Edward Horlock Mortimer I (1752/1756 – 1803)


   1. His childhood

Edward Horlock Mortimer, son of Joseph Mortimer (1710-1776) and Anne Smith (1708 – >1752), was born in the flourishing town of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, becoming the third generation to be born in this village.1-4

NOTE: A christening record for Edward has not been found to date. Calculating his birth year from other documents such as his marriage record of 1784 and date of death in the year 1803 reveals conflicting information. He was born either in ca 1752 (listed 51 years of age in late 1803 when he died) or in ca 1756 (listed 28 years of age on his wedding day).2,5,6 Or perhaps any year in between?

   2. His wife

The 28 year-old Edward Horlock married 20 year-old Elizabeth “Eliza” Bythesea on 29 January 1784 at St James Church Trowbridge by licence. Her elder brother John Lewis Bythesea co-signed their marriage bond, dated 26 January 1784, acting as their bondsman since her father had already passes away nine month earlier. This surety bond guaranteed that two people were legally available to marry each other, free of complications. Eliza was born in 1764, also at Trowbridge. Together Edward and Eliza had eleven children; five daughters and six sons. Eliza died at the age of 62 on 11 November 1826 and was buried at Trowbridge on 21 November 1826.1,2,6

Her parents were Elizabeth Lewis (? – 9 October 1809) and Thomas Bythesea (4 February 1727 – 10 April 1783).1,2,7-9 Apart from Eliza, their only daughter, Thomas and his wife also had four sons, including John Lewis (? – 1844), Thomas jr. (? – 11 October 1811), Charles (? – 1820), and Edmund (? – 4 July 1842). Thomas Bythesea was also a wealthy, prominent resident in Trowbridge, with his own family coat-of-arms. He was Justice of the Peace (magistrate) of Wiltshire and resided at Week(e)/Wick/Wyke House.10-13 Notebly, both the Mortimers and the Bytheseas had streets in Trowbridge named after them.11This specific 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.10-13 Below is a monument to the Bytheseas that was erected in 1839 by Samuel William Bythesea (1801 – 1871).6,14NOTE: In two sources, Thomas Bythesea’s surname appear as either “Bithesea” or “Bittersea”.15,16

3. His career

Like his father, Edward Horlock Mortimer 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.1,9

Edward Horlock Mortimer bought Bellefield House in 1798 after living in his father’s house in Fore Street for almost 50 years, which was also where his grandfather, John Mortimer, had lived. Although Bellefield House would become the manor house of the Mortimers in Trowbridge, he kept his childhood home. It was, however, sold in 1807 by his trustees, four years after he had passed away.1,9,17,18

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.1,9,17,18

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 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. His will was proved on 13 January 1804. His wife, Eliza died 23 years later, aged 62. She was also interred at the church/town cemetery. A memorial was erected in their honour.1,2,6,19,20   5. His children

Edward and Elizabeth Mortimer had eleven children, who were all born at Trowbridge and christened at St James Anglican Church. Edward returned to the Anglican Church, in contrast to his father, grandfather and great-grandfather who sided with the non-conformists.

5.1 Elizabeth

Elizabeth was named after her mother and maternal grandmother. She was born on 19 Jan 1785 and christened on 27 Sep 1785 when she was eight months old.9,21,22 She resided at Portman Square in London at the time of her death, aged 41 and unmarried. Her passing on Saturday, 11 November 1826, was published on 16 November 1826 in the Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette, Devizes.23

5.2 Edward Horlock jr. (II)

Contrarily to the social norm of 19th century England, Edward Horlock jr. (1786 – 1857), as the eldest son and his father’s heir, did not become a clothier or clothing merchant but followed a military career.1,2,9,21 He was my husband’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. READ MORE on Edward Horlock Mortimer jr. (II).

5.3 Thomas Bythesea

Thomas Bythesea was born on 1 September 1787 and christened on 30 September 1787 at St James Church, Trowbridge. He died at the age of 48 years and 10 months, and was buried on 21 July 1836 at Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales. He became a clothier like his father, grandfather and his great-grandfather1,2,6,21,24 and therefore, was the sixth generation Mortimer in the clothing trade.

5.4 Joseph

Joseph was born on 28 September 1788 and christened on 22 March 1791, when he was two and a half months old. He married Frances Bullivant and lived at Manton Hall.2,9,21,25 Unfortunately he was less successful in the clothing business than his older brother9 – Ken Mortimer called it a total flop – and that may be the reason for Joseph and his family to leave Throwbridge. Things seemed to have gone better for him later on, so much so that between 1841 and 1851 he was a gentleman resident at Melcombe Regis, a sea port settlement in present-day Dorset (merged with Weymouth in 1920 to form a northern suburb). He died at the age of 73 years on 11 March 1861 and was buried a week later on 18 March 1861 at the seaside village, Wyke Regis (now a southern suburb of Weymouth). His will was proved on 2 May 1861.2.26 To know more about the descendants of Joseph and Frances Mortimer, read the autobiography of Kenneth Joseph “Ken” Mortimer (1926 – 2020).
5.5 Mathilda Ann

She was born on 19 March 1790 and christened one year later on 22 March 1791.21,27  She remained unmarried and passed away at the age of 30 years at Dawlish, Devonshire (now Devon). Her death was announced on 25 March 1820 in the Oxford University and City Herald newspaper, based in Oxford.28

5.6 Maria

Maria came into the world on 2 October 1791. She was christened at St James Church in Trowbridge on 23 October 1797 at the age of six years, together with a younger brother and sister.21,29

5.7 Charles

He was the fourth son born to Edward and Eliza Mortimer in 24 December 1793. He was christened at the age of almost four years on 23 October 1797 with his two sisters, Maria and Octavia. He died in 1867, aged 74.9,21,30

5.8 Octavia

She was born on 23 June 1796 and christened 16 months later on 23 October 1797. She died unmarried at the age of 68 and was buried on 30 July 1864 at Leckhampton, Gloucestershire.2,21,31

5.9 John Lewis

John Lewis came into the world in 14 July 1798 and christened with his sister, Jane and brother, Edmund, on 1 January 1802. John became a barrister of law and never married. By 1851, he was residing in Grosvenor street at Exeter Place, Grosvenor Street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Two ladies, Eleonor Davis, aged 40, and Jane Charlwood, aged 27, served in his household. He passed away one year later on 3 July 1852 at the age of 53 years after a long illness. His death was announced in the Cheltenham Chronicle on 8 July 1852.9,21,23,21-34

5.10 Jane

Jane arrived into the Mortimer family on 19 December 1799. She was christened on the same day as her brothers, John Lewis and Edmund, when she was two years old.21,35 At the age of 19, she married Rev. Charles Edward Henry on 16 June 1829. At that time, he was Rector at Oriel College at the University of Oxford.23 After he passed away, she remarried on 26 August 1840 to Rev. Thomas Dawson Allen, who was at that time the Rector of North Cerney, Gloucestershire. Their marriage was announced on 4 September 1840 in the Morning Herold, London.36 Rev. Allen was rector from 1827 to 1875, and had a peculiar nickname ‘Pocket Hercules’.37

5.11 Edmund

Edmund (*2 December 1800, ≈1 January 1802, †10 June 1883) followed in the footsteps of his eldest brother and also had a military career. He served in the 14th Light Dragoons, a cavalry regiment in the British Army and retired from the Army holding the rank of Major. He lived up to the age of 82 years.9,21, 38,39 He died at his residence, Belfield House, Mount Radnor, Exeter, Devon. His death announcement was published on 16 July 1883 in the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.23



REFERENCE 6: A big thank you to David Baker and his wife, who traveled to Trowbridge in May 2023. They took beautiful photos of the relevant Mortimer and Bythesea memorials and generously shared it with me.

REFERENCE 9: 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. [Ken Mortimer passed away in 2020].


  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. The Mortimers of Trowbridge. https://mortimerhistory.com/mortimer-family-tree/wiltshire/trowbridge/
  3. Trowbridge. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trowbridge
  4. Ann Mortimer. https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/ann-mortimer-24-n6c6qs
  5. Transcript of marriage record of Edward Horlock Mortimer. Sarum Marriage Licence Bonds, FindMyPast, https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBPRS/M/98032221/3
  6. Photos of Bythesea Monument and Mortimer Memorial received on 29 May 2023 from David Baker in England, whose wife is a 5x great granddaughter of Edward Horlock Mortimer and Elizabeth Bythesea
  7. John Baskerville Mortimer by Ben M. Angel. 30 May 2014. https:// www.geni.com/people/John-Mortimer
  8. Elizabeth Bythesea. A genealogy of the Selwyn family. http://www.selwyn-family.me.uk/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I1104&tree=SELWYN
  9. Information and photos received electronically in February 2018 from Kenneth Joseph Mortimer of Lebanon, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Edward Horlock Mortimer
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Trowbridge Wyke House. https://www.flickr.com/photos/93838966@N02/8546676834
  14. Gould, A.M. Bythesea – Somerset Surname. https://amgouldsomersetauthor.com/bythesea-somerset-surname/
  15. Wiltshire community history. https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/gallery/map/trowbridge_map.73.005
  16. 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
  17. Trowbridge street map. https://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Trowbridge,+UK/@51.3174834,-2.2084733,15z/data
  18. 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
  19. Transcript of burial record of Edward Horlock Mortimer. England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JCX7-H9Q : 17 April 2023), Edward Harlock Mortimer, 1803
  20. Edward Horlock Mortimer. Proved will of PROB 11/1403/115 https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D337950
  21. Edward Horlock Mortimer (abt 1752 – 1803). https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Mortimer-1178
  22. Transcript of christening record of Elizabeth Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DSB-6Y3X : 25 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Elizabeth Mortimer, 1785
  23. Events in the lives of Edward Horlock Mortimer I and his children. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/search-newspapers/results?names=edward%20horlock%20mortimer&sid=170
  24. Transcript of christening record of Thomas Bythesia Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DSB-GH27 : 25 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Thomas Bythesia Mortimer, 1787
  25. Transcript of christening record of Transcript of christening record of Joseph Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DST-9FQ3 : 24 February 2022), Edward Harlock Mortimer in entry for Joseph Mortimer, 1791
  26. Weymouth, Dorset. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weymouth,_Dorset
  27. Transcript of christening record of Mathilda Ann Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DSR-53YJ : 24 February 2022), Edward Harlock Mortimer in entry for Matilda Ann Mortimer, 1791
  28. Death announcement of Mathilda Anne Mortimer. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/search-newspapers/results?&names=edward%20horlock%20mortimer&sid=170&utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_8055778
  29. Transcript of christening record of Maria Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DST-954R : 24 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Maria Mortimer, 1797
  30. Transcript of christening record of Charles Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DS1-WRZH : 25 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Charles Mortimer, 1797
  31. Transcript of christening record of Octavia Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DST-95C9 : 24 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Octavia Mortimer, 1797
  32. Transcript of christening record of John Lewis Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DST-3WR3 : 24 February 2022), E H Mortimer in entry for John Lewis Mortimer, 1802
  33. Record of death of John Lewis Mortimer. England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2NFN-L8B : 31 December 2014), John Lewis Mortimer, 1852; from “England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Death, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England
  34. John Lewis Mortimer (1851). England and Wales Census, 1851, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGBQ-ZDZ : 12 September 2019), John Lewis Mortimer, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England; citing Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, p. 7, from “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey
  35. Transcript of christening record of Jane Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DST-QH3P : 24 February 2022), E H Mortimer in entry for Jane Mortimer, 1802
  36. Marriage announcement of Jane Mortimer. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/image-viewer?issue=BL%2F0002408%2F18400904&page=4&article=029&stringtohighlight=edward+horlock+mortimer
  37. Thomas Dawson Allen. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/1674c67c-70d6-4735-bc3c-3144c1398928
  38. Transcript of christening record of Edmund Mortimer. England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6DS1-3NW4 : 25 February 2022), Edward Horlock Mortimer in entry for Edmund Mortimer, 1802
  39. 14th Light Dragoons. http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/britishcavalry/14thltdragoons.htm