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EDMUND PERSHALL

Edmund Pershall, was born circa 1531; died April 1629; married Maria Bathurst, daughter of Lancelot Bathurst, alderman of London; who died Sept. 27, 1594, aged 65 years; and his wife Judith Randolph, daughter of Bernard Randolph of London, 1583. When Edmund Pershall entered into business, in London, in the year 1552 he changed his name to the spelling Pearsall and all his children were born Pearsall. Later he made an effort to use the spelling Peshall. Children:-{Visitations of Staffordshire and Kent}

  1. Thomas Pearsall
  2. Robert Pearseall
  3. Edmund Pearseall als Peshall
  4. Mary Pearsall

Inquisition. 10 August, 7 James I. (1609) on the Estate of Thomas Pershall, Esq. of Eccleshall in County Stafford recites that Edmund Pershall was his oldest brother. Edmund is also named in the will of his brother Robert Peshall of Blorepipe, dated October 7, 1622. He is also named a coexecutor with his brother Robert in their brother Humphrey's will dated May 14, 1585.

In the State Papers, containing the patents granted by the King of England and recorded in Record Book Sing. Man., Vol. v., Nos. 3 and 4, appears the signature of Edmond Pershall.

The branches of the family of Peshall located at Horsley and Ranton, in Staffordshire, had changed the manner of spelling the surname at the time of the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Ranton Family had adhered to the old phoneticism, whereas the Horsley family had sounded their name so that it was the equivalent of Piersall, spelling the same as Pershall. When great wealth came to the Horsley branch by reason of successful ventures in business, particularly in the tobacco trade of Virginia, then they tried to go back to the old spelling Peshall. This change, or rather attempted change, can be traced to the advice of Sampson Erdeswicke, the great genealogist and historian who disclosed this spelling of the family name, in searching out the ancestry of the family for the heraldic Vistations which began about this time, and also in connection with his historical writings. But before this, Edmond Peshall of Horsley, Staffordshire, had become Edmond Pearsall, merchant of the Staple of London. Later, but practically at the same time, this same style of spelling their family name was adopted by certain of the members of the Ranton branch who resided at Hallen, als Hales Owen, in Salop, now Worcestershire, and those of the same branch who resided in and near Kidderminster, in Worcestershire, and in another stem of the Ranton branch who resided in Upper Toynton, in Lincolnshire. There were also stems of the Ranton branch residein at Hopwood and at Edgbaston who changed the spelling of their family name to Pearsall. But while these adopted the new phoneticism, they nevertheless adhered to the old sound values so the the change with them was merely in sight and not in hearing. Edmond Pearsall, as we have already stated also only changed his spelling but not the sound value of the name, so that there were now several families in England using this new spelling but yet having different sound values for their surname. The Ranton families sounded the first element in their surname the same as the fruit pear-sall, wheras Edmond Pearsall gave the first element the equivalent sound value of pear as in appear or pier-sall. In this particlular the two families were evidencing the same distinction between their family names as they had severally adopted at the time of the Battle of Bosworth Field. The reason why Edmond Pershall became Edmond Pearsall when he became a merchant of the Staple of London is quite evident to the student of philology. For when he removed from the section of West England with its burr sounds of the cockney English, together with its inablility to sound the letter 'h' to the soft English of the region of Kent and London, he must have been surprised at the interpretation of sound values placed upon the old Staffordshire spelling of his family name.

When Edmond Pearsall began to visit certain localities in England and have business dealings with certain members of the family residing in these localities, stopping in their homes for weeks at a time, it was only natural that these little groups of the family should adopt his way of spelling the surname, and that this style should come to be peculiarly a locality variation of the old family name. Hence this spelling may also be defined as a locality name, confined in England primarily to the City of London, where Edmond Pearsall and his sons resided, and to be found among the members of the family in the counties of Salop, Stafford, Worcester and Warwick, who resided on, or near to, the road leading from Hales Owen to Kidderminster and thence to Birmingham, and to the litle group at Upper Toynton in Lincolnshire. It is baffling to the uninformed to step out of these very circumscribed areas where the name Pearsall prevails, or did prevail, and find near cousins with the old spellings of the family name.

Edmund Pearsall was, as has been stated, born circa 1531, and died in 1629, so that he had reached the age of one hundred years at the time of his decease, for it is quite certain that the actual date of his birth will be found to have preceded the above year of 1531. In 1552 he came to London where he entered into business as a merchant of the staple and, except for one year, he continued in mercantile business until the time of his death. So that irrespective of the remarkable incidents of his life which we shall briefly relate, and most of which incidents were part of the broadest history of his time, he had the very unusual distinction of being a merchant, and most of the time leading merchant, in the City of London, during the last years of the reign of Queen Mary; during all of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; during all of the reign of King James I., and during the early years of the reign of King Charles I. As a fact the most important period of his business career as successful merchant happened after Edmund Pearsall was nearly eighty years of age.

In following the general plan of arrangement in this history of grouping all the real estate data, the reader's attention should nevertheless be called to the fact that the title to the bulk of the landed possessions of Edmond Pearsall was vested in his brother Robert Peshall of Bloor Pipe in Staffordshire.

Edmond Pearsall having become possessed of large amounts of surplus funds, there was a desire evidenced by Robert Pershall to obtain the use of these moneys wherewith to acquire landed possessions which he hoped to secure to his own use and behoof. Among the rest which he attempted to acquire in this manner was that of the Priory of Elvescroft, which was part of said Robert Pershall's estate at the time of his death, but which really belonged to Edmond Pearsall, and which estate figured in the litigation subsequent to Robert's death between his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, the wife of Sir Humphrey Styles, and Edmond Pearsall, citizen and grocer of London. The first knowledge that Edmond Pearsall had that his brother Robert claimed this valuable property as his own, was when he found, from reading Robert's will, that the latter had in his lifetime created an estate tail in this landed estate for himself and his heirs.

The story as to the acquistion of this property is well told in the Chancery proceedings {JamesI., Bundle 15, No.64}, and the reader's attention is especially directed to this interesting incident, not only because it reveals the method of ancient negotiations and agreements for the sale of lands in England, but primarily because this transaction entered largely into the subsequent unfortunate disagreement between these two brothers. The brothers had negotiations with the previous owner, Bonnet Wilson, the of Ulvescroft als Wolverscroft in the County of Leicester. The Complaint is dated November 22, 1608, and is by Robert Peshall of Horsley, County Stafford, and Edmond Pearsall, Citizen and Grocer of London, and recites that Whereas:--Bonnet Wylson and Ambrose Wylson Gent., were lawfully seized of the Capital Messuage (Manor House) Priory House and Grite (Domicil held with the idea of notion or service) of the late dissolved Priory of Elvescroft, als Wolvescroft, in the County of Leicester and all and singular the house, edifices, buildings and barns, stables, orchards, gardens and barksides with the appurtenances to the said capital messuage and grite of the said priory belonging and of and in divers and sundry lands, tenements and hereditaments lying and being in the towns, villages, parishes, hamlets and fields of Elvescroft, als Wolvescroft, at Wolvescroft, Rathy, Newton and Marrowliffe in the said county of Leicester. Called by the several names of Cuvclose, Bastards lease, Willsons Meade als Nowells, Nowells Spring, Stainways Leyes, Stainways Spring, Johns Lease, Jons Lease Spring, Ryall Carr, Upper Black Cliff, Nether Black Cliff, Coduit Close als Conduit lease. Ffawkners Close, New Close, Redd Lanes, Cooke Carr. (A carr is a copse or marsh overgrown with brushwood, usually alder.) Ffoxholes als Collins Close, Great Scratt Close, Little Scratt Close, More Fields, Bishops Field als Butchers Field, Paymans Ley als Packmans Ley, Copt Eake als Coppedale Close, Hammers Cliff, Stainwell Hill, Moslyes Plain, Bishops Hill, Crow Hill, Black Cliff Hill, Bamden Castle, Ghorleys Close, Parcell and Playmans Hey and Calbournes Close, Parcelle and Paymans Hey, or by what other name or names soever the same or any of them are called or know. And of and in divers other messuages, Cottages, Lands, Tenements and hereditaments with the appurtenances situate and being in the towns, parishes and fields of Elvescroft als Wolvescroft, Ratby Newton and Marcliffe aforesaid or in any of them to the said priory or lordship belonging now or late in the tenure or occupation of Nicholas Cock, Robert Bennet, Bennet Pykvard Bennet Srannge and John Crump or any of them or their assigns. And of and in which the said Bennet Wylson during his lifetime and after his death the said Ambrose Wylson was seized in his demesne as of fee tail to him and his heirs male of his body begotten with divers remainders over. The said Bennet Wylson and Ambrose Wylson being so thereof sezed entered into conversation (that is, they began to negotiate) with Edmond Peshall in his own behalf and that of his brother Robert Peshall for an absolute assurance of the said premises to the said Edmond Peshall and Robert Peshall their heirs and assigns in fee simple. The consideration to be 3000 to be paid at certain times beginning in 1608. It was accordingly so agreed and a paper book made up (a memorandum fixing the terms of the sale from which the Scriveners would make the deed and other papers carrying out the sale). There was 500 paid at this time, which the said Robert and Edmond claimed was on account of the purchase price. The final consummation of the sale hung along for some time because Robert Peshall did not have the money to pay for the property and wanted the sellers to take his plain statues Staple or bond for the purchase price, not even secured like a purchase money mortgage against the said Priory. This the sellers refused to take and Edmond Pearsall refused to enter into any such bond, claiming that it would hurt his business standing to be involved for the payment of so large a sum of money woutside of his regular business dealings. The Bill in Equity was filed by the said Robert Peshall and Edmond Pearsall for the purpose of making the Wilsons specifically perform the contract of sale. The answer of the Wilsons to this complaint is very illuminating as to the family history and business relations of the brothers, Robert Peshall and Edmond Pearsall.

The Wilsons said that they did have such a conversation with Edmond Pearsall in July of this same year (1608) for the purchase of the said messuages, lands, tenements and hereditaments, which finally reached the stage of an agreement being entered into between the said Robert Peshall of Eccleshall of the one part and Bonnet Wylson Esq. and his nephew, Ambrose Wilson of Ulvescroft, County Leicester, of the other part and this was signed July 9, 1608. The transfer was to be made by November first following and to be made to Robert Peshall, his heirs and assigns, and to such other persons as he shall nominate and appoint and their heirs, clear of all incumbrances, and the spring woods instead of being filled and removed were in the meanwhile to be preserved. For which conveyance the said Robert Peshall was to pay the sum of 3400 in certain instalemtns. At the same time it was also agreed between the Wilsons and Robert Peshall that they should all of them, about the beginning of the them present November, repair to London and that there the counsel, learned in the law of both parties, should frame and agree upon some conveyance thereof to be made according to the said agreement, and thereupon the Wilsons should receive the sum of 1000, and that Robert Peshall should then give to the Wilsons good security for the payment of the residue of the purchase money. About one week before the said first of November, Bonnet Wylson came to London where he met Ambrose Wilson and they were ready for their part to perform the said agreement. About a week after the appointed time Robert Peshall resorted to London where, meeting with the Wilsons, he did absolutely affirm to them that he was not able to perform the said payment unless his brother Edmond Pearsall should join with him in the purchase of the same and yet did also pretned, and so avoid the said contract, that the said messuage and other lands, tenements and hereditaments were held of the King's Majesty by knight's service in capite so that he, Edmond Pearsall, would not therewith meddle. This was a subterfuge to get out of the bargain, which for want of necessary funds he was unable to complete. Robert Peshall thereupon offered to lend the Wilsons the sum of 500 which was accepted by them and which was accomplished by getting the money from Edmond Pearsall and giving him a statute staple with bond, and dated November 7, 1608, promising to repay the same on May fourteenth of the ensuing year. Robert Peshall becoming surety on the loan, a bond was made to him securing him against any loss that might happen by reason of his endorsement of the bond. By agreement the said bond was placed in the hands of one Bostwick a scrivener to hold until there should be a defeasance by their default in paying the loan as aforesaid. But the money was not paid to them, so after that the said Bonnet Wilson, having a good opinion of and confidence in Edmond Pearsall, did leave in his hands the said statute staple with intent that it should be of no force unless it should be defeasenced as aforesaid after the money had been received. It was not until November 13, 1608, that the money was paid by Edmond Pearsall, of which 20 was received by Ambrose Wilson.

It was after this that Edmond Pearsall began to confer with the Wilsons concerning the purchas of the said premises from them. Edmond Pearsall told them that he did not know whether or not the said Robert Pesahll would be partner with him in the transaction; but this made no difference so long as the Wilsons would assure unto the said Edmond Pearsall, his hiers, the necssary lands, tenements and hereditaments he did not esteem it so, he said, but that these negotiations were to be understood and taken as being entirely on his own account, so that in this manner he, Edmond Pearsall, would himself be the sole purchaser thereof, whether or not the said Robert Peshall would attempt to revive the old bargaining, and he desired that the consideration be arranged so that it would be made in certain instalments during the years 1609 and 1610. The Wilsons said that throughout all these negotiations they did not know that Robert Peshall was to have any part of it except at the pleasure of the said Edmond Pearsall. Yet nevertheless, there was no particular absolute assurance concluded and agreed between them and him unless the said Edmond Pearsall was to give them such security for the payment of the said consideration as they should like, as to which the Wilsons and the said Edmond Pearsall did also differ and never agreed.

TO BE CONTINUED

Pearsall Book Vol. II, pg. 856

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