The Harris family of Nunney, Somerset, were synonomous with their namesakes at adjoining Mells. This is evidenced by a deed of the Whitchurch family, which descibes property in Nunney being tenanted by “Harris of Mells”. (Nunney deeds, ref. DD\BR\ls/8).
1. Thomas Harrys of Mells, carpenter, b. 1494. Depositions as to the late abbot of Glastonbury (Somerset) taken at Wells (Somerset) before Nicholas Fitzjames esq and John Mawdleyn’ gent, king’s surveyors.Thomas Harrys of Mells, carpenter, 50, deposes that the tenement and mills were in great decay, and that for his labour he received £7 from Burges. He also received £10 for repairing the grist mill. (Nat. Arch., ref. E 135/2/32). “Thomas Harrys”, a tenant of Glastonbury Abbey, who is recorded thus: Harrys v Dyar. Plaintiffs: Thomas Harrys. Defendants: Thomas Dyar, knight. Subject: Tenement in the late abbot of Glastonbury’s manor of Greinton. Somerset. 1544-1551. (C 1/1228/15-18). In 1545, the manor was granted to Sir Thomas Dyer, d. 1565. The John Horner who came to possess the Manor of Mells, a village near Frome, 6 WSW. of Glastonbury, was not his namesake who was steward to the late Abbot of Glastonbury, though undoubtedly related. The intermarriage of the Symes with the Horners brought them much land, and brought about their lordship of the Fulgham family at Pitminster.
1.1. John Harrys, witnessed a Will in 1554 concerning Mells.
1.1.1. Richard Harris, bur. Dec. 19, 1593, in Nunney.
184.108.40.206. Richard Harris, bapt. Aug. 24, 1589, m. Edith Burges, Jan. 14, 1607, in Nunney.
220.127.116.11. John Harris, m. Joan Collier, July 19, 1601, in Nunney.
18.104.22.168.1. William Harris, bapt. Oct. 3, 1602, Mells. Perhaps the William who was headright of John Moone (1637) and John Seward (1648) in Isle of Wight. John Moone’s da., Sarah Moone, m. Lt. John Pitt, son of Col. Robert Pitt, the Bristol sea captain and merchant. John Moone’s da. Mary Moone, m. Thomas Green; his sister m. Anthony Fulgham, of Pitminster, Somerset; their son, Michael Fulgham, m. Anne Izzard, having issue: (1) Anne Fulgham, who m. Robert Harris, son of Thomas Harris, d. 1688. (2) Susannah Fulgham, who m. Hardy Council, son of Hodges Council Jr. and Lucy Hardy, in 1705. The Hodges and Council families were of Wedmore, Somerset, 20 miles from Nunney, on the main east/west road; a connection made more close by the intermarriages of the leading families of each place into the same families (Bluets, etc.).
1.1.2. John Harris, m. Joan Stubbs, Feb. 10, 1569, in Wedmore.
22.214.171.124. John Harris, d. 1625, m. Penelope Millard, Sept. 9, 1611, in Wedmore. He m. (2) Christiana Thurston, bapt. 28 Oct. 1591, on Oct. 8, 1618; she was the great-niece of Joan Thurston, who m. (2) John Counsell, on Aug. 13, 1573.
126.96.36.199.1. Robert Harris. Lawne’s Creek, October 26, 1646: “James Tooke (his family were tenants of the Symes, of Mells) to Robert Harris, all my right and title to this lease”.
188.8.131.52.1.1. Edward Harris, bapt. 8 Aug. 1624, probably d. in 1677, in Virginia. The inventory of Edward Harris states that he owed money to “Mrs Davis”; almost cartainly the wife of John Davis, i.e. Mary Greene; da. of Thomas Greene and Mary Moone, and cousin of Martha Greene, who m. Anthony Fulgham, of Pitminster, Somerset, aforesaid. In IOW Court, January 11, 1672, Thomas Tooke (associated with Thomas Harris, who died in 1672), as attorney, calls John Davis “his loving brother”.
The family of Thurston were established at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, along the south bank of the Bristol Estuary. As the Bridger family, they held land in Woodmancote. Edward Thurston, of Thornbury, in Chancery Proceedings, 1636, is recorded as being the husband of Judith Gwatkins, da. of William Gwatkins. In Virginia, James Bland, of Prince William Co., m. Mary Gwatkins. He was the son of Theodorick Bland and Margaret Mann, who was probably related to Elizabeth Mann: ‘Thomas Mann and wife Elizabeth Mann to Theophilus Joyner (neph. of Bridgeman, a guardian of an orphan of Thomas Harris, d. 1688, 150 acres on Blackwater River and bounded by William Mayo, Bridgeman Joyner and Hodges Counsell, Wit: William Mayo and Richard Booth. Rec. June 9, 1683. Theodorick Bland was the son of Theodorick Bland and Anne Bennett, b. 1641, da. of Governor Richard Bennett. (PROB 11/351/440: Will of Richard Bennett of Nansemond River, Virginia. August 3, 1676). Richard Bennett was a son of Thomas Bennett, d. 1616, in Wivelscombe, Somerset, and a nephew of (1) Edward Bennett, bapt. 2 Feb. 1577, in Wivelscombe, later of of St Olave, Southwark, London, and Lawn’s Creek, Virginia, father of Alice Bennett, who m. John Hardy. Nugent, C&P vol. 1, p. 569: Mr. John Hardie 1150 acres IOW Co., 5 June 1666. Beginning at upper corner tree of Mathew Tomlins old land, running SSE by Wm. Westwrayers land &c. SW on Mathew Tomlins new land. Their daus. m., respectively, Hodges Counsell, and Richard Jackson, whose da. Mary Jackson, m. Capt. George Hardy, who patented 500 acres on July 17, 1648 ‘lying on east side of Lawne’s Creek extending to main river and along the great river to the creek dividing the same from land of Alice Bennett’. George Hardy was an appraiser of the estate of Edward Harris, d. 1677.
1.2. William Harris (“of Glastonbury”), m. Dorothy Westbrooke, Aug. 31, 1562, at Wivelscombe, Somerset.
1.2.1. Richard Harris, m. Elianor Bennett, Oct. 8, 1594, sister of Edward Bennett, aforesaid.
184.108.40.206. Thomas Harris, m. Judith Blake, Nov. 20, 1623.
220.127.116.11.1. Thomas Harris, died in Virginia in 1672, second-cousin of Governor Richard Bennet, whose first wife was Anne, who was Charles Barham’s sister (see Douglas Richardson, ‘Plantagenet Ancestry’). Mr. Charles Barham Ex., Thomas Harris (d. 1672) and Thomas Tuke (of Barwick, Somerset, whose family were tenants of the Symes family) overseers, were officers of the will of William Ridley, who was the br. of Elizabeth Ridley, Charles Barham’s wife.
18.104.22.168.2. John Harris, bapt. 18 Feb. 1624; probably d. 1687, Virginia, m. Unity.
1. Robert Bennett, a tanner, of Wivelscombe, Somerset, m. Elizabeth Edney.
1.1. Thomas Bennett, d. 1616, Wivelscombe, m. Ann Spicer.
1.1.1. Thomas Bennett, b. Nov. 11, 1603 at Wiveliscombe; m. Agnes Beard, July 17, 1623.
22.214.171.124. Alice Bennett, m. John Hardy.
126.96.36.199. Lucy Hardy, m. Hodges Council.
188.8.131.52.1. Lucy Hardy, m. Hodges Council.
184.108.40.206. … Bennett, m. Richard Jackson, who patented 450 acres in IOW adjacent to Justinian Cooper.
220.127.116.11.1. Mary Jackson, m. Capt. George Hardy.
1.1.2. Richard Bennett, b Aug. 6, 1609, Wiveliscombe, d. 1675, Virginia; his Will bequesting: “To William Yearret of Pagan Creek and to the wife of Mr. Thomas Taberer, to each of them two thousand pounds of tobacco”. *His da. Ruth m. John Numan (brother-in-law to Thomas Harris, d. 1672). Robert Spencer married Taberer’s sister, Ann. Richard Bennett’s bequest to “the wife of Mr. Thomas Taberer” was probably to a sister or cousin. The Will of John George, recorded Jan. 9, 1678, names friend Thomas Taberer as exec. John Dalton was transp. by Nicholas George & Thomas Taberer & Humphry Clarke. Thomas Harris, d. 1672, m. a da. of Nicholas George, as first wife. “Know all men present that I Thomas Harris (aforesaid) ine th county of IOW for many considerable caused me thereunto moving have and do by the srest constitie and ordeyne my be beloved friend Mr. Thomas Culmore of the county of Surry my true and lawfully attorney for me and to my ame and use to ask leavy recover of receive of Robert Spencer of the County of Surry all such somes of tobacco as shall appear due unto me within the county aforesaid”. (Surry Co. D.B. 1, p 149).
18.104.22.168. Ann Bennett, m. Theoderick Bland.
1.2. Edward Bennett. Christopher Reynolds Sr. emigrated to Virginia as an indentured servant of Edward Bennett. Bk. 1, pp. 46-8, “Imprimis: I give and bequeath unto my son Christopher Reynolds Jr. all my land on the southerly side of the Freshest swamp that Richard Jordan (his son-in-law who m. da. Elizabeth Reynolds) now liveth upon”. The grandson of Christopher Reynolds, Richard Reynolds, m. Elizabeth Sharpe, the da. of Richard Sharpe Sr., br. of John Reynolds, whose Will bequested to Robert Driver, whose dau, Elizabeth, m. Giles Driver, headright of Thomas Harris, d. 1672. Giles Driver m. (2) Olive Hardy, da. of John Hardy and Alice Bennett, da. of Edward Bennett aforesaid; brother-in-law of Richard Harris. Giles Driver’s son, Charles Driver m. Prudence Pitt, da. of John Pitt and Olive Hardy, probable sister of George Hardy, who witnessed the Will of Edward Harris, d. 1677. John Hardy m. 2. Alice Tucker, widow of Arthur Allen. Richard Reynolds and Will Bradshaw witnesses to will of Giles Driver (son-in-law of John Hardy), proved 28 December 1676. (D.B. 2, p. 147). The Reynolds family were probally of Chedzoy, 30 miles from Nunney, 12 miles from Glastonbury, where Joan Reynolds m. Richard Coggan, on June 28, 1627, and Mary Coggan m. Thomas Bond, on Oct. 28, 1632.
1.3. Elianor Bennett, bapt. Mar. 5, 1567, m. Oct. 7, 1594 Richard Harris, son of William Harris, who m. Dorothy Westbrooke, Aug. 31, 1562, at Wivelscombe.
1.3.1.Thomas Harris, m. Judith Blake, Nov. 20, 1623, at Wivelscombe.
22.214.171.124. Thomas Harris, d. 1672.
126.96.36.199.1. John Harris m. a da. of Francis Hobbs, who sold Edward Brantley 675 ac. adj. Thomas Tuke, in 1669. Edward Brantley Sr. came to America as an indentured servant under John Seward of Bristol who received a land patent on 18 June 1638 for 400 ac. in IOW.
188.8.131.52.2. Thomas Harris. (The supposition that he was the Thomas who d. in 1688 can not be discounted).
184.108.40.206.2.1. Thomas Harris, d. 1730: Thomas Harris 290 ac. IOW, on the Maherin River and both sides of Herbert’s Branch adj. Edward Brantley (son of Phillip and Joyce Lewis), and William Simmons line, 24 March 1725. Edward Brantley, John Thorpe, and Thomas Purcell appraisers. Edward Brantley’s son, John, m. the widow of Thomas Harris, Hannah (probably) Judkins.
220.127.116.11. John Harris, bapt. 18 Feb. 1624; probably d. 1687, Virginia, m. Unity.
18.104.22.168.1. Elizabeth Harris, m. Samuel, son of Robert Lancaster Sr. and Sarah, widow of her 2nd husband, Richard Bennett Sr., d. 1710.
22.214.171.124.2. John Harris. On Nov. 9, 1708, Samuel Lancaster was granted the administration of the estate of John Harris, his brother-in-law. The Lancasters were the squires of Cheddar, juxta Wedmore.
1.1.2. John Harris,
126.96.36.199. Thomas Harris bapt. Feb. 3, 1582; “son of John”.
188.8.131.52. Sergeant John Harris (it may be presumed), bapt. Oct. 1, 1587, bur. Aug. 3, 1637, in Nunney. A possible connection between the Harris family of Nunney and Sergeant John Harris concerns Francis Derrick, the Bristol Merchant, noted in 1635 as paying custom duties on booty taken fron Spanish ships (Nat. Arch., ref. E 134/12Chas1/Mich39). Like many Bristol merhants, he held land in Somerset, as noted on this certificate of residence: “showing Francis Derricke (or the variant surname: Dericke, Dyricke) to be liable for taxation in Gloucestershire, and not in the hundreds of Brent, Bempstone, Portbury, and Hartcliffe, Somerset, the previous area of tax liability. 1628. (Nat. Arch., ref. E 115/128/37).
184.108.40.206.1. Thomas Harris, bapt. Oct. 8, 1615 (in Othery juxta Greinton, whence the family holding, yet noted in the register as a son of a John Harris “of Aller”, 6 miles from Greinton, who is not recorded in the Aller registers), d. 1677, m. Alice West, in 1635, in Nunney, where a family of West were established. William West m. Katharin Peare (Perry?) on May 23, 1608, in Bath (18 miles from Nunney); their dau. being Alice West, bapt. Sept. 16, 1615. It was a common practice for marriages to take place in such ‘regional’ churches as Bath, especially if a rich relative (Godparent) lived there; a consideration of ample proportion.
220.127.116.11.1.1. Thomas Harris. bapt. Aug. 14, 1636, in Nunney, d. 1688. John Seward, the Bristol sea captain and merchant, held land in Somerset at Hemington, which is 4 miles fom Mells/Nunney, and named one land grant in Virginia “New Hemington.” (Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography). Thomas Harris settled on land that had been John Sewards. April 27, 1686: Matthew Tomlin 1227 ac., lower par. IOW Co. on borders of Blackwater, 781 ac. being part of 1200 ac. granted to Mr. John Seward, 16 April 1648; 448 acres being waste adj.; beg. at a br. dividing land of John Turner and his daughter Marie’s, by William Westray, adj. Mary Turner, and Thomas Harris (d. 1688), to the bottom of Pig Neck; transp. of 9 persons. (B 7, p. 510). The Will of Thomas Harris, d. 1688, was witnessed by John Coggin, of Bristol. Abstract. Power of Atty. 25 Aug. 1658. Major John Harper Capt Thomas Morgan and Robt Dessell, Citizens of the City of Bristol to John Cogan of the City of Bristol ‘but now resident in Virginia aforesd chirugeon, to receive certain properties belonging to Margaret Bird. Whereas Margarett Bird of the sd Citty of Bristoll widd (admr’ix of the goods and chattells that were of Capt Richd Bond late dec’d some-times of the Citty of Bristoll but dyed in the Countrey of Virginia) hath constituted and appointed as her attorneys concerning the mill plantacon stock goods merchandizies and debts w’ch were off the sd Capt Rich’d Bond as may apper’e.’ Wit: Richard Price, John Osborne, Francis Yeamans Junr. Rec 31 Janry 1658. (The Bond family, to repeat, were of Pitminster, Somerset, as the Fulghams, and tenants of the Symes (Sims) family of Mells.
John Seward da., Margaret (Seward) Edwards, m. John Edwards, on Jan. 28, 1633, in the Temple Church, Bristol. Alice Edwards, was a headright of John Seward in 1648 (IOW). The Will of Mary Pitt “of the parish of St. Thomas within the city of Bristol, widow”, mother of Robert Pitt of Virginia, proved Nov. 25, 1634, bequested to her grandchild, the said “John Edwards a silver beer bowl”. (His br., William Edwards, also received a bequest).
John Seward patented land in 1638: “Upon Warresquioke River. Beginning at a pynie pint by a little gutt running into the woods right over against the land of Nathaniell Floyd* and near his former pattent. “Francis Hobbs’ now wife Mary was former wife of Nathaniel Floyd deceased”. Francis Hobbs’ da. was the wife of John Harris, son of Thomas Harris, who died in 1672. Francis Hobbs Jr. left a legacy to “cousin John Davis”, and “brother John Harris”; his Will being recorded on June 9, 1688.
Adam Sims, who m. Elizabeth Walton, da. of George Walton of Brunswick Co., and who was, thus, the brother-in-law of Nathan Harris, grandson of Thomas Harris, d. 1688, and br. of West Harris, was very likely a descendant of Sir John Symes, of Mells, who m. Amy, the da. of Thomas Horner esq., lord of Nunney. As repeated herein, the Symes family’s tenants included such families as the Bonds and Fulghams.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1. William Harris, m. Mary Short, grandda. of William Short (br. of Thomas, of Cabin Point, Surry). He originally lived in Charles City Co., on the south side of the James River (later Prince George County); he repatented 1100 acres ‘above the head of Chippokes Creek about one and one-half miles up the western most branche’, identifying himself as ‘the son and heir of William Shorts’. The land had been granted to Robert Moseley on Jan. 7, 1649, and then assigned to William Short Sr., on Oct. 28, 1657. (See Tidewater Families of Virginia, p. 544). This was the land identified as adjoining that of Sergeant John Harris: ‘William Lea and Alice (Feltham), his wife, to William Heath, 150 acres (gifted to william Harris, grandson of William Short Jr., “tract of land 150 acres where his father now liveth”) formerly Thomas Felton’s, deceased, and lyeing and being in Southwarke Parish in the County of Surry in Virginia in the woodes joyneing upon the lands which was John Harryes and neere unto the plantation which was formerly Robert Moseleys, adjoining to a great swamp which divides Surry Co. from Charles Cittie County … one hundred and fifteen acres of said land lyeth in Charles Cittie County adjoining unto the rest of the divident which lyeth in said surry County. Witnesses: Robert Spencer, John Gittings’. (Dated Oct. 4, 1660. Surry Co. Court Records. R. November 10, 1660). William Short Sr. was likely to have been he born June 29, 1626, at Mells, with sons, Thomas, bapt. May 23, 1654, and William, bapt. March 30, 1658.
22.214.171.124.1.1.2. Robert Harris, m. Anne Fulgham, da. of Michael Fulgham, of Pitminster, Somerset. Susannah Fulgham, Anne’s sister, m. Hardy Council, son of Hodges Council and Lucy Hardy.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Edward Harris, Will pr. March 25, 1734.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1. Nathan Harris.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2. West Harris.
126.96.36.199.1.1.3. Thomas Harris. On March 3, 1690, He petitioned that John Echols be summoned to the next court, perhaps to claim against the surviving executor of his grandfather’s estate. He was probably the Thomas Harris he who made a deposition in 1692 that he was then 25 years old. (B. 1, p. 52).
188.8.131.52.1.2. John Harris, baptised in 1640. He married Margaret Beard in 1664.
184.108.40.206.1.2.1. John Harris, baptised June 24, 1667. (It can not be discounted that emigrated to Virginia with his cousins).
220.127.116.11.1.3. Ann Harris, baptised October 21, 1646, who married Robert Millard, in May 1667; he baptised September 11, 1625, in Nunney, the son of Francis Millard. The Millards were primarily of Wedmore (20 miles from Nunney), where they intermarried with the Harris family of that place. The wife of the John Harris may have been related to the wife of Thomas Bennett, baptised on November 11, 1603, at Wiveliscombe; who married Agnes Beard, on July 17, 1623.
Thus, the shared associations (considerable) of Thomas Harris, died 1672, and his namesake, who died in 1688, were perhaps the result of cousins of whatever distant degree intermarrying into the same families, and sharing their associations. This point seems vital in any discussion of relationships between such as they – the distance of consanguinity being disguised by shared intermarriages.
18.104.22.168. Richard Harris.
22.214.171.124.1. Mary Harris, bapt. Aug. 1624, m. Jeffrey Coomes (Comer) 8 Nov. 1660, Nunney. (1. John Counsell, bapt. 1573. 1.1. John Counsell, bapt Nov. 28, 1601, married Mary Coomer, on Nov. 26, 1631; the sister of Agnes Coomer, who married John Harris in the adj. parish of Cheddar, in Feb. 1635; uncle of Thomas Harris, bapt. Dec. 31, 1637, in Cheddar and Edward Harris, also bapt. there. (It can not be discounted that this branch of the Harris family were of the pioneering stock of Virginia).
126.96.36.199.2. William Harris, Dec. 9, 1627, in Nunney. (It can not be discounted that he emigrated to Virginia with his cousins).
188.8.131.52.3. Sedwell Harris, bapt. June 14, 1629, in Nunney.
184.108.40.206.4. Melior Harris, bapt. Aug. 17, 1634, in Nunney. Some Harris intermarriage with the Mellor/Melior family can be supposed, as in these other instances: Farewell v Grymes. Plaintiffs: John Farewell and Melior Farewell his wife. Defendants: William Grymes. Subject: property in Nunney, Somerset. 1622. (C 3/348/19). Baker v Pryor. Plaintiffs: Melior Baker, widow. Defendants: George Pryor, Anne Pryor his wife and John Pryor. Subject: personal estate of John Baker, Middlezoy, Somerset. 1668. (C 8/240/37). Seward v Coles. Plaintiffs: Richard Seward. Defendants: Melior Coles, widow, Robert Puddy and John Mitchell. Subject: property in Langport, Somerset. 1679. (C 8/240/37).
220.127.116.11.2. Dorothy Harris, m. John Baker, a transportee of Mr. George Menefee, in James City Co., in 1635. George Menefee’s Will, dated December 31, 1645, named Overseers as “friends Captain Peter Andrews, and Richard Bennett, Esq.”; the latter’s land being adjacent to his. The Menefees were a Devonshire family, who like many (the Pitts etc.) were drawn to the trading opportunities afforded by Bristol. (See Will of Elizabeth Minifee, Widow of Bristol. PROB 11/126/446. November 15, 1615.
John Baker was probably he who was bapt on March 14, 1616, in West Cranmore, Somerset, 5 miles from Nunney, brother of William; sons of Matthew.
A collection of cousins. The highly interbred kinship group from whence they came makes a distant relationship appear more close in terms of DNA analysis. They spoke a Somerset dialect that none outside its perimeter would have understood, and were adept at all forms of farming, metalwork, and woodwork. They made strong “zider” and Cheddar cheese.
copyright m stanhope 2017