Joseph Mortimer (1710 – 1776)

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   1. His childhood

Joseph Mortimer was born in 1710 at Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.1,2 His level of schooling and education is not known, but being born into a very affluent family, the service of a governess or tutor most certainly could be afforded.

2. His wife

Joseph married Anne Smith.3 No more information is known about his wife and her family.

3. His children

Records have revealed two sons and a daughter, thus far. They were:

  • Joseph jr. (? – 1789) also became a clothier and represented the fourth generation of Mortimers in the trade. He also was a partner in the Bath & Somerset and the Warminster & Wiltshire Banks. He became Justice of the Peace for Wiltshire and Somerset. Joseph jr. continued living in the house on the property that his great-grandfather Edward Mortimer (1735 – 1704) bought in 1670, until his own death in 1789, although he had also bought the Manor of Wingfield in 1784. He married Frances Greene, daughter of Isaac Greene of Trowbridge. Frances and Joseph had the following children: Frances (*1768), Joseph (1770 – 1833), Edmund (*1780), Anna Maria, Harriet and Lucy (? – 1820).1-3
  • Edward Horlock (1752 – 1803).1-3  He continued the Mortimer line of which my husband is a descendant. READ MORE on Edward Horlock Mortimer.
  • Elizabeth married Pn Dowding.3

4. His career

Joseph Mortimer sr. continued in the woollen manufacturing and clothing business, like his grandfather, Edward Mortimer (1635 – 1704) and his father, John Mortimer (1669 – 1715). Although the Mortimers generated their income by leasing plots and manufacturing clothes, they also built a fulling mill at a site in the Ladydown area of Trowbridge in the late 1720s. By 1773, Joseph was the chief landlord in Trowbridge and thus an prominent and influential member of the Trowbridge community, hence the title ‘Esquire’.1-3 He lived in the house of his grandfather Edward Horlock (1735 – 1704), and his own son Joseph jr. continued to stay there after his death. His gentleman’s estate is clearly indicated on the Trowbridge map that was drawn up in 1773, three years before his death in 1776.1,4,5  Joseph sr. also owned the farm Week at Norton St Phillips near Telsford (now Tellisford), which previously belonged to his uncle Edward Mortimer (1677 – 1743). The farm was added to his own farm Norton Grange, which Joseph Mortimer sr. bought in 1760 for 6 260 pounds.1

Two other significant and wealthy inhabitants of Trowbridge were Gabriel Still and Thomas Bythesea (spelled ‘Bithesea’ on the 1773 map). Their residential estates are also indicated on the old map.5,6 In 1783, Thomas Bythesea of Weeke/Wick House became the father-in-law of Joseph Mortimer’s son, Edward Horlock.1

During Joseph’s lifetime, Trowbridge was a thriving town due to its large-scale woollen manufacturing trade. The Mortimers were part of it as one of the very affluent and influential  textile producers. The production of woollen cloth became increasingly industrialised during the 17th century7 and Joseph most likely also introduced mechanisation into his factories in order to increase production and profits. Joseph lived during the reign of the Kings George I, George II and George III, who reigned from 1714 to 1727, from 1727 to 1760 and from 1760 to 1820, respectively.8-11

   5. His death

In 1776, Joseph Mortimer died a very prosperous man at the age of 66 years. He died at Trowbridge.1,2

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  1. Textile history and economic history. Essays in honour of Miss Julie de Lacy Mann. 1973. 1st Harte, N.B. & Ponting, K.G., Eds. Manchester University Press: Manchester, p 145-148. htpps://books.google.co.za
  2. Jamison Family Tree Website by Tony Jamison. https://www.myheritage.com/site-189828082/jamison-family-tree
  3. Information received electronically in February 2018 from Kenneth Joseph Mortimer of Lebanon, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Edward Horlock Mortimer
  4. HF Chettle, W R Powell, P A Spalding and P M Tillott, ‘Parishes: Trowbridge’, in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7, ed. R B Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall (London, 1953), pp. 125-171. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol7/pp125-171
  5. Wiltshire community history. https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/gallery/map/trowbridge_map.73.005
  6. Paterson, D. 1808 A new and accurate description of all the direct and principal cross roads in England and Wales and part of the roads of Scotland. 14th Ed. Cox, Son and Baylis: London. https://books.google.co.za/books
  7. Trowbridge. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trowbridge
  8. List of British monarchs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_monarchs
  9. George I of Great Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_I_of_Great_Britain
  10. George II of Great Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_II_of_Great_Britain
  11. George III of Great Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_III_of_Great_Britain

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