Benjamin Pursey & Sons of Great Castle Street, London

This long-overdue post is aimed at all those who claim descent from London carpenter Benjamin Pursey. I hope it will spur others who are researching this family to renew their efforts to find a link with the Taunton Purseys.

A fair few trees on Ancestry show Benjamin Pursey b 1762 in Spitalfields, Middlesex (now in London) at their head; fewer have his father – Benjamin senior who died in 1795 in Horselydown, Southwark.

Benjamin of Horsleydown first shows up in the baptism record of son John b 1760 in Spitalfields. The mother is noted as Betty. Further siblings – Benjamin junior b 1762, Elizabeth b1765, and Edward b 1766, follow. Benjamin & Betty lived in Whe(e)ler St (now off Commercial Street). They were living here in 1762 when they had Benjamin and had moved to White’s Row by the time they had Edward in 1766.

Shortly before he died in 1795, Benjamin left a short will in which “I do nominate and appoint my eldest son Benjamin Carpenter in Langham to be chief manager after my Decease”, leaving all that “remains (after his debts were paid and dues collected) in the hands of my son Benjamin to be equally divided amongst my seven children, or as many of them as shall be living at my death”. (The Langham in question is now the area north of Oxford Street bordering Regent Street.)

His son Benjamin married Sarah Turner in 1800. He is noted Pearcy on the marriage records but signed himself Pursey. Benjamin and Sarah had 10 children starting with Charlotte b 1800 and Benjamin b 1801 and ending with Joseph Henry in 1818.

Benjamin of 33 Great Castle Street was buried April 21, 1850 in Highgate Cemetery. By the time he died, he had built up a substantial business being listed in the 1843 Post Office directory as Benjamin Pursey & Son, Carpenter & Builder 33 Gt Castle St.

In his will, the first person mentioned is his son-in-law Henry Barr to whom he left his “old eight day clock as a mark of respect and esteem I entertain for him”. Perhaps this is because Benjamin and Sarah’s daughter Catherine who died aged 4 years in 1817 was buried in buried the Barr’s family grave in Whitfield’s Memorial church. (Henry was married to afore-mentioned Charlotte and when she died to younger sister Ann.) Benjamin had no favourites among his children for he left them all he had to be “equally divided among them in equal proportion”. It is interesting to note that this will revoked all previous wills he had made “particularly one in the possession of my son Joseph dated 1848”.

A post on noted that in May 1829, Elizabeth and John Pursey of 33 Castle Street West, Westminster, London, joined the Congregationalist Church in Faubert Place, Regent St. known as Craven Chapel Independant. Elizabeth Pursey later married Thomas Arthur (whom she met at Craven Chapel, he joined in January of the same year).

Initially, I thought that Benjamin senior might be connected to Taunton carpenter Edward (and Anne Blisset). His marriage (around 1760 to Betty) makes this doubtful. More likely, he is youngest son of Benjamin and Sarah Cure (b 1736) or possible youngest son of Joseph and Hannah Langford (b 1729).

Finally, some time after both Benjamin senior and junior were dead, this intriguing ad appeared in the newspaper in 1859:










Do respond if you have any idea of what it refers to!