey was born in about 1732. He died in Easthampstead in October 1807. He married Mary Holmes. He was a farmer and in his will, he left property to his wife Mary, in Nottingham. (There are few Purseys in Nottingham at the time and – Samuel Pursey, married Ann Holmes there in 1792.) Richard was also the bondsman (or guarantor) for the marriage of John and Ann Walden.

He left property in Rose Street, Nottingham to his friends William Cove and William Marlow in trust, saying that any interest or rent from the property should go to his wife Mary. Thereafter, he stipulated that the property should be passed to his son Richard and after his decease, to his grandchildren Jane and Mary – daughters of his son. Mary died in 1813 and having left the will unadministered, son Richard was granted administration in 1814. (Son Richard died in 1846 at Sunninghill, Easthampstead, without – it seems – leaving a will.)

Richard senior is also helpful in suggesting a possible link to the Eversley Purseys. On 25 October 1774, Ann Pursey married John Gray. She was the daughter of John Pursey and Ann Walden and was born in Winkfield, Berkshire in 1753. Richard above, provided the bond for their marriage.

There are a good number of stray families and individuals in the Berkshire records remain. In my opinion, they are related but without further information, accurate identification is difficult.

5 thoughts on “Berkshire”

  1. Good to know. My branch of the Purseys came to ON, Canada in 1908 from Reading, Berkshire. This was William & Alice (Inch) with their baby, Wm., Ernest my grandfather.

  2. Hi, I am a Pursey in Alberta, Canada. My great grandfather William John Pursey came to Canada in 1908 from Reading, Berkshire with his wife Alice Inch and my grandfather William Ernest. His brother Joseph is said to have gone to Australia. Either Joseph or a descendant of his supposedly became the mayor of a city, town or village in Australia.

    Just wondering if anybody has heard of any of the Purseys from Berks UK in Australia.

    All the best to Purseys every where,


    1. Hi Charlene – thanks for getting in touch. Just had a quick check – tho’ William doesn’t feature on the d/base at the moment, he married in Fleet, Hampshire, Feb 1907. I don’t have access to ancestry at the mo but hopefully, someone will have a check and come up with William’s father. From there, hopefully you can put that name in the database – – and come up with his line as far as I have traced it.

    2. A quick update Charlene – William’s father was also William. He married Caroline Coggins in 1871, Bradfield, Berkshire. Father William was a coal merchant in Stratfield Mortimer. He and Caroline and family appear in 1881 and 1891 censuses. Still not sure on his grandfather though – a birth certificate should uncover more. Best Nic

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