Category Archives: England

Francis Prior of Hertfordshire, England

uk-flagI’m diverting from our US Pryors to UK Pryors for this post… If you’re interested in the Pryor/Prior name from Herfordshire, England I stumbled across an interesting tidbit of information. I’m passing it also because I suspect someone will find it useful.

From The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 82, Part 1, Published 1812.

pryor-flamstead-hertfordshire

Over one of the arches a framed board, with arms, and the following inscription: “At the upper ende of this midle ile lyeth intered body of GEORGE CORDELL, esquire, who served QUEEN ELIZABETH, and was sergeant of the Ewry to KING JAMES and the late KING CHARLES, in all sixty yeeres, who married DOROTHY, the only daughter and heyre of FRANCIS PRIOR, of this parish, with whom she lived 52 yeares, and deceased the 26th May, 1653, being aged 84 yeeres.”

One ANN PRIOR lived in this parish to the age of 120.

Such a short inscription but such remarkable lives. Cordell served 3 monarchs in such turbulent times — Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and she beheaded her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, James was Mary’s son, and Charles I (James’ son) ascended the throne only to be beheaded in 1649. From 1649 to 1660 England was without a king and functioned as a Republic. I found a definition of his court position:

The ewry was responsible for the provision and storage of linen for the royal tables `and serve up water in the silver ewers after dinner, whence the office has its name.
— from British History Online

Oh, what Mr. Cordell and his Prior wife must have lived through. What he must have heard at queen’s tables and the successive kings. The historical characters he may have seen. It’s remarkable that he kept his position through such turmoil.

Perhaps this inscription may help to take a Prior line into the 16th century.

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Mary Bray Pryor

British Pryor LineI became curious about Mary Bray Pryor who I’d seen mentioned in a book published in 1888. She was a British Quaker who traveled to America shortly after the Revolutionary War. I thought it was interesting that a woman traveled to America on her own in those times, perhaps because it showed that people were traveling for reasons beyond immigration. I’m posting the bits I gathered about her life in case someone is interested in this line of Pryors.

1760 Quaker Marriage – Recorded in London Middlesex. John PRIOR of Hertford, son of William PRIOR, married Mary Bray. The record is signed by witnesses including Andrew Bray, William Pryor, Sarah Pryor, Sarah Bray, Nathaniel Bray, Mary Prior.

25 Jan 1799, Philadelphia, PA, USA Quaker Record. A certificate for our endeared friend Mary PRYOR directed to the board by meeting of Hertford and the Quarterly meeting of Hertfordshire in Great Britain produced from the Mins meeting was read and signed by this being expression of our near sympathy and unity with her and setting for her diligent circumspection in visiting the several meetings in this City the families of diverse friends– her religious labours under the uniting in -ence of diverse love having been truly acceptable and edifying and we hope may prove as bread cast on the waters to be found often (after?) mo- days.

1815 Death Notice in The Times, London. Mary PRYOR aged 77, wife John Pryor of Hertford, “an eminent preacher in the Society of Friends.” Published 18 Feb 1815.

This is likely Mary Bray Pryor the subject of “Mary Pryor; A life story of a hundred years ago“, published in 1888. The short story recounts that Mary Bray married John Pryor of Hertfordshire and became a Quaker evangelist in later life, traveling to America and back.

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Another Prior from Cornwall, England

Falmouth Cornwall I stumbled upon another Prior (or Pryor) from Cornwall. William Prior’s reads that he in North Carolina and his children Ann and Christiana were in the UK.  He named his brother Simon their guardian, yet I haven’t been able to confirm the existence of these Priors in UK records. Hope this helps someone ID the whereabouts of their missing kin.

1829 Will – Mecklenberg Co., NC
The last will and testament of William Prior of the county Cornwall G. Britain witnesseth–
I appoint Capt J P Fell and J L —- at present residents in Mecklenburg Co. No Car’a my true and lawful executors.
I request them to — from — Griffiths A— Co my mark of — appoint and to sell the same to the but advantage.

I give and bequest to my two daughters Ann and Christiana Prior in equal portions all my property.

I appoint my brother Simon Prior now and recently of Parish Waldron County Cornwall G. Britain the guardian of my two daughters.

Witness my hand this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord 1829

Signed by William Prior

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Pryor: Cornwall UK Connection

Cornwall UKIt happened again. I was talking to a Pryor when they proclaimed their family tree went back to Cornwall, England. I bristle a bit on that news. I know there are a lot of Pryor family trees that claim a Cornwall connection, but are they all right?  Well, maybe not.

A fact from the Pryor Y-DNA project — There are numerous Pryor men from the UK who had tested and none of them match any of the US Pryors who have tested.  Over the past few years I’ve poked around in UK records. In the late 1700’s there were Pryors in London and in multiple UK counties located in the South West, East, South East, West Midlands, and Yorkshire. And of course, there were Pryor families off-shore on the “emerald isle” (Ireland). There’s no telling where these all these Pryors originated from. Yes, there were Pryors in Cornwall, but they were all over the UK by the time of consistent parish registers and even more spread out by the time of the first UK census.

Pryor Cornwall, England

There seems to be just one US Prior/Pryor family that we know for sure can trace their line directly to Cornwall: John Prior who died in Edgefield County, South Carolina around 1797. What’s really cool about John is that his death left a trail in America and in the UK. His wife was still living in the UK, but it appears he had a long term relationship with Eva/Eve Grubbs in America, fathering at least 4 children. On his death he acknowledged the children as his own but they used the Grubbs surname. When know his eldest son from his UK marriage, John, left the UK for America to settle the estate. He may have stayed in the US and was counted on the 1810 Census.

1775 Marriage in Cornwall, England – John Prior and Elizabeth Cheqwidden on 28 December 1775. Witnesses John Cheqwidden and Anthony Prior.

1778 Christening in Cornwall, England – John Prior, son of John Prior and wife Elizabeth. Christenened 12 May 1778.

US Will

1797 Will, Edgefield County, SC – John Prior husband of Elizabeth Chiqwidden

1797 Will, Quoted in a Petition – Edgefield County, SC
John PRIOR executor petitioned the court for permission to sell the estate of John Prior, deceased. “I will, that my beloved son John Pryor (now in England) if he come over to this country be and I do hereby constitute and appoint him Guardian to Susanna P Grubs, Tobias P Grubs, Elizabeth P. Grubs, and William Pryor Grubs until the whole of the estate is divided and the youngest receives his portion. I also constitute, make and ordain John Starr, Captain Jacob Zinn (both of beach Island) and my son John Pryor, if he comes from England, Executors of this my last will and testament.” He also states in the will “I do hereby acknowledge to be my children.” Witnesses William Stewart, Charles Ramsey, Peter Cooper. “I will and Bequeath unto my son John Pryor, aforementioned (in the County of Cornwall, and Parish of Wendron, in England)” The will also states, “I will as my land and Mills on Town Creek are sold, that my executors make titles unto James Otis Prentis according to the articles between the said J. O. Prentis and myself” The will states John Pryor was a Mill Wright. He also willed money to Eve Grubs. The will indicates his son Tobias may have been under 21 years at the time of his death.

UK Probate

1799 Cornwall Chancery Court Case – States John Prior husband of Elizabeth Cheqwidden, daughter of Thomas Cheqwidden— John went to America 18 years earlier and died there in 1797, leaving property. His wife in Cornwall was alive in 1799 as was his son John, daughters Mary. The son John Prior and postmaster Nicholas Hichens left for America to administer the estate.

This case is pretty awesome stuff because it gives the approximate year that this John Prior arrived in America… 1779. It seems a bit odd or perhaps worth noting that he arrived in the middle of the Revolutionary War.

Edgefield County Records

The Census records and salve sales shows there was an evolution in the use of the surname Prior. The Prior heirs went from Prior-Grubbs to just Prior.

1810 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Page 37, Eve PRIOR 01100-110010-1 (oldest male 16-25yrs, oldest female over 45yrs)

1818 Slave Sale in Edgefield Co., SC: On 18 May 1818 John PRIOR made several slaves sales (Ann, Binah, Dick, Ellick, Jack, Lucy, Phillis, Sam, Shade) to John P. Grubbs, William P. Grubbs, and Tobias P. Grubbs.

1843 Sheriff’s Sale – Dawson Atkinson vs. Martha PRIOR, seventy acres of land more or less , adjoining lands of Tobias Pryor, and lands of the estate of John J. Gray, and others. (Edgefield Advertiser, 1 November 1843)

More Possible Descendants of John Prior of Cornwall

1820 Census, Barnwell Co., SC
Page 7, Isham H Clayton (married to Susannah Pryor) 00001-10002 (Isham Henry Clayton and wife Susannah Pryor b. 1800 were in Lowndes Co., GA in 1850 – Susannah Pryor may be the daughter of John Prior of Edgefield County, aka Susanna Pryor Grubbs. 1850 Census puts her birth in 1800 is that an error or is she too young to be John’s daughter?)
Page 41, Tobias PRYOR 30001-001

1850 Census Edgefield Co., SC
Page 425B, House 1899, Richard PRIOR 45 wheelwright SC, Barbara 37 SC, John 18 wheelwright SC, Catharine 16 SC, Elizabeth 14 SC, Richard 12 SC, Mary Ann 10 SC. (Richard & Barbara Pryer are on the 1860 Census in Edgefield Co. Per notice in Charleston Oberserver Feb. 16, 1828, Richard Pryor married Barbara T. Hail at Beach Island.)
House 1900 Charlotte PRIOR 48 SC, David Clark 39 wheelwright SC, Sarah 38 SC, Charlotte 11/12 SC.
Page 127A, House 1923 Tobias PRIOR 60 SC, Mary 55 SC, Richard 36 SC, Mary 14 SC (See Barnwell Co. 1820 Census. Mary Pryor is on the 1860 Census in Edgefield Co.)

1860 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Beach Island PO, page 51, house 758 Richd (Richard) PRYOR 55 mechanic SC, Barbara 47 SC, Richard Jr. 21 SC, Cinchin (Kinchin R. Pryor) male 16 mechanic SC, Archibald 12 SC, Jane 10 SC, James 8 SC, Alice 5 AL.
Beach Island PO, page 52, house 787 Mrs. Mary PRYOR 56 farmer SC. (widow of Tobias Pryor)

1870 Census, Edgefied Co., SC
Hammond Twp., page 265a, house 51 K R PRYOR 26 farmer SC, Ann Eliza 18 SC, Ida 4/12 SC (born Jan) (Kinchin R. Pryor who was later in Aiken Co., SC. Son of Richard Pryor and wife Barbara.)

1930 Census Aiken Co., SC
Page 19b Robert Pryor 44 SC SC SC, Willie wife 30 SC SC SC, Evelyn dau 6 SC, John W. son 5 SC, Nath Lee dau 1 4/12 SC, Will Miner boarder 43 widow SC SC SC

Richard Prior, a Surgeon in London, England

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I love an interesting story– even if it’s a Pryor in another country. An old English newspaper report that mentioned a Richard Prior who was a surgeon caught my interest. The report places Richard in Tooting which is now well into the region considered London, however a couple hundred years or more ago it was probably outside of the hustle and bustle of the city.  I was also intrigued by the magistrate who was looking for the bad guys involved in the reported assault. Yes, Sir John Fielding was pretty interesting guy in his own right as well as the brother of the author Henry Fielding (best known for the bawdy novel Tom Jones).

It sounds like a tale of an attack by 18th century highwaymen…

On Tuesday Night last, about Eleven o’Clock, a Man — a little black Horse, and dressed in a Horseman’s Great Coat, came to the House of Mr. RICHARD PRIOR, surgeon and Man Midwife, at Tooting in Surrey, and asked if Mr. Prior was at Home and delivered the following Message, via. that Mrs. Bromley, living near Mrs. Evley’s was ill, and desired his immediate Assistance and then rode away in great Haste, on which Mr. Honathn Craton, Journeyman to the said Mr. Prior, his Master, noticing at home, set out immediate to — the said Mrs. Bromley’ but Mr. Crayton had not gone far before he overtook two Men on foot and saw the Man on Horseback, a little before them, but he had no sooner passed one of the aforesaid Persons on foot, than he received a Stab in the Side, and endeavouring to make a Defence, he received another, which, if it had taken Place must have destroyed him, as appears from the Cut through his Clothes and Shirt, he also received a violent Blow from the other Man on foot, which brought him to the Ground. At this Instant a Carriage advancing with a Flambeaux the Villains departed, and Mr. Crayton, with some Difficulty, reached Home, and has been dangerously ill of his Wounds ever since. As there is no such Person as Mrs. Bromley living at the Place above mentioned, and as no Money was demanded of this young Gentleman and Mr. Prior was particularly asked for at his house, it is imagined that this was Plan laid by some evil-minded Person to destroy the said Mr. Prior; if therefore any one can give such information to Sir John Fielding as may be the Means of discovering these shocking Offenders, shall receive Fifty Pound Reward on the Commitment of either of them and if any one of them will surrender himself to the Magistrate and discover his Employers or Accomplices —be admitted as Evidence for the Crown and on either of the Convictions be entitled to the same Reward, to be paid by Mr. Alderman Plumb, by the Directions of the Inhabitants in that Neighbourhood, who think themselves highly interest in the Safety of the said Mr. Prior. as well on account of his Character as a Gentleman, as of his Abilities in his Profession and being at the same Time desirous of bringing Offenders to Justice, who are capable of such horrid Attempts.
J. Fielding

The Person who stabbed Mr. Crayton was with a thin pale Vissage, his own, Hair in one —, blue jacket like a Posillion’s, Buck-skin Breeches, half boots. The other was a short Man. If… Persons have been seen loitering at the Alehouses … Neighbourhood, the are desired to give Notice —-
The Public Advertiser, London, 31 Mar 1767

 

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