Thomas Perrin and London


After the death of Edward Perrin in 1702   there is only one record mentioning any of his children in Bristol. Edward's youngest son Edward, age 16, was a witness at the Bristol wedding of Hester Gotley to William Arch "gouldsmith, of London" on June 10, 1706 . Our story now moves to London.

This lengthy section describes the fate of Edward's children — chiefly Thomas, but also Anne, Susannnah and Edward. Several new families are involved, and keeping track of everyone will prove difficult. As the story seems to take on elements of fiction, I will try to document everything. While there are many primary records I have seen, others I currently know of only through secondary sources. And given my lack of knowledge of financial and legal terminology, not to mention Latin, the reader can understand and hopefully forgive any mistakes I may make in interpreting those records I have examined.


London around 1690

London and Southwark, 1688

The 1688 map above shows the cities of London and Westminster north and Southwark south of the Thames River. The Tower of London, the pentagonal castle downstream from the London Bridge, sat at the eastern edge of London City and next to its financial district. Downstream (east) of the Tower are several hamlets, including Ratcliff, then the customary home of mariners.

West Stepney parishes

Tower Hamlets in 1745 

On this next map from 1745 I have overlain the names of the other "tower hamlets" of importance in this section, namely Whitechapel, Mile End and Stepney. The parish of St. Dunstan's of the East in Stepney included Mile End until 1719 and Ratcliff until 1838; therefore any early record referrencing Stepney may actually be referring to one of these hamlets.


To help understand the financial matters in this section I can provide the following general guide. In 1700 the purchasing power of an English pound was 140 times what it is in 2022. The average income of an Englishman was £13. One ounce of gold was worth £3 s18. An income more than £100 per year would be above the ninetieth percentile.

Thomas Perrin before imprisonment: 1699 - 1711

Quaker Merchants in London

By the time Thomas Perrin moved to London several other members of his family had settled there. They are worth introducing now as their names will show up with some frequency in this section..

Robert Ruddle

Robert Ruddle, Edward Perrin's brother-in-law was apparently the first member of the Dowlen family to relocate to London. He apparently followed Richard Marsh and John Marsh his son, both Quaker merchants of Bristol. In 1678 while in Bristol Ruddle had planned to marry Grace Marsh, daughter of Richard , but the marriage was called off two months later .

Ruddle eventually married Ann Dowlen in 1682 in Bristol . By then the Richard Marsh family had moved to London. In 1681/2 the Devonshire Meeting in London recorded that John Marsh married Elizabeth Matthews of Stepney   and the Southwark Quaker Meeting recorded the marriage of Grace Marsh to Michael Jones one year later .

Judging from the birth records for Robert and Ann Ruddle's children, they were also in London by 1687 . Ruddle must have worked closely with John Marsh, as Marsh' 1696 will bequeathed to the Ruddle family £250 and the revenue from two ships .

Richard Gotley, Jr.

Richard Gotley, Jr., was in London by March 14, 1700/1, when he obtained a license to marry Mary Coryton. This license was recorded at the Faculty Office, Archbishop of Canterbury, in London . In order to understand why Richard did not marry within the Quaker community some family history for both him and Mary are in order.

Richard's father, Richard Gotley, Sr. was a Quaker snd a merchant of Bristol; he was also Edward Perrin's brother-in-law. In the previous section I presented the marriage certificate for Richard Gotley and his second wife Rachel Dowlen, as signed by Edward and Mary Perrin . The birth records from Bristol show that Rachel and Mary were close . Richard's son Richard (Junior) was born in 1680 .

Mary Coryton, whom Richard Gotley, Jr. married, was not a Quaker nor from Bristol. She was the daughter of Sir John Coryton, Baron, who possessed a large amount of land in Cornwall, including the Pentillie Manor. Sir John had died young in 1690, and his wife Elizabeth then married their steward James Tillie. Background material regarding this family (which I advise reading only if you are versed in British heraldry and estate law) points out that James was probably an upstart from Bristol; his sister married William Wolley, who was a Quaker . The Wolleys were acquainted with both the Perrin and Gotley families; Mary Perrin and Rachel Gotley witnessed the birth of their son James Wolley in early 1689 . A Mary Tillie signed as a relative the marriage certificate for Robert Ruddle and Ann Dowlen in 1682  as did James Tillie for Rachel Dowling and Richard Gotley , implying that all these people were related through the Dowlen family. Later the will of James Tillie suggested that Richard Gotley was Tillie's cousin; the will also mentioned a Benjamin Dowlen . All this helps explain why Edward Perrin of Bristol, merchant, witnessed some deeds involving Coryton and Tillie in 1681 . (Therre is a remote possibility that these Tillies descended from a family named Tylly who lived in Wraxall, and were recorded as making donations for the repair of St. Paul's cathedral   in 1632).

William Payne - Shipping Lying on the Tamar before Pentille Castle

William Payne (1760 - 1830), Shipping Lying on the Tamar Before Pentillie Castle

After the deaths of Elizabeth and James Coryton (nee Tillie) a complex series of court cases ensued involving Richard Gotley (Jr.) and Mary his wife, versus the Tillies; one case included a document from 1701 which named Richard Gotley, Sr. of Bristol, merchant, his wife Rachel, and Richard Gotley, Jr. their son, along with Mary Coryton, his wife . This record firmly establishes the relationship between the Richard Gotley of Bristol and his son in London.

Now I can try to rationalize why Richard and Mary obtained a marriage license from the Faculty Office. Class and circumstance were mattered here. To quote a genealogist on this subject :

People obtained a marriage license [this way] for many reasons, most commonly to avoid the wait through the reading of the banns, to avoid the publicity of the announcement, and to reflect social superiority

Given that Mary was the daughter of an earl who was marrying outside the Church proper, it makes very good sense for the couple to obtain the marriage license in this manner.

Samuel Groom and family

Thomas Perrin was in London by 1699, when he married Sarah Groom . As an understanding of the Groom family is essential for this section, bear with me as I describe its members, whose genealogy has been published .

Simplified Groom Family Tree

A simplified Groom family tree

Sarah Groom's father Samuel (Jr.) was, like Perrin, a Quaker and a merchant. His father Samuel (Sr.) had been sailing to the New World since at least 1656, and was one of the twelve original proprietors of East Jersey. In his will in 1683 he referred to himself as a mariner, from Ratcliff. His wife Elizabeth was alive until 1703.

Son Samuel (Jr.) had traded in Maryland as early as 1678. There is correspondence recorded between him and Richard Johns of Maryland, who was an acquaintance of Edward Perrin. In 1686 he paid import duties on 500 tons of tobacco, making him the seventh largest British tobacco trader that year . Samuel (Jr.) died in January, 1697/8 with an estate reportedly assessed at £ 30,000 .

By 1699 the Groom family consisted of Elizabeth, widow of Samuel (Sr.) and:

It is not hard for me to understand the need for a Faculty Office marriage license for Thomas and Sarah. She was not eighteen years of age, and her father had died. Asking a Quaker meeting to approve such a marriage would never work.

The death records for Samuel Groom, Jr. (1697/8) his wife Sarah (died 1704/5) and his first son named John (1688) state that this family lived in Whitechapel parish . Samuel's abode was more specifically identified as Mansell Street, Goodman's Field. Goodman's Field can be found on the above map directly north of the Tower of London and just outside the city walls in Whitechapel. A snippet of the 1688 map shown below shows the location of Mansell Street.

On the other hand, Elizabeth, wife of Samuel (Sr.), was living in Stepney at the time of her death in 1703 .

East side London, 1720

East side London and whitechapel, 1688.
Mansel Street (not labelled) is the western border of Goodmans Fields
Marke Lane is two blocks west of The Tower

Groom Family Wills

The will for Sarah's father Samuel (Jr.), executed in 1697, included two relevant clauses :

To daughter Sarah all those my messuages etc. in the parish of Havering and Hornechurch, county Essex near Rumford, being about £ 100 per annum on condition she pay to my daughter Constance £ 500 at 18.


To my two youngest children John and Elizabeth all those my messauges etc. near Haverell alias Havering, county Essex and Sufolk.

The will written for Sarah's grandmother Elizabeth in 1703 gave no detail about her estate, but did name Thomas Perrin as an executor .

The will written by Sarah's mother Sarah, dated January 1704/5, was eight pages long. I would like to quote two sections which demonstrate this woman's ability to judge character and predict the future. First, she described the work necessary to straighten out her husband Samuel's affairs after his death, and (I believe) acknowledged the assistance she received from Thomas Perrin .

And whereas I have made it my business to secure and make good my said late husbands estate where it lay most precarious by venturing my owne to bring it home for the benefitt of my said children at my owne perill and risque and have been at greate charges (on their behalfes therin and otherwise) which I have not brought to their account and have made up my Accounts fairly with my said Son in law Thomas Perrin since his Intermarriage with my said Daughter Sarah as by my Bookes kept for that purpose

One other interpretation of that snippet of text would be that Thomas worked with Samuel Groom at some point. But it is the beginning of her will which fascinates me the most. Before any other property is discussed, she described six or seven properties in Essex which were jointly held with other investors, and then instructed that (caps mine)

for and during the terme of ninety nine yeares if my daughter Sarah Perrin shall soe long live upon Trust and to the intent that the said Constant Edridge and Samuel Wallingfield their Execut'rs Administrators and Assignees immediatly after my death shall doe out of the Rents Issues and profitts of the same premisses yearly and every year pay during the naturall life of my Daughter Sarah Perrin the clear yearly Summe of fifty pounds of lawfull money England to such person and persons and to such uses intents & purposes as my Daughter Sarah Perrin shall notwithstanding her coverture [definition: The condition or position of a woman during her married life, when she is by law under the authority and protection of her husband] direct nominate and appoint to the intent the same may not be subject or lyable to the controul debts forfeitures or Engagements of Thomas Perrin her husband or any other person that shall hereafter be her husband but may be at her owne disposall to and for her owne distinct and personall Equippage

So Sarah Perrin was bequeathed dependable personal income; this income would not be considered her husband's money, and therefore could not be taken from her to pay her husband's debts.

Incidentally Sarah Groom left a bequest to Sarah's infant daughter Mary Perrin. She was to be paid £ 300 with interest at the time of her marriage.

A Memorial

The degree of devotion which Sarah Perrin held for her mother is shown by a published(!) poem put out by the Quakers as a broadsheet . An image of the original can be seen from anotherweb page; here is the text:

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In this poem Sarah expressed her faith in a more traditional, yet Quaker, universe. She will need that faith in times to come.

The Thomas and Sarah Perrin Family


Courtesy of the Quaker records, I have a list of births and deaths for Sarah and Thomas Perrin. (Mary and second Samuel were recorded twice; Thomas, three times. The second date for the second Samuel record is problematic.)

Name Place of residence Event Time/Age Reference
Samuel Perrin, son of Thomas Perrin
Mansell Street, Whitechapel
December, 1700,
age 5 weeks
Sarah Perrin, daughter of Thomas Perrin
Dunstans In The East parish
December 25, 1702,
age 6 weeks
Mary Perrin, daughter of Thomas Perrin
and Sarah his wife
Dunstans of The East parish
May 30, 1704
Samuel Perrin, son of Thomas Perrin
and Sarah his wife
Mark Lane,
Olaves Hart Street precinct
August 5, 1706 or 1707
Sarah Perrin, daughter of Thomas Perrin
and Sarah his wife
Mark Lane,
Olaves Hart Street precinct
March 14, 1707/8
James Perrin, son of Thomas Perrin
and Sarah his wife
Mark Lane,
Olaves Hart Street precinct
July 1, 1709
Thomas Perrin, son of Thomas Perrin
and Sarah his wife
Mark Lane,
Olaves Hart Street precinct
February 7, 1710/11

While I have not listed the witnesses for each of these births, some who attended include Sarah's mother Sarah Groom, maternal grandmother Constant Edridge, sister Constant, and Thomas Perrin's aunt Ann Ruddle. During this time period the Perrin family moved twice. Around 1702 they moved from the house previously occupied by Sarah's parents on Mansell Street to somewhere east of town in Stepney or Radcliffe (the St. Dunstan's of the East parish). Then by 1706 they resided in the east end of London itself, on Mark Lane, in the St. Olave Hart parish. The region was a hotbed of trading and speculation; the Corn Exchange is still located there. With the exception of the Exchange, the church and an occasional public house, the distict now is a melange of glass office buildings.

ship inn, hart lane

The Ship Inn, on Hart Street facing Mark Lane

Marriage of Ann Perrin

Ann Perrin, Edward Perrin's younger daughter, must have come to London by 1709, as she witnessed the births of James and Thomas Perrin. The Devonshire Meeting records show that she and John Burroughs requested their marriage in October, 1711 . The wedding took place on January 11, 1711/12. The groom, of St. Saviours parish, Southwark was from a modest family (he was a salter, his father a millwright). However the wedding list of witnesses is extensive. Two copies of the marriage certificate exist , and as on each the transcriber could include only as many people who could fit onto a single page of paper, I believe it is fair to merge the two lists and count forty people at the affair. Of course Thomas Perrin and Sarah his wife are there. But other persons of interest on the lists include

After marrying John Burrough in 1710/11, Ann had four children and died November 15, 1721 in Southwark .

Perrin Business

So far I have avoided discussing Thomas' commercial ventures. All of the Quaker birth registers mentioned above referred to Thomas Perrin as a merchant. But the evidence implies he was not a merchant in the same style of his father. An academic analysis of this trade pointed out that the traders of Edward Perrin's generation, who were small-timers, usually worked with one ship at a time. In contrast, the tobacco trade of the early eighteenth century consisted of fewer dealers who controlled numerous ships. These dealers no longer traveled to America to do business but depended on middlemen (the proverbial sotweed factor of fiction) .

The first record of Perrin's business was recorded by the High Court on Admiralty Examinations. I have not seen the original record, but an abstract is available . The Court took testimony regarding the ship Prosperous Sarah, owned by Thomas Perrin, Constant Groome, Nicholas Batchelor, Michael Jones, Samuel Voss and Thomas Cleeves. This ship left England March 1, 1702/3, arriving at Herring Bay, Virginia on August 2. However, on November 27, coming home by the Isles of Scilly off Cornwall, the ship was taken by a French privateer of 24 guns. The ship's cook testified that they had stopped in both Maryland and Virginia, delivering goods. While not stated, it probably returned with tobacco.

The name Thomas Perrin also appeared in Maryland documents in the decade after 1700. Specifically, I have found him listed on two estate accounts, once as a creditor in 1703 , and once as a debtor in 1706 .

Finally, those who investigate the African slave trade have found the name of Thomas Perrin. He is listed as second owner of two ships that are implicated in the African slave trade, namely the Africa (left London Oct 1702, slaves purchased on the Gold Coast, then to Martinique, ship ultimately captured by the French) and the Amiable (left London Dec 1703, slaves purchased in the Bight of Benin, then to Barbados). Both ships showed the usual grim statistic of a 25 percent mortality rate among the transported Africans. As none of the other members of Perrin's extended family are to be found on the accumulated databases regarding the slave trade, I assume that Perrin was an investor or guarantor in these enterprises. Nonetheless this is a dark spot on this genealogy.

Suits and Judgments

Perrin is mentioned repeatedly in suits from the early eighteenth century. The first legal document I have is dated November 17, 1709, and is a deposition titled "The joint & severall Answer of Benjamin Robinson being one of the persons commonly called Quaker & one of the defend'ts to the Bill of Complaint of Thomas Perrin Merchant" . Involved in this testimony is the story of two men, Benjamin Robinson, "Citizen & Haberdasher Of London" , and William Arch, goldsmith, whom you met earlier in this section as Hester Gotley's husband. Only this testimony is available, and aside from the involvement of Robert Cooke, one of Perrin's associates ), this document is only notable for introducing us to Robinson, whose name will come up later. Several other equity cases from this period of time include Perrin vs. Cleeves , Perrin vs. Dillingham; , Dunckley vs. Perrin , Perrrin vs. Lamb , Perrin vs. Cook , Perrin vs. Rose , Perrin vs. Harrison , and Lloyd vs. Perrin . I have not seen these documents yet, as they were only recently indexed by the National Archives at Kew.

In the London Metropolitan Archives are two documents which presumably come from the estate of the Page family. The first states that on July 15, 1710, Thomas Perrin and his associates were ordered to pay £2000 and re-export (i.e., send to Europe) 40,000 pounds of tobacco, presumably because they did not pay import taxes . Richard Page was named on this document as he had invested in Perrin. Then in January, 1710/11 Thomas Perrin and Richard Page formed a second agreement . A later (1712) petition to the Treasury by Page indicates that he, for £500 in cash for his daughter's dowry, accepted £3400 of tobacco bonds and gave Perrin a mortgage on his manor in Uxenden . That document exists in the original, and we can admire Thomas Perrin's signature and seal.

Thomas Perrin signature and seal

Thomas Perrin's signature and seal, 1710/11
© London Metropolitan Archives

The one equity suit I have read in full is Askew vs. Perrin, Sheffeild, Gotley, Cooke and Wildy; the testimony supplies intimate details of Perrin's business . I have transcribed both the testimony of John Askew as well as Thomas Perrin's response, and while both accounts are much less than impartial, I will provide you with Askew's account here.

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Humbly complaining showeth unto your Lordship your Orator John Askew of the Citty of London Gentleman

That your Orator having been for many Years bred up at Sea and thoroughly instructed in the way of Merchandise Navigation and Maritime Affairs was in or about the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Eight Recommended to one Thomas Perrin of the Citty of London Merchant as a person well quallifyed to serve him in the post of Master of a Ship

It is hard to tell if Askew was a complete sap, or just got in over his head with scoundrels more experienced than he. But both he and Perrin agree on most of the facts. Perrin had a number of ships, either in his service or owned by him. One of them, the Anne, may have been the same ship as the Ann of London, with 350 ton cargo hold, 36 person crew and 16 guns; her principle owner in 1705 was Robert Ruddle . (This same ship was in Maryland taking on tobacco in 1700 , its master was Benjamin Dollen.) Perrin had dealings in various English ports as well as with the Senserfe family in Rotterdam, Holland. Perrin convinced Askew to take out a bond on tobacco already in Rotterdam; Askew said he was coerced, and clearly he did not succeed in selling it. Askew believed he was maneuvered to marry so that Perrin might have access to his bride's fortune, which Askew said was insubstantial. Askew claimed that Perrin tried to get his wife to buy the Page mortgage (at £2,000, a substantial markup). To the charges that Perrin attempted to get Askew to sign for imported tobacco using someone else's name, Perrin merely stated that it was business as usual. Most fascinating is that Perrin intended to run for Parliament.

Bankruptcy and Prison

It is not unreasonable that Perrin had money problems by 1711. After 1690, the tobacco market was glutted. The opportunity for re-export of tobacco to Europe, after duties had been paid in England or on one of the Channel Islands, decreased because of war. Coincidentally, the excise tax on imported tobacco was tripled. Bankruptcy of the big players started after 1702, and as these traders usually guaranteed each other's debts (with bonds, or signing surety), there was a domino effect . After the bankruptcy of a major tobacco trader, John Goodwin, in 1711 , Thomas Perrin filed for bankruptcy on February 15, 1711/12 .

Shortly after filing for bankruptcy both Thomas Perrin and Richard Gotley were imprisoned at the Fleet. The minutes from the Royal Treasury show two petitions in May, 1712, from John Silk and Richard Page, respectively, appealing for time to settle the portions of Perrin's debts for which they were now responsible, having offered security on them ; the former petition specifically states Perrin was in custody. Later documents showed that Perrin owed over £37,000, and Gotley £31,000, to the Crown in excise taxes .

Aftermath: 1712 - 1746

Fleet Prison

fleet street prison

A later depiction of eighteenth century Fleet Street prison

The history of Fleet Prison is fascinating. At the time in question it served primarily as a debtor's prison. The position of prison warden or Master was given to someone who had purchased the office, and during this time period he was free to run his show as he saw fit. Not surprisingly, there was corruption. All prisoners were expected to pay their way. For some this meant begging from inside the prison; grille work was installed on the front windows to facilitate this activity. However, those with connections, or outside financial help, could be living in the Master's section, perhaps even with members of one's own family.

The pardon of Richard Gotley

Here the stories of Gotley and Perrin diverge. Richard Gotley was released from prison in February, 1712/13 . His petition, as recorded by the Treasury, is particularly helpful :

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May it please Your Lordships

In Obedience to Your Lordships commands signified to Us by Wm Lowndes One of your Lordships Secretaryes on the Annect [to join or connect] Petition of Richard Gotley, late Tobacco Merchant Setting forth

So Richard Gotley ratted on his partner to later allow himself release from jail. Most probably Perrin was guilty of avoiding excise tax payments; later treasury records show the discovery of 70,000 pounds of tobacco of his on June 16, 1712 on the Island of Guernsey which had been "fraudulently sold to another" ; it was discovered in part because of testimony from another bankrupt dealer named Thomas Edwin .

Following his release, the Cornwall property disputes cited above showed that as of 1719, Richard Gotley was a brewer in Putney, Surrey , and in 1730 he was a gentleman of Barton Regis, Glouscestershire .

The escape of Thomas Perrin

Thomas Perrin also petitioned for release from prison, as early as July, 1713 , in May, 1715 , and in February, 1715/6 . On the second occasion I can find that the Treasury denied his petition , recording that the petition was

Read 13th September 1715. It appearing that the petitioner has been guilty of great frauds my Lords see no reason for his relieſe.

Ironically it was because of prison corruption that we have a partial story of Thomas' prison tenure. This was recorded in "The Second Report respecting the State of the Gaols", presented to Parliament on May 14, 1729. The entire report appears below; I will discuss the circumstances of this report in the next section :

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The Appendix

Perrin's Case,

As it relates to John Huggins, Esquire, Warden of the Fleet.

That in Easter Term, 1714, John Huggins, Esquire, Warden of the Fleet, for a Sum of Money, and upon a Security Bond, wherein the said Thomas Perrin, together with Benjamin Robinson, and Three other Persons, as his Securities, were bound for his Lodging without the said Prison, permitted him the Liberty aforesaid.

That the said Surities were Persons of no Account, or Substance: that the said Perrin, with the Privity, and express Consent, of the said Huggins, went often at large, out of the Rules, without any Day Rule, or lawful License so to do.

My interpretation of the report is Thomas gained favor with Thomas Huggins, the prison Master, possibly by doing business for him. He gained increasing privilege within the prison and was able to move outside of ("without") its walls in early 1714; he then went on an extended business trip to Holland that fall. Despite any previous problems between them, we see that Benjamin Robinson provided security for Perrin, and Perrin honored that, by returning from Holland in the fall of 1714. Thomas left the prison in April, 1716, having bribed the warden £1000, to travel once more to Holland and never return.

The Senserf Family

The report to Parliament mentions the Missieurs Senserfe and Son. A digression about Jacob and Walter Senserf is very appropriate here.

Jacob Senserf's probable father was Walter or Wouter Jacobszon Senserff, noted in Rotterdam as early as 1648 when he dealt in in Virginia tobacco. The Archives of Maryland mention a suit involving Walter Senserf in Provincial Court in 1658 ; in the same year Walter Senserfe of London Mariner appointed William Berry of Pautuxent County, Maryland as his power of attorney . Walter Senserf became a denizen of England in 1662 . Given the family's later movements, it seems likely that the Wouter Senserf, married to Ingetje Swanevelt and buried in 1700 in Rotterdam   is the same person.

Jacob Senserf had probably settled in Holland around the time of the wedding of 'James Sinserf' en 'Hannah Harris' in 1681 in Rotterdam . Jacob was mentioned in the tobacco trade in the Rotterdam port records in 1688 . It strikes me as very reasonable that Jacob was the Senserf mentioned by William Byrd of Virginia in a letter to his agents Perry and Lane in June, 1691 :

If you have an Opertunity I desire you to send 3 or 4 halfe tunes of Rhenish wine from Rotterdam, for that I had two years Since from Mr Senserf proved So well, that I have been desired by Severall to procure Some as good.

As William Byrd also traded with Edward Perrin I must imagine the Perrin and Senserf families were acquainted with each other in this generation.

We have already seen mentioned in the Askew suit that Thomas Perrin dealt with Jacob Senserf and son Walter (1683 - 1751) as early as 1710. Askew's testimony implied that Perrin exported tobacco to Rotterdam. It interesting to note that in November, 1714, after the discovery that Perrin had hidden tobacco on the island of Guernsey, the English Board of Treasury dictated a letter :

to the Customs Commissioners to report on the enclosed anonymous letter [missing] signed J. S. charging Mr. William Le Merchant, the King's Attorney at Guernsey, with ill conduct relating to some extended tobacco belonging to one Perrin, a Virginia merchant, who failed some time since indebted to the Crown

Later the younger Walter became an extremely successful merchant with the Dutch East India Company, knighted by England in 1748 and elected a burgermeester of Rotterdam in 1750.

Tying off loose ends

For now, we can leave Thomas Perrin free in Holland in early April, 1716. I believe that we may pick him up again in Pennsylvania in 1718; this will be discussed in the next section. As described in the above affidavit to Parliament, Huggins apealled to the Treasury in October, 1716 to buy a mortgage on Perrin's estate   and obtain the Richard Page manor at Uxendon . As one of the chief targets of the Gaol Committee in 1729, John Huggins was charged with a number of abuses regarding his tenure of warden, including permitting the escape of so many prisoners  "that it was impossible to enumerate them" . There is more to speak of concerning this Committee in the next section.

The Groom Family Revisited

Before proceeding with the Perrin family it will prove helpful to review the Groom family to date. Sarah Perrin's first brother Samuel Groom sold his British property and went to Maryland where he died in 1713 . THat left Sarah Perrin's three younger siblings, Constant, John and Elizabeth.

Constant Groom Owen Bailward

Constant Groom married first John Owen, haberdasher, in 1704; he died in 1705 . Then in September, 1713 Constant married John Bailward . I had first seen this surname in Cornwall, where a John Bailward witnessed several documents for James Tillie, and was an executor of his will . The John Bailward who married Constant may be the same man, or else his son. According to Askew's testimony John Bailward was in the employ of Thomas Perrin in 1710 . That he was intimate with Thomas Perrin is implied by a later suit, in which John Owen's brother suspected collusion between Bailward and Perrin regarding Groom family financial matters . In any case, Master Bailward survived the Thomas Perrin scandal and in later years seemed to live quite respectfully.

John Bailward, portrait from Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Image from Neil Mattingly

By 1717 he and Constant resided in Witshire , and by 1724 were in Bradford on Avon . John Wesley's journal refers to a visit with "Mrs. Ballard" in Bedford at 1 P.M., July 17, 1739 John Bailward died in 1744 ; in his will he called himself "Gentleman". Constant died by 1746 .

John Groom

John Groom died in 1716. His will  named Sarah Perrin as his executor, and stated

I give devise and bequeath unto my Nephews Samuell Perrin James Perrin Thomas Perrin and to my Nieces Sarah Perrin and Mary Perrin children of my Brother in Law Thomas Perrin all those my freehold messuages Tenements Lands and Premisses lying and being in Haverhill in the County of Essex or Elsewhere 

Both John and his sister Elizabeth had inherited Samuel Groom, Jr.'s property in Haverhill . A later sublease by Henry Sperling to James Braine and James Heywood, 1725, noted that John had granted a long term lease on this property to Sperling in 1715 .

Elizabeth Groom

Elizabeth Groom is known solely through legal disputes. She showed no interest in her share of the Haverhill property until 1732, when she sued the other owners for her portion of past rents . Her 1737 will was quite vague, not specifying any bequests or even an executor . The Prerogative Court appointed Constant Bailward as her executor , and a later source stated that Elizabeth's property rights were divided between Constant and "James Perrin, the eldest son of Sarah Perrin" . Contstant Bailward sold her portion of Elizabeth Groom's Haverhill property to Sperling on August 9, 1744 .

The Perrins after bankruptcy

Early Years

Following his imprisonment the Treasury confiscated Thomas Perrin's London properties, including the residence at Mark Lane, in July, 1713 . Where Sarah and her family lived after that time is uncertain. They presumably stayed within the London area, perhaps with family. The birth note recorded for Edward Burrough, son of Ann Perrin and John Borrough of Southwark, in January, 1718/9, is signed by Sarah Perrin .

On May 21, 1712, immediately after Thomas' bankruptcy, Sarah Perrin petitioned the Chancery Court in order to protect her guranteed incomes from Sarah Groom's will, particularly Sarah Groom's legacy to granddaughter Mary Perrin. While I have not seen a decision on this case, later history argues that such protection was granted. In November, 1716, Sarah Perrin petitioned the Treasury regarding three tracts in Essex she had inherited from her father Samuel before her marriage . She wished to clear all Royal title to them, even though they were by then in the possession of Constant. The decision by the Attorney General in August, 1717  stated she or a family member could buy back the Royal interest for £100. He described the petitioner as "a great sufferer by her husband's misfortunes, being left with five small children."

Edward Perrin Jr.

I know little about Thomas' brother Edward Perrin, Jr., who was only ten when his father was buried. He did inherit properties in Bristol, and was at least there in 1707 for a wedding as noted above . Edward made out his will in January 1715 when as a "shipman on the King George now bound for the East Indies" . In it he gave all of his possessions to his sister-in-law Sarah Perrin, and did not mention his brother's name. The will was proved by Sarah, husband of Thomas Perrin, in 1721.

Susannah Perrin and William Penn

Now is a good time to summarize the events for Thomas' other sister Susannah.

1712 was not only a bad year for Thomas Perrin; Ann Perrin's famous wedding guest William Penn suffered his first stroke in October, 1712. For the next sixteen years his wife Hannah became the default proprietor for Pennsylvania. She accomplished this through the unflagging support of James Logan. It is fair to say that Hannah is one of few women of true political power in the eighteenth century.

For poignancy I must include a quotation from one letter written by Hannah to Logan after William Penn's death; she had apparently received a "thorn suit" from the Pennsylvania Indians. This would be a piece of clothing, not only suitable for travel through the worst underbrush, but also appropriate for travel in the afterlife :

'For my own part I expect a wilderness of care, of briars and thorns here, as transplanted from thence, which, whether I shall be able to explore my way through even with the help of my friends, I have great reason to question notwithstanding the Indian's present -- which I now want to put on -- having the woods and wilderness to travel through indeed!'

Hannah Penn wrote her first will right after the death of William on July 30, 1718. It was witnessed on September 11 by the following persons:

Simon Clement was the brother-in-law of Hannah's mother. Thomas Grove and Thomas Hoskin were neighbors in Ruscomb . The other two signers are not officially known; I am willing to assume that the Susannah Perrin who witnessed Hannah's will was her childhood friend and Edward Perrin's daughter.

How long Susannah stayed in Buckinghamshire with Hannah Penn is uncertain. Susannah, along with Sarah Perrin, witnessed the birth of Edward Burrough in Southwark on January 23, 1718/9 .

The next known event for Susannah was her marriage, at age 38, to Nicholas Frankland, vintner, of Wapping. This took place at the Devonshire Quaker Meeting on February 21, 1725/6 . The family portion of the guest list included:

and at the bottom of this column:

Mary and Sarah Perrin, Jr. were still living at home, age 21 and 18, unmarried. Likewise the Thomas Perrin (age 15) mentioned here is probably the son of Thomas and Sarah, as he is listed next to John Burrough, Jr., age 10. [I would expect that if the Thomas Perrin, husband of Sarah, had attended this wedding (and felt he could sign) he would have signed the certificate next to his wife, not further down on the list.] Sons Samuel and James were not accounted for.

On the marriage certificate Susannah Perrin gave her residence as Mile End Green, Stepney, Middlesex. This may have been the site of the property inhabited by Sarah Perrin's grandmother, and by Sarah and Thomas' family between 1702 - 1704 as mentioned above.

Nicholas Frankland later moved to Lancaster, Lancashire; as he remarried in 1740 I presume Susannah had died by then . She had at least one son, Thomas Frankland, who married in Lancaster in 1752 . Nicholas died in 1759 , and his will was proved in 1760 .

Samuel Perrin

Thomas Perrin's oldest son Samuel sold property in Haverhill (see directly below) in May, 1728. He wrote his will on October 4, 1728 , it was probated in November of the same year. Samuel refered to himself as "late of London but now of Bradford in the County of Wilts." He was apparently living with his uncle John Bailward. There were bequests of money (50 pounds each) to his two brothers James and Thomas, his two sisters Mary and Sarah, as well as to John Bailward, Jr "when he becomes 21 years of age". One interesting bequest was that of his "Dye Books to James Willitt the Younger, if he became a Clothier". To me it implies that Samuel had taken up such a trade. There is no mention of a wife in this will.


Sarah Groom Perrin

At the time of Susannah Perrin's wedding I believe that Thomas Perrin's wife Sarah and family lived with her at Mile End. There is a Stepney parish record that states a Sarah Perrin, widow of Wapping, was buried there February 16, 1726/7 . While this seems too early a date for Sarah Groom Perrin, I could imagine that Sarah Perrin and family lived at the Frankland household after Susannah's marriage. In any event, on the basis of the descriptions below of children Mary and Sarah I think it very likely mother Sarah died before 1739.

Thomas Perrin, Jr.

Thomas Perrin, Jr., born in 1711, probably was the Thomas Perrin who attended Susanah Perrin's wedding in 1725/6 . He sold property in Haverhill as described directly below in 1734/5. He may be the Thomas Perrin, Gentleman of Saint James's Westminster, Middlesex whose will was written in August, 1739 . The will states only that his wife Mary, executor, inherited his entire estate. On the other hand, Thomas was mentioned in Aunt Constant Bailward's will in written in July, 1744 .

The Haverhill Property

In 1717 an unusual suit was filed in Chancery Court; its title was "Perrin vs. Perrin" . It pitted the five Perrin children, represented by uncle John Burrough, against their mother Sarah, father Thomas, and Sarah's two sisters. The children noted that they had not seen the income from the properties they had inherited from John Groom, and their brief accused everyone else of all sorts of columny. But Sarah Perrin's answer was sympathetic; she merely noted that the largest debtor concerning those lands would not pay his rent, lest it be taken by the government as part of Thomas Perrin's estate. Thomas Perrin, writing in March 27, 1717 from Rotterdam, attested to his inability to help his children. Incidentally, the Thomas Perrin deposition was witnessed by Walter Senserf and John Gascoyne. Nothing is known about Gascoyne beyond his bookplate as reported in a specialty journal .

John Gascoyne's book plate

John Gascoyne's book plate in a book given to Joseph Gascoyne, 1716

Both parents argued for the appointment of another person to manage the money. The debtor who wouldn't pay was shown in an attached inentory of John Groom's estate to be Henry Sperling, confirming that John Groom had leased the land in 1715 as mentioned above.

While I have not seen the judgment for this suit, I believe that the court made Burrough trustee. Later records for the Haverhill properties include several references to him, including this the following receipt :

Recvd 25th Nov 1737 of John Gurten four pounds two shillings on account of Rent wch is to be allowed in the Next Settlement for the year 1736 for the use of Marry & Sarah Perrins

John Burrough

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John Burrough, the widower of Ann Perrin, Thomas' sister, had remarried but had remained in Southwark. Perusal of the Southwark Friends Meeting minutes from 1720 through 1742 show he was of some prominence among that Quaker community . He died and was buried in Southwark in 1752 .

A later suit in the 1740s showed that Henry Sperling (the Younger) succeeeded in buying John Groom's portion of this property over a several year period :

This list has some errors: Samuel Perrin did not have a wife (according to his will), ans it seems unlikely that both James and Thomas Perrin, Jr. married a woman named Sarah. But this suit, and its associated papers, allow me to finish an inventory of Thomas Perrin's children.

James Perrin

Little else is available about James. The Sperling papers called James a "Merchant of London." James was to receive £5 from Constant Bailward in her will of 1744 . James was included as a plaintiff in a suit in 1745,  implying he was still alive then. He may be the James Perrin who was buried in Middlesex on July 15, 1759 . What happened with James' portion of Elizabeth Grrrom's property is not clear from the records I have seen.

Mary and Sarah

Scattered reports allow us to assemble a story for Sarah's daughters following their mother's death. By 1739 the two sisters were in Bristol, whence the following letter was sent to Sperling :

Bristol Jan ye 20th 1738/9

Respected Friend

thine of ye 4th Instant came to hand & have sent the Power of Attorny as soon as Possible must Omit sending an Answer to the other part of thy letter Until we have talk'd with Uncle Bailward to about that Affair - which we Intend the first Opportunity Sister Joy is with me In Respects & am thy

Assured Friend

Mary Perrin

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Note the refined handwriting, and the Quaker mannerisms. Contained within was a formal declaration of power of attorney:

Know all men by these presents That We Mary Perrin and Sarah Perrin both late of London but now of the City of Bristoll, Spinsters Have made constituted and appointed and in our place and stead put Henry Sperling of the Said Citty of London Merchant, to be our true and lawful Attorney, for us and in our names places and Steads...

I would say that at this point I believe (with no direct evidence) the sisters were staying with some relation of John Bailward. In any case Sperling was able to buy their properties in 1741 as noted above. But in 1742, in the will of Ann Ruddle, spinster (daughter of Robert Ruddle, and cousin of Sarah Perrin, Sr.), it is stated

To Mary Perrin now wife to Samuel Southall ten pounds and to Sarah Perrin her Sister I give ten pound

Samuel, the son of Samuel Southall of Weobley, baker, married first Mary Pitts in 1723. Mary Perrin would be his second wife; the marriage must have occurred between 1740 and 1742. There are no known children from this marriage . Dating this marriage even better is a document from Herefordshire, dated 1741  which involved a marriage bond from Samuel Southall of Leominster, mercer to John Southall of Bristol, hosier and John Bailward of Bradford, Wiltshire, gentleman, to secure payment of £400 under the marriage settlement of Samuel Southall and Mary Perrin of Bradford. (Remember that Mary had, through her grandmother's will, 300 £ plus interest from 1704 for her dowry.) This receipt also confirms that Mary and presumably Sarah were living with John and Constant Bailward in 1741.

According to later court documents, Sarah Perrin, Jr. died by 1745 .


Thomas Perrin by age 22 had arrived in London and had married into the Groom fortune. With his father's inheritance and the Groom fortune he and Sarah were affluent for some time. Perhaps because of market forces Thomas met bankruptcy, but he did so with enough deceit and corruption to generate little mercy from the government regarding his debts. Once in prison, Thomas continued his old habits, ultimately escaping in 1716.

Throughout all of the turmoil it appears Sarah Groom Perrin, with help from her sisters and from her husband's relations, kept her family together, raising daughters who could write, and apparently sons who could work. Regarding Thomas' fate I will say more in the next section.