Mercer of Ottery St Mary

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), pp. 164-172.


A.J.P. Skinner

Prepared by Michael Steer

The barton of Bishops Court in Ottery St Mary, said to have been the seat of Bishop Grandisson, has been held on lease by the family of Mercer, as early as the reign of Edward III. It was purchased by them in fee, in the reign of James I, and was in Lysons’ time, held in jointure by the widow of Henry Marker, Esq., junior, whose grandmother was heiress of the Mercers. Association member Skinner provides much rich information on the Mercer family together with a collection of interesting family wills. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 136, MERCER OF OTTERY ST MARY. - Lyson's states: "The barton of Bishop's Court, said to been the seat of Bishop Grandisson, having been held on lease by the family of Mercer as early as the reign of Edward III., was purchased by them in fee in the reign of James I., and is now held in jointure by the widow of Henry Marker, Esq., junior, whose grandmother was heiress of the Mercers."

Richard Mercer, of Bishop's Court, Ottery St. Mary, married and had issue a daughter Jone, buried at Ottery St. Mary, 10 March, 1603. She was the wife of George Stoford, of Ottery St. Mary ; and a son,

Robert Mercer, will dated 15 Jan., 1589-90; proved 20 July, 1590 {Archdy. Exeter). By his wife Mary he had issue: -

Nycholas Mercer, matriculated at Exeter Coll., Oxford, 3 Dec, 1575, age 17; B.A. 11 Feb., 157I ; M.A. 14 Mch., 157I ; Proctor, 1584; elected Rector, but resigned his claim i April, 1592; Vicar of Rousdon, 14 Oct., 1581; Canon of Exeter, 1583; Vicar of Bishopsnympton, 1585 ; Rector of Pitt Portion, Tiverton, 22 Feb., 1590; buried 24 Mar., 1596, aged 30, M.I. chancel of St. Peter's, Tiverton. Will, no date, proved {P.R.B. Exeter) 6 April, 1597. By his wife Joane, who proved his will, he had issue: - John, Mary, Thomas, and a second son Nicholas Mercer, who married Margaret Staveley, mar. lie. 4 Feb., 1611, by whom he had issue, bapt. St. Mary Arches, Exeter: -

Mary, 18 Feb., 1618.
Nicholas, 12 Feb., 1620; bur. 10 Mar., 1624.
Dorothy, 18 May, 1623; bur. 9 Nov. 1623.
Miles, 14 Dec, 1624.
Grace, 9 Nov., 1629.
Margaret, bur. 8 Dec, 1653.
Mr. Nicholas Mercer was bur. 11 Aug., 1638;
Mrs. Margaret Mercer, 30 Nov., 1643, both at St. Mary Arches.

Rychard Mercer, Exeter Coll., Oxford, B.A. 14 July, 1585; M.A. II July, 1588; B.C.L. 24 May, 1595; Master of the Grammar School, Ottery St. Mary, 1623-1627.

Prudence. And a son,

Thomas Mercer, matriculated Exeter Coll., Oxford, 11 Oct., 1583, age 13; B.A. 29 Oct., 1589; M.A. 23 June, 1592. Buried at Ottery St. Mary, 16 June, 1641 ; {Admon., Exeter, 1641). By his wife Joan, buried at Ottery St. Mary, 4 Dec, 1645, he had issue: -

Anne, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 21 June, 1601; married there 10 Sep., 1621 ; buried St. Martin's, Exeter, Dec, 1628. She was the first wife of Samuel Isaacke, Town Clerk of the city of Exeter; buried Ottery St. Mary, 14 Feb., 1681. (See Vol. ix., p. 28).

Robert Mercer, matriculated Exeter Coll., Oxford, 17
Dec, 1619, age 17; died 1623.

Richard Mercer, buried Ottery St. Mary, 4 Dec, 1671. And a son,

William Mercer, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 19 May, 1605; (Admon., Exeter, 1671). By his wife Agnes Lane*; he had issue: -

Johan, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 28 March, 1634.
Elizabeth, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, i Feb., 1635.
Mary, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, i Feb., 1637. She married, mar. lic, 15 April, 1666, Thomas Trosse, of Plymtree and of Uppincott, Shobrooke; he was son of Christopher Trosse of Plymtree and his wife Susanna, daughter of Thomas Payne, rector. Bapt. at Plymtree 1 June, 1634. Will dated 24 May, 1688; proved {Exeter) 27 April, 1693.

* Her sister Margaret married first, . . . Hunt; second, Nicbolas Prideaux, first son of Nicholas Prideaux of Soldon. Her will, “widow, being ancient," dated 9 March, 1697-8, Admon. 18 Oct., 1698; proved at Exeter 7 Aug., 1704.

Margaret, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 22 April, 1640; buried there 28 May, 1648.
Anne, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 8 June, 1643.
Jael, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 6 June, 1648.
William Mercer, of East Budleigh, who married and had a son – William Mercer, of East Budleigh {Admon., Exeter, 1727). He married Ann Channon, of East Budleigh, mar. lie. 11 Feb., 1689. And a son,

John Mercer, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 14 Feb., 1632 ; will dated 13 Aug., 1694; proved 15 March, 1694 {Archdy. Exeter). He married, 1657, Sarah, daughter of Robert Huntington, of Stanton Harcourt, Oxford, by whom he had issue: -

Sarah, born 26, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 26 March, 1658; buried there 2 March, 1678.
William Mercer, second son.
Margaret, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 19 Jan., 1670; married, mar. lic, 29 March, 1689, Joseph Oliver of Exwick, Esq., son of Benjamin Oliver.
Robert Mercer, born 1674, matriculated at Exeter Coll., Oxford, 10 April, 1690; B.A. 1693; M.A. 1696.
His great aunt, Margaret Prideaux, bequeathed to him "The Advowson of Plymtree." From the list of Rectors in Exeter Diocesan Gazette, vol. iv., 165, he does not appear to have presented to the rectory; the patron in 1680 and 1685 was his uncle, Thomas Trosse.
Elizabeth, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 24 May, 1677; she married John Moore, Esq.
Ann, born 4 July, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 25 July, 1661 ; mar. lie. 2 July, 1677; died 8 Oct., buried St. Mary Arches, Exeter, 18 Oct., 1690, aged 30, M.I. She married, as his first wife, Isaac Gibbs*, of Exeter,
* His second wife was Sarah, daughter of Roger Cheeke, and sister of Roger and Phineas Cheeke, and widow of James Clutterbrooke. Mar. Lic, Exeter, 1687, May 21- James Clutterbrooke and Sarah Cheeke, of the City of Exon, solut.
1698, Nov. 8 - Isaac Gibbs, of the City of Exon, and Sarah Clutterbrooke, of the same, widow.
The following, possibly her daughter:- 1699. March 11 - George Mitchell, of the City of Exon, and Lovedy Clutterbrooke, of the same, sp. Her will, dated 30 Sept., 1726, was proved P.C.C, 17 Jan. 1741. (See Worthy’s Devon Wills, p.153).

merchant, son of Abraham Gibbs and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Maudit, bapt. St. Mary Arches, 27 March, 1653 5 Bailiff of the City, 1685, 1694; Sheriff, 1696 ; died 31 March, buried St. Mary Arches, 4 April, 1726, aged 73, M.I. By him she had issue a daughter, Ann, who married at St. Mary Arches, 18 Dec, 1705, John Pine of Dartmouth, bapt. St. Paul's, Exeter, 23 Nov., 1680, son of Malachy Pine of Exeter, and his wife Mary, daughter of John Goodall of Fowye.
And a son,

John Mercer, born 29 Oct., bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 17 Nov., 1659; buried there 24 Jan., 1719. He married Mary, daughter of Richard Conant, Vicar of East Budleigh, 1672-1688, and his second wife Mary Northcott, of Compton Valance, Dorset. Bapt. at East Budleigh, 5 Sep., 1668; married there 7 July, 1681 ; buried at Ottery St. Mary, 19 May, 1701.
They had issue: —

John Mercer, named in will of brother Malachy, 17 11/12.
Richard Mercer, named in will of grandfather, John Mercer, 1694.
Malachy Mercer, of Exeter, Apothecary, bapt. Ottery St. Mary, 24 Sept., 1684. Will dated 4 Jan., 1711; proved 9 Apr., 1712 {Archdy. Exeter). He married at St. Pancras, Exeter, 18 June, 1710, Susanna Winde.
And a daughter,

Jael Mercer, bapt. at Ottery St. Mary, 21 Oct., 1686; married at Holy Trinity, Exeter, 5 Nov., 1719; buried at St. Paul's, Exeter, 3 Aug., 1763. She married, as his second wife, Henry Gandy*, son of Simon Gandy, of Exeter, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Abraham Gibbs, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Maudit. He was born 11 April, bapt. 22 Apr., 1679, at All Hallows, Goldsmith St.;Town Clerk of the City of

*His first wife was Grace, born 14 Nov., bapt. 23 Nov., 1679, at All Hallows, Goldsmith St. ; married at St. Martin's, 7 Oct.. 1705; buried at St. Paul's, 9 Oct., 1718 ; daughter of Samuel Sampson, of Exeter, Apothecary, and his wife Grace, daughter of Philip Hooper. Samuel Sampson bapt. at Colyton, 3 Oct., 1648, was son of Nicholas Sampson, of Colyton (1617-1704).

Exeter, 31 July, 1733; buried St. John's, 19 March, 1752. They had issue: -

Symon Gandy, who married Sarah Score at Holy Trinity, Exeter, 14 Jan., 1738, and had issue a son, John Gandy, of Sidney Sussex Coll., Cambridge; B.A. 1762; M.A. 1768; Vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, 1769; Prebendary of Exeter. Died 15 Aug., 1824, aged 84. M.I. St. Andrew's.

Jael Gandy, bapt. St, Paul's, Exeter, 22 Feb., 1721.

Henry Gandy, bapt. St. Paul's, 28 May, 1724.

Margaret Gandy, died 6 Oct., 1809, aged 81, "unmarried," buried Aylesbeare, M.I.

Mary Gandy, married at Ottery St. Mary 9 March, 1757; died 13 April, 1812, aged 84; buried at Aylesbeare, M.I. She married Henry Marker, son of Richard Marker, Master of Ottery St. Mary Grammar School, and Vicar of Bradford, Somerset. He was born 11 July, bapt. at Ottery St. Mary, 9 Aug., 1733 ; matriculated from Exeter Coll., Oxford, 3 April, 1750; B.A. 1753; Rector of Ashton and of Aylesbeare; died 2 Nov., 181 1, aged 78; buried Aylesbeare, M.I.

EXTRACTS FRON WILLS. – Jesus. In the name of God. Amen. I Robt. Mercer being of pfct mynd and good remembrance to make this my last wyll and testament the xviiith of Januarye in the xxxiith yere of ye raigne of our Soveraygne Ladye Queue Elizabethe [1589-90] as followeth, Imprimis I gyve to yee poorest inhabitantes of St. Mary Ottry to be distributed at their bowses on ye day of my burial Itm. I give to my soone Nicholas Mercer one goblett of sylver one stone cupp with a rym and handel of sylver and syx sylver spoones: sonne Rychard Mercer various articles of sylver (numerated): daughters Rawlyn, Jone, Katheryne and Prudence Mercer to each of them ffortie pounds of lawffull English money to be paide unto them at the tyme of their marriadges: Thomas Mercer sonne bedstead bedding and blankets etc. To sonne Thomas after the decease of his mother (or when shee shall marry after my decease) if he live and accomplish the adge of xxii yeres and doo consent to my will as hereafter sett downe the lease of my howse and land wherin I nowe dwell with xii ffarthings of land theirunto beelonging which I received of ye right honerabble L: ffrancis late Earle of Bedfoord together with all my rights therein during the yeres and tyme mentioned in ye said lease but yf he do dye before he accomplysse ye adge of xxii then my wyll is that Richard my soone after the decease or marriadge of his mother: Richard Mercer my ffather deceased: Mary my wife: John Baker: Michaell Blownt esquyers: Item I gyve unto my soone Richard Mercer those ii leases of ye grownd of Hawkerlond wch I received of John Baker and Michaell Blownt esquyers with all my right title and interest therein during ye yeres mentioned in ye sayd leases : xii ffarthings of land in ffenyton received of a lease granted by John Vysey late Byssop of Exon unto my ffather Richard Mercer deceased my wyll is y' Mary my wyffe shall have and enjoy the same lease and all my right therein etc. Wyffe Mare wholle and sole executrix. I doo appoynt my coossyn John Sherman gent and my brother Thomas Drake gent to be my overseers and helpers wth the good advyse of my good master S' Robert Denys Knight. Witnesses- Alexander Tyrlyng, Giles Carpenter, Hugh Mercer, John Drake. Proved 20 July 1590 in the Court of the Archdeacon of Exeter.

Nicholas Mercer, Parson of Pytt in the parish of Tiverton [no date.] To be buried in Church or Churchyard of Tiverton: To the poor 40s. Residue of goods cattails bookes and other my goods one half to my wife Joane Mercer and the other half to my four children John Nicholas Marye and Thomas between them, Executors in trust- my worshipful good friend Mr. John Leache Chaunceler of the Cathedral Church of Exeter Mr. Edward Ameye and my brothers Mr. Richard Mercer and Mr. Thomas Mercer
[No signature or seal] (Witnesses): The forenamed Edward Anieye John Richards Parson of Tytcombe.

Inventory by Mr. Christopher Cover, Mr. Edward Amye, Mr. Hughe Broughton, Mr. Lewse Lousmore, 22 March, 1596, for ;£308. 15s. 6d. Apparell, £3: Furniture cattle corn etc.: one goblet of Silver parcell gilt : one stone cup topte and footed with silver : a doz of silver spoons £134: all the books £10 : Mr. Rudge oweth him for his marryage money £66 13 4: Mr. Rudge oweth him more £4 Mr. Humfrye Southcombe £4 : Mr. Charles Bere Esq. [-------]: Wm Darche 24/8: Mr. Rychards 20/- : Mr. Rychards oweth more for corn 15/- : John Everton 20/- : Henry Westhome 10/- : the harper's wife 5/- : the wid: Willes 12d : Simon Berye 12d : R. Berye 10/-: John Poynter l2/- : Haywood 3/9: Thomas Tenante 3/10 : John Webber the younger 23d : John Dynnys 10/-; Roger Daleighe 17/-, 6 April, 1597, Admon: with Will annexed granted to Joane Relict. {P.R.B., Exeter).

John Mercer, of Ottery St. Mary, co. Devon, gent., to bee buried in the church of Ottery St. Mary. 40s. to poore of Ottery St. Mary. I give unto John Mercer William Mercer Robert Mercer Margaret Oliver wife of Joseph Oliver Esqre and Elizabeth Moore Esq my sons and daughters unto each of them 20s. To dearly beloved wife all the rents and yeerely profitts of all my Lands Tenements and Lease-hold Estates lying within this county unto her, her assigns, etc.: house courtlage and garden in the towne of Ottery St. Mary which I now live in and lately bought of Samuell Isaacke:Lands at Ipplepen to grandson Richard Mercer his heirs and assigns after wife's decease : loving wife Mrs. Sarah Mercer whole and sole executrix.
Witnesses - George Ware Ann Sander, Jos: Bickford : Dated 13 August 1694.
Proved 15 March 1694-5. {Court of the Archdeacon of Exeter). Inventory; £173 17s. l0d.:
Goods at Bishopp Court: signed by Henry Marker, John Baron.

Seal. Arms - A chevron between three dogs trippant, in chief three wolves' heads.

Malachy Mercer, of the City of Exeter, Apothecary: To ffather John Mercer, brother John Mercer and sister Jael Mercer, rings: whereas I am now entitled unto estates and interested in one third part (the whole in three parts to bee divided) of the Inheritance of one messuage and dwelling house w"' the app' situate and lieing in the parish of Ottery St. Mary Co. Devon wherein my said ffather John Mercer now lives I do hereby give devise and bequeath my said third part of the said messuage or dwelling house unto my said ffather for the term of 50 years if he should happen to live so long and after his death to my deare wife Susanna her heirs and assigns for ever : said wife Susanna the residue and to be sole executrix. Dated 4 Jany. 1711. (W.) Mary Trewman Will: Barter, John Trewman, Proved 9 April, 1712. {Archdeaconry of Exeter).

Seal. Arms - A chevron between three dogs trippant, in chief three wolves' heads.

From Worthy's Devonshire Wills, pp. 131-2-3: Margaret Prideaux, of Shobrooke, co. Devon, widow " being ancient": The advowson of Plymtree and £200 to her cousin Robert Mercer, son of her cousin John Mercer, deceased, of Ottery St. Mary; £10 to William Mercer, son of her cousin William Mercer of Budley: £100 to John Mercer son of her said cousin John Mercer: To John Mercer grandson of her said cousin John Mercer all her lands etc., in Ipplepen to him and his heirs: Also to Malachy Mercer brother to said John and his heirs the messuage called Ford in the Parish of Cheriton Fitz Payne:Also to Richard brother of said John and Malachy and his heirs her house in Ottery, a house in Shobrooke, £100 : Also to Jael Mercer their sister £800 if she be not married before my decease : Her cousins Isaac Gibbs, of Exeter and Joseph Olliver of Exwick to be Guardians of the four children last named: To her sister Agnes Mercer her tenement in Sowton called Walcombes for life : Margaret, Joseph and John Olliver children of her said cousin Joseph Olliver all her lands in South, North Molton, Chittlehampton, Bishops Nympton and Bow on condition that they pay Benjamin, Mary and Elizabeth Olliver their brother and sisters £50 each: To Anne Gibbs daughter of her cousin Isaac Gibbs her house in Northgate St. Exeter ; To John Moore Esq. and Elizabeth his wife : To her cousin Isaac Gibbs and Elizabeth his mother: To William Mercer of Budley and his wife: To Sarah Mercer of Ottery widow of John Mercer deceased : To John Mercer of Ottery and his wife : To John Gibbs son of her cousin Isaac Gibbs of Exeter all her lands in Shobrooke, Cheriton and Crediton (not before given) to him and his heirs for ever or in default of said issue to his sister Anne Gibbs or in default to the right heirs of her Isaac Gibbs and in default of such heirs to John Mercer grandson of her cousin John Mercer, deceased and to his heirs. Will dated 9 March, 1697-8. Admon with Will annexed to Isaac Gibbs during the minority of John Gibbs sole exor: 18 October, 1698. Probate to John Gibbs, 7 August, 1704.

P. 50: - 1778, Sept. 20. Admon: of goods of Isaac Gibbs. Release dated 28 March, 1689. Mentions : Benjamin Oliver, Joseph his son, John Mercer, of Ottery St. Mary, Margaret Mercer, spinster, whom Joseph Oliver meant to marry, and did so marry, leaving issue Elizabeth, wife of William Williams, of Exon, M.D.

                                          A.J.P. Skinner