Hannah Edmonds wife of John Pursey

Hannah Pursey (née Edmonds) (1729 – 1819) of Taunton St Mary died at Eastreach, Taunton aged 90.

She takes the biscuit for leaving the longest will of any Pursey. She was a sticker for detail and a lengthy preamble to her will lays out her wishes in great detail. The daughter of Shadrack Edmonds, she was a non-conformist with a strong sense of justice and equality. Her daughters benefitted from her will equally, if not more so, than her surviving sons John and Joseph.

In fact, the first-mentioned, Rachael, was not even one of her own sons or daughters: “First I give and bequeath unto Rachael Pursey, the widow of my late son Samuel Pursey the sum of ten pounds.”

She divides her estate, comprising property and land in [I believe] Orchard Portman into three parts. A third she gives to daughter Elizabeth, wife of William Phippen; a third goes to Lydia, wife of James Taylor “for her own sole and separate use and benefit separate and apart from her present or any future husband and wherewith he shall not intermeddle”. The remaining third, she divides in sixths. Of that, sons John and Joseph each receive a share, as do daughters Sarah, wife of Stephen Stock (Currier in the City of Worcester), and Ann, wife of John Horsey (Currier in London).

The remaining two sixths, she instructs her executors to invest “in the purchase of parliamentary stocks or funds of Great Britain or upon seal or personal security at Interest”. She directs that half the returns from these investments go towards the “towards the maintenance and bringing up of my four Grandchildren James, Shadrack, Mary, and Ann Pursey, Children of my late son Shadrack Pursey by Mary his late wife in equal proportions until they shall respectively attain the age of twenty one years”. The other half is to be used “for and towards the maintenance and bringing up of my five Grandchildren Edward, Samuel, William, Mary and Sarah Cornish, Children of my late Daughter Hannah Cornish by Samuel her Husband”.

Once all the grand-children reach 21, she instructs her executors to liquidate the respective investments and share it out “equally” between them all “for their own respective absolute use and benefit”. She adds that if any of the grand-children have died at the time of the administration of the will then “the share or shares of him her or them so dying shall go and accrue to his her or their brothers or sisters before named and to none other in equal shares and proportions”.

She also makes clear that if any of her sons or daughters “shall happen to die in my life time then I do hereby order and direct my said Trustees and the Survivor of them his Heirs Executors or Administrators to pay the share or shares of him or her or them so dying unto his her or their personal representative or personal representatives”.

Finally, to try and ensure her grand-children have the best possible start in life, she says “I do hereby declare and direct that it shall and may be lawful to and for [her executors] to pay andy part of the shares of my said Grandchildren for the putting or placing them him or her to or in any trade business or employment or otherwise for their his or her advancement in the World.”

6 thoughts on “Hannah Edmonds wife of John Pursey”

  1. I’ve been looking at the family tree that starts with John Pursey and Elizabeth Pordue. When trying to enter the children of John Pursey (person 5) and Hannah Edmonds (person 6) onto my Ancestry tree, I have been alerted to the fact that Elizabeth Pursey’s date of birth (person 18) is listed as 5 April 1779. This means that she would have been born about 4 years after her father had actually died. Is the date of birth printed for Elizabeth a typing error???
    I’ve also noticed that Lydia Pursey (person 16) was born on 26 Jan 1769 and her sister Hannah (person 20) is listed as having been born on 10 March 1769. I’d be very grateful if you could have a look and let me know what I should do to ensure that I enter the correct information on my Ancestry tree.
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for getting in touch Amanda – and for picking up on the anomalies in this tree. I have gone back to check on various dates and embarrassingly, I find more than one or two individuals to be entered wrongly. I have now updated these in my records and will post an updated tree shortly.

      In the meantime, here is the raw data for John and Hannah’s children. The dates are baptismal dates rather than birth dates:

      John Pursey John/Hannah 30 1 1755
      Joseph Pursey John/Hannah 13 2 1760
      Samuel Pursey John/Hannah 13 2 1760
      Hannah Pursey John/Hannah 9 10 1762
      ShadrackPursey John/Hannah 9 6 1765
      Lydia Pursey John/Hannah 26 12 1768
      Sarah Pursey John/Hannah 19 9 1776
      Ann Pursey John/Hannah 19 9 1776
      ElizabethPursey John/Hannah 5 4 1779

      (You can find all the above online on Martin Southwood’s excellent site: http://www.wsom.org.uk/Parreg.html)

      Obviously, this suggests that the death for Hannah’s husband John is potentially wrong. Seeing as I cannot pinpoint where I found the date of his death, I have removed it from the updated tree.

      One last thing, I seem to remember you are descended from Hannah Pursey and Samuel Cornish. You may be interested in the following quote taken from Religion and the Enlightenment, 1600-1800: Conflict and the Rise of Civic Humanism in Taunton, by William Gibson and published in 2007.

      “Another noted Taunton Dissenter, though not a graduate of the Academy, was Joseph Cornish. Cornish was born in Taunton in 1750, the youngest of seven children of a woollen-dresser. His family had been Presbyterian for some generations …”

      Again apologies for the errors in this tree – and big thanks for pointing them out.

      1. Gosh, that was quick! Thank you so much for all of the information, Nic. I am learning so much about my family history through your incredible website and look forward to seeing the updated tree when it is posted. Thank you for the suggested links, too.
        Kind regards, Amanda.

        1. Hi again Amanda

          I’ve just posted a piece on the family Purse – no relation (as yet) to the Purseys. However, I thought you may be interested in the following which appears in the book Somerset Paupers by Thelma Muncton:

          Case 128. 19 Jan 1820.

          Eliz Purse aged 20, residing Taunton Saint Mary together with her son Wm Cornish states she was born in Taunton St Mary three and a half years ago. She married Daniel Purse who afterwards enlisted in the 46th Foot. Elizabeth accompanied her husband to NSW and then Madras where she left him. She’d heard Daniel say he was born in Chard. Thus Chard was her parish of legal settlement. She also states she has a child by her husband named William, aged three and a half who was born in Taunton St Mary before she was married.

  2. Hello, I am a descendant of Hannah Pursey (20 on your tree) and Samuel Cornish (21 on your tree). I want to thank you for the spectacular work you’ve done on our family history. I had gathered quite a bit of information and it was heartening to be able to confirm names and dates.
    I’ll certainly be looking for updates.
    Thank you again!
    Please let me know if you are at all interested in following my family line from the Cornish family and I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Comments are closed.