18 August 2016

Who was Jane Wise?

For the past week or so I have been down a figurative rabbit hole, trying to prove that Henry Wise (1653-1738), royal gardener to Queen Anne, was the father of Jane Wise (?-1740), who married Bartholomew Peisley (1683-1727) stone mason of Oxford. I haven't managed to do it, and have thus concluded that without concrete evidence to prove it, Jane's father was not Henry Wise.

Why did I leap to that conclusion in the first place? Circumstantial evidence - he's the right-ish sort of age to possibly be her father, he worked at Blenheim Palace, as did Bartholomew (and also his father Bartholomew as well), plus Jane and Bartholomew had a daughter named Patience - the same name as Henry's wife.

I researched the names of Henry and Patience Wise's children, and found details of eight of a possible twelve children. None called Jane, and perhaps tellingly, none who named any of their children Jane, after a possible aunt. I read wills of family members, including distant relations, and none clearly referred to a Jane as a daughter of Henry and Patience. Both Henry and Patience's wills named all their living children, and grandchildren, none of which included Jane or any of her children. I delved into all the parish records I could, all the historical records regarding the family that I could find, particularly focusing on records of the day, but there was nothing.

And yet, there is still the possibility Jane Wise is related to the family of Henry Wise, though I have concluded it is more likely that she is a niece of Henry's. To explain why I think this, I will set out all the information I know about Jane.

It is not known when or where Jane Wise was born. She married Bartholomew Peisley in 1717, on a date soon after 2 October, when their marriage license was issued in the Diocese of Canterbury. The location of the marriage is unknown, however the marriage is not recorded in the parish records for St Michael's at the North Gate, Oxford (LDS British film 416724), where some of their children were baptised and some were buried. In the table of information for their known children below, dates in italics are inferred dates, and note too that spelling in the parish records is variable.

Date of birth Date of death Name of child Parish record entry
~1717-1718 1718 Bartholomew Burial: 1718, July 3, Bartholomew Peizly, jnr. in ye church
~1717-1719 Apr 1719 Thomas Burial: 1719, April 8, Thomas, son of Bartholomew Peizley, in ye church
1721 unknown Patience Baptism: 1721, June 3, Petience d. of Mr Bartholomew Peisley a stone cutter and Jean his wife
1722 1781 Bartholomew Baptism: 1722, June 10, Bartholomew s. of Mr Bartholomew Piesley, stone cutter and Jane his wife
1724 unknown Richard Baptism: 1724, April 27, Richard son of Bartholomew Peisley, stone cutter and Jean his wife
~1727 1727 Sarah Burial: 1727, November 4, Sarah, dau. of Bartholomew Peisley, infant, in ye church

Jane's husband Bartholomew Peisley died aged only 44, on 29 August 1727. The Oxford diarist Thomas Hearne wrote in August 1727 "Yesterday died of a feavor, or rather (as I hear), of the Gout in the Stomack, after 4 or 5 days illness, Mr Peisley, a noted wealthy mason, that lived in New-Inn Hall Lane in Oxford, leaving a wife (a very pretty woman) and three Children, and his wife is big again. ... This Mr Peisly was looked upon as a very courteous well behaved man." Obviously Jane was pregnant with Sarah at the time her husband Bartholomew died, and Sarah then died in November as well.

When Jane remarried in 1731 in Oxford, to George Huddesford, Hearne wrote "On Thursday last, Mr Hudsford, President of Trinity Coll., was married in that College chappel to the widow Peisly (who has three children living by her former Husband, a Mason) a very pretty woman, of Oxford." Jane and George Huddesford had a son William, born in 1732.

Jane died in Oxford in 1740, and was buried on 2 March 1740, possibly at St Mary Magdalen's churchyard, Oxford.

So why do I think she was related to the Henry Wise family?

Henry Wise's will (dated 1739) mentions a niece Jane Hunsford. I can't work out who that might be, apart from Jane Huddesford, complete with spelling difference.

Jane's brother, Reverend Bernard Paisley (1689-1738), in his will, mentions his nephews Richard and Bartholomew Peisley (Jane's sons), and leaves an amount of money to each of them, and if they are still minors at the time of his death, in trust for them to Mathew Wise Esq and the Reverend Mr George Huddesford. George Huddesford is their stepfather, and Mathew Wise Esq happens to be the son and heir of Henry Wise. So that really does suggest that Jane is related in some way to the Henry Wise family, if Mathew is partially in charge of the inheritances of Jane's sons.

And then there is the naming of Patience Peisley, perhaps after her maternal great aunt.

I shall keep searching for links between Jane Wise/Peisley/Huddesford and the Henry Wise family, but I think I may have exhausted all current evidence available on the internet. Further research I'd like to do at some stage is to visit graveyards in Oxford, and also to thoroughly scour Oxford parish records for information relating to the Peisleys and Wises.

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