On 10 June 1689 both Harim Pleydell of The Corner House, Ock Street and his third cousin, the Revd Richard Pleydell MA, Headmaster of Roysse’s School, were among the loyal population of Abingdon who had been called together to take the Oath of Allegiance to the new Sovereigns, William and Mary.
The Pleydells are first known in the fifteenth century at Coleshill, near Faringdon. The family spread through the Vale of the White Horse, and by the mid-seventeenth century Pleydells held leases from Abingdon Corporation.
Harim’s father, Samuel Pleydell (1611-1663) was born in Cricklade, and moved to Abingdon shortly after receiving a legacy of £100 in 1633 under his father’s will. He set up in business as a grocer, and married Sarah Stacey from Stadhampton. In the Corporation Chamberlain’s accounts for 8 May 1645 there is an entry recording that Samuel was to be paid £5.4s.1d for supplying beer to that value at the request of the Corporation to Sir Thomas Fairfax’s Parliamentary troops.
Samuel died in 1663, but his wife Sarah continued the business and in 1667 issued a half-penny trading token made of copper to overcome the local shortage of small change.
Harim (1658-1738) followed his father’s occupation as a grocer. Both Samuel and Harim in turn leased the Corner House, Ock Street, probably on the site of Barclay’s Bank in The Square. Harim married Margaret, daughter of Edward Cleeve of Wootton in 1683. Of their twelve children three died young and most of the others moved from Abingdon.
After 1750 the Pleydell family’s presence in Abingdon was much reduced. The Revd Richard Pleydell had never married and his brothers’ interests lay largely in London and in Gloucestershire, whilst the last known living member of Harim’s family in Abingdon was his son John’s daughter Sophia, who lived in Oxford, but who was buried at St. Nicholas’ Church in 1806.
© David Jarman, 2013
See Glossary for explanations of technical terms.
© AAAHS and contributors 2013
The Pleydells of Abingdon
On 10 June 1689 both the Revd Richard Pleydell MA, Headmaster of Roysse’s School, and his third cousin Harim Pleydell, of The Corner House, Ock Street, were among the loyal population of Abingdon who had been called together to take the Oath of Allegiance to the new Sovereigns, William and Mary, and to sign a Declaration saying they were not Catholics. Harim, who dissented from the Church of England, signed the Declaration on the same page as Henry Forty, the Baptist Minister, and the members of his congregation.
Most Pleydells are descended from William Pleydell (c. 1425-1494) of Coleshill, near Faringdon. The family spread through the Vale of the White Horse, and by the mid-seventeenth century there were two branches present in Abingdon, one (a cadet line − descendant of a younger son − from Childrey and Ampney Crucis) had settled at Northmoor, Oxfordshire, and the other (a cadet line from Cricklade) had settled in Ock Street. Both branches held property leases from Abingdon Corporation.
The Revd Richard (1649–1722) came from the Northmoor branch. He was Usher of Roysse’s School 1676-1684, Blacknall Reader at St Nicholas’ Church 1676-1686, and Headmaster of Roysse’s 1684 1716. In 1690 he took a lease of a property in The Bury, formerly leased to Thomas Bisley, and in 1719 of a property in The Vineyard. In 1706 he was granted a 10-year lease of the Parsonage House in Northmoor by St John’s College, Oxford. The living was owned by the College and it had no resident vicar or curate; services were taken by visiting Fellows. He also owned property in Witney – his will refers to an estate and a house there. He retired in 1716, and was buried at Northmoor in 1722. He never married.
Harim was the second generation of his branch of the family to live in Abingdon. His father, Samuel Pleydell (1611-1663) was born in Cricklade, and moved to Abingdon shortly after receiving a legacy of £100 in 1633 under his father’s will. He set up in business as a grocer, and married Sarah Stacey from Stadhampton, probably before 1637. Samuel became a Burgess and his wife was probably related to another Burgess, the glover Bedford Stacey, who was a near neighbour in Ock Street. In the Corporation Chamberlain’s accounts for 8 May 1645 there is an entry recording that Samuel was to be paid £5 4s 1d for supplying beer to that value at the request of the Corporation to Sir Thomas Fairfax’ Parliamentary troops.
Samuel knew his Bible well; his son Harim’s name (‘snub nosed’) is taken from Ezra 2:32. Dissenter Samuel may have been, but he was a conforming one; his eight children were baptised, married or buried in St Helen’s Church. Of these children, two (James and Joshua) died young; Samuel (?b.1637) and Richard (b.1640) were framework knitters; Sarah married James Courteen, vintner; Hannah married Richard Perry, maltster; John became an official of the Court of Exchequer in London; Mary married John Hucks; and Harim (b.1658) followed his father’s occupation as a grocer. There were other marriages into brewing and grocery families in Abingdon in the next generation.
Both Samuel and Harim in turn leased the Corner House, Ock Street (probably on the site of Barclay’s Bank in The Square). The lease was first granted to Samuel on 6 August 1658. Samuel died in 1663, but his wife Sarah continued the business and in 1667 issued a half-penny token. Harim renewed the lease in 1682 and again in 1717 and 1733.
The token was issued to overcome the local shortage of small change and is made of copper. One side reads ‘Sarah Pleydell’, with the London Mercers’ Company’s badge of ‘The Maiden’ in the centre. The legend on the other reads ‘Abingdon, 1667, Her halfe penny, S.P.’ Research has, however, shown that neither Sarah nor her husband Samuel were members of the Mercers Company of London! (The token in the photograph is in the possession of the author’s wife, Sarah’s 6 x great-grand-daughter.)
Harim is mentioned in a number of Abingdon wills that were registered in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury rather than locally, a procedure that suggests the testators were relatively wealthy people. On 14 June 1689 he witnessed the will of Richard Greene and on 20 April 1700 that of Philip Lockton senior, mercer; he was a beneficiary under the wills of Ed. Pearson, dated 7 March 1717, Elizabeth Smith, his wife’s sister, dated 12 February 1720, and John Payne, dated 3 March 1725. The will of John Lisssett of Oxford, yeoman, mentions his Abingdon friends John Pain (sic) maltster, Richard Belcher, yeoman, Joseph Tesdale, draper, and Harim Pleydell, grocer. Richard Greene signed the 1689 Oaths as a member of Henry Forty’s Baptist congregation, along with Harim, whilst the known founders of the Presbyterian or Congregational Church in 1700 include both John Payne and Richard Belcher.
Other Corporation leases were granted to members of the Pleydell family. That of 4 January 1708 for a property in Boar Street (now Bath Street) was to Sarah Pleydell of Buckland, Surrey, widow. This was probably not Harim’s mother of that name, who is thought to have died in 1704. On 6 September 1726 Elizabeth Pleydell, spinster, took a lease of property in the Bury. She may be the same person given by Anthony Dale as ‘Elizabeth aged 26 in 1717, unmarried’.
Harim married Margaret, daughter of Edward Cleeve of Wootton, at Sunningwell on 2 January 1683, and had a large family (8 daughters and 4 sons). Of these, Sarah, Harim, Margaret and Martha all died young; Abigail (b.1684) married Benjamin House of Sutton Courtney, maltster, in 1712; Elizabeth (b.1691 and referred to above) and Sarah (b.1704) did not marry; Hannah (b.1702) married John Davis of Abingdon in the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1728. Of Harim’s sons, Samuel (b.1687) moved away from Abingdon – see below. Another son, Harim (b.1695, the second of that name, replacing his brother who died aged one year in 1691) also moved to London, but may have returned to Abingdon later, since a Harim Pleydell was buried at St Helen’s on 20 January 1724. John (b.1702) was also apprenticed in London, is known to have married three times, and was buried at St Helen’s on 24 October 1753. John had seven daughters and a son by his marriages, but many of them died young.
Harim’s will, dated 10 August 1736, was proved in Oxford on 21 October 1738. After money legacies, his son Samuel was to have the two adjacent messuages in Ock Street occupied by Sam. Hosegood and John Peart. The executors were his sons John and Samuel and his son-in-law Benjamin House. The will was, however, proved only by Benjamin House; the probate copy is endorsed ‘John and Samuel now residing at Edinburgh out of the jurisdiction nominated Benjamin House and Henry Kempster in Abingdon, grocer, for citation if any required’. Henry Kempster was married to Mary Pleydell, the daughter of Harim’s brother Richard.
Recent research has shown why Samuel had moved away. He joined the Customs Service and served at King’s Lynn in Norfolk for ten years before being promoted in 1730 and sent to Port Glasgow, on the Clyde. In 1728 in London he had married Mary, sister of Edmund Smith, a founding member of the London Coal Exchange. Samuel’s Customs career continued – he was promoted again in the 1740s and became the Surveyor of Customs at Anstruther in Fife, and he finally had a post in Edinburgh, before retiring there on pension. He died in Edinburgh in 1758. Samuel had a large family which spread out widely – one son was an army officer and a Royal Equerry at the court of King George III, while another son was a merchant in Edinburgh. A grandson, also an army officer, was involved in a society scandal and emigrated to Jamaica.
After 1750 the Pleydell family’s presence in Abingdon was much reduced; the Revd Richard had never married and his brothers’ interests lay largely in London and in Gloucestershire, whilst the last known member of Harim’s family in Abingdon was his son John’s daughter Sophia, baptised on 21 January 1738, who had lived in Oxford, but who was buried at St. Nicholas’ Church on 21 April 1806.
© David Jarman, 2013
See Glossary for explanations of technical terms.
© AAAHS and contributors 2013
 Full details of the Pleydell family from 1494 to 1717 are contained in the Pedigree Book of Sir Mark Pleydell of Coleshill, containing the research carried out for him by Anthony Dale, Richmond Herald, and now in the family papers of the Earl of Radnor at the Wilts & Swindon Record Office [call no: 1946, Box 2].
 Oxford History Centre, Archd. Oxon., Wills (1722). See also A. E. Preston, St Nicholas Abingdon and other papers (1928) pp. 145, 229.
 Wiltshire Record Office, Archd. Wills, WI 5 March 1633.
 Place and date of marriage not presently known, but ‘Sarah Pleydell, wife of Samuel Pleydell’ witnessed the nuncupative will of Martha Church of Abingdon on 28 June 1645 (National Archives, PROB 11/193/483). Further, Sir Mark Pleydell’s Pedigree Book states that one son, Samuel, was born about 1637,and another son, ‘Richard Pleydell, Framework Knitter, [was] alive aged 76’ in 1717, so would have been born c.1640. He may be the Richard who took a lease in 1719 of a property in East St. Helen Street from the Corporation.
 Abingdon Town Council, Corporation minutes, Vol 1, fo. 168v; The National Archives, Berkshire hearth tax returns 1663, E 179/243/25.
 Quoted by Mieneke Cox, The Story of Abingdon, Part III (1993) p.113.
 Abingdon Town Council, Corporation minutes, Vol 1, fos 184, 185; Vol 2, p. 247, Vol 3, p. 173.
 Abingdon Town Council, file of Borough Leases.
 National Archives, PROB 11: 386/134, 456/237, 456/316, 579/157, 610/218. John Lissett’s will is not a PCC will, but was proved in Oxford: Oxfordshire Record Office, Archd. Oxon Wills, Series II, vol 14, p.101.
 John Stevens, Two Centuries Young, a history of Non-conformity in Abingdon and of the Congregational Church (c. 1910).
 Pedigree Book of Sir Mark Pleydell of Coleshill.
 This information is derived from the Pedigree Book cited above and the relevant parish registers.
 Oxfordshire Record Office: MS Berks Wills 21, R 7.3/11A.
 See a letter from Samuel to Sir Robert Walpole, First Lord of the Treasury, 29 November 1733, in which Samuel sets out the details of his service. Cambridge University Library, Walpole Papers, MS Collection;Ch.H Correspondence 1, 2087.
 Parish records of St Mary Lothbury. Both parties were then living in the Liberty of the Tower.
 The Treasury Warrant Books for North Britain record his promotions and the salary he received, as well as his pension.
 Will proved in the Edinburgh Commissary Court, 1758, ref. CC8/6/117.