Richard Mortimer (1598 – 1670)

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Our branch of Mortimers can be traced back to Andrew Mortimer (ca 1526 – 1563) of Kennet near Avebury in Wiltshire, England, who was the son of Nicholas Mortimer (ca 1490 – ?). Andrew’s son, George Mortimer (ca 1538 – 1613) had at least five sons, of whom John Mortimer (1563 – ?) was presumably the eldest. John married twice and had six children with his first wife. Our family line continues with one of these children, namely Richard Mortimer (1598 – 1670).1-3In 1623, Ambrose Mortimer (1567 – 1632) applied to use the Mortimer Coat-of-Arms (similar to the Wigmore Mortimer coat-of-arms), but had no evidence except hearsay. The Heralds accepted hearsay evidence back to one’s grandfather but no further.1 He was therefore, unable to prove our line’s descendancy from Roger de Mortimer (1153 – 1214), who was a medieval marcher lord, residing at Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire. At one point, De Mortimer fought in service of King Henry II. It is also known that our Mortimer line has no direct male descendancy from Sir Roger Mortimer (1287 – 1330), the 3rd Baron Mortimer and 1st Earl of March as Sir Roger had no male descendants about three generations later. Sir Roger served in the royal court of King Edward II and King Edward III, and later himself as regent king of England between 1327 and 1330.4-6 NOTE: The current Mortimer Y-DNA Project involving male Mortimer descendants seeks to determine possible relationships and the oldest common ancestor.  

1. His childhood

Richard Mortimer was born in 1598 near Avebury in Wiltshire, England. He was the second eldest of three sons born to John Mortimer (1563 – ?) of Kennet and his first wife (name unknown). When Richard was about five years old, his father remarried to Katherine Rogers at Heddington on 19 February 1603. From their union three more children were born.2,3,7

Very little is known of Richard’s childhood family life. His grandfather, George Mortimer was a fairly wealthy man who owned property in Calne and Kennet. On 1 August 1613, Richard’s father, John Mortimer, inherited lands in West Kennet as well as household goods.2

Avebury is known for its extraordinary Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial sites dating back roughly between 2850 BC and 2200 BC. The village lies in an area of chalkland in the Upper Kennet Valley that forms the catchment for the River Kennet.8

   2. His wife

2.1 Ann/Agnes Halliday

Richard was 21 years old when he married his first wife in 1619 at Preshute. Their two daughters, Ann and Mary, were christened at Preshute in 1625. Sadly, Mary and her mother were both buried there that same year.2

2.2 Susan Benger

The 32 year-old Richard married Susan Benger (ca 1605, Manningford, Wiltshire – ca 1670, Fyfield) on 26 April 1630 at Wilsfort, about 6 km southwest of Pewsey in Wiltshire.9-11 The couple later settled in Fyfield, Wiltshire where some of their children were born.

   3. His career

In 1639, Richard Mortimer purchased an estate at Manton, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, which is where his eldest son, John eventually moved to from Fyfield. In the late 1640s, Richard and Edward Mortimer of Clatford (likely an uncle or cousin) had a business as carriers transporting cloth by horses and wagons to London from Wiltshire and Somerset.2 One gets the impression that the Mortimers were fairly affluent but hard-working members of the community in Fyfield at that time. It may also explain why his sons, Edward, William and George had business reasons to be at Trowbridge, Southwick and Clatford, respectively.

  4. His death

Richard Mortimer passed away at Fyfield at the age of 72 years on 27 August 1670.12 He had no will and the administration of his estate was granted to his wife, with his son, John witnessing the grant of administration of his estate.2,12

  5. His children

5.1 Ann

Very little is known about Ann. She could not have been older than 10 year when her father remarried.2 It is possible that she was brought up by her grandparents, John and Katherine Mortimer, while her father was still widowed, because she is mentioned in 1608 as the daughter of John Mortimer in the proved will of his brother, Andrew Mortimer,8 while there are at present no record available of John having a child called Ann, born to him.

5.2 Mary

Mary was not older that five years when she died in 1625.2

5.3 John

John was the eldest son and heir of Richard Mortimer. He was born in ca 1632 and married Ruth Pile (? – 1692) on 31 July 1670 at Amesbury, where after the couple went to live at Manton. The couple had four daughters of whom two survived to adulthood. They were Mary I (≈29 July 1671 – Ω31 July 1673, Fyfield), Margaret (≈24 July 1673, Fyfield – ca 1673), Mary II (≈15 December 1675, Durnford Magna – ?) and Ruth (≈8 February 1678, Fyfield – ?).13

His will was dated 7 February 1693 and proved on 17 April 1694.2 His wife died two years earlier in 1692 and the daughters, Mary and Ruth, were mentioned in her will.13 John’s descendants moved to Ogbourne St George and later generations moved to Andover in Hampshire.3

5.4 Edward

Edward was likely born in late 1634/early 1635 as he was christened on 13 January 1635 in Fyfield.14 He is my husband’s great-grandfather 8x removed. READ MORE on Edward Mortimer.

5.5 William

He was born in ca 1638. On 6 February 1662 at the age 23, he married Friswith Gaysford, aged 21, the daughter of John Gaysford of North Bradley, Southwick. She possibly died at the birth of their son, John (ca 1663 – 16 January 1702). William remarried on 2 February 1664 to 24 year-old Mary Lanver (1640 – 1713) of Lyneham, Wiltshire. They had four children; William jr., Richard, Susan and Mary. William Mortimer became a gentleman and lived at Lyneham. He passed away in ca 1709 at the age of about 60 years (his will was proved in 1709).2

It is interesting that it was his brother, Edward, and not William himself, that was concerned in a trust for maintaining his then two year-old son.15 An assignment of the lease signed on 30 March 1665 involved the transfer of a tenement, garden and two closes in Southwick in John Gaysford’s occupation, to Edward Brinkworth (Gayford’s son-in-law) and Edward Mortimer under the proviso that the assignment was to be void if Gayford maintained and educated the young child, who was in his grandfather’s care. Although John matriculated at St Edmund Hall in North Bradley on 22 May 1679, aged 16, the updated deed of 25 March 1699, however, cited that John Mortimer was now over 21, but that the conditions had not been met, so that the premises were to be hold by Brinkworth and Mortimer in a trust for John Mortimer, who had already since 1694 been working as a clerk in Holy Orders at the rectory of Iron Acton near Westerleigh, just north of Bristol in South Gloucestershire. He married Mary Babbage at the age of 31, in the same year that he joined the rectory of Iron Acton. The couple had no issue.2

5.6 Susanna

She was born in 1640 in Ogbourne St Andrew, a hamlet 20 km north of Wilsford.2,3 She married Anthony Elton of Yatesbury (ca 1635 – 31 January 1686, Evesham, Burlington, New Jersey, USA) on 20 May 1661 at Preshute. At some point this family immigrated to British Colonial America (later United States of America), where Susanna passed away in October 1702 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 62 years. The couple had six children, who were all born at Yatesbury, Wiltshire, namely Mary (1659 – 14 July 1687, Rancocas, Burlington, New Jersey), Jane (ca 1661 – 28 September 1720, Springfield, Burlington), Thomas (ca 1663 – 11 January 1695, Westampton, Burlington), Anthony jr. (1664 – 16 July 1704, Rancocos), George (1669 – 11 January 1695, Westampton) and Robert (1673 – 11 January 1695, Westampton).2,16

5.7 Eleanor

Eleanor, the fifth child and second daughter from Richard’s second marriage, came into the world in 1643.2,17 She was married in 1665 at the age of 22 to John/James Elliot. Nothing more is known about her life, except for being mentioned in the will of her grandmother, Margaret Benger (ca 1585 – 1661).2

5.8 George

He was born in 1645.17 He became a yeoman (a man holding and cultivating a small landed estate as a freeholder). He resided with his family at Clatford, very close to Fyfield. He is listed bondsman at the second marriage ceremony of his brother, William in 1664.2 The date of his death is unknown, at this point.

 

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

REFERENCE 2: Much thanks is due to David Hall of England who shared invaluable information (with references) towards the completion of the Mortimer family history narrative. His extensive research on the earliest ancestors has proven very illuminating. David is also the administrator of the global Mortimer DNA Project.

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  1. Marshall, G.W. (1882) The Visitation of Wiltshire, 1623. London: George Bell & Sons, College of Arms, London, p 82
  2. Comprehensive information (with references) received in April and May 2022 from David Hall, Warwickshire, England
  3. The Mortimers of Kennett. https://mortimerhistory.com/mortimer-family-tree/wiltshire/kennett/
  4. Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Mortimer,_1st_Earl_of_March
  5. Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Mortimer,_1st_Baron_Mortimer_of_Wigmore
  6. Edward III King of England. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-III-king-of-England
  7. Transcribed will of Andrew Mortymer, proved 1608.
  8. Avebury. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avebury
  9. Susan (Benger) Mortimer (1605 – 1670). https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Benger-49
  10. Marriage of Richard Mortimer and Susan Benger. England Marriages, 1538–1973″, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NK77-2JT : 24 February 2022), Richard Mortimer, 1630.
  11. Wilsford, Wiltshire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilsford,_Wiltshire
  12. Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P3/M/199; Will of Richard Mortimer, 1670 Fyfield, Overton, Wiltshire
  13. The Mortimers of Trowbridge. https://mortimerhistory.com/mortimer-family-tree/wiltshire/trowbridge/
  14. Christening of Edward Mortimer. England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N63Y-2DQ : 5 February 2023), Edward Mortimer, 1635
  15. 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
  16. Anthony Elton. https://www.geni.com/people/Anthony-Elton/6000000003227198308
  17. Richard Mortimer, 1610 – 1670. https://www.myheritage.com/names/richard_mortimer

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