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My 13th great-grandfather was an English judge who, in 1593, rose to the top position of Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. He was one of the judges who tried Mary Queen of Scots in 1586, and was involved in several other big treason trials of the age and was given the office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1593. He was a Governor of Crediton Church and twice church warden. educated in Exeter and then at Exeter College, Oxford where on 25 April 1551 he was elected fellow. He resigned his fellowship some months later and went to London where he eventually studied law at the Middle Temple, being called to the bar in 1565. A slight wobble in his career occurred in 1568 when, after being summoned to Ireland by Sir Peter Carew to help him prosecute an ultimately successful claim to an Irish barony, he received an unexpected appointment as judge under the prospective President of Munster, Sir John Pollard. By writing to Sir William Cecil and earnestly petitioning the Privy Council, mentioning his wife and children and delicate state of health, he seems to have been able to avoid the transfer to Ireland altogether. Thereafter his rise through the legal ranks was steady—in 1575 he became serjeant-at-law for the Michaelmas term, and on 13 February 1581, a Judge of the Common Pleas. The ultimate honor came in January 1593, when he was promoted to Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and knighted.
William Periam (1534 – 1604)
is my 13th great grandfather
John Periam (1510 – 1573)
son of William Periam
Mary Periam (1531 – 1552)
daughter of John Periam
Robert Sweet (1552 – 1578)
son of Mary Periam
John Issac Sweet (1579 – 1637)
son of Robert Sweet
James Sweet (1622 – 1695)
son of John Issac Sweet
Benoni Sweet (1663 – 1751)
son of James Sweet
Dr. James Sweet (1686 – 1751)
son of Benoni Sweet
Thomas Sweet (1732 – 1813)
son of Dr. James Sweet
Thomas Sweet (1759 – 1844)
son of Thomas Sweet
Valentine Sweet (1791 – 1858)
son of Thomas Sweet
Sarah LaVina Sweet (1840 – 1923)
daughter of Valentine Sweet
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Sarah LaVina Sweet
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
Crediton Parish Church
Sir William Peryam
1534 – 1604Introduction
On the north side of the chancel of the church (on the left-hand side, looking towards the altar), is the big tomb of Sir William Peryam, an important individual both in local and national terms in the last years of the reign of Elizabeth I. Peryam was one of the judges who tried Mary Queen of Scots in 1586, was involved in several other big treason trials of the age and was given the office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1593. He was a Governor of Crediton Church and twice church warden; he bought the estate of Little Fulford, east of Crediton in the 1580′s and built a manor house there, the estate being renamed Shobroke Park in the early eighteen-hundreds.
The tomb shows the judge reclining, his head arms propped up with his right hand, beneath him the seven ladies of his life – his three wives and four daughters (he had no sons); above him are the Peryam arms.
William Peryam was born in Exeter in 1534, second son of John and Elizabeth Peryam. His family was a well-connected one, he was a cousin of Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the famous Bodlean Library in Oxford. His father was a man of means and was twice mayor of Exeter (he died during his second term of office in 1572).William’s brother, John, was also twice mayor of the city and was in office when the Spanish Armada appeared off Devon in 1588.
Education & Career
William Peryam was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he was elected fellow in 1551 at the age of 17.
A Lawyer Still Quoted Today
In 1553 he was admitted to the Middle Temple and was one of Plymouth’s MP’s from 1562 until 1567, being called to the bar whilst at Westminster – the duties the average backbencher weren’t particularly arduous in Tudor times! His arms, which can be seen at the top of the tomb, are still to be found in the hall of the Middle Temple. There are records of his involvement in some mid-Devon cases around the time of he became a QC; in one (1566) he became a trustee of the locally important Dowrish estate in Sandford. In 1568 he was appointed as a justice in Ireland, serving Sir John Pollard, President of Munster. Quite a lot of correspondence from his time in Ireland survives in State Papers. An amusing letter tells of his reluctance to return to Ireland without Sir John, who was suffering from gout. Also on record from this time is the successful attempt he made (with the help of John Hooker, the Exeter antiquary) in 1569, to reclaim the Barony of Odrone on behalf of Sir Peter Carew – from whose family he was to buy his land in Crediton ten years later. He was made a serjeant-at-law in Michaelmas term of 1579 and in February 1581 was appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1586 he was one of the judges at the trial of Mary Queen of Scots . When Sir Christopher Hatton retired from office in 1591, Peryam was named as one of the Judges of the Chancery Court and during the last two decades of the sixteenth century and the first years of the seventeenth was involved in a number of “show” trials of State offenders including, among others, those of the Earl of Arundel (originally imprisoned in 1585 for helping Mary, then accused of having a mass said in support of the Armada in the Chapel of the Tower of London in 1588 and tried for, and found guilty of, treason – although the death sentence was never carried out, in 1589), Sir John Perrot (tried and found guilty for what could be described as “mild” treason in 1592, but not executed) and that of the Earl of Essex (found guilty of treason for organising an attempted coup; he was tried and executed in 1601). The precedents Peryam set and legal decisions made in these and other cases are still quoted in the legal textbooks. In 1593 Peryam was appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer, where he presided for twelve years. He received the knighthood which was usual with that office.
He died at Fulford Park on 9th October, 1604. The date of his death is shown on his tomb inscription as 1605. It seems likely that the tomb was erected as many as fifteen years after his death (ie during the lifetime of his widow), by which time her memory may have been fading a little because, although the Parish Registers for 1603 – 7 are missing from the Devon Record Office, papers in the National Archive clearly show that the grant of his office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer was made void on October 9th, 1604, so the earlier date of death should be taken as the valid one.
Peryam married three times. His first wife was Margery, daughter of John Holcot of Berkshire; there were no children of this marriage.
His second wife was Anne, daughter of John Parker of North Molton by whom he had four daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, Jane and Anne who all married “well”.
His last wife was Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon (a fellow government law officer) – who outlived William by twenty years. She was related by marriage to William Cecil, Lord Burghley – in fact, Peryam was related either directly, or by marriage, to many court figures of Elizabeth’s reign.
Shobroke & Holy Cross
Peryam had bought Little Fulford, or Fulford Park (which became Shobroke Park) from Sir Richard Carew in the early 1580′s and had constructed “a fayre dwelling house” there – a predecessor of the Georgian house which was burnt down in the 1940′s. He left the house and the estate to his daughters who sold it to his brother, Sir John Peryam. He in turn sold it to the Tuckfields, whose descendants, the Shelleys, still own the estate. Peryam was a churchwarden of Holy Cross in 1589 and 1600 and was also a Governor. In 1578 he leased a manor in Sidmouth from Sir Walter Raleigh and his two sons, Carew and Walter The document still survives in the Devon Record Office. It is carefully preserved because the signatures of the Raleighs are on it! That house is now the Woodlands Hotel in Sidmouth, which, although it was substantially altered in the early nineteenth century, preserves much of the Elizabethan fabric. His widow, Elizabeth, endowed a fellowship and two scholarships in his name in Balliol College, Oxford in 1620. William Peryam’s only sibling, his brother, John, also had a very distinguished career. He was mayor of Exeter in 1587/8 and in 1598/9. Also knighted, he was a liberal benefactor to the city and to Exeter College, Oxford – and his widow endowed fellowships and scholarships to that college A panel portrait of an enrobed Sir William hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
He can be found buried with his family. The inscription on his elaborate tomb says:
Heere lyeth the body of Sr. William Peryam, knight, who in AD 1579 was made one of the justices of the Court of Comon Pleas & from thence in AD 1592 was called to bee Lord Cheefe Baron of the Exchequer. He married first Margery daughter & heir of Jo(hn) Holcott of Berk(shire) Esqr. widow of Richadr(sic) Hutchenson of Yorksheire Esqr.; secondly Anne daughter of John Parker of Devon Esqr.; lastly Elizabeth daughter of Sr. Nic(holas) Bacon knig. Lord Keeper of the Great Seale. Hee hadd only yssue by his second wife, 4 daughters & heires, viz, Mary theldest (sic) married to Sr. Will(iam) Pole of Devon knig.; Elizabeth the 2 married to Sr. Ro(bert) Bassett of Devon knig.; Jane the 3 first married to Thomas Poyntz Esqr. son & heir of Sr. Gabriell Poyntz of Ess(ex) knig.; afterward to Tho(mas) Docwra of Hertf(ordshire) Esqr.; Anne the youngest married to Will(iam) Williams Esq. son & heir of Sr. Jo(hn) Williams of Dorsett knig. All wch. his daughters & heirs have yssu now lyvinge by their severall husbands. He dyed 9 octo(ber) Ao.Do. 1605 (sic) in the 70the yeere of his age much & worthely reverenced for his religeous zeale, integrity & profound knowledge in the lawes of the realme. Dormit non est mortuus (he sleeps, he is not dead).
My 12th great Grandfather was a lawyer, judge, and a bencher at the Inner Temple. We have his will:
The will Sir Humphrey Coningbsy as reproduced in ‘Genealogical Memoirs of the extinct family – The Chesters of Chichley’ by Robert Edmund Chester Waters; changed the descentant line quite considerably but put in no doubt that she married Sir John Tyndall anmd not Sir Thomas as previous authors had suggested.Sir Humphrey Conyngesby Kt, one of the Kings Justices of the PleasWill dated 15th Nov 1531“To be buried in the Church of the White Friars, London, near the grave of my late wife Isabel , but if I die at Aldenham, or within seven miles thereof, then to be buried there , or if I die at Lock, or within fusty mile’ thereof, then to be buried thereTo the Churches of Aldenham, Elstree, and Rock, 10s each, and to the repairs of the Church of \Teen Sollars, 20sTo my daughter Elizabeth, late wife of Richard Berkeley, and now wife of Sir John Fitz-James Kt , fsU, which was owing to me by the said Richard at the time of his death, for the marriage of the three daughters of the said Richard Berkelev and ElizabethTo Dorothy, daughter• of John Tendall Esq , and of my daughter Amphelice, his wife, £10 towards her preferment in marriage and to each of the daughters of the said John Tendall and Ampheilce 40 marks for their preferment in marriage To Anne, wife of William Thorpe, and daughter of Christopher Hyllyarde, and my daughter Margaret his wife, now deceaaed, £5 To every daughter of my sons William and John Conyngesby, 40 marks each, and to every daughter of George Ralegh and my daughter Jane his wife, 40 marks.My manor of Stottesden in Salop, and my manor of Orleton, with its appurts in 0r1eton, Stoketon, Stanford, and Eastham in Worcestershire, to Humfrey Conyngesby, now under age and my next heir apparent, the son of my son Thomas Covyngesbv, to hold to him and the heirs male of his body, with remainder to the heirs male of my body, remainder to my heirs, My nephew Thomas Solley, My late wives Alice and Anne and IsabelTo Humfrey Tendell my coyin and godson, son of John Tendall, and my daughter Ampheice his wife, five marks a year towards his finding, and the like sums to Maurice Berkeley, son of my daughter ElizabethMy sons Willam and John Conyngesby to be my executors, Sir John Fitz-James Kt , and Sir Anthony Fitz-Herbert,’ Kt , a Kings Justice of Common Pleas, to be overseers of my Will.Will proved 26th Nov. 1535 In C P C.
Humphrey Coningsby (1458 – 1535)
Coningsby [Conyngesby], Sir Humphrey (d. 1535), judge, was born about the end of Henry VI’s reign at Rock, Worcestershire, the son of Thomas Coningsby (d. 1498) and Katherine Waldyff. The family derived its name from Coningsby in Lincolnshire, though Thomas’s father had settled at Neen Sollars in Shropshire. Humphrey Coningsby began practice as an attorney of the common pleas, and is named in warrants of attorney in 1474; in 1476 he was deputy for the sheriff of Worcestershire. From 1480 to 1493 he was third proto honouree, surrendering the office on 24 November 1493 in favour of John Caryl on terms that Caryl would pass it on to Humphrey’s son (which he did). He was also clerk of assize on the western circuit. During the 1480s he became a bencher of the Inner Temple. There was a copy of his reading in Lord Somers’s library, but it has not been discovered. He may already have been nominated as a serjeant when he gave up the proto honouree ship. At any rate he was one of the nine graduates who, after a long delay, were created serjeant in November 1495. His clients included Queen Elizabeth, the duke of Buckingham, and Peterborough Abbey. In 1500 he became one of the king’s serjeants, and on 21 May 1509 the first justice of the king’s bench appointed by Henry VIII. He was knighted by 1509. There survives in Westminster Abbey ‘A remembrance made by Humfrey Conyngesby for the kynges matters at Yorke’, written as an assize judge in preparation for the Lent circuit of 1501. By 1532 he had apparently become incapable of sitting, and an attempt seems to have been made to replace him without discontinuing his salary. However, the salary was discontinued and Walter Luke formally appointed in his place on 28 November 1533, Coningsby being compensated with a lease of the manor of Rock.Coningsby was a justice of the peace for Hertfordshire from 1493, and was perhaps already of Aldenham, where he acquired Penne’s Place as executor of Ralph Penne (d. 1485), a relative of his first wife, Isabel Fereby. Isabel died in the 1490s and was buried in the Whitefriars next to the Temple. In 1513 he was to found a chantry chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St George at Copthorne Hill in Aldenham. About 1499 he married Alice, daughter and heir of Sir John Franceys, widow of John Worsley and William Staveley (d. 1498); she died in 1500. As his third wife, Coningsby in 1504 married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir Christopher Moresby of Cumberland, widow of James Pickering (d. 1498); she died in 1523. Coningsby had come into his patrimony at Rock by 1509 at the latest, and probably by 1504, when he was added to the commission of the peace for Worcestershire. In 1510 he built the south aisle and steeple of Rock church, where a painted window once portrayed him in a scarlet gown with his family; and in 1513 he founded Rock School.Coningsby died on 2 June 1535, having requested burial in the Whitefriars, Rock or Aldenham, depending on the place of his death. He left two surviving sons, both by his first marriage, and five daughters (Elizabeth, Amphelice, Margaret, Jane, and Elizabeth). From his eldest son, Thomas, who predeceased him, was descended the Earl Coningsby (the peerage, created in 1719, was extinct in 1729). His second son, William Coningsby, followed in his footsteps as a bencher of the Inner Temple, proto honouree of the common pleas, and justice of the king’s bench. His daughter Elizabeth married Sir John Fitzjames, chief justice of the same court.
The Monument to Sir Thomas Forster A.D. 161 shows him in his judge’s robes, is a perfect example of the period with fine contemporary wrought-iron railings. He was born in 1548 and joined the Inner Temple in 1571 and was made Sergeant before Elizabeth’s death in 1603. He was knighted ii 1604 and appointed Judge of Common Pleas in 1607. Sir Thomas was one of the first Governors of Charterhouse and was counsel to Queen Ann and Prince Henry. He died on May 18th, 1612 at Clerkenwell and was buried in Hunsdon on May 20th, 1612.
Sir Thomas Forster (1548 – 1612)
F orsters continued to serve the Kings of England. Sir Richard Forster fought in the Hundred Years’War against France with King Edward III at Bordeaux and Crecy. Richard participated in the Battle ofPoictiers in 1356 and was knighted for his part in the battle.Sir Richard’s son, William, was born about 1355 and married Elizabeth De Orde about 1400 inBuckton, Northumberland, England. William was knighted for service to King Henry V and served asa General in the battle against France.Their son Thomas Forster married Joan De Elmerdon about 1430. Thomas and Joan’s son, alsonamed Thomas Forster, married Elizabeth Featherstone of Stanhope Hall, Durham, England. Theyhad Roger Forster, although records show that he spelled the name Foster rather than Forster.Roger Foster married Joan Hussey in 1540.
A Genealogy of the Descendants of Roger Foster of Edreston, Northumberlandwas compiled by Alkman Henryson Foster-Barham and published in London in 1897. Roger was 17 when he fled from Northumberland, as explained in a letter from Sir John Forster of Bamburgh, dated 17 April 1590. The letter below was written by Sir John to Roger Foster’s grandson, Thomas Foster of Hunsdon.
” Dear Cousin, After right hearty commendations unto you, ye shall understand I have received yourletter wherein you desire to know of your pedigree. Your grandfather, as ye havelearned, was descended out of the house of Etherstone – whether he was the elder,second, or third, or fourth brother – and fled the country of Northumberland. I assure you I can truly satisfy you therein. Your grandfather, called Roger Foster,was my great uncle. His father was called Thomas Forster and his mother’s namewas Featherstonehaugh. His eldest son was called Thomas Forster, my greatgrandfather. It happened that four of the said brethren had been at a-hunting and were ridinghomeward through a town called Newham. They and a company of Scottish Kerrs fellout and there began bloodshed and feuds which continued until there was but oneKerr living. During this time my grandfather and yours and another brother of theirs calledNicholas Forster (mine being twenty years old, yours 17 years, and Nicholas, a childof 14) being a-hunting – were waited upon by one of the Kerrs and two of theiralliance called Too and King. They set upon the three brothers and were thought tohave slain them at a place near Branton where a cross still stands.Two were slain there and Kerr fled. After the slaughter my grandfather fled toRidsdale in the county because he was safe there and yours fled to southern parts.” At my house near Alnwick, 17th April 1590, your loving cousin,John Forster.”
Roger Foster’s son was Thomas Foster (1515-1599) of Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, England, whomarried Margaret Browning (1520-1599). Thomas and Margaret had a son who was also named Thomas Foster (1548-1612), who married Susannah Forster(1555-1625).