As in many other counties, Purseys in Buckinghamshire begin to appear in the mid 1700s.
Earliest known individual is Richard Pursey, born around 1750. He married Johanna Pusey in Penn, Buckinghamshire in 1775. [It is frustrating that like Pursey, the Pusey name is local to the area.] Like many other Purseys, Richard’s son John worked with wood and this branch of the family continued to do so, right up until the turn of the 20th century and beyond.
Richard was not the only Pursey around in Buckinghamshire at the turn of the nineteenth century.
The Posse Comitatus, or civil power, was a survey of all men capable of acting in a military capacity who were not either Quakers, clergymen or already serving in a military unit. Men between the ages of 15 and 60 were included. In addition, the number of horses, wagons and carts available were surveyed.
In 1798, at the initiative of the lord lieutenant, the Marquess of Buckingham, the Buckinghamshire survey was conducted. It was conducted against the background of war with revolutionary France, and the risk of invasion by French forces. (By February 1798, Britain had been at war with France for five years.)
Listed in Penn at the time, under ‘servants and labourers’ are:
John Pursey Snr
John Pursey Jnr
Also, in Hedgerley Dean is one Abraham Pursey, a labourer as well as Puseys, Benjamin John, Thomas and Thomas, all labourers. In Great Missenden there is William Pusey, servant and in Wexham, George and William Pusey.
Buckinghamshire is the only county for which a complete copy of the Posse Comitatus exists. In fact there are two surviving copies. One is in the British Library and the other in the Buckinghamshire Record Office. (Adapted from http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/hdhs/otherPeopleInfo/posseCom.php)
It is a recurring theme that where you find a Pursey, you’ll probably find a pub and it’s is no exception with the Buckinghamshire Purseys. One of John’s descendants, George b 1831, ran the Plough Inn in Winchmore Hill. The family continued to do do so until the early 1950s.
Thanks to Richard Ayres for providing much of the information about the Buckingham Purseys