The children of Henry Horsell, an update

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February 29, 2016 by auntkatefirmin

The mysterious “Mary Bailey” of Henry’s will appears to be the wife of Joseph Bayley of Lydiard Millicent. The discovery, of course, brings with it new questions. Here is the story so far.

Lydiard Millicent, All Saints.

All Saints’ Church, Lydiard Millicent church from the northeast. © Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Based on the order of names in the will, I have placed the birth of Mary some time around 1721. On the 7th of October, 1747, a “Mary Hossil,” spinster of Lydiard, declared her intention to marry Joseph Bayly, also of Lydiard. Based on the baptism of “Eliz Bayly” in February 1747/48, we know that Lydiard Millicent, rather than nearby Lydiard Tregoze, was the parish of Mary & Joseph. Mary would have been about 26 at the time of the marriage, which according to the bond made in October, was to take place in Somerford Keynes.

For couples that chose not to be married by banns, there was an option to obtain a license. At the time the license was issued by the Diocese of Sarum, in Salisbury; I don’t know if there were offices closer than Salisbury that were authorized to issue the licenses. Part of the process of obtaining the license involved swearing that both parties were free to marry, and a bondsman pledged on behalf of the couple that an enormous sum would be paid if it turned out there were impediments to the marriage. The bondsman for Mary and Joseph was William Templer, also of Lydiard Millicent, where he was clearly an important figure as can be seen by his monument in the churchyard.

The Bayleys may have had several reasons for marrying by license rather than waiting for the banns to be called in their parish:

-Mary was clearly pregnant in October, since Elizabeth was baptised the following February.
-They were choosing to marry in the parish of Somerford Keynes rather than in their home parish.
-There was a certain amount of status attached to being married by license as it showed that the families could afford to pay for the license.

I haven’t yet found confirmation of the marriage in Somerford Keynes, which at the time was part of Wiltshire though it is now in Gloucestershire, and it’s not currently clear to me why they would choose to marry there in particular. Part of the answer may lie in their relationship to William Templer who may have had property and connections in Somerford Keynes which would provide them with a place to stay. I don’t know the state of the road from Lydiard Millicent to Somerford Keynes in 1747 but I suspect a twenty mile journey there and back would be a less-than-ideal day trip, especially for a pregnant woman. William Templer may have owned a number of properties probably had horses or wagons, but I’m not certain that Mary’s father Henry Horsell would have owned a horse and I’m even less clear about the Bayley family’s likelihood to have transportation other than their own two feet.


Church and manor of Somerset Keynes. The church has been extensively restored since 1747. © Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Thanks to the research of cousin Liz we know that a William Templer, possibly of the next generation, was wealthy enough to be lending money to individuals in Lydiard Millicent in the period prior to 1778.  The financial transactions include the familiar surnames Blackford, Seymour, Horsell, and Skull.

So far I have only turned up the one child for the couple, Elizabeth Bayley. Either Lydiard Millicent was a very small place, or the registers are incomplete, or both, as there are years where only four baptisms are recorded and a year with eight baptisms in this era appears to be fairly typical.

Elizabeth Bailey married Isaac Gleed in 1765, by license. Isaac was a chandler and their bondsman was Benjamin Bewley, yeoman, who appears to be their contemporary as he married in 1767. While I don’t see a baptism for Isaac, Gleed is not an uncommon name in Lydiard Millicent and the surrounding parishes. There are family trees on the internet that hint that this branch of the Gleed family may have living descendants.

Joseph Bayley is still a bit of a mystery – it’s possible he was a contemporary of his wife Mary Horsell, though there is no baptism record to support that assumption. It’s possible he was the much older man who married Sarah Doare in 1713, making him at least 55 in 1747. The elder Joseph Bayley was a widower by 1747; there is no evidence that he had living children in 1747 so he may have hoped a second family would bring him an heir.

The information on the marriage bond only reinforces my sense that Henry Horsell & his family were at a level of prosperity where they were part of a web of economic and social connections that extended to a number of villages in the area around Wootton Bassett, and perhaps farther afield. I hope to take more time to research the nearby villages and see what other traces remain from the late 18th century that might illuminate the lives of Henry’s children.

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