Website of



Including a history of the American Loyalist


family with notes on other related families of





First published October 2000
by Alan Merryweather
60 Trafalgar Road, Priory Mews, CIRENCESTER
Gloucestershire, GL7 2EL, UK

© Alan Merryweather

A few parts of the material in this book previously appeared in
Merryweather of Mere and Sedgehill, Wiltshire: A Family History
ISBN 0 9513295 0 2 published March 1986
Revised 2012

Alan Merryweather has asserted his moral right to be identified as the author of this work

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 0 9513295 2 9

Printed in England by Alan Merryweather in Times New Roman 11

This book is dedicated to the memory of my ancestors. Not only to those whose wealth, position and interesting exploits have enriched my research, but also to the humblest and the poorest; for where would I be without them?

Sure, I said, heav'n did not mean,
Where I reap thou shoulds't but glean,
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

Thomas Hood     (1779-1845)


AL Army List

BM British Museum - now British Library

CLRO Corporation of London Record Office

DBS Dictionary of British Surnames P H Reaney. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1970

DNB Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

DRO Dorset County Record Office

GM The Gentleman's Magazine

IGI International Genealogical Index

LMA London Metropolitan Archives formerly Greater London Record Office (GLRO)

OILR Oriental & India Office Library Records

ONS Office for National Statistics - late Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS)
formerly General Register Office (GRO)

PCC Prerogative Court of Canterbury

PPR Principal Probate Registry

PRO Public Record Office - now The National Archives (TNA)

VCH Victoria County History - various Counties

WAS Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society

WRO Wiltshire County Record Office

WRS Wiltshire Record Society


Acknowledgements Page viii

Preface Page ix

Introduction Page x

1 Wiltshire Forefathers Page X

2 Anthony Merewether & Sarah Page X

3 John Merryweather & Mary Uphill Page X

4 Suit for Defamation of Character - Mary Merryweather vs. Henry Matthews Page X

5 John Merryweather & Grace Broadway Page X

6 A History of Mere Park Page X

7 Edward Merryweather & Sarah Collins Page X

8 The Family Tomb at Sedgehill Page X

9 John W C Merryweather & Mary Ann Henly Page X

10 Henry B C Merryweather & Harriet Amiel Page X

11 Philip E C Merryweather & Sarah Turnbull Page X

12 William H Merryweather & Ada C Cullimore Page X

13 William Merryweather's Diary for 1917 Page X

14 Reginald A Merryweather & Ada Pawsey Page X

15 George A Merryweather & Annie Mabbutt Page X

16 Brian G Merryweather & Ann Roberts Page X

17 Alan F Merryweather & Anne Russell Page X

18 Gavin H R Merryweather & Hazel Newman Page X

19 The Amiel Family - Introduction Page X

20 John Amiel & Christian Newton Page X

21 John Amiel & Elizabeth Farquhar Page X

22 Phillips Amiel & Elizabeth Wragg Newman Page X

23 Henry Strachey Amiel & Charlotte Court Page X

24 Otho Hamilton Amiel & Frances Deane (or Tyssen) & Mary Palmer Page X

25 Henry Court Amiel & Elizabeth Collins Page X

26 Philip Charles Newton Amiel & Sarah Foale Bennett Page X

27 William Eardley Amiel & Martha Moore & Margaret Anne Morgan Page X

28 Josiah Harvey Tyssen Amiel & his three wives Page X

29 George Lewis Dive Amiel Page X

30 Charles Frederick Amiel Page X

31 Francis J T Amiel & Isabel Colston née Preston Page X

32 The Chandler Family of Wiltshire and London Page X

33 The Cullimore Family of Gloucestershire and South Wales Page X

34 The Mabbutt Family of Cambridgeshire Page X

35 Obituary of Phoebe and Margaret Mabbutt Page X

36 The Sanderson Family of Scotland and London Page X

37 The Welsh Family of Middlesex, London and Kent Page X


I have seldom paid for help, so without the generous assistance of many unnamed fellow family historians who have freely given me of their time and information, (many of whom in the best traditions of the dedicated amateur carry out their work with professional zeal), I could not have accomplished what follows and to all of them I offer my gratitude.

But I must pay special warm tribute to my first mentor, the late Rev. Ernest Augustus Merryweather whose books and encouragement in my early research days, when family history was a very lonely furrow to plough, were inspirational. Also to my late and greatly-missed friend Alan Nash of Margate, Kent who read my work around 5 years ago and whose perceptive comments immeasurably improved it. His barbed wit helped to make the chore a pleasure. Also to my cousin Jill Merryweather who carefully read the whole text more than once and to another friend, Bob Everett of Gloucester, a retired proof-reader who, after much revision and expansion of the text, kindly gave of his expertise and so saved me from typographical and other errors. And not least, to the patient staff in many Record Offices and libraries. The ownership of any copyright material is hereby acknowledged.

I am also indebted to and thank all of the following.

For Merryweather information, Allen Smith of Tennessee an American Civil War enthusiast for notes about the 5th U.S.C.T. Joan and Desmond Wilkey of Leeds for most of the material in the Introduction. Michael Horsfield of Clevedon, Somerset, a grandson of George Horsfield for photostats of his grandfather and also of Mary Ann Merryweather née Henly and a drawing of one of her heirlooms. Isobel Coulston of Gisborne, New Zealand for sending information about Surgeon Philip E C Merryweather in microfilms of the Minute Book of the Examiners of the Court of Apothecaries and Candidates Register. Mervyn Mitchell, whose comment that his grandmother had told him that the Merryweathers were buried at Sedgehill was a crucial clue when information and material was not nearly so easily come by as nowadays. Barbara Murphy of Congleton, Cheshire whose patience in deciphering the shorthand in Will Merryweather's diary helped to unravel and understand its secrets, and the late Gwen Hardy of Liverpool who extracted yet more detail from it.

And the Amiel family, Hilary Lloyd of the Isle of Wight for investigating a Deed of Settlement. M. Philippe Rossignol, Président, Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe, Le Pecq, France who provided crucial information from French records which might otherwise never have been discovered. Also his compatriots in Guadeloupe, M. J P Hervieu, of the Archives Départmentales de la Guadeloupe and generous help from M. G Lafleur. Henry and Carolyn Elwes who kindly took time to look for Fort Amiel when on holiday in Natal. Major (Ret'd) R D Cassidy MBE, Curator of the Royal Green Jackets Museum at Winchester and Pamela A Johnson for their meticulous contributions. Lefayre Heslehurst Palmer of New South Wales, Australia for pointing out unique material in John Burke's Heraldic Illustrations of 1845. Katherine Ferguson from Canada for notes about Hibbert Newton.

And to Jill French of Dunfermline who made an immense but fruitless effort in the search for Mary Ann Sanderson in the Penicuik area.

There remains but one further person to mention; me, the author. The responsibility for errors and shortcomings is mine alone.


Those people, our own forebears, had lived and loved,
experienced the stresses of earning their livelihood,
bringing up children, and coping with the pressures of
their day. They passed down to us their family name,
our position in life, our life-blood itself;
and we had forgotten all about them ... .
I copied out all the family mentions into
a manuscript book which I resolved to devote
to any future family memorabilia I might chance upon ...
I had taken the first step on what was to be a life-long quest.
Terrick V H FitzHugh.1

I have lived my life with this race ... I know them so well that I feel they must have known me.
Hector Berlioz.2

Fictional sagas often carry a disclaimer that the characters within bear no resemblance to anyone living or dead. In this history, everything is about real people. Some of the information may seem incredible but all can be verified by using the references or by looking up our public and other records. Where there is any doubt this is clearly expressed.

The story of the quest for ancestry can be a fascinating one and as it is usually so totally absorbing for the researcher covering the ground for the first time and making discoveries, future inquirers into our family's history have been robbed of a unique experience. Even in the case of the humble, interesting discoveries can be made and may make for an engaging detective tale. But the story of how I went about the research - enlivened by many startling discoveries and more than the occasional stroke of good fortune - will have to be kept for a later book.

With some of the Merryweathers and most of the Amiels I am very fortunate to have an array of ancestors whose exploits are well-documented, since my ancestry partly descends from people who once had high social status, were wealthy and who owned property and land. Position may not be of much account nowadays, but as they moved about, bought and sold and did their business and followed their careers, they left a trail of parchment and paper. This means that the number of sources that need looking into is inexhaustible; one lifetime is not enough to investigate everything and with the advent of the web, the volume of material is overwhelming. Of other ancestors who led far simpler lives and whose existence is often limited to the bald facts of birth, baptism, marriage and death and burial, these items on their own can be tedious to read so here and there, I have tried to relate people to their times and localities within the pattern of national, political, economic, social and religious affairs.

Striving to make the story interesting as well as accurate there is a danger that aiming at comprehensiveness has led to stodginess. I must take that risk as I want my work to be definitive. If only it were possible to be as skilful as John Aubrey (1626-1697) who wrote:

    The retrieving of these forgotten Things from Oblivion … resembles the Art of a Conjuror who makes those walke and appeare that have layen in their graves many hundreds of yeares; and to represent as it were to the eie the places Customes and Fashions that were of old Times.

I used to think there would be an end to visits to libraries and repositories and work in the feverish crush at St. Catherine's House with is hefty index volumes of births, marriages and deaths; and an end to the calm amidst the faded glory of the old Public Record Office at Chancery Lane, London and the spacious new building on the banks of the Thames at Kew, Surrey. However, the assembling of the masses of notes and distilling them into these pages revealed that it was but a prelude to yet more delving. So my research goes on and will always do so, for truly has it been said that family history is not a hobby - it is an obsession.

It is hoped that this little history will enable readers to experience some of the pleasures derived from my re-discoveries over the past 40 years and that members of these families will be able to feel some pride in learning of their origins -m and perhaps about themselves. for myself, now that I have reached old age and with so much in the search for my ancestry not accomplished I often feel like King Athur in Alfred, Lord tennyson's epic poem.6

    The days darken round me, and the years,
    Among new men, strange faces, other minds

But I must not end on a sombre note. I here pay warm tribute to many people especially to my late and greatly-missed friend Alan Nash of Margate, Kent who read my work and whose perceptive comments immeasurably improved it. Grateful thanks also to Barbara Murphy now of Yeovil, Somerset whose patience in deciphering Will Merryweather's diary helped to unravel and understand its secrets and also to the late Gwen Hardy of Liverpool who extracted yet more detail from it. And to my cousin Jill Merryweather who carefully read the text more than once, and also to other friends, Jill French of Dunfermline and Bob Everett of Gloucester. He is a retired proof-reader who, after much revision and expansion of the text, kindly gave of his expertise and so saved me from typographical and other errors.

For the material in Chapter 6 outlining the history of Mere Park I am grateful to Mervyn Mitchell, a nephew of a former tenant of the park, who sent it to me in 1965. Although no references were given, he said that much of the information was extacted at the Duchy of Cornwall Office in London.

I have seldom paid for help, so without the generous assistance of many fellow family historians who have freely given me of their time and information (and who, in the best traditions of the dedicated amateur carry out their work with professional zeal), I could not have accomplished all that follows and to all of them I offer my gratitude.

For all remaining errors and inadequacies I alone am responsible.

NOTE TO THE Third Edition. The internet having vastly expanded access to source material, some of the recent diuscoveries have been incorpoated
1. How to write a Family History, Alphabooks Ltd, London 1988.
2. Writing in his Memoirs of Virgil's Aeneid.
3. He lived from 1626 to 1697 and is best known for his book Brief Lives.
4. The Family Records Centre is now at Myddleton House, Islington, London.
5. This magnificent building finally closed in 1997 and is now the library of the University of London.
6. The Passing of Arthur.


... there is a dark Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles
Discordant elements makes them cling together In one society.
The Prelude,
William Wordsworth.

Bonting the Brewster and Sybyly Slynge
Megge Meryweder and Sabyn Sprynge.

Coventry Mysteries. 14th and 15th centuries

The Dictionary of British Surnames classifies surnames into four groups, viz; local surnames, surnames of relationship, surnames of occupation or office and nicknames.

Merryweather with its various spellings is placed in the fourth category, viz, Old English myrige for merry and weder for weather, a common term used as a nickname for a carefree or blithe fellow. [compare this with Fairweather] The dictionary includes other references:

    1214 Bedfordshire Curia Regis Rolls, Henry Meriweder
    1223 Oxfordshire Calendar of Patent Rolls, Robert Muriweder
    1260 Cambridgeshire Assize Rolls, Roger Mirywoder
    1345 Colchester Court Rolls, John Mereweder

After these centuries the IGI shows profuse use of the name in English counties. Edward of Barfriston, Kent was granted arms in 1607, confirmed during a Heralds' Visitation of 1619 and they have been used by others from time to time. The College of Heralds believe that there is no connection between the Kentish and Wiltshire Merryweathers so the search for a common ancestor must be resisted. Seeking such a link is pointless since before the general recording of births in the 16th century, there is less genealogical evidence available.

Nickname surnames are widespread and used by more unrelated families than any of the other types. Spelling, until as late as the 18th century is a poor guide to grouping of Merryweathers into families. Quite apart from the fact that Merywether automatically becomes Meriwether in Latin, the spelling is unreliable as is demonstrated in the following, culled from documents of persons known to be of related families. Sometimes one spelling is used in a document with another used for the signature:

Merywether, Meriwether, Merewether, Meryweather, Merryweader

All the evidence seems to show that Merryweather is not an entirely uncommon surname and that the spelling is not a reliable indicator of the family or group of families from whom a person is descended. Consequently there is no point in searching for a patriarchal figure; one will never be found. An alternative view is put forward by my namesake the late Rev. Ernest Augustus Merryweather (my first family history mentor but who is not related to our branch of the family), in one of his two books, neither of which contain anything about the Wiltshire branches of Sedgehill and Mere. He offers little evidence for his belief that the name originated from Mereworth in Kent, formerly Meranwyrthe.

But whatever may be the truth of the matter, the name is well-rooted in the soil of England.

Chapter One

Wiltshire Forefathers
Chapter two

Anthony Merewether & Sarah
Chapter three

John Merryweather & Mary
Chapter four

Suit for Defamation
Chapter five

John Merryweather & Grace
Chapter six

History of Mere Park
Chapter seven

Edward Merryweather & Sarah
Chapter Eight

The Family Tomb
Chapter nine

John WC merryweather
Chapter ten

Henry BC Merryweather
Chapter eleven

Philip Edward Merryweather
Chapter twelve

Wm Henry Merryweather
Chapter thirteen

Diary of William Merryweather
Chapter fourteen

Reginald Merryweather and Ada Pawsey
Chapter fifteen

George Merryweather and Annie Mabbutt
Chapter sixteen

Brian G Merryweather
Chapter seventeen

Wm Henry Merryweather
Chapter eighteen

Diary of William Merryweather
Chapter nineteen

Reginald and Ada Merryweather
Chapter fifteen

George Merryweather and Annie Mabbutt