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Full text of "The Pusey Family: A Brief Historical Sketch of Its Origin in England and America"

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The Pusey Family. 



The family of Pusey is of ancient English origin, having 
been settled in the hundred of Ganfield, in Berlcshire, England, 
for more than eight and a half centuries. During this long 
period the name has undergone inevitable changes of oriiho- 
graphy, having been spelled variously Pesie, Pesey, Pesye, Pose, 
Pusye, Pyssey, Pusey. Pewte, Pewsey and Pecote, the last doubt- 
less resulting simply from a miscopy of the old English characters. 
In the celebrated Domesday Book, completed in io86, and em- 
bodying the results of the survey ordered by William the 
Conqueror, the name is registered " Pesie" or " Pesei" in "Cannes- 
felde" hundred. 

The manor and village of Pusey, situated in the hundred of 
Ganfield, Berkshire, lie south of the London road, twelve miles 
from Oxford and about five miles east of Farringdon. Here the 
family have resided from the time of the Danish King Canute, 
fifty years before the Norman Conquest. The tradition is that 
about the year 1016, during the bloody contest for the English 
crown between the Danes under Canute and the Saxons led by 
Edmund Ironside, the hostile forces, having manceuvered for posl- 



tion, lay eacamped a few miles apart, the Saxons on White Horse 
Hill and the Danes at Chesbury Castle, a hamlet of Charney, 
when William Pusey, an officer under Canute, entered the Saxon 
camp in disguise and discovered a plot there fonned for a mid- 
night surprise and massacre of the Danes. As a reward for this 
perilous service, which saved the Danish army from destruction, 
King Canute presented the daring officer with the manor lying 
contiguous to the camping ground, giving him as evidence of the 
transfer the horn of an ox bearing the inscription " Kyng Knowde 
geue Wyllyam Pewte thys home lo holde by thy lond." Camden, 
Fuller and other antiquarian authorities refer to this circumstance. 
The conveyance of realty by the delivery of a horn or other 
article of personal property is well known lo have been an ancient 
custom especially under the Danish kings, while ihe tenure of 
lands by what is known as cornage or the service of a horn is 
stated by Ingulphus and other old writers to have been not un- 
usual in the early days of England. 

The estate thus granted by the old Danish King to William 
Pusey has remained in the uninterrupted possession of the family 
and their descendents and direct representatives down to the 
present day. By family deeds and records in the British Museum 
it is shown that in the reign of Henry II. in the year 1155, the 
manor was held by Henry de Pcsye ; that in the reign of Edward 
I, in the year 1307, it was held by Richard de Pose ; that Henry 



Henry VII, in 1507 ; by Philip, William and Richard de Pyssey, 
in 1563, 1580 and 1655 respectively, and by Charles Pusey in. 1710, 
By the last named holder, both the horn and the manor, accord- 
ing to Dr. Hickes, were recovered in chancery before Lord Chan- 
cellor Jefferies "the horn itself being produced in court and with 
universal admiration received, admitted, and proved to be the 
identical horn by which, as by a charter, Canute had conveyed 
the manor of Pusey seven hundred years before." Reference to 
the case is made in I Vernan's Repiorts 273 deTerm: S.Mich: 
1684, wherein the demurrer of the defendant is stated to have 
been overruled and the plaintiff awarded his claim. 

The family became extinct in the male line in 1710 by the 
death of the above mentioned Charles Pusey who bequeathed the 
manor to his nephew, John Allen, Esq., directing that he should 
take the name of Pusey in addition to his own, and that in case of 
his dying without issue it sould be entailed on the male issue of 
his own sisters and his neices, the Allen's successively, who upon 
inheriting the estate were to assume the name of Pusey. Both 
Mr. John Allen and the sisters of Mr. Charles Pusey having died 
without issue, the sisters of Mr. Allen Pusey joined in settling the 
estate on the Hon. Philip Bouverie, nephew of Mr. Allen Pusey's 
lady who was daughter of Sir William Bouverie, bart. Mr. Philip 
Bouverie upon taking possession of the estate in 1789, assumed 
the name of Pusey and married Lucy, widow of Sir Thomas 
Cave, and daughter of the fourth Earl of Harborough, by whom 
he had five children. He died in 1828, and was succeeded by his 
son Philip, who became a member of Parliament for Berkshire, 
and was honorably distinguished for his assiduous devotion to the 






i 



8 

interests of agriculture, in which he employed time, means and 
the resources of a classical and varied education. He was long 
editor of the Royal Society's Journal, and his enlightened discus- 
sion of scientific methods and especially his rare skill in combin- 
ing the best results of theory and practice, secured him recognition 
at home and abroad, as a leading agricultural authority. His 
brother next in age was Dr. Edward Fusey, canon of CTirist J 
Church, and regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of'^ 
Oxford, widely known as leader of the so-called " Puscyite" or 
Anglo Catholic movement, in the church of England, and author 
of numerous scholarly treatises on religious subjects. Hon. Phihp 
Pusey married Lady Emily Herbert, daughter of the second Earl 
of Carnarvon, by whom he had one son and two daughters. He 
died July 9, 1855, aud was succeeded by his son Sidney Edward 
Bouverie Pusey, Esq., the present possessor, who married a daugh- 
ter of Lord William Hervey, April 29th, 1871. 

The Bouveries who thus succeeded to the old Pusey Manor 
are descended from Lawrence des Bouveries of the Low Countries, 
driven to England by religious persecution, in the time of Queen 
Elizabeth. 

PUSEY COAT OF ARMS. 

Arms. — Gu. three bars arg. 
Crest.— A cat passant. 

" The old horn by the delivery of which the estate was orig- 
inally granted and is still held, remains in possession of the family. 
A picture of it accompanies this sketch. It is believed to have 
been the drinking horn of King Canute. It is described as of dark 
brown or tortoise shell color, two feet and one-half inch in length. 




one foot in circumference at the large end, and two and a quarter 
inches at the small end. Rings of silver gilt encircle it at either 
end and a broader ring or band surrounds it near the middle. 
To this middle band are affixed two legs with feet resembhng 
those of a hound, by which the horn is supported upon a stand. 
At the small end is a screw stopper of silver gilt, in imitation of a 
hounds head. By taking this out and passing a strap through the 
two rings which are suitably placed for the purpose, it might be 
made to serve as a hunting horn. That it may have been used 
both as a drinking and a hunting horn at different periods is not 
improbable, but as the alleged delivery of the horn took place 
long before the discovery of gun -powder or the use of fire anns, 
it could not have been at first used as a powder horn, while the 
tradition that it was originally the drinking horn of King Canute 
and subsequently bestowed to evidence the reward of military 
service, receives plausibility in view of two special uses to which 
horns are known to have been devoted at that early day, namely, 
drinking purposes and the conveyance of landed property, which 
is further supported by the presumption that a peculiar value was 
attached to the familiar drinking appliances of a rude and conviv- 
ial people. 

Cornage was a species of tenure in old England by which 
the grantee not only received, but bound himself to blow a 
horn to alarm the country on the approach of an enemy, and tra- 
dition asserts that the delivery of this old horn imposed upon its 
receiver a special obligation to keep vigilant watch and blow a 
warning alarm against all the King's enemies. The inscription 
upon the broad middle band of the horn is believed to belong to a 




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much later age than that of Canute, having been probably made 
or renewed in the fifteenth century, but it doubtless replaced an 
older inscription of fading legibility. The following is a fac 
simile of it in its present appearance. 



Tlie presentation of this horn by Canute to the original 
WilUam Pusey is said to have been made with much ceremony 
on the beach at Southampton and a plastic representation of the 
scene hangs in the hall of the present Pusey Mansion. Other 
treasures and interesting relics are also there collected, including 
family portraits, antique lace and articles once belonging to royal 
personages. Considerable legendary interest moreover attaches 
to the old place derived from the curious customs and characters 
of former residents, one of whom, Alice Paternoster, held lands in 
Pusey, in the reign of Edward I, by the service of saying pater- 
noster five times a day for the souls of the Kings ancestors, and 
another of the same surname, on succeeding to an estate in this 
parish, instead of paying a sum of money as a relief, said the 
Lord's Prayer thrice before the Barons of the Exchequer as his 
brother had done before him. 

The parish church was rebuik at the expense of Mr. John 
Allen Pusey and a very handsome monument in his memory and 
that of his lady, stands in the south transept. 

The Pusey Mansion is a plain stone structure with two front 
bows, presenting an attractive and substantial appearance. Its 



II 

present occupants give courteous attention to members of archaeo- 
logical societies and other considerate visitors attracted by the 
historical interest of the place. 

It is not certainly known whether the Pusey families in Amer- 
ica are traceable to the English origin here indicated, but it is 
well established that the ancestors of the American Pusey s came 
from the same section of England, and, as the family is a compar- 
atively limited one, having few or no branches which cannot be 
traced to a common source, it is not improbable that all American 
families bearing the Pusey name are descended more or less di- 
rectly from the parent stock which effected so early and tenacious 
a lodgment in Berkshire. 

Caleb Pusey, the first of the name who immigrated to Amer- 
ica, was born in Berkshire, England, in the year 165 1. He grew 
up among the religious denomination of Baptists, but in early 
manhood joined the Society of Friends and removed to London, 
where he became actively associated with William Penn in his 
cherished project for the colonization of Pennsylvania. Having 
arranged with the Proprietary for the erection of a grist and saw 
mill in the new Province, the materials for which were to be pre- 
pared in England, Caleb Pusey sailed for this country in 1682, 
probably in one the earliest of the twenty-three vessels which 
arrived that year in the Delaware. He selected a site for the pro- 
posed mill on Chester Creek, one mile from its entrance into the 
Delaware, where the materials, which arrived upon a later ship, 
were fitted and set up by Richard Townsend. Caleb Pusey was 
one of the proprietors and acted as the miller and resident agent 
of a joint stock company of owners. Some of these owners dis- 



A 




luraged by disastrous floods soon sold out their i: 
irfeited their rights by non-payment of damage a 
le mill finally fell into the exclusive possession of William Penn, 
amuel Carpenter and Caleb Pusey. Wilh ihe exception of a 
Lide mill which the Swedes had used for a brief period on ihe 
ichuylkill this was the first grist mill in use in Pennsylvania. It 
tood on land now belonging to the Crozier tisiate, at Upland, and 
ell into ruins many years ago, but its weather vane, bearing the 
late 1699 and the initials of its three owners, was fortunately 
escued and now surmounts the building of the Pennsylvania 
Historical Society, in Philadelphia. Caleb Pusey's residence. 
Qui It about the year 1685, near the mill, is still standing, being 
probably now the oldest building in the state. It has been kept in 
repair in recent years by the kindly interest and liberal care of the 

Caleb Pusey was a man of high rectitude of purpose and 

great force of character. To cool judgment and natural sagacity 
he united considerable literary attainments and he became an 
influential and prominent actor in Ihe religious and public affairs 
pertaining Co the early settlement of Pennsylvania. He was a 
leading elder of Friends' Meeting, was sheriff of the county and 
head of the " Peace Makers," a species of volunteer court to 
which the early settlers gladly resorted for the settlement of their 
ditTerences and the relief of their troubles ; and he stands in his- 
tory as a peace maker of more momentous character, for when, 
about the year 1688, it was reported and believed amid wild alarm 
that, through the evil machinations of jealous enemies, the 
Indians had assembled in great numbers and were ruthlessly 



13 



murdering the settlers, Caleb Pusey volunteered, without wea- 
pons, to lead a few unarmed friends to pacify the infuriated 
savages by the simple power of truth. By a course thus frank 
and friendly, yet demanding a high order of courage, the falsity 
of the reports was shown and the public alarm subsided. He was 
the author of various essays and pamphlets in defence and ex- 
position of the convictions of the early Quakers, some of which 
the Society caused to be printed and widely circulated in answer 
to the assaults and repeated misrepresentations of their enemies. 
Caleb Pusey was at various times a member both of the Provincial 
and Governor's Council as well as of the Assembly, and was 
always a trusted friend and coadjutor of William Penn in the im- 
portant matters touching the settlement and prosperity of the 
Province. He left a mass of valuable papers comprising his own 
writings and the collections he had carefully made pertaining to 
public affairs, from which the materials for Proud's History of 
Pennsylvania were largely obtained. After forty-four years of 
active life in America passed at Philadelphia and Chester during 
which he was constantly identified with important movements 
looking to the public welfare, he removed to Marlborough, Chester 
County, Pa., where he died, greatly honored and beloved, on the 
25th of December, 1726, 

Caleb Pusey had no male issue but left two daughters one of 
whom married John Smith, a minister from New England and the 
other a man named Painter. Two brothers, nephews of Caleb 
Pusey, followed him to America about the year 1700. One of 
these, William Pusey, married Elizabeth Bo water and settled in 
London Grove, Chester County, Pa., where he erected a mill and 



a substantial stone dwelling house which is still standing. The 
other, Caleb Pusey, Jr., settled in Marlborough in the same county. 
Both left numerous descendents and so far as is known all person* 
of American birth bearing the Pusey name or blood may trace 
their origin to one or the other of these two brothers or to their 
uncle Caleb Ehisey through his married daughters. 

There is some doubt. It is true, whether a more distinct family 
subdivision may not be traced to another Caleb Pusey, cousin of 
the historical personage referred to. The latter in his last will, 
while appointing his "kinsmen William and Caleb Pusey, Sr,," as 
his trustees, made a bequest to his " cousin Caleb Pusey" r but it is 
thought that the person thus referred to was really the son of his 
nephew Caleb Pusey and that the devisee was designated " cousin" 
simply in pursuance of the old custom of applying familiar and 
varying terms to the ties of consanguinity. In any event there is 
little room to doubt that all branches of the American family of 
Pusey are readily traceable to the common ancestry here indicated. 



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