Wilkeys found in the Parish Registers

The earliest Wilkey found so far in the parish records is that of William Wilkey, buried in the Parish of Weston on the 25 June 1741. It is believed that he may be the father of Tavenor Wilkey (senior). William was probably born around the late 1600's. Misspelled 'Wilkie' (though spelt correctly in the index), at least two other Wilkey's are misspelled this way including Tavenor Wilkey (senior) on the occasion of his burial, though his name is spelt correctly on the family gravestone.

Other misspellings include the phonetic spelling of the name when the recorders were barely literate themselves, and therefore the name of Wilkey is misspelled Wilky on the Mormon website, and in other places.

The next three Wilkey's found are Tavenor Wilkey (senior) partner to Ruth Everson, William Wilkey (married to Grace), Samuel Wilkey and a further Tavenor Wilkey, married to Joannah, who may be the son of Tavenor (senior) or the son of William or Samuel. No evidence has so far been found to connect him to one family member or the other. Tavenor (junior) also named his only known son 'Tavenor'.

Tavenor Wilkey and Ruth Everson

Some family records from the parish registers can be found on the Mormon website, starting with Tavenor Wilkey (senior) said to have been born around 1754, however, his gravestone suggests the much earlier date of 1724. The same problem will arise with his partner Ruth Everson's birth year where the Mormon record shows 1758, however, her age on her gravestone has been weathered away.

Seven of Tavenor and Ruth's children were christened in Bath Abbey (Parish of St Peter & St Paul) or in the Parish Church of St James (now Southgate) between 1775 and 1787, but it has been confirmed from parish registers that he had up to eight children. At least one child died at the early age of 2 years (William, b. c1777), for whom no christening record has been found, however the gravestone confirms he was Tavenor and Ruth's child. Another boy was christened William five years later on the 5 May 1782.

The Mormon site, Parish Registers and the family gravestone found in the Parish Church of All Saints in Upper Weston, Bath show confusingly that the three 'Tavenor Wilkey's' were producing families around the same time but only Tavenor (junior) and the last Tavenor's relationships have been confirmed. The three Tavenor Wilkey's are:

Tavenor Wilkey (c1724 - 1798) partnered Ruth Everson (c1728 - 1802)
Tavenor Wilkey (unknown) married Joannah Wilkey (unknown)
Tavenor Wilkey (c1771 -1791) married Lydia Wilkey (unknown)

If the 1724 birth date is to be accepted then examining the christenings recorded by the Mormons and the parish registers, Tavenor Wilkey senior would have to be assumed to have partnered late and Ruth Everson to have given birth to her children between the ages of 47 and 59 years of age.

If you accept the more likely Mormon dates for the births of Tavenor and Ruth as 1754 and 1758 respectively then she would have conceived between the ages of 17 and 29 years of age. The age of Tavenor Wilkey senior of 74 on the gravestone in Weston village therefore may not be accurate.

The Last Will & Testament of Tavenor Wilkey (senior)

Wills have been proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) since 1383 and are now preserved in the Public Record Office, London.

Tavenor Wilkey's Last Will and Testament was made on the 15 February 1798, four days before he died, and proved in London (for the PCC) on the 3 March 1798, following his death. He appointed Ruth Everson (spinster) sole executor of his will. The index reference to the will describes Tavenor's profession as a 'Musician and Victullar', which is very interesting. He seems to have been a local celebrity. His obituary, which follows the transcript, gives us more of a clue.

It is interesting to note that in the first part of his will he leaves all his household goods and effects to one Linda Elisia Stork of "Liquors Musical Instruments" and all other of his estate and effects to Ruth Everson, his common law wife, for the burial of herself and his children.


Here is a transcript of the identifiable text of the will:

This is the Last Will and Testament of Mr. Tavenor Wilkey of the City of Bath in the County of Somerset musician and victuallar ~ made and published this fifteenth day of February ~ one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight. First I give and bequeath all my household goods xxxx Linda Elisia Stork of Liquors Musical Instruments to book.

Xxxx and other my Estate and Effects in whatsoever and whomsoever and of what nature or in kindsoever for the Love and xxxx I have for xxx unto Ruth Everson xxx Executors Administrators in and afrigxx for the burial of herself and my children not doubting but she will pay a proper xxxx and attention to them and I do hereby nominate and xx appoint the said Ruth Everson Sole Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments whatsoever by me or anytime made in witness whereof I the said testator have xxxxxx not my hand given all the say and xxx first above written ~ Tavener Wilkey … Signed xxxxx published and xxxxxx by the said testator as and for this last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his xxxxx and in the xxxxxx of oath other have xxxxxxx xxx named as witnesses hereto ~Wm. Tuck ~ Eiv. Vernon Goodall.//

This Will was proved at London the third day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight before The Right Honourable Sir William Wynn Knight Garter of the xxxxx Master keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully xxxstituted by the oath of one Ruth Everson Spinster the Sole Executor named in the will to whom administration granted of all the regular xxx goods chattels and credits of the aforesaid having been first Sworn by commission only to administer.//~

Tavenor Wilkey senior's obituary in the newspaper

Tavenor senior's obituary appears in 'The Bath Journal' (Vol. LV, No. 2824 dated 26 February, 1798, page 4, col. 5). 'The Bath Journal' was a weekly newspaper of four pages of small print and mostly concerned itself with news coming out of London, parliamentary discussions and such like, and at the time of Tavenor's death was concerned with the imminent threat of invasion from Bonaparte and the French. A long column within the newspaper concerned itself with those 'recently arrived in Bath'; this was followed by a short list of marriages and deaths. The last entry is as follows:

"Monday died Mr Wilkie, of the Beef-Steake-houfe in the Market, the oldeft mufician in the Pump room band."

It was unusual to have a mention in The Bath Journal unless you were well known and it is interesting to note that Tavenor Wilkey is so distinguished. Interesting also to note that his last known address is in the City of Bath as he is buried in Weston Village, where he is believed to have grown up. The Beef Steak House was a public house within the Market in Bath and there is a record held at the Bath Record Office of what is called a 'counterpart lease' (ref. BC153/2622/1) where it describes in 1792 Tavenor as a victualler who will lease the property known as the Beef Steak House in the Public Market for a period of 7 years.

Tavenor and Joannah Wilkey

It is problematic that no christening or burial dates for either of these Wilkeys has yet been found in the parish records and this means we cannot place them accurately on the family tree, or confirm who Tavenor junior's father was. The only thing that dates their place in the family history is the christening or burial of their children.

The story of Tavenor and Joannah's family seems a tragic one at the outset.

Only three out of their supposed five children have been confirmed as theirs in the parish registers, that is Elizabeth Wilkey (christened 30 March 1770), Tavenor Wilkey (b. c 1771) and Ann Wilkey (b. c1776). Elizabeth reached the age of 36, Tavenor died at the early age of 20 (after marrying and fathering one child named after the mother, Lydia) and is buried at All Saints churchyard, Weston, and Ann died aged just 5 years old, also buried at All Saints.

It is believed that a further two children, who may have been twins were born and died within days of each other, that is Joanna Wilkey (buried 10 August 1775), and Mary Anne Wilkey (buried 14 August 1775). It is also interesting to note that one of Tavenor and Ruth's children (Ann Wilkey) was christened two days later on the 16 August 1775, so it seems unlikely that Joanna and Mary Anne could have been their children, also Joanna would seem to be named after the mother.

Tavenor and Lydia Wilkey

The youngest Tavenor (b. c 1771) had relationship with a woman called Lydia and had at least one child named after the mother, before he died prematurely on the 10 April 1791. He is buried in All Saints churchyard in Weston, Bath. He was about 14/15 years old when daughter Lydia was conceived and she was just six when her father died.

The daughter remained a spinster and lived at Orange Grove, in the shadows of Bath Abbey prior to her death at the age of 42. She was buried in the parish of Weston on the 4 January 1831.

There has been no record of the mother's burial found in the parish registers.

The family gravestones at All Saints Parish Church, Weston, Bath

The two Wilkey gravestones at All Saints are situated under the cedar tree nearest the small gate to Church Road behind the church, and about 3 metres west of the bole of the tree.

The Wilkey family lived in Upper Weston probably up until around 1818, then moved to Bathwick with William Wilkey (died Jun 1856 qtr), then back to upper Weston until the1890's, when they lived at 1, Church Gate. The two family graves are to be found next to each other in All Saints churchyard. The first gravestone has half sunk into the ground. Each gravestone has two panels and has the following inscriptions:

In memory of
of the City of Bath

(the rest has sunk into the ground)

To the memory of
Daughter of
Tavenor & Ruth
departed this life
July 26th 1846
Aged 6…

(the rest has sunk into the ground)

In memory of
WILLIAM son of
Tavenor & Ruth Wilkey
of the City of Bath
who died Feby 4th 1779
Aged 2 years

Alfo ANN, Daughter of
Tavenor and Joannah
died April 10th 1781
Aged 5 years

Alfo TAVENOR, son of
Tavenor & Joannah
died April 10th 1791
Aged 20 years

Alfo SAMUEL, son of

(the rest has sunk into the ground)

Alfo in memory of
who died Feby 19th 1798
Aged 74 years

Under this Cold earth is laid a man
who from honefty never ftray'd
as husband, father and a friend
difcharged his duty to the end

wife of the above
Tavenor Wilkey
who died Nov 10th 1802
(Age has weathered away)


(the rest has sunk into the ground)

The first gravestone (above) is on the left and is the second family stone to be erected. Thomas Jones was the husband of Harriot Wilkey (misspelling is general with this Wilkey), one of the daughters of Tavenor and Ruth Wilkey who was christened in Bath Abbey on 25 March 1781. Thomas and Harriot were married on the 20th January 1803 in Bath Abbey, parish of St Peter & Paul.

Mary Hanney (nee Wilkey), another daughter of Tavenor and Ruth's, married Samuel Hanney in 1796. The age on the gravestone is partly missing, however, her christening date indicates she was about 68 years old when she died.

The next gravestone is on the right and appears to be the first gravestone to be erected.

The marriages of Tavenor and Ruth's daughters

At least three out of six of Tavenor and Ruth's daughters were married according to the parish registers, and all were married in Bath Abbey.

The first to be married was the second daughter Mary who married Samuel Hanney on the 25 October 1796. Mary was 18 at the time of her marriage and Samuel was 22. Witnesses at the wedding were one John Yardington and another person known only by the initials C.R.

Their first child Ruth was christened 11 months later on the 24 September 1797, in the Parish of St James. Their next child William was christened on the 20 July 1801 and a third child, Mary Anne was christened on the 7 February 1802. Their fourth child was named rather obviously after Mary Hanney's sister as Harriet Jones Hanney and christened on the 24 February 1805. The last three children were christened in Bath Abbey, parish of St Peter and St Paul.

Samuel predeceased his wife Mary by some 33 years, dying at the age of 39 and buried in the Parish of Weston on the 27 April 1813. Samuel and Mary were living at 28, Kingsmead Street, Bath at the time of his death.

The next daughter to be married was Harriot Wilkey who married Thomas Jones on the 20 January 1803. Marriage was by Licence rather than Banns and there were three witnesses: John Simmonds, Sarah Turner (probably the sister of William Turner, fiancé of Mary Anne Wilkey), and Mary Anne Wilkey herself. The marriage was noted in the newspaper 'The Bath Journal' on the following Monday, January 24th 1803 (Vol. 60, No. 3081):

'Thursday was married, Mr. Thos. Jones, fishmonger, of Bridge Street, to Miss Harriet Wilkey, daughter of the late Mr. Wilkey, of the Beef-steak-house.'

In turn, Mary Anne Wilkey married William Turner two and half years later on the 1 August 1805. Marriage was by Licence again and it is interesting to note that the two witnesses were Sarah Jones, probably the sister of Thomas Jones, and Harriot Jones (nee Wilkey), both apparently returning the favour for the earlier marriage. This marriage was also noted in the 'The Bath Journal the following Monday, August 5th 1805 (Vol. 62, No. 3203):

'On Thursday was married at the Abbey-church, Mr. W. Turner, butcher, of this city, to Miss Mary Anne Wilkie, of the Beef-steak-house, in the market.'

The marriage of Sarah Wilkey & Cornelius Matthews in 1772

The following entry has been found in 'Somerset Marriages':

Groom Cornelius Matthews status widr of -, - Bride Sarah Wilkey status wid of -, - married on 12 Nov 1772 at parish Bath St Michael by banns Witnesses: Hopton HAYNES, Henry SPERING Notes -

It is not known who Sarah Wilkey, a widow (?), was previously married to as at present very little is known from parish registers outside the immediate family of Tavenor Wilkey and Ruth Everson. It is also possible that neither were widower or widow as the entries are left blank.

According to the Mormon records Cornelius Matthews was said to have been born about 1747, and Sarah about 1751, which makes the couple aged 25 and 21 respectively. It should be noted that the Mormon records have the date of the marriage as 7th November 1772, not the 12th.