Edward Horlock Mortimer I (1752 – 1803)


   1. His childhood

Edward Horlock Mortimer, son of Joseph Mortimer (1710-1776) and Anne Smith, was born in 1752 at Trowbridge, Wiltshire, becoming the third generation to be born in this same village.1-3

   2. His wife

The 31 year-old Edward Horlock married 20 year-old Elizabeth “Eliza” Bythesea on 26 January 1783. She was born in 1763, also at Trowbridge. Her parents were Elizabeth Lewis (? – 9 October 1809) and Thomas Bythesea (4 February 1727 – 10 April 1783).1-6 In two other sources Thomas Bythesea’s surname appear as either “Bithesea” or “Bittersea” 7,8 Both the Mortimers and the Bytheseas had streets in Trowbridge named after them.9 Elizabeth died in 1826 at Trowbridge.1Thomas Bythesea was also wealthy, prominent resident with his own family coat-of-arms. He was Justice of the Peace (magistrate) of Wiltshire and resided at Week(e)/Wick/Wyke House. Apart from Elizabeth, Thomas and his wife had many other children including John Lewis (†1844), Charles (†1820), Thomas (†11 October 1811) and Edmund (†4 July 1842).9-12 This Bythesea branch was first noted in the 16th century at Axbridge, Somerset, England, and “for three centuries maintained a station of high respectability, and allied themselves with many of the most ancient and honourable families.” Several of the Bytheseas through various generations were serving as Justices of the Peace.10 Below is the Monument to the Bytheseas that was erected in 1839 by Samuel William Bythesea:13

   3. His career

Like his father, Edward Horlock sr. (I) also became the chief landlord in Trowbridge and a wealthy manufacturer of women’s clothes, cassimere and fancy cloth textiles. He invested his profits in estates and was also a founding partner of the Trowbridge & Wiltshire Bank in 1791. In the later 18th century, Edward Horlock was Deputy Lieutenant of the counties of Wiltshire and Somerset, meaning that he was the deputy in charge of the militia during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as Justice of the Peace for the same two counties. In the early 1800s, he sold a large field of building plots designated for factory worker houses. This was in the present-day Mortimer Street area in Trowbridge.1,6

Edward Horlock Mortimer bought Bellefield House, manor house of the Mortimers in Trowbridge, in 1798, after living in his father’s house in Fore Street, which was also where his grandfather, John Mortimer, had lived. Edward Horlock’s childhood home was sold in 1807 by his trustees1,6,14,15

Bellefield House at Hilperton Road was built by Julius Samuel Rich in 1792, but was forced to sell his ‘spacious and truly elegant newly built house’ with pleasure grounds and shrubbery and a walled paddock of six acres, which later became a deer park, when he fell on hard times. The house still stands and is a three-story house with flanking wings and a basement. Edward Horlock lived there for only five years until his death in 1803. Although his widow continued to live at Bellefield House until her own death in 1826, the house was sold to the Clark family shortly afterwards. Nowadays Bellefield House is occupied by the Minister of National Insurance.1,6,7,14,15

In spite of being such a prosperous man, he was involved at his local parish and had a good understanding of the needs of the poor in need of poor relief. This was because “he took care to listen what the less opulent members of the vestry had to say on poor law matters, on the grounds that they were more likely to know who was in real need than persons whose rank in life kept them from intimacy with the lower ranks of society.”1

  4. His death

Edward Horlock Mortimer I died as a very wealthy and influential man at the age of 51 years at Trowbridge on 16 December 1803 and was buried on 26 December 1803 at St James Anglican Church at Trowbridge. Elizabeth died 23 years later, ages 62, on 11 November 1826 at Trowbridge.1-3,13     5. His children

Edward and Elizabeth Mortimer had several children, all born at Trowbridge and possibly all christened at St James Church, Trowbridge. Not much information about all of them could be found at this point. There was Elizabeth (19 October 1785 – 1821), Edward Horlock jr. (1786 – 15 November 1857), Thomas Bythesea (*1 September 1787, ≈30 September 1787, †August 1836) and Joseph (1788 – 1861), Charles (1793 – 1867), John Lewis (1795 – 1851) and Edmund (1801 – 1883).1-3,6

  • Edward Horlock jr. (1786 – 1857) did not become a clothier or clothing merchant, but followed a military career. He was my husband’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. READ MORE on Edward Horlock Mortimer jr. (II).
  • Thomas Bythesea was born on 1 September 1787 and christened on 30 September 1787 at St James Church, Trowbridge. He died in August 1836 at the age of almost 49 years. He became a clothier like his father, grandfather and his great-grandfather and therefore, was the fifth generation of Mortimers in the clothing trade.1-3
  • Joseph (1788 – 1861) was unfortunately less successful in the clothing industry than his older brothers – his clothing factory in Trowbridge turned out to be a flop. He married Frances Sarah Bullivant.  They lived at Manton Hall. The couple had Joseph Edward Mortimer (1833 – 1906), Henry Edmund, Frances Elizabeth, Mary Octavia (1835 – 1918) and Caroline Octavia.To know more about the descendants of Joseph and Frances Mortimer, read the autobiography of Kenneth Joseph “Ken” Mortimer.
  • Edmund (1801 – 1883) followed a military career serving in the 14th Light Dragoons, a cavalry regiment in the British Army. He lived up to the age of 82 years.6,16 No more information could be found on his life.



REFERENCE 6: Much gratitude is due to Ken Mortimer of Lebanon for photos and additional information on the descendants of Joseph Mortimer (1788 – 1861). He charmingly retells the story of this Mortimer line in his autobiography, which he made available to me in February 2018.


  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. Trowbridge. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trowbridge
  4. John Baskerville Mortimer by Ben M. Angel. 30 May 2014. https:// www.geni.com/people/John-Mortimer
  5. Elizabeth Bythesea. A genealogy of the Selwyn family. http://www.selwyn-family.me.uk/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I1104&tree=SELWYN
  6. Information and photos received electronically in February 2018 from Kenneth Joseph Mortimer of Lebanon, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Edward Horlock Mortimer
  7. Wiltshire community history. https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/gallery/map/trowbridge_map.73.005
  8. 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
  9. Burke, J. 1835 A genealogical and heraldic history of commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank: but uninvested with heritable honours. Henry Colburn Publishers: London. Vol 2 & 3. https://books.google.co.za
  10. Burke, J. & Burke, J.B. 1862 Genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol 1 – A to L. Henry Colburn Publishers: London. https://books.google.co.za
  11. Montague, G.W. 1894 History and genealogy of Peter Montague of Nansemond and Lancaster Counties, Virginia, and his descendants, 1641 – 1894. 1st Ed. Carpenter & Morehouse: Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. https://books.google.co.za
  12. Trowbridge Wyke House. https://www.flickr.com/photos/93838966@N02/8546676834
  13. Photos of Bythesea Monument and Mortimer Memorial received in August 2018 from a Mortimer descendant (privacy requested) of Australia
  14. Trowbridge street map. https://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Trowbridge,+UK/@51.3174834,-2.2084733,15z/data
  15. H F 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
  16. 14th Light Dragoons. http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/britishcavalry/14thltdragoons.htm