Monday, January 30, 2012

Mortimer ancestors in Devon & Sussex –16th century.

WELCOME to my Mortimer genealogy site !  My aim is to link others to research on this name in Devon and Sussex, and to share information -possibly even DNA results?  You might like to see this site for Devon Mortimers also -Family Tree for Sailor Sue.
Period covered : MORTIMER/MORTYMER: 16th cent Devon to 17th cent. Eastbourne Sussex, Surrey & London –ironmongers to solicitors, even ‘remittence men’, many descendants living in UK and Australia. 
In 1604 one MORTIMER yeoman farmer of Priorton nr Sandford Devon died and left a PCC will, proved 1605. He's an important family connection even though no children were named. A full readable transcript is here : Genuki Sandford site.
John's father was John also of Priorton, d. 1559 who Archives confirmed was married to Maud circa 1545. Maud remarried a man (Phillips) who claimed rights over his wife's property but we assumed this failed.
 John's Jun's wife in 1605 was Wilmot (living), his brothers  Nicholas & William, sisters Alice and Jone with the major beneficiary  (100 pounds) going to JAMES Mortimer. Who was James, a cousin ? – as all nephews and nieces were already named. Perhaps he was the James born 1567 to John at Newton-St-Cyres – approx. 7 miles away. James could have been the father of Robert who migrated to Sussex. We’re yet to establish the precise link to Eastbourne area but we are sure it exists.
This John of Priorton, (or Priorton ‘Barton’, meaning farm)  James and Robert were 16th-cent names passed on by The College of Arms following an enquiry by the family to Farnham Burke in the 1880s. The College confirmed  research from the present day back to Robert b circa 1597 who moved to  Friston and  East Dean Sussex  around the time of his marriage to Anne Wheatley 1619. Their son John b 1630 Friston, settled in Eastbourne.
This John firstly married firstly Ann (surname unknown, buried East Dean 1615) then Phyllis who outlived her husband, she is buried 1706 at St. Mary’s Eastbourne. Their son was John b 1656 who married Elizabeth Dutton there. Their son Thomas 1697-1774 was a Customs Officer and miller – his son   John Hamilton Mortimer R.A  b.1740 –1779  was a British neoclassical painter - pictured below  in a work by Richard Wilson R.A. (note – copyright reserved, Royal Acadamy of Arts, permission is only for my personal genealogy). A recent painting of Capt. Cook/JosBanks/Daniel Solander has been attributed recently to John H.  See link: The Discovery of Capt. Cook.  John Hamilton who lived in Covent Garden and shared company with Hell Fire Club members lived life on the edge (drank wine it was said and swallowed the glass) and died 1779 at High Wycombe in the arms of his great friend Dr. Bates. 
We’d like to know where John Hamilton’s middle name came from – it survives to the present day.  Was he named due to a  connection to Bowe, Devon ( (Mark, said to be of Berkshire, then son John d 1644 Bowe ) whose descendants married into the Duke of Hamilton’s family and like many of the Eastbourne clan were gravitating to London?  (Bowe is 8 miles west of Crediton, Sandford 1.5 miles north). This family line would became merchants, stockbrokers, solicitors at Lincoln’s Inn, very similar to the Sandford line.
One Henry Garrard (of the goldsmith family and jewellers to the Crown) married Mary Mortimer of the Bowe line  –by 1838 they were in Australia,  and they settled in Canberra. George his father  had been  a student of the  Royal Academy prior to J.H.Mortimer’s death in 1779 and was official “horse-painter” to the Prince Regent and Duke of Hamilton.  Then, in  1832-1833 John Hamilton Mortimer Lanyon of Eastbourne (brother to Charles Lanyon architect and engineer)  who married JHM’s niece Catherine,  arrived and farmed land on the Murrumbidgee River near Canberra, now a suburb called Lanyon.
So much for co –incidences.  We hope to prove origins prior to 1619 in Devon – Ian Mortimer author of “The Greatest Traitor’  emailed that  all Devon Mortimers may have had their beginnings  in central Devon, nr. Sandford,  possibly Witheridge. A pedigree was sighted by Ian, also a Devon Archivist  regarding the family of TANNER, als. MORTIMER, or MORTIMER als TANNER of Witheridge, Devon. His thoughts were -
'In the early 15th cent,  Maud Tanner ‘may have’ had a child by 16 yr old ROGER MORTIMER, b 1393 son of ROGER IV Earl of March, lover of Queen Isabella – the Devon pedigree showed coats of arms of both families. Young Roger would have had to been temporarily released from royal custody at Windsor to manage this  however–!  Roger’s sister being married 1407-9 to Edward Courtenay, heir to the Earldom of Devon –possibly at Chumleigh might have brought him in contact with Maude T around that time, but it’s drawing a long bow, young Roger did not live much beyond age 16.'
Another's: Allan Cunningham (‘The Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters…’)  gives credence to the claim that J.H. Mortimer, R.A ‘s family descended from Earls of March. Descendants today
 therefore, are interested in checking their DNA just to see ‘how far back’ we can go! Perhaps they were local clever yeoman-farmers who did well in business/the law/politics, who felt their descendant  J.H.M the painter  who mixed in Royal company, confirmed a link to their family's past.

See my Legacy site  on then scroll down to
 Surname Links & Pedigree Chart for the family tree of my Mortimer line to the present day.

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