Matthew Pryor – Letters to England

Elizabeth Pryor Harper included in her book Twenty-one southern families: Notes and Genealogies the following record that includes a Matthew Pryor as a signer of a British document:

To ye Sheriffs of Middlesex Cy his Deputy– In 1672 and 1673 Gov. Andrus ordered services for the purpose named his proclamation…In 1702 British victories were cause for Thanksgiving…Whitehall Nov. ye 11th 1702. We send you enclosed Her Magisty’s proclamation directing a publick thanksgiving throughout England for the great successes of her Ma’tys arms by sea and land and we do hereby signify–likewise solemnize throughout Virginia and throughout all her plantations in America…Yo’r very loving friends–Robert Cecil, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Mat. Prior.

Hmmm. It sounds like a royal proclamation ordering a holiday to celebrate a British victory. At the time (1672) England was involved in the Anglo-Dutch War (see Wikipedia).

The order to celebrate went out to the colony of Virginia. However, I’m finding no evidence that the men who signed the order lived in Virginia. They were members of the British parliament and lived in England.

John Pollexfen (1636-1715). He was a Member of Parliament involved in the passage of the Tobaccco Act and also a merchant connected with the East India Trade Company.

William Blathwayt (1649-1717). He was a big player in the British government’s organization of trade with the American colonies.

Matthew Prior, from several online sources, was a boy born to simple means (his father was a joiner or carpenter) who on his scholastic merit had an “ivy-league” education. He became a poet and a member of Parliament.

Maybe when the Pryors can get back further in their family trees they’ll re-discover this Pryor on the other side of the the pond.

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