Family Notes - December 2020
This is a sample of the information provided to members of the P*rr*tt Society in the most recent edition of Family Notes. Family Notes is a quarterly magazine that is distributed to society members in both printed and electronic format. All previous editions of the journal since 1984 are available online to society members.
I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot
Meg Hill recently contacted us to confirm that her book, I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot (ISBN 978 1912728220), is now available from major booksellers. Here, society member Alan Perrott reviews the book.
I initially bought this book to read out of historical interest as a Perrott from Ireland myself I have always been intrigued by the story Sir John Perrot, who served Elizabeth I as Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1584 1588. I know that the modern day Perrotts in Ireland are not descended from Sir John, but even so it is a name that we have grown up with while never really knowing who he was.
Unlike me, Meg Hill is actually descended from Sir John Perrot through his daughter Anne. As Meg researched his life, she found that he seemed to be a largely neglected figure of the era. He was widely rumoured to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and he prospered during the reign of Elizabeth I to first become President of Munster before being appointed Elizabeth’s deputy in Ireland. Meg has thoroughly researched his life, using both contemporary accounts and more modern biographies to uncover the man behind the historical facts. She has woven these biographical details into a very readable semi fictional story of his life.
Meg has taken the view that John was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII and has built her story around this. Not all historians concur with this view of Sir John’s parentage and we will never know for sure. However, he apparently resembled Henry VIII in temperament and physical appearance, and it was widely believed at the time that he was Henry’s son. Furthermore, it helps to explain how he rose from relatively humble beginnings in Haverfordwest in Wales to become Elizabeth’s confidante and deputy. It also makes for a better story, and Meg has unashamedly taken full advantage!
While I originally bought the book out of historical interest, I quickly became enthralled by the life of this very real man. It is a very readable story not only does it explain who Sir John was and the role he played in Tudor affairs and the settlement of Ireland, but it vividly portrays him as a real person that I could empathise with. Sir John was not without his flaws he governed Ireland with a firm and sometimes brutal hand, and he had a string of illegitimate children. However, these flaws played their own part in his complex life and ultimately led to his downfall.
Meg has succeeded in writing a very enjoyable work of historical fiction, while at the same time introducing us to a neglected but influential figure of the Tudor period. “I Love as I Find” will not be out of place alongside my many shelves of historical fiction from bestselling authors. I think that those of the P*rr*tt name everywhere will be interested to find out more about our namesake, while those who like historical fiction will relish an enthralling story. If, like me, you fall into both camps then sit back and enjoy!
“I Love as I Find: The Story of Sir John Perrot” was written by Margaret Eleanor Hill and published by Quack Books in 2020. It is available online from Waterstones and Amazon for £10.00 + £2.50 delivery.
A Dorset flax and hemp grower
Among the records in the Dorset Hemp and Flax Growers record set on FindMyPast are a number of entries for Robert PERROTT (or PARRATT ).
This information is based on transcriptions previously published by Somerset & Dorset Family History Society which provide a list of people who grew flax and hemp in the area between 1782 and 1893. The list is compiled from bounty claim forms, newspapers, recognisances, pay lists and returns; most of these documents were related to a Government Act that provided bounties to be paid for dressed fibre ready for market in order to encourage the growing of hemp and flax.
The villages around the town of Bridport grew hemp and flax used to produce cordage, sailcloth and netting; an interesting history the trade in this area is provided by the article ‘Bridport flax and hemp industry’ by Michael Bone in the BIAS Journal (No. 18, 1985, pp. 19 31):
There are seven entries for Robert P*RR*TT in Bothenhampton and Bradpole between 1782 and 1792; this data is summarised in the table below (two entries for 1782 have been combined) and shows us that Robert appears to have concentrates on hemp production rather than flax, though that may due to the survival of records and certainly in at least two years 1782 and 1791 there is a record of him also growing flax in what looks to be two particular fields (with some variant spelling of their names):
It seems likely he is the Robert PERROTT “lately of Bothenhampton but now residing in Bradpole” who left a will proved on 14 June 1800 as follows:
I Robert Perrott lately of Bothenhampton but now residing in Bradpole in the county of Dorset Yeoman do by this Writing which I declare to be my last Will and Testament give devise and bequeath all and singular any Lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever and whether in Fee Simple, Copyhold for Lives or Leasehold and also all my Monies and Securities for Money, personal Estate and Effects unto Hannah Seymour of Bradpole aforesaid widow her Heirs Executors Administrators and Assignes And I do nominate and appoint the said Hannah Seymour sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament In Witness thereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the sixteenth Day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight.
There are a number of Robert P*RR*TTs in Dorset in the late eighteenth century, however a marriage between Robert PERROT and Sarah BROWN , “both of Bothenhampton” on 18 December 1753 in Burton Bradstock may be relevant. There is also a burial of Robert PERROT at Bothenhampton on 5 February 1800.
The original publication of Dorset People Involved in the Growing of Hemp and Flax 1782 1793 is available to buy from the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society website ( https://sdfhs.org/ ) for £2.50.
It's In the Papers
We’ve scoured the pages of newspapers recently added to the British Newspaper Archive website to bring you some P*rr*tt related articles.
Marylebone Mercury (London) 27 May 1922
DEATH OF MR. W. J. PARRATT. We regret to announce the death of Mr. William James Parratt, at the ripe age of 96. Deceased was one of the oldest members of the Wesleyan Chapel, Lancaster Road, North Kensington, and some years ago was engaged in the pianoforte trade. Formerly he resided in Talbot Grove, but in latter years at 22, St. Ervan’s Road, Westbourne Park. The funeral took place at Kensington Cemetery Hanwell, prior to which the body was taken into the Wesleyan Chapel, Lancaster Road, where a short service was held, the Rev. J. H. Hockin, the pastor, officiating. Messrs. Papier and Sons, 157, Lancaster Road, were entrusted with the funeral arrangements..
Evening Mail (London) 23 October 1918
MR. J. R. PERRETT. The death took place at Torquay on Monday of Mr. J. R. Perrett, naval architect, and for nearly 30 years a leading official of Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth, and Co. (Limited). He was associated principally with the development of the warship building section, and for 14 years was Chief Naval Architect and General Manager. In 1902, when Sir Philip Watts left Elswick to become Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty, in succession to the late Sir William White, Mr. Perrett was appointed in his place. On retiring in 1916, Mr. Perrett went to live at Torquay. Mr. Perrett was much liked by the foreign customers of the Elswick firm, and received decorations from Japan, Italy, and Turkey. He was about 70 years of age, and is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Dundalk Herald (Louth) 2 January 1886
EXCITING INCIDENT IN THE HUNTING FIELD. Mitchelstown, Monday. An exciting incident took place on Saturday at Glanworth in connection with the meet of the local hounds. A drag hunt was announced, and large crowds of farmers and artisans attended to witness the sport. About one hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen were present ; amongst others Mr Perrott, farmer ; and Mr Montgomery, Killee House. The presence of these gentlemen, whose dealings with their tenantry have made them unpopular, caused a commotion. Umbrage was instantly taken at their presence by the populace, and the members of the hunt, it is stated, connived, fearing that hunting might be altogether stopped. Both gentlemen were groaned and hooted, and cheers given with equal voice and spirit for the evicted parish priest of Castlelyons, whose landlord, it was stated, was Mr Perrott. In the excitement Mr Perrott was thrown from his horse, which was taken possession of in its wanderings by the people, and subsequently returned to him. Both gentlemen retired from the hunt, which was continued uninterruptedly, and was taken part in by many of the people.
Evening Mail (London) 7 March 1898
LONDON COUNTY SESSIONS. Charles Perrett, 22, convicted of having stolen a purse in the Fulham road from Miss Maud Coleridge, niece of the late Lord Coleridge, was sentenced to 15 months’ hard labour.
John Bull (London) 22 May 1920
A CHEAP SERVANT. DRUDGE WORKS FIFTEEN YEARS FOR NOTHING. A lot is heard these days about the high wages demanded for domestic servants, but that the rule in such matters is subject to important exceptions was proved in a case recently heard by His Honour Judge Lindley at the Wellington (Somerset) County Court. The plaintiff in the action was a Miss Florence Howlett, her claim against the defendant, Mr. C. G. Perrett, of Poole Farm, being for £100, the girl having been employed by the farmer for 15 years, during which period it was alleged she had received no wages at all.
Persons ignorant of the niceties of law would hardly have expected Mr. Perrett to win, in view of his admission that he had paid the girl no wages. He had fed her as he was bound by law to do and she had at times been permitted to deck herself out in Mrs. Perrett’s cast off garments ; but from the age of 17, when she entered the farmer’s employment, she had received not a penny of remuneration, unless it were a few coppers given her to spend on the rare occasions when she was permitted to enter the town of Wellington. Morally the poor girl’s claim was indisputable, but legally it contained a fatal flaw. There was no proper contract of service, so the Judge found ; and the girl’s case, therefore, fell to the ground. “The girl entered into service,” said His Honour, “on terms of food and clothing, and there is no evidence to satisfy me that these terms have been altered.” It remains for Mr. Perrett, as a man of honour, to redress the injustice that is left untouched by the law.
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