Edward Pursey & Ann Blisset (alias Pavior) (Taunton – Sherborne, Dorset)
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 Blisset”.
Kevin spent a great deal of time and effort trying to establish a link to the Percies of Northumberland. He suggests 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.
Kevin made available his findings and research on his Percy Family website [sadly, no longer online at end March 2014]. I have made good use of his research and this is supplemented by information provided from David Hollister (for which grateful thanks).
Edward of High Street, Taunton St Mary married Ann Blisset (Blissitt alias Paviour) in October 1716. (The Purseys and the Paviours were obviously very close and interlinked – not only did Ann marry Edward but the Taunton St Mary parish registers list a Henry Purcey marrying an Elizabeth Pavior in both 1731 and 1747, and a Christopher was apprenticed to cooper Daniel Pavier/Paviour in May 1729.)
Edward and Ann 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.
Thomas met Rebecca Pitman and lived as man and wife, 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 while 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 1761, Thomas was doing well enough to be able to take on an apprentice – William Jeffrey. In 1781, he took on another -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 he did himself 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 :
Of course, there are other Thomas Purseys/Percies around at the time but for my money, this is the Thomas Pursey who died in Sherborne less than a year later.
Thomas and Rebecca’s offspring widely referred to themselves and are almost universally noted as Percy. 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.
Thomas Pitman Percy was the eldest surviving son of Thomas and Rebecca Pitman. He died aged 77, in Sherborne, Dorset in 1832. His will mentions sons William and George; however it was his daughter Maria who was the main beneficiary. She received all his land including his house in Newland as well as other property in Sherborne. After three years, Thomas directed that the land was to be divided and the western part handed over to brother George. He made provision that George’s share should support him and any of his children until they reached the age of 21.
Daughter Mary – by this time married to George Mills – was to receive three shillings a week for the rest of her life, payable equally by George and Maria from the receipts of their respective properties. Sons William and George were to receive £250 cash and £200 respectively – but only three years after Thomas’s death. He stipulated that in the event that they contested his will, they would receive nothing but a shilling!
And what about the other children of Edward and Anne Blisset – John, Edward, Benjamin, Daniel, Joseph and Mary? 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.
*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. 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.